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‘Follow the Sun’: FM radio-perpetrated pop fodder from 1970s Australia
03.21.2017
11:50 am

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Music

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When Anthology Recordings’s ace publicist Jess Rotter asked me if we wanted to premiere something from the label’s upcoming Australian 70s folk-rock compilation Follow the Sun even before I heard it I pretty much knew from the description alone that it was something I was probably going to like. I’m always looking for something new to listen to and this sounded like “it” to me. An Australian 70s folk-rock compilation? Yes, please, count me the fuck in…

Follow The Sun was compiled by Mikey Young (Total Control, Eddy Current Suppression Ring) and Keith Abrahamsson (Founder / Head of A&R at Anthology Recordings and Mexican Summer). The album is a survey—twenty cuts—of the golden age of 70s FM “soft rock” by acts who were (mostly) unknown outside of Australia, if they were even known there.

Independent labels and recording studios proliferated across Australia during the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, while major labels simultaneously scoured the furthest reaching corners of the continent to foster new approaches in making music. With both indies and majors ultimately compelled to uncover the almighty single, the fringe was frequently explored for “crossover” sounds. This engendered a creative freedom amongst artists that mirrored the open-ended mood of the times. Anything was possible.

Follow The Sun does not represent those Australian acts who produced a number one single leading to international fame and fortune. Some of the artists on the compilation never even made the local hit parade. But the fact that many of these artists didn’t enjoy chart success is secondary; these artists represent the consciousness of their time. As radio-perpetrated pop fodder trodding the middle ground to ensure maximum advertising, the artists on this album chronicled the times in their own unique ways. [Emphasis added]

If that last sentence isn’t the single best thing I’ve read in a music industry press release all year, then I don’t know what would be… It oddly makes you want to hear it even more, right? Worked for me!

More after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘Show Me Your Soul’: Amazing ‘Soul Train’ documentary from French television
03.21.2017
09:24 am

Topics:
Dance
Music
Pop Culture

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Show Me Your Soul: The Soul Train Years is a 2013 documentary produced for French television by filmmaker Pascal Forneri (who also directed the critically-acclaimed 2010 documentary Gainsbourg & his Girls). It uses wonderful rare footage, archival photographs, and brand new interviews to take the very first in-depth look at the history of Soul Train. Forneri not only highlights the amazing soul and R&B artists who performed on the program over its 35 year, 1,100 episode run, but also the real stars of the show: the in-studio dancers who would set the standard for future generations of contemporary urban dance.
 

 
Several recurring Soul Train dancers are spotlighted in this documentary who provide a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at how the show came together. Most of the dancers were not professionally trained, they would spend hundreds of dollars out of their own pockets to fly themselves out to Hollywood from cities all over the U.S. to be on the show. Those determined few who didn’t make the cut at the audition would sneak themselves onto the studio lot by any means necessary: including one dancer who got onto the set by hiding himself in the trunk of a car. As the show’s popularity in American households increased, so did the dancer’s popularity: week after week they’d try to outdo one another. First by their dance moves which became more and more wild, then by their fashion choices. Some dancers were so eager to get in front of the camera that they started bringing in props (a man known as “Mr. X” became famous for his dance routine that included a large, oversized toothbrush). Dancers began getting recognized on the streets of their home cities as if they were veritable celebrities.
 

 
Visionary host Don Cornelius always stated that Soul Train was a home for soul artists regardless of their race, and featured a long list of white artists who appealed to black audiences: Gino Vannelli, David Bowie, Beastie Boys, Elton John, Teena Marie, Hall & Oates, Pet Shop Boys, and Spandau Ballet were amongst the many white artists who appeared on the program over the years. As music trends slowly began to change, Don Cornelius struggled to keep Soul Train true to his original vision. When disco went mainstream, Cornelius made sure the show focused on only the most soulful disco artists that were being played on the radio. When rap music went commercial, however, Cornelius could not hide his contempt for the genre and made it very clear from the beginning that he wouldn’t get behind hip hop. Forneri documents this well, showing footage of Cornelius hanging his head in disgust following a performance by Public Enemy. As he slowly approaches Chuck D. and Flavor Fav for an interview he begins with a very long pause, and then exclaims, “That was frightening.” In the middle of a Kurtis Blow interview, Cornelius awkwardly admits on television “It’s so much fun, I mean, it doesn’t make sense to old guys like me. I don’t understand why they love it so much but that ain’t my job is it? My job is to deal with it and we’re dealing with it,” which was followed by uncomfortable laughter from the studio audience.
 
