Monday, August 31, 2020

Mark Mothersbaugh Survived COVID-19


Please go read this article about how DEVO's Mark Mothersbaugh survived a harrowing bout of COVID-19. I'm going to clip one little factoid out of it here:
From his wife Anita's perspective, the virus steamrolled through her husband’s system. “It went from, ‘I don’t feel good’ on Tuesday to an ambulance to Cedars on Saturday. It was terrifying.”
Very worth your while. This is excellent journalism from Randall Roberts.

Friday, August 28, 2020

Sue the Hell Out of Them


Leonard Cohen isn't around to sue the Republican National Committee, but his estate is here to sue them into fucking oblivion.
Leonard Cohen’s estate is exploring “legal options” following the unauthorized use of “Hallelujah” during Thursday night’s Republic National Convention.
In a statement, Brian J. Monaco, president and global chief marketing officer of Sony/ATV Music Publishing, said that “on the eve of the finale of the convention, representatives from the Republican National Committee contacted us regarding obtaining permission for a live performance of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’. We declined their request.”
I don't know what's more infuriating about this. Is it because the GOP asked and were denied and played the song anyway? Or is it because the Republicans tried to appropriate the strength and the majesty of this significant piece of pop culture history and steal the beauty of the song and the words?

It's easy to forgive a mistake. When someone picks a song that they can barely sing or uses music that they have a sentimental attachment to for something that doesn't quite match up, you can forgive their desire to do something right but with the wrong pieces. That is not what happened here.

Does the fact that Kate McKinnon sang the song in 2016 just after the election have anything to do with it? Were the Republicans trolling everyone by using it? I don't know.

There is nothing about Trump's presidency that would lead someone to utter the words Halleluja unless they were passing judgement on the end of it. There is no comfort in using this song as the benediction for what amounted to a four day pageant of evil and white grievance. It was used inappropriately by people who do not understand this culture. You don't use this song unless it is meant to express something serious and meaningful. The end of the GOP convention was the culmination of days and days of ignorance and bullshit. That is not where this song needs to be played.

The words that are sung in this song do not match up to the fascist pageantry of self-pity that we witnessed this past week.

Anyway, I sincerely hope that there are a half-dozen extremely capable entertainment industry lawyers who have the time and energy to grind the living shit out of the RNC for using this song in a lawless way. If they need a witness impact statement, they'll have millions to choose from, millions of people who will say that using Leonard's song was an abomination against decency and humanity.

Monday, August 24, 2020

I Wanna Destroy You


This is the sort of thing I can get behind. 

Out 8/29 for @recordstoreday’s RSD Drop: 40th anniversary gatefold double 45 of #TheSoftBoys’ 𝗜 𝗪𝗮𝗻𝗻𝗮 𝗗𝗲𝘀𝘁𝗿𝗼𝘆 𝗬𝗼𝘂 single and 𝗡𝗲𝗮𝗿 𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗦𝗼𝗳𝘁 𝗕𝗼𝘆𝘀. Latter includes two @RobynHitchcock-penned originals & a #SydBarrett cover. recordstoreday.com/upc/6344572693

A wonderful double single by The Soft Boys, courtesy of one of the best record labels in America, Yep Roc.

Friday, August 21, 2020

Fishcotheque


The Jazz Butcher see their Creation Records era albums released on this thing called vinyl for Record Store Day and this is a good thing. Any release of Fishcotheque into the main stream is worthy of words and links and things.

IN an of itself, re-releasing records like this allows for a new generation to be exposed to great music that was consumed in the 1980s. This particular record was a late-1980s miracle and a stunning reinvention of the loose and shaggy band that crawled out of Northampton. No longer using Max Eider's guitar and not content to just conquer the world, this was essential listening.

Having ended up on Creation Records, which I took as a bit of a validation, I was keen to get as far away from all those "w" words that had followed my group around, and to make it as clear as I could that this was a rock & roll thing, not some "eccentricity". I had my shades and I had my fringed suede jacket and I had the Weather Prophets rhythm section.
In the last flickering days before Marriage and Acid House would change the world Kizzy and I hung out in his dealer's flat in Islington and WALKED to the studio in Waterloo everyday. The sessions were chaotic and funny. At one stage Kizzy arrived 56 hours late for a mix, having been held by the Police under the Prevention of Terrorism Act.
David has this down right as a sort of self-justificatory thing. What disappoints me is that it came out sounding so SMOOTH and tidy. I'd hoped it would be more harsh and mad. I guess perhaps it's the saxes, which, I recall, enraged some reviewers. Sonic Boom does good things on Susie (that's 4 of them big ballads at least, now), that was more the idea. Still, not to slag O'Higgins, who began a lengthy association with the JBC on this recording.
This sold rather well, which was pleasing, and seems widely liked. I can't fuck with that, but I had hoped that it would be more a "change of direction" than it was. But I like Fishcotheque; I wish there more records as good as it.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Distortion


If there's anyone out there who deserves a career-spanning box set, it has to be Bob Mould. 

This has been a hell of a journey. I remember when we received Bob's first solo album at the shitty FM radio station where I worked, briefly, in 1989. Of course, we didn't play anything off of it. That's a shame because it was chock full of great songs that should have broken Bob to a massive audience.

This box set will take you on that journey through the post-Husker Du world. Bob went down every possible path to greatness that there is, and then he doubled back and did everything his way, the more difficult way, the right way. There's no one with more integrity than him, no one. There's no one who has worked harder and done more to bring their art to the people. When it was time to expand the reach of the songs and the strength of what he had to say, he adopted the band format and called it Sugar. When it was time to write personal songs of struggle and pain, Bob went back to the solo albums that have marked his tremendous output.

There are no clunkers to muck up this box set. If you've followed Bob through the years, you'll see what I mean. There are no blind alleys. Bob has consistently written and recorded essential music for as long as he's been putting himself out in front of people.

Anyway, wow. What a great idea. No holding back. Here it all is, and here are some bonus features you may not have heard. Can't wait for this.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Mark Kozelek


Sometimes you cannot separate people from their art:
A forthcoming UK tour by Sun Kil Moon, fronted by US indie-rock musician Mark Kozelek who is also known for the group Red House Painters and a solo career, has been cancelled following accusations of sexual assault made against him last week.
Promoter TEG MJR cancelled the tour dates in November 2020 and February 2021, but did not comment further.
In allegations published by Pitchfork, three women have made claims of various sexual incidents, including an accusation of non-consensual sex. Kozelek has not commented on the allegations, and, according to Pitchfork, did not respond to more than a dozen requests for comment made over a period of months. Following the allegations, Kozelek’s US press representative told the Guardian that he had not had contact with Kozelek, and did not respond to further inquiries.
According to Pitchfork, one woman, using the pseudonym Andrea, claims she was 19 years old when Kozelek, now 53, invited her to his hotel room during a 2014 tour and “pretty much just pounced on me … I didn’t have the courage to be like, no, that wasn’t OK, and that’s not what I wanted to do.” She says they continued to have a brief sexual relationship, sometimes consensually, sometimes when “the lines [were] really blurred … our sexual relationship, every encounter was him trying to find another thing he could do, and not in a way where he asks for consent or permission.”
Another woman, Sarah Catherine Golden, alleged that when she also went to a hotel room with Kozelek, in 2017, he lay down on her after she refused his advances. Golden accuses Kozelek of masturbating in front of her, grabbing her, trying to kiss her and forcing her hand on to his penis.
Pitchfork also reported having spoke to an unnamed female musician who has accused Kozelek of having “acted inappropriately” in a hotel room with her in 2014.
Kozelek is known for an acclaimed series of albums dating back to 1992. He has sometimes used combative language against journalists and other musicians. In 2015, he referred to Guardian journalist Laura Snapes as a “bitch” who “totally wants to fuck me” in an improvised song during a London concert. In 2014, he wrote a song attacking the group the War on Drugs, having previously castigated them on stage.
It is possible that Kozelek will seek help for what is wrong with him. He may admit his mistakes and accept punishment for what he is done. He may do what it takes to redeem himself.
Let's hope he is held accountable for the things that he has done. But given how he has behaved, this is not likely.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

UB40


If you read this article, you'll learn a lot about UB40. Currently, there are two competing versions of the band that will never be reconciled. And anyone who says that they got into a fight with Ali Campbell is a lying jackass.
Which controversial Supreme Court judge allegedly got into a fight after a UB40 gig in 1985 with an Ali Campbell lookalike?
“I can’t remember his name. Are you on about the American who thought he was having a fight with me after a concert? It’s complete nonsense.”
WRONG. It’s Brett Kavanaugh who, as a college student, was reported to be involved in an altercation with a man some thought was you.

“That’s him! It’s just bollocks. I don’t go for drinks across the road after a show (Laughs). I’m back at my hotel. And you know, I would have battered him anyway!”
Any other memorable false stories involving you?

“After UB40 played the Montreux Jazz Festival once, the newspapers reported that us and Depeche Mode had gone on a boat that sunk. Robin [Campbell, guitarist] was quoted as saying: ‘And then the rest of the band jumped in to save the beer’, which wasn’t true. I couldn’t see us hanging out with Depeche Mode back in the day.”
It's that same old story. Start a band with your brother, have a falling out, never get back together.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Here's Your New Superhero Film


Creation Records was one of the most important music labels in Great Britain, and it was helmed by a red-haired punk who had superhero leanings and special powers we're only just now beginning to understand:
Alan McGee has given an update on his forthcoming Creation Stories biopic, revealing that it is currently “getting finished”.

The Creation founder’s 2013 autobiography, Creation Stories – Riots, Raves and Running a Record Label, has been adapted for the Irvine Welsh-penned film, which was executive produced by Danny Boyle (Trainspotting) and directed by Nick Moran (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels).
In a new interview with NME, McGee said: “It’s literally getting finished this week. They’re just trying to work out how to release it. I want them to just bang it online. Get it on Netflix, Amazon Prime or Sky, because who’s going to the fucking cinema now?

This superhero understood how to find great bands and get their records into the hands of people who would love them and never abandon them. Everything I have from Creation I have hung on to, and I will never let any of it go.

It takes a superhero to discover great music. These are uncanny powers, not to be underestimated. McGee has those powers and he cannot teach them or share them. He is the man for our times and I am hoping people get to see him in a new light.