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Electric Kool-Aid Cuckoo’s Bus: Go further with Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters
05.24.2017
01:51 pm
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In 1964 Ken Kesey published Sometimes a Great Notion, the follow-up to his smash novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest; in order to meet certain obligations in New York City, Kesey decided to use a psychedelically-painted school bus as his means of getting there from the West Coast. The bus, of course, was called Further or, if you were in the mood, Furthur.

It was all a great romantic quest to make known the benefits of LSD, at a time when the drug was not illegal in the United States (that wouldn’t last long), and only a couple of years after Cary Grant, of all people, had been touting its benefits in the pages of the New York Herald Tribune and elsewhere.
 

Timothy Leary and Neal Cassady on the storied bus Further
 
Tom Wolfe chronicled the memorable trip in The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, but if you’re looking for a more audio-visual account of the journey, you could do a lot worse than Tripping, which appeared on Channel 4 in Great Britain on August 7, 1999.

Kesey called the whole idea of their magic bus “an American glyph,” which is interesting. As Kesey says, Further was a powerful symbol of a vehicle that will pick you up and safely transport you to a place where your mind will be expanded.

Go further, after the jump…

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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05.24.2017
01:51 pm
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That time Nirvana snuck into a TV studio and made video magic
05.24.2017
12:40 pm
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In 1989 Sub Pop released Nirvana’s first album Bleach, and word of the (at the time) startlingly heavy and catchy masterpiece recorded with a tiny budget got around the indie underground rather quickly. I was late to that game—I remember I spent the summer of 1990 playing the shit out of Soundgarden’s Ultramega OK and Mudhoney’s first album and it wasn’t until September that a friend gave me this album I absolutely had to listen to: Bleach. Then that dominated my CD player for the next year or so.

A few months before that, on March 20, 1990, Nirvana took advantage of a relatively empty Evergreen State College campus (the institution is lovingly known as “TESC”) during Spring Break to “sneak into”—not sure how literally to take that—the campus TV studio and record some footage. What that session produced was experimental, heavy as shit, and generally quite interesting.

According to Jon Snyder, the director of the session, Cobain’s intention at that moment was to put together a VHS tape for fans to buy: “The original concept was to do stuff in the studio, then go to Aberdeen and shoot a bunch of other stuff and turn it into some hour-long thing they would sell to fans.”

Knowing that the studio was equipped with a green screen for chromakey work, Cobain brought along some videotapes with amusing and/or scary footage to project over/behind the band playing. Such a simple idea, but the execution was unexpectedly effective. For “School,” the footage was a montage featuring ‘70s heartthrobs Shaun Cassidy and Leif Garrett as well as a random assemblage of informercial-type clips and footage of high school students. For “Big Cheese,” Haxan: Witchcraft through the Ages provided the doomy backdrop.

For the second rendition of “Floyd the Barber,” which pops up around the 20-minute mark, the backdrop was primarily footage of Cobain’s own art projects and dioramas. Camera operator Alex Kostelnik recalls: “He had broken dolls, dolls on fire, or stuff like in Toy Story where the dolls are all put together wrong.”

Watch after the jump…

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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05.24.2017
12:40 pm
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Illustrations of films by Dario Argento, David Cronenberg, Ridley Scott & more from Cinefantastique


The cover of Cinefantastique magazine featuring an image of Asia Argento, a bunch of blood and a razor blade with a job to do. The image is based on her father’s 1996 film ‘The Stendhal Syndrome.’ Illustration by David Voigt.
 
Originally the long-running film magazine Cinefantastique was just a little fanzine that was compiled with the help of a mimeograph machine in 1967. A few years later it became a highly regarded proper magazine known for its use of lustrous photos and exhaustive critical analysis of films by a team of writers that included the founder of Video Watchdog Tim Lucas along with future Stephen King collaborator, writer, and director Mick Garris. The vision of Cinefantastique publisher and editor Frederick S. Clarke was to ensure that the magazine was a category killer when it came to its approach in the treatment of cinema, taking the art of scrutinizing a film to a new level by providing expansive articles that expertly dissected every aspect of a movie instead of churning out fluff pieces like their competitors.

