During the early nineteen eighties Imus was best known characters like his Billy Sol Hargus, a send up of a radio evangelists in which Imus promoted the “First Church of the Gooey Death and Discount House of Worship.” Other regular characters included “Geraldo Santana Banana” (played by doo-wop singer Larry Chance), and “Moby Worm”, an enormous gelatinous creature who devoured local schools; a regular feature on Imus’s “Breaking News Updates.” Much of the Howard Stern Show’s magic is the result of interaction between the Stern staff and a revolving cast of phone in characters Stern called the Whack Pack.
The “Howard Stern Night Shtick” poster it’s companion, the “Don Imus Morning Sickness” poster, were both used in the New York subway system to promote the WNBC drivetime radio lineup in ther early 1980’s. Imus and Stern were the original shock-jock radio hosts in America, waging a nonstop war of words in their over the top attempts to offend and entertain everyone.
Here are two very large paintings Jack did for the Imus poster, one vertical and one horizontal format. A third version was published, the other two remained in Jack’s files. There was only one painting done for the Stern poster.
These are my top 9 LP’s and EP’s from 2015, as tagged by @colbucci.
2015, for many artists, was a year of redefinition. Redefinition of sound, message, and value. 2015 was also a year where we saw many new artists begin their path of definition, making bold statements that thrusted them into the respect of music lovers, critics, and musicians alike, assuring their spot in the alternative musical cannon as artists who’s integrety is unquestioned by their ability to continually deliver such high quality content. These are some of my brain pickings about my favourite albums this year.
1. Active Child - Mercy (Vagrant; LP)
After Active Childs’ Pat Grossi released the 2014 EP Rapor, I was apprehensive about whether his next LP would be any good. His sound on the debut You Are All I See was so heavily refined, that it seemed like an impossible task to emanate a record that perfect. So I was pleasantly surprised when Mercy was released earlier this year. Grossi took a completely different path with this record, crafting more of a soundtrack to a relationship, than an album of different ambiguous love songs. From the audacious Never Far Away, the reminiscent Temptation, and the gentle Too Late, this album is a captivating body of work, and has won the spot of my number 1 album of 2015.
2. Little Boots - Working Girl (On Repeat; LP)
My relationship with Little Boots’ music has always been tumultuous. Her debut album Hands, while holding one of my favourite pop songs to date, completely lacked any gratifying and validating dynamics, a kind of anaemic pastiche pop album, allowing both the record and Boots to slip into the back of many of our minds. Since then she has released the sophomore record, Nocturnes, holding more dynamic stability, however again, lacking in that one thing that grips you and takes you into a record. The consistency and the concept. Her third and most accomplished body of work to date, Working Girl is a sigh of relief for many, tying in both the gratification that pop music brings us with the concept and consistency that gives an album personality. Working Girl confirms to us Boots’ ability to make striking, catchy, and sometimes whimsical pop music. From the plucky and brooding Working Girl, the Purity Ring-esque Help Too, and the scattered but directional Business Pleasure, Working Girl has allowed many to see Boots’ vision, drive, and potential as a pop artist, placing her at number 2 on my list of best albums for 2015.
3. Grimes - Art Angels (4AD; LP)
Although many became fanatic upon the first listen through Grimes’ breakthrough album, Visions in 2013, I was never quite sold. It had its moments, and when it did, those moments were incredible, but there was too much nothing, too much void. In Art Angels, however, Grimes’ Claire Boucher leaves nothing up to the imagination, filling every bit of empty space with a hit, snap, or whack. Art Angels truly packs a punch, with the first flavour we heard, Flesh Without Blood, holding an aura of rebellion, and aggression, being further confirmed on Kill v Maim, where Boucher chants and screams “I don’t behave” over slasher guitars and rattling drums. Every song on Art Angels is its own world, exploring different tempo’s, sonic pallets, and lyrical content. This disparity, however, is what brings the album together as an eclectic collection and recollection of ideas, influences, and inspirations that Boucher has ingeniously organised into pop perfection.
