Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Video stores are great places to meet people(especially in NYC) and working in one really puts you in an interesting cast of characters. I’ve gotten to meet all manner of celebrity, both global as well as local(like Ivan Ivanov..the large, bearded man who loved his cats so much he always rented movies about, starring or heavily featuring cats…believe me, this man was famous to people btw 23rd st and 30th st, east of Lex). The many co-workers I’ve had at the stores also had their talents(some artistic, like the man below, some magical; like closing a register 1300$ short when it only opened with 75 $ and had maybe 150$ in total transactions) and I am glad to have known each of them. Below is the work of Nathan Gelgud, a former manager of the famed Video Stop and current co-appreciator of great mustaches of Gene Hackman. It is a 3 page illustrated history of the relationships, both romantic and otherwise, of the incredible Nico(“Biography by Association” written by Claire Frisbie). He is also in the midst of an epic cycle of portraits chronicling every game of the New York Knickerbockers phoenix-like ascent to greatness. He has produced many other pieces that I have loved over the last few years, but I am not going to turn this into a long review. I will let the work speak for itself:

Nico 1

Nico 2

Nico 3

Now the Knickerbocker Cycle:

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Chris Copeland gets some early PT in Knicks win.

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JR Smith dances off court in Knicks win.

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Spike Lee makes his first appearance of the year, repping the Big Apple in the Big Easy. Knicks win by 22.

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Tyson Chandler is beastin. Knicks squeak by Cavs.

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One team remains undefeated. Clyde is into it.

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Iman Shumpert very excited about Knicks win.

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Jason Kidd gets hit on the head again, rocks extra protection. Knicks beat Nuggets.

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Stoudemire looking more like his old self. Knicks win.

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Sheed and the Knicks beat Brooklyn.

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Knicks are on fire. Woody Allen is impressed.

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Coach Woodson and the Knicks beat the Heat … again!

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JR hits a buzzer beater again.

Now, here are some of my favorite of Nate’s pieces from the past(I couldn’t find the “famous initials” series, but if I did, they’d be in here):

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Nathan Gelgud : Proud Mustachioed Artist, residing in the garden spot of the world: Brooklyn U.S.A

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http://www.etsy.com/shop/gelgud

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Now, let’s see a series on the Hack!

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I don’t know anything about this artist except that she might be from Brighton and is probably still a student. I just saw the above illustration in Juxtapoz magazine and loved it. These are some of the other pieces I found on her blog…

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I love the periodic table and I thought this was cool for a baby to have…anyway, moving on…

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I really like her use of Fairy Tale and Fable elements. I hope to find more of her work. Her blog has pics on it but I have yet to look through it for more work. Really fresh stuff so far.

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Burnt Weeny Sandwich – The Mothers Of Invention   1970 Bizarre (blue label)

Disclaimer: There is nothing I’d rather listen to on vinyl thank Frank Zappa albums. They are always recorded, mixed and mastered impeccably, written and played with meticulous attention to detail, wildly creative and packaged with great artwork(most of the time). If I am lucky enough to track down a mint pressing, there is no better treat for my turntable than Frank’s bizarre offerings. Now, on with the review…

2_Originals_Of_The_Mothers_Of_InventionThese two albums, Burnt Weeny Sandwich and Weasels Ripped My Flesh, are like the two sides of a coin. They were recorded together before Frank dissolved the Mothers between 1967 and 1969 and were even released together on vinyl as 2 Originals of the Mothers of Invention for a time. This is why I thought I would talk about them together. That and the fact that even before I knew about them being released or recorded together, I used to listen to the together(along with 200 Motels, but that’s for a different review…once I find a mint press on vinyl).

004Here goes…Burnt Weeny Sandwich: First, I love how diverse this record is, even for Frank. Kicking off and wrapping up with Doo Wop covers(WPLJ and Valerie respectively) really sets the table for a bizarre meal. Side one has the two love letters to Stravinsky, Igor’s Boogie Phase 1 and Igor’s Boogie Phase 2. These snippets are brilliant abstracts that gives one the feel of being at the rehearsal of some martian marching band rehearsal(a good thing, to be sure). These tracks sandwich both Overture to a Holiday in Berlin(Another incredible march, this time having the feel of a late 60’s Italian crime film that had the courage  NOT to get Morricone to do the score…and I love Morricone, but you get the point) and Theme from Burnt Weeny Sandwich(with it’s great fuzz/wah driven guitar solo). The more I describe this side, I realize it really has the feel of 200 Motels…anyway…Then come my favorite part of the side…Holiday in Berlin, Full Blown. I love the feel and the time signature shifts in this one. I especially love the shift into the almost scumbaggy gigolo horn section. So good.

