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See a young Björk rocking out in ‘Rokk í Reykjavík’
06.23.2014
03:02 pm

Topics:
Music
Punk

Tags:
Iceland
Björk


 
Rokk í Reykjavík is an Icelandic film made for local television in 1982 that seems like a cross between Penelope Spheeris’ The Decline of Western Civilization and Urgh! A Music War. Like Urgh! it’s a steady stream of band after band, nineteen total, some very good, some awful running the gamut from confrontational SoCal-style hardcore to Joy Division and Wire imitators to one group who look just like Loverboy! Like the Decline trilogy there are lots of interviews with incredibly nihilistic youngsters. (One pint-sized Darby Crash wannabe discuses how a meddling social worker made glue sniffing difficult in Reykjavik, but this led them to discover that gas huffing provided an even better high!)

Seen in Rokk í Reykjavík is Tappi Tíkarrass an incredibly tight punk/pop band led by a young (and super cute) Björk Guðmundsdóttir who have a Talking Heads meet B-52s meets ska meets Gang of Four vibe. Their name, should you be wondering, translates as “Cork the Bitch’s Ass!”
 

 
Also of note here is Purrkur Pillnikk, the punk band of Björk’s future Sugarcube bandmate Einar Örn Benediktsson. The old man chanting a poem at the start is Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson who was instrumental in forcing the Icelandic government to recognize the country’s pre-Christian Norse religion. Sveinbjörn can be heard performing Ásatrú marriage rites for Genesis and Paula P-Orridge on Psychic TV’s Live in Reykjavik double album.

For me, though, other than seeing the young (and super cute, did I mention that?) Björk in action, it’s the WTF avant garde antics of Bruni BB that steal the entire show. Directed by Friðrik Þór Friðriksson.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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What does a snail eating sound like?
06.23.2014
01:08 pm

Topics:
Art
Environment
Music

Tags:
Nick Abrahams


 
Filmmaker and visual artist Nick Abrahams will be presenting “Lions and Tigers and Bears,” an exhibition of photographs, installations and artworks inspired by the lush magic of the British countryside. The show which opens at The Horse Hospital in London on Friday examines our changing relationship with nature by inviting the spectator “to use their own imagination to bear on sounds and images which are both extraordinary and overlooked.”
 

 
Last year Nick made “Ekki Mukk,” a short film collaboration with Sigur Rós that won the British Council Best UK short film award for 2013. That short (see below) forms part of the “Lions and Tigers and Bears” project and also inspired Abrahams’ 7-inch single of the same name:

The single and exhibition include 3 key audio recordings – that of a snail eating, a fox sleeping, and sounds recorded around a tree. The sounds evoke mysterious worlds – the tree is the Martyrs tree in Tolpuddle, under whose branches the first trade union in England met in 1834, to fight for better pay and working conditions… the snail is heard eating, amplified to a level which we can hear and sounding something like a chainsaw – what else would we hear if we could listen closely enough ? And a sleeping fox…. what does a fox dream about ?

A fourth recording features the voice of Shirley Collins, a living national treasure and seminal folk singer, who reads a prose poem by Nick Abrahams, leaving us in the world of fairytales.

A feature film of the “Lions and Tigers and Bears’ project is currently in development. Nick says there will be a live snail race at the opening (6pm to 9pm) and to “please come, bring friends (although not more snails, they can be rather ‘me me me’).”
 

 
The Horse Hospital, The Colonnade, Bloomsbury, London WC1N 1JD
 

 
Below, Abrahams’ stunning music video for “Ekki Mukk” by Sigur Rós:
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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We have Pat Boone to thank for the most psychotic and deranged rockabilly record of all time!

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Marty Lott aka Jerry Lott aka “The Phantom” was born near Mobile, Alabama in 1938 and moved to Leakesville, Mississippi during infancy. He played country music on stage at school which progressed to playing country and western at Paynas Furniture Store in Lucedale, Mississippi. Jerry started entering and winning local performing contests which led him to start touring. It all changed in 1956 for Marty and so many others, when Elvis Presley came along, opened his eyes and charged his soul with rock and roll.

