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‘He was like a walking hit of acid’: Remembering Rex Thompson of the Summer Hits (1968-2016)
09.14.2016
11:59 am

Topics:
Fashion
Music
R.I.P.

Tags:
Los Angeles
Surfing
Mixtapes

Rex in the Sea of Cortez, Baja Mexico 2001
Rex in the Sea of Cortez, Baja Mexico 2001 Sasha Eisenman/Sun-Godz
 
In the early 1990’s a 22-year old surfer kid from Newport Beach hit the L.A. music scene and turned it inside out. Rex Kingsley Thompson (nickname: “Tatarex”) was a thin, cool, attractive, 6’4” tall creation that looked like he had just arrived in a time machine. His band The Summer Hits released a handful of singles between 1992-1996 and were played on BBC Radio 1 by legendary deejay John Peel. Then like a flash, Rex left southern California for Europe without a penny in his pocket where he spent twelve years exploring chic, tropical islands and castles with beautiful women of royalty. Last week the news of Rex’s passing at the age of 47 hit the internet and saddened thousands of friends and followers who recount his super unconventional lifestyle and profound cult-like influence on people everywhere he went.
 
Known around skateboard parks for always drinking pink lemonade, Tatarex was also somewhat of a local at “The Wedge” in Orange County, a surfing spot just off the end of the Balboa Peninsula popular for its big waves and laid-back lifestyle. As a mohawked youth back in Glendora, Rex had originally intended to be a tennis player but once he hit his 20’s and left home he began shifting his focus towards other interests such as fashion, the beach, music, and recreational drug use. “He walked around like he was this psychedelic blue blood sometimes. You know what I mean? Because he was always asking everybody about their fashion, and clothes, and hygiene, and appearance. He didn’t judge you he would just kind of point people in the direction of the finer things in life. Not just expensive things, but the things that make you live free and think that you can really enjoy life” says longtime friend Brent Rademaker.
 
Rex drove around in a Volkswagon bus he called “Peanut” searching local vintage stores for groovy clothes and groovy records. Brent recalls the modes of communication before cell phones existed: “He worked at the Newport Classic Inn, I’d call him there. The only way to get in touch with him would be to call him at work. He’d answer the phone ‘Good afternoon the Newport Classic Inn Hotel this is Rex speaking’ It was kind of like the thing in Quadrophenia when the Ace Face gets outed as a bellboy. I even went down there and Rex is dressed in a button-down shirt with a tie. Darren and I came from Florida and Rex really lived all things west coast and lived all things southern California. He made us honorary Californians and he didn’t treat us as outsiders.”
 
The Summer Hits, mid-'90s collage courtesy of Brent Rademaker
The Summer Hits, mid-‘90s collage courtesy of Brent Rademaker
 
With no prior musical experience or training, Rex picked up a left-handed bass and taught himself to play. After his first band fell apart (a C86 influenced local group called Speed Racer) Rex formed The Summer Hits by recruiting friends Darren Rademaker and Josh Schwartz (of the lo-fi “indie rock” band Further). They released a handful of 7"s on labels such as Small-Fi, Volvolo, Silver Girl, and 1000 Guitar Mania. Rex’s unique singing voice on the 8-track recordings was nearly drowned out by a wall of fuzz and feedback, with lyrics that reflected all of his most favorite things: summer, the beach, drugs, listening to music, girls, runnin’ from the fuzz, and retreating into the desert night.
 
In 1997 the year following the band’s split, Brent issued The Summer Hits compilation CD on his own label Xmas Records. “I took every dime I had to put that Beaches and Canyons CD together. I found all the comp tracks and all the singles and all the tapes and I took them down to Capitol (Records) tower and mastered them. The guy looked at me like I was insane when it came on. You know? And I’m like ‘Can you add even more fuzz?’ and he’s like ‘What?! I can’t clean these up,’ I said ‘I don’t want you to clean them up, I want you to make them dirtier.’”
 

 
Besides being the life of the party and a psychedelic social butterfly, Rex Thompson had been making amazing mixtapes which were then duplicated and passed down by friends and friends of friends. The more tapes Rex made the deeper the tracks got and the more extensive his handwritten linear notes became.  One tape of Rex’s in particular titled Find the Sun really stood out amongst his circle of friends and focused on recordings from 1966-1973 by groups all over the world experimenting with the “west coast sound.” Rex’s personal description of the tape was “Magic hippie vibes for lost cosmic children with countrified brains.” Brent recalls, “It had a great title and it was full of obscure, beautiful, beautiful groups. One day Chris Gunst, Josh Schwartz, and I were listening to that tape and one of us just said ‘We can make a group that sounds like this.’ Slowly our clothes started changing, next thing Chris was wearing cowboy western shirts.” L.A. supergroup Beachwood Sparks was formed, they had a successful career on Sub Pop Records and were later featured on the soundtrack to the 2010 cult classic Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. “We wouldn’t have existed if it wasn’t for that tape and Rex’s influence.”
 
Radio Stars vol.8 mixtape courtesy of Sasha Eisenman
“Radio Stars vol.8” mixtape courtesy of Sasha Eisenman/Sun-Godz
 
Find the Sun mixtape linear notes courtesy of Maura Klosterman
“Find the Sun” mixtape linear notes courtesy of Maura Klosterman
 
“Another thing that speaks so highly of Rex, the linear notes on his tapes are so in depth. And I’m not saying that the pre-internet world didn’t learn or share knowledge or do research. But at what he had at his disposal he really went in depth and he knew what he was talking about when he was talking about country rock, psych, folk, west coast garage, fuzz. Whatever it was, he knew it.”
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Doug Jones | Leave a comment
Another awesome mixtape from 70s-era Sexploitation films
09.23.2013
11:34 am

Topics:
Art
Movies
Music
Sex

Tags:
Sexploitation
Mixtapes


 
For whatever reason French music producer Drixxxe’s 70s Sexploitation mixtape (I blogged about it last week) was removed from SoundCloud!? Here’s a new one, with even more amazing soundtrack songs from erotic flicks such as Comme un pot de fraises, Tongue, L’Initiation, The Devil in Miss Jones, Comme un pot de fraises, Teenage Twins and many more.

