Wednesday, August 10, 2022

The Delineator Magazine Covers


The Delineator was an American women's magazine of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It ceased publication in 1937. The covers of the magazine issued in the late twenties and early thirties are among the best Art Deco style covers of all time. Most (maybe all) of them were by noted fashion artist Helen Dryden (information from Wikipedia). Today's post lists twelve of these gems without further comments. The image above was made at the Photofunia site, which has no copyright issues.

May 1927

June 1927

July 1927
 August 1927
November 1927

April 1928
 June 1928
April 1929 
May 1929 
June 1929    
August 1929 
November 1929

Copyright statement: posting lower quality magazine covers is deemed fair use.

Saturday, August 06, 2022

The Dutch Seventies' Jukebox (4)

Over ten years ago I ran a parallel blog to this one, dedicated to sharing some of the best pop/rock hit singles of the seventies made by Dutch acts. That blog has long gone the way of the dodo, but I'm reviving it for the new lay-out of my art blog. There will be a number of posts, each containing twelve songs by different acts, in chronological order within one post. I will also be restricting myself in three aspects: no songs that were huge hits in the UK and/or USA, maximum four songs total for each act spread out over the various posts, and each song scores at least a 4/6 on the Artrockometer. The illustrations will be the original singles covers if I can find them, and each song description will end with a little symbol that links to the corresponding YouTube video (if available). The image above is by Rudy van der Veen and is in the public domain. OK... enjoy!

She Was Naked by Supersister (1970)

Supersister were a jazz-influenced progressive rock band from The Hague. They recorded some of the best Dutch albums of the era, and had a number of small hits as well. This is one of two that made the Dutch top 40, topping at #11. Both singles are excellent by the way.

Just a Friend by Sandy Coast (1971)

Sandy Coast were a Dutch pop/rock band from the area around The Hague, formed around singer Hans Vermeulen. Over a period of fifteen years (1966-1981) they had twelve top40 hits in the Netherlands. Just a Friend peaked at #11.

Don't Turn Me Loose by Greenfield and Cook (1972)

Greenfield and Cook (a translation of their real family names: Rink Groenveld en Peter Kok) were a duo from The Hague that was also known as the Dutch Simon and Garfunkel. They scored seven top40 hits (three of them making the top ten) in the period 1971-1973. Don't Turn Me Loose was one of these three, topping at #6. 

Maybe Tomorrow, Maybe Tonight by Earth and Fire (1973)

Earth and Fire were a band from the neighborhood of The Hague. Their albums were clearly progressive rock, but their singles were radio friendly and highly successful. In the period from 1970 until 1983 they scored 18 top40 hits, including two that made it to number one. Maybe Tomorrow, Maybe Tonight is one of my favourites of this great band, and made it to #3 in the charts.

Ginny Come Lately by Albert West (1973)

Albert West was a Dutch singer from Den Bosch. He scored five hits in 1969/1970 as lead singer of The Shuffles, before embarking on a solo career in 1973. That resulted in 19 top40 hits between 1973 and 2005, with five making the top ten. Ginny Come Lately was his first (and biggest) hit as solo singer, topping at #4. Albert West is one of those Dutch artists that I can enjoy in a few songs, this being one of them.

Harem Scarem by Focus (1974)

Focus are a Dutch progressive rock band formed in Amsterdam in 1969 by keyboardist, vocalist, and flutist Thijs van Leer. They enjoyed international success with their hit singles Hocus Pocus and Sylvia. From 1972 until 1974, they scored six top40 hits, including the aforementioned songs. Haren Scarem was their last hit, and with the highest position at 26, their least successful one - but I like it.

Rock 'n' Roll by The Cats (1974)

The Cats were one of the most successful pop groups from the Netherlands. They hail from the tiny fishing village of Volendam near Amsterdam, and inspired so many others from there to start a band, that the name Palingsound (Eel Sound) was coined for this particular style of radio-friendly music by groups from Volendam. From 1966 until 1985 they scored 36 hits in the Dutch top40, five of them reaching #1. Rock & Roll (I Gave You The Best Years Of My Life), to give it the full official title, is a cover of a Kevin Johnson song, and is one of my favourites in their repertoire. It peaked at #3.

Bridges Are Burning by Wally Tax (1975)

Wally Tax was a Dutch singer and songwriter. He was founder and frontman of the Nederbeat group The Outsiders (1959–1969), and embarked on a solo career in the seventies.He scored five top40 hits in the period 1974-1977. Bridges Are Burning was not his biggest success (it reached #2), but for me it was his best song.

Scarlet Lady by Lucifer (1976)

Lucifer were a pop group from Zaandam, led by singer/keyboard player Margriet Eshuijs. They had four top40 hits between 1975 and 1977. Scarlet Lady, which was composed by the American duo Gloria Sklerov and Harry Lloyd who also wrote their first hit House For Sale, did not do as well as its predecessor, reaching #21 at its top.

Upside Down by Teach-In (1977)

Teach In were a pop group from Enschede (the city I was born). They scored 12 top40 hits between 1974 and 1979, half of them reaching the top ten. Internationally they are best known for winning the Eurovision Song Festival in 1975. Upside Down was the first single after lead singer Getty was replaced by two new girls. It was their biggest hit, peaking at #2.

Valentino by Champagne (1977)

Champagne were a pop group from the Rotterdam region. With a sound (and line-up) inspired by ABBA, and a twenties' style presence, they scored eight top40 hits between 1976 and 1980. Their first three singles made the top10, including Valentino, peaking at #5. My personal favourite of their songs.

Ruthless Queen by Kayak (1979)

Kayak are a progressive rock band, who in addition to their albums (which are of general high quality) scored nine top40 hits in the period 1973-1980, including one top 10 hit: Ruthless Queen, which reached #6. To my taste they made much better singles, but as they say, don't argue with success.

Copyright statement: posting lower quality single covers is deemed fair use.

Thursday, August 04, 2022

Sweet Sixteen


Although the archives in the right hand column only go back to December 31st 2021, I actually started this blog on this day sixteen years ago. There have been several stop and go moments, complete deletions, frustrations, nasty comments and spammers (hence comments were turned off) and what have you, but I think the longest period without any posts was not more than two or three months in that period of sixteen years. The latest reset at the start of this year (with a complete change in set-up)v has been beneficial as it made me enjoy blogging again. I will continue as long as I have fun doing so. The image above is made via the Photofunia site.

Tuesday, August 02, 2022

Imaginary Albums [4]

Imaginary albums was one of the topics for many years in the blog before the re-start early 2022. It  was based on the "Debut album game" that was making its rounds around bulletin boards and blogs over ten years ago. The idea was to create an album cover for a fictional band (anything that came up in the random Wikipage generator) with a fictional title (the last four words of the very last quote of the page generated at the Random quotations site) and a cover image found by searching for a random Flickr Explore photograph. I have been trying to find out who had the original idea, but so far no success.

I made a few changes to this procedure: I opted to take any four words (although preferably the final ones) of a random quotation to give me the album title. Moreover, also because of copyright constraints, I decided to choose suitable images from my own Flickr streams for the cover. Finally, to spice things up a bit, I added a fictional review for these fictional albums.

I have decided to post all of the album covers I made this way since 2009 (and maybe add new ones later) in groups of twelve in chronological order. Here is the fourth batch (the image above is made via Photofunia).

With Our Eyes Open

Sweden's newest sensation Boccanegra clearly takes the example of their compatriots Opeth to heart - even to the extent of almost copying the style of the band logo. However, instead of combining death metal with progressive rock, they opted to combine it with psychedelic rock - think sixties' style Pink Floyd with typical death metal grunts and riffs. It should not work - yet, it does. Fascinating and unique, and highly recommended.

Quote by Jawaharlal Nehru: There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open. 

A Rainy Sunday afternoon

One of my main discoveries of the year: soft jazz on the marimba and xylophone by Japan's virtuoso Kiyozo Kazama. Hauntingly atmospheric renditions of such timeless classics as Where or whenSomewhere over the rainbow, and Cry me a river, sensibly interspersed with his take on a number of Japanese folk melodies. This CD is not easy to find, but is well worth searching for on the internet.

Quote by Susan Ertz: Millions long for immortality who don't know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon.

In Silent Unspeakable Memories

Treading on the treacherous crossroads of minimalist classical music, soft jazz, and new age - and managing to come up with a masterpiece against all odds. Gilgamesh, an octet from Vienna, have seen themselves catapulted to the #1 spot in the album charts in Austria and Germany with their very first CD, and the rest of the world will undoubtedly follow. Their music is ingenious yet accessible, with a high emotional content that really strikes a chord with many listeners.

Quote by George Eliot: What greater thing is there for two human souls than to feel that they are joined... to strengthen each other... to be one with each other in silent unspeakable memories.

Permanently Self-enlarging Experience

When I saw the title of this album, the Steve Wilson project Incredible Expanding Mindfuck immediately came to mind - and it was not a surprise when the first sounds came from my speakers that this debut album by Townsend Thunderbird is in the same electronic vein. Soundscapes ranging from ambient to dance floor drones and back and forth - it has all been done before, and to be honest, it has all been done better. Give this one a pass.

