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Whatever happened to 70s soft rockers Seals & Crofts?
01.30.2015
01:39 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Seals & Crofts
soft rock


 
It must suck to have your music played on “soft rock” radio stations. Well, that’s not exactly what I mean, because getting radio play would, of course, always be a good thing for musicians, so let me rephrase that: It must suck to have your music played on the same soft rock stations that also play Sting and Phil Collins all day long. At least that would bum me out.

Such is the fate of Jimmy Seals and Dash Crofts, professionally known as Seals & Crofts and one of the most wildly successful soft-rock singer-songwriter duos of the 1970s. It seemed like they were constantly on the radio and television when I was a kid. Admittedly they weren’t my cup of tea at the time—David Bowie, Alice Cooper, The Kinks and the Sex Pistols were more my style—but I could certainly appreciate their music when I heard it, which was… very frequently. If you weren’t around back then, well trust me kid, even if you’ve never heard of them, Seals & Crofts were once quite a ubiquitous presence on the mainstream American entertainment scene. They were huge, in fact. Then suddenly you never heard of them again.

They were so big that there was a Seals & Crofts Frisbee. That’s big. Seventies big.
 

Can you guess the decade?

Seals and Crofts were musician’s musicians. Although their primary instruments were guitar and mandolin, they could both play just about anything. Their harmonies were heavenly. Songs like “Diamond Girl,” “Hummingbird,” “We May Never Pass This Way (Again)” and “Summer Breeze” extolled the virtues of living simply, the beauty of nature, finding true love and devotion to God. Despite the fact that they had faces “made for radio” and precious little traditional showbiz charisma to speak of it was the musicianship and the message which set their songs apart during their era and what makes their emotionally heartfelt music still so memorable and pleasurable to listen to today. (Eleven years ago, I saw their Greatest Hits CD for $5 bucks used and bought it so I could stick “Diamond Girl” on a CD I was making for my future wife. I confess, it’s either been in the car or in the stack of CDs next to the stereo ever since. It should be in every music collection!)
 

 
In 1980, they basically dropped out of music to follow the Bahá’í Faith full-time (both men have been adherents of the 19th century Persian prophet Bahaullah since 1969). During the height of their success, Seals & Crofts commitment to the faith saw them stay for hours after concerts talking with their fans about their spiritual beliefs and world religious harmony. They’ve recorded and performed very sporadically since retiring. A CD of new recordings was released in 2004 called Traces, made with their children. Crofts mostly lives on a coffee farm in Costa Rica, while Seals lives on a ranch in central Texas.
 

 
Strangely, for such a massive-selling “classic rock” era act, their albums were not available on CD, save for a greatest hits and one other record, until fairly recently. Even Rhino dropped the ball when it came to Seals & Crofts for many years, although by 2007 all of their albums had been released on CD. There are gems on every one of them, so keep that in mind when you’re crate digging.
 
“Diamond Girl”

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Even in death women are not free of sexist idiots

00colleenmcc.jpg
 
Yesterday, the best-selling author and neuroscientist Colleen McCullough died at the age of seventy-seven. McCullough was one of Australia’s best-known and most popular novelists, whose success was firmly established with the publication of her second novel The Thorn Birds in 1977. It was later made into a highly successful TV miniseries starring Richard Chamberlain. McCullough followed on her success with a string of bestsellers including An Indecent Obsession (1981), The Ladies of Missalonghi (1987), The Touch (2003) and her Masters of Rome series of historical novels. McCullough’s books have sold in excess of 30 million copies.

But McCullough had originally studied medicine before successfully moving into neuroscience and becoming a respected teacher at the Department of Neurology at the Yale Medical School in New Haven, CT.

By any standard, most people would be content with just one of McCullough’s incredible careers, and one would think that a national newspaper like The Australian might write a glowing obituary, eulogizing this talented and brilliant Australian woman. Well, most of us would, but that’s not what The Australian decided to focus on when writing her obituary, instead they considered her most relevant attributes as being “plain of feature, and certainly overweight,” though she was also “a charmer.”
 

 
It’s dispiriting to think how this ever got past the paper’s sub editor’s desk—unless of course the paper is completely staffed by sexist idiots—which, who knows, perhaps it is? What is more disturbing and inexcusable is how a woman of such great achievement should be so casually demeaned and undervalued.

Thankfully, it’s not all doom and gloom as the stupidity of the Australian’s obituary has seen an amusing response from the Twittersphere, where people (including writers Caitlin Moran, Neil Gaiman, Joanne Harris and comedians Katy Brand and Craig Ferguson) have been tweeting their own mock obituaries (#myozobituary), which you can read below.
 

 

 

 

 

 
H/T Metro.
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Dreading Valentines Day? Have a laugh at Karl Marx’s godawful corny love poems!
01.30.2015
12:17 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Class War

Tags:
Karl Marx
poetry
love


Yeah, but your poetry, dude…

As a socialist with a somewhat inconsistent commitment to Marxist orthodoxy, I’m often asked to what degree I will defend old Karl, and there’s no easy answer. For example, I’m sympathetic to central planning, though I have my doubts for its real-world potential under our current technology. I wrestle with the labor theory of value, but also find myself unable to mount a suitable critique. But if you’re just asking if there’s anything about Marx I find completely indefensible, hey, I can assure you that his terrible schmaltzy love poetry keeps me safe from the sin of idolatry.

We are talking about some terrible, corny, super-earnest high school boy in love stuff here, and I’m not the only one that finds Marx’s deepest affections majorly cheesy. In Edmund Wilson’s landmark history of socialist thought To the Finland Station: A Study in the Writing and Acting of History, he has this to say of Marx’s mooning romantic overtures to his future wife.

In the summer of Karl’s eighteenth year, when he was home on his vacation from college, Jenny von Westphalen promised to marry him. She was four years older than Karl and was considered one of the belles of Trier, was much courted by the sons of officials and landlords and army officers; but she waited for Karl seven years. She was intelligent, had character, talked well; had been trained by a remarkable father. Karl Marx had conceived for her a devotion which lasted through his whole life. He wrote her bad romantic poetry from college.

If that sounds a little blunt, it should be noted that Marx himself acknowledge that his love poetry was mawkish. Here are some of my favorite lowlights from one of his many volumes dedicated to Jenny—this one actually called, The Book of Love:

TO JENNY
I
Jenny! Teasingly you may inquire
Why my songs “To Jenny” I address,
When for you alone my pulse beats higher,
When my songs for you alone despair,
When you only can their heart inspire,
When your name each syllable must confess,
When you lend each note melodiousness,
When no breath would stray from the Goddess?
’Tis because so sweet the dear name sounds,
And its cadence says so much to me,
And so full, so sonorous it resounds,
Like to vibrant Spirits in the distance,
Like the gold-stringed Cithern’s harmony,
Like some wondrous, magical existence.
II
See! I could a thousand volumes fill,
Writing only “Jenny” in each line,
Still they would a world of thought conceal,
Deed eternal and unchanging Will,
Verses sweet that yearning gently still,
All the glow and all the Aether’s shine,
Anguished sorrow’s pain and joy divine,
All of Life and Knowledge that is mine.
I can read it in the stars up younder,
From the Zephyr it comes back to me,
From the being of the wild waves’ thunder.
Truly, I would write it down as a refrain,
For the coming centuries to see—

Yeah, you’ll notice a lot of his works use her name. It’s a bit like going through a middle schoolers notebook and reading the same name over and over in swirly cursive with little hearts. This one actually has the exact same title.

TO JENNY
Words—lies, hollow shadows, nothing more,
Crowding Life from all sides round!
In you, dead and tired, must I outpour
Spirits that in me abound?
Yet Earth’s envious Gods have scanned before
Human fire with gaze profound;
And forever must the Earthling poor
Mate his bosom’s glow with sound.
For, if passion leaped up, vibrant, bold,
In the Soul’s sweet radiance,
Daringly it would your worlds enfold,
Would dethrone you, would bring you down low,
Would outsoar the Zephyr-dance.
Ripe a world above you then would grow.