Watch ‘Show Me Your Soul: The Soul Train Years’ after the jump…

Posted by Doug Jones | Leave a comment
Could this be the earliest live concert footage ever shot of Judas Priest?
03.21.2017
09:05 am

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Music

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An early shot of Judas Priest before all the leather and studs.
 
The answer to that question is quite possibly, yes. The vintage footage posted below features Judas Priest in action at the Reading Festival in 1975 and was shot with a Super 8 camera.

In 1975 Priest joined the surreal lineup of Hawkwind; UFO; Lou Reed; Thin Lizzy; Soft Machine, and Yes among others at the three-day festival. The band was still sort of under the radar after the release of their 1974 debut Rocka Rolla produced by Rodger Bain, who’d also produced the first three albums by Black Sabbath. Despite Bain’s groundbreaking success with Sabbath, his heavy metal magic didn’t necessarily cast the same spell for Priest on Rocka Rolla which the band recorded live at Olympic Studios in London. During this time the group was still playing small rock clubs and were struggling quite literally just to find money for food.

According to Rob Halford, things were so bad that Gull Records (their label at the time) handed out food tickets to the formative Birmingham band to use at a local cafeteria which truly gives perspective to the hard-luck notion that rock ‘n’ roll don’t pay. Here’s a little more from Mr. Halford on those early days and his thoughts on their first album which ended up being a flop, from author Steve Gett’s 1984 biography of the band HEAVY DUTY:

It simply wasn’t Priest. We allowed ourselves to be influenced and maneuvered by people who suggested that it would probably open up more of a market for the band because we wouldn’t immediately be stigmatized as a heavy metal group. In actual fact, it probably did us more harm than good.

More after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Bitchier than any bitch: The Satanic French twin sisters sex rap of Orties
03.20.2017
10:50 am

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Movies
Music

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The bloodiest, most unsettling coming of age film since Ginger Snaps, Julia Ducournau’s Raw is lithe and feral body horror that turns budding teenage sexuality into a lawless apocalypse of teeth, claws, and gnawing, unholy hunger. Already a legend due to reports of moviegoers vomiting or fainting during viewings, this low-budget, high-impact French film repulses and titillates in equal measure, an authentically visceral cinematic experience. 
 

 
One of Raw’s many highlights is the soundtrack, a throbbing, neon-soaked collection of late-night club bangers, cutting-edge indie rockers and a grinding synth score by Jim Williams. The most audacious track is clearly Orties’  2013 hit “Plus Pute Que Toutes Les Putes” (“Bitchier than Any Bitches”), a snotty acid-rapper with alarming lyrics about murder (“I’m gonna drown you in my pool/I would eat your bones”), necrophilia (“I have sex with the dead/Pussy, I prefer you stiff and cold/Then you’re less of a chatterbox”), and good ol’ fashioned Satanism (“The king of darkness is in my heart/I’m sick of 69, I just want 666”).

Pretty goddamn edgy, especially when you consider it’s the work of two teenage sisters.
 

Kincy and Antha, the ghetto-goth rappers of your darkest nightmares
 
Orties was formed in a Paris suburb in 2010 by twins Kincy and Antha, who may or may not have been fifteen at the time. Misdirection is an important part of this whole operation. Anyway, they released their first album, Sextape, in 2013. They’re topless on the cover, and most of the songs are about cocaine, sodomy, and cannibalism, except for “Ghetto Goth,” which is about their pre-rap death-rock days. It’s obviously one of the greatest albums ever made.

