Desert trip: Gram Parsons and ‘The Gilded Palace of Sin’
05.23.2017
11:11 am

Topics:
Drugs
Music

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A recent poll of young Britons found that nearly a third of younger millennials—29% of 18 to 24-year-olds to be exact—claimed that they had never knowingly listened to an Elvis Presley song. Zero percent of this age group reported listening to Elvis’ music daily. This really isn’t all that surprising—or at least it shouldn’t be. We’re soon approaching the 40th anniversary of Presley’s death and while everyone of a certain age can probably recall exactly where they were when they heard the news that the King of rock ‘n’ roll had died—whether you were a fan or not, it was earth-shaking news in 1977—to someone born after that, bluntly put, the once titanic cultural importance of Elvis Presley is pretty negligible. If your reaction is that this is depressing—and perhaps it is—then you’re only showing your age. It’s just the way things are.

As the editor of a blog like this one—I was eleven years old when Elvis ate his final fried peanut butter and banana sandwich and frankly I doubt that I listen to him more often than once annually myself—I’m acutely aware of the balance between nostalgia and discovery. The biggest cohort of our readership is comprised of millennials. If nearly a third of young Brits have never purposefully or consciously listened to an Elvis Presley number, then how many of them would know a DEVO song? If you were born in 1965 or 1975, how much knowledge of the music of the 1940s or 1950s do you realistically possess? DEVO’s heyday is even further back than that for someone who is a high school senior in 2017.  “Oldies” radio doesn’t play Herman’s Hermits, the Supremes or Sonny & Cher anymore, it programs Sting, Nirvana and Celine Dion where that format even still exists.
 

The FBB in their custom Nudie suits. You’ll note that Parsons’ suit has pot leaves and opium poppies
 
So where would that leave the legacy of a cult artist like Gram Parsons, who died in 1973 at the age of 26 with but a small, yet influential body of work, as the 21st-century marches ever onward? If you are of a certain age, and presuming that you are a pretty big music fan, you no doubt have heard and hopefully appreciate the “cosmic American music” of this golden-voiced country rock progenitor/genius. To be sure, I think that there’s still a pretty strong Gram Parsons cult out there, but in 2017 its members tend to be know-it-all aging boomers with graying ponytails who want to give you their opinions of whatever album you happen to be looking at in a record store.

Only in Southern California, always a stronghold of Flying Burrito Bros. fandom, does there seem to be an organic all ages awareness of the great Gram Parsons. This has much to do with the desert and how inextricably intertwined the desert trip is with the mythos of Parsons’ death by OD in room 8 of the Joshua Tree Inn and how his body was subsequently stolen and given a drunken cremation near Cap Rock by his manager, Phil Kaufman.

It’s a SoCal rite of passage to do magic mushrooms in Joshua Tree and trip out under the desert stars listening to The Gilded Palace of Sin by the Flying Burrito Bros. as there is simply no greater soundtrack for this sort of activity in that particular place and I’d wager that 99% of all the patrons of Pappy & Harriett’s, whether young or old, male or female could readily identify any song from it that came on their jukebox. But again, it’s specifically a desert kinda thing. Let’s assume that the rest of the country’s Gram Parsons fans are probably spread out a little bit more.

Which is why the word needs to get out about Intervention Records’ recently released vinyl and (upcoming) SACD re-issue of The Gilded Palace of Sin. Mastered by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio, this is one of the best-sounding slabs of wax that I’ve ever heard in my entire life, which is exactly what you would want someone to say if you’re a new boutique record label catering to the snobbiest of jaded (and easily disappointed) audiophiles.

Much more after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
I sing the Apocalypse: The ‘mud-lightning metal’ of Flaming Dragons of Middle Earth
05.23.2017
10:43 am

Topics:
Kooks
Music

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I tried to catch Flaming Dragons of Middle Earth at a local art gallery a few months back, but I blew it. You really gotta be on time for events of this magnitude. By the time I got there, it looked like a garbage truck had crashed into an art supply store. There was glitter, paint, feathers, sweat, piss and melted crayons everywhere. The room smelled like burnt rubber and semen. The joint was filled with creeps, crazies and zonked-out dreamers, but I had no idea if any of them were in the band or not. You couldn’t tell where the aftermath ended and the afterparty began, but the star of the show had definitely vanished. “The kid in the wheelchair split,” shrugged the disappointed art-school chick in the lime-green cardigan. There was more than a little unrequited lust in her eyes.
 