Translation: Girl, I am so into you.

LOVE IS JENNY, JENNY IS LOVE’S NAME. MY WORLD
Worlds my longing cannot ever still,
Nor yet Gods with magic blest;
Higher than them all is my own Will,
Stormily wakeful in my breast.
Drank I all the stars’ bright radiance,
All the light by suns o’erspilled,
Still my pains would want for recompense,
And my dreams be unfulfilled.
Hence! To endless battle, to the striving
Like a Talisman out there,
Demon-wise into the far mists driving
Towards a goal I cannot near.
But it’s only ruins and dead stones
That encompass all my yearning,
Where in shimmering Heavenly radiance
All my hopes flow, ever-burning.

Okay, I’m gonna stop short on that one because it goes on for about 1000 more lines and every single one of them sounds exactly like all the others. It’s like, dude, we fucking get it.

So if you’re single and living in dread of having no sweetie for Valentine’s Day, just remember—love makes syrup of even the greatest minds.

Thanks to Ross Wolfe

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Weird human body parts candles
01.30.2015
09:13 am

Topics:
Art

Tags:
candles


 
There’s something about these “Bodily Candles” by Etsy store Uncanny Art Shop that give me the heebie-jeebies. Perhaps it’s the teeth? Yep, it’s definitely those damned teeth!

Made from soy wax, each candle “is carefully cast by hand with layers of wax.” The candles are selling for a pretty reasonable price of $17.79, but since orders have been high as of late, expect to wait at least one to two weeks to get your candle in the mail.

I hate this so much that I totally want one.


 

 

 
Via Boing Boing

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Jeff ‘The Dude’ Bridges releases a most Duderriffic album about snoozing, slumber, sleep
01.30.2015
08:42 am

Topics:
Movies
Music

Tags:
The Big Lebowski
The Dude
Jeff Bridges


 
Jeff Bridges has recently made available one of those inexpressibly peculiar albums that only a very famous and beloved movie star could release, a double album on the theme of the land of dreams and slumber called The Sleeping Tapes. Proceeds from the album will go to the charity No Kid Hungry; Bridges has partnered with Squarespace to set up an appropriate web presence for the album, where you can listen to it for free or purchase the album in a variety of formats in prices ranging from “pay what you like” for the digital files to $200 for an LP with a “180-gram golden vinyl plate” as well as a “debossed gold leaf pressed album cover.” There’s also an auction in which you can win 1 of 5 signed copies of the album.

By the way, be on the lookout for a Squarespace commercial featuring Bridges during this Sunday’s Super Bowl.
 

 
Track titles include “Sleep, Dream, Wakeup,” “Hummmmmm,” “Ikea,” “My Keys,” “Seeing With My Eyes Closed,” and “Feeling Good.” “I hope you dig the sleep tapes ... hope they, uh, inspire you do some good cool sleeping, some cool dreaming, some cool waking-up,” Bridges purrs in the opening track. Bridges recorded the album with composer Keefus Ciancia.

The album is rather easy to poke fun of, as evidenced by this not overly nasty thread on Metafilter. It’s a defiantly leisurely and lazy piece of work that nevertheless works on its own terms and fits within some kind of ambient lineage. I enjoyed listening to it, and I have some respect for the thought that went into it, but I suspect it won’t soon become a mainstay of my listening regimen.
 

 

 
via Nerdcore.de

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Rare footage of New Orleans jazz bands shot by Alan Lomax
01.30.2015
07:37 am

Topics:
History
Music

Tags:
jazz
Alan Lomax
New Orleans


 
This weekend marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of the inestimably important American folklorist/archivist/filmmaker/author/everything Alan Lomax. Unsurprisingly, there’s a plethora of commemorative events planned: a film marathon in Louisville, KY, a 13-hour radio marathon in Portland, a concert in London, England. And there will surely be some kind of boxed set of music. The Association for Cultural Equity (ACE), an organization Lomax Founded at Hunter College in the 1980s, is the keeper of his legacy, and is the source to keep an eye on for announcements. It’s also a treasure trove of recorded media.

