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‘Anarchy!’ Malcolm McLaren, punk rock’s Molotov cocktail
04.26.2016
02:37 pm

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Fashion
Movies
Music
Politics
Pop Culture
Punk

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Phil Strongman’s new documentary Anarchy! McLaren Westwood Gang is a politically-fueled, fashion-conscious deeper look at how the English punk explosion was ignited—how the bomb was built and under what circumstances, in other words.

Coming in at almost two and a half hours with an incredible cast of characters, Anarchy! McLaren Westwood Gang traces Malcolm McClaren back to his birth with loads of never before seen films and photos, personal information and interviews with family members, friends and others, taking us into the all important mid-sixties where the real nucleus of the Sex Pistols concept begins to form within the Situationist movement, King Mob (the UK equivilent), art school and observing the tribal customs and costumes of rock ‘n roll fanaticism.

The 1968 the French student riots had a huge influence on McLaren, who travelled to Paris at the time, and there were key players from that era who played recurring roles in his life. Much of the concepts and ideas—art, slogans, everything really—originated there and then. The interviews with the people from this period were what I wanted to see most and there was no disappointment. The interviews with Malcolm himself indicate that he still was speaking in slogans right up to the very end.
 

 
If you’re looking for yet another love letter to punk rock (yawn) with the same old crap stories, then keep on pogoing as this is a very interesting (for the most part) tale of politics, sex, drugs, bombs, rock ‘n roll, and the all important fashion accessories to wear whilst bombing and rocking and rolling and fucking on drugs. If punk never really happened and this was just a wild tale of a bunch of crazed young people that tried to accomplish what punk wrought and failed, it would still be just as interesting. The fact that first an entire country and then the entire world sat up, noticed, listened and actually feared this tiny group of absurd-looking lunatics (some leading, most following) on their search and destroy mission is incredible to contemplate. Today they’d just be given their own reality TV show.

It’s a bit of a revelation for those who think a few drunk idiots formed a band and yelled and jumped around a lot while desperately trying to learn how to play their instruments. (Even at this late date it is still being said that these guys could not play or sing, which is ridiculous as is easily proven by any Sex Pistols live performance video from any period.) However, someone could have done enough homework to know to leave out Ben Westwood’s totally wrong assumption (stated as fact, of course) that Sid’s mom and girlfriend gave him heroin that he overdosed on (I personally was there that night and I and enough other people have done countless interviews stating what really happened). He even calls Methadone, Methadrone (good name for a band actually). Other than these two minor problems, and the rather large objection that for a film titled Anarchy! McLaren Westwood Gang it’s quite light on the Westwood side of things, this very long film goes by very quickly, and is really well made. Director Strongman was good friends with McLaren, having worked in the Glitterbest offices (the Sex Pistols management company) and was an actual eyewitness to much of what he is discussing here.
 

 
There lots of great interviews with everyone from Adam Ant to Don Letts to Tracey Emin to Boy George (who tells a great story about when he sang for Bow Wow Wow) to Sex Pistol Paul Cook (with amazing black and white footage of the Pistols hanging around at the Berlin wall). The music is honestly the least of the subjects focused on. In fact much of the film is framed with scenes of girls modeling Dame Westwood’s fashions (partially topless) to a modern soundtrack with an operatic vocal sung onscreen. (And thank god for that. I’m sick of these formulaic punk rock docs, aren’t you?)

There’s a lot to get out of this film, historically speaking. It’s intelligent and everything a documentary should be. It just may not be about what you thought it was going to be about. This is the history of European Anarchism as it helps beget the birth of the Sex Pistols. It’s also the story of a man who broke all the rules before that was fashionable, who ran blindly into the fire more than once and always came out the other side… many times with the prize. Or at least some money. I’ve already watched Anarchy! McLaren Westwood Gang three times and I’m not the type to really ever watch anything even twice, certainly not in the same day.

All Malcolm McLaren ever wanted was to be something akin to the “next Andy Warhol.” It’s an idiosyncratic aspiration to be sure, but one category that he (and perhaps he alone) truly belonged in.
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Howie Pyro | Leave a comment
‘When Doves Scream’: Hear Prince do a ‘punk’ version of his hit during 1985 rehearsal
04.26.2016
10:56 am

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Music

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One of the only benefits of Prince’s untimely passing has been an easing up on the policing of “unauthorized” uploads to YouTube of the Purple One’s music. We’ve seen the floodgates open up and so much amazing work has already poured forth, showing us the true genius of the man. He could really do anything.

