Friday, December 31, 2010
Thursday, December 30, 2010
Second comes a report with editorial (new journalism is nearly the only journalism now) from Slate. The article heralds a piece of audio hardware that allegedly makes those compressed, tinny MP3 files you downloaded sound all analog warm.
The USB-DAC could be the gold-coated CD of the 2000-teens or it could be the next stereo component you actually need.
Monday, December 27, 2010
The Ivory Queen of Soul was a songwriter, Rick James collaborator (and longtime friend/former lover of Mr. Superfreak) and one of the best voices of the post-disco funk era. She gave herself the "Ivory Queen" title, but Motown, the first label she signed to, nicknamed her "Lady T."
Any kid who listened to Top 40 radio in the mid-'80s heard her crossover hit "Lovergirl." The circular irony of that song's success was that two of Marie's contemporaries, Rick James and Prince, helped open the pop market for slick, race-be-damned r&b ladies via their respective girl-group creations, The Mary Jane Girls and Vanity 6/Apallonia 6. Yet those groups couldn't have happened without Teena Marie first blasting through via her late '70s and early '80s Motown recordings.
We shall now go listen (again) to Teena Marie's joyful 1981 single "Square Biz."
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
The Typing Monkey knows only a tidbit of Russian folklore, thanks to a childhood spent wringing the public library for all it was worth. We will be looking into this Svjatogor character, as he seems to have a tragic story arc that ends with him accidentally crawling into his own coffin. [Translated via Google.]
"Alla prima" is the technique Meseldžija used to do the painting, which the artist explains in detail on his blog, without ever getting too lofty for us plebes.
He has many other amazing works you can see online and some you can even buy.
[Another tip of the winter hat to Monster Brains.]
Monday, December 20, 2010
Here's a handy chart from NASA's Space.com Website that displays which parts of the globe will experience the total eclipse. (Sorry Eastern Africa, Middle East and India.)
What does it all mean? Probably nothing, except that those of us in the Northern section of the Western hemisphere must endure two nights that are, as Nebraskan moms say, darker than a well-digger's ass. However, any unexplained phenomena experienced during the solstice eclipse should be reported immediately to firstname.lastname@example.org.
And please let's remember: The winter solstice marks the mid-point of winter, not the start.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
On Dec 6, police arrested a homeless man and charged him with first-degree murder. The suspect knew the victim. In the realm of criminology, the mechanics of this crime are mundane.
More compelling about the sudden pall cast over this Disney-built town designed to emulate an Eisenhower-era idyll is the likely cause: money.
Friday, December 3, 2010
Today brings more fascinating Lynchian news from the no longer quiet village.
We could blurt out some collegiate nonsense and dig into the sociological, philosophical and cultural implications of these stories. But TMI is confident that our readers can and will do that on their own. So stop reading this and go talk to somebody about murder and suicide in the town that Disney built, as it's very much worth conversation.
But keep it civilized please. Two people are dead, afterall.
Thursday, December 2, 2010
That's all there is to say about that, though you should read this if you'd like to know what little else there is to know. Speculate, because you know we are.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
If you like the art, check out his excellent t-shirts. Hartman's tees would totally get The Beaver and his friends kicked out of school.
She wasn't quite the Parisian Weird Al Yankovic. Stella simply impersonated a pop starlet by becoming one, all in an effort to gently mock a genre of music that openly embraced looks over talent and ability. [As opposed to all other pop music? -- ed.] However Stella's approximation of the ye-ye style was so skillful, the songs became hits.
Stella's "Le Vampire" isn't about blood-sucking freaks, but the much more terrifying bad boyfriend. Ready Steady Girls sums it up like so: "Though given the ridiculous title 'Si Vous Connaissez Quelque Chose de Pire qu’un Vampire, Parlez m’en Toujours, ça Pourra Peut-être me Faire Sourire' (sometimes shortened to 'Le Vampire'), the song was a successful mix of sound effects and a catchy tune. It gave the singer another hit, in the autumn of 1966."
Now that we've established all that we can move on to this kooky Scopitone of "Le Vampire."
