High flying Byrd: Long overdue documentary on Gene Clark is essential viewing
03:43 pm


Gene Clark

Gene Clark’s No Other is an album that I’ve loved with a passion only rivaled by my love of Love’s Forever Changes. Ignored or misunderstood by both critics and audiences, Clark’s cocaine cowboy masterpiece has finally been receiving its due in recent years. A tribute tour including Beach House, Fleet Foxes and Grizzly Bears playing all the songs from No Other toured the East Coast late last year. Four Men With Beards has released a remastered version of the album on 180 gram vinyl that sounds good, though it is most likely pressed from digital sources rather than the original analogue masters. Not perfect, but I’m glad it’s out there. No Other will be a revelation for those of you who haven’t heard it. I promise.

A new BBC documentary, The Byrd Who Flew Alone The Triumphs and Tragedy of Gene Clark , is viewable right now on YouTube and I heartily recommend it. I suggest you watch it as soon as possible. It may not last long and you’ll kick yourself for missing it. It does a terrific job of covering the life and times of one of the greatest and most underrated artists of the past five decades. Gene Clark was like no other.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
Pink Floyd’s earliest post-Syd Barrett TV appearance, 1968
03:15 pm


Pink Floyd

It’s rare to see footage of Pink Floyd performing one of Syd Barrett’s songs without him, but this extended live set taped for French television’s Bouton Rouge program on February 22, 1968 (only a few weeks after the group decided they were better off without him) has David Gilmour—looking somewhat uncomfortable—taking over vocal duties on two: “Astronomy Domine” and “Flaming.”

They also do killer versions of “Set The Controls For the Heart Of The Sun” and “Let There Be Light.”


Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Bills ‘n’ Thrills and Bellyaches: ‘Bez’ of Happy Mondays is running for Parliament
05:38 am



Bez and his maracas
It was reported on Monday that legendary “freaky dancer,” maracas player and alleged former ecstasy dealer Mark “Bez” Berry of the Happy Mondays and Black Grape has revealed his intention to run for Parliament in the UK general election next year.

Bez, who is currently 49 years old, told the Manchester Evening News of his plans to run as an MP in his home city of Salford, After years, if not decades, of sober study of the nation’s political problems, Bez has stated his plans to “stir things up,” redistribute wealth, end all war, and solve cancer and dementia. Frankly it sounds a lot less harmful than a lot of things I’ve heard politicians say.

I’ve been saying we need a revolution, and there’s no good shouting about it when you’re not actually doing anything. ... If you want to do something about things you’ve got to get into the corridors of power and take them on. ... If you’re voting for me, you’re voting as a protest about what’s happening in the world at the moment. ... I’m going to create a new world order and get rid of them and start again with a new, fairer system without evil being the main policy. ... One of my policies would be a permacultural society where we’ll end illness and get everybody back to an alkaline state.

Bez has a history of achievement in the political arena; in 2005 he won the UK reality show Celebrity Big Brother.

I have long believed that Bez’s role as semi-musician/mascot/dancing idiot is essentially unique in rock history, and I’d love it if he could parlay being the Linda McCartney of Happy Mondays into a slot in Parliament. Voters looking to assess Bez’s fitness for dealing with matters involving the Exchequer will be interested to learn that he’s “been made bankrupt twice” in his life, as revealed on the talk show This Morning with Martin Lewis (is his name really Martin Lewis?) last year.

Here he is in his heyday, on Top of the Pops with the Happy Mondays dancing to “Kinky Afro”:

via Brooklyn Vegan

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
Kate Bush, Stevie Wonder, David Bowie and others expound on the topic of ‘Punk’ in 1979

Getting it or not getting it to varying degrees are Kate Bush, Stevie Wonder, David Bowie, Cliff Richard, Steve Harley, Mick Taylor, Peter Gabriel, Paul Cook, John Lydon, Meatloaf, and a surprisingly astute young Leif Garrett putting in their two cents on the topic of “Punk.”

