“Ghost Lover” is a photograph shot by Lydia Lunch. The image is printed on high quality silver halide Fuji photographic paper and signed and numbered by the artist. “Ghost Lover” comes in an elaborately designed box along with a certificate of authenticity and a poem by Lunch titled “Sandpit” in both English and Spanish.
The documentary Dub Echoes explores Jamaican dub and its influence on electronic music and hip hop via interviews with some of the music’s leading practitioners.
Directed by Bruno Natal and featuring reggae legends and dub pioneers King Jammy, Sly and Robbie, U-Roy and Lee “Scratch” Perry, as well as beat experimentalists like Bill Laswell, DJ Spooky, Mad Professor and Basement Jaxx, Dub Echoes gets deep into the groove and takes you inside the echo chamber.
As I mentioned previously, I am transferring all my dj mixes and mixtape compilations from Soundcloud to Mixcloud (I have been having a lot of bother with Soundcloud lately, in fact it’s making me wonder if a premium account is really worth it?) But in doing so I came across this mixtape I made in late 2009, and thought it was worth sharing.
In contrast to my previously posted disco and 808-based mixes, this Is the more downtempo side of what I like to play and listen to. I guess you could call it “chill-out” (though I find there’s something cheesy about that term.) Dream On is a compilation of synthy, woozy, dreamy, lo-fi-kinda stuff that will appeal to fans of Ariel Pink, John Maus and other “haunted” acts. There’s also a smattering of lo-fi, post-crunk and alternative rock in there too. Remember, this mix was made two and a half years ago, back when Fleet Foxes were still kinda cool.
It’s also pretty fitting for the amazing night skies we have been having lately, what with that beautiful glowing supermoon and all. So don’t classify this mix as being “shoe-gaze”, think of it more as being “sky-gaze”...
BEN BUTLER & MOUSE PAD - E-Ship
TODD RUNDGREN - International Feel
TODD RUNDGREN - Never Never Land
FRANZ FERDINAND - Ulysses (FoxGut Reshuffle)
BJORN TORSKE - Brus
BRUCE HAACK - National Anthem To The Moon
NITE JEWEL - Kamera Songs
EYES - Clown Lady
LOUTS - The Bubbles
THE BEACH BOYS - Fall Breaks and Back To Winter
MIAOUX MIAOUX - Hrvatski
CHROMATICS - In The City
DAFT PUNK - Night Vision
JOHN MAUS - Do Your Best
DESIRE - Under Your Spell
PHANTOM BAND - Island
FLEET FOXES - He Doesn’t Know Why
If you want to hear more of my mixes, you can find them on this page on my blog Niallism, or you can follow me (The Niallist) on Mixcloud.
Here’s a great video for “Under Your Spell” by Desire, as featured on the mix above and also the soundtrack to last year’s fantastic noir/thriller Drive (which tapped in to the whole haunted/synth/retro thing brilliantly.) This clip features one of the best scenes from the film, the staggeringly tender-yet-brutal elevator scene. If you have not seen Drive, be warned, this gets bloody:
As a tribute to Adam Yauch, comedian Neal Brennan, who co-created, co-wrote and co-executive produced the Chappelle Show, uploaded this video to YouTube from the unaired third season (2004) of Dave Chapelle’s cutting-edge comedy program.
I anticipate that we’ll be seeing fresh Beastie Boys photos and video footage in weeks to come. Adam Yauch’s death is hitting music and pop culture fans hard and the amount of attention his passing is generating is testimony to how magic his vibration was and continues to be. Thanks Neal for sharing this.
The Beastie Boys perform “The New Style” on a boat in New York City’s East River. Chappelle gets in on the action.
Years before Bob Seger became a mega-star whose voice is inextricably tied to Chevrolet trucks and gag-inducing images of Tom Cruise dancing in his underwear, he was a punkish Michigan rocker that did proud by that state’s hard rock heritage. But he’s never seemed particularly fond of his early garage rock days. His recordings with the System and The Last Heard haven’t been available in authorized versions for decades. His career-spanning cd release of last year doesn’t contain anything recorded by either band. It’s as though Seger has chosen to let that part of his past fade from memory.
