30 April 2011

STRANGE DELIGHT

If you don't have these:

You need to get this:


There's also a fantastic interview with David & Shaky over at tcj.com, or The Comics Journal as we used to call it in olden times.

29 April 2011

FIRST REPUBLIC

I think the Manics put it best back in 1996...

You are so alone in Kensington Palace
We should be content in these damp terraces
Thank you for this view from our council estates
I hope you have really guillotined your own head

I crown myself, myself a king
And declare a first republic
We want to play, yes, we want to play
In burnt out palace ruins

You once gave us war, racism and slavery
Cut out all our tongues and fucked our industry
Now you've revealed something, you're human after all this
But let's clap our hands and fuck our dear princess

I crown myself, myself a king
And declare a first republic
We want to play, yes, we want to play
In burnt out palace ruins

I crown myself, myself a king
And declare a first republic
We want to play, yes, we want to play
In burnt out palace ruins

I crown myself, myself a king
And declare a first republic
We want to play, yes, we want to play
In burnt out palace ruins

28 April 2011

INTO ANOTHER

Okay, if that last one didn't bore you too much, there's yet another interview up at comicbookresources.com...

27 April 2011

CONVERSATION PIECE

If you like comics and you like interviews about comics, then you're in luck, because the first part of a new interview with yrs truly just went up at comicsbulletin.com...

WEDNESDAY GIRL

Bridget Bardot

26 April 2011

TRUE

I read a rumour in a tabloid paper
You said something interesting, denied it later
There was no evidence, they couldn't make it stick
It's on Youtube now and then
But comes down pretty quick
So we stayed up, and we argued all night
If we can't change the world
Let's at least get the charts right
The record buying public should have been voting
The record buying public should have been voting

How can you sleep at night when nobody likes the music we like?
How am I supposed to sleep at night when no one likes the music we write?
Record buying public, we hate them
This is Art Brut vs. Satan
Don't worry, we can take 'em!

On your visa, it says 'entertainer'
You'd better step it up or they're gonna detain you
It's all smoke and mirrors, don't go and see 'em
I wanted rock 'n roll, I got a science museum
So we stayed up, and we argued all night
If we can't change the world
Let's at least get the charts right
The record buying public should have been voting
The record buying public should have been voting

How can you sleep at night when nobody likes the music we like?
How am I supposed to sleep at night when no one likes the music we write?
Record buying public, we hate them
This is Art Brut vs. Satan
Don't worry, we can take 'em!
This is Art Brut vs. Satan
You like pop music and you like pop music
Why do you let them abuse it?
The record buying public

Full marks on my score card
A lesson learnt and learnt hard
Full marks on my score card
A lesson learnt and learnt hard

A brush with Satan can be fatal
We're doing this for you so you'd better be grateful
The record buying public, we hate them
This is Art Brut vs. Satan
The record buying public, we hate them
This is Art Brut vs. Satan
Don't worry, we can take 'em!
This is Art Brut vs. Satan

Art Brut's latest album, Brilliant! Tragic!, is out soon: 23 May (UK), 24 May (US). The cover is by the lovely and talented Jamie McKelvie.

The lyrics above are the magnifcent "Demon's Out!," and it's actually not on this album, but the previous one (Art Brut vs. Satan). They're 100% true.

22 April 2011

YOU NEED WHEELS

Not much to say today, but here's a rather smashing drawing by artist Natalie Nourigat that I meant to post a while ago and somehow didn't.

You can find out more about Natalie over here.

20 April 2011

WEDNESDAY GIRL

Edie Sedgwick

WHAT A DAY THAT WAS

Record Store Day went a little something like this for me this year (records in order of purchase)...

McCoy Tyner - Atlantis (Milestone, 1975)

Cal Tjader - Several Shades of Jade (Verve, 1963)

Jimmy Smith - Got My Mojo Workin' (Verve, 1966)

Ornette Coleman - At the "Golden Circle" Stockholm, Vol. One (Blue Note, 1966)

Ornette Coleman - At the "Golden Circle" Stockholm, Vol. Two (Blue Note, 1966)

Bobby Hutcherson - Dialogue (Blue Note, 1965)

Charles Mingus - Blues & Roots (Atlantic, 1960)

Charles Mingus - Mingus Ah Um (1959)

Charles Mingus - Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus (Impulse, 1964)

Thelonious Monk - It's Monk's Time (1964)

Cal Tjader Quintet (Fantasy, 1956)

Hank Crawford - More Soul (Atlantic, 1961)

Jimmy Smith - Rockin' the Boat (Blue Note, 1963)

Gil Evans - Out of the Cool (Impulse, 1961)

The O'Jays - Full of Soul (Sunset, 1968)

The Smiths - Bigmouth Strikes Again 12" single (Rough Trade, 1986)

Miles Davis - Quiet Nights (Columbia, 1963)

Big Star - #1 Record (Ardent, 1972)

Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane (Jazzland, 1961)

Don Byrd & Gigi Grice - Modern Jazz Perspective (Columbia, 1957)

The Tears - Lovers 7" single (Independiente, 2005)

Led Zeppelin (Atlantic, 1969)

Nirvana - Nevermind (DGC, 1991)

Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues/Grown Ocean 12" single (Sub Pop, 2011)

Ornette Coleman - Free Jazz (Atlantic, 1961)

John Coltrane - Olé (Atlantic, 1961)

Freddy Hubbard - The Body & The Soul (Impulse, 1963)

I managed to hit six stores: Amoeba Berkeley, Rasputin Berkeley, Groove Merchant, Streetlight SF, Amoeba SF and Recycled Records, but I made the vast majority of my purchases at Amoeba Berkeley, where they unveiled one of the most amazing collection of jazz albums I've ever seen. (The images above are all from the Internet, but believe you me, those first 14 records look almost unbelievably close to new.) Every shop I visited was full of people and in some cases, there was a wait to check out, so at least in the Bay Area, Record Store Day 2011 was a huge success. You probably have to have the vinyl bug to really appreciate it, but it was an all-around fantastic day. If you made it out to your local record stores, I hope you had luck finding whatever records you're looking for, and just as much fun as I did!

19 April 2011

ILLUMINATION

Posting links to other articles is really the laziest form of blogging, but a friend forwarded this article from the East Bay Express to me and I think it's "must" reading. A large majority of Americans have been conned by Republicans, the Tea Party and the Neo-Con propaganda machine into believing that lowering taxes for the wealthy actually benefit the middle and working classes by creating jobs. It's bullshit, and there are now roughly 30 years of statistics to back up the fact that supply side, trickle down economics simply do not work.

We live in a strange world when working people can be persuaded that the Republican Party's current drive to ruthlessly cut spending and destroy labor unions' right to collective bargaining is good for the country. That world seems even stranger still when one considers the G.O.P.'s continued insistence that it's the liberal left intent on fomenting class warfare.

Maybe some people don't quite get what class warfare looks like, but it more or less works like this: The Republican Party has zero interest in reducing deficits. Instead, they want to cut off funding to the government agencies that regulate corporations and destroy the labor unions that protect workers so they can reward the rich with more tax breaks. They do this under the guise of fiscal prudence, claiming that gutting the federal programs that millions of American need just to get by and cutting taxes to the rich will increase job creation and stimulate economic growth. It won't. More Americans will be pushed to the brink of poverty and lose their health care coverage, their jobs and their homes. The middle class will continue to shrink, while the working poor get ever poorer and the richest amongst us get even richer.

During the last decade, President Bush pushed through a series of tax cuts that rewarded the nation's highest tax bracket at a time when our country had just embarked on two expensive and ill-advised wars. He claimed he was pulling us back from the precipice of economic collapse. But were new jobs created? Was the deficit reduced? No, the deficit continued to skyrocket and people continued to lose jobs, but Bush and his cohorts continued to work overtime giving their corporate masters what they craved: Higher dividends and a better bottom line. Worked out great for them until the financial crisis hit in 2008.

It's not hard to follow the money. Republicans don't want to cut spending because it's going to dramatically reduce the deficit, they want to cut because the programs they cripple will then be unable to effectively regulate big business. The Republicans can then claim they cut spending while the corporations who underwrite their campaigns save big. Ordinary people, the working men and women across this fine land, will be the losers, driven further and further into the black hole of economic despair.

That's how class warfare works, and you know what? We're losing.

Anyway, that's me ranting.

You can read that East Bay Express article over here.

BAR ITALIA

These are from a few years ago and not my most recent trip, but here are several attempts at getting a decent shot of the legendary Soho cafe immortalized in song by Jarvis Cocker and Pulp. The scooters were a happy accident...

Bar Italia, 1949

17 April 2011

AS GOOD AS IT GETS

Amoeba Music, 1997

15 April 2011

REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL

Tomorrow is the 4th annual Record Store Day, and if you're living in the San Francisco Bay Area, you're in luck, because there are a number of great shops participating in the event. If you can't make it to all of them, try to at least visit one – we have some of the best record stores in the country here and they deserve all the support they can get!

1-2-3-4 GO! RECORDS
423 40th St.
Oakland

510.985.0325

AMOEBA MUSIC
2455 Telegraph Ave.
Berkeley

510.549.1125

1855 Haight St.
San Francisco

415.831.1200

AQUARIUS RECORDS
1055 Valencia St.
San Francisco

415.647.2272

DOWN HOME MUSIC
10341 San Pablo Ave.
El Cerrito

510.525.2129

GROOVE MERCHANT RECORDS
687 Haight St.
San Francisco

415.252.5766

GROOVES VINYL ATTRACTIONS
1797 Market St.
San Francisco

415.436.9933

MOD LANG
6328 Fairmount Ave.
El Cerrito

510.486.1880

RASPUTIN MUSIC
2401 Telegraph Ave.
Berkeley

69 Powell St.
San Francisco

800.350.8700

RECYCLED RECORDS
1377 Haight St.
San Francisco, CA

415.626.4075

STREETLIGHT RECORDS
2350 Market St.
San Francisco

415.282.8000

And you can find more information about Record Store Day at recordstoreday.com.

14 April 2011

THE SECOND TIME AROUND

If you were lucky enough to pick Spearmint singer and songwriter Shirley Lee's solo debut back in 2009, you'll be heartened to hear that his second long player is due out this summer – and it's a 30-track double album. Winter Autumn Summer Spring will be available digitally, on double CD and heavyweight double vinyl as of June 13, and it sounds like Shirley will be playing some solo acoustic shows around the same time.

Track listing is as follows:

Disc 1 (Winter Autumn):
1 Maidenhead
2 Death
3 One Day We'll Get Married
4 Coming Home
5 Winter Light
6 The Girl in the Book
7 Hold My Breath
8 The Christmas Present
9 Beachy Head
10 Selfless
11 The Haunted
12 All These Things
13 The Country Darkness
14 We Had Forever
15 In the Photograph

Disc 2 (Summer Spring):
1 I Remember You
2 An Old Cricketer (For John Peel)
3 Suddenly it Was Summer
4 The Coast of Capri
5 The Boy in the Picture
6 Passing Lights
7 Memories of a Summer
8 Tracing it Back
9 Keep Writing Your Dreams Down
10 Tamaki Drive
11 Paris, As You Turned Twenty-Nine
12 We Will Never Be This Young Again
13 Alpine Zoo
14 Good Days and Bad Days
15 I Can Wait

13 April 2011

BRIAN ENO

Coming soon....

WEDNESDAY GIRL

Mireille Mathieu

10 April 2011

SUNDAY'S PRETTY ICONS

Natalie Wood & Steve McQueen