Thanks to my DJ buddy Frank O"Toole for forwarding me the "Jimi Hendrix goes for a job interview" comic clip on the left, which got me thinking about the late guitarist and how influential his music continues to be to this day. It also got me thinking about how both Hendrix's music and his image seem to consistantly remain at the forefront of popular culture, even all these years later-- close to four full decades since his tragic death at age 27.
The 1967 album Are You Experienced was the debut by the Jimi Hendrix Experience, the power trio rounded out by bassist Noel Redding and drummer Mitch Mitchell. Offering up a frenzied feast of feedback and distorted guitar, the album delivered rock music unheard of up until that point -- music that managed to be both experimental and accessible at the same time.
The album would be instrumental in propeling the Seattle born Hendrix, who had relocated to the UK, to international stardom. Besides the title track, among the other great eleven tracks on the debut LP (which can be found readily in CD and vinyl format at Amoeba Music) were "Foxy Lady," "Red House," "Fire," and "3rd Stone from the Sun." The album, which was released with different cover art on each side of the Atlantic, was hugely successful all over, including in the UK, where it premiered. There the album reached #2 on the best selling charts, right behind The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.
Graphic designer Heinz Edelmann, best known for his work as the art director of the classic animated Beatles film Yellow Submarine, has died; he was 75. Edelmann died in a Stuttgart, Germany hospital not far from Stuttgart Academy of Fine Arts where he taught design for many years. No cause of death was announced.
Freedy Johnston came out of Kansas and played around New York until he got signed by Bar/None Records, who released his debut, Trouble Tree in 1990. Trouble Tree was well received, but it was 1992's Can You Fly that got Johnston's name and songs bouncing all around college radio.
I've always thought of Freedy Johnston as the lost member of the Db's. He has a pristine pop quality to his voice and the stories he writes have the same almost-too-clever and slightly melancholic take on relationships that made the Db's' Amplifier the deservedly huge college rock classic that it became.
In 1994 I was working at SF's Reckless Records of London, an arguably cool and decidedly tiny record store on upper Haight St. As always, I was listening to anything I could get my hands on. Johnston's This Perfect World happened across the counter and stopped me in my tracks just by the power of its sheer completeness.
Produced by Butch Vig (Garbage) and featuring contributions from Graham Maby (Joe Jackson Band), Kevin Salem (Dumptruck), Marshall Crenshaw, Marc Ribot, Mark Spencer (Blood Oranges) and David Schramm, who worked repeatedly with the Db's' Chris Stamey and Peter Holsapple, This Perfect World is a perfect pop record. Most of it is deeply written, deeply produced and played rock-pop, though in places ("Gone Like the Water") it reveals Johnston's beloved folk-country roots. I've heard the criticism that Butch Vig sucked the edge out of it in the production, but I wasn't noticing that in 1994 and don't really notice it today, 15 years later, listening to it (still) from beginning to end.
New Electro/Techno 12"s Coming this Weekend:
2010 EP 12"
2010 is a deep techno journey into space. Synths swarm, distant sounds weave in and out of the tracks. "WHITE" sounds a bit more housey, but using clever edits and textures to keep it REDSHAPE style. EP closes with the cut "VIOLET," a warm electro/techno track.
MIYAMAE EP 12"
Three track EP from the hotly tipped GOLD PANDA, who takes a break from remixing LITTLE BOOTS, SMD, and BLOC PARTY to drop his debut artist EP on VARIOUS PRODUCTIONS. A mix of Japanese sounding techno with dubstep rhythms and house influenced basslines.