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  • The intriguing origins of ‘Cliff,’ the cartoon character that’s all over Stereolab’s early album art
    04.27.2017
    09:52 am

    Topics:
    Art
    Music

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    “Stunning Debut Album” 7-inch, 1991

    If you’re into Stereolab, you’re almost certainly aware of the odd, grinning cartoon character who stared out accusatorially at the viewer on the cover art of many of Stereolab’s early releases. That weird little dude—gal?—was featured on Peng!, the groop’s first album, and the two important early compilations Switched On and Refried Ectoplasm (Switched On Volume 2) (Refried Ectoplasm is the best thing Stereolab ever put out, IMO) as well as a bunch of early singles.

    Indeed, if you were following Stereolab in their first couple of years, that character constituted almost all of the band’s visual image up until the 1993 release of The Groop Played “Space Age Batchelor Pad Music”, which cannily repurposed the cover design of a series of Vanguard releases of “stereophonic demonstration discs” featuring French conductor Vladimir Golschmann interpreting the works of Dvořák and Tchaikovsky, among others.

    The Stereolab gang apparently referred to the little fellow as “Cliff,” as was revealed in a super-early interview with the band that Chickfactor did in 1993:
     

    Chickfactor: where did you get the image of the guy with the gun? what made you give it up on space age bachelor pad?

    Tim Gane: “cliff” (as well call him) was taken from a swiss political comic from 1969. he’s a figure of the establishment who is eventually shot by the forces of the revolution (peng!). the recent mini LP [the Groop Played etc.] was based on a hi-fi stereo sound effect record of the early/mid-60s. the record doesn’t sound like that but I just like that kinda cool image shit. all of the next records will be based on the sleeves of hi-fi/stereo effect records. it’s a juvenile thing. I like themes running through the records, things that connect them together so that we can have our own “blue” period and “op art phase.”

     
    Not surprisingly, the Stereolab gang were up on their shit. “Cliff” indeed was derived from a cartoon by Antonholz Portmann that appeared in a 1970 issue of Hotcha, an underground newspaper that was based out of Zurich. Most of the sources I’ve seen say 1970 instead of 1969, but there’s rather little out there on the subject, so anything’s possible. Hotcha looks incredibly cool, actually, similar in spirit to the International Times and Oz and a hundred other independent periodicals from the period. Here’s a typical cover, featuring Tuli Kupferberg of the Fugs:
     

     
    Hotcha was founded in 1968 by a writer named Urban Gwerder with the subtitle “Fun Embryo Information.” It lasted until 1971, and during its brief existence more than 60 stimulating issues were published. Hotcha was a major player in the international independent press movement, publishing original material by Kupferberg, R. Crumb, Gilbert Shelton, Gary Snyder, Ed Sanders, and Frank Zappa, among many others. This page has some excellent scans of Hotcha issues.

    Sometime in 1969 or 1970 Hotcha ran a single-page comic called “Der tödliche Finger” (The Deadly Finger) by Antonholz Portmann. It’s worth pointing out here that “Antonholz” is a made-up name, it’s a combination of the German version of Anthony (Anton) and the German word for “wood,” which is Holz. So clearly Portmann used it as a pen name. Here’s the comic—the translation provided at the bottom is perfectly serviceable:
     

     
    As you can see, the image of the grinning face hardly changes, but the accusing finger slowly mutates into a loaded pistol, which goes off (Peng!) in the last panel. Gane’s words quoted above imply that the character is the so-called “figure of the establishment” who is executed at the end of the strip, but the way I interpret the cartoon, that establishment figure is off-screen, the figure Gane calls “Cliff” is the youthful judge, jury, and executioner representing the ‘68 generation staunchly opposed to militarism, conformity, bourgeois values, and so forth.

    Stereolab used the final panel for Peng! and Peng! alone, for obvious reasons, and occasionally used the first panel, with the naked finger, but the image used most often was the third panel, I think (it’s actually hard to tell sometimes).

    Some years later Portmann was contributing to another Gwerder-run zine called Hot Raz Times, as this page attests.

