Friday, October 30, 2020
Thursday, October 29, 2020
Tuesday, October 27, 2020
While the plot is fairly convoluted--something about a post-apocalyptic future where people are human/animal hybrids and an elderly rock 'n roll star is on the hunt for someone with just the right singing voice to release a demon. Huh? Yeah. At any rate, the plot isn't the reason to watch the movie, the music is. (And the animation is pretty good, too.)
This movie is sort of a companion piece to 1981's sci-fi animated musical Heavy Metal. Indeed, the company that made Rock & Rule, Nelvana, was offered the chance to work on Heavy Metal but turned it down to do this film instead. It's based on a 1978 Halloween special Nelvana made called The Devil and Daniel Mouse, which draws heavily on the themes from the short story "The Devil and Daniel Webster."
Since Rock & Rule's source material is a bit more tame than the magazine Heavy Metal was based on, it's not nearly as graphic in terms of sex and violence, but its soundtrack is no less classic. Debbie Harry provides the singing voice of the angel-throated heroine whose pipes are needed to release the demon, and Lou Reed is the singing voice of the guy who has her under his spell, Mok. Today's song is Mok's villainous ode to himself: "My Name Is Mok." For a guy who looks like a deflated Mick Jagger, this guy sure thinks highly of himself! It's a great song, though, and since today happens to be the seventh anniversary of Lou Reed's passing, let's have a listen in his honor.
Sunday, October 25, 2020
Thursday, October 22, 2020
|A personally curated Halloween |
playlist by the Breeders!
|Art by Kii Arens and|
This band combined so many things I loved, like surf music, punk rock, dreamy melodies, and off-kilter lyrics about things like UFOs, sea monkeys, and obscure surrealist films. After a ten year hiatus, the band reunited in 2003 and has toured fairly regularly since then with only one of the original members exiting. They have released three new albums since reuniting, including one just last year!
Beneath the Eyrie was recorded in a studio in upstate New York that was once a church in the 1800s. The location inspired Pixies frontman and songwriter Black Francis to "intermingle with the spirit world, with life and death and with the mystical and a more surreal landscape." That inclination definitely shows in today's song, "On Graveyard Hill." It's a rocking tune about getting bewitched by a woman who gains supernatural powers from a special witchy flower. As gothically wonderful as that sounds, the video is perhaps even better. It's a neon-drenched mashup of silent horror film imagery, Italian giallo stylishness, and Black Francis's head inside a Madame Leota-esque crystal ball. For a band that once hated making music videos so much that they eventually boycotted them, they have really outdone themselves! Treat yourself below to a feast for the eyes and the ears.
Wednesday, October 21, 2020
Berry died in 2017 at the age of 90, and in that time not only recorded a slew of songs that became part of the bedrock of American pop music, but also inspired almost every rock band who came after him to follow in his duck-walking footsteps. His genius was such that in just a three-year period, from 1955-1958, he wrote "Maybellene," "Johnny B. Goode," "Roll Over Beethoven," and "Sweet Little Sixteen." Not bad for a guy who was convicted of armed robbery at age 18 and after three years in a reformatory, spent several years working in a car factory before he even started performing music with a group!Although Chuck Berry has now left our mortal plane, he lives on in the songs he left us and the inspiration that musicians still take from his artistry. And he lives on intergalactically too--his tune "Johnny B. Goode" was the only rock song included on the golden records launched aboard the Voyager spacecrafts in 1977. Somewhere out there, in a galaxy far, far away, an alien might be rocking out to "Johnny" right now for the very first time!
The Chuck Berry song we'll hear today is a Halloween-worthy number called "Trick or Treat" off his 1963 album Chuck Berry on Stage. It's a sweet number about getting all smoochy with your beloved on the best night of the year. Nothing like a full moon on Halloween night to stoke up some romance!
Tuesday, October 20, 2020
But who could expect anything less from a man who began touring with medicine shows as a teenager? The leader of one of them, Doctor Nubillo, taught Little Richard the importance of capes and turbans, and also prophesied that Little Richard was going to be famous. Probably didn't need to be clairvoyant to guess that, but I wouldn't argue with anyone who carries a big black stick and shows off a desiccated sideshow wonder called "the devil's child." Little Richard also performed in drag around this time, as his alter ego Princess LaVonne. Clearly he was a born mold-breaker, so it's no surprise that just a few years later in 1955 he unleashed his career-defining and genre-shaping hit "Tutti Frutti" on the world.
Little Richard would of course release many more hits after that, and would in turn influence pretty much every rock 'n roll performer who appeared in his wake. A few times over his decades-long career he left the music business to pursue his religious convictions, or would record only gospel songs, but eventually he was always drawn back to the wild, uninhibited style of secular music he had created.
Numerous appearances in movies and TV shows helped solidify him as an American icon, and a few years ago we heard the theme song he recorded for the 1995 film Casper. While that might be the most Halloween-themed of Little Richard's songs, his 1958 song "Heeby Jeebies" also serves our purposes. A bad luck baby has put a jinx on him, so he's going to ring her door till he breaks her bell. Not to mention that piano!
Rock in peace, Little Richard. You are missed.
Saturday, October 17, 2020
Friday, October 16, 2020
Thursday, October 15, 2020
After yesterday's radio transmission to Venus, I just haven't been able to get enough of the Rezillos! I've watched/listened to "Destination Venus" at least a dozen times in the last 24 hours, and I'm still hungry for more. So today's song is another spacey Rezillos tune: "Flying Saucer Attack"!
This was the first song on their 1978 debut, Can't Stand the Rezillos. Like "Destination Venus," it also has an amazingly well-produced and well-preserved video from the band performing the song on Top of the Pops in 1978. Once again, co-lead singer Fay Fife impresses with her spastic dance moves and vinyl fashions, although this time she's rocking otherworldly polka dots instead of serving Wilma Flintstone realness. Her singing partner, Eugene Reynolds, opts for a purple vinyl leisure suit and his signature wraparound dark shades to protect his eyes from those alien laser beams.
They have some good advice for when the skies fill with armies of enemy tin pie plates--lock yourself inside and never come out until it's oh-oh-oh over!