Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Long live the Graffiti King, a true NYC hip-hop legend from Far Rockaway, Queens, whose Gothic Futurism method of artistry was truly ahead of its time. Rammellzee's amazing art and music was prominently featured in the twin towers of classic hip-hop films: Wild Style (1982) and Style Wars (1983), and his group DCC (Death Comet Crew) was an integral part of the NYC rock underground in the early 80s alongside such fellow unsung greats as Ike Yard and Sexual Harassment, back when the Village and the LES were true breeding grounds for creativity. May he rest in peace.

Live at the Rhythm Lounge 1983 with Toxic C1 and Basquiat:

"Beat Bop" Rammellzee vs. K-Rob

Friday, June 25, 2010

OMD on Glasgow Radio, 1983

OMD - 1983-04-28 - Glasgow
(FM Broadcast)

01 - Genetic Engineering (3:36)
02 - Messages (4:42)
03 - She's Leaving (4:05)
04 - Georgia (3:49)
05 - Julia's Song (4:44)
06 - Joan Of Arc (3:25)
07 - Maid Of Orleans (3:26)
08 - Romance Of The Telescope (3:29)
09 - Souvenir (3:42)
10 - Telegraph (3:48)
11 - Radio Waves (3:37)
12 - Bunker Soldiers (2:53)
13 - Enola Gay (4:20)
14 - Silent Running (4:05)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

"Fight The Power" PUBLIC ENEMY 1989

In honor of the 20th anniversary of PE's confrontational masterpiece, Fear of a Black Planet.

CRUMB ART BLUES: A Chat with New York's Premier Country Blues Band

NEW YORK, New York: The IRT was lucky enough to have befriended Eden Brower, singer for the great New York City-based old timey outfit The East River String Band, via Facebook this spring.

She and her partner in crime, stringman John Heneghan, were gracious enough to take a moment for a brief e-chat with us about their city, their music and their long-standing comraderie with legendary comix czar Robert Crumb, who art directed both of their great albums, "Some Cold Rainy Day" (2008) and "Drunken Barrel House Blues" (2009), available now on Amazon or at your better local record shop.

Also make sure to visit their Web site at -Ed.

IRT: How did you guys first meet and get together?
[Eden and I] been dating for 13 years. We started the band about 5 years ago.

IRT: What draws you to old-timey music?
There’s a purity in almost all old-time music that you can’t find in today’s music. The music of the 1920’s & 30’s came from a time where musicians were isolated and had their own sound without being heavily influenced by what was popular. That changed with the Depression and the advent of radio.
Eden: I got into it just by hearing John play these great 78s over and over...It started sinking in how special this music was. I began to sing along with it and really realized how much I loved it!

IRT: In playing early 20th century music like you do, I'm sure you can hear many parallels to the state of America when these songs were being written and the trials of today's society...
It’s actually all the exact same stuff that’s going on today. Bankers had free reign and they destroyed the economy. Almost identical to what’s going on now.

IRT: When did you first get into old timey music and how were you turned onto it?
I got interested in old-time music when I was about 16 years old. I came across a used Charley Patton Yazoo LP in my local record store. I was completely transformed by it. It would become a lifelong obsession.
Eden: John’s obession sucked me right on in! The music is just so raw and powerful to me.

IRT: Where do you guys live on the LES and how has your neighborhood changed over the last 10 years?
We live in the East Village. Basically our neighborhood changed from Midnight Cowboy into Sex In The City/Friends.
Eden: The hood is unfortunately becoming like one big shopping mall of chain stores. All the quirky neighborhood shops just can’t make it anymore...very sad to see this happening.

IRT: What staple of the LES do you miss the most and why?
Junk stores. No more hidden treasures to be found. It’s all Ikea furniture now.
Eden: Thrift stores, junk stores, non-chain mom and pop shops.

IRT: Eden, you told me on Facebook you guys are friends with Robert Crumb. How did you come to meet him?
I met his daughter Sophie in the LES and we became friends. Then she introduced us to her parents. John and Robert immediately hit it off and we just all became very good friends.

IRT: The covers that he had done for you for the new album and your previous LP, were the art concepts collaborative between you guys and Mr. Crumb or did he just send you his own interpretations?
he asked us if we had any ideas for both. For “Some Cold Rainy Day”, I suggested he parody an old Paramount Records ad. He loved the idea. For “Drunken Barrel House Blues”, I suggested he draw Eden getting wasted onstage while the band looked on in disbelief. He loved that idea even more.

IRT: Do you guys get to jam out a lot with Crumb?
We play with Crumb all the time. He’s the best old-time mandolin player I’ve ever played with. He can get a feel of those old players that no one else I know can achieve. I guess he’s been studying this music more closely and for longer than anyone else I know.

IRT: Did you guys ever discuss with Mr. Crumb the possibility of recording an album together?
We are actually headed to France next week to record with Crumb for our next record due out late fall.

IRT: What is your favorite Crumb work and why?
I like everything he’s done on old-time musicians and recollecting the best. I also love the stuff him and Aline and sometimes Sophie do together.
Eden: I love Weirdo and the Dirty Laundry stuff. Sophie is also a great cartoonist and artist as well..I love Aline’s work, too.

IRT: How did you guys first discover Crumb as fans of his art and music?
The first time I heard of Crumb was when I picked up American Splendor. The one with the cover of him trading recording records with Harvey.

IRT: What is your favorite Crumb story?
Eden: I like America.

IRT: What is currently your favorite place to play in NYC and why?
The Jalopy Theatre in Brooklyn and Banjo Jim’s in the Lower East Side. Both places cater to acoustic music and support the old-time thing. The owners of The Jalopy Theatre are the most down to earth club owners I’ve ever met. Playing there is like playing at your friend’s house.

IRT: What new music are you guys currently digging?
None. Unless you count The Carolina Chocolate Drops, The Dust Busters, The Martin Family, Blind Boy Paxton, Hubby Jenkins and The Dough Rollers.
Eden: I like all kinds of stuff...Aimee Mann and some punk and metal old Metallica and also some old hip-hop stuff, too!

IRT: What else are you guys up to this summer besides hanging out in France with Crumb?
In addition to playing some gigs in southern France with Crumb, we have a big show at the Jalopy Theatre which we booked with all TOP NOTCH acts in late July. Details as follows:

Friday July 23rd 8PM COUNTRY BLUES GUITAR NIGHT at Jalopy Theatre
718) 395-3214

A Night Of Country Blues Guitar Featuring:

Jalopy Lecture Series on Sunday, August 1st
(718) 395-3214


East River String Band covering Charley Jordan's "Keep It Clean"

East River String Band with Robert Crumb performing "Bye Bye Baby"

Friday, June 11, 2010

Elvis Costello vs. The Police

"I Believe In Miracles" 1989 The Ramones

"Fish Heads", 1979 Barnes & Barnes


This cover looks just like what we see in our front window on some mornings. Due August 31st on Bjork's One Little Indian label:

1. She Smiles
2. Enough For You
3. Like A Nurse
4. Kiss Me
5. Lump
6. Polanski
7. How I Write My Songs
8. Mr. Wonderful
9. Sit and Spin
10. When I Lay You Down
11. Ready Now

For more information, check out Thompson's MySpace page.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

DIO HAS DIED: A Belated Eulogy


ATLANTA, Georgia: Ronald James Padavona was born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire in 1942. That collection of facts would be utterly irrelevant, except for that fact that that young baby eventually became the cultural phenomena that was Ronnie James Dio. You probably heard he was in Black Sabbath for a while. You might have known he sang for Rainbow. Heck, you might be so deeply informed about the man that you knew he was in scores of bands like Elf, Ronnie and the Ramblers, Ronnie and the Red Caps and Ronnie Dio and the Prophets. What does any of it matter now?

He’ll be forever remembered (at least, until the rest of us die) as the guy who gave us "Holy Diver", one of the great metal anthems of all time. A lot of people will talk about him like they know him for a while due to this bizarre belief that listening to three minutes of someone’s life in a studio can bring us close to them. People will drone on about how unfortunate death is and how sad it is that he’ll never perform again. His family and friends will mourn a human that none of us knew. We’ll remember our memories of where we were when we heard his songs. He’ll connect us to some forgotten moments from our misspent youth. We’ll take a deep breath, we’ll say how much it sucks and then we’ll go about whatever we were doing before.

People die all the time. I have no idea what any of it means. Dio died on the same day thousands of other people died. I don’t know who any of them are. I don’t know why his death is significant. I have no answers. I know that some spark that was in him is gone and now he’s completely still. I don’t know where the spark came from. I don’t know where the spark went. His family will miss him or maybe they won’t. I really have no idea. I am sure there are stories about him that are funny and tragic and reveal a humanity that none of us really knew. I don’t know any of those stories and I don’t know that knowing any of them would really change anything for me anyway.

After the concert ends the performers leave the stage, the audience leaves the arena, the lights go out, the sound and lighting people and the rest of the crew pack up and go home and nothing is left but stillness and quiet.

"Holy Diver" Live in Holland 1983:

Friday, June 4, 2010

Chocolate Genius Inc. To Release Swansongs on One Little Indian


BROOKLYN, New York: At summer's end, Brooklyn rock mainstay Mark Anthony Thompson, aka Chocolate Genius, will release Swansongs, the fourth and final title of his epic extended trilogy that started with 1998's Black Music and continued with 2001's masterful Godmusic and 2004's Black Yankee Rock.

Similar to Godmusic, which dealt with the passing of his mother, Swansongs is a song cycle chronicling the death of his estranged father. Thompson even utilizes a collage of voicemails left by his dad whilst trying to get a hold of him over the years, similar to the way he utilized his mom's singing on Godmusic's opening number, "Perfidia".

"I used the recordings of my parents on both releases because they are priceless artifacts to me," explains Thompson, "and I wanted to lock them in the time capsule that each of these documents are. My children's children will be able to download a little piece of their history. An indulgent, guilty conceit and perhaps nothing more - but I love the recording of my mom singing and the humor and spirit of my folks shines on both offerings."

The same can be said for every word and note plastered across the pages of Swansongs, an album that ties up the loose ends of Thompson's never-ending story. Meanwhile, his Chocolate Genius guise shifts ever-so-subtly, as Thompson embraces a simple idea—to "record something I didn't have to apologize for...a complete listening experience."

An abridged track-by-track translation from Choc's PR firm: the fluttering falsetto foreground of "Like a Nurse"; the speaker-panning headphone symphonies of "How I Write My Songs"; the creepy, claustrophobic chamber pop of "Lump"; and ultimate Swansong “Ready Now," which eventually fades off into the distance alongside one last lonesome chord. The only thing missing is the creaking sound of a closed door.

Swansongs comes out on August 31st on Bjork's One Little Indian label.

Chocolate Genius live: