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Top 20 Sub Pop Albums

    For the first decade or so of its existence as a full-time record label, it seemed that Seattle’s Sub Pop Records was going to be synonymous with grunge. Sub Pop were key chroniclers of the fertile Seattle scene in the late-’80s and early-’90s, and were an early breeding ground for Soundgarden and Nirvana. After a decade living down grunge hype, a funny thing happened in the ’00s: Sub Pop going from faded alt-rock stalwarts to insanely-successful enterprise. It’s been a long and varied story over the label’s 20+ years on the job, but the music has been routinely awesome. Here, then, are 20 of the best Sub Pop LPs.

    1. Nirvana ‘Bleach’ (1989)

    Nirvana 'Bleach'Sub Pop Records

    When Bleach was released in 1989, few could’ve suspected it would be the album to define the entire decade of the ’90s. The debut album by Nirvana captured a time and place (turn-of-the-decade Seattle), in the form of energetic, propulsive rock’n’roll that seemed a culmination of the ten preceding years. The best $606.17 recording budget Sub Pop ever shilled out for over, Bleach bleeds abhorrent attitude, beginning with the generation-defining anthem “Negative Creep.” Where historical hindsight has it that the record was only a minor footnote until the success of Nevermind turned it into retroactive platinum, the reality is that Bleach was the culmination of the early, underground, garage-bound Sub Pop era.

    2. Mudhoney ‘Superfuzz Bigmuff Plus Early Singles’ (1990)

    Mudhoney 'Superfuzz Bigmuff Plus Early Singles'Sub Pop Records

    No band has been more synonymous with Sub Pop history that Seattle’s grunge reprobates Mudhoney, who’ve essentially served as the label’s flagship band —or, perhaps, the one band that can’t get rid of— from day ought ’til now. When the label initially unleashed Mudhoney’s debut LP, Superfuzz Bigmuff, the righteous slab of wax effectively put grunge-rock on the map. Two years later, re-packaged to cotton onto the new craze of ‘compact discs,’ it was made even better with the inclusion of stone-cold-classic single “Touch Me I’m Sick.” With Mark Arm screaming ridiculously over the top of the sludgy, Stooges-esque racket, it’s Mudhoney’s definitive jam: drunken, deranged, predisposed with vomit.

    3. Codeine ‘Frigid Stars LP’ (1991)

    Codeine 'Frigid Stars LP'Sub Pop Records

    Sub Pop’s first non-rocking signing was a radical one. New Yorker trio Codeine played spaced-out, slowed-down, opiate alt-rock at a snail’s pace. As guitarist John Engle laid out sheets of oft-atonal guitar, bassist Stephen Immerwahr kept Codeine’s flatlining pulse, playing plodding basslines and singing in a dispassionate monotone. Things like “Three angels/Holes in your socks” and “D for dishes/F for floors/Can’t make the grade anymore.” Lyrics so prosaic their simplicity became somehow profound; Immerwahr’s eked-out syllables carrying the carefully-carved precision of a haiku. Pushing things from whisper quiet to in-the-red loud, Codeine birthed the slowcore sound, presaged Mogwai by half-a-decade, and made one mighty on-the-nod album.

    Eric's Trip 'Love Tara'Sub Pop Records

    Long before Wolf Parade, scrappy New Brunswick kids Eric’s Trip (named, indeed, after a Sonic Youth song) were Sub Pop’s first Canadian signing. Inked at the height of grunge mania, they came bearing the requisite distorted guitar sludge, quiet-to-loud dynamics, and thrift-store threads. But Eric’s Trip were never built for big-time success in alternative-crossover era. Where grunge peddled angst, self-destruction, and sarcasm, Eric’s Trip were —for all their Dinosaur Jr-inspired guitar fuzz— sweet, romantic, and gently melancholy. Sure enough, the band’s bassist, Julie Doiron, went on to release two solo LPs for Sub Pop —1996’s Broken Girl and ’97’s Loneliest in the Morning— that are the quietest, frailest records to ever grace the label.

    5. Sebadoh ‘Bakesale’ (1994)

    Sebadoh 'Bakesale'Sub Pop Records

    After being infamously booted out of Dinosaur Jr, Lou Barlow spent his days and nights recording a confusing smattering of lo-fi ditties, recorded under the alternating names of Sebadoh and Sentridoh. By 1994, though, he’d settled on the former, and Sebadoh had settled into a (semi-) permanent band built around Barlow and bassist/foil Jason Lowenstein. The ever-scrappy combo came of age with Bakesale, the band’s best, most focused, most direct work. The record is a showcase for Barlow’s biting songwriting, which veers between sarcastic blasts of noise and bruised, bloodletting balladry; cuts like “Skull” and “Magnet’s Coil” classic lovesongs merely dressed in scrappy, indie-rock threads.

    Sunny Day Real Estate 'Diary'Sub Pop Records

    Thanks to the shifting tides of history, Sunny Day Real Estate’s electric debut LP has to wear an honor that, with each passing year, seems more and more like a millstone: for many, Diary is the album that catalyzed, crystallized, and truly kicked into life the emo movement. It bears no stylistic similarity to the eyeliner-caked Leto-ites of the current emo era; instead, Jeremy Enigk and crew leant on lessons taught by pioneers like The Hated and Embrace, and played punk music that wore its heart proudly on its sleeve. A righteous slab of emotive riffing, exuberant shouting, and quiet/loud balladry, Diary still attracts a cult-following today; not simply for historically-minded emo kids, but for any fan of massively anthemic alt-rock.

    7. Six Finger Satellite ‘Paranormalized’ (1996)

    Six Finger Satellite 'Paranormalized'Sub Pop Records

    Out of place and out of luck in the mid-’90s, Rhode Island’s Six Finger Satellite toiled in near-obscurity, barely able to drum up anything more than a small, cult following despite their signed-to-Sub-Pop status. The Providence combo’s post-punk-inspired marriage of twitchy guitars and blobby synths ran counter to popular alternative movements of the time, but budding acts like The Rapture and Les Savy Fav took notice, adopting Six Finger Satellite as influential role-models. John MacLean’s subsequent solo success as disco-punk dance act The Juan MacLean —not to mention the proliferation of tight-pant’d post-punk posses that arose in the mid-’00s— showed that Paranormalized was simply an album that arrived ahead of the pop-cultural curve.

    8. Saint Etienne ‘Good Humor’ (1998)

    Saint Etienne 'Good Humor'Sub Pop Records
    Few remember that soft-pop heroes Saint Etienne were once signed, Stateside, to Sub Pop. And, if they do, it’s usually as symbol of how this one-time staunchly local, independent label lost its way in the late-’90s. Yet, whether Good Humor is even associated with Sub Pop is immaterial: they pressed up copies of one of the great albums by the eternally-underrated Londoners, and that’s what we’re here to laud. Tripping off to Tore Johansson’s studios in Stockholm, Saint Etienne shelved their acid-house/disco fixations for an album steeped in vintage soul; all rich piano chords, sugary strings, pushbeat bass, and Sarah Cracknell’s golden-girl vocals. The insistent melody of singalong single “The Bad Photographer” still persists ’til this day.

    9. Damon & Naomi ‘With Ghost’ (2000)

    Damon & Naomi 'With Ghost'Sub Pop Records
    Former Galaxie 500 rhythm-section Damon Krukowski and Naomi Yang had already crafted a couple of tender, melancholy LPs for Sub Pop by the time they hooked up with Japanese hippies Ghost. It proved a blessed union: Michio Kurihara’s deft, glistening guitar playing bringing out the psychedelic heart beating deep within Damon and Naomi’s normally-restrained acid-folk. The resultant, resplendent album finds nine gently numbers glowing with the warmth of newly-blown glass; none more beautiful than Yang’s impassioned reading of Nico’s Tim Hardin-penned “Eulogy to Lenny Bruce.” A follow-up live-album/road-movie, 2002’s Song to the Siren, was maybe even better, crowning an underrated run of impressive artistry for an oft-forgotten Sub Pop signing.

    10. The Shins ‘Oh, Inverted World’ (2001)

    The Shins 'Oh, Inverted World'Sub Pop Records
    No one knew it then, but The Shins’ debut LP effectively marked the start of a new era at Sub Pop; where the musically-lean days of the late-’90s would give way to a unbridled, unexpected success in the next century. The Albuquerque-born combo didn’t seem likely types for unit-shifting success; they were, really, an unpretentious indie-pop outfit. But James Mercer’s songs were really good; and if Oh, Inverted World wasn’t an all-killer first effort, its irrepressible high-points —”Caring Is Creepy,” “New Slang,” “Know Your Onion!”— peaked really high. In the new online-centric era of the new millennium, The Shins’ found a solid following that grew slowly, until that really bad Garden State movie expedited their rise to the big-time in 2004.

    11. Ugly Casanova ‘Sharpen Your Teeth’ (2002)

    Ugly Casanova 'Sharpen Your Teeth'Sub Pop Records

    Taking respite from Modest Mouse after the supposed ‘commercial failure’ of major-label debut The Moon and Antarctica, Isaac Brock made a solo-ish album wielding the countryish licks he’d been whetting since 1997’s The Lonesome Crowded West. Working outside his rockband for the first time, Brock obviously felt a musical freedom: there’s a genuine sense of musical adventure in the Brian Deck-produced studio experimentalism that shrouds these twangy tunes. As songwriter, Brock’s Ugly Casanova obsessions were the same as always: the album finding him continuing his career-long lyrical study of mortality. Two years later, back at the helm of his rock day-job, Brock’d go multi-platinum with Modest Mouse’s Good News for People Who Love Bad News.

    12. Iron & Wine ‘The Creek Drank the Cradle’ (2002)

    Iron & Wine 'The Creek Drank the Cradle'Sub Pop Records
    Sam Beam had home-recorded a set of frail, barely-whispered lullabies late, late nights; the bearded bard rolling tape on a dusty four-track after his wife and newborn had gone to bed. The recordings were passed on to Sub Pop boss-man Jonathan Poneman by Isaac Brock, and the label released them as they were; knowing that part of the magic of The Creek Drank the Cradle was the way Beam’s ballads nestled gently amidst blankets of white-noise, tape-hiss, and room hum. Releasing his first-ever recordings, Sub Pop presented a songsmith whose softly-sung lyrics spoke of a mythical, Falknerian South full of riverbeds, trees, and animals; this Iron and Wine LP promising a sense of audio escapism with every spin.

    13. The Thermals ‘More Parts Per Million’ (2003)

    The Thermals 'More Parts Per Million'Sub Pop Records
    It got lost in all the concurrent unit shifting of The Shins and The Postal Service, but the arrival of The Thermals’ debut was a pronouncement that Sub Pop was back in form. The Thermals were an attempt by longtime lo-fi foot-soldiers Hutch Harris and Kathy Foster (who’d done time in Urban Legends and Hutch & Kathy) to “go back to [their] punk-rock youth.” So, they bunkered down in a basement, and rolled tape on on a set of saturated-in-noise pop-punk jams played loud, fast, bratty, and anthemic. These were effectively demos, and during their bleak Warner-helmed years, the label probably would’ve stuck The Thermals in a slick studio after signing them. Instead, here, they dished up the cuts up as-is, and the world rejoiced in turn.

    14. The Postal Service ‘Give Up’ (2003)

    The Postal Service 'Give Up'Sub Pop Records

    Jimmy Tamborello was stuck, trying to make a follow up to Life Is Full Of Possibilities, the epic 2001 disc from his death-obsessed project Dntel. So, at the suggestion of Sub Pop bigwigs, the Los Angelino electro boffin started trading tapes with Death Cab for Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard, whom he’d collaborated with on the cut “(This Is) The Dream Of Evan And Chan.” Going back-and-forth through the post (hence the band-name), the original-odd-couple struck upon a fruitful union; Tamborello’s precise beatmaking and Gibbard’s self-conscious lyricism making for some of the best sad-electro-songs-you-can-still-dance-to since New Order. The album became one of ’03’s sleeper hits; Give Up giving Sub Pop their first Gold Record since Bleach.

    Wolf Parade 'Apologies to the Queen Mary'Sub Pop Records
    Like Iron and Wine and The Shins, Canuck indie-rockers Wolf Parade were brought Sub Pop’s way by their one-time, part-time A&R, Isaac Brock. The Modest Mouse main-man took his involvement in Wolf Parade a step further, producing their debut LP. Arriving at a time in which Montréal was swamped in Seattle-esque hype —thanks to the colossal success of Wolf Parade’s pals Arcade Fire— Apologies to the Queen Mary bolted out of the blocks, earning the band instant acclaim and fandom en masse. The album set co-songwriters Dan Boeckner and Spencer Krug against each other in a song-by-song battle; and, with “You Are a Runner and I Am My Father’s Son,” “Dear Sons and Daughters of Hungry Ghosts,” and “I’ll Believe in Anything,” Krug won by KO.

    16. Band of Horses ‘Everything All the Time’ (2006)

    Band of Horses 'Everything All the Time'Sub Pop Records
    Ben Bridwell spent eight years in indie-rock outfit Carissa’s Wierd [sic] —the Seattle scene’s eternal bridesmaids— but the bassist/drummer had never written a song of his own. When the band fell apart in 2004, Bridwell camped out in their abandoned rehearsal space, picking up guitar for the first time in his life. It was slow going at first, but soon he struck his own musical chord: a romantic, reverbed-out, shoegaze-informed take on Southern-Rock. After opening for Iron and Wine, Bridwell’s project, Band of Horses, were inked by Sub Pop. They delivered Everything All the Time, a debut which sounded eerily like the early albums of My Morning Jacket, yet found a huge audience for its plaintive, wall-of-sound take on Americana. 17. Fleet Foxes ‘Fleet Foxes’ (2008)
    Fleet Foxes 'Fleet Foxes'Sub Pop Records
    A crew of local Seattle boys who fell into Sub Pop’s laps, Fleet Foxes came from nowhere to be suddenly everywhere in 2008; a band barely known at year’s beginning ending it lodged atop countless best-of lists. All scruffy beards and resplendent four-part harmonies, their debut played on folkie myths; their devotion to the spiritual qualities of communal singing summoning summer nights on porches and winter eves round fires. Lead by strikingly-talented songwriter Robin Pecknold —blessed with an uncommon sense of harmony and a cracked, Neil Young-ish tenor— the band’s country-psych-ish jams were —like Band of Horses‐ delivered with that reverbed-to-the-hilt production of early My Morning Jacket LPs, and the effect was endlessly evocative.

    18. No Age ‘Nouns’ (2008)

    No Age 'Nouns'Sub Pop Records
    After a strange, commercially-unsuccessful two-album dalliance with white-noise shamanists Wolf Eyes, a few eyebrows were raised when Sub Pop signed Los Angeles duo No Age, whose 2007 debut Weirdo Rippers was a work of nasty noise-rock cacophony. And, yet, it proved one of Sub Pop’s most prescient, successful moves: the band’s second LP, Nouns, arriving right at the crest of a nascent noisy-indie-rock revival. Drawing from various guitar gods of the ’80s —Sonic Youth, Hüsker Dü, My Bloody Valentine— guitarist Randy Randall unleashed fistfuls of effects-scorched riffs, whilst drummer/vocalist Dean Spunt pounded and yelped with a hardcore kid’s fury. In the space of 30 minutes, Nouns delivered No Age from obscurity unto popularity.

    Handsome Furs 'Face Control'Sub Pop Records
    After making an unsure debut with 2007’s Plague Park, side-projecting Wolf Parade songwriter Dan Boeckner and his wife Alexei Perry turned around and used the exact same elements —blunt drum-machine thunk, overdriven guitar, Boeckner’s Beck-like moan— to make author a follow-up album that was streets better in every sense. Loud, bold, and brash, the set of stark post-punk-ish jams added up, lyrically, to a Russian travelogue headed due East. But, rather than being some work of Soviet kitsch, Face Control —with its titular reference to Moscow nightclub policy— is a study in contemporary Russia; its songs riddled with the oligarchy, kleptocracy, government-mandated murder, and resumed Cold War posturing of Vladimir Putin’s neo-Soviet Union.

    20. Beach House ‘Teen Dream’ (2010)

    Beach House 'Teen Dream'Sub Pop Records
    Baltimore’s Beach House already had a pair of impressive albums and a cult following behind them when they inked to Sub Pop in 2009. The signing paid immediate dividends, Beach House releasing the sparkling, crystalline Teen Dream —the best album of their young career— mere months later. Summoning a summer’s-night haze of pulsing organ chords, rippling piano, washes of overdriven slide-guitar, Teen Dream, is, as its title attest, a work steeped in sexual tension; something Victoria Legrand’s deep, moaning vocals all too obviously embody. Such hot-under-the-collar sound struck a chord with a broader audience; Beach House’s first record for Sub Pop proving to be their breakout.
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    July 29, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

    Collection of Lady Gaga’s shoes

    July 18, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

    Alternative Medicine and Heart Attack Recovery

    For optimal heart attack recovery, it’s important to follow a heart-healthy diet, manage your stress, and stick with the exercise program prescribed by your doctor. In some cases, adding alternative therapies to your health routine may further improve your heart health and overall well-being.

    Alternative Therapies and Heart Attack Recovery

    Although few studies have explored alternative medicine’s usefulness in heart attack recovery, there’s some evidence that certain natural therapies may benefit heart attack patients. For instance, a 2004 research review suggests that incorporating yoga into cardiac rehabilitation programs may help promote recovery.

    In a 2006 research review, investigators found that meditation may aid in cardiac rehabilitation by reducing stress. And in a 2003 review, researchers concluded that adding tai chi to standard care may help enhance heart health and quality of life among heart attack patients.

    Other Natural Approaches to Heart Attack Recovery

    Since there are many different factors involved in heart attack recovery, your recovery program might include the following elements:

    1) Stress Management

    Chronic stress can take a toll on your heart health. To manage your stress, consider adding relaxation techniques and mind-body therapies (such as Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and guided imagery) to your health routine.

    2) Mood Management

    Many patients experience symptoms of depression after suffering a heart attack. To help boost your mood, make sure to maintain your social connections, get a good night’s sleep, and exercise regularly (according to your doctor’s recommendations). You may also want to consider joining a support group.

    3) A Heart-Healthy Diet

    Following a heart-healthy diet may help stave off future problems related to heart disease. Make sure to stick with the dietary recommendations provided by your doctor, which will most likely include focusing on whole foods (especially fruits and vegetables), cutting back on cholesterol, choosing complex carbohydrates over simple carbohydrates, curbing your sodium intake, and selecting healthy fats (such as those found in fish oil and flaxseed).

    4) Smoking Cessation

    If you smoke, consider using natural remedies to quit smoking (such as hypnosis).

    5) Weight Control

    Because being overweight can threaten your heart health, it’s important to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. If you need to lose weight, talk to your doctor about safe and effective strategies for weight loss (which may include certain natural approaches).

    Should You Use Alternative Medicine for Heart Attack Recovery?

    If you’re interested in integrating any type of alternative medicine into your heart attack recovery program, make sure to consult your physician before beginning treatment. Because your heart may be vulnerable to further damage, it’s crucial to work closely with your doctor in maintaining your heart health (rather than attempting to self-treat your condition with remedies or therapies that may not be suited to your health needs).

    Sources:

    Arthur HM, Patterson C, Stone JA. “The role of complementary and alternative therapies in cardiac rehabilitation: a systematic evaluation.” Eur J Cardiovasc Prev Rehabil. 2006 13(1):3-9.

    Cleveland Clinic. “Recovery after a heart attack“.

