Monthly Archives: July 2010

Criminal Art

  “Read” piece in Gowanus Broklyn – 1 block from my
studio – by graffiti artist Read, aka The booker, aka Bookman

 

Read’s socially conscious art
slowly being overwhelmed by “criminal” art, as I call it

 

I’ve always related to
crime more than rebellion – in the art and iconography sense. This is not
really uncommon – like the Jesse James or Sopranos fetish. I also came from a
1980-ish high art concept, that relevant art had to be taboo. It had to be
illegal in a sense – illegal in terms of civic law, like the street graffiti
that I wrote, or morally illegal like the Richard Kern or Nick Zedd Cinema
of Transgression
.

I did say “high art”. “Illegal” art as I’m calling it, can
be, or better still can become high art. But my premise here is that movements
start low, not just artistically, but morally and even politically. I’m tossing
“political” into the moral pot, because no matter how violent or
seemingly taboo, when it’s political, it’s justifiable to a higher purpose –
just how at many extreme and violent demonstrations, the moral purpose becomes
a powerful vehicle for the base violent instinct. It would be hard to imagine
the same scale of destruction at the 1999 WTO demonstrations in Seattle, if the
same action were conceived as crime for it’s own self-satisfying sake. But
honestly, it’s indifferentiated anti-social confrontation, and only that,
that ever got me out of bed as a young self-described anarchist.

My 1st-hand experiences in budding artistic/social movements are graffiti, Punk
Rock and Hip Hop. I was somewhat “about town” in New York City in the late 70’s
and early 80’s.

I know that aside from purely political graffiti, the first throws of graffiti
were “base”: self aggrandizement – “getting up”, with no
possible defense of  “social consciousness”. Graffiti was as if
the signature, normally at the bottom of piece of art, is all that really
mattered – blown up to a gigantic size – glorified in color and executed with
skill and with the risk of arrest. Showing off basically. But progressively
this took on merit. And It could be justified. It was no longer fucking up
public property for it’s own sake. Late 70’s graffiti rarely included any
ostensibly important message.

Above is a photo of a recent street piece by Read (aka The Booker, aka Bookman)
in Gowanus Brooklyn. This is an example of what graffiti has evolved into, not
just for art galleries, but art that includes a social message. This is not the
original context of hip graffiti. Bookman also does massive Open Your Eyes
pieces on the sides of buildings. [I enjoy the 2nd photo where Read’s rebel
art
is slowly encroached upon by more
“lowly” criminal art]
 

How about Punk Rock, or even just
Rock, and Hip Hop ?

Many anthropologists have said that the taboo speech found in all cultures,
finds it’s only socially  acceptable
venue in poetry or music – at least somewhat. Basically, if you want to fuck
someone’s brains out, you better put it in rhyme. So that brings us to Punk
Rock, and Hip Hop. That’s where they started.
THEN came the social consciousness – Bad Brains, The Clash, Public Enemy.
Somehow early punks and rappers did seem a bit more dangerous. And they
suddenly seem more responsible when they appear to care about humanity, when they
take the “high” road in culture or politics

My final tangent: for those who support public funding for the arts – does
that include the expression of the lowliest of the all-important primal
expression about nothing more than fucking or breaking into cars?

 

 

Find Martin Bisi music and show
dates on Myspace: https://www.myspace.com/theendcredits

 

NOW PLAYING: July 2010

Highlights of what’s been running through the speakers here at OUTLANDOS HQ the last month or so:

1. The Kissaway Trail, Sleep Mountain


Danish outfit, very Death Cab for Cutie. Honestly, the jury is still out but so far, thumbs up; meaning, I didn’t reach over to shut it off once through the first listen — and that’s saying something :-). I also did reach over to turn it up a couple of times, most notably for “New Lipstick” and the cover of Neil Young’s “Philadelphia.” Summary: take a risk.

