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Trailer for Nick Cave in ‘20,000 Days on Earth’

20,000 Days on Earth is a semi-fictional “day in the life” documentary about Nick Cave directed by Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard. The film combines mostly unscripted scenarios depicting Cave’s creative process, Cave interacting with songwriting partner Warren Ellis, Kylie Minogue and actor Ray Winstone, watching Scarface with his twin teenage sons and some in concert performance footage from a show at the Sydney Opera House. Cave’s voice-overs were scripted and each shot was planned out like it would be in a Hollywood film.

The film is currently on a sort of road show put together by Alamo Drafthouse Films that seems to bump into the current Bad Seeds American tour at several select junctures. Remaining screening dates here. The UK premiere of 20,000 Days on Earth at London’s Barbican will take place on September 17th and be broadcast live to 150 participating movie theaters.

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Serge Gainsbourg’s reggae version of ‘La Marseillaise’ that earned him death threats
08:19 am


Serge Gainsbourg

Serge Gainsbourg offended many of his patriotic countrymen in 1979 when he rewrote the French national anthem “La Marseillaise” as a reggae number, “Aux armes et caetera.” The song was the title track from his 13th album, recorded in Kingston, Jamaica, giving him the distinction of being only the second (to Mick Jagger, who dueted with Peter Tosh) major white European performer to record there. Serge did not anticipate the shitstorm that followed the TV premiere of his song, including death threats from nationalists and threats from soldiers to kick his ass if he performed the song in public. The French embassy’s website still has a reference to this controversy:

The French national anthem has had a turbulent past. Every now and then, there is an outcry to have it banned, or at least updated; it has been a long time since the Revolution was endangered by bordering European monarchs. Some people are offended during national ceremonies, when they hear such vengeful verses as “these ferocious soldiers who slaughter our sons and wives” or demanding “that impure blood flow in our fields.” But the majority of French people do not wish to change so much as a comma in their national anthem. Didn’t the members of the Resistance in WWII sing it as a final and supreme challenge to Nazi-occupying forces as they fell beneath the bullets of the firing squad?

The extent of the attachment of the French to their national anthem was revealed in the 1970s, when President Giscard d’Estaing attempted to impose “his” Marseillaise by having it played to a slower tempo in order to give it greater solemnity. The President’s initiative raised a storm of protest and Hector Berlioz’s orchestration was maintained. Late controversial singer and composer Serge Gainsbourg tried to rewrite the Marseillaise his own way in 1979 by having the national anthem played by a reggae band. The reception was less than stellar: A group of legionnaires threatened to give him a hard time if he performed his new version in public. Gainsbourg did sing the Marseillaise, but a cappella. One cannot tamper with that which is sacred!


A little gallows humor on the cover of Hara Kiri magazine
When a group of paratroopers caused a 1980 concert in Strasbourg (where “La Marseillaise” was written) to be shut down, Gainsbourg defiantly sang an a capella traditional version instead of “Aux armes et caetera” and was joined by the paratroopers! A year later in a defiant but classy move he bought an original manuscript of the anthem’s lyrics by Rouget de Lisle at an auction in France. Gainsbourg then proved to the public that his version—and the controversial “et caetera” of the title—was in fact, more faithful to the original than any other version: de Lisle, in fact, did not write out repeated verses by hand, but merely wrote “et caetera, et caetera, et caetera”!

Serge Gainsbourg, “Aux armes et caetera”:

Serge Gainsbourg sings the original “La Marseillaise” to calm everyone down, and at 2:09 the auction for the lyrics’ manuscript begins:

Posted by Kimberly J. Bright | Discussion
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Mute Records drops The Acid’s ‘Liminal’
03:06 pm


The Acid

Coming out next week on Mute Records in North America will be Liminal, the moody, haunting debut album by The Acid (it’s already out in the UK/Europe via the Infectious Music label.)

The difficult to describe trio create a genre-less sound consisting of elements drawn from EDM, noises from nature and city life, there are shimmering guitar layers, stretched out drones and delicate heartbeat-like electronic pulses. The group consists of Steve Nalepa, an LA-based musician/producer and professor of musicology (who once lost an awful lot of money on Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?); Grammy-nominated DJ and producer Adam Freeland (”We Want Your Soul”) and LA-based Aussie artist/producer Ry X (Berlin EP, Howling) who sings and also co-directs their videos.

