Saturday, July 26, 2014

Another week, another batch of reviews. I'll bet that even Stevie Wonder could see that I'm getting into a rut, though maybe a few surprises down the line ought to change your perspectives of this blog. Well, at least your perspective of just where me 'n my writing prowess stands in the pantheon of bored-outta-their-minds suburban slobs who still have the same passion for music, old tee-vee and other forms of true kultur even a good thirtysome years after it ALL wooshed down the memory hole. Anyway, I think you'll get a big boffo kick outta these writeups even if, in your heart of hearts, you probably could care as much about these recordings as you could the death of Little Lulu.


The Seeds-RAW AND ALIVE 2-CD set (Big Beat England)

When you think about alla the guff and putrid putdowns the Seeds encountered throughout their storied career (I mean, even Greg Shaw used to think they were teenbopper fodder before he wised up!), it's really amazing that this reissue of the group's final album has been given the Royal Treatment usually reserved for the likes of the Stones and Dead! And that's not only with the deluxe double disque treatment which includes all of those tasty extras, but with a nifty fold out package which (of course!) contains one of those li'l booklets not only chock fulla the required rare snaps and pertinent artyfacts but in-depth liner notes detailing rock history you thought would have been lost to history ages back. Gotta hand it to Big Beat...when they do a reissue job they do it up real spiffy like!

No bout a doubt it, RAW AND ALIVE remains one of my favorite all-time live platters! Yeah I know, the cat was let outta the bag regarding the true nature of this album long ago but if you ask me it was recorded like a live album (which naturally the booklet gets into detail about) and it has the energy and power of a live album, so in fact it most surely is a live disque in the truest sense! And really, when you spin something like this next to an "actual" recorded in front of a supposedly living and breathing audience album like say, BOB DYLAN SLEEPWALKS THROUGH AN APPEARANCE AT BUDOKAN, what sounds for real and what really sounds phoned in???

Platter #1's got the album proper, first WITHOUT the over-dubbed gal screams and then with 'em! Nice to compare and contrast the original take with what got released, and although you can pick up more subtle nuances and the like sans the frenzied screams I gotta admit to still liking the original we've known and loved for years. Especially when heard via a scratched-up 50-cent flea market copy on a cheap Woolworth's portable record player which I somehow think is the ONLY way to give this one a listen. It's got that cheap suburban feeling I love that seemed to get wooshed away once the kids who grew up on rock 'n roll action like this decided to deny the same fun-loving experience to their children, cramming down some of the worst offal to pass as youth expression since Johnny Mann's STAND UP AND JEER!

The bonus is great, yet another live in the studio affair this time with an actual audience of flower children up and hollerin' for their fave raves. At least at first---later on they seem to tire out or are coming down off whatever was perkin' 'em up which is a shame since Sky Saxon and cohorts are really cookin' on all hotpoints here. A downright exciting performance by these now-seasoned veterans even if the hippoids in attendance can't seem to get beyond contemplating their foreskins, and even though the reaction dwindles more and more into the proceedings the energy still pumps on like a buncha sailors in a bathhouse on their first night in San Francisco.

One of the best by one of the best, and it sure makes me feel good knowing that, after a good 45+ years, Sky and his band are finally getting some long-deserved respect! And yes, it does make me sleep a whole lot better at night!
***
Swell Maps-WASTRELS AND WHIPPERSNAPPERS CD (Overground England)

I obviously have a love/hate relationship with Swell Maps, at first having flipped my punkoid lid over WHATEVER HAPPENS NEXT before being snoozed away by A TRIP TO MARINEVILLE and then becoming disillusioned by the whole Rough Trade shebang once the promise of the late-seventies dried up in the mung of the early-eighties. But this collection of pre-first album trackage (sorta like WHATEVER only less bootleggy) reaffirms my faith in these whackoids...it ain't as varied as I would have liked it to have been true, but WASTRELS sure has loads of everything that was good about Swell Maps crammed into its grooves good. Those early sound-pieces cram into them wild takes on such wonders as "Blam!" and  "Vertical Slumber" and it sure rocks out (something that Patrick Amory would never approve of) the way you always liked your disgusto disturbo music to have been, be, and will remain for the rest of all eternity.

The overall effect is everything you've always wanted these English underground groups to be and more, with the sound and approach of the early Velvet Underground intermingling with Syd-like fantasy and Marc mania as first two LPs of Eno experimentation soar through your cranial cavity. So pure in approach and spirit that you'll wish you coulda picked this 'un up for mere peanuts at the 1976 cut out bin of your choice. So naturally of its own essence of being that it's even got skeptical me scouring through my Cee-Dee collection for those Swell Maps platters Bomp! put out...the same ones that I remember despising with a passion when they first came out and considering how I tend to remain true blue to my own preconceived notions regarding my personal tastes in music that's really saying something!
***
Mouzakis-MAGIC TUBE CD-r burn (reissued on Radioactive)

Sheesh, if you wanna remember the "other" side of early-seventies youth movement music (the flip to the Melanie/Cat Stevens/John Denver folkie drag that is) give this self-produced platter a listen. Maybe Grand Funk Railroad don't sound so bad in comparison. Rather snoozeroo hard rock (Third Generation off to a bad start) that really doesn't capture the energy that the CREEM writers were tagging this sorta rock to have back when your $4.99 went a LONG way! Listened to it twice for penance (eyeballed the nipple configuration of a lady at work) which not only shows that I have a strong constitution for pain, but shows that maybe I should also remember to turn off the air conditioning when it gets too cold.
***
THE KIOSK 4 CD-r burn (email David Keay at keay david@aol.com
 if you want one, which I get the feeling you will)

The latest in Keay's homespun recordings has once again been made available to the general public, and although most people are too cowardly to even think about wanting to hear such vivid and dynamic sounds I get the feeling that you, if you had the courage to hit this blog without the express purpose of being a TROLL, wouldn't mind giving it at least one spin. Again the proceedings take on a strong early Kraftwerk/Neu! approach giving me a better idea of what those early guitar-oriented Kraftwerk shows that supposedly showcased the group's Stooges influences were like, along with more of that simple drone that always seemed to work no matter which group of addled teenagers were cranking it out in their 1967 garages. Two vocal numbers even showed up to my surprise, and I can't say that I found a bum track anywhere on the platter which is really saying something---especially for a genre (home-recorded recordings made available in comparatively non-traditional ways) that certainly spawned a whole number of turds during the eighties and beyond.

Best of the batch: "Mr. Blount's Rocket Ride" which, contrary to the title, does not conjure up memories of Arkestras past but is more attuned to the Cecil Taylor style of out-there keyboard histrionics. And if this is fake jazz, this is just as good as some of that fake jazz we've heard from many a New York saxophone tooter back during the cusp between the decadent seventies and the comatose eighties!
***
Bob Hastings as ARCHIE ANDREWS CD-r (NBC radio netwerk)

My Archie is not dead---sorry about yours! Sorry, I couldn't help sayin' that considering the strange permutations that have happened in the once-funzie time ARCHIE COMICS sphere in recent days, what with the famed freckle-faced turdburger taking a bullet for MLJ's contribution to the bludgeoning force of dippy racial/sexual propaganda as midclass kiddoid entertainment, Kevin Keller. (Jim Goad and Kathy Shaidle had two pretty knee-slapping columns on the subject in last week's TAKI'S MAGAZINE, but then again my sense of humor may be radically different than yours.) So it's pretty neato getting a does of the old Archie via these late-forties radio shows which feature the recently departed Bob Hastings as the title character doing for the teenage bobbysoxer gals of the forties what the current variation on the character does for a million of fag hags in waiting.

The first 'un entitled "The Red Cross Benefit" references the then-current Larry Parks Jolson biopic (funny, considering Shaidle's opinions toward both Jolson and the ARCHIE sphere you could just see her upchuckin' great gobs o' phlegm over this episode's mere existence---well, at least there weren't any Milton Berle reference to be found therein!). This 'un has to do with Arch thinking he's just as good a Jolson imitator as Parks was which at least gives Hastings to do a rather good if still not convincing impression at Mrs. Lodge's Red Cross get together. Gotta say that this 'un struck a sentimental string in my zinged up heart, if only because it oozed that sappy sentimentalism that ya just don't get anymore because Luis Bunuel told a whole buncha pseudo-intellectuals that people like us just hadda be distrusted and loathed.

