‘TOM WAITS FOR NO ONE’: OBSCURE OSCAR-WINNING ANIMATED MUSIC VIDEO FROM 1979.
“Tom Waits for No One” is the title of an absolutely amazing animated short that was made in 1979 by the Lyon Lamb company, the Oscar-winning technological innovators behind the Lyon Lamb Video Animation System which allowed animators to see immediate pencil tests of something without having to shoot it on film.
It was produced by his then business partner Bruce Lyon and utilized the (apparently mostly volunteered) talents of several up-and-comers who’d all go on to greater things, including lead animator David Silverman who went on to The Simpsons and Pixar’s Monsters, Inc.
LIFE AFTER DEATH: NEW POSTHUMOUS RELEASE FROM SUICIDE’S ALAN VEGA.
There’s been no new music from Suicide co-founder Alan Vega since 2010’s Sniper. In the six years between that album and his death in the summer of 2016, Vega worked on a project called IT with his wife and frequent collaborator Liz Lamere. During that time he suffered a stroke, but the work continued.
Though it’s sad that IT had to be a posthumous album, it will at last be available in July, its release coinciding with the anniversary of his death and a slew of commemorative “Alan Vega Week” events that will include an exhibit of Vega’s drawings at Invisible-Exports, and “Dream Baby Dream,” a collection at Deitch Projects of Vega’s sculptural work plus video projections of historic Suicide performances. Here’s the album’s lead-off track, “DTM” (it stands for “Dead to Me”).
WHAT A TEASE: SIOUXSIE AND THE BANSHEES’ AWKWARD APPEARANCE ON GOOFY PUBLIC ACCESS TV IN 1980
New York Dance Stand was a music and dance public access show on New York cable in the early 1980s. While much of its history has been lost to the sands of time, a few video clips have resurfaced over the years. This one features an appearance by Siouxsie and the Banshees on November 25th, 1980. The group was in the city for their very first US tour, which was not well attended due to lack of US distribution by their label, Polydor. (During the interview Siouxsie mentions that just 60 people showed up for their show in Boston.) A performance at Club 57 at Irving Plaza occurred on the 21st, four days before this was shot. Kaleidoscope was released earlier that year and reached #5 on the UK charts.
Watch Siouxsie and the Banshees premiere their single “Israel” along with Kaleidoscope‘s “Christine” below. Despite the lip sync, the awkward interaction between goofball host Carl Bloat and Siouxsie Sioux makes it well worth it. The goth queen teases and backcombs her spiky blackhair throughout the interview.
‘THE UNHEARD MUSIC’: THE DEFINITIVE DOCUMENTARY ON LOS ANGELES PUNK LEGENDS X.
The first thing you see when you watch W.T. Morgan’s 1986 documentary The Unheard Music about the difficult-to-Google Los Angeles punk band X is a caption reading “PLAY THIS MUSIC LOUD.” Always good advice, of course. Morgan worked on the documentary for five solid years while the band was at its peak, and The Unheard Music emerges as a darn good document.
TALKING HEADS TALK, AND PERFORM, ON UK’S “SOUTH BANK SHOW” IN 1979.
A documentary made in 1979 about Talking Heads. Features interviews and live performances of classics, such as “Psycho Killer” and “Life During Wartime”.
‘STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND’: 1987 DOCUMENTARY ON NICK CAVE FROM DUTCH TV.
One of the first images in “Nick Cave: Stranger in a Strange Land” is a glimpse of the Berlin Wall, which (it’s strange to imagine) would only be in use for a couple more years. “Stranger in a Strange Land” was produced in 1987 by Bram van Splunteren, and it appeared on the Dutch TV channel VPRO.
Cave lived in Berlin in the 1980s, during which he appeared in one of the greatest movies of all time, Wim Wenders’ Das Himmel Über Berlin, known to English speakers as Wings of Desire.
There’s some bracing footage of Cave with the Birthday Party as well as rehearsals with the Bad Seeds, during which Cave belts out the chorus to “Yesterday,” of all possible things. In the rehearsal we see them do a version of “The Singer,” which appears on Kicking Against The Pricks.
The voiceover is in Dutch, but the interviews with Cave, Blixa Bargeld, Mick Harvey and so on are in English. Mark E. Smith pops up unexpectedly, Cave makes a joke about “two hugely intelligent frontmen.”
EXILES IN DÜSSELDORF: AUSTRIAN TV SPECIAL ON KRAFTWERK, 1981.
This documentary appeared on the Austrian TV station ORF in 1981, pretty clearly to coincide with the release of Computer World.
The special mixes Kraftwerk performing in front of an audience, what we would today call “music videos” that use some excellent documentary footage of missile launches and things like that, and footage of Ralf Hütter being interviewed by someone off-camera.
Sex Pistols – Live At Thames Riverboat Party, June 7th, 1977.
For the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in June 1977, the Pistols make themselves heard from a boat on the River Thames.
THE STORY OF ‘COMMON PEOPLE’: BBC DOC ON PULP’S DEATHLESS MASTERPIECE.
“Common People” by Pulp is probably the consensus pick for best British pop single of the 1990s, and there’s little doubt that not many songs share its exultant and biting qualities. Brimming with intelligence and anger, “Common People” has become the definitive Britpop anthem, securing Jarvis’ status as a rock and roll dandy of the first order forevermore.
Pulp had four albums before Different Class, and two after, but even if you were to pay close attention to “The Story of ‘Common People,’” a 2006 BBC documentary about the song, you might be forgiven for not noticing.
24 HOUR PARTYING PEOPLE: HAPPY MONDAY, IT’S THE HAPPY MONDAYS!
For those of you who might’ve missed out on their roguelike charms back when the drugs were still working for them and not against them, here’s a sampling of classic Happy Mondays from, uh… when they were peaking?