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Posts Tagged ‘rock

“Now I wanna remind everyone of the House of Mouse Rules: No smoking. No villainous schemes. And no guests eating other guests.”*…

Alligator and python

In addition to being home to men with questionable decision-making skills, Florida also seems to have some issues with bizarre animal behavior, whether it’s freezing iguanas dropping from trees or alligators battling pythons in the Everglades. When it comes to those animals, however, Floridians can truly put the blame on non-natives. Neither pythons nor green iguanas made the Sunshine State their home until we brought them there as pets.

In fact, there are lots of problematic invasive species that have spread through the pet trade, from predatory fish that can drag themselves between bodies of water to a crayfish that clones itself to reproduce. Those high-profile cases lead to some obvious questions, like whether pets really are more likely to be invasive and, if so, why?

Two Swiss researchers, Jérôme Gippeta and Cleo Bertelsmeier have now attempted to answer these questions. And their conclusion is that yes, our pets are more likely to be problems.

To answer the question of whether pets really are problematic, the researchers generated some basic statistics for different groups of animals (mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish). These included estimates of the total number of species, as well as the number of those that are classified as invasive and the number that are part of the pet trade.

If pets were no more or less likely to be invasive, you’d expect to see the invasive ones occupy similar fractions of both the pet trade and the total number of species in that group. But that’s not what we see in any of the groups. Invasive mammal species were present at five times the rate in the pet trade as they are in the wild around the globe. There was a similar result in birds; for amphibians, invasive species were eight times more common in the pet trade and about 10 times more common in fish.

Overall, invasive species were 7.4 times more likely to be kept as pets than you’d expect based on their frequency among vertebrate populations.

But cause and effect can be difficult to disentangle. Do we choose species that are more likely to be invasive as pets? Or have pets ended up with more opportunities to invade new environments because we transport them around the world?…

Spoiler alert: it’s the former… A new study finds the factors making them easier to keep also help them spread: “Unfortunately, we like pets that are likely to be invasive species.”

* Mickey Mouse

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As we ponder proliferation, we might recall that it was on this date in 1964 that a different kind of “invader,” the Beatles, set a record: they became the first artists to hold all top 5 spots on the Billboard Hot 100 on the same week, on April 4, 1964. 
#1. Can’t Buy Me Love
#2. Twist and Shout
#3. She Loves You
#4. I Want to Hold Your Hand
#5. Please Please Me
More Beatles on the Charts that week: #31 – I Saw Her Standing There, #41 – From Me To You, #46 – Do You Want To Know a Secret, #58 – All My Loving, #65 – You Can’t Do That, #68 – Roll Over Beethoven, #79 – Thank You Girl

At the time, the best-selling piece of Beatles merchandise was the “I Love Ringo” button.

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Written by LW

April 4, 2021 at 1:01 am

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

Punk Planet was a 16,000 print run punk zine, based in Chicago, Illinois, that focused most of its energy on looking at punk subculture rather than punk as simply another genre of music to which teenagers listen. In addition to covering music, Punk Planet also covered visual arts and a wide variety of progressive issues — including media criticism, feminism, and labor issues.

The most notable features in Punk Planet were the interviews and album reviews. The interviews generally ran two or three pages, and tended to focus on the motivations of the artist (or organizer, activist, or whoever) being interviewed. Punk Planet aimed to be more inclusive than the well-known zine Maximum Rock and Roll, and tried to review nearly all the records it received, so long as the record label wasn’t owned or partially owned by a major label. This led to a review section typically longer than thirty pages, covering a variety of musical styles. Although much of the music thus reviewed was, expectedly, aggressive rock, the reviews also covered country, folk, hip-hop, indie rock, and other genres. The Punk Planet reviews section also encompassed independently released comics, zines, and DVDs…

The first issue of the zine was published in May 1994, in part as a response to the perception that Maximum Rock and Roll was becoming too elitist. In September 2006, Punk Planet had printed 75 issues of their bi-monthly publication, and in the fall of 2004 launched a book publishing arm, Punk Planet Books, in conjunction with the New York-based small press Akashic Books…

A number of poor distribution deals and the collapse of the Independent Press Association resulted in mounting debts for the editors. As a result, issue 80 was shipped with a cover reading: “This is the final issue of Punk Planet, after this the fight is yours.” Subsidiary business Punk Planet books remains in business…

The annals of punk, the subculture as much as the genre– the invaluable Internet Archive (@internetarchive) has digitized and made the full run available: “Punk Planet Archive.”

