follow us in feedly
  • A girl's best friend is her guitar
  • Activism
  • Advertising
  • Advertorial
  • American-style (Republican) Christianity
  • Amusing
  • Animals
  • Animation
  • Art
  • Belief
  • Books
  • Class War
  • Crime
  • Current Events
  • Dance
  • Design
  • Drugs
  • Economy
  • Environment
  • Fashion
  • Featured
  • Feminism
  • Food
  • Games
  • Heroes
  • Hip-hop
  • History
  • Hysteria
  • Idiocracy
  • Kooks
  • Literature
  • Media
  • Movies
  • Music
  • Occult
  • One-hit wonders
  • Politics
  • Pop Culture
  • Punk
  • Queer
  • R.I.P.
  • Race
  • Reggae
  • Science/Tech
  • Sex
  • Sports
  • Stupid or Evil?
  • Superstar
  • Television
  • The wrong side of history
  • They hate us for our freedom
  • Thinkers
  • U.S.A.!!!
  • Unorthodox
  • Best Of
  • Sponsored Post
  • VICE
  • A very young R.E.M. gets noticed by the NY Rocker, March 1981
    05.08.2015
    06:08 am

    Topics:
    Music

    Tags:


    REM at Tyrone’s O.C., Athens, Georgia, April 10, 1981
     
    In March 1981 N.Y. Rocker put Pylon on its cover, which promised a look at the “New Sounds of the Old South,” centering on a town that probably not too many New Yorkers had heard of, called Athens, Georgia. If they had heard of it, it was either because of the University of Georgia football team or because of the recent success of a new band called the B-52s.

    The title of the Pylon feature is “Temporary Rock”; if you’d like to read it, you can find it at this page on the WFMU blog. As promised, N.Y. Rocker did take a look at the Athens scene, and highlighted, alongside a “psychedlo porch funk” outfit named Love Tractor and a nerdy trio called Side Effects, a promising new four-piece called R.E.M. Vic Varney, author of the roundup, called R.E.M. the “most conservative” of the bunch, noted their relative popularity in Athens (they “pack in” a lot of people), and snarked that their supporters can’t distinguish their covers from their originals, which fact constitutes the divide between the band’s fans and the haters. Varney praised the group for being cautious about chasing the money train and then, rather remarkably, compared R.E.M. in Athens to the Beatles in Hamburg (!).

    Where was R.E.M. at this point? They didn’t have an album out. They didn’t have a single out. According to a very useful website called R.E.M. Timeline, the band had been playing Athens pretty regularly over the course of 1980 and had even ventured out to two welcoming border states, North Carolina and Tennessee. They had never played New York, but (quite strangely) they had played, in February 1981, a venue called New York, New York, that existed for a time in Augusta, Georgia. Here’s a pretty funny radio ad for that show that features no R.E.M. music whatsoever (remember I said they didn’t even have a single out?) but does showcase some Devo, B-52’s, and the Police. Don’t miss the “punk rock dance contest”! You might win $25!
     

     
    As the radio ad mentions, in December 1980 R.E.M. had opened for the Police in Atlanta’s Fox Theater. (I got that audio clip from the selfsame R.E.M. Timeline’s Facebook presence.)

    Playing for really good bands like the Police was one of R.E.M.‘s defining pastimes as 1981 came and went. During that year they opened for Gang of Four, XTC, Wishbone Ash, Bow Wow Wow, the dB’s, Siouxsie and the Banshees, U2, and Oingo Boingo—that’s an incredibly impressive list. Clearly, they were Georgia’s go-to openers for a while there.

    Say, was anybody reading this in attendance at the R.E.M./U2 bill at Vanderbilt University’s Underwood Auditorium on December 2, 1981? If so, it seems that you saw a historically unique lineup.

    The rest of the story is better known. In June they would finally play NYC, opening for Gang of Four, and in July they released “Radio Free Europe” on Hib-Tone, which they would re-record and re-release after signing to IRS Records in May 1982—the cleaner IRS version would hit #78 on the Billboard charts.

    As for the article, well, I feel the desire to bestow on it the mantle of some superlative, but I’m not quite sure what that would be. N.Y. Rocker wasn’t a national outlet, so it’s not right to say that this was the first time the national press noticed R.E.M.—and I wouldn’t know that to be true even if you do count N.Y. Rocker as national.

    It seems very safe to say, however, that this article was pretty distinctive. It’s incredibly unlikely that anyone in Chicago or Los Angeles as big as N.Y. Rocker was paying enough attention to Athens to feature them in this way, and even in early 1982, when R.E.M. finally made it to Massachusetts, a writer named Jim McKay in the Boston College student newspaper was complaining that nobody in Boston knows who R.E.M. is and referencing the voluminous ink N.Y. Rocker had spilled on R.E.M. in multiple issues. Just to repeat that point: a full year after this Pylon cover, people not living in NYC had formed a mental link between N.Y. Rocker and R.E.M. (By the way, if you look at McKay’s picks, he was a pretty astute music critic.)

    It ain’t worth a Pulitzer, maybe, but I say, that’s cracklin’ good rock and roll journalism for you.

    I found this issue of N.Y. Rocker at the Rock Hall’s Library and Archives, which is located at the Tommy LiPuma Center for Creative Arts on Cuyahoga Community College’s Metropolitan Campus in Cleveland, Ohio. It is free and open to the public. Visit their website for more information.

    (If you click on an image you can see a bigger version.)
     

     
    Continues over…

    Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
    The unknown obscuro glam, punk and new wave mystery bands of 1980s… FLORIDA?
    05.08.2015
    06:04 am

    Topics:
    Music
    Punk

    Tags:


    Gregory McLaughlin, Randy Rush - The Front

    A pair of eye-opening, no-budget documentaries on the (surprisingly great) glam, punk, and new wave music history of Florida have surfaced. These documentaries, primarily focused on the 1980s hyper-obscuro bands of the Miami scene, are a window into a musical history that, probably because of its geographical distance from the rest of the country, has been virtually ignored.

    Punk rock historian, and author of the excellent Crate Digger: An Obsession With Punk Records, Bob Suren, who is constantly alerting me to new old bands I’ve never heard, sent me a link to Greg McLaughlin’s You Tube channel—a veritable treasure trove of Florida new wave and punk history. And get this—most of it’s actually really great.

    McLaughlin led The Front, an early ‘80s punky, new-wave-ish quintet from Miami, with a sound reminiscent of San Francisco’s The Mutants or John Foxx era Ultravox. These guys were legitimate outsider weirdos who could have been huge if they had been from New York or LA or, hell, even Athens, GA. McLaughlin’s You Tube channel is chock full of clips of The Front as well as other Florida bands that no one north of Tallahassee’s ever heard of. Most of these bands may have released one or two singles if they were lucky. The Front had two.
     

     
    McLaughlin has collected a lot of this footage, as well as interviews, into two documentaries: Invisible Bands and The Front -The Band That Time Forgot. The former chronicles Florida’s DIY music history from ‘60s garage punk bands through ‘80s new wave, power pop, and punk. The latter deals more specifically with McLaughlin’s own band, The Front, but also delves into the ‘80s Florida music scene, with bands such as The Eat, Cichlids, Screamin’ Sneakers, and Charlie Pickett and the Eggs.

    Both documentaries are charmingly “no budget,”—fun in spite of their utter lack of any production value. Both could use a lot of fat-trimming, and would benefit greatly from about 30 minutes worth of cuts each. I think this is a problem film makers often face when they are too close to their subject matter.  The Front documentary loses focus about half way through and just starts including footage from loads of ‘80s contemporary local bands. Thankfully, all of the music (from a slew of unknown bands—“Killed By Death” greats, The Eat, are the most famous band featured, if that gives you any frame of reference)  is fantastic, even if the document itself is overlong and disjointed. Some of the footage repeats between the two documentaries, and if you’re not a patient person you may find yourself wanting to skim around a bit, but the music is totally worth it. There are some major gems to be unearthed here.

    More after the jump…

    Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
    Win a copy of Jethro Tull’s ‘Minstrel In The Gallery: La Grande Edition’ deluxe box set
    05.07.2015
    01:09 pm

    Topics:
    Music

    Tags:


     
    Jethro Tull’s 1975 album Minstrel In The Gallery has been sonically upgraded to a 5.1 surround mix by Steven Wilson, as well as expanded with rare and unreleased studio outtakes and BBC radio and recordings in the 40th anniversary “La Grande Edition” on the Parlophone label.

    Minstrel In The Gallery was Jethro Tull’s eighth studio album and its sixth gold record, a top ten hit in the US. It was the final Tull record to feature the classic lineup of Ian Anderson, Martin Barre, John Evans, Barrie Barlow and Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond.

    Like the other WEA deluxe Tull sets, this one comes in a case-bound 2X CD, 2X DVD book with an 80-page booklet featuring an extensive history of the album, track-by-track annotations by Ian Anderson, an essay about the Minstrel tour by roadie Kenny Wylie, memories from the studio engineer of the studio in Monaco where the album was recorded, some observations from one of the touring string section members and plenty of photographs.

    Additionally a new stereo remix of Minstrel In The Gallery will be released on a single CD, digitally and on 180-gram vinyl as a limited edition pressing.

    “La Grande Edition” features a live recording of the band performing at the Olympia in Paris on July 5, 1975 mixed to 5.1 and stereo by King Crimson guitarist Jakko Jakszyk. Interestingly, parts of Minstrel—one of the harder rocking albums in the Jethro Tull discography—often sound very much like later period King Crimson.

    Below, nine-minutes of previously unseen footage from Paris, 1975

     

    Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
    ‘Handy’ chart shows which drugs are the most popular at each festival
    05.07.2015
    12:48 pm

    Topics:
    Amusing
    Drugs

    Tags:


     
    DrugAbuse.com created this awfully “handy” chart which shows what the most popular drugs are used at certain festivals. Since most people won’t freely admit to taking any illegal drugs, DrugAbuse.com collected their information by using Instagram.

    ...researchers first gathered intel on how many Instagram posts mentioned one of the 15 festivals they analyzed (3,622,365).

    From there, they looked at how many of those posts also mentioned or alluded to a controlled substance—by percentage, Marley Fest had the most mentions of drug use (pretty shocking…), and the KISS Country Chili Cook-Off had the most mentions of alcohol (which could have been inspired by the Brad Paisley hit of the same name—he headlined after all).

    I’m giving this chart a major side-eye. C’mon, just using mentions on Instagram to get your statics without actually physically talking to a single person? I dunno, seems pretty pointless to me. I’d take this chart with a grain of… something fun.


     
    via Billboard

    Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
    The Needle and the Damage Done: The art of old-school patch embroidery gets born again
    05.07.2015
    11:17 am

    Topics:

    Tags:

    Ninja and Yolandi of Die Antwoord hand made patch
    Ninja and Yolandi Visser of Die Antwoord patch
     
    Somewhere in the desert just outside of Reno Nevada lives a man named Cody McElroy. McElroy looks like he set off from LA on a vision quest, made his way to Reno, and never looked back. He looks famous, a little bit like Johnny Thunders. He plays the harmonica and his tattooed arms match each of his hands. Speaking of McElroy’s hands, they spend most of their time breathing life back into the lost art of creating hand-made patches.
     
    Stones tongue hand made patch
    Tongue and lip patch
     
    Known as Dirty Needle Embroidery, McElroy’s work possess a distinct vintage vibe, and are made with the same kind of attention to detail as their old school predecessors. According to McElroy, he sews each patch himself using a single-needle sewing machine employing a process that he calls “reverse tattooing.” Or in layman’s terms, coloring in your design first, not starting with the outline as you would with a tattoo. McElroy says each piece he makes can take anywhere from 30 minutes to more than 20 hours to finish, depending on size or its intricacies.
     
    Noel Fielding as The Mighty Boosh hand made patch
    Noel Fielding of “The Might Boosh” as the “The Hitcher” patch
     
    In an interview last year, McElroy spoke about his obsession with vintage patches and clothing, which started back when he was just 16. A few years later one of his friends (a guy friend for that matter) taught him how to tailor his own clothes. It was around then that McElroy started experimenting with patch making. His designs celebrate all things counter-culture and the good old-fashioned pursuit of vice. So understandably, many of McElroy’s admirers reside within the vast motorcycle community, outlaw and otherwise, in Nevada and the Pacific North West. The young artist has become a fixture at motorcycle events around the west coast since starting Dirty Needle in 2013.
     
    Drug researcher hand made patch
    Drug researcher patch
     
    I can’t lie. I’ve been pretty obsessed with patches for most of my life. And McElroy’s unique patches bring me right back to the moment I started collecting in my early teens. If you also share my obsession, you can pick up a few of McElroy’s iron-on patches online, or request a custom order. Many images of his one-of-a-kind patches that I suddenly can’t imagine living without, follow.
     
    Only users lose drugs hand made patch
     
    More after the jump…

    Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
    Laibach’s ‘See That My Grave Is Kept Clean,’ exclusive video premiere
    05.07.2015
    10:12 am

    Topics:
    Music

    Tags:


    Laibach photographed by Luka Kase
     
    Laibach’s cover versions constitute a special category of songs. Since 1987’s Opus Dei (at least), the oracular Slovenian group has been transforming familiar tunes, running them through what Laibach scholar Alexei Monroe calls the “interrogation machine” until their every feature sounds strange and self-contradictory. (If you want to know just how mysterious and multivalent Laibach’s position is, read Monroe’s book.) Laibach has given this treatment to the Beatles and the Stones, recording both the entire Let It Be album and eight versions of “Sympathy for the Devil”; to Andrew Lloyd Webber, cutting the definitive version of his “Jesus Christ Superstar”; to Paul Revere and the Raiders, whose “Indian Reservation (The Lament of the Cherokee Reservation Indian)” Laibach moved to post-Soviet Eastern Europe; to DAF, whose “Alle gegen alle” they rewrote as thrilling Wagnerian pomp; and to the national anthems of fourteen countries, including their own NSK State. The release of a new Laibach cover is a cultural event of great moment.
     

    Laibach photographed by Luka Kase
     
    Postmodern irony is not what’s going on here. Defending his comrades against charges of fascism in 1993, Laibach partisan Slavoj Žižek argued: “the strategy of Laibach [...] ‘frustrates’ the system (the ruling ideology) precisely insofar as it is not its ironic imitation, but represents an over-identification with it.” If this sounds obscure, you can see how it works pretty clearly in Laibach’s version of Queen’s universalist anthem “One Vision.” The original’s promise of a world with one race, one god and one nation sounds innocuous enough—it even sounds kind of fun, the way Freddie Mercury sings it—until you’ve heard Laibach’s cover. Titled “Geburt einer Nation,” or “Birth of a Nation,” Laibach’s interpretation of the song points up not only the unsettling fascist dimension of wishing for a single race on planet Earth, but also the discipline, violence and militant belief it would take to realize any utopian vision on a global scale. It’s as if Laibach, believing the message of “One Vision” more fervently than its author, is acting out impulses which no one else will acknowledge are in the song. Not that they lack a sense of humor; Laibach is fond of saying, “Freddie Mercury died soon after he heard our interpretation of ‘One Vision.’”

    In the video you’re about to see, Laibach performs Blind Lemon Jefferson’s “See That My Grave Is Kept Clean,” the starkest of blues meditations on death, popularized by Bob Dylan on his debut LP. Laibach’s version appears on the special edition of the band’s latest album, Spectre. But why is Tito brushing dust off Churchill’s coat during his 1953 visit to No. 10 Downing Street? Why does a blind quote from a German translation of Aeschylus’ Eumenides flash before our eyes? What is our responsibility to these long-dead factory workers and collectivists who flicker on the screen?
     

     
    Laibach’s North American tour begins May 11.

    Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
    ‘Common People’: Identity of slumming Greek socialite in Pulp song revealed at last?
    05.07.2015
    09:19 am

    Topics:
    Class War
    Music

    Tags:


     
    “She came from Greece / She had a thirst for knowledge.” So starts “Common People,” the epic 1995 song by Pulp that combined a glam/arena aesthetic, punk rock vitriol, and a nuanced understanding of the lived experience of class-based resentment that even Thorstein Veblen would envy.

    The entire song is structured as an obliterating rebuke to a female Greek student who claims to “want to live like common people,” with the sly, cutting afterthought “like you.” Along the way, the narrator (or the song’s writer, Jarvis Cocker, if you prefer) succeeds in utterly dismantling the unnamed Greek woman’s blithe acceptance of class inequities, reminding her that when the project of pretending to live your life “with no meaning or control” gets too unpleasant, what with roaches climbing the wall and all, “if you call your Dad he could stop it all” but also emphasizing the authenticity that “common people” have that she never will; she is “amazed that they exist” and “burn so bright.” The song is the third track on Pulp’s breakthrough album Different Class.

    It seems that the identity of the woman who inspired the Britpop classic may have been revealed on a Greek website—none other than video and installation artist Danae Stratou, who is also married to Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis. Cocker has been unhelpful bordering on coy, stating the following: “On that BBC Three documentary [The Story of “Common People”], the researchers went through all the people who were contemporaries of mine at St Martins and they tried to track her down. They showed me a picture and it definitely wasn’t her. I dunno. Maybe she wasn’t Greek. Maybe I misheard her.”
     

    Danae Stratou—a picture from her Twitter page
     
    Paul Farrell at Heavy helpfully explains:
     

    The Athens Voice reports that Danae Stratou met Pulp’s lead singer Jarvis Cocker while they were both students at St. Martins College of Art Design in London. She attended the school between 1983 and 1988. Cocker had previously told Brit-music bible the New Music Express that the song was about a Greek girl he met at the school. He added later that the girl told him that she “wanted to move to Hackney and live like ‘the common people.’”

     
    St. Martins is, of course, mentioned in the song.

    Furthermore, according to Farrell, “Danae Stratou’s father was a millionaire Greek industrialist,” which means that she didn’t marry into money but was wealthy when she was a student as well.

    So is Stratou the slumming Greek socialite? We can’t be sure—yet—but right now the signs look auspicious. 

    If you haven’t heard the song lately, here’s your chance to have it in your head for the rest of today (and probably tomorrow, too):
     

     
    via The Quietus

    Thanks to Edward Angel Sotelo!

    Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
    The cover for Nirvana’s iconic album ‘Bleach’ was based on an accident
    05.07.2015
    08:20 am

    Topics:
    Art
    Music

    Tags:


     
    One of the primary accomplishments of Montage of Heck documentary on Kurt Cobain that aired on HBO earlier this week was to remind me how much I fuckin’ love Bleach. Nirvana’s three studio albums are very distinctive, of course—all three albums are excellent, but in my mind I classify them as “raw (low budget),” “polished (medium budget),” and “raw (high budget).” I really like Nirvana in its “raw (low budget)” state. The whole first half of Montage of Heck consists largely of quasi-animated sequences with Nirvana music churning underneath, and damned if I don’t find “School,” “Negative Creep,” and “Blew” just as galvanizing and toe-tapping as I did when the album became lodged in my CD player back in 1990.

