Friday, December 31, 2010

Old Year's Night

"New Year's Eve is like every other night; there is no pause in the march of the universe, no breathless moment of silence among created things that the passage of another twelve months may be noted; and yet no man has quite the same thoughts this evening that come with the coming of darkness on other nights."

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Quote Of The Week

"I see it all perfectly; there are two possible situations — one can either do this or that. My honest opinion and my friendly advice is this: do it or do not do it — you will regret both."

Thursday, December 23, 2010

'Tis The Season

"A holiday is when you celebrate something that's all
finished up, that happened a long time ago and now
there's nothing left to celebrate but the dead."


A.I.T.A. Flashback: Don't Believe In Christmas

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

45 Revolutions: Ivy Green

"Ivy Green were a dutch rock band who recorded a number of now hard to find records during their fifteen year life-span (1975-1990 approximately). They are well known to punk-rock collectors for their 1978 debut LP on Pogo/WEA, one of the most sought after Euro punk records. Sales were disappointing enough for the band to be dropped by their label, after which they went into hibernation for a couple of years, re-emerging in 1982. Most sources will tell you that this later line-up recorded nothing of real value and cite the addition of a brass section as proof of the bands artistic decline. Nonsense!

By 1982 the band were no longer playing '77 style punk-rock. They had moved on. They added a brass section and developed a garage rock sound not that dissimilar to The Saints. They had became one of the very small number of rock groups to successfully integrate a horn section and still rock. The band had not lost any of the incredible energy and flair for melody that was their hallmark. These mid-'80s records are fantastic, including a string of superb singles and one fantastic album in 1984 called The Quest. By the late '80s they had run out of steam and the next couple of records are nothing special, until Real Slow Burn which was a late return to form." [taken from The Journal of Scientific Discographical Analysis]

Download: "Wap Shoo Wap (I'm Sure We're Gonna Make It)"
(One-sided single, Pogo Ltd Records, 1978)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Quote Of The Week

"The only rational patriotism is loyalty to the nation all the time, and loyalty to the government when it deserves it."

Friday, December 17, 2010

Dropout Boogie

Don Van Vliet
Rest In Peace

"Terrible news: Don Van Vliet, the stupendous avant-garde bluesman, surrealist painter, and world-class eccentric, has died, as confirmed to multiple outlets by a rep from the Michael Werner Gallery, which often showed his work. He would've turned 70 in January." ... Story continues here: Captain Beefheart, RIP (Village Voice)

Dig: "Here I Am, I Always Am" (video, features Vliet artwork)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Heartbreak Hotel

The Shore Hotel
Rest In Peace

"Coney Island’s Shore Hotel was built circa 1903 and demolished by Thor Equities on December 10, 2010. It took only a couple of days for the demo men to take down the century-old wood frame building. There’s nothing left but a pile of sticks to be hauled away." ... Story continues here: R.I.P Coney Island’s Shore Hotel, Henderson Next On Hit List (Amusing The Zillion)

Photograph (circa 1932) from Save Coney Island site

Monday, December 13, 2010

Quote Of The Week

"Human Dignity has gleamed only now and then and here and there, in lonely splendor, throughout the ages, a hope of the better men, never an achievement of the majority."

Monday, December 6, 2010

Quote Of The Week

"Men decide far more problems by hate, love, lust, rage, sorrow, joy, hope, fear, illusion, or some other inward emotion, than by reality, authority, any legal standard, judicial precedent, or statute."

Monday, November 29, 2010

Quote Of The Week

"If I take death into my life, acknowledge it, and face it squarely, I will free myself from the anxiety of death and the pettiness of life — and only then will I be free to become myself."

Monday, November 22, 2010

Quote Of The Week

"The world always makes the assumption that the exposure of an error is identical with the discovery of truth — that the error and truth are simply opposite. They are nothing of the sort. What the world turns to, when it is cured of one error, is usually simply another error, and maybe one worse than the first one."

Friday, November 19, 2010

Song of Nature

Mine are the night and morning,
The pits of air, the gulf of space,
The sportive sun, the gibbous moon,
The innumerable days.

