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David Byrne, Philip Glass and Allen Ginsberg on Arthur Russell

It’s cellist/composer Arthur Russell’s great triumph that his influence became so massively widespread, and his great tragedy that he never knew it. His AIDS-related death in 1992 happened before the world caught up with him, but his vision impacted genres as widespread as acid house, jazz, minimalism, ambient, folk, hip-hop, dub… this could go on, as a concise summation of Russell’s improbable career is just flat out impossible. DM’s Niall O’Conghaile did an insightful post on Russell about a year and a half ago, and frankly, I can’t touch it. If you want to know more, I strongly recommend you have a look at it. Now is fine, I’ll wait.

There’s a lot of GREAT personal and musical background on Russell here in this rarely seen video. It features his friends and collaborators David Byrne, Philip Glass, and Allen Ginsberg, and it was recorded in 1994 as a video press kit for the posthumous Another Thought, a collection of unreleased late-career recordings. Bonus: David Byrne’s heroic pony tail.

More after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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‘Fascist Groove Thang’: How the BBC banned Heaven 17 for ‘libeling’ Ronald Reagan
05:57 am


Ronald Reagan
Heaven 17

In 1981, the BBC banned Heaven 17’s debut sinlge “(We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang” on the grounds the song’s lyrics were possibly libelous to President Ronald Reagan.

The couplet that caused the Beeb’s legal eagles such wrinkled brows was contained in the song’s third verse:

Democrats are out of power
Across that great wide ocean
Reagan’s president elect
Fascist god in motion
Generals tell him what to do
Stop your good time dancing
Train their guns on me and you
Fascist thang advancing

Reagan’s president elect… A fascist god in motion?

Now, this may all sound like the kind of poetry exercise Rick from The Young Ones might have concocted in his overheated imagination—indeed try saying the lyrics in your best Rick the People’s Poet voice and you’ll see what I mean… Let’s not forget, this was the 1980s, when the drum machine was king and the fictitious “Rick” was far closer to how many on the Left actually behaved than most would care to admit.

Even the language of student rebellion had changed little since the late 1960s: everyone was a “fascist,” “the pigs” were in charge, “the man” had his finger on the a nuclear trigger and Armageddon was imminent. If you don’t believe me, just pick up any review, by say Angela Carter, from back then, and you’ll be hard pushed to get through more than a few paragraphs before the woe-is-me hand wringing fears of Baby Boomer nuclear annihilation is apparent.

“(We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang” was very much of its time, with the lyrics contain the expected tropes on racism, fascism, Adolf Hitler, nuclear war, cruise missiles and a call to “unlock that funky chain dance.”

And to a man the nation asked, “Why hadn’t we thought of this before? Unlocking our funky chain dance to stop nuclear war?”

Heaven 17 were formed after Martyn Ware and Ian Marsh split from the Human League and teamed-up with singer Glenn Gregory. Among the early songs they worked on together was “(We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang.” In an interview, Martyn Ware discussed how the song was written:

The lyrics of the song reference Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and President Ronald Reagan and include a wry joke about cruise missiles. Ware recalled to us how the track evolved into denunciations of the UK and US political leaders:

“We started out jamming together loads of these cut up titles and coming up with ridiculous lines for the song, like, ‘Heart USA. I feel your power.’ What the hell does that mean? I mean, really, what does it mean? We just thought it was a comedy song. I know people will read meaning into it.”

Ware continued:

“Then, as we got more into writing the lyrics, we thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to have some real world people in there?’ We were obsessed with Reagan coming into power and the specter of Margaret Thatcher coming into power and those were some very genuine concerns. The whole world was going to be blown to smithereens. It seems a little melodramatic now, but it was a genuine thing at the time if you remember. So we thought, ‘It’s time for action here. We’re all political people. It’s time to walk the walk.’ So as it evolved, the songwriting – it only took two days to write – it turned into this really bizarre hybrid of politics and dancing and comedy and black American soul influence.”

