Anthony Hopkins performing Chopin for the benefit of his cat, Niblo

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Niblo is making sure I stay healthy and demands I entertain him in exchange... cats 🤷🏼‍♂️

A post shared by Anthony Hopkins (@anthonyhopkins) on Mar 18, 2020 at 10:20am PDT

Sir Anthony is in self-isolation, but keeping his (and his cat's) spirits up during the pandemic by hitting the keys.

I think that's one of Chopin's Nocturnes but Hopkins is an excellent composer and it might be a pastiche.

CNN rounds up some of the better "isolated celebrity" performances:

Coldplay's Chris Martin has been singing to an empty room, Justin Bieber has been dancing, David Spade has done a stand-up set in his living room, and Ellen DeGeneres has been watching herself on TV.
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Paul K, songwriter and guitarist, RIP

The Blue Sun (remastered) by Paul K & The Weathermen

Paul Kopasz, the Lexington, Kentucky-based songwriter/guitarist best known as the leader of Paul K. and The Weatherman died this week. During the late 1980s and early 1990s in Cincinnati, Ohio, I had the fortune of catching Paul K's inimitable amplified post-punk blues several times and it was always an emotional punch to the gut.

In an obituary in Lexington's Ace Weekly, Kakie Urch writes, "The music, from early days featuring an acoustic guitar with an electric pickup and effects, draws on influences ranging from The Who, The Velvet Underground, Big Star, Gram Parsons, The Kinks and Townes Van Zandt. The 1995 release, Love is a Gas, was produced by Mo Tucker of the Velvet Underground. 1997’s A Wilderness of Mirrors is the rock opera released on Alias and the basis of the “documentary/fairytale” movie. Other titles of note include Blues For Charlie Lucky, and the The Blue Sun, and, as the best place to start, the two-disc collection Stolen Gems."

In 1990, the Afghan Whigs released a searing cover of Paul K's "Amphetamines & Coffee" (above) on their first Sub Pop full-length Up In It (1990). Here's their take on it. Upon hearing of Paul K's death, The Whigs' Greg Dulli wrote the following remembrance:

John Curley and I walked into JR’s in Cincinnati one night back in 1986 and watched a gaunt and possessed singer/ guitarist manhandle a beat up acoustic guitar with a pickup and an overdrive pedal whilst leading his power trio thru an absolutely incendiary set that had our jaws on the floor.

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Rediscovering the lost art of deep listening to music

Think of all of the real-world pleasures of the past we might rediscover while we weather Coronapocalypse 2020. Like "deep listening" to music.

Clear your schedule for the next three hours. Choose three full albums, whether from your collection or your streaming service of choice. Put them in an ordered queue as though you were programming a triple feature.

...most of us are half-assed when it comes to listening to albums. We put on artists’ work while we’re scrolling through Twitter, disinfecting doorknobs, obsessively washing our hands or romancing lovers permitted within our COVID-free zones. We rip our favorite tracks from their natural long-player habitat, drop them into playlists and forget the other songs, despite their being sequenced to be heard in order.

It doesn’t have to be this way. There was a time when listeners treated the mere existence of recorded sound as a miracle. A wonder, a kind of time travel. Priests warned of early wax cylinders being tools of the devil. Vintage images from the space age show couples seated around their high-fidelity systems as if being warmed by a fireplace.

Read the rest in the LA Times.

Photo by 𝓴𝓘𝓡𝓚 𝕝𝔸𝕀 on Unsplash Read the rest

Death Cab for Cutie's Ben Gibbard will play live from home everyday

My friend Ben Gibbard from Death Cab for Cutie plans to perform daily in his home studio and stream it live on YouTube/Facebook at 4pm PST. And he's taking requests. Thanks Ben! From his announcement:

I know you are all freaked out right now. I am, too. And while I’m proud that we’re all doing the necessary things at the moment to help flatten the curve, I know it has left us incredibly isolated...

Be it with DCFC, Postal Service, or solo I have always been grateful for the honor you have bestowed upon us by choosing to congregate en masse around our music. Some of you have traveled great distances and/or shelled out large sums of money to see us play and that has never been lost on me. So in this crazy unprecedented time, I’d like to return my favor by coming to you.

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Korg and Moog have made their software synth apps free

With many people playing their part to flatten the COVID-19 case curve by staying home, Korg and Moog are doing their part to keep them occupied by giving away free versions of their synthesizer apps.

For a limited time Moog’s Minimoog Model D iOS app and Korg’s iKaossilator app for iOS and Android are free to download. I got them both and they are a lot of fun.

Image: YouTube Read the rest

Douglas Rushkoff on Genesis Breyer P-Orridge (1950-2020)

It was 1993. I was working on my book Media Virus, and about to return home to LA from San Francisco, when Timothy Leary called to ask if I could make room for a “friend in need” who needed a ride. That friend turned out to be Genesis P-Orridge.

I had known of Gen through his music and reputation alone, and was frankly a little afraid to meet him. If the “coyote” boys I knew in the Temple of Psychick Youth were modeling themselves after him, I could only imagine how fierce Gen might be. But when I pulled into the parking garage where we supposed to meet, and saw the diminutive Genesis P-Orridge standing there with his two gorgeous young daughters and all their suitcases, my perception of him changed entirely.

And over the next eight hours, so did my perception of world.

Gen had just been quasi-exiled from England after a video he had made for Channel 4 (in which he carried out a mock abortion and ate the fetus), went viral in the tabloids. While Gen was in Thailand, the authorities ransacked his place, seized his archives, and made it clear he was no longer welcome in the UK. So he flew to California instead, essentially homeless, and was feeling pretty out of sorts as we drove. As his two daughters fought in the back, he told me, “If only people realized I was also a regular dad with two kids fighting in the back seat.”

The rest may as well have been straight from the tweets of QAnon. Read the rest

Genesis Breyer P-Orridge of Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV, RIP

Genesis Breyer P-Orridge -- the pioneering performance artist, musician, and occultist -- died this morning. S/he was 70-years-old. Gen's daughters Caresse and Genesse released the following statement:

Dear friends, family and loving supporters,

It is with very heavy hearts that we announce thee passing of our beloved father, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge.

S/he had been battling leukemia for two and a half years and dropped he/r body early this morning, Saturday March 14th, 2020.

S/he will be laid to rest with h/er other half, Jaqueline “Lady Jaye” Breyer who left us in 2007, where they will be re-united.

Thank you for your love and support and for respecting our privacy as we are grieving.

Caresse & Genesse P-Orridge


Here's the New York Times obituary: "Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, Musician, Artist and Provocateur, Dies at 70"

(Image: Seth Tissue, CC BY-SA 2.0, modified) Read the rest

Pandemic playlists to watch the world burn by

Or is it "listen the world burn by"?

Either way, some folks are taking their unexpected isolation time at home to make coronavirus-specific playlists. Here are the ones I'm aware of, thanks to in-the-know pals:

album/song images via Google search Read the rest

The legend of Biggie Smalls' belt

In 1997, The Notorious B.I.G. (aka Biggie Smalls) visited the Manhattan offices of The Source, then the most influential hip hop publication in the world. Biggie was there for a photo shoot and took off his size 52 pleather belt to change clothes. He told Source writer Rigo “Riggs” Morales to hold on to the belt and he'd grab it later. Biggie forgot. A couple weeks later, Biggie was killed in a drive-by shooting. A few years later on his last day at the magazine, Riggs instructed the office's incoming resident, writer Aliya S. King, that Biggie's belt was never to leave that room. Over two decades, nine people were charged with keeping the belt safe Over at Level, King tells the tale of Biggie's belt and why it matters so much to her:

It didn’t feel like a monumental relic or symbol of hip-hop history. It wasn’t one of Big’s infamous Coogi sweaters or the Versace sunglasses that he wore or shouted out in his rhymes. It was a no-name brand size 52 belt. And yet, Riggs decided it needed to stay in that spot. “That belt doesn’t leave this office,” Riggs said to me.

I nodded.

“Not under any circumstances,” he continued. “It stays right there. Right on that hook. Unless Big himself comes here to get it, it doesn’t move.”

“I got it.”

“If you move offices or if you leave The Source, the belt stays here. You can tell the next person who moves in here.”

Read the rest

1965's 'Eve of Destruction' by Barry McGuire

Over and over and over again my friend... Read the rest

Disco diva Gloria Gaynor posts ""I Will Survive" handwashing video


It only takes :20 seconds to “SURVIVE!”👏💕🎶 ##iWillSurviveChallenge ##fyp ##coronavirus ##handwashing

♬ I Will Survive - Gloria Gaynor

Disco diva Gloria Gaynor picked her own 1978 jam for 20 seconds of handwashing. (And you are correct, the video doesn't show the full 20 seconds.)

