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Henry Rollins reads Dr. Seuss
06.17.2016
02:43 pm

Topics:
Books
Literature
Music

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Dr. Seuss’ Oh, the Places You’ll Go! has become the traditional graduation gift of our generation. It’s June, and people are graduating, so Funny or Die decided to enlist everyone’s favorite hardcore hunk, Henry Rollins, to sit a spell and read from the beloved volume.

Henry’s more of a literary figure than you might realize—he’s been publishing books for years on his 2.13.61 imprint—personally, I’d like to see a Dr. Seuss treatment of Pissing in the Gene Pool.......
 

Nice kid. Can we get an Einstürzende Neubauten homunculus on there?
 
Fortunately, it turns out that this isn’t just Rollins “reading” Seuss, it’s Rollins “reading and deconstructing” Seuss, which means that the video consists less of Theodore Geisel’s winsome versifying and much more of Rollins’ fervent crabbing about the silly-ass text.

And we’re all for that! Click and enjoy.
 
Henry Rollins Reads Dr. Seuss

 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘I Don’t Wanna Grow Up’: Comix god Daniel Clowes’ cartoony video for the Ramones’ Tom Waits cover
06.17.2016
11:03 am

Topics:
Animation
Art
Music
Punk

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On a recent episode of WTF, Marc Maron had an expansive chat with the renowned comix artist Daniel Clowes, the mind responsible for Eightball, Ghost World, Wilson, and the 2016 release Patience.

I learned a lot I didn’t know about Clowes—I hadn’t realized, for instance, that as a Pratt student who was born in 1961, Clowes was actually bouncing around New York City the same time that Blondie, Lydia Lunch etc. were making Manhattan such a vital artistic locale.

Clowes’ unbridled hostility towards the hippies that came before him and their arena-ready rock and roll (think Led Zeppelin) actually made him an ideal audience for the seething musical forms percolating right around that time. As he told Maron, “I was like the guy punk was made for, because it was destructive of all the stuff I hated.” And of all the punk bands in the world to choose from, one stood out:
 

Maron: Do you remember the first punk record [you bought]?
Clowes: It was the first Ramones record. ... The trouble was, that’s still my favorite one. Like, I never found anything I liked as much as that. I spent like five years like, OK, there’s gonna be another one—No, they were the best, and nobody else came close to that.


 
Clowes saw the Ramones play at Irving Plaza after they’d gotten a little too big for CBGB—most likely the March 4, 1980, show.

Fast-forward to the mid-1990s. The Ramones were putting out ¡Adios Amigos!, which would be their last studio album, and Clowes was a well-known figure in the comix scene who had released Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron a couple of years earlier. The single for the album was a cover of a Tom Waits song off of 1992’s Bone Machine called “I Don’t Wanna Grow Up.”
 

 
If the video hadn’t been for Clowes’ favorite band, he probably wouldn’t have considered the sacrifices he had to make in order to finish the project. Clowes told the AV Club in 2008:
 

I got the phone call about that project on the first of June 1995, and it was on TV the first of July. It was a month from knowing about it to it being so done it was on TV. It was insane. I would stay up all night drawing pictures for it. At 6 in the morning, this bleary-eyed messenger would come to my door and pick up the latest drawings, take them to an animation studio in Mill Valley, and then come back later and pick up more. I had to postpone my wedding to do that.

The greatest moment of my life was, somebody sent me a cable-access show from Chicago that had Joey Ramone on it showing that video. And he was talking about, like, [imitates Queens accent] “This guy Dan Clowes postponed his wedding for us. He’s a great guy.”

 
Check out the video after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Behind the scenes of ‘Dopethrone’: Electric Wizard demonstrates how to smoke weed
06.17.2016
08:28 am

Topics:
Drugs
Music

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Now playing on YouTube: camcorder footage from the sessions for Electric Wizard’s latter-day doom metal classic Dopethrone.

