Watch Blur Perform Their New Album ‘Live’

BLUR LIVE

BLUR LIVE

UNDER THE WESTWAY has been a productive area for Blur in recent times, so it’s not surprising they returned to a space beneath the A40 in West London to preview their new album The Magic Whip live.

Last Friday (March 20) Damon Albarn and co. performed their new recording full and in order at London club Mode – which is nestled below the iconic elevated roadway – for 300 competition winners.

The show, which also included Parklife track Trouble In The Message Centre right at the end, was filmed by streaming service Beats By Dr. Dre and you can watch footage below for one night only from 8pm (GMT) this evening.

‘The Magic Whip’ is out on April 27.

The stream is no longer live, but you can watch full-song clips from the performance below.

The Magic Whip Tracklist:
01. Lonesome Street
02. New World Towers
03. Go Out
04. Ice Cream Man
05. Thought I Was A Spaceman
06. I Broadcast
07. My Terracotta Heart
08. There Are Too Many Of Us
09. Ghost Ship
10. Pyongyang
11. Ong Ong
12. Mirrorball

Blur “Lonesome Street”

Blur “Go Out”

A Clockwork Orange’s Missing Ending – CoS

alex

CoS – Melis –February 09, 2015

Novelists can’t choose how they’ll be remembered — that is, which of their creations will be favored after they’ve, to borrow a phrase, snuffed it. Once wielding autocratic control over every thought, action, and detail attributed to their characters, they cede that unique monopoly upon publication. It then belongs to others, who, if sales are strong, will reimagine those stories — those very intimate and specific ideas — a million times over in infinitely different ways. The writer goes from being a de facto Bog or God to, in extreme cases, a slave to press clippings and public reception. It’s a demotion by any standard.

Anthony Burgess, author of A Clockwork Orange, made it known late in his life that he’d prefer not to be remembered for this dystopian novella. But all hope of that wish being respected had vanished the moment he let loose his little Alex “the Large” on unsuspecting readers in 1962. Once the glassy-eyed, diabolical incarnation embodied by Malcolm McDowell stared the camera down and delivered that first voiceover in the Korova Milkbar atop Wendy Carlos’ humanity-stripping synths in Stanley Kubrick’s 1971 film adaptation, Burgess’ fate was fixed. He’d forever be associated with droogies, ultra-violence, and all that cal.
 
 

 
 
 

Burgess’ wishes for letting A Clockwork Orange fade from public memory had less to do with Kubrick’s interpretation and more with the shortcomings he associated with the work, namely that the novella is “too didactic to be artistic.” He’s overly harsh in his self-critique, but there can be little argument that characters like the prison charlie, Dr. Branom, and at times even Alex are little more than mouthpieces for the story’s moral lesson. Going by a small handful of interviews, Burgess seemed to have admired several aspects of Kubrick’s film, particularly how the director and McDowell used “Singin’ in the Rain” as the aural link that tips off writer F. Alexander to Alex’s previous misdeeds. Burgess’ only real gripe with the film — one that seemed to fester over the years — came over the final scene in which Alex, now deconditioned, recoups in a hospital, cuts a cushy deal with the Minister of the Inferior, and declares, “I was cured alright.”

The author’s complaint? Well, that’s not how the novella ends.

Burgess penned A Clockwork Orange with the intention that it would run 21 chapters, a number significant in that it was the age of legal adulthood at the time. His American publishers, however, deemed the final chapter to be, as Burgess put it, “a sellout, bland, and veddy veddy British.” So until 1986, when the book was first published in the States in its entirety, Americans, Stanley Kubrick included, had been reading only 20 chapters. Hence, in the film, we get “I was cured alright,” slooshy Beethoven’s 9th blaring from speakers, and viddy Alex’s depraved fantasy of giving a devotchka with horrorshow groodies the old in-out in-out.
 
 

 
 
 

Chapter 21, by comparison, offers a far tamer cure. We find Alex three years older than when we first met him in the Korova Milkbar and now leading three new droogs. Recently, however, the usual mischief no longer excites him as it once did. When he bumps into his former droog Pete, who is now married, working, and settling down, Alex begins imagining that kind of life for himself.

“He grows bored with violence and recognizes that human energy is better expended on creation than destruction,” explained Burgess. “My young hoodlum comes to the revelation of the need to get something done in life.” In short, little Alex begins to grow up.

To some readers and filmgoers, the choice between endings may seem merely a matter of preference. It was more problematic for Burgess, though. “The twenty-first chapter gives the novel the quality of genuine fiction,” he noted, “an art founded on the principle that human beings change … The American or Kubrickian Orange is a fable; the British or world one is a novel.”

Burgess is right, of course. In the film, we journey so far only to come full circle. Alex is as Alex was, and we are given no reason to suspect he’ll ever cease to be a menace. Even more important, though, is the change in tone that occurs by dropping the novella’s intended ending. Without that final chapter, we’re left with a hopeless, deeply pessimistic story where, as Burgess described it, “evil prances on the page and, up to the very last line, sneers in the face of all inherited beliefs.”

clockwork-poster

Burgess has a stake in A Clockwork Orange as a novella. As moviegoers, though, do we care so much about the flaws of a film having an irredeemably wicked protagonist or an ending devoid of moral hope? Not really. The film owes nothing to those particular conventions of literary fiction. The allure that Kubrick taps into is the fascinating playfulness of Burgess’ Nadsat (the hybrid English-Russian slang sprinkled here in italics); the timeless appeal, however perverted and twisted here, of brotherhood and a night out on the town; a Huxleian distrust of authority; and the chance to vicariously indulge in the very dark, but also very real, human desire to have whatever and whoever we want whenever we want.

Burgess wasn’t ignorant of that last appeal. “It seems piggish or Pollyannaish to deny that my intention in writing the work was to titillate the nastier propensities of my readers,” he confessed. “My own healthy inheritance of original sin comes out in the book, and I enjoyed raping and ripping by proxy.” Without that morally redeeming ending, it’s as if Burgess suspects he’s played the role of pornographer more than novelist.

However, something else quite strange is at work here. Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange accomplishes something that Burgess’ does not: the film version actually leads us to root for Alex the thug, Alex the rapist, Alex the murderer, who performs all his wicked misdeeds with unabashed alacrity and zeal. In the novella, Alex, despite being our “Humble Narrator,” feels more at a distance, like a curiosity or an exhibit at the zoo – the beast behind thick protective glass. In the film, Kubrick, with the help of Carlos and, of course, McDowell, manages to make us sympathize with the beast to the point that we feel the urge to open its cage and free it, even though we’ve witnessed its predilection for destruction. It’s this desire, I suspect, that makes viewers agreeable to the film’s ending — that would make them shrug off or altogether reject Burgess’ intended conclusion had it appeared on screen.
 

 

 

 

There are three particular scenes in Kubrick’s film that situate us squarely in Alex’s corner, something the novella never particularly tries to achieve. The first comes mid-film, when Alex the guinea pig is placed on exhibit to demonstrate the effects of Ludovico’s Technique for prisoner rehabilitation. As disturbing as Burgess’ prose is, his scene pales next to the gut-wrenching emasculation and dehumanization smugly witnessed by an audience as McDowell licks the sole of another man’s shoe and crumbles in the mere presence of a nude beauty. The display is made all the more unbearable when the man and woman, both actors, take bows for applause before exiting the stage, Alex left slumped in agony each time.

Likewise, the viewer cringes when a recently released Alex — now declawed, defanged, and entirely helpless — finds himself dragged to the countryside, tolchocked, and nearly drowned in a trough by former droogs-turned-millicents Dim and Georgie as Carlos’s merciless, metallic score gongs in unison with his beating. Finally, we have the unintended side effect of the Ludovico Technique, which has conditioned Alex against the music he loves and causes him to try to leap to his death and snuff it when F. Alexander seeks revenge via surround sound. At this point, we recognize that there is truly no joy or purpose left for Alex in this life. Surely, no crime we’ve witnessed could warrant this punishment – this invasion of mind, heart, and soul that has left him flesh and bone but morally mechanical.

