Category Archives: Albums
Another New Rrose: Raelee Nikole plays acoustic pop/soul for us, for the first time, Sunday afternoon!
Somewhere in the middle of that 2 – 5 slot on Sunday is yet ANOTHER new treat for the ARiaP crowd… Raelee Nikole!
Raelee is a twenty year old Acoustic Pop/Soul Singer/songwriter from San Diego who has performed everywhere from the local farmer’s market sidewalk to the House Of Blues Main Stage. After making waves in the San Diego music scene for the past five years, she released her debut album on May 29th, 2015, named “Answers,” which showcases the groovy self-empowering songs that her live performances are known for, as well as new, more introspective songs that question her life and the coming of age.
She’s also aware that hosts D. M. Collins and Art Currim are still asking themselves questions about their own lives and ages, e.g. “how am I still alive at this age?” and “is poetry an artform, or is it just people saying what they would normally say anyway, but slower?” Despite their creeping senility, she has agreed to come and lay down some music for them and for the masses, in between bouts of literature and poetry by several other luminaries, Sunday afternoon. Don’t miss it!
WORDS “Earwig” Cassette Release Party w/ Guy Blakeslee, KERA, and Jessie Jones. April 19 at Pehrspace!
If you know Guy Blakeslee from his role as helmsman of psych rock howlers the Entrance Band, you might be surprised at the heartfelt, brittle mystery of his solo work, in which he and he alone performs songs of pain and amazement with guitar, drum machines, and little else. This is his last show before a bunch of dates opening for Interpol–catch him while ya can.
KERA is, of course, Kera Armendariz of Kera and The Lesbians. They have been exploding on our scene with in-your-face, fun folk rock. Here KERA goes it alone, giving her opuses room to ring out in your ears. Her voice, which fills up rooms and hearts, is chock full of the sour soul of pre-war blues and jazz, and tonight will likely be accompanied only by an acoustic guitar. (But who knows what tricks she might have up her sleeve?)
WORDS, on the other hand, is anything but acoustic. While there are no drums in this cello-based trio, there are hefty pedals, angry amps, and raw skill in the hands of guitarist Marisa DeMeglio (Wolf Wolf Prize) and virtuoso cellist Aniela Marie Perry, who normally single-handedly hosts nights of classical music when she’s not playing with country rock upstarts Latter-Day Bard. Instrumentally they’re a force in their own right–but when fronted by DM Collins (poet, TV star, and L.A. RECORD ne’er-do-well) they will scare you into forgetting everything you thought you knew about live music. These are WORDS to leave you speechless–but that’s okay, since they will be releasing their new lolipop records cassette EP “Earwig” tonight! And as an added treat, they’ll be accompanied by Stephen Kalinich, the only poet ever produced by Brian Wilson, and the unofficial 8th member of the Beach Boys, who wrote songs for such albums as Friends and 20/20.
Jessie Jones is quiet in her private life, but has one of the most recognizable voices ever to come out of BURGER RECORDS, first with Feeding People, and now with Death Valley Girls. She just got done with one tour with Death Valley Girls, and is about to embark on another, but somehow she’s found the time to pioneer her solo project (featuring some recognizable favorites) with us tonight!
Valentine’s Day is coming up, and love is all around us. Some of my friends, including a couple former lovers, have even gotten engaged in the last few weeks. Though I’ve been living happily for a couple years now as some kind of quasi-poly-loner-bachelor type, this season always makes me question what it is I’m looking for when it comes to romance. And I think I can boil it all down to a punk song I first heard when I was about 14 years old.
Of the hundreds of thousands of songs that have influenced what I like about music, probably more than half are about dating and relationships, anything from “Feel Like Makin’ Love” to “Be My Wife.” Many of those use “love” as a mere canvas, a quick subject matter to scream about or lay dance beats over or solo across; others of them, more direct, have spoken to me about love and lust with crystal clear realism, like Aphrodite whispering into my ear while rubbing my buttocks with a Mosrite fuzz pedal.
But those songs are about being in a dating situation, or falling out of one; few songs have inspired what qualities I look for in people I want to date. Especially in my youth, when I was on a limited budget and you couldn’t hear whole discographies for nothin’ on the internet, this song by the Rezillos was the tune that made me realize, hey, this is what I want, and I should go out and look for it, much like “He’s a Rebel” or “You’re So Square (Baby I Don’t Care)” might have spoken to some buckeyed youth in the golden age of teen pop:
I guess you could say this one really molded me, mwah ha hah!
