Sunday, July 23, 2006


Insert your own witty title above...I'm too fershlugginered to think up some cutesy-wootsey come-on myself. Anyway, when that homo wrote that song about how the livin' is easy during the summertime (y'know, the one the Wailers did on the tres-boffo OUT OF OUR TREE that the folks at Norton thought was so icky they left it off their LIVEWIRE comp) he wasn't kiddin'...I've be soooo lazy these past few weeks that you could hardly drag me anywhere near the computer in order for me to peck out a post tellin' alla ya hot and anxious pervoids as to why you should or shouldn't get hold of Cee-Dee "X", and with the weather bein' like it is all I really wanna do is just stretch out and sleep all day and night and just lollygag around. None of this intellectual tomfoolery for me!

However, I believe it should be my civic duty to at least post a li'l as to what I have been earlobeing these past few weeks, not because I feel that goshitall high and mighy about my DUTY on this planet to prevail against the forces of Godless Langisms, but I have been listening to a lotta hot 'n tasty items as of late and I just don't wanna get backlogged. And besides, maybe writin' a wee bit 'bout alla these new wares to have graced my laser launching pad will get my mind off a whole passel o' bad newz out there including the depressing Mideast situation and all of the angst 'n pain that goes along with that, especially with all of the neocon (and White House) cheerleading that seems to be egging that situation on and on to the point of extreme nausea, amongst other things. (In case you wanna know why I have these queasy feelings of gloom 'n doom, just read this recent column courtesy Paul Craig Roberts, one of the few political scribes out there I pay attention to these days and perhaps you too will feel like hiding under the bed for the next ten years like I do!) Well if anything, high energy music will certainly take the pangs of dispensationalist-approved mideast struggles away like magic so read on, and don't forget to keep listening away in your own personalized bunker!

THE SPOILS OF WAR CD (Shadoks, available through Forced Exposure)

There was a beautiful writeup of this recently-unearthed psychedelic monster via the Volcanic Tongue website, who just happen to be selling a two-LP version of this forgotten late-sixties whathehellwasthat? offering which seems to be something Shadocks seems to be doing pretty frequently. I really enjoy reading the Volcanic Tongue website's descriptions of records and Cee-Dees even if I wouldn't buy said offering in a million years (I mean, some of their wares seem way too outre even for a fringe element like me)...whoever writes these things (probably David Keenan) has such a whalloping way with words that he could make a bowel movement sound exciting to someone other than...well, I don't wanna bring him up again, and I kinda wish that Keenan would also put out his own fanzine or blog or something along those lines just so's we could read more of his wild opines on a wide array of noisemaking monstrosities out there that would clearly benefit from his way with words. Anyway, Keenan's assessment of the Spoils of War had me drooling worse than my dog Sam during his latter days of canine breakdown (with said drool left all over the furniture drying in the air kinda looking like Christmas tinsel...needless to say he eventually got the ax after about about a year or so of body function loss!), and although I know I should just direct you to the said writeup in question and link up the "review" for alla yez to read, but since I'm trying to pad this post out for all it's worth I'll just reprint the thingie in its entirety below...considering the boo-coo bucks I've just dumped on an order I'm sure Keenan won't mind:

For fans of United States Of America, Le Stelle Di Mario Schifano, EPI-era Velvet Underground, Mothers Of Invention and Fugs, The Spoils Of War cross great, primitive folk/punk/psych tracks with art-action moves, primitive/baroque songs ala Left Banke/Zombies and wild electronic modulation. One LP of studio recordings from 1969 and one LP of live material from 1967/68, this is an insane set: wired LSD-inspired happenings soundtracked by nada electronics, weird gutter/prank routines and freak-out psych pop. Comes with lots of boggling period pics in a ludicrously heavy glossy gatefold sleeve and two slabs of 180g vinyl. Hard to believe that material this far outside of the box - and of this quality - still remains to be uncovered at this stage in the game. Highest recommendation.

Now c'mon, how could any true BLOG TO COMM reader (all TWO of you) resist such a writeup as that? 'n yeah, although I'm not too hot on the likes of United States of America despite the recent revival in interest I know that more'n a few of you fans out there are and so be it (y'see, I can be "tolerant" too). 'n yeah again, if you can imagine a mad meshing of the above influences and even a little more (like perhaps what Faust mighta done with the electronic knowledge of the day had they been conceived five years earlier...wait, I think THAT one was used by Forced Exposure in their online catalog!) then you'll get an idea of what The Spoils of War are really like.

