The making of Joy Division's "Unknown Pleasures" plus new videos for the album's tracks

Joy Division's post-punk masterpiece "Unknown Pleasures" turns 40 this year. NME just republished an interview with two of the three surviving members of Joy Division -- bassist Peter Hook and drummer Stephen Morris -- about creating what is arguably one of the most influential albums of all time. Meanwhile, the surviving band members have invited ten video directors to create new music videos for each song on the album. Below is the first video for "I Remember Nothing," directed by Helgi & Hörður. From the NME:

Was there anything that (producer) Martin Hannett did or asked you to do that was a bit too much?

Morris: “I was alright with what he was asking us to do mostly, although he did make me use the aerosol can on the 12-inch version of ‘She’s Lost Control’ like you see in Control. He shut me in a room with a can of tape-cleaning fluid and made me press it in time with the song. By the end, the booth was just filled with noxious fumes. I think he was just trying to kill me. If I’d have lit up a fag, the whole of Strawberry Studios would have gone up in smoke.”

Is it strange seeing that (album cover) design getting reproduced on just about anything and everything?

Hook: “We never actually did an official ‘Unknown Pleasures’ T-shirt until 1994 but they got bootlegged all over the world. When we got investigated by the taxman because of the Haçienda being all fucked up, he said that he couldn’t find any receipts for ‘Unknown Pleasures’ T-shirts.

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Listen to Karen O and Danger Mouse cover Lou Reed's "Perfect Day"

On a recent episode of SiriusXMU Sessions, Karen O and Danger Mouse recorded this stark and lovely cover of Lou Reed's "Perfect Day" from 1972. The performance follows the release of their collaborative LP Lux Prima.   Read the rest

Debbie Harry has always been a master at on-screen interviews

"Where do you think Blondie will be ten years from now?"

"San Quentin."

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Jamming from inside a guitar, with Maple the dog

Unmute! Something wholesome for your internet enjoyment. Read the rest

When William S. Burroughs met Bob Dylan

Music critic Casey Rae's new book William S. Burroughs and the Cult of Rock 'n' Roll explores the vast influence that Burroughs had on musicians both underground and mainstream, from David Bowie, Lou Reed, and Patti Smith to The Beatles, Kurt Cobain, and Radiohead. In a Longreads excerpt from the book, Rae tells the tale of Burroughs's 1965 meeting with Bob Dylan:

Burroughs and Dylan took their meeting at a small café in Man­hattan’s East Village, the precise location of which has been lost to time and memory. “He struck me as someone who was obviously competent,” Burroughs later told Victor Bockris. “If his subject had been something that I knew absolutely nothing about, such as math­ematics, I would have still received the same impression of compe­tence. Dylan said he had a knack for writing lyrics and expected to make a lot of money.” Personally, Burroughs had little use for money beyond its utility in purchasing narcotics and avoiding hard labor. But he could easily spot élan, which Dylan had in spades. “He had a likable direct approach in conversation, at the same time cool, re­served,” Burroughs later recalled to Bockris. “He was very young, quite handsome in a sharp-featured way. He had on a black turtle­neck sweater.” Although they only met once in person, Burroughs left a mark on the younger artist. According to critic R. B. Morris, “There’s no doubt that he was greatly influenced by Burroughs’ wild juxtaposing of images and scenes, as well as subject matter.” After encountering Burroughs, Dylan’s work became even more abstract, caustic, and surreal.

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Tuesday Tunes: The Urban Voodoo Machine - High Jeopardy Thing

Are your gambles paying off of late? Maybe it's time to double down on something wonderful, friends. The worst that can happen is that you'll die knowing that you tried for something better... or that you live a long life with your failure. In either event, you did your best.

Image via Sin Bozurt via The Urban Voodoo Machine Read the rest

After hack and attempted shakedown, Radiohead posts hours of demos

Some 15 hours of Thom Yorke's demo recordings, dating back to the OK Computer era, were accessed and downloaded by a hacker who then attempted to extort $150,000. Rather than pay up or lose control of the media, Radiohead released it all online instead. Bandmate Jonny Greenwood wrote that the sessions were "only tangentially interesting" and would be offered for the next 18 days, with an optional $18 price tag that would be passed onto Extinction Rebellion, a climate change protest group.

MINIDISCS [HACKED] by Radiohead Read the rest

Watch Dr. John and Leon Redbone perform "Frosty the Snowman"

In memory of Leon Redbone and Dr. John who both died in recent days, please enjoy the duo performing "Frost the Snowman" recorded for Redbone's 1988 album Christmas Island.

(r/ObscureMedia) Read the rest

Child with nonverbal autism surprises mom by singing 'Old Town Road'

Sheletta Brundidge, @TwoHauteMamas1 on Twitter, shared an awesome story about her son. And there's video. Read the rest

Dr. John, the New Orleans music icon born Malcolm John Rebennack, dies at 77

A legend of American music has departed.

His name was Malcolm John Rebennack, or Mac Rebennack, but we knew him as Dr. John. Read the rest

Listen to BBC Radio 4's "New Weird Britain" audio program

John Doran, founder of the excellent music news site The Quietus, and producer Alannah Chance have created a fascinating audio documentary series for BBC Radio 4 titled "New Weird Britain." Over four episodes, Doran explores the UK's cultural interzones where hidden scenes of experimental musicians and transmedia artists are keeping the avant-garde alive. From The Quietus:

(Each episode focuses) on the urban fringes of major cities and post-industrial towns, as well as the rural and coastal underground, to find the people responsible for making innovative 'weird' music outside of the mainstream music industry.

New Weird Britain will feature interviews with musicians such as Gazelle Twin, Richard Dawson, Guttersnipe, Sophie Cooper, Hawthonn, AJA, Rhodri and Angharad Davies, Natalie Sharp, Kelly Jayne Jones and many others. There will also be guest appearances from Cosey Fanni Tutti and Jennifer Lucy Allan during the series.

The first episode, Urban Hinterlands, is now available online. Read the rest

[Trailer] Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese

Watch this new trailer for that upcoming Martin Scorsese Netflix feature on Bob Dylan. Read the rest

Super Mario Bros. theme performed on credit card swipe machines

Device Orchestra's first attempt at a classic video game theme. Other highlights from the channel include Spice Girls on 5 toothbrushes, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star on a Ladyshave and The Imperial March on a toaster. Read the rest

Watch Judas Priest singer kick a phone out of a concertgoer's hand

At a Judas Priest show last week in Rosemont, Illinois, singer Rob Halford became annoyed with an audience member's reported use of the flash on his phone. So he went metal on it. And no, he isn't sorry.

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Roky Erickson, psychedelic music pioneer, RIP

Roky Erickson, the pioneering psychedelic musician behind the 13th Floor Elevators, has died at age 71. A brilliant legend of Texas garage rock who struggled with schizophrenia and drug abuse, Erickson's far out lyrics, songs, and life had a tremendous influence on countless punk, psych, experimental, and avant-garde bands. Erickson moved culture. In 1966, Erickson unleashed the quintessential psych classic "You're Gonna Miss Me." He was right. RIP, Roky.


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Watch Nico cover a Gordon Lightfoot tune in 1965

In 1965, two years before Nico made the Warhol/Factory scene with the Velvet Underground and released her first solo LP "Chelsea Girl," she recorded this cover of Gordon Lightfoot's "I'm Not Sayin'." According to Wikipedia, "This version of the song features Jimmy Page, then a studio musician, on the 12-string guitar. Nico's version was produced by Rolling Stones multi-instrumentalist Brian Jones and the promo film was shot at West India Docks in London." Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham released the track as a 7" backed with "The Last Mile," written by Oldham and Page.

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Patti Smith has a new memoir on the way

The inimitable Patti Smith will release a new memoir, Year of the Monkey, on September 24. A blend of reality and dreams, illustrated with Smith's Polaroids, the book captures her experience of a single year, 2016. From the publisher:

Following a run of New Year’s concerts at San Francisco’s legendary Fillmore, Patti Smith finds herself tramping the coast of Santa Cruz, about to embark on a year of solitary wandering. Unfettered by logic or time, she draws us into her private wonderland with no design, yet heeding signs–including a talking sign that looms above her, prodding and sparring like the Cheshire Cat. In February, a surreal lunar year begins, bringing with it unexpected turns, heightened mischief, and inescapable sorrow. In a stranger’s words, “Anything is possible: after all, it’s the Year of the Monkey.” For Smith – inveterately curious, always exploring, tracking thoughts, writing – the year evolves as one of reckoning with the changes in life’s gyre: with loss, aging, and a dramatic shift in the political landscape of America.

Smith melds the western landscape with her own dreamscape. Taking us from California to the Arizona desert; to a Kentucky farm as the amanuensis of a friend in crisis; to the hospital room of a valued mentor; and by turns to remembered and imagined places, this haunting memoir blends fact and fiction with poetic mastery. The unexpected happens; grief and disillusionment set in. But as Smith heads toward a new decade in her own life, she offers this balm to the reader: her wisdom, wit, gimlet eye, and above all, a rugged hope for a better world.

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