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SWAT! Marky Ramone’s DIY solution to rude dickheads with smartphones at concerts
09:24 am


Marky Ramone

We’ve surely all been there. Enjoying a concert when the asshole right in front of you holds up his/her phone to shoot video, forcing you to watch the event that you’re actually at in miniature on a video screen. Don’t even get me going on the motherfuckers who do that shit with tablets. As a frequent concertgoer, I find that to be among the most annoying of the new etiquette breaches that the smartphone era has ushered in, but—leave it to the old-school—Marky Ramone has the solution! It’s the Cell Phone Swatter, patent and trademark pending, I assume. He’s made a hilarious PSA for it, and for good measure, he gets in a plug for his recent autobiography Punk Rock Blitzkrieg: My Life as a Ramone. It’s short, so I won’t describe/spoil it except to say I don’t think I would go around gluing shit to my vintage Ramones 7"s. Marky’s probably got extras, though.


Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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Pere Ubu, DEVO and more seminal Ohio punk on two new compilations

I’m in my mid ‘40s, and I’ve lived my entire life in Cleveland, OH. Go ahead and fire up your jokes, I’ve heard ‘em all, and frankly, if you still think it’s a punchline, I’m perfectly happy for you to keep your uninformed pierogi-hole on lockdown and stay far the hell away so as not to pollute my zen (OR: if you want to check it out with an open mind, I know a ton of very cool people who’d be glad to point you in all the right directions). I’ve traveled plenty, though obviously one can never travel enough, and I’ve had opportunities to live elsewhere, but so far I’ve taken none of them. Part of that was because until a few years ago I had enviable job security in an industry I loved, and I still have a crazy low cost of living, but the REAL magnet that’s kept me here? The music scene is and always has been beyond utterly fucking brilliant. I have never wanted for gifted mutants to rock with, and while everybody steeped in punk and New Wave lore knows what a musical atom bomb Northeast Ohio was in the ‘70s, and while the success of the Black Keys, indie champs Cloud Nothings, and garage/soul shit-fucker-upper Obnox are attracting attention here nowadays, the rarely-told stories of the ‘80s, ‘90s and oughts scenes are doozies, as well. Almost every time I’ve pondered a move, it’s been a band that’s kept me around, even though nary a one of ‘em has ever made a dent, and I while I abidingly love a lot of other cities, I’ve yet to seriously regret sticking it out here. A close-knit music scene teeming with talent is just that strong an attractor for me.

Recently, the excellent archival record label Soul Jazz have, as part of their ongoing PUNK 45 series, released two excellent compilations documenting the ‘70s/early ‘80s roots of that music scene, one each for Cleveland and Akron, both with extremely generous liner notes. They cover all the stuff I missed out on by being not being born 10 years earlier, but obviously these bands still weigh heavily on the region’s underground musical legacy. Both are assembled from early, independently-released 7"s, and both accordingly feature some previously compiled material AND some serious treasures.

The Akron comp, Burn Rubber City, Burn!, has the early DEVO single “Mechanical Man” and the rarity “Auto Modown,” the Waitresses’ early single “The Comb,” and Tin Huey’s awesome “Squirm You Worm.” (Versions embedded in this post may not be the same as what’s actually on the comp; they were the versions I could find online. )

The Waitresses, “The Comb”
Plenty more after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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Sex Pistols and Smiths covers are way more fun in Ukrainian
07:19 am


Sex Pistols
Wedding Present

Peter Solowka was the founding guitarist for the wonderful UK pop band the Wedding Present, and played with them on their first batch of releases up to and including 1991’s mindblowing and essential Seamonsters, after which he was shown the door. But during his tenure in that band, he was a mover behind one of the band’s more off-the-map projects—a series of Peel Sessions wherein TWP devoted themselves to interpretations of Ukrainian folk songs. That was a short lived phase for the Wedding Present, but it became Solowka’s career. Upon being jettisoned from TWP, he was able to devote his attention to a side project that grew from that Weddoes diversion, the Ukrainians. That band name is about as exactly-what-it-says-on-the-box as band names come: they play traditional Ukrainian folk music amped up with post-punk textures and aesthetic strategies.

