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The psychedelic genius of Victor Moscoso
12.14.2017
02:01 pm
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Junior Wells and His Chicago Blues Band, 1966
 
Victor Moscoso was an unusually prolific and eye-catching psychedelic artist of the Bay Area who came to prominence in the mid- to late 1960s. He was born in Galicia during the first weeks of the Civil War, and by the time he was four years old, his family had relocated to Brooklyn. Moscoso had a wide-ranging education that led him to Cooper Union, Yale University, and the San Francisco Art Institute, where he later signed on as an instructor.

Kerouac’s On the Road was one of the factors that induced Moscoso to move to the West Coast, which he did in 1959. Around 1966 started a career as a designer of rock posters, creating arresting images for bands like Big Brother & the Holding Company, the Steve Miller Blues Band, the Doors, and Junior Wells. Forging this new identity required unlearn a healthy chunk of the conventional design fundamentals he had earlier absorbed in school. This he did with remarkable alacrity, which catapulted him into a select group of accomplished and successful poster artists that included his close friend and collaborator Rick Griffin as well as Stanley Mouse, Wes Wilson, and Alton Kelley.

In 1968, he met Robert Crumb, who had recently put out Zap #1. Crumb made it known that both Moscoso and Griffin would be quite welcome to join the Zap collective, which also boasted names such as Spain Rodriguez, Gilbert Shelton, S. Clay Wilson, and Robert Williams.
 

Victor Moscoso, with the mask from Herbie Hancock’s Head Hunters album cover not far from his head
 
In a long and interesting interview that appeared in The Comics Journal #246 (2002), Moscoso discussed his career and process with Gary Groth. After Groth observes that the lettering in many of Moscoso’s posters was hard to read, the artist amusingly responded, “Exactly. The lettering should be as difficult to read as possible! Use vibrating colors as much as you can, and irritate the eye as much as you can. Hang the viewer up for as long as you can! A week! A month! A year, if you can! An hour will do.”

At a different point in the interview, Moscoso discussed studying color theory under Josef Albers at Yale:
 

At Cooper Union, I learned Josef Albers’ color theory and all his ideas about color from Neil Welliver, a student of his who was a teacher at Cooper Union. By the time I went to Yale and took Albers’ color class, I was already familiar with it.

-snip-

It was like he had given me a textbook, or a manual on color, because at the time I was not a colorist. If you look at my work that I did at the time, it bears no influence of Josef Albers. He did not influence my work at the time. I just filed it away in the back of my mind. Now, when I saw Wes Wilson’s Association poster, click! The red and green lettering that vibrated. I said, “Holy shit! I can do that.”

 
Moscoso found it amusing that so many people would single out his use of florescent colors, which he claims he never used—rather, his effects were achieved by juxtaposing two colors with a specific relationship on the color wheel that the eye had difficulty processing:
 

Where two colors from the opposite ends of the color scale are at equal intensity, your eye will not be able to tell which one is in front of the other. It’s what Albers called “simultaneous contrast.” They have to be equal, though, in intensity and in value. You see this at Christmastime; they’ll pick red and green for decorations because red and green are on opposite sides of the color scale; you’ll see where there’re colors buzzing at the edges. Now if it was a dark green and a light red, that wouldn’t happen. They have to be of the same value and intensity. At that point your eye cannot distinguish which one is in front and which one is back — you’re really fucking with the limits of your eyesight, of the physical limitations of your optic system. And what you see is this buzz of confusion! Excellent.


 
The cover art for the recent novel by Emma Cline called The Girls appears to be heavily influenced by Moscoso’s Chambers Brothers poster from 1967.

What follows is a selection of his posters, album covers, and comix work.
 

Avalon Ballroom, 1967
 
Much more after the jump…....
 

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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12.14.2017
02:01 pm
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‘Tight Pussy, Loose Shoes, and a Warm Place to Shit’: The song parody that trascendeth all
12.14.2017
01:13 pm
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Creepy politicians and media personalities are losing their jobs and stature left and right over revelations of sexual importuning, and we fully support that (just as we support more rapey conservative policymakers stepping into the light of the shining beacon that was Dan Johnson—grab that brass ring, Roy, you’ve got nothing left to lose!). And yet, open, unreconstructed, virulent racism no longer costs anyone face—it’s become a positive boon in right wing careering. For nostalgia’s sake, we decided to revisit an incident when a conservative figure lost his job for a racist remark, albeit one that went on to bear some rather unlikely but utterly glorious cultural fruit.

In the 1970s, Earl Butz was Secretary of Agriculture under GOP Presidents Nixon and Ford. He was a reactionary anti-New Dealer whose ridiculously pro-corporate policies arguably were main drivers of an environmental crisis North America now faces due to the various pollutants created by massive-scale factory farming, but his most memorable contribution to our culture was a terribly rude remark: When asked by I shit you not Pat Boone in 1976 to explain why African Americans tended not to vote Republican (I want to know how even Pat Boone could be that clueless—seriously how is that even a question?), he replied, “I’ll tell you what the coloreds want. It’s three things: first, a tight pussy; second, loose shoes; and third, a warm place to shit.”

That’s right: he actually said “the coloreds.” MAN, those were different times.

