sat 04/07/2020

1980s

Reissue CDs Weekly: Razorcuts - Storyteller, The World Keeps Turning

Razorcuts formed after Tim Vass discovered Alan McGee’s Living Room club. In the booklet accompanying the reissue of his band’s first album Storyteller, Vass says of the weekly London promotion that “The headline act would often be someone like The...

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Alan Bennett's Talking Heads, BBC One review - still lives run deep

The eyes have it in Alan Bennett's Talking Heads, which is in no way to discount this venerable writer's gift for words. Time and again in this vaunted series of dramatic solos, ten of which have now been remade alongside two new ones, a character...

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Blu-ray/DVD: It Couldn't Happen Here

The Pet Shop Boys' film It Couldn’t Happen Here, originally released in 1988, has been given a new outing on a BFI Blu-ray/DVD that contextualises it with special features. While it's an entertaining snapshot of a particular time in British and...

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New Music Lockdown 9: Chic, Laura Marling, Billy Bragg, Steel Panther, Wendy James and more

For better or worse, the lockdown may be easing in the UK but there’s no sign of any gig action, even on the far distant horizon. So it’s back to our screens for all that, and here’s the latest, liveliest selection of concerts, conversations and...

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Album: Westerman - Your Hero is not Dead

Will Westerman is not afraid of sounding retro. It's clear his influences are diverse, from jazz fusion to the bedroom proto-house experiments of Arthur Russell. But in their final form, his high gloss production, highly literate songs and fretless...

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Maria Reva: Good Citizens Need Not Fear review - tales of gloomy humour and absurdist charm

Maria Reva’s humorously gloomy debut collection, centring on the inhabitants of a block of stuffy apartments in Soviet (and post-Soviet) Ukraine, starts, predictably enough, with Lenin. Instead of an austere symbol of ideology, he’s a statue who “...

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New Music Lockdown 6: David Gilmour, Taylor Swift, Prince, Bat For Lashes and Blossoms

As the music industry slips into the rhythm of lockdown, so the spigot slowly becomes untapped and events, livestreams and similar start to flow more steadily. This week a host of big names are up to a bunch of different stuff, all worth checking....

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Reissue CDs Weekly: Bob Stanley & Pete Wiggs Present The Tears of Technology

“Like mellotrons before them, synthesisers could project a strange and deep emotion – something in the wiring had an inherent melancholy. Previous generations had often disparaged synths as dehumanising machines but, at the turn of the 80s, a new...

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The Rise and Fall of The Clash, Now TV review - London falling

Open-mouthed incredulity is a reasonable reaction to this 2012 documentary on one of the UK’s prime punk-spawned bands, available on catch-up via streaming service Now TV’s tie-in with Sky Arts. There’s not much “rise” but there’s an awful lot of “...

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Reissue CDs Weekly: The Monochrome Set

 “An exercise in bizarre mixtures, combining the bleak acid hangover of half-hearted Velvet Underground impersonators with muted razzmatazz: a long and rather stylish joke.”The April 1980 New Musical Express review of The Monochrome Set’s debut...

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ZZ Top: That Little Ol' Band From Texas, Netflix review - riffs, drugs and rodeos

ZZ Top always seemed like a Texan version of Status Quo. It turns out, from watching this entertaining but hardly revelatory documentary, that is kind of what they are. Directed by Canadian Sam Dunn, best known for his 2005 documentary, Metal: A...

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Wonderland, Hampstead Theatre online review - a major play about the miners

The talk is of an “economy in ruin [with] unemployment through the roof”: a précis of Britain in lockdown? In fact, this is one of the many eerily apposite remarks to be found in Wonderland, the Beth Steel drama set in the early 1980s that marks the...

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