“Love Me” was written in ten minutes and recorded in Mobile at Gulf Coast Studio in the summer of 1958. It is one of those rare, lust-filled, psychotic explosions that, in one minute and twenty nine seconds, packs more punch than most punk records did and is considered by many to be the wildest rock and roll song ever recorded. It had to wait until the new decade to see a release.

Lott told Derek Glenister:

“I’d worked three months on the other side of the record. Somebody said, ‘what you gonna put on the flip-side’ I hadn’t even thought about it. Someone suggested I wrote something like Elvis ‘cause he was just a little on the wane and everybody was beginning to turn against rock ‘n’ roll. They said, ‘See if you spark rock ‘n’ roll a little bit’... so that’s when I put all the fire and fury I could utter into it. I was satisfied with the first take, but everybody said, ‘let’s try it one more time’. I didn’t yell on the first take, but I yelled on the second, and blew one of the controls off the wall.”

“I’m telling ya, “it was wild. The drummer lost one of his sticks, the piano player screamed and knocked his stool over, the guitar player’s glasses were hanging sideways over his eyes.

 
mkogdb
 
Lott, known at this time as The Gulf Coast Fireball left Mobile for Los Angeles to shop his master tape around. On a truly bizarre impulse he followed Pat Boone to church one Sunday morning and convinced him to give the tape a listen. It was Boone’s idea to rename Lott The Phantom, even agreeing to issue the record on his own Cooga Mooga label. Eventually Lott signed a contract with Boone’s management but the single of “Love Me” b/w “Whisper Your Love” was released on the label Boone recorded for—Dot Records in 1960, packaged in a nifty picture sleeve, normally reserved only for the really big stars here in the States.
 

 

“Aahh, uhh, let’s go! Uhh
Press your lips to mine
And whisper I love you
Gotta have chance that lasts
To do the things we wanna do
Don’t hesitate, I can’t wait,
Love me
You set my soul on fire
Every muscle in my body’s burning with desire
Baby kiss me do
Make me know you’re mine
Love me with desire
Oh honey, this is fine
Don’t hesitate, I can’t wait,
Love me
Aahh!
I want you to be my bride
My heart’s a runnin’ wild
Got to make you mine
If just for a little while
Don’t hesitate, I can’t wait,
Love me, love me, love me, love me…”

 
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Sadly in 1965, Jerry’s wife took her own life, and shortly thereafter, in 1966, while still attempting to tour, The Phantom was involved in a near fatal auto accident in York, South Carolina. After his car tumbled 600 feet down a mountainside he was left paralyzed below the neck. Lott continued to write songs, but never recorded again. He passed away on September 4th,1983 at the age of 45.
 
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Ever the rock ‘n’ roll purists The Cramps chose the song to be one of the first ones they learned, going so far as to make a flyer that they put up around New York City before they ever even played their first gig proclaiming “LOVE ME” featuring the baleful gaze of Cramps guitarist Bryan Gregory.
 
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The Cramps play “Love Me” at the Napa State Mental Hospital in 1978

A new generation was introduced to the likes of The Phantom in the late 70’s/early 80’s through this and many European (i.e. bootleg) rockabilly compilation LPs. Fanzines like Kicks, which later morphed into Norton Records and Kicks Books were the first in America to dig deep and write about The Phantom.

As usual, rock ‘n’ roll in its purest form is always discovered 50 years too late by those who wish to use the music to sell stuff. I got an email requesting the cover of the “Love Me” single last week from a music supervisor working for an advertising agency. He couldn’t tell me who, but “Love Me” by The Phantom was going to be used in a huge ad campaign and they needed the artwork for the iTunes download that they will be making available in conjunction with the ad. It was just announced that the song would be used in the latest Southern Comfort campaign. More money will be earned, hopefully by a family member of Lott’s (though I highly doubt it), by the use of this song in this ad than Jerry Lott probably made in his entire music career. It just seems odd the way they used it, like I’m watching TV with the sound down and listening to a record.