Case in point, this 1985 rehearsal tape with his band The Revolution where he busts out an impromptu piss-take of what “When Doves Cry” might sound like in a “punk” style. Prince monotones the vocals and changes to chorus to “When Doves SCREAM.”

There has been some discussion of this track on the fan-site Prince.org about whether or not it’s actually Prince, and it appears the track comes from a widely bootlegged 1985 rehearsal tape. The full rehearsal including “When Doves Scream” is available on the 4CD bootleg Purple Rush 4: The Final Seduction. If it’s a hoax, well, they laid the fuse a long time ago.

I’m not going to say this is necessarily good, but it’s fascinating to say the least:
 

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Listen to Portishead’s harrowing cover of ABBA’s ‘SOS’
04.26.2016
10:11 am

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Movies
Music

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Listen to an excellent cover of ABBA’s “SOS” by Portishead. The cover is a single from the soundtrack for the film adaptation of J.G. Ballard’s High-Rise directed by Ben Wheatley. Apparently there’s another cover version of “SOS” on the movie’s soundtrack and that’s an orchestral version by Clint Mansell. I couldn’t find that one online.

 
via Nerdcore

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
The theme music from Hitchcock’s ‘Psycho’... PLAYED WITH KNIVES
04.26.2016
08:30 am

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Movies
Music
Unorthodox

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I recently had a conversation with film composer Harry Manfredini, the guy behind Friday the 13th‘s infamous “tch tch tch…” about the primary influences on modern horror soundtracking and we agreed on the works of Kryzstof Penderecki and Bernard Herrmann being basically ground-zero for fright music for the last 40 years or so of cinematic terror. One specific Herrmann work has informed horror scoring more than any other single piece of music anyone could possibly name: his iconic theme music for Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpiece, Psycho.

A novel rendition of Herrmann’s Psycho theme was recently brought to my attention, and, as covers go, is quite masterful in its own right. Joachim Horsley is a composer and orchestrator for television and film and has a few albums under his belt. His 2014 album Joachim Horsley Was Dead the Whole Time contains this particular version of the Psycho theme as played on a piano… with knives.

Horsley is able to coax some odd tonalities out of the piano strings both with the knife blades and by striking the strings with the knife handle, while muting with his palm. These sounds mimic the orchestration of Herrmann’s original score.

Obviously, there’s both symbolism and novelty going on here with the use of kitchen knives, Norman Bates’ personal weapon of choice, but the end result is quite beautiful. Horsley takes some liberties towards the end of the piece and it gets a bit jazzy (maybe even slightly Latin jazzy?) in its climax. It’s cool though. He owns it.

This KILLER cover version, after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Pere Ubu visit Roland Rat: Fab & groovy art punks serenade rat puppet, 1988
04.25.2016
03:13 pm

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Music

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Pere Ubu were the quintessential midwestern art punks of the 1970s. Simon Reynolds notably referred to the music of Cleveland’s Ubu and Akron’s DEVO as “industrial grotesquerie.”

Charting the various trajectories of all the musicians connected with Pere Ubu during the 1980s would tax my paltry mental resources, but suffice it to say that Ubu put out an album called Song of the Bailing Man in 1982, after which the band split apart into two entities, Home and Garden (which did not include David Thomas) and David Thomas and the Wooden Birds (which did). But some centripetal force kept pulling the two parts together again, until in 1988 Scott Krauss rejoined Thomas and bassist Tony Maimone and sax/synth man Allen Ravenstine for what had looked to be another Wooden Birds recording but with that much Ubu DNA, it seemed sensible to regard it as an official Ubu release.

That album was The Tenement Year, and it was a triumph. Robert Christgau gave the album an A and wrote that “this record proves not only that good-hearted eccentrics can live in the world, but that they can change it for the better.”
 

Roland Rat with Samantha Fox

In 1988 Ubu traveled to the U.K. where they made what purportedly was the band’s first-ever appearance on British television, to play “We Have the Technology,” the final cut from The Tenement Year, for the final episode of a show hosted by a puppet rat named Roland.