Initial reportage of the remark protected Butz’s identity, attributing the quote to “a Cabinet officer.” But once the remark’s author was outed, he resigned. He continued to serve the nation as an unholy piece of shit, being convicted of tax evasion and serving on agri-business boards of directors, until society was at long last relieved of him permanently in 2008. But his infamous remark proved enduring.
 

 
Loose Shoes is a comedy anthology movie roughly in the vein of The Groove Tube or Kentucky Fried Movie, except that unlike those films, Loose Shoes really, really sucks. It was shot in 1977, but not released until 1980—it was saved from obscurity by Bill Murray. A pre-fame Murray acted in one of its sketches, and as he had gone on to fame as Chevy Chase’s replacement in Saturday Night Live and the star of Meatballs and Caddyshack, disingenuous marketing claimed Loose Shoes as, ahem, “a Bill Murray movie.” None of the sketches are especially funny or memorable—not even Murray’s—save for one, the film’s closing set piece, “Dark Town After Dark,” an INSANE and wonderful fuck you to Butz, in the form of a Cab Calloway style revue embedded within a parody of ’30s black cinema! This clip is brilliant enough to justify the film’s existence—it features NY stage and character actor David Downing as the Calloway clone who dwells in abject poverty until MOVIE MAGIC™ transforms him into the singer of the film’s namesake song. It’s an incredible jazz arrangement performed by a fine (and sadly, uncredited) band, creatively shot, and sepia-toned to maintain a ’30s feel. I warn you: after you watch this, the obscene chorus will be stuck in your head indefinitely.
 

 

 
Here’s a rather more baffling take on the comment—one that not only pre-dates Loose Shoes’ release, but comes from The Netherlands. G.T. Walls is a singer about whom I can find almost no information except that he’s Dutch, and that he released in 1977 an album uncleverly titled Rhythm and Booze, which featured at the close of its A side a song called “A Tight Pussy, Loose Shoes And A Warm Place To Shit,” which was released as a single the following year. It features contributions from Holland’s somewhat better-known Arnie Treffers, and while it’s not remotely as catchy as the song in “Dark Town After Dark,” it boasts a pleasant enough ragtime influence.
 

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
‘Nothing Lasts Forever’: Bill Murray in ‘lost’ sci-fi comedy set in a totalitarian New York City
‘Cab Calloway’s Hepster’s Dictionary: Language of Jive’ (1939)

Posted by Ron Kretsch
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12.14.2017
01:13 pm
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Monsters, Demons, Devils, and Donald Trump: The art of Dave Lebow
12.14.2017
11:56 am
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Satan’s Muses
 
Don’t know much about art history. Don’t know much about graphology. Don’t know much about comic books. Don’t know much about the way things look. But what I do know is what I like and what I currently like are these big, colorful, classical, fantasy, pulp fiction-type canvases by artist Dave Lebow.

Lebow’s paintings mix pop culture with fairy tales and horror fiction. His byline sez he’s “old school” with “a wickedly contemporary retro style that recalls the pulp magazines of long ago.” That’s probably why his work hits the spot and fits snugly like a blue suede shoe on my size ten feet.

You may have seen his specially commissioned paintings (giant biblical canvases) on the cult TV series Dexter or maybe his paintings on ABC’s October Road or the History Channel’s Strange Rituals. His artworks look like gorgeous illustrations from old classic storybooks by the Brothers Grimm, H. P. Lovecraft, or even Stephen King. They impart a scene from a dream-like narrative which you the viewer are invited to make up as you go along, as Lebow has said:

I want my images to grab you and drag you, if not willingly, then kicking and screaming into my picture. I’m inspired and interested in imaginative storytelling pictures that evoke an emotional response.

Originally from Oklahoma, Lebow graduated in Painting from Boston University and has an MFA in Experimental Animation from Cal Arts. Now based in California, he creates his pictures by first sketching out his idea before blocking out a version in oils then painting the full image in all its fabulous technicolor glory.

More recently, Lebow’s paintings have included some pointedly political/satirical portraits of President Trump—one as a member of the KKK another as a Nazi—which don’t seem out of place beside his more fantastical work of demons and devils and two-headed monsters. In fact, he looks right at home.

Lebow certainly gets my vote and you can see more of his work here or maybe buy a print here.
 
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‘All That Glitters.’
 
Many more of Lebow’s wondrous artworks, after the jump…...
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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12.14.2017
11:56 am
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Ho ho ho! Here’s Andy Warhol as Santa and Truman Capote with a lollipop on the cover of High Times


 
It won’t surprise anyone to learn that the December 1978 issue of High Times went with a holiday theme. More surprising might be the identity of the two models masquerading as Santa Claus and one of his elves, those being, respectively, Andy Warhol, the most dominant artist of the postwar period, and Truman Capote, one of greatest literary writers the U.S. produced in the same timeframe.

Especially in 1978, Tru and Andy were more or less synonymous with the fabulous goings-on at Studio 54 and elsewhere. Both men were known to hang with an illustrious and sparkly group of personages, and both were public figures at a moment when TV had deepened its clutches on the middlebrow slice of America—hence, more creative and bizarre media opportunities for everyone.

The cover was supposed to feature Capote wearing a “little girl outfit,” but he was drunk and not in the mood to go drag that day. In The Andy Warhol Diaries, for the date of September 26, 1978, we find this:
 

Truman was coming to the Factory at 3:00 for the High Times Christmas cover photograph of him and me. Truman was early, 2:30.