Though the Rezillos were only about 15% – 22% female at any given time, and she didn’t sing lead on this one, this song is perhaps the most joyously egalitarian, matter-of-fact-ly feminist, and casually somewhat-sex-positive song about male-on-female attraction I think I’ve ever known. It’s all about getting turned on because your girlfriend makes art! She actually creates something meaningful out of her life instead of, I dunno, hanging out on the arm of a male artist, playing the groupie role that many female music fans probably felt was their only entry to rock in the pre-punk era. Okay, I know, it’s still a silly song about romance and lusting after a girl, but c’mon, it’s awesome, and so refreshing after thousands and thousands of songs about women that could be any woman, as if love’s context didn’t matter. This was the first song I may have ever heard, outside of maybe “Lovely Rita, Meter Maid” that celebrated a woman for her occupation!
God, you just have to love punk rock, warts and all. Note that the male character in the song is neither jealous nor tries to boast about his own similar creative endeavors–he’s very content to praise his gal’s talents for their own sake. Compared to more serious punk bands of their time, the Rezillos were considered high camp. But the teenaged me detected no irony in how the narrator places his baby’s sculpting skills far above her “pouting lips” or “curvy hips.” He even brags to the world on how “she killa dilla,” goddam it! What does that even mean? He’s so egalitarian that by the end of the song, he can barely talk.
I discovered this tune on one of Rhino Records’ amazing, truly influential D.I.Y. compilations: The Modern World – UK Punk II. Before this series came out, even just hearing pre-hardcore punk that wasn’t the Clash, Ramones, or Sex Pistols was exceedingly difficult in a burg like Tulsa, Oklahoma; I’d read about these bands for years in books at the library without knowing what they sounded like, and this was my first time to hear them all in one place. I vividly recall finding this tape for sale, used, in a counter display case at Mohawk Music–this was probably in 1993, just when my late-onset puberty was in full swing. I got pretty much the whole series and played them all the time, mostly on a Fisher-Price tape recorder that I kept in my Ram Charger, since it didn’t have a tape deck. Every band, every song in this series was mind-blowing. Though X-Ray Spex might have inspired my own self-direction more, and the Adverts’ “One Chord Wonders” inspired how I wanted to play music, “Good Sculptures” taught me real qualities to look for in someone else when trying to complement my life.
And it’s informed who I have dated ever since; my life is far richer because of it. Thank you, Rezillos, and Rhino Records, for helping make me this way. That’s not bragging, nor am I even saying I have overall good mate choice: I’ve dated people, short and long term, who weren’t right for me, who were too innocent for me, or too clever, who left their clothes all over the living room, who took lots of my money, who tried to hurt themselves, who saw the mean and stupid parts of me and just thought they’d be mean and stupid back rather than tell me (or leave). I’ve dated people who stayed with me for far too long because they had no idea how to quietly back away from my own rudeness and immaturity. And this is true: I’ve been socked in the head by nearly every girl I’ve seriously dated.
But hey, man, at least I got the art! I got inspiration, and I got to enjoy a birds-eye view of so many creative processes. I can think back with such joy, and completely undeserved pride, on the albums my lovers have recorded, or the books they wrote, stores they opened, photos they took, planet they saved, ribald performances they titillated with, audiences they made chuckle, essays they published, DJ nights they rocked, urban fruit trees they harvested, shows they organized, videos they edited, kink they celebrated, wigs they wore … even just karaoke songs they were bold enough to pull off! Even at my most miserable and least desirable in a dating capacity, I’ve kept my eyes focused on the creative ones. And it’s never let me down, at least not on the level of my… soul, for lack of a better word. And as for one night stands? Well, at least I think I’ve done pretty good about not fucking anyone who doesn’t have books.
So yes, yes, thank you Rezillos. And thank you, you talented ladies and gents from my past. Ayy-ai-addy, addy-oh! If you ever wondered what I ever saw in you, it’s all because you does good sculptures. Yeah.
Keep doing ’em.
-D. M. Collins
P.S. You know who else seems to have been inspired by this song? Opus from Bloom County!
I reviewed Princeton for L.A. RECORD–a very mixed review. Check it out here.
Out of the waving wheat that sure smells sweet comes Ignacious with another great review–this time his focus is on PiL and their opus Metal Box.
Public Image Limited Concept Albums:
(1 of 3) – “METAL BOX”
Metal Box’s overrunning importance today, when issues as to the health of Mother Nature and planet Earth are smothered by interested money about Healthcare and Retirement, urges us to return to simplicity, to be conscious of the garbage, but not to abandon hope outright.
This album is important now, and it will be in the future, after the adjustment of immortality.
ALBATROSS: A First Image
Albatross (the first symbol in which are contained all of the ensuing symbols) – The matter is set out for us of the reality of perdition, injurious to itself, the albatross, first symbol in the sequence, converging into the no-concept concept, and as I can show, the concept for this and the following 3 albums is effluent and rife. Doom is unfriendly to us – the constituents of form interpenetrate each other, and if you listen to any cunning recording, over and over again, such as Metal Box, the repetitious chords hammered out by Levine will offset the inflection, and often comedic cadence of Lydon/Rotten.
“If I wanted to, if, I run away…..”
The fact that we all experience death while alive, but that only a tiny fraction are able to transcend it ad hoc by way of the satanic attunement, is quite plain to me as I listen to Albatross, the first track on metal box that we must have a basis, a starting point, call it the albatross twinkling in the eyes of Satan, of God and all his angels.
“You make me feel ashamed at acting attitudes” Obviously it is a reference to his mother’s death. Death is elusive until we stop looking for it, and if an artist or musician is lucky, he can position himself by returning to the origin of the theme, and create a sequence, a cipher signature; and this is the soul of memory caught in the twinkle of the eye.
“Slow Motion”, the first words of the sequence. Caught in the Grinding wheel, Satan is entrapped in his accoutrements. Paul the Apostle said, that “We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, – in the twinkling of an eye – when the last trump is played, —this sets the groundwork to dismantle the Metal Box for what it has been shown for.
Some get caught in the twinkle of the eye, and are lost forever like the Albatross, and that twinkling is an eternity. But to some, it is merely a particular instant, a nothing, not the end at all, but, as it is here, a beginning. (The burdensome, heavy breathing.) “I know you very well, you are unbearable. Whatever his religious views, Lydon typifies the albatross with it’s languid pioneering, asleep “on the crest of the wave, sowing the seeds of discontent”.
The three albums (Metal Box, Flowers, and Commercial Zone/This is what you want…) I believe, aside from being some of the most ingenious creations in music history, are made all the more conceptual and vivid through poetic cadence and use of natural imagery. Lydon perhaps was not a skilled singer, but his poetic genius made me a fan of the genre for life.
Now, I have only a smattering of knowledge when it comes to what shaped the ideal of the ancient Greek and Roman mind, but using what little I possess, I intend by way of this writ to show the rivers of Hades that thread the album with myth and legend that I attune from listening to the album Metal Box, by Public Image Limited.
I am using, for point of reference, the Metal Box track sequence, and not the one used in the Second Edition.
The Rest of the Story
Memories – The psychic recognition of death and immortality we come into possession of as we grow through adulthood into maturity – Here we see our utter dread of it all. The joy and newness of love is turned into the pointed finger of blasphemy.
And the Albatross is our satanic recognition of the damage we have done to our world and the potential for terminal upset by way of our own technology threatening the very life of the planet itself.
Swan Lake – Swan Lake is obviously about my old neighborhood, just south of Cherry Street, and not the famous Ballet. But the understanding is of the appearance of what the song suggests, being the death of John Lydon’s mother. Like the instance where the Emperor reminded Anakin Skywalker in “Revenge of the Sith”, of his mothers death at the hands of the sand people. No one should ever have to see their mother die in a satanic vision.
“The silence in your eyes, words cannot express”……. Again, the horror of our precognition of death during the waking moments, the firebrand that is satan (our hopeless feeling of helplessness about reconciling anything whatever), approaching closer and closer as time continues, and we come to the Final Things.
“Seen it in her eyes, silence was a way, flowers rotting dead.” Why, then, do the flowers rot? We will have to approach that in our essay about the Flowers of Romance, which is also quite conceptual as I will show in the next post.
Poptones – This song is about the cult behind gaining confidence in ourselves and our own ability to create through the satanic medium, which this album seethes with throughout.
“Hindsight does me no good, standing naked in the back of the woods” Obviously “He is naked and he is not ashamed”, a total reversal of the sin in the garden of eden. (Hindsight does me no good). The return to the garden approaches. Behind is the wake of everything since the fall 7200 years ago – ahead we have no expectations, only a dread and a horror for the sins of the past, and a trillion broken machines laying in heaps everywhere about.