The BBC has always had a strange relationship with pop music. In 1969, they banned The Kinks’ song “Plastic Man” because it contained the word “bum,” (or “ass,” as you Americans know it). Just a few years later in 1972, they were happily piping out Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side” with its lines about “giving head” to the Beeb’s Radio 2 grey-haired Daily Mail-reading middle aged listeners.  Now, they were quaking that The Gipper might possibly, maybe, well you just never know, sue the ass off the Corporation for some rather juvenile political pop posturing? What would Rik have said?

The single made number 45 in the charts and was a favorite of clubs at the time. In 2010 (almost thirty years later), Heaven 17 performed the song live on BBC Radio 6—as Reagan had been dead for six years the Beeb probably felt safe from litigation.

‘(We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang’

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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A day in the grim life of a Black Metal teenager
12:52 pm


black metal

A day in the life of a black metal teenager

In 2009 when LA band Jogger thought it was time to make a video for their song “Nephicide,” they decided it should follow the bleak day-to-day life of a Black Metal teenager. Listen, we’ve all been teenagers and it’s pretty awful for the most part. When you’re a Black Metal teenager, you put your corpse paint on before breakfast and then instead of eating the breakfast your Mom made for you, you make pentagrams out of the pancakes and sausage on your plate. To me it sounds like the greatest day ever, but all our two morose black metal teens care about is shredding it up for Satan in their garage.

Check out the video below. It’s slightly NSFW due to projectile blood spewing that isn’t as gross as it is funny. To my twisted funny bone anyway.

Posted by Cherrybomb | Discussion
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Nick Cave tells Russian reporter that his mother keeps his tail in a jar
08:58 am


Nick Cave

In honor of the ageless Nick Cave (who turned 57 yesterday), I dug up this interview that Cave did in 1992 for Russian TV. What got the most attention in the interview was Cave agreeing to poetry slam the lyrics to The Birthday Party song Dead Joe from the 1982 record, Junkyard.

For my money, it’s when Nick further mythologizes himself at about 7:30 in when he tells reporter Katya Galitzine (a real princess, published author and descendant of Catherine the Great no less) that not only did he used to have a tail, but that his mother keeps it in a JAR.

Oh, the many layers of the goth onion that is Nick Cave never disappoint.

Posted by Cherrybomb | Discussion
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HELL-O: List of banned band names from Christian radio station
08:11 am


band names

Click here to read larger version.

I’m pretty damned certain I’ve seen this “banned bands” list before on a Tumblr or something a few years ago. Anyway, WFMU posted the list on their Twitter yesterday and it made me giggle like a little kid. The list is from Seton Hall University’s heavy metal radio station WSOU and it’s kinda hilarious.

According to this notice any mention of the “Devil, Satan, God, Jesus or any other Catholic references that are portrayed in a negative light should not be discussed on air.”

Bands like Adolf Satan, Jesus Eater, Cannibal Corpse, Alabama Thunderpussy, Smother Theresa, Mighty Sphincter, Bongzilla and my personal favorite… HELL-O.

And if you say any of these bands names or play them on air, “YOU WILL BE SUSPENDED!”

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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‘In the Orbit of Ra’: New Sun Ra collection curated by Arkestra saxophonist Marshall Allen
08:08 am


Sun Ra
Marshall Allen

Sun Ra might need little introduction to many readers of this blog, I’d expect, so I’ll keep this brief: Sun Ra was once Herman Blount from Alabama except that he was always Sun Ra from the planet Saturn. He was a jazz bandleader and visionary whose career spanned the ragtime and free jazz eras, during which he dove deep into the avant garde, forming a band (“Arkestra”) that was as much a commune as a musical group. His work touched heavily on, among many other things, African/Egyptian themes, outer space, Kabbalism, and Gnosticism. Ra’s music, lifestyle, beliefs and personality were far too esoteric for anything even remotely like mainstream acceptance to find him, but he nonetheless recorded prolifically, and brought a heavy influence to bear on psychedelia and funk. Just last year, he came to somewhat wider public attention when Lady Gaga heavily quoted his “Rocket Number 9” in her single “Venus.”