It is my opinion (and in this I’m hardly alone) that Seger’s output between the mid-60s and early 70s was his finest, but good luck finding any of it on Seger-sanctioned pressings. With the exception of Smokin’ O.P.‘s and the woefully incomplete and poorly put together Early Seger Vol. 1, Seger’s badass best is is only available as bootlegs or expensive out-of-print rarities.
I saw Seger with the Silver Bullet Band in the mid-70s in a club in Boulder, Colorado. He put on an absolutely ferocious show that rocked HARD. No frills, no bullshit, just good ol’ rock n’ roll distilled to its essence. This was at a time when my own musical tastes were shifting toward punk and I found Seger, in his uncontrived way, to be as raw and tough as some of the new stuff coming from The Clash and The Dictators. I think my buddy Jello Biafra (in his pre-Jello days) was at the show with me and concurred that Seger was the real deal.
In 1976, Seger released the last album that I felt any particular connection to, Night Moves. And that was only because of the title tune, which still poetically evokes a teenage wet dream of cars and girls that I can relate to.
Yes, Seger was cool once upon a time. It’s ironic that the man who wrote “Rock And Roll Never Forgets” seems to have forgotten a big chunk of his own rock and roll past.
I’m a huge fan of Arthur Lee and Love and am always grateful for any new video I find related to Lee or his band. So, I was thrilled to find this fan-shot video of Lee performing in Greece in 2003 on his Forever Changes tour.
The video is a little wobbly but the audio is very nice indeed. “Live and Let Live.”
It’s still sinking in here that MCA-aka Adam Yauch- has died, and that, in effect, the Beastie Boys are no more. What a fucking bummer.
It’s an inescapable fact that the Beastie Boys are one of the bands that define my generation. If you were a child at any point from the mid 80s up until the late 90s you cannot have escaped their influence. And I’m not just talking about their music; their aesthetic reached everywhere, from film and music videos to magazine publishing and clothes lines.
I feel like my generation (and I use that term loosely) don’t have a singular iconic figure they can point too, like a Prince or a Bowie. You know, that one person that unites an entire age group through sheer talent and poise. Well, the Beasties may not have had the incredible album-a-year productivity rate of Prince or Bowie at their prime (in fact they were legendarily slow at making music,) but their extra-musicular activites more than made up for that, and meant that when their albums did drop it was a major event.
More than just the music on its own, more than the Grande Royale magazine and record label, more than fantastic the art work or the trend-setting X-Large clothing range, it was the Beastie Boys incredible videos that set them apart, and brought their diverse fan base together. They really knew how to work in different media while retaining their core identity, making them some of the first and most successful rap music entrepreneurs, and this placed them right at the centre of the 90s golden age of both hip-hop and music videos. And there steering the helm of most of those awesome Beastie Boys promo clips was Yauch himself, often in the guise of Swiss director Nathanial Hornblower.
My God, looking back now it’s startling to think of how these videos have influenced my life and my addiction to (and perception of) pop culture.
I caught the raunchy video for ‘She’s On It” on TV when I was about 8 years old and the image of Mike D sliding an ice cube down a bikini-clad model’s back has been seared into my brain ever since. I didn’t quite understand what was going on in that shot at the time (hey, I was too young and too sheltered) but there was naked flesh and it was naughty and exciting. I still remember that tingly feeling of not wanting my parents to walk in and see me watching the video. Even though that’s a feeling that returned often in my teenage years, I guess I can say that seeing “She’s On It” was one of my first childhood sexual experiences.