I hid in the solar glory,
I am dumb in the pealing song,
I rest on the pitch of the torrent,
In slumber I am strong.

No numbers have counted my tallies,
No tribes my house can fill,
I sit by the shining Fount of Life,
And pour the deluge still;

And ever by delicate powers
Gathering along the centuries
From race on race the rarest flowers,
My wreath shall nothing miss.

And many a thousand summers
My apples ripened well,
And light from meliorating stars
With firmer glory fell.

I wrote the past in characters
Of rock and fire the scroll,
The building in the coral sea,
The planting of the coal.

And thefts from satellites and rings
And broken stars I drew,
And out of spent and aged things
I formed the world anew;

What time the gods kept carnival,
Tricked out in star and flower,
And in cramp elf and saurian forms
They swathed their too much power.

Time and Thought were my surveyors,
They laid their courses well,
They boiled the sea, and baked the layers
Or granite, marl, and shell.

But he, the man-child glorious,--
Where tarries he the while?
The rainbow shines his harbinger,
The sunset gleams his smile.

My boreal lights leap upward,
Forthright my planets roll,
And still the man-child is not born,
The summit of the whole.

Must time and tide forever run?
Will never my winds go sleep in the west?
Will never my wheels which whirl the sun
And satellites have rest?

Too much of donning and doffing,
Too slow the rainbow fades,
I weary of my robe of snow,
My leaves and my cascades;

I tire of globes and races,
Too long the game is played;
What without him is summer's pomp,
Or winter's frozen shade?

I travail in pain for him,
My creatures travail and wait;
His couriers come by squadrons,
He comes not to the gate.

Twice I have moulded an image,
And thrice outstretched my hand,
Made one of day, and one of night,
And one of the salt sea-sand.

One in a Judaean manger,
And one by Avon stream,
One over against the mouths of Nile,
And one in the Academe.

I moulded kings and saviours,
And bards o'er kings to rule;--
But fell the starry influence short,
The cup was never full.

Yet whirl the glowing wheels once more,
And mix the bowl again;
Seethe, fate! the ancient elements,
Heat, cold, wet, dry, and peace, and pain.

Let war and trade and creeds and song
Blend, ripen race on race,
The sunburnt world a man shall breed
Of all the zones, and countless days.

No ray is dimmed, no atom worn,
My oldest force is good as new,
And the fresh rose on yonder thorn
Gives back the bending heavens in dew.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Quote Of The Week

"If I were to wish for anything, I should not wish for wealth and power, but for the passionate sense of the potential, for the eye which, ever young and ardent, sees the possible. Pleasure disappoints, possibility never. And what wine is so sparkling, so fragrant, so intoxicating, as possibility!"

Friday, November 12, 2010

Cryin' Into The Beer Of A Drunk Man

JJ's Navy Yard Cocktail Lounge
Rest In Peace

Growing up in NYC, I've always been a fan of the real dive bar, having started my early drinking days in such classic lowbrow spots as The Brooklyn International Bar (R.I.P.), Carty's (R.I.P.), The Blue And Gold, The Distinguished Wakamba Cocktail Lounge, Montero's, O'Keefe's (pre-renovations), Ruby's, the Holiday Cocktail Lounge, Between The Bridges (R.I.P.), McGovern's (R.I.P.), The P&G (R.I.P.), and so on. One spot I always wanted to check out was the JJ's Navy Cocktail Lounge, which sadly shut its doors last week. I drove by the "lounge" many times and was fascinated by its no-frills exterior and promise of possible danger that lay within, though never found myself in the area so as to give it a visit... and now it's gone.

