This is Hardcore: Minor Threat live at CBGB, 1982
06:55 am


Minor Threat

Minor Threat flyer
While this video is as muddy as shit—after all, nobody had an iPhone yet—it’s still a fascinating document of the seminal DC hardcore band gigging in the NYC’s ultimate punk rock venue. And it sounds better than it looks, anyway.

As he introduces a cover of Wire’s “12XU,” Ian MacKaye says something about the carburetor making them three hours late. The other bands on the bill were The Mob and Urban Waste, NYC bands both—notice that the flier advertises Minor Threat as being “FROM DC.” According to Steven Blush’s American Hardcore: A Tribal History, this gig was the last one Urban Waste would ever play. A year later, Minor Threat too would be no more.

Conceptual artist/writer Dan Graham made a documentary about Minor Threat and their fans in 1983. In the book Dan Graham: Rock My Religion,  cultural theorist Kodwo Eshun references a video of this show taken by Graham; this is presumably that video.

Steppin’ Stone (Monkees cover)
Straight Edge
Small Man, Big Mouth
Seeing Red
Minor Threat
Guilty of Being White
12XU (Wire cover)
Screaming At a Wall
It Follows
Out of Step (With the World)
I Don’t Wanna Hear It
Little Friend
No Reason
Bottled Violence
Think Again
In My Eyes

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘The Upsetter’ documents the totally tripped-out world of Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry
10:18 pm


The Upsetter

Directed and produced by Ethan Higbee and Adam Bhala Lough, The Upsetter lets its central character, creative wild man Lee “Scratch” Perry, be his loosey goosey self (as if anybody could stop him) while he takes the viewer on a meandering voyage through his surreal world of tripped-out visions and sublime sonics.

Perry carries the history of reggae in every cell of his body and the glimpses we get of his life, through archival and new footage, is seductive, crazy and jubilant. The mercurial man is as elusive as a stoned butterfly, but in between the patois, jive talk and cosmic gibberish, the light seeps through.

The Upsetter attempts to put Perry into a larger context in terms of reggae’s roots and evolution, but the man is such a force of nature that most everything in the film, other than its subject, is beclouded by the whirlwind of cosmic dust Lee Perry leaves in his wake. As a reggae documentary, the movie is rudimentary. As a glimpse into the mind of Perry, it’s essential and fucking nuts. 

Narrated by Benicio Del Toro.


Parts two, three and four after the jump…

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Syria: Bloody hell, do we really need another war?

The streets are littered with bodies. Up to 5,000 people (children, women, men) are dead. Between 7,000 and 10,000 are injured.

The cause of death and injury is chemical weapons—some experts claim these weapons “may have included mustard gas, the nerve agents sarin, tabun and VX and possibly cyanide.”

Yet, no action is taken against the dictator who authorized the attack.

This may all sound familiar, but it’s not Syria, it’s Halabja, Iraq, in 1988.

This was “Bloody Friday” when thousands were gassed on the orders of a psychotic and deranged dictator, Saddam Hussein.

This was when Ronald Reagan was POTUS and Margaret Thatcher was the Prime Minister.

When news of the slaughter reached governments in America and the United Kingdom, nothing was done. Well, that’s not quite true, the Americans blamed Iran for the attack.

Now sheriff President Obama and his side-kick deputy, British Prime Minister David Cameron, are warming-up to declare possible war on Syria’s dictator, President Bashar al-Assad for allegedly authorizing the use of chemical weapons on his country’s people.

Over 100,000 Syrians have died since civil war began in the country in 2011. Nearly 1.5 million people have fled the country, while an estimated 1.2 million have been displaced within the country—nearly half of these are children.

Today, UK Prime Minister Cameron gave a strong performance in Parliament, where he referenced the Geneva Protocol, which prohibits the use of chemical weapons. Syria was a signatory to this protocol in 1968, but with reservations—they only agreed not to use chemical weapons in a war with another country.

Syria did not sign the Chemical Weapons Convention of 1993.

Essentially this means it doesn’t matter what chemical weapons Syria uses on its own people.

We all may be horrified by this, but there’s very little we can legally do to change it.

