Tag Archive | Thunderbolt

Video Clip of The Week: Swervedriver, “Spiked Flower”


‘Transcendent’ is not a world that I find myself using very often these days when talking about modern music, if I talk about it at all. I looked at the Billboard charts a couple months ago for the first time in probably a decade — just being serious — and when I realized that every band or artist in the top 20 or so positions on that chart was either someone I’ve never heard of, or someone I am familiar enough with to have a strong distaste for their songs, I knew l’d made the right decision to abandon rock journalism and start writing about art and food. Because I would rather listen to The Beatles or Led Zeppelin for one hundred million billion years than any of the boring, shitty, derivative, eardrum excoriating garbage that ‘the kids’ are downloading for 15 minutes. Fuck the kids.

Of course, it’s not that everything sucks, but the really good stuff is now back in the underground, and this is why it takes me a week to uncover even one song worth featuring in this column. Fortunately, hard work pays off. This week’s clip, “Spiked Flower,” comes to us from the band Swervedriver, who were being pitched to me when you were in diapers: when I was cranking out CD reviews and long-form interviews with top musicians at a pretty steady clip. How are they still around, and how do they still sound so fucking good? “Spiked Flower” is song that’s transcendence distilled, and I don’t even feel compelled to defend it beyond offering that it sounds like if Husker Du had a baby with the Jesus and Mary Chain. Sometimes the only quality that good music has to have to is that it sounds good“Spiked Flower” can be found on Swervedriver’s upcoming album, Future Ruins — earning bonus points for featuring Coney Island’s iconic Parachute Drop and Thunderbolt roller coaster on its cover — which will be released on January 25th, 2019 on Dangerbird Records. Enjoy!

future ruins hi-res cover

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Ten Photographs of the Coney Island Parachute Jump

Coney Island Parachute Jump
All Photos By Gail

The Parachute Jump is a defunct amusement ride in Coney Island, whose iconic open-frame steel structure remains a Brooklyn landmark. Standing 250 feet tall and weighing 170 tons, it has been called the Eiffel Tower of Brooklyn. Well, I’ve never called it that, but apparently some people have.

Thunderbolt and Parachute Jump
Parachute Jump in the Shadow of the Thunderbolt Roller-Coaster

If you Google “Photos of Coney Island” you will see that it is arguably the single most photographed landmark near the Boardwalk. Originally built for the 1939 New York World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows–Corona Park, Queens, the tower was moved to its current site, then part of the Steeplechase Park amusement park, in 1941.

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Seen from Inside a Burger Joint on The Boardwalk

It is the only portion of Steeplechase Park still standing today. The ride ceased operations in 1964, when that park shut down for good. How old were you in 1964? I was 3.

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The ride was based on functional parachutes which were held open by metal rings throughout the ascent and descent. Twelve cantilevered steel arms sprout from the top of the tower, each of which supported a parachute attached to a lift rope and a set of surrounding guide cables.

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Riders were belted into a two-person canvas seat hanging below the closed chute, then hoisted to the top, where a release mechanism would drop them, the descent slowed only by the parachute. Shock absorbers at the bottom, consisting of pole-mounted springs, cushioned the landing. Each parachute required three cable operators, keeping labor expenses high.

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The tower lights up at night, and colorful the patterns change constantly. It is quite mesmerizing to view.

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2 Gs Parachute Jump 2

I love how my hair looks in this photo. I cropped Geoffrey out, because he said he looked fat. Which, not true. But whatever.
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We had fun. We always do.

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