2. David Chernis, Music for Super 8

Sure, sure… I might be biased. But this is beautiful. The guitar-balls behind the original Damnwells‘ lineup releases his first solo project, a complete 180. Instrumental. Restrained. Surprising. Eclectic. Enjoy []

 

A Triple-A radio programming veteran, Kate has served as Music Director of the Loft at XM, Midday Host at WYEP, Evening Host at both WNCS and WUIN, as well as Content Supervisor for Pump Audio. Currently, she’s the CEO of Outlandos Music, a new-music discovery service for grown-ups. Kate has been nationally recognized for her ardent presentation of music and her ability to champion talented, compelling artists.

Report: Sting Symphonic Tour In Cincy

 

The erstwhile
Police-man takes his greatest hits out for a ride and brings the Royal
Philharmonic Concert Orchestra with him. Spotted July 20 at Riverbend Music
Center in Cincinnati.

 

By Steven Rosen

 

While Sting certainly has no problem writing an ebullient
pop song whenever he wants, there’s a strong ruminative streak to his solo
material. Sometimes, he so painstakingly works at trying to find the right
lyric for the melody, the right instrumentation and tempos for the mood, the
right imagery for the idea, that the songs themselves don’t come alive beyond
their arresting titles. His voice, strong and plaintive, can only move them so
far.

 

That’s why it was encouraging to hear he was going on tour
with the 45-piece Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, conducted by Steven
Mercurio. (He also recently released Symphonicities, featuring orchestral arrangements.) Unlike pop, classical doesn’t have to worry
so much about a song’s overall momentum or even sense of whole. It can
highlight and punctuate individual passages, and build satisfying bridges
between them, through the endless ways that string, woodwind and brass sections
can add coloration. Add rhythm and percussion to that – a cinch for anyone
schooled in rock ‘n’ roll – and Sting with orchestra should lead to some very
sophisticated pop – make that Pops – music.

 

I tried to remember that when he closed the first half of
his show at Cincinnati’s packed Riverbend Music Center – an outdoor venue with
a roof – with the punkishly frenetic Police nugget, “Next to You.” The
orchestra was wailing away at top volume like ELO tackling “Roll Over Beethoven,”
complete with a fooler time change right in the song’s middle. 

 

Who doesn’t love stuff like this – big orchestras playing
straightforward rock ‘n’ roll really, really loud. But do we need them to?
Don’t rock bands already do that well enough? At what point does this become
bombast? To Sting’s credit, he really only used this gimmick twice – the other
time was with “She’s Too Good For Me,” a good-natured, revved-up excuse to let
the different orchestra sections stand up and swivel some hips.  (Mercurio, moving quickly to keep up with the
beat, got the best workout of anyone.)

 

Otherwise, Mercurio wisely kept the orchestra subdued on
Sting’s most melodic ballads, like “When We Dance” and “Fields of Gold,” to
avoid overkill. The orchestra sweetened them a bit, especially the opener “If I
Ever Lose My Faith,” whose slow build to rousing chorus is the perfect vehicle
for an orchestra to methodically layer on sound to reach a flourish.

 

The arrangements really helped his more melodically complex
and even theatrical songs, adding drama. The best example was the 1980s
warhorse “Russians,” which Mercurio prefaced with a reading from Mussorgsky’s
forebodingly powerful Boris Godunov. This
added apprehension and intrigue to Sting’s more introspective, quieter song
(and performance). There was also a mournful trumpet solo midway through, which
gave this song about the Cold War a nostalgic tone. Sting added to that,
probably, by recalling how the threat of ruinous nuclear war probably kept the
Russians (and President Reagan) in check. “Our current ideological adversaries
don’t seem to have that ethic,” he said. “I kind of miss the Russians in that
regard.”

 

Sting donned a black coat with blood-red cuffs for the
vampyric “Moon Over Bourbon Street.” Here, the string section provided a tense,
biting accompaniment. At one point, Sting played a theremin while the three
overhead video screens showed images of Nosferatu. The orchestra worked well
for this showy tune, helping it transcend its inherent artificiality. (It even
ends with Sting giving a werewolfian howl.). The fact there was a hard rain
during it, with lightning streaking the sky, helped.)

