Thursday, December 26, 2013

The BJ Rubin Show

The BJ Rubin Show
Episode #202
"Pilot II, Part 2"
Original Airdate - 12/26/13 on MNN2 in Manhattan

Featuring BJ Rubin, Frankie Cosmos & The Emptiness, Kevin Shea, Maria Minerva, Lauren Martin, Dan Friel, Nondor Nevai, Alice Cohen, Charlie Judkins, Owen Kline, Colleen Green, Weasel Walter, Chris Pitsiokos, Mossenek, Mike Dobbins, David Earl Buddin & Stephanie Leke

©2013 Dick Move Productions

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The BJ Rubin Show

The BJ Rubin Show
Episode #201
"Pilot II, Part 1"
Original Airdate - 12/12/13 on MNN2 in Manhattan

Featuring BJ Rubin, U.S. Girls, Arrington de Dionyso's Malaikat dan Singa, Frankie Cosmos & The Emptiness, Mike Dobbins, Maria Minerva, Kevin Shea, Colleen Green, Nondor Nevai, Alice Cohen, American Liberty League, Christian Sanze, Julie Okello, Kwame Browne & Dan Friel

©2013 Dick Move Productions

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Frankie Cosmos

Thanks for everything, indeed.

1. dreams idea
2. dreamd
3. waves alone on a boat
4. i'm not gonna die
5. i dont wanna do it
6. slow summer v2
7. thrilled
8. flurry v2 [martin]
9. when
10. dime
11. tymon
12. black paint
13. i love my brother owen
14. flurry v1 [unplugged dan]
15. slow summer v1
16. who cares
17. wine in love

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Frankie Cosmos

Pure Suburb is my latest weirdly sad album. I didn't realize until putting it out, but everyone has been saying to me "this is sooooo sad," so I guess it's a particularly sad one. I promise I'm not actually that sad. Just deep inside. But life is actually fine. This album was sort of my way of taking bad things that have happened that seem to constantly resurface in my consciousness, and turn them into nice songs. There are also a few songs on the album about watching my friends make really great art and feeling really down on my choice (if it is a choice) to be a musician, like how it's really hard to make it as an artist. But overall I think the release of this album is a positive thing-- to take all those bad thoughts and be like "well, I'm gonna keep making this music anyway," and I'm happy with it. :)

-- Frankie Cosmos

pure suburb (Pukekos)
1. ballad of freedom
2. bottom lip
3. the puzzle
4. pure suburb
5. frist year
6. older tu
7. tripped up
8. heroes
9. am i trying im not trying
10. your name

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Pukekos TV

Courtney Barnett - Avant Gardener
Parquet Courts - You Got Me Wonderin' Now
BD594 - House Of The Rising Sun (Old School Computer Remix)
Omar Souleyman - Warni Warni
Charli XCX - Superlove
Lou Reed - Waves Of Fear

Produced by BJ Rubin

Thanks to Lauren Martin, Guy de Burgh, Martha de Burgh, Connie Bastow, Brian Bastow, Courtney Barnett, Nick O'Byrne, Stephanie Haughton, Liv Dobson, Milk! Records, Marathon Artists, Christian Sanze, Kevin Pedersen, What's Your Rupture?, James Cochrane, Cali Thornhill DeWitt, Rick Martinelli, Jordan Frazes, Emily Leikam, Atlantic Records & Lou Reed

Original Airdate - 12/5/13 on BPN2 in Brooklyn

©2013 Dick Move Productions

Monday, December 2, 2013

Frankie Cosmos

2012 works

Much Ado About Fucking (Pukekos)

1. wreck tangled
2. reading hell chipmunk
3. wound up
4. cryb aby
5. joejoe beauty
6. weave got it made
7. high there ronni underwater
8. michael(le)
9. love song to Jom's girlfriend
10. five first loves
11. grizzle never dies
12. no sleep 2012
13. spagetti
14. knocking wrists

