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Can’s mind-boggling 1972 ‘Free Concert’
07.27.2016
01:34 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Can


 
I’ve seldom seen concert footage that was as inherently interesting as this 51-minute documentation of Can’s legendary “Free Concert,” recorded in Cologne’s Sporthalle on February 3, 1972. The show was filmed by Martin Schäfer, Robby Müller and Egon Mann for director Peter Przygodda, who is primarily known as the editor on many of Wim Wenders’ movies, including Wings of Desire, Paris, Texas, Alice in the Cities, and The American Friend. Similarly, Müller was Wenders’ main cinematographer and also shot several of Jim Jarmusch’s movies, including Dead Man, Down By Law, and Mystery Train.

The circumstances of this Cologne show were unusual. Rather improbably for such an experimental band, Can actually scored a chart success in Germany with “Spoon,” which would later be tacked onto the end of Ege Bamyasi. For reasons I don’t fully understand, the success of that song, which had been used in a German crime TV show called Das Messer (The Knife), led to this free concert, which was attended by approximately 10,000 people. In his 2006 book on Can, German writer Robert von Zahn explains that the concert did much to improve relations between the “communes” and “rock music,” whatever that means.

Note that the movie is not simply a concert film, it is a blend of a concert film and a documentary, with footage of Can during the Tago Mago sessions and in an airport, doing a soundcheck before the show, etc.
 

 
The resultant show was an odd mix of uncompromising music-for-music’s-sake and a well-nigh circus-esque determination to entertain. Right off the bat Can breaks into the hit, “Spoon,” and proves they’re not fucking around by expanding it from its tidy three-minute length on record into a full-blown 18-minute jam. The concert starts out with a juggler named Fred Ray joining Can on the stage; at the end of the show, during “Full Moon on the Highway,” Ray returns and does a bunch of impressive things with three brightly colored umbrellas.

After “Bring Me Coffee or Tea” about halfway through, a troupe of acrobats called Oberforstbach comes out and does their thing while Paul Joho plays the saw. (I know, right?) And of course Damo himself was not exactly boring to watch in his own right.

Continues after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll’: Joan Jett & the Blackhearts killing it live back in 1981
07.27.2016
09:34 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
1980s
Joan Jett
WLIR


The queen of zero fucks, Joan Jett.
 
Rock and roll queen Joan Jett was only 23-years-old when she tore up the stage with the Blackhearts for New York radio station WLIR’s “Party in the Park.” And as you might imagine Jett’s set was the real deal—full of feedback, cans of Budweiser on amps and enthusiastic fist-pumping fans.

The band rips through five songs in the footage from Jett’s solo album 1980’s Bad Reputation and from 1981’s I Love Rock ‘n Roll—“Bad Reputation,” Jett’s cover of “Crimson and Clover,” by Tommy James and the Shondells,” the Gary Glitter cover made famous by Jett “Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah),” “Summertime Blues” (which according to Blackheart bassist Gary Ryan who announced to the crowd this would be the first time Jett & the Blackhearts would perform the 1958 Eddie Cochran cover live), and of course “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll.” You’ll also see the cherub-faced Jett cursing and goofing around in bed while shooting TV promos with WLIR DJ John DeBella who helped champion I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll. Other bands on the “Party in the Park” bill included Rick Derringer, Todd Rundgren, Long Island band The Good Rats and the titanic Blue Öyster Cult. I’ve posted the footage of Jett’s amped up performance below as well as a promo from WLIR that includes footage of Derringer, Rundgren and The Good Rats but sadly, not BÖC.

The videos after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Massive trove of over 300 boomboxes for sale—only $14,000
07.27.2016
09:08 am

Topics:
Hip-hop
Music
Science/Tech

Tags:
ghettoblaster
boom box


 
Boomboxes are kind of an of-a-certain-age thing, but if you were sentient in between the mid ‘70s and early ’90s, they were as common as stereo consoles and component systems. “Portable,” technically, inasmuch as they took batteries and weren’t literally furniture, they were huge, cumbersome radio/cassette deck combos with large stereo speakers. The classic stereotypes associated with the things were mulletted suburban rock ‘n’ roll scumbags tailgating with boomboxes in the trunks of their cars playing music at hateful and disruptive volumes, either oblivious to or give-a-fuckless about the public nuisance they were creating, or soul/disco/hip-hop fans with massive afros, strutting down crowded city streets with boomboxes on their shoulders playing music at hateful and disruptive volumes, either oblivious to or give-a-fuckless about the public nuisance they were creating. Their total ubiquity in breakdance culture (owing to their portability, naturally) led to the unfortunate and highly problematic nickname “ghettoblasters.”

