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‘Big Eyed Beans from Venus’: Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band destroy minds on French TV, 1980
06:39 am



“God, please fuck my mind for good!”

While I very much doubt there is such a thing as a bad Captain Beefheart performance—at least, I have yet to hear a tape of Van Vliet and the Magic Band sleeping on the job or “phoning it in”—some recordings are better than others, and boy oh boy does this pro-shot, 30-minute French TV broadcast cream the fucking corn. I would have given my right eye for a VHS of this thing when I was a teen.

Taped during the 24-date European tour behind Doc at the Radar Station, this concert took place just two weeks after Beefheart was, improbably, profiled on local news in L.A. by “journalist” Paul Moyer, who became familiar to the Angeleno TV audience during his subsequent very long career as the Southland’s most blow-dried shithead.

This is an especially formidable Magic Band: guitarists Jeff Moris Tepper, Richard “Midnight Hatsize” Snyder and Gary Lucas wrestle manfully with bassist Eric Drew Feldman (later of Pere Ubu, Frank Black, PJ Harvey et al.) and drummer Robert Williams (fresh off his collaboration with the Stranglers’ Hugh Cornwell). Warning: if this version of “Big Eyed Beans from Venus” doesn’t move you, you may already be dead.

The set list:

Nowadays A Woman’s Gotta Hit A Man (0:17)
Best Batch Yet (3:44)
Dirty Blue Gene (8:47)
Safe As Milk (12:42)
Flavor Bud Living (16:33)
Bat Chain Puller (17:47)
Big Eyed Beans From Venus (22:58)

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
The Kinks visit a hair salon (complete with curlers), 1964
11:31 am



This marvelous piece of news coverage was put together in 1964 by British Movietone. It’s just a couple of minutes long, but totally worth a look. It shows the Kinks visiting the salon of a Richard Conway and getting the full treatment, including the use of curlers and some time spent underneath the hairdryers. Ray Davies especially is described as being unhappy about it, but it’s hard to tell. There’s no audio from the event and while he doesn’t look overjoyed, things might have been much more normal on the scene.

It’s difficult to overstate how new the Kinks were to British audiences at this stage. “You Really Got Me” was their first hit, and that was released in August 1964. If this video truly does date from 1964, then we’re talking about an outfit that had been completely unknown only six months earlier.


Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Curiously-shaped die cut records from Grace Jones, The Cramps, Bowie and more
11:28 am



Grace Jones Party Girl shaped 7
Grace Jones, “Party Girl” special remix on shaped 7” picture disc. B side: “White Collar Crime.” 1986
This post started out as a singular homage to German record label, Musical Tragedies and their super collectable line of saw blade-shaped 7” records. As it is often the way on the Internet, all it took was a few images in my browser to distract me from my “work.” And thanks to that distraction, I’m now able to share some pretty unique looking die cut shaped vinyl with you. Much of which I had no idea existed until now.
Blondie X Offender saw blade vinyl from Musical Tragedies - 2001
Blondie “X Offender” on saw blade shaped colored vinyl with center label picture image by Musical Tragedies (2001)
Pictured above is the A side of one of the saw blade-shaped records put out by Musical Tragedies. It features two tracks, “X Offender,” from the first Blondie record, Blondie, and a rare B side track from Bloodless Pharaohs, one of the first bands Stray Cat Brian Setzer ever recorded with back in the late 70’s. Other covet-worthy records in this post include the two-record 2004 release from DJ Shadow; DJ Shadow vs. Radiohead - “The Gloaming Mix” and DJ Shadow vs. Cage - “The Grand Ol’ Party Crash” (featuring the vocals of Jello Biafra). The shaped records themselves are in the image of two of the most vilified politicians of the last 25 years, Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney. Holy shit!
DJ Shadow Vs. Cage ‎– The Grand Ol' Party Crash. Shaped vinyl record of Donald Rumsfeld
DJ Shadow “Donald The Merciless” 10” shaped picture disc with an image of the syphilitic face of ex US secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld. Track: “The Grand Ol’ Party Crash” with vocals by Jello Biafra. B-side: “Party Crash” instrumental
DJ Shadow Vs. Radiohead ‎– The Gloaming shaped vinyl record with image of Dick Cheney
DJ Shadow Vs. Radiohead ‎– The Gloaming shaped 10” shaped picture disc with an image of Dick Cheney. A/B sides feature Radiohead and Thom Yorke
As with colored vinyl, artistically shaped die cut colored records aren’t made to be played—and they don’t sound as good as straightforward black vinyl records. But WHO would actually dare to put a stylus on a shaped piece of rare vinyl featuring Poison Ivy of The Cramps holding a machine gun in a gold bikini? Not me, that’s for sure. Many images of waxy oddities that must be seen to be believed, follow.
The Cramps - Bikini Girls With Machine Guns shaped 7
The Cramps, “Bikini Girls With Machine Guns” 7” shaped picture discl. B- Side: “Jackyard Backoff” (1990)
The Cramps Bikini Girls With Machine Guns shaped vinyl record - Side B view
The Cramps, “Bikini Girls With Machine Guns” 7” vinyl picture disc, Side B view
Monty Python fishbowl 7
Monty Python Galaxy Song 7” shaped picture disc (1983). Side A: “Galaxy Song”/Side B: “Every Sperm Is Sacred”
David Bowie ‎– Underground 7
David Bowie “Underground” 7” shaped picture disc (1986). A/B-sides: “Underground” edit and instrumental
Many more after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
‘The Sound of Progress’: Coil, Current 93, Foetus and Test Dept star in Dutch TV documentary
11:26 am



Scraping Foetus off the Wheel
Broadcast on Dutch TV’s Videoline program in 1988, the forward-looking documentary The Sound of Progress combines interview and performance footage of some of the period’s most thoughtful and articulate musical extremists. If you have any interest in what Coil, Current 93, Scraping Foetus off the Wheel or Test Dept thought about, sounded like, or ate for lunch three decades ago, these 40 minutes will whiz by. And if you don’t have any interest in these four artists, might I recommend, as your personal medical adviser, that you remove the shit from your ears?

Let the anger, despair and hatred of these musicians, who all recognize the total emptiness of their cultural moment, stand as a corrective to ‘80s nostalgia. Their diagnosis still applies because the whiny, sedative, garbage-ass clown music saturating everyday life was just as bad then, though it might be twice as pervasive now. Here’s David Tibet’s take on the hot sounds of 1988, which he concludes by prescribing “a good kicking” for the anesthetized pop audience:

People listen to pop music for an easy way out, just for enjoyment of the most shallow and tedious type, really. The problem with Western music—contemporary Western music—is that it offers nothing except shallow pleasure, petty enjoyment, and the promise of dancing the night away and drinking, fucking, picking people up, all completely pointless things to do. Western music used to have something important in it if we look back at the classical composers, but even the classical music of the West now can’t offer anything to people, because it exists in its own sphere. It’s a finished sort of music.


“Maldoror Is Dead”: Current 93
As you might expect, Tibet speaks for C93 and JG Thirlwell for Foetus, while everyone in Test Dept—the most explicitly left-wing of the industrial groups—gets an equal say. John Balance and Stephen Thrower do most of the talking for Coil, though you’ll catch glimpses of Peter “Sleazy” Christopherson sticking his fingers in Balance’s mouth over a champagne lunch and playing a Fairlight in the studio. Everyone looks really young.

Sleazy pops the cork
Aside from their shared disgust with the popular music of the time, the four groups don’t necessarily agree on much. Coil’s insistence on the primacy of mystical experience is met by Test Dept’s stark social realism; Tibet’s conviction that Western civilization is stone dead is balanced by Thirlwell’s professed love for cultural trash. Nor do the occultists in the bunch agree on what is to be done: as the members of Coil turn inward, Tibet prepares to abandon the moldering corpse of Western civilization and seek truth in India. (It’s worth sticking around until the end of the doc to learn what he found there.)