* Jello Biafra

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As we travel in time, we might recall that this date in 1959 was “the day the music died”: the day that a plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, J.P. Richardson (aka, The Big Bopper), and pilot Roger Peterson.

If Beethoven had been killed in a plane crash at the age of 22, it would have changed the history of music… and of aviation.

– Tom Stoppard

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Written by LW

February 3, 2021 at 1:01 am

“Some things cost more than you realize”*…

A demo tape made by the band On A Friday is poised to hit the auction block of Omega Auctions on January 26. The TDK cassette tape has recordings of six tracks, three of which the auction house claims have not been heard yet: “Promise Me,” “Boy In A Box” and “These Chains.” The tape was recorded sometime before 1991, which we know because that’s the year that they signed with EMI Records and decided to change their name to Radiohead. The tape was given to a friend of the band and is expected to fetch £2,000, so if you’re a fan of the band and you want to make sure this one existing copy doesn’t get purchased by some insipid owner of a pharmaceutical company, now is the time to creep on over to the auction site and ready a bid…

It includes handwritten notes and a label design by frontman Thom Yorke

Radiohead’s demo tape from their school band days is coming up for bid: “Exit Music (for an Auction)” More details at the BBC.

[Via the ever-illuminating Numlock News]

* Radiohead

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As we ruminate on roots, we might spare a thought for Steve Wahrer, drummer and vocalist of the Minneapolis-based (!) surf rock group The Trashmen– best known for their (one) hit, “Surfin’ Bird,” a 1963 mash-up of two R&B hits by The Rivingtons, “The Bird’s the Word” and “Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow.” Wahrer died, at age 47, on this date in 1989 (of throat cancer).

The Trashmen; Wahrer is the blond, second from right

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“I find it hard to focus looking forward. So I look backward.”*…

In 1995, “the Godfather of Punk,” Iggy Pop published a review in the scholarly journal Classics Ireland

In 1982, horrified by the meanness, tedium and depravity of my existence as I toured the American South playing rock and roll music and going crazy in public, I purchased an abridged copy of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (Dero Saunders, Penguin). The grandeur of the subject appealed to me, as did the cameo illustration of Edward Gibbon, the author, on the front cover. He looked like a heavy dude. Being in a political business, I had long made a habit of reading biographies of wilful characters — Hitler, Churchill, MacArthur, Brando — with large profiles, and I also enjoyed books on war and political intrigue, as I could relate the action to my own situation in the music business, which is not about music at all, but is a kind of religion-rental.

I would read with pleasure around 4 am, with my drugs and whisky in cheap motels, savouring the clash of beliefs, personalities and values, played out on antiquity’s stage by crowds of the vulgar, led by huge archetypal characters. And that was the end of that. Or so I thought.

Eleven years later I stood in a dilapidated but elegant room in a rotting mansion in New Orleans, and listened as a piece of music strange to my ears pulled me back to ancient Rome and called forth those ghosts to merge in hilarious, bilious pretense with the Schwartzkopfs, Schwartzeneggers and Sheratons of modern American money and muscle myth. Out of me poured information I had no idea I ever knew, let alone retained, in an extemporaneous soliloquy I called ‘Caesar’.

When I listened back, it made me laugh my ass off because it was so true. America is Rome. Of course, why shouldn’t it be? All of Western life and institutions today are traceable to the Romans and their world. We are all Roman children for better or worse. The best part of this experience came after the fact — my wife gave me a beautiful edition in three volumes of the magnificent original unabridged Decline and Fall, and since then the pleasure and profit have been all mine as I enjoy the wonderful language, organization and scope of this masterwork.

Here are just some of the ways I benefit:

1 I feel a great comfort and relief knowing that there were others who lived and died and thought and fought so long ago; I feel less tyrannized by the present day.

2 I learn much about the way our society really works, because the system-origins — military, religious, political, colonial, agricultural, financial — are all there to be scrutinized in their infancy. I have gained perspective.

3 The language in which the book is written is rich and complete, as the language of today is not.

4 I find out how little I know.

5 I am inspired by the will and erudition which enabled Gibbon to complete a work of twenty-odd years. The guy stuck with things. I urge anyone who wants life on earth to really come alive for them to enjoy the beautiful ancestral ancient world…

Iggy in roughly that period

Iggy Pop on the relevance of Gibbon’s Decline and Fall in particular, and of history in general: “Caesar Lives.” (Free JSTOR registration may be required.)

* Iggy Pop

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As we note, with Faulkner, that “the past is never dead. It’s not even past,” we might recall that on the pop music charts on this date in 1967, The Monkees continued into the New Year at #1 with “I’m A Believer.” “Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron” by the Royal Guardsmen was second, with Aaron Neville making a push for the top with “Tell It Like It Is”.  Former #1 “Winchester Cathedral” by the New Vaudeville Band grabbed the #4 spot, followed by Nancy Sinatra (“Sugar Town”), and Dad Frank (“That’s Life”). The rest of the Top 10:  Boise, Idaho’s Paul Revere & the Raiders with “Good Thing”, the Mamas and the Papas climbed from 19 (to #8) with “Words Of Love”, the Four Tops nearly matched that with “Standing In The Shadows Of Love,” while Donovan took a turn downward with “Mellow Yellow.” On the album chart, The Monkees made it nine weeks on top with their eponymously-titled first release.

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“True care, truth brings”*…

Blink-182 at the Whiskey in Los Angeles in 1996. (Photo: Daniel D’Auria/WikiCommons CC BY-SA 2.0)

Two decades have passed since pop-punk exploded in the American music scene, yet the quintessentially suburban, teen-centric music still seems to bounce around our collective skulls. Of all the elements of the Clinton-era mutation of punk music that embraced skate and surf culture, mild angst, goofiness, and incredibly hooky, catchy music, it’s the vocals that we remember. The very specific accent used in the mega-hits of the genre seems to still have a hold over anyone who was a teenager between 1993 and 2003: On Twitter you’ll see jokes made about the “pop punk voice” used by bands like the Offspring, New Found Glory, Avril Lavigne, and, especially, Blink-182. Their accents are a relic as strong as the Valley Girl voice.

There’s a whole Tumblr called Tom DeLonge Lyrics, dedicated to transliterating the spectacularly strange and exaggerated accent used by DeLonge, one of the singers of pop-punk band Blink-182… DeLonge is an extreme example but far from the only singer in the genre to adopt a very particular accent, usually described as sneering, whining, bratty, or snotty. By the early-2000s, with pop-punk nearing the apex of its popularity, singers from all over California had influenced singers from as far afield as Minnesota, Ontario, Maryland, and South Florida, all of whom sung pretty much just like DeLonge, who grew up just outside San Diego.

What’s going on here? How did that linguistic pattern take hold? From its start, punk has played with accents, with Americans sounding like Brits and vice versa, but this voice is different.

I called up a few linguists and music historians to try to get at the heart of the pop-punk voice. But it turns out that when you make a linguist listen to a Blink-182 song, you get more than you expected. Pop-punk vocals are on the forefront of shifting regional dialects and, especially, a major vocal change happening in California in the past few decades. The three-minute pop-punk song, one of the dumbest forms of music ever conceived (in a good way, I’d say), maybe isn’t so dumb, after all…

Knowledge is where you find it: “I Made a Linguistics Professor Listen to a Blink-182 Song and Analyze the Accent.”

* Blink-182, “All The Small Things,” Enema of the State

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As we listen carefully, we might recall that it was on this date in 1978 that 20-year-old Nancy Spungen bled to death on the bathroom floor of a room in the Chelsea Hotel in New York that she shared with her boyfriend Sid Vicious, the bassist of the (recently-disbanded) Sex Pistols; she had suffered a stab wound to her abdomen. Vicious (whose legal name was John Simon Ritchie) reported that he had found her after awakening from a drugged stupor.

Vicious was charged with her murder, but died of a drug overdose while awaiting trial…. thus marking for many observers the end of the Punk period… and creating the space for the emergence of pop-punk (and other post-punk sub-genre).

Nancy and Sid

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Written by LW

October 12, 2020 at 1:01 am

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