Wednesday, March 28, 2012

PLAYLIST: Mondo Radio (03/28/12)

Here's the playlist for this week's edition of Mondo Radio, which you can download or stream here. If you dig it, you can find the show on Facebook and Twitter.

Artist - Song - Album
Marianne Faithfull - Guilt - Faithfull: A Collection Of Her Best Recordings
Mink Stole - Sometimes I Wish I Had A Gun - A Date With John Waters
Ray Charles - The Right Time - A Date With John Waters
Jimmy Reed - Big Boss Man - Maximum R 'N' B: The Roots Of The Who
Mose Allison - One Room Country Shack - Maximum R 'N' B: The Roots Of The Who
David Lynch - Good Day Today - Crazy Clown Time
David Lynch - Pinky's Dream - Crazy Clown Time
Sonic Youth - The Burning Spear - Sonic Youth
Sonic Youth - Dirty Boots - Goo
Love And Rockets - Mirror People - Earth, Sun, Moon
Love And Rockets - The Light - Earth, Sun, Moon
Spacemen 3 - Walking With Jesus - Sound Of Confusion
Spacemen 3 - Feel So Good - Sound Of Confusion
The Jolly Boys - Big Bamboo - Pop 'N' Mento
Talking Heads - The Book I Read - Talking Heads: 77
Talking Heads - Don't Worry About The Government - Talking Heads: 77
Devo - Mongoloid - Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!
Devo - Jocko Homo - Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!
Squarepusher - Dedicated Loop - Selection Sixteen
Squarepusher - Tomorrow World - Selection Sixteen
Brian Eno - Glitch - Drums Between The Bells
Brian Eno - The Real - Drums Between The Bells
Air - Radio #1 - 10,000 Hz Legend
Air - Cherry Blossom Girl - Talkie Walkie
The Beta Band - Squares - Hot Shots II
The Beta Band - Al Sharp - Hot Shots II
Cornelius - Gum - Sensuous
Cornelius - Beep It - Sensuous
Cibo Matto - Spoon - Stereo Type A
Cibo Matto - Sugar Water - Viva! La Woman
Nightmares On Wax - A Case Of Funk - A Word Of Science: The First And Final Chapter
Nightmares On Wax - Biofeedback - A Word Of Science: The First And Final Chapter
Primal Scream - Slip Inside This House - Screamadelica
Primal Scream - Don't Fight It, Feel It - Screamadelica
Noonday Underground - Wonderful Tonight - Self-Assembly
Noonday Underground - London - Self-Assembly
The Stone Roses - I Wanna Be Adored - The Stone Roses
The Stone Roses - Made Of Stone - The Stone Roses

Sunday, March 25, 2012

FEATURE: Not All Genius Is Recognized Immediately: Shoot the Piano Player

As François Truffaut learned with Shoot the Piano Player, the highly anticipated follow up to his universally beloved debut, The 400 Blows, being ahead of your time can mean having to wait while the rest of the world catches up.  

Friday, March 23, 2012

VIDEO: Rentaghost - Episode 01

Running between 1976 and 1984, this BBC children's series follows Fred Mumford, recently deceased, as he tries to make up for his misspent life by starting his own business, which involves hiring out his fellow ghosts for various tasks (hence the title, Rentaghost). It's pretty high-concept for a kid's show, but it's pulled off well, and became quite a hit in the UK. Complicated licensing issues have kept the complete series from being released on DVD, but in the last few years, Hollywood has kicked around the idea of a big screen reboot, with talk of Ben Stiller or Russell Brand or  in the lead role. Enjoy!

Problems viewing the video? Watch on Network Awesome!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

PLAYLIST: Mondo Radio (03/21/12)

Here's the playlist for this week's edition of Mondo Radio, which you can download or stream here. If you dig it, please find the show on Facebook and Twitter.

