October 29, 2008

Today's Hotness: AC/DC, Benge, Up Up Down Down

>> When we were youths the arrival of MTV inside our teevees was pretty much the end-all, be-all. We watched so much MTV between the ages of 8 and 16 that it is surprising we did anything else. And one of our earliest memories of the network is the Friday Night Concert. Or maybe it was the Saturday Night Concert, because we recall on Friday it was the Friday Night Video Fights. Anyway, there were two exceptional concerts in those days that were played over and over again. A dazzling assault by AC/DC circa For Those About To Rock, We Salute You, and another great set by rocker Billy Squier. The first thing we did when we heard about MTV's new "Hulu for music videos" was check to see if either of those old concerts was there. And we're pretty sure the amazing live rendition of "Put The Finger On You" embedded above is taken from the performance that was aired as part of the MTV concert. Legendary hard rock quintet AC/DC, of course, just released its latest record Black Ice last week, and Billboard here broke the news last night that the new set will debut at No. 1 on Billboard's Top 200 today. Black Ice, which is being sold exclusively at Wal-Mart, scanned 784,000 copies in its first week. The band launched a tour to support the record in Wilkes-Barre, PA last night. We can't imagine any of the performances will come close the the awesome clip above.

>> According to this item at The Quietus, there is a new set from electronic music luminary Ben Edwards' Benge project. Twenty Systems features as many compositions, one for each year -- crafted with one synthesizer from the same year -- between 1968 and 1987. Its concept seems somewhat similar to Keith Fullerton Whitmans' Multiples, which featured titles including "Stereo Music for Acoustic Guitar, Buchla Music Box 100, Hewlett Packard Model 236 Oscillator, Electric Guitar and Computer - Part Two" and which we reviewed here for Junkmedia in 2005. Twenty Systems was released on Mr. Edwards' own Expanding Records. According to the Expanding web site, Twenty Systems "combines an audio CD of new music with a full colour 60-page book containing photos and diagrams of the electronic instruments used, along with a detailed history documenting the development of synthesisers between 1968 and 1988." The release has garnered props from electronic luminaries including Brian Eno and Scanner. Twenty Systems doesn't come cheap -- it's 15 pounds sterling from Smallfish.co.uk. Perhaps Forced Exposure will stock it sometime soon (along with the latest Oblong release, please). As we stated here at the beginning of the year, we are big fans of Benge's 2002 release Meme Tunes; the most recent Benge set prior to Twenty Systems was called I Am Nine and it was issued in 2004. Here is the wonderful dreamer "Eve's Escape Valve" from Meme Tunes.

Benge -- "Eve's Escape Valve" -- Meme Tunes
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[buy Benge music from Smallfish right here]

>> Despite announcing its break-up in July and playing its last show in August, awkwardly monikered post-emo superheroes Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A Start have announced it will play a short set -- as Pearl Jam -- Friday night as part of a Halloween party in New Jersey. The party is at the band's studio in Haddon Heights, and more details, including the rest of the bill, are posted here at DinerState.com. Now listen to "Melanie Flury," which will make you wish the band were reuniting as itself. Sigh.

Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A Start -- "Melanie Flury" -- Girls Names EP
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[buy Up Up Down Down records from the band here]

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