Syd Barrett R.I.P.
has, without a doubt, made some of my favorite music of all time.
His songs have remained with me since early on and, though he wasn't
active during my lifetime, I guess I always dreamed that he'd somehow
be back - and, while not probable, as he was living and breathing,
it was within the realm of the possible. Today our unlikely collective
dream is officially impossible as one of the most original musical
minds of the late Twentieth Centuryhas passed away.
come soon. Go to these articles for now...
Syd Barrett Site:
Sleater-Kinney Call It Quits
indisputably one of the most important bands of the last decade
or so, have officially broken up. Their website begins with the
years as a band, Sleater-Kinney have decided to go on indefinite
hiatus. The upcoming summer shows will be our last. As of now,
there are no plans for future tours or recordings.
We feel lucky to have had the support of many wonderful people
over the years. We want to thank everyone who has worked with
us, written kind words about us, performed with us, and inspired
But mostly we want to extend our gratitude to our amazing fans.
You have been a part of our story from the beginning. We could
not have made our music without your enthusiasm, passion, and
loyalty. It is you who have made the entire journey worthwhile.
With love and thanks,
You can however
witness a handful of swan song shows this summer at the Forecastle
Festival, Lollapallooza, Philly’s Starlight Ballroom, DC’s
9:30, and NYC’s Webster Hall.
They won't soon
No Rock n’Roll Fun” MP3
and Guitar” MP3
A Ramones Musical?...
punk rock was all about the spectacle from the start. While the
earlier American version may have been a little more aimless and
less commercial, The
Ramones and company had no problem selling out. The
musical, the final stage in pop music commodification, is also the
official eulogy for an artist. When you’ve squeezed everything
you can out of back catalogs, compilations, and rarities, this vulgar
cartoon museum with a funhouse mirror perspective is all that’s
left. On Broadway, where you can now find everything from Abba to
Billy Joel, you soon may also come across a musical stage adaptation
of the Ramones.
downtown climbs up to midtown, while its still on its wide detour
of malls and K-Marts worldwide, Gabba
which hits London’s Koko Nightclub on July 31, is being billed
as the world’s “first punk rock musical” (what
about Rock and Roll High School? OK, the first stage musical,
c’mon, there’ve been hundreds up to the present –
take me to The Cake Shop this week and I’m sure you’ll
find at least one). The production, which has been popping up in
random spots like Australia, Germany, and Switzerland the last couple
of years, this time includes a nightly appearance by the last Ramone
standing, founder/drummer Tommy Ramone.
I can hear
you grumbling from the other side of your speed-line. Cut it out.
If any band’s embraced the pop culture with a playful aesthetic
that was at once irreverent and nostalgic, it’s gotta be The
Ramones. As with The Rock and Roll High School example,
or, if you ever saw ‘em live, the Zippy the Pinhead character
on stage year after year toting a “Gabba Gabba Hey Hey”
sign, a cornball musical fits the band’s unholy sense of humor
like a pair of tight-pegged jeans.
this in your high school punk lyric notepad and smoke it:
ever think you would see the day
Of “Chinese Rocks” on the Great White Way?
Gabba Gabba Gabba Hey Hey Hey...
Gabba Hey Official Site - check it out! hilarious...
Composer György Ligeti dies at 83
One of the great 20th Century composers, György
Ligeti, passed away yesterday at the age of 83. Best
known in popular culture for his soundtrack to Stanley Kubrick’s
2001: A Space Odyssey (1969), Ligeti was an important figure
in the European avant garde, early electronic music, and symphonic
composition in general.
Hungarian Jew who had escaped the Nazis and studied at the Franz
Liszt Academy after World War II, Ligeti had a life-changing moment
during the November 1956 Soviet invasion of Hungary. Karlheinz
Stockhausen’s seminal electronic piece, Gesang
der Jünglinge, played on the radio. Less than a month
later Legeti escaped to Vienna and immediately sought out Stockhausen.
The two composers immediately hit it off and Stockhausen gave him
access to the legendary electronic music temple - the Electronic
Music Studio of West German Radio in Cologne. There Ligeti composed
three electronic works, began experimenting with clusters in a concept
that he termed "micropolyphony," and remained involved
in Darmstadt until 1966 –when he went off in his own direction.
