So, we’re stealin’ the idea from the Sparks Project and doing one with probably even more records out there — The Residents! And this time we’re changing it up a little bit — we’ve got two hardcore Residents fans in me and Rich, but Aila is, at best, a casual fan, who will be hearing about 99% of these records for the first time. DANGEROUS! So, enjoy, THE RESIDENTS PROJECT!
It’s a story older than Rock ‘n’ Roll itself. A band makes their bones around a charismatic frontman. Maybe he writes the songs. Maybe he just sings them. In either case, he’s the face of the group, the one the people come to see. Then, something happens. Maybe the frontman dies. Maybe there’s an argument over money. Maybe his own inflated ego causes him to start a potentially ill-fated solo career. Whatever happens, the band decides they don’t need their charismatic frontman any longer, and they’ll go on without him. Sometimes, this works. After Buddy Holly died, The Crickets went on with different frontmen for years. Joy Division lost the iconic Ian Curtis, and went on with a name change to become even more popular and successful as New Order. AC/DC had more success with replacement vocalist Brian Johnson than they did with Bon Scott. Yet, for every band that goes on with their new frontman and succeeds, many more fail. These are some of their stories.
[Purchase 25 O’Clock]
[Purchase Psonic Psunspot]
I have to say, of bands that don’t actually exist, the Dukes of Stratosphear are probably my favorite. Particularly since they found a way of actually releasing a couple of records in spite of that handicap. In fact, the new reissues on Ape House represent probably the third or fourth time I’ve bought them — CD, Vinyl and now CD again. The original CD issue — the two-on-one disc Chips from the Chocolate Fireball — was pretty good, though it didn’t have any of the original artwork or anything available, looking basically like a generic best-of release. These discs, however, feature the original art from the vinyl releases of the two records along with remastered audio, bonus tracks and demos and liner notes from, for some reason, those guys in XTC.
Harry Partridge is the writer, artist, animator, composer, voice actor and just about everything else behind Happy Harry Toons. If the “Happy Harry” brand doesn’t quite ring a bell, I’d bet you’d know his work — perhaps The American Akira (Coming 2011), Hal, The Misinterpretive Porn Star, or maybe a little thing called Saturday Morning Watchmen the kids seem to be into. I wanted to talk with him after first being blown away by American Akira and quickly devouring everything else on his YouTube page — and here it is! I ask him about his techniques, styles, influences, and, well, I couldn’t resist asking one question about having Andy Partridge from XTC as a dad.
It’s time for another hypothetical mix CD! Like the most of them, this is another themed compilation — none of these songs were, as far as I could research, originally released in the US. Mostly, they’re from Japan-only and UK-only releases, but there’s a few exceptions. A few of them have been released in the US, but most of them haven’t; regardless, they’re all from cool sources that I’d recommend picking up if you ever come across them.
Alan Moore is a genius. This isn’t something that should be considered news to anyone. It’s practically a given, a truism. He may have had a misfire or two (unfortunately, A Disease of Language left me cold, though it was beautiful to look at with Eddie Campbell‘s art), but even those are at the very least interesting.
The Mirror of Love is not a misfire. It’s also not a standard comic — though it did start life that way. The text first appeared in a 1988 comics anthology to bring attention to Clause 28, a 1986 Local Government Act in England and Wales prohibiting anything from the government to be seen as “promoting” homosexuality as well as labelling gay relationships as “pretend”. In this original incarnation, the text was illustrated by Steve Bissette and Rick Veitch. The new version by Top Shelf omits the drawings for photographs by renowned artist José Villarrubia.