By the late ’80s, a boombox could have as many features as a stereo component system—sophisticated EQs, detatchable speakers, dual cassette decks for dubbing (HOME TAPING IS KILLING MUSIC, YOU GUYS), even remotes. By the early ‘90s, when the boxy metal units were phased out in favor of less distinctive (and way less awesome) rounded black plastic ones with CD players, they often even replaced consoles as home stereos of choice for many listeners as cassettes grew in popularity over vinyl. And those feature-loaded boxy metal ones are the models that have, in the internet era of ever-increasing granularity in collecting, developed a cult.

Keep reading after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
A whole bunch of Dischord albums are now available on Bandcamp
07.26.2016
03:13 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Dischord
Bandcamp


 
The Washington, D.C., record label Dischord, co-owned by Jeff Nelson and Fugazi’s Ian MacKaye, is routinely held up as the shining example of an independent record company that maintains its integrity in the face of unrelenting corporate pressures.

It seems that Dischord is still seeking to forge its own path—rather than sign contracts with Spotify, it has recently made a relationship with Bandcamp, a website popular among D.I.Y. musicians that makes self-distribution of music much easier. A healthy chunk of the Dischord catalog has just surfaced on Bandcamp.com, which means the fans of Government Issue, Void, Rites of Spring, Dag Nasty, and Nation of Ulysses can now stream their albums without paying Spotify for the privilege.
 

 
Furthermore, it’s easy to purchase digital copies of many Dischord albums at a pretty reasonable price (usually $8). I’ve seen it said that “every” Dischord album is now on Bandcamp, but I couldn’t find any albums by Jawbox or Lungfish or Shudder to Think or the Make-Up. In any case it’s a lot of albums, more than 100 albums for sure.

More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Lord of the Strings: Guitar wizard Harvey Thomas and his Infernal Music Machines
07.26.2016
01:20 pm

Topics:
Art
Music

Tags:
guitars
Harvey Thomas


 
Thanks to Timothy L. Olsen for this wonderful remembrance of guitar-making legend Harvey Thomas.

Remember what the term “Japanese guitar” used to mean, back when Beatniks roamed the earth and Elvis was still kinda nasty?

The Beatles hadn’t landed and I was in the third grade when my big brother Jim brought home a brand new Japanese guitar. Loosely modeled after a classic, it was already caving in from the load of its steel strings. You don’t see them like this anymore, man. Painted-on binding, decal rosette, door skin luan plywood, basswood (or worse) neck, nice sharp ends on those rough brass frets. I was totally fascinated.

But the word fascination found new meaning a year later when my even bigger brother Dick came home from college with what might as well have been the Messiah Stradivarius. It was a very plain, small-bodied New York-era Epiphone archtop with a badly repaired crack running the full length of the soundboard, and he had bought it cheap in a pawn shop. The hand of mortal man never created such perfection. This was a gift from the angels! Oh, the lovely dissonances that it spoke as I whanged it with a juice glass slide! When Dick was begged, he would strum “Who Threw the Overalls in Mrs. Murphy’s Chowder?

The tenor of my lutherie career was set then and there, as I rushed headlong into the construction of a series of rash and ignorant experiments. The first one to produce a musical note involved bolting the neck of a smashed Gene Autry guitar to a hunk of plywood. By now I was in the 5th grade and the Baby Boom generation was wild about electric guitars thanks to the Mop Tops and other invading Anglos. I made a major life decision to build an electric bass from scratch.

I designed an instrument based on my limited available technology and even more limited engineering savvy, featuring a body made of a sandwich of miscellaneous plywood slabs and a neck which instead of fitting into a slot, surrounded the body like a clothespin. I got the neck fretted, having marked the fret locations on a piece of paper at a music store, then transferring the marks to the oak fretboard, resplendent with 3/4” dowel fret markers.
 

There I am, a fat fifth grader with my plywood guitar and very big dreams. Harvey to the left, and Harvey’s guitars, including the famous Maltese Cross model, hung along the ceiling. That’s my big sister Ruth on the right in the racing stripe jacket, looking at the Hanged Man dummy.

I got hung up trying to find a pickup. Remember, this was before the Summer of Love. The man at the music store didn’t have access to anything other than those chrome DeArmonds that were used for electrifying archtops. I was persistent and doubtless pitiable. Finally the music store man, against his better judgement it seemed, relented:

“Listen, kid. There’s a guy out in Midway that makes guitars. He’ll have what you need. But I’m warning you, he’s a real character, and I won’t promise that he’ll sell you a pickup. He might like you or he might not.”

Now I had to convince my mom to drive me 25 miles to Midway to see a guy who might or might not like me, and might or might not help me. The thought of not going never occurred to me. A man who makes guitars. This was about the most wonderful thought that had yet crossed my young mind. It is still a pretty thrilling idea, come to think of it. A man who makes guitars!
 

