“I want the politicians, police, and all who stand in the face of democracy with overzealous self-interest to know that their candle is burning at both ends and that the collective WE will never be silenced, and the more they try, the more our voices will be heard. The technology of awareness is solar powered and cannot be turned off.”
Despite creating poetry and spoken-word performances since 1995 and steadily releasing music since his 2001 album Amethyst Rock Star, there’s a consistent rawness and openness in Saul Williams’ work that’s much more typical of someone in an earlier stage of their artistic career. That’s not a knock on Williams at all; in fact, quite the opposite. Successful artists of every sort have a way of closing up and playing things a lot safer as their careers wear on, often to avoid offending the powerful and influential friends they’ve made over the years, or just to maintain a steady stream of guaranteed income. Artists like Williams have an incendiary freeness, a kind of nothing-to-lose sensibility, that allows them to take their projects down lesser-used and unique avenues. This is something that Williams has always been able to tap into, most recently on his new album, MartyrLoserKing.
Christians have always been fascinated by the end of the world. In their version of this inevitable event, Jesus comes back and takes all of his followers with him up into Heaven, while those who do not believe are left on Earth where Satan rules, and something about the Illuminati and the United Nations and the Mark of the Beast and really, it just gets kind of confusing after that. I think it comes down to Christians get to skip last period, which is the class that everyone hates and has a D in.
Based on this interview from The Independent, Dub Thompson members Evan Laffer (drums) and Matt Pulos (vocals/guitar) sound like the kind of 19-year-old guys who play music and have not yet been indoctrinated into only responding to interview questions with pre-packaged sound bites. Which is refreshing.
Also refreshing is their new song and video, “Dograces,” from their upcoming debut 9 Songs (it has eight tracks). It looks like one of those ’70s videos that you used to see on MTV Classic back in the day but then it looks like it might be a new video that was intended to look that way. The song itself is an odd mix of disaffected vocals and heavy bass, with a burst of shiny keyboards serving as a chorus of sorts that will either annoy you or intrigue you. Or both, especially when the band sort of gives up about two-thirds of the way through and leaves the stage. Speaking of which, who are those people, anyway?
9 Songs was recorded by Foxygen’s Jonathan Rado, who also plays keyboards for the band at their live shows. It will be out on June 10 from Dead Oceans. In the meantime, if you live in New York, you can catch them on April 3 at Pianos and on April 4 at Baby’s All Right.
The Cybertronic Spree
Photo © Paul Hillier Photography
If you haven’t heard of The Cybertronic Spree, listen up. It’s a band of Transformers—well, Hot Rod, Arcee, Rumble, Unicron, Spike, and a Quintesson, to be exact—who perform songs from the soundtrack to The Transformers: The Movie.
Interested yet? They also perform these songs live and in full costume. It’s pretty amazing. They recently released a video of an in-studio performance and recording of “Nothin’s Gonna Stand In Our Way” that must be seen to be believed.
Here’s a video of them performing “Instruments Of Destruction” last August at the Horseshoe in Toronto, as part of Nerd Noise Night.
And yes, they do perform “The Touch.”
For the full spectrum of the band’s online presence, check out TheCybertronicSpree.com
By Julie Finley
This is the fifth installment of a series of visual and aural assaults found on the web. My partner, Jim R. Clark, wrote the first four but since I am currently crippled due to a massive herniated disc in my lumbar region (and I go in for surgery soon), I have a laptop, and a lot of free time on my hands. I have taken the over the reins on this chapter, but to be fair, both of us have found these various videos in this collection. There are no specific genres here; this is crap culled from every toilet bowl!
New this week on Popshifter: LabSplice says DO NOT WANT to Ulli Lommel’s Black Dahlia; Chelsea likes the way Gimme The Loot portrays a side of New York that’s normally unseen; Jeff learns about double entendres in “Midnight at the Oasis”; Paul gets to know Irish singer/songwriter Tiger Cooke; Lisa compares Daniel Jacksons in her article on Stargate; Melissa reviews lots of new releases: Tom McDermott, Allen Toussaint, Kelley Stoltz, and Headstones; I think Simon Killer is an outstanding film and encourage everyone to check out the new Blu-Ray of Two Men in Manhattan; and say a sad farewell to Pat Fear.
The self-titled debut album from Big Black Delta, a.k.a. Jonathan Bates, is one of my favorites of 2013 thus far (review). The first single, “Side of the Road” had a cool video which I blogged about in February.
Now there’s another video from the band, this time for “Money Rain Down.” It’s one of the less bombastic tunes on the album, and that makes it even more interesting, as it shows just how much musical range Bates possesses. It’s incredibly danceable and wisely, the video includes lots of dancing. It’s whimsical and clever but not in a cutesy way. Check it out below.
15th The Fonda, Los Angeles, CA
17th Echo Park Rising, Los Angeles CA
7th Hopscotch Festival, Raleigh, NC
8th Boston Calling – City Hall Plaza, Boston MA
13th Lobster Fest at Port of LA, Los Angeles, CA
14th Summersalt Block Party, San Francisco, CA
21st The Courtyard @ The Getty, Los Angeles, CA
25th Bunk Bar, Portland, OR
26th Decibel Festival, Seattle WA
28th Festival Of Hope, Tulare CA
29th Adams Street Fair, San Diego, CA
New this week on Popshifter: Paul has some surprising but apt suggestions in his two-part series on Horror Movies For Kids; Melissa loves bands with tuba players and as a result, raves about That’s It! from the Preservation Hall Jazz Band; Jeff will crack you up with his review of the probably unnecessary Thank You from Duran Duran; Chelsea enjoyed the “irresistible prose” and vast wealth of stories in Curtis Harrington’s memoir Nice Guys Don’t Work In Hollywood; I strongly recommend Desperation, the latest album from the Oblivians and share my thoughts (and a couple of photos) from last week’s IO Echo/CSS show at The Mod Club.
I have no idea how this didn’t make it onto my radar until last week. The second single from David Bowie‘s fine new album The Next Day—and the third video—is the title track.
With lines like “they whip him through the streets and alleys” and “they know God exists for the Devil told them so,” it’s not a stretch to imagine that said video might feature some religious iconography and controversy. With Bowie the boundary pusher, you’re guaranteed excesses of both.
Not having seen videos like “Boys Keep Swinging” and “D.J.” until the early ’80s on MTV, I can’t say firsthand what kind of stir they caused in the late ’70s, but they certainly caused a stirring within me.
Floria Sigismondi, who directed “The Stars (Come Out Tonight),” also helmed “The Next Day” video and it’s not dissimilar to a Caravaggio painting come to life, with a bit of Ken Russell for good measure.
I’d also argue that Sigismondi got more than a little inspiration from the 1970 Czech film Valerie and Her Week of Wonders, which I’ve not been lucky enough to see, but which I’ve certainly enjoyed through numerous images online.
In “The Next Day” we have Gary Oldman as a lusty priest with a ducktail haircut and Marion Cotillard as a quasi-Mary Magdalene character in a bustier. One might consider Bowie and his linen smock and glittery scarf to be Jesus. From Pontius Pilate to Jesus: what a career!
The nightclub in which this takes place is The Decameron, either a reference to Boccaccio’s medieval allegory, the 1971 Pasolini film based on the allegory, or both. St. Lucy makes an appearance and so does Joan of Arc.
It’s gory, gorgeous, and decidedly not safe for work. Enjoy.