You love Youtube, but having to wade through a river of shit and advertisements to get to the best vids doesn't always appeal to you. Do you ever wish that someone would just cut the fat? Well, it looks like you're not the only one. In this age of internet overload, curatorial video sites are poised to become a pretty huge thing, and there's a whole drove of them coming together at the moment. There are especially a lot focusing on music and art, but none are as consistent, well-defined, or straight up weird as Network Awesome. The network isn't constrained by any traditional rules, and its focus on broadcasting recycled TV culture and experimental films/animations in a linear format is fascinating, to say the least.
Yesterday's episode was particularly "awesome," kicking off with curator Mark Brown's 120 Megabytes, a spin on the MTV classic 120 Minutes. The segment features "visionary interactions between sound and vision" that pay tribute to the resurgent retro aesthetics of memes such as Portable Grindhouse and Computers Club. After Brown's selections came an appropriately spooky treat with the experimental (and NSFW) George Kuchar film Pagan Rhapsody, a collection of videos spotlighting magnetic tape manipulation, and a documentary on the BBC's Radiophonic Workshop. Pretty awesome, I'd say.
After the jump, you can view a smattering of my favorite videos from yesterday's broadcast.
Whoa, have you guys seen this yet? It seems Annie Clark—that's St. Vincent to you, pal—stopped by Greenpoint's Shangri-La Studio and taped a phenomenal four-song session with her label, 4AD. The videos from the bout have been parading around the internet all morning, but it's far too good to not post here, just in case End Hits is the ONLY BLOG YOU READ. (Okay, fine, that's a ridiculous assumption; just in case End Hits and BroBible.com are the only blogs you read.)
Below is the video for "Surgeon," off St. Vincent's recently-released and very fantastic third album, Strange Mercy (which I unabashedly spouted off about a couple weeks ago). It's a dramatic clip—especially with Clark's heavily-painted and contorting face projected behind her at 100x the size— but it fits the song (and truly, the whole mood of the album) quite well. WATCH IT NOW.
To watch the rest of this session, and for more from 4AD, head here.
PBR PRESENTS THE 1980s
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Travel with us back in time to the awesomest, most tubular decade ever when PBR Presents the 1980s! Some of Portland's funnest bands—including Casey Neill, the Eastsiders, the My Oh Mys, Jim Brunberg, and many more—cover your '80s faves in this FREE show! (And if there's no Kajagoogoo? I'll jump onstage and do it myself!!) WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY
KING TUFF, THE SUICIDE NOTES, GUANTANAMO BAYWATCH, STILL CAVES
(East End, 203 SE Grand) Most dudes are lucky to be in one great band; Kyle Thomas of Brattleboro, Vermont, has been in at least four. You've heard of Witch—that's the metal band J Mascis plays drums for—and you might have heard of Happy Birthday, who released an overlooked record on Sub Pop last year. You also might have heard of Feathers, the freak-folk collective that released a far-out debut on Devendra Banhart's label in 2006 and then floated into the ether. But the name you need to concern yourself with right now is Tuff—King Tuff, that is, Thomas' alter-ego of scuzzily sweet garage and flower-power psych. There's a fucking phenomenal full-length released by Tee Pee in 2008 called King Tuff Was Dead, and a recent split 7-inch with the Hex Dispensers, plus a bunch of tracks littered over the internet. They all have one thing in common: the potential to be your next favorite song. With groovy jangle, indestructible power-pop structure, fuzz-mop guitars, and Thomas' dopey, grinning voice, King Tuff's shag rock is almost too easy to love. NED LANNAMANN
The prolific, mercurial Portland band Soft Tags are celebrating the release of their new disc, the six-song Halloween, 1983—it sorta falls in between and EP and and LP—with a show at Ella Street Social Club on Halloween night, Monday, October 31. Also on the bill are the Prids, And And And, and Obvpc. The only thing? Soft Tags won't be performing at the show.
In an email from Tags frontman Richard Shirk, he explains that he moved to San Francisco a short time ago for a variety of reasons, some of them musical and many of them financial, and is now working for the San Francisco Symphony. Halloween, 1983 is going to be the final single from the ever-evolving Soft Tags project (an album is in the works, too; more on that in a second), and they'll be giving the release away at the Halloween show—along with all the band's remaining merch. Shirk says it's a bittersweet moment, but that it was time to move on: "We started as a cult band and never wanted anything more than that."
As mentioned, Soft Tags is still existing as a recording project (presumably long distance), as they are midway through recording what will be their last album, East Orange, due to come out sometime next year. Shirk also has a new group called Richard Shirk and the Blinking Lights. Here's the title song from the single, "Halloween, 1983," which you can download for free over on Bandcamp, where you can also get a glimpse of the wealth of material Soft Tags have recorded since the band's start in 2007. (According to Shirk, there are four full-lengths, four EPs, a tour record, three live tapes, a B-sides/demos compilation, and four hours of unreleased material.) It's kind of a perfect way to say goodbye to the band—an ostensible "single" that runs over 10 minutes long, a perfect encapsulation of the unflinching, somewhat perverse nature of a band who swallowed much of pop music's history of accessibility, but had a fiercely uncompromising DIY aesthetic. Shirk says it is probably his favorite Soft Tags song.
Tip for End Hits?
Email them here.
Get the best of the Mercury each week in your inbox!