Friday, July 26, 2013

Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures

the greatest director in film history.  everything he touched was fantastic.

here are a couple of nice documentaries:

everyone knows his famous films like The Shining or Clockwork Orange or 2001: A Space Odyssey, but his early black and white work is stunning as well and is only recently being dug up and revisited by film scholars.

the full movie Killer's Kiss.  stunning black and white photography here, inspired by his photojournalism for Life

Killer's Kiss by crazedigitalmovies

Sunday, July 21, 2013

1950s LSD Housewife Experiment

Goat - July 2013 Interview


by kojak

After a blistering run through Europe's most prestigious summer music festivals, the Swedish tribal psych collective Goat have a growing number of fresh converts following in their wake.  Though only a live touring entity for less than nine months, Goat's performances were among the most talked about from their respective festivals, oftentimes staking their claim amongst some of the biggest and best bands in the world (watch their full Glastonbury performance HERE and the full set from Roskilde HERE)

HEAD MEDICINE recently checked in with the band to find out more about these stunning shows.  one thing is obvious after sitting down for a third time with the notoriously press-shy group:  Goat lives and breathes inside its own impenetrable bubble, unaffected by the fleeting whims, tastes, or demands from the outside world.  They are anchored by an unshakable self confidence and a genuine love of living in the moment, communing through music with each other and anyone who happens to be in attendance, whether it is 150 people in a small club, or tens of thousands at a major festival.  Their expectations and ambitions are unusually humble.  Goat will be whatever they want to be for as long as they decide.  Any future success will be on their own terms.

HEAD MEDICINE:  Goat's reputation continues to build after a series of high profile European festival appearances, including Primavera in Spain, England's Glastonbury, and Roskilde in Denmark.  by many accounts your performances were  among the best of those weekends.    are things just getting surreal at this point with all of this growing attention and praise?  any particularly memorable or unreal moments over the last few months that would have been impossible to imagine one year ago?

GOAT:  Well, that we were gonna play any of these festivals never crossed our minds one year ago but we are happy and thankful for the opportunity to do so. It has been amazing for sure. And I also think that the US tour improved our live set and has tightened us together as a live act so that these shows afterwards have been the best we've done live so far. But I'm sure we can still find new ways to develop live also, with new material and so on. But it is not in any ways getting surreal really cause you have to understand one thing, this is not taking over our lives. We keep our minds pure and simple and our feet on the ground. We know what is important in life and we just try to have a good time and enjoy the ride. If it ends tomorrow we will be just as happy. With that said I have to admit that playing that day time show at Glastonbury seing all those people was something out of the ordinary.

HEAD MEDICINE:  i would like to talk about the Glastonbury performances. the daytime show on the West Holts stage was your most high profile live show yet in front of your largest audience, many of whom had never heard your music before, and filmed from every possible angle by the BBC.  be honest, did you guys feel a bit more pressure with that show?  did you treat that performance the same as a small gig in a dark club, or did it require a different kind of preparation?  i am curious what kind of thoughts or emotions were running through you before/during/after that performance.

GOAT:  It was no difference in preparations or pressure. We can only do what we do and rely on each other. And play as good as possible. Actually we were very calm before that show as far as I remember. We discovered that there really is no difference playing small clubs then big festival stages. But it is fun to try both when we get this opportunity.

HEAD MEDICINE:  later that night you performed a second set on the Hells Stage in Shangri-La, and the previous evening, you blew up the Electric Ballroom in London in front of a bloodthirsty crowd of Goat fans.  what are the pros and cons to large daytime festival performances vs. smaller and more dramatic nighttime/club gigs, and a crowd who is familiar with your music vs. a mass of potential new converts?

GOAT:  I don't know. For me it is the same always. I feel no difference really. And I know that it is the same for everyone in the Goat band. It is just music and for whom or where you perform it doesn't matter as long as people enjoy it. If people were not enjoying it we would stop playing live I think but for everyone it is a nice feeling when you get this spiritual exchange of energy with the people listening and dancing. That really turns us on. We were not aware of this experience until we started to play live last year.

HEAD MEDICINE:  your Roskilde performance was notable for having a new member on stage playing keyboard, sax, and, harmonica.  he added an entirely new dimension to Goat's live show, and i was especially impressed with the addition of a harmonica solo during a blistering rendition of "The Sun The Moon."  will he be coming along on any future Goat tour dates or was this a one time thing?  was he by chance the guy playing keys and sax on World Music?

