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‘The Hound of Baskerville’: German pop duo cover Sabbath’s ‘Paranoid’ as a Sherlock Holmes tribute
06.27.2016
02:20 pm

Topics:
Books
Music

Tags:
Black Sabbath
Sherlock Holmes
Cindy and Bert


 
Jutta Gusenberger and Norbert Berger were a married couple from the western border of the BRD (West Germany) who were staples of the German pop scene in the 1970s. They went by Cindy und Bert, representing West Germany in the Eurovision Pop Contest in 1974 with “Die Sommermelodie.” In a strong year that included Olivia Newton-John and ABBA as competitors, Cindy und Bert finished 14th. Oh well.

They had a run of charting singles from 1972 to 1979 on the German Top 40 but before all that, in 1971, they turned in a delirious cover of “Paranoid” by Black Sabbath with completely different German lyrics that were all about the hellhound invented by Arthur Conan Doyle in one of his few long-form Sherlock Holmes narratives, The Hound of the Baskervilles.

More on the strange case of Cindy und Bert, after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Live Evil: Psychic TV, raising demons live in concert 1983
06.27.2016
01:59 pm

Topics:
Music
Occult

Tags:
Psychic TV
Genesis P-Orridge


 
Psychic TV’s shows, especially in their early years, had an intimidating sense of menace and dark energy. From the minute you walked in, you strongly got the impression that you were somewhere where you shouldn’t be. Early PTV shows were among the most mesmerizing, depraved, insane and just plain hair-raisingly scary concerts I’ve ever attended. I vividly remember seeing them at the Hammersmith Town Hall in fall of 1984 and deciding to step back from the front in case a winged demon materialized onstage and started flying around killing people. You think I’m joking, but I’m not. I didn’t want to be too close to that action, it was like an evil vortex was threatening to open up and suck the entire place into it. The whole thing was like the most twisted Hammer Horror version of what a demonic rock concert would be like. Yep, the best way to describe it would be to say that it was like being in a really weird, mind-bending horror movie, something so far beyond real life as to seem fictional almost.

In the group’s original incarnation Psychic TV included Peter “Sleazy” Christopherson and Genesis P-Orridge, both late of Throbbing Gristle. The other members were Paula P-Orridge, Alex Fergusson (formerly of Alternative TV), John “Zos Kia” Gosling and Geff Rushton, a.k.a. John Balance. At this time, the group’s sound was a unique mix of exotic instruments (like Tibetan thigh bones and tribal drums), vibraphone, Fergusson’s Velvet Undergroundy guitar drone, a hefty dollop of Throbbing Gristle’s painfully LOUD musique concrète and the various sonic elements we think of as defining the music of Coil, which, of course, Christopherson and Balance soon went on to form, not staying with PTV much beyond their classic 1983 album Dreams Less Sweet.

Another time I saw Psychic TV live it was in a disused synagogue in London’s Drayton Park earlier that same summer. The “security” were Hackney skinheads. There was no electricity in the abandoned temple, so they’d brought in a portable generator. The circular staircase was illuminated with candles. There was debris, bricks, beer bottles and broken glass everywhere. It was late July, hot, humid and the place smelled of human waste and urine. Genesis played an amplified violin, just sawing away at it, his atonal screeching providing the perfect soundtrack to watching ectoplasm form. It was more of an Aleister Crowley-type occult ritual than anything resembling a rock concert…
 
Keep reading after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Listen to over an hour of the jazz/surf background music from 60s ‘Spider-Man’ cartoon
06.27.2016
01:17 pm

Topics:
Animation
Music
Television

Tags:
Spider-Man


 
There were three main ways I learned about Spider-Man as a child. The first was his wordless appearances on The Electric Company. Then as a tween, I came to love the excellent Saturday morning series from the early 1980s, Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends featuring Iceman and Firestar.

But before all of that was Spider-Man, the animated adventure series that ran on ABC starting in 1967. That series, of course, is the origin of the famous “Spider-Man, Spider-Man, does whatever a spider can!” theme jingle, but the musical bounty of the series hardly ended there.

