Things I miss: when the William Tell Overture was cool

I remember when I could hear the opening to the William Tell Overture and feel the adventure.

I'm not sure if I just got older, the constant comedic uses of The Lone Ranger theme, or I just can't tolerate the racism inherent in most old Western themed tv and movies, but every time I hear this music, I get a brief taste of that old feeling and then it is washed away.

For some reason Jonny Quest's theme still works. Hadji deserved better treatment. Read the rest

Watch the Kraftwerk sitcom that never aired

Shame that this never made it to prime time. Ralf And Florian sure beats Bosom Buddies. (Paul Thorpe)

(Yes, it's a parody.)

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"The Devil Went Down To Georgia" on guitar and unbalanced washing machine

Aaron McAvoy and his unbalanced washer perform a rousing rendition of The Charlie Daniels Band's "The Devil Went Down To Georgia." That driving mechanical rhythm delivers an industrial dance feel, as if it was a 1980s cover by the Revolting Cocks. (via Laughing Squid)

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10 hours of ambient noise from an "icebreaker in the frozen arctic"

Imagine the horror of being trapped in a hostile landscape surrounded by snowflakes that were once objects of amusement but now form a blizzard of menacing proportions. Then smile because you're not a fascist, and are merely stuck on a polar icebreaking vessel for 10 hours.

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Mad Max Trilogy soundtrack on vinyl

With track titles such as "Max Decides On Vengeance" and "Max Enters the Compound," the first two Mad Max soundtracks embody the movies' stark and ironic dystopia. Disc 3, of course, has "We Don't Need Another Hero." I have embedded the instrumental version here as a taster of the forthcoming vinyl set, with Brian May, Maurice Jarre and Tina together at last.

For the first time ever, the original Mad Max trilogy of soundtracks have been combined into a stellar deluxe package designed by Marvel comic artist Tim Bradstreet (The Punisher, Blade). The outside three panels consist of all new original artwork while the inner panels display minis of the original jackets and the tracklisting. The color of the vinyl is Gray, Sand and Black respectively in keeping with the central colors of the new art panels. No more than 2000 units will be made and the trilogy will not be duplicated in another package.

It's up for preorders at $70 and will ship in April. I wonder: why doesn't it include Mad Max 4?

Mad Max Trilogy [3 LP] Soundtrack [Amazon] Read the rest

David Axelrod, incredibly influential soul/jazz/rock composer and producer, RIP

David Axelrod, whose 1960s and 1970s production and compositions melding jazz, soul, and rock had an indelible impact on contemporary hip-hop and R&B, has died at age 83. From Billboard:

Born in Los Angeles in 1933, Axelrod produced his first album in 1959 and went on to become a pioneer in combining jazz, rock and R&B in recorded music. He spent several years working for Capitol Records in production and A&R in the 1960s and went on to release more than a dozen of his own albums.

While a contemporary of, and somewhat analogous to, idiosyncratic composer/arrangers like Van Dyke Parks, Axelrod was much more influenced by jazz, as reflected in his orchestrations and his own compositions. He produced David McCallum's Music: A Bit More of Me, the 1967 release featuring "The Edge," a song that famously turned into the predominant sample in Dr. Dre's 2000 hit "The Next Episode." He also collaborated with the Electric Prunes on their bizarre 1968 album Mass in F# Minor, and when the group splintered in the middle of recording, he finished it with session musicians.

So sad to hear about the passing of musician/composer #DavidAxelrod. He was so immersed in creativity and so pure with his arrangements he WAS hip hop. And understood and appreciated hip hop culture (most cats would get guarded about time moving on & easily take the "NO!!!!!!!!" disposition if they aren't informed. David embraced and often reached out to producers and beatmakers for cool collabos) he appreciation for music and his ability to recognize musicianship is what I'll take from him.

