I found a story about the photoshoot that led to the album cover and a bunch of other shots. The story irritated me. It claimed that the topless photos the Slits generated out of the shoot were subverting the male gaze because of their intentions, which may well have been pure, but based on the quotes everyone involved knew that topless images, even those slathered in mud, are going to read as more sexualized than clothed pictures. To claim otherwise doesn’t pass the smell test. That story was a dead end.
But the site, Proxy Music, is apparently about the intersection of visuals and music and I quickly found this excellent story about William Eggleston’s photos being used for album covers. I have to say that I knew some of these covers, didn’t know many, and didn’t connect those I knew to Eggleston, one of the masters of photography in the second half of the 20th century.
Allen was the drummer who shaped the Afrobeat sound with Fela. The two of them combined jazz and Nigerian pop and lots of political edge to create a music that drove the central government wild.
I once had tickets to see Fela in NY, but he was imprisioned in Nigeria and couldn’t travel.
I did see Tony Allen once, at the Knitting Factory when it was on Leonard Street in New York’s Tribeca. A joy, and the opening band was Antibalas, a Brooklyn based Afrobeat band. They didn’t cover Fela, they didn’t impersonate him, but they surely inhabited his vibe and made it work.
Antilbalas eventually became the house band when the musical about Fela and Tony Allen hit Broadway.
Tony Allen is drumming on this, maybe Fela and Afrika 70’s greatest song.
This post is about this odd project by Pink Floyd’s drummer, Nick Mason, who was looking to do his first solo project in 1979. After kicking some ideas around, undecided which way to go, the great jazz composer Carla Bley sent him a cassette of some “punk songs” she’d written. He decided to record them because he liked them and they were ready to go. He said, ” So I thought it would be much better to do that than to struggle desperately to find things that work together.
The music is not punk rock (not close) and it’s not Pink Floyd (though closer). It is instead an odd melding of jazz and progressive rock that maybe tips its cap to Zappa, a little. But I’m not sure about all that. What I am sure is that they got it right, at least for me. This is a captivating synthesis of art rock and jazz that feels ornate and grand and yet not grandiose or bombastic.
Maybe some of that is the lovely vocals by Robert Wyatt, who was once the vocalist for the Soft Boys.
I’m A Mineralist is a good example of what’s going on here. Lyrical and then funky, by turns, maybe serious but then funny and not self-important. If you like it a little the album is worth checking out.
The most atypical cut on the album is the first, which is the only one Wyatt does not sing on. Curiously, I just discovered that one of the voices on this fun cut is that of my old friend Vincent Chancey, who back then was playing French horn in Sun Ra’s Arkestra. I don’t recognize which one is his.
This is about a story in The Guardian. In 1979 an experimental/noise/art/industrial/krautrock band called Nurse With Wound put out their first album. The inner sleeve listed their favorite 291 bands.
In the 90s that list became something of a challenge for fans of this sort of music to find, and some it was released on CD for the first time. Now, 40 years after it was originally released, Nurse with Wound is working with a record label trying to put together compilation sets with one track from each of those bands. This is their story, well worth reading if only for some of the band names.
Here’s that album, which is everything haters of experimental music are likely to hate, but with some interesting sounds along the way.
The first volume of the compilation is out now.
Frank created a book of photographs called The Americans back in the 50s. It’s a terrific book of strikingly straightforward and revealing images full of, um, Americans.
Jack Kerouac wrote the introduction to The Americans, an obvious choice at the moment On the Road ruled the world. Kerouac also wrote and narrated Frank’s first film, a shambling tale of New York City’s bohemian lives, called Pull My Daisy. You can view it here.
Frank, of course, took the photos that made up the collagey cover of the Rolling Stones Exile on Main Street.
Frank also made a tour documentary with the Stones at about the same time. It is called Cocksucker Blues and the Stones, who have said they thought the film was excellent, sued to keep it from being released because its explicit sex and drug scenes were too much even for them.
A deal was reached that allowed Frank to show the movie five times a year provided he was in attendance. I remember one year leaving the Rolling Stone magazine Christmas party early to see the film at the Anthology Film Archives on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. You can find the film in pieces on You Tube, from time to time. Frank clearly wasn’t policing the copyright, nor were the Stones, as evidenced by this music video that uses some of the film.
Frank also made some dramatic films that drew notice, though the only one I saw was a shambling road picture featuring a who’s who of cool rock dudes in the late 80s (I’m talking guys named Johansen, Waits and Strummer, plus Leon Redbone).
This seems to be the whole film with German titles.
Final bonus video with Frank’s Super 8 film of the Stones.
You know how you’re going from place to place on the internet, and then you end up someplace and you have no idea how you got there? Tonight that happened to me, when I landed at clubdevo.com.
Devo would seem to be an internet savvy band, all techno and futuristic, even if that represents the devolution of humankind. But clubdevo.com is a wasteland. Only the Twitter feed is alive with content. You can check in here: http://www.clubdevo.com/
What this enterprising data project does is put every band/musician on Spotify on a map by genre. Click on the genre name and it plays a sample of the genre. Click on the little >> symbol next to the genre and it takes you to another map that has the names of all the bands.
Click on the band name and you’ll get a sample of their music. Click on the little >> symbol next to the band name and it will take you to a spotify playlist of their songs.
On the map, more techno music is up top, more organic is at the bottom. Denser music is to the left, while airier music is to the right. Generally, they say.
If there is a problem with this it’s that the music has to be on Spotify, which means the selections skew toward the contemporary, and I had a hard time finding old faves like Supershit 666 in the various Swedish maps, who aren’t on Spotify, but I also couldn’t find Hellacopters, who are. So the maps aren’t exhaustive. But on the other hand the real fun here is digging around and playing random clips. Which is where your free Spotify account comes in handy.