Over the last month, user Rolphonse has uploaded about fifteen minutes of video shot at Chuckalumba Studios around May and June of 2000. In addition to very raw clips of the band tracking “Funeralopolis,” “We Hate You,” and “Barbarian,” there’s a kind of instructional video with singer and guitarist Jus Oborn showing you “how to build one properly,” i.e. how to fill the bowl of a cheap, plastic bong with cannabis and light it on fire.
 

Promotional Electric Wizard rolling papers from 2014’s Time to Die
 
None of this makes an ideal introduction to the band—for that, get Come My Fanatics or Dopethrone and play it very loud—and only Amish youth on Rumspringa stand to learn anything of value from Oborn’s bong demonstration. (More than anything, it reminds me of the SCTV sketch “Mr. Science,” in which John Candy’s character Johnny LaRue, rudely awoken by a student following an evening’s debauch, gives a lesson in combustion by lighting a cigarette.) But Wizard fans will be jazzed by the existence of this footage and relieved no one’s dangling it as a bonus DVD in a pricey reissue package.

Read reading after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
Frank Zappa performs all of ‘Don’t Eat the Yellow Snow’ live in 1978
06.16.2016
04:46 pm

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Music

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Don’t Eat The Yellow Snow’ Zappa Utility Muffins complete with ‘deadly yellow snow crystals’

The juvenile humor that crept into Frank Zappa’s work from the early 70s onward is difficult for me to defend. Even as an admitted Zappa freak, I tend to steer clear of anything not mostly instrumental after a certain point. It was an obvious decision that Frank Zappa made, not only as an artist, but as a businessman and a touring bandleader operating his own record label, to go there with the silly, goofy sexual and scatological subject matter that would endear him to pimply-faced teenage boys the world over, and sell more records and concert tickets to be sure, but most of it just makes me wince.

I’ve heard a tape of Genesis P-Orridge and a music journalist named Sandy Robertson interviewing Zappa in a London hotel around the time that Zoot Allures came out. Genesis pursues a (polite) line of questioning about Zappa’s “old style” with the more “serious” sound of the original Mothers evolving into the “comedy” material of the 70s around the time of Over-Nite Sensation and Roxy & Elsewhere and gets a flat-out denial from Zappa that there was ever any change whatsoever in his work, which is obviously just not true.
 

 
Nevertheless, there were still some pretty incredible gems he was turning out, like the Raymond Scott-esque song suite that takes up side one of Apostrophe (’), beginning with “Don’t Eat the Yellow Snow.” Yes, it’s about “doggie wee-wee” and a leprechaun who is masturbating into a sock, but Zappa does the cartoon music thing really, really well—helped out immensely by his percussionist Ruth Underwood on marimba and trombonist Bruce Fowler—and this material was super well-recorded, so on a good stereo, certain things really jump out at you.

When Apostrophe (’) came out in 1974 a disc jockey in Pittsburgh made an edited version of “Don’t Eat the Yellow Snow” and “Nanook Rubs It” and the song became a local hit. Zappa liked the idea and made his own edit, incorporating a part of the third number, “St. Alfonzo’s Pancake Breakfast.” It reached #86 on the Billboard singles chart and Apostrophe (’) became his biggest commercial success, hitting the top ten in the US for the only time in his career.

More “yellow snow” after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
DJ Johnny Rotten plays music from his own record collection on the radio, 1977
06.16.2016
03:15 pm

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Music

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“All the music that you will hear has been chosen by Johnny Rotten and is from his personal collection.” Thus begins a singular trip down radio history.

On July 16, 1977, the reigning target of ten thousand angry establishment “leaders”—Americans call them editorials—and the frontman for the Sex Pistols spent a couple of hours on Tommy Vance’s program on Capital Radio. It was a pivotal appearance for Johnny Rotten Lydon—in addition to being one of the first signs of a serious rift between Lydon and Malcolm McLaren, it has been argued that the incident represented the first true appearance of “John Lydon” to the public, a name that music fans would come to know extremely well in the decades to follow.

On the program, Lydon revealed himself to be an articulate spokesman for his ideals as well as a young man with uncommonly good taste. And he was only 20 years old! What were you listening to when you were 20? (Shit, maybe you are 20….) So much of the music here is today staples of a venue like Dangerous Minds. You’ve got your Beefheart, your Can, your Lou Reed and Nico and John Cale (er, playing separately), there’s Bowie and Neil Young and oodles of excellent ska….

Here’s Jon Savage in England’s Dreaming on the fallout between McLaren and Lydon:
 

Glitterbest [McLaren’s company] were even more furious when Capital Radio’s Tommy Vance show was broadcast on the 16th. Lydon had obviously had enough of McLaren’s public control and now made his own power move: “It’s fashionable to believe that Malcolm McLaren dictates to us but that’s just not true. What really amuses me about Malcolm is the way they say he controls the press: media manipulator. The point of it all is that he did nothing: he just sat back and let them garble out their own rubbish.”

Even worse for Glitterbest was the way in which “Johnny Rotten” came across: according to the Sunday Times, “a mild-mannered liberal chap with a streets of Islington accent.” Lydon had had enough of being dehumanized: just as earlier he had irritated McLaren by turning up to a photo session dressed as a Teddy Boy, he now chose records for the show by Neil Young, Peter Hamill, Doctor Alimentado and Captain Beefheart—McLaren still splutters about this one. “I like all sorts of music,” Lydon said disarmingly.

The interview—reported verbatim in the music press—enabled a wider audience to relate to Lydon and put him within some sort of recognizable Rock context. This was exactly what Glitterbest wanted least: McLaren had a Year-Zero approach to pop culture which, as the script he was working on displayed, was hardening. For him and for Reid, this was a “shit” interview, because it established Lydon as a “man of taste,” and thus “lost his and the band’s threat.”

 
It’s a little bit difficult getting a clean recording of this. There are two YouTube videos that present the first hour or so, and there’s a Soundcloud mix that presents almost all of it but is missing parts. The best tracklisting available, which I’m presenting here, also happens to be missing information (for instance, it seems that the Sex Pistols’ “Did You No Wrong” was played after Neil Young’s “Revolution Blues” and before Lou Reed’s “Men of Good Fortune”), but it’s still an excellent summation of what Lydon played.
 

Track listing:
Tim Buckley – Sweet Surrender
The Creation – Life Is Just Beginning
David Bowie – Rebel Rebel
Jig a Jig
Augustus Pablo – King Tubby Meets The Rockers Uptown
Gary Glitter – Doing Alright With The Boys
Fred Locks – Walls
Vivian Jackson and the Prophets – Fire in a Kingston
Culture – I’m Not Ashamed
Dr Alimantado & The Rebels – Born For A Purpose
Bobby Byrd – Back From The Dead
Neil Young – Revolution Blues
Lou Reed – Men Of Good Fortune
Kevin Coyne – Eastbourne Ladies
Peter Hammill – The Institute Of Mental Health, Burning
Peter Hammill – Nobody’s Business
Makka Bees – Nation Fiddler / Fire!
Captain Beefheart – The Blimp
Nico – Janitor Of Lunacy
Ken Boothe – Is It Because I’m Black
John Cale – Legs Larry At Television Centre
Third Ear Band – Fleance
Can – Halleluwah
Peter Tosh – Legalise It

 
Here are the two YouTube videos, followed by the Soundcloud playlist:
 

 

 

 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
…And here’s that amazing klezmer cover of Kraftwerk you needed in your life
06.16.2016
10:16 am

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Music

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Has any other Kraftwerk song been covered as often as The Man Machine’s durably popular “The Model?” Off the top of my head, I know a handful of ukulele versions, a few arrangements for string quartet, and versions by high-profile alt-type bands like Rammstein (awful) and the Cardigans (wonderful). Then there’s the notoriously noisy version on Big Black’s swan song Songs About Fucking, and even a third-wave ska version (awful because third-wave ska).

Despite synth music’s enduring reputation for coldness and sterility, the themes in “The Model” are downright wistful; its melodies recall the mournful strains shared by Europe’s Jewish and Roma musics, which could explain why the song is such a great fit for groups with violins and clarinets. But it’s the song’s simple and abiding charm that accounts for how well it seems to work in literally every genre, from opposite-of-Kraftwerky garage rock primitivism to slick, frosty techno.
 
Keep reading after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
HUH? Kirsten Dunst made a sexy cover of the Vapors’ ‘Turning Japanese’
06.16.2016
09:36 am

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Art
Music
Sex

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At the “Pop Life: Art in a Material World” exhibition that ran at London’s Tate Modern in 2009, there appeared an unusual video in which a major movie star vamped and pouted in the middle of a busy Tokyo thoroughfare while singing the Vapors’ surprise 1980 hit “Turning Japanese.” (You have probably heard the song on the radio countless times if you don’t also recall its use in comedy classics like Sixteen Candles and Romy & Michelle’s High School Reunion.)

The video showcased Kirsten Dunst, a multi-million-dollar Hollywood star best known for her appearances in the Tobey Maguire Spider-Man franchise. It was directed by McG (Charlie’s Angels, Terminator 4: Salvation) and produced by prolific Japanese pop artist Takashi Murakami, whose signature “superflat” style involves heavy use of turbo-sexualized images of women dressed up as little girls and women with exaggerated cleavage. Basically, Murakami’s work is like an overdose on the saccharine and cartoonish side of Japanese sexuality.
 

Murakami and Dunst cavort during the video shoot
 
True to form, in the video Dunst is wearing a neon blue wig, pink high heels, and revealing blue tights and is toting a parasol worthy of Penelope Pitstop herself. The video was shot in the hectic boulevards of Akihabara, a crowded and pulsating shopping neighborhood in Tokyo where electronics and video games are available.

As McG said at the time,
 

What made us select Akihabara for the filmis that it is a unique expression of Japanese culture that’s not derivative of an American domination. Of course you flip it by getting a very Anglo woman to play the part of the magical princess.

 
Watch the video after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
The Beach Boys’ eleven-minute disco atrocity from 1979 will take you straight to Hell
06.16.2016
08:24 am

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Dance
Music

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While Brian Wilson and Al Jardine are touring the world in celebration of Pet Sounds’ 50th anniversary, it might be instructive to compare the Beach Boys’ masterpiece, not with their contemporaries’ achievements, but with the band’s own creative nadir.

Of course I’m talking about 1979’s interminable disco odyssey “Here Comes the Night.” If only an actual sunset lasted so long. Not to be confused with Bert Berns’ “Here Comes the Night,” made famous by Them and covered on Bowie’s Pin Ups, the Beach Boys’ “Here Comes the Night” first appeared on 1967’s “white soul” album Wild Honey. The three-minute original remains a lovely, if minor, Brian Wilson composition, its chords marked by the uncanny stink of divinity.

For their 1979 debut on Caribou Records, the Beach Boys took a page out of their former collaborator Charles Manson’s book, dismembering the song, painting the walls with its blood and sticking a fork in its belly. If you think I’m exaggerating, go ahead and push “play” at the bottom of the post. Sure you’re tough enough? It’s real witchy.

(This shocking atrocity proves that, of all the songs in the catalog, only “Never Learn Not to Love” should have been considered for the disco treatment. The merciless beat would have lent itself to Manson’s pro-orgy, anti-person message. And imagine if the ‘X’ on the forehead had become part of the “disco lifestyle”!)
 

At the Reagan White House, 1983
 
It seemed that Brian Wilson had come back into full possession of his gifts on 1977’s The Beach Boys Love You, but he, or they, had gone fishin’ when the time came to work on L.A. (Light Album). Deprived of Brian’s genius, the Boys and producer Bob Esty had only their cruelty to guide them in the studio, and the result is the most punishing eleven minutes in the history of recorded music. Not that anyone noticed, if the book The Beach Boys FAQ is to be believed:

CBS and the Beach Boys ate dirt when the disco single not only failed to make the Top Forty, but the album failed to make the Top Ninety-Nine!

Hitmaker Esty was responsible for Andy Williams’ disco remake of “Love Story,” also released in ‘79, and he let it be known that he would only disco-fy songs by artists of real class. He sharply criticized Lawrence Welk accordionist Myron Floren’s Disco Polka in Billboard later that year, explaining that not just anyone could have a crossover hit. What I’m saying is, he really put Lawrence Welk accordionist Myron Floren in his place.

