Sunday, December 04, 2005


I still don't have any major projects/articles/screeds of note or worth to jettison your way as of now, but I thought it would be smart of me to at least review some of the flot/jetsam that has graced my laser launching pad (still out-of-commish w/regards to good ol' vynola) since we last had our little get-together. ('n besides, that pile o' un-reviewed tench growing ever-so-humongous in my room must be dealt with more sooner 'n later!) Anyway, here are some of the things both old, new, borrowed and maybe not-so-blue that I've been listening to (and "have" to review) over the last few days, and maybe if you take these reviews and roast them to the peak of perfection you'll find something of worth and might in here somewhere. For the life of me I can't, but, I dunno...maybe you're daft enough to do just that so getcherself in gear!

UP-TIGHT AND MAKOTO KAWABATA (Galactic Zoo Disc, available through Volcanic Tongue)

Japanese post-Rallizes Denudes wonders Up-Tight (along with Acid Mothers Temple hippie Makoto Kawataba sitting in) fare much better than they did on their previous snoozer LUCREZIA although Aoki and company still have quite a way to go before recapturing their early glory when it really seemed (no foolin'!) as if Up-Tight really were one of the few bands of the past twennysome years who actually are as good as their influences. The mock Velvets cover would have helped way back when, but today it seems like more past-digging hypeola to make up for present-day lack-of-accomplishment.


I dunno how old most of you BLOG TO COMM perusers are, but it's a re-release of such a killer as this that reminds me of the Great Punk Rock Divide that transpired during the maybe not-so-halcyon days of the early-eighties when the music was changing but I was staying the same. Not that punk (as a music/notion/style/political soapbox...) was ever united (not that ANYTHING should be), but after a good six or so years of p-rock coming off to a good portion of us suburban slobs as this torrid mix of everything from mid-sixties garage aesthetics, avant garde snobbism, early-metal earbust and Detroit rockbluesjazzscrunch (in whatever incriments and percentages one would appreciate), by the early eighties it all sorta flung apart bigger'n the big bang itself. The sixties garageoids clung around their own camp with their fanzines, labels and various spokesmen (Greg Prevost being the unadulterated king of 'em all), while the hardcore guys sorta did the fine balance between late-seventies English aesthetics and early-seventies metallic moves. Ditto for the rockabillers and the "purer" heavy metal aggros (by the early eighties more and more underground groups were letting themselves be known as metal, perhaps more in tune with the likes of MX-80 Sound and VON LMO than Autograph!) and one thing that seemed most certain as the clock ticked away was...EACH AND EVERY ONE OF THESE ROCK CLIQUES HATED EACH OTHER! And though cooler minds such as Byron Coley's and mine thought that these twains should have "met" the prevaling winds said otherwise. Oh well, it is a pain being ahead of one's time.

Anyway, this HYPSTRZ re-release reminds me of THE BIG PUNK ROCK CRACK-UP OF 1981. No, I never did get their HYPSTERIZATION album when it came out at the beginning of that split way back when, but it was one of the things that was definitely on my "gotta have" list, me being a big fan of the Bomp!/Voxx empire then under the tutelage of the late Greg Shaw. Naturally my lack of money kept me from buying up EVERY slab of pulsating vinyl that I wanted to lend ear to back in those days (which is why I'm more'n willing to pay beaucoup for now o.p. Flipper CDs these days even if the early-eighties punk legacy has been tainted by various blogs out there), and although a quarter-century later is way too late if you ask me maybe if I squint my ears a bit I can ooze more early-eighties energy from these now-classic slabs of soon-to-oxidize aluminum pancakes just like I attempted to do with their vinyl forebearers so long ago.

Anyway, these Hypstrz guys are more of that great six-oh revival spew that seemed so refreshing next to the utter blah that what had become "new wave" was churning out at the time. Putting out a set of nothing but hep garage band covers (with the usual soul stirrer tossed in for ample effect), the Hypstrz wow their Minnesota audiences with blasts from the past that didn't reek of cheap-o nostalgia but frothed forth pure high energy thrills. Of course those were different times...I mean, nowadays EVERY bar-band with a bent towards the past will play "garage rock" toons for the massholes. I mean, it's EXPECTED that sixties punk is considered top notch fun-time rollicking music by everyone these days, but back then anyone carrying the sixties garage band flag might as well have been one of those commie punks ya used to see on CHIPS alla time. And come to think of it, listening to LIVE AT THE LONGHORN in all its early-eighties fighting the "hip-to-be-square" mentalities going around glory does make for a more adventurous time than it does now given just how accepted the sixties punks are these days...after all, what's ANYTHING (art/music/film/food...) without a little DANGER innit?

