If bands like Siouxsie and the Banshees and Bauhaus can be considered the founders of post-punk glam, laying the foundations of what would turn into goth rock, then Gene Loves Jezebel followed closely in their footsteps with the debut, Promise. Careening, wailing guitar is matched by careening, wailing vocals from the two brothers, while forceful, semi-tribal drumming underlay everything on display. John Brand's production balances out brute force with careful texturing, allowing the group to showcase their power chops as well as their calmer, moodier side.
Looked at in the cold light of day and from some years' distance, Gene Loves Jezebel would seem like the last band whose work would stand the test of time. Weird thing, though – in all their "everything goes" exuberance, from abstract goth wailing to balls-out Sunset Strip rock, the Aston brothers, much like their labelmates in the Cult, made everything work somehow.
Not quite new wave, nor Goth, or even pop, Gene Loves Jezebel falls into that catagory of hybrid. Having been a fan for 15 years, I am forever on the hunt for c.d.s, comps, etc., and found that most are out of print, including the excellent Kiss of Life and Immigrant albums. But this collection culls the best from their six albums, including the aforementioned ones. As expected, Desire is on this c.d., but also songs from 'Promise' (Bruises, Upstairs) and 'Immigrant' (Steven). All the tracks are prime examples of how this band really was during the late eighties. My faves are Bruises, Sweetest Thing, Twenty Killer Hurts and Jealous, but overall this is the best album you could buy as an introduction to the band. You will wonder why they weren't bigger than they were!.
Perfectly representative of 80s music, Gene Loves Jezebel's "The House of Dolls" holds it's ground today as just good playful and meaningful rock and roll pop. The gushy and upbeat, "The Motion of Love" (a minor hit record), and back door romance of "Suspicion", would be standard rock love songs if not for GLJ's glittery and pounding treatment, both songs deliver an addictive melody with a relentless beat your mind won't feel guilty humming. The call and response falsetto vocal in "Every Door" lingers in an ocean of tic-toc percussion and jangly guitar. A bit like, The Alarm, a bit like, Pet Shop Boys, a bit like, Dream Syndicate, they represent 80s rock (not quite new wave), yet remain in a unique category of their own, call it hard playful pop.
This album is the first album that any non-GLJ fan should get. This album will get you hooked on the band for life. Perhaps another unsung hero in the music world, GLJ has a sound and style all their own that doesn't sound like today's junk. This CD is their best right along with House of Dolls!
Focusing on the '80s, Cleopatra continues to document the history of gothic rock with this two-CD set. Progressing through the discs, the tracks get basically more obscure. Starting off is the pop-goth of the Cult ("Spirit Walker," similar to the Skeleton Family track), then on to the odd, desert goth of Theatre of Hate's "Do You Believe in the Westworld." Fields of Nephilim adds riff-rock goth (&"Blue Water"). With sound ready to open for Psychedelic Furs or Modern English is March Violets. Truly unique is the bouncy, glam goth of Danielle Dax' "Yummer Yummer Man." The obligatory track of '80's goth kings, Bauhaus, is "Passion of Lovers." Other big names in the genre found here include Christian Death, New Model Army, Red Lorry Yellow Lorry, Gene Loves Jezebel and Alien Sex Fiend. Lesser known is a catchy cut from Sexbeat, "Sweat." Not that it is often that I see a goth move enough to sweat, but a good place to start is goth dance-rock from a Specimen 12-inch mix.
Jazz Loves Disney was recorded between Paris, London and Los Angeles by a dream cast. It is incredibly coherent, as if all participants had agreed to pay a rightful tribute to the most beautiful and symbolic tunes of Walt Disneys magic world, as if nothing was too good for the stars when they revisited the classics and the sweet childhood memories connected to them. This is the ultimate proof of the impact Disney has had on generations of jazz musicians, including the ones taking part in Jazz Loves Disney.
There are many Gene Ammons recordings currently available on CD in Fantasy's Original Jazz Classics, since the versatile tenorman was a longtime Prestige recording artist. Unlike his earlier jam sessions, this particular outing finds Ammons as the only horn, fronting a talented rhythm section (pianist Tommy Flanagan, bassist Doug Watkins, drummer Art Taylor, and Ray Barretto on congas). Ammons explores standards (including a near-classic version of "Canadian Sunset"), blues, and ballads in his usual warm, soulful, and swinging fashion. This is a fine outing by one of the true "bosses" of the tenor.
The second Steve Thomson's (his real name is René Felix Zenklusen) studio album "Everyone Loves A Winner" was released in 1990. The 11 songs were recorded this time in the legendary Dutch Wisseloord Studios and produced by Joey Balin. For this project Steve Thomson was able to work with Chris Egger (keyboards), John Roggio (guitar), bassist Greg Smith (TED NUGENT, RAINBOW, ALICE COOPER) and Ricky Anthony Parent (drums).