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Now that Dave The Spazz has thoughtfully lowered everyone's resistance to Homer & Jethro, at least for the moment, it seems like a fine time to post a couple of their songs that have been bouncing around my skull lately.
Gonna Send 'Em Home (2:03) - Homer & Jethro are not ones to wait silently and patiently for Beatlemania to die a natural death. Nope, instead they gleefully slam the Beatles with great gusto and eagerly anticipate their demise. The odd Beatles-esque production flourishes call to mind Gaylord's extensive series of posts about Fake Beatles.
Wanted For Murder (2:19) - Homer & Jethro confess to murdering the fine work of many songwriters in this autobiographical tune that brags about the fact that they've offended scores of tunesmiths with their irreverent parodies. Included is a mention of their rip on Frank Loesser's Baby It's Cold Outside, which was referenced in Dave's post (linked above).
The photo above on the left can be seen on the back of Homer & Jethro's 1964 Cornfucius Say LP, the record from which the anti-Beatles track Gonna Send 'Em Home was harvested.
December, 2007 interview excerpt with George Carlin, conducted by WFMU's onetime-Special Events Coordinator Jenni Matz, now entrenched over at the Archive of American Television (and politely putting up my weekly pesterings to find me Julia Child clips). Includes some heartfelt advice for young up-and-coming comics, as well as George putting his legendary life into an overall frame. Kudos to Jenni, who seems to have made out much better synching up with and getting candid commentary out of comics than this unfortunate fellow.
Your eBay Auctionatrix hasn't retired. I took a brief sabbatical so I could get the flu and move to a new apartment in a secret bunker beneath the Hudson River. No, the two are not related. Really. Shut up.
Now I'm back and ready to hawk various collectible and interesting wares in an effort to separate you from your ill-earned cash, and to facilitate the delivery of that dirty money to the Freeform Station of the Nation.
I just posted three tasty tidbits to WFMU's auction page. See here fer yerself.
Original Autographed Photo of Winona Ryder
Yay-uh! This is a photo still from the 1991 Jim Jarmusch film Night On Earth. In the background is an out-of-focus but still smokin' (literally, har har) Gena Rowlands. Somehow, we got our nicotine stained paws on this photo which was actually signed by Ms. Winona Ryder. Holy crap, right?
It looks like she signed it with one of those fine point black Sharpie markers. Good choice! (When I get all famous and stuff, I'll make sure to carry one of those around with me, too.)
Fred Rose 78rpm Record
"Don't Feel Sorry For Me" b/w "No One Will Ever Know" This record, a special radio pressing, was released on the Columbia label.
Aw c'mon, you know Fred Rose. He co-wrote some of the finest popular and country music classics of the 1940s with his writing partner, Roy Acuff. Sometimes Mr. Rose wrote under the nom de plume "Floyd Jenkins," as he did for the B-side of this rekkid.
Fred Rose also wrote, with Hank Williams, some of Mr. Williams' finest and most popular songs.
Rose is a charter member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, he is in the Nashville Songwriter's Hall of Fame, and the Songwriter's Hall of Fame. Nice credentials!
Fuck Christmas in July with Fear
Hey Beef Baloney, there's too many of us so let's start a war with more beer.
L.A.'s finest with their ode to America's Favorite Holiday. This very collectible 45rpm record features an unclean side entitled "*uck Christmas" and a clean side, "(Beep) Christmas" so you have something to play for the kiddies. It comes in the original paper sleeve with the beloved stamp on it.
Yes, it's the original issue on Slash Records. Don't venture your way to the latter half of 2008 without it. That is, if you are the lucky highest bidder. Act now. Operators are standing by.
We can start a New Jersey!
Some Sonic Youth crowd scenes nabbed at the Fourth of July bonanza WFMU shared with them and The Feelies at Battery Park:
Stick a knife in my head, bro:
You, sir, ride the silver rocket:
Drunken butte--- er, frog:
Since the early 80s, Massimo Giacon has been at the center of an Italian cartoon renaissance, producing cartoons, illustrations and designs for Italian magazines such as "Frigidaire", "Alter", "Dolce Vita", "Cyborg" and "Nova Express". I originally came across the work of Giacon when I was trying to find information on the 80s dada/synth/noise group Spirocheta Pergoli, of which he is the founding member. I was glad to find an inventive artist whose playful but grotesque visual work is a perfect companion to his strange and ridiculous music.