 

But there were weaknesses. Sting introduced “I Hung My
Head,” his murder ballad from Mercury
Falling,
by recalling how much he liked American Western TV series as a
boy. Sure enough, the arrangement sounded like a theme from Bonanza or The Big Valley, a borderline-soundtrack-y overture that drained all
the sorrow right out the song. And Sting’s harmonica playing couldn’t restore
it. Comparing this to Johnny Cash’s stark version of the song underscores that
sometimes less is more in pop music.

 

Sting’s own group included longtime guitarist Dominic
Miller, stand-up bassist Ira Coleman, and back-up singer Jo Lawry. Her
presence, by the way, was problematic. A willowy blonde, she was placed upfront
to Sting’s right where she couldn’t hide. So she tried to maintain a constant
stage presence, swaying and smiling to the music. But the attention she
garnered was out of proportion to her role in the concert, even though her
voice sweetened his on numerous songs, especially the lilting “When We Dance.”
(On their one true duet, “Whenever I Say Your Name,” her singing was too strong
– it felt like a dated power ballad.)

 

Too many older rock acts go the symphonic-accompaniment
route to extend the shelf life of their material by sanding the rough spots off
it. They’re out to make it palatable to a non-rock crowd, not make it art. But
there are younger acts – the Decemberists, Belle & Sebastian, Airborne
Toxic Event – doing some interesting experiments with orchestras. At 58, Sting
is old enough to take the safe route, but seems to really want to use an  orchestra to reveal detail and enrich the
musicality of his older material. He’s not consistently there yet, but one
hopes he stays with the effort.

 

 

Three Mile Pilot Returns!

 

First album in
over a decade, The Inevitable Past Is The Future Forgotten
is out
Sept. 28 on Temporary Residence Ltd.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

The rumor of a new Three
Mile Pilot album has been circulating for over a decade, further fueling
the mystery and mythology that has swirled around the San Diego trio since the
1997 release of what was thought to be their swan song, the enormously
influential Another Desert, Another Sea.

 

Formed in the early ’90s, the group released a debut album
to a fair amount of acclaim, followed by Chief Assassin To The Sinister,
an album that garnered the attention of Geffen Records, with whom they signed
for all of one album. After enduring the major label wringer, the group
released Another Desert, their most emotionally resonant and
commercially successful record to date. Shortly after, bassist Zach Smith
formed Pinback with Rob Crow, and singer-guitarist Pall
Jenkins began a new project with Three
Mile Pilot keyboardist Tobias Nathaniel. Both projects were meant to
coexist with 3MP; however, both Pinback
and The Black Heart Procession
became unexpectedly popular.

 

Cut to 2010 and The Inevitable Past Is The Future
Forgotten
, the first Three Mile
Pilot album in 13 years, and the first to be written, performed,
recorded and produced entirely by the original three members in their own home
studios. As such it is the most uncompromising album since their inception
– it also just happens to be their most accessible. While Pinback and The Black Heart Procession were obviously influenced by 3MP in
their early days, the inverse can now be heard, with many of the songs on The
Inevitable Past
bearing the unmistakable and inevitable stamps of Pinback and The Black Heart Procession. This circular influence is what makes
the album so brilliant; instead of a proper hiatus, 3MP’s progression was
charted vicariously through its members’ other groups. As such, The
Inevitable Past
makes good on the promising glimpses heard through a long
but breathless wait. 

