lunedì 25 novembre 2013

The "sweetest" girls

Possibly the finest early eighties band never to have a chart single and they split up before having any real success. According to wonderous singer Judy : "...When the first single ”Getting Nowhere Fast° became NME single of the week, the group ‘Girls At Our Best!” didn’t exist as such. Jez (James Allen) & I were determined to get our 2 songs on vinyl with a view to seeing what if anything happened next. Well something did happen & another record was clamoured for which meant we had to write 2 more songs & find someone to help us record them. This was the time when Gerard Swift & Carl Harper joined us; but there was no serious intention of playing live until much later. The music & the lyrics we wrote, the strategy we used, the image we tried to create was definitely intended to be a serious force in popular music, but we disguised it so as not to appear pretentious, intellectual or musically serious. I suppose that with most bands that break up, the reasons are both incredibly simple & boringly complicated. There was a series of events which I think inevitably led to the band splitting up. We went to America, as just mentioned, which screwed everybody up a little bit. Our record contract came to an end just after our return & we were all getting on each other’s nerves. Just at this vital point in the career of GAOB, when there should have been consolidation, vision & energy, there was a big void & we all just drifted apart. The record contract was left to rot & GAOB didn’t exist anymore...." Girls At Our Best were one of the finest, most life-affirming of a new breed of independent bands who cropped up at the turn of the 80s – long-standing fan John Peel once referred to them as one of the few groups that made the period bearable. All four of their singles for their own Record Records, Rough Trade and Happy Birthday Records are pure gems. The album "Pleasure" a little bit less but still memorable. Hear them playing live with their unique pre C-86 style and enjoy once again Judy's distinctive unique voice.

the season of steel

The idea of an Italian Wave as a genre remains a difficult beast to try and capture, file or contain. The music often collected under that banner is strongly associated with a sort of "total derivative" sound that looked at uk post punk bands, but it also grew by itself becoming something more interesting and complex. Nowadays, from our lofty 21st Century perspective, Italian Wave appears to mount repeated incursions into an almost unknowable number of previously well guarded genres: Synthpop, Techno, Dark, Punk, Garage etc.. United mainly by barely commodified electronics and tiny print runs of 7“s and later cassettes (although somewhat morbidly respectable by today’s sales standards). All of this decentralised music making makes an easily digestible guide all but impossible. And exactly like many of the Uk post punk bands that inspired our italian wave movement, our bands faded into domesticity and obscurity soon after their ninyl debuts. No Depeche Mode and no Cure here in Italy, just a pair of bands like litfiba & Diaframma that were arguably the most successful, carving out a career that’s now spanned (amazingly) four decades. but we're more interested in the ones that couldn't survived the passing of time. This is a simple "homage" to them through a compilation of  updated sounds from  those "now reformed" heroes of italian wave... a little adventure in the music from a far decade which we don't want to become another forgotten story.