Famous composers doing normal shit
04.14.2014
07:25 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
John Cage
Gustav Mahler
Prokofiev
Aaron Copland

1114copyard.jpg
 
Whether it’s Aaron Copland raking the leaves in the yard, John Cage picking mushrooms, or Prokofiev playing chess, these photographs show famous composers in their everyday life doing normal everyday shit.
 
232debpicuss.jpg
Claude Debussy having a picnic with his daughter.
 
232321kite.jpg
Sergei Rachmaninoff flies a kite with friends.
 
191919hches.jpg
Sergei Prokofiev plays chess with violinist David Oistrakh, while another violinist, Liza Gilels watches on.
 
17shacar17.jpg
Caroline Shaw kayaking on the Hudson River.
 
11cagshroom1111.jpg
John Cage picking mushrooms.
 
Via Composers doing normal shit
 
More composers doing normal shit, after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
‘Bay City Rollers We Love You’: Nick Lowe’s secret musical love letter
04.14.2014
07:09 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Nick Lowe

Tartan Horde
 
According to Nick Lowe, the first musical release he did “all by myself” was a bizarrely enthusiastic fan club-style ditty written in mock adulation of one of the dominant pop sensations of 1975, the Scottish quintet known as the Bay City Rollers. The same song was also the catalyst from his sorely desired move from United Artists to Stiff Records, the independent label that did so much to define a certain brand of brainy pop in the early punk era, including, in addition to Lowe, Elvis Costello, The Damned, and Ian Dury.
 
Tartan Horde
 
“Bay City Rollers We Love You,” by the ad-hoc (and fictional) outfit “Tartan Horde,” in addition to being a damn fine pop ditty (I’ve included it on plenty of mixes over the years), is one of the more intriguing products of the continual strife between pop artists and record executives, an honorable lineage that includes Prince scrawling “Slave” on his cheek, Neil Young’s Landing on Water, the Sex Pistols’ “EMI,” and Graham Parker’s “Mercury Poisoning.”  (It might not be a coincidence that two of the examples named here emerged in the the UK of the late 1970s, the same general record label petri dish that Lowe was working in.)
 
The Bay City Rollers
The Bay City Rollers
 
Here’s an account of the single’s creation, drawn from Punk Diary: The Ultimate Trainspotter’s Guide to Underground Rock, 1970-1982 by George Gimarc:
 

Back in 1975, when Brinsley Schwartz split, United Artists were quite keen on keeping Nick Lowe under contract. He had written the songs, he was the “valuable one.” He desperately wanted out of the contract so he could pursue his own things and puzzled about how to do it he decided to submit some really bad records to UA. Lowe recalled “I couldn’t be obvious about it by turning in Country & Western songs with sitars [not a bad idea!] … so I decided to make one of those fan type records like in the ‘60s …. at the time there was no escaping the Bay City Rollers they were everywhere! So I wrote this stupid little song. … I recorded it and it was actually the very first thing I’d done all by myself.

 
The song was written pseudonymously, under the slightly hilarious name “Terry Modern.” I haven’t been able to track down the personnel on the song, but that sure is Rat Scabies of The Damned in that picture up top. The Internet contains several references to the song “topping the charts” in Japan, but I haven’t seen details. Here’s the Japanese cover art, which is very Peter Max influenced:
 
Tartan Horde
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
1000 band T-shirts in 1000 days
04.11.2014
07:11 am

Topics:
Fashion
Music

Tags:
t-shirts

1000 band T-shirts
 
Isac Walter sure does love his band T-shirts. With a small number of exceptions, for 1,000 consecutive days he wore a different band T-shirt—and he documented the process. This is a lad who positively luxuriates in the golden era of AmerIndie: the Tumblr project is even called “Minor Thread.” Click through and you can see Isac’s torso several hundred times, each time draped with a bit of fan memorabilia. He only revealed what he looked like from the neck up after the project was completed.

I’m guessing that Isac is an Angeleno—these pics were taken at XIX Studios in Eagle Rock—and from all appearances he loves his SST records—there’s lots of Descendents here, Black Flag, fIREHOSE, Hüsker Dü, All (not SST but Descendents-related), Dinosaur Jr. and so on. Some of them are label shirts, I definitely saw Sub Pop and Dischord. 

Then there are the curveballs: a David Lee Roth Eat ‘Em and Smile tour T-shirt, a Foreigner Agent Provocateur shirt, a Phil Collins But Seriously tee with the cursive handwriting in the corner, a Slayer shirt with the Dodgers’ “LA” logo between the S- and the -yer, and my absolute favorite, a Belle and Sebastian shirt done up in the style of a Bad Brains rasta shirt.
 
