Cultural Gutter: The Cosmic Crooner

On the Cultural Gutter, we’re going on a tour of the universe via The Cosmic Crooner, all about Frank Sinatra’s bizarre Trilogy, a third of which is devoted to a swingin’ tour of the future.

Cultural Gutter: Neuromancin’ with Myself

The early 1990s was also when I read Neuromancer. I read it enthusiastically, devoured every word, and fell in love not so much with the story but with William Gibson’s proficiency with the written word. Into this maelstrom of personal evolution and conflicting feelings came Billy Idol’s Cyberpunk.

Lady Day on Swing Street

There are few moments more perfect than walking into a dimly lit old bar late at night and hearing a Billie Holiday song, either on the jukebox or being covered by the four-piece in the corner. “These Foolish Things” is practically custom made for sliding onto a stool and ordering an Old Fashioned as you prop your elbows up on the bar and think about lost loves and life’s regrets.

War of the Welles

The country was, in the autumn of 1938, primed for a panic. Amid this air of paranoia, a little known dramatist named Orson Welles stepped behind the microphone for another broadcast of a radio drama, CBS’ The Mercury Theatre on the Air. When I was young still and open of mind, my parents set me…

Cultural Gutter: Where is All You Angels?

Back over at The Cultural Gutter for a Frolic Afield. Where is All You Angels? stared out as a jokey celebration of my favorite music video, Duran Duran’s “Wild Boys.” Things quickly spun out of control into an exploration of William S. Burroughs, LGBT rights, the mundanity of queer cinema, dayglo jockstraps, north Florida summers,…

The Best You’ll Never Find

When it comes to music, I have little nostalgia for vinyl. I much more prefer the internet equivalent of crate digging to the old school variety, where, along with the limits of physical space you had unlimited opportunities to inhale large quantities of dust. It has to be admitted, however, that those physical limits did…

Reparata and the Delrons

Reparata and the Delrons were a girl group that spent a long career plumbing the lower echelons of the American pop charts – a fact that even a cursory listen to any survey of their many singles renders somewhat unbelievable. Like fellow East-coasters the Shangri-las, their early repertoire was heavy on teenage melodrama and heartbreak….

Burt Bacharach: Casino Royale

Burt Bacharach’s soundtrack is probably the least maligned aspect of producer Charles Feldman’s 1967 film version of Casino Royale. For connoisseurs of cinematic disaster, the problems that beset that production are well familiar. Kaufman, who held the movie rights to Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale, intended to make a canonical James Bond film, but upon failing…

Francoise Hardy: Midnight Blues

Francoise Hardy may have been the most stereotypically French of the Yē-Yē girls: Aloof, sophisticated and beautifully melancholy. Nevertheless, her sound was one that was largely made in England – or, at least, by English hands, among them producer and arranger Charles Blackwell, the songwriting and production team of Tommy Brown and Micky Jones, and…

Honey Ltd. – The Complete LHI Recordings

Musicians like Lee Hazlewood rode an interesting wave during the late 60s, when midlife addled moms and dads, eager not to be left behind by the caprices of a youth driven culture, started to raid their children’s record collections. This opened the opportunity for the creation of an adult oriented version of those troublesome youngsters’…

Clothilde: Queen of the French Swinging Mademoiselle

At the height of the Yeh Yeh Girl craze, literally dozens upon dozens of teenage girls filed through the recording studios of Western Europe and, from there, onto the airwaves. For every true artiste like Francoise Hardy, I suspect there were many more who were compelled by external forces such as svengalis and stage parents….

Haunted by The Sonics

60s garage rock is my preferred late night listening, offering a pleasurable chill deeper than that provided by the usual combination of challenged fidelity and ennobling obscurity that I find in other vintage recordings. It truly seems like something was haunting the garages of suburban America during the mid-60s, as if white teenagers, unable to…