Saturday, September 29, 2012

"The Last Avant-Garde" by David Lehman

I think one of the great gifts that America has produced are the poets associated with the so-called New York School.   Not really an official organization with a membership card, but they were friends who were closely connected to the abstract Expressionists as well as the merging of early pop painting.  With nice touches on the artist Larry Rivers.

Frank O'Hara, James Schuyler, Kenneth Koch, and John Ashbery are the heroes here, and this book by  David Lehman is a combination of group bio and lit critique on these unique writers at the right time and place.  If this book doesn't make you pick up a volume or two on these poets ... well, nothing will.  A great snapshot of life in the late 50's to mid-60's - and beautifully thought out and written by Lehman.  Essential history on poetry and art that still rocks.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Here Are The Honeycombs produced by Joe Meek (1964)

One of the first 45rpm singles I have ever bought was "Have I The Right" by The Honeycombs.  This strange, wonderful, almost magical recording is something in my life that has never left me.  Not only did I love the melody, the beat, but also the sound of this recording. 

  When I was ten years old I never think of the producer - but many years later in Moji-Ku, Kyushu, Japan at an appliance shop, I bought a  CD that consisted the first and second album by Honeycombs.  Around the same time (but in Tokyo) I purchased a collection of recordings that were produced by Joe Meek on a double-CD set.  So all of sudden I was re-introduced to the magic of Meek.  And magic is a good word to describe this genius. 

Last night on the way to meet some friends at a bar, I went into Rockaway Records on Glendale Blvd just to look around.  And all of sudden in front of me was a vinyl version of "Here Are The Honeycombs."  Interesting record because it is the best of the two albums that were released in the U.K.   But finding any Meek on vinyl is a rarity these days.   And this morning, on top volume (at least a 12) I blasted this album in my living room.  And it instantly brought me back to the record store where as a child, I bought my first single.  It sounded good then and its sounds better now.

There is a documentary being made on Joe Meek.  The filmmakers are trying to raise funds to finish the film.  For information check

Sunday, September 16, 2012

"Crazy Rhythms" by The Feelies (vinyl)

"Crazy Rhythms" by The Feelies is one of those unique recordings that caught my attention, like a cat seeing a bird in front of him/her.  I was working at Moby Disc (for only a week or so, and that's another story) when this album came out.  I was struck by the cover of four geeky guys.  At the time the only other geeky band was Talking Heads - but this band took 'geeky' to another level.  What I found on their L.P. was a guitar band that deals with dynamics of sound and textures. And the percussion work is excellent through out the album.  A combination of Television's first album and the first three solo Eno releases.  I am also impressed with the silence between the tracks on this album.  The quiet is just as important as the Yardbirds like - but still geeky - rave-up.  Remarkable album.  

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Friday, September 14, 2012

"A Life in the Death of Joe Meek"

I am a long-term fan of Joe Meek's recordings.  And he is without a doubt one of the most amazing, tragic, and  eccentric narratives in Rock n' Roll history.   For the past nine years Howard S. Berger and Susan Stahman has been putting together a documentary on the dark genius of pop, and so far has interviewed Jimmy Page, Steve Howe, Alex Kapranos, John Leyton, Clem Cattini and others.  I think this will be be a remarkable film on a very important cultural figure.  Watch the video and if you can throw in some dough to their production -well that will be great!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

"The Art of Noise: Destruction of Music by Futurist Machines"

Ah, the shock of the now as it happened!   A really nice collection of manifestos and essays by the Italian Futurists who see sound, noise, and yes music as an important art form that matches up with the visual arts.   The early 1900's and yet the manifestos read like from the Punk era.  The need to destroy the past to make way for the Present or future is a very enticing idea.  Yet, the Italian branch are very much aware of its past, so the tension between the new and its history is pretty exciting.  Luigi Russolo and others are mapping out a new territory that we're still exploring.  Essential reading for us explorers.

Luigi Russolo "Veglio Di Una Citta" 1910

Antonio Russolo "Serenata"

Tribute to "The Art of Noise"

Luigi Russolo "Macchina Tipografica"

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Recent Vinyl Albums

Recently I have become a vinyl addict.  I gave it up in the 1980's and now its back.  Here are some recent vinyl albums.   The first one "The Well-Tempered Clavier: Book 1 preludes and Fugues 1-8" is a masterpiece.  In mono and superb.  I like to blast this out loud.

A major find for me are the two Goon Shows albums from the late 50s.  Both are superb albums, that are the roots of British comedy.  Genius like and a total 'oh wow.'

The great and classy Sandie Shaw.  Her first 'American' released album on Reprise Records.  A beautiful cover, and the music inside .... well its the perfect storm.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

"The Roxy Music Story" Documentary

A great documentary with fantastic interviews with Bryan, Eno, Andy, Phil, and Michael Bracewell, etc.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

"The Image" 1967 silent short film starring David Bowie

A 10 minute curiosity of a film starring David Bowie, and made in 1967.  Directed by Michael Armstrong.   And that's all I know!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Sunday, September 2, 2012


The unguarded moments of famous people, where normally it is always guarded. Sex tapes are fascinating, in that the participants used them for future reference or is it the thought of being recorded while doing something nasty is the appeal? Or losing control and being totally exposed beyond one's control? Jarrett Kobek, in sort of 'just the facts man' style captures the undocumented 'recorded' moments of conversation or more like it - snippets of dialogue between individuals.

The first book I thought of while reading this was Burrough's "The Last Words of Dutch Schultz," which was inspired by the actual recording of Schultz as he was dying from a gunshot wound. His statement to the police is both lucid as well as fancy -free as his mind wondered. Probably the closest relationship between a crime figure and hardcore Surrealism. Kobek's book reads the same way. Its a fascinating document but also an interesting way to look at a culture as it is being recorded. What Kobek did was put it in a context, that says a lot about celebrities and the role they play in our culture.

The range here is quite large, from Paris Hilton to Tom Sizemore to Muammar Gaddafi. The issue of privacy seems to be an antiquity thought these days. A wonderful book with a beautiful production by its press, Penny-Ante Editions.