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The return of Khun Narin: More mindblowing psychedelia from Thailand
10:40 am



In March of 2013 I wrote a piece for Dangerous Minds about Khun Narin, a band from the Phetchabun Province of Thailand. I characterized their music as being “indescribably beautiful psychedelia.” Head music is hard to describe so I linked to their Youtube video - which at the time had few views - and it was a stunner. The sound was otherworldly, magic and hypnotic and the performance intense. 

A Dangerous Minds reader named Josh Marcy read the piece, saw the video and had his mind blown. He flew to Thailand to record the group. The result was the first album to be released by the Thai street musicians, Khun Narin’s Electric Phin Band. It’s a terrific record and was greeted with great reviews and coverage by Newsweek, Vogue and Wired, among others. It was also enough of a commercial success to finance a second album. Khun Narin II has just been released via Los Angeles-based label Innovative Leisure and it is another trance-inducing mindbender that even the most jaded of music freaks will find find revelatory.

I asked Josh Marcy to write a bit about the path to recording Khun Narin.

Take it away Josh:

The Dangerous Mind headline said all I needed to know - Mindblowing Psychedelia From Thailand - and the music in the YouTube video delivered in spades, with some of the most beautifully deep and heavy music I’d ever heard.  And there was a perfect challenge to the reader at the end of the DM article with just enough information needed to make it happen:  “Visit [their Facebook page] and implore them to come to your town or city now. Or at least release an album.”  I guess I took that as a personal challenge when I left my job later that year and began tracking down the band, first connecting the dots from the video to the phin player Beer Sitthichai’s YouTube channel and then finding the great Peter Doolan. A couple months later we’d all be together recording the first album in Lom Sak! I definitely sweated it out, but my little portable recording setup managed to get it done…  And a great performance will always outweigh the technological shortcomings.  I just hit record and the band made the magic happen

As I watch that original video, I’m realizing that the first song they play is also the final song on the new album, so it all comes full circle. It’s been such a great pleasure getting to know the amazingly talented guys in the band and, with Innovative Leisure and many others, bring their music to a wider audience, just as that original post on Dangerous Minds helped and implored us all to!

This is the video that got the ball rolling. When I first discovered it, thanks to Joey Zarda, there were just a small handful of views. Now there’s close to 400,000.

A new video from Khun Narin and a must-see complete concert after the jump…

Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
Nicolas Winding Refn’s trippy booze commercial contains more LSD than alcohol
04:24 pm



Nicolas Winding Refn directs films that really can be called visionary. From the Pusher Trilogy through Bronson to Valhalla and Drive, Refn’s trippy visuals blended with violence, sex, and mysticism recall outlaw filmmakers like Kubrick, Anger and Tarantino. His artful exploitation films are B-movies from another dimension. For instance, take this commercial that Refn directed for Hennessy. In a conversation I had with Refn he told me he’s never taken acid. I guess he doesn’t need to because there’s a point of view in his work that is already definitely psychedelic.

The product is Hennessy X.O - Odyssey. Refn took the word odyssey and ran with it.

The awesome music is by former Red Hot Chili Pepper Cliff Martinez.

Hennessy X.O - Odyssey (dir. Nicolas Winding Refn) from Stinkdigital on Vimeo.


Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
God of Hellfire: Arthur Brown incinerates the hairy hordes at Glastonbury Fayre
09:26 am



Alice Cooper is often credited with being the originator of “shock rock” but there were at least two rock provocateurs who preceded him: Screamin’ Jay Hawkins and “God of Hellfire” Arthur Brown. While there were plenty of crazed novelty acts that fell into the “one hit wonders” category, Hawkins (who died in 2000) and Brown (still alive) have stood the test of time. In the case of both men, the “shock” aspect of their performances often transcended over-the-top theatrics to become a kind of pop culture ritual magic. Underneath the spook show surface, there was something genuinely unsettling but ultimately liberating in their art. When Hawkins put a spell on you there was a good reason to be concerned. The bone in his nose may have been for laughs, but there was the sound of the graveyard in his subterranean growl. And Arthur Brown put more than just a dram or two of mystical gasoline in his flaming crucible. His crazy world IS crazy. A showman, shaman and satirist, Brown can invoke powerful mojo with a wave of his spidery hand.