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Kronos Quartet's Kronos Festival 2017 this weekend in San Francisco

My favorite avant-garde classical group Kronos Quartet are holding Kronos Festival 2017: Here and Now this weekend at the SF JAZZ Center! There's a wide variety of musical experiences all weekend long including a family concert on Saturday. The performances feature a stellar array of composers and special guests, including minimalist pioneer Terry Riley, legendary producer/songwriter Van Dyke Parks reading Lawrence Ferlinghetti's poetry, Indian violinist Kala Ramnath, Persian singer Mahsa Vahdat, and Vietnamese instrumentalist Vân-Ánh Võ. Iranian composer Sahba Aminikia is this year's artist-in-residence. Open your mind and your ears to some surprising and beautiful new sounds. Buy tickets here. Below, a Spotify playlist to give you a sense of what you'll hear at the Festival:

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djBC and friends release a legal mashup album on vinyl

djBC writes, "My mashup record with Boston MC Moe Pope and ska/punk legends Big D & The Kids Table was picked up by Asbestos Records! It's 100% legal, too. And there are some great guests like the legendary rapper Edo G and saxophonist Dana Colley of Morphine. Asbestos Records did a lovely job with two different vinyl colorways- black/clear (100 available) and blue/clear (500 available). They even produced one of those 'word' videos for the jaunty single 'Fuckin' Love Music' featuring guest vocals from The Doped Up Dollies. GET IN!" Read the rest

Dig these fantastically eclectic online DJ mixes by Zach Cowie

Zach Cowie is a cratedigger of the highest order. Following gigs at Rhino and Sub Pop, Zach turned his insatiable record collecting into a job: He's a music supervisor for TV and movies with credits like Master of None and The Little Hours and curated musical selections for the fashion label Rodarte. As a DJ, Zach (aka Turquoise Wisdom) frequently makes the scene in LA and elsewhere, sometimes spinning with pals like Elijah Wood and Andy Cabic (Vetiver). It seems that his destined role in life is to turn us on to the best music we've never heard of. And he's got a Voyager Golden Record tattoo, so that makes me like him even more. Here's an interview with him from Dust & Grooves.

Zach is now recording a monthly set for NTS called "Play It As It Lathes" that mixes ambient, psych, spiritual jazz, prog, cosmic country, dream pop, folk, and every other far-out genre you can imagine into stunning two-hour sets.

"It's the best place to hear what i’ve been listening to at home lately," Zach says.

Turn on and tune in below.

(Thanks, Jess Rotter!)

Image at top by Eilon Paz/Dust & Grooves Read the rest

Bonobo's brilliantly claustrophobic music video imagines life indoors

Oscar Hudson directed this delightful music video for Bonobo's song "No Reason," described as "a film about staying indoors." Read the rest

Communism, Hypnotism, and The Beatles

This 26-page pamphlet from 1965, with 168 meticulous footnotes, outlines the dangers of The Beatles and "the Communist master music plan." Also available in audio form. Read the rest

Learn how to play piano chords in under 8 minutes

Even if you've taken a lesson or two, this brisk run through the basics of musical chords probably will remind you of something you've long forgotten. Read the rest

Moog Music introduces new Sonic Origins series

Moog just unveiled a new showcase of artists using their instruments. Sonic Origins starts things off with Russell E.L. Butler of Black Jeans, who thinks of the sounds "as an initiator of dialogue." Read the rest

'Resistiré' (I Will Resist), Dúo Dinámico (1988)

“Resistiré,” '80s Euro-pop by the Spanish band Dúo Dinámico. As made famous in Átame (Tie Me Up Tie Me Down), a film by Pedro Almodóvar in which Antonio Banderas, Victoria Abril, and Loles León sing the song while driving.

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Watch "Smells Like Teen Spirit" performed by 1000 people

Rockin'1000, who claim to be "the biggest rock band on Earth," performs Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" in Cesena, Italy.

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The Raconteurs "You Don't Understand Me"

I really love the entire album Consolers of the Lonely (2008.) Read the rest

Watch: David Bowie's first TV appearance at age 17 was a delightful prank

In November 1964, 17-year-old David Bowie (then Jones) appeared on BBC's "Tonight" to talk about his new Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Long-Haired Men, a PR stunt cooked up by his dad. Bowie was already a veteran rocker, having played with The Konrads,Tthe King Bees, and The Manish Boys. From Wendy Leigh's Bowie: The Biography:

He might have been part of the Manish Boys, but inside, David had always seen himself as a star who stood on his own. So he was heartened when his father came up with a masterstroke.... John Jones swung into action and, applying his well-honed PR skills, along with David's input, concocted a cause designed to thrust David into the limelight....

Consequently, in November 1964, at John Jones's behest, the ever-obliging Leslie Thomas [a music columnist and former Barnardo's boy who'd previously written about the King Bees, also at John Jones's behest] published an article in the Evening News titled "For Those Beyond the Fringe," announcing the formation of a new society, the International League for the Preservation of Animal Filament, whose founder and president was none other than David Jones.

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