Unfortunately, Giacon doesn't have a proper website, but you can view some work at his MySpace page, which also includes musical projects from the last ten years. Images from his 2001 solo show Philosophers in the Pop Planet can be viewed here.
I had posted the Spirocheta Pergoli EP on Cake & Polka Parade a couple years ago but here they are again if you missed them.
Spirocheta Pergoli - Fuzzi Bugsi Tumpa il Bongo
a1 - Merendine | a2 - Pistole Giocattolo | b1 - Pianto di un Coniglio a Molla | b2 - Fuzzi Bugsi
Did I mention that all these bands are from Germany in the early 70s? Yes, this is another one of those posts I always do with a few youtube picks from ______ country of ______ genre during ______ era. Hopefully I'm the only one that feels my posts are becoming a stale parody of themselves. It's been about a year since I started writing for WFMU and any of the steam that I had to vent initially is pretty much exhausted - I used to get excited about writing posts that addressed both philosophy and music but I find myself having little to say anymore. Don't worry, you won't find anything controversial or worrisome here. I'll just tread water with the best music scholarship I can muster. I must sound like I'm in a bad mood. Actually, I feel great right now.
Setting the paradigm at top left, Rufus Zuphall rips through Derroll Adams' Portland Town. You'll find the band is often called Germany's Jethro Tull, but you'll also find more unpolished, rugged charm in the band's recordings. I'm on the fence on whether the drummer's performance is over the top or not. Top right is an early clip from Hölderlin, taking a very progressive approach to the folk tradition. Like I said, I don't have much to say. But it's good stuff, no?
Bottom left is the totally awesome Ougenweide. Ougenweide has been ruling my stereo recently. Just earlier tonight I enjoyed the rainstorm from my front porch while drinking a glass of wine and listening to the recently reissued All Die Weil Ich Mag. What more did I need? Bottom right is a very traditional performance from Witthuser and Westrupp. Don't know if I'd call this particular track psychedelic for the most part, but it's still totally hilarious. Other videos from this great duo are here and if you'd like some more clips to bide your time with, check out Broselmaschine, and, uh, well, that's all I got.
A few months ago, I picked up Gabby Wood's excellent non-fiction book Edison's Eve: A Magical History of the Quest for Mechanical Life, a look at the obsessions of turn-of-the-19th-century inventors to create a truly life-like animatronic creation. Delving into this world of clockwork men (and not-so-clockwork scam artists) reminded me a bit of my childhood.
You see, when I was growing up in the 80s I made weekly trips to the nearby ShowBiz Pizza Place, mostly just to flirt with Jr. High School girls and play lots of Dragon's Lair. But for some reason whenever the Rock-afire Band started in on one of their sets, I was suddenly mesmerized by the spellbinding creepiness of the animatronic figures "playing" "music" for "entertainment".
So, I've been thinking all about these about animatronics, and the strange world they inhabit, and then the internet explodes with the word on the documentary film I've been waiting my whole life for...
For more on the Rock-afire gang, don't miss the website of the original programmer (and voice of Billy Bob the bear) Aaron Fechter, who takes bids to program new songs for the Rock-afire Explosion (currently in progress, "Neighborhood #1" by the Arcade Fire). He also invented Whac-A-Mole, so clearly the man is a genius. Here's a look at the early days of his company, Creative Engineering, and their process for creating the original Rock-afire shows.
But Showbiz Pizza is just the tip of the animatronic iceberg, so I couldn't just leave it at that. Follow the jump for more videos of robot presidents, animals, comedians, and, yes, Marlon Perkins!
Car Talk has the biggest listenership on public radio. So it's no wonder that someone would try to build on the Ciick and Clack brand by expanding the Tappet Brothers schtick to TV. It was tried once before, a live-action sitcom starring George Wendt and originally titled Under The Hood, retooled to (what else?) "The George Wendt Show". It bombed. Now Tom and Ray have become cartoon characters.
Click & Clack's As The Wrench Turns premiered three weeks ago on PBS. How bad was it? The title of this post is an actual line from the current episode, spoken by an animated Sister Wendy, that art historian nun with the buckteeth. Here's a brief rundown of the episode I saw: It sucked. Then it sucked some more. Then it kept on sucking. Then it sucked real hard. Then it sucked once more. Then it was over. Jesus, how DOES a trainwreck like this make it to TV without someone screaming "THIS SUCKS!"? Here's a good review by the Los Angeles Times Television Critic Robert Lloyd.
