Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Secret Adventures of Tom Thumb (directed by Bolex Brothers 1993)

there are no words to describe this shockingly bizarre stop motion film.  it kinda says everything it wants to say all by itself.

released in 1993 from the bolexbrothers, a British animation studio headed by David Borthwick, The Secret Adventures of Tom Thumb uses stop motion techniques with the animation as well as the live actors.  it's a disorientating viewing experience, for sure.

*editor's note:  the film on it's own can maybe get a bit, um, tedious at times, so if you are looking for some Head Medicine-approved audio/video goodness, i highly recommend synching this up with Tool's Aenima (the whole album is HERE)

Man Bites Dog (directed by Rémy Belvaux, André Bonzel, Benoît Poelvoorde, 1992)

 this first time i watched this movie, i was horrified.  but the second time around is when i realized that this Belgian mock documentary was in fact a hilarious pitch black comedy.  cuz, y'know... the premise of a documentary film crew following a cold blooded serial killer around is just ripe for comedy gold.  beautifully directed by Remy Belvaux, stunning black and white cinematography throughout courtesy of André Bonzel, and an outstanding lead performance by Benoît Poelvoorde.  there's even some interesting sound work going on if you are reeeeaaally paying attention.

it's almost election time!

who are you voting for?

it's a winner no matter who you choose!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Carl Sagan's COSMOS

Carl Sagan... one of history's greatest communicators and a patron saint of Head Medicine. please watch his groundbreaking pbs series COSMOS. you will become a better human being by the time it is done.

Monday, September 10, 2012

review: GOAT - "WORLD MUSIC" (rocket records 2012)

World Music
Rocket Records 2012

Goat, a collective of musicians from the darkest corner of the Swedish netherworld, might very well be the most mysterious and electrifying band on the planet at the moment. until earlier this year, noone outside of their remote village had ever heard of them. they have never played a live show outside of their commune. their hometown of Korpolombolo was, according to legend, a hotbed of voodoo worship for centuries after a traveling priestess and her followers were led there by a cipher hidden in their ancient texts. the practice went on for hundreds of years until the Christian church found out what was going on and the village was burned to the ground, the survivors cursing the land as they fled, a curse which still haunts the area to this day. the band members claim that, when they were very young, the village elders initiated them into the entrancing, percussion-heavy musical traditions of their ancestors and that Goat is merely a continuation of a generations old ritual. maybe their backstory is a work of fiction, or maybe it's true. all i know is that if in fact there is a centuries-old voodoo curse coursing through the veins of the music of Goat, i wouldn't be the least bit surprised. there is something almost otherworldly about the music on their debut album "World Music," that much is certain.

 the album sounds like a dusty relic from the past, and is shocking in it's scope and execution. there is always a heady mixture of exotic musical styles swirling in the air: tripped out 60's psych rock, turkish stoner funk, blaxploitation soundtracks, thick afro-cuban rhythms, scuzzy detroit prepunk, droning krautrock, indian raja, prog rock, old school west african blues, ethiopian grooves, acid folk, and straight up classic rock guitar riffs--oftentimes blended together into one ferocious mixture over the course of a single composition. these can't really be called "songs" in the traditional verse/chorus/verse sense, these are long and winding musical pilgrimages, trance inducing spells, and peyote-fed meditations. there are no musical boundaries here.

the album opener, "Diarabi," is a reworking of a song by west african bluesman Boubacar Traore. the original is an unadorned, mournful acoustic composition, but Goat turns it into a towering pillar of distorted guitars, bass, and flute, building higher and higher until it crashes in a crescendo of frantic drumming. the theme of the album is established... everything is on overdrive from here on out.

(here's the original Boubacar Traore version of "Diarabi."  there is a very interesting Traore documentary titled "i'll sing for you" on Netflix Instant Watch  that is well worth your time.)

next up is "goatman," one of the most badass tunes i've heard. ever. this is some serious ritualistic voodoo funk, built on a foundation of supercharged african drumming, menacing fuzz bass, unintelligible shouts/chants, and searing wah guitar solos. it's a blistering song and when it was originally released earlier this year as an impossible-to-find 7" single, the first time the outside world got a glimpse into the beast that is Goat, word spread very quickly around the globe that something special was being cooked up in the scandanavian wasteland. a classic.

