Richard Simmons gave his heart to the world. It was no small feat to be an energetic & effeminate fitness celebrity in the homophobic ‘80s, and yet he still rose to prominence and encouraged self respect at every size many years before it was cool. Richard’s videos didn’t just have us grapevining for our lives, he encouraged us to get there by loving ourselves.
But now that Richard has retired from the limelight to live a well-earned private life and we’ve long since worn out our VHS copies of Sweatin’ To The Oldies, where to turn for that special brand of campy lo-fi cardio? What if you’re not a hardcore exercise fiend trying to get into a titty flex contest with Terry Crews and are instead just looking for a fun way to keep that ass in motion while sheltering in place?
Legendary punk singer and Violence Girl author Alice Bag’s “Fit for the Apocalypse” workout videos on YouTube are a good place to start. Each episode is the length of a punk song, which isn’t always enough time for a proper workout but, you know, just stream them all consecutively and jog in place while you scrub through to the action. After years of being punished by crappy club music in every spin class ever, this is the exercise soundtrack you’ve been yearning for. Squat and punch along to cool new punk bands like the Linda Lindas and Amyl & the Sniffers or lunge to classics like The Tissues. Along with standard aerobics moves like the grapevine, get ready for new Alice Bag signature classics like "The Hallelejuah" and the “Tit-sa.” Read the rest
35 years ago the band X released their final album with the original lineup. (They put out a couple of albums after that but they don't count because they didn't include guitarist Billy Zoom.)
This month they released a new album called Alphabetland. The music is as good as ever. They just posted a video for one of my favorite songs on the album, "Water & Wine."
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I have friends. They are all in my head. Read the rest
I'm listening to X's new album, released today on Bandcamp, and it's amazingly good -- loaded with energy and Billy Zoom's mind-warping guitar. It's the original line-up and the band's first album in 35 years. It's called Alphabetland and the cover is by artist Wayne White.
From Rolling Stone:
In interviews, the band members have expressed mixed emotions about making a new album. All of them except for Zoom said they would want to make a new one in a 2017 Rolling Stone profile of the group.
“Families are complicated,” Doe said at the time, carefully choosing his words. “There’s certain … Yeah, I’m not gonna go there.”
“It wouldn’t work,” Zoom said. “The chemistry wouldn’t be right. [Some band members] are in different places and stubborn, and I don’t want to go into detail, but it wouldn’t sound like an X record.” The band has yet to explain the change of heart.
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Henry Rollins, the hardest working punk in show business, has launched a new long-form streaming radio show via KCRW in Los Angeles! The four-hour first episode of The Cool Quarantine features tunes from Rollins's massive vinyl and cassette collection punctuated with personal stories about the artists. And as we all know, Rollins really knows how to spin a yarn. From Rolling Stone:
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The debut episode, which runs four hours, features a story about Rollins and his pal, Minor Threat and Fugazi frontman Ian MacKaye, seeing Led Zeppelin in 1977 — along with bootleg audio from the concert and a bootleg MacKaye made of the Cramps. Rollins also shares stories about the early days of MacKaye’s Dischord Records — which put out Rollins’ first seven-inch with S.O.A. — and his time in Black Flag.
“For many years, I’ve had this idea for a long-form show,” Rollins said in a statement. “I mean really long-form. Like hours. To do it terrestrially would be difficult because I would be crowding other shows out. But if it was online, hey. It’s as many songs as I want, language issues are not a factor, and if anyone gets bored, they can just turn it off or mark the time they checked out and resume later.”
“The idea is that you’re in your room and Engineer X and I come over with a bunch of records,” he continued. “We play you songs, I tell you stories and we do time together. Now that many of us are under some kind of confinement, we might as well get some good listening happening.
On Friday, Sonic Youth uploaded 12 of their previously unreleased live shows to their Bandcamp archives. The concerts span the bands career, from the late 80s to their final US show in 2011.
Lee Ranaldo writes of the project:
We have a couple of engineers and archivist people that we work with. But we’re still all interested in it, we’ve been maintaining a massive archive that continues to grow. Steve Shelley has been really active in it, and the rest of us a little bit less so, but I’ve been pretty active in helping put together the last bunch of packages that come out. In this case, this guy from Russia just said: “Hey, I’ve got this tape of the show” that we had never heard before, and he wanted to put it out. We kind of batted the idea back and forth of whether we wanted to go that route, and in the end, we gave him our blessings to do it. We’re working on an archival project around Sister right now, which is a massive thing we’ve been working on for a while. And two or three other things as well, something around NYC Ghosts & Flowers, and something around a particular concert we did at the Pompidou Center in Paris with Brigitte Fontaine and Areski [Belkacem] that we’ve been trying to cut the legal tape on and release for like a decade.
Read more about the releases on Spin.
H/t Red Cell
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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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Iggy Pop's "We Are the People" is based on a poem penned in 1970 by his old friend, the great Lou Reed. About the poem, Pop told the BBC back in September, "My God, this is the country today as I understand it, or at least one legitimate portrayal of the country today." Last week, Pop performed "We Are the People" with Reed's widow Laurie Anderson at Carnegie Hall for the Tibet House Benefit and now he's released this striking video performance. The song appears on Pop's latest album Free. From "We Are the People:"
We are the people without land / We are the people without tradition...
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We are the people without sorrow who have moved beyond national pride and indifference to a parody of instinct / We are the people who are desperate beyond emotion because it defies thought / We are the people who conceive our destruction and carry it out lawfully
“Punk,” says a Wuhan hardcore band member, “is a way to help me keep my mind fresh.”
The wonderful Aaron Stewart-Ahn tweeted today, “Something you haven’t been told about Wuhan during this outbreak is that it is China’s punk music capital.”
And he's right. Read the rest
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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Balazs Sarkadi from the Hungarian band Bankrupt ("a refreshingly energetic blend of 90s indie, hip hop and punk rock") writes, "President Trump mocked Greta Thunberg in a recent tweet, which sparkled the idea of a song in which he elaborates his point of view on climate change in a Twitter rant addressed to Greta. The mash-up music video of Minor Problem by Bankrupt is a funny and at the same time cringey compilation of Trump's most awkward moments and loosely associated footage.
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Cecil Castellucci (previously
) is a polymath artist: YA novelist, comics writer, librettist, rock star; her latest book, Girl on Film
, is an extraordinary memoir of her life in the arts, attending New York's School for the Performing Arts (AKA "The Fame School") and being raised by her parents, who are accomplished scientists.
A short, exploitative 1983 news clip about punk squatters in the London Borough of Islington, complete with an uninformed, patronizing narrator: "What they lack in grey matter between the ears, they make up for in color on top."
(via r/ObscureMedia) Read the rest
The Ramones promoting "Ramones Mania (The Best Of 1976-1988)" on "Live with Regis and Kathie Lee" in 1988.
"Who writes these songs, 'I Wanna Be Sedated' and 'Teenage Lobotomy?' Do you guys write them? Can you give me the lyrics to 'Teenage Lobotomy?" Just talk them..."
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Birdpunk is the quite natural intersection of two subcultures, punk and birding. From a feature article by Steve Neumann in Audobon:
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The overlap between birding and punk might seem strange to outsiders, but for birdpunks like Croasdale, the Do-It-Youself (DIY) values that shape punk living feed perfectly into low-frills activities such as birding. The DIY aesthetic and mentality is a core philosophy for punks, who thrive on independence and individualism. Their music bucks the profiteering industry of labels and promoters and travels over a homegrown network of venues and websites. The ethic also spills over to visual media, politics, economics, and social philosophy. Hospitality, trust, and authenticity are key traits in the community.
When you consider these principles, it’s clear why many punkers are drawn to birding and its rustic qualities. Or vice versa: why their early love of birds steers them straight into the throes of punk. It’s a two-way street that draws out the best of both worlds, forming a distinctive subculture that’s holistic, aware, and expressive...
Raquel Reyes, who lives in San Francisco... (had) always been interested in biology, but she credits her volunteer work at a wildlife hospital with making the discipline more personal. Similar to the others, Reyes discovered punk in her teens; she found self-esteem in a community where being a “weirdo” was a badge of honor.
“Mainstream views about punk culture characterize it as self-absorbed and nihilistic,” Reyes says, “but there are many sub-categories immersed in ecological concerns.” The rejection of capitalism and mainstream consumerism spurs the need for self-sufficiency and self-discovery, through sewing, carpentry, gardening, and, of course, birding.
At a panel in West Hollywood last night to promote the new documentary series Punk, John Lydon gave a wonderful performance as Johnny Rotten in which he talked trash to both Henry Rollins and Marky Ramone. Highlights above and below. Please forgive the annoying auto-play. Also on the panel were Duff McKagan (Guns 'n' Roses), Donita Sparks (L7), and Punk producer/fashion designer John Varvatos. From Rolling Stone:
“...You called Black Flag a bunch of suburban rich kids and we wanted to tear your ears off,” Rollins said (to Lydon.
“Yes, I did, but I didn’t like the fucking music,” Lydon said. “It was boring.”
After (Marky Ramone) spoke to how the Ramones blazed a trail for punk in New York and took that to London, Lydon said that he was “not even an original Ramone.” “But I did the Blank Generation album with Richard Hell, and you took his image,” Ramone replied. “All you guys took Richard Hell’s image. That’s all you did.”
“And you’re still covering your fucking ears,” Lydon said, grimacing that he’d gotten a rise out of the drummer.
"And Sid Vicious was the star,” Ramone said, prompting Lydon to smile and stick his tongue out. “That’s right, he was,” Lydon replied. “He was the star for asshole fake idiots like you. Enjoy your drugs and fuckin’ have a happy death.”
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