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Pukekos TV

The Evens - Move Your Vowels
Butthole Surfers - One Hundred Million People Dead
Captain Beefheart - Click Clack
Jenny Piccolo - Shutdown
Men's Recovery Project - Million Man March
The Clash - Rudie Can't Fail
Minutemen - Ack Ack Ack
Dead Kennedys - Holiday In Cambodia
The Strokes - Last Nite
Richard Hell & The Voidoids - Blank Generation

Produced by BJ Rubin

Original Airdate - 11/28/13 on MNN2 in Manhattan

©2013 Dick Move Productions

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Frankie Cosmos

It has been exactly a year since November 26th, 2012 - the day that I lost my dog and best friend on planet earf. This day was also the anniversary of my first kiss with my one true love, Ronnie Mystery. Joejoe was a really amazing dog and person. If it weren't for him I might never have kissed Ronnie at all. Joejoe was my only friend that I told everything to. If i cried he licked my face and my forehead and made me stop crying. He liked to sleep curled up bent over my mom's head like a hat. One time I had a fever and Joejoe licked my head. When we walked down the street everyone stopped to stare and said that he was the cutest dog they'd ever seen...but we both already knew that.

I made the album LOSING on the day after he died. The album cover is me sending a picture of my lip bruise to Leonie (she had moved back to Germany 3 days before) brother owen threw a glass at my face the night before we had to put Joe to sleep. emotions were running high.

We rescued Joe (then "Winston") in the summer of 2001, when he was going to be put to sleep at the pound. He was the runt of the litter and had a lot of problems, and we were told he would live 2 or maybe 5 years if we were lucky and gave him lots of pills and stuff. He was part of our family for 12 years, the majority of my life. Joe is a miracle dog.

I think ever since Joe came into my life (and especially after his death) I have had a dog spirit inside me. It's true!

I love Joejoe. You might hear me talk about him or show pictures of him talking in the present tense. To me, he is still alive. I feel him sleeping behind the couch every day. I feel him in all of his favorite spots. Sometimes I drop food on the ground for him when I am cooking. I still talk to him when we are alone. Joejoe, I love you. In your honor, here is LOSING.


LOSING (Pukekos)

1. leonie
2. grief
3. sad 2
4. school
5. joejoe won't you let me
6. losing

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Frankie Cosmos

yea well

Birth Of Penis (Pukekos)
1. do you see me for what i really am?
2. dran-o love song
3. i give up
4. flood lights
5. i play my loves guitar

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Pukekos TV

Nirvana - Love Buzz
Odysseus - The Rings Of Neptune
The Halo Benders - Don't Touch My Bikini
The Fall - Eat Y'self Fitter
Real Estate - Suburban Dogs
They Might Be Giants - Put Your Hand Inside The Puppet Head

Produced by BJ Rubin

Thanks to Lauren Martin, Camilla Padgitt-Coles, Hilary Zarabi-Aazam, Jeff Davidson, Dave Longstreth, Angel Deradoorian, Dirty Projectors, Upset The Rhythm, Gracie Cudney, Mark E. Smith, Logan Takahashi, Nick Weiss, Teengirl Fantasy

Original Airdate - 11/14/13 on MNN2 in Manhattan

©2013 Dick Move Productions

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Frankie Cosmos

Editor's note:

I first discovered the music of Frankie Cosmos back in 2011 when she was still calling herself Ingrid Superstar. Somehow by the age of 17 she'd already released more music on the internet than most musicians will record in a lifetime.  I found myself listening to it over and over again. I invited her to be a guest on my cable access show, and then later I released her first CD.

I asked Frankie to speak briefly about her time as Ingrid Superstar, and this is what she said:

"The Ingrid albums are a really elaborate experiment. Almost every song is about *small moments*. Many of them are written in character. Many of them are about people I don't know or relationships I didn't have anything to do with. They have the garageband "megaphone" effect on them or "reverb"...they're really silly. I messed around with the name of the project. I found out Ingrid Superstar was someone who already existed. I don't really know what else to say about them.. Ingrid is the same thing as Frankie Cosmos, just an early stage. It's all just me!"

