Posts Tagged ‘Beautifully Sad’

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Chelsea Hotel # 2
36″ x 24″
Acrylic, Pastel Stick on Canvas
2013

The gradually stumbled upon “Lost Souls/ Fallen Angels/ Dive Bar/ Dangerously Nocturnal People/  Beautifully Sad Music” type series combining my love of great sad songs, early renaissance religious art, graffiti/stencil street art and seedy city underbellies rolls on. I like the idea of portraying everyday(or every night) people who might have made some wrong turns as saints and angels. This one I was listening to some of the sadder, older Ryan Adams(not BRYAN Adams) until I heard his song about the Chelsea Hotel. Then it was all about one of the greatest songs of all time by one of the greatest songwriters…Chelsea Hotel # 2. The Lyrics to most of the song are on this one…I think this one works. Here are the Lyrics:

I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel,
you were talking so brave and so sweet,
giving me head on the unmade bed,
while the limousines wait in the street.
Those were the reasons and that was New York,
we were running for the money and the flesh.
And that was called love for the workers in song
probably still is for those of them left.
Ah but you got away, didn’t you babe,
you just turned your back on the crowd,
you got away, I never once heard you say,
I need you, I don’t need you,
I need you, I don’t need you
and all of that jiving around.

I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel
you were famous, your heart was a legend.
You told me again you preferred handsome men
but for me you would make an exception.
And clenching your fist for the ones like us
who are oppressed by the figures of beauty,
you fixed yourself, you said, “Well never mind,
we are ugly but we have the music.”

And then you got away, didn’t you babe…

I don’t mean to suggest that I loved you the best,
I can’t keep track of each fallen robin.
I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel,
that’s all, I don’t even think of you that often.

Here’s some Ryan and The God Leonard Cohen

 

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Born To Die
24″ x 36″
Acrylic, Pastel Stick, Paper, Headphone Wire & Nail on Canvas
2013

fra angelicostencil_graffiti_beansI have been doing nudes for the first time in a loooong time and it started in an almost Anime style and morphed into Stencil Graffiti territory. I am also finally incorporating my love of Early Renaissance religious/ gold-leaf halo type work(think Fra Angelico). I am alllllso using the films like Hardcore Life, American Friend, Boogie Nights and even 80’s trash like Angel as inspiration for the whole Fallen Angel/ Seedy nightlife feel…girls who made a few too many mistakes, late night dive bars, lost innocence, youth, etc… The soundtrack while painting was Lana Del Rey’s Born To Die/ Paradise double Lp. I even used a still from one of her videos in this and attached it 002with headphone wire with holes punched by a nail…both attached to the painting. I love the idea of everyday fallen angels and I am intrigued by the combination(sort-of) of very old, classical styles with the newer, 003more immediate street art that has been a passion of mine since I can remember(it might have been my earliest artistic influence and definitely the earliest things I ever drew. I remember doing tags in kindergarten, long before I cared about any traditional art. I love tying it all together. It is feeling pretty good for now.

born2die

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The Bad Ones
18″ x 24″
Acrylic, Pastel Stick on Canvas
2013

Another night in refuge studio produces another piece. I am now in a phase that seems to involve nudity…who knows what that’s all about. I was listening to the album The Bad Ones by Blonds. I wanted to do a pin-up but wanted it to look like a stencil/graffiti piece. She is by hand, with a brush. I am not patient enough to make a stencil. Anyway, there are lyrics to two songs on here. They are below for your enjoyment( well, the first song is, I couldn’t find the other…so…here is another from the album. I was listening to it as well.)

 

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Trans-Europe Express – Kraftwerk   1977 EMI (Originally on Kling-Klang)

022I was recently on an Electronic/ Krautrock kick and I wanted to replace my much-to-well-worn copy of Trans-Europe Express. While at the record store I got skunked on the Kraftwerk, but re-discovered another great electronic album from a very unlikely source(more of this to come). So, basically I am reviewing my original copy that has…a lot of…character. It’s not that bad, actually…I am just kinda crotchety when it comes to these things.  Anyway, I will not say much about T-E E because so much has been said about it already, be it in reviews or, more importantly, by other artists albums which were so strongly influenced by Kraftwerk’s landmark album. If you listen to Radiohead, Bowie’s incredible “Berlin Trilogy”, most New-Wave bands or even Afrika Bambaataa’s classic, Planet Rock, one cannot help but notice that none of this music 024would’ve sounded like this without Kraftwerk. Just check out The title track’s synth line after the vocorder “trans-Europe Express” chant amd then look up Planet rock…you get the picture. Kraftwerk will someday be regarded as important to popular music as the Beatles, the Stones, Jimi Hendrix…you name it. They didn’t push musical boundaries, because they forged a new kind of music. There were no rules. They built their own instruments. Nothing could sound like this.  Here are some tracks…enjoy

