Following on from the decadent atmosphere cultivated towards the end of the 70s in New York City's disco scene, Area arrived and elevated the nightclub itself to the level of high art so far unimagined, an environment of artistic excess and boundless imagination where music took a back seat. Frequented by Warhol, McLaren, Haring, Basquiat and the like, with DJ Red Alert often in the booth, instead of focusing on moving bodies though Area sought to move minds in a conceptual, mental dance rather than a purely physical one. Each individual theme of the clubs existence completely recast the club spatially, visually, atmospherically and sartorially every six weeks, re-situating the space in another time and place for people to enjoy and create art, nurturing a dazzling scene in the process.
Two of the clubs founders, Eric Goode and Jennifer Goode, combine their memories here in this very hefty tome, talking us through the time with a wealth of solid archival visuals and a replica of the clubs very first invitation - folded and rolled into a tiny blue pill - embedded in the cover.
London director Rollo Jackson is amassing an impressive catalogue of music videos and documentaries, of which 'Tape Crackers' represents a singular, obsessive highlight. Focusing on the memories, music and Moschino of one particularly avid junglist Mike Finch, Jackson spends some solid time at home with this rabid raver and his massive collection of tapes from the rave era, as he talks us through the minutiae of the movement. Presented in a humbly no frills, straight to camera fashion, Finch's zeal for the sound draws you in and takes you back, and even if you never wore the ecstasy patterned jeans or collected the double cassette packs you'll likely feel a little nostalgia pang. Worth seeking out, it's a wicked time.
It's difficult to recall the time when accessing music wasn't so easy. From November 1980-October 1982, Melbourne radio presenters Bruce Milne and Andrew Maine and graphic designer Michael Trudgeon published 'Fast Forward', an innovation on the fanzine format created to spread sounds and ideas among music communities. Housed in a screen printed softcase, the bi-monthly package contained a cassette tape of post-punk related interviews and music, with a corresponding fold out magazine.
Online archive Spill Label has lovingly scanned and ripped the 13 issue's contents, preserving an incredible point of access and reference to the era's local and overseas underground culture. The cassettes offer the only documents of Rowland S Howard's 'Shivers', performed by The Young Charlatans, and Pel Mel's demo of 'No Word From China', alongside interviews with The Fall, Pere Ubu, The Cramps, The Cure and Kraftwerk, arguably all at their prime and most eager to discuss their work, often accompanied by rare live recordings.
Admire excerpts of the astonishingly progressive design below.
13 episodes in, High Maintenance delivers a subtly comedic web series that explores the habits and habitats of a cross section of New York who share the same weed dealer (played by co-creator Ben Sinclair, also the star of Cut Copy's latest video Meet Me In The House Of Love). Our nameless protagonist cycles the neighbourhood sedating his stressed out clientele who are struggling to deal with subletting nightmares, unsustainable diets, intolerable bosses and terminal cancer, forming well-written and relatable character portraits. Dial a pizza and press play.
LA's Stones Throw Records has always been a beacon of infallible excellence, with an enviable roster curated by founder and chief Peanut Butter Wolf, enviable artistic direction by the brilliant, elusive Jeff Jank, and a enigmatic MVP in the shape of Madlib the bad kid. It's a label that has not only endured but constantly evolved and surprised with their eclectic, endlessly creative output from a fertile, colourful family of musical misfits, fearlessly led by the Papa Wolf.
Our Vinyl Weighs A Ton is a documentary film that slips behind the curtain and recounts the history of the label as told by the often seen but rarely heard Wolf, his artists and their various admirers. It's a fascinating story full of revealing anecdotes, highlighting the label's two distinct phases pre and post-Dilla and exposing Wolf as an incredibly articulate, determined visionary behind a legendary label that's 18 years young with no signs of slowing. File under inspirational viewing.
Over the last year or so PC Music has emerged as the most exciting new label/collective around. Spiritually similar, and certainly associated with rising London producer Sophie, the PC Music crew are creating some of the most avant garde and divisive dance music in recent memory.
Light on information, the label's website pairs stunning art direction with ultra saccharine yet sublimely understated tracks. The sound could be seen as UK Bass inverted: a bright and sugary slap to the face of that sound's morose beige-ness.
Temples' cool take on psych-pop, glam and folk-rock will be in full bloom at Hvar. This tune really kick started their career, prompting Johnny Marr and Noel Gallagher to claim them as the best new band in Britain. It's bound to turn FOR Festival into liquid, becoming one with the Adriatic Sea.
Super producer Mark Ronson brings his supreme cuts to FOR Festival next week. In this video he shares some of his DJ philosophies along with memories of getting Prince up off his set, playing with Q-Tip and the music that inspired the initial sessions with Amy Winehouse. With a collection this massive, who knows what records he'll pack for his Croatian sojourn.
Here's a nice limited edition conceived by Sydney-based graphic designer Steele Bonus. 'Odd Waves' is a new 32-page risograph printed book, documenting an international movement of New Wave outsiders circa 1979-1985.
Through fuzzy photographic portraits lifted from obscure record covers that were only admired in tiny editions, a loose narrative is told, contrasting pop wannabes and art school punks. The corresponding mix CD is total madness too - Eastern European disco, narcotic Neue Deutsche Welle and naive DIY.
Only 300 copies exist and are available at Colette.
FOR Festival is now only 10 days away and we're sitting here restless, anticipating the moonlight magic that Erol Alkan will drop alongside DARKSIDE, Haim, Erlend Øye, Kelela, Psychemagik and more. The London based DJ has a heady history DJing bugged out sets, promoting his infamous club night Trash and running Phantasy Sound, the label that has fostered the careers of Daniel Avery, Chilly Gonzales and kiwi oddball Connan Mockasin. Here we reflect on one of Erol's finest recordings - an epic beauty that reworks Connan's bliss to go on and on and on and on and on. For more eternal moments, buy a ticket to paradise here.
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9:30 Club, Washington, DC, USA
Union, Philadelphia, PA, USA
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Terminal 5, New York, NY, USA
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