The Null Device


A followup to the "worst album covers" post; via MetaFilter comes this huge list of bizarre records, with sleeves, additional notes, sporadic "Where Are They Now?" links and even the odd MP3 (such as of Devastatin' Dave the Turntable Slave's "Zip Zap Rap").

(Which reminds me of something I heard on 3RRR a few weeks ago, when spoken-word beatnik hipsters and outsider-music aficionados Steve and Alicia were filling in for the host of one of the programmes. They played a song with spoken verses and sung choruses, by a guy who recounted how he lost his hand in an accident, but didn't let that stop him, and now he has started a band in which he plays drums, which is proof that you can do anything. The third verse was about how there is one thing he still needs: that special girl to make his life complete. Does anybody know the title and name of the artist?)


I just picked up the new Chicks on Speed album, 99c. It's amusing; a bit of a punk DIY aesthetic going on, with them ranting about consumerism, culture-jamming and selling out over electronic beats and sampling mobile phone ringtones and such. (I'm not sure where it falls in the ProTools<->chip music spectrum, though; bits of it have a computer-produced gloss about it, but then they're chopped up and distorted. Fake authenticity or détournement? Someone could probably do a PhD thesis on the subject.)

The booklet is a "catalogue" of Chicks on Speed merchandise, including an "urban camouflage" T-shirt printed with a lot of brand names and corporate logos. None of the items have prices, except for a coffee-table book selling for £59.95/US$85. (Somehow, I don't think I'll buy a copy.)

The CD also contains a Quicktime video for We Don't Play Guitars, which is somewhat amusing, and features Peaches as a Joan Jett-esque retro hard-rock goddess.

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Is the US military moving quietly to bring back the draft, to supplement overstretched troop numbers in Iraq?

"The experts are all saying we're going to have to beef up our presence in Iraq," says U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel, the New York Democrat. "We've failed to convince our allies to send troops, we've extended deployments so morale is sinking, and the president is saying we can't cut and run. So what's left? The draft is a very sensitive subject, but at some point, we're going to need more troops, and at that point the only way to get them will be a return to the draft."

If the US brings back the draft, I wonder how quickly Australia will follow and attempt to reinstitute conscription. If the US sets a precedent, I can't see John Howard choosing not to follow the lead. Though presumably they'd need to get it through the Senate, and thus to get Labor onside, which may be harder.

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