"goathead" continues where "goatman" left off and brings it a step further into the flames, culminating in a wah guitar freakout before breaking off and breathing a sigh of relief as it comes down with a hushed acoustic coda and fades into gentle white noise.  (this video clip edits out the quiet finale, check the whole song out HERE)

special props need to be given to the editors of these videos.  a compilation of some very interesting clips from around the world. 

once you think you've got these guys figured out, Goat pulls out the hard-as-nails funk of "disco fever," and everything changes. a thick, ass shaking bass line wraps itself up in latin percussion and a cool repetitive guitar lick before it twists a bit, becoming more disorientating with splatters of psychedelic 60's organ.

"golden dawn" roughs things up again with it's heavy prog rock and a savage distorted guitar solo that burns everything in sight to ashes

Goat comes up out of the steaming jungle for a bit with the straight up street heavy funk of "let it bleed" and it's impossible-to-resist body shakin' groove would feel right at home in the Rolling Stones mid-70's catalog. great guitar licks, a skronky sax solo and congas add all the right flavors. another bona fide classic.

"run to your mama" rolls in like a threatening storm with a sinister bass line and leaden slabs of heavy guitar riffs while rippling indian percussion rolls underneath. as the music settles into a disquieting drone, there is a strange solo that seems to be plunked on a child's piano or xylophone. ominous stuff, and when the singer belts out "lightning in the sky/boy, you better run to your mama now" it sounds like good advice.

 the album closes with three tracks that merge seamlessly into one. the restrained acid folk of "goatlord" begins the piece and bleeds into the funereal organ hymn of "det som aldrig forandras" which builds steadily into a mesmerizing cosmic drone, spiraling up towards enlightenment as it finally circulates back to "Diarabi," the opening track, bringing it all around full circle. it's a breathtaking piece of music.

"World Music" is one of those rare albums that grabs you by the shirt collar from the first note, lifts you up off of your feet and backs you up against the wall and there's not a fucking goddamn thing you can do about it... and considering it's Goat's debut recording, it is an all the more impressive feat. this is an absolutely electrifying record, fresh and compelling with unrivaled intensity, and is hurled through your stereo speakers like a much needed revolution-sparking molotov cocktail. for the musically adventurous: buy it. now. 10 of 10


more on Goat HERE.  info on Rocket Records HERE.   buy WORLD MUSIC HERE

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

the Amazing Screw On Head pilot

the fantastic animated adaptation of the mike mignola classic comic book, the Amazing Screw-On Head, done as a pilot for the Sci Fi Channel in 2006.  stupid bastards didn't greenlight it for series though, and, like most great things, was forced into cult classicness.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Thai movie posters

the fine folks at MONSTER BRAINS recently put up an absolutely exhaustive collection of  Thai movie posters HERE.  a couple of my favorites:

Daniel Lanois - live on Sessions on West 54th

a terrifying hurricane of guitar noise by Daniel Lanois. from the Sling Blade soundtrack.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Bob Dylan - Canadian tv performance 1964

from Quest, Canada CBC tv. 
the version of Girl from the North Country is among my favorite musical performances. quality is not great, but better than nothing. this needs to be on dvd in its entirety (Girl from the North Country was featured in the bonus features of martin scorceses' dylan doc "no direction home."

Dried Up

the senior thesis film from Kansas City Art Institute animation graduates Jeremy Casper, stuart bury, and isaiah powers. this film won a silver medal in the Student Academy Awards. it should have won gold. jeremy and i will be collaborating down the road. that should be fun.

dried up from jeremy casper on Vimeo.


the pinnacle of the brilliant comic book career of graphic storytelling pioneer Bernie Krigstein: 1955's Master Race, published by EC comics in Impact #1.  it was (and still is) revolutionary.  composition, layout, time, space, emotion, tension... krigstein balances all of these elements masterfully.

EDIT: here's a nice two part article on Krigstein from comicbookresources. part one HERE
part two HERE

documentary: Krautrock - the Rebirth of Germany (BBC)

full length documentary on Krautrock and the history of highly influential bands like Kraftwerk and Can. i'm mostly unfamiliar with this scene, but this documentary really shined a clear light on it. very informative and interesting.


mastodon will be discussed here at HEAD MEDICINE quite a bit. here's the Curl of the Burl video, a new classique

Forgotten Classics vol. 1 - Shudder to Think's "pony express record"

~this review was originally posted on myspace back in, oh, maybe 2008.


if you are among the lucky few who are familiar with the 1994 masterpiece "pony express record" by Shudder to Think, you almost surely have a strong opinion about it. You either find their unique style of art-fag pop music abstraction completely unlistenable or you hold them among the greatest musical acts of the decade. From the very first notes you hear, whether it's one of their patented never-before-heard guitar chords, an impossibly strange time signature, or singer Craig Wedren's truly bizarre supergayass high falsetto and nonsensical Dali-esque lyrics, it's hard not to have an immediate opinion. This is some of the weirdest music you will ever hear, more so than avant-garde noise experiments because, after all, it's one thing to make weird music, but it's another thing entirely to make it all catchy as hell. That takes an unusual talent. and the fact that this came out on a major label is a huge accomplishment.