Oh no, not I, I will survive

Oh, as long as I know how to love, I know I'll stay alive

I've got all my life to live

And I've got all my love to give and I'll survive

I will survive, hey, hey

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Watch the lovely trailer for Soul, the new film from Pixar

My only complaint about Pixar's new film Soul is that is doesn't come out until June 19. Here's the description:

Joe Gardner is a middle-school band teacher who gets the chance of a lifetime to play at the best jazz club in town. But one small misstep takes him from the streets of New York City to The Great Before – a fantastical place where new souls get their personalities, quirks and interests before they go to Earth. Determined to return to his life, Joe teams up with a precocious soul, 22, who has never understood the appeal of the human experience. As Joe desperately tries to show 22 what’s great about living, he may just discover the answers to some of life’s most important questions.

Featuring the voices of Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey, Phylicia Rashad, Angela Bassett, Ahmir Questlove Thompson, Daveed Diggs, “Soul” is directed by Academy Award winner Pete Docter (“Inside Out,” “Up”), co-directed by Kemp Powers (“One Night in Miami”) and produced by Academy Award nominee Dana Murray (Pixar short “Lou”). Globally renowned musician Jon Batiste will be writing original jazz music for the film, and Oscar-winners Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (“The Social Network”), from Nine Inch Nails, will compose an original score that will drift between the real and soul worlds.

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The Misfits' Glenn Danzig's "Danzig Sings Elvis," the album and tour

The Misfits' Glenn Danzig will finally release his long-awaited album of Elvis covers on April 17. In celebration, the horror punk pioneer has also announced two intimate (and expensive) live performances of the material in San Francisco (4/17) and Los Angeles (4/22).

Above, Danzig's take on Elvis's “Let Yourself Go” from his 2015 covers album Skeletons.


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Watch this pianist play through a delightful history of cartoon music

I mostly credit cartoons for my appreciation of classical music. In this video pianist Lord Vinheteiro plays through a survey of cartoon music from 1928 to the current era. No, it isn't comprehensive, but it's still a wonderful medley!

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"The Fuddy Duddy Walk," is the ‘60s dance craze that never was

Jack Nitzsche was a legend in his own time; an arranger, producer, songwriter, and Academy Award-winning composer. His disparate discography includes collaborations with Phil Spector, the iconic 1966 Batman theme, titles by The Rolling Stones, Doris Day, Ike & Tina Turner, The Monkees, Glen Campbell, and the Ronettes, as well as several film soundtracks, including PerformanceThe Exorcist, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, and An Officer and a Gentleman. But one of his earliest known arrangements was for a song so unlistenable it isn’t even named on any of his published discographies.

The title dates from 1963, when a hit song that doubled as a dance craze was the holy grail of the Top 10. But not even the hand of Jack Nitzsche could get this eminently abrasive earworm, "The Fuddy Duddy Walk" by The Entertainers, to join the ranks of "The Twist," "The Mashed Potato," or "The Watusi." "The Fuddy Duddy Walk" is more like proto-punk dance craze anarchy, and it’s not hard to imagine a crowd of pencil-skirted and flat-topped teens covering their ears in buzzkill horror, stampeding from the dance floor and fighting their way to the nearest exit. It’s an aural assault strictly for music masochists, with a nearly unintelligible vocal that codes neither male or female, rock or soul, black or white. Just sweetly painful. Read the rest

Ecce tympanista

\_^◉ᴥ◉^_/ Read the rest

Josie Cotton released a new album more than 30 years after it was recorded

It was the early 1980s; MTV was in its infancy, the New Music scene was beginning to hit national airwaves, and Josie Cotton was having a moment. She had an international hit with the infamous Johnny Are You Queer (decried by some as homophobic and banned in Amsterdam, but also simultaneously embraced as an anthem played in heavy rotation at Pride parades), brought her inimitable style to the 1983 movie Valley Girl, and was making charts with the marginal hits He Could Be the One, and with the early music video, Jimmy Loves Maryann.

Just before she was to complete what would have been her third album, Cotton was dropped by her label, Elektra records. She finished the album nonetheless, but later chose to step back from the music industry altogether, and the tracks were packed away, divided, and lost in storage.

Although less-visible than her contemporaries of the L.A. music scene (Josie Cotton is the invention of Kathleen Josey, who is rumored to be a Texas oil heiress whose grandfather was a business partner of J. Paul Getty), Cotton remained a prolific songwriter and singer, releasing several excellent albums over the years, adeptly exploring a variety of genres and reinventing herself with each project, but on independent labels and without much hoopla. A lot of her later work is top notch: Rabbit Hole, Beautiful But Deadly from Movie Disaster Music. See The New Hong Kong, If a Lie Was Love, All I Can See is the Face of Bruce Lee, Super 8 from Pussycat Babylon, and her inspired, under-the-radar collection of exploitation movie themes, Invasion of the B-Girls. Read the rest

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