follow us in feedly
Beatle wigs—seriously, what the hell?
08.14.2014
06:24 am

Topics:
Amusing
Music

Tags:
Beatles


Alfred Hitchcock does his best Ringo impression

Beatle wigs were surely the biggest game-changer in the celebrity merchandise racket until the introduction of screenprinted t-shirts. While actors and singers had launched sartorial fads since the advent of the star system (and is selling crap to the rubes not half the point of said system?), I’m not aware of, nor has more digging than I really wanted to do turned up, for example, a trademarked line of bobby socks emblazoned with Frank Sinatra’s smilin’ mug, or a clothier who marketed a specifically Elvis-branded shirt-jac. But the way the Beatles seismic popularity completely blew up western culture? Cuban-heeled ankle boots were ubiquitously rebranded as “Beatle” boots, and collarless Edwardian suits were sold as “Beatle” suits. But those were garments that already existed. The wigs? I suspect the widespread desire of fans to purchase crappy wigs to emulate their heroes’ hair may have been novel. There’s maybe an arguable precedent in the Fess Parker-inspired fad for raccoon fur caps in the ‘50s, but a hat doesn’t mean the same thing as a wig does it? The semiotic is a different one.

I almost kind of even get why it happened. In the U.S., where the Beatles’ hair inspired the most scandalous media attention, crew-cuts were the ubiquitous men’s haircut, so growing one’s hair out to the newly trendy length could take a year. If you rocked a duck’s ass, you could just forego your pomade and trim your bangs to achieve the style, but DAs were for greasers who probably hated the Beatles anyway, not clean teens who stayed home on Sunday night to watch Ed Sullivan’s “really big shoe.”
 

Ed Sullivan.

“Necessity” being the mother of invention, the Beatle wig was born. Never mind that actually wearing one made you look less like Paul McCartney than a forgotten Howard brother who got kicked out of the Three Stooges for lurking around playgrounds, the damn things really caught on. Can you imagine if this had stayed a thing? Suppose gazillions of kids bought Quiet Riot wigs—don’t let mom throw out your ultra-collectible Kevin DuBrow pre-hairplugs model!—Vanilla Ice wigs, Jonas Brothers wigs. THE HORROR!
 

NOT A COPY—THE REAL THING? Um, unless they scalped Ringo, this is pretty much the definition of a copy.

And of course today, as with all things Beatles, original wigs now cost a fortune. (A friend of mine once quipped, on observing original press Beatles records at a collectors convention which were fetching car-payment prices despite looking like they were the victims of a piss-deluge and a vigorous flaying, that one could probably just write the word “Beatles” in jelly on a piece of white toast and some bug-eyed, bowl-mulletted dipshit would give you money for it.) Some of the molded plastic ones, which amusingly foreshadow DEVO’s New Traditionalists-era plastic pompadours, can go for an astonishing $600. But even the ghastly cash-in-quick cheapos that were hastily stitched together from fun-fur can fetch some serious bucks.
 

Nifty.

Here’s a fun newsreel doc from the terrific British Pathé discussing the fad, and even showing the details of the wigs’ manufacture.
 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Prog perfection: Van der Graaf Generator’s ONLY live performance of ‘A Plague of Lighthouse Keepers’
08.14.2014
06:09 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
prog rock
Van der Graaf Generator
Peter Hammill


 
From the Dangerous Minds archives…

Although history will recall the Van der Graaf Generator as being a “progressive rock” group, in many respects, this assessment has more to do with timing than the actual music this far ahead-of-their-time band actually made. Imagine if Pawn Hearts, their masterpiece, was released in 1981 instead of 1971, if you take my point.

It wasn’t for nuthin’ that the likes of John Lydon, Julian Cope and Marc Almond were all such massive fans of the group. David Bowie, too.

And speaking of Pawn Hearts, this is an album I’ve loved for decades, and yet I remained blissfully unaware of the existence of this single, solitary live filmed performance of “A Plague of Lighthouse Keepers,” the sprawling, 23-minute-long epic suite consisting of ten separate movements that takes up the entirety of that album’s side two. I found this by accident yesterday, looking for something else. My jaw dropped as I watched it.

This 1972 performance from Belgium television—which is nothing short of astonishing and quite intensely intense—was shot piecemeal and edited together because it was impossible to play the song all in one go. Apparently, this is the only time “A Plague of Lighthouse Keepers” was ever performed live like this by the original classic line-up of Hugh Banton, Guy Evans, Peter Hammill and David Jackson.

