post-punk gems, v. 51 — Big in Japan

Well, it’s a wrap, 2014. Thank you, readers, for checking in from around the globe–rocknrollers from 67 countries spent a few minutes or more here at stealing all transmissions, and for that I’m especially grateful.

Like the best of punk tracks, though, I want to keep today’s entry short, sharp, and sweet. Today’s subject, Big in Japan, included at various times provocateur Bill Drummond (later of KLF, and he once set 1M pounds afire), Jayne Casey, and the terribly shy Holly Johnson, who went onto sing lead for Frankie Goes to Hollywood.

Big in Japan — Jayne, Kevin Ward, Holly Johnson (in tie), , Bill Drummond (front), Ian Broudie and Phil Allen (Kevin Cummings, photographer, 1977; used without permission)

Big in Japan hailed from Merseyside alongside Echo & the Bunnymen, Teardrop Explodes, & OMD, and focused on the slash-y minimalist guitar work that resonates in some of the most brilliant tracks of the punk era, and “the minimum” was a big theme for Big in Japan: they only produced seven tracks, including “Suicide a Go Go” (1978):

And that folks is a wrap. Thanks for tuning into Radio K-SAT in 2014, and look forward to producing more dispatches for your edification in the coming year. Cheers!

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post-punk gems, v. 37 — Dalek I Love You

Welcome back to Radio K-SAT, where on Wednesdays I track down lost gems from the punk and post-punk era. Many of these underheralded tunes come from bands whose members you know from their associations with other bands — you might recognize the lead singer of Graduate, who later formed a band called Tears for Fears, which you may be familiar with (smile).

Dalek, I Love You was the brainchild of young gents out of Thingwall, and included (eventually) Alan Gill (of Big in Japan & Teardrop Explodes fame) and Andy McCluskey (who’s still kicking around with a unit called Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark). The moniker represented an amalgam of Dalek, the Doctor Who cyborgs, and Darling, I Love You. It’s a unit that takes the notion of Bernard Sumner (of Joy Division and New Order fame), upon seeing the Sex Pistols for the first time, to its next extension: “I saw the Sex Pistols. They were terrible. I thought they were great. I wanted to get up and be terrible too.” It’s a raucous, synthetic aesthetic, and on “You Really Got Me” (a Kinks’ tune, yes), from May 1980, they drain it dry of the Van-Halen-infused virility from just a couple years before.

I would argue it even heralds the lounge-act qualities that David Lee Roth would embrace following his departure from Van Halen–which, as readers of *Stealing All Transmissions* know, was a key band in my youth, since they seemed to be the mirror image of The Clash, and represented all that was wrong with popular music. So, when Aztec Camera’s cover of “Jump” hit the radio in the US, it was the object of much DJ ridicule on the classic rock stations, but I savored every bar of it, even though Roddy Frame’s hair was only slightly less ridiculous than DL Roth’s mane at that point.

I dig the tuning of the lead guitar on this track, along with the sensitive piano comping during the chorus. Fun stuff!

I appreciate your checking in today, and hope to see you again on Sunday. Enjoy the week!