Quote by M. Scott Peck: Real love is a permanently self-enlarging experience.

Trying To Please Everybody

The second album of the British neo new wave band Shakespeare's Landlord has been released last week, and the title illustrates a keen sense of humour of the five members. Trying to please everybody was exactly the gist of the criticism they got for their debut album last year. The general reaction was that Submerged was a promising release, but that the band was striving too hard to get appreciated by too many different listeners. Their second release shows a lot more consistency in their approach, and is a clear step up from an artistic point of view. Recommended.

Quote by Bill Cosby: I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.

The Termites Of Relationships

The album cover says it all: Ireland's number one singer/songwriter Connie Murphy has taken her dog and is walking away into a new life, abandoning yet another relationship. This is an album that will probably appeal more to her female fans due to the general theme, but the music is as strong and unique as in the two predecessors, which sold well for an independent label. And you just have to love the image invoked by the title song. Strongly recommended, no matter what gender you happen to be.

Quote by Henry Winkler: Assumptions are the termites of relationships.

The Sun Is Shining

The German all-girl pop quartet Boxmaya have scored nine gigantic hits in the charts over the past three years. The accompanying three albums sold well too. Surprisingly, they changed their formula with their latest release. The album The sun is shining is a themed cover album: all songs are from the sixties, seventies, and eighties, and all have to do with that summer feeling. There are predictable choices (Lovin' Spoonful's Summer in the city, Donovan's Sunshine superman), and more surprising ones, such as First Class' Beach Baby, with lyrics re-written to reflect the girl's point of view. The first single release from this album is currently climbing up the charts in spite of the rainy weather, and is quite representative for the album: their version of Cruel Summer does not surpass the original by Bananarama but is still well worth hearing. Recommended, except for purists.

Quote by John F. Kennedy: The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.

The Portals Of Discovery

This is one of the rarest of Krautrock albums, with original LP's easily fetching 500 euro on the second hand market. Entschenkopf only made this one album in 1974 before their break-up, and no more than 1000 pieces were pressed. It did not stop the rumours going throughout the seventies that this was an absolute gem of a record, one of the best in the genre. Well, last year the long lost master tapes were discovered in the archives of the record company, and with this CD release, we can finally judge for ourselves. You know what? It is a masterpiece. The original A-side has three excellent songs, each lasting around 6 minutes, with a more psychedelic sound than most of their Krautrock contemporaries. The B-side contained the 20 minutes title track, an incredible space jam interspersed with beautiful melodic vocal lines. An essential addition to any rock collection.

Quote by James Joyce: Mistakes are the portals of discovery.

A Miracle And Mystery

This disc has got to be on your Christmas wish list this year. The Italian neo-classical formation Connexon from Naples have taken twenty Ambrosian and Gregorian chants, and transformed them to instrumentals of stunning and consistent high quality. Bassoons, oboes and flutes take over the major vocal lines, with the three violins, viola and cello providing a suitable aural backdrop. Original and fascinating. And essential.

Quote by H.G. Wells: We must not allow the clock and the calendar to blind us to the fact that each moment of life is a miracle and mystery.

Delight Of The Blood

The relatively new genre of Blood Metal, which combines death metal sounds with stage acts full of gore and blood, is definitely not everyone's taste. The dubious stage antics aside, one can judge the CD's issued by Blood Metal groups only on their musical merit of course. And it must be said that Temple Beth El from Stockholm have a lot to offer in this respect. Their third album, Delight of the blood, is positively different, showing considerable influences of progressive metal bands like their compatriots Opeth, in particular in the 12 minutes title track. Other outstanding tracks are their covers of songs originally by proto-BM heroes such as Alice Cooper (Raped and freezing)  and Black Sabbath (Solitude). Recommended if you like death metal with a prog influence.

Quote by George Santayana: To knock a thing down, especially if it is cocked at an arrogant angle, is a deep delight of the blood.

Bitter Lessons From The Past

It took the French neo-prog band Authon three years to come up with a follow-up album of their highly acclaimed debut, Parisian Affairs. Their sophomore release's title hints at the underlying causes, which were explained in detail in a recent interview at Innervisions with their lead singer Daniel Dagorn. To make a long story short, the unexpected success went to the heads of several band members, resulting in endless discussions on what direction to take and little or no actual music. On several occasions, the temptation to pull the plug on the band was difficult to overcome, and only the departure of two of the five original members last year made it possible to have a fresh start. Bitter lessons from the past is a strong second album, in a similar new-prog style as their debut, but with longer and better developed songs, and a further improvement in melodic quality. The French accent of Dagorn is still clear, and may or may not work for you. But do give them a try if you like bands such as IQ, Arena and Quidam.

Quote by Sidney J. Harris: A cynic is not merely one who reads bitter lessons from the past, he is one who is prematurely disappointed in the future..

Into A Full And Clear Light

Chances are that you are really not interested in new age music - apart from a select group of lovers of this genre, a lot of people can't stand it. Chances are that you are really not interested in Christian pop music - apart from a select group of lovers of this genre, a lot of people can't stand it. Well, enter The Missionary from Double Springs, Alabama. This new band combines the two genres in a unique way: soothing string sounds, supported by the occasional flute and harp, are used in combination with singing Christian lyrics in a style that may be best described as Enya on Ritalin. Not my cup of tea.

Quote by Isaac Newton: I keep the subject of my inquiry constantly before me, and wait till the first dawning opens gradually, by little and little, into a full and clear light.

Copyright statement: all imaginary album covers are based on my own photographs. Copyright Hennie Schaper.

Friday, July 29, 2022

Eye-catching Movie Posters

Movie posters need to be immediately appealing to lure the potential customer into the cinema. Some though go way beyond appealing and are really artistic. I will share some of my favourites in this blog, aiming for a grouping of twelve around a certain theme. The theme for today's post is "Eyes". It has become a bit of a clichΓ© to have movie posters with an eye prominently on display, but that makes it even more interesting to find a dozen especially effective ones. I try not to include posters that have already made the blog in a different post - otherwise Eyes of Laura Mars (1978) and The Dark Knight (2008) would have been great candidates for today's post. The image above is made via Photofunia and is free from copyright restrictions.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

One of Stanley Kubrick's masterpieces, this movie (starring Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood,and William Sylvester) came with a variety of posters. The one above is not the best known, but fits this post's them perfectly.

Frankenstein Unbound (1990)

Frankenstein Unbound is a Science-Fiction/Horror movie, directed by Roger Corman, and starring John Hurt, Raul Julia, and Nick Brimble. The poster is a clever reference to Frankenstein's creation - even the eyeball is stitched together.

Eyes Wide Shut (1999)

Another Kubrick movie, this one starring Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, and Todd Field. The poster is an interesting merger of the faces of the two main actors, and a playful juxtaposition with the movie title.

Requiem for a Dream (2000)

This is one of those movie posters that have become iconic. Requiem for a Dream is a drama about drug-induced utopias, directed by Darren Aronofsky, and starring Ellen Burstyn, Jared Leto, and Jennifer Connelly. There is something intensely disturbing about the two images put together here - very fitting for the movie's subject.

Minority Report (2002)

This science-fiction movie, directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Tom Cruise, Colin Farrell, and Samantha Morton, was based on a short story by Philip K. Dick. The poster's use of one eye seeing things (that will happen) is very effective.

The Grudge (2004)

Many of the posters featured in today's post have a horror angle, but this one is 100% horror. The Grudge, directed by Takashi Shimizu, starring Sarah Michelle, GellarJason Behr, and Clea DuVall, may not have been as successful as that other Japanese movie The Ring, but the poster is scary enough.

The Eye (2008)

Speaking of scary.... The Eye is a horror movie directed by David Moreau and Xavier Palud, about a blind violinist who can see dead people after  a cornea transplantation. It stars Jessica Alba, Alessandro Nivola, and Parker Posey. The idea behind the poster is disturbing, the execution excellent.

Avatar (2009)
Avatar is a Science Fiction movie directed by James Cameron, and starring Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, and Sigourney Weaver. The poster is striking, not in the least because of the eye immediately becoming the focus of attention in the predominantly blue image.

The Theatre Bizarre (2011)

Dali meets Magritte? The designer of this poster was probably influenced by the title of this horror movie, which consists of six stories, with different directors and actors.

Snow White and the Huntsman (2012)

It is not often that I see a movie poster in the streets which makes such a strong impact on me as this one did at the time. The movie is by director Rupert Sanders, starring Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth and Charlize Theron. The combination of the actress' eye and the bird's eye is simply amazing. 

Stung (2015)

Back to a real horror image for this German-American independent science fiction horror-comedy film directed by Benni Diez, starring Matt O'Leary, Jessica Cook, and Lance Henriksen. Nasty, but effective.

Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank (2022)

Let's end with something far less horrific than most of the ones I've shown before. This computer-animated martial arts comedy film directed by Rob Minkoff and Mark Koetsier will be in the cinemas around now. It stars (the voices of) Michael Cera, Ricky Gervais, George Takei, Gabriel Iglesias, Michelle Yeoh, and Samuel L. Jackson. A real eye-catcher to end this post.

Copyright statement: posting lower quality movie posters is deemed fair use.