    Jayasinghe SR. “Yoga in cardiac health (a review).” Eur J Cardiovasc Prev Rehabil. 2004 Oct;11(5):369-75.

    Taylor-Piliae RE. “Tai Chi as an adjunct to cardiac rehabilitation exercise training.” J Cardiopulm Rehabil. 2003 Mar-Apr;23(2):90-6.

    July 13, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

    Julianne Moore Talks About ‘The Kids Are All Right’

    Annette Bening and Julianne Moore photo The Kids Are All RightAnnette Bening and Julianne Moore in ‘The Kids Are All Right.’

    © Focus Features

    Julianne Moore and Annette Bening play a married couple with two children in the relationship drama The Kids Are All Right. Written and directed by Lisa Cholodenko (Laurel Canyon), The Kids Are All Right examines what happens when the lesbian couple’s two teenage children (played by Mia Wasikowska and Josh Hutcherson) make contact with the man (Mark Ruffalo) who donated the sperm their mothers chose to use for artificial insemination. Introducing their biological father to their parents causes unforeseen problems and forever alters the family dynamics.

    At the LA press day for the Focus Features film, Moore revealed she was the first actor to sign on to the project. “I think we met, it was like a ‘Women in Film’ luncheon,” recalled Moore on her first meeting with Cholodenko. “It was in this hotel and I said how much I loved her movies. I loved Laurel Canyon. I loved High Art. I was like, ‘Why didn’t I see the script to High Art?’ It was a very actory thing to say and she was like, ‘Uh, I think you were working.’ And I’m like, ‘Mm, I don’t think so.’ So yes, that was when we met. And she sent me [this] so I was the first person I think to sign on to it, but I love Lisa’s work. I love her.”

    And Moore’s love also extends to Jules, her character in the film. “I love how she’s someone who’s so kind of present emotionally and so good at connecting with people and communicating but is incredibly lost. Her first child, her oldest child is leaving for college, the next one’s going to go probably in a couple years and she’s sort of at this point where she’s like, ‘What have I been doing for the last 18 years or what am I going to do with the rest of it?’ So like [Annette Bening’s character] Nic says, she really puts the car before the horse. She acts as if. She just puts it out there and drags it in and what she drags back is not the most helpful thing. But the searching quality I really loved about her.”

    “I think she’s smart,” added Moore. “It’s interesting emotionally. I think she’s the one who’s got the antenna. I think that’s what I like. I like that she kind of feels first and thinks later.”

    Moore and Bening play a couple who’ve been married for a long time, have two teenagers, and have gone through all the normal ups and downs that come with years of being together as a couple. They’re also affectionate and loving. That part of the character and how they handled showing it onscreen came organically to both Moore and Bening. “I think the thing Annette and I have going for us is that we’ve both been married for a really long time and we’re both parents,” explained Moore. “We’ve been in these kind of committed situations for a long time so the degree of affection that we showed to one another was, I think, concomitant to how the characters felt about each other and how connected they were. So even though there’s different stuff going on with them, they still touch each other and sit on the couch together and kiss each other hello.”

    “I love the scene where she’s obviously the one that’s more shaken up by the knowledge of them wanting to find their dad, so we kind of did this thing where I put my arm around her like that because she’s like shell-shocked. So, yeah, we wanted them to be affectionate and married.”

    Cholodenko’s script called for each of the moms to be the biological mother of one of the children, and Moore said that that’s not uncommon in real relationships. “It depends on the couple. It really depends on the couple whether or not one…in male couples that I’ve met too sometimes they’ll both be sperm donors and use the same egg donor, or they’ll use somebody’s sister’s egg. This one couple I know used the sister’s egg and one of the partner’s sperm. It’s like all this weird whatever. Whatever you decide, whatever, but I think I kind of like that idea that they both had a child biologically and that there were some genetic resemblances as well. I thought that was kind of cool. When you look at me and Josh, you wouldn’t think but then you kind of go, ‘Oh yeah, yeah, they look alike,’ and then Mia and Annette. There’s something similar, and I think we all kind of did it a little bit unconsciously too because it was kind of an interesting idea.”

    July 9, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

    Adrien Brody and Walton Goggins Talk About ‘Predators’

    Alice Braga, Walton Goggins and Adrien Brody photo from PredatorsAlice Braga, Walton Goggins and Adrien Brody in ‘Predators.’

    © 20th Century Fox

    Oscar-winner Adrien Brody (The Pianist) has been a fan of all things Predator since catching the original film in theaters back in 1987, and it’s still a bit surreal to him that he now gets to star in the latest addition to the franchise,Predators. At the Los Angeles press conference for the 20th Century Fox film, Brody recalled checking out the first film: “I was probably 14, opening weekend, smoking cigarettes in the front row in Queens. I remember the theater. I remember one of my really good friends who was with me, and probably the other two kids – my little crew. Whatever, we were there opening weekend and doing our Schwarzenegger impressions for the rest of the week. It had a profound impact on me as an adolescent.”

    Joining Brody in LA to discuss the action thriller was Walton Goggins who plays ‘Stans’ inPredators. Together the two provided some insight into life on the Predators set and the lasting appeal of the franchise.

    Adrien Brody and Walton Goggins PredatorsPress Conference

    How did you get into Royce’s head, or was that inseparable from getting into him physically?Adrien Brody: “Thank you for, yes, pointing out there is more to it than physical abilities. You know they do go hand in hand. It is an interesting thing and it’s always surprising to me how much of it is an emotional, psychological transformation that ensues with the physical transformation. I experienced that with The Pianist. Obviously, if you feel strong and look good, your confidence level grows and vice versa. In addition to feeling strong, I had restricted my diet in a way, and my lifestyle, in an effort to harness everything that I had in my power to be ferocious and keep that contained. For the first time since college, I had lifted really heavy weights to put on size. I think that is a very different workout process than I’m used to, and that creates additional testosterone – your body chemistry changes. ”

    “Again, I felt that that physical transformation was important. I spent a lot of time cultivating the qualities I felt Royce would possess, that put him in a leadership position. I poured over military manuals and field guides and even read… It is interesting. Walton actually gave me a book from Thich Nhat Hanh, a Buddhist book. I was also reading Sun Tzu and another kind of eastern philosophy. Just as much as I could to kind of create someone who has a sense of control, awareness, awareness in the moment, and the ability to not let the fear that would naturally ensue to paralyze him, but to actually propel him into being a warrior. And the way you have that is from technical and tactical prowess.”

    Walton Goggins: “Stans, on the other hand, he digressed. He just read Playboy – I just read Playboy – just sitting in prison. You know, it’s interesting. The thing about the physicality for actors, you have to think about it and once you get that down, then the rest of it starts to fall into place. For me, Stans is the guy who is incarcerated for the better part of the 20 years, and I didn’t really think about this until I got there. After having thought about his time in jail, there was one piece that I kind of missed. I talked about it with Nimrod the first day and I said, ‘You know, Stans hasn’t walked for more than six feet in one direction for 15 years, except for maybe once a week or something like that to be taken to the shower. You know, he is not socialized. He is not around people.’ And so, I guess my preparation was almost the antithesis of Adrien’s in that this is a guy who has never been in the woods, much less the jungle. He has Stan Smith, kind of high top Converse, prison-issued tennis shoes on. All of it’s weird. His walk is weird. You are walking for miles. I mean, that’s crazy! I was in a cell yesterday. This doesn’t make sense. So my physical preparation was the lack of physical preparation, which was really interesting for me as an actor. That had never happened before.”

    By the time you start talking about how much raping you were going to do, the audience is waiting to see what sort of death comes to you from the Predator. Were you sort of building up to making the audience want that? Were you trying to create a character where the audience takes joy in how he gets it?

    Walton Goggins: “You know, it’s funny that was your reaction. I think, for me, I’ve made four movies with my partner, so I’m very aware of what it’s like to take an audience through an experience being behind the camera. For me, what was so important about that scene in particular, from a filmmaker’s stand point and then from an actor’s stand point, was it was the first time in the movie where everyone’s kind of quiet and the people that are left are in a foxhole, and you are able for a minute to just let the air out and see these people – like observe these people – and I actually thought if I can make the audience think I’m going to say something sentimental and kind of lull them in a sense of, ‘You know, we are all in this together and I just can’t wait to get home and have a hamburger,’ and then he goes off, ‘I can’t wait to get home and do a bunch of cocaine!’ [Laughing] Because in his mind, he thinks, ‘You know what? I’m going to get off this planet and I’m going to be an even bigger celebrity when I get back home. There is no way they are going to put me back in jail.’ For me, I looked at it as a…”

    Adrien Brody: “Delusion.”

    Walton Goggins: “Yeah! And being a moment of comic relief for the audience to sit back and laugh for a minute, and to bring this team together in a very intimate setting. I’ll just say one other thing real quick. My struggle, or not struggle, but my blessing and curse as an actor has been from The Shield to a lot of things that I’ve done, has been to take someone on paper that the audience should hate immediately – you know this guy and you will not like him – and then kind of turn it around and make you feel for him: make you laugh, let you in, and paint him three-dimensional. Yeah, you look for your place in a movie.”

    Adrien, we just learned you were up for a different role before you got this role. It also seems that your more recent roles are different. Are you trying to redefine yourself as an actor?

    Adrien Brody: “It’s surprising to me sometimes when people are surprised at my choices. It seems that they are more surprised as of late. As an actor, I have made a conscious decision to do my best to not repeat myself so that I keep it interesting, the process, for myself and for the people that have seen my work. I have looked long and hard for an opportunity like this and it’s not something that I just decided upon lately. It’s a challenge, I think, when you establish yourself as a certain type of actor or an actor that has not has an opportunity to be seen in a physical role like this or an action film. And to win the endorsement of a studio, which I understand is making practical business decisions as well, and I am grateful that I had the support of Robert [Rodriguez] initially and then Nimrod.”

