Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Sister - Sonic Youth

TIM'S ULTRA ROUGH GUIDE TO ROCK - PART 9?


Sonic Youth - Sister
I think Schizophrenia, which opens Sister, was the first Sonic Youth song I ever heard. This was on a visit to the big smoke in 1987 and it was played on either 3RRR or 3PBS in Melbourne. What an introduction to a phenomenal band. I’d listened to the Primitive Calculators, The Birthday Party and Cosmic Psychos before but who knew you could make noise beautiful? This is probably the Sonic Youth album I’ve played the most. The cover was perfect. This is the sound of skyscrapers, cows. suburbia and intergalactica all rolled into one. Cotton Crown still sounds unbelievable today with its girl/boy vocals and those swirly out of tune guitars then when that change where the bass goes bezerk Sonic Youth elevate rock to one of its loftiest peaks. This band were on an outstanding roll that had begun with the two previous LPs and would continue for their next three records. Then as elder statesmen/women of art rock they had a terrific late re-flowering and issued a classic trilogy of albums that began with 2002’s Murray Street. Sister = Awesome!


Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Hashim - Al Naafiysh



Just discovered this classic bit of old School electro from 1983 the other day...mmm...mm!

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Hip Hop's Founding Fathers



We're not talking about Kool Herc or The Bronx here. This doc tries to set the record and history books straight on who the real innovators in hip-hop were. Founding Fathers presents an alternative narrative to hip hop's past that shines a light on a bunch of forgotten cats who were involved in block parties from other boroughs of NYC other than The Bronx. It's all about turntables, big sound systems, DJs, Bigger sound systems, park jams and really big sound systems. Chuck D narrates. I wouldn't post it if I didn't think it was excellent.

Monday, 31 October 2016

Halloween - Ennio Morricone Edition



One of Morricone's lesser known scores but it's another fucking cracker. I only came across this one last year and it blew my mind a little bit, couldn't believe my ears. Kick off your festivities with this cranked on the hi-fi. This is the score to a 1972 Giallo directed by Massimo Dallamano which features saucy female students, sleazy teachers, nudity, abortions, girls on bikes and murders. What did you expect?



Now this has to be one of Morricone's most underrated horror scores. If you're dropping acid at your festivities tonight this will be the perfect soundtrack! I've never watched the film but the sounds here get pretty insane, perhaps I'll finally watch it tonight. They even made an Exorcist III ...who knew?



Ooh...I just found this. It's a collection of tunes from a bunch of Ennio's Giallio scores, nothing new to me here but looks like it'll be a great creepy mix. Tracklist below.

COSA AVETE FATTO A SOLANGE? (TITOLI) from “Cosa avete fatto a Solange?” 00:00
1970 from “Il gatto a nove code” 02:37
NEBULOSA PRIMA from “Il segreto” 11:17
VALZER from “La corta notte delle bambole di vetro” 16:49
SEGUITA from “Gli occhi freddi della paura” 19:07
OSTINAZIONE AL LIMONE from “Cosa avete fatto a Solange?” 22:21
IL SERPENTE from “Il serpente” 24:48
BAMBOLE DI VETRO from “La corta notte delle bambole di vetro” 31:24
SPASMO from “Spasmo” 38:07
OLTRE IL SILENZIO from “Il diavolo nel cervello” 40:04
EMMETRENTATRE from “La corta notte delle bambole di vetro” 43:32
LE FOTO PROIBITE DI UNA SIGNORA PER BENE from “Le foto proibite di una signora per bene” 47:45
TRIO INFERNALE from “Trio infernale” 52:23
INSEGUIMENTO E FUGA from “Revolver” 56:30
SENZA MOTIVO APPARENTE from “”Senza movente” 01:00:15
LA RAGIONE, IL CUORE, L'AMORE from “Il diavolo nel cervello” 01:04:38
EVANESCENZE from “Gli occhi freddi della paura” 01:08:04
L'ATTENTATO from “L'attentato” 01:11:25
NINNA NANNA IN BLU from ”Il gatto a nove code” 01:16:04


Don't ya just love this cover. Eyeballs, eyeballs, eyeballs. Eyeball goodness. Eyeball art! Below is a review I once did on this soundtrack.

