Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Princess of Pout

Dubbed as France's original "sex kitten" before the term came into wide use, Brigitte Bardot's acting career took the world by storm. World-renowned for her bleach-blonde hair, she became epitomized as "the kind of French girl most American men wanted to meet in Paris."

Although, her films were shown in the States, her lines were often dubbed due to her thick French accent which most American audiences found difficult to decipher. These movies also rarely fit into the American rating system for film and would only be shown if labeled as "European" due to differing standards regarding the use of nudity in film. Despite the difference in definitions of what was acceptable in the cinema, her kitsch roles met with much popularity.

Riding on the fame of her acting career, she broke into music in the early 1960s. Although, her early attempts at recording didn't yield the same response as they did once she teamed up with Serge Gainsbourg, there was enough kitsch value to keep the average music listener interested.

In the early 1970s, Bardot announced her retirement and devoted herself to the cause of animal rights at a period in time that the movement hadn't much popularity. She started the Fondation Brigitte Bardot for the welfare and protection of animals.

Although her devotion to this movement has won her comradery with youth who share a passion for animal rights issues, her marriage to a right wing activist has heaped much criticism onto her shoulders. Her most recent statements regarding the "underground and dangerous infiltration of Islam" in France hasn't helped change the perception that she has become anti-immigrant.

Her book Un Cri Dans Le Silence with its critical statements regarding homosexuality and Islam have led to many court cases on charges of inciting racial discrimination and contempt for those of homosexual persuasion. It's quite possible that when taken out of context, these statements could appear to be quite scurrilous but those who have read the book have asserted that, taken in its whole, they have not walked away from it thinking her to be racist or intolerant of homosexuality. There are no English translations of this text anywhere on the 'net, just vague and incomplete quotes that are supposed proof of her racist leanings. The text is only available online, presumably from Bardot herself, as it's uncertain that any publisher is currently printing copies due to the recent trials. If anyone can provide English translations of the book, it would be most appreciated.

It would be interesting to note the changes that occurred within her political mindscape as she began to age and her beauty started to wane. Perhaps it's her need to remain in the spotlight that causes her to act in ways that she knows will force people to listen to her since they no longer revere her for her youthful charm. No longer at the center of media attention, the feeling of being invisible begins to set in, hence the need for breaking the silence as the title of her book suggests.

Perhaps this is just something peculiar to those living in France? Josephine Baker went a similar route; at one time, decrying America for its wanton racial discrimination against blacks but later supporting the Italian invasion of the "Ethiopian barbarians." In hindsight, it's easy enough for most to see the glaring inconsistency in such a statement. Perhaps it's just that all of these interesting incongruencies begin to manifest once the fame wears off and celebrities find themselves faced with the same vulnerable flesh that all human beings have to adorn in daily life.

The collection posted here is a collection of her early EPs released in the 1960s. The vinyl recording included is from a beautiful picture disk released in France during the 1990s.

The Early Years Picture Disk

The Early Years Liner Notes

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Dick Taters

When the Baby Bush Administration starting pulling its wanna-be Ronald Reagan cowboy bullshit, punk bands began to crawl out of the woodwork- either by staging anti-war activities in various parts of the globe or by having reunion gigs. Some of this has been called into question, particularly those bands who re-formed in the '90s. When does punk rock just become mindless token tantrums with no meaning attached to the actions of those doing the posturing? When does it just become more money-making garbage and opportunism cleverly clad in politically correct sheeps' clothing? With the rise in popularity of the hardcore punk movement moving into the mainstream, these hard questions can easily go unasked of those who have been solidified into the perceived mold of the institution known as punk rock.

Say what you will about this phenomenon, it's hard to say no to a reunion of this caliber. In 2005, The Dicks put on a reunion gig consisting of the original Austin members in the band, sans Glen (rest his soul). Old punks and new, school teachers and lawyers, members of other bands, anyone who was influenced by this seminal outfit was present at Room 710 in Austin, Texas.