The second 'un's yet another bathtub-related subject having to do with Mr. Andrews wanting to take a bath on a Saturday night and Archie getting his head stuck in a hold he made in the bathroom door. Come to think of it, this one is a remake of the previous Mr. Andrews want to take a bath episode I reviewed awhile back, only with a few minor changes and an integrated commercial for Swift Premium Franks! One slight change in the script has---now get this!---Archie and Jughead taking a bath together with Jughead admittedly scrubbing Archie's back, perhaps amongst other things!!! Hmmmm, maybe alla that Kevin Keller stuff that's been infused into the Archie swing of things isn't new after all!
***
Lewis-L'AMOUR CD-r burn (originally on Light in the Attic)

Like, uh, wha' th'..... Backed by the soppiest synth strings and piano tinklings you can imagine, the mysterioso Lewis mewls his way through ten love-drenched ballads that make Perry Como sound like Gerry Roslie and James Taylor look as energetic as Speedy Gonzales. If you forget just how dull and saccharine the late-seventies and early-eighties could get when it came to top 40 schmooze, just give a listen to this and you'll be begging to hear the hard-edged and high energy sounds of Christopher Cross. Something tells me that this is what was going through Karen Quinlan's mind all those long and lonely years.
***
Various Artists-CALIFORNIA MONEY SHEEP COUNTDOWN (thanks to Bill Shute)

Not as tip-toe-tappin' as some of the other Shute collections, this does have some interesting ditties that keep my attention from wan'drin' o'er to the ARCHIE comic strip panel which has Betty digging for clams in her bikini (side/rear shot). The off-track weirdities like Phil Tate's "Countdown" and the Ding-Doo Rattlers do perk things up, and Bill even included a track by Marlene Dietrich just in case some fags were gonna be stoppin' by for tea (he shoulda knowed better!). Nice touch including a rare Redwing single even it I don't think as highly of 'em as Jymn Parrett does, while those song poems always did sound better'n the real deal to these ears! However, what on earth possessed Bill to slip on the Sparky Thurman Duo's rendition of Morris Albert's "Feelings" let alone some horn-y jokes called the Cavaliers doing the Chicago hit "You Make Me Smile"??? Keep this up Bill, and I just might be doing my Terry Kath impression a lot sooner'n any of you woulda expected!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

MOOM PITCHER REVIEW! HELL RAIDERS starring John Agar (1968)


It's always a hoot watching old films and tee-vee shows about World War II done up a good twenny or so years after the fact, because that was the time when the guys who fought the war were now in their forties and you can bet that most of 'em were looking back on those days wonderin' just how the hell they ever made it out alive (from what I can tell, most of 'em didn't even seem worried about getting offed while they were actually living through the thing!). And most of these shows and films were just chock fulla entertainment and lotsa pow energy without the sap and touchy-feely that would eventually seep into such once-manly thing as blood 'n guts war films. Sure as shit smells it ain't like you're gonna see a whole buncha overly sensitive soldiers gettin' tucked in and kissed goodnight in these mooms like you did on M*A*S*H, and while you're at it you sure ain't gonna see any of that sicky-sappy "human side" of soldiers like in this one SGT. ROCK comic I once read where the guys of "Easy Company" were rip-roarin' it up while being entertained by a (now get this!) ventriloquist and his dummy! Yeah, like I can see hardened combat survivors laughing their assess off over a grade school assembly-level ventriloquist routine, right before they get their milk and cookies and go beddy-bye that is! And don't forget the bed time story, Sarge!

If you still envision World War II vets as the kinda guys who have hair on their chests and read men's adventure mags with titles like GUTS AND GLORY, you can bet the whole lot of 'em are watching mooms like HELL RAIDERS 'stead of the puerile pablum that has been passing for tension-packed war entertainment these past three or so decades. A late-sixties Larry Buchanan effort with all of the charm 'n budget cuts that entails, this 'un might be short as far as high quality explosives go but is pretty long on the entertainment, at least when you get over the slow scenes where the men whoop it up at some whorehouse and ponder the fact that the female lead is in this film for absolutely no reason at all.

John Agar and Richard Webb head up a bunch of mine diggers on a special mission to get rid of some incriminating papers in their former HQ now in the hands of the Nazis. Not as easy as it sounds though, and of course the burden falls heavily on the stock company complete with a grizzled old vet and the kid from Brooklyn who never had a chance to get it done and like right now!

If you're lookin' for deep philosophical meanings and various Pauline Kael-esque insight you better stick with some of the aforementioned quap I mentioned. But for a good sit down and soak it all in action film, you can't really do much better even when the breaks in the plot make for ample potty poopy time.

One surprising fact about this 'un is that HELL RAIDERS was filmed entirely in Texas! Now you know why the whorehouse looks more like a Mexican restaurant than a standard dago brothel!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

IN PRAISE OF PIP


Pip Proud-A FRAYING SPACE CD (EM Japan, available via Forced Exposure)

Yeah I know. I said I wasn't gonna get it. But a feller can change his mind, right? And I have every right to change my mind about buying something as I have regarding liking then hating (or vice versa) records, groups, people or entire nations if I so desire. And although I did say that I didn't think I was gonna cozy up to an entire long-playing Cee-Dee by this (as they say) "outsider" nutjob (the Australian Syd Barrett they call him) I decided that maybe that $20 I had in my pocket would be put to better use buying this than, say, the latest big slapdash to come out on the Lexicon Devil imprimatur and who in their right mind could argue with that?

The Barrett comparisons hold up only a tad, especially when you realize that Pip's debut spinner predated THE MADCAP LAUGHS and that you probably could easily enough draw adequate enough parallels to Donovan or even Charles Manson just as much as you can ol' Syd. One toon, I believe "They Took Us All So Kindly", even comes off like Mahogany Brain the way the two guitars seem to be playing completely different melodies. And don't forget "Purple Gang Boy" (from whence the single was taken), which had quite a few discombobulated ears crying Velvet Underground.

Frankly I can find more in common with the early-eighties English cassette culture/underground musings that could be heard on that one MESSTHETICS collection of bedroom ditties done up by extremely introverted royal subjects. And compared to the timid and lonesome musings of Proud many of those feeble-soul'd strummers even come off like Ted Nugent!

I'd find it hard to believe that Proud graduated to the COWBOY BOB BOOK OF GUITAR PLAYING VOLUME TWO the way he cranks out the basic chords and sings along mostly if suitably out of tune. He reminds me of Granny on THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES playing her autoharp with a quill. Of course that adds to the charm and, considering the mental anguish Proud must have been going through throughout his life, gives the entire proceedings an added dimension---of exactly what dimension that would be I do not know, but it sure is fun trying to figure the man's mental makeup out!

Can't find a duff moment or sour track here even if the notes can go south more'n a few times asifyoucared. But it all ends up going through your nervous system so smoothly, even more than it did with Daniel Johnston and the rest of those recent loner types who found some sort of niche now that people claim to have ears a whole lot more open then they were back when Proud was first starting up his illustrious career. Can't find a single fault with it (unless you want me to get into some extreme nitpicks, which of course I would never do), and as somebody or someone else said quite awhile back, "highly recommended".
***
Eric Dolphy-OTHER ASPECTS CD-r burn (originally on Blue Note)

For being a posthumous platter that came ouy a good twenny-three years after Dolphy kicked the bucket because he wasn't a junkie, these are some pretty tasty leftovers dontchathink? Captures the more particularly creepy aspects of the early-sixties jazz avant garde that didn't always translate well to record, with a drive and sublime nerve-shattering drive that would have fit in well on the early ESP-disk roster. (Thanks to the presence of a pre-cocktail schmooze Bob James on track #1 no doubt.) Not only that, but the early usage of Indian raga sounds were laid down just around the same time Sandy Bull was doing his "Blend"-ing of east 'n west and, as they did there, the twains do meet. Wonder why it took so long for this masterpiece to make its way not only to the record racks, but to my dear ears ) other'n my own ignorance natch!)?
***
X-----X-X-STICKY FINGERS-X CD-r burn  (originally on Ektro Records, Finland)

If you think I "censored" the cover shown onna left you are correct! In no way do I want to inflict on this already over-inflicted world any sorta art that might be considered explicitly s-xual or homoerotic, so I did what I felt should be done and adapted the cover artwork to appeal to the more "worker friendly" types amongst us. And besides, sometimes us piccolo players kinda get inhibited looking at the bassoon section, and anyone who spent a weekend in a nudist colony with Iggy Pop would know.

But keeping the homophobia (or is it homophilia?) on the right side of your brain you'll wanna get this 'un no matter how sickoid the cover art may be, for this is (finally!) a collection of recordings made by John Morton's infamous post-Electric Eels grouping Ex-Blank-Ex aka X-blank-X aka X-----X or even "Ex-Mommy-X" and like the old ESP-disk record ad usedta say "you never heard such sounds in your life" and boy will you be glad you cared!