[ For my money, Queens is the place to go for real dive bars these days, and my favorite area in Queens to drink is easily Jackson Heights, which features the great Café 75. There are still some real dives in Manhattan, mostly in Hell's Kitchen, like the venerable Rudy's, the Holland Bar, and Dave's Tavern (one of the scarier, nastier places I've wandered into as of late). Also not to be overlooked, right in the heart of the Times Square area, is the fantastic boxing bar Jimmy's Corner. Brooklyn, sadly, seems near to dead, though we've still got Montero's, Sunny's, and O'Connor's. ]

(Short documentary on NYC dive bars)

Photo by Coery Kilgannon (NY Times)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

45 Revolutions: The Purple Hearts

Formed in Brisbane in 1964 by vocalist Mick Hadley, lead guitarist Lobby Loyde, rhythm guitarist Fred Pickard, bassist Bob Dames, and drummer Adrian 'Red' Redmond (later replaced by Tony Cahill), The Purple Hearts* were the first band to bring the British r&b sound to Australian audiences, through their sizzling live performances and their ground-breaking 45s. In the publication The History of Australian Pop, author Ian McFarlaine quotes: "Pioneering Brisbane band the Purple Hearts issued a series of tough, incomparable rhythm and blues singles that remain classics of their type. The band's uncompromising approach to music making was unrivalled in its day."

Although the band were part of the Sunshine Records stable (which included Australia's top male teen idol Normie Rowe), The Purple Hearts were truly 1960s punks. Even their name — taken from the well-known slang term for a variety of amphetamine pills much favored by mods — was a brash and outrageous gesture.

(Contains the band's first two monster 45s)

(via the Wild About You site)

* Not to be confused with the late '70s UK mod
band of the same name, also A.I.T.A. favorites.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Quote Of The Week

"I saw that all beings are fated to happiness: action is not life, but a way of wasting some force, an enervation. Morality is the weakness of the brain."

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Yesterday Don't Matter If It's Gone

Ruby's Bar & Grill
Rest In Peace

"I'm devastated. [The developer, Zamperla] wants everything new, but that's not what Coney Island's about — it's about nostalgia. People in the summer love to come in for a drink in their bikinis and bathing suits. It won't be the same when they're told to dress up because it's a 'high-class place.'" -Melody Sarrel, owner of Ruby's. [from NY Post]

"In 1975, Rubin Jacobs purchased the 1934 Hebrew National Deli and Bar on a prime spot of boardwalk near Stillwell Avenue. He decorated the space sparsely: a long bar, some tables and chairs, a grill, some old-time photos on the walls. Ruby had spent his whole life in Coney Island." ... Story continues here: Mourning Coney Island Institution, Ruby's Bar, 1934-2010 (Gothamist)

Photographs by Lee Greenfeld © 2010

Friday, November 5, 2010

Election Year

A jet of mere phantom
Is a brook, as the land around
Turns rocky and hollow.
Those airplane sounds
Are the drowning of bicyclists.
Leaping, a bridesmaid leaps.
You asked for my autobiography.
Imagine the greeny clicking sound
Of hummingbirds in a dry wood,
And there you’d have it. Other birds
Pour over the walls now.
I'd never suspected: every day,
Although the nation is done for,
I find new flowers.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Quote Of The Week

"There are three classes of intellects: one which comprehends by itself; another which appreciates what others comprehend; and a third which neither comprehends by itself nor by the showing of others. The first is the most excellent, the second is good, and the third is useless."

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween In Brooklyn

"What fearful shapes and shadows beset his path, amidst the dim and ghastly glare of a snowy night! With what wistful look did he eye every trembling ray of light streaming across the waste fields from some distant window! How often was he appalled by some shrub covered with snow, which, like a sheeted specter, beset his very path! How often did he shrink with curdling awe at the sound of his own steps on the frosty crust beneath his feet; and dread to look over his shoulder, lest he should behold some uncouth being tramping close behind him! And how often was he thrown into complete dismay by some rushing blast, howling among the trees, in the idea that it was the Galloping Hessian on one of his nightly scouring!"

Photograph by Lee Greenfeld © 2010

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wake Up Dead

Not all psychedelia deals with dragons, gnomes, rainbows, and seeking inner-peace. There's been a rich and dark history of psych tunes with topics such as death, loss, alienation, Satanism, and suicide... What follows is some should-be-classics for exploration.

Download: "Nightmare" by Majic Ship
Download: "Black Mass" by Jason Crest
Download: "Tomorrow's Void" by League 66
Download: "Watch Me Burn" by Mike Furber
Download: "Death Bells At Dawn" by The Lords

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Shadows And Reflections

Reginald "Reg" King
Rest In Peace

"Words are flitting around the Internet that Reggie King, the lead singer of one of my fave 60's bands The Action, has passed away. After lots of back and forths between my peeps and I on FaceBook Pete Watson's daughter Luann was kind enough to pop me a line telling me that it was confirmed by her dad that Reg had indeed passsed away from cancer and would be buried tomorrow." ... Story continues here: Reggie King R.I.P. (Anorak Thing)

"Not so well known, but highly regarded, singer Reginald "Reg" King passed away yesterday (or perhaps a couple weeks ago, depending who you ask), with no details shared beyond that he died from an "illness." King is best known as being the frontman for The Action, a proper Mod group from North London in the mid '60s." ... Story continues here: Reg King RIP (Line Out)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Quote Of The Week

"In every country, we should be teaching our children the scientific method and the reasons for a Bill Of Rights. With it comes a certain decency, humility and community spirit. In the demon-haunted world that we inhabit by virtue of being human, this may be all that stands between us and the enveloping darkness."

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Struggle

"A man who as a physical being is always turned toward the outside, thinking that his happiness lies outside him, finally turns inward and discovers that the source is within him."

From Either/Or, 1843

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Hardly A Typical Girl

Ari Up
Rest In Peace

"Ari Up, whose death from cancer has just been announced, was an extremely powerful energy force — a trailblazer who embodied the punk spirit. As singer and co-writer in the Slits, she completely redefined what a woman in music could do and — in the ethos of the time — opened up possibilities that would be explored by herself and many others in the years to come." ... Story continues here: Ari Up: A Punk With The Courage To Confront (The Guardian UK)

Photography by Lee Greenfeld © 2010

Monday, October 18, 2010

Quote Of The Week

"...the individual is defined only by his relationship to the world and to other individuals; he exists only by transcending himself, and his freedom can be achieved only through the freedom of others. He justifies his existence by a movement which, like freedom, springs from his heart but which leads outside of himself."

Friday, October 15, 2010

Around Us

We need some pines to assuage the darkness
when it blankets the mind,
we need a silvery stream that banks as smoothly
as a plane's wing, and a worn bed of
needles to pad the rumble that fills the mind,
and a blur or two of a wild thing
that sees and is not seen. We need these things
between appointments, after work,
and, if we keep them, then someone someday,
lying down after a walk
and supper, with the fire hole wet down,
the whole night sky set at a particular
time, without numbers or hours, will cause
a little sound of thanks—a zipper or a snap—
to close round the moment and the thought
of whatever good we did.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Quote Of The Week

"Compulsive and rigid moralism arises in given persons precisely as the result of a lack of sense of being. Rigid moralism is a compensatory mechanism by which the individual persuades himself to take over the external sanctions because he has no fundamental assurance that his own choices have any sanction of their own."

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Keep A Light In The Window

Solomon Burke
Rest In Peace

"Solomon Burke, the larger-than-life "king of rock'n'soul," whose songs blended soul, gospel, country and r&b, died early Sunday at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport at age 70." ... story continues here: Solomon Burke Dead (Huffington Post)

"Burke had most of the standard accoutrements of the soul musician – a warm, throaty bass voice, numerous children by different women and a penchant for snacking on whole roasted chickens. But he also had more unexpected accomplishments: he was a doctor of mortuary science, and, still more surprisingly, was the bishop of an evangelical church with 40,000 adherents that had been founded by his grandmother after she dreamed of his birth 12 years before the event."... Story continues here: Solomon Burke (Telegraph UK)

Dig: A Life In Clips
Download: "Maggie's Farm" (b-side)

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Land of Counterpane

When I was sick and lay a-bed,  
I had two pillows at my head,  
And all my toys beside me lay  
To keep me happy all the day.  
And sometimes for an hour or so    
I watched my leaden soldiers go,  
With different uniforms and drills,  
Among the bed-clothes, through the hills;  
And sometimes sent my ships in fleets  
All up and down among the sheets;
Or brought my trees and houses out,  
And planted cities all about.  
I was the giant great and still  
That sits upon the pillow-hill,  
And sees before him, dale and plain,
The pleasant land of counterpane.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Quote Of The Week

"It is strange with how uneven a hand nature chooses to distribute her richest favors."

