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Best sci-fi comedies list honors 'Back to the Future' and 'Star Trek' but leaves off other classics

It's tough job putting together best-of and worst-of movie lists. People are always going to take issues, no matter how well you do the job. So hat's off to IO9.com for even trying to compile their "13 Greatest Sci-Fi Comedies of All Time." …

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Here's the banned Pete Shelley song that never became a hit in the U.S.

A founding member of the seminal UK punk band Buzzcocks, Pete Shelley explored a more synthesizer heavy brand of danceable pop after his first band broke up in 1981. Himself bisexual, Pete's first single as a solo artist, today's featured song, Homosapien caused quite a stir in the UK. With lyrics suggesting gay sex, the song was banned by the BBC. However, it still managed to chart well on the dance charts on either side of the Atlantic, but Pete's music was just never found on the American mainstream charts.

I was and am a big fan of the Buzzcocks, but by the time I had discovered them they had split up. So, when, in 1986, Pete Shelley played First Avenue in Minneapolis there was no way I was going to miss it. It was a great gig with plenty of Buzzcocks tunes mixed in with his solo work.

In 1989, the Buzzcocks reformed and have been touring and releasing new material ever since.

As your live bonus, here is Pete playing the title track from his second post-Buzzcocks release ‘XL1' in concert in 1986.

- Jim "Dr. Dim" Fitzsimons

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'Look, sir ... droid yoga pants!'

R2-D2 yoga pants for ladies in a galaxy far, far away? Oh, thank the maker! I swear I'm going to go broke buying stuff from Thinkgeek.com. Last week, I got a vintage Star Wars poster and a Battlestar Galactica poster for my bedroom. Because, you know, I'm a geek.

In any case, here's the lowdown on the droid yoga pants straight from ThinkGeek:

"Sometimes we feel like we understand R2's bleeps and bloops better than we understand the machines we use during workouts. METS? Aren't they a baseball team? Shouldn't that be on the TV and not the elliptical machine? And SPM, which we like to think of as SPUTUM. Also, the Heart Rate Monitor just told us we were dead. Beep beep bloop. What's that little guy? Luke fell down the well?! Thanks, R2! Let's go get him out."

Well, that wasn't very helpful. In any case, you can buy these online for $39.99.

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Never found in the '80s: Flag of Convenience's 'Life on the Telephone'

When the UK punk band Buzzcocks broke up in 1981, members Steve Diggle and John Maher formed the band Flag of Convenience. Performing from 1982 until 1989, Flag of Convenience went through many line-up changes as well as a couple name changes. At one point, they went by FOC and then later Buzzcocks FOC.

Today's song is Life on the Telephone and was released in 1982. A catchy tune that, much like Flag of Convenience's other music, never caught on in the States.

In 1989, the decision was made to get the Buzzcocks back together. So, Diggle and Maher along with longtime Buzzcock's bass player Steve Garvey joined Pete Shelley to put the Buzzcocks back on the road and in the studio. And that was the end of Flag of Convenience.

- Jim "Dr. Dim" Fitzsimons

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Thompson Twins' Tom Bailey interview: sneak peak at Retro Futura tour

Tom Bailey, the former frontman of Thompson Twins, joined the Stuck in the '80s podcast last Friday for a chat about the upcoming Retro Futura tour, featuring Bailey singing Twins songs he hasn't performed in nearly 30 years. I asked him what it was to explore these songs again after so many years, and he said that the time away has added new meaning to the songs. Here's the fuller explanation.

Stay tuned for the full 20-minute interview in an upcoming edition of Stuck in the '80s. Remember, you can get all our shows for free on iTunes.

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Another '80s supergroup we've forgotten: Luxuria

Having formed and left or disbanded two very influential bands (Buzzcocks and Magazine), Howard Devoto joined forces with musician Norman Fisher-Jones , better known as Noko, to form the band Luxuria in 1987. In their short career (1987- 1990), Luxuria released two studio albums: Unanswerable Lust in 1988 and Beast Box in 1990.

The song I'm featuring today is their debut single Redneck.

After their second album release the band split up having never been found. But, they left us with at least one pretty catchy tune, wouldn't you say?

- Jim "Dr. Dim" Fitzsimons

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15 geeky gadgets that ruled the '80s

Oh, don't even PRETEND you don't recognize that watch. Check out this amazing gallery of 15 more electronic gadgets we all owned in the '80s.

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Never found in the '80s: Manchester's Magazine

Shortly after forming Buzzcocks with Pete Shelley, Howard Devoto left to form a band that was less punk and more experimental. That band was Manchester, England's Magazine. Although short-lived (1977 - 1981), Magazine had a far reaching influence on their contemporaries and on bands yet to come. Radiohead counted them as a big influence and 80s's icons Morrissey and Peter Murphy had both covered songs by this avant-garde band.