Gli Occhi Freddi Della Paura - ENNIO MORRICONE
Now this was another 1971 soundtrack but it didn't get a release until 2000. I didn't miss this one. I think it has been reissued again in the last year or two. So Morricone recorded this with his improv band Gruppo Di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza. This score is not only one of the best soundtracks ever, its also one of the best albums ever. I guess people into AMM, Nihilist Spasm Band, Spontaneous Music Ensemble or Miles Davis in the 70s should take a special interest here. This is some top notch improv jams under the direction of the one and only Bruno Nicolai. Produced by none other than Gianni Dell'orso. We've got fuzz guitar duelling with jazz bass and electronics. That's just for starters. This LP is so unpredictable you never know where it's heading next. There's many a clank and a scrape to be heard amongst other haunting sounds. The group had been going since 1964 and are considered one of the pioneering collectives of experimental composers. It was by no means Morricone's band. Other members included Egisto Macchi (library music legend), Walter Branchi and Franco Evangelisti. I think it was Evangelisti who got the whole thing together. They were aspiring to a new form of composition through improvisation and other methods such as (like John Cage) chance. Apparently they sometimes used the game of chess as an inspiration. Anyway the credits on this one go to Morricone but that seems arbitrary as surely everyone contributed to each tune. Fabulously free percussion mixed with of sour sax/trumpet(?) and textural keyboards play their part on this recording. More than anything though its not the separate sounds that make up the music, its the sound of the unit itself. This is an incredibly switched on unit comparable to Can and the ensembles Miles Davis put together in the 70s. Half the time I don't know what's making the sounds anyway. This doesn't sound like any other soundtrack I've ever heard. Most of the time you forget this incredibly fluid music even went with images as the tangent of where the hell they'll go next has you so engaged. You start to feel that your own ear is also an integral part of the unit as well. This is a hell of a strange trip that never gets old. They have other albums as well, maybe I'll discuss them another time. Its quite hard to believe a film director just saying 'yeah sure' to this mental project. This is a unique record that could have a special place in your heart if you give it a listen. Like Harmonia's Deluxe this is an unheralded classic of 20th century music that deserves a better status.

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Chewed up VHS - Part 2


REWIND THIS (2013 DOCUMENTARY)
Here's another doco on VHS culture and another excellent cover/poster. This one is a bit all over the place but it is watchable as opposed to Adjust Your Tracking from the same year (more on that another time). It feels like they're trying to cover too much of video culture all at once though. As if they were in a rush to cover a little bit of each part of the dying, ephemeral culture of video stores and VHS before any other filmmaker got there first. Rewind This was at least compelling enough for me to make it through to the end of the film.

They could have really made 4 or 5 in depth documentaries covering certain aspects of video culture because there is some great subject matter here ie. Cover/poster art, nostalgia for video libraries, how B-grade and horror videos got their foot in the door ahead of studio/hollywood stuff, the bootleg trade/grey market and who the hell is going to preserve straight to video videos. Speaking of straight to video videos, any form of a convincing case isn't really put forth that there is any greatness worth preserving. There however will always be people who are willing to archive and preserve anything no matter how crap or inconsequential it may be because 'it's all relative man.'

Thursday, 27 October 2016

HALLOWEEN Edition




Here's some of the soundtrack to the 1968 Giallo film Death Laid An Egg. Why doesn't somebody reissue this classic. I have to thank Kat Ellinger and Samm Deighan of The Daughters of Darkness podcast for introducing me to this film and in particular this fucking great soundtrack. They referred to it as 'noise-core chicken jazz'. I think a lot of the noisy chickeny bits have been left off here just leaving the score, which is great on it's own anyway. Bruno Maderna was a serious conductor but he composed as well. He did 10 soundtracks and this was his last.



Speaking of great soundtracks, we've been waiting for a reissue of Messiah Of Evil for years but to no avail. Some odd gems are getting attention though like Richard Einhorn's Shock Waves OST which got issued last year. Einhorn's other great one Don't Go In The House remains out of print. Releases of film soundtracks like Let's Scare Jessica To Death, Deathdream and Slaughter Hotel would be most welcome. Some of these may have used library music though...er...haven't done much research into them.

Anyway check out this creepy movie. It stars the very beautiful Marianna Hill and Anitra Ford. Don't go looking for a cohesive narrative here. I see at it more like a series of disturbing surreal scenes, many of which are unforgettable. It's in the public domain so here's a download link.


HORROR PODCAST
The Hysteria Continues 
I missed this podcast in my recent set of podcast posts. This must have been introduced to me by Bill Ackerman of Supporting Characters. This is the best horror movie podcast I've come across. We've got 4 chaps in three different countries (England, USA & Ireland) discussing their favourite genre of film - slasher movies. They've got the balance just right. Nobody talks over anybody else, they don't speak too fast, they're knowledgable, passionate, funny and have a good formula.

