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The Great DEVO Cat Listening Party of 2010
11:26 am



In 2010, in order to promote its new album Something for Everybody, DEVO created a one-time-only “DEVO Cat Listening Party,” in which the band isolated a handful of kitties in “a specially constructed room” equipped with “an enormous blue Energy Dome scratching post.”

This event happened on June 15, 2010, at the Warner Bros. offices in Burbank, California. Songs from Something for Everybody were for about two hours while the cute kitties, provided by Jungle Exotics, frolicked and played their feline games to the socially incisive pop music.

Warner Bros. Records new media director Cara Heller stated, “We were told they like music, but we didn’t know how cats react to listening to music over long periods of time and we didn’t want to burn them out.”

The event was streamed continuously on a dedicated Ustream feed, and in fact if you go to that feed today you’ll find a 50-minute video documenting the event. It’s embedded below. Judging from the video, they also had a massive supply of blue energy domes to give away—I wish I owned one, I would have worn it while writing this…..


Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
RIP Twinkle: Nearly forgotten 60s teen pop star, 1948-2015
10:21 am




“I didn’t have an image made up for me by a publicity department. All you saw was what I was. I’m very rebellious, and I was terrible anxious to get in with the fast crowd.”

Some people we think of as being perpetually young, because that’s the sole image we have of them, so it was particularly jarring for me to read about the passing of “Twinkle” at the Ugly Things website over the weekend. She died a few months back, May 21 to be exact, of cancer.

Lynn “Twinkle” Ripley, better known simply as “Twinkle,” was a pretty, blonde, green-eyed teenaged pop star of mid-60s Britain who never really crossed over to U.S. popularity. Her father was a wealthy Tory MP and her older sister, Dawn James, was a well-connected music journalist.  She attended the same posh girls school as Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and the Redgrave sisters. She insisted from the age of six that she was going to be a pop star. Her biggest hit was “Terry,” a sappy, maudlin song she wrote herself. “Terry” tells the tale of an ill-fated motorcycle ride and slightly predates “Leader of the Pack” by the Shangri-Las. It’s sung like a very flat Leslie Gore. Twinkle was not blessed in the voice department, clearly.

“Terry” was not based on a true story, but the fact that it was written by teenaged girl (and not a male songwriter channeling one) makes it all the more charming. None other than Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page was a session musician on the track. The song reached #4 in the British record charts around Christmas of 1964 despite being banned from BBC radio airplay (and TV’s Ready, Steady, Go) because it was considered in “poor taste.” It’s kind of odd today to consider that when the song was banned, it was being called “sick” and “dangerous drivel” by Lord Ted Willis. Pirate station Radio Caroline continued to play the record.

Her next song, “Golden Lights,” about being the girlfriend of a pop star (she was, Dec Cluskey of The Bachelors was her then steady) was even better, but reached only #20 on the charts. (“Golden Lights” was later covered by The Smiths and is included in their Louder Than Bombs compilation).  Although she appeared on package tours with The Rolling Stones, Wayne Fontana and The Mindbenders and Herman’s Hermits (Peter Noone became her boyfriend for a while), she never really made it and “retired” from the pop world before she turned 18. She later went on to write TV themes and commercial jingles for ATV Music, recording and performing sporadically throughout the decades. Her later life was primarily devoted to campaigning for animal-rights.

Below, a clip of her biggest hit, “Terry”:

More after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Two rare Joy Division tracks were just re-released, and you can hear them here
09:14 am



Rhino Records recently did that thing they do very very well, and re-released Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures, Closer, Still, and Substance on 180 gram vinyl. My feelings are mixed on the recent flood of vinyl reissues of albums that have been widely available for decades, but the 2XLP reissue of Substance contains some items of interest that have never been featured on any release of that collection—a rare 7” b-side called “As You Said,” and the so-called “Pennine mix” of “Love Will Tear Us Apart.”

“As You Said” was released as a b-side to a flexi-disc of “Komakino” that was given away in The Öther Söund magazine. That flexi also included a version of “Incubation,” and all three tracks were outtakes from the Closer sessions, the band’s final studio recordings. It’s a significantly brighter mix than the version that can be heard on the Heart & Soul box set and the Warsaw CD, and it’s only ever been issued with this level of clarity as part of the preposterous Singles 1978-80, an ultra-limited box set of ten remastered 7"s. It’s a synth-based instrumental curiosity, likely of interest to the überfan who’s heard it all.

