Friday, July 27, 2012

CLOSET ODDITIES: Those Fabulous '70s T-Shirts...

One of the Beast's summertime obsessions is going through our pile of vintage magazines from the 1970s. Imagine taping something off TV on a Jurassic-period VCR circa 1979-1982 and watching it now: The fascinating parts are not the original episode of One of the Boys or The Powers of Matthew Star but the commercials that come in between -- because who cared the first time around? Now, the jingles for Juicy Fruit gum or Vaseline hand lotion seem more resonant than the crap you liked enough to save. Call it "NostADgia."

The same applies to my old OMNI or National Lampoon magazines. We get as much thrill looking over old ads for Tareytown 100s, Earth Shoes, Two Fingers Tequila, the "Who Can Beat Nixon?" board game or lavish ads for forgotten albums by Rare Earth, Triumvirat, Puzzle and Brian Auger's Oblivion Express than Carl Sagan's predictions for Port-Wine-and-Fondue Swinger Parties on Mars or the latest comic masterpiece from Doug Kenney. One of our faves is the t-shirt ads, usually located in the B&W jumble of marginal, pre-Internet cottage industries selling roach clips, psychedelic posters and fake IDs. Here's a sampling of some of the more sophisticated and urbane (i.e., douchy, hostile and often horrifying) offerings from a concern in La Habra, California circa 1982:

My Face Is Leaving at Nine, Be On It
As Long as I Have a Face, You Have a Place To Sit
I'd Walk Over You to See The "The Who"
I'm Not Wearing Any Underwear, Film at 11
Bend Over, I'll Drive
I Rode The Mustache
In Space, Nobody Can Hear You Fart
Hey Little Girl, Want A Piece of Candy?
Hey Little Boy, Want A Piece of Candy?
Save Our Beaches...Harpoon A Fat Chick!
Have A Nice Day, Asshole!
Boy, I'd Sure Like To Touch Those!
I'm So Horny, Even The Crack of Dawn Isn't Safe
I May Not Go Down on History, But I'll Go Down on Your Little Sister
Life Is A Bed of Roses, But Watch Out for the Pricks
The Word of the Day is 'Legs,' So Help Spread the Word
When Everything's Right, Nothing Matters
Kart Racers Do It on All Fours
I Go from Zero to Horny in 2.5 Seconds

Monday, July 23, 2012

Windmill Men

About six hours into the media frenzy that engulfed this weekend, The Beast decided to avoid all press coverage of the (new & improved!) Colorado shootings—or at least as much as we could—right around the time when the following clichés began appearing on TV and the Web: (a) the lament over U.S. gun laws; (b) the breathless cobbling-together of social media (tweets, 911 calls, cellphone videos) to establish a “as-it-happened” timeline; (c) the backlash against the movie itself; followed by (d) the backlash against the backlash; (e) sidebar lists of notable American mass shootings and the resulting balance sheet (“Where does this one sit on the wounded/dead tally?”); (f) the ever-mutating subcategories of concern (“Should parents be allowed to bring an infant to a midnight screening of such a dark and violent blah-blah-blah?”); and, my personal favorite, the Hollywood title ascribed to a real human pickle (“The Multiplex Massacre: The Aftermath: Hour 16: Minute 4”). To its credit, only Salon seemed to take the right tone: yes, it had coverage en total of the Aurora 16 shootings; but scattered subtly around the website rather than taking over every inch: The cover stories this weekend were about Hair Metal and Mitt Romney, a wonderful way of saying: “This in’t the only thing going on the world and at best, it’s not worthy of hijacking every moment.”

One thing the younger do not know—which of course makes them young—is how life repeats itself to such a degree that you can actually predict with respectable accuracy how it’s all going to play out. This is why old people always seem bored or cranky. At a certain age (I’d say 44), you’ve seen every genre of movie and the rest of life is just rescreenings. Of course, in the case of The Dark Knight Rises, movies are the topic du jour: Too violent? Too dark? Too realistic? Not realistic enough? A self-important popcorn movie franchise becomes plumbed for blame or just cool-sounding coincidences: Did you know that the shooter was wearing a gas mask like the villain in the film? or our personal fave, a holdover from 9/11, Many witnesses commented on how once the shooting started, they thought it seemed like it was out of a movie…

But in comparison, the actions of the mysterious (read: scant digital footprint) James Eagan Holmes or any other of the roaming, lone minstrels of sudden mass death we’ve seen lately seem less like modern manifestations/reflections of our movie nightmares and more like the fascination with delusional figures that has been with us since humans began telling stories for profit. I say this because over the weekend, The Beast watched one of the films on our DVR queue, Lost in La Mancha, the 2002 documentary about the aborted efforts of director Terry Gilliam (Brazil, 12 Monkeys) to make his version of Miguel de Cervantes’ classic 17th century Spanish novel El Ingenioso Hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha (“The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha”).

A parody of the classic “warrior code” of knighthood, Cervantes' novel contains one of the most famous and indelible images in world literature: the decrepit old Spaniard named Alonso Quijano who reads too many tales of knights and romantic chivalry (arguably literature's first "fantasy geek") and rechristens himself "Don Quijote," setting out to joust with windmills (which he believes are rampaging giants) accompanied by his pudgy, uneducated sidekick Sancho Panza. Despite all the weight of its literary import, Cervantes novel is like a 900-page episode of Bumfights, with Quijote constantly getting his ass kicked/mocked/disrespected by everyone he comes across, including Panza, the literary precursor to Batman’s Robin. In Lost in La Mancha, directors Keith Fulton and Louis Pepe somewhat tenuously connect Don Quixote’s misadventures with that of Gilliam’s struggle to make a film which seemed cursed even in its pre-production stage. But, as the Beast watched the film’s summary of Cervantes novel, we couldn’t help but make the cosmic, mythic 400-year connection between the pop cultures of 1605 A.D. and 2012 A.D. (start watching at 4:25):

What struck us was how the description of the delusional Quijote’s “gearing up” applied to heroes and villains alike: cobbling together a suit of armour out of bits and pieces from around his house – including the metal shaving basin he famously uses as a helmet – before setting off “to look for daring deeds to do.” By the scant accounts that have appeared so far, the Dark Knight Rises shooter was referred as a “book smart-type guy” who kept various bits of Batman paraphernalia around his bomb-rigged apartment. Like the Columbine shooters or the Virginia Tech killer who admired them, Holmes performed the ritualistic “suiting up” for his “romantic deed”: Quijote’s jerry-rigged suit of armour now transformed into gas mask, Kevlar vest, ballistic neck guards, cartridge utility belt and even a groin protector. At the end of the multi-part novel, the old “knight” is defeated after a climactic battle with the Knight of the White Moon and is forced to submit to the terms of his conqueror—very much like Bruce Wayne being beaten and imprisoned by the fearsome Bane in the new film. (By most accounts, this is the most boring part of The Dark Knight Rises.) Quijote also lays down his arms for a spell and agrees to “cease his acts of chivalry” for a period of one year, just like Batman is forced into exile at the end of the last film and beginning of the new. There’s also the theme of old age, or the burden of it: Quijote, after all, is elderly; Bruce Wayne faces advanced deterioration from the punishment his body has endured: He is a premature old man.