Touting themselves as "gay Communists from Texas," the Dicks made a name for themselves in the Austin music scene in the 1980s through their obnoxious music and suggestive stage antics. Lyrical content ranged from topics of anonymous sex in a gay bookstore to violent decapitations during acts of revolution to anti-war statements to odes to Marilyn Buck. One night, Gary Floyd, the singer of the band, came out on stage wearing a huge diaper, reached into it, pulled out chocolate pudding and smeared it into the faces of those closest to the stage. He would also flirt with the cowboys in the audience by stating "I wanna suck your dick after the show, motherfucker."

This was a band on the edge of every periphery known to society. A close friend of theirs, who later went on to teach law at a university in the northwest, recalled a visit to the band members during the late '80s. It was a constant struggle finding food to eat and finding places to crash. The second incarnation of band members that evolved after Gary moved from Austin to San Francisco never had a steady place to live and were always in a state of flux when it came to finding crash pads. "By the end of the trip, I was so glad just to come home but I couldn't forget that they were all still struggling to survive after I left."

The recording included here was a self-released CD that the band put together of their very first gig in Austin at the Armadillo World Headquarters- home of the cosmic cowboy genre that had become resident to Austin during the 1970s. The musical world of Austin was not ready for what the Dicks had in store for them. Although the band was put together in a disheveled fashion after fake fliers had been posted all over town, the concept caught on and the act became a real band with real message included as part of the package. Until the reunion show in 2005, this entire set was never released as an official recording. The CD also includes the demo recordings of the first 7-inch record that the Dicks were going to release before the Hate The Police record was released.

Live at AWHQ

Ultra-rare fanzine handed out at the reunion gig by a friend of the band

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The Return of Japan Nite

Admittedly, the more recent musical excursions found at Japan Nite during SXSW have lost a lot when it comes to the raw sound that had once been unfurled on an unsuspecting populace of music convention attendees. For example, you will note more polish and cleaner recording techniques on this most recent collection of tunes by bands hailing from the warrior nation. There are even songs that appear to be musical reruns of tracks released by other bands on the previous compilations issued in celebration of this annual event. However, this collection isn't without its gems.

The high point on this compilation is the material put together by The Emeralds. The singer's voice, coupled with a rapid staccato singing style that reminds one of the sound of machine gun fire, is something to behold. You'll hear a lot of the same musical influences on this album as those in the past- funk, ska, jazz, Japanese classical music and, of course, balls out alt-rock.

Japan Nite Sound Sampler 2007

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Pirates or Pissants?

Hear ye! Hear ye!
Captured within yon disk lies pleasure galore. Hear the magnanimous audio engineering skills available in 1989- the dull thud heard repetitiously be not the sound of your failing heart, dear friends, but the off-beat meanderings of the drummer of this raucous ensemble. Though there be no fife present, one can still bask in the glory of yesteryear by sampling these tasty morsels.

These lads hailed from Indianapolis and haunted the local record store, Karma, in search of stoner booty a'plenty. Brazen thievery did sever ties with yon shopkeep but the red-hot muse in their loins spurred them into nostalgic frenzy.

Bear witness to the onslaught. Not for the faint of heart, me lads.



Thursday, October 11, 2007

Japanese Flu

After their 1989 tour with New Order and Public Image, The Sugarcubes traipsed to the United States to record their third album. Treating the tour much like they treated their whole musical career, Bjork beamed over the experience: "It was a great tour with no responsibility. We only had to play every other day, and all we had to do was smile at John Lydon when he was puking."

This whimsical attitude spoke itself from the very beginnings of the band's lifespan. As Einar Orn recollects: "We've always done other things, and when all this hullabaloo about the Sugarcubes started, we were 85 per cent doing our paid jobs and 15 per cent doing the Sugarcubes for fun. Then we became the Sugarcubes 100 percent for pay." At the time that the third album was released, they were still working day jobs back home in Iceland.

Derek Birkett, ex-bass player for Flux Of Pink Indians and founder of the record label One Little Indian Records, found their meanderings absolutely exasperating. In an interview, he recounted his working relationship with the band: "Fucking impossible to deal with. I love what they are doing, but they are the only band I've ever worked with for whom the band isn't the priority. That's why they all went off and got jobs. We operate a profit-share, but when they made money they'd blow it in ridiculous ways. Like last year, when they brought out a poetry book which cost £8 to buy and £18 to produce." There was a constancy in this approach to their spending of money. Another example was the night that Bjork walked into a club, handed the bartender her credit card and invited random people throughout the club to have drinks on her tab.