With a late-seventies anger and no wave fury that permeate these tracks that have about as much to do with Chris Burden as they do the Velvet Underground, Morton and band (even including Electric Eels warbler Dave E on one track) screech their way through the familiar single sides (at least three of 'em), live tuneage and rehearsal try outs reconstructing old  faves as well as new numbers you undoubtedly ain't ever heard before. Heck, "Agitated" even comes in for a deconstruction (I guess) and it's all performed right in step with that '77 attitude and feel to the point where you can just hear Anastasia Pantsios groaning over the fact that these guys are warranting a recent release and the Balzer Brothers most certainly ain't!

Biggest surprise is the group's rendition of the Johnny and the Dicks classic "I'm So Fucked Up" which ain't the Laughner-penned Mr. Charlie showstopper nor the sometimes-rumored lost song from the early Velvets days, but one that definitely ranks in the canon of Cle crazed consciousness. A real inspiring toe-tapper if I do say so myself.

Dunno much about the actual release, whether it's been released or is still in gestation (late note-this has been out for a few months already, on vinyl only), but you might wanna know that there are only 500 of these things pressed, 350 on black vinyl and, keeping with the late-seventies groove of it all, 150 on red. Since I got this 'un in my possession I won't be needing any actual plastic to keep me happy, so that's one more that's gonna be available for you music-starved unrepentant punk types out there.
***
John Mayall-A SPECIAL LIFE CD-r burn (originally on Forty Below)

I have the feeling that Paul McGarry sent this 'un to be thinking I wuz gonna piss all over the thing! Well guess what Paul---you're WRONG again boyo! Not that I find a good portion of these nuevo blooze played by white Englishmen quite...uh...white sounding 'n custom made for a buncha lowlives who still wear their leather jackets 'n smoke Kools down to the nubs, but I will give decent musicianship and the ability to not make me wanna slit my throat credit when it is due.

Of course listening to this makes me wanna go to some late-night bar on a Sunday and listen to the local whiteguy variant before leaving at 2:30 AM only to get shot to death in the parking lot, but if I hadda listen to something before being robbed of my fifty-seven cents in spare change I'd rather it be this than Robert Cray.
***
THE GOLDING INSTITUTE PRESENTS SOUNDS OF THE AMERICAN FAST FOOD RESTAURANTS CD-r burn (originally on Planet Pimp)

Haw, I actually fell for it, then I saw the name Greg Turkington onna cover and knew what a crafty slice of comic surrealism that I was being subjected to! Yez, the ambient sounds of your favorite fast food hangouts and their subtle if remarkable differences presented for you as if you were right there listening to the doof himself ordering up a chocolate milkshake at a friendly local Burger King. Typically nice, hygienic and wholesome behavior and sounds ooze their way into the sanctity of your fart-encrusted bedroom which only proves one thing---none of these recordings were made in any Italian neighborhood joints that's for sure!
***
Reigning Sound-SHATTERED CD-r burn (available through Merge)

For a group that was led by a guy who made his way through a whole slew of nineties groups I could care less about, Reigning Sound are a pretty hot current day act that reminds me of a whole load of seventies high spots (w/o the slick feeling that permeated music since the early-eighties). Think Elliot Murphy and Big Star channeling electric Dylan and slapping it onto a small label album destined for the flea market circuit within a few short years. Only this was released this very year and you'll have to wait a pretty long time before it hits the VFW Grange Hall sale near you! Between stuff like this and the Mirrors reunion (ain't gonna see 'em live but thank goodniz for youtube which is such a boon for this shut in!) maybe its better that I withdraw my name from that volunteer euthanasia list and like pronto!
***
Various Artists-MAGIC SUPER TWILIGHT RELAY CITY CD-r burn (need I say his name???)

When Bill burns these platters up who can tell what weirdo marvels he's liable to slap on 'em for my listening pleasure (or listening disgust for that matter!). This entry into the archives is yet another strangity with material I never even knew existed, what with three swipes of the Tornados' "Telstar" to contend with (the Double IV's "Magic Star" being a vocal version while the Astronomers' "answer" record fairs only slightly---however the Vulcanes' "Twilight City" coulda been an actual Joe Meek only it's as Amerigan as racial violence but don't let that bother you). Link Wray pops up amid the smattering of country and soul (speaking of which, Jimmie Willis' "Soul Power 1 & 2" is a good low-budget mover that shoulda at least gotten some local late-sixties chart action but probably didn't), and really I can't find fault with any of it from the Tykes' romp through of "Let's Dance" to the mysterioso Sound of Imker! The foreign language stuff though...kinda sounds like Sunday AM radio around here which obviously caters to the overseas portion of the local community, at least before they get deported ifyaknowaddamean...

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

BOOK REVIEW! ESSENTIAL MAN-THING VOL. 1 (Marvel 2006)

's funny, but back when Marvel was thrusting themselves full-force into the Bronze Age with a slew of new storylines rotating around a cartload of pseudo if not anti heroes like Dracula, Ghost Rider and Werewolf by Night, I was more intent on keeping up with Marvel's Silver Age survivors like the Fantastic Four and Hulk. Well, I will admit that I was also a humongous fan of their scifi and horror reprints via the likes of MONSTERS ON THE PROWL and CREATURES ON THE LOOSE. Even the occasional ARCHIE or kiddie comics swipe being reprinted was fine by moi, but the new 'uns were just too weirdoid for this thirteen-year-old even if they were delineated in that classoid Marvel style that tried so desperately to ape past Jack Kirby accomplishments. Just didn't jibe with my own sense of tee-vee rerun fun ranch house kultur which, even at that stage in the game, were firmly rooted in late-fifties/early-sixties fun 'n jamz which were still lingering around the ranch houses and tee-vee playrooms I occupied!

I mean, who wanted to read about guys on motorcycles with flamin' skulls or big lumps of humanoid vegetation when they could read about green muscular men and messed up teenagers who could burst into flames, y'know??? That seemed more in line with my way of thinking, and a dozen subscriptions to SON OF SATAN couldn't make me think one iota otherwise!

But being the kinda guy who certainly wonders what he was missing out on when he missed out on these early-seventies titles, I decided to snatch up this repackaging of the early Man-Thing stories considering how the guy was actually a reincarnation (more or less!) of the Golden Age great the Heap, who in fact was a precursor to the Hulk even if the trajectory on that series certainly went off in a quite different direction!

The collection starts off with a good enough origin story from the infamous SAVAGE TALES (the first comic magazines rated "M"!) complete with a conniving if sexoid see-through nightie and more cleavage than a 600-pound Italian, and after that its on to various early appearances where the thing happens to wander about the swamplands without a semblance of intellect (he being driven by emotion and repulsed by fear!) getting into various adventures with everyone from the local redneck townfolk to some wandering hippoids (and guess where the sympathies lie!) in a way that reflects the old Heap stories updated. (Well, at least updated for the new youth clientele who used to stare at single panels from Dr. Strange under the influence of whatever psychedelics they could get their mitts on.)

And with all of the references to the environment to energy crisis you can bet these stories are just as quaint as those Marvel sagas from ten years earlier with their Cold War and space exploration themes, but as usual you readers couldn't care one bit what with the boss art and that Marvel style that was so revolutionary that it took DC about eight years to even remotely copy it.

Some bad foreshadowing of future Marvel trends that shied me away from the comic book form but good (such as the original appearance of Howard the Duck, Marvel's shark-jumping moment if I do say so myself) and there were times where I had to grab a self-produced Steve Ditko comic if only to cleanse my system after the standard anti-capitalism rant being spewed forth from an arm of the Kinney Corporation. But at least the Marvel style hadn't devolved to the point where you needed a scorecard to figure out who was what with all of the crossovers and character transfiguration going on, and maybe if you slip some Yes on the turntable, do a li'l "something" and settle back you too can emulate the early/mid-seventies teenbo experience at least before your mind turns to polenta, and hold the tomato sauce willya?

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Not really in the mood to blab on in my usual diarrhea mouth fashion about the usual things I usually open up these review-laden posts with. Life has become too nauseating to complain about the realities of mere existence without coming off even crankier than I tend to be. Even the prospect of doing something entertaining and fun in life, like watching an old television show or dining out once in awhile, doesn't have the same slam bang thrill it once did to the point where I still fondly remember the times I was ever served a salad with croutons on it and thought it was the wildest thing to happen to vegetables since gooey sauce! But then again, I think I gave up living a good decade or so and now merely exist, and frankly I find that a whole lot better'n the alternative I sure wish more'n a few people out there were now experiencing, ifyagetmydrift...