Today's song is A Song from Under the Floorboards from 1980.

Magazine reformed in 2009 and in 2011 released No Thyself, their first studio release in 30 years.

The bonus live concert footage is the band performing ‘Model Worker' from the 1982 concert film ‘Urgh! A Music War!'

- Jim "Dr. Dim" Fitzsimons

 

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Podcast: Three great albums from 1984 celebrate their 30th anniversary

We have a slew of great podcast episodes coming up in the next few weeks. But first, check our Episode 314, as we honor three great albums that are celebrating their 30th anniversaries.

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Watch the red band trailer: Couple stars are missing from 'Hot Tub Time Machine 2'

Say what you like about 2010's Hot Tub Time Machine, it was still a funny movie and a worthy tip-of-the-cap to our beloved '80s. So I just couldn't wait to see the new "red band trailer" for its sequel, Hot Tub Time Machine 2.

Only one thing: Where's John Cusack? Not in this movie! I'm not really shocked; Cusack's not big on the '80s and I can't recall him ever appearing in a sequel. Chevy Chase is back though, so we have that. Crispin Glover? Also missing. Still the big guns are still there: Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson and Clark Duke. And they're joined by Adam Scott and Gillian Jacobs. Personally, I have faith in director Steve Pink, who's never given us a movie or TV show that I didn't enjoy.

In any case, watch the trailer (which I'd rather just link to, since it's NSFW), and judge it for yourself. Hot Tub Time Machine 2 is set for a Christmas Day release.

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The weekend is here, so heed Jerry Harrison and 'Rev It Up'

Everybody needs a vacation and summer is the time to do it. After twenty straight months of posting weekly Lost and Found entries, this Clark Griswald is taking a week off, loading up the family truckster and following Jerry Harrison's advice to Rev It Up.

While Jerry Harrison might not be the first member you think of when picturing The Talking Heads, his resume looms large as keyboard and guitar for the pioneering band and as a successful producer. Less known is his solo work with his backing band, The Casual Gods, and singles like Rev It Up.

Rev It Up was the featured single off Harrison's second album but failed to chart in 1988. The video is innocent fun as Harrison mocks his own lyrics by featuring babies in bows and toddlers riding Big Wheels in between the excellent grooves laid down by Harrison and his band.

Harrison made his last solo album in 1991 and continues to turn the dials as a producer. Lost and Found will return in a week so enjoy next week with a full week of posts from Dr. Dim and his Never Found series.

 

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Watch: New movie trailer contains literally every memory from our childhood

From the nostalgia-filled brain of Wil Wheaton:

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Review: Terri Nunn and Berlin wows a Big Bear concert audience

Have you had a chance to catch Berlin in concert lately? Terri Nunn and her band put on an amazing show. Southern California SIT80s guest co-host Drew Friedman recently got a chance to see Berlin at a small venue. Here's his review:

It is always exciting to see a great band in a small venue, never more so than when that band is Berlin, led by Terri Nunn. Having seen Nunn previously perform at the Hollywood Bowl during a multi-band tour of '80s rock acts, I was excited to be able to see her get to do more than just three songs. The bonus was that it was in a small club in a converted movie theater in Big Bear Lake, Calif.

They came on stage around 10:30 to a perfect version of Masquerade. After saying hi to the crowd, they then launched into No More Words, Touch and Metro, with the video screens on the side of the stage showing the original music videos from the band. …

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Thursday lost and found: the story of White Lion's 'Little Fighter'

By 1988, hair metal was at its peak and bands like White Lion were infiltrating your TV screens and car radios with melodic rockers like Wait and power ballads like When The Children Cry, but would White Lion having a fighting chance by the end of the decade?

After scoring two Top 10 singles, White Lion released their follow up album Big Game in the summer of 1989 and the fickle tastes in music genres had started to shift as the lead single Little Fighter was TKO'd on the charts making it to only No. 52. Still, the song holds up well with the vocals of Danish lead singer Mike Tramp and the fleet fingers of Staten Island guitarist Vito Bratta for the band that formed in Brooklyn.

Unlike most glam metal bands that sang about girls and partying, White Lion had a social conscience. Little Fighter is a song about a Greenpeace boat The Rainbow Warrior that was destroyed by the French government in an New Zealand harbor in 1985 and served as the inspiration for Steve Seagal flick On Deadly Ground.  In 1989, a fundraising double album was released entitled Greenpeace Rainbow Warriors that featured White Lion and heavy hitters U2, INXS and Peter Gabriel among others. …

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Watch: Frozen's 'Let It Go' as sung by '80s TV show characters

The earworm Let It Go from Disney's Frozen has definitely jumped the shark. But if you'd like to torture yourself one more time, here's a version of the song as "sung" entirely by clips from '80s TV shows.

From Laughingsquid.com

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