I think I need a drink.
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Who was that masked man? ORION: The Man Who Would Be King

Posted by Howie Pyro | Discussion
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Celebrate the 20th anniversary of Guided By Voices classic ‘Bee Thousand’ with ‘Beer Thousand’ beer
06.20.2014
10:42 am

Topics:
Food
Music

Tags:
Guided By Voices
Dogfish Head


 
This weekend marks the 20th anniversary of Guided By Voices’ lo-fi indie classic Bee Thousand, and the popular Delaware-based microbrewery Dogfish Head is celebrating with the release of “Beer Thousand.”

Released on June 21, 1994, Bee Thousand was the last album GBV recorded for the Cleveland, OH (later, St. Louis, MO) based indie label Scat Records, before moving on to chug from bigger kegs on Matador Records for Alien Lanes. The album remains one of the band’s most lauded efforts, and was named the greatest indie album of all time by Amazon’s editors in 2009. It’s typical of most of the band’s output at the time, characterized by brilliantly addled little fragments of songs, brief and luminous glimpses of British-invasion inspired pop.
 

 
But enough about rock, let’s talk about the beer.

Just as Dogfish Head has always brewed the beers we want to drink instead of bending toward trends and tradition, Guided by Voices has always made the music they want to listen to.

“We’re only making records for ourselves,” GBV frontman Robert Pollard says, “I’m going to put exactly what I want on them.”

To celebrate that independent spirit and the 20th anniversary of the band’s classic album Bee Thousand, Dogfish Head has brewed BEER Thousand. This imperial lager, chosen to echo the copious amounts of lager that fueled GBV’s garage recordings, is brewed with 10 grains and 10 hop varieties, and clocks in at 10% ABV.

10x10x10 = BEER Thousand.

“I can’t believe it’s been 20 years,” says Pollard. “But I’ll drink to that.”

 

 
10% ABV! Because who needs to remember stuff, really? The beer won’t be released to the public until early autumn, so if you’re in one of the 30 states they sell in, you have that to look forward to. While you wait, enjoy these clips of GBV’s hometown (Dayton by God Ohio) show from the same year as Bee Thousand’s release. Some of this material can be found on GBV vocalist Bob Pollard’s wonderfully-titled DVD The Devil Went Home and Puked
 

 
More vintage GBV after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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‘Household Objects’: Pink Floyd decides to make an album with no musical instruments, 1973
06.20.2014
09:36 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Pink Floyd


 
In late 1973, the members of Pink Floyd, probably somewhat perplexed themselves at the massive, massive worldwide sales of The Dark Side of the Moon, not to mention creatively intimidated to have to come up with a sequel to that monster, went back into the studio with the notion of recording something entirely avant garde for the album’s follow-up.

What the decided upon was to record an album of musique concrète using only sounds produced by common household items. The “Household Objects” sessions were known to yield just two, and perhaps three, recordings, before the band decided it would be easier to just use, say, a bass, instead of rubber bands attached to two tables, to get a bass guitar sound.

From “A Rambling Conversation with Roger Waters Concerning All This and That,” an Interview by Nick Sedgewick

Nick Sedgewick: I remember I went to E.M.I. studios in the winter of ‘74, and the band were recording stuff with bottles and rubber bands… the period I’m talking about is the before your French tour in June ‘74. [Not according to the Pink Floyd Encyclopedia, the recording dates were all between October and early December of 1973]

Roger Waters:  Ah! Right, yeah. Answer starts here… (great intake of breath)... Well, Nick… there was an abortive attempt to make an album not using any musical instruments. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but it didn’t come together. Probably because we needed to stop for a bit.

Nick Sedgewick: Why?