HIT LIQUOR – what a weird fucking song. Bassist Stuart Hill lays down a serpentine bass line as Nathan larson shoots out jagged slivers of guitar noise. This is a seriously focused beam of creative stream of consciousness. Very disorientating. By the end of this drink you are suspecting that Shudder to Think has slipped you something. Up is down and right is wrong, your head is spinning. It feels good. warning: homosexual/cannibalistic overtones in this vid. did not earn many brand new fans, i'm afraid.

GANG OF $ - the drunken stumble down the street…unusual guitar riffs that are oddly catchy and melodic tho they are completely foreign sounding. STT takes the verse-chorus-verse guitar pop tune to the extreme, shattering it and reassembling it into an unrecognizable collage. by the way, adam wade is one of the best drummers around. how he keeps time on this record is a superhuman feat.

9 FINGERS ON YOU – It's official, Shudder has coerced you back to their place. You kinda wanna leave, but it's pretty swanky. And, shit, are they musical freaks… The sex toys are pulled out and you get a vague idea about what is to come.

SWEET YEAR OLD – the wine glasses are pulled out, and a fine bottle of red is served. Candles are lit. your head is REALLY swimming by this point.

EARTHQUAKES COME HOME – it's with this song that you realize that shudder is never going to take the easy way with their pop music. They had a perfectly good radio-friendly song going here, great soaring chorus, and they disassembled the whole goddamn thing and put it back together into their unique style.

KISSI PENNY – same thing goes for this tune. Just staggeringly beautifully arranged. What a cool, weird song.

X-FRENCH T-SHIRT – if you had a good radio station around in '94, you might have heard this one. Funny enough, while the rest of the record is all about schizophrenic time changes, this tune goes completely into the opposite direction and boils an eternal pop song down to 2 chords (it's basically one chord the majority of the time) with an endless chorus that builds and builds and spins off into the universe, A truly beautiful fucking tune. That chorus, cryptically written in the liner notes as "holdbacktheroadthatgoessothattheothermaydothatyouletmeinjusttopourmedowntheirmouths" wedges itself into the sticky parts of your brain and never leaves. The bold repetition of a single chord is effectively hypnotic, with those strange vocals floating above, and a disarmingly complex drum beat holding it all together. Perfect layering of guitars with a great, almost invisible solo over the ending, and very thoughtfully placed backing vocals. Perfection.

NO RM. 9 KENTUCKY – first things first, what a song title! Doesn't even pretend to make sense. Starts off with a heartbreaking guitar and vocal performance, without question a craig wedren highpoint that awkwardly ends and is replaced with hushed brushes on the drums. The sexy mood is set. But, of course, even their romantic slow dance numbers have to disintegrate into chaos. It eventually calms down and ends quietly. Whew…  (this is a slightly different demo version)


CHAKKA - just when you finally get settled, the band blasts in with their most focused performance of the album. They aren't interested in throwing you off of the trail with odd and ridiculous lyrics, or to impress you with their savvy time changes, they are out to smash your face with their guitars and they succeed. The lyrics are a total mystery.

OWN ME – you start to kinda black out around this point… things get stranger and more abstract again, and than all of a sudden, there's a huge arena rock chorus thrown at you. Didn't see that one coming… and of course it runs off the tracks smashes itself to a slow halt. Pop music deconstructionists, for sure.

SO INTO YOU – the classic slo-burning 70's tune by the Atlanta Rhythm Section is captured, tied up, mutilated, and turned inside out. This version will blow yer mind if you let it. One of the most visionary cover tunes of all time.

TRACKSTAR – hard to describe. A musical Salvador dali painting. A minimalistic first half, with the ending crashing in unexpectedly like a 747, bludgeoning you into submission as wedren's croon soars over it all, "oooh/to the future/I never imagined a worse fate." Nice.

FULL BODY ANCHOR – a plaintive ending with wedren's always-odd harmonies and acousic guitar.

Overall, folks, I gotta say… this album totally fucking rules. one of the most original records you will ever hear. Throw away your preconceptions, approach it with a fresh ear, ready for something different, and Shudder to Think's "pony express record" will give you something beautiful and weird and sexy and ridiculous, and, most importantly, GOOD, that will take you years to chew through.