Saturday, December 31, 2011

Into The Future

"We have it in our power to begin the world over again."

Friday, December 30, 2011

A Gallery Of Cool, Take Nine

Francoise Hardy


Lauren Bacall

The Purple Hearts

Laurel Aitken

The Birds

Lou Reed and Nico

Ringo Starr

[ Previous Galleries Of Cool: 1 • 2 • 3 • 4 • 5 • 6 • 7 • 8 ]

Monday, December 26, 2011

Quote Of The Week

"How comforting it is, once or twice a year, to get together and forget the old times."

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Point Of No Return

Sean Bonniwell
Rest In Peace

I feel quite fortunate to have corresponded on and off with Sean Bonniwell for a brief period of time, sparked by him digging a review I wrote of a Music Machine reissue (Ignition, to be precise). He was really a one of a kind person, and a truly underrated and beyond-gifted songwriter. His incredible body of work speaks more than a mere eulogy ever could... May he rest in peace.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A.I.T.A. Hall Of Fame: Peter Laughner


"Ain't it fun when you know that you're gonna die young."

To most who dig deep into rock history and search for its underbelly, Peter Laughner is remembered as a founding member of Cleveland's legendary 1970s proto-punks Rocket From The Tombs and Pere Ubu, as well as a gifted rock critic from the days when they really mattered. To me, Laughner's legacy lies just as much in the solo acoustic cuts he laid down, many recorded the night before he left this mortal coil due to years of alcohol and drug abuse (you can almost taste the speed on all four takes of his manic "Ridin' On Ice"). "First Taste Of Heartache" and both versions of the brilliant "The Junkman" — recorded on that fateful night — belong on the same playlist as the sonic-ache/tragi-folk as put forth by the likes of Nick Drake, Tim Hardin, Townes Van Zandt, and Gary Higgins, though with a slant which is more Lou Reed than Bob Dylan. Speaking of Dylan, Laughner's cracked take on "Visions Of Johanna" is the ultimate cover version of what is one of Zimmy's true lyrical masterpieces. On these tapes he also showed his love of deep blues and poetry, via heartfelt covers of the great Robert Johnson, and songs paying tribute to two of the greatest poets to have walked this green earth... All this from a man who died at 24 years old.

Download: "Amphetamine" * • Download: "Ain't It Fun" *
Download: "Visions Of Johanna" • Download: "32.20 Blues"
Download: "Me And The Devil Blues" • Download: "Baudelaire"
Download: "Dear Richard" ** • Download: "The Junkman 1"
Download: "Ridin' On Ice 2" • Download: "The Junkman 2"

Laughner with RFTT
** Laughner with Friction

Monday, December 19, 2011

Quote Of The Week

"Without free, self-respecting, and autonomous citizens, there can be no free and independent nations. Without internal peace, that is, peace among citizens and between the citizens and their state, there can be no guarantee of external peace. A state that denies its citizens their basic rights becomes a danger to its neighbors as well: internal arbitrary rule will be reflected in arbitrary external relations. The suppression of public opinion, the abolition of public competition for power and its public exercise opens the way for the state power to arm itself in any way it sees fit."

Friday, December 16, 2011

Christopher Hitchens, R.I.P.

"Take the risk of thinking for yourself, much more happiness,
truth, beauty, and wisdom will come to you that way." -Hitch

Christopher Hitchens was a hero (a word I reserve for very few), and I am absolutely devastated by his death. Reading Letters To A Young Contrarian in 2001 was a real life-changer, and after that I devoured pretty much every word the man wrote, not to mention tried to watch all his debates and TV appearances. Even if I didn't always agree with him, I always respected his opinion and marveled at his wit, compassion, bravery, incredible depth of knowledge, style, and love of the arts. Through Hitchens, I dove full-on into Orwell's writings (with much reward), fell in love with the poetry of Auden, and questioned stances I once held with great pride. I also felt like someone "got me" and articulated some of my deepest held views better than I ever could have hoped to have done on my own. Though he gave so very much, his loss is truly immeasurable.

Read: A Great Journalist’s Greatest Magazine Stories (via Longform)
Read: Hitchens Obituaries (via The Richard Dawkins Foundation)
Dig: God Is Not Great (Hitchens documentary trailer)
Dig: Five Great Christopher Hitchens Debates

Thursday, December 15, 2011

220 Years?

"By signing this defense spending bill, President Obama will go down in history as the president who enshrined indefinite detention without trial in U.S. law. In the past, Obama has lauded the importance of being on the right side of history, but today he is definitely on the wrong side." -Kenneth Roth, Human Rights Watch

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Adult Crash

"Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into
the world, he is responsible for everything he does."

From Existentialism Is Humanism, 1946

Monday, December 12, 2011

Quote Of The Week

"The greatest revolution of our generation is the discovery that human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives."

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Wanderer And His Shadow

I found out the morning after. I was in my folks' bedroom, kicking my feet into the blankets while lying on my stomach watching TV, as I did most mornings. My mom had already left for work, and my dad was in the bathroom preparing for the day. As always, the tiny radio he had in there with him was blasting the morning news. I was lost in the world of Fred and Barney when out he walked solemnly, red-eyed and with a face loaded with shaving cream. He told me John Lennon — who was one of my heroes in a time when I still had them — had been shot and killed. I was shocked. I felt like someone I actually knew died. The Beatles, along with Dylan and the Stones, brought me some of my earliest memories of happiness; days when I was content just sitting on the floor in my room alone with a meagre stack of glorious vinyl, listening to the sounds that took me away to other worlds. The moment I found out about Lennon dying also sticks with me as it was the first time I can recall seeing my dad cry, or at least be near tears. I finally saw him as human, and realized that my now-dead hero was also human; all too human.

Post originally titled 30 Years Ago Today, published 12/8/10.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Get It While You Can

Howard Tate
Rest In Peace

"Howard Tate died yesterday. He had been in poor health so it was no surprise to those who knew him. Howard was a great soul singer in that time when 'great soul singer' was a phrase that fit so many. In the late 1960s, he was up against Otis Redding, Sam Cooke, Jackie Wilson, James Carr, Percy Sledge, Joe Tex, Sam & Dave and a whole lot of others." ... Story continues here: It's Not The Singer, It's The Song (Dick Waterman Music Photography)

Dig: Howard Tate (AllMusic bio)