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Salvador Dalí‘s hilarious lesson in proper English speech
11.17.2017
08:40 am
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Echo number four (via Discogs)
 
One of the nice people I met at the Revolting Cocks and Meat Beat Manifesto show last weekend kept telling me about an instructional record Salvador Dalí made, demonstrating the proper way to speak English. I think she must have meant this track from the 1960 publication Echo, “the magazine you play on your phonograph.”

“Salvador Dalí—A Linguistic Presentation” appeared in number four of Echo, a 24-page book of articles and flexidiscs. In conversation with Edward Mulhare, the actor who succeeded Rex Harrison as phonetics professor Henry Higgins in the original Broadway run of My Fair Lady, Dalí laments how conventional the English language has become. He exhorts us to inject “some irrational quality” into our boring lives using the Dalinian method, which he demonstrates with the words “butterfly” and “Connecticut.”

“By George, I’ve got it,” says Prof. Henry Higgins.
 

Posted by Oliver Hall
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11.17.2017
08:40 am
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Shinola Audio introduces the new high fidelity Canfield Headphone Collection
11.16.2017
08:12 pm
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Shinola—yes, the Detroit-based design brand—is introducing the new Canfield Headphone Collection part of their distinctive range of Shinola Audio products, which also includes the eye-popping Runwell Turntable and matching bookshelf speakers.

There are four items in the Canfield line, including two different types of traditional headphones (over-the-ear and on-the-ear) that are manufactured with the sort of attention to detail and design that Shinola is known for, utilizing the finest component parts, high quality finishes and quality leathers. The Canfields feel good to the touch, comfortable on your head and the craftsmanship is top notch. Before you even listen, they simply feel quite luxurious. I don’t think this is an accident. The Canfield Over-Ear and On-Ear headphones are joined by the Canfield In-Ear Monitor and the Canfield Pro In-Ear Monitor.

So they look good? Shinola is essentially a fashion company. All of their stuff looks good. How do they sound?

Really, really good. The Canfields were “tuned” by Alexander Rosson, the world-renowned audio designer behind the Audeze LCD-3 reference-level headphones and you really have to credit Shinola for having the savvy to tap someone like him—Rosson’s involvement screams quality to knowledgeable audiophiles—to launch their audio products. It was a smart move and immediately conveyed a sense of seriousness about the endeavor. (Full disclosure: I think Alex Rosson is a genius, the “new” Rupert Neve if you will, so maybe I’m biased.)

Some headphones initially impress you with their brightness (“Wow, you can really hear the cymbals”) but the Canfields are all about clarity, neutrality and glorious glorious nuance. There’s no noticeable processing or colorization of the audio signal—I’m lookin’ at you Beats and Bose—and you can listen to the Canfields for hours on end without any sense of fatigue.

I was sent both the Over-Ear and On-Ear models for review and here’s the main difference between them: The On-Ear cans are more for mobile use, walking around a city, on the subway, airplanes, etc., while the larger Over-Ear variant is more for a kicked back listening experience at home boasting a 50-mm dynamic driver with a neutral frequency response.

The On-Ear Canfields are a little less power hungry than the Over-Ear phones which are perhaps best heard with the use of an outboard headphones amplifier, whereas the On-Ear version doesn’t require that and sound absolutely fantastic plugged directly into your iPhone. While both designs are quite impressive to be sure, I think that I personally would go for the On-Ear for the reasons listed above. Lucky me I don’t have to chose.

The Canfield line is available now in Shinola stores and online at Shinola.com.
 

 

Posted by Sponsored Post
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11.16.2017
08:12 pm
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Donald Trump takes a fatal shit on ‘Too Dumb For Suicide: Tim Heidecker’s Trump Songs’
11.16.2017
09:02 am
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A year to the day in the making, Tim Heidecker’s Donald Trump protest numbers have been collected together as a new album Too Dumb For Suicide: Tim Heidecker’s Trump Songs.

While some people find themselves sapped of the will to live by Donald Trump, Heidecker clearly finds him creatively inspiring, albeit in a bitter/rancorous sense. Steadily rolled out since that dark day the most horrible human being of all time managed to squeak into the White House and get handed the nuclear football, Heidecker says “Most of these songs were written and recorded quickly, with the blood still boiling from whatever indignity or absurdity had popped up on my newsfeed that day.”

