Sunday, August 13, 2006


Summertime really is taking a toll on me not unlike the great summer of '78 back when all I felt capable of doing was dragging myself outta bed at 9:00 AM to watch the fifteen-minute ROCKY AND HIS FRIENDS, lolling around the house watching even more tee-vee and listening to the likes of NUGGETS, the Flamin' Groovies' SHAKE SOME ACTION and the Airplane's SURREALISTIC PILLOW (OK, nobody's perfect!) all day/night long. Of course things have changed a bit since then, mostly because there's a LOT MORE to listen to these days and frankly I don't think I ever would've 'fessed up to having actually listened to let alone owned (still own it too!) a Jefferson Airplane disc (actually cassette) even a decade ago, but since my reputation is shot all I gotta mutter is (in the sage words of Benito Mussolini)..."eh!"

But sheesh, I hate neglecting my duties in this life o' mine even if it means having to struggle to toss out some interesting shards of rockscribing your way (I figure that there must be ONE lonesome BLOG TO COMM fan out there somewhere in the wilds of Borneo for all I know who hangs, nay, clings to every thought, word, semi-colon and keystroke of mine, and who am I to deny this sheltered soul an occasional cheap thrill anyhow?), but struggle to peck out a hopefully interesting post I will because once you get down to it, I'm that kinda guy. The kinda guy who strokes his own ego playing big time rockfan-cum-blogger who actually has a fanbase worthy enough to keep him afloat, a Meltzer in his own mind who couldn't punch his way out of a paper bag if plopped inside the "real world" of rock scribing because, frankly he's too good for the current "rock criticism" scene which has banished the post-Bangs/Meltzer/Tosches madmen gonzos to the far reaches of blogger space in favor of some of the more outright HACKS to have seen the insides of an editorial board do I ramble on...

No real reviews this time...just a list of stuff I've been giving a listen to over the past week or so with a few oldies scattered amidst the batch in order to give that lone Bornean an idea of what kinda life he can live vicariously through. By mid-week I'll try to get something more coherent out for your dining and dancing pleasure, if the spirit moves me like an overdose of Swiss Chris, that is!

Jackalope-SALTIER THAN EVER CD (Challenge)

Perhaps it's because of my fond memories of lazing about on Sunday evenings listening to this trio play introverted free blast at the CBGB Lounge that I keep coming back to this. Again, if you told me back in the late-seventies that I would be spending a good hunka my time almost three whopping decades later listening to John Abercrombie (then the nearest-and-dearest to the hearts and minds of the ECM/DOWN BEAT ideal of a "perfect" jazz guitarist) I probably woulda told you to jump inna lake, but this platter sure brings back memories of the strangely sublime music that Abercrombie, with the help of saxophonist Loren Stillman and drummer Bob Meyers, was laying down at the Lounge along with a whole splattering of other upstarts and established persons giving me a new strange hope for the world of jazz which I had feared been taken over by the Al DiMeolas of this world. Too bad Jackalope weren't together twenny-plus years back and stomping their stuff at CB's proper back then...I mean, I sure would've liked to have seen them on some 1982 bill opening up for some hot latest avant flash with Abercrombie joining them for a spaced-out jam, sorta like the way that the Social Climbers got the John Scofield Trio to open for 'em with Scofield joining the band for a wild jam that eventually ended up on the STATE OF THE UNION elpee, albeit in a one-minute clip.

Doodles-FRANCE TOUR 2004. 11. 18 AT POINT EPHEMERE IN PARIS CD-R (no label)

Someone somehow has been issuing a buncha live in Paree CD-Rs by a variety of Japanese underground gods 'n goddesses in a series of quickie-crank out (albeit in color) insert covers and mini-sleeves, and I got two of 'em. Unfortunately the one from Miminokoto wasn't as hot as expected (was hoping for a patented modern-Japanese take on Velvet Underground sensibilities but got too much early-seventies Pink Floyd for my troubles, and I don't think Imants Krumins' naysaying was what got me into thinking this either!), but Doodles were fine as usual. These lassies have been worming their way onto my launching pad as of late, and although I still don't quite cozy up to their latest endeavor I find the rest of their recorded output pretty snazzy, including this live 'un which still showcases the duo's great femme-pop cum Velvet Underground obsessive pounding that reminds me of the final days of VU-homage (first wave division) before it became like an autopsy. I mean, I'd sure like to hear what the groups all those twelve-year-old kids who used to go up to Lou Reed backstage and tell him they shot up to "Heroin" sounded like. I certainly DON'T want to hear the bands that the pampered menials of the eighties and beyond did filtering the Velvets through the mire of bad alternative drivel which continues to shame me (for having stuck up for the Velvets and spawn) in the first place!

