Sunday, June 25, 2006


Hiya puds. Mommy always taught me to be truthful so I might as well start off this post by being just that. Anyway, I dunno if it's because of the summer heat or the ol' backbreaking job o' mine or even brain-fry from too many repeated listenings to VON LMO, but right now all I gotta say is that I'm chungered. Now I'm not exactly talkin' ennui or any other long-forgotten mid-seventies Lou Reed song for that matter, but frankly at this point in time I'd much rather be doing nothing 'cept maybe stare at my bedroom walls than do all of the fun stuff that I've liked to do ever since I lept out into this brave gnu world o' ours. Maybe it's the lack of high energy resensifiers out there (after all, I ain't come across a new archival dig in quite some time) or maybe it's that dream I had a few nights back where I'm a teenager again and I'm trying to choose which of two cute Asian gals I should hit on that's gotten me into this mode, but frankly I've even stopped watching classic tee-vee (still have a few volumes of LOST IN SPACE to make my way through, though frankly I could care less about that or ANY old-timey program right now) which really oughta say something! So yeah, I don't know what it is that's gotten me into one of my typically teenage modes (believe me, I used to feel this way all through my high stool days!), and at the expense of all the people out there who hate my guts (and rightly so!) lemme just say that I don't even know why I go about cranking out these educational, worthwhile, witty and downright Front Porch Amerigan posts for all two of you eager beavers out there. Hey, maybe yer voodoo curses are working, but then again all of my current sense of whatzit might just stem from this li'l note I discovered while snooping around for fresh reading material...anyway, this tiny missive came in a large envelope postmarked May 28, 1998 with the following return address: SUPERDOPE, PO Box 95649, Seattle WA 98145-2649. The note enclosed (attached via post-it to a copy of somethingorother entitled "forty-five 45s that moved Heaven and Earth") reads as follows:

Hey Chris-

Here's the latest SUPERDOPE, first in years. Hope you enjoy, & keep crankin' out your much-needed mag.


I really don't know what to think...I mean, here I am wishing ill not only upon Jay himself but his wife and son, and I unexpectedly and without warning come across the above about feeling creepy, like the evil eye is upon me or something equally occult which I'm sure wouldn't please Jay one bit because he don't believe in that stuff. Frankly I dunno what exactly it was that made Jay do his 180-degree (remember, issue #22 [the last issue eyeballed by Jay] had been out for almost a year by the time this "gift" had arrived), but I still think it was none other than him trying to climb higher and higher into the ranks of amerindie hipsterisms by lashing out at a convienent kick-him-while-he's-down target, mainly me! Who knows how long it'll be before I ooze my way outta this current funk, but all I gotta say is that the above little missive only makes me wanna wish ill upon Jay (and his wife and son) even more!

OK, enough light-heartedness. Now for the meat and potatoes.


I don't remember whether or not if I cozied up to these eighties Branca guitar symphonies as much as a lotta you indie-buying record maniacs of the day had. True, the various guitar ensembles of Branca's throughout the decade were legitimite extensions of all the fun goings on in the very same late-seventies no wave scene that Branca came out of via his groups Theoretical Girls, Daily Life and the Static, and considering how the eighties mainstream and underground wanted as little to do with the seventies underground of any stripe as possible it was stuff like this (and Rhys Chatham's works amongst other things) that kept that torch alive so to speak especially for hungry homebodies like me. But frankly, it wasn't quite the same as it was back when the noise was first a-blarin'. To use the old canard the music was changing and so was I, or maybe I wasn't changing as fast enough because around 1982 with the seemingly capitulation of the seventies underground fully in place I sure became hungry for a lotta the energy and power that the music had even a good two years earlier. So maybe I did pay more attention to Branca than I originally admitted, because frankly with the hardcore punk scene starting to fizzle out and the old standbys either breaking up or mellowing out into visions of hippie purity I needed that atonal noise more and more in order to keep from turning into a regular Percy Dovetonsils, dontcha think?