The band’s somewhat narrow concept has proved remarkably durable—they’ve existed for 25 years now, and have not only been recording and releasing music fairly steadily, they are touring the UK in support of a new LP in May. But the works I’m keen to share today are two EPs, released ten years apart, that pay tribute to the music of the Smiths and the Sex Pistols. The Smiths covers EP, 1992’s Pisni iz The Smiths, is great fun while being reverently respectful to the source material. This doesn’t feel cheeky, just really robust. Even the originally dismal “Meat is Murder” kicks ass. Savour the flavour:

“Batyar (Bigmouth Strikes Again)”
Plenty more where this came from, after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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Detroit protopunk pioneers Death release a new single (and it sounds like… Death!)
07:21 am



If you’ve not yet familiarized yourself with the 1970s Detroit proto-punk band Death, I highly suggest you get on it, starting with the fantastic 2012 documentary, A Band Called Death. The anomalous three-man group—comprised of of brothers Bobby, David and Dannis Hackney, switched from funk to rock ‘n, roll after seeing a Who concert, and they created some absolutely amazing music that was rarely heard by all but the most dedicated rock historians, until the doc.

Now brothers Bobby, Dannis and new guitarist Bobbie Duncan are promising a new album (literally titled N.E.W.), on their own label in April—even featuring some previously unrecorded songs written with the original lineup. You can hear the first single below, “Look at Your Life,” and honestly, it sounds like Death—heavy, erratic and wild, with the sort of nasty Motor City sound that pulses through Detroit peers like The MC5 and The Stooges. “Look at Your Life” is not however the first single in 40 years—as every outlet seems to be reporting. Two years ago, the same line-up put out a song called “Relief”—also worth a listen.

You can pre-order N.E.W. here.

Via Monster Children

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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Two hours of Patti Smith live and raw in 1979
09:57 am

Pop Culture

Patti Smith live 1979

In honor of Patti Smith’s recent wildly well-received shows at L.A.‘s Ace Hotel and The Roxy, here’s some punk rock history for you: The Patti Smith Group performing live at the Capitol Theater in New Jersey on May 11, 1979. Patti and the band are loose as hell and occasionally veer way off the tracks as Patti re-starts, abandons and mangles a few tunes. Patti’s stage banter is more pose than poetry (her verbal riffage certainly got better over the years) and her free-jazz clarinet solos belong on ESP-Disk’s cutting room floor. But she’s at home in Jersey and having some fun.

The sound is good in this footage and the murky black and white makes the whole thing feel like it was directed by Guy Maddin.

A dynamite set list:

Privilege (Set Me Free)
So You Want To Be A Rock ‘N’ Roll Star
Dancing Barefoot
I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry
Redondo Beach
Citizen Ship
Ask The Angels
Secret Agent Man
Pumping (My Heart)
Mr. Tambourine Man
Broken Flag
Till Victory
Ain’t It Strange
Cold Turkey
Because The Night
Seven Ways Of Going
Pledge of Allegiance / Star Spangled Banner / My Generation

Patti Smith - vocals
Lenny Kaye - guitar, vocals
Richard Sohl - keyboards
Ivan Kral - bass
Jay Dee Daugherty - drums

Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
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Stream the new album from Retox featuring Justin Pearson of the Locust, a Dangerous Minds exclusive
08:45 am


The Locust

The San Diego band Retox features the Locust’s bassist Justin Pearson on vocals, and shares much of that band’s extremity, dissonance, and whiplash tempos, but in a more straightforwardly hardcore vein. Their new album, Beneath California, will be released next week, but you can stream the whole thing right here on DM.

If The Locust isn’t a helpful reference, you might want to look them up; they’ve been around for over 20 years, and if you’re into any kind of extreme rock, you might find much to enjoy there. Originally exponents of powerviolence—a ‘90s mini-genre that sought to push hardcore to its own nth degree with absurd brevity, lightning-fast drums, and brutal rawness that owes much to grindcore while intentionally steering clear of metal tropes—the Locust eventually augmented that aggression with the unpredictable time signature changes of math rock and the squared-off synth textures of much early ‘80s New Wave. Their stage presentation also diverges wildly from doctrinaire hardcore—they perform in creepy form-fitting insect uniforms. If powerviolence has a DEVO, it’s the Locust.