    “There was interest in another role that didn’t appeal to me. I look at this as an opportunity to do something really special within a type of film that I love, and that I feel sometimes historically Hollywood has had an over reliance on physical brawn as a way to portray a strong man, but that strength has to come from within. I felt that it was very important, especially in today’s audiences with young people, we are all, unfortunately, very familiar with what young soldiers look like and they are not dissimilar to my build. I think military leadership comes from a tactical and technical confidence and skill set and an intellectual strength and a self-reliance, and all these qualities that do make him a leader. And, yes, I did feel like I had to make a physical transformation because I think on one level it is exciting for an audience to see that – and I like to see that. I like to see, even if the character is villainous, a heroic character look strong. But I didn’t want to rely on that transformation for me to convey what I feel is necessary in portraying a leading man in a film.”

    “It’s a big coup for me. It’s a big deal for me. I’m very protective of this material because I’m a big fan of the original. I’m also respectful to fans and I wanted to give them what they wanted, and hopefully elevate the material as well.”

    Adrien Brody and Alice Braga photo from PredatorsAdrien Brody and Alice Braga in ‘Predators.’

    © 20th Century Fox

    Adrien Brody and Walter Goggins Predators Press Conference

    Was there a moment that was particularly challenging during filming?Walter Goggins: “I don’t know that there wasn’t a day that wasn’t challenging. Honestly. I mean, the movie started off in Hawaii and it was, you know, 95 degrees and 89% humidity, so we were all soaking wet for most of the day. Where we were filming, I think the biggest predators that aren’t seen in this movie are the mosquitoes.”

    Adrien Brody: “Yes.”

    Walter Goggins: “Which were enormous. And you can’t really sit down. Everybody is uncomfortable. It is very hard to work in a situation like that. And not just for the actors, but for the crew. It is very difficult to set shots up. Then we left Hawaii and went back to Austin where it was warm for two days and then it dropped down into the 40s, to the 30s, and to the 20s, but you have to match the movie so we were soaking wet. We would get sprayed down before every take when it is 20 degrees outside. It was very physically challenging, I think, for all of us. Adrien had it the worst.”

    “Yeah, every day was tough. I will say that there was one day, speaking of what you just said about reading the script and looking at jumping over waterfalls, there was one day where that actually crystallized for all of us at the same moment and we were looking at the stuntmen doing high falls – like an 80 foot fall off of a waterfall – and we had the opportunity to just jump in the water and come up out of the water as if we just made the fall. And when we looked at each other we said, ‘This is really happening. We are really characters in aPredator sequel.’ We all hugged and jumped up and down and were screaming. It was a very unique experience as an actor to experience that with people who were in your foxhole.”

    Were there any scenes you shot that might end up on the DVD release of the film? Also, is there any possibility of a sequel?

    Adrien Brody: “Well, you know, I think a lot of that is determined by the success of the film and I don’t think that far ahead. I think the idea of reprising a role and going further into that character sounds interesting to me and isn’t something I’ve had the opportunity to do. It would be exciting to watch a character progress or deteriorate. That’s exciting for an actor, and I thoroughly enjoyed playing Royce. Again, part of the attraction is I’m often drawn to material that affects me on an emotional level and the characters are dealing with things that are challenging and that I would question and things that I’m not necessarily familiar with. What I loved about Royce was that he had this emotional hardness that most of the characters that I’ve played don’t come close to possessing, and that’s an interesting state of mind to cultivate and stay in.”

    “As for deleted scenes, it is hard. I’m sure there is stuff that didn’t end up in the film. I’m sure there will be things. I’ve seen it once and I was kind of awestruck at both loving the film and simultaneously being so proud to be in it. I was so excited. It brought me back to being a child and watching Predator and being like, ‘I love this f–king movie.’ Then, ‘That’s me! In it!’ It was so, so exciting. It was a gift when I saw it, so I wasn’t dissecting it. I was looking for where we might screw up, but I didn’t dissect it.”

    Walter Goggins: “You know there are casualties, scene casualties, in kind of everything that you do and things that you were pretty proud of on the day, and you may have seen a cut version of it that don’t make the film, but will be on the DVD. I think that was kind of across the board, scenes here and there. There was one scene for Stans that I was really disappointed that didn’t make it, but I understand why. It will make the DVD. It was a scene where Stans goes up to Alice Braga’s character and it’s very funny and kind of like heartwarming, and it just basically makes a pitch that, ‘We’re going to die, I know we’re going to die, and I haven’t had sex with a girl in a long time. Please, can I at least just kiss you?’ You know, and she just shuts him down and walks away. But, it was very funny.”

    Adrien Brody: “But it was not as polite as he is saying. Believe me.”

    Sometimes there can be a very fine line between action hero and camp and you have spoken a lot about characters that have a lot of emotional resonance. At any point, did you want to push it into the camp?

    Adrien Brody: “Of course! It’s tempting under the circumstances. You have to really have a lot of self-control. Always, always as an actor you have to rein it in because sometimes, you know, even having a sense of humor about certain things can distract you from having a cleaner, purer character. Obviously, certain films require it and are fun. I did a very broad comedy called High School where I played this Francis Ford Coppola of the weed growing industry. That character is as broad as it gets. Again, I felt that it was important that that character be intimidating, as well, even though it was very comical.”

    “It is a fine line. You have opportunities with certain lines that, you know, you have to be playful with, but for the most part you need to rein it in and be sincere. You can’t be an external thing or else it feels like an external thing, unless that’s the whole tone of something you are doing, but that hasn’t appealed to me just yet. I haven’t found a role that spoke to me like that.”

    “Again, I think I explained at length what was important for me and also I want to create a character that young people today can relate to, that they can believe in, that’s not superficial and not a superhero, but someone who is flawed and tragic. This is a man who has suffered tremendous loss both of his own soul and of people who were dear to him in the path to get to where he is. Being a survivor is a very lonely, very isolated place to be. He has lost most of his humanity, but a little remains. For me to squander it by kind of goofing off would be a waste. That’s why I said earlier this means too much to me to kind of play with it. I take that responsibility and I take that very personally. Again, I feel it’s important for me to deliver that to the audience and for them to have that when they go see a film.”

    Walter Goggins: “I think it is also a testament to you as an actor. I have had the opportunity to work with a lot of my heroes and I see the way they approach the work, and comedy is serious business, and drama is serious business. Whenever you are on location working, or whether you are at home working, you are there to do a job and that requires an extraordinary amount of focus. If you don’t take it serious, go home because there are a lot of other people standing in line that can probably do just as good a job.”

    You know Arnold Schwarzenegger loved saying, “Hasta la vista, baby.” You know he did.

    Walter Goggins: “Yeah. Absolutely.”

    Adrien Brody: “It’s a tonal thing. I think this is a darker storyline. Like I said, there is room to keep things entertaining and there is room for moments of lightness and playfulness with the work. But again, the general theme here is to be rooted in reality and create a sense of constant threat level and constant looming over all of us. I think, you know, it’s not meant to be that.”

    Walter Goggins: “But there are many one-liners in this movie, as well. Stan’s line, ‘Die you space faggot.’ You gotta say that and sell it! And, yeah, I had a great time saying it! [Laughing] I had a great time saying, ‘Your ass is awesome.’ Great time saying, ‘I can’t wait to get home and do a bunch of cocaine.’ But, tonally, it kind of fits in the story and you kind of pick your places, and hopefully you don’t wink at the audience unless that’s what’s required.”

    One of the many things that stands out about this movie is all the blood, sweat, and grime. It is something you don’t see anymore in big, summer movies, like back in the ’80s. Can you talk about how grimy and sweaty you got?

    Adrien Brody: “He got pretty grimy. There were bugs. I would stay away from him because there would be swarms of insects coming to the stage blood. That blood is sugar-based and he was covered in it.”

    Walter Goggins: “Stans gets his ass kicked by pretty much everything on the planet. Look, you’re actors getting the opportunity to be on an alien planet and get chased by Predators. What greater situation can an actor find himself in? So yeah, I think there was a lot of joy in, ‘Let’s bring it on!’ This isn’t about looking pretty, you know? ‘Let’s get chased!’ I think we reveled in it. I think we – I did – I took a lot of enjoyment out of it.”

    July 9, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

    Guided Imagery and Cancer

    For people coping with cancer, guided imagery may help alleviate a number of emotional and physical problems. A technique that involves using visualization to achieve deep relaxation, guided imagery has been found to ease stress, improve mood, reduce pain, and offer several other health benefits to cancer patients.

    Using Guided Imagery in Cancer Care

    While guided imagery cannot fight cancer itself, the technique may help treat certain cancer-related complications. Although there are many different approaches to guided imagery, the technique often involves visualizing yourself in a peaceful place. When used as an adjunct treatment for cancer (and other health conditions), guided imagery may also involve visualizing specific images associated with healing.

    Learn more about how to practice guided imagery.

    Benefits of Guided Imagery for Cancer Patients

    Guided imagery appears to increase comfort and support psychological well-being in people with cancer, according to a 2005 research review of six clinical trials. Here’s a look at other studies on guided imagery and cancer care:

    1) Guided Imagery and Cancer Pain

    In a 2003 pilot study of 62 hospitalized cancer patients currently experiencing pain, researchers found that using guided imagery audiotapes helped reduce pain intensity. Study results suggest that patients with greater visualization abilities may be more likely to experience pain reduction when using guided imagery.

    2) Guided Imagery and Mood

    Guided imagery may help boost mood and improve quality of life for people with cancer, according to a 2001 study of eight people with a history of cancer. For 10 weeks, half the participants took part in weekly sessions that combined guided imagery and music. Compared to study subjects assigned to a waitlist, the treatment group experienced greater improvements in mood and quality of life.

    3) Guided Imagery and Immune Response

    Preliminary research indicates that guided imagery may improve immune function in people with cancer. In a 2008 pilot study of 28 breast cancer patients, for instance, those who took part in a guided imagery and relaxation program prior to undergoing surgery experienced increased activity in natural killer cells (known to play a key role in immune defense).

    Should You Use Guided Imagery in Cancer Treatment?

    Although there’s no evidence that guided imagery can directly combat cancer, using guided imagery may be of some benefit to cancer patients (especially in terms of emotional health). A number of other alternative therapies and techniques (such as yogameditation, and Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) may also help you cope with cancer-related complications (as well as the adverse effects of cancer treatments like radiation andchemotherapy).

    If you’re interested in using guided imagery (or any type of alternative therapy) as an adjunct to your standard cancer care, talk to your doctor about finding the healing approach best suited to your needs.

    Sources:

    Burns DS. “The effect of the bonny method of guided imagery and music on the mood and life quality of cancer patients.” J Music Ther. 2001 Spring;38(1):51-65.

    Eremin O, Walker MB, Simpson E, Heys SD, Ah-See AK, Hutcheon AW, Ogston KN, Sarkar TK, Segar A, Walker LG. “Immuno-modulatory effects of relaxation training and guided imagery in women with locally advanced breast cancer undergoing multimodality therapy: a randomised controlled trial.” Breast. 2009 18(1):17-25.

    Kwekkeboom KL, Kneip J, Pearson L. “A pilot study to predict success with guided imagery for cancer pain.” Pain Manag Nurs. 2003 4(3):112-23.

    Roffe L, Schmidt K, Ernst E. “A systematic review of guided imagery as an adjuvant cancer therapy.” Psychooncology. 2005 14(8):607-17.

    July 6, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

    Health Benefits of Bacopa

    Bacopa (Bacopa monnieri) is an herb long used in ayurveda (the traditional medicine of India). Although ayurvedic healers typically use bacopa to treat anxiety and memory disorders, bacopa is also touted as a natural remedy for hypothyroidism.

    Benefits of Bacopa

    To date, few studies have tested the health effects of bacopa. However, research suggests that the herb shows promise in treatment and/or prevention of the following health problems:

    1) Memory Disorders

    Several studies indicate that bacopa may help preserve memory and enhance cognitive function. In a 2001 study of healthy adults, for instance, participants who took 300 mg of bacopa for 12 weeks showed significant improvements in memory (in addition to learning and anxiety). And in a 2008 study of 48 dementia-free older adults (ages 65 and up), researchers found that 12 weeks of treatment with bacopa (at a dose of 300 mg per day) led to significant improvements in memory, depression, anxiety, and heart rate.

    2) Alzheimer’s Disease

    Findings from animal studies and test-tube research suggest that bacopa may help fight Alzheimer’s disease. In a 2008 study of brain cells in culture, for example, scientists discovered thatantioxidants in bacopa helped suppress oxidative stress (a destructive process thought to contribute to Alzheimer’s disease). And in a 2010 study on rats with an animal model of Alzheimer’s disease, bacopa appeared to preserve memory and protect against loss of function in brain cells.

    3) Stress

    A 2002 study on rats shows that bacopa may help alter the activity of certain enzymes involved in the stress response, suggesting that bacopa could allow the brain “to be prepared to act under adverse conditions such as stress.”

    Bacopa Side Effects

    Although bacopa is generally considered safe, it may cause side effects such as dry mouth, nausea, and muscle fatigue.

    Should You Take Bacopa?

    Given the lack of scientific proof behind bacopa, the herb cannot be recommended for any condition. If you’re considering the use of bacopa, make sure to consult your physician before you begin taking the herb.

    Sources:

    Calabrese C, Gregory WL, Leo M, Kraemer D, Bone K, Oken B. “Effects of a standardized Bacopa monnieri extract on cognitive performance, anxiety, and depression in the elderly: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.” J Altern Complement Med. 2008 14(6):707-13.

    Chowdhuri DK, Parmar D, Kakkar P, Shukla R, Seth PK, Srimal RC. “Antistress effects of bacosides of Bacopa monnieri: modulation of Hsp70 expression, superoxide dismutase and cytochrome P450 activity in rat brain.” Phytother Res. 2002 16(7):639-45.

    Limpeanchob N, Jaipan S, Rattanakaruna S, Phrompittayarat W, Ingkaninan K. “Neuroprotective effect of Bacopa monnieri on beta-amyloid-induced cell death in primary cortical culture.” J Ethnopharmacol. 2008 30;120(1):112-7.

    Stough C, Lloyd J, Clarke J, Downey LA, Hutchison CW, Rodgers T, Nathan PJ. “The chronic effects of an extract of Bacopa monniera (Brahmi) on cognitive function in healthy human subjects.” Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2001 156(4):481-4.

    Uabundit N, Wattanathorn J, Mucimapura S, Ingkaninan K. “Cognitive enhancement and neuroprotective effects of Bacopa monnieri in Alzheimer’s disease model.” J Ethnopharmacol. 2010 8;127(1):26-31.

    July 6, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

    Stool – Healthy and Unhealthy Stool

    Alternative practitioners often ask clients about their stool as part of their assessment. Find out what normal stool should look like, and learn about the causes of green stool, pale stool, yellow stool, blood in stool, mucus in stool, pencil thin stool, infrequent stool, and more.

    What Does an Ideal Bowel Movement Look Like?

    An ideal bowel movement is medium brown, the color of plain cardboard. It leaves the body easily with no straining or discomfort. It should have the consistency of toothpaste, and be approximately 4 to 8 inches long. Stool should enter the water smoothly and slowly fall once it reaches the water. There should be little gas or odor.

    Stool That Sinks Quickly

    Rapidly sinking stool can indicate that a person isn’t eating enough fiber-rich foods, such as vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, or drinking enough water. This stool is often dark because they have been sitting in the intestines for a prolonged time. Learn 5 tips to boost your water intake.

    Pale Stool

    Stool that is pale or grey may be caused by insufficient bile output due to conditions such as cholecystitis, gallstones, giardia parasitic infection, hepatitis, chronic pancreatitis, or cirrhosis. Bile salts from the liver give stool its brownish color. If there is decreased bile output, stool is much lighter in color.

    Other causes of pale stool is the use of antacids that contain aluminum hydroxide. Stool may also temporarily become pale after a barium enema test.

    Pale stool may also be shiny or greasy, float, and be foul smelling, due to undigested fat in the stool (see soft and smelly stool).

    Soft, Smelly Stool

    Soft, foul-smelling stool that floats, sticks to the side of the bowl, or is difficult to flush away may mean there is increased fat in the stools, called steatorrhea. Stool is sometimes also pale. Learn more about the causes of soft, foul-smelling stool.

    Mucus in Stool

    Whitish mucus in stool may indicate there is inflammation in the intestines. Mucus in stool can occur with either constipation or diarrhea. Read more about the causes of mucus in stool.

    Green Stool

    The liver constantly makes bile, a bright green fluid, that is secreted directly into the small intestine or stored in the gallbladder. Continue reading about the causes of green stool.

    Loose Stool

    In traditional Chinese medicine, loose stools, abdominal bloating, lack of energy, and poor appetite can be signs of a condition known asspleen qi deficiency. It doesn’t necessarily involve your actual spleen, but it is linked to tiredness and weak digestion brought on by stress and poor diet. Learn more about the causes of loose stool.

    Pencil Thin Stool

    Like loose stools, stool that is pencil thin can be caused by a condition known in traditional Chinese medicine as spleen qi deficiency.

    Other symptoms of spleen qi deficiency are: easy bruising, mental fogginess, bloating, gas, loose stools, fatigue, poor appetite, loose stools with little odor, symptoms that worsen with stress, undigested food in the stools, and difficulty ending the bowel movement. Spleen qi deficiency can be brought on by stress and overwork.

    Eating certain foods in excess is thought to worsen spleen qi deficiency. Offending foods include fried or greasy foods, dairy, raw fruits and vegetables, and cold drinks, all believed to cause “cold” and “dampness” in the body. Dietary treatment of spleen qi deficiency involves eating warm, cooked foods. Ginger tea and cinnamon tea are also warming.

    Pencil thin stool can also be caused by a bowel obstruction. Benign rectal polyps, prostate enlargement, colon or prostate cancer are some of the conditions that can cause obstruction.

    Infrequent Stool

    With constipation, infrequent or hard stool is passed with straining. Learn about thecauses of infrequent stool.

    Pellet Stool

    Pellet stool is stool that comes out in small, round balls. In traditional Chinese medicine, pellet stool is caused by a condition known as liver qi stagnation. Liver qi stagnation can be brought on by stress. Lack of exercise can worsen the problem. Find out more about thecauses of pellet stool.

    Yellow Stool

    Yellow stool can indicate that food is passing through the digestive tract relatively quickly. Yellow stool can be found in people with GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). Symptoms of GERD include heartburn, chest pain, sore throat, chronic cough, and wheezing. Symptoms are usually worse when lying down or bending. Foods that can worsen GERD symptoms include peppermint, fatty foods, alcohol, coffee, and chocolate.

    Yellow stool can also result from insuffient bile output. Bile salts from the liver gives stool its brownish color. When bile output is diminished, it often first appears as yellow stool. If there is a greater reduction in bile output, stool lose almost all of its color, becoming pale or grey.

    If the onset is sudden, yellow stool can also be a sign of a bacterial infection in the intestines.

    Stool that is almost black with a thick consistency may be caused by bleeding in the upper digestive tract. The most common medical conditions that cause dark, tar-like stool includes duodenal or gastric ulcer, esophageal varices, Mallory Weiss tear (which can be linked with alcoholism), and gastritis.

    Certain foods, supplements, and medications can temporarily turn stool black. These include:

    • Bismuth (e.g. Pepto bismol)
    • Iron
    • Activated charcoal
    • Aspirin and NSAIDS (which can cause bleeding in the stomach)
    • Dark foods such as black licorice and blueberries

    Dark stool can also occur with constipation.