Maybe I should talk about something HAPPIER such as...well, I did want to bring up the fact that the final Ramone, none other'n Tommy, has died making the original act totally kaputsky. But I'm sure you all knew that (btw I thought it was funny that AOL used Marky's snap on their front page come-on, a mistake I'm sure they fixed once the comments started pouring in!). Charlie Haden also died though I never could get worked up over that, not only because he was a hardcore leftoid who came off as such a pussy in some DOWN BEAT interviews to the point of nausea, but because he had spent some time at Synanon where I'm sure he was involved in a whole slew of nefarious mindscrewing practices as well as raising snakes and stuffing them in mail boxes! I always preferred David Izenzon's playing with Ornette anyway. Well, gotta say that two more influential musicians have gone to their bigtime reward, and you know that when two oldtimes pass on a whole slew of talentless subsputum are gonna rise in their place and pollute the world with even more tepid art as the years roll by.

So, on that happy note...


Amon Duul II-MADE IN GERMANY CD (Revisited Records, Germany)

After finding HIJACK a bit of a disappointment upon listening to it a good thirty-eight years back, I must admit that I did have some trepidation regarding any prospective purchase of this followup by krautrock biggies Amon Duul II a good thirty-nine years after reading a rather interesting review of it in CREEM. Well, maybe I shouldn't have waited that long before snatching it up because MADE IN GERMANY is rather/fairly/iffy good despite the usual mid-seventies pratfalls and attempts to be hip 'n updated. Surprisingly potent poppy music that was still too good for the AM dial (or too good for the FM as well) mixed with the residue of the late-sixties psychedelic afterbirth, and it's even a concept album about German history that'll make you wanna goosestep your way into the Poland of your own imagination! Maybe it does drag in spots, but it's still a good play for the Roxy Music/Eno crowd who had that Teutonic streak in their mid-seventies listening habits. Biggest surprise, the whacked-out Top 40 dee-jay interview with famed kraut drummer A. Hitler, and I believe that any resemblance to actual persons living or dead is merely coincidental!
***
THE WORLD OF CECIL TAYLOR LP (Candid)

Given that this 'un was unleashed on the public back 1960 way, it's pretty surprising hearing just how advanced Taylor and his band were next to the schmoozy tux 'n tails sounds that were grabbing the jazz world at the same time this monster was unleashed! Extremely high energy and intense outing here with Taylor sounding as fresh and as atonal as ever backed by original bassist Buell Nedlinger and drummer Denis (here "Dennis") Charles and, on two tracks only, Archie Shepp making an early recorded appearance. Really, there ain't much more I can say that you longtime Taylor aficionados don't already know, but this is a wild killer of a platter that you really do need to hear especially if you've only heard about this "new thing" recently and wanna give it a try.

And in case you wonder YES, I still am steamed over the shabby treatment that Taylor got in that Ken Burns Jazz documentary series where, thanks to Branford Marsalis, he is the ONLY participant in that rather wretched television spectacular who was allowed to have something negative said about him while many lesser "talents" in the world of jazz got away scott free!
***
Sun Ra-CONTINUATION 2-CD-r burn set (originally on Saturn)

Boy do these Sun Ra rarities just keep gettin' pumped out at a rate that not even the most serious Ra enthusiast could afford to keep up with! And yeah, this is another one of those once rare beyond your wildest dreams albums that you probably sent away for and never got, and it's just too bad that these Saturn disques didn't get the push they so needed back then because, as you've already expected, CONTINUATION's a pretty out-there affair that rivals all those Ra platters that got you hot and heavy back when cutout bins were just brimmin' full of 'em.

If you too were weaned on the likes of the HELIOCENTRIC WORLDS albums as well as various mid-sixties releases on Impulse and smaller jazz labels you'll know what kind of hot flash to expect, though you will probably be surprised to find out that these sides were laid down in 1963 thus predating the whole freak scene by a good two or so years.

However there's one thing on my mind  that I really wanna know, and that is what were those freaky tracks Bob tagged on after the second Ra disque anyway, the ones with some woman singing over what sounded like a bunch of stringed instruments being strummed almost randomly (the very last cut right after those two I don't particularly wanna know about given how it sounds so typical of standard underground art rock affairs as heard by this man o'er the past twenty or so years!).
***
The Zombies-LIVE AT THE BBC CD-r burn (originally on Repertoire, England)

Not being as avid a Zombie fan as Don Fellman, I certainly welcomed the addition of this collection of Kenny Everett SATURDAY CLUB tracks courtesy of Paul McGarry into my abode. The familiar tunes sound unique enough what with Rod Argent using an organ 'stead of electric piano on "She's Not There" (!), while the r 'n b covers and tracks not known by me were moving enough in that mid-sixties English rock way. Good enough that I almost flashed back to those kiddoid days when you couldn't escape the Big Beat no matter what show you watched other'n LAMP UNTO MY TOOTSIES. The banter between Everett and the group recounting their impressions of Ameriga and touring add a nice time capsule bit of background to it all (good thing they didn't discuss the Philippines after Chris White's remarks about the girly action there!). In all, a grand bit of rock 'n roll timewarp giving us yet another slim taste of what top forty rock was like twixt early-sixties innovation and late-sixties pop glop.
***
SKIN DEEP sound-discs from 1929 lost feature CD-r

Unlike the Sophie Tucker HONKY TONK disque reviewed awhile back, this 'un merely features musical fragments from a lost 1929 Vitaphone feature starring Monte Blue and Betty Compson and is totally bereft of dialogue so I can't tell you what this was all about. Judging from the surviving scratchy soundtrack this was probably a jazz-age melodrama a little too late for FILMS OF THE GATSBY ERA yet too early for those thirties Warner Brothers moom pitchers that sure socked this adolescent pudgeball on the lookout for the best in tee-vee thrills. Actually, this sounds a little advanced next to some of the early talkie features I've seen which tried to go as far as they could by hamming up the sound effects and laying low on the musical interludes. If they ever do find the film this might be the one to cure your 3:00 AM insomnia.
***
The Split Squad-NOW HERE THIS CD-r burn (CD Baby)

Heh, this is pretty good modern-day pop rock reminiscent of the sorta new wave that enlightened an entire generation of rock fanatics to dump their Ted Nugent albums. Or something like that, those days were soooo long ago. And really, this group does have a good reason for sounding like the best and brightest of the late-seventies "new thing" in pop because each and every member had put in a good deal of time playing in the likes of the Plimsouls, Fleshtones, Blondie and a variety of other acts that made Van Halen fans sneer with their usual indignant elitism fully intact. Nothing that I would care to buy for myself given my penchant for making the Abe Lincolns on my pennies wince (Paul McGarry sent me this 'un gratis), but it's all pretty good rock 'n roll (in the classic, purest sense) that sure sounds better'n most of the quap that I've heard that passes as "rock" o'er the past forty or so years.
***
Vibracathedral Orchestra-THE QUEEN OF GUESS CD (Revolver USA)

As you know, many of these newfangled musical acts rock or not, experimental or not, precociously self-conscious or not, don't really jive with my own personal ideas of what high energy music (or at least a music that is in the raw stages of transformation) is supposed to be all about. Yeah, that  sounds rather phony-intellectual to me too, but I know you get the drift. As I've said many a times it seems as if few things these days (or these past three or so decades) really affects me like similar-minded efforts did back when I was a stoopid kid, and yeah I know that times change and the mode of the music usually does along with 'em but for me there was that certain spark, charm and grace that lent itself to a whole load of musical efforts in the sixties and seventies (fifties too!) that just seemed to get washed away once rock matured to the point it should be receiving Social Security payments. And y'know, hardly anybody out there these days can convince me that they would even want to be the new Velvet Underground, or new Mirrors or even new Syd Barrett for that matter, and given how lifeless and soulless the world has become once it jettisoned spirit for chic gratification why would anyone out there WANT to be any one of 'em?

Anyway these Vibracathedral guys've been touted as being part of some new vanguard of Next Generation musical wisdom for quite some time, and as usual the mere hype had turned my stomach more'n Sherwood's head on THE BARNEY BEAN SHOW. But, brave soul always on the lookout for a new hook to sink my teeth into, I purchased this particular platter (I do have another one lost in the collection and maybe a vinyl offering once reviewed somewhere as well!) and thought it was pretty snat in its own experimental rock way. Shades of a lotta things here from Lamonte Young to Controlled Bleeding can be discerned, and I must have a whole lotta Harmonia on the mind because I can even hear echoes of them via their debut play as well! Not bad at all, even if there seems to be this dinge of postmodern stringency that keeps this from being on par with the groups that the Vibracathedral people obviously draw more'n a little inspiration from.
***
Various Artists-LAUGHING GHOSTS ON THE BLUE RIVER CD-r burn (courtesy the hard work and mindful diligence of Bill Shute)

Bus Eubanks would be really proud of Bill for this collection of early 78 sides by some of the snappier stars of the twenties jazz age available via the click of a mouse. Pretty hotcha selection here too with only one pre-jazzer here (Billy Murray's 1904 creeper "The Ghost That Never Walked"), and even that one fits in with the crackles and clicks yer gonna get (and enjoy) with this hot sesh. All the biggies are here and they really know how to send you to the Malt Shop in your mind with such wonders as "Toot Toot Tootsie", "Laugh Clown Laugh" (a real tear-jerker) and even the French Vichy lover Maurice Chevalier doing one of the two versions of "Sweeping the Clouds Away" that pop up (there are lotsa diff. takes from diff. artists here, including  not only Al Jolson's but Sophie Tucker's versions of "Blue River"). Goes well with yer old silent moom pitchers that don't have soundtracks, and as Dudley Dooright once said "that's real toe-tapping music!" Who am I to argue?

Thursday, July 10, 2014

BOOK REVIEW! ARCHIE, THE SWINGING SIXTIES VOLUME TWO: 1963-1965 by Bob Montana (IDW, 2014)

That ARCHIE ANDREWS radio show Bill sent me sure put me in the mood for some fresh comic strip reads, and you can bet that I sure was glad that I didn't have to wait a good three years for this 'un to turn up on my doorstep!

Heading into the mid-sixties, ARCHIE is still sparking on all cylinders what with Bob Montana's whacked out sense of humor (and ability to take the best cornballus jokes and add a refreshing twist to 'em) as well as keen artwork which always did put the standard ARCHIE comic book artists to shame what with the fine inking and liberal use of alla that glued-on checks and shading which always lent the strip a certain quality you just don't see anymore. 'n best of all you certainly don't see such feminine pulchritude being paraded about like you do when Betty and Veronica (as only Montana can draw 'em) show up in their bikinis at times even exposing a belly button or two---one look at them and you'll know why Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem got on the Women's Lib shrew patrol making the world safe for millions of bowzers out there!

Nice time-warp between the standard teenage age ARCHIE hijinx and the soon-to-come late-sixties upheaval, what with the strips here almost exact carbon copies of the ones Montana had been cranking out for a good two decades by already. Lotsa good gaggers here too including some neat mid-sixties mop top ones that certainly fit in with the teenage high energy point of view, not to mention a certain one on page thirty that'll really get both Bill Shute and Brad Kohler laughing their hi-q heads off. One thing about ARCHIE you can't say about today's strips is that it really was tuned into the mid-Amerigan doof-thud existence that seems to have been taken over by brain-dead philosophies and puerile propaganda that you're still seeing even this late in history when people frankly should know better!

Unfortunately the book's forward is, like many of these ARCHIE collections o'er the years, a little too apologetic about the whitebread wholesomeness of the entire Archie Series corporation with a tone that almost says that "HEY, WE'RE REALLY HIP ONLY WE CAN'T BE TOO HIP ABOUT CERTAIN THINGS". Perhaps this was all done in order to deflect a whole lotta criticism for MLJ head John Goldwater's help in the creation of the Comics Code Authority, but if you ask me it only makes the Archie line's "squareness" (which wasn't anything that we felt offensive or anything) seem even more obvious! Hey, if Archie and the gang started dealing in storylines regarding every breed of social/political injustice it would have seen tres out of place, almost as bad as if Nancy and Aunt Fritzi started discussing all of those disgusting scabs on Sluggo's head, and frankly do we need any more social relevance and modern day boredom reflected in our funny pages the way they are now? I should say not, Glenda!

But one interesting turdbit did happen to find its way into this schpiel, and that was in the portion which mentioned how rock 'n roll music was shaping the musical vocab with the bright and spiffy new sounds of everyone from the Iron Butterfly and Jefferson Airplane to the Moody Blues, Pink Floyd, and "Lou Reed's Velvet Underground"!!! The inclusion of the last bunch really did perk my Uncle Martin antennas up, especially when you consider just how VERBOTEN anything remotely high energy or punky was edited out of the musical vocabulary with a Stalin-like efficiency once the hippoids got into political power way back in the mid-seventies. I mean, who in a million years woulda thought that the preface to an ARCHIE collection would even mention the Velvets, even in passing? Back in the old days that woulda been cause for celebration and in many ways it still is (even if they were lumped in with a bunch of mostly tired old turdburgers) and hey, listening to the Velvets really went along smoothly while reading this batch of strips too! You should try it, or at least try something in a similar vein which does mesh well with the suburban teenage gags being presented for your ranch house entertainment!

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Didja make it through the Glorious Fourth intact? I managed to, even though having to appear as King George III during the fambly Independence Day Pageant for the 35th straight year in a row was yet another downer---if only cousin Clyde would kick off maybe I could be Nathan Hale, a role I could really get choked up over! But besides all that well, things went rather swimmingly to say the least, having gone to the Mesopotamia Ox Roast and flea market which yielded some good comic buys in the past (a LITTLE LULU paperback in 1975, the SUPERMAN FROM THE THIRTIES TO THE SEVENTIES hardcover in '92, and a BEETLE BAILEY collection not forgetting some old MAD "Super Specials" in '97) but nada this time. Well, I will admit that it was fun walking around looking at the dogs and the fat tattooed women, not necessarily at the same time.

At least I managed to get a good enough's night sleep considering the neighborhood kids didn't attempt to re-create the Battle of Lexington and Concord in the middle of the night like they did one year. Anyway, enough patriotic prattle and for those of you who were expecting it, here are the reviews...


KONRAD CD-r burn of LP (originally on Ethereal Sequence, available from Forced Exposure)

When I first saw this 'un listed on the Forced Exposure website a week or so back, visions of outsider loserisms danced in my head than any sugarplum fairy ever could. Really, take one look at the cover 'n dontcha just see some early-eighties wannabe hopin' to take over the world with his new music dancebeat thud custom made for the rest of the kids in his remedial butt wiping class? But hey, maybe Bo Diddley was wrong when he said you can't just a book by looking at its cover (and in his own personal situation, can't judge a porn video by looking at its clam-shell case) because KONRAD the album (and Konrad the artist) is a pretty interesting bit of self-produced low-budged music that satisfies on a variety of levels, and both as music to guffaw at and as real interesting stuff that you'll probably be scrutinizing just as much as ditzy dames combed the lyrics of "American Pie" for deep meanings back in the early-seventies days of high school relevantism.

Some of it has a quirky new wave sound while other parts come off a little too close to disco beat for my tastes (and one track sounds like Cat Stevens trying to cash in on the late-seventies underground rock trend), but however you look at it KONRAD has just enough of a spark of imagination and interest to keep you holding on, even through that pseudo reggae anti-police cum plea for cooperation track which is really saying something.

At least it holds up enough against various similar-minded outta-nowhere efforts such as Gary Wilson's YOU THINK YOU REALLY KNOW ME or the Paul Vanase and Baby Bones albums (two strikingly different platters that KONRAD seems to owe at least some allegiance to) to rate a huge huzzah, and although the $24 price tag might seem a tad high maybe you can find someone to burn a copy like I did!

And yeah, I know that you'll probably dismiss KONRAD (and Konrad) as a phonus balonus gnu wave casher-in-on who couldn't rock 'n roll his way outta a Bobby Rydell album sleeve but frankly, I'd HATE to hear what your home-recorded experimental fraught-with-meaning self-released album would sound like in comparison, you li'l oneupmanship self-absorbed nothing you!
***
Urkas-STAMEN AND PISTIL CD (Kendra Steiner Editions, see link on left)

Typical of the KSE limited edition offerings with a heavy industrial musique concrete sound (which, as my dad once said, was performed by people who had concrete blocks dumped on 'em) that reminds one of Stockhausen getting his 'nads lopped off. To be honest about it I wouldn't say that there was anything remarkable about it to differentiate if from a variety of KSE offerings that have graced my laser launch pad these past few years, though surprisingly enough Cee-Dee closer "Avoid Liars" recalls early Harmonia sodomizing their audio generators making this one a shoulda oughta get for you longtime krautrock maniacs out there. A surprising winner that should get sold out (only 99 made!) before you get up the courage to buy a copy.
***
John Coltrane-SELFLESSNESS featuring MY FAVORITE THINGS CD-r burn (originally on Impulse)

Yeah, this was the first bit of Coltrane I ever listened to (age sixteen) and it didn't impress me at all, at least to the point where I shied away from listening to anything else by the guy until I got heavily into an avant garde music jag a couple of years later and just had to give in. Playing this 'un again after all these years I can see that perhaps SELFLESSNESS wasn't exactly the best place to start for a young neophyte suburban slob such as myself. Heck, it was a posthumous cash-in anyway (as were INTERSTELLAR SPACE and AUM even though they would've been far better introductions) so like how was I to know? But tell that to the local library 'n not me!

Still, even the cover of Rodgers and Hammerstein ain't as bowtie clunky as I remembered it to be. Actually nice if middling but nothing that would capture the imagination of THIS teenbo music maniac that's for sure! "I Want to Talk About You" fares better, if only for Cotlrane's tenor solo which oddly enough reminds me of Eric Dolphy's bass clarinet solos with less of a vibrating feeling inside your musical psyche. The title track comes closer to the Coltrane I was hoping to know 'n love at the time,  complete with a double drum set up as well as the presence of Pharoah Sanders at his creative peak. Surprised that 'un didn't affect me in a positive, life-reaffirming way during those young 'n impressionable days but then again, what do scab-laden teenage losers know about this sorta jazz, y'know?
***
The Hammersmith Gorillas-GORILLA GOT ME CD-r burn (originally on Big Beat, England)

A pox upon thee again Paul McGarry, because if you read your musty old mags you woulda known that I reviewed this 'un a loooong time ago. But thanks for bringing it to my attention again, because GORILLA GOT ME is about as good as these seventies English punk rockers got. The logical extension of Crushed Butler and the rest of those wild Jesse Hector bands, this one is filled with good hard thud rock that still has a lot of the previous English punk rock sound in it (talking everything from Stud Leather to Spunky Spider and all of those other GLITTERBEST bands that got people like Charles Shaar Murray all agog over the punk credo long before you even knew lambchop sideburns existed!). Not only that, but the entire proceedings go down so smooth that you don't care that Hector was a grizzled veteran (first recording age 12 in 1959!) by the time these tracks were laid down. A longplayer's worth of studio slam here, and for those of you who can't get enough there's the live set from the 1976 Mont de Marsan punkfest which makes me wonder---where in heck's the Pink Fairies set from the same gig???
***
STAND BY FOR CRIME! starring Glenn Langan and Adele Jergens CD-r burn

Somehow listening to these early-fifties radio programs on a hot Saturday evening reminded me of my barely-into-the-double-digits days when I would listen to this old horror radio show on WPIC-FM which, back in them days, operated as a free-form rock station when it wasn't airing long-forgotten radio shows as part of a nostalgia kick. Considering that I still enjoy many of the things now that I did then, you could say that I'm either a suburban slob old-timey fun kinda guy at heart or mentally stuck at age ten. Most likely both, but then again it ain't like we didn't know that already!

These shows ain't horror-oriented though, but firmly in the fifties detective category in which I can imagine more'n a few Byron Folger types had matched wits with the leading man in order to solve the situation at hand. STAND BY FOR CRIME features Glenn Langan as crusading radio announcer Chuck Morgan who workds for a big El Lay station along with his sexoid secretary (played by Adele Jergens) and his boss, Pappy Somethingorother who more or less functions as the show's Perry White. Naw, Morgan doesn't get yelled at for calling him "Chief" but he is suckered into posing as a communist under the flimsiest pretenses (after all, if the mad ten-thousand to one plot to catch the real villains failed it wasn't like he was gonna get his job or reputation back!) in the first episode and tries to find out who poisoned a successful boxer in the second, and if you like everything from DRAGNET to I LED THREE LIVES on the tee-vee this is just more of the same only w/o a picture tube. I thought that the relationship between Langan and Jergens coulda been a bit sexier given it seems like they're head over heels in lust with each other but hey, this ain't Mickey Spillane!
***
Bob Hastings as ARCHIE ANDREWS (NBC radio series, 1946) CD-r burn

While I'm listening to old ray-dee-yo programs might as well slap this classic series on the laser launching pad. After the immediate success of the ARCHIE comic book line a branch out into radio was inevitable, and judging from these two episodes the series was just as anarcho-teenage fun as the comic book and and eventually the strip turned out.

Bob Hastings (who surprisingly enough passed away the VERY DAY I played this disque for the first time...hope that had nothing to do with it) is about as good an Archie as anyone coulda gotten who wasn't Henry Aldrich, while Harlan Stone as Jughead at least comes off better'n the guy who played him in that sixties sitcom pilot with Patty Duke's father as Mr. Andrews! The rest of the cast is passable I guess, though I thought the voice of Archie's pop would've been more suited for Mr. Lodge (his deep voice comes too way too authoritative...none of that sitcom daddy muddledness I've been used to all these years) but for old timey radio I guess it's good enough.

Speaking of sitcom hijinx I guess these two episodes are boss enough considering how both of 'em milk those time-honored plots to the comical max, what with Archie getting his rotten egg smelling tonic, glue, bubble bath soap and Wildroot all mixed up in the first 'un and then spoiling Pop's plan for an evening bath in the second. Yeah, I can already hear you readers sayin' that it's all mere kitty litter next to the meaningful and relevant comedies you see today, but lemme tell you that while listening to these I laughed even harder 'n the time the cripple across the street did a mean splat tryin' to escape from his burning house! These programs will probably do nil for all of you sophisticados, but then again it's a suburban slob thing, so you wouldn't understand.

What I found most surprising about these shows is that it's more'n obvious that Filmation based the voices they would use for their late-sixties/seventies Saturday morning ARCHIE cartoons on the radio program, right down to Veronica's Southern accent which ain't as squeaking as it was in the cartoon but still packed with quite a few "y'all"s in the drawl! I always felt it strange that Veronica would have such an accent because not only is the ARCHIE universe supposed to be based on ARCHIE creator Bob Montana's own Haverhill MA upbringing, but she never really came off as the Southern belle type to me. Maybe Veronica would look the part if she wore one of those flowing gowns with the wide-brimmed hats like the young ladies used to back in 'em antebellum days, but otherwise its Boston Brahmins all the way, and you can't really argue otherwise!
***
Various Artists-FLUXUS ANTHOLOGY CD (Anthology Records, Italy)

Considering just how free splat the entire Fluxus structure was (is?) you would expect a recorded anthology of Fluxus-related pieces to be rather varied if still rooted in that mad mid-sixties musical frame. And this 'un is no different than anything else you would have expected from these artists who made their mark either tossing out brilliant conceptual art or pulling one of the biggest jokes on the art world to date. Some of it is what you would call standard sound pieces from John Cage's 1956 "Radio Music" to Yoko Ono's "Toilette Piece" (straight offa FLY), while others feature spoken word/singing and sound manipulation that sound just as battily brilliant now as they did back when you first discovered this stuff when it was a whole lot fresher'n it is now. The biggest surprise of all is the contribution from the deformed conceptualist Joseph Beuys who sings an early-eighties new wave-y number ostensibly about Ronald Reagan! Buy it, and supply your own beret and stale doritos.
***
13th Floor Elevators-LIVE EVOLUTION 2-CD burn (originally on Charly, England)

Hmmmmm, here's an item that I was actually contemplating buying, only none other'n Paul McGarry beat me to the punch and dared burn the set up for my own personal pleasure! Good choice here Paul, because this live set by the infamous in a time of their own Elevators is one of the better dig ups of classic new-to-my-ears sixties psychedelic punk music heard in quite some time.

Really top-notch on all fronts, from the cover art (I assume the actual packaging is really high quality as well!) to the soundboard quality and best of all the performance from Roky and crew, who are thankfully so addled that they don't realize that the mode of the rock is definitely changing against their favor. First disc is a mad drive through various first and second LP tracks done up even more exciting than they were on the actual platters, while the second features some incredible jams on familiar tuneage that at times feature guest musicians on flute and what sounds like a melodica (don't have the actual package so find out who is where for yourself!).

In all a royal treatment for a band that deserved their fame and notoriety a long ago yet only got it after they were long dead and buried, and its a good thing I didn't hear this back in '78 during the beginnings of my Roky mania or else I would have plumb keeled over (like I know you all woulda wished I did long ago!)
***
Brian Jonestown Massacre-REVELATION CD-r burn (originally on A Records)

Although it may seem like blasphemy to some of you modern day fans of the Big Beat, I never did care for Brian Jonestown Massacre that much. Maybe I "did" give them a good writeup at one time and I believe that I dismissed one of the Cee Dees at another time,.frankly I can't remember, but it wasn't like I was the kinda guy to rah-rah 'em like way too many others out there in "notice me!" land seem to have. Well, sheepishly enough I gotta say that with the release of this disque my opinion of the band has changed, and for the better at that which I am not ashamed to say even though maybe I should be..

