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