Smutley the Cat teaches us about AIDS awareness (NSFW)
03.24.2011
08:44 am

Topics:
Amusing
Animals
Animation
Current Events
Sex

Tags:
PSA
AIDS

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An extremely wild Fritz the Cat style PSA about AIDS awareness set to the tune of Joan Jett’s “Bad Reputation.”  No animals were harmed while making this… I think.

 
(via Nerdcore)

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Wallace Wylie’s ‘Death Rattle: The Travesty of British Alternative Rock in the 90s’

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Consider this the perfect accompaniment to “Whatever Happened To Alternative Nation?” This excellent article, by writer Wallace Wylie and published on Everett True’s Collapse Board, centers around three bands (The Stone Roses, Primal Scream and Oasis) and the negative impact they had on the British music industry and general media in the 1990s. In contrast to Steven Hyden’s US-focused articles, Wylie sticks striclty to the UK and does a really great job of skewering that shower of shitty hype we had to endure called “Britpop.” This represents my feelings about the period pretty much exactly—yes, there was LOADS of great and interesting music being made at the time, but for the most part it was not being made by white men with guitars.

It should be obvious to almost everyone by now that Oasis really weren’t very good, and this is coming from somebody who bought into the hype early and even attended their monster concert at Knebworth. Definitely Maybe remains their best release, with the album coming across as rather varied (by Oasis standards) and tuneful. This was before Noel settled in to writing all his songs in the same Let It Be-derived tempo. It isn’t really necessary to go into detail as to why Oasis were substandard. This has been done elsewhere and will continue to be done for a good while yet. Their limited talents soon ran dry but not before they had kicked open the door to a million soundalikes who popped up every other week on the front cover of NME.

We were constantly being told by the press that we were living through a musical golden age to rival the Sixties (aaargh! why is always the fucking Sixites?! booo-ooring), and while I do think the 90s was a golden age of sorts, I am glad that hindsight is x-ray and cuts through all the bullshit. There were many, many groundbreaking things going on in the world, yet the British music press seemed content to just curl up into a little ball murmuring “Beatles, Stones, Beatles, Stones” ad nauseam. Remember, this is the era that saw the launch of backwards-obsessed magazines like Mojo and Uncut, and the calcification of rock culture into a rigid set of rules to be adhered to. It sucked. But hey, don’t take my word for it. Read what Wylie has to say…

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Elizabeth Taylor meets David Bowie
03.24.2011
03:00 am

Topics:
History
Music
R.I.P.

Tags:
David Bowie
Elizabeth Taylor

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Something sweet from the Dangerous Minds archives. Originally posted on August 4, 2010.

Elizabeth Taylor and David Bowie at their first meeting in Beverly Hills, 1975. Photographs by Terry O’Neill. Scanned from the book Legends by Terry O’Neill.

Via Glamour-a-go-go

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
The marijuana fields of New York City: 41,000 pounds of pot uprooted and destroyed
03.23.2011
07:22 pm

Topics:
Drugs
History

Tags:
New York City marijuana
White Wing Squad

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There was a time not that long ago when New York City was overrun with marijuana. In the 1940s and early 50s, pot plants were flourishing in vacant lots throughout the five boroughs. In 1951 over 41,000 pounds of marijuana were uprooted and destroyed by the sanitation department’s weed wacking “White Wing Squad,” so described because of their white uniforms. Queens alone yielded 17,000 pounds for the grim reapers.

“Though the bust in the above article occurred in Greenwich Village, the leader of this group of “strikingly pretty girls” and musicians copped to finding his marijuana “somewhere in Brooklyn.” As to what they were doing “sitting hobo style around a man preparing marijuana in a frying pan” is, however, anyone’s guess.”

Read about the amazing history of New York City’s marijuana jungles at the Brooklyn Public Library’s website.  Lots of jaw-dropping photographs.

In the photo below, 100 pounds of ganja uprooted in Brooklyn is being hauled off for incinerators in Woodside, Queens.
 
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It looks like someone got to the crops before the cops did:
 
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Thanks to Mark Kamins for the turn-on.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Edwyn Collins brings some heart and soul to SXSW
03.23.2011
06:42 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Orange Juice
Edwyn Collins

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Regrettably, I missed Edwyn Collins at SXSW and based on the YouTube videos of his performance at club Nuvola, it would appear that I missed something quite special. With all my pissing and moaning about this year’s SXSW, there were some wonderful moments. Unfortunately, many of them got lost in the shuffle. I’m doing my bit so that this one doesn’t.

John Robb’s piece from blog Louder Than War is so heartfelt and sweet that I’m sharing it in its entirety:

Perhaps the most heart-warming moment of the whole of SXSW was Edwyn Collins set.

Still recovering from 2005’s double brain hemorrhage, Collins had to sit down for the whole set and had a stand for his lyrics.

Despite this, he is in great voice, in fact I can’t remember his voice ever sounding better. It’s slightly deeper and warmer now as he leads his band through a selection of Orange Juice and solo classics. He is also still sharp as fuck. His witty asides between the songs are as funny and astute as ever and if it wasn’t for the fact that the right hand side of his body is still semi paralyzed from his illness he would still be same old Edwyn.

The fact that he is here at all is a miracle and the fact that he can still tour and sing with such passion and beauty is tantamount to an inner toughness and the redemptive power of great music.

There’s only the guitar missing as he sits on stage giving each song the hindered per cent that is so often talked about by glib singers and so little delivered.

Way back in the early eighties I used to go to Orange Juice gigs when they were an emerging cult band on Postcard records. It was a period of fascination with all things Scottish underground from Josef K to the Fire Engines to Orange Juice- bands that took the energy of the Subway Sect end of punk rock and criss crossed it with sixties underground. They were making a brave new pop that made none of them millionaires but whose DNA is all over modern music from Franz Ferdinand to the Artic Monkeys- what was once weird is now mainstream.

Orange Juice’s spindly, kinetic Velvets take on punk rock was simply thrilling honey and we saw them several times in that period that is now called post punk and seems to have a load of rules written into it. The fact was that at the time we were watching all sorts from Discharge to Postcard to Bauhaus to Killing Joke- the music scene was far more eclectic than we are now being told.

The 2011 Edwyn is proof of the redemptive power of rock n roll and its healing nature. He sings the songs beautifully and his superb band including ex Ruts drummer Dave Ruffy and Rockingbirds Andy Haackett is shit tight. They play the songs with a comforting aplomb and that sort of loose swagger that only great musicians can.

They also play with a real joy adding to the genuine warmth of the gig. It’s a genuine, very human warmth that can be so rare in the fast food conveyor belt of modern music. Edwyn Collins is not on that conveyor belt. He is not in a rush. I guess what happened in his life puts everything into perspective. The music means everything but it’s not part of the pointless contest. The songs stand the test of time and infact sound even better twenty, thirty years down the line.
Edwyn sits there and croons in only the way he can and brings a new life to all corners of that wonderful catalogue, ‘A Girl Like You’ is rearranged slightly and sounds even better, the old Orange Juice stuff replaces its nervy, kinetic punk rock haste with the assurance of middle age without becoming flabby. The songs now sound like the classics they are, timeless pieces of great guitar action.

It’s also a family affair with Edwyn’s son joining the band for a couple of songs, Edwyn Junior looking the spit of father. It all really should not work atall but this is as rock n roll as it gets, if rock n roll is the purest expression of being human then here it is.”

Here’s Edwyn doing “Rip It Up’ which was a hit for his group Orange Juice in 1983
 

 
Edwyn Collins and his band Orange Juice perform “Rip It Up” on Top Of The Pops in 1983 after the jump…
 
Thanks Elloise.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Louis Armstrong and Frank Sinatra sing Death Metal

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Another excellent death metal redub by YouTube user Andy Rehfeldt, with a little help from someone called Bördi. Wait for Louis to sing - why wasn’t the connection between Louis Armstrong and death metal more obvious before now?
 

 
Previously on DM:
Louis Armstrong sings Death Metal version of ‘What A Wonderful World’

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
The Godlike Genius of Laura Marling
03.23.2011
03:57 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Bob Dylan
Joni Mitchell
Alan McGee
Laura Marling

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Since there is no such thing as a music “mainstream” anymore, and if there is, it’s one that I can easily ignore—I have never heard Katy Perry’s “California Gurls” that I am aware of—so I don’t really feel that out of it. Or care. Where do you find out about new music, though? It used to be you found out about new music because you’d see something in a record store and think “That looks interesting” but that hardly happens anymore. Radio sucks.  For me, it’s not going to be Pitchfork, I just don’t relate to most of what I find there. Now it’s often a matter of happy accidents or friends’ recommendations.

Sometimes it’s good to consult with the experts. Of course, I realize that I’m more than a little late to the party on this one, but hey, better late than never. Last week I was reading something on the Guardian’s website and I found, by accident, a year-old blog post by Creation Records founder Alan McGee where he compares British singer-songwriter Laura Marling’s 2010 album, I Speak Because I Can to Joni Mitchell’s Court and Spark. Huh? That’s a rather strong statement to make, I’m sure most of you reading this will agree. Court and Spark? There are precious few albums I revere like Joni Mitchell’s masterpiece. It stayed in my car stereo for about a year and a half, once, I kid you not. And there’s also a comparison to Bob Dylan’s, Blood on the Tracks, probably THE classic break-up album. Again, it’s another record I’ve played so much it’s a part of my DNA. Laura Marling is supposed to be that good?  Court and Spark good? Oh, please. Nothing is that good these days…

Still, when it’s coming from the fellow who signed My Bloody Valentine, Jesus & Mary Chain and Oasis, it’s probably worth investigating.

So I did. And holy shit was McGee’s assessment right on the money. Laura Marling is a fucking genius. Marling, born in 1990 and just 21-years-old, is almost a child, but she doesn’t sound like one. Where does her incredible depth come from? I don’t know, but I don’t care, sometimes it’s better if rare and special talent like hers remains a mystery, like Antony Hegarty’s or a young Kate Bush (another particularly apt comparison given both her age and absolutely prodigious talents). She’s got a powerful, exceptional and uncommonly beautiful voice, perfectly suited to her compositions. Here’s what Alan McGee wrote that sent me out to find the album:

I Speak Because I Can could have gone wrong. It could have been a bleakly pale and introverted take on lost love. Yet it runs much like Bob Dylan’s Blood On the Tracks. Marling explores a broken relationship with blind rage and biting power, yet still manages to leave the listener with hope and salvation. In capturing a sense of love won and lost, and independence gained and fought for, Marling has scored an extraordinary songwriting achievement.

The album sees Marling developing a sound that is distinctly non-twee (listen to the Led Zeppelin-like title track or Devil’s Spoke). Her voice is deceptively huge – it gives the impression of unknowable, boundless territory without sounding loud or exerted. The sound can be unnerving and is not easily assimilated into a pop record. Marling is far from the Larkin-loving teen of her debut, Alas I Cannot Swim.

It’s pleasing to see a truly great British artist gaining popularity. I usually despise awards shows, but when Marling’s album, Alas I Cannot Swim, was nominated for the Mercury prize, I was glad that her genuine talent (in a sea of Lily Allen clones) was acknowledged.

It’s tempting to draw parallels between Marling and other figures of the alt-folk resurgence; Will Oldham, say, or Bon Iver. But if we’re honest, I Speak Because I Can plays more like a modern version of Joni Mitchell’s Court and Spark. It has a classic feel. And Marling deserves comparison to the greats.

I Speak Because I Can sounds like an intimate conversation between performer and listener. When it’s finished, you’ll feel as though you’ve just come away from a deeply involving and curious encounter with a stranger. It’s an experience that will stay with you for a long time to come, and one that you’ll want to revisit frequently.

Fans of emotionally intense and “literary” performers like Neil Young, Nick Cave, Nick Drake, Leonard Cohen and yes, Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell will find much to like with Laura Marling. I’m only now, with each successive play of I Speak Because I Can, beginning to appreciate the jaw-dropping talent this young woman possesses. If she’s this good at 21, her promise as a maturing artist is practically off the scale. This is the kind of talent that comes along once or twice in a generation and I think she must be aware of it.

Laura Marling is someone I plan to follow throughout her career.

Check out the reviews if you don’t believe me (or Alan McGee): How many albums rate a perfect “10” these days?

Below, a powerful live performance of I Speak Because I Can at the Mercury Prize awards ceremony, 2010.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Hitler headlines from vintage tabloids
03.23.2011
02:34 pm

Topics:
History
Media

Tags:
Hitler headlines
The Police Gazette

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The Police Gazette was a legendary publication that started out as a small 16 page magazine in 1845 and by the 1950s had morphed into a fullblown tabloid with a focus on scandal, gossip, movie stars and every form of sensationalism that would move copies off the newstands. Hitler was a big seller and The Police Gazette didn’t hesitate to exploit the Fuhrer’s sales appeal. Readers were particularly attracted by headlines claiming Hitler was still alive.

From Pulp International:

You’ll notice that Gazette editors didn’t feel the need to think of clever headers—three times they went simply with “Hitler Is Alive”, which makes sense, because for readers of the time what could have been more frightening and mesmerizing than those three words? But posting these covers also made us think about how often Hitler’s name is invoked today, especially on cable news shows and wacko talk radio, while his image is rarely seen. Perhaps that indicates some sort of transition from actual monstrosity into ethereal boogeyman, but we think turning his name into an invocation is an insult to those who actually fought him and, needless to say, it trivializes his crimes and the indelible scar he burned across the face of humanity. Secondarily, it makes people vulnerable to all sorts of ad hominem arguments involving Nazis, arguments we can’t help noticing are often put forth by people who seem to have no actual emotion regarding the Holocaust, and no concept of its historical significance. Basically, we’re believers in Godwin’s Law. Adhering to those rules, Hitler retains his full, horrible meaning. And crazy as it sounds, that’s a good thing.”

In today’s world these Hitler headlines seem absolutely absurd until you consider the kind of alternate history being trafficked by the likes of Glenn Beck. I can imagine researchers at Glenn Beck University diligently poring over battered copies of The Police Gazette in hopes of uncovering repressed and forgotten bits of history’s shadow world.  And if you’re unclear as to what Godwin’s Law’s is, the preceding two sentences qualify as an example.
 
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More Hitler headlines from The Police Gazette after the jump…

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Children dressed as Mr. T
03.23.2011
01:56 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Fashion
Heroes

Tags:
Mr. T

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BuzzFeed currently has an odd photo collection of kids dressed up as Mr. T. There’s also another website called Mr. T and Me which features even more pics of children sportin’ the look of their badass idol. Visit both these links for a good laugh or WTF?  

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(via BuzzFeed and Mr. T and Me )

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
George Takei’s wonderful tweet about Victoria Jackson

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Wow!

Follow @GeorgeTakei on Twitter.

(via TDW )

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
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