Lomax started out by accompanying his famous father, the musicologist and folklorist John Lomax, on field recording trips, documenting musicians in the American South, and went from there to an incredibly distinguished career in preserving and promoting small, obscure, important pockets of America’s cultural heritage. He helped build the Library of Congress’ song archive, and played a significant role in the promotion of American folk music, helping bring the likes of Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Muddy Waters, and Burl Ives to records, radio, and mass audiences. If you want the huge gaps in that bio filled in, there’s the ACE bio, and of course there are tons of books, written by Lomax, and written about him.
 

 
Since there’s just so much to his career that an omnibus post about Lomax would be an absurd undertaking, I thought it’d be a fun tribute to focus on a lesser known but still badass preservation project of his. In 1982, Lomax spent a lot of time in New Orleans with a video crew, recording that city’s famed jazz musicians, especially brass bands. There is some really hot stuff in here, including the world-famous Dirty Dozen Brass Band, and a lot these videos have criminally low view counts. Some of that footage was compiled for the DVD Jazz Parades: Feet Don’t Fail Me Now, which is viewable at no cost online here. He taped parades, funerals, indoor concerts, everywhere. So enjoy these documents of a 100% uniquely American music, and see if the Ernie K-Doe video doesn’t totally SLAY you. Captions are culled from the ACE web site.
 

 
Whole lotta Lomax after the jump!

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Booker T. & the MGs cover the Beatles’ ‘Abbey Road’


 
In spring of 1970, mere months after the Beatles released Abbey Road, the Stax label’s elite house band Booker T. and the MGs released McLemore Avenue, a near-complete tribute to that LP. A lot of you probably guessed as much, but McLemore Avenue was the Memphis street on which Stax’s studios resided, just as Abbey Road was the street on which the EMI studio where the Beatles recorded was located. (The studio wasn’t officially named “Abbey Road Studios” until sometime after that Beatles LP came out. The more you know.) A lot of you probably also guessed that the Booker T. album is freakin’ excellent.

Booker T. talked about the inspiration for paying tribute to a brand-new LP in a 2009 AV Club interview:

AVC: What inspired you and the M.G.’s to record McLemore Avenue, your instrumental cover version of Abbey Road?

BT: I was in California when I heard Abbey Road, and I thought it was incredibly courageous of The Beatles to drop their format and move out musically like they did. To push the limit like that and reinvent themselves when they had no need to that. They were the top band in the world but they still reinvented themselves. The music was just incredible so I felt I needed to pay tribute to it.

Rob Bowman’s informative history of the Stax label Soulsville, U.S.A.: The Story of Stax Records sums the album up thusly:

McLemore Avenue was divided into four tracks. Taking a cue from the extended medley on side two of the Beatles’ Abbey Road album, three of those tracks are medleys clocking in at seven, ten, and fifteen minutes each. Every Abbey Road song except “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer,” “Octopus’ Garden,” and “Oh Darling” appears in one or another of the medleys, but the order of the songs in each medley does not necessarily follow the order of the Beatles’ album. My favorite is the final track on McLemore Avenue, which adroitly combines “Sun King,” “Mean Mr. Mustard,” “Polythene Pam,” “She Came in Through the Bathroom Window,” and “I Want You (She’s So Heavy).” On the surface, covering a complete album of any group, let alone the Beatles, is quite a risky gambit. The MG’s pull it off with aplomb, in the process creating a parallel masterpiece to the quintessential Beatles album.

 

 
“Parallel masterpiece,” sure, why not, but it’s almost a shame it wasn’t a complete cover. I’d give a lot to hear the MGs do the affably goofy Ringo song “Octopus’ Garden.” It’s kind of tantalizing to imagine how Steve Cropper could have transformed that guitar lick. On the subject of Cropper, I was amazed to learn that he wasn’t present for the McLemore Avenue recording sessions, and that he overdubbed his parts later, still having never actually heard Abbey Road yet! Again from Soulsville, U.S.A.:

“Booker told me every note to play,” relates Steve. “I hadn’t even heard the Beatles album. I might have heard a cut on the radio but I had not sat down and listened to the album like they had. He showed me the changes and sat down to teach me the songs. I strictly played to what I heard Booker play. [When I heard] the Beatles versions of those tunes, I went “Holy shit!” I was very surprised. I didn’t know those songs at all.”