At first I was bummed out by this Cee-Dee. I thought it contained too much of that Zappa-esque "look at how outrageously atonal I can get shocking all you squares...but guess what, it's ART!!!!!!!" shuck 'n jive that impressed me when I was sixteen, but that was four centuries ago and in that time I think everybody got to see Zappa as the phony intellectual he sure turned out to be! A few more listens had me filtering my parameters through a Volcanic Tongue-styled late-sixties variation on the Great Upheaval in Sound that Wayne McGuire prophesized and utter lightweights the likes of Jonathan Cott (from his pulpit in the old ROLLING STONE) railed against as being against the true spirit of late-sixties somethingorother, making the disque a lot more digestable in the process. The electronic sound works well amidst the horn-laden pop and even the theatre-inspired waltz-tempo Brecht/Weillisms of "In Again Out Again" didn't get in the way of the baroque-pop and smart freakdom that maybe could transcend the cheap late-sixties trappings. Kitch camp goes avant's happened before and will happen again, but it never sounded as tasty as this! It actually compliments Shadocks' Time CD which I reviewed earlier but can't find offhand and if you think I'm gonna search through two years of blogging just so's I can link up the review you've got another think comin'!

LADIE'S W.C. (Shadocks, also available through Forced Exposure)

With a name like that you'd'a thunk that Jack Paar woulda bought up a whole cartonload of albums! I doubt it...after all, these guys with the great late-sixties "questionable" name were from Venezuela (all 'cept bassist Stephen Scott who was there under false pretext) and for a group comin' outta nowhere with a pretty good mix of late-six-oh blues rock and classical pop that sounds much better'n a lotta the "professional" waxings out there all I gotta say is...wha???? At first I didn't exactly go for this romper for pretty much the same reasons I didn't quite cozy up to the Spoils of War, but I find the "translation" from late-sixties British bluesmongering (TYA etc.) and Los Angeles folk rockism to South American pop pretty good...the guys at the UN couldn't have done it better!

Rhys Chatham-DIE DONNERGOTTER; AN ANGEL MOVES TOO FAST TO SEE CDs (Radium, also available through Volcanic Tongue which is where I got mine!)

Yeah I know, the guy is kinda pompous. Bill Shute even went so far as to call him an asshole after hearing this erstwhile no wave composer on National Public Radio's "Morning Edition" talking his head off about his artistic vision and how the more pretentious his music could be the better for all of us and all of that late-eighties self-indulgent crap which always seemed to put the "artist" ahead of the plain and average slob out there in nowheresville. Not that I don't have a normal disliking to the slob of today, but that doesn't mean I necessarily like the Marx-bred, grant-gobbling artiste whose sole means of support has to be taken from the hard work 'n sweat of the aforementioned slob, and I don't care if the artiste in question is producing a film, leading the local symphony orchestra or cramming yams up the hershey highway...I gotta agree with Steve Ditko when he says that ANY subsidy or public "work" is wrong and is on the same moral level as someone robbing another at gunpoint even if the one being robbed is richer (and thus deserves it???). And, to add disgust to even more disgust, I recall that Chatham was quoted (looking like a fool in the process) sometime during the creation of his 100-guitar symphony in the pages of none other than the classic, pre-neocon AMERICAN SPECTATOR back when it was taking a hard and controversal stand on just about everything w/o pandering to the hosanna crowd or their sycophants for that matter.

But that was the eighties/early-nineties, and for some odd reason nobody's talking about this form of legalized banditry anymore. And come to think of it, I don't think that Chatham is getting interviewed on Public Radio anymore as well which may be all for the good (I mean, there's a new generation of "cutting-edge" pantywaists for them to suck up to). But putting all sorts of past ill will aside I decided to get these two Cee-Dees not only in order to refresh myself as to what is was I liked and then hated about Chatham, but to get hold of the now-infamous recording of his "Guitar Trio", a 1977 composition that was made famous by its performance by various no wave one-offs led by Chatham going under such tres-Max's names as Tone Death and Meltdown. The whole kitten caboodle was released as a box set a few years back but I passed on least the best parts have turned up on these disques which sure help me out when I get that no wave urge that comes upon me once in awhile.

DIE DONNERGOTTER made big alternative waves back when it was originally released in the late-eighties and it still kinda holds up a tad. After awhile those major "guitar orchestra"/large ensemble thingies that the likes of Chatham as well as Glenn Branca and Rudolph Grey were doing kinda stiffed on me (well, not Grey, since his "Flaming Angels" piece with everyone from Arto Lindsay to Charles Tyler involved was one massive hard-edged no wave/free jazz culmination that unfortunately remains unreleased to this day), but having revisited them after years of neglect shined a new light on my beaner. And believe-it-or-leave-it, but DIE DONNERGOTTER sounds pretty good here in the late-oh-ohs with its atonal buzzsaw scronk and New York flash filtered through the stale doritos and beret crowd, perhaps even transcending them at least on a non-artzy pretentious level. Not so surprisingly I really licked the decals off the aforementioned "Guitar Trio" track (recorded '82 with an all-star band including ex-wife and Gynecologist/Ut-ster Nina Canal) with its no wave minimalist appeal (albeit without the manic scronk of the original, non-conscious no wave groups) although the description of Tone Death's take on this 'un that Sonic Youth Lee Ranaldo mentions in the booklet (as well as online somewhere) sounds a lot more feral. Too bad Chatham didn't think of putting THAT on this edition but then again the whole no wave idiom is severely undocumented. Maybe things will change in a decade or so but I'm not holding your breath.

