Mark Hollis, lead singer of Talk Talk, RIP

Mark Hollis, lead singer of Talk Talk, has died. He was 64. While the UK "post-rock" band may be best known for their 1984 synthy single "It's My Life," Talk Talk's true masterpiece was the much more experimental 1988 album "Spirit of Eden" that dripped with ambient, jazz, and avant-garde influences. It's an absolute stunner.

From The Guardian:

Talk Talk’s bassist Mark Webb, aka Rustin Man, paid tribute to Hollis on Instagram. “I am very shocked and saddened to hear the news of the passing of Mark Hollis,” he wrote. “Musically he was a genius and it was a honour and a privilege to have been in a band with him. I have not seen Mark for many years, but like many musicians of our generation I have been profoundly influenced by his trailblazing musical ideas.”

In an interview with Q’s backpages at the time, later republished in the Guardian, Hollis expressed awareness that he could be “a difficult geezer” but that was because he refused to “play that game” that came with the role of musician in the spotlight.

“It’s certainly a reaction to the music that’s around at the moment, ‘cos most of that is shit,” Hollis also said of Spirit of Eden. “It’s only radical in the modern context. It’s not radical compared to what was happening 20 years ago. If we’d have delivered this album to the record company 20 years ago they wouldn’t have batted an eyelid.”

Posted on Instagram by Talk Talk bassist Paul Webb aka Rustin Man:

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I am very shocked and saddened to hear the news of the passing of Mark Hollis.

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Weezer's video for "Take On Me" cover stars Stranger Things' Finn Wolfhard and his band Calpurnia

The video for Weezer's cover of A-ha's "Take On Me" stars Calpurnia, the rather wonderful indie rock band fronted by Finn Wolfhard who plays Mike on Stranger Things. The song is included on Weezer's new "Teal Album," a collection of 1980s cover songs including their acclaimed version of Toto's "Africa."

And just for kicks, here's Calpurnia's "Greyhound":

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Mallwave: nostalgic synth music for imaginary and abandoned shopping centers

Mallwave is a microgenre of bedroom electronic music and smooth jazz meant to evoke nostalgia for the vibrant mall scenes of the 1980s and 1990s that many of the music's composers are too young to have experienced or at least remember.

Think of Mallwave as a hauntological soundtrack for an Orange Julius-fueled consumer culture where Suncoast, Merry-Go-Round, and Spencer Gifts anchored suburban reality. (Or, in the case of some of the moodier tracks, the kind of muzak that might play in your mind as you wander an abandoned mall in a Ballardian trance.)

From Hussein Kesvanio's feature in MEL:

“The nostalgia is so real you can cry and wish you went back in time,” reads one comment underneath the video “Neon Wave Mall (Vapor Mix).” “I feel a certain sense of… familiarity watching this footage. Almost like I myself have set foot in these places,” adds a viewer of “Corp Palm Mall.” Under the same video, another person opines: “Why wasn’t I born in this time? This video makes me realize how much things were not as advanced as we have now but it was better. I could be wrong, but sometimes I feel like living around the ‘90s sounds fun. Lifestyle is different, mindset is different and not as much laziness.”

According to writer Joe Koenig, this kind of feeling — a “nostalgia for a past you’ve never known” — is called anemoia. In his ongoing project, The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, Koenig describes it as “the desire to wade into the blurred-edge sepia haze that hangs in the air between people who leer stoically into this dusty and dangerous future.”

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Teddy Ruxpin won't leave my tortured brain alone

Just now, I tried to recall what I had for lunch the other day. I had to wrestle with it for a few moments before I was able to pin a chicken chimichanga at Espi & T's to the mat for a ten-count.

I don't remember the face of the the woman who broke my heart while I was in my early 20s nor what happened to the boxes of the comic books I used to own. But my head absolutely refuses to let go of the theme song to The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin -- a cartoon that I watched MAYBE twice in my life. It's been slowly driving me insane for the past few days.