    Just for the record, here’s a thorough accounting of all the variations of “Cliff” Stereolab went through over the years. The main period for that image is 1991 to 1995, although he does pop up on a Japanese sampler in 1998.
     

    Super Electric” 10-inch, 1991
     
    More Stereolab cover art after the jump…....
     

    Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
    Moon shots: Showing your butt in public is the latest craze, apparently…
    04.27.2017
    09:43 am

    Topics:
    Amusing
    Current Events

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    01cheekexp.jpg
     
    No ifs or buts, the end is nigh, quite literally it seems for bright young things from across England (and now the world) who are taking pictures of themselves baring their buttocks in public places and uploading the resulting image to Instagram.

    This kind of exhibitionism or mooning it we used to call it, is not new. It has been a well-used way of showing disrespect to an enemy or scorn to nobility for centuries. Now, showing your butt in some beautiful landscape is the latest jolly wheeze for firm-buttocked young people to entertain themselves. This was what the Internet was made for…..apparently

    Well, three cheers for that.

    It all started with the Instagram page Cheeky Exploits which has been encouraging people from across the globe to upload snaps of their bare butts in suitable lush or unusual envirnoments. And people have been sending in moonshots from Australia, Brazil, America and alike—and you can check them out here.
     
    04chekexpl.jpg
     
    02chekexp.jpg
     
    More butts from around the world, after the jump…

    Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
    ‘The Underside of Power’: New video from Algiers
    04.27.2017
    09:41 am

    Topics:
    Class War
    Music
    Politics
    Race

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    Algiers have had a hell of a couple of years. In 2015, they dropped a fiercely original debut album that found an uncharted sweet spot between industrial rhythm and noise, post-punk guitar skreeeee, and the smoldering intensity of Southern black gospel. Wide acclaim, a few videos, and heavy touring followed, and the band’s core trio of singer/guitarist Franklin Fisher, bassist/synthesist Ryan Mahan, and guitarist Lee Tesche was augmented by touring (and now permanent) drummer Matt Tong, formerly of Bloc Party. In between all their rock labors, they wrote a second album, The Underside of Power, and WOW.

    The Underside of Power, despite being written and recorded under duress of time, shows remarkable growth. The band’s disparate influences remain, but the album is characterized by a weird irony: the debut was written via file-swapping, when the band’s members lived in three different cities, but it feels like a rock band’s record. The second album, though it’s the product of a seasoned touring unit with a full-time drummer, feels more like the work of an electronic composer. That’s due to a combination of the band’s build-it-up-high-and-rip-it-all-down working method and Mahan’s stepping to the fore as the band’s primary tunesmith.

    What haven’t changed are Fisher’s lyrical themes—his righteous and soulful declamations against injustice and abuse of power make Algiers one of this era’s most convincing purveyors of protest music. As a multi-racial band from Atlanta, GA, they engage head-on with race as well, a topic they handle powerfully on the song “Cleveland.” This one’s close to my heart—I’m born and bred in that fabled grey city, and the song deals in part with the extrajudicial execution of 12-year-old Tamir Rice by Cleveland’s police. I know the neighborhood where Rice was killed quite well, and I pass that rec center often. It is still impossible to be anywhere near that block and not think about the senseless murder, the police’s wagon-circling around the shockingly incompetent officer who drive-by shot the poor kid, and the local media’s complicity in selling the cops’ ever-changing stories of how the shooting happened. That horrific event was a massive trauma in the black community, and more specifically still Rice’s family, but it was also, more broadly, Cleveland’s trauma (and it remains our shame), and hearing outsiders confront that event artistically is moving and illuminating.

    Fisher and Tesche were kind enough to spend a good chunk of an afternoon chatting with me about the new album, how touring has changed them and their work, and “Cleveland.” A goofy phone connection rendered a couple of Fisher’s comments unintelligible. Any errors are my own interpolations. I did my best to faithfully preserve his meaning and tone, scout’s honor.

