Tuesday, January 29, 2013

More "Twin Peaks" at USC on February 10

The "Twin Peaks" retrospective at USC continues on February 10 with viewings of the remaining episodes from season one (eps 3-7) and another Q&A. This time the guests will be Mädchen Amick (Shelley Johnson), Dana Ashbrook (Bobby Briggs), Peggy Lipton (Norma Jennings), Charlotte Stewart (Betty Briggs), writer Robert Engels, and casting director Johanna Ray. Once again the admission is free and open to the public. 

February 10, 2013, 2:30 P.M. 
Eileen Norris Cinema Theatre/Frank Sinatra Hall 
3507 Trousdale Parkway 
Los Angeles, CA 90007

"Twin Peaks" Panel Discussion at USC

Last week I came out of Who FAQ-induced hibernation to report a screening of several episodes of "Twin Peaks" at USC and the panel discussion with Mark Frost, Grace Zabriskie, Duwayne Dunham, and Ron Garcia that followed. Yesterday, someone was kind enough to post footage of the full half-hour interview--complete with new vague comments from Frost that has re-stoked the "Twin Peaks" revival rumors Frost himself recently stoked then tamped out--on YouTube. Here 'tis:

Saturday, January 19, 2013

"Twin Peaks" Retrospective at the USC School of Cinematic Arts in L.A.

Lately the "Twin Peaks" Season Three rumors have been flying, and while Mark Frost debunked them almost as soon as they got rolling, he mostly definitely is not done visiting his pleasant little town in which no one ever gets murdered or demonically possessed or hit with soap. On January 27, series co-creator Frost and a select group of TP alumni will be appearing at USC's Eileen Norris Cinema Theatre to present the pilot episode plus episodes "1.2 and 1.3" (or in more official "Twin Peaks" parlance, episodes one and two). Duwayne Dunham, who directed episode one, will be present, as will pilot-cinematographer Ron Garcia and Grace "Sarah Palmer" Zabriskie, who is pretty much the greatest. After the episodes, Frost, Dunham, Garcia, and Zabriskie will take part in a Q&A, which will no doubt consist of nothing but "Is there going to be a third season?" asked over and over and over until Mark Frost slams his head into the bathroom mirror. 

Coffee and pie served during intermission.

This amazing event is totally free and totally open to the public, so you might want to to camp out for a few days to ensure you get a seat. 

Here are the details from USC's site

Twin Peaks Series Retrospective: 
4:00 P.M. on Sunday, January 27th, 2013

Eileen Norris Cinema Theatre/Frank Sinatra Hall
3507 Trousdale Parkway, Los Angeles, CA 90007


There will be a 30 minute intermission between the Pilot and Episodes 1.2 & 1.3, during which coffee and pie will be served in Queens Courtyard.

The Q&A will directly follow the screenings of Episodes 1.2 & 1.3.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Review: 'Songs That Saved Your Life: The Art of The Smiths 1982-1987'

The Smiths didn’t make a lot of records during their flashing five-year career, but the ones they made were sublime enough to intoxicate an enduring cult. And like so many groups with relatively few proper LPs—The Velvet Underground, The Clash, and Jimi Hendrix, for example—The Smiths have a rich enough reservoir of singles, B-sides, and outtakes to warrant Simon Goddard’s track-by-track analysis The Smiths: Songs That Saved Your Life. As first published in 2002, the book did not fully please its author, baring a few errors and a title altered by the publisher. A tick over a decade later, Goddard has nudged his tome closer to his original vision and Titan Books is giving it a fresh republication.

I did not read the book in its original state, so I’m not sure how Songs That Saved Your Life: The Art of The Smiths 1982-1987 differs in this new edition. Considering Goddard’s artisan’s attention to detail, I wouldn’t be surprised if the edits are barely detectable to all but the author (even that title is only slightly different). That’s fine by me, since this book is enough of an achievement to earn Goddard such an indulgence. He conducted extensive interviews and drew on his own keen insights to create a study that is adequately critical and deeply respectful of one of Britain’s finest. As a pretty green Smiths appreciator, I wasn’t sure if a book that delves into a healthy clutch of songs I’ve never heard would hold my attention. Rather, it just roiled my curiosity (and inspired me to snap my purse strings to order the Smiths Complete box set). The writer got me thinking differently about the band too. I always knew that Morrissey was a huge New York Dolls fan (there’s another group whose reputation far outweighs their output!), but could never detect a trace of their swaggering Rock in The Smiths’ shimmering pop. Goddard—and interviewee Johnny Marr, in particular— clued me in to how the Dolls and other harder rocking outfits such as T. Rex and the Stones left an indelible imprint on The Smiths. “Wimp Rock” they are not.

Well-written (I even liked the slightly precious It’s a Wonderful Life conceit used in the prologue), thorough, and now overhauled, Songs That Saved Your Life: The Art of The Smiths 1982-1987 may not save your life, but it will turn you into a Smiths devotee if you aren’t already one. Just be prepared to spend some more money after reading it.

Pre-order the new edition of Songs That Saved Your Life: The Art of The Smiths 1982-1987 at Amazon.com here:

Monday, January 7, 2013

Some Updates on That Small Faces Box and Other SF News for 2013

A regular Psychobabble reader by the name of Pete recently asked me if there are any updates on that long-gestating Small Faces box set we were hoping might see a late 2012 release. Well, Pete, you inspired me to do a little research, and a little research was all it took to bring up a message recently posted on Mick Taylor's Small Faces facebook page (not that Mick Taylor, of course). The message, which I read second-hand on the Steve Hoffman forum (posted this past November 14), apparently came from reissue producer Rob Caiger, who informed Mick that the box is still in the works and he's "still recovering tapes" (!). Disc One is to "cover all the Immediate worldwide singles A, B's, and EP's" and Disc Five will feature alternate takes and live recordings.  The set will also include a hardback book, "red, white and blue coloured vinyl, facsimile 'Mystery' acetate, a facsimile Ogdens’ press kit, poster, art prints, postcards." No word yet on what Discs Two through Four have in store, nor is there a release date. 

If this message is legit, then the set definitely sounds like a work in progress, so let's be patient and allow the team to give us the very best and most comprehensive Small Faces set imaginable. In the meantime, there will be special vinyl releases for this coming Record Store Day as well as a double-disc reissue of The Autumn Stone, which will also appear on 180g vinyl. Here come the nice, indeed!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Psychobabble’s Twenty Five Greatest Albums of 1968

After a year of bold and ambitious statements—Sgt. Pepper’s, Forever Changes, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn—the LP was firmly established as Rock’s most meaningful art form. As psychedelia waned over the course of 1968, groups stopped falling over each other to prove they were the artiest artists of all and just settled into making mature, strong work. This does not mean that wacko experimentation drained out of Rock completely, and Nico, Jimi Hendrix, and The Monkees—yes, The Monkees—made some of the strangest albums of the sixties in ’68. However, the dominant theme of the year was the anti-freak show “back to the roots” trend that Dylan initiated with his rustic John Wesley Harding at the end of the previous year. With its statements of crazed imagination and sober traditionalism, 1968 was one of Rock’s most schizophrenic years. The albums it produced are some of its very, very best. Here are 25.

25. Once Upon a Dream by The Rascals

Following the Sgt. Pepper’s phenomenon, every band in late ‘67/early ’68 was expected to whip up their own psychedelic freak-fest. To The Rascals’ credit, they did not sacrifice their blue-eyed-soul strengths for over-reaching artiness even as Once Upon a Dream expands their sound with the usual post-Pepper trappings (weird sound effects, tape experiments, orchestrations, sitars, trippy segues). While this was The Rascals’ first album to lack major hits (the groovy “It’s Wonderful” barely poked its head into the top twenty), it hangs together as a complete listening experience better than any of their earlier records even though it’s their most eclectic release yet. There’s a little rustic blues (“Easy Rollin’”), a little urban blues (“Singing’ the Blues Too Long”), a little New Orleans soul (“I’m Gonna Love You”), a little snaky Rock & Roll with jazz aspirations (“Please Love Me”), a lot of Brian Wilson-style orchestral grandeur (“Rainy Day”; “My Hawaii”, the title track), and a rare raga rocker that delivers the raga and the Rock in equal proportions (“Bells/Sattva”). These disparate elements all add up to a minor masterpiece that should delight fans of the cosmic and the earthbound alike.

24. The United States of America by The United States of America
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