Sunday, October 3, 2010

"I Ain't Good... I'm The Best!"

Arthur Penn
Rest In Peace

"Director Arthur Penn, a myth maker and myth breaker who in such classics as Bonnie And Clyde and Little Big Man refashioned movie and American history and sealed a generation's affinity for outsiders, died Tuesday night, a day after his 88th birthday." ... Story continues here: Director Arthur Penn Dies (Washington Times)

Friday, October 1, 2010

A.I.T.A. Hall Of Fame: Redskins

Chris Dean (vocals/guitar) formed his first band No Swastikas in York, England in 1981 along with Nick King (drums); the pair were later joined by Martin Hewes (bass/vocals) who also went under the names Martin Militant, Martin Leon and Martin Bottomley. Both Chris and Martin were members of the SWP (Socialist Workers Party). The band moved to London in March 1982 and changed their name to the Redskins and were notable for their far-left politics, anti-racist/anti-Nazi stance and catchy, danceable songs. Their first two 45s were released by CNT Records (founded by Jon Langford of The Mekons, who also produced the band's raucous debut platter).

When the coal miners strike began in March 1984, the Redskins became a key part of it's soundtrack. When they had first started, all the band's talk of strikes and unions and "the crisis of capitalism" had seemed anachronistic to many ears. But Chris was proven to be prophetic. He'd told the NME when the Redskins first started "There's a good chance that in two or three years time, over here an upsurge in workers militancy will bring a crisis. We might come out of it with no arms or legs, completely wrecked and defeated. The confrontation's inevitable but the outcome isn't."

Their first single for Decca "Keep On Keepin' On!" became an anthem. By then the miners strike had reached a crucial stage with miners beginning to be literally starved back to work ("One by one we take the money, ten by ten we face defeat") and it's rousing, soul stirring chorus perfectly embodied the optimism and anger of the time.

In November the band organised an anti-apartheid tour and planned to simultaneously release "Kick Over The Statues!" as a benefit single. When Decca refused, the Redskins stole the master tapes (a trick learned from Dexys Midnight Runners) and gave them to the independant label Abstract who rush released the single with all the royalities donated to the ANC and the South African Trade Unionists.

About the band's demise, Chris Dean stated,"It became harder and harder to be a member of the SWP and the Redskins. The group was out of time, out of date and out of step with the political reality of Britain in 1986. We were becoming more rock and roll than political." The Redskins left behind a debt of £136,000 and their unfulfilled fantasy of revolution intact. [partially taken from the band's unofficial MySpace page, with additions and corrections]
Download: "The Peasant Army" (45 b-side)
Download: "Unionize" (45 b-side)
Download: "Take No Heroes" (BBC session, '83)
Download: "It Can Be Done!" (album track)
Download: "Keep On Keepin' On!" (album track)
Download: "You Want It, They Got It" (45 b-side)
Download: "Young And Proud" (45 b-side)
Download: "Plateful Of Hateful" (live in London, '85)
Download: "Levi Stubbs' Tears" (EP track)

"Talk of riots and petrol bombs and revolution all day long.
But if we fail to organize, we'll waste our lives on protest songs."

Monday, September 27, 2010

Quote Of The Week

"I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, It's a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do. And that enables you to laugh at life's realities."

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Lie Still, Sleep Becalmed

Lie still, sleep becalmed, sufferer with the wound  
In the throat, burning and turning. All night afloat  
On the silent sea we have heard the sound
That came from the wound wrapped in the salt sheet.

Under the mile off moon we trembled listening
To the sea sound flowing like blood from the loud wound  
And when the salt sheet broke in a storm of singing  
The voices of all the drowned swam on the wind.

