New Spoon

New single from Everything Hits At Once: The Best of Spoon, coming July 26th.

Check it, yo.

Replacements At A Turning Point

Here’s a great 32-year-old article from SPIN’s archives, from around the time that I was getting into them. (Yes, I was late to the party and had to work my way back through the Twin/Tone albums.) The band had just parted ways with manager Pete Jesperson, fired lead guitarist Bob Stinson, and released one of their best albums, Pleased To Meet Me. Recorded right here in Memphis!

“When we started,” [Westerberg] says, pausing to sip from a midmorning Schmidt, “we definitely had a fear of success. We had a fear of everything. We were all very paranoid, and I think that goes hand in hand with the excessive drinking thing. We’d get drunk because we were basically scared shitless, and that snowballed into image. Now we’re a little more assured of what we’re doing. We’re not positive which way we’re going, but we think we know what mistakes lie ahead, and we’re trying to sidestep ‘em.”

Full article here.

The Black Godfather

Ok this is a great documentary. Clarence Avant freakin’ was into everything, and everything he touched turned to gold. I have to admit that I didn’t know much about him before I watched this, but now I’m fascinated. Login to the Netflix and watch this posthaste.

And He Brought Home The Bacon

DEVO’s first single, released March 12, 1977 on Booji Boy Records. (B/W “Jocko Homo,” of course.)

About the video …

“Mongoloid” was Devo’s second music video, after The Truth About De-Evolution. It was not actually made by the band, but by assemblage artist and experimental filmmaker Bruce Conner. Conner combined 1950s television advertisements, science fiction film clips (including a scene from It Came from Outer Space), and scientific documentaries with abstract animation and original film work. Devo marketed the film as “A documentary film exploring the manner in which a determined young man overcame a basic mental defect and became a useful member of society. Insightful editing techniques reveal the dreams, ideals and problems that face a large segment of the American male population. Very educational. Background music written and performed by the DEVO orchestra.”

Any Good Thing They Ever Sold They Stole

New Titus Andronicus, from the album An Obelisk. Out today!

They’re taking an old religion, fitting it with a different name
Now we’re cutting our own incisions and inserting their hurting pain
It’s another innocent victim shivering in the frigid cold
They’re making a dirty fortune selling something that’s barely working
An inferior version of rock and roll
Or whatever else ever has touched your soul
Call it what you will — there’s a billion of them they sold
They’re taking credit that they’re not earning
Any good thing they ever sold they stole

Oh yeah

They’re making a television different than the old one was
A limited deluxe edition, it’s a superior version of
Of the previous week’s installment, but ain’t it all the same? (Pretty much)
Yet I comfort myself at night with transmission by satellite
It’s like a good enough facsimile of real love
I guess I got a habit same as everyone else does
We’re all banging down doors, trying to grab that stuff
But we never should have left it up to the judge
That passed the bill that illegalized us
They illegalized us

Oh yeah

The inferior version, it isn’t really rock and roll
It’s but a shallow imitation — it doesn’t really get ya goin’
And there ain’t no good explanation why it’s flying off the shelves
It’s a sorry situation — entire world’s going to hell
But I in no way blame myself
Though I helped those bastards to sell that inferior version we love so well
An inferior version of rock and roll
An inferior version of rock and roll
They’re making a dirty fortune off an inferior version of rock and roll

Whoa yeah

Good News For Droogie

In a short musical film directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, Thom Yorke of Radiohead scores and stars in a mind-bending visual piece.

Best played loud.

Album available for digital download ($11! Cheap!) June 27, film available on Netflix … June 27!

ANIMA:

01 Traffic
02 Last I Heard (…He Was Circling the Drain)
03 Twist
04 Dawn Chorus
05 I Am a Very Rude Person
06 Not the News
07 The Axe
08 Impossible Knots
09 Runwayaway

Sweet Jebus

8-year-old Japanese girl KILLS IT. Watch her footwork closely – those triplets are a motherfucker.

Favorite YouTube comment: No matter how good you are on your instrument of choice there’s always going to be an Asian child somewhere who’s better than you.

Speaking Of Classic Synthesizer Albums …

The soundtrack to Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange was released to accompany the 1971 film of the same name. The music is a thematic extension of Alex’s (and the viewer’s) psychological conditioning. The soundtrack of A Clockwork Orange comprises classical music and electronic synthetic music composed by Wendy Carlos. Some of the music is heard only as excerpts, e.g. Edward Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 (a.k.a. Land of Hope and Glory) heralding a politician’s appearance at the prison.

The main theme is an electronic transcription of Henry Purcell’s Music for the Funeral of Queen Mary, composed in 1695, for the procession of Queen Mary’s cortège through London en route to Westminster Abbey. “March from ‘A Clockwork Orange'” (based on the choral movement of the Ninth Symphony by Beethoven) was the first recorded song featuring a vocoder for the singing; synthpop bands often cite it as their inspiration.

Switched-On Bach features ten pieces by Bach available under the public domain, performed by Carlos, with assistance from Folkman, on a modular Moog synthesizer. Carlos worked closely with Robert Moog, designer of the instrument, throughout the recording process, testing his components and suggesting improvements. The album was recorded in a studio in the basement of a brownstone building acquired by Carlos and Elkind in the West Side of Manhattan in New York City, using a custom-built 8-track recording machine constructed by Carlos from components built by Ampex.

Recording was a tedious and time-consuming process; as the synthesizers were monophonic, meaning only one note can be played at a time, each track was assembled one at a time. According to Carlos: “You had to release the note before you could make the next note start, which meant you had to play with a detached feeling on the keyboard, which was really very disturbing in making music.” The synthesizer was unreliable and often went out of tune; Carlos recalled hitting it with a hammer prior to recording to obtain correct levels. After several notes were played, it was checked again to make sure it had not “drifted”. According to Carlos, Switched-On Bach took approximately five months and a total of one thousand hours to produce.

Bach provided only two chords for the second movement of the Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G Major, intending that the musician would improvise on these chords. Carlos carefully constructed this piece to showcase the capabilities of the Moog.

Ill Communication Is 25

This is worth a look.

‘Still Ill: 25 Years of the Beastie Boys’ Ill Communication’ features Michael “Mike D” Diamond and Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz diving deep into the making of the band’s epic 1994 album – and, arguably, one of their high points as artists and generational touchstones. The 15-minute documentary tracks the Beastie Boys’ rejuvenation in the years after the release of 1989’s Paul’s Boutique – now considered a masterpiece but at the time a commercial flop – first with 1992’s Check Your Head and ultimately with Ill Communication, which produced the epic single and music video “Sabotage” and returned them to playing arenas.

Featuring interviews with Diamond and Horovitz from this March in Austin, Texas — as well as new interviews with keyboardist Mark “Money Mark” Nishita and producer Mario Caldato and rarely-seen 1990s footage of the band – Still Ill focuses heavily on late Beastie Boy Adam “MCA” Yauch and his contributions to Ill Communication. Through footage and the words of his friends, the documentary captures Yauch’s journey into activism, which would blossom with the Tibetan Freedom Concerts later in the decade, as well as his famous denunciation of misogyny in hip-hop on the single “Sure Shot”: “I want to say a little something that’s long overdue / The disrespect to women has got to be through / To all the mothers and sisters and the wives and friends / I want to offer my love and respect to the end.”