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Episode Info: Scot and Jeff talk to Ezekiel Kweku about Talk Talk. Introducing the Band Your hosts Scot Bertram (@ScotBertram) and Jeff Blehar (@EsotericCD) with guest Ezekiel Kweku, politics editor at New York magazine. Follow Ezekiel on Twitter at @TheShrillest, and read his work here. Ezekiel’s Music Pick: Talk Talk What if one of the most important, most rewarding bands of the 1980s was a band you had most likely never heard of, or knew only as a one-hit wonder? The gang argues this week for the genius of Talk Talk, which many (if not most) listeners know, if at all, from a No Doubt cover song. But while Scot is new to them, Ezekiel and Jeff are hardcore fans and will argue that this band — widely acknowledged by musicians and critics as one of the most influential of its era, in the long run — are one of the finest, most moving and transcendent, groups of their era or any era for that matter. Beginning as catchy UK synth-pop and ending as one of the most profoundly unique progenitors of post-rock, Talk Talk followed a singular evolution that makes them one of the most fascinating bands of the decade. From The Party’s Over in 1982 all the way to Laughing Stock in 1991 (or Mark Hollis in 1998), Talk Talk worked its way from worldwide popularity to intensely beloved insular niche jazz-art-rock, with every step along the way perfectly understandable in light of the prior one. Ezekiel argues, intriguingly, that Talk Talk isn’t necessarily a band for everyone; he doesn’t mean that in the condescending hipster sense, rather in the sense that their music begins in one niche genre (early ’80s New Romantic/postpunk synthpop) and ends in another (early ’90s visionary jazzy post-rock), so it isn’t exactly Top 40 hit material. But Jeff, ever-voluble proselytizer that he always is, disagrees: this music should be for everyone, he thinks, and if he can introduce just one more person to The Colour Of Spring or Spirit Of Eden, then he’s done God’s good work. Jeff also notes that Ezekiel (who has a background as a DJ) made a fantastic, beautifully sequenced mix of artists influenced by (or influencing) Talk Talk called “Watershed,” and we recommend it heartily to you. All You Do to Me is Talk Talk: the Synth-pop Years Talk Talk began life as a synth-pop band springing out of the same ’80s UK ‘New Romantic’ scene that spawned Flock Of Seagulls, Culture Club, and Duran Duran…but right from the jump there was something ineffably different about them. Maybe it was the songcraft, which was a well-considered cut above the rest of their peers despite the occasionally dated synth line on their earlier records. Maybe it was lead singer/songwriter Mark Hollis’ remarkably breathy vocal approach: a man who sounded for all the world like he was inhaling his own life essence every time he sang a note. Or maybe it was just the fact that they were one of the rare groups (in the USA, at least) score the legendary ‘trifecta’: a hit single/album/band ...
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