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The Late Movies: Violent Femmes' First Album Turns 29

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Violent Femmes album coverIn my neverending quest to make you feel old, I have news: the eponymous Violent Femmes album (also known as "the best Violent Femmes album") turns 29 years old this month. Originally released in April of 1983, Violent Femmes featured an irresistible mix of teen angst and catchy pop, recorded with a super-minimalist set of instruments (drummer Victor DeLorenzo often played just one drum -- a snare -- rather than a full kit). Now, Readers of a Certain Age, let's run down these tracks. Be honest, how many of those can you sing along to? If you're like me, the answer is "every damn one of 'em."

"Blister in the Sun"

The canonical Femmes track, this live performance features a hella mullet on bassist Brian Ritchie. See also: this version live in London, 1984.

"Kiss Off"

A crowd-pleaser, complete with crazed stares by Gordon Gano: "I hope you know that this will go down on your permanent record." See also: this cover by Arcade Fire.

"Please Do Not Go"

The Femmes started busking early on (hence the acoustic instruments and minimal drums); about a minute into this clip, we see a killer live busking performance of "Please Do Not Go" in New York. Sadly, the clip cuts off before the song is over, so I've included a more recent live performance.

"Add It Up"

From London, October 1984. Content warning: there is a naughty word in this one.

"Confessions"

Live in Madrid, April 2, 1985. This one goes a little psychobilly freakout towards the end. Note that on the original album, this song finished Side A.

"Prove My Love"

Live on The Old Grey Whistle Test. The first little bit is intentionally silent, apparently. "Third verse, same as the first!"

"Promise"

"Please ignore my vacant stares." Live in Ontario, 1991.

"To the Kill"

From the same show in Ontario. Ritchie's mullet is still in fine form.

"Gone Daddy Gone"

For this one, I think the official music video is the way to go. "When I see you, eyes will turn blue. When I see you, a thousand eyes turning blue."

"Good Feeling"

What a way to close a record.

But Wait, There's More

If you liked those, I encourage you to check out "American Music," my favorite non-first-album Femmes track. What's your favorite?

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Animals
Australian Charity Releases Album of Cat-Themed Ballads to Promote Feline Welfare
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An Australian animal charity is helping save the nation’s kitties one torch song at a time, releasing a feline-focused musical album that educates pet owners about how to properly care for their cats.

Around 35,000 cats end up in pounds, shelters, and rescue programs every year in the Australian state of New South Wales, according to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA). Microchipping and fixing cats, along with keeping closer tabs on them, could help reduce this number. To get this message out, the RSPCA’s New South Wales chapter created Cat Ballads: Music To Improve The Lives Of Cats.

The five-track recording is campy and fur-filled, with titles like "Desex Me Before I Do Something Crazy" and "Meow Meow." But songs like “I Need You” might tug the heartstrings of ailurophiles with lyrics like “I guess that’s goodbye then/but you’ve done this before/the window's wide open/and so’s the back door/you might think I’m independent/but you’d be wrong.” There's also a special version of the song that's specifically designed for cats’ ears, featuring purring, bird tweets, and other feline-friendly noises.

Together, the tunes remind us how vulnerable our kitties really are, and provide a timely reminder for cat owners to be responsible parents to their furry friends.

“The Cat Ballads campaign coincides with kitten season, which is when our shelters receive a significantly higher number of unwanted kittens as the seasons change,” Dr. Jade Norris, a veterinary scientist with the RSPCA, tells Mental Floss. “Desexing cats is a critical strategy to reduce unwanted kittens.”

Listen to a song from Cat Ballads below, and visit the project’s website for the full rundown.

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technology
ABBA Is Going on Tour—As Holograms
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Missed your chance to watch ABBA perform live at the peak of their popularity? You’re in luck: Fans will soon be able to see the group in concert in all their chart-topping, 1970s glory—or rather, they’ll be able to see their holograms. As Mashable reports, a virtual version of the Swedish pop band is getting ready to go on tour.

ABBA split up in 1982, and the band hasn't been on tour since. (Though they did get together for a surprise reunion performance in 2016.) All four members of ABBA are still alive, but apparently not up for reentering the concert circuit when they can earn money on a holographic tour from the comfort of their homes.

The musicians of ABBA have already had the necessary measurements taken to bring their digital selves to life. The final holograms will resemble the band in the late 1970s, with their images projected in front of physical performers. Part of the show will be played live, but the main vocals will be lifted from original ABBA records and recordings of their 1977 Australian tour.

ABBA won’t be the first musical act to perform via hologram. Tupac Shakur, Michael Jackson, and Dean Martin have all been revived using the technology, but this may be one of the first times computerized avatars are standing in for big-name performers who are still around. ABBA super-fans will find out if “SOS” still sounds as catchy from the mouths of holograms when the tour launches in 2019.

[h/t Mashable]

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