Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Being Sucked In Again: A Desperate, Ongoing Love Affair With A British Music Monthly

Ask any music nerd in your life. Once a month, the newsstand unpacks the shipment and places the bible out on the rack. It's usually just about a hundred-and-a-half pages, spined quite sturdily, and oftentimes with a free CD affixed to the cover with some sort of horrific, gluey, snot-esque substance that's embarrassingly fun to play with once plucked off.

Your new issue of MOJO Magazine is here and you will lock yourself in the apartment for hours, draw close the entertainment beverage/substance of choice, put something snappy on the hi-fi and curl up with the finest music magazine in existence today. Phones will not be answered, e-mails unreturned. It will take days to consume fully. The articles are meticulously meaty, serving up satisfyingly in-depth histories and overviews of fantastic music groups and solo artists, and the photography throughout is always top-notch.

For years now, I've been avidly gobbling up MOJO, saving them lovingly in those deeply nerdy magazine collector scum cardboard boxes, and - most amazingly - sifting back through prior issues years later and discovering all sorts of things I'd not noticed my first few leafings-thru. That's the wonderful thing about MOJO, and especially about keeping it always come back to it. You'll be browsing through a copy you hadn't looked at in ages, and you'll stumble upon some huge article on _________ (fill in name of great classic cult band you somehow hadn't been introduced to until fairly recently, any number of them will do) and suddenly, you're sucked in again. Holy shit, how did I miss this the first time? Honestly, how many magazines have much solid repeat reading value whatsoever? I mean, apart from Cat Fancy and Soldier of Fortune?

I'm not gunning for a job offer here, honest, I'm not. I just love me some MOJO, that's all.

This month's issue (April 2006) is something of a mind-blower. We get a five-page retrospective/examination of Wire (finally!), a lovely visit with Morrissey in Rome, a really adorable illustration of the Flaming Lips on page 87 by Steve Klamm (shame about the wretched new album, though, but that's another subject entirely), a engrossing-looking whopper of a piece on one of my absolute teenage heroes, Billy Bragg, and finally, a 15-track CD of British psych nuggets!!

This is a lot of deep awesomeness for a mere $8.99 USD, really.

After even all that excitement, I also found this craziness in the always informative What Goes On! section, and I couldn't wait to share it with you:

Blondie Shoes

"A collaboration between Terry de Havilland and Mosley meets Wilcox using the photography of Mick Rock. Shoes and boots with a sole that prints an image as you walk."

Fucking incredible.

My question is: do these come in a Men's size 13? Please? I'm not really a tranny, nor do I deal with stack heels or strappy crap encircling my ankles all that well, but the thought of leaving a trail of Debbie Harrys behind me is a pretty enticing one.

Mosley meets Wilcox have also collaborated with Mick Rock on the production of this completely insane upholstered Blondie Bench.

"Upholstered bench in a shape taken from a Mick Rock photograph of Blondie."

More information on the Mosley Meets Wilcox / Mick Rock collection (including coffee tables, dishware, and a hanging lamp made of over 2000 translucent guitar picks) can be found here.

And no, despite this unexpected excursion today into grotesque consumerist merch-shilling on my behalf, I haven't forgotten about the MP3, honestly, I haven't. It's just down below, you'll see.

Today's tune is from the aforementioned MOJO Presents...Psych Out! ("15 Nuggets from the scene that inspired Pink Floyd! Starring Donovan, Small Faces, The Move, The Troggs, Kaleidoscope, The Zombies, Procol Harum and more."), April 2006 edition. This track features Brit psych cult hero Keith West, and was originally recorded for the soundtrack of Antonioni's 1996 paranoid pop-art fabulathon "Blow Up".

The In Crowd - Blow Up (MP3, 193kbps (VBR), 2.6MG)

That's just about it for this edition of ETG!...keep it loud and we'll see you again soon...

Monday, March 27, 2006

Do you believe in art?

Sad news last evening, as I learned via messageboard that Nikki Sudden (born Adrian Nicholas Godfrey), of the blindingly-fantastic late 70's proto-post-punk band Swell Maps (and later the Jacobites and a solo career) had died in New York City in the early hours of Sunday morning. As of yet, causes are unknown. Sudden was 49.

Instantly, I heard the sputtering first notes of Swell Maps' "Let's Build a Car" grind into life deep in my brain. Nikki might be gone, but those notes, all of those notes, every single ramshackle Maps tune that sounded like it was gonna just fall apart at any moment, even as it soared into the heavens on a thrilling wave of sweet noise and clatter and drone and fuzz, that stuff's gonna live forever. "Border Country" (my other favorite Maps moment, apart from "Let's Build a Car", easily), "Midget Submarines", "H.S. Art", "Read About Seymour", "Full Moon"...the list of brilliant Swell Maps songs stretches on and on, despite having released a grand total of only four singles and two albums in their career.

I like to imagine that Nikki and his bandmate/brother Epic Soundtracks, who died of unknown causes in 1997, are somewhere fluffier and cloudier than this place, and they're making the most glorious racket possible with their completely kick-ass new band.

Courtesy of the constantly-amazing YouTube, here's a video for Swell Maps' "Let's Build a Car".

Raise a drink to Nikki tonight....