The Times

Alright, so this one definitely demands a lot of attention, but in keeping with my just-the-basics approach, I'll zip through details real quick and hope I set you on a path for deeper exploration.

The Times was an indie pop and post-punk band from London. They were formed by Ed Ball and managed to stick around for quite some time; they recorded from the late 70s into the late 90s.

Reason this one's a bit of a can of worms is because it's impossible to not talk about other significant groups when talking about the Times. Ball, the lead singer and songwriter, was in another (better known) group with his bandmate Dan Treacy, Television Personalities, as well as the shorter-lived Teenage Filmstars. (Ball was not in 'O' Level, another Treacy act that skewed towards first wave U.K. punk. Nerdier, cheekier Sex Pistols, perhaps.)

I like Television Personalities quite a lot, but I think I prefer the Times, largely because Ball's vocals, which have a distinct Elvis Costello coloration, fall into place with the mod revival instrumentals better. The Times is a nice companion to, say, the Jam, and I can't help but feel they informed Jarvis Cocker.

If this is all of interest, give A Day in the Life of Gilbert & George a listen. It's a compilation of 'O' Level, Teenage Filmstars, and Television Personalities material from '77 to '80. (No matter what people say, the internet in and of itself did not facilitate an uptick in annual musical output, as evidenced by the twenty-seven tunes contained here. I'd be interested in knowing how much the year over year total number of recordings has changed, demos and sketches excluded, both in relative and absolute terms, since 1960.)

Ball was tight with Alan McGee, who, as mentioned before, founded Creation Records as well as his own band, Biff Bang Pow. (Incidentally, the Times recorded a song called "Biff! Bang! Pow!" in 1981. Clearly, this crew was fanatical about the Creation.) Ball had his own imprint, Whaam! Records, which he ran with Treacy, and later released solo albums on Creation, like 1989's ambient, leftfield L'Orange Mechanik.

Before I leave you, a few more songs to try:
Off you go!