Some of Test Dept’s instruments
For years, the only version of this documentary on YouTube was of fucking ghastly quality. I salute user vortexeyes for uploading this sharp copy in December 2014.

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
KISS: Their X-rated early days
09:30 am



Before KISS became a kid-friendly marketing machine with their own line of dolls and comic books aimed at the eight-to-sixteen demographic, the group maintained a darker, edgier, and more decidedly adult image. KISS, after all, came from the same sleazy New York scene as the Dolls and were demonstrably more musically aggro than most of their early ‘70s contemporaries—and let’s not forget the lyrical themes of alcohol abuse, prostitution, pedophilia, and anal sex

It was during these early years that KISS recorded their second album, Hotter Than Hell. Though it contains some of KISS’ best songs, the record suffered from notoriously muddy production. The cover artwork, while striking with its Japanese-inspired visuals, also suffers from a degree of print-muddiness in the photo images of the group. What ended up on the album sleeve barely hints at the debaucherous photo session that spawned those images. Some sources have described this shoot as having devolved into a full-on “orgy,” although Peter Criss’ ex-wife, Lydia, has played down those allegations.

Kiss Fan Site has reprinted some outtakes of the Hotter Then Hell photo session, along with quotes from the band members describing the wild shoot. One wonders how history would look back on KISS if they had kept with the Bacchanalian “sex and drugs and rock and roll” image implied in this shoot. Photographer Norman Seeff emerges as the character responsible for much of the insanity. Apparently everyone was wasted, except for life-long tea-totaller, Gene Simmons.

This is definitely not the kid stuff we saw a few years later with Marvel Comics and Hanna-Barbera TV movie productions. The mise-en-scène of furs and rugs and glitter and skulls and ropes and Coors cans with drunkenly splayed, mugging, groupie-groping band members is, if nothing else, a beautiful rock and roll mess.


Gene Simmons: We did a photo session with Norman Seeff in Los Angeles. Norman was a very bright but strange guy who believed that photo sessions should be this other thing. So he would create a climate and bring down everybody and anybody. Girls who would blow you, anything that would happen just to get a sense of something.



Peter Criss: It was a wild photo session for the back cover. I was sitting in the armchair there with this broad giving me head with this mask on. It was really fucking wild. Paul was in bed with a bunch of broads and me in a robe over this big knight’s table’s chair. The photographer [Seeff] got us all drunk. That was the idea. He got us all loaded. Everyone was drunk except Gene but Gene had to be drunk on the whole room being drunk. Even the models and the people in the room were drunk. No one was sober but Gene but he had to be intoxicated from just the intoxication of the whole vibe.



Paul Stanley: I don’t know if anybody can make out the back cover of the album but we were having this wild, wild party with tons of people in weird outfits. Ten minutes after that picture was taken I passed out. I cut my hand, I don’t know how I did it. It was pretty strange. I was so drunk that they locked me in a car and I couldn’t find my way out. Like any of the Fellini films, Satyricon, it was bizarre but it was really great too. It was a party unlike most others that I’ve been to. A lot of the pictures taken for the back cover have never seen the light of day because some people didn’t want to be incriminated by the pictures. Someone would go, “Oh, I can’t let so-and-so see me at that party.”



Norman Seeff: The Hotter Than Hell photo shoot was done at the Raleigh stages in Hollywood. The front and back cover were shot on the same day. I had just come back from Japan and met one of the great Japanese artists, Tadanori Yokoo. He was a combination of Timothy Leary, Andy Warhol, and Picasso. I think the way KISS were dressed and who they were suggested to me that Yokoo’s work would be an ideal direction for them. As we went further, I thought “Why not put the title in Japanese as well?” I called in a brilliant designer, John Van Hamersveld, to do the design. The album’s title dictated the party shot, the Satyricon fantasy concept for the back cover. My whole approach is forging a creative partnership with people, it’s very free-form. I made it clear that this is a stage for creative improvisation. KISS were doing a rock ‘n’ roll ballet for the shoot where each of the individuals were playing a part. It was incredibly exciting, they worked so well off of each other. They came in and they delivered.



