Thursday, June 30, 2016

BOOK REVIEW! THE MIDNIGHT COLLECTION - PT. 3 - FROM THE PAGES OF SMASH COMICS (Classic Comics Library, 2016)

Part three in the MIDNIGHT series features Our Hero still being delineated by Paul Gustavson and the same old battered original issues being used as source material. And as one might guess the sagas to be found herein are still top notch energetic as can be, highly reminiscent of THE SPIRIT opening splash-panel-wise yet with stories that are loopier and not as "artistic" which can mean a whole lot to you if you're an anti-intellectual fanabla like I tend to be!

The only true beef I have with this particular volume covering the immediate postwar years is that there are a whopping TEN count 'em pages missing! Well, actually nine pages plus a cover but what pages they are...many times the conclusion to a story or a part of said saga that holds many a plot shift and twist, and if you think that I'm an irritable chap to begin with you shoulda seen my face once I got hold of this volume! Well, as Classic Comics Library themselves state on the back cover these comics were reprinted from the best copies available and various faults and imperfections are to be found, but sheesh, ten pages??? You would think that the publishers would have held up the publication of this volume until the missing pages were found and if I were Classic Comics I'd send fresh new copies of this 'un to EACH AND EVERY CUSTOMER who bought this post haste once the book has been restored to its proper condition! We've waited for these comics for quite a long time, a little longer will not matter!

Otherwise eh. I really enjoyed reading this (sure nice to see actual comic book heroes for a change!) and I get the feeling that the inner Saturday Afternoon Barbershop Kid in you would feel just the same way!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

So like, what should I talk about before we get into the meaty potatoes and all? As far as polly-tix go I'm sure glad that Brexit passed not only because of the international uproar over it and the fact that Europe as a unified glob just isn't the right way to go, but  man is it good seeing alla those talking head nimnul types (and I don't mean David Byrne, who is the subject of a whole 'nother nimnul column) shrieking like a pack of rabid boars over said vote thinking that the Fourth Reich is imminent or something along those lines. Sorry guys, but you were the Fourth Reich though you never would cotton up to the fact. As far as my personal life goes not much, unless you want to hear about all of that thrilling paperclip inventory that I had to endure at the orifice this past week. At least I got to hear some interesting platters that helped make the past seven a little easier for me, sorta like stool softener for the soul or something like that. Thank you Bill, Bob, and ME for the opportunity to listen to and write about a whole slew of platters that I think you might wanna read about, but you probably won't.


THE BECKIES CD (Real Gone Music )

Yesirree, it's Mike "Left Banke" Brown's final foray into major label musings with this platter that, although pumped up plenty by the various "It's All Coming Back!" Shawvinists of the day (1976 to you) became instant cutout fodder alongside a whole bunch of platters also featuring the famed recluse who unfortunately passed away last year. It's kinda like the first Stories album, though with a more mid-seventies hard-pop approach to it that frankly mirrors a whole lotta the powerpop sounds that were comin' outta garages nationwide. If you've been in on the likes of the Atlantics or Miamis for some time you probably already have this one as well. If not, GO GET IT! Features boffo liner notes from one Jeremy Cargill, a guy who all of you UGLY THINGS readers should be aware of considering his massive carbolic footprint on that particular pub!
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LOS LICHIS CD-r burn

Dunno if this is the actual album or some other sorta configuration but it's pretty ear opening. Kinda like chop shop electronic rock that mighta been chic with the newer than thou wave inna eighties, but it woulda set you back a good thirty bucks to get these wares via Systematic. Sometimes it sounds like some ethnic kinda music with the guitar strings tightened to the point of breaking, at others like some seventies synthesizer art project done up right. At even others it reminds me of that great avant garde jazz-fusion act Noisetet who used to play the CBGB Lounge a whole lot. Now this is nothing I'm gonna spin constantly but a good 'un to have heard at least once, courtesy of Bob Forward.
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Billy Vaughn-GREATEST BOOGIE WOOGIE HITS CD-r burn (originally on Dot)

Alla yer favorite standards jazzed up by the infamous Vaughn, though for the life of me I really don't know what audience Dot Records was aiming for with this 'un. Too grown up for rock 'n roll, too raucous for the old timers, I kinda get the feeling that this one was being pushed on the latter crowd who wanted something a little more upbeat yet far away from the rock 'n roll screamathons dominating the charts. Kinda reminds me of the background music one woulda heard on those old Warner Brothers detective shows of the early-sixties, especially in a lounge scene where some gal is doin' the cha-cha-cha with Robert Conrad.
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Bob Bailey in Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar-THE LANSING FRAUD MATTER CD-r burn

I've been enjoying all of the JOHNNY DOLLARs I could lay my ears on (either via Bill's burns or Sirius XM) and this one (back when the show was being broadcast in fifteen-minute daily installments) is perhaps one of the better of the batch. A bum with a $50,000 insurance policy is found dead onna streets from malnutrition and inner workings problems, only the strange thing is that when the guy was checked out a coupla years earlier he was in perfect health! Sounds kinda fishy which is why Dollar's on the job, only he's running up against the usual roadblocks from the man's sis who is the beneficiary to the doctor who performed the checkup and especially the creepy agent who made out the policy. Don't miss the surprise ending which wasn't exactly telegraphed like a lotta these shows tend to do. I'll tell ya, I sure got a whole lot more outta these programs than I have on most anything seen on tee-vee these past few eons
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Xavier Cugat-TWIST WITH CUGAT CD-r burn (originally on Mercury)

Wow, I'll bet you can just imagine your Aunt Maud 'n Uncle Ferd doin' the twist to this one just for gags back at some early-sixties fambly get-together, right? Heck, there might even be a home move showin' this flab-flanking magic moment for all to see lo these many years later!!! Rumba king Cugat works over the classics with a bossa nova beat that really doesn't sound as twistaroonie as say, Chubby Checker or Joey Dee, but hey I guess back then you coulda twisted to Conelrad as Jackie Vernon usedta say and gotten away with it! I'm sure the hi-fi nuts of the day CHERISHED blasting this 'un outta the knotty pine den until wifey started banging on the locked door tellin' her spouse that the Rice-a-Roni was ready.
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Minton's Playhouse Allstars-LIVE AT BERLINER JAZZTAGE 1971 CD-r burn

I usually don't cotton up to much of this pre-new thing jazz unless there's something about it that might happen to strike my fancy (like, maybe I read something about a certain so-and-so that piqued my curiosity), but this live set featuring some of the better postwar bopsters really cooks more than Ed Gein. Nothing here what I'd call earth-shattering, but these guys really play full force and the overall performance is way more than what anyone'd care call spirited. Particularly hot piano work from Theolonious Monk (he set the stage for the even newer thing) and the likes of Sonny Stitt and of course the ever-ominous Dizzy Gillespie help boost the value in this quite a bit. If I had heard this one back when it was performed I might have buckled down in front of the ol' flute-o-phone a whole lot more than I had!

