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Heavy metal prog-rock overload: Deep Purple’s legendary ‘Concerto for Group and Orchestra’
05.02.2014
02:13 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Deep Purple


 
Although the 1975 edition of The Guinness Book of World Records listed heavy metal pioneers Deep Purple as the world’s “loudest band,” they’ve gone through quite a number of different phases during their long career, including doing Neil Diamond and Beatles covers and a prog-rock phase as a sort of heavier Moody Blues. Even so, Concerto for Group and Orchestra composed by Jon Lord with lyrics by Ian Gillan still stands out in their catalog.

The Concerto was first performed by Deep Purple and The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Malcolm Arnold on September 24, 1969 at the Royal Albert Hall. It is perhaps the most elaborate thing ever to have been mounted by a rock group at that time and one of the first collaborations between a rock band and an orchestra—The Nice’s heavily orchestral Five Bridges and Moody Blues’ Days of Future Passed are the only similar things from the era that come easily to mind. It was also the first outing of Deep Purple’s “Mark II” lineup (Ritchie Blackmore – guitar; Jon Lord – keyboards; Ian Paice – drums; Ian Gillan – lead vocals, harmonica; Roger Glover – bass).

One minute they were paling around with the classical players of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the next they were recording the mighty Deep Purple In Rock? Go figure.

The set that evening began with a nearly half-hour composition by conductor Malcolm Arnold followed by Deep Purple playing their hit cover of Joe South’s “Hush,” plus “Wring That Neck” (with a fine extended display of Ritchie Blackmore’s guitar pyrotechnics) and “Child in Time” before the Concerto began.
 

 
The concert was videotaped and part of it—the actual Concerto part—was telecast by the BBC as Best of Both Worlds: Concerto for Group and Orchestra and released on LP in December of 1969 as simply Concerto for Group and Orchestra. In the video you can see some of the priggish classical musicians deliberately making sniffy expressions. It’s kind of funny. They may have thought it was shit when it was being performed, but looking at it from today’s vantage point, it ain’t too bad. In fact, it’s pretty great. (I admit to having a fondness for this album.)

Gillan and Blackmore were apparently not happy with being thought of as “the group with the orchestra.” Their next outing, Deep Purple In Rock, which came out just half a year later, would feature heavy metal ravers like “Speed King” and “Child in Time” with nary an oboe, clarinet or string section to be heard.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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When nature attacks! Pulp horror covers from the 1970s & ‘80s
05.02.2014
11:26 am

Topics:
Art
Books

Tags:
Horror Fiction

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Tales of nature taking bloody revenge on humans have been a staple for writers and film-makers over the years. In cinema there have been mutated ants invading Los Angeles in the first monster bug movie Them! in 1954, cute rabbits leaving a trail of death and destruction in Night of the Lepus, and even amphibians taking monstrous revenge on a poisonous patriarch in Frogs. In the 1970s, growing fears of ecological disaster inspired a whole menagerie of animals gone bad.

These fictions usually featured nerdy heroes taking on swarms of bees, plagues of rats, or shoals of man-eating fish, and often had an underlying critique of poverty caused by an indifferent consumerist society, as in James Herbert’s The Rats, or the political corruption of a small town as in Peter Benchley’s Jaws. Herbert’s Rats offered a template for Guy N. Smith’s The Night of the Crabs, Richard Lewis’s Devil’s Coach Horse, and Shaun Hutson’s Slugs. While Benchley and Spielberg’s great white shark saw John Sayles’ Piranha (novelization by Leo Callan), Dino De Laurentiis’s Orca, novelization by Arthur Herzog, “author of The Swarm” and the lesser Croc—a giant hungry reptile terrorizing New York’s sewer system “in the tradition of Night of the Crabs ” as the blurb reads—by David James.

Croc being tagged with Smith’s Night of the Crabs is just some lazy PR-man looking for a quick buck. Croc is about a pet reptile, which grows too big and is flushed down the lavatory. Somehow it survives living-off human refuse and the occasional down-and-out, and slowly grows to incredible size. When sewage workers Peter Boggs and Marian Fascetti investigate a blocked sewer, our story really begins. There’s a sub-plot about Mafia connections, but the main thrust is the politicians don’t want to know there’s a crocodile on the loose under New York City. And yes, there’s the team-up where Boggs is helped by policeman Glen Stapleton, who goes up against the beast.

