Mixtapes for Hookers

In Praise Of Sexy Album Art
February 17, 2010, 8:33 pm
Filed under: gay, in praise of athletic beauty, music | Tags: ,

The world is so full of terrible album covers that it’s occasionally worth reminding ourselves about the good ones.

I bought the Associates’ 1980 album The Affectionate Punch maybe five years ago at a used record store; the record sleeve was extremely sexy, I thought, and the song titles (“A Matter of Gender,” “A”, “Would I…Bounce Back”) sounded like the kind of stuff that might sound maybe Gang Of Four-like.

It’s a really good album, and the Scottish duo have since become one of my favorite groups; a lot of their later stuff suffers from heavily dated production, but this one’s got those so-called guitars that were big at the time, and singer Billy Mackenzie’s voice is crazily operatic, not as effete as Jimmy Somerville’s (say) but pretty dramatic nonetheless.

David Bowie fans may also know of them:  their first single, rush-released in 1979, was a cover of “Boys Keep Swinging” that was sneakily put out the week before Bowie’s original version was.

After the jump, some tunes:

This is the title track:

“Paper House”:

and “A Matter Of Gender”, which is right up there with anything on the Au Pairs’ Playing With A Different Sex for disaffected early-eighties gender studies:

Mackenzie had a drug problem and committed suicide in 1997.  Alan Rankine, the other half of the duo, went on to teach; he taught the class whose job it was to release Belle and Sebastian’s now-legendary Tigermilk tape.

Finally, as an added bonus, here’s their 1982 cover of Diana Ross’s “Love Hangover.”

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