Sunday, July 30, 2006


Summer lethargy still gettin' t'me, and frankly at this pt. in time I'd rather settle back'n enjoy the pleasurable arts'n write about 'em. But even with my terminal sinus headache ragin' on and my yearnings for a very own backyard hammock to laze about in I feel it my rock fandom duty to at least peck something out even if it is a pithy high six list worthy of some sub-species sputum as Dave Lang ('n yeah, I know that Dave has an excuse given his day job at a Boy's Camp and all the overtime he puts into it with all those "rap sessions" he holds for confused twelve-year-olds in the sauna...I've heard of Guidance Counselors, but this is ridiculous!)

1) THE DAY OF THE LOCUST (directed by John Schlesinger, 1974)

Click on the highlighted title for my original review of this long-forgotten (but big-hyped back when it was released a good thirty-two years back) film which does take issue with a few points here and there, but gosh-all-darn if THE DAY OF THE LOCUST just didn't grow on me becoming perhaps thee feel-bad movie of the season. It not only looks 1939 enough to have a stickler like me believing in its period piece setting, but this tale of Hollywood decadence and the souls that pops out its sphincter seems real enough that once-blacklisted screenwriter Waldo Salt (just to give credo for you liberals out there!) shoulda snuck a ten-year-old Kenneth Anger into the flick skulking around taking notes! And after a few viewings, all of the "vagueness" seems to slowly whither away making for a way better'n average moom pitcher experience that seemed to be part and parcel of seventies cinema at least if you can believe all of the fanzine editors of the day. And since I read NOTHING ELSE but seventies fanzines who else am I going to trust? Racist language may offend some, but for me it adds a grittiness to the proceedings. I mean, you don't have to LOVE these H-wood malcontents...they are kinda cringe-y!

2) KRAFTWERK CD (Crown Italy)

Yet another once-in-awhile pull from the murky depths. I dunno which period of Kraftwerk you tend to bop to, but I think their early musique concrete efforts're pretty invigorating myself! (By the way, I remember way back when I was fifteen explaining what musique concrete was to my folks, and my father remarked that a lotta the musicians who performed it looked as if they had concrete DUMPED on 'em! Somehow that one stuck in my beanie!!!) Oddly enough, this is probably Kraftwerk's most rock & rolling release where they get into these wah-guitar groove rifts that seem born of late-sixties Amerigan garage rock as much as they do classical European concerns, and yeah I know it woulda been cool enough if Karlheinz Stockhausen had thrown a bitta "Kick Out The Jams" into the mix or Pierre Boulez some Velvet Underground drone riff, but we got Kraftwerk doing the same thing and why should anyone want less?

3) Charles Gayle-TIME ZONES CD (Tompkins Square)

Still nursing my latest Volcanic Tongue order, and boy is my nipple sore! Apologies to Emo Phillips aside, here's a ga-ga classic from that latest Scottish-born package that I have been playing a lot as of late. Anyway, do you remember when multi-instrumentalist Charles Gayle was considered the last in a long line of true avant garde jazz believers? Remember how all of those hip-to-be-retrogarde-avantists were speaking of his once-frequent performing regimen and various Cee-Dees like they were lost masterpieces from the bowels of the seventies New York Loft Scene in hushed, reverential tones? Then Gayle decided to put out that one disque where he ranted and raved against homosexuality and abortion while banging out a free piano form that seemed as feral (once again using that tres common adjective) as his pronouncements were righteous, and all those cool bopsters dropped him like a hot potato! It was kinda fun to watch the view-switchings and back-turning, just like it was fun back in the mid-seventies watching all the feminists and media pundits praising the likes of jockey Mary Bacon for breaking into a male-dominated sport, until they found out about her connections to the Ku Klux Klan, that is!

Left-leaning jazzbos won't hafta worry about their tender political beliefs being bruised on this new all-piano platter from Gayle, since he keeps his trap shut here and sticks to the engrossing piano playing. And yeah, the man can sittin' around and putzying across the keyboard or dabbling in abstracts hoping for an artistic payoff here...Gayle switches from jellyroll to bop and frames the whole thing in a tasty avant piecrust that keeps satisfying this casual listener play after play. For some odd reason its stride and free blast reminds ms of those early Eyetalian Futurist romps that have turned up on various Cee-Dees o'er the years...pretty fulfilling, and I usually shy away from solo piano excursions the same way Lindsay Hutton shies away from my pointed and pertinent questions as to why he hates dagos!

3) DAGGER #38, SPRING/SUMMER 2006 (not a fanzine, but just a 'zine available from Tim Hinely)

Yeah, even """"I"""" woulda thought the printed page (as a format to express certain rockist opinions) to have been long dead 'n gone but Tim Hinely doesn't, which is why he keeps putting out issue after issue of his long-running 'zine (like I said, NOT a fanzine!) which I guess sells because he's able to get loads of ad space and crank 'em out year after year whilst turning a profit, or at least I would assume so. And to be frank about it, I'm not that much "into" a lotta the new underground rockahoola that Hinely cheerleads (consider me a pre-/proto-/paleo-rockist, and the first one to write me with the "correct" answer as to what that means wins a special no-prize!), but it's sure fine reading about what there "is" out there, and for an uppa-date rundown you can't do better'n DAGGER. Highlight (for me): Dan Treacy's desert island pix.