When asked what the title Stick Around For Joy was all about, Siggi, the drummer, chimed in and explained that the title was the result of a phenomenon they encountered while visiting Japan. This phenomenon, dubbed by the band as "Japanese Flu," was a reference to the Japanese habit of speaking English in American advertising slogans such as "have a Coke and a smile." During a drunken card game, the band members were tossing epithets of this sort at one another and Siggi, despondent over a bad hand, blurted out "Stick around for joy" as he threw his cards down on the table.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

If She Had Nothing More Than Her Voice, She Could Break Your Heart With It

Marlene Dietrich was the first German actress to make it big in Hollywood. Her career as a singer started in Berlin in the 1920s as a cabaret singer and actress. It wasn't until her role as Lola-Lola in The Blue Angel in 1929 that her breakthrough as a world-famous singer materialized with her first popular song Falling In Love Again. Although she detested the song, it became synonymous with her celebrity as a performer.

In the late 1930s, the Nazi Party officially invited her back to the Fatherland but she declined to return. Germany never forgave her for this act, even after the days of the Third Reich had long passed. Her decision to distance herself from her homeland was solidified even further by her recording of anti-Nazi songs such as Lili Marlene.

There are many resources to lean on when reading up on this most revered of international stars. Many recent studies tend to focus on the intentional gender role reversal in her film roles and her manner of dress in the multitude of photographs taken of her. There was a very popular rumor in the day that Marlene Dietrich was a lesbian and this may have been a result of her dear friendship with the famous playwright Noel Coward. Most people had assumed erroneously that the two were an item as a result of their tightly-knit display of friendship, while those who were "in the know" about Coward's sexual leanings had assumed that she was a member of the sexual camp to which he belonged. Recent studies of Coward's journals and writing give no indication that this were the case.

There are many versions of recordings available under this working title. This specific incarnation, released by Hallmark, is currently out of print.

Falling In Love Again

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

prEMO, dude

In the 1990s, it suddenly became musically fashionable to strip down the tenets of hardcore music and use aspects of it to produce profitably safe rock and roll music for the general listening public. The most blatant musical "style" to emanate from this change in approach to marketing music was grunge.

If grunge were to have a red-headed stepchild, its name would be emo.

Although, this writer would much rather remain unschooled in the musical make up of this specific genre, it's safe to say that it's easily identified by its loud, screeching guitars accompanied by EMOtional singing. The unfortunate thing is that it comes off seeming rather foolish; as if somehow these kids who create this music are attempting to mold themselves into a modern-day, hipsteresque, American interpretation of Morrissey but lacking the poetic verse to carry it with the same flavor and character that the ex-Smithy possesses.

However, despite this genre's shortcomings and lack of insight, there can always be an exception to the perceived norm. This exception speaks itself rather loudly in the form of the Chicago trio Today's My Super Spaceout Day. Although, the name of the band is very indicative of this style of musical musing, the engineering quality of the album Stars Made From Scars is phenomenal and the band's live performance equals that. A live performance of the band hints at reminiscence of live acts by bands such as Joy Division but with a modern bent that keeps one plugged into the present. It's the best of both worlds. The mulitple textures and layers of the music itself is something to behold; Areos Ledesma of The Dust Lounge, Christian Adams, and Blaise Barton of Scientific Mastering (not forgetting the musicians themselves!) have created a masterpiece, if anyone could boast some such polyglot about an emo album.

Stars Made From Scars

Monday, September 24, 2007

A Soul from El Paso

Marina Monsivais was a DJ at a local radio station called KHRO in El Paso, Texas. Since she was in a city that wasn't necessarily known for its thriving music scene or diverse musical airplay, she was empowered to take certain liberties that might not necessarily have been available for her in a so-called thriving bastion of local music like that of Austin.

