Sunday, May 28, 2006


Actually, I'm feeling quite chipper despite the gulcheral power outage here at BLOG TO COMM central. Maybe it's because of the positive change in the weather, the Memorial Day Weekend (imagine...TWO days off in a row!) and the promise of some hotsy totsy music (and readage) coming my way that I really don't mind the usual downers that have been happening in my life (such as the fact that I blew a speaker on my computer stereo system, those MAN-THING comic books mentioned previously are comparative dudsters 'cept for the early-sixties reprints included therein, a DVD disque on a soon-to-be-mentioned box set featuring a classic mid-sixties television series of note fails to emit any laser-encoded signal and not only that but Jay Hinman has returned from his island paradise vacation totally intact), and although this posting doesn't promise to be as stellar as some of the previous marathon efforts to have graced these web-pages I think it might rank as a mid-energy level favorite as time goes on. We'll see...anyway, without further ado (to be cornball about it...not that there's anything inherently wrong with being cornball and in fact cornballness may be a beneficial asset when done correctly) here are just a few of the newies that have graced my eardrums since we last spake.


This one takes me back to the glorious days of the early-eighties and the great GARAGE BAND REISSUE UPHEAVAL that was just getting into full gear thanks to the efforts of a few tireless collectors, maniacal fans and dolts like myself who had been in on the game ever since the late-seventies punk explosion sorta pushed these "roots of punk" nobodies to the front of the archival line so to speak. Those were different times as somebody once said, when people like myself were desperate enough to collect aluminum cans outta trash bins just so's we could buy muddy-sounding Sonics and Wailers repros (then going for a whopping twelve smackers each---imagine how much that is in TODAY'S money!) that Bomp was selling in their anxiously-awaited catalogs, and amongst the vinyl booty that maladjusted fanzine-scourers and thrift-shop purveyors like me were more'n ga-ga over back in those rather dream-y times were the items that Dave Gibson was offering via his oft-scorned Moxie label. Yeah, most people sneered at both Gibson and Moxie because of their lack of finesse and "quality", but I really enjoyed getting his low-fidelity wares whether they be the Chocolate Watchband and Moving Sidewalks EPs or for that matter the BOULDERS compilations of rarer 'n PEBBLES niceties, and I figured that SO WHAT if the sound on these weren't as good as those virgin vinyl half-mastered price-gougers that the stereo nerks drooled buckets was the MUSIC that made its mark with me and frankly, the gnarlier the better!

The Mustangs' "That's For Sure" originally popped up on BOULDERS VOLUME 3 I believe...well, it was one of those early BOULDERS volumes anyway and if you ask me it fit in pretty snugly with the rest of the class mid-sixties teenage punkdom that also appeared on that still-obscure platter. Back then I never woulda dreamed that there'd be an entire album of Mustangs tuneage (complete with a detailed booklet) making the rounds...I probably would've believed it a few years later when the Crypt label was getting into overdrive and tossing a load of garage band wares our needed way but in, I thought that the six-oh well had run dry and after those precious few gems had been unearthed there'd be NADA left to satiate the hardened soul of the suburban punkoid living and breathing in just about anyone smart enough to own the entire International Artist catalog...and get bored silly by a good portion of the psychedelic doodlings extant that is!

I'll leave the detailed whys and wherefores to the enclosed booklet and the upcoming issue of UGLY THINGS, but for our practical purposes let's just say that if you're not one of those snobbish garage band-oriented critics (y'know, the kind who seemed to "diss" on a lotta the mid-eighties reissues for the staidest reasons imaginable and tend to get bored easily) this one is just about as "relevant" to your eighties musical makeup as all of those BACK FROM THE GRAVE classics, not to mention all of their ample imitators whose albums seem to come and go faster than Italian governments. Of course the classic single side "That's For Sure" pops up, and so do a great slew of garageoid covers of faves that put 1965 on the map! Even some surprising originals end up here (I even dug the slow-schmoozer "Cherie" which I know woulda gagged the more pure amongst us!) and hey, write me off as a "loser" if you wish but the cover of "Summertime" sung by guitarist John Tavaglione's sister JoAnn even knocked me for a loop! But then again (in my own defense), even a rockist such as myself can enjoy something as estab. as that 'un in a mid-six-oh context the same way I like the Wailers' deeply-intense take of the same number on their all-out screamer OUT OF OUR TREE.

Only quibble I may have with this one is the's too clean! Maybe I do enjoy the dirt-encrusted BOULDERS albs of yore more in their cheap-o Saturday Afternoon Barbershop Kids kinda way, y'know?


Other'n a listen to my cousin's Capitol sampler sometime in the late-sixties, this is my first exposure to Lothar and the Hand People. I dunno, but for all these years there was something about these Lothar guys that turned me off, like it always seemed like they had this gimmicky reputation about 'em which is probably why I avoided them all these years, but they again I probably could have said the same things about Moby Grape and the Silver Apples and both of those groups sure held up as time rolled on. And besides, chalk one up to Lothar and the Hand People's ultimate retro-hipness for having appeared at Max's Kansas City during the late sixties (with producer Nick Venet catching their gig) and like you know, little things like that sure mean a lot as far as the panthenon of rock greatness (and New York City vibrations) go in my book. And besides, how many other groups got the better moments from their two albums collected on a mid-seventies Trademark of Quality (or was it an Amazing Korneyfone?) bootleg???

