The lovely, extensive, and utterly through site for Where They At, the amazing New Orleans Hip-Hop and Bounce oral history project (currently on exhibit at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art) spearheaded by photographer Aubrey Edwards and writer Alison Fenerstock. (Full disclosure: I advised on the grant writing for this project; Aubrey is a long-time friend.) You may recall, also, the raves for the SXSW showcase featuring a bunch of the artist profiled on the site. Kiss your day goodbye, there’s so many wonderful things to see + hear behind the link.
More fascinating statistics behind the link, including the fact that for all stores, vinyl sales were up 376.7% over last year’s Record Store Day. Say what you will about the event, let’s all pause to chew these numbers over for a moment, shall we?
Prolapse “Slash/Oblique” (from 1997’s The Italian Flag)
With all the fuss about M.I.A.’s “Born Free” (which is worth it, IMHO), by all means an obvious homage to the New York duo Suicide musically, the track is also inadvertently reminiscent of this track by the more recent band, Prolapse, who were biting at Suicide in their own unique layered way.
Prolapse are the only band I can remember that not only had two confrontational vocalists, but were most often confrontational toward each other, and still managed to go all over place, melodically, sonically. If Damian Abraham from Fucked Up had a female counterpart up front, this could give you a small idea what Prolapse were once like.
There’s no doubt that Alan Vega, M.I.A., Mick Derrick, and Linda Steelyard (the latter two being the primary vocalists in Prolapse) all have widely varying singing styles. Still, this track and “Born Free” remind that some bands become anthemic legends via their sonic blueprint much more so any particular hit songs: Suicide, Pussy Galore, The Stooges, The Jesus And Mary Chain (while they were making their blueprint anyway) and many others.
So glad this was written up. Prolapse gets an automatic reblog by me. This record was monstrous, and watching Mick and Linda face off in concert was an astounding thing. They actually slapped each other in the face at various points, both of them smiling dutifully through their shaking anger. I think they used to date, and it was clear that the band dynamic was a tense one, divided among the archaeologists (who sided with Mick) and those who sided with Linda (I think they were teachers). They pretty much hated each other, and Mick once told me that me that he and Linda’s unique vocal approach was borne of the fact that they wrote lyrics and vocal melodies separately. The band never spent much time together on tour or in the studio because of this personal antipathy, and, boy, does the tension ooze out of their records.
God, when Jetset Records was on fire in the last 1990s (I was doing radio promo for them back then), they were like an indie 80s Sire. It was impressive. This is one of my favorite records from 1998, if not the 90s.
“i got digital cash Hactivism at its best Google Bombing with my Infotainment”—
Dear Lord. With this—and many other similarly Palin-esque tweets (“go egosurfing DRINK A SHOT OF TEQUILLA spamouflaged in brandalism” is another prime example)—my entire opinion of MIA has changed in, like, less than a day. This #MIAP4kPitchfork guest tweeter thing is nothing but an unmitigated disaster, as professional political poseur MIA apparently slams her head down on her keyboard to produce a torrent of vapid political t-shirt-level sloganeering. Maybe that’s her thing. Maybe bringing up actual issues that affect human beings is too real for her or something. Maybe she’s speaking out about the blandishment that is our political discourse through her own banal megaphone wielding. After all, she’s been glossing over the Tamil Tiger thing for years. I don’t know, but never before has my opinion of one artist changed so rapidly. I feel an internal backlash growing. I was okay with her yelping over a Suicide song (not so much upon further reflection). And then today comes another IMPORTANT MESSAGE MINI-MOVIE music video, directed by the son of a famous political director, no less.
Thing is, I’ve been willing to overlook her facile political nothingness in the face of music that I thought was pretty great, and I groused at the accusation that she was just another pretty face propped up by more talented male collaborators (see also: Nico, Marianne Faithfull, Linda Ronstadt…why are all my examples here so old?!). And yet she chooses, through the songs and this “OMG NSFW YOU GUYS” video, to make ill-defined non-politics her raison d’être. I’m starting to think the early critics were right. By launching this video salvo against…something…she has pushed herself further out there as an ersatz political artist, so I think it’s fair to critique her posturing. Maybe she’s all up in some super-meta critique of our idiotic political discourse, but I think we have enough real world examples of that to go around (see also: Sarah Palin’s Twitter account). How about this, MIA? Instead of practicing designer politics, use your not-inconsiderable success and influence to affect real change for real oppressed people.
But, then again, what do I know? I’m not the genius who wrote this: “i got a ten dollar solution SO IM STEPPIN UP coz THERE’S SPACE FOR OL DAT I SEE #miap4k”
I’m assuming because no one mentioned this development, that um, we kind of don’t care? (Has anyone taken the plunge for a subscription?) It took 5 days for this story to reach me, which I find kinda interesting. Rolling what? Wenner who? Yeah.
From time to time, I spend a while on Youtube clicking through and watching people’s various interpretations of things. One of these things is dudes playing Eddie Van Halen’s guitar solo from “Beat It.” Some people nail it. Other people most definitely don’t.
The other is covers of “Fast Car.” Believe it or not, “Fast Car” is a really great litmus test on whether or not a person can convincingly sing well AND play guitar well at the same time. And since there are so many covers of the song on Youtube, you get a little of everything. People who can sing well but can’t play along, people who play brilliantly but have a terrible voice, and a select few who excel in both areas.
(You can scroll through and sample them all here.)
So, today I was clicking around and came across a relatively new one from a user named VickyJayy who lives in The Netherlands. Who knows why I singled out this one to showcase? Her voice is rich and deep, she tinkers with the arrangement ever so slightly, she has records hanging on her wall… whatever it is, this is the best new one I’ve seen in quite a while.
United Record Pressing has a deal for people funding their recording projects through kickstarter.com — a free test pressing to people who donate over $50 to any campaign planning to have URP do their pressing. I’ll be interested to see how this plays out on all fronts …
“Stumbling over to Gorillaz was a difficulty considering the band was playing completely unopposed, but Damon Albarn and Co. commanded the main stage like they had more than just three albums to their name. However, the set lacked spontaneity (necessary considering the synchronization with entrancing video visuals), and guest spots failed to live up to the ungodly hype of the performance.”—
I would like to nominate this for worst two sentences of the week — or something. Seriously? Every single person on that stage is a professional, young Mr. Gonsher — with literally decades of experience performing. I think they can handle headlining the last night of Coachella. And that lack of spontaneity? It’s called not fucking up your performance for the nice people who paid a lot of money to watch you. (Or, as another reviewer put it, “a pop spectacle done right.”) An uncommon attitude these days, I know.
(Then again, what do I expect from someone who wrote this load of crap about the latest Goldfrapp record? I mean, I realize it’s not to everyone’s taste, but it deserves better than this bullshit-laden “review”.)
Midge Ure revisits the influence of the Blitz Club and the birth of the New Romantics. Forwarded to me by a third party who heard it and thought of me. I LOVE IT WHEN PEOPLE DO THAT! <3
Anyway, outside of the charming tales of yesteryear amusingly related by Ure — it’s a reminder not to freak out too much when scenes explode out of their incubators. Sometimes, good things can transpire when that happens.
“The band and back-up singers soldiered on admirably through what should have been a gloriously funky trip down memory lane. But every time it was Stone’s turn to sing, the audience held its breath. He chimed in here and there - sometimes making it through a verse, but never finishing an entire song. There were moments when he sounded like Sly Stone. There were other moments when he sounded like that guy who sang “Pants on the Ground” on “American Idol.” It didn’t help that he was experiencing technical problems with his keyboard, or that the microphone kept feeding back when it wasn’t flopping in his face.”—
As I’ve said before elsewhere on here and do so now again. Anyone able to head over to Seattle for these next few days should do so — yours truly is presenting as part of the TMI panel on Friday morning, so I admit a certain amount of self-interest. But as with past years there’s a slew of folks covering all sorts of subjects, and just like at festival shows there’s going to be a lot of hard decisions about which talks to attend and which ones to skip.
I’ll be posting my usual liveblog (or near to it) coverage over at my own site over these next few days, and keep an eye out for plenty of other folks covering via Twitter and elsewhere. Tonight’s keynote presentation features Nile Rodgers, Janelle Monae and Joe Henry, and if that isn’t reason enough to get you going I am kinda speechless. For once.
Can anyone explain to me why an ad/branding agency would use a cover for a campaign, as opposed to the original? Especially if it’s a really, really faithful cover? Is this about money, licensing, something else?
So, what gives? Why didn’t the agency use the original? Why go with a faithful cover that barely deviates from the original? I’m assuming it has to have something to do with money, but I’m not sure what, or how.
I’d say R.I.P. Malcolm McLaren but I doubt he’d want to do anything in peace, per se.
A very understandable sentiment. The instant reactions are fascinating so far in their range — there’s almost a sense that nobody knows what the correct sentiment should be, like there’s a hypercharged ambivalence in many but certainly not all corners. Jody Rosen goes for ‘huckster extraordinaire, Kate Silver chooses ‘glorious bastard,’ Christian Ward thinks ‘he was very good at making things sound amazing, in theory,’ there’s plenty similar out there. Tim Quirk figures ‘complicated guy who changed the culture and was a bit of an ass,’ Jessica Hopper notes she ‘never regarded (him) as anything other than the creepy svengali coaxing 14yo Annabella Lwin’s nudity on BowWowWow covers,’ prompting Rosen to respond: ‘Fair enough. But the history of show business *is* the history of creepy Svengalis.’ There will be much more forthcoming.
