(post-) punk gems, v. 44 — The Lambrettas

Happy mid-week readers! I’m a bit tardy on the draw here, but wanted to keep up with my Wednesday (and Sunday) meditations or gems.

440px-Innocenti-lambretta-125I was a wee bit too young for most of the mod revival myself, and there weren’t a whole lot of scooter-y lads in the suburbs of Northern California in the early 80s. Still, there’s something about the guitars and the harmony vocals of bands like The Lambrettas that I find perfectly enchanting. The Lambrettas are named after the iconic Italian scooter pictured here, and they got started on vinyl with a bit of help from Elton John’s record label.

Their debut single, “Go Steady,” was released 35 years ago this week. The lads reformed the group with new personnel, of course, in 2009, and another batch of wax (or its equivalent) is due out this year. Woo-hoo!

For those of you keeping tabs on my book, check out this flattering review in Boston’s Fuse. Have a delightful rest of the week!

underheralded gems from the (post-) punk era, v. 7

Secret Affair’s “Time for Action”

In my weekly archaeology of pop in the years that truly mattered, I’ve found some real gems, but nothing quite like Secret Affair, who were kept a secret all too well, as far as we Yanks were concerned. These guys charted five tracks in the UK from 1979 through 1982, and this track, their self-produced debut single, apparently sold over 200,000 copies and reached number 13 in the UK chart. On this side of the Atlantic, not a peep, not even the slightest ripple of press or airtime as far as I can tell. They appeared on the covers of the major music rags, rode the mod revival through mid-1980, and then Seb Shelton bailed to bang-on-the-drums-all-day for Dexys Midnight Runners.  They’ve reunited, too, as of 2002, and still gig here and there.

The mod revival, as you may know, was largely displaced by the Two-Tone movement and–speaking of tones–apparently  The Specials are tone-deaf to Cleveland’s yearning for some skinhead moonstomp, so their first midwest gig on this year’s North American tour is Chicago–oh, the humanity!