...

Paul Morrissey was down, and he and Truman talked all afternoon about scripts and things. Then Toni arrived four hours late, she had a Santa costume for me and a little girl outfit for Truman. But Truman wasn’t in the mood to go into drag, he said that he was already dressed like a little boy. Truman was really drunk, hugging around.


 
Toni Brown is the “Toni” mentioned in the diary that day; she was the art director for High Times, whom Warhol had met in the spring of 1978. According to Victor Bockris’ biography of Warhol, Brown and Warhol fell into cahoots for a stretch in 1978:
 

[Warhol] had also become friendly with the art director of High Times magazine, a powerful woman named Toni Brown whose overt, humorous personality fitted his needs. Soon a lot of people at the Factory were throwing up their hands in dismay over the amount of time Andy was spending with Toni.


 
In Warhol’s diary, Brown pops up in just a handful of entries, and her appearances are entirely limited to 1978. The folks at the Factory needn’t have worried so much—Warhol’s diary entry from late September documenting the cover shoot is actually the last time her name appears in the book.

By the way, here is the final cover:
 

 
Warhol shows surprising equanimity after being made to wait for four hours—I’d've been arranging a contract hit, myself—although that may have factored into their not being as close after that; either Brown paid a price for being cavalier about Warhol’s time or else Warhol’s usefulness to Brown evaporated the moment that she had secured the desired cover photo. Or both!

Four years ago the Warhol Museum ran a note about that day on its website, in which the possible identity of the pooch is discussed:
 

An artist as prolific as Andy Warhol was bound to have their share of bizarre media coverage. In December of 1978, he and his good friend and collaborator Truman Capote appeared on the cover of an issue of High Times. Warhol is wearing a Santa suit, and is holding a dog, possibly one of his dachshunds Amos or Archie.

 
More pics from this bizarre and merry photo shoot after the jump…...
 

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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12.14.2017
11:06 am
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Faster, Santa! Kill! Kill!: Christmas-themed horror movie posters to get you through the holidays
12.14.2017
09:37 am
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A poster for one of the greatest horror-themed Christmas movies of all time, ‘Christmas Evil’ 1980
 
The fantastic phenomenon of Christmas-themed horror is something that helps me get through the holidays. The idea of a knife-wielding maniac who shows up unexpectedly after-hours at your house pairs perfectly with the happy fantasy of a guy with a white beard wearing a red suit who was also able to sneak into your house while you were in your bed dreaming of dancing sugar plums or some shit like that. In accordance with the rules of Santa’s ability to surreptitiously gain access to your home, everyone must also be fast asleep—OR ELSE! So really, it’s not much of a stretch to reimagine this scenario having a much more sinister tone—where instead of a sack of presents Santa Claus is armed with an ax and a naughty list with your name on it.

Regardless of the time of year, I’m always up for eyeballing a horror film. And thankfully there are more than a few excellent Christmas-themed horror films that give us the gift that just keeps on giving—movies that cater to those of us that prefer Santa serving up some good-old-fashioned blood and gore while he slashes his way into our hearts—quite literally. One film I’d like to explicitly call out here that you may not be aware of is 1995’s El día de la bestia or Day of the Beast. The Spanish film is a holiday gem that brilliantly gets laughs out of its horror storyline by teaming up the unlikely duo of a Catholic priest and a heavy metal headbanger, who join forces to stop the birth of the Antichrist. While that should be more than sufficient to sell this glorious film, there’s MORE! Here are a few words I swiped from the start of the trailer for Day of the Beast that further illuminate the film’s fantastic balls-out synopsis:

On December 25, 0000 Christ was born
On December 25, 2000, The Anti-Christ will be born.
One pious priest can stop this force of evil
But to gain admittance to the devil’s coven, he must become…
A SINNER

DAMN. I can’t recommend strongly enough that you try to track this film down (as well as pretty much every other title in this post) and own it, especially if you’re a fan of blasphemy and priests doing all kinds of stuff that only Satan would approve of. I’ve posted a large selection of holiday horror film movie posters and DVD art below as well as the bonkers trailer for Day of the Beast. Hail Santa!
 

‘Silent Night, Bloody Night’ 1972
 
Much more art depicting yuletide gore after the jump…....
 

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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12.14.2017
09:37 am
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Big Boi’s charming obsession with Kate Bush
12.13.2017
12:07 pm
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It’s no surprise to hear that a top hip-hop musician has eclectic musical tastes—in many cases it’s part and parcel of what enables such a person to ascend to such heights. And yet some instances of fanboy fandom stick out, such as the nearly obsessive adoration for the music of Kate Bush on the part of Antwan André “Big Boi” Patton of OutKast. He’s been talking about Kate Bush for years.

OutKast’s status as a legendary hip-hop act stems from the release of their third album Stankonia in 2000, which featured “B.O.B.” and “Ms. Jackson.” (The global hit “Hey Ya!” wouldn’t happen until 2003.) It was Stankonia that prompted SPIN to give the act a cover in March 2001. In that story, reported by Sacha Jenkins, Big Boi attested to his love of Kate Bush:
 

Everybody samples, but there’s a lot of not so creative sampling out there. When we sample, we sample for sounds, not for the structure of the whole damn song. It’s about being creative. With us, we listen to everything: Gil Scott-Heron, Minnie Riperton, James Brown, Parliament-Funkadelic, Led Zeppelin, the Doors, Kate Bush—I go deep into her music.

