Monday, September 3, 2012

The Vapors: Peel Session (1979)


A remembered conversation from 1982.

INFLUENTIAL FRIEND: Yeah you'd like the first Vapors album.

JEFFEN: The Vapors? (wrinkles nose) Like, as in, "Turning Japanese"?


INFLUENTIAL FRIEND: Yeah that's the worst song on the album; the rest is fucking brilliant!
Jeffen: No way.

Now, my late friend was not entirely correct. "Turning Japanese" (mini-doc here) is a clever, catchy construction, which has proved lasting due to its utter brilliance. But true devotees of The Vapors will occasionally go to desperate lengths to attempt to lessen the song's over-shadowing of leader David Fenton's magnificent song-writing. Lyrically, Fenton mined both a new wavish Cold War paranoia and a Ray Davies-ish eye for the quiet desperation of British life which he set to stirring tunes that the band (Edward Bazalgette: lead guitar, Steve Smith: bass, vocals, Howard Smith: drums) meted out with tightly-controlled power-pop-punk drive. It turned out I was wrong about a lot of things in 1982; country music didn't suck, a nuclear war was not inevitable and The Vapors were not one-hit wonders - they were, in fact, fucking brilliant!





Peel Session (1979-07-04)

    V1) Turning Japanese
    V2) Trains
    V3) Cold War
    V4) Waiting For the Weekend





So, where do yo stand on The Vapors and "Turning Japanese"?
We await your word in the COMMENTS section!



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27 comments:

  1. VAPORS COMMENTS!
    https://rapidshare.com/files/1299135373/Vp_s%20Pl%20Ssn%2079.rar

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi,

    A friend whose taste I respect has long told me that The Vapors LP with "Turning Japanese" is quite good. I have it (from way back when when I was not too impressed with it), but I have never gotten off my arse to listen to it again.

    Your post might give me the final push to check it out. It would be great to find some "new" good music!

    Ace

    ReplyDelete
  3. "Turning Japanese" is one of my absolute favorite songs ever

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Love it too, my single beef with it is how it overshadows their catalog in the minds of most people.

      Delete
  4. I heard The Vapors on D.C. indie station WHFS ("Turning Japanese") in the summer of 1980. I went out to buy the album. Back then, most of FM radio had their heads up their a*ses and wouldn't play any 'punk' or 'new wave'. Even The Police and Blondie mostly got unplayed, as did, believe it or not, The Pretenders and The Cars!! Certainly The Clash and Sex Pistols and Ramones didn't get any FM big rock station airplay in 1980. Anyway, I found that I really liked "Waiting for the Weekend" and "Letter from Hiro" a lot, as well as "Spring Collection," which sounds dated today but is a good example of New Wave from that time period, especially the lyrics. I thought there should have been several hits from that New Clear Days LP, in addition to "Turning Japanese". None of them got major airplay. DEVO's Mark Mothersbaugh was right: We got SCREWED by the corporate hippies of the day who controlled the radio.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah The Vapors were one of so many bands SCREWED by the music industry...

      Delete
  5. yeah first album was pretty good,2nd not so good.it always annoyed me there wasnt a studio version of 'here comes the judge'(live b-side),one of there best songs.but the live versions great so i dont know why i even mention it.wonder what they're doin these days

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. While I vehemently disagree about the second album not being on par with the first one, I do agree that the lack of a studio version of 'Here Comes the Judge" is sad.

      Delete
  6. The Vapors are on my shortlist for "best band ever".
    I managed to hear the second album first and, since I never listen to radio and live in Sweden, I even missed the hype about "turning japanese" until it started showing up in movies ten years later to my surprise! :)
    Great band what really sets them apart, imho, is that they are great "arrangers" of songs.
    I have two bootlegs with them, would appreciate more cuz there's only one unreleased song on one of them (secret noise) and there has to be more out there!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm gonna post the two bootlegs I have (Live in DC and the BBC Rock Hour - if you have different ones please let me know!

      Delete
  7. lol, too right they're f'in brilliant; add me to the list of fans who've long said it was criminial that the masturbation song was the only one people associated with the Vapors!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Too right Scott! The Vapors always get put on when inspiration is reqired!

      Delete
  8. Every Vapors track couldve & shouldve been a Top 10! Very hard to find live recordings of the group though. One of the most exciting bands to come out of The UK to this day!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Spring Collection is awrsome...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agreed (but I always wince at their dissing of The Damned's 'New Rose').

      Delete
  10. have two daughters who are big green day , my chemical romance fans. one day i pulled out magnets on vinyl and they thought it was great , until they found out it was 'old' music. oh well............ still sounds good to me. both albums do

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think the Vapors are due a big revival - and you may have kicked it off!

      Delete
  11. It is rumoured that there are unreleased Dave Fenton recordings from his post-Vapors years ...

    ReplyDelete
  12. there is a released david fenton 7inch...

    ReplyDelete
  13. Added the Vapors to the Peel Sessions megapost here:

    https://rapidshare.com/files/1299135373/Vp_s%20Pl%20Ssn%2079.rar

    Cheers,

    -PettyV

    ReplyDelete
  14. Replies
    1. They never cut a song I didn't like!

      Delete
  15. LOVE The Vapors ALL trax and have been hearing rumours that there's more unreleased Vapors somewhere.....I for one would be most grateful for ANY Vapors rarities you'd care to post up for us, many thanx m8

    ReplyDelete
  16. Yeah! A new Vapors bootleg would be a blast!

    ReplyDelete

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