Because of the globe-trotting nature of their careers, they recorded song sketches on iPhones while collaborating on the album. The Acid themselves weren’t even sure exactly what they were coming up with. As vocalist Ry tells it:

“It’s like painting before you know what you are painting. You’re stuck in the process before you’ve got an idea of what you’re making. The beauty of that is complete freedom.”

Later this summer The Acid will be performing at both the Longitude and Latitude festivals. In fact, they’re going to be touring worldwide pretty much through November. Liminal comes out in North America on July 14.

The video for “Fame” was co-directed by Ry X and The Directors Bureau’s Dugan O’Neal. The video features dancers/choreographers WIFE.


The gorgeous “Basic Instinct” as heard on the season premiere last week of Under the Dome.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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There’s a Depeche Mode bar in Tallinn, Estonia
09:31 am

Pop Culture

Depeche Mode

Yesterday DM contributor Martin Schneider wrote about the incredible H.R. Giger bars. And someone in the comments—who’s perhaps a world traveler—mentioned they’ve visited a Giger bar in Switzerland and a Depeche Mode-themed bar located in Tallinn, Estonia. When I first read that I immediately had to Google this magical place—that I didn’t know existed—and find out what’s all about.

The name is actually Depeche Mode Baar and it opened its doors back in 1999 by a devoted fan of the band. Apparently, it really grew in popularity in 2001 after Depeche Mode band members partied the night away at the bar after their concert in Tallinn. Since then, the bar has been highlighted on a few news features including a segment for BBC TV.

I don’t know what else to say except to quote Liz Lemon, “I want to go to there!” I mean, a Depeche Mode bar?!





Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Undead, undead, undead: Happy birthday to Peter Murphy of Bauhaus!
05:48 am


Peter Murphy

The huge can of worms opened by the Northampton post-punk band Bauhaus when they exemplified the dark sound and cadaver-glam fashion ethos of Goth has still never been closed after 35 years.

In the mere four years from their transformative 1979 debut single “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” to their original incarnation’s final LP, Burning From the Inside, Bauhaus gave the seeds of a sonic and fashion lexicon to a romantically macabre strain of youthful angst that had never really had a name before, and out in front of that noisy doom parade was the gaunt, Bowie-ish figure of singer Peter Murphy, whose distinctively vampiric vocal affect and high-drama performance style are still imitated today. Born on July 11, 1957, Murphy celebrates his birthday today.

In the three decades since Bauhaus’ breakup, Murphy has performed in Dali’s Car with Japan bassist Mick Karn, released several solo albums, explored Middle-Eastern mysticism, and sang on a Bauhaus reunion/last hurrah LP. More recently, he ran afoul of the law in California, and was found guilty of a hit-and-run and possession of meth. But there seems to be reason to hope he’s gotten healthy again, as just last month, Nettwerk Records released Lion, his ninth solo LP, and it’s quite good.

Here he is in 1982, demonstrating what all the fuss was about:

More Murphy after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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‘The Kids are United’: Footage from Reading Festival 1978 featuring The Jam, Sham 69, Ultravox

Reading Festival 1978
1978 was the year that punk invaded the Reading Festival. The first day of the event, Friday, August 25, featured the likes of The Jam, Sham 69, Penetration, as well as The Pirates and Ultravox, and the day was scintillating enough that two different VHS videos were produced of it, The Kids Are United and Kids Like Me + You. (These seem to be the same movie; both were directed by Peter MacDonald, anyway.) The videos are only available in VHS format, but wonder of wonders, the entirety of the Kids Like Me + You video has been uploaded to YouTube, and it’s a treat. In addition to lots of galvanizing live footage (which looks pretty darn good in the transfer, considering it’s from a VHS tape), there’s also a bunch of interview footage with Paul Weller from The Jam, Jimmy Pursey of Sham 69, and so forth.

The Jam are excellent as always (although Paul Weller was unhappy with the sound and was aloof towards his punker fans), but the revelations in this footage are Penetration with Pauline Murray and Sham 69 with Jimmy Pursey. The Sham 69 rendition of “The Kids Are United” is so intense that you could practically put it in a time capsule to represent punk. Whereas in the nocturnal Ultravox and Jam footage there’s some distance between audience and performer, when Sham 69 plays it’s still daylight and everyone’s on top of each other, the stage is jammed with people and the intense, pogoing audience is right there.

Of course, nothing is as simple as that. The intensity of the performance and the audience reaction led to some scuffles and then some between the “punkers” and the “longhairs,” and Jimmy Pursey of Sham 69 became incredibly frustrated at the violence—see more on that below.
Reading Festival 1978
This page has incredibly exhaustive information about Reading 1978, including audience testimonials, pictures, and information about the VHS releases. Here’s some audience reaction, with emphasis on the out-of-control Sham 69 set:

Pursey was totally hacked off with the aggro and it must have been overwhelming performing in front of around 15,000 people on the Friday.

It was my first proper gig, me and a mate camping, aged fifteen, miles away from parental control.  It was magical, I had already fallen in love with Sham 69 and found it amazing that Jimmy Pursey would spend most of the day hanging around with us idiots.  He was, and remains, a really genuine bloke, always accessible.

The Jam didn’t get a fair deal on the sound front but they just drove straight past their supporters into the back-stage enclosure, no talking, no autographs, good socialism comrade Paul.  They were always better suited to small halls anyway, that type of band.

The Pirates were brilliant, Penetration were superb (Pauline was gorgeous) but the Friday belonged to Sham.  One Reading newspaper described it as a “Punk Invasion”.  I will try to scan the damned thing and get it to you when I can afford a scanner.

That day it seemed like punk rock was going to change the world.  Is every generation so stupid?

We flogged out tickets on the third day cos we’d run out of money, fags and booze but, after the first day and Sham dominating proceedings, everything was going to be anticlimactic anyway.

Reading ‘78 was one of the best experiences in my life, mainly because of the great performance of Sham 69 a brilliant live band who always gave 100%


Just to answer a point on your website Jimmy Pursey broke down in tears during his performance out of sheer frustration at certain sections of the crowd. He brought Steve Hillage on during the Kids are United to try and unify the Punk/Old Guard audiences. (this was the first time reading had embraced punk)

There was a group of skins who didn’t take much to this and were attacking any long-hairs down at the front. I know , as I was one of them – the longhair not the skin! It deeply upset Jimmy to have to watch this going on and be helpless to stop it.


I was at Reading 78 as a 15 year old.

My recollections of the Sham escapade:

The mood was ugly before Sham arrived. There was much discontent from the biker and metal fraternity regarding the “New Wave” acts.

Sham 69 were on stage and were useless - out of tune, out of time and out of their depth playing such a large venue.

Various objects were thrown at the band, who in fairness were determined to play on regardless.

Eventually, a well-aimed can hit the bass player on the head and he stopped playing, bringing the rest of the band to a halt.

Jimmy Pursey had already made several comments, but finally shouted “If you don’t like it you can **** off home”, to which the crowd responded with a barrage of beer-cans and other objects. The stage invasion then happened as documented by other reports.

I left the arena at that point.

The violence between the punkers and the longhairs made the news: On that exhaustive Reading 1978 page there is a news clipping with the headline “Punks in pop fight.”
Kids Like Me + You

Track listing:
Sham 69, “Borstal Breakout”
Penetration, “Life’s a Gamble”
Ultravox, “Quiet Man”
The Jam, “In the City”
The Pirates, “Johnny B. Goode’s Good”
Sham 69, “Angels with Dirty Faces”
The Jam, “Mr. Clean”
The Jam, “‘A’ Bomb in Wardour Street”
Penetration, “Lovers of Outrage”
Ultravox, “Slow Motion”
The Pirates, “Shakin’ All Over”
Sham 69, “The Kids Are United”


Thank you Gordon Reichert!