The Pennine version of “Love Will Tear Us Apart” was actually the rejected original recording of the song, recorded at Pennine Sound Studios in January of 1980 (the version with which we’re all much more familiar was recorded at Strawberry Studios in March). It was released as the b-side to the original 7” and 12” of “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” along with “These Days.” Some versions of the 7” dropped the Pennine recording of “LWTUA” and featured “These Days” alone. It saw a 1988 release on the “Atmosphere” 12” that accompanied the original release of Substance. In a 2010 GQ interview, JD’s drummer Stephen Morris cited this version as his preferred recording of “LWTUA:”

The Pennine version has always been there - it was on the b-side of the 12-inch when it first came out. But it wasn’t called “The Pennine Mix” or anything like that, it was just “Love Will Tear Us Apart” but a slightly different version. That version was the way we always played it live. The one that everybody knows, I actually hate.

Why, because it’s too poppy?
Just because of the bad, emotional things. Martin Hannett [Joy Division record producer] played one of his mind games when we were recording it - it sounds like he was a tyrant, but he wasn’t, he was nice. We had this one battle where it was nearly midnight and I said, “Is it all right if I go home, Martin - it’s been a long day?” And he said [whispers], “OK… you go home.” So I went back to the flat. Just got to sleep and the phone rings. “Martin wants you to come back and do the snare drum.” At four in the morning! I said, “What’s wrong with the snare drum!?” So every time I hear “Love Will Tear Us Apart”, I grit my teeth and remember myself shouting down the phone, “YOU BASTARD!” [smashes up imaginary phone.] I can feel the anger in it even now. It’s a great song and it’s great production, but I do get anguished every time I hear it.

Hear both songs after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Baby Charles Bukowski, André the Giant, Frank Sinatra and other rebels hanging at the beach
07:45 am

Pop Culture


Andre the Giant at the beach picking up chicks
André the Giant at the beach picking up chicks at Cannes, 1967
As I type these words, many of you that are reading them right now are probably in the midst of a pretty nasty heatwave. So I thought posting some amazing photos of people way cooler than us, looking even cooler than usual (with one or two amusing exceptions) while hanging out at the beach was in order.
Albert Einstein at the beach, 1945
Albert Einstein, 1945
You may have seen a few of the 24 images in this post before, but hopefully the majority will surprise you, especially the one of André the Giant literally picking up chicks at Cannes, or Albert Einstein (above) wearing some interesting footwear while the waves crash around his feet. Whenever possible, I included locations and dates of where and when the photos were taken as some were taken before the subjects became famous. Man, I feel cooler already. More reach-the-beach images follow.
AC/DC in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1985
AC/DC in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1985
Slade in swimtrunks at the beach
Slade, 1974
Charles Bronson at the beach, 1974
Charles Bronson, 1974

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Disney tried to adapt Kevin Smith’s ‘Clerks’ into a PG sitcom (and it was soooooo bad)
06:54 am



Kevin Smith has caught a lot of hell for not “maturing” as an artist, but if you go back and watch Clerks, it’s pretty obvious that his strengths have always been juvenile humor with a shot of modern neurosis. And, while Clerks is certainly a product of its time, I maintain that it holds up as a really charming little film about youth, relationships and the absurdity of alienated wage labor under capitalism. Or maybe it’s just about snowballing (hey, six of one...). Highly sexualized semi-intellectual gross-out comedy is arguably the trademark of Smith’s indie opus, which is why it’s so weird that Disney tried to adapt the film for a PG audience. (Spoiler: it is bad.)

It makes sense that Disney would try to capitalize off Gen-X disaffection I suppose, but did they really think Clerks could stand the Mickey Mouse treatment? You’ll notice the 1995 pilot bears no resemblance whatsoever to its source material—Smith wasn’t even told about its development until the actors that played Dante and Randal auditioned for (and didn’t get) their original roles. Smith even tried to help the project by writing a script, but Disney ultimately went with… this. You’ll see no Jay or Silent Bob, just a cast of suspiciously good-looking members of the strip mall proletariat. (They even added a sexy girl who works at the tanning salon next door played by a pre-Felicity Keri Russell).