John Coltrane-MEDITATIONS CD (Impulse)

Naturally it was Wayne McGuire who turned me onto this one via his infamous Velvet Underground article in CRAWDADDY ("The Boston Sound" which is mandatory reading for anyone who is interested in the spiritual inner workings of the Velvet Underground and while we're at it, howcum nobody's had the initiative to actually put McGuire's Universal Musical Force into working order anyway? Now that would be a better 21st-century homage to the VU 'n all of the poochies who have been sullying their sound for the past umpteen years!). And yeah, I gotta admit that, like his mid-sixties period onwards, it is amongst Coltrane's I gotta say that at one time I never did think of Coltrane as that much of a boss pioneer as a lotta you readers out there have. In fact, I remember the first time I heard Coltrane via the copy of MY FAVORITE THINGS (which didn't inspire the pithy title of this particular post!) I took outta the Sharon Public Library back in '76 thinking it was rather pale jazz tinklings (certainly nowhere near the searing ream [calm down, Dave!] of the likes of Coleman or Taylor that I would be introduced to within a relatively short time) but thankfully I pursued and persevered and yeah, I thought that Coltrane was even better'n what all those hippies out there made him out to be! As McGuire said, a culmination of the New Black Music that had seemingly sprung up from nowhere and continues to permeate and mutate in ways that the guy who does those PBS documentaries will never understand.

Terry Riley-PERSIAN SURGERY DERVISHES 2-CD set (Mantra France)

This one was a toughie (albeit desirable) Shandar set to try and find for quite a long time 'n even during the Golden Age of Record Bins. Fortunately I got my own copy of this Riley rarity (as well as Albert Ayler's BELLS, two volumes of that Virgin sampler of solo guitar with Fred Frith onna cover and a scratchy copy of Ayler live also on Shandar) from Bill Shute, who was really hurting for money whilst I was hurting to hear new sounds nigh on twenty years back. Somehow I think I got the best of the deal, and although I haven't had the opportunity to listen to any vinyl faves for quite some time (I hope you RICH and money-tossing readers are getting the hint!) it's sure nice getting an earfulla these old classics once in awhile if only to remind you of where you've been, and perhaps shoulda STAYED. Perhaps my fave Riley disc next to CHURCH OF ANTHRAX (with John Cale true, but still a sublime post-VU classic), PERSIAN SURGERY DERVISHES features two whole disques of nothing but great, pulsating pure organ tones which, like Klaus Schultze's CYBORG and Suicide's earlier material, sorta straddles the great punk divide between the early-Velvet Underground and the krautrock answer via Can, Neu! and a whole lotta groups that, as BRAIN DAMAGE once said, put out twenty of the worst albums ever made! Those guys at BRAIN DAMAGE were satirists true, but anyway the driving organ drone of PERSIAN SURGERY DERVISHES still has the unmitigated power (especially when played late at night during a serious fanzine-reading/internet scouring session) to whisk me back to my ennui-filled yet erotic (in the purest, Jonathan Richman sense) teenage days and if anything can do that it should be praised to the rafters!

Suicide-disc two of THE SECOND ALBUM + THE FIRST REHEARSAL TAPES 2-CD set (Mute)

Suicide's second album is still a hard one for me to sit through without fidgeting with all of the sleek new wave production that reminds me of everything that went bad with the form, but the bonus disc that came with the rather recent (like, seven years ago!) reissue of that 'un has become a recent hot bopper around here these past few days. Like the Riley discs, these early droners make for fine evening listening with their "enveloping" atmosphere that sounds like electronic Nico gone android (no jokes please) and, like a small taste of the apple, makes you yearn for a bigger bite (in this case, whatever may survive of the earlier, even more carnivorous version of Suicide from the early-seventies days of obscurity). If only this had reached the populace at an earlier date maybe we wouldn't have had to put up with Kraftwerk going disco!

Additional note: the various CD-Rs that Mr. Jonathan Behar burned for me (including TWO Milk 'n' Cookies live disques!) will not properly play on my computer box so a listening to these and others will have to wait until I can take 'em for an exceedingly long car ride. Anyhoo, hope this one will hold your attention (amongst other things) until I can get more into the swing of things and the spirit catches me or whatever. Believe me, I will try to get another one out to you later this week, even if you don't hold your own bad breath!


tim ellison said...

Whether or not international economic sanctions against rogue nations are a good idea, the "the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children via the sanctions on Iraq" line kinda felt like an "Oh, gotta throw in a dig at the Dems" line.

Christopher said...

You're obviously referring to the previous post! 'n yeah, that was a dig at the Dems, but if you read deeper into the thing, I'm sure you'll notice the digs at the Republicans as well, which was the point of the piece to begin with. Anyway, I never cozied up to Albright, and hearing that she made the vainglorious statement you mentioned only beefs up my opinions of the entire (and nearly forgotten/underreported) evil/stupidity of the previous administration (not discounting any current dumbfounded moves, though the sanctimoniousness does run high for both the Clinton and Bush years but that'll have to wait for another day).

tim ellison said...

Sorry I put it on the wrong post. I didn't realize it was an actual quote from Albright - thought it was one of your typical spins of "saying you support the sanctions" = "saying the death of a half a million children is worth it." It is definitely a strange quote, but I am at least somewhat willing to give her the benefit of the doubt that she just didn't answer the question very well at the time of that interview.