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Music videos are so out, 80s-tastic DeLorean commercials are in!
10.27.2014
07:42 am

Topics:
Amusing
Music

Tags:
cars
DeLorean


 
Are you a Norwegian electronic music enthusiast in the market for a 1981 DeLorean DMC-12? Look no further, my friend, because Norski producer/DJ Todd Terje (a kingpin of Norwegian EDM, apparently) is ready to sell you a fine futurist automobile with his new song, “DeLorean Dynamite.” The video itself is a real, actual commercial, for a real, actual 1981 DeLorean DMC-12, that you can really, actually purchase... provided you’re Norway-adjacent.

How did this project come about? From Terje’s press release:

This is a real classified for the sale of Frank’s Delorean. Frank was kind enough to let Terje use the DeLorean for his live visuals. Eventually, Frank decided it was time to sell his prized automobile, so in return for his generosity, Terje offered his music and Terje’s collaborator, Espen Friberg (the director who made the “Leisure Suit Preben” video) offered to make him a video to help him sell it. The result is this bizarre advertisement/music video, which is currently sitting somewhere on Norway’s Craigslist. The email address above is real. SERIOUS INQUIRIES ONLY, PLEASE.

In keeping with DeLorean aesthetics, Terje’s video has all the production value of an 80’s home video and it is absolutely hypnotic. For the full effect, I highly suggest turning on the subtitles—listening to DeLorean specs listed off in Norwegian over electronic music, while watching the car itself cruise through Scandinavian scenery… well, it puts one in a kind of meditative state (and the car appears to be in great condition). Prospective buyers are encouraged to contact Frank at delorean_dynamite@hotmail.com. Remember, serious inquiries only—don’t jerk Frank around.
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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Warm Leatherette: Suzi Quatro, ‘The Girl From Detroit City’
10.26.2014
04:12 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Suzi Quatro


 
In her native America, pioneering female rocker Suzi Quatro is best remembered for her role as the leader of “Leather Tuscadero and The Suedes” on Happy Days, but in the rest of the world, Quatro is known as a chart-topping bubblegum/glam-rock superstar who has sold 50 million records.

Her biggest hits came fast and furious, one after another starting in 1973 and although Suzi was not a glam rocker per se, she fit right in with the then-current glitter/glam rock scene and bands like Sweet, Slade, Mud, T.Rex and similar-sounding acts. Pop impresario Mickie Most was her manager and the songwriting team of Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman wrote several million sellers for her including “Can the Can,” “48 Crash” and “Devil Gate Drive.” Clad from head-to-toe in black leather like a pint-sized Yankee Emma Peel, and wielding a bass that seemed HUGE compared to her, Suzi Quatro was perhaps the most archetypal musical and style influence on the female rockers who came in her wake like The Runaways, especially Joan Jett who idolized her, and Talking Head Tina Weymouth who took up the bass because she thought Suzi was cool.

This year marks the eternally youthful Quatro’s 50th year in show business (she started when she was 14) and last week saw the release of a new career-spanning four CD box set, The Girl From Detroit City on Cherry Red Records. Most people are only going to know Quatro’s hits, but the set (clearly aimed more at the Suzi Quatro megafan than someone who wants a greatest hits collection) runs the gamut from her earliest recordings, a number of demos, some cheesy synthed-out 80s power ballads and even some Broadway show tunes. The best stuff comes from her hit years, obviously, including an almost Bobbie Gentryish number, “Curly Hair for Sale” which totally blew me away. Here’s a cover of The Normal’s “Warm Leatherette”:
 

 
There’s also a cover of Goldfrapp’s “Strict Machine” that’s pretty good.

Here is Suzi Quatro, at the age of 23, singing “48 Crash”—she was super hot, wasn’t she?
 

 
Suzi’s career began in her teens, in 1964, when the Detroit-born Quatro and her sisters formed The Pleasure Seekers, an all-girl answer to the Beatles. In contrast to her tall, willowy blond siblings and band mates, Suzi was short and brunette. The Quatros were obviously a musical family and their father was a bandleader and talent booker who encouraged their talents. The first single was 1965’s “What a Way to Die,” included in the box set.