As time progressed, she found herself booking punk shows in El Paso, along with hosting a radio show of her own devising that reflected the music scene that existed in El Paso. In the hopes of promoting several local acts for the purpose of signing them to bigger labels, she started her own record label called Communal Heart Records. The compilation Music Is Our Blood, Blood Is Our Bond was the culmination of her efforts in achieving this heartfelt goal.

On this compilation not only will you hear bands that were the musical precursors to the groups At The Drive In (Lovetron and Nakia) and The Mars Volta (Universal Recovered) but you will also hear bands who were considered their auditory compatriots and played many gigs alongside them. This album is a decent collection of bands that represented the El Paso music scene around the time period that At The Drive In and The Mars Volta were merely a burgeoning tide that would soon wash itself across the hordes of those who identify with the hipster element that exists in Texas.

Music Is Our Blood, Blood Is Our Bond: Auditory Statements By El Paso Artists Of The Past, Present And Future

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Voz del Poeta

Released in 1999 and currently out of print is a reading of poetry by Pablo Neruda. Found in a used CD bin for less than $5 the same year of its release, this disk is now worth $100.

This set of recordings was captured in 1966 during Neruda's visit to the United States. Government policy at that time barred devout communists from visiting the US, but Arthur Miller was successful in garnering enough support to allow the readings of Neruda's poetry to occur on American soil.

No musical instruments nor a cheering crowd accompany Neruda on these recordings. His voice is heard as it was meant to be- a lone voice carrying with it all the passion and rhythm that only a master sculptor of the Spanish language can deliver.

Pablo Neruda Lee Sus Poemas

Pablo Neruda Lee Sus Poemas Liner Notes (Spanish)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Mama et la Physique

This CD is a re-mastering of old Dada "classics" as well as a series of new recordings of compositions put together by the likes of Satie, Germaine Albert-Birot, Hugo Ball, Honegger, Tristan Tzara, Cyril Scott, Jean Arp, Schonberg, Poulenc, Kurt Schwitters, George Antheil, Marinetti, Vincente Huidobro, Milhaud, Max Ernst, Raoul Haussman, Erwin Schulhoff, and Richard Huelsenbeck. The collection was compiled for an exhibition on Dada at the Centre Pompidou in France in 2005.

The Centre Pompidou, named after the president of France, was built as the result of a contest that was won by a small group of architectural nobodies in 1971. The structure was not well received at first but under the care of its first director, Pontus Hultén, that quickly changed. Now the building is celebrated as a space that has "revolutionized museums" with its color coded tubing that specifies its contents: water, electricity, heat, and air. It also houses IRCAM (the Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique), the Musée National d'Art Moderne, the Bibliothèque publique d'information, and Stravinsky Fountain. The water faucets in the restrooms can have their temperature adjusted much in the same way that one moves their hands when playing the theremin.

"It is my belief that exciting things happen when a variety of overlapping activities designed for all people—the old and the young, the blue and white collar, the local inhabitant and the visitor, different activities for different occasions—meet in a flexible environment, opening up the possibility of interaction outside the confines of institutional limits. When this takes place, deprived areas welcome dynamic places for those who live, work and visit; places where all can participate, rather than less or more beautiful ghettos." - Richard Rogers (co-creator of the Centre Pompidou)

Dada Et La Musique/And Music was a collection that was out of print until yesterday- oddly enough. This must be the time of year to put old CDs back in print as the Amebix album that was posted was also an out of print CD until about a week ago.

Dada Et La Musique/And Music Liner Notes (English)

Dada Et La Musique/And Music Liner Notes (French)

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Who's Driving Now?

Amebix has been touted as the first crust band in existence. For a definitive description of this particular genre of punk music, read Felix Von Havoc's article on the Rise of Crust (found on the website of Havoc Records). The use of dark imagery combined with a lo-fi approach to audio engineering that is uncommon for bands who have a sound that smacks of heavy metal seems to be a defining characteristic of this musical style. You won't hear the obsessive quest for finely-crafted sound sculpting that is all-pervasive in the metal arena on an Amebix recording; although it can be dangerous to toy with words when it comes to describing "sub-genres" of music so this is as far as this thought will be taken. (There was a day and age when there was no need for concern amongst underground or alternative musicians to wrap their music into a neatly-bundled package so as to make a tantalizing product fit for consumption by the masses, but whatever...)