Another aspect that set Cinefantastique apart was the indulgent use of color photography in its layouts and covers. In addition to the use eye-popping photos, the magazine often featured creative illustrations on the cover done by various artists such as Roger Stine, sci-fi illustrator Barclay Shaw, John Carl Schoenherr (who created the iconic cover illustration for the dust jacket art of Dune), and Andrew Probert who is best known for his colorful contributions to the 1985 film Back to the Future and 1984’s Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

Some of the magazine’s more memorable illustrations were done by Stine and his cover for Cinefantastique that featured a surreal image of Sissy Spacek dripping in blood in 1977 (Volume six, Number one) won the artist critical acclaim. Cinefantastique still maintains an online presence as well as offering access to their extensive back-catalog of interviews and retrospectives. Physical copies of the magazine are also pretty easy to come by. Some of the images that follow are slightly NSFW.
 

Cover by Roger Stine, 1982.
 

1981.
 

The infamous “Carrie” cover by Roger Stine, 1977.
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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05.24.2017
11:58 am
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Before James Bond: Roger Moore knitwear model
05.24.2017
11:37 am
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Depending on your age and first exposure to a James Bond movie, Sir Roger Moore may well be your favorite 007. Younger viewers, ahem, may prefer Daniel Craig or maybe Pierce Brosnan, but for many, it is the late Roger Moore (who died yesterday) or (my own choice) Sir Sean Connery who best epitomize the “real” Bond, James Bond. (I’d say Ian Fleming’s character lies somewhere in between these twin poles of Connery and Moore.)

Yesterday, in among all the tweets of Roger Moore photos, clips, and comments, was this rather delightful story about Moore as Bond.
 

 
Sweet.

But Roger Moore was more than just another James Bond, he was also Ivanhoe, and Lord Brett Sinclair to Tony Curtis’ Danny Wilde in The Persuaders, and my personal favorite, Simon Templar in The Saint.

Moore’s performance as Simon Templar led me to write my first ever fan letter asking for a signed photograph. A week or so later, I duly received a beautiful color photo with Moore’s signature—something I still treasure. Moore as Templar epitomized all the charm and bravery of a cultured super-spy I hoped to emulate when I grew up. As you can appreciate, I never quite managed these fine qualities but it’s always good to have ambition… In real life, Moore was by all accounts equally as charming and as debonair as the characters he played, although he once quipped that his acting chops were limited to his right eyebrow being raised, his left eyebrow being raised or both being raised together. What came across on screen was apparently very much the real man.

During the few lean years of his early career in the 1950s, Moore supplemented his acting work as a model for knitting patterns. This led the more cynical to dismiss his acting talent and label him the “Big Knit.” It didn’t irk Moore, who was always more than capable of pricking his own image and deflecting the most ridiculous of criticisms. I think Moore’s career as a model for cardiagns, pullovers, and v-neck sweaters makes him all the more likable as he managed to carry it all off with great style and considerable aplomb, not that James Bond would have ever been caught dead in any of these.
 
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More fashions worn by the ‘Big Knit,’ after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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05.24.2017
11:37 am
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Take your foot fetish to a creepy new level by scoring some super-realistic looking silicone feet
05.24.2017
11:25 am
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Nothing creepy to see here. Just a pair of silicone feet chilling with a glass of vino and a pearl necklace.
 
Some nights I don’t get a lot of sleep thanks to the bizarre Internet rabbit holes that I am constantly digging through. For instance, just last night I decided to plug the words “foot fetish” into Google to see what might come from that, and of course I wasn’t disappointed, though I was thoroughly creeped out after discovering that you can buy terrifyingly realistic looking feet made of silicone. So now you never have to try to talk someone into letting you get kinky with their actual real feet, which was not what I was expecting. At all.

Don’t get me wrong—I fully support whatever your own personal idea of sexy time is as long as you’re not fucking with someone’s mind or body parts in a way that makes them unhappy. I also get that a lot of people don’t really get turned on by the idea of their feet being a desirable body part to put in someone else’s mouth, but hey, you be you and just do what gets you off without hurting anyone, including yourself. The end. That said, I honestly JUST CAN’T with these faux feet. I CAN’T. Perhaps it’s because they are so very lifelike and are photographed in a freaky (literally) disembodied fashion that just gets under my skin. It could also be the fact that they come in a variety of styles such as “long toe,” “big feet,” or a “ballerina/dancer” version which sees the fake flippers enhanced by the appearance of reddish-looking skin on the heels, and foot pad from wear and tear. Then there are the often disturbing pictorials taken by fake-foot vendors like a pair of feet chilling out alongside a glass of wine or perhaps enjoying a sudsy bath.

