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‘Letter to the President’: Snoop Dogg tells the history of Hip Hop, Rap and Politics
08.06.2012
08:38 pm

Topics:
Class War
Crime
Drugs
Hip-hop
History
Music
Politics
Race

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letter_to_the_president
 
Ronald Reagan, that evil fuck President who willfully destroyed working class communities to give tax breaks to the rich. Reagan was happy to do it so long as it was African-Americans that bore the brunt.

Reaganomics left half the Black population on welfare. Reagan had no conscience about it. He had a money lust which hit hardest on those who were weakest and least able to fend for themselves.

Stopping poverty wasn’t on Reagan’s tick list. Rather it was cut corners and take, take, take from the poor - which stooped as low as having the tomato base on pizzas reclassified as fruit to ensure he could slash the cost of school dinners. He even tried to do the same with tomato ketchup but failed.

Reagan’s policy was simple - if you were poor: fuck you. If you were sick: fuck you. If you were dying of cancer: fuck you and get a goddamn job.

For young African-Americans in the 1980s, it seemed the hard-earned achievements of the sixties’ Civil Rights movement had been too easily betrayed and forgotten. And when crack cocaine hit the inner cities, it seemed any hope of a future was gone.

Against this background arose a culture of music that was to redefine Black America. Hip-Hop and Rap reflected the poverty, despair and violence of life in the ghettoes. It also railed angrily against the indifference and cynical exploitation by successive Presidents, whose only interest was to help themselves and help the rich.

Letter to the President is a fascinating over-view of the rise of Hip-Hop and Rap, and their importance in bringing a community together against a common enemy. Narrated by Snoop Dogg, and with contributions form Quincy Jones, KRS-One, David Banner, 50 Cent, Chuck D, Ghostface Killah, Nelson George, Sonia Sanchez, and Dick Gregory.
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Sigue Sigue The Spotnicks: Sweden’s early 60s space-rock guitar gods
08.06.2012
05:02 pm

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Music

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The Spotnicks are an instrumental rock group from Sweden. Formed in 1961, they were well-known for their “space suit” costumes and their Ventures-esque electric guitar sound. The Spotnicks have released 42 albums and sold over 18 million records. They still tour.

I guess if your gimmick works, then stick with it!

Below, The Spotnicks do their hit “Rocket Man,” based on a traditional Russian folk song, in 1962:
 

 
More of the space-rock sound of The Spotnicks after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
A very fine television interview with Joe Strummer from 1988
08.06.2012
03:39 pm

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Movies
Music

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Joe Strummer in Walker.
 
Joe Strummer is interviewed for a British television talk show in 1988.

Joe discusses the freshly released CD “The Story of the Clash, Volume 1” and Aex Cox’s film Walker , for which he did the soundtrack and had a small acting role (as a dishwasher turned mercenary).
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
The Dreaming: Some seldom-seen Kate Bush videos, TV interviews & B-sides, 1982
08.06.2012
01:58 pm

Topics:
Heroes
Music

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Like many Americans, my first exposure to Kate Bush was via her fourth album, 1982’s The Dreaming, for despite being a chart-topper the world over, and with a 1978 appearance on SNL under her belt, Bush had virtually zero profile in America before it. The Dreaming is also my favorite Kate Bush album, although it doesn’t have a single one of my favorite Kate Bush songs on it.

Even during a period of popular music that produced such off-kilter masterpieces as PiL’s The Flowers of Romance, Japan’s Tin Drum and Nunsexmonkrock by Nina Hagen, The Dreaming was still an album that was difficult—at first—to get your head around. It’s an album that requires three to five listens before it “clicks,” but when it does, the listener is rewarded with one of the most dazzling, ambitious and audacious things an artist has ever attempted, before or since. In this case, by an artist who was then just 23!

As a song cycle, The Dreaming is a complex and accomplished work, practically demanding to be listened to all the way through (if only out of respect for the genius who created it). Although I went backwards through her first three albums, in retrospect, The Dreaming—produced by Kate alone for the first time—is an abrupt (make that very abrupt) break with what had come before. Gone were the intimate observations on life, the intensely passionate musings on love. sexuality and England’s green and pleasant land—indeed all of the pretty songs that her fanbase obviously expected—to be replaced with poetic and cinematic narratives that evoked far off exotic lands, paranoia, fury, a quest for learning, a stymied oneness with God and comedy. The Dreaming is the work of a great talent operating totally free of any outside pressures or concerns. It would be ridiculous to call it the first “real” Kate Bush album, but there is certainly a clear line of demarcation between Never for Ever and everything that comes after it.

Obviously there was always something monumentally idiosyncratic about Kate Bush, but with The Dreaming, the eclectic nature of her mature vision became boldly manifest for the first time.

