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…

“Solo Me Muevo Por Dinero” (“I Only Move for Money”) by Xalan, 1984

“Solo Me Muevo Por Dinero” is the work of Spanish brothers Xeno and Tucho Baladon, known collectively as Xalan. The Euro disco duo released only two 12” singles, this and 1987’s Revolution Without Solution. The acquisitive, upwardly-mobile young urban professionals who became known as Yuppies in the early 1980s made their appearance in Spain at the tail end of an explosion of popular creativity…

Suzanne Ciani on Two Television Programs, 1980

Electronic music pioneer Suzanne Ciani got her start in the staid musical conservatories of Wellesley College, but left for the West Coast in the late ’60s to get a Master’s at Berkeley, where she met synthesizer designer Don Buchla and began experimenting with electronic instrumentation…