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Depeche Mode live in Milan and Bologna June 2017: My Review

Depeche Mode live in Milan and Bologna June 2017: My Review | PopMart 1.0 | Scoop.it
In every Depeche tour since 2006 I'm doing at least one italian gig. One of the main reasons is that the audience is really warm there, creates a special atmosphere even in big stadium conditions and provides the perfect template for the band to go on stage and give really their best to entertain us.

So this time I did Milano's San Siro on June 27th and Bologna's Dall'Ara a couple of days later.

First, Milan...I had high hopes for that because of the spectacular show in 2013. The thing was, there were particular sound problems in the first half of the set and people didn't really get into their feet till World In My Eyes...but in the 2nd part of the show, the really strong part, they were up for it. Dave sounded amazing, I guess the day off between gigs has helped a lot. Massive fan response to Mart's Home, singalong in Everything Counts and Enjoy the Silence, the "corn field" in Never Let Me Down Again and finishing in style with Personal Jesus. 

Oh, and the Walking In My Shoes projection (personally the best in this tour) didn't work, people got a bit confused with the It's No Good code and the projections showing the band from the middle of the song onwards.

All and all, not as good as 2013 (that was difficult anyway) but still a great one.

Two days later Bologna...by car from Milan. Heavy traffic as we were approaching the stadium, which hadn't been used by an international band for a number of years. But the Bologna indoor gigs have went down really well for Depeche, so they went for the extra mile...and they were right.

Seems the traffic was an issue, people still had to run to the arena and the gig kicked off around 9 local time... personally I felt that the atmosphere was even better than Milan (others would disagree with this I'm sure), including the sound which was really strong. Same tracklist? Well, we had two changes by Mart...the acoustic versions of Judas - amazing song, but they had done it a number of times in the previous tour, including Bologna! - and Strangelove, a simple but effective performance which I loved.

Dave again in top form, although during the encore he sounded a little flat, probably too much energy wasted to keep the thing going, who can argue with that? Stil he does the same moves, playing the same songs and shouting the same things...well, for a number of fans like me it can seem boring. But let's not forget it's a performance and the vast majority of the crowd see him only once. So yeah, it works and it works really good.

The great thing about the Bologna gig was after the show...where I had the opportunity to meet, just for a few minutes but for the very first time and after years of online communication, some great devotees from the US, Canada, Holland the UK. Now, add to that group of people the number of italian friends I met and spent time with, you can get how intense the whole thing was for me. 

"And I thank you, for bringing me here..."

That's it...the Italian loyalty pays off with five extra winter gigs: i'll be there for the first Turin gig on December 9th. And i'm so looking forward to it. 

Keep the Global Spirit going fellow devotees.
Panos Sialakas's insight:
My own review, including photo from the Bologna gig.
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Pin-Ups: David Bowie goes to the movies

Pin-Ups: David Bowie goes to the movies | PopMart 1.0 | Scoop.it

PANOS HERE: This is the last post at Scoop.It, I've moved PopMart to Wordpress >: https://popmart101.wordpress.com/. This one will stay up for all posts from the beginning, November 1st 2014 up to this one.


Since its premiere 35 years ago, Tony Scott’s chi-chi vampire movie The Hunger has defied any sort of critical consensus, yet both its harshest critics and most ardent defenders agree on its best quality — namely its bewitching trio of stars, Susan Sarandon, Catherine Deneuve, and David Bowie.

The various taglines used in the film’s print campaign — “Nothing human loves forever,” “Pour survivre ils ont besoin d’amour et de sang” (“To survive they need love and blood”), “So bizarre… So sensual… so shocking” — align The Hunger with the strain of trashy, erotic vampire films from the preceding decade, with titles like The Vampire Lovers, Daughters of Darkness, and The Velvet Vampire.

But in its trailer the film was sold less on its genre elements than on the unprecedented alchemy of its leads: “The timeless beauty of Catherine Deneuve, the cool elegance of David Bowie, [and] the open sensuality of Susan Sarandon combine to create a modern classic of perverse fear,” purrs the narrator.

Read more: http://bit.ly/dbtiff2

Panos Sialakas's insight:
A tribute to David Bowie, the actor.
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25 years ago: Songs Of Faith And Devotion

25 years ago: Songs Of Faith And Devotion | PopMart 1.0 | Scoop.it

In 1993, the quartet of Dave Gahan, Martin Gore, Andrew Fletcher and Alan Wilder - regarded as the 'classic' Depeche Mode line-up - was a band vastly changed from their synth-pop roots. 'Violator', the 1990 album that preceded 'Songs Of Faith And Devotion', was the conclusion of a journey that took the band from Basildon boyband pop through various plunges into ever darker places, culminating in the clever, sleek stadium-friendly electronic structures of 'Violator'; girls in my school duly covered their folders and workbooks with photos of the clean-cut looking lads with leather jackets and tidy haircuts.

The Depeche Mode of 1993 arrived in the noisiest of fashions with the first single to be lifted from 'Songs Of Faith And Devotion', 'I Feel You'. From the first moments of that track it was clear that Depeche Mode wanted to put their past behind them, the track opening with seven seconds of howling feedback that some journalists compared to the soundtrack to David Lynch's Eraserhead, before a dirty blues riff from Martin Gore and crashing, processed live drums kicked in; organ grooves, gospel ascendancy and stirring, rousing vocals from Dave Gahan made it clear that this was a Depeche Mode who wanted to be taken very seriously indeed by the rock press.

And to go with that harder sound, with any trace of 'pure' electronics buried almost immeasurably deep beneath a murky rock cacophony, came a new image for Dave Gahan. In the downtime between 'Violator' and 'Songs Of Faith And Devotion', Dave Gahan was suddenly re-cast as the quintessential rock frontman - long hair, a body literally covered in tattoos, and all the nihilistic excesses and tendencies we have come to associate with rock royalty. The change of image somehow gave credence to Depeche Mode's new, more organic sound but it came with a dose of ballsy hyperbole from Gahan during the promotion of the album and its tour, the singer even going so far as to risibly claim that Depeche Mode were responsible for the development of grunge; his growing chemical dependencies would also lead to painfully slow progress at the recording sessions in Madrid and Hamburg, much to the frustration of the rest of the band.

