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In C: Trip out to the psychedelic minimalism of Acid Mothers Temple’s monuMENTAL take on Terry Riley
11.06.2014
02:46 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Terry Riley
Acid Mothers Temple
In C


 
For almost twenty years, Japan’s avant-psych band Acid Mothers Temple have been expanding heads with a striking alloy of ideas grokked from acid, Kraut, and prog with notions gleaned from 20th Century classical music. So the idea of them remaking composer Terry Riley’s landmark of minimalism “In C”—which they did, in 2001—isn’t so out of character. If you want to get record-collector fussy about it, the remake was done by “Acid Mothers Temple & the Melting Paraiso U.F.O.” Not unlike Caroliner, AMT like to append different endings to their name, resulting in probably as many band names as lineups for them by now. As for Riley’s 1964 composition, I am powerless to describe it better than its Wiki entry:

In C consists of 53 short, numbered musical phrases, lasting from half a beat to 32 beats; each phrase may be repeated an arbitrary number of times. Each musician has control over which phrase he or she plays: players are encouraged to play the phrases starting at different times, even if they are playing the same phrase. In this way, although the melodic content of each part is predetermined, In C has elements of aleatoric music to it. The performance directions state that the musical ensemble should try to stay within two to three phrases of each other. The phrases must be played in order, although some may be skipped. As detailed in some editions of the score, it is customary for one musician (“traditionally… a beautiful girl,” Riley notes in the score) to play the note C in repeated eighth notes, typically on a piano or pitched-percussion instrument (e.g. marimba). This functions as a metronome and is referred to as “The Pulse”.

The Riley recording of “In C” was released in 1968 by Columbia Masterworks, but given the fluid nature of the composition, which can be performed by pretty much any number of musicians, on any variety of instruments, and for any duration, his needn’t be considered canonical, and it’s been performed and recorded in a multitude of surprising ways. There’s a solo trombone version on YouTube, even. But here’s the first half of Riley’s “original” version, for comparison’s sake.
 

 
And here’s Acid Mothers Temple’s recording, in all its luminous, lysergic, drop-dead gorgeous glory.
 

 

 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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Remembering Hines Farm, a legendary African-American mecca for the blues
11.06.2014
10:11 am

Topics:
Food
History
Music
Race

Tags:
Hines Farm


 
From the late 1930s until the early 1970s, a sprawling 32-acre spread in northeast Ohio known as Hines Farm, with its own open-air juke joint and enclosed night club, regularly attracted thousands of African-Americans with its ass-kicking blues parties. Hines Farm must have been a really special place, an oasis of incredible blues music, southern food, and (by the way) racial tolerance. It offered good times for all, with a roster of entertainments you wouldn’t find in New York City quite so quickly: roller skating, amusement park rides, exhibition baseball games, horse races, hobo car races, motorcycle races, squirrel hunts…. the list goes on and on.

Some of the biggest names in blues played there—B.B. King, Bobby Blue Bland, and John Lee Hooker, as well as jazz figures like Louis Jordan and Count Basie. Basie and his full orchestra were hired to play the grand opening of an outdoor pavilion in 1961. The pavilion doubled as a roller rink and a dance floor and could accommodate 1,500 people. People would come from miles around, from as far as Detroit or Cleveland, for the rollicking fun on summer weekends.

When B.B. King thinks of Hines Farm, he recalls the “good food, good music, and pretty girls. It was the only place that was happening.” John Lee Hooker called Hines Farm “a one and only place—wasn’t no other place like that I have been to that was like Hines Farm.” Hines Farm’s identity as an informal place for African-Americans to unwind, relax, and enjoy life started in the basement of Frank and Sarah Hines in the 1930s. By the late 1940s they had the first liquor license held by an African-American in northwest Ohio, and by 1957 they constructed an actual blues club.

Blind Bobby Smith, a Toledo blues guitarist who did session work for Stax Records, used to play in their basement in the early days. According to Smith, “After they’d close down outdoors we’d all pile in the basement. In the wintertime [Frank Hines] just ran it out of the house. It was, you know, everybody talkin’ at the same time ... passing the bottle around, and Hines wishin’ everybody’d get out of there so he could go to bed.”
 