Gilliam's Batman: Jean Rochfort

In Lost in La Mancha, a screenwriter reflects: “Quijote’s delusions are a major part of his appeal for us; we want to see the world through Quijote’s eyes because the way he sees the world connects with the way we saw the world as children, a world where objects did have a magical significance.” As readers, supposedly, we have grown fond and protective of our hapless pseudo-knight—basically, we’re with him when he’s nuts and lose interest when he’s sane. We might link this sentiment to our lone-wolf shooters: We are more comfortable with them when they are “insane” than if they exhibit any kind of what we the untutored recognize as “sanity.” (Like Heath Ledger’s Joker said, “It’s all part of the plan.”) On the tapes they made the night before their gory rampage, one of the Columbine killers trash talks and mugs tough for the camera—he is acting “crazy” and the mind’s eye settles comfortably on him as verification of an inner sickness—but it is the quieter teen, the purported mastermind of the assault, we initially overlook: apparently, he was the more dangerous of the two, but he knew enough to act under the radar as he planned to gear up and massacre his friends and teachers—he even shuts up his louder companion with one icy stare. The Norwegian terrorist Anders Behring Breivik laid out his batshit plans and philosophy with such calm and confidence that it no one quite knew what to make of him, which show you that even if they adopt a Tony Robbins-like veneer of unshakable confidence, a meticulous eye towards planning and execution (no pun intended) and self-boosterism, a serial killer could actually turn into a….self-improvement guru? A life coach? A totalitarian leader of a war-ruined country?

Echoing a persistent note in our modern times, Salon’s David Sirota maintained “Call it Terrorism” when referring to the Aurora shootings, and as someone else observed after the 9/11 attacks, terrorism has a 100% failure rate. The same could be said of vigilantism. The persistent trope of Batman is the constant comparing of Batman to the villains he fights, the sort of “We’re a lot alike, you and I” thing that finds special resonance in tales involving The Joker. When Heath Ledger tells Batman “You complete me,” both are linked as two halves of a whole that make the ultimate composite of anarchist and protector, avenger and defender, tormentor and tormented. Alan Moore’s Watchmen even gave a plausible explanation for how cowled superheroes could develop in “the real word”: As a joke, cops begin dressing in costumes as a way to mock the criminals who wore cat-burglar masks. It was a dialogue between criminal and cop that basically said, “Isn’t this silly? Why don’t we cut this shit out and just be real?”

To be sure, Christopher Nolan’s Batman series upped the realism of a fantasy to an unprecedented level for comic-book films. In a sidebar article before the DK Rises premiere, an aerodynamic expert told a reporter than anyone wearing a Kevlar utility suit with a 50-foot wing span would not soar like a giant bat but plunge straight to the pavement and go ‘splat!’. The article seemed to be saying: See? Kinda stupid, huh?—as if forewarning the sort of lame-os who dressed like Batman and got their asses handed to them Quijote-style in the second film. No matter: John E. Holmes dyed his hair red, not green, and told the police who arrested him that he was "the Joker" (although anal-retentive comic geeks will surely have a field day with that faux pas), but he was hardly the first to don himself in the “ultrarealistic” vein of Nolan’s trilogy: in March 2009, eight months after the second Dark Knight premiered, Army Specialist Christopher Lanum dressed himself in full Ledger-Joker garb and stabbed and stun-gunned a fellow soldier before being shot down by police in Front Royal, Virginia.

Both “Joker” incidents reminded the Beast of a scene from Grant Morrison’s 1989 graphic novel Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth, where a psychiatrist confronts Batman about The Joker’s fractured take on modern life:

DR. ADAMS: The Joker’s a special case. Some of us feel he may be beyond treatment. In fact, we’re not even sure he can be properly defined as insane…We’re beginning to think it may be a neurological disorder, similar to Tourette’s Syndrome. It’s quite possible we may be looking at some kind of super-sanity here, a brilliant new modification of human perception, more suited to urban life at the end of the twentieth century.

BATMAN: Tell that to his victims.

DR. ADAMS: Unlike you and I, The Joker seems to have no control over the sensory information he’s receiving from the outside world. He can only cope with that chaotic barrage of input by going with the flow. That’s why one day he’s a mischievous clown, others a psychopathic killer. He has no real personality. He creates himself each day.

Of course, this could apply this to Batman as well as the Joker, a villain who sees himself as a hero, and vice versa—and both are gearing themselves up for a delusional battle that is as meaningless (in that like public massacres are both planned and improvised) as it is, well, “romantic.” To this we go back to Cervantes: At the end of Don Quijote’s epic, silly quests, after he has been conquered by the Knight of the White Moon and agrees to cease his annoying impostures, he takes to his bed, seemingly in the grips of a life-threatening depression. One day, he awakes fully sane and clear-headed. He is old Alonso Quijano again. In his will, he renounces his Dark Knightood and apologizes for all the chaos he caused.

