Mixtape: 12 Days Of New Wave Christmas 0

Its almost here. There’s no escaping. The season of enforced joy is right around the corner. To help get you through, here’s a selection of naughty and nice Christmas-themed songs. (To listen via Spotify and/or follow our Mixtape playlists, click here.)

1)“Christmas Wrapping,” The Waitresses
Waitresses founder and friend of Mad World: The Book, Chris Butler, told us about throwing this song together for a Ze records Christmas compilation album and instantly forgetting about it. Never officially a hit, “Christmas Wrapping” is now a permanent fixture in the season playlist

2)”Last Christmas,” Wham!

It may have been the season of goodwill to all men but that didn’t stop George Michael indulging inches favorite activities: feeling sorry for himself and hating women. The moment December turned into January, the single flipped over and George really let his bile loose with “Everything She Wants.”

3) “A Fairy Tale Of New York,” The Pogues featuring Kirsty MacColl

Who could have predicted a Christmas perennial would feature the heart-warming lines “You scumbag, you maggot, you cheap lousy faggot, happy Christmas your are, I pray God it’s our last”? That’s the magic of the season

4) “2000 Miles,” Pretenders

Don’t think for a second that the sentimental requirements of a Christmas single cause Chrissie hyde to lose her ineffable cool.

5)”Things Fall Apart,” Cristina

From the same Ze Records Christmas album that spawned “Christmas Wrapping” comes this slice of existential crisis from Cristina Monet, the label’s resident jaded socialite depressive. For anyone driven to dead-eyed numbness by the onslaught of good cheer, this is for you.

6) “Il Est Ne Le Divin Enfant,” Siouxsie And The Banshees

And speaking of dead-eyed numbness… The loveliness of S&TB’s rendition of this French hymn is hilariously undercut by the clip below where they strive to perform it with out losing an iota of their trademark contempt.

7) “It Doesn’t Often Snow At Christmas,” Pet Shop Boys

Although they had an actual UK Christmas Number One with “Always On My Mind,” this is the PSB fans-only seasonal song.

8) “Silent Night,” Erasure

From last year’s “Snow Globe” Christmas album.

9) “Winter Wonderland,” Eurythmics

Well, they gave it a shot…

10) “December Will Be Magic Again,” Kate Bush

Weirdly botched release for this typically heady offering. It was supposed to come out in 1979 with expectations of it being the year’s big Xmas song. One year later, it was issued to little acclaim.

11) “Little Drummer Boy/Peace On Earth,” Bing Crosby & David Bowie

It’s great that Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett are kindred spirits who love and respect each other. But, for me, no May/December artistic pairing has ever been as awkward, agonizing and uncomfortable to watch as this. Just that Bowie line about Hudson the butler makes me wish there was a whole album filled with such moments.

12) “Do They Know It’s Christmas,” Band Aid

The new version’s laudable, of course, but this one actually changed the world for a few minutes.

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Mixtape: Toys & Games 0

Once again, Chris Rooney digs deep into his sack.

Ho! Ho! Ho! and Oy, Vey! / Here are 11 fun songs you should play / A holiday mixtape about games and toys / For all the naughty or nice New Wave girls and boys!

To listen via Spotify, or to check out our other mixtapes, click here.

Visage, “Mind Of A Toy” (1981)
Frontman Steve Strange might the only member from Visage who got any face time, but the group also included Ultravox’s Robin Simon on guitar.
Recommended Game: Simon, the electronic memory game with the slogan, “Simon’s a computer, Simon has a brain, you either do what Simon says or else go down the drain!”

Peter Gabriel, “Games Without Frontiers” (1980)
Gabriel was inspired by a long-running TV show called Jeux Sans Frontières broadcast in several European countries in which teams of bizarrely-dressed neighbors would compete in games of skill.
Recommended Game: The premise of the show sounds oddly familiar to the fantasy role-playing game, Dungeons & Dragons that was particularly popular with pre-adolescent males in the late 70s and early 80s before home video game consoles became so ubiquitous.