So, when the Minister of the Interior or Inferior, who approved Alex for conditioning and sat front row during that humiliating showcase, carves and forks steaky wakes into Alex’s sardonic rot, we viewers smile all over our litsos in delight at the tables having flipped. No doubt it says something about our society that we take more umbrage with the crimes against the individual than with Alex’s crimes against many individuals. Kubrick’s film ends with true victims discarded and forgotten, political cockroaches surviving the fallout, and our Humble Narrator free to resume life as his terrible self. And as Gene Kelly lightheartedly croons “Singin’ in the Rain” over the closing credits, we sincerely feel that Justice, in some sick, twisted way, has been served. It’s one of Kubrick’s great mozg-fucks.

When we talk about the missing chapter of A Clockwork Orange, it’s not a matter of the book or film being better. Each ends as it must. The novella leaves us with the hope that man, though burdened by original sin and animalistic tendencies, will naturally veer towards decency as youth fades. The film strikes a small victory for the individual, repugnant as he may be, in a sterile, callous world that strives for order and uniformity, but it offers no hope for a more humane tomorrow.

But we aren’t clockwork oranges. We have both book and film and Bog or God’s gift of choice when it comes to which to read or viddy.

What’s it going to be then, eh?

Read St. Vincent’s heartwarming Grammy acceptance letter

February 09, 2015, 1:00pm
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Last night, St. Vincent’s Annie Clark became the first female solo artist in 20 years to win the Grammy for Best Alternative Album. Clark was unable to attend the ceremony as she is currently touring in Australia. However, this afternoon, she shared a heartwarming letter of gratitude to her supporters. Read it in full below.

In 2007, i signed to beggars banquet records. i was living in dallas, texas in my childhood bedroom at the time, which i had fashioned into a makeshift studio in order to record some of what would end up being my debut album “marry me.”

the first days of touring my own songs and as “st. vincent” are very vivid. in early 2007, in anticipation of the release of my record, my (much beloved) agent put me on the road as solo support for jolie holland and midlake. he saw potential in me, but rightfully, thought i needed to get my live act together. get comfortable playing for people. get road-tested. like most of the rest of my career, it was a trial by earth, wind, and fire.

i was performing solo; just my voice, a guitar through an array of effects pedals, a “stomp board” — a homemade device i made out of a piece of plywood and a contact microphone that i ran through a bass EQ pedal, and a keyboard. i thought the keyboard looked unmysterious on it’s own, so i designed a lighted wooden enclosure to go around it. my brother-in-law helped me build it in his garage. it weighed a gazillion pounds and gave me splinters to carry, and i don’t think anyone was under any illusion that there was anything but a keyboard inside it. neither the first nor the last in a series of hilariously ill-fated ideas.

January 2007, i borrowed my father’s station wagon and drove 12 hours from dallas to frozen lincoln, nebraska to open for jolie holland (what a voice) at a half-full 150 capacity carpeted club. i believe the compensation was $250/gig but it could have been as much as $500 — more $ than i’d ever seen for a gig for sure and guaranteed, no less! in my memory, this midwestern jolie tour dovetailed right into opening the midlake tour. they were out in support of their excellent record, “the trials of van occupanther” and were the sweetest good texas boys you could ever hope to meet. the drummer of midlake, mackenzie smith, would later prove to be a great collaborator, playing on actor, strange mercy, and st. vincent.

On this tour, i’d enlisted my dear friend, jamil, to come and sell merch and help do the long drives. we’d just played a show in detroit and while we’d been inside, a blizzard had swept through and covered the stationwagon in snow and ice. it was treacherous. jamil, who always had some incredible hustle going, hired a homeless man named larry to dig the stationwagon out of the snow. (in college, he had a gold lexus, stripped it of the good parts, and resold it. when i asked if he was sad to see it go, he said, “girl, they think they bought a lexus but they bought a corolla.”) i’ll never forget driving out of bombed out-detroit, apocalyptic at 1 AM. interstate 94 tense and quiet, jamil trying to make sure we didn’t crash or stall on the icy road.

