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When half of Throbbing Gristle ended up on a UFO LP cover, making out pantsless
07.19.2016
10:52 am

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In 1975, the notable British buttrock band UFO released Force It, a barrage of boogie riffs and and double-entendre lyrics about fucking. As hesher-metal albums go, it was fairly interchangeable with a lot of the era’s hard rock, but its cover art has proven durable even as the band’s sound has aged. It’s a photograph depicting what could be read as a coercive sexual advance between a couple of indeterminate sex, one of whom is sans pants. Collaged into the photo are many, many faucets.

Faucet. Force it. You get it, ha ha, let’s move on.

The cover was designed by one of the era’s most distinctive and forward-thinking design studios, Hipgnosis. The firm consisted of designers Storm Thorgerson and Aubrey Powell, and were responsible for singularly surreal album art for Pink Floyd, Peter Gabriel, and Led Zeppelin, among many, many other clients. Force It was hardly their only controversial work, but it ranked high on that score. The US version of the cover was censored, by making the aggressively embracing couple half transparent. The irony here is that the models for that cover were already known for works that made the Force It cover look kid-friendly. From Neil Daniels’ High Stakes & Dangerous Men: The UFO Story,:

The artwork was risky for the time and because of the amount of flesh on display was almost banned—well, it was the 1970s, a non-PC age, but also surprisingly prudish too. It was toned down for the USA release, where they were even more prudish. One point of interest, is that the gender of the couple remained a cause of debate amongst UFO fans, but the couple turned out to be Genesis P. Orridge [sic] and his then girlfriend Cosey Fanni Tutti.

 

Kissing and buttocks mercifully ghosted for delicate American sensibilities.

Many of this blog’s regular readers know that Genesis P-Orridge and Cosey Fanni Tutti were, at the time, the principals behind COUM Transmissions, an art group known for incredibly transgressive performances that included heavy doses of kink, up to and including unsimulated bleeding and vomiting, violence, and even live sex—so this “controversial” photo was actually one of the tamest things they’d ever done. The year after Force It, COUM would evolve into the pioneering industrial band Throbbing Gristle, and Throbbing Gristle included in its membership one Peter Christopherson, who in the mid ‘70s was an assistant at…Hipgnosis.

More after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
‘The Kate Inside’: New book has never-seen photos of Kate Bush
07.18.2016
01:20 pm

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Books
Music

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Filming “Rubberband Girl” on the set of “The Line, the Cross, & the Curve,” 1993
 
Photographer Guido Harari, who has a book of Tom Waits photographs to his credit, worked closely with Kate Bush in a strongly creative period stretching from 1982 to 1993, during which Bush released The Dreaming, Hounds of Love, and The Sensual World, among others, as well as her musical short film The Line, the Cross, and the Curve, an offshoot of her 1993 album The Red Shoes.

Harari has a new book coming out with dozens of never-before-seen pictures of the noted experimental pop singer, who is arguably England’s unparalleled Brontë interpreter.

Roughly 300 pictures are in the book, the bulk of which came out of official press photo sessions for Bush’s albums of that era. Many of the photos feature Bush hard at work with Lindsay Kemp, the choreographer who worked closely with the singer from the very start of her career.
 

 
The majority of the photos have never been published in any form, a group that includes test Polaroids, contact sheets, film outtakes, and personal notes from Bush.

The book is called The Kate Inside (obviously a reference to Bush’s 1978 debut album The Kick Inside) and is expected to become available in September. You can pre-order it from Wall of Sound. The regular edition is priced at 90 Euros (about $100) and the deluxe edition, personally signed by Harari and Kemp, will go for 390 Euros (about $430).

An exhibition in London’s Art Bermondsey Project Space will coincide with the book’s publication (September 13-30).
 

With Gary Hurst and Douglas McNicol, shoot for “The Dreaming,” 1982
 

“Hounds of Love” shoot, 1985
 
Many more photos after the jump…....

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Hip hop pioneer Egyptian Lover offers up hand-drawn 12-inch covers
07.18.2016
09:20 am

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LA hip hop and electro music pioneer, Egyptian Lover released some of the earliest rap LPs but is more widely known for his twelve inch singles, particularly 1984’s “Egypt, Egypt” which was a hugely influential track.

Currently Egyptian Lover is still releasing music, but also making available to fans hand-drawn art covers for his singles. The graffiti style decorations touch on the themes of the Lover’s biggest hits.

He’s selling the pieces for $150 each, which is not bad for original outsider art from a hip hop luminary. Some of the original 40 pieces on offer have sold, but many are still available. You can contact Egyptian Lover through his Facebook page.
 

 

 
Many more after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
John Cage’s 4’33” performed on a refrigerator
07.18.2016
09:20 am

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01cagefridge.jpg
 
When John Cage started out on his career as a composer he was all for noise—for creating “more new sounds.”

In 1937, Cage developed his ideas about noise in an essay The Future of Music: Credo in which he said:

Wherever we are, what we hear is mostly noise.  When we ignore it, it disturbs us.  When we listen to it, we find it fascinating.

Noise was the spur. Cage wanted a “revolution, a healthy lawlessness.” He thought this possible by “hitting anything”—tin pans, rice bowls, iron pipes, whatever came to hand—something he later demonstrated on the TV show I’ve Got a Secret in 1960.

Not only hitting, but rubbing, smashing, making sound in every possible way.

All this changed when Cage met musician Gita Sarabhai in the 1940s who told him:

The purpose of music is to quiet and sober the mind, making it susceptible to divine influences.

It was a major epiphany for Cage. It changed his ideas about “noise” and led him to pose the question why do humans compose music? He said he was “embarrassed” by his search for new sounds and by 1948 had conceived of an idea of creating a piece of music called Silent Prayer consisting solely of “uninterrupted silence” performed for about three or four-and-half minutes (the length of most “canned muzak”) the ending of which “will approach imperceptibility.”

Cage realized silence was as important as sound in composition—but silence shared only one characteristic with sound—time. Silence can not be described in terms of pitch or harmony but only in duration of time. This led—by one composition and another—to his composing 4’ 33” in 1952.

This wasn’t the first time Cage had used silence in his music—his Duet for Two Flutes from 1934 opened with silence. Similarly in his Sonatas and Interludes (1946–48) and Waiting (1952) silence was integral to their musical structure. The idea of “silence” had been percolating in Cage’s mind for some time.

4’ 33” was first performed by pianist David Tudor at a recital of contemporary music at Woodstock, New York on August 29th, 1952. It was performed in three parts of 33’, 2’ 40” and 1’ 20”—each section timed by use of a stopwatch. Tudor indicated the beginning and end of each part by closing and opening the keyboard lid.

Hear 4’ 33” performed on a refrigerator after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘Ghost Rider’: Amazing new video surfaces of Suicide, live in 1980
07.17.2016
06:21 pm

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Punk

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This newly re-mastered and edited video by Merrill Aldighieri captures Suicide performing “Ghost Rider” in 1980.  It is some of the best footage you’ll ever see of the legendary rock pioneers.  Alan Vega shines in an atypically subdued but still pretty intense performance. Edgar Allan Presley.

As the resident video jockey at New York City rock club Hurrah, Aldighieri documented some of the best live performances by cutting edge bands of the early 80s including
Gang Of Four, Magazine, Bush Tetras and Suicide. In this edit,  Aldighieri has incorporated the older footage with new imagery filmed at a retrospective of Alan Vega’s paintings and sculptures in Lyon, France that took place in 2009.

Merrill Aldighieri’s website ARTCLIPS is a marvelous compendium of digitally re-mastered Hurrah concert videos made between 1980-1981 among many other delightful things. Visit it.

Merrill is a friend and shot footage of my band at Hurrah in 1980. I asked her for a comment about Alan Vega and this is what she wrote:

The night I met Alan, Oct. 1, 1980 on stage at Hurrah, I was terrified by his unbridled passion. It took all my courage not to turn away. The next time I met him was in his loft downdown. We talked for hours. He did not shy away from anything. His life was an unsolved mystery and you were invited to be a witness, a participant. Humility and talent in equal generous doses. I guess that’s why he was such a good collaborator. He was very proud and in wonderment at the joy of being a father too. He did not hold back.

Legendary punk rocker and Dangerous Minds’ contributor Howie Pyro knew Alan quite well and describes him as…

a man so ahead of his time he left us all in the dust. One of the first times I ever went out to a club in 1976 I saw Suicide open for Blondie & was not prepared for the onslaught of volume, sound, blood, real violence, art, and true rock n roll but with NO guitars or drums!! It blew my mind & I grew up a lot that night…had I known I would be recording with “that guy” 20 years later I’d have (happily) fainted…

Ironically, a man in a band called Suicide approached this mortal coil with the kind of no bullshit intensity that makes life way too interesting to abandon.
 

 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Ian Curtis of Joy Division, his final interview
07.15.2016
12:03 pm

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Ian Curtis would have turned 60 today. Two years ago, the website post-punk.com celebrated Curtis’ birthday with a fascinating contribution to Joy Division studies, a complete transcript of one of the few surviving interviews with Curtis that exist.

The interview took place on February 28, 1980, before JD’s gig at Preston Warehouse. (In 1999 a recording of that show was released as Preston 28 February 1980, as it happens.) “Spyda” from Burnley Musician’s Collective interviewed Curtis for a BBC Radio Blackburn program called “Spinoff.” You can actually hear the rest of the band doing a soundcheck in the background.
 

 
In 1988 the interview appeared on BBC Manchester with some previously unheard snippets. The interview is variously called the BBC Blackburn interview or the Radio Lancashire interview. This is actually considered to be the last interview Curtis ever gave.

In the interview Curtis, asked about “the current state of new wave,” replies thus:
 

Don’t know. I think it’s, a lot of it tends to have lost its edge really. There’s quite a few new groups that I’ve heard.. odd records. Record or have seen maybe such as, eh, I like, I think it’s mostly old Factory groups really, I like the groups on Factory; A Certain Ratio and Section 25. I tend not to listen, when I’m listening to records, I don’t listen to much new wave stuff, i tend to listen to the stuff I used to listen to a few years back but sort of odd singles. I know somebody who works in a record shop where I live and I’ll go in there and he’ll play me “have you heard this single?” singles by er the group called The Tights, so an obscure thing … and a group called, I think, er Bauhaus, a London group, that’s one single. There’s no one I completely like that I can say “well I’ve got all this person’s records. i think he’s great” or “this group’s records” it’s just, again, odd things

 
Bauhaus had released “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” in 1979. Aside from that, the band released “Dark Entries” in January 1980 and that was the entire Bauhaus catalog when Curtis did that interview.

More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Adam Ant’s brief career in comedy, 1982
07.15.2016
11:32 am

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Punk

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Adam Ant trying his hand at comedy during his appearance on the Cannon and Ball show, 1982.
 
Here’s something you don’t see everyday—Adam Ant dressed up as a caballero dancing his own version of a “Jarabe Tapatío” (or Mexican “hat dance”) during his appearance on Cannon and Ball, a UK comedy television program that was on the air from 1979 to 1988. Say WHAT?

Of course seeing Adam Ant dressed up like a caballero isn’t really much of a stretch given the fact that for much of his career he looked like a punk rock version of Tonto—but that’s besides the point. On the show, the then 28-year-old Ant (born Stuart Leslie Goddard) and the show’s stars, Tommy Cannon and Bobby Ball (Thomas Derbyshire and Robert Harper respectively) put on an amusing song and dance routine with Ant playing his role to the hilt all while maintaining a straight face.

According an article published back in 2013, Ant actually credited his appearance on the show with helping his 1982 smash “Goody Two Shoes” hit number one on the UK singles chart. While the footage isn’t great great quality it is a fantastic “who knew?” moment involving one of my fave raves. Plus Adam Ant lipsynching for his life and dancing by himself for three-plus minutes until he’s out of breath on Cannon and Ball doing you guessed it, “Goody Two Shoes.” Vive Le Ant and Olé!
 

Adam Ant performing in a comedy routine on ‘Cannon and Ball’ along with his totally 80s precursor of punk rock aerobics

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Behold the ‘New Romantic’ Barbie: A vintage ‘Boy George’ doll straight from 1984
07.15.2016
10:32 am

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A 12-inch version of Boy George made by toy company, LJN in 1984.
 
Back in the magical year of 1984 toy company LJN put out a 12-inch version of a prominent member of the New Romantic movement, George Alan O’Dowd—otherwise known as Boy George—which came ready to party dressed in a “Color By Numbers” themed outfit.
 

A print ad for the Boy George doll by LJN.
 
Billed on the box as “The Original Outrageous Boy of Rock!” the toy Boy was fully poseable and his long hair came styled in one of his signature looks—braids tied with colorful ribbons to match the makeup on his face. Little Boy George also came with a microphone, hat and “posing stand.” Noted as an appropriate plaything for ages four and up, had I received a Boy George doll when I was a kid I would have promptly burned all of my Barbies in the backyard while Boy and I twirled around the fire to the sounds of “Karma Chameleon” playing on my boom box. Good times.

If you’re like me and had no idea that this delightfully dolled-up version of Boy George even existed and now must have one of your very own, you’re in luck as I found a few for sale on eBay. During my very important “research” for this post I also came across footage from a UK television show doing a feature on a Boy George doll (that came in two sizes—one rather alarmingly large) put out by a UK Culture Club fan club during which the gorgeous looking Mr. O’Dowd is presented with one of his very own—which he holds while singing a version of Cliff Richard and The Drifters song “Living Doll.” You can see that surreal event below along with a few images from die-hard CC fan, Flickr user KAZZ who went the extra mile and created custom outfits for her Boy George doll. All of this proves once again that the 80s were indeed much cooler (and a lot weirder) than most of our collective memories give it credit for. Enjoy!
 

 
Continues after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
‘Hundred Dollar Week-end,’ 1965’s idea of soft core porn
07.15.2016
10:02 am

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via Discogs
 
What do you call 1965’s Hundred Dollar Week-end? A “stag record”? A “blue album”? Did it come as a brown paper parcel you had to ask the clerk for at the counter? Would it be comme il faut to play this at a swinging coed party, or did one beat off to it alone in the garage at three in the morning?

Mystery surrounds the LP. Its fifteen-minute sides hold only this: waves crashing, lounge music on the hi-fi, bedsprings creaking, and a woman moaning with pleasure. Okay, there’s some coughing, laughing, and smoking, and I won’t tell you what happens when the phone finally rings toward the end of side two, but that’s the entire track sequence for this particular product. When you’re done listening to it, you’ll feel like, uh, a hundred dollars.

Hundred Dollar Week-end was the only LP ever issued by Trick Records, whose art department left no doubt about the intended audience of their “FOR BACHELORS ONLY” release. With a catalog number ending in “007,” its cover starlet, loosely draped in a man’s shirt, beckoning from her stool at a beach house bar, the sleeve screamed:

YOU ARE THERE…IT’S THE WILDEST!
A ROLLICKING FROLICKING BALL BY THE SEA—

A BOLD ADVENTURE INTO THE REALM OF ESOTERIC HI FIDELITY

Having enjoyed a few $100 weekends myself, I find it difficult to imagine that amount of money evoking wealth and leisure, but I guess back then “a dollar was worth a dollar.” An average month’s rent was a little over $100 in 1965. And speaking of inflation, a hopeful Amazon seller is asking $200 for this album—double the price of the fantasy call girl beach vacation of which this is a mere audio representation! What’s a tape of The $20,000 Pyramid set you back in Paul Ryan’s America, a hundred million dollars?—while below, YouTube user Marshall & c.o., who uploaded this rip, seems to have overvalued the tryst by a factor of 10,000.
 

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
64 floppy disk drives flawlessly perform the ‘Game of Thrones’ theme song
07.14.2016
03:51 pm

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Music
Science/Tech
Television

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A Polish gentleman by the name of Paweł Zadrożniak has been posting videos on YouTube of sync’d-up floppy drives following a pre-arranged sequence of commands that collectively create music. He’s posted the “Imperial March” from Star Wars, as well as “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”

The one that caught my fancy today, however, was the theme song from Game of Thrones.

Warning: Listening to this will make you want to watch the show, and it’s going to be like a year before there’s new episodes, so proceed with caution!
 

 
via Nerdcore

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
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