IT'S ANOTHER BLOG TO COMM LISTENING PARTY!
Hi-Here are a batcha CDs, CD-Rs and the like that I recently "acquired" either from people who sent this stuff to me in order to see what I thought of it (I guess they have nothing better to do!---hah!!!!), or purchased on my lonesome because I and only I wanted to know what I thought of it...but either way if you're one of those people who likes to tune in on my own personal views and opinions regarding music (and why not, given some of the unmitigated mongoloid remarks w/regards to music and gulcher being made on a variety of blogs out there it hipsterland) then I'm sure you'll enjoy my take on the following burnt and fresh CDs, most of which I probably wouldn't've bought in a million years (in fact, I'm gonna be game and tell you if I would or wouldn't've bought these if I feel like it!)
The following two CDs were burnt for me by Lou Rone, not only a former guitarist for VON LMO but a man who has led a variety of groups o'er the years and who has a tasty new CD called ALONE available on the Gulcher label! If you'd like to read the interview I did with Rone, then why dontcha pick up a copy of BLACK TO COMM #25, available here (howzat for my shameless once-per-post FREE PLUG???):
Jeff Beck Group-TRUTH (EMI): Gotta admit that I never was one of those Jeff Beck maniacs out there who used to drool and dribble over every note and splotch the man would dare to lay down on wax...coming to musical terms at a time when Beck and his whole generation seemed like total doofuses in light of the mechanical muzak they began laying down, what was he next to the true talents of a Sumner Crane, who may not have had the "chops" but had the scronk? But then again, after the punk/new/no wave dust had settled and I discovered that the underground quap that I had become infatuated with for years and the music I dismissed as old hat were more intertwined in more respects than I would have ever believed in 1979, maybe I could settle down and enjoy a Jeff Beck song outside the safe confines of the mid-sixties Yardbird days and not feel hipster guilty about it. Heck, I even like that one track entitled "Barabajabal" the Beck Group laid down with Donovan, perhaps the twinkiest of the Dylan imitators at least until Al Stewart, plus those long-rumored gtr solos on the other Donovan single sides at least kept me from switcherooing the radio in search of the calm and collected strains of Black Sabbath. So maybe there was something worthwhile in the music of old(er) turds after all, or at least in the light of just what the plain old turds the likes of the Smiths and X-tal were lining up for my jaded ears back during the gory days of YOUR FLESH promo packages.
Anyway, this Beck Cee-Dee reish does have more'n a few moments of worth, even with the flem (sic)-lined throat of Rod "I didn't want to go disco, they made me!" Stewart singing da blooze in a style that no wonder made blacks flee from the music with a passion. The new take of Yardbirdsian fave "Shapes of Things" works on a new level perhaps because of the bombast Stewart injects into the thing which actually succeeds given the twisted musical arrangement, while "Ol' Man River" seems
like one of those toss-ins they used to put into these teenage records just so's the old folks didn't think their kids were total sickos! (And there's even a cover of "Greensleeves" which I assume Beck recorded because he didn't have to pay Henry VIII any royalties!) Too much of the blues always got to me not because of their negative nature but because I'm not a big fancier of the form, but at least there are enough distractions to keep my attention like on the bonus tracks "Tallyman," "Love is Blue" (Beck goes elevator!) and "Hi Ho Silver Lining" which is real late-sixties flashmod true but sure sounds better'n a lotta the packaged commercial quap coming out at the time. Would I buy it for myself? Not in a million years, but it's sure better'n listening to the reams of big noise with nothing backing it which makes up the entire gist of most modern rock these days.