I suggest if you’re digging the tunes, to download it ASAP. As this one might get removed too!

 
Via Nerdcore

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
‘Dream On’ mix: a soundtrack for supermoon season

image
 
As I mentioned previously, I am transferring all my dj mixes and mixtape compilations from Soundcloud to Mixcloud (I have been having a lot of bother with Soundcloud lately, in fact it’s making me wonder if a premium account is really worth it?) But in doing so I came across this mixtape I made in late 2009, and thought it was worth sharing.

In contrast to my previously posted disco and 808-based mixes, this Is the more downtempo side of what I like to play and listen to. I guess you could call it “chill-out” (though I find there’s something cheesy about that term.) Dream On is a compilation of synthy, woozy, dreamy, lo-fi-kinda stuff that will appeal to fans of Ariel Pink, John Maus and other “haunted” acts. There’s also a smattering of lo-fi, post-crunk and alternative rock in there too. Remember, this mix was made two and a half years ago, back when Fleet Foxes were still kinda cool.

It’s also pretty fitting for the amazing night skies we have been having lately, what with that beautiful glowing supermoon and all. So don’t classify this mix as being “shoe-gaze”, think of it more as being “sky-gaze”...

Tracklist:

BEN BUTLER & MOUSE PAD - E-Ship
TODD RUNDGREN - International Feel
TODD RUNDGREN - Never Never Land
FRANZ FERDINAND - Ulysses (FoxGut Reshuffle)
BJORN TORSKE - Brus
BRUCE HAACK - National Anthem To The Moon
NITE JEWEL - Kamera Songs
EYES - Clown Lady
LOUTS - The Bubbles
THE BEACH BOYS - Fall Breaks and Back To Winter
MIAOUX MIAOUX - Hrvatski
CHROMATICS - In The City
DAFT PUNK - Night Vision
JOHN MAUS - Do Your Best
DESIRE - Under Your Spell
PHANTOM BAND - Island
FLEET FOXES - He Doesn’t Know Why
 

DREAM ON Mixtape by Theniallist on Mixcloud

If you want to hear more of my mixes, you can find them on this page on my blog Niallism, or you can follow me (The Niallist) on Mixcloud.

BONUS

Here’s a great video for “Under Your Spell” by Desire, as featured on the mix above and also the soundtrack to last year’s fantastic noir/thriller Drive (which tapped in to the whole haunted/synth/retro thing brilliantly.) This clip features one of the best scenes from the film, the staggeringly tender-yet-brutal elevator scene. If you have not seen Drive, be warned, this gets bloody:

Desire “Under Your Spell” (NSFW video)
 

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Two seasonal mixtapes from Everett True

image
 
Ex-editor of the sadly defunct Melody Maker, author of Nirvana: The Biography and now proprietor of the excellent Collapse Board website, Everett True has not one but two Christmas mixtapes available to download just now. They covers all bases from the popular to the obscure, from funk to country to punk to indie(ish) and everything in-between. Everett himself says:

I spend great chunks of early December arranging and rearranging the 1,500+ Christmas songs in my iTunes folder into various playlists: for family, for friends, not for the children, and so on. Odd that I do so, as I’m really not fond of this time of year otherwise (although that feeling is changing as our family increases). This year, my task has been somewhat hampered by Daniel (aged 2) destroying the external hard drive, just two weeks after I’d transferred my entire cache of 2011 music onto it.

I suspend most of my regular aesthetic values when it comes to this season. As long as there’s a sleigh bell or an overtly schmaltzy production or a smart-ass lyric decrying the fact Santa NEVER BRINGS ANY FUCKING PRESENTS or some soulful heartfelt emotion or … well, anything to do with the season, really … I’m happy. I do have limits of course: Fiona Apple, that excrescence of a Bob Dylan Christmas album that appeared a while back, most of the She And Him Christmas album (although they still manage to sneak onto the collection below), most of X Factor (but not all), anything too self-consciously smart and/or indie. But really. Where else are you going to find a compilation that boasts Mariah Carey, The Moonbears, Willie Nelson, Can and Wild Billy Childish’s killer cut ‘Christmas 1979′?

As ever, the following restrictions apply:

The track-listing on the mix-tapes differs slightly to the one below. Copyright considerations, and all that. Also, the compilations will be available for a limited period only. If you like any of the featured artists, please track back to their MySpace sites, record company home pages and the like, and show support by purchasing their music direct.

Download A Christmas Gift from Everett True 2011, part one here.

Download A Christmas Gift from Everett True 2011, part two here.

As he says, download these now as they’ll be taken down very soon.

BONUS!

Shonen Knife’s “Space Christmas” (as featured on ACGFET2011 vol two):
 

 
Full tracklistings after the jump…

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Photo: The lost art of the mixtape
07.25.2011
01:02 pm

Topics:
History
Music

Tags:
Mixtapes


 
Ah, the lost art of the mixtape. Not something we see much anymore. Soon guys will be courting girls with Spotify playlists.

Click on the image to see larger version.

(via Publique)

 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment