The Rolling Stones – “Some Girls (Deluxe Edition)” (2011)

November 30, 2011 at 5:45 pm (Music, Reviews & Articles, The Rolling Stones)

A Nov. 23rd review of the recent reissue of Some Girls — taken from the PopMatters website and written by Matthew Fiander…

If Some Girls isn’t the best Rolling Stones album—and sure, it’s not—it’s surely the most fascinating in terms of the band’s history and development. It came out in 1978 and was the band’s response to the punk-rock movement that had risen up and railed against the bloat of rock institutions, which by the late ‘70s the Stones had been included in. So Jagger and company took dead aim at the youngsters, even incorporating that loathsome antithesis to punk rock—disco music—into their sound and making it their own.

This going up against the new guard was, for the Stones, both understandable and not. They were, without a doubt, an inspiration to many punk rock bands just like the Beatles were, even if it wasn’t punk to admit it in 1978. So in some ways, the Rolling Stones deciding to “respond” on their new record was little more than posturing. In another way, though, the Stones weren’t exactly responding as a representation of the rock tradition—they weren’t just leaders of the old guard lashing out. Their need to respond was probably a bit more pointed than that, seeing as they were dealing with their own, personal backlash in the mid-‘70s.

Which isn’t to say their albums weren’t well received, or that they didn’t sell a lot of records, but critics—Lester Bangs chief among them—and fans were starting to view the band as safe, comfortable, happy to slouch on the rock throne and give us middle of the road chuggers. After 1972’s Exile on Main Street, the band returned with the more consolidated funk and blues of Goat’s Head Soup. The record has aged well, and showed the band capable of a more nuanced energy, but it also paved the way for 1974’s It’s Only Rock and Roll Read the rest of this entry »

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Glenn Greenwald – “The Roots of the UC-Davis Pepper-Spraying” (2011)

November 27, 2011 at 2:13 pm (Life & Politics, Reviews & Articles)

A very insightful article by Glenn Greenwald, from the Salon website, dated Nov. 20th about the recent disturbing and disgraceful pepper-spraying incident at UC-Davis during a peaceful Occupy Wall Street gathering… 


The now-viral video of police officers in their Robocop costumes sadistically pepper-spraying peaceful, sitting protesters at UC-Davis shows a police state in its pure form. It’s easy to be outraged by this incident as though it’s some sort of shocking aberration, but that is exactly what it is not. The Atlantic’s Garance Franke-Ruta adeptly demonstrates with an assemblage of video how common such excessive police force has been in response to the Occupy protests. Along those lines, there are several points to note about this incident and what it reflects:

(1) Despite all the rights of free speech and assembly flamboyantly guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, the reality is that punishing the exercise of those rights with police force and state violence has been the reflexive response in America for quite some time. As Franke-Ruta put it, “America has a very long history of protests that meet with excessive or violent response, most vividly recorded in the second half of the 20th century.” Digby yesterday recounted a similar though even worse incident aimed at environmental protesters.

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(Various Artists) – “Psych Funk Sa-Re-Ga!: Seminar: Aesthetic Expressions of Psychedelic Funk Music in India 1970-1983” (2011)

November 27, 2011 at 9:00 am (Music, Reviews & Articles)

This review comes from Dusted magazine, Feb. 9, 2011 and was written by Adam MacGregor… 

It’s been around a decade since the Bombay the Hard Way and Bollywood Breaks compilations helped introduce forward-thinking American audiences to the wild landscape of 1970s and ‘80s music from Indian film (colloquially referred to as “Bollywood”). The scant availability of the original soundtracks stateside (except sometimes in the form of imports from your friendly Little India-neighborhood grocery) confer upon CD compilers a great role — and responsibility — in establishing a sound musical ethnography when tasked with filling up a 79-minute program. When the audience includes those who may be completely unfamiliar with the content presented, one is influencing much more than just potential tastes and trends, but beliefs and first impressions, as well.

Psych Funk Sa-Re-Ga! provides a fine overview of the influence of western funk and “out” rock over the music of India (drawn not only from Bollywood soundtracks, but from south Indian film and non-filmi rock bands). And the accompanying 50-page (!!!) booklet contains a dizzying array of rare photographs, biographical information on the composers and musicians, and reproductions of the original LP cover art. However, it’s presented in a faux course-syllabus style that tends to reinforce the idea that there was a definitive and unified “Indian Psych Funk Scene” that existed between 1970 Read the rest of this entry »

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President Obama’s Weekly Address (Nov. 19, 2011)

November 21, 2011 at 7:32 pm (Life & Politics)

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Ansel Adams – Yosemite

November 21, 2011 at 7:48 am (Art & Photography)

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Brian Wilson – “That Lucky Old Sun” (2008)

November 20, 2011 at 8:24 pm (Music, Reviews & Articles, The Beach Boys)

Another take on BW’s 2008 album, this time by Micah Towery, Aug. 29, 2008 from Slant magazine…

That Lucky Old Sun is Brian Wilson’s tribute to his favorite place on Earth: Southern California. This literal and metaphorical geography is a mantra to which he always seems to return. And that’s not exactly a bad thing. It gives a sense of place, even perspective (each state seems to carry its own historical and artistic connotations, as Sufjan Stevens has demonstrated). Wilson does not lie about where he comes from, nor does he feel compelled, like Dylan and Stevens, to continually remake himself or try on different mantles of style and influence. Wilson is a workhorse for his idiom, which has always been a distinctly American one, rooted in the literal geographic—or in the case of Smile, historical—place. Old Sun is the distillation of this method. One could even call it a concept album in the tradition of Johnny Cash’s America and Ride This Train (complete with the narrative interludes!). 

This does not mean Old Sun simply rehashes more of the same, or treads the same water because it focuses on Southern California exclusively. In many ways, Wilson updates his style, while still paying tribute to the things he loves. The recurring title track describes the sun as a kind of bum who drifts around, just taking it all in while everyone else works hard in its glare. In many ways, Wilson associates his life (and art) with that of the sun. A large Read the rest of this entry »

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President Obama’s Weekly Address (Nov. 12, 2011)

November 20, 2011 at 7:31 pm (Life & Politics)

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Weekly Address (w/ Vice President Biden) (Nov. 5, 2011)

November 11, 2011 at 10:49 pm (Life & Politics)

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Pablo Picasso – “Three Musicians” (1921)

November 10, 2011 at 7:56 pm (Art & Photography)

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Salvador Dalí – “The Persistence of Memory” (1931)

November 8, 2011 at 7:03 pm (Art & Photography)

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