Tuesday, June 30, 2020

BEAUTY: Painting--Karen Perl

I love the touching, poignant images of dogs in artist Karen Perl's sweet narratives. The dogs are waiting patiently or are dedicated to their humans. And the narratives take on a deeper sense when you know the titles...

Top to bottom: Afterlife; Comfort Dog; Morning Walk; Reflection; Sight Hound; Suzy In Heaven


Monday, June 29, 2020

"Tangled Man" by Green Gartside

I am delighted to hear some new music from songwriting genius Green Gartside of Scritti Politti fame (previously here). He explains the genesis of his new single, "Tangled Man" below. His voice is still as sweet and clear as ever. I was lucky enough to see him on his comeback tour for Scritti Politti in San Francisco in 2006 and he sounded just like this.

"Recently, in an interview for a forthcoming book about art and music in Leeds in the 70’s and 80’s, the author asked me, as an aside, if it were true that I was wearing Morris Dancer’s leg bells at the 1976 gig there by the Sex Pistols, Clash, Damned and Heartbreakers as other interviewees present that night had reported. My DNA was reconfigured that evening so my memory is hazy but it is very likely that I WAS wearing the leg bell pads made for me by a school friend some years before. In fact I may well have gone to the gig straight from the evening Morris dancing lessons I attended at Leeds university.

Because before punk gave me the liberty and license to make my own music I was geekily obsessed with 'folk'. When I was fourteen I was enraptured by the Fairport Convention album 'Liege and Lief' and became an underage regular at Dublin Moran’s folk club at the Castle, a very insalubrious pub down Newport docks. It’s there I was made aware of the Topic record label and the music of the Watersons, Martin Carthy (who I subsequently stalked . . . ask him) and Anne Briggs. The beautiful melodies Anne sang unaccompanied were profoundly affecting, her unornamented voice a precursor to the anti-professionalism of DIY. For a long while I walked about dressed like a 19th century farm labourer (with a bit of eyeliner) in a kind of hypnagogic reverie to an inner soundtrack of Northumbrian pipe tunes, Wassailing songs and Morris dances. Jesus.

Forward some 40 odd years and my friend and Scritti Politti bandmate Rhodri Marsden had been contacted to do an arrangement of an Anne Briggs song for a project with which he was involved. Knowing I was a fan he suggested maybe I’d like to take on the task. I was dead keen and recorded myself at home playing and singing my versions of a couple of the very few songs Annie had written many years ago. Geoff Travis and Jeannette Lee at Rough Trade heard the stuff and liked it.. so here we are. . .

Right I’m off to find a couple of hankies and have a quick caper to Lads A Bunchum and The Shepherds Hey. See you soon."


Sunday, June 28, 2020

Happy Pride Anniversary 2020!


Fifty-one years ago today, a bunch of fed-up drag queens, hustlers, and assorted gay misfits at the Stonewall Inn in New York turned the tables on yet another unnecessary, unfair, harassing police raid. That resistance gave rise to a series of riots and ultimately to the birth of the modern gay activist movement. It seems like a long time ago, and while a few laws and minds have changed, we still have a way to go, and a lot more irrational fear, hatred, bigotry, and misconceptions to fight.

We celebrate Pride Month and recognize Pride Day because it is a positive stance against the daily shame, social stigma, discrimination, and violence that the LGBT community still faces: gay children are routinely kicked out of their homes and disowned by their families, gay kids and teens and young adults are routinely bullied or attacked or beaten and many end up committing suicide because they are told they are sick or going to hell, and many gay and trans men and women are attacked and beaten and murdered--sometimes in their own homes.

Because the LGBT Pride celebration is about the right of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and transgendered individuals to exist without being prosecuted, persecuted, or murdered, not about "not being straight."

So today, we thank the brave men and women at the Stonewall uprising and the ensuing riots for saying, "ENOUGH. I AM A HUMAN BEING AND I DEMAND TO BE TREATED AS ONE!"

While The Stonewall Inn was already part of the city-designated Greenwich Village Historic District, and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999, it became an official New York City landmark on Tuesday, June 23, 2015 in order to preserve the site and honor its historic importance. Most importantly, on June 24, 2016, the Stonewall Inn was named the first U.S. National Monument dedicated to the gay rights movement.

There is a very nice, informative, and moving Wiki entry about the riots and the history leading up to them:

Friday, June 26, 2020


I'm feeling some nostalgia and love today for the early sounds of the electronic/New Romantic (in my mind) group Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark. Despite their few pop chart successes, I will always think of them as an experimental sound band.

"Messages" is from their self-titled 1980 debut release. I bought this when it came out.

Their second album "Organisation" never had a proper release here in the United States, so when the first album was later released after this one, it included this incredibly atmospheric, beautiful song "Stanlow" named after an oil refinery in England, and the measured, melancholy "Statues."

From 1981, "Souvenirs" and "Maid of Orleans" is from their third album "Architecture and Morality" which is listed in the book 1001 ALBUMS YOU MUST HEAR BEFORE YOU DIE.

One of their most experimental records was the amazing, dystopian 1983 release "Dazzle Ships," with its musique concrète sound collages, the use of shortwave radio recordings to explore Cold War and Eastern Bloc themes thus conjuring up images of life among Brutalist architecture, and references to a frightening type of post World War II technology including genetic engineering. The title itself is a reference to a way of painting war ships in a way that disorients the viewer. The album opened with the sound collage "Radio Prague." Highlights are "Genetic Engineering," "Time Zones" (recordings of the time in French, German, Japanese, and American English, all players in the second World War), "The Romance of the Telescope," the unsettling "ABC Auto-Industry," and "Of All The Things We've Made."

See these arms that were broken
How they held you so
Never once did they fail you
They won't let you go

We're just waiting, looking skyward
As the days come down
Someone promised there'd be answers
If we stayed around

Over decades, now this romance
Has sustained us all
Never questioned, only giving
What it made us for

To want this
Of everything we've made
The times it's worked before

Of all the things we've said
The times it's worked before today

To want this
Of everything we've made
The times it's worked before

Of all the things we've said
They always worked before today

As of 2020, OMD are still active and creating amazing electronic music!


Thursday, June 25, 2020

BEAUTY: Painting--Kristin Moore

A wonderful sense of expansiveness and freedom pervades the work of painter Kristin Moore. Her gorgeous candy-colored sunsets, illuminated clouds, and delightful night views of sparkling lights are breathtaking.

Top to bottom: Hollywoodland (Sunset); LA (Blue); LAX; Marfa (Blue Sunset); Palms (Beverly Hills); Sandy's; South I-35; Sunset (Marfa); Sunset (LA); Sunset Blvd. II; Texas Highway; Crescent Moon (Marfa); LA Cityscape (Purple); Over LA (Palms); Pann's; Pico Blvd.; Thunderbird Motel


Wednesday, June 24, 2020

"Boys In The Better Land" by Fontaines D.C.

I am so entranced with the pre-punk/post-punk, Jim Carroll-esque storytelling energy of this song, "Boys In The Better Land" by Dublin-based Fontaines D.C. (stands for Dublin City)...it feels fresh, young, earnest, exhilarating, urgent.