Laughing Squid posted these incredible photos of a 1960s “Narcotics & Dangerous Drugs Identification Kit.” Apparently the kit, manufactured by Winston Products for Education, was used in schools to teach kids about the dangers of drugs. In all honesty though, this kit showcases drugs a little like a candy store. It also reminds me strongly of the work of visionary painter Paul Laffoley. It’s a work of art!
Meet Ssion, the gender bending electro-punk dance band from Kansas City, led by front person Cody Critcheloe. Is Cody a man or a woman? I’m not completely sure, but it’s not important - s/he can be whatever you want hir to be. And as with other current queer artists like JD Samson, Cody likes to play with people’s traditional perceptions of style and beauty - witness the trademark combo monobrow and mustache, a pretty risqué fashion move in these anti-hair-biased times
Ssion (pronounced “shun”) are a full on audio/visual/performance-troupe well known for their live shows and support slots for the likes of Gossip and Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Critcheloe has been making a respectable career as a video director on the side, working with Peaches, Liars and Scream Club. Ssion formed in Kansas in 1996 and released their first material in 2003. The band released their last album Fools Gold in 2007 and with it the full length feature film Boy which compiled all their music videos and has been described as a “gay, punk rock equivalent of Forest Gump.” Ssion have taken the step of releasing their new album Bent as a free download for a limited time, and it’s definitely worth downloading. As with Tyler the Creator’s first album Bastard, it’s surprising to hear music released for free that is of this high quality.
Make no mistake though - Bent is pop music. It’s party music, it’s designed for dancing - for those moments at a friend’s house when the sun is coming up, you’ve had a ball, but you’ve got that melancholic feeling that to quit now as it’s can’t get any better. There are shades of very early Madonna here, coupled with the classic mid-80s synth driven sound of the Pet Shop Boys and Eurodisco, all refracted through early 90s NY dance pop like Deee-Lite. Bent is basically the album the Scissor Sisters should have made by now, classy dance music stripped of the chintz (and Elton bloody John references) and honed to a sharp electro-pop point. It’s pretty damn good. So my advice to you dear readers is to let a little bit of Ssion into your life - get Bent.
Ssion - “Clown”
Ssion - “Psy-Chic”
Ssion - “Luvvbazaar”
Ssion - “Credit In The Straight World” Excellent cover of
32 years ago and the writing was already on the wall…and this was before CDs hit the market.
Pinning their hopes on punk and power pop while not really supporting either didn’t help an industry in freefall. And despite the hype in this clip, generic bands like 707 barely created a ripple on the American airwaves. It wasn’t until Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” was released that the record execs felt a slight trembling in their scrotal sacs before things went cold again.
Ironically, good old vinyl is back and one of the few bright spots in the currently downsized music marketplace, selling more than it has in the past few decades.
Note Michael Nesmith on the Marquee (in 1979!), some punk bands on a club calender and the Dickies’ appearance. Tower Records R.I.P. And while Frampton came alive and eventually became zombified, Patti Smith still reigns!
Feast your ears on the pulsating pop perfection of “Bitter Pill” from former Bananarama/Shakespears Sister member, Siobhan Fahey.
Fahey has been performing again under the Shakespears Sister moniker since 2009. Although I’m a big fan of her music, I must confess that I did not know this. I’m glad she’s back. I didn’t know how much I’d missed her.
I first got wind of this track, released under her own name, on Larry Tee‘s Electroclash Mix compilation in 2003—in fact I bought it because of this song—but I was actually unaware until a couple of weeks ago that Fahey has actually recorded quite a lot of worthy music since then. Her 2009 album Songs From the Red Room is a very high quality product, indeed, on constant rotation at here at chez Dangerous Minds. I find her electro-glam sound absolutely relevant in this decade. Siobhan Fahey is a damned fine pop songwriter. Catchy pop music will never go out of fashion and she’s got a genius knack for coming up with effortlessly memorable melodies.
And she’s still freakin’ gorgeous. Always easy on the eyes, and now nearly 53, Fahey looks to be in her mid-thirties and is still a highly credible, sexy, sleekly feline front-woman. If any performer from the dreaded 80s is worthy of a second act—and let’s face it, few are—it’s Siobham Fahey. Don’t tale my word for it, watch the video and see for yourself.
“Bitter Pill” was re-vamped by the Pussycat Dolls for their debut album PCD in 2005, mashed together with the chorus from Donna Summer’s “Hot Stuff and re-titled “Hot Stuff (I Want You Back).” No surprises, it’s vastly inferior compared to the original.