Sarah and Frank Hines
 
For African-American men, Hines Farm was a place for sex, a place to dance and meet women. A neighbor recalled wistfully, “Man, it was good to go back there in the woods. See, I never took my car. I’d just walk back there and have me a cold beer and watch ‘em dance. See, that place back there, they used to dance. Chicks would come out of Toledo. Some of them ol’ gals was good lookin’. I’d sit there and drink beer and watch ‘em from mid-afternoon. Hell, I wouldn’t leave ‘til dark ... watchin’ them chicks shake it up.”

According to Big Jack Reynolds, one of the regular performers in the club’s early days, Mexicans and whites were perfectly welcome as well: “There was no discrimination there.” As Marlene Harris-Taylor, who has co-produced a documentary about Hines Farm, said, “When most African-Americans came north, they moved into urban areas. Most of the jazz and blues clubs that sprang up were in the urban settings. Hines Farm was unique. It was like home for African-Americans who had moved here from the rural South.”
 

The interior of Hines Farm Blues Club
 
It was Frank Hines’ job to keep the peace. Hines would check everybody for knives and guns and just take them, then return them when they left. Frank’s wife Sarah was the same way, wouldn’t let any trouble start. Henry Griffin, who owned the property of Hines Farm after the blues club was discontinued in 1976, remembered, “One time Sarah broke a beer over a guy’s head. He got out there and played like he was drunk and was sayin’ a lot of filthy talk in front of the women, and she tried to get him to hush, you know, and he wouldn’t do it. So she went to him a couple of times. The third time, he started all kinds of that filthy talk, and she just took a beer bottle and went up there and hit that son-of-a-bitch on top of his head. That damned bottle shattered all to pieces, man, and that guy said, ‘She tried to kill me.’ He grabbed his head and said, ‘She killed me. I’m gonna tell Sonny’—that’s what everybody called Frank Hines. She said, ‘I don’t give a damn if you tell Sonny—just get the hell out of here.’ And it was peaceful the rest of the night.”

It also had motorcycle races, which were a really big deal. It’s the one thing that everyone who was there recalled, aside from the food and music. Griffin remembered: “Hines would send out a flyer that he was havin’ a motorcycle race and he would have people come from Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and they’d get on their motorcycles and ride right up there. And there’d be thousands of ‘em.”

Hines Farm shut down in autumn 1976 and quickly fell into disrepair. Steve Coleman, son of Griffin, who passed away in January 2013, has the place up and running again.

In this documentary clip, B.B. King and John Lee Hooker reminisce about Hines Farm:
 

 
Thank you Charles!

Sources for this post include “Historical Blues Club to Reopen” and “Remembering Toledo’s Blues Showcase,” both from the Toledo Blade, and this expansive piece from Toledo’s Attic by Thomas E. Barden and Matthew Donahue. Matthew Donahue is the author of I’ll Take You There: An Oral and Photographic History of the Hines Farm Blues Club. Buy it!

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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The Madcap’s Last Laugh: Syd Barrett tribute concert w/ Pink Floyd, Roger Waters, Chrissie Hynde


 
Here’s a real treat: On the 10th of May, 2007 at London’s Barbican Centre, a diverse group of great musicians got together to honor the memory of the late Roger “Syd” Barrett, the founding member of Pink Floyd. The co-musical director for the show was one of my best friends, Adam Peters (you’ve heard his cello in Echo & The Bunnymen’s “Killing Moon,” “Life in a Northern Town” by The Dream Academy and on many albums. Adam also did the soundtrack to my Disinformation TV series and now he works on Hollywood films).

Also appearing with Roger Waters, was my former next door neighbor in NYC, Jon Carin. Jon actually has played with both Pink Floyd AND Roger Waters. I think he’s the only person to have had a foot in both camps, which was interesting position to be in, I think you’ll agree. Surely there’s a book in that!

When Adam got back from the concert, full of great stories about the experience, I was eager to hear a CD of the show, but he told me that it had deliberately not been recorded because the idea was that this was a very special event and if you were there, you saw and heard something amazing, but that it would… evaporate. Of course Pink Floyd fans being what they are, at least one enterprising fellow made a pretty good audience recording. Here ‘tis as generously shared by the quite wonderful Brain Damage podcast. The show starts about 7 minutes in. It’s pretty amazing.