Peter Hammill told this to the Sounds music newspaper about the theme of the enigmatic suite:

“It’s just the story of the lighthouse keeper, that’s it on its basic level. And there’s the narrative about his guilt and his complexes about seeing people die and letting people die, and not being able to help. In the end—well, it doesn’t really have an end, it’s really up to you to decide. He either kills himself or he rationalises it all and can live in peace… Then on the psychic/religious level it’s about him coming to terms with himself, and at the end there is either him losing it all completely to insanity, or transcendence; it’s either way at the end… And then it’s also about the individual coming to terms with society—that’s the third level…”

 

 
Van der Graaf Generator performed “A Plague of Lighthouse Keepers” each night of their 2013 summer tour dates.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
12-hour ambient music pieces from ‘Blade Runner,’ ‘Alien,’ ‘Doctor Who’ and ‘Star Wars’
08.13.2014
02:28 pm

Topics:
Movies
Music

Tags:
Star Wars
Blade Runner
Alien
ambient
Dr. Who


 
Before the advent of recording media, a piece of music could be quite long without its duration meriting much notice, but when the mechanical limitations of the 7” 45rpm single codified the length of a song at about 3 1/2 minutes, the pop-listening western world really adapted its musical mindset to that standard, to the point where even a massive hit like “Hey Jude” drew anxious notice from radio for being 7 minutes long. And now there’s QuickHitz (“Twice the music, all the time”), a radio format that cuts off every song at the two-minute mark, which, if it catches on in a big way—and face it, have stranger things not caught on?—will surely result in loads of pop singles being produced at under two-minute lengths.

The Residents are prophetic yet again.

But in avant-garde classical and artrock circles, songs that seem crazy long by pop radio standards are a perfectly normal part of the listening experience. After all, what impact would Oneida’s infamous 14-minute, one note song “Sheets of Easter” have had if it were three minutes long? How about Television’s “Marquee Moon?” King Crimson’s “Starless?” Flaming Lips’ 24-hour song7 Skies H3?” And those examples are all well within the rock idiom—I haven’t even broached the New Age, noise, and ambient genres. So many of us have been acculturated to think of long pieces of music as “pretentious” or “indulgent,” products of anti-populist ivory tower navel gazers who are hostile to average listeners. Well you know what? Fuck your shitty attention span.

The Fayetteville, AR composer Cheesy Nirvosa has been making glitchy, drony compositions since the mid-oughts, and under the name “crysknife007,” he’s established a YouTube channel to disseminate conceptual pieces of lengths that could fairly be seen as downright punitive to many listeners. These are often the sorts of things that, in a LaMonte Youngish kinda way, can be more interesting to talk about than actually listen to, especially since many of these works are 12 hours in duration. “12 Hours of Pi Being Dialed on a Rotary Phone.” “Yoda Laughs for 12 Hours.” “PSY Says HANGOVER for 12 Hours.” “6 Tone Car Alarm for 12 Hours.” (I recommend city dwellers skip that last one, it’s waaaaaaaay too much like ordinary life.)

But while a few of these ideas come off as overly winking and even mildly irritating noise-artist stunts, some of them are absolutely lovely—specifically, pieces made from looped ambient sounds culled from science fiction movies. The general thrum of Ridley Scott’s dystopian future Los Angeles filtered through Rick Deckard’s apartment windows in Blade Runner? That absolutely holds up as drone music, as does the TARDIS sound effect from Doctor Who and various spaceship engine sounds from the Alien and Star Wars franchises. I endorse playing more than one of these at once, remixing them yourselves in your browser with the pause and volume controls, whatever. Knock yourself out. Maybe even, I dunno, listen to one of ‘em for 12 hours.
 

 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Time to give prog rock’s artist-in-residence Roger Dean his due
08.13.2014
02:03 pm

Topics:
Art
Music

Tags:
prog
Roger Dean
progrock


Yes, Relayer, 1974
 
The art of Roger Dean is synonymous with prog rock, and for very good reason. Dean’s dreamy scapes and ethereal use of line and color are such an integral part of the genre, a Yes album cover has just as much cultural resonance as the music itself (and has arguably inspired many imitators). Born to an engineer father in the British Army and a mother who studied fashion design, Dean was primed from an early age not just towards aesthetics, but with a regard for space and balance of form. A childhood spent primarily abroad in Greece, Cyprus and Hong Kong may have cemented his love of the exotic vista.