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These videos of Radio Shacks and Furry Conventions in the 1980s are incredible time capsules

Watching this 1987 video of two Radio Shacks (one with Madonna music in the background) makes it clear that 30 years can be a long, long time ago. Prancing Skiltaire (the person who uploaded this video) said, "This was shot in Garden Grove, CA and Buena Park Mall, CA. The person who recorded was an employee working with a regional manager who was inspecting under performing Radio Shacks they were going to renovate." I was fascinated for all 15 minutes of this spellbinding video.

Be sure to check out Prancing Skiltaire's other amazing videos, like the Equicon Costume Presentation (1988):

And the first Furry Convention! (1989):

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Play Bubble Bobble, Wolfenstein, and 13,000 other Commodore 64 disks free online

The Internet Archive now offers in-browser emulation of more than 13,000 Commodore 64 floppy disks. The Sentinel, Paradroid, Oregon Trail, Wasteland... they're all there, waiting for you.

Software Library: C64 (Internet Archive)

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Most 80s thing I've seen today: Swedish Metal Aid (1985)

There is a dream, and they all spread the word that they can save this world.

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Watch H.R. Giger's fantastic home stereo commercial from 1985

In 1985, HR Giger created a Japanese ad campaign for Pioneer's Zone home audio system. Apparently the biomechanical masterpieces seen in these print and TV campaigns were originally created by Giger for Alejandro Jodorowsky's never-made adaptation of Dune.

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Vintage logos and motion graphics for today's Internet companies

Future Punk created retro logos and motion graphics for today's Internet companies if they existed decades ago. The artist was "inspired by great work of Sullivan & Marks, Robert Abel & Associates, Computer Image Corporation and various other early CG/Scanimate companies."

And if you're not hip to Scanimate:

Scanimate is the name for an analog computer animation (video synthesizer) system developed from the late 1960s to the 1980s by Computer Image Corporation of Denver, Colorado.

The 8 Scanimate systems were used to produce much of the video-based animation seen on television between most of the 1970s and early 1980s in commercials, promotions, and show openings. One of the major advantages the Scanimate system had over film-based animation and computer animation was the ability to create animations in real time. The speed with which animation could be produced on the system because of this, as well as its range of possible effects, helped it to supersede film-based animation techniques for television graphics. By the mid-1980s, it was superseded by digital computer animation, which produced sharper images and more sophisticated 3D imagery. (Wikipedia)

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The red sports car from Ferris Bueller's Day Off is going to auction

The 1961 Ferrari 250GT California. Less than 100 were made. In Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Cameron's father spent three years restoring this car. It is his love. It is his passion... It is actually a Modena GT Spyder, and it's currently being put up for auction in California:

From Mecum Auctions:

The three cars used in the film were not Ferraris at all, but rather three Modena GT Spyder Californias built by Modena Design and Development in El Cajon, California, were utilized. This is one of those cars used in the movie, complete with documents from Modena Design attesting to such. Modena incorporated a number of Ferrari-style elements, such as the windshield, turn signals, grille, hood scoops, fender vents and a custom fiberglass body that was supposedly modeled after an MG, creating a close profile to the original Ferrari. The chassis was of the rectangular steel-tube frame design, built by Bob Webb, who worked on Roger Penske’s Zerex Special. After nine months of refreshing and updating by one of the founders of Modena Design, Neil Glassmoyer, this car emerged looking stunning. Chassis No. 0003 of the 3 cars built, it is powered by a 5.0L V-8 engine fed by four downdraft carburetors, and the attention to detail throughout largely sets the Modena GT Spyder California apart from its competition. The engine uses black crinkle-finished valve coves, retina-searing red paint on the exterior, and the interior reflects all too well the timeless beauty of this machine with rich tan upholstery, exquisite gauges, inspiring switchgear, a period-looking radio and wooden steering wheel.

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Stranger Things teaser: Hawkins gets a new mall!

I hope Dustin gets a job at Spencer Gifts.