Altered Images, “Real Toys” (1981)
Altered Images singer Claire Grogan in many ways is a living embodiment of the popular toy, Barbie – cute, blonde, stylish and a poppy chirpy singing voice to boot. Heck, Altered Images even had an album called Pinky Blue, which are probably Barbie’s two favorite colors.
Recommended Toy: Barbie, the bestselling dress-up doll for the last 50 years

Level 42, “Love Games” (1981)
Many popular arcade video games in the 1980s had multiple levels players had to complete in order to advance. Level 42 seems like nothing compared to the 256 possible levels in a game of Ms. Pac-Man.
Recommended Game: Love is in the air during the first Act between levels in Ms. Pac-Man. Both she and her love interest, Pac-Man are chased by ghosts until they collide and kiss.

Toyah, “I Want To Be Free” (1981)
Even before she was a singer, Toyah Willcox exercised her rebel instincts by experimenting with hair color and style. To this day she doesn’t know why her parents gave her the unusual name of “Toyah”.
Recommended Toy: Launched as a TV show tie-in, the Barbiesque doll named Jem was a rock star like Toyah sporting a shocking pink head of hair and was “Truly Outrageous” according to the show’s theme song.

Echo & The Bunnymen, “The Game” (1988)
Ian McColloch’s piercing lyrics, “Through the crying hours / Of your glitter years / All the living out / Of your tinsel tears / And the midnight trains / I never made / ‘Cause I’d already /Played… the game” foresees the Bunnymen’s Annus Horribilis. McCulloch would quit the band shortly after this and drummer Pete de Freitas died in a motorcycle accident the following year.
Recommended Game: Banned in the United States the same year as the release of The Bunnymen’s song, the popular backyard game of Lawn Darts apparently caused a lot of injuries and one fatality. There was even a 1989 song written about them by Ed’s Redeeming Qualities called “Lawn Dart” which lamented their removal from the shelves at K-Mart.

Lene Lovich, “New Toy” (1981)
Making fun of consumer culture, Lene was sick of her television, radio and vacuum cleaner that she demanded a new toy in her life.
Recommended Toy: The timing couldn’t have been more perfect to introduce her to the 1980 Toy of The Year, the Rubik’s Cube. With over 350 million sold, it is widely considered today to be the world’s best-selling toy.

Yello, “Vicious Games” (1985)
The Swiss synthpop duo had to try hard to hop over the English Channel and the Atlantic to market themselves to a larger English-speaking audience. In the end, they were met with modest success in the British pop charts and American club charts.
Recommended Game: Frogger challenged the player to help a frog avoid being viciously run over by automobiles while crossing a busy road. By the mid 1980s, many households had home video game consoles like Atari that played many of the popular arcade games including Frogger.

The Toy Dolls, “Nellie The Elephant” (1984)
Pop punkers The Toy Dolls were known for not taking themselves or their songs too seriously when recording parodies of popular songs. Their cover of the 50s children’s song “Nellie The Elephant” was their sole hit.
Recommended Toy: While adoptable Cabbage Patch Kids dolls were the “it” toy in 1985, along came the Garbage Pail Kids series of trading cards that parodied the dolls. Each Garbage Pail Kid character had some comical abnormality, deformity or terrible fate paid off with a humorous, word play name.

The Psychedelic Furs, “Only a Game” (1984)
In order to win a pink Entertainment wedge, answer this question: Before settling on the name “The Psychedelic Furs,” what other moniker did the band playing under during their early days? Answer: “The Europeans”.
Recommended Game: Trivial Pursuit, the board game that tested your general knowledge and popular culture questions peaked in popularity back in 1984, a year in which over 20 million games were sold.

Duran Duran, “Bedroom Toys” (2004)
Ahem, well… Duran Duran’s song and companion video might actually be more fitting for Santa’s naughty list.
Recommended Toy: We’ll leave that to the grown-ups.