This also means countries like America and the U.K. have no legal recourse to action against Syria on the basis of the Geneva Protocol or CWC.

With this in mind, why are the elites of America and Britain so keen to “intervene” in Syria with public opinion in both countries so overwhelming against getting involved?

There have been 14 instances of the use of chemical weapons in Syria already noted, why now?
Also, what is the actual evidence of who used what chemical weapons and when? Even Cameron admitted he didn’t know but had made “a judgement” Also, filling news channels, papers and sites with pictures of dead children will not help a rational debate.

Moreover, why is the use of chemical weapons considered a fair reason (the “red line”) to intervene, and not the deaths, since 2011, of 100,000 Syrians?

What is their end game?

It would be fair to assume that Iran is somewhere on the US/UK agenda. But why? Why now, that the once feared looney tunes, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is out of office, and has been replaced by the mature, level-headed Glasgow Caledonian University-educated, Hassan Rouhani as President?

Moreover, with Russia upping the ante (by allegedly sending in two warships to the area), why are East and West falling back into their expected roles as enemies? Is it better for business? Does it save these countries from dealing with internal dissent? 

Whatever the answer, the next few days will be crucial, and it can only be hoped that our glorious leaders will get their facts right, and think before they shoot from the hip.



Thankfully it does seem some politicians are thinking before acting, as David Cameron’s hope of a UK Government motion on “a strong humanitarian response” being required, which may “include military action,” has been defeated tonight by 13 votes—285 (No), 272 (Yes).



Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘Entering Texas’: This demented Butthole Surfers video could permanently barbecue your brain
01:34 pm


Butthole Surfers

At a time in the ‘80s when hardcore was on the wane and college radio was increasingly dominated by future yuppie-rock arena stars like REM and U2, the Butthole Surfers stuck out like an angry boner. True to their Texas roots, they did nothing small, spiking their twisted but virtuoso experimental punk with heretical genres like acid rock and prog, all half-digested and projectile-vomited onto the burgeoning audience for the music that would eventually come under the catchall of “indie rock.”

The Butthole Surfers were creatively fearless, gleefully unpredictable, utterly glorious. Live performances were overwhelming and often just flat-out frightening multimedia affairs featuring projections of alarming/disgusting surgical footage, a nude dancer named “Ta Da The Shit Lady” who’d reputedly indulge a bandmate in the occasional onstage sex act, a pair of tandem tribal drummers, and vocalist Gibby Haynes recklessly playing with fire WAY too close to the audience (and his own penis). Nothing else at the time came close to that level of danger and excitement, and even when they toned the volatility down after improbably getting signed to Capitol Records in the heat of the ‘90s corporate-alt moment, they still remained one of the key yardsticks by which fuckedupedness was measured.
Just when you thought it was safe to wipe…
One particularly hilarious but not often seen expression of the band’s demented lysergic ethos was “Entering Texas” (a/k/a “The Bar-B-Que Movie”), which surfaced in 1988 on a VHS oddity called Impact Video Magazine. If you can track it down (and afford the punitive, if not downright larcenous prices decent copies can fetch), there’s much to recommend it. Directed and compiled by Alex Winter (“Bill” of Bill & Ted’s Yadda Yadda Yadda fame), it includes segments on Jane’s Addiction, Public Enemy and Bill Hicks, but “Entering Texas” is the tape’s high point. Starring the Surfers as an unhinged Texas Chainsaw Massacre-ish clan that’s enticed an unwitting family to join them for a barbecue… well, just watch it.

Heads-up for trainspotters: See if you recognize the nervous dad.

If this is the sort of wrongness that appeals to your baser instincts, it may interest you that the band is reissuing its first four albums on vinyl. The press release from their label, Latino Bugger Veil, claims that these will be the first vinyl pressings since the original ‘80s releases on the Touch And Go label (whom, it can’t go unmentioned, the band infamously sued in 1996, a move which cost them significant goodwill in the underground that made them famous to begin with), though CDs and digital downloads have been continuously available. 1984′s Psychic, Powerless…Another Man’s Sac, 1986′s Rembrant Pussyhorse, 1987′s Locust Abortion Technician (the one to get if you can only get one) and 1988′s Hairway To Steven will all be re-released on October 1st. The press release makes no mention of the contemporary Butthole Surfers (a/k/a Brown Reason to Live), Live PCPPEP or Cream Corn From The Socket Of Davis EPs, all of which include some must-have material, but even without the EPs, these four albums, taken together, comprise a crucial document of the development and creative peak of the single most combatively weird band ever to find a mass audience.

