Not traversing any uncharted territory here, just spinning some warm Giorgio Moroder vibes to fend off the impending winter.
In 2015, Cat People probably plays like a b-movie to some, but when compared to a true changeling b-movie, like 1981’s The Howling, Cat People is a cut above. A psycho sexual horror flick with some decent acting, and a transformation scene that traumatized my young mind.
The oft celebrated wizardry of Giorgio Moroder expertly heightens the taboo nature of the feline/ incest storyline between Nastassja Kinksi and Malcolm McDowell. I just typed that.
Lately I’ve been all in on “Leopard Tree Dream,” which is one of the more impactful scenes from the movie, where Kinksi and McDowell meet in a dream and discuss their primal and familial roots. This track is essentially a fluid reprise on the main theme, seeing Moroder hop on his flying carpet and build upon his magical synthscape.
It’s somewhat blasphemous to have a post about this soundtrack and not include the David Bowie sung title track, “Cat People (Putting Out The Fire,) but that song has transcended this soundtrack with it’s inclusion on Bowie’s Let’s Dance album and the brilliant usage of the song in Inglorious Bastards.
The other day I dissected the cover art of The Velvet Underground’s Squeeze, and it’s similarites to the Loaded cover artwork. Loaded was designed by graphic designer Stanislaw Zagorski, one of the trailblazing Polish graphic designers who founded the Polish School of Posters. Click above to read a great article and showcase on Stanislaw and his contemporary Rosław Szaybo.
“Made in Japan” is the remarkable story of Tomi Fujiyama, the world’s ﬁrst female japanese country music star. From playing the USO circuit throughout Asia to headlining in Las Vegas and recording 7 albums for Columbia records, Tomi’s career culminates in a 1964 performance at The Grand Ole Opry where she followed Johnny Cash and received the only standing ovation of the night. Forty years later, Tomi and her husband set out on a journey through Japan and across the United States to fulﬁll a dream of performing at The Opry one more time. “Made in Japan” is a funny yet poignant multi-cultural journey through music, marriage, and the impact of the corporate world on the dreams of one woman.
Found this used this week for 4 dollars. Couldn’t resist. A young and happy Debbie Winger, a guy I thought was Michael O’Keefe, a murder mystery with a Joe Jackson audio backdrop? Sign me up.
The soundtrack opener, “Cosmopolitan,” picks up where Wings’ “Live And Let Die,” left off, with an intro that nods to the stacatto breakdown (intrigue!) of Macca’s Bond song, before settling into a catchy yet paranoid Jackson tale, complete with a steamy sax solo.
“Memphis,” is something else entirely. It might literally be the organ part from Spencer Davis Group’s “Gimme Some Lovin'” (augmented by one note, to avoid a lawsuit) combined with the bass line of Jackson’s own “Steppin’ Out.”
Jackson flirts with some weirdness here, and that’s not a bad thing.
When Lou Reed met Keanu Reeves – The Quiz: Only one of the following statements about the above clip is true:
It’s a scene from an unseen documentary about the band Dogstar, called Dogstar Rising: A sign from Lou.
It’s a clip from Keanu’s first paying gig as an actor, from an infomercial for Reed’s ill-fated line of fingerless guitar gloves called “Satellite Of Glove.”
In 1988, while in between record deals with RCA and SIRE records, Lou Reed wrote and recorded “Something Happened,” for a teen suicide drama called Permanent Record. He even made a cameo in the movie.
I’m not sure if “Something Happened,” has been released on any compilations, or just lives on this out-of-print soundtrack, but this is a classic Lou jam. A driving four-chord stomp with approximately one couplet. Wash, rinse, and repeat for about four minutes. Let it rip!
New Category Alert: Though it sounds like a Slanted-era Pavement song title, Ex-Holy Grail spotlights a once out-of-print artifact, now rendered pedestrian due to the digital age we live in.
Apparently every written documentation of this record is legally obligated to write the following line verbatim: Squeeze is a Velvet Underground album in name only.
The 1973 follow-up to Loaded featured not a single founding member of the Velvets. Lou Reed left, and Sterling Morrison and Mo Tucker soon followed suit. Multi-instrumentalist Doug Yule had the name all to himself.