Roger Waters:  Oh, just tired and bored…

Nick Sedgewick: Go on… to get off the road? ... have some breathing space?

Roger Waters: Yeah. But I don’t think it was as conscious as that really. I think it was that when Dark Side of the Moon was so successful, it was the end. It was the end of the road. We’d reached the point we’d all been aiming for ever since we were teenagers and there was really nothing more to do in terms of rock’n roll.

Nick Sedgewick: A matter of money?

Roger Waters:  Yes. Money and adulation… well, those kinds of sales are every rock’n roll band’s dream. Some bands pretend they’re not, of course. Recently I was reading an article, or an interview, by one of the guys who’s in Genesis, now that Peter Gabriel’s left, and he mentioned Pink Floyd. in it. There was a whole bunch of stuff about how if you’re listening to a Genesis album you really have to sit down and LISTEN, its not just wallpaper, not just high class Muzak like Pink Floyd or Tubular Bells, and I thought, yeah, I remember all that years ago when nobody was buying what we were doing. We were all heavily into the notion that it was good music, good with a capital G, and of course people weren’t buying it because people don’t buy good music. I may be quite wrong but my theory is that if Genesis ever start selling large quantities of albums now that Peter Gabriel, their Syd Barrett, if you like, has left, the young man who gave this interview will realize he’s reached some kind of end in terms of whatever he was striving for and all that stuff about good music is a load of fucking bollocks. That’s my feeling anyway. And Wish You Were Here came about by us going on in spite of the fact we’d finished.

Oi, talk about being brutally honest, there, Roger!

In his book, Inside Out: A Personal History of Pink Floyd, Nick Mason wrote:

“Almost everything we’ve ever recorded in a studio has been extracted by someone at some point and subsequently bootlegged. However, no such recordings exist of the ‘Household Objects’ tapes for the simple reason that we never managed to produce any actual music. All the time we devoted to the project was spent exploring the non-musical sounds, and the most we ever achieved was a small number of tentative rhythm tracks.”

These tapes, two of them at least, were released on The Dark Side Of The Moon and Wish You Were Here “Immersion” box sets.

“The Hard Way” sounds much more realized to me than just a mere rhythm track:

 
The “singing bowl” sound of “Wine Glasses” was used two years after it was recorded for the opening of “Shine On You Crazy Diamond.” One would have assumed that the shimmering, ethereal sound that starts that number was a keyboard, but no it was a manipulated recording of a gently rubbed wine glass!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Kids perform Weezer song at school’s recital; it goes all wrong
06.20.2014
08:10 am

Topics:
Amusing
Music

Tags:
Weezer


 
This is perhaps the shortest performance at a school recital you’re ever going to see. Watch as these determined lads performing Weezer’s “Undone – The Sweater Song” become undone themselves… right off the bat!

I like how the audience just goes along with it like it’s only rock and roll.

 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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‘Bone music’: Soviet-era bootleg records of banned rock and jazz pressed on X-ray plates

X-ray records
 
What do you do if you’re living in the USSR in, say, 1957, and you’d like to press an illegal record of some banned rock and roll or jazz? Consumer tape recorders don’t exist, and in the USSR, vinyl is difficult to come by. How do you proceed?

One thing you might do is press your contraband beats into discarded X-rays. A police state does wonders for the sheer inventiveness of its citizens, does it not? Clever Russians eager to hear some liberating rock and roll would salvage exposed X-rays from hospital waste bins and archives and use them to make records.

In the 1946-1961 era, some ingenious Russians began recording banned bootlegged jazz, boogie woogie and rock ‘n’ roll on exposed X-ray film. The thick radiographs would be cut into discs of 23 to 25 centimeters in diameter; sometimes the records weren’t circular. But the exact shape didn’t matter so much, as long as the thing played.

“Usually it was the Western music they wanted to copy,” says Sergei Khrushchev, the son of Nikita Khrushchev. “Before the tape recorders they used the X-ray film of bones and recorded music on the bones, bone music.” As author Anya von Bremzen elaborates: “They would cut the X-ray into a crude circle with manicure scissors and use a cigarette to burn a hole. ... You’d have Elvis on the lungs, Duke Ellington on Aunt Masha’s brain scan—forbidden Western music captured on the interiors of Soviet citizens.”

I can’t wait until Record Store Day 2015, when limited edition X-ray releases will surely be some of the most sought-after purchases!
 
X-ray records
 
X-ray records
 
X-ray records
 
X-ray records
 
Previously on DM:
Vintage X-ray ‘vinyl’ from Russia

 
via Vinyl of the Day
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Kraftwerk songs performed by string quartet
06.19.2014
05:04 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Kraftwerk
Balanescu


 
In 1992, the international chamber group Balanescu Quartet released a CD called Possessed. It contained three original works by the band’s eponymous leader Alexander Balanescu and a composition by Talking Heads’ artguy-in-chief David Byrne, but that didn’t really matter. Practically all the attention afforded the group was justifiably hogged by the five stunning Kraftwerk covers that led off the album. Per AllMusic:

Alexander Balanescu (b. 11 June 1954, Bucharest, Romania), the son of a university professor, was raised in Romania before his family moved to Israel in 1969. After two years he relocated to London, England, to take up violin studies (he also spent time at the Juillard School of Music in New York). He formed the Balanescu Quartet in 1987, initially joined by Clare Connors (second violin), Bill Hawkes (viola) and Caroline Dale (cello). Having already developed strong working relationships with fellow contemporary composers Michael Nyman and Gavin Bryars, the quartet has gone on to perform classical works by John Cage, Kevin Volans, and Robert Moran. They broke new ground in 1992 with Possessed for independent label Mute Records, which featured acoustic transcriptions of five Kraftwerk electronic pieces. This was justified thus: ‘There have been violins for two hundred years, and we’re trying to bring them into harmony with modern compositions.’

 

 
The Balanescu Quartet are still active, with Balanescu himself as the sole constant member. They’ve worked in classical and pop idioms, with artists as diverse as Pet Shop Boys, Philip Glass, Yellow Magic Orchestra and Spiritualized, but even after 22 years, their Kraftwerk interpretations remain major career highlights. However, and disappointingly, Possessed is out of print. Thank the gods everything’s free on the Internet, right?
 

Robots by Balanescu Quartet on Grooveshark

 

Model by Balanescu Quartet on Grooveshark

 

Autobahn by Balanescu Quartet on Grooveshark

 

Computer Love by Balanescu Quartet on Grooveshark

 

Pocket Calculator by Balanescu Quartet on Grooveshark

 


 
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Notable Kraftwerk samples in megamix

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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Beastie Boys and the Butthole Surfers, live on NYC cable access TV, 1984
06.18.2014
07:32 am

Topics:
Music
Television

Tags:
Butthole Surfers
Beastie Boys

Beastie Boys & Butthole Surfers
 
Ah, 1984, back when hardly anyone knew who the Beastie Boys and the Butthole Surfers were, and even a lowly New York City cable access show like The Scott and Gary Show could snag them—because nobody else was booking them yet! This is some kind of retrospective episode of the show (lasting about 30 minutes) in which Scott Lewis and Gary Winter reminisce about some of the show’s most memorable moments. The Beasties appeared in January 1984, not long after their pranky single “Cooky Puss” had made the rounds, and the Buttholes’ appearance dates from October 1984—their first visit to New York. (They popped up on MTV the next day.)

The Beastie Boys were two solid years away from the release of Licensed to Ill, and if I understand their history correctly, they hadn’t really considered doing rap in any serious way yet. Meanwhile, the Butthole Surfers had a single solitary EP to their name when they appeared on the show.
 
Beastie Boys
 
The Beastie Boys are frankly pretty terrible, prompting the thought that a lateral shift from feckless hardcore to feckless rap was a pretty good career move! Mike D. is in charge of the vocals, Ad-Rock is on the guitar, and MCA gamely tries to keep up on the bass. The drummer is Kate Schellenbach, who would later be in Luscious Jackson. Actually, Schellenbach probably has the best moves of anyone here.

How did I miss what an incredible ham/camera-hog Mike D. is? I don’t think I knew that before, I always thought that Ad-Rock was the hammy one. Well, there’s a reason that Mike D. has the mic here, and in the interview portion afterwards, he obstinately refuses to cede control to Scott, forgetting that he’s supposed to speak into the mic he’s clutching for it to function properly. (Side note: It was interesting to hear Mike D. confess that he attended Vassar briefly. I went to Vassar a few years later, and we would whisper this “rumor” that one of the Beasties had dropped out of Vassar…. this was all a couple years before Paul’s Boutique came out.)
 
Butthole Surfers
 
The best adjective for the Butthole Surfers segment is “sweaty.” The Buttholes’ segment is a salutary reminder of the effectiveness of using two drummers—man, that shit works really good. If you have two drummers going at it balls-out, you can flail around on the guitar and throw yourself all over the stage, and it’s going to sound good. (I think Kid Millions has already figured this out.) Also, disrobing is a viable strategy. Gibby has spectacular polka-dotted boxers, and supports someone named Gilbert A. Rodriguez for county treasurer. By the time they’d gotten to October, Scott and Gary had figured out how to superimpose images, so sometimes the footage of the band will fade to an image of a mushroom cloud or something, it’s all pretty rad. Afterwards, Scott asks the audience, “Where else are you gonna see the Butthole Surfers?” and receives the reply “Uganda,” in return.

The commonality between the two clips is obviously Scott’s lack of authority as the host, which is actually kind of charming.
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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New Christian Music: Alien Sex Fiend live in Tokyo, 1985
06.18.2014
06:23 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Alien Sex Fiend


 
In 1982, Nick Fiend and Mrs Fiend, with their comrades-in-weird Yaxi Highrizer and Johnny Ha-Ha, hit upon the idea of kitchen-sinking sleaze punk, gothic darkness, and industrial rhythms with a B-movie-cheap Grand Guignol performance ethos copped from The Cramps and Alice Cooper. They called this unholy alloy Alien Sex Fiend, and they’ve released over a dozen LPs, including genre essentials like Acid Bath, Maximum Security, and Curse Their morbidly kitschy vision would eventually spawn successful descendants in the likes of Marilyn Manson, Coal Chamber, and Mudvayne, but what those ‘90s bands gained by ramping up the theatrical slickness, they lost by not being any good.

In 1985, Alien Sex Fiend’s Tokyo tour dates were recorded for release as a live LP and a video, both titled Liquid Head in Tokyo. From the band’s 1997-looking web site:

Liquid Head In Tokyo was Alien Sex Fiend’s first totally live album—live with no overdubs of any kind (unlike many so-called “live” albums!)—and was initially released as a vinyl LP in July 1985. It was recorded over two shows on 17.01.85 at Tsubaki House in Tokyo during Alien Sex Fiend’s notorious sell out Japanese tour. The track “Back To The Egg” was specially written for the tour and is not available elsewhere, also included are Indie Chart top ten hits, “R.I.P.”, “Dead And Buried” and “E.S.T.”. In 1996 Liquid Head in Tokyo was re-issued on CD in both the UK & the US with the addition of 4 bonus tracks to the original 8 vinyl LP tracks, these were “Dead And Buried” (taken from the 12” single), “Gurl At The End Of My Gun” (from the 12” Ignore The Machine single), “New Christian Music” (10” RIP single version) plus “Wild Women.”

Alien Sex Fiend still exist today, and are still led by Nick and Mrs. Fiend. Their latest LP of new material is 2010’s Death Trip.
 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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