GOAT:  No he is not playing on the album. He is a long time participant in Goat born and still living in Greece. He travels a lot and plays with various groups around the world. He has done one show before with us at Stora Teatern in Gothenburg December last year. He will be with us when he has time or feel like it. He is great playing with, you never know what he is gonna do. The harmonica part on The sun the moon was never rehersed for example.

HEAD MEDICINE:  outside of Goat's live performances, are there any new song ideas bubbling to the surface?  is the band getting the itch to retreat back to the studio and cook up some new tunes or is everyone looking forward to some extended time off before considering new material?

GOAT:  Yes. We will start recording in September. Everyone is really looking forward to this more creative process again.

HEAD MEDICINE:  looking back, how do you feel the band has evolved over the last year since the release of World Music?

GOAT:  The live group is a more tighter musical unit now and we have learned how to play our songs good and with no stress. So as a live act we are much better now then last year. But Goat as a spiritual and living community, or as a musical creative collective, hasn't changed at all. Music shall be treated with joy and simplicity, use your ears and your heart and don't give a fuck about anything else. Loose your mind, stop questioning, thinking, and all that stuff. Are you enjoying the sounds you hear? Are you experience anything? Feeling something you like? Then it is enough. That is the principle we live by when we make music.

HEAD MEDICINE would like to thank Goat once again for their time.  tune in this fall when we check in on the recording of their new album.  should be interesting. 

come join HEAD MEDICINE on Facebook and you could win a Goat art print by Kojak

HEAD MEDICINE has all of your Goat needs covered.  the most complete online collection of exclusive interviews, album/live reviews, audio/video, links and more HERE

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Goat - Roskilde Festival full set (july 6th, 2013)

Goat continues their tear through Europe with another stunning performance, this time at the Roskilde Festival in Denmark.  for the first time in public, there is another band member on stage adding keyboard, sax, and harmonica, greatly enhancing the group's sound.  it will be interesting to see if this continues in future performances.
stay tuned for another HEAD MEDICINE exclusive interview with Goat and these soon-to-be-historic live performances.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Easy Rider (1969 dir. Dennis Hopper)

a classic of the highest order.

 this movie was the final sucker punch that put the entire movie industry on its ass in 1969. there were a lot of films and talented filmmakers/actors/actresses that set the fuse before this movie, but Easy Rider lit the match and blew it all to holy hell, ushering in an unprecedented wave of experimentation. virtually every taboo subject was examined in these new films after an age of stifled puritanism. Easy Rider signaled the changing of the guard and the old movie studios had to change completely in order to keep up.

Peter Fonda's Captain America character is an all time classic, a lost and wandering sage teamed up with Hopper's wild and untamed Billy... the two on a soul seeking journey through a turbulent America in 1969. the script was often improvised, and Hopper utilized a unique, almost documentary style of filmmaking, while cinematographer Laszlo Kovacs beautifully captured the sprawling American southwestern vistas, usually spontaneously on the fly. The film also introduced Jack Nicholson to a wide audience after struggling for a few years in a string of B-movies and underground Corman flicks. His character, the drunken ACLU lawyer George Hanson, has relatively little screentime, but he provides an anchor that the everyman in the audience could identify with. and seeing Nicholson getting high and ranting about the infiltration of aliens is a film milestone, as is the LSD-soaked Mardi Gras trip out. Easy Rider's unflinching look into America's soul was incredibly shocking for the time, and the new movie-going audience ate it up.

Saturday, July 6, 2013


plug into the steady stream of inspiring sights and sounds over at HEADMEDICINE on Facebook.  nothing but the best brain food available, guaranteed.  click HERE and "like" that damned thing.

the number of followers is hilariously small at this point, so don't laugh.  i'm just getting this thing up and running.  and if you like what you see, spread the word. 



Friday, July 5, 2013

Shock Corridor (dir. Sam Fuller 1963)

i had first heard about this movie from an essential documentary called A Personal Journey with Martin Scorcese through American Movies.  Shock Corridor is the story of a journalist who gets himself committed to a mental asylum to get the Pulitzer Prize winning scoop on an unsolved murder that happened there.  things go badly, as you might assume.

this film must have been pretty scandalous in 1963.   its heavy duty themes predate the 60's film revolution by several years.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Queens of the Stone Age - ...Like Clockwork (2013 Matador Records)



