Sunday, October 19, 2014

As you can tell by the lack of meat being presented, this was a particularly Quinlan-esque week. Blame it on everything...the lack of new spinners to make their way to my door, the lack of new spinners that I'd actually wanna dish out a hefty amt. of moolah for, and (most of all) the lack of any real impetus or desire to crank out anything of which you'd particularly wanna call "special" this go 'round. Heck, if it weren't for the contributions of Paul McGarry and Bill Shute to the music kitty there wouldn't be hardly anything to this week's post, so if you gotta blame anyone, blame THEM...

But before you do, howzbout lending your eyeballs to these rather turdly reviews of a buncha platters that just might inspire you in some positive way, but knowing the kinda readers I have that would seem rather unlikely...


ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK; DEADBEAT AT DAWN CD (Asmodeus Productions, available through CD Baby)

The music really doesn't hold up that well w/o the full-on visuals creasing yr cones, but if you liked that particularly gruesome bloodbath of a film you just might like this ltd. ed. soundtrack album just as much. True it's got some pretty turdbally electronic casio crap that brings back most of the reasons as to why I loathe the eighties (and beyond), but then again a little bit of DEADBEAT's pulsating prance does suit me more than fine. And who knows, it just might be the soundtrack for your own carnage that's been cooking up in that diseased brain of yours. Decapitate some noggins and bite off a few fingers while this one spins in yr mind....
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Mystic Braves-DESERT ISLAND CD-r burn (originally on Lollipop)

Well, I must admit that had I the choice this 'un'd not be one of my top pix for a "desert island disc", but it's hokay in itself. I must admit that these "sixties revivalist" types who made up a hefty part and parcel of eighties underground rock just ain't as excitement-inducing as they were thirty years back, but these Braves still put up a good psychedelic poppy sound on this brand spanking new release. Rather 1966 El Lay in feel, complete with a swirling Doors-y organ and cheesy/fun guitar lines. A few tracks here coulda made it onto PEBBLES VOL. 5 had this been around back then and who knows, if you still have your Keith Relf wig and pointy-toe shoes (as well as a three-piece suit you can still fit in) this just might be your album of the year!
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The Ugly Beats-BRAND NEW DAY CD-r burn (originally on Get Hip)

I often wonder whatever happened to the old UGLY BEAT fanzine! That not-so-periodical read was one of my faves, but I suspect that it got washed away into the ocean of good rockism intentions by the wave of CONFLICT imitators that had come out in the meanwhile. It does seem fitting that this new "retro" garage band has named themselves after this mag o' yore, since these guys present the same sort of mid-sixties tough garage pop with a quick dash of psych that UGLY BEAT used to rave to the roof, or at least to the saddle staples.

If you think that the AM radio '66/'67 cusp produced more than a few shards of brilliant teenage tinny transistor trackage, you'll probably like these guys even more'n me! But sheesh, that name of theirs only makes me wonder when this fanzine's gonna get back into gear...hey, I did send 'em plenty moolah for a twenny-year subscription and like, I only got two issues outta it!
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Twin Peaks-WILD ONION CD-r burn (originally on Grand Jury)

Yeah this is one of those nice one-time-only spinners just like the two items mentioned directly above, but that doesn't mean that it's a turdburger or anything of that icky caliber. In fact like the above, WILD ONION is a pretty good platter although the music being made on it ain't exactly the sorta stuff that makes me wanna run out and kiss the first bow wow I see. It's for those rock et roll fans who like the post-eighties revival garage/six-oh style around the time it began shedding its seventies punk underground feel for something a li'l more sleek. Not bad really with a tad of Beatles here, Stones there and even some Sparks and Roxy Music musings scattered throughout making for one of those listening experiences that doesn't sound 2014 at all...and THANK GOODNIZ FOR THAT!!!.
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THE EMPTY HEARTS CD-r burn (originally on 429 Records)

An' YEAH, this is even yet another one-time-only effort from yet another retro-retro group, one who I can find little if NADA fault with even though there's some sorta strange sameness that keeps me from wanting to clasp this platter to mine boobies and lactate all over it. Good stuff for those of you who still hold on to your old UGLY BEAT 'zines with an impassioned fervor as if 1985 was still up and about, and I can't criticize 'em in any way/shape/form for the music they've laid down on this four-inch slab o' aluminum 'n plastic. And although I've "heard it all before" I don't mind hearing it again, at least for once in my strooned-out life!
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John Hicks-HELLS BELLS CD-r burn (originally on Strata East)

Surprisingly fluid piano trio led by the once out and about Hicks that ain't the usual avant garde crunch I go for but so what. A bit in the free mode but closer to the late-fifties bop/avant realm using the best of both styles. The results are a whole lot more exciting'n listening to that guy Billy Joel was singin' about in "Piano Man", and if you're the kind who liked those early Sun Ra albums before he started to really reach out for interstellar strata you just might enjoy this obscure effort as well. (But knowing you readers it's like I ain't gonna bet on it!)
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Various Artists-DIAMOND CARTOON BUBBLES CD-r burn (this week's Bill Shute offer upper!)

Well, """""I""""" found it a whole lot more in tune with my sense of scuzz'n I did last week's Bill Shute pick! Not only does this 'un have a coupla beer ads for you boozers out there but Dave Diamond (of PEBBLES VOLUME 3 fame!) shows up via an on-air poetry rap while the UC Trojan Marching Band blast out Free's "All Right Now" during halftime which really fits in with the autumn season we're now wallowing in up here in the Northern Hemisphere. Song poetess Erica Laine merely talks over a poesy submission rather'n sing it (as if she could!) while Dick Elliot and the Cartoon Cowboys do funny animation-style voices on the novelty winner "Ouch Ouch Ouch"!

For real har-dee-har-hars try the Two Petes with their "Bee Gees Medley" (sounds like something ya woulda heard on a CBGB audition night in 1989 right before the big hook came out'n dragged 'em off the stage) while Grasshopper's "Witch's Blood in a Sauce" is one example of modern avant garde music that doesn't make me wanna blow up the local university's "school of music"! And it's all topped off by a selection from a Telly Savalas radio interview where the famed Greek detective not only gives us a li'l background on just how he got into the singing biz but spins a track from his new platter which is bound to bring a tear to an eye of alla those old FM radio hi-fi nuts who still mourn the passing of Nelson Riddle. A real keeper you got here, Bill (as if I've thrown away anything you've sent my way, even the other CD-rs and DVD's that wouldn't play)!
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In closing (and to pad this rather midge-y post out a bit), here's a rarity that's bound to curl your straighties, a rare appearance by none other than that mad magician himself Geofrey C/Krozier with the Indian Medicine Magik Show on Australian black 'n white tee-vee in 1970! Heavy Metal didgeridoo, and I do mean it!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

BOOK REVIEW! SPACE DAZE by Dave Thompson (Dave Thompson books 1996, 2009)

Really, this ain't a bad book if you're interested in coagulating a li'l history regarding the birth and development of space rock, but if I didn't just tell you that there's something missing in this outerworldly tome well, this wouldn't be a BLOG TO COMM review now, would it?

For what it is, SPACE DAZE is a rather patchworky cut 'n paste that purports to be a history of that bizzaroid form of rock 'n roll music that popped out of the strange miasma known as late-sixties psychedelia we've been calling space rock. Or at least we started to call it that ever since that debut Captain Beyond LP with the 3-D cover came out. Oh yeah, there was space rock before that creeping about on the instrumental charts (who'd doubt that "Telstar" was the unheralded granddaddy of it all?), but we're talking about the more sci fi-ish-cum-fantasy musings that were birthed outta way too many readings of EC comics while West Coast rock wailed from the speakers (and don't forget the extracurricular stimulation while you're at it!). And as far as relaying that primal feeling, sound and energy goes I would say that Thompson does it hit and miss. It's all here but it just doesn't gel the way I wished it would which leads me to believe that maybe """""I""""" am the one in need of insight and inspiration. And you know how much that costs an ounce these days.