Artist - Song - Album
Florian Monday And His Mondos - Mondo - 7" Single
Florian Monday And His Mondos - Mondo Moe - 7" Single
The Yardbirds - I'm A Man - 7" Single
The Count Five - They're Gonna Get You - 7" Single
The Yardbirds - Still I'm Sad - 7" Single
The Count Five - Psychotic Reaction - 7" Single
Del Shannon - So Long Baby - Collector's Records Of The 50's And 60's: Vols. 19 & 20
The Music Explosion - Sunshine Games - Collector's Records Of The 50's And 60's: Vols. 19 & 20
The Five Discs - Onion Square - Collector's Records Of The 50's And 60's: Vols. 19 & 20
Frank Lyndon Of The Belmonts - The Hat - Collector's Records Of The 50's And 60's: Vols. 19 & 20
Ernie Maresca - If I Could Find The Answer - Collector's Records Of The 50's And 60's: Vols. 19 & 20
Dion - Little Girl - Collector's Records Of The 50's And 60's: Vols. 19 & 20
The Royal Guardsmen - So Right - Collector's Records Of The 50's And 60's: Vols. 19 & 20
Hunx And His Punx - Too Young To Be In Love - Too Young To Be In Love
Hunx And His Punx - If You're Not Here (I Don't Know Where You Are) - Too Young To Be In Love
Nobunny - I Was On (The Bozo Show) - First Blood
Nobunny - Breathe - First Blood
The Hives - Walk Idiot Walk - Tyrannosaurus Hives
The Hives - Main Offender - Veni Vidi Vicious
Nolan Thomas - Yo! Little Brother (Dub Mix) - 12" Single
The Temptations - Hey Jude - Motown Meets The Beatles
The Supremes - Come Together - Motown Meets The Beatles
Norma Jean & Ray J. - Right Time Wrong Place - Raising Hell
Norma Jean & Ray J. - This Is Our Love Song Of Life - Raising Hell
Sly & The Family Stone - I Want To Take You Higher - Greatest Hits
Sly & The Family Stone - Everybody Is A Star - Greatest Hits
Leon's Creation - Confusion - This Is The Beginning
Leon's Creation - If I Had The Power - This Is The Beginning
New Orleans Saxophone Ensemble - Gemini Rising - City Of Dreams: A Collection Of New Orleans Music
All That - Flow On - City Of Dreams: A Collection Of New Orleans Music
Charles Bradley - Why Is It So Hard? - No Time For Dreaming
Charles Bradley - The Telephone Song - No Time For Dreaming
The Residents - Hitler Was A Vegetarian - The Third Reich 'N' Roll
Talking Heads - Mind - Fear Of Music
Talking Heads - Cities - Fear Of Music
Public Image Ltd - Memories - Second Edition
Public Image Ltd - Careering - Second Edition
Flipper - Way Of The World - Blow'n Chunks
Flipper - The Lights, The Sound, The Rhythm, The Noise - Blow'n Chunks
Cosmic Psychos - Custom Credit - Fifteen Years, A Million Beers
Cosmic Psychos - Down On The Farm - Fifteen Years, A Million Beers

Monday, March 19, 2012

UPDATE: "Punk Reverance: Jubilee" on WFMU's Beware of the Blog

If you missed it the first time around, my article "Punk Reverance: Jubilee", originally penned for Network Awesome, found it's way onto WFMU's Beware of the Blog. It's one of my favorite sites, consistently funny, surprising and jam-packed with killer tunes, so be sure to do a bit of exploring afterwards.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

VIDEO: The Films of Jérémy Clapin

I first came across Jérémy Clapin's lovely Skhizein while interning at the Milwaukee Film Festival a few years ago, and was immediately taken with its beautifully rendered style and ability to grapple with the weight of mental illness while retaining a sense of wonder and humor. Since then, I've been happy to find other works by the French illustrator and animator, all of which are featured in this collection I curated for Network Awesome. Enjoy!

Problems viewing the video? Watch on Network Awesome!