 
It took a while to talk her into it, but eventually mom and I were heading north on Highway 99 in the ‘49 Chevy. Midway isn’t really a place, it’s just mid way between Seattle and Tacoma. And this wasn’t really even in Midway. We found the cross street, and turned onto a small road. About a block later a wooden sign with the stenciled word “Thomas” pointed down a pair of ruts bumping off through deep puddles, apparently to nowhere. We followed obediently.

On the right, a heap of rusted and crumpled metal that may once have been a pickup truck of ‘30s vintage held a large sign saying “Bargain. Needs Paint.” We arrived at a modern, low slung, one story house, what you call a “rambler.” It seemed strangely out of place in the swampy, scrub-tree setting. The iron gate held signs warning of dire consequences to trespassers, and to those who dared to block the driveway. A woman looking something like Loretta Lynn told us that Mr. Thomas was out on an errand, but that we could wait in the living room.
 
Wild tales and even wilder guitars after the jump

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Sucking on a ding-dong (for twelve minutes): The blowjob edit of ‘Sister Ray’
07.26.2016
10:37 am

Topics:
Amusing
Music

Tags:
Lou Reed
Velvet Underground
Sister Ray


 
This twelve-and-a-half minute edit of the Velvet Underground’s classic “Sister Ray” distills the entirety of that song to one of its more memorable lines: “Too busy sucking on a ding dong/She’s busy sucking on my ding dong.”

The seventeen minute one-riff wonder was conceived on a train ride home from a bad gig, and in its recorded form it takes up most of side two of White Light/White Heat. Its lyrics comprise a laundry list of debauchery in which a handful of drag queens and sailors score and take drugs. Someone gets shot, someone else gets a blowjob, and the cops show up. It’s undiluted insanity, and some of the most glorious noise the ‘60s ever produced. Per V.U. singer/honcho Lou Reed, quoted by biographer Victor Bockris in Up-Tight: The Velvet Underground Story:

When it came to putting the music to it, it had to be spontaneous. The jam came about right there in the studio. We didn’t use any splices or anything. I had been listening to a lot of Cecil Taylor and Ornette Coleman, and wanted to get something like that with a rock & roll feeling. When we did “Sister Ray”, we turned up to ten flat out, leakage all over the place. That’s it. They asked us what we were going to do. We said “We’re going to start.” They said “Who’s playing bass?” We said “There is no bass.” They asked us when it ends. We didn’t know. When it ends, that’s when it ends.

Since the improvised song, minus solo breaks, is basically one riff, the “Ding Dong” edit is hardly distinguishable from the original if you’ve got it going in the background, which won my laugh. Also, I must note that “Smack Daniels,” the YouTube user who uploaded (and presumably made) this unleashed it to the world in early November of 2013, shortly after Lou Reed died. There were a lot of extremely weird tributes to the man—which of course is perfectly fitting—but I think this one kind of wins, and I wish I knew about it when it was new.
 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
A Covers Album: Front covers of New York Rocker, 1976-1982

001New-York-Rocker-1.jpg
 
The New York Rocker was a punk/new wave magazine founded by Alan Betrock in February 1976. It was produced by a dedicated, tight-knit group of young men and women—a “remarkable breed” of contributors—who had a passion for music that was outside the mainstream. They wrote feisty, opinionated reviews. They took their subject matter seriously, giving it the respect the well-financed music press gave to say Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, Genesis, The Eagles or any other stadia-filling corporate-backed band. The New York Rocker was hugely influential early on in identifying and promoting American indie rock.

A total of 54 issues were published between 1976 and 1982 when the magazine folded. It was briefly revived in 1984 but never achieved the same success.

Just looking at these covers for New York Rocker there’s a great sense of the history and in particular the incredibly high quality of new music that came out of punk and new wave each week during the late 1970s and early 1980s—the likes of which we may never see again.
 
002New-York-Rocker-2.jpg
 
003New-York-Rocker-3.jpg
 
004New-York-Rocker-4.jpg
  
More covers from the New York Rocker, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
A collection of wonderful vintage portable record players
07.25.2016
11:32 am

Topics:
Design
Music

Tags:
turntable
record player


 
I’m digging this nice visual collection of vintage portable record players amassed by Japanese turntable enthusiast, Fumihito Taguchi. Sure, they probably sound like shit when you play a record, but they look just so gosh darn cool. The manufacturing dates for these record players range from approximately 1960 to 1980.

These wonderful artifacts will be on display at Tokyo’s Lifestyle Design Center from July 30 to August 28, 2016.

You can view more of Taguch’s extensive collection in his book Japanese Portable Record Player Catalog


 

 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
‘The Wall’: Stunning behind-the-scenes images from Pink Floyd’s harrowing cinematic acid trip


A behind-the-scenes images of Bob Geldof as ‘Pink’ and actual skinheads from the 1982 film ‘Pink Floyd - The Wall.’
 
I don’t know how many nights I spent in my youth tripping balls on acid in a dark movie theater with 100 or so of my stoned out peers watching 1982’s WTF film Pink Floyd - The Wall for the 20th time (I guess I answered my own question there: 20). It was truly a rite of passage where I grew up back in Boston and I know that wasn’t the only place where young minds were getting blown apart by visions of marching hammers or a bloody, soon to be eyebrowless Bob Geldof screaming “TAKE THAT FUCKERS!” as he tosses a television out of a window.

Before I continue, I’ll give you a minute to recover from that mini-flashback you just had.
 

Bob Geldof being transformed into your worst drug-induced nightmare.
 
If you are following the news at all these days (and I wouldn’t blame you if you and the “news” are on “a break” right now as most of it makes me want to hide under my bed) you’ve likely seen some of the comparisons from last week’s GOP Convention to scenes from director Alan Parker’s brilliant adaptation of Pink Floyd’s 1979 conceptual masterpiece, The Wall. As I am about as nostalgic as they come I decided to watch the film once again (sans acid this go ‘round) and it should be of no surprise that despite a lack of chemicals cavorting around in my head the film is still quite impossible to look away from. It is also quite possibly even more terrifying to watch now when you allow yourself to consider the parallels some scenes seem to run with the ugly rhetoric spewing from the mouths of elected officials and a man who is currently vying to occupy the highest political office in the United States.

But as I often do, I’ve once again digressed away from the point of this post which is to share with you some remarkable behind-the-scenes photos from The Wall that I had never seen before as well as an interesting tidbit about the film’s star Bob Geldof. Apparently Geldof (who’s allegedly the leader of a new liberal political “party” in England called the “Sneerers” in case you were wondering what he’s currently up to) couldn’t swim and was also massively phobic when it came to blood. So when it came time to film the scene where Pink is bleeding out in a swimming pool, the reluctant Geldof was placed on top of a see-through plastic body mold so he could appear to be floating in the pool among a cloud of his blood for the sequence. Yikes. Many of the images in this post can be found in a must-own book for any Floyd fan by David Appleby, Pink Floyd - Behind The Wall.
 

 

Director Alan Parker on the set of ‘The Wall’ with ‘Little Pink’ played by actor David Bingham.
 

Alan Parker and an eyebrowless Bob Geldof.
 
More glimpses behind ‘The Wall’ after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
They Say the Wind Made Them Crazy: This is the album of the year
07.25.2016
09:40 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
They Say the Wind Made Them Crazy
Yma Sumac


 
There’s a theory that our deep connection to music is a function of the developing frontal lobe, and that when it stops developing around the age of 25 we begin to become rather jaded in our listening. This explains why most older people tend to gravitate toward the music they loved around high school or college age. All of the science isn’t in on this, but maybe it explains why I so often catch myself saying about new bands: “Eh, this is good, but so-and-so did it better 20 years ago.”

For the record, every time I catch myself saying that I realize “I hate that guy.” No one wants to be that guy.

That’s not to say that I don’t stumble across something every now and then that completely levels me and becomes assimilated into my emotional storehouse of musical favorites. It’s just that when that happens these days, it’s a bit more profound and unexpected… because, well, OLD.

Anyway, record reviews per se aren’t really a thing I do here at Dangerous Minds. My job description is more like “let me tell you about this cool fucking thing.”

Well, today’s cool fucking thing is a double album by a new band called They Say The Wind Made Them Crazy. The album, titled Far From the Silvery Light is the best new thing to come across my turntable in the past couple of years, and although we’re only halfway through 2016, I’m going out on a limb and declaring it my “album of the year.” I can’t gush hard enough about this avant-folk-operatic exercise in utter despair.
 

 
The experimental duo are based out of Dallas, Texas. Sarah Ruth Alexander plays hammered dulcimer, harmonium, recorder, bells, and effects and sings like the unholy stepchild of Jarboe and Yma Sumac. Gregg Prickett plays electric and acoustic guitar, upright bass, cedar flute, and shakers. Though I’m inclined to say I hear a bit of John Fahey in his style, what Prickett does is totally his own mesmerizingly textural thing… not like The Shaggs’ own thing, though there maybe be a shared spirit of abandoning the “rules” of pop music form.  Ruth’s operatic moans and wails evoke a bleak desolate landscape, not unlike the album’s cover art, in the same way that the aforementioned Sumac’s evoked exotic pagan isles.

The band cites artists as diverse as Meredith Monk, Cocteau Twins, Art Ensemble of Chicago, Krzysztof Penderecki, and Leo Brouwer as influences, and if any of those are your bag, then They Say The Wind Made Them Crazy ought to floor you like it did me.

Keep reading after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
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