Saturday, July 28, 2012

We'll be right back after these messages.

ABC get the shaft, at least here in the United States, when it comes to recollections of 1980s music and specifically, the second British Invasion. Singer Martin Fry ["F-R-Y" -- ed.] was the heterosexual, soulful, and ultimately more fun, predecessor to Morrissey -- all dry Noel Coward wit but clearly ready to charm a lady after the show.

Their '85 LP How to Be ... a Zillionaire! aimed squarely at that decade's crass consumerism, but coated the pill in tasty danceable pop boosted by some impressively huge synth-bass sounds. Plus, "Be Near Me" is one of the best calls to romance of '80s pop. FACT.

The sort-of title track from Zillionaire! has a fun animated video, that looks like a lost episode of Jem. To the dancefloor!

How To Be A Millionaire by SirCumstance

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Oh, no

Farewell to Chris Wedes, better known to Puget Sound residents as J.P. Patches. He died Sunday July 22, 2012.

His passing set frequent Typing Monkey contributer Kris Kendall to reminiscing about The J.P. Patches Show. It's entirely possible Kendall's still talking, with a faraway, misty-eyed look, about Wedes' importance to local television.

We've taken this valuable piece of information from his ramblings and posted it here:

"By 1980, when J.P.’s show was three years from cancellation, I think I was the only kid at my school who still watched. Most mornings during the school year, my friend Mike would ask me, as we walked to school: 'Did you watch Star Blazers this morning?'

My answer was always 'No, I watched J.P.' And  I couldn’t understand why he didn’t."

Good bye J.P. Patches. You're one of the rare ones, about whom we can genuinely say, they just don't make 'em like that anymore.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Berberian Sound Studios looks interesting. We'd say super-awesome but we haven't seen it. Even though the lie of sound engineering/manipulation has been explored before in films, Berberian takes a novel approach and it stars Toby Jones. That's a winning combo. Let's hope the flick lives up to all this promise:

[courtesy of Artificial Eye Film]

Thank You, Donald J. Sobol

There are two Leroy Browns in pop history. Well, two that we know of: Bad, Bad Leroy Brown, who receives a royal beatdown within the confines of Jim Croce's jangly, loose pop hit.

The other is Leroy "Encyclopedia" Brown, boy detective. Encyclopedia Brown's creator, Donal J. Sobol died July 11, 2012, but the news only came to public attention the 16th. Any kid who likes to read has probably spent some time trying to solve the mysteries that Brown cracked.

The books were not only a great way to encourage readers, and critical thinking, they were also a gateway for many into other mystery-themed writing, telelvision and film.

Coolest of all is the deatil in The Washington Post's obituary for Sobol: He was still writing the books and one final Encyclopedia Brown book is due out this year.

We didn't realize how much we'll miss Sobol until now. It's too often like that.

Friday, July 13, 2012

"can't hold one stick ..."

Buddy Rich played drums. That's an understatement, but also true. Like us, some of our readers may have learned who he was by his appearance on The Muppet Show.

Surely Rich had many great stories to tell about his glorious career redefining how musicians could play the trap kit. But it's just as likely many who met and worked with him have their own stories to tell about Mr. Rich.

One of those is the equally legendary music promoter Bill Graham, who, in his autobiography, My Life Inside Rock and Out, shares a real doozy about convincing Rich to bring his jazz band to San Francisco to play for a bunch of kids raised on rock & roll.

It's a wondefully foul-mouthed tale of bridging the generation gap via grudge-drumming. Read it here.

Rim shot to Cover Me for the link.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

SPIN Likely to Save Trees Soon

We've come to like SPIN magazine during the past few years. It's one of the few publications Typing Monkey Industries maintains a regular subscription to.

The days of leaving it folded open to a good article are probably numbered now with the news today that Buzzmedia bought SPIN.

Read SPIN's announcement and a New York Times piece about the transaction.

Print media's extinction has already been analyzed and editorialized enough. But when the grid goes down, we'll have some back issues to read and remember what life was like before the collapse. And then we'll tear those old SPIN pages into strips so that we can keep the fire burning as we huddle for warmth and pray for sweet, forgiving death.

A solemn nod to The AV Club.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Victor, You're Okay

The source eludes us, but trust us that somebody, likely a musician, once said British jazz players tend to make up for a lack of soul with eagerness and enthusiasm.

Victor Feldman begs to differ. The multi-instrumentalist (started on drums, later switched to vibraphone and piano) is the type of musician who, once you learn a bit about them, prompts you to wonder how it is you got this far in life without knowing the joy of that performer's work.

Feldman's short tenure as the pianist for The Cannonball Adderly Quintet cemented his reputation as a generous sideman and afforded him opportunities to compose. Listen to the cosmopolitain swells he plays at the start of "Azule Serape" -- foam-crested notes that deliver the horns to the melody.

[courtesy of sbdante]

Prior to his time with Adderly's group, Feldman joined up with bassist Scotty LeFaro and drummer Stan Levey for the LP The Arrival of Victor Feldman. He plays vibes and piano on the record and on the tune "Bebop" the trio plays so fast it'll make technical metal players sob into their yerba matte.

Now contrast that brain-buster with his reading of "Summer Love" with tenor saxophonist Ronnie Scott. It's the kind of soft touch playing that many probably conjure in their heads when they see the word "jazz." But it lets you know just how versatile Feldman was. Never mind that he was in Steely Dan. What?

Yup. You've got some reading to do. More importantly, we've got some listening to do.