Steven Blush, author of American Hardcore: A Tribal History, has uploaded 911 hardcore tracks of his favorite bands for free. Some of the artists include: Flipper, Minor Threat, Bad Brains, Minutemen, Hüsker Dü, Dicks, Butthole Surfers, Cro-Mags and more!
If you generally detest today’s pop music, you may be sick of hearing Janelle Monae’s name so much. And considering that she’s firmly inside the music industry machine, it’d be hard to blame you.
But unlike many women in the pop and R&B realm, the girl has pretty confidently determined and shaped her own music and visual style. Synthesizing new rock and traditional soul into the kind of futuristic brew her foreparents David Bowie and Grace Jones served up back in the day, Monae’s still got the aesthetic zeitgeist at her back.
Let’s hope she retains the integrity and panache shown below. This video is excerpted from an appearance she made in the summer of 2007, just as she released her first EP on her Wondaland Arts Society label. And even though she was already officially signed to the megalith Bad Boy label, she saw fit to play the independent Criminal Records store in the Little 5 Points district of her adopted Atlanta hometown with her guitarist Kellindo Parker. Aaaand she tore it up.
Whatever happens to Monae’s career going forward—sometimes it pays to brace for disappointment, sell-out fuckery, etc.—we’ll be able to recount a time when she seemed like the future of pop. Go girl.
Rocky Roberts (Charles Roberts) was a onetime professional boxer turned singer who, along with his group The Airedales, helped introduce soul music to Italy in the 1960s.
Roberts got his start as the frontman in South Florida dance band Doug Fowlkes & The Airdales. But, it wasn’t until Fowlkes and Roberts joined the Navy and ended up in Europe that they encountered success as Rocky Roberts and The Airedales. Discovered by popular Italian deejays Gianni Boncompagni and Renzo Arbore, Rocky and his group became over-night stars. Rocky’s fluid dance moves and groovy fashion sense was a big hit with Italian teenagers.
In 1963, The Airedales disbanded and Rocky continued to produce hits as a solo act. Along with Stevie Wonder and Wilson Pickett, Roberts was the most famous Black singer in Italy during the mid-to-late sixties.He became a popular attraction on Italian television and even starred in a couple of movies. He sang the English version of the title track of spaghetti western classic Django. His popularity spread across the Continent to include France and Britain.
Roberts returned to the USA for awhile but eventually returned to Italy where he continued to perform up until his death in 2005 in Rome.
In Britain, his song ‘Just Because Of You’ was a hit among fans of mod soul and still gets played at Northern Soul all-niters.
While dripping with sartorial coolness, Rockey’s trademark sunglasses were not just for show. They covered up scar tissue around his left eye acquired doing his old boxing days.
Rocky’s bandmate Jerry Armstrong recalls the early days…
[...] we formed the group while serving in the U.S. Navy at Boca Chica Naval Air Station, Key West Florida. We first practiced in the old base theater, beginning our trek in 1958. In 1959 we were transferred to the U.S.S. Independence, CVA-62 (Aircraft Carrier) and served aboard her until we were all discharged in 1962. We made two trips to Europe on the Indy and during the first trip entered a rock and roll contest in France and won first place. Eddie Barclay, the International Banker, saw us and liked us and signed us to a recording contract with his Barclay Records label. We later recorded for ATCO in New York City. While the band did well up and down the East Coast of the U.S. from Key West to New York City, we were most popular in Europe, with France, Greece, and Italy being countries that most favored our music. We cut several albums and EPs. In 1963, the band split and members went separate ways. Roberts took the band’s name and went back to Europe where he did very well in the music business with new members.
Here’s a little compilation of Rocky on film and video. It includes some footage with Jayne Mansfield from The Wild, Wild World of Jayne Mansfield and the theme song from Django.
Via Dorian Cope’s always interesting On This Deity website, we find that today is the thirty-fourth anniversary of the Sex Pistols expletive-filled appearance on the Today program, December 1, 1976:
Today we recall the bizarre events of thirty-four years ago, in which television presenter Bill Grundy – clearly ill-prepared for the motley posse sat before him, and possibly himself quite drunk – half-wittedly and quite inadvertently handed to the already notorious Sex Pistols the kind of extraordinary media opportunity that was beyond even the wildest dreams of their Machiavellian manager, Malcolm McLaren. Goading the Pistols mercilessly and without good reason, Grundy then appeared genuinely shocked when the lawless (and law-breaking) Steve Jones – resplendent in Vivienne Westwood’s highly inappropriate ‘tits’ t-shirt – unleashed such a barrage of ‘fucks’ and ‘fuckers’ that this merely regional early evening TV news programme catapulted the Sex Pistols onto the national stage. Nobody outside London even saw it. What did they actually say? Overnight, the Sex Pistols legend grew enormous.
