Saturday, August 9, 2014
Magic Dirt who barely got noticed at home in Australia let alone abroad were one of the most consistent grunge bands of the 90s. After the release of a self-titled 1995 LP and subsequent live dates supporting Pavement, Sonic Youth, Hole and Dinosaur Jr., Magic Dirt became the subject of a major label bidding war, they signed a contract with Warner Bros. and were still releasing albums about once a year until 2009.
Last year I attended with my pals as usual the Swans concert in Munich. I did know that the Italian band Larsen (who I'll introduce in a later entry) would be support, but when we arrived they were announced together with the singer Little Annie. It was a wonderful surprise and a great concert! My pal Gerhard and I became instant fans (and everybody I've been playing her songs to), and I've started collecting her albums and trying to purchase her out-of-print autobiography You Can't Sing The Blues While Drinking Milk. She's a first class chanteuse and painter, poet, writer, performing and recording artist, actress and has a long, illustrious and eclectic recording career since the 70s. Besides lots of collaborations (Wolfgang Press, Crass, the ON-U Sound stable, Paul Oakenfold, Kid Congo Powers, Current 93, Nurse With Wound, the late Bim Sherman, Coil, Fini Tribe, Collapsed Lung, Larsen, Swans, and many fine others) she has released a string of wonderful albums. Her Song Strange Love may be familiar to some as it was used as the soundtrack for Levi's "Dangerous Liaisons" advertising campaign in 2007, garnering several awards, including the Cannes Lion, but I assume that it has been rarely heard in its entirety. Over time I'll be including more songs from her extensive oeuvre.
Friday, August 8, 2014
A poet falls in love with an art student who gravitates to his bohemian lifestyle -- and his love of heroin.
Well-staged and played romance under the harrowing influence of drug addiction, but stays way behind the impact of the similar Requiem For a Dream.
Maltin**1/2: "Murky account...Well acted, but the scenario is overly familiar."
Kossoff achieved immortality when still a teenager with his guitar solo on Free's "All Right Now". But when he died of drug-induced heart failure, he was only 25. Had he been able to overcome his problems, he could have given Clapton, Beck and Page a serious run for their money as the finest British blues guitarist of them all. (Nigel Williamson, The Best Music You've Never Heard).
Thursday, August 7, 2014
As with other talented but troubled artists such as Syd Barrett, Brian Wilson, and Roky Erickson, Daniel Johnston fights a daily battle with the chronic mental illness that has plagued him nearly his entire life. However, despite recurrent bouts of delusional behavior wherein he has physically endangered himself and others, Johnston has carved out a respectable, influential career as a singer/songwriter of extraordinary talent who has grown since his first crudely recorded cassette was released in 1980. He became the singer/songwriter of choice of the alternative/underground rock scene, and at various times has had his work championed by members of Sonic Youth, Yo La Tengo, Butthole Surfers, Half Japanese, Nirvana (Kurt Cobain was often photographed wearing a Daniel Johnston T-shirt), and numerous others. Johnston was the subject of the 2005 documentary The Devil and Daniel Johnston.
Wednesday, August 6, 2014
Rowland S. Howard was a pivotal figure on the Australian punk and post-punk music scene, helping to give birth to a fiery, original sound as a member of The Birthday Party, Crime and the City Solution, and These Immortal Souls along with a wide variety of collaborations and solo projects. Howard's blunt, reverb-drenched guitar sound gave his music a dramatic impact that few could match on the instrument, and he was enjoying a resurgence of interest in his career when he died in late 2009 at the age of 50.