Friday, October 28, 2011

FEATURE: A Rock Music Template: R.E.M.

Ending not with a bang, but not exactly a whimper either, R.E.M.'s breakup last month wasn't that surprising, as the band had seemed to be on autopilot in recent years, but it nevertheless marked the end of one of the most remarkable careers in rock history. To celebrate that career, Network Awesome asked me to write a companion piece to their excellent featured video, an entire 1982 live show from Raleigh, North Carolina.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

CONCERT REVIEW: Method Man (The Rave, Milwaukee)

It's always a pleasure when anyone from Wu-Tang Clan comes to town, and Method Man proved to be no exception. It's also always a pleasure when rap at The Rave doesn't sound like a badly miked garbage disposal, and that also happened!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

PLAYLIST: Mondo Radio (10/26/11)

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
Mafia Maghrebine - Frère Faut Que Tu Saches - The Rough Guide To Arabesque
Ali Slimani - S'Habi (Stereomovers Remix) - The Rough Guide To Arabesque
Omar Souleyman - La Sidounak Sayyada - Dabke 2020: Folk And Pop Sounds Of Syria
Omar Souleyman - Shift Al Mani - Dabke 2020: Folk And Pop Sounds Of Syria
Cornershop - Coming Up - When I Was Born For The 7th Time
Edgar Broughton Band - There's No Vibrations, But Wait! - Sing Brother Sing
The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Crosstown Traffic - Electric Ladyland
The Speakers - Oda A La Gente Mediocre - En El Maravilloso De Ingeson
Can - Spoon - Cannibalism 1
Monty Python - Death Of Mary Queen Of Scots - Monty Python Live At City Center
Shonen Knife - Parrot Polynesia - Burning Farm
Shonen Knife - A Day Of The Factory - Burning Farm
Yoko Ono - Midsummer New York - Fly
Yoko Ono - Don't Worry, Kyoko (Mummy's Only Looking For Her Hand In The Snow) - Fly
Dayton Selby, Willene Barton - Dayton's Dance - Teenagers Dance Hop-A-Do, Tonky Honk, Rockbilly
Yazoo - State Farm - You And Me Both
Yazoo - Bad Connection - Upstairs At Eric's
Erasure - Sixty-Five Thousand - The Innocents
Erasure - Heart Of Stone - The Innocents
Prince - Little Red Corvette - 1999
PM Dawn - I'd Die Without You - Single
PM Dawn - On A Clear Day - Single
Primal Scream - Come Together - Screamadelica
New Order - Touched By The Hand Of God (Original 12") - International
New Order - Crystal - International
The Beach Boys - God Only Knows - The Beach Boys Deluxe Set
The Beach Boys - I Know There's An Answer - The Beach Boys Deluxe Set
Harry Nilsson - Me And My Arrow - Greatest Hits
Harry Nilsson - Spaceman - Son Of Schmilsson
The Beatles - Old Brown Shoe - Hey Jude
The Beatles - Don't Let Me Down - Hey Jude
Johnny Cash - Austin Prison - Everybody Loves A Nut
Lee Hazlewood - This Town - These Boots Are Made For Walkin': The Complete MGM Recordings
Van Morrison - Cyprus Avenue - Astral Weeks
Neil Young & Crazy Horse - Sugar Mountain (Live) - Live Rust
Mclusky - Alan Is A Cowboy Killer - Mclusky Do Dallas
Mclusky - Day Of The Deadringers - Mclusky Do Dallas
Lifter Puller - Math Is Money - Soft Rock
Drugs Dragons - Milorganight - The Milorganight EP
Drugs Dragons - Staring Into The Blue Screen - The Milorganight EP

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

VIDEO: Movie - The Terror of Tiny Town (Newfield, 1938

My latest contribution to Network Awesome, 1938's The Terror of Tiny Town has the somewhat dubious distinction of being the only western starring nothing but little people. The gimmick reportedly inspired by producer Jed Buell overhearing a crew member saying, "If this economy doesn't turn around, we'll have to start making pictures with midgets", has transformed a rather humdrum western into a trash cinema classic. Buell hoped the concept would catch on and, although it was sadly never produced, had begun work on his next feature, an adaptation of the Paul Bunyon tall tales with a normal sized man playing the giant among little people. 

