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Honey, I Shrunk the Autobahn: Rick Moranis sings Kraftwerk
07.31.2015
07:21 am

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Amusing
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Music
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This is good fun, and it’s a damn shame it’s not more widely known—in 1989, comedic actor Rick Moranis released a Kraftwerk cover on his album You, Me, the Music and Me. Moranis became known in the ‘80s as Bob McKenzie in SCTV’s “Great White North” sketch and its feature film Strange Brew, as Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors, and for damn near movie-stealing supporting roles in Ghostbusters and Spaceballs. In the ‘90s he softened his image to suit the family-oriented Honey, I Shrunk [whatever] franchise before real-life family matters prompted his mid-decade retirement.

Despite having been released on the highly notable indie label IRS Records, the album just doesn’t exist anywhere anymore. For some reason, there was no CD issue despite the 1989 release date, and Spotify, iTunes, et al seem to have never heard of the thing. (I’d bet rent money Grooveshark had it, but sadly, that service and its founder are both gone now.) As of this posting there are zero copies for sale on Amazon, Discogs or MusicStack, so unless a copy happens to find its way into your hands on a digging expedition, the debut solo LP by a beloved performer is effectively unobtainable.
 

‘80s graphic design. Hey, it’s been 30 years, isn’t this style due for a revival?

And it’s kind of a bummer that the album seems to be such a total ghost. I’d like to check it out even just once, even though I don’t have the highest expectations for it. Moranis’ 1981 Great White North LP with Dave Thomas is one of the all time great comedy records, and there’s just no way You, Me, the Music and Me could measure up. Judging by the credits, Moranis seems to be assuming the guise of a DJ, commenting on various musical phenomena—already a played-out premise even then—as well as covering tunes like “A Day In The Life” and “Light My Fire.” Um, OK. Though very little of the album exists in Internetland, one thing that IS available is the “Ipanema Rap,” an ‘80s white-guy rap parody of “The Girl From Ipanema.” You’re groaning, aren’t you? You’re right to be groaning. It’s pretty awful. The video is worth a look, if only so you can marvel at how a video from 1989 looks so much like a video from 1981. IRS was apparently pretty tight-fisted with all that R.E.M. money.

But the album ends on a really high note—Moranis’ fairly reverent cover of Kraftwerk’s “Autobahn.” It’s only four minutes long, which is a mercy, it wouldn’t be very amusing for the full 22+ minutes of the original, but the material actually suits him quite well. The spoken bit at the end is clearly a part of the album’s DJ conceit, and can be ignored.
 

 
After the jump, Rick Moranis turns Japanese…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
NBC explains KISS to old people, 1977
07.31.2015
06:56 am

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Music
Television

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From Kiss’s 1977 special edition Marvel comic. They said that drops of the band’s own blood had been mixed in with the ink.
 
Gimmicks get a bad rap, and the music snobs who supposedly abhor them tend to be very inconsistent in their denouncements. No one would talk shit on Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ manic voodoo schtick for example (unless, I guess, they’re just openly anti-fun). Likewise, “serious” music nerds love bands like The Spotniks, and “Swedish science fiction bluegrass surf” is about as “novelty act” as you can get. But mention KISS in a Pitchfork crowd and you will inevitably encounter at least one disdainful scoff—if not the entire room—but if you can’t appreciate a man in glam rock alien makeup vomiting blood onstage, I feel sorry for you. Take this 1977 NBC mini-doc—“Land Of Hype And Glory”—as your cautionary tale.

The piece starts with scenes from a carnival, which is actually a decent metaphor for the band (carnivals are fun! People love carnivals, and people love KISS!). But the narration goes for the P.T. Barnum angle—“there’s a sucker born every minute”—implying that KISS fans are somehow being swindled by enjoying a sensational live show. (Fun and entertainment? Whatta bunch of suckers!) The reporter goes on to ask the band if they’re “bludgeoning rock to death,” and interrogates Gene Simmons on KISS’ “less-than-average” music. Simmons is quick to point out that their songwriting is intended to be “accessible,” rather than “self-indulgent.” Intended as a denunciation of hype, the entire feature comes off as a besuited old man scolding a group of professional showmen who aren’t taking themselves too seriously.