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Trans – Neil Young   1982 Geffen Records

And now for the sleeper. The last guy anyone would expect an electronic album from. Neil young has given the world some of the most beautiful acoustic music it has ever heard as well as some of the most introspective and daring electric guitar jams. He was known and loved for these two things…which is probably what made him make this album. He is famous for being extremely prolific and when record label execs would try to corner him by saying”we want a classic rock album”, he delivered them an album of rock-a-billy cheese…because he could.

012He had recently got his hands on a Synclavier and a Vocorder and started to make these songs(he admitted later, under the influence of Kraftwerk) that would baffle his fans and critics alike. It was generally hated and it was never released on cd in the U.S.. Hence, it is basically unknown and that is a shame because it is amazing. As with everything Neil does, it is beautifully recorded and mastered. The pressing is great and it’s lack of popularity kind of assured it being in near mint condition and very inexpensive. Songs like We R In Control actually still manage to rock. Transformer Man has heart and almost resembled an opera if Klaus Nomi performed it. The album brings a warmth and soul to the so-called Krautrock genre that is usually not present. Also, the album art is great…from the Deloreon type space cars on the cover to the heart-in-blade runner and computer font on the back. I was very happy to pay only 3.99 for this near-mint copy of a 30 year old classic…until I thought about it more. It’s kind of sad the something like this could be relegated to a bargin-bin. There is more background to the story that made me thing this(from 1980-1982 he was spending most of his time with his son Ben, who was going through therapy sessions after being born with Cerebral Palsy and was not able to speak. The songs he was writing were laced with the emotions he was dealing with and the lyrics and tone of this and the album previous, Re-ac-tor, reflect that). I guess I find it hard to write off an artists work simply because it wasn’t what people wanted at the time. No matter, through technology, you don’t need a record player to hear this work now…here it is

We R In Control

Transformer Man

Sample and Hold

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LHI Years: Singles, Nudes & Backsides  –  Lee Hazlewood           2012   180g Record Store Day Special Issue

014Psychedelic Country…You gotta love that shit. Lee Hazlewood’s music is like Lou Reed performing to a Bacharach-scored spaghetti western on acid…and that can’t be bad. Mr. Hazlewood has made a long career and a lot of albums(with femme fatales like Ann Margaret and Nancy Sinatra) full of songs that are so melodic and lush they would make Neil Diamond blush and so bizarrely haunting they could have been on Tom Waits’ mid-career lp’s. This 2 lp compilation, made for this year’s Record Store Day, is full of the fucked up vibes that you feel as though you’re listening to elevator music if you swallowed a fist full of molly just before the doors closed. Side C is where it’s at with No Train To Stockholm (Scandinavian cowboy music?), Won’t You Tell Your Dreams and my favorite, Hey Cowboy in all it’s bizarre-death-dream glory.

The 180 gram double lp collection was remastered and pressed beautifully here. The strings soar and the horns almost seem to drip giving Lee and his bombshells a beautifully strange environment to dance in. And once again, packaging reigns here…the pic speaks for itself. Fuckin’ Lee Hazlewood!

Hey Cowboy

010Disintegration – The Cure        1988  (reissue 180 g)

Side A “Plainsong” – 5:12  “Pictures of You” – 7:24  “Closedown” – 4:16
Side B  “Lovesong” – 3:29 “Last Dance” – 4:42  “Lullaby” – 4:08
Side C  “Fascination Street” – 5:16  “Prayers for Rain” – 6:05 “The Same Deep Water as You” – 9:19
Side D “Disintegration” – 8:18  “Homesick” – 7:06  “Untitled” – 6:30

You can’t go wrong with Disintegration (unless you are looking for a happy, pop record by the band who did Friday, I’m in Love…then you fucked). To me it has everything that makes The Cure great… Long, gothic, love tragedies that crawl, penitent over glass at a snails pace to proclaim their devotion only to find out it’s too late. I think the first side is probably one of the most beautifully depressing song cycles ever committed to vinyl (ahhh, maybe not, but you get the point). This album came out in 1989 and I heard it for the first time in the spring of 1990(sixth grade…perfect timing) and I initially got it on cd and devoured it. It (along with the Smiths/Morrissey and 10,000 maniacs) was a stand out in my large(for a 12 year old) music collection, which consisted mainly of Rock, Metal and Hip-Hop. It made me sad but in a good way and I wasn’t even sure why… then after the first few “Heart breaks”…well, I stopped listening and finally heard it. Every stubbed toe and “no” from Mom was the end of the world and this album understood that. The only reason it wouldn’t be a perfect “record the paramedics find spinning in ones room, needle popping over and over in the run-off groove, is that there are a couple of songs that sort of pick up the pace and while they are great songs, when one is taking their (truly) last sip of Bordeaux, standing on a wobbly chair, noose looking fancy and a note pinned to their shirt that says “No Funeral”…One simply doesn’t want  hope. In all seriousness, it is a gorgeous album, who’s 4 sides each play out like individual series of sonnets, letting you know that while it might NOT be ok, at least Robert Smith has it as bad as you…and that is beautiful…comforting.

Just Check the “lyrics” to Plainsong. More of a conversation, but like a dagger

“i think it’s dark and it looks like rain” you said
“and the wind is blowing like it’s the end of the
world” you said “and it’s so cold it’s like the
cold if you were dead” and then you smiled for
a second.

“i think i’m old and i’m in pain” you said
“and it’s all running out like it’s the end of the
world” you said “and it’s so cold it’s like the
cold if you were dead” and then you smiled for
a second

sometimes you make me feel like i’m living at
the edge of the world like i’m living at the edge
of the world “it’s just the way i smile” you said

Plainsong

  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bZoYzne9Tpg

Pictures Of You

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Nico  The Marble Index   1969 Elektra Records (Dutch pressing)

Maybe it was the piece  on Nico by Nate Gelgud that I recently reviewed that got me to break out my Nico records, but it reaffirmed my belief that she made one of the sweetest albums ever as well as this, one of the scariest ever. Still, I love them both equally. Her first record after working with the Velvets, Chelsea Girl is beautiful and at times breezy(I know, I just threw up in my mouth a little bit), but Marble index is the beautiful downer of a creepy art album that could only find a contemporary if  Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen collaborated. Nico teams up with John Cale…say no more…I will however post two tracks, one from Chelsea Girl and one from Marble Index to show the progression(or downward spiral)

These Days – Chelsea Girls

Facing The Wind – The Marble Index

going-in-style

Going In Style 1979 

starring Art Carney, George Burns, Lee Strasberg and Charles Hallerhan. Directed by Martin Brest

Like the title says, they don’t make em’ like this anymore. I recently watched this movie (with fellow film geek, Dean Treadway) and was hooked within minutes. I confess a soft spot in my heart for Art Carney…and films shot in NYC in the late 70’s – early 80’s…and buddy/caper movies…annnnd comedy that doesn’t try to be funny. Let’s just say that I figured I would like this film. I had no idea that I would end up watching it 3 times in four days.

22503.1020.AThe basic idea(I am not imdb…there are no spoilers here) is three elderly best friends who live together feel, like most to the elderly in this country, like their lives have passed them by and that they are basically insignificant now. George Burns character has the idea to hold up a bank(worst case scenario, we going-in-style2get three years…free room and board and 36 social security checks waiting for us when we get out) and take hold of their destinies once again. I won’t give anymore detail beyond the robbery and this turning into a road movie. What needs to be said is the writing and performances as well as the warm, patient direction are incredible. The Going_In_Style_article_story_mainfilm is about friendship and loyalty without ever feeling “precious”. There is also a subtle wit in the performances of Art and George that make this movie hilarious to the right kind of eyes and ears. There is minimal slapstick but the robbery is great fun(Lee’s disguise breaks, forcing him to hold his gun in one hand and his Groucho Marx nose/glasses combo with the other). The trailer made this out to be a goofball comedy, but it is a deep and delicate character study that makes you a fourth member of the gang. Pour me a Sanka and sign me up for that.

If you have no other means, watch it here:

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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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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

EllieGoulding-Lights-608_w608

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

lana_del_rey_ride_video_still_2012

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