According to the caption on YouTube, these comments aired in December 1979 on a program called Countdown on a specific episode called “End Of the Decade.” Presumably this is something from the archives of Australian television. It looks like an editor’s raw “selects” in the formulation seen here.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Slint announce tour dates
12:35 pm



On the heels of the announcement of the insanely posh Spiderland boxed set and the Breadcrumb Trail biographical documentary, the ridiculously influential band Slint have announced dates for a full tour.

April 29—Boston, MA, Paradise Rock Club
April 30—Asbury Park, NJ, The Stone Pony
May 01—Philadelphia, PA, Union Transfer
May 04—New York, NY, Bowery Ballroom
May 06—Brooklyn, NY, Music Hall of Williamsburg
May 08—Cleveland, OH, Grog Shop
May 09—Detroit, MI, Saint Andrews Hall
May 10—Chicago, IL, Bottom Lounge
May 29-31—Barcelona, ES, Primavera Sound
June 05-07—Porto, PT, Optimus Primavera Sound
July18-20—Louisville, KY, Forecastle Festival

Formed in mid-‘80s Kentucky by still-teenaged refugees from the punk band Squirrel Bait, Slint created a dynamic, unnerving, ponderous and emotionally resonant sound that was entirely novel, and though they broke up before the release of their signature LP, their ideas were all over the music of the 90s. Slo-core, post-rock, and post-hardcore all bear Slint’s deep fingerprints, and they’ve intermittently reunited since 2005 to reap the overdue benefits of inventing a few genres without even trying. No new Slint music has been released since an instrumental 10” single in 1994, though guitarist Dave Pajo has had an intriguing career with Tortoise, Papa M, and the Billy Corgan-led Zwan, and drummer Britt Walford re-emerged pseudonymously in an early version of The Breeders, then in Evergreen, and much more recently, in the new band Watter. For those who are curious to go deeper into the band’s history, I will go to my grave unconditionally recommending the superb 33 1/3 book on Spiderland.

Here’s a bit of what you can expect to hear if you nab one of these coveted tickets, recorded in Italy in 2007.

Via Consequence of Sound

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
‘Lady June’s Linguistic Leprosy’: Art rock obscurity featuring Brian Eno and Kevin Ayers

When she died of a heart attack in 1999 at the age of 68, her obituary in The Independent called “Lady” June Campbell Cramer “a great British eccentric and cosmic prankster.” That’s already a pretty good claim to fame, but the obit went on to say that her “most achieved performance was herself: she succeeded in turning her existence into living art, bristling with humour.”

“Lady” June—the honorary title given to her due to her upper-crust, aristocratic voice (she sounded like a stoned Judi Dench) and the fact that she was the de facto landlady of many a progressive musician from the Canterbury set—was a sort of free-spirited hippie bohemian poetess and multimedia performance artist who ran with the crowd that included Gong and Soft Machine, who she first met in Spain in the early 1960s.

According to Daevid Allen, who was in both groups, June’s Maida Vale flat was “London’s premier smoking salon”:

“She was ferocious in the mornings until the first joint arrived: she’d hover over you with a wet cloth demanding that you clean the stove.”

Gilli Smyth of Gong, Allen’s wife, was her best friend, and it was at a dual birthday party June threw for herself and Smyth that a drunken Robert Wyatt fell out of a window, falling four stories and leaving him paralyzed from the waist down.

In 1973, June took part in the chaotic BBC Radio 4 series If It’s Wednesday It Must Be… with Kenny Everett and former Bonzo Dog Band member Vivian Stanshall. Later that year she recorded Lady June’s Linguistic Leprosy, her surrealist poetry set to music by her longtime friend (and longtime tenant) Kevin Ayers and Brian Eno, who lived nearby. The recording was made in the front room of her apartment (along with Gong’s drummer Pip Pyle and David Vorhaus of White Noise) and is said to have cost just £400. A wary Caroline Records—a Virgin subsidiary set up to release things with little to no commercial potential in the first place—pressed up just 5000 copies, but the album sold out quickly when news of her famous collaborators got around. June performed on bills along with Gong, Hawkwind, The Pink Fairies and Hatfield and the North.