Earth People-WAKING THE LIVING, SIMPLE, ISN'T IT?? (Undivided Vision, visit the band at their site where they can direct you to where these CDs can be obtained)

Old recordings (originally reviewed in BLACK TO COMM #25) true, but I was kicking myself over missing their show (via cybercast) last Wednesday at the CBGB Lounge and in order to make amends spun their first two platters back to back in a fit of self-righteous angst. Gee, I gotta get more angstsy if that's gonna spur me onto listening to this great moderne-day avantjazzrockspew, because despite the paens to gnu age philosophising (Margie Mead quotes) and covers that remind me of Prince and Mandrill outtakes (w/o the monkey natch!) the Earth People remain one of the few groups that can pull off a "World Music" style and still make it sound all noisy and disturbing. WAKING THE LIVING features two extended tracks (one almost hitting the forty-minute mark!) and a sound that blends everything from great seventies Loft Jazz noisecapades to hotcha up-n-coming vocalese (courtesy "M"), and not only that but the band lineup's pretty snat as well featuring everbody from ex-Jimmy Lyons basoonist Karen Borca to Freedomland's Daniel Carter and Shandar survivor Francios Grillot. SIMPLE, ISN'T IT??'s got shorter songs but still has that twenty-directions at once feeling that kinda make me think that everyone in the band was playing a different song in a different style, but being so "all-inclusive" and all it gels quite fine nonetheless. Great platters there, and while linking the above site up I discovered that there have been two more Earth People CDs released since these earth-shaking splatters. Guess I know where my Christmas money's getting dumped, eh?

THE LOOKIES (Redrum, PO Box 4091, Harrisburg, PA 17111-0091, write the group at The

Recently I got a letter from Brad Kohler, who (with regards to a Star Spangles review I did in the latest ish) wrote "did you write that while you were in a good mood?" Y'see, for some reason Brad thought that I somehow hated the kind of music the Star Spangles would play, thus maybe I got a new NANCY book that day or a gold star on my forehead at work when I wrote that thing or otherwise I woulda trashed it to all eternity. Well, yes Brad, I certainly was feeling chipper the day I wrote that, but let me explain about many of my reviews that, although the music may not exactly be something that I'd be spinning on my computer day-in/out, doesn't mean it's not worthwhile with its own merits and reasons for people other than myself to be flipping out over it. It may mean that, after giving the thing a boss write-up and extolling the group's many attributes I'll probably be filing the thing away until Kahoutek really comes back, but just because something doesn't fall exactly within the firm, fit and narrow confines of what does make a good record here at BLOG TO COMM central doesn't mean I have to trash the thing. Yes Virginia, there are recordings I will give a nice thumbs-up to even though I'm not exactly going to be championing the bands that made 'em from here to Bizoo and back!

So where do the Lookies fit in? I dunno...I was hoping they'd be a neat pop-rock thing like the Beckies of yore give the name, but they're pretty much another post-hardcore bunch that seemed to permeate the late-eighties (which, to nobody's surprise, is when I began getting freebie records of this stuff outta mine ears!) and although there is a bit of excitement here/there it sorta reminds me of things I might've gone gaga for at one time only now I tend to pass this stuff over during the evening hours in favor of a more pure drone. You may go fer it and if you think so try the group's CD Baby page for more info, but guys, I just got into a big arguement a few hours ago and really am not in that much of a good mood right now. Too bad I didn't write this yesterday...I was feeling super back then!

Crushed Butler-UNCRUSHED (RPM UK)

I've been hyped to this proto-Hammersmith Gorillas group (featuring the long-lived Jesse Hector whose first recordings circa 1959 [age 12] are still available via Norton) ever since a ten-inch version of this rather short (21:12) CD came out a few years back. As far as that high-energy late-sixties p-rock thingie goes this unearthed rarity sure beats the Gorillas by far and comes off as just powerful and as high energy as Crushed Butler's comrats in the Pink Fairies without the psychedelia maybe or a less blooze variation of Stackwaddy or even Killing Floor. The funny cartoon enclosed therein (done in that classic English style nobody seems to rah-rah anymore) explains the Butler story for y'all, but anyways for more of that hard-edged punkoid oomph you could use some Crushed Butler alongsides the usual Rocket From The Tombs/Mirrors/Magic Tramps/Umela Hmota/Rotomagus/Denudes... spins that only goes to PROVE to you that the past was really the future and the present is the real dungeon that's so bad that I would want my worst enemies marooned here! Hope you're having fun, guys!

Sun Ra-SPACESHIP LULLABY (Unheard Music Series)

Here are more of those Ra rarities done with vocal groups (more of which can be heard on the Evidence 2-CD set of single sides made for Saturn) that sorta put an even newer, different light on what the man called Ra was also up to while helping to define the avant jazz genre during the fifties. Actually I was expecting more of the same outer-space weirdness that starts off this disc, namely the title track by the futuristically named "Nu Sounds" (and with a moniker like that you'd think they were some 1980 gnu wave aggro designed to capture the hearts and minds of Anastasia Pantsioses everywhere) which zooms off into the same orbit you'd expect Ra to inhabit, but frankly most of this platter sounds like a lotta the fifties vocal schmoozing that my folks listened to back then and still like to osmose on those radio stations geared towards the fifties/sixties easy-listening sphere. That's why I don't like to listen to this one when they're around, y'see, I have this image to uphold!