On REVELATION the group strut their post-underground values rather well reminding me not only of Roxy Music before the first big break but even some of the Ballroom-era San Franciscan bands when they would get on one of their long drug-induced psychedelic jags. If you wanna, add a little bit of English melancholia to the mix for a dandy neo-psychedelic effect! Surprisingly remarkable spinner here that shows that maybe there is some good music being produced long after it all seemed to slide into the big abyss we call "youth culture".
***
Various Artists-DRIFTIN' QUADRANGLE KIKO BEAT CD-r burn (this week's contribution to the cause from Bill Shute)

Dunno why Mary Astor and Ricardo Cortez appear on the front of it, but I won't be such a stickler for ACCURACY what with this selection of rarities Bill Shute copped off the web when none of us wuz lookin'. Quite a selection of  different musical forms here too from the early-sixties Minneapolis instrumental din of the Poor Boys to the new bop thing of Jackie McLean (not forgetting Sonny Stitt's bloozey schmooze and Jimmy McGriff's r&b instro guaranteed to bring out the Soulman in us all). The Bandits do Pet Clark's "Downtown" just as El Lay session as you would imagine, while Bill once again hadda sneak on a whole lotta that country and twang he so desires (best of the batch---Jim Adams' "Ballad of T. Eugene", a "topical" tale of a murder plot gone awry I would guess) Some moments like Los Angeles del Paraguay's "Guantanamera" get me in the mood for playing with my dinky, though I dunno why Bill would include the Surfaris' "Beat '65" since I got that 'un already...sheesh, you think he woulda known better'n that now, eh?

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

MAGAZINE REVIEW! UGLY THINGS #37!

Now that UNDERWEAR SKIDMARKS ILLUSTRATED has ceased publication, the only magazine that I wait with baited breath to read these days is UGLY THINGS! Yes it really is a momentous occasion here at BLOG TO COMM central when the latest issue of this magazine hits the racks (or in my case the mailbox), because really, in these rockism-starved days is anyone out there tooting the horn of the Big Beat the way that Mike Stax and his cronies have for a way longer time'n any of us can imagine? I mean, who else here in the 'teens really even cares that such a thing as rock 'n roll (as that noisy suburban slob soundtrack for our mere existences) is still out 'n about and no, your claims of Anastasia Pantsios to the contrary will not be recognized you sarcastic little twats you!

Needless to say this is yet another tip-top issue (#37, which should be a record for boffo rockmag longevity) and even if I ended the review right here and now you'd know enough to get a fresh copy, right? But I won't, because not only is there a load of pertinent information emanating from these pages that I feel compelled to comment on (anal retentive y'know), but there's a whole lotta space I gotta fill and better it be about UGLY THINGS than my latest nasal hemorrhage, even if I'd probably make the latter sound even more adventurous than a typical episode of MUTUAL OF OMAHA'S WILD KINGDOM.

Again considering the thickness of this effort it would be impossible for me to comment on everything about this wondrous issue that I would like to, so I'll just do the usual skimeroo and give you the cream of the crud highlights. Such as the crazeoid Phil May interview conducted by UT cheezewhiz Stax which really reveals a whole slew of heretofore unknown historical background regarding the longtime Pretty Things singer which make your own teenage problems look like FATHER KNOWS BREASTS (that's an old comedy routine I will do on request) outtakes. The piece on Carl "Kung Fu Fighting" Douglas was a hoot as were all of those complete histories of various punk rock bands of the seventies that never did make their way outta the local garage intact (Hitmakers, the Gears). The Rainy Daze "Acapulco Gold" saga complete with sidesteps into Dave Diamond and the Higher Elevation as well as the Monocles was also fab for us early-eighties Moxie/BFD aficionados who thought as highly of those obscure garage bands as we did Pere Ubu, while even the interviews with Ian McLagen and Steve Marriott were OK even if I still associate them with late-seventies ROLLING STONE-styled rockcrit filler. But I do get that way sometimes...

Of course my favorite items tend to be the reviews because after reading 'em I know the proper way to part with my moolah. Ain't gonna be parting with much of it because frankly, there ain't that much really eyeball grabbing enough to tear me away from my hard-begged, but it still in grand reading about what is coming out these days just in case I do wanna spend some cash. And yeah, all of your favorite UGLY THINGS regulars are up and front writing about these slabs, though (unfortunately) Jymn Parrett only clocks in with one review, this being of the Fleetwood Mac THEN PLAY ON album. Sheesh you'd think there'd be some Iggy Pop reissue out and about for him to peck on about!

And not only that, but there's even a nice recap/reappraisal on the infamous CAN'T BUY A THRILL fanzine which is even as good as this one in my own humble opinion. The interview with PUNK mag's John Holmstrom was pretty boffo as well. I hope that the mag continues locating old time fanzine and other writers to dig up their histories for all eternity because hey, I can't do it all myself and frankly, I DON'T WANT TO!!!

As for my my favorite part of this ish, it's just gotta be the third installment of eternal Flamin' Groovie Cyril Jordan's memoirs of his rock 'n roll upbringing, this time concentrating on San Francisco in that tragic year of 1967 when rock 'n roll started to take quite a few dreaded turns for the worse! But that's not bothering Cyril as he blabs on about all of the groups he saw and all of the fun he was having to the point where he was taking so much acid that even SGT. PEPPER sounded like a momentous album to him! You can tell that Cyril was in a good mood when he wrote this because he talks about the time the Groovies got to open for Cream, and he doesn't even go on a tangent about the way Jerry Garcia eventually treated him with a giant snub after cozying up to him backstage at the Fillmore! (For more information, find that issue of CREAM PUFF WAR with the entire rage-filled rant that Jordan directed at the digit-less one.)

So what do you say pod'ner...is your next ten smackers gonna go toward this or the next issue of Dave Mush's hippydippy white guilt newsletter? Of course, knowing some of you trolls out there this might be a question I dare not ask!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

I'll bet you were wondering what I was doing to occupy myself during my ever-dwindling free time this past week, other than performing mirco-blackhead popping surgery on my nostrils and losing my ever-loving battle with finger fungus that is. Well oh snarky one, I have been putting my free time to good use ever since I got in touch with this neet blog that gives us fanzine-crazed fanatics what we've wanted for years, mainly access to a whole slew of self-produced reads that we normally would have to bid upwards to $68.43 a bop to get our li'l ol' hand on. Yeah you have to supply the paper, the printer and the patience to get the paper outta the machine w/o crinkling, but otherwise ESSENTIAL EPHEMERA's a site that has a few of the 70s/80s English fanzines you've missed out on the first time available up and available for download, and on demand too in case you're one of those impatient women's libber types who I read about inna newspapers alla time.

There are quite a few goodies that I got hold of via this sight, like the first issue of NEGATIVE REACTION (more on that title in a future FANZINE FANABLA)  as well as the first two issues of VOICE OF BUDDHA (the second with a Mayo Thompson interview that'll have you thinking twice about his claims of being a political conservative) as well as Jonh Ingham's Clash paen LONDON'S BURNING which obviously set the stage for just about every other English punkzine that wasn't influenced by the NME's gunslingers to come out for the next ten years. If you wanna save a few pennies and fix yourself up with some really boffo night-time reading look no further'n this site, though if your copies don't seem as readable as the originals (which many times were nearly impossible to eyeball what with the lousy print jobs and other glitches I certainly can tell you about) don't say you didn't get what you paid for!

In other news, the BIG event of the week was undoubtedly  the arrival of my latest Forced Exposure order which maybe ain't that much to crow about in your neck o' the woods but around here's about as important a happening as gran'ma getting a new tractor in some old Soviet feature film! At least its stuff like this that keeps me off the streets and out of trouble, and besides that the thrill 'n anticipation of gettin' a boxfulla platters shipped to my doorstop really does bring up them ol' single-digit memories of sending away the boxtops for some outta-this-world offer and waiting a good three weeks in agony for the "cheap plastic junk" automobile model or Disneykins for that matter to arrive (still got Looie and the remnants of Goofy and the Ringmaster moiling about in a corrugated cardboard container somewhere inna basement!). The contents of my entire order can be read below but please, don't thank me----thank all of the labels who had the foresight and wherewithal to release these platters thus saving us all from a future of having to listen to all of those Violent Femmes albums again trying to convince ourselves that they really are every bit as good as the Velvet Underground and Modern Lovers were no matter how much those inner instincts tell us otherwise.

And with that note, onto the same old...


Jack Ruby-HIT AND RUN 2-CD set (St Cecilia Knows, available via Forced Exposure )

They LIE! This package is being touted as containing "the collected recordings" of the infamous in their own obscurity no wave group Jack Ruby when I know for a fact that there is one glaring OMISSION!!!! There's a cover of Hawkwind's boffoid "Brainstorm" flopping about out there somewhere, but is it on this double-disque collection? Not at all boobala, and if you don't think that makes me a rather upset li'l anal retentive you certainly don't know your blogschpielers! Maybe it's on that new Feeding Tube collection, but until I know for sure I ain't gettin' that 'un nosireebob! (Last minute note---it ain't!)

If you have the ugEXPLODE collection great, but HIT AND RUN does have more and besides, there's an additional disque here which has some rather out-of-kilter sound experiments that I will admit sound akin to the kids in the knotty pine basement goofing around with daddy's stereo system circa 1965, but it should appeal to the John Cage if not the Karlheinz Stockhausen in us all. But no matter how you slice and dice it, Jack Ruby were a fantastic act that certainly jumped a whole buncha guns with their soundcapading and hey, if you like the entire concept of seventies underground rock of a garage or however you wanna put it punkism strata than this should be yet another one custom made for your already expanded alley. Comes in a top notch, high quality package which not only includes a larger'n usual book cum history, but a poster of the front cover which'll look especially revolutionary next to your Che 'n Mao (you can just tell that I have a good portion of my readers out there pegged just right!).
***
Sun Ra and his Band from Outer Space-SPACE AURA 10-inch 45 rpm EP/mini-album (Art Yard England, available through Forced Exposure)

Even though there ain't any revealing moments on this segment of a 1966 Ra 'n Co. 66 live recording, it still makes for yet another tangy excursion into the realm of Great Black Music as it was flowering back in the days when even STEREO REVIEW couldn't ignore its existence. Ra on piano and clavioline and the rest of the familiar faces on the usual soundmakers doing their best to make Leonard Feather's existence a little less pleasant. If your first taste of Ra was the HELIOCENTRIC WORLDS series and you flipped head over teenage heels for the thing this'll zone you right back to the original thrust of it all.
***
Orchid Spangiafora-FLEE PAST'S APE ELF 2-LP set (Feeding Tube, Forced Exposure should have it because that's where I got my copy!)

Reissue of four legendary and oft talked about fantastical late-seventies sides of edited aural mayhem that sounds like a sold week of 1977 television programming chopped up and stir-fried in the Chinese restaurant of your mind. Also features some rather bizarroid electronic mangle that is highly reminiscent of the soundtrack to at least five PBS public affairs programs of the day as performed through the robot on LOST IN SPACE's sphincter. Incredibly amazing artyfact of where the new electronic/smash-up sound of the day was heading----imagine Smegma without the squeak bats not to mention the Space Negroes and some Residential goo and you'll only be halfway there with this "wondrous melage" as the fru frus might call it.

Comes with a nice li'l booklet of information which not only features group confederate Byron Coley's take on the whole Orchid Spangiafora saga, but a slew of honest-to-gosh fan mail including one from the king of cut ups hisself William Burroughs! A boffo package that no true fan of cranial confusion would dare be without, no matter how much plasma 'n worn out tit mags you'll have to sell in order to afford it!
***
Herbie Nichols-THE COMPLETE BLUE NOTE RECORDINGS -CD-r burn set (originally on Blue Note)

Bill always sends me these bop-era jazz platters perhaps in order to shame me into listening to something that ain't of a free/avant garde vein. This triple set's but one of 'em, and it's a bouncy thing if there ever was one. Pianist Nichols' complete Blue Note output recorded with the likes of either Art Blakey or Max Roach on the traps, two guys who certainly became humongous names inna canon of DOWN BEAT derived jazz saintliness while Nichols remained a passing paragraph for far too long. Beatific bop not that different from what Theolonius was laying down around the same time, and definitely a direction pointer at the way things would eventually turn in that wide wonderful world of jazz. Song title of the century (this or any other you can think of): "Cro-Magnon Nights".
***
THE FANTASTIC DEE-JAYS CD (Guerrson Spain, available via Forced Exposure)

It sure is a blast listening to this mid-sixties Pittsburgh-area (Glassport to be precise) platter via a source that doesn't sound like it just barely survived a night lodged in Patrick Amory's rectum, but howcum Guerrson didn't slam on alla them single sides like they shoulda (and Eva Records did)? Nonetheless, this remains a boffo slab of teenage suburban slob rock that not only has the covers down pat (Golliwogs, Beatles, Stones...) but a whole mess of originals that match if not surpass the more familiar trackage. Yeah, a few of these songs like "Mr. Sad" hearken back to the soft schlubby sounds of the early-sixties (w/o the redeeming doofnuess that might have saved a Bobby Vee or Fabian track), but once you sweat your way through those its smooth sailing ahead!
***
Edward Graham Lewis-ALL OVER CD (Editions Mego, and of course you can get it from Forced Exposure)

Back when I was an inexperienced lad (as opposed to being an inexperienced old turd) I must admit that I did harbor an interest in the works of groups such as Wire (as well as their spinoff Dome) even though the word of mouth blab regarding them did make me feel a tad wary of parting with any precious pukka shells for their platters. By the time I was able to afford to buy enough Wire albums to keep Colin Newman in touch with his spiritual adviser for ages, the spell of the whole Rough Trade/"post-punk" breed of art rock had long worn off in favor of six-oh garage band reissues and various industrial noise bleat as anyone who tuned into an early issue of my crudzine would be able to tell you. But now that we're heading into the middle portion of the 'teens and this breed of music seems almost "quaint" in its own spacial if "dated" way well---maybe it's time to give some of these acts yet another go at it, which is one reason I added this recent offering from Wire's very own Edward Graham Lewis to my recent order (and no, I'm not going to tell you the other reasons for doing so you inquisitive little buttslobberers you!).

Not bad at all really---kinda like those Eno-era Bowie tracks in spots with a definite early eighties pre-new unto gnu wave snoot appeal to it. In fact, these electro-drones really fit in swell with the batch of them early-eighties fanzines mentioned in the opening schpiel so you know they're locked in a time that we can all agree on were the best/worst of times in classic Dickensian fashion. Perhaps a tad arty, but the numbers on ALL OVER really do conjure up more'n a few of the interesting repeato-riff electro drone sounds that filled up quite a few Rough Trade orders in the early-eighties. Y'know, I thought I eschewed it all a good thirtysome years back I gotta say that this is..........uniquely adequate.
***
Various Artists-EVERYTHING YOU'VE ALWAYS WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT 60'S MIND EXPANSIVE PUNKADELIC GARAGE ROCK INSTRUMENTALS BUT WERE AFRAIN TO ASK CD (Arf Arf)

This week's dive into the long forgotten grooveyard of platters long stashed just happens to be an old 'n unfortunately forgotten one consisting of nada but crazeoid instrumental splatters recorded during the golden age of teenbo hard-edged punkoid gnarlism! More wah-wah toneism straight from the goshest parts of the mid-Amerigan knottiest pine basements than you can stand, and then right at the point where it all reaches a fever pitch---mom comes in with a glass of iced tea for everyone! Some of the sitar musings might not be suitable for more impressionable minds while the likes of 1001 Strings are about as garage band as the Jan Garber Orchestra, but I can take it with more'n enough grains of salt. Just imagine the whole thing as a NUGGETS for the Marcel Marceau crowd and it'll go down just fine!
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Various Artists-WALTER'S FEELGOOD WOBBLE TRAIN CD-r burn (and "you-know-who" is responsible for me getting it!)

Interesting concentration on a late-sixties garage-pop sorta thing, what with the likes of Urban, the Chants and Barons putting out this smooth pop that almost reminds me of Hackamore Brick in that late-sixties/early-seventies sorta punk rock way. Jimmy Driftwood breaks up the pop-psych with his country jive while the sitar-laden numbers by the Punjabs and the Love Sitars (doing "Paint It Black"???) kinda make me wanna hit the Tiger Shop at Sears for one of them Carnaby Street hats with the big buckles! But in all this is a rather solid selection of late-sixties obscurities that mighta even worked sweller had they all been collected on some long-playing album and sold for $50 a pop via Midnight Records (ech!). English prog thumpers would most certainly be interested in the inclusion of an instrumental by "Beautiful", who just happen to be the Soft Machine once again under the production of the legendary Kim Fowley.