Friday, March 16, 2012

CONCERT REVIEW: Toots and the Maytals (The Rave, Milwaukee)

Legendary reggae pioneer Frederick "Toots" Hibbert once again takes to the stage at The Rave and proves that, though he's going on 67 years of age, he's still got that fire.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

PLAYLIST: Mondo Radio (03/14/12)

Here's the playlist for this week's edition of Mondo Radio, which you can download or stream here. If you like it, please find the show on Facebook and Twitter.

Love - The Daily Planet - Forever Changes
The Seeds - Can't Seem To Make You Mine - Pushin' Too Hard/First
The Seeds - Pushin' Too Hard - Pushin' Too Hard/First 
The Sheffields - It Must Be Love - Freakbeat Freakout
The Troggs - Feels Like A Woman - Freakbeat Freakout
The Box Tops - Choo Choo Train - The Best Of The Box Tops: Soul Deep
The Box Tops - Neon Rainbow - The Best Of The Box Tops: Soul Deep
The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Crosstown Traffic - Electric Ladyland
The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Long Hot Summer Night - Electric Ladyland
Cream - SWLABR - Disraeli Gears
Cream - Blue Condition - Disraeli Gears
Pink Floyd - Fearless - Meddle
Pink Floyd - San Tropez - Meddle
Harlem - Gay Human Bones - Hippies
Harlem - Poolside - Hippies
Black Lips - Drugs - 200 Million Thousand 
Black Lips - I'll Be With You - 200 Million Thousand
Stix Hooper - Brazos River Breakdown - The World Within
Desmond Dekker & The Aces - My Precious World - 7" Single
Johnny Clark - Joshua's Word - 7" Single
Desmond Dekker & The Aces - Israelites - 7" Single
King Tubby & Agrovators - Joshua's Word (Horn Version) - 7" Single
Bruce Stringbean And The S. Street Band - Born To Add - Born To Add
Bruce Springsteen - Thunder Road - Born To Run
Bruce Springsteen - State Trooper - The Sopranos: Music From The HBO Original Series
Bruce Springsteen - Darlington County - Born In The U.S.A.
Bruce Stringbean And The S. Street Band - Barn In The U.S.A. - Born To Add
Eels - Saturday Morning - Shootenanny!
Eels - Bus Stop Boxer - Souljacker
Sebadoh - Tree - The Sebadoh
Sebadoh - Flame - The Sebadoh
Saint Etienne - Nothing Can Stop Us - Travel Edition 1990-2005
Saint Etienne - Mario's Cafe - Travel Edition 1990-2005
Belle & Sebastian - I Didn't See It Coming - Belle And Sebastian Write About Love
Belle & Sebastian - Come On Sister - Belle And Sebastian Write About Love
Björk - Hyperballad - Greatest Hits
Björk - Human Behaviour - Greatest Hits
David Bowie Vs KCRW - Golden Years (Jeremy Sole KCRW Remix) - Golden Years EP
Beck - Get Real Paid - Midnite Vultures
Beck - Mixed Bizness - Midnite Vultures
Ween - Roses Are Free - Chocolate And Cheese
Ween - Blue Balloon - La Cucaracha
Wilco - War On War - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
Wilco - Theologians - A Ghost Is Born 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

FEATURE: Punk Reverance: Jubilee

When Bright Lights Film Journal calls Derek Jarman's Jubilee "Britain's only decent punk film", it kind of comes off as faint praise, since, truth be told, there really aren't that many UK films from the era capable of giving it much competition, which is kind of surprising, given punk's vivid visual style and rhetoric about the mass media. Still, if pointing out that it's better than The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle doesn't ultimately mean much, the film succeeds based on nothing more than its own merit, forging a caustic, dizzying fantasia out of punk's past, present and future.

