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Lucifer, Wozards & Music for Plants: The Electronic World of Mort Garson
09.19.2014
09:44 am

Topics:
Music
Occult

Tags:
Moog
Mort Garson

Cover for Mort Garson's
 
When people talk about pioneers of electronic music, several key names are invoked. Musique concrète founder Pierre Schaeffer, Karlheinz Stockhausen, John Cage and Moog-goddess Wendy Carlos, just to mention a few. But one name that does not get invoked nearly enough is Mort Garson. This Canadian-born composer was not only a mere innovator but went on to make some of the most deliriously strange and wondrous electronic compositions (and cover versions) of the 20th century. Just the fact that the phrase, “occult-pop” has been used as a descriptor of his work should give you just a tiny hint of this man’s wholly unique genius.
 

 
Originally finding work as a session musician and lyricist, working with artists like Julie London, Rod McKuen, Doris Day and The Lettermen, it was when he started to work with the still new instrument known as the Moog Synthesizer, that things become very, very interesting. Albums like Zodiac: Cosmic Sounds and The Wozard of Iz, a psychedelic retelling of The Wizard of Oz, managed to create something that was on one hand very much of its time and yet, transcended the calculatedness of an industry cashing in on “The Love Generation” and become something on its own. The Wozard of Iz in particular, with such strong tracks like “Big Sur” and “Killing of the Witch,” is symptomatic of the high quality of Garson’s work. Some parts are kitschy-in-a-groovy-way, while others are as lush as they are alien.
 

“Big Sur”
 
In 1971, Garson made Black Mass under the appropriate moniker, “Lucifer.” While it’s not as ooky-spooky as it may sound, Black Mass is the kind of album you can listen to in a pitch black room and be transported to some charismatically unsettling landscape with nary a drug in your system. You don’t need drugs for this kind of beautiful high-weirdness. Mort Garson is the drug.

Mort would dip into the occult realm yet again with 1975’s The Unexplained: Electronic Musical Impressions of the Occult under the nom de plume Ataraxia, which is the Greek definition of “lucid state of robust tranquility.” Change “robust” to “robot” and that definition is apt for The Unexplained.
 

 
More Mort after the jump…

Posted by Heather Drain | Discussion
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The Rolling Stones’ studio receipt for recording ‘Wild Horses’ and ‘Brown Sugar’
09.19.2014
05:53 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Rolling Stones
Muscle Shoals


Bill Wyman, Jimmy Johnson, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, Marshall Chess (president of Rolling Stones Records), Ahmet Ertegun (president of Atlantic Records) and Terry Woodford
 
Is Sticky Fingers the Stones’ best album? What do you think? There’s a lot of competition, Let It Bleed, Exile on Main Street, Beggars Banquet...... Sticky Fingers is up there, though.

Sticky Fingers was one of the first albums recorded at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio, in Sheffield, Alabama, having been founded by the Swampers just a couple years earlier. Over the course of the 1970s a lot of great music was recorded there, from Paul Simon and Rod Stewart to Bob Dylan, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and beyond. Cher’s album 3614 Jackson Highway takes its title from the studio’s address. In 2009 Akron’s the Black Keys came down to Muscle Shoals to cut Brothers, which ended up winning a Grammy.

As it happens, only three songs off of Sticky Fingers were recorded at Muscle Shoals, but two of them were the album’s only two singles and are without question the most immortal tracks off the album: “Wild Horses” and “Brown Sugar.” (The third song recorded at Muscle Shoals was “You Gotta Move.”)
 

(Click on the image for a larger version.)
 
Here’s the receipt that Muscle Shoals remitted to the Stones, or more precisely ABKCO, being the company founded by one Allen B. Klein, the shark tasked with managing both the Beatles and the Stones for a time. The Sticky Fingers sessions ran from December 2 to 4, 1969, with the rest of the album being recorded during much of 1970. This session was one of the last times Klein would be their manager, as the Stones would jettison him (as much as was possible) as soon as they could. As you can see, the receipt helpfully says “The Rolling Stones / Wild Horses” right on it. 

So that’s that: In 1969 recorded two of rock music’s greatest songs and paid a cool grand for the privilege. That amount of money translates into about $6,500 today.

