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I know this was in yesterday's music news post, but I just wanted to say happy one-year afterlife anniversary to Adam Yauch. If you didn't happen to click through, yesterday they dedicated a park to him in New York City, and his mom spoke at the dedication.
"We didn't have anything to do with the crazy part of Adam Yauch," she started, laughing. "He brought that all by himself." Later in the speech, she tells the crowd that after his death and the ensuing "worldwide outpouring of admiration," friends told her, "We didn't know your son was so famous!" And she says, "We didn't know it either."
If you're sitting across from me at this cafe, sorry I'm crying. I'll be okay, promise.
Today, people gathered in Brooklyn to celebrate this first anniversary of his death, which they're calling MCA Day. I hope it went well. I'm spending the rest of this fine sunny day celebrating...
Rest in power, Jeff Hanneman. How the hell does one even start paying tribute to a metal icon like this? Since the release of Show No Mercy in 1983, Hanneman, alongside fellow shredder Kerry King, influenced millions worldwide by crafting the quintessential soundtrack for a one-way road trip to hell —evil, dark and brooding riffs played at lightning-fast thrash speeds. Around 11 am yesterday, it was confirmed that Hanneman had passed away due to liver failure. Hanneman’s recovery from a nearly fatal spider bite in 2011 (he developed necrotizing fasciitis, a flesh-eating bacteria) was well documented and things were starting to look up for him, as he had reportedly begun writing riffs and putting together ideas for the next Slayer release. And then, seemingly out of nowhere, this news floored us all.
Considering the fact that he died of liver failure, is it awful that the first thing I wanted to do after hearing the news was to drink 20 beers and blast the entire Slayer discography front to back? Y’know, pull one of those spontaneous tributes where you wipe your calendar clear and say “fuck it” to your responsibilities, buy a few cases of beer and drop out of existence for 48 straight hours.
Instead, last night, I got lost in a YouTube wormhole. After looking up a live video of Slayer from 1988, I started clicking, watching, sighing, clicking, watching and, well, drinking. Lots of drinking. While Kerry King might be the “face” of Slayer—jacked as hell, tribal tattoos, long twisty beard and all—Hanneman was the heart, the spirit and the almighty master of the Slayer riff. Dude singlehandedly wrote some of the fiercest Slayer classics, like “Angel of Death,” “War Ensemble” and “Postmortem.” Enough said.
I tried to narrow down a list of the best Hanneman riffs, but just couldn’t do it. Of course I have a personal favorite album (Seasons in the Abyss), like any Slayer fan, but to narrow down the novel-sized list of memorable riffage to a top five or even top ten is too daunting of a task for today. Instead, I’m just gonna sit back, enjoy my favorite Slayer record from start to finish, crack open a beer and let the riffs speak for themselves.
"Slayer is devastated to inform that their bandmate and brother, Jeff Hanneman, passed away at about 11 am this morning near his Southern California home. He was 49. Hanneman was in an area hospital when he suffered liver failure. He is survived by his wife Kathy, his sister Kathy and his brothers Michael and Larry, and will be sorely missed."
He's Baaaaaaack: Kim Kardashian's baby daddy has returned to Twitter, with a tantalizing tweet: "June Eighteen," prompting speculation that we're getting a new Kanye album this year.
Neutral Milk Hotel Plot World Domination: According to their tour manager, the recently reactivated Neutral Milk Hotel will soon embark on a tour that "will span the globe."
New Justice Album Available for Streaming: See for yourself if it lives up to the hype.
Deftones Pay Tribute to Chris Kelly: By mashing up "Engine No. 9" with "Jump." The crowd went appropriately nuts.
Say Hello to Chance the Rapper: Chicago's latest hiphop prodigy claims his new mixtape Acid Rain, which dropped yesterday, is "the best tape to come out in 2013." The year's still young but after hearing it, it's hard to argue with him.
And Finally, Hometown Heroes Shabazz Palaces Remix Animal Collective: This is pretty druggy.
It got lost in the info glut of the Boston Marathon bombing and other bad happenings during the News Week From Hell™, but you should know that Parliament-Funkadelic bassist Cordell “Boogie” Mosson passed away April 18. Cause of death is currently not known. Mosson was 60.
Funkadelic mastermind George Clinton recruited Mosson and guitarist Garry Shider from the New Jersey band United Soul in 1971. A key asset for the hugely influential Funkadelic (and later Parliament), Mosson played on crucial albums such as America Eats Its Young, Cosmic Slop, Funkentelechy Vs. the Placebo Syndrome, and One Nation Under a Groove. His elastic, supremely lubricious bass lines ended up undergirding loads of hiphop tracks through frequent sampling by producers. Although Mosson left P-Funk in the early '80s, he played rhythm guitar and bass for the P-Funk All-Stars on their tour last year.
Mosson is the third P-Funk member to die since 2010: Garry Shider and Phelps "Catfish" Collins passed away that year. You can read an obituary on Mosson from the New Jersey Star-Ledger here. RIP, Boogie.