Fahey herself recorded a rockier version of “Bitter Pill” with Adam & The Ants six-string maestro Marco Pirroni (a permanent member of my pantheon of guitar gods—he’s so underrated as a musician that it just pisses me off) for Songs From the Red Room. It’s available direct from the Shakespears Sister website and all the usual places. Siobhan Fahey’s got new material out this very week.
Rupert Murdoch’s flagship daily UK tabloid The Sun was this evening hacked by a group claiming to be Lulzsec, who uploaded a fake front page story that Murdoch’s cold, lifeless body had been found in his private glasshouse, after overdosing on palladium. Oh, if only. The website still seems to be down, and we are assuming that service will be back to normal by tomorrow, but by gum this was a good prank!
Another gem from the BBC vaults via Adam Curtis’s blog: The Rock and Roll Singer, a documentary from 1969 that follows down-on-his-luck American rock and roller Gene Vincent for the first four days of a low budget English tour:
Gene Vincent had been a massive star only ten years before, but now much of that had gone and he takes you into a very British world of small dance halls on the Isle of Wight, cheap hotels where he has to tell the woman on the desk that he will be sharing with his roadie, and a rehearsal room in the basement of a pub in Croydon - where the walls are lined with old mattresses, plus a fantastic touring van.
It is just a wonderful film, full of long hand-held takes - and at the end you watch a man completely exhausted by his performance backstage in a tiny dance hall, and he really doesn’t want to do it any more. But then the promoter comes up from the darkness and leads Vincent like a child, by the hand, back onstage to do an encore.
Less than eighteen months later Vincent died - because an ulcer burst in his stomach.
An Australian couple are claiming to be the reincarnation of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene. Alan John Miller and Mary Suzanne Luck have set up base on a huge property in Queensland’s Bible Belt along with a growing number of followers:
Followers joined forces in 2009 to buy a $400,000, 240ha property where they hold weekly meetings and plan to build a centre catering for international visitors.
In a bizarre coincidence, land clearing has created a giant cross on neighbouring properties that can be seen from space using Google Maps. Local residents insisted it was not carved deliberately.
Police are said to have been called to investigate screams in the area, only to discover members taking part in a healing exercise where they shout to help process “past soul damage” and ill feelings.
Mr. Miller was born in Loxton and has two children from a previous marriage, which he says ended after he “began to remember details” of his past life.
Tailoring his appearance to look like Jesus, he yesterday held a workshop in Albury, New South Wales, where he stood by his claims and said at least “30 or 40” people had bought blocks around Wilkesdale.
“Mary and myself haven’t ever encouraged people to move out there. Some of the people we don’t even know,” he said.
In one recording he said: “There’s probably a million people who say they’re Jesus and most of them are in asylums. But one of us has to be. How do I know I am? Because I remember everything about my life.”
Scare small children and household pets with this DIY mask of famous German schlager-meister, Heino. Known for his constant sunglasses (for an eye condition), mellow bellow, and his goofy “oompa”-laden volksmusik, Heino’s vibe is probably not possible to appreciate unless you have a bit of the volk in you, I’d imagine, but don’t let me stop you from trying.
Below, a clip of Heino singing a Alpine folk tune with some shiny happy people in the comedy film Blau blüht der Enzian (which I’m sure is absolutely hilarious).
One more (why not?) of Heino singing “Carnival in Rio”:
The premise of “Songs In The Key Of V” was to compile a collection of tracks that I felt echoed elements of The Velvet Underground in a significant way. I’m not saying these songs could not have existed if The Velvet Underground had never appeared on planet Earth, though I doubt they would, but at the very least I think it’s quite probable that these songs, to greater and lesser degrees, were influenced, consciously or otherwise, by the music of The Velvet and/or the band’s individual members.
My criteria in choosing these particular tracks/artists was that they should have the feel, sound or attitude of the Velvets, either as a group or as solo artists. I wanted to detect an aura or infusion of the spirits, the distinct urban rhythm, drone and streetwise sensibility of Lou Reed, John Cale, Sterling Morrison, Nico and Moe Tucker. And in these songs I do, some more clearly than others.
01. I’m Going Out Of My Way - Stereolab
02. Failures - Joy Division
03. Bad Vibrations - Black Angels
04. She Cracked - Modern Lovers
05. The Modern Age - The Strokes
06. Down 42nd St. To The Light - East River Pipe
07. Tell Me When It’s Over - Dream Syndicate
08. Blue Flower - Mazzy Star
09. Always The Sun - The Stranglers
10. Leif Erikson - Interpol
11. Hanging Out And Hung Up On The Line - Julian Cope
12. Looking For A Way In - Cornershop
13. Shine A Light - Wolf Parade
14. The Moon - Cat Power
15. Sleepin’ Around - Sonic Youth
I’d be interested in hearing from Dangerous Minds readers what songs they feel have the Velvet touch.