Sunday, May 31, 2015

Good Things Come In Bundles Of Three!

Three things happened last week that would suggest to me that rock’n’roll is not entirely deid (Scot lingo – not a typo). It may, more often than not, smell funny but rumours of its demise are still premature.
These happenstances were, the majesty of those Dictators songs being performed in a shithole that was not worthy of the performance. Due to virtually zero promotion or the actuality that Glasgow never stepped up to the plate, neither of those altered the experience of those that leave their midden heids (see ‘deid’ above) that Wednesday night.

On Thursday, Mudhoney returned and again rubberstamped their position as something way more than the pigeonhole they were saddled with. These guys swing. The other grunge – including Cobain’s crew – never did - in my opinion.
The third aspect of what restored my faith – and by no means least – was the release of Screeching Weasel’s “Baby Fat Act One”. It’s not often that I have high expectations about anything. It’s even less common that such lofty consideration could be exceeded but I’m hornswaggled to report that it has.
If these were the days of yore then this would propel the band into the stratosphere. Construed as a 'libretto', everything about it is extremely high-calibre. The sound is like those (Bob) Ezrin-produced Alice Cooper records, where pin sharp operatic guitars howl and this is the best example since “Welcome To My Nightmare”. But it’s also way more. The elements encompass shades of John Carpenter, Ennio Morricone, Jim Steinman and of course that Ramonic wallop. “Living Hell” reminds me of Compulsion, who other than Lisa Fancher remembers those guys? “All Winter Long” is just 45 seconds long and it could be the anthem for every summer to come. However, I just remembered – there is no justice. This section features Suzy Chain and BB Quattro on backing vocals. Line Dahlmann plays the part of Miserella and it’s an utter joy to hear her on here. My extended family done great. 
So there’s Ben, Blag Dahlia, Kat Spazzy and Paul Collins too. All pitching in to make this something that would have taken a gazillion dollars to make not so long ago. And even at that – the realisation of such a project would have been down to chemistry. Not the amount of drugs the participants took dufus – the way the music and vocals interact. You could bring in any amount of alleged professional firepower and I doubt they’d arrive at anything half so incredible as this has turned out.
If only there was a way to perform it in some kind of live situation – "Baby Fat" would truly sweep the world. As it is, I’m not sure what songs could find their way into an actual SW live set. The current line up does (I think) feature on 5 of the ‘songs’ but the potential lack of context might render that improbable.
An often controversial figure, Ben sure went the extra mile to bamboozle the fuckwits that like to take internet swings at him from time to time. Believe me. You haven’t heard anything quite like this in a long time. Perhaps you never heard anything like it ever so all the more reason why you need to hear it now. Cut along over to Recess Records now and scratch that itch. CD and cassette (!) available now, vinyl out in July – thanks to the gimp(s) that head up RSD for the delay on that.

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Sunday Salon Culture!

Sunday Salon Matinees
2 until 5.30pm Sundays. Free Entry

A series of cabaret style events presided over by Marc Baines and Rob Churm: a splurge of film, performance, projections, musical interludes and good times.

Sunday May 10th: Robert Downey Sr. / Kuchar Bros.
Putney Swope director Robert Downey Senior’s baffling but thoroughly entertaining TWO TONS OF TURQUOISE TO TAOS TONIGHT(USA 1975) features a score by Jack Nitzsche (Ronettes, Neil Young and early Rolling Stones arranger) and an exhuberant central performance by Downey Junior’s Ma, Elsie. A supporting programme celebrates the fabulous Kuchars. Mike’s THE CRAVEN SLUCK(USA 1967) stars brother George (in a Beatle wig) communing with lascivious suburban starlets, a lost dog and a sky swarming with UFOs. It’s glaringly obvious the influence this film had on a young John Waters. George Kuchar’s loquacious humour is in full flow in his videos SCARLET DROPPINGS, ROUTE 666, THE INMATE and BURNOUT (USA 1991 - 2003), mash ups of storm diaries,demented puppetry, melodramatic overtures and thoughtful reflections on death and flatulence.

Sunday May 17th: La Jetée + Raydale Dower
Chris Marker’s apocalyptic time travel rumination LA JETEE (France 1962) occupies a special place of its own in film history and was the inspiration for Terry Gilliam’s Twelve Monkeys not to mention a zillion art school films. For this screening Marker’s startling images are accompanied by a newly written synth and clarinet score by Tut Vu Vu’s Raydale Dower. In a schlockier vein Curtis Harrington (Kenneth Anger’s cameraman and author of Nice Guys Don’t Work In Hollywood) brings us QUEEN OF BLOOD (USA 1966), a tale of migrant rescue and intergalactic vampires. The film utilises gorgeous footage of Russian space hardware and special effects and the acting flair of John Saxon and Dennis Hopper. Intermission music of a space age variety from Delia Derbyshire, Sun Ra Arkestra, Gil Melle, Devo, Esquivel, Raymond Scott, Stereolab and like that...