When I was 13 the promo for Check Your Head‘s opening track “Jimmy James” was a staple on late night European cable music channels, the kind I would creep downstairs and watch on low volume while my parents were asleep. It was hard to keep the volume on this one down, and the visuals themselves were a hypnotic template for everything I thought rocked in the world at the time - New York subways, vintage go-go strippers, dope looking rappers filmed in fish-eye lenses, burning 8mm film, Jimi fucking Hendrix. At this point the Beastie Boys were a bit of an unknown quantity in the UK press, as their reputation stemmed largely from the License To Ill “frat” period (Paul’s Boutique was still being seen as a costly, if interesting, flop.) Still, “Jimmy James” (and “So Watcha Want”) was THE SHIT, and helped spread the word of mouth amongst listeners and the journos alike about how great Check Your Head was.
Early 1994 saw the release of “Sabotage”. Sure, the clip was directed by Spike Jonze, but Yauch’s fingerprints were all over it. I don’t think I need to write much about this video, only to say that it really was a cultural milestone for people my age. Almost single handedly it ushered in a new era. Out went heroin-chic and woe-is-me grunge, and in came a new sense of fun (with a healthy dose of irony.) Here was an appreciation of pop-culture’s bargain bin that tied in nicely with Tarantino, some new looks that were equal parts vintage and street, and most importantly of all an incredibly broad musical palate where anything went.
Beyond the stone cold classic video, “Sabotage” pushed boundaries musically. Yeah, so it may be a straight forward punk song, but how many ‘rap groups’ had ever done something like that? In fact, me and my friends didn’t really perceive the Beasties as strictly a ‘rap group’ per se, even though (obviously) they rapped. They were more than that. Presumably because they were white and played actual instruments on occasion, they weren’t talked about in the same hallowed tones as Cypress Hill or Public Enemy. But they were very much a gateway to those bands, and the more commercial hip-hop that followed, and their blessing of the above mentioned acts with tours and remixes made it feel ok for middle-class white kids to define themselves as “rap fans.”
Last year’s video for “Make Some Noise” brought the band back in to the limelight, not least for the starry cast list: what other modern act would be able to convince Seth Rogen, Danny McBride and Elijah Wood to play them in a clip AND THEN rope in Ted Danson, Kirstin Dunst and Will Ferrell for additional cameos? But the real fan treat was the clip for “Don’t Play No Game That I Can’t Win”, which featured G.I.Joe-style puppet versions of the band doing battle underwater, on ice, and even at a music festival.
Adam Yauch was a visionary, and should be remembered for his film work just as much as his music. In fact, he brought music and film together better than anyone else up to that point, and for that has to be counted as a huge influence and inspiration on the artistic endeavours of myself and my peers. I probably wouldn’t do what I do now if it weren’t for him.
And he did it while wearing a ginger wig and lederhosen. Here’s a strange (and strangely touching) short film of Yauch David Cross [? - what’s going on here?] as Hornblower, shooting the shit on a NY Street and engaging in a game of chess with a labrador:
Adam Yauch, aka MCA, aka Nathanial Hornblower (August 5, 1964 – May 4, 2012.)
Rest In Peace.
After the jump, videos for the above mentioned Beastie Boys songs, and a 1992 interview with the band featuring Yauch (yes, definitely Yauch this time) in full Hornblower attire…
As sardonic and dead-pan as its subject, London-based artist Krent Able’s “Dr. Cave” comics are a beautifully drawn and darkly hilarious series of adventures featuring rock n’ roll’s most lovable misanthrope.
Able is really quite brilliant. Visit his website and be prepared to have your mind blown. His work is a perfect balance of wit and stunning craft.
Able has a great idea for his images of Nick dancing with a duck and astride a monkey: “repeat it as a pattern, and then sell it as children’s wallpaper. Such a treat for the darling little ones!”
Krent Able is a regular contributor to one of the smartest music mags on the ‘net, The Stool Pigeon.
Although I try to stay away from the Internet as much as possible on weekends, I would not be serving the interests of our Bay Area readers—and indeed points elsewhere—if I didn’t post this item, this morning, so that they still have a chance to catch a great rock show tonight.