    When Bleach was released, a big portion of the mystique of the album derived from its doomy, mysterious album cover. What the hell is a “Kurdt Kobain”? This really cost $606.17? What is happening in the picture on the cover? Why is “Bleach” in quotation marks? And so on. The front cover is a classic, and the tall, serif letters of “NIRVANA” would shortly adorn ten thousand T-shirts as well as all of the band’s official releases, from Nevermind all the way to From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah (but not the B-sides comp Incesticide).

    Remarkably, one of the most important decisions of the band’s career—what the logo would look like—was decided by chance, indeed, as Jacob McMurray has written, “mostly by accident.”

    Quoting from the indispensable volume edited by McMurray, Nirvana: Taking Punk to the Masses, which documented the 2011 exhibition of the same name,

    The layout for the Bleach cover was created by graphic designer and musician Lisa Orth at the offices of The Rocket, where she also worked. The cover comformed to Sub Pop’s design aesthetic: a stark field of color with bold type and a striking photograph. The photo, by Kurt Cobain’s girlfriend Tracy Marander, was reversed-out as if it were a film negative. It featured the band (including [Jason] Everman, though he didn’t perform on the album) playing at the Reko/Muse Gallery in Olympia, WA, on April 1, 1989. Orth asked The Rocket’s typesetter, Grant Alden, to set the band’s name in whatever was already installed in their typesetting machine. And thus Nirvana’s logo was born, mostly by accident.

    That typeface, based on Bodoni Extra Bold Condensed, was called Onyx, and it looks like this:
     

     
    The differences between Bodoni Extra Bold Condensed and Onyx aren’t 100% clear to me, but as Caitlin Richards helpfully explains, “The difference between Onyx and Bodoni is that Onyx’s letters are tracked closer to each other.”

    Art Chantry gets into the jargon in the book Nirvana: Taking Punk to the Masses,
     

    It was a typeface called Onyx which is a Compugraphic bad design of Bodoni Condensed—really hunky, ugly, and those Compugraphics, if you didn’t use the right kerning programs you had really bad letterspacing. And so Grant Alden basically just sat down, slammed it out, charged Lisa Orth 15 bucks, which she paid out of pocket, and that is where Nirvana’s logo came from.

     
    While we’re on the subject of the Bleach cover, here are three fascinating images of the design elements that went into it. I had never seen these before like two days ago (clicking spawns a larger version).


     

     
    And finally—my favorite of them all—here’s the cover image in its un-inverted state, which I’ve been dying to see for 25 years:
     

     
    Again, if you find this even a fraction as interesting as I do, you really have to pick up Nirvana: Taking Punk to the Masses.

    Photos: Lance Mercer

    Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
    This is the best punk band in the United States
    05.07.2015
    06:05 am

    Topics:
    Music
    Punk

    Tags:


     
    Sure, this will be a controversial superlative, but fuck it, I’m going out on a limb and declaring right now: Downtown Boys are currently the best active punk band in the United States.

    I don’t make such statements carelessly. 

    Providence, Rhode Island’s Downtown Boys may not be a household name, even in most punk houses, but they should be. The six-piece utilizes highly danceable manic punk blasts as a soapbox for their confrontational but heartfelt radical political screeds. The self-billed “bilingual political sax dance punk party” draws many influences together to create something that sounds familiar enough to pull you onto its frantic wavelength, but refreshing enough to keep you there. One might detect hints of The Fall, Bikini Kill, The Contortions, and The Ex, as much as the obvious comparison, X Ray Spex, who Downtown Boys share more in common with sonically than simply a saxophone and female singer.
     

     
    In an excellent interview on wonderingsound.com, guitarist Joey L DeFrancesco touches on what sets Downtown Boys apart from most “political punk” acts:

    We like to dance, and so do most of our friends. It’s something that brings people together. That’s just a good baseline. We aren’t trying to create a distraction from the awful world, but rather help create a new world inside the show space, and hopefully inspire folks to go out and do it in the outside world, too. There’s a power and joy in that, and that goes beyond just going to a club (which is still awesome and valid). Love and rage together are greater than the sum of their parts. Political music is often cheesy or boring, so no one listens to it. It’s ineffective propaganda.