Too Dumb For Suicide features a credible Elvis Costello pastiche about POTUS squeezing out a toxic and painful black KFC turd and ultimately dying whilst taking a shit on his gilded toilet; an inspiring number about beating neo-Nazi goofball Richard Spencer about the face and neck; an explication in jaunty song about what exactly it will take to make America great again and a beautifully-backhanded Randy Newman-esque “tribute” to Trump’s weasel-like Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. There’s even a cover version “bonus track” of Heidecker’s “Trump’s Private Pilot” by Josh Tillman doing his very best Father John Misty impression as a pilot ready to sacrifice himself for the good of the human race and asking everyone to support a Kickstarter for his kids.

Too Dumb For Suicide is all this and more, although noted weenie Paul Simon refused to allow “I Am A Cuck” (an alt-right take-off on his “I Am A Rock”) to be included. I asked Heidecker a few questions via email.

Dangerous Minds: Is it safe to assume that you don’t really like Donald Trump all that much?

Tim Heidecker: What’s to like? He’s everything we’re taught not to be.  But he’s also totally absurd and very funny to me. So I reflect those two sides; some funny stuff, but also some very dark stuff.

Tell me how you really feel…

Tim Heidecker: It’s all broken and pointless and folks should start thinking about living in the woods again.

Continues after the jump…

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Posted by Richard Metzger
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11.16.2017
09:02 am
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‘Undead’: The Book Every Bauhaus Fan Will Covet is Arriving Soon
11.16.2017
08:36 am
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It’s been a busy year for former members of Bauhaus, despite there being zero actual Bauhaus activity. Bassist David J did a well-received solo tour—I saw him do a living room show in Detroit, and it was goddamn magnifique—and has signed on to join his former band’s singer Peter Murphy in performing their classic material in San Francisco this February.

Meanwhile, the band’s drummer and guitarist, Kevin Haskins and Daniel Ash, reunited under the name “Poptone” to resurrect material by one of their other former bands, Tones on Tail. I saw that too, and they killed it—bass was handled by Haskins’ daughter Diva, and damn, she’s GOOD. That tour is still ongoing though December 10, and if you get a chance to catch a show, I recommend taking it.

And now, Haskins has announced—and released pages from—a new book of Bauhaus recollections and ephemera, titled Undead, a nod to Murphy’s famous chant in the band’s debut single “Bela Lugosi’s Dead.” (The full title is the rather unwieldy Bauhaus – Undead: The Visual History and Legacy of Bauhaus) According to the indispensable Slicing Up Eyeballs:

Haskins promises readers will be taken on a visual journey from the inception of the band…in 1978 through the group’s initial reunion in 1998 and its famed Coachella performance in 2005.

In addition to Haskins’ own writings, the book includes images from the drummer’s memorabilia collection: handmade flyers, backstage passes, ticket stubs, band artwork, letters, set lists, recording contracts, band sketches, fan club material, tour itineraries, handwritten lyrics, invoices, posters and more.

Preorders are being taken now via Cleopatra Records.
 

 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Ron Kretsch
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11.16.2017
08:36 am
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Angry Samoans, Dickies, Suburban Lawns and more in a cable TV report on L.A. punk (c. 1980)
11.16.2017
08:29 am
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What’s Up America was a newsmagazine show that ran on Showtime from 1978 to 1981, covering “topics such as BB guns; female boxers; urban cowboys; Elvis Presley impersonators; chariot racers in Pocatello, Idaho; and a couple who lived year-round on Liberty Island in New York Harbor,” as well as pay TV premiums like “pornographic film actors, strippers, prostitutes, and a nude beauty pageant.”

One segment, roughly contemporary with The Decline of Western Civilization, profiled the Los Angeles punk scene. There are not-so-familiar faces and voices, like those of Orange County’s Nu-Beams, and slightly more familiar ones, like those of Claude “Kickboy Face” Bessy and Phranc of Catholic Discipline, BÖC lyricist and VOM singer Richard Meltzer, and DJ Rodney Bingenheimer.

