He’s tonight accompanied by a French three-piece band and quite probably the last time Glasgow witnessed a band as drum-skin tight would have been Mike Watt’s gig at Broadcast last year. This latest Gallic incarnation of Les Contortions are as lean and as precise as a band are ever likely to be; swerving from be-bop jazz to popping funk to Van Vliet-style discord in the blink of an eye or a wave of Chance’s fist, they carve into the material with an assuredness that’s jaw-dropping.
I’m left wondering if this sort of thing is the purest form of that old devil called punk rock. Guys like James Chance are the true outsiders, the risk-takers, the experimenters. It’s light years away from angry menwith guitars, but sometimes it’s the people who play music entirely for themselves that are the true renegades. And James Chance is certainly that.
Thanks to Ubu Web for making the Throbbing Gristle TG24 set available. For hardy souls only...Listen here.
TG24 was originally released as a cassette boxed set in 1980. The set contained the first of Throbbing Gristles 24 shows in addition to two C90 cassettes taken from a Throbbing Gristle radio interview. The set was presented in a small attache case with a personalised handmade collage and various autographed pictures.
Coming across this news was certainly a pleasant surprise. One of my all-time favorite UK post punk bands, 23 Skidoo, are releasing a new LP (their first in 15 years!!!) entitled Beyond Time, along with a DVD of a documentary with the same title which tells the story of acclaimed UK artist, William Turnbull. Turnbull happens to be the father of two of 23 Skidoo's members. Here are the details, along with a film clip - if you're reading this in an email you may want to click the headline to see the video.
Beyond Time is the first album by acclaimed experimental group 23 Skidoo in fifteen years, released in a special double disc edition combining the soundtrack music to 2011 documentary film Beyond Time, and a DVD of the film itself.
Directed by Alex Turnbull and Pete Stern, Beyond Time is a journey into the life and work of artist William Turnbull, from his modest roots as the son of a Dundee shipyard engineer to his standing as one of the world’s most highly regarded modern sculptors. Narration is by Jude Law. “An insightful, irreverent documentary, yet with a palpable sense of purpose” said the Daily Telegraph, with the Guardian confirming that“William Turnbull helped change the way we see art today.”
The soundtrack music is performed by 23 Skidoo. Formed in 1979 as industrial, post-punk and funk genres coalesced, the group included Bill Turnbull’s sons Alex and Jonny together with Fritz Catlin and Peter ‘Sketch’ Martin. As well as new music, the accomplished score features re-worked versions of older material. “Johnny and I thought 23 Skidoo’s anti-commercial tendencies came from a punk sensibility,” explains Alex. “But it turns out we had a genetic predisposition to anti-establishment practices. Bill was a polymath at a time when that was a dirty word, shifting between sculpture and painting and putting both in a symbiotic relationship. Now crossing boundaries is everywhere: think of hip-hop. The name of the band referenced a William Burroughs short story. Burroughs used, as we did, cut-up techniques, collaging and sampling. We were oblivious to the fact that a lot of that aesthetic was in what Bill did until I made the film.”
Both the CD and vinyl versions of Beyond Time include a Region 0 NTSC format DVD of the documentary film (with bonus features), but feature different artwork. The CD/DVD package features a portrait of Bill by photographer Ida Carr, while the vinyl/DVD version features a detail from 05 by William Turnbull (oil on canvas, 1959) printed on matt reverse board.
1. Dawning (version)
2. AYU (ambient)
8. Urban Gamelan
A1. Dawning (version)
A2. AYU (ambient)
B4. Urban Gamelan
Both formats come with a Region 0 DVD copy of the film, and can be ordered here.
No stranger to these pages, Jeremiah of Jeremiah's Vanishing New York, has started an undertaking of large proportions - a socially driven website to help restore some sanity to the collective culture of what New York City is these days. This is a cause that is most definitely close to my heart, and possibly yours as well. And its EASY to support!
"Apparently, New York’s been waiting for you Starbucks, Olive Garden and Applebee’s. And for you Ralph Lauren, Marc Jacobs and Michael Kors.
Small businesses in New York City have no rights. You’ve been here 50 years and provide an important service? Tough luck — your space now belongs to Dunkin’ Donuts. You own a beloved, fourth-generation, century-old business? Get out — your landlord’s putting in a combination Chuck E. Cheese and Juicy Couture."
Big thanks to Peteski over at This Isn't Happiness for tipping me to this incredible art film/documentary. Released by Chantal Akerman in 1977, the entire 90 minute film consists of long, slow shots of various scenes & locations in Manhattan while the voice over (Akerman), in French, reads letters from home that she received between 1971 and 1973. The colors & photography are just mouthwatering. And look how quiet & empty the streets are.
Our pals the Bush Tetras have announced a 35th anniversary show at Le Poisson Rouge in NYC on May 1. Special guests included Hugo Burnham (Gang of Four), and Don Fleming. Support comes from the Karyn Kuhl Band. Details available here & here.
Nile Rodgers posted this teaser video recently, and wow...does it sound good! The single, "I'll Be There" (instrumental version shared here) is available March 20 from iTunes & on vinyl here, and a new album is due in June on Warner Brothers. As I understand it, it's a mix of old & new, as Nile has dug up some old tapes, reworked them, added some new stuff, and presto! New Chic! The world could use it.
UK dates are in March (see below), and I HIGHLY suggest catching them if possible. I was lucky enough to see them in NYC a few summers ago, and besides being easily the most diverse audience I've ever been a part of, the show is just pure joy from beginning to end. Nothing but hits and a really good time.