The Dread Empire of Rock

“My name is Ozzy Osbourne, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”

I’ve got two interesting tracks to share with you today.  I don’t exactly know what either of them is about, but they are both to some extent artifacts of American cultural hegemony conditioned by Cold War schisms.  So think about that as you give a listen, if you want.  You can also think about what may be the defining and dooming paradox of rock genres: the complementary forces of rebellion and conformity.

The first comes to us thanks to Sublime Frequencies, who have done it again with their newest compilation.  Praise be to the archivists; the 17 tracks of Saigon Rock & Soul: Vietnamese Classic Tracks 1968-1974 could not have been easy to come by.

Phương Dung, “Đố Ai (Riddles)”

Buy Saigon Rock & Soul here.

The second track is by Shin Jung-Hyun, “the godfather of Korean rock,” and his band, The Men.  I found this on last year’s excellent international psych compilation, Forge Your Own Chains: Heavy Psychedelic Ballads and Dirges 1968-1974, compiled and produced by Now-Again Records.  Unfortunately for America, the “Twilight” that all the kids are talking about is not this song but instead some kind of Mormon romance.

Shin Jung-Hyun & the Men, “Twilight”

Buy Forge Your Own Chains here.

On a somewhat related note, check out this awesome photo-essay in Foreign Policy on Kabul in the 1950s and 60s.

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4 Responses to The Dread Empire of Rock

  1. I feel more hip immediately upon pressing “play.”

  2. It’s the big glasses and that French hat, I bet.

  3. David G says:

    Truly awesome tracks.

    I was not expecting the last minute freakout of Phương Dung’s “Đố Ai (Riddles).” I already loved it as a molasses dirge; the double-time freakout pushed me over the top.

    And I want a time machine, stat, to get Shin Jung-Hyun and Serge Gainsbourg to collaborate. Badass track.

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