HAPPY MOTHERS DAY!
...and here's hoping that all you "mothers" out there are making a pretty good go of it! (Please pardon the bad seventies ref., but I just got done watching THE BRADY BUNCH and uncouth memories surely can be dredged up even by this comparatively innocent show!) Anyhoo, being upfront 'n all lemme just say that I'm not exactly inna mood to peck out a long post this afternoon (or perhaps this season, as the ol' laziness seems to envelop me even more during this warmer time o' year than it does during the frigid months) but in order to facilitate my own personal SURVIVAL here are a few manners of business that I thought I should toss out atcha on this rather pleasant (and hopefully STORMY) Mom's Day Afternoon before I get even MORE jaded'n I am now!
T.S.U.-LIVE @ CLUB 218 CD-R (available through the group's Myspace site, or webpage, or whatever these freaky "personal" internet adverts are s'posed to be called!)
The flyer repro'd on the left is kinda misleading since this show was laid down at some Philadelphia Pee-YAY! hangout and not the legendary soon-to-be-caveroned beer garden, but 1) since these are CBGB's "final days" so to speak and 2) since I discovered this group via the oft-mentioned CBGB website I thought that slapping the pic at the left made a whole heck of a lot more sense'n repro-ing the rather grainy snap that adorns this typically self-made under-the-counter product of which I'm positive only few are going to write about, and even fewer are going to bother searching out anyway so why do blogsters like myself bother other than to satisfy some sort of obsession that we have with a music scene that may be dead, but ya gotta wonder if it ever really lived inna first place!
Anyway, T.S.U. thankfully aren't your average bunch of young upstarting wanna-turn-the-world-upside-down sorta geeks who slam and cram just about every kinda newfangled emote and toothless snarl imaginable your way, but an instrumental trio that owes much more to that sad state of rose-colored hindsight that we now call "classic rock." (As opposed to that brown-load lookback known to one and all as "alternative music" but that's another gripe!) Now, don't let the "classic rock" terminology scare you away from this band, for T.S.U. are pretty gosh-darn-it entertaining even if they do have the proper "chops" that would make them the darlings of the classic FM brigades, if they were only comatose enough to enjoy original music, that is. For there is still enough twist and terse to their whole reason for being that would hold down a CBGB audience not only "now" (that is, if I only knew what kind of audience that club draws in these days!) but even a good three decades back when CBGB was perhaps even more eclectic in their booking policies than they may presently seem. Tasteful-yet-interesting guitar lines lead this not-really-a-"power trio" grouping and if you ask me the results remind me of either a toned-down variant of Mark Hanley's old Room 101 band or maybe even a totally tamed take on the original pre-Rich Stim MX-80 Sound. Actually quite tasty stuff for those of you sick of the standard alternative press/fanzine runna the mill sounds that still seem to get a lot of shrift even this far down the line when everybody should know better, but they don't!
The Eastern Seaboard-OUTBOUND CD-R; NON-FICTION CD (available through the group's website)
I dunno...I once tuned them in when they were playing the old Freestyle and Avant Garde Musics series of concerts that took place at the CBGB Lounge only to lose interest within a few minutes (and a few stoppages), plus any jazz group that claims to hold a strange allegiance to late-seventies concepts of "punk rock" (as opposed to punk rock I guess, or at least "no wave") to the point of dedicating one of their albums to none other'n Joe Strummer and latching on to the patented leftist policies that have morally/financially/spiritually bankrupted an entire century certainly doesn't come off as fodder worthy of this blog, but in this case I will make an exception. Maybe its because the Eastern Seaboard (whose motto reads : "Free jazz + Post-punk + Post-rock = The Future"...and yeah, I don't know what that means either but it sure sounds swell!) are a fine avant garde jazz unit that reminds me of everything from the old Ayler trio to the late-seventies En Why See loft jazz scene, especially the fabled Air for some not-so-strange reason.
