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Andrew Dubber’s ‘Music Journalism Is The New Boring’
12.30.2011
05:00 am

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Media
Music

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If you’re not familiar with the work of the British music writer and academic Andrew Dubber, then this is a perfect place to start. He’s a man of many talents, with a very future-positive outlook to make all the current music industry doom-sayers blush. Rather than me boring you trying to sum up all he does, here’s his bio as appears on his website andrewdubber.com:

Andrew Dubber is an academic, author, public speaker, blogger, music reviewer, radio and music industry consultant, whisky writer, podcaster, record collector, DJ, broadcaster and record producer. He is Reader in Music Industries Innovation at Birmingham City University, an advisor to Bandcamp and Planzai, manages half a dozen blogs, and is the founder of New Music Strategies – a pan-European music think tank and strategy group. In his spare time, he coaches productivity and time management.

Mr Dubber has just published a new article on his blog called “Music Journalism Is The New Boring” where he takes to task the notion that nothing interesting has happened in music in the past 12 months, a stance currently being pushed by some of the world’s major publications such as the New York Times and the Guardian. Dubber positis that the problem lays not with music culture or musicians themselves, but rather with the old stream media and its failure to adapt to these exciting new internet times:

[...] while “beige against the machine” is a cute and retweetable one-liner, it’s nothing more than a cheap shot based on a faulty premise: that something went wrong with music in 2011. That musicians gave up en-masse and just made safe, ineffectual and dull music.

There are quite a few problems with that idea. I’m just going to mention just three here, but you’ll no doubt think of your own too.

1) You can’t complain about a dull year in music if all you do is report on the pile of CDs that ended up on your desk as a result of public relations and major label marketing. If you were looking for urgency, relevance and innovation in that lot, you’ve misunderstood the process. No matter how much you shout “Challenge me!” at your stereo, it’s not going to oblige if you keep putting Coldplay CDs in it.

2) Even if you are looking outside the pile, chances are you’re still looking in the wrong places. Things that sound like (or aspire to sound like) the music that did make it to the minor landfill of compact discs cluttering your desk are not likely to be any better. After all, it’s no longer the job of rock music to be urgent or important. And it’s certainly not the job of mainstream rock music. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but guitar, bass, drums and vocals is no longer by default a counter-cultural lineup. The same can be said for R&B and mainstream hip hop. It’s possible to do radical stuff in those musical domains, but it’s certainly not the norm.

3) IF IT’S BORING, DO NOT WRITE ABOUT IT. In fact, write that on a post-it note and stick it to your laptop screen. Writing about boring is contributing to the boring.


The guiding question for interesting music journalism needs to be “Yes, but what else is out there?”. More than ever before there is the opportunity (even the need) for major publications to employ investigative music journalists and people with genuine curiosity. We all know what can happen when people with these kinds of qualities are given a decent platform.

John Peel-ism should be the norm by now.

You can read the rest of the article here - it’s worth it. It’s also worth checking out the comments section, where some of the journalists being criticised in the article get to have their say. Andrew Dubber has some very enlightening things to say about the music industry and new technology, and he says them very well. If you have any interest in these areas (and music culture in general) or even if you’re late to the online party and just want to find out what the hell is going on, then be sure to check his website for regular updates.

Thanks to Joe Muggs.

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
‘David Lynch in Four Movements - A Tribute’
12.30.2011
02:21 am

Topics:
Music

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This 20 minute mood piece composed of clips from films by or about David Lynch plays out like one long extended epiphany. Lovingly put together by Richard Vezina. 

Music : Angelo Badalamenti/David Lynch : Questions In A World Of Blue, The Pink Room, Into The Night, Mysteries of Love
Vocal : Julee Cruise

Films:
Inland Empire, Mulholland Dr., The Straight Story, Lost Highway, Fire Walk with Me, Twin Peaks, Wild at Heart, Blue Velvet, Dune, The Elephant Man, Eraserhead, The Grandmother, The Alphabet, Pretty as a Picture: The Art of David Lynch, Blue Velvet - Mysteries of Love: Documentary
 

 
Via Open Culture

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
70 minutes of punk rock history: Bob Gruen’s ‘New York Dolls - Lookin’ Fine On Television’
12.30.2011
01:40 am

Topics:
Music
Pop Culture
Punk

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Here’s some fabulous 1970s footage of the New York Dolls performing, talking and hanging out. Directed by one of rock and roll’s great photographers and chroniclers of the New York music scene Bob Gruen with his partner Nadya Beck.

70 minutes of indispensable, demented, glorious punk rock history.

The young, the bad, the beautiful.