In this vein, I like to think of the entire career of Batman as the millisecond flash-dream of a delusional Don Quijote figure as he first steps off the side of a skyscraper and falls to his death, all of his exploits a dream. I wonder if it was a similar kind of movie that unfolded in the mind of the Aurora shooter as he walked into Theater 9 in his armor, the “real” movie playing behind him.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

TUBE OF SONG: The Complete and Utter History of Music on YT (Pt. 3)

Isn’t it odd that the musical dichotomy we know now as Mainstream vs. Indie was established during the High Middle Ages? Back then it was called “Sacred vs. Secular.” The music we saw in the last post was all sanctioned by the Catholic Church, whose dominance over music and musicians was sort of like Universal Music Group’s dominance of music and musicians 700 years later.

Cue a bunch of plucky indie outsiders traipsing all over the south of France, accompanied by jugglers and singers, strumming their lutes and lyres on secular (i.e., “not churchy”) songs, based on old romantic poetry. They wooed peasant girls and bored castlefraus alike with tales of chivalry, ribaldry and Courtney Love….excuse us, “courtly love,” which is the medieval version of “hooking up” that often drew complaints from the Church itself. Their music was based on existing sacred musical forms but, like some Middle Ages version of bluegrass music, it was sped up and used the vernacular of the common people. Understandably, these constantly touring folkies were popular and got to play at all the wealthiest estates, even inspiring other regional secular music movements in Spain, Greece, Italy, Germany and Portugal. Nowadays they’d be call “freeloaders” or “hoboes” or “get-out-of-town-if you know whats good for yous” but back then, right before The Black Death wiped most of them out, they were hailed as The Troubadours. These wandering nymphs even broke up into their own sub-genres: the canso (love song), the sirventes (political song) and the tenso (a “debate” song between two or more singers).

One of the oldest known troubadours was Piere d'Alvernhe, who was even shouted out by name in Dante’s Divine Comedy. The oldest troubadour whose work survives is Guilhem IX, the Duke of Aquitaine:

Bernart de Ventadorn, possibly the son of a castle baker, developed and formalized the canso, a sort of three-part folk song that became the basis for the troubadour style of courtly-love lyrics:

Giraut de Bornelh, who was from a lower-class family, became the master of alba, a plaintive form of lament for lost love or life:

But it wasn't all serfs and commoners who became influential in the Troubadour style. Bertran de Born was a baron who wrote sirvientes:

In Northern France, a more aristocratic style of the troubadours' secular song was being developed under a different name, Les Trouveres. One of the most famous was Adam De La Halle:

What’s more, there were a good number of female troubadours (called “Trobairitz”), often countesses or wives of noblemen, who specialized in even more categories, such as the planh (funeral lament), the salut d’ amor (love letter), the alba (dawn songs) and balada (dance songs). The most famous of the females – the Lady Gaga of the Trobairitz, if you will – was Contessa Beatritz de Dia, and her song "A chantar m'er de so qu'eu no volria" is the only canso from a female troubadour that survives to this day:

Unfortunately, the Church had to step in and end all of this fun with the Albigensian Crusades, which Pope Innocent II (not his real name) launched to eliminate heresy in France. The side effect was that a lot of the Troubadours got their timepieces cleaned. But just walk into any open mike night at any boho coffee grotto in any city and you will see the tradition as alive as it was when modern Troubs like Robert Johnson, Son House, Charley Patton, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Woody Guthrie, Leadbelly, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Townes Van Zandt, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Emmylou Harris, Odetta, James Taylor and Bruce Springsteen took it to America.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Explaining Iggy Pop to My 80-year-old Mother

New Year's Eve, 2004. Age 35, long past the point where I should be talking about such things. I was always at least a decade behind. Late bloomer. Like so many things in this life I heard about Iggy Pop when I was in high school but my emphasis at that time was psychedelic groups like the Grateful Dead and Traffic and spiritual forefathers like Muddy Waters and Elmore James.