In June of 1971, Arthur Brown performed at the Glastonbury Fair rock festival. A motley gathering of hippies, easy riders and suburban sadhus, the festival was a mini-Woodstock in renaissance fair drag. Swarming with enough body hair to carpet the moon and more mud-encrusted nude men than a mosh pit at Kumbh Mela. The gathering was a group grope of epic proportions where men seemed to outnumber women by at least two to one. Pink void meets the sausageful of secrets.

Fifteen years later events like these would inspire punks to declare “kill the hippies.”  So it is quite surprising that the filmed document of the festival,  Glastonbury Fayre, isn’t an acid reflux of The Summer Of Love but an engrossing slice of cinema. Despite puke-inducing scenes of flower power gone to seed, stoned freaks blathering cosmic gibberish and a cringe-inducing appearance by the slimy Maharaj Ji—the Justin Bieber of gurus—Glastonbury Fayre manages to capture something bordering on the magical. The festival took place a mere 50 miles from Stonehenge and the movie is appropriately stoned and unhinged.

Keep reading after the jump…

Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
The Replacements incite a riot: An exclusive excerpt from the great new biography ‘Trouble Boys’
09:08 am



Trouble Boys

Trouble Boys: The True Story of the Replacements, the highly anticipated biography of the legendary Minneapolis group, is out this week. Author Bob Mehr has done nothing less than pen the definitive ‘Mats bio, and Dangerous Minds has an exclusive excerpt.

The Replacements had a reputation for rowdy, drunken performances, and our excerpt from Trouble Boys details a show in Houston that just might be their wildest gig ever. It takes place in the fall of 1985, during the early stages of the Tim tour. Bassist Tommy Stinson had recently been arrested for public intoxication prior to a show in Norman, Oklahoma, spending the night in jail.

The rising action of the tour reached its climax a few nights later in Houston, where the ’Mats played the Lawndale Art Annex.

It was an unusual venue for the band—a couple of miles from the University of Houston campus, it was basically an old warehouse the school used for more highbrow art events. The gig’s promoter, Tom Bunch, had been booking hardcore and punk shows in the city for several years, working with Black Flag and the Dead Kennedys (he would go on to manage the Butthole Surfers) without any problems.

The Replacements had sold some 600 tickets in advance to a mix of punk scenesters and college kids. The latter demographic was making up a more noticeable chunk of the band’s audience. “Hey, Greeks! If you like Springsteen, R.E.M. or U2, you’ll love the Replacements!” ran a show ad in one student newspaper that autumn.

There was also an increasingly large contingent of rubberneckers. “The audience no longer exclusively consisted of people who ‘got it,’” said Replacements’ soundman Monty Lee Wilkes. “I could see it looking around every night. There were the people that had come solely to see the car crash. You’d overhear them in the can: ‘I hope they’re not too drunk tonight.’ ‘Oh man, that’s the only way to see them.’ These were the kind of people who would’ve tried to beat up the band at a party two years earlier.”

The Lawndale Annex gig also reunited the Replacements with Alex Chilton, who’d come up from New Orleans to play a couple of shows with the band. Perhaps Chilton’s presence played a part—singer/guitarist Paul Westerberg was always looking to impress him—but that night Paul almost singlehandedly started a riot. “For years I claimed Alex had spiked my drink backstage and put some sort of hallucinogen in it,” said Westerberg, “because my behavior was so off the map.”

From the start, manager Peter Jesperson sensed it was going to be one of those shows. Early on the Tim tour, he’d tried harder to dole out the booze in increments, and not too far in advance. “I’d have to lie to them all the time about that: ‘We can only get a twelve-pack now.’ I was trying to ration it out as best I could.”

In Houston, Chilton asked Jesperson for a lift back to his hotel and to wait while he got ready, then took his time shaving and getting dressed. Meanwhile, the band got its hands on the rest of the liquor: “A bottle of whiskey, a bottle of vodka, two cases of Bud, one of Heineken, and one bottle of red wine,” recalled Bunch. When he went in to check on them a little later, “every bottle was empty. Completely bone dry. I thought, This is going to be interesting.” When Jesperson finally returned, he walked into the dressing room to find the band had “actually embedded bottles of Heineken into the drywall. Not only was the liquor gone, but I was required to get them more.”