Anyway, PRESENTING is a a collection of various tracks from the group's two platters which may or may not be their "best" (me not having the original to go by), though I gotta say that from these initial listens I can see just how this group could be considered underground forbearers on one hand and cheapshot cash ins on the other. The electronics (whether they be via the theremin or Moog synthesizer) are tasty (as they are on "Paul In Love") yet sound like exploito commercialism when used on such utter turds as "The Woody Woodpecker Song" which reeks of that bad late-sixties kitsch comedy that really dates more than a few then-daring disques to the point of stupidity. Some covers work ("Have Mercy") and others don't ("Bye Bye Love") while the originals vary from intensely interesting to tossaways. Heck, I even liked "Milkweed Love" even if had a bitta the "Lucky Man" prog drone to it! I know this one ain't gonna be a top spinner here at BTC central, but the better tunage at least assures a once-in-awhile introspective play during one of those late-sixties pop-schmooze moments of intimacy, and that counts for something especially since this is the disque that blew my left speaker out!

SSM CD (Alive, c/o Bomp)

This all-new Detroit area avant-rock group had me salivating a little, especially considering that city's long history of avant-rockism starting with the MC-5 on down through a whole lotta aggregates I'm sure Alive will be digging up any day now. However, don't expect the hard-edged Detroit metallic sound here since these guys are more or less heavier on the avant garde and rock of the present tense rather'n the wild and wooly outlaw past. It's still a pretty hot item, though the references to moderne-day alternative rockisms as opposed to sixties/seventies garage crunchers update this in a way I'm not totally satisfied with. In other words, this is not quite Destroy All Monsters but it might capture some of your attention, dig?

AND ELSEWHERE, the imminent demise of CBGB seems to be bringing out the best that club could offer, from the likes of such future stage-stompers as Joan Jett, Blue Cheer (!) and Dick Dale to the usual hangers on who wanna hang on as much as they can now that one of the longest-lived original music clubs ever is being forced to move to a new location. And since CBGB may not quite be the same thing in whatever incarnation it may osmose into (and since I do have some sorta youthful affinity for the avant gardeness it might have had once and may still have for all I know) I've been checking out some of the knowns and unknowns that continue to play their varying stages before it all goes under. Anyway, you can believe that I will be tuning into future cybercasts for such upcomings acts as Radio I-Ching with Dee Pop and Uncle Monk (Tommy Ramone's new band!), but anyway last night I decided to catch the action going on at the CBGB Lounge mainly because at eleven PM there was an aggregate appearing there who happened to be going under the name Milk, and since I had my doubts that they were either the Cleveland glam-group of the mid-seventies that spawned both Brian Sands and Dennis Carleton upon us nor Lou Rone and Von Lmo's old late-sixties Cream-inspired aggregate you could betcha that my curiosity was certainly piqued!

Back when I was a young upstart I used to get really frothing-at-the-mouth mad when newer bands would be copping the names of older underground faves as if these new acts didn't even know about the groups they were snatching their monikers from, like there were TWO Frictions to appear after Peter Laughner's ultimately more famous variant (one the Japanese group and the other a CBGB-oriented band circa 1982), plus an all-black grouping going under the nom de rock Destroy All Monsters was also playing the CBGB circuit around the same time the original was dying out back home in Detroit! Nowadays I can understand just how some rock circles would not even be aware of other ones even if they're part of pretty much the same "underground" (and perhaps these Frictions and Destroy All Monsters had their own special worthiness dontcha think???), so it's not like I'm angry or anything that there is a new Milk romping around out there especially since the original dairy product has been curdling for nigh on thirty-plus years! (And besides, who knows how many other Milks there may have been since the dawn of the esoteric rock group name sometime in 1966?)

Who were these Milksters anyway? I tuned in around ten-thirty only to get a fuzzy pic and the Alex Hamlin Band, some bunch who looked more or less like the reams of outsider singer/songwriters that permeated CBGB and Max's back in the seventies. Hamlin even had seventies-ish long hair and played an acoustic guitar, and somehow I got the feeling that if he had been around thirty years back he woulda ended up on that MAX'S KANSAS CITY VOL. 2 platter that had punques worldwide writing death threats to Tommy Dean! Might have been interesting...wish the sound was on!!!

Afterwards out came the new variation on the old Milk name, and no they weren't Clapton-esque or glitter punks one bit, but an ALL HORN BAND!!! Three saxophonists (including a guy who switched to one of the bass variety the kind that Roscoe Mitchell plays!) along with a trumpeter, complete with transcribed music pages complete on music stands just like the grade school band I was once in (!) and perhaps without a drummer or any other members...I couldn't see anyone else or hear what was going on but they looked as if they were kicking up a storm because they were swinging and swaying more'n Sammy Kaye could DREAM of! Besides that, they must've been reeling and rocking en toto because Milk had the pow'r to actually getta whole buncha lezbos up off their feet and front and center dancing away like mad to whatever carnage these guys were laying on 'em! Well, I guess it was a switch from going to the bowling alley like those shrub scouts usually do, but still I'm curious as to what that band was doing to get the audience all hot and bothered! Anyone out there care to fill me in???

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The new CB's will probably be a tourist trap and shadow of the old just like the new Marquee in London turned out to be - and no doubt it will be just as much of a failure.