RIP: Whitney Houston

RIP: Whitney Houston


Whitney Houston, who ruled as pop music’s queen until her majestic voice and regal image were ravaged by drug use, erratic behavior and a tumultuous marriage to singer Bobby Brown, has died. She was 48.

Houston’s publicist, Kristen Foster, said Saturday that the singer had died, but the cause and the location of her death were unknown.

News of Houston’s death came on the eve of music’s biggest night — the Grammy Awards. It’s a showcase where she once reigned, and her death was sure to case a heavy pall on Sunday’s ceremony. Houston’s longtime mentor Clive Davis was to hold his annual concert and dinner Saturday; it was unclear if it was going to go forward.

At her peak, Houston the golden girl of the music industry. From the middle 1980s to the late 1990s, she was one of the world’s best-selling artists. She wowed audiences with effortless, powerful, and peerless vocals that were rooted in the black church but made palatable to the masses with a pop sheen.

Her success carried her beyond music to movies, where she starred in hits like “The Bodyguard” and “Waiting to Exhale.”

She had the he perfect voice, and the perfect image: a gorgeous singer who had sex appeal but was never overtly sexual, who maintained perfect poise.

She influenced a generation of younger singers, from Christina Aguilera to Mariah Carey, who when she first came out sounded so much like Houston that many thought it was Houston.

• Whitney Houston:

Throbbing Gristle to perform selections from unfinished final album next month; read my unfinished narrative of the process

The Tale of Desertshore

Chapter One: The Recording

In 2007, avant-industrial legends Throbbing Gristle worked to record an album based on their interpretation of Nico’s album Desertshore. After having recorded three days of public sessions at London’s ICA, the band released the entirety of the sessions as a limited-edition 12 x CD-R box set, entitled The Desertshore Installation. Founding member Peter Christopherson continued work on the fully realized Desertshore up until his death in 2010. At that point, surviving members Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti worked to finish the record. Other founding member Genesis P-Orridge was not involved with Gristle at that time.

Chapter Two: AV Remembers Sleazy

Before Christopherson’s death, AV Festival had commissioned Christopherson to compose a work for the 2012 spring Equinox, to be staged at Durham Cathedral, where his father was University Vice-Chancellor from 1960–1979. After his death, it was instead decided that three “performance sketches” of the work would be presented by Christopherson’s original collaborators for the commission: artist Alex Rose, sound recordist Chris Watson, and vocalist Attila Csihar (sunn 0))), Burial Chamber Trio).

In addition to this performance, AV asked Carter and Tutti to perform a selection of live remixes from Desertshore, scheduled a screening of Philippe Garrel’s The Inner Scar (the film for which Desertshore was the soundtrack and inspiration) and Derek Jarman’s The Angelic Conversation, for which Coil created the soundtrack, and wrapped it all up in a bow and called the event Wishful Thinking: In Remembrance of Peter Christopherson.


The event will take place at the AV Festival in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK, on Saturday March 17, 8 PM–12 AM, and will be the premiere performance of Desertshore. Grab tickets here.

• Throbbing Gristle:

RIP: Luis Alberto Spinetta of Argentine rock group Almendra

From BBC News:

Argentine rock star Luis Alberto Spinetta has died in Buenos Aires aged 62, after suffering lung cancer.

The songwriter and guitarist was considered a pioneer of Argentine rock music, and his songs often touched on social themes.

Fellow musicians hailed Spinetta, nicknamed El Flaco or Skinny, as “one of the greatest poets of Argentine music”.

He died at home surrounded by his four children.

Fans and fellow musicians, including Argentina’s Charly Garcia and Cuba’s Silvio Rodriguez, posted tributes to Spinetta on social media websites.

The Argentine culture ministry, in a statement on its website, described him as “an exquisite poet” and a “complete autodidact in his musical training, deep reader of poetry and philosophy, jazz lover”.

• Luis Alberto Spinetta:

The Jesus and Mary Chain gettin’ the old gang together to play select dates in the US of A

Just think: they could’ve been called The Poppy Seeds. Or even worse (much worse): Death of Joey. You could be on the phone right now, in a Parallel Shitty Universe, telling your best friend, “Guess what, dude???? I just got tickets to the Death of Joey reunion!!!!” And then your friend would be like, “Oh, the little known movie The Accidental Death of Joey by Sue? Yeah, that didn’t get very good reviews and I had no idea what it was till I Googled it. Also it has a stupid name, although the concept sounds kind of cool.” Or more likely, “What the hell is that? Are you hanging out at suburban sports bars, dude? WTF.” But fortunately, at some magical point in the early 1980s, the band decided to go with The Jesus and Mary Chain. So now, if you’re one of the lucky few in Denton, New Orleans, Houston, or the greatest town ever SXSW, er… I mean… Austin, you can say “I am going to see The Jesus and Mary Chain reunion tour, good friend! Judge not!” And you can say it with pride. Because The Jesus and Mary Chain have just announced their first US dates since a faraway time known as 2008.