Monday, March 12, 2012

AUDIO: Backmasking: Subliminal Deception

Long thought of by certain fundamentalist Christians as a nefarious plot to brainwash our impressionable youth, backmasking is, quite simply, the process of including backwards elements in a recording. Sometimes the effect is obvious and used as part of the aesthetic of a song, as with the Beatles use of reversed tape loops in "Revolution 9", but just because it's plainly noticeable, that doesn't stop people from attributing some deeper meaning (Paul is dead!) to something that was probably given little thought beyond, "Hey, that sounds pretty trippy". 

Where people really start slipping down the rabbit hole into paranoid conspiracy theories though, is when they claim to have found backwards messages, usually satanic in nature, hidden in normal speech or singing. Though particularly prevalent in the 1980s, due in part to the rise of heavy metal, this belief is still widely expressed today in some of the sadder corners of the Internet. Of course, if you're hunting for that sort of thing, you're bound to find it in the jumbled confusion of a song played in reverse, in the same way you'll probably see faces in clouds or other abstracted imagery, thanks to what psychologists called pareidolia

I've always been fascinated by Christian extremists' efforts to demonize popular music, so I was overjoyed when I came across this wonderful little cassette at my local Goodwill thrift store. Distributed by a Green Bay, Wisconsin organization called Media Ministries in 1984, the tape "exposes" the subliminal messages implanted in hit records by a variety of artists, including The Beatles, Michael Jackson, Led Zeppelin, Cheap Trick, Queen, Pink Floyd and many more. Beyond simply playing examples of backmasking, the tape delves in to the theory behind it in some detail and, of course, engages in some hilarious bible-thumping.

Since this particular "Media Ministries" seems to be long since defunct, at least as far as I can tell from extensive Googling, I thought I'd take it upon myself to digitize this lovable relic for posterity and do my best to spread the good word. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

CONCERT REVIEW: Bitchin' Bajas, Zath & Catacombz (Riverwest Public House, Milwaukee)

The nice thing about psychedelic music is that it provides so many avenues to explore, possessing a way of breaking down barriers between styles and modes of composition. Starting with psychedelia, you're only a step or two away from a whole range of sounds, from raga and gamelan to goth and metal. The sense of freedom and exploration it fosters is remarkable, and with out it, it's questionable that any of the bands playing here tonight would exist, even though that liberty takes them all to very different places.

Starting things off was Bitchin' Bajas a Chicago three piece who uses keys, synths and saxophone to slowly build insistent drones into reverberating masses of sound, gradually adding simple yet effective rhythms, partly via a laptop, that provide the shape and structure needed to stave off basic navel-gazing. The group shares a member, Cooper Crane, with Windy City psych staples Cave, who also make the most of similarly hypnotic tones, albeit as part of an altogether harder hitting whole.

Speaking of Cave, their bass player, Dan Browning, moonlights in Zath, whose lineup also features members of  Ga'an and Cacaw. Milwaukee has always been a hard-rock burg at heart, so it shouldn't be a shock to learn that the audience seemed to love every minute of Zath's pummeling, complex thrash. Though there's no shortage of head-banging riffage in their sound, it's fleshed out by a lot of intricate technical flourishes and ambitious, almost prog-y, elements that are actually quite challenging, assuming you can pick them out as they blaze by at bruising speed.

Local headliners Catacombz have recently added a few members, though, recently returned from a short tour, they're as tight as ever. The new members jive well, which is no surprise given that Catacombz has always felt more than the sum of its parts, born more of an adventurous approach than a specific group of people. Their set here featured a plethora of new material, which expands on their classic, krautrock-spiked psych with a new sense of swing and some treated vocals.

Though they all possess their own distinct styles, the common denominator between Bitchin' Baja's subdued experimentalism, Zath's crushing heaviness and Catacombz skillful navigation of the area in between, is that they're all outgrowths of psychedelia's mind-bending, boundary pushing ethos, the basic tenets of which (a varied sonic palette, repetition, unusual time signatures) can be taken in seemingly any direction, fast/slow, minimal/maximal, without losing their impact, and tonight was an ample, impressive demonstration of that flexibility.                

