Over the last few years, it's become de rigueur for young bands to slap the "psychedelic" label onto their sound, even though more often than not they're about as psychedelic as The Brady Bunch. But for those wanting to dig deeply into the real thing by exploring the psychedelic substrata of the '60s counterculture, especially the U.K. variety, this three-disc anthology is an amply annotated, sonically succulent set to covet. Love, Poetry and Revolution eschews overexposed first-tier psych practitioners to illuminate the fulsome scene smoldering beneath the mainstream. In a few cases, that means spotlighting names known to most serious '60s rock geeks (The Misunderstood, The Crazy World of Arthur Brown), and documenting the fleeting psych-pop phases of aboveground acts like The Spencer Davis Group. But most of these 55 tracks are occupied by acts whose esoteric status is so succinctly described in David Wells' liner notes that it would be folly to try topping him: "artists who weren't even household names in their own households."
These intrepid forays into the paisley-patterned underbelly of '60s Britrock touch upon everything from literal flower-power paeans like The Crocheted Donut Ring's harpsichord-kissed baroque-popper "Two Little Ladies (Azalea and Rhododendron)" and The Cortinas' lone single, the falsetto-filled orchestral-pop rarity "Phoebe's Flower Shop" to Peter Howell and John Ferdinando's kooky, creepy psych-folk reboot of Lewis Carroll's absurdist poem "Jabberwocky" and the haunting, organ-drenched trippiness of "Strange Ways" by Please, a group from whom only previously unreleased demos exist. The cumulative effect of it all can be a heady one -- few will emerge from The Liverpool Scene's deliciously demented, feedback-frenzied stoner's sci-fi tale "We'll All Be Spacemen Before We Die" unaffected. But tune for tune, there are also a striking number of opportunities to wonder, "Why was this one not a hit?" From freaky adventures in the stratosphere to perfect pop nuggets, Love, Poetry and Revolution offers a lovingly curated, appealingly rendered alternate history of England's original psychedelic era.
In our quest to bring you the best TV content, sometimes we have to look... backwards. That's why we have Thursday TV Throwback, wherein each week our staff of pop culture enthusiasts will be tasked with bringing back some of the best television clips that have been forgotten by time, space and the general zeitgeist. This week, we're bringing back genuine terror: via the characters who assaulted our childhood innocence way back when. Rational or not — here's looking at you, Michael Arbeiter — behold a round-up of the most terrifying offenders.
Shaunna Murphy: Hi, kids — it's me, Face! — an absolutely terrifying, bodiless talking head on acid. I change colors every few seconds, and my only purpose on this earth is to inject terror into the hearts of millions by introducing their favorite TV shows. The truth is that I'm actually an ethereal terrorist from the future sent from the past to collect brainwaves from the innocent minds of children, until their hearty imaginations build a time machine that will send my ruined people back in time to establish a reign of terror on planet Earth! Hee Hee! I mean, enjoy Blue's Clues!
Kelsea Stahler: This little bear was supposed to make you want to wash your blankets and roll around in them, soaking up the freshness. Instead, this terrifying little spokesbear turned a comforting activity into a terrifying one.
Matt Patches: I wasn't allowed to watch MTV growing up — a move to protect me from the heinous, perverted, mind-destroying material flooding the channel at the time, of course — but the pop culture impact of Beavis and Butthead was too strong. I found it... and it scared the crap out of me. I blame it on the lack of laugh track and incessant low-pitch giggling on the part of the idiotic duo. Their voices sounded like evil gremlins. And what the heck was AC/DC?!
Michael Arbeiter: There was nothing inherently scary to me about Grover when I first encountered him on Sesame Street. But the popular puppet earned certain… dark connotations when he began to slip into my nighttime delusions. I was about three or four, struggling to get to sleep, when I began hearing voices coming from my wall. Not coming from behind my wall, but from the wall itself — it spoke to me, and in the highly recognizable voice of Grover. But the voice didn’t bring along with it his chipper, kindly demeanor. I was terrified, and would forever be so whenever I heard Grover speak.
