New Strokes

I’m hearing good things about the next album, due April 10. I lost interest in The Strokes after First Impressions of Earth (2006?!), but I’d be hard-pressed to find a better debut album than Is This It.

Here’s a video for one of the new singles, “Bad Decisions.” If it sounds a lot like “Dancing With Myself,” it’s no accident. The band allegedly gave Billy Idol and Tony James songwriting credits to avoid litigation.

As near as I can tell, the message in the video is that The Strokes will be evolving musically, so if you want rehashed older albums (clones), too bad. Oh, and the band members’ faces are deepfaked onto actors playing the clones. Timely!

Rachael & Vilray

Feast your ears, bastards! Rachael Price from Lake Street Dive and songwriter Vilray V. Vilray (no surname) perform new tunes written to sound like those from the 30s and 40s. I’m reminded of a line from A Clockwork Orange, which I am currently re-reading for the first time since college …

Oh bliss! Bliss and heaven! Oh, it was gorgeousness and gorgeousity made flesh. It was like a bird of rarest-spun heaven metal or like silvery wine flowing in a spaceship, gravity all nonsense now. As I slooshied, I knew such lovely pictures!

And here’s the NPR podcast from whence I discovered them …

Wipers, The

Never heard of these Portland screamers from the late 70s – early 80s. Apparently they were very influential on the whole PNW grunge movement, but we won’t hold that against them.

Attention Kmart Shoppers

Although The Treasury on Lamar was more my speed, I can definitely appreciate this.

This is a digitized version of an in-store reel to reel tape that was played within a Kmart store in 1973. In my opinion, the opening Kmart jingle is the most important artifact of this recording, but the music and small number of commercials make it a great listen.

The Greatest Internet Comment About Star Wars Ever

Tickets purchased, expectations lowered. Sigh. The Rise of Skywalker is currently hovering at a 53 on Metacritic.

And, submitted for your approval, a rare and wonderfully insightful thought plucked from the Internet. (Birth. Movies. Death., specifically.)

I couldn’t agree more.

If you go back and look at George Lucas’ “Star Wars” from in the context of 1977, it fits right into the canon of New Hollywood greats. But while his contemporaries were pulling from the French New Wave or Italian neorealisim, George Lucas cribbed influences from Kurosawa, Flash Gordon, John Ford, Joseph Campbell. It felt personal, in its own strange way, driven by the point of view of one auteur. As timeless as it seemed, it felt current and relevant to the outside world; its not hard to draw a comparison to the Vietnam war watching Star Wars, fresh on the minds of every American in the late 70s. It took risks, even when it was traveling in cliches and archetypes, and went on to inspire multiple generations of creativity.

But somewhere along the way, Star Wars became just another risk averse IP in our increasingly IP-driven world. As its universe expanded, it ironically put on a cap on the possibilities of what “Star Wars” could mean. It is now Star Wars as product, “market-researched, audience-tested, vetted, modified, revetted and remodified until they’re ready for consumption” as Martin Scorsese recently put it. Where once Star Wars drew on the outside world, its now merely about itself and its finite number of themes and ideas. The films that once showed audiences things they’d never seen before is now just another franchise built to deliver exactly what we remember, forever and ever, until we’re all dead.

Go Ask Alice

A rare peek behind the mask when Alice Cooper was still scaring the adults.

… we have uncovered an interview of Alice Cooper in the midst of the massively successful 1973-1974 Billion Dollar Babies tour. In the video, he is interviewed at the Hotel Hesperia in Helsinki, Finland, discussing his stage persona, rock music, violence, his audiences, and musical influences.

At the time, Alice was in Europe to promote the original band’s upcoming film, “Good To See You Again, Alice Cooper”, which predominately featured live concert footage filmed at the 1973 Sam Houston Coliseum show. Alice then headed to Brazil where the band became the first western band to perform there.

This rare interview filmed by YLE, The Finnish Broadcasting Company for the Finnish TV Show “Iltatähti”, was originally broadcast on April 13, 1974.

Turbocharged: The Unauthorized Story Of The Cars

On Amazon Prime (for rental, though, $1.99). Completely ridiculous, and I have no idea how accurate it tracks to the band’s actual history. A better writer describes it as

Exaggerated personalities, terrible wigs, and an unorthodox plot make this hilarious film the breath of fresh air the genre needs. Narrated by a snowman a la Rankin/Bass, Turbocharge revolves around The Cars’ reputation for being robotic and boring during live shows, and their supposed determination to correct that perception with the fans. Running alongside that thread is the assertion that bassist Ben Orr was secretly plotting to wrest the control of the group from co-founder and songwriter Ric Ocasek. In an unexpected twist, Phil Collins is delightfully in the middle of it all.

Very low budget, obviously doesn’t have any cars songs in it, and is funnier than it should be.