Danny Cruz, Dragon King
 
Flaming Dragons formed in 2007 in Turner Falls, Massachusetts (don’t bother looking it up, FDOME are definitely the most exciting thing about the place). Every Thursday at the Brick House Community Resource Center, Danny Cruz—a resourceful young dude with muscular dystrophy, a fearsome scruff of facial hair and a seriously banged-up wheelchair—would jam with whoever was around on whatever instruments they could scrape up, eventually creating a bowel-loosening neo-hard rock, aggressively psychedelic spazz-punk sound that Cruz likes to call “Mud Lightning Metal.” And who are we to argue?


The cover of FDOME’s 2014 opus, ‘The Seed of Contempt’

The band has been going strong ever since. The members change constantly. There’s been a wizard on bass and a kid with Down’s syndrome on drums. Doesn’t really matter. All of it channels through cosmic shaman Cruz, who turns his ragtag noise crew into a life-affirming blast of pure holy light. They have a clutch of official albums released on OSR records and piles more unreleased or unofficial or just waiting patiently to be born. They often perform in unsuspecting art galleries or community centers or public access TV stations in Western Massachusetts and no one is the same afterward. In between gigs, Cruz hits up YouTube and pontificates on chemtrails (hint: it’s aliens!) and whatever other urban ailments he’s feeling that day.

If his band didn’t play freeform jazz metal, he’d probably be the new Roky Erickson. At the very least, he’s the new Eugene Chadbourne. If you haven’t been covered in feathers and buckets of paint lately, I’d suggest maybe you catch a show.

Take a look, after the jump…

Posted by Ken McIntyre | Leave a comment
Bizarre penis and boob socks
05.23.2017
08:42 am

Topics:
Amusing
Fashion

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Don’t even ask how I discovered these penis and boob socks. It was an accident, I can assure you, but find them I did. And you should be grateful I found ‘em. Anyway, the crochet socks are handmade by Ukrainian shop Tetiana Knits. There’s not really much to say about these bizarro socks except… here they are! I dig the pointy toes.

It appears the socks come in different colors and styles upon request. There’s even a penis/vulva combo.

The socks are currently selling for around $30 a pair plus shipping.

I think these would go nicely with the “male rompers” currently making the rounds on every website and blog imaginable.


 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Swedish TV accidentally puts children’s subtitles over political debate, and it’s f*cking hilarious!
05.22.2017
01:54 pm

Topics:
Politics
Television

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Civic-minded Swedes who tuned in to a political debate early last year didn’t expect to witness an interplanetary underwater battle involving dinosaurs, but thanks to an innocent mixup at the SVT2 TV station, that’s what they got.

It was probably more entertaining, not to say true-to-life, than what was actually happening in the debate, which involved Environmental Minister Åsa Romson, Liberal People’s Party leader Jan Björklund, Education Minister Gustav Fridolin, and Urban Ahlin, Speaker of the Riksdag, the national legislature of Sweden.
 

 
The subtitles depicted dialogue from the PBS children’s TV show Dinosaur Train

The head of the channel’s subtitle department, Anna Zetterson, smells a rat (or is it a dinosaur?), it seems. It turns out that on some older television models you can swap out the “teletext” page from another channel while keeping the current image. On Facebook she wrote in Swedish, “On some older TVs can still choose the old teletext page for the different channels’ subtitles, while checking on a different channel. So SVT, or any operator, didn’t send these out. But it is something you can amuse yourself with on an older television set.”

We don’t care. Maybe nobody made a mixup and it was all a plot to tickle our brains. All we can say is, mission accomplished!
 

 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment