HOW CAN YOUR HEART STAND IT...YET ANOTHER HIGH SIX!
As I've said before, while another blog out there in "notice me!" land thinks it's all fine and dandy to give you top five lists for the day/week/year/whatever, me here at BLOG TO COMM goes the extra mile to give you MORE than just a "high five," mainly a "HIGH SIX" of my top fave raves for whatever span of time I so deem desirable. Of course, you (skeptics) may think the whole kitten-kaboodle middle-class suburban faveraves fall short of the "Real Life Top Ten" that enlightened industry/socio-political wonks like Greil Marcuse and Archie Smith used to give up in the pages of THE VILLAGE VOICE back in the eighties (and perhaps later...I wouldn't know, or care), but look at it this way, since when has anything the VOICE written about or championed outside a few fine music reviews have anything to do with "real life" anyway???
1) A WHOLE BATCH OF CD-Rs sent to me by Dee Pop
You may remember Dee Pop as the fellow who used to man the drum chair in the Bush Tetras back in 1980 or so, but since then he's been involved in a whole slew of musical activities, the best known by far being not only as the drummer/percussionist for a variety of free jazz/improv groupings but as the "curator" of the Sunday nights (and starting in April, Wednesday nights) "freestyle" avant garde jazz series at the CBGB Lounge. I tune into their cybercasts as often as I can and brave the technical glitches (brought on by my having to use a phone line 'stead of a cable setup) in order to see these shows live and as they happen, and maybe if you still have a shard of old-time juvenile wild-eyed love for this sorta still-going-strong chicanery maybe you should too, since this gig seems to be the only really exciting thing happening on the New York Underground as we speak, not counting perhaps one of the old-time sixties/seventies hangers-on making a rare appearance at either of the CBGB-related clubs hovering on the Bowery.
Anyway, as to the CD-Rs...only played a few of 'em so far, but what I have played is rather impressive. The "Unified Theory of Sound" CD-R was guffed up so it doesn't play as smoothly as one would like, but this set-up with jazz scenesters Jameel Moondoc, Matt LaVelle (also of the fine Morcilla) and Wilbur Morris amongst others reminds me of the late-seventies Loft Jazz coming outta Sam Rivers' digs only evolved another twenty years. The sampler CDs also gave a good overview of what's going on these days in improv land...naturally Pop hadda slip a Bush Tetras track on but I can forgive him for the free plugging, but the rest ranges from "eh, it's OK" (Beat Circus) to pretty inspiring. Highlights include Susan Alcorn's moody steel playing, Borah Bergman and Dee Pop's avant-impressionistic "Round Midnight" (w/Bergman on piano, and I thought he was a trombonist!) Dom Minasi (a sixty-plus avant guitarist who has remained rather under-the-covers all these years, and who will be playing the CBGB Lounge with his trio tonight...hopefully a review will be posted tomorrow!) with his string-laden DDT + 2 reminding me of...the Dixie Dregs (?!?!?!), and more things that'll pop into my mind as soon as I give these disques a few more spins. (Like Gary Lucas' solo take of "Bra Joe From Kilimanjaro" followed by Abdullah Ibrahim's take of the same number, and even Noistet, who're playing next week, did a couple good avant jazz cool things as well!)
The Hanuman Sextet CD-R rec'd at the Lounge last 12/19 was also fine, a good compliment to their release on Rent Control which was one of last year's highlights, at least if you ask me. And oh yeah, Jessica Jones was entertaining enough, but there's nothing special on her disc to zone me to a higher elevation or anything like that. And as for the rest...well, I will be getting to it sooner or later, but gee, I dunno if I'm just that anxious to listen to a CD with a cover pic of a mouse with an abnormal growth on its back (Sound on Survival)! I mean, didn't we get enough of that demented gross-out "aht" back in the eighties via the post-Throbbing Gristle crowd, not to mention the Swans???
2) Tertiary Trio-TITLE GOES HERE CD-R (Rent Control)
Not too sure if this one should be on my "HIGH SIX!" since I do have some qualms about it, mainly how it seems more "improv" and less free jazz and doesn't quite gel the way other guitar/sax/drums outfits like Storm or John Abercrombie's Jackalope do, but I find these Rent Control releases satisfactory despite the cyborg coolness which didn't mar other Rent Control offerings like Idiophonic, but seems to dampen things here. Still, I played this one about five times since arrival last Monday so maybe I do find it engaging on some level I'll probably comprehend in twenty year's time. Group features Andy Haas (Hanuman Sextet) on saxophone, Don Fiorino on guitar, and Paul Corio on drums.