[courtesy of spikepriggen]
Giant hands, a skull mask and an old-fashioned foot sawing -- creepsville man. So in closing: Scopitones are awesome and Stella is worth spending a bit of your valuable time investigating. Let's go pound some brewskis.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Ghostly Essentials: Rarities Vol. 2 may have slipped past your senses. Rectify that as soon as you reach the end of this post, and in no time you'll be looking out the window at the changing leaves and graying skies while Locsil's cold, cosmic "Umbra" worms its ambient digital textures into your brain.
The Typing Monkey also digs the game of musical tag played between analog bleeps and something that sounds an awful lot like an acoustic guitar in "Between Rooms" by Myers Briggs. And the instrumental version of JDSY's "All Shapes" bounces with a flabby square-wave bass melody -- like The Great Pumpkin walking home all self-satisfied as the light of November 1st begins to bleach the sky.
Did we mention that it's free?
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
He painted a cover for his own book. If you have $350 burning a hole in your pocket, you can have a print of your own. Reading the book is more or less free and very much worth the investment.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
So many lesser musicians owe a major debt to Up's methodical envelope pushing. Is there a better way to dismantle expectations than to just get inside the machine without asking permission? No there isn't. No manifestos or drawing attention to the fact that she was a woman making post-punk weirdo reggae/dub/pop. Up just did it.
The AV Club's obit sums her up well. We shall now retire to the lounge and listen to The Slits magnificent version of "I Heard It Through the Grapevine."
[As longtime Typing Monkey associate Kevan says: This news bums me the fuck out. -- ed.]
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
In 2007 the Tootsie Roll company debuted this Halloween-themed version of their gumdrop candy, Dots, to much acclaim. Well, the staff at The Typing Monkey offices really enjoys them. The packaging [see below] promises G-rated candy fun.
The individual Ghost Dots do not have smiley faces or arms, nor do they glow in the dark. But they do retain an air of mystery by being all the same color despite boasting different flavors, all in the original Dots taste array of green, yellow, orange, light red, dark red.
Each year since the debut of Ghost Dots, we've sent our intern out to buy a couple bags. This year's sucker, Maire, came back empty handed. After scouring the greater metropolitain area, the sad truth is that this year, you can buy only the movie-theater style boxes of Ghost Dots. This also applies to the recently introduced Bat Dots (blood orange flavored) and Candy Corn Dots (the handsome scarecrow mascot makes up for the fact that they're candy corn flavored).
That's right. Try as you might dear reader, you won't find a bag of "fun-size" Ghost Dots this year to
Please contact your local candy representatives and lodge a stern but well-worded complaint, and tell 'em The Typing Monkey sent you.
Monday, October 18, 2010
But it's all in the name of fun and er, doing the Charleston. Oh! And puppets and animation:
[courtesy of turbannedruffian]
That version uses the Radio All-Star Novelty Orchestra's recording from 1930, sometimes billed with bandleader Harry Reser's name above the orchestra.
Max Fleisher used "Mysterious Mose" as both a soundtrack and a basis for the "plot" of a Betty Boop cartoon, with Boop's sidekick Bimbo taking the role of Mose. [And yes, Ms. Boop has dog ears. This was 1930 when she was transitioning from her original canine self to the flapper temptress we all know.] Watch all six minutes of the cartoon here.
And if you're not tired of hearing the song yet, a marionette performer and "soft yard haunter" named Larry Schmidt did a puppet routine to another version of "Mysterious Mose."
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
John Kenn's do. Visit his gallery for page after page of playfully macabre artwork, all done on plain yellow Post-it notes.
[Yeah, found this on Monster Brains too. See what you're missing?]
Friday, October 8, 2010
And in keeping with the season, play the clip below to see and hear old Thunderfingers taking a lead vocal turn on his composition, "Boris the Spider" during a 1975 performance by The Who in Houston, TX.
[Courtesy of EmVisconti]
Scumps to Mr. Entwistle!
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Now he's discovered the Halloween News Network (HNN) podcast. It's delighfully square and sincere enough to warrant the blessings of The Great Pumpkin. Basically, if you have been charged with putting together a haunted house for your school, church or just want to make your basement spooky, HNN is for you.
The tips and tricks are fairly cheap and effective if your audience isn't too demanding. Kreighton has been taking judicious notes and we're already working on excuses to get out of the party he's no doubt planning.
If you don't want to bother subscribing to the podcast, you can see most, if not all, of the HNN episodes on YouTube.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
werewolf illustration by the amazing Steve Ditko.]
That's right, she's the penultimate convicted witch in Great Britain. A woman named Jane Rebecca Yorke gets the honor of being the last witch on the books. Her story is equally interesting, but being elderly, Yorke didn't serve any jail time. Helen Duncan did.
[Tip of the pointy hat to Jen Newby's Writing Women's History blog.]
Friday, October 1, 2010
For a little complement to the fried dough, and a breather before we dive headfirst into the orange and black cheer, here's a video from 1983 of the mostly female dub/reggae/pop group Amazulu, touching three of the globe's four corners:
[Courtesy of fritz51318]
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Lucky us, we landed at Grumpy Clothing. Aside from being the official source for Witchfinder General t-shirts, the Canadian retailer also offers dozens of tees with art both clever and high-quality. Go now and check it out, surely you'll find something for yourself or a friend. Stimulate the global economy and then wear it with pride.
And though you didn't ask, the Witchfinder General tee looks fantastic. You must wear something, no?
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Friday, September 17, 2010
Get the details on Farad: The Electric Voice here, along with a couple free tunes. Then get in line for a copy and pick up one for a friend.
[This isn't Farad, but it is Mr. Haack with a device he called "M" -- photo courtesy of BruceHaack.com]
Friday, September 10, 2010
[courtesy of NantoVision1]
The weather is changing at TMI headquarters, which always makes us think of that wonderful song and animation. And that inevitably leads to thoughts of the equally stirring "Madrigal Alphabet" which might make you feel a little sad for reasons you can't quite determine, but still you love it.
Thursday, September 9, 2010
[A neck-snapping headbang to Cosmic Hearse.]
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Later, unable to get Robert Plant's Godzilla-esque wail out of our heads, we decided to give the Website Unhearit a try.
"Using the latest techniques in reverse-auditory-melodic-unstickification technology," Unhearit helps alleviate the stress caused by song tumors and earworms -- ostensibly by replacing the offending tune with something equally, maddeningly catchy.
The first result was one of the various Auto-Tune treatments of the Double Rainbow Guy. Had to stop that because rather than ease our troubles, it merely annoyed.
Clicking the "new song" button got us "Shut Up and Let Me Go" by the Ting Tings. That worked really well, except when it was done, and we hit the "new song" button again, it reloaded the same song. And again, the same song.
After refreshing the Webpage, we got a 55-second MIDI-crafted bit of silliness with a playful melody followed by a sampled voice saying "meow." It was hardly catchy and by no means capable of breaking the Hammer of the Gods or stopping two good-looking Brits who make cheerleader pop.
One last click netted the truly dreadful "Conga" by Miami Sound Machine, a band whose string of hits during the 1980s can only be washed out of the brain via self-administered lobotomy or several long pulls from a jug of grain alcohol.
So, mission accomplished, Unhearit. If we get enough "Communication Breakdown" and "Ramble On" in the remaining 29 days of this month, perhaps we'll revisit the site.
(Tip of the wizard cap to Buzzfeed)
Friday, August 27, 2010
Take a closer look at the beastie in the lower left corner:
Is that a distant relative of everyone's favorite Decapodian scene-stealer from Futurama, Dr. John A. Zoidberg? It resembles Zoidberg midway between phases of his lifecycle, a bit urchin, a bit cuttlefish and a whole lotta squid-faced crustacean. Observe:
Crossover? We'll keep our fingers crossed. But who do we root for?
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Shocking Movies That Changed History
Joe Bob Briggs
Briggs mutes his Texas-sized persona for Profoundly, allowing the academic student of cinema he actually is to make a case for each of these movies as historical landmarks. His success in that endeavor aside, Briggs spins a good story and that's the real pleasure of his book.
The chapter on Ilsa: She-Wolf of the SS nearly discards any pretense about selling the film as an industry-changing moment to instead concentrate on the astonishing budget-circumventing feats director Don Edmonds managed in order complete the film.
Briggs merely adds to the chorus of approval for some obvious choices (Deep Throat, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari) but again, the joy is all in his presentation.
The more interesting choices are where his skills as an academic hype-man for filmdom’s secret treasures compel the audience to reconsider a movie.
Is Roger Vadim’s … And God Created Woman really a cinematic milestone? Briggs responds with an enthusiastic yes if you view it not as the film that launched Brigitte Bardot’s career, but rather the movie that destroyed her marriage to director Vadim -- with both husband and wife as willing participants in what amounts to an exhibition of the most abstract sex game committed to celluloid.
The critic’s essay on The Creature from the Black Lagoon stands apart from the others as Briggs’ best writing in the collection. He knows exactly why Creature works, where it fails and how it swims right past its own weaknesses.
Profoundly Disturbing includes well-organized references at the end of each chapter suggesting similar movies that came before and after the titles discussed, and providing short career bios for the major players.
Reference material: Michael J. Weldon’s The Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film should already be in your library. If so, then you’re probably already aware of Joe Bob Briggs. Regardless, The Typing Monkey simply recommends you watch (or re-watch) all the films in Profoundly Disturbing.
Friday, July 30, 2010
Wait, what? Those are writer Joe Keohane's words, from his article "How Facts Backfire" which is worth a read.
And on a completely unrelated note, steampunk -- which has been chugging along just fine for a few decades now -- may have finally reached critical mass. The literary/fashion/cultural/art movement is explained in full via The Economist. Dude, your grandpa reads The Economist.
Does coverage in mainstream media signal the death of a subculture? Or is that question as dated as the idea of broad exposure ruining such things?
[Tip of the dunce cap to Arts & Letters Daily]
Many audience members will respond with laughter. And that's okay. The Juggalos probably derive as much nourishment from mockery as they do from their omnipresent bottles of Faygo.
Cronin's text introducing ICP Parking Lot gets at something about Juggalo culture that's generally overlooked: "They have built an entire lifestyle and genre of music with little to no main-stream backing over the last 15+ years."
It's a detail mentioned early on in this 17-minute long infomercial advertising The 2010 Gathering -- a four-day long multi-media festival and the only sponsor is Insane Clown Posse's own media company, Psychopathic. Chew on that for a minute. Four days of music, film, and other entertainments all done without outside corporate sponsorship.
Does Burning Man have corporate backing? Did Dischord ever put together anything this big? Counter-culture, punk, DIY ... whatever. Be impressed or be afraid, but do pay attention.
Monday, July 19, 2010
That's terrific news really, but the real take-away here is that Slapsticon exists.
[Photo courtesy of Slapsticon.org]
Saturday, July 3, 2010
Now then, we'll spread some words around shortly. But it's a holiday weekend and inbetween racing personnel-transporters down the empty TMI corridors and rotating the canned chili, we've been watching this video re-edit of The Beatles cartoon synched to Leftside Wobble's remix of "Tomorrow Never Knows."
Thursday, June 17, 2010
However, we must report the death of Garry Shider, guitarist for Parliament-Funkadelic, known as either Starchild or Diaperman, likely depending on his mood. Earth's loss of another funkateer is the cosmos' gain. Go spin "Cosmic Slop" for a fine example of Shider's work.
[Tip o'the pillbox hat to Cosmic Hearse.]
Thursday, May 20, 2010
[Those are bacteria colonies. But yes, they're looking right through you.]
Friday, May 14, 2010
On May 15, 2010, a group of pianists in Seattle will do just that. Do you have what it takes to witness this?
Details here. We're heading up to the helipad to take a little journey to the Emerald City. If you attend this event, we want to hear about your experience. Write us at:
Monday, May 10, 2010
Sunday, May 9, 2010
Now then. There’s a gentleman named Aesop Dekker* who runs a music blog called Cosmic Hearse. If you’re going to run a music blog, this is the way to do it. Straight from his site:
"It's about sharing hard to find and special recordings. It's not about taking anything away from the artists themselves. Of course if something is in print and you like it, buy it. If you have legitimate claim to something posted here and want it removed, just write me and I'll do so."
That's an invitation to LOVE -- the love of getting your brain-junk kicked repeatedly by music you didn't kow you needed in your life.
And what is that music? It’s metal of many varieties (black, death, doom, thrash, ‘70s, NWOBHM, et al.); rock of multiple stripes (hard, psych, classic, prog, Eastern bloc, etc.); some punk and hip-hop; and plenty of just plain weird stuff that you won’t find easily unless you spend too much time (and money) scouring record bins.
Aside from the bounty of amazing music at Cosmic Hearse, Dekker writes thoughtful and genuinely funny summaries, criticism and reality checks about the content. His enthusiasm for the music and his blog has pushed The Typing Monkey staff to investigate music we might have otherwise passed by anywhere else.
So quit hanging around this dump and get over to Cosmic Hearse. [Scruffs your hair and smiles] Now go on, champ.
[A belated tip of the hat to Dr. Fred.]
*Dekker also plays drums in the San Francisco black metal band Ludicra. Their album The Tenant is out now. Do check it out.
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
The weather may not be very summer-like where ever you are. At The Typing Monkey’s global headquarters it’s positively autumnal … except for all the green. We’re halfway there. So to celebrate please play the following as often as you like:
And if the word "Beltane" stirs some distant recognition in your brains, perhaps this is why.
Friday, April 23, 2010
Patrons sat quietly, leaning in as Abi Grace sang, supported by Fred Beldin’s acoustic guitar strums and the woozy curls of slide guitar from Tyson Lynn. The End Times show felt like a church service -- a little Robert-Mitchum-in-Night-of-the-Hunter, but mostly comforting in a “we share your pain” way.
Grace’s voice has the specific charm of the graveyard cherub -- she’s plenty sweet but the words she’s singing ain’t necessarily so. And as Beldin and Lynn hunkered over their instruments, the whole procession felt like the sharing of some secret that the audience knew they needed to hear.
Seeing this line-up of the band again is about as likely as seeing Elvis at the Stop-n-Shop, but that shouldn’t prevent those who never witnessed a live performance from picking up The End Times LP (or buying the download).
This is folk, for lack of a better label, but not of the life, love and unemployment variety. Sure, These Are the End Times could class up your local coffee joint, but you’re better served spinning this on those mornings when you sit in the kitchen and sip something stronger than French roast. It’s thinking music for the wandering mind.
Good work End Times. Seattle still needs you, so thanks for the document.
Opening band Pillow Army did their Americana-pop thing -- a surprisingly loud collection of stringed instruments, drums and sometimes flute. If you thought the orchestra nerds from high school didn’t dig the rock, Pillow Army has something to play for you. Bookending The End Times on the late side of the night was The River Empires, an Albany, Oregon outfit (drums, bass, keys/guitar, vocals/percussion, vocals/keys/et al.) that knocked out an impressive set of chamber pop that edged into mid-‘90s Britpop territory. Quite good and a shame that they not only played to a mostly empty house, but had to pack up and drive for four hours back home after their set. Ah, the rock & roll lifestyle.
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
For me, Scott Burroughs will always be one of those characters. He was, literally, my big brother’s cool friend -- a scarecrow of a teen, months away from daring the 1979-era Tacoma, Washington population to not stare at his mohawk. Scott was a triple threat: black, punk and disarmingly sweet.
Wig Out! magazine would run a tiny cartoon of “Reverend” Scott Burroughs sometime around 1984, with text reading, “often imitated, never duplicated.” They were referring to his skateboarding skills, but those words could just as easily apply to the man himself. Even with the ‘80s in full swing, daring to be different along the Seattle-Tacoma corridor still had shock value, and Scott seemed ahead of the curve in that regard.
In the mid-‘90s I saw him in person again for the first time in years. We were crowded on the floor of a now-defunct music venue watching the first “reunion” performance of The Specials. (Still no Terry Hall, but nobody was taking any chances.) With his giant dreadlocks, colorful clothes and wide grin, it made perfect sense to see Scott there. That first Specials album can’t be separated from my appraisal of Scott Burroughs and other things that remain unimpeachably hip.
His life was not without troubles, though I know little of those. To me, Scott remained a sort of superhuman presence thanks to the power of memory. Of course, he performed in numerous bands, most recently playing bass and singing in Thankless Dogs.
The last time I talked to Scott was at a wake, oddly enough. He genially tolerated my aging father’s bad jokes and loud conversation. He was nothing if not a gentleman, and I’m sure, entirely human, no matter what I think. But I still think Scott Burroughs is one of the coolest people I’ve ever met.
Kris Kendall didn't know Mr. Burroughs would be going so soon, or he might have told him this in person. Well, you never know.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
We could debate whether these clowns of the mic cheapen the medium for MCs with more serious rhymes, but anyone who feels that way isn't going to be dissuaded by anything written here. And plenty of high-minded, well-intentioned rappers commit accidental comedy simply by taking their work far too seriously. [The same goes for movie stars who call acting "their craft" and rock stars who think what they do is important.]
With that, take this:
How many DJs and hip-hop producers would be brave enough to admit that the sample of classical music in this single broadened their view of what qualifies as a break?
Friday, March 26, 2010
Corporate retreats. Team building. Trust falls and workshops. Six Sigma black belts were earned. And what do we have to show for it? If your answer was "the power to achieve" then there's some spreadsheets we'd like you to review.
We'll be back soon with words about things.
[Technical difficulties art courtesy of The Test Card Gallery.]
Friday, March 12, 2010
These half-remembered items sometimes gain an inflated significance. The mere fact that you remember only part of a particular story or song, and not the name of the artist responsible for its creation, let alone the name of the work itself, puts a little shine on that memory.
That afternoon when you were little and your mother brought you with her to run errands -- was that song you heard on her car radio really so special? No, it was just “Fancy Pants” by Al Hirt. And though the song is plenty entertaining on its own merits, your desire to find it again, to learn if it would captivate you with the same intensity, owes more to the situation in which you first experienced it than the song itself.
Still, these things matter: the songs, books, movies, and other entertainments. They matter precisely because of our tenuous ability to hold all of them in our heads. We may not retain all the relevant data, but what little we do remember keeps the associated sensations alive, and that’s the vital part.
In our age of “all information, all the time, anytime, whenever you want it, wherever you need it” it’s easier than ever to complete any puzzle our memories present. That’s a curse, of course, because without those knots to untie we lose some of the tiny challenges that our minds crave. Novelty and discovery weaken as the work involved in the latter becomes too easy, and the frequency of the former decreases.
The next time a pop-culture phantom haunts your memory -- some half-remembered scene from a mostly forgotten movie, or the loose melody of a long-ago hit song -- let it rattle around a while before searching for an answer. It’s a tiny little mystery, but most of us need all we can get.
Friday, February 19, 2010
Friday, February 12, 2010
It's a Tumblr blog with a wiki-ethic. The goal? To help Utne Reader "gather the hidden histories of the independent press! Or just browse some amazing covers."
The Typing Monkey thinks that's a fine idea. You know what to do.
Friday, February 5, 2010
Friday, January 29, 2010
Tom in New Castle
How are things in New Castle? Congratulations on getting that third date. (We're presuming that your lady friend has already vetted you in a public place a couple times before deciding that you we worth a home visit.)
The Typing Monkey also presumes the spill was red wine or you wouldn't be writing. So here's what you do: Tell her you'd like see her again, and soon. Arrange something low key at your place again. Maybe rent Le Samourai or The Wild Bunch. A lady who enjoys a film of that stripe is a keeper.
Buy some good quality dark chocolate, a bottle of club soda and another bottle or red, perhaps a malbec or a sturdy zin. When she arrives, pour some wine, eat some chocolate and enjoy the movie.
At some point during the evening, "accidentally" spill some of your wine on the same spot. While it's still wet, pour some club soda on the stain, and dab it up with a clean dish towel. Then switch to proseco.
Have a question for us? Send tips, tricks or complaints to email@example.com.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Der Spiegel Online recently published an article about Patrick McGovern, an archaeologist from the United States who theorizes that our neolithic ancestors didn't start planting grain crops for bread -- the current accepted theory -- but rather for beer. Kind of changes the notion of the forbidden fruit, no? Read it here.
History Today has Lucie Skeaping's excellent explanation of the "jig" as it relates to Elizabethan theatre. What's a jig? At the turn of the 16th century it was a bawdy performance that went on after the more respectable stage show had ended.
Like network television and basic cable after prime time, Elizabethan theaters offered filthy songs and ribald dances for the giggling masses who knew to hang around for the second show. Get all the dirty details here.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Yeah The Who did Tommy and Quadrophenia. But this little one-off indicates that perhaps John, Pete, Keith & Roger missed out on an opportunity to do their own silly adventure in the style of Help! or A Hard Day's Night.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Friday, January 15, 2010
The Steve Ditko Archives, Vol. 1
Introduced and edited by Blake Bell
Few artistic creations merit the adjective "lurid." Strange Suspense leers confidently from the shadows of that small crowd.
Before Ditko gave life to Spider-Man and took Jack Kirby's deliberate comic book art into even weirder, angular places in the 1960s, he slargged away in the mid-'50s as a artist and scripter for Charlton publishing's horror comics. This collection assembles that work in all of its cheap-inked beauty.
Charlton was the off-brand to EC's superior product, but as this book shows, Ditko's editors at Charlton seemed to let their creative staff do whatever they wanted. So the reader doesn't get only the expected Creepshow style horror tales with twist endings.
Sure there's plenty of the straightforward stuff. But Ditko mixes genres too. An extra-terrestrial soldier cheats at poker with a bunch of circus performers. Crooked cops of the Jim Thompson variety get tangled up with femme fatales in the distant, space-traveling future.
Best of all, Ditko fans get more of the artist's bizarre depictions of human physiology. He twists faces into freakshow territory that clearly influenced Charles Burns. Ditko's psychedelic backgrounds turn mundane libraries and dark roads into funhouse distortions that key in directly to the ugly psyche of adolescent boys. Plus there's enough flop sweat to fill an Olympic-size pool.
The stories themselves don't lift beyond rejected Night Gallery ideas, but the accompanying images splash cubism and surrealism onto the unsuspecting page.
Reference material: If the infected, deformed teens of Black Hole inspired the reader to linger on each page of that magnificent book, Strange Suspense is worth a look. And for the Ditko-curious, this isn't a bad place to start.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Monday, January 11, 2010
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
So without further blather, here's the part two of a feature nobody asked for and fewer read.
Benjamin Wynn is Deru, and his slow-build electronic instrumentals tend toward hissing clatters of percussion with bell-toned melodic passages that cycle in and out like warning lights in the fog. It's so detatched and hazy it's nearly relaxing -- good stuff from Mush/Ghostly International.
The Do [the "o" gets a slash through it.]
Hey, this is alright. A Finnish/French duo playing pop so deceptively sunny it that could almost fly as music for children, save for those lyrics. "Playground Hustle" is well creepy -- a Village of the Damned drill team anthem.
Young men recycling late '50s/early '60s surf, instrumental and doo-wop styles without sounding like any of the obvious reference points. In the best possible way, they sound like an actual '80s band because they did what the post-punk/college-rock bands of that era did best: mining the past for "new" ideas.
He's an MC from south Florida, reminiscent of Jemini the Gifted One. Crafty production of the straightforward drum machine & samples variety actually feels refreshing in the age of silly bombast. There's even scratching! [Do they still do that? -- ed.] We don't know how hard it is to get a guest spot from Slick Rick or Jazzy Jeff, but that shows good taste on Dynas' part.
Eva & The Heartmaker
Is Norway the new Sweden? Because duos are the new trios. From Oslo comes this giant, gleeful pop with a woman singing teenage love angst lyrics. That's really all there is to say.
From London comes Ryan Lee West, aka Rival Consoles. As the name implies, his music sounds like a mid-'80s video game, and it's killer. If Daft Punk's tendency toward both mindless repetition and Vocoder overkill put you off, come join the Berzerk vs. Tempest disco jams of Rival Consoles.
Ever since Steven Tyler busted through the wall of Run DMC's rehearsal space, rappers and rockers have been teaming up from time to time, with the results frequently exposing the weaknesses of both forms. The Slew gives history the finger, flipping the usual rock/rap tag team of live guitar & sampled bass and beats. Dynomite D & Kid Koala splice blooze rock guitar samples over the flesh and blood rhythm section from Wolfmother. Disposable fun.
The treated vocals go a long way to making these ladies a lot less Norah Jones by way of PJ Harvey, and a lot more primitive mystique. We tried to resist liking this, but it makes such a fine alternative to all that ridiculous Paw Tracks mumbo jumbo. "Elephants" is particularly good.
This Austin quartet cooks up high-grade pop of the jangle/power variety. Kevin Peroni's voice serves the melody without melodrama or unnecessary quirk. They deserve more attention than they'll get, perhaps.
Their MySpace genre tags are "psychedelic" and "black metal." It's ambient noise instrumentals with a serious occult vibe. We shall call it "bleak metal." There. Please remember you read it here first. Also "Flying Witch" will make children cry.
File under: honorable mention. The DJ Food moniker used to drape over a sizeable collective of Ninja Tune label artists having loads of fun sampling and tape looping. Now the title masks but one: sampling pioneer Strictly Kev. He's still crafting top-shelf sound collages ideal for headphone trips, and he looks like a university professor.