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009010Before I flip the record to side two, I have to point out the album art and packaging. Frank almost always(except for the albums that should’ve made up the Lather album:Sleep Dirt, Studio Tan and Orchestral Favs covers were all weak in my opinion…Zappa in New York is the exception there) had great album art. Here is no exception. Even the sleeve is interesting. Just click the thumbnails and check it out.

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Side 2 is all about the epic The Little House I Used to Live in. This is an absolutely amazing journey that is punctuated by Don “Sugarcane” Harris’ violin solo. The track is also a puzzle of time signatures being overlaid on each other while never losing momentum. It is truly incredible to listen a nice pressing of this. The recording and mastering are both so good, the separation of instruments basically places you in Frank’s rehearsal space with each part of the song cascading over you, leaving you enveloped in the bizarre majesty that was the Mothers. Here is the whole record, as I could not find good versions of individual tracks. Still, buy Frank’s albums. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NBRUcElxhJU

Now on to Weasels Ripped My Flesh…

031Weasels Ripped My Flesh – The Mothers Of Invention   1970  Bizarre Records (Blue Label)

032Weasels is definitely the more song-y of the two albums and is made up of a mix of both studio and live recordings from 1967-1969.  It does start out abstract like Burnt Weeny with the track Didja Get Any Onya? This gives way to an electric violin driven, almost psychedelic, blues cover of Little Richard’s Directly from My Heart to You. Up next is the insanity of Prelude to the Afternoon of a Sexually Aroused Gas Mask. I don’t know why I think of this album as the song-y one…Maybe compared to Burnt Weeny. Still, to me it’s all about side two. Eric Dolphy Memorial Barbecue is a favorite of mine. I love Frank tracks that have a heavy vibes/marimba feel and this one has a great vibraphone intro that gives way to some nice interplay between percussionist and guitarist before building to a cacophony in the middle of the song. True Mothers stuff here.  Then there is the trio of My Guitar Wants To Kill Your Momma, Oh No and Orange County Lumber Truck. I will let the tracks do the talking…

ManAgainstWeaselmanI will not go into much more depth on the rest of the music here, as I feel dissecting these pieces take away from the whole. I will mention the packaging though. Again, the artwork has it’s own little story too. Frank brought an issue of Man’s Life to his artist because the cover story interested him. He told artist Neon Park to come up with something worse than that and Neon combined the Weasels attacking idea with an ad for an electric shaver. Frank loved it and, legal problems with Shick aside, the iconic cover was born. You should see the German cover…Google that one for a laugh.

The pair of albums can be looked at as either separate, distinct projects or as companion pieces to each other. Either way has it’s merits. I like to experience them together, as I like Frank’s larger works that seem to loom in scope. Though these two albums don’t have a cohesive narrative theme like Joe’s Garage or Thing-Fish, that doesn’t mean they don’t complete each other in some ways. So do yourself a favor, track down some nice presses of these two records, sit down in front of a nice stereo(or make friends with someone if you can’t find one on your own) and surrender to the insanity. Don’t worry if it makes sense beyond the music. Like Frank said, “Information is not knowledge; Knowledge is not Wisdom; Wisdom is not truth; Truth is not beauty; Beauty is not love; Love is not music; Music is the best.

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Waka/Jawaka  –  Frank Zappa   1972  Bizaare Records(Blue Label)

Disclaimer: There is nothing I’d rather listen to on vinyl thank Frank Zappa albums. They are always recorded, mixed and mastered impeccably, written and played with meticulous attention to detail, wildly creative and packaged with great artwork(most of the time). If I am lucky enough to track down a mint pressing, there is no better treat for my turntable than Frank’s bizarre offerings. Now, on with the review…

082Waka/Jawaka comes from the peak of Frank’s early to mid seventies “Jazz-Fusion” period. He would take to the studio(and even the road) with huge orchestras to play incredibly complex and original works that sounded like nothing else. This record has two epic tracks that push the musicians while remaining tuneful and fun. The title track has an almost lounge scumbag feel but upon closer listening, one is struck but the interweaving of instruments that form chords. For example,  when someone holds a chord on a guitar, there is a very limited depth to the note, a limited tone color. However, when a composer like Frank writes for an orchestra, he can have 5 instruments play separate notes at the same time to build one chord, giving it a huge body. The results are amazing. Taking that into consideration, it makes the interplay between the musicians that much more impressive. They have to be so exact and so in synch. It’s mind-blowing.