Ligeti’s pieces explored electronics (Artikulation),
vocal acoustics (Aventures and Nouvelles Aventures), the
sound of one-hundred metronomes (Poème Symphonique),
two orchestras a quarter-tone apart (Ramifications), and
solo organ (Volumina). He also composed elaborate modernist
symphonies like Apparitions (1959) and Atmosphères
(1961). His work had a playful sense of humor – burlesquing
John Cage’s 4’33 in 0’00, presenting
a mute lecture in The Future of Music (1961), and offering
black humor in his opera Grand Macabre (1977). Ligeti’s
star began to rise in the late 1960s after he won the 1967 Bonn
Beethoven Prize for Requiem. This piece, and his next success,
Lux aeterna, along with Atmosphères, all
played a major role in 2001: A Space Odyssey and its best
international name by this point, György Ligeti spent the 1970s
and 1980s as a prolific composer and professor – defining
his later work with an emphasis on polyrhythm. He spent the last
decade of his life accumulating awards, prizes, and other forms
of recognition of his contributions to contemporary music.
a moment to explore some of his work...
Ligeti Official Site
Ligeti interactive site with audio samples and more
Online In-Depth Obit
Billy Preston R.I.P
Preston, who was in a coma since November, died of
a kidney-related illness on Tuesday.
Preston not only had one of the most diverse and prolific careers
of any soul or pop musician, but played on astoundingly high quality
material. Not only an important solo artist with a number of good
records to his credit, Preston was the consummate side musician
up until his death. And, even if you haven’t heard his own
hits like “Nothing from Nothing,” whoever you are, you
know his work. He was omnipresent. You can find him on everything
from early soul masterpieces like Sam Cooke’s Night Beat
to rock classics like The White Album, Abby Road, Let It
Be, Plastic Ono Band, All Things Must Pass, Exile On Main Street,
and Blood on the Tracks to easy listening hits like “You
Are So Beautiful” (which he co-wrote). Billy Preston’s
gift to the world wasn’t only his soul jazz organ jams in
the 1960s, his pre-disco space funk instrumentals in the 1970s,
or his vocal soul, it was also the way he snuck a little bit of
spice into big pop hits – and that’s why they hired
up Mahalia Jackson by the time he was ten, starring in W.C. Handy’s
Hollywood biopic St. Louis Blues at eleven, hitting the
road with Little Richard by the time he was fifteen, and playing
on Sam Cooke’s best album, Night Beat (1963) when
he was sixteen, by the time Preston recorded his debut solo LP,
Sixteen Year Old Soul (1963), he was already a noted Vee
Jay sideman who was well versed in gospel, R&B, rock’n
roll, and the hybrid form that was just emerging as a genre, soul.
Preston continued his work as a sideman on the more soulful side
of the spectrum on Quincy Jones’ late 1960s/early 1970s work,
Aretha Franklin’s Live at the Fillmore West and
Young, Gifted, and Black (featuring her funkiest hit, “Rock
Steady”), and one of King Curtis’ best, Everybody's
Talkin'. Preston also appears on Lightnin’ Rod’s
Hustler’s Convention, an extraordinary and underrated
album that is perhaps the work that most informed Melle Mel and
the other seminal South Bronx MC’s of another emerging genre
ten years past Night Beat – the one that we now call
rap. Though the road from Night Beat to Hustler’s
Convention included some hefty accomplishments, and Preston
continued playing with R&B artists like Bobby Womack, Ray Charles,
and Macy Gray up until his death, his two big claims to fame were
his work with British pop bands and as a 1970s solo artist.
befriended the Beatles on the 1962 Little Richard tour and, seven
years later, wound up lending his talents to The White Album
(1969), Abby Road (1969), and Let It Be (1970).
Preston even played the final rooftop concert with the band –
though you’ll have to look hard to find him. He contributed
so heavily to “Get Back” that it became the only Beatles
song credited to the band and a sideman, "The Beatles with
Billy Preston." “Get Back” became so closely identified
with Preston that he wound up singing it in the 1978 film Sgt.
Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, in which he played Sgt. Pepper
in an electrifying conclusion that is one of the films sole high
points. There were even moments documented in the Let It Be
studio tapes in which you hear The Beatles arguing whether or not
to make Preston a full-time member. And, for more evidence of which
Beatle didn’t want Preston in the group, Paul McCartney was
the only Beatle that didn’t make use of Preston in his solo
work. John Lennon had him playing organ on Plastic Ono Band
(1970) and Some Time in New York City (1972). Ringo included
him on Good Night Vienna (1974) and his late-period All-Star
Band. But George Harrison, who brought Preston in the fold in the
first place, collaborated with the organist the most, featuring
him prominently first on All Things Must Pass (1970) and
then on albums throughout the remainder of his life – including
a starring role in his Concert for Bangladesh (1971).
The Beatles-related work includes more than a lifetime of classics,
it was just the tip of Preston’s rock session iceberg. Once
they split, Preston became the Rolling Stones’ secret weapon.
Preston’s organ is the one that you hear funking up Exile
On Main Street (1972), Goat’s Head Soup (1973),
It’s Only Rock’n Roll (1974), Black and
Blue (1976), and Love You Live (1977). He’s
responsible for the resonating B-3 that totally makes Bob Dylan’s
Blood on the Tracks (1975). He also wound up playing with
Clapton, Joe Cocker, The Monkees, Rod Stewart, Elton John, Yoko
Ono, John Mayall, Johnny Cash, and other rock/pop artists all the
way up to his most recent session work with the likes of Jet, The
(International) Noise Conspiracy, Neil Diamond (12 Songs!), and
The Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Preston’s work as a sideman is so astounding that it will
always eclipse his solo work, much of his own music is also definitely
worth a listen. His organ instrumentals in the 1960s don’t
touch the creativity of soul jazz heroes like Jimmy Smith and Jimmy
McGriff on one end of the spectrum, or even the raw bacon fat of
more rudimentary organists like Booker T on the other – but
they groove hard just the same. His 1970s vocal hits like “Nothing
from Nothing” and “Will It Go Round In Circles”
are catchy laid-back nuggets that are decidedly funky. My personal
favorites are the kitschy space-funk instrumentals like “Space
Race,” “Struttin’,” and “Outta Space,”
which is lightly-jazzy pre-disco Afrofuturistic pop at its most
polished – the soul of the NASA machine.
dwelling too long on the subject, Preston’s work as an easy
listening pianist/composer/vocalist also shouldn’t be underestimated.
In addition to his studio work with Barbara Streisand, Luther Vandross,
and the rest of ‘em, and, as I mentioned earlier, co-writing
“You Are So Beautiful," as a solo artist he sang “With
You I’m Born Again,” “I’m Never Gonna Say
Goodbye,” and a number of other soft floral station-changers.
than the easy-listening spot on his record, I’ve never once
been tempted to move down the dial during a Billy Preston song.
As I write this I hear that break in “Space Race” running
through my head – the one that could be a Taxi-like TV show
theme. No it’s not Sun Ra. It ain’t even Parliament
light. But it’s at least as good as Earth, Wind, and Fire
and is an audio portrait of the cosmic optimism of the early 1970s.
And, as far as Billy Preston the sideman is concerned, in addition
to his prolific and diverse body of work in the soul field, I doubt
that any one musician played on as many classics from the late-1960s/early-1970s
rock canon. When you’re on hold, when you’re in a supermarket,
when you’re stuck with a classic rock or oldies station on
a road trip, when you hear his vibrating Leslie, his bluesy runs,
his funky syncopations adding extra dimension to your rock and soul,
you are immediately aware that Billy Preston is a man who made the
world a much better, funkier place.
get back to where you once belonged Billy.
"Space Race" mp3
Oldies one hour tribute radio show (rm)
DJ Remembers Billy Preston (video)
Preston official site
Entire Os Mutantes Catalog Here! Now!
