‘For You’ by Tatsuro Yamashita, 1982

Tatsuro Yamashita is one of the most famous musicians from the City Pop genre, an eclectic blend of rock, funk, jazz, and disco that was omnipresent in 1980s Japan. To me, listening to City Pop evokes feelings of speeding down a Tokyo freeway on a sunny day or dancing in a neon lit disco somewhere in Shibuya…

The Bruton Music Library, 1977 – 1989

Alongside the industrial manufacture of popular music which characterised the second half of the twentieth century, another type of music aimed at a smaller group of consumers and offering another perspective on the humours of its day was also being recorded: production music, also called library music, was instrumental music recorded to evoke a certain mood or tone and licensed for use in other media (for example as background, incidental or theme music)…

Earth, Wind & Fire Panasonic Boombox Commercials, 1980 – 1983

At the dawn of the 1980s, soul-funk-disco orchestra Earth, Wind & Fire (EWF) were at the top of their game. They’d just released their LP I Am (1979), which featured hit single “After The Love Has Gone,” and double-album Faces (1980). Both albums came close to hitting number 1 on the US pop charts and solidified the band’s already-solid reputation as reliable hit-makers…

Double Exposure: ‘A-Z’ by Colin Newman and ‘Positive Touch’ by The Undertones

By Richard McKenna and K.E. Roberts

It must have been difficult to imagine, when art-punk band Wire’s guitarist and vocalist Colin Newman released his first solo record, that he could have much to add to the evocation of the strange tensions of contemporary life that Wire had elucidated over the course of their first three LPs: Pink Flag (1977), Chairs Missing (1978), and 154 (1979)…

Walking Straight Into the Past: David Keenan’s ‘This Is Memorial Device’

By Michael Grasso

“Worldbuilding” has become a trendy word to throw around when it comes to fictional universes. Franchises with the luxury to build their worlds over multiple motion pictures costing billions and billions of dollars fill the media landscape. In David Keenan’s debut novel, This Is Memorial Device, we enter a world with a much more humble, much more homely set of concerns, but with a universe no less studded with outsized personalities…

SDS-V Drum Synthesizer, 1981

Released in 1981, the SDS-V was an electronic drum kit produced by British company Simmons, which was founded in 1978 by Dave Simmons and remained active until 1999. Though retaining a classic layout, the SDS-V’s glossy, hexagonal drums invoked a futuristic, scientific aesthetic that implied a rejection of the sweaty toil previously involved in percussion…

‘Somebody’s Watching Me’ by Rockwell, 1984 (Music Video)

Rockwell, born Kennedy William Gordy, is the son of Motown founder Berry Gordy. Despite his father’s discouraging comments regarding his early songs, Kennedy wrote “Somebody’s Watching Me” in 1983 and submitted a demo to Motown under the name Rockwell because, as he claimed later, he didn’t want his father’s legacy to influence his success…