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Cheech & Chong’s classic ‘Basketball Jones’ cartoon
05:25 pm


George Harrison
Cheech & Chong

“Basketball Jones” was a song/routine/character from Cheech & Chong’s 1973 Los Cochinos (“The Pigs”) record. The original album cover had a secret compartment where you could see how they smuggled pot, sandwiched in their car door. I bought this LP at a garage sale when I was about ten years old and just starting to get into comedy albums. I only half understood the idea of what “drugs” were at the time, I’m pretty sure, so I can’t imagine that a Cheech & Chong album made much sense to me at such a tender age. But I loved the routine “Basketball Jones” by Tyrone (as in “tie your own”) Shoelaces & Rap Brown Jr. H.S. and would go around singing the musical part of it like ten-year-olds do.

The song is about teenage Tyrone and his love of basketball sung in a falsetto voice by Cheech Marin. It’s catchy as hell, but small wonder, dig the backing band: George Harrison, Klaus Voorman, Carole King, Nicky Hopkins, Tom Scott and Billy Preston. The Blossoms with Darlene Love, Ronnie Spector and Michelle Phillips were the backing cheerleader’s voices.

Cheech Marin:

“George Harrison and those guys were in the next studio recording, and so Lou (Adler) just ran over there and played (it for him). They made up the track right on the spot.”

Producer Lou Adler:

“That was a wild session. I probably called Carole (King) and told her to come down, but with Harrison and (Klaus) Voorman—I didn’t call and say come in and play. Everyone happened to be in the A&M studios at that particular time, doing different projects. It was spilling out of the studio into the corridors.”

The “Basketball Jones” animation is by Paul Gruwell and was made in 1974. This cartoon has also made some impressive Hollywood cameos over the years, in Robert Altman’s California Split (which was never released on VHS due to Columbia Pictures refusing to pay royalties on the song, Altman had to cut the music—but not the animation—for the DVD); Hal Ashby’s Being There (it’s what Chauncey Gardiner is watching in the limo); and in the 70s underground comedy Tunnel Vision. It was parodied in a 2011 episode of The Simpsons (”A Midsummer’s Nice Dream”) guest-starring Cheech & Chong.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Stravinsky conducts Stravinsky
06:04 pm


Igor Stravinsky

Igor Stravinsky, drawn by Picasso on New Year’s Eve, 1920

The great Russian composer Igor Stravinsky felt that if one was going to become a great composer, one also had to be a great conductor. Stravinsky recorded many of his works more than once, improving as a conductor over time.

Unlike most of the greats of classical music, with Stravinsky, whose career spanned much of the 20th century, we have audio and visual documentation of him actually conducting and playing his own music. The various Stravinsky Conducts Stravinsky albums released by Columbia Records are an essential part of any decent music collection.

This performance was taped in Spring of 1959 when Stravinsky was visiting Japan. The maestro is seen here conducting “The Firebird” (the 1945 “Symphonic Suite” version, not the 1910 ballet) with the NHK Orchestra:

Much more Stravinsky conducts (and plays) Stravinsky after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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‘The Blues Accordin’ to Lightnin’ Hopkins’
10:06 am


Les Blanc
Lightnin’ Hopkins

Les Blank was one of the most talented and prolific documentarians of all time—many know him for his wildly variant choice of subjects. He did a doc on women with diastemata, one on the sustainability of the Chinese tea market, and my favorite, the 20-minute-long anti-capitalist classic, Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe, in which Werner Herzog (you guessed it) eats his shoe (He lost a bet). Blank’s wheelhouse however was always regional American music and The Blues Accordin’ to Lightnin’ Hopkins—a gorgeous little film—radiates with his reverence for the Texas legend.

The short avoids explicit biography, choosing instead to record intimate musical moments and the ambient humanity of Hopkins’ world—it even credits “the people of Texas, 1967” among its “cast.” There are amazing performances of course, but they’re set against the lush community of Centerville, Texas, Hopkins’ boyhood town. His hypnotic performances emanate from living rooms, dirt roads, a barbeque and even a black rodeo—it’s an ethnographic pictorial as much as anything.

Hopkins was a bit of an anomaly as far as bluesmen went, though much of his early story is reminiscent of his peers. He actually met Blind Lemon Jefferson at a church picnic in Buffalo, Texas when he was 8, eventually becoming his protégé. He tried to break into music early on, spent some time in a labor prison in his twenties, and eventually returned to Centerville to work as a farm hand. Hopkins only managed to avoid blues “has-been” and “never-was” cliches with a bit of luck and a tenacious recording schedule.

