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21 of the grooviest songs released in 2012
11.23.2012
07:43 pm

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Music

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This is not a “best of” for 2012. It’s just a compilation of songs released this year that inspired me to hit the “repeat” button on my car stereo more than a few times. There are tunes here that are from albums that I loved and a few from albums I never heard. In putting this playlist together, I resisted the rock snob in me and went for what gave me simple pleasure as I cruised the streets of Austin in my jet-black Fiat with the volume knob turned up to 11. There are songs in this mix that will probably lose me the respect of some of my musician friends and critics. Ask me if I care.

She Brings The Sunlight- an awe-inspiring slab of psychedelia from Richard Hawley’s latest and best album, the unexpectedly lysergic Standing At The Sky’s Edge.
Be Above It - trippiness from Australia’s Tame Impala, a band I thought had aspirations they couldn’t meet. I was wrong. Their sophomore album, Lonerism, is undeniably brilliant - a headphone record best listened to with eyes closed and mind wide open.
Stay Away From Downtown - from out of the past, Redd Kross emerge from the L.A. ‘burbs with one of the best pop anthems of this or any year. Layer upon layer of sonic goodness. Hey guys, please don’t wait another 15 years to release an album. Rock ‘n’ roll needs your energy.
Go Right Ahead - punchy garage rocker from The Hives sounds like a classic to me…or at least a very good ELO track.
Hold On - Alabama Shakes deliver something so close to the r&b bone that when I first heard it I thought it was a decades-old soul rarity.
I’m Shakin - hard to believe that Little Willie John’s much-covered classic could be given new life, but Jack White gives “Shakin” some fresh sizzle (with a squeal that would do Ned Beatty proud).
Down To The Bottom - Baby Woodrose makes music that sounds like a darker version of Love’s “Forever Changes” or “Surrealistic Pillow” as performed by demonic Hobbits.
Stay Useless - Cloud Nothings prove that there is life after punk: more punk!
Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings - Father John Misty’s crusty hippisms are shroomtastic and spookily hooky.
Just Me - Diamond Rings aka Boy Division.
Call Me Maybe - or crazy. I don’t care. Bubble-gum has always been high on my list of guilty pleasures and Carly Rae Jepsen delivers a really good sugar rush.
How To Be A Heartbreaker - Marina And The Diamonds. See Carly Rae Jepsen.
Survival - Bloated, bombastic and pretentious arena rock that shamelessly revels in its excesses. Muse, I don’t give a shit what anybody says, I think you’re cool.
Ode To Sad Disco - Mark Lanegan writes songs that make me weep with envy. His new record Blues Funeral is my favorite of 2012 and one of the most emotionally resonant albums I’ve heard in ages, heartfelt and gloriously gloomy.
Fitzpleasure - At first, I thought getting into Alt-J would be harder than shoving my 185 lb. body into a pair of Ben Sherman jeans. Turns out these British basement-dwellers create hugely like-able pop tunes that sound like some strange indigenous music from another planet. This is world music. The question is: which world?
Mature Themes - If Frank Zappa and Capt. Beefheart popped onto the scene today, critics would dismiss them as hipster bullshit - kind of like they’re doing with Ariel Pink. Fuck em all and let The Godz sort em out!
Cellophane - Like it’s title, Ladyhawke’s Beatleesque confection is all sparkly and shiny. Plastic fantastic, lover.
The Healing Day - Bill Fay can miraculously play his piano and lay his hands on you at the same time. The doctor is in the house.
Twisted Road - Neil Young’s acid flashbacks are more interesting than most peoples’ entire fucking lives. The history of rock ‘n’ roll in one battered suitcase.
Desert Raven - Jonathan Wilson plays the kind of Southern California hippie music I used to hate. What happened? Is the acid finally kicking in?
This Year - The revolution will not be televised, but nobody told Boots Riley of The Coup. Oakland’s radical funksters re-define the meaning of “political party.”

The video contains a bunch of clips from experimental films, both new and old, as well as some soft-core stag loops and found video footage. I hope you dig it. Not suitable for work.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
‘Milestones’: The slow death of America’s utopian dreams
11.23.2012
03:38 pm

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Movies

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Milestones is both an intimate and epic exploration of what happened to the young radicals who were involved in the anti-war and civil rights movements of the Sixties. Directed by master film maker Robert Kramer and John Douglas, this three hour-plus film interviews over 50 members of the “Movement” as they struggle to keep their ideals alive in settings that range from communes to urban lofts and decaying tenements. It is a powerful, absorbing and often sad testimony to the complexities and frustrations of being an idealist and activist in a world grown increasingly cynical. Dreams die hard and when they hit the dust we are all given a taste of the bitterness of their dying.
 