Well, at least author Thompson covers most if not all of the major bases in these 216 pages so we get nice 'n perhaps even hefty rundowns on alla our outer space favorites from Pink Floyd to Gong and quite a few points in between. Not ALL points since I did mention that the author forgot a whole load of outerworldly gems in his search for the cosmic crown (and he does at times put down some of the acts I do go for, like Sameti which doesn't exactly "bug" me but does chalk up a few pangs of negative energy), but I guess he just hadda've left some things out! Hey, it ain't like you're bound by law to cram it all into your book in the here and now, right? I mean, leave something for the 2029 update!

Thankfully the author's propeller beanie is on tight most of the time which is a relief considering the interstellar turdburger this book coulda been. Hawkwind naturally earn beaucoup pages which is totally fitting if expected, and come to think of it so do the rest of the Ladbrook Grove groovers like the Deviants and Pink Fairies even if their music wasn't exactly the same sorta space rock that I think most planet orbiters had in mind. The Floydian camp rates high as well as do the krautscapaders which really gets one drooling and hefty big huzzah freom me, and thank heavens that Thompson also seems to have the proper BLOG TO COMM taste modes firmly in gear so we're thankfully spared the Chris Welch version of seventies rock with massive heartfelt dribbles directed at the likes of Emerson Lake and Palmer and their rather erudite ilk. Gotta admit that's something that really helps this book go down smoothly especially since you just happened to pick up that latest ROLLING STONE your hippie sis left onna counter and you just gotta cleanse your system with something!

SPACE ROCK does have the tendency to jump around from one subject and chapter to another with nothing but the barest thread to keep it all ever-so-slightly connected. Thus the tome begins with a hefty appreciation of the Hawkwind journey before leaping into the realm of Syd Floydism before heading into Jimi territory with such a free for all approach that I kinda get the idea that Tristan Tzara did the editing. But I guess that by the time you finish it's all just one nice juicy blur to the point where everything does seem make sense in that all encompassing cosmic way, and come to think of it that's how I usually end up feeling after spinning SPACE RITUAL in its entirety! Yes Thompson does have not only his music, but his readers down pat 100%.

As you'd expect there ain't much new information regarding these acts presented that you can't really find elsewhere so it's probably gonna come off like old hat to many of you olde tymey readers. But if you're a new tymey one this might make for a good starting place. I for one really enjoyed it as a reminder of my old musical listening days gone by and if you're the kinda blubberfarm who used to prowl the import bins wishing you could dish out the twelve bucks that those Ohr albums were going for a good thirty-five-plus years back then man, this is the book for you!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

With all of this talk about ebola and ISIS as well as other cheerful things that put a smile on our faces and a tap in our toes, maybe it's best that we talk about something totally dreadful that's happened in this world of our o'er the past seven or so earthspins. Things like the recent passing of none other than "the Madman of Rock 'n Roll" himself Paul Revere! As a skidmarking, toy-throwing  kiddiegardener-type who used to spend more'n enough time snuggled in front of the set watching WHERE THE ACTION IS, you could say that I was one guy who grew up with Mr. Revere as a front-and-center entertainment ICON, and yeah, I will admit that finding out the guy has finally met General Washington in the Great Beyond is enough to once again remind me of my own mortality, at least to the point where perhaps I'd better skip on the second helping of Eggplant Paramecium during dinnertime lest I blow up into an even bigger blubberfarm that I'm struggling not to be.

And frankly who can forget that Revere was, along with the Wailers and a few thousand other groups, part of the infamous "Northwest Scene" during the first rock 'n roll strata which was content on cranking out hard-edged r&b-influenced garage band rock while the national charts seemed to reflect a more civilized approach to teenage suburban slob living. Those early Revere records continue to stand the ol' test, and even though I am going out on a limb to say this I'm sure that only the most rabid of Mark Shipper haters out there would dare think that those Raiders platters from the mid-sixties (and on) were nothing but teenybopper trash when they sure sound fresh and exciting even after the umpteenth spin of "Him or Me". Yeah I know that the Raiders did tend to have their own soft side that was custom made for the pimply plumperoo gal in her nightgown with Mark Lindsey snaps clipped from 16 magazine pasted all over the walls, but they were still tuff enuff for the he-boys who really dug such hotcha anthems as "Steppin' Out" and "Kicks"! And hey, you could say that if there wasn't a Paul Revere and the Raiders there wouldn't have been an MC5 or Flamin' Groovies because the influences are certainly wallowing around in there...

Yeah, mebbee I could mention alla the distasteful stuff I've heard regarding the Man of the Hour such as the story about how Revere was gonna back out on meeting a terminally ill gal and 16 editor Gloria Stavers was gonna expose his real last name (which was "Dick"!) if he did! Not forgetting those behind-the-scenes rumors regarding the animosity between Revere and the various other Raiders and how he wouldn't let them smoke pot lest they ruin the group's youth appeal image!!! I'm sure there are a few things other things that you more on-the-ball readers would be able to fill me in on as well, and if so like, what's keeping ya! (And howzbout those interviews with various ex-Raiders conducted by Jeff Jarema that were supposed to reveal some mighty distasteful things that were going on in the Raiders camp...things that made the Zombies look tame in comparison!) But since the guy is no longer with us and can't defend himself from such perhaps truer than a few of you'll ever admit charges I'll leave such muckraking to a better time, like when he's ruminated enough in the afterlife and such disturbing anecdotes can finally be brought to light in that grand old kick 'em while they're decayed tradition.

But until those creepy days arrive here's to you Paul, and frankly I'm still stymied over that one WHERE THE ACTION IS skit where you guys were acting out a shoe store pantomime to some song whose title I now forget, and while trying to pull off a shoe I believe you took off Phil Volk's entire leg with it! For quite a long time I actually thought Phil lost his leg in the deal, being such a trouper to the cause that he'd actually sacrifice his limb in the name of afternoon teenage tee-vee entertainment!
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Just when you thought all hope was lost and live was not worth farting in, here comes something that really makes you glad that you're alive and kicking and not just another zomboid roaming the streets of this gollyforsaken world! You all know how much of a boffo fanzine that THE NEXT BIG THING was, what with Lindsay Hutton's top notch articles on alla those great late-seventies acts that we hadda wait a good year for when they hit the cut out bins??? Well, now some of those early issues (which would cost mucho bucks if we were to win 'em via an ebay auction) are now available via the NBT site for the price of a few sheets of paper and a computer that happens to work better'n the one I'm typing this mess out on! Yes, Mr. Hutton has it in his heart to present those early and much sought after NBT's for you fanablas who missed out the first time around, and really it is a blessed (or is it blasted?) thing that once again we can enjoy Hutton's early fanzine romps and relive alla 'em fuzzy warm memories of the days when such fanzines roamed the face of the earth...y'know, of picking up punk rock platters at the local music emporium thinking we were big shots ownin' those 99-cent Flamin' Groovies albums! And what's best about it is that Lindsay is NOT
charging us an arm and a leg to download these and that it's freefreeFREE!!!!, a fact that certainly is wonderful for folk like us who can't always afford such luxuries even though we've tried our darndest! Here's a big hefty hearty BLOG TO COMM huzzah to you for your public service Lindsay, and don't ever catch me saying that Scotsmen are cheap because you certainly have given us a bargain that we can't pass up on!
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Haven't had any whatcha'd call "rock 'n roll dreams" as of late but a few nights ago whilst in the midst of a rather strange 'un I came up with a great, cornballus riddle that I thought was pretty funny considering that it popped into my head whilst snuggled up inna arms of Morpheus. Here it is...Q: Do you know the name of a frustrated science fiction writer? A: H. G. Willikers! Heck, I'm still laughing at that one just like the people in the dream I told it to were, and if you wanna impress your friends and family with this pearl please do so but don't forget to give credit where my subconscious mind is due.
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Well, after all THAT blabber-on here are the reviews of some (if not most, if not ALL) of the platters I've been spinning this past week! Well, at least the ones I've spun when I wasn't playing my usual current favorites which just happen to be the same krautrock klassics with hefty Velvets/Stooges references in 'em since sometimes I suffer system overkill when I listen to the actual artifacts too much. Once again I must thank the likes of Bill Shute, Robert Fo'ward and Paul McGarry for sending me these tea coasters (you'll know which of these I didn't purchase on my lonesome since I mention they are "burns"), and also thanks to my employer for paying me so I could snatch up the rest of these time wasters! Maybe there's something in this batch that'll tickle your fancy (if I were writing about a Gallic act would that mean they would "French tickle your fancy???") but then again do any of you really care? (Frankly I should say not!)