Maybe it’s due to a lack of quality zzz’s but this discovery was like Dr. Hannibal Lecter terror-level for me, and I honestly couldn’t believe that there was a market for them. This notion I also blame on sleep deprivation because of course there’s a market for real looking imitation feet. If you’re more of a leg man (or woman), you can also purchase the feet with legs attached if that’s something you’d be into. Anyway, if this is your kind of thing you can find plenty of real as fuck looking pairs of fake feet on eBay for anywhere from $100 to several hundred dollars. Loads of images follow, none of which are going to help you get any sleep tonight either, so be forewarned.

I don’t even know if I can legitimately say that these photos are NSFW because I’m so confused by this unsettling revelation, but I’m guessing that unless you work in some sort of kinky foot factory they probably aren’t that safe to let your co-workers in on.
 

 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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05.24.2017
11:25 am
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‘Things as They Are’: New theater music from members of Six Organs of Admittance and Emeralds


 
Though he may be best known as the mind behind the long-running ambient drone folk project Six Organs of Admittance, guitarist Ben Chasny is also a member of the noisy psych band Comets on Fire, and he’s made musical contributions to the legendary apocalyptic folk group Current 93. His most recent project is an interesting one—in collaboration with former Emeralds synth magician John Elliott, he’ll been spending the month performing live background (and foreground and middleground) music for a new work by playwright David Todd, also the author of Feeding Back, an excellent book of conversations with underground guitarists.

The play is called Things as They Are, and it’s a theatrical exploration of the life, work, and mystique of the great modernist poet Wallace Stevens. Stevens was lawyer and an insurance executive whose first poetry collection, Harmonium, was published in 1923, when he was already 44 years of age. Though it was published by a major house, its first edition was small, only 1500 copies. Its reputation took time to spread, but Stevens’ cult grew, and by 1955 he’d won a Pulitzer and was offered a faculty position at Harvard. Stevens’ poetry was highly symbolic and can be utterly baffling when taken at face value. Attempts to decode his works are futile, and they miss the point anyway—Stevens’ use of language creates beauty by privileging cadences and whimsy over meaning as it’s ordinarily understood. Take “The Paltry Nude Starts on a Spring Voyage.” It’s clearly “about” Boticelli’s The Birth of Venus but…well, you’ll see.

But not on a shell, she starts,
Archaic, for the sea.
But on the first-found weed
She scuds the glitters,
Noiselessly, like one more wave.

She too is discontent
And would have purple stuff upon her arms,
Tired of the salty harbors,
Eager for the brine and bellowing
Of the high interiors of the sea.

The wind speeds her on,
Blowing upon her hands
And watery back.
She touches the clouds, where she goes
In the circle of her traverse of the sea.

Yet this is meagre play
In the scrurry and water-shine
As her heels foam—-
Not as when the goldener nude
Of a later day

Will go, like the centre of sea-green pomp,
In an intenser calm,
Scullion of fate,
Across the spick torrent, ceaselessly,
Upon her irretrievable way.

More after the jump…

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Posted by Ron Kretsch
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05.24.2017
09:51 am
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‘Henry & Glenn Forever’ is now a coloring book so all is finally right with the world
05.24.2017
09:48 am
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Tom Neely’s indie comic Henry & Glenn Forever has an amazing premise that made it an instant classic: the very very well known punk/metal singers Henry Rollins and Glenn Danzig are a couple in a long term romantic relationship, living together in a house next door to Daryl Hall and John Oates, who are perennially robe-clad members of a Satanist cult. Rollins was as tickled by the premise as one would expect, characterizing it as one of his favorite uses of satire. Also predictably, Danzig was not amused, and he expressed as much to a Decibel writer for an article which, alas, is no longer online, forcing me to link here to God damned Uproxx.

That premise has yielded much fruit—the original 6x6” book in 2010, four serialized comic books published between 2012-13, and a 2014 trade paperback that collects the comics with a generous amount of additional material, and which coincided with an exhibit at L.A.‘s La Luz de Jesus gallery. This year, the series’ publisher, Microcosm (we’ve told you about them before) is puling out all the stops on the conceit, releasing Henry & Glenn Forever & Ever: The Completely Ridiculous Edition, which includes under its wonderful Tom of Finland parody cover all of the foregoing, plus even more previously unpublished material, and a foreword by ROB FUCKING HALFORD OF JUDAS FUCKING PRIEST.