Trouble viewing the video? Watch on Network Awesome!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

FEATURE: Milwaukee LGBT Film/Video Festival Puts Things in Perspective

In advance of the 24th annual Milwaukee LGBT Film/Video Festival (Starting tonight at the Oriental Theatre!), the AV Club Milwaukee asked me to sit down with long-time festival programmer Carl Bogner to talk about media representations of LGBT characters and, of course, the festivals impressively diverse lineup of films.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

PLAYLIST: Mondo Radio (10/19/11)

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
Monks - Shut Up - Black Monk Time
Supergrass - I'd Like To Know - I Should Coco
Supergrass - Lose It - I Should Coco
Elastica - Rockunroll - CD Single
Elastica - 2:1 - CD Single
Blur - Charmless Man - Blur: The Best Of
Blur - She's So High - Blur: The Best Of
Pulp - Disco 2000 - Different Class
Ian Brown - Longsight M13 - Solarized
Ian Brown - Time Is My Everything - Solarized
Ian Brown - Gettin' High - Golden Greats
The Chemical Brothers - Let Forever Be - Surrender
Belle & Sebastian - A Summer Wasting - The Boy With The Arab Strap
Belle & Sebastian - Get Me Away From Here, I'm Dying - If You're Feeling Sinister
The Stone Roses - I Am The Resurrection - The Stone Roses
Father Guido Sarducci - Father Sarducci Looks Forward To The 90's And Unveils Plans For The Columbus Cinquecetennial In 1992 - Breakfast In Heaven
Jimmy Cliff - The Harder They Come - Reggae Greats
Gregory Isaacs - Night Nurse - Night Nurse
Eek-A-Mouse - A Wah Do Dem - VP Records 20th Anniversary
Yellow Man - Zungguzungguguzungguzeng - Planet Reggae
The Jam - David Watts - All Mod Cons
The Jam - In The City - The Peel Sessions
Buzzcocks - Just Lust - Singles Going Steady
Buzzcocks - Lipstick - Singles Going Steady
Stiff Little Fingers - Barbed Wire Love - The Peel Sessions
The Clash - Tommy Gun - Give 'Em Enough Rope
The Clash - The Crooked Beat - Sandinista!
New Age Steppers - Fade Away - Grlz: Women Ahead Of Their Time
Public Image Ltd. - Swan Lake - Second Edition
Public Enemy - Brothers Gonna Work It Out - Power To The People And The Beats: Public Enemy's Greatest Hits
Public Enemy - Public Enemy No. 1 - Power To The People And The Beats: Public Enemy's Greatest Hits
Beastie Boys - Jimmy James - CD Single
Beastie Boys - Pass The Mic - Solid Gold Hits
Pink Floyd - One Of These Days - Meddle
The Flaming Lips - The Spark That Bled - The Soft Bulletin
The Flaming Lips - Suddenly Everything Has Changed - The Soft Bulletin
Cornelius - Drop - Point
Cornelius - Another View Point - Point
Cornershop - Music Plus 1 - Handcream For A Generation
Cornershop - The London Radar - Handcream For A Generation
The Death Set (Feat. Beau Velasco) - Is That A French Dog? - Michel Poiccard

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

FILM REVIEW: The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye

I can think of few people more deserving of a feature length documentary portrait than Genesis P-Orridge. From his early extreme performance pieces in COUM Transmissions through his groundbreaking work with Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV, P-Orridge has lived his life like it was all one big daring art project. He was able to take this idea to the extreme with the help of his wife, Lady Jaye, with whom he embarked on a new endeavor, attempting to become as close to each other as possible, with end goal of becoming one being of a new gender known as Breyer P-Orridge. Through surgery and dress, the pair came to resemble each other to a remarkable degree, the living embodiment of a devoted, all-encompassing relationship, which in some sense is still going on despite Jaye's tragic death in 2007.

It is this amazing bond that is the focus of Marie Losier's moving new documentary The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye. Known for her experimental portraits, mainly of other filmmakers, Losier combines performance art and archival footage with intimate, home video style recordings of their loving domestic life. Of course, in the basement of this happy home is a looming reminder that this isn't just any couple, but rather a pair of restlessly creative provocateurs, the legacy of which stretches back decades. This reminder comes in the form of a huge, meticulously maintained archive. Genesis guides a tour through the "ephemera", as he calls it, of a singular life in the arts, including posters, recordings, press clippings and souveniers of his friendship with William S. Burroughs and Brion Gysin. Losier does a good job of capturing the essence of the Breyer P-Orridge exploratory approach to creativity, from his invention, with Throbbing Gristle, of industrial music to their more recent concert and book projects. It should also come as no surprise that the soundtrack is impeccable.

Overall, it's a memorable and stylish film. The performance art aspects of it occasionally fall flat, but most of them are tackled with humor and verve, and Losier finds a good balance between biography and performance. It's perfect for anyone interested in gender politics or challenging modern music, but you don't have to bring anything to the table really, the power of the personalities (personality?) should be enough to ensnare any openminded viewer.

Monday, October 17, 2011

CONCERT REVIEW: Melt-Banana (The Cactus Club, Milwaukee)

As part of the ongoing celebration of the Cactus Club's 15th anniversary, Tokyo's Melt-Banana and completely brought the house down with their indescribable noise-punk. It would have been a perfect show were it not for a handful of goons who thought pushing people around was cool and not at all horribly obnoxious.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

PLAYLIST: Mondo Radio (10/12/11)

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.

The Ventures - Apache - The Ventures Play Telstar And The Lonely Bull
The Ventures - Telstar - The Ventures Play Telstar And The Lonely Bull
The Ventures - The Lonely Bull - The Ventures Play Telstar And The Lonely Bull
The Angels - My Boyfriend's Back - At The Hop!
Lesley Gore - Hey Now - Girl Talk
The Chiffons - He's So Fine - At The Hop!
Lou Reed - Andy's Chest - Transformer
Lou Reed - Wagon Wheel - Transformer
Roxy Music - Re-Make/Re-Model - Roxy Music
Roxy Music - Ladytron - Roxy Music
Brian Eno - I'll Come Running - Another Green World
Brian Eno - The True Wheel - Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy)
Iggy Pop - Nightclubbing - Nude & Rude: The Best of Iggy Pop
David Bowie - Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) - The Singles 1969 - 1993
David Bowie - TVC 15 - The Singles 1969 - 1993
The Stumps - Think Of The Good Times - The Tucson Sound 1960 - 1968: Think Of The Good Times
Big Star - My Life Is Right - #1 Record
Big Star - In The Street - #1 Record
The Replacements - The Ledge - Pleased To Meet Me
The Replacements - Alex Chilton - Pleased To Meet Me
The B-52's - 52 Girls - The B-52's
The B-52's - Channel Z - Cosmic Thing
Dorothy - Softness - Grlz: Women Ahead Of Their Time
Maximum Joy - Stretch - Grlz: Women Ahead Of Their Time
Gang Of Four - Return The Gift - Entertainment!
Gang Of Four - Damaged Goods - Entertainment!
Primal Scream - Kowalski - CD Single
Portishead - Cowboys - Portishead
Portishead - Only You - Portishead
Built To Spill - Strange - Ancient Melodies Of The Future
Built To Spill - Time Trap - Keep It Like A Secret
Pavement - Trigger Cut/Wounded Kite At :17 - Slanted And Enchanted
Pavement - Rattled By The Rush - Wowee Zowee
Terrior Bute - Realm Dweller - Realm Dwellers
Terrior Bute - Summon Da Sandman - Realm Dwellers
Dan Deacon - Wham City - Spiderman Of The Rings
Ramones - I Don't Wanna Go Down To The Basement - All The Stuff (And More) Volume One
Ramones - California Sun - All The Stuff (And More) Volume One
Shannon And The Clams - Baby Don't Do It - Sleep Talk
Shannon And The Clams - The Cult Song - Sleep Talk
Hunx And His Punx - He's Coming Back - Too Young To Be In Love
Drugs Dragons - Pestilence In The Flesh - The Milorganight EP
Drugs Dragons - Milorganight - The Milorganight EP

