Friday, May 22, 2020

Watch David Lynch's "Fire (Prozar)"

David Lynch always said that his main impetus for transitioning from fine artist to filmmaker was the desire to see his paintings and illustrations move. While he has certainly made his share of moving (in all senses of the word) art, an animated short he made in 2015 is Lynch's film that comes closest to fulfilling his original wish. "Fire (Prozar)" essentially looks like one of David Lynch's charcoal illustrations twitching and vibrating to life (with much assistance from animator Noriko Miyakawa). 

With its images of flames, theaters, isolated houses, and elongated deers that look like they just danced off the stage of Industrial Symphony No. 1, "Fire (Prozar)" is very recognizably Lynch. The string score by Marek Zebrowski (who worked as a Polish-to-English translator on INLAND EMPIRE) is highly reminiscent of the late Krzysztof Penderecki, whose work Lynch used to unforgettable effect in INLAND EMPIRE and "Part 8" of Twin Peaks: The Return. In fact, Zebrowski actually wrote it for the Penderecki String Quartet. All of these elements coalesce in what is likely Lynch's best animated work since 1968's "The Alphabet" (sorry, "Dumbland" fans). 

Lynch just released "Fire (Prozar)" on YouTube. See it here:

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Farewell, Phil May

Phil May was the face and voice of one of the most raucous British R&B bands. He then led The Pretty Things down a far more creative path when his short story about the life and death of a WWI vet became the basis of the first full-length--and as far as I'm concerned, best--rock opera: S.F. Sorrow

The Pretty Things never achieved the fame of The Rolling Stones or The Who, but they were arguably as fierce as the former and as creative as the latter. With his unusually long hair, sinister whisper-to-a-scream voice, and rule-redefining creativity, Phil May was a huge part of what made The Pretty Things distinctive and great. 

Sadly, I just learned that May died nearly a week ago on May 15 of complications resulting from a bicycling accident. He was 75.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Limited Event: Prince and the Revolution Concert Streaming Tonight!

Starting tonight, You Tube is going to stream a Prince and the Revolution Concert filmed on March 30, 1985, at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, New York. The show promises to capture the band at the height of their Purple Powers following the triumphant Purple Rain and less than a month before the release of Around the World in a Day. Just seeing the place-holder photo of the whole group standing at attention in their ruffles, velvet, and hospital scrubs is enough to thrill me down to my platform soles. 

Following an 8PM EST pre-show Q&A with Revolutionary drummer Bobby Z, the concert will begin streaming at 8PM EST and remain available to watch for the next three days. The pre-show will be streaming here and the main event will be streaming  here.

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Farewell, Little Richard

Chuck Berry brought the wit, Buddy Holly brought the melodicism, and Bo Diddley brought the rhythm, but no one did more for making Rock & Roll wild, cathartic, and outright crazy than Little Richard. 

With his ten-story tall pompadour and airplane-engine shriek, there was nothing little about Little Richard. He could turn a tumble of gobbledygook like "Tutti Frutti" into an ode to fucking as terrifying (to parents) as it was exhilarating (to kids). Without the voice that screamed "Long Tall Sally", "The Girl Can't Help It", "Lucille", "Rip It Up", "Good Golly Miss Molly", "Heeby-Jeebies", "Jenny Jenny", and Psychobabble's selection for best song of the 1950s, "Keep a Knockin'", Rock and Roll would be missing as essential an element as if the letter "E" had been stripped out of the alphabet. Today we lost the man. Richard Penniman died at the age of 87 of unknown causes. The voice never will.

Relive Your Misspent Youth with Hours of '80s MTV

If you're like most responsible people, you've probably been spending a lot of time at home these days. If you find yourself running out of ways to fill the hours, the good people at the Internet Archive will help you through with hours and hours and hours of VHS recordings of classic eighties MTV. 

This includes the first four hours of the station's debut on August 1, 1981. This little chunk of heaven features classic videos from The Who, The Pretenders, Split Enz, The Cars, David Bowie, Talking Heads, Kate Bush, Blondie, Elvis Costello, and of course, The Buggles... as well as a truly ungodly amount of REO Speedwagon and Rod Stewart. Plus, dreamy Mark Goodman. 

Beyond that, you can spend literally days watching all this material from every year in MTV's first decade. Get your MTV here.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Review: 'Anthem: Rush in the 1970s'

Sam Dunn and Scot McFadyen’s funny, touching Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage is one of the great Rock documentaries, offering an unusual degree of access to the beloved Canadian prog trio…and their moms. As is the case with most documentaries, a lot of footage did not make it into the film.

Martin Popoff, a seasoned rock writer and a researcher on Beyond the Lighted Stage, takes the waste-not-want-not approach with his new book Anthem: Rush in the 1970s. A good deal of the interview material that did not make it into the documentary makes it into Anthem. The book is almost so dependent on quotations from Rush and their moms that it could have almost been a proper oral history. However, that format would have left less room for Popoff’s commentaries on the band’s music, which are generally enjoyable reading despite a certain lack of critical distance (the guy’s a bit too forgiving when it comes to the lousy Caress of Steel).

Aside from such critiques, Popoff mainly steps out of the way to allow Rush (as well as their moms) to tell their own story. That storytelling is consistently interesting because the first phase of a band’s career is often the most dramatic since it deals with pre-fame struggles. Anthem is also enjoyable because Geddy, Alex, and Neil are humble, amiable, witty nerds adept at telling tales even when those tales don’t involve intergalactic Don Quixotes or bickering trees. Their moms are pretty good too.

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