Visage - "Dreamer I Know" (video) (PopMatters Premiere)

VISAGE (left to right: Steve Barnacle, Steve Strange, Lauren Duvall and Robin Simon) photo credit: David Levine.

New Romantic founders return with their first new music in 29 years, just in time for the re-emergence of synth-pop as a major creative force.

Back in the late '70s and early '80s, New Wave spanned a sub-genre called New Romantic based around the same synthesizer beats as New Wave, but with an even greater emphasis on the pop side of the equation, with glamorous hair and fashion being integral to the genre's sensibility. It sprang out of the London clubs back in 1979, heavily influenced by the music and style of David Bowie and Roxy Music. Visage was right there at the beginning, the seed of the burgeoning movement at the right place and time. Steve Strange worked as the doorman at the Blitz nightclub and Rusty Egan was the club's DJ and from that locale the two of them joined forces with Ultravox's Billy Currie and Midge Ure to form Visage.

The group had a number of hit singles worthy of remembrance, including "Fade to Grey", "Mind of a Toy", and "The Anvil". But the peril of being so closely aligned to a particular fashion is that fashions change quickly and synth pop, especially the New Romantic variety, didn't make it deep into the '80s as a mainstream sound. Fast forward to 2013 and synth pop is everywhere you look again and we have a pop diva culture headed by the likes of Lady Gaga (and Robyn for hipsters) that is tied very deeply to fashion.

That makes this the perfect time for Visage's re-emergence as founders of fashionista synth-pop. The group will be releasing their first new album, Hearts and Knives, since 1984's Beat Boy this June 11th. “It has been 29 years since the last Visage album and during that period it often seems like we have all lived through several lifetimes,” says Steve Strange. We couldn't be more proud to premiere the band's new video for "Dreamer I Know".


01 Never Enough

02 Shameless Fashion

03 She's Electric (Coming Around)

04 Hidden Sign

05 On We Go

06 Dreamer I Know

07 Lost in Static

08 I Am Watching

09 Diaries of a Madman

10 Breathe Life

11 Shameless Fashion - The Extened Mix (Bonus Track Exclusive to U.S. CD)

In Americana music the present is female. Two-thirds of our year-end list is comprised of albums by women. Here, then, are the women (and a few men) who represented the best in Americana in 2017.

If a single moment best illustrates the current divide between Americana music and mainstream country music, it was Sturgill Simpson busking in the street outside the CMA Awards in Nashville. While Simpson played his guitar and sang in a sort of renegade-outsider protest, Garth Brooks was onstage lip-syncindg his way to Entertainer of the Year. Americana music is, of course, a sprawling range of roots genres that incorporates traditional aspects of country, blues, soul, bluegrass, etc., but often represents an amalgamation or reconstitution of those styles. But one common aspect of the music that Simpson appeared to be championing during his bit of street theater is the independence, artistic purity, and authenticity at the heart of Americana music. Clearly, that spirit is alive and well in the hundreds of releases each year that could be filed under Americana's vast umbrella.

Keep reading... Show less

From genre-busting electronic music to new highs in the ever-evolving R&B scene, from hip-hop and Americana to rock and pop, 2017's music scenes bestowed an embarrassment of riches upon us.

60. White Hills - Stop Mute Defeat (Thrill Jockey)

White Hills epic '80s callback Stop Mute Defeat is a determined march against encroaching imperial darkness; their eyes boring into the shadows for danger but they're aware that blinding lights can kill and distort truth. From "Overlord's" dark stomp casting nets for totalitarian warnings to "Attack Mode", which roars in with the tribal certainty that we can survive the madness if we keep our wits, the record is a true and timely win for Dave W. and Ego Sensation. Martin Bisi and the poster band's mysterious but relevant cool make a great team and deliver one of their least psych yet most mind destroying records to date. Much like the first time you heard Joy Division or early Pigface, for example, you'll experience being startled at first before becoming addicted to the band's unique microcosm of dystopia that is simultaneously corrupting and seducing your ears. - Morgan Y. Evans

Keep reading... Show less

This week on our games podcast, Nick and Eric talk about the joy and frustration of killing Nazis in Wolfenstein: The New Order.

This week, Nick and Eric talk about the joy and frustration of killing Nazis in Wolfenstein: The New Order.

Keep reading... Show less

Which is the draw, the art or the artist? Critic Rachel Corbett examines the intertwined lives of two artists of two different generations and nationalities who worked in two starkly different media.

Artist biographies written for a popular audience necessarily involve compromise. On the one hand, we are only interested in the lives of artists because we are intrigued, engaged, and moved by their work. The confrontation with a work of art is an uncanny experience. We are drawn to, enraptured and entranced by, absorbed in the contemplation of an object. Even the performative arts (music, theater, dance) have an objective quality to them. In watching a play, we are not simply watching people do things; we are attending to the play as a thing that is more than the collection of actions performed. The play seems to have an existence beyond the human endeavor that instantiates it. It is simultaneously more and less than human: more because it's superordinate to human action and less because it's a mere object, lacking the evident subjectivity we prize in the human being.

Keep reading... Show less

Gabin's Maigret lets everyone else emote, sometimes hysterically, until he vents his own anger in the final revelations.

France's most celebrated home-grown detective character is Georges Simenon's Inspector Jules Maigret, an aging Paris homicide detective who, phlegmatically and unflappably, tracks down murderers to their lairs at the center of the human heart. He's invariably icon-ified as a shadowy figure smoking an eternal pipe, less fancy than Sherlock Holmes' curvy calabash but getting the job done in its laconic, unpretentious, middle-class manner.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.