Category: MUSIC

Every kind of music under the sun

URGH A MUSIC WAR (MOVIE REVIEW)URGH A MUSIC WAR (MOVIE REVIEW)

Urgh A Music War

Urgh A Music War is a 1981 British film featuring performances by punk rock, new wave, and post-punk acts, filmed in 1980. For me personally, the movie holds a special place in my heart as it provided me with a gateway to the new music that was sweeping over the UK and the USA, in the wake of punk.

Back in the early 70s, the Singapore government clamped down on the arts, labelling it “yellow culture” and therefore undesirable. Live rock music was banned in 1974 and the Ministry of Culture practiced an active censorship of pop culture. When punk emerged in the mid-70s, the authorities blocked releases by punk bands in Singapore. Suffice to say there was no rock music on TV either.

Thus, when I saw in the newspapers that Urgh A Music War was playing at the Rex Cinema, a relatively small theatre, I did not hesitate. The main attraction to me back then were The Police. Sting and company were one of the first newly styled rock bands that I had latched on too, together with the likes of The Jam and The Knack in 1979/80.

The movie was about two hours long and featured bands that I mostly had no clue about and styles of music that I was unfamiliar with. The Police opened the movie with “Driven to Tears” and it was a treat to finally watch them live, even if it was only on a movie screen.

The bands that followed made little impression until Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark. That performance of “Enola Gay” blew my mind. I had not yet heard of synth-pop yet and it was a mind-ending experience.

This first exposure to electronic pop was cemented by the highlight of the movie – Gary Numan’s performance of “Down in the Park” with him seated in a moving chair! Both OMD and Numan certainly opened my mind (and ears) to brand new musical possibilities.

Strangely enough, I never quite felt any affinity with the out and out punk bands in the movie – they seemed somewhat insubstantial to me. But what did get my attention were the guitar bands that demonstrated more sophistication like Echo and the Bunnymen and XTC.

Naturally, considering my obsession with The Police, I was also drawn to the reggae outfits like Steel Pulse and UB40. It would be a rich vein that I would definitely tap in the coming years.

I realise now almost 4 decades later that there were probably numerous bands that were cut out of the Singapore release – I am sure I would have remember watching Dead Kennedys and Devo. I wonder how my musical habits might have changed if both were never excised. Would I have leant more towards the American punk scene than the British in the 80s? Who knows??

In the final analysis, I owe much to Urgh A Music War – the movie changed my life! 1982 would be a big year for music discovery.

still there’s more

BEST ROCK ALBUM COVERS OF ALL TIMEBEST ROCK ALBUM COVERS OF ALL TIME

Album covers are relics from an ancient age. When a 12.375 inch (31.43 cm) square cardboard sleeve provided the canvas for designers to come up with an eye-catching piece of artwork to persuade the viewer to part with his or her hard earned money. We want to celebrate these art designers by spotlighting the best rock album covers of all time! (In alphabetical order!!)

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THE BEST JOHN LENNON SONGS OF ALL TIMETHE BEST JOHN LENNON SONGS OF ALL TIME

John Lennon

John Lennon would have been 80 today. Of course, it’s almost 40 years since Lennon’s murder in 1980. I have always felt that Lennon’s solo output was under-appreciated. Perhaps that has something to do with the fact that he actually went on hiatus for five years to be a house-husband! But that’s Lennon – ever the iconoclast. Let’s celebrate the 80th anniversary of his birth with a list of the best John Lennon songs of all time. (In alphabetical order)

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RYAN HAMILTON & THE HARLEQUIN GHOSTSRYAN HAMILTON & THE HARLEQUIN GHOSTS

Ryan Hamilton & the Harlequin Ghosts is a transatlantic collaboration, with frontman Ryan Hamilton hailing from just outside of Fort Worth, TX, while his backing band The Harlequin Ghosts are based in the U.K. The follow up to 2019’s This Is The Sound (which won an Independent Music Award for Best Indie Album’), Nowhere To Go But Everywhere was written by Ryan during a long road trip across the USA with his dog Peaches, while coming to terms with his recent divorce.

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THE BEST JAM SONGS OF ALL TIMETHE BEST JAM SONGS OF ALL TIME

Faithful readers will be aware that I simply love The Jam viz. Paul Weller (vocals, guitar), Bruce Foxton (bass, vocals) and Rick Buckler (drums). The trio had a relatively short recording/performing career – around 5 years – but in that time, The Jam established themselves as one of the top bands in the UK. So what were the Best Jam songs of all time?

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THE BEST BEACH BOYS SONGS OF ALL TIMETHE BEST BEACH BOYS SONGS OF ALL TIME

Best Beach Boys songs of all time. An introduction to the genius of Brian Wilson!

The Best Beach Boys Songs of All Time : I have shared my Beach Boys story before but it bears repeating. Prior to the 90s, I was not a fan. Like many rock fans who started listening to music seriously in the mid-70s, the Beach Boys were a joke, an oldies band singing outdated surf-rock. Sure, in my time coming across best albums list, I did hear of Pet Sounds but never took time to explore.

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THE BEST XTC SONGS OF ALL TIMETHE BEST XTC SONGS OF ALL TIME

XTC through the years

An introduction to the best XTC songs of all time!

XTC is one of the best bands of all time. That’s an opinion I expressed in an earlier post. The Swindon band originally consisted of Andy Partridge (vocals, guitar), Colin Moulding (vocals, bass), Terry Chambers (drums) and Barry Andrews (keyboards). Andrews departed in 1978 to be replaced by Dave Gregory (guitars) while Chambers left the band in 1982 when he emigrated to Australia. The band was reduced to a duo for its final two albums, when Gregory parted ways with XTC in 1998.

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