Roland Rat appears to have sprung into existence on a British “breakfast network” called TV-am in 1983. Roland Rat (the show) enjoyed a three-year run on BBC from 1985 to 1988 before materializing on Channel 5 in the late 1990s for a series set in Los Angeles called (predictably enough) L.A. Rat. Roland’s full name seems to have been Roland Rat Superstar, and he released two albums under that name, the first of which featured a track called “Rat Rapping,” which I’m confident isn’t cringeworthy in the least.

See it after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Blues legend Victoria Spivey’s got the ‘Dope Head Blues’
04.25.2016
02:57 pm

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Music

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The great American blues singer and pianist Victoria Spivey’s long and influential career began as part of her family’s string band which was led by her father, who would die when she was just seven. After this, Victoria would perform by herself at parties and various events around Houston, and later accompanying silent movies on the organ at the Lincoln Theater in Dallas.

Although she was mostly a solo act in her early years, on occasion she would perform with accompaniment from Blind Lemon Jefferson on guitar. Spivey took her cue from “dirty” blues belter Ida Cox penning and performing bawdy songs about drugs and sex in various dives, speakeasies, houses of ill repute, gambling parlours and gay bars.
 

 
King Vidor cast Spivey as the good girl Missy in his 1929 classic Hallelujah, one of the first Hollywood films with sound. Queen Vee was a star of Broadway’s famous Hellzapoppin’ Revue in the 1930s and logged many miles of road time with Louis Armstrong as a featured singer in various incarnations of his touring groups. Spivey retired from showbiz in 1951, but when the folk craze of the early 1960s hit, she found herself in demand again.
 

 
She and her boyfriend, jazz scholar Len Kunstadt, formed the Spivey Records label in 1962. Her first release on her own label featured a young Bob Dylan as a backing vocalist and harmonica player and the label would release albums by Muddy Waters, Otis Spann, Big Joe Williams, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Lonnie Johnson, Memphis Slim, and Louis Armstrong. Victoria Spivey died in 1976 and the label was kept going until Kunstadt’s passing in 1996.

She recorded her first song, “Black Snake Blues” for the famed OKeh label in 1926. Here she is performing it in 1963 during the American Folk Blues Festival European Tour with Lonnie Johnson on guitar and Sonny Boy Williamson on harmonica.
 

 
More Victoria Spivey after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Meet The Liverbirds: The all-girl Beatles who once toured with the Kinks and Rolling Stones

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“Girls with guitars? That won’t work,” quipped John Lennon as he watched four girls take the stage of the Cavern Club, Liverpool in 1963. The band was The Liverbirds and Lennon’s attitude was the kind of dumb prejudice these four faced every time they picked up their guitars and blasted an audience with their hard rockin’  R’n'B.

The Liverbirds were formed in Liverpool 1963. The original line-up was Valerie Gell (guitar), Mary McGlory (bass), Sylvia Saunders (drums), together with Mary’s sister, Sheila McGlory (guitar) and Irene Green (vocals). The band’s name was lifted from the liver bird—the mythical bird (most probably a cormorant) that symbolises the city of Liverpool and they were all girls (“birds” in the youthful parlance of the time). The group practiced every day until they were better than most of the local boy bands who were merely copycatting local heroes The Beatles.

The Liverbirds were apparently so good (if a bit rough around the edges) they were snapped up to tour with The Rolling Stones, The Kinks and The Rockin’ Berries. However, it was soon apparent that the girls—unlike the boys—were were being cheated out of a big part of their fees by booking agents—a crushing disappointment that led to the loss of their lead singer and guitarist to other bands.
 
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It was beginning to look as if Lennon was right, but the girls refused to give up and continued touring with The Kinks. Unlike their northern counterparts, London’s all male bands The Kinks and The Stones were supportive of The Liverbirds—as Mary McGlory recalled in a letter to the Liverpool Beat in 2014:

The Kinks took us down to London to meet their manager, even booked us into a hotel, and told us to come to the studio tomorrow and bring our guitars with us (maybe there might be time to play a song for their manager). When we arrived there, the roadie came in and told The Kinks that their guitars had been stolen out of the van – so this was how The Kinks played our guitars on their hit recording of “You really got me“.

This isn’t exactly how it happened as the legendary Dave Davies of The Kinks points out regarding Mary’s claim over the stolen instruments:

Absolute nonsense- they were a cool band but this DID not happen.