4) 101 Strings-ASTRO-SOUNDS FROM THE YEAR 2000/Yma Sumac-MIRACLES CD (boot)

Remember the big "Incredibly Strange Music" hubbub of the early-nineties? It sure died down (getting tossed into the same trashcan that houses all those other hip-kitsch underground revival trends o'er the years), but at least we got some kinda interesting reissues tossed at us in the process. You may wanna get the legit reissue of the 101 Strings album for real late-sixties psychedelic trash (which, despite the airs of an "establishment" imprimatur still woulda shocked your average hi-fi nut of the day), but if you can't dig that one up at least this still has a few well-placed crackles and washed-outness to remind you of good ol' vinola.

As for MIRACLES, this attempt by phonus-balonus Incan princess Sumac to cash in on the "new rock" has become the stuff o' legends. And with pundits raving on about its chic smarm whilst comparing it to everything from the Stooges to Captain Beefheart even a jaded fanabla such as I's interest was piqued...naturally when I first heard the thing I was about as impressed with it as Jay Hinman would be with a gift subscription to BLACK TO COMM but the blasted thing does tend to grow on ya. Sumac is in typical form groaning and wailing to late-sixties proto-punk (!) stylings true, but I gotta give credit to the likes of musical director Lex Baxter for his ability to channel such facets of a totally alien-to-him music through his own orchestrated mind. If anything, the music here reminds me of Roxy Music circa. COUNTRY LIFE the way the unique garage-band imagery was filtered through classical, progressive and "establishment" modes to make a product that was pretty much unique amongst mid-seventies tops in pops. MIRACLES is like that, only with Baxter's concepts of rock music being textured through the cocktail-jazzy "Stereo 99"-esque music Baxter made his moolah with. Yeah, there are striking similarities between the two, only I'm glad that Yma didn't pose in her undies the same way Michael Karoli's sis and galpal did on the cover of COUNTRY LIFE...after all, Yma was getting up there in age and was probably sagged out at that point in time!


True this version is outta print, but heave awe chaps for Ze records in France have reissued the thing (with a deluxe booklet too!) and Forced Exposure has 'em! Frankly I never really cozied up to this one especially after the thundrous roar of NO NEW YORK, but nowadays it sounds just about as no wave good as a lotta the competition in the ranks. With a nice frantic pace to it, BUY is at least thin and wiry enough with a sound that reminds me of those Eno-produced Television demos (if you can believe that!) and all the underlying pow'r that went with that one! Holds up a lot better'n I woulda admitted even ten years back, and what's more but the bonus live rendition of Elvis' "Jailhouse Rock" works me up the same way that Von Lmo's cover of Cream's "Sunshine of Your Love" did!

6) Les Rallizes Denudes-TWIN SILVER 2-CD Set (available through Volcanic Tongue)

Another one from the last VT order, a newly-released collection (packaged in a DVD case) of rare 1970 Les Rallizes Denudes tracks that are actually those 1970 solo-era Mizutani tracks we've heard for ages (with some additional newbies thrown in for good measure) but I guess they'll sell more if they're labeled as Denudes recordings and who's complainin'? Unlike the Denudes proper, these tracks are quiet, laid back, rather folky tunes that are pleasant enough but need a li'l urrrgh to shock you back into high energy bliss. Thankfully that push does come with a strikingly different version of perennial set-closer "The Last One" which sounds nothing at all like the infamous repeato-riff eextended noise-thumper that would be omnipresent on a variety of Denudes platters but a nice, 22+-minute twin-guitar/conga drum rave that begins quietly and dolorously enough before building into a massive rage that recalls both "Heroin" and "It Was a Pleasure Then" with its tidal-wave soundschpiel smashing you into the nearby rock formation. After I get the other Denudes-related material fully digested expect more writings on this brilliant and deservedly lionized Japanese band hopefully sooner than later.

Before we close, let me turn over the podium to erstwhile BLACK TO COMM contributor Brad Kohler, who would like to clue you in on a coupla Cee-Dees I sent him for reviewing purposes (and sheesh, he didn't even say thanks!)


The Witch Hunters disc is cut from a better template than most sixties garage rock apings, displaying most of the pop I remember from seeing them live in Youngstown in the mid-80s when these studio tracks were cut. As for the Creatures... (and what's with that title? What happened to titles like THE SO-AND-SO'S...AGAIN! You'd think from the title you were gonna take a murky swim in Lake Prog!) the problem is that most of these bands are capable enough craftsmen but lack a wild, visionary whatsis. Perhaps, as craftsmen, they should take up woodworking.

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