085My Favorite here is Big Swifty, an epic that opens in a fast 7/8 riff, then continues to alternate between 7/8 and 6/8 times, and eventually making it’s way to a 4/4 swing time signature. The song is manipulated even more live(but that is for another review). Sitting and listening to this on a good turntable with a solid amp/pre-amp and quality speakers is like being in the orchestra pit. This is due to Frank’s incredible recording style (he is know to take days getting mic placement right for the orchestra). The pressing I have is great as well, so I was in, well not heaven(even if it did exist, doesn’t seem like a place I’d enjoy too much), but I was transported to a place in my mind that was very nice, warm and fuzzy. Frank is a God. Simple.

Big Swifty (In Two Parts)

Waka/Jawaka

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Marvin Gaye – Here, My Dear    1979 Tamala

016I knew Marvin made one of the most important protest albums of all time (def the most beautiful) in “What’s Going On”, some of the greatest Motown tracks ever and probably the greatest come hither song ever(and my favorite vocal performance of all time) in “Let’s Get It On”…who knew he also made a fucking 2 LP concept album about his divorce to Berry Gordy’s niece. It is a raw and vulnerable soul confessional, the likes of which have never been seen before or since. He has made better albums and better songs, but the scope and depth of this project are big and heart-wrenching. He wasn’t concerned with hits here and just poured out lyrics chronicling his courtship, marriage, divorce and eventual rebirth of love. The grooves are here though. Also, the artwork shows how serious he took the concept of the concept album on divorce and the cycle of love’s beginning and end and beginning…

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The album is an experience, to put it best. By the time you make it to side three, you are blown away by how fragile this man was. It’s hard to fathom Mr. Sexual Healing could be this insecure. The tracks are all expertly produced(as usual) and the ones that are less direct thematically(A Funky Space Reincarnation) are pure funk orchestra goodness. Still, I can’t seem to get past his artwork depicting him self as a tragic Greek figure with the house of love and justice burning down around him…the game of “judgement” monopoly is pretty ridicules too. Anyway, give this one a try. Especially on vinyl…it just adds something to it. I don’t know why.

When Did You Stop Loving Me, When Did I Stop Loving You

Time To Get It Together

A Funky Space Reincarnation

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Psychedelic Africa                 2012            Various Motherfuckers               

Another “Record Store Day” special pressing I scooped up and as I listen to it right now I notice two things; 1: It sounds  amazing. They did a great job cleaning up these tracks without robbing them of the ambiance the original recordings had. And 2:  It’s not so much psychedelic as it is lightly funky. Not to be douche, but the word I gotta use is breezy…but not in a bad way. Makes you wish you were trying to bounce back from a 4 day bender at a beach bar with your feet in the sand and a well made bloody mary (lotsa hot sauce), a mescal sidecar and perhaps some benzodiazepine. At times, you can almost hear Paul Simon rustling in the bushes with a tape deck getting ready to steal some new shit. Get it before he does…Here’s some:

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I listen to a lot of music. A lot of different music…a lot. That’s why it’s is strange to see the numbers from itunes the other day. My most played music(by far) has mostly been albums by female baroque pop artists like the two pictured above, as well as Fiona Apple, Cat Power, Blonds and her highness, Regina Spektor. Of the 80,000+ songs on my hard drives(both laptop and the ipod, the true work horse), the “most played” filter on itunes shows a lot of 1’s, 2’s and 3’s. many, but less 4’s-8’s and then the top 100 are 9’s through 12’s. Then there is a huge gap leading up to 30’s-40’s and a couple 50’s. With the exception of some Sigur Ros, some classical and opera(study playlist) and Sleigh Bells, these top spots are owned by the women mentioned above. I never realized how disproportionately I listened to this kind of music.