Needless to say, Smith was not pleased with the end result. Check it out below, if you dare.

Via A.V. Club

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
‘Robot Monster,’ Lux Interior’s favorite B movie, a bad movie for bad people
06:44 am



“At what point on the graph do ‘must’ and ‘cannot’ meet?”
KDOC, the Orange County station that broadcast Wally George’s The Hot Seat, was also home to a wonderful show with even lower production values than Wally’s called Request Video. After school, I would rush to the TV to watch Request Video, hoping to catch another glimpse of the Ramones.

The Cramps paid a visit to Request Video before one of their early 90s shows at the Hollywood Palladium, and their wide-ranging discussion with host Gia DeSantis touched on many things that are still of vital importance to your life, such as the size of Lux’s pumps, the band’s makeup tips, and Lux and Ivy’s favorite B movies. While Ivy picked the classic Gun Crazy, Lux named this appalling 1953 movie about a robot from the moon who looks like a gorilla wearing a diver’s helmet. Its mission, to exterminate all human beings on Earth, doesn’t sound like such a bad idea after you’ve spent a few minutes with the cast.

Lux expanded on his love for Robot Monster in a 1995 interview with Phoenix New Times:

“I’m interested in Jungian archetypes, what it is that makes people want to see movies about flying saucers and alien invasions. I’m interested why someone would write a film like Robot Monster [a notoriously bad Fifties piece featuring a monster that was essentially a gorilla with a deep-sea-diving helmet for a head]. And why a lot of people would write films that have so much in common—Robot Monster, Plan 9 From Outer Space, you name it, all those old horror movies.

“I think it has something to do with the collective unconscious. I feel like watching these films to be just like dream interpretations. When I see an old horror movie, it really strikes a chord in me, and it’s because I’m connected to the same thing that the person who wrote the movie is connected to.”

Lux pauses briefly, then provides a summation: “I think the reason I do things is a lot like the same reason Johnny Rotten did what he did, or the same reason Marcel Duchamp did the things he did. We’re all connected together in one aspect of consciousness.”


Ro-Man’s hideout in Griffith Park
Screenwriter Wyott Ordung talks about working on Robot Monster in the book 3-D Revolution: The History of Modern Stereoscopic Cinema. Though he doesn’t shed much light on Lux’s concerns, he does relate that the movie’s reception nearly proved fatal for him and director Phil Tucker:

When I went to see the picture, I was sitting in the Hollywood Paramount [theater]. It’s funny now—it wasn’t funny then—and as I’m walking out of the theater the manager of the popcorn stand says “We should skin the writer alive.” [...] The next thing I know Phil Tucker tried to commit suicide. There was a picture of him in the Los Angeles Mirror on the front page. He was lying there clutching the cans of film. Was it because of the film? I think he wanted publicity. That’s what I think. Young genius thinks he made a great picture for $45,000. People are not going to the movie and so on and he ended up in Camarillo [State Mental Hospital].

Continues after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
Hear the Dead Kennedys as a five-piece with KEYBOARDS, play a Rolling Stones cover
06:25 am



I recently finished reading Michael Stewart Foley’s excellent 33 1/3 series book on the Dead Kennedys’ Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables album. 

Rather than merely analyzing recording minutae or picking apart lyrical content song-by-song, the book documents the socio-political climate of late ‘70s San Francisco, exploring the environment that existed which precipitated the need for a Dead Kennedys. It’s incidentally got me on a personal kick of revisiting a lot of DK music, particularly from that early, formative era—when Jello Biafra was writing songs instead of diatribes.

When I’m not wasting my time obsessively A/B-ing different pressings of Fresh Fruit to detect subtle differences in the mastering quality, I’m double checking to see what blessings the gods of the Internet have offered up as gap fillers in the Kennedys’ historical record. A few months ago I wrote here about an incredible 1982 live video from Vienna. Although the recording I’m presenting today is audio-only, it’s a far more interesting historical artifact than even that Vienna show (which totally blew me away). Today we’re going to listen to Terry Hammer’s recording of Dead Kennedys from Mabuhay Gardens in San Francisco from June 14, 1980.