But anyway, the Easter Seaboard have two CDs and one vinyl LP (which I passed on for obvious reasons, most notably a lack of a turntable!) out now and all are available via their website linked up above, and yeah, I get the feeling that most of you Blog to Comm perusers ain't exactly freedom jazz fanatics but if you decided to ever give the form a try even such obscurities as these may be the best place to start. OUTBOUND is a CD-R of a live gig in Chicago while NONFICTION's a studio outing...and both have that heavy-growl atonal-yet-subdued tension to 'em that will remind you of the great black music purveyors of the mid-to-late portion of one of the greatest decades for musical miscreants extant. (The fact that the entire band is white makes not a hill of a beans of difference...it's the gnarl that I'm looking for, y'see?) And yeah, I'm sure your typical Gary Giddens/DOWNBEAT-styled jazz critic could come up with a dozen good-or-not reasons as to why this reeks next to some other product out there, but I find this just as exciting as those wild chances I took on various New Music Distribution Services wild card plunks during the maybe not-so-bad days of the eighties! Whatever the situation may be, Eastern Seaboard deserve the not only a huge thumbs up from the jazz-punk continuum (or at least what's left of it), but maybe a few dollars tossed their way as well. And you know where to click, right?
OTHER RECORDINGS OF...UH, NOTE???: My earlier review of The Music Revelation Ensemble about a month back had me searching out even more James Blood Ulmer recordings, and while a Cee-Dee release of Ulmer's "watershed" album from 1980 entitled AREN'T YOU GLAD TO BE LIVING IN AMERICA INSTEAD OF ONE OF THOSE COUNTRIES WHERE THEY SHOOT PEOPLE WHO WEAR EYEGLASSES? still evades me I did manage to snarf up a self-titled Music Revelation Ensemble CD on the Japanese DIW label as well as a disque by Odyssey (Ulmer's gtr/violin/drms trio) called BACK IN TIME, neither of them coming up to the lofty dissonance of NO WAVE which did bum me out to an extent even though things such as this are to be expected. The Ensemble album replaces bassist Amin Ali with Jamaaladeen Tacuma yet a lot more seems to have been lost in the trade off, with a generally lackluster performance and tiresome approach to the new electric jazz-rock very much in evidence. And not only that, but the reworking of themes that also appear on NO WAVE only in a more tiresome groove really doesn't bode well for either offering! (It's hard to believe that drummer Ronald Shannon Jackson was also part and parcel to the nerve-busting Last Exit as well as his Decoding Society at the very same time he appeared on this 'un. Oh well, I guess this only proves that we can't ALL keep up the drive 100%!) Odyssey sound like even more processed jazz cheese with little if any post-Ornette soundsquall that a bozo such as I would've at least appreciated, but I guess I shouldn't yap that much considering all of the fine moments these musicians have given us on past and future endeavors. And judging from some of the blog gruel out there, it seems that some people have bigger slumps than others so maybe I should just SHUT UP for once in my loudmouthed life!
OK, I'm done shutting up so let me also tell you about the Jook CD on RPM which is certainly a gear-shift from the above jazz disques but something that I'm positive most of you faithful readers (hah!) would want to know at least EXISTS! And after listening to this bright and energetic proto-punk coming to you straight from the land of clogged arteries it's easy to see just why blokes the caliber of Greg Shaw and Alan Betrock went ga-ga over this British teenage-oriented faux-skinhead band, especially in the wake of what was making it big in England at the time. Frankly, I found that listening to this 'un in its entiretly and in one sitting was a bit nerve-grating (which would probably seem strange to some of the more pop-oriented amongst you who wonder how I can play CD after CD of blaring avant garde jazz nightly without losing a beat of total earbusting eruption!) but really, how could anybody HATE this great early slab of rock & roll slop which owes plenty to not only spiritual forebearers John's Children (Chris Townson being a latterday member) but AM pop kings the Sweet and even a touch of the Move! No wonder these guys were the bubbling under triple threat of the fanzine scene of the day even though it seems as if the majority of the British teenagers this music was aimed at were more interested in leftover hippie jams and progressive art twaddle! (Yeah, they shoulda been like us manly Amerigan kiddies listening to Melanie sing double-entendre tootage and Joni Mitchell asking us to analyze her inner crisis!)