Also on the horizon is the wonderful Henry & Glenn Adult Activity and Coloring Book. Like it says on the cover, the book features 132 pages of coloring fun by an assortment of artists, plus other activities including mazes that look like intestines, paper dolls—“Marriage Equality Glenn” is a winner—and a word search. You don’t even have to be familiar with the comics to find this all utterly hilarious. Though the book doesn’t come out until November, Microcosm let us pick through it to share several of our favorite pages with you. All art is by Tom Neely unless otherwise specified. Clicking an image spawns an enlargement.
 

 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Ron Kretsch
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05.24.2017
09:48 am
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‘Gandhi & Martin Luther King were great womanizers’: That time Roger Ailes interviewed Joan Baez
05.23.2017
12:44 pm
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Fox News founder Roger Ailes died last week, thus escaping any future ramifications in this terrestrial realm stemming from his alledged proclivity for sexual harassment, a tendency attested to by many accusers, including Megyn Kelly, Gretchen Carlson, and Andrea Tantaros.

Ailes was forced to resign as president of Fox News last summer after news of the sexual harassment claims became national news. Just a month ago, it was reported that Fox News is on track to pay more than $85 million in settlements connected to the sexual harassment allegations involving Ailes and Bill O’Reilly and possibly others.

Ailes’ inappropriate libido aside, his death afforded many observers an opportunity to observe that more than almost anyone in the American landscape, Ailes had an enormous impact on American news and politics over the last 20 years, and almost all of it tilted the country in a partisan, shrill, and stupid direction.

If Mike Judge’s prescient movie Idiocracy ever had a spirit animal in real life, it’s Roger Ailes. Except that Ailes was no idiot, far from it: he was a certifiable genius when it came to manipulating dummies.

Before 1990, Ailes’ primary identity was that of a cunning if somewhat morally suspect media consultant for Republican candidates. Together with Lee Atwater, Ailes was credited with achieving the election of George H.W. Bush over Michael Dukakis in 1988, in a contest that featured no shortage of not-so-subtle race-baiting from the Republican side.

In 1996 Rupert Murdoch hired Ailes and asked him to helm the new right-wing news channel he was putting together. The result was Fox News and politics since then has been dominated by older white people under the hypnotic influence of a never-ending parade of charlatans and assholes such as Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, and Steve Doocy, assisted by literally dozens and dozens of nearly interchangeable leggy blonde women. In Fox Land, every black man is about to commit vote fraud and/or violent uprising, every Muslim is a terrorist hell-bent on blowing up a local library in rural Nebraska, and every trans person with a full bladder is a crypto-pedophile. Roger Ailes invented that kind of TV news, and it’s no exaggeration to say that Ailes made it possible for Donald Trump to become president.

For that last fact alone, his name should be scorned in the annals of history until the end of time. May he rot in Hell.

Interestingly, right before Ailes landed at Fox News, there was a brief period where he was not actively being a scumbag and destroying the country. From 1994 to 1996 he was president of a news channel that had spun off from CNBC called America’s Talking, and Ailes himself had an hour-long interview show called Straight Forward in which he tried to pass himself off as a relatively normal person—conservative, sure, but not a fire-breathing troglodyte.

His bid to be a “normal” talk show host was convincing enough that he even had the arch-liberal folksinger Joan Baez on as a guest on Straight Forward for a charged yet basically pleasant couple of segments with a minimum of serious leftie-baiting. The program ran on December 15, 1994; Baez was there to publicize a 1993 CD collection called Rare, Live, and Classic. In the intro to the program, Ailes states that he is a big fan of Baez’ music and admires her even though he dislikes her positions—“like Ronald Reagan,” she stuck to her principles over the decades and he can respect that!

More after the jump…

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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05.23.2017
12:44 pm
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Rude (but politely introspective) boys: The secret early life of Tears for Fears
05.23.2017
12:20 pm
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Graduate, with Tears for Fears founders Roland Orzabal (pictured bottom left) and Curt Smith (at the top left).
 
If you are a child of the 80s the English band Tears for Fears and the slew of monster hits that they put out during the decade probably still randomly get stuck in your head from time to time. I mean the minute you hear the twinkling notes that open 1985’s “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” your mind is probably transported back to images of the video for the song that was seemingly on infinite repeat on MTV. Even if 80s cable TV wasn’t the stomping ground of your youth, the likelihood that you know a few numbers from the Tears for Fears catalog is still highly probable. However, what if I told you that before Curt Smith and Roland Orzabal ruled the world by way of ridiculously catchy pop music, they were in a new wave ska band called Graduate with Orzabal on vocals? I’m pretty sure most people would have a deep, contemplative moment of “huh?” and then would want to see and hear proof. And if that’s what you want then today is your lucky day, rude boys and girls because I’ve got footage of Graduate performing on a Spanish television show in 1980 about a year before the duo became Tears for Fears.