Here’s the album, in sequence.

Side One:

1) Medley: “Golden Slumbers,” “Carry That Weight,” “The End,” “Here Comes the Sun,” “Come Together”

2) “Something”
 

 

 
Side Two (and more) after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
The Kerouac of Kitsch has died: Rod McKuen R.I.P.
01.30.2015
04:46 am

Topics:
Pop Culture

Tags:
poetry
Beat Generation
Rod Mckuen


 
Rod McKuen died Thursday. He was 81. Cause of death was pneumonia.

Rod McKuen was to Jack Kerouac what vending machine coffee is to espresso. He was a safe suburbanite version of a beatnik, Maynard G. Krebs with a slightly better work ethic. McKuen’s pasteurized prose was more suited to a Holiday Inn lounge than a North Beach jazz joint. And while McKuen wrote prolifically and read in a husky Chianti-stained voice that oozed consonants and vowels like candle wax no one would mistake his louche slackery for good poetry. But there was something soothing and pleasantly sunny in his style that evoked a certain Southern California grooviness easily mistaken for Zen wisdom. If you read a line slowly enough and pause periodically for dramatic effect almost anything can sound profound. McKuen mistook vagueness for mysticism and evoked the erotic with all of the sexuality of a stuffed chihuahua. Fifty shades of beige.

McKuen was syringed into that moment in the sixties when Timothy Leary’s acidity and Hugh Hefner’s cum-drenched Playboy philosophy refluxed into an uncomfortable mix of free love, drugs and very expensive architecture. If Malibu Beach had a poet laureate it would have been Rod. Imagine a love child born of the interspecial mating of Lee Hazlewood and Jonathan Livingston Seagull. With his windswept blonde hair and Jesus spats, McKuen was a lachrymose beach bum that Serge Gainsbourg would have gladly beaten to a suntanned pulp.
 

Bob McFadden & Dor “The Beat Generation” (composed and arranged by Rod McKuen, 1959)
 
McKuen possessed a weird kind of kitschy goodness, a Hallmark Greeting card version of hipness that was as heartwarming as one of Margaret Keane’s big-eyed orphans. He was too nice of a guy to get riled up about even when his bad poetry was selling millions of copies of books while a cat like Bukowski was working in a post office.

If Rod McKuen had been a rock song he would have been Friend And Lover’s “Reach Out Of The Darkness.” And that’s kind of a cool song - hard to hate, hard to get a bead on, just slipping under the threshold where things can turn from something innocuous into something that can drive a man to homicide.
 

 
Here’s Rod McKuen reading his poem “A Cat Named Sloopy” on The Mike Douglas Show in 1969.

Every night she’d sit in the window among the avocado plants waiting for me to come home (my arms full of canned liver and love).

 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Hardcore post-punk pioneer Guy Picciotto talks Fugazi, Rites of Spring this week on ‘The Pharmacy’
01.29.2015
12:59 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:
The Pharmacy
Fugazi
Rites of Spring
Guy Picciotto


 
Gregg Foreman’s radio program The Pharmacy is a music / talk show playing heavy soul, raw funk, 60′s psych, girl groups, Krautrock. French yé-yé, Hammond organ rituals, post-punk transmissions and “ghost on the highway” testimonials and interviews with the most interesting artists and music makers of our times…

This week hardcore post-punk pioneer Guy Picciotto of musical revolutionaries Fugazi and Rites of Spring.

