jueves, 17 de septiembre de 2020

Kaka De Luxe

Kaka de Luxe was a punk band founded in Madrid at the end of 1977 and composed by Fernando Márquez "El Zurdo", Manolo Campoamor, Carlos Berlanga, Enrique Sierra, Alaska and Nacho Canut. They started as a group of cartoonists and fanzine people in 1977 and later on they thought about the idea of forming a group to get money, a punk rock band. 

In 1978 the band recorded an EP with four songs, entitled 'Kaka de Luxe'. In 1982, after the dissolution of the band founded by Fernando Márquez, Paraíso, the label released an EP entitled 'Kaka de Luxe/Paraíso' collecting six songs from the two bands. In 1983 the Chapa Discos and Zafiro labels decided to release an album with all the songs and demos of Kaka de Luxe named 'Las Canciones Malditas'.

The band rejoined at the request of Paloma Chamorro for the TVE show "La Edad de Oro". Kaka de Luxe was a breeding ground for some of the most representative characters of the Madrid scene, such as the plastic artist Manolo Campoamor who together with Alaska, Carlos Berlanga and Nacho Canut formed Alaska y Los Pegamoides and later Alaska y Dinarama. Nacho Canut formed with Eduardo Benavente Paralisis Permanente. Fernando Márquez led Paraíso and La Mode. Enrique Sierra, Manolo Campoamor and Carlos Berlanga with Javier Furia and Herminio Molero created the germ of what would become Radio Futura, although only Enrique would join the first official formation. [SOURCE: WIKIPEDIA

martes, 15 de septiembre de 2020

The Heartbreakers

Shortly after the disintegration of The New York Dolls in 1975, guitarist Johnny Thunders and drummer Jerry Nolan formed The Heartbreakers (not to be confused with Tom Petty's Heartbreakers). The original lineup consisted of the duo plus former Television bassist Richard Hell. The group played regularly in New York City, becoming part of the early CBGB punk scene. Thunders assumed the vocal duties, while the music was quite comparable to the trashy rock that the Dolls patented, except that just about every song was about either the pursuit of the opposite sex or drugs (all the bandmembers were addicted to hard drugs, so much so that at one point, Thunders considered changing the band's name to "the Junkies"). 

Hell's tenure in the band didn't last long, especially when it became clear that Thunders was the leader of the group, and there would be little room for Hell's original compositions (he would soon resurface as the leader of Richard Hell & the Voidoids). Taking Hell's place in the group was Billy Rath, and a second guitarist, Walter Lure, was welcomed aboard as well. Although The Heartbreakers didn't have a recording contract, they were offered a slot as part of the Anarchy Tour (alongside such Dolls disciples as The Sex Pistols, The Clash, and The Damned) in the U.K. during the fall of 1976. The tour was banned at most dates due to the public's preconceived notion of punk, but it succeeded in creating a buzz overseas for The Heartbreakers, resulting in a recording contract with the Track label. 

The group's debut album, 1977's 'L.A.M.F.' (short for the phrase "Like a Mother F*cker"), failed to catapult Thunders and his cohorts to the same commercial heights that the other bands on the Anarchy Tour were enjoying, but has subsequently gone on to become one of punk's all-time classics, spawning the drug abuse anthem 'Chinese Rocks' (a song co-penned by the Ramones' bassist, Dee Dee Ramone). The quartet's hard-living lifestyle quickly began to take its toll on the group, as they split shortly thereafter, but they would reunite from time to time over the years, right up until Thunders' drug-related death in 1991 (with Nolan following his longtime partner in crime to the grave in 1992). Numerous live Heartbreakers CDs have been issued over the years (such as 'Live at Max's Kansas City '79', 'Live at the Lyceum Ballroom 1984', and 'What Goes Around', plus a remixed version of their debut, retitled 'L.A.M.F. Revisited', among countless others), as well as a video/DVD that documented a 1984 reunion show in England, 'Dead or Alive'. Guitarist Walter Lure died on August 22, 2020, after a brief struggle with cancer; he was 71 years old. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

lunes, 14 de septiembre de 2020


XXOO, also known as We Are They Who Ache With Amorous Love was a Half Japanese short-lived related band formed by David Fair (Drums, Bass), brother of Jad Fair, John Dreyfuss (Percussion [Chimes, Wood Block]), Mark Jickling (Guitar, Bass), and Jad Fair (Vocals, Guitar, Drums, Bass). Jad Fair is a pioneering musician and a world-famous outsider artist. He is best known as the co-founder and front man for the band Half Japanese. His recording credits include collaborations with Moe Tucker, Daniel Johnston, Kramer, Yo La Tengo and Teenage Fanclub. Jad's artwork is featured on a few of these collaborative efforts and on most of the Half Japanese recordings. His paintings and paper cuttings have been exhibited in Glasgow, New York, Melbourne, Toronto, Berlin, Brighton, Austin, and San Francisco. 