Sunday May 24th: Robert Altman / Jane Elliot
Robert Altman’s strange, unsettling and dream-like THREE WOMEN (USA 1977) ranges between desert expanses and confined apartment spaces and boasts extraordinary performances from Sissy Spacek (Carrie) and Shelley Duvall (The Shining). In the wake of a life changing incident health spa workers Pinky Rose (Spacek) and Millie (Duvall) find their relationship with each other shifts and alters in unexpected ways. Also showing: William Peter’s A CLASS DIVIDED (USA 1985) documenting a social experiment teacher Jane Elliot developed in the 1960s for a 3rd Grade  class in Iowa. Segregated by eye colour, on day one blue eyed children are privileged over green eyed children. The next day the roles are reversed and the sometime surprising consequences are observed and disected. A fascinating study of how power and authority exploit discrimination.

Sunday June 7th: William Klein / Gilbert Hernandez
Acclaimed photographer and documentarist William Klein made a trio of fiction films; Qui Etes Vous, Polly Maggoo? (recently shown in the Hairdressers by Matchbox Cineclub); The Model Couple and today’s feature, MR. FREEDOM (France 1969), a pop art extravaganza that resonates with Mai ‘68 and Guy Peelaert’s contemporaneous Pravda and Jodelle comics. American superhero Mr Freedom is in Paris and, confused as to why the locals aren’t falling in line with his right wing agenda, sets about addressing the wayward Europeans with a benevolent dose of violence. The top notch supporting cast includes Serge Gainsbourg, Delphine Seyrig and Donald Pleasance. Also showing: cable TV show NAKED COSMOS (USA 2005) directed by cartoonist Gilbert Hernandez (Love & Rockets) and two SUPERMAN cartoons (USA1941) in scorching colour.

Sunday June 14th: Elkin + Gummy Stumps / Cattle & Richards / Clarke
A busy afternoon of live performances and presentations that ends with a collaboration between Belfast born video and performance artist KATHRYN ELKIN and Hairdressers perennials GUMMY STUMPS, a tribute of sorts to Antonioni’s Zabriskie Point. RACHEL CATTLE & STEVE RICHARDS introduce their latest piece, STATION TO STATION (UK 2015) and we’re showing ANNE- MARIE COPESTAKE’s’s new Sound of Yell video. The afternoon kicks of with Shirley Clarke’s THE CONNECTION (USA 1962), a faux documentary in which a director, already out of his depth, gets talked into sinking deeper and deeper into the heroin soaked world of the beatniks and jazz musicians he’s filming. The Jackie McLean Quintet rehearse and Warren Finnerty gives an intense Steve Buscemiesque performance.Clarke cannily remoulds the original stage play by combining cinema verite and experimental film techniques.

Sunday June 21st: Smog Monster / Tanaami / DAM artists
The 11th entry in the original series of Godzilla films is also one of the weirdest and most fun. Yoshimitsu Banno takes over directing from Ishiro Honda for GODZILLA vs THE SMOG MONSTER (AKA Godzilla vs Hedorah) (Japan 1971), an ecological disaster movie wrapped in gogo dancing, stylish animation that demonstrates questionable scientific theories and the inevitable men in rubber suits batting each other from pillar to post. Taking their name from a previous Godzilla film, the Detroit art and music collective Destroy All Monsters (formed 1973), was the early stomping ground of artists Mike Kelley; Jim Shaw; Carey Loren and Niagara. Their music soundtracks Loren’s SHAKE A LIZARD’S TAIL (USA 1995), a wild montage of cable ads, dance offs and b-movie clips. Plus: a handful of short animations by Japanese pop artist KEIICHI TANAAMI (Japan 200 - 2008).

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Not long now....

Announcing! BABY FAT ACT 1- via Recess Records, out May 26th. Summer Tour Dates: Tickets on-sale one week from today on Friday May 8th at 10am local time.July 24th- Washington DC- Howard Theatre*July 25th- New York, NY- Webster Hall**July 26th- Boston, MA- Royale**Aug 7th- San Francisco, CA- The Regency Ballroom**Aug 8th- Santa Ana, CA- The Observatory**Aug 9th- San Diego, CA- The Observatory North Park****w/ The Queers and The Mr T Experience.*w/ The Queers... hang tight, working on MTX.Also, already on-sale- June tour dates.June 12th- Portland, OR- Crystal Ballroom^June 13th- Vancouver, BC- Commodore Ballroom^^ w/ MxPx--------Preorder the record:'s gonna be a great summer!

Posted by Screeching Weasel on Friday, 1 May 2015

Saturday, May 02, 2015