Friday, March 9, 2012

CONCERT REVIEW: The All New Original Tribute to the Blues Brothers (The Milwaukee Theatre, Milwaukee)

1980's The Blues Brothers was one of the most watched films around my house when I was growing up, rivaled only by the Ghostbusters movies, and with good reason; it's got everything you could want: Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi hilariously reprising the roles they premiered on Saturday Night Live, performances by a veritable who's-who of legendary soul and R&B artists, John Landis in the director's chair, tons of cameos and more car crashes than you could possibly count. In short, it's a classic, a comedic masterpiece even, so I tend to almost take it personally when it's legacy is sullied by blatant cash-ins, and wouldn't you know it, just when I'd finally scrubbed any trace of Blues Brothers 2000 from my memory, The All New Original Tribute to the Blues Brothers rolls into town and sets me groaning all over again. 

Brad Henshaw and Daniel Fletcher star as Jake and Elwood Blues respectively, and visually, they certainly look the part, although the fact that their faces are obscured by the trademark fedoras and sunglasses (and the fact that I'm a bit nearsighted) certainly helped. Vocally, their impressions were in constant flux between dead-on and weirdly off-putting as they ran through all of the numbers you'd expect from the film, the albums and the SNL performances, including "Rawhide", "Stand by Your Man", "Rubber Biscuit", "I'm a King Bee", "Soul Man" and so on and so forth. Hell, they even took a stab at recreating Belushi's version of Joe Cocker doing the Beatles' "With a Little Help From My Friends", which wasn't even a Blues Brothers bit for Christ's sake, meaning they did a tribute to a tribute to a tribute (now that's some meta shit). Of course, they were there to do more than sing, namely make people laugh, which they mostly accomplished by throwing in a few swear words and some crowd participation (ugh). One thing the show does make you realize, however, is that pulling off an effective pratfall is not as easy to as the dearly departed Belushi made it look.

Going in, I half expected a facsimile of the classic Blues Brothers band, at least a fake Donald "Duck" Dunn chomping on a pipe, but instead found only 6 musicians filling out a poorly designed set that looked like the Disneyland version of a dark Chicago alley. They delivered just fine on what little was asked of them, but it was hard to focus on their chops when there were so many confusing questions to ponder, like "Why is the bass player wearing a basketball jersey and a do-rag?", "Why is the horn section dressed like army guys?" and "What am I doing here?". But the head-scratching reached epic proportions whenever Luke Jasztal was on stage. The young white performer filled two roles, firstly the flamboyant Reverend Lovejoy (not the Reverend Lovejoy), a part clearly based on the animated black preacher played in the original film by James Brown, looking utterly cheesy in the kind of pimp/70s guy outfit which seems to be the perennial Halloween costume choice for frat boys every where. If that wasn't embarrassing enough, he returned later as Cab Calloway, or at least what Jake and Elwood, in character, introduced as a tribute to Cab Calloway, noting that they couldn't present the real thing because he's dead, which makes no fucking sense coming from a guy pretending to be John Belushi. I'm not sure if a pasty faced young man playing the part of a great African-American performer is racist (it's certainly dumb), but come on, you're telling me there's not a talented black singer/dancer out there who could use a job? 

So, would I recommend checking the show out? Hell no, but if you end up getting free tickets, as I did and which, given the many empty seats at tonight's performance, is a very real possibility, it's definitely a bizarre way to spend an evening, just don't make the mistake I did of going in stone cold sober. Assuming it requires you to open your wallet however, do yourself a favor and stay home and watch the movie again, it's cheaper, funnier and, even though it came out over 30 years ago, so much fresher.  