Don't mistake me, I'm a long-time fan of Car Talk. My dad was a mechanic by trade and I've always been into cars. The format of the radio show is simplicity itself: Tom and Ray take calls from people with car problems. They try to solve them, tell some bad jokes, throw in a Puzzler, say some funny names and end with "Don't like drive my brother. And don't drive like my brother." I'm sure most people think the show goes out live but it doesn't. It's pre-produced but maintains a live feeling thanks to the banter of Click and Clack.
If the producers of this disaster, Howard K. Grossman and Robert Harris, had trusted that simple formula to carry the day, they might've had something. Instead, they fictionalized Tom and Ray, gave them a mult-culti backline and put them in situations like the dilemma tonight: will Tom and Ray sell out to the big bad car company (Gigantic Motors) or will they come to their senses in time to realize they're killing their own little corner of the planet? There's also a Fitzcarraldo reference and Al Gore as the Deus ex machina.
You can watch a preview of this piece of crap here: As The Wrench Turns. There are four full-length episodes you can also stream - but unless you need a purgative, why bother?
The Actor's Prayer (12:18)
Many a digger has been lost amid the thrift-store stacks of too-common records. Nothing is more disheartening than assaulting a bin of mold-encrusted record jackets, hoping for a find, and seeing copy after copy of Ed Sullivan Presents, loose Longines Symphonette collections and Columbia Special Products Christmas collections. Jackie Gleason is another of the chief offenders, with every thrift store offering your chance to own multiple copies of Jackie Gleason Presents Music for Lovers or Jackie Gleason Presents Music for Dining or Jackie Gleason Presents Music to Make You Hate Record Collecting.
Here's one that you won't find clogging the thrift-store bins. Recorded in 1960 as a favor for The Marsalin Institute in Brookline, Massachusetts, this 10" oddity begins with Gleason reciting the Actor's Prayer, complete with organ accompaniment, then morphs into a full-on assault on your wallet. Founded in 1957 by Catholic priest and psychologist James E. Hayden, Marsalin's goal was to deal with the spiritual aspects of mental illness. This album was released as part of a fundraising drive to create a state-of-the-art hospital in Brookline. It was never built, and Marsalin eventually resettled in Holliston, Massachusetts.
Based on the thrift-store castoffs, that would make this the only Jackie Gleason album that didn't sell several million copies. Also note that Gleason's suggestion that religion and psychiatry should get together would give Tom Cruise fits.
Frank Loesser was a big-time Broadway composer who penned the scores for The Most Happy Fella, How To Succeed In Business Without Even Trying and Guys and Dolls. His greatest claim to fame in this corner of the internets is the double 45 Extended Play release Homer and Jethro Fracture Frank Loesser. Far from the dumb-ass hillbilly antics of Hee Haw, yet hick enough to be just plain stupid, Homer and Jethro enjoyed a long and funny career as sought-after Nashville session men and all-around serial screwballs. More biographical info within along with a personal endorsement from Frank Loesser.
A hit at last year's Brooklyn International Film Festival, and an Academy Award short film nominee, I Met The Walrus takes a 1969 audio interview with John Lennon and elegantly animates it into a truly charming (and literal) short film. According to the film blurb, 14-year-old Jerry Levitan nabbed this interview by sneaking into Lennon's Toronto hotel room during his "bed-in" phase.
A.R. Penck is much better known as a visual artist than as a musician, but in the '80s he played drums with some of the best free jazz players around (Frank Lowe, Butch Morris, Peter Kowald, William Parker, Louis Moholo), and released a whole bunch of private press LPs, under the name T.T.T. featuring A.R. Penck and/or attributed to saxophonist Frank Wright. I've been planning a Penck post for some time, but both the LPs and info are pretty elusive and it just never happened. I was introduced to Penck through a few posts on the dearly departed Church Number Nine blog. Thankfully, Inconstant Sol has picked up the slack and has been posting a series of Penck LPs (more love for IS, second week in a row!), and all are worth hearing. At first Frank Wright and A.R. Penck seem an unlikely pairing, but Penck's stilted amateurish but enthusiastic chops are just the thing that makes this stuff interesting (to me at least). And, if you like post-Ayler head ripping free jazz, and I know you do, then Reverend Frank Wright is your man. And thankfully, the Rev left a trail of worthy LPs so once you're hooked, there's a lot to absorb. Be sure to check out the lovingly compiled Penck discog by Rick Lopez (with links to purchase certain CDs/LPs).