Their most recent single, 2016’s “SEXEDROGUEHORREUR,” is less menacing than usual, but I’m sure they’ll be back in black any minute now. A new album is in the works. It will doubtless be a monster.  If anything’s gonna kill rock n’ roll once and for all, it’s gonna be French twin sister Satanic sex rappers.
 

“Plus Pute Que Toutes Les Putes” (“Bitchier than Any Bitches”)
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Ken McIntyre | Leave a comment
Lou Reed and John Cale seize control of WPIX radio in NYC, 1979
03.20.2017
09:02 am

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Music

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Photo by Kate Simon.
 
One chilly day in January 1979, Lou Reed and John Cale visited the music station WPIX in New York City, Reed to serve as “guest disk jockey” for a stretch or so and Cale to play some songs from his live repertoire. Reed had released his live album Take No Prisoners a couple of months earlier. Cale hadn’t released a studio album since 1975, with only the compilation Guts in between, and his live album Sabotage/Live wouldn’t come out until the end of the year.

Reed arrives at the studio first and has the air to himself for a little while before Cale shows up to play his songs. It isn’t accurate to say that Reed is in a bad mood—he’s perfectly jovial and praises WPIX fulsomely—but he is simply taking no shit, very opinionated about all manner of subject, and boy, does he not like music critics, particularly Robert Christgau and John Rockwell, two prominent New York critics.

Reed fans will recall that on the very, very rambling version of “Walk on the Wild Side” found on Take No Prisoners, recorded eight months earlier, Reed complains about—guess who—Rockwell and Christgau: “Imagine working for a fuckin’ year and you got a B+ from an asshole in the Village Voice?” grouses Reed on that album. On WPIX that day, Reed is still pissed off about the music press. “It’s very sick, perverse world in the land of journalism,” he says, and later gripes about receiving a C- from Christgau (who never actually gave any Reed album a score that low but whatevs). 

Later on Reed says, “A bad review from Rolling Stone is proof to me that I’m still alive.”

During the show Reed actually takes calls from listeners—and seems to enjoy it quite a bit. There’s a great moment early on when a caller accidentally says the word “shit” and Lou has to set him straight.

Towards the end John Cale arrives and plays three songs. First up is “Jack The Ripper at the Moulin Rouge,” which was supposed to be released as a single in 1978 but never was; you can find it on Seducing Down the Door. Then Cale plays “Evidence,” best known from Sabotage/Live, and “Leaving It Up To You,” off of Helen of Troy.
 
Listen after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Ann Magnuson’s open letter regarding her ‘Open Letter to an Open Letter’
03.17.2017
12:23 pm

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Current Events
Idiocracy
Media
Music

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Photo by Austin Young. Styling by Squeaky Blonde. Make-up by MAC

This is a guest post from Ann Magnuson.

Initially, “Open Letter to an Open Letter” was written as a Facebook post, a goofy riff on the somewhat futile nature of ranting on the Internet. I wrote it after reading Sinead O’Connor’s “Open Letter to Miley Cyrus” where the former was chastising the latter for slutty twerking on the 2013 Grammys. I thought well, she makes some valid points but is this really helping anything? Then I thought, you know the real culprit is the Beast that feeds on all our infighting; the clickbait monster that every media site has turned into which has transformed the whole system into “a vortex that can never be filled”!

When I started recording my recent album Dream Girl I decided to include “Open Letter,” but then it didn’t really fit on the finished product so I decided to release it later as a separate track. I wanted to bring the “Open Letter” words to musical life and create an epic track that was in the spirit of “Folk Song” (initially written for one of my one-woman shows, and then ended up on the Bongwater album The Power of Pussy).

For the recording, I was partly inspired by Gil Scott-Heron’s “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” as well as by Ken Nordine and a host of other spoken word pieces from the psychedelic past. I recorded the whole thing in one take and then added embellishments later, mostly with my engineer Mark Wheaton at the Echo Park studio CATASONIC. My drummer Joe Berardi provided percussion and various sound effects and The Millionaire (Michael Cudahy) from Combustible Edison did the orchestrations and guitar work.

In the three years since the piece was written the mad chatter on the Internet has become so voluminous, so unhinged, so ugly and combative that there can be no doubt that we really are in the midst of a Civil War. And that battlefield is getting really bloody. The longer it goes on and the crazier it gets the vast void everyone is screaming into feels vaster than ever. While there are so many great things about the Internet (baby goat videos for example) it’s brought out the worst aspects of humanity. So much so that we’ve elected an Internet troll as our President!

Every time I look at the news I start singing the “Open Letter” chorus: “Seriously WTF?!” Has that become the new E Pluribus Unum? #sad

I just may have to agree with blogger Mark Manson who says, “Everything is Fucked and I’m Pretty Sure It’s the Internet’s Fault

I do think the Internet has changed our brain chemistry and not for the best. There is no denying the Internet has changed the zeitgeist. It IS the zeitgeist.

The way “Folk Song” (and a lot of the Bongwater stuff) riffed on the zeitgeist of the Reagan/Bush years, “Open Letter” riffs on today. Particularly as it relates to women - though the current madness is gender-neutral, and bi-partisan to boot!

If there is one thing that everyone can agree on it’s “SERIOUSLY WTF?!”

Love,

Ann

Hear “Open Letter to an Open Letter” after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
There’s a Misfits dress for $38
03.17.2017
11:42 am

Topics:
Amusing
Fashion
Music

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Green
 
Why in the world this Misfits dress doesn’t come in black and white is beyond me. But it doesn’t. You have a choice of hot pink, green or purple. According to the description it’s officially licensed featuring the skull on front of the dress and the word “Misfits” on the back of the dress.

Now I can’t vouch for the quality as I do not own one. There is one review with five stars that says, “Fat [sic] shipping. Best friend loves it!”

It’s 95% cotton and 5% spandex. You can get it here.


Pink
 

Purple
 
via Boing Boing

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
How to make an acid house classic: British doc looks at the business of Happy Mondays’ ‘Bummed’
03.17.2017
11:24 am

Topics:
Music
Television

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In 1993 Steve Albini published a memorable screed with the title “The Problem with Music,” in which he detailed—in excruciating detail—how the economics of making money off of music make it very likely that the average band just trying to put out some records is going to get the shit exploited out of them. Five years earlier, Factory Records released the Happy Mondays’ second album Bummed, which was the band’s first real breakthrough, and the Granada TV show Information Technology in the U.K. released an episode depicting, in a far gentler register than Albini’s testimony, the business decisions that went into what proved to be one of the touchstones of acid house culture.

The documentary, which lasts about 20 minutes, takes us—most obliquely—through three “Decisions,” those being “Recording Budget,” “Promotion Budget,” and “How Many to Make.” The strategy the filmmakers adopt is mostly fly-on-the-wall, so viewers have to glean information as best they can.

The affable Tony Wilson is our guide through some of the process, during which we see Tony Michaelides, Factory head of PR, grumbling about Shaun Ryder and Co. failing to appear for a radio interview; the esteemed producer Martin Hannett twiddling knobs at a console while the band lays down tracks; and manager Nathan McGough patiently explaining that Happy Mondays are worth the trouble even though they are a pain in the ass.
 

 
We also see the band and their friends at Central Station Design deciding on the album artwork as well as what the first single should be. (It was “Wrote for Luck.”)

The program unfortunately does not show what had to have been an extremely interesting conversation, specifically what the inner sleeve of the album would look like.

So many music documentaries stress the extraordinary nature of the subjects, how sexy and cool and talented they are—it’s quite refreshing to see the other side of it, band as cog in a system fulfilling a specific economic role.

