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King Crimson ‘In the Court of the Crimson King’ album cover reimagined in LEGO bricks
06.29.2016
01:05 pm

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Art
Music

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Okay, so I found this extra special neato LEGO rendition of King Crimson’s iconic In the Court of the Crimson King by Deviant Art artist James O’Connell. Sadly there’s zero information on the site about how he created this fun piece. I wish there was a step-by-step guide or something on how to make it yourself. One of these would definitely tie the front rooms in my house together nicely.

Since I can’t own this LEGO masterpiece, I did find some other perhaps unexpected King Crimson items. Why they exist? I don’t know. But here they are, anyway. I put the links of where to purchase under each item.


A King Crimson shower curtain for $37.99 found here.
 

King Crimson pillowcases found here.
 

King Crimson umbrella found here.
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Iggy Pop’s racy 1979 appearance on obscure PBS program ‘Wyld Ryce’
06.29.2016
09:17 am

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Music
Television

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Iggy Pop - Best magazine
 
During November 1979, Iggy Pop was touring the States promoting his latest LP, New Values, when he made an appearance on a little-known PBS program in Minnesota. Naturally, it made for wild TV, with the censors unable to keep up with Iggy’s shenanigans.
 
Iggy
 
KTCA is the PBS affiliate serving the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. From 1977-80, the station aired a program called Wyld Ryce, which was referred to as an “arts magazine.” The March 5th, 1980 episode featured Taj Mahal and Iggy Pop. The Iggy segment was taped while he was in the area for a gig at fabled Minneapolis bar, Jay’s Longhorn. 
 
Jay's Longhorn
 
In the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, the Longhorn was the place to see punk and new wave shows in Minneapolis. The bar hosted a number of the finest touring club acts from the era, including the B-52s, the Buzzcocks, Gang of Four, and the Ramones. It’s also where local groups like Hüsker Dü and the Replacements cut their teeth.
 
The Suburbs
Minneapolis band the Suburbs onstage at the Longhorn, 1980

The Wyld Ryce piece on Iggy includes footage of the man working his way through the airport, and signing autographs for fans during a record store appearance (the interviews with the faithful are priceless). There are also clips of Iggy answering questions in his typically frank manner, plus awesome live video from the Longhorn gig on November 20th, in which he stops the show a number of times due to fighting in the audience. It was a 100 degrees in the bar that night, a fact that surely affected everyone’s agitation levels.
 
Iggy on stage at the Longhorn
Iggy tries to get everybody at the Longhorn to cool it, as Glen Matlock looks on.

For the New Values tour, Iggy assembled a crack group of musicians: Brian James (The Damned) on guitar, Glen Matlock (Sex Pistols) on bass, Ivan Kral (Patti Smith Group) on guitar/keyboards, and Klaus Kruger (Tangerine Dream) on drums. In the Longhorn footage, Iggy and the band are seen ripping through a number of tunes, including a couple of Stooges classics, the title track from New Values, and “Dog Food,” a new song that would show up on his next album, Soldier.
 
Iggy smoking
 
There’s an online archive of Wyld Ryce episodes—including the Iggy/Taj Mahal show—sourced from the KTCA vault. Even if you’ve watched the Iggy segment on YouTube, or had a VHS dub you got in a trade back in the day (like I did), you’ve never seen it look this good. Unfortunately, we are unable to embed it, but you can view the episode here. The amusing intro (missing from the YouTube upload, seen below) features a local DJ reading copy that’s pretty darn goofy, which he recites in a peculiar cadence (and I think he’s trying to tell us something with his eyes). Before “Dog Food,” Iggy lets a few cuss words fly, which are bleeped, but the editors missed a subsequent F-bomb, and the fact that you can see part of the Ig’s, um, member, in the shot.

More after the jump…

Posted by Bart Bealmear | Leave a comment
More young people—especially young women—need to know the music of hippie princess Laura Nyro
06.28.2016
03:19 pm

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Music

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Although Laura Nyro is rightfully considered to be one of America’s greatest 20th century songwriters, most people who know her music probably don’t know her name. Some of Nyro’s biggest hits were recorded by the likes of Barbra Streisand, The 5th Dimension and Three Dog Night. Performers such as Elton John, Bette Midler, Rickie Lee Jones and Todd Rundgren (who wrote a love song for her, “Baby Let’s Swing”) have all spoken of how Nyro influenced their music and paid tribute to her during their careers. Although she’s little more than the subject of cult adulation today, when Laura Nyro’s second album, Eli and The 13th Confession was released in 1968—when she was just 20—it was one of the absolute stand-out albums in a year that also saw the releases of the White Album, Music from the Big Pink, Astral Weeks and Beggars Banquet.