“Sat in Your Lap” is the album’s frantic opening number. One of the engineers Bush used on The Dreaming was Hugh Padgham, the man responsible for achieving the famous “gated drum” sound of Phil Collin’s “In the Air Tonight” number, and I would imagine he’s probably responsible for the fantastic drum sound on “Sat in Your Lap” (I could be wrong about this because Padgham brought in Nick Launay, PiL’s engineer for the heavily percussive The Flowers of Romance album, for The Dreaming and it might be he who recorded the drums here, I’m not sure) (Here’s a link to a demo of the song)
 

 
After the jump, plenty more where this came from…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
The Piper at the Gates of Dawn: Pink Floyd classic now 45 years old
08.05.2012
08:49 pm

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History
Music

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Pink Floyd’s debut 1967 long player, The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, came out 45 years ago this week in the UK. A stereo mix of the album came out a month later and the American version of the album was released in October of that year. The US version had a different track listing that omitted “Flaming,” “Astronomy Domine” and “Bike,” if you can imagine such a travesty, while the “See Emily Play” single was added.

Piper was recorded off and on February through July of 1967 at Abbey Road Studios (while the Beatles recorded “Lovely Rita” in the studio next door) and featured mostly songs written by the group’s founder Syd Barrett. By the time the album came out, however, Barrett’s behavior had become increasingly erratic and David Gilmour was soon after brought in to augment the group. It was the sole Pink Floyd album to be recorded under Barrett’s musical leadership of the band.

Although today Piper is justly considered a classic, indispensable album, it was not a commonly encountered record until after Dark Side of the Moon became such a monster hit, in the US at least, and it was re-released as part of the A Nice Pair two-record set (which included Piper along with the restored tracks and A Saucerful of Secrets).

The startling lead off number on The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn is the tremendously tremendous “Astronomy Domine” as seen here in this wild clip from The Look of the Week BBC television series. Includes the hilariously contentious interview with classical music critic Hans Keller, who introduces the group with the faintest of feint praise. In fact he more or less tells the TV audience that what they are about to see is going to suck! Imagine how completely INSANE this would have seemed beamed into your home in 1967. Keller’s bewilderment at their music is a pretty clear indicator of how such a performance would have been regarded back then. Speaking of, notice how far ahead of his time human beat box Barrett is at the start of this clip:
 

 
After the jump, more early Pink Floyd performances and videos with Syd Barrett…
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Frankie Boyle vs. Chris Brown
08.05.2012
07:23 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Music

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Controversial, Scottish comedian Frankie Boyle ripped the piss out of rapper Chris Brown, in a brief exchange on twitter.

Brown tweeted:

Serious tweet: I THink SKATEBOARDING AND BREAKDANCING should be an Olympic sport.

To which Boyle responded:

@chrisbrown Or intergender boxing, you’d be in with a chance of a medal there mate.

Round one to the Scotsman, though I wonder if Boyle’s tweet was in part inspired by his own recent questionable and offensive comments?
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
A film about Graham Simpson, co-founder and original bass guitarist for Roxy Music
08.05.2012
04:30 pm

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Movies
Music

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Here’s a short but very compeling “artistic profile” on Graham Simpson, the original bassist and co-founder of Roxy Music.

After the release of the band’s debut album in 1972, Simpson left Roxy Music to deal with his depression (“mental fatigue”), which eventually led to a trip to India to study Sufism. Though he had not closed the door on a return to Roxy Music, he never did approach the band about future collaborations.

The last words Bryan (Ferry) said to me where “get well and come back” but I never did. I ran out of imagination but Bryan never did”

Bryan Ferry on Simpson:

He was one of the most interesting people I ever worked with. He was crucial to my development as a musician, and in those early years he was a pillar of strength and inspiration. He was a great character…think Jack Kerouac and ‘On The Road’.  I liked Graham, and Roxy Music would never have happened without him”

It is somewhat shocking that Simpson’s contribution to the genesis of Roxy Music is as little known as it is. Perhaps, his own behavior was the cause. He seemed unsuited to the glare of the spotlight and apparently made every effort to avoid fame. But this doesn’t excuse history from giving credit where credit is due. In Jonathan Rigby’s well-regarded book on Roxy Music, “Both Ends Burning,” Simpson is hardly mentioned and among the book’s many photographs of Roxy Music in its infancy, there’s not a single shot of Simpson. A recent documentary on Roxy Music that we featured here on Dangerous Minds made no mention of Simpson at all.

Filmed by Simpson’s neighbor and film maker Sara Cook, this video is a teaser for a planned feature-length documentary on Simpson called Nothing But The Magnificent.