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004's-IT'S ALRIGHT CD-r burn (originally on CBS South Africa)


Wow, another South African beat group! And these 004's are pretty good at the mop top game too. They might not be as flashy as the English bands were, but they sure had the spirit complete with covers of not only "On Broadway",  "Nobody But Me" and the Dave Clark Five's "You Got What It Takes" but "Parchment Farm", and that's not even counting the country and western goof worthy of Ringo Starr. Dunno exactly why this one didn't get out the way I kinda think it should...maybe it's because they were from South Africa and well, y'know, there was a lotta apartheid goin' on back then and some people mighta been upset about them for comin' from there and all...
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Various Artists-BABA BONZO JIMMER FRINGE CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

A strange one from Bill, starting off with a rare Bonzo Dog Band cover (taken from an acetate) of Cher's "Bang Bang" (a song I remember my mother loathing when it was a hit, perhaps because it sounded too much like the younger generation making fun of the oldsters again) followed by tons of late-sixties pop of varying degrees that excited me in varying degrees as well. Some of it just tingly-mildly while others sounded hey, good enough. Still others, like the Baby Scholae ones, reminded me of what I think people who liked Jethro Tull heard in 'em, maybe during their first LP days when it seemed as if just about everyone was a fan of theirs. And then there's a Chubby Checker imitator (I think he is---his name's Andy Nevison in case you're keeping track), a big band schmoozer and a whole buncha trackage of varying bizzarities. In all a weird mish-mosh of various rare slabs that nobody has heard before and probably will never hear again, but then again in the great shape of things SO WHAT!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

COMIC BOOK REVIEW! MR. A. #18 by Steve Ditko (Steve Ditko and Robin Snyder 2016, check Ditkoclub.com for availability)

Well MR. A. is finally back, or shall I say that the slew of stories that Steve Ditko cooked up back in the early-nineties that never saw the light of day are finally being published. Frankly I don't know if Ditko is still drawing his creation (reports say that he's suffering a bit from the ravages of age, but then again that might all be hooey), but if indeed these are the last MR. A. stories to be had then you could say that Ditko sure went out on a pretty wild note what with this personalist character of his who's been in on the good 'n evil game ever since his debut in the pages of Wally Wood's WITZEND 'round 1967 way.

Drawing ain't as crisp as it was back then and the stories seem even more lacking in...viscosity? Well, not quite, because although I thought my mind took a few trips to Jupiter without my knowing while going through these sagas MR. A. still held up as a solid comic read that, although rooted in the classic mid-sixties style, transcends any style or shape or generation of costumed crimefighting you can come up with. Face it, if there's anything one can all agree on re. Mr. A. it that this character is a unique example of a comic book hero who just can't be categorized. I know I've tried what with calling him the successor to the various Quality line of masked and suited good guys (Spirit, Midnight, 711, Mouthpiece...) but even that really doesn't hold up the way I hoped it would.

"Mr. A. and the Horror" starts things off, a strange saga about this weird blackmailing evildoer who kinda looks like a deflated Michelin Man who threatens his victims (including a typically Ditko-esque woman nightclub singer the kind we haven't seen since Steve Douglas discovered a pre-liberated Jaye P. Morgan appearing at some dive on MY THREE SONS) until he's caught, handed over to the police, then released for lack of evidence. Do you think that's gonna stop Mr. A. from doing his job? C'mon, you've been reading these long enough to know the answer to that!

In "Mr. A. and the Score" a fambly man type shoots himself in the head and his co-workers act shocked and surprised since like, they all thought he was a nice bloke 'n all. However reporter Rex Graine (Mr. A.'s alter ego) knows a load of crap when he hears it, only right when things get hot he's told to get off the case by a superior at the paper where he works, THE DAILY CRUSADER. As Mr. A., Graine attempts to get to the bottom of the matter by tormenting one of the suicide victim's weaker-willed co-workers, and after a few visits this lily-livered type is downright convinced by Mr. A. that maybe the other guys who were in on the plot to ruin the dead man might be ready to do him in! Then all Mr. A. has to do is settle back and watch the collision that's bound to happen, since evil always seems to destroy itself or something like that Crass once said!

Continuity never was that important in the MR. A. scheme. Oh the typically bleeding heart liberal editor Reder is still around and as angry over the fact that he can't fire Graine lest he lose control of the paper, but now a sister-in-law who seems every bit as Big City progressive as he shows up and you can bet that she hates Graine with just as equal a passion. As for the actual owner, mainly the editor's brother, well...at first he was deceased and it was stipulated in the will that Graine stays on lest brother lose the paper, then later on (when THE DAILY CRUSADER was actually part of a large media conglomeration) he was portrayed as a man who, although disliking "extremes" in thought, kept Graine on because he did deliver his stories accurately and without personal bias. Now he's getting out of the hospital after an extended stay, not in the best of health and has just returned to duty and not only does brother but wifey wish that he didn't survive the heart attack just so's they both could proceed with their sweetness 'n light agenda unmolested! Wow, such a happy bunch these Big City newspaper types are!

These stories still get me going in a thirteen-year-old gosh darn way even though I should be old enough to know better. Thankfully I don't. You can't hurt yourself by buying this 'un up and catching a glimpse of a comic style/character that you would have thought died out years earlier. And naturally, even with all of the comic book/rock mag backlog clogging up my bedroom I can't wait for the next edition which I do hope comes out more sooner'n later.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Got a nice crop o' platters to write about this time, not only thanks to the efforts of one Bill Shute and two P. D. Fadensonnen but my own blood, sweat, tears and maybe even David Clayton Thomas himself! Gotta say that it's sure splendid giving some new and fresh music (even if it was recorded thirty/forty/fiftysome years back) a spin because hey---a stouthearted (and bodied) fellow like me really does need a little resensifyin' in his life at least once in awhile! And in these days we need all the resensifyin' we can get and you know those old Blondie records you have lyin' around just ain't gonna cut it!
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AS WE ALL KNOW BY NOW CONSIDERING HOW MUCH IT'S BEEN CRAMMED INTO OUR SKULLS, some LGBTQWTF club or another in the heart of Dizzyworld (that's Orlando Ef-El-Lay in Lou Reed lingo to you) got shot up with a whole lotta folk either dead, wounded, or too shaken to continue their usual mouth-munching practices at least until the next episode of ANDERSON COOPER AT LARGE calms them down a bit. (And really, I sincerely do hope that you stayed away from the all media social or not to avoid the unbearable rush of heartbleed pap and anti-hate chest-beating from some of the biggest haters imaginable that has permeated our very existence these past few days, especially Cooper's sniffle-filled roll call of the fallen which certainly had my gag meter clicking like a geiger counter.)

And oh, soo-prize soo-prize but the dastardly deed wasn't the handiwork of some Deep South inbred types that always get the blame for these sorta shenanigans after all but (and you won't believe this!) some ISIS flag-wavin' middle-Eastern bi-plane (he flew both ways) who reports say was sent into a rage after seeing a couple of sissyboys smooching it up inna park the previous week.

What probably REALLY set him off was the fact that he wasn't getting any from said boys and well...goats just aren't as easy to find in Florida as they are in Afghanistan! I guess that such outwardly flagrant behavior does trigger violent impulses within a whole slew of people both homo and hetero which is undoubtedly why we read about gay nightclub shootings like this all the time! But after all is said and done maybe it is true that immigrants (and their non-assimilating offspring) are the kinda people who'll do the jobs that Americans just won't do anymore! Hey, be glad that I didn't end this paragraph saying something to the effect that gay bars are something just simply to die for!
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I WANT TO KNOW, I HAVE TO KNOW, I'VE GOT TO KNOW, PLEASE LET ME KNOW DEPT.: do any recordings or tapes of the six-piece Tyrannosaurus Rex before the finance company repossessed their instruments exist?
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And now, as the old show tune (keeping in in mood of the second subject matter discussed this week...) sez, on with the show......