For a taste of their signature weirdness from their embryonic period, we leave you with some rare footage of the band in its early days, in a wonderful performance/interview segment from NYC cable access’ The Scott And Gary Show in 1984.

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
‘Turtles Have Short Legs’: Can’s idea of a Krautrock novelty song?
12:15 pm



Can’s decidedly loopy, in every sense of the word, 1971 single, “Turtles Have Short Legs,” finds the Krautrock titans in a decidedly playful mood. As Rooksby suggests at the I Love Total Destruction blog, it almost sounds as if they were deliberately trying to come up with a novelty hit:

Despite Can ascending to near deity status over the course of the last decade, it’s surprising how few people know about this uncharacteristically daft 7”. Recorded during the Tago Mago sessions & released on Liberty in 1971, it’s sufficiently odd to suggest that both band & label realized Can’s only opportunity for blagging a little chart action would be via the “weird” novelty hit route. “Turtles Have Short Legs"could, I guess, be ranked alongside similarly peculiar early 70s smashes like “Mouldy Old Dough” & “Popcorn” though, typically, Can’s effort failed to chart anywhere.

Writing at Julian Cope’s sprawling Head Heritage website, Seth the Man further informs us that…

This was Can’s third single, issued at the time of release of their colossal double LP, Tago Mago. Its A-side, “Turtles Have Short Legs” was unavailable on album until it appeared years later on the Cannibalism 2 compilation. It’s unlike any Damo-era Can piece ever, appropriating an absurd Teutonic toy town piano phrase that winds up subverting it in waves into a slow, untrammeled monster. There are no lyrics although Damo IS singing—but even then the most discernible lines are easily misheard. And those that aren’t are vamped ridiculously by Damo into exaggerated Japanese-accented English, transposing his ‘L’s and ‘R’s as though to put on his detractors, A return lyric comes on like a punch line, as repeats of (I think) “Oh, we can pile it on!” ensue over the buoyantly together group bash out/playtime vibe. But for all its joviality, this confounding track manages to gradually turn over in its sleep into a dense thicket of instruments galloping at a loping pace. All other instruments fall away at two separate clearings with only Damo and the drums to continue alone unfettered only to wind up as a succession of drum rolls and barking vocal pronouncements. Once back into the full ensemble fray, Holger Czukay starts pumping up with his space-filled Jaguar bass lines, and Damo throws in a line about “a cigalette (sic)/Not for the toking.” The guitar-dominated coda, sees Michael Karoli playing around the edges of all the unpeeled paint upon the walls of Schloss Norvenich with extra sensory mojo and feeling at top volume as circling drums just continue pressing onward and upwards; drummer Jaki Liebezeit soon hitting his cymbals not with sticks but carefully aimed and stamina-directed tree trunks, beating the piece to rest.

The above description reads like rock snob poetry to me!

And there’s a promo video for it, too? Apparently so. I’m a pretty big Can fan, but admittedly I was unaware that a promotional film for “Turtles Have Short Legs” existed (although it makes sense that it would since it was a single). From the editing style, it would appear to be authentically vintage, although I can’t say for sure. What’s of interest in this footage is that you get to see two of Can’s inner sanctums—like The Clash, Faust, Gong, etc, these guys always had a clubhouse—their set-up in the Cologne castle and the converted movie theater in Weilerswist that they moved into in late 1971. That location you can tell from the mattresses soundproofing the walls.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Hell yeah: Amazingly detailed ‘Blade Runner’ action figures
11:24 am

Pop Culture

Blade Runner
Action Figures

Lord have mercy! These incredible 12” Blade Runner action figures are something else, aren’t they? Sculptor Scott Pettersen made these gorgeous pieces. Apparently each one takes take two to three months to make. I believe it, too! Just look at the detail in the clothes alone! My mind is simply blown!

