This Guy Is A Magician

Two Les Paul headstock repairs, two different approaches. Never realized Gibson’s design flaw until this gentleman pointed it out.

And Now For Something Completely Obscure

Electronic pop duo Silver Apples released their first album in ’68.  I believe that makes them the first ever electronic pop band, predating Can, Kraftwerk, et al.  If any of you bastards know of someone prior to these guys, please clue me in.  They sold very few albums, but one somehow ended up in my house in the mid 70’s.  Ignorant that they predated Kraftwerk, I pretty much dismissed them because I didn’t like the songs very much.  They typically set up good initial ideas but, in my opnion, are let down by the singing and trippy lyrics, which creep me out for some reason.   But the electronic sounds are innovative and excellent.  Those sounds come from “The Simeon,” a primitive, homemade synth built by singer Simeon Coxe, an Alabaman.  He was just stringing together old WWII oscillators and claims that at the time  he’d never heard of Moogs or other synthesizers in develpoment.

Silver Apples’ legacy is hard to pin down.  Some 90’s experimental bands have cited them as an influence, but what about the electronic innovators of the 70’s?  You never heard a word about these guys back then, so did they influence Krautrock, Eno, Devo, prog rockers, or just work in a vacuum?  Who knows, but I can’t help but love their oddball creativity.  Very much in the tradition of American cranks innovating alone in the basement or garage.  But overall they show that first usually isn’t best.

Here is their full story, which is very interesting.  If you want to hear more, below is the entire first album and one song, “You and I”, from their second and final album, which was withdrawn soon after release.  The opening of “You and I” is suspiciously like “Station To Station,” but  I have no idea if Bowie was familiar with it.  The whole second album, which I haven’t heard,  is also on YouTube.

Beat Club Medley

I have no idea what this is, but you cosmopolitan musical snobs and German Fat Elvis can enlighten us.

PG&E, Kinks, Chuck Berry, Mick Taylor-era Stones, surprisingly not terrible Grateful Dead, and Doors without Morrison.

Temperature Timeline

XKCD is great fun. I enjoyed this for the historical perspective, and had no idea that Boston and New York were iced over as recently as 20,000 years ago.

Also: if this pandemic doesn’t get us, liquefied Antarctica surely will.
Have a nice day.

@machinepix Most Tweeted of 2019

Music History: Top Singles, Each Decade

Great twitter thread. I’ve included a few hits.

ARCHIE HENDERSON (@jazzemu_) I am a music historian, and with I have researched the best-selling single of every decade all the way back to 14,000 BC:

Project Magenta

Co-creating with AI. Fascinating stuff.

New technologies have fundamentally changed the way we make and experience music. In this session Claire Evans, artist, author and one half of the pop duo YACHT talks about deep learning as a tool in their creative process. Their new album explores Google AI’s research project, Magenta, an open-source music-making package using machine learning models.

I Thought I’d Seen It All

Check out “Twink” miming with The Pretty Things for a bewildered French TV audience.  Ever heard of Twink?  I hadn’t, so I poked around on Google.  Nicknamed after a British hair product, Twink was a mime, drummer, close friend of Syd Barrett, and general scenester of the London psychedelic underground.  He played drums with an early version of T. Rex, with Syd Barret occasionally, on one Pretty Things album, and with the Pink Fairies.  In the early 70’s, he was in Hawkwind with Lemmy.  His band The Rings were on the ground floor of the London punk scene in ’77.  Some refer to their lone single, “I Wanna be Free” as England’s first punk record.  It’s not very good compared to what was about to come from the Damned, Sex Pistols, Buzzcocks, Clash, and Jam.

What led me to this video was my fondness for The Pretty Things,  a very good British r&b band who never made any headway in the U.S.  Their guitarist, Dick Taylor, had been in an early version of the Stones.  Like the Stones, their forays into psychedelia were not always memorable, as you can hear above.   You can hear them at their best here and here.  Their raucous version of Roadrunner is my favorite cover of that song.