Fugazi, with their reasonably priced records and shows, demonstrated how bands could find their own way without the preconceived notion that you needed corporate label backing to have an impact (and a career!). The conversation explores the early days of DC punk, meeting the Cramps and legendary Atlantic Records mogul Ahmet Ertegun’s attempts to sign the band, the inspiration behind Rites of Spring and so much more…


 
Mr. Pharmacy is a musician and DJ who has played for the likes of Pink Mountaintops, The Delta 72, The Black Ryder, The Meek and more. Since 2012 Gregg Foreman has been the musical director of Cat Power’s band. He started dj’ing 60s Soul and Mod 45’s in 1995 and has spun around the world. Gregg currently lives in Los Angeles, CA and divides his time between playing live music, producing records and dj’ing various clubs and parties from LA to Australia.

Set List:

Intro
Merchandise - Fugazi
12 x U - Wire
Intro 1 -
Guy Picciotto Interview Part 1
Garbageman - The Cramps
Hey Bulldog - The Beatles
Song # 1 - Fugazi
Guy Picciotto Interview Part 2
For Want Of - Rites of Spring
Black Skin Blue Eyed Boys - The Equals
Intro 2 - Funky Kingston - Rx/Toots and the Maytals
Guy Picciotto Interview Part 3
Greed - Fugazi
To Hell with Poverty - Gang of Four
Police Truck - Dead Kennedys
American Ruse - MC5
Intro 3 - One, Two , Boogaloo - Rx/The Light Nites
Guy Picciotto Interview Part 4
In the City - The Jam
Spectra-Sonic Sound - Nation of Ulysses
I-94 - Radio Birdman
Intro 4 - Dedicated to Love - Rx/Vampyros Lesbos
Guy Picciotto Interview Part 5
(I Got a Catholic Block) - Sonic Youth
New Radio - Bikini Kill
Let’s Build a Car - Swell Maps
Intro 5 - Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag - Rx/JB’s
Guy Picciotto Interview Part 6
Ahemet Ertegun Tribute
Hold On I’m Comin’ - Sam and Dave
Memphis Train - Rufus Thomas
Intro 5 - Restless - Rx/The Cobras
Guy Picciotto Interview Part 7
Margin Walker - Fugazi
Intro 6 - Moanin’ - Rx/Art Blakey
Message via Lux Interior
Pay To Cum - Bad Brains
Outro
 

 
You can download the show in its entirety here.

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Alcoholic Oreos, for when you can’t vomit fast enough!
01.29.2015
12:32 pm

Topics:
Drugs
Food

Tags:
alcohol
Oreos


 
As a connoisseur of disgustingly sweet margaritas—with a young adulthood lubricated by MD 20/20 not so far back in my rear view mirror, no less—I’m not one to turn up my nose at a dessert-oriented booze-stuff. Alcoholic Oreos however, are clearly a monument to man’s arrogance and shall someday be punished by an angry God. This sinister aberration—the unholy creation of a mad scientist, no doubt—is made by combining the liquor of your choice with Oreo pudding mix, scraping the filling off some Oreos, and spooning the alcoholic mixture betwixt the newly emptied cookie halves.

After that, I suppose you just start wolfing down these bad boys like you’ve given up on life—or maybe just cut out the middleman and just throw them directly into the toilet?

Either way, it’s a race between diabetes and alcohol poisoning—may the best death win!
 

 
Via Foodbeast

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
‘Mad Truth’: Asia Argento directs new Pop Group video, their first single in 35 years
01.29.2015
12:25 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Asia Argento
The Pop Group


 
Behold the new video for “Mad Truth,” the first single in 35 years from the reformed Pop Group, directed by Dangerous Minds pal Asia Argento. There’s a warning for all the stroboscopic effects, so beware of that before you press play.

The Pop Group’s new album, Citizen Zombie comes out on February 23rd. Argento’s most recent film, the autobiographical coming of age story Incompresa (Misunderstood in English) was the single best movie I saw last year.

