Recently, on a trip upstate where my in-laws have a Summer getaway just a few miles from the touristy town (six coffee shops and a dozen gift shops on the stretch of Route 66 that doubles as the small city's Main Street) that bills itself as the Gateway To The Grand Canyon, I finished a wonderful ebook and immediately re-read another great ebook that the first had brought to mind. (Which reminds me, I really to need to clear the books I've read on the iPads.)
David Laurie's book Dare came out in 2015, the beneficiary of a successful Kickstarter Project, and specifically covers the years 1979-1982 though it actually touches on several years outside that range. While I disagree with the book's subtitle - rock'n'roll will never die - I did enjoy his breezy,  informal, conversational fanboy writing style. Though Laurie is two years younger than me and we grew up ten time zones apart from one another on continents separated by the Atlantic Ocean, we share very similar tastes in tunes.  Another plus: he took the time and trouble to make a Spotify playlist for each chapter in the book as that is how I read books about music - I like to listen along. Each playlist is an overview of music and artists discussed in each chapter taking up no more than 80 minutes of your precious time.
01    02    03    04    05    06
07    08    09    10    11    12
Perhaps energized by the playlist curation process, Mr. Laurie even offers up these three *BONUS* playlists:
BONUS 01     BONUS 02       BONUS 03
(Or maybe as a record label owner, he realizes the power of music in marketing a book about music.)

Laurie spends most of the book reaffirming my own love for the artists, albums and singles of the time though he does shine a spotlight on two acts I am not that familiar with, what with being a Yank and all: The Associates and Orange Juice. Imagine my delight as I am read-racing back through Simon Reynolds Rip It Up And Start Again and the same two bands get equal love from the author. Heck, the title of the 2006 book is a title and lyric from an Orange Juice song. Simon's book was originally published in a longer format in the UK in 2005 and edited out several chapters for US publication the following year. Someday, I'm gonna read the UK edition - love this review of the book which covers the years 1978-1984. Simon even compiled and wrote the liner notes for a Rip It Up And Start Again CD that was released in 2007. And wouldn't you know it, Spotify user cabal76 has made the Rip It Up and Start Again booktrack (movies have soundtracks, books have... you get it.) At 785 songs and damn near 56 hours, the playlist is a lot more thorough and immersive than Laurie's playlists above; there are nine Orange Juice songs and eight from The Associates. And what of those two artists mentioned in the title of this post? 
The Associates, fronted by the uniquely voiced Billy Mackenzie (in shades) along with Alan Rankine, most definitely lived up to the authors praise and I found myself quietly mourning the tragic loss of Billy's singular talent after listening to the bonus track-laced reissues of The Associates albums Fourth Drawer Down (1981) and Sulk (1982) from 2000.
While someone had hipped me to Orange Juice a few years back, gifting me several of their albums, I only recalled one of their songs "Rip It Up" which I recognized in the title of Simon's book. (Yes, Dare is named after Human League's album of the same name though David had settled on a prior name at the outset of the project.) They were a Scottish band who recorded a series of influential independent singles and four studio albums from 1980-1984 before imploding. Group leader Edwyn Collins later surfaced a decade later after "A Girl Like You" from his third solo album became his highest charting single. I really can't describe the unique Orange Juice sound but I like it a lot and other reviewers, including Laurie and Reynolds, have compared their sound to Haircut 100. There is a strong sense of rhythm that could be called "funky" from time to time while Edwyn's voice keeps things from getting too sweet. Some of the guitar work sounded familiar until I realized that more than likely, Orange Juice were the innovating originators of the sound. Give both acts a try and let me know what you thought in the Comments.

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