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‘Freud’s cranium is a snail!’ Salvador Dalí was sure Sigmund Freud had a ‘spiral brain’
10.19.2018
06:06 am
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Sketch of Sigmund Freud by Salvador Dalí (via Freud Museum)
 
If you visit London’s Freud Museum between now and next February, you’ll see an exhibition devoted to the meeting between Salvador Dalí and Sigmund Freud that took place there in 1938, when the house in Hampstead was Freud’s “last home on this planet.” The artist brought his recent painting “Metamorphosis of Narcissus” to show the doctor, and, he later claimed, took the opportunity to sketch the form of Freud’s skull d’après nature (from life).

Like many of the Surrealists, Dalí revered Freud as a towering genius who had solved the riddles of the dream, but Dalí‘s ideas about the shape of Freud’s head were all his own. As he tells it in The Secret Life of Salvador Dalí, the actual meeting between the two men was preceded by a number of fantasy meetings that took place in Dalí‘s imagination during his visits to Vienna. When Freud escaped the Nazis in ‘38, arriving in Paris en route to London, Dalí was eating snails nearby in Sens, and his dinner was interrupted by a shocking epiphany about the involute form of Freud’s brainpan:

Several years after my last ineffectual attempt to meet Freud, I made a gastronomic excursion into the region of Sens in France. We started the dinner with snails, one of my favorite dishes. The conversation turned to Edgar Allan Poe, a magnificent theme while savoring snails, and concerned itself particularly with a recently published book by the Princess of Greece, Marie Bonaparte, which is a psychoanalytical study of Poe. All of a sudden I saw a photograph of Professor Freud on the front page of a newspaper which someone beside me was reading. I immediately had one brought to me and read that the exiled Freud had just arrived in Paris. We had not yet recovered from the effect of this news when I uttered a loud cry. I had just that instant discovered the morphological secret of Freud! Freud’s cranium is a snail! His brain is in the form of a spiral—to be extracted with a needle! This discovery strongly influenced the portrait drawing which I later made from life, a year before his death.

 

Dalí‘s ‘Freud à tête d’escargot’
 

‘Morphology of the skull of Sigmund Freud’: Dalí‘s sketch of Freud’s skull as a snail, ‘d’après nature’
 
Nadia Choucha will be giving a sold-out talk on “occult and psychoanalytical theory in the art of Surrealism” at the Freud Museum on Halloween. Below is the trailer for the ongoing exhibition “Freud, Dalí and the Metamorphosis of Narcissus.”
 

Posted by Oliver Hall
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10.19.2018
06:06 am
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Shocking shower scenes shot before ‘Psycho’
10.18.2018
08:30 am
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Janet Leigh in Psycho
 
They are perhaps the most iconic few minutes of film in cinematic history—the “shower scene” in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 classic, Psycho. The segment continues to shock audiences, and film scholars have written about the brilliance of its construction and effectiveness for decades. It’s an astonishing, groundbreaking moment in cinema, yet this shower scene wasn’t the first of its kind. 

The 7th Victim is a 1943 cult film about a young woman named Mary, who, while looking for her missing sister, stumbles upon a satanic cult. The picture was produced by the legendary Val Lewton, remembered for the mysterious horror pictures he supervised in the 1940s.
 
The 7th Victim
 
Mary is portrayed by Kim Hunter, in her first film role. In one scene, as Mary is taking a shower, another figure walks in the bathroom. In a suspicious, not so vaguely threatening tone, this person encourages Mary to leave town. The scene is largely shot from behind Mary, as she faces the person through the shower curtain. The moment is made even more tense, as all we ever see is a strange shadow of the intruder.
 
The 7th Victim shower scene
 
It brings to mind the shadowy shots in the Psycho shower scene, in which the killer’s face is never seen clearly.
 
Psycho 1
 
Psycho 2
 
The 1958 film noir/exploitation movie, Screaming Mimi, concerns an exotic dancer, Virginia, who is severely traumatized after she is attacked while taking a shower.
 
Screaming Mimi
 
During the opening minutes of Screaming Mimi, Virginia, played by Swedish model/actress Anita Ekberg, is bathing in an outdoor shower, when a man brandishing a large knife approaches her. Though the scene is clumsily staged, as viewers we recognize that, like Marion (Janet Leigh) in Psycho, Virginia is largely defenseless in the shower setting, which adds to the terror.
 
Screaming Mimi shower scene
 
Of course, these previous shower scenes take nothing away from what Hitch accomplished in Psycho, though I can’t help but wonder if they influenced his most famous movie moment. Either way, the scene still makes us wary, from time to time, of taking a shower when home alone….
 