See the Pop Group on their US tour:

March 11th San Francisco CA – Great American Music Hall
March 12th Seattle WA – Neumos Crystal Ball Reading Room
March 13th Chicago IL – Levitation Festival, Thalia Hall
March 17th New York NY – Bowery Ballroom
March 10th Los Angeles CA – Echoplex
March 14th Toronto ON – Lee’s Palace
March 16th Brooklyn NY – Rough Trade
March 19th – 22nd Austin TX – SXSW
 

 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Lucifer rising: When the Rolling Stones got evil
01.29.2015
11:12 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Rolling Stones
Michael Lindsay-Hogg


 
Call me disputatious—or not, it’s entirely up to you—my favorite Stones album has always been Their Satanic Majesties Request. It’s the only one I still play all the way through these days. It sounds so amazing as one great big, trippy chunk, that it would be a shame not to experience the whole thing in one go. It’s a fantastic headphones album, too, the closest they ever got to Dark Side of the Moon. Many Stones fans and critics hated it when it came out and saw the album as a weak attempt to out weird the Beatles after they’d unleashed Sgt Pepper’s on the world, but time has been very kind to Their Satanic Majesties Request. To me, it’s just a thing of beauty, with the normal blues-based Stones sound thrown out the window, and replaced with a colorful sonic palette the likes of which they would never return to. I’m not saying that it IS the best Stones album, I’m just saying that it’s MY favorite. (For the record, my favorite Stones song is “Monkey Man,” followed by “Stray Cat Blues,” then “Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)”—dark horses, all, I grant you. I’m also partial to “I Don’t Know Why,” but the Glimmer Twins didn’t write that one—it’s a Stevie Wonder cover.)

The Stones “demonic” phase, inaugurated if you will, by their association with the Magus of Cinema, Kenneth Anger, was when the Stones were truly on fire. Mick was still quite into his Satan/Lucifer thing well into the Let It Bleed/Gimme Shelter era, but after Altamont, Jagger was often seen wearing a crucifix around his neck, perhaps seeking to put down all the hoodoo Age of Horus energy he’d raised? Have sympathy for the poor devil. Jagger had a shamanic current running through his body during the Sixties that killed quite a few of his friends and contemporaries. Today, like a rock and roll Dorian Gray, he hardly looks any worse for the wear.
 

 
Below is the once very seldom seen pop video for “2000 Light Years From Home.” It seems so heavily influenced by Kenneth Anger that pre-Internet, some people (myself included) thought that perhaps he’d directed it, but it’s actually the work of Michael Lindsay-Hogg (Let it Be). This was possibly shot by photographer Michael Cooper, who shot the iconic image for the Satanic Majesties album jacket (which was originally issued with a fantastic 3-D lenticular cover) and Anger’s Lucifer Rising.

Although the song’s multi-generational familiarity has leached out quite a bit of its “evil” over time, just imagine what this short film communicated to someone in 1967!!! I have no idea if this outrageous clip was ever seen on television at the time—I suspect not.
 

 
Much more, including a Rolling Stones video that you have probably never seen before…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Stanley Kubrick shoots the N.Y.C. subway, 1946
01.29.2015
11:09 am

Topics:
Art
Media
Movies

Tags:
Stanley Kubrick
photography
subway


 
In the summer of 1945, Stanley Kubrick, many years before he was the acclaimed director of Dr. Strangelove, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and A Clockwork Orange, had a series of photographs published in LOOK magazine, a competitor to LIFE. He was just 16 years old. Thus would begin a relationship with the magazine that would last several years, until he began making movies in earnest around the age of 23, in the early 1950s.
 

Kubrick took this self-portrait in 1949 with his Leica III while working as a staff photographer for LOOK Magazine
 
Kubrick was fond of street photography, somewhat like the recent discovery Vivian Maier, and in 1946 he did a series about the New York subway. For more on Kubrick’s photographic career, see the archives of the Museum of the City of New York. Philippe D. Mather recent book Stanley Kubrick at LOOK Magazine: Authorship and Genre in Photojournalism and Film appears to be the only decent one out there on the subject.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 
More of Kubrick’s stunning subway pics, after the jump…...

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
The most twisted version of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ you’ll ever see

malicecartoon.jpg
 
It’s all about timing: if Vince Collins had made his trippy animation Malice in Wonderland in the sixties or seventies then it would have probably been a success, especially with freaks and acidheads. That it was made in the 1980s, when your friendly neighborhood independent cinemas were closing and a new puritanism had sneaked into political discourse perhaps explain why Collins’ short animation was booed off the screen by audiences for offensively “exploiting women.”