Open a pathway through the slow sad sail,
Throw wide to the wind the gates of the wandering boat  
For my voyage to begin to the end of my wound,  
We heard the sea sound sing, we saw the salt sheet tell.  
Lie still, sleep becalmed, hide the mouth in the throat,
Or we shall obey, and ride with you through the drowned.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Brooklyn's Got Soul!

"Dig Deeper is a feature length documentary in the early stages of production. It revolves around a unique monthly live soul music event held in Brooklyn, New York. The events are organized by two friends who are both rare soul record collectors and DJs-turned-promoters by default." ... continues here at the film's fundraising website.

Sailin' On

Jerry Williams
Rest In Peace

Jerry Williams moved to New York in 1979 to further the hardcore music he and his band Th' Cigaretz, who had formed in 1977, had been working on. Realizing that Raleigh, North Carolina was not the best place in the world to be a punk band, the group made the move; shortly thereafter Th' Cigaretz released a 12" EP. As history would have it, a copy fell into the hands of Dave Parsons (Ratcage Records) who wrote a glowing review of it in Mouth Of The Rat. Parsons introduced himself to Williams following one of Th' Cigaretz NYC performances and from that time on they remained close friends.
In September of 1980, Jerry Williams would begin renovating the interior of 171A. Previously the place had been a glass shop, but after moving in their PA equipment Williams went on to build a stage at the front and an audio booth in the back. By November the 171A Studio was a venue used to house after-hours parties where downtown bands like The Cooties would perform. For a few weeks everything went well with gigs happening on Friday and Saturday nights. However with a huge New Year's Eve show coming up, the New York Fire Department stepped in and stopped further shows from proceeding. Although 171A was indeed violating codes, it appeared very suspiciously that a rival club on the same street had tipped off the Fire Department. Since its opening 171 A had been cutting in on the weekend business of neighboring clubs by selling liquor without a license, so the motive was there.
By now though 171A had gained a lot of name recognition around town, so instead of shutting it down completely Williams decided to change it into a rehearsal studio. At the time, most of the available rehearsal spots in New York City were tiny little rooms, but 171A offered much more. Jerry described it as being like "...a full sized room with 15 foot ceilings and a floor space 60 feet long and provided recording artists with a quality PA system suspended from the ceiling. It was a cut above other rehearsal studios and since it was about half the size of CBGB's it produced a very similar sound."
Over the next few years, 171A Studio would go on to be used by the Bad Brains (who recorded their famous ROIR cassette there*), Reagan Youth, Beastie Boys, the Young And Useless, Richard Hell, The Toasters (then known as Not Bob Marley), and many others. In the fall of 1981, Jerry was working extensively with the Bad Brains and actually formed a post-Cigaretz group comprised of Bad Brains roadies who called themselves Bloodclot. Williams played guitar, the Bad Brains drum tech Alvin Robertson did drums, John Joseph (who went on to the Cro-Mags) did vocals, and lastly Ted Horowitz rounded out the Bloodclot line up. Although Bloodclot never released an album, they did perform many live gigs opening for the Bad Brains. [taken from Jerry Williams' MySpace page, with additions]

* Also notably recorded at 171A Studio: the Beastie Boys' Polly Wog
Stew EP and The Young And Useless' Real Men Don't Floss EP.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

45 Revolutions: The Killjoys

The Killjoys formed in late 1976 in Birmingham, England and originally featured Kevin Rowland on vocals, Ghislaine "Gem" Weston on bass, and Mark Philips on guitar — all of whom were previously in the band Lucy & The Lovers — with the addition of Lee "Joe 45" Burton on drums and Heather Tonge who handled backing vocals. (Later members included Keith Rimell, Bob Peach, and Kevin "Al" Archer.) The band released one scorching, snot-filled 45 on Raw Records in 1977, a track on the Raw Deal! compilation LP, two radio sessions, and a handful of demo tracks, before imploding.

[Post-Killjoys action: Rowland and Archer went on to form Dexys Midnight Runners, while Peach, Phillps and Weston formed Out Of Nowhere (later known as Luxhound Deluxe). When Luxhound Deluxe split-up, Weston joined Girlschool.]

(Bonus download: "At Night" from Raw Deal! LP)