Get Happy after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Laibach’s opening act: a man chopping wood with an axe
03.17.2017
08:40 am

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Music

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“The earliest Laibach texts suggested a degree of deindividualization and subordination so total and absolute as to make even the North Korean system seem lax and individualistic,” Alexei Monroe wrote in his 2005 study of Laibach and NSK, Interrogation Machine. They can’t be accused of watering it down. A decade after Monroe published his book, when Laibach became the first Western group ever to perform in North Korea, state censors made them cut their set by half.

I used to think the most inspired use of the opening-act slot had been Wire booking the Ex-Lion Tamers to play all of their debut, Pink Flag, so they wouldn’t have to. But I now believe Laibach did it best. Warming up the crowd at some of Laibach’s mid-eighties shows was a man chopping wood with an axe.

(Not “competitive woodchopping.” One person chopping wood is not a sport, just necessary labor.)
 

via Laibach WTC
 
The laibach.org bio confirms that on their first UK tour, the group “bemus[ed] audiences by using antlers, flags, and a man chopping wood on their stage.” Monroe places the woodchopper in the context of the other alienating “effects” Laibach creates before their shows, and of their pseudo-totalitarian iconography:

Before Laibach take the stage, some form of introductory effect is used to build an atmosphere—for instance, the playing of some German Schlager songs or Strauss waltzes. In earlier times, however, far more elaborate and conceptual effects were used to prepare the audience for Laibach. One particularly alarming method was to play tapes of barking dogs or loud noise. The turning of powerful lights on the audience (a technique pioneered by Throbbing Gristle) and the sounds created a threatening, interrogatory atmosphere intended to destabilize and excite the audience, instilling anticipation and a sense of approaching menace. At other shows Laibach were preceded by a uniformed figure chopping wood on stage. This had archaic-völkisch associations, and perpetuated the NSK axe motif (from Heartfield and the NSK logo).

More after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
‘F*ck You All’: 1998 interview with the great Glen E. Friedman
03.16.2017
03:10 pm

Topics:
Art
Music

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The achievements of Glen E. Friedman are, in a word, staggering. Between the mid-1970s and the late 1980s he emerged as the defining photographer of three distinct, related, and very important subcultures—the skateboarding scene of Dogtown in southern California, the hardcore scenes of L.A., D.C., and elsewhere, and the rap scene of NYC.

The hardcore and rap scenes of the early 1980s had some overlaps, as evidenced by the careers of Beastie Boys and Rick Rubin, for instance, but it wasn’t common for photographers to be so at home in both worlds during that time. It’s tempting to find refuge in the insecure hidey hole of saying how “easy” it would be to take these pictures if only you had been on the scene, but it was the overpowering passion of Friedman that caused him to seek out and find a place there. The truth is that it wasn’t “easy” at all, as evidenced by the fact that he was the only person to accumulate a portfolio of this range and quality.

In the mid-1990s he published his first book of pictures, called Fuck You Heroes, an overview of the first 15 years of his career, and also put together a traveling exhibition. In 1998 that show went to Rome, under the title Fuck You All, and while he was there an Italian film crew put together a stimulating documentary structured around a lengthy interview, under the obvious title of Fanculo a Tutti, which is Italian for “Fuck You All.”

In the film he explains why this phrase “Fuck You” is so important to him. The act of saying “Fuck you, I don’t care, fuck you” is actually integral to creating art that is compelling and dangerous in a cultural and oftentimes political sense. As he says, his subjects are “heroes because they say ‘Fuck You’. ... They’re people who say ‘Fuck You’ and they’re heroes because of it.”

Amen.

My favorite bit is when he brings in a nearby tradesperson to punctuate a point he is making about the importance of hard work in getting things just right.

Friedman’s been a friend of the website for many years now—we love his work as well as his outspoken blog What the Fuck Have You Done? (which often features posts from DM as well). His other books include My Rules, Fuck You Too, and The Idealist: In My Eyes 25 Years.
 

Dogtown
 

Jello Biafra
 
More GEF images, and the ‘Fanculo a Tutti’ documentary after the jump….....
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
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