The Pleasure Seekers were contracted by Mercury Records in 1968. They were one of the very, very first all-female rock groups to get signed to a major label. This was at a time when you did not not normally see a woman touching an amplified instrument in pop music. They had a slick stage act that included a “Sgt. Pepper’s ” section, as well as several Motown numbers. They played the Michigan nightclub and college circuit alongside acts like Alice Cooper, The Amboy Dukes (Ted Nugent’s band), and The Bob Seger System. A young Iggy Pop dated the group’s drummer.

More Suzi Quatro after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Hawkwind poet Robert Calvert’s prophetic sci-fi noir ‘The Kid From Silicon Gulch’
10.26.2014
08:07 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Hawkwind
Musicals
Computers
Robert Calvert

Detective Sparks (Robert Calvert) is ready to solve the case!
 
In 1981, the idea of something like the Internet and its physical conduit, the personal computer, becoming deeply intertwined with our work and lives, still seemed like something out of a science-fiction novel. Granted, home computers were already in existence back in this time, but only for a small demographic that was mainly consumers with a healthy-sized wallet and a technology-inclined brain to match. There had been a number of sci-fi works, both films and prose that did include plot lines involving a world tied to computers, but none of these could quite touch the futuristic noir/stage musical, The Kid from Silicon Gulch
 
Robert Calvert during his time in Hawkwind.
 
The Kid from Silicon Gulch starred Robert Calvert, who also pulled in triple duty as both the main writer and co-director. Calvert was best-known for being the band poet and occasional lead singer for the space rock sonic phenom Hawkwind, throughout most of the 1970’s. Calvert, while often considered to be the “mad” one of the band, was also an incredibly forward thinking artist and writer, with all of those attributes shining brightly in Kid.
 
The musical stars Calvert as Brad Sparks, the sole private dick, not counting his personal computer assistant, ZYTE B128, at the “Non-Stop Computerized Detective Agency” in an unnamed time in the future. It’s an electro-noir universe with appropriately pulp-novel worthy lines and an eerie nod to the future partially turned into our present. Just look at Calvert’s intro from the original script;

“This is my beat. The heat drenched empty sidewalks and all the millions of lonely electronic hotel rooms and cybernetic apartments. No one goes out any more. They all stay in their rooms pressing their buttons, staring at their terminals. I call it The Gulch. Silicon Gulch.”

 
Detective Sparks is ready for action.
 
Sparks’ world soon is rattled by the arrival of one Baroness Spencer, whom Brad refers to as “Countess.” Blonde, gorgeous, pixie-built but with a big-regal swagger, the Countess (Jill Riches) has come to Detective Sparks to help investigate the death of her husband, Hymy. The police are calling it an accident but the Countess feels like it is murder, with the accusation being that the suspect is not “whom” but “what.” The what in question being Hymy’s own “micro-computer.” Given the mention a little bit later on in the play when Sparks’ is interviewing Hymy’s “micro-computer,” the latter states that everything it says is done in a merely imitative manner. In short, there’s a potential hacker running around the Gulch, manipulating machines to execute the criminal biddings of man…. or woman.

The death numbers start to add up as Sparks peels the layers of this case in an onion-like manner, uncovering some clever twists and great songs along the way. As someone who usually gets a little nervous with the phrase “stage musical,” thanks to a theater geek past that entailed seeing all strains of deep cheese of the Oklahoma variety, the music in The Kid from Silicon Gulch is refreshingly modern and flat out good. Some of the songs, especially “Silicon Neurotic Blues,” “Day Called X” and “On the Case” (which was later covered by Calvert’s former bandmate, Hawkwind backbone and founder, Dave Brock, whose guitar work also appeared on some of the music used in the show) sound borderline No Wave. Calvert’s ability to frame his lyrics perfectly with an assortment of melodies, a skill that served him so well both in Hawkwind and in his solo career, is bar none. Sadly, the soundtrack for Kid from Silicon Gulch were never officially recorded, but thanks to both the video recording efforts from Sandy Cameron and James Heyarth, as well as Calvert’s son, Nicholas, who uploaded the taped segments online, we can enjoy this show on YouTube.
 
