Dusty's Cultural Curiosities

R.I.P., Mr. Rik Mayall

One of the funniest U.K. actor/comedians ever has passed on at the age of 56. I'll always cherish his madcap punk comic antics on the early '80s cult classic television show The Young Ones and his peerless performances on Blackadder, The New Statesman, Bottom, et al. For you youngsters out there not familiar with his work, check out these clips from The Young Ones above. Rave on, Mr. Rik Mayall!

Band of the Day: PHOX

This low-key, but energetic Madison, WI-based sextet are fronted by the extremely charismatic lead singer Monica Martin. The band's Zach Johnston (guitar / banjo) directed the video for "Slow Motion" from their soon-to-be-released self-titled debut. I caught them live last month in Williamsburg opening for Laura Mvula. Perfect match. They both share a quirky but beguiling otherworldly musical charm albeit PHOX leans more towards world beat. Currently own tour in support of their June 23rd effort.

The Re-Release of Dusty Wright's Debut!

Pushing Against the Boundaries

Outsider Art Fair 2014, NYC

Art brut, Naïve art, Outsider art -- the times have changed. Artists no longer have to study and refine their craft in schools of higher learning. They can trust their own instincts, use their own mediums, often mixed and often any found canvas -- street buildings, pieces of wood, any type of paper or board -- to share their muse.  Read more »

It Was 50 Years Ago Today...

...and I was in first grade. Ed Sullivan was presenting "these youngsters from Liverpool who call themselves The Beatles" on his American variety television program. My mother, father, younger brother David, and I were huddled around our RCA black and white TV set, just as 73 million other Americans were around theirs! My dad was annoyed that this much attention and hype was being flung at "a bunch kids that needed haircuts!" I didn't care, it was The Beatles! They'd taken the radio by storm with "She Loves You" and now it was time to see them live on TV. And it was electrifying! The audience was going crazy -- girls and boys screaming. They played "All My Loving" and "Till There Was You" and "She Loves You" and "I Saw Her Standing There" and it would usher in a change in the pop music landscape that still reverberates today.  Read more »

Video of the Week: Damon Albarn - "Everyday Robots"

Former Blur & Gorillaz frontman Damon Albarn goes all squiggly on this new single from his new solo album debut Everyday Robots.

Song of the Month: Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. - "War Zone"

Get some good foot moves on! Tasty sing-and-dance number from Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Jr.'s new album The Speed of Things. Out now on Mute Records and on tour.

Single of the Week: Minor Alps - "Buried Plans"

Matthew Caws of Nada Surf and Juliana Hatfield have teamed up to form a groovy alt rock band Minor Alps. "Buried Plans" (free download link) is from their forthcoming debut album Get There which will be released October 29, 2013 on Barsuk Records.

All Mod Cons!

Many of us of a certain age were informed by rock music. It permeated and dominated our free time; time away from school studies, our parents, our siblings, the man! And we were heavily rewarded. From the utopian music of the late '60s/early '70s to punk and new wave in the late '70s/early '80s, we were privileged to ingest some of finest music ever created in the vortex known as rock 'n' roll. Author Tony Fletcher's excellent new memoir draws from that well in this charming page-turner about his experience in London from 1972 through 1980. So charming is his narrative that I forgot I was reading about his life during his most formative teenage years. It reads like a work of fiction by Nick Hornby. And Mr. Fletcher's matter-of-fact style draws you in and never lets up until you reach the final chapter -- No. 1. (His chapter headings are actual song titles from the era and count backwards from 50 like a record chart!) Unbelievably Fletcher not only sees The Who in concert as a pre-pubescent teenager, he chats up Keith Moon at a Who retrospective while pitching him his gloriously intentioned fanzine Jamming and then, after Keith invites him to interview him, shows up at his flat in Mayfair where he is stood up by one of his earliest rock heroes. Read more »

Song of the Week: Jay Stolar - "Leading Me Down"

Damn, the future of music is right here just waiting for your consumption. Jay Stolar is the real deal -- a soulful, charismatic pop-rock juggernaut; equal parts old school meets the new sound. His debut album More Than We Think is out today; worth downloading. So far this is my album of the year.

When I Paint My Masterpiece...

I don't know what the hell happened...I've been moaning about quality albums, you know, with great songs top to bottom, and then bam! I get 28-year old singer/songwriter Willy Mason's excellent new release Carry On, Bob Dylan's Another Self Portrait - The Bootleg Series Vol. 10, and newcomer pop-rock crooner Jay Stolar's More Than We Think (image above). Maybe it's my state of mind, maybe it's the state of the world, maybe it's the state of universe. Regardless, this simple, evocative music cuts through all the bullshit that seems destined to drag us down into the abyss of life's giant cesspool. Read more »

Song of the Week: Poor Remy - "Ghost"

Check out Poor Remy's brand new video for "Ghost," an infectious piece of folk-rock that pulls you in with just acoustic guitar and three-part harmony vocals courtesy of former Ohioans-now-New-Yorkers Adrian, Andrew, and Kenneth, that builds into a majestic sing-along. "Ghost" is the second single off their EP, Bitters. For fans of Mumford, Fun., Guster, et al.

Rise Up

911[This article, and its accompanying comments by Culture Catch writers and staff of the time, was originally published on 9/11/06.] One of my out-of-town friends recently asked me if I remember what I did five years ago to soothe my anxiety/disbelief/horror on that fateful morning. In the past, when faced with some sort of seemingly difficult emotional situation I would reach for a favorite piece of music or go see a silly movie to lift my spirits. I might have reached for John Hiatt's Bring the Family and let his cathartic roots-rock ruminations about life and family lift my spirit. Or slip on The Monkees' Greatest Hits and let the infectious sugar-coated pop-rock transport me to my childhood and right back to the knowing comfort of my mother's arms. Read more »

Song of the Week: Pearl Jam - "Mind Your Manners"

Seems like only yesterday I featured Pearl Jam on the cover of Creem magazine in the early '90s. Yet Eddie Vedder and his bandmates continue to inspire and show no pretentious rock silliness in their music or approach to their business. As this new song proves, they still bring the noise, heat, and passion; from their forthcoming album Lightning Bolt. And don't miss their upcoming fall tour.

Video of the Week: !!! - "Californiyeah"

Pining for Cali, filmed (and busted) in a hotel elevator in Japan, universal groove courtesy of the punk-dance outfit !!!'s (chk chk chk) latest longplayer (their fifth) entitled THR!!!ER. Get into the groove...

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