 

Tracklisting:

 

1. Battle

2. Still Alive

3. Grey Clouds

4. Same Mistake

5. What I Lose

6. Left in Vain

7. The Threshold

8. One Falls Away

9. Days Of Wrath

10. Planets

 11. What’s In The Air

12. The Premonition

 

 

Exene Has a Bad Day w/Film

 

Short film by Exene
Cervenka (X, Knitters) and Modi Frank stars Dave Alvin, Michael Blake, Kevin
Costne, John Doe, Chris D, Julie Christensen and others. Made in 1986, the film has never been seen by
the public – until now. Available on a “pay what you want” basis,
with all proceeds going to Gulf
Coast aid organizations.
See the awesome trailer, below.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

The film is called Bad
Day
and it’s the brainchild of Exene Cervenka and Modi Frank. Go to the
official website (http://www.baddaymovie.com/)
for details on how to watch it. Here’s how it all came to pass:

 

 

Over dinner
one night in the good ol’ days, Exene Cervenka,
writer/singer for the celebrated Los Angeles band X, and independent filmmaker Modi Frank brainstormed a
shoot-’em-up starring their talented and twisted circle of friends, of which
every member was headed for a full-size future in music, movies, and more.

 

This was the mid-80s: a time when
there were no prepackaged labels like “alternative” or “indie.” There was only
punk rock, and you either were or you weren’t. For a very short time, punk
music and its fans symbolized anything and everything that wasn’t buttoned
down, bar-coded, or flag-waving. There were still some strings attached to our
modern “do it yourself” attitude for women, though, so when two music scene
chicks wrote, cast, produced, directed, and shot their own film, our being
impressed didn’t come off as patronizing.

 

Exene and Modi wrote Bad Day together
as a salute to the roots-rock and cow-punk scenes that were flourishing in Southern California at the time, and also because they
were surrounded by artists and musicians who were eager to work together. They
wrote the script to capture a moment, to protect an important picture with a
frame.

 

Exene was always running around
back then with her Super 8 cameras, shooting X’s tour footage and more. She was
a natural cinematographer: perfect to shoot our film
,” remembers Modi, who
served as the film’s director. As co-producers, Modi and Exene cobbled together
a crew, costumes, funds where possible, and of course, the players.

Casting began with the role of “Tripped-out Cowboy Priest” being filled by X
front man John Doe, inaugurating his enduring push into professional acting.
Joining Doe is prominent Los Angeles writer-poet
Doug Knott, as well as Chris Desjardins, author, producer, and creator of those
L.A. punk
pioneers, The Flesheaters. Also coming aboard was Chris D.’s then-wife,
folk-jazz singer/songwriter Julie Christensen.

 

Grammy Award winning American
roots-rock scholar and former Blasters lead guitarist Dave Alvin narrates the story
and plays the film’s wandering, dusty troubadour. Fittingly, Bad Day’s acoustic
soundtrack comes courtesy of Dave Alvin and X’s D.J. Bonebrake and is infused
with their love of all things California.

 

The role of “Little Mae” is played by
Jenny Aust, daughter of rock critic Chris Morris, whereas “Town Sheriff”
features author Michael Blake, who a few years after the making of Bad Day would be best known for his Academy Award-winning adaptation of his novel, Dances
with Wolves
. Blake’s buddy, Academy Award-winning director and actor Kevin
Costner also signed on as a lovable guy whose sudden inheritance turns him into
the nevertheless-still-charming town drunk.

The late and dearly missed Peter Haskell, an artist-photographer whom Bedlam
Magazine described as a “generous, talented, larger-than-life guy who led a
determinedly bohemian lifestyle
,” approached his own role (as the villain)
the only way he knew how – with passionate dedication to Modi &
Exene’s vision of the story’s notorious gunslinger, Johnny R Walker.

 

Shot in 1986 at a secret location
near Chatsworth, California, the short film features an
inspired cast of irregulars playing the residents of a small town on a bad day.
Call it what you will: a cow-punk time capsule, a mock-Western, a guerrilla
film forerunner – or just plain proof of a time when everyone didn’t take
themselves so seriously. 

“Everyone came through, it’s a great cast,” observes Exene today. “I’m glad we captured our friends on film.  We all just jumped off the
cliff, artistically. We were fearless. While the torrential rain and mud
helped make the story, it was crazy to shoot through such heavy weather.
 Modi and I had so much fun writing and making Bad Day.  It was one
of the best times I ever had.

 

Photographed on black and white film
by Exene Cervenka, directed by Modi Frank, and written by Modi and Exene in
1986, Bad Day is a wayward tribute to the early silent film days of
one-reel Westerns. It’s a short film that throws a saddle over the back of
mid-80s punk, yanks the reins of shoot ‘em up satire, and smacks this horse’s
ass with the anything-goes spirit of its two gifted creators. Not bad for a
film only rumored to exist until now.

 

 

Devendra, Beck for John Martyn Tribute

 

 

British
singer-songwriter passed away in January of 2009.

 

By Fred Mills

 

The terms “legend” and “influential” tend to become
meaningless with overuse, and when combined with the term “tribute album” one
typically shudders in horror. In the case of the late UK folk pioneer
John Martyn, however, we’ve got the proverbial exception proving the rule. He
died on Jan. 29, 2009 at the age of 60 and you can read our obituary along with
a personal remembrance from yours truly right here.

 

Word now arrives from Martyn’s official website (via
Pitchfork) that a tribute album is “well underway” featuring an intriguing
roster of artists – among them are Beck, Devendra Banhart, Beth Orton, the Cure’s Robert
Smith, Vashti Bunyan, Vetiver, the Swell Season and two genuine left-field
entries, the Blind Boys of Alabama and Sonia Dada (who even knew the latter
were still around?). No label or release date has been announced yet bu “further
details as they become available,” says Martyn’s site. Here’s the lineup so
far:

 

Stormbringer – Beck
May You Never – Snow Patrol
Small Hours – Robert Smith (From The Cure)
Rope Soul’d or Sapphire – The Blackships (Nick McCabe and Simon Jones from The
Verve)
Go Down Easy – Beth Orton
Let The Good Things Come – David Gray
Couldn’t Love You More – Lisa Hannigan
I Don’t Want to Know – The Swell Season
One World – Paolo Nutini
Sweet Little Mystery -Devendra Banhart
Go Easy – Vetiver
Head & Heart – Vashti Bunyan
Solid Air – Skye Edwards (Morcheeba)
Over The Hill -Ted Barnes featuring Gavin Clark (from Clayhill and Unkle)
Glorious Fool -The Blind boy’s Of Alabama
Anna – Brendan Campbell
Dancing – Sonia Dada
Certain Surprise – Sabrina Dinan
John Wayne – Oh My God
Clutches – Foley (Miles Davis Bass Player)
Angeline – Nicholas Barron
You Can Discover – Cheryl Wilson

 

 

 

 

 

Mogwai Film Screens Online Next Tues.

“A visionary collaboration between Mogwai and La Blogotheque directors
Vincent Moon and Nathanael Le Scouarnac”: on your computer screen July 27 for
one showing only.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

 

Awhile back we filled you in on the upcoming Mogwai concert
documentary
Burning, due on DVD Aug.
24 and to be accompanied by a slew of screenings in August and September. Before it hits the big screen, it will be available for
fans to watch on a smaller screen – directly on your computer, world-wide. On July 27th, Burning will be streaming live on websites and blogs via
Ustream in real time.

 
This special screening will happen just
once
, at 12pm PST/3pm EST, on July 27 – that’s this coming Tuesday.

 

Directly following the
screening, Mogwai’s Stuart Braithwaite and director Vincent Moon will be answering
fan submitted questions about the film offering fans an opportunity to interact
directly with the masterminds behind this creative project.

 
A full list
of current 40+ participating websites are available on Mogwai.co.uk and also listed below.

 

Meanwhile, watch for the next print issue of BLURT,
due in September. We’ll have a story about the film along with an interview
with Moon.

 

 

Screening
Websites

AOL
Artist
Advocacy
Beachtapes
Bradley’s Almanac
Bright Light Blog
Brooklyn
Vegan
Buddyhead
Cause=Time
Chromewaves
Clash
Clicky
Clicky
Consequence of    Sound
 
Daily Swarm
Drowned in
Sound
Grimy Goods
Grooveshark
Hard Candy Music
International
Tapes
Jinners
La Blogotheque
Loudersoft
Love Shack,
Baby
Muzzle of Bees
OMG
Vinyl
Pampelmoose
Pigeons and Planes
Prefix Magazine
Schmooze
Blog
Second Life
Some Velvet Blog
The 405
The Audio Perv
The
Culture of Me
The Decibel Tolls
The Line of Best Fit
The
Music Slut
The Needle Drop
The Quietus
The Walrus
Vice
Vinyl
District
Welikeit.Indie
Y Rock on XPN
Yours
Truly
yvynyl
 

 

 

Your Chance to Film the Stooges!

 

See the teaser trailer, below, featuring Iggy
and Handsome Dick Manitoba. You, too, can be the next great concert
documentarian…

 

By Blurt
Staff

 

On Friday,
September 3rd,  Iggy and the Stooges will be
performing Raw Power  at the All Tomorrow’s Parties bash, so in
conjunction with this MVD Entertainment Group has launched the In The Hands of
the Fans  site (www.InTheHandsOfTheFans.com) to
offer fans a once in a lifetime opportunity to film and interview the band.

 

Six aspiring filmmakers will be chosen by way of a video
submission contest to join director Joey Carey on location at the Stardust Theater at Kutchers’ Country Club
in Monticello,
NY, for the Stooges show. The contest is based on fans submitting short high
definition video segments asking Iggy
and the Stooges interview questions, or demonstrating why they should
win the contest. Winners of the contest will film and interview Iggy and the
Stooges at All Tomorrow’s Parties. This fan shot footage, along with the
contestant video submissions, will be crafted into a high definition longform
program, which will be part concert film and part reality TV show about the
journey of the fans.

 

It’s slated
to be released on DVD in early 2011. Look for a broadcast as well. And MVD is
already talking to other artists about mounting more In The Hands of the Fans
shows. Go to the website link above for submission rules and more details.

 

 

Watch: BBC’s Look Around You

 

A brand new DVD goldmine
for all you cracked-out late-night
and Adult Swim TV addicts. BBC import? Check. Grand farce? Check. Shoestring budget?
Check.
South Park  endorsed? Check. This is your brain on Look Around You. Any questions? Watch video, below.

 

By Zachary Herrmann

 

If a child were to really be raised and educated on the faux
educational videos of Look Around You,
how would he or she turn out? Good Lord, perish the thought.

 

The BBC import’s first season (aired in 2002, and now
available as BBC Worldwide DVD Look
Around You: Season One
) is a goldmine for the cracked-out late-night TV
set. Not shockingly, the show had a syndicated run on Adult Swim in early 2009,
which would be about par-for-course for Cartoon Network’s increasingly surreal,
iconoclastic programming block. This adopted home on American television (the
show also played on BBC-America) couldn’t be any more appropriate – since its
inception, Adult Swim has fostered anti-narrative and experimental, to great
success, and yes, detriment as well.

 

Co-creators and co-starrers Robert Popper and Peter
Serafinowicz (both f familiar faces for Edgar Wright enthusiasts) completely
run amuck within the frame work of a 1970s or early ’80s-style science program
for the classroom. It’s this incredible discipline and dedication to concept
that really separates Look Around from the rest of Adult Swim’s offerings, or most TV shows of any sort.

 

OK, and it’s also pretty damn hilarious.

 

There’s a grand farce of the Emperor’s New Clothes kind to Look Around You, as if the players
openly defy the audience and insists that it is everything it jokingly purports
to be. No winking or elbow jabs needed. At a passing glance, the show could
easily have been from a period artifact that slipped through the cracks.

 

As South Park co-creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone observe on a guest commentary track, it
is this authenticity that proves to be the show’s best (and funniest) weapon.
There are plenty of enjoyable Nonsequiturs and just plain silly asides packed
into each episode (they call them “modules”), but Popper and Sefinowicz get so
much more mileage out of production design and structure.

