Creating Art from Failure. Take one epochal album by one of rock's legendary bands (called "one of the dullest and most confusing albums I've heard this year" by Rolling Stone on its release.) Name it after the nickname the band has given the venues where they appear, and for which they had written a song, which they neglected to put on the album itself. And then there's the album cover ... [more inside]
Hey! The Bad Brains have a new album out! You can give it a spin here at ye olde You Tubes.
The first Sex Pistols show in the USA. (audio only) Atlanta, GA, January 5, 1978.
Alt-J (∆) are a British art rock band who play low-key but ambitious music and have done well lately, been nominated for the Mercury Prize and broken into the UK top 20, while remaining somewhat anonymous and now they're starting to get noticed in the US. But you don't have to take my word for them being quite good, they've put their whole debut album, An Awesome Wave, up on their SoundCloud page, along with a bunch of other music, or you can check out their videos. You can also watch an entire concert in high definition and good sound quality recorded by KEXP in Seattle.
Twenty years ago today: "I'm calm now / I've calmed down / but I'm shaking . . ." [more inside]
In the summer of 1969, two guys pressed a few thousand records with white label stickers, and packaged them in nondescript white sleeves. They didn't have their own cars to deliver the records so they borrowed friends' cars, and the record ended up throughout California, with copies getting airplay at 5 southern California radio stations. The music wasn't their own recordings, but unreleased material from Bob Dylan. The recording became known as the Great White Wonder, "the entertainment industry's first truly hip situation comedy" (in other words, the first bootleg ever to be produced in the rock-and-roll era). [more inside]
The Krew Kats were an instrumental surf-rock act out of England in the very early 60s. Cut from the same cloth, you might say, as the much more well known stateside crew The Ventures. But the Krew Kats had a playful, surprising, inventive and gloriously dopey sound all their own. As far as I can tell, their total recorded output consists of seven songs, all of which are available for your listening pleasure here.
It's 1983. Put Eddie Van Halen and Brian May in a room together. The result? Of course, Star Fleet, a cover of the theme from the children's marionette tokusatsu series broadcast Saturday mornings in the U.K.
Lester Bangs, rock critic extraordinaire and pop provocateur, made the argument for the Lizard King as the punk rock godfather in this 1981 Creem magazine defense of Jim Morrison., via Dangerous Minds.
Talking Heads, Live in Rome, 1980 The Talking Heads concert film you haven't seen: the show that would eventually be recorded in the (awesome) concert film Stop Making Sense 3 years later, recorded while it was still a bit weird and uncertain. And therefore, wonderful. [more inside]
Springsteen in the USA: 40 years of Touring as a Study in Spatial Diffusion "As a geographer, 1500+ shows over 40 years is an opportunity to map...how phenomenons such as innovation, fashion, or disease spread geographically. Except in this case the contagion is rock ‘n roll."
The Rolling Stones rock Warhol's East Hampton Pad, Montauk 1975 - Half way through the tour, Truman Capote met the group in Kansas City. In tow was his new best friend, Lee Radziwill. The mix of rock royalty and Fortunate Four Hundred did not work well. Jagger hated Capote’s mincing manners, and Capote called Mick – "…a scared little boy… about as sexy as a pissing toad." Stones guitarist Keith Richards welcomed the cultured Radziwill by banging on her hotel door that night, screaming "Princess Radish… C'mon you old tart, there’s a party going’ downstairs!"
GRiZ - Mad Liberation. Take a 21 year old bedroom producer from Michigan, raise them on the the internet with a near complete access to the history of modern music with a focus on electronic/dance and apparently you get this incredibly humanistic and cross-cultural album that's both homage, monument and appropriation of hundreds of influences in modern music in an incredibly dubby dubstep framework. (Free album download here.)
The Curiosity rover is preparing to use its rock vaporizing laser for the first time, on a rock labelled as N165. Rock N165 has a twitter account. People are chatting to it.
On Halloween night 1992, a skinny, gravel-voiced man in a blue dress and horn-rim glasses took the stage at a tiny Atlanta dive bar/strip club along with his band, The Opal Foxx Quartet (which was not a four-piece; around a dozen people crowded the dark, low-ceilinged space). This would be their final show, and it's a barn-burner. [more inside]
Diagnosed in 2009 with synovial sarcoma, Jason Noble of Rodan, Rachel's, and Shipping News passed away August 4th. Video: Rodan, Rachel's, Shipping News.
You're a Monk, I'm a Monk, We're All Monks is a short video introduction to The Monks, a band founded in 1964 by five American soldiers in Germany. They put out only one album, the abrasive, noisy, minimalistic Black Monk Time in 1965, that sounded like nothing else at the time. They also dressed in all-black, shaved monkish tonsures in their hair and wore bits of rope as neckties. In 1966 they appeared on German TV shows Beat-Club and Beat, Beat, Beat, and played three songs on each, Boys Are Boys and Girls Are Choice, Monk Chant, Oh, How to Do Now, Complication, I Can't Get Over You and Cuckoo. Aaron Poehler interviewed The Monks and wrote about their history back in 1999. That same year they got back together to play at the Cavestomp festival. And here The Monks are being interviewed by a hand-puppet on public access television in Chicago. [The Monks previously on MetaFilter]
David and the Dorks (aka Jerry and the Jets) played one rehearsal, 4 sets at the Matrix nightclub in San Francisco (Dec. 15, 16, 17 and 20, 1970), and one show at Pepperland in San Rafael on Dec. 21. Lineup: David Crosby, Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh, and Mickey Hart (or was it Bill Kreutzmann? Or both?). Setlists. Shows. Analysis. Songs inside. [more inside]
If you wouldn't mind just watching this guy play 100 famous guitar riffs in one take, I'm feeling a sudden urge to grab my Fender Stratocaster.
We speak the same language, which is climbing.
At the end of November, 1979, this band was just a year and half old and had played fewer than 40 sets. They had a handful of embryonic songs influenced by Television and Magazine, and a 3-month old, 3-song EP with two decent songs. Then they went to London to play a bunch of gigs behind that EP, and in just 6 months, over 40 gigs, they exploded. They watched in the studio during the January 1980 recording of “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” wooing Joy Division’s producer Martin Hannett; appeared on TV that month with a song they had only played 4 times, and released a forgettable single at the end of February. Suddenly new songs poured out at a remarkable rate: ”Twilight”, “Things to make and Do,” “A Day Without Me”, ”Trevor” became ”Touch”, ”Silver Lining” transformed into a second single (produced by Hannett). They signed a record contract in March, and immediately began recording a stunning debut album. By the summer they had more songs: a psychedelic/sexual horror tune, and a hot new single. It all became
bloated and sucky commercial and atmospheric soon after, but for a while there, boy did they rock. [more inside]
"The purpose of this study is to develop a janken (rock-paper-scissors) robot system with 100% winning rate as one example of human-machine cooperation systems." [more inside]
Drive like Jehu live at the Galaxy Club Dallas TX in 1994. SLYT. Starts with Sinews ends with Luau. Suit up!
In the wake of their grunge-y breakout hit "Creep" and the success of sophomore record The Bends, Thom Yorke and the rest of Radiohead were under pressure to deliver once more. So they shut themselves away inside the echoing halls of a secluded 16th century manor and got to work. What emerged from that crumbling Elizabethan castle fifteen years ago today was a shockingly ambitious masterpiece of progressive rock, a visionary concept album that explored the "fridge buzz" of modernity -- alienation, social disconnection, existential dread, the impersonal hum of technology -- through a mosaic of challenging, innovative, eerily beautiful music unlike anything else at the time. Tentatively called Ones and Zeroes, then Your Home May Be at Risk If You Do Not Keep Up Payments, the band finally settled on OK Computer, an appropriately enigmatic title for this acclaimed harbinger of millennial angst. For more, you can watch the retrospective OK Computer: A Classic Album Under Review for a track-by-track rundown, or the unsettling documentary Meeting People is Easy for a look at how the album's whirlwind tour nearly gave Yorke a nervous breakdown. Or look inside for more details and cool interpretations of all the tracks -- including an upcoming MeFi Music Challenge! [more inside]
Bob Welch former member of Fleetwood Mac, founder of power trio Paris, and the solo artist behind the 70's hits "Ebony Eyes" and "Sentimental Lady" has taken his own life in Nashville, aged 66.
Pete Cosey dead at 68. Though he had a career as a session guitarist prior to and had some important appearances after, Cosey is most well known for his brief time playing with Miles Davis (1973 - 1975) during an era of Miles' that has at times confounded critics*. Cosey appeared on Get Up with It, Dark Magus, Agharta and Pangaea with Miles. [more inside]
Those of you who go in for gardening, specifically those with strawberry patches, may find this idea to be of benefit: strawberry rocks. Might just keep those birds away!
Telerama Concerts Privé, recorded live in Paris: Wilco - Bonnie Prince Billy - The Shins - Jonathan Wilson
"Dingus is dedicated to the search [for new music on Bandcamp]. It's here, on this humble blog that we shed light on bedroom artists in their most defining moments. If you want what's popular today, Dingus is not the blog for you. But, if you want what's fringe, pure and passionate then you've somehow landed on the right URL." [more inside]
With fans struggling to come to terms with David Bowie's musical hiatus and likely retirement, any new Bowie-related material has been eagerly pursued. Last year, the leak of the unreleased album Toy (previously) slaked the thirst of those needing a Bowie fix. Last week, an unauthorized preview of another Bowie project emerged— Bowie: Object. First announced in 2010, the book features 100 objects from Bowie's archive, with text written by the man himself.
If you want to hear the rock solidest, rock steadiest, rock of Gibralterist rock drumming that's ever been rocked in the history of rock, then you want to hear this.
We shrugged when friends told us Prince's Sign "O" the Times was the greatest rock concert movie ever. There are limits to how great a rock concert movie can be, and we figured Jonathan Demme's--and Talking Heads'--Stop Making Sense had stretched them as far as they were liable to go. But even though Sign "O" the Times was directed by the artiste, whose previous cinematic exploits haven't exactly put him in Demme's class, Prince has come up with a contender. Where Demme goes for a sinuous, almost elegant clarity, Prince's movie is all murk, scuzz, steam, and, oh yeah, sex. With all due respect, which one sounds more like a real rock concert to you? - Robert Christgau [more inside]
Queen's finest moment may have been their 1986 concert at Wembley Arena, which you can now see (at very high quality) online.
This weekend, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame will induct the Small Faces and the Faces. Though being inducted as a unit, they were very much two distinct bands—both of them central to British rock of the mid-1960s through the mid-1970s, and whose influence on music, fashion, and pop culture is still felt today. [more inside]
Bands often don't seem to be able to play on stage the way they did on their album; and we accept that for a lot of reasons having to do with the conditions, the production facilities and the sheer number of takes that were probably involved. But for a whole generation of hit music, there was often a more basic reason: it wasn't them playing on the album in the first place.
For nearly a decade, if you were an L.A. producer and you wanted to record a hit single, you'd call in The Wrecking Crew. Members of The Byrds, The Beach Boys, and The Mamas and the Papas would step aside as The Wrecking Crew laid down the instrumental tracks. Then, the members of the main band would come back to add the vocals on top.The above link goes to the OPB radio story I listened to this morning, with an embedded player. Official site for the book.
Before hip-hop beefs, there were response records, also known as answer songs, usually replies to well-known songs. There are a few key eras: blues and R&B recorded music in the 1930s through 1950s, including a number of responses to "Work With Me, Annie" (1954), recorded by Hank Ballard & the Midnighters, with answers including "Annie had a Baby," and "The Wallflower" by Etta James; and Big Mama Thornton's "Hound Dog" (1953), with a quick response by Louis Innis and Charlie Gore, made a mere week after the original was released, and Rufus Thomas' "Bear Cat" (1953), Sun Records' first hit. Country, rock & roll, doo-wop and pop music picked up where the blues left off, with most activity in the 1950s to 60s. Two examples from this era are "Are You Lonesome To-night" and "Who Put The Bomp," and responses to both. The most well known from the next decade was Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama" (1974), a response to Neil Young's "Southern Man" (1970) and "Alabama" (1972). Until the 2000s, no answer songs had charted as high as the original hits. That changed with Frankee's "F.U.R.B. (Fuck You Right Back)" (2004), a response to Eamon's "Fuck It (I Don't Want You Back)" (2003), which was the first answer song to reach number 1 in the UK. Six years later and across the pond, Katy Perry's "California Gurls" was a response to "Empire State of Mind" by Jay-Z. It was the first answer song to reach No. 1 in the Billboard Hot 100. More Responses inside. [more inside]
Tally Hall is the best new band I've heard in years, hands-down. They're an American rock band best known for the excellent Good Day video and the cult Albino Blacksheep hit Banana Man. They've released two albums, each masterpieces; the first one is exuberant and youthful and, sometimes, utterly cryptic, while the second is stripped down but astonishingly contemplative and even spiritual, easily one of the best-written pop albums I've ever heard. If you're in the mood for something smart and warm and wonderful, there're... [more inside]
Music billboards on the Sunset Strip from 1974-75. (SLFlickr, but oh what a Flickr!) An amazing series of photos scanned from 35mm slides and negatives of music-related billboards on the fabled Sunset Strip from 75-75. A beautiful collection of artwork incorporating more than just promotional flats and album blow-ups. I believe some of these are even painted by hand. Enjoy!
The legendary Dick Dale covers Amazing Grace, 12/09 in a Studio Session on NPR's KEXP. [more inside]
The Los Angeles band named X. The one that performed "Los Angeles" , "Your Phone's Off The Hook But You're Not", "Johnny Hit and Run Paulene", "We're Desperate", "White Girl", and "Breathless". The one with John Doe, Exene Cervenka, Billy Zoom, and D.J. Bonebrake in it. [more inside]
With Sonic Youth on indefinite hiatus, the band members are keeping themselves busy with other projects. Thurston Moore is playing solo shows centered around his latest solo album, the Beck-produced Demolished Thoughts, with a band he jokingly(?) referred to this past Friday night as "Dush Krew" in honor of his crush on actress Eliza Dushku. Kim Gordon recently designed clothes for French brand Surface to Air, is currently playing shows with Bill Nace as part of the noise improvisation duo Body/Head, and was kind enough recently to share her favorite taco recipe. Lee Ranaldo is poised to release his first song-oriented solo album on Matador Records; he debuted the music video for the first single ("Off the Wall") today on his website. Steve Shelley played drums on Lee's new album, recently collaborated with Pete Nolan of Magik Markers (Sonic Youth's most interesting protégés) on Nolan's side-project Spectre Folk, and is currently drumming for Chicago's Disappears whose new album is out via Kranky records in March. Meanwhile, Jim O'Rourke is preparing to curate the All Tomorrow's Parties I'll Be Your Mirror Festival in Tokyo this April, where he will also perform his 1999 album Eureka in full with a 12-piece band.
"We were so dumbfounded at the noise that was coming out of our instruments it took us a while to get a handle on what we were hearing, let alone thinking in terms of how any records would be structured." Music journalist Ned Raggett assembles the oral history of British experimental rock group Disco Inferno's five EPs.
Screaming Females are a 3-person self described "rock/rock/rock" band from New Jersey featuring Jarrett Dougherty on drums, King Mike Abbate on bass, and Marissa Paternoster on guitar and vocals. They're not incredibly famous and they're probably not on the cusp of a string of number 1 hits, but they put on a mean show and they've got a new album in a couple of months if rock/rock/rock should happen to be your thing. [more inside]
...there’s some desperation to this junk version of “Dancing in the Street,” with both parties trying to affirm their A-1 celebrity status. One of the more pernicious effects of the whole Live Aid/Farm Aid/Band Aid spectacle was to cement the hierarchy of the “legend” rock acts and a smaller tier of anointed successors from the slightly-younger generation (Tom Petty, Sting, Dire Straits, U2). It was the height of the Boomer Counter-Reformation. The late Eighties would see the over-publicized returns of everyone from Steve Winwood to the Monkees to Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, to a revamped George Harrison to a MOR version of Pink Floyd to Robbie Robertson pretending that he was Peter Gabriel (a version of Gabriel who couldn’t sing) to an all-star Yes and a Zeppelin-sampling Robert Plant, culminating in the return of the “revitalized” Stones in 1989, the touring company now reincorporated into a gleaming multinational. As Marcello Carlin said back when Popular covered this single: “Suddenly we were once again reminded who in pop and rock mattered and who didn’t…With their massacre of “Dancing In The Street,” Bowie and Jagger seemed to relish rubbing it in.“-The Annotated Jagger/Bowie "Dancing in the Street"
On June 3, 1995, Courtney Love played "Doll Parts" and "Softer, Softest" in what may be the only true solo performance of her career.
It Nova Scotian Rich Aucoin's video for "It" directed by Noah Pink. SLYT worth clicking on. You may recognize a few scenes.