There was no sex on the internet this week. But luckily there is a guy who has been injecting his penis with silicon for six years and is really proud of the results. Enjoy! NSFW
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There was no sex on the internet this week. But luckily there is a guy who has been injecting his penis with silicon for six years and is really proud of the results. Enjoy! NSFW
When I moved to Chicago from New Jersey in 1994, I arrived for the last half of a very interesting period of Chicago music. I’m not speaking of the MTV shit-pile of Smashing Pumpkins, Varuca Salt, etc etc, but of the strange avant-weirdness that was brewing around the not-so-gentrified-yet area of Wicker Park (now a derogatory term and a place to avoid if you live around these parts). Bands such as Scissor Girls, Mother Country Death Rattle, Dot Dot Dot, Duotron, Flying Luttenbachers and Math were some of the mysterious names I saw on flyers around town, performing at strange places such as The Milk Of Burgundy, The Hub Theater and The Czar Bar. Some people refer to it as Chicago No-Wave, a title that was branded upon it after the fact, which many people still resent for being genre-restricting and nostalgic. These bands were carving their own identity though- continuing a long Chicago tradition of exalting dark humor and the absurd while actively avoiding classification.
I often compare the early 90s No-Wave bands to the Hairy Who, a group of Chicago painters that made a name for themselves in the mid-60s. They jumped off with Pop Art but infused it with a coarseness and vulgarity that was missing from the art-worlds of both coasts. It was a style that only Chicago could produce with its ridiculous and bloated politicians, the ramshackle junk-piles of Maxwell Street, and its second city inferiority complex. Like the Hairy Who, and more broadly the Chicago style of Imagism, early 90’s No-Wave wallowed in a very physical and atavistic realm, laughing at its own helplessness and pathetic pose.
Even though most artists and musicians come from somewhere else- Chicago, with its unique identity, influences their work. If music is informed by place, the early 90s might have been the last hurrah for any sort of US regional identity (really- this probably goes for everywhere) before the developers marched in and erected generic condos and Starbucks- decimating a landscape of character, history and heritage.
I had the greatest time Tuesday morning, driving in to work listening to Lol Coxhill & Fred Frith - The French Gigs. It's moments like these that make me think, "improvised music is the only true music," which of course isn't the case, but it does have a nice ring to it. When I've been assailed by every riff, hook, chord progression and melody line that structured pop/rock music has to offer, it's good to know that Cecil Taylor is there waiting for me.
I always hope to be taken on a journey by every artistic presentation, and the great thing about good improvised music is that the journey is only partially scripted; your mind, and your perception of the sounds serves as the "additional instrument" in the proceedings; you have some control, at least, of the emotional reaction you have to what you're hearing, and where you go with that reaction. Pop, by contrast, is a much more guided tour, where no doubt one artist's, or one band's vision can be extremely beautiful, but you're still being taken by the hand, sometimes dragged along into a "here's my trip" situation.
While improvised music lends itself to subjective interpretation by the listener, it also opens the door to the purest form of individual musical self-expression possible. The absence of structure, and the presence of inspiration, in the best circumstances, creates a direct line between the soul of the performer and the sounds emanating from their instrument. When I saw Michael Evans play solo drum kit for the first time, I realized how direct that line could be. I was so impressed, and Michael was gracious enough to meet with me a few times during the winter of 1996, for some sessions (recorded on cassette) that I still cherish. I learned a lot about improvisation just from interacting with Michael.
I also learned by listening, both on record and in live performance, to AMM, MEV, Cecil Taylor, John Coltrane, Tony Oxley, Haino Keiji, Fred Frith, La Monte Young and The Theater of Eternal Music, Donald Miller, Bruce Russell and so many others.
When the band I was in, Uncle Wiggly, called it quits in the spring of 1998, I had it in my head that I was only going to play improvised music from that day forward. Uncle Wiggly's music had, for the most part, been meticulously structured (albeit with improvisational passages), but my decision was brought on as much by a hunger for exploration as by a personal backlash.
Artnatomy has developed a cool interface for "teaching the biomechanical foundations of facial expression." But fuck that, it's fun to make the artnatomy face do weird things, bring the skull to the foreground, add muscles, purse the lips, raise an eyebrow and on and on. To dive in, go there, then click on "application," then got to "Level Two," and focus on the tools in the "movements" column. via that madman Hemaworstje.
Of the 480 or so pictures that have appeared on the WFMU homepage in the last six years or so, none has elicited more response than the two gentlemen with the slingshot thongs pictured at right. (You can see all the homepage pictures here.) Many have requested this picture's removal, others have simpply averted their eyes and several have speculated that it was a picture of two memberrs of the Japanese band Peelander Z (who provided an important public service by scaring the hell out of Andy Breckman at Maxwells).