jueves, 10 de septiembre de 2020

Johnny Moped

Without the rise of punk rock, Johnny Moped almost certainly wouldn't have enjoyed their brief fling with success. While the band Johnny Moped (it was also the name of their lead singer) started making noise in 1974, it was the initial explosion of U.K. punk that gave them a context where they made sense and attracted a loyal audience. Their rough-hewn, R&B-tinged rock & roll was traditionalist by punk standards (especially the occasional grandiose guitar figures from Slimy Toad), but Moped's passionate barking vocals and the eccentric bent of his lyrics were punk personified, like a fan who crashed the stage and revealed his own sort of oddball genius. Moped's day in the sun didn't last long, and the 1978 album 'Cycledelic' was their definitive statement as well as the only album they made during their initial run. But after many years away from the stage and the studio, Moped and his mates made a comeback with 2016's 'It's a Real Cool Baby', revealing his songwriting and performing style had changed remarkably little after nearly four decades. 
Hailing from Croydon in South London, the Johnny Moped story began in 1974 when would-be Hells' Angel Paul Halford decided he wanted to be a rock star and changed his name to the more glamorous Johnny Moped. Gathering some like-minded friends and school mates -including Ray Burns on guitar, Fred Berk (aka Colin Mills) on bass and keyboards, Dave Berk (aka Dave Batchelor) on drums, Xerxes (aka John Skinner) on sax and vocals, and Phil Burns (Ray's brother) on additional vocals- the group went through a number of name changes between May 1974 and January 1975. They billed themselves as Johnny Moped and the 5 Arrogant Superstars, Assault and Buggery, The Commercial Band, The Black Witch Climax Blues Band, and Genetic Breakdown before finally settling on Johnny Moped, with a steady lineup of Johnny on vocals, Slimy Toad (aka Simon Fitzgerald) and Ray Burns on guitars, Fred Berk on bass, and Dave Berk on drums. By 1976, Ray Burns had dropped out, adopted the stage name Captain Sensible, and joined The Damned, and for a while Chrissie Hynde played guitar with Moped before she was asked to leave; she enjoyed a far more positive experience as the leader of The Pretenders

Initially, Johnny Moped had to settle for playing pretend gigs in someone's backyard and making lo-fi tapes that few outside their circle of friends would hear, but as London punk began to grow from a tiny cult into a legitimate movement, the band found a home in the new scene, especially as their friends The Damned became one of punk's first breakout acts. By 1977, Johnny Moped had made some of their homebrewed recordings available on cassette "bootlegs," and they were gigging regularly, appearing several times at the Roxy, the first London club dedicated strictly to punk. They shared a bill at the Roxy with Wire, The Buzzcocks, and X-Ray Spex in April 1977; a mobile truck recorded the show, and Moped's "Hard Lovin' Man" would appear on the live sampler 'Live at the Roxy WC2'. Moped's star had risen enough that Chiswick Records, a label whose roster embraced a little bit of pub rock, metal, and punk, signed the band, and their first single, 'No One b/w Incendiary Device', hit the streets in August 1977. In January 1978, the second Moped single arrived, and the A-Side, the witty 'Darling, Let's Have Another Baby', was named Song of the Week by Britain's three weekly music papers -New Musical Express, Melody Maker, and Sounds. By April 1978, the first Johnny Moped album, 'Cycledelic', had come out and the future seemed bright for the band. 

Despite their success, Johnny Moped was destined to be a short-lived band. Johnny's eccentricities made him somewhat undependable, and his wife and mother-in-law didn't care for the band or Johnny's music. After a while, it was hard to guess if Johnny would arrive for concerts or recording sessions, especially with his spouse actively preventing him from leaving the house, and while 'Cycledelic' had become a modest success, it wasn't enough to keep the group from splintering. By the end of 1978, the band was done; Slimy Toad would form a solo project called Slime, Dave Berk sat in as The Damned's drummer when Rat Scabies was unavailable, and Johnny stepped away from music. The band staged occasional reunion shows, and in 1990 they brought out a second album, 'The Search for Xerxes'; the classic Johnny Moped lineup appeared on the sessions with Captain Sensible sitting in, and the album was dominated by songs the group had written in the '70s but never recorded. In 1995, Chiswick brought out 'Basically Johnny Moped', a collection of highlights from their recordings for the label, and the rare cassette-only recordings were compiled on the 2007 album 'Bootlegs, Vols. 1 & 2'. 

Interest in Johnny Moped got a boost in 2013 with the release of a documentary on the band, "Basically, Johnny Moped", which was directed by Fred Burns (Captain Sensible's son) and received positive reviews in the U.K. press. In 2016, the British Damaged Goods label surprised Johnny Moped fans with a reunion album; 'It's a Real Cool Baby' featured Johnny, Slimy Toad, and Dave Berk from the original lineup, joined by bassist Jacko Pistorious and rhythm guitarist Rock 'n' Roll Robot. The Mopeds were back in 2019 with another full-length effort, 'Lurrigate Your Mind'; Marty Love was drummer for the project after Dave Berk dropped out. Damaged Goods also helped document the history of Johnny Moped with 2019's 'Live in Trafalgar Square 1983', taken from tapes of a mid-'80s reunion gig. The same year, another live album appeared, 'Getting Senseless in a Bootleg Liquor Joint: Live at the 100 Club 09.03.18', which showed off how the reunited edition of the group sounded in front of an audience. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