 

 

The shoestring budget (which both creators attest to in the
commentary) never causes the seams to unravel, as Look Around You perfectly replicates that which its parodies. With
the exception of “Ghosts”, and the zanier moments of the wonderful finale, “The
Brain”, you could blink at a few key moments and still believe little British
children scribbled down the nonsensical lessons in a copybook some 30 years
ago.

 

Narrator Nigel Lambert is the perfect guide throughout, and
he carries the brunt of the performance remarkably. His soothing, trustworthy
instruction is key to some of the best bits – the made up terms, which Lambert
passes off without a second thought. Examples: An egg “metripulates” in boiling
water, or a piece of lab equipment referred to as the “Jane Grey.”

 

Popper and Serafinowicz thrive in the details of Look Around You: the alluded to next
lessons, which of course, we never see; barely visible beaker labels;
wonderfully faked stock footage. If there’s any real failure in the show, it’s
that occasionally, you end up admiring it more than outright enjoying it. 

 

At around nine-minutes a-piece (barely), the episodes,
excuse me, modules can feel glacial, which becomes an explicit time-element gag
at one point in “Water”. And yet, somehow Look
Around You
never lapses into the “joke is on the audience” sort of humor Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!” favors (Tim Heidecker and
Eric Wareheim are vocal fans of the show, and appear on the guest commentary).

 

Look Around You gradually expands and grows more comfortable in its skin, allowing for more
daring, and bizarre, experiments, though few top the pilot’s Q&A with
Intelligent Calcium, the self-aware element. Spaced and Shaun of the Dead alums Wright (who is basically a series regular), Simon Pegg and Nick Frost all
make unobtrusive appearances, only slightly breaking the illusion of Look Around You.

 

It’s exactly the sort of show you would want to stumble on
at 3 a.m. in, well, the right state of mind needed to properly digest something
this bug-nuts crazy. In the spirit of the best Adult Swim offerings, Look Around You is a fine fuck-you to
conventional television. Endlessly quotable, even if nothing you could quote
from it would make a lick of sense.

 

Now write that down in your copybook.

 

 Special Features:

 

For a little one-disc season, you can’t really argue with
the production value. The visuals are intentionally grainy and pale, with
intentional hairlines. Thankfully, for relative sanity, the effects aren’t
overdone and the soundtrack meets 21st century standards.

        The DVD menu
screen is itself, a little work of art, very much period appropriate in its
graphic design.  Of the bonus materials,
the pilot module, “Calcium”, clearly takes the cake, though you can see why the
rest of the modules were kept under 10-minutes.

        Commentary
tracks sort of vary in quality. Look
Around You
doesn’t exactly beg to be explained and there isn’t a whole lot
of that anyway. Most of the time, everyone is just bullshitting around, for
better or worse. Wright joins in with Popper and Sefinowicz for one of the
better tracks, but it’s Pegg and Frost who are really worth your time. Michael
Cera and Jonah Hill wear the “why are we even here?” joke awful thin. Heidecker
and Wareheim – either you love ‘em or you can’t stand ‘em, and Parker and Stone
actually offer the most insight into the show.

        Considering South Park‘s best years and its humble cardboard
beginnings, that makes a lot of sense. Both shows benefit from strong writing,
but neither South Park or Look Around You would work without their respective visual
approaches.

 

 

Frontier Records Turns 30 w/100th Release

 

Just say yes to the
classic punk and proto-Americana the label championed

 

By Blurt Staff

 

This year marks the 30th anniversary of Frontier Records, which was founded in Los Angeles in 1980 by Lisa Fancher. Frontier
was one of the first independent labels to document the nascent L.A. and O.C.
hard-core punk rock scene before branching out into other scenes and sounds
such as the so-called “Paisley Underground” and (always) guitar-based
bands along with genres such as goth, alternative country (proto-Americana at
that), pop and more. Bands releasing records on Frontier include: Circle Jerks,
Adolescents, The Weirdos, TSOL, China White, Redd Kross, Thin White Rope,
Heatmiser, Young Fresh Fellows, Christian Death, Dharma Bums, American Music
Club, The Long Ryders, The Three O’Clock, The Pontiac Brothers, Naked Prey,
Flop and many more.