    Dangerous Minds: The new album was made in a somewhat and unfortunately different world than the first one, and I was wondering to what degree the primaries and their attendant escalation of American racism and violence had an impact on the new music? And since, broadly speaking, you’ve been dealing with themes of injustice anyway, would it have been so different an album had last year gone differently?

    Fisher: Yes, I think all of it except maybe “Cleveland” was written last year between June and the end of the year, but that being said, American racism and violence are always there.

    “Death March” was about Brexit, the inspiration for it came from Brexit—the recording sessions started when we were in the North Country, and there was this cloud hanging over everybody. But at the same time, we were in this very expensive, very nice setup with these two professional producers, and we were kind of being forced to create, and I hit a wall, so I just went through the newspapers and responded, and everybody around us was devastated by it in ways we’d find out about on our own terms when Trump won the election a few months later.

    Tesche:  From my perspective, when I was a teenager I was really into DC Hardcore, and I was feeding off of the Riot Grrrl movement and all that stuff, so everything that I’ve always been a part of has had some sort of greater political context or message, and I feel like we’re kind of all the same that way, so I don’t really know if the new record would have been that much different thematically, but throughout the whole process, one event after another changed our moods. When Brexit happened we were in England, and the U.S. election happened towards the end of tracking and mixing, and those things definitely influenced the very final shape and character of these songs.

    DM: The Underside of Power feels more like an electronic album than the debut does—the guitars seem less prominent. Also Underside seems like it features more uptempo stuff compared to all of the first album’s slow-burners. Has your writing process changed much between the albums?

    Tesche:  Not really. The way things got shaped in the mixing process, there were lots of guitars and lots of crazy sounds, and stuff was piled on, and as we made our way through the mix we pulled things back and peeled things off. It’s a result of that process more than the writing, just later on deciding what we wanted to push to the front. We were touring together for a year and a half, and when we recorded the second album we were coming from more of a live band perspective, and I think we were all kind of pulling things in different directions. This one may be more of a “soul” record than the first in a certain sense, but it’s hard to quantify those things, and we didn’t really have that kind of intent when we went in. We all set up to write sketches individually and we each had our own motivations, and so we all ended up with our own frustrations, and that’s what keeps you working towards the next one. Maybe the songs surprised us in how they turned out, but that’s how they exist, and maybe when we go out and play live, they’ll change and morph.

    Fisher:The first record, we wrote it almost exclusively through online file swapping when we lived in three different cities. This record more was written when we were all together. I don’t think there’s any prescription or specific method for our writing. We did go away after the first couple months of touring and everybody kind of worked on compositions to bring back to the group, to see what we had, and what we could work on. The majority of the compositions on this record are Ryan’s, he’s gotten really hands-on with electronic programming.

    Tesche:  There are a lot of different forces at play. On one hand, when I work on guitar stuff I try to approach it from an abstract perspective, to challenge myself to find a role for guitar that’s not just riffing, and Frank’s guitar playing was a response to that too. Not that we avoided normal guitar stuff altogether, but with Ryan writing the majority of it, and coming from this more synthetic place, guitar-wise you have to approach that somewhat delicately, because if you just come in and try and do a bunch of punk rock stuff on top of that, you can end up in a really awful place. It’s more about understanding what the songs are becoming, and what they’re supposed to be. The next record could be full of Iron Maiden leads, who knows?

    Fisher:I’m still learning my role as a singer more than a guitarist. I’ve always been the guitarist in the bands I’ve played with since I was a kid, and there’s not really a need for me to do that so much with this band. Our process is such that we’ll tend to use a maximalist approach, in that we’ll just pile things on and pile things on, and then we stand back and look at it and then start stripping things away. I’m sure it’s pure coincidence that usually any guitar part that I’ve written is one of the things that winds up getting stripped away [laughs] so this record was the beginning of me coming to terms with my designation as a singer, exploring that instead of trying to force my guitar into songs. Like Lee said, you have to be careful, otherwise it turns into a really strange nasty brew of guitar music and electronics that can go sideways.

