On this date, October 19th in 1982, Bauhaus released its third studio album, The Sky’s Gone Out. The album included a different mix of the single, “Spirit”.
Bauhaus Bassist David J (Born David John Haskins) was born on this date, April 24th, in 1957. Haskins (who is the older brother of Kevin Haskins, the group’s drummer) wrote the lyrics to “Bela Lugosi’s Dead,” Bauhaus’s first single, most famous, and most-licensed song. “Bela Lugosi’s Dead,” is over nine minutes long and was recorded “live in the studio” in a single take. Happy Birthday, David!
German architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe was born on this day, March 27th, in 1886. As a member of the Bauhaus design school, Mies (as he was called) was highly influential in shifting modern architecture away from the ornate to the simple, a design philosophy from which he popularized the phrase “Less is More.” Mies is honored by today’s Google Doodle, which depicts the SR Crown Hall in Chicago, one of his glass-and-steel designs. Happy Birthday, Mies!
Now that we are just a couple of short weeks away from kicking off a spectacular New Year, full of art, music, pink things, bacon and free food, I would like to ask you, Dear Readers, how was your year? I hope it was awesome. As you can see from this Rad Blog you are now reading, I got to do some fun things in 2011, including going on my most fun vacation in many years when my sister and I took a 7 day Caribbean cruise, with three days in New Orleans on the front end. Holy cow, was that ever fun! Such adventuring! Such fine dining! Such ridiculous humidity! I’m still sweating.
What this all means is that it’s time again for the obligatory Year End Top Ten List, so, instead of going with the predictable, rote, yawnfest Top Ten CDs list I’ve decided to do more of a Pop Culture Mixed Bag, if you will. Because that is how I roll. Let’s get started.
Best Album: Manraze, PunkFunkRootsRock. Take guitarist Phil Collen from Def Leppard, team him up with drummer Paul Cook from The Sex Pistols and add Simon Laffy, the bassist from Phil’s former Glam band, Girl (because every power trio needs a bassist), and you’ve got a record that sounds, well, like a raunchier version of Def Leppard! We especially love Phil’s Lemmy impersonation on “Over My Dead Body.” Record of The Year! Read my interview with Paul Cook at This Link.
That’s Me in the Back Row: Third in from the Left
Best Game Show: The Kostabi Show, where a panel of three Art critics and/or celebrities compete to title the works of modernist painter Mark Kostabi for cash awards, while a jury votes on which title suits the painting best. I had the opportunity to serve as a member of the jury for a taping this past summer and went home with $6 cash more than I had when I arrived, plus a Kostabi coffee table book signed by Mark. Bonus: free pizza! Kostabi, who is an accomplished pianist, also released a swell modern classical CD, The Spectre of Modernism, this year, which has been in heavy rotation on my iPod for ages now.
Best Beatles Thing: Dave Depper’s Ram Project, an authentically covered version of Paul McCartney’s second solo album complete with off-key Linda-esque backing vocals! So good!
Best Rock Book: Nick Kent’s Apathy For The Devil, a memoir of the British rock critic’s life and career in the 1970s. Everyone knows that all of the best music happened the Seventies , so I will admit that, as both a writer and fan, I certainly would have loved to have lived that life myself, save for the messy heroin addiction part.
Best Fashion-Related Museum Exhibit: Alexander McQueen’s Savage Beauty at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Four words: Crown of Thorns Headdress. The Savage Beauty Exhibit set all kinds of ridiculous attendance records for the Met and was just insane. Insane!
Best Homage to Eighties Alternative Goth: Chris Connelly’s Artificial Madness. David Bowie Meets Killing Joke plus Bauhaus sautéed lightly with Magazine and a little Ministry on the side. Homage!
Best Rock Documentary: Fix, The Ministry Movie. Kids: Don’t Do Drugs. Or do a lot of them. One or the Other.
Best Seventies Southern Rock: The Sheepdogs, Five Easy Pieces EP. Bonus points to the band for their fan-winning appearance on the most recent season of Project Runway!
Reality TV (Competition): Top Chef, because Celebrity Chefs are the new Rock Stars!
Pop Culture as Art: The Suckadelic Art Toy Universe Retrospective and Pop Up Store at Boo Hooray Gallery (NYC). The judges and critics on the second season of Bravo’s Work Of Art didn’t really dig the SuckLord’s artwork too much, but his parodies of Star Wars toys served up with a serious side of snark made for one of the most subversive, hilarious and memorable art shows of the year! Art!