    If you experience this type of stool, you should see your doctor as soon as possible.

    Bright Red Stool

    When there is blood in stool, the color depends on where it is in the digestive tract. Blood from the upper part of the digestive tract, such as the stomach, will look dark by the time it reaches exits the body as a bowel movement. Blood that is bright or dark red, on the other hand, is more likely to come from the large intestine or rectum.

    Conditions that can cause blood in the stool include hemorrhoids, anal fissures,diverticulitis, colon cancer, and ulcerative colitis, among others.

    Eating beets can also temporarily turn stools and urine red.

    Blood in stool doesn’t always appear bright red. Blood may be also present in stool but not visible, called “occult” blood. A test called the Fecal Occult Blood Test is used to detect hidden blood in stool.

    Note: Speak with your doctor about any change or abnormality concerning bowel movemen

    July 6, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

    Stress Management Techniques

    For optimal health, it’s important to make stress management techniques a main part of your self-care routine. Like exercising regularly and following a balanced diet, practicing stress management techniques can boost your vitality and help you stave off chronic disease.

    Why Are Stress Management Techniques Important?

    When left unchecked, chronic stress can weaken your health and increase your risk for a number of serious health conditions (including depression and heart disease). While it’s often impossible to eliminate stress altogether, you can protect against the damaging effects of stress by using stress management techniques.

    By introducing stress management techniques into your health routine, you may be able to:

    • lower your blood pressure
    • slow your breathing rate
    • stimulate circulation
    • ease muscle tension
    • reduce chronic pain
    • boost your concentration
    • tame your anger

    Types of Stress Management Techniques

    There are many different types of stress management techniques. In order to find the technique that best suits your needs, you may need to experiment with several practices and identify the approach that’s most calming and enjoyable for you.

    Here’s a look at some stress management techniques shown to offer significant stress-reducing effects in scientific studies:

    1) Progressive Muscle Relaxation

    This stress management technique involves slowly tensing and then relaxing every muscle group in your body. Starting with your toes, tense your muscles for five seconds and then relax for 30 seconds. Move on to your legs, and gradually work your way all the way up to your face. For more intense relaxation, incorporate deep breathing into the exercise.

    2) Guided Imagery

    Guided imagery (also known as “visualization”) is a technique that involves achieving deep relaxation by imagining yourself in a peaceful place. According to proponents, vividly capturing your imagined location (by conjuring up the sights, sounds, smells, and textures, for instance) can maximize the healing effects of the technique. While guided imagery can be practiced on your own, you can also use recordings or scripts to guide you through visualization exercises.

    3) Yoga

    A mind-body practice that originated in India more than 4,000 years ago, yoga combines physical postures, deep breathing, and meditation. Research suggests that yoga may act as a stress management technique by dampening or limiting stress-related changes in the body. In order to find the yoga practice that’s right for you, you may want to test out several different types of yoga styles.

    4) Tai Chi

    Like yoga, tai chi is a stress management technique that also serves as a form of exercise. A type of gentle martial art long practiced in China, tai chi combines slow, graceful movements with meditation and rhythmic breathing. Said to stimulate the body’s flow of vital energy (or “chi“), tai chi was found to enhance psychological wellbeing by reducing stress (as well as lessening anxiety, improving mood, and increasing self-esteem) in a 2010 research review.

    5) Meditation

    A stress management technique that involves focusing your attention and calming your mind, meditation is sometimes practiced for spiritual purposes. However, research suggests that meditation novices can experience significant stress reduction after just a brief instruction in simple meditation techniques. Meditation is also a key component ofMindfulness Based Stress Reduction, a healing approach that aims to address the unconscious thoughts, feelings, and behaviors thought to increase stress and undermine your health.

    Before You Begin Using Stress Management Techniques

    In order to make the most of stress management techniques, it’s important to practice them on a regular basis. Keep in mind that many other calming activities (such as listening to soothing music, performing gentle exercise, and practicing self-massage) can also serve as stress management techniques. The key is finding a stress management technique that works best for you, rather than forcing yourself to take on a new activity that only adds more stress to your life.

    Sources:

    Chiesa A, Serretti A. “Mindfulness-based stress reduction for stress management in healthy people: a review and meta-analysis.” J Altern Complement Med. 2009 15(5):593-600.

    Kiecolt-Glaser JK, Christian L, Preston H, Houts CR, Malarkey WB, Emery CF, Glaser R. “Stress, inflammation, and yoga practice.” Psychosom Med. 2010 72(2):113-21.

    Lane JD, Seskevich JE, Pieper CF. “Brief meditation training can improve perceived stress and negative mood.” Altern Ther Health Med. 2007 13(1):38-44.

    MayoClinic.com. “Relaxation techniques: Essential for reducing stress“. May 2009.

    Wang C, Bannuru R, Ramel J, Kupelnick B, Scott T, Schmid CH. “Tai Chi on psychological well-being: systematic review and meta-analysis.” BMC Complement Altern Med. 2010 21;10(1):23.

    July 6, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

    Top 30 Albums of the 1960s

    In 1960, The Beatles were naff skiffle-beat teens; by 1970, they’d overseen a revolution. In a decade, rock’n’roll had exploded into a global phenomenon; become an artform of genuine expression and experimentation. Whilst The Beatles were superstars, the time was just as fertile for underground counter-culture. The seeds of alternative music —punk, indie, alternative, electronic, noise, you name it— were sown back then; a range of strange musicians concerting to take recorded audio into new, uncharted terrains. For many, the fruits of this labor weren’t felt ’til years later. Here, then, are 30 revolutionary ’60s LPs.

    1. The Monks ‘Black Monk Time’ (1965)

    The Monks 'Black Monk Time'Polydor

    1964, West Germany. Five American GIs in a rockband combat Beatlemania by attempting to be the “anti-Beatles.” Managed by Situationist-minded German advertising gurus, they’re wholly branded as The Monks: dressed in black cassocks, tonsures shaved on heads, nooses hung around their necks. They strip the drum-kit of its cymbals, bash a banjo as a percussive instrument, and grow ever tighter and nastier as they tour Germany constantly, playing for audiences who usually despise them. They make one viciously-rhythmic record, Black Monk Time then implode in the face of the public’s disinterest/dislike. But they leave their mark: the subsequent generation of German krautrockers owing an obvious debt to The Monks’ devotion to repetition.

    2. The Fugs ‘The Fugs First Album’ (1965)

    The Fugs 'The Fugs First Album' (1965)ESP-Disk

    If there was an American rock underground in 1965, The Fugs were it. But the band —vocalists Tali Kupferberg and Ed Sanders and ‘percussionist’ Ken Weaver— would’ve never defined themselves as rock’n’rollers; they were poets, burnouts, beatniks, punks; impish provocateurs out to slyly satirize America by co-opting popular music form. Taking their influence from the volumes of ethnomusical folksongs unearthed by Harry Smith, The Fugs made largely-vocal music that was staggeringly simple, their sing-song ditties driven forward by vocals. Such tribalism happily masked the fact that The Fugs had no idea how to play instruments. The Fugs First Album stood proud in its unmusicality decades before the DIY movement would take hold.

    3. The Misunderstood ‘Before the Dream Faded’ (1966)

    The Misunderstood 'Before the Dream Faded'Cherry Red

    It’s cheating listing Before the Dream Faded as a classic ’60s album, given it was first assembled in 1982. But The Misunderstood —a band whose name couldn’t be more appropriate— never got to release it, or any other album, in their day. Though they boasted a bubbling UK following and a run of strong singles produced by English DJ John Peel, the ex-pat Californians fell apart when frontman Rick Brown was conscripted into service via the Vietnam draft. This collection of their studio recordings shows a band dappling their pop-songs with psychedelic effects and garage-rock passion; all quicksilver guitar licks, fuzzed-out bass, and the unhinged howls of Brown. Before the Dream Faded marks an important remnant of underground rock’s salad days.

    4. The 13th Floor Elevators ‘The Psychedelic Sounds of…’ (1966)

    The 13th Floor Elevators 'The Psychedelic Sounds of...'International Artists

    The 13th Floor Elevators —a gang of Texan teens doped up on péyote and LSD— came up with their own term for their swirling, heavily-reverberated, demented take on jug-band blues: psychedelic rock. Whilst the raw, ready-to-explode yelps of Roky Erickson were their defining element, the Elevators were rewriting rock back when their peers were still doodling with skiffle riffs: Stacy Sutherland’s dark, gnarly guitar crackling with a snarling, sinister tone; Tommy Hall’s ‘electrified jug’ creating bizarre patterns of unquantifiable arrhythmia. Yet, whilst it hinted at new frontiers for sprawling psychedelia, the Elevators’ debut also delivered the eternally awesome two-minute blaster “You’re Gonna Miss Me,” which still kills to this day.

    5. The Red Crayola ‘The Parable of Arable Land’ (1967)

    The Red Crayola 'The Parable of Arable Land'International Artists
    The debut album by psychedelic Texan fiends The Red Crayola —who’d later, post legal threat, be The Red Krayola— was dubbed a “free form freak-out.” The band weren’t making the claim lightly: the LP’s every song —gnarly, noisy, psychedelic dins in which frontman Mayo Thompson barks, cajoles, and screams like a man possessed— separated by an experimental or improvised interlude. Some of these freak-outs are works of studio avant-gardism; almost musique concrète-esque exercises in tape manipulation. Others find up-for-it friends (including The 13th Floor Elevators) assembled en masse, instructed to bash out whatever they wanted in service of a veritable din. Infamous in its day, The Parable of Arable Land now sounds like proto-Sonic-Youth.