This CD was the last recording that was issued by the band before their breakup. Despite the obvious HR Giger rip off artwork on the front cover, it's quite good. An interesting thing about this band was their use of the synthesizer and audio production techniques that are so subtle, you don't realize that they're even there until you've heard the album many times over. For examples of this on the Monolith album, listen to the track The Power Remains. About 1:15 into the song, you can hear the synthesizer harmonizing the guitar riffs, however the synthesizer never overpowers or even equals the volume of the guitar, so its voice is just a faint glimmer in the actual recording. However, if the presence of this synthesizer were stripped from the actual recording, the sense of doom that exists within the recording would be absent, making the band lose some of its emotional punch. When you get further into the meat of the track (about 2:45), you can hear the "back masking" (to co-opt a phrase often used by the Christian right) of the drums; a feat that was created by physically playing a tape recording in reverse while capturing the whole song on various tracks in the recording studio onto a master tape. A feat that could be more difficult than one could imagine in 1987- especially with a band consisting of squatters who ate out of trash bins in order to get by and refused to go on the dole to obtain assistance. Bear in mind that this was an underground recording done in a purely analog recording studio. Digital recordings were just barely being conducted and it was an extremely expensive technology. Digital recording was strictly used in capturing classical music recordings and big money record labels who could afford the costs; the result of which was a musical irony as it had to be brought back into the analog realm in order to be pressed to the LP format. The majority of music listeners in the mainstream were still buying cassette tapes, while underground bands dealt mostly in vinyl, so it was a vastly different world for musicians to live in when compared by today's standards.

Apparently, Amebix are in the process of putting together some kind of discography of their work after a prolonged battle over their existing recorded work with John Loder of Southern Studios. The band states on their website that Loder was denying them royalties for their work by diverting the funds into his personal account. It would be interesting to know more about this situation, as the picture that Penny Rimbaud (of Crass) paints of Loder seems far different than the "cunt" described on Amebix's website. See the obituary Rimbaud wrote after Loder's death in 2005.


Communication Breakdown

A compilation of rarities put together by Leigh Goorney, the past booking agent for the venue known as the Thames Poly. Many may believe that one person can't make a difference in the world. However, the existence of this album is proof that this idea many of us cling to can be shattered in an instant when we choose to see beyond the illusion that many allow themselves to be walled in by. This post is dedicated to that spirit of individuality that exists within us all.

This album is an amazing piece of work. It opens with The Eels' Granny, a bitter and somewhat humorous portrayal of youthful friendships ended by meddlesome family members. Later in the disk can be heard the utterances of Mark Perry accompanied by undanceable instrumentation. This is immediately followed up by The Mekons' take on Sammi Smith and Kris Kristofferson's Help Me Make It Through The Night. Another high point on the album is The Three Majohnas' cover of Madonna's Like A Virgin. This flows into a presence of the anarcho-punk scene in the guise of recordings by The Very Things, Conflict, and The Poison Girls. The live recording of Sonic Youth's Kill Your Idols will completely obliterate your aural senses. The CD finishes with Television Personalities' intense anti-war anthem Back To Vietnam.

Although, this CD release is a stripped-down version of the double LP originally released in 1985, there were some incredible gigs captured on audio at this venue. Included in the liner notes of the album is a lengthy list of gigs that had been booked and recorded by Leigh Goorney. If Leigh has a music blog somewhere in the electronic realm, that particular blog would be highly recommended!

Communicate! Live At Thames Poly

Saturday, September 15, 2007

"I Inhabit the World of Concrete Systems"

Saccharine Trust began their musical career on the SST Records label and thus did a lot of touring with Black Flag and the Minutemen. Although, their musical compatriots were described as hardcore bands, there was always a free jazz element that grew and became stronger with each studio recording that was issued by the group.

The logo, depicting a crucified snake on two wooden planks in the shape of a cross, was derived from a tattoo on the arm of Earl Liberty, the second bass player in the band. He had the tattoo etched on his forearm after a stint in the hospital that occurred after fleeing the police from a gig that had gone awry. It's safe to say that the name of the band emanated as a result of the Food & Drug Administration's debate and investigation into the safety of the manufacturing of Saccharin for use in food products as a sweetener- an issue that was very prominent during the 1980s.

