Holly Johnson. On BBC Radio on Sunday Morning. Times have changed.

It was about 30 years ago when I first heard “Relax” come blaring out of the speakers in my high school cafeteria as the “closed circuit radio station” dared to play it. At the time it was just an aural assault to me. Knowing nothing about the band or even the lyrical content of the song, it was just a smashing, overwhelming melding of electronic noise, desperately emotive vocals and a heavy rock ‘n’ roll band.

The next Saturday, I hopped a train and got to the closest city where I could buy the record. At the time all that was available was an import 12″ single that cost me two week’s allowance. But I got it home and played it on continuous repeat for about a month. Soon after, Boy George mentioned in an interview that both Holly and Paul were gay. I was even more excited.

Within a month, their second single “Two Tribes” was getting played on the video shows and again I trucked it up to Moncton to get the 7″ single. Again… played it to death. Not long after, more 12″ singles of both songs were available.. I got them all.. a third single followed along with a video that was just a reenactment of the Christmas story.

Frankie Goes to Hollywood managed to be everything controversial… sex, love, politics, religion, violence, homosexuality and commercialism.

They burned out hot and fast but their fan base has never stopped loving them. Occasional rumors of a reunion have never materialized… but I do hold out hope.

Holly, however, is back. Looking and sounding great.

His new album Europa will be out soon.. preorder it on vinyl now.

Fave Song of the Day – I Won’t Let You Go by Snow Patrol

From the Divergent Soundtrack. For a medium-budget film adaptation of a dystopian YA novel, it’s surprisingly entertaining.

I did like the book series a lot and while they left out a few of the key parts of the book I thought were important… I thought they did a good job of putting it on screen. Looking forward to part 2.

And yes… it’s on vinyl.

This is apparently the “Most Relaxing Song Every Recorded” according to scientists.

For women, anyway.

A team from Mindlab International hired by Radox Spa conducted experiments with music, intentionally frustrating women with puzzles and then playing them music and testing stress indicators found that Weightless by Marconi Union reduced overall anxiety by 65% and brought them to a level 35%lower than their usual resting rates. Using intentionally sparse spaces between notes with none retesting, the brain stops trying to predict what’s next and the 8-minute length allows a 5-minute come-down period followed by three minutes of maximum relaxation.

Crazy as it sounds, it works. Go figure.

I highly recommend listening to this with headphones in the evening before going to bed.

You can find it on Just Music Cafe: Ambeint Zone 4.

The top ten relaxing songs, according to this study, are:

1. Marconi Union – Weightless
2. Airstream – Electra
3. DJ Shah – Mellomaniac (Chill Out Mix)
4. Enya – Watermark
5. Coldplay – Strawberry Swing
6. Barcelona – Please Don’t Go
7. All Saints – Pure Shores
8. Adelev Someone Like You
9. Mozart – Canzonetta Sull’aria
10. Cafe Del Mar – We Can Fly

This new Peter Murphy album is possibly his best ever…

Seriously… I’m sitting here with the album spinning on my turn table and I’m in awe.

Peter Murphy’s new album is called Lion and it’s everything you’d expect from the Godfather of everyone who wears black. Dark, lush, haunting, beautiful, emotional and still clean and clear. Perfect.

(and since many of you asked, THIS IS THE TURNTABLE YOU SHOULD BUY)

Veruca Salt – It’s Holy

I have lamented for years that Veruca Salt were gone. Their song Volcano Girls is still one of my all-time favorites and I’d always wished they’d kept going. Well… Since the Pixies are back, the Swans are back, Bob Mould is back… hey, even Alice In Chains and Soundgarden are back… why not Veruca Salt?

I love this song. They released a Record Store Day 10″ this past spring and looks like we’re getting a full album soon…

Yay.

Sinead O’Connor – Take Me To Church [Audio]

Take Me To Church from Sinead O’Connor’s upcoming album “I’m Not Bossy, I’m the Boss”

I’ll never forget being 18 and seeing the video for Troy. We’d never seen anything or really heard anything like that before.

There wasn’t a single bum track on that first album. Every song was an emotional lightning bolt to the forehead. No matter who you were, you could relate to what she was singing about.

Lion And The Cobra is still one of my absolute favorite albums ever. While some of her albums haven’t really clicked with me, I’ve always loved her…

No vinyl listed just yet, but you can pre-order the MP3 album and buy the song at Amazon now.

Follow Sinead:

http://www.facebook.com/sineadoconnor
http://www.twitter.com/sineadoconnorHQ

Jimmy Somerville celebrates the 30th anniversary of Small Town Boy

It’s been 30 years since Age Of Consent came out?

I have to admit that when this song came out, the video with his stark and honest depiction of a young gay man running away from home was a bit too much for me to really take and I completely turned my back on the band until their next album (without Jimmy) came out and it could just be a bit party.

I wasn’t ready for it at the time.

But since then I’ve grown to love that album and it’s pretty fun to see that 30 years later, he’s still got that same voice…

Filmed in May 2014 at Rak Studios, St Johns Wood, London
Vocals: Jimmy Somerville
Piano: Nick Nasmyth
Directed by: Freddie Hall (Twitter@FredHall89)
Director of Photography: Josh Adams (mrjoshadams@hotmail.co.uk)

Rather gorgeous Eli Lieb single used in the equally gorgeous AllState commercial

Last year American insurance company Allstate launched an print ad campaign with the slogan “Being visible should never leave you feeling vulnerable” featuring a gay couple holding hands.

This year they up the anti by using this commercial which features a… well, their metaphor for being visibly gay is having an engorged hand. The rather confusing image aside, I’m loving the song and the commercial.

It’s also great to see even more companies openly courting the gay dollar and not trying to subliminally try to advertise to us but publicly insist that they’re not.

You can download both the original version and a remix of the song at the Allstate page.