Friday, June 15, 2018

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The TrumpKim Summit Movie Trailer

The Guardian: Robbie Williams 'Selling Soul To Dictator Putin' In World Cup Gig

Robbie Williams at Soccer Aid for Unicef, Manchester, 10 Jun 2018.
 Robbie Williams at Soccer Aid for Unicef, Manchester, 10 Jun 2018. Photograph: Unicef/Dymond/Rex/Shutterstock

Singer handing Russian leader PR coup by performing at opening ceremony, say critics

NOTE FROM THISSMALLPLANET: Putin critic Bill Browder points out:

In addition to legitimizing Putin by performing at the World Cup, performed for Russian oligarchs Alisher Usmanov and Roman Abramovich in Russia in the past
Robbie Williams has been accused of selling his soul to the “dictator” Vladimir Putin after it emerged he will be performing in Russia for the football World Cup.
The singer will headline Thursday’s opening ceremony, which will be attended by the Russian president prior to the tournament’s first game, between Russia and Saudi Arabia.
Politicians and campaigners criticised the move and urged him to follow the lead of the royal family, as well as government ministers, and refrain from attending the event in protest against Russia’s alleged involvement in the Skripal poisoning.
The head of the global Magnitsky justice campaign, Bill Browder, a former client of the anti-corruption lawyer who was beaten to death while in police custody in Moscow in 2009, tweeted: “There’s lots of ways to make money Robbie Williams, but selling your soul to a dictator shouldn’t be one of them. Shame on you.”
“This message is on behalf of Sergei Magnitsky, Boris Nemtsov, Anna Politkovskaya, Natalia Estimirova, victims of MH17, 10,000 dead Ukrainian soldiers.”
The Labour MP Stephen Doughty said: “It is surprising and disappointing to hear that such a great British artist as Robbie Williams, who has been an ally of human rights campaigns and the LGBT+ community, has apparently agreed to be paid by Russia and Fifa to sing at the World Cup opener.”

“At a time when Russian jets are bombing civilians in Syria, the Russian state is poisoning people on the streets of Britain, as well as persecuting LGBT+ people in Chechnya and elsewhere – let alone attempting to undermine our democracies – I can only assume Robbie will be speaking out on these issues alongside his performance?”
John Woodcock MP, who sits on the home affairs committee, also condemned the former Take That member, who will be paid hundreds of thousands of pounds for the brief appearance.
“We all want to support the England team but Robbie Williams is handing Vladimir Putin a PR coup by performing at the thuggish pariah’s opening ceremony just months after Russia carried out a chemical weapons attack on English soil,” he said.
“I understand why the national team felt they should go and compete but no patriotic public figure should be giving a thumbs up to Russia by acting in this way. Even at this late stage, I really hope Robbie will reconsider and pull out.”
In a statement released by Fifa, the world governing body of football, Williams invited football and music fans to “party with us in Russia … for an unforgettable show.
“I’m so happy and excited to be going back to Russia for such a unique performance. I’ve done a lot in my career, and opening the Fifa World Cup to 80,000 football fans in the stadium and many millions all over the world is a boyhood dream.”
Williams will be accompanied by the Russian soprano Aida Garifullina for the the musical extravaganza. The two-time World Cup winner with Brazil, Ronaldo, will also take part in the ceremony, in an as-yet unspecified role.
A spokesman for Williams said the celebrity did not wish to offer comment. According to the Sunday Times rich list, Williams is worth £165m.


This will not be his first Russian performance. Earlier this year, the singer performed at a St Petersburg party to celebrate 25 years of MegaFon, a Russian mobile phone company controlled by Alisher Usmanov, the Uzbek-born Russian billionaire and Arsenal shareholder.
In 2014, he allegedly performed to a group of Putin’s inner circle at the request of the Chelsea owner, Roman Abramovich.
Vladislav Surkov, who planned Russia’s intervention in Ukraine and is understood to be one of Putin’s closest advisers, was personally invited to the party by Abramovich. Williams was later photographed with Surkov’s wife, Natalya Dubovitskaya.
Two years later, Williams released Party Like a Russian. In the song, he romanticised capital flight from Russia and sang: “It takes a certain kind of man with a certain reputation to alleviate the cash from a whole entire nation,” and “Subcontract disputes to some brutes in Louboutin … Act highfalutin’ while my boys put the boots in.”

M. Ward Has A Cool, New Album Out Now...

Cool, New Song: "I'm Your Man" by Spiritualized (Video)

"Hocus Pocus" (1971) by the Dutch band Focus: I Thought This Was Pretty Cool When I Was A Kid

Cool, New Song: "Do The Trash Can" Jon Spencer (Solo Debut Album Coming Soon)

I was a big fan of The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion in the mid/late 90's, so it's nice to catch up with the lead singer, just in time for his solo debut album; coming out this Fall. Here's the lead single "Do The Trash Can". It rocks.

Originally it was Vadge Moore, drummer for Test Subjects and The Dwarves, who recommended The Blues Explosion to me. I heard "Bellbottoms" and have been hooked ever since.