AND ON A TOUCHING FINAL NOTE: last night while under the influence of not only a meal of chicken and dumpling soup, even more chicken grilled with bacon and gorgonzola, french fries and a piece of Snickers Pie that really wasn't as good as one would be led to believe (not forgetting the five or so slices of bread I ate trying to stave off starvation waiting for the meal!) but a few frosty mugs of heavily-caffeinated carbonated beverage, I spent a good portion of the evening and dare-I-say witching hour combing through boxes of old paperbacks and fanzines looking for long-unread material to occupy my spinning brain. (And no wonder, considering how all of that food and drink gave me more energy than an upper and a bigger stomach lump than a twenty-pound gallstone!) Anyway, amidst a bevy of goodies (such as the long-lost issue of FORCED EXPOSURE with their MX-80 Sound interview and a hypesheet for the Disposable God Squad, one of my favorite obscure-o late-eighties/early-nineties New York City underground bands next to Binky Phillips), I discovered a long-forgotten 'zine that was sent to me in an envelope embossed with a San Francisco postmark. Along with the digest-sized enclosed "read" was a short letter, an epistle soooo nice that I thought I should share it with you readers for the contents of this fan note do need to be aired out in the public view in order to, er, clarify a few things that have happened since these days when such things occasionally arrived at the offices (along with some hatespewed crankage, but we'll forget about that for now!). Anyway, for those of you with inquiring minds, the text of the letter is as follows:
I don't recall having ever sent you SUPERDOPE directly-usually Grady takes care of that for me. Here's the latest issue in case you're interested & thanks for the great comments a couple of BTC's back re: our place in the canon of fanzines. What I'm interested in is the latest BLACK TO COMM; can't seem to find a retailer around here who has it. Hope $6.50 is enough-send to SUPERDOPE, 520 Frederick St., Box 33, San Francisco, CA 94117.
Saw the VON LMO experience last Sunday w/Monoshock as his backing (and warm-up) band-the show included a bit where LMO placed a screaming power drill on his guitar strings and later in his ear. Hooray!
Considering that this time of year marks the second anniversary of something I would prefer to forget all about (but can't and better yet shouldn't), I thought I'd better post this letter because its author seems to have removed from his own beanie a few things himself. (He claims that there never was any correspondence between he and me, or at least he did before begrudgingly and in a typically sneering fashion admitting maybe there was!) The VON LMO comment also brings up a lot for speculation since Mr. Hinman also criticized me for praising a man he considers a boring no-talent (along with the Plastic People of the Universe, though really, who can judge the tastes of a man who consistently raves on about some of the worst garbage to get passed under that vague category that goes under the heading "alternative music"!). And yeah, I know that the above speculation of VON LMO might not exactly be a positive appraisal of the man and perhaps Hinman was indeed "putting him down" (it could be, even though Jayzey might have enjoyed LMO's thriller driller tactics from the tone of his note---I guess it's one of those mysteries that we'll never know the truth about!). I dunno, but I knew that it would be best to let you dear readers judge just who is the REAL "hypocrite" (as I said, a term usually used by people who are living personification of the word, but we'll forget that for now!), a guy like me who is a raving maniac about the music/gulcher/civilization he loves and isn't afraid to let the world know about it, or some schmuck who loves to brandish derougatory and hate-spewed pseudo-facts about people who he was once "pals" with (please note the quotation marks), yet totally forgot about and decided to trample upon on his way up the ladder to amerindie success. Anyway, have fun in Hawaii, and don't forget to watch out if they're sacrificing necktied computer office nerds to the great volcano god down there!!!
And the guy wondered why it was so hard getting hold of a copy of BLACK TO COMM at his fave local record dive! With all of the distortions and outright lies so many "friends" and observers (including yourself) have propagated, who'd wanna sell my rag anyway? Kinda goes to show you just how much things could change in the course of a few years, but then again I guess some people will do anything to ensure their lofty perch amidst the top of the blogs, right wadface?