Image reboot to one side, the other big change was Martin Gore's lyric writing. With songs like 'Condemnation' and 'Walking In My Shoes', Gore was suddenly striving for a sort of religious salvation, almost as if he was in need of redemption for some vast life of sin. Previous albums had contained songs that referenced spirituality, but here was a whole album neatly split between the album title's themes of faith and devotion. 'Condemnation', with its world weary imagery of a man accepting his punishment with bitter grace was the album's towering moment, full of hand-wringing angst, regret and disappointment. Gahan had never sounded like he does on 'Condemnation' before; his voice has a gravelly, almost slurred quality that adds to the wretchedness of the man on trial here, the slow motion wonky piano, drums and humming in the music giving this a queasy sense of muted euphoria. The combination of Alan Wilder's studio expertise and Gahan's vocal development on 'Songs Of Faith And Devotion' were the crucial elements required to execute Gore's lyrical themes; Wilder, in conjunction with the album's producer Flood, gave Gore's songs a grainy atmosphere that was more or less the polar opposite of the far cleaner sound of 'Violator'. Grinding bass, skeketal, creeping synths, an unlikely funk guitar on 'Mercy In You', uillean pipes on 'Judas', a string orchestra on the haunting 'One Caress', scratched distorted hip-hop breaks on the affirming gospel of 'Get Right With Me', the psychedelic uplift of 'Higher Love' - all of this was virgin territory for Depeche Mode, setting 'Songs Of Faith And Devotion' a world apart from anything else they'd done. Only the electro-rock angst of 'Rush' seemed remotely related to the earlier Mode sound.

'Songs Of Faith And Devotion' is one of several pivotal albums in Depeche Mode's back catalogue, not least because it would be the catalyst for a massive change in the band. The accompanying fourteen-month global tour would see Andrew Fletcher quit the band temporarily through stress and Gore suffering from seizures brought on, in his words, by extreme exhaustion. Alan Wilder quit the band completely when the tour was over to focus on his Recoil side-project leaving a major studio gap in the band that subsequent albums have never quite filled. As for Gahan, the excesses of rock star life caught up with him savagely, the singer overdosing from a cocktail of hard drugs and actually dying for a brief few seconds, narrowly avoiding becoming another rock star fatality. That the band are still together, and back producing some of their strongest songs yet, remains something of a surprise after the career pinnacle that was 'Songs Of Faith And Devotion' and the ensuing strain it caused - but thankfully they are.

Βy Mat Smith for Clash Music - March 25th, 2013: http://bit.ly/SOFAD25CM

Panos Sialakas's insight:
Instead of a Violator 2, it was a masterpiece too.
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Brian Eno: Music for Installations

Brian Eno: Music for Installations | PopMart 1.0 | Scoop.it
Brian Eno is set to release a box set of new, rare and unreleased tracks on May 4.

Music for Installations consists of material he’s written for art installations from 1986 through the present. The set will be available as a six-CD box and on vinyl, with super deluxe editions of both versions containing a 64-page book that features rare exhibition images and a new essay by Eno.

“Music For Installations is a collection of new, rare and previously unreleased music, all of which was recorded by Brian Eno for use in his installations," reads the press release for the set. "He has emerged as the leading exponent of ‘generative’ music worldwide and is recognized as one of the foremost audio-visual installation artists of his time. Eno’s visual experiments with light and video have proved to be the fertile ground from which so much of his other work has grown and they cover an even longer span of time than his recordings, paralleling his musical output in recent decades."

The works have been exhibited at the Venice Biennale, the Marble Palace in St. Petersburg, Beijing’s Ritan Park and the Sydney Opera House, among other places around the world.

Brian Eno, ‘Music for Installations’ Track Listing 

Disc 1 
1. “Kazakhstan” ( 20:33 ) 
2. “The Ritan Bells” ( 17:05 ) 
3. “Five Light Paintings” ( 19:56 ) 
4. “Flower Bells” ( 18:49 )

Disc 2 
1. “77 Million Paintings” ( 43:57 ) 

Disc 3 
1. “Atmospheric Lightness” ( 30:40 ) 
2. “Chamber Lightness” ( 25:00 ) 

Disc 4 
1. “I Dormienti” ( 39:42 ) 
2. “Kites I” ( 8:07 ) 
3. “Kites II” ( 14:29 ) 
4. “Kites III” ( 7:34 ) 

Disc 5 
1. “Needle Click” ( 4:09 ) 
2. “Light Legs” ( 3:38 ) 
3. “Flora and Fauna / Gleise 581d” ( 3:56 ) 
4. “New Moons” ( 4:03 ) 
5. “Vanadium” ( 1:56 ) 
6. “All The Stars Were Out” ( 3:53 ) 
7. “Hopeful Timean Intersect” ( 5:13 ) 
8. “World Without Wind” ( 5:24 ) 
9. “Delightful Universe (seen from above)” ( 7:33 ) 

Disc 6 
1. “Unnoticed Planet” ( 7:45 ) 
2. “Liquidambar” ( 6:55 ) 
3. “Sour Evening (Complex Heaven 3)” ( 8:12 ) 
4. “Surbahar Sleeping Music” ( 18:16 )

Thanks to UCR: 
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40 years ago: Wuthering Heights

40 years ago: Wuthering Heights | PopMart 1.0 | Scoop.it

A cursory glance at the Irish singles chart of 1978 demonstrates the global appeal of disco. The Bee Gees, Boney M and John Travolta/Olivia Newton-John all enjoyed number ones. Abba had a couple of chart-toppers and fellow Eurovision winners Brotherhood of Man also reached the top spot.

It would have been impossible to escape the distinctly Irish take on Kris Kristofferson's gospel tune 'One Day at a Time' and Gloria's version - in the charts for a record 90 weeks - occupied the top spot on two separate occasions in 1978.

But that year also boasted one of the strangest and most extraordinary songs to ever top the chart. Forty years ago next weekend, the debut single from Kate Bush, 'Wuthering Heights', was the most popular release in Ireland. It replaced Danny Doyle's take on Pete St John's 'The Rare Ould Times' on St Patrick's weekend and stayed for three weeks until the arrival of Brian and Michael and their one-hit wonder, 'Matchstick Men and Matchstalk Cats and Dogs'.

It sounded quite unlikely anything else and four decades on, it still stands out as a gloriously different pop song.

Read more: http://shr.gs/cKeLuxK

Panos Sialakas's insight:
A 20 year old girl goes against her major record company's will and wins out in a confrontation over this particular song as her very first single. She turned out to be probably the biggest female artist of the last 40 years.
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35 years ago: Blue Monday

35 years ago: Blue Monday | PopMart 1.0 | Scoop.it

By Matthew Horton for the NME - March 7th, 2013

The 30th anniversary of the release of New Order’s ‘Blue Monday’ passed with an odd absence of fanfare last Thursday (7 March). Maybe no one could believe it was quite so ancient because, whether you first heard it last week or in 1983, it has the whiff of The Future about it. That makes sense – The Future is precisely what it created. 