I'll never forget them taking the stage at Irving Plaza with beards and a theremin...

Looking forward to seeing what else Jon has to offer; as a solo artist.

Wasn't aware until just now that "Bellbottoms" was used in a key scene at the beginning of Baby Driver. Hats off to the musical supervisor, who also used "Hocus Pocus" by Focus and other interesting musical choices most effectively...

Monday, June 11, 2018

The Arts Desk: Reissue CDs Weekly: Gene Clark Sings For You

On his own with his guitar: Gene Clark in 1967Omnivore Recordings

Significant first-time release of demos recorded after the singer-songwriter left The Byrds

“Past My Door” weaves together a series of leitmotifs. Beginning as a downbeat, mid-tempo shuffle, it then shifts into a staccato passage after which the tempo picks up before a more pacey section. Next, the character established at the song’s introduction returns. Over four-minutes 20 seconds, the different approaches are supported by oblique lyrics which include the memorable phrase “too late, cries the melting snowman". At its core, the melancholy “Past My Door” seems to be about missing chances and being left behind.
This remarkable portmanteau composition is one of the many highlights of Gene Clark Sings For You, an essential 14-track collection of demos recorded by the former Byrds’ lynch-pin in – according to its annotation – 1967. Nothing is previously issued and the title is taken from that of an acetate which originally featured the new release’s first eight tracks.
Gene Clark Sings For YouWhile the ...Sings For Youacetate was made to secure a recording contract, the compilation of the same name features a further five songs from another acetate: one given by Clark to a member of the band The Rose Garden – who recorded versions of his otherwise unreleased songs on their sole album. More on The Rose Garden next week. The 14th and final track is Clark’s demo of “Till Today”, another song of his recorded by The Rose Garden.
Back in the Sixties, Gene Clark’s trajectory seemed simple. Although integral to The Byrds, he left them in early 1966 and then formed an unrecorded band named Gene Clark and the Group, after which he made the superb solo Gene Clark with the Gosdin Brothers album for Columbia (The Byrds’ label – it was a solo album, however misleadingly it was credited). Following its release in 1967, he and Columbia parted ways. In late 1968, he re-emerged on A&M with the explicitly country Fantastic Expedition of Dillard and Clark album; one that actually was a collaboration The waters were somewhat muddied by odd songs of his cropping up albums by the actor David Hemmings and The Rose Garden.
Things were not so simple – as the release of Gene Clark Sings For Youunderlines. Clark had been central to a band which redefined popular music and pushed it forward. Although The Byrds were influenced by Dylan and The Beatles (The Searchers too), the feedback loop they established impacted directly on their inspirations. Clark’s last recording sessions with The Byrds were on 24 & 25 January 1966 (“Eight Miles High” and “Why” were taped) and 21 February (shelved/unfinished takes of “I Know My Rider” and “John Riley”). He left the band on 22 February. By the time their “Eight Miles High” single was in the shops on 14 March, The Byrds had lost a key member.
Gene Clark and the Group Whisky A Go-Go June July 1966Thereafter, he spent some time away from Los Angeles and then formed Gene Clark and the Group, a quartet introduced to the world at the Whisky A Go-Go in June and July 1966 (pictured left: an ad for the shows). He did not, it seems, tape anything for release with them but instead began a country tinged solo album of baroque-pop for Columbia, recorded in October and November 1966. It was issued in February 1967 by Columbia at the same time as The Byrds’ Younger Than Yesterday. Clark's former Byrds band-mates Michael Clarke and Chris Hillman played on his album yet it was clear that, for his label, he was of less concern than the band he had left.
Even so, a session with Byrds manager Jim Dickson (as producer), Leon Russell (who worked on Clark’s album) and Hugh Masekela (who had recorded with The Byrds) was undertaken in January 1967 before the album was out. A single of "Back Street Mirror" and "Don't Let It Fall Through" was mooted. None of the tracks were released at the time but the backing track for “Back Street Mirror” was repurposed for the David Hemmings album. Unadulterated – and amazing – recordings from the session have been issued recently.
In April, Columbia paid for Clark to make another potential single but that too was shelved (the two tracks, a cover of Ian & Sylvia's “The French Girl” and Clark’s own “Only Colombe” first surfaced in 1991). The label let him go in June. One of the most distinctive and original singer-songwriters of the era without an outlet in a period when Tim Buckley, Leonard Cohen, Tim Hardin and others were showing that individualism was to be cherished rather than rejected. Still plugging away, Clark taped demos of eight of his songs at the end of 1967 in the hope of signing to a new label. They were pressed on acetates which were duly circulated
Liberty Records was amongst the recipients of the Gene Clark Sings For Youacetate. These eight wonderful tracks, although recorded in a bare-bones fashion in December 1967, show that Clark was still viable as a solo artist. He was not picked up by a label and emotive, sinuous songs such as “Past Tense”, “That’s Alight” and “Yesterday, Am I Right” were not released.
Gene Clark Down On The Pier sheet musicIntriguingly, two of the songs from the …Sings For Youacetate – “One Way Road” and “Down On The Pier” (pictured right: the sheet music for “Down On The Pier”) – were copyrighted on 21 April 1967, the same date as “Only Colombe” was registered. Perhaps they were in the frame to be recorded for Columbia? “Yesterday, Am I Right”, also on the acetate, had previously been recorded at the Russell/Masekela session while Clark was still under contract to Columbia, so it seems that more was going on over January to April 1967 than the preparation of two proposed singles. This inference is not discussed in the liner notes of the new release.
Even more fascinating are the five tracks from the acetate given to The Rose Garden’s John Noreen. In the liner notes, he says it was dated 1966 but Gene Clark Sings For You’s annotation gives it a 1967 date (it is not illustrated). Considering that the five compositions were registered for copyright on 31 October 1966, the earlier date seems more likely. Therefore, these tracks appear to pre-date the recording of Gene Clark with the Gosdin Brothers. This supposition is supported by “Big City Girl” and “Doctor Doctor”, the final pair of tracks of the five. Unlike anything else here, they feature a full electric band which sounds like a four-piece outfit. It cannot be certain if this is Gene Clark and his Group (the liner notes do not go into this either), but these must be the earliest post-Byrds recordings by Clark to have surfaced. As such, they are important.
“Big City Girl” is a blues-based workout which would have worked well live but does not sit comfortably with anything else Clark is known to have recorded or written over 1966 and 1967 after departing The Byrds. “Doctor Doctor” though is mind-blowing. With its drifting vocal harmonies, otherworldly atmosphere, spindly lead guitar line, sudden shifts from circularity into hard-edged rhythms and John Coltrane-influenced outro guitar solo, it is what the psychedelicised Byrds could have done after “Eight Miles High” had Clark still been with them.
As is evident, Gene Clark Sings For You makes the listener work hard to understand what is being heard and raises questions it does not answer. However, its first eight tracks – the ones certainly recorded after Gene Clark with the Gosdin Brothers – suggest what a putative second solo album might have been like. Based on these demos, it would have been a haunted, haunting masterpiece. And tantalisingly, there is also an intimation of what Clark was doing in the run-up to Gene Clark with the Gosdin Brothers. All of which means this is – so far – 2018’s most noteworthy archive release.