miércoles, 9 de septiembre de 2020

John Zorn

The one word virtually everyone can agree on in any discussion of the work of composer John Zorn is "prolific" in the strictest sense of the definition. Though he didn't begin making records until 1978 ('School', with guitarist Eugene Chadbourne), the recordings under his own name number well over 100, and the sheer number of works he has performed on, composed, or produced easily doubles that number. Zorn's compositional diversity is staggering. He has written elaborate "game pieces" ('Cobra'), fused hardcore punk and avant jazz on 'Spy vs. Spy: The Music of Ornette Coleman' -the first of six recordings with his Naked City band, penned two books of compositions (under the Masada umbrella) in a plethora of styles influenced by the music of his Jewish heritage, penned dozens of soundtracks to independent films performed by groups of virtually every size, solo organ works, chamber pieces, rock, jazz exotica recordings ('Dreamers'), and even songs. He has recorded with a host of international musicians ranging from the obscure to the internationally renowned. He is the founder and owner of the wildly successful Tzadik label -home to modern musicians of most every stripe as well as to his own recordings. Zorn is a cornerstone of New York's fabled and influential downtown scene. He has played with myriad musicians in countless styles. He is also a musical gadfly, a quintessential mirror of 21st century culture. He has mentored countless musicians in the U.S., Europe, and Asia, and has broadened the exposure of many other artists stateside via his Tzadik label. His compositions have been performed by hundreds of artists, including The Kronos Quartet, Medeski, Martin & Wood, Pat Metheny and Frank London. He has been the subject of books and documentary films. 

Zorn was born in New York in 1953. His parents and brother were avid music fans all; from an early age he was exposed to jazz, classical music, doo wop, country, and rock & roll. In addition, being a child of the '50s he was exposed to the music of television via its various program themes and especially cartoon music, which influenced him early on, and continues to. Zorn's musical education began in adolescence, studying guitar and flute. He was exposed to European and American vanguard classical music in adolescence and was affected deeply by it. He also reportedly played bass in a surf band in his teens. He studied composition at Webster College in St. Louis, where he was exposed to the music of free jazz, and claims he picked up the alto saxophone after hearing Anthony Braxton's seminal recording 'For Alto' in 1969. Zorn's early influences and experiments in integrating free jazz, improvisation, 20th century classical, and cartoon music can be heard on the album 'First Recordings 1973', released by Tzadik in 1995. 

Zorn dropped out of college, moved to Manhattan, and began hanging out with other improvisers and jazz musicians. He also began composing in earnest, but with his requisite sense of humor. His early compositions and recordings were all "game pieces" named after, well, games. They include "Baseball and Lacrosse" (1976); "Dominoes, Curling, and Golf" (1977); "Cricket and Fencing" (1978), and "Pool and Archery" (1979). His most enduring and influential game piece, 'Cobra' (1984), was issued in 1987 on the Hat Hut imprint; subsequent recordings of the work were released in 1992, 1994, and 2002, and it has been performed many times. These works were complete with cards, hand signs, cues, and strategies, and could employ the use of many musicians. His smaller group works are documented on 'Locus Solus' (1983). He issued two completely solo albums of pieces for duck calls in 'The Classic Guide to Strategy'. Most of these were issued on his own Parachute imprint. 

The first larger public acclaim for Zorn's work occurred when he signed with the Warner Bros. Nonesuch imprint in 1984, and released 'The Big Gundown: John Zorn Plays the Music of Ennio Morricone'. He later issued two similar tribute recordings, 'Spillane' (in tribute to the crime author) and 'Spy vs. Spy: The Music of Ornette Coleman', where he performed Coleman's works in thrashing hardcore punk style (most pieces lasted only a minute or two) in a quintet with Tim Berne playing the other alto, drummers Joey Baron and Michael Vatcher, and bassist Mark Dresser. The album was praised by some and raised howls of often vicious criticism, ironically mirroring, of course, the same kind of treatment given Coleman himself when he appeared on the scene in the '50s. Zorn followed this with the self-titled recording by a new band he put together called Naked City, with guitarist Bill Frisell, Baron, bassist Fred Frith, and keyboardist Wayne Horvitz. This band combined everything from punk and jazz to funk and improvisation in a unit that could play beautifully articulated and complex melodies composed by Zorn and let loose with fury and reckless abandon. Only this debut appeared on Nonesuch; four other studio recordings and a live album were issued on a variety of labels in both the United States and Japan until Zorn released them as a box set in the early 21st century. Also during this period, Zorn issued his first compilation of film scores; it was his final effort for Nonesuch. 'Film Works 1986-1990' was the first installment in a series that numbers almost two-dozen volumes. 

During this period, Zorn was releasing albums on various European and Japanese imprints, including Avant and DIW. These include 'Ganryu Island' and his vanguard jazz-metal group PainKiller with bassist Bill Laswell and drummer Mick Harris. Zorn continued releasing records of many stripes in the '90s, including the harrowing 'Kristallnacht', his first engagement with his Jewish heritage on record that later became part of the Radical Jewish Culture series on Tzadik, a musical and cultural movement Zorn helped to found and steer. It radicalized him and prepared the way for Masada, a jazz quartet modeled after Coleman's original quartet. The band included Zorn's alto, Dave Douglas on trumpet, Baron on drums, and bassist Greg Cohen. The group issued ten limited-edition studio recordings beginning with 'Alef' (the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, though they didn't follow consecutively). They also released a handful of live dates from various places on their groundbreaking and widely acclaimed world tour. Zorn's compositions by this time had begun to incorporate Coleman's ideas of melody with Jewish folk music and improvisation. 

Zorn established the Tzadik label in New York -after what he considered to be a disastrous relationship with Warner and Nonesuch- to control his own destiny as a recording artist, producer, and composer, and has since purchased back all of his masters from Warner/Nonesuch. Tzadik has been the flagship of the Radical Jewish Culture movement, and has also introduced many important composers and musicians, as well as younger talents first arriving on the scene from all over the world. According to legend, no title has ever lost money -which is saying a lot since there are literally hundreds of releases in its catalog. 

Zorn's own releases throughout the '90s and into the 21st century include many hallmarks of his career: his chamber pieces, 'Bar Kohkba' (1996) and 'The Circle Maker' (1998); the first recordings from his Masada Songbook series; a larger work, 'Aporias: Requia for Piano & Orchestra' (1999); 'String Quartets' (1999); the fabulous 'Cartoon / S&M' album (2000), and 'Madness, Love and Mysticism' (2001). Also in 2001, after a steady string of issues of his film scores, Masada recordings, and his more classically oriented works, he surprised listeners again with 'The Gift', an album that showcased his own love for exotica, influenced by the music of Martin Denny, Les Baxter, and Esquivel, among others. The set was played by a group that included all the members of Masada, percussionist Cyro Baptista, Jamie Saft, Ned Rothenberg, Mike Patton, Trevor Dunn, and others. The ninth volume of Zorn's Film Works series was issued in 2001 as well; it was the score for the award-winning film 'Trembling Before G_D', a documentary about gay Hasidic (Orthodox) Jews. 

The results of Zorn's 50th birthday celebration (which occurred in 2003) were released in 2004, capturing a month-long series of live concerts for Tzadik releases. Many of these are indispensable; they include 'Masada Guitars', 'Masada String Trio: 50th Birthday Celebration, Vol. 1', the debut of Electric Masada (an intermittent group that includes Zorn, guitarist Marc Ribot, Saft, Baptista, Ikue Mori, drummers Baron and Kenny Wollesen, and Dunn), a proper Masada quartet reunion, and many others. 

Since that time, Zorn has won a MacArthur Foundation "genius grant" (2006) and has released recordings of his own works along three different themes -with some exceptions, of course. The first two involve the continuation of the Film Works documentation project and getting his "occult" works -influenced and inspired by mystics and often controversial historical figures and dominated most of all by the inspiration of Aleister Crowley- on tape and released. The occult works are documented most importantly by three recordings: 2006's 'Moonchild' and 'Astronome', with a band comprised of vocalist Patton, Baron, and Dunn; and 2007's 'Six Litanies for Heliogabalus', with Mori and Zorn added to the trio. The third area of concentration, and perhaps most important, is the documentation of his second book of Masada compositions entitled "Book of Angels". Since 2005 over ten volumes of this series have been recorded by a variety of artists. They include recordings by Saft ('Astaroth'); The Masada String Trio ('Azazel'); Koby Israelite ('Orobas'); The Bar Kohkba Sextet ('Lucifer'), and Medeski, Martin & Wood ('Zaebos'). 

In 2008, Zorn released 'The Dreamers', a beautiful follow-up to 'The Gift' recorded by a small group that included Ribot, Saft, Baron, Dunn, and Baptista with help from Wollesen on vibes. Zorn performs a bit on it as well. The recording combines his deep appreciation for film noir and exploitation movie soundtracks, surf music, incidental commercial music, and library records, among other things. He also issued another recording for his Moonchild ensemble entitled 'The Crucible', but it differed from earlier offerings for the unit in that its compositions were informed by the improvisations of the original Masada group. Zorn played alto with vocals by Patton, drums by Baron, and bass by Dunn, with Ribot helping out on the hinge piece "9x9." This was followed by the stellar sequel 'O'o' in 2009 with the same band. 'Femina' also appeared in 2009. The album is a four-part composition and a tribute of sorts to women in the arts, returning to the card-file method of Zorn's early middle period of composition and featuring an all-female sextet, including pianist Sylvie Courvoisier, violinist Jennifer Choi, and Mori on her trademark laptop. In 2010, Zorn continued to explore the feminine and its place in mysticism and myth with 'The Goddess: Music for the Ancient of Days', another chapter of his "In Search of the Miraculous" series of compositions. As a working strategy, it combines minimalism and the card-file system that makes for quick changes in dynamic and texture. The performers of this work are his ever-expanding Alhambra Ensemble, featuring soloists Carol Emanuel on harp and guitarist Marc Ribot

Zorn also used the card file system in his tribute to William Burroughs, entitled 'Interzone', with key members of his extensive working crew including Baptista, Dunn, John Medeski, Mori, Ribot, and Wollesen. Zorn played alto on the date. Also in 2010, The Dreamers ensemble reassembled to record 'Ipos: The Book of Angels, Vol. 14'. It was quickly followed by 'Baal: The Book of Angels, Vol. 15', performed by The Ben Goldberg Quartet, and 'Haborym: The Book of Angels, Vol. 16', by The Masada String Trio. The composer also released another chapter in his growing body of compositions informed by esoteric spiritual practices and ritual magic, with the elliptically lyric 'In Search of the Miraculous', with an ensemble that included electric bassist Shanir, Rob Burger on piano and organ, acoustic bassist Greg Cohen, Ben Perowsky on drums, and Wollesen on vibes. Zorn kicked off 2011 with the release of 'Caym: The Book of Angels, Vol. 17', recorded by Baptista's Banquet of the Spirits, and 'Nova Express', the companion volume to 'Interzone', issued under his own name and featuring the quartet of Medeski, Wollesen, Baron, and Dunn

Zorn added to his body of mystical compositions with a classically influenced composition work entitled 'At the Gates of Paradise', also featuring the quartet heard on 'Nova Express'. It included elements of minimalism, modal jazz, and a nod to Vince Guaraldi, all encompassed in Zorn's own trademark sense of lyric harmony. The album is the perfect bookend to 'In Search of the Miraculous'. Zorn kicked off 2012 with the release of 'Mount Analogue', a long-form file card piece inspired by George Ivanovitch Gurdjieff. In the studio, Zorn conducted Cyro Baptista's Banquet of the Spirits group with Wollesen on vibes. In March, he formed a chamber group of harpist Carol Emmanuel, Frisell, and Wollesen to record 'The Gnostic Preludes: Music of Splendor.' He also created an original score for a Polish stage production of 'Nosferatu'. The recorded version, featuring Zorn on saxophone, bassist Bill Laswell, keyboardist Rob Burger, and percussionist Kevin Norton, was released in May of 2012, along with the sixth installment in the Moonchild project entitled 'Templars: In Sacred Blood', featuring Patton, Baron, Dunn, and Medeski

In August 2012, Zorn issued 'Rimbaud', a series of four classical compositions that were all named for works by the 19th century French Symbolist poet. Later that year, he issued 'The Concealed', a further recording of mystical works played by The Nova Express quartet augmented by Mark Feldman and Erik Friedlander. Zorn reconvened Emmanuel, Frisell, and Wollesen in late 2012 to work on 'The Mysteries', which was released in March 2013. 'Dreamachines', the chamber work follow-up to 'Nova Express', was issued in July, performed by the same ensemble that appeared on the previous offering. The year 2013 also saw the release of '@', a collaborative album of sax/guitar improvisations with fellow N.Y.C. fringe dweller Thurston Moore. In late 2013, Zorn recorded a collaborative set with veteran free jazz trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith and avant-garde trombonist George Lewis; the album, 'Sonic Rivers', was released by Tzadik in 2014, as were two more volumes in the "Book of Angels" series -'Alastor: The Book of Angels, Vol. 21' was performed by Eyvind Kang, 'Adramelech: The Book of Angels, Vol. 22' was cut by Zion 80, and 'Aguares: The Book of Angels, Vol. 23' by Roberto Rodriguez. Zorn also issued a steady series of theme-based projects. More classical oriented works included 'Fragmentations, Prayers & Interjections' for orchestra, and 'The Alchemist', a series of chamber pieces for string quartet and vocal trio. The jazz trio of drummer Tyshawn Sorey, pianist Stephen Gosling, and bassist Greg Cohen recorded 'In the Hall of Mirrors', while 'On Leaves of Grass', a tribute to Walt Whitman, was recorded by Dunn, Medeski, Wollesen, and Baron. These titles accounted for roughly half of Zorn's recorded work that year. 

He led off 2015 with the 'Gomory: The Book of Angels, Vol 25', recorded by the vocal quintet Mycale, which consisted of Ayelet Rose Gottlieb, Malika Zarra, Sara Serpa, and Sofia Rei (they took their name from 'Mycale: The Book of Angels, Vol. 13', issued five years before). Another vocal album was the diverse 'The Song Project' that featured the composer in writing partnerships with Patton, Jesse Harris, and Rei (who also sang on the record), backed by a quintet that combined members of the Moonchild and Dreamers bands. 'Amon: The Book of Angels, Vol. 24' was cut by Klezmerson, and The Dreamers released 'Pellucidar: A Dreamers Fantabula', written especially for them. The composer also released a rare collaboration in Forro Zinho: 'Forro in the Dark Plays Zorn' with the Brazilian jazz-funk group. 

The first half of 2016 began with 'The Painted Bird', with the noisy avant-rock group that combined members of Nova Express and Moonchild bands. It was followed by 'Madrigals (For Six Female Voices)'. While The Nova Express Quintet performed his 'Andras: The Book of Angels, Vol. 28', a jazz trio (bassist Christian McBride, pianist Craig Taborn, and drummer Sorey) recorded the jazz-centric 'Flaga: The Book of Angels, Vol. 27'. Zorn issued a fourth volume of his "Hermetic" organ recitals in the spring. and in June, he wrote 'The Mockingbird' for his Gnostic Trio (Emmanuel, Frisell, and Wollesen). 'There Is No Firmament', a collection of compositions from 2013-2016, arrived in 2017 as did Garth Knox & the Saltarello Trio with 'Leonard: The Book of Angels, Vol. 30' and The Brian Marsella Trio's 'Buer: The Book of Angels, Vol. 31'. In 2018, Zorn returned to playing saxophone on 'In a Convex Mirror' with drummer Ches Smith and electronicist Ikue Mori, and started a Pledge Music campaign to release 'The Book Beri'ah', a various-artists box set collection of the final 92 previously unrecorded compositions in the "Book of Angels" series. 2019 saw the releases of 'Nove Cantici Per Francesco D'Assisi', a suite inspired by the life of Saint Francis of Assisi and performed by Julian Lage, Gyan Riley, and Bill Frisell, and 'Hermetic Organ, Vol. 7: St. John the Divine'. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

martes, 8 de septiembre de 2020

Joe Jackson

David Ian "Joe" Jackson (born 11 August 1954) is an English musician and singer-songwriter. Having spent years studying music and playing clubs, Jackson scored a hit with his first release, 'Is She Really Going Out with Him?', in 1979. This was followed by a number of new wave singles before he moved to more jazz-inflected pop music and had a Top 10 hit in 1982 with 'Steppin' Out'. He is associated with the 1980s Second British Invasion of the US. He has also composed classical music. He has recorded 19 studio albums and received 5 Grammy Award nominations.

Born in Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire, David Jackson spent his first year in nearby Swadlincote, Derbyshire. He grew up in the Paulsgrove area of Portsmouth, where he attended the Portsmouth Technical High School. Jackson's parents moved to nearby Gosport when he was a teenager. Jackson learned to play the violin but soon switched to piano and prevailed on his father to install one in the hall of their Paulsgrove council house. Jackson began playing piano in bars at the age of 16, and he also won a scholarship to study musical composition at London's Royal Academy of Music. 

Jackson's first band, formed in Gosport, was called Edward Bear, later renamed Arms and Legs. The band broke up in 1976 after two unsuccessful singles. He was still known as David Jackson when he joined Arms and Legs, but around this time he picked up the nickname "Joe," based on his perceived resemblance to the puppet character Joe Piano, who was Snoopy in Joe Cool guise playing piano. Jackson then spent some time performing on the cabaret circuit to make money to record a demo. 

In 1978, a record producer heard Jackson's demo tape and signed him to A&M Records. The next year the newly formed Joe Jackson Band released their debut album 'Look Sharp!' A mix of rock, melodic jazz, and new wave, it mined a vein similar to that of contemporaries Elvis Costello and Graham Parker. The album enjoyed wide critical success: in 2013 Rolling Stone magazine named 'Look Sharp!' number 98 in a list of the 100 best debut albums of all time. Some commercial success also followed, as the debut single "Is She Really Going Out with Him?" reached the top 40 in 5 countries, and no. 9 in Canada. 

The Joe Jackson Band released 'I'm the Man' in 1979. The album followed a similar musical pattern, and received good, though not as strong, reviews. It did produce the single 'It's Different for Girls', which became Jackson's highest charting UK single, peaking at no. 5. 'Beat Crazy' followed in 1980. Jackson also collaborated with Lincoln Thompson in reggae crossover.

In 1981, Jackson produced an album for the British power pop group The Keys. 'The Keys Album' was the group's only LP. The Joe Jackson Band toured extensively until it broke up. Jackson subsequently recorded an album of old-style swing and blues tunes, 'Jumpin' Jive', with songs by Cab Calloway, Lester Young, Glenn Miller, and Louis Jordan. The album, and associated single release, was credited to the band "Joe Jackson's Jumpin' Jive".

Jackson's 1982 album 'Night and Day' was his only studio album to reach either the UK or US Top 10, peaking at No. 3 (UK) and at No. 4 (US). Two singles released from the album, "Steppin' Out" and 'Breaking Us in Two', were US top 20 hits. The singles 'Real Men' and 'A Slow Song' referred obliquely to New York City's early 1980s gay culture. "Real Men" also became a top 10 hit in Australia.

By 1984, New York had become Jackson's home base, and he recorded 'Body and Soul' there, an album he later said was "from the point of view of a relative newcomer". Heavily influenced by pop and jazz standards and salsa, it had the US No. 15 hit single 'You Can't Get What You Want (Till You Know What You Want)'.

In 1985 Jackson played piano on Joan Armatrading's album 'Secret Secrets', and in 1986 he collaborated with Suzanne Vega on the single "Left of Center" from "Pretty in Pink"'s soundtrack. Jackson's next album was 'Big World', with all-new songs recorded live in front of an audience instructed to remain silent while music was playing. Released in 1986, it was a three-sided double record; the fourth side consisted of a single centering groove and a label stating "there is no music on this side". The instrumental album 'Will Power' (1987), with heavy classical and jazz influences, set the stage for things to come later, but before he left pop behind, he put out two more albums, 'Blaze of Glory' (which he performed in its entirety during the subsequent tour) and 'Laughter & Lust'. In 1995, Jackson contributed his version of "Statue of Liberty" on a tribute album for the English band XTC called 'A Testimonial Dinner: The Songs of XTC'. 

In the late 1990s Jackson expanded into classical music; he signed with Sony Classical in 1997 and released 'Symphony No. 1' in 1999, for which he received a Grammy for Best Pop Instrumental Album in 2001. In 2000 he released a follow-up album, 'Night and Day II'.

In 2003, he reunited his original quartet for the album 'Volume 4', and a lengthy tour. In 2004, he contributed a cover of Pulp's "Common People" with William Shatner for Shatner's album 'Has Been'. In 2005 he teamed up with Todd Rundgren and the string quartet ETHEL for a tour of the US and Europe. A dedicated smoker, he gave up his New York apartment in 2006 partly in protest over the ascendancy of smoking bans, and made the Berlin neighbourhood Kreuzberg his new home. It was there that he recorded, with longtime collaborators Graham Maby and Dave Houghton, his eighteenth studio album, 'Rain' (Rykodisc, January 2008); the album was followed by a five-month tour.

In 2015, Jackson announced the completion of his follow-up to 2012's 'The Duke' via his official website. The album's title, 'Fast Forward', and track list were confirmed in addition to North American tour dates. The titular first single was released for streaming via his official Soundcloud page. The entire record was briefly posted before being taken down a day later.

