Archive for November, 2005

Blow up the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!

Nov 28, 2005 in Music

On their inexplicable 1995 major-label debut, the Columbus, Ohio band Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments (led by local legend Ron House, who could often be seen eating a sandwich in the back of uber-cool record shop Used Kids) did a song called RnR Hall of Fame, exorting the destruction of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame which had just opened up the road in Cleveland.

Blow it up!
Before Johnny Rotten gets in!
Blow it up!
Before Steve Albini makes a speech!

Looks like Ron’s worst fears just came true. Although there are no plans for Steve Albini to appear, Johnny Rotten has indeed just gotten into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

This year’s nominations, announced today, include Black Sabbath (who truly deserve it, and have waited seven years to be nominated), the Sex Pistols (who, while truly influential, could probably give a rat’s ass), Lynyrd Skynyrd (can you believe I actually had to look up the correct spelling for Lynyrd Skynyrd?), Blondie (weren’t they nominated last year with the rest of the CBGBs punk alumni?) and Miles Davis (is Bitches’ Brew a rock album?)

The day that Black Sabbath, Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Sex Pistols are simultaneously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is an unusual one indeed. Just a few years ago it seemed unlikely that the staid Hall of Fame would nominate an old metal band, a Southern rock band, and a bunch of anarchists.

Sarolta Zalatnay: The Janis Joplin of Hungary

Nov 23, 2005 in Music

Via the always entertaining WFMU blog, I was able to hear about Sarolta Zalatnay’s Hadd Mondjam El, a rare, sought after piece of Eastern European funk-rock goodness from 1973.

I’ve previously written on my fascination with foreign language music here. My adventures around the musical world have unearthed a few gems worth constant, repeated listens — from a few early 60s tracks by Francoise Hardy to Dungen’s amazing discography.

So far I’ve listened to Hadd Mondjam El at least a dozen times in the last 24 hours alone — it’s that good. Sarolta has the pipes of Janis Joplin and her backing band can churn out a funky, heavy mix of early 70s rock inspired by the likes of Traffic (who toured Hungary in the 60s). For an album that came from behind the Iron Curtain in the early 1970s, this is some pretty sophisticated shit. Soulful, funky and with some great songs — it’s a shame that it’ll be bound to remain in obscurity.

This album, and many others from the same era of Hungarian rock, are sought and prized by the crate-digging community for its funky, wide open breaks. An original LP of Hadd Mondjam El can easily sell for over $100. There is no CD release that I know of, so you’ll need to turn to your favorite file sharing service (I recommend Soulseek).

Sarolta Zalatnay is Hungary’s most famous female pop singer, and is still a public figure today, albeit for controversial reasons. In 2001, at the age of 54, she posed nude in Hungarian Playboy (She’s hot. Check it out.) Currently, she’s serving a three-year prison sentence for fraud. If you thought American reality TV was bad, her last few days of freedom and subsequent prison furlough were the subject of a reality show on Hungary’s largest TV network.