The Return of eLf ideas

ideas of an eLven being in Canada

Monday, December 12, 2005

Vol. 6: Give Me an Hour and I'll Give You Your Dream

.For the sixth volume of a dozen and a haLf favorites, I've compiled a decade-defying mix of female-fronted bands, originating from the '80s (The Glove, Siouxsie & the Banshees, The Creatures) through the '90s (The Breeders, Madder Rose, Shelleyan Orphan) to the present (Frou Frou, The New Pornographers, Rilo Kiley). Having tied together all these artists based on similarities in style and musicality, I'm again proving a point that the so-called New Wave sound is no longer just an era or a music of the past; essentially, it has long become a legitimate genre of its own.

Of the nine featured bands, three are interestingly interrelated—The Glove, Siouxsie & the Banshees, and The Creatures—the connection with one another of which you will learn as you read the entry for each. Also worth noting is the connection between Shelleyan Orphan and The Cure. Perhaps this phenomenal sharing of band members is one reason many Alternative Rock bands display striking similarities and commonality in their musicality.

Volume 6: Give Me an Hour and I'll Give You Your Dream

The Breeders – Cannonball
The Breeders – Divine Hammer
The Creatures – Fury Eyes
The Creatures – Standing There
Frou Frou – It's Good to Be in Love
Frou Frou – Shh
Glove, the – Like an Animal
Glove, the – Punish Me with Kisses
Madder Rose – Panic On
Madder Rose – Ultra Anxiety (Teenage Style)
The New Pornographers – All for Swinging You Around
The New Pornographers– Miss Teen Wordpower
Rilo Kiley – My Slumbering Heart
Rilo Kiley – Portions of Foxes
Shelleyan Orphan – Burst
Shelleyan Orphan – Little Death
Siouxsie & the Banshees – The Killing Jar
Siouxsie & the Banshees – Tearing Apart

The Breeders was one of the female-fronted American bands that made waves in the '90s. The first time I heard "Cannonball" and "Divine Hammer," sometime around 1993, I was immediately hooked—infectious basslines, melodic guitar tracks, catchy vocal melodies. I remember how thirsty I was in the '90s for bands that had the "New Wave" element in their music. Not that I didn't dig the likes of Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, and Alice in Chains; but I knew that what I wanted were bands who wore the musical flamboyance of the '80s. The Breeders was one of these bands, and this was unsurprising because The Breeders was a collaborative project of Kim Deal of Pixies ("Here Comes Your Man") and Tanya Donnelly of Throwing Muses ("Bright Yellow Gun")—two important bands that originated in the '80s. Both songs, "Cannonball" and "Divine Hammer," come from the band's second album, Last Splash (1993). The last album of The Breeders is Title TK (2004).

The Creatures began in 1981 as a side project of the vocalist and the drummer of Siouxsie & the Banshees, Siouxsie Sioux and "Budgie" Peter Clarke. (The two eventually became husband and wife.) After garnering a number of relatively successful hits, The Creatures decided to become a fulltime outfit, consequently surpassing the longevity of the Banshees. What I like about The Creatures is the lush arrangement of their songs, which adopted an elaborate, tribal-influenced rhythm and percussions section. "Fury Eyes" and "Standing There," both from the first full-length album, Boomerang (1990), are best examples of this trademark. The latest album of The Creatures is Hail!, released in 2003 and re-released in 2004.

Frou Frou is an English duo composed of Guy Sigsworth (guitars, drums, bass, piano, synths, samplers) and Imogen Heap (vocals, guitars, drums, bass, piano, synths, samplers). I stumbled upon this band last year, through a music blog site. "It's Good to be in Love" and "Shh" come from Frou Frou's yet-to-be-followed-up debut album, Details (2002). Their music reminded me of the silkiness of Sixpence None the Richer ("Kiss Me") and the yodel and croon of Dolores O'Riordan of The Cranberries ("Ode to My Family").

