Dusty's Cultural Curiosities

The Perishables

the_expendablesHave we become so accustomed to violence that our movies have to hyper-inflate it? I'm no prude, but implied violence is always scarier than watching a body explode in front of you after being hit by a bazooka.

Looking for a summer escape on Sunday afternoon, I slipped into a midday screening of Stallone's latest strutting machofest, The Expendables. Boasting a cast of former and current action heroes must have been a dream come true for Lions Gate (distributors). Moviegoers certainly get their money's worth seeing a ridiculously fit Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Jet Li, Terry Crews (Everybody Hates Chris), Stone Cold Steve Austin, even former UFC mixed-martial-artist Randy Couture on the screen (plus limp cameos from Bruce Willis and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger). Throw in a corrupted CIA op played by Eric Roberts and what could be bad? Read more »

The Drums - Free MP3

the-drumsRiding a wave of international acclaim, The Drums are thrilled to share the highly infectious minimalist "Down By The Water" MP3 (click link for free download). A true departure from earlier singles this indie pop band slows down the tempo. Paring the production down to a throbbing bass line, light percussion, and a distant synthesizer, the most pronounced instrument is Jonny Pierce’s voice, which opens softly and elevates to a sharp croon. The band is currently in the midst of a massive worldwide tour and hit North American shores next month. The album is available now digitally in the US and will be in stores September 14th.

Summer Time Rock & Pop Singles Roundup

IntriguerTime to get up on your good foot and download ten new music tracks to stave off your summertime blues. Some very fine music has found its way to my desktop as of late, and I'm quite keen to share some of it with all of you. My latest music mantra has been discovering those songs that have that "karaoke" vibe: You can actually hum, sing, or whistle the melody. You remember melody, right? Forget vibe, as there are plenty of bands and artists with vibe. I want to be swallowed up by melody. If you want my esoteric picks, I'm afraid you'll have to wait for my next list. It's summertime, so I need something to drive my driven wheel. Without further ado... Read more »

Mogwai - Free MP3

Mogwai-liveBurning, Mogwai’s concert film collaboration with Vincent Moon and Nathanael Le Scouarnac, will hit U.S. screens this fall. Following its release on August 24th (packaged with accompanying live album Special Moves), there will be full screenings of the film in multiple locations around the country. More cities will be announced, so please stay tuned for more details!

Download free MP3 "New Paths to Helicon, Pt. 1" from new CD!

Strange, Stormy Weather

weathercraftWeathercraft
by Jim Woodring (Fantagraphics Books)

The graphic novel has just been administered a psychotropic enema. Thankfully for the literary-constipated with ever-narrowing moral codes, balance can be restored by absorbing all that comprises Jim Woodring's creative zeitgeist. In this case, it is his first graphic novel that does just that. In this installment, Whim ("brittle-bodied biscuit-bastard") and Manhog (pig-human hybrid) dance the cosmic pas de deux in the alternate universe, The Unifactor.

For the uninitiated, Mr. Woodring has been creating parallel universes for over twenty years and is the creator of the celebrated wordless FRANK comics, the first being FRANK IN THE RIVER released in 1992. If you've not sipped from his well, well, be prepared for the ultimate thirst quencher. Read more »

Numbers Adding Up

inward_city15-60-75 (The Numbers Band): The Inward City (Hearpen)

To understand 15-60-75 AKA The Numbers Band, one first needs to understand the mathematic fundamentals of their name. For in that simple universal equation lies the core of what they do so well. I-IV-V, 1-4-5 chord progression, the standard 12 bar blues progression. And so is most pop music. Cuz 15 times 4 equals 60 plus another 15, or 15 times 5 equals 75. Dig? But to really dig into their music, one has to see them live. Read more »

The Culture of Me!

lebron-james1Did LeBron James quit on the Cleveland Cavaliers two nights ago against the Celtics of Boston? On July 1st is he leaving the city that has venerated him as their King, their Savior of Cleveland sports, their emperor who would deliver their first championship parade in five decades?

As a St. Vincent-St. Mary high school and University of Akron alum, and a longtime New Yorker (since 1981), I have suffered through all of the Cleveland sports miscues and misadventures since our beloved Cleveland Browns won a championship in 1964 when I was 7 years old! Since then, many Northeast Ohio sports fans feel like Charlie Brown trying to kick that proverbial football through the championship uprights only to have Lucy yank it away at the last second, time and time again. Read more »

Gettin' Some Jazzmatazz On...R.I.P., Guru

guruGuru AKA Keith Elam (17 July 1962 - 19 April 2010)

Back in '86 when I moved back to New York from Los Angeles, I'd seriously considered starting a label with my friend Stu Fine. We had several think-tank meetings trying to figure out what the label was, but more importantly what it wasn't. Both of us were fervently passionate about music. He was gaga over hip-hop, I was certainly a fan as I was managing The Nastee Boyz outta Newark. They were budding young entrepreneurs that were not only creating some of the dopest and craziest tracks of the day but were publishing the very first rap magazine called The Hip Hop Hit List. I wanted the label to include other genres of music; well, actually rock and alt-country, but Stu could see the value of narrowcasting to corner the growing rap and hip-hop market. Stu, being a massive baseball fan, came up with the name Wild Pitch Records. I liked it, didn't love it, as football was my main sport. Read more »

Solex vs. Cristina Martinez + Jon Spencer - Free MP3!

solexPunk rock royalty Jon Spencer and Cristina Martinez and Dutch electronic heroine Elisabeth Esselink, aka Solex, bring you the single "Galaxy Man" taken from the forthcoming album Amsterdam Throwdown, Kingstreet Showdown!. "Galaxy Man" is 2 minutes and 40 seconds of life-affirming therapy! You know you want this punked-up slab of electro fury! Go ahead and download their free track "Galaxy Man" today!

Earth Hour Power!

earth-hourTURN OFF YOUR LIGHTS!!!

Earth Hour!

A truly profound event happens this Saturday: all over the world, people will be turning their lights off for one hour to save energy and "cast a vote" against global warming and climate change. Individuals, entire residential and office buildings, even entire towns and cities are participating. In its first year, 2007, over 2.2 million people participated; in 2008, 50 million. So far this year almost 3,000 towns and municipalities in over 84 countries will be participating, with the numbers growing daily. Global landmarks such as the Empire State Building, Petronas Towers, Great Pyramids of Giza, and Golden Gate Bridge will be dimmed. The goal is for 1 billion people to participate. Read more »

Teenage Fanclub - Free MP3

teenage-fanclub-shadowsAh, finally. One of my favorite Scottish rock bands returns! Teenage Fanclub will release a brand new album on June 8, 2010 and launch a UK tour. Only 5 long years since Man-Made was released to universal acclaim, so it is no overstatement to say the new album is keenly anticipated. While most bands are lucky to have one great songwriter, Teenage Fanclub boasts three, hence Shadows is overflowing with the kind of gorgeous, harmony-driven classics you'd expect to find on a greatest hits album. For those of you who love jangle pop rock, DOWNLOAD "Baby Lee" for FREE now!

Queens of Burlesque!

Immodesty-BlaizeLe Poisson Rouge was ablaze last night, and not just Immodesty (photo left), although she was in full ermine regalia, albeit until she shared her bodacious body with the ravenous crowd.

All hail the Queens of Burlesque. An international cavalcade of women that would melt even the flimsiest veneer of even the most stoic prude. This is not your granddaddy's bump-and-grind of days gone by.

Some of the hottest gals on scene strutted, shook, shimmied, stretched, whipped, and preened to the catcalls, table thumping, and whistles of adoring guys and dolls en masse.

My head is throbbing just thinkin' about it all. I could barely keep off the Mrs. when I finally staggered home and crawled into bed.

But where does one begin?

From the neck down? Read more »

Bat Boy to the Rescue!

bat-boy-comicsFew can predict the success of new adult comic books and graphic novels. There are many of us who relish the fringe area of this literary wonderland. No doubt that numerous titles come and go, yet some remain permanently etched in our psyche, such as Peter Bagge's Hate and Bob Burden's Flaming Carrot. Imagine my joy when I happened upon the new four-part, limited-edition cover series from IDW Publishing featuring everyone's favorite mutant, Bat Boy (half-boy, half-bat found living in a cave). "I've been a big Bat Boy fan since I saw him in the paper about 10 years ago," says IDW publisher and editor-in-chief Chris Ryall. That the Weekly World News supermarket tabloid, one that created absurdly outrageous faux news stories for 30 years, could be turned into a compelling narrative seems like a very risky endeavor in today's volatile print world, but Mr. Ryall has hit it out of the park. Read more »

Haitian Earthquake Relief

haiti-flagThe devastation continues. But there are still simple ways to pitch in. Scott Harrison of Charity Water is asking that all current donations be made straight to two affiliated partner charities. Wyclef Jean suggests texting "Yele" to 501501 to automatically donate $5 to the Yele Haiti Earthquake Fund. It will be charged to your cell phone bill. If you prefer donating your money to someone who is actually in Haiti, send Ms. Alison Thompson -- filmmaker and relief effort worker who helped rebuild an entire village in Sri Lanka, documented in her award-winning documentary The Third Wave -- a PayPal payment through her new website with Sean Penn entitled J/P HRO. And check out my friends at One.org for practical relief efforts. peace, Dusty

Beauty By Unusual Means: Alexander McQueen 1969-2010

Alexander-McQueenSometimes the stability of an individual's world is fatally rooted in the life of another. When that person dies the surviving entity is paralysed, and a state of emptiness consumes them. In the case of the fashion designer Alexander McQueen, his anchor was his mother, Joyce. For all his bravado, swagger and attitude, and he had these aplenty to shower on the unsuspecting, her death heralded his own. Although he seemed to be coming to terms with his loss, McQueen hanged himself in his Mayfair flat on the eve of her funeral, a month shy of his forty first birthday. Read more »

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