In a pre-internet age, word of Squeeze was like a Record Store Clerk Tall Tale: Paul Bunyan, Pecos Bill, and an Out-Of-Print, Lou Reed-less Velvet Underground record that was never even released in America! Can you imagine?
Fast forward to the mid-nineties and the revelation that was Yahoo Search, and intrigue grew as we got to actually lay our eyes on the artwork for Squeeze. It was even reminiscent of illustration for Loaded, same graphic illustration style also featuring a New York City based landmark enveloped by billowing energy.
Today you can listen to Squeeze on Spotify in all it’s mediocre glory, and while calling this your favorite Velvets record would be like calling Bob Weir’s “Good Lovin’” your favorite part of a Grateful Dead set, the album is interesting if only that it retroactively illustrates what Yule brought to it’s predecessor.
Before hearing Squeeze, one just assumed Lou Reed single handedly shape-shifted his usually complicated, personal, and din-soaked tunes into the simple, loose yet confident jams that made up Loaded. The story goes that Mo Tucker was on maternity leave, Sterling Morrison went back to school at City College of New York, and Yule was Reed’s studio partner in crime, but ultimately that story was just liner note fodder. Squeeze highlights what Loaded would have been without Reed’s genius, which is a collection of mid-tempo rockers with no soul, swagger, or lyrical depth.
Conversely, Yule’s work on Squeeze also highlights what Loaded would have been lacking without Yule.
Yule was the anti-John Cale. Where Cale channeled the avant stylings of La Monte Young, and stoked Reed’s dissonant side, Yule brought basic chord progressions and poppy background harmonies to the table. This shouldn’t be underestimated.
Reed’s self-titled solo LP is full of studio musicians that often overplayed their parts and added of texture to tracks that didn’t need any. Yule was the centered middle ground that tempered Reed’s eccentricities, and netted a masterpiece.
You have to hand it to Yule for giving it the old college try on Squeeze, but unfortunately he was on the wrong side of rock history by carrying on with the Velvet Underground moniker.
On October 21, 2015, Michael J. Fox took a well deserved victory lap for his role in the Back To The Future trilogy.
On October 31, 2015, we would like to give his Family Ties co-star Marc Price (aka Skippy) a victory lap of his own, in celebration of his lead role in the movie Trick Or Treat.
A classic hair metal horror tale of a young hessian, playing vinyl backwards, and summoning his rock idol back from the grave.
The soundtrack is scored by UK Hair Metal band Fastway, and they did a pretty great job of dialing up the Aquanet zeitgeist.
The film flopped, but the soundtrack re-established Fastway as a hard-hitting metal band. The soundtrack was a moderate success, and stayed on the Billboard Top 200chart for eleven months. The success of the soundtrack, combined with the very little money the band received, caused in-fighting, and the group disbanded. – Wikipedia
The film also boasts some cameos from Gene Simmons and Ozzy Osbourne, both playing it straight, which was a nice twist. Also of note is the Cinematographer on this film, Robert Elswit, who worked on just about every of Paul Thomas Anderson film.
Down the Rabbit Hole with Del Shannon, the man who would have been the next Wilbury:
Pepsi Generation – Del Shannon and his falsetto commanding you to drink Pepsi Cola via the mid-sixties.
The Traveling Wilburys – “Runaway” – Rumor had it that Jeff Lynne and the rest of his Wilbury brethern had designs to replace the late Roy Orbison with Del Shannon, and that this cover version of “Runaway,” with Jeff Lynne on vocals, was recorded in an effort to recruit Shannon.
Del Shannon Runaway ’67 – From the Andrew Loog Oldham sessions. This orchestral remake of Del’s biggest hit could count future heavyweights Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones as two of the session musicians.
Tom Petty – “Runnin Down A Dream” – It was a beautiful day, the sun beat down / I had the radio on, I was drivin’ / Trees flew by, me and Del were singin’ little Runaway.
Eruption – “Runaway” – This Disco cover of “Runaway,” lives in its own universe, and yet stays surprisingly true to the original.