The incidental music was credited to Ray Ellis, an arranger and conductor whose primary claim to fame is his orchestration on Billie Holiday’s 1958 album Lady in Satin. In the 1980s and 1990s Ellis was occupied with game shows like Hot Streak, Scrabble, and Scattergories, but his work on Spider-Man is a groovy and atmospheric marvel that rewards further listens, combining surf guitar, luxuriant horns, and some splendid hard bop.
 
Listen after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
FURR: Meet the band who tried to be like KISS and failed
06.27.2016
10:24 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
FURR


The strange cover of the only album by the band FURR.
 
Reminding one of the sort of off-brand cologne that advertises itself as “If you like Calvin, you’ll love KEVIN!” very little is known about FURR, the curious creation of Jerry Kasenetz and Jeff Katz the dynamic “bubblegum” songwriting and producing duo who brought us The Ohio Express’ “Yummy, Yummy, Yummy” and Ram Jam’s “Black Betty.” And yet you may be familiar with the cover art from the band’s eponymously titled first (and last) album from 1977 in which the four members of FURR are all dolled up like low-budget knock-off versions of KISS.
 

The back cover of FURR’s only album.

Now that folks, is what you call originality. KISS, my ass, this is dangerously close to Sid and Marty Krofft territory…

Here’s what we do know about FURR—they do a pretty sweet cover of a 1966 hit by Louisville, KY band The Rugbys called “You, I” and the rest of the songs on the album (which sound like funkier versions of every song by Grand Funk Railroad) were written by the former bubblegum band hawkers themselves Kasenetz and Katz, as well as a person noted only as “G. Gouldman” otherwise known as the golden-penned songwriter Graham Gouldman of UK artrock band 10cc. The “band” (studio musicians Jeff Woods, George Bruce, Robert Sylvester and John Gunner) disappeared without so much as a trace after the release of the record—unless you count its appearances in various discount bins in record shops since the late 70s.

Keep reading after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
‘Ouija board, ouija board would you work for me?’: Morrissey-themed ouija board
06.24.2016
01:55 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Belief
Music

Tags:
Morrissey
ouija board


Image via Little Lost Robot on Flickr
 
Here’s another one of those, “WHY didn’t I think of this!” ideas. Seems like an obvious thing to make, yet no one really has except for artist Mike Maas. It appears Maas made these glorious limited-edition ouija boards a few years back. Whether or not any are still available or can be purchased, remains unseen. I couldn’t find any on his website. Perhaps they’re all gone. Boo!

If you’re interested in owning one, there is a contact section on Maas’ website. You never know!


 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Exiles in Düsseldorf: Austrian TV special on Kraftwerk, 1981
06.24.2016
01:51 pm

Topics:
Music
Science/Tech
Television

Tags:
Kraftwerk


 
This documentary appeared on the Austrian TV station ORF in 1981, pretty clearly to coincide with the release of Computer World.

The special mixes Kraftwerk performing in front of an audience, what we would today call “music videos” that use some excellent documentary footage of missile launches and things like that, and footage of Ralf Hütter being interviewed by someone off-camera.

In pure technological mode, Ralf emphasizes the isolation of working so hard on Kraftwerk material in the studio for years on the new album, and is prompted to say a few things about the future of technology, most of which are a bit silly. The interviewer has an Austrian accent.

I’ve supplied a translation below. It’s rough but should give an accurate impression of what was said. I unfortunately couldn’t quite make out the intriguing final question, which has something to do with Kraftwerk entering people’s bloodstreams(?) or something like that. If there are any native German speakers out there reading this, I’d love it if you would chime in below and clarify what he was saying there (or make any other suggestions to the translation).
 

Ralf: “We are playing the entire Kling Klang Studio in concert. We have all of our instruments, some of which we invented ourselves and built music machines. You can’t just go into a shop and just say, “this thing or that thing.” We had to make it ourselves, and that took a long time. We construct them always ourselves, with the help of another friend, who is a sound engineer or a music engineer, he helps us and we make the whole thing ourselves. It took three years before we were able to play again. In part it is pre-programmed, but on the other hand we have access to the memory of the computer, and we can change it while it’s running. Mostly we make rhythmic programs or also melodic things that run throughout, automated.

Ralf: We feel, for example, lots of streams of energy, that come back to us from people. We are always in the studio, so are concentrating on ourselves more.

