Monday, March 31, 2014

Goth invented in Memphis (and other places too)!

I came across Travis Wammack's "Scratchy" for the first time last night on The Sound of the City: Memphis, compiled by the late Charlie Gillett. A great novelty record (how many ungreat ones are there?), this 1964 not-quite-instrumental features a break with a vocal phrase that's recorded forward and backward and sounds like gibberish both ways. Even more exciting, Daniel Ash ripped off the main guitar riff for "Bela Lugosi's Dead." Compare:
But upon locating youtubes, I learned that "Scratchy" was a ripoff of Mel Tormé's "Comin' Home Baby," itself a vocal version of a cut by The Dave Bailey Quintet and soon recorded by Herbie Mann. And then Immortal Technique sampled the latter on "N Me Importa" and then...

Labels: , ,

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Urchins and ushers

Below please find a useful chunk from Mark Sinker's tl;dr "The Shock of the Library: Oasis Versus All of Art and Culture." I like how it conceives rock as not only a fortress warding off parents, school, high art, etc. It also aimed to curate itself, to create gatekeepers who could show us that "Soldier Boy" and "Surfin' Bird" were equal in profundity to Aeschylus and Shakespeare or whoever.

"All kinds of commentators caught up in punk’s aftermath ('flamboyantly new creative language and attitude') had placed themselves at the exact same oedipal fork: of course they too want to be urchins running through museums, but there’s also the urge to seek employment as enthusiastic ushers, showing one and all how exactly this (old-school) radical art ought to be understood and used. And so there was always already a schoolyard-type squabble who gets to be a consider a 'thinker.' Rock was always a dramatisation of growing up in public; less a refusal of the demands and changes and skills that school might produce than a theatre of the confused hope of an alternative: combination NO and YES."

Monday, March 03, 2014

Oscars 2013!

Wow! Oscar finally got it together and nominated ten of the best films of the year. Here's how I'd rank them, last to first to get your heart racing, just like Hollywood franchise films do:

10. Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón) - How come this wasn't nominated for Best Original Screenplay?

9. Post Tenebras Lux (Carlos Reygadas) - I cannot refrain from praising a film this self-indulgent. I am a weak man.

8. Camille Claudel 1915 (Bruno Dumont) - Dumont retells the story as, what else, one endless, dreary time suck.

7. Watermarked (DIS/Marco Roso) - Apparently, Kenzo, a Paris-based "international luxury goods brand" (I had to Wiki it), commissioned the fashion pranksters at DIS Magazine to create this commercial for their mens Fall/Winter 2012 line. I only want to know what Kenzo thought of their creepy, hilarious, empty ("queer" I assume they're okay with) take on haute couture.

6. Beyond the Hills (Cristian Mungiu) - The Romanian Orthodox Church encounters modernity in the back of a police van.

5. Tabu (Miguel Gomes) - Murnau's imperialist dreams come home to roost.

4. Leviathan (Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Verena Paravel) - Is the long take in which a fisherman nods off to Deadliest Catch a critique of the film's aestheticization of labor? Or is the film critiquing that very sea-raiding labor to begin with? Or is cinema wasted on humans? Or...?

3. L'inconnu du lac (Stranger by the Lake) (Alain Guiraudie) - 90% of the arguments I get into about cinema concern three types of film - serial killer flicks, gay/lesbian cinema, and current mainstream Hollywood movies. So I maintain files of films I like in each category in the hopes of deflecting any serious meltdowns. L'inconnu du lac wins a spot on the first two lists and might be the greatest film of all time were it a mainstream Hollywood blockbuster demanding several sequels. Ok not really but Guiraudie's masterpiece features the most radically queer redeployment of the public sphere since my beloved La chatte à deux têtes (Porn Theater) (Jacques Nolot 2002). It might even be more radical in that it uses what most would consider nature (a peaceful, remote lake in the summer) as the mise-en-scène for "unnatural" acts of gay public sex.

2. Museum Hours (Jem Cohen) - Aging, sexuality, popular music, art history lessons, mild cultural displacement all swept up in Cohen's gorgeous massage of a film.

1. Computer Chess (Andrew Bujalski) - For once, the cliché "unlike any film I've ever seen" is entirely appropriate. Best Picture of the year! The Academy chose wisely.

Worst film - Would You Rather (David Guy Levy)