“I work in wax when I sculpt and you can get a lot of detail in wax,” Pettersen says of the figures’ faces. “The finished heads are made out of resin — the kind I use is a clear, translucent color, so I cast it in a light color and then build onto that with different flesh tones. With all of them I use airbrush and there’s a lot of blending, a lot of thin, thin layers — I think on mass-produced figures all the paint is opaque and nothing is done with layers so it’s not as realistic.”

Read more about Pettersen’s Blade Runner action figures at Geek Exchange.




Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
‘Who do you think you are, God?’: Bible talk with Jim Jarmusch and Neil Young
10:20 am


Jim Jarmusch
Neil Young and Crazy Horse

God figures prominently in the video below from Jim Jamusch’s 1997 documentary, Year of the Horse.  The film impressionistically chronicles the storied, decades-long partnership between Neil Young and Crazy Horse as they tour the world in 1996. 

I dug up the clip after reading a Rolling Stone interview from last April with Frank “Poncho” Sampedro, long-term guitar player for Crazy Horse, brought on board after the tragic death of Danny Whitten, the band’s integral and original guitar player and songwriter.  Sampedro first played with the band in 1973, but wouldn’t see material released with Crazy Horse until Zuma in 1975.  He says in the interview that his gut tells him that their current tour will be their last.

“Our shows are physical,” says Poncho. “It takes a lot of energy to play that much. It just seems at some point something is going to break. I already had an operation on my thumb. Neil’s wrist bugs him, and he has to tape it when he plays. You can’t fool time. You can’t count on this happening again in five years.”

The quote turned out to be prophetic. Sampedro broke his hand in an accident earlier this month forcing Crazy Horse to cancel the last seven dates of the European leg of their tour.  Then, just last week, they announced that they had to bail on an upcoming four-date tour in the U.S. and Canada as well. 

It struck me as possible that Neil Young and Crazy Horse might be close to having done their last show (they have a few dates scheduled in September and through the end of the year according to Young’s website), and it made me think about how glad I was that I got to see them in October. Despite the fact that the youngest member in the band (Poncho) was in his early 60’s, they were still great, classically hunching in a tight circle onstage, once again summoning that indescribable thing, those beautifully heavy, organic landscapes that you either get or you don’t and that Crazy Horse uniquely conjures.

Year of the Horse came to mind as I thought about the Crazy Horse live experience. In this more-than-a-rockumentary, rust belt auteur, Jarmusch (Permanent Vacation, Strangers in Paradise, Night on Earth, Broken Flowers, etc.), inter-mingles sometimes confrontational band interviews and grainy concert footage with ethereal, black-and-white, fluttering, ghostly imagery shot from moving vehicles, from inside empty concert venues, and from deep within dancing audiences rendered in slow motion. Vintage out-takes, culled mainly from tours in 1976 and 1986, mark ten year intervals from the time of the contemporary footage, infusing the film with a sort of timelessness, glimpses rather than a solid narrative and the sense the Crazy Horse has been on some kind of a mission, however insane and disjointed, since day one. It’s a chronicle of a band haunted by a turbulent past, littered with lost members and what Young calls a “trail of destruction.”

The film flows nicely from Jarmusch’s previous film, 1995’s Dead Man, a genre-bending western and Native American death journey featuring a stark, reverb-infused instrumental soundtrack crafted by none other than Young himself.

One of the virtues of Year of the Horse is that for all the leave-it-all-on-the-stage swagger of the live performances, there’s often just as much intensity between the band members when they’re not on stage. Then again, during several moments of levity, the film shows how hilariously dopey the band can be at times. These parts leave you laughing and sometimes marveling. 

In one segment from 1976, Young sets fire to a bunch of cloth flowers inside a Glasgow hotel room, tries to extinguish them with a pile of napkins and “a little orange juice,” and then, when the hotel manager arrives, sheepishly blames the whole incident on how dangerous it is that the establishment keeps flammable flowers on the table right near where the ashtray sits. 

In 1986 footage from Rotterdam, Young, known for literally kicking his players in the ass on stage for screwing up, goes ballistic on bass player Billy Talbot for fucking up during a performance after rehearsing all day. It’s seriously not nice.