Continues after the jump…

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Posted by Bart Bealmear
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10.18.2018
08:30 am
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Exclusive video and music from the Residents’ new album, ‘Intruders’
10.17.2018
10:19 pm
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Phantoms crowd the mind. Whether it’s Guy de Maupassant’s Horla—the thing out there—or the barbarous horde conjured by a demagogue, there’s always some chimera troubling a body, threatening to violate one’s personal sovereignty. One day, it’s trying to adulterate the mustard in your sandwiches; the next, it’s plotting to turn your mailman against you. Pretty soon, it will take control of your nervous system and make you do things you don’t want to do, until it’s speaking your voice for you and puppeteering your person like a meatbag marionette. And where will you be then?

The Residents’ creepy new album, Intruders, is all about doppelgangers, haints, obsessions and delusions. The band co-produced the album with Eric Drew Feldman, the former member of Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band and Pere Ubu, who is also credited as a guest musician, and Dangerous Minds has exclusive video about this record right here, plus the premiere of the album’s third track.

When I was a lad, the Cryptic Corporation—the team that has managed the Residents since 1976—meant Homer Flynn and Hardy Fox, at least after their partners, John Kennedy and Jay Clem, absquatulated in ‘82. Flynn and Fox ran the company until 2016, when Fox retired. (Residents.com reports the sad news that Hardy is seriously ill; he has revealed that he was a founding member of the band and has been the primary composer of their music.) Flynn, or “Captain Doc,” still at the helm, introduces the Residents’ latest album in the exclusive video below.

Intruders will be released by Cherry Red Records tomorrow, October 19.
 

 
After the jump, hear “The Scarecrow,” in which a bereaved James Brown fan is sure he sees the Godfather of Soul’s former bathrobe on a roadside scarecrow…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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10.17.2018
10:19 pm
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Full-color Basil Wolverton cards rejected by Topps in 1968
10.17.2018
11:58 am
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It’s tempting to suppose that Basil Wolverton never drew even a single doodle that couldn’t elicit a “WTF?” from a random passerby. Wolverton’s manic and aggressively cracked images found a natural home at MAD Magazine, where he executed the notable May 1954 cover of the run, featuring the “Beautiful Girl of the Month,” with predictable results. An extreme approach such as Wolverton’s was bound to spark a passionate cult of admirers, but no less an authority than Jules Feiffer bluntly stated, “I don’t like his work. I think it’s ugly.”

In addition to MAD, Wolverton also found a patron in the Topps Company in the 1960s, which was primarily known for sports trading cards but also produced the Bazooka Joe strips and a wide variety of movie tie-ins and humorous products. Wolverton’s best-known series for Topps was the Ugly Stickers line, which looked like this:
 

 
It will be noted that the very name of the line seemed to embrace Feiffer’s critique as a positive good.

In 1968 Wolverton worked on a test project called “Hang-Ups,” which was to be a full-color gallery of grotesques in his scarcely imitable style. The project was overseen by a Topps manager named Bhob Stewart (sic), who later reviewed movies in the pages of Heavy Metal.

According to a Flickr user named Joey Anuff, the project was killed when it was tested by a focus group of Brooklyn schoolchildren. They loved them, of course, but swore up and down that there was no earthly way their parents would ever let the kids have them. And so Topps passed…...
 
See the entire test group after the jump…....
 

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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10.17.2018
11:58 am
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Echo and the Bunnymen and Billy Bragg cover the Velvets’ ‘Run Run Run’ on the BBC, 1986


 
In the 1980s the BBC used to do this thing every now and then where they would take a day and dedicate like 15 consecutive hours of programming to pop music. The recurring program was called “Rock Around the Clock”; it’s surprisingly challenging to track down information about this practice, but at the same time it seems likely that a great many DM readers in the U.K. remember these so-called TV marathons quite vividly. These “Rock Around the Clock” events were pretty much a grab bag of whatever the BBC felt like tossing in there, in a manner that might remind American readers of Night Flight during in the same era. But having a bigger budget than Night Flight, the BBC would also provide a studio for live performances.

One of these “Rock Around the Clock” days was September 20, 1986. That day rock connoisseurs could enjoy, on BBC2, the musical stylings of a-ha, Stan Ridgway, Dire Straits, and the Housemartins. A decided highlight for sure was an in-studio appearance by Echo and the Bunnymen, during which they played “The Game” and “Lips Like Sugar,” neither of which would be released officially for several months.