Confrontation between the Countess and Sparks
 
The cast, while as minimal as the sets, are great fun. Riches, who also has illustrated a number of book covers, including work for another Hawkwind wordsmith, Michael Moorcock, is appropriately cool and slightly dangerous here as the Countess. (Riches would soon change her name to Jill Calvert, after becoming Robert’s third and last wife.) Peter Pavli is likable as the bumbling Sgt. Karelli. Another cohort of Calvert’s, Pavli also pulled multi-tasking duties here, since he helped create a lot of the music used throughout Kid.

Of course, the real star here is Calvert himself. Physically, with his tall build, strong profile and requisite trench coat and fedora, he could not be a better fit for the hard boiled and hardworking Detective Sparks. While it will shock no one who is familiar with Hawkwind or his solo work that he handles all of the singing duties with sheer deftness, it should be noted that he is equally good with all of the attached stage acting duties. Prior to his transition into the space/punk rock poet “urban guerrilla” laureate, Calvert worked in the theatre, even founding his own street troupe entitled Street Dada Nihilismus in the late 60’s. So his multi-creative backgrounds served him very well here. One has to wonder if the creators of the UK sci-fi television show, Red Dwarf, got to attend any of the performances of The Kid. Sparks’ interaction with the assorted computers, especially his own, is reminiscent of Dwarf’s main computer network, Holly. Given that Red Dwarf started in 1988, a few short years after Kid from Silicon Gulch debuted, it is a possibility. (1988 is also the same year that Calvert passed away from a heart attack.)
 
Still from Kid from Silicon Gulch
 
Considering how many artistic bowling pins Robert Calvert could efficiently juggle, it’s a crime that he remains but a cult figure. Given how many bloated rock-egos surpassed him on the fame game, as well as the critical write-up level, the time is well nigh for Calvert’s work, both in terms of music, writing and overall performance, to get a proper hero’s welcome-style re-evaluation. The Kid from Silicon Gulch is just the tip of the iceberg of the blazing light that is the genius of Robert Calvert
 

Posted by Heather Drain | Discussion
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‘Idea’: Incredible pop-psychedelic Bee Gees TV special, 1968


 
There was a time, long, long ago—as ridiculous as this might sound today—when being a Bee Gees fan was something one didn’t admit to in polite company. By the mid-80s, the Brothers Gibb had more or less been relegated to the “guilty pleasures” category and their second career wilderness. If you liked them, it had to be, you know, “ironic” or something.

But fuck that. It was around that time, when I was in my early 20s, that I personally started to go absolutely nuts for their music. In my world, only an asshole doesn’t like the Bee Gees. If you don’t like the Bee Gees, best to keep it to yourself around me if you want to retain my respect for your musical tastes. It’s like admitting to being secretly Republican.

I’m serious. I’ll just cut you off!
 

 
That said, as big of a Bee Gees fan as I am—I have nearly everything—I was never, ever able to get my hands on a copy of their 1968 Idea TV special from German television. This morning, while looking for something else entirely, I came across some pop art style promo clips for two of their songs that I’d never seen before and they blew me away. I assumed that these were from the wonderfully art-directed French TV series Dim Dam Dom, but upon doing a little searching around, I found that they were were in fact from Idea and that the entire special was on YouTube in very high quality. It’s phenomenal!

The German Idea TV special coincided with the release of the Bee Gees’ fifth album, Idea, in 1968 but was actually shot in Belgium. At the time, they were a five-piece band, the brothers Gibb along with Vince Melouney on guitar and vocals and Colin Petersen on drums. Their special guests are Brian Auger and The Trinity with Julie Driscoll (who are incredible) and Lil Lindfors, a Swedish singer who performs “Words” in Swedish.
 

