Archives for posts with tag: disco

UK band The Catenary Wires are back with a new single (out 16 April), a new video, and even a (virtual) 80s disco, all ahead of the release of their third album in May. The new single is “Mirrorbal” , a duet between “two lonely single people” on “a night out in an 80s disco. Surrounded by divorcees and middle-aged drunks, will they be too shy to talk, or will they find some love action? Is this going to be heaven or hell?”

The Catenary Wires were started in 2014 as a duo of Rob Pursey and Amelia Fletcher (ex Talulah Gosh, Heavenly, Marine Research, Tender Trap). Since then they have expanded to a full band, with Fay Hallam (ex-Makin’ Time, keyboard), Ian Button (ex-Death In Vegas, drums) and Andy Lewis (ex-Paul Weller Band, bass).The Catenary Wires music is a natural progression of the fuzzy sixties-inspired girl-group pop of Pursey & Fletcher’s earlier bands, their music reflecting on the life experiences of young people growing up and dealing with early adulthood. The Catenary Wires songs are more melancholy – a combination of joy and regret, innocence and experience, layers built up as life progresses.

The Catenary Wire’s “Mirrorball” is about 1980s disco. They recall the 1980s disco as the music of a decade that was “pure, unsubtle, tasteless and synthetic.” And yet, who hasn’t been moved by The Human League’s “Don’t You Want Me” or Fiction Factory’s “(Feels Like) Heaven” to name only a few of the synthetic hits of the 1980s? It was music that was, in retrospect, heavenly, reckon The Catenary Wires. Well, some of it at least.

Speaking of disco music and mirrorballs, I have an unforgettable memory of the esteemed Robert Scott (The Bats, The Clean) dancing to George McRae’s 1974 disco staple “Rock Your Baby” beneath the mirrorball at Chick’s Hotel in Port Chalmers following a Tiny Vipers performance there in 2009. That was a moment that perhaps softened my own sceptical attitudes towards the power of the Disco mirrorball and of the kind of chart-topping dance music I had previously dismissed.

While we are off on a Robert Scott tangent there is a link of sorts between Robert Scott and Amelia Fletcher of The Catenary Wires. Both were vocalists on the 1995 album Wasps’ Nest by The 6ths, an album written and recorded by Stephin Merritt of The Magnetic Fields, but with different vocalists invited to sing lead vocal on each song.

To celebrate the release of The Catenary Wires’ “Mirrorball” single in these COVID-constrained times, there’s a real (virtual) 80s disco organised by UK indie club How Does It Feel. The Catenary Wires (and a lot of guest DJs) have been invited to take over for the night on March 27th (UK time). That’s 11 am Sunday here in NZ if you fancy a Sunday brunch disco… and why not? The event details are here.

“Mirrorball” is the first single from upcoming album “Birling Gap”. Both the “Mirrorball” 7″ single and the album will be released on their own label Skep Wax in the UK and on Shelflife is the US.

Finally, in case you were wondering (I was), the band’s name refers to the chain of curves made by the overhead cables seen suspended from pylons or above electric trains: “cables that can seem to lead you off to somewhere different and unknown.”


Kati Kovacs Tiz

One of the joys and adventures of music is coming across something you haven’t heard before, following connections and finding a new favourite artist or a whole new world of sound. One of the artists played on a recent KXSF radio show was Kati Kovács, a Hungarian singer. The song was a 1960s ‘Beat’ music tune. A search for the artist on Bandcamp turned up this track “Kérdés Önmagamhoz” (“A Question to Myself”) which is most definitely not 1960’s ‘Beat’ music, but very cool 1980 Euro synth pop or electronic disco… or something:

The release of “Kérdés Önmagamhoz” found on Bandcamp was re-released on a double 7″ by a German label in 2017 – the original track plus remixes.

Further research shows the original track is from a 1980 album called “Tiz” (Ten) released on Hungarian label Pepita.  It’s a little bit odd and a lot of wonderful. The first couple of minutes is arpeggiated Kraftwerk-esque synth pop, then some vocoder vocals kick in, before – after a full two minutes – Kovács mix of spoken word and vocals transform the song into a kind of electronic pop-noir. It’s not ‘Italo Disco’, but something altogether more wonderful.

Kovács singing career started in Hungary in the 1960s, spanning a range of genres from 1960s ‘Beat’ pop, through ‘disco’ in the late 70s and 80s. She has performed throughout Europe, worked with the Hungarian rock band Locomotiv GT on three albums and also acted in several films. Needless to say there’s now a VG+ copy of the 1980 white vinyl pressing of Kovács ‘”Tiz” LP on its way to NZ. It’s never too late to start a 1980s Hungarian Euro-discos-synth-pop collection.

Polyester

Auckland five-piece band Polyester have mixed up a bit of 80’s synth-pop, some proto-disco grooves and some lyrical style to create their self-titled album, just released on cassette. Here’s “Honey” from the album.

“Honey” channels a huge chunk of the spirit and attitude of Orange Juice with its trebly disco strum, propulsive strolling bass-line, intelligent lyrics, and huge backing vocals. You can even imagine Edwyn Collin’s wobbly croon singing this, although let’s take nothing away from Polyester vocalist Sylvia Dew’s natural delivery here.

Polyester is a great band name too – polyester being the ultimate utilitarian fabric – durable, strong, and capable of mixing with and even imitating the appearance and feel of other fabrics.

It’s fitting therefore that the album packs colourful pop-art patterns of cheerful synth-melodies over stabbing guitar strums and some exotic disco-Latin touches. Keyboard player Amelia Berry produced the album, crafting an un-fussy direct sound that’s warm and immediate, wearing its self-made charm well. It’s pop: cool, casual, loosely woven, breathable and for all I know quite possibly moisture-wicking too.