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
  • Low Tide: The Beach Boys hit rock bottom in 1992 with ‘Summer in Paradise’
    10:53 am

    Pop Culture


    Summer in Paradise album cover
    In 1989 The Beach Boys were riding a huge wave success, “Kokomo” had just become their first number one U.S. hit in 22 years. The success of “Kokomo” was largely due in part by producer Terry Melcher, who co-wrote and sang vocals on the track that was certified gold and sold over a million copies worldwide. The only child of singer Doris Day, Melcher is perhaps more famously known for being the target of the Manson family murders which were carried out at his former residence at 10050 Cielo Drive.

    In 1991 all living original Beach Boys members (except Brian Wilson, still under the care of his abusive psychologist Gene Landy) returned to the studio with Terry Melcher to record their follow-up to “Kokomo” with the album Summer in Paradise. This marked the first and only Beach Boys studio album that Brian Wilson had no participation in whatsoever. Produced entirely on a Macintosh Quadra computer, Summer in Paradise was recorded using a Beta version of Pro Tools with a rhythm section that was almost entirely synthesized. Despite its effort to be “the quintessential soundtrack of summer” the album quickly turned into an unmitigated disaster: musically, lyrically, and commercially. Al Jardine was suspended from the band in the early stages of the recording due to a “severe attitude problem,” however he was reinstated in final weeks leading up to the completion the project.

    From the albums very first track, a cover of Sly & the Family Stone’s “Hot Fun in the Summertime,” followed by a re-recording of the Beach Boys first ever single “Surfin’,” it is immediately brought to any listeners attention that something isn’t quite right. The bands signature sound has become overwhelmingly saturated with treble and reverb, and The Wrecking Crew‘s musical instrumentation heard on previous recordings has been replaced with programmed keyboards and drum machines.

    The albums third track finally gets into some new and original material with the quasi-rap number “Summer of Love”, originally intended to be a duet between Mike Love and Bart Simpson for a planned Simpsons movie. John Tobler, author of The Complete Guide to the Music of The Beach Boys called “Summer of Love” quite possibly the worst set of lyrics Mike Love has ever concocted. “We’ll be bay watchin’ everyday, just off the Malibu surfin’ U. S. A.” The track appropriately turned up in a 1995 episode of Baywatch. The Beach Boys fearlessly reference the shit out of their dozen gold albums that came before: in fact the album’s titular song Summer in Paradise references not one, not two, but three Beach Boys song titles (“Fun Fun Fun,” “Help Me Rhonda,” and “Barbara Ann”) all in the very first verse.

    More fun, fun, fun with the Beach Boys, after the jump…

    Posted by Doug Jones | Leave a comment
    Meet Craig Smith, L.A. pop-folk golden boy turned lost psychedelic genius, then tragic acid casualty
    10:42 am



    Rock lore loves to romanticize the drug casualty. Of course it’s wrong, but it’s so hard to resist imagining the tantalizing might-have-beens that surround the likes of Syd Barrett, Roky Erickson, and Skip Spence, all of whom suffered from mental illnesses almost certainly exacerbated by their enthusiastic drug use. Pot and acid have inarguably inspired creativity by breaking down the artificial walls between categories that exist only in our minds, but there are people who can’t handle that and lose it. And it’s really not so romantic, especially when the artists who fall through that crack never got the chances that Spence, Barrett, and Erickson had at recognition.

    Ugly Things’ Mike Stax has authored a new book, Swim Through the Darkness, to be published in September by Process Media, which tells the tale of Maitreya Kali, born Craig Smith in 1945. He should have been a really goddamn big deal—he landed an easy entry to the L.A. music scene in 1963 when he successfully auditioned to be one of The Good Time Singers, a ten-person folk band assembled to serve as backing vocalists, musicians, and skit extras on The Andy Williams Show. Smith was an instant standout in the ensemble, making up for novice guitar playing with fine singing, an ebullient screen presence, and a toothpaste-commercial smile. In this clip, he’s the first to appear, bounding out of the starting gate ahead of the pack. He even gets lines.


    The Good Time Singers in 1963. Smith is the one with the teeth, back row, second from right.

    While Smith’s contributions to the Good Time Singers LPs he preformed on were limited to background vocals, he was quietly and unbeknownst to his bandmates pursuing a career as a songwriter in his own right. When the group’s tenure on William’s show ended in 1966, Smith intended to split off and start a duo with his bandmate Lee Montgomery, but that was not to be—Smith instead began auditioning for TV roles. Neat trivia item: Smith went to public school with Micky Dolenz. Smith and Dolenz both auditioned for The Monkees and for a more dramatic music-oriented series called The Happeners. I doubt I have to tell you that Dolenz became a Monkee. Smith’s audition for The Happeners was successful and he was cast as a lead, but though those who saw the pilot raved, the show never got picked up. According to TV Obscurities:

    A “musical-drama,” The Happeners told the story of a Greenwich Village folk-rock trio making their way in New York City. Singers Suzannah Jordan, Chris Ducey and Craig Smith were chosen to portray the trio after 2,000 auditions in New York City and Hollywood and each episode was to include five original songs written by Bob Bower.