This incredible event was a tribute to the late Roger “Syd” Barrett, produced by Nick Laird-Clowes (of Dream Academy) with associate producer Joe Boyd (early Pink Floyd’s producer and founder of legendary UFO club in London). Surprise performances from Roger Waters himself with Jon Carin then the entire current Pink Floyd line-up (David Gilmour, Richard Wright, Nick Mason) were absolutely unbelievable!

The numerous other artists performing Syd Barrett’s music included Damon Albarn (Blur/Gorillaz), Chrissie Hynde (The Pretenders), The Bees, Vashti Bunyan, Captain Sensible, Robyn Hitchcock. The house band included Andy Bell (bass, Oasis), Simon Finley (drums, Echo & The Bunnymen) and Ted Barnes (guitar, Beth Orton).  A remarkably fitting tribute to Roger “Syd” Barrett.  Doctored for supersound!

 

 
Set 1
1. Show intro
2. Bike - Sense of Sound Choir
3. Flaming - Captain Sensible & Monty Oxymoron
4. Here I Go - Kevin Ayers
5. Oh, What A Dream - Kevin Ayers
6. Baby Lemonade - Nick Laird-Clowes & Damon Albarn
7. Octopus - The Bees
8. The Gnome - Nick Laird-Clowes & Neulander (Adam Peters/Korinna Knoll)
9. Matilda Mother - Mike Heron
10. Golden Hair - Martha Wainwright, Kate McGarrigle & Lily Lanken
11. See Emily Play - Martha Wainwright, Kate McGarrigle & Lily Lanken
12. Flickering Flame - Roger Waters & Jon Carin

Set 2
13. Video presentation
14. Chapter 24 - Gordon Anderson & Sense of Sound Choir
15. The Scarecrow - Vashti Bunyan, Gareth Dickson & Nick Laird-Clowes
16. Love Song - Vashti Bunyan, Gareth Dickson & Nick Laird-Clowes
17. Ian Barrett - Talking about his uncle Roger “Syd” Barrett
18. The Word Song - Damon Albarn, Kate St. John & David Coulter
19. Astronomy Domine - Captain Sensible & Jon Carin
20. Terrapin - Robyn Hitchcock
21. Gigolo Aunt - Robyn Hitchcock, John Paul Jones & Ruby Wright
22. Dark Globe - Chrissie Hynde & Adam Seymour
23. Late Night - Chrissie Hynde & Adam Seymour
24. Joe Boyd - Talking about Roger “Syd” Barrett and organising the show
25. Arnold Layne - David Gilmour, Nick Mason, Richard Wright
26. Jugband Blues from video presentation
27. Bike - Jam Session with all musicians (except for Roger Waters)

Below, what would be the final performance by Pink Floyd. David Gilmour, Rick Wright and Nick Mason play “Arnold Layne” with Jon Carin (keyboards, vocals) and Andy Bell from Oasis (bass guitar).

 
Roger Waters and Captain Sensible videos after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Siamese Dream: Billy Corgan on the cover of a cat magazine
11.06.2014
08:33 am

Topics:
Amusing
Animals
Music

Tags:
cats
Billy Corgan


 
I’m posting this for no other reason than here’s Billy Corgan on the cover of a cat magazine!!!

Corgan sure loves his cats, wrestling and starring in local Chicago commercials for the Walter E. Smithe furniture company!

Below, Corgan shilling for the furniture store in 2013:

 
via Boing Boing

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Heavy metal T-shirts transformed into heavy metal quilts
11.05.2014
01:14 pm

Topics:
Art
Music

Tags:
heavy metal
quilts


Skull Kontrol
 
A San Francisco-based artist named Ben Venom (nice name!) cuts up heavy metal t-shirts and turns them into fantastic handmade quilts on general themes that are pretty heavy metal in their own right. He also does the same thing with motorcycle t-shirts (not pictured here).

Hard to make out any specific logos…. I do spot Red Fang, Manowar, and King Diamond. Pausing the video at bottom makes it much easier—also saw Metallica, Kreator, Ozzy, Pantera, Death, and AC/DC.

Can you spot any others?
 

