By Matt Keeley
“Erzatz Brothers Coffee – The REAL One! Look for the can on the plain brown can.”
The Firesign Theatre members refer to themselves as a “theatre of the mind,” and their bizarre pastiche of pop culture references is probably not for everyone. Now while I’m not the biggest Firesign Theatre fan, I do dig their stuff. Some of the drug humor is a little easy (and honestly, drug humor’s a bit of an uphill battle with me, anyway), but it’s a small part of the records, providing an easy handle to get people to listen. Everything else they do is so complex, it’d be a tragedy to write them off just because they like to mention weed occasionally. The great thing about Firesign Theatre is how their records couldn’t be made in any other medium, in particular my favorite: Don’t Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me The Pliers.
By Chelsea Spear
The Passions first came to me on a cloud of cinema nostalgia, flickering with maroon-tinted images of Laboratory Aim Density Girls and smelling faintly of vinegar. John Heyn, best known for co-directing the infamous Heavy Metal Parking Lot, had cut a short film of China Girl images to the tune of “I’m In Love with a German Film Star.” The images and footage of China Girls left me gobsmacked (more about that here), but the song lingered in my mind long after I first viewed the short. Though the British band’s albums were elusive on this side of the pond, a copy of Thirty Thousand Feet Over China surfaced in a bag of donations my boyfriend received at his job in a library.
By Less Lee Moore
Years and years ago, a friend made a mix tape of old records she’d scrounged up from another friend’s grandmother. These were all pieces in the style of what was once called “Easy Listening” or “Elevator Music,” i.e., orchestral, instrumental versions of popular songs. The Muzak Corporation began producing music of this type in the 1930s.
By Jesse Roth
A few years ago, I found myself home during a break from college happily engaging in my two of my favorite pastimes: grazing in the kitchen while watching way too much TV. I used this particular break to become re-acquainted with the television shows that I adored in my childhood; ones that had recently made their way into the lineup on a digital cable channel then known as Noggin. As part of their block of evening and late-night programming (known as “The N”), the channel showcased my personal favorites such as Clarissa Explains It All and The Adventures of Pete and Pete. Later hours were devoted to even older classics such as The Electric Company, a show that predated my childhood (and thus my nostalgia radar) by at least a decade. Nonetheless, I now had the chance to watch and find out what I had missed out on by being born too late.
Do a search for “Sparks” on YouTube and you’ll find a plethora of links to Jordin Sparks, the winner of American Idol‘s sixth season.
But if you click on a few of the other videos, you’ll be in for a wonderful surprise.