On YRGM I use my Harmony meteor thru the elpico green amp and ray used his tele and pete used his blue fender bass…what a load of bollocks.

However, The Kinks did help save The Liverbirds from splitting-up by suggesting they bring Pamela Birch in as vocalist. Birch was a big blonde bee-hived singer/guitarist. She had a deep bluesy voice which harmonized beautifully with Valeri Gell’s vocals. Birch was a perfect fit for the band.

They were a hit at the Cavern Club. They were a hit across the country. They were a hit on tour. But the band hailed as the all-girl Beatles at the height of Beatlemania couldn’t even get a record deal in England. However, things soon started to shift.
 
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First Kinks’ manager Larry Page and then Beatles manager Brian Epstein wanted to sign The Liverbirds. But the girls were off to Hamburg to play the Star Club. The band was an instant hit in Germany as Mary McGlory recalls:

We arrived in Hamburg on the 28th May, 1964 and played the same night. The crowd was great and loved us right away. The Star-Club owner Manfred Weissleder became our one and only MANAGER.

A few days later he sent us to Berlin to play at a big concert with Chuck Berry, shortly before we went on stage we were told that it was forbidden to play any Chuck Berry songs. Well that was impossible for us, so when Val went to the mike and announced “Roll over Beethoven”, Berry’s manager ran on stage and tried to stop us playing, Val pushed him away and told him to “F. Off”.(She had probably had a shandy). Back in Hamburg, Manfred called us to his office, we thought he was going to tell us off, but no such thing, Chuck Berry’s manager wanted to take us to America. Manfred said he would leave the decision up to us, but then he added – he will probably take you to Las Vegas, and there you will have to play topless! Well of course that was his way of putting us off. After all, the club was still crowded every night.

The band had hits with the songs “Peanut Butter,” “Too Much Monkey Business,” “Loop-de-Loop,” and “Diddley Daddy.” Although in performance they played the very same Willie Dixon and Chuck Berry covers favored by the Stones and other boys, Birch also started writing original numbers, producing such favorites as “Why Do You Hang Around Me?” and “It’s Got To be You.” Though pioneering and incredibly popular, the girls (now in their late teens-early twenties) still faced the everyday sexism from record industry supremos who thought young girls should be on the scene, but not heard. Not unless they were in the audience screaming. These men wanted girls who dressed to please—not girls who played instruments better than the boys. Girls with guitars? That won’t work. Except for that, of course, it did. Splendidly!
 
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In 1968, on the cusp of a Japanese tour the band split:

Until 1967, we played nearly all over Europe, recorded two albums and four singles for the Star-Club label and appeared on many television shows. Our drummer Sylvia married her boyfriend John Wiggins from The Bobby Patrick Big Six and left the band. Shortly after Val married her German boyfriend Stephan, who had a car accident on his way to visit her and was since paralyzed. So when we got an offer from Yamaha to do a tour of Japan at the beginning of 1968, Pam and I had to find two German girls to replace them. Japan was great, and the Japanese people really liked us, but Pam and I did not enjoy it anymore, we missed the other two, the fun had gone out of it. We thought this is the right time to finish, even though we were still only 22 and 23.

Today McGlory, Gell and Saunders continue with their post-Liverbirds lives. Sadly, Pamela Birch died in 2009. However, this all-girl guitar band should be given credit for pioneering rock and roll, R ‘n’ B and being right up there for a time with The Beatles, The Kinks and The Rolling Stones.
 

The Liverbirds perform on ‘Beat Club’ 1965.

More from the female Fab Four after the jump….

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Want to party like it’s 1999? Then you’ll need Prince’s personal party mix playlist!
04.25.2016
11:11 am

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Music

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I’m cribbing this from a smart friend: How do you explain to a child born in a year like 2008 what the sentiment “we’re gonna party like it’s 1999” was supposed to mean when that song was released way back in 1982? (Later he pointed out the sobering fact that 2016 is as far removed from 1999 as 1982 is.)

For those who were there in the early 1980s, the midnight throwdown on December 31, 1999, was absolutely going to be the apocalyptic bash for the ages—even if it didn’t necessarily work out that way in practice. If that song solidified “1999” as a supreme signifier for a Sixteen Candles level blowout celebration, it also cemented Prince’s status as the number-one muthafucka when it comes to how to party.