In to the Sun
 

Tools of the Trade
 

Killed by Death / Strange Case of Mr. Wolfman and Dr. Death
 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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‘Lucretia MacEvil’: Blood, Sweat & Tears tear the house down, 1971
11.05.2014
12:46 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Blood, Sweat & Tears


 
Over the weekend, while visiting my hometown of Wheeling, WV I found myself riding past the historic Capitol Music Hall, the one-time home to Jamboree USA (think smaller hootenanny cousin of the Grand Ole Opry) and the famous WWVA country music radio station (referenced, I will have you know, in Kurt Vonnegut’s Breakfast of Champions, something that amazed me when I was a kid). The once-threadbare theater has had a million-dollar makeover in recent years, the new marquee had just gone up and was brightly advertising upcoming shows by Bill Cosby and Kenny Rogers.

The Jamboree hosted some pretty big country music performers in the 1970s and 80s—Johnny Cash, Buck Owens, Roy Clark, Ray Price, Charlie Pride, George Jones, Tammy Wynette, Wheeling’s own Doc Williams—and a number of middling rock acts like Cheap Trick, Bay City Rollers, The Michael Schenker Group, Blue Öyster Cult, Ted Nugent, Golden Earring, Brownsville Station, Angel… you get the picture. I never saw all that many shows there, but I did catch Harry Chapin (which was absolutely magical), Tanya Tucker and… Blood, Sweat & Tears who absolutely blew my doors off. I wasn’t a fan when I walked in—I think I’d won a pair of tickets from a radio station, I can’t recall—but I was knocked out by how hard a band of horn players could ROCK.
 

 
All of this was aided and abetted by the (much) larger-than-life voice of their lead singer David Clayton-Thomas.

I still love BS&T to this day and my favorite song by them is “Lucretia MacEvil” which I have never seen a live clip of on YouTube… until today and it’s only had 182 views at this point. This is from Sweden, 1971 and they fucking KILL IT. Nearly fifteen minutes long and it never gets boring.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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‘I am the Muffin Man’: The whimsical pop-psych of The World of Oz
11.05.2014
10:36 am

Topics:
Music
One-hit wonders

Tags:
World of Oz


 
Is this the greatest / goofiest song ever written? I think it very well might be. Certainly it’s… catchy. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you obscure ‘60s pop-psych combo World of Oz performing their semi-hit “The Muffin Man” on Beat Club in 1968.

The World of Oz were signed to Deram Records, Decca’s progressive imprint. The label’s president, Wayne Bickerton, personally produced “Muffin Man”—utilizing the talents of an expensive 33-piece orchestra—during their first recording session.
 

 
There’s not tons of information about this band out there. The long and short of it seems to be that they had a couple of quasi-hit singles in Europe and were on a few TV shows, but that they’d split up before their album even came out.

I’ve been putting this on mixed tapes and CD for over 25 years. That there is a video for this number warms my heart.

Have a muffin now and you won’t forget it… ever.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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‘I Have Come to Kill You:’ Henry Rollins parodies Queen
11.05.2014
08:59 am

Topics:
Amusing
Music
Punk

Tags:
Henry Rollins
Queen


 
In 1987, Henry Rollins, fresh from Black Flag’s breakup, released his first two solo records, Hot Animal Machine under his own name, and the six-song EP Drive By Shooting under the name “Henrietta Collins and the Wife Beating Child Haters.” I should probably specify that these were his first musical solo records—he’d already released two spoken word albums by then.
 

 
Both were recorded during the same month with the same backup band, but Drive By Shooting is by far the goofier record. It opens with the title song, a ridiculous travesty of surf-rock tropes. It’s not ALL silly—the album also boasts a great cover of Wire’s “Ex-Lion Tamer.” But then there’s “I Have Come to Kill You,” a send-up of Queen’s distinctive hit “We Will Rock You.” The EP, by the way, isn’t particularly rare, and the original vinyl can be found online at quite reasonable prices. It’s also included with the CD version of Hot Animal Machine
 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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Karen Black fronts L7 and Exene Cervenka reads her conspiracy poetry in ‘Decoupage 2000’


 
Decoupage! was a fever dream of a public access show cooked up in 1989 by visionary amateur producer Kathe Duba and drag queen Summer Caprice (Craig Roose, if you want to get technical). Envisioning a kitschy 70’s variety show aesthetic, Craig and Kathe scoured thrift stores to furnish elaborate sets—an episode could take as many as twelve hours to set-up, videotape and break-down (those are Cecil B. DeMille terms for public access). The show attracted counterculture legends like “all-American Jewish lesbian folksinger” Phranc and Vaginal Creme Davis (appearing with her “mother,” Susan Tyrrell). Caprice exuded a fun atmosphere of irreverent, arty, DIY weirdness, and the guests really seemed to enjoy themselves. 