While TV Land plays it safe (as usual) and constantly reruns the latter, tamer episodes of this long-lived (19 years!) western, other cable nets (boooo!) run the better-executed 'uns from the program's earlier and infinitely superior years. The Hallmark Network had been airing the earliest half-hour version that was later broadcast under the name of MARSHAL DILLON on Saturday afternoons but they moved those to 6:30 in the morning, and I don't get up that early unless I'm going to be shot at sunrise! Too bad, because the very early GUNSMOKEs are the best, especially with the Sam Peckinpaugh-penned sagas which still seem to stir something feral inside of you. However, the premium Western Channel has the still-cool early-sixties shows on Saturday and Sunday afternoons (directly opposite TV Land's running of the newer, color/colorless ones), and whenever the satellite people feel generous enough to give us a free weekend every few months or so you can bet I'm tuning in to see what Matt and Chester are up to. Like most early-sixties television, there's a fine, mystical quality to these shows which on one hand were trying to be artistic and pleasing to the high-brow yet on the other still realized that they weren't meant to be snobbish since they were being aimed at guys in undershirts with cans of beer in their sweaty palms. A delicate balance, but tee-vee knew how to pull it off at the time despite what Newton Minow thought. The one about the arrogant businessman who ignores the pleas of a nice, middle-aged couple in a sandstorm (his thoughtlessness ultimately resulting in the woman's miscarriage), later on swindling and eventually murdering the husband, had a strange, dream-like effect that one would have seen on THE TWILIGHT ZONE at the same time. Speaking of GUNSMOKE, are any of you readers familiar with the English comic strip based on the program called "Gun Law"? I'd like to get an anthology of those strips, especially since the ones I've seen come off as if Peckinpaugh had directed the show in the seventies complete with the raw violence and nudity he put into such flicks as THE WILD BUNCH and BRING ME THE HEAD OF ALFREDO GARCIA (a film which Dr. Fredric Wertham saw and actually counted the murders!). Any help would be appreciated, but totally unexpected.
4) HOT WACKS BOOK XV...THE LAST WACKS
Just taking a trip back through bootleg history thinking about how cool record buying was at one time before disco, STAR WARS, CDs and generally light musicianship kinda tore a big chunk outta my life! When yer sixteen, taking a gander at them xerox-insert covered wonders in the outta-the-way record shop bin going for a relatively affordable $4.99 a pop (an extra buck for the deluxe covered ones) was just another big part of GROWING UP along with looking at the import and cutout sections, and honest-to-goodness I can't see how the kidz of today can stand living in a world not only without great afternoon rerun tee-vee to rush homework over to but sans all the good, healthy stuff that made a man outta me like record shops and junk food (without the guilt of hearing day in and day out about just how bad it is for you). I still recall the instant surprise I got finding the Frank Zappa/Captain Beefheart CONFIDENTIAL boot at the White Wing Records shop in Hermitage, snapping it up immediately upon eyeballing. I consider this one of the smarter things I've done in my life, and so should you too.
5) COMSTOCK LODE #8 (fanzine)
Since there aren't that many good new fanzines coming up over the horizon these days, I have to settle on getting some old ones and here's one I've missed out on back when it originally was being published. I've heard about COMSTOCK LODE before since it had quite a reputation about it, and in fact still have this Red Crayola songbook which reprints a very in-depth Mayo Thompson interview that originally appeared in COMSTOCK LODE's pages. I probably would have bought it at the time, but let's just say that distribution was pretty sparse, sorta like another fanzine I know! Anyway, as you'd gander COMSTOCK LODE was a publication of odd-to-Amerigans dimensions...about thirteen-inches high and eight-and-a-half wide and in many ways it resembled a lotta the other English fanzines not only of then but now such as BUCKETFULL OF BRAINS and PTOLEMAIC TERRASCOPE. Contents seem to straddle both BRAINS' punky concerns and TERRASCOPE's psychedelic leanings, with #8 featuring not only a brief, typically skewered interview with Roky Erickson but very informative pieces on Peter Stampfel and Robert Wyatt. Plus, the Bridget St. John article reminded me that I still have to listen to the CD-R of her Jon Behar burned for me! A pretty enlightening fanzine, and certainly one that shouldn't have left the boards as quickly as it did.
6) VOCELLI PIZZA
People think that because I'm a wop-a-dago I automatically like Eyetalian food. Wrong again, sweetie. Actually, I can take or leave the stuff being force-fed that swill ever since I was a li'l toddler, but on occasion I do get a hankerin' for some macaroni or ravioli (which I never had as a kid since it wasn't around inna part of Italy where my ancestors came from!) amidst my cravings for Chinese and Mexican food. Anyway, there's this new pizza place that opened nearby called Vocelli's and although their prices are pretty high (though I've seen much higher!) they do have some good things to eat for sale such as their sandwiches and especially pizza...now the red-sauce variety o' pie ain't anything that special, but I really go for their spinach/garlic "specialty" pizza with not only less-than-generous hunks of the green leafy stuff (they should use about twice as much!), but mushrooms, onions, tomato slices and smegma-like blobs of feta cheese (!) amidst the mozzarella and a white garlic sauce! And it's all really good-tasting on their better-than-usual chewy crust, but the real reason I like this one is because it reminds me of the Ripp's Special sandwich one can find at Tommy's restaurant in Coventry/Cleveland Heights. Although it had a boho-hippie image for quite some time, Tommy's (located between the two record shops I wrote about in this earlier posting) is (presumably, haven't eaten there in quite some time despite having the chance last November) a pretty decent place to chow down if you want some Spinach pie, falafel, carob shakes and of course the aforementioned Ripp's, which has cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, sunflower seeds, onions and other goodies I can't remember between pita. And yeah, you may think this is purely sissyfood hippychow unfit for your not-so-acquired tastes, but Crocus Behemoth didn't. In fact, when Jim Jarmusch (!) interviewed Crocus for THE NEW YORK ROCKER during Yuletide 1976 part of that interview took place in none other than Tommy's! I still wonder what the man called Behemoth ordered that day, and I'm afraid this bit of pertinent information is forever lost to history.
Sunday, February 27, 2005
HOW CAN YOUR HEART STAND IT...YET ANOTHER HIGH SIX!