 

To celebrate the milestone, Fancher will be reissuing the
classic 1979 punk compilation Yes L.A. (originally a one-sided picture disc LP from the Dangerhouse label containing
tracks by X, the Germs, Black Randy, the Alley Cats, the Eyes and the Bags; the
title was a play on the previously released No
New York
no-wave compilation). This will be Frontier’s official 100th release – a milestone in itself.

 

 

 

 

“When I founded Frontier Records
in 1980, I had no idea what running a record label entailed, I just wanted to
turn other people onto the local bands I loved,” said Fancher, in a press
release. “It’s pretty cool to have outlasted so many independent – and major –
labels thirty years later but what really still makes me want to continue is to
continue to release great music that still needs to be heard. Especially now!”

 

In late 2010, Frontier will
re-release the digitally remastered Christian Death classic Only Theater of
Pain
with Rozz Williams’ original artwork as well as Dangerhouse’s Yes
L.A.
compilation and other nuggets soon to be announced. Additionally,
Frontier has always been a vinyl-oriented label, which considers the limited
edition colored vinyl LP their calling card – so expect more colored wax
reissues in the coming months.

 

A 30th anniversary
event honoring Frontier Records is in the works and will be announced shortly.

 

The back story…

 

Among the first to tap into the
Los Angeles
punk scene, Frontier Records’ initial success was releasing the classic Circle
Jerks record Group Sex. This was later followed by Orange County’s
Adolescents’ debut known as the Blue Album TSOL’s Dance with Me and Christian Death’s Only Theatre of Pain. However, it was the
eponymous debut LP from Suicidal Tendencies that spawned the unexpected MTV
smash “Institutionalized” that put Frontier on the map. If you caught the
Don Johnson vehicle Miami Vice episode featuring Suicidal, you’d know the
mainstream finally caught up with the underground.

 

In light of these early
successes in punk rock, it is easy to overlook the fact that Frontier has also
released well-known records from bands from a variety of genres:  The Long
Ryders, Thin White Rope, The Three O’Clock, Young Fresh Fellows, American Music
Club and Heatmiser, Elliott Smith’s first band. All of these groups and more
released full-length-albums on Frontier Records that were as important to the
labels evolution as any punk rock angst the label is best known for.

 

Perhaps most importantly, a
woman starting her own independent record label in an overwhelmingly male
dominated music industry in 1980 was key in shattering the notion that ‘chicks
can’t rock’.  Simply put, women didn’t start their own record labels then,
especially in the testosterone-drenched L.A.
punk rock scene. For founder Lisa Fancher to have survived as an indie label
for thirty solid years on, having seen her fair share of record distributors go
belly up and put her label in financial jeopardy, makes its survival almost as
impressive as its inception.

 

Having begun her music career as a
teenage clerk at the Bomp Records store on Magnolia Blvd in North Hollywood-
concurrently fan club president for L.A.’s The Dickies and publisher of
Biff!Bang!Pow! fanzine-  Lisa learned the ropes on how to jumpstart an
indie label from the best possible mentors a person could have, Greg and Suzy
Shaw at Bomp Records. While her first success came from releasing soon-to-be
classic punk titles by new bands, Fancher gradually delved into the world of
reissuing out-of-print catalog as well, including Born Innocent from
Redd Kross, two legendary slabs of punk vinyl from The Weirdos: Weird World
Vol. 1 & 2,
Dangerhouse Vols 1 & 2 featuring crucial 45s by
X, The Avengers, Weirdos, Black Randy, et al.), the Adolescents’ Complete Demos
1980 – 1996 and The Middle Class’ compilation Out of Vogue.