Dead Kennedys played with Paul Roessler’s band, Bent, and the Subhumans from Canada.
Terry Hammer was an audio engineer during the heyday of first wave punk in San Francisco. He maintains a mind-blowing YouTube channel upon which he has graciously decided to share dozens of live recordings he engineered for Bay Area radio stations KALX, KTIM, KSAN, KSJO, KUSF, and KSFS. The channel features no less than five different (crucial) Dead Kennedys recordings—all worth investigating.

I’ve previously gushed all over Dangerous Minds about Hammer’s recordings of DEVO and Husker Du. The quality of this recording exists somewhere in between those two, preserving, with remarkable clarity, this point in the Kennedys’ history where they were feeling more comfortable in their arrangements and picking up the tempos (but before going full hardcore with the replacement of original drummer, “Ted,” with D.H. Peligro).

But what’s really, truly astounding about this recording is the inclusion of Paul Roessler on keyboard for the final five songs of the gig. At twenty-eight and a half minutes in, Jello sardonically introduces Roessler (brother of Black Flag’s Kira Roessler) as the “Remora of Rock and Roll.” Roessler was known up to that point for his work with the Screamers, Nervous Gender, Mommymen, Bent, and Silver Chalice. Bent had opened for Dead Kennedys on that night’s bill.

“Torture those keys,” directs Biafra, and Roessler does, with distorted organ sounds blaring even more raw, jagged and cutting than East Bay Ray’s bright surf-overdrive guitar damage. Roessler performs on “Stealing People’s Mail,” “Drug Me,” “Holiday in Cambodia,” “Too Drunk to Fuck,” and a cover of the Rolling Stones’ “The Last Time.”

The keys are particularly effective on “Too Drunk To Fuck,” changing the entire vibe of the song, giving it a campy horror sound, not far from the early death rock of bands like 45 Grave (whom Roessler was also a member of).

Roessler had previously worked with Dead Kennedys, in the studio, where he played keyboard tracks on “Drug Me” and “Stealing People’s Mail” for the Fresh Fruit LP. According to Alex Ogg’s book Dead Kennedys: Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables: The Early Years, “Stealing People’s Mail” was musically influenced by Roessler’s group the Screamers.

Continues after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Dangerous Finds: Bill Cosby mean to teen Janis Ian; Michael Moore doc; Christian snake handler dies
01:51 pm

Current Events


Bernie Sanders Builds a People’s Army: Across the country, left-wing activists and veterans of the Occupy movement are organizing for Bernie Sanders—and think the Vermont socialist can topple Hillary. (The Daily Beast)

Does “Creative Destruction” Include the State?: Everyone lauds “creative destruction” when it shreds monopolies and disrupts private enterprise “business as usual.” This raises an obvious question few dare ask: does this inevitable process of creative destruction include the state? If not, why not? Aren’t the state and the central bank the ultimate monopolies begging to be disrupted for the benefit of all? If government is inefficient and unproductive, shouldn’t it be “creatively destroyed” in the same fashion as private enterprise? The obvious answer is yes. (Charles Hugh Smith/Of Two Minds)

Regular People Are Totally Useless When Trying to Use Handguns In Self-Defense: Sorry wannabe Jack Bauers, turns out you suck at saving the day. (AlterNet)

In the Age of Trump, Will Democrats Sell Out More, Or Less? The collapse of the GOP gives the Democrats an opportunity to abandon “lesser evilism” — but they probably won’t. (Matt Taibbi/Rolling Stone)

Mathematician says Kansas voting machines need to be audited: A Wichita State University mathematician said she has seen enough odd patterns in Kansas election results that she thinks it’s time to check the accuracy of some voting machines. Election officials are making it as difficult as possible for her to get the data she needs. (KMBC Kansas City)

Why Bernie Sanders Is The Millennials’ President: Are you feelin’ the Bern? Plenty of young people are. (The Odyssey)

Trump’s presence in first GOP debate makes prep challenging for candidates: Ya think? Trump is allegedly doing ZERO prep for the debate. Why should he? He’s quite adept at calling other people “losers” and that act plays very, very well to the Republican base. No point in messing with a successful formula. (Washington Post)