2013 Matador Records

For the past 25 years, Josh Homme has been one of the most uncompromising, individualistic artists in all of music.  As a supremely badass fourteen year old in Palm Desert, California, he helped found Kyuss, the cult classic desert stoner metal band famous for their debauched "generator parties" out in the desert wastelands.  Out of that band's ashes rose Queens of the Stone Age in 1997, and Homme has been pushing that group into the upper stratosphere in the pantheon of legendary rock bands ever since.  Just for kicks, he started up the boogie rock group Eagles of Death Metal with childhood friend Jessie "the Devil" Hughes, trading in his heavy guitar licks for the drumkit and ass-shaking happy retard beats.  He is the organizer of the Desert Sessions, spontaneous recording sessions at Rancho De La Luna, a quiet studio out near Joshua Tree National Park, with some of the best guest musicians in the world.  And as if that weren't enough of a resume, he started up Them Crooked Vultures, a power trio with, of all people, Dave fucking Grohl and Led Zeppelin legend John Paul fucking Jones.  Basically, Josh Homme is the undisputed Alpha Male of the modern rock scene.

That is why it was so weird to hear that all of it almost came crashing down in an instant as the Hammer of the Gods flirted with the idea of taking Homme out in his prime.  During a routine leg surgery in 2011, there were unforeseen complications and Homme, the indestructible rock god, died on the table.  Doctors managed to shock him back to life, but he was bedridden for four long months, lost in what he has been calling in recent interviews "The Fog," an unshakable depression that almost destroyed everything he had built up.  Homme contemplated retirement in order to be closer to his wife Brody Dalle and their two young children;  a career in music seemed superficial when confronted with his near death experience.  But Homme's wife prodded him back into his home studio, urging him to forge ahead.  He reconvened with longtime co-conspirators, guitarist Troy Van Leeuwen and drummer Joey Castillo, as well as bassist Michael Shuman, and guitarist/keyboardist Dean Fertita.  It had already been an unusually long time since the last Queens album, the highly underrated Era Vulgaris in 2007, and there was some determination to get in the studio and crank something... anything... out. With little preparation and limited material available to forge into an album, the sessions proved to be incredibly difficult and resulted in a sad divorce from Castillo, QotSA's drummer for over a decade.  Dave Grohl climbed behind the drums once again, claiming the spot he vacated after 2002's Songs for the Deaf, and helped the band across the finish line.  Ex-Mars Volta drummer Jon Theodore took over when Grohl bowed out, playing on one track and acting as, for now at least, QotSA's touring drummer.  The band was joined by a wide variety of guest musicians who acted as a buffer between the frustrated band members, with Mark Lanegan and Nick Oliveri brought back into the fold,  as well as appearances by Trent Reznor, the Arctic Monkey's Alex Turner, and Elton John, among others.  All of these ingredients combine to form ...Like Clockwork, a dark and wandering record that never settles into a predictable pattern, and drags the hallmarked Queens of the Stone Age sound kicking and screaming into the future.  ...Like Clockwork harkens back to the 1970's when big guitar rock was what the cool kids got stoned to and what got the girls' panties all wet, and Queens seem hellbent on awakening that sorely missed tradition.  After ...Like Clockwork debuted at the top of the Billboard chart the week of its release, their mission seems to be well underway.

The first few spins through a new QotSA album always find me disappointed.  Every. Single. Fucking. Time.  (well, except for Songs for the Deaf, that one melted my face the first time through).  Initially, Queens of the Stone Age's music is consistently out of my realm of expectations.  i might want one thing, but they always deliver another.  That can be a problem if you want the same material cranked out time and time again, but i enjoy the creative twists and turns Josh and Co. consistently take, so i am willing to give each album a bit more time to crack its code before it starts to sink in.  Longtime Homme fans from his old Kyuss days will probably continue to be frustrated, mourning their fallen guitar god as his instantly identifiable sludgy fuzz guitar tone has all but disappeared completely.  In fact, Homme seems most comfortable when Kyuss continues to fade into the shadows of his rearview mirror and he rebuilds himself into something fresh and new with each album.   Some old fans drop off, some new fans climb on board, and others have been clinging on white knuckled to keep up the entire time.  If you want to drink the Homme-spiked Kool-Aid, it's here and it tastes good.  So take a drink, and, slowly but surely, over repeated spins, ...Like Clockwork's personality finally begins to emerge.

"Keep Your Eyes Peeled" is quintessential Queens of the Stone Age.  the curtains open with a melted, hallucinatory groove and a snarling riff dripped over castillo's off kilter drum beat.  this is definitely an unusual choice as an album opener... rather than bursting in and making a grand entrance, "Keep Your Eyes Peeled" crawls in through a darkened rear window like a prowler with bad intentions.  these are some of Homme's darkest lyrics yet, and he makes a line like "The view from Hell is blue sky/so ominously blue/i daydream until all the blue is gone" even creepier by singing it in a sweet, floating falsetto.  this is one of numerous moments throughout ...Like Clockwork (and even reaching back to Era Vulgaris), whether by coincidence or by design, where i swear i can taste the influence of 90's avant pop deconstructionists Shudder to Think. this is a great compliment, and i don't believe i have ever handed it out to anyone ever before.