Sun Ra left us in 1993, but had he lived, 2014 would have been his 100th year. His still-living stalwart saxophonist Marshall Allen continues, at the age of 90, to lead the Arkestra, and he’s recently compiled a collection for Strut Records, spanning 25 years of Sun Ra Arkestra music, remastered from the original tapes, and it’s being touted as “the first internationally released compilation to provide an introduction to the music of Sun Ra.” It’s called In the Orbit of Ra, and the CD and digital are out this week. (Those of us who prefer vinyl apparently have to wait until October. Boo.) An admirable lid has been kept on its contents—only one remastered track is available for streaming, the late ‘50s composition “Plutonian Nights:”

New mini-documentary on Sun Ra after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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Become a citizen of Laibach’s global state
07:21 am



Wasn’t the nation-state supposed to have withered and died by now? Weren’t we supposed to be a merry crew of free and autonomous subjects, all pursuing our personal dreams with similar but slightly different songs in our hearts, rather than a graying herd of bigoted, suburban, debt-burdened, government-ID-clutching suckers?

Friends, it’s 2014: time to turn in your driver’s licenses and demand something better. For citizens of the universe who are committed to interplanetary cooperation, there’s always the Hawkwind passport, but for earthbound internationalists, there’s never been a better time to join the NSK State. As the world’s first global polity, the NSK State is a “state in time” that “denies the principles of (limited) territory as well as the principle of national borders.” And anyone can apply for an NSK State passporteven you!

IRWIN billboard, London, 2012
The NSK State emerged from the Neue Slowenische Kunst (“New Slovenian Art”) collective, which had been formed in 1984 by the band Laibach, the visual artists’ group IRWIN, the performance group Scipion Nasice Sisters Theater (now Noordung), and the design group New Collectivism. In 1992, the same year that Yugoslavia dissolved and Slovenia was admitted to the United Nations, these groups founded their own transnational state, “a utopian formation which has no physical territory and which is not to be identified with any existing national state.” (According to this fascinating article about the sudden demand for NSK passports that arose in Nigeria in 2006, the NSK State “was conceived as almost the opposite of the new Republic of Slovenia.”)

The NSK State passport
As of this writing, bearers of this handsome document are actually entitled to like zero of the rights and privileges that accrue to citizens of regular, border-determined countries, so if you have any of those, you might want to hold onto them. Among other important disclaimers to keep in mind: “Ownership of this passport shall not constitute membership in the NSK organisation” and “the NSK State passport is not a legally valid document.” The good news is, the passport’s a steal at €24; the bad news is that unless one of the state’s temporary embassies or consulates is coming to a physical location near you, you’ll have to send cash in a registered letter or pay for a bank transfer to Slovenia to get one.

Laibach released Spectre, its first album of the decade, earlier this year.

For more information about the NSK State, see its official website and YouTube channel.

Laibach’s video for “Drzava” (“The State”)

Posted by Oliver Hall | Discussion
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The club is closed: Watch Guided By Voices’ final show
12:26 pm


Guided By Voices

Guided By Voices
As previously reported on Dangerous Minds, Guided By Voices have once again called it a day. Leader Robert Pollard surprisingly agreed to reform the so-called “classic line-up” of GBV for Matador’s 21s birthday party in 2010, which snowballed into a successful reunion tour, a wealth of new and stellar material, as well as continued live dates. They played their final show on September 13th in Toledo. I was there.

As with most GBV performances, it was jubilant affair, with rock star poses and an audience so enrapt and caught in the moment you’d swear this was Sunday mass. I was pleasantly surprised to see so many smiling faces that looked to be roughly the same age I was when I first became a fan after hearing Bee Thousand 20 summers ago.
GBV set-list
The final set-list.
They played a surprisingly short set and afterwards there were murmurs that what we had just witnessed was their last gig. Days later, two more show were announced and it seemed that it was all just hearsay.

When a band you love breaks up it’s always a bit sad; it feels like a death and all the clichés apply: Nothing lasts forever, at least we still have the music, the memories, blah, blah, blah. Of course, GBV fans have been through this before, but that doesn’t make it any less heartbreaking. Guided By Voices made extraordinary music and they managed to bottle the magic all over again, but now—for whatever reasons—it’s over. Thankfully, someone captured the final moment and the entire set is available online. Guitarist Mitch Mitchell is absolutely on fire, and I can’t help but wonder if he knew this would be the last time.

