Moldover’s new CD, over 3 years in the making, not only delivers gorgeously diverse music with meaning and musical mastery, it completely redefines what it means to “play an album”... Moldover’s CD packaging itself IS a new musical instrument! The CD is mounted on a custom designed circuit board, intricately patterned and powering a “light-Theremin”. Yes! You play the artwork and it makes sound! Only the musical supervillain genius of Moldover could develop something so stunningly innovative.
It used to pain me to think that the only footage in existence of the Velvet Underground performing was silent. Think about it: Have you ever seen any sync-sound film of the Velvets in any of the various documentaries made about them, Lou Reed, Nico, John Cale or Andy Warhol for that matter? I didn’t think so, but thanks to the rather enterprising employee of either the Museum of Modern Art or else the Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh who liberated Symphony in Sound you can now see the Velvets in action and actually hear them too! That’s the good part.
The bad part is that this film, made to be screened behind the band onstage during The Exploding Plastic Inevitable “happenings” is pretty boring. It goes on for a LONG time with not much happening besides a drony primitive jam and a frenetic camera zooming in and out. Nico is there (with her young son Ari) but she’s not singing, just hitting a tambourine. Lou doesn’t sing either. At one point the camera droops on its tripod and no one readjusts it for a while. So it’s boring, most Warhol films were boring—Warhol himself always said his movies were better discussed than actually seen—but it is the freaking Velvet Underground playing live on camera for what is probably the ONLY time during their original incarnation, so it’s worth looking at for that reason alone. If you can get over how dull it is, it’s actually pretty cool. There are several versions of this online, this one, from Google Video is merely the longest. I don’t know if this is the whole thing but in the later moments of the bootleg DVD I have, it gets better when the cops show up due to a noise complaint and Warhol has to deal with them himself.
I first wrote here about my many year devotion to the more traditionally-named Sue McLane. But outside her highly recommended work with Suburban Lawns (Baby, Suburban Lawns), further Su Tissue material has been limited to her long out-of-print solo album from ‘82, “Salon de Musique.” It’s a less poppy, piano-driven side of Su that’s lovely in its own right. If you’re curious as to what a “chilled-out” Su might sound like, follow this link over to Dualtrack. Like I said, lovely! And for more Lawns-style surfpop, here’s the Jonathan Demme-directed video for Gidget Goes To Hell.
I have loved The Slits, the original female punk band, since I first heard their debut album Cut. I’ve owned it on vinyl, cassette and on two different CD versions. It’s an album I have played—and played often—for over two decades. I used to have a life-sized record store stand-up of the Slits in my bedroom in London that I bought at the Portobello Market and lugged all the way back to Brixton. That’s dedicated fandom as far as I am concerned.
And when I first met my lovely wife, she gifted me with a Japanese issue CD of Return of the Giant Slits, so I knew she was “the one” for me!
A great new website devoted to all things New York has recently launched called Revel in New York, that takes a look at Gotham through the lens of some of its residents. Here’s Ari Up from The Slits and what she has to say about her adopted home town.