Abbey Stone: The 1985 TV movie Alice Through the Looking Glass was already a few years old by the time I stumbled upon it as a kid, but it was still enough to make me afraid to fall asleep for years. As terrifying as the monstrous Jabberwocky was, he was only the tip of the iceberg. I'm not sure if the psychedelic imagery scared me more, or the abandonment and helplessness tropes the movie played up.
Christian Blauvelt: (The trolls from David the Gnome) It’s one thing for cannibalistic, shag-haired, pupil-less trolls to menace cute little forest gnomes. It’s another thing when they’re menacing a cute little forest gnome voiced by Tom Bosley. Here's a clip where the trolls come in at the 15:30 mark. They actually want to eat a fox! A fox!
Samantha Xu: I'm pretty sure that NASA has disproven the theory of swinging over the bar on a swing set, but after watching this Nickelodeon claymation short as a child, my paranoia of turning into a walking peepshow severely hampered my swinging mojo. I mean, who wants to be inside out? Wouldn't you be really cold all time?
Anna Brand: Pinky was always goofy with his buck teeth and crossed eyes so he seemed harmless. Brain, on the the other hand, was always grumpy and evil-looking, and when he played with his squiggly tail I had to close my eyes. Also, his ears were so enormous I always thought he was hiding creatures in them.
Alicia Lutes: "What is it about Howie Mandel that's so terrifying?" people often ask me. To which I respond: Are you kidding? Is that even a question? Everything about Howie Mandel is terrifying. Howie Mandel is what I imagine all clowns look like on their days off — right down to that weird voice he did in Bobby's World and his general germaphobia. Though I believe my fear may have a bit of a bias, considering I once had a vivid dream as a child where Howie Mandel and my younger brother chased me around the entire state of Connecticut before finding me in my cousin's basement and murdering me. My childhood imagination was very strange.
Aly Semigran: Soundgarten's video for "Black Hole Sun" creeped me out so much that not only would I have to change that channel whenever that terrifying, big-eyed nightmare started on MTV, but still cannot listen to that song without getting a chill down my spine.
[PHOTO CREDIT: Snuggle]
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Actress Jessica Lange has turned illustrator after creating a children's picture book. The movie veteran will release It Is About a Little Bird through publishing house Jabberwocky next autumn (13), according to the New York Times.
Well, Pinocchio, it looks like the strings are back on. This time they’re tied to a dynamic duo: producer Dan Jinks and screenwriter Bryan Fuller.
It’s no wonder that these two tethered themselves to this fantasy tale; they’re no strangers to the genre. Jinks and his former partner, Bruce Cohen, collaborated with Fuller for the peculiar and fantastical ABC show, Pushing Daisies, until it bit the dust in 2009. The show had a bit of a Tim Burton flair, and apparently the filmmaker’s recent dive into Wonderland is the reason Jinks chose to take on the story of the puppet who would become a real boy.
“I think we've found a fresh approach that's going to be very entertaining,” Jinks told Variety, in reference to this year’s Alice in Wonderland.
Burton’s Wonderland brought some vigor - and what looks like an Acid trip - to the classic story. It allowed the madness of Lewis Caroll’s original tale, and a bit of his Jabberwocky, to spin out of control – that is, until Johnny Depp’s Mad Hatter killed it stone-dead with that awful jig. Though Jinks and Fuller may be following in Burton’s footsteps, they definitely have enough wonderment under their own belts to bring a unique spin to the classic.
For this Disney kid, the 1940 cartoon Pinocchio is irreplaceable; it’s a staple of cinema. But, there’s room for another take on the puppet’s fate. The cartoon is fairly vanilla even though the story itself is actually rather insane – this isn’t your standard, sweeping “Someday my prince will come” type of fantasy. Little boys are turned into asses (as in donkeys, not posteriors: get your mind out of the gutter) on Pleasure Island, Geppetto is swallowed by a whale, and there’s a living, nose-growing puppet at the center of it all for godsakes.
Fuller brought us some pretty dark stuff (Dead Like Me, anyone?), and if he and Jinks are truly following the path Burton recently paved, we should get a good look at the dark side of the famous little wooden boy. It may be a beloved children’s story, but I think it couldn’t hurt to take a dive into creepier waters.