Saturday, January 26, 2008

What I'm listening to right now
Anthologyland by The Motels

This is a true early 1980s collection. Many might not remember Martha and The Motels, but they were one of the first to appear on MTV. They had probably two hits, Suddenly Last Summer and the bigger one Only The Lonely. They never really made it to superstar status and aren't really one of the major bands of the period, but I recommend grabbing this collection for a good '80s hit anyway.

Only the Lonely is one of the classic videos from that time, IMO because it captured that early '80s fascination with the 1930s and 1940s. Several videos from that time toyed with that era, probably because of the success of Raiders of the Lost Ark. In fact, I've always liked the music from that period in large part because a lot of the music used really classic melodies and song structures from the pre-rock era. Apart from the synth-pop that many of the especially British New Age Fashion Bands (think Spandau Ballet, ABC) used, there was a really classic sense of making a good song. The video:

gives that whole smoky club vibe. I loved it back then. I SO wanted to just up and leave school, move to the Keys, and work in a bar. Yes, that was me in the white smoking jacket behind the bar. I wonder if that's the same set they used for Duran Duran's Hungry Like the Wolf? At about :28 in you see a table with a white panama hat and at some point they tip over a table, too.

The Motels were mostly something of a punk/new wave band but made a lot of this sort of music, though without all the synthesizer stuff. The CD linked above has a lot of their earlier punk stuff plus the later popular songs. It's got some studio and some live stuff. Martha Davis has a really stunning voice, worth listening to even if you're not really into this genre. They still play clubs in southern California, or so I hear. Go see them if you're down there.