This 2012 incarnation of the brothers Reid includes guitarist and old school JAMC member John Moore, bassist Phil King and an as-yet-unnamed drummer. Who could it be???? So much mystery. What’s not a mystery is how bitchin’ the addition of Moore and King to this lineup is. After all, Moore is a noted saw player (seriously, he played the saw on an Art Brut track or two), a founding member of Black Box Recorder, and a dude “at the forefront of the revival of interest in Absinthe,” according to the wormwood heads over at Wikipedia.* King has also put in his time with JAMC, back in the 90s. He’s best known for playing with Lush and currently works as a picture researcher for Uncut Magazine. King is known to be at the forefront of a revival of interest in awesomeness.

* I someday hope to have a Wikipedia page where someone describes me as being “at the forefront of the revival of interest in Quaaludes.”


03.11.11 - Denton, TX - 35 Denton Festival
03.12.11 - New Orleans, LA - House of Blues
03.13.11 - Houston, TX - House of Blues
03.14-18.11 - Austin, TX - SXSW

• The Jesus and Mary Chain:

Gorillaz, James Murphy, and Andre 3000 team up on new track to celebrate their pure altruistic love for Converse

Today when I was at Kinko’s, I saw an Elvis impersonator! I thought that was weird, but in a world where Gorillaz exist to constantly team up with bigger and bizarr-er artists to make mind-blowing, ultra-cosmic creations, Elvis leaning on a copier ain’t shit. Damon Albarn is all, “Yeah, I see your Elvis. Whatever. I’m gonna rap all over him. FOR TWELVE DIRTY MINUTES.” Okay, so maybe he’s not rapping all 12 minutes, but this new track’s got a two-verse rap by the Blurry one, and it’ll come in a 12-minute-long IN YOUR FACE explicit version. And who else is on this track that makes it so special, you might ask? Well, there’s James Murphy for one. And then there’s a man I like to call Rap Elvis: Andre 3000.

So what brought this loveable trio of musical scamps together? Advertising. Er, more specifically, their combined loooove for the Converse brand. After all, these guys are just the latest in a series of artistic types to join forces for the “Three Artists. One Song” project. And what a song it shall be! “DoYaThing,” as it has been christened, will be available through the Converse website come February 23 in the non-dirrrrty, non-super-long version. Gorillaz’s Jamie Hewlitt has reportedly created a music video featuring “a baboon in a martial arts outfit and a masked topless bloke” for that extra “WTF” factor. According to the good people at Consequence of Sound, the band is also working with Converse to create their own cartoon band shoe line.

• Gorillaz:
• James Murphy:
• Andre 3000:
• Converse:

Battles announce Dross Glop 2: Even Drossier 2 the Street: the Legend of Curly’s Gold remix 12-inch

Last year, the robots in Battles put out Gloss Drop (TMT Review), their long-awaited follow-up to 2007’s Mirrored (TMT Review). Some loved it, some didn’t think it lived up to its predecessor, enthusiasts of chewed-up gum were enthralled. Everyone agreed that it certainly had more Yamantaka Eye than all of Battles’s previous releases. Actually, it might have had more Yamantaka Eye than any other record last year. Now, I have done absolutely no research besides trying to remember if he was on that Beastie Boys album (pretty sure he wasn’t), but I think it’s fair to declare Gloss Drop the Yamantaka Eye-iest record of 2011.

With that title securely in place, Battles are due a victory lap. That victory lap is a four-part series of 12-inch remixes by the name of Dross Glop. DO YOU GET IT??? Dross Glop 1 is already out through Warp and contains remixes by the likes of Gui Boratto and The Field. But that’s not news! Things that are already out are history! The real news is that Dross Glop 2 comes out February 21 in the US and February 20 in places that are not the US. This time around, the remixing is in the hands of The Alchemist, Shabazz Palaces, and Kode9; listen to the Shabazz Palaces remix below. Now, the wait begins for Dross Glop 3, featuring remixes by Yamantaka Eye, Yamantaka Eye, Yamantaka Eye, and, actually, I have no idea who is going to be on the next one.

Dross Glop 2 tracklist:

A1. Futura (The Alchemist Remix)
A2. White Electric (Shabazz Palaces Remix)
B. Africastle (Kode9 Remix)

• Battles:
• Warp: