Nearly 1000 Peel Sessions now available online

Blogger Dave Strickson has been keeping an up-to-date list of all of the BBC 1 Peel Sessions that are currently available online.

There is nearly a thousand sessions of music to date. Some of the artists include David Bowie and The Spiders from Mars, Roxy Music, Joy Division, New Order, The Cure, Siouxsie & The Banshees, The Smiths, The Fall, Echo & The Bunnymen, Nirvana, Hole, Jack White, Elvis Costello, Cocteau Twins, The Jesus & Mary Chain, Sonic Youth, The Wedding Present, The Raincoats, Nick Drake, T-Rex, Buzzcocks, Can, Billy Bragg, Fairport Convention, Pulp, The Breeders, The Fugees, The Kinks, The Specials, The Slits, and Thin Lizzy.

[Via Brooklyn Vegan]

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A classical flutist listens to Ian Anderson in 1969 and 1976

I have a love/hate relationship with musical reaction videos. There are kids reacting to heavy metal (or The Beatles), vocal teachers and opera singers reacting to rock vocalists, millennials reacting to classic rock, and on and on. Some of these are quite moving, for instance, a 20-something hearing Zep's "Since I've Been Loving You" for the first time or a vocal teacher reacting to a Black Metal vocalist's cookie monster growl.

In these two videos, Heline, a classical flutist and music teacher, listens to Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson performing "Bouree" at a 1969 concert and then she listens and reacts to a performance from 1976.

I didn't realize that Anderson had only been playing the flute for a year and had no formal training at the time of the 69 video (their first tour). Heline can appreciate his chutzpah in the first performance and the fact that he's only been playing for a year(!), but is perhaps predictably critical of his playing. She is more impressed with what she sees and hears in the 76 performance.

Personally, I always thought his playing was inspired and his playing, vocalizing, singing and playing, and his other stage antics (the goofy one-legged stance) were a perfect example of "the street finding its own uses for things," using technology in ways in which it was never intended. As with all things artistic, your mileage may vary.

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Rock and rollers' baby and kid pics

The Facebook group Rock and Blues Club has a fun photo album of rock n' roll icons when they were youngins.

See baby Brian May clutching a teddy bear, Neil Young looking like Huckleberry Finn, and Charlie Watts and Ron Wood looking like... Charlie Watts and Ron Wood.

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Shut in sounds: Donald Fagen's "New Frontier"

Soon after the sheltering-in-place orders started being issued, this wonderful song (and video) from Donald Fagen's 1982 Grammy-nominated solo album Nightfly began popping into my head. All these weeks later, it hasn't left.

"We've got provisions and lots of beer The key word is survival on the new frontier"

Indeed, except we don't have lots of beer and we're having a hard time laying in the provisions. Where's the 50s fallout shelter when we need it?

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Fountains of Wayne co-founder, Adam Schlesinger, dead of COVID-19

Rolling Stone is reporting that Adam Schlesinger, co-founder of Fountains of Wayne, and a prolific songwriter for film, television, and theater, has died of COVID-10. He was 52-years-old.

Schlesinger had one of the most unique and busiest careers in pop. With Fountains of Wayne — a group that blended power-pop delight with indie and alt-rock sensibilities — he released five albums between 1996 and 2011. During the same period, he released six albums with his other group, Ivy, all the while building a portfolio of TV and film music. His first hit came in 1996, but it was a song engineered to sound like it was actually from the Sixties: “That Thing You Do.” The track served as the sole hit for the Wonders, the fake band at the center of Tom Hanks’ film That Thing You Do!; in real life, the track charted well and earned Schlesinger an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song. Seven years later, Schlesinger and Fountains of Wayne would notch their own career-defining hit, “Stacy’s Mom.”

Read the rest here.

Written by Schlesinger:

It is staggering to try and comprehend how many of these obits we are going to be seeing in the coming weeks and months.

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Sonic Youth releases 12 of their live shows spanning their career

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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Mick Rock, titan of rock photography, explains some of his most iconic images on Instagram

More shut-in fun as legendary lensman, Mick Rock, goes through a collection of some of his most famous photographs and tells stories about them.

This incredible Bowie image, taken at Haddon Hall: “It was the light. It was unbelievable.”

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“It was the light. It was unbelievable.”

A post shared by Mick Rock (@therealmickrock) on Mar 26, 2020 at 10:00am PDT

Mötley Crüe: Dirty little buggers. So much fucking cocaine.

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Mick Rock at Home EP 1 : Motley Crue "Bubble Bath” - 1986 . Dirty little buggars. Where they needed to be! In a f💥ckin’ Mick Rock bubble bath. Hallelujah! #mickrockathome @motleycrue @thevinceneil @nikkisixxpixx @mr.mickmars @tommylee #thedirt #mickrockfilm #shot

A post shared by Mick Rock (@therealmickrock) on Mar 24, 2020 at 10:02am PDT

Queen (Bohemian Rhapsody cover): It's very hard to get away from this particular picture.

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If you missed my @morrisonhotelgallery live stream chat last week, here you go! I'll be posting never before seen photos and stories plus rare footage on my Instagram TV in the coming weeks, so be sure to check it out. xM

A post shared by Mick Rock (@therealmickrock) on Mar 22, 2020 at 12:12pm PDT

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Queen's Brian May teaches his famous guitar licks on Instagram and advises: “keep calm and create”

Brian May, "your friendly neighbourhood rock star" (as he described himself in a post) is doing a series of "MicroConcertos" on his Instagram account. On them, he shows fans and fellow guitarists how he achieves some of his famous Queen licks.

Brian is also using his account to try and keep fans' spirits up and to encourage them to take self-isolation very seriously, observe sterile technique, and to make the most out of the time. "Keep calm and create" he summarizes.

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This spontaneously turned into a ‘Star Licks’ type tutorial ... as an experiment, really. I don’t think I’ll Ever try to do it this way again, though - because it was ridiculously time-consuming trying to put it all up on IG ‘Stories’. Here’s a very rough potted version for posterity. Tell me how useful (or not!) it was. OK ? Bri

A post shared by Brian Harold May (@brianmayforreal) on Mar 21, 2020 at 5:10am PDT

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Witchy woman on the cover of Black Sabbath's eponymous first album finally identified

It is kind of hard to imagine that it's taken until 2020 for the identity of the woman on the cover of Black Sabbath's heavy metal masterpiece, Black Sabbath, to finally be known. The woman has been identified as Louisa Livingston. The image was shot by photographer and album designer, Keith "Keef" Macmillan.

The photographer opted for Oxfordshire's Mapledurham Watermill because it fit the band's sound in his opinion. Louisa told Rolling Stone:

"I remember it was freezing cold. I had to get up at about 4 o'clock in the morning. Keith was rushing around with dry ice, throwing it into the water. It didn't seem to be working very well, so he ended up using a smoke machine.

"It was just, 'Stand there and do that.' I'm sure he said it was for Black Sabbath, but I don't know if that meant anything much to me at the time."

As a teenage headbanger, I spent countless record-spinning hours poring over every inch of this haunting cover, completely enthralled by the creepy building and the beautiful green-skinned witch in front of it. It is probably a good thing that I (and every other pubescent teen listener) was ignorant of this fact:

"She wasn't wearing any clothes under that cloak because we were doing things that were slightly more risqué, but we decided none of that worked.

"Any kind of sexuality took away from the more foreboding mood. But she was a terrific model. She had amazing courage and understanding of what I was trying to do."

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Emerson, Lake & Palmer's prog rock epic, "Karn Evil 9," to be made into a film with Daniel Wilson penning the screenplay

According to a piece on Deadline, 70s prog rock behemoths, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, are having a movie made from their 30-minute sci-fi song suite, "Karn Evil 9", from 1973's Brain Salad Surgery.

Centered on a society that has drained all its blood with a dependence on technology, the film will explore the world controlled by a pervasive and dictatorial technocracy. The annual “Karn Evil” — a macabre rite of passage — is a young person’s once-in-a-lifetime chance to experience unbridled freedom, before subjugating themselves to the ruling class. When people stop returning from their Karn Evil experience, fear drives a revolution to topple the status quo and the artificial intelligence discovered at its heart.

The film is being produced by Radar Pictures, producers of the Jumanji films. The screenplay is being written by best-selling author Daniel H. Wilson:

Wilson, the author behind bestselling sci-fi novels Robopocalypse and The Andromeda Evolution, has adapted several of his works for the screen, most recently penning the script to Robopocalypse for DreamWorks and Michael Bay.

“I’m incredibly excited to partner with Ted and Radar to explore Karn Evil 9—a unique and thrilling world,” said Wilson. “I couldn’t ask for better collaborators and I can’t wait to help add the Karn Evil 9 franchise to the Radar family.”

Read the rest here.

Here is ELP performing "Karn Evil 9 Third Impression" at 1974's California Jam.

ELP fun-fact: "Karn Evil 9" was co-written by Peter Sinfield, the poet and lyricist best-known for his writing on the first four King Crimson records, including the hugely influential In the Court of the Crimson King and In the Wake of Poseidon. Read the rest

The 27-song playlist that Lou Reed made just before he died

The UK's Far Out Magazine has posted the playlists of 27 songs that Lou Reed was listening to when he died in 2013 of liver disease.

Reed continually kept his finger on the pulse of contemporary and popular music. Taking a hands-on approach to the developing technology around him, Reed controlled his own Spotify account which hosted several different playlists of songs he liked from the radio, or, alternatively, general songs he was listening to at that time.

Entitled ‘What I’m listening to’, Reed’s final contributions to his creative Spotify account was to curate two playlists for his followers. Combining some more predictable selections with the likes of Roy Orbison, Prince, Tom Waits and more, Reed also managed to raise a few eyebrows when he includes artists such as Nicki Minaj, Robyn and more.

Read the rest of the piece and access the playlists here.

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An interview with legendary bass player Carol Kaye

On Legs McNeil's Please Kill Me, Michael Shelly interviews the legendary bass player, Carol Kaye. Unless you're a hardcore music nerd, you may not know who Carol Kaye is. You need to fix that.