Here are some wonderful pics of the Stones (found here) recording parts of Sticky Fingers at Muscle Shoals:
 

Mick Taylor, Keith Richards, and Ian Stewart (standing)
 

Charlie Watts
 

Bill Wyman, Jimmy Johnson, Mick Jagger, Charlie Watts, and Ian Stewart
 

Mick Jagger recording the percussion on “Brown Sugar”
 

Mick Taylor working out on the congas
 

Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in Sheffield, Alabama
 
via Blue Arrow Records

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Guided By Voices have broken up
09.18.2014
03:25 pm

Topics:
Music
R.I.P.

Tags:
Guided By Voices


 
Fans of that great Dayton, OH indie band Guided By Voices have been greeted with a rather startling and not terribly informative goodbye on the band’s tour date page:

Guided By Voices has come to an end. With 4 years of great shows and six killer albums, it was a hell of a comeback run. The remaining shows in the next two months are unfortunately canceled. Our sincere apologies to those that have purchased tickets and made travel plans. Thanks to everyone who has supported GBV.

The band’s classic lineup from the 1993-‘96 era reunited in 2010, and immediately set about becoming as insanely prolific as they were the first time around. 2014 alone saw two full length releases, Motivational Jumpsuit and Cool Planet. The band’s fall tour would have kicked off in Portland, OR next week. Given the number of incarnations the band has been through, though, it hardly seems out of the question that one of the 1998-2005 lineups could be resurrected if Doug Gillard could be tempted away from Nada Surf.

Here’s one of the band’s last songs (unless/until singer Robert Pollard gets a wild hair up his ass to do it again…), “Planet Score” from Motivational Jumpsuit.
 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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‘The Pharmacy’: A Nick Cave-themed show with Bad Seed Jim Sclavunos & ‘20,000 Days on Earth’


 
Gregg Foreman’s radio program The Pharmacy is a music / talk show playing heavy soul, raw funk, 60′s psych, girl groups, Krautrock. French yé-yé, Hammond organ rituals, post-punk transmissions and “ghost on the highway” testimonials and interviews with the most interesting artists and music makers of our times…

It’s a Nick Cave-themed episode this time with Bad Seeds drummer Jim Sclavunos and 20,000 Days on Earth directors Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard.

Sclavunos has played with The Cramps, Sonic Youth, and Lydia Lunch and he learned studio production from Big Star’s Alex Chilton. He’s also got a great story about Lux Interior meeting Iggy Pop.

Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard discuss the making of 20,000 days on Earth and working behind-the-scenes with Nick Cave, PJ Harvey, Blixa Bargeld, Ray Winstone and Kylie Minogue.


 
Mr. Pharmacy is a musician and DJ who has played for the likes of Pink Mountaintops, The Delta 72, The Black Ryder, The Meek and more. Since 2012 Gregg Foreman has been the musical director of Cat Power’s band. He started dj’ing 60s Soul and Mod 45’s in 1995 and has spun around the world. Gregg currently lives in Los Angeles, CA and divides his time between playing live music, producing records and dj’ing various clubs and parties from LA to Australia.

Setlist:

Intro
Depth Charge Ethel - Grinderman
Soupy - Maggie Thrett
Intro 1/ El-Die-Bie! - Rx / Dave Pike Set
Jim Sclavunos Part One
Loose - The Stooges
Taking Too Long - The Wipers
Shadazz - Suicide
Intro 2 / Cavern -  Rx / Liquid Liquid
Jim Sclavunos Part Two
Diddy Wah Diddy - 8-Eyed Spy
I Can’t Stand Myself - James Chance and the Contortions
Sunshine of Your Love - Spanky Wilson
Intro 3 / Jesus - Rx / The Gospel Surfers
20,000 Days on Earth - Iain and Jane Part One
A Dead Song - The Birthday Party
Neat Neat Neat - The Damned
My Tulpa (Rx Edit)  - Magazine
Intro 4 / The Noose - Rx / The Executioners
20,000 Days on Earth - Iain and Jane Part Two
The Witness Song (Excerpt) - Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
Jim Sclavunos Conclusion
Miniskirt Blues - The Cramps feat . Iggy Pop
Black Train - The Gun Club
Nobody’s City - Jeffrey Lee Pierce Project / Iggy Pop with Nick Cave (feat. Thurston Moore)
Intro 5 / GreyHound - Rx / The Nightmares
Buddy - Snapper
Damaged - Primal Scream
Outro

 
You can download the show in its entirety here.
 
Below, behind-the-scenes of 20,000 Days on Earth:

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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‘Man of 10,000 Sound Effects’ Michael Winslow sings Led Zeppelin’s ‘Whole Lotta Love’
09.18.2014
09:56 am

Topics:
Music
Television

Tags:
Led Zeppelin
Michael Winslow


 
I posted this video of Michael Winslow on Norway’s TV show Senkveld med Thomas og Harald (“Late Night with Thomas and Harold”) singing Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” back in 2011. For whatever reason the video is starting to make the rounds again on the Internet today and I thought it was time for a revisit here, too. It’s that good! 

If you’ve never seen this one before, it’s pretty incredible to watch what Winslow can do with his voice. Known as the “Man of 10,000 Sound Effects,” I’d say he pretty much nails it.

 
via Open Culture

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Get hip to the Vout-O-Reenee of Slim Gaillard’s musical genius
09.18.2014
08:39 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Slim Gaillard

001slimgvouty.jpg
 
Fortunately, I was never blessed with any musical talent. At junior school I was classed as a “non-singer,” which thankfully meant I avoided having to regale parents with “The Skye Boat Song” and “Mairi’s Wedding” at end of term concerts. When it came to learning the recorder, I never progressed further than making weird whistling noises reminiscent of The Clangers. Undeterred, my parents, for some inexplicable reason, continued with their misguided belief I was a budding John Denver and bought me a guitar. I’ll admit I managed a chord or two, just enough to pen such songs as “I Don’t Wanna Go To School,” “I Don’t Wanna Go To Bed” and “I Don’t Wanna Stop Watching Cartoons,” all which I blame on The Ramones. But I knew this idyll could not last, which I discovered soon enough when forced to tune my guitar. I was tone deaf and could not differentiate E from B or A from G# Minor. My musical career was over, any dreams of pop stardom were cast out along with my 28-inch flares. Deep down, I was grateful, now I could spend my time reading books and listening to people who really had musical talent.

Like Slim Gaillard who was thankfully blessed with an inordinate amount of musical talent, sophistication and charm. Gaillard was an American jazz singer, songwriter, guitarist, pianist, and vibraphonist, a tall handsome man, with these beautiful elongated fingers with which he played the piano—palms up.
 

Slim plays “Cement Mixer (Putti Putti)”
 
Slim wrote and performed such unforgettable songs as “Flat Foot Floogie (with a Floy Floy),” “Dunkin’ Bagels,” “Cement Mixer (Putti Putti),” “Opera In Vout (Groove Juice Special),” “Yep-Roc-Heresay” and “Matzo Balls.” The titles were exotic, comedic and inspired an imaginary world of smiling hepcats in flash suits, jiving on crowded smoky dance floors. The summer I started listening to Mr. Gaillard on crackly vinyl was synchronous as I read about him in Jack Kerouac-a-roon-ee, and saw him as part of Slim & Slam in the film Hellzapoppin’—only knowing of his appearance after the fact through Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide.

Slim created his very own “slanguage” called “Vout” that spiced his songs and flavored Kerouac’s writing. For those who wanted to get hip-o-roon-ee, there was even a “Vout-O-Reenee Dictionary” published in the 1950s for all hepcats to learn.

It wasn’t just the language it was his infectious humor that made it impossible not smile when listening to one of Slim’s songs.  When I first heard “Dunkin’ Bagels” I thought I’d located the comedy spark that fired Spike Milligan’s and the Bonzo Dog Band’s imaginations.
 

‘Dunkin’ Bagels’ splash in the coffee…’
 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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‘My Rules’: Glen E. Friedman book documents hardcore punk, hip hop, skaters and YOU NEED IT
09.18.2014
07:18 am

Topics:
Art
Books
Hip-hop
Music
Pop Culture
Punk

Tags:
Glen E. Friedman


 
I don’t normally write posts and say “you must own this!” but… you’ve gotta get this! Glen E. Friedman’s new My Rules (Rizzoli) is simply stunning. A real masterpiece! I was happier than a pig in shit when I got it in the mail a few weeks ago. It was a very pleasant—and unexpected—surprise indeed. I couldn’t wait to unwrap it out of its packaging and tear through it! The book is a glorious MONSTER, with huge color photographs and amazing B&W images. Hugeness is a major factor in its favor, and the hardcover is sort of “quilted” and textured in a manner unlike any book I’ve ever owned. As an object/publication, it’s… a simply stunning presentation of a photographer’s life’s work, one of the best you’ll ever see. An event! Who is there… what ONE photographer was around as many important scenes as Friedman? Hip hop, hardcore, skaters, he was there, he was in the midst of it and with this book you really get a sense of that. It’s not just a bunch of amazing photographs, the selection becomes a sort of autobiography of the person who documented all of these moments: He was there.


Darren “Buffy” Robinson - Fat Boys - 1985 - Venice Beach, ©Glen E. Friedman
 
Glen’s work splendidly captures historic moments in time. Moments of 70s skate culture, punk, post punk, hardcore, 80s hip hop and early-90s indie rock. Underground cultures that will never happen again (or at least not as cool as they were then!). I have to admit though, I got really nostalgic and almost a bit weepy while looking at these photographs. They reminded me of being young again. My youth. Something I ain’t ever going to get back. They drummed up memories of me hanging out with my childhood friends (some sadly deceased now) just kicking it in my parents’ basement played records or driving around in my first boyfriend’s pick-up truck blasting Minor Threat. Fun times. Good times.

I love this book for so many reasons.


The Make-Up - 1995 - New York City, ©Glen E. Friedman
 

Think of any iconic image of Run DMC, Black Flag, Minor Threat, Public Enemy, and Beastie Boys, or the gravity defying revolutionary skateboarding legends Tony Alva, Jay Adams, or Stacy Peralta. It is almost certain that Glen E. Friedman was the man behind the camera. Since the mid-1970s as a young teenager, Friedman has been chronicling quintessential moments of underground and counterculture movements.

Glen E. Friedman’s My Rules serves as a history book for the three powerhouse countercultures—skateboarding, punk, and hip-hop. From the earliest days Friedman was present to capture the pivotal and defining moments in music and street movements that were largely unknown or ignored. The energy and rebellion comes through in these famous and some never-before-seen iconic images.


Moses Padilla - 1978 - West LA, ©Glen E. Friedman

As a side note: It was extremely difficult for me to pick the images for this post. I mean, they’re all so damned wonderful! ALL of them! Here are a few choice selections from My Rules below:


Jello Biafra - 1981 - Hollywood, ©Glen E. Friedman
 

Flavor Flav and Chuck D. - 1987, ©Glen E. Friedman
 

Junk Yard Band - 1986 - Washington D.C., ©Glen E. Friedman

More after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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‘I am being followed by a Moonshadow’: Cat Stevens cartoon with Spike Milligan’s voice
09.17.2014
12:03 pm

Topics:
Animation
Music

Tags:
Spike Milligan
Cat Stevens


 
Although there will always be people who will want to bitch and moan about Cat Stevens and some very regrettable remarks he made (more than once), these comments were uttered a very long time ago, he’s apologized (convincingly) a gazillion times for them since and it’s not like anyone died, so kindly move along if you are one of them. On point, the man has done a whole lot more good for the world than bad with his music, who is going to deny this?

For me, the news yesterday that Cat Stevens/Yusuf would be releasing a new R&B influenced album, Tell ‘Em I’m Gone and making an unexpected US tour sent me immediately to the website to buy tickets (but they weren’t on sale yet).

No surprise that the North American tour includes no southern states, the brief sprint will include five American dates in Boston, New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles and one Canadian stop at Toronto’s Massey Hall that kicks the tour off on December 1.

It also reminded me that I wanted to post the animated “Moonshadow” short based on Stevens’ own drawings and voiced by British comedian Spike Milligan. The film was made in 1972 by an animator named Charles Jenkins (who had also worked on Yellow Submarine) from Stevens’ original drawings to promote the Teaser and the Firecat album. It was not widely seen however until it was made part of the Fantastic Animation Festival feature film in 1977. Cat Stevens also put out a Teaser and the Firecat book in 1972, which is where these illustrations are from. It’s the story of tophat-wearing Teaser and his pet, the Firecat and their adventures trying to put the moon back in the sky after it plops onto the roof of a barn one night.
 

