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Sparks appreciation thread

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Sparks appreciation thread

Old 02-22-06, 07:01 PM
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Sparks appreciation thread

So looking over upcoming release I saw something called Hello Young Lovers by a band called Sparks. I have to admit the name sounded remotely familiar and I thought I had heard of them. Well, I go to AMG to check them out and no, this is a band that's been around for decades. And with a new album out this year. Interesting. I decide to listen to Kimono My House and haven't been able to stop. This is like the album Ima Robot wish they could make. I honestly haven't heard anything so well executed, zany, loud, brash, fun in a long time. The vocals put me off for a few seconds but it's hard to not get caught in the sheer energy.

So I ask all of you, where have you been? Why haven't I heard of these people? I do give a get out of jail free card to Numanoid, whose pick of Sparks' Lil' Beethoven I overlooked in the draft. I also noted (now) that he mentioned them in the Distinctive & Unique" vocalists thread. So Numanoid gets off scott-free.

But why hasn't anyone else championed this band?

Or are you guys more like me, and haven't heard of them at all...?

(returns to playing "This Town Ain't Big Enough for Both of Us" for the 10th time in the past hour)
Old 02-22-06, 07:21 PM
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I love em but admit to only having heard lil beethoven. Its awesome though.
Old 02-22-06, 07:48 PM
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Been a fan for decades.
Old 02-22-06, 07:52 PM
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damn near impossible to pick up their stuff here in the states. they are pretty huge in the uk, i guess.

a little indie label recently reissued their first two albums (which are great!), so those should be picked up.

can't-miss albums:
kimono my house (mentioned)
indiscreet
propaganda
sparks
Old 02-22-06, 07:52 PM
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I haven't heard anything new from them in ages, but I love their early 80's stuff, like the albums "Angst in My Pants" and "In Outer Space."
Old 02-22-06, 09:29 PM
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Hello Young Lovers is brilliant. I like it better than Little Beethoven.
Old 02-22-06, 09:32 PM
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Propaganda is one of the most brilliant albums, particularly S1. And you gotta love that cover. Short fast catchy songs, and everyone's a winner. I saw Sparks as the headliner at the Santa Monica Civic Aud. back in 1976? Think it was around the release of Big Beat (which I think marked the beginning of their descent, imo). Who else was on the bill under them? Some little old band from Pasadena called Van Halen (pre debut release). What a concert. I still remember Ron sitting at the Piano staring out at the audience with those beaty eyes that seemlingly never blinked.
Old 02-22-06, 11:02 PM
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Originally Posted by The Bus

But why hasn't anyone else championed this band?
Well I posted this in the thread Best of obscure 80's pop



Kirsty Maccoll is a fave.

Sparks: Angst in My Pants
Cool Places
Eaten (by the monster of love)
Nicotina
etc, etc.


Some fave mostly unknown bands: Reivers, Rezillos, Revillos, Monochrome Set, Gruppo Sportivo, Plastic Bertrand




In the thread Favorite movie soundtrack of all time?


I posted this:

Valley Girl-great stuff including Sparks



In the thread Help me create a Kickin GAY Song Playlist!


After benedict posted this:


Originally posted by benedict
I think some Sparks songs may be along the lines of various mentioned before e.g. Beat the Clock, Number One Song in Heaven and This Town Ain't Big Enough for the Both of Us. And I think they may have worked with or otherwise influenced The Pet Shop Boys and Bronski Beat/Erasure....


I posted this:

strong agreement.


I love Sparks. Of their mid-period stuff, "Cool Places", "Eaten by the Monster of Love" and "Angst in My Pants" are good dance tunes. The latter two songs helped make the movie "Valley Girl" much stronger.
Old 02-22-06, 11:11 PM
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I saw them in the summer of 1984. I was taking pix of the Rick Springfield concert and this strange opening band played. I didn't know who they were but thought they sounded good and once they played the songs from Valley Girl I knew who they were and couldn't believe I was seeing them.

After that I picked up their last few albums and played them non-stop. A roommate who loved to say all music was crap unless it was the Who would not admit the stuff was good. One day I left and remembered I'd forgotten something. When I came back I caught him playing the "Whomp That Sucker" album.



They have two DVDs out and both are very enjoyable. I play them more than pretty much all of my 50 or so music dvds.

They are:

Lil' Beethoven: Live in Stockholm


and

Live in London
Old 02-23-06, 06:07 AM
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I have a few of their discs. Got the two disc comp. on Rhino (I think it's Rhino). I don't listen to them that much because it's a tad bit dated sounding to me... not in a good way. I'm sure back in their day they were radical sounding. Kind of like the Tubes (who have aged horribly). Having said that, I LOVE "Eaten By the Monster of Love". Fun song.
Old 02-23-06, 07:36 AM
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One of my all-time favorite bands. They are a couple of California brothers that never made it big here but have been popular for 30+ years in Europe. They are truly musical legends amongst people "in the know".