Update 12/30 5:30 central time. MVD Entertainment Group went from offering this for free to suddenly charging a $2.99 rental free. This happened within the past few hours. They must have seen the traffic Dangerous Minds was sending them and decided to profit it from it. Which is fine. But it wasn’t my intent to send people to a site where it was going to cost you money to see this video. It’s certainly worth $2.99 to rent, but still…

 

 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Reddit makes plans to ‘take out’ Republican class war posterboy Paul Ryan

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The muscle of Reddit is being flexed once again. After their successful actions against GoDaddy, the user-submitted social news site’s group mind is threatening to “take out” Republican Congressman Paul Ryan (WI), pledging its support for his Democrat opponent, Rob Zerban, a critic of the “Stop Online Piracy Act.” Now the Congressman’s office has been forced to clarify his position (well, kind of) on SOPA.

While I’d personally love to see Paul Ryan lose his seat—or worse—it appears that what saw redditors target Ryan initially was his supposed co-sponsorship of the anti-piracy bill, which is not accurate.

Via The Atlantic Wire:

“Contrary to false reports, Congressman Paul Ryan is not a cosponsor of H.R. 3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act,” said Ryan press secretary Kevin Seifert in a statement. The wrath of Reddit, which was recently tested in a successful boycot of domain registrar Go Daddy for supporting the same legislation, is proving to be more fearsome than one might expect from a website that also trades in kitten photos and WTF ephemera. This week, Reddit’s increasingly ambitious users aimed to unseat a member of Congress who supports SOPA, pointing its attention toward Ryan. “Let’s pick ONE Senator of voted for NDAA/SOPA and destroy him like we’re doing for GoDaddy,” said one user.  As a result, Reddit users began coordinating opposition research campaigns against Ryan and support for his opponent via a money bomb and widely-popular Q&A session. 

Today, in an effort to clarify his boss’s position, Ryan’s flak did not say the congressman opposes SOPA, a law that gives the federal government expanded powers to order American Internet companies to sever ties with foreign domains that offer copyrighted content such as music and films. “He remains committed to advancing policies that protect free speech and foster innovation online and will continue to follow the House Judiciary Committee’s deliberations on this issue carefully,” said Ryan’s spokesman.

What’s fascinating about all this—even if the facts are a bit muddled—is how a nameless, faceless online community has the potential to scare the bejusus out of corporations and rightwing class warriors like Paul Ryan. The Wisconsin pol is considered to be the most vulnerable high-ranking House Republican already, due to voter fears that the so-called “Ryan Plan” that he authored, would end Medicare.

That’s what happens when you piss on the “third rail” of American politics. A Google search for “Paul Ryan” + “vulnerable” brings up over 3.6 million results. Not only that, but the re-invigorated labor movement in Wisconsin hardly bodes well for Ryan’s re-election, either,  I would imagine he realizes that adding to these existing handicaps with a Reddit jihad aimed right at his forehead is not in the best interests of his continuing to draw a government paycheck.

Forbes’ E.D. Kain writes:

[A] politician who supports SOPA might have to worry about political backlash in the form of a highly motivated, spontaneously organized online group – or groups.

Between hacking outfits like Anonymous and communities like Reddit, it becomes apparent rather quickly that the power asymmetry present in our political and media status quo is shifting in ways that are impossible to predict.

Occupy Wall Street has gotten a lot of press these past few months. It may be that Reddit and other online communities have a much bigger impact in the long run than anything ad hoc tent cities and physical protests can achieve.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Rep. Ryan has received political donations of $288,600 from groups who support H.R. 3261 and just $39,950 from groups who are against it. It would appear that his vote has already been bought and paid for. When the House takes up SOPA again in January, it will be telling to see how Ryan tries to squirm his way out of this mess.

Way to go, Reddit!

Below, Paul Ryan gets roundly booed by his constituents for his shameful position on tax breaks for the rich at a “town hall” in April, 2011.
 

 
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Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘Sex-Power’: Rarely seen French film about the Sixties with Jane Birkin
12.29.2011
07:33 pm

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History
Movies
Pop Culture

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I love it when European directors try to wrap their heads around America in the Sixties. I’m thinking of Antonioni’s Zabriskie Point, Godard’s Sympathy For The Devil and the film I’m sharing here, Henry Chapier’s Sex-Power. Revolution has never been sexier, more romantic, existential or just plain goofy when seen through the prism of the nouvelle vague.