Duty compels me to suggest that you read up on the buddy system and safewords before listening to this recording. This is the exactly the kind of thing Tipper Gore and the PMRC should have been looking into—except the PMRC was funded by Beach Boy Mike Love (who I’ve heard is a super nice guy and whose own band knew a couple fuckwords). Could he have been paying them not to look into his past?

Listen to this four-on-the-floor Beach Boys atrocity after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
Vintage ‘underground’ drawings of Lou Reed, Keith Richards, Bowie & more by Peter Pontiac
06.15.2016
09:17 am

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Amusing
Art
Music

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Peter Pontiac’s illustration from Muziek Expres of Lou Reed. The small caption on the bottom right reads ‘Junkies Ain’t funky!’
 
Muziek Expres was an edgy and super popular Dutch music magazine that got its start back in the mid-50s. In addition to the regular kind of music magazine features like interviews with musicians and bands, the coveted fold-out posters and song lyrics, the magazine also showcased early glammy-looking illustrations done by a legendary Dutch illustrator called “Peter Pontiac.”
 

David Bowie.
 
Born Peter J. G. Pollmann in the North Holland province of Beverwijk in 1951, Pollmann changed his name to “Pontiac” sometime in the 1960’s after meeting up with a group of creative type dropouts whose pastimes consisted of the ever popular trifecta of sex, dope, and rock and roll. During his time with these ne’er-do-well nomads, Pontiac (who had no formal training as an artist) was illustrating the covers of illegal songbooks for acts like Lou Reed and the Rollings Stones. Pontiac’s style came from his love of underground comics, especially the works of cartoonist and folk hero, R. Crumb.

Somewhere along the way, Pontiac’s artwork caught the eye of Rolling Stone bringing Pontiac notoriety on his home turf which led to his work being showcased in publications all over Holland, Spain, and the United States. In 1990, Pontiac launched his own comic zine, the Pontiac Review that would have a fourteen-year run. In 2000 Pontiac published what many residents of the Netherlands consider to be one of the greatest graphic novels to come out of their country, Kraut in which Pontiac relays the eerie story of his father, Joop Pollmann, a volunteer war correspondent for the SS during the Second World War who mysteriously disappeared while sailing off the coast of Curaçao. 

In an interviewconducted not long before his death in 2015 from liver disease, Pontiac expressed remores when it came to his heroin days saying that if he could, that he would do things “differently” and referred to himself as a “victim of Lou Reed.” There are a few sources online if you’d like to own some of Pontiacs work, including the hard-to-track-down award-winning book Rhythm. Pontiac’s rock-star-studded illustrations from Muziek Expres follow after the jump. Some are mildly NSFW.
 

Freddie Mercury.
 

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
The Cramps now have a fake star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
06.15.2016
09:09 am

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Art
Music

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via Vinyl Maniac
 
When this appeared in my Facebook feed, it took me a moment to realize it was a fake. It went down like this: first, I felt real regret that I’d missed the ceremony on Hollywood Boulevard, with Lux, Ivy, other stars of stage and screen, and Mayor of Hollywood Johnny Grant; then I remembered that Lux and Johnny Grant are both dead, and have been so for a while now; and then I read the photo caption and realized I’d “been took.”

The proprietor of the French record store Vinyl Maniac takes credit for faking the long-overdue tribute to the Cramps on his Facebook page, writing:

Depuis ce soir, il y a une étoile pour The Cramps sur le Walk of Fame d’Hollywood !!! C’est mon hommage au meilleur groupe de Rock !

(Translation: “After tonight, there’s a star for the Cramps on the Hollywood Walk of Fame!!! It’s my tribute to the best groupe de Rock!”)

Eyewitnesses say the ersatz plaque—a vinyl application stuck on one of the blank stars in the pavement—is located in front of the Bed Bath & Beyond on Vine. Go there and make your offerings now, before the Man sandblasts it clean to award Wayne Newton an emergency second star. Oooh, wouldn’t that be just like the Man?

More after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
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