    Tesche:  I think by design, part of the sound we’re crafting works well without much guitar in there, which of course is interesting for us as guitar players, becoming more choosy about when to play. With the last record, they took their final shape in the studio, and when we started performing the songs they became something else. I think these songs are going to go the same way, it’ll turn into something else. It’ll be after a few months touring that we’ll start to fully understand what this music is and what it should do.

    DM: Franklin, earlier you mentioned that the song “Cleveland” came before the rest of the album. You guys probably guessed I’d have something to say about that one—was that a response to the Tamir Rice execution?

    Tesche:  Frank can go into more specifics on that because that one was largely written by him, and there are a number of different levels to it, but yes. It does reference that, and the choir sample is the Reverend James Cleveland. It’s a multi-faceted reference in that sense. And I also recall the coincidence that when we recorded that song we were working with Adrian Utley from Portishead, and they early on started out in this little town called Clevedon.

    Fisher: There’s a recurring pattern of people mysteriously dying in police custody, people who’d seemingly been lynched but the local police had swept it under the rug, time and again, going back years. I wanted to kind of do something to try to confront the fact that this is happening, happening all the time, it’s an ongoing symptom. The song’s title was meant to invoke Tamir Rice without actually mentioning him, because he’s a symptom of something that’s as old as this country, being lynched by police, no matter how old you are, and if you’re a person of color, it’s something you’re always afraid of, either consciously or in the back of your mind. If you read some of these cases, it’s beyond absurd, and it becomes sickening how there’s never justice or closure for these families. Like Keith Warren—I think this was in like ’89, in Maryland. Good student, intelligent kid. He was found hanging in the middle of the forest, from a tree that was bent over from his weight. And they cut the tree down and embalmed him before any evidence could be taken, before the crime scene was surveyed. Before any real work could be done on the case they basically called it off and deemed it a suicide. On what would have been his 25th birthday, a box of photographs of the crime scene showed up on his mom’s doorstep. His mom realized that the clothes he was wearing weren’t his, and there were so many other things that made no sense, and there’s still no closure for his family. His mom thought his friends sent her the pictures because they knew something but were afraid to talk, and shortly after, one of his friends died in a suspicious bicycle accident.
     

     
    Though the new album isn’t due until June 23rd, the band released the first video from The Underside of Power this morning—and it’s the album’s title track. It features the band plotting antifa resistance in an underground bunker/undisclosed location, and it’s sprinkled liberally with vintage clips from the Civil Rights movement era so nobody can miss the point. Fisher is pretty awesome in it, and he had this to say about the song (this is quoted from press materials, it’s not from our interview):

    I heard someone say once that you don’t know what real power is until you’re on the wrong side of it. That was the inspiration for ‘The Underside of Power’ To be someone who has known first-hand, the full brunt of institutional force, the feeling of being completely vulnerable to it and powerless against it, is a bitter reality for the vast majority of people. The image of an insect being squashed by a boot comes to mind. But with that image comes a slightly hopeful paradox: just as all systems have inherent flaws, so does the proverbial boot, which leaves the slight possibility for the insect to creep through and bite back.

     
    Watch the new video from Algiers, after the jump…

    Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
    Cracking the P.Y.T. code: New technology reveals hidden lyrics in Michael Jackson’s 1983 hit single
    04.27.2017
    09:32 am

    Topics:
    Music
    Science/Tech

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    35 years after its release Thriller remains the best-selling album of the millennium. After a lifetime of repeated listening, the record’s sixth single “P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)” (produced by Quincy Jones and co-written with James Ingram) has definitely emerged as my favorite track. It’s unclear why Jackson never performed the song live, but it remains a fan favorite from its immediately catchy funk/pop synthesized bassline to the fun “call-and-response” vocals between Michael and his sisters. Janet and LaToya who sing back-up on the “repeat after me and sing na na na” breakdown make it nearly impossible not to sing along every time you hear it on the radio. However, my favorite part of the song has always been the high-pitched “chipmunk vocals” that only arrive during the song’s outro. After all, who didn’t get a kick out of playing 33rpm records at 45rpm as a kid? But even when Kanye West sampled the outro, slowed it down, and looped it as the basis of his 2007 single “Good Life,” I was still left wondering after all these years, what the hell are those chipmunk vocals singing exactly?