 
It was directed by Jean-Christophe Averty, who also directed three of my very favorite things ever: the short film “Melody” aka “Histoire de Melody Nelson” starring Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin, his WILD (and technically advanced) adaptation of Alfred Jarry’s Ubu Roi, and the incredible 1966 documentary A Soft Self-Portrait of Salvador Dali, which is hands down the very best film ever made about the painter. Averty has had a long and distinguished career in French TV, film and radio. The art direction, which owes much to the Beatles’ then-new Yellow Submarine, was done by the grand Guy Peellaert, the Belgian artist best-known for his cover for David Bowie’s Diamond Dogs and the Rock Dreams book.

The whole thing is amazing, but here’s the title number to whet your appetite. If you don’t get high from watching this, I can’t help you.
 

 
After the jump, the entire Bee Gees’ ‘Idea’ TV special…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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After ‘Sgt. Pepper’s’: A gallery of Peter Blake’s pop art album covers

000phsgtbtpetblak67.jpg
The ‘Sgt. Pepper’s’ tableau
 
British pop artist Peter Blake still receives copies of The Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album in the mail with a fan request to add his signature and send the iconic cover back by return of post. It’s because the cover to Sgt Pepper’s is Blake’s most famous artwork, one made in collaboration with his then wife Jann Haworth.

In 1967, the year of Sgt. Pepper’s, Blake was the leading light of the British pop art movement, exhibiting alongside his fellow talents Pauline Boty, Derek Boshier, R. B. Kitaj, Peter Phillips, Richard Hamilton and David Hockney (until he moved to Los Angeles). What made Blake’s work special then (as it is now) was his ability to create an iconic and identifiable style of representation (through collage, paint and installation) that fully captured that swinging decade. His mix of pop culture ephemera (pop stars, soccer players) together with the semi-autobiographical self-portraiture (of artist as lapel-badge wearing kid in grey short trousers) maintains a traditional narrative form within a highly individual and modernist style.

Blake has continued to produce iconic and memorable art over the decades, and long after Sgt. Pepper’s he is still in great demand as a designer of album covers. This selection ranges from his early work for Liverpool Poet Roger McGough, to his work for his former art school pupil Ian Dury (Blake was, by the singer’s admission, his most important mentor) to Oasis and Paul Weller. Blake has also worked with Eric Clapton on three separate projects though briefly thought he had lost the job on his first Clapton commission (24 Nights) when he ‘fessed up to “Slow Hand” that he couldn’t abide long guitar solos.
 
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Roger McGough: ‘Summer with Monika’ (1967).
 
aabeatsgtpeblak67.jpg
The Beatles: ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ cover designed by Peter Blake and Jann Haworth, 1967.
 
cpentangpblakswe.jpg
Pentangle: Sweet Child’ (1968).
 
whfacedanwhopbalk81.jpg
The Who: ‘Faces Dances’ (1981). Designed by Peter Blake, with portrait paintings of The Who band members by Bill Jacklin, Tom Phillips, Colin Self, Richard Hamilton, Mike Andrews, llen Jones, David Hockney, Clive Barker, R. B. Kitaj, Howard Hodgkin, Patric Caulfield, Peter Blake himself, Joe Tilson, Patric Proctor and David Tindle.
 
ffbndapblak84.jpg
Band Aid: ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas Time?’ (1984).
 
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plwllrpbalk222.jpg
Paul Weller: ‘Stanley Road’ (1995).
 
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Various: ‘Brand New Boots and Panties—Tribute to Ian Dury’ (2001).
 
In 1962, director John Schlesinger approached Peter Blake to make a documentary for the BBC about British Pop Art. From the outset, the pair did not get on—Schlesinger had ambitions to make a movie (he did, it was called Billy Liar). Schlesinger left the project and was replaced by the young Ken Russell, who was fast becoming the star director at the BBC’s Monitor arts documentary series. Russell and Blake hit it off immediately and the two developed the documentary into something bigger and better. Russell brought in artist Pauline Boty, who he had wanted to make film with, while Blake brought in artists Peter Philips and Derek Boshier. Under Russell’s directorial guidance the four artists collaborated on a dazzling and highly original film that captured elements of each artist’s personality. The title Pop Goes the Easel was apparently Blake’s suggestion, but the film’s style is all Russell.
 

 
More Blakean covers, after the jump….
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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R.I.P. Jack Bruce of Cream
10.25.2014
09:22 am

Topics:
Heroes
Music
R.I.P.