    According to The New York Times, it cost Plautus between $6,000 and $7,000 to buy the airtime to show the pilot. Morris told Broadcasting that “at first, ABC was most interested. It tested well, and [ABC president] Leonard Goldenson called it ‘the finest pilot I’ve ever seen.’ But when sponsorship was not immediately forthcoming, the network withdrew.”

    Despite near-unanimous acclaim, the pilot, alas, is not available for viewing online.

    Disappointing though that experience was, it wasn’t an entirely pyrrhic victory for Smith, who embarked on a fruitful creative partnership with his Happeners co-star Chris Ducey. Together, they formed the eponymous duo Chris and Craig, which in turn morphed into the classic lost psych band The Penny Arkade, who received the patronage and production skills of The Monkees’ Mike Nesmith. Check out the Penny Arkade tune “Swim,” followed by the extremely rare Chris and Craig song “Our Love has Come Today,” which has long existed only as an acetate in Chris Ducey’s possession, and has never been heard by the public until today.
    Hear the song, and more, after the jump…

    Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
    ‘My Life in Orgone Boxes’: William Burroughs on his sexual science experiments in OUI magazine, 1977
    09:08 am



    Burroughs contemplating an orgone box
    As a contributor to this blog, I spend a lot of my time poking around looking for suitable subjects that might please and edify the DM readership. When I come across an item uniting William S. Burroughs, Wilhelm Reich, Jack Kerouac, orgasms, heroin, Jean Cocteau, and even tangentially Kurt Cobain that has not been written about all too much, I can be sure I’m in the ballpark of a good DM post.

    In 1977 OUI magazine published an item by William S. Burroughs with the title “My Life in Orgone Boxes,” in which he explained that he built his first orgone accumulator in 1949 on the farm of a friend named Kells Elvins in Texas. Among other things, in the article Burroughs addresses Jack Kerouac’s fictionalized version of Burroughs’ device as presented in On the Road but insisted that the account was “pure fiction.”

    That Burroughs used an orgone accumulator is (a) pretty well known, and (b) not very surprising, given who Burroughs was. But let’s back up a moment here. What is an orgone accumulator, anyway? (It’s sometimes called an orgone machine or an orgone box.) Reich was in the first wave of post-Freudian thinkers, and he attributed his discovery of “orgone energy”—that is to say, energy with the capacity to charge organic material (cellulose), unlike electromagnetic energy—physical manifestations of sexual energy—as occurring in January 1939, after working off of Freud’s theory of the libido.

    One of the first experimental orgone accumulators. Note the stack of Reich/orgone publications propping the door open. Much larger version here.
    Reich was sure that he had discovered the secret to manipulating and enhancing sexual experience by removing/satisfying electric blockages within human beings. Quoting from his book The Function of the Orgasm: Sex-Economic Problems of Biological Energy (The Discovery of the Orgone, Vol. 1):

    The orgasm formula which directs sex-economic research is as follows: MECHANICAL TENSION —> BIOELECTRIC CHARGE —> BIOELECTRIC DISCHARGE —> MECHANICAL RELAXATION. It proved to be the formula of living functioning as such. … Research in the field of sexuality and bions opened a new approach to the problem of cancer and a number of other disturbances of vegetative life.

    Check that out: “the formula of living functioning as such,” wow. Reich’s idea was that orgone energy was virtually everywhere and pointed to both the aurora borealis and the blue tint seen in sexually excited frogs as evidence. As he put it in The Function of the Orgasm, “‘Biological energy’ is atmospheric (cosmic) orgone energy.” Then:

    The color of orgone energy is blue or blue-gray. In our laboratory, atmospheric orgone is accumulated or concentrated by means of an apparatus specifically constructed for this purpose. We succeeded in making it visible by arranging certain materials in a specific way. The blocking of the orgone’s kinetic energy is expressed as an increase in temperature. Its concentration or density is indicated on the static electroscope by the differences in the speed of the discharge. The spontaneous discharge or electroscopes in non-ionized air, a phenomenon designated as “natural leak” by physicists, is the effect of atmospheric orgone and has nothing to do with dampness. The orgone contains three kinds of rays: blue-gray, foglike vapors; deep blue-violet expanding and contracting dots of light; and white-yellow, rapidly moving rays of dots and streaks. The blue color of the sky and the blue-gray of atmospheric haze on hot summer days are direct reflections of the atmospheric orgone. The blue-gray, cloudlike Northern lights, the so-called St. Elmo’s fire, and the bluish formations recently observed in the sky by astronomers during increased sun-spot activity are also manifestations of orgone energy.

    It was later realized that Reich’s device for enhancing sexual stimulation with electricity was more or less a modified Faraday cage.

    As Burrough writes in the OUI article, in addition to the one he and Elvins built, Burroughs also made a smaller version, a “potent sexual tool” constructed “from an Army-style gas can.” Burroughs used the smaller tool inside the larger box, “held the little one over my joint and came right off.” Then, in an aside, Burroughs explains that Jean Cocteau used to ejaculate without using his hands as a kind of party trick. Some trick!
    More after the jump…

    Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
    Cha-cha Vans: Custom-made Divine gym shoe
    02:58 pm



    “The filthiest gym shoe alive”! 

    Divine on Facebook alerted me to these custom-made Divine Vans by Sink or Swim Custom Kicks! I visited the Sink or Swim Custom Kicks! website and couldn’t find any pricing information. If you’re interested, I’d reach out to them via their “contact” which is at the bottom of their homepage. I’d also message them on Facebook about ordering, pricing and shipping.

    I wish I had more information, but I simply don’t. Interestingly, Divine’s look was created by Divine, John Waters and a fellow named Van Smith. Smith, who died in 2006, designed all the costumes and did the makeup for every John Waters film from 1972 to 2004. Vans need to do a Van Smith Vans tribute next.


    Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
    Comics-inspired Criterion movie posters by Daniel Clowes, R. Crumb, Ralph Steadman & more
    01:13 pm



    A 2010 movie poster for the 1968 film ‘Head’ by Wayne Shellabarger.
    Back in 2010 Criterion had the fantastic idea to have director Jim Jarmusch select a number of notable artists including Daniel Clowes, R. Crumb and Hunter S. Thompson’s pal Ralph Steadman to design movie posters for various Criterion releases. The posters made their debut during an All Tomorrow’s Parties festival which Jarmusch curated in 2010.

    A poster for the 1963 film ‘Shock Corridor’ by Daniel Clowes.
    If you’ve not seen the artwork that Clowes created for two films in Criterion’s collection directed by Samuel Fuller—1963’s mental hospital fever-dream Shock Corridor and The Naked Kiss—you are in for a treat. I’ve assembled a number of the posters done by a wide range of artists that pay homage to films by Wes Anderson, Hal Ashby and David Cronenberg just to name a few. In 2014 Criterion published a massive book Criterion Designs that features a collection of artwork created for films in their catalog including many of the ones featured in this post.

    ‘Crumb’ by R. Crumb.
    More after the jump…

    Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
    Beach Blanket Bug: All the kids will want a giant inflatable cockroach pool float!
    12:48 pm



    Summer is almost over, folks! That means you only have a few more weeks to sport this giant inflatable cockroach pool float at your next pool party or beach outing. It’s gross, but I dig it.

    The six-foot cockroach raft sells for $29.95 here.

    I really wish I would have blogged about this sooner, but I didn’t know about it. There’s always next summer (or you could dress as Gregor Samsa for Halloween?)


    via Bored Panda

    Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
    Grapefruit: Forgotten Beatles protegés produced by Lennon & McCartney (and their AC/DC connection)
    11:59 am



    Unless you’re a truly “deep cut” Beatles freak—or a big AC/DC fan (I’ll get to that in a minute)—it’s unlikely that you’ll have heard of the 60s pop-psych group Grapefruit. Recalled by history as the first performers to be thought of to be protegés of the Fab Four, Grapefruit—named by John Lennon—were signed to Apple Publishing, although their music came out on Decca Records. They were only an active band for about two years, from late 1967 to the end of 1969. They recorded two albums and some singles before splitting, although their sound changed dramatically for their more “rock”-oriented second album with a different singer. Less Beatlesesque and more like Traffic perhaps.

    Lennon and McCartney were co-producers of a song called “Lullaby” (a number with the working title “Circus Sgt. Pepper”) and Terry Doran, a friend of Lennon’s who’d worked with Brian Epstein, became their manager. When their record came out, Lennon introduced the band at a press conference attended by Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Donovan and Cilla Black. Paul McCartney directed a promotional film for their single “Elevator” and band member John Perry was invited to attend the “Hey Jude” recording session.

    Now here’s the AC/DC connection: The group’s songwriter/bassist was a chap named George Alexander, who was born Alexander Young in Scotland, one of eight children who included younger brothers Malcolm and Angus Young who would later go on to form AC/DC. When the Young family emigrated to Australia, he’d remained behind in Great Britain. Another musically talented Young brother is George Young of Aussie chart-toppers The Easybeats.

    Their first album Around Grapefruit was reissued in May of 2016 as Yesterday’s Sunshine: The Complete 1967-1968 London Sessions with rare tracks from the original master tapes.

    Performing “Dear Delilah” in France on ‘Dim Dam Dom’ in 1968:

    More of the sweet sounds of Grapefruit after the jump…

    Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
    Ben Wheatley’s amazing storyboards for ‘High Rise’
    11:40 am



    Film director Ben Wheatley tweeted his storyboard drawings for High Rise over the weekend. Based on the dystopian novel by J. G. Ballard, High Rise is a brilliant and astounding movie. Its cinematic quality again confirms Wheatley’s status as one of the most talented and original film directors at work in film today. As a director Wheatley stands in direct lineage to the likes of Nicolas Roeg, Ken Russell, John Boorman and Stanley Kubrick. He is an auteur of exceptional brilliance.

    Wheatley plans his films meticulously. He works in partnership with the multitalented screenwriter/editor Amy Jump—who is also his wife. Before filming, Wheatley storyboards the entire film scene by painstaking scene. As evidenced by the selection of drawings below, Wheatley considers everything from shot size and angle to action and camera moves within a sequence. These storyboards will may make better sense if you have seen High Rise—which I recommend you do. It stars as Tom Hiddleston as Dr. Robert Laing, Jeremy Irons as Anthony Royal, Luke Evans as Richard Wilder, Elisabeth Moss as Helen Wilder, Sienna Miller as Charlotte Melville, and Keeley Hawes as Ann Royal. The film takes place in a luxury tower block (designed by Royal) during the 1970s. The block is split into three class structures—with the poorest at the bottom. As the tenants become removed from the outside world—chaos and violence unfold. High Rise is now available on Blu-ray.

    The ever industrious Wheatley has just finished his latest film Freefire which will premiere at the Toronto Film Festival next month. Freefire is “a real time shootout” action thriller starring Brie Larson, Cillian Murphy, Sharlto Copley and Armie Hammer. Martin Scorsese is the executive producer and I, for one, am certainly looking forward to that…
    Ben Wheatley director selfie on the set of ‘High Rise.’
    Laing finds Digby the Dog.
    Morning—High Rise.
    The rest of Ben Wheatley’s storyboards for ‘High Rise,’ after the jump…

    Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
    A dozen classic albums, googly-eyed
    09:03 am



    Googly-eyes are the “Yakety Sax” of craft supplies, rendering hilarious pretty much anything they’re introduced to. Case-in-point, these altered album covers. The best googly-eyeifications are the ones done to particularly iconic sleeves or sleeves with artwork which is supposed to convey a sense of seriousness, dignity or dread. This is why metal albums, in particular, are always good choices for googly-eyeing. There’s an entire Tumbr page dedicated to googly-eyed metal albums, which we’ve told you about here before. A few of these pieces have been featured on that particular Tumblr page, while the rest have been collected from various corners of the web.

    Googly, or “wiggle eyes” are fairly inexpensive to obtain. This set of 700 eyes of various sizes is only $7.99. Hit up some thrift stores or record shop dollar bins, and you can be making your own D.I.Y. googly-art album cover masterpieces in no time. Or don’t.

    Check this gallery for inspiration:


    More after the jump…

    Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
    Notable airplane crashes recreated in flight simulator program
    09:01 am



    Aftermath of the 1986 Cerritos mid-air collision—this is not going to end well…..
    A young man in the Philippines named Allec Joshua Ibay has developed an interesting—and morbid—hobby. Using Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004, Ibay likes to recreate noteworthy airline crashes from the past.

    Ibay’s dedication to this hobby is impressive, with upwards of 30 such crashes now documented on YouTube. The tone is uniformly elegiac, with lachrymose music cues, but the videos also attempt to foreground useful information such as the actual dialogue between the doomed pilots and the control tower.

    On some level Ibay knows that what he’s doing is creepy. The default video on his YouTube user page is a 9/11 tribute—not to worry, Ibay has done simulations of both UA Flight 175 and AA Flight 11. He seems to have gone out of his way to find FS2004 topics that are a bit less unsettling, as for instance this tribute to Heathrow or this compilation of safe landings on the island of Sint Maarten, where the airport is notoriously much too close to the beach, which has led to some fairly hilarious pictures of volleyball players confronted with a 747 jet landing almost right on top of them. (Last year we took a look at Jet Airliner: The Complete Works, a memorable book of such photos.) Ibay is currently 18, and some of these videos are more than a year old—I’d feel a little more squicked out if Ibay were in his thirties.

    After the jump, some of Ibay’s greatest, er, “hits”......

    Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
    Page 54 of 2086 ‹ First  < 52 53 54 55 56 >  Last ›