Lester Bangs – Free Jazz / Punk Rock (1980)


“In a New York City nightclub, a skinny little Caucasian whose waterfall hairstyle and set of snout and lips make him look like a sullen anteater takes the stage, backed up by a couple of guitarists, bass, horn section, drummer and bongos. Most of his back-up is black, and they know their stuff: it’s pure James Brown funk, with just enough atonal accents to throw you off. The trombone player, in fact, looks familiar, and sounds amazing: you look a bit closer, and of course, that’s Joseph Bowie, bother of Lester, both of them avant-garde jazzmen of repute. But then the anteater begins to sing, in a hoarse yowl that sounds more like someone being dragged naked through the broken glass and oily rubble of a back-alley than even the studied abrasiveness of most punk rock vocalizations. The songs are about contorting yourself, tying other people up and leaving them there, and how the singer doesn’t want to be happy. After a while he picks up an alto sax, and out come some of the most hideous flurries of gurgling shrieks heard since the mid-Sixties glory days of ESP-Disk records. The singer/saxophonist’s name is James Chance, and you have been watching the Contortions. Across town in another club, what looks like the standard rock ‘n’ roll lineup saunters onto a stage set right in the floor, making it impossible for anybody in the room except those at the very front to see. …”
Not Bored

This Is His Music


“The jazz world came out last week to mourn the loss of Ornette Coleman, the  saxophonist, band leader, and composer, who died on Thursday at the age of 85. Coleman was lauded as a rule-breaker and visionary who, despite initially hostile reactions from many of his peers, moved jazz past bebop conventions and into the ‘free’ explorations of the 1960s and beyond. Without Coleman, John Coltrane’s final years might have sounded very different, as would Miles Davis’ electric period, and the entire free-improvisation world down to today. … What helped make Coleman more broadly significant is that his revolution radiated beyond the boundaries of jazz to young seekers through the decades in every musical form. Musicians are widely aware of this, as reflected in the list of performers at a tribute concert in Brooklyn in 2014 that would turn out to be his last performance, who included Patti Smith, Laurie Anderson, Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth, Nels Cline of Wilco, members of Morocco’s Master Musicians of Jajouka, and even Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. But non­–jazz listeners tend to be less cognizant of it. …”
Slate (Video)

Marquee Moon – Television (1977)


Marquee Moon is the debut album by American rock band Television. It was released on February 8, 1977, by Elektra Records. In the years leading up to the album, Television had become a prominent act on the New York music scene and generated interest from a number of record labels, eventually signing a record deal with Elektra. The group rehearsed extensively in preparation for Marquee Moon before recording it at A & R Recording in September 1976. It was produced by the band’s frontman Tom Verlaine and sound engineer Andy Johns. For Marquee Moon, Verlaine and fellow guitarist Richard Lloyd abandoned contemporary punk rock‘s power chords in favor of rock and jazz-inspired interplay, melodic lines, and counter-melodies. Verlaine’s lyrics combined urban and pastoral imagery, references to Lower Manhattan, themes of adolescence, and influences from French poetry. He also used puns and double entendres to give his songs an impressionistic quality in describing his perception of an experience. Marquee Moon was met with widespread acclaim and was hailed by critics as an original musical development in rock music. …”
Wikipedia
Television’s Punk Epic “Marquee Moon,” 40 Years Later (Video!!)
Inside the Song: Television Shines Under the ‘Marquee Moon’ (Video)
How Television Made ‘Marquee Moon,’ the Best Punk Guitar Album Ever
YouTube: Marquee Moon full Album

Video 50 – Robert Wilson (1978)


“Video 50 is an extraordinary video sketchbook, a highly original, visually dramatic and frequently humorous collection of one hundred abbreviated ‘episodes’ produced for television. Unfolding as a series of thirty-second vignettes, this enigmatic essay in style is characterized by a deadpan theatricality, symbolist imagery, surrealist juxtapositions and repetition of key visual motifs. Indelible images, precisely composed — a man teetering above a waterfall, a floating chair, a winking eye, a parrot against the New York skyline — are accompanied by an ‘architectural’ sound score that includes spoken ‘phonetic patterns’ rather than words. Fusing his surprising visual logic and rhythms with unexpected temporal manipulations, Wilson creates a work of startling wit and poetry. — EAI …”
UbuWeb (Video)
‘Robert Wilson: Video 50’ installation redefines the nature of filmmaking

The B-52’s – Full Concert – 11/07/80 – Capitol Theatre


“… This is a terrific document of the group shortly after the 2nd album release. They play the 2nd album in it’s entirety as well as most of the first album. It’s b&w, but well lit, good audio and every second of it is here. The original lineup (they look so young!) bursting with creativity on their first tour as headliners. Fred Schneider – vocals, keyboards, glockenspiel, various toys. Cindy Wilson – vocals, percussion. Ricky Wilson – guitar. Kate Pierson – vocals, keyboards, bass. Keith Strickland – drums.”
YouTube: The B-52’s – Full Concert – 11/07/80 – Capitol Theatre

Fab 5 Freddy’s Latest Cultural Coup? ‘The Archive of the Future’


“When he was hopscotching between segregated poles of 1970s and ’80s New York — the uptown of Grandmaster Flash and the Rock Steady Crew; the downtown of Andy Warhol and Blondie — brokering the kind of cultural exchange that would pave the way for hip-hop’s eventual takeover, Fred Brathwaite, better known as Fab 5 Freddy, never kept a consistent diary. Instead, decades before social media, he documented the events of his daily life on film, deploying either a compact point-and-shoot camera or a Hi8 camcorder that he always kept at the ready. … As a sought-after graffiti artist, music video director, film producer and the original host and creative force behind ‘Yo! MTV Raps,’ Fab 5 Freddy’s lens produced a panorama of future cultural landmarks of New York and beyond, revealing an era when hierarchies of race, class and taste in art were beginning to scramble. His personal photographs and videos, and the narratives they tell, comprise much of a career-spanning archive that was recently acquired by the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, part of the New York Public Library. …”
NY Times

A Guide to The Residents


“On a Saturday afternoon in early June, the sidewalk outside the historic TLC Chinese Theatre in Hollywood is teeming with street performers dressed as pop culture icons. Spider-Man, Marilyn Monroe and Elvis mingle with tourists. A man in an old-timey paper hat sells popsicles from a cart, standing atop a courtyard embedded with cement handprints from the likes of Steven Spielberg and the Marx Brothers. Meanwhile, in the lobby of the theater, dozens of people are lining up to see a documentary about a band of timeless figures of a more underground stripe. The movie is called Theory of Obscurity: A Film about The Residents, and as the title suggests, it covers the sprawling, 40-plus year history of one of America’s weirdest musical groups. Based out of San Francisco, The Residents moved from humble beginnings in their hometown of Shreveport, Louisiana, and became celebrated for their groundbreaking experiments in avant-garde music, electronic composition, sonic storytelling, and multimedia. Throughout, the Residents have rejected the usual trappings of the rock star persona, opting instead to preserve their mystique and independence through anonymity, misdirection and giant eyeball-and-top-hat masks. …”
Red Bull Music Academy Daily (Video)
The Quietus: The Strange World Of… The Residents – Homer Flynn Interviewed (Video)