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Posts Tagged ‘rock

“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

“Be still / Stillness reveals the secrets of eternity”*…

Nodding your head to a beat, or swaying along with the music, can feel as though it is happening automatically when a song comes flowing from loudspeakers. But have you tried to resist? Researchers have discovered that it is virtually impossible to stand completely still when hearing music.

Nobody has managed it so far,” says Alexander Refsum Jensenius a Professor of Music Technology [at the University of Oslo]. He is conducting research on human micro-movements along with Victor Evaristo Gonzalez Sanchez, postdoctoral fellow in biomechanics, and Agata Zelechowska, doctoral research fellow in music psychology.

How we move to music when dancing has been of interest to researchers for some time. The tiny, involuntary movements our bodies make to music when we are really standing still, however, has never been systematically explored. Until now…

The researchers have studied this by conducting various experiments. They have even organized a series of Norwegian Championships of Standstill, where the winners were the ones who moved the least. After holding four such championships the results were clear: People generally move a bit more when they hear music.”

It turns out that people stand still in very similar ways. On average you sway your head 7 millimeters per second when you’re trying to stand still. There are also very few variations, with the standard deviation being just a few millimeters,” says Jensenius.

The Norwegian record belongs to the participant who only swayed 3.9 millimeters per second..

More at “Not moving to dance music is nearly impossible, according to new research

* Laotzu

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As we stifle the sway, we might send rhythmic birthday greetings to Charles Hardin Holley; he was born on this date in 1936. Better known by his stage name, Buddy Holly, he was a pioneering figure of mid-1950s rock and roll. During his short career, Holly wrote and recorded several songs– perhaps best known among them “Peggy Sue” and “That’ll Be The Day.” He is regarded as the artist who defined the traditional rock-and-roll lineup of two guitars, bass, and drums.

Holly died at the height of his fame, on a tour with his band, the Crickets– which included future country music star Waylon Jennings (bass), famed session musician Tommy Allsup (guitar), and Carl Bunch (drums)– Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper, in a plane crash– memorialized by Don McLean as “The Day the Music Died” in his song “American Pie“.

Holly was a major influence on later popular music artists, including Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, The Hollies (who named themselves in his honor), Elvis Costello, Marshall Crenshaw (who later played Holly), and Elton John. He was among the first artists inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, in 1986; and Rolling Stone magazine ranked him number 13 in its list of “100 Greatest Artists”.

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Written by LW

September 7, 2020 at 1:01 am

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