THIS IS ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT!
THIS IS ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT!
It’s difficult to make a music video anymore that people actually pay attention to. Lady Gaga, sure, but she’s got all the money in the world at her disposal when she makes a video. But San Francisco-based indie rockers Xiu Xiu, known for their angsty assemblage of heavily orchestrated chamber pop noise have released a new clip for the title track of their new album Dear God, I Hate Myself. It’s low budget but has a gimmick that makes it so you just can’t turn away. Even if you want to. You have been warned.
Before Alex Chilton discovered power pop with Memphis, Tennessee legends Big Star, he was one of the best blue-eyed soul singers around as part of The Box Tops. Originally founded by drummer Danny Smythe in 1963 as The Devilles, they eventually became The Box Tops by 1967 along with members Chilton (lead vocal, guitar), John Evans (guitar, keyboards, background vocals), Bill Cunningham (bass guitar, keyboards, background vocal), and Gary Talley (lead guitar, electric sitar, bass, background vocals).
Their first single, The Letter would give them a hit single in 1967, catapulting the band to national fame. They would follow their debut hit with further chart toppers, including Cry Like A Baby in 1968, before disbanding in 1970. Chilton would, of course, find his future Big Star pals around Tennessee and move on from there.
via The Commercial Appeal, thx Ned Raggett
Fuck, I’m gutted.
Pop hitmaker, cult icon, and Memphis rock icon iconoclast Alex Chilton has died. The singer and guitarist, best known as a member of ‘60s pop-soul act the Box Tops and the ‘70s power-pop act Big Star, died today at a hospital in New Orleans. Chilton, 59, had been complaining of about his health earlier today. He was taken by paramedics to the emergency room where he was pronounced dead. The cause of death is believed to be a heart attack.
Not that I give a toss about the holiday, but it’s a good excuse to post this awesome and somewhat obscure jam by Thin Lizzy. Evidently it’s an adaptation of a trad Irish chant, so there ya go.
thx JZ !
I dare you to slip this into the playlist for some people hammered off their faces tonight.
And props to all painfully uncool songs with painfully important messages.
h+ magazine just published a significantly re-written, revised and expanded version of my essay “Lady Gaga and the Dead-Planet Grotesque,” updated for the “Telephone” video.
If David Bowie’s chameleonic posturing prefigured the hypertext web, Gaga may be the first version of a human being we have seen capable of thriving in the era of the social web. She is shiny, clickable, and malleable in the face of endless attention fragmentation. She is an adaptive strategy. Without any solid or “real” self, her identity becomes whatever it needs to be, immune to the toxic shock of the incoming century, fully geared up to party in the ruins. Is it any wonder that she’s provoked the response she has, both adulation and hatred? She’s the first non-boring thing to happen in pop music for almost fifteen years.
Consider Lady Gaga in prison in the beginning of her new video. That’s all of us, “held captive” in the modern condition — but Gaga is the Magician, able to transform any situation to her will. Five minutes in and she’s reassembled her outfit from chains and cigarettes and is wrapping herself around the girls in the prison yard. The other people in prison are already listening to her songs on her branded Lady Gaga headphone… she set the context before she even arrived. Though she may be in prison, she already rules the world. This is what adaptation to the 21st century looks like. The brand “Gaga” can be reassembled from anything, even in a vacuum, even from trash, just as we must learn to do with our own masks of self…
Die Tödliche Doris (The Deadly er, Doris) were a bloody-mindedly brilliant 80’s German post-punk band/ performance art concern, part of the self-styled Geniale Dilletanten movement (along with Einstürzende Neubauten and Malaria!) if you will. As a seemingly central tenet, manipulation of expectations is the rule, extending most fantastically to their 1984 release “Chöre & Soli” which consists not of conventionally playable records but rather a set of 8 miniature colored plastic discs and dedicated player. The sound content is limited to mere seconds per side, as befits the original use of the devices: the internal voice boxes of “talking” dolls. Needless to say these things are now rare as hen’s teeth. Anyone have a spare ?
Following on from the below post, another sad song and a real Marc Almond gem. Here, a powerful live performance of Charles Azanavour’s deeply moving ballad about the life of a drag performer, What Makes A Man A Man? One of his finest performances, if you ask me and a unicorn chaser of sorts for that Louis Farrakhan post from earlier today. (Hear Azanavour sing his own song—in English—during a Carnegie Hall performance here. Liza Minnelli sings it here.)
For whatever reasons—my 45 RPM picture sleeve has a woman on it—I have long assumed that Irish singer David McWilliam’s sad song about a homeless person about to die, 1967’s The Days of Pearly Spencer, was about a woman or a drag queen. The lines “Pearly where’s your milk white skin? What’s that stubble on your chin?” I always took to mean a drag queen not being able to groom herself properly and I thought this image—the 5 o’clock shadow—added an extra poignancy to the song. Not true. Apparently the song is about a elderly homeless man McWilliams befriended in the 60s.
I think you’ll agree that the song is memorable. The arrangements and orchestration were done by the famous arranger Mike Leander, who had earlier worked with Phil Spector and the Rolling Stones. The chorus is either sung through a megaphone or a telephone, and the effect is striking.
McWilliams, who died young at the age of 56 never had a hit with the song, which nevertheless became well known via dozens of easy listening cover versions, a psychedelic version done by the French group Vietnam Veterans and of course, the famous Marc Almond hit of the 90s, which added a final, more uplifting verse. (In Almond’s version, Pearly is looking back at a life lived in the street after getting off the street).
McWilliams looks a lot like Matt Damon, doesn’t he?