Speaking of Rodney, the warm feelings showfolk used to pretend to have for one another are not much in evidence on this broadcast: the Angry Samoans name the former English Disco owner as one of the people they would like to murder, along with Kim Fowley, Phil Spector, and “Rockefeller” (Nelson?), who, as one member points out, is already dead. The report opens with the Samoans at Blackies (the club Black Flag’s then-singer Ron Reyes mentions during the introduction to “Revenge” in Decline), playing their love song “You Stupid Asshole.”
 

 
The Suburban Lawns are in there, performing their self-released first single “Gidget Goes to Hell,” then in its second pressing. (I think this dates the show to ‘79-‘80, or else the Lawns would be plugging “Janitor.”) Bassist Vex Billingsgate expresses the wish that a record company will soon relieve the band of its independence. The show saves the Dickies, the first L.A. punk band signed to a major label, for last. Singer Leonard Phillips spells out the Dickies’ ethic, or lack of same:

We’re not really aggravated about a producer taking our live sound and transforming it into a commercially successful product, because we’re capitalists, and if it’s going to help us sell more records, I certainly would make a compromise.

Watch it after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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11.16.2017
08:29 am
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Interactive Sonic Youth timeline, curated by the band members themselves
11.16.2017
07:44 am
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Sonic Youth have, for reasons so thoroughly well-publicized they hardly merit rehashing here, been very, very quiet since their 2011 split, though its individual members have continued to keep prolific release schedules in various bands. But the ongoing lack of an extant Sonic Youth does nothing to change the fact that 2018 is coming, and that year is full of huge milestones for the incalculably influential band: Their first album, Confusion Is Sex, will turn 35. Their masterpiece, Daydream Nation, will turn 30. And their final statement as a band, The Eternal (SO inaptly titled in hindsight), will reach the tenth anniversary of its recording.

As there are no plans currently for the band to reactivate or for any further reissues (Daydream Nation already had a pretty damn posh set for its 20th, and yet another vinyl reissue in 2014), Caroline, the long-enduring label/distro, has produced, with the active participation of the band’s former members, a pretty amazing web tool for fans to navigate—it’s an interactive timeline of Sonic Youth’s history, that offers free music from crucial points in the band’s lifespan via the Spotify API. (You need to be registered with Spotify to hear the music, but is anyone still not?) It works out to be an interesting way to engage with the band, as it quickly underscores the drastic changes they underwent across the decades—how amazing is it to consider that only five years passed between the primitive “Kill Yr Idols” and the epic Daydream Nation? And the sheer amount of activity crammed in to the ‘90s is impressive.

Highlights include the original versions of “Death Valley 69” and “Brave Men Run” from a 7” on Iridescence Records, the anarchically casual and wonderfully scattershot 1987 E.P. “Master=Dik” and the self-released live LP Hold That Tiger. There are bummers, too…

Continues after the jump…

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Posted by Ron Kretsch
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11.16.2017
07:44 am
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Patti Smith would have been stoked to pose nude in Playboy
11.15.2017
02:11 pm
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Patti never made the Playboy scene, but she was a CREEM Dream at some point in the late 70s

Bebe Buell was one of the most famous rock and roll girlfriends of the 1970s (she doesn’t like the term groupie, calling Pamela Des Barres’ scene in L.A. “West Coast crap”). Her first relationship with a rock star came when she dated Paul Cowsill of the Cowsills; she was 16 at the time. During the 1970s she also had romantic involvements with Mick Jagger, Iggy Pop, David Bowie, Elvis Costello, and Jimmy Page. Famously, she gave birth to Steven Tyler’s daughter but knowingly named her with the “wrong” name Liv Rundgren to shield her from Tyler’s addiction problems. Although Todd Rundgren and Buell were breaking up around around the time of Liv Tyler’s birth, Rundgren committed to the deception and for years did not divulge that he wasn’t Liv Tyler’s biological father. Liv Tyler herself didn’t know the truth until she was nine years old.

One of the major turning points in Buell’s life was becoming the Playboy Playmate of the Month in November 1974. She didn’t need Playboy to date Rundgren, whom she’d already been seeing for a couple of years. (In her Playmate Fact Sheet, she lists “My boyfriend, Todd Rundgren” under “Favorite Performer.”) While posing in Playboy probably didn’t help her recording career any, it did have the effect of elevating her status among the rock elite—as she said, after “I did Playboy ... the rock stars came-a-hunting.”
 