FEATURE: 3 Historical Lessons from the Mind (and Books) of Sarah Vowell

Probably best known for her appearances on The Daily Show and This American Life, Sarah Vowell is also the author of several volumes exploring the strange and surprising history of America, the latest of which, Unfamiliar Fishestakes a typically skewed look at how Hawaii became our fiftieth state. Vowell be at Milwaukee's Boswell Books on Friday to talk about the book, but, sadly, all of the tickets are now long gone. To mark the occasion though, I examine Vowell's unique ability to make learning American history not just fascinating, but downright funny.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

PLAYLIST: Mondo Radio (03/07/12)

Here's the playlist for this week's edition of Mondo Radio, which you can download or stream here. If you like it, you can find the show on Facebook and Twitter.

Rod Lee - Dance My Pain Away - Beyond Hamsterdam: Baltimore Tracks From The Wire
Adonis - No Way Back (Vocal Mix) - Trax Records: The 20th Anniversary Collection
Mr. Fingers (Feat. Robert Owens) - Can You Feel It (Alternate Mix) - Trax Records: The 20th Anniversary Collection
Paul Johnson - Groove Melody - Sex Crazed/Track Happy
Dirty Sound System - Edwin Starr-Get Up (Pilooski Edit) - Dirty Edits Vol. 1
Dirty Sound System - The Pointer Sisters-Send Him Back (Pilooski Edit) - Dirty Edits Vol. 1
Scissor Sisters - Comfortably Numb - Scissor Sisters
Scissor Sisters - Take Your Mama - Scissor Sisters
Radiohead - Idioteque - Kid A
Radiohead - Packt Like Sardines In A Crushd Tin Box - Amnesiac
Squarepusher - C-Town Smash - Ultravisitor
Squarepusher - An Arched Pathway - Ultravisitor
Sanford And Townsend - Voodoo - Duo-Glide
Peter Tosh - Here Comes The Judge - 7" Single
Peter Tosh - Dem Ha Fe Get A Beaten - Bush Doctor
Peter Tosh - Creation - Bush Doctor
Winston Wright - Rebeloution - 7" Single
African Head Charge - Family Doctoring - My Life In A Hole In The Ground
African Head Charge - Far Away Chant - My Life In A Hole In The Ground
The Congos - Congoman - Heart Of The Congos
The Congos - Sodom And Gomorrow - Heart Of The Congos
Toots And The Maytals - Funky Kingston - Funky Kingston 
Toots And The Maytals - Pressure Drop - Funky Kingston
Michael Viner's Incredible Bongo Band - Apache - Kurtis Blow Presents The History Of Rap, Vol. 1: The Genesis
Kurtis Blow - The Breaks - Kurtis Blow Presents The History Of Rap, Vol. 2: The Birth Of The Rap Record
Run DMC - Rock Box - Kurtis Blow Presents The History Of Rap, Vol. 3: The Golden Age
A Tribe Called Quest - Push It Along - People's Instinctive Travels And The Paths Of Rhythm
A Tribe Called Quest - Luck Of Lucien - People's Instinctive Travels And The Paths Of Rhythm
Public Enemy - Lost At Birth - Apocalypse 91...The Enemy Strikes Black
Public Enemy - Can't Truss It - Apocalypse 91...The Enemy Strikes Black
Blackalicious - Do This My Way - Nia
Blackalicious (Feat. Gil Scott-Heron) - First In Flight - Blazing Arrow
The Gift Of Gab - Rat Race - 4th Dimensional Rocket Ships Going Up 
The Gift Of Gab - Up - 4th Dimensional Rocket Ships Going Up

Saturday, March 3, 2012

FEATURE: Controversial as the Gods Themselves: Pasolini

As part of Network Awesome's "Italian Weekend" programming, I took a look back at the tumultuous life of the renowned Italian filmmaker, writer and intellectual, Pier Paolo Pasolini and his remarkable reinterpretation of  Euripides' tragic Medea.

Friday, March 2, 2012

CONCERT REVIEW: Jean Grae & Element Everest (The UWM Gasthaus, Milwaukee)

I always feel bad for artists forced to contend with uncooperative (or just plain shitty) sound systems, but when they can pull off something impressive regardless, as Jean Grae did here, you've got to respect them even more.

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