A little bit of this, a little bit of that

Let’s be honest – ‘Blue Monday’ wasn’t made in a vacuum. It might’ve influenced decades of dance and rock music, but it scavenged the archives for plenty of ‘inspiration’ itself. That drilling bass drum sound, for a start, was an attempt to emulate Giorgio Moroder’s pulsations on Donna Summer’s ‘Our Love’. Great job, it’s indistinguishable. The rhythm track as well – that’s a ringer for Italian post-disco dons Klein+MBO’s ‘Dirty Talk’, a record that caught New Order’s collective ear when they heard Hewan Clarke playing it at the Haçienda, and the monks’ chorus is a straight swipe from Kraftwerk’s ‘Uranium’. 

But the genius is in taking filched elements and other tricks learned by osmosis and turning them into something that feels new. When people heard ‘Blue Monday’ they weren’t snottily saying, “Well, that bit’s Klein+MBO and that bit’s pure Bobby O” – they were going, “What the hell is THIS?” It fed right back into the scenes it plundered, borrowing from the electro movement that gave us Juan Atkins, Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson and becoming an essential building block of the Detroit Techno that trio would go on to pioneer. Even now, Saunderson still finds space for ‘Blue Monday’ in his DJ sets. 

Techno tipping point

It might just be the happy conjunction of timing and opportunity, but Blue Monday’ feels like a fulcrum. Take that ‘Our Love’ loan – the last days of disco are fading into this dour, rainy Manchester funk and what’s emerging on the other side is something entirely alien. Bernard Sumner cites Sylvester’s immense disco classic ‘You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)’ as a touchstone too, another slice of joy going into the machine and coming out blank. Blankness is ‘Blue Monday”s overwhelming quality, from Sumner’s pale, robotic vocal to Peter Hook’s desolate bass melody, and it’s the merest flick of the pencil to draw a line from this to forbidding early techno, or Phuture’s ‘Acid Tracks’. The disco loop keeps going around too – five years later Quincy Jones was releasing the ‘Blue Monday’ reissue on his own Qwest label. 

12 inches of pleasure 

In the pop world, the 12″ single was all about zero imagination. The average extended mix consisted of the 7″ with an extra minute of drum fills stuffed in the middle or the intro played twice over or – if the boat was really being pushed out – a spoken-word interlude. ‘Blue Monday’ realised the possibilities of the form: you could bankrupt yourself with a die-cut sleeve! But you could also write a song fit for purpose, a sprawling monster that could only be accommodated on a massive slab of vinyl. Yep, Flowered Up’s ‘Weekender’ could never have existed without ‘Blue Monday’. New Order took a practical clubber’s format and turned it into an artistic statement.

Accidental innovation 

It wasn’t meant to be this pivotal. It was supposed to be an entirely automated excuse to hit the bar early. One of the four would press the button and the track would take care of itself, allowing the band to leave the audience to it and get a swift half. That was before they realised how complicated it was to try and get all these mad sequencers and drum machines to actually talk to one another.

There were dry runs in ‘Everything’s Gone Green’ – a rougher, grainier epic along similar lines – and ‘586’ – a slower, sweeter cousin that turned up on ‘Power, Corruption And Lies’ later that summer in ‘Blue Monday”s unlikely absence, but nothing would have the same stark attack. 

They’d vanquished their own ghost, shaken off any lasting memories of Joy Division and obliterated all preconceptions of what a rock band could do.

Dance music for rock people 

Even the gloomiest overcoat-sporting rockist could cut a rug to ‘Blue Monday’ without risking indie points – and that might be its greatest achievement. It took one hell of a long time to filter through though.

Indie-dance, baggy, whatever, it’s entirely in hock to New Order’s game-changer. ‘Blue Monday’ set the parameters and its Manchester scions filled the space, welcoming sequenced beats into their repertoire and getting sexy. As sexy as the Happy Mondays could ever be, that is. Spreading further afield, crossover artists Primal Scream, The Prodigy, LCD Soundsystem and The Chemical Brothers all benefit from ‘Blue Monday”s visionary fusion as its tendrils continue to spider across the pop landscape.

Getting rock kids to dance. There’s no cause more noble than that.

Thanks to the NME: http://bit.ly/nmeBM30

Panos Sialakas's insight:
Dance music for the rockers. Yes, it changed music forever.
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The Dark Side of the Moon: How an Album Cover Became an Icon

The Dark Side of the Moon: How an Album Cover Became an Icon | PopMart 1.0 | Scoop.it

Pink Floyd would have been a perfect match for the visually oriented era of Pinterest and Tumblr had the band emerged today.

At the height of Pink Floyd’s popularity in the 1970s, the Floyd’s visually arresting album covers and iconography complemented the artistry of the its music and generated buzz that would make the Word of Mouth Marketing Association proud. Nowhere is the power of Pink Floyd’s visual appeal more apparent than the cover for the album The Dark Side of the Moon, released 44 years ago. The Dark Side of the Moon is not only one of the greatest albums ever made, its cover became an visual icon for Pink Floyd itself — a quiet, mysterious team of four musicians who let their music and visual stories speak for them. For its ability to create mystery and intrigue for four decades, The Dark Side of the Moon joins my hall of fame of memorable album covers.

The Dark Side of the Moon cover art created intrigue when the album landed in record stores in March 1973. At the time, Pink Floyd was on the cusp of becoming a mainstream success with a growing fan base. The cover, depicting white light passing through a prism to form the bright colors of the spectrum against a stunning black field, invited listeners to explore the music inside — and still does today. The mystery began after you heard the mind-blowing music on the album coupled with bassist Roger Waters’s deeply personal lyrics exploring themes of alienation, loss, and materialism.

Read more: http://bit.ly/DSotM45

Panos Sialakas's insight:
Released 45 years ago today. Instead of sharing another article about this incredible record, I decided to pick one about the infamous iconography made by Storm Thorgerson and Aubrey Powell of Hipgnosis
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It was black music. It was gay music. And the “disco sucks” movement said, “burn, baby, burn”

It was black music. It was gay music. And the “disco sucks” movement said, “burn, baby, burn” | PopMart 1.0 | Scoop.it

Steve Dahl had his dream job as a boisterous disc jockey at Chicago’s WDAI, the city’s longtime rock station. But as midnight struck on New Year’s Day 1979, the station abruptly changed its format to disco. Dahl claims he was fired. When he resurfaced at WLUP that spring, he declared war on the music that had rendered him unemployed. 

Every day at his new gig, Dahl began playing snippets of disco records, dragging the needle across the vinyl, and cueing the sound of an explosion. Listeners loved it. Soon he was printing “kill disco” membership cards and destroying more records at “death to disco” rallies. But the night Dahl made history was July 12, 1979, when he promoted the “Disco Demolition” at Chicago’s Comiskey Park. Fans who brought a disco record could attend a doubleheader between the White Sox and the Detroit Tigers for just 98 cents. 

The park expected a few thousand extra attendees; 59,000 showed up. After the first game, Dahl, wearing a military uniform and driving a Jeep, drove onto the field, where thousands of records had been rigged with dynamite. He blew them to smithereens, leading the crowd in a chant of “Disco sucks!”

Read more: http://bit.ly/2FyDisco

Panos Sialakas's insight:
The story behind the whole "disco sucks" thing - how it started and evolved to something much bigger...and worse.
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The Smashing Pumpkins reunion: Shiny and Oh So Bright US Tour

The Smashing Pumpkins reunion: Shiny and Oh So Bright US Tour | PopMart 1.0 | Scoop.it

Music’s worst kept secret is finally official: Three-fourths of Smashing Pumpkins’ founding lineup — frontman Billy Corgan, guitarist James Iha, and drummer Jimmy Chamberlin — are reuniting for a US tour.

Dubbed “Shiny And Oh So Bright,” the tour will see the trio celebrating songs from their first five albums: Gish, Siamese Dream, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, Adore, and Machina/The Machines of God. Tickets go on sale beginning Friday, February 23rd.

As you may have heard, bassist D’arcy Wretzky will not be taking part in the festivities. Depending on who you believe, either Corgan lied to Wretzky about her involvement from the get-go, or Wretzky “always deferred” overtures from Corgan “to participate in demo sessions, or at the very least, meet face-to-face.” Regardless, Wretzky essentially blew up any chance of her participating when she sat down for an explosive, tell-all interview and questioned whether Corgan had a brain tumor.

Tourdates: http://smashingpumpkins.com

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David Bowie in 1975: Cocaine, black magic and fascism

David Bowie in 1975: Cocaine, black magic and fascism | PopMart 1.0 | Scoop.it

As far as the music goes, "Low" and its siblings were a direct follow-on from the title track of "Station to Station." It’s often struck me that there will usually be one track on any given album of mine which will be a fair indicator of the intent of the following album. —David Bowie, 2001

I see "Low" as very much a continuation from "Station to Station," which I think is one of the great records of all time. —Brian Eno, 1999

The "Station to Station" sessions represent the highwater mark of Bowie’s prodigious drug intake. By this stage, Bowie had practically stopped eating and was subsisting on a diet of milk, cocaine and four packets of Gitanes a day. He was leading a vampyric existence of blinds-drawn seclusion in his Hollywood mansion, spliced with all-night sessions in the studio. There were times when he’d start recording in the evening then work all the way through until ten in the morning—and when told that the studio had been booked for another band, he’d simply call up for studio time elsewhere on the spot and start work again immediately. 

Other times, he could vanish altogether: “We show up at the studio,” says [guitarist Earl] Slick. “‘Where is he?’ He shows up maybe five or six hours late. Sometimes he wouldn’t show up at all.” At this stage, Bowie could go five or six days without sleep, the point at which reality and imagination become irretrievably blurred: “By the end of the week my whole life would be transformed into this bizarre nihilistic fantasy world of oncoming doom, mythological characters and imminent totalitarianism.”

Read more: http://bit.ly/SalonDB75

Panos Sialakas's insight:
"No great mind has ever existed without a touch of madness" - Aristotle
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Is the greatest hits album dead?

Is the greatest hits album dead? | PopMart 1.0 | Scoop.it

Age-old commercial strategies are being overturned as record companies big and small fight to adjust to the new technological reality. Nowadays, physical albums that might previously have shifted hundreds of thousands of units are not even being released because no-one thinks they will sell. 

Take, for instance, the case of Despacito, Luis Fonsi's Latin pop hit that was one of the biggest songs of 2017. It topped the charts for weeks in the UK, but strangely, there was no hit album to go with it. It wasn't for lack of material. Fonsi may be a newcomer to British music fans, but in Latin music circles, his career stretches back 20 years, so it would have been child's play to cobble together a greatest hits CD and rush it to the shops. 

In fact, that's what happened in France, where the album Despacito and My Greatest Hits made the top three and has spent more than 30 weeks on the charts. Fonsi's record company, Polydor, said it was "not prepared to discuss the matter" with the BBC and would not give any reasons for not releasing the CD in the UK. But if label bosses thought it was commercially viable, they would presumably have put it out. 

So why are albums that would once have been considered sure-fire sales winners no longer being marketed?

Read more: http://www.bbc.com/news/business-42701623

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Nazi Punks Fuck Off: An oral history of punks fighting back against Nazis

Nazi Punks Fuck Off: An oral history of punks fighting back against Nazis | PopMart 1.0 | Scoop.it

Every hardcore band you loved in the '80s and beyond, from Black Flag to Minutemen to Fugazi, had one unfortunate thing in common: Nazi skinheads occasionally stormed their concerts, stomped their fans, gave Hitler salutes in lieu of applauding, and generally turned a communal experience into one full of hatred and conflict. 

Punk rockers had flirted with fascist imagery for shock value, with the Sex Pistols’ Sid Vicious and Siouxsie Sioux wearing swastikas in public, but, as early San Francisco scenester Howie Klein, later president of Reprise Records, recalls: “Suddenly, you had people who were part of the scene who didn’t understand ‘fascist bad.’”

By 1980, a more violent strain of punk fans was infecting punk shows. “Pogoing became slam-dancing, now known as moshing, and some of ’em didn’t seem like they were there to enjoy the music, as much as they were there to beat up on people—sometimes in a really chickenshit way,” says Jello Biafra, whose band, Dead Kennedys, put out a classic song about it in 1981: "Nazi Punks Fuck Off."

In the era of Trump and the alt-right, Charlottesville, and "very fine people on both sides," fighting Nazis is sadly newly relevant, and veterans of the hardcore-vs.-skinheads battles of yore are happy to help with war stories and advice. (Spoiler alert: Most advocate punching Nazis in the face.) 

Here's an oral history on how punks took back their scene >:


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Station to Station: David Bowie's 25 best Collaborations

Station to Station: David Bowie's 25 best Collaborations | PopMart 1.0 | Scoop.it

Throughout his career David Bowie was constantly reinventing himself, magpie-picking and absorbing the shiny trinkets of influence and reworking them into his very own sound, look and orbit reassembling it all into a brand new way forward in his own image. 

‘Bowie is at the centre of the musical world’ uttered one critic, and when you look at the list of artists, producers and musicians he worked with over fifty plus years it’s hard to argue. A shapeshifting multimedia polymath who dipped his toe into various styles, sounds and blurred genres, turning his hand into art, acting and theatre he was perhaps the first postmodern pop star and would influence those who would follow in his wake, He was a man who created successful identities and then discarded them. His frenetic work throughout the 70s and early 80s set a benchmark for creative streaks in the world of music. 

It is no wonder then that the list of his collaborators is as long and as it is varied. Here we shall focus on twenty-five of his finest. You can generally split his collaborations into three parts – the artists and producers he returned to work with repeatedly throughout his career (Tony Visconti, Mick Ronson, Iggy Pop, Brian Eno, Nile Rodgers, Carlos Alomar, Gail Ann Dorsey, Mike Garson); those he worked with a few times ( Ken Scott, Lou Reed, Robert Fripp, Arcade Fire); and the one-offs (Trent Reznor, Tina Turner, Bing Crosby, Cher, Giorgio Moroder, Pet Shop Boys, Placebo, Massive Attack Scarlet Johanssen) there are a few we might gloss over too (Tin Machine, Mick Jagger). 

This is by no means a definitive list but here are twenty-five of my favourite Bowie collaborations: http://bit.ly/DB25feat

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Dolores O'Riordan 1971-2018

Dolores O'Riordan 1971-2018 | PopMart 1.0 | Scoop.it

It was the voice that really transfixed you. Back in the days when bands recorded cassettes with hand-written song titles and shopped them around music hacks and record labels, one Limerick act’s four-song TDK began to stand out from the crowd.

It found its way into my hands in early 1990 or thereabouts and what seemed a rather inauspicious band name (changed from the torturous pun The Cranberry Saw Us) did not hint at the treasures within. The indie identikit guitars were in thrall to the wintry jangle of Johnny Marr, the rhythm section was rudimentary but effective but then you heard the singer . . .

Dolores O’Riordan, a 19-year-old from the small townland of Ballybricken, had the looks of an indie waif straight from central casting but her plaintive voice was a thing of wonder able to go from tremulous pain to banshee wail in the space of a few octaves. The standout song on that fabled demo was Linger, a composition of crestfallen angst which captured Dolores' prodigious talent for expressing heartache and an almost oceanic sense of longing.

Read more: http://bit.ly/DoloresRIP

Panos Sialakas's insight:
The voice of a crestfallen angel, one of the most important singing voices of the 90s, gone too soon. RIP.
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5 years ago: Delta Machine

5 years ago: Delta Machine | PopMart 1.0 | Scoop.it

When Depeche Mode came back together in 2012 to begin work on a new album, all three members were coming off of solo ventures and ready to settle in and focus what would become the band’s 13th effort together, Delta Machine, which was released March 22, 2013.

Frontman Dave Gahan had spent the previous years as the primary lyricist and singer for the electronic remix duo Soulsavers on their album The Light the Dead See. Keyboardist and guitarist Martin Gore reunited with former Depeche Mode member Vince Clarke on the electronic project VCMG, completing an EP and an album, and band co-founder Andy Fletcher continued to perform DJ sets around the globe. All that out of their system, it was time to reach the conclusion of a trilogy of albums with producer Ben Hillier, who had previously been behind the boards for Playing the Angel (2005) and Sounds of the Universe (2009).

Like its immediate predecessors, Delta Machine is chock full of throbbing beats and slithering synths, but there are also some cues pulled from the past, most notably from the Depeche Mode apex, 1990’s Violator. Out of the gate though, with first single “Heaven,” there was a bit of a bluff with Gahan crooning his way through the moody and crawling number, which he and Gore would later admit didn’t sound like the rest of the record, but did capture the feel of it.

Read more: http://bit.ly/DeMa5UCR

Panos Sialakas's insight:
March, the month of Depeche Mode album releases and anniversaries
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Violator: Depeche Mode's legacy

Violator: Depeche Mode's legacy | PopMart 1.0 | Scoop.it

Depeche Mode is, without question, one of the most important rock bands out there. They defined their sound by bridging 80s synthpop with the budding alternative rock, creating a fusion that would cement itself forever. Still rolling as powerfully and anthemically as ever today, Depeche Mode's longevity is here to stay forever. It all had to begin with the classics, though. Depeche Mode carved their own legacy out in Violator, their seventh album that brought them success internationally.

Violator was Depeche Mode's breakthrough performance, released in 1990, just as the new decade had begun. Looking at the biggest hits from the record, it's easy to see why this album did the trick for them. 'Personal Jesus' is punchy and almost industrial, its punchy guitar riff blending perfectly with the dark electronics. It's the perfect representation of the band's music with a poppy edge; not too deep into the oppressive electronic sound and with just enough swagger to give it all the catchiness it needs. 'Enjoy The Silence' is much less industrial and really focuses in on the sensual vibe of Violator, the chorus expressing real love: "All I ever wanted / All I ever needed is here in my arms / Words are very unnecessary / They can only do harm."

The singles aren't the only defining features of Violator, though. The grimy, dark 'World In My Eyes' brings the record in, really setting the tone fo what's to come. It's fairly minimalistic, as is most of the record, but makes due with what it has going on. The background harmonies are almost operatic as they are ghastly. Dave Gahan really sells the sensual aspect of the record on songs like 'Sweetest Perfection,' while the dark and cinematic atmosphere of 'Halo' is bound to grab at you. Closing track 'Clean' takes every aspect of the songs before it makes something huge: it's a slow drama, pounding and damning while maintaining a sort of western vibe, building to massive proportions after starting from little to nothing. A huge way to end out an otherwise barebones - yet effective - album.

Violator may be minimalist, but every note has a clear purpose. It's freeing, sensual, and most notably, its invigorating. It captures you in an atmosphere and it keeps you there in a sort of eidetic oblivion. Depeche Mode carved their own legacy out in Violator, setting a standard for the fusion of electronica and rock to come, all the while cementing their place as legends in music.

By Dylan Yadav for Immortal Reviews: http://bit.ly/Violator28IR

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30 years ago: Viva Hate

30 years ago: Viva Hate | PopMart 1.0 | Scoop.it
In his days as the headstrong, enigmatic lead singer of The Smiths, the most important U.K. guitar band of the ‘80s, Morrissey wasn't itching to go solo. Why would he? The band was defined by his peculiar psychology—narcissism tempered by self-effacement topped with a wicked sense of humor—and driven by a genius guitarist, Johnny Marr, with no desire for the spotlight. It was a nice arrangement.

When Marr left The Smiths in 1987, ending the group’s run after four brilliant albums, Morrissey felt bewildered and betrayed. “The split is our final loss of innocence,” Moz writes in Autobiography, the 2013 memoir that reveals little about what actually what actually broke up indie’s Leiber and Stoller. To make matter worse, Morrissey soon learned he was contractually obligated to give EMI another album. Such was the impetus for his debut solo, Viva Hate, released 30 years ago today (March 14, 1988):  http://bit.ly/VivaHate30
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Goodbye NME: 1952-2018

Goodbye NME: 1952-2018 | PopMart 1.0 | Scoop.it

When news arrived that this week’s edition of New Musical Express (NME) would be its last, there was an outpouring of nostalgia tempered with the cold truth that it had become culturally irrelevant.

As a final roll of the dice in 2015, it became a freesheet and set out to become a one-size-fits-all pop culture compendium, broadening its remit beyond music, to include film and fashion, but by this point it was arguably failing to do what it set out to do – reporting on music that mattered.

It had been banging the drum for indie music for a bit too long and was no longer chasing music that young people were listening to, perhaps through stubbornness or nostalgia prior to this. The other pervasive view of its demise seems to be: “Because, the internet”.

Read more: http://bit.ly/NME5218

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Full list of Record Store Day 2018 releases

Full list of Record Store Day 2018 releases | PopMart 1.0 | Scoop.it

Record Store Day has revealed the extensive list of limited edition vinyl, cassettes, and box sets that will be available as part of its 2018 edition taking place on April 21st.

Highlights include a new collaborative record from Brian Eno and Kevin Shields; live recordings from The National, Fleet Foxes, and Rage Against the Machine, a new remix album from The Cure; and the first-ever vinyl release of Arcade Fire’s self-titled debut EP.

You can find specifics on some of the most notable releases below, and find many more detailed at the Record Store Day website: http://recordstoreday.com/SpecialReleases

— Brian Eno and My Bloody Valentine’s Kevin Shields will release a 12-inch featuring their recent collaboration, “Only Once Away My Son”, along with a new track called “The West of History in Clouds”.

— The National will release a live recording of The Boxer, taken from a November 9th, 2017 performance in Brussels, Belgium.

— Fleet Foxes will release a 7-inch featuring a recording of “Crack-Up” with the Icelandic women’s choir Graduale Nobli. Consequence of Sound filmed the performance, which you can revisit here.

— The Cure will release Torn Down (Mixed Up Extra) containing 16 new remixes by frontman Robert Smith of classic tracks including “Three Imaginary Boys”, “Just One Kiss”, and “Never Enough”. Additionally, the band’s original 1990 remix album, Mixed Up, is being reissued on vinyl for the first time.

— Arcade Fire will reissue their self-titled debut EP from 2004. It marks the record’s first-ever vinyl release.

— Rage Against the Machine will release a live recording of their 2000 performance at the Democratic National Convention.

— Run the Jewels, this year’s Record Store Day Global Ambassador, will release a Stay Gold metal box set featuring a clear etched vinyl 12-inch with Marvel Comics branding, an RTJ slipmat, and sticker.

— The Flaming Lips will release a 7-inch featuring two original songs inspired by their new Dogfish beer Dragons & YumYums.

— Mac DeMarco will Old Dog Demos, a collection of never-before-released demos, instrumentals and an unreleased B-side.

— Phoenix will release an unreleased Ti Amo track called “Monologue” on heart-shaped 7-inch red vinyl.

— Swans will reissue their 1996 album, Die Tür ist zu, on vinyl for the first time in the US. It was previously only available in Germany on CD.

— Pink Floyd will release a remastered mono version of their 1967 debut album, The Piper At the Gates of Dawn.

— The Stooges will release the “Detroit Edition” of their self-titled debut album featuring bonus LP with material lifted from the deluxe Stooges CD box. Additionally, Iggy Pop will release Live At The Ritz, NYC 1986.

— U2 will release a 12-inch containing Beck’s remix of their track “Lights of Home”.

Also Parlophone will be issuing the following three limited edition David Bowie discs:

— Welcome To The Blackout (Live London '78), 3xLP unreleased live set 

— Let’s Dance (Full-length), 12” single featuring full length version of the demo and live version 

— Bowie Now, White vinyl LP issue of US promo only compilation with new interior artwork

Thanks to Consequence of Sound: http://bit.ly/cosRSD18

and davidbowie.com: http://bit.ly/dbRSD18

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I'm with the band: the pitiful proteges of pop music patrons

I'm with the band: the pitiful proteges of pop music patrons | PopMart 1.0 | Scoop.it

Last week saw the release of the painfully bland new album by Vance Joy, one of the many proteges of Taylor Swift, who took him out as a support act on her 1989 world tour (though apparently they don’t talk any more). Swift has form for bigging up other musicians: she has championed not just Vance Joy, but Haim and Ed Sheeran (who in turn has championed Foy Vance, another singer-songwriter confusingly close in name to Vance Joy, but no relation).

However, Swift’s proteges have tended to be artists already on an upward curve, already with major label deals and some success. She has not yet mastered the art of picking up on an artist no one has displayed any interest in and incessantly shouting about them, until all her fans have gone to the gigs, bought the T-shirt and discovered for themselves how dubious their hero’s judgment is. Unlike this lot… 

Read more: http://bit.ly/2Cp1UWN

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Nina Simone shines in her early records

Nina Simone shines in her early records | PopMart 1.0 | Scoop.it

Sixty years ago, Nina Simone was not yet quite an icon. The legendary singer, pianist, songwriter, and civil-rights activist—who will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April—turned 25 in 1958. Her debut album, Little Girl Blue, had just been released on Bethlehem Records, an up-and-coming jazz label. Among Bethlehem’s alumni were Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus, and a promising young saxophonist from Miles Davis’s band named John Coltrane. Simone, on the other hand, had been signed as more of a pop-jazz artist; the label, after all, was also the home of Mel Tormé. Relatively unknown, Simone was a fresh face to find success by safely interpreting the standards of the day, albeit by using her uniquely husky voice and bluesy yet classically informed piano playing.

Little Girl Blue kicked off a run of singles Simone made between 1958 and 1963 for both Bethlehem and another New York label, Colpix Records. The singles she released during that period, many of them drawn from the Great American Songbook, have been collected on two anthologies out this month: Mood Indigo: The Complete Bethlehem Singles (via BMG Records) and Nina Simone: The Colpix Singles (via Stateside Records). These early singles have often been overlooked in favor of her original, historically important compositions such as 1964’s “Mississippi Goddam” and 1970’s “To Be Young, Gifted, and Black,” both of which became rallying cries for the civil-rights movement. But viewed together, her pop-oriented output on Bethlehem and Colpix form a charismatic portrait of one of the 20th century’s greatest artists in the first flush of her prowess.

Read more: http://theatln.tc/2onaqfn

Panos Sialakas's insight:
Born 85 years ago today, a LEGEND.
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45 years ago: legendary Bowie gig at the Radio City Music Hall

45 years ago: legendary Bowie gig at the Radio City Music Hall | PopMart 1.0 | Scoop.it
This is Bowie's big breakthrough in the US. The show was becoming even more outrageous with many new costume changes and more bizarre make-up. Both shows are a sell-out of 6,200 people each. Attending celebrities include Truman Capote, Salvador Dali (a fan who has attended other Bowie performances), Johnny Winter and Todd Rundgren. 

Bowie faints on stage after a fan leaps on the stage during "Rock n Roll Suicide" and embraces him. He is diagnosed by an attending nurse as suffering from exhaustion (blocked pores from the makeup is also blamed) and sleeps 12 hours straight the next day. Rumours suggest that gunshots rang out before Bowie collapsed but audience tapes do not support this fanciful theory.

"The giant auditorium was filled with Walter Carlos' recorded cybernetic music from Clockwork Orange, as several layers of curtains parted to reveal a giant screen on which was projected an animated film of the cosmos rushing at light speed at the viewer. A single spotlight opened up on a set of large concentric spheres welded into a cage and suspended 50 feet above the floor of the stage, in the middle of which was standing a stern and staring Bowie clad in a black silver silk garment, the first of what would be five different costumes that night. 

It was truly an amazing sight: Bowie the noted acrophobe, who won't fly in planes or ascend above a certain level in buildings, coolly gazing at his adoring fans, while his band, The Spiders From Mars, augmented by six additional musicians on horns and percussion, cranked into "Hang Onto Yourself".... At times Bowie acted out his role as a straight pop singer, a sort of hyperthyroid Anthony Newley; at others he would change into a progressively more skimpy costume and whip his arse around, a campy gamine leg-throw here, a cute barefoot pirouette there. Those songs dealing with Bowie's starkly paranoid themes of rock-star death, impending planetary doom and coming suicide were treated as little theater pieces, playlets recited and acted rather than sung and played." - Stephen Davis for Rolling Stone Magazine
Panos Sialakas's insight:
Check out the audio bootleg, including the fans reactions when Bowie collapses at the end of the gig: https://youtu.be/Qe4N8M6zOXA
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How to Be a Responsible Music Fan in the Age of Streaming

How to Be a Responsible Music Fan in the Age of Streaming | PopMart 1.0 | Scoop.it
In 2012, I wrote a piece for this website breaking down the payments my first band, Galaxie 500, was receiving from streaming services, which were just starting to become a dominant force in the music industry. Spotify had sent songwriting royalties of $1.05 for the 5,960 times our single “Tugboat” was played that quarter—split between the group’s three members, each of us had made 35 cents. Not exactly a promising new source of income.

For years, disruptive digital businesses have countered complaints like mine with assurances that everything will be different in the future, once millions and millions of people around the world adopt their application. Well, here we are. Spotify now claims 140 million active users, 70 million of whom are paid subscribers, and the total consumption of audio streams in the U.S. jumped by an estimated 50 percent last year. But while it’s clear that some are earning significant paychecks from streaming as a result—“Happy days are here again,” Billboard gushed last March, reporting the fastest growth for the industry in decades—most musicians are not.

The basic reason is simple: According to the data trackers at BuzzAngle Music, more than 99 percent of audio streaming is of the top 10 percent most-streamed tracks. Which means less than 1 percent of streams account for all other music. That makes streaming more concentrated at the top than current album or song sales. Of course, the most popular releases have always dominated the music market, but it seems these new services increase that disparity rather than reduce it. The rising tide is lifting only certain boats.

What is to be done? Spotify, Apple Music, and the other corporations seeking to control music consumption aren’t likely to change their trajectory. So what follows are some thoughts about ways we might adjust—as both creators and consumers of all music, not just the top 10 percent of it—in order to counterbalance a system built for the benefit of a small minority. There are no quick fixes, which is also the point: It’s the dream of quick fixes—and fortunes—that got us into this mess. If we’re going to find our way out, it’s going to be through slow collective effort, based on a better understanding of what we’re being offered now and exactly how and why that’s failing us.

Omar's curator insight, November 9, 2018 10:25 PM
Audio streaming increased around 50%  last year which is a good thing for rthe music business, depending which side are on. If you are a musician, maybe not. But if you are Apple Music or Spotify, you’re definately happy. 

In the end, the consumer should be the one getting the best part as music it’s going to be more and more accesible, but at what cost? So far, the artist is not being compensated the way they deserve and they’re only getting literarlly a few dollars as the business is not designed to pay for royalties as it did for record sales before. 

Pitchfork concentrates is the new, in new music and trends so it’s natural to see through their site any changes to this streaming service royalties that may happend in the next year.
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50 years ago: White Light/White Heat

50 years ago: White Light/White Heat | PopMart 1.0 | Scoop.it

As far as sophomore album’s go, The Velvet Undergound’s White Light/White Heat is extraordinary, both for its unapologetic abandonment of the mournful moods established by their debut and for its dissonance, which replaced the measured doses of pop art-minded bliss (inspired by Andy Warhol and contributed by vocalist Nico) with a total overdose of arty audacity and even aggression in their absence.

On its 50th anniversary, the record holds up as an outrageously unique collection of weird ideas and organically driven psychedelic soundscapes. It elevated the instrumental, mental, and sexual tension that encapsulates what the Velvets were all about and allowed for its individual players to act out sonically. Singer/guitarist Lou Reed, bassist John Cale, guitarist Sterling Morrison, and drummer Maureen Tucker were all clearly challenging themselves, their listeners, and each other on this one, and the result feels like precursory punk rock, especially listened to today in the context of all that came after it.

In an interview with David Fricke for Mojo, marking the record’s 45th anniversary re-issue, guitarist Sterling Morrison explained, “Maybe our frustrations led the way … But we were already pretty much into it. We had good amps, good distortion devices. We were the first American band to have an endorsement deal with Vox.” The album, he contended, “was just us using the Vox amps and playing them emphatically.”