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

VIDEO: Collection - The Screamers

One of the greatest bands never to release a record, The Screamers made a name for themselves among the early L.A. punk scene, pioneering, along with Suicide on the other side of the country in New York, the synth-punk genre. Based around the core duo of Tomata Du Plenty and Tommy Gear, the group forsook guitars for synthesizers, and although a studio album never materialized, there are several live shows and demos floating around on bootleg.

Trouble viewing the video? Watch on Network Awesome!

FEATURE: Adventures in Record Collecting #3

Date: 10/10/11
Location: Hoarder's World, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Money Spent: $0.00 USD (I work there)
Number of Records Purchased: 2

The Records:

Lesley Gore - Girl Talk:

The fourth album by 1960s teen sensation Lesley Gore (of "It's My Party" fame), Girl Talk, like many albums of the era, splits its runtime between upbeat pop and down tempo sentimentality. In this case, some of those ballads are rather forgettable, although by no means bad. The real attraction is the swinging girl group pop, perhaps best exemplified by the album opener "Hey Now".

The Ventures - The Ventures Play Telstar and The Lonely Bull:

Just one of hundreds of Ventures releases over the years, The Ventures Play Telstar and The Lonely Bull, stands out not because of its style, which is the kind of clean rock instrumentals you'd expect from the group, but because of the quality of the selections they cover, which include 'Green Onions", the space-age "Telstar" and rather wonderful version of "Apache", years before it would become a hit for the Incredible Bongo Band and a foundational hip-hop sample.

Glad to have picked these up, I've definitely got a soft spot for this era of popular music, which seemed to effortlessly straddle rock, R&B, surf and Tin Pan Alley. I think this new job is going to work out just fine.

CONCERT REVIEW: Dick Dale (Shank Hall, Milwaukee)

Even at 74 years old, Dick Dale shows no signs of slowing down. The inventor of surf music still tours heavily, spreading his twangy, reverb-heavy gospel. Stopping by Shank Hall on Sunday, Dale found an adoring crowd, a timid soundman, and of course, a whole lot of tumbling instrumentals.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

FEATURE: Radio Free Riverwest: How One Neighborhood Plans to Take the Airwaves

As one of the most vibrant, diverse and, yes, sometimes troubled Milwaukee neighborhoods, Riverwest has always had a strong sense of community. In an effort to enhance that sense, there is an initiative underway to establish a low-power radio station to act as the voice of the area. I sat down with Karen Brooks, the founder of the initiative, to get the details of the project and find out, what exactly can community radio do for this unique Milwaukee area?

FEATURE: Pierrot Le Fou: An Education in Color

One of Jean-Luc Godard's most loved features, Pierrot le Fou (1965), is a stylish, percolating film, full of heady ideas, humor and swaths of bright color. Starring Jean-Paul Belmondo and Anna Karina, Pierrot le Fou follows a pair of reunited former lovers, who go on the run from the law, gun-running Algerians and themselves. As part of their week-long tribute to Godard's work, Network Awesome asked me to dig a little deeper into the film, and create a companion piece to accompany their screening.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

PLAYLIST: Mondo Radio (10/05/11)