The bass lines on any Saccharine Trust release are infectious to the listener and this collection of live recordings that spanned the band's career aren't any different. A particularly fun track on the double LP is their cover of Black Flag's Six Pack with Kira (bass player from Black Flag's later years) singing backing vocals.

Past Lives

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Draggin' for Tail

T-Model Ford was born at some point in the 1920s. There have been differing opinions about how old he actually is. Nearing his 60s, he found himself in a heated argument with his wife over a guitar and amplifier that she had given him. His truck driving job didn't yield much money and things were fiscally tight in the family, so he was beside himself that she had taken on the task of purchasing this expensive gift- especially since he couldn't play a guitar.

A week later, she was headed out the door with all of their children and he found himself all alone with this guitar. He sat down to play it and found it was out of tune. Not knowing how to properly tune a guitar, he decided to tune it the way that he wanted it to sound. Listening to Muddy Waters songs and attempting to reproduce them was how he started to learn to play and soon enough he was belting out tunes of his own. At some point in the mid-1990s, he got a knock on his door from Matt Johnson of Fat Possum Records, who was interested in recording him even though he had no clue that he was any good. Ten years later, T-Model has found himself touring through the US and Europe playing the blues as only he can deliver.

The Austin Chronicle has touted T-Model Ford as having the perfect resume for a blues musician. He was severely beaten by his father as a child and lost a testicle as a result of his punishment. He killed a man in a bar brawl in self-defense and was sentenced 10 years in prison but only served 2 years on a chain gang and has the scars to prove it. He has had numerous wives and has sired 26 children. At the time of this album's release, he was living in Greenville, Mississippi in the most crack-filled, gangster-riddled part of town and played in the streets until the sun came up every night. All of these experiences have helped build his credentials as the current lineage holder of the blues musical experience.

Listen to Pee-Wee Get My Gun.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Stop Eyein' Me!

Definitely one of the most interesting albums ever released on the Crass Records label!

The album had all the earmarks of a record that would never see airplay due to its multi-cultural musical influences and use of lyrics interspersed with English and that of the Icelandic tongue. What could not be foreseen was the worldwide popularity that several members of the band would see ten years later.

Áfangar, a radio show sponsored by Gramm Records, was to broadcast its final episode and was looking to put together a "super-group" to perform for the bombastic occasion. The band was composed of members of various bands: Björk Guðmundsdóttir, vocalist of Tappi Tíkarrass; Einar Örn Benediktsson, a trumpeter and vocalist in Purrkur Pillnikk; keyboardist Einar Arnaldur Melax, from the surrealistic group Medúsa; Birgir Mogensen, the bassist from Spilafífl; and finally drummer Siggtryggur Baldursson and guitar player Guðlaugur Kristinn Óttarsson (a.k.a. Godkrist), both from the band Þeyr.

The first live performance that KUKL played was with Crass in 1983. This was after Einar Örn contacted the group while he was in college studying media and had access to many contacts within the so-called "industry."

The first album the band recorded was The Eye, named after Georges Bataille's Story Of The Eye- a tale of a French couple and their sexual misadventures. On the surface, the book is nothing more than a tale of pornography told under the nom de plume Lord Auch (suggesting "Lord of the shithouse"). Upon extensive research and rumination, however, the use of symbols throughout the work suggest a deeper message; one that would be the basic construct of his developing philosophy of a base materialism, which would involve the use of metaphors such as the eye, the egg, the sun, the earth, and the testicle. The basic tenet of this thought lies in the attempt to destabilise philosophical oppositions by the introduction of an unstable ‘third term’. Although, Bataille was virtually ignored in his lifetime, his writing was absolutely essential in influencing the work of Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, Jean Baudrillard and Jacques Lacan.