    Insert appropriate Emma Goldman misquote here.
     

     
    Singer Victoria Ruiz paints a picture of the vibe at a Downtown Boys show—a vibe I can personally vouch for, as I was lucky enough to see them live last year. While most of the crowd waited outside for the by-the-numbers, headlining, cool-guy-hardcore-band, a smaller contingent of folks who had never heard of opening act, Downtown Boys, were at first stunned, and soon bouncing off walls, as the band utterly transformed the room. Ruiz conveyed a depth and realness that is so lacking in most of what passes for “punk” in 2015, and the audience picked up on that bigtime.

    Every time we play, I think that we are going pretty deep down into the darkest and brightest places of ourselves, pulling out emotions from our subconscious and conscious desires, dreams and future. We are trying to relate to people. A lot of us in the band have worked in relational organizing, where you build relationships with people in order to create demand for change. It is the same thing with people at shows. We hope to meet people where they are at. It is crazy to look to the audience and be like, ‘Wow — there is a person here singing the lyrics louder than I am, there is a person here slowly unfolding their arms and slowly moving their head, there is a person here who looks likes I did when I was 16 — nerdy, brown and dirtying the cultural hegemonic brainwash.’ [At our shows] I want people to be with us and feel completely relevant and important.

    OK. I made a rather bold statement up-top, and so it comes time to provide some musical evidence to back it up….

    After the jump, listen to the best punk band in America today…

    Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
    That time Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones and demonic diva Diamanda Galas made a badass album
    05.07.2015
    05:58 am

    Topics:
    A girl's best friend is her guitar
    Music

    Tags:


     
    I have unscientifically determined that not enough people know about this (I mentioned it to someone I assumed would own a copy and she said “WHAAAAAT?”), so off we go: in 1994, Mute records released The Sporting Life, a fantastic collaboration between Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones and the amazing avant-garde/operatic vocalist Diamanda Galas. The result was an album too underground for the casual Zeppelin-head, for whom lyrics like “Husband/With this knife/I do you adore” were probably a bit much (plus that crowd was occupied with drooling over Page & Plant around then anyway), yet tamer and more straightforwardly rock than Gala’s fans were used to. But goddamn if the thing doesn’t SMOKE—and the booklet photos of Jones and Galas cavorting in a convertible with a pretty intimidating knife are good fun, too. Per AllMusic’s Ned Raggett:

    Having explored sheer extremity throughout her fascinating range of solo efforts, Galas takes a turn to the slightly more accessible with her collaboration with Jones on The Sporting Life. Her vocal approach is still something which will freak out the unfamiliar listener, so anyone expecting some VH1-friendly switchover needs to think again. Keyboards are once again her other main instrument of choice, with both Hammond organ and piano used. Meanwhile, the Led Zeppelin bassist and arranger handles production as well as guitar and bass, while one Pete Thomas—apparently the Attractions’ drummer on an interesting side effort indeed—handles percussion. While it’s inaccurate to say the results are Galas fronting Led Zeppelin, Thomas does put in some heavy pounding with a hint of John Bonham’s massive stomp.

     

     
    The album is noteworthy for reasons beyond its unexpected combination of principals. Jones’ playing on the album really doesn’t recall Zeppelin all that much. It actually sounds as though he’d been taking some cues from the Jesus Lizard’s bassist David Sims, and it definitely plays like a product of its time as opposed to a ‘70s throwback, which isn’t too much of a surprise—I’d always sensed that Jones was a more musically adventurous Zep than Jimmy Page, who himself was hardly a slouch in that department. Check out the opening track, “Skótoseme” (the title is Greek for “kill me”).
     

     
    Continues over…

    Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
    Page 54 of 1830 ‹ First  < 52 53 54 55 56 >  Last ›