Regina Spektor: What We Saw From The Cheap Seats

Regina Spektor’s album is probably my favorite of the year(even though it doesn’t have the highest play count, I only listen to it when I can listen to the whole thing straight through). She continues to write incredibly soulful lyrics on deep subject matter with a totally original (to song writing anyway…I always compare her writing to the magical realism of Gabriel Garcia-Marquez) approach. Her arrangements and instrumentation are both baroque in the truest sense. She will also dance between using lush string arrangements at one moment and then beatbox drum sounds with her mouth. Since the virtual disappearance of Bjork, Regina is the one I look to in intelligent pop music to push the boundaries.

Ellie Goulding: Halcyon

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Ellie Goulding’s album was not what I expected. I knew her “lights” song and I thought this would be a pop/club album(she was dating Skrillex). What I got was an album that had everything from Kate Bush and Enya to Joy Division and Martika…very nice. Her lyrics had a fragility and hopeful strength to them that served as a nice counterpoint to whatever musical arrangement they were partnered with…plus, she can write a stadium ready, anthemic chorus like nobody’s business.

Then things get a little darker, but in that “it’s darkest before the dawn” way. Literally(or should I say musically), the next few artists’ music has a pre-dawn, ear’s-still-ringing-from-the-club-but-now-the-silence-is-deafening feel to it. Blonds, Lana Del Rey and Cat Power tracks all fall under the “Sad-Core” sub-genre of baroque pop. It is a very cinematic and melodramatic style of music. They all seem to evoke boozy, late nights coming to an end, loaded with regret. The songs are almost dirge-like and all seem to deal with real downer subject matter(for a big Morrissey/Cure fan, it’s perfect).

Lana Del Rey: Born To Die

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Born too Die is an album that splits to house. People either love her or think she is horrible. I like that in and of itself. Her album is loaded with songs that each play like little films…little film noirs actually. There are broken hearts, jilted lovers, lurid sex, mistakes made, violence, deception and through it all a femme fatale pulls the strings. Incredible (or terrible, depending on which side of the fence you’re on) stuff. It also sounds/feels 10X’s better listening on vinyl, late night. Oh yes.

I am not going to review each album here, I will let the songs do the work for me.  I will just say that I love this Sad-Core thing. Great mopey fun.

Blonds: The Bad Ones

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Cat Power: Sun

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Fiona Apple: The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do

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Fiona Apple fits neatly in the middle of the two, with a mix of interesting arrangements and frowning delivery. This new album is also almost all percussion and that adds to it’s almost uncomfortable feel.

There is no resolve to this review/article…just like the songs in the Sad-Core part of Baroque Pop. That will have to do for now. Enjoy the albums though. Hazaa

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Yasagure anego den: sôkatsu rinchi (Female Yakuza Tale)         1973
 Teruo Ishii  

You can’t beat some female Yakuza who infiltrates a ring of prostitutesfemale-yakuza-tale-inquisition-and-torture that smuggle drugs in their vaginas…unless you tell me that she will never keep her kimono on when she fights and that it will almost always involve rain, tons of blood or other naked hookers. The fight scenes are really well stages, with lots of interesting, bloody kills and the story itself is actually pretty well written(esp for this kind of flic). It’s a fun, great looking film. Seriously, the cinematography in this is soooo fucking good and the story moves along so well that it almost doesn’t have to be filled with gore and smut…that’s just a bonus. She does battle with so many people in so many great locations and situations that this would stand up on it’s own as a great Yakuza/Samurai flic…but once again…out come the breasts.

The other great thing is that this is just one in a collection of “Pinky Violence” films, many of which star the incredible Reiko Ike(seen here) and are directed by either Noribumi Suzuki or Teuro Ishii. They all deal with women fighting back against male oppression…but in a sexy, fun, ultra-violent, hyper-sexual way. Check out some of the others as well(Sex and Fury, Girl Boss Revenge, Lynch Law Classroom and Killing Melody are great ones to start with).

Not much else needs to be said on this one. It’s not hard to find (even fucking Netflix has it and you can torrent it), so maybe grab some cheese doodles and put your feet up…you might catch yourself having a tug you never saw yourself having. Forget Mr. Miyagi’s Tommin’ ass, this one takes no shit from Cobra Kai!

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