Heavy Social Media Use Linked With Mental Health Issues In Teens: More than two hours of use per day can spell trouble. (Huffington Post)

Michael Moore film to attack US government’s state of ‘infinite war’: Where to Invade Next was made in secret because of surveillance concerns. The film satirizes America’s ‘constant need to have an enemy to keep the military-industrial complex alive.’ (The Guardian)

The absolute worst advice we give to Americans struggling to pay rent: In urban centers around the country, rental prices are soaring. Cities like San Francisco, Seattle, and New York City routinely report double-digit increases that make it nearly impossible for residents to make ends meet. But moving someplace “cheaper” ain’t all it’s cracked up to be, either… (The Daily Dot)

Christian snake handler dies: Bye dummy! (The Raw Story)

The Great Paradox of the Democratic Presidential Race: There is no shortage of bold, liberal ideas from the candidates that have little chance of getting past Congress. While they compete over who can produce the ideas that most satisfy the party’s base, the proposals they are offering face a stark reality: Hardly any of them are likely to be approved by Congress, where Republicans have an almost iron-clad grip on the House of Representatives for the foreseeable future. (Bloomberg)

Janis Ian says Bill Cosby spread lesbian rumors about her as a teen, tried to blacklist her from TV: The singer/songwriter writes on Facebook that she met Cosby at a Smothers Brothers taping in the 1960s. As if you needed another reason to hate Bill Cosby, enjoy this performance by a young Janis Ian. What kind of asshole would go out of their way to be mean to this kid???

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Attention, smart people: Over 100,000 have RSVP’d for tonight’s Bernie Sanders mega-event


“There are no coincidences, but sometimes the pattern is more obvious.”—Neil Innes

Attention, smart people! There is a MAJOR POLITICAL EVENT that’s happening—TODAY July 29th, 2015—across this nation that you might not have heard about for Bernie Sanders. Tonight Sanders will be speaking via the Internet to over 100,000 heavily-motivated people meeting for the first time at 3,520 Bernie-related house parties and get-togethers in bars and restaurants and union halls and church basements, etcetera, etcetera, all across the United States.

Yes, over 100,000 people have found other like-minded people in their area via this map and RSVP’d to get informed and to volunteer for Sanders’ increasingly astonishing campaign. I live in Los Angeles where there are well over 100 such gatherings. I’m married, but I would assume that a lot of smart, good-looking people would attend such events. Aren’t you even curious? Of course you are. Why not search for your zip code and see what happens?

Has there ever been a larger, more dynamic and more INSTANTANEOUS grassroots movement in American history? If there has been one, they must’ve kept it a secret. Even the Tea party movement didn’t grow nearly as fast as this. And after today’s event, what happens next?

I can’t wait to find out.

The sky’s the limit, but the goal is the White House. This can happen, people.

Bernie Sanders for President: It’s time to take it to the next level, America. He can’t do it without YOU.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Behold the ‘Star Wars’ rice paddy
10:54 am



A couple of British farmers named Bower and Chorley invented the crop circle as an easy and fun way to spawn a generation’s worth of crazy UFO conspiracy theories. In Japan they’re more showbiz about their version of this, which is to make elaborate tableaux in rice paddies, which are mostly green as opposed to the wheaty amber of crop designs. A small town called Inakadate in Aomori Prefecture in northern Japan has an annual event that attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors to see its rice paddy artworks. They’ve been doing it since 1993 with no sign of letting up.

The most common variety of rice plant grows in bright green stalks, but if you plant strains of different colors in carefully selected positions, you can make lines and shapes, a bit like these awesome examples of LEGO art—including Hunter S. Thompson! In this one you can see a rice paddy mosaic with Marilyn Monroe in her famous subway grate pose from The Seven-Year Itch. It only takes about a month from planting to final fruition, but they disappear pretty quickly too.

Last month Inakadate unveiled a Star Wars design, featuring C3PO and R2D2 as well as some sort of blobby planet-shaped droid I don’t recognize. (Yes, I’m old!

Here’s a fuller picture—“conceptual art for the final field” (click to see a larger version):


via RocketNews24

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
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