Now, any ole’ blog could give you a listicle of awesome Yes album covers (and awesome they are), but we here at Dangerous Minds feel the lesser-known creations of Dean are just as fascinating. In art school, he actually studied industrial design, focusing on silver-smithing and furniture design—perhaps predicting his penchant for combining modern and ancient visuals. His professional career began with the sea urchin chair—a sort of bean bag chair with a brain that conformed to the sitter’s body (the way bean bag chars are actually supposed to, but never do).

Dean also designed the “retreat pod” featured in A Clockwork Orange and the distinctive seating for Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in 1968. That same year, he did his first album cover for a band called Gun, a promising piece that hints at his developing style. His first album cover for Yes was Fragile in 1971 and Dean designed the now-classic Yes “bubble” logo, which first appeared on the Close to the Edge cover. His name and reputation has been closely associated with Yes—and prog rock in general—ever since. Dean’s work has still remained diverse in genre however. He even specced out a green “Home for Life” living space that might as well be from one of his paintings.

The man himself is famous for saying, “I don’t really think of myself as a fantasy artist but as a landscape painter,” and it’s the principles of landscape drafting that make his work so fascinating. His anthology, Views is a fantastic collection of his work, and a beautiful study of a seminal artist.
 

Sea Urchin chair designed by Roger Dean, first produced in 1964
 

A Telegraph spread on Dean’s “retreat pod” chair, which was featured in Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange
 

Gun, Gun (1968), Dean’s first album cover
 

“Earth and Fire, Earth and Fire” (1970), very reminiscent of the windows in Dean’s later architecture
 

The original Virgin Records logo (also known as the “Gemini” or “Virgin Twins” logo) from 1972. A variation on this logo was used for the Virgin spin-off label Caroline Records.
 

Roger Dean’s “Green Castle,” early 70’s
 

“Freyja’s Castle,”  finished on daughter Freyja’s first birthday, 1987
 

Model of Dean’s “Home for Life”
 

Interior view of Dean’s “Home for Life”

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Murder suspect asked Siri how to hide a body; Siri gave him some answers!
08.13.2014
01:49 pm

Topics:
Current Events
Science/Tech

Tags:
Siri


 
I haven’t been following this case or know much about it, but a few years ago a teenager Pedro Bravo allegedly strangled and killed a young man—formerly a friend of his—named Christian Aguilar, a University of Florida student, in a Wal-mart parking lot. Bravo was convinced Aguliar was dating his old high school girlfriend and became so overcome with jealousy and anger, killing Aguliar and burying him in a nearby forest.

According to reports, Bravo allegedly asked Siri, “I need to hide my roommate.”

What’s creepy as hell is Siri actually responded with, “What kind of place are you looking for?” Siri then suggested the following: “Swamps. Reservoirs. Metal foundries. Dumps.”
 

 
Dumbfounding, isn’t it? HOW would Siri seemingly understand the nuance present in this situation?

You can read more about the case here and here.

Update: There appears to be some discrepancy with what actually happened. Watch the video below:

 
via Death and Taxes

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
The Big Lebowski pays a surprise visit to The Little Lebowski
08.13.2014
11:22 am

Topics:
Amusing
Movies
Pop Culture

Tags:
The Big Lebowski
Jeff Bridges


 
Even though this PBS YouTube clip of Jeff Bridges making a surprise visit to The Little Lebowski Shop has been around for some time (it only has a little over 100k views, tho), I thought I’d share it with you guys anyway. I’d never seen it before. It’s a big Internet, isn’t it?

If you don’t know what The Little Lebowski Shop is, it’s a wee store located in NYC dedicated to all things Big Lebowski. And I do mean everything Big Lebowski. What a hipster hoot.

I found Jeff Bridges to be a real charmer in the short clip. He seems like a really nice, likeable, easygoing guy. Someone you’d want to shoot the shit with. Drink a brew or smoke a joint with. A dude!

One revelation in the video is where Bridges admits that he had serious reservations about taking on the role of “The Dude” and how he it thought it might affect his girls’ perception of him. I think his daughters gave him the right advice. I just can’t imagine anyone else playing “The Dude,” can you?!

