Archive for October, 2010

“New York, New York” Zappa Style – KUR’s Halloween Mix

Christians have Christmas, Jews have Passover, and Muslims have the holy month of Ramadan. For a Zappa/Mothers freak like myself, though, no day in the calendar year is more important than Halloween. Frank Zappa and Halloween in New York City became a tradition onto itself in the 1970s and early 1980s. It’s no surprise that whenever he decided to release live albums and videos and DVDs, New York was the backdrop. If Los Angeles was his home, New York was his home away from home. It was where he seemed to let his hair down most, so to speak, and where he had the most fun with the freaks and denizens which were his fans.

To commemorate this particular Halloween, KUR-Meisters, I joined forces with the great Magic Fingers, and together we have compiled for you a massive Halloween mix entitled: “New York, New York” Zappa Style – KUR’s Halloween Mix.

Click here to listen to the mix.

“Happy Halloween, everybody!”

Yugen & Rock In Opposition

For as long as I have been a music listener, it has very often perplexed me that the music, and the artists, with which I listened to on an increasingly regular basis, and increasingly over the years and decades – artists such as Zappa, Beefheart, Henry Cow, Univers Zero, The Cardiacs, The Residents, etc. – never got radio play, or if they did, very little, and quite often outside the mainstream media of the time. So, it came as little surprise, at least to me, when a movement, Rock In Opposition, emerged in the late 70s promoting these elements:
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Zappa At The RondHose

Zappa At The Roundhouse

Zappa @ The Roundhouse, now with added Barfie Speak!
Image posted for archival purposes (click for bigger version). Previously ›

Update Nov 8: An extensive review of this event is now available here!

George Duke Band plays Zappa

For as long as I’ve been a fan of Frank Zappa‘s music, I’ve also been a fan of the music of George Duke. Indeed, both musicians have taken me on musical trips I could never have imagined going on.
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GRAND ZAPPA – the book

Released for the 70th birthday here’s a REALLY big book by Frank Wonneberg examining the albums released in FZ’s lifetime. In german – “which is the way he talks whenever it’s Heavy Business”.

See details on the page of the publisher – Schwartzkopf & Schwartzkopf.

Hey Nineteen

I’ve always loved Steely Dan’s music. I can see straight linear connections between both theirs and Frank Zappa’s music: the luscious brass sections (in particular with regard to Grande/Petite Wazoo, FZ’s ’88 tour, and so on), the odd chord changes (if, to put it lightly, perhaps more subtle in the case of SD), the obscure, idiosyncratic lyrics, obsessively controlled musical improvisation, above all the superb musicianship. And a sense of humor.

But for some reason Steely Dan gets all the FM airplay, and Zappa close to never got any. Steely Dan throughout their career played “The Trojan Horse” card: faux easy listening with the lyrics acting as a sinister under-the-belt sting — whereas FZ made it his trade to always be up front and confrontational. Opposites. Which funnily enough, they both ended up benefiting from.

Are you guys ‘n gals Steely Dan fans? What are your favorites? If not, what puts you off about their tightly studio-controlled recordings?

Preservation Hall Jazz Band & Tom Waits On 78 rpm Vinyl

On November 19th, Preservation Hall Recordings will release 504 limited edition hand-numbered 78 rpm vinyl records featuring two tracks by the Preservation Hall Jazz Band with very special guest Tom Waits. Proceeds from the sale of this very special project will benefit the Preservation Hall Junior Jazz & Heritage Brass Band.

You don’t have the oldschool gramophon to play this?

The first one hundred records will be accompanied by a custom-made Preservation Hall 78rpm record player as part of a Deluxe Donation package.

Hey ho, Barry & Sharl might like this one. See details on tomwaits.com! One sample song called Tootie Ma Is A Big Fine Thing can be listened here in mp78 – joke: in mp3.

Leader Of The Starry Skies

Remember Cardiacs? KUR-regular Sterbus alerted me to the following:

Tim Smith composer, principal songwriter, lead singer and guitarist of Cardiacs and other seminal music projects suffered a severe stroke in 2008. Two years on he continues to be treated in hospital.

A tribute album entitled Leader Of The Starry Skies – A Tribute To Tim Smith is slated for release in December:

All profits from this album will go towards a fund to help get Tim home. The artists appearing have generously given their time and creativity freely. This is a testament to the love we all have for Tim. Your pre-order will entitle you to download a free, exclusive album of Tim’s songs covered by friends and family.

If you enjoy the music of Cardiacs and wish to support a worthy cause, pre-order today, why don’t you.

The Black Page Against The Machine

A fun initiative from The Idiot (as seen on Facebook):

To mark what would have been composer Frank Zappa’s 70th birthday on 21 December 2010, let’s try and repeat the success of Rage Against The Machine’s Christmas #1 with “The Black Page”.

You can purchase and download Frank’s Synclavier version of the track (for just 79p) on Amazon UK. Spread the word!

FZ’s Them or Us – Rereleased, 2010/12/1

In 1984 Frank Zappa self-published Them or Us, created with a dot matrix printer. A new facsimile edition – published by Pinter & Martin Ltd of the United Kingdom (which means they can only ship this book to the UK & Commonwealth; everyone else should check Zappa.com and Barfko-Swill after the rerelease date of December 1st, 2010) – brings this seminal work on conceptual continuity to a new generation of fans. (more…)