 
While it was the young Antwan Patton’s grandmother who instilled in the young lad a love of music, it was an uncle who tipped him to Kate Bush. As he told the Los Angeles Times in 2010, “[She] became my favorite artist of all time. Her and Bob Marley would tie for first. I used to listen to ‘The Kick Inside’ and ‘Wuthering Heights’ and ‘This Woman’s Work’ and just admiring the style of music she was making, from the production side of it to the lyrics,” he said. “It was kind of mind-blowing. I was like OK, I wanted to be like her. My thing was if [the music] was jamming, if it felt good [I liked it].”
 

 
In a 2004 profile of the band in the pages of The Guardian in the U.K., Big Boi was in the middle of a similar spiel when his cellphone sprang to life, revealing Boi’s chosen ringtone to be a well-known Kate Bush single from 1980: “‘I consider me and Dre to be funkateers, man. Growing up, we listened to everything and I think that gives us the ability to make a free-flowing type of music. It doesn’t matter whether it’s country, reggae or rock and roll. Kate Bush is my favourite artist of all time.’ As if on cue, his mobile starts to ring, trilling out a rendition of ‘Babooshka.’”
 
It’s become something of a quest of Big Boi’s to collaborate musically with Bush, as he told British GQ in 2010, but he’s been somewhat stymied by the fact that it’s very difficult to make contact with her: “I’ve been trying for some years now. She’s like a kinda recluse. She lives somewhere in a castle around here and plays some sort of oversized piano like the Phantom of the Opera! You can hear music come out the windows! I’m looking for her, know what I’m saying? That’s my dream collaboration for sure.”

Big Boi also appeared in Running Up That Hill the BBC documentary on Bush that came out in 2015. Earlier this year Big Boi experienced a breakthrough of sorts when he managed to meet with his hero for dinner. On May 11 Boi was in London and taped an appearance on Mistajam’s program on BBC Radio 1. During the program he indicated that he had gotten in touch with Bush and learned that she was still in a bit of a hiatus: “I think her son’s going off to school so she’s taking a little break.” Boi expressed optimism about working with her someday even if it is not his very next project. He used the radio’s airwaves to reach out to Bush, saying, “Kate, if you’re out there baby, I’m in town this Saturday. Let’s go see King Arthur or something together, ya feel me?” You can hear the full plea below:
 


 
Lo and behold, the next day Big Boi’s Twitter feed featured a signed photo of a Before the Dawn, the 2016 “presented by the KT Fellowship”—the album is credited as a Kate Bush release in Discogs—with the text “Just Had Dinner with Kate Bush! mind-blowing”:
 
Continues after the jump…

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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12.13.2017
12:07 pm
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The man who painted Vampirella: The hypnotic artwork of Enrique Torres-Prat
12.13.2017
11:57 am
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A painting of Vampirella by Spanish artist, Enrique Torres-Prat.
 
Spanish comic book artists have had a thing for drawing Vampirella for decades. This is an indisputable fact. Even though the very first illustration of Vampirella is credited to Brooklyn, New York native Frank Frazetta, there are more than a few prominent Spanish artists responsible for creating incredible, almost tangible paintings of one of the world’s most famous female comic book characters. For instance, Jose “Pepe” Gonzalez was a fucking legend when it came to his illustrations and paintings of Vampirella, and his many fans say that his artistic portrayal of the she-vampire perfectly defined the character. In fact, when Frank Frazetta was asked for his opinion about Gonzalez he responded saying that “no one drew women as beautifully as José Gonzalez.” Work by other well-known Spanish artists who drew Vampirella, such as the man who is the subject of this post, Enrique Torres-Prat (aka Enric/Enrich), was compiled into a fantastic book that came out just this past January, Masters of Spanish Comic Book Art, a must-have book that will make your coffee table much more appealing.

Torres-Prat/Enric is a revered artist and his original Vampirella paintings are known to sell for thousands of dollars when and if they become available. It has also been noted by Vampirella experts that Enric was likely the only artist to paint Vampirella into a triptych (a three-paneled painting). His experience with formal artistic training and education as a youth was vast and Ernic had the good fortune to be able to travel around the world during that time visiting museums in Amsterdam and the United States, soaking in work by the true masters such as one of his primary inspirations, Rembrandt. In 1971 the artist scored his first U.S. gig when his artwork was chosen to appear on the cover of People Machines—a collection of science fiction stories written by Jack Williamson who many called “The Dean of Science Fiction” as they did his peer, Robert Heinlein. This success would lead Enric to Warren Publishing where he would ink the covers of horror comic staples, Eerie and Creepy as well as Vampirella. 52 of Enric’s paintings of Vampirella would adorn the cover of the magazine during his time with Warren Publishing. José Gonzalez may be considered the definitive benchmark for Vampirella’s look, but it was Enric paintings that would become synonymous with the ethos of the dangerously-drawn, vampiric femme-fatale.
 

 

 
Many more after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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12.13.2017
11:57 am
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Metal Gods: Rob Halford of Judas Priest fronts Black Sabbath in 1992


Judas Priest vocalist Rob Halford onstage with Black Sabbath (guitarist Tony Iommi is pictured to the left), November 15th, 1992.
 