More after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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‘The Last Blast’: Big Black’s glorious ‘final’ show, 1987
09:18 am


Big Black
Sub Pop
Bruce Pavitt

By early 1987 legendary Chicago indie titans Big Black had put out one full-length album, Atomizer, and had another about to come out, Songs About Fucking (ask for it by name!), but then they called it quits. Their final show was in Seattle in August—August 11 to be exact—and Albini made sure it would be an event. According to Larry Reid, who would later become the curator of the Fantagraphics Bookstore,

Steve Albini contacted me in 1987 and asked me to produce Big Black’s final show. The abandoned Georgetown Steamplant with its antiquated industrial aesthetic provided the perfect venue—ironically, this steam powered electrical generating plant was then totally without electrical service, so we had to employ portable generators for power.


The show opened with ex-Blackout Roland Barker and friends creating an industrial soundtrack up in the catwalks of the enormous facility. Georgetown’s resident-poet Jesse Bernstein performed a provocative and wildly entertaining reading, then Big Black let loose with a ferocious set of their greatest hits, ending with a cacophonous finale of smashed instruments and explosives.

Soundgarden‘s Kim Thayil, Mudhoney/Green River‘s Mark Arm, and Nirvana‘s Kurt Cobain were all in attendance, while Sub Pop’s Bruce Pavitt was on the stage itself. As Reid astutely points out, “In hindsight, this show marked a metaphorical passing-of-the-torch to Seattle as the center of the country’s counterculture.” (You can see Cobain at the 31:14 mark in the video, as the band sets up to do “Dead Billy.”)

As the audience filed in, they were treated to the synthy stylings of Roland Barker and James Husted. There was no opener unless you count the angry poetic stylings of Steven “Jesse” Bernstein, a William Burroughs collaborator who sadly committed suicide four years later.

Pavitt has always called this his favorite show. The subject came up recently in an interview he did with the Guardian (to promote his latest book, Sub Pop USA: The Subterraneanan Pop Music Anthology, 1980–1988, which I highly recommend) when they asked him to isolate his favorite Big Black show:

It would have to be their quote-unquote final show—I think they might have played another one afterwards, but it was billed as Big Black’s final show. It was set in a steam plant in Seattle. They completely destroyed their instruments on stage. Completely over the top. One of the most insane shows I’ve ever seen. Just going for it. And of course lighting off a box of firecrackers at the end.


Here’s what Pavitt wrote at the time, in the September 1987 issue of Sub Pop. I love this bit of writing so much, it’s got the very recognizable (to me) GenX tone of fandom, to take a left turn and filter one’s adoration in a deadpan cloud of non-sequitur.

my favorite show ever
I cut my hand. I cut my hand trying to grab a piece of broken guitar. The strings of my hand cut into my hand and my hand bled on the stage. BIG BLACK was on the stage. BIG BLACK is God. BIG BLACK destroyed everything. I wanted a piece of BIG BLACK. Now my hand hurts. Because somebody tugged and sliced a guitar string into my hand. Now they have a big piece of BIG BLACK and I don’t. I now have a band-aid on my palm. It’s hard to write with a hole in your hand. Goodbye BIG BLACK.

According to Janice Headley, this video was mixed by Albini himself, which may explain why it sounds so good. It’s made the rounds for years under the title “The Last Blast.” Pedants will note that this ended up not being Big Black’s final show, but not by much—in 2006 they played four songs at Touch & Go’s 25th anniversary (but not “Kerosene”!) Anyway, here it is, firecrackers and all.


Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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‘Records Collecting Dust’: New doc on collecting vinyl with Jello Biafra and other fanatatics

As record collecting’s resurgence continues to grow, so does the sub-industry of proffering opinions about the phenomenon. Annual pro- and anti-Record Store Day think pieces seem to proliferate at a faster pace than vinyl sales themselves, the photo book Dust & Grooves is slated for a third printing this summer, and documentary films on the vinyl collecting hobby are growing in number, as well. That micro-genre’s 21st Century godfather is 2000’s Vinyl, noteworthy for predating the vinyl renaissance by several years, also noteworthy for painting a dismal picture of record collectors as sad old men who, having failed to connect with human beings in their pitiable lives, turn to hoarding media to fill an emotional gap or grasp at a sense of purpose. I frankly and flatly reject the implication that a love of collecting music lumps one in with doleful and socially isolated alterkakers who need suicide watch more than they need turntables. In mitigation, Atom Egoyan and Harvey Pekar are among the collectors interviewed, and that’s damn cool. Watch it here, if you like.

A more recent offering, 2008’s I Need That Record! offers a view of the obsession from a different sociological perspective, looking at the thinning of ranks in indie record stores (that retail niche has obviously rebounded since), seeking input from indie-famous crate diggers like Ian MacKaye and Thurston Moore, with a helping of righteous corporation-slapping from Noam Chomsky. And it offers a much more upbeat view of the collector.

