I really enjoy DJ R3X's 'Playlist #1' from Oga's Cantina at Disneyland

My daughter and I finally made it to Disneyland's Galaxy's Edge. It was wonderful. Read the rest

Black Flag/Iain Banks mashup tee

Rogue Print's inaugural tee design for 2020 is a mashup Iain Banks (previously, RIP)/Black Flag tribute available as a baseball tee or a regular one -- both ship with a set of writers as bands stickers. Read the rest

Every instrument in Billie Jean replaced with a springy door stop

"just thought i would SPRING into action haha do you get it?" writes Beeble. Read the rest

Jazz great Jack Sheldon, the voice of Schoolhouse Rock!, RIP

Jazz trumpeter Jack Sheldon, singer of the Schoolhouse Rock! classics "I'm Just a Bill" and "Conjunction Junction," has died at age 88. With roots in the 1950s West Coast and bebop jazz scene, Sheldon became the longtime musical director of the Merv Griffin Show. In 1973, he became an ongoing contributor to Schoolhouse Rock!, voicing many of the series' most popular tunes.

(CNN)

image: "Jack Sheldon at Palo Alto CA Jazz Festival September 26, 1987" by Brian McMillen (CC BY-SA 4.0) Read the rest

Groovy synth Star Wars soundtrack from Japan (1978)

In 1978, Japanese electronic music maestro Osamu Shoji (1932-2018) released this killer analog synth reimagining of the Star Wars soundtrack. I find Shoji's take on the familiar themes to be far groovier than the disco exploitation of Meco's US chart-topping "Star Wars and Other Galactic Funk" released the previous year.

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Vaughan Oliver -- graphic designer for 4AD, Cocteau Twins, Pixies -- RIP

Vaughan Oliver, the graphic designer whose work defined the 4AD record label, has died. He was 62. His ethereal, surreal, magnificent album art for The Pixies, Cocteau Twins, This Mortal Coil, and Clan of Xymox brought together design and music in a way that forever changed and elevated the design of music packaging. From The Guardian:

Oliver, born in 1957, grew up in County Durham and studied graphic design at Newcastle-upon-Tyne Polytechnic. “I was a working class lad from a dull town,” he said in 2014. “There was no real culture, my parents were not really interested in anything unusual – everything I was getting was through record sleeves. It was a democratic way of discovering art.”

He moved to London and in 1982 became the first employee for the record label 4AD. As their in-house designer, he created artwork that helped define them as purveyors of dark and complex alt-rock music; with their clashing fonts and boldly allusive but mysterious symbolism, his sleeves became some of the most revered in modern pop. “I like to elevate the banal through surrealism,” he said in 2014. “Mystery and ambiguity are important weapons in a designer’s arsenal.”

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Inspector Gadget and He-Man themes performed on church organ

The theme tune to classic 80s' cartoon Inspector Gadget performed by Riccardo Bonci at St Barnabas with Christ's Chapel in Dulwich, England.

Here's He-Man and the Masters of the Universe:

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Dave Riley, bassist for Big Black, RIP

Dave Riley, bassist for the influential 1980s Chicago noise-punk band Big Black, has died. He was 59. According to his partner Rachel Brown, he had throat cancer. What a fucking great player, he was. And what a fucking great band. From Rolling Stone:

“Dave was a fantastic musician and a critical part of the Chicago music scene,” (Big Black guitarist Steve) Albini tells Rolling Stone. “He bridged the gap between raw enthusiasm and outstanding musicianship better than anybody else in our peer group and I always admired him for it...”

“When I think about Dave, I think of him onstage, sweating, rolling on his heels, his bass making a rhythmic shrapnel cloud, the densest object in a very heavy construction," Albini wrote in his statement. “Then I think of him after the show, still sweaty but relaxed, easy with his humor and in possession of an impeccably sharp wit, comfortable with himself, comfortable being the hinge-pin of the evening. I miss playing with Dave, and I miss hanging out with him. He was a handful, but like most people we describe that way, he was worth it. Rest easy.”

Below, Big Black (Riley on right):

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This luthier keeps Willie Nelson's legendary guitar playable

Willie Nelson's Martin N-20 guitar, affectionately known as Trigger, has seen some shit. Happily, the majority of the shit it's seen has been in the name of making countless music lovers, the world over, happy. Over the years, Willie's finger-pickin' playing style has worn second soundhole into the guitar (not to mention the other carnage that this poor instrument has somehow survived.)