    6. The Godz ‘Godz 2’ (1967)

    The Godz 'Godz 2'ESP-Disk

    The Godz are one of music history’s most overlooked outfits, not least in that their name was, in the ’70s, stolen by a dire hard-rock combo from Ohio. These Godz were a New York-born co-op out to explode blues-rock tropes into free-form noise-scapes of provocative avant-gardism. After their first LP, 1966’s Contact High with The Godz, introduced them as avatars of the burgeoning ’60s drug culture, Godz 2 pushed their psychedelic tendencies to further extremities. The album is nothing but a delirious din; its handful of scratchy, scrappy songs surrounded by zoned-out, neo-primitive exercises in percussion bashing, wordless wails, and willful amateurism. The result was a radical record that redrew the parameters of what a rockband could be.

    7. Love ‘Forever Changes’ (1967)

    Love 'Forever Changes'Elektra

    As a black man living in Los Angeles through times of intense civil unrest Arthur Lee had every reason to be pissed. But, as befitting the frontman of a band named Love, Lee used Forever Changes‘ regal closer, “You Set the Scene,” to croon this life-philosophy: “this is the time and life that I am living/and I’ll face each day with a smile.” The third Love LP —whose sessions were infamously tense— was hardly a work of brainless bubblegum, Lee telling tales of a mythologized Sunset Strip populated by sad-eyed down-and-outers, as rainbow swirls of guitar, searing strings, and Latina brass oom-pahs make the record play like a regal coronation. In some ways, it was; its most devoted acolytes crowing Forever Changes the greatest album ever made.

    8. The Velvet Underground ‘The Velvet Underground And Nico’ (1967)

    The Velvet Underground 'The Velvet Underground And Nico'Verve

    No band so exploded the normative musical models of the mid-’60s as did those ultimate alternative legends, The Velvet Underground. A ragged, haggard flophouse of deconstructed rock’n’roll, the Velvets invented new combinations as they went: John Cale’s prepared-piano repetitions and caustic bows of viola; the ghastly, ghostly, tuneless, Teutonic moan of Nico; Mo Tucker’s rudimentary, thumped-out percussion; Lou Reed’s raga-riffic guitar. Yet, the VU debut is no dusty museum-piece, no dull rock-history lesson. Filled with a host of three-minute pop classics, it sounds alive —still, somehow, happening in this instant— each time you play it. It’s hard to think of another record so blessed with that mythical, alchemical musical ‘timelessness.’

    9. The Velvet Underground ‘White Light/White Heat’ (1968)

    The Velvet Underground 'White Light/White Heat'Verve

    No other band earns two spots on the list, but no other band is The Velvet Underground. The infinitely-influential act are a unique historical proposition: after making an amazing debut, they completely reinvented themselves for their second LP, yet made something else —something different— just as amazing. Beating away the tender melancholia of And Nico, the combo found beauty in ugliness; pounding out ragged, raucous, saturated-in-feedback jams. But, rather than slowly flowering or reaching for a higher place, White Light/White Heat‘s jams grow more tense, more irritable, and more vicious as they go. It’s New York street hustle turned into high-art; a band growing a menacing protective shell after a so-so reaction to their first album.

    10. Silver Apples ‘Silver Apples’ (1968)

    Silver Apples 'Silver Apples'Kapp

    Few albums —few careers, really— kick off with statements-of-intent as clear as “Oscillations,” the opening track on the eponymous debut by New York outfit Silver Apples. The experimental duo were powered by the self-built synthesizer of Simeon Coxe III, who was more mad-inventor than simple songsmith. And, on “Oscillations,” Coxe takes us into his audio world, beginning: “oscillations, oscillations/electronic evocations/of sound’s reality.” Silver Apples’ highly-rhythmic drum/synth workouts were met with complete disinterest at the time; and the band broke up after 1970’s Contact was permanently shelved by their label. Time has proved far more kind; Silver Apples now heralded as synthesizer sages whose music was years ahead of the curve.

    11. Various ‘Tropicália ou Panis et Circensis’ (1968)

    Various 'Tropicália ou Panis et Circensis'Philips

    1968 was a watershed (counter-) cultural year for much of the globe, not least of all in Brazil. In rebellion to a military dictatorship, a crew of student provocateurs in Salvador —lead by Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, and Os Mutantes— used musical transgression as a greater form of protest. Mongreling Brazilian popular music —the establishment’s sound— with strains of Sgt. Pepper’s, psychedelia, the Afro-Brazilian folk of the Brazilian North-East, and the people’s music of bossa nova, these ‘tropicalistas’ blooded a new sound that stirred up a furore in its native land. Tropicália: ou Panis et Circencis served as their manifesto: mixing experimentalism with sweeping orchestrations and archly-ironic lyrics in a stand of stylish defiance.

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    12. Gilberto Gil ‘Gilberto Gil’ (1968)

    Gilberto Gil 'Gilberto Gil' (1968)Philips

    Made at the same time as Tropicália, Gilberto Gil’s second record —the first of his three self-titled LPs, oft clarified as 1968— found him collaborating with members of Os Mutantes and the orchestral overseer of tropicalismo, Rogério Duprat. Duprat dresses Gil’s songs in flutters of woodwinds and sumptuous strings, giving a sense of orchestral grandeur to a suite of sambas delivered with a groovy rock’n’roll touch and marked with strange found-sound flourishes. Though 1968 ripples with sweetness and beauty —especially on the glorious “Êle Falava Nisso Todo Dia” and “Luzia Luluza”— it was proved too avant-garde for Brazil’s ruling junta, who, in 1969, jailed Gil and his fellow tropicálista Caetano Veloso for being subversive influences.

    13. Os Mutantes ‘Os Mutantes’ (1968)

    Os Mutantes 'Os Mutantes' (1968)Polydor

    None of Brazil’s treasonous tropicalistas quite so mutated musical form as did Os Mutantes. Inspired by The Beatles’ use of the studio as experimental tool, the outfit’s outlandish debut LP is marked by manifold monkeyshines: overdriven guitars swamping a song in distortion, false endings fading in and out at random, traditional Afro-Portuguese rhythms broken down then brought back to Frankenstein-ish life. It’s a longplaying monster as ridiculous as it is radical, as theatrical as it is musical. Authoring this freaky fusion of culture and genre, high-brow and low-brow, pop-song and experimentalism, it’s as if Os Mutantes peered into the future; their hyper-modernist, genre-juggling, boundary-pushing pop still sounding utterly contemporary.

    14. The United States of America ‘The United States of America’ (1968)

    The United States of America 'The United States of America'Columbia
    The United States of America’s name came loaded with irony: the band avant-gardists whose subversive politics were considered “treasonous” by their own (largely disinterested) label, Columbia. A crew of music scholars —students of modern composers like John Cage and Karlheinz Stockhausen— who decided to try their hand at being in a rock’n’roll band, the USA were like no band ever seen. Electronic oscillations, ring modulator whine, scrapes of violin, and a circus calliope were amongst their bizarre bag of tricks. The crew’s sole LP took their experimental approach to compositional extremes; songs herein —whilst sweetly sung by Dorothy Moskowitz— routinely assaulted by passages of white noise, eerie atmospheres, and cacophonous collage.

    15. Pearls Before Swine ‘Balaklava’ (1968)

    Pearls Before Swine 'Balaklava'ESP-Disk
    After discovering The Fugs, teenage Floridian poet Tom Rapp fired off a set of his eerie, psychedelic folksongs to ESP-Disk, and cut his first Pearls Before Swine LP, 1967’s One Nation Underground, at just 19. At 21, he authored the mighty Balaklava, a parable on war steeped in horror, dread, and aching sadness at the conflict in Vietnam. Rapp marshals flutes, organs, strings, and eerie atmospheric effects on his songs, and rallies a variety of anti-war allies —a quote from Herodotus, text from Tolkein, lyrics from Leonard Cohen, a field-recording of Florence Nightingale— in support of their message. Throughout, Rapp’s trembling, lisping voice stands stark naked; the songsmith sounding as if reduced to tears by man’s inherent belligerence.

    16. Tyrannosaurus Rex ‘My People Were Fair and Had Sky in Their Hair…’ (1968)

    Tyrannosaurus Rex 'My People Were Fair and Had Sky in Their Hair...'Regal Zonophone

    Veteran listeners were aghast when bearded freak-folk pin-up boy Devendra Banhart arrived in the mid-’00s, all ridiculous warble and flower-child mysticism. Banhart’s shtick was a veritable facsimile of Tyrannosaurus Rex, the bizarre folkie beginnings for Marc Bolan. Bolan’s cosmically-titled debut, My People Were Fair and Had Sky in Their Hair… but Now They’re Content to Wear Stars on Their Brows, finds his swooping, screeching voice and guitar-flaying playing matched to zoned-out bongos; the whole sounding as if lost in a psychedelic, fairy-tale forest filled with magic mushrooms. Bolan would soon rebrand has band T. Rex, and find fame peddling glam-rock boogie, but in such success his strangeness —his uniqueness— was completely lost.

    17. The Incredible String Band ‘The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter’ (1968)

    The Incredible String Band 'The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter'Elektra
    You’d think having the blessing of the church would be anathema to counter-cultural credibility, but when the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, calls the Incredible String Band’s music “holy,” he’s onto something. On “A Very Cellular Song,” the 13-minute centerpiece of their undoubted masterpiece, The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter, Mike Heron draws connections between all life forms, from the divine to the amoebic. Such musical pantheism draws broadly from religions —incorporating a Bahamian spiritual and a Sikh hymnal— and musics —featuring oud, gimbri, shenai, sitar, and panpipes— as it meanders ever further into strangeness. Decades before folk weirdness was vogue, these Scottish oddballs had already made it into high, holy art.

    18. Shirley and Dolly Collins ‘Anthems in Eden’ (1969)

    Shirley and Dolly Collins 'Anthems in Eden'Harvest

    Shirley Collins is the defining voice of the folk-revival; its purest practitioner, its spiritual sage, its most gracious —and, perhaps, greatest— presence. And Anthems in Eden is her undoubted magnum opus, a work of dizzying ambition, savage beauty, and cultural resonance. Its Side A is a single 28-minute work; a nine-part “Song-Story” that repositions a host of traditionals into a narrative charting the destructive effect of World War One casualties on rural England. Working with London’s Early Music Consort, the song-cycle matches Collins’ rough-hewn voice to archaic instruments called things like crumhorn, sackbut, sordun, and rackett. It’s undeniably a product of ’60s idealism, but Anthems in Eden sounds timeless, ancient, eternal.