Paul and Bob
More after the jump…

Posted by Bart Bealmear | Discussion
Moor, Moor, Moor: Shakespeare’s ‘Othello’ goes 70s rock musical in cult classic ‘Catch My Soul’
09:40 am


Richie Havens

Poster Art for Catch My Soul
When seeds of malice and deceit are planted, only the worst kind of garden, watered by blood and tears, will bloom. The Ancient Greeks knew this, as did the Bard himself when he wrote his early 1600’s play, Othello. (Which in turn was based on “The Moorish Captain,” a 1565 short story written by Cinthio, an Italian writer and poet. Art, much like an onion and that one book in the Bible that is a series of “begetting,” is a never ending string of inspiration, revisions and occasional outright thievery.) When it comes to this story being adapted for the Silver Screen, most are at least familiar with the 1952 adaptation directed by and starring Orson Welles or the 1995 film starring Laurence Fishburne and Kenneth Branagh. There is one film out of the number of various versions that tends to get left out of the fold, unjustifiably. A film that, while it could have only been born out of the late 60’s /early 70’s, has retained the timelessness of Cinthio and Shakespeare’s tragedy. The film in question? 1974’s Catch My Soul.
The devlish Iago
Patrick McGoohan, who is better known for his acting work on the classic 60’s TV show The Prisoner (as well as Howard Hughes’ favorite film ever, Ice Station Zebra), directed Catch My Soul, a modern-day musical reworking of the famous tale. Starring legendary folk singer/Woodstock juggernaut Richie Havens as Othello, whom instead of being a general for the Venetian army, is now a man of God baptizing a ragtag group of boho-commune types. There’s the apple of his eye, the meekly boyish Desdemona (a very young Season Hubley) and his righthand man, Cassio (musician Tony Joe White), a former boozer who has found redemption through Christ and Othello himself. But there’s a snake in the land of pure love and spirituality in the form of Iago (Lance Legault), who, along with some help from his wife Amelia (the eternally inimitable Susan Tyrell), plots and plants assorted seeds for Othello’s hellish downfall.
Othello confronts Desdemona
Catch My Soul manages to nail all the things that were right about some of its cinematic peers (ie. Norman Jewison’s Jesus Christ Superstar or David Greene’s Godspell, both of which came out the year before) and mercifully escapes a number of their flaws. Thanks to McGoohan’s able direction, writer Jack Good’s script and the impeccable camerawork by Conrad L. Hall, the film never slips into any dated hippie-dippy cliches and retains the gravitas of the original source material. Even better, the religious angle is heavy but without claw-hammering the audience. Catch My Soul is interesting for many reasons and this is one of the strongest ones. It is a tale of sadness, loss of faith, love punctured and spirituality without becoming a full blown “religious” film. Which is one of the things that undoubtedly hurt the film’s chances of success during its initial theatrical release. Not religious enough for the hardcore fundamentalist crowd and too strange for the rest. A modern-day musical re-telling of Shakespeare’s Othello with a spiritual tint starring Richie Havens and Susan Tyrell is a film that in a just world should sound immediately appealing to most, but this existence’s version of justice is about as moth-eaten and flimsy as ¾ of Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber’s work.
Iago plants further seeds of destruction
In further injustice, Catch My Soul never even warranted a home video release via VHS, Beta, Laserdisc or DVD. That is, until very recently, via Etiquette Pictures and their beautifully remastered Blu-ray release. (See? Some things do right themselves out… you just may have to wait a few decades for the scales to balance.)

The music is solid, which is a no-brainer given that, in addition to Havens and White (who had a big hit in ‘68 with “Polk Salad Annie”), the film also features such noted musicians as Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett, as well as Billy Joe Royal (of “Down in the Boondocks” fame). Interestingly enough, it is Legault who does the lion’s share of the singing and he not only brings it vocally, but makes for one of the most manic and intense Iagos in recent memory. He plays Iago as if the man himself is literally the Devil. Charismatic even when covered in sweat and dirt and soot and frightening as the awareness that the only demon living in Iago’s fevered, poxed soul is the one in his mind, Legault is stellar. For a man who got his start as a stunt double for Elvis, later on starred in The A-Team and worked as a lounge singer, where is his documentary? Someone needs to plant that seed and soon.
Continues after the jump…

Posted by Heather Drain | Discussion
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