By the 1950’s he had gained a following, and he just never stopped working. Hopkins not only rode the folk revival, he adapted to the changing scene, even recording an album with Texas psychsters the 13th Floor Elevators. He toured constantly and was the poet-in-residence of Houston, Texas for 35 years. He remains the most prolific blues recording artist.

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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‘Shellac Pistols’: Shellac and David Yow do the Sex Pistols, 1998

Shellac / Sex Pistols
On Halloween night of 1998, Shellac and David Yow of Scratch Acid/Jesus Lizard fame indulged their silly side, pretending to be The Sex Pistols for a set of scorching music. The location was Lounge Ax, the legendary venue on 2438 North Lincoln Avenue in Chicago that had been pummeling audiences with awesome music since 1987. (It closed in 2000; you might remember it as the venue in High Fidelity where John Cusack first meets Lisa Bonet.)

The first performers were Ms. Fits, an all-female Misfits cover band. During their set, Shellac’s Steve Albini stood right in the middle of the audience “to loudly support” the openers, who were facing “a tough crowd.” The middler, Sixto, featured members from Seam and Dis—they’re still active, at least judging by their bandcamp page.

When the crew put up three microphones for the final set, a rumor briefly flared up that this was going to be a Big Black reunion. What the audience got was a lot more special than that: Shellac with David Yow as a spot-on Johnny Rotten doing most of the songs off of Never Mind the Bollocks. Bob Weston was Sid Vicious, Todd Trainer was Paul Cook on drums, and Albini was Steve Jones.
David Yow as Johnny Rotten
An attendee of the show submitted the following account:

David Yow stalked onto the stage, in full 1970’s-era Johnny Rotten attire to the letter. Bleached and spiked hair, psychotically glaring at the audience, the whole nine yards. He’d done his homework on this one. He was followed by the three Shellacs, with Steve Albini doing his best Steve Jones in vinyl pants (!) and a red doo-rag on his head. Bob Weston *was* Sid Vicious, in spiked black hair, mesh shirt (with scratches and scars visible underneath), glassy-eyed, and an impressively bloody IV bandage on his arm. Only Todd Trainer seemed to buck the whole Pistols image. I mean, he could have found one of those big sweaters or something. Paul Cook had style too.

Anyway, they ripped into “Holidays in the Sun”, and that set the tone for the evening. Yow had Rotten’s nasal Brit accent down pat, even in song. He pulled the whole thing off so well, I tell ya. Weston kept coughing up “blood” and running into things. Steve’s guitar sounded kind of sloppy, but I don’t think Jones could have done it any better. Between songs the band taunted the audience in mock cockney accents, Steve asking if there were “any PAA-ties about”. The audience responded by throwing chunks of a dismembered jack-o-lantern at the band.

The setlist was confined to material from Never Mind the Bollocks, including “Bodies”, “Submission”, “Anarchy in the U.K.”, and closing with “God Save the Queen”. Yow seemed to remember the words to them better than he remembers the words to Jesus Lizard songs.

Yow ended the evening by asking, “Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?” and the band walked offstage, barely an hour after they started. For a long time, nobody left. The house lights came up and nobody left. Todd Trainer started taking his drum set apart and people booed. It finally registered that that was the evening, that they weren’t going to get anymore, and they weren’t getting any Shellac songs.

As attendee Andy Larson wrote ten years later to the day, “steve albini said something like ‘does anyone know where there’s a party about?’ in a british accent—and i believe only that. walking up lincoln ave. after the show i passed bob weston (sid vicious) and said ‘hey—great show’ and he said “right” in a british accent.”

There’s no video of the show, and scarcely any pictures—at least on the Internet. The b/w shot above is the only one I could find. There is, however, fairly good audio, which you can download here in flac format.

1. Holidays In The Sun
2. Bodies
3. Pretty Vacant
4. Seventeen
5. Sub-mission
6. New York
7. Anarchy In The U.K.
8. God Save The Queen

The poster for the show was done by Illinois gig poster legend Jay Ryan of The Bird Machine. The poster run had a limited run of only 100 pressings, which combined with the specialness of the gig makes this an extremely hard-to-get item.

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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