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
Anti-Pop Consortium - Your World Is Flat - Tragic Epilogue
Anti-Pop Consortium - 3 Digit Wiz - Tragic Epilogue
Anti-Pop Consortium - Antontonebarr NE-0 - Tragic Epilogue
Squarepusher - An Arched Pathway - Ultravisitor
Aphex Twin - Window Licker - CD Single
Trans Am - Cocaine Computer - Futureworld
Trans Am - Runners Standing Still - Futureworld
Kraftwerk - Musique Non-Stop - Electric Café
Kraftwerk - Showroom Dummies - Trans-Europe Express
LCD Soundsystem - Watch The Tapes - Sound Of Silver
LCD Soundsystem - Disco Infiltrator - LCD Soundsystem
Gorillaz - M1 A1 - Gorillaz
Gorillaz - The Sounder (Edit) - G Sides
Diffi-Cult - Fire Burns Up - They Pelted Us With Rocks And Garbage
Chromeo - Hot Mess - Business Casual
Chromeo - Don't Turn The Lights On - Business Casual
Prince - Delirious - 1999
Prince - Dirty Mind - Dirty Mind
Daft Punk - One More Time - Discovery
Daft Punk - Robot Rock - Human After All
Sebastian - Embody - Total
Sebastian - Ross Ross Ross - Total
Sandro Silva - Told Ya (DJ Melo Moombahton Edit) - Blow Your Head Vol. 2: Dave Nada Presents Moombahton
Dillon Francis - Masta Blasta - Blow Your Head Vol. 2: Dave Nada Presents Moombahton
M.I.A. - Banana Skit - Arular
M.I.A. - Pull Up The People - Arular
L.T.G. Exchange - Stone Broke - Susie Heartbreaker
L.T.G. Exchange - Sky High - Susie Heartbreaker
Norma Jean & Ray J - Raising Hell - Raising Hell
Norma Jean & Ray J - Right Time Wrong Place - Raising Hell
Marvin Holmes And The Uptights - There Was A Time - Ooh Ooh The Dragon And Other Monsters
Marvin Holmes And The Uptights - Don't Be Afraid - Ooh Ooh The Dragon And Other Monsters
Dungen - Panda - Ta Det Lugnt
Dungen - Gjort Bort Sig - Ta Det Lugnt
Can - Tango Whiskyman - Soundtracks
Can - Mother Sky (Edit) - Cannibalism 1
Syd Barrett - Love You - The Madcap Laughs
Syd Barrett - No Man's Land - The Madcap Laughs
The Kinks - Days - Then Now And Inbetween
The Kinks - Waterloo Sunset - Then Now And Inbetween

VIDEO: Dynomutt, Dog Wonder - Episode 01 - Everyone Hyde!

Here's another one of my contributions to Network Awesome, the very first episode of the Hanna-Barbera cartoon series Dynomutt, Dog Wonder from 1976.

Problems viewing the video? Watch on Network Awesome!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

CONCERT REVIEW: Chromeo (Turner Hall Ballroom, Milwaukee)

Turner Hall got a visit from the Canadian electro-funk duo Chromeo last night; happily, they lived up to the strength of their albums, and a Monday night dance party ensued.

Monday, October 3, 2011

VIDEO: On the Air - Episode 01

Another show I curated for Network Awesome, the delightfully absurd On the Air, created by David Lynch and Mark Frost for ABC in 1992. After the unexpected success of the mysterious drama Twin Peaks, Lynch and Frost set their sights on the sitcom format, coming up with the whacked out behind-the-scenes hijinks of the cast and crew of the fictional Lester Guy Show. Seven episodes were filmed, but only three were broadcast, and the program remains hard to find to this day. Enjoy!

Problems viewing the video? Watch on Network Awesome!

CONCERT REVIEW: Trans Am (The Cactus Club, Milwaukee)

As part of the ongoing celebration of The Cactus Club's 15 year anniversary, post-rock pioneers Trans Am took the stage, playing their classic 1999 album Futureworld in its entirety.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

VIDEO: Collection - Superman Sells Out

When Superman burst into the American cultural consciousness in 1938, his popularity was immediate and startling in its fervor. The man of steel became an icon almost overnight, Harry Donenfeld and DC Comics did what any self-respecting business would do; they exploited the fuck out of their new smash character, leading to an advertising and merchandising bonanza which continues to this day. This collection of decades worth of commercials and PSA's, curated for Network Awesome, demonstrates that beyond being a myth and an icon and a hero, Superman is also an accomplished salesman.

Problems viewing the video? Watch on Network Awesome.
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