In addition, Ian McCulloch and Co. recruited a singer with whom they’d toured North America in 1984, that being Billy Bragg, to assist on a cover of “Run Run Run,” off of The Velvet Underground and Nico.

“Run Run Run” was in the Bunnymen repertoire at that moment, as the gang were indulging their taste for classic rock somewhat. Their cover of the Doors’ “People Are Strange” appeared on the Lost Boys soundtrack a year later, and the 1988 12-inch of “Bedbugs and Ballyhoo” featured a wealth of covers recorded at a gig in Gothenburg, Sweden: the three tracks were the already-mentioned VU cover, the Stones’ “Paint It Black,” and Television’s “Friction.” (You can also find the same three tracks on WEA’s Japan-only release New Live and Rare.)

According to Chris Adams’ exhaustive Turquoise Days: The Weird World of Echo & the Bunnymen, they also played part of the old Sinatra classic “One For My Baby,” but that section isn’t captured in this clip.
 
Watch for yourself, after the jump…...
 

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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10.17.2018
09:15 am
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Alice Cooper gets pied in the face on ‘The Soupy Sales Show’
10.16.2018
06:38 am
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When the legendary comedian Soupy Sales died in 2009, Alice Cooper issued a brief statement through his publicist:

Being from Detroit, I came home every day and watched Soupy at lunch. One of the greatest moments of my life was getting piefaced by Soupy. He was one of my all-time heroes.

Soupy Sales and a pie in the face have more to do with the Detroit of John Sinclair than you might guess. As “The Heart of Detroit by Moonlight” by the Destroy All Monsters Collective (Mike Kelley, Cary Loren, and Jim Shaw) makes clear, Soupy’s TV image inhabited the same psychic space as Alice, the MC5 and Lester Bangs. Not only was Soupy’s anarchic spirit beloved of Motor City rockers, but his actual sons, Hunt and Tony, played in Iggy Pop’s band in the seventies. The Sales brothers were Iggy’s rhythm section on part of Kill City, all of Lust for Life, and the famous 1977 tour with David Bowie.

And the way Alice Cooper took a pie (cake?) in the face at the 1970 Cincinnati Pop Festival was central to the case for the Stooges’ greatness Lester Bangs made in the pages of Creem:

So there he was: Alice Cooper, rock star, crouched frontstage in the middle of his act with a faceful of pie and cream with clots dripping from his ears and chin. So what did he do? How did he recoup the sacred time-honored dignity of the performing artist which claims the stage as his magic force field from which to bedazzle and entertain the helpless audience? Well, he pulled a handful of pie gook out of his face and slapped it right back again, smearing it into his pores and eyes and sneaking the odd little fingerlicking taste. Again and again he repeated this gesture, smearing it in good. The audience said not another word.

 

 
Here’s the full 1979 episode of The New Soupy Sales Show where Alice takes another pie in the face, cued up to Alice’s bit. Soupy finds a bug in the backyard that can sing and play piano, and he figures he can make big money if he books the insect, Buggy, as the opening act on his buddy Alice Cooper’s upcoming tour. Perhaps remembering the early-morning audition at Frank Zappa’s house that gave him his own entrée into the world of showbiz, Alice drops by Soupy’s place and listens as Buggy tears up “Autumn in New York.” It’s sensational—a star is born! But how will White Fang, the meanest dog in Detroit, react to the sudden rise of this upstart arthropod?

Find out after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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10.16.2018
06:38 am
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‘Sonnet Youth’: Jeffrey Lewis pens poems based on Sonic Youth album tracks


 
A lot of people have written sonnets, but nobody in the English language is more associated with the form than William Shakespeare.

In 1609 Thomas Thorpe issued a quarto edition containing Shakespeare’s 154 sonnets. The first 126 sonnets are addressed to a young man, but the final subset of sonnets are mostly addressed to a “dark lady.” A fun fact that is not very well known is that not all of the sonnets are actually sonnets in the technical sense. The sonnet forms Shakespeare was using have 14 lines, but Sonnet 99 has 15 lines and Sonnet 126 has only 12 lines.

When Jeffrey Lewis noticed that the words “sonic” and “sonnet” have a certain acoustical similarity and went so far as to imagine a series of mini-zines called Sonnet Youth based on classic Sonic Youth albums, it followed naturally that he might write a Shakespearean sonnet for each track of the albums he chose to highlight. Lewis has been active as a comic book artist and musician since the late ‘90s and likes nothing more than to poke fun at his musical heroes in songs like “The History of The Fall” (which appeared on the comp Perverted by Mark E) and “Williamsburg Will Oldham Horror.” Since 2004 he has put out a self-published comic book called under the title Fuff.