Gene Simmons: That session was one of the few times that I’ve seen Paul drunk. He was blitzed. The only thing that was missing was Rod Serling going [imitates Serling’s voice] “Witness Paul Stanley entering the Twilight Zone.” There was a photo of him with a girl who had nothing on, sort of painted like Goldfinger with silver stuff. I don’t even think Paul was aware that there were forces of gravity. So he reached over and in one shot you sort of see him nuzzling with this chickie and the next second he’s over the bed. He’d fallen over. At the end of the photo session I had to carry him to the car and lock him in the back seat.



Ace Frehley: For one photo session we did for the Hotter Than Hell album, this doctor told me I could only put makeup on half of my face. So all the shots were profiles [laughs]. I got into a car accident. Something pissed me off. I got drunk one night and I kept driving around the Hollywood Hills. I kept going around the same block faster and faster [laughs] until I lost control and hit a telephone pole. I think I was just testing destiny. I got out of the car and I had cut my head. I walked back down to the hotel and I knocked on my road manager’s door and there’s blood running all down my face. He said, “Oh God, what happened to you?” I go, “I wrecked a car.” One of many [laughs], it was like the beginning of the saga.

More photos after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Can ya dig it? Cabaret Voltaire’s insane version of Isaac Hayes’ ‘Theme from Shaft’
06:13 am



By forming in 1973, Cabaret Voltaire managed the neat trick of embodying and codifying many of the aesthetic tropes, sounds, and strategies of post-punk before punk existed in the first place, serving as an indisputable influence on both the industrial noise and industrial dance scenes. A 1981 break with founding member Chris Watson saw the band turn away from difficult-but-rewarding noise to embrace New Wave accessibility. Remaining original members Stephen Mallinder and Richard Kirk continued to make excellent records through 1985, but by 1987’s Code the band had been far surpassed by its own imitators, and soon they’d be nakedly trying to retain relevance by glomming on to acid house. Watson went on to work as a recording engineer and make strange music with the wonderful Hafler Trio, a project that long remained as archly experimental and fascinating as CV were in the beginning.

But before Watson left, and while CV were still about utter disregard for pop norms, they recorded a warped and delirious version of Isaac Hayes’ theme song from the film Shaft. Session details aren’t easy to come by, but it was recorded sometime during the Voice of America/Red Mecca era, 1980/81ish. It wasn’t released until 1988s excellent Eight Crepuscule Tracks compilation, which collected early CV work recorded for the Les Disques du Crépuscule label (“Twilight Records,” roughly), a still-extant Belgian imprint once associated with Factory Benelux.

The song indulges in some cheeky humor not typically associated with the often rather grim early industrial scene. It’s almost entirely built on samples, looping the song’s distinctive guitar intro, horn, and flute themes for just about ever, and piling snatches of film dialogue atop that bed, forecasting by almost a decade the short-lived House fad for novelty tracks built on movie dialogue samples. The result is at once ominous and darkly comical.

The remake was later included on the 1991 album Moving Soundtracks Volume 1, a terrific Crépuscule compilation of film music covers made by its associated artists. It’s hard to come by; the easier-to-find 2008 reissue, disappointingly, does not include “Theme from Shaft.”

For your enjoyment, Isaac Hayes’ indelible original after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Finally, a robot to replace the Whitney Houston-sized hole in our hearts
11:47 am



Multi-talented musician, designer, and hacker Martin Backes from Germany has designed a robot to croon a pop ballad like a superstar from the ‘90s. As Backes writes,

“What do machines sing of?” is a fully automated machine, which endlessly sings number-one ballads from the 1990s. As the computer program performs these emotionally loaded songs, it attempts to apply the appropriate human sentiments. This behavior of the device seems to reflect a desire, on the part of the machine, to become sophisticated enough to have its very own personality.

In comments, Backes explained that the sounds were generated by digital signal processing, or DSP: “the sound is generated by the real time synthesis language called SuperCollider, same for the Visuals, so you have to write code. There`s almost no Audio FX or something like this, its basically a sine wave, the most artificial sound.” You can find out more about the device on Backes’ website.

