AFTER THIS POST, YOU'LL FORGET ALL ABOUT BEING VICARIOUS!
Actually, I'm feeling quite chipper despite the gulcheral power outage here at BLOG TO COMM central. Maybe it's because of the positive change in the weather, the Memorial Day Weekend (imagine...TWO days off in a row!) and the promise of some hotsy totsy music (and readage) coming my way that I really don't mind the usual downers that have been happening in my life (such as the fact that I blew a speaker on my computer stereo system, those MAN-THING comic books mentioned previously are comparative dudsters 'cept for the early-sixties reprints included therein, a DVD disque on a soon-to-be-mentioned box set featuring a classic mid-sixties television series of note fails to emit any laser-encoded signal and not only that but Jay Hinman has returned from his island paradise vacation totally intact), and although this posting doesn't promise to be as stellar as some of the previous marathon efforts to have graced these web-pages I think it might rank as a mid-energy level favorite as time goes on. We'll see...anyway, without further ado (to be cornball about it...not that there's anything inherently wrong with being cornball and in fact cornballness may be a beneficial asset when done correctly) here are just a few of the newies that have graced my eardrums since we last spake.
The Mustangs-RIVERSIDE GARAGE LEGENDS...AND THAT'S FOR SURE! CD (U-T)
This one takes me back to the glorious days of the early-eighties and the great GARAGE BAND REISSUE UPHEAVAL that was just getting into full gear thanks to the efforts of a few tireless collectors, maniacal fans and dolts like myself who had been in on the game ever since the late-seventies punk explosion sorta pushed these "roots of punk" nobodies to the front of the archival line so to speak. Those were different times as somebody once said, when people like myself were desperate enough to collect aluminum cans outta trash bins just so's we could buy muddy-sounding Sonics and Wailers repros (then going for a whopping twelve smackers each---imagine how much that is in TODAY'S money!) that Bomp was selling in their anxiously-awaited catalogs, and amongst the vinyl booty that maladjusted fanzine-scourers and thrift-shop purveyors like me were more'n ga-ga over back in those rather dream-y times were the items that Dave Gibson was offering via his oft-scorned Moxie label. Yeah, most people sneered at both Gibson and Moxie because of their lack of finesse and "quality", but I really enjoyed getting his low-fidelity wares whether they be the Chocolate Watchband and Moving Sidewalks EPs or for that matter the BOULDERS compilations of rarer 'n PEBBLES niceties, and I figured that SO WHAT if the sound on these weren't as good as those virgin vinyl half-mastered price-gougers that the stereo nerks drooled buckets over...it was the MUSIC that made its mark with me and frankly, the gnarlier the better!
The Mustangs' "That's For Sure" originally popped up on BOULDERS VOLUME 3 I believe...well, it was one of those early BOULDERS volumes anyway and if you ask me it fit in pretty snugly with the rest of the class mid-sixties teenage punkdom that also appeared on that still-obscure platter. Back then I never woulda dreamed that there'd be an entire album of Mustangs tuneage (complete with a detailed booklet) making the rounds...I probably would've believed it a few years later when the Crypt label was getting into overdrive and tossing a load of garage band wares our needed way but in 1981...man, I thought that the six-oh well had run dry and after those precious few gems had been unearthed there'd be NADA left to satiate the hardened soul of the suburban punkoid living and breathing in just about anyone smart enough to own the entire International Artist catalog...and get bored silly by a good portion of the psychedelic doodlings extant that is!
I'll leave the detailed whys and wherefores to the enclosed booklet and the upcoming issue of UGLY THINGS, but for our practical purposes let's just say that if you're not one of those snobbish garage band-oriented critics (y'know, the kind who seemed to "diss" on a lotta the mid-eighties reissues for the staidest reasons imaginable and tend to get bored easily) this one is just about as "relevant" to your eighties musical makeup as all of those BACK FROM THE GRAVE classics, not to mention all of their ample imitators whose albums seem to come and go faster than Italian governments. Of course the classic single side "That's For Sure" pops up, and so do a great slew of garageoid covers of faves that put 1965 on the map! Even some surprising originals end up here (I even dug the slow-schmoozer "Cherie" which I know woulda gagged the more pure amongst us!) and hey, write me off as a "loser" if you wish but the cover of "Summertime" sung by guitarist John Tavaglione's sister JoAnn even knocked me for a loop! But then again (in my own defense), even a rockist such as myself can enjoy something as estab. as that 'un in a mid-six-oh context the same way I like the Wailers' deeply-intense take of the same number on their all-out screamer OUT OF OUR TREE.