You don’t have to be a fan, but KISS are dumb, loud and easy, and if you can’t appreciate that, you’re really missing something fundamental about rock ‘n’ roll. And now, if you will excuse me, I’m going to run away before I am pelted by Sleaford Mods and Brian Eno CDs…
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
You know, this is—excuse me—a damn fine cover! The Joy Formidable revamps the ‘Twin Peaks’ theme
07.30.2015
12:39 pm

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Music
Television

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For over five years, Welsh trio the Joy Formidable have been making wonderful, headstrong records that combine hard-rock intensity with shoegaze’s dense trippiness. Wolf’s Law and The Big Roar are the easiest for American types to get ahold of, and if you dig bands like Curve, they’re probably well within your zone (but if I’m in the mood for this kind of thing, frankly I way prefer TJF over Curve). Just this afternoon, the band released a nicely reverbed-out cover of the Twin Peaks theme song, “Falling.” Between the series’ 25th anniversary taking place this year, and the announcement of new episodes coming in 2017, I suppose we should all brace ourselves for a LOT of this sort of thing coming up. The band told the essential Welcome to Twin Peaks blog:

“We had some time during the making of our new album to get excited that a new series of Twin Peaks is on the horizon,” the band told Welcome to Twin Peaks. “Here’s our tribute to that legendary series and it’s beautiful theme music by Angelo Badalamenti.”

They (or someone) also cobbled together a video compilation of scenes from the series. Which is at once quite nice and too bad—a performance video probably would have been a lot of fun.
 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Disney tried to adapt Kevin Smith’s ‘Clerks’ into a PG sitcom (and it was soooooo bad)
07.30.2015
06:54 am

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Movies
Television

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Kevin Smith has caught a lot of hell for not “maturing” as an artist, but if you go back and watch Clerks, it’s pretty obvious that his strengths have always been juvenile humor with a shot of modern neurosis. And, while Clerks is certainly a product of its time, I maintain that it holds up as a really charming little film about youth, relationships and the absurdity of alienated wage labor under capitalism. Or maybe it’s just about snowballing (hey, six of one...). Highly sexualized semi-intellectual gross-out comedy is arguably the trademark of Smith’s indie opus, which is why it’s so weird that Disney tried to adapt the film for a PG audience. (Spoiler: it is bad.)

It makes sense that Disney would try to capitalize off Gen-X disaffection I suppose, but did they really think Clerks could stand the Mickey Mouse treatment? You’ll notice the 1995 pilot bears no resemblance whatsoever to its source material—Smith wasn’t even told about its development until the actors that played Dante and Randal auditioned for (and didn’t get) their original roles. Smith even tried to help the project by writing a script, but Disney ultimately went with… this. You’ll see no Jay or Silent Bob, just a cast of suspiciously good-looking members of the strip mall proletariat. (They even added a sexy girl who works at the tanning salon next door played by a pre-Felicity Keri Russell).

Needless to say, Smith was not pleased with the end result. Check it out below, if you dare.
 

 
Via A.V. Club

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
OMG, there’s a Slim Goodbody-esque anatomical sleeping bag
07.29.2015
10:26 am

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Amusing
Television

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I only remember bits and pieces of Slim Goodbody AKA “the Superhero of Health” from my childhood. He had a TV show on PBS in 1980 called Inside Story but I don’t recall ever actually sitting through an entire episode. BUT I do remember pausing on his show for a few moments once just to gaze in wonderment at his his skin-tight anatomical suit and distinctive ‘fro. It’s a memory burned into my brain for some reason.

When I stumbled across this “anatomically correct” sleeping bag—or is this a “body bag” in this case—my mind went immediately to Mr. Slim Goodbody. What a perfect way to pay homage to this childhood “Superhero of Health”!

Now what’s really sad is I can’t find this sleeping available for purchase anywhere. I’m always led back to a Japanese site that gives me a “404” error. Maybe I just didn’t look hard enough?


 

 

 

 
Below, Slim Goodbody sings “The Digestion Song:

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
The men of ‘Twin Peaks,’ drawn as Sailor Jerry style pin-ups
07.24.2015
08:03 am

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Art
Television

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Several months ago when we showed you Emma Munger‘s wonderful Sailor Jerry-inspired pin up artwork of the women of Twin Peaks, one of our readers posted the comment “Where are all the half naked men covered in logs? We demand equality!” Perhaps the artist heard and heeded that plea, because she’s added the MEN of Twin Peaks to the series.
 

 
And there’s a really funny twist: these aren’t beefcake poses. Just like the women, the guys are drawn in the manner of female pin ups. Which is hilarious on Ed Hurley,  the Horne brothers, and Pete Martell, but frankly disturbing on Killer Bob and One-armed Mike. And the pin up of Dr. Jacoby? Yeah, that one’s in a class all by itself. Prints of Munger’s work are available from søciety6.
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
See more after the jump…
 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Watch this meticulously edited ‘Star Trek’ fan video for William Shatner’s awesome Pulp cover
07.22.2015
10:08 am

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Music
Television

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In 2004, Ben Folds produced William Shatner’s album Has Been which included a surprisingly great cover version of Pulp‘s hit song “Common People.” Folds enlisted ‘80s icon Joe Jackson to sing on the choruses of that cover. The Has Been album was surprisingly well received by critics, and many agreed that “Common People” was the “hit” on that record.
 

 
Pulp’s Jarvis Cocker even praised the cover version, stating, “I was very flattered by that because I was a massive Star Trek fan as a kid and so you know, Captain Kirk is singing my song! So that was amazing.”

A fan has created a video for Shatner’s “Common People” using clips from Star Trek: The Original Series.

What makes this edit truly incredible is the attention to detail in matching shots with the lyrical content, even nailing specific lines of the song to lines spoken by Kirk in the show. Check twenty-seven seconds in where “I want to live,” or forty-seven seconds in where “I’ll see what I can do” sync perfectly.  The amount of work that went into this is apparent and astounding.

You can’t say Trekkies aren’t a dedicated lot.

This is totally worth four minutes your time:
 

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
‘New Wave’ Anne Murray ‘plays’ to the punks, 1985
07.17.2015
12:00 pm

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Music
Punk
Television

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murray
 
It’s no secret that when the New Wave hit, its repercussions shook some unlikely classic rock scenesters (Exhibit A: Neil Young’s Trans; Exhibit B: Everyone from Mick Jagger to Bob Seger dressing up in dayglo and Exhibit C: SYNTHESIZERS!), but witness the little “Snowbird” herself, Anne Murray, of all people, taking a swerve into an edgy career detour in her 1985 TV special The Sounds of London.

Though she was hardly shaving her head or shoving a safety pin through her tongue (the TV audience is left to do that to themselves), Murray’s confusing London travelogue includes a bizarre extended stage segment set at the massive Hippodrome nightclub. It looks like all the Goths, New Romantics, and other subterranean types in London were issued an all-points bulletin to get their asses down for some camera time, and to do the Dark Dance to the newly-crowned Queen of MOR New Wave. Oddly, her “performance” here is pretty much her singing along to other stars’ music videos (in the case of the Police and Eurythmics, Murray is uncomfortably inserted into the videos themselves). That doesn’t seem to stop Anne’s newfound fans (who were apparently dragged here from the Batcave) from dancing up a storm and even invading the stage to join in. Because who wouldn’t want to stage rush an Anne Murray gig, right?

The one-off special, credited as being written by Alan Thicke, also features guests Miss Piggy, Bananarama, and Dusty Springfield, and is clearly the effort of Anne Murray’s “people” to round her square edges a bit. The AM radio-friendly country-pop chart-topper Murray of course garnered her own fanatical suburban housewife following throughout the 70s, and this totally batshit 80s show seems to be aimed at kickstarting her image for a whole new “alternative” fanbase not quite aware of her, uh, crossover potential. Maybe she pulls it off better than Lady Gaga/Tony Bennett?

Personally, I feel a Die Antwoord collaboration is the logical next step to making Anne Murray “relevant” again.
 

Posted by Brian Turner | Leave a comment
Early concept art for ‘The Flintstones’?
07.15.2015
06:25 am

Topics:
Animation
Art
Television

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On the Yowp blog, your first stop for Hanna-Barbera stuff, there was a post yesterday showcasing some early concept art that was used in making The Flintstones.

The items had been put up for auction at the Van Eaton Gallery in Sherman Oaks, California, and two of them are listed as having already been sold. No artist is listed. The person who runs Yowp wonders whether the items are “retro” or “actually drawn in 1959 or 1960 in preparation for The Flintstones.”

My two cents: Nobody who was familiar with The Flintstones in its mature state would have drawn anything looking like this. That’s my guess. But I don’t know. 

The three images below, you can see a larger image by clicking on them.
 

“Fred Flintstone, Wilma Flintstone, Barney Rubble”: sold for $4000
 

“Fred Flintstone and Ann Margrock?”: Still available!
 

“Fred Flintstone”: sold for $2000
 
via Tombolare

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Siouxsie and the Banshees with a young Robert Smith on ‘Something Else,’ 1979
07.14.2015
06:25 am

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Music
Television

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Last week, when DM HMFIC Richard Metzger posted about Robert Smith and Steve Severin’s Siouxsie and the Banshees spin-off the Glove, it set me off on a kick. I’ve waxed rhapsodic on DM, probably more than once, but definitely once that I can specifically remember, about the surpassing excellence of the Banshees lineup with guitarist John McGeoch, also a vet of Magazine, The Armoury Show, and P.I.L. before his untimely alcohol-related death in 2004. When I listen to Siouxsie, it’s almost invariably one of the three albums McGeoch played on—Kaleidoscope, Juju, and A Kiss In The Dreamhouse.

But that’s kind of stupid, given that McGeoch’s tenure in the band was bookended by the two stints enjoyed by the Cure’s moonlighting poo-bah Robert Smith. Weirdly, as influential as both the Cure and the Banshees are/were, Smith doesn’t get a whole lot of accolades as a guitarist. Even Cure devotees know him more for his melancholic singing and his trademark hairsplosion. But the guitar stylings associated with that saturnine strain of UK post-punk that would become known as Goth owed as much to Smith’s deliberate and doleful playing as to the aggressive slashing of Bauhaus’ Daniel Ash, the disquieting Morricone-isms of the Birthday Party’s Rowland S. Howard, or McGeoch’s heavily chorused, layered picking. Check out early Cure songs like “Three Imaginary Boys” or “The Figurehead,” and it’s plain that Smith can wring a lot of emotive impact out of comparatively few notes.
 

 
And so, after that post last week about Smith’s excursion in the Glove, I started giving more attention to his time in the Banshees, and in the process I found this fantastic TV footage of Smith during his first Banshees go-round, from the BBC2 show Something Else (I love the “Watch Something Else” banners decorating the set!) in 1979. They perform “Love in a Void” and “Regal Zone” from Join Hands, an album on which neither Smith nor the drummer appearing here, Budgie, actually performed. The prior guitarist and drummer left very shortly after Join Hands’ completion, so Smith and Budgie, a refugee from Big In Japan and the Slits, were recruited to fulfill tour obligations. Budgie went on to stay with the band forever, and even wed Siouxsie, but Smith only stayed in for the duration of the tour (the Cure were the opening act anyway), so his first shift with the band was as an interpretive player. Smith wouldn’t write music with the band or perform on a Banshees album until 1984’s Hyaena, but as this was the transitional phase of the Banshees’ career wherein the band straddled punk and goth, Smith makes an apt fit even though the compositions being played aren’t his.

Also, I’m sure you’ll enjoy the reading of a pretty damn funny letter from an unhappy London viewer who wanted his vigorous opposition to all this “punk” nonsense noted for the record.
 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
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