Week? More like CD a YEAR these days! My leisure time necessary for even just playing records [never mind carefully, manually, de-noising the digitized results and making full blown REVO editions] and slapping the rips onto a cheap CD-R has all but evaporated in the last six months. My six day work week made sure of that. What’s more sad is that this disc was actually made in July, 2012, and the fact that I’m just writing about it now is more egg on my face! Enough discomfiture! Let’s just get down to brass tacks and move along, shall we?
Various: REVO Premaster 18 CD-R 
- DEVO: Good Thing 12
- DEVO: Speed Racer 12
- PUBLIC IMAGE LIMITED: One Drop
- PUBLIC IMAGE LIMITED: I Must Be Dreaming
- PUBLIC IMAGE LIMITED: The Room I Am In
- PUBLIC IMAGE LIMITED: Lollipop Opera
- THE MOD-ETTES: Paint It Black
- THE MOD-ETTES: Bitta Truth
- THE MOD-ETTES: Tonight
- THE MOD-ETTES: Waltz In Blue minor
- KRAFTWERK: Radioactivity [Wm. Orbit Hardcore Mix]
- MALCOLM McLAREN: Double Dutch 12
- MALCOLM McLAREN: Hobo Scratch [She’s Looking Like A Hobo]
- PREFAB SPROUT: The Devil Has The Best Tunes
- PREFAB SPROUT: Walk On
- POTENTIAL FRENZY: Please Go Away [ver. 1]
- POTENTIAL FRENZY: Airwaves [Paid Off]
DEVO: That’s Good US Promo 12″ 
- That’s Good [ext.]
- Speed Racer [ext.]
- Big Mess
Previously written about here.
Public Image Limited: One Drop UK 12″ 
- One Drop
- I Must Be Dreaming
- The Room I Am In
- Lollypop Opera
Previously written about here.
The Mo-Dettes: Paint It Black UK 7″ 
- Paint It Black
- Bitta Truth
The Mo-Dettes were a band whose single album I would see in the import bins but never having heard anything from them, the crude cartoon style of the cover was off-putting to me. I passed through the New Wave era never hearing the group until I chanced upon their almost hit “White Mice” on Rhino’s excellent Starry Eyes: UK Pop v. 2″ New Wave comp sometime in the 90s. Then, some years later, the two singles here came in a package from the incredible Ron Kane. The band’s cover of Paint It Black” is a radical departure from the Stones classic we all know and love. If anything, the take here recalls nothing so much as Hank Williams novelty hit “Kaw-Liga,” complete with the legendary “Apache beat” as beloved by Klaus Dinger. But you would never mistake this for Krautrock. French singer Ramona Carlier adds to the sense of dislocation and randomness the cover engenders. The B-side is a rock-steady tune that almost sounds like ska but retains a tantalizing nebulosity that never quite gels. Then again, that may be down to the impudent amateurishness of the band, who sound as if they were swept up in the punk fervor to make music without being bothered to have attained Jeff Beck chops.
The Mo-Dettes: Tonight UK 7″ 
- Waltz In Blue Minor
A single from the next year reveals the band now more closely attaining a ska tone on the bouncy A-side. Vocalist Carlier still provides an intriguing distance in the band’s approach. In retrospect it was quite daring of them to let the French woman be the lead vocalist of a group operating in the UK. The verse of “Tonight” sung in French is usually something only that someone like Sting would be able to get away with. “Waltz In Blue Minor” is in waltz-time but attains a unique ska-like vibe thanks to the instrumentation that is free from strings or synths. Quirky and free, it doesn’t remind me of anything else, really. Remind me to get that Cherry Red remaster of their album.
Kraftwerk: Radioactivity US 12″ 
- Radioactivity [Francois Kevorkian Remix]
- Radioactivity [LP ver.]
- Radioactivity [Wm. Orbit Hardcore Mix]
- Radioactivity [Wm. Orbit Remix]
This vinyl single is the crown jewel in Kraftwerk’s continued existence post-1986. This single is good enough to almost justify their releases from 1991 to now. I was shocked when “The Mix” appeared out of nowhere in 1991 and quickly bought it to see what it was all about. The digital reworks of Kraftwerk back catalogue largely failed to convince. The original material was pretty impeccable, but two tracks sounded interesting to me. I felt the new version of “Computerworld” was slightly enhanced in its new arrangement but what the band did to “Radioactivity” was nothing short of a complete overhaul that I could really get behind.