And there is a new contender: Riot House has released musician Jason Blackmore’s (Sirhan Sirhan, Molly McGuire) hour-long Records Collecting Dust, which asks a laundry list of punk and indie luminaries questions like “what was the first record you bought?” “What was the last record you bought?” “If there was a gun to your head and you had to pare your collection down to five albums, what would they be?” It’s a really fun watch, and not just for the trainspotting. It’s a gas to see Keith Morris extol the virtues of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, to see Jello Biafra wax rhapsodic about Space Ritual, Mike Watt raving about American Woman, and David Yow talking about baffling his teacher and fellow schoolkids when he brought the Beatles’ trippy, bluesy b-side “For You Blue” to show and tell. One truly wonderful sequence joins Rocket From the Crypt/Drive Like Jehu/Hot Snakes guitarist John “Speedo” Reis in showing off his favorite children’s LPs on a toy turntable, and there’s even a segment with Dangerous Minds’ own Howie Pyro. I always enjoy tales of musical discovery, all the more so when they’re told by people who’ve made the music that warped me, and Records Collecting Dust is FULL of that, plus live performances by Jello Biafra & the Guantanamo School of Medicine, the Locust, and Big Business.

Though enjoyable, the film has its imperfections. It suffers from an abiding and ultimately irritating L.A.-centrism. I’d love to hear more tales of life-changing finds from people who hail from more culturally isolated areas, and so couldn’t just go to someplace like Wherehouse or Licorice Pizza whenever they felt like it, and had to really work for their scores. One other thing screamed out at me, though it’s not a flaw in the film as such, but more a consequence of the hobby’s demographic: the levels of vinyl-stockpiling depicted seem overwhelmingly to be a male phenomenon, so out of 36 interviewees listed in the credits, exactly two women appear, namely former Black Flag bassist Kira Roessler, and Frontier Records’ Lisa Fancher. Roessler makes one of the funniest observations in the whole doc when she describes how record stores magically cause men to shop in a manner stereotypically associated with women.

Another of the film’s truly brilliant moments is this fabulous sermon from Jello Biafra, which I’ve taken the liberty of transcribing in its entirety, because I 100% agree with every damn word of it:

I think part of the magic that vinyl, and records, and blundering into cool music you never knew existed still holds for me. I’m still a fan, and keep in mind “fan” comes from the word “fanatic.” I love to keep exploring, and even though I’ve got way too many records, I never buy one unless I intend to listen to it when I get home—I don’t always have time to listen to ‘em all now, but that’s the idea. I don’t buy it to scam or speculate, I buy it to listen to it. And there, that way, I never run out of cool music to listen to. I have no patience for these people who say “Oh, the whole scene died when Darby Crash died,” or “yeah, there’s no good bands anymore.” WROOOOOONG. Good sounds are where you find it so start looking, OK? Don’t be afraid to blunder into something cool. You never know what it might do to your life, or even your own music, or your band may finally start sounding different from all the other bands you like.

Records Collecting Dust began screening in California this month. Remaining showings though March are listed on its web page . If you’re on the fence about checking it out, perhaps these trailers will help nudge you one way or the other.

More after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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The Marvelous Mage of Manhattan TV: Joe Franklin R.I.P.

Photo by Jim Herrington.
Joe Franklin died on Saturday. He was 88. The cause was prostate cancer. The world has lost one of TV’s weirdest and most wonderful wizards of the airwaves.
Joe Franklin was to late night cable TV in New York City what Papaya King was to hot dogs: Manhattan through and through. I watched his show religiously during the late 70’s/early 80’s. After a few shots of Jack Daniels and half a dozen lines of Peruvian flake, there was nothing more mesmerizing than the loopy surrealism of Joe Franklin. His stream of consciousness raps, fractured and deliriously deft, coupled with his vast knowledge of TV, music and movie trivia, was like listening to the Akashic Record of 20th century pop culture being transmitted through an Elf on meth. Franklin was a character in a David Lynch movie before David Lynch had even made a movie. He was a trip. And most of us punk rockers and downtown artists loved him.

My show was often like a zoo,” Franklin said in 2002. “I’d mix Margaret Mead with the man who whistled through his nose, or Richard Nixon with the tap-dancing dentist.

Here’s a wonderful clip from 1988 of Joey and Marky Ramone on The Joe Franklin Show. As you will see, Joey is somewhat in awe of the genius of Joe. And they respected him too much to correct his pronunciation of their name as The Raaaymones.

I gotta give props to Joe’s sidekick, bug-eyed deejay Paul Cavalconte, for being ultra-hip, despite The Smiths question.


Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
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Public Image Twitter Fight: Keith Levene is MAD AS HELL AND HE’S NOT GONNA TAKE IT ANYMORE!

Keith Levene, the groundbreaking post-punk guitarist best known as an original member of the Clash and for his work on the first three Public Image Limited albums, seems to be a bit heated up these days. This morning, the following screed appeared on his Facebook page, and was copied to his Twitter feed:

It has been brought to my attention that various parties involved in the first go of the Commercial Zone project have been having their say anywhere they can and popping up messages that r absolute bollocks! I won’t stand for this anymore and I’m going to address this now just for me and anyone who’s interested in the truth. All these people Wobble, Jones (NOT YOU BARRY :-), Anthony Keidis, Bob Miller and of course John fukin Lydon - AND THAT’S JUST FOR STARTERS. I say fuck the lot of you and tell me…what the fuk did i do that was so bad aside from greatly enhancing your situation. Everyone’s lives who I encountered in a professional sense were improved after they worked with me. I kept silent for more than 30 years. No more. My contributions have been erased by you and these lies that I absconded with the CZ tapes, was horrible, was fired from the Chili Peppers when I was never hired (show me the fucking contract if I was hired), and so on and so forth. ITs obviously not going to stop. Lies in books, lies in press and its so obvious none of you have anything new to offer. Fukin grow up, embrace your limitations and stop trying to erase my contribution to your lives for one not to mention the history of music.. IM MAD AS HELL AND IM NOT GONNA TAKE IT ANYMORE. Oh and Anthony Kiedis. What the fuk is wrong with you? If you’ve got something to say…stop hiding behind your book agents, fakes names on message boards, your friends who are journalists, and so on. You know where you can find me. In the studio of course (unlike you) working on my next project. And do yourself a favour…get CZ essentials and then you have another 20 years to plagiarise me at WANKERS!

Much of that explains itself, but the apparent falling-out with PIL bassist Jah Wobble is a bummer. (About Anthony Kiedis, well, I guess that’s maybe a shame, too…) It apparently stems from a recent Guardian interview in which Wobble off-handedly mentioned that Levene was “a horrible junkie in the PIL days”. The interview, which by the way is definitely worth a read, now runs with a disclaimer:

The reason I find that falling-out to be such a shame is that Levene contributed guitar to the 2011 Wobble/Julie “Lonelady” Campbell album Psychic Life, then did two wonderful collaborative releases, EP and Yin & Yang, with Wobble in 2012. Now, these releases weren’t ever going to blow minds and change lives like Metal Box or anything, but still, this was good new music from the people who made friggin’ Metal Box, so I had hoped there’d be more to come from the two. Actually, I still hope there’ll be more to come from them.

It’s honestly baffling why Levene should be dwelling on negatives. He’s been extremely active lately, penning a memoir of his early years in music, Meeting Joe: Joe Strummer, the Clash and Me, and successfully crowdfunding the album Commercial Zone 2014, a long-in-the-works completion/ expansion of what would have been PIL’s fourth album, which was released in two different versions in the ‘80s: by Levene as Commercial Zone, and by PIL as This Is What You Want… This Is What You Get. Levene’s version was legally suppressed after its first issue (haha see what I did there), so it’s a bit of a rarity, but it has die-hard adherents among those who find the PIL version to be kind of hacky, pandering crap (myself included—those horn sections are ear-stabbingly painful). The Quietus gave the album a very positive review, and Levene posted works in progress from the sessions on his YouTube channel. Here’s a bit called “Area 52”:

Check out these audience-cam videos of Metal Box In Dub, a band comprised of Levene, Wobble and singer/actor Nathan Maverick, who plays Johnny Rotten in a Sex Pistols cover band. They did several shows in 2012, performing early PIL material.


Many thanks to Shawn Swagerty and his unstoppable nose for news.

Previously on Dangerous Minds
Keith Levene of PIL on why he quit the Clash
Anarchy on American Bandstand: When Public Image Ltd. met Dick Clark, 1980
Raw footage of John Lydon and Keith Levene at MTV interview, 1982

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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