Below is footage of Graduate performing three different songs, “Acting My Age,” “Bad Dreams,” and the insanely catchy “Elvis Should Play Ska” which is a bouncy homage to Elvis Costello, not the American guy. The band would put out only one album in 1980 with Pye Records (which was home to The Kinks and Status Quo in the 60s and early 70s), Acting My Age. A second record was shelved after both Orzabal and Smith left the band, but everything the band did during their short time together can be found on a remaster of Acting My Age from 2001 that also includes other rarities. I have to say that whenever Orzabal and the band get going with their special brand of “skanking,” I don’t ever want it to stop. Vinyl copies of Graduate’s debut record are rare and even a sealed compact disc of Acting My Age I found on eBay was listed at $199.99, just in case you were curious. Lastly, if you never got to see Tears for Fears back in the day, the band is currently on tour with Hall and Oates.
 

The fantastic cover of ‘Acting My Age.’
 

“Elvis Should Play Ska.”
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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05.23.2017
12:20 pm
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Cool for Cats: Squeeze’s East Side stories, working class poetry and kitchen-sink dramas

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Squeeze: The classic line-up.
 
Like everyone else, I’m a sucker for a song that marries a well-crafted lyric to an unforgettable tune. That for me is what makes classic popular music. It can be Chuck Berry with “No Particular Place To Go,” or Sparks with “Something for the Girl with Everything,” Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side,” or even a music hall number like “My Old Man (Said Follow the Van),” or George Formby’s “When I’m Cleaning Windows.” Each of these songs has a clever lyric that tells a little story matched by compelling music that carries us along to a little nirvana of pure pop joy.

Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook write these kinds of perfect songs. Songs like “Up the Junction,” “Tempted,” “Labelled with Love,” “Another Nail in My Heart,” “Cool for Cats,”  “Black Coffee in Bed,” and “Pulling Mussels (from the Shell).” Beautiful works of art that touch both heart and mind.

Together Difford and Tilbrook are the core of Squeeze—the band they formed sometime in late 1973 or early 1974. It all started after Difford put an advert in a newsagent’s window for a musician to gig and record with, who liked the Small Faces, Hendrix and Glenn Miller. Difford had been writing poetry for years but had a desire to write and perform songs. Tilbrook had been playing guitar and writing songs since around the age of eleven. He was the only musician who replied to Difford’s ad. It was one of those marvelous quirks of fate that brought together the two young men who would one day be hailed as the “new Lennon and McCartney.”

Difford and Tilbrook were joined by boogie-woogie pianist Jools Holland on keys, Gilson Lavis on drums and eventually John Bentley who replaced Harry Kakoulli on bass. This became the classic Squeeze line-up. Through their manager Miles Copeland III (who also managed the Police, and later released albums by R.E.M., the Cramps and the Bangles), the band had their first EP A Packet of Three and their first album produced by John Cale. 
 
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Squeeze: The eighties line-up.
 
Difford and Tilbrook had taken the name Squeeze from the Velvet Underground’s (worst) album Squeeze, so there was some synchronicity that Cale produced Squeeze’s earliest output. But Cale wanted sex and imagined passions rather than the world of personal experience and kitchen-sink drama from which Difford pulled his cache of working class poetry. Whereas the first album and single (“Take Me I’m Yours”) put the band on the map and led to their three-month tour of America, it was the second Cool for Cats that showcased Difford and Tillbrook’s genius for songwriting, which was followed by the classic albums Argybargy and East Side Story, right up through to the band’s fourteenth studio album Cradle to the Grave in 2015.

Squeeze arrived at a time of a great and rich musical diversity. When there were various genres like punk and ska, new wave and rap, disco and synthpop, and so on. It was also a time when pop music no longer had that shiny exciting novelty it once had in the fifties and sixties, which meant that sometimes the praise and respect Difford and Tilbrook richly deserved was occasionally diminished or overlooked by rock critics searching for the next Sex Pistols or Paul Weller. Not that Squeeze weren’t popular or greatly loved, far from it, but that there was an equally talented (and often times not as talented) number of other bands also demanding attention who were simply less conventional.

Watch Squeeze in concert from 1982, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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05.23.2017
11:36 am
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