I have many times raved here on Dangerous Minds about Fear Fun, the new album by former Fleet Foxes drummer Josh Tillman, released under the Will Oldham-esque nom de plume of “Father John Misty” on Tuesday. (The album’s release was preceded by two singles, “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings” and “Nancy From Now On”). You can read past DM posts on FJM here, here and here.
Last night Tillman and his band played a smokin’ hot gig amid the dinosaur bones at the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles, that Tara and I attended. We were waiting in the will call line for tickets and I overheard the guys behind us talking about the headliner. It was obvious that both were musicians and that they knew Tillman. They were there for the same reason we were: “Josh’s album is like THE album for me right now,” one of them said. “I can’t wait to hear it played live tonight with a band.” That’s what I was feeling, too and my expectations were as (cough) high as I was. I have listened to Fear Fun in very heavy rotation for the past seven months—as I’ve written here before, it’s my favorite album of the year already—and I was blown away hearing it played live last night by an excellent, extremely tight, well-rehearsed band.
On Fear Fun there’s very much a “classic rock” feel, the album’s lush analog varnish being the work of ace producer Jonathan Wilson (who also plays on the album) and engineer/mixer Phil Ek (Fleet Foxes, Built to Spill). It gets said in every review that the FJM sound is a gumbo of influences like Waylon Jennings, All Things Must Pass and Harry Nilsson (and this is all pretty accurate) but live the songs have a swampy, confident, bluesy swagger that recalls the Stones circa 1972. Lanky Tillman, arms flailing like a revival preacher hopped up on goofballs, led the band through Crazy Horse-like guitar rave-ups that took the music into the stratosphere at several points during the set. He’s got a great fucking voice, too. Dude sings like Roy Orbison.
Truly, last night’s Father John Misty gig at the Museum of Natural History was a terrific rock and roll show from a band that will playing “big rooms” and rock festivals soon. If you have a chance to see the upcoming month-long tour (which travels to The Bottom of The Hill in San Francisco tonight), I highly recommend it. This album is going to be HUGE, it was obvious last night watching half the audience singing along with songs that were released just days before. (The other half of the audience, I think might have been there randomly because the show was part of the “First Fridays” concert series at the museum, but from the first song, those folks were pushing to the front, too, to check out what was happening onstage. They were won over, quickly and easily. My wife even danced and she never dances anywhere, ever).
Anyway, mark my words, this current month-long tour might be the last time you get to see Father John Misty in a 200-300 capacity club. If you trust my tastes in music, then get in on the FJM action now, it’s like seeing Neil Young live after he left the Buffalo Springfield. Seriously. Tillman’s a major American artist, as America is about to discover. He’s going to be around for a long, long time.
May 5 Bottom of The Hill, San Francisco CA
May 7 Neumos, Seattle WA
May 8 Doug Fir Lounge, Portland OR
May 11 7th Street Entry, Minneapolis MN
May 12, Schubas Tavern, Chicago IL
May 14 The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto ONT
May 15 Petit Campus, Montreal PQ
May 16 Brighton Music Hall, Allston MA
May 18 Mercury Lounge, New York NY
May 19 Knitting Factory, Brooklyn NY
May 20 The Rock and Roll Hotel, Washington D.C.
May 26 The Mohawk, Austin TX
Fear Fun is out now on CD and limited edition pink vinyl on Sub Pop Records. Until last night, I had not seen the deluxe “billfold” packaging, which includes two poster sized print-outs of an entire Richard Brautigan-esque novel written by Josh Tillman and an amazing cover painting by New York-based artist Dimitri Drjuchin. It’s a really slick, impressively wordy package (think Thick As A Brick as a digipak) and provides more than enough for fans to get lost in Tillman’s unique literary—and mythic—rock and roll vision. Clearly the label indulged the artist, but I expect they’ll make their investment back many times over (the package makes it worth investing in the physical product). You can stream the entire album here.