Even though my friend and former roommate Matt Marsden lives around the corner, I rarely see him these days. We have both become workaholic hermits and rarely leave our apartments. Occasionally I make it over to his place about every six months and he bombards me with his latest record and book aquisitions as well as the new treasures he has pulled out of the trash. Matt is a lifelong garbage collector- not a mentally deranged packrat piling fecal encrusted newspapers to the ceiling but rather a junk aesthete. All of his garbage "bits", as he likes to call them, are meticulously arranged throughout his apartment...animal skulls, toys, rusty mechanical parts, old bottles, shriveled potatoes with attached wigs occupy every square inch of wall space. It's a wonderful claustrophobic museum packed into a typical Chicago apartment, although even the facade of the building is unique for the area's streetscape. Resembling a miniature castle, complete with turrets and balconies, the building was originally a fire house. I have been meaning to take pictures of Matt's apartment and write something about it for a couple months now but I was only able to get over to his place again on the 4th of July- his rooftop is one of the highest in Humboldt Park, making for a great 360 degree viewing of the city's fireworks.
I have moved Matt's museum of garbage a few times. I lived with Matt for six years in three different places. I met him through a mutual friend and we instantly bonded over a shared love of Lenny Dee records. We were both looking for a new place at the time so we moved into the garden apartment of a house in Wicker Park. As soon as Matt hauled his boxes in, he immediately went to work nailing his bits to the walls. I was still in school and living out of a few boxes of crap, a minimalist by necessity because I moved every six months, so I was amazed at the amount of stuff that soon filled the apartment. I was an occasional trash picker but I never truly had the patience for it and I certainly didn't have the obsessive mind that Matt had in approaching garbage. Every bit had a story, every bit was meticulously arranged in a shadow box like a Joseph Cornell piece. It was a scientific organization that resembled some sort of cellular chaos. It was inspiring.
The Shamblers shambled down from Bay Ridge, Brooklyn to grace us with a live performance last Wednesday. Led by husband/wife team of Peter and Jess Speer, and ably augmented by drummer Ben Truesdale, the Shamblers brought their blend of Beat Happening/Home Blitz pop roughness plus classic garage punk action with lyrics to match. More info at their label site (where you can purchase their 100-song mp3 album) and their blog. The full set, plus two FCC-unfriendly bonus tracks found below. Engineered by Trent Wolbe. You've been shambled.
1. The Shamblers - Shaka
2. The Shamblers - Dog Jobs
3. The Shamblers - We're Streaking
4. The Shamblers - Giant Insect from Mars
5. The Shamblers - Don't Freak Out, Terry
6. The Shamblers - Teenage Belly Dancer
7. The Shamblers - Louie?
8. The Shamblers - Question For You
9. The Shamblers - Once I Was a Knight
10. The Shamblers - Skate Park
11. The Shamblers - Crank Radio
12. The Shamblers - Bay Ridge
13. The Shamblers - Action Pants
14. The Shamblers - You've Been Shambled
15. The Shamblers - Old Man McGinnis
16. The Shamblers - We'll Go Shambling
17. Monster Truck
The live audio in this post is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-
The Free Music Archive -- WFMU's interactive library of curated, legal music downloads -- is in pre-launch-blog-mode until November while we continue to build the site and grow the library. In the meantime, here's a sampling of some participating artists from the Chicagoland area.
The original idea for these Free Music Archive regional previews was to highlight just a few of the participating artists from each city. Like less than ten. But so far we've done Providence RI, Baltimore MD, Philadelphia PA and Columbus OH, and as the library grows, it's more and more difficult to narrow things down. We'll try to streamline our upcoming west coast posts, but I dunno, there's a lot of good music out there and almost all the artists/labels we've asked have been happy to share at least a few free mp3s. I hope you enjoy this batch of great Chicago music. And please let us know [fma at wfmu dot org] who else you'd like to see on the Free Music Archive when the full library launches in November.
MP3s from Bird Names, Black Math, Olivia Block, Cave, Chandeliers, CoCoComa, EKG, Mike Hagedorn's 4boxs.com, Illusion of Safety, John Kannenberg's Stasisfield.com, Little Howlin Wolf, Loto Ball Show, Lovely Little Girls, Lozenge, Mahjongg, Mayor Daley, Oh My God, Plastic Crimewave Sound, Stress Ape, TV Pow / Kuro Neko Music, Vertonen, The Yolks and more after the jump!
Good news: a U.S. appeals court tossed CBS' $550,000 indecency fine for Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction.
Thanks to Becky for the heads-up!