You never heard Iggy on the radio. Then the appropriate amount of time passed and he was absorbed into the mainstream. A new generation of rock writers championed the pioneers of punk rock who had previously been swallowed by history. I was not one of them. Then I picked up a copy of an oral history of punk and clutched it to my breast for the next five years; I showed up at the airport in my leather jacket and my combat boots and my ragged jeans and an attitude more akin to someone about 15 years younger. This was all wrong. There’s nothing worse or more embarrassing than an aging hipster wannabe.

The problem is, I waited too long. That’s the blanket statement for my life for the ages. It all happens out of sequence. I am going though some sort of rebellious stage I feel has nothing to do with any mid-life crisis. When I was in my twenties I wanted to be wearing a tie with suspenders, to walk through an office high-fiving my co-workers, to throw crumpled up pieces of copy through a tiny basketball hoop over my garbage can. I did, for a short while. Then I got fired.

So it is N.Y.E. in my hometown, which means everything is closed. My blood is up and I cannot conceive of how I can stand it. I wanted to go to Milwaukee and have many drinks and be the go-to guy from El-Eh. I wanted to have a punk-rock evening without fully admitting it out loud, for to do so would mean I truly was hopeless.

Even my mother is going to a party. She's dressed in her mink coat and is pacing the house, leaving a cloud of cologne behind her as she wanders the house like she wandered through art galleries, waiting for my old man in his Rex Harrison hat. I'm waiting to hear from my old contacts in town. We're supposed to go to a party together. It's getting late and I'm getting impatient. I switch on the TV and pop over to VH1 for some reason, which is having a special Behind the Music show on Iggy. Two hours. I start to feel agitated (in a good way) as I watch Iggy fling himself off the stage and walk on people’s hands like they were one large escalator.

Mom comes into the den and sits down carefully, smoothing her hands on the cushions next to her and sighing and looking directly at me, which she does a lot. It makes my face feel prickly. She asks me what I'm watching. I tell her it’s a biography of a great rock star. "Who is it?" She asks. I tell her. She squints and says, "Ziggy Wha?" I say, "I-G-G-Y-P-O-P." She frowns, "What kind of name is that?"

It is the newest in a series of musical misunderstandings between my mother and I. She seems to think all these guys are singing about is false idolatry, like they're all cult leaders with backup bands. That they constantly reference their own selves in their music. They throw sex at you and then prance in front of the screen, daring you not to fall in love with their every bad impulse. "But Iggy's different," I maintain.

She really has to lean forward and study the TV: Iggy circa '70 stalking the stage on his hands and knees, stage dirt smeared on the side of his face and his hair damp and matted over his mascaraed eyes, his stomach bunched up in puffs of musculature, spine bended in an impossibly frank and rigid way like his body was made of Cheez Whiz and Slinkies, like his bones were deformed a la the Elephant Man.

Mother winces at this but has to keep looking like she's watching a medical film of a poison gas-afflicted chimp. "Is this man okay?" she marvels. "He looks like he’s having an attack!"

"That’s the way Iggy performs," I say. "It’s like confrontational theater. The Theater of the Absurd or what the Greeks did: confronting the audience with the grotesque or upsetting them to cleanse them of their shame or to get their blood up." I always pour on the college-speak whenever discussing distasteful cultural issues with the Momster; I feel the elevated language forces her to take it seriously. This way I can discuss snuff porn as long as I couched it in language from The Atlantic Monthly. "He doesn’t have any eyebrows!" Mother is yelping at the TV.

"He is probably one of the most revered rock performers of the last thirty years," I sniffed.

"Good God why?!" Her despair is palpable. You can feel the panic of watching one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse strip down and do a sundance shimmy.