The Jimmy Giuffre 3&4-NEW YORK CONCERTS 2-CD set (Elemental Music)

Although I've pretty much enjoyed just about everything I've ever heard by this now-deceased avant jazz pioneer I gotta admit that a good portion, if not all, of what I have heard was, how shall I say, rather chamber jazz-y. Nothing wrong with that, but sometimes I'm in the mood for the wild ravings of a Roscoe Mitchell or Archie Shepp and the fifties-bred style of a Giuffre or George Russell just doesn't light my nodes in the exact same way. Now there are moments when Giuffre's drummerless trios do strike a certain chord of introspective ennui with me but frankly, I'm not the kinda guy who likes to hide under the bed ALL day and don't you just know it!

But on these mid-sixties live sets (recorded with the express purpose that they be broadcast once and forever locked up!) Giuffre shows that he's absorbed the better aspects of the entire Coltrane/Coleman wing of jazz erudition  On disque #1 Giuffre plays in a trio setting along with noted bassist Richard Davis and drummer Joe Chambers sounding a lot like the way Ornette Coleman did right around the time of his first retirement trip late-'62 way. Still rooted in the bop of the previous decade yet with that dark intense feeling that got more'n a few goatee'd pseudo-intellectual college kids' hearts a'flutter, Guiffre even does a Coleman composition ("Crossroads" which appeared under that title on the LIVE AT THE HILLCREST CLUB making me wonder where Guiffre heard the thing since it didn't even get released until the late seventies!) so you know just how far he'd wandered from the Thundering Herd at this stage in the game!

The second 'un features Guiffre in quartet setting from a few months earlier with Chambers still on the drums, but with bassist Barre Phillips and Don Friedman on piano. Another boffo set even though Friedman's playing is more or less copasetic and doesn't really add to the performance and Phillips still seems to be feeling himself out on his gear, or am I being presumptuous as usual? Still, more of the original new thing as is was being unraveled before our very ears, and not-so-surprisingly both platters show a tension and dare-I-say "maturity" that I really haven't heard in many of the new players of the old form these past two decades or so.

By the way, this month marks the fiftieth anniversary of the legendary "October Revolution in Jazz" and if you wanna celebrate it the way any proper BLOG TO COMM fan and follower would, howzbout sneaking some Giuffre in with your Cecil Taylor and Albert Ayler? Wouldn't hurt, y'know?
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Bogs Visionary Orchestra-RECESSION SPECIAL CD-r (CD Baby)

Have you ever wondered what hold in the wall the new generation of Holy Modal Rounders-styled urban folk groups were hidin' their little butterbuns in? Well look no further, for outside of the infamous Muscular Christians there's also Bogs Visionary Orchestra to contend with. Not since the early days of the Rounders have such brill downhome lower east side sounds been set forth complete with mandolin, accordion and a singer who might look a bit like John Cale but sounds as if he just walked off Walton's Mountain after giving John Boy a good kick in the 'nads. Nothing that makes me wanna scream hosannas of huzzah like HAVE MOICY! does, but a good country folk thumper and I'll bet that even their other releases are worth a spin or two if you have the moolah and are so inclined. (Ten points docked for the political number regarding the "First Amendment" as if the likes of Bog ever cared for it pertaining to anybody but themselves, or so I get the idea!)
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Allah Las-WORSHIP THE SUN CD-r burn (originally on Innovative Leisure)

Another relative new-ish underground pop act that's more or less the latest in a long line of white rock groups that are continuing a lineage of new wave precociousness begun by Talking Heads. Actually they're pretty nice and pleasant with some good songcraft to their name, but as usual there's nothing here that grips me the way a whole slew of 1964-1981 vintage rock (of an underground and mainstream variety) does. If you are one who still pines away for the days of the Paisley Underground and those early issues of BUCKETFULL OF BRAINS (actually an all time wowzer) you'll enjoy this but for me...eh!
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Sun Ra and his Arkestra-IN THE ORBIT OF RA 2-CD-r burn  (originally on Strut, Germany)

Longtime Ra-man Marshall Allen slapped this double set consisting of old and newies together, and as far as it being any what-cha'd-call "representative" slice of the Ra pie goes it does itself rather well. Nothing of the extremely outer-worldly here, but IN THE ORBIT does have that nice straight lilt to it that reminds me of the Arkestra at their late-fifties/early-sixties Big Bandiest clinking plenty of percussion along with the rest of all that exotica, at least enough to give Les Baxter a bad case of the hemorrhoids. Some familiar faves you've probably heard for years on end are here true, but so are some different takes, different renditions and even a couple all-newies to your ear so quit complaining like you're still five years old and you didn't get your Maypo!
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The Hoodoo Rhythm Devils-THE LOST ALBUM; LIVE FROM NEW YORK CD-rs (Rear Window, available via CD Baby)

Always on the lookout for a good outta-the-way discovery, I first became intrigued with the Hoodoos after reading a review of a live Max's gig that was reported in the pages of NIX ON PIX (of all places!), a fanzine that hit the same masterful heights of TEENAGE WASTELAND GAZETTE and CRETINOUS CONTENTIONS as far as crafty satire went even though you'll probably never read a word of any of those rags no matter how long you live. That writeup made these neo-Dixieites come off like one of the better bunches to approach older forms of music with an early-seventies rock approach in gear, and although I wasn't expecting their takes on fifties classics updated for seventies tastes to be as perfecto as ELECTRIC WARRIOR's were well, they seemed a good enough gamble, and who woulda thunk that any of their material would still be available even this late inna game!?!?!

But it is, and being the adventurous sorta stroon that I am I decided to scarf these two available platters (there's also a "best of") that CD Baby has put up for sale. And y'know what? They really ain't my type of rockist thrills being too much on the seventies heavy side for me (using "heavy" as a pejorative as in hippoid tokes 'n smokes 'stead of punkoid needles 'n Burroughs)  to enjoy, especially whilst in the throes of seventies innovation and on the hunt for the long-forgotten hard rock grail. The Hoodoos do sound typical of what many a seventies outta nowhere band coulda cooked up true, and while they ain't offensive and in fact rather listenable at times it's that...uh, one singer with the gruff overdrive voice who makes me think he's gonna be singin' "I'm gonna get me a woman!" that drags this down quite a bit!

THE LOST ALBUM features mostly if not allly covers of fifties faves, and while it thankfully doesn't insult the memory of alla 'em original hits with their primitive poundouts and puerile production it does have way too much seventies hippoid overload not that dissimilar to what alla those Dead-like biker bands were doing around the same time. Nothing wrong with that (I think), and I frankly can take listening to this in small doses. But it's like eating a tub of yogurt when your heart's all set on a nice juicy cheeseburger, and as Patrick Analream can tell you my heart is set on cheeseburger rock rather'n yogurt and in case you're interested you can eat all of the rectums your heart so desires Pat dear!