I'm not even what you would call a slasher fan. Sure I like Black Christmas, Halloween and Slumber Party Massacre plus some of the influences on slasher like Peeping Tom and Psycho as well as many Giallo movies. But as I've mentioned before I missed the whole 80s video thing due to boring parents. The Hysteria Continues has had me watching the likes of Happy Birthday To Me, Mortuary, Funeral Home, My Bloody Valentine, House On Sorority Row, Pieces, Slaughter Hotel, Prom Night, The Burning, Chopping Mall and Terror Train. The hosts have also been kind enough to make me avoid many slasher titles which sound like total and utter shite.

The Hysteria Continues have occasionally covered proto-slashers, quasi-slashers and Gialli too. They don't just talk about slasher related things though, they go through general horror films and television in their 'recently watched' segment and often veer off into conversation about other things. Who thought anyone would be talking about Toyah in 2016? There's a great segment on 'top 3s' covering such topics as best final girls, best theme music, best death scenes, best killer masks etc. One of the hosts Justin Kerswell wrote The Slasher Book aka Teenage Wasteland as well as running the website Hysteria Lives. The website The Body Count Continues is/was(?) run by one of the American co-hosts....see what  they've done?...er...combined the two website names and come up with the podcast name. If you can handle puerile humour coming out of the mouths of grown men and love your genre cinema this comes highly recommended.


*Finders Keepers Radio have done a Halloween podcast here.
**FACT have done a Hip Hop Halloween mix where each tune contains a horror movie sample here.

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Chewed Up VHS Part I

After listening to a lot of movie podcasts I've decided to have a little look at some documentaries that have passed me by in the last few years. A plethora of documentaries on VHS culture, horror movies, collectors, censorship, video nasties etc. have been released in the last 5 or so years. I've finally caught up with many of these titles and will do a mini review on a few that I've watched. Here's the first. 


Slice & Dice: The Slasher Film Forever (2012 Documentary)
Slice & Dice is hardly a revolutionary documentary. It's not particularly insightful or comprehensive about its subject matter. Even for the casual slasher fan there isn't anything particularly exciting or noteworthy to learn about the genre here. To combat the staid talking head formula they've framed each head inside a slasher motif ie. a cabin window or a rear view mirror. The most entertaining interviewee is Corey Feldman. I don't really know much about him or his role in slasher pictures, I think he appeared in one or two of the later sequels to Friday The 13th. He is entertaining despite or maybe because of coming across as someone who's been through some kind of trauma and/or addiction though.

The documentary makers go through a bunch of cliches such as the rules of surviving a slasher and how to be a final girl, like none of us had ever seen Scream. They didn't exactly enlist the sharpest of horror commentators for this film either, making analysis of the genre rather half arsed. Like a lot of the videos/films they are talking about here the best thing about this doc is the cover/poster (see above). I guess what kept me watching was the excellent slasher greatest hits clip show that runs throughout. Here's 75 minutes to pass the time or depending on how you look at it, waste it.

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Podcasts - Bowie Edition


David Bowie has been there all my life. He was on the radio, on the telly, on my brothers tape deck, played at discos, on production duties for some of my favorite albums, in my music magazines and in books I owned. He was only ever fully accepted as a musical entity into my music brain in 2013 though. I always had problems with him partly because by the time I'd reached double figures his best work was behind him. I remembered the great tunes from when I was little Ashes To Ashes, Rebel Rebel and all the stuff that never went away because it was on the radio. I didn't hate Modern Love and Let's Dance but even then I knew he wasn't at his peak and after that geez....he certainly was no longer very cool Blue Jean, Glass Spider, Dancing In The Street, Absolute Beginners etc. Then there was my brother, I mean I thought it was totally naff that he was listening to Tin Machine when Sonic Youth and The Pixies were at the peaks of their powers in the late 80s. Later I liked that tune off the Lost Highway soundtrack but that was pretty much it.

For some reason I decided to chuck all my prejudices away in 2013, well just go back to the good stuff. I always knew it was waiting for me plus it wasn't like I hadn't heard it all previously. I suppose 2013 was the year I went out of my way to listen to those records by choice as opposed to having them thrust upon me. That was a strange year for me as I had moved away from Melbourne where I'd lived for over 20 years. I was unsettled, lonely, missed the big smoke and was in some kind of culture shock. I'm still figuring it all out. Anyway I got all his records from 1970-1980 and immersed myself in them. He got so popular round here on weekends I would have Bowie breakfast. I drove the Mrs mental, I think. Enough about me and my insanity, I thought we'd have a little look at some of the podcasts dedicated to Bowie. Some of these were before his death and some were tributes after he had passed away. All these podcasters have been discussed in the previous 3 posts.

