Fellow Chicagoans Hey Champ just put out this remix of Andy Bell's new single "Call On Me" and I quite like it. Keeping the disco elements and most of the lyrics intact, they give it a slick makeover that makes the track even more danceable.
Bell's new solo work has had it's fair share of problems, so it's exciting to see it finally released. Feeling the album sounded too much like Erasure, he at one point ditched producer Stephen Hague and all the songs they'd recorded, and started all over again with Gabriel Pascal. Given that both of them have a long history with synthpop artists and have produced Erasure before, I'm not quite sure I see the point, but then I haven't heard what Hague did to it, either. I'd argue that the end product does not even sound that different than Erasure, but I'm pretty sure that only Andy Bell thinks that's a bad thing.
Based out of Detroit, Figures on a Beach made their first mark on the new wave with their independent debut EP Swimming, which became a Detroit favorite and underground radio staple. It quickly caught the attention of dance mix master Ivan Ivan (responsible for discovering synthpop sweethearts Book of Love and scoring a club hit with "The Dominatrix Sleeps Tonight"), who helped them in advancing their sound as well as getting signed to Sire Records along side the likes of Depeche Mode and Erasure.
Figures on a Beach are most notable for their track "No Stars" from their debut album Standing on Ceremony (also their debut record on Sire) in 1987. With vocals that slightly resemble Bryan Ferry and Bunnymen-esque guitars, Figures on a Beach had their five minutes with this track before becoming a victim to 90's grunge (ick!) and calling it a day in 1991.
Standing on Ceremony was recently released in CD format, making Figures on a Beach's material available for the first time digitally.
If you are into New Wave in any way, shape or form, chances are the name Vince Clarke is very familiar to you. You knew him on Depeche Mode's Speak & Spell. You knew him from two Yaz (or Yazoo) records. You certainly knew him as a partner in crime for Andy Bell in Erasure. But did you know him in the Assembly?
The Assembly were a short-lived project started by Clarke with producer Eric Radcliffe, following closely after the split of Yaz in 1983. Their original idea was to have a new singer on every track but only ended up releasing one single entitled "Never Never." The singer chosen for the track was Feargal Sharkey of the Undertones - quite a departure from the sound of that band and an unlikely match for Clarke, but somehow it worked. The result was a little piece of magic which still remains a perfect (synth)pop song, similar to that of Yaz's "Only You."
"It never happens to me, maybe that's the way my life was meant to be..." Now, what new waver can't relate to that?!