On 18 January 2019 Jackson released the album 'Fool', preceded by the songs "Fabulously Absolute", "Strange Land" and "Friend Better". Jackson and the band performed "Fabulously Absolute" on Jimmy Fallon's Tonight Show on 21 January 2019. 'Fool' debuted in the Album Top 20 in Holland, Belgium, Germany and Switzerland. In the US it debuted at #25 in Billboard's Top Album Sales Chart. In the UK it entered the Top 40 Indie Albums Chart at #13. [SOURCE: WIKIPEDIA

lunes, 7 de septiembre de 2020

Jim Carroll

To rock audiences, Jim Carroll's crowning achievement was the near-hit "People Who Died," a brutally emotional punk record saluting the victims of the New York drug culture. In truth, however, Carroll's artistic legacy was considerably more complex and far-ranging -an acclaimed diarist, poet, actor, and spoken word performer, his formative years even served as the subject of the film "The Basketball Diaries". 

The product of a working-class background, Carroll was born and raised in New York City. He was a highly touted basketball prospect, and Jack Kerouac's "On the Road" inspired him to begin keeping a journal at the age of 12; later published in 1978 as "The Basketball Diaries", his early writings vividly chronicled his teenage addiction to heroin, which led him into a life of crime and hustling. By the time he was 16, Carroll was a published poet; 1973's "Living at the Movies" further established his reputation as a prodigy and funded a move to Northern California, where he was finally able to shed his drug habit. 

Inspired by the success of his friend Patti Smith, who also married a background in poetry with a career in rock music, Carroll began writing songs; in 1978, backed by the San Francisco band Amsterdam (comprised of guitarists Terrell Winn and Brian Linsley, bassist Steve Linsley, and drummer Wayne Woods), he cut a handful of demos, and was signed to Rolling Stones Records. Produced by label head Earl McGrath, The Jim Carroll Band's debut album, 'Catholic Boy', appeared in 1980; the subject of significant critical acclaim, it featured "People Who Died," the group's definitive moment. 

After a move back to New York and the replacement of Terrell Winn and Brian Linsley by Paul Sanchez and Jon Tiven, The Carroll Band returned in 1982 with 'Dry Dreams', followed by 1984's 'I Write Your Name', which received lackluster reviews. With his three-record contract fulfilled, Carroll dismissed the group members and resumed his prose and poetry work. After an appearance in the 1985 film "Tuff Turf", he published "The Book of Nods" in 1986 and "Forced Entries: The Downtown Diaries 1971-1973" a year later. During the remainder of the '80s, Carroll balanced his poetry and prose material while writing tracks for other artists such as Blue Öyster Cult ('Club Ninja') and Boz Scaggs ('Other Roads'). He also appeared on spoken word albums by John Giorno's 'Dial-a-Poem Poets'. 

As the 1990s dawned, Carroll was frequently approached to return to music, but he remained firmly dedicated to his spoken word work; his first solo album was 'Praying Mantis' (1991), a collection of spoken word performances, not new songs. While he occasionally performed as a musician, his primary focus remained his literary pursuits. Notably, Carroll was one of the first poet/rockers to break down the barriers between poetry/spoken word and mainstream rock music. He participated in various readings beginning in the mid-'80s, but his 1994 performance on MTV's Unplugged was most moving, with a soon to be legendary poem, "8 Fragments for Kurt Cobain," a mesmerizing tribute. 

In 1993 he published "Fear of Dreaming: The Selected Poems of Jim Carroll". In 1995, both "The Basketball Diaries" and the short story "Curtis' Charm" were adapted into films; he also contributed lyrics and vocals to Rancid's multi-platinum release '...And Out Come the Wolves' (1995). A year later Carroll also contributed to the benefit release 'Home Alive: The Art of Self-Defense', and in 1997 Carroll was one of a number of high-profile writers, musicians, and actors who contributed to the Kerouac tribute album 'Kicks Joy Darkness', where, backed by Sonic Youth's Lee Ranaldo, Patti Smith guitarist Lenny Kaye, and Anton Sanko, he read "Woman." The year 1998 was monumental for Carroll. He released a brand-new collection of poetry in his new book, "Void of Course", as well as returning to rock in his own cathartic way with the release of his first album in nearly 15 years, 'Pools of Mercury'. This combined his classic wounded poetry with song, noting his collaborations with Sanko and Kaye

In 1999, a comprehensive tribute release entitled 'Put Your Tongue to the Rail: The Philly Compilation for Catholic Children' showcased 25 local artists from Philadelphia empowered by the work of Carroll. Two years later, Carroll issued the 'Runaway' EP, which featured live cuts of material from 'Pools of Mercury' and an eclectic cover of Del Shannon's pop hit as the EP's namesake. It turned out to be his last major release, however. He died in September 2009 of a heart attack. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

jueves, 3 de septiembre de 2020

The Moberlys

Long before Seattle was the grunge rock capitol of America, it had a long history of rugged, tough-as-nails rock, beginning in the '60s with garage rock stalwarts The Sonics and The Wailers, and culminating in the '80s with Jim Basnight and the Moberlys, a band that evoked The Beatles and The Rolling Stones at the same time, while turning out some of the decade's finest, if unfortunately obscure, new wave pop. In truth, Seattle is only the beginning and finishing line for the band, the city that gave them their start and to which they finally returned, with a couple other musical hotbeds serving as temporary homes during the middle part of their run. Despite the aggregate's peripatetic career, they accumulated a consistently invigorating, distinctly Seattle body of work that stands as one of the finest collections of mostly unknown songs from the '80s. 

Jim Basnight began playing in the Northwest punk underground in its infancy in the late '70s. He was a young man of 19 years, just out of high school, when he released his first single independently. Although advised that he would need to move to either New York (where he had already spent six months in 1977) or Los Angeles if he really wanted to make a go at a career in rock & roll, Basnight determinedly pressed on despite the naysaying. The single garnered a number of positive reviews and he put together the first lineup of new wave/power pop band The Moberlys. The band recorded their first self-titled album in 1980 and released it on the local indie label Safety First. It was the first full-length to emerge from the scene and earned positive reviews throughout the United States and even more ecstatic raves in Europe. Unfortunately, the band had broken up just prior to the album's release, and Basnight decided to, indeed, try his luck in New York, where he moved in the fall of that year. 

After playing some solo shows and sideman sessions on the back of the critical success of The Moberlys, Basnight decided to put together another version of the band with bassist Charlie Morongell and guitarist Jeremy Bar-Illan, while also putting in a call to his old friend from Seattle, drummer Dave Drewry, to try to pull the group together. They played a number of shows throughout 1981 and 1982 before Drewry decided to move back to Seattle in early 1982. The remaining trio continued with drummer Doug Kelly, playing more frequent gigs at various New York nightclubs and nearly earning a record deal. Internal conflicts, however, caused the exit of Morongell, who was replaced by another Seattle friend of Basnight's, Al Bloch (the brother of future Fastbacks Kurt Bloch), who was willing to relocate. Basnight also put in another call to Drewry, who returned to New York. This unit, however, was short-lived, with Bloch and Drewry both returning within months to Seattle, but not before they were able to record a batch of songs. The remaining duo continued on with another rhythm section for awhile, but by 1983, Basnight had grown tired of the New York scene and he moved to Connecticut for a short time, hooking up with a band called The Stratford Survivors with talented drummer and songwriter Mike Czekaj (with whom he would again hook up later). 

In the winter of 1983, Basnight returned to Seattle. Almost as soon as he arrived back in the city, he called up Drewry again and formed the third and longest-standing Moberlys, along with bassist Toby Kiel and guitarist Glen Oyabe. They released a four-song 12" EP in mid-1984 under the guise Jim Basnight and the Moberlys, and quickly became one of the most talked-about bands in Seattle through a combination of originals and covers of songs by Wayne County, Lou Reed, Johnny Thunders, and Eddie and the Hot Rods, as well as West Coast psychedelic bands like The Flamin' Groovies and The Electric Prunes. Needless to say, they were far too raw to appeal to slick commercial radio (although they did set the scene for the grunge bands that followed). The band recorded another batch of songs in early 1984 and those were collected with much of the rest of Basnight's previous output on the mid-1985 album, 'Sexteen', about which time the scene began to falter, necessitating a move to Los Angeles (and causing some hard feelings in Seattle). 

In L.A., The Moberlys fell into the local scene and soon entered into EMI Studios to record a wealth of demos. Unfortunately, the scene began to mutate to glam metal from rock & roll, a circumstance that was compounded by some bad handling by a manager. After a change in management, the band began getting better gigs and hooked up with R.E.M.'s Peter Buck, a big fan of the original Moberlys album. He played with them several times, and in early 1987 brought them into EMI-America studios to record nearly an album's worth of tracks (some of which surfaced on the later Basnight album, 'Top Pop', the rest on the Pop the Balloon French import Moberlys collection, 'Seattle-New York-Los Angeles'). EMI shortly merged with another label, Manhattan, who fired The Moberlys' A&R man, and promptly dropped the band from the label. The band persevered and continued with various projects, including some more recording. Basnight also began writing with two new partners, Joey Alkes, who had provided The Plimsouls with "A Million Miles Away," and old bandmate Czekaj, who was then drumming with The Fuzztones. Many of those songs later ended up on 'Pop Top' and an album by another Basnight project, The Jim Basnight Thing. The fun had nearly vanished for the band by this time, however, and after a few more personnel changes and a final tour, The Moberlys called it quits in late 1989. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

miércoles, 2 de septiembre de 2020

Jilted John

With its simple melodies and endearing silliness, Jilted John's song of the same name became one of the U.K.'s most popular punk/new wave novelty singles. Written and sung by actor Graham Fellows, "Jilted John" tells the story of an awkward teenager whose girlfriend Julie leaves him for Gordon, a better-looking guy with more money; John spends much of the song in a tantrum flinging insults at the pair ("Gordon is a moron!," etc.). When Manchester indie label Rabid released the song in 1978, demand was so overwhelming that EMI stepped in to handle its distribution. Fellows appeared on several television programs as the Jilted John character, which helped send the single to number four on the U.K. charts. 'Jilted John' was followed by an album, 'True Love Stories', which failed to duplicate the success of its predecessor. Fellows returned to his acting career, which included a stint on the British soap "Coronation Street" and a biographical play about John Lennon. [SOURCE: ALLMUSIC

lunes, 17 de agosto de 2020


Edinburgh post-punks Visitors were active from 1979-1981; the band consisted of brothers John and Derek McVay, pal Colin Craigie and rotating drummers Alan Laing and Keith Wilson. After impressing John Peel with their debut single ‘Electric Heat’, he went on to financial back further recordings and gave them their own Peel Sessions, despite such a limited catalogue. After signing to 4AD, the Edinburgh group called it quits without getting to record their first full-length. [SOURCE: FACT MAGAZINE