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Watch ‘Act Of Faith’ - a new short film by Alan Moore and Mitch Jenkins
11.23.2012
01:08 pm

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Via Lex Records:

t’s raining in Northampton and Faith Harrington has Friday evening ahead of her, her favourite outfit and her favourite face, her top tunes shimmering on the CD player: “When the lamp burns low on the bureau, even though I’m far from you…”

In a curtain-raiser prelude to their forthcoming short film Jimmy’s End, Alan Moore and Mitch Jenkins, with Siobhan Hewlett, introduce us to a world of unfamiliar atmospheres, precarious entertainments, and insidious detail.

Act of Faith unveils an isolated corner of the modern night, where carrion crows become the only comforters and it’s a quarter to eternity…

 

 

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Jerry Sadowitz as Jimmy Savile (NSFW)
11.23.2012
10:52 am

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Amusing
Crime
Television

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A shameless plug for Jerry Sadowitz’s new show at the Leicester Square Theater, London, December 2012.

Strange that after all these years that one of the funniest comedians in the world should receive some of the attention he rightly deserves, all because of a recording he made twenty-five years ago.

Thankfully Mr. Sadowitz (‘Comedian, Magician, Psychopath’) will be touring the UK in the New Year, so those who haven’t seen him can find out what they’ve been missing.

Meantime check Mr Sadowitz’s site for details.
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Nancy Nova’s ‘The Force’: a bewitching but obscure New Wave Disco classic
11.23.2012
10:02 am

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Music
Occult
Unorthodox

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I still remember where I was when I first heard this incredible record.

It’s not THAT impressive really, as it was only around three months ago in a friend’s kitchen. It was played as part of a Siouxsie Sioux BBC Radio 6 special, wherein Siouxsie chose an hour of her favorite music from (roughly) the punk era. A lot of her choices were, surprisingly, disco tracks, and when ‘The Force’ came on all casual conversation in the kitchen stopped ,and we all simply HAD to know who sang this incredible song.

Nancy Nova is, apparently, the daughter of British TV personality and Blockbusters game show host, Bob Holness. Her real name is Carol Ann, and her sister Ros was a member of the uber-camp 80s girl group Toto Coelo (who are best known for “I Eat Cannibals”.)

“The Force” is simply epic, a gothic disco-pop song that oozes menacing, spooky appeal, the kind Alison Goldfrapp would kill for. It really does sound like it comes form another bizarro planet. Like the best horror movies, it’s scary, thrilling and exciting all at the same time. Bass heavy disco production, reminiscent of Kid Creole’s best, Broadway-inspired work, is topped off by celestial choirs that could lure passing astronauts to their rocky doom, while a spare arrangement, that hints at the then-burgeoning goth movement, makes the most of Nova’s stunning voice.

Ah yes, THAT voice. Nancy Nova is one of those singers with a startling, unique vocal style that should be irritating but actually works. At times reminiscent of Betty Boop, at others quite similar to Noosha Fox of the band Fox (previously covered on Dangerous Minds here) it really is one of a kind, and guaranteed to beguile the listener.

So impressed were we by Nancy Nova and ‘The Force’ that we based Tranarchy‘s Hallowe’en ‘Zombie Pride’ video around it, in effect creating a pop video for a song that didin’t have one, but needed it. A surrealistic tale of drag initiation (featuring stunning make-up work by star witch Grace Oni Smith) I’d like to think that we have done the song proud, and that if Nancy Nova were to see it, she would approve: 

Nancy Nova ‘The Force’ (Tranarchy Zombie Pride V)
 

 

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Members Only: A Look at London’s Private Clubs, from 1965
11.22.2012
06:34 pm

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History
Media
Politics

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This short film on Member’s Only Gentlemen’s Clubs and London Club Life from 1965, may look dated and even slightly quaint, capturing a world of seedy Anthony Powell characters in run-down, thread-bare, drafty rooms, but in very real terms, little has changed.

The Old Boy’s Network of privilege and power is still very much alive, and the British Establishment is probably now stronger than it has been in decades. Look at the celebrations for the Queen’s Jubilee, or the sofa jingoism of the Olympics, or this week with the failure of the Church of England to vote in favor of Women Bishops, and now today, the appointment of Lord Tony Hall as the new Director General of the BBC.

Hall was chosen by Lord Christopher Patten, whose previous choice for DG had been the hapless “incurious” George Entwistle, the man who was forced to resign after 54 days in office. Now Patten has appointed Hall - without an interview - as the new DG.

Hall is a successful ex-BBC man, who currently runs the Royal Opera House. He may be a decent and honorable man, he may kiss dogs and pat babies, and help old age pensioners across the street, but he is a BBC man, steeped in the arcane and out-dated traditions of a Corporation that is out-of-touch with the reality of life in Britain. His appointment is rather like voting for a Mitt Romney rather than a Barack Obama, it’s a wishful return to an illusory past, rather than moving forward into the present century. Even some of the effusive praise on twitter harks back to an older time - this from broadcaster David Dimbleby:

‘A brilliant choice. It feels like being in the Royal Navy when they were told, “Winston is back!”’

It’s strange that a previous era of strife, hardship, bigotry and division should be seen as commendable. Earlier this year, the up-market Daily Telegraph (of all broadsheets) reported on the analysis of “the make-up of the Lords found that 45 per cent of peers also had a London club such as the Garrick Club, Carlton Club or White’s.”

The [analysis], published in the journal Sociology, also showed the enduring power of Eton and Oxbridge, with around one in 10 of all members of the Lords educated at the Berkshire school whose past pupils also include David Cameron and Boris Johnson.

Dr Matthew Bond, a sociologist at London South Bank University, who conducted the study, said that it showed that, despite reforms, the Lords continued to be dominated by those with “vested interests in traditional status structures”.

He said it showed that: “The persistent hold of the British establishment on the political imagination is not without reason.”
...

Those who went to school at Eton showed a particular propensity to join such clubs, the study found, while they were also popular among this with a background in the military, civil service and the church.

“These groups – hereditaries, males, Old Etonians, Tories and, to a lesser extent, business people – have vested interests in traditional status structures,” said Dr Bond.

“In their social characteristics they also closely mirror popular conceptions of an establishment which have featured in popular discussions of the British power structure since the 50s.

“If they do not have a monopoly over elite positions, they at least have a formidable presence.”

This “formidable presence” is what links Tony Blair’s working-class father’s move from Glaswegian Communism to middle-England Toryism, with Eton-educated David Cameron belief that elitism in education will mend Britain’s so-called “broken society.” This “formidable presence” isn’t tradition - it is the maintenance of an out-dated, misogynistic, divisive and malfunctioning Establishment.

Members Only is a fine snap shot of club life in the 1960s, which moves from gentlemen’s clubs to casinos and then onto the bohemian hang outs, such as the Colony Room (look out for the legendary Muriel Belcher) and jazz clubs, where a young Annie Ross performs.
 

 

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A Thanksgiving song of sorts: ‘Reasons To Be Cheerful Part 3’
11.22.2012
01:57 pm

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Ian Dury’s “Reasons To Be Cheerful” is my idea of a fun Thanksgiving song, a lovely tune that could and should be sung just before sitting down to stuff our faces with Holiday delights.

Go ahead and write your own lyrics. I hope you have many things to be cheerful about and thankful for. I do.

A home, some food, a beautiful wife
A dog, a cat, a perfect life

And even where there’s scars and cracks
I’ve leaned to live with all of that

The things at night that make me fearful
Within the light are really cheerful

Romney, Ryan, Rove.. those rats
Have been devoured by feral cats
I see the marks of their decay
Upon the streets where children play

Thanks to the whores of Babylon
For helping me to write my songs
Without those sinners and their lies
My tongue would be unjustly tied
Which some of you might might claim indeed
Is a reason to be cheerful - 1, 2, 3.

M. Campbell

Reasons To Be Cheerful Part 3 - Ian Dury

Some of Buddy Holly, the working folly
Good Golly Miss Molly, and boats
Hammersmith Palais, the Bolshoi Ballet
Jump back in the alley add nanny goats

18-wheeler Scammels, Domineker camels
All other mammals plus equal votes
Seeing Picadilly, Fanny Smith and Willy
Being rather silly, and porridge oats

A bit of grin and bear it, a bit of come and share it
You’re welcome we can spare it - yellow socks
To short to be haughty, too nutty to be naughty
Going on forty - no electric shocks

The juice of a carrot, the smile of the parrot
A little drop of claret, anything that rocks
Elvis and Scotty, days when I ain’t spotty
Sitting on the potty, curing smallpox

Reasons to be cheerful - 1, 2, 3

Health service glasses, gigolos and brasssies
Round or skinny bottoms

Take your mum to Paris, lighting up the chalice
Wee Willy Harris
Bantu Steven Biko, listening to Riko
Harpo, Groucho, Chico

Cheddar cheese and pickle, the Vincent motorsickle
Slap and tickle
Woody Allen, Dali, Dimitri and Pasquale
Balabalabala and Volare

Something nice to study, phoning up a buddy
Being in my nuddy
Saying okey-dokey, singalonga Smokey
Coming out of Chokey

John Coltrane’s soprano, Adi Celantano
Bonar Colleano

 

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Momus: Performative Lecture from 2012
11.22.2012
12:26 pm

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Amusing
Art
Music
Pop Culture
Thinkers

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Artist and DM pal, the fabulous Norn Cutson forwarded this fascinating performative lecture given by pop oddity, musician (The Poison Boyfriend, Tender Pervert), author The Book of Jokes and The Book of Scotlands, philosopher, post modernist and artist Momus.

This is a fascinating and entertaining lecture with a Q + A session, which Momus presnted at Nottingham Trent University, October 18th, 2012. Now based in Osaka, Japan, Momus is available for public speaking engagements - email: momasu@gmail.com - and will be next available in Europe during March 2013.

For more information check his website.
 

 
With thanks to Norn Cutson!
 

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Celebrate Thanksgiving with a John Waters double-bill: ‘Mondo Trasho’ & ‘Multiple Maniacs’
11.22.2012
09:00 am

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Heroes
Movies
Unorthodox

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Happy turkey day my American chums!

I have to admit, as a Mick living in Limeyland, I don’t fully understand what Thanksgiving is all about. All I know is that it’s as American as apple pie, as the Detroit Lions or the Pittsburgh Steelers, as right-wing Christian nut jobs or cheapo exploitation cinema starring 300lb drag queens.

So on this turkey day, come worship at the altar of the Pope of Trash. Because nothing strikes me as being more American than the work of cult auteur John Waters. What’s more fitting to watch on Thanksgiving than two of his very early, very cheap shocksploitation classics?

Sure, these films may represent a way of living and a segment of the US population that America is not too comfortable sharing with the rest of the world (see also: Honey Boo Boo Child) but it’s an integral part of America nonetheless, and worthy of as much celebration as turkeys or pancakes with bacon with maple syrup (I’ve tried that one, I wasn’t impressed.)

So here’s an early-John Waters double bill to sink your teeth into, starting with 1969’s silent Mondo Trasho, (it’s got a great soundtrack though) and followed up by 1970’s ever-so-slightly higher budget Multiple Maniacs (it’s got sound!)

Even now, over forty years on, these films have the power to shock. Mondo Trasho kicks off with a live chicken being killed (kind of of fitting for Thanksgiving?) and Multiple Maniacs climaxes with Divine being raped by a giant lobster. In between you will find all kinds of depravity, though looking back it’s funny how innocent all this depravity seemed. There’s no real rage or unhappy-ever-after bleakness on display, everyone involved always seemed to be having too much fun!

Some people would say these films are hard to watch, and you know, they might be right. That doesn’t mean the films are not worth watching. In fact, some other people would say that John Waters’ films are so good that they are all worth watching in row, back to back, non-stop for 24 hours. Who would be crazy enough to attempt such a thing?!

Mondo Trasho, 1969
 

 
Multiple Maniacs, 1970
 

 
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! xx

 

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
For your viewing pleasure: Three animated shorts by Terry Gilliam on his birthday
11.21.2012
11:37 pm

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Animation

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In addition to being Thanksgiving, today is Terry Gilliam’s birthday, which is plenty in of itself to be thankful for.

Here’s a short compilation of three groundbreakingly weird cartoons by Gilliam that were broadcast on British TV shows The Marty Feldman Comedy Machine and Do Not Adjust Your Set between 1968 and 1971.

“Don the Cockroach,” “The Albert Einstein Story” and “The Christmas Card.”
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
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