English graphic designer Storm Thorgerson passed away today at the age of 70 (read the BBC article here). Thorgerson was Pink Floyd's lead designer, responsible for the ultra-iconic The Dark Side of the Moon prism album-cover design, as well as that one poster with Floyd's back catalogue painted on womens' backs. You know the one!
He also designed album covers for bands like the Cranberries, Phish, the Offspring, Ween, Megadeth, Styx, Peter Gabriel, and Led Zeppelin, to name a few.
College dorm rooms worldwide owe Storm Thorgerson big time.
While details are scant, it seems that Scott Miller of Game Theory & Loud Family fame died last Monday. A bunch of Game Theory recordings are available for download on this page, along with the following statement:
I wish it weren't true, but as much as it pains me to write these words, Scott passed away on April 15, 2013. He was a wonderful, loyal friend as well as a brilliant musician, and I will miss him for the rest of my life.
Scott had been planning to start recording a new Game Theory album, Supercalifragile, this summer, and was looking forward to getting back into the studio and reuniting with some of his former collaborators.
If you're unfamiliar, I suggest downloading Lolita Nation from that page and listening to it all day long. It's really great. According to Facebox, industry bigwig Tom Lunt considers Miller one of his heroes after reading Miller's book Music: What Happened?. That might be worth checking out as well. First-class music writer (and ex-Seattleite) Bob Mehr also added this touching remembrance:
Scott was the very first person I ever interviewed on a rookie gig for Patrick Pierson, who took a flyer on a 22 year-old who'd never published a word. I spent a couple hours in the back of the Hollywood Alley in Mesa, Ariz. talking to Scott who dazzled me with his charm, intelligence and generosity. In the 15 years and thousand or so interviews since, I don't know that I've had a better or more important experience. I got lucky that Scott was my first, and that he made the job of talking and thinking about music seem like a noble pursuit. R.I.P. my friend.
Geez, what a week.
British engineer/producer Andy Johns—whose hands and ears helped to contour sounds for classic-rock bands like the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Television, Free, Blind Faith, Humble Pie, Mott the Hoople, Jethro Tull, Van Halen, and many others—has passed away April 7 . No official cause of death has been given yet, but Johns recently had been hospitalized due to liver problems. He was 61.
Johns engineered and produced several albums now considered all-time classics, such as the Stones' Sticky Fingers, Exile on Main Street, and Goats Head Soup, Led Zeppelin's second and fourth LPs, Houses of the Holy, and Physical Graffiti, Television's Marquee Moon, and Blind Faith. Johns is probably the only individual who has credits on records by the Deviants and Godsmack. He played a prominent role in shaping hundreds of songs that will endure indefinitely on radio playlists and on millions of people's internal jukeboxes. RIP, Andy Johns.
Chunklet has a heartbreakingly sad post this morning:
On Saturday night, March 16, 2013, Jason Molina, the songwriting force behind Songs:Ohia and Magnolia Electric Company died from a body that had been drowned in alcohol for years on end. He was far too young to die and his friends and fans have experienced a massive loss.
My heart hurts.
Burr joined Maiden in 1979. He drummed on the first three albums—1980's self-titled debut, 1981's Killers and 1982's The Number of the Beast, and such headbanging anthems as "Running Free," "Wrathchild" and "Run to the Hills."
RIP, Clive. And I fucking hate multiple sclerosis.
So this is where I get to tell you everything you never wanted to hear me say. While it's been a fantastic ride and I hope everyone has enjoyed it, the recent news that issues pertaining to copyright online are now being re-interpreted by the powers-that-be in alarming new ways means that there's no point in pushing this boulder up a hill any longer. Mutant Sounds' original founder Jim is in full agreement with my sentiments and everything except for the texts has now been deleted. I understand this is really crushing news for many and I sympathize with your pain but I also hope you can see why the time has now come to call it a day.
Inspired by Nurse With Wound’s list of subterranean sonic treasures that originated in the sleeve notes to Chance Meeting On A Dissecting Table Of A Sewing Machine And An Umbrella, Mutant Sounds built upon NWW leader Steven Stapleton’s zeal for the overlooked and enigmatic musical geniuses, making available for downloading several classic recordings that existed only in tiny editions for brief durations. This was aural archeology at its finest, and the blog turned on many avid heads to tons of music that otherwise might have withered unheard forever.
Blogger vdoandsound—who is a key member of chameleonic psychedelic bricoleurs Vas Deferens Organization and one of the world's foremost record collectors—also noted: "I'm convinced that this music and a better understanding of it and its historical place will continue to spread, as it's been circulating around out there for some time now, so a thousand other platforms await your own able hands and intentions."
BUT WAIT. While writing this post, I noticed that Mutant Sounds will continue to exist—but with a different approach. The site will share music, but only that for which it has received permission from the artists. These works will be disseminated via Mutant Sounds' personal Dropbox account. vdoandsound's latest post explains the new regime—which begins next week—here. It's fair to say that this is a compromise with which many rare-music fiends can live.
The sublime singer/songwriter Kevin Ayers—an original member of psych-prog legends Soft Machine (and their predecessors, the Wilde Flowers)—passed away in his sleep Feb. 18 at age 68. The cause of death has not been reported.