But White Light/White Heat was a lot more than an excuse for the band to tune out and amp up; it was an opportunity to redefine who they were, to defiantly lay to record what it was they were doing onstage at the time, thus making it their most representative raw and true recording, a six-song snapshot of the late-’60s New York avant-garde music and party scene. Fueled by escapist environments, their boho brethren, the harsh realities of NY urban life, and probably some pretty good drugs, the band captured attention with their dark and dramatic aesthetic and complex sound. Their association with art scene hip kids notwithstanding, their live performances lacked pretention (even when they were over-the-top poetic) and often ended in instrumental freak-outs.

While White Light was an entirely different cup of Sunday morning tea (excessively spiked, best listened to after a long night that probably never ended), it does maintain moments of Warholian hedonism. Andy suggested the black cover, after all. Also, the catchy, chorus-driven title track that opens the record kind of recalls the exuberance of the debut’s more upbeat moments and might be one of the strongest numbers of their entire catalog. David Bowie sure liked it, even giving it renewed appreciation when he put it out as a single in conjunction with the opening of the Ziggy Stardust concert film (recorded in the ’70s, but released in the ’80s). By contrast, the 17-minute psych-tinged climax, “Sister Ray”, might start out straightforward but veers off wildly. It’s a tempestuous tale of drag queens, sailors, orgies, shooting up, and murder backdropped by Cale and Reed’s rhythmic clash of chords and effects. Recorded in one take, it was apparently so assaultive live, according to Reed, that the engineer walked out before it was laid down.

In between these memorable bookends, there’s the bizarre narrative of “The Gift”, featuring an academic-sounding Cale spinning an ill-fated tale of young love over a snarling guitar jam (best heard on headphones as it was recorded so the vocal is heard on one speaker and the music on another); “Lady Godiva’s Operation”, a sardonic yet sweet ditty about a transsexual’s lobotomy; “Here She Comes Now”, the album’s most simplistic number, which sounds like a holdover from the Nico era and provides a break from the visceral blasts that surround it; and the garage-y goodness of “I Heard Her Call My Name”, a feedback-laden, schizophrenic Stooges kinda jam.

Dusting off the original ’68 album, side one features the varied tempos and staggering vocals of the first four songs while side two is a notably more frenzied experience, punctuating the mottled radiance of the collection with a rousing climax. That’s probably the most authentic way to enjoy White Light/White Heat, but the “Super Deluxe” 2013 version (available on most streaming services) has some extras (live versions, mono versions, and bonus tracks) that add dimension to VU’s evolution, especially that of Cale and Reed. Their often contentious relationship reached a breaking point after this record, but both continued to capture beauty in chaos when creating and producing music separately for years to come. It may not be their most celebrated recording, but its uncompromising spirit never dimmed for Cale (who’s played these songs at VU-inspired shows in Paris and the UK the past couple years) or for Reed, who was a rock ‘n’ roll rebel right up until his light finally burned out for good.

By Line Lecaro for Consequence of Sound: http://bit.ly/cos50wlwh

Panos Sialakas's insight:
Released January 30th, 1968.
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Mark E Smith 1957-2018

Mark E Smith 1957-2018 | PopMart 1.0 | Scoop.it

Terribly, terribly sad news. Mark E Smith, frontman of The Fall, has died at age 60. Word came from band manager Pamela Vander: “It is with deep regret that we announce the passing of Mark E. Smith. He passed this morning at home. A more detailed statement will follow in the next few days. In the meantime, Pam & Mark’s family request privacy at this sad time.” 

The Fall canceled most of their 2017 autumn tour, including what were supposed to be the band’s first NYC shows in a decade, due to Mark’s failing health. The rescheduled NYC dates were canceled again a month ago. 

Few bands of the last 40 years have been as influential to indie, alt, what-have-you, as The Fall, and few bands remained as relevant for as long either. Bilious, scathingly funny, thoughtful, crazy, often inscrutable (both literally and figuratively), MES was a one-of-a-kind. 

Rest in peace, Mark.

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My Berlin experience

My Berlin experience | PopMart 1.0 | Scoop.it
My parents immigrated, from completely different places of Greece, in Berlin in the early 70s. They met there in 1972 and got married two years later. Sadly, they decided to come back to Greece a month before my birth, September 1974.

Fast forward 42 years and 4 months later, 19 January 2017. I'm in Berlin for the very first time, and this particular day is dedicated to my favorite artists in relation to Berlin. A visit at the Hansa Studios followed by a bus tour and ending the night at the Mercedes-Benz Arena for a Depeche Mode gig in the city they've found their footing and they're loved so much.

Hansa was amazing. The feeling you’re in the same studios where so many important albums have been recorded was overwhelming. Sitting at the big studio 4, trying to imagine how was it when the Berlin Wall was just on the other side and David Bowie was there recording Heroes. Or when Gareth Jones had that crazy idea of sending the bass sounds of People of People from two floors above (Studio 2) and how the whole place would be shaking. Or when U2 struggled a lot to transform to a proper 90s band till the moment they started playing the notes to One.

Then up to Studios 1 and 2, again trying to imagine the view of the guards and the dead area between the two sides of Berlin. Sitting in front of the console, listening to “Heroes” and feeling so touched, that’s a very special moment in my life. I wasn’t alone of course, I was part of a group including some of my dearest friends and all sharing that excitement… and thinking of the vibes surrounding that place from 1976 to 1991.

Next thing, the bus tour. It was supposed to be about Bowie and in a certain extent it was, but it all included places of significance for other artists too like Nick Cave, Einsturzende Neubauten, Nina Hagen, The Ramones and how things were progressed up to the late 80s and till the fall of the Berlin Wall.

But then again, it’s Bowie. Haupstrasse 155 in Schöneberg. Nightclubbing with Iggy. The Christiane F connection. Places he was staying, hanging out, working. 

Last, Depeche Mode live at the wonderful Mercedes-Benz Arena. Full crowd, had a great panoramic view from upper section. Gig started and wow! What a crowd energy. That was pretty unique, Depeche Mode in Berlin is indeed a different experience. Of course the setlist was safer than ever, probably the very first time they didn’t play the lead single of the album they’re supposed to be promoting, but the gig was so intense and the crowd so up to it that it didn’t matter as much as it would in any other place.

It got even better when before and after the gig I managed to meet for the very first time a number of people I’ve known online for more than 10-15 years. You know who you are, thank you very much for making my experience even greater.

Two days later, I’m back in Athens, still under the Berlin influence. What did I do. I turned to YouTube and watched the latest SkyArts documentary Hansa Studios: By The Wall 1976-1990 and fixing my travel and accommodation details for next July, when Depeche will be back to Berlin to wrap up their Global Spirit Tour. Can’t wait.

Check Hansa Studios: By The Wall 1976-1990 >: https://youtu.be/oYJR3It1-lU
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