 

 

 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Let Sir George Martin show you how to ‘produce’ a perfect martini
09.17.2014
05:36 am

Topics:
Drugs
Food
Music

Tags:
George Martin
martini


George and George, both lookin’ foxy
 
When I saw this little video of Sir George Martin giving martini-making lessons (an excerpt from his 2011 BBC profile documentary, Produced by George Martin), a few things struck me—besides, of course, his obvious foxyness, even at the age of eighty-goddamn-five.

1) A martini is made with gin. There is the (laughable and pale) variation, the “vodka martini,” but anyone ordering simply “a martini,” with no qualifiers, should expect gin. Complaints to the contrary will result in a face full of vermouth.

2) The bolder choice in mixing technique and the not-so-cliché garnish—always keep ‘em guessing, George!

3) Always—and this is pertinent—end with a dirty joke, as George does here. Stay charming! Prurient poetry, wit and wordplay can be the only difference between an insufferable drunk and an enchanting lush!

I hereby declare we rename this particular cocktail (with the lemon rind) the “George Martini”—who’s with me?
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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Red peppers, milk, cocaine: David Bowie-themed menu from the big Bowie exhibit in Chicago
09.16.2014
10:41 am

Topics:
Food
Music

Tags:
David Bowie


 
In about a week residents of Chicagoland will be able to wallow in all things Bowie, as the much-acclaimed “David Bowie Is” exhibition makes its way there after its highly successful run in London’s Victoria & Albert Museum, which curated it in the first place. It will be showing at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art, which will be the only U.S. museum to host the show. (The MCA is so excited about the show that there’s an actual countdown ticker on that page.)

Also so excited, as the Eater blog informs us, that they have created a special David Bowie-themed food and cocktails menu at the accompanying Puck’s Cafe, which means that you can expect a bunch of delicious creations thinly connected to various songs, albums, and movies from Bowie’s long and storied career. The “China Girl” cocktail description has the word “jasmin” in it, for instance.
 

 
In the mid-1970s, Bowie famously lived on a milk, red pepper, and cocaine diet—it’s noticeable that none of the items below feature any of those ingredients! It’s all just a huge missed opportunity. The special menu will be available on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays only. I live in Cleveland, so I might make my way up to Chicago one of these days to check it out.

Here are the menu pages (clicking will get you a larger image):
 

 
And a text rendering of same:
 

Ziggy Stardust Schmaltz $13
Assortment of cheeses: drunken goat cheese, crispy parmesan reggiano,delice de bourginone, truffled cream cheese, pickled beech mushrooms, candied cashews and grilled french baguette

Thin White Duke $8
Wolfgang Puck flatbread, fontina and mozzarella cheese, confit garlic, roasted tomatoes, cracked black pepper, arugula salad

Rebel Rebel Ruffage $8
Baby romaine and frisee salad, fried manchego , crispy carrot nest, balsamic vinaigrette

Modern Love $8
Smoked tofu and grapefruit salad, avocado mousse, curried rice cakes,garnished with watercress, lime and soy vinaigrette

Starman Wings $11
Boneless fried chicken, star anise and szechuan spiced,served with grilled pineapple

The Goblin Kings Favors $15
Trio of sliders;beef slider with aged cheddar and remoulade,chicken slider with bacon and onion jam, roasted tomato slider with eggplant and basil pesto

Cat People $14
Yellow fin tuna tartare, sesame chips, ponzu, deviled quail egg

Under Pressure $16
Grilled hanger steak, fingerling potato salad, charred scallions, truffle, balsamic gastrique

Golden Years $17
Seared diver scallops, crispy polenta cake, yellow tomato jam, shellfish consomme

Cocktails inspired by Bowie songs.

Starman $12
Citrus vodka, ruby red grape fruit juice, white cranberry juice,fresh lemon juice, elderflower liquor

Modern Love $10
White rum, raspberry-infused simple syrup,rose petals, sparkling wine

Rock And Roll Suicide $12
Red pop rocks, white rum, lemonade, raspberry puree, raspberry, lemon wedge

Rebel Rebel $12
Ginger sugar, honey-ginger syrup, sparkling wine, thymesprig, lemon wedge

China Girl $10
Citrus vodka, iced green tea, amoretti jasmin syrup, jasmin flower sprig

 

 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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