(Fear Of Transition) – The four-song picture
- The Wounded Birds of Prey (a portrayal of the emblems of war and the splitting of the evil atom.)
And so socialist follows. No one knows more about it than I do, but the band gives this one a heck of a chalking up. “It’s wet, and I’m losing my body heat.” Nice depiction of scenery from time to time, to give us a good picture to resort our attention to from time to time as the conversation about death and immortality goes on. The war is going on somewhere, but not here. Here, all is serendipity and calm as we drive along to music about insanity.
And then, the mockery of the conformist! Yes, yes, the will of god at work! Death and Immortality considered, what is implied? Well, we must make that money, get hired and bought so we can be famous. Although the name of the band could have a whole essay written on it throughout the albums from the first issue, I will leave that album to rest, and just address starting with this album because it is conceptual. So, I believe, are all the rest of the albums with Levene. And the Concept, being Gloom, is delicately played with by that rascal Icarus we have in Lydon, from time to time. However, Lydon’s rhythm in this song is far from optimistic. (“Armored Machinery” sic.) – Look at what capitalism and socialism have done in wake of the war, and the splitting of the earth in two!
Careering – What this song implies about livelihood is immense. “Is this Living?”
Looking for work? (Geiger-counters click-clicking); The river is the Cocytus. “Both sides of the river there is bacteria.” So the insanity of immortality resurfaces- I see Lydon with his Meningitis stare, cold, bleak – suggestive of irreparable damage. “Trigger machinery” (The water supply)
“Is this living”? and so on, on the banks of the river………..
And No Birds Do Sing – a continuation of Lydon’s imagery of the post apocalyptic river. This is Cocytus, The river of wailing. In the myth, the river is hostile to all life, being one of the rivers of Hades. Apparently it is so polluted that there are no birds near, because they cannot fly over the river, it is radioactive / poisonous.
(I like the illusion of privacy!)
The picture is one of well ordered and mowed lawns, and pruned trees, a little suburb perhaps, but the title, “No Birds”! Indeed! No Birds because the water is contaminated and factories line it on both sides, well, maybe. Maybe in a different aeon.
Socialist – And so is Socialist next. No one knows more about selfish abuse of natural resources and the endangerment of the earth better than the Russians. All I can concede from the song, because it is an instrumental, is that it is a kind of taunting of the “enemy” by reminding him of his own mortality alongside the strangeness that he will be doomed forever to a world not unlike that described in “No Birds”.
The Suit – A grim depiction of thoughtless consumption. “It is your character, deep in your nature”. This is what prepares man for the suit, the next track. Does the suit bring out the natural capability of the wearer – the good and bad capacity of a man, who is forced into the suit as a condition of his employ once the job is secured, a compromise because of an appointment to the office – the loss of a certain amount of freedom in exchange for an illusory happiness that isn’t even pleasurable all the time?
All these visions of The quasi-future, the machines, the factories, yet, in this series of songs, No Birds, Socialist, The suit, and Bad Baby – there is also the wife taking the kids to school in the station wagon, and the local gossip; People living it up, without paying one flick of interest as to what’s going on, and what is (the quasi-future) about to happen.
Bad Baby – “Someone let the baby in the car part never any reason, don’t you listen, don’t interfere”.
This is sooth certainly – Abuse, again the theme – innocence and complacent neglect of humanity at atrocities – citizens bent on vain glamour and the pomp of fame, Lydon knew all too well. (Don’t interfere!) Never Never Never Never – Ignore it and it will go away-someone is calling, don’t you listen…..The Baby in the car part is our crumbling and dying earth.
Graveyard – This is an instrumental. We consider that the theme of the album is death and immortality- what better segue way than to flash the action of the scene to a cemetery. It has a definite quality of being upbeat and hopeful – being in a cemetery we are bound to think about the soon-approaching catastrophe we are all too well aware of but know not how to commune with it or integrate, instead being left to offer myths and legends – Where are the suburbanites now? Surely they are off constructing idols to assure themelves of some greater purpose to it all.