Later, intimate black-and-white footage finds the band back in England in 1976 in a small, back-stage, painted brick room, moments after a performance with the crowd yelling for more in the background.  Crazy Horse seems wiped out, but they ultimately settle on “Home Grown” for the encore.

While some of the concert footage meanders a bit a times, there are also some great performances here. There’s a blistering, careening, angry take on “Fuckin’ Up” from 1990’s Ragged Glory, wherein the band chugs along with the ferocity and attitude of a bunch of guys half their age. There’s an ultra-heavy, incendiary version of “Tonight’s the Night” that captures all the stop-on-a-dime dynamics of that tune, with the band deconstructing itself into shaky vocal harmonies then ripping into guitar-bending feedback crescendos while Young works out jerky, side-stabbing solos. The film wraps up with footage of the band literally beating the hell out of “Like a Hurricane,” while Jarmusch infuses footage of the same song performed twenty years earlier, demonstrating the unwavering, stubborn energy that can almost transcendentally exude from this epic, multi-decade vision of analog exploration.

Young really liked the film. In a 1997 interview, he said:

I love that movie ... You can really feel the personal view of a filmmaker and, above all, the movie is about the band. It’s more than a simple story; it’s an impression, a succession of feelings. I had the idea of doing this movie - I like this kind of stuff and I like to have a camera with me, but Jim made it possible.

Sampedro, on the other hand, is a little more lukewarm about it.  When asked to speak on Year of the Horsein the April Rolling Stone interview mentioned above he answered:

Am I a fan of the movie? In a way, yes, and in a way, no. I think if people really think that’s Crazy Horse . . . it’s a pretty soft version of us. You don’t really see what goes on. But then again, some stuff is so personal you don’t want people to see it all. It would be like one of those weird reality shows. There’s a lot more turmoil than what you see there, and intensity as well.

In interviews, Sampedro harangues Jarmusch on two separate occasions in the film for being an “artsy-fartsy” director who could never even begin to ask a few questions and hope to capture the decades-long saga that is Crazy Horse.  In the interest of full disclosure, or maybe just because he’s having fun with it, Jarmusch lets the camera roll and includes footage of the visibly annoyed Sampedro.

Is this the best documentation ever put to film of Neil Young and Crazy Horse? Maybe not, but what does it matter? What it comes down to is that Year of the Horse is just another moment in time for a band on a messy, cantankerous and often incredible journey. It’s just another historical artifact demonstrating that when Crazy Horse is firing on all cylinders, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better rock-and-roll outfit on the entire planet.

Not unlike 1991’s film version of Weld which was released on VHS and never reissued, Year of the Horse seems to be out of print for purchase (there are a few pricey copies listed as “new” left on Amazon) and is often not even mentioned in band bios. It’s a shame. Not only is the film something for fans of Jim Jarmusch to consider, but, if Crazy Horse really is almost done touring, Year of the Horse is a part of the band’s legacy worthy of a look.  There might not be much new live footage to ponder.

There is live album called Year of the Horse, but none of the performances from the film appear on it.

The clip below focuses on Jarmusch and Young pretending to take seriously a bunch of completely over-the-top bible verses.  There’s a goofy and childlike camaraderie between the two who, frankly, seem a little “light-headed.” 

While you’re waiting for the God talk, enjoy a psyched 1970’s super-fan extolling the virtues of “the Neil Young universe” and a spacey, Jesus freak guy enlightening Young on how “San Francisco was the rebirth of the planet.” 


Incidentally, Roger Ebert HATED Year of the Horse, giving it a single star and calling it the worst movie he saw in 1997.  He describes the music in the film as (among other things)  “shapeless, graceless and built from rhythm, not melody.” 

Decide for yourself by watching the film in its entirety in the two clips (with Spanish subtitles) below or better still, it’s streaming on Netflix.

[FILM] Year of the Horse (Jim Jarmusch, Neil Young, See more) from santa sancha on Vimeo.