Totenkopf-ANN ARBOR LP (Chameleon)

Finally dished out for this 'un and boy I couldn't have put my shekels to better use! The long-touted mid-seventies punk rock album from these skandies really does out do most others on the over-the-hills-and-screaming sweepstakes, coming off like a three-way cage match between Jack Ruby, Von Lmo and that whacked out dehumidifier we hadda get rid of a few years ago. Total scronk punk here that makes a whole lotta that eighties art passing for p-rock sound totally sick in comparison. Heavy metal before the beauticians industry got hold of it and just overloaded electronic sound gunch with a massive beat you can even dance to! If you like it hard and heavy and excruciating (w/o coming off like eighties industrial dirge) you might just go for this 'un. Costly but cheap, ifyaknowaddamean...
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Cal-HOMEGROWN CD (Guerssen, Spain)

Album covers resplendent with Maryjane leaves (on the back, which I obviously did not reproduce here) usually add up to big hippoid goose eggs in my personal collection, but this Cal thing sounds a whole lot better'n what I woulda thought some early-eighties independently manufactured platter with such imagery could. Thanks to the fine folk at Guerssen we now get to hear this obscure upstate En Why album that really is unique in the way it takes various late-sixties and early-seventies rock moves and updates 'em w/o sounding too eighties glossy. Only the use of a whiny string synthesizer ruins the overall straight ahead rock effect but otherwise this kind of hard rock (think early FM pre AOR) with tinges of folk and garage aesthetics really does do one better than any of you (or myself for that matter) would have dared given credit back then. Believe you me, if the Sex Pistols/Clash/Ramones/Blondie types never came around this is the kinda group CREEM woulda been calling punk rock back '81 way.
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Tyll-SEXPHONIE CD (Mental Experience, available via Guerssen, Spain)

Another one from the Guerssen promo packet, this obscure mid-seventies krautrock venture seems to reflect the mode of the music as it changed into something sounding a bit more commercial. Echoes of Amon Duul II from about the same time can be heard as can various jazz ideals the kind Passport got a lotta Amerigan press with even if their albums did tank here. Interspersed are some interesting pop moves that could have been Eurovision entries that probably wouldn't have rated much even if part of some MONTY PYTHON spoof, but are still way better than the actual pop slop that was permeating the continent at the time (well, I do hope they were spoofs!). Interesting to say the least and entertaining (at least on a BLOG TO COMM neo-serious level) in spots.
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Flipper-"Love Canal"/"Ha Ha Ha" 45 rpm single (no label that I can tell)

Nice reish by a group that I (like everyone else trying to jump on the hipper-than-thou bandwagon) was supposed to like back inna eighties, did like, but not enough to gobble up every slab of sound that these punkoid junkoids were peddling throughout that decade. The most amazing thing about this platter is just how close it comes to the heavy metal sphere of things, at least that's HM in the old CREEM sense before the beauticians got hold of the term ruining it for everyone throughout that sad decade. (Well hey, two CREEM/HM/beauticians refs in one post ain't that bad!) Kinda reminds me of Blue Cheer without the blusier influences just ripping themselves up on snorted speed w/o care or worry about the consequences of ruptured eardrums. And yes, it can happen to you too!
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So What-"Why Can't I See You Tonight"/"I Can See But You Don't Know" 45 rpm single (Jaw)

Bee-youtiful reissue of some group I never heard of before who were out and about during the seventies rumbling under the radar of just about everybody that you or even I know of. It's hard to believe that this was recorded in 1970 because the sound is so late-seventies teenage pop-punk, kinda reminding me of such other bubbling way under acts like Wowii who made records and had somewhat of a following in their New Jersey burghs but just didn't get the additional push needed to make a really big name for themselves. If you were (and are) a fan of the last vestiges of seventies AM pop that managed to squeak out in between the disco and singer-songwriters, you might just go for it. And if anyone out there can tell us how to get hold of this item, please do write in!
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Les Baxter-HELL'S BELLES SOUNDTRACK CD-r burn (originally on Sidewalk)

If motorcycle moom soundtracks are your game then well, this one just might be the gamiest! Baxter does a boffo job adding the oomph to this biker flick whether it be incidental background mood-makers or just plain drop into the mix and enjoy them for what they are no matter what's happening on-screen. The tinny fuzztone guitar lines give that added psycho biker film tension an even greater boost, and there's this recurring vocal number that kinda sounds like "Turn on Your Lovelight" only sung by someone who wasn't quite as stoned as Pigpen. I know that many of these soundtrack albums are about as oft played as those Christmas platters you've inherited from relatives for years on end, but this one just might stay put on your turntable a little longer than that WEST SIDE STORY album you've been trying to get rid of at the flea market these past fortysome years and still can't dump!
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The Tapes-BLEIFREI CD-r burn (originally on RV Tapes, Italy)

Many of these cassette culture releases of the eighties might have sounded as if they were taken from the same feedback overdrive blurb session, but these Tapes sure do the self-produced thing up a whole lot differently. Simple melodies go up and down the scales with electronic sounds accentuating the overall effect which reminds me of the Metal Boys' TOKIO AIRPORT album more'n anything. Another track has the same chord changes as Can's "Gomorrah" and overall the whole thing was as pleasing to this particular pud as some of those better early-eighties self-produced platters were...well, at least until the mad rush began thanks to the exposure of this kinda sound-spew courtesy of SOUND CHOICE. And this was released in 1987 after most of this mulch had gone the artso pretensioso route. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm...
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LOBBY LOYDE COMPENDIUM DISC 7---COLOURED BALLS - THE FIRST SUPPER LAST OR SCENES WE DIDN'T GET TO SEE CD-r burn

The last of the Fadensonnen burns featuring Loyde, this one was a posthumous Coloured Balls album recorded in '72 yet unreleased until a good four years later perhaps to capitalize on Loyde's local fame or somethin'. Anyway there's none of that prog rock influence here that there was on the last compendium, this being good straight ahead hard rock that, while still commercial enough to appease the Australian box boy marijuana crowd, will tingle the high-energy nerve ends in us all. Even the cover of "Johnny B. Goode" comes closer to the Pink Fairies than it does that fringe jacket 'n droopy 'stache band from the same strata who was doin' this gunch live at the corner bar. Nice cap on a pretty good series you got there, P. D.!
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La Joven Guardia-EL EXTRANO DEL PELO LARGO CD-r burn (originally on RCA Victor Argentina)

Hmmmm, late-sixties Argentinian teen pop with touches of psychedelia that isn't overpowering enough to upset the senoritas out there who undoubtedly packed the pesos for records like this. Works good, or at least as good as a whole load of the late-sixties international long hair popsters who weren't singing in English. A lot of this can get a bit too bell bottom and lambchops for most of you reg'lar BLOG TO COMM readers' tastes, but I think it goes down a little smoother than, say, Gary Puckett. Has a bit of a charm to it like some of those outta-nowhere hits of the day did, though for the life of my I can't figure out why I have the sudden urge to tease my long-gone dog Sam while listening to this! Either that or lock myself in the bathroom and...well, let's not go into that!
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John Drendall, B. A. Thrower and Friends-PAPA NEVER LET ME SING THE BLUES CD-r burn (originally on Deacon Productions)

Given the evident hippie vibes and early-seventies singer/songwriter/sorta feeling this one exudes, I thought I was going to need to settle back for a viewing of BLESS THE BEASTS AND CHILDREN followed by a group encounter session led by Erich Siegel in order to get the full touchy-feely sensitivity of it all. Well, actually it ain't all that bad and in fact this one can get you rollicking about at times if you so desire. It's mostly mid-level straight ahead rock (no roll) with a sidestep into the blues here and barrelhouse country piano there, and unlike other artifacts from the first hippydippy era it doesn't offend your grubby punk aesthetics that much. Nothing I'd want to spend eternity listening to, but for a buncha wire-rimmed longhairs decked out in denim kinda guys it's a whole lot better than I would have thought in the first place!
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Various Artists-COLORADO T-SHIRT FIREWATER CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Sandwiched between two instrumental EPs of French origin comes a song poem single voiced by the inimitable (though highly imitative) Norm Burns who set some lucky housewife from Waukeegan's poems to the beat of a country and western ballad. Did country and western tunes have beats back then? Nowadays they sure sound like typical pop pablum only with a choice fiddle, steel guitar swing and southern voice to make them distinguishable from the rest of the junk so popular. The French instrumental EPs are more to my liking what with Les Champions doing their darndest to ape the Shadows without copping any of the soft moosh that went along with it, while Les Cyclones feature a harmonica player to give their twangers more of a Western sorta feel. No wonder one of their numbers is named "Lucky Luke" after the French cowboy comic that I have written about in these "pages" before. A short but sweet one to make at least twenty minutes of my life more bearable.
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And to all of you may I say "HAPPY FATHER'S DAY", though if I were you I'd demand a DNA test first!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

A VERY SPECIAL EPISODE OF BLOG TO COMM WRITTEN BY BRAD KOHLER ENTITLED "A CHILD'S GARDEN OF DELIGHTS IN THE LAND OF THROBBING GRISTLE"

One of the striking things about seminal industrial unit Throbbing Gristle was that they looked like they were assembled via casting call a la the Monkees.

You had the anti-Davy Jones, Genesis P. Orridge, pretty boy Chris Carter, pornography pinup girl-next-door Cosey Fanni Tutti and well, Sleazy. If only they had a half hour TV show back in the day, sponsored by Tesco department stores, in which they'd get involved in various madcap adventures such as the time Cosey inadvertently agreed to date two different guys on the same night. After realizing her dilemma, Genesis dresses up like a woman, tells one date he's her sister, and fends off the amorous clutches of the drunken lothario with some trademark Brit BBC double entendre humor straight out of a show like ARE YOU BEING SERVED? Cut to the band performing "Hit by a Rock" and end credits.

Here at BLOG TO COMM we are not approaching TG as anything but a band. Forget the concentration camp chic, the Crowley-in-the-box boogeyman, the philosophical treatise. What we are interested in is Genesis P. Orridge playing bass guitar in the way that chimpanzee in the Samsonite commercial played the luggage. The fact that said bass was hooked up to every rinky dink fuzz pedal and distortion unit the band could find was just the icing on the cake.

With that in mind, here is a Cliff Notes assemblage of required Throbbing Gristle recordings for the novice, taken from legit, grey area and bootleg releases.

Like in the case of the Grateful Dead, there are seemingly endless live recordings. Unless, like a Dead devotee, you collect a show just for the jam leading from "China Cat Sunflower" into "Pigpen stares at an oily puddle beside a dumpster" and you just need to hear a certain Cosey coronet bleat recorded on a Dictaphone in '78 you only need a few of the multitude of live shows. HEATHEN EARTH is one. The particularly intense FUNERAL IN BERLIN is another. SPECIAL TREATMENT (a '78 show re-processed by Carter) where Genesis took an overdose of pills before the show (Cosey had thrown him over for Carter) and does a monologue about coming home to an empty room with cats staring at him before becoming post-verbal for the rest of the gig is the third.

Side one of their first LP SECOND ANNUAL REPORT is a masterpiece right out of the gate, an amazing brick-bat upside of the head. It's right up there with the most throttling of the no wave bands, if operating on a somewhat different wavelength. Call it the mutant thalidomide stillborn as opposed to the full gestation of bands like Mars. If side two were more than a warmed-over Tangerine Dream toss-off this LP would rate the highest of hosannas.

The SORDIDE SENTIMENTAL 45 that was re-released on SEARCH AND DESTROY's Adolescent label, "We Hate You Little Girls"/"Five Knuckle Shuffle", is the perfect distillation of the early TG sound. The guitar on the latter sounds like one of those wands TSA agents use that make an ungodly whooping noise when someone tries to sneak contraband in on their person. It makes Lydia Lunch's guitar playing sound like...wait, hold that thought...I just played the song and my cat ran away from home.

"United" is the greatest of the early cyborg synth workouts, making something like "Warm Leatherette" sound like Doctor Demento fodder. If there were any justice in the world this song would be played as frequent as the nth-degree watered down regurgitations like "Tainted Love". The flipside, "Zyklon B. Zombie" ("It's like Coca-Cola only worse for your teeth"-Genesis), their token one chord punk song, is another killer diller. The white vinyl reissue with the middle section cut EXTRA LOUD is preferable. It sounds like what the choppers circling overhead at the outdoor gig the MC5 did at the 1968 Democratic Convention must've sounded like to a stoned Wayne Kramer.

The other studio LPs have their moments but were mostly divided into solo tracks by the various band members, and as such lack a certain cohesiveness.

The bootleg LP VERY FRIENDLY is made up of very early recordings. The title track is the heartwarming tale of Ian Brady and Myra Hindley, the Moors Murderers, and like "The Gift" works as a lyrical and musical piece. Unfortunately the song isn't separated into two channels so you can't choose to lay back with a groovy piece of music or listen to Genesis describe the victim as "just a lump of stuff".

The side long track on their final studio LP JOURNEY THROUGH A BODY will give you an idea of what it'll be like to be hooked up to machines on your death bed after too many years of the Cheetos/malt liquor diet many of us existed on during leaner times.

There are a few more odds and ends, but I'll cut this short and just add that like a lot of life affirming, rambunctious, direct-to-the-mainline sounds-as-energy musical manifestos out there, the best of TG still resonates with that engorged electrical yawp all these years later. I'm talking about a band who, when a gypsy encampment invaded their neighborhood resulting in a skyrocketing amount of theft and violence, actually engaged in sonic warfare by using sub-sonic oscillations and other disruptive waveforms beamed at the encampment via hidden speakers. The gypsy guard dogs went mad, the inhabitants complained of sleeping poorly and health problems, and eventually they pulled up stakes declaring that the place was haunted!

How many bands would consider sound to be anything more than a means to construct songs that'll get them a Lexus and a palatial retreat overlooking the ocean? For TG it was an arrow and a quiver! They even got an ace a-side for a 45 out of the whole experience, the song "Subhuman".

Maybe they weren't the "wreckers of civilisation" the British Parliament tagged them as, but they wrecked a few cones in my cheapo stereo speakers, and that's good enough for me. And you too.

UGLY THINGS #41 (geddit here)

Wow, another issue of UGLY THINGS has invaded the sanctity of my fart-encrusted boudour! No Jymn Parrett or Johan Kugelberg to be found, but it does have Greg Prevost and Bill Shute and that's hokay by me. It also has a ton of great junk and stuff and alla those things that drove a lawn-cutting tee-vee watching suburban slob such as I to the mag inna first place, like high energy action packed articles and reviews by some of the better people to pick up a keypad these past umpteen years. And (in case you can't get it through your thick fanabla head) that's exactly why I like this mag, glossy cover, $9.95 price tag and all!

The Lovin' Spoonful! Got mixed feelings about 'em because for years I somehow had 'em pegged as pure hippie music progenitors what with their good timey sound and all. Sure don't know just how this impression crept into my mind (other'n the fact that John Sebastian performed at Woodstock and their album cover which had some nudies running wild inna field with a lion covering up their nether regions [the woman's bullseyes airbrushed out too) because even a quick perusal of their material tends to categorize 'em as a precursor to the early San Fran freakpop style that kinda got lost in the Alice Dee shuffle within a few years. Great interview with Sebastian even though I'll never quite forgive him for that sappy if better'n most of the songs on 1976 AM radio theme to WELCOME BACK KOTTER.

As for the rest of the thing...Cuby and the Blizzards---never heard 'em so this 'un doesn't register with me like it would with those of you immersed in the mainland Euro roar. The Barbarians---this is a combination of that interview Greg Prevost did with Moulty in his old OUTASITE magazine and a more recent Mike Stax one making for a gab that sounds just as coherent as if it all took place in one nice setting. The Beachnuts---cool enough even if (after all these years) it's been determined that these guys and the Lou Reed studio group just ain't the same batch like some had been thinking lo these many years. And the stuff on the likes of Suzannah Jordan, Huckle, Bobby Patrick, the Big Six etc. well---maybe I'll let you know AFTER  I read their articles these upcoming weeks (gotta get this review out t'the public, y'know...)

Fave parts (so far)...Cyril Jordan's Flamin' Groovies documentation of just how tough it was for rock 'n roll (especially his own band) to break through in the age of Baez, the saga on Toronto's infamous Ugly Ducklings (the stars of the 1979-1981 rock fanzine sweepstakes---piece features an excerpt from lead singer Tom Byngham's new book on the band!) and a really boffo interview with Elliot Murphy, a man who has been quite ignored these past fortysome years even though I tried paying attention, critically panned albums and all. The reviews of books, recordings, Dee-Vee-Dees and such are also good even though for the life of me I couldn't find anything that I would actually wanna go out and purchase (other'n perhaps the Beckies and Ten Years After reissues) which either proves how dearth-like the exhumations are or how cheap I am (undoubtedly the latter).

I'll betcha that Mike Stax is one guy who can go to sleep peacefully knowing how much he has benefited mankind with his way above par rock magazine that delivers on the high energy goods. Can you?????

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Hey wasn't that a great week we just went through, just chock-fulla high energy fun 'n excitement an' all??? Kinda made ya glad to be alive an' kickin' and proud that you're walking the earth during one of the most exciting and punch-packed times EVER hunh? And not only that, but you're so charged up over the fact that it's time for yet another spicy and fun installment of BLOG TO COMM, one which you've been looking forward to for quite some time eh?..............(oh shit!)


Wire-NOCTURNAL KOREANS CD-r burn (originally on Pink Flag)

I hate to admit it, but this latest from Wire just ain't as good as last year's chart topper of a spin. In fact NOCTURNAL KOREANS (I've had a few dreams like that!) is kinda early 80s "new music" as they used to call that synth-laden ennui which really doesn't dredge up any good memories for this particular scribe (one who missed the late-seventies rock zeitgeist as soon as that generation toppled into rock video glitz). Still fine in its electronic drone creep fashion which doesn't really offend as much as it should, though (and I sincerely do mean this!) if you were one of those people who loathed the late-eighties Wire rebirth you've probably written 'em off long ago anyway to care so like, forget you ever read this writeup inna first place!
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The Peace-BLACK POWER CD (Now-Again, available via Forced Exposure)

Bought this Zambian-spawned reissue of a mid-seventies platter by local rock 'n roll heroes the Peace on a mere whim and y'know what? I was more than pleasantly surprised, really! I often don't go out on limbs to buy these outta nowhere releases because hey, money is a scarce commodity these days but this one looked so enticing, and man does it live up to alla the hype surrounding it.

The sound quality is primitive as is the performance, but it's all garage band energy that's perhaps helped thanks to the fact that this was sourced out from surviving copies of the album which I guess weren't pressed up that hot to begin with!

Startlingly enough, BLACK POWER ain't some over-the-top afro funk Osibisa-type of release like I kinda thought it might have been but sounds pretty well settled into the usual Amerigan/English ref. pts., with hefty nods to the Rolling Stones and Beatles to be heard not to mention some groups whose names I dare not mention lest I get your hearts a-flutterin' outta control to the point of seizure. Heck, if the vocals didn't have such a thick African accent I would have thought these to have been recorded by some local suburban Amerigan teens at the local cheapo studio.

Might be worth a listen even if you tend to be jaded by all of these recent exhumations that you sometimes wish would have remained dead and buried all these years. If you need to get it on a dare well hey, then I dare ya! And I mean it too, sissy!!!
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THE KIOSK 6 CD

David Keay and Laura Feathers (a.k.a. the Kiosk!) are back with some pretty wonderful repeato-riff guitar rock that recalls a whole load of past rock accomplishment and a tad bit of CHURCH OF ANTHRAX on "Destabilization in Slow Motion" t'boot! (Harmonia on "Desert of the Tartars" even!). I could dredge up the usual xyz comparisons if you like but that really won't be necessary...let's just say that if you were one of the luckies who got hold of the previous Kiosk platters this 'un continues on the same fine tradition of believable under-the-underground avant garde yet downhome rock 'n roll that I thought went kablooey long ago. If you can, really do try to latch onto one.
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Glenn Mercer-WHEELS IN MOTION CD-r burn (originally on Pravda)

It would have been easier to get Frank Zappa to take a bath than it is to get me to listen to either the Feelies or any one of their various side projects. But since I was breaking wind to the caution or something like that I figured hey, why not give this McGarry burn a turn? Of course there's nothing really exciting on WHEELS IN MOTION what with Feelie Mercer's standard amerindie/altie styles and moods calmed down to Perry Como levels, but surprisingly enough I did not rip this one off the turntable in abject rage like I was wont to do only a few short decades back. Mildly pleasant and well suited to a Sunday afternoon reading of Golden Age PLASTIC MAN comics...gee I really must be goin' soft if I can't even get enough rage into my soul to have ripped this disque outta the laser launching pad and smashing it to kingdom come!
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Kid Congo and the Pink Monkey Birds-LA ARANA ES LA VIDA CD-r burn (originally on In The Red)

Hey, it sounds pure rockism authentic enough to have been some great lost seventies underground resurgence of rock artyfact, only it came out in the here and now! Low fidelity helps Congo and band present that hard-edged neo-garage sound which kinda reminds me of classic Fleshtones without the more new unto gnu wave production that didn't help some of their platters out. It even contains a cover of the Psychedelic Furs '"We Love You" and when was the last time any of us admitted to having once led that prettier'n pink band?!?!?! One to catch if they just happen to plow their way into your town, that is if they ever go that far outta their way considering the dunghole you're probably living in right now.
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Ronnie Mathews-TRIP TO THE ORIENT CD-r burn (originally on East West Records, Japan)

Better'n ho-hum straight ahead piano jazz trio recording from longtime bopster Mathews who tinkles the ivories on this once rare specimen. Playing's not that far out in case you're the kinda guy who goes for this sorta music, though it's far from the lounge-y prattle that has made up a good portion of what I've heard from the "mainstream" of jazz these past few years. Made passable pleasing backdrop to the collection of BEETLE BAILEY 1966 comics that Brad Kohler sent me via Bill Shute, a review of that 'un comin' up more later than sooner considering the backload of book/moom pitcher  reviews I have just waiting for you!
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ZIPPER/KING BEE CD-r burn (originally on Permanent/Whizeagle)

I never sought out Fred "Lollipop Shoppe" Cole's mid-seventies album goin' under the Zipper tag if only because it'd been consistently compared to Led Zeppelin up and down the Disques du Monde catalog. Not being a big fan of the Zep by any stretch of the imagination I figured hey, why bother considering all of the groups who were also trying to sound like Zep playing on within my ear-reach. Turns out those comparisons had been right-o all along what with Cole's faux Robert Plant whine and the group's hard grind of blues into pure soundswell. In other worlds....yawn!

Although this actually sounds kinda gnarled in spots and enough to make any true blue metalloid stand up and take notice I must admit that I wouldn't want to part with any moolah to get either an original or a repressing of this particular spin. I would (and have!) done just that with the King Bee EP from '78 where Cole goes full blast into the same kinda hard punk blues drive that fits into the whole Dr. Feelgood/Eddie and the Hot Rods swerve that actually gained a little bit of notoriety back in them days. On the whole these tracks are top notch enough for my own tastes (even the Zipper stuff!) even if you're not listening for purely historical snoot purposes.
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The New Life-SINGS THE SIDEHACKERS CD-r bur (originally on Amaret Records)

Well they ain't no Davie Allen and the Arrows that's for sure! It's kinda blahsville in fact, what with the New Life (what kinda name is that for a rock group...sounds like a hair restorer scam!) and their soppy numbers undoubtedly made for this movie's slobbering scenes and nothing else! Even the more "rollicking" tracks (that is, if you consider aged constipated cows trying to get the tarts out of the oven "rollicking") conjure a general douseness to the entire proceedings for a film that I woulda thought packed with action scenes and loads of biker violence! Don't get me wrong, there's some good late-sixties scrunch here but this is mostly feh music that would have made an embarrassment of any moom pitcher it woulda been tagged onto!
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Various Artists-ANOTHER MONDO AUBURN DAY CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Short 'n sweet mostly folky-rocky collection here starting off with some related trackage from acts called Junior and the Mondos and Florian Monday and the Mondos who basically do the same thing what with their versions of "Mondo Moe" and "Mondo" sounding remarkably similar. (Reissue action on Norton might just be worth getting!) But really, Bill should include liner notes with these burns! These two acts have that good 1962-1965 (at the latest) mid-Amerigan teenage crank out sound that still appeals, though if you're one of those sophisticado rock types I tend to come across on occasion you won't understand them the same way you refuse to understand Great Shakes and LEAVE IT TO BEAVER. The rest of this ain't gonna make you wanna burn your Jefferson Airhose albums in abject shame (yeah I know, in the sixties they were perhaps one of the better Amerigan groups who took a severe tumble into the hippoid abyss once albums like BARK and MANHOLE not forgetting such wowzers as BLOWS AGAINST THE EMPIRE started cluttering up the record shelves, or something like that), but they're still fine mid-sixties Amerigan garage band acts that sure sound good next to some of the sewage that was cluttering up the airwaves within the next few years. Good selection ya got here too Bill!

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

BOOK REVIEW! THE COMPLETE DICK TRACY VOLUME 20 by Chester Gould (IDW, 2016)

Now we're really headin' into hotcha TRACY territory what with the early-sixties storylines getting in gear and the TRACY environment that I could remember from my own very "youth" starting to come into focus! Yes even this late inna comic strip game when other strips were starting to flounder TRACY was pumping out the intense, energetic sagas it was know for for quite awhile, and although a lotta the fans had poo-poo'd the strip for quite some time (y'know, the ones who think that after Mumbles it was nothing but down hill) it was more'n obvious that TRACY was still a top notch read on any comic strip fanabla's list! Oh, if I could only get my hands on those grade school teachers of mine who thought us kids so "immature" because we read the comic pages before everything else (which in my case was the tee-vee listings and that's that) 'stead of the front section with all of that war and atrocity and violence...sheesh, I got enough of that via TRACY to care about it in real life, and what else would you expect from an eight-year-old anyway???

The "Spready" saga at first disappointed me because well, I thought the villain might have been a female and with a name like that... But eh, it was a great read having to do with this former obese criminal on the prowl who has something strange sewed into the right portion of his abdomen, and whatever it is it's sure hard and magnetic!!! However the "Brush" saga is once again a return to the TRACY of yore, a grotesque criminal whose face is completely covered in hair due to him being a POW in Hiroshima back August '45 way...now he's running this scam ostensibly having something to do with a crusade against nuclear radiation and his staff is made up of a couple of trained chimpanzees!

For a change from the usual blood 'n gore there is a comparatively short storyline that grows out of the "Spready" saga featuring the brief return of none other than Junior Tracy's real mother. And for another change there is some sad poignancy slipped into the strip when the former "Mary Steele" (now Mary Smith) is killed by a golf ball from a nearby course that hits her in the temple and kills he while she is reading to her adopted children, with Tracy keeping the truth about the woman's identity from Junior who wouldn't remember it anyway. Now given how Junior's mother got written outta the strip I just figured that her disappearance was just one of those loose ends about as relevant as both of the dogs Junior owned who somehow got forgotten over time, but the heartstrings are sure to be tugged over this particular TRACY saga even if you for the life of ya would have thought that Junior would have remembered his real mother considering he was about a hefty seven or eight by the time Tracy officially adopted the brat! Whatever, better stock up on the Kleenex because you too will probably be shedding a tear or two like I did...inside that is.

Topping off this book is something that I really relished, an article on the infamous DICK TRACY cartoon show that the UPA people of MR. MAGOO fame released way back in the early-sixties! This series (back when it was running on THE BARNEY BEAN SHOW) was where I first even knew that Tracy existed, and of course I was always front and center for these cartoons which usually pitted one of his "underlings" like Joe Jitsu, Hemlock Holmes, Go Go Gomez or Heap O'Calorie against the likes of Flattop and Mumbles. (In fact, I remember when my dad'd read me the funnies I'd have him read me TRACY only the grim aspect of the real deal was totally different than the light-hearted cartoons and boy was I surprised!) These cartoons, like a lotta the cartoons coming out on tee-vee during the early-sixties, had an interesting sorta "adult" appeal to 'em as well...nothing as strong as ROCKY AND HIS FRIENDS mind you but some pretty good gags only the parents could get were definitely peppered through these episodes. Whaddevva, reading this piece was a nice reminder of my turdler past which I sure wouldn't mind experiencing to its fullest these sorry days, even if I probably would have an "accident" or two that would embarrass me to no end in front of the entire fambly.

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Hiya fellow troupers. Now, how do you want me to kick off this weekend's BLOG TO COMM anyhoo? Howzbout some timely talk of the weather and how nicey-nice it is now that summer has finally arrived in the Tri-State area, or maybe some down homey recollections of what I was doing when I was a turdler or Suburban Slob this time o' the year way back when life really mattered to eternal underachievers such as myself? Howzbout something piston-popping about my personal life like say, my associations with my cyster or even the results of my starvation diet which only makes me wanna eat more and more as the days roll on? C'mon, don't make me laugh!
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According to Lindsay Hutton at THE NEXT BIG THING it's sayonara time for none other than Gary Sperrazza, the former editor of the famed fanzine (which was actually funded by the students at the University of Buffalo New York who probably didn't want their money going to a project such as this!) THE SHAKIN' STREET GAZETTE! Not only was Sperrazza the main guy behind this interesting magazine (sort of a CREEM for the local college crowd) but o'er the years a contributor to BOMP!, TROUSER PRESS and even the early-eighties era THE NEW YORK ROCKER where he not only wrote up reviews of fanzines but demo tapes in his "Crib Death" column as well! From all accounts a tough cookie, my association with Sperrazza amounted to him ordering a copy of my crudzine which he hopefully received, along with a nice fannish appreciation of his own works and deeds that I wrote considering how much I like SSG. Considering I never heard back from the guy I assume he thought the mag was a pile of printed turd-dom, but eh, I got to rub shoulders (kinda sorta) with one of the fanzine greats of the seventies if only via a cheapo order. If you have your own Sperrazza stories in which you'd like to part with well, keep 'em to yourself!
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AND WHILE WE'RE ON THE SUBJECT OF DEATH R.I.P. TO FAMED PUGILIST MUHAMMAD ALI, a guy who was to his sport what Lester Bangs was to rock writing and Brad Kohler is to unpacking melon crates no-bout-a-doubt-it! What else can I, or anyone for that matter, say about Ali 'cept maybe rattle off some (here comes that word again!) "personal" recollections that perhaps mean nothing whether inside or outside this blog. I gotta admit that back when he was making great hay over resisting the draft and no longer wanting to go under his "slave name" of Cassius Clay Ali seemed like yet another hippie-type antisocial troublemaker to this pre-pube suburban slob, though nowadays I gotta admit that his stance was a brave move in the face of not only government dominance re. human beings as disposable fodder but that of gainful employment (in this case a boxing career), and he should be commended for resisting even if that did put him in the same camp with a lotta cowards sporting "War Is Immoral" (unless it's a war they sure want fought and come to think of it lower class rural kids are expendable!) placards.

Of course Ali's braggadocio was way overboard (and who can forget his frequent sparring with none other'n Howard Cosell which at times I thought would end with a swift jab to Cosell's sagging jowls!) but in many ways I gotta say that even that was a put on which Ali gleefully played to the hilt! After all, Ali actually appeared in a comedy skit on THE HOULIHAN AND BIG CHUCK SHOW playing on his egotistical reputation in a BEN CRAZY segment where he is being psychoanalyzed by Chuck Shadowski's usually inept doctor character...

.

However I will admit it sad how Ali ended up in life all battered, mentally scrambled and suffering from Parkinsons Disease, perhaps due to that rabid whomping he got from Ken Norton (or was it Larry Holmes?). Sheesh, at least Maxie Rosenbloom could function well enough as an actor long after his boxing career went under, but Ali really seemed incapacitated to the point where he was little more than an animated vegetable. For years Ali came off like nothing more than a propped up sick man with a fluttering mind who shouldn't have been exposed to the public the way he most certainly was, embarrassing everyone who would catch a glimpse of him on the news or some segment of a sports program.

Worst point in Ali's declining years was when, after the 9-11 disaster, he made a rambling comment about how he was a Muslim and how this attack was a bad thing and he was ashamed of it all though not all Muslims are like the ones who committed these acts, and that living dildo Peter Jennings gave this solemn nodding approval of it all that was just as bad as the one he gave after Rodney King uttered that "Can't we all just get along?" comment, all emotional and heart-touched over that bit of solemn and socially relevant philosophizing! Well now that they're both in the afterlife maybe Ali can slug Jennings a good one and knock some sense into him no matter how late or useless such a smackdown could be!
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WELL, I DID GIVE IT A GOOD TRY, but as you can tell from last week's review of the S to S release I broke my New Year's Resolution and said something nasty about one of my betters, namely former HIT PARADER editor and all around mersh metal maven Andy Secher. Really, I oh-so-strived to try to be nice and copasetic and everything along those lines this year but sadly I did slip, stumble and fall by stooping to badmouthing someone and thus ruining the happyfun atmosphere that BLOG TO COMM has been known for at least since 2016 clocked in. But then again, could anyone really refer to Secher as being a "better" given his own tunnel vision takes on heavy metal (of the sappy low energy variety natch!) as the grand soundtrack for the lives of many a disaffected dunce who has his bongs and his pimplecream to protect him? You tell me, or better yet send Secher some hard-edged metallic thunder to see if his tough guy pose can protect him from that!
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Dunno about you, but I found this 'un pretty fuh-knee!






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Maybe I better get off the ol' soapbox and get to the reviews---after all, it's been a week since you got any of these, right? Once again, thanks to Bill Shute and Paul McGarry but not to P.D. Fadensonnen or Bob Forward since I didn't get to any of their grub this go 'round (busy week 'n all, y'know). Maybe next time, eh?


THRIFT STORE ARCHIVE SERIES PRESENTS M. J. O'DONNELL CIRCA 1917

I said it before and I'll say it again, but Bus Eubanks would really have been proud of this WWI-era collection of songs rendered (and not as in fat!) by none other than M. J. O'Donnell, that Columbia signing whose topical tuneage predated that label's other major signing Bob Dylan by a good forty-four years. Of course topicality 1917 and 1961 are two widely different animals in my book but still, O'Donnell really managed to capture the zeitgeist of the times with these jaunty tunes sung in his tenor-y nasal voice that perhaps was the real precursor to Dylan's broken tooth hillbilly wheeze. Lotsa Irish references to perk up the local En Why See buying market can be found, along with more heart-melting ballads of love and it's all backed by a spry bunch of musicians whose other records have undoubtedly backed many a videotape of old D. W. Griffith shorts. Even includes early versions of those Tin Can Alley chestnuts "For Me And My Gal" and "Keep An Eye on the Girlie You Love"! As Dudley Doo-Right would have said, "THAT'S REAL TOE-TAPPING MUSIC!!!"
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XTC-PEEL SESSIONS CD-r burn

It's been like thirtysome years since I last gave these new wavers a go, and although I remember loving "Traffic Cop Stop" or whatever that track was called I thought the rest of their output was shall I say watered down British quirk music. The tracks on this shiny beast remind me of just how "quirky" these guys could be, but in no way is it a total douse. Like Devo and the rest of the electronic avant pop aficionados who lost favor as soon as the eighties clocked in there's a massive debt to Roxy and Sparks to be heard, and frankly none of the tracks to be found are in any way offensive to my own hard-boiled musical DNA which must prove that I'm gettting soft and not only around the gut. Still, it's like this thing ain't gonna make me wanna go out and buy and XTC recordings, ifyaknowaddamean...
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The Sonics-LIVE AT EASY STREET CD-r burn (originally on RevVox)

Yeah, it would figure that with all of the clamor and hubbub surrounding the reunited more or less Sonics that there eventually would be a live album comin' out. Well commsters, here it is and it's pretty good what with all of the big numbers gettin' done up with the same energy and raw edged gusto that they were performed with a good half-century-plus back. It's sure good hearing these songs being performed in the here and now even if rock 'n roll has about as much potency as a Mah Jong tournament, though I gotta admit that alla these special guest singers like Eddie Vedder and Calvin Johnson, no matter how much you or even I may like 'em or not, kinda detract from the bared-wire intensity of it all. Well, it's still grand hearing the Sonics these days and I'll take 'em any way I most possibly can!
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Various Artists-BEAT MIT TEMPO VOL. 2 CD-r burn (originally on Bear Family, Germany)

Haw, a collection of German covers of British and Amerigan hits (sung mostly in the English tongue, with a li'l German tossed in) collected on one shiny pancake for people who just can't get enough of the mid-sixties beat sounds and will even settle for some also-ran versions (some of which are kinda good!). Overall this kinda reminds me of those bogus greatest hits collections where the biggies of the day were performed by a buncha studio schmoozers goin' under names like "Barry Winslow" and "Tammy and the Turds" as if any straight-thinking fanabla would think these to be the actual hitmakers. Better watch it, or your Aunt Mabel might just snatch this 'un up for you for Christmas under the impression that these are the real deal hits, just like she used to do some fiftysome years back!
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Honey-LOVE IS HARD CD-r burn (originally on Wharf Cat)

Hmmm, some of these new post-post-whatever heavy metal groups can shatter the nerves just like inna good ol' days! Seems that Honey are from the "Brooklyn" area of Cleveland (or is it the "Cleveland" area of Brooklyn?) which might account for something, but since the halcyon days of Rocket From The Tombs there really hasn't been anything this knock-out hard coming outta the burgh! Until now, that is. Strangulated vocals, massive guitar attack riffing...sheesh, this is everything that generations of ditzes said they liked in their metal music yet we always knew they were too chicken to listen to the REAL DEAL! Actually worth the trouble to track down, a bonafeed winner that never lets up in an era where music has been renown for doing just that!
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John Coltrane-STARDUST SESSION CD-r burn (originally on Prestige)

This is the period of Coltrane's career that a lotta you readers think is nothing but bowtie and tux snooty club music that sounds just as pallid as most of the jazz being made today. Maybe in some ways you readers are right! After all, there's none of the fire music that Impulse-era (or even Atlantic-era) Coltrane is known for to be found on this session, but in many ways you can hear the roots of those bigger things to come within these standards. Even if you hate numbers like "Stardust" and "I'll Get By", Coltrane and band fling a lotta zing into these familiar tunes making them sound a whole lot livelier than the versions your folks thought were so wholesome back during their teenbo days. Not that bad despite the absence of the eternal howl that Coltrane would put to great use in only a few short years.
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Various Artists-GIRL-GUIDED JOURNEYMEN JACKRABBITS CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Capping off the week's this Bill-Burn (which I guess is better'n "Bill-Bored") which has a strange late-sixties Amerigan garage band tint to it. Sure jazz blueser Grant Green starts the thing off, but it's with his version of the Steppenwolf punk classic "Sookie Sookie" which really does fit his particular style and swerve if you ask moi. The rest varies twixt hotcha sixties instrumental rock (Zorba and the Greeks' "Shockwave") to standard teenage weepers like the Bitter Sweets' "She Treats Me Bad" (don't worry, you can always console yourselves with a towel and copy of NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC) and something by an act called Girl-Guided Missiles which might be seventies/eighties punk proper but sure sounds good in this gumbo. Some soul-y stuff pops in and the likes of Jimmy Chandler and Sonny Woy show just how hard it was for solo acts of their caliber to break into the charts even though they were almost as good as the real mid-sixties solo singer hitmakers were. But eh, overall I was impressed.

Thursday, June 02, 2016

BOOK OR FANZINE OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT REVIEW! LIFE IS A RIP OFF (part 1) by John "Inzane" Olson

Strange, but seeing the opinions of someone I haven't heard of before and (who knows?) might never hear of again on the printed page this late in the game really does something good to my rock et roll soul. Hearkening back to the personalist fanzines of the eighties and nineties, LIFE IS A RIP OFF contains the collected reviews of one John "Inzane" Olson, one per page and written between 2/18/09 and 1/31/13, packaged up like some old Science Fiction collection of primitive paens to Arthur C. Clarke but man, is this thing a whole lot more readable!

Olson has a pretty interesting style (kinda cluttered but I can make my way through the printed brush with ease) and his tastes are nice in that whacked-out fanzine style of the past when punks didn't seem that self conscious about liking the "wrong" hip kultural watermarks in fear of getting their credo knocked down a few pegs. Although I will admit that I approached this book (sent unsolicited) with some trepidation I find myself going back to it even if it ain't during one of my occasional toilet trips. It's great reading Olsen's mind-shifting opines which go from one subject to the other even within the span of a  sentence, and although the guy's tastes may be kinda loopy they're also kinda...SOLID. And at the same time as well and let's just see you do something like that!

There's a smattering of hardcore punk reviews, some jazz 'n blues, lotsa stuff that I don't think I could categorize in a millyun years and of course the obligatory Velvet Underground hosannas (and critiques) that really do place Olson as a sorta rooted in traditional underground rock fandom person who would have been in-place doing this sorta scribbling in the mid-seventies with the technology and platters available to him at the time.

Maybe even the early-seventies as well since the guy is wont to toss that good ol' "punk" tag around like the best CREEM writers, what with his praise of IN ROCK period Deep Purple as punkos supreme (which might just fit since hey. they had often been compared to the Detroit/MC5 hard-edged 1970 overkill and if you don't believe me just ask Mike Saunders!) not forgetting Jethro Tull via a review of the ISLE OF WIGHT DVD. Well, I know that such a brain in the rock scribing game as Charles Shaar Murray was hot on early Tull (as was none other'n the Electric Eeling Dave E.) so maybe we should drop our THICK AS A BRICK-honed pretenses and give those early ones a scrutiny even if classifying 'em as punks might have been just as silly as when Phil Collins (I believe) told Jane Scott that some of THE LAMB LIES DOWN ON BROADWAY was also punk supreme. Hey, at this late date in the game I'll take just about anything though who knows, I just might be downright ashamed if I happen to actually ENJOY it (.....shudder!.....).

Dunno where you can get this. Since none other than Bob Forward sent me this maybe he can fill us in. Howzbout it Bob???