Lou Rone-PLASTIC PISTOL (it ain't out yet!!!!)

Those of you who flipped for Rone's solo debut ALONE (Gulcher) should prepare to do a little MORE flipping over this newie that, like its predecessor, does its best to take the hard-edged seventies guitar sound and add some even harder-edged electronic murk to the thing to make a product that sounds like---I dunno, maybe that perfect act you wish would have played Max's Kansas City back in 1979 only you were sick that night or sumpin'. The whole thing just pimplebursts that seventies weirdo self-produced underground bounce, at one time coming off like Suicide (or was that Kraftwerk?) with a heavy metal guitar and then Bowie's LOW (or was that Harmonia?) with even more Eno-weirdness or perhaps some snake guitar tossed in. Either way it's a sound winner that reminds me of how I'd get all hoppity hooper excited over these electronic projex back in my teenybop days and maybe I wasn't a wuss for it after all! (Some may disagree, but this is MY blog!) Hopefully PLASTIC PISTOL won't stay in the hamper for too long. Hopefully more'n a few people out there will pay attention.

The Invisible Eyes-LAUGH IN THE DARK (Bomp)

Here's another one that I'm sure will have Kohler wonderin' whether/not I'm inna good mood, and although I ain't that tippy-top right now (see Lookies review above) I'm still gonna give these Invisible Eyes guys the thumbs up. Good post-sixties rock (complete with Doors-via-Mysterians organ on one track) that, while it doesn't make me wanna turn cartwheels, does make me glad that the Bomp name doesn't always have to stand for just about every new group with some sixties refs filtered through the next forty years of nada into a """new""" product that doesn't seem to sell as much as it did back during the heyday of underground noiserocking. Cover seems a bit too ginchy in the worst mid-eighties "revival" fashion (which is why I ain't gonna download it here!) but for folks who miss the days when underground rock didn't mean having to say you're caca this iz zit!


I've been following bassist Parker ever since I saw his name popping up on more "Freestyle Jazz" listings at the CBGB Lounge than I could count, and considering his membership in the great all-star free jazz cum no wave group (!) Freedomland not to mention his involvement in various other groups such as New Dimensions In Music you'd think that Hilly Kristal'd give him a discount or somethin' if only Hilly wasn't having his own troubles! Anyway, here's a new disque featuring a variety of Parker performances in various groupings both old (1979) and older (1974) showing he and the rest of the new seventies jazz underground osmosing the influences of everyone from the sixties trailbusters to the seventies out-theres (AACM) with relative ease, churning out a new avant garde that's just as palatable as the classic loft sides we heard on WILDFLOWERS as well as the more recent jazz purity that can be heard via a number of dives other'n CB's. And with such stalwarts as fellow Freedomlander Daniel Carter and Freestyle regs like Billy Bang, Jameel Moondoc and Charles Brakeen helping out you don't have to kick youself (like I do) for having missed all of those beyond-blare cybercasts (though I am thankful for what I've heard...).

On the good news front, Freestyle Jazz head honcho Dee Pop tells us that the series has reconvened at some place I've never heard of before called Jimmy's Restaurant. The bad news is that there ain't any cybercast hookups for you to watch nor even a sound system...waah!

I guess that's it for today's installment. Next time we have more, including a buncha Cee-Dees graciously sent to me by Norton and other promo gravy to top those mashed potats! Not to mention a few interesting oldies scattered about and even some surprises that'll have you doing a changeroo on your pre-conceived notions of exactly what I and the BLOG TO COMM empire stand for! So hold on tight, and remember, if you see a Lang, STEP ON IT!!!


Anonymous said...

Chris -

Did you ever hear anything from everyone about the current whereabouts of Wayne McGuire? I used to know him pretty well 10-15 years ago and I just assumed he had died.

Fred Hapgood
hapgood at

Anonymous said...

Shit--if you were in tippy top form I sure wouldnt wanna know. Keep being grouchy miserable and keep up the great sniping of other less erudite bloggers!
Sorry you were not in a better mood when you listened to the Lookies. I guess youll just have to get your butt out to harrisburg and see them play cause they are great! We tried their drummer, the rummager, on a few of the new Brigman tracks and he did great but since opted out of the project to our dismay! Look for the complete Left CD soon. maybe you can chomp on that!

Rick Noll

Anonymous said...

One more thing...after I heard about the existence of recorded Stigliano attempted musical noodlings I have got to hear them.if I dont get to hear them now next thing I know Karl Ikola will be releasing them!