Posted by Bart Bealmear | Discussion
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Jayne Mansfield reads the poetry of Shakespeare, Shelley, Browning and others

Shakespeare, Tchaikovsky & Me, Jayne Mansfield’s delicious album from 1963 or 1964 (depending on where you look), has never seen a CD release and it’s not available on the music streaming services I consulted. That scarcity has driven up the price: right now you can get a copy from for $60 and up.

Assessing Mansfield’s intelligence is something of a mid-20th-century parlor game. Quoting Wikipedia: “Frequent references have been made to Mansfield’s very high IQ, which she claimed was 163. She spoke five languages, including English. ... Reputed to be Hollywood’s ‘smartest dumb blonde’, she later complained that the public did not care about her brains: ‘They’re more interested in 40–21–35,’ she said.” Wasn’t there some meme about Jayne Mansfield enjoying the works of Immanuel Kant? Where did I get that from, some James Ellroy novel?

So how are her recitations of some of the greatest erotic poetry in the English language? Welllll, just fine, I think. I wouldn’t say she exactly reads them well—she reads them about the way you’d expect a big movie star to read them, crisply and evenly, perhaps a little too briskly. She brings a purr to the material that you wouldn’t probably get from current U.S. poet laureate Charles Wright, let’s say.

Here’s a track listing, followed by a clip of about six minutes from the album:

Elizabeth Barrett Browning, “How Do I Love Thee”
Percy Bysshe Shelley, “The Indian Serenade”
Percy Bysshe Shelley, “Good-Night”
Robert Herrick, “You Say I Love Not”
Henry Constable, “If This Be Love”
Elizabeth Barrett Browning, “The Lady’s ‘Yes’” -
Lord Byron, “She Walks In Beauty”
William Shakespeare, “Cleopatra”
Christopher Marlowe, “Was This The Face”
Joseph Beaumont, “Whiteness, Or Chastity”
Anonymous, “Madrigal”
Leigh Hunt, “Jenny Kiss’d Me”
Anonymous, “Verses Copied From The Window Of An Obscure Lodging House”
Thomas Otway, “The Enchantment”
Christopher Marlowe, “The Passionate Sheperd To His Love”
Robert Herrick, “Upon The Nipples Of Julia’s Breast”
Ben Jonson, “Drink To Me Only With Thine Eyes”
Lord Byron, “The Lovers”
Robert Herrick, “To The Virgins, To Make Much Of Time”
Elizabeth Barrett Browning, “Inclusions”
William Butler Yeats, “When You Are Old”
William Wordsworth, “Daffodils”
William Shakespeare, “Take, O, Take Those Lips Away”
Thomas Carew, “Mark How The Bashful Morn”
Anonymous, “Oh! Dear, What Can The Matter Be?”
Alfred Lord Tennyson, “The Miller’s Daughter”
Charles Sackville, “The Fire Of Love”
Sir John Suckling, “The Constant Lover”
John Dryden, “Why Should A Foolish Marriage Vow”
Thomas Moore, “Believe Me, If All Those Enduring Young Charms”
Anonymous, “Love Me Little, Love Me Long”


Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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She’s Got Big Balls: Bon Scott gets in drag for AC/DC’s very first TV appearance, 1975
05:59 am


Bon Scott

Bon Scott in drag
AC/DC made their first TV appearance with Bon Scott (who replaced originally vocalist Dave Evans) on an Australian charts program called Countdown. The group decided to do the blues standard “Baby, Please Don’t Go,” the b-side of their debut release with Scott, as it was more popular than the a-side of the single. With brand new bassist Mark Evans in tow, the boys were backstage getting ready to go on, but their singer was nowhere to be seen.

With only seconds to go before taking the stage, Bon still hadn’t appeared. When he did, right at the last minute, he was dressed as a schoolgirl, complete with blonde wig, tattoos and a disturbingly short skirt. The band could hardly play for laughing and for Mark Evans it must have been an interesting introduction to what made AC/DC special. The look on (drummer) Phil Rudd’s face said it all. (AC/DC – Uncensored on the Record)

Scott was also sporting earrings, blue eye shadow and rouged up cheeks. It’s quite a performance. The unforgettable footage can be had via AC/DC’s Family Jewels DVD.

Posted by Bart Bealmear | Discussion
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