I have eaten years of veggie subway sandwiches on highways 10-90, stayed at a super 8 motel behind a kansas federal prison, peed in cups in dressing rooms when there was no bathroom, gotten eaten alive by bedbugs at a cincinnati days inn. i would not trade a single highway or city or moment or person i met for anything. i have loved it all.

I’m very grateful to have received this grammy. thank you to my producer john congleton, thank you family, thank you friends, thank you to all the incredible musicians involved, thank you managers and agents and publishers and labels and publicists and everyone who works hard at their jobs. and thank you guys. thanks for everything.

 

 

The Libertines’ Pete Doherty pays tribute to Amy Winehouse on “Flags of the Old Regime”

on January 22, 2015, 4:30pm
libertines

Amy Winehouse & Pete Doherty

On his new single “Flags of the Old Regime”, Pete Doherty pays tribute to the late, great Amy Winehouse. Morose yet insightful, the track sees The Libertines member front and center, crooning with a heavy heart as strings seem to weep in unison behind him. It was produced by Stephen Street and features Babyshambles’ Drew McConnell on bass, Stephen Large on keys, and Jamie Morrison on drums. Listen in below.

“Flags of the Old Regime” is officially out on March 9th, and all proceeds will benefit the Amy Winehouse foundation, a nonprofit that works to prevent drug and alcohol misuse among young people.

In related news, The Libertines are currently working on new material, with hopes to release an album sometime this year.

 

 

Published on Jan 22, 2015

Peter Doherty releases a new single Flags Of The Old Regime on Monday 9th March through Walk Tall Recordings. The single was written by Peter about & as a tribute to his friend Amy Winehouse and is released in aid of the Amy Winehouse Foundation, who will also receive all proceeds from the profits of the single. Flags Of The Old Regime is available on 7” vinyl and as a digital download available soon.

Flags Of The Old Regime was produced by Stephen Street and features Drew McConnell (Babyshambles / Helsinki) – bass, Jamie Morrison – drums, Stephen Large – keyboards and Stephen Street – acoustic guitar & percussion. The strings were arranged by John Metcalfe (Durutti Column).

The Amy Winehouse Foundation works to prevent the effects of drug and alcohol misuse on young people. They also aim to support, inform and inspire vulnerable and disadvantaged young people to help them reach their full potential. For more information visit: http://www.amywinehousefoundation.org…

Julian Casablancas + The Voidz at Chicago’s The Vic (11/18)

Julian Casablancas - voidz-roffman

Julian Casablancas – voidz-roffman

Photography by Phillip Roffman.

Julian Casablancas + The Voidz remain just as abrasive onstage as they do on record. Late Tuesday night, following agreeable sets by Cerebral Ballzy and Shabazz Palaces, the Strokes frontman’s scruffy, ragtag team of no-names* shuffled onstage at Chicago’s The Vic to roll out Tyranny track “Xerox”. It’s slotted ninth on the album, and for a good reason, as the hypnotic melody acts as a moment of respite between the lo-fi guitar wizardry of “Business Dog” and the conga rhythms of “Dare I Care”. As an opener, though, it’s a curious decision, but then again, this whole band, the entire album, and essentially everything about Casablancas this year is curious — even down to his demeanor. These days, the guy looks less like a boyish Lou Reed and more like a strung-out Todd Ianuzzi, whose denim vest and tattered, baggy jeans scream of better days in 1986. The thing is, he’s smiling.

That’s what makes these Voidz shows so intriguing. In the past, Casablancas has typically been a morose character onstage, speaking either sarcastically or not at all. Despite his microphone sounding like 808s-era Yeezy, little asides and jokes of his peppered a number of future Tyranny classics last night. He teased the audience at one point by saying they’d take things down a few notches, only to unleash the hyper-kinetic “River of Breaklights” off Phrazes for the Young. He eventually followed up on his promise, especially during an encore performance of “I’ll Try Anything Once”, which found him tickling his inner Pat Boone as he sang in harmony with his many adoring fans, some of whom camped out seven hours prior to catch a front row glimpse at their one-time rock ‘n’ roll hero. Actually, that’s a pretty bullshit, cynical thing to say…

Julian Casablancas

Julian Casablancas

Casablancas is a rock ‘n’ roll hero. His latest album might be affronting to those wishing they could hear more “11th Dimension” and less “Nintendo Blood”, but they said the same thing about Reed when he dished out Metal Machine Music back in 1975. No, Casablancas is making scrappy, eccentric post-punk that either evolves towards an assembly of noises or, if you’re lucky, tumbles into a chest of reluctant harmonies. It’s political, anti-consumerism, and, most of all, angry. For the first time in over a decade, the guy has an edge, and he does not give a shit if you’re with him or against him. But doesn’t he deserve that? Think about it: Casablancas stepped onto the scene with one of the greatest albums of all time — 2001’s Is This It, if you’re lost — and followed that up with another rare diamond. He never had a chance to test the stakes. He never struggled as the confused artist. That’s not to say there weren’t conflicts or hurdles with The Strokes; they were just a little safer than what he’s doing now.

And what exactly is that? Well, based on his supplemental song selections — “Ize of the World” off 2006’s First Impressions of Earth, the aforementioned “River of Brakelights” — Casablancas is finding solace in the chaos. Those two songs are far more focused and refined than anything off Tyranny, but they only corral the chaos. Broken down, each instrumental part is a testy, punchy slice of energy that bounces around with the cadence of an 11-year-old antsy with ADHD and a bottle of Squeezit. That’s pretty much how each song by The Voidz works conceptually; they’re just not as aligned. Yet there’s something beautiful and intriguing about that erroneous marriage, which might be what Casablancas gets off on these days. It’s not clean. They’re not perfect; instead, The Voidz thrive on existing on the fringe, an area that Casablancas can finally experience. If you’re a longtime fan, it’s probably the most exciting time to catch the guy since, well, 2003. Though, if you’re attempting to itch that early ’00s nostalgia, you’re trying your luck.

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Let’s give credit where credit is due. There’s guitarist Jeramy “Beardo” Gritter, other guitarist Amir Yaghmai, bassist and synth player Jacob “Jake” Bercovici, the rather superb percussionist Alex Carapetis, and their trusty keyboardist, Jeff Kite. “If you actually listened during ‘Human Sadness’, you’d know they’re all capable musicians, Mike,” one might argue, and I’d agree 100%. That’s why I’d secretly love to hear them reined in some, as they all were on their “covers.” Though, that’d also negate pretty much everything that makes them The Voidz.

Setlist:
Xerox
Father Electricity
M.utually A.ssured D.estruction
Human Sadness
Where No Eagles Fly
Ize of the World (The Strokes cover)
Business Dog
Crunch Punch
River of Brakelights (Julian Casablancas song)
Nintendo Blood
Encore:
I’ll Try Anything Once (The Strokes cover)
Dare I Care

Metal bassist ruptures testicle on stage, keeps playing

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Dutch band Delain

 December 2, 2014

There’s been many gruesome feats done by musicians on stage: Iggy Pop gouged his skin with broken glass, while Ozzy Osbourne bit the head off a bat. However, Dutch symphonic metal outfit Delain might have them all beat with their immense commitment to the trope “the show must go on.”It’s tradition for Delain to launch confetti cannons during their song “The Gathering”. Typically they’ve done this without any incident, but during a show in Birmingham, England last week, bassist Otto Schimmelpenninck found himself taking a shot straight to the groin. Despite the pain and bleeding, Schimmelpenninck finished out the show.In a subsequent Facebook status, Schimmelpenninck revealed that after the show his scrotum had ballooned up to the size of a grapefruit. He was quickly rushed to a hospital where they removed 500 ML of blood from his scrotum and had his ruptured testicle stitched up. He described the event as “one of the most unpleasant adventures I’ve ever had to endure.”You can see surprisingly not gruesome footage of the performance below.

True to the story,Schimmelpenninck seems initially unfazed by the incident.
 

 

Published on Nov 27, 2014

Dutch group Delain performing The Gathering at the O2 Academy in Birmingham on 26th November 2014.