The results are strangely impressive; even if the enunciation of the words isn’t always ideal, at least in the case of Whitney Houston’s version of “I Will Always Love You,” the computer does a good job of matching her vocal range and expression.

Unfortunately, the robot’s repertoire consists of only five songs:

Whitney Houston, “I Will Always Love You”
R. Kelly, “I Believe I Can Fly”
Toni Braxton, “Un-Break My Heart”
Bryan Adams, “Everything I Do, I Do It For You”
Celine Dion, “My Heart Will Go On”

Below, you can watch a demonstration video for “What do machines sing of?”:

via Das Kraftfuttermischwerk

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Man drumming on plastic pipes wows crowd with Depeche Mode’s ‘Just Can’t Get Enough’ and ‘Popcorn’
10:34 am



Here’s a video of one-man-band street performer located in Buenos Aires, Argentina flawlessly playing his homemade didgeridoo meets plastic pipe drums kit for an unusual rendition of Depeche Mode’s classic “Just Can’t Get Enough.” And then he plays something that sounds like Hot Butter’s “Popcorn” meets Grieg’s “In the Hall of the Mountain King” meets “Swamp Thing” by The Grid???

This dude is deep.

via WFMU on Twitter

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Watch this meticulously edited ‘Star Trek’ fan video for William Shatner’s awesome Pulp cover
10:08 am



In 2004, Ben Folds produced William Shatner’s album Has Been which included a surprisingly great cover version of Pulp‘s hit song “Common People.” Folds enlisted ‘80s icon Joe Jackson to sing on the choruses of that cover. The Has Been album was surprisingly well received by critics, and many agreed that “Common People” was the “hit” on that record.

Pulp’s Jarvis Cocker even praised the cover version, stating, “I was very flattered by that because I was a massive Star Trek fan as a kid and so you know, Captain Kirk is singing my song! So that was amazing.”

A fan has created a video for Shatner’s “Common People” using clips from Star Trek: The Original Series.

What makes this edit truly incredible is the attention to detail in matching shots with the lyrical content, even nailing specific lines of the song to lines spoken by Kirk in the show. Check twenty-seven seconds in where “I want to live,” or forty-seven seconds in where “I’ll see what I can do” sync perfectly.  The amount of work that went into this is apparent and astounding.

You can’t say Trekkies aren’t a dedicated lot.

This is totally worth four minutes your time:

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
This short 1976 Rolling Stones documentary captures the band at their most ‘Spinal Tap’
10:06 am



“What’s wrong with being sexy?”

In a 1995 interview with Rolling Stone, Mick Jagger admitted that Their Satanic Majesties Request wasn’t a particularly good album. Interviewer Jann Wenner actually compared it to Spinal Tap, and perhaps unable to deny the resemblance to “Listen to the Flower People,” Jagger answered, “Really, I know.”

However the hippie-dippy experimentation of 60s Stones is in no way their most Spinal Tap era—that would be the mid-70s. In 1975 Jagger would ride a giant inflatable phallus onstage. In ‘76, they released Black and Blue with the very Smell the Glove-reminiscent advertisement you see above; the feminist group Women Against Violence Against Women protested until it was removed from the Sunset Boulevard billboard it adorned. The tour that promoted Black and Blue was a singularly debauched affair, complete with elaborate riders and highly specific luxury travel demands.

This 1976 mini-doc is a great record of the period, with footage of the band, crew and adoring fans. Highlights include a crew member trying to explain the inflatable pee-pee stage design; watching Mick and Bianca taking pulls off a champagne bottle celebrating their fifth wedding anniversary; a short Keith Richards makeup tutorial, and a surprisingly candid Charlie Watts reflecting on his ambivalence towards fame. There is a tension to the film. A fan made the Beatles/Stones comparison, despite the Beatles being long gone at this point, and the the interviewer actually questioned the band on a final album.

If he only knew…

Via Network Awesome

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
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