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Posts Tagged ‘Punk

“We got the beat”*…

 

The drum machine is one of the most effective musical inventions of our time. It’s affordable, easy to use, and ruthless in its precision, able to do exactly what it’s been told for as long as required (so long as you’ve got an AC adaptor). Of course, not everybody warms to the drum machine’s big plastic buttons and bright LED screen…

Starting from the Italian Futurists, “A Brief History of the Drum Machine in Rock Music.”

* The Go-Gos

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As we lay in the loop, we might recall that it was on this date in 1990 that NARAS stripped Milli Vanilli of the Grammy that they had won earlier that year.  One of the most popular pop acts in the late 1980s, their album debut album Girl You Know It’s True achieved international success and earned them the Grammy for Best New Artist.  But when it was revealed that neither of the duo (Fab Morvan and Rob Pilatus) had actually sung lead vocals on the albums songs, the award was withdrawn.  The group recorded a comeback album, Back and in Attack, in 1998, but Rob Pilatus died before the album was released.

Milli Vanilli at the 1990 Grammys

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Written by LW

November 19, 2015 at 1:01 am

“Questioning anything and everything”*…

 

Ryan Richardson, one of the United States’ foremost collectors, archivists, and dealers of punk rock records and ephemera has given us a most welcomed gift. Richardson has uploaded the entire print run of the classic L.A. punk magazine, Slash, to his website Circulationzero.com

The importance of Slash to the L.A. punk scene, and really to the worldwide punk scene in general, cannot be overstated.  The writing of Claude “Kickboy Face” Bessy,Jeffrey Lee Pierce, and Chris D. helped to define the attitude and outlook of the nascent subculture, while the imagery of illustrators Gary Panter and Mark Vallen established punk as an art movement working outside of—but in conjunction with—the music scene. Photographers like Ed Colver and Jenny Lens provided essential documentation of the era, making names for themselves producing some of the most important rock photography ever captured…

More at “The Entire Run of Classic Punk Slash Magazine is Now Online.”  [TotH to Richard Kadrey]

* “Questioning anything and everything, to me, is punk rock.” – Henry Rollins

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As we ponder the pogo, we might recall that it was on this date in 1955 that that Bill Haley & His Comets’ “Rock Around the Clock”reached number one on the Billboard charts– the first rock and roll record to ascend to the pinnacle.

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Exactly one year later, Dick Clark began one of television’s longest-running stints as a host when he debuted Bandstand on WFIL, a Philadelphia TV station.  The show was eventually picked up by ABC-TV and changed its name to American Bandstand.

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Written by LW

July 9, 2015 at 1:01 am

“Don’t hate the media; become the media”*…

 

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“Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?”

Johnny Rotten aka John Lydon’s closing words at the last Sex Pistols gig (watch it online) seemed apt this week when Virgin Bank announced their current line of credit cards would feature the band’s signature artwork. That Jamie Reid’s famous cut-n-paste zine-cum-Situationalist aesthetic has turned into a bit of capitalist plastic for your wallet is an irony that the Sex Pistols might never have seen coming back in 1976, when they played the “gig that changed the world.”

Recreated above in a clip from Michael Winterbottom’s 24 Hour Party People, the June 4, 1976 gig at Manchester’s Lesser Free Trade Hall spawned the British punk movement and the post-punk movement that was soon to follow in a scant two years. For in the audience were future members of the Buzzcocks Howard Devoto and Pete Shelley (who organized the gig and opened for the Pistols); a nascent version of Joy Division; the two founders of Factory Records Martin Hannet and Tony Wilson; Mark E. Smith of The Fall, Mick Hucknall of Frantic Elevators and much later Simply Red; and a one Steven Patrick Morrissey, who would form The Smiths. (That’s Steve Coogan playing Tony Wilson in the clip, by the way.)…

More on that extraordinary evening– with audio clips of the Pistols’ performance– at “The Sex Pistols’ 1976 Manchester “Gig That Changed the World,” and the Day the Punk Era Began.”

* Jello Biafra

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As we politely pogo, we might recall that it was on this ate in 2002 that Queen Elizabeth II issued her annual Honours List, on which she tapped 60-year-old Mick Jagger for a Knighthood.

Sir Mick Jagger, his two daughters, and his then-92-year-old father at the Investiture

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Written by LW

June 14, 2015 at 1:01 am

“Apparently I lack some particular perversion which today’s employer is seeking”*…

 

Justine Kurland, Rebuilt Engine, 2013

The second floor of Buffalo’s Albright-Knox Art Gallery currently greets patrons with an empty conveyor belt moving through, and back around, a giant mirror.

“Contemporary capitalism trades in nonexistence,” Agnieszka Kurant, the artist behind the piece, told ArtForum in 2013. “Seventy percent of money in this world is phantom—it exists virtually, on computers—but still produces physical consequences.” Much the same tone is at play in Kurant’s contribution to Overtime: The Art of Work, a new collection of artwork that examines the struggles of laborers across nations and eras.

From paintings of child workers in 18th century England to 3-D printed limbs of contract workers in 21st century America, the show is relentlessly engaging…

Learn more about– and see more of– the exhibit at “Art That Understands What It’s Like to Work.”

* John Kennedy Toole, A Confederacy of Dunces

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As we whistle, we might send radically provocative birthday greetings to Kathy Acker; she was born on this date in 1947.  An experimental novelist, punk poet, playwright, performance artist, essayist, postmodernist, and feminist writer, she was a prolific creator who was formative influence on dozens of younger writers, and on Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill and Kim Gordon, co-founder of Sonic Youth.

In 1996, Acker was diagnosed with breast cancer, and underwent a double mastectomy.  The surgery was unsuccessful, and following year, she undertook a series of alternative therapies.  She died, in November of 1997, in an alternative cancer clinic in Tijuana, Mexico. She died in Room 101, to which her friend Alan Moore quipped, “There’s nothing that woman can’t turn into a literary reference.”

Reason is always in the service of the political and economic masters. It is here that literature strikes, at this base, where the concepts and actings of order impose themselves. Literature is that which denounces and slashes apart the repressing machine at the level of the signified.

Kathy Acker, Empire of the Senseless (1988)

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Written by LW

April 18, 2015 at 1:01 am

“I understand the inventor of the bagpipes was inspired when he saw a man carrying an indignant, asthmatic pig under his arm”*…

The Badpiper— “the worlds only flame-throwing, leather-clad, heavily-tattooed punk rock warrior”– performing AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” in Fremantle, NSW.

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* Alfred Hitchcock

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As we collect ourselves, we might recall that it was on this date in 1939 that Frank Sinatra released his first record: “From the Bottom of My Heart,” recorded with Harry James and His Music Makers (later, the Harry James Orchestra)… fewer than 8,000 copies were sold, making it an exquisitely-valuable collectible.

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Written by LW

July 13, 2013 at 1:01 am

Wearing it in on the sleeve…

Ярослав Свиридов (yasviridov on LiveJournal) has gathered an extraordinary collection of, well…  noteworthy album covers.

Browse dozens more here and here.

[TotH to reader MK and to Slipped Disc]

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As we true our turntables on this, Independence Day, we might recall that it was on this date in 1976– as we in the U.S. were beginning our Bi-Centennial Day celebrations– that the Clash gave their first public performance: they opened for the Sex Pistols at The Black Swan in Sheffield, England.  As U2 guitarist The Edge later wrote, “This wasn’t just entertainment. It was a life-and-death thing….It was the call to wake up, get wise, get angry, get political and get noisy about it.”

The Clash, 1976

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Written by LW

July 4, 2013 at 1:01 am

What do you get if you cross Rockabilly with Punk?…

 

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In the early 80’s, a nightclub known as Klub Foot in Hammersmith, London, became the seed crystal of a musical movement that came to be known as Psychobilly.  As “street anthropologist” Ted Polhemus observed,

At first glance it is hard to imagine a more unlikely combination than Punk and Rockabilly, but the Psychobillies made a virtue of such apparent incompatibility… their fusion of 1950s Americana and 1970s British Punk seemed both obvious and inevitable.

To make the connection one must forget the soft drizzle of sentimentality which in the end became all too typical of the Rockabillies (Elvis singing about Teddy Bears in Vegas) and go back to the angry, licentious snarf of their early days. From this perspective it is clear that the thumping beat, the in-your-face sexuality, the deliberate shunning of prissy sophistication and the greasy quiffs of the early Rockabillies were in tune with Punk’s gutsy spirit of raw rebellion. The Punks simply added a stylistic extremism, an assumption of gender equality and fetishistic trashiness which could not conceivably have existed in Memphis in the mid-fifties. The common denominator is rock ‘n’ roll energy in its purest form…

At one level the Psychobillies exhibited an alarming fixation with violence and wanton destruction, but this was always tempered by a wonderful, surreal sense of humour, which made you smile, even as you crossed hurriedly to the other side of the street.

(From Streetstyle)

The British scene, and the European umbra it generated, dimmed after the demolition of the Claredon in 1988 (but not before influencing many more main-stream Rockabillies to trade in their fancy suits for work clothes); but at about that same point, Psychobilly took root in the U.S, where it lasted through the 90s.  Indeed, to this day Psychobilly delights a relatively small, but dedicated following in the U.S., Europe– and, of course, Japan.

Here, two examples; first, the marriage of Rockabilly and Punk in its purest form: Lemmy Kilmister and Johnny Ramone…

And from earlier days, one of America’s leading Psychobilly bands, Tiger Army…

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As we send discreet birthday greetings to Emily Dickinson, we might recall that it was on this date in 1976 that the “British airwaves turned blue”:  in an appearance on ITV’s morning show, Today, members of the Sex Pistols casually cursed…

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Written by LW

December 10, 2012 at 1:01 am

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