The live 'un was actually recorded at the studios of WLIR-FM in Hampstead Long Island, and considering how the same station also used to air similar sessions by the likes of everyone from Lou Reed to Big Star I get the feeling that these broadcasts were intended to hype upcoming gigs at various local hotspots such as the Academy of Music or Max's for that matter. In all it's a nice showcase for the group to stretch out and have fun while hyping some upcoming show, but still the performance can tend to be a li'l too straight-ahead commercial for a guy like me who really goes for something a li'l more'n the same old in my sounds. Again this is not too bad, but I find the usual seventies good timey styles to be rather trite in the wake of what else was happening in rockist circles around the very same time!

(The Dr. Pepper commercials that appear seem to be the highlight of the set, reminding me of the days when that hallowed soft drink was constantly vying for the youth market what with its advertising on AMERICAN BANDSTAND for years on end. Pick up a few bottles and down it while listening to the Devils do their fifties re-dos and who knows, it might all actually sound better!)
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Lauren Agnelli-LOVE ALWAYS FOLLOWS ME CD (Bongo Beat Canada, also available via CD Baby)

Onetime Trixie A. Balm (former Nervus Rex/Washington Square) does the chanson d'amore schtick really good on this platter which has the former rock "writer" (NOT "critic") doing the e-z listening soft piano and martoonies act pretty convincingly. For her old-time fans she throws in an acoustic guitar an electro-wave number at the end, but otherwise this is the kinda stuff you used to hear in those lounge scenes on fifties tee-vee private eye shows back when smoking and drinking weren't nary the evil habits they tend to be now (translation: "kids, it's OK to JACK OFF!") And you know what, Agnelli does a very convincing job of it even if your Unca Louie's still gonna think she's another hippie fake out to make fun of his generation. Knocked a WHOLE LOTTA POINTS for featuring a back cover blurb by ANGELA'S ASHES author Frank McCourt, perhaps the worst person to sully the Irish People and her Common Core Values since Ian Paisley if not that that ever-lovin' blockhead Oliver Cromwell (I think Sinead O'Connor, the Virgin Prunes and Bono fit in here somewhere as well)!
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Various Artists-DONNA MARIE ROSEMARY RAINBOW CD-r burn (courtesy Bill Shute)

Nothing but early-sixties schmoozers here, most of which remind me of not only the importance of tee-vee during those days but the frightening fact that maybe those rock snobs who think the sixties began with the Beatles mighta been right after all. Actually it ain't all girly-girl cutesy-pie sounds here since some of this coulda fit into a 1978 Jonathan Richman show with mucho ease, but a whole lotta the mewl is standard kiddoid gunch that Frank Zappa used to make fun of as if he was so above it all. And after hearing some of these numbers, maybe he was! Does earn a hefty bonus point for including a side by the Treytones (of BACK FROM THE GRAVE fame) who were from Warren Ohio and sure did a wild Bo Diddley beat on their '63 vintage "Nonymous"! Unfortunately "Blind Date" ain't that tip top but at least we've got some home pride here, I guess.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

MOOM PITCHER SERIAL REVIEW! JUNIOR G-MEN starring Billy Halop and Huntz Hall (Universal, 1940)


Many if not most fans 'n followers of the EAST SIDE KIDS/BOWERY BOYS family o' films really give these DEAD END KIDS AND LITTLE TOUGH GUYS series at Universal the razz, but I'm one fanabla who will go on record as disagreeing with the throngs of experts. And disagreeing with them MIGHTILY in fact! True, that particular series just didn't have the same slam-bang-pow as either the earlier Warner Brothers features where the likes of Leo Gorcey, Billy Halop et. al. were hobnobbing with everyone from James Cagney to Ronald Reagan, but they still had a bit of a spark that transcended the usual H-wood crankout in terms of Saturday Afternoon barbershop kid-styled entertainment. And besides, Universal was a pretty hotcha moom pitcher outlet in them days, at least until the company morphed into "Universal International" and began concentrating on features that seemed to fit in more with your mom's Saturday afternoon television viewing rather than yours, ifyaknowaddamean...

I'm sure that even the most rabid of LITTLE TOUGH GUY haters will admit that the three Universal serials featuring the Halop-manned group (as opposed to the Gorcey-led one over at Monogram) were pretty snat in themselves and mighty watchable without the more cornballus approach of most of their features. And of these serials their first, JUNIOR G-MEN just hadda've been the best. In this one the Dead End Kids first tangle with and then join forces with the Junior G-Men who are hot on the trail of the mysterious Order of the Flaming Torch (yet another dastardly and downright antisocial organization who's out to conquer the world along with a few thousand similar-minded groups out there in early-forties movie land). Y'see. Halop's, or to be more accurate about it Billy Barton's father is actually a long lost scientist who has invented a new weapon which the Flaming Torch would really like to get their tattoo'd hands on, and of course it's up to the gang along with their new allies to bring the whole world-dominating empire down before we're all speaking perfect English!

And y'know what, they actually do it in twelve whole chapters too where Billy and his friends nearly get crushed, burned, smashed and blown up every ten or so minutes only to get outta their jamz a few seconds before we all think they're cooked for sure!

Yeah so a lotta this is what-ya'd-call "unbelievable" and anyone who'd wanna team up with those rather sissified Junior G-Men types inna first place are definitely off their rockers (at least the Flaming Torch guys have that cool sense of sadism to 'em that I love so well), but as we all know yer always gonna hafta suspend with the usual set of sophisticado values and plug in your suburban slob ones when watching mooms like this! And frankly, you can't spend a better Sunday afternoon by settling down in front of the tube for this, unless there's a flea market or garage sale around the corner that's still sellin' the same things they were in 1971 (and at 1971 prices too!).

If you want to, try the above web address to be found within the pilfered poster if you so desire, or you could do a little googlin' for an even better bargain or even try downloading it from youtube if you're computer savvy enough to handle such a task! (It should be wallowing around there amidst the rest of those public domain faves we've loved to glom for years.) And for once time's not a'wastin', because ya know this stuff's gonna be around for quite a long time while the rest of Amerigan Kultur gets shoved aside like last year's embroidered butt rags. Take back Sunday your way with a viewing or two of JUNIOR G-MEN, because it's either this or that dudzy melodrama you're mother's watching at this very minute and you never were much of a Gene Tierney fan now, were you?          

Saturday, October 04, 2014

The death of one-time Youngstown Ohio congressman and eventually convicted felon James Traficant was one current event of the past week or so that, while not "affecting" me the same way the death of a close relative would, did make me take notice of a whole slew of things goin' on in my life. And those "things" include (amongst other sundries) the passage of time, my own mortality and of course the way things used to be in those days before the hippoid generation really changed whatever they got their privileged paws on, mostly for the worse. Really, when you looked at Traficant, you definitely saw the last of the sort of he-man who typified the politician back in the days before sensitivity and touchy-feelyisms began permeating the political sphere (and that, surprisingly enough, included the democrats [of which Traficant was a member] who now seem to be having a major contest to see who can out-emote each other), and at this point in time it's hard to believe that such a man existed in Washington who behaved like the former sheriff, and wasn't thought of as a male chauvinist goon by the dykes and snivelers in charge.

Nowadays it seems as if everything permeating the three branches of government here in the U.S. of Woe has become pussified beyond belief to the point where even Mister Rogers comes off as Testosterone Teddy next to the castratis you see ruling over us anymore. Sheesh, it's come to the point where if you wanna see any real strong individuals in the true change for progress in this world you have to look to Europe to find them. Heck, even Marine LePen comes off more masculine than the mewlers who clutter up the Amerigan political scene, and that lady's about as feminine as you can get especially when stacked up against anybody who has been, is on, and will be on THE VIEW.