Carol Kaye is the bassist on thousands of 20th century recordings, from The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds to Nancy Sinatra's These Boots are Made for Walkin', to Glen Campbell's Wichita Lineman. Oh, and she also played on the Mothers of Invention's Freak Out! and the Batman theme song. The list goes on and on and on.

Get this woman into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, stat!

PKM: When producers, like Brian Wilson with “Good Vibrations,” would do a single song in parts over many sessions was that frustrating or fun for you?

Carol Kaye: You know Brian was a nice young kid. We worked for a lot of those young guys back then and Brian had something special about him, and he grew with every date. You saw his talent getting better and better and better. He’d only do one song for a three-hour date and that does get boring after a while, but he would come in and he’d give you this handwritten, kind of funny sheet music with stems on the wrong side of the notes and sharps and flats everywhere. He would sit down at the piano and play the song, to kind of give us a feel for it, and then he’d go in the booth and take charge from there.

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Fifty of the most drug-drenched albums of all time

Here is another fabulous list of important records, this one organized around the theme of "most drug-addled." As with the avant-garde list, this author's choices are ripe for debate. The writing on the entries is also fun.

RAMPANT MADNESS, cheap powder, and the whiskey river: below are the 50 most debauched, sodden, and certifiable records in music history.

The rules are simple: being merely eccentric while swathed in outlandish clothing fails to qualify. Having done an epic amount of street powder while getting handjobs in the groupie van is not enough. Hell, Steven Tyler claims to have spent $3 million on cocaine over the years, but would Aerosmith have sounded one iota different if they’d been straight edge? It’s the same reason Mötley Crüe doesn’t warrant space on this list. Sure, they snorted live ants (actually, that was Ozzy) and mainlined Jack Daniel’s to stave off epic boredom, but their music would have been exactly the same steaming pile of hair regardless.

No, to make this list, the music on a given album has to bleed chemical influence while also leaching a very specific brand of desperation and/or madness. The vocals, the rhythm, the melody–all have to be drenched in reverb, compression, and frighteningly altered states that could not have been recorded any other way.

Except through a blind leap into the void. Roll it, pour it, cook it, crush it, or just get stone-cold crazy; the needle will drop into the groove either way.

But excess is never enough.

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“What is this that stands before me?" Fifty years ago when rock and roll turned seriously dark, heavy, and metallic

It's hard to wrap one's head around the fact that, this year, Black Sabbath's eponymous debut album turns 50. It's also hard to wrap one's head around the seismic impact this record and this band would have on modern music.

“We knew instantly that ‘Black Sabbath’ was very different to what was around at the time,” guitarist Tony Iommi says of the piece that gave the group its name.

“We always wanted to go heavier than any other band,” bassist Geezer Butler says.

“I thought the song would be a flop, but I also thought it was brilliant,” drummer Bill Ward says. “I still think it’s brilliant.”

“When we played that song for the first time, the crowd went nuts,” Butler says.

Half a century has passed since Black Sabbath first scared the bejesus out of rock fans with their eponymous anthem. The song opens with the sound of a powerful thunderstorm and ominous church chimes before crashing into its lumbering, iconic riff. The guitar chords lurch seismically, each one like a gut punch before quieting down just enough for Ozzy Osbourne to paint his own vivid portrait of fear — “What is this that stands before me/Figure in black which points at me?” It’s a scene so unnerving that he eventually pleads to the heavens, “Oh, no, NO, please God help me,” before the guitar riff and church bells come around again to strike him down. “Is this the end, my friend?” he wonders aloud. The six-minute horror vignette was spooky yet thrilling, and the song, “Black Sabbath,” would serve as the prototype for a genre poised to captivate the world.

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On this day, in 1972, Ziggy Stardust touched down on planet Earth and began jiving us that we were voodoo

Imaging walking into the Toby Jug Pub in Tolworth, England on February 10, 1972 expecting to see a folkier, more mellow David Bowie and encountering Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars instead. The world didn't know it yet, but it shifted on its cultural axis that night.

This video is from later in the year, stitched together from various bits of footage and synced with the audio from Bowie's Oct 20th Santa Monica show.

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Andy Gill, iconic post-punk guitarist for Gang of Four, has died

Andy Gill, founding member, guitar player, and "Supreme Leader" of the hugely influencial post-punk band, Gang of Four, has died. He was 64.

Members of the current Gang of Four line-up tweeted the following:

“This is so hard for us to write, but our great friend and Supreme Leader has died today,” Gang of Four wrote. “Andy’s final tour in November was the only way he was ever really going to bow out; with a Stratocaster around his neck, screaming with feedback and deafening the front row.”

The band continued, “One of the best to ever do it, his influence on guitar music and the creative process was inspiring for us, as well as everyone who worked alongside him and listened to his music. And his albums and production work speak for themselves. Go give ’em a spin for him…”

Read the obit at Rolling Stone.

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Psychedelic Furs announce first studio album in 29 years, release first single, "Don’t Believe"

The Psychedelic Furs have just announced a spring release for their eight studio album entitled "Made of Rain." It's been a 29 year wait. The first single off of the record, "Don't Believe," has been posted to YouTube.

The album is now available for pre-order. Read the rest

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