Anyway, I gotta say that I dig this reissue of Branca's first symphony, recorded back in '81 when in fact the last shards of the original no wave era (talking Ut and VON LMO) were still alive and kicking. Anyway Branca assembled a real no wave supergroup to carry out this project including a whole buncha Sonic Youth guys back when they were coming pretty close to the Theoretical Girls taproot (including original drummer Richard Edson, later to make a fool of himself acting in a Spike Lee film!) plus members of the downtown's chic-est avant garde including former Girls Wharton Tiers and Daily Life Barbara Ess filled out the ranks so you could call (with a little reason-juggling) SYMPHONY NO. 1 a Theoretical Girls supersession so to speak! True it has that artzy seriousness to it straight outta Phil Glass (who came from the same classical via Velvets direction on his early recs anyway!) but it's still crazy noise in itself and what's more the fourth movement's opening drum ratta-tat is lifted straight from the Girls' "You Got Me" which makes it even more Max's if you know wadda mean. Pretty nice slab here which makes me Branca's first solo disque on the 99 label (y'know, the one with the jackhammer!) available on Cee-Dee yet?

Anthrax-FISTFUL OF METAL CD (Megaforce)

One of the myriad assortment of things that's always griped me has been that very little of the heavy metal bands that came outta the late-seventies New York Scene never did put any records out, or if they did these records were so under-the-counter obscure that there would be no way of me knowing about 'em. (I mean, it wasn't like the NEW YORK ROCKER was covering every band that was frequenting the Manhattan club scene!) True the likes of VON LMO released the all-time classic metalmongering album FUTURE LANGUAGE during the closing days of '81, but even that was an obscurity that took me a good four years to seek out! And I gotta be the first to say that heavy metal on "punk" terrain (or at least those spheres that would continually overlap) was perhaps the best form of rockism that you could come across, but where are all those recordings from the likes of Junior Birdmen, Cold Steel, Sorcerers (who used to end their gigs with a rabid reduction of "Brainstorm"!) and a whole buncha groups whose names are perhaps forever lost to time? I certainly wouldn't mind hearing each and every one of them even if yearning for such recordings would have had me drummed outta the hipster alternative poseur association faster than you can say "D.I.Y.", but I guess that's the kinda guy I am!

Dunno if Anthrax actually falls into the En Why See metal movement...true their singer Neil Turbin spent his early yammering days as the throat for the Newrace who were one of the aforementioned metallic maniacs duking it out on punk terrain and I know that they did frequent CBGB whilst on the ascent, but their brand of metal is more or less staid eighties yammer albeit with a certain spark of energy that keeps me from tossing this in the "sell" pile. Funny, I kinda remembered these guys as sounding more like early Metallica and less like British new wave of metal patented cliche # whatever (be that cliche good or bad!). Maybe I was thinking of Megadeth or Voi Vod, but hey I still wanna hear Sorcerers with a maddening passion!!!

OK, gonna break out the Paxol right now, so see you in a few days. Maybe by then something really interesting will fly my way'n I can write about something more constructive than finding old notes that dredge up a lotta uncomfortable feelings! Until then...hide the razor blades!


clarbint said...

maybe youre feeling drab because youre not focussed. you should be writing a well researched book about these forgotten pearls of mutated garbage. or maybe you just need to mutate yourself.

Michael said...

You'd probably like Voi Vod. As far as other 80s "metal" which definitely wasn't the typical crap, incorporated more "avant" influences, and which you might be able to relate to, try Celtic Frost or Amebix. (Haven't listened to either in years, but I remember both as being much more "out there" than the norm, and probably more conducive to your tastes.) Megadeth was cheesy as cheesy can be

Christopher said...

Clarbint---I am a mutant! Lemme tell you, I feel the same way I did late August 1978 when I got into a weird funk for some unknown reason, like maybe the thought of going back to school or being such a confused chap...I dunno. I remember one humid Sunday where I just felt totally discombobulated, and weirdly enough the only thing that got me back in order was the original Fritz Lang Dr. Mabuse movie that was airing on tee-vee that night!

As for Voi Vod, I naturally am familiar w/'em and even reviewed RRRROOOAAAARRRRR (hope I got that right!) on an earlier post. I didn't like the album with their version of "Astronomy Domine", though the live album was OK...I might review that one in the near future. Celtic Frost were OK though not good enough for me to keep their album, and I always associated Amebix with the British Crass bands!

Michael Snider said...

Amebix did have some sort of connection with Crass' circle, but if my 20 year old memories serve me right were incorporating avant and "out there" influences, particularly Hawkwind, into their "metal" sound. I'd think if you could appreciate Hawkwind or Von Lmo you could probably appreciate them. Then again, it's been two decades since I've heard them, and their stuff wasn't easy to come by outside of underground metal circles even in the 80s.