Back in the old days when I was a kid Sunday afternoons were funner than fun. Naw, I'm not talkin' about all them times when mom and dad would drag me outta the house for one of those typically gulcheral "educational" day trips to some old fort or boring landmark...I'm talking about the Sunday PMs where I'd go w/the folks to a flea market or garage sale back when the 50s/60s way o' living that I was reveling in even at that early stage was being sold second-hand and at cheap-o enough prices as well! And if I couldn't make the trek to seek out old comic books and Dinky Toys there was always something good on tee-vee (like a good cheap old movie) to hold my attention for at least a minute or two. But alas, those wanderlusty days are long-gone but don't fear Sweet Polly Purebread, for there is something worth your while to replace those intensely powerful years of mid-amerigan doofus living and that's INTERNET!!!! So rather than mope about the house bored outta my gourd, now I can wile away the hours by writing reviews of recently (and not-so) acquired items not only for cathartic purposes but to kill an hour or two! So my loss (of pastimes yore) is your gain (reviews for all of you'ins who have nothing better to do yourselves), and to be nice about it I'll even try to cut out the long-windedness that has plagued my writings for longer than I can remember.
Tim Buckley-LORCA (Essential, Russia)-This "contractual obligation" album didn't quite win me over back when I first heard it during the avant-garde year (for me at least) of 1978, but the recent retroactive hubbub over Buckley's STARSAILOR offering from about the same time had me giving LORCA another go at it after years of indifference. The experimental numbers are a lot more entertaining than most of the obligatory "look-how-hip-we-are!" tracks it seems that each and every rock act just hadda include on their albums at the time, and in many ways LORCA is similar to Buckley's STARSAILOR yet is noticibly different mostly due to its chamber-esque setting. The title track is startling with the electric piano/pipe organ/acoustic 12-string intensely battling it out (and between LORCA, THE MARBLE INDEX and the MC5/Stooges catalog who's to say that Electra wasn't the primo avant garde label despite its folkie/hippie leanings!), with John Balkin's organ playing just as caustic and shatteringly synth-like (!) as Lee Underwood's was on STARSAILOR. The rest of this is standard Buckley folk/jazz, pleasant but not enough to make me want to hear anything outside of Buckley's experimental works.
The Revelons-ANTHOLOGY (Sepia Tone)-When I was younger I used to love combing through the En Why club listings to see which bands were playing at those oft-mentioned underground haunts, all the time wondering whether or not alla those obscure-o acts that I never heard of sounded just as essential as the ones who were actually putting out records at the time. (With my off-kilter modes of rock reasoning firmly in place, I figured that they just hadda, given that this was New York City and there was this great undercurrent of intensity happening right before my eyes, and in a world of giddy disco and arena barbituate-puke muzak that sure accounted for something.) Well, I finally get a chance to give a listen to yet another one of these still-obscure aggros, mainly them Revelon guys who were playing around at the end of the original New York scene from the late-seventies until the mid-eighties or so cluttering up a whole lotta gig ads along with the likes of such other potentially fun nobodies like the Sinatras and Hibiscus and his Screaming Violets, and like a good portion of groups out there on the punk train the Revelons owed more than a little to the mid-seventies early CBGB generation...after all, they had the look down pat (young skinnies with short hair) and the sound copped from Patti and Verlaine (it's no surprise that both Blondie/Television bassist Fred Smith and Patti drummer Jay Dee Daugherty were in the band at various points), and they do a competent job continuing on the tradition of the young suburban malnourished kid with burning intensity style started by the Velvets and continued on oh-so-craftily by the likes of the Modern Lovers and Talking Heads. However, the Revelons, like a lot of groups that came out in the wake of the innovators, seemed to lose more than a little with their translating of the early-seventies garage cultspeak into some supposedly-improved late-seventies creation. Nice hooks and cops from past accomplishments seperates this from the reams of "alternative" one-dimensionals that came in the Revelon's wake, but there's nothing that hits me in a powerful life-enhancing way anywhere to be found here. However, I have the feeling I will be warming up to it in a few months time or so...check back.
Archie Shepp-THE CRY OF MY PEOPLE (Impulse/Verve)-Here's a disque which proves that, where in the seventies it may have taken many jazz musicians six or seven years to forsake the freedom drive for softer or even downright mellow/disco tuneage, it took Shepp only two. Not that THE CRY OF MY PEOPLE is bad by any stretch, it's just that the man who did so much to further the cause of fire music only a short time earlier sure did a switcheroo with this return to the early watermarks of "great black music" that don't quite capture my attention (too much forties/fifties bad jazz references stick in my mind). Only the 1961-period Sun Ra-esque "African Drum Suite (Part Two)" and Ellington's "Come Sunday" managed to perk my ears up any.
LSD March-March 16, 1999 (Connection)-A lot has been written about LSD March here and there (scroll down), and a lot more will be written not only on this blog but elsewhere, but in the meanwhile I got hold of this CD-R of previously unheard by me March material, probably unleashed upon us w/o any band knowledge at that considering the sound quality and truncations. Sounding more like a rare archival tape from a cult fave that popped up on eighties tape-trading lists worldwide (though the final track sounds remarkably clear and professional in this stew), March 16, 1999 is a massive feedback fest/early-Velvets stormfront done by the version of LSD March where leader/guitarist Michishita Shinsuko is joined by an Inoue Mackoto on bass and Eddie and Bill from Coa on slide guitar and drums respectively. (Eddie and Bill, femmes despite the name, are in fact Coa en toto, a bass/drums duo that reportedly sounds more like a five-piece guitar band but I'll believe it when I hear it, which I will do via THE NIGHT GALLERY VOL. 2 CD which is winging its way to my door as we speak. Anyhow, Coa would be the second bass/drums rock duo extant that I am aware of, since fellow countrymen the Ruins also feature the exact same instrumentation leading me to believe that it all may be a Japanese thing!) Song fragments appear and get cut off right when things begin to cook, at times sounding nth-generation hand-held portable cassette just like all those supposedly soundboard Les Rallizes Denudes CDs going around, but it sure reveals itself to be so innermost sweet despite the glitches with the Rallizes-styled psychedelic blare meeting freakout meets stoner ballads and experimental popisms just like you wished more bands would have done during the height of the mushroom. It's been quite awhile since I got obsessed over anything so strongly early-VU-inspired/influenced, especially considering how most current bands have left me cold, but these Japanese aggregations like Rallizes, LSD March and their myriad assortment of followers and spinoffs have gotten me ALMOST as hot under the collar as I was with New York and Northeastern Ohio underground rock back inna late seventies. And given the amount of jadedness I've had to endure all these years, that's realling saying something!
Sunday, November 21, 2004