I sure do remember back when a younger and slimmer Traficant was running for sheriff back '77 way with his full-throttle, no-holds-barred television commercials permeating every break during those evening ODD COUPLE reruns. And unlike every other Mahoning County sheriff who had come before (or after), it wasn't like you could avoid reading about the guy who was on the news every night whether it be his constant smashing up of a sheriff's cruiser by using it as a battering ram on a biker meth lab or gambling raid, or even the time he spent three nights in the slammer rather than serve eviction notices to poor folk who couldn't pay the bills. A bigger'n life guy who was the closest anyone in the area's come to Buford Pusser, and when he beat that mob bribery rap in '82 and ran for congress he only became bigger in the eyes of everyone in the tri-county area and eventually elsewhere.

Of course he made more'n a few enemies during his years in congress, and it looks as if those enemies did their best to bring him down which they most certainly did with his corruption trial which finally got him sent to the slammer. Funny, I always thought that the things Traficant got jailed for were particularly innocent and nothing that any real-life investigator would bother sticking nostrils into, and that those payoffs and gifts and favors such as the kind he got was just everyday biz in the Nation's Crapitol. I mean, I'm sure other congressmen made out like real bandits gobbling up all of the gifts that they were getting so they'd vote the "right" way, and none of 'em were heading for the hoosegow like ol' Traficant. Talk about a hard lesson in politics where more connected members of government can get away with tax evasion (a good idea unless you're a politician who gleefully raises taxes) yet someone who advocates a true reaming of the soul-killing aspects of life gets raked over the coals the way Traficant did.

Good thing that I never got elected to public office, or I might be finding out more sooner 'n later whether or not I have a gag reflex! But one thing's for sure and that is you never woulda seen Traficant on his knees fellating all of the people out there in politics-land who were demanding a proper and subservient bee-jay. And I know that even when he was rotting away behind bars Traficant never doubted his innocence or would conform to the current mode of insti-felch in order to climb his way into the favors of those evil powers that be and will remain.

But in my own befuddled ranch house blob way I do mourn the guy's passing, since he was not only screwed by the same government who screws us all on a daily basis but by the people who used to rah-rah him at every turn throughout the eighties and nineties yet wouldn't re-elect the guy when he ran for his congressional seat from his prison cell. Yeah I know that, even if he did win it would have been interesting to see how he could "govern" in his new surroundings, but if he somehow was able to pull off such a brilliant stunt such a situation really would have been a huge bug uppa ass for alla his enemies at THE YOUNGSTOWN VINDICATOR (typical snobbish anti-peon paper that deserves to die a quick death along with most if not every other fishwrap out there in "journalism" land) and elsewhere on the spectrum.

Oddly enough, the best send-off I've read regarding the guy ironically was on the paleocon/libertarian TAKI'S MAGAZINE site, which I will say  reminds me of one final thing regarding Traficant that maybe I should 'fess up to after all these years...before he went to prison I always thought that his hair was for real! Hey, if he WAS wearing a toupee, wouldn't ya thunk it woulda looked a whole lot more lifelike than the flop he had planted upon his scalp for a longer time'n any of us could have imagined?????
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Well, here it is more or less, writeups of most if not all of the new 'n fresh to my not-so-virgin ears recordings that have made their way to my laser launching pad these past two weeks. Nothing spectacular true (talking about my reviews, not my selections) but I think it'll do given the amt. of emotional wringing out I've been receiving as of late...don't wanna crybaby about it, but I kinda think yer lucky to get the following stew if anything! But I won't bore you with this, though I will bore you by giving hefty thanks to the likes of P.D. Fadensonnen and Bill Shute for their help in making this week's entry more'n just a review of the Brotzmann/Sharrock CD, the only entry born of my hard-earned and nothing but this go 'round!

As soon as I get some scratch together and there's a tide of hotcha recordings being made available maybe you WILL be reading something more substantial, but I kinda doubt those days'll be coming back any time soon. After all, money is becoming a rather scarce commodity these days and it ain't like I can bop-a-dee-bop down to the local record store to pick up a rockin' wowzer the way I could have thirty-five or more years back! In fact there ain't any more record shops to prowl through like there were during my major vinyl scarfing days! Until the situation makes itself better on both monetary and musical fronts (and I say "HAH!" to both) it's gonna be jumping on every new release that even remotely looks as if it's gonna continue on the high energy exemplified by the 1974-1981 rock seasons, as well as comb the internet for downloads and whatnot featuring acts that may be deserving of a spin or two (oddly enough, youtube is a source for items you never thought you'd get your filthy little paws on!). I know...cut the shit and get to the reviews so as the Who once said, here 'tis...


Can-POITIERS FRANCE 1 & 2 CD-r burns burns (courtesy P. D. Fadensonnen)


Here's Can right about the time they were beginning to slink into the same doldrums of esoteric whooziz that affected a good portion of the same krautrock bands who were slowly but surely going from garage band to slick commercialism. Dunno who this "guest vocalist" Thaiga Raj Raja Ratnam is, but he does a pretty good job contributing to the group's already flippoid demeanor sounding almost as good as Damo Suzuki or even Magic Michael. The Can-sters themselves come off as typically improv/technical as they had been throughout the mid-seventies doing a whole load of material from the more recent platters as well as a version of "Mother Sky" that, while losing some of the intensity of the Suzuki-period live version, still manages to emit a bit of the same crunch that had people like Hot Scott Fischer telling Lester Bangs that Can were even better than the Stooges! If you're a newbie to the seventies krautscapading scene or were in on it from the John Peel get go, this is a good 'un for you to locate via the World Wide Web and download for your very own drug-induced stupor.
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Mama Dada 1919-SLITS, QUICK CD-r burn (originally on the Out Music Company label)

When I first saw an ad for this rarity in the pages of CLE #3-A I must say that I was interested. Not enough to send away for this self-produced rarity though, and all of these years later it wasn't like the lack of hearing this was chewing away at me like a fox on his leg trying to get out of a hunter's trap. But thanks to P. D. Fadensonnen I finally get to experience this late-seventies weirditie and hey, while I'm not oh-golly-gee knocked out by it I do find the effort rather entertaining. Humorous even.

This is the sorta stuff that had neophytes mimbling "ZAPPA!" for years on end but I hear more of an Italian futurist influence with a tad bit of LAFMS and indecipherable obscure European art rock thrown in. A fine piece of DIY noisegrating even if admitting to liking such art project musings is bound to get me kicked outta the Rough and Tumble Rockism Society faster than you can say "Nick Tosches".
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Peter Brotzmann/Sonny Sharrock-WHATTHEFUCKDOYOUWANT CD (Trost Austria, available via Forced Exposure)

This is the second Sharrock/Brotzmann live duo collaboration that's been released to the genital public (click here for my review of the other one), and as you would have expected  me to say after reading XXX years of my dribble this is a mighty good piece of recorded soundscapading that's goin' up 'n about like hardly anything before or since! Like on the pair's earlier FRAGMENTS the sax and guitar fare purty darn well even w/o the added dissonance and blues of Ronald Shannon Jackson and Bill Laswell, and the playing is just as free as you woulda expected what with Sharrock playing some tasty atonal if downright rock-y guitar lines while Brotzmann creates mighty chasms of solid growl with his array of horns. Both players go to show you just how far and out music coulda gotten, especially at a time when I thought everything decent and powerful about the past thirty or so years of innovation was going down the infamous memory hole that gobbled up more'n a few faves.

And hey, spinning this in conjunction with the Brotzmann/Laswell LOW LIFE album might be the most ingenious musical stunt since Imants Krumins and the folk in Simply Saucer partied while METAL MACHINE MUSIC and surf music careened from two separate turntables simultaneously! Have yourself a multi-Cee-Dee player party with both platters'n don't complain to me when you get evicted!
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Fossils-WOOLY BULLY CD (Kendra Steiner Editions)

Boy am I disappointed. Here I thought the infamous (in my mind) avant-noise-scrunch group Fossils was gonna do the Sam the Sham chestnut but all this is is more of that electronic free splat music concrete like they did their last time out! Actually I find it quite mesmerizing---hard-scronk grating, the way I like it. True this ain't no garage band classic but that doesn't mean that you're gonna wanna treat it with the same disrespect you do Grace Slick's MANHOLE! Definitely worth the effort to locate, and if you hurry maybe there will be a copy left for you (supplies are limited, as they say on tee-vee).
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Massimo Magee, Tim Green, Max Fowler-Roy-RELENTLESS COMMUNION CD (Kendra Steiner Editions}

The other newie from KSE, this time featuring the return of modern-day horn maestro Massimo Magee leading a hotcha bass and drums through a set that highly recalls the late-seventies En Why Loft Scene in its attempt to stretch free play boundaries even more'n my sagged-out gut. Magee recalls Arthur Doyle in his ability to distort the familiar saxophone sound into areas that woulda gotten his knuckles slapped only a few years earlier, while the bass of Max Fowler-Roy plucks away in perfect steadiness while drummer Tim Green does his durndest to get over the impression that he's actually Sunny Murray failing miserable at the task. And you thought they didn't make jass recordings like this anymore now, did you!
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Doug Hammond-SPACES CD-r burn (originally on DTW, Japan)

An interesting rarity from a guy who didn't get as much of the needed blab as many of his caliber (and less) managed over the years. Recorded way back in '82 when it seemed as if the second generation of free play was dying down, Hammond leads a particularly copasetic group (including the long-gone and much-missed Byard Lancaster) through some new thing that ain't Roscoe Mitchell-esque're anything but still firmly rooted in the mid-sixties free sense. In some ways this recalls Ornette right after he took his first sabbatical, though you may beg to differ. Too bad this wowzer got lost in the shuffle of many a bowtie 'n tux-friendly platter because like, this one does tend to inspire even lumpen suburban slobs such as myself on many a plane, intellectual or not.
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Gabe Williams-YOU'RE THE CREAM IN MY COFFEE CD-r burn (originally on Part Pool Records)

Dunno exactly what was creeping through Bill Shute's mind when he burned this durty comedy record for me...didn't know that the long-time BLOG TO COMM camp follower had a "salty" side to him but obviously he does! Judging from the gags presented on this 'un Williams was more or less a second-string Redd Foxx type spewin' out the X-rated humor that reminds me of a whole lotta the vulgarities being spewed on Sirius Radio even as we speak. Only this guy at least attempts to be funny which I don't think counts that much in the humor biz these days. And y'know what, he actually succeeds some of the time unlike the so-called laugh masters you come in contact with via the radio or tee-vee in this day and age! A good 'un to play for the little ones when you're too embarrassed to discuss those delicate matters with them.
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Rudimentary Peni-DEATH CHURCH CD-r burn (originally on Corpus Christi Records, England)

When it comes to these early-eighties British anarcho-punk bands it's always choose wisely, and considering the large number of doo-doo that particular scene had produced you better choose wisely lest you lose a good portion of your hard-begged cash on some warmed-over hippie mewl. One platter you might be wise to choose however is this debut elpee from noted Crassmates Rudimentary Peni, who might deliver on the usual anti rant as the rest of the unwashed did, but at least solidified their rage in a hard wall of sheer gnarl that goes beyond the usual faux-hippie love drivel these groups coulda been known for. Hard and at times Lmo-esque heavy metallic thud ("Psycho Squat" does come way too close to "Flying Saucers 88" for comfort!) that I'm sure was one of the first bridges twixt the h-core and hairboy styles of the early-eighties, and if your local boxboy could like it why shouldn't you???
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Various Artists-GODFATHER CATWALK TEARDROP INVITATION CD-r burn (courtesy of Bill Shute)

Well, I did find this one...spryer than the last Shute sampler. Yeah it's got a few outright misfires (I mean, the theme from THE GODFATHER?????) but quite a few goodies do pop up including both sides of the infamous pre-solo Warren Zevon Lyme and Cybelle single on White Whale, Kali Bahlu's "Lonely Teardrops" (which ain't the Jackie Wilson song that's for sure!) while George Loa and Maui Loa do their best to summon the spirit of the great god Ooh-Ooh-Ninny-Poo. The Great New Guitar Sounds ain't that new since all they're doing is rehashing Link Wray's classic "Rumble", and it sure is good to finally get to hear Dyke and the Blazers even though I am totally startled to find out that Dyke is a guy! It all closes out with a comedy album by the very same Alen Robin of LBJ RANCH fame who does this psychiatrist schtick using the pre-recorded voices of various political figures to mildly amusing effect. It ain't anything that's gonna make you chuckle or gasp but hey, when was the last time you laughed at a George Carlin platter?

Thursday, October 02, 2014

It's been awhile since I gave any of these downright funny 'n classic Lupino Lane comedies a go, so you can bet that I jumped at the opportunity to snatch up a couple of DVDs that have been made available by the indispensable folk at oldies.com. And a nice selection of shorts these mid/late-twenties films are...complete with that old-tymey cracked film flicker and chop-up editing, they certainly do bring back more of those great long-gone memories of sipping diet Shasta (which was some of the rankiest soda to be found on the planet during the mid-seventies) while chomping down sour cream 'n onion potato chips on a muggy summer night watching old mooms being beamed in from distant television stations I could only get during tornado warnings. And lemme tell you, some of the stations I'd watch for rarities such as these were so distant you think they originated on Jupiter but hey, it was either that or sitting through Pat Robertson and his disingenuous grin on 700 CLUB so what's it gonna be, shorty?

Some def. Lane classics appear on these disques such as "Maid in Morocco" which I gotta say showcases Lane's athletic stunts to the max what with the way he actually loop-de-loops the Moorish arches in this middle-eastern laugh fest---and I'm not kidding when I say that Harold Lloyd comes off like Karen Quinlan next to this champ! Also hotcha is 1929's "Summer Saps", one of those family sitcom-styled shorts where Lane plays the frazzled husband marooned in his abode during his time off from work having to not only put up with his crabboid wife and brat kids but an annoying pianist next door not forgetting the dyke who lives directly below. Another top notch one has Lane playing a galley slave rowing away on a big ship setting the stage for a whole slew of sitegag fun later to be found on THE CAROL BURNETT SHOW (y'know, the Harvey Korman/Tim Conway skits) but I wouldn't hold it against him.

Also included is a nicely well-worn tee-vee print of Lane's talkie short "Purely Circumstantial" which might take getting used to considering the over-emphasis on sound as a way to elicit cheapoid laughs (plus it does take time to become acquainted with Lane's cultured English accent, not to mention brother/foil Wallace Lupino's ridiculous "ha-hoo-hoo-hah"!), but it does give you an idea of what might've been had Lane stuck around in Hollywood a whole lot longer and developed in comedy shorts 'stead of scrambootched back to England to make films nobody in the United States has seen for ages, if ever. (Also be on the lookout for Stanley Blystone as the "heavy", he best known as a sometimes Stooges foil who once got his armpit hair ripped out by Larry Fine himself!)

Can't do better and well worth the time and all that rot, and a much better example of what silent-era comedy coulda aspired to when all of the no-holds-barred rules were really taken to heart. And hey, you can either watch these visual wonders tonight or flick on TCM to see Charlie Chaplin milk a whoile lotta cheap emote outta New York snoots who only like him because he was a red who liked to ball underage girls!

For just a taste, here's an edited version of "Summer Saps" that might give you at least an idea of what you will be in for in case you do wanna splurge for both volumes, and if I were you I'd SPLURGE ON, you ol' fanabla you:





Sunday, September 28, 2014

IT'S FANZINE FANABLA TIME AGAIN (and boy do I feel sorry for you having to miss out on yet another info-packed post on all of the recent recordings and gunk I've been listening to lo this past week)!!!!!!

You're probably wondering why I'm doing another Fanzine Fanabla post so soon (having cooked one up only a few mere months back and like, I usually go years between the things). Well, I'll tell you why! Y'see, back in the days before the gift of internet gave us instant information to whatever we wanted at the tips of our booger-laden fingertips, there were a buncha guys out there who for whatever fan-inspired reason they may have had, actually saved their monies, worked extra hard, and put their opinions regarding a whole slew of musical ideas, forms and styles that just weren't getting the "hipster" ROLLING STONE coverage to PRINT if only because they had a great LOVE for the music being created and produced that couldn't be expressed by merely listening to the things! These people, besides being especially thrifty with their already scarce lucre, toiled above and beyond the call of duty to make their opinions known to the common man (or at least a few people who they happened to know) as well as lay out pages and clip photos from other mags to use, and many times these idea-driven beings collated and stapled their publications in the privacy of their fart-encrusted bedrooms and WHY??? Just so you could read what they wrote about some long obscure album by some long forgotten group or even a new act with a new platter out who you probably never did care about and never would in a million years!
And so you, in your smugness and oneupmanship snitty little way,  IGNORED every blasted word and every ding dong issue these kids, who knew they were not going to make a profit or even break even publishing these things, wrote up if only for the express purpose that you might be inspired enough to go out and pick up a Seeds album at the local National Record Mart 'stead of the latest Bonnie Raitt blahzer you most certainly had your sights set on!

And yeah, I can hear you saying just like Ed Norton did after he told Ralph Kramden he wasn't gonna vote "Well, if they only knew that I wasn't going to read it they coulda SAVED themselves alla that money an' time printing the fanzines up!" but that ain't the point. The "point" is that these fanzine publishers and contributors are just as much the REAL heroes of rock et roll as the one-shot garage bands and musical miscreants they were writing about, and if somebody (like me) doesn't  mention these home-produced publications that might have topped 200 copies max who will other'n their mothers! And THAT is but one reason why I'll occasionally set some time aside and detail these long-ignored publications of the past even if it ain't "cool" to educate rock 'n roll fans as Patrick Analream once writ to my utter amazement.

Besides, I find reading a good cranked out fanzine with a powerful gonzoid approach just as invigorating as listening to a 1969 side by some guys in their knotty pine basement who just discovered the Stooges yesterday and found the true meaning of rock 'n roll happiness. And even though I should know better I kinda get the feeling that you would feel the exact same way too.
***
Starting off today's 'zine bash is this European import, one which has been hailed as an important home made rag in the annals of home made rags yet I get the sneakin' suspicion that most of you people don't know a blasted thing about it. That's because this rag was printed in France and is thus written in the local vernacular, and as we all know that nobody who reads this blog knows the French language because nobody who reads this blog was stupid enough to take the language as an "elective" while in high school. Naw, it was advanced jackoff 101 for you guys, but don't let that stop you from getting hold of this glossy mid/late-seventies fanzine because hey, you can always look at the pictures!


And given that I've been looking at a lotta pictures in these fanzines because I am not familiar with the mother tongue they were written in, it ain't like I'm at any loss to settle back and enjoy these issues of ATEM which gave us the lowdown on a whole slew of interesting experimental rockist excursions from the mid-to-late seventies! What EUROCK was to the United States and IMPETUS was to England, ATEM was to France and I must admit that these people did a pretty slam-bang job in writing about a whole slew of artists and acts nobody else wanted to touch with a ten-foot pole, even if the staff's tastes did tend to sometimes seep into the gutter of Southern California country rock as an Eagles feature would testify to!

But Hotel Californication or not, ATEM certainly was what you would call a great fanzine effort what with the slick paper and professional printing, and you'll have to admit that hardly anyone else at the time was tipping off their readers to everything from the likes of the Rock In Opposition groups to Magma or Peter Hammill let alone Philip Glass, who during his pre-Dalai Lama days wasn't exactly getting much hotcha press anywhere on the globe. ATEM even digged deep into the well of punk rock proper as well making this one of those magazine offerings for just about everyone in the entire family, which really would have helped if the family just happened to be Mel Lyman's.

There's also a book which collects the choicest nuggets that this 1976-1979 publication had to offer that is available somewhere in this world of ours, but then again those collections never were as good as settling down with the real artifact in your hands perusing the best you can while some choice side was spinning on the turntable right next to you...
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Well, what do you know! Another issue of NEW AGE, and one from the early-eighties at that. Hmmmm...its got interviews with the Stranglers' Hugh Cornwell and U2's Adam Clayton which I won't hold against 'em, as well as some local Connecticut scene reports but WAIT!!!!! NEW AGE emanated from the green pastures of North Carolina so like what's all this Connecticut stuff doin' here anyway???? I guess that this magazine is not the Nancy Foster-edited classic after all but another fanzine which just happened to have the exact same title which really did lead to a whole lot of confusion on my part!!! You'd think there would have been enough fanzine titles to go around, but then again I guess not! Awww, it really ain't that bad and in fact is a whole lot better'n many of these "crudzines" that were proliferating the mailboxes of the day, and despite the name I give it a whole load of high marks that I probably would not have if only out of spite of being punk'd like this!
***
Some people might have thought, given the mind-addled capabilities of some of the participants on the late-seventies English punk rock scene, that the fanzines that were coming outta that particular area and timescope were about as readable as my sophomore high school term paper on electronic music (y'know, the one with "Sien Ra"!). Frankly, I've discovered that the vast majority of the ones I've read were of a rather high quality both in production and execution. It's pretty obvious that the people who were cranking out these fanzines knew their rock history and based their writing style on the likes of Nick Kent and Charles Shaar Murray if not Mick Farren and Jonh Ingham. And let me tell you, that was something which was truly a welcome relief from the "mainstream" college paper hacks of the day still wallowing around in Jann Wenner's hippiedippieland values thinking about music in terms of flowery flamingos and up the system, man (wait...we ARE the system now so forget all I said!).

And if you dare ask me, I would say that most of these fanzines were every bit the equal of the likes of BACK DOOR MAN, DENIM DELINQUENT, THE NEXT BIG THING and many more as far as delivering those heart (and mind)-felt missives regarding those various rock 'n roll acts that still get my heart palpatain' even a good thirtysome years after I was supposed to be too old to let this trivial goo matter to me anymore.

NEGATIVE REACTION's a fanzine that certainly ranked as one of the better reads that were comin' outta Ol' Blighty during them late-seventies days of high energy rage. I wonder how this one slipped by me the way it did, but at least this issue (#4, November 1977) delivers on the goods what with the space given to some of the better acts of the English punk scene (like Savage Pencil's Art Attacks) not forgetting precious space on everything and everyone from recently kicked outta the Sex Pistols Glen Matlock to Stiff Records faveraves Roogalator, not forgetting a not-so-outta-the-place interview with Phil Manzanara regarding a now-Enoless 801. NEGATIVE REACTION has that proper blend of fannish yet intelligent writing coupled with the kinda rockist sensibilities that would naturally appeal to the breed of person who regularly tunes into this very blog, and one's gotta marvel at the quality and oomph that went into this particular magazine which (as all good fanzines do) makes me wanna read more and more from this particular stable.

Not only that, but there's a review of the very obscure Fellini's Hideous Mutations single which hasn't surfaced since those halcyon days, so you know that editor Jon Romney and crew knew where their true rockist values lied!

(Pssssst! Hey kid, if you want a FREE copy of the first issue of NEGATIVE REACTION just click here 'n do a li'l downloadin' yourself! It's a doozy of an ish if you ask me, and not only that but there are more fanzines of an English variety to be had if in case you are so inclined to read some of these rags that never did get out 'n about as much as they shoulda. Considerin' the nosedive in rock scribe screeding these past few decades, it's not only a public service that ESSENTIAL EPHEMERA is doing but a blessing because the more time ya spend reading these boffo old time fanzines the less time you're gonna spend reading Joel Selvin (is he still around???).
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Whereas NEGATIVE REACTION shows just how interesting, past-connected and fresh the early English punk rock scene could have been, IN THE CITY, at least judging from this 1980 copy featuring the Poison Girls on the cover and on the free flexi, shows just how battle worn, weary and generally un-fun the now-politicized scene had become. I can hear some of you saying "well yeah, with all of the bad things that were going on in the world like the threat of nuclear annihilation and grilled steaks wouldn't  you TOO feel inhibited by the culture at large and want to rebel, only being able to enjoy yourself once the enemy has been VANQUISHED???  I can hear what you're sayin' Che, but that doesn't mean these punques hadda become a buncha tireless updates on the whole Carrie Nation dogooder mentality to the point where I could see a whole buncha 'em storming into my house and smashing my George Foreman Grill with a passion!

