DANCE/MUSIC There are a lot of interesting things in Brontez Purnell's room. Giant self-made posters of Josephine Baker (“The most famous black party kid ever,” he says), Arthur Evans' Witchcraft and the Gay Counterculture, and the legendary Harlem Renaissance publication Fire!!. An arrangement of Polaroid Instamatic nude shots of old flames and interview subjects from his zine, Fag School. A few more Instamatic shots – of him and his mom and grandmother. A framed letter from Kathleen Hanna. An autographed copy of the Go-Go's' Talk Show. A typewriter. Read more »
Phoenix is the most obvious reference for Darwin Deez's crisp, clean, and commercial tunefulness, with occasional traces of El Guincho -- and Beck's hipster clowning, which makes sense, as Deez made an unofficial 2009 video for Cornelius's 2001 song "Fly." (I'd hazard a guess that both Phoenix and Deez are influenced by the light beauty of Lô Borges.) My favorite aspect of lead member Darwin Smith's songwriting and recording is the melodicism of his guitar sound — counter-melodic grace notes whirligig through the air on songs like "Deep Sea Divers," "The City," "Up in the Clouds," and "Bed Space." His lyrics and look are way too precious for my taste, but I might succumb with the repeated listens the better songs here attract. Guitar pop alert: In addition to some Deez clips, after the jump you'll also find Damon Packard's HILARIOUS video for Buva's "Hide Away," with absolutely unparalleled animal control puppetry!
The moment I saw Edie Fake's book Gaylord Phoenix (Secret Acres, 256 pages, $17.95) on a table at a local shop was a lifesaver. Not much contemporary art or stuff actually reaches me -- and jolts me -- at the mysterious and elusive spot(s) where my imagination and spirit reside, and the drawings and stories of Fake do exactly that. I have some issues of Gaylord Phoenix from when it was in serial form, and Fake's comic Rico McTaco, but I had no idea a lavish color book of Gaylord Phoenix existed, and the discovery was about as close to finding a treasure as I've had in recent daily life. Read more »
There is the fraud that is witch house, and then there is the musical spell cast by Demdike Stare, a duo that takes its name from 17th-century accused witch ElizabethSoutherns. Tryptych gathers three near-LP-length EPs, and its highlights are numerous. While Liberation Through Hearing delivers on the title's promise, my pick of the trio might be Voices of Dust, thanks to the swelling charge "Black Sun," the frenetic "Hashshashin Chant," and the seductive dirge "A Tale of Sand." These songs conjure dark visions on their very own, but after the jump, check out some montage videos that Jonny Redman of the European cult movie site www.lovelockandload.net has created for Demdike Stare tracks. If you can I.D. any of the amazing source material he's using, I'd love to know.
Pure zaniness: acid house from 1982 -- up to four years before the genre was invented -- that demonstrates Bollywood composer Singh's intuitive and innovative proficiency with the genre's prototypical Roland keyboards and drum machines. This reissue removes the word synthesizing from the beginning of the album's initial title, to downplay the kitsch factor, I guess. The mix of repetition and raga variation runs from meditative to maddening and is sometimes outright revelatory. One of a kind. After the jump, check out a comic and informative short movie from last year in which an enthusiast seeks out and meets Singh, and a few tracks from the album. As one online commentator suggests, it's time to put a bindi on the acid smiley. Read more »
This is probably the most-anticipated album of 2011, thanks to the promise of Blake's lavishly praised EPs, which have conjured the ghost of Aaliyah ("CMYK" draws brilliantly from "Are You That Somebody?") while deploying a innovative sense of dubstep's space and silence. (See the starts and stops and teasing not-there quality of "I Only Know (What I Know Now)" for an example.) Here, Blake adopts a more traditional pop vocal songwriting approach akin to his cover of Feist's "Limit to Your Love," which is included. The result teeters between Kid A-era Radiohead angst and something a lot more interesting and unique — a singular interplay between the possibilities of composition and production. Read more »
FILM/INDIEFEST "Oh, it's a problem with women," Serge Gainsbourg says in an interview clip only a few seconds into Pascal Forneri's entertaining and energetic made-for-TV documentary Gainsbourg, The Man Who Loved Women. For Gainsbourg, the problem was a rewarding one — women were the vehicle by which he moved from a brooding writer of chanson into a national and international provocateur and icon. Read more »
I got an orange Pepe T-shirt at Needles and Pens' release party for Matt Furie's new comic Hot Topik. What better way to also celebrate the fourth and latest issue of Furie's boy's club, in which Pepe and pals Andy, Brett, and Landwolf are joined by two new characters, Whitey (a zit), and Bird-Dog? Read more »
The battle to saveKUSF reached City Hall for the second consecutive week yesterday, with a rally including music, and Board of Supervisors discussion of the resolution asking USF and the FCC to rescind the sale of the station. Outside, Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi spoke to the crowd, placing the sale of KUSF within the context of a larger attack on public access to media in the city, state, and country, and asking those present to be "warriors on behalf of public access" in the event that the resolution doesn't pass with unanamity and an emergency committee hearing must be held. KUSF Music Director Irwin Swirnoff also spoke, and then introduced new Drag City artist Ty Segall, a former USF student whose albums have been KUSF mainstays. On its Facebook page, the campaign to Save KUSF is directing people to www.savekusf.org to make contributions towards the $10,000 needed by the end of this week for it to retain its FCC lawyer. (As of Wednesday, $3000 has been raised.) A look at some of yesterday's events after the jump.