    19. Nick Drake ‘Five Leaves Left’ (1969)

    Nick Drake 'Five Leaves Left'Island

    The regal prince of folkie melancholy delivered his debut album with the decade dwindling, and he’d follow it up with two more tender, tortured LPs before dying, in 1974, at just 26. Five Leaves Left introduced the singular, near-perfect sound Nick Drake achieved across all three records; his honeyed croon and fingerpicking guitar dressed in the sumptuous orchestrations of Robert Kirby. The production, by studio sage Joe Boyd, makes everything sound warm and glistening, songs glowing like newly-blown glass. Despite Drake’s youth, the album feels filled with resignation and regret; a lamentation born from a life of hard-earned wisdoms. He was barely 20 at the time, but Drake was, it seems, already in the autumnal years of his life.

    20. Kevin Ayers ‘Joy of a Toy’ (1969)

    Kevin Ayers 'Joy of a Toy'Harvest

    After a tour in which his band, Soft Machine, opened for the Jimi Hendrix Experience, eternal free-spirit Kevin Ayers —a close friend of legendary Pink Floyd recluse Syd Barrett— retreated to an Ibiza beach, and retired from music. Luckily, he found the freedom far too alluring, and in isolation authored the songs for his kooky debut solo LP, Joy of a Toy. Embracing the freedoms of being his own boss, Ayers peppered his purely-melodic folk-pop songs with whimsical influences drawn from free-jazz, avant-gardism, Malaysian folksong, psychedelia, circus music, English music-hall, and any other oddball audio source he wished. The record ended up serving as a blueprint for Elephant 6 outfits like Neutral Milk Hotel and Of Montreal in the ’90s.

    21. Scott Walker ‘Scott 4’ (1969)

    Scott Walker 'Scott 4' (1969)Fontana

    A veritable pop-star in his adopted homeland of England, Scott Walker —teen-pop pin-up turned television-variety-show host— took an artistic leap-of-faith on Scott 4, a commercially-disastrous masterwork that, in hindsight, shows an artist heading out into the artistic darkness. Heard with contemporary ears, the things that may’ve alienated listeners in its day —Walker’s weird interpretive delivery, the uneasy orchestrations (which walk a fine line between cheesy and crazy), the strange, strained relationship between the emotionality of lyric and music, its lyrical obsession with imperfection— sound classical. This is a big, regal, important, near-operatic album from an era in which men —both figuratively and literally— shot for the stars.

    22. Alexander ‘Skip’ Spence ‘Oar’ (1969)

    Alexander 'Skip' Spence 'Oar' (1969)Columbia

    Skip Spence’s one-and-only album is the stuff of legend. Its mythology tells the tale of a Moby Grape guitarist whose heavy doses of LSD lead to a bout of schizophrenia, an attempt to kill a bandmate with a fire ax, and a stay in a mental hospital. There, he wrote a suite of songs, and, on release, used his solo-LP advance-money on a motorcycle, rode down to Nashville in his hospital pyjamas, then showed up to work day and night, playing every instrument himself on a set of veritable demos unpolished, strange, heavy on cheap echo, and utterly unhinged. Supposedly Columbia’s worst-ever-selling record upon its release, Oar‘s off-the-deep-end take on blurred, disturbed Americana went on to become on of the great cult records anywhere, ever.

    23. Brigitte Fontaine ‘Comme à la Radio’ (1969)

    Brigitte Fontaine 'Comme à la Radio'Saravah

    In 1969, a French stage actress, an Algerian multi-instrumentalist, and a Chicago jazz quartet authored an experimental, exploratory, revolutionary attempt at redrawing musical parameters by fusing French chanson, North African folk, free jazz, and Western classical in sweet, strange, psychedelic songs. The first collaboration between fated foils Brigitte Fontaine and Areski Belkacem roped in the Art Ensemble of Chicago, and together they cast a spell of magical creation. Though its various musical elements are all deconstructive —Fontaine breaking down traditional song-forms, Belkacem musical/cultural boundaries, the AEC jazz strictures— the LP builds a magnificent sense of togetherness, its every element contributing to the greater whole.

    24. Higelin & Areski ‘Higelin & Areski’ (1969)

    Higelin & Areski 'Higelin & Areski'Saravah

    Brigitte Fontaine’s Comme à la Radio wasn’t the only groundbreaking recording Areski Belkacem worked on in 1969. His collaboration with chanteur Jacques Higelin was just as radical; Belkacem positioning the vocalist’s crooning in a series of minimalist, merely-hinted-at arrangements shocking in their utter starkness. For much of the pair’s eponymous collaboration, Higelin’s voice is presented the only melodic instrument, matched to an array of ethnomusical percussion bashed with interpretive irregularity. In part, Belkacem is drawing from his Algerian heritage, but, largely, he’s working artfully with the concept of negative space; Higelin & Areski an album as defined by its deployments of silence as its uses of sound.

    25. Nico ‘The Marble Index’ (1969)

    Nico 'The Marble Index' (1969)Elektra

    Regarded as near-talentless muse through her work with The Velvet Underground and on her bizarro-chanteuse debut, 1967’s Chelsea Girls, Nico showed herself to be a fearless, peerless artist on The Marble Index, which matched her deep, doleful, half-spoken vocals with the wheezy, creepy drones of a harmonium. Delivered with no percussion nor any kind of consistent rhythm, the LP feels wholly unmoored; feels rootless, formless, bodiless, worldless. With Nico’s spectral singing evoking moaning ghosts, these sombre laments and brutal dirges float “close to the frozen borderline,” that eerie realm between life and death. It’s the perfect expression of a woman who, even whilst alive, seemed a lot like a ghost, already half-lost to the darkness.

    26. The Stooges ‘The Stooges’ (1969)

    The Stooges 'The Stooges'Elektra

    Modern listeners who’ve grown up with Iggy Pop as some eternal punk godfather, hearing “I Wanna Be Your Dog”‘s one-note staccato-piano riff played only in a classic-rock-radio context, will possibly be shocked to hear “We Will Fall,” the ten-minute centerpiece of The Stooges’ self-titled ’69 debut. As the viola of producer John Cale (the Velvet Underground’s resident avant-gardist) wails in an unending drone, the band chant tribalist incantations, making for a mantra that proceeds at a slow crawl. This open-mindedness shows a band out to author their own take on rock’n’roll. They ended up writing a string of rifftastic classics —”No Fun,” “Little Doll,” “1969”— that have gone on to inspire innumerable rockbands, from punk founders onwards.

    27. Can ‘Monster Movie’ (1969)

    Can 'Monster Movie'Liberty

    West Germany in the late-’60s found a fertile creative climate, a libertarian generation out to author a new culture unburdened from the sins of the past. This gave birth to a floodtide of early-’70s acts that became the krautrock movement. Can were the first to arrive; a band of sweaty, hairy dudes who, on stage, played exploratory jams inspired by free-jazz, and in the studio worked with a fastidious precision and the intent to explore the limits of magnetic tape. Can’s essential duality is perfectly captured on “Yoo Doo Right,” the legendary 20-minute cut that takes up the whole of Side B on their 1969 debut Monster Movie. Both funky rocksong and radical experimentation, it introduced a ferocious new outfit out to conquer new frontiers.

    28. Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band ‘Trout Mask Replica’ (1969)

    Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band 'Trout Mask Replica'Straight

    Captain Beefheart’s bizarre monsterwork of cut-up recontextualization and rampant Dadaism has long been one of the fringe’s most persistently puzzling discs. The double LP finds Beefheart —Californian conceptualist and dictatorial savant Don Van Vliet— dealing almost entirely in atonalism and arrhythmia, his Magic Band —a crew of crack musicians so well-drilled it bordered on torture— exploding blues form and assembling the pieces together in a splattered, scattershot fashion inspired by free-jazz seer Ornette Coleman. For many, Trout Mask Replica will be the definition of difficult listening, but its fearlessly ‘out’ playing has proved infinitely influential, whole movements —no-wave, post-punk, noise-rock— owing the set an obvious debt.

    29. Cromagnon ‘Orgasm’ (1969)

    Cromagnon 'Orgasm'ESP-Disk

    What must it have been like to hear Orgasm, the sole album for New Yorker noiseniks Cromagnon, in 1969? What reference points were there for a record that sounds, over four decades on, like some genre-splattering mash-up of the digital age? These days, you can interpret Orgasm as blending black metal, Celtic folk, industrial noise, and neo-primitivism together, can see this LP as some spiritual antecedent of Einstürzende Neubauten, Royal Trux, Wolf Eyes, Liars, early Animal Collective, and countless other purveyors of abject audio terrorism. But when it came out? What did people think? Luckily enough, no one seems to have actually heard Orgasm in its day, making it no casualty of history, but glimpse of the future.

    30. The Shaggs ‘Philosophy of the World’ (1969)

    The Shaggs 'Philosophy of the World'Third World Records

    Though completely unknown in its day, Philosophy of the World has since been celebrated in two divergent ways: as both work of outsider-art weirdness, and as one of the worst records ever made. A trio of sisters from small-town New Hampshire, The Shaggs were the brainchild of one of history’s most monomaniacal stage-parents, Austin Wiggin. Despite the obvious absence of musical ability in his offspring, Wiggin pushed them to start a band, play weekly, and make an LP. Said record adheres to no known logic, follows no familiar rhyme nor meter. Its guitars are out of time and out of tune, its melodies haphazard, its lyrics bizarrely bland. It is undoubtedly painful to listen to. And up to you to work out whether that’s good, bad, or both.

    July 2, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment