Amoeblog

Song to the Siren

Posted by Whitmore, June 29, 2008 03:07pm | Post a Comment


On this date in 1975 one of my all time favorite musicians, Tim Buckley, died of an accidental overdose of heroin; he was 28 years old. Today he is mostly remembered as the father of Jeff Buckley, but
Tim should also be remembered for his brilliant songwriting, his extraordinary voice, and for being one of those rare musicians who relentlessly pushed boundaries, whose experimentation was often mesmerizing and sometimes disquieting. Some people get him, some people don’t, which is how it should be.

Tim Buckley was one of my very first musical discoveries of something I couldn’t find on the radio. I was a prepubescent, guitar plucking Catholic school boy with some stolen change from my mom’s piggy bank when I bought a used copy of Blue Afternoon at Platterpuss Records on Hollywood Blvd for under a dollar. Blue Afternoon was a revelation, and over the course of the next couple of months I tracked down the rest of his albums, and played them all till I knew every nuance to every breath to every note to every chord to every song. A couple of years later when Buckley died, it was my mom who told me; she had heard the report on the radio. And I think she was a little nervous in breaking the news to me.

Anyway, one of his greatest, most beautiful and famous compositions is “Song to the Siren” from his 1970 album Starsailor. Here is a peculiar sampling of some of those who have covered the song: I’ve included the original version performed live by Tim Buckley on the final episode of the Monkees TV show (and with the original lyrics-- he eventually changed the ‘oyster’ line because someone once laughed). Of course I’ve included the famous hit version by This Mortal Coil, the Cocteau Twins side project. Probably my favorite version, with the original lyrics, is by Damon & Naomi (whose version is probably one of the few that reflects Buckley’s and not This Mortal Coil’s). Susheela Raman version is magnificently striped down to the bone. I’ve also included two versions which surprised the hell out of me: George Michael’s (drenched in reverb, but holy shit, I have to admit he nails it!) and Robert Plant, who oddly enough sounds just like Jeff Buckley at times… I know that doesn’t make sense but give it a close listen …

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Phantom Of The Mall: Eric's Revenge

Posted by phil blankenship, June 29, 2008 12:04pm | Post a Comment
Phantom Of The Mall Eric's Revenge 

Phantom Of the Mall Horror Video

Phantom Of The Mall Video Synopsis
Fries Home Video

Hues of Corporations

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, June 29, 2008 12:59am | Post a Comment
Corporate sponsorship and rock and roll go hand in hand, at least in some circles. I think the Poison Girls had it right...Anyhow here's a batch of Killer Korporate Klassicks for all you "Swingin' Corporate Raiders." (The absolutely lamest pop culture reference I've ever dropped-- anyone who can tell me what TV show it's from gets a big kiss from Rain Phoenix.)







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TRAILER PARK BOYS

Posted by Charles Reece, June 28, 2008 10:39pm | Post a Comment
What have Anthony Stewart Head from Buffy, Paris Hilton, Ogre from Skinny Puppy and Sarah fucking Brightman in common? Repo! The Genetic Opera:



Someone must've been a fan of that "very special episode" of Buffy, "Once More With Feeling," because the music here is just as bland. The key to the cult status of Rocky Horror Picture Show wasn't bad music, but a nutty storyline set to good music ("Science Fiction" is a great song, film or no film).  Repo! only gets it half right. I'll go see it, anyway.

This next one is a travesty of a remake, decultifying one of the great cult films, Death Race 2000, presumedly for some ideal mainstream audience:



Why is it that we have to see Asian films for murderers, pedophiles and rapists to be used as the heroes? As a minority, they're certainly a bigger proportion of the American population than they are of, say, the Japanese. So much for pluralism. This trailer is a perfect example of what one of the co-hacks behind Wanted was discussing after its showing this past Thursday night. When answering the question of why adapt a comic book of the same name when the film had 90% of nothing to do with it, the hack said films have a hard time getting made these days if they're not based on something already in existence (that is, with the same name -- original ideas have always had a hard time in Hollywood, licensed property or not). Then, despite the hack's suggestion that there were no content constraints placed on his script, he went on to explain why he didn't keep the fact that the hero was a serial rapist as part of the story -- namely, no one would accept a story about a serial rapist if he's treated as the hero, even if he's the anti-hero. That's a good example of Jeremy Bentham's panopticon (which has been popping up lately in Lost): who needs a production code or HUAC as a threat of censorship when the filmmakers censor themselves? Thus, we get the new Death Race where the hero has been framed and is being forced to kill, rather than just participating for the sport of it. That there might've been a moral point to the original film's scenario about a society where it's a sport to run over people seems to be lost on the hacks behind this current production. Anderson should stick to religious adaptations of games like Frogger. I'll pass.

Earworms, brainworms, and sticky music

Posted by Whitmore, June 28, 2008 10:05pm | Post a Comment

An Earworm is a term for a portion of a song or other musical bit that gets "stuck" in someone’s head and repeats continually against a their will. Often, relief comes only when it is swapped with a newer fragment from another tune. Research indicates that the people who get the most earworms tend to listen to music frequently and are more likely to have other neurotic habits, such as biting pencils or finger nails or tapping fingers. In Oliver Sacks latest book, Musicophilia, he defines the phenomenon as “involuntary musical imagery.”

I’m regularly haunted by fractions of tunes wandering between lobes. And more often than not, these are unfamiliar melodies incessantly repeating, tumbling about, until my slipping weak-ass sagacity cracks. Musicians tend to more susceptible to earworms, and it probably doesn’t help that I listen to scraps of songs all day at Amoeba as a I comb over the piles of used, alien 45’s littering my office. Yesterday, for example, I played snippets of possibly three hundred different singles just trying to figure what is what and what is not. I seem to have survived the experience, at least for the moment; in any case I won’t know until the next ghostly notes infest my synapses. Unfortunately some melodies or musical moods are so perfectly defined; my simpleton’s grey matter is rather easy prey to a full-on earworm assault. For the last couple of weeks I’ve been re-watching all 29 episodes of David Lynch’s 1990 -1991 television show Twin Peaks. And no, the Twin Peaks Theme is not the exact piece of music bouncing around my skull, but Twin Peaks is the source of the latest spell.

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