the osmonds, back on crabwalk

An unfortunate fact of Internet life is that links, no matter how clever, sometimes expire. (You take the good, you take the bad. You take them both and there you have: The Facts of Internet Life.)
I get emails every few months from people who come across this post from 2002, in which I linked to video of the Osmonds rocking out on the BBC in 1972. (I was covering an Osmonds concert while in Salt Lake City for the Winter Olympics. That ended up being this story.) Unfortunately, the BBC took the video down some years ago.
But now I can proudly present: the Osmonds playing “Crazy Horses,” probably their biggest hit and part of their early-’70s dalliance with Black Sabbath guitar.
And you know what? It kind of rocks. I mean, if you look past the the outfits and the hair and the teeth. And if you get rid of the lead singer Alan O., who is cosmically bad. And kill the lyrics. And I never thought I’d say this, but that song could use some more Donny, who isn’t a bad little rock bassist.
And, as a bonus, here’s a photo from the Osmonds show I covered four years ago, taken by the most excellent Damon Winter, who is both probably the best photographer I’ve ever met and the only man I know who guarded Tim Duncan in a high school basketball game.

mr. saturnhead, wide gauge

Mr. Saturnhead, a blog in which the author, Ed Park, performs acts of close literary analysis upon the primitivist comic strip he drew (?) for his college newspaper. (Which happens to be my former college newspaper.) “Those stiff, wooden-looking hands in the final panel look like they’ve escaped from the Museum of American Folk Art.”
Ed is now a senior editor at The Village Voice. His regular blog is over here.
Mr. Saturnhead, sadly, is no competition for the greatest comic in college newspaper history, the inimitably puerile “Wide Gauge” by Ken Moon. Ken’s scanned in a few old strips at his site — check them out. The day-after-Valentine’s one is particularly great in its puerility.

more french ’60s pop

I will someday rise above my recent obsession with cute French girl singers of the 1960s. But today isn’t that day!
If you’re interested in that Serge-fueled musical era, let me direct you to:
1. Spiked Candy, an Australian MP3 blog focusing on catchy psych-pop, largely although not completely French; she posts a lot of rare live videos to YouTube, including several of my dear France Gall;
2. Filles Sourires, whose subtitle should tip you off: “Girls. Singing In French. Making Me Sigh. Any questions?”; he features a lot of more recent French pop; and
3. The Yé-yé Girl Scene, a remarkably thorough guide to the French ’60s scene, which I must admit I had no idea was called yé-yé. (The name comes from the Beatlesy pop they were emulating: “She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah.”)
Also, there’s a new English-language compilation of covers of Serge Gainsbourg songs. I think it’s not out here yet (and may only be available via import), but it’s got All Today’s Indie Stars. Well, actually more like 1996’s stars: Jarvis Cocker, Michael Stipe, Tricky, Placebo, Cat Power, Portishead. Plus some newer faces, like Franz Ferdinand and Feist.
I’m not a big Cat Power fan, but I love that she and honorary White Stripe Karen Elson have tackled Serge’s most famous track — “Je T’aime…Moi Non Plus,” which was banned across Europe for featuring Jane Birkin faking an orgasm and lyrics like “I come and I go, in between your kidneys.” MP3 of the new girl-on-girl version here (which stupidly translates the title as “I love you…me either” instead of “neither”; video of the original version here.

a year following the breakup

A Year In Pictures Following The Break-Up. Which is exactly what it sounds like. Follow his advice and start at the beginning — it’s strangely addictive.
The author, a Chicago improv guy named Arnie, has a nice voice. He gets mawkish and wallows a bit — but then calls himself on his mawkishness and wallowing. It’s really about how people try to match up our post-breakup emotions with what we think are the expectations of post-breakup emotions.
It does get a little less interesting as time marches on and he gets over his ex. But by then, you’re hooked into the characters.

joy division and early michael stipe

Video of Joy Division playing “She’s Lost Control” live on some TV show, September 15, 1979. It’s so strange seeing Ian Curtis in the flesh; for those of us born too late to hear him in his day, he’s long passed into Legend status.
While the Byrds and Gang of Four pop up most often as the prime influences for R.E.M., it’s amazing how much Michael Stipe borrowed from Curtis. The mumbled vocal style of early records like Murmur, for instance. The heavy-lidded, short-focal-length stare at the mike stand. And, most obviously, the angular, elbows-out dance/flail that both did during instrumental breaks. Call it the Robot Spaz. (Curtis was epileptic and had occasional seizures on stage. This wasn’t one of them.) Seriously, Stipe circa 1981 looked like a carbon copy of Curtis here.
(I tried searching for some video that shows early Stipe in full flail, but came up short. Instead I offer you this pretty rare video of the great “Wolves, Lower” from the Chronic Town EP. It shows some classic Stipe flailing, but he never cuts all the way loose. You actually see more of it in the Losing My Religion video, even though it’s a good decade later. The elbows start to come out about halfway through.)
A bonus Joy Division MP3: Transmission, live at Paris’ Les Bains Douches, December 18, 1979.