“Lady” June Campbell Cramer returned to Spain in 1975 and became an active and creatively fulfilled participant in the artists’ community of Deya in Majorca. It is primarily for the company she kept—and this one remarkable album—that we remember her today. Lady June’s Linguistic Leprosy was re-issued on CD in 2007 by Market Square.


“The Letter”

“Tourisy”/“Am I”

“To Whom It May Concern”

“Some Day Silly Twenty Three”

“Missing Person,” a gorgeous number from a 1984 French various artists release entitled History of Jazz.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Blazing Away: ‘Lost’ Marianne Faithfull concert film resurfaces on YouTube
02:07 pm


Marianne Faithfull

In 1990 Marianne Faithfull was filmed in concert at St. Anne’s Cathedral in Brooklyn along with a crack band consisting of The Band’s Garth Hudson, Dr. John, her longtime collaborator Barry Reynolds , Marc Ribot, Fernando Saunders (Lou Reed’s longtime bass player), drummer Dougie Bowne (John Cale, Iggy Pop, Arto Lindsay and the Lounge Lizards) and Lew Soloff on trumpet and flugel horn.

The set was released as Blazing Away on CD and VHS in 1990. According to Maggie Bee (who uploaded the video with Faithfull’s expressed permission) the record label actually lost the video master.

Set List
Prisons Du Roy
Falling From Grace
Blue Millionaire
Strange Weather
Sister Morphine
Working Class Hero
When I Find My Life
The Ballad Of Lucy Jordan
As Tears Go By
Why D’ya Do It
Boulevard Of Broken Dreams
Broken English
Times Square

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Has Courtney Love found Flight 370???
01:52 pm

Current Events

Courtney Love

Courtney Love posted this to her Facebook page 11 hours ago. I’ve got nuthin’ else to add.

I’m no expert but up close this does look like a plane and an oil slick. http://www.tomnod.com/nod/challenge/malaysiaairsar2014/map/128148 … prayers go out to the families #MH370 and its like a mile away Pulau Perak, where they “last” tracked it 5°39’08.5"N 98°50’38.0"E but what do I know?

Courtney Love on Facebook


Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
‘Inside Out’: Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s wildly entertaining life on parole

It’s safe to say that for virtually every moment from the time that Wu-Tang Clan became prominent around 1993 until his sad death in 2004, Ol’ Dirty Bastard—“Russell Jones” to the law enforcement community—was in some kind of legal trouble. He was convicted of second degree assault in 1993 and was arrested for failure to pay child support in 1997. A year later, he pleaded guilty to attempted assault on his wife and was also arrested for shoplifting. It goes on from there. In 2000 he was assigned to a court-mandated drug treatment facility but escaped—as a fugitive he met up with RZA and spent some time in the studio. In Philadelphia he was eventually captured. (DM previously reported on his endlessly interesting FBI file, released in 2012.)

After spending the next two and a half years in prison in New York, he was released on parole on May 1, 2003. Sensing an opportunity, ODB’s manager, Jarred Weisfeld, arranged for VH1 to have a crew follow ODB around for his release and the first few weeks out of jail. The end result was “Inside Out,” which can be viewed below. Actually, it’s a little unclear what this video is—IMDb.com lists the running time as 60 minutes over two episodes. This video isn’t that long, however. What I think this is is episode 1 of “Inside Out”—not sure there was an episode 2—followed by a brief remembrance section that likely doesn’t have anything to do with VH1. In any case, it’s wildly entertaining.
Ol' Dirty Bastard
The life of a mentally troubled rap star is as crazy as anything you’re likely to find. A stretch limo filled with family, friends, and business associates (of course these lines overlap) is there to meet him upon his release. He is immediately presented with a gift of 500 condoms. As the father of 13 children by multiple women, ODB sniffs out the subtext: “They don’t want me makin’ no more babies!” At his press conference the same day as his release, who shows up to take part? Of course, Mariah Carey.

Eventually ODB’s interest in the ladies alienates his sort-of ladyfriend Raquel, who promptly flees back to LA. Within days he’s photographing a silicone-enhanced Playboy model and hitting on women in the street. Meanwhile his new relationship with Roc-A-Fella records is proceeding with the usual complications. We see a few cordial encounters with RZA as well.

The special presents a glimpse of actual parole life that’s not often available on TV. We see ODB successfully pass a drug test and we’re told that, as messy as his life was, he was able to adhere to the 9pm curfew imposed on him. When he signs the paperwork before his release, he’s told that he’s agreeing that parole officers can visit his home more or less anytime, and sure enough, we get to see such a visit. All goes well, except for ODB’s lingering paranoia after the fact.

ODB never really got the psychological help he needed, but nobody could say that he lived an unfulfilled life. “Inside Out” is excellent evidence of both parts of that equation.


Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
Remembering Cathy Berberian, the hippest—and funniest—lady of avant-garde classical music
11:02 am


John Cage
Cathy Berberian
Luciano Berio

Cathy Berberian was an American mezzo-soprano vocalist based in Italy. She was known as a proponent of both avant garde and contemporary vocal music, moving during her career from debuting one of John Cage’s major works, his “Aria with Fontana Mix” composition in 1958, to covering Beatles songs. Cathy Berberian was an opera diva who never took herself too seriously and she was probably the hippest lady in classical music of her day, a sort of spiritual predecessor to Laurie Anderson in certain respects.

Born in 1925, after attending Columbia University, Berberian received a Fulbright scholarship in 1949 to study music at the Milan Conservatory where she would meet her future husband, the great composer Luciano Berio, who would write music for her during their marriage (you might say they were collaborations considering how integral her contribution is!) and afterwards. His Requies: in memoriam Cathy composition premiered the year after her death of a sudden heart attack at the age of 57 in 1983. It’s interesting to note that when she passed, Berberian was to sing “The Internationale” (ala Marilyn Monroe) on TV in Rome to Karl Marx on the anniversary of his birth. That’s the sort of performer Cathy Berberian was. She just didn’t take it all that seriously, and yet, she took her artform very seriously indeed. Pompous, she wasn’t, although she was the most celebrated vocal recitalist of her time spent on Earth.

Sylvano Bussotti, Hans Werner Henze, William Walton and even Igor Stravinsky works for Cathy Berberian’s distinctive voice. She’s even name-checked in the Steely Dan song “Your Gold Teeth” on Countdown to Ecstasy: “Even Cathy Berberian knows / There’s one roulade she can’t sing.” (There’s the answer to that Trivial Pursuit question!) Of his multifaceted wife, Berio said “The versatility of her mind was astonishing.” Aside from her great vocal gifts, she was also a gourmet chef, a fashion model, a collector of pornographic porcelain and she translated Jules Feiffer and Woody Allen’s work into Italian with Umberto Eco.

But for all of her high-falutin’ musical and intellectual pedigrees, Cathy Berberian was equally known as someone with a wicked sense of humor. Her Revolution album of Beatles covers is a unique and quirky collection indeed, but she really ties together her pop and avant garde inclinations beautifully in her own composition, “Stripsody,” a short vocal piece where she uses comic book exclamations and sounds (Words like “Boing!” “Vrrop vrrop” appear on the sheet music) to get the point across, sounding very much like a humorous version of Cage’s Fontana Mix combined with Serge Gainsbourg and Brigitte Bardot’s “Comic Strip.”

Here’s a performance of her infamous “Stripsody”:

More Cathy Berberian after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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