    A few years ago, Los Angeles-based music copyright specialist Drew Seventeen used a program called Audacity to pitch-shift the “P.Y.T.” vocals using “stems” (isolated pieces of a multitrack recording) that are intermittently available on the internet. Drew explained his project via e-mail:

    “‘Good Life’ by Kanye West featuring T-Pain (heavily sampling that section) is actually my iPhone morning alarm song. So after hearing the voice hundreds of times in the dream-wakefulness transition, I became obsessed with knowing what the actual lyric was. I assumed the ‘tee’ and ‘see’ were chopped off in the final mix due to timing limits on early sampling technology, but the exposed stem also makes it clear that he just hits a lower note there which becomes unclear in the master recording.”

    The results of Drew’s efforts can be heard here:
     

     

    “I wanna love, you P.Y.T.
    I wanna give, you T.L.C.”

    Not only are the hidden lyrics of “P.Y.T.” revealed for the first time (clearly sung by Michael himself), but as an added bonus we can hear these lyrics are divided up by a “kiss” which gets buried in the actual studio mix of the track. 

    More after the jump…

    Posted by Doug Jones | Leave a comment
    Stranded! Vincent Price on BBC’s ‘Desert Island Discs,’ 1969
    04.27.2017
    09:01 am

    Topics:
    Art
    Movies
    Music

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    Vincent Price on the beach in 1966’s ‘Dr. Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs’

    Who better to be stranded on a desert island with than Vincent Price? He could probably recite all kinds of poetry and dramatic dialogue from memory, and he could certainly cook. Then, when the tedium and awful island fever and scurvy and parasites got you down, I bet he would liven things up a bit by threatening to kill and eat you. “I’d love to have you for dinner,” that sort of thing.

    In the summer of 1969, Price was a guest on the long-running BBC radio series Desert Island Discs. All the “castaways” who appear on the show are asked to name a favorite record; Price’s charming selection was his own reading of “America the Beautiful” from his 1961 LP of the same title.

    But then, he was into language, Vincent Price. Only four of the eight records he chose for the show had any music etched on them: Debussy’s “L’isle Joyeuse,” Schumann’s “Frauenliebe und Leben,” Beethoven’s “Zärtliche Liebe” and Nat King Cole singing “Nature Boy.” The other half consisted of spoken word records like “America the Beautiful,” in addition to which Price chose a speech on human rights by FDR, John Gielgud reading “Fear no more the heat o’ the sun” from Shakespeare’s Cymbeline, and Alec Guinness in the first production of T.S. Eliot’s The Cocktail Party. His book is Leaves of Grass, his luxury a double bed.

    Below, in the only surviving fragment of the broadcast, Price doesn’t mention any of his selections, but he discusses his education, his early years on the stage, and his work with museums and art foundations:

    That goes, really, back to my debt to the president—President Roosevelt—because I feel that the actor, if he is an important actor in the public’s mind, that part of his debt to himself, particularly, and to his public, is to be a public servant, and to do something good. The one thing I knew before I became an actor was the history of man through his art. And in America, we were a nation, quite honestly, of blind people. Actually, musically, we’re terribly aware, but we’re still just learning how to open our eyes and see. We aren’t concentrated, and it’s a big effort to go and see pictures. Television has flunked it. Radio gave us music at its very best. You know, the world is conscious of good music, of all kinds of music. But television has given us no pictures.

