A HIGH SIX!
1) Can-EGE BAMYASI CD (Mute/Spoon)
Gosharootie, it's hard to swallow the fact that it's been twenty years since I first read Hot Scott Fischer's review of this classic krautrockschpiel that not only originally appeared in a 1973 issue of the infamous PHONOGRAPH RECORD MAGAZINE, but got me all hot and bothered about getting a copy of this classic rockismkampf stomp into my sweaty clams. Fischer's then-twelve-year-old epic was one of those fine pieces of rockscribedom that just seemed to snugly fit in with the Golden Age of Rock Criticism (roughly 1969-1981), with Our Hero making Can's quintessential endeavor out to be the perfect distillation of early-Velvet Underground explorations mixed with Stoogian madness (which would figure given how none other than Lester Bangs said that Fischer once played him some Can and then beamed approvingly about how much better they were than the Stooges themselves!). EGE BAMYASI still holds up lo these many years later, despite the load of subpar/human rock vultures in the music and critical realms who have reduced Can and their works to just another hip-slapping "influence" on the alternative rock gravy train. I mean, it was cool when we heard that Sid learned to play bass listening to Can records back in in 1977, but having every just out-of-the-basement "alternaindie" group covering Can tracks in the nineties and singing their praises as we speak pretty much ruined my tastes for more than a few things!
2) COMBAT! SEASON ONE CAMPAIGN II DVD
These are the burned copies Paul McGarry made for me that I mentioned a few posts back. I've said enough about this stellar early-sixties intensity-laden series in a earlier missive, but to add just a li'l lemme say that the additional episodes that I've eyeballed are very good in their own right as well. (The one where a bitter Frank Gorshin accepts a Silver Star under false pretenses [that Star deservingly going to his now-deceased pal, played by Joseph Campanella who can now be heard doing the voiceovers on the Dumont-era Bishop Sheen reruns on EWTN] seemed to strike a doom-laden chord at least with me.) Only the episode about a frog boy who wants to join the US Army and ends up killing Ted Knight as a friendly Nazi (and how long have you MARY TYLER MOORE-haters yearned for that???) tended to waiver a bit, but given COMBAT's track record I'm sure we can accept a few misfires just like we did with NAKED CITY and even THE TWILIGHT ZONE. Still it's nice seeing something that extols the legend of the tough guy before we hadda go see Burt Reynolds get sodomized by a buncha hillbillies in DELIVERANCE and all of that seventies manhood trashing that's been going around ever since.
3) UNDERGROUND FILM by Parker Tyler (Grove Press, 1969)
Here's a book that I usedta love reading at the library back when I was a teenbo mainly because it seemed so "daring" and "controversial," and since I was starting to pay attention to film as "aht" at the time, the information given on the avant garde origins of the underground seemed more than necessary to this pimple-popping pusfarm even if Tyler's book is about as obscure as you can get. Caveat: in case you're wondering why author Tyler spends a lot of his time writing about such people as Andy Warhol, Charles Henri Ford (with whom Tyler wrote the sickie novel THE YOUNG AND THE EVIL way back in the thirties) and Charles Boultenhouse, it's because the whole lot of 'em were lovers! Well, at least UNDERGROUND FILMS was written long before it coulda been categorized into a gay/lesbian/transgendered histoire like everything else with Lavender Mafia sensibilities in it these days!
4) Chinaboise-THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD CD (Gulcher)
Don't wanna go overboard squawking about this 'un, but as of 2:18 PM on February 16, 2005 this is the best proto-punk reish of the year. Music that oddly enough frames the great underground era sounding just as fresh at the end of it as it did in the beginning.
5) Freedomland-YIA YIA'S SONG CD-R (Rent Control)
Still one of my favorite groups now habituating the Sunday night (and soon to be Wednesday nights as well!) freestyle avant garde shows at the CBGB Lounge. Old hands Daniel Carter and William Parker hook up with new hands David Hofstra, David Sewelson and Dee Pop creating a free jazz spew that utliizes the seventies new thing of the former and dollops on a lotta a downtown no wave punk attitude of the latter making the music about as storm-front clashing as it was in the sixties when Tony Williams' Lifetime and the MC5 were mixing and matching the same influences coming up with new vocabularies in jazz, rock and (dare I say) beyond... Highly reminiscent of the better seventies avant/co-ops like Air and the Creative Construction Company, and hopefully more than the same few VILLAGE VOICE types will be willing to pay attention to the music this time out.
6) HUMBUG #'s 10 and 11 (Humbug Publications, 1958)
These are the last two issues of Harvey Kurtzman's second post-MAD publication (the first, TRUMP, was ditched by publisher Hugh Hefner after only two issues while the third, HELP! managed an impressive five year run), and the only two to be of MAD magazine-sized proportions. Ten has the brilliant Soviet-styled FLASH GORDON spoof entitled "Flyashi Gordonovich" illustrated by Jack Davis complete with imitation Cyrillic lettering as well as a lotta great Cold War jokes that still grab me (for example, the Soviet Dale isn't a sexy gal in a clingy outfit but some hulking sterotypical female Russian ox in a uniform---hey, I like the OBVIOUS just as much as everyone else!). However, there seems to be too much text and little downright comic material in this ish, and that's one thing that I believe just might have led to HUMBUG's premature downfall after only a year of publishing. The last issue does have Bill Elder delineating a Japanese monster movie spoof entitled "Randan," but what makes this one a "getter" is the TRUMP reprint material used to pad this swan song out including Davis' "Rin Tin Tin" sendup worthy of the classic MAD comic book days plus Elder's "L'l Ab'r," which not only puts the "Li'l Melvin" spoof he drew for PANIC to shame both artistically and especially story-wise but thanks to Kurtzman's brilliant abilities ranks with those great early MAD comic strip take-offs like "Starchie" and "Bringing Back Father" for mind-twisting laughs and impeccable mimicry. Too bad the mag had to die out (Kurtzman seemed to see the end coming or at least I get that impression from his opening schpiel in #11, where he also notes how the ex-MAD contributors' names were getting edited out of the newer reissues of the Ballantine MAD paperbacks, probably out of revenge more than anything!)
Speaking of those old MAD paperbacks, I bought a bunch of 'em up cheap at this remaindered book shop in Greensburg Pennsylvania a few weeks back and really enjoyed reading 'em all over again even if these things have been reprinted, repackaged and reprocessed ad infinitum/nauseum. Not only are they nice to have around just for "old time's sake" but it's especially pleasant reading these stories without being reminded of just how "bad" the fifties were via a load of horrid anti-anti-communist commentaries that seem to permeate a lotta the more-recent MAD repros, usually written by the "Castro-taught-the-Cubans-to-read!" apologists in order to educate today's lumpen and limpen youth of supposed past evils. Why are these leaden and falsified lectures always preached at us by people who, if anything, are the total embodiment of upper-class elitist youth pamperdom extant?!?!?! Well, I guess they hafta do something between workshops! Blah!!!
Wednesday, February 16, 2005
A HIGH SIX!