I, for one, am keeping my fingers crossed that Ms. Cook will be able to complete Nothing But The Magnificent. Graham Simpson’s life seems quite fascinating and as a founder of one of the great rock bands of all time his story is far more than just an historical footnote.

Graham Simpson died this past April at the age of 68.
 

 
Thanks Peter Holsapple.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Video of Patti Smith standing up for Pussy Riot: ‘Jesus Christ would fucking forgive them!’
08.04.2012
02:36 pm

Topics:
Current Events
Music
Politics
Punk

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“Putin has pissed himself.” Patti Smith in Oslo.
 
During yesterday’s performance of “Gloria” in Stockholm, Patti Smith and her band make it quite clear how they feel about the imprisonment of Russian punk band Pussy Riot.

“Ask Jesus Christ. He would fucking forgive them.”

I’m not sure the women in Pussy Riot require anyone’s forgiveness. Forgiveness from what? Exercising freedom of speech and artistic expression? “Jesus died for somebody’s sins, but not mine.” But Smith is fighting the good fight by appealing to what Putin and his lot can comprehend; a way out of an international public relations debacle that leaves them looking human instead of like fascist pricks. Yes, the thugs should forgive the girls and let them go. Be Christ-like. People like that.

Go Patti go!
 

 
Thanks Bgrrrlie

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Zen rockers: Talking Heads performing at CBGB in 1975
08.03.2012
03:21 pm

Topics:
Music
Pop Culture
Punk

Tags:


 
Seven months after their first gig at CBGB (an opening slot in June of 1975 for The Ramones), Talking Heads were videotaped performing a set at the legendary club.

1. Psycho Killer
2. Tentative Decisions
3. With Our Love
4. I Wish You Wouldn’t Say That
5. I’m Not in Love
6. 96 Tears
7. No Compassion

When we were performing at CBGB’s alongside Television, The Ramones, Patti Smith, and Blondie, there was never any doubt in my mind that something unforgettable was going on. To me it was obvious that history was in the making; in no small part thanks to Hilly Kristal who owned CBGBs and gave these bands a stage to play on when no one else would.” Chris Frantz.

David Bynre, Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz still finding their feet as a band but the essence that made them great is all there.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Feel the punk rock fury and get a ‘Divorce’


Photo by Stella Wan

Pussy Riot fans, check this out - Divorce have just released a three track teaser for their upcoming, self-titled debut album, and damn, it’s good!

If you don’t know Divorce, then let me direct you to the links at the bottom of this post for some introductions. In a nutshell, this majority-female band make a ferocious racket that takes all the best bits of experimental music, noise-rock, thrash and doom and blends it into a unique, powerful sound that is guaranteed to blast the cobwebs out of your ears.

Divorce will be released on vinyl and download through Night School label on September 17th, and the limited edition records run will be printed half on purple vinyl, and half on green vinyl. The label says:

“Divorce” is the culmination of four years of uncompromising noise-rock brutality. Long-time friends of ours, it is an honour to be releasing the debut full-length statement from a band who have set new standards in underground extremity. Since their formation in 2008 they have progressed from no wave dirge practitioners to an unique cult that blurs the boundaries of what ‘punk’, ‘noise-rock’ or ‘metal’ are presumed to sound like. Remaining slippery in definition but relentlessly focused, Divorce have evolved into a singular, incomparable unit.

Recorded by Ali Walker at Glasgow’s Arc Studio & Devil’s Own Studio, “Divorce” finds the band pushing their furious sound further than ever before; a torrent of pummeling rhythms and serrated, overdriven riffs, extended freak outs and ecstatic push and pull dynamics. They have also explored their experimental tendencies more, incorporating power-electronics, white noise and, on the track “Stabby (Stabby) Stab”, free-jazz saxophone (courtesy of guest musician James Swinburne). All this, combined with an over-arching determination to take their music to new limits structurally and sonically, makes “Divorce” a unified audio experience. Divorce are Jennie Fulk (vocals), Vickie McDonald (guitars), VSO (bass) and Andy Brown (drums).

Divorce are one of the best live acts in the UK just now, and if there is any justice in the world, they will make their way Stateside to slay you guys pretty soon. These debut album recordings have done the trick of capturing a great band’s live energy, which is no mean feat. You can pre-order Divorce from here, and in the meantime, here’s some tracks to whet your appetite:
 

  Selections from: DIVORCE - ‘Divorce’ LSSN013 by NightSchool 
 
Previously on Dangerous Minds:

A Girl’s Best Friend Is Her Guitar: ‘Horseheads’ by Divorce

Screw the Royal Wedding - listen to Divorce instead

 

 

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
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