The idea can be perceived when reading the liner notes that accompanied The Eye on its release. There was an inherent distrust of the use of nuclear technology of any kind within the anarcho-punk scene but in statements released in the record The Eye, the band was calling on scientists involved in nuclear technology to use their work to bring something healing and positive to the world. Locked in the political landscape that either endorsed or opposed the use of nuclear technology by governments, this was a very different kind of argument being made regarding the issue.

"Do not conform, not in your life-style, your art or your attitudes. By using this law in our music we introduce a incongruence into the Psyche of our audience and as we do not attempt to utilize this to our own ends, this leaves space for the individuals to fill up for themselves. A single non-conforming attitude will breed a host of others. You have no right but to BE YOURSELF!" -Statement from KUKL.

The instrumentation used on the record also follows the same train of thought. For instance, the use of drums varied from what one would expect from a band in the anarcho-political scene. In some tracks, there are hints of Killing Joke, Einsturzende Neubauten, even Siouxsie & The Banshees. Then, later, you can hear bits of Stravinsky mixed in with Japanese and Icelandic folk tunes and, even later, jazz influences. Their sound backed by the audio engineering skills employed at Southern Studios and fronted by the vocal stylings of Einar Örn and Björk are haunting.

"Their musical creation literally explodes into the faces or masks of the audience, thrusts itself into its consciousness and even if you don't happen to be interested, there is no way of avoiding it or refusing to take it into consideration..." -DV review of one of their shows in April of 1984.

In Details (July 1994), Björk stated "I might just make it my mission to make everyone in the world read [Story Of The Eye]." It's no surprise that the first album that KUKL release should be the musical manifestation of this book.

When the band broke up in 1986, many of the members created a new band and this led to the formation of Sykurmolarnir or, in English, The Sugarcubes.

When asked about KUKL today, Björk dismisses their musical and philosophical efforts. "We were stupid terrorists."

KUKL- The Eye

Details interview with Björk

Read Story Of The Eye on the Georges Bataille eLibrary. The entire book can be downloaded as a .pdf file for free!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Thrilled to be in Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center!

Absolutely incredible footage taken of Filipino inmates practicing a staged version of the famed epic Michael Jackson video. Wait till you see who plays Michael's girlfriend...

You have to see it to believe it!

For those of you who speak Tagalog (I'm assuming that's the language used in this news report), refer to this post.

You're Indestructible

In the mid- to late-1980s, there was a great little radio show called the World Beat Music Show, hosted by Dan Del Santo. Many of the tracks on this album got serious rotation on the show every week and it was this blog author's first serious exposure to music outside of the American/British realm that didn't revolve around the anarcho-political scene. Dan Del Santo was a pivotal character in bringing music from around the world into the Austin music scene with his radio show. If not for his efforts, Austin may not have seen events such as Reggae Sunsplash or a live performance by Fela Kuti. More on him later...

For now, enjoy this spectacular album!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Spear Burning

In 1969, Winston Rodney had a chance meeting with Bob Marley on a country road in St Ann's, Jamaica. This encounter led to the beginning of Rodney's musical career as the singer for Burning Spear. The name of the band eventually became synonymous with Winston, who adopted the name as his own. Only later would he start his own record label using the same title. The true history of the name, however, lies in the nickname of Jomo Kenyatta, a freedom fighter who was jailed by the colonial British government in Africa. Kenyatta was to rise into such popularity that he stole the presidency of Kenya for a time.

The album Marcus Garvey, released in 1975, was a pivotal album in shedding light to the belief system of the Rasta- both spiritual and political. Rodney was very much influenced by the writings of Marley, Garvey, Kenyatta, and MLK, who all supported a stronger black race through self-reliance. This attitude speaks itself in Rodney's decision to manage and promote his act on his own terms and not allow his career to lie in the hands of any other manager.

After 37 years, Burning Spear is still a musical force to be reckoned with; the bongo playing of Rodney, accompanied by the versatile horn section of the band hasn't allowed its message or its music to be diluted by the current trends of the reggae scene or the record industry and the mixture they provide is a potent one, indeed!

Listen to the LP.

Monday, July 9, 2007


Crooning from Thailand to get you swooning. Translation soon to come.

Here is the track list. If you can read Thai and you can provide a translation, please leave a comment.

And here are the liner notes.

Link for the record.