Unfortunately, I never had any idea what this picture was about until last night, when I stumbled across the answer: [download video, 5 meg quicktime file]. What you will see on this video clip are Japanese comedians Koji Imada and Koji Higashino in a skit entitled the After School Electromagnetic Wave Club. It seems to be some kind of fake public service announcement addressing the Japanese scourge of subway frottage, also known by it's Italian name, Mano Morta (dead hand). But I defer to any native Japanese speakers out there to set me straight on the exact content of the skit.
Thanks to Nick the Bard and Boingboing for resolving the mystery.
On February 4th 1990, Daniel Johnston, from his parents' home in West Virginia, and Yo La Tengo, in WFMU's East Orange studios, performed a 3 song set on Nick Hill's program, The Music Faucet.
This set inspired listener Jeff Feuerzeig to create and direct his recently released documentary, The Devil and Daniel Johnston. Now, we present for your entertainment, the recently resurrected archive for this historic broadcast:
Streaming MP3 archive.
Streaming Realaudio archive.
Nick Hill kindly shares his memories of the legendary set after the jump:
For over 20 years, it's been my job to translate the FCC's ever-changing pronouncements on naughty language into internal WFMU policy. One thing I've often told people is that you can't pay attention to what the FCC says about indecency, you have to pay attention to what they actually do, and what they do (in terms of monetary fines and so on) is constantly changing. With last month's three indecency decisions and their recent record-breaking fines, this task is becoming near-impossible.
Here's a great article I've found on the subject, by our FCC attorney (and former Howard Stern writer) Harry Cole. Harry breaks down the FCC's latest gyrations on the F-word, the S-word, pixilation, and the lesser evils of words like wang.
The Indecency Sheriff Is Still In Town
FCC tries (with limited success) to clarify policies
by Harry F. Cole, Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth, PLC
After months of anticipation, in March the FCC released three decisions addressing questions of broadcast indecency and profanity. In the FCC's view, these decisions clarify that regulatory crazy-quilt and provide useful and consistent guidance to all affected regulatees.
But out here in the real world, the Commission's decisions provide little more than a mishmash of conflicting results, questionable distinctions, pseudo-"analysis" and virtually no certainty.
Except that the Commission does, conclusively and unequivocally, announce that "shit" is to be deemed right up there with "fuck" as the two words in the English language worthy of being, among other things, "presumptively profane."
But there's still time to get in on the fun!!! Do your own verison and get it played on the air tomorrow. It's easy: Download the original Cake here and get the Script here. When you're done, email it to me at kg(at)wfmu(dot)org. We'll be accepting submissions until 3 p.m. tomorrow.
Yesterday, while seated around the fabled WFMU lunchtable (now infamous for such riveting discussion topics as heavy metal painter hats and weapons hippies), Megan pointed out the sub-headline for an article she was reading in the NY Daily News (aka reporting at its finest):
1 slain, 2 hurt in Bronx club
Woman's hair weave traps bullet as gunman opens fire
Click here to read the whole story. While we mourn the violent outburst, we stand back in awe of this lady's fierce hairdo, which managed to stop a bullet after it careened through a door and skimmed the top of her head. Unfortunately, no photos of the helmet hair are available, nor is contact info for the hairdresser responsible.
The FCC smashed all its previous records a few weeks ago when it leveled a three million dollar fine against a batch of CBS television stations for a Teen Sex Orgy scene in the show Without A Trace. So, what does a three million dollar Teen Sex Orgy look like? Funny you should ask. I happen to have one - the very one - right here! [download video, 2 meg wmv file]
Now before you dive right in, don't forget that it's only OK to look at this video if you're outraged by it. If you're titillated by it then it's illegal. And even if you are outraged, it's only OK to watch it if you're outraged in the exact right way. But, assuming that you do get outraged in the exact right way, then it's perfectly acceptable to watch this clip over and over and over again in all of it's delectable decadence. How else to explain that the only place I could find this clip was on the website of the well known Anti-Teen Sex Orgy group, The Parent's Television Council, at the bottom of a detailed summary of all the hot teen sex acts which must never be permitted onto the nation's airwaves! [Link to the PTC page.]
Bear in mind that within the context of this Without A Trace episode, the Teen Sex Orgy in question was a bad thing. Someone died, and kids got grounded and stuff. Don't you see? CBS was trying to show that Teen Sex Orgies have a dark side, too. But the stations got fined three million bucks anyway. And then the PTC (the lead censorship lobbying group in the country) offers the same clip for download, again showing the Teen Sex Orgy to be a bad thing, but this time, using the clip to urge people to prevent others from watching it.
So keep that clear as you watch the Teen Sex Orgy. Yes, it is bad. It is very bad. But more important than that, it is so bad that others must not be permitted to see it. Keep that in mind as you watch it again and again, writing down every hot teen sex act in minute detail.
Got $30,000 burning a hole in your pocket? Then quickly get yourself over to this eBay auction, where you can place a bid on a truly astounding record collection. Over 1,000 cool, strange and unusual records are up for bids here. Everything from the Myra Breckenridge soundtrack to the American Standards' legendary musical soundtrack "The Bathrooms Are Coming!" to Joe Pesci's "Little Joe Sure Can Sing" LP, with a boatload of picture discs thrown in for good measure. Hurry up, though, because you've got less than 4 hours to place your bid. And if nobody snaps up this huge collection (which is likely to happen, since you normally wouldn't want to spend ~$30/record) the whole collection will apparently be split up and auctioned off separately. So you might want to keep your eyes on this seller in the coming weeks... (credit for the tip to my friend Dan)
Lots of great music this week, so much that I feel sad I had to cut some out from this list. I guess I can give an honorable mention to "Who's Afraid (of the Art of Noise)" by Art of Noise heard on Billy Jam's show (click to hear in streaming RealAudio). It's too good to pass up.
All RealAudio links are streaming links from the WFMU Archives.
Rock And Roll
High Speed And the Afflicted Man - "Get Stoned Ezy" RealAudio from Scott Williams' show, March 30, 2006
DJ Yoshio - "Yoshio And the Guitar" RealAudio from Billy Jam's show (filling in for Pseu Braun), March 31, 2006
Cellutron and the Invisible - "Alien Activity From the 45th Parallel" RealAudio from Bill Zurat's show, March 28, 2006
Fireblood Angel Band (Featuring the Hosts of Heaven) "Day of the Trumpet" (MP3)
Wow, there sure are a lot of weird apocalyptic vanity records out there. David Blair's "The Antichrist" (which we posted to On the Download MP3s a long time ago, here) ranked up there as probably the creepiest singer-songwriter addressing of doomsday to date, but thanks to the Crud Crud site, here's something just about as strange. This 7" came out on the Siloam label in 1982 and is a stumbling, weird rant on the End Times from what sounds to be a guy from down south somewhere, but the random organ, percussion, loops, and alien sounds zinging around make this sound more like the Shaggs than Rev. Louis Overstreet. Crud Crud's attempts at tracking down whomever made this thing have been fruitless as of this date.
Sibylle Baier "Softly" (MP3)
A real gem from the ever-growing pile of reissues of fragile folkies. Fans of Linda Perhacs and Vashti Bunyan will certainly identify with this, 1970-73 recordings of a German actress who apparently did a song for an early Wim Wenders film, but wasn't known for real involvement in music. This was a bit more of a private document recorded on reel-to-reel reflecting on a trip with a friend across Europe at a particularly dark moment of her life, though it's quite a radiant set of songs despite the melancholy vibe. In the 36 years since the recordings, there has never been an issue until now, thanks to a chain of fortunate events: someone gave Dinosaur Jr.'s J Mascis a tape, which he floated to the Orange Twin label run by folks from Elf Power down in Athens, Georgia. Taken from the CD Colour Green, it was a bit tough to pick an actual track to showcase here, they are all quite simplistic in execution but glowing with some real beauty.
In the 70's and 80's, the Little Wally Polka Band, led by Lou D'Antonio, often performed at WFMU post-marathon fiestas or at staff holiday parties. The band is comparable to what is now The Hoof and Mouth Sinfonia.
This 13 minute performance [Download MP3] occurred shortly after the 1978 marathon, when the fundraising goal was about $25,000! The band members are: Master of Ceremonies, Little Wally (Lou D'Antonio), Accordionist Chuck (Pussy) Russo, Guitarist Frank O'Toole, Tiny Norman (Jim Price) on Clarinet, Bad Bob (Brainen) on bass, Harmonica Player Bjorn Forehead (John Narucki), Drummer/Percussionist Paul Sobolik, and vocalist Larry White. Oddly, Irwin Chusid who attended every other Little Wally performance as the drummer was absent for this one. Included in the photo group are pictures of Cindy McKee on drums and Colleen Choffey on bass, at a later station performance.
Vegan Texas firefighters and food assembly centers: These are the two recent phenomena that pushed me over the edge into the fiery blog pool. Apparently, Americans are searching for a good old-fashioned high that sitting around a table filled with dirty dishes seems to conjure. The only hitch is that eating Domino's Pizza and Chinese food doesn't seem to award that rosy Norman Rockwell glow. So American women, who weigh in with a whopping 80% of the food making chores, are reinventing themselves as fast food style chefs, filthy white uniforms not included, trading glum meal time for Dream Dinners! According to the New York Times (Sunday, March 26, 2006 edition), when the dinner bell rings, Mrs. Cleaver now jumps in her mini-van, and heads to the nearest of over 700 meal assembly centers in the good old U.S. of A.
Mom is immediately attired in a complimentary logo-heavy apron, whisked over to the professional-style prep line and sprinkles, whirs and whisks away any insecurities she may have about not providing her family with stylish, home cooked goodness (at 3-4$ per meal). Why yes, the chopped potatoes are emptied out of a bag into a stainless steel bin, and the poultry and meat chunks were cut miles away in an industrial food factory, but hey, it saves on visits to the emergency room from a razor sharp Wusthof Knife. (Been there, done that.)
VARIOUS - 1382: the Persian New Wave: Underground Out of the Islamic Republic of Iran (Tian An Mien 89)
Killed By Tehran? An underground comp from Iran? Some kind of hoax? Nope, not at all. Since the 1990's, the Tian An Men 89 label has been on a nonstop mission to document the sounds of regions that apart from providing plenty of releases of their traditional music, have offered the West few actual punk rock artists. So far, they've touched regions as diverse as Hong Kong, Kyrgystan, Kosovo, Macedonia, and Myanmar (Mission of Burma indeed), and according to their site have plans to hit up Iraq, Tunisia, Kenya and more. 1382: the Persian New Wave is to my knowledge the only compilation of Iranian underground; there is virtually no network for independent distribution, and most of these tracks are basement or live recordings handed to Tian An Men 89 on cassette or MP3. The results? Not surprisingly quite unique and certainly aware of Western and Eastern European elements, in fact the teenage Mud definitely evoke the sound of the Prague folk-rock underground more than anything, while Dark Earth's "Jang (War)" has some definite German techno/industrial leanings roughed up in demo quality. There is unbelievably a band called Superman and the Joe Ordinaries that sing in broken English (I made out "wallabies"rhyming with "I hate your Mommys and Daddys" so, uh, there you go), and even more strangely a band called the Fat Bats doing a song called "Joe Ordinaries" while coming off as Offspring-wannabes. Yeah, well, it can be spotty at time, I must say, but But Oolanbator's "Fire In he Dead of the Night" (Real Audio) is a jawdropper, sampling off-time Arthur Brown screaming "I am the God of Hellfire!!!" in the middle of some uber-weirdass primitive synth workouts and Fuck-Off records-era detuned guitar clutter that slides in some of the expected Middle Eastern influences. But you really have to wonder, did Godz records make it to Iran? Or what? Who knows, but this track alone would fetch some mega bucks on some DIY-slobberin' collector's list. The distribution comes through France for this LP, but you should check with our man Scott Soriano, who is flowing the Tian An Men 89 stuff at his mailorder. In the meantime, kudos to labels like this one and others like Radon and Sublime Frequencies who are helping connect the geographical dots.
One of the genuine mysteries of the music world has been solved, with the reappearance of the elusive Shelagh McDonald. (Click to stream Real Audio of "Jesus is Just Alright" from Brian Turner's show.) The folksinger issued two albums in the early 1970's and then vanished for over thirty years. Though the most-persistent rumor regarding her disappearance (that it was drug-related) was true, even people close to her didn't know this for certain and were also in the dark as to her whereabouts. Former friend Leo O'Kelly, a member of the Irish folk-rock band Tir na nOg, (click for Real Audio) pointed out that McDonald was in no way a heavy drug user. Like many others, she was experimenting -- and alas -- one bad trip did her in.
Shelagh McDonald, like nearly every other folksinger of her day outside of the strict traditionalists, had incorporated contemporary elements into her music. Both pop and psychedelic influences can clearly be heard. Though she seemed to be poised for stardom after the release of her second LP, "Stargazer", of course no one can really say. Many musicians have been in a similar situation, only to see their careers dwindle due to a change in what's musically fashionable.
Fans of UK folk will need to have "Let No Man Steal Your Thyme", which consists of her two records plus a bit extra. She had a gorgeous voice, and because her albums featured both top-notch musicians and production, they are worthy of being ranked alongside the best of the era. Read more about her at this fan's website, which contains further information regarding her disappearance and reappearance. In the meantime here are few more Real Audio links to McDonald's work: "Liz's Song" (from Hatch's show) ||| "Stargazer" (from Bill Zurat's show).