1000 band T-shirts
See a much larger version of this image here.

As Isac says of the above picture, “if you click on the picture it should take you to a full size version you can nerd around on and look in more detail. have fun with it, spend some time kooking out.  share it with your friends.  then go make something like this yourself.” 
 
The question I’d love Isak to answer is, Is it OK to wear the band’s shirt when you are seeing that band’s show? I’ve had this conversation with a lot of music fans, and opinions vary widely—some people feel strongly about it. I think Isak should have the final word on that one.
 
band T-shirts
At least he’s tidy….. this is just a fraction of the full 1,000 shirts
 

 

 
via Das Kraftfuttermischwerk

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
‘Teen Talk’ on early ‘80s L.A. punk
04.11.2014
07:07 am

Topics:
Music
Punk
Television

Tags:


 

I’ve seen beatniks, hippies and flower children. I’ve heard Guthrie, the Beatles and the Stones…

It’s almost poetic, like a dorky, suburban, baby-boom travesty of Howl. Those words, spoken by San Fernando Valley high school teacher Joe Feinstein, introduce the “punk rock” episode of his early ‘80s TV show Teen Talk, one of those grownup-rappin’-on-the-real-with-the young-people shows which every media market seemed to have. For this episode, Feinstein invited “punk rockers and new wavers and all kinds of rock ‘n’ rollers to talk with us about their extreme forms of communication.”

It’s as naively charming as all such shows are, but given the subject, it could have been horrible—was any “punk rock” episode of ANYTHING ever any good? Quincy and After School Special had punk episodes so clueless they remain notorious decades later. So I kind of have to hand it to Feinstein for finding smart kids who listened to credible music. (Name-checks include X, Urban Guerrillas, Siouxsie, Oingo Boingo and TSOL—not bad! I’ve still never heard Meyer Goldstein and his Seven Cockamamies, though…) So while this has a lot of the same goofy naiveté of all such shows, it also contains glimpses into the SoCal punk scene, not from the usual perspective of aging, semi-famous rockers indulging in self-glorification long after the fact, but from fans who were actively checking this stuff out while it was still new, and had the self-awareness to talk about it all intelligently—though one can’t say he got a truly representative sample, as none of his guests seem to be junkies.

One little postscript—the uploader, hipsville, notes that Feinstein went on to become a cruise ship Rabbi. Kudos to him for landing such a plush gig.
 

 

 
More Teen Talk after the jump…
 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
El Vez, the Mexican Elvis: Che Guevara meets ‘Viva Las Vegas’
04.10.2014
06:42 pm

Topics:
Art
Music
Pop Culture

Tags:
The Zeros
ELvis
El Vez


 
Although he regularly tours internationally—and he might not even live here anymore—I tend to think of El Vez, the Mexican Elvis, as one of the best things about the city of Los Angeles. One of my very, very first nights out “on the town” when I first moved here involved catching El Vez and the Elvettes—totally by accident—at the Atlas Bar and Grill on Wilshire Blvd. Claiming to be the bastard son of Elvis and Charo, his act was super fun—reminding me of John Sex, Deee Lite or The B-52s—and the sort of multilayered political and racial satire and hilarious dog whistles that went into his material like “En El Barrio” made me an instant fan. Over the years I’ve seen El Vez (real name Robert Lopez) at least a dozen times and it’s always been a blast. He’s a local institution. (Still in high school, Lopez co-founded LA punk legends, The Zeros way back in 1976. He can also be seen as part of Catholic Discipline in The Decline of Western Civilization.)

El Vez doesn’t only do Elvis songs. He might do something by ABBA or The Clash or T.Rex or David Bowie (El Vez had his “Thin Brown Duke” phase), but it’s always ultimately filtered through his “Chicano power” persona, one part Che Guevara, one part Viva Las Vegas. The guy pays attention to the details and the revolutionary politics in his idiosyncratic (and very, very funny) artform. Is it just a novelty act? Well, sure, but only to someone too stupid to get all the jokes. He’s like The Simpsons, even someone thick would enjoy seeing El Vez do his thing.

