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ONO covers the Velvet Underground on an art museum loading dock
08.25.2016
11:55 am

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Music

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This blog has covered the legendary Chicago underground psych/performance group ONO before but a recap is in order anyway: musician P. Micheal Grego and mononymous singer/shaman Travis formed their theatrical anti-rock band in 1980, toiling in arty obscurity until throwing in the towel in 1986. Two decades later, they re-formed the band after interest in their two LPs Machines that Kill People and Ennui unexpectedly boomed. Since 2012, they’re released three new albums, and they finally toured outside Chicago in 2014.

They continue to tour today, with a greatly expanded membership that includes connections to other quality Chicago concerns like Tiger Hatchery and even Ministry. Travis has swapped his trademark dreadlocks for a clean-shaven dome and a brilliant white beard, and sports luminous white clothing to match—often wedding dresses. He’s a captivating sight; there a pitifully few frontmen as engaging and just plain watchable as Travis.

Last week, the band appeared in a concert on the loading docks of Cleveland, OH’s Museum of Contemporary Art, part of a far-too-short concert series that ends tomorrow night with a performance by concrète masters Form A Log. They shared the bill with a marvelous interactive dance performance by Space Beach and some jaw-dropping microtonal math rock from Baltimore’s Horse Lords, but ONO can’t really help but completely steal any show they appear on. Please enjoy my phone-cam footage of a delightful surprise they unleashed, a wonderfully droney nine-minute cover of the Velvet Underground’s “All Tomorrow’s Parties,” an apt choice for a band whose singer favors hand-me-down gowns.
 

 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Never mind the Shatner, the ‘Star Trek’ cast member with the golden voice was Nichelle Nichols


 
May the gods eternally bless Rhino Records for so many reasons, but one of that label’s greatest contributions to weird society was the Golden Throats series of compilation albums. It endeavored—and largely succeeded—at bringing wide attention to one of my favorite vinyl collectibles sub-obsessions: celebrities not known for singing who nonetheless and against all reason recorded albums on which they sang, often very, very poorly. Adding to the kitsch appeal of the phenomenon, these albums were usually lounge or easy listening, and were often recorded in total earnest.

Notably, key Star Trek cast members William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy were disproportionally represented on those Rhino comps, appearing on all four installments in the series, and scoring four tracks between them on the first one alone. Shatner’s stilted cover songs have become legendary on the basis of just one completely bonkers album, 1968’s The Transformed Man which manages to be a major head-trip both intentionally AND accidentally. Nimoy released about a half-dozen musical albums, a couple of which are Trek themed affairs on which he sometimes sings in-character as Spock, which have moments that approach the outsidery awesomeness of the Shatner LP. The rest are straightforward folk-pop albums, which are unironically not half bad at all.
 

 
Sadly, DeForest Kelley never made a musical LP, so it’s impossible to collect a complete discography of Trek’s archetypal Freudian trio. HOWEVER, there was more music to be found on the bridge: the recordings of Nichelle “Lt. Uhura” Nichols were totally neglected by Rhino when they assembled the Golden Throats comps (probably because she was actually really good). Between 1967 and 1991, she released three full lengths (sort of), two 7” singles, and an EP. Before she blazed a massively important trail for non-servile representation of African-American women on broadcast TV, Nichols sang with both Duke Ellington’s and Lionel Hampton’s bands, and she debuted as a solo recording artist with 1967’s Down to Earth. The title was an obvious nod to her stellar day job, and fittingly, the music was anything but cosmic. It’s a lightly jazzy lounge pop album, typical of its time, and loaded with standards and showtunes.

Keep reading after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Laibach? There’s an app for that
08.25.2016
09:16 am

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Art
Music

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The poster for Laibach’s upcoming show in Ljubljana
 
You say you love Laibach, but what are you really willing to do for the cause? When is the last time you spent NSK State money? Sure, you wear the official Laibach tie, but where is your matching tie clip? And you stink of mortality; where is your bar of Laibach soap? Only Laibach brand soap has been proven to kill every type of pestilence it does not also promote:

This big bar of Saliva, Sweat and Sperm is pressed three times to make a rich and creamy soap. A relaxing fragrance for tired and stressed-out souls calms the nerves and soothes the body. Perfect for beginning or ending your life.



