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."

Saturday, October 16, 2010

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."