AN ANGEL MOVES TOO FAST TO SEE with its 100 guitars (although pared down to four as mentioned inna booklet notes!) actually comes off much better'n the artzy pretense of the idea would lend you to believe. True some of this sounds like latterday Philip Glass done on guitars (which is not meant as a compliment, and don't gimme that jive about how artists have to "grow" with their work...that kinda thought gave us THE ALAN PARSONS PROJECT!) but other parts sound as cool as MX-80 Sound or even Neu! with that motorik Velvet Underground beat and drone. And I'm sure it's a lot better soaking in this stuff than grabbing some culture at the Boston Pops because if you gotta be cultured it better be gulchered and what better way'n to listen to something like this! Interesting aside, the bassist on this one is none other than Ernie Brooks of Modern Lovers fame, who seems to have partaken in at least a hundred or so underground-y projects of worth ever since hanging up his bass strap with the Lovers back in '74!

Ainigma-DILUVIUM CD (Garden of Delights Germany, available through Forced Exposure)

Forced Exposure certainly made a lotta money selling this particular album over and over again to me! An exaggeration, but perhaps a slight one...y'see, back in '93 I bought the Kissing Spell version (the one with the original cover reduced to a mere sticker) under the pretext that (according to the new liner notes) this mid-teen combo had definitely produced the first punk rock record to come out of Germany (and this in '72!). The initial listening to DILUVIUM had me filing this one to the back of the collection and figuring it out as being yet another low-budget Triumvrat (Kraut take on Emerson Lake and Palmer who might have been better'n all that, though I never did hear their "masterpiece" ILLUSIONS ON A DOUBLE DIMPLE so I can't say!) with none of the garage doink I was hoping for. As if I thought that every one of these early-seventies reissues that get hyped with a "garage" production was going to emulate the best of Iggy-bred neanderthal primitivism! Like I said, I'm sure Forced Exposure has made a bundle off me by selling the same wares in two different configurations, but then again what else is new?

Thirteen years can change one's opinions given all of the twists and turns in one's musical vocabulary, and for some not-so-strange reason I decided to give this platter another try (generous guy I am). Now they're calling Ainigma a cross between King Crimson and the Seeds (!) and while that still doesn't make them the first German punksters maybe it does come closer to the truth. Y'see, although these kinnder were obviously coming from a progressive background (Atomic Rooster was considred a major influence!), they certainly didn't have the chops to create grandiose arpeggiatic monstrosities like their art rock brethren (nor could they afford the usual synths and mellotrons which usually gum up the entire proceedings anyway) which is why DILUVIUM sounds like a good mass of primal garage gunch. Its kinda hooked up in a 1969 garage-warp that woulda made them the pride of their suburb had Ainigma come outta the knotty pines of Amerigan teenage miasma, only they wuz krauts and do they have garages over there??? A surprising nightly spin at the BTC offices, and even the side-long title track (about the Big One...that is, thee flood!) doesn't turn into another hippie soapbox for whatever "relevant" cause there may have been at the time!

I guess that's it for weather and lethargy are calling me. Sorry I couldn't post more pix (had problems transferring certain snaps for some odd reason which is why this particular post looks like caga!) and sorry I couldn't write about more worthies that have passed my ears o'er the past few weeks. I do have a lotta niceties lined up for you that I'd love to write about, but I think it best that I just let 'em soak into my musical third eyesocket (actual eyeball long gouged out after a marathon listening to the Angry Samoans) before I commit my opines to paper, er, pixel (is that the right term for the basis of the computer idiom???). Anyway, keep attuned, and I'll probably be bored enough myself to see you sooner than expected.


tim ellison said...

Even in situations where there are really well-funded government subsidies for the arts, doesn't the amount of tax money that comes annually from the average guy amount to like pennies or something? I kind of believe in subsidized cultural arts programs and think that if people don't like what the money's being spent on they should be able to vote for people who will put people in there who will spend the money on stuff they'll like more.

Christopher said...