On his website has put up three mini-zines for the Sonnet Youth versions of Confusion is Sex/Kill Yr Idols, Goo, Daydream Nation. The first two are a dollar apiece but Daydream Nation is two dollars.

As the website explains,
 

Each line is in iambic pentameter (the rhythm of “To BE or NOT to BE, that IS the QUEStion…”) and each poem is structured into the sonnet structure of three quatrains and a closing couplet.  Naturally there’s also accompanying illustrations by Jeffrey.

 
Here’s Lewis’ sonnetic version of the song “Kill Yr Idols”:
 

It fills me up with anger and depression
There’s more to art than being on a list now
So why still try to make a good impression
On any music critic, even Christgau?

Leave behind all former tags and titles
Slay them with your brutal sonic force
As Nietzsche said, you have to kill your idols. 
All uncertainty is intercourse  

Keep skepticism strong and un-suspending
Perhaps that’s what the message of this tune is
The world you knew is coming to an ending
So kill it and embrace the crazy newness.

And kill me also, if I get too preachy.
Treat no one sacred—me, Christgau or Nietzsche.

 
It may not be great poetry but it is a damn sonnet and it does engage intelligently with Sonic Youth’s work.

All of the zines obviously come with a great many doodles drawn by Lewis—Shakespeare is prominent in the reworked album covers.

Images from Lewis’ Sonnet Youth zines after the jump…...

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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10.15.2018
11:29 am
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Death is a lonely business: The miniature death scenes of Miyu Kojima
10.15.2018
09:55 am
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01lonelydeath.jpg
 
A friend of mine died at the weekend. He was a good, kind man in his forties, far too young to die. But death doesn’t care about age or family or feelings. That’s for those left behind to deal with. Miyu Kojima is 26 years old and lives in Japan. She works for a company that cleans the rooms of houses and apartments where someone has died usually on their own, what the Japanese term kodokushi (孤独死) “lonely deaths.” Such deaths mainly occur among the older generation—bereaved wives or husbands whose partners have long preceded them in death and have continued living out their last years in a fractured, isolated world.

Kojima has been cleaning “death scenes” for four years. She became involved in the work after her father died. She cleans an average of 300 such locations every year. Kojima describes the work as hard, difficult, and often disturbing. She also claims the atmosphere in homes where someone has been murdered or has committed suicide as far more oppressive “(“the air is heavier”).

As part of the grieving process, photographs are taken of the room in which the deceased was found. These are sometimes used to help relatives (or friends) come to terms with the loss of their loved one. However, Kojima feels these images do not always provide the necessary closure. She therefore started making miniature replicas of the death scenes she worked on. Though not trained as an artist, Kojima taught herself the skills necessary to build and sculpt these miniature rooms. Each model takes four weeks to produce.

Part of the reason Kojima makes these miniature death scenes is the deep regret she feels over her father’s death. He had separated from his wife. One day, when her mother came to discuss details of their divorce, she found him lying unconscious in his apartment. He was in a coma. At the hospital, the doctors said to Kojima that her father might hear her if she spoke to him. When she did, tears appeared in his eyes. He died shortly thereafter. Kojima felt regret that she had not been able to have a closer bond with her father. By making her miniature death scenes, Kojima hopes she can help bring those who feel (as she once did) estranged or distant to their families closer together.
 
02lonelydeath.jpg
 
03lonelydeath.jpg
 
More miniature scenes of ‘lonely death,’ after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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10.15.2018
09:55 am
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The must-see documentary on the extraordinary, one-of-a-kind cult film classic, ‘Beaver Trilogy’
10.12.2018
08:19 am
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Poster
 
In 2011, we told you all about Beaver Trilogy, a one-of-a-kind collection of three short films. Ostensibly, director Trent Harris’s Beaver Trilogy is about a chance meeting with a charming teenage kid from Beaver, Utah, who also happens to be an Olivia Newton-John impersonator, but the picture is so much more than that. A 2015 documentary examines the trilogy, the director who couldn’t let the story go, and the alluring, mysterious teen known simply as “Groovin’ Gary.”

Beaver Trilogy touches on a range of topics, including serendipity, celebrity, reality vs. fiction, small town life, exploitation, manipulation, obsession, regret, guilt, and fate. Part of the cult surrounding the film has to do with the fact that when Harris made fictionalized versions of the “Groovin’ Gary” story (parts two and three of the trilogy), he cast two future stars in the lead role: Sean Penn and Crispin Glover.
 
