Thursday, August 4, 2016

Snowy Red

Snowy Red/Micky Mike was a stage name for a Belgian musician Marcel Thiel who was musically active from the late seventies all the way to the teens. Influenced by Suicide, Marilyn Monroe and the Belgian Art scene, Micky released four albums, both as a solo artist and band. He remained as one of the leading figures in Belgian underground DiY and electronic music scene. In the internet era, the interest for the music of Snowy Red was revived. Micky sadly passed away in 2009 at the age of 52.

Photography by Marc Portée

 Micky Mike’s first adventure in music started in the local Punk band from the French speaking part of Belgium and lasted not longer than two years. In general his early music start was on a long wandering from aborted band to aborted band. 

Then in 1980, Micky decided to go solo and picked the name Snowy Red. He recorded some ten tracks, alone at home, in a fortnight’s time which was mostly experimental work released in 1,000 copies. This became his eponymous solo album. During the writing and recording of the album, Snowy Red made their stage debut. For the First Belgium Rhythmbox Contest, Micky shared the bill with Pseudocode, Etat Brut, Nausea and another new band, Polyphonic Size. To complete the stage set, slides were projected on one side, polaroids on the other, courtesy of photographer Stéphane Sergeant. Together with Sylviane V, Stéphane created the visuals for the record sleeves and promotional photos. 

From 18th May to 30th June 1981, Micky Mike took to the stage in the Cool Gate (Brussels) to perform live his soundtrack for the play “Inquest into the death of Marilyn Monroe” written and directed by Serge Nicolas, played by Yolanda Soniga. In this work of fiction, Marilyn Monroe is still alive in 1981. She is 55 years old and leads a secluded life in a shabby attic apartment in New York.

  Not long after the first Snowy Red album and its success, Micky started work on a new project soberly entitled Carol, after the girl of the same name. The single Breakdown/So Low” was the result of a romantic encounter. Carol, a young lady without artistic background, and Micky Mike, already known under the name Snowy Red, composed these two haunting melodies together. He came up with the music and arrangements, Carol wrote the lyrics and the melody line. By the time you were about to release second single, they decided to go separate ways. 

In October 1981, Snowy Red celebrated their first anniversary and Micky started work on the second album. The minimal austerity of the first album was still there, but warmer sounds were added by a guitar, a bass, and more confident vocals. The single “I’m Hurt” announced the release of ‘The Right  to Die’. The opening track “Euroshima (Wardance)” was a rushed job, written to fill out the playing time. It would enjoy an unexpected destiny a few years later. The album was praised by the entire Belgian press and by the English Melody Maker and Vinyl. 

In 1983, Micky decided to form a band with some local musicians from other bands. Paul, Stephan Barbery (formerly of Digital Dance and Thrills) and Alain Lefèvre (a.k.a. Robert Leff, formerly of Thrills) to become full-time members of Snowy Red in 1983. The 4-piece band was then joined by singer Nikki Mono, who had started getting noticed through her collaboration with Tuxedomoon. Here was the new Snowy Red, with the third album, 'Vision'. A crucial milestone for Micky Mike, because the record showed the evolution of his ideas towards a unique artistic approach, quite unknown in the rest of Belgium. This third collection was recorded and produced with the same limited means as its two predecessors, but departed from their cold, hyper-synthetic atmosphere. 'Vision' embodied a new soul and a fashionable sound, but with a depth that owed more to Gary Numan than to the Human League or Simple Minds. 

With 1984 and its concerts behind him, Micky gave his project a new twist and an appendix to its name, becoming Snowy Red Mk II and going for a blues-tinged rock sound. 1988 not only marked the return to a one-man band formula, it also heralded other changes: a new label and a new sound. Micky signed onto Antler early in the year. His first release on this label was 'Snowy Red, The Compilation 1980- 1984'. The following year saw the release of 'The Beat is Over', the fourth and last official Snowy Red album. Once again, Micky went for a raw, personal approach. 

The early nineties were yet another transitional phase for Micky. He put Snowy Red on the back burner to devote himself to a band formula. He formed Invaders From Mars with now official member H.H. Del Rio on guitar, Paul Zahl, former drummer with Tuxedomoon and Simi Nah. In 2004 Snowy Red appeared as a duo at the Belgian Independent Music festival.
 On May 26, 2009 the French speaking Belgian broadcast RTBF announced the death of the Belgian New wave legend Mickey Mike. Aged 52 he died in a Brussels hospital after months of health problems. The Onderstroom label picked all the work dated from 1980-1984 and released it on a compilation entitled, ‘The Ultimate Edition 1980-1984’.

Source: Facebook Fan Page

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Monday, August 1, 2016

WAW: Blood Orange- Augustine

Blood Orange have released a brand new studio album entitled 'Freetown Sound'. This is certainly going to be one of the summer soundtracks. The lead single from the album is "Augustine" which combines two songs from the album. The video includes a mix of two songs from the album and it  was directed by Devonté Hynes and Nick Harwood.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Best of 1986- The Singles- Submission

The year 1986 opened with "West end Girls" reaching number one in spot the UK in January. This would remain  Pet Shop Boys biggest hit best selling single. In general, it was a year of charity concerts which were organized all throughout the year inspired by the biggest of this kind the 'Band Aid' from 1985. "The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame" was holding its first induction ceremony with many rock pioneers attending. On the commercial side, it was the year of Pet Shop Boys and Madonna and the Communards and Berlin had their respective biggest hits, both staying for four weeks on the top of UK charts with their biggest hits "Don't Leave Me This Way" and "Take my Breath Away". Some great bands like OMD, Human League and Ultravox seem to have gone to pot with their album releases from 1986 so was synth-pop. New musical styles and stars were emerging and wining the hearts of people and wider audience.
 Once again, we wanted to take a look and see what the year 1986 would look like thirty years later. Below you can find more than 100 singles and we would like to ask you to submit your Top 10 favorites (could be more).
You are welcome to add your own, but mind the tags: #synthpop #post-punk #darkwave #minimal-synth #artpop #italo-disco #electronic #goth #shoegaze #janglepop #indie rock
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a-ha- Cry Wolf
a-ha- Hunting High and Low
a-ha- I’ve Been Losing You
a-ha- Train of Thought
ABC- How to be a Zilionaire
Alison Moyet- Is This Love?
Alphaville- Dance With Me
Alphaville- Jerusalem
Animotion- I Engineer
Arcadia- Goodbye Is Forever
Arcadia- The Promise

Bananarama- Venus
Bangles- Manic Monday
Bangles- Walk Like An Egyptian
Belinda Carlisle- Mad About You
Berlin- Take My Breath  Away
Big Audio Dynamite- E=MC²
Black- Wonderful Life
Blancmange- I Can See it
Bolshoi, The - A Way
Bolshoi, The- Sunday Morning
Book of Love- You Make Me Feel So Good
Boytronic- Hurts
Brigitte Bardot & Serge Gainsbourg- Je t'aime moi non plus

Call, The- Everywhere I Go
Chameleons, The- Swamp Thing
Chameleons, The- Tears
Chameleons, The- Mad Jack
Charlotte Gainsbourg- Elastique
China Crisis- Arizona Sky
Church, The- Tantalized
Church, The- Disenchanted
Clan of Xymox- Louise
Clan of Xymox- Muscoviet Musquito
Cocteau Twins- Love's Easy Tears
Communards, The- Disenchanted
Communards, The- So Cold the Night
Communards, The- Don’t Leave me This Way
Cyndi Lauper - True Colors
Cyndi Lauper- Change of Heart

Damned, The- Eloise
David Bowie- Absolute Beginners
David Sylvian- Taking the Veil
David Sylvian- Silver Moon
Days of Sorrow- Wild World
Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft- Brothers
Dead or Alive- Brand New Lover
Deborah Harry- French Kissin
Depeche Mode- A Question of Time
Depeche Mode- A Question of Lust
Depeche Mode- Stripped
Desireless- Voyage Voyage
Die Form- Slow Love
Dream Academy, The- Please Please Please
Dream Academy, The- The Love Parade
Duran Duran- Notorious

Eartha Kitt- This Is My Life
Eddy Huntington- U.S.S.R.
Elvis Costello- I Want You
Eurythmics- The Miracle of Love
Eurythmics- Thorn in My Side
Eurythmics- When Tomorrow Comes
Erasure- Oh l’Amour
Erasure- Sometimes
Étienne Daho- Duel au soleil
Everything but  the Girl- Come on Home

Frankie Goes to Hollywood- Rage Hard
Frankie Goes to Hollywood- Warriors (Of the Wasteland)
Furniture- Brilliant Mind

George Michael - A Different Corner
Go-Betweens, The- Spring Rain

Hipsway- The Honeythief
Housemartins, The- Happy Hour
Housemartins, The- Caravan of Love
Human League, The- Human

Iggy Pop- Real Wild Child (Wild One)
Iggy Pop- Cry for Love
It's Immaterial- Driving Away From Home (Jim's Tune)
It's Immaterial- Space (He Called from the Kitchen)

Jan Hammer - Crockett's Theme
Jean Michel Jarre- Rendez-vous
Jennifer Warnes- First We Take Manhattan

Kate Bush- Experiment IV
Kate Bush- Hounds of Love
Killing Joke- Adorations
Kim Wilde- You Keep Me Hangin' On
Kirlian Camera- Ocean
Koto - Jabdah
Kraftwerk- Musique Non Stop

Les Rita Mitsouko- C'est comme ça
Level 42- Lessons in Love

Madonna- Live to Tell
Marc Almond- Ruby Red
Mecano- Me Questa Tanto Olvidarte
Mecano- Cruz de navajas
Mission, The- Serpent Kiss
Mission, The- III
Mylène Farmer- Libertine

New Order- Bizarre Love Triangle
New Order- Shellshock
New Order- State of the Nation
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds- The Singer
Nitzer Ebb- Murderous
Nu Shooz- I Can't Wait

OMD- (Forever) Live and Die
OMD- If You Leave
OMD- We Love You

Paul Parker-Time After Time
Pet Shop Boys- Love Comes Quickly
Pet Shop Boys- Paninero
Pet Shop Boys- Suburbia
Peter Gabriel- In Your Eyes
Peter Gabriel- Sledgehammer
Peter Gabriel & Kate Bush- Don’t Give Up
Prefab Sprout-Johnny Johnny
Pretenders- Don't Get Me Wrong
Primal Scream - Crystal Crescent
Private Blue- She’s Love
Psyche- Unveiling The Secret
Public Image Ltd- Single

Queen- Who Wants to Live Forever

R.E.M.- Fall on Me
Replacements, The- Swinging Party
Replacements, The-  Kiss Me on the Bus

Samantha Fox- Touch Me
Sandra- Hi! Hi! Hi!
Sandra- Innocent Love
Sarah Brightman & Steve Harley- The Phantom of the Opera
Severed Heads- Petrol
Severed Heads- Twenty Deadly Diseases
Sharpe & Numan- New Thing From London Town
Siouxsie and The Banshees- Candyman
Smiths, The- There is a Light That Never Goes Out
Smiths, The- Ask
Smiths, The – Bigmouth Strikes Again
Smiths, The- Panic
Smiths, The- Some Girls are bigger than others
Sonic Youth- Flower
Sonic Youth- Halloween II
Sonic Youth- Starpower
Spandau Ballet- Through the Barricades
Stan Ridgway-The Big Heat
Stan Ridgway- Camouflage
Stanton Miranda- Wheels Over Indian Trails
Steven Brown- Last Rendevouz
Stranglers, The- Always The Sun
Style Council, The- Have You Ever Had It Blue
Swing Out Sister- Breakout

Talk Talk- Living in Another World
Talk Talk- Give it Up
Talking Heads- Wild Wild Life
The The- Soul Mining
The The- Infected
The The- Heartland
This Mortal Coil- Come Here My Love
Torch Song- White Night
Triffids, The- Wide Open Road

XTC- Grass

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Next Wave: Black Magique

Black Magique is one of the most interesting dark synth-pop acts that have occurred to us in this year. Hailing from Canada, the band was formed around 2012 and released their first material this year. Their music is the state of the art where sound and vision meet to express the aesthetics of their creative universe. The world of Bianca and Gabriel draws inspiration from all decades and their respective styles and for now the dark 80’s impact seems to be the most evident. 
To this date they have revealed two videos for the singles “Sexercise” and “Fashion Kills”, also available on cassette. They are currently signed to Nite Time Records and we are looking forward to hear new material.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Retrovision: The Shamen - LSI (Love, Sex, Intelligence)

Twenty five years ago in July 1992, The Shamen entered the UK charts with LSI (Love, Sex, Intelligence). They managed to reach Top tens in Finland, Sweden and UK with this track and it remained as one of their successful single releases to date which included Jhelisa Anderson on vocals. The song was taken from the album 'Boss Drum' released during the same year and the video for it was directed by Mathew Glamorre.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

White Lies Announce the Release of 'Friends', Brand New Studio Album

White Lies have announced the release of a brand new studio album. The album will be entitled 'Friends' and this will be their fourth release. 'Friends' will include ten new studio tracks including "Take it out on Me" as a first single. The album is set for release on October 7th on BMG.

Friday, June 24, 2016

New Order's New Singles Compilation Announced

New Order have announced the release of a brand new Singles compilation. This will be a revision of their compilation which was released in 2005 and included some errors. These new edition add "I’ll Stay With You" from 2013’s "Lost Sirens", but sadly no track from the last year's album 'Music Complete'. This will be available as a heavyweight 180 gram 4LP vinyl box set and a double-CD and is released on 9 September 2016.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Heaven 17 To Release Five Album Classic Set

Heaven 17 will release a Classic Album set which will include all their albums released in the 80's decade from 'Penthouse and Pavement' to 'Teddy Bear, Duke & Psycho'. No bonus tracks are planned and the album compilation is set for release on June 17th.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Xeno and Oaklander Release New Album 'Topiary'

Xeno and Oaklander have released a brand new album entitled 'Topiary'. This is their fifth studio album and the direct follow up to 'Par Avion' which was released in 2014. They have also revealed the video for the first single which is entitled "Marble". The album is out on Ghostly International.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

New Linear Movement Compilation Released

Minimal Wave have released a second collection of the Belgium based band Linear Movement. The new collection will be entitled 'The Linear Way' and will feature some previously released songs. The previous compilation of songs was also released by Minimal Wave in 2008 and is now long sold out.