Honorable Mention: Kasabian’s Velociraptor, MGMT Live at the Guggenheim, The Zombies at City Winery, Single Fare Please Swipe Again at Sloan Fine Art, Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark, Jeremy Dower’s Canis Mortuus Familiarus at Bold Hype Gallery, American Horror Story, Maurizio Catellan’s All Retrospective at The Guggenheim, Patti Smith at Webster Hall, The Wyld Olde Souls’ Ensoulment, Jeremy Fish Listen & Learn at Joshua Liner Gallery, Robot Chicken, Tosh.0.
Happy Holidaze and all the best for 2012!
This list previously appeared in a slightly abbreviated form on the East Portland Blog Dot Com.
In contrast to the ethereal, romantic, midnight cabaret vibe of Blonde Exodus, my favorite album by Scottish expat Chris Connelly, Artificial Madness, the latest from the ex-Ministry/RevCo vocalist is fierce, briskly paced and vibrant with frenetic energy. Oh Chris, why did you stay away so long?
While the undeniable bombast of Connelly’s impressive musical pedigree is in full evidence over the course of these eleven tracks, he’s also imbued these tunes with the essence of eighties-era bands that, in effect, carried the torch for all that came along in the nineties. “Wait for Amateur” would sound right at home book-ended by “Terror Couple Kill Colonel” and “Dark Entries” on a Best-of Bauhaus album and “The Modern Swine” resembles an aural bow to Howard Devoto’s Magazine, whether intentional or otherwise. As always, Connelly’s sublime Bowie-esque croon takes even Peter Murphy’s embodiment of the Thin White Duke past the realm of homage and into the arena of a vocalist whose imprint is arguable matched only by Bryan Ferry among those currently recording. If you enjoy music with a serious pulse, there is no reason not to add Artificial Madness to your collection.
Chicago-area fans can catch the Artificial Madness record release show on Friday November 18, 2011 at The Hideout. For this show, Chris will be joined by the those who backed him on the album including producer Sanford Parker (Minsk, Nachtmystium), Noah Leger (The Karl Hendricks Trio, The(e) Speaking Canaries, Head of Skulls), Will Lindsay (Indian, Nachtmystium, Wolves in Throne Room), and Dallas Thomas (The Swan King, Circle of Animals, Asschapel).
Malevolent, beautiful, creepy and compelling all at once, Artificial Madness, out on Relapse Records on Tuesday, November 8, 2011, is one of my favorite releases of the year.
Killing Joke, Gang of Four, Bauhaus, Et Al (This Photo by Geoffrey Dicker)
Walking into the Steven Kasher Gallery last night for the opening reception of Rude And Reckless was very much like flashing back to my teenage bedroom, whose walls were plastered floor to ceiling with Punk Rock posters, show flyers, stickers and album cover art until I moved out of my parents house to go to college. Punk Rock – at a time when Punk Rock was really something vital and alive – was everything to me at that time, and I was an avid collector of 7” Punk singles (which I’d pick up by the dozens at Zed Records in Long Beach, California) and punk/new wave badges. A lot of what I collected, and probably still have, seems to have been magically curated into this amazing collection of memorabilia that is sure to delight anyone who has fond memories of the British, New York or LA/Orange County punk scenes in the late ‘70s to early ‘80s. Good times.
Rude and Reckless: Punk/Post-Punk Graphics, 1976-82 is the first New York exhibition surveying the extraordinary diversity of Punk and Post-Punk graphic design. The exhibition showcases a wide range of American and British artistry, with influences that include the Bauhaus, Futurism, Dadaism, Pop Art, Constructivism and Expressionism. The exhibition features over 200 rare posters, along with fanzines, flyers, clothing, badges and stickers.
Rude and Reckless documents an era that produced a great burst of applied graphic-design creativity, one of the most subversive of the 20th Century. Vivid, violent and frequently acid-tongued, the works in this exhibit represent one of the truly authentic DIY youth culture movements of the Western World. The exhibition is timed to coincide with the 35th anniversary of Punk Rock; both the release of the first Ramones album, and the mythical (and notorious) Anarchy in the UK Tour were seminal punk events in 1976. The exhibition is based on the collection Andrew Krivine, who began collecting in 1977. Curated by Krivine and Steven Kasher, the selection comprises the rarest and finest examples culled from an archive of more than 800 punk/new wave/post-punk posters and ephemera.
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