More good news from
Os Mutantes. If you haven’t heard already, they’ve
recently reunited, re-released their entire catalog, and planned
The latest is
in the Attick Records and Distribution announced yesterday
that they are now distributing all eight Os Mutantes albums in the
United States. The band’s records were always difficult to
find stateside, even in their own time, and this will mark the first
time all eight have been in print and readily available.
a list of the titles:
Os Mutantes, 1968
Divina Comedia, 1970
Jardim Electrico, 1971
E Seus Cometas, 1972
"A" e o "Z", 1973
Todo Foi Feito Pelo Sol, 1974
Os Mutantes will make their first US visit ever this summer as a
ten-piece band. The tour starts here in New York on July 21st with
Death Vessell at Webster Hall. They’ll also perform in Los
Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Denver, Miami, and Chicago at the
Meio Desligado” RAM
Et Circenses(1969) youtube video
tem Medo de Brincar de Amor youtube video
NÜ 2 youtube video
Mutantes with Giberto Gil youtube video
about Os Mutantes tour dates, go to
their Windish Agency page.
For details about the re-releases go to Light
in the Attick Records and Distribution
Os Mutantes Home
Mutantes Luaka Bop page
recent Interview with Sérgio Dias of Os Mutantes (2006)
Perfect Sound Forever Interview with Sérgio Dias of Os Mutantes
Barry Manilow Noise Warfare
secret weapon down under
Time for some
experimental public policy:
A new chapter
in the history of noise warfare is being written in Sydney, Australia.
Just like “These Boots Were Made for Walking” in the
Panamanian Embassy in the 1980s, and the 24/7 bad music blasted
at the Branch Davidian compound in the 1990s, the Sydney local government
has now enacted a policy in which they will blare Barry Manilow
out of loudspeakers in streets and car parks to battle loud music
blasting from cars. Apparently this legislation follows on the heels
of an experiment that employed Bing Crosby to chase teens loitering
in an Australian shopping center.
believe “Manilow is so uncool it might just work.” Whereas
a phenomenon must be really passé when policy-makers label
it “uncool,” they’re not keeping much of an eye
on the inner-workings of consumerism these days. Once something
becomes archaic to an extent that it’s obvious to even politicians,
that means that it’s now ready for another go at youth culture.
Look at the recent emergence of Neil Diamond as a subcultural icon
– something that certainly never happened in his own time.
are askin’ for it. Or maybe the joke’s on me and the
Sydney government is on Manilow’s payroll…
P.S. Bing Crosby’s
always been cool.
Go here for the
More Reunion Madness: The Slits Record New E..P.
Roxy Music and Eno getting back for a record
and now The
Slits, featuring the age-defying Ari Up and Tessa Pollitt,
following suit. This again isn't everyday news. The Slits' second
and last album, The Return of the Giant Slits, was recorded
in 1981, one year before Roxy Music's most recent album, 1982's
Avalon. Aparrently the record features Paul Cook of Sex
Pistols, Marco Pirroni of Adam & the Ants, and Mick Jones' daughter
Lauren Jones. Apparently Adrian Sherwood was initially slated to
sit behind the boards but they wound up with Orange Juice producer
For those of
you who haven't heard, while they haven't made it over to the states
yet, TheSlits've been playing live in the UK for the last couple
of months. Expect to see 'em stateside in the fall. You can come
out and thank them not only for helping invent your wheel, but offering
a fine soundtrack for your rebellion... both teenage and present...
For more details,
go to Pitchfork's
Eno's Roxy Reunion!
every now and then you meet some contrarian whose favorite Roxy
Music album is not one of the first two, but, for the
most part, it's standard knowledge that these are not only their
best, but also a couple of the finest rock'n'roll records ever made.
And I'll have to say that Brian
Eno, sans chops but bristling with ideas and excellent
sensibility, is somewhat responsible. After he left the band in
1973 they continued making good records (I still have them all)
and better covers, but, despite some brilliant moments, the music
never hit the same mark again. This is why I'm psyched to learn
that the rumor of Eno rejoining the fold is confirmed... sort of.
who left the group in 1973, told The Guardian that he wrote
a couple of songs for and played keyboards on the new Roxy Music
record - their first since Avalon (1982). Though he claims
he won't be touring with the band, I'd like to publicly beg him
to reconsider. I know they have their differences - but he's the
yin to their yang. Plus, Brian,
think of the dough, man!
way, look for
the new album in the fall.