Question: Is “Radio-Aktivitat” actually an atomic-power song?
Ralf: Yes, you could definitely say that.

Ralf: Yes, for us it was more a problem of how to make music at all in the Federal Republic of Germany, or so, after the war, where the living music, everyday music had disappeared, had been extinguished. And our generation had to start from scratch, to live somehow in this purely quiet situation, to make music not so much from natural things in the countryside but were influenced more by cities and machines, and reflected those things, and maybe some time passed, the time of so-called pop music, where we had more free time, we took up certain things, more about work processes and big-city situations, display windows and robots.

Question: Is that a form of interpretation, that showroom dummies speak?
Ralf: It’s a part of our existence. We stand around and we put ourselves on display. We are showroom dummies. That is a part of our reality.

Question: How do you see yourselves when you are at work, as musicians or as technicians? 
Ralf: We are music workers. We call ourselves music workers.

Ralf: For ten years we’ve been working together, with this group in Düsseldorf, and outsiders can’t even work with us or speak our language — let’s say, our thoughts, they can’t implement our world of thoughts. So it’s more like an encounter or friendship.

Question: Do you feel yourselves to be somewhat isolated?
Ralf: Yes, we are exiles in Düsseldorf on the Rhine.

More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
A breakdown of what John, Paul, George & Ringo were worth back in 1966
06.24.2016
11:38 am

Topics:
Amusing
Music

Tags:
The Beatles
1960s


Rave Magazine, December 1966.
 
In this fascinating article from the December 1966 issue of English pop-music magazine RAVE, George Tremlett (a pop music writer and author of various cash-in paperback books on David Bowie, David Essex, and The Who) broke down how much each member of The Beatles were worth back back then.
 

 
Armed with data collected from the London Board of Trade, Tremlett was able to ascertain that the fab-four were pulling in approximately £4 million pounds collectively a year with help from such endeavours as record sales, songwriting royalties, films and live appearances. With all that cash floating around you’d think that perhaps the band would had a good grasp on how much they were worth—but John, Ringo and George were fairly clueless when they were asked if they knew how rich they actually were:

John Lennon: We’ve asked them to to tell us how much we’ve got but they can’t—the money comes in from so many places

George Harrison: I never buy anything without asking our accountants—I just phone them up and they tell me whether I can afford it.

Ringo Starr: The accountants say I’m alright—that’s all I want to know.

The English pound sterling was basically a £1 to $2.80 exchange rate back in 1966. £1 in 1966 was equal to £$7.43 in 2016. Considering that the modern music industry was still then in its relative infancy, that’s some amazing earnings, which would only have gotten better for Lennon and McCartney once their songwriting royalties would have picked up in the latter part of the decade. Or at least one would have thought…

Of course that year’s Revolver begins with George Harrison’s lament about the “Taxman” and here’s the rub: The Beatles were in a tax bracket that I cannot imagine most people in Britain found themselves in other than maybe Sean Connery and a few captains of industry. Taxes in 1966 were notoriously confiscatory in Britain in the 1960s reaching as high as 85% for the wealthy, but there was also a “super tax” surcharge of 15% on top of that. For those making over £1,000,000 the progressive tax rate during Prime Minister Harold Wilson’s Labour party administration was 95%. Think about that for a second. No wonder the Beatles seemed to have no idea what state their finances were in.

Rather heartwarming to discover the fact that each of the Fab Four used some of their earnings to purchase homes for their parents (or in John Lennon’s case a home for his Auntie). Awww.

Check out the Beatles cash-flow breakdown after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
‘Shoegazi’ tribute gives Fugazi the shoegazer treatment
06.23.2016
12:56 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Fugazi
shoegaze


 
There’s a label based out of Sao Paolo called (with great self-awareness) The Blog That Celebrates Itself Records, which is (of course) an offshoot of The Blog That Celebrates Itself. This name of the operation derives from a sardonic comment made by Melody Maker’s Steve Sutherland in 1990 to describe the incestuous group of bands that was playing the Thames Valley around that time, including Chapterhouse, Lush, Moose, and Stereolab. The phrase “The Scene That Celebrates Itself” has since been taken to refer to the self-admiring shoegaze movement tout court

TBTCI has a knack for releasing compilations—they’ve recently released tribute comps honoring Sonic Youth, Ride, the Boo Radleys, the Pale Saints, Echo and the Bunnymen, and the Jesus and Mary Chain’s Psychocandy, among many others.