FJM appeared on Late Night with David Letterman earlier this week and at the end you could tell that Letterman really liked what he heard. David Letterman seems to be someone who it would be tough to impress, but his enthusiasm post-song was pretty clearly stated, three times.
After the jump, FJM session on KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic…
The Beastie Boys tore down the walls that existed between rock and rap and did so with such crazy grace and a seamless groove that nobody noticed until the deed was done that these white boys had brought uptown downtown and vice versa. Even people who up-until-then had no place for hip-hop in their lives found themselves smitten. And the hardcore haters were musically bum-rushed so swiftly by the sonic velociraptors from NYC that resistance was futile. Everybody ended up coming to the party and found it worth fighting for.
I remember hearing “Cookie Puss” on the radio for the first time in 1983 and wondering “what the fuck was that?” It defied all categories of music as I knew it…and I loved it. I immediately headed over to Sounds on St. Mark’s Place to buy the 12 inch single. I’d play it for my friends and got a kick at watching their amused and perplexed reactions. This shit was fresh - a simple keyboard and drum riff with some scratching and a taped crank call to a Carvel Ice Cream store melded into something hilarious and infectious and a lot smarter and pioneering than we knew back then - it heralded the coming of a band that played dumb but were possessed of a poetic irreverence that celebrated popular culture while subverting it - yeah, punk rock with a hip-hop sense of the beat. On the surface it sounded sloppy and off-the-cuff. In reality it was perfect. The Beastie Boys had a “fuck you” attitude wedded to a shitload of charm and craft. They elevated the ordinary with the lyrical deftness of a Jack Kerouac or Chuck Berry.
It was announced that Adam Yauch (MCA) died today. I know that what I’ve written reads like an obituary for the entire band. It’s not. Mike D and Ad-Rock are still very much alive and I suspect will continue to create new music, produce films and act, as well as taking up the torch for the plight of Tibet as Adam had done for the past two decades. When someone dies, it brings perspective and an opportunity to remind oneself of how much certain things have meant in one’s life. Adam’s death has given us the chance to appreciate what made his band so fucking amazing. Long live the Beastie Boys!
When the Beastie Boys were inducted into this year’s Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, Chuck D was there to celebrate the legacy of one of hip hop and rock n’ rolls most innovative groups. The fact that Adam Yauch was too ill (physically speaking) to attend, made the evening all that much more significant.
Here’s Chuck D’s Beastie Boys induction speech on April 14:
Get it! Get it! You know the Beastie Boys? Can we get a ‘Yeah’ to hip-hop? Can we get a ‘Hell, yeah,’ Cleveland? Hip-hop in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame before I turn it over because Def Jam, in the words of Billboard, is the last great record label. And this man behind me wants to finish it off because Chess is to electric blues as Def Jam is to hip-hop and this man helped build the house. So as a resident, can you give three and a half minutes to hip-hop and the Beastie Boys for me? Help me out ya’ll!
[raps with audience] Now here’s a little story – I’ve got to tell about three bad brothers – you know so well It started way back in history with Ad-Rock, M.C.A., and number three – Mike D.
I know I can read from the teleprompter but I wrote it down. I won’t take much of your time. There’s no adequate measure for the impact that the Beastie Boys had on rap music and yours truly, Public Enemy, during our formative years. Artistically, just like my man back here, they are our role models. They gave us some of our richest support and that’s uncharacteristic of the many advisors in this game. They led and lead by example.
The very first time the Beastie Boys headlined they toured, it was the ‘Licensed to Ill’ tour, they hit the road in January 1987. They invited us to join the bill in April 1987. The lineup was the Beastie Boys, Murphy’s Law, and Public Enemy. Watching them tear the house up just like 9,000 here tonight, tearing the house up, we learn so much the importance of a great stage show, just like my man back here.
They made us rethink what we should do on stage and affirmed for us how important our own Beastie Boys, he calls himself Flavor Flav, might be to our success. In that way, the Beastie Boys literally helped us to get our act together by living up to more than their name night after night on the road.