 If the Radio Gods have any sense whatsoever, "Sat By the Ocean" will be the feel good hit of the summer.  Straight up mid 70's arena rock with a dash of "Don't Bring Me Down" and a huge glammed out Xanadu'ed chorus.  Josh's best sing along classic rock pop song yet.

"The Vampyre of Time and Memory" was the first song Josh wrote after months of inactivity.  "I hated it," he said in a recent interview.  Well, I wasn't totally sold either.    I hated it the first several times through, less so the next several times. now, i dig it.  Funny enough, the live performance from the  recent NPR concert from the Wiltern Theater in LA  was definitely improved with the glossy studio veneer wiped away.

"If I Had a Tail" is a deceptively simple song, with Grohl's restrained 4/4 beat forming the song's spine and josh's voice carrying the melody.  It's a fun, probably effortless Queens tune that ebbs and flows through the verses and choruses and leads to a big glammy finale before breaking off into a strange whispered voice outro.

"My God is the Sun" is another slab of vintage QotSA.  Grohl drives the song with a drum performance that harkens back to the old Songs for the Deaf days, barreling through a mountain of thick guitars and bass.  A classic.

the next track, "Kalopsia," is an odd, pill'd out, hallucinatory tune.  opening with a fading heartbeat and a hospital respirator wheezing in the background, Josh pulls off some great straight faced lounge crooning over gently floating guitar lines and piano.  when he sings "bye bye black balloons/see ya real soon," it sounds like he is falling deep into blissful oblivion, until a huge Ziggy Stardust chorus kicks its platform shoe through the window and he crawls his way through a thick coma fog towards daylight. an album highlight and, i am certain, will be devastatingly awesome live.

"Fairweather Friends," although loaded to the gills with guest stars, comes off to these ears as heavily overproduced, overworked,  methodically radio friendly, and bland.  cowritten by Mark Lanegan, the song could have used his deep baritone to give it some weight, but instead we are given a weak vocal performance by Josh. this is Queens reaching complacent middle age, with a nice house, a new suv in the driveway, and a couple of kids playing in the yard.   personally, i've deleted the song from my itunes. sorry.

Any complacency is shaken off with the skanky "Smooth Sailing." Josh's Alpha Male swagger is on full display here and the whole band is in on the action, too, laying down a steamy swirl of sex on the dance floor lust.  White fucking hot.

While there are other lyrical moments on the album that metaphorically talk about Josh's near death experience and the months of crushing depression that followed, "I Appear Missing" confronts the issue straight on.  It's a beautiful and haunting piece, and is probably the most powerful tune on the album.  "shock me awake/tear me apart/pinned like a note on a hospital gown/deeper i sleep/further down the rabbit hole/never to be found."  there is a stunning, hair raising finale, with Josh's pained falsetto "with my toes on the edge/such a lovely view/i never loved anything till i loved you/i'm over the edge/what can i do/i'm falling through."  absolutely gorgeous stuff.

on the title track, "...Like Clockwork," the Homme rock star bravado is completely gone. he has laid himself completely bare, wide open and vulnerable. on the album's other ballad, "The Vampyre of Time and Memory," i sense a bit of a typical Homme wink-wink-nudge-nudge, don't-take-this-too-seriously attitude (at least i HOPE so, especially with a line like "i'm alive/hooray/you're wrong again cuz i feel no love"), but "...Like Clockwork" is shockingly private and somber.  the first half of the song is just Josh and a melancholic piano line, and slowly a quiet acoustic guitar and a mournful cello fade in.  soon, the rest of the band comes in, notable for being the first recorded Queens performance by drummer Jon Theodore, and huge swells of strings, commandeered by UNKLE's James Lavelle, bring the record to a close on an elegant but sobering note.

So, once again, Josh Homme and his compatriots knock another one out of the park and continue to widen their legacy as one of, and arguably THEE, best and most interesting rock bands of our generation. 


EXTRAS!  here are some recent live performances:

Goat - Glastonbury Festival full set

more Goat updates... they completely destroyed it at probably the most important gig of their lives at the massive Glastonbury Festival in England.  the BBC was there and filmed the entire thing.  god bless them.

HEAD MEDICINE has all of your Goat needs covered, exclusive interviews, live and album reviews, videos, links and more.  you can find all of that HERE