Only quibble I may have with this one is the sound...it's too clean! Maybe I do enjoy the dirt-encrusted BOULDERS albs of yore more in their cheap-o Saturday Afternoon Barbershop Kids kinda way, y'know?
PRESENTING...LOTHAR AND THE HAND PEOPLE CD (One Way)
Other'n a listen to my cousin's Capitol sampler sometime in the late-sixties, this is my first exposure to Lothar and the Hand People. I dunno, but for all these years there was something about these Lothar guys that turned me off, like it always seemed like they had this gimmicky reputation about 'em which is probably why I avoided them all these years, but they again I probably could have said the same things about Moby Grape and the Silver Apples and both of those groups sure held up as time rolled on. And besides, chalk one up to Lothar and the Hand People's ultimate retro-hipness for having appeared at Max's Kansas City during the late sixties (with producer Nick Venet catching their gig) and like you know, little things like that sure mean a lot as far as the panthenon of rock greatness (and New York City vibrations) go in my book. And besides, how many other groups got the better moments from their two albums collected on a mid-seventies Trademark of Quality (or was it an Amazing Korneyfone?) bootleg???
Anyway, PRESENTING is a a collection of various tracks from the group's two platters which may or may not be their "best" (me not having the original to go by), though I gotta say that from these initial listens I can see just how this group could be considered underground forbearers on one hand and cheapshot cash ins on the other. The electronics (whether they be via the theremin or Moog synthesizer) are tasty (as they are on "Paul In Love") yet sound like exploito commercialism when used on such utter turds as "The Woody Woodpecker Song" which reeks of that bad late-sixties kitsch comedy that really dates more than a few then-daring disques to the point of stupidity. Some covers work ("Have Mercy") and others don't ("Bye Bye Love") while the originals vary from intensely interesting to tossaways. Heck, I even liked "Milkweed Love" even if had a bitta the "Lucky Man" prog drone to it! I know this one ain't gonna be a top spinner here at BTC central, but the better tunage at least assures a once-in-awhile introspective play during one of those late-sixties pop-schmooze moments of intimacy, and that counts for something especially since this is the disque that blew my left speaker out!
SSM CD (Alive, c/o Bomp)
This all-new Detroit area avant-rock group had me salivating a little, especially considering that city's long history of avant-rockism starting with the MC-5 on down through a whole lotta aggregates I'm sure Alive will be digging up any day now. However, don't expect the hard-edged Detroit metallic sound here since these guys are more or less heavier on the avant garde and rock of the present tense rather'n the wild and wooly outlaw past. It's still a pretty hot item, though the references to moderne-day alternative rockisms as opposed to sixties/seventies garage crunchers update this in a way I'm not totally satisfied with. In other words, this is not quite Destroy All Monsters but it might capture some of your attention, dig?
AND ELSEWHERE, the imminent demise of CBGB seems to be bringing out the best that club could offer, from the likes of such future stage-stompers as Joan Jett, Blue Cheer (!) and Dick Dale to the usual hangers on who wanna hang on as much as they can now that one of the longest-lived original music clubs ever is being forced to move to a new location. And since CBGB may not quite be the same thing in whatever incarnation it may osmose into (and since I do have some sorta youthful affinity for the avant gardeness it might have had once and may still have for all I know) I've been checking out some of the knowns and unknowns that continue to play their varying stages before it all goes under. Anyway, you can believe that I will be tuning into future cybercasts for such upcomings acts as Radio I-Ching with Dee Pop and Uncle Monk (Tommy Ramone's new band!), but anyway last night I decided to catch the action going on at the CBGB Lounge mainly because at eleven PM there was an aggregate appearing there who happened to be going under the name Milk, and since I had my doubts that they were either the Cleveland glam-group of the mid-seventies that spawned both Brian Sands and Dennis Carleton upon us nor Lou Rone and Von Lmo's old late-sixties Cream-inspired aggregate you could betcha that my curiosity was certainly piqued!
Back when I was a young upstart I used to get really frothing-at-the-mouth mad when newer bands would be copping the names of older underground faves as if these new acts didn't even know about the groups they were snatching their monikers from, like there were TWO Frictions to appear after Peter Laughner's ultimately more famous variant (one the Japanese group and the other a CBGB-oriented band circa 1982), plus an all-black grouping going under the nom de rock Destroy All Monsters was also playing the CBGB circuit around the same time the original was dying out back home in Detroit! Nowadays I can understand just how some rock circles would not even be aware of other ones even if they're part of pretty much the same "underground" (and perhaps these Frictions and Destroy All Monsters had their own special worthiness dontcha think???), so it's not like I'm angry or anything that there is a new Milk romping around out there especially since the original dairy product has been curdling for nigh on thirty-plus years! (And besides, who knows how many other Milks there may have been since the dawn of the esoteric rock group name sometime in 1966?)
Who were these Milksters anyway? I tuned in around ten-thirty only to get a fuzzy pic and the Alex Hamlin Band, some bunch who looked more or less like the reams of outsider singer/songwriters that permeated CBGB and Max's back in the seventies. Hamlin even had seventies-ish long hair and played an acoustic guitar, and somehow I got the feeling that if he had been around thirty years back he woulda ended up on that MAX'S KANSAS CITY VOL. 2 platter that had punques worldwide writing death threats to Tommy Dean! Might have been interesting...wish the sound was on!!!
Afterwards out came the new variation on the old Milk name, and no they weren't Clapton-esque or glitter punks one bit, but an ALL HORN BAND!!! Three saxophonists (including a guy who switched to one of the bass variety the kind that Roscoe Mitchell plays!) along with a trumpeter, complete with transcribed music pages complete on music stands just like the grade school band I was once in (!) and perhaps without a drummer or any other members...I couldn't see anyone else or hear what was going on but they looked as if they were kicking up a storm because they were swinging and swaying more'n Sammy Kaye could DREAM of! Besides that, they must've been reeling and rocking en toto because Milk had the pow'r to actually getta whole buncha lezbos up off their feet and front and center dancing away like mad to whatever carnage these guys were laying on 'em! Well, I guess it was a switch from going to the bowling alley like those shrub scouts usually do, but still I'm curious as to what that band was doing to get the audience all hot and bothered! Anyone out there care to fill me in???
Sunday, May 28, 2006
AFTER THIS POST, YOU'LL FORGET ALL ABOUT BEING VICARIOUS!
Sunday, May 21, 2006
Various Artists-SON OF HAM (HAMS VOL. 2); HOGWATCH (HAMS VOL. 3) CDs (via UNCLE HARRY'S CITY KIDS fanzine, Debasement 20, Buckingham Place, Brighton BN1 3PJ England...write to them @ firstname.lastname@example.org [I tried linking it up so all you'd have to do it press the address itself but to no avail...sorry!])
Not much newz for youze in the world of BLOG TO COMM-dom today troopers, in fact, there ain't even any illios to drive whatever point I have to make to you lead-heads across which goes to show you just how comatose I've been o'er the past few days. It's been a slow week anyway...well, not exactly slow (note blogmeister slipping into his Mr. Kimball-esque addled mode which seems to be more'n part and parcel to his current mental capabilities or lack thereof, but what would you expect from a rockist maniac who is suffering from early-Velvets drone withdrawal anyway???)...I've more or less been preoccupied with other endeavors which will be dealt with in a future (maybe next week!) posting and since it ain't exactly related to my musical endeavors per se I thought I'd just hold off on this TOP SECRET PROJECT for the time being and review these two slabs that have only recently come my way, these perhaps being the only newies worth mentioning in a week that even your overly-rambunctious blogschpieler must admit was less than stellar, in fact even Schiavo-esqe.
Anyway, the Cee-Dees in question for today's nitpick are vols. 2 and 3 of the UNCLE HARRY'S CITY KIDS series which, in keeping with that mag's undying devotion to everything Deviants-related, feature a slew of ripe obscurities that people the caliber of myself never thought would see the light of day no matter how many eons mankind lasted until evolving into something even more pimple-infested. Now, if anyone has read some of the magazoons I've put out in the early-to-mid-nineties they'd be familiar with the UHCK bunch and all of the hard work they have done to propagate the Deviants name, and if one would look even harder (like, issue #20) maybe they'd see a review of the first volume of this series back when it was a cassette-only affair that still knocked this reviewer for a loop which was no mean feat considering the slew of fine tuneage being reissued at the time. Since those days the UHCK people have stepped things up so to speak with shiny pancakes replacing the jam-packed (meaning that them things JAM and crinkle up in your player!) cassettes of yore, and although they have climbed up another rung of the evolutionary scale be thankful that the music contained herein ain't some glossed-over technologically-proficient upheaval but the same ol' low-fidelity high-energy crank-out that we've come to expect from the Ladbrook Grove groovers ever since their worthiness was boosted thanks to the tireless efforts of a few NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS scribes who had nothing better to do, thank goodniz.
Unfortunately nobody's uncovered any original Deviants booty even after all these years, but that doesn't mean there's a shortage of Mick Farren's nasal bellow a-tall! In fact Farren can be heard in a number of settings from Tijuana Bible (the original rock-band-oriented Bible ca. '87 live at CBGB, not the poetry and music variant that recorded the GRINGO MADNESS Cee-Dee a few years later) doing the show-stopping "Memphis Psychosis" as well as a "Be Bop a Lula" that might even top Alan Vega's, not forgetting his early-nineties Los Angeles-based Lunar Malice amongst other neat aberrations. I particularly liked the studio take of his "Disgruntled Employee" (with ex-Bloodwyn Pig Jack Lancaster and Wayne Kramer doing the backing) which originally appeared on THE DEATH RAY TAPES about ten years back...and given its tres-mid-seventies usage of Velvet Underground riffage on a krautpunky platform (think Robert Calvert's CAPTAIN LOCKHEED AND THE STARFIGHTERS) maybe there still is some drone being done in the classic fashion to satiate even an ever-jaded stickler such as I!
Of course the Pink Fairies are more than represented, mostly in their spinoffs and asides which always seemed to have excited me as much as the original groupings have. Tracks from Larry Wallis' unreleased Stiff Records elpee (with Deke Leonard of Man and Pete Thomas of Elvis Costello's Attractions helping out) to such post-Fairies ruminations as the Lightning Raiders, Flying Colours and Fairyhead (Andy Colquhoun with Philthy Animal Taylor...geddit???) pop up with such alarming frequency that although the passerby won't understand what all the fuss is the anal-retentive Devies/Fairies fanatic will. And what's best (this being a sampler containing tracks from various sources and varying qualities) is that it all holds together pretty snat-like with a neat continuity to it that one could only find in a sampling of the creme-de-la-Deviant-crop. The high-point of the series so far...the ne-er before issued take of the Pink Fairies' "Marilyn" from a '73 BBC John Peel session recorded during the short time that ex-Junior's Eyes/Tickle/James Taylor (!) guitarist Mick Wayne held down the frontman chair, and from the sounds of it (hoarse screaming mess of vocalese within the frame of a wild performance that bears little resemblance to the song that appeared on WHAT A BUNCH OF SWEETIES) you would have thought that Wayne had disintegrated rather than got kicked outta the band!
IN OTHER NEWS: I've been boning up on my comic book swamp-encrusted monsters as of late, and besides reading more and more about the Heap (not only Hillman's proto-Hulk of the forties who appeared in the back pages of AIRBOY comics but the MAD spoof of "Outer Sanctum" fame) I've begun to pay more and more attention to the likes of such mimics as the Glob (short-time Hulk adversary in the late-sixties), the Man-Thing (pretty much outright Heap-swipe complete w/mini-elephant-like snoutage) and National's SWAMP THING (be sure to miss the movie!). Weirdest variant on this doomed man who becomes living swamp story so far is the original take on the "legend", dating back to the "golden age" of the pulps back in '40 (and written by noted Sci-Fi writer Theodore Sturgeon) called "IT!"...Marvel did a pretty neat adaptation (despite the Roy Thomas-drenched artistic prose-snooze so common amongst the comic book writers trying to disprove Wertham at every turn) in '72 in the first issue of SUPERNATURAL THRILLERS and I did encounter a batch of GIANT-SIZE MAN THING annuals which, besides featuring a number of sagas I'm sure to like despite the patented seventies liberal outlooks that come to think of it haven't aged (ecological concerns and greedy businessmen being the norm) contain those great pre-hero Marvel reprints I've loved for so long including the last "original" Dr Droom/Druid saga, this time drawn by nth-stringer Paul Reinman. (The later MAN-THINGs have bonus Howard the Duck stories, and call me a crank or whatever but I never did cozy up to that character, and in fact considered him such a bad turn in seventies comicdom which I thought was akin to the same bad turns STAR WARS and disco were to the movies and music that was "going down" in the same era I unfortunately hadda come of age in!) All in all I think I'll have a ball romping through those tales despite any bad injection of the lesser aspects of seventies riffage...though there's one thing I gotta ask ya and that's do any of you know of any major Heap collections that might be floating around out there in reprint land? All I have is one measly anthology appearance and frankly I think this long-time fave-rave is deserving of his, or its own retro appraisal dontcha think?
Oh, and one more thing before closing down the comic queries (and post) for today...I'm trying to find that issue (from mid-'71 or so, one of the last fifteen-centers if anyone out there remembers) of one of those Marvel sci-fi/horror reprint titles (perhaps CHAMBER OF HORRORS, or even one of the old standbys like MONSTERS ON THE PROWL/CREATURES ON THE LOOSE/WHERE MONSTERS DWELL and so forth) which had what the Bullpen Bulletin eerily billed as an "underground comic!" I believe I had a typically beat copy of this issue sometime during my avid comic collecting days and (as usual) wouldn't mind obtaining another one, if only I knew the title and issue number. Considering how Stan Lee was agog over the whole underground comix spectrum and even published a pre-ARCADE bigtime-distribution title of Denis Kitchen's via Curtis (COMIX BOOK I believe...one issue even featuring wordage from none other than Richard Meltzer!) it's no surprise that he would snatch one of the underground horror artists (perhaps Greg Irons, more likely Richard Corben) for an allegedly Code-approved saga which I wouldn't mind reacquainting myself with. If anyone can point me towards the title and number of this particular publication a special NO PRIZE awaits you!
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 10:57 AM
Sunday, May 14, 2006
HAPPY MOTHERS DAY!
...and here's hoping that all you "mothers" out there are making a pretty good go of it! (Please pardon the bad seventies ref., but I just got done watching THE BRADY BUNCH and uncouth memories surely can be dredged up even by this comparatively innocent show!) Anyhoo, being upfront 'n all lemme just say that I'm not exactly inna mood to peck out a long post this afternoon (or perhaps this season, as the ol' laziness seems to envelop me even more during this warmer time o' year than it does during the frigid months) but in order to facilitate my own personal SURVIVAL here are a few manners of business that I thought I should toss out atcha on this rather pleasant (and hopefully STORMY) Mom's Day Afternoon before I get even MORE jaded'n I am now!
T.S.U.-LIVE @ CLUB 218 CD-R (available through the group's Myspace site, or webpage, or whatever these freaky "personal" internet adverts are s'posed to be called!)
The flyer repro'd on the left is kinda misleading since this show was laid down at some Philadelphia Pee-YAY! hangout and not the legendary soon-to-be-caveroned beer garden, but 1) since these are CBGB's "final days" so to speak and 2) since I discovered this group via the oft-mentioned CBGB website I thought that slapping the pic at the left made a whole heck of a lot more sense'n repro-ing the rather grainy snap that adorns this typically self-made under-the-counter product of which I'm positive only few are going to write about, and even fewer are going to bother searching out anyway so why do blogsters like myself bother other than to satisfy some sort of obsession that we have with a music scene that may be dead, but ya gotta wonder if it ever really lived inna first place!
Anyway, T.S.U. thankfully aren't your average bunch of young upstarting wanna-turn-the-world-upside-down sorta geeks who slam and cram just about every kinda newfangled emote and toothless snarl imaginable your way, but an instrumental trio that owes much more to that sad state of rose-colored hindsight that we now call "classic rock." (As opposed to that brown-load lookback known to one and all as "alternative music" but that's another gripe!) Now, don't let the "classic rock" terminology scare you away from this band, for T.S.U. are pretty gosh-darn-it entertaining even if they do have the proper "chops" that would make them the darlings of the classic FM brigades, if they were only comatose enough to enjoy original music, that is. For there is still enough twist and terse to their whole reason for being that would hold down a CBGB audience not only "now" (that is, if I only knew what kind of audience that club draws in these days!) but even a good three decades back when CBGB was perhaps even more eclectic in their booking policies than they may presently seem. Tasteful-yet-interesting guitar lines lead this not-really-a-"power trio" grouping and if you ask me the results remind me of either a toned-down variant of Mark Hanley's old Room 101 band or maybe even a totally tamed take on the original pre-Rich Stim MX-80 Sound. Actually quite tasty stuff for those of you sick of the standard alternative press/fanzine runna the mill sounds that still seem to get a lot of shrift even this far down the line when everybody should know better, but they don't!
The Eastern Seaboard-OUTBOUND CD-R; NON-FICTION CD (available through the group's website)
I dunno...I once tuned them in when they were playing the old Freestyle and Avant Garde Musics series of concerts that took place at the CBGB Lounge only to lose interest within a few minutes (and a few stoppages), plus any jazz group that claims to hold a strange allegiance to late-seventies concepts of "punk rock" (as opposed to punk rock I guess, or at least "no wave") to the point of dedicating one of their albums to none other'n Joe Strummer and latching on to the patented leftist policies that have morally/financially/spiritually bankrupted an entire century certainly doesn't come off as fodder worthy of this blog, but in this case I will make an exception. Maybe its because the Eastern Seaboard (whose motto reads : "Free jazz + Post-punk + Post-rock = The Future"...and yeah, I don't know what that means either but it sure sounds swell!) are a fine avant garde jazz unit that reminds me of everything from the old Ayler trio to the late-seventies En Why See loft jazz scene, especially the fabled Air for some not-so-strange reason.
But anyway, the Easter Seaboard have two CDs and one vinyl LP (which I passed on for obvious reasons, most notably a lack of a turntable!) out now and all are available via their website linked up above, and yeah, I get the feeling that most of you Blog to Comm perusers ain't exactly freedom jazz fanatics but if you decided to ever give the form a try even such obscurities as these may be the best place to start. OUTBOUND is a CD-R of a live gig in Chicago while NONFICTION's a studio outing...and both have that heavy-growl atonal-yet-subdued tension to 'em that will remind you of the great black music purveyors of the mid-to-late portion of one of the greatest decades for musical miscreants extant. (The fact that the entire band is white makes not a hill of a beans of difference...it's the gnarl that I'm looking for, y'see?) And yeah, I'm sure your typical Gary Giddens/DOWNBEAT-styled jazz critic could come up with a dozen good-or-not reasons as to why this reeks next to some other product out there, but I find this just as exciting as those wild chances I took on various New Music Distribution Services wild card plunks during the maybe not-so-bad days of the eighties! Whatever the situation may be, Eastern Seaboard deserve the not only a huge thumbs up from the jazz-punk continuum (or at least what's left of it), but maybe a few dollars tossed their way as well. And you know where to click, right?
OTHER RECORDINGS OF...UH, NOTE???: My earlier review of The Music Revelation Ensemble about a month back had me searching out even more James Blood Ulmer recordings, and while a Cee-Dee release of Ulmer's "watershed" album from 1980 entitled AREN'T YOU GLAD TO BE LIVING IN AMERICA INSTEAD OF ONE OF THOSE COUNTRIES WHERE THEY SHOOT PEOPLE WHO WEAR EYEGLASSES? still evades me I did manage to snarf up a self-titled Music Revelation Ensemble CD on the Japanese DIW label as well as a disque by Odyssey (Ulmer's gtr/violin/drms trio) called BACK IN TIME, neither of them coming up to the lofty dissonance of NO WAVE which did bum me out to an extent even though things such as this are to be expected. The Ensemble album replaces bassist Amin Ali with Jamaaladeen Tacuma yet a lot more seems to have been lost in the trade off, with a generally lackluster performance and tiresome approach to the new electric jazz-rock very much in evidence. And not only that, but the reworking of themes that also appear on NO WAVE only in a more tiresome groove really doesn't bode well for either offering! (It's hard to believe that drummer Ronald Shannon Jackson was also part and parcel to the nerve-busting Last Exit as well as his Decoding Society at the very same time he appeared on this 'un. Oh well, I guess this only proves that we can't ALL keep up the drive 100%!) Odyssey sound like even more processed jazz cheese with little if any post-Ornette soundsquall that a bozo such as I would've at least appreciated, but I guess I shouldn't yap that much considering all of the fine moments these musicians have given us on past and future endeavors. And judging from some of the blog gruel out there, it seems that some people have bigger slumps than others so maybe I should just SHUT UP for once in my loudmouthed life!
OK, I'm done shutting up so let me also tell you about the Jook CD on RPM which is certainly a gear-shift from the above jazz disques but something that I'm positive most of you faithful readers (hah!) would want to know at least EXISTS! And after listening to this bright and energetic proto-punk coming to you straight from the land of clogged arteries it's easy to see just why blokes the caliber of Greg Shaw and Alan Betrock went ga-ga over this British teenage-oriented faux-skinhead band, especially in the wake of what was making it big in England at the time. Frankly, I found that listening to this 'un in its entiretly and in one sitting was a bit nerve-grating (which