In the context of today’s mostly bland mainstream pop Eli and The 13th Confession, a now 48-year-old album, sounds even more astonishing than it did when it first came out. A showcase for Nyro’s brash swooping, soaring hippie vocals and accomplished piano playing, Eli is one of the most powerfully emotional and confessional albums ever recorded. It’s easily one of my top 50 albums of all time, although it’s a difficult record to listen to all the way through without tearing up giving way to full on crying. I envy any of you reading this who have yet to hear it or the two other albums in the trio of “classic” Laura Nyro albums, New York Tendaberry and Christmas & Beads of Sweat. You’re not merely “in for a treat,” expect something closer to being overcome—even temporarily paralyzed—by an astonishingly pure musical genius.

It’s widely known that The Who and The Jimi Hendrix Experience made their first major US appearances at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival and that Janis Joplin, too, made her big debut on that stage, but when 19-year-old Laura Nyro came on to perform three songs that night, in front of that huge, huge crowd, it was only the second time that she had been on a stage, ever. Nyro performed an 18-minute-long set after The Byrds and before the Jefferson Airplane. The story is told over and over again of how she walked off the stage and collapsed in tears, sure that the audience hated her and was booing as she sang. Mama Michelle Phillips got her stoned and drove her around for a while to calm her down. However when documentary film director D.A. Pennebaker found the footage of this performance many years later, this “legend” (which was perpetuated by Nyro herself and was contained in her New York Times obituary) was debunked. The only audible thing being shouted after Nyro performs is “Beautiful!” and there is no booing heard at all.
 

Photo by Joel Bernstein
 
On the first episode of Elvis Costello’s talk show Spectacle in 2008 he asked his guest Elton John to name his biggest musical influences. High on that list for John was Laura Nyro about whom he said “I idolized her.”

He went on to answer the question by addressing the audience and assuming (probably correctly) that few of them would even know who Laura Nyro was.

“She was the first person, songwriting-wise, where there were no rules. There were tempo changes. There wasn’t a verse, chorus, verse, chorus, middle eight. She didn’t write in that kinda way. And that put in my mind that you didn’t have to work in that old template that everyone else did… She just carried on in her own kinda weird way and the melodies were just fantastic… She influenced more songwriters that came out—and successful songwriters—than probably anyone who came before her.”

John urged the audience to seek out Nyro’s work, comparing hearing her music for the first time to walking into an old cathedral in Venice and seeing a Paolo Veronese painting.

“This is music so far ahead of its time that still sounds so unbelievable. The soul, the passion, just the out and out audacity of the way her rhythmic and melody changes come is like nothing I’d ever heard before.”

It was probably Elton John’s forceful testimonial to the prodigious talents of Laura Nyro that saw her—finally!—get inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the shamefully late year of 2012. As a big Laura Nyro fan, I keep hoping against hope that the late singer-songwriter—Nyro died of ovarian cancer at the age of 49 in 1997—will be rediscovered with every fresh honor or accolade or new reissue of one of her classic albums, but this sadly never happens. To the vast majority of millennials Laura Nyro’s name would not be one easily encountered. If asked to name a female singer songwriter of the 60s or 70s, I think most culturally aware people could probably identify Joni Mitchell or Carole King to some extent, but Laura Nyro’s name I would imagine would tend to draw a blank with most baby boomers, let alone anyone much younger. Although the songs she wrote that were recorded by others sold millions upon millions of records—songs like “Wedding Bell Blues,” “Eli’s Coming” and “Stoney End”—Nyro’s own albums sold modestly, to a dedicated fanbase. She was ambivalent—if not openly hostile—towards a career in the music industry, seldom agreeing to appear on television and trying to retire completely when she was just 24.

If you love her music—I see Nyro as one of the greatest geniuses of 20th century music—it seems colossally unfair that so few people today—especially young women—don’t know about her. Consider this, then, my small attempt to convince at least some of you that you need to get on the Laura Nyro train, stat.
 

 
But don’t just take my word for it. NY Daily News music critic Jim Farber wrote passionately about Laura Nyro when she was snubbed by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame—again—in 2011:

When you listen to Laura Nyro albums, starting with her 1968 Columbia debut, Eli and the Thirteenth Confession, it’s hard to name the precise genre you’re hearing. Is it jazz? R&B? Art-song? Motown? Girl group pop? Or something from the world of classical music?

All those genres found their way into her songs. The unconventional keys and startling tempo changes indicate jazz. The theatrical melodies speak of Broadway, the sense of introspection says singer-songwriter, while the tunes’ soul plays straight to the heart of Berry Gordy’s Motown.