Within months, Grundy would be relegated to presenting a book programme on the radio; while the Today programme was cancelled soon after. With hindsight, it’s easy to say that the Sex Pistols were opportunists. But what an opportunity it was that the fool Bill Grundy had handed them. Indeed, we may now even feel pity for this hapless, smarmy half-cut oaf whose destiny it was to be cut down brutally by the fearless and flashing curses of Steve “Never Mind the Bollocks” Jones.
The clip below was put together from various sources. You always see a snippet of this appearance in every single documentary about punk, but never the full thing seen on British television that fateful day. Note future Banshees, Steven Severin and a white-tressed (and flirty) Siouxsie Sioux onstage with the group.
TONTO (an acronym for The Original New Timbral Orchestra) is a massive electronic music production center built by Malcolm Cecil in the late 60’s and used on the two Tonto’s Expanding Head Band records, but most notably on the great early 70’s records by Stevie Wonder. Here’s a wonderful new clip of Cecil describing and demonstrating the mighty beast’s magical powers. Look, learn and (if you’re me) salivate.
The last batch of unsold Miles Davis paintings will be exhibited at the Gallery 27 space in London starting this week. I’ve seen some of his art “in person” in the past and some of it is just spectacular, exactly what you’d hope paintings by Miles Davis would be like. Not a disappointment in the least. If I was in London, I’d definitely make time to see this. Via MOJO:
Miles Davis - jazz legend, trumpet guru and dab hand with a pencil - spent the last decade of his life creating swathes of drawings and paintings that for the most part have been kept away from the public gaze. Until now…
A new exhibition at Gallery 27 in London’s Mayfair will open on December 7 and is set to unveil his last remaining 100 original drawings and oil paintings.
“As with his music, his artwork changed continually,” says exhbitor Andy Clarke, “from rapid, motion-filled drawings of dancers and robots to his later more Tribal work in oils on canvas. In the early 80’s his muse was Giulia Trojer, from whom part of this collection derives. In the last few years of his life, alongside his last partner, Jo Gelbard, he turned to painting citing Picasso a great influence alongside his African heritage.”
Miles Davis London Exhibition: Original Paintings and Drawings by the Jazz Legend runs from Tuesday, December 7 to Saturday, December 11 at Gallery 27, 27 Cork Street, London W1S 3NG.
This is probably as close as it is possible to be in the recording studio with the Beatles during the White Album sessions in 1968. Record producer Chris Thomas, then a “tea boy”/intern at EMI later said of this session: “While Paul was doing his vocal, George Harrison had set fire to an ashtray and was running around the studio with it above his head, doing an “Arthur Brown.”
If you’re really bored you can open them all up in different windows and try to sync ‘em up…
First McCartney’s frenzied vocal. Superb! How do you improve on something like this? You don’t because It’s fucking perfection. “It’s coming down fast….!”
After the jump, hear the guitar, bass and drum tracks!
Here’s a touching story about New York City subway crooner, Geechee Dan, from the delightful mini series Playing For Pocket Change. This man has soul and then some. Rock on, Singing Dragon!
Playing For Pocket Change is a mini series featuring musicians playing on the streets and in the subways of New York City. Often overlooked and ignored, we find out who these people are and what makes them want play in the world’s strangest venue.
The Carpenters were fucking awesome. I say that without a trace of irony. And here is the video for their entirely sincere late 70’s single Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft (The Recognized Anthem of World Contact Day) which is goofy as hell, but man those vocals just melt me down to a puddle. Believe.
David Lynch is releasing two singles Good Day Today and I Know on the UK independent label Sunday Best, as he told the Observer his first solo release Good Day Today came to him unprompted:
“I was just sitting and these notes came and then I went down and started working with Dean [Hurley, his engineer] and then these few notes, ‘I want to have a good day, today’ came and the song was built around that,” he said. Unlike his famously ambiguous and non-linear films, the song is accessible and, he readily admits, has a catchy “feel-good chorus”, with undertones of angsty electro-popsters Crystal Castles or veteran dance act Underworld. Why did he turn to electro for his first solo single? “Well, I love electricity so it sort of stands to reason that I would like electronics.”
The full interview with David Lynch can be heard here.