The Walrus is a Philadelphia-based music blog written by Michael. You may send me stuff through the send a tip page or email me. All mp3s should be sent as links. NO ATTACHMENTS, PLEASE. If I like your music, chances are I will write about it.
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I caught this new BBC documentary last night on YouTube (in 7 parts) and it is essential viewing for those who are into The Byrds, Neil Young and are curious as to how LA became a mecca for music. There are some really interesting moments with Van Dyke Parks (he named Buffalo Springfield!?), David Geffen and David Crosby (not a fan of the Eagles!) as they talk about the Laurel Canyon scene. Check it out while you can!
Groundbreaking composer Karlheinz Stockhausen, one of the earliest to use electronics, gave an interesting lecture entitled “Four Criteria of Electronic Music” at the Oxford Union at Oxford University in 1972. Check out these two excerpts from the lecture where Stockhausen highlights the anatomy of electronic sound (first video) and speaks to the dehumanization of popular music within the context of human behavior and evolution (second video). No big whoop…
On Human Evolution…
Ok, take it easy Heinzy. The entire lecture is said to be available for mail order purchase via Stockhausen.org (.pdf catalog – yikes! So much for being progressive.)
In reference to the German V-2 rocket and Kraftwerk’s Florian Schneider, Bowie and Eno penned this progressive, faux-electronic tune “V-2 Schneider” for Bowie’s classic 1977 album Heroes. The ghostly vocal refrain begins as nothing more than a texture, blending in seamlessly with wailing saxophones and a military/motorik beat, but eventually gains a nice clarity. It’s a stellar track, and one that was ahead of its time…
If you intend on becoming a really really big ’70s Krautrock nerd and you want to know ALL there is to know about the period, including the story of seminal electronic band Kraftwerk, then watch this comprehensive documentary on the subject for free on YouTube (in 18 parts!) before it gets taken down. Me? I would never ever spend 3 hours watching something like this. NEVER! I have waaayyy better things to do.
British singer Ian Dury and his band The Blockheads made a name for themselves in the ’70s with highly influential, funk-infused tunes like the sleazy, yet charming “Wake Up and Make Love With Me” and “Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll“. The latter is also the name of a new(ish) film depicting the British singer’s wild and colorful rise in the post-punk scene, as well as his life-long battle with Polio. Andy Serkis stars as as Dury and Naomie Harris, Ray Winstone and Olivia Williams round out the cast. The film, which looks entertaining to say the least, has yet to receive an official, theatrical US release date. Hopefully, not for long.
Here is something for all you blotter-heads out there. In 1971, American songwriter Harry Nilsson penned a quirky children’s story with a charming concept and layers of social themes like alienation and conformity.
The Point! centers around a character named Oblio, a round-headed boy who lives in a village of pointy-headed people. Originally, it was conceived as an animated film narrated by Ringo Starr and it aired as The ABC Movie of The Week in 1971. The serene and sometimes drowsy psychedelic music from the film was released as an accompanying album in the same year with Nilsson taking over narrating duties for Starr. For those of you who enjoyed Blackalicious’ 2002 song “Blazing Arrow“, this tune below about Oblio and his dog, may ring a bell:
Harry Nilsson – “Me and My Arrow” (From The Point! Soundtrack)
So how did this story come to be? Well, as Nilsson puts it,“I was on acid and I looked at the trees and I realized that they all came to points, and the little branches came to points, and the houses came to point. I thought, ‘Oh! Everything has a point, and if it doesn’t, then there’s a point to it.”Yes, Harry, you were certainly on acid — and we are truly grateful. Watch the first segment from the film below:
Here in Philly, it looks like we will have some pretty nice weather for skateboarding this weekend and next week. Granted, you probably won’t look as awesome as the cool cats pictured above when you ride, but these songs might make you FEEL as awesome. Check them out:
Downhill Racers – “Lovin’ Pots” (1976)
Martin Circus – “Planche de Skate” (1977)
The Carvells – “L.A. Run” (1977)
Magnum Bonum – “Skateboard” (1978)
Mabel – “Skateboard Rider” (1978)
Zack Fergusson – “Skateboard Dancin” (1978)
Listen to more, including one from T-Rex, and check out some of the sleeve art on Bootz and Glitz.
Here’s a super early music video for one of The Beach Boys’ more peculiar songs – a song with a serious and partially bleak message – that can be found on the band’s dark, 1971 album Surf’s Up.
Though they had lost most of their cache after the SMiLE fall-out in 1967, it’s still really cool that a popular band was injecting social and environmental topic into their music way before it was a hot button issue. Even more peculiar than the song itself is that the video features an additional member — Blondie Chaplin, a 17 year old South African singer/guitarist who was filling in with the band.
According to a YouTube commenter, the video was shot around a small promenade buildings adjacent to the seafront in Brighton, on May 25, 1972. But what’s one of the best comments on the YouTube page? “Don’t go near the water, when Mike Love is in it.”