I've been listening to the new Hello Young Lovers non-stop for the last week. I still prefer Lil' Beethoven, but this one is growing on me more every day. I fall asleep and wake up with one of the new songs in my head every damned day.

Once you get familiar with their stuff, pick up Plagiarism, which is a sort of a "best of" but all the songs are re-recorded and updated by Sparks with the addition of a few excellent guest vocalists and musicians (Faith No More, Erasure, Jimmy Sommerville). All great versions, especially the Faith No More version of This Town....

I also recommend the DVD Live In Stockholm. They play the entirety of the Lil' Beethoven album and then a regular concert. I hear they are using the same approach on the new tour and it's even better.
Old 02-23-06, 07:39 AM
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Originally Posted by atlantamoi
I don't listen to them that much because it's a tad bit dated sounding to me... not in a good way.
I dare you to listen to their recent releases and tell me that it sounds dated. Hell, it can't even be classified!


Oh, here's their website: http://www.allsparks.com
Old 02-23-06, 09:00 AM
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I still spin Cool Places w/Jane Wiedlin on a regular basis around my house...

Wow, Ron's taken creepy moustache growing to new levels
Old 02-23-06, 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Numanoid
I dare you to listen to their recent releases and tell me that it sounds dated. Hell, it can't even be classified!
Yeah, I really should and would like to hear some new stuff. I'll bet I haven't heard anything from them that they recorded after '86.
Old 02-23-06, 03:52 PM
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Actually it's amazing how much of their 70s stuff DOESN'T sound dated. I first heard of them in the 80s but didn't know how far back they went until the Rhino compilation came out in 1991 (now out of print sadly, it's a must-have.)

I've bought their first album on CD THREE times- a Japanese import with the original Halfnelson title, one with the Sparks cover, and a later issue with that plus the second album (Woofer in Tweeter's Clothing) on 1 CD. I have Propaganda, Indiscreet and Big Beat on 8-track too!

Last edited by Alan Smithee; 02-23-06 at 03:54 PM.
Old 02-23-06, 04:41 PM
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I guess you could say that their early '80s stuff sounds kind of dated, but that's mostly due to your ear recognizing the technology of the time. I never really understood the problem of sounding dated. Robert Johnson sounds extremely dated, but I think it sounds great just the same (and maybe because of its dated sound).
Old 02-23-06, 05:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Numanoid
I guess you could say that their early '80s stuff sounds kind of dated, but that's mostly due to your ear recognizing the technology of the time. I never really understood the problem of sounding dated. Robert Johnson sounds extremely dated, but I think it sounds great just the same (and maybe because of its dated sound).
If I hear an 808 cowbell, that instantly dates the song for me. (Not saying Sparks using one, I'm just saying).
Old 02-23-06, 07:39 PM
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Dated doesn't mean bad, of course. But when I hear a lot of late 80's Top 40 it's dated in the worst possible way with horrible sounding synth drums. Just one example.
Old 02-26-06, 01:21 AM
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWXGh...&search=sparks


Quite a few Sparks vids here.
Old 04-27-06, 09:16 PM
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I can't consider myself a music fan anymore. What an embarassing moment.

During the closing of a DVR'd Gilmore Girls I was watching with Ms. Bus I was instantly captivated by the closing song. The odd vocals, the synth in the background, I was convinced this was some new hip band (). So I search for it and it's... Sparks.

* hangs head in shame *

And the song is from 1982. AMG's Stewart Mason was dead on when he said, "after the turn of the millennium, it sounds like one of the primary building blocks of the so-called "electro-clash" movement."

I'll have to get all their albums. I have Kimono My House, Angst is next. What next? Young Lovers? Beethoven? Thanks for all the help.
Old 04-28-06, 12:01 AM
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Stewart! I know him from some music lists and he's visited a friend of mine.

I don't have the new one yet-I tried to get it and it they couldn't find the copy that's in stock.

What song was on GG?
Old 04-28-06, 06:31 AM
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"Angst in My Pants" which I've listened to at least 40 times since last night.


Old 04-28-06, 06:33 AM
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Originally Posted by The Bus
"Angst in My Pants" which I've listened to at least 40 times since last night.


I love this song! It's on the Valley Girl soundtrack as well.
Old 04-28-06, 07:04 AM
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I change my mind about dated in a bad way. Recently listened to a few of their early albums (not just compilation material) and was impressed with how far ahead they were.
Old 04-28-06, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Autumn
I love this song! It's on the Valley Girl soundtrack as well.

Strong agreement.


"Eaten by the Monster of Love" is also in the movie to great effect.

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