Dusty's Cultural Curiosities

Would You Like to Fly...?

dusty-playa-balloonManifesting the Authentic at Burning Man 2010

Thoughts aloft. I sit here on my flight back to New York and contemplate my first Burn: 50,000 human souls communing on a eight-mile enclosed playa in the middle of the Black Rock Desert about 90 miles northeast of Reno, Nevada. I am certain many before me have waxed poetic about their experiences, probably with even more profound depth and clarity. But looking back, my memory becomes my own mythology.... We were greeted at the entrance by a butt-naked 60-something dude (who reminded me of R. Crumb) and a gorgeous 20-something woman (dressed as a naughty Thunderdome/Mad Max schoolgirl) who commanded us out of our vehicle and ordered us to make "dust" angels on the dusty playa ground, then jump up and bang an enormous cast iron bell with a crowbar while screaming, "I'm no longer a virgin!" at the top of our lungs. Read more »

Seeland - Free MP3

seeland-bandUK trio Seeland -- Timothy Felton, Billy Bainbridge and Neil McAuley -- are sonic pioneers associated with Birmingham's "Retro Futurist Electronic Scene." Formed when Tim and Billy left their respective bands (Broadcast and Plone), they started writing songs together that could express the sounds of their minds. Their second album How to Live (LOAF Recordingsz) is out October 26th. The band is giving away "Local Park" (click link for free download); a gorgeous summer stroll of a tune that is as uplifting as the sun and optimistic as summer itself, the audio equivalent of strawberries and cream.
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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

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 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 »

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