Tags:
Jack Bruce
Cream


 
This morning, the home page of the great British blues/rock bassist Jack Bruce announced his passing, of unspecified causes.
 

 
Bruce was of course best known as the bassist and singer of Cream, the heavy blues-rock band of the late ‘60s that is justly credited with contributing to the invention of heavy metal, and which also featured guitarist Eric Clapton and completely insane drummer Ginger Baker. After that band’s dissolution, Bruce was the only band member not to join Blind Faith, instead pursuing a career playing bass in jazz and blues trios, and working solo, and notably, he was the bassist on almost all of Lou Reed’s high-watermark album Berlin.

Just six months ago, Bruce released his first solo album in over ten years, Silver Rails. It will presumably be his last word, though there will surely be some posthumous blood-from-a-stone compilations in the offing. There’s excellent background info on Bruce’s early career (and terrific recent interview footage with him) in the must-see Ginger Baker documentary Beware of Mr. Baker, which is streaming on Netflix. The 1969 documentary on Bruce, Rope Ladder To The Moon details his early solo career. You can watch it here. Among other great performance moments to be seen here, about 17 minutes in there’s some SCORCHING live footage of Bruce playing upright jazz bass with Dick Heckstall-Smith and John Hiseman of the British prog/jazz/rock band Colosseum. The song is “Over the Cliff” from the 1970 LP Things We Like. Naturally there’s Cream footage included, as well.
 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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Long live the Ramones: Incredible unseen early Ramones news story!
10.25.2014
08:10 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Ramones


 
Just when you thought there was nothing left to see, that you’d watched every Ramones clip YouTube has to offer, up pops something like this. A veritable ten-minute rock and roll history lesson from the Ramones. The fact that they were put on TV this early in the midwest is shocking enough, but for an extended story that is quite unedited, where their message comes across loud and clear, a message that holds true to this day and forever, well, it’s just something else. It’s so exciting for me to revisit the open and endless possibilities of that time, to see the group embraced by small town weirdo hippies turning punk right before our eyes as the whole country got bored of so-called “rock music” and disco! And the local news (or maybe this was a local PBS newsmagazine, it’s hard to tell) totally getting it!

We see the band performing three numbers at the Red Lion in Champaign IL and signing autographs at the local Musicland store (‘mema them?). Johnny Ramone does most of the talking and he is already looking forward to retiring! Beyond great! Major thanks to whoever found this, it’s only been up on YouTube for a few weeks. And to think that I just received a gold record for the first Ramones’ LP (thank you Linda Ramone!) which took 38 years to happen. THIRTY EIGHT YEARS to sell 500,000 copies! I will never understand this. U2, who have a song about the Ramones on their new “download thing,”  had it put in 500 million iTunes subscribers pockets in one day. It’s not fair! But in the end it all came true as the Ramones become what they always knew they should be, one of the top most influential bands of all time… I just hope they can see it happening from whatever juvenile delinquent heaven they’re rehearsing in. Long live the Ramones!
 
kjpog
 

Posted by Howie Pyro | Discussion
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Mingus, Monk and more: Portraits of jazz greats painted on drum skins
10.24.2014
05:54 pm

Topics:
Art
Music

Tags:
jazz
Charles Mingus
drums
Thelonious Monk

Thelonious Monk drum skin art by Nicole Di Nardo
Thelonious Monk
 
Twenty-seven-year-old Toronto based artist Nicole Di Nardo says her desire to paint portraiture on drums skins was inspired by “tondos” or “circular” works of art whose origins have been traced as far back to 500 BC in ancient Greece, then were popularized again during the Renaissance in the 14th century and in the 15th century by Sandro Botticelli. Di Nardo gives used drum skins she obtains from the Humber College of Music in Ontario a new life by hand painting images of jazz greats, especially drummers, on skins that have been worn in a way that helps illustrate the musical passion that drove her subjects to create their music. Here’s a little bit more from Di Nardo’s bio on her creative process:
 

I source skins that are beaten to the point of near uselessness by eager young musicians. I then repurpose the skin by selecting it based on its unique design, which corresponds to the portrait I wish to render. I am interested in painting portraits of musicians who have fire in their bellies, those that reach a transcendental state while performing which is reflected in their expression. During these moments, I believe the tarnish of life fades away and the human spirit is evident most clearly.