Gary
The original “Groovin’ Gary” (the documentary tells us his real name is Richard “Dick” Griffiths).
 
The 2015 documentary, Beaver Trilogy: Part IV, is a must-see, even if you’ve never had the pleasure of viewing Harris’s movie. I’m hesitant to go deeper into the Beaver Trilogy, as we’ve covered the film, but I also think anyone who’s intrigued will really enjoy it and the doc, so why go any further? I will say that the documentary reveals there is redemption for both Harris and the kid from Beaver he’s forever connected to.
 
Part IV
 
Trent Harris has uploaded a few clips from Beaver Trilogy to YouTube, but the full film isn’t currently streaming anywhere. A DVD can be purchased directly from the director. It’s how I acquired the disc, and it’s always fun to spring on friends who are totally unaware of its existence.
 
DVD
 

 
Beaver Trilogy: Part IV is free to watch if you have Amazon Prime. You can also rent or buy a digital copy here.
 

Posted by Bart Bealmear
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10.12.2018
08:19 am
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The Koala: These snotty ‘60s garage punks put out just one album—and it’s fantastic
10.12.2018
06:18 am
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The Koala 1
 
Hey, are you like me? Dig 1960s garage rock that’s dripping with attitude? If so, then I think you’re gonna love the Koala. This snotty, New York band released just one album in the late ‘60s—and it’s fantastic.

In early 1968, five teenage kids from Brooklyn were gigging locally in a rock band called the United Popcorn Federation, when they were signed to major label. By April, they were recording their debut LP for Capital Records. A single was released before the end of the year, though the label insisted on charging their name to the Koala and pushing them as an Australian group—! Well, it worked for The Strangeloves….The single received some area airplay, which all but vanished by the time their self-titled debut album came out in early 1969.
 
The Koala 2
 
As with their name, the guys were not consulted on what songs would be chosen for their single, nor the artwork used for their LP, which they only saw after it was pressed. Adding to the group’s frustration, members were misidentified in the gatefold sleeve. Like the 45, the album received little promotion and quickly disappeared. The bad breaks continued, as they were sent contracts to play the Woodstock festival, but the offer fell through.

It’s a shame the Koala never really had a chance, as there’s some incredible material on their one and only LP. Around twelve years ago, I heard the record for the first time, and wrote a review of it for AllMusic. I realize this is a bit awkward, but as I largely stand by the review, I’m going to quote most of it here.

The Koala prove themselves to be above average players, full of passion and conviction on their lone album. “Look at the Way She Comes” is typical of the band’s best material: a Who/Stones hybrid with bile-inducing vocals, wild psych guitar, and a tight, nearly deranged performance—plus, it’s a great tune. At first, “Strange Feelings” seems to be teen-punk angst all the way, but features an unexpected yet seamless raga detour. “Poppa Duke Tyler” borrows both the melody and subject manner of “Eleanor Rigby,” but instead of going the somber route the Beatles took, Koala uses the universal theme of loneliness to produce a stomping, unhinged rocker—complete with a fuzz-tastic guitar solo from Louis Dambra—where the protagonist is actually driven to the brink of madness from the isolation. Like many garage vocalists from the mid-to-late ‘60s, singer Jay Mala’s super-snotty, Jagger-like snarl foreshadows punk, but Mala has so much New York attitude and an obvious dedication that he should stand with his peers as one of the most affective vocalists of the era.

Truly one of the misplaced gems of ‘60s garage psych-punk.

To give you a taste of the record, here’s the aforementioned “Look at the Way She Comes”:
 

 
If this song doesn’t move you, I don’t know what will.

Not long after the album tanked, lead guitarist Louis Dambra quit, and formed the early heavy metal band, Sir Lord Baltimore. The Koala soldiered on, recording a handful of songs for a planned second album, before Capital dropped them. By 1973, they had broken up.
 
The Koala 3
 
Singer Jay Mala joined glam band the Magic Tramps, and was later briefly the lead vocalist for the Joe Perry Project.

In 2010, the Koala album was given the limited edition/180 gram treatment. A CD had appeared a few years prior, but it’s a bootleg. A digital version is currently available on multiple platforms, though I can’t confirm it’s legit.

A way in-depth article on the Koala appeared in Ugly Things #27. The issue is no longer in print, but you can find copies for sale Amazon.

A stream of the full Koala record:
 

Posted by Bart Bealmear
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10.12.2018
06:18 am
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