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The Death of The Germs
06.30.2010
01:55 pm
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Although I was too young to ever see them live, The Germs loomed large in my musical upbringing. They made deliciously evil sounding records that were irresistible to my friends and I. The legend of Darby Crash made its way out to us in the suburbs of Los Angeles and tales of “Germs burns” and other sordid activities titillated us as we blasted their sole LP and gazed at the spooky photos of the band members on the back cover. I tell you this because Rhino Handmade has just put out a limited edition CD of the final Germs show from December of 1980. Now here’s the thing: The Germs sucked live. The redoubtable Jonathan Gold does a wonderful job of describing what it was like to be there, but still I must ask: Has there ever in the history of music been a singer so utterly incapable of singing in time live as Darby Crash ? Have a listen to the clip below from said show and hear for yourself, then compare that to the truly wonderful contents of their classic first E.P. from ‘78 after the jump. I’m pretty sure all I missed out on by never seeing them live was a head injury !
 

 

READ ON
Posted by Brad Laner
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06.30.2010
01:55 pm
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Lost Belgian no wave prog band: Des Airs
06.23.2010
03:43 pm
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Once again Tony Coulter has drawn my attention to another lovely gap in my knowledge of obscure 80’s post-punk Belgian no wave prog something-or-other music. Des Airs, who released only one E.P. were a co-ed affair, the distaff portion being especially notable for boasting vocalist Catherine Jauniaux of Aksak Maboul (about whom, more later), The Work, etc. and bassist/vocalist Fanchon Nuyens who would later go on to form Zap Mama. The first clip below starts out as a slovenly take on of all things an appropriately perverse Peter Cook and Dudley Moore song! What could at first be written off as a novelty tune turns seriously funky at around 2:30 when the drunken waltz groove turns itself inside out. Surprising ! The second clip is another spartan and funky no wave workout from the same E.P.

 

 
Des Airs- Lunga Notte E.P. (La Folie Du Jour)

 

Posted by Brad Laner
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06.23.2010
03:43 pm
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Labtekwon: Black Skatepunk
06.14.2010
06:32 pm
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As James Spooner’s 2003 documentary Afro-Punk has shown, the black/punk marginalization continuum is as old as punk itself, and only scene demography has obstructed its full flowering. Indeed, its [anti-]institutional roots can be traced as far back as the early-‘80s establishment of the Black Rock Coalition in New York City by Vernon Reid and Greg Tate.

With this excellent video, veteran Baltimore MC Labtekwon plunks down a chit into the sweepstakes, positing punk as just another spot for forward-thinking hip-hop to grind. His dude-tacular flow seems a hat-tip to Mike Muir’s campy victim monologue in Suicidal Tendencies’ “Institutionalized,” and his new album NEXT: Baltimore Basquiat and the Future Shock is forthcoming.
 

 

Posted by Ron Nachmann
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06.14.2010
06:32 pm
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The Work: I Hate America (1981)
06.03.2010
03:34 pm
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Quite a polarizing and still edgy sounding 1981 single by The Work. The Work being Henry Cow founder Tim Hodgkinson’s early 80’s post-punk combo. Sounding every bit like their studio mates This Heat having a battle royale with Captain Beefheart‘s Magic Band, this violently convulsive tune is the very definition of apoplectic rage. And this was only 1981 ! Imagine how angry this would have been had it been recorded in the Bushco era ! Fortunately there’s enough bile in this track to apply to any other past or future outrage you’d care to. Art rock sticking it to the man !
 
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LA FOLIE DU JOUR: THE WORK ” I Hate America” (UK,1981)

Posted by Brad Laner
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06.03.2010
03:34 pm
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Best scene in Breaking Bad?
05.28.2010
01:37 am
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(via Mister Honk)

Posted by Tara McGinley
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05.28.2010
01:37 am
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Monitor and I
05.26.2010
12:21 pm
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It’s hard to overstate the effect upon our psyches of things we’re exposed to when we are young and impressionable. For better or worse, these things stay with us forever and if we’re lucky these things are also of enduring quality and mystery. Such is the case with myself and the little known band Monitor, whose sole 7” single I chanced upon at Slipped Disc record store in Sepulveda, CA around 1980. I was already at this time quite the ardent Devo fan and I could tell they too had vaguely similar aesthetics, especially in Steve Thompsen’s virtuoso synth manglings. So enchanted was I with this lil’ slab o’ vinyl that I tracked them down and started hanging around with them and sneaking into all of their shows. That I soon found out they attended the same high school as I, 10 years earlier, only deepened my affection for them. As it happened they were just preparing to release their one and only self-titled LP which while retaining its electronic foundations revealed a darker, more psychedelic sound. And then, rather suddenly it was over. Drummer Keith Mitchell went on to fame with Mazzy Star, guitarist Michael Uhlenkott formed The Romans, Steve Thompsen eventually joined LAFMS improv trio Solid Eye and bassist (and major early crush object for yours truly) Laurie O’Connell disappeared into Northern Californian suburban family life. There are periodic rumors of re-issues and even a book documenting their fleeting existence, but for now all that remains are the handful of recordings and this one live clip from New Wave Theatre, which as far as I can tell was their very last performance together.
 

 
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Posted by Brad Laner
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05.26.2010
12:21 pm
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The MONDO 2000 History Project: begins!
05.23.2010
09:42 pm
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So begins R.U. Sirius’s history of Mondo 2000 magazine and its circle of fellow travelers. I approve of how it starts with this wonderful personal anecdote about his first exposure to the underground press as a teen, in the form of the San Francisco Oracle. Many people will tell you of an “Oh wow! This exists! And there must be more of it!” epiphany like this—I had a similar experience discovering David Bowie and reading Lester Bangs in Creem magazine eight years later—and it’s a highly enjoyable essay. Worth pointing out that kids today and forevermore will be unable to have an experience like this due to the always on mediascape we inhabit today. Discovering something rare used to require luck, a knack for ferreting out weird stuff or a hip relative. Not saying it would be preferable to go back to this earlier era, of course, I’m just saying that back then it took work:

Let the story beginning in the Spring of 1967. I am 14 years old and in 9th grade. It’s early evening and the doorbell rings at the suburban house in Binghamton, New York where I live with my mom and dad. It’s a group of my friends and they’re each carrying a plastic bag and looking mighty pleased. They come in, we shuffle into the guest room (where the record player is kept) and they show off their gatherings — buttons (“Frodo Lives!” “Mary Poppins is a Junkie” “Flower Power”), beads, posters (hallucinatory), incense with a Buddha incense burner, and kazoos. A lonely looking newspaper lays at the bottom of the pile, as though shameful, the only item unremarked.

Without realizing the implications, I happen to throw side one of Between The Buttons on the player. Eventually, the song “Cool Calm and Collected” plays and a kazoo sounds through the speakers. In an instant, newly purchased kazoos are wielded and The Rolling Stones only-ever kazoo solo is joined by three wailing teenagers, bringing sudden shouts of objection from my famously liberal and tolerant Dad in the living room. It’s quickly determined that it’s late, Dad’s tired, and it’s time to send all kazoo-wielding teens packing. As each of the friends moves to retrieve his items, I grab the newspaper to see what it is. There are, I now see, two of them — two editions of something called “The Oracle.” It has hallucinatory visuals on the cover and boasts an interview with a member of The Byrds (David Crosby). Vinnie, who had bought it — but who, despite writing poetry — avoids any signifiers of intellectual curiosity as the teen status crushers that they are, feigns disinterest and gives the copies to me.

And that’s where it begins, this strange love affair with the periodical, particularly the periodical that has flair and style… where you can almost feel the energy and fun emanating off the pages.

I remember only one thing from the content inside those two Oracles and that’s David Crosby denying that he was “some kind of weird freak who fucks ten chicks a day.” That stuck in my mind. I didn’t know it was possible even to think that, much less print it, much less be in a position to find it necessary to deny being it!

How great is that last sentence?

Read the entire essay—and support the project—here.

 

Posted by Richard Metzger
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05.23.2010
09:42 pm
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Cartoon Beatles perform The Dead Kennedys ‘California Über Alles’
05.23.2010
12:30 am
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(via Nerdcore)

Posted by Tara McGinley
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05.23.2010
12:30 am
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Punk in Africa documentary
05.05.2010
12:43 pm
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Very interesting looking upcoming doc about the history of South African punk rock. The newer bands look like a snooze but it’s probably worth watching to learn about the once completely illegal apartheid era groups.
 

 

Posted by Brad Laner
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05.05.2010
12:43 pm
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Public Image Ltd. - Death Disco (1979)
05.04.2010
04:36 pm
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As the current iteration of Public Image Ltd. continue to provide an evidently very satisfying P.i.L. experience at a venue near you i happened to stumble upon this 1979 promo clip that I’d never managed to see before. The song title as well as being self descriptive of the music points to the anguished cry of grief over Lydon’s dying mother reflected in the totally non-ironic lyrics. Keith Levene’s guitar and synths, which the 2010 stand-in guy approximates sort of  are brittle, grievous subconscious shards of memory decorating the sparse dub-influenced underpinning. Slick it up for the kids all you like, this song is bulletproof.
 

Posted by Brad Laner
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05.04.2010
04:36 pm
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