The Beatles-REVOLVER (EMI): People tend to call SGT. PEPPER the Beatles' tour-de-artrock, but I don't. To me, SARGE SCHLEPPER was not only the catalyst for a whole lotta bad progressive rock that would soil the good name of the Big Beat for the next twentysome years, but it was also a pretty stuck-on-itself cutesy-wootsey rock as art trip at that. (So you see, there is ONE thing I and otherwise-useless rockscribe Richard Goldstein can agree with, although I wouldn't be doing any about-turn face-saving like the kvetch ultimately did!) For me, the Beatles' true artistic statement was this platter done before the advent of facial hair and silly suits ruined their reputation more'n John's Christianity comments ever could. REVOLVER may have the freaky cover and the obligatory moosh "for the girls" ("Here, There and Everywhere") but it also has the outright rockers (and equal to top contemps the Byrds) like "And Your Bird Can Sing" (Flamin' Groovies before there were Flamin'Groovies, who proved this by covering the song for the Skydog label!) as well as that outright trip "Tomorrow Never Knows" which is so cool that even Wayne McGuire knew enough to use it as a "thread" for his Universal Musical Force printed in a now-desirable issue of CRAWDADDY. Yeah, there are a few bouts of mediocrity ("Got To Get You Into My Life"...paging Sammy Davis Jr.!) and downright stinkbombs like Ringo singing "Yellow Submarine" (I still remember how all the caring and sensitive gals in grade school used to shreik about Spiro Agnew picking on both that one [obvious barbituate ref.] and "With a Little Help From My Friends" [more pill refs. a la "Mother's Little Helpers"] during Agnew's far-reaching attack on the misguided youth of the day---considering even I couldn't rally the femmes to such heights of self-righteous fury all I gotta say is, way to go Spiro!), not to mention George doing his sitar whackoff which was just a shade of things to come, but at least Hari still had some smarts to tackle a truly right-wing/libertarian subject matter with his anti property-confiscation ode "Taxman" which probably stands as the guy's last major statement unless you want to count ELECTRONIC SOUND. Would I buy it? Not really, since I already have the alt. takes/mix of "Tomorrow Never Knows" on bootlegs and that's all I really need at this point.
The following CD-Rs were burned for me by Mike Snider:
Tom Waits-BEAUTIFUL MALADIES (I think Island issued it, correct me if I'm wrong): Snider dubbed me this stuff since I am only familiar w/Waits' Electra-era stuff when he was doing his Kerouac-revival schtick and getting praised all over the pages of ROLLING STONE for doing so. It was interesting enough at the time (I think I originally "got into" the guy because of his Zappa connection and wouldn't mind hearing the tracks he did with the Mothers of Invention backing him, preferably more later than sooner), but as time went by I couldn't really relate to that stuff at age 27 like I did at 17 even to the point of being unable to sit through a rather recent AUSTIN CITY LIMITS rerun of a late-seventies Waits performance that ended up on Sunday afternoon PBS, a fitting graveyard if there was one.
But as time went on Waits evolved and I might have heard some of his newer stylings here/there (and I remember Bill Shute raving about the newer Waits stuff, comparing it to the latterday Bruce Hampton material!), but it wasn't like I was going to be running out and purchasing any of the guy's output (which answers a question I was going to ask myself at the end of this review) just like I wasn't rushing out to buy Hampton's newer wares either. Still, it's a nice change of pace that I like to engage in a few times in this occasionally boresville life o' mine, with Waits' once-Satchmo growl having now mutated into a Dr. John/Cap Beefheart epiglottal rasp and the music? Well, it's more of an avant/mutated swampblues/oompah sound which (as on the Weil-esque "The Black Rider") probably would have fitted in well on Zappa's roster of tax writeoff crazies back in the early-seventies...well, it sure sounds better'n Judy Hennske and Jerry Yester! No liner notes so I can't snitch any "interesting ideas" to regurgitate here (plus the web seems kinda barren of any concrete info I could claim as my own!) so I can't say anymore, but this is a good sampler and at least for me tasty enough in small doses despite its "Fresh Air" NPR reputation which is saying something, but don't tell me just what it is yet...
Gal Costa-GAL; GAL COSTA (Mercury Brazil): Snider burned this one for me because I was totally unfamiliar with the whole "tropicalia" sounds that emanated from Brazil back in the late-sixties. Not that I'd want to be familiar w/tropicalia, especially considering how every Joe Blow on the underground rock soapbox (some whom I even admire) was championing this music about six years back when groups like Os Mutantes became to the fringe alternative what the Bolshoi Ballet became to viewers of THE ED SULLIVAN SHOW. Sometimes I smell skunks even in perfume shops, but then again when I have about fifty Les Rallizes Denudes CDs to enjoy over and over it's not like I'm out there looking for other forms of entertainment, savvy?