4. Lana Del Rey - Honeymoon (Interscope; LP)
The dark and haunting strings that open Lana Del Rey’s third album, Honeymoon, are those that have been a motif for much of Del Rey’s work, first seen on her debut, Born To Die. Honeymoon, however, displays a middle ground between her poppy Born To Die, and the gravelling rock pastiche Ultraviolence. Honeymoon generously blends enough of Del Rey’s hollywood glamour with unapologetic rock n’ roll to form a beautifully crafted album, in my opinion, Del Rey’s most down to earth, and organic sounding body of work to date. Her expansion from using purely string arrangements, to using saxophone ensembles, seen on Terence Loves You, and even a pan-pipe on Music To Watch Boys To, displays her own conscious effort in expanding her sources of inspiration, delivering one of this years most prominent records.
5. FKA Twigs - M3LL155X (Young Turks/XL; EP)
Last year, Tahliah Barnett took the art and music world by storm when she delivered her debut album LP1. The album was undoubtedly a complete all rounder. The production, lyrics, melodies, and visuals were all in sync, and worked together to shape Barnett’s trajectory into the pop world as one of the most integral artists of our generation. The LP1 album cycle, however, left some with an emptiness. A grim feeling that the energy and phenomenon created on LP1 would not be emanated on her next body of work. However, Barnett - in the face of collective disbelief - delivered again, with what could be said to be even more sonically and visually innovative than her last body of work. M3LL155X was a surprise release in the form of a 20 minute long video, and showed us that LP1 was just a whisper of what Barnett has within her, expanding and reworking her sound in a more impactful and aggressive manner, like that of Grimes on Art Angels. M3LL155X is a true testament to FKA Twigs’ artistry, and talent, which is why it has made the list of my favourite records from this year.
6. Florence + The Machine - How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful (Island; LP)
The darkness conveyed in the majority of Florence Welch’s work quickly became a tired theme, which is why How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful was really the decider on weather Welch’s music would be a continually respected contribution to music, or weather it would just become background noise. Thankfully, Welch gave her fans a refreshing and refined body of work, that drew on her previous pre-occupations, but never lingered too long on them. The album is simple, and I at first thought that the lack of production technique and use of typical rock instruments would be at a detriment to the record, however, it really elevated the extent to which a realisation of melody and songwriting could be made, and made the record a lot more genuine. The stomping Queen of Peace, the deep and sorrowful Long & Lost, and the gratifying Third Eye displaythisalbums best moments, and perfectly encapsulates why it has been one of the best releases this year.
7. Kelela - Hallucinogen (Warp/Cherry Coffee; EP)
Although Kelela has been releasing music since 2013, it wasn’t until about October when she released the Hallucinogen EP that I had ever heard of her. I remember watching the video for A Message after hearing that Arca had produced it and thinking nothing much of her, however, after hearing the second single from the EP, Rewind, I was sold that Kelela was an artist here to stay. Hallucinogen is a modest release, one that holds together well and is packed with character, with not a single un-listenable song. I don’t have much to say about this album apart from the fact that it’s an extremely well done body of work, and is one of my favourites of the year.
Yet again, Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s Ruban Nielson surpassed my expectations, piling psych-rock with retro-electronic elements to craft the perfect Multi-Love. His ability to pack obscure chord progressions, heavily compressed and side-chained drum patterns and soulful vocals all into one pop song has this album as one of my favourites from the year.
9. Alpine - Yuck (Ivy Legue; LP)
Alpine were always a band that people had talked about, after their debut A Is For Alpine propelled them into Australian indie-pop stardom. Even though the talk was there, I had never bothered to listen to a track by them, so when the lead single for Yuck was released I was quick to inspect, and I was not disappointed. This album brought in elements of current popular styles and, interestingly enough, pop styles from the early 00′s, seen in songs like DB Boulevard’s Another Point Of View and Sia’s Sunday, which instantly brought me to a place of reminiscence, lending to why I love this album so much. Others might not rave about it, but it has a special quality I can’t quite put my finger on that nonetheless, puts this album as on of my favourites this year.