This is pretty much everything she recorded as Ingrid. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Ladies and gentlemen, for your listening pleasure, Ingrid Superstar (aka Frankie Cosmos, the early years).

amnesia the fifth (Pukekos)

Songs I Made. Hi (Pukekos)

songs about HIM (Pukekos)

i'mall fuced up (Pukekos)

Collaborative Farting (Pukekos)

brown cow chockmilk (patterns) (Pukekos)

Sunrise Over Interpositioned Buildings (Pukekos)

suckups vs. lovers (Pukekos)

shit about fuck (Pukekos)

the landlord LOVES restaurants! (Pukekos)

Couch Potato (Pukekos)

Jared Leto Can't Read (Pukekos)

Do you KNow my Friend JOM (Pukekos)

No Can Do (Pukekos)

sunshine over intertwined feelings (Pukekos)

ingrid you've done it again (Pukekos)

He Is Risen: DANK (Pukekos)

and it made me cry for a long time and i dont like crying (Pukekos)

in yr dreams (Pukekos)

sMartyr (Pukekos)

The Artist Formerly Known As Ingrid (Pukekos)

rings left by cups on black tables (Pukekos)

telescoping (Pukekos)

i'm bad news (Pukekos)

skinned elbow = now you're cool (Pukekos)

i've never been in love before baby, pretend i'm slick (Pukekos)

yellow single (Pukekos)

long thin monster single (Pukekos)

Kaleidoscoping (Pukekos)

Monday, November 11, 2013

United Nations

Produced by BJ Rubin
for the Department of Political Affairs

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Pukekos TV

Rodney Dangerfield - Rappin' Rodney
Genesis - Misunderstanding
Animal Collective - Today's Supernatural
Cat Power - Nude As The News
Karp - Bacon Industry
Talking Heads - Don't Worry About The Government
Beastie Boys - Holy Snappers

Produced by BJ Rubin

Thanks to Lauren Martin, Rodney Dangerfield, Jiji, Justin Gressley, Pushkar Ojha, Domino Records, Emma Plaga & Rane Moore

Original Airdate - 11/7/13 on BPN2 in Brooklyn

©2013 Dick Move Productions

Frankie Cosmos

end of the world

released 14 November 2012
ft. the emptiness

woodchip arthur and his sweaty palms (Pukekos)
1. i am dead
2. moon curdles
3. bier
4. fireman demo
5. fireman
6. bright orange
7. blankets glow in the dark
8. da doggie dat i love
9. you look like an artist
10. old flames

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Pukekos TV

Juan Wauters - Sanity
Devo - Through Being Cool
Bob Dylan- Love Minus Zero/No Limit
Gary Numan - Cars
The Breeders - Cannonball
Electric Light Orchestra - 10538 Overture
Pixeltan - Violent World
The Screamers - Vertigo

Produced by BJ Rubin

Thanks to Lauren Martin, Steve "The Mayor" Baldwin, Matthew Volz, Amit Singhal, Olla Hassan, Kip Uhlhorn, Kelly Uhlhorn, Stagecoach Inn

RIP Lou Reed & Medusa

Original Airdate - 10/31/13 on MNN2 in Manhattan

©2013 Dick Move Productions

Frankie Cosmos

thank you ronnie and everyone i love


im sorry im hi lets go (Pukekos)
1. on the lips
2. you are
3. be normal frankie
4. hiway
5. ronnie ronaldo!
6. boogie
7. NYC is cold
8. order anyway

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Pukekos TV

Zola Jesus - Fall Back
The Sugarcubes- Birthday
Klaus Nomi - Nomi Song
Har Mar Superstar - Lady You Shot Me
Young Marble Giants - Final Day
The Who - A Quick One, While He’s Away
Extreme Animals - Furs Gone Wild

Produced by BJ Rubin

Thanks to Lauren Martin, Nika Rosa Danilova, Caleb Braaten, Sacred Bones, Lysee Webb, Cult Records, Matt Owens, Eliza Doyle, Ben McOsker, Cynthia Bernardo

Original Airdate - 10/17/13 on MNN2 in Manhattan

©2013 Dick Move Productions

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Pukekos TV

U.S. Girls - 28 Days
Blues Control - Love's A Rondo
Gowns - Butterfly Knife (Live on This Is Now)
Colleen Green - Taxi Driver
Violent Femmes - Gone Daddy Gone
Blondes - Elise

Produced by BJ Rubin

Thanks to Lauren Martin, Meg Remy, Emily Pelstring, U.S. Girls, Russ Waterhouse, Lea Cho, Tarik Davidson, William Strobeck, Blues Control, Ari Fishman, Don Fierro, Erika Anderson, Ezra Buchla, Corey Fogel, Jacob Felix Heule, Gowns, Colleen Green, Jason Baxter, Ruben Mendez, Hardly Art, Connie Bastow, Brian Bastow, Matt Werth, RVNG Intl.