Smith’s Crabs has monster-sized crabs (up to sixteen feet across, if memory serves, with shels that can withstand armor-piercing missiles—the possible mutations of underwater nuclear testing), attacking the Welsh coastline. Like Herbert’s The Rats, Crabs’ mutant creatures have a taste for human flesh. This book spawned a series of six, finishing with Crabs Moon-The Human Sacrifice.

Of course, we can trace giant creatures back to fairy tales and writers like H. G. Wells, whose Food of the Gods had an idle couple of hired hands accidentally introducing the growth chemical “Herakleophorbia IV” into the food chain leading to giant chickens, wasps, rats and eventually human mutations. Wells also wrote the short story Empire of the Ants which featured a plague of giant ants attacking villages in the Upper Amazon, which foreshadows Them!.

Wells undoubtedly had an major influence, but the rapacious insects of seventies pulp horror tended to be average size, and were only marked by their lust for human flesh. These insects were usually the by-product of scientific meddling or pesticides. Richard Lewis churned out a half-dozen of such books most notably Spiders and Devil’s Coach Horse, in which mutated earwigs devastate southern England. Guy N. Smith produced the insect horror of all horrors with Abomination in 1987, where pesticide causes every insect, worm, slug etc attack man. Smith more than any other author produced several “Nature Gone Bad” books with Snakes, Alligators, Locusts, the rather enjoyable Slime Beast, which may have come from another world, or may have been an evolutionary mutation created by man-made poisons, and The Throwback, where evolution goes wild.

The structure of these books is usually the same. The opening has some poor unfortunate, often a down-and-out or a lonely alcoholic, sometimes a misguided scientist, as first victim. Their body goes undiscovered allowing the rats, slugs, crabs, spiders, etc. to go unnoticed. There usually follows a series of tableaux where couples making out, small children and mothers, sad loners, and ambitious yuppies are killed with ever increasing violence. This leads to our hero, often a teacher (Herbert), a pipe smoking expert (Smith), or a disgruntled government employee (Hutson), who notes the pattern of deaths, the tell-tale markings or slime trails, and commences the creatures’ downfall.

Like Benchley’s Jaws, which was inspired by the Jersey Shore shark attacks of 1916, where four died and seven were injured, Arthur Herzog’s The Swarm was inspired by killer bee attacks in Africa, which he then transposed to South America and then the States. Herzog wrote the novelization of the vengeful killer whale film Orca. Herzog was an interetsing writer, his second book Earthsound tapped into shifting tectonics that meant earthquakes began to devastate the east coast of America. Herbert’s The Rats was also inspired by the author’s memories of post-war London infested by the vermin.

These books maybe poorly written, with often plodding lumpen prose, but they are incredibly addictive. I swallowed my way trough handfuls of these at a time during childhood, often reading two-a-day, and firmly believe such pulp fiction should be encouraged in school to help reluctant students read and get into the habit of books.

The flip-side to the rise to the disaster eco-horror in the 1970s was the comparable popularity of pulp sex books, whether Emmanuele, Xaviera Hollander’s The Happy Hooker or Timothy Lea’s (a pseudonym for screenwriter Christopher Wood) Confessions… series, which began with Confessions of a Window Cleaner. As Freud suggested, it seems that sex and death are inextricably linked.
 
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Via Strange Things Are Happening, Not Pulp Covers, Scary MF, Starlogged and The Black Glove.
 
More pulp creature fictions after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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‘Breaking Bad’ troll writes to advice column pretending to be ‘Skyler’
05.02.2014
10:37 am

Topics:
Amusing

Tags:
Breaking Bad


 
Oh dear, this one happened yesterday in an advice column for the Winnipeg Free Press. I do wonder if Miss Lonelyhearts has figured out she’s been trolled yet?

Via Geekologie

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Experimental film collaboration between Jim Henson and Raymond Scott, 1967
05.02.2014
10:10 am

Topics:
Art
Movies
Music

Tags:
Jim Henson
Raymond Scott


 
Jim Henson made “Wheels That Go” for a film contest at Montreal’s Expo ‘67 featuring his three-year-old son Brian and a wild electronic score by the great Raymond Scott (who is credited here as “Ramond” due to a bummer of a typo).

The short film explores motion, basically. In cars, across bridges, in NYC, on trains… Brian looks at wheels, rides on them and plays with them. I don’t know what else to say about it. It’s only a minute long. Just hit play.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Want a revolution? Left unchecked, parasitical capitalism WILL produce one


 
If you’ve been (wisely) keeping yourself away from the greater mainstream media miasma, you may not have heard about the book that’s been causing “conservatives” and Libertarians to foam at the mouth and in general go pretty fuckin’ apeshit. French economist Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century is a match to dry drought-brush causing a veritable meme-fire, chasing out rats and other rodents from their hiding places.

It’s been fun to watch their worldview get annihilated by facts. Numbers don’t lie—but politicians do. The likes of Rep. Paul Ryan have no cover anymore. They’re holding their shticks, so to speak.

Piketty’s story makes effective use of graphs, data and highly quantitative analysis, with his conclusion being about as blunt and straightforward as a two-by-four to the back of Rush Limbaugh’s giant butter-sculpture of a head. To put it succinctly, Piketty has proven what we probably already knew: Economic growth, in developed countries like the US, has become increasingly “owned” and funneled into the gaping maws of the 1%, and is largely fueled by increasing levels of debt for all the rest of us. In other words, for the last couple of decades we’ve moved into a sort of flesh-eating bacteria version of economics that isn’t floating anyone’s boats except for a tiny minority, who are using their economic power—their capital—to grab all the benefits of growth for themselves.

But this isn’t too surprising and it’s not really what has both left and right flipping out about. The REALLY BIG STORY is about inherited wealth. In other words, that 1% we keep talking about aren’t the God-annointed uber-successful genius entrepreneurs that the Fox News types always claim they are. They aren’t the hallowed Atlas shrugging “job creators,” either. Nope: That 1% consists overwhelmingly of people who inherited their wealth, and are now using that vast amount of capital to grab any additional growth for themselves, locking out the “little guy” out in the process.

Great system we’ve got here: One baby is born with barely a pot to piss in, but another one—well 1% of babies at least—hits the fucking jackpot through an accident of birth. The other 99% are on their own!

Since the Reagan era relaxed financial and banking laws have made it ever and ever easier for enormous globs of capital to attract even more enormous globs of capital—often without doing any real “work” or creating much of anything save for more money, while smaller players got knocked out, sent to work at Walmart or some non-unionized service industry where they will never be able to accumulate enough capital themselves to ever start their own business again. With a de-capitalized and unempowered middle class, there’s not a lot of real growth around so the uber-wealthy have worked very hard to “own” what little growth there is out still out there to siphon off, stripmining the rest of the economy for whatever else they can using a mindboggling array of debt instruments: Leveraged buyouts and private equity along with consumer credit cards, mortgages, student loans, CDOs, CMOs and all sorts of other debt that funnels even more capital to the 1% without creating any real growth. They’re using your credit card debt, your mortgage and your student loans to make you work for their enrichment.

Job creators? Bullshit.

The middle class are the job creators and they are rapidly going off line for lack of access to capital. Their would be customers are broke, too. Nobody wins except for you-know-who!

This is why the Tea party has been programmed to despise the Fed’s quantitative easing program: The 1% that is largely an inheritor class don’t really care about real economic growth all that much. In fact, they don’t like it at all: Growth often comes with inflation, which for an increasingly wealthy middle class isn’t a problem as long as wealth is increasing more quickly than prices. (In fact, most economists believe that some inflation is probably necessary in order to achieve optimal growth.) But if you are a Romney or Koch or Walton who inherited a giant ball of capital, you certainly don’t want to see any inflation because that reduces your standing. I mean, it’s not like trust fund kids create REAL jobs, is it? Any of those shitty minimum wage jobs that “capitalists” crow so proudly of having created probably came about because they eliminated many more higher-paying jobs, by using their vast (and otherwise useless, ‘cause they CAN’T spend it all) capital to buy politicians and twiddle the laws in their favor.

Anyway, this grabbing of the growth by the inheritor class manifests itself in all sorts of heinous abuses of the political and economic system, but one obvious way that pops into my mind is in the real estate market. In major markets like New York and London, rents and housing costs have skyrocketed, completely out of proportion to average wages. And why? Because the uber-wealthy have so much extra cash that they dump it into real estate that neither they nor anybody else uses. Indeed, fancy neighborhoods in London like Mayfair are becoming veritable ghost towns, filled with empty houses and apartments (unless the squatters, God bless ‘em, get in there!). I remember looking at an apartment on Prince Albert Road and the doorman complained that the entire building was usually empty. But the point is that all that useless money is in effect getting speculatively dumped into real estate and the result is… nothingness. Empty neighborhoods. The oligarchs aren’t even eating in the local ritzy restaurants, because they’re someplace else. They also forced out the merely “rich”!

To sum up: Capital has become so concentrated in the hands of a tiny minority of people that those who own it can never make use of it efficiently. How could they? They inherited it after all which means they may have no business sense whatsoever aside from hiring the right people to work the system into vomiting out more capital into their cupped hands and opened mouths.

As a result, real growth (ie, not driven by middle class debt or the other myriad pyramid schemes of the super rich) has plummeted and the vast majority of middle class people have seen their standard of living slide backwards and access to the capital and tools with which in times past they may have enriched themselves has been forcibly pulled from having any practical possibility of enriching their lives! This goes way beyond mere “fairness” after all, as the new overlord “rentier” class increasingly block access to that which the middle class needs to have in order for real overall wealth to grow!

The “lumpen capitalists” have absolutely no interest in your social advancement, Jack.

In 19th century China something similar happened, and the consequences were dire indeed. Arable land (which is in effect “capital” in an agrarian society) was increasingly concentrated into the hands of a shrinking number of people. Eventually, everyone was so damned poor that by the end of the Qing dynasty even the long-suffering Chinese had had enough: 50 years of revolution later and Mao and his posse were large and in-charge. And aside from the fact that there are some who argue that Mao’s minuses (eg, the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution) eventually outweighed his pluses, just getting there was no picnic.

Is that what we really want? Lots of folks say they want a revolution until they discover what living through one is actually like. Put in another way, we need some redistributive schemes now—Piketty says nothing short of an 80% wealth tax, enforced globally, will do it—or else the redistributive schemes twenty years from now will probably be far less pleasant for everyone concerned.

Below, Thomas Piketty speaks about his work with Justin Vogt, deputy managing editor of Foreign Affairs:

Posted by Em | Discussion
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Hieronymus Bosch’s ‘Garden Of Earthly Delights’ featured on Dr. Martens bags and shoes
05.02.2014
08:52 am

Topics:
Art
Fashion

Tags:
Hieronymus Bosch


 
I swear to gawd I’m not trying to sell you stuff today—note The Shining swag post—but I couldn’t help myself with this wonderful ode to Hieronymus Bosch’s “The Garden of Earthly Delights” by Dr. Martens.

I don’t really care for Dr. Martens footwear (just a personal aesthetic thing), but I dig the Hieronymus Bosch-inspired leather satchels fer sure! It’s all in the details…


 

 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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BASS IN YOUR FACE: Isolated bass parts of Sonic Youth, Rolling Stones, The Police, Rick James & more


 
Poor bass players. In the hierarchy of rockbandland, even the mercenary backup singers get more love. Like a drummer, a crummy one can wreck your band, but unlike a drummer, even a superb bass player can fade into the background, seeming for all the world like a mere utility placeholder while the singer, guitarist and drummer all get laid. Before the ‘80s, the bass player was perceived as the would-be guitarist who couldn’t make the cut and got offered a reduction in strings as a consolation prize. Since the ‘80s, bass has been the “easy” instrument a singer hands off to his girlfriend to get her in the band.

It’s all a crock of utter shit. A good bass player is your band’s spine, and is a gift to be cherished.

An excellent online resource for bassists, notreble.com, has links to an abundance of isolated bass tracks, from celebrated solos to deep cuts to which few casual fans give much thought. There are, of course, song-length showoffs like “YYZ” and “Roundabout,” but there are unassuming gems to be found too. Check out how awesome Tony Butler’s part is in Big Country’s kinda-eponymous debut single. It wanders off into admirable weirdness, but when the time comes to do the job of propelling the song forward, this shit is rocket fuel.
 

 

 
Though Sting has been engaged in a long-running battle with Bono to see who can be the most tedious ass to have released nothing of worth in over 25 years, listening to his playing in the Police serves as an instant reminder of why we even know who he is. The grooves in “Message In A Bottle” are famously inventive and satisfying, but even his work on more straightforward stuff like “Next To You” slays. You can practically hear the dirt on his strings in these.
 

 

 

 
Funny, as much of a trope as “chick bass player” has become, loads of time spent searching yielded almost no isolated tracks from female bassists. Which is ridiculous. The only one I found was Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon, heard here on “Teenage Riot.” It takes a bit to work up to speed. Taken on its own, it’s a minimal, meditative, and quite lovely drone piece.
 

 

 
Here’s a gem—a live recording of Billy Cox, from Hendrix’s Band of Gypsys, eating “All Along The Watchtower” for breakfast.
 

 

 
This one was a revelation—the Rolling Stones’ Bill Wyman on “Gimme Shelter.” I knew this was a great bass part, but there’s stuff in here I’ve never heard before, and it’s excellent. I should have been paying more attention.
 

 

 
But is there “Super Freak?” Oh yeah, there’s “Super Freak.”
 

 

 
I searched mightily to find isolated bass tracks from Spinal Tap’s gloriously excessive ode to both low-ends, “Big Bottom,” before I realized there would be absolutely no point in doing that. So I leave you with the unadulterated real thing.
 

 
Previously on DM: The incomparable James Jamerson: isolated

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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‘The Shining’ Collection: All work and no fashion makes Jack a dull boy
05.02.2014
07:37 am

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Amusing
Fashion
Movies

Tags:
The Shining


 
Cover yourself from head to toe in knitted cardigans, sweaters, scarves, ski masks and area rugs inspired by the carpet pattern from the Overlook Hotel in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining.

The MONDO 237 Collection is putting this stuff out. According to their website, they’re taking pre-orders today through May 10 and will start shipping the items out in August (just in time for Fall).


 

 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Willie Nelson’s majestic, skunky-smelling tour bus is for sale on Craigslist
05.02.2014
06:02 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Willie Nelson


Inside the bus…

This phenomenal 1983 Eagle Bus “was built for Willie Nelson in the 80’s,” according to an advertisement posted in the East Texas Craigslist four days ago. It says “WE LOVE WILLIE” above the windshield, and both the exterior and the interior look more or less exactly what you might suspect Willie Nelson’s tour bus would look like. It’s got interior stained-glass windows and velvet curtains, for God’s sake. The man understands traveling in style.

Based on the sheer number of calls they’ve gotten, “Alan,” the kindly gentleman who put up the ad, reckons the price for Willie’s bus is probably set too low. But the price will stay at $29,999, a figure they arrived at by comparing it to other buses of the same make and year already on the market. “The owner doesn’t really need the money,” says Alan.
 
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Alan listed the bus as a favor to an older friend who isn’t as tech-savvy. That friend does business in and around Texas region, so when he heard that a vehicle rumored to be Willie Nelson’s old tour bus was being sold in Alabama, he went and checked it out. This friend bought it “three or four” years ago and has used it frequently ever since. Having had his fun with it, he’s looking to sell.

The bus is one of two identical custom-made for Willie, and it had three owners before its current owner. The interior is in tip-top condition (the pictures prove this), and the only problem with the exterior is a couple spots of peeling clear coat. The generator was serviced three years ago, and electrical system has been well maintained over the years.

The advertisement did not supply details as to the various secret places you can hide your weed—that will be the new owner’s task.
 
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Rather than debase myself with the obvious “On the Road Again” gag, here’s a rousing banjo-pickin’ clip of a different Willie Nelson tour bus: this one is the 1986 Eagle ‘Entertainer’ Motor Coach.
 

 
via The Village Voice

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Drop down the Internet K-Hole again with a new round of surreal photos
05.01.2014
02:13 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Fashion
History
Pop Culture

Tags:
Internet K-Hole


 
I feel like it’s my duty to announce every time Internet K-Hole publishes a new round of photos because they’re so few and far between. Each photo collection is a chock full of nostalgic insanity. They make you pine for the days of hairspray, hanging out in malls, pegged acid washed jeans, scrunchy socks, feathered hair, shitty metal bands, sour beer, black eyeliner, hair crimpers and so on. You get the picture. It’s excellent.

Sometimes it’s even pictures of people that you actually know!

The whole thing’s just inexplicable. It’s uncannily WEIRD. As always, some of the photos are NSFW.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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