In today’s weird music news, it seems that Disney has unleashed an odd piece of merchandise – a t-shirt that repurposes the cover of Joy Division’s “Unknown Pleasures” into the shape of a Mickey Mouse head. Have a look on the Disney Store website where you’ll also notice it’s “sold out”. As somebody that owns a Joy Division “Unknown Pleasures” t-shirt myself (as I’m sure many others do as well), Disney’s version intrigues me for a few reasons. First and foremost, they claim the shirt was inspired by Joy Division. I’m inspired by Joy Division too, but Disney is about the last thing I think of when associating things with that name. Anybody that knows a thing or two about the band realizes they took their name from the brothels in Nazi concentration camps. There was controversy with the band when they changed their name from Warsaw to Joy Division for that exact reason. Ian Curtis and the boys were really just taking the piss out of the name. They weren’t really advocates for Nazi brothels. And while we’re talking Nazis and WWII, one of the icons of the war was Mickey Mouse, a symbol used to represent America and American capitalism and values. In a sense, both Mickey Mouse and the band Joy Division were anti-Nazi symbols, even as the band didn’t take on the name until some 40 odd years later. As to the issue of Ian Curtis hanging himself and the general darkness of Joy Division’s music, those really aren’t things you want associated with beloved children’s cartoon character Mickey Mouse. Now for the record, the shirt is made for adults, and hopefully most that buy it understand the history where I’m sure little kids are none the wiser. And finally, I point out the history of the “Unknown Pleasures” cover itself. The image is not a Joy Division original, but rather something they repurposed themselves. The image was originally generated by a computer in the 1960s, mapping out successive pulses from the first pulsar ever discovered. The image was then published first in a 1971 edition of Scientific American magazine, then a 1974 edition of Graphis Diagrams, and finally a 1977 edition of the Cambridge Encyclopedia of Astronomy. The boys in Joy Division first encountered the image in that 1977 encyclopedia, which featured black lines on white paper, and simply flipped the two colors for the album cover. The published 1974 version of the image actually had it the same way the cover of “Unknown Pleasures” has it. My point is the Mickey Mouse shirt may have been inspired by the “Unknown Pleasures” cover, but that cover was inspired by an earlier published image that’s entirely science-based. Make of that what you will. I’ve already said way too much on this trivial subject. How about some Pick Your Poison? Tracks I’ll recommend today come from Air Review, Barry Adamson, Coast Jumper, Eric Chenaux, Royal Canoe and The Violet Lights.

Air Review – America’s Son

Barry Adamson – Turnaround

Bonesetters – Maypole

Charles Bradley – Heartaches and Pain

Coast Jumper – For Youth

Damon Moon and the Whispering Drifters – Loose Ends

Elfin Saddle – The Changing Wind

Eric Chenaux – Amazing Backgrounds

Fredrik – Fever and Foam

Lizette Lizette – Wheel of Fortune

Roomdance – Circles Approaching

Royal Canoe – Hold On to the Metal

Said the Whale – Heavy Ceiling

Simone Felice – New York Times

The Violet Lights – Sex & Sound

The Weeknd – Echoes of Silence (FreddyWoods Remix)


Hint – Aliens Enter (ft. T Fly)

Jesse Marco – Daddy Cool

Nine Sons of Dan – Took My Heart

The Plasticines – Barcelona (Lifelike Remix)

Walls and Bridges – Shine A Little Love