Original Airdate - 10/3/13 on MNN2 in Manhattan & BPN2 in Brooklyn

©2013 Dick Move Productions

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Frankie Cosmos

DADDY COOL is dedicated to Peter Schneider aka Daddy Cool. The songs were written over a period of months, some while in Germany with him and his family. The weaving, made by Frankie Cosmos herself, is currently lost somewhere between New York and Berlin, in the postal ether. Either way, the songs are all here.. DADDY COOL FOREVER!!!!!

-- Franklin Cosmos, Esq.

DADDY COOL (Pukekos)
1. korean food
2. knives in my throat
3. cow meeting/holy moment
4. bow in nude
5. drinks
6. shirt lake
7. bus bus train train
8. french toast
9. what should be
10. skinny

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Pukekos TV

The White Stripes - Fell In Love With A Girl
Yes - Yours Is No Disgrace
Ducktails - Letter Of Intent
Duran Duran - Girls On Film
The Nairobi Trio - Solfeggio

Produced by BJ Rubin

Thanks to Lauren Martin, Dr. Lance Brown, Gracie Cudney, Matt Mondanile, Jessa Farkas, John Chavez, Justin Gressley, Pushkar Ojha & Domino Records

Original Airdate - 9/19/13 on MNN2 in Manhattan

©2013 Dick Move Productions

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Frankie Cosmos

a letter from the producer:
heres some very clear recordings
nothin' matters
"this is only my early work anyway"

-franklin cosmos

released 15 June 2012
thanks to mom eli and vitti

Separation Anxiety (Pukekos)
1. the blues come back
2. pasture
3. my dan
4. song I wrote on the train back from your house
5. place is bad
6. dont think twice it's all right by bubdylon
7. carrotstix
8. lady forest
9. time sux
10. separation anxiety
11. field day

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Frankie Cosmos

"i hate to say it but.... told you so. here are some songs about how I'm always right. Not really though. Thanks to Ronnie for the harmonies (and sounds of him painting) on 'cant hear the words'! The last song is a cover from Krill's first album."

--Frankie Cosmos, 30 July 2013

told you so (Pukekos)
1. havin a house
2. iconic
3. cant hear the words
4. little debbies cosmos brownies
5. mean song/its the same with every boy
6. my i love you
7. computer elegy
8. solitaire

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Frankie Cosmos

a lot of songs are about nothing

Ladies and gentlemen, for your listening pleasure, Frankie Cosmos.

why am i underwater? (Pukekos)
1. aren't you someone's something? 02:04
2. i am your secret 02:18
3. apple juice carton 01:26
4. zentropy 01:11
5. worst girl 01:48
6. lost 03:44
7. LOUD HOUSE 01:08
8. frankie cosmos is not lucrative 02:52

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Pukekos TV

The Undertones - Teenage Kicks
Vampire Weekend - Diane Young
Grimes - Oblivion
Dirty Projectors - I Will Truck
Nick Lowe - Cruel To Be Kind
Pterodactyl - Polio
Peals - Belle Air

Produced by BJ Rubin

Thanks to Lauren Martin, Gabe Spierer, XL Recordings, 4AD Records, Beggars Group, Maria Minerva, Ari Fishman, Joe Kremer, Matt Marlin, Zach Lehrhoff, Jamie Proctor, Thrill Jockey & Dr. Eric Josephson

Original Airdate - 6/13/13 on MNN2 in Manhattan

©2013 Dick Move Productions

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Pukekos TV

Cat Power - Manhattan
Wolf Eyes - Choking Flys
Marnie Stern - Precious Metal
Arrington de Dionyso's Malaikat dan Singa - I Create In The Broken System
Purity Ring - Fineshrine
Ivor Cutler - A Gym Mistress
Crom Tech - 11 Men For Lord Dorpal
Retconned - Pyramid

Produced by BJ Rubin

Thanks to David Ahuja, Matt Anderson, Beggars Group, Harry Daniell, Arrington de Dionyso, De Stijl Records, John Farinelli, Ari Fishman, 4AD Records, Gravity Records, Greg Hunt, Owen Kline, Zach Lehrhoff, Matt Marlin, Dave Martin, Lauren Martin, Matador Records, Jamie Proctor, Peter Schneider, Clint Simonson, Gabe Spierer, Marnie Stern, Thrill Jockey, Bekah Zietz & Alivia Zivich

Original Airdate - 5/30/13 on MNN2 in Manhattan

©2013 Dick Move Productions

Frankie Cosmos

one day frankie cosmos got sick. with stuffed up ears she made these recordings.

released 09 April 2012

sickerwinter (Pukekos)
1. dirtdrunk
2. bango
3. i look
4. coppers
5. compliments
6. smoke da chronic
7. get
8. genius
9. zen
10. apitherapy
11. around and around
12. morally good
13. i see

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Pukekos TV

Eleanor Friedberger - Stare At The Sun
Kurt Vile - Never Run Away
Beaches - Send Them Away
Surf City - Dickshakers Union
Lovers and Reflections - Swords
Mudhoney - I Like It Small
Boomgates - Whispering or Singing
Lemonheads - Being Around

Produced by BJ Rubin

Thanks to Arch Hill Recordings, Guy Blackman, Chapter Music, Alice Cohen, Harry Daniell, Tania Dean, Ben Howe, Lindsey Kronmiller, Dave Martin, Lauren Martin, Matador Records, Merge Records, Ben Montero, Morr Music, Christina Rentz, John Safran, Gabe Spierer, Sub Pop Records, Daniela Velickovic, Bekah Zietz & Florian Zimmer

Original Airdate - 5/16/13 on MNN2 in Manhattan

©2013 Dick Move Productions

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Monday, May 6, 2013

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Pukekos TV

Dan Friel - Thumper
Dirty Ghosts - Ropes That Way
Die! Die! Die! - Promises, Promises
U.S. Girls - If These Walls Could Talk
Das Racist - Who's That? Brooown!
Zola Jesus - Clay Bodies
Woods - To Clean
Marnie Stern - Ruler

Produced by BJ Rubin
Graphics by Lauren Martin

Thanks to Allyson Baker, Jacqueline Castel, Nick Chatfield-Taylor, Guy de Burgh, Martha de Burgh, Thomas De Napoli, Die! Die! Die!, Jeremy Earl, Ari Fishman, Dan Friel, Michael La Blurt, Molly Landergan, Last Gang Records, Matt Marlin, Jiji Martin-Rubin, Erin McDermott, Emma Plaga, Jamie Proctor, Meghan Remy, Thrill Jockey & Woodsist Records

Original Airdate - 5/2/13 on BCAT2 in Brooklyn and MNN2 in Manhattan

©2013 Dick Move Productions

Monday, April 29, 2013

Frankie Cosmos & The Emptiness

Love Rind by Frankie Cosmos and the Emptiness

When the fruit is all gone, we eat the love rind. The love rind is when you hate being in love but you are. It's not necessarily a bad thing. Love Rind is the latest album by Frankie Cosmos. It also features Ronnie Mystery (of The Emptiness).

Love Rind (Pukekos)
1. im crying
2. everything with you (blues)
3. set your parents house on fire
4. mr. monkey's hypnosis hour
5. love rind
6. gross one
7. birthday song
8. dont feel bad 2
9. shut up....seeds
10. little blusing girl 2009 in 2013
11. firestation/pastfuture
12. planet earf (demo)
13. youwait

The Gorburger Show: King Tuff

Monday, April 22, 2013

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Monday, April 15, 2013

Monday, April 8, 2013

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Pukekos TV

Real Estate - Easy
Peaking Lights - Beautiful Son
Home Blitz - Frozen Track
MNDR - #1 In Heaven
Black Pus - 1000 Years
Maria Minerva - Black Magick
Metz - Wet Blanket

Produced by BJ Rubin
Graphics by Lauren Martin

Thanks to David Earl Buddin, Alice Cohen, Dan Friel, Taryn Haight, Rob Hatch-Miller, Geremy Jasper, Maria Juur, Jason Kilgore, Mexican Summer, Lewis Meyer, Dominika Michalowska, Beth Narducci, Nebadon, Sean O'Keefe, Emma Plaga, Jamie Proctor, Kevin Shea, Mackswell Sherman, Sub Pop, Thrill Jockey, Ultra Music, Matt Werth & Bekah Zietz

Original Airdate - 4/4/13 on BCAT2 in Brooklyn and MNN2 in Manhattan

©2013 Dick Move Productions

Monday, April 1, 2013

Monday, March 25, 2013

Friday, March 22, 2013

Frankie Cosmos

(We thought she was Dead, too)






death songs from the grave

how do you feel

i stole some ideas from Vishal Narang

songs from late october 2011 - early january 2012


Ladies and gentlemen, for your listening pleasure, Frankie Cosmos.

Kaleidoscoping (Pukekos)
1. words by vishal
2. tomato seeds/ your sleeping figure
3. pumpkin duncan funky
4. i admit girl
5. bigheads drawing on my wall
6. fumbling
7. robbers
8. down by the water parade
9. old birthday
10. bumper crass
11. im underwater your certain slaughter
12. porceline
13. chasms
14. so messed up
15. dough
16. milk

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The BJ Rubin Show

The BJ Rubin Show
Episode #108.5
"8 ½"
Original Airdate - 3/21/2013 on MNN2 in Manhattan

Starring Dinky, Lil Honker, David Earl Buddin, Cotton Candy, Home Blitz, Ezekiel Healy, Charlie Judkins, Owen Kline, BJ Rubin, Apollo Liftoff, Kevin Shea, Weasel Walter, Sam Kulik, Nondor Nevai, Mark Robinson, American Liberty League, Ron Stabinsky, Tim Dahl, Tom Blancarte & Benji Cossa

Shot on location at MNN (Manhattan Neighborhood Network) Studios in New York, NY 10019

©2013 Dick Move Productions

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Friday, March 15, 2013

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Monday, March 11, 2013

Friday, March 8, 2013

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Pukekos TV

Pukekos TV #9 features the following music videos:

Black Dice - Pigs
DIIV - How Long Have You Known
Tame Impala - Feels Like We Only Go Backwards
Titus Andronicus - A More Perfect Union
Future Shuttle - Feathermaster
Anamanaguchi - Meow
Wavves - Sail To The Sun

Produced by BJ Rubin
Graphics by Lauren Martin

Thanks to Peter Berkman, Chris Black, Captured Tracks, Claire Carré, Bjorn Copeland, Eric Copeland, Death By Audio, Rian Fossett, Glen Goetze, Kyle McKeveny, MISTERDOCTOR, Modular People, Camilla Padgitt-Coles, Joe Pelling, Meghan Remy, Mike Sniper, Aaron Warren & Edan Wilber

Original Airdate - 3/7/13 on BCAT2 in Brooklyn and MNN2 in Manhattan

©2013 Dick Move Productions

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


Tuesday, March 5, 2013


Monday, March 4, 2013


Sunday, March 3, 2013


Saturday, March 2, 2013


Friday, March 1, 2013


Thursday, February 28, 2013

Portsmouth Sinfonia

The Portsmouth Sinfonia usually claims a membership of about fifty -- the number fluctuates. Within the orchestra is represented the full range of musical competence -- some members playing difficult instruments for the first time, others, on the other hand, of concert standard. This tends to generate an extraordinary and unique musical situation where the inevitable errors must be considered as a crucial, if inadvertent, element of the music.

It is important to stress the main characteristic of the orchestra: that all members of the Sinfonia share the desire to play the pieces as accurately as possible. One supposes that the possibility of professional accuracy will forever elude us since there is a constant influx of new members and a continual desire to attempt more ambitious pieces from the realms of the popular classics.

My own involvment in the Sinfonia is two levels -- I am a non-musician in the sense of never having "studied music," yet at the same time, I notice that many of the more significant contributions to rock music, and to a lesser extent, avant-garde music have been made by enthusiastic amateurs and dabblers. Their strength is that they are able to approach the task of music without a too firm concept of what is and what is not musically possible. Coupled with this, and consequent to it, is a current fascination with the role of "the accident" in structured activities.

Legend has it that Beethoven, among other composers, enjoyed performances of his music by enthusiastic music makers who may well have possessed a similar range of abilities to those of the members of the Sinfonia.

Whether he would have enjoyed our rendering of his Fifth Symphony is, of course, something we will never know.

--Brian Eno, Sept. 1973.
   Sound Producer

Ladies and gentlemen, for your listening pleasure, Portsmouth Sinfonia.

Portsmouth Sinfonia Plays The Popular Classics (Columbia)

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


X, the punk band formed in 1977 by Exene Cervenka, Billy Zoom, John Doe, and D.J. Bonebrake, came along just in time for those of us coming of age in the mid-'70s who were discovering that the conventional path through life wasn't an option. In Los Angeles at that point in time our numbers proved to be legion, and we found each other at L.A.'s seminal punk petri dish, The Masque. We weren't stupid, but we were unemployable; we were lonely, but we insisted on being left alone; we were broke, but had better things to do than chase money. We had what's commonly referred to as a bad attitude; we were hungry to taste it all, and we were willing to pay the price -- be it our health, our sanity, and in some cases, our lives. X was the house band for L.A.'s punk party that ran from 1977 through 1981, and they showed us a brighter truth, a braver way to live, the sacred beauty of the breakdown.

"The audience at the Masque was just like us, and there was no division between the bands who played there and the people who went to see them," recalls bassist, vocalist, and writer John Doe. "Many bands were writing songs about people who were part of the scene, and in a way the music was tailor-made for the people who were listening to it."

The community that coalesced at the Masque had begun to splinter by 1981 when X's second album, Wild Gift, was released, and X was beginning to change too. Their debut album, Los Angeles, had been a critical smash, John and Exene had gotten married, and their musical palette was broadening. One crucial thing remained unchanged, however; the lifestyle, and the friends and relations that had always been central to their songs, continued to rage on in high gear.

"Most of the newer songs on Wild Gift were about the life Exene and I were living as husband and wife in a small house off of Santa Monica Boulevard in the heart of the gay cruising district," recalls John Doe. "It was a pretty raunchy neighborhood, and were still scraping to get by, but we were so in love that we didn't care. There was a connection between us that was undeniable, and the love between us increased our creativity."

Adds Exene: "A lot of the songs on Wild Gift are obviously about relationship issues John and I were dealing with, but I don't remember there being any tension about those kinds of things. We married when we were in our early twenties, so we were still really young, and of course we felt attracted to other people. So, some of the songs carried feelings both of us were having but wouldn't act on because we were married."

The opening track, "The Once Over Twice," features lyrics by Exene, whose defiantly unconventional style was one of the band's greatest strengths. "Those are my lyrics, and basically it's a song about men," she explains. "Men didn't like me very much -- they were scared of me, as you can imagine, because men don't like powerful women. They like submissive, quiet, stupid women."

Next up is "We're Desperate," an early tune written in 1977 that didn't make it onto X's first album. "I wanted it to have a tempo that combined the Ramones and Captain Beefheart," says D.J. Bonebrake of the song's herky-jerky rhythm, which neatly showcases how tight the band was. John says the songs is about "poverty, crummy apartments, and burning the landlord," and the lyrics evoke that beautifully: "a motorola kitchen/Naugahyde & a tie-dye T-shirt/last night everything broke."

"Adult Books" was one of the first songs John and Exene wrote together, and one of their earliest attempts to trade in the jack-hammer bar chords of punk for something more complex. The rhythm of this ballad for the singles scene is sort of a reggae cha-cha, and John sings it soft and sweet, like a sadder but wiser lounge singer.