Pitchfork: Spiritualized Announce New Album "And Nothing Hurt"; Share 2 Songs

Spiritualized’s Jason Pierce, photo by Burak Cingi/Redferns via Getty Images

Check out “I’m Your Man” and “A Perfect Miracle,” from the band’s first record in 6 years

Spiritualized have announced their first new album in six years. And Nothing Hurt is out September 7 on Fat Possum/Bella Union. Listen to the first two songs from the record below: “I’m Your Man” and “A Perfect Miracle.” The record, which they’ve been teasing in Morse Code, follows 2012’s Sweet Heart Sweet Light. Check out the tracklist below, via Stereogum.
And Nothing Hurt:
01 A Perfect Miracle
02 I'm Your Man
03 Here It Comes (The Road) Let's Go
04 Let’s Dance
05 On the Sunshine
06 Damaged
07 The Morning After
08 The Prize
09 Sail on Through

Bruce Springsteen "My Hometown" live at The 2018 Tony Awards

Fleet Foxes' Robin Pecknold Has Something To Say About Depression & Suicide...


I’ll try this again: in thinking about the deaths of Bourdain and Spade, I made a post earlier today about suicide and mental health. Some comments felt I was being unsympathetic towards the mentally ill or suicidal, so I’d like to rephrase and provide more context for what I was trying to say.

During a period a few years ago when I was dangerously and actively suicidal, my respect for my loved ones and my knowledge of the pain I would cause them was, truly and with no overstatement, the only effective thought I had at my disposal to prevent myself from acting.

I was not saying suicide is selfish in my post. I don’t believe that. I can’t know firsthand another’s interiority, and I also have never had personal experience with a friend or loved one suffering from a truly debilitating psychological disorder. I was not speaking for all who struggle with mental health, just relaying my own lessons and conclusions following years of unwanted destructive mental activity, consistent therapy, medication, and active concerted effort towards self knowledge and education.

The reason it makes me uncomfortable to see suicide lionized is because suicide has been an at-many-times daily part of my psychic reality, even still. It follows me around. When artists are made legends through suicide, I know that some segment of the impressionable population internalizes this as justification for the act. I know this because I have overcome this exact delusion.

It makes me uncomfortable being more explicit, but some of the feedback made me feel the need... I am definitely unqualified to discuss the mental health of others, but it follows that so too is anyone else unqualified to judge my psychic reality and assume that this has not been an unwelcome and pernicious facet of my own lived experience, one that I’ve devoted much effort and resources towards addressing. I can say I took a break between albums to “go back to school” in interviews, but that isn’t the whole story.

I have nothing but empathy for anyone struggling, and I really hope people get the help they need, and that we all make ourselves available to those close to us who need us.

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