So here’s the backstory as to how Judas Priest vocalist Rob Halford ended up fronting Black Sabbath in 1992—and man is it a doozy, mostly due to the fact that this very metal moment also involves two other pivotal members of Sabbath—original vocalist Ozzy Osbourne and Ozz’s replacement, the great Ronnie James Dio. So get out your devil horns and turn them up because here we go...

Ozzy had been riding high for a dozen years thanks to a successful solo career after getting kicked out of Sabbath for being a coke and booze-fueled mess in 1979. Then, rather suddenly in 1992, Ozz announced his retirement from touring. Osbourne said his decision to retire from the road was two-part; one was his recent diagnosis of multiple sclerosis—which turned out to later be in error. The second reason Ozzy cited is that he wanted to spend more time with his family—which turned out to be a fib as he would quickly announce after the tour he was already bored with being a homebody and jumped back into the limelight. The “No More Tours” tour concluded with two dates at the Pacific Amphitheatre in Costa Mesa, California on November 14th and 15th. Per Ozzy’s special request, the opening band would be none other than Black fucking Sabbath led at the time by Ronnie James Dio. But it didn’t go down that way. And that’s because Dio didn’t like the idea of Sabbath seeing their old mate because it might lead to a full-fledged reunion. Here’s more from RJD on his refusal to play the show which ultimately led to his decision to break up with Black Sabbath:

“No, sorry. I have more pride than that. A lot of bad things were being said from camp to camp, and it created this horrible schism. So, by them agreeing to play the shows in LA with Ozzy, that, to me, spelled out ‘reunion with Ozzy.’ And that obviously meant the end of our particular project.”

And with that, Dio closed the iron door on Sabbath leaving them without a vocalist for the gigs, so they turned to metal god Rob Halford to save them. Halford had just called it quits with Judas Priest in May blaming his exit on the band’s long-time record label Columbia and their lack of support for his desire to pursue solo work. As Dio’s departure was unexpected and quick, Halford had very little time to learn Sabbath classics such as “Mob Rules,” “Into the Void,” “Neon Knights,” and “Sweet Leaf,” but he did. The first show was all Halford ripping through a ten-song-set including a two-song encore featuring 1972’s “Supernaut.” For the tour finale the next night the crowd got what they were all wishing for—a reunion of Sabbath with all but one of the original members of the band. During the second encore, Ozzy joined Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, and drummer Vinny Appice on stage performing four songs together; “Fairies Wear Boots,” “Black Sabbath,” “Iron Man,” and “Paranoid.” The mini-gig didn’t turn into a full-on reunion as Dio had suspected until 1997 when Ozzy, Iommi, and Butler (along with Faith No More timekeeper Mike Bordin on drums who replaced Bill Ward due to health problems) headlined Ozzfest along with Ozzy’s touring band. Halford would once again sit in on vocals for Sabbath on August 26th, 2004 when Ozzy got bronchitis and wasn’t able to perform—something that Halford considered a birthday gift of sorts as the day prior he had just celebrated his 53rd year around the sun. Awww.

I’ve posted eighteen minutes of footage of Halford killing it with Sabbath on November 15th, 1992 as well as a few photos from the blessed event after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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12.13.2017
11:48 am
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Steve Wynn and Kendra Smith’s band before the Dream Syndicate, the Suspects
12.13.2017
11:00 am
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Before the Dream Syndicate, there was Steve Wynn and Kendra Smith’s college band. Wynn, Smith, and Russ Tolman met as students at UC Davis, where all three had shows on KDVS. With Steve Suchil on bass, Gavin Blair on drums, Wynn and Tolman on guitars, and Smith on lead vocals, they formed a garage band called the Suspects, which made it possible for them to play in the punk clubs of late-Seventies San Francisco. A few years later, back in Los Angeles, Wynn and Smith started the Dream Syndicate with Karl Precoda and Dennis Duck, while Tolman and Blair played together in the contemporary Paisley Underground outfit True West.

The Suspects left behind one self-released single, “Talking Loud” b/w “It’s Up To You” (the B-side of which sure sounds an awful lot like “Fortune Teller”), and a 10-minute video performance shot in the AV room of a Sacramento high school in 1979. At the very bottom of this post is an audio recording of a full Suspects set from a night at the Fab Mab in 1980, complete with Dirk Dirksen’s introduction. There’s also the Suspects’—or Smith and Wynn’s, anyway—June 1981 performance of “All Tomorrow’s Parties,” sung in German, which is all the more enjoyable if you recall the Dream Syndicate’s later insistence that they had never heard the Velvet Underground.

More after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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12.13.2017
11:00 am
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The (Foolproof) Annual Dangerous Minds’ Christmas Shopping Guide for Hard-to-Buy-for Rock Snobs
12.12.2017
10:21 am
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Every year about this time I write up my annual “Christmas Shopping Guide for Hard-to-Buy-for Rock Snobs” list of cool things for your musichead loved ones. Last year I was all about 5.1 surround, Blu-ray audio, “studio masters” and so forth. High tech, high quality, high resolution digital audio. I’d jettisoned a huge record collection in the mid 1990s that was crowding me out of my apartment and I never looked back. Then one snowy day this past February, a beautiful brand new high end turntable was sitting on my porch, a gift from my genius audio designer pal Alexander Rosson (the man who designed the famous Audeze LCD-3 headphones that you see in every good recording studio). And I mean, what does one do when one gets such an amazing toy as a gift? Obviously one needs some new records to throw at it. I immediately logged on to Discogs and decided to reconstitute much of the collection I’d sold off, repurchasing a lot of the very same stuff I used to own—at twice the price—over the course of… a matter of days. (I’m good like that.)

So yeah, Digital Dan reverted back to Analog Andy pretty fast. Anything that I have ever said in the past about the superiority of 24-bit digital audio to vinyl I hereby repudiate. I was stupid. I take it all back. Please forgive me.

To attone for my sins, I’ve compiled a (mostly) vinyl rock snob shopping guide this year. The object is not only to highlight what I think are the best releases of 2017 but also to provide a public service for my people: There is a certain type of “person” (okay, guy) who already has everything he ever wanted at the age of 12, and no matter how cool that sweater, new socks and wallet might be, he ultimately only cares about the stuff that they sell in record stores. Christmas is often so unsatisfying for this sort of chap, but if you follow my handy suggestions, even the most difficult-to-buy-for rock snob giftee on your shopping list will have a very merry Christmas this year and you’ll look like a genius.

Or even like you actually really care about them…
 

 
The classic 70s Brian Eno half-speed 2XLP 45rpm releases are THE BOMB. Since they only recently came out, it’s a safe bet that finding a couple of these under the tree will go down a treat. Here Come the Warm Jets and Taking Tiger Mountain by Strategy both blew my doors off and I know these albums like the back of my hand. Remastered from the best analog sources available, at Abbey Road Studios, the heavy, dead quiet pressings spread a single album’s worth of songs over two long players, allowing for an increased audio level to be cut into the lacquers for a superior signal-to-noise ratio. These albums have never sounded better. Usually I’m all about getting an original pressing of 60s and 70s classics, but I’m starting to be convinced that new pressings have much to offer, maybe more. Not always, but certain labels are really doing it right. If it’s sound quality vs. the “trophy” value of a certain original pressing that motivates you, “new” vinyl releases of vintage titles are looking better all the time.

And speaking of labels that really do it right, have you heard about the recently-launched ultra high quality audiophile vinyl concern known as Intervention Records? IR’s mission is to offer the very best-sounding pressings of classic albums by the likes of Big Audio Dynamite, Judee Sill, Erasure and Joe Jackson. Intervention’s release of The Gilded Palace of Sin by The Flying Burrito Bros. is probably the single best-sounding record that I have in my collection and is definitely the first thing I grab whenever I want to geek out and impress someone with my epic middle-aged man’s stereo system. No one who loves music and owns a turntable is going to be disappointed when they slap that particular slab on the record player, this I can promise you.
 

 
IR’s deluxe 2XLP 45rpm Judee Sill releases are the best those albums (Judee Sill and Heart Food) are ever going to sound and their Joe Jackson releases, same thing. The ball gets knocked squarely out of the park. There’s still a pretty dedicated Joe Jackson fanbase out there (I saw him in concert recently myself) and despite the fact that mint copies of most of his albums can easily be acquired for $5 in any decent used record store, remarkably these IR reissues still rate quite a significant improvement over records that already sounded good to begin with. If you told me that there was a pressing of Night and Day that was, say, 15% better than the original record (and a lot better than the CD) then that is something I need to hear, stat. Same for I’m the Man and Look Sharp. Intervention Records goes the extra mile and beyond. Support what they do.
 

 
The next three albums I’m going to group together because each features the participation of my pal multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter producer/studio owner Jonathan Wilson. He’s currently playing guitar on the second leg of Roger Waters’ world tour (he also sings many of the David Gilmour numbers in the set) and he’s all over Waters’ incredible new album (his first collection of original material for 25 years) Is This the Life We Really Want? Produced by Nigel Godrich and mostly recorded at Wilson’s Fivestarstudios, man did I play the shit out of this album in 2017 and consider it to be a strong addition to Waters’ legendary discography, the best since Pink Floyd’s Animals. (Allow me to direct you to a more fleshed out review here).
 

 
And then there is Father John Misty’s latest and greatest, Pure Comedy. I describe this sprawling, stunning album as 2017’s answer to Goodbye Yellow Brick Road and what I mean by that is that it’s clearly a “prestige” release by a major “serious” artist, plus both have lots of piano. Obviously Sub Pop agreed as the elaborate packaging they sprung for announces this platter’s artistic importance loud and clear, just as it did with Elton John’s classic. Did I say classic? Yeah, I did and this new FJM album is as classic as it gets. Pure Comedy might a bit on the nihilistic side, sure, but when has a soundtrack for the endtimes ever sounded so lush and gorgeous? Here FJM comes off like an omniscient Harry Nilsson filled with bemused weltschmerz alternately mocking and pitying mankind or a particularly sardonic Loudon Wainwright III observing the folly human beings with a jaundiced eye and with the sort of grandiose orchestral tendencies associated with his son. And there is Double Roses, the second album by supermodel Karen Elson and produced by Wilson. Taking its title from Sam Shepard, Double Roses is a confessional divorce/breakup album in the mode of Bob Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks or Joni Mitchell’s Blue. Her voice reminds me a lot of Tammy Wynette’s. I realize these comparisons are high praise, but they are also legitimately deserved. Elson was previously married to Jack White and here is the story of their divorce and the aftermath told in a way that anyone who has ever had a broken heart or been disappointed in love could relate to. If you know anything at all about the artist going in, you know exactly who she’s singing about, but even if you didn’t, it wouldn’t make any difference. Double Roses captured my attention from the first listen and seldom left my turntable for several weeks. If your reaction to the notion of an album by a top fashion model is skeptical, just get over it.
 

 
One of the best “various artist” compilations of 2017—and sure to please the most jaded and sophisticated musical tastes—is Follow the Sun, Anthology’s anthology of 1970s AM radio folk rock from Australia. This is one of those comps that’s so goddamn good that you just keep playing the first side over and over and over again before you ever play side two even once. I’m NUTS about this record and cannot recommend it highly enough (buy it for yourself, you won’t regret it). Another phenomenal comp that came out this year is the Numero Group’s Wayfaring Strangers:Acid Nightmares, a collection of obscure late 60s/early 70s sub-Sabbath barre chord rockers about drug addiction, freaking out, puking, etc. Surprisingly it sounds really good, not a low-fi thing at all. And a lot of it is really ridiculously catchy. And like I say, how can you go wrong with underground hard rock songs about bad LSD, popping pills, hypodermic needles, night sweats and so forth? YOU CANNOT.
 

 
My final musical recommendations are CD box sets…

Keep reading after the jump…

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Posted by Richard Metzger
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12.12.2017
10:21 am
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The ‘thread of life’: Anatomized textile sculptures
12.12.2017
10:17 am
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I never dug dissecting critters in biology class at school. I understood its relevance but always thought there must be some better way of discovering how a frog, or a rat, or a mouse worked—hadn’t millions of these little fuckers been sliced and diced by more knowledgeable people before me? I wasn’t being wimpy, I just knew too many weirdos who, inspired by their gory handwork in class, bragged about clipping the fins off fish from the local pond for the jollies.

Artist Sabine Feliciano may have had similar thoughts about dissection class. She makes textile sculptures of dissected animals with their beautiful guts displayed for all to see. Feliciano transforms materials, or what she describes as the “thread of life,” into woven, crocheted, and stitched colorful representations of anatomized animals. Her intention is to “transcribe a sensation,” causing a visceral response in the viewer, which I’m sure it does. (“It’s life, Jim, but not as we know it.”) She also adds pearls and stones to her work. The finished result is an oddly disturbing mix of disemboweled toy and a strange and beautiful memento mori—which invites our touch.

Feliciano has been exhibiting her textile work or Wild Textile World since 2006. A graduate of the Ecole d’art Graphique et de Communication Visuelle, in Paris, Feliciano worked as a graphic designer and as an artistic director at Publicis & Nous and at the AirParisAgency before starting her career as a freelance graphic designer. She certainly has a unique and unusual sense of macabre fun. See more of this talented artist’s work here.
 
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More dissected critters, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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12.12.2017
10:17 am
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‘The Minneapolis Sound,’ local TV report from 1988 on Prince, Hüsker Dü and the Replacements


 
The second half of this local TV report on “The Minneapolis Sound,” broadcast on KTCA in 1988, has been on YouTube for some time, but earlier this year, one “Prince Rogers Nelson” uploaded an intact copy of the full program to Dailymotion.

I’ve grown so used to encountering music in the imaginary, racialized categories of marketers, radio programmers and record store owners, which still present punk and R&B as if they came from different planets. It’s refreshing to see Hüsker Dü and the Replacements presented as just two bands from Minneapolis, less popular than Prince and better-known than the Jets.

The Purple One declined to be interviewed for the special. Instead, there are glimpses of how he was perceived in his hometown, some sweet—three hockey players trying to sing “Purple Rain”—and some enraging, like the the smirking Twin Cities policeman at 4:50 who can’t control his laughter at the idea of listening to Prince: “I think he’s a fag.” The ‘Mats also refused to talk to KTCA, but Morris Day, Alexander O’Neal, the Hüskers and the Jets all appeared on camera, along with the Wallets and Ipso Facto. This was the very end of the road for Hüsker Dü; their segment ends abruptly with a one-sided phone conversation. “What? Hüsker Dü broke up? Why?
 

 
Early in the show, the critic John Rockwell talks about discrete black and white music scenes going on in the city simultaneously, but it looks to me like the membrane separating them was exceedingly porous. Describing this period in his memoir, Mould writes:

Minneapolis was the “it” city, and the buzz was deafening. South side, you had Hüsker Dü, the Replacements, and Soul Asylum. North side, there was Prince, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Alexander O’Neal, and Morris Day.

More after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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12.12.2017
09:43 am
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The War on Christmas is over, Motörhead wins.
12.12.2017
09:42 am
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I’m pretty sure jokey Christmas sweaters produced in the last several years must by now outnumber the entire total of sincere (if ghastly) ones made since the invention of those oddly specific garments, but once in a while, it’s still possible for one to pop up and make me say “OH, SHIT, I WANT ONE!” It’s been a good two years since that happened (that was when Einstürzende Neubauten produced one, and that was really just a t-shirt), but I just stumbled across one that’s got me wondering if I can maybe cross a couple of giftees off of this year’s nice list so I can afford one for myself—a Motörhead Warpig Christmas sweater. An unofficial one was produced a few years back but promptly got yanked—at the time my DM colleague Martin Schneider called on the band to produce an official one, and it looks like his Christmas wish was granted.
 

 
The Warpig logo, sometimes spelled “War-Pig,” and also variously known as “Snaggletooth” and “The Iron Boar,” has graced all but two of Motörhead’s album covers and been on countless t-shirts, and has also inspired rings, pendants, bottle openers, and even a rubber mask by the celebrated Rick “SikRik” Fisher, also known for his line of DEVO Booji Boy masks. It was designed by Joe Pentagno, an erstwhile Hipgnosis associate who was previously best known for the Icarus logo he designed for Led Zeppelin’s Swan Song imprint. Shortly after Lemmy Kilmister’s death, Pentagno discussed the origin of the logo with Team Rock:

[Lemmy] wasn’t clear on exactly what he wanted, something like a knight or a rusty robot as I remember, a biker patch that could be displayed on the back of a denim vest.

On the way home I stopped off at the library in Chelmsford. Taking my cue from outlaw biker patches, I was looking for skulls and bones when I inadvertently came across a book of animal skulls, then it hit me; an animal skull would work better than a human skull. When I got home and began sketching, I thought; why not invent a new skull, a hybrid? I started playing around with mix and match sketches dog – lion, wolf and so on. In the end I settled on a dog or wolf and gorilla cranium and gave it over-sized wild boar teeth. I hung a chain from the horns left to right under it and a small human skull to designate size, adorned it with an iron cross as a sign of bravery and then topped it off with a few spikes.

When it was finished, I knew I had created something unique and timeless in Snaggletooth. It was the ultimate anti-everything symbol. I look at it this way, there’s is an inherent urge in most individuals to shout and be heard above the din and frenzy of life, and Snaggletooth is a great symbol for standing firm, resisting, rejecting, refusing and rebelling against anything and everything that is detrimental to one’s individuality.

If the $125 asking price for the sweater is too dear, $30 will get you a suitably profane Warpig Christmas tee, or a proper winter cap can be yours for just $20.
 

 
Continues after the jump…

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Posted by Ron Kretsch
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12.12.2017
09:42 am
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Back cat-a-log: Classic album covers ‘purrfectly’ re-imagined with kittens
12.12.2017
09:39 am
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Purr Division—‘Unknown Whiskers.’
 
Cats on the covers of your favorite music—what’s not to like?

On those odd occasions when I finish reading the funnies and have nothing more practical to do, I like to ponder those big meaningful questions of life like what happens to all those sites and pages that grab their fifteen minutes and then disappear just as quickly (or are lost in the mix) as the next distraction claims its time?

Way back in 2011, musician, designer, record label CEO, and seller of vintage posters Alfra Martini seemed to be everywhere when her blog The Kitten Covers made (literally) international headlines.

Martini’s blog was a simple idea that came to her in a “fever dream.” It was also, apparently, inspired by that famous painting of dogs playing poker around a green baize table. Her idea was to recreate classic album covers with cute little furry felines. Martini’s first attempt was the cover of a David Bowie album which (understandably) impressed her boyfriend and everyone else who saw it. A meme was born, shall we say, and those first album covers were shared far and wide. Then there came the media coverage and even an interview or two.

But then what?

Martini continued making her covers with cats but all that fame and frenzy (and maybe I’m wrong here) seemed to slowly ebb away—or maybe I stopped paying attention. Which is a shame, as some of Martini’s best Kitten Covers came after the big-fifteen minute fame bubble of 2011. Maybe a lack of interest or a lack of time led Martini to stop making her kitty covers in 2016—or maybe she’s having a sabbatical away from such creative fun, I dunno. Whichever, here are some of the choice Kitten Covers you may have missed.
 
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The K-52s.
 
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Meowerhead—‘Ace of Spayeds.’
 
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The Jesus and Meowy Chain—‘Psycho Catty.’
 
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KWA—‘Straight Outta Cat Town.’
 
More cat covers, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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12.12.2017
09:39 am
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Racy vintage postcards from Germany of Krampus cavorting with sexy chicks & she-devils
12.11.2017
07:36 am
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A vintage postcard, likely from Austria featuring a silly version of Krampus admiring three female Krampi. Yes.
 
According to Monte Beauchamp, a well-known art director and author of the 2010 book, Krampus: The Devil of Christmas, the postcards in this post originated in Austria sometime during the 1960s. The kooky concept paired a groovy and often goofy version of Krampus with even groovier buxom girls in skintight, barely-there clothing. This was of course yet another way to market the wildly popular Krampus craze in Germany, this time as a form of erotica.

Most of the cards simply read “Gruss vom Krampus” or “Greetings from Krampus,” and a few even feature vampy female versions of Krampus behaving badly—but not as badly as the hair-pulling, child-stomping traditional Krampus we all know and hope to never run into. The Krampus-themed cards in this post are perhaps NSFW just like anything Krampus related should be. All hail Krampus! The swinging underworld king of Christmas!
 

 

 
More fun with Krampus and the ladies after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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12.11.2017
07:36 am
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