Tuesday, August 19, 2014

CD Review: The Eighties Make A Comeback With Newly Released Albums From The Posies And Billy Thermal

Eighties pop band Billy Thermal never received the recognition they deserved. Lead singer/songwriter Billy Steinberg was very successful writing hits for the likes of Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, Whitney Houston, The Bangles and Linda Ronstadt, but could not turn his own songs in eighties hit magic. His band, Billy Thermal was signed to Planet Records in 1979 and entered the studio in early 1980, recording over a dozen songs for their debut album. As bands like the Talking Heads, The Police and Television lead the "new wave" pop movement, Billy Thermal got left behind and the record company "lost faith" in their album. After being dropped by the label, Billy Thermal broke-up and Steinberg became a pop hit writing machine for other artists.

Now, in 2014 we get to hear that complete debut album from Billy Thermal as it was released by Omnivore Recordings on August 12th. The new album features the twelve songs that were originally going to be released as their debut album along with three demo songs. The album starts out with instantly being transported back to the eighties with the energetic post-punk feel of "I Tell You My Dreams." A couple of the songs on this release were recorded hits by other artists, including "How Do I Make You," which Linda Ronstadt turned into a top ten hit single. Many of these songs have that upbeat, pop-rock feel that could have turned this band into a hit singles machine if they only received the break they deserved almost 35 years ago. They're sound has a purity to it in "I Need You" and Billy Thermal features pop songwriting 101 with "Julie." The three demos that make up the bonus tracks have "new wave" written all over them as "Don't Look At Me" sounds like a lost gem from Devo and "Chez Metz" shows the band trying their hand at a reggae rhythm.

To find out more about the newly released Billy Thermal album, please visit omnivorerecordings.com.

Next, eighties pop/rock band The Posies hit the road last month with their first extensive tour in six years and to celebrate, Omnivore Recordings will re-release the band independent debut release "Failure." The new release features the original album, remastered with eight bonus tracks added to it. The album was originally released in 1988 on cassette only and is the definition of "power pop" music as their songs are just as addicting now as back then. Beginning with "Blind Eyes Open," you gets transported back to a time when music was genuine, without the need for overdubs galore to make things sound perfect. Songs like "The Longest Line" and "Uncombined" contain that great eighties punk/pop energy, while "I May Hate You Sometimes" is a lost opportunity at being the band's big breakthrough hit single. The nostalgic feel of "As Least For Now" ranks up their with the early days of R.E.M., before the original album closes with "What Little Remains," as the album gets a chance at new life. The eight bonus songs consist of an early acoustic live version of "Believe In Something Other (Than Yourself)" and demos, including four songs that did not appear on the album.

This new release does not look to replace your original cassette, but instead digs deeper into the creativity of The Posies' debut album. The Posies are currently on tour, which runs to the beginning of September. To find out more about this release, please visit omnivorerecordings.com.

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