"Universal Corner" is about longing and taking the bus," says John. "I had a car when I wrote that song, but I took the bus intentionally to write it, although the bus doesn't show up in the song. It's about being away from home."

"I'm Coming Over" is the first song Exene ever wrote. "It's about feeling lonely, unloved, and unwanted -- even though I wasn't," she recalls. You can see her beginning to grasp the fundamentals of songwriting in this simple song, which lacks a bridge and is basically a rudimentary verse and chorus repeated a few times.

"It's Who You Know" is also an early song from 1977, and it's about wanting to be somebody," John continues. "I came up with the lyrics, which include a line inspired by Ben E. King's 'Spanish Harlem.'" This song features one of John's all-time great vocals -- check out how he handles the last repetition of the chorus.

"In This House That I Call Home" could be described as the theme song for the house off of Santa Monica Boulevard that John and Exene lived in during the late '70s and early '80s. "A hundred lives shoved inside/friends arrive to dump their mess," says the song of this crowded house, where a friend was always crashing on the couch, somebody always had a hangover, and nobody had any money. "This is my favorite song on the album," says Exene. "It's brilliant in that it's a perfect marriage of humor and the hard-core reality of life in that house."

Of "Some Other Time," Exene says, "That song was a real breakthrough for me in terms of singing. I've always liked the way I sing -- despite the fact that people were always telling me my harmonies were flat -- but with that song I began to feel more control as a singer." Exene is rumored to have written "Some Other Time" for Phil Alvin, the lead singer of the L.A. band The Blasters.

John Doe is said to have written the next song, "White Girl," for Lorna Doom of the Germs. "That's a song about temptation," says John of "White Girl," which is one of the best-loved songs of the X canon.

So, you were open with each other about crushes? "We kinda were," says Exene. "Not really," counters John. "If I wrote a song like 'White Girl,' there was an unspoken pact that this may happen, but I love you more. I think for both of us our primary commitment was to the music. Sometimes we wrote songs that made it sound as if we were having affiars, but that didn't mean we were."

Next is "Beyond And Back," a howling ode to lovers' quarrels built on a basic rockabilly riff and sung by Exene. "No more orange night gowns," she moans, as if that were the final kiss-off. Check out D.J.'s steady, indomitable drum part on this one; he's laying down that same locomotive rhythm you find in the great railroad songs, "Train Kept A Rollin'" and "Mystery Train."

"'Back 2 The Base' was inspired by the Ramones," says John, "and the lyrics are entirely based on things I heard a guy on a bus screaming as he was cracking up. He was holding a picture of Stevie Wonder above his head, as if to show everyone else on the bus how wrong rock 'n' roll had become, and he was screaming, 'Gotta get me back to the base, Elvis sucked on doggy dicks." They stopped the bus because the guy wouldn't get off, and the last thing he said as he was being loaded into the police car was 'I'm the king of rock 'n' roll. If you don't like it, you can lump it." I didn't write the song until a few weeks later when I was riding the bus to work at the Beverly Wilshire and was having comparably murderous thoughts."

"When Our Love Passed Out On The Couch" is an early song that remains a favorite of Exene's. "I just love that idea of love passing out on the couch, which is a line I wrote," she says of the song, which has an inexplicable quality of danger and intrigue. "The next song, 'Year 1," is a song I wrote because I was frustrated. I wanted a revolution and really expected one to happen, then I realized time was passing and people were losing it. There wasn't gonna be the revolution I'd been dreaming of."

"For me, 'Year 1' is about dropping all preconceptions about what should or shouldn't be and starting over, and I think that's what punk rock was trying to do," John adds. "The most important thing about it was that it encouraged people to take their destiny into their own hands."

This wonderful record is a testament to the great things that can be achieved when people do that. The four members of X started absolutely from scratch. They had no money, no connections, no encouragement from anybody, and created something beautiful out of nothing, simply because they had to. This is the wild gift they made.

-- Kristine McKenna

Ladies and gentlemen, for your listening pleasure, X.

Wild Gift (Slash)