Sheryl Farber wrote of Nyro on Trunkworthy:

She did it all—words and music—with a voice so singularly her own, creatively and vocally, that her first record’s title, More Than A New Discovery, is a prescient, bold declaration from a time when many pop musicians and music-biz people didn’t think they were making music anyone would care about generations later. But as this title claims: This is someone who will outlast the hype.

And what made them think that? When you hear these songs you’re undeniably in the presence of a brilliant soul who had absorbed the rich pageant of American music—gospel, jazz, musicals, Tin Pan Alley, doo-wop, soul, girl group, rock ’n’ roll—as well as American folklore and tales of the city. And you can hear it all in her phrasing, in her lyrics, in the composition—and in that vocal power built from the Bronx street-corner singing she had done when she was a young girl.

But just as impressive as the styles she mined for her first record is the range of complicated emotion she was able to understand and dig deep into for her songs. Laura Nyro was only 19 when she made this LP in 1966. Nineteen! And she could write about the supreme heights of infatuation and the ditch lows of betrayal and loss and provide any grownup who knows of such things with a musical mirror of his/her experience. This is sophisticated adult pop made by one world-wise teenager.

Since she couldn’t be categorized so conveniently, Laura Nyro sometimes seems lost in the crowd of great songwriters and performers from pop’s most prolific age, rather than a standout with a singular vision doing her own thing between hippie abandon and Brill Building formalism.

The best footage of Laura Nyro comes from D.A. Pennebaker’s Monterey Pop outtakes.

Keep reading after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Patton is GOD: Faith No More channel Black Sabbath with their crushing cover of ‘War Pigs’
06.28.2016
12:57 pm

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Heroes
Music

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Faith No More giving zero fucks.
 
It has been 26 years since Faith No More tore the roof off of the Brixton Academy in London on April 28th, 1990 during their tour in support of their third record, The Real Thing—the band’s first album with vocalist Mike Patton after FNM parted ways with former vocalist Chuck Mosely in 1988.

The show was released on both VHS and DVD called “Faith No More: You Fat B**tards: (Live at the Brixton Academy) and on vinyl as FNM’s only live album “Faith No More: Live at the Brixton Academy.” The band’s performance at Brixton is mind-meltingly energetic and the then 22-year-old Patton commanded the stage like a hyperactive kid who decided to mainline a dozen Pixy Stix just for fun. Which might help explain Patton’s wardrobe changes during the show that included a skeleton mask, a police helmet and the eventual loss of his shirt mid-way through the performance. As a die-hard fan of Black Sabbath it wasn’t hard for me to love FNM’s ferocious seven-minute cover of “War Pigs” which nearly gives the original a run for its money. It was also an opportunity for Patton to show off his prodigious six-octave range which he does with mind-altering precision. Get ready—the annihilation of your auditory functions await! 
 

Faith No More performing a cover of Black Sabbath’s ‘War Pigs’ at the Brixton Academy in London, 1990.
 
The entire show, after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
‘A Joyful Noise’: Cheer up with the gleefully cosmic philosophy of Sun Ra
06.28.2016
12:39 pm

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Music
Television

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“Some call me Mister Ra. Others call me Mister Ree. You can call me Mr. Mystery.”

Sun Ra was always the most original and singular of free jazz musicians—indeed, his resonant origin story about his Saturnian roots often seemed to transport his music into another category altogether.

In 1980 Robert Mugge made an hour-long documentary on Sun Ra called A Joyful Noise, and it’s splendid. I don’t know if Mugge ever uttered the words “Let Sun Ra be Sun Ra,” but he surely thought it. Several years ago Time Out London included A Joyful Noise on its list of the 50 greatest music films ever made.

Mugge wonderfully arranged for Sun Ra to expound on his many daffy ideas while draping himself on and ambling near an authentic ancient Egyptian sphinx at the Museum of the University of Philadelphia. In another resonant bit, Sun Ra is filmed at night in front of the White House, which affords him an opportunity to observe sardonically that he hasn’t noticed a similarly lofty Black House in the vicinity.

More 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

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Music
Occult

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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

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Animation
Music
Television

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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

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Music

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The strange cover of the only album by the band FURR. Image by Vinyls Among Other Things
 
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
‘The Hound of Baskerville’: German pop duo cover Sabbath’s ‘Paranoid’ as a Sherlock Holmes tribute
06.27.2016
02:20 am

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Books
Music

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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
‘Ouija board, ouija board would you work for me?’: Morrissey-themed ouija board
06.24.2016
01:55 pm

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Amusing
Belief
Music

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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
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