When music junkies think of Halloween, they skip they candy and go straight for Phish.
The long-running hippies continue their 15-year Halloween performance tradition this year in Atlantic City. The theme is always the same: The band dresses up in elaborate costumes and plays an entire album from another band. Most recently the band covered the Rolling Stones' Exile on Mainstreet, but have covered the Beatles, the Velvet Underground, Pink Floyd and the Who.
The large, gothic ballroom in the Angel Orensanz Center boiled in a sinister red light that illuminated the decaying cathedral backdrop with its curling, cringing Corinthian collumns and rust-colored archways as Austin, Texas' psychedelic-rock group the Black Angels took the stage for a secret, invite-only show to give the masses a taste of their new album, Phosphene Dream, which officially debuts on September 14.
Already making a heavy showing at the SXSW festival earlier this summer, and continuing onto the Reading Leeds Festival in the UK just two weeks ago, the Angels have fulfilled the fall-tour prerequisite by captivating festival junkies in the summer months, and have thrown a glob of icing on the proverbial cake with their new album debuting this month. Taking much of their influence from the iconic psychedelic group The Velvet Underground (including their name and band logo), the Angels throw together a darker, more penetrating twist.
After a long, sleep-deprived week, I was readying myself last night for a well-deserved night’s rest before another day of journalistic prosperity here at the joonbug offices. I predicated my slumber with the positive, reinforcing words of Henry Rollins’ spoken word performances; a new personal obsession which, I feel, brings hope and assurance to my often bleak view of everyday life. As my eyes began to involuntarily close, I decided to close-out my session of “youtube-ery” with a video from the site’s side-bar suggestions, namely, a musical performance. I saw the name of a performer I was unfamiliar with and thought, “Why not?” as I clicked on the less-than encumbered thumbnail. In a clip from the former hardcore-singer’s talk-show on cable’s IFC, I saw an exceptionally overweight, middle-aged man in sweat-pants and what looked like a hand-Sharpied t-shirt timidly fist-strumming mangled chords on an acoustic guitar. When he opened his mouth, his nasal, slightly off-key voice began singing a song of love by way of poetic despair that made the world around me float away until all that was left was the music pouring from my computer speakers and my heart that was breaking with each word the man spoke. I replayed the song over and over again, mesmerized at the aural magnetism of the song despite its apparent simplicity. Hours and hours later, early into the morning, I found myself lying on my bed, unable to get to sleep, weeping uncontrollably at the beauty of Daniel Johnston’s music.
Lou Reed, Maureen Tucker, and Doug Yule, members of the pioneering New York City art band The Velvet Underground, will be reuniting for a public appearance at the New York Public Library on December 8. The influential musicians will not be joining together for yet another band reformulation, but they will be key speakers in a panel discussion with rock journalist David Fricke to discuss their music and influence in the budding art scene that germinated from New York during the sixties.
The band forum, a part of the “LIVE from the NYPL” series, is a response to growing interest in the group by way of the release of the new book, The Velvet Underground: New York Art. The book contains a rare collection of handwritten music and lyrics by Reed, unseen performance photographs, underground press clippings, and posters and cover art by Andy Warhol, the group’s manager/producer during their early years.