Pere Ubu – David Thomas: The Fixer

When PERE UBU emerged from the wreckage of Rocket From The Tombs to infect the industrial heartlands of mid-70s Ohio with their throbbing, squealing sonic architecture, few would have seriously considered their candidature for rock longevity a viable prospect. But David Thomas had other plans. He always does. “When we started, nobody liked us in Cleveland. We accepted that this was the natural order of things – that nobody would ever like us, much less HEAR us. So when that becomes your world-view then everything is very easy.” An A&R man’s worst nightmare (they stubbornly refused to be pigeonholed), the band have sculpted their own unique trajectory with singularly relentless conviction over these past 40 years. JOHNNIE JOHNSTONE learns about their highly awaited tour


Thomas, along with the latest incarnation of Pere Ubu (he is the only remaining original member), is making the final preparations for The North American Coed Jail! Tour, where the current line up – one of the band’s strongest ever – will perform classic material from their “historical era” (1975-82). While that prospect may be a mouthwatering one to long term fans, it is not something you might expect from him. Thomas has taken great care to ensure Pere Ubu remains a constantly evolving entity, always moving forward, so for him this seems an uncharacteristically retrospective move. But then, possibly the only predictable thing about David Thomas is his unpredictability. He thinks about music in pretty much the same way as he does life and art. The great French film-maker Jean Renoir once explained the idiosyncrasies of human behaviour by noting that “in life, everyone has his reasons”. Thomas concurs: “I am not a playful guy when it comes to work – there’s always a reason. Orson Welles was asked why he made Anthony Perkins act in a certain way as Josef K. The critic  said ‘Kafka meant the character to be an innocent victim of the machinery.’ Welles responded, ‘No, he’s guilty – guilty as hell.’ ” Read more Pere Ubu – David Thomas: The Fixer


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Never Lift A Finger – Adam Green’s modern reinterpretation of No Wave

THOMAS PATTERSON talks with ADAM GREEN about Aladdin and its inspirations

Perhaps more than any other city, New York is renowned for its experimental and underground filmmaking, from the riotous celluloid outpourings of Jack Smith to the avant-garde creations of Shirley Clarke, Jonas Mekas and Stan Brakhage. And more often than not, where far-out filmmakers go, wild and wonderful music can be found – think Andy Warhol and his Velvet Underground, or Harry Smith, famed for his Anthologies Of American Folk Music, who spent years working on his masterwork Mahagonny from his room at The Chelsea Hotel.

The apex of this underground film and music interchange came with the No Wave scene of the late ’70s and early ’80s, when likeminded filmmakers and musicians came together on the lower East Side to spew forth a glorious alternative movement which has rarely been equaled. Celebrated filmmakers like Jim Jarmusch and Susan Seidelman emerged from the slums of NYC into the wider cinematic world, whilst notorious and outré shock merchants Nick Zedd, Richard Kern and Lydia Lunch – inspired by the works of Baltimore’s John Waters – spearheaded the Cinema of Transgression, No Wave’s snotty cousin. The soundtrack, meanwhile, was provided by the denizens of CBGBs and The Mudd Club, from Debbie Harry to James Chance and The Contortions to a fledgling Sonic Youth and beyond. Alas, rising rents and gentrification, coupled with mainstream success, sounded the death knell for the No Wave movement, and its anarchic spirit seemed forever lost.

Thankfully Adam Green, acclaimed singer-songwriter and one time member of anti-folk act The Moldy Peaches, is here to pick up the reins with his wild and wonderful new film Aladdin. A very lose reimagining of the panto tale, Aladdin is a colourful labour of love, self-financed for $250,000 in a Brooklyn warehouse, set in a papier mâché world with papier mâché props, inspired by the filmmakers like Robert Downey Sr, and Alejandro Jodorowsky. As Green says, “I guess Holy Mountain was one of my biggest influences. Jodorowsky, he’s probably my biggest inspiration of all.”

Aladdin also features a semi-all star cast that includes Natasha Lyonne, Penn Badgley, Devendra Banhart and Mr. Home Alone himself, Macaulay Culkin – according to Green, the man who acted as a satellite for other talent to jump in and help Green realise his unique vision. Read more Never Lift A Finger – Adam Green’s modern reinterpretation of No Wave


LightDreams – 1981 Canadian Press Oddness

Islands In Space, the 1981 Canadian private press LP from LightDreams has just been reissued for the first time. Reviewed in the forthcoming Shindig! Issue #56 and achieving an elusive 5 star rating, the album is a hugely impressive sonic treat, all the more astonishing as it was recorded on such primitive equipment. LightDreams virtuoso, PAUL MARCANO, spoke to AUSTIN MATTHEWS about the album


Shindig!: Was there a sense of trying to “paint a picture” with Islands In Space?

Paul Marcano: I come from a long genetic line of visual artists, but perhaps psychedelics helped in the cross-talk of “synaesthesia”, where my music and lyrics do tend to provoke visual elements. This is most evident in the work I’ve recently completed on a virtual reality visualisation of the album for the Oculus Rift (a VR headset). Read more LightDreams – 1981 Canadian Press Oddness


Pure’s Evoke F3 DAB – the Shindig! Readers Survey prize.

Win one of these beauties in the forthcoming Shindig! Readers Survey 2016

Evoke F3 with Bluetooth
Evoke F3 with Bluetooth

Not only does DAB sound great (with 10 presets) on this small box, but podcasts and internet radio are simple to access once logged into your home network too. I don’t have Spotify Premium, so have haven’t tested that, but I can say that streaming music from iTunes via Bluetooth is easy and gives great results. Although only mono the drivers in the speaker give more than enough of a punch in the sound department. It’s powerful, punchy, loud and certainly good enough for listening whilst cooking or washing-up; more than enough, in fact. Although not possessing sound quite as decent as Bose’s Soundlink Mini – which, of course, is only a bluetooth speaker –  Pure give the buyer more than enough for the cost of this great little multi-tasker.

Internet radio is certainly the way things are heading, and it’s very easy to use. The Evoke F3 has access to thousands of internet only stations and the BBC podcasts. Having another bluetooth speaker is also another major plus. If you have a Bose Soundlink in the bedroom and want to continue playing music from your iPhone in the kitchen, this little box does the job admirably.

To win one of these all you have to do will be to provide your answers to the Shindig! Readers’ Survey which will be sent out to those on our newsletter and accessible here on Monday May 16th via our Reader Survey tab.

If you aren’t subscribed to our newsletter, it’s certainly worth doing now. Not only will you receive the monthly newsletter, you’ll also get the survey directly into your mailbox. Sign up here.