     
    Listen after the jump…

    Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
    Meet Eggstone, the ‘Godfathers of Swedish pop’
    04.26.2017
    03:30 pm

    Topics:
    Music

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    In 1990 when Swedish group Eggstone released their first single “Bubblebed” it had been over a decade since any Swedish pop act had gone mainstream. This would soon change, and although their debut album Eggstone in San Diego (recorded at their own Malmö-based Tambourine Studios in 1991) hardly made any impact in the United States, it did fairly well in Europe and a gained a massive following in Japan. AllMusic called it “layered, retro lounge-pop that is cheery, bright and infectious” and they’d go on to record two more albums over five years (Somersault and Vive La Différence!). Each Eggstone record was filled to the brim with insanely catchy, radio friendly songs. With titles such as “Hang on to Your Eco” and “Supermeaningfectlyless,” their lyrics didn’t always make perfect sense in English, but there was a fun quirkiness that came from them being written by a non-English speaker. Guitarist Patrik Bartosch told Billboard magazine in December 1996, “We won’t change something around that’s not correct English just for the sake of it, we like using new combinations of words that haven’t been used before. We’d rather be incorrect than use a cliche.”

    Eggstone put their Swedish producer Tore Johansson on the map, and soon hundreds of bands all over the country began sending their demo tapes into Tambourine looking to record with Tore in Eggstone’s studio. “Out of the demos that were getting sent to us, the other one we really liked was from The Cardigans. They really had something.” Eggstone frontman Per Sunding told Tape Op in a 2015 interview. Tore Johansson helped give The Cardigans the Eggstone sound on their first four albums: lush production with gorgeous vocals in a chic, boss nova-influenced atmosphere. The Cardigans even borrowed Eggstone’s formula for their slightly off-the-wall version of English, and created fun song titles on their albums by combining words that weren’t meant to go together: such as “Pikebubbles” and of course, their huge 1997 chart-topper “Lovefool.” The “Swedish pop” sound had taken shape, and over the next two decades both Tore Johansson and Per Sunding became Sweden’s most in-demand producers working with artists like The Wannadies, bob hund, Peter Bjorn and John, Saint Etienne, April March, Franz Ferdinand (Tore produced their 2004 radio hit “Take Me Out”), Idlewild, Boss Hog, even A-list royalty like Tom Jones and Beatles producer George Martin sessioned at Tamborine.
     

     
    Eggstone selflessly put their career aside to help Sweden’s newfound music scene flourish. Sunding started a record label (Vibraphone Records), built a restaurant in the center of Malmö, and hosted several bands from Japan, most of whom had insanely large budgets to record which helped fund two additional studios: Gula and Country Hell. All three studios remained completely booked year round, so booked in fact that Eggstone could never get in to work themselves. Sunding ultimately became more interested in production rather than his own band. An enormous hard drive crash which destroyed many demos Eggstone had been working on for years didn’t help matters either. Finally, in April 2016 Eggstone refurbished an old demo from 2002 called “Like So” and released it through Spotify. It was their first new release in nineteen years, their fans were ecstatic and interest in the band was renewed. 

    More after the jump…

    Posted by Doug Jones | Leave a comment
    Meet the Wipeouters: DEVO’s surf-rock alter egos created for a children’s show
    04.26.2017
    12:08 pm

    Topics:
    Amusing
    Music
    Television

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    Mark Mothersbaugh has quite the musical repertoire outside of being the co-founder, keyboardist and lead singer of one of America’s most inventive and beloved new wave groups - the almighty DEVO. In 1989, Mothersbaugh founded the production company, Mutato Muzika, which has also served as the band’s headquarters since its inception. Glancing at the company portfolio, Mutato Muzika (“mutato” being portmanteau for “mutant potato”) has produced music for hundreds of commercials, movies and TV shows, with credits for Wes Anderson films, Nickelodeon’s Rugrats, Pee-wee’s Playhouse, The LEGO Movie, and the soundtrack for the computer game, Sims 2 and much more, too much to mention.

    In addition to the above, Mutato Muzika has also spawned The Wipeouters, the surf-rock DEVO offshoot with a rather vague existence. In the late 90s, Mark Mothersbaugh was approached by Klasky Csupo, Inc. the animation company behind Rugrats, to create the theme for their new extreme-sports themed cartoon series, Rocket Power which followed a group of SoCal kids who surf, skateboard, snowboard, rollerblade, BMX bike, play street hockey, and any other adrenaline-fueled sport you can think of. While their airborne stunts may sound intense, the adolescent complications they faced seemed to be the most challenging: math homework, getting grounded, bullies, confronting one’s fears and insecurities, and so forth. Mothersbaugh assembled his team at Mutato Muzika to record the theme to Rocket Power, which premiered on Nickelodeon in August of 1999.