They were and still are one of the greatest live acts in music. How can we not learn from the way this group has challenged the dimensions in the music business? How they made up their own rules about what it means to be world class hip-hop heads.
After ‘Licensed to Ill,’ the Beasties left the Def Jam label and broke with their producer Rick Rubin and still kept it going on. Everyone wondered and how many people were pessimistic about how the hell they were going to top their multi-platinum debut, ‘Licensed to Ill.’ But their second album, ‘Paul’s Boutique,’ broke the mold, and with it they accomplished everything they hoped for.
They kept the band together through a challenging period when most groups would have broken up and gone home. They proved that they can produce themselves when too many folks wrongly believed they were puppets of marketing and production. And they insisted on maturity as a band and as human beings, when the easier thing for the band was to come back with a form that might have been ‘Licensed to Ill 2.0.’
It was the courage and self-respect that we all learned from, and so right now we make sure we never take the easy way out just to repeat a hit record for a hit record’s sake: never to compromise our faith in ourselves and our artistry. Besides they were the first hip-hop group on the World Wide Web in 1993, people.
Two more minutes for hip-hop, people. One of the most – gotta sulk it in – the third hip-hop group ever. Gotta sulk it in. One of the most admirable qualities about the Beastie Boys is that they stayed so true to the game over the years. No matter what was going on with them or hip-hop culture in general, as far as I’m concerned, I quote myself, the trip towards individualism in hip-hop have come a play. Yes, I quote myself. In a [indiscriminate] art form.
Yet through it all, the Beastie Boys remain a team of MCs, in the style of groups that inspired them – the Treacherous Three, the Crash Crew, the 2007 inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Grand Master Flash and The Furious Five. The 2009 inductees salute Run-DMC and Jay Master Jay. And let’s not forget the DJs throughout the years Andre, Dr. Dre, my friend DJ Hurricane, Mix Master Mike, and DJ Double R better known as Rick Rubin.
And rock and roll fans’ still got to be a fan, it’s the same thing with hip-hop, the Beastie Boys have made a mountain for us all. Be together, play together, stay together, together forever. A couple of paragraphs, one more minute for hip-hop, they ain’t got nothing on me. Sulk it in hip-hop and rap music it’s been around 30 years, gotta do it.
Time and time again and in word and in practice The Beastie Boys honor hip-hop. As true musicians they move beyond drum machines and repetitive samples and sometimes pick up their own instruments. It’s their way of paying tribute to musicians who preceded them who built the foundations of hip-hop. More than many, many situations out there the Beastie boys have fought, in particular I’m thinking about somebody who wasn’t able to join us tonight, Adam Yauch, salute M.C.A. I feel him here tonight, you all feel him here tonight.
And LL got more to say about that. He belongs here with the greatest. It was M.C.A. who committed the Beastie Boys through their lengthy campaign for freedom for Tibet. The campaign that not only helped the shining light on Tibet’s struggle for independence but allowed the Beastie Boys to move from fighting for their right to party to partying for their right to fight.
Lastly, no matter what your lyrical subjects are on stage parodies, one thing the Beastie Boys never were to me was a joke. They remind us that this is a craft. We were talking about this on the side. This is a craft, this is not a hustle. And I couldn’t be more honored to induct this group along with this man behind me because they represent the best of the hip-hop/rap music idiom.
I did love and always thank them for doing a hard work of paving those roads for musicians all over the world, and to rock, rap and roll on those roads, especially before people took us seriously as artists. Rap music is here to stay because it pays homage. So, may we all be as professional, distinctive, powerful as this group coming up right here and as this man. The Beastie Boys are indeed three bad brothers that made history.
Here’s more of Mister D talking about the Beasties, rock n’ roll and Bette Midler. April, 2012. It’s pretty much wonderful.
A crazy good performance of “Fight For Your Right” on the Joan Rivers Show in 1987 after the jump…