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Mixtape:Sibling Rivalry 0

Mixtape: Sibling Rivalry

Of course the Thompson Twins weren’t really twins – or triplets for that matter – and despite having three members with the same last name of Taylor, no one in Duran Duran were brothers. For some real brotherly (and sisterly) love that you can relate to, Chris Rooney presents  a collection of songs that show that New Wave and beyond sometimes can be a family affair.

Japan, “Quiet Life” (1981)
Singer David Sylvian (born David Batt) and his drummer brother Steve Jansen (born Stephen Batt) were together during Japan’s entire duration. After the band broke up over creative differences in 1982, David went solo while Steve formed a duo with Japan keyboardist Richard Barbieri called – ironically or not – The Dolphin Brothers.

Devo, “Beautiful World” (1983)
True to their Ohio roots, the classic line-up of the band included two sets of brothers, the Mothersbaughs (Mark and Bob) and the Casales (Gerald and Bob).

The Psychedelic Furs, “Love My Way” (1982)
Brothers Richard and Tim Butler, on vocals and bass guitar respectively, formed The Psychedelic Furs in 1977. During the Furs’ hiatus in the 1990s, Richard planned to put out his first solo record. Instead, he assembled a new group, Love Spit Love and brought in Tim to play bass.

A Flock Of Seagulls, “D.N.A.” (1982)
Believe it or not, A Flock Of Seagulls won the 1983 Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance. If you’re counting, that’s more Grammys than mega-groups Queen, Led Zeppelin or Gun N’ Roses have (n)ever won. They say that when it comes to family, blood is thicker than water, but in frontman Mike Score’s case, he has carried on with the Flock’s name without his drummer brother Ali or the other original members of the band.

Sparks, “All You Ever Think About Is Sex” (1983)
Keyboardist Ron Mael has been collaborating for more than four decades now with his younger brother, singer Russell Mael. At first, the two called their band Halfnelson, but later renamed themselves Sparks, a play on the famous Marx Brothers.

INXS, “Don’t Change” (1982)
Sometimes change is a good thing when it comes to what you called yourselves. INXS was originally called The Farriss Brothers after the band’s three siblings: Andrew Farriss (keyboards), Jon Farriss (drums) and Tim Farriss (guitar).

Gene Loves Jezebel, “Desire” (1986)
Since their heyday in the late 80s, identical twin brothers Jay and Michael Aston have been fronting competing versions of the Gene Loves Jezebel. A 2008 lawsuit settlement between the brothers stated that Jay’s band would be known as “Gene Loves Jezebel” in the UK and “Jay Aston’s Gene Loves Jezebel” within the US, while Michael’s band would be referred to as “Gene Loves Jezebel” in the US and “Michael Aston’s Gene Loves Jezebel” within the UK.

The B-52s, “Song for a Future Generation” (1983)
Born a Pisces just like her older brother and bandmate Ricky Wilson, Cindy Wilson admitted to liking chihuahuas and Chinese noodles in The B-52s’ satirical take on personal ads. It was the first of two songs by the original line-up that featured vocals by all five band members.

The Bangles, “Going Down To Liverpool” (1984)
Making up one-half of the all-female band The Bangles, sisters Vicki and Debbi Peterson played guitar and drums. After she first heard this song originally recorded by The Waves (later Katrina & The Waves), Debbi convinced her bandmates to let her do the lead vocals on The Bangles’ harmonic cover.

Split Enz, “I Got You” (1980)

Split Enz’s founder Tim Finn recruited his younger brother Neil in the late 1970s to share duties as frontmen to his Kiwi band. Later, Neil went on to form Crowded House after Split Enz split and more recently Tim and Neil have collaborated under the name, The Finn Brothers.

The Proclaimers, “Letter From America” (1987)
Brothers and identical twins, Charlie and Craig Reid are probably best known for “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)”, but they first gained attention with this song that addressed the long history of Scottish emigration to the United States and Canada due to economic hardship.

The Jesus and Mary Chain, “Just Like Honey” (1985)
No relation to The Proclaimers despite also being from Scotland, brothers and songwriting partners Jim and William Reid were pioneers of noise pop combining elements from their influences The Velvet Underground, The Stooges, and The Ramones.

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