Ayers played on Soft Machine’s classic self-titled debut album and then set off on a long and rewarding solo career, all the while occasionally collaborating with innovative musicians such as Brian Eno, Nico, John Cale, Robert Wyatt, and Mike Oldfield. Ayers wrote some of the most memorable and compelling compositions on The Soft Machine (aka Volume One), including the catchy as hell and exceptionally eccentric “We Did It Again,” “Lullabye Letter,” and “Joy of a Toy.”
Ayers’ first solo LP, Joy of a Toy, established him as one of the most distinctive vocalists in the British rock scene, his deep, lugubrious pipes especially working magic with the drop-dead-gorgeous ballad “Lady Rachel” and the perennially relevant “Song for Insane Times.” (The contemporaneous single “Religious Experience [Singing a Song in the Morning]” with Syd Barrett is also an immortal beauty.) Ayers went on to cut several other great records, including Shooting at the Moon, Bananamour, The Confessions of Dr. Dream and Other Stories, and June 1, 1974 (with Eno, Cale, and Nico). Ayers’ final album, The Unfairground, came out in 2007 and featured contributions from Roxy Music guitarist Phil Manzanera and members of Teenage Fanclub, Neutral Milk Hotel, and Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci, among others.
“Decadence”—from 1973's Bananamour—is my favorite Ayers joint, because it anticipates Spiritualized by 17 years and because it’s so incredibly beautiful and hypnotic. RIP, Kevin Ayers.
Leroy “Sugarfoot” Bonner—guitarist/vocalist for Ohio Players—passed away Jan. 26 at age 69 in Trotwood-Dayton, Ohio. The cause of death has not been reported.
Ohio Players were one of the biggest, brashest funk bands of the ’70s. Their songs could be brazenly outré as their super-erotic, bondage-y cover art or veer toward outright goofiness. Reflecting the latter, their 1972 hit “Funky Worm” became one of the foundational influences on G-funk and has been sampled dozens of times by hiphop producers. Ohio Players tunes have been covered by artists such as Red Hot Chili Peppers (“Love Rollercoaster”), Sly & Robbie (“Fire”), and Soundgarden (“Fopp”).
(Easy Street Records Queen Anne) You've likely heard the bad news: Easy Street Records will soon be closing its huge and beloved Queen Anne location. But tonight brings a glorious consolation prize: a free in-store performance (the venue's last ever!) by Yo La Tengo, the great American band that's been making gorgeous, one-of-a-kind music for a quarter century. This will be magical evening. (It will also very likely be a packed evening, so wear comfortable shoes and get there early.)
He didn't know what as going to happen to the space after tonight—God, I hope it's not another Chase Bank.
Go down there and have a drink before the doors close forever. And don't forget to tip a little extra if you can. Losing your job sucks.
This bit of bad news got lost over the holidays, but it should be noted that Ray Collins, the flamboyantly emotive lead singer for the Soul Giants—a SoCal R&B group featuring guitarist Frank Zappa, who evolved into the Mothers of Invention—died December 24 of a heart attack. He was 76.
Collins got his start in the 1950s as a falsetto doo-wop singer in groups like Julian Herrera and the Tigers. After the Soul Giants fired guitarist Ray Hunt and hired Zappa to replace him, they morphed into the Mothers of Invention and got a lot stranger. Collins went on to sing on the Mothers' classics like Freak Out!, Absolutely Free, and Cruising With Ruben & the Jets, as well as sporadically contributing vocals to Zappa projects in the '70s.
Read the LA Times obit here. RIP, Ray Collins.
We’re late with this for various valid and invalid reasons, but we hasten to note that Marva Whitney, the powerfully emotive singer who collaborated and toured with James Brown, died Dec. 22 from complications of pneumonia. She was 68.
Nicknamed “Soul Sister #1,” Whitney scored her biggest hits with 1968’s “Unwind Yourself” and 1969’s “It’s My Thing” (a female retort to the Isley Brothers’ “It’s Your Thing”), both of which have been frequently sampled by hiphop and electronic-music producers, the former most famously by The 45 King on his “The 900 Number.” At her best, Whitney sounded like a rawer Aretha Franklin, her voice a searing force of nature; it had to be to share a mic with JB. RIP, Marva Whitney.
A couple days ago Noz linked to a couple interviews with the greatest of all time, one of my favorite subjects ever, Mr. Marvin Pentz Gay Jr., aka Marvin Gaye. The first is with "The Fly Jock", Tom Joyner, features heavy gum chewing, and is candid as hell about where his head and his life were at in 1983, the year that I met him:
Among other things, Tom asks him about love ("misery") and sex ("oh god...sex is marvelous")—his take on those subjects and their relationship, or lack thereof, he covered in the liners to What's Going On. Tom also asks Marvin about his past admission to thoughts of suicide.
But we can't leave it on a note like that. So, some music, then: I just got hip to an album of Gaye's that was released back in 2005: his Live At The Copa album, recorded in 1965, but shelved (which happened to a bunch of Marvin's more standards-oriented material, like the incredible Vulnerable album). Check a few from both of those albums after the link.
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