Song Of The Day 8/17/2014: Tyla Gang - "Styrofoam"



If It Ain't Stiff...: After last month's marginally successful salute to Young Blood International Records out of England, I knew in my heart of hearts that I owed the same treatment to Stiff Records, who existed more or less concurrently and has more pertinent relevance to my musical life, no doubt because I'm actually familiar with their stuff. Stiff's roster included artists of incalculable importance to me: Elvis Costello, Graham Parker, Nick Lowe, Kirsty MacColl, Ian Dury, The Pogues, The Damned, Wreckless Eric. They also took the approach that they were the accidental oversight on the face of the music industry in the 1970's. I am usually firmly on the side of the party guests who were never invited.

Stiff released what many consider the first punk single ever, "New Rose" by the Damned, but veered away from the confrontational equation of the whole movement and more towards the populist equalizer material -- i.e., pub rock, a phrase that seems to scare away visitors to this blog. Throw in some analog synths, fake disco, piss-takes on traditional British entertainment legacies like music-hall and teddy boy rock and you've got a label I would have been proud to work with. Or bought outright. (Stiff is still around, by the way, and claimed a #1 hit in Britain in 2012. Not vouching for that one.)

This week I thought I'd feature some selections from The Stiff Singles series, going back to the label's origins and creeping through the '80s. There'll be three songs I was already familiar with and four songs I didn't learn about until recently. Starting with what I already knew, the first in this packet of seven is by pub rock godhead Sean Tyla and his requisite Gang. I actually referenced "Styrofoam" earlier this year during the now-infamous British Pub Rock Week (I sincerely thought you would all love that series), so click on that link if you want some of his curriculum vitae. Almost makes you miss styrofoam, doesn't it?
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