Sure it's got a nice layout, nice slick paper and a look and style to kill for (not forgetting that flexi!), but IN THE CITY also has that dire dank feeling of the eighties is already beginning to creep into the mix what with two pages by Crass' Penny Rimbaud giving us the ol "part of the problem or part of the solution" rap while fellow bandmember Steve Ignorant reviews the competition hating everything handed before him except Adam and the Ants. The lettercol sports something from the local Animal Liberation Front types who may have been sincere, but somehowin the back of my fevered imagination I wouldn't mind seeing 'em all infected with diabetes and then denying them any treatment that may have been gained by animal experimentation.

It's still a worthwhile read, if you want to know just how flaccid the English (and Amerigan, and Canadian, and...) scene could have been in the post-Sex Pistols era. I have the sneaking suspicion that the earlier issues of IN THE CITY were popping on all cylinders perhaps with the same sense of high energy fun 'n jamz that typified the music that was being produced at the time. And remember kids, it was only three years between this issue and some representative from Existencil Press telling the folks on the MRR radio show that in no way was the music being performed by Crass and associated bands within their sphere meant to be taken as "entertainment"...it was highly significant social commentary and nothing but, and if you DARE enjoy if for totally puerile purposes somebody was gonna come over to your place and give you a lecture and lecture you but good!
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As far as the rest of the English fanzines of the seventies went well...surprisingly enough a good many of 'em were not whatcha'd call p-rock oriented at all, and I mean not one iota! Oh yeah, many of 'em might have featured a piece on the likes of Television or the Flamin' Groovies along with the West Coast fave raves who were still making an impact on the head scene over in Blighty, and I must admit that quite a few of these types of 'zines were rather good even if they weren't exactly covering my particularly cup of java. COMSTOCK LODE was one of these self-produced wonders that comes to mind, while I've been told that DARK STAR woulda been fine had Steve Burgess took over the thing and dumped alla that dope 'n Dead worship that made up the publication's meat 'n potatoes. And besides, with covers as hippydippy as theirs I'd be embarrassed to be caught inna bathroom with a copy to keep my company during my frequent doody duties!

Anyhoo, here are a coupla more English kinda-sorta pre-punk yet rock-y enough fanzines that I'm sure you might wanna know about when building up your own collection to show off to your mother. I have two other issues of FAT ANGEL other'n the one seen onna left...the first 'un's from '73 and features Iggy Pop on the cover and a story written by 'zine editor Andy Childs apologizing to his New Riders of the Purple Sage-bred readers for liking the Stooges so much when he most definitely shouldn't...after all, leave that punk worship to those nimrods at THE NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS and let's concentrate on the real heavy stuff, y'know? The other issue was from '79 and, along with the usual smattering of whatever was left of the hippie remnants there was a rather in-depth and appreciative piece on Jonathan Richman as well as the same interview with Crocus Behemoth of Pere Ubu fame conducted by Jim Jarmusch that popped up in THE NEW YORK ROCKER a few years earlier. If there ever was a mag that bent with the prevailing tide of underground tastemongering, FAT ANGEL certainly was it!

Nothing especially different from this particular FAT ANGEL than there was with the others. Lou Reed adorns the cover, though the piece of the Velvets that appears within ain't exactly groundbreaking the way those other pieces where Lou would talk about entering "the cloud" and how it would take a day to do "Sister Ray" with all of the preludes tossed in. Naturally there ain't that much else here to interest a hardcore rock 'n roller, but I ain't knocking these guys for giving it a hearty go of writing about music on an independent, stay away from the mainstream of fetid ideas level.

I didn't care that much for the issue of O.D. that I scarfed up about two or so decades back...too staid in the worst aspects of late-seventies British hippie mystical whooziz for my own personal tastes. But buy another one I did, and I gotta say that although it ain't as bad as I thought it would be it still lacks a certain warmth and funtime feeling that I certainly got reading DENIM DELINQUENT or many of the similar-minded seventies fanzines that I've had the please of coming across lo these many years. Well, I did like the piece on Van Der Graaf Generator even if I never really did cozy up to a good portion of what I have heard from them (outside of the oft-hyped NADIR'S BIG CHANCE) while the Man piece was a pretty good introduction for a guy like myself who was always scared off by their West Coast reputation.

And for the Man fans who were scared off by those punkian rumblings that were cropping up at the time well, the "introduction to punk" article presented here is yet another one of those roundups for the uninformed that reads just like every other piece written for the hippoid amongst us who was in such an induced coma (from too many sips of Boone's Farm no doubt!) who was totally unaware of everything outside of his private li'l commune. Nothing revelatory, but it does bring out the warm 'n toasties in ya. A nice reminder of a simpler, more pleasant time no doubt, but still rather tame compared with many of the fanzines, both punk and general, that were popping up with an alarming regularity during the mid-to-late seventies.
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Remember that old saying "but will it play in Peoria"??? Well, I get the impression that HOOPLA played really well in that esteemed burgh because hey, HOOPLA originated from that very city and if the tastes these homegrown writers were any indication as to what the tastes of the rest of the populace held near 'n dear they the place must have been the swinginest spot in the entire Midwest!

Definitely in the same kultural strata as all of those other post-BACK DOOR MAN 'zines like TEENAGE RAMPAGE et. al., HOOPLA had that smart sense of where rockism stood in their mid-amerigan existences not to mention things like tee-vee, humor (or humour...y'see these guys were big Monty Python aficionados) and alla those other things that the intellectuals at MAXIMUM ROCKNROLL used to tell us was bourgeois and thus deserving of being crammed into the nearest oven! But we knew better now, dint we???

Naturally a lotta the then-hotcha new wave before it traipsed into "gnu wave" style of rockism gets covered...I mean, it wasn't like these guys were ROLLING STONE wannabes concerned with the plight of Jerry Garcia's missing finger 'r anything (and believe-you-me, being stuck in the decidedly anti-rock 'n roll clime of the Youngstown Ohio area I used to see people get giddy over the latest issue of STONE hitting the stands well into the nineties!), and I gotta admit that it sure is refreshing reading reviews written by people who remembered the great acts of the past (Velvet Underground, Roxy Music) and related them to the music that was busting out all over the map even though Jann Wenner's head was way too deep up his lover's hiney for him to notice!


Smart writing, entertaining analysis and a general ability to convey exactly why rock 'n roll was such an exhilarating mode of life juice for many a person back during the 1964-1981 period in world youth kultur. I for one wouldn't mind knowing more about this particular rag as well as the minds behind it, because the whole project comes off a whole lot more tastier than knowing the whys and wherefores behind the dolts at TOO FUN TOO HUGE that's for sure. And of course I wouldn't mind picking up all of the issues that unfortunately haven't made their way to my door (in case any of you happen to be cleaning your rooms out and are in need of a li'l filthy lucre to make your way through life or whatever else they're calling it these days...)
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Did you have a small-run rock 'n roll fanzine in the seventies that might have gotten lost in the shuffle of alla the rest, a mag with a run of anywhere from three to thirteen that, although jam-packed with reviews and reminiscences on all of your favorite acts past and present got laughed at by any and all who espied it? Did you consider yourself a bedroom Bangs or Meltzer wannabe who had something to say and only a few bucks to say it? Well if you were, boy do I feel sorry for you!