Wednesday, August 09, 2006

J. D. King and the Coachmen-AMERICAN MERCURY CD (Ecstatic Peace)

What else can I rilly say that hasn't already been said in BLACK TO COMM #25 anyway? Oh yeah, I forgot...none of you budding upwardly crusty music snobs who claim allegiance to the big beat yet IGNORE the mighty garage pounce that stands right in front of you have had the righteous GUMPTION to pick up a copy of that well-meaning and well-delivering moderne-day fanzine even though you sure have had the opportunity to latch onto a copy or ten for nigh on three years already! Oh yeah, I can tell you all about the gracious beauty of the thing from the in-depth and revealing interviews (including one with the leader of today's band in question, none other than J. D. King!) to the boffo reviews of wares both old and new/printed and aural, not to mention the hot-to-trot Cee-Dee that you get with each and every copy and where you could've heard FOUR (count 'em!) tracks that appear on this very release that I'm reviewing for you lumpen hoi-polloi today, but NO, all of you impatient blogprowlers, in a typical fit of adolescent masturbation mind you, have forsaken the greener pastures of BLOG/BLACK TO COMM enlightenment for the pale posturings of lesser "men" who """think""" they speak for the ages but have an all-encompassing agenda about the lifespan of a flea. Let's face it, there are those who ponder, muse and dictate from their fart-encrusted boudoirs, and there are those who speak, nay YELL from the rafters about the coming of a truly new age in sound and vision, one that owes much from the beautiful past while speaking for an unseen future, and J. D. King is but one of the prophets of the Third Testament and that's one undeniable truth which even you stodgiest of athiests better BELIEVE.

(Again, for those of you who've decided to avoid the bitter future-shock of BLACK TO COMM #25 for the more safe, comforting realms of comparatively dull mutterings...) This album is, like all true works of rock & roll, heavily indebted to the glorious moments of sixties music without reaching too far into the utter sham and sideshow drivel that decade is best remembered for. At one moment you hear electric/bluesy John Fahey (as well as some jazz guitarist whose name escapes me now) melding into the early Velvet Underground...either the free-form joy of "Noise" off the ESP ELECTRIC NEWSPAPER sampler or the live EPI flash and blur of 1966. At other times these Coachmen (sic) swipe from the font of pre-retch San Francisco (Big Brother and the Holding Company at the Trips Festival) not forgetting FIFTH DIMENSION-era Byrds back when David Crosby was nothing but a fun little, make that more of early Love or at least the mad tromping of Los Angeles before punk wafted into fringe. Throw in a little country-rock a la Moby Grape (OK, part of the SF equation I guess though I'm sure many denizens would beg to differ), some Stooge thud and a lotta New York darkness (they play black & white not unlike Lisa Robinson's positive portrayal of the New Yorkers of the mid-seventies as recounted in the November '75 CREEM) and you might be halfway there. Of course that other half always seems to depend on the listener which is why AMERICAN MERCURY (named after noted curmudgeon H. L. Mencken's infamous political magazine that somewhere-down-the-line was turned into a racialist rant after Willis Carto got hold of it sometime in the mid-sixties) may or may not succeed within your own listening parameters, but then again there's no accounting for anybody's dunceability these days so why should I worry?

Of course a whole lotta you "open-minded" types will shy away from this one even though it is all instrumental, for as D. D. Faye once said in an old BACK DOOR MAN she used to get yelled at by the landlord because her noise was threatening, while the jerks who played Journey and REO Speedwagon at equally-loud volume didn't because their bleat was hip-approved. One glance at the titles will lay it all down for you, with their name-droppings of such decidedly non-PC anti-heroes (of today's thumbscrew battalions) as Elizabeth Bentley, John Birch and James Burnham (go look 'em up on Wikipedia!), not to mention a particulary joyous song about the Virgin Mary which seems especially fitting in this day and age when people are actually getting tattoos of her getting a coathanger abortion (OK, being presented with a coathanger if you want to be a stickler about it) on their arms.

And although it took over three years to get out, AMERICAN MERCURY stands the test of time, at least on my own personal level where the distant past can be as refreshing as today's news, and dang-it-all if this one just isn't one of the top albums of the year as least as it stands here in August of '06. But then again it ain't like I'm in any loops out there like I mighta been two decades back, and even if I were all I can tell you is that I've been bored silly by whatever little Yeah Yeah Yeahs/Franz Ferdinand/White Stripes-derived goo that has graced my ears so make mine AMERICAN MERCURY alla way! I'm sure you'll remind me about this 'un when it's time to peck out my top o' the year list, and I'm purty sure I won't need reminded but your thoughts are nice anyway.


ShaneFlipside said...

Hey Chris - thanks for going all incommunicado on me my last year or so!! Anyhow, I've been out ten months and finally started my own blog. So I'll be linking to yours and reading yours and commenting and all thast crap. Would very much aappreciate it if you'd consent to making me some discs and or sending me some bytes over the net - - it should be a hell of a lot easier for you to groove me than back in the 80's when you had to laboriously make mix tapes. So waht are you trying to say? That Thurston released music my an outfit that share your5 menckenian/bierceian politics -- or what?? Anyhow - my blog is Shaneshit and it is on blogspot like most music blogs appear to be - I've got a link there to my current LA fave band's youtube vid. Check it out. Shaneflipside

Christopher said...

Hi Shane-Apologies are needed, though all my letters sent your way were returned for some odd reason. Anyway, good luck to you and your blog.

Bob. F. said...

nice Roger McQ.-like pose by J.D.

Anonymous said...

Pretty odd that J.D. King is celebrating proto-neocon James Burnham (Marxist-Trotskyist theorist turned unrepentant Schachtmanite Cold Warrior). Is King going to write songs about Leo Strauss and Irving Kristol next?

Christopher said...

I'll ask him. If I incur any missing teeth...YOU pay for the dentures!

Anonymous said...

So what does J.D. King see in Burnham?

Christopher said...

This is what King wrote me.

"I think Burnham charted his own waters.

I really like the old National Review crowd.

I always liked it better when conservatives were listening to classical music. These days they try to be 'hip.' Ehhh...."