But now the label has released something truly special, a tribute album about a band that isn’t exactly in that early 1990s U.K. wheelhouse and isn’t known for tons of pedal effects on their guitar—the groundbreaking D.C. band Fugazi. Now, Fugazi’s aesthetic and that of, say, My Bloody Valentine are pretty different, but it turns out that there’s a higher quotient of swarming guitars in Fugazi than you probably remember, and that helps make the combination all the more delicious.

The obvious name for such a thing: “Shoegazi,” of course.
 

 
The compilation is called Steady Gaze of Nothing, a reference to Fugazi’s second full-length Steady Diet of Nothing. The compilation ranges widely across Fugazi’s discography with a strong emphasis on the early stuff—you’re likely to hear your favorites represented here.
 

Track listing:
Soft Wounds - Waiting Room
Evvolves - Turnover
Sunshine and the Rain - Merchandise
The One2s - Bad Mouth
Diluvia - Life and Limb
Rei Clone - Smallpox Champion
Cumin - Shut The Door
Harps - Blueprint
Siwomat - Larga División (Long Division)
Coaches - Suggestion
Blacksalt - I´m So Tired
Savage Cut - Brendan #1
Petal Head - Arpeggiator

 
You can listen to the entire compilation below, but by all means go over to the compilation page on Bandcamp and send ‘em some cash for the mp3s.
 

 
via Vanyaland; thanks to Jeff Albers!

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Dave Grohl, Lemmy, The Dude, ‘American Psycho’ and many more garden gnomes
06.23.2016
12:38 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Art
Movies
Music

Tags:
gnomes


American Psycho gnome here.

If you, like me, are tending a garden and feel it needs something extra… then why not adorn it with with one of these delightful garden gnomes by Ian the Gnome? I mean, there’s something for everyone! If you love The Big Lebowski there’s a gnome for that. If you’re a Doyle from The Misfits fanatic… there’s a gnome for that, too!

The prices for the garden gnomes can range anywhere from $40 to $85. I put a link below each gnome to direct you to its page and where to buy.

Happy gardening.


Dave Grohl gnome here.
 

A Clockwork Orange gnome here.
 

The Dude here.
 
More gnomes after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Mabel: 1970s Danish disco glam rockers go all hair metal & take some bad advice from David Lee Roth
06.23.2016
10:33 am

Topics:
Amusing
Music

Tags:
Denmark
David Lee Roth
Mike Tramp
Mabel


An early promo shot of Danish band Mabel with a shirtless teenage Michael Trempenau (aka Mike Tramp of hair metal band White Lion) second from the left.
 
Hailing from a part of the world that seems to produce more blonde-haired people than anywhere else, Danish glam band Mabel got their big break sometime in the mid-70s when their vocalist Gert Von Magnus caught the eye of Tam Paton—a man who was overseeing the burgeoning career of the Bay City Rollers and got the band the opening slot for his teenybopper idols at a gig in Copenhagen.
 

Mabel, 1978.

But poor Magnus never got to taste the success Mabel would go on to have as he was quickly replaced by another Dane, fifteen-year-old Michael Trempenau who was going by the name “Mike Tramp.” And if that name has got your heavy metal bells ringing it’s for good reason as Tramp would eventually go on to front early-80s hair band White Lion. With Tramp’s addition to Mabel the band started their slow slide toward a more disco sound—a move that made the band a hugely popular attraction in Germany and Spain. In the late 70s Mabel moved their operation to Spain after gaining more notoriety when their catchy number “Boom Boom” was chosen as the official Danish selection for the Eurovision Song Contest in 1978. Things were going well for Mabel but their young vocalist wasn’t super into the band’s pop-music vibe and was instead digging heavily on bands like Van Halen and AC/DC. Tramp convinced his bandmates to switch things up by changing their name from Mabel to the more manly sounding “Studs” and trying their hand a more rock-oriented sound.
 
Keep rockin’ after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
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