El Vez will be touring with his Cinco de Mayo review. Dates are listed on his website, where you can also buy a lock of his hair (in a “deluxe” ziplock bag) for just $3.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Much more El Vez after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Kick out the jams with ‘Brother’ Wayne Kramer of The MC5, this week on ‘The Pharmacy’
04.10.2014
01:59 pm

Topics:
Music
Pop Culture

Tags:
MC5
The Pharmacy
Wayne Kramer


 
Gregg Foreman’s radio program The Pharmacy is a music / talk show playing heavy soul, raw funk, 60′s psych, girl groups, Krautrock. French yé-yé, Hammond organ rituals, post-punk transmissions and “ghost on the highway” testimonials and interviews with the most interesting artists and music makers of our times…

This week’s guest is the Wayne Kramer from the legendary MC5:

  • Where The MC5 came from and what “the Revolution” was all about
  • Why the MC5’s first record was a live record which was rather untraditional at the time , and the differences between the records and recording ...
  • The MC5’s affinity with free jazz musicians like like Sun Ra and Albert Ayler.
  • Why The MC5 were the only band to show up at the 1968 Democratic Convention…
  • Wayne’s post-prison band, Gang War with Johnny Thunders

Plus some advice to the kids…


 
Mr. Pharmacy is a musician and DJ who has played for the likes of Pink Mountaintops, The Delta 72, The Black Ryder, The Meek and more. Since 2012 Gregg Foreman has been the musical director of Cat Power’s band. He started dj’ing 60s Soul and Mod 45’s in 1995 and has spun around the world. Gregg currently lives in Los Angeles, CA and divides his time between playing live music, producing records and dj’ing various clubs and parties from LA to Australia.

Set List

Mr.Pharmacist - The Fall
Ramblin’ Rose - The MC5
Pow! To the People - The Make Up
INTRO 1 / Boogaloo - Rx/Carol Kaye
Wayne Kramer Conversation Part 1
Tonight - MC5
Night Time - Strangeloves
Camel Walk - The Ikettes
Le Responsable - Jacques Dutronc
INTRO 2 / Sliced Tomatoes - Rx / Just Brothers
Wayne Kramer Conversation Part 2
1969 - The Stooges
I Can’t Stand It - James Brown
Action Woman - The Litter
Oh How to Do Now - The Monks
INTRO 3 / The Swag - Rx / Link Wray
Wayne Kramer Conversation Part 3
The American Ruse - MC5
Blank Generation - Richard Hell and The Voidoids
All This and More - Dead Boys
I Can Only Give You Everything - Them
Wayne Kramer Conversation Part 4
Kick Out the Jams - MC5
I’m Ready - Fats Domino
Wayne Kramer Conversation Part 5
The Wig - Lorenzo Holden
Twine Time - Alvin Cash and the Crawlers
Chasing a Fire Engine - Wayne Kramer and the Lexington Arts Ensemble
Outro

 
You can download the entire show here.
 
Below, the absolutely terrific documentary MC5: A True Testimonial:

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
‘Lou Reed part 2’: Little-known Public Image Ltd. footage from 1982
04.10.2014
11:55 am

Topics:
Music
Punk

Tags:
John Lydon
PiL
Keith Levene
Public Image Ltd.


 
When I was a kid, more than any other group, Public Image Ltd. were my band. As a teenager, I was a major acidhead who hated religion and PiL suited that state of mind better than just about anything. They were demented dada geniuses, doing more to move music away from the three chord blues-based rock and roll that had dominated popular music since the days of Chuck Berry than anyone else. It wasn’t as if John Lydon’s previous outfit had done much to musically challenge the status quo. The Sex Pistols may have shown that the prevailing rock acts of the day were all “dinosaurs,” but their music really wasn’t anything all that “new” was it?

Who would say that about Public Image Ltd.? With their second album, Metal Box, they changed the state of modern music the way Picasso and Georges Braque had changed the act of perception itself with the advent of Cubism some seventy years earlier. After PiL, everything was different and nothing was too weird. A hundred years from now those first three PiL albums will still be revered the same way they are today, except that by then they’ll considered classical music or something…

I was lucky enough to see PiL in 1983. I’d run away from home and PiL were playing a few days later on Staten Island at the horrible, decrepit and just downright shitty Paramount Theater (a venue that should have required a tetanus shot to enter). Jah Wobble had already been kicked out of the band, but that didn’t bother me (I’m probably just slightly more partial to The Flowers of Romance than I am the first two albums) and this was a few months before Keith Levene and Lydon had their famous falling out.

Without Wobble you still had PiL, but as Lydon would soon prove beyond all argument, he was only as good (or as bad) as his collaborators. When Keith Levene fucked off, forget it, after that it was Public Image Ltd. in name only. Not that Levene did much of anything—for years decades—without Lydon anyway, but Lydon without Levene was hopeless, a fucking joke from 1983 onwards if you ask most fans of the original group.