‘Year of the Horse,’ part II, after the jump…

Posted by Jason Schafer | Leave a comment
György Ligeti: ‘Poème Symphonique For 100 Metronomes,’ 1962
09:40 am


György Ligeti

This film short from György Ligeti, the great Hungarian composer of “contemporary music,” as we still don’t have a proper name for “classical” music composed in our era, dates from 1962. Ligeti is probably best-known for writing “Lux Aeterna,” the eerie vocal accompaniment to the black plinth in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Artforum helpfully expains:

The Hungarian composer György Ligeti composed Poème Symphonique for 100 Metronomes in 1962, during his brief acquaintance with the Fluxus movement. The piece requires ten “performers,” and most of their efforts take place without the audience present. Each of the hundred metronomes is set up on the performance platform, and they are all then wound to their maximum extent and set to different speeds. Once they are all fully wound they are all started as simultaneously as possible. The performers then leave. The audience is then admitted, and take their places while the metronomes are all ticking. As the metronomes wind down one after another and stop, periodicity becomes noticeable in the sound, and individual metronomes can be more clearly made out. The piece typically ends with just one metronome ticking alone for a few beats.

Judging from the way it sounds, the piece could be titled “10 Buxom Dames in the Sterling Cooper Steno Pool” and it would mostly be pretty similar.

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Evangelical Christian TV icon Tammy Faye Bakker interviews a gay man with AIDS, 1985
09:28 am


Tammy Faye Bakker

Tammy Faye
Tammy Faye at a pride event
A lot of folks outside of the Bible Belt have trouble understanding Tammy Faye Bakker’s status as a gay icon. I mean sure, the make-up is befitting the most punk rock of drag queens (the documentary The Eyes of Tammy Faye is narrated by RuPaul), but her affiliation with Evangelical Christianity would seem to preclude her from “queer ally canonization.”

What most people either don’t know or don’t remember is that prior to Jerry Falwell’s near-monopoly on white working class Christian evangelism in America, celebrity churches were actually quite diverse, socially and politically and far less judgmental. It was Rev. Falwell who founded the Moral Majority, the organization that jump-started the extreme right-wing politicization of the Evangelical movement during the Reagan era, and it was Falwell who publicly accused Tammy’s husband Jim Bakker of homosexuality and of embezzling from his ministry. While Jim most certainly misappropriated funds (Tammy was legally determined to be ignorant of his misconduct) and had an affair, Falwell’s character assassination seemed entirely motivated by his plan to consolidate power.

Prior to the scandals, Tammy Faye Bakker ran a cable-access children’s puppet show, preaching messages of acceptance and love. As their ministry grew, she and Jim started the Christian talk show, The PTL Club, and eventually a world-wide Christian cable network of the same name. Far from being the right-wing cabal we now associate with Christian TV, The PTL Club was more about spreading the love—and passing the collection plate, natch. Below, you can see one of the very first television interviews with an AIDS patient, and a gay man, at that. Far from being a mere spectacle for gawkers, the interview is a frank discussion and a plea for acceptance and sympathy. (Steve Pieters, by the way, has had AIDS for the last 30 years, he’s a minister himself, and he is still singing in the acclaimed Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles.)

The Tammy Faye backlash was in many ways a reaction to the shyster churches that scandalized the era. But it was also partially snobby bullshit. For all the make-up and crying and and bad taste in men, Tammy Faye truly seemed to be, at her core, a sweet, loving person who stood beside the maligned and took risks to live by the principles she espoused.

More after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
‘Star Drunk’: Hilarious shit-faced sci-fi film written by and starring DRUNK people
09:04 am

Pop Culture

Star Drunk

I found this pretty damned amusing because the actors appear to be at least trying to stick to the script instead of acting drunk.

Because they are all drunk.

Drunk drunk. Drunkity drunk drunk.

The filmmakers told Laughing Squid:

‘Star Drunk’ is the sequel to the viral short film ‘Cleverbot: Do You Love Me.’ Star Drunk is an experiment in writing a short film while drunk; several writers from Portland got together one night to write the script. We promised each other that whatever we wrote that night, we’d produce as a short film.

Obviously, the cast got in on the intoxicated fun, too. We’ve already got Drunk History, get ready for some shit-faced sci-fi.

Should you require more, they’ve posted some behind-the-scenes antics at Laughing Squid.

Posted by Em | Leave a comment
Page 169 of 1528 ‹ First  < 167 168 169 170 171 >  Last ›