 
With thanks to reddit

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
‘What’s prog?’: Prog rock talk with Wayne Coyne and Steven Drozd
08.13.2014
10:51 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
prog rock
Wayne Coyne
Electric Würms
Steven Drozd


 
What is prog? Why is prog? Is prog good? Is it okay to like prog? Who is prog?

What’s an “Electric Würm”? Are Electric Würms prog? And if not, what “are” they?

These burning questions—and more—answered as Wayne Coyne and Steven Drozd talk prog rock.

The new Electric Würms’ EP Musik, Die Schwer Zu Twerk (“Music that’s Hard to Twerk to”) comes out on August 19th on Warner Brothers Records.
 

Posted by Electric Würms | Leave a comment
Heavy metal yodeling: What’s more insane ‘Hocus Pocus’ or ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’?
08.13.2014
08:23 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
prog rock
Focus


 
From the Dangerous Minds archives:

“Hocus Pocus” was an AM and FM radio hit for Dutch prog-rockers Focus, straddling the line between avant garde and just plain silly. Focus, you might say, were one of the few prog rock bands who didn’t take themselves so seriously. How could they with a signature tune like this one?

Although “Hocus Pocus” was originally released in 1971 on their Moving Waves record, it didn’t really become a hit until 1973 when they re-recorded a faster version for release as a single. Of course, it’s unlikely that any song which could be (accurately) described as “heavy metal yodeling” would ever get radio play in the first place, let alone become an absolute worldwide smash, but improbably, that’s what happened.

“Hocus Pocus” takes the form of a rondo, meaning a central motif (in this case the guitar riff) keeps returning as drum, flute, accordion and guitar solos each, in turn, take the spotlight. The lyrics are just gibberish. It might be the most elaborate hit single, either before or since Queen’s epically ridiculous “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

When Focus would perform “Hocus Pocus” live, the group would play the tune even faster, with each member of the band taking an extended solo. I admit to being the proud owner of not only Moving Waves, but also their live album, Focus at the Rainbow, which includes an eight minute-long version of the song. Many people will know the tune because it was used in a Nike commercial shown repeatedly during the World Cup in 2010.
 

 
Here Focus seen are performing their smash on The Midnight Special in 1973:
 

 
More Focus after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
HyperLip: Plastic prosthesis lips to give you that totally batshit crazy look!
08.13.2014
08:19 am

Topics:
Amusing
Art

Tags:
HyperLip


 
For some (obvious) reason the late Aussie fashionplate Leigh Bowery comes to mind when I see these images of people wearing French designer Sascha Nordmeyer‘s HyperLips.

According to Los Angeles-based Artecnica—who plan to put these grotesque puppies into mass production—“Conceived for people who are just looking for a bit of fun, the prosthesis is a rigid food-safe apparatus that forces a facial expression onto its wearer.”

Living in Los Angeles and with all the plastic surgery disasters I’m exposed to on a daily basis, I’ve seen plenty of people who look exactly like this without wearing anything.


 

 

 

 
Below, Conrad Veidt, playing a man whose mouth was mutilated into a hideous fixed grin, is unveiled at a freak show in this scene from 1928’s The Man Who Laughs

 
via DeZeen and Nerdcore

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Wayne Coyne and Steven Drozd of The Flaming Lips have taken over this site!


 
If the cosmically colorfully… spermy background of the blog today hasn’t already clued you in, Wayne Coyne and Steven Drozd of The Flaming Lips, in the guise of their proggy psychedelic krautrocking alter egos, Electric Würms, will be taking over Dangerous Minds this week and next as the guest editors of the blog.

Today is “prog rock day” but you can also expect to find an eclectic lysergic multi-media bouillabaisse with lot of Beatles, Miles Davis, krautrock, and of course Electric Würms-related posts in the upcoming days

They’ll be programming a mixture of track premieres from their new Warner Bros. release Musik, die Schwer zu Twerk (“Music that’s Hard to Twerk to”); we’ll have some exclusive Spotify playlists; there’ll be a premiere of a new Electric Würms music video; a two-hour movie shot entirely on Wayne’s iPhone; some new material from the regular Dangerous Minds contributors and a selection of stuff from the DM archives.

Electric Würms’ first single, an intense cover of “Heart of the Sunrise” by Yes is already available on iTunes. Not exactly a premiere, but this being “prog rock day” and all, it seemed like a good fit. The full Musik, die Schwer zu Twerk EP will be released on August 18th.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Page 169 of 1766 ‹ First  < 167 168 169 170 171 >  Last ›