I’d argue the “jewel” of the Decoupage series was actually Decoupage 2000: Return of the Goddess—a 1999 retro-futurist sci-fi version of the original show coordinated after a five-year hiatus. Check out cult queen Karen Black singing Sonny Bono’s “Bang Bang,” with grunge goddesses L7 for her band! If you didn’t know, Karen Black has a fucking amazing voice, and her chemistry with L7 is golden.
 

 
The most compelling segment though, is Exene Cervenka (using her actual surname, “Cervenkova” here) performing a spoken-word piece, “They Must Be Angels.” Themes of alien visitation and abduction, psychic abilities and metaphysical spirituality make the monologue a perfect fit for Decoupage‘s retro-futurism, but as Exene expounds, her tangents become more conspiratorial, and you’re left wondering if work like this was the germ of her eventual Alex Jones-levels of delusion. You can never be sure how someone got from Point A to Point Raving, Vicious Crackpot, but man does this piece feel like a red flag; and still, Exene is magnetic, and the performance is mesmerizing.

I’m unsure of exactly how many episodes of Decoupage! were made in total, but there is a Decoupage! YouTube channel with some great clips.
 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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If Philip K. Dick had a rock band: Chrome’s ‘alien soundtrack’ radio special, 1981
11.04.2014
09:37 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Chrome
Damon Edge


 
Australian radio aired an unorthodox 45-minute special about the music of Chrome in 1981. Built around a wide-ranging interview with the band’s late singer and founder Damon Edge—who, I learn, spoke with the unmistakable accent of a native Angeleno stoner—the program makes inventive use of the radio documentary format. As you’re listening, the interview tape will suddenly start running backward, and an Australian radio presenter will break in reading from the text included with the Alien Soundtracks album, her voice run through a Chromesque chain of phasers and flangers. It’s a psychedelic sci-fi broadcast mixed and edited in the style of Chrome, and it is totally nuts.

Details about the special are scarce. The Helios Creed tribute site that posted it, helioschrome.com, reports that the show is the work of Australian radio DJ and producer Tony Barrell, who died in 2011. A book about experimental music in Australia names Barrell as one of a few DJs on 2JJ (“Double J”), Australia’s youth-oriented radio station, who championed experimental music and introduced cut-up techniques into the editing of their shows.
 

 
Edge talks about Chrome’s then-recent show in Bologna, Italy, in July 1981: the “classic” lineup’s first live performance, and, wouldn’t you know it, the second-to-last. He also discusses why Chrome is a romantic band, how he and partner Helios Creed approach recording, why punk bores him, and how he learned that Chrome’s music had been used for “brain therapy” with a car crash survivor. Here he is on the origin of the band’s name:

One of the periods I liked, besides the psychedelic movement and some classical movements, was the Surrealistic movement. And I was reading an article about the Shah of Iran in 1930, who had commissioned a Paris Deco artist to invent air conditioning for his car—and that’s how air conditioning was invented, cause the Shah wanted air conditioning! [laughs]—so after that, he was so impressed, he said, “Well, build me this really far-out mansion,” so [the artist] said, “OK,” and the guy stuck a lot of chrome in it. I was just in the doctor’s and I was looking in the magazine, and it just seemed to sort of give me a sense of design, chrome. The metal itself is very high-class, it’s very stated, it’s very minimal, and it has something deeper about it, too, you know. It reflects. . .

A final point. The special gives the misleading impression that none of the names on Chrome’s early albums, other than Edge’s and Creed’s, refer to actual people. Not so: Gary Spain and John Lambdin are real live flesh and blood sons of the earth who played physical instruments in Chrome. “John L. Cyborg” is the fictitious person (although engineer Oliver DiCicco says it was sometimes him).

Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s go back to the future.

Chrome’s new album is called Feel It Like A Scientist.

Click here for an MP3 of the full program.

Posted by Oliver Hall | Discussion
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