I’ve mentioned on the blog before that I have a pretty decent collection of PiL bootlegs on vinyl. Truly “oldschool” boots produced over thirty years ago, most of them pretty primitive pressings. When I got rid of most of my records ten years ago (keeping collectibles and signed pieces, plus my Jeannie C. Riley albums) I still retained them and as a percentage, they comprise a good bit of what’s left of a once ridiculously huge record collection. One of them is a boot of the actual show I saw called “Where Are We?” taped on March 26th, at the Paramount Theater.

The title comes from a song PiL had been playing in their sets around that time that was originally called “Lou Reed Part 2” and then later rechristened “Where Are You?” (the spiteful lyrics are about departed PiL video maker Jeanette Lee). It came out on both Lydon’s “official” This is What You Want, This is What You Get album and Levene’s less official version on the Commercial Zone bootleg.

This 1982 report from Canadian television about PiL’s first performance in the country, at Toronto’s Masonic Temple Concert Hall, features a short excerpted performance of “Lou Reed Part 2/Where Are You?” and during it someone spits right in Lydon’s face. He’s not happy. At the end of the piece there’s a bigger chunk of a live “Public Image.” With so little decent footage of PiL around—I’ve seen very little video of the post Wobble group—this is a real treat. Lydon’s sporting a hospital gown and looks, as he often did in his youth, like an escaped mental patient.

I don’t know exactly what he means by this, but if you click over to Keith Levene’s website, he’s trying to raise the funds to “finish” Commercial Zone 2014. For a guy who was so, er, quiet, throughout most of the past three decades, for the past few years, Levene seems intent on making up for lost time, recording and gigging with Jah Wobble, releasing solo material and writing his life story, the nicely titled, This is not an Autobiography: The Diary of a non-Punk Rocker, available soon as an e-book.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Killdozer: greatest cover songs, or awesomest cover songs?
04.10.2014
07:57 am

Topics:
Amusing
Music

Tags:
Killdozer


 
Along with the likes of The Melvins and Big Black, Madison, WI’s Killdozer pointed the way in the ‘80s to the bludgeoning, sludgy, heavy-but-not-really-metal underground sound that would own half of the ‘90s, but one crucial thing set Killdozer apart from their contemporaries—they were fucking HILARIOUS. Bassist/vocalist/ringleader Michael Gerald’s demented growl “singing” could inspire menace or laughter at his whim. You-have-to-be-kidding-me album titles like Intellectuals Are the Shoeshine Boys of the Ruling Elite and Uncompromising War on Art Under the Dictatorship of the Proletariat, and songs like “Man Vs. Nature,” the lyrics to which were melodramatically declaimed plot synopses of Irwin Allen disaster movies, cemented their rep in some circles as a goof band, despite their dark social commentary and completely BRUTAL music.

(Tangent/rant: this isn’t necessarily about Killdozer in particular, it’s really more general, but anyway, I do not understand the oft-diminished stature, in much of hip/crit culture, of bands that employ humor. It’s a damn good bit more difficult to make me laugh than to make me angry, but generally it’s been the angsty bands that have been considered “important?” Screw that. I respect the funny. They have a harder job to do.)

Some of the finest expressions of Killdozer’s humor lay in the many, many, completely incongruous cover songs they recorded. They did TONS of this stuff. There’s a cover on all but one of their albums and EPs, and covers comprise a hefty share of their 7” b-sides and compilation tracks.
 

Run Through The Jungle by Killdozer on Grooveshark

“Run Through the Jungle,” orig. Creedence Clearwater Revival
 

I Am, I Said by Killdozer on Grooveshark

“I Am, I Said,” orig. Neil Diamond
 

Age of Aquarius / Let the Sun Shine In by Alice Donut and Killdozer on Grooveshark

“Age of Aquarius/Let the Sun Shine In,” with Alice Donut, orig. The 5th Dimension
 

Nasty by Killdozer on Grooveshark

“Nasty,” orig. Janet Jackson
 

 
Then, in 1989, what was surely inevitable happened: Killdozer released an entire covers album, For Ladies Only, which you’d think would have included the Steppenwolf song by that name. It did not. But it was still really, really nuts.
 

American Pie by Killdozer on Grooveshark

“American Pie,” orig. Don McLean
 

One Tin Soldier by Killdozer on Grooveshark

“One Tin Soldier,” orig. Coven
 

Funk #49 (James Gang cover) by Killdozer on Grooveshark

“Funk No. 49,” orig. The James Gang
 

 
This won my grin—YouTube user arfortiyef layered Killdozer’s take on “Hush” over the famous footage of Deep Purple performing it on Playboy After Dark.

 
Lastly, here’s my absolute favorite Killdozer cover—EMF’s “Unbelievable.” It was the flip side of the 7” of “The Pig Was Cool,” a killer song. This 1992 audience-cam footage isn’t much to look at, but the sound does the job just fine.
 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
‘Cry Baby: The Pedal That Rocks The World’


 
The wah-wah guitar effect pedal makes a “cry baby” sound by filtering the electronic frequencies up and down controlled by the players foot. The first one was put on the market in 1967 by Warwick Electronics Inc./Thomas Organ Company, the somewhat accidental creation of Brad Plunkett, a junior electronics engineer at the company. Plunkett’s prototype used a volume pedal from a Vox Continental Organ and a transistorized mid-range booster, but his original goal had only been to switch from a finicky tube to a much cheaper, easier to use piece of solid state circuitry. (Chet Atkins had designed a somewhat similar device in the late 1950s, which you can hear on his “Hot Toddy” and “Slinkey” singles)

Almost immediately the Cry Baby wah-wah pedal was adopted by the most famous guitar slingers in rock. One of the first was Eric Clapton, who used the effect to great effect in “Tales of Brave Ulysses.” Frank Zappa was a huge fan of the effect and is said to have introduced Jimi Hendrix to the Cry Baby who used it on “Burning of the Midnight Lamp” and quite a bit after that. One of the most famous uses of the wah-wah pedal’s “wacka-wacka” effect is heard on Isaac Hayes’ “Theme from Shaft.”

In Joey Tosi and Max Baloian’s documentary Cry Baby: The Pedal That Rocks The World, the filmmakers explore the influence of the wah-wah pedal on popular music, talking to inventor Brad Plunkett, longtime Rolling Stone contributor Ben Fong-Torres, Eddie Van Halen, Slash, Buddy Guy, Art Thompson, Hendrix engineer Eddie Kramer, Metallica’s Kirk Hammett, Dweezil Zappa and Jim Dunlop, a man whose name is synonymous with the production of musical effects devices.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Sun Ra master tapes and other items on eBay
04.09.2014
12:39 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Sun Ra
Jazz


 
An interesting lot of Sun Ra items has come up for auction on eBay with the opening bid of $20,000:

Sun Ra (1914-1993) used Variety Recording Studio in the 1960s to 1980s.  SUN RA STAMPERS, MOTHERS – 10 total + possibly 2 more that might or not be Sun Ra   11-1-79A 9-1213-85A 10-14-85B mother 1984B 1984C 1984D SRA 2000B     mother 10-3B-6888A   mother 10-3B-6888B   mother 10-3B-6888A John Cage Meets Sun Ra Included in the batch are two more:  12-31-80 A&B Which might or might not be Sun Ra’s. STAMPERS:    After material is recorded, it can be transferred from tape to a “master tape,” from which “acetate records” or if quantities are desired, the tape is “mastered” in order that “stampers” can be manufactured. Stampers for the two sides of a record are then placed in an oven-like machine where labels are inserted, an oily substance is injected,  and one record at a time is “pressed.” The pressings can be in any quantity, and a stamper usually can make at least 1000 copies unless it breaks because of the heat and needs to be re-done.  MOTHERS For larger quantities, a “mother” is made, and from that as many stampers as are desired can be pressed. CAVEAT The metal stampers/mothers are sold as a batch with the caveat that, unless a pressing plant with equipment similar to that used in the 1960s to 1980s can be found, no pressings could be made. It is possible that none of the present stampers can be used to make further pressings. However, it might be possible to digitize the data in order that a digital master could be created for digitally downloadable and CD creations. The stampers and mothers are particularly of interest as mementoes of the work by one of the last century’s great jazz bandleaders. They are sold “as is.” The buyer could re-sell the individual stampers. They are not sold for the purpose of infringing upon the rights of copyright holders. The materials offered have always been the property only of the seller.

 

 
The “Buy It Now” price for the entire lot is $26,000. It seems like you would be taking a big chance spending that kind of money with these caveats (especially if all the master tapes still exist). If, however, this music is currently being held captive by an obsolete technology, in recent years “lost” music was transferred (via laser I believe) from metal stampers dating from the 1930s containing two songs from blues legend Robert Johnson. Hard to tell what treasure awaits the buyer.

Here’s Sun Ra & his Arkestra live at the Chicago Jazz Festival 1981. The man certainly knew how to make an entrance!
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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