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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

31. apb: Something To Believe In

Vinyl...if you were old enough to collect music prior to the 1990s you bought it. Many own a box or two of records somewhere...the attic maybe? Perhaps it was in the basement and got soaked thanks to Hurricane Irene just a few weeks ago. Either way, you've loved those records through the years (well, maybe not that Hall and Oates you got when you were eleven). I frequently pull my old records off the shelf and place them on the shiny silver Crosley turntable my wife gave to me one Christmas. I'm a living room dancer (usually right in front of the window), but it's gotta be loud. Inevitably, Chelo gives me the "Marc, turn that down!" (which totally contradicts the meaning of the gift, yes?) And, anyway, it was fun while it lasted. My point is, we loved those records and throughout the years we've probably done the best we could to find good deals to slowly acquire the CD versions of the recordings (thank you Amazon). Thus, we come to APB.

One of my favorites to groove to is APB's Something To Believe In (at least that's what the neighbors say). APB was/is a Scottish band formed in 1979. Something To Believe In (1985) is a wonderful collection of singles that toe the line between the post-punk and dance genres, but remains all alternative. Iain Slater's funky pre-Flea bass carries the music from decade to decade with powerful grace, while the guitars are sharp, siren-like at times (sounds of the day...heard in bands like Haircut 100 as well as modern artists like Bloc Party). The drums are tinny and heavy on the high-hat, setting the tone for the stampede to the dancefloor.

APB was a popular underground band in the NYC area...very underground. After their small record label went out of business, fans in search of Something To Believe In were met with the letters OOP..."Out Of Print". I know this because I was searching the internet for a CD/digital version of the record I'd enjoyed for years. Naturally, my search led me to Amazon whereupon I couldn't help but be astonished at the prices people were paying for the original record...up to $300 (even the 1996 reissue was selling for three digits). My first thought had me wondering just how much I wanted to keep that record, but I shook it off and realized it was a testament to how good the album is. Besides, it wasn't long after that a stateside indie record label re-released Something To Believe In as a 2-CD set with rarities and live tracks...and that's why I can tell you about it today...yay Young American Recordings!

I'm listening to it as I'm typing, and I swear I can't sit still.

The first song, "Shoot You Down" was a staple of The Ferry Club in the 1980s, and remains one of my favorite songs of all time. It's followed by bees-knees after another as, again, this is a collection of singles from the early to mid 80s...not a studio album with clunkers buried between hits. All of these songs saw the inside of a club in their time. "Talk To Me", "Palace Filled With Love", "Rainy Day", "One Day", and "What Kind Of Girl?" are the other standouts, but every song makes you move. Every track is incredibly catchy.

I say you should listen to every album I've written about, but I also know that some of the albums are widely popular and my readers have already formed opinions about them. This is not widely popular, so if you have not heard it, I urge you to listen...and you'll see what all the OOP fuss was about. Here's the original recording of "Shoot You Down" playing over current video of APB followed by a performance of "Palace Filled With Love" from NYC less than a month ago. Now go find Something To Believe In.

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