The Glove is one of my favorite collaborative British bands, primarily because it was a collaborative project of two of my music heroes—Robert Smith of The Cure and Steven Severin of Siouxsie & the Banshees. The Glove was formed in 1983 mainly to serve as an outlet for Smith and Severin, who were both needing a worthwhile diversion from the exhausting activities of their respective bands. The Glove got to release only one album, Blue Sunshine (1983). Joining the duo was a female vocalist named Jeanette Landray, Severin's girlfriend at the time. "Like an Animal" and "Punish Me with Kisses" are my favorite The Glove tracks.

Madder Rose was an American band formed in the early '90s. When I first heard "Panic On" over the radio, I thought I was listening to a new song by Voice of the Beehive ("I Say Nothing"). "Ultra Anxiety (Teenage Style)," on the other hand, has the mild aggressiveness of Transvision Vamp ("Tell That Girl to Shut Up" – a Holly & the Italians original). "Panic On" and "Ultra Anxiety (Teenage Style)" come from Madder Rose's second album, Panic On (1994).

The New Pornographers is a Canadian band formed in 1997; but got to release their debut album, Mass Romantic, already in 2000. Their third, latest album is Twin Cinema (2004). "All for Swinging You Around" and "Miss Teen Wordpower" come from the second album, Electric Version (2003). The New Pornographers sounds like a female version of early R.E.M. ("Harborcoat"). They also reminded me of Letters to Cleo ("Cruel to Be Kind" – a Nick Lowe original).

Rilo Kiley is a relatively young American band that released its debut album, Take-Offs and Landings, in 2001. The subtly distorted style of the guitar and the lushness of Rilo Kiley's instrumentations were what caught my discerning ears. "My Slumbering Heart" comes off the second album, The Execution of All Things (2002); "Portions for Foxes" is from the latest, More Adventurous (2004). The nearest comparison I could think of after listening to Rilo Kiley was The March Violets ("Turn to the Sky").

Shelleyan Orphan was an English band formed by Caroline Crawley and Jemaur Tayle in the '80s, but their music reached my New Wave radar already in the '90s via their final album, Humroot (1992). My instant favorites – "Burst" and "Little Death," which are both reminiscent of The Sundays ("Here's Where the Story Ends"). Interestingly, Porl Thompson and Boris Williams—former members of The Cure—guested in Humroot, playing the dulcimer and the drums respectively.

Siouxsie & the Banshees was one of the pioneers of '80s New Wave / Gothic Rock music. The band began its career in the late '70s and, by the time they disbanded in 1996, they had already produced an extensive and diverse discography. The Cure's Robert Smith became a guitarist of the Banshees for a short period, around 1983. Choosing two among the countless best Banshee songs was obviously difficult. I just picked my favorites from the later albums: "The Killing Jar," from Peepshow (1988); and "Tearing Apart," from The Rapture (1995).

DOWNLOAD the compilation.

DOWNLOAD the volumes you missed.

Vol. 1: Raise Your Glass and Cry until You're Done
Vol. 2: When Consciousness
Begins to Falter
Vol. 3: Our Life
Would Be the Death of You
Vol. 4: Don't
Tell Them that You're a Fan
Vol. 5: How Can I
Assume to Sing about the Moon?

Disclaimer: Consider this compilation as your taste test of the music of some of my favorite bands. If you really liked what you heard, support these artists and the genre by purchasing original copies of their albums.


  • At Tuesday, December 13, 2005 3:14:00 AM, Anonymous Clay, not yet Krafty but still Waiting for the Siren's Call said…

    hooray, horay, hooray! finally, the Sixth has arrived! and 'lo and behold, not just the ordinary kind! Classic-modern-hybrid-will never die--that's New Wave for all of us mortals!

    Again, thanks a gazillion times to Master Alfie for bringing to us another batch of some wonderful stuff, for sharing with us the joy and magic of New Wave music!

    No wonder Sant Dog has alerady given him a truly heartwarming gift!


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