 
Another notable woman living in NYC at that time was Patti Smith, who had yet to record any music under her name. She also had some fairly serious dalliances with Rundgren, and was also friendly with Buell. According to Buell in the essential oral history of punk Please Kill Me by Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain, it was actually Smith who convinced Buell that she should say yes to Playboy.

More interestingly, Smith would have been totally down with posing for Playboy herself.

Here’s Buell on the subject:
 

The person that talked me in to posing for Playboy magazine was Patti Smith. At the time I was doing well as a cover-girl model for Revlon, Intimate, and Wella. I had four or five big accounts. But my role models weren’t models. I admired girls like Anita Pallenberg and Marianne Faithfull, those were the girls I looked up to and aspired to be like.

So when Playboy asked me to pose, Patti said, “I wish Playboy would ask me, I’d do it.” Patti had really big boobs, a lot of people don’t realize that. She was extremely well-endowed and she always thought that kind of stuff was really cool. She showed me pictures of Brigitte Bardot, Ursula Andress, Raquel Welch, and all these Playboy pictures. She’d say, “Being in Playboy is like Coca-Cola. It’s Andy Warhol. It’s American, you know, it’s part of America, this magazine.” She said, “Do it. It’ll be great. It’ll fuck up that fashion thing.”

-snip-

Patty’s idea of feminism seemed to me to be about not being a victim–-that women should make choices in full control of their faculties and make a rebel stand.

Posing for Playboy was a rebel move. It almost ruined my career as far as legitimate Fashion work went. The only magazines that ould book me after that were like Cosmopolitan and stuff. I lost all my bread-and-butter clients. I lost Avon and Butterick. All the straight fashion magazines stopped booking me.

But how could I regret it?

 
So there you have it. Patti Smith, of course, did not end up ever posing for Playboy but instead released Horses in 1975 and eventually became an inductee of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Posted by Martin Schneider
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11.15.2017
02:11 pm
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Flesh events: ‘Human’ furniture makes for a disturbing body of work
11.15.2017
11:04 am
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01firob.jpg
 
“The house and the body are palimpsests of life events with their history inscribed into every surface,” writes Fiona Roberts in her artist’s statement describing her sculptural body furniture Intimate Vestiges. “They are repositories of treasured moments, of everyday routines and memories, of growing up or growing old, of accidents, of habits, and of fear and trauma.”

For Intimate Vestiges, Roberts created a room filled with ceramic, mixed media, cloth, and paper artworks featuring body parts (lips, eyes, fingers) artfully crafted into everyday artifacts. A hairbrush with a long mane of hair. A chair studded with glittering glass eyes. A carpet is a wrestle of fingers while pillows prepare to kiss.

Roberts describes her work as focusing on:

...the challenges we face by inhabiting a body that is constantly changing, decaying and regenerating, as well as the fragility and limitations that are intrinsic to all living organisms,” the artist says. “Within this, I explore the dysfunctional relationship between the mind and body, and in particular, the mind’s discordant perception of the body, which includes concepts of dislocation, emotional projection, fluctuating perceptions, fears, phobias and paranoia. Thus, with the body set as a canvas for trauma, my work becomes a series of flesh events that are visceral, tactile and faintly haunting.

Since graduating in visual art at the Adelaide Central School of Art, Australian artist Roberts has been exhibiting her artwork across Australia, Belgium, and England.
In 2004, she won the Peoples Choice Award, Exit Art, at the Northern Territorian Museum and Art Gallery, the firts of a series of awards and grants that she has won over the past decade. The following selection comes from Roberts’ artworks Intimate Vestiges and The Beginning of the End. See more of Roberts work here.
 