But anyway, I did get this CD-R of various Gal Costa tuneage and as far as an "introduction" to tropicalia goes all I gotta say is, I'm not really impressed, even with Costa's great screech-whine vocals and the at-times remarkable musical arrangements. At least for me it's more or less revved up Sergio Mendes which reminds me of the latter-part of my single-digit days when I was more concerned with my Corgi Toys than I was with the music oozing outta a variety of record players I was within earshot of. Hearing this I'm more inclined to dig into my box of old toys and revert to age eight the same way hearing the Fifth Dimension's "Aquarius" always brings back memories of the just-issued Matchbox model of the Lamborghini Miura which was one of my all-time faves. I used to call this stuff "old people music" when I was a kid...like the longhair stuff was for kids and teens and then soul and Sinatra and this stuff was for the college kids and older (up until you hit my parents' age, then it was all Lawrence Welk!)...and at this point I don't even think I'm STILL "old enough" to truly enjoy whatever this tropicalia will have to offer as the years roll by. However I gotta say that I eyeballed some pics of her, and not only is she a great-looking example of the female specimen (for being white, that is), but she likes to scamper around in various stages of undress in case any of you more pervo types happen to be reading this! Don't take my work for it, just enter Gal's name into your fave search engine, set on "images" and don't blame me if you go blind! Gal Costa's one dame who proves the age old adage "titties triumph totally!"
The following CD-Rs were sent to me by Imants Krumins:
Doodles-DISCONEDISCONEDISCONE (can't make out label): As you'd know from a variety of sources this relatively new group is one of my favorites which is a surprise since I've pretty much given up on "modern rock" considering the rampant assholism that the form is unfortunately associated with. Doodles, like the best of the post-Rallize Denudes Japanese underground, knows what it means to take the better aspects of the Velvet Underground oeuvre and go with it in their own personalist fashion, especially if such souls are pure in spirit and mind unlike too many weiners singing the praises of Velvets supremacy who fall flat on their pitted bums when their shallow premises are put to the musical test. (The works of J. Neo Marvin come to mind.) On this one, which I guess is their first "real" Cee-Dee after all, Doodles are a quartet with a fuller sound and perhaps more power because of it. The opening track is a wowzer, a rage of emotional (or is is psychic) power that reminds me of early Mirrors in its mix of intensity and eroticism (in the best Jonathan Richman definition), while cut #2 has more of that beautiful Eastern willowiness sorta filtered through a Southern Californian late-sixties motif. The third one's kinda aimless (as are a lotta the later Doodles releases) yet has a fragile beauty to it which reminds me of the Velvets' early experiments from the likes of the CHELSEA GIRLS soundtrack to their "Noise" track off the EAST VILLAGE OTHER album, at least before Akiko Terashima's guitar starts getting off into this atonal blast marring the spatial elegence before everything returns to normal! I could go on about the other numbers with their tasty mix of the above but I think you get the idea, and if I would buy this one of my own free will the answer is a strong and resounding YES!!!!!
Doodles-no title I can make out: A later release when the group had whittled down to a duo yet their sound remained as full as they were as a quartet. The opener's that familiar and oft-recorded track from their NIGHT GALLERY appearance and I think I heard the second one somewhere else too (like the ALCHEMY DVD p'haps?). Quality is not studio-esque or anything like that if these things mean anything to you, but I gotta 'fess up to the fact that it sure is grand hearing non-mainstream primitive post-Velvet Underground rock that doesn't sound like utter ca-ca these days, and frankly you can only find it in Japan (I guess the Japanese truly understand the deep beauty of what Lou Reed and John Cale doth wrought). Whatever it is, it's utterly magnificent, in some ways a throwback to the sixties/seventies of Velvets mysticism yet reflective of a current mode that I wish more people giving lip service to the "underground" (whatever that may be these days) would pledge undying allegiance to. But you know they won't.