Sex-Power is a sweet bit of candy-colored psychedelic fluff with an astringent dose of agit-prop militancy in its chewy center. While most of the film is in English there is occasional French dialog without the benefit of English subtitles, but you hardly need to know French to get the gist of what is happening. This is the tale of a young Frenchman who arrives in Northern California looking to forget a lost love (Jane Birkin) and ends up encountering various forms of feminine power as embodied by Bernadette Lafonte as Salome and Catherine Marshall as “la fille moderne.” The film moves through space and time in an impressionistic, lysergic dreaminess.

Directed by film critic and journalist Henry Chapier in 1970, Sex-Power has a lovely soundtrack by Vangelis and luscious cinematography by Edmond Richard.

Released the same year as El Topo and Zabriskie Point, Chapier’s film has some striking desert imagery that can’t help but recall those films. More than likely a case of cosmic synchronicity as opposed to influence, given they were all made at the same time.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Holmes as Hamlet: Billy Wilder’s ‘The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes’
12.29.2011
06:54 pm

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Books
Literature
Movies

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Billy Wilder spent seven years with his co-writer I. A. L. Diamond working on the script of The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes. The finished film originally lasted over 3 hours, but the studios panicked over the failure of such long form films (Doctor Doolittle with Rex Harrison, and Star! with Julie Andrews and Michael Craig) and demanded cuts. The film was hacked down to an acceptable 93 minutes. Diamond didn’t speak to Wilder for almost a year

It was a terrible act of vandalism that robbed cinema of one of its greater Holmes, as portrayed by Robert Stephens. It was also bizarre that Wilder, who believed in the primacy of the word, allowed his script to be so drastically altered, turning what was an original meditation on Holmes into a mildly distracting caper. In the process we lost Wilder and Diamond’s analysis of Holmes not as just a fictional creation, but in comparison to Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

The clues are all there to be found. Let’s start with the casting, Stephens, who was one of the most gifted and brilliant actors of his generation - who sadly only graced the screen in a handful of films: scene-stealing in A Taste of Honey, adding flesh to the boney The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie,  and as the BFI states, “sublime” in The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes. Stephens was stage actor, the heir apparent to Laurence Olivier, indeed a far better actor than Olivier, who depended for success by flirting with the audience - Olivier could never be bad as he needed, demanded, the love of his audience.

When Wilder cast Stephens, the actor asked the great director:

‘“How do you want me to play it for the movie,” I asked Billy. “You must play it like Hamlet. And you must not put on one pound of weight. I want you to look like a pencil.” So, that’s the way we did The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes.’

 

 
The game’s afoot on ‘The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes’, after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘African Mayonnaise’ - Christeene returns and brings the filthy fire
12.29.2011
05:24 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Heroes
Music
Queer
Unorthodox

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Texan drag sensation Christeene Vale is back and she’s durtier than ever. “African Mayonnaise” is taken from her upcoming album Waste Up Knees Down - and while she may not be crawling out of a butthole a lá the video for “Bustin’ Brown”, I think there’s some sort of commentary going on here. I’m not sure exactly what but I guess it has something to do with life in modern, late-capitalist America? 

I am your new celebrity
I am your new America
I am the piece of filthy meat
That you take home and treat to yourself

I don’t feel like there’s been a drag act this out-there (and hence exciting!) in a looong time, and I await her full length album with glee (no, not the stupid show). We’ll be doing our best to get an exclusive interview with Christeene for DM, or even better her “handler” Paul Soileau, so keep your eyes and ears peeled.

But for now, just check out the video. “African Mayonaise” is good. No, it’s better than good, it’s great - I’d say it’s Christeene’s best video yet. As she rides roughshod over some nasty synth horns and slick dubstep beats, we see some real world reactions to this, ahem, unusual character, including getting chased out of a mall by a cop on a Segway, being heckled by Christians and being assaulted by a member of the Church Of Scientology. You GO girl!

Christeene “African Mayonnaise” NSFW
 

 
Previously on DM:
Sexual terrorism and drag de-evolution with Christeene

After the jump, Christeene’s very naughty “Nun’s Litany”...

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Dreadlock Holidays: Scotland steps to Mungo’s Hi-Fi
12.29.2011
05:23 pm

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Scotland’s not the first place that comes to mind when you think of top quality dub and reggae, but the Mungo’s Hi-Fi soundsystem and production team have been pumping out some of the best modern reggae of its kind for nigh on ten years now. They’ve been niceing up the dance in the Glasgow area for even longer - I’ve followed their rise from their initial incarnation as the Dub Dentists (“roots canal” - arf) through a period of a few years when they were my next door neighbours, right up til now and this excellent new mix.

Purveyors of not one but two record labels (Scotch Bonnet and Scrub-A-Dub) which regularly sell out their limited pressings, and in-demand selectahs that can be found spinning all over the world on any given weekend and hosting their own arenas at many highly-regarded festivals, it’s safe to say these guys know exactly what they’re doing. Scotland may not be Jamaica, but the love vibes are universal.

Musically Mungos Hi-Fi tread a fine line between uplifting digi-dub and ribcage-rattling dubstep (as in the strain that actually has its roots in dub and stepping, not to be confused with the head-banging, metal-imitating “brostep” variety). This musical but technical sound is perfectly showcased in this, their latest mix, which was recorded live in New York back in October. I’d also highly recommend checking out any of their releases (including the Sound System Champions LP), most of which can be a heard on their Soundcloud page, and available to buy via their record labels (linked above.)

All songs on the New York Boogie mix are exclusive Mungo’s dubplates, but you’ll hear an array of familiar voices including Eek-A-Mouse, Brother Culture, Warrior Queen, Sugar Minott, Sister Carol and many, many more: 
 

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Turn-On, Groove-In, Rock Out! The Barry Richards TV Collection Vol. 1
12.29.2011
05:21 pm

Topics:
History
Music
Pop Culture

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DM readers, if you’re looking for a way to spend that Christmas money burning a hole in your pocket, I have a really good suggestion for you: Turn-On, Groove-In, Rock Out! The Barry Richards TV Collection Vol. 1 put out recently on DVD by Resurrection Productions. I don’t recommend it lightly, I recommend it very highly. It’s a great value too, with nearly three hours of primo rock-n-roll footage that had been stored in a garage for years, unseen. For a certain type of rock snob, this 2 disc set is heaven.

To be honest, I never heard of Barry Richards, but the DVDs provide instant context for his fascinating four-decade-long career in broadcasting: Richards was a well-known rock jock and concert promoter in the Washington DC metro area in the 1960s, 70s and 80s and he also hosted a number of “free form” TV shows on local UHF TV stations. This 2 disc set is packed to the gills with clips from these shows, featuring an amazing early Alice Cooper performance (they do “Black Juju,” which is THE Alice Copper song, I personally would want to see them perform live, you might agree with me), Richie Havens, Little Richard, a fantastic set from Muddy Waters, Jamul, Humble Pie, The Bob Seeger System, Crow, Rory Gallagher, The Illusion, Fats Domino/The Byrds and Tommy Bolin’s first band, Zephyr. Along with the musical performances—always live, never lip-synced—were goofy, innocent segments taped with local high school students and long forgotten acts like comedian “Uncle Dirty” and Iron Jaw Samson, a fellow who ate light-bulbs. There are also 2 hours of audio only segments with the Beatles, Flash Gordon actor Buster Crabbe, comedy troupe The Ace Trucking Company (where Fred Willard got his start) and others.

What’s so amazing about these vintage performances (aside from the music itself, of course) is the journey from the wholesome B&W 60s era segments to the more, um, decadent era of the 70s clips. It’s pretty insane to see how quickly American teenagers grew out their hair (and beards) and took up pot smoking, and that happens pretty much right before your eyes with The Barry Richards TV Collection Vol. 1. (Just as quickly, the disco era takes over and Richards goes on to Studio 78 his disco show (which is not included here).

Below is a a brief sampling of the treasure trove you’ll find on Turn-On, Groove-In, Rock Out! The Barry Richards TV Collection Vol. 1 available only from Resurrection Productions.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Sean Bonniwell of The Music Machine R.I.P.
12.29.2011
04:11 pm

Topics:
Current Events
Music
Punk
R.I.P.

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Sean Bonniwell lead singer and songwriter for The Music Machine has died of lung cancer at 71.

Dressed all in black, with each member wearing one black glove, The Music Machine appeared like dark lords against the backdrop of the day-glow Sixties. And in songs like their big hit “Talk Talk” their sound was hard-edged, oozing a punk attitude, that would later influence groups like The Ramones and The Dictators.

Sean Bonniwell’s career with The Music Machine only lasted two years. He later formed a group called The Bonniwell Music Machine before selling the name to his record company to be released from his contract. A solo album followed in 1969 before he retired from the music scene for good. He briefly returned to recording in 2006 when he laid down some tracks with L.A. neo-garage band The Larksmen.

For a band that only released one album and had just a couple of hits, The Music Machine left an indelible mark on rock music and it is Bonniwell’s intense presence and tough guy baritone that I’ll most remember.

Here’s the situation
And how it really stands
I’m out of circulation
I’ve all but washed my hands
My social life’s a dud
My name is really mud
I’m up to here in lies
Guess I’m down to size
To size

Bonniwell may be out of circulation but he’ll never be down to size.
 

 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
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