One suspects this is something that McLaren would have loved, or at least expected, his career as such being a combination of ‘what the hell, why not’ and ret-conned master plans and autohype, not all of it something to look at with uncritical admiration. Call it what you will, the impact lingers still after all these years — sometimes to my surprise, when I shouldn’t be.
Of the responses so far, my favorite might be Andy Zax's:
Once, long ago, Malcolm McLaren sat at a nearby table in a Japanese restaurant, distracting me from the terrible date I was on. I thank him.
Yes, it’s true. Devo is releasing an album of new material later this year. Beginning today, they’re inviting all of us to pick out the album’s tracklist at clubdevo.com.
The interactive design is really quite charming. “Jacob” is a gracious host, giving direction politely and listening along to the song clips with you. Once you’ve decided on the twelve you want to vote for, he asks you to designate which one you rate the highest before taking you to a screen where you enter some information. Among the things asked for is a photo of yourself (or your pet). A strange request, to be certain. But then you’re taken to a progress chart to see how each of the songs is doing so far, where the graphing bars are composed of hundreds of little, tiny photos of people who have voted. An incredibly fun way to spend a few minutes.
p.s. A lot of these songs sound really good, considering how long it’s been since they’ve released anything new and how young they aren’t anymore. I gave my support to “Sumthin.”
Today’s fondest wish: that I could review the David Byrne/Fatboy Slim/ladies of alt/indie (and Steve Earle!) Imelda Marcos musical concept album, Here Lies Love, for Pitchfork. Because honestly, I feel like I’m probably the most qualified person to do so. This could be epic.
I’m only half kidding!
ETA: I’m a third of the way through, and I think my review just shrank to: Why didn’t they just record the whole thing with Charmaine Clamor, and not just one track? I mean, really?
This is why I continue seeking out new music. Whenever I start getting a little bored with the current crop of new bands, some new scene will eventually pop up and catch my ear. So you can imagine how excited I’ve been about the current cold/synth wave revival, both old and new acts. It’s exciting to see and hear people playing dark pop songs on synthesizers again. If you’ve been enjoying Cold Cave, Blank Dogs, and Zola Jesus, you’ll want to give Felt Drawings a listen. Pulsing Depeche Modey beats, distorted synths, and moody vocals in a metal box.
This is pretty much exactly what I want to be listening to right now.
The Interpreters’ big break has made for strange bedfellows: McKinnon was hipped to the band by relentless scenester and sometime political documentarian Donovan Leitch — who also supplied Gaer with bass player Nigel Mogg, formerly of Leitch’s band Nancy Boy. “All the girlfriends in the band are mad at me,” Leitch says. “They think this is the death of the Interpreters. But, I mean, Jimi Hendrix opened for the Monkees.”
Gaer insists he’s playing to Republicans, not with them. “I figure I could do film when I’m 50, but I can only do a band now,” he says. “The sellout age is coming soon.” Maybe sooner than he thinks.
O, the concept of selling out. There’s a certain innocence that’s either missing now or even more here now. I can’t tell.
Two things bother me about this: first, if you’re concerned about selling out in 2000 then for the love of all that is holy on God’s Green Earth you should not have signed to a major label in the 1990s*. That was the era where major labels flew college radio music directors cross country to check out shows. Interscope had four radio promo people, pushing bands like Lifter to the top of the CMJ charts through thuggery and wholesale chart-faking. A label rep from Maverick once flew to Mississippi to visit our station (we were a Gavin station, which was a big deal in the college radio world at the time, meaning it was a small deal in reality) to play us the new Me’shell Ndegeocello album and take a bunch of us Southern boys out to lunch. I used to get stickers FedExed to me on a daily basis. I’m going out on a limb here, but the Alternative Nation era of rock and roll promotion (both major and indies got in on the act) has to be one of the crassest, excessive, and most foolhardy in history. As you know, I’m not big on the sell-out thing, but, man, if ever an era was characterized by great swaths of artists selling one’s soul, this was it. There was free money everywhere, and it all led straight to the cut-out bin. I can’t blame the Interpreters for taking RCA up on the offer but to make a comment about selling out, even in jest, is pretty laughable when you’re playing the Republican National Convention and you were a willing participant in music industry largesse.
Second, why the swipe at the Monkees? Hendrix probably opened up for the Monkees because they were rad.
That Interpreters record was pretty fun, though.
* And aren’t y’all happy that the major label sob story is kind of a thing of the past, at least as a marketing tool?