SOUND OPINIONS #347 - This show is dedicated to the classic album The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars.

SOUND OPINIONS #381 - Toni Visconti discusses working with the great man here.

SOUND OPINIONS #529 - This episode is called Remembering David Bowie.

MY FAVORITE ALBUM... - With Neil Finn (Split Enz/Crowded House/Finn Brothers/Solo) where he discusses among other things one of his heroes David Bowie.

MY FAVORITE ALBUM #120 - Ben Blacker talks about his love for Bowie's Alladin Sane.

MY FAVORITE ALBUM #138 - In this fantastic podcast actor/podcaster Stephen Tobolowski talks about The Ziggy Stardust LP and how it affected his life.

WORD PODCAST #188 - Great writer Peter Doggett (of Man Who Sold The World: Bowie & The 70s fame) and Paul Du Noyer join The Word wankers to discuss Mr Bowie.

LATE EDITION....
One of the greatest rock writers in history, Paul Morley, has written a book on David Bowie called The Age Of Bowie and here he is the other day with just one of The Word wankers for WORD PODCAST #256. Morley is on a superlative roll and I'd have been happy for him to continue on for another hour. Good stuff!

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Podcasts - Part 3


We're winding up the podcast series with perhaps one more post after this. Another pet hate that creeps into the podcast world is dudes doing their research on the the fly. Some of these podcasters will tell you they are looking up wikipedia and skim through the info, reading it aloud while recording then not bothering with editing. This is lazy and not an enjoyable listen. Microphone technique is another huge problem. Some casters will go from inaudible to screaming into the mike, v annoying. Getting shitfaced whilst recording your show doesn't necessarily mean it's going to be entertaining either. After all there is only one Headly Gritter!

STUFF TO BLOW YOUR MIND
From the same network as the enjoyable Stuff You Should Know podcast. This is similar with good introductions and overviews of interesting topics like MSG, coincidence, shame, Satanic Panic, weird snow, MDMA, science of beards etc. Occasionally I feel a bit like I've had fast food for dinner and need a hearty nutritious meal ie. I haven't been fully satisfied with the information presented. That's the nature of these types programmes though, I guess. You can then go and investigate further on the subjects that intrigue you.

STUFF THEY DON'T WANT YOU TO KNOW
As above, this is another podcast from the howstuffworks.com crew. More introductions to topical subjects. They've covered cannibalism, serial killers, devil worshippers, genocide, the internet, North Korea, the war on drugs, the bible, Osama Bin Laden and a bunch of other stuff. This show's a bit more on the conspiracy theory side of things but looking at the information with sane objectivity.

The aforementioned Stuff You Should Know podcast stills rules the roost for this network though, mainly due to the chemistry of the hosts Josh & Chuck.

THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY...
There are some excellent episodes of this podcast. Recorded live in front of an audience at the library I assume. The classic here for music fans is David Fricke interviewing Lou Reed, Mo Tucker and Doug Yule ex-members of The Velvet Underground in 2009. Other episodes include John Waters on his book about hitchhiking Car Sick, Matthew Wiener creator of Mad Men, Joan Didion, Patti Smith, Debbie Harry & Chris Stein, Laurie Anderson, Jay-Z, Timbaland, Russell Simmons & Rick Rubin on Def Jam and many more.

THE PROJECTION BOOTH
Along with Daughters Of Darkness this is the finest film podcast my ears have come across. Mike White & Rob St Mary articulate their knowledge of film with great finesse. The high quality of this show reminds me of Film Buff's Forecast, the brilliant long running 2 hour radio show on Melbourne's 3RRRFM. Every podcast instalment of The Projection Booth I've listened to has been terrific. Who knew Bruce Dern almost made the American olympic running team?

One of their outstanding projects was the 4 hour epic VHS Extravaganza followed up a month later with a 2 and half hour episode The Revenge Of VHS. This double feature of podcasts was a fascinating look inside the resurgence of VHS culture, video collectors, documentaries about VHS, nostalgia for video shops, clam shell cover art and everything else in between. At over 6 and a half hours it's a testament to The Projection Booth team that I didn't get bored.

An episode on Let's Scare Jessica To Death was first rate as director John D Hancock was interviewed along with Lee Kalcheim who wrote the original script. Who knew this underground movie was a multi million dollar success? Their discourse on Two-Lane Blackop was a marvellous episode too as it contained an interview with the film's director Monte Hellman. I could go on and on.....In fact there's something like 300 episodes of this podcast so that should keep any film aficionado going for a very long time. Obviously this is highly recommended for those willing to go really deep into Movie culture.

HENRY & HEIDI
No matter what you may think of Henry Rollings (sic) there's no doubting he can spin a good yarn. Here he co-hosts a podcast with his manager Heidi May who is the yin to his yang. So if you can stomach listening to the man prattle on, which he has a gift for, there will be much here for you to enjoy. They recorded just 15 episodes of this podcast over a 6 month period in 2015. Hear tales about Hubert Selby Jr., William Shatner, Rollins Band, Lollapolooza, Charlie Sheen, California, acting and RuPaul. Who knew that there was an unreleased musical collaboration between Hank & RuPaul from the 90s?

Scared Jessica

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Podcasts - Part 2


After listening to some of the less professional podcasts I've got some new pet peeves. I now can't stand people saying 'I love this' or 'I hate that' or 'He's one of my favorite directors', 'That record is just shit' or  'You must like this....!' etc.

I get the kind of DIY thing that some of the podcast kids are going for, but sometimes the amateurish approach to their recording, equipment, research and articulation on their subjects leaves a lot to be desired and can be unlistenable. Here we continue our little squizz at the world of podcasting.

DAUGHTERS OF DARKNESS
This is probably the best podcast discovery of the year and it only kicked off in March. Samm Deighan and Kat Ellinger host this show on cult movies with equal amounts passion and knowledge. They present Daughters Of Darkness with great conviction and eloquence. This show is incredibly well researched and Samm and Kat have a delightful chemistry. So far they've covered Lesbian Vampire movies in a 3 part series. Then they brought us a a four part season on Polish director Andrzej Zulawski who recently passed away. Next they investigated the subterranean world of indie American exploitation films that featured in Stephen Thrower's top book Nightmare USA. There's plenty more too. This one is for the cinephiles and lets hope it continues with such high quality.

DIRECTOR'S CLUB
Another podcast dedicated to film and man there are a lot of them out there. This one's a bit too haphazard for my liking. It's a bit like overhearing a conversation in a bar about a film director, I think that's what they're going for too. It might be enjoyable to be in that conversation, not so much fun to listen to it. I feel like these guys are selling themselves a bit short as they really know their stuff. In a word underdone.

STORIES THAT MATTER
This is an excellent podcast presented by The Peabody Awards. Great interviews with award winners Anthony Bourdain, Serial's Sarah Koenig, Documentarian Alex Gibney and Sopranos creator David Chase. This could have been one of the great podcasts in history as Matt Shedd is a fabulous interviewer but it came to an abrupt halt after just five shows.

ADAM BUXTON...
Supposedly this is a comedy podcast! It's remarkably unfunny despite the occasional interesting guest ie. John Ronson, Rob Brydon, Louis Theroux etc.

RICHARD HERRING'S LIECESTER THEATRE...
If you can get past the acquired taste of so called comedian Richard Herring you may well be able to enjoy some of these episodes. Sometimes I can't listen to him and other times I can tolerate him. As the title suggests his show is recorded in front of a live audience and he's had the cream of the comedy crop turn up for this podcast which ensures hilarity often. Comic legends such as David Mitchell, Stephen Fry, Ross Noble, Steve Coogan, Sarah Millican, Jessica Hynes, Lee Mack, Eddie Izzard and Vic Reeves have all graced the Leicester Theatre stage for these recordings. The two episodes that stand out have been when David Cross and Bob Mortimer were guests stars and in fine form. He's had his share of turds too ie. Russell Brand, Sue Perkins, Jake Whitehall etc.

BY THE WAY, IN CONVERSATION WITH JEFF GARLIN
Jeff Garlin of course plays Larry David's manager in the classic sitcom Curb Your Enthusiasm. The best podcast is the first one and it's with Larry David. This instalment is like an elongated scene between the two in an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm, depending on your view of the show you'll either love it or not. The other episodes have been disappointing. He got a bit cringeworthy during the podcasts with Lena Dunham and Amy Poehler.

Mulligan and O'Hare!