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Saturday, January 26, 2008


ModMusic: Revisiting Yaz(oo)

The news that Yaz (or Yazoo, as they were known outside the U.S.) would be reuniting after 25 years for a summer tour and CD box set got me all nostalgic this week; I've been listening and re-listening to their seminal albums Upstairs At Eric's and You and Me Both, as well as some one-off singles and bootlegs.

The truth is, Yaz was always kind of fabulously odd. Alison Moyet's enormous, soulful voice seems to belong to the Age of Motown, where belters like Aretha Franklin and Gladys Knight were queens of the charts (as opposed to the meek waifs pop radio prefers today...with the notable exceptions of Christina Aguilera and Pink). Vince Clarke's quirkly synth symphonies, bubbly and fizzy like champagne, sometimes seemed too fanciful for a earth-rumbling chanteuse like Moyet. (Clarke's subsequent run as half of the band Erasure, with soaring gay vocalist Andy Bell, was a much better fit, as their decades-long success attests.)

But somehow, Yaz works...in fact, it's still breathtaking, even today. The smoothness of soul and the hard edge of electronica mesh in a way that no group has since. I defy you to keep your feet from moving to Youth's magnificent remix of "State Farm", linked below. 25 years older and wiser, I'm guessing that Yaz will blow the roof off in concert. I, for one, hope to see it...even if I have to fly to Europe to do so.

Watch Some Videos:
"Only You", Yaz
"Nobody's Diary", Yaz
"Don't Go", Yaz
Download (For One Week):
"State Farm (Madhouse Mix Edit)", Yaz
"The Other Side Of Love (Remix)", Yaz
"In My Room (Live)", Yaz
Visit: Unofficial Site, Wikipedia, Elbo.ws, iTunes
Then Buy: Greatest Hits, Yaz

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

OMG! It doesn't look like there are any U.S. dates. Hopefully, with the success of their minitour in Europe, they'll drop in on these shores.

For those that are not familiar with Yaz, they were the seminal anti-establishment of the burdgeoning underground electronic music scene in the early eighties. At a time when there was a backlash against disco, this was how the youth responded. They are quite possibly responsible for the whole electro movement today. Before Axwell, Deadmau5 and others, there was Yaz. If you were a freak or outcast in the 80's, you most likely owned a copy of "Upstairs At Erics". I knew there was a reason I keep reading this blog, it's like we're kindred spirits ;)

1/26/08, 8:57 AM  
Blogger NATHANIEL R said...

i could not believe my eyes when i read this.

and me with no money. yet i must must must must must fly to london to see them

1/26/08, 10:37 AM  
Blogger Cal said...

I'm not familiar with Yazoo really. I think I'm too young for them :-( ALTHOUGH... I love Alison Moyet!! Ol' Devil Called Love is amazing.

1/26/08, 5:17 PM  
Blogger par3182 said...

they were called yazoo here in oz, but wasn't there another group called yaz that sang 'the only way is up'?

1/26/08, 10:03 PM  
Blogger ModFab said...

That was Yazz. Two Z's. Totally unrelated solo artist (real name: Yasmin Evans) in the late 80's/early 90's, and not entirely unfabulous.


1/26/08, 10:52 PM  
Blogger ZenDenizen said...

I was always confused about the Yaz/Yazz/Yazoo situation, too, thanks for clearing up that mystery.

I just noticed the Thomas Dolby Blog link, such fun! Between this post, Thomas and Style Council, you'll probably be interested to know that I just order a best of "Smash Hits Magazine" from Amazon. Did you read that or Star Hits in the 80s?

1/27/08, 4:09 PM  

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