Chant/Radio 4. These two songs are placed together and there is no section. One fades into the other, as life is assimilated into the afterlife, and the satanic attunement is full of regret, and even a concept of a suididal tendancy coming from (All you ever get is all you steal) a disgust born out of the idiotic duality of (success/failure) well apt to the regeneration of the suit earlier, and the career search that is only fraught with fear and loathing – the dirty scum of urban London – The side of London that the tourists never see. Apparently Lydon wanted to see all this, a kind of Gautama Buddha experience (every librarian has his theory), and not the pleasant attractions of the city in sin and the trappings of personal aggrandizement.
So it flows then, into Radio 4, the last song on Metal Box and the last instrumental as well. The myth behind radio 4 is the eventual reconciliation of death – placid, serene, like the wash of the ocean and the receeding waters of the tsunami.
Now give it a listen, and imagine a quasi-satanic construct sometime in the future.
Stooges guitarist Ron Asheton was found dead today. He was only 60.
Though all obituaries about him will start by mentioning his work with the Stooges, including mine, I think perhaps he’d prefer to be remembered for some of his work without Iggy Pop. So here it is, a track from his mid-seventies hard rock band, the New Order:
It’s a shame to think I’ll never get to see him play live. I loved him in the super group Wylde Ratttz from the Velvet Goldmine soundtrack, and I think his avant-noise band Destroy All Monsters sounds pretty rad, too, if I can ever get my hands on a fucking copy of their collected recordings.
This is one of those films that you know kind of sucks but you still have to see. I usually hate spoilers, but I just have to say it: Frankie Avalon gets stabbed through his dick in this movie! There is a crotch stabbing, and the Big Kahuna gets it! And you also get to hear him talk about doing drugs with Mark Wynter of “Venus in Blue Jeans” fame, and get to see Carnaby Street in the late sixties, and get to see more go-go boots and false eyelashes than you’ve probably ever seen in a horror film!
The Pretty Things contributed at least one song to this soundtrack, “She Says Good Morning” from S.F. Sorrow no less, and it sounds to my ears like a differently mixed version than the one on the album. There’s also enough great incidental music by god-knows-who to groove on and make a whole soundtrack disc of. And while we’re talking about the great rock tie-ins that were, let’s not forget the tie-ins that could have been: both a young David Bowie, as well as Scott Walker, had been cast at one time or another for this feature, as well as Boris Karloff, who got too sick to play the detective (maybe it was the convoluted script).
Anyway, it was a great distraction to watch this and not think about the misery that is another work day tomorrow morning.
I want to stress that I have had some friends who were uanbashed Zappa dorks. Like, people who would claim his version of “Ring of Fire” was better than the Johnny Cash version. Or who would sit around watching Zappa dick around on stage in 1983 with a bunch of drums and chimes. I am not one of those.
However, We’re Only in It for the Money is a pretty amazing album, and this is a pretty amazing outtake. You gotta love this era of Zappa. Everything he touched turned out pretty good in those days, from the Monkees and Alice Cooper to the GTO’s and Cynthia Plaster Caster, and I love this chipmunk-ey version of “Let’s Make the Water Turn Black.”
UPDATE: Just heard word from Dominic Priore (of Riot On Sunset Strip fame) that his buddy Joey Altruda and he put together a great podcast of early Zappa stuff, much of it before the Mothers of Invention. I’m going to listen to it tonight as soon as I get home!
I’ve been commissioned to write a review of Inara George and Van Dyke Parks, and I’m pretty stoked. This dude worked on Smile, which is one of my favorite albums of all time (and I own thousands). Most people put Pet Sounds in that category, but in my opinion, while Pet Sounds was a pioneering album, its formula was retooled into better albums by the Zombies and Bee Gees (and to a lesser extent by Bowie, the Beatles, and virtually everybody else).
But Smile, I mean, wow. What wonders the world might have wrought if it had been released on time, before Sgt. Pepper and before the Beach Boys lost the head of steam they’d built with Pet Sounds. While Pet Sounds is melancholy and lovely, Smile is transcendent, spiritual, American, orchestral, and utterly unique. It’s accessible but wears well with each repeated listening, and Van Dyke Parks’ lyricism is a big part of what makes it so interesting.
Anyway, I have to stop writing, before I scoop myself! But take a look at Van Dyke Parks waxing nostalgic about the Troubadour. Doesn’t he talk like David Lynch?
P.S. I’m not talking about Brian Wilson’s SMiLE album that came out a couple years ago. It’s really good, and I own the DVD and all that. But it’s no more the “real” Smile than seeing a concert by Al Jardine and Friends is the same as seeing the Beach Boys.