The lyrics were completely re-worked to change the focus of the song from ironic references to broadcasting to anti-nuclear sentiment. The evidence of how simple primates managed the nuclear power industry over the years had become self-evident to Kraftwerk by this time [the chilling intro referenced Harrisburg, Sellafield and Chernobyl – all with eco disasters that had happened after the original version had been committed to wax in 1975] and their usual techno-utopianism took a back seat to pragmatism and skepticism. The remix here by William Orbit is hands down the finest Kraftwerk remix I’ve ever heard. The other three songs from this single were on the German CD single, but the William Orbit Hardcore Mix was something that seems to only have surfaced on the US 12″ release.
The Hardcore Mix begins with a fantastic techno stuttered vocoder of the title that morphs into a geiger counter sound as the throbbing synths begin to ramp up. After a while, a relentless techno riff manifests and clears space for the main melody to make an entrance. The addition of my beloved pneumatic Kraftwerk hissing is where it really wins me over. William Orbit brings many touches of his vintage Torch Song tropes to the mix, which is technically a dub mix, bereft of vocals, save for dustings of vocoder. But Orbit is a master at filling every measure or two with something new and different, thus keeping my interest engaged fully.
Malcolm McLaren: Double Dutch US 12″ 
- Double Dutch [long ver.]
- Hobo Scratch [She’s Looking Like A Hobo]
Having beaten everyone to the punch by introducing modern hip hop to the UK charts with “Buffalo Gals,” Malcolm’s next move was beating Paul Simon to hi-life and township jive! This 12″ mix of “Double Dutch” is a typical Trevor Horn remix from the producer’s imperial period. The joyous upbeat vibe can stand all of the stretching it gets here and the outtakes of McLaren laughing at the end of his voice over coda are pretty infectious. The B-side is an overlong dub/hip hop vamp on “Buffalo Gals” that meanders to no real effect. Edit it down to a 3:30 length and no one would complain.
Prefab Sprout: The Devil Has The Best Tunes UK 7″ 
- The Devil Has The Best Tunes
- Walk On
This was the second single for Prefab Sprout, and their first recorded expressly for Kitchenware Records. The sound is in keeping with the band’s early, evasive, left-field pop sound. Their transformation at the hands of Thomas Dolby is still a year or so out. “The Devil Has The Best Tunes” is nearly scuttled by Wendy Smith’s breathy “la-la” vocals that are far too prominent in the mix for my tastes, but the band is skirting the edge of NWOBJP here with a cut that recalls Weekend. Paddy McAloon’s vocals are beginning to point the way forward to his pop breakthrough, though it’s not here just yet. The B-side actually sounds better to me. Not as difficult in arrangement as much of “Swoon.” This could pass muster as a “Steve McQueen/Two Wheels Good” B-side, easily.
Potential Frenzy: Please Go Away US 7″ 
- Please Go Away [ver. 1]
- The Airwaves [Paid Off]
It took me a while to take a shining to Orlando Florida’s Potential Frenzy. I’d heard the A-side of this single on college radio and it didn’t convince at the time. After seeing the band out and about at various local clubs, I was quickly won over. Maybe it was just too early for them to hit the recording studio as evidenced on this single? Nevertheless, by the time their first album came out I was definitely a fan of their crunchy punk pop sound. I then decided to move backward and pick up this single, since I was aware that the band had changed the lineup with bassist/vocalist John Saylors having been replaced by Dave Ewing – also of The Hate Bombs, by the time that the debut album was recorded. This left the single version of “Please Go Away” as effectively non-LP. It hardly mattered as drummer Peter Oldrid’s bratty duet with guitarist Norah Salmon were the highlight each time! The B-side was a great Saylors tune about that classic punk rock trope, hating spineless radio stations. The yellow vinyl didn’t hurt, but this snapshot of Potential Frenzy in their early development was soon eclipsed by the band’s growth in the studio for their two proper albums.
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