"Well, when everyone else was wearing flowers in their hair and buckskin pants and flying the peace sign he was delivering these malevolent performances to unsuspecting people in economically depressed suburban Michigan. He’s had the kind of life that not many people could survive. He was a drug addict. He toured the country playing to deranged people, slicing himself with glass (and finishing the show), smearing peanut butter all over his torso, falling into the audience, picking up girls over his shoulder and molesting them..."


"Well, not really molesting them per se, but picking them up and slinging them over his shoulder and carrying them around the concert hall."

Mom wants to know: "Why would such a person be so respected?"

"Because he had everything going against him," I say as we watch Iggy in a recent interview where his face looks like a skull that won’t shut up. "He was born in Trailer Park USA. People like that aren’t supposed to grow up to inflict themselves on the public. People like that are not supposed to exist. They are supposed to disappear. They are unwanted and unseen with no voices."

"They are?" Mom frowns. "How do you know this?"

I ignore her. "But he did something different. The threw himself onto the edge of a razor many, many times. He decided that what he liked about music, particularly the blues, he could apply to his own life situation. He used his imagination and created something completely unheard of and unholy that made people listen. He went out on a wire every night and gave his all and he’s been doing this for over thirty fucking years."

Mother keens about my language. I have obscured my own point with the obscenity. I try anew:

"He never held back. He threw himself off the stage every night he played. Often he went out high on drugs and made a complete fool of himself. Imagine the will it takes to do that. The strength of inner character and resolve. Pure force of will and personality. They punishment his body and mind absorbed. And this was before there was any real starmaking machinery in place in rock and roll. He was doing music that hadn’t been invented yet, that had no support, that had no ears to listen to it, and when it was listened to, people wanted to kill or lynch him."

"Oh, why did he do such things?" Mother wails.

Because he had no choice, right? He had absolutely no choice.

I didn’t want to even get into G.G. Allin because I was afraid it would kill her.

"My name is Jim,
but most folks call me...Jim"

Monday, July 2, 2012

July, Uninterrupted [**UPDATED]

Plenty of wacky, beautiful & interesting music under the summer moon...

July 5: Seagrass Recordings Night w/ Coup Pigeons, Faraday Trippers Orchestra & Pathways @ The Homeroom....July 6: Rickey Woodard Sextet @ LACMA...July 7: Joe LaBarbera Quintet @ Alva’s Showroom....Jazz Mafia @ Grand Performances....Azar Lawrence w/ Alphonse Mouzon, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, Theo Saunders & Henry Franklin @ The Seabird....July 8: Polarity Taskmasters @ Alva’s Showroom....Kamasi Washington/Brandon Coleman Septet at Levitt Pavillion....July 11: Dan Clucas/Ted Byrnes Duo & Beth Schenck, Devin Hoff, Corey Fogel & Vinny Golia @ The Blue Whale....Charles Owens Quartet @ Catalina’s....July 12: Peter Erskine Trio @ Vibrato....Tangerine Dream @ Club Nokia....The Anthropic Ensemble @ Muddy Waters Café....July 13: Slumgum w/ Hugh Ragin @ LACMA....David Witham, Jeff Gauthier & Norton Wisdom @ Alva’s Showroom....After School Special w/ The Vespertines, Maston. Free Moral Agents & Raw Geronimo @ The Homeroom....July 14: Angel City Arts Presents Slumgum w/ very special guests @ The Blue Whale....July 15: Tribe Records 40th Anniversary Concert w/ The Phil Ranelin Jazz Ensemble, Gaby Hernadez, DJ Carlos Nino @ Levitt Pavilion....July 18: Stanton Moore Trio @ The Mint....July 20: So Many Wizards @ The Smell....Gil Scott-Heron Tribute w/ Dwight Trible, Trevor Ware, Derf Reklaw, Kamasi Washington, Carlos Nino & others @ Grand Performances....Morris Tepper @ TAIX....July 21: Leni Stern @ The Blue Whale....Meeting of the Masters w/ Radha Prasad, Lili Haydn, Joel Ector & Cornell Fauler in Topanga Canyon....July 22: April Williams w/ Alan Pasqua, Darek Oles & Peter Erskine @ Vitello’s....Dwight Trible Cosmic Band at Holy Nativity Parish....July 27: Upsilon Acrux @ The Smell....Chuck Manning Quartet @ Vibrato....July 28: String Theory @ the Bootleg Bar....The 17th Annual Central Avenue Jazz Festival w/ The Gerald Wilson Orchestra, Phil Ranelin, Poncho Sanchez & Ernie Andrews....The Breakestra @ Grand Performances....July 29: Screening of The Reach of Resonance: A Meditation on the Meaning of Music @ The Egyptian.