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There's a Hawaiian shirt of Chunk doing the "Truffle Shuffle"

I came across the strangest Aloha shirt on Instagram the other day, one called the "Hawaiian Shuffle" ($55). It depicts Chunk of The Goonies, amongst the shirt's tropical foliage, doing his "Truffle Shuffle."

Two things:

1. I'm 99.9% sure this is an unlicensed Goonies product, which means child-actor-turned-entertainment-lawyer Jeff Cohen (aka Chunk) won't see a dime from its sales (maybe I'm wrong!);

2. A 2015 UPROXX article describes how the film's director Richard Donner felt about that scene and what he did to help Cohen later in life:

Watching the movie as kids, we probably weren’t too aware of how mean the “Truffle Shuffle” was, mainly because Chunk reluctantly performed it for his friends and then went about his business... However, Donner recalls it as a “painful” scene to film and it was ultimately the catalyst for his lasting relationship with Cohen.

“There was no direction,” Donner explained. “I don’t take any credit for that, it was just Jeff. He had to stand on that stump and be ridiculed by his friends so he could come in the house, and he did it as best as that character could do it. So much humor comes from pain. Although, I’m sure he was too young to be analytical about it, but I’m sure that was part of his instincts. It was a painful scene.”

In fact, Cohen told us that Donner hiring him as a production assistant when he was jobless was what opened the door for him to “learn the business of show business.”

“Jeff became very special as an individual for me when he did the Truffle Shuffle because there was an honest pain in that scene for that little boy in front of those little kids,” Donner said.

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Watch Weezer perform "Africa" live with Toto's Steve Porcaro on synth

On the heels of the successful fan campaign for Weezer to cover Toto's "Africa," and the subsequent online release of the song, they performed it last night on Jimmy Kimmel Live! Special guest all-too-brief synth solo by Toto's Steve Porcaro! Hurry boy, it's waiting there for you!

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Stellar collection of 1980s tech company logos (also available as a slideshow!)

Available free on Archive.org, the 1985 Electronic Engineers Master Vol 2 contains page after page of excellent technology company logos, many of which have been lost to the obsolescence of hardware and business plans. Marcin Wichary the designer/typographer/writer behind the Segmented Type Playground and the Pac-Man Google Doodle, turned the logos into a beautifully haunting slideshow.

(via Kottke)

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Thought-provoking list of 1980s movies that shaped our humanity

YouTuber Pop Culture Detective has a lovely video essay up on 1980s movies that shaped our humanity, and he chooses five often-overlooked favorites of his. What films would you list? His choices are: Read the rest

Tank: an excellent animated short paying homage to 80s vector videogames

Red Giant's chief creative officer Stu Maschwitz used Adobe After Effects to painstakingly create Tank, a fantastic tribute to 1980s vector graphics videogames like Battlezone, the Vectrex system, and the original Star Wars coin-op machine. Below, "The Making of Tank."

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Play free emulators of all those handheld video games of yesteryear

The Internet Archive has an incredible free collection of 1980s handheld game console emulators. In 1978, my brother and I played the hell out of Coleco Electronic Quarterback. It's amazing how compelling and addictive a flashing array of LED dashes was back then, and still is. From the Internet Archive:

This collection of emulated handheld games, tabletop machines, and even board games stretch from the 1970s well into the 1990s. They are attempts to make portable, digital versions of the LCD, VFD and LED-based machines that sold, often cheaply, at toy stores and booths over the decades.

We have done our best to add instructions and in some cases link to scanned versions of the original manuals for these games. They range from notably simplistic efforts to truly complicated, many-buttoned affairs that are truly difficult to learn, much less master.

They are, of course, entertaining in themselves – these are attempts to put together inexpensive versions of video games of the time, or bringing new properties wholecloth into existence. Often sold cheaply enough that they were sealed in plastic and sold in the same stores as a screwdriver set or flashlight, these little systems tried to pack the most amount of “game” into a small, custom plastic case, running on batteries.

They also represent the difficulty ahead for many aspects of digital entertainment, and as such are worth experiencing and understanding for that reason alone.

(via Waxy)

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