 
Di Nardo’s subjects also include a few rockers like Janis Joplin and Tom Waits, but it’s her portraits of Charles Mingus, legendary percussionist Max Roach, and modern day timekeeper Questlove that really shine. Di Nardo’s works run around $180 dollars each over at her Etsy store.  Images of Di Nardo’s works follow. Dig it, Daddy-O.
 
Charles Mingus drum art by Nicole Di Nardo
Charles Mingus
 
Max Roach drum art by Nicole Di Nardo
Max Roach
 
Elvin Jones drum art by Nicole Di Nardo
Elvin Jones
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Discussion
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The Beginning of Doves: EARLY live Marc Bolan performance from 1967


 
John Peel intros this early on—and I do mean really early on, he’d just left John’s Children—performance by his chum Marc Bolan’s brand new “little group,” Tyrannosaurus Rex.

After a single disastrous gig with a four-piece rock group, Bolan slimmed the act down to just himself and wild-man bongo player Steve Peregrin Took.

The duo are seen here performing in the legendary psychedelic nightclub, Middle Earth in late 1967. Tyrannosaurus Rex were one of the most regular acts to play the club, along with Soft Machine, Tomorrow, The Deviants and the Graham Bond Organization.

The number, “Sarah Crazy Childe,” was a John’s Children b-side written by Marc.

If there’s an earlier clip of Tyrannosaurus Rex, I’ve not seen it.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Mashup fun with Derek Jarman’s 1976 Sex Pistols footage
10.24.2014
04:04 pm

Topics:
Music
Punk

Tags:
Derek Jarman
Sex Pistols


 
So I was searching YouTube, like one does, for interesting obscure music stuff to watch (and post to DM, of course), and lo, laid before mine eyes in the related videos column to the right of a Sylvain Sylvain video was “Sex Pistols - 1976 02 14 Butler’s Warph (sic) Earliest Known Footage,” shot by no less a luminary than the legendary underground filmmaker Derek Jarman! Now, for all I know, there may be earlier extant Pistols footage, but one way or the other, I don’t care, as the stuff is captivating. The young band is captured here in its initial burst of brash glory at a time when punk was still too young for its tropes to have become tedious clichés, and a technical happenstance rendered the footage absolutely lovely—as the captions will inform you when you watch it, Jarman shot this on Super-8 film at a nonstandard frame rate, rendering the footage soft, choppy, gauzy, and otherworldly.

When I muted the sound to answer a phone call, I noticed something—absent the Pistols’ music, it kind of reminded me a little of the video for “Here’s Where the Story Ends” by the Sundays. (If you don’t know it, click the link and take a few minutes to check it out, it’s a very pretty pop song that begins to border on shoegaze. It was popular among the 120 Minutes set in 1990, and it holds up quite well.) So suddenly, I was on a mission. I opened some new browser tabs and tried playing a couple dozen shoegaze, indie, dream-pop and post-rock songs along with the silenced Sex Pistols footage.

There are far worse ways to kill an evening.

I found something out rather quickly—there’s such a thing as too slow. Stuff I tried by Slowdive, Mogwai, and Godspeed You Black Emperor just didn’t work well at all. The music that seemed to work most satisfyingly was dense and trippy, but still uptempo. I encourage you to do some searching on your own—and please post your wins in the comments, of course, as I’d love to try them out—but I included some embeds that I liked in the hope that might start things rolling. Oh, and tiresome punk purist fogies getting ready to agonize at me about how HORRIBLY WRONG it is to play a Lush song over this precious heavenly golden dewdrop of rebel history? It’s a bit of fucking fun, lighten the hell up. I MEAN IT, MAAAAAN.

Here’s that Pistols film, to begin with, and a pile of alternate soundtrack options follows. I don’t even have to tell you to try playing them all at once, right?
 

 
It continues after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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