But doesn’t that make you wonder what songs Prince would play if he were to throw a party? Strangely enough, we actually have the data on that particular topic.

In 2013 the FOX show New Girl starring Zooey Deschanel aired a post-Super Bowl episode in which the characters Jess and Cece are invited to a party thrown by Prince. A gentleman named Steve Welch, employed by the show as an editor, took to Twitter late last week to explain that Prince actually sent the staff of the FOX show a list of his typical party jams so that the program’s representation of Prince in party mode would at least be halfway accurate.

It’s a reeeeallly good list. Here’s a look at it:
 

 
Bootsy Collins, the Soul Children, Ohio Players. Prince did not mess around. But then we knew that already.

For your convenience, here’s a Spotify playlist containing these tracks:
 

 
Here’s the playlist written out:
 

“City in the Sky,” The Staple Singers
“Country John,” Allen Toussaint
“Fire,” Ohio Players
“Happy House,” Shuggie Otis
“Higher Ground,” Stevie Wonder
“I Was Made to Love Him,” Chaka Khan
“Listen to the Music,” The Isley Brothers
“The Lord is Back,” Eugene McDaniels
“Lost in Music,” Sister Sledge
“The Pinocchio Theory,” Bootsy Collins
“Rubber Duckie,” Bootsy Collins
“Rumpofsteelskin,” Parliament
“Skin Tight,” Ohio Players
“We’re Gettin’ Too Close,” The Soul Children
“Wild and Free,” Curtis Mayfield
“After The Love Has Gone,” Earth, Wind & Fire
“Back in Baby’s Arms,” Allen Toussaint
“Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight,” The Isley Brothers
“Don’t Take My Sunshine,” The Soul Children
“How Could I Let You Get Away,” The Spinners
“I’ll Be Around,” The Spinners
“Push Me Away,” The Jacksons
“Stay With Me,” Shirley Brown
“The Thrill Is Gone,” Aretha Franklin

 
via Exile on Moan Street

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Broken: Nine Inch Nails’ infamous unreleased ‘snuff film’ now online NSFW WATCH IT WHILE YOU CAN!
04.25.2016
09:52 am

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Movies
Music

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Nine Inch Nails’ Broken (also known as The Broken Movie) is a 1993 short film featuring four music videos from the Broken EP with wrap-around segments shot in the style of an amateur snuff film. The extremely graphic film was directed by Peter Christopherson of Throbbing Gristle, Coil, and Hipgnosis design group fame.

The NSFW video has never seen an official release (perhaps because no label would want to put their name on it?) and has to this day been a difficult piece to track down.
 

 
The terrifying, violent,  and unforgettable film was originally “leaked” by Trent Reznor himself via hand-dubbed VHS tapes in the ‘90s. The original tapes were given by Reznor to various friends with video dropouts at certain points so he could know who redistributed any copies that might surface. Reznor, later implied in a comment on the Nine Inch Nails website that Gibby Haynes of the Butthole Surfers was responsible for the most prominent leak of the original tape.

In 2006 and 2013 the film was briefly “leaked” to the Internet, many believe by Reznor himself. In both cases, the film disappeared quickly. In the case of the 2013 “leak,” the entire video was made available for streaming on Vimeo via the Nine Inch Nails Tumblr account, but was removed by Vimeo almost immediately.

For the time being (in other words, WATCH IT WHILE YOU CAN), Broken has been uploaded to Archive.org under fair use laws.

It’s not for the squeamish, so we’re tucking of after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
In LACMA’s ‘Rain Room’ there’s purple rain falling for Prince
04.22.2016
03:52 pm

Topics:
Art
Music
R.I.P.

Tags:

nothing more to say. #ripprince #rainroom @lacma #mylaexperience #purplerain #hollywood

A photo posted by valentinaschwanden (@valentin_aschwanden) on

 
Art collective Random International asked LACMA last night that their art installation “Rain Room” rain purple in honor of Prince. LACMA was was more than happy to oblige. The result is beautiful.

If you live in Los Angeles or are just visiting, I’d head on over to LACMA to visit the “Rain Room.” It looks they’re only doing it for one day.

 

#purple #rain #rainroom

A photo posted by Ghislaine Salabert-Mougin (@apiamphotos) on

 
via LA Curbed

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
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