Malice in Wonderland (1982) is an imaginative and richly Freudian retelling of Lewis Carroll’s famous tale in which Alice repeatedly disappears up (or down) various orifices.

At the time Collins was a struggling animator who had relocated from Fort Lauderdale to California to make short animations. He was best known for his award-winning animation Euphoria, which many had thought was about (or had been inspired by) LSD but was mainly the animator experimenting with visuals. Though Collins has admitted he made his psychedelic drug films in the 1970s and his blue movies in the 1980s. Malice in Wonderland is Collins’ blue movie.

More people have watched this startling animation on the Internet than all the people who saw it on its first release. Where it was once booed, now people are more likely to ask, “Dude, what the fuck is that shit?”

Malice in Wonderland may still be controversial and disturbing to some, but I think it’s a spellbinding tour de force from an unfettered imagination—though maybe not best watched when you’re actually taking LSD.
 

 
With thanks to Laughton Sebastian Melmoth.

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
The song co-written by DEVO and John Hinckley Jr., Ronald Reagan’s failed assassin


 
If you look carefully at the credits for DEVO’s 1982 album Oh, No! It’s DEVO, you will spot a name that doesn’t ordinarily pop up in the DEVO universe or even the music world generally. The name is John Hinckley, Jr., and he is best known to the world as the man who tried to kill President Ronald Reagan in 1981, in a batshit-crazy attempt to win the amorous affections of Jodie Foster, then still a teenager. Hinckley was strongly influenced by The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger and, far more pertinently, Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver, in which Robert De Niro’s Travis Bickle considers assassinating a U.S. Senator named Palantine but then opts to murder the pimp who has rights over a teen prostitute portrayed by the selfsame Jodie Foster.
 

 
When Foster enrolled in Yale University, Hinckley moved all the way from Texas to New Haven, just so he could be near her. He engaged in a lot of creepy, stalker behavior that if you saw it in a movie, you’d think it was overdone, enrolling in the same writing class as her, leaving all kinds of poems and messages for her, and calling her repeatedly. Eventually he would squeeze off six rounds outside the Hilton Hotel in Washington, wounding two Secret Service agents and Reagan’s press secretary as well as (via a ricochet) the president himself.

According to Rolling Stone, DEVO got in touch with Hinckley and acquired one of his demented love poems to Foster and adapted it into a song called “I Desire.” Here are some representative lyrics:
 

I pledge allegiance to the fact
That you’re wise to walk away
For nothing is more dangerous
Than desire when it’s wrong

Don’t let me torment you
Don’t let me bring you down
Don’t ever let me hurt you
Don’t let me fail because

I desire your attention
I desire your perfect love
I desire nothing more

 
The stunt not only annoyed Warner Bros., who learned that they would be obliged to send Hinckley royalty payments for the song, but also, according to Rolling Stone, won DEVO the official attentions of the Federal Bureau of Investigation:
 

As Mark Mothersbaugh recalled, “[Hinckley] let us take a poem that he had written, and we used it for the lyrics and turned it into a love song. It was not the best career move you could make. We had the FBI calling up and threatening us.”

 
In November of 1982, Hinckley wrote a letter to the “Morning Zoo” crew of KZEW, a Dallas radio station, in which he professes his love for “New Wave music” (hey, me too!) and requests that the station play “I Desire” a total of “58 times each day.” Here’s the full quote:
 

I like New Wave music, especially Devo, since I co-wrote a song on their new album. The song is called “I Desire” and I want you to play it 58 times each day.

 

 
In the letter Hinckley also writes, “I used to listen to the song ‘Heroes’ by David Bowie when I was stalking Carter and Reagan. It got me in a strange mood. ... In March and April of 1980, I hung out at Peaches Record Store on Fitzhugh.” Peaches, which used to be on the intersection of Cole and Fitzhugh in northern Dallas, has, alas, bitten the dust.

Below, listen to “I Desire,” the only new wave ditty ever co-written by a presidential assassin:
 

 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
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