A bar of Laibach soap
 
Have you looked in the mirror lately? There is way too much “you” behind those eyes and not nearly enough Laibach. Citizen, the day of reckoning is at hand! Boots are marching in the public street, and you haven’t even sacrificed your personality to the general will yet! Time is running out. It may not be too late if you get right with Laibach today.

Of course, you will need to replace all your records with Laibach records, all your clothes with Laibach clothes, all your décor with Laibach décor, et cetera. But while you are appropriating the necessary funds for your total, final makeover, you can get started by downloading the free Laibach app. It will help you maintain right speech and right conduct, and after you (inevitably) consent, it will “access your location even when you are not using the app.” It’s kind of like Pokémon GO—except in former Yugoslavian republic of Slovenia, Pokémon catches you!

With the Laibach app you will be able to: get the latest News, listen/buy music, watch Laibach videos, interact with the Laibach Community, send your artworks directly from your mobile device, get the latest info on Laibach tour dates and ticket links, see photos of Laibach, read about Laibach history and everything else you need to help you be a better partisan.


A screenshot from the Laibach app
 
The app is available for Android and iOS.

Next week, Laibach will be performing a special concert on the theme of “the holy war in/of Europe” with the RTV Slovenia Symphony Orchestra in Ljubljana. Tickets and posters are available through laibach.org.

More Laibach after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
Life-size bronze Lemmy statue unveiled at Rainbow Bar & Grill
08.25.2016
08:47 am

Topics:
Design
Music
R.I.P.

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Photo by Mike Maglieri via DIO on Twitter

A bronze Lemmy statue was unveiled last night at the Rainbow Bar & Grill on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood, California. The statue stands at 6 feet tall and was sculpted by Los Angeles-based artist Travis Moore.


Image via John Kerr on Facebook.

The Rainbow Bar & Grill was one of Lemmy’s favorite haunts. He didn’t (or was allowed to?) drive and lived within walking distance of the legendary nightclub and watering hole for the famous. It makes perfect sense why the statue was erected there. His ashes belong at the Rainbow, too, but in a commemorative ashtray.

Below, video of last night’s unveiling:

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
‘Twin Peaks’ soundtrack reissue pressed onto ‘damn fine coffee’ color vinyl
08.24.2016
08:54 am

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Art
Music
Television

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Behold the ‘Damn Fine Coffee’ edition of the newly reissued vinyl soundtrack for the original ‘Twin Peaks’ television series.
 
A little over a week ago—on August 10th—a vinyl reissue of the soundtrack for the original Twin Peaks television series (first broadcast in 1990) scored by long-time David Lynch collaborator Angelo Badalamenti was released into the wild via Mondotees and promptly sold out. If you missed the boat on that like I did there’s still a way (and a better one at that) to score the gorgeous release which comes pressed into coffee-colored vinyl whose color profile is described as “Damn Fine Coffee.”
 

 
Starting on September 9th many cool independant brick and mortar record and video shops across the country will temporarily transform into a version of Agent Dale Cooper’s favorite hangout, Tweed’s Cafe in North Bend, Washington and will offer up their own in-store “Coffee and Pie” event during which you can purchase the record while listening to the soundtrack. Two-long years in the making, the packaging for the soundtrack is almost as cool as the show which comes in a gatefold sleeve,with liner notes written by Badalamenti and a record jacket that pays tribute to the floors of the “Black Lodge” thanks to the clever use of a die cut pattern on the cover. If it sounds at all to you like I am completely geeking out on this, then you’d be correct. Especially since my favorite video store, the world-famous Scarecrow Video in Seattle, is holding one of the 20-some-odd “Coffee and Pie” events. Yummy.

For those of you bemoaning the fact that you don’t live in the U.S. according to the website Welcome to Twin Peaks there are a few locations in the UK, too that will also be hosting their own Twin Peaks party. More details on the record as well as a full list of shops (which does appear to be updated from time to time) that will be hosting the event, here. If your location isn’t listed or if you prefer to miss out on what sounds like a really excellent time you can pre-order the album (for a mark-up in most cases) at lots of places online.
 
Additional product shots after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
‘Musica 80’: Impressive Italian rock magazine from the ‘new wave’ era
08.24.2016
08:47 am

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Media
Music

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Elvis Costello on the April 1980 issue of Musica 80: including features on Talking Heads, PiL, & Jonathan Richman
 
From February 1980 through April 1981 Italian fans of cutting-edge music were treated to Musica 80, a monthly magazine with a bold “new wave” aesthetic that kept readers up to date on acts like Nina Hagen, Pere Ubu, XTC, Killing Joke, the Feelies, the B-52s, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Joy Division, and the Cramps, among many others. The covers used a vibrant palette of primary colors somewhat reminiscent of the first wave of releases by the Flying Lizards (themselves the subject of a feature in the October 1980 issue, as it happens).

I’ve never seen a single page from the inside of any of its issues, and I don’t speak Italian anyway, but the savvy editorial hand behind the cover art and the choice of subjects make it quite likely that this was a fairly compelling magazine in its day. Much about Musica 80 is a puzzle, from the perspective of 2016. The magazine was edited by a man named Franco Bolelli, who appropriately enough was in a band called Alphaville that contributed a few brief tracks to a 1981 comp called Matita Emostatica, which is the Italian term for “styptic pencil.” Nowadays, Bolelli is identified on Wikipedia as a “philosopher,” and neither the American nor the Italian version of his bio bothers to mention Musica 80 at all. Unexpectedly, the English Wikipedia page for Bolelli is quite a bit more expansive than the Italian Wikipedia page, noting among other things that “among his philosophical influences he mentions Nietzsche and Taoism along with the game of basketball and rock ’n roll.”

The Italian Wikipedia page for the magazine—also very brief—states that “La veste grafica era poi affidata a membri della casa occupata bolognese Traumfabrik che per l’occasione si chiamò Topographic”—in other words, the visuals for the magazine were “entrusted to” members of an “occupied house” (I think this means a squatters’ collective of some kind) in Bologna “called Traumfabrik, which on this occasion was called Topographic.” Here is a reminiscence on Traumfabrik for those fluent in Italian or adept with online translation tools.

Most of the covers presented on this page are low-quality scans from this Italian blog post, and aside from that scans are very hard to find (I did manage to find a couple others). Judging from the covers alone, Musica 80 covered a pretty impressive swath of territory considering that they weren’t operating out of London or New York.

Perhaps appropriately, given its title, as soon as the year 1980 was over with, the magazine neared its demise as well. The last issue of Musica 80 was its 15th issue, which had a cover date of April 1981. If anyone has any information or especially decent scans from the brief run of Musica 80, please get in touch!
 

Inaugural issue, February 1980, the Stones in China—which they wouldn’t actually visit until 2006
 

March 1980: Eno, Zappa, Burroughs, Fripp
 
More after the jump…..
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Riot Grrrl: Allison Wolfe of Bratmobile talks about zines, feminism and her new band, Sex Stains
08.23.2016
02:34 pm

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Feminism
Music

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Allison Wolfe
Photo by Connor Collins
 
Allison Wolfe, iconic 90s riot grrrl and Bratmobile member hasn’t stopped playing music since their break up in the early 2000s. In fact, she has gone on to be in several other bands such as Cold Cold Hearts, Partyline, Deep Lust, Cool Moms and most recently Sex Stains (whose debut album comes out September 2nd.)

I chatted with Wolfe about her new band as well as zines, Bratmobile, being a 90s female musician and an inspirational feminist.
 
Girl Germs
 
Before Allison Wolfe and Molly Neuman started Bratmobile, they had a riot grrrl fanzine called Girl Germs:

“Molly and I met in the dorms at the University of Oregon. We weren’t in the same room but we shared a wall and we would knock on the walls. We became best friends and started plotting to do all of these things. We were fairly young girls who were getting politicized who wanted to have a voice and participate. We really wanted to have a girl programmed radio show but it turned out that the University of Oregon didn’t have a college radio so I think Tobi Vail encouraged us to do a fanzine. We started the fanzine before we started playing music or did the band. It was a good way to have a voice when we didn’t have any other means at the time. We didn’t really know what we were doing but it was fun. Our first issue had an interview with Calamity Jane. It had scene reports and a lot of it was a reaction to grunge which had completely taken over the Northwest and was too male dominated. We wanted to have a girly voice.”

 
Bratmobile
 
From there they began travelling to Olympia often to hang out. “We were a band in theory. We had been travelling up to Olympia on weekends and telling everyone we were in a band called Bratmobile.”

Calvin Johnson called them and told them he had set up a show for Valentine’s Day 1991 and wanted them to play with Bikini Kill. At this point they were not truly a band so they had to scramble to get songs together. “We went to our friend Robert Christie and were like ‘What do we do?’ He loaned us his practice space and let us use their equipment and but we didn’t know how to write songs. He said to listen to a bunch of Ramones records but I thought if all bands listen to the Ramones in order to start bands then I wouldn’t and I vowed to never listen to them which isn’t exactly accurate but I never owned any Ramones records or listened to them that much.”

Allison said she listen to a lot of female rap and hip hop before the band started such as Salt n’ Pepa, Yo Yo, Bytches with Problems, TLC and others. “That was a big influence on us, all these really awesome, kinda goofy but politicized women in rap and hip hop that weren’t commercialized yet. It was more politicized. They had messages that were pretty important. Also, the first Batman movie had come out and Prince did the soundtrack and the Batmobile was an influence on us naming the band Bratmobile.” Their first show, which was just her and Molly at the time, was pretty much a capella. “There was a little bit of guitar and drums going on but not much… We jumped off stage and Kurt Cobain walked in right then and I walked up to him and said ‘You missed us!’ and handed him one of our fanzines.”
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Izzi Krombholz | Leave a comment
Attention rock snobs: New Holy Sons single will burrow its way into your brain like an earworm
08.23.2016
11:37 am

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Music

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Photo of Emil Amos by Eliza Sohn

I’ve probably played this new Holy Sons’ track, “It’s My Feeling”—a stunning cover of a song originally recorded in 1967 by the great Del Shannon and produced by Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham—about 600 times since I first heard it last week. About 300 of these plays were in my head.

And so I must duly warn you: Unless you want to have an absolutely gorgeous, shimmering pop song take up residency between your ears, stop what you are doing now and click off the page. Just fuck off now, okay?

If you’re still with me, Holy Sons is the one-man band project of Emil Amos (who also plays with Om, Lilacs and Champagne and Grails) and “It’s My Feeling” is the lead off single from his upcoming album In The Garden which comes out on October 21st on the Partisan Records label. In The Garden was produced by John Agnello (Dinosaur Jr., Kurt Vile, Phosphorescent, Sonic Youth) with the aim of adopting “the authentic mindset of a 60s era artist.”

Amos explains:

In The Garden is essentially John Agnello and I carving out the sound of a classic 70’s record if it had been made by a band with all its players being very focused in the hey-day of their career… but we ‘faked’ that vibe using one player. That’s basically how I learned 4-tracking in the 90’s… how to replicate live-sounding recordings where a band is reacting and playing off of each other in real-time.”

This is something Amos can do frighteningly well. If you didn’t already know it was the same guy, multitracked, playing everything, there’s no way you could tell this from listening.

The original “It’s My Feeling” was recorded by Del Shannon in London with musicians assembled by Andrew Loog Oldham that included stellar session pros like John Paul Jones, Nicky Hopkins and Jimmy Page. It was written by Dave Skinner and Andrew Rose, a Peter and Gordon-esque songwriting and singing duo who went by the name of Twice as Much. Oldham’s Immediate Records signings P.P. Arnold and Madeline Bell provided backup vocals for Shannon. The Immediate sessions were shelved for many years before being remixed and coming out in the late 1970’s as And The Music Plays On. In 2006, nearly 40 years after they were recorded, Capitol Records would finally release the London sessions as Home & Away, the originally intended title.

I was already nuts about the original Del Shannon number, but have a listen to the Holy Sons’ version of “It’s My Feeling” –which I think is far superior and, to my ears, has elements reminiscent of both The Zombies and even John Barry. It’s crazy good stuff, but I’ll warn you: One listen and you’re going to be hearing this in your head for… weeks.

Listen to “It’s My Feeling” after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘Raw Power’: The vintage ‘zine run by teens who took on rock & punk (and won) back in the mid-70s
08.23.2016
11:24 am

Topics:
Heroes
Music
Punk

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The cover of Raw Power magazine featuring Iggy Pop, 1977.
 

“I’m gonna die anyway and I’d prefer it to be at my leisure.”

—Iggy Pop on his admission that he only planned to live “two more years” back in 1977 in an interview with Raw Power magazine

Founded by the sixteen-year-old duo of Scott Stephens (who wrote under the name “Quick Draw”) and Robert Olshever (aka “Bobalouie”) the LA-based ‘zine Raw Power got started in 1976 and almost immediately got the attention of major record labels who would give Stephens and Olshever an all access pass to rock and punk stars like Iggy Pop, Debbie Harry, DEVO, Black Sabbath, AC/DC, Van Halen, the Ramones and other musical luminaries that the average sixteen-year-old only got close to by way of their poster-covered bedroom walls.
 

The teenage masterminds behind Raw Power Magazine (L to R): Robert Olshever (Bobalouie), Scott Stephens (Quick Draw) and Murray Schwartz.
 
Joined later by Murray Schwartz (who would take photographs for the magazine) Raw Power would publish for about three years and routinely featured all the stuff you’d expect to find in a magazine that fused the worlds of rock and punk together like interviews, album reviews and that—according to an archive of the magazine run by Stephens—LOVED to publish unedited “letter to the editor” many of which were laced with obscenity. And here’s a rather mind-blowing revelation from Stephens which took place during an interview with Ozzy in 1979 right after Osbourne (who repeatedly “teared up” during the interview) had been given his walking papers by Black Sabbath. According to Stephens it was the boys of Raw Power who recommended pint-sized guitar virtuoso Randy Rhoads to Osbourne for his new band which at the time Ozz was considering calling “Son of Sabbath.”

Ozzy was quite depressed during this time but had recently met Sharon Arden and was in the process of putting together a new group that would eventually record “Blizzard of Ozz”. It was during this interview that members of Raw Power suggested to Ozzy that he consider auditioning a guitarist by the name of Randy Rhoads. Randy was the guitarist of Quiet Riot and Raw Power had interviewed them for a cover story for the 2nd issue in 1977. Shortly thereafter Ozzy auditioned Randy and hired him on the spot. The rest is history.

When the 2000 film by Cameron Crowe Almost Famous came out many of folks in the trio’s circle immediately thought that the flick was about them—which should help put some perspective on how much of an impact Raw Power made in its short run despite its humble design and young founders. As I mentioned Stephens runs an archive for Raw Power where you can read through three issues in full, which I did and I can’t lie—it was a blast. I’ve posted a few images from the magazine as well as some fantastic vintage photos of Stephens and his cohorts cavorting with the likes of Ronnie James Dio, Iggy Pop, Geezer Butler and Ozzy among others. Raw Power was also one of the only publications to have the opportunity to get some great live shots of Van Halen (taken by Murray Schwartz) while they were still performing in the LA club scene back in 1977. These had never been seen outside of the magazine until they were posted over at the Van Halen News Desk in 2014.
 

Scott Stephens of Raw Power Magazine with Iggy Pop, 1977.
 

Stephens with Geezer Butler of Black Sabbath.
 
More ‘Raw Power’ after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Three words: Drum. Crotch. Pants.
08.23.2016
09:39 am

Topics:
Amusing
Music
Science/Tech

Tags:


 
“Single Stroke Roll,” “Flam Paradiddle,” and “Swiss Army Triplets” are among the names of percussion rudiments that could pass for sexual acts, but Japanese multimedia artist and experimental pop music composer Kaoring Machine has answered the question: why can’t they be both? He’s crafted a pair of “Electric Sexy Drum Pants” with a synth drum trigger for a crotch, and a few days ago uploaded a demonstration video, which is amusing as all hell despite sorely lacking any overtly suggestive moves involving mallets or kick pedals. Still, given the possibilities, of course we want these. Perhaps one could combine them with those Converse high-tops with built-in wah pedals and this theremin bra to form the most physically awkward one-person band ever.
 

 
Many thanks to Sarah Lee for this find!

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
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