HISATAKA: Dunno the label for this one, but this midgie (20 min.) Cee-Dee features a live recording by some band Krumins says likes to get into fights with each other onstage, sometimes to the point where no gig occurs. It's all more of that over-the-top post-hardcore stuff that Krumins still listens to (that is, if his eardrums are intact) yet I continue to get no pleasure out of it even though the entire shindig ends with a version of "Black to Comm." Would I buy this on my lonesome? NOT ON YOUR NELLY!!!!
And now, some items I bought all by myself w/o any help from reader of and not of this blog:
The Jacks-SUPER SESSION; ECHOES IN THE RADIO (EMI/Toshiba Japan): There's this guy who put out this rather useless Les Rallizes Denudes bootleg LP taken from easily-obtainable CD-Rs floating around who (back when I would correspond with him before spamming his address offa my computer) told me that the Denudes guy got a little bitta inspiration off these well-publicized Japanese rockers. Not that something like that would exactly make me rush out and buy any Jacks releases, but let's just say that there wasn't anything else to get obsessed about a few weeks back so I sprung for both of these legit EMI reissues that are a tad hard to come by at least in the Occident. SUPER SESSION's not only got a chintzy cover but the music is pretty typical big-time overproduced rock as it could get in areas NOT named the United States or Great Britain. Kinda horn-y, pseudo-Brit Invasion (or is it soul?) and certainly not cojone-grabbing enough to make anyone wonder in awe as they would with...well, with Les Rallizes Denudes. A lotta Japanese rock (of the present as well as past) tends to get that way at times, and it's nothing BAD'r anything, but I guess I was expecting MORE.
As for ECHOES IN THE RADIO, these later-on ('69) recordings taken from radio sessions had me thinking that by this time perhaps the Jacks had fully understood the drive and zeal of the psychedelic movement, and on this extremely short (19:01!) offering we get to hear the group under the strong sway of the New Sounds. The first few tracks are acoustic guitar and vocal accompaniament that kinda remind me of something that would have been heard at a Tokyo Folk Mass in '69 had the Japanese sunk that low, but in this context it does make for a fine diversion. I woudn't want to hear an entire Cee-Dee of this stuff, and fortunately by track three there's bass guitar and drums filling things out. I can see how Les Rallizes Denudes could have pinched a few ideas from the Jacks, though you know that the Denudes guys were strict underground practitioners while the Jacks were even straighter than Kyu Sakamoto! No revelations here, nor are there any epiphanies of anarchic brilliance that I like in my music. Oh well, better luck next time!
Chrome-HALF MACHINE LIP MOVES/ALIEN SOUNDTRACKS (Touch & Go): Here's one that brings me back to those maybe great in a few ways days of ALTERNATIVE MUSIC PROMO GRAVY!!!!! I actually got the vinyl variants of these two classic Chrome discs back when T&G actually sent me packages of their various wares long before the creativity creek dried up to a dribble, and considering I must've had these platters in at least three other forms in my collection let's just say that I was glad I had more to my name, greedy guy that I am. Of course there are slight editing differences between these and the Siren originals, but it's still worth having even an expurgated version on hand if only to hear the great robotic post-krautrockian spizzle of "Zombie Warfare." Plus (as I've said before thanks to Stephen Braitman, who tipped me off via his review in the final issue of BOMP!), this is
a GREAT AMERICAN ROCK ALBUM on par with such other faves as ONE KISS LEADS TO ANOTHER, KINGDOM DAY and BACK IN THE USA as anyone whose read my back-issues schpiel can tell you by memory. ALIEN SOUNDTRACKS sounds more late-seventies El Lay punkish with that Chromian electronic element, perhaps not as feral as HALF MACHINE but a good precursor...anyway, wonder why the intelligent ones at Touch & Go put this one on after HALF MACHINE and not before it anyway? Anyway, I'm glad that Chrome were one of those groups that I was around to enjoy back when they were an alive and functioning outfit even if their later records didn't quite seem to cut the mustard, but why complain about that when there are things out there to really complain about.
Sunday, July 24, 2005
IT'S ANOTHER BLOG TO COMM LISTENING PARTY!