01Afirob.jpg
 
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More surreal interior designs, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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11.15.2017
11:04 am
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The seductive dystopian surrealism of painter Ian Francis
11.15.2017
10:28 am
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Previous Future Corridor

Bristol, UK multimedia painter Ian Francis makes bridges: between abstraction and figuration; between the Pictures Generation and Francis Bacon; between sex and violence (or, in his words, “pornography and news reports from warzones”); between savaging our media-saturated era and dancing in the ruins it’s left behind. For his new exhibit, “Artificial Winter,” Francis continues to tackle his usual themes while incorporating material confronting the massive social-media driven shift from ordinary people’s role as passive consumers of media content to active creators and curators—a world where we have seen “The Spectacle” and it is us.

Speaking with the wonderfully named but now defunct San Francisco-based arts e-zine Fecal Face, Francis had this to say about his work:

I spend a lot of time watching TV/films, reading books and looking around the internet… I save loads of photos I find interesting from all kinds of different places. I then flick through them, and try to think about how ideas link together, and mock up roughs in photoshop. I like combining different elements of photos of people with abstract sections of old paintings I’ve done. Once I’ve got an idea of what I want to do, I try and figure out how to paint it… sometimes the final piece looks a lot like the rough, sometimes it changes drastically while I’m painting it. When I’m painting, I just switch back and forth between paint, drawing, collage or anything lying around.

Regarding “Artificial Winter” in particular, Francis shares:

Looking back on my work, the focus has slowly shifted from media images of celebrities, to the curated images people create and maintain of themselves. I’m interested in the fragility of the construction of these images, the way they relate to each other, and their broader relationship with a pervasive feeling of a world falling apart. I’m amazed by the way people have transitioned from watching a world through screens, to being creators and participants of it, and the way they have become inextricably enmeshed within its structures and artifices.

Enjoy some selections from “Artificial Winter.” A mouse click spawns an enlargement.
 

A Flock Of Birds Suspended Between Buildings
 

Vacation Resort Conversation Exit
 

Exchange
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Ron Kretsch
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11.15.2017
10:28 am
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An interactive map of every record store on Earth. You’re welcome.
11.15.2017
10:05 am
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Blue Arrow Records, photo via Facebook

I know of very few vinyl obsessives who’ve never availed themselves of the global online music database at discogs.com. A crowdsourced and fact-checked project of 17 years standing so far, its every entry is a deep trove of information, including every known global release of any given official release, bootleg, promo, off-label release or vanity press. In all the years I’ve used it, I can think of maybe twice that a release about which I sought information was unknown to the database. All of this, it merits mentioning, is free of charge and free of advertising. There’s even a marketplace, putting users and shops who’re selling items together with frustrated crate-diggers who haven’t been able to find them the old-fashioned way. That feature has repeatedly posed a mortal threat to my checking account.

In the last few years, they’ve expanded their model, creating similar sites that seek to comprehensively catalog books, films, pieces of musical equipment, comics, and even posters—all with their own potentially wallet-decimating marketplaces. But their most exciting project, to my mind, is VinylHub, their endeavor to create an interactive map of every brick-and-mortar record store on Earth, a perfect resource for the world-traveling vinyl obsessive. I was in Bangkok last spring, and had I only known how close I was to the selection of international indie rock at 8 Musique and the DJ hub Quay Records, I probably could have come home with armloads of amazing finds. (Next time…) If you’re going to be in Ulaanbaatar, Azerbaijan, or Nairobi, and you’re just JONESING for a crate-dig, you’re covered.
 

Quay Records
 

8 Musique (Photos from the shops’ respective FB pages)

But as I have no major travel plans in the works for now, what’s been most fascinating to me has been looking for the outliers, and a recent post on Discogs’ blog has some interesting breakdowns for data geeks. The single city with the largest density of shops is Tokyo—had you asked me to guess I’d have probably said London. The most remote record store on Earth is a cluster of CD stalls above a produce market in the tiny Pacific island Kingdom of Tonga, but Vinyl Run, located on the tiny Indian Ocean island of Réunion, sure looks like a contender. The northernmost is in Alta, Norway; the southernmost is in Invercargill, New Zealand. But there remain huge uncharted swaths of the globe, and this is a crowdsourced project, so if you’re a Discogs member (which, again, is free) and you know of an unlisted shop, you’re free to contribute and make VinylHub as complete as possible. I mean, there have to be record stores in Vladivostok, no? Yet VinylHub lists none.

More after the jump…

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Posted by Ron Kretsch
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11.15.2017
10:05 am
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