TANGERINE DREAM @ Club Nokia (7/12)
“What kind of person goes to a Tangerine Dream concert?” wrote the legendary music scribe Lester Bangs in 1977. “Here’s a group with three or maybe even four synthesizers, no vocals, no rhythm section; they sound like silt seeping from the open-floor.” Such was the general rock critic assessment of “The Tangs” for the next twenty years—basically ambient wallpaper for Laserium/Planetarium light shows by a lineup of faceless Germans that have changed members more times than Spinal Tap. (In fact, their album Tangram sits on the shelves in a famous “empty record store” scene from that film.) Now it’s a different story: The Orb, EDM, IDM, Radiohead, Hot Chip and the crackling Cliff Martinez-Johnny Jewel soundtrack for the 2011 noir film Drive are just a few of the current cultural touchstones that have drawn upon TG’s sleek excusions into propulsive futurism. Indeed, they made a lucrative transition from being the Teutonic Pink Floyd of the ‘70s to one of the preeminent film soundtrack composers of the 80s – it was their Jaguar-smooth pulses and hypnotic drone workouts that provided the neon-noir backdrop for Thief, Risky Business and Miracle Mile, among many many others. Not as edgy as Neu! or Can or as “critically acclaimed” (at least in its heyday) as Kraftwerk, TD’s time for reappraisal arrives in its 45th year (!!) and over 100 albums (!!!) as a band. Mad scientist guitarist Edgar Froese, the group’s only consistent member, is leading the new lineup – which includes the organic instrumentation of newbies Iris Camaa’s Cuban hand drums and Hoskiko Yamane’s electric violin and guys with pricless names like Thorsten Quaeschning and Bernhard Beibl – on a North American/European tour. They may tip their hat to L.A. Thursday night with their cover of The Doors’ “Crystal Ship.”

TRIBE RECORDS 40TH ANNIVERSARY @ Levitt Pavilion (7/15)

Oh Detroit, you came and you gave so much to L.A. without taking….You gave us Mike Kelley, you gave us Bennie Maupin and Kenny Burrell, you gave us Iggy during his classic Fun House-flameout period, you given us Chad Smith and J.Dilla and Don Was and Mayer Hawthorne and George Clinton and Elmore Leonard. But what about jazz music? Case in point: trombone virtuoso Phil Ranelin, who arrived in Los Angeles just after the heyday of Tribe Records (1972-1976), the Afrocentric jazz/funk record label and magazine he founded with reedman Wendell Harrison when the riot fires were still cooling in Motor City. In 2004, the venerable Soul Jazz reissue label gave Ranelin & Co. some L-O-V-E with the reissue of A Message from the Tribe, a specially-packaged compilation that is also part of the larger critical reappreciation of regional jazz movements from the 1960s. (Many of the Tribe stable of players also played on Motown Records, and Tribe launched the year Berry Gordy, Jr. moved Hitsville U.S.A. out to La-La Land.) Sponsored by the local DJ collective Dublab – in many ways a spiritual inheritor of Tribe’s D.I.Y. aesthetics – this celebration of Tribe’s 40th Anniversary will feature Mr. Ranelin revisiting the labels’ catalogue with an ensemble that includes Pablo Calogero (saxophone), Mahesh Balasooriya (cello), James Leary (bass) and Kenny Elliot (drums).