    At this point on the Devolution timeline, the band was, for the most part, pretty inactive. After poor record sales for 1990’s Smooth Noodle Maps and the dissolution of Enigma Records, DEVO itself pretty much disbanded in 1991. Over the years came a few one-offs, including their “Head Like a Hole” cover, the soundtrack to their CD-ROM adventure game “Adventures of the Smart Patrol,” and a few reunion shows beginning at Sundance, then the Lollapalooza tour, and onward. DEVO’s absence in the 90s, allowed Mothersbaugh to cultivate the success of Mutato Muzika as a commercial music production company powerhouse,  establishing itself outside of the DEVO context.
     
    Mutato Muzika located in West Hollywood, CA
    Mutato Muzika’s lair located in West Hollywood, CA

    And then came the Wipeouters. The mysterious group of surf revival Mutatos featured Mark Mothersbaugh (keyboards/vocals), Bob “1” Mothersbaugh (guitar), Bob “2” Casale (guitar), and Josh “not from DEVO” Mancell (drums). At the recommendation of Gabor Csupo, co-creator of the Rocket Power series, the Wipeouters released a full-length record called P’Twaaang!!! in 2001. Inspired by the works of the Beach Boys, Jan & Dean, Dick Dale, the Trashmen, and the Ventures, P’Twaaang!!! features 48 minutes of hard-driving tubular guitar riffs, with wacky synths on top to give it that classic DEVOtional flair. Even if you had never listened to DEVO before, the music sounds much like the same band who brought us 1979’s cover of the spy-surf classic “Secret Agent Man.” In addition to the recognizable cast of spuds noted above, the record also features notable guest appearances from Jerry Casale), Jim Mothersbaugh, Robert Casale Sr. (father of the Casale brothers), and other members of the Mutato Muzika family.

    More after the jump…

    Posted by Bennett Kogon | Leave a comment
    Yes, there is a ‘sexy women holding carp’ calendar and, of course, it’s gotta be from Germany
    04.26.2017
    11:46 am

    Topics:
    Animals
    Sex

    Tags:


     
    OK, it’s April and not exactly calendar-buying season. But this is a little too good not to share. There’s a calendar that showcases pictures of sexy women holding carps. The name of the calendar is the Carponizer Calendar. Carponizer? Yes, Carponizer.

    The calendar is the brainchild of a certain Hendrik Pöhler, a native of Germany who sells equipment for carp fishing for a living.

    To get these priceless pics, photographer Raphael Faraggi runs the shoots in France over four weeks. He is assisted by “two competent caretakers,” who are charged with cleaning and polishing the carps’ scales before they are given to the models for the big pose. The Carponizer Calendar is, shall we say, R-rated, but if you go to Faraggi’s website some of the carp pictures are topless.

    According to Pöhler, “The idea for the calendar was to bring two of the greatest hobbies of men, fishing and women together.” Right.

    The Carponizer Calendar has actually been around since 2014, if not earlier. The 2016 edition and the 2017 edition are available on Amazon. In case you are wondering, the next time that the 2016 calendar configuration comes around again is 2044—leap years are tough—but you can reuse the 2017 edition as soon as 2023.

    Pöhler claims that the 2017 calendar has “once more managed to courageously make every month of the year that little bit more special,” and really, who could argue?
     

     

     
    More scantily clad women holding fish, after the jump…...

    Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
    Finally there are posable life-sized skeleton body lamps!
    04.26.2017
    10:44 am

    Topics:
    Amusing
    Design

    Tags:


     
    Ever wanted a life-sized skeleton lamp with a lampshade for its head? Then have I got the lamp for you! Zia Priven makes these posable skeleton lamps called the “Philippe.”

    The skeleton happily sits on a stand so you can easily reposition it in any pose you want. (Mine would be flipping everyone the bird.) The “human” bones come in silver, bronze or an off-white and is topped with a black or white lampshade.

    There is no price listed on the Zia Priven website. I’d imagine these cost a pretty penny. I could be wrong, though. You can contact them here to ask about pricing.


     

     

     

     

    Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
    80s ‘Superfans’ talk about their obsessions for Bowie, Boy George, Duran Duran & Elvis
    04.26.2017
    09:46 am

    Topics:
    Amusing
    Music
    Pop Culture

    Tags:

    01supfabeawid.jpg
    Superfans in the sixties.
     
    I don’t suppose I fit the requirements to be called a superfan, well, unless you count having a cheeky wank to a Kate Bush video when I was much younger. Probably not. But I did once (all too briefly) date a tall blonde David Bowie superfan, who probably only ever went out with me because of my passable impression of the Thin White Duke. My vocal dexterity was convincing enough for this dear sweet girl to demand I serenade her with one or two of her favorite Bowie songs during our more intimate moments. I knew it could never last. There was only so long I could sing “The Laughing Gnome” without losing my ardor.

    Back in January 1984, Smash Hits music magazine went in search of a selection of typical eighties superfans. They discovered a band of girls and boys who had an overwhelming passion for all things Bowie, Presley, Duran Duran, Culture Club, Madness, Staus Quo, and even Marillion. These young things gave some sweet and occasionally strange answers as they tried to explain exactly what it means to be a “superfan.” Their answers were compiled into a strange format—as if the writer was attempting to cram in as many words as possible into one sentence without thought for punctuation or even explaining who exactly was talking (Me). But that’s not so important as we do get to hear what it meant to be young(-ish) and obsessed with music in the 1980s.
     
    0covinttwo.jpg
    Smash Hits 5-18 January 1984.
     
    01supfanssmahits518jan1984.jpg
     

    DURAN FANS

    NAMES: TRACY PARKES & KIM GREVILLE
    AGES: 15 & 14
    HOME: BIRMINGHAM

    “I (Tracy) liked them when they first came out. She talked me (Kim) into going on Duran Duran ‘cause I liked Dexys. She told me to take down all my DMR stuff, give it away and stick up Duran Duran. We have about the same amount of stuff. Tracy has more scrapbooks but I’ve got more on the wall—about 50 different things. We don’t get anything. We only get things if we like them. If it’s a really gonkified pic of Simon le Bon we won’t get it. You don’t put gonks on your wall do you? There’s sort of levels of being a fan. We’ve got a friend who is a real fan but we think she prefers football. She only puts up little pictures on her wall. Even if we see a little one when we’re walking up the street, we’ll be screaming. There was one time she went totally mad on Wham!. We didn’t talk to her for about three days. Then suddenly she went back to Duran. All the lost Duran Duran fans are Wham! fans. We visit Roger’s mum and we’ve been up to Nick and John’s parents’ houses. The first time we went to Roger’s we interviewed his mum for a school project and we found out a few facts that no-one else knew. She told us he was tone deaf and that his favourite toy was a glove puppet. And that his favourite meal is Welsh Rarebit. We’ve been up twice now. No three times. The last time she invited us. His dad was there decorating. We had our pictures took with his dad, his mum and the dog. I think people who go mad and sleep on the grass outside are cruel. OK, you might see him but he isn’t going to ask you out and that is what a lot of fans expect. Some of the girls say they are going to meet John Taylor one day. He’s going to swirl them round to the dinner table—with chocolates and everything—and ask them to marry him. We know that isn’t going to happen. I (Tracy) would love to be in one of their videos. Yeah (Kim), even if we were only standing at the bus stop. Anything. The only thing we have in common is that we’re Duran Duran fans. I’m (Tracy) quiet; she’s noisy. I (Kim) say the wrong things; she doesn’t”

     
    More superfans discussing their love of Staus Quo, Madness, Elvis Presley and David Bowie, after the jump….

    Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
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