It's true (as the defenders of the NEA had said in the late-eighties when a brouhaha erupted over the funding of what was being called trash art) that mere pennies were being filtered from people's paychecks to fund everything from the local symphony to public-displayed artwork, but the thought of mid-American ethnics parting with even this pittance to back films and artwork that were pretty much the antithesis of their beliefs or general tastes for that matter (say, "Piss Christ" or some film like NO SKIN OFF MY ASS f'rexample) didn't quite register well with more than a few people out there. As for me, I figure that visual art, music or whatever product that is out there that is aimed at an audience can survive solely through the efforts of the fans without any government subsidies (which tend to more or less be an official badge of sorts for the art in question, a modern equivalent to the state-sponsored artists of yore who survived under the tutelage of whoever was ruling the country at the time), and perhaps survive all the better because of it. Take my own rag...true it's a struggling entity which may or may not last at this juncture in time, but at least in my case I can't see how any grants, government or not, would better my situation. The thing is, I have to get the message (that I have a product available that many people on this globe might just like to read) out, which I am now attempting to do through this blog. I can't see how anything else can do the same job any better...perhaps worse but who knows. I do know that the funding of public works situation is much worse in other places where people are forced to buy licenses etc. in order to fund their nation's public television (like in England, where some irate television owners burned their licenses in protest after the BBC aired an outrageous opera based on THE JERRY SPRINGER SHOW), but really, I can't see one person's want or need being a right that others MUST alleviate with their money, especially if it is taken from them through taxes etc. No problem with voluntary funding, pledges etc. if one feels like it, but should people be entitled to part with their hard-earned moolah just so's someone else can create artwork with the idea that it's for "the public interest" and that they may vehemently disagree with? It's a case of worshipping Big Government whether they pump money into your works or send you off somewhere to fight.

I'm sure a lot of people who disagree with entitlements have voted for politicians who they think will divert (or eliminate) such funding, but since it ain't a front burner issue at this time it's undoubtedly business as usual with regards to the public funding of anything.

Frankly if I were in charge I'd make sure that NOBODY would be in charge again! Cut off all Govt./public works and privatize everything in a reverse-Allende way. There may be a bit of a struggle at first driving all of those privately-owned roads and all, but you can bet that things will eventually run smoother, service will be all-around better and down the line everything will be cheaper given the extermination of all that dead weight that government and its piglets lined up for the milk has wrought alla these years. Sheldom Richman's main mantra has been "seperate school and state" for years...maybe we should expand on the idea a lot more!

tim ellison said...

Tax money being spent on graphic design for Bush administration propaganda: there's an art budget I can't get behind!

Christopher said...

Same as pumping dollars into a failing education system, Planned Parenthood, PBS/NPR and a load of other "Public Works"!

Anonymous said...

Why do all the people angry about license fees in order to fund the BBC live outside of the UK and thus don't pay for a license?

Christopher said...

Maybe because it seems like such a stupid idea in the first place to force people to pay for programming (whether offensive or not) which could probably easily enough thrive on an open market rather than through state subsidies. Frankly, I'm surprised that more people in Great Britain haven't complained about this, but then again maybe they've been brow-beaten to the point of silence or could care less (probably the latter), or maybe they're so zoned into the gravy train giveaways that they see nothing inherently wrong in grabbing from the government even if it mean sacrificing their money, property (and eventually lives) in the process. I mean, I find it silly reading about how one segment of the great Catholic/Protestant rift in N. Ireland is always yammering on about how their "community" isn't getting enough in fundings etc. while the others are showered with grants, but I'm sure it means all the world to them!

And another reason as to why I'm commenting on British concerns even though I am not British...well, being British sure hasn't kept folk silent regarding American concerns!

Christopher said...

And by the way, if the only people angry about TV license fees live outside the UK, then why were British residents burning their licenses in protest of JERRY SPRINGER, THE OPERA?

Anonymous said...

The Springer controversy had more to do with the content aired by the Beeb rather than the mere concept of paying license fees.

Christopher said...

Yeah, but the fact that people were offended by a state-sponsored television program (which, had not it been given the "Seal of Approval" via the government probably never would have aired) bruned their licenses in protest sure has a lot to do with what I'm talking about!

Anonymous said...

Since you've already attempted to rehabilitate the reputation of quite a few dead right wing scumbags, will you do a revisionist defence Mary Whitehouse next?

Christopher said...

As soon as you admit your unbridled lust for Denis Lemon, sweetie!

Anonymous said...

If "Mrs. Blackhouse" had just ignored "Gay News" rather than going forth with a private prosecution, that poem would have been quickly forgotten instead of being posted all over the Web as it is today. Like Zappa said, the only bad publicity is no publicity......

Christopher said...

Don't worry, the poem was quickly forgotten (I read it, and is it horrid!!!! Really bad Victorian flowery jive to the max!!!!!!)...except for media hounds like myself who tend to be drawn to this macabre gulcheral shock. Too bad they didn't throw Denis Lemon in the clink for that one...WAIT, if they did it would have been like a trip to paradise for the guy! And as for Zappa he don't know nuttin'...I mean, look at all the bad publicity I got 'n didn't do a world of dang good for me!