To keep Trigger alive and playable, Texas-based luthier, Mark Erlewine, gives the iconic instrument a whole lot of TLC during the guitar's annual checkup. Read the rest

Travel Tunes: Kíla: Suas Síos

Kíla's music has been a huge part of my life for decades.

In January of 2015, I was preparing to travel to Costa Rica, and Nicaragua to take some time away from the damp of a British Colombian winter and undertake a bit of travel writing. I'd read online that Kíla had a new album ready to pop. I was desperate to have a copy of it to use as my soundtrack for my 14-day trek. Contacting the band via Twitter and, later, by email, I explained to them how important their music was in my life and that, a trip to a new continent needed to be accompanied by their new music.

Three days before I was set to fly away from Vancouver Island, a small parcel from Ireland showed up in the post: it was a CD copy of Suas Síos. I quickly ripped it to throw on my iPhone and sent them an emailed thank-you which I'm pretty sure wasn't nearly eloquent enough to capture my gratitude.

The woman, who is now my partner in life, was working in Costa Rica as a dive master. We've been together for close to five years now, and married for almost three of those. I consider Suas Síos the album and, consequentially, Suas Síos the song, to be good luck charms, of sorts. I never leave the house for a pop down to the shop or an adventure like our upcoming trip to Morocco, without them.

I hear tell that Kíla's got a new album on the way. Read the rest

Perfection: "Frère Jacques" featuring Ricky Gervais' infectious laughter

A delightful moment of "Frère Jacques" performed by composer Luke Thering and comedian Ricky Gervais. More of Luke and Ricky below:

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Singer/Songwriter Kirsty MacColl was killed 19 years ago this week

Many may only know her voice from hearing The Pogues' Fairytale of New York, but beyond that timeless tune, Kirsty MacColl's career as a singer and songwriter was as full and respected as you're bound to hear of. She was lost to us, at the age of 41, close to two decades ago, this week.

While on holiday in Mexico with her partner and children, MacColl was killed, and by some accounts murdered while on a diving excursion, off the coast of Cozumel. According to the Irish Post, a  boat entered the warded-off area where MacColl was surfacing from a scuba dive, at high speed, striking her light out of this world. She'd still be with us if she hadn't, as a final act, pushed her 15-year old son out of the path of the speeding boat. The vessel belonged to a Mexican multimillionaire. When's there's money had, a coverup may be bought: It's rumored that the boat's owner was the one driving it when MacColl was killed. However, one of his employees was paid to take the fall for him.

Fortunately, her music lives on. In this documentary, the BBC explores MacColl's career with insights from Shane MacGowan, Billy Bragg, Johnny Marr, Bono, French & Saunders and Steve Lillywhite. Read the rest

I miss ska-punk

Funny how I can understand all the words now.

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Watch Wham's "Last Christmas", the second-worst Christmas song, in gorgeously remastered 4K

A symphony in polyester sweaters and feathered mullets, now in splendid 4K. [via Input] Read the rest

Listen to Brian Eno's beautiful cover of Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire"

In 1990, Brian Eno and John Cale made a wonderful experimental pop/art rock record called Wrong Way Up, released by Warner Bros. Records. At the time, the label would send out 7" records to alt.rock/college radio stations to promote their new releases. The promo series, called Soil Samples, featured different artists on each side of the record performing songs that weren't included on their new albums.

Above is Brian Eno's contribution to Soil Samples #3, a sublime cover of Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire," originally written by June Carter and Merle Kilgore.

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Private equity looters startled to be called out by name in Taylor Swift award-acceptance speech

Taylor Swift has been embroiled in a terrible dispute with Scooter Braun, who acquired Swift's former label for $300m, delivering him control over Swift's first six albums. Swift says that Braun had bullied and tormented her for years, and that the owner of her original label, Scott Borchetta, had sold the label to him in order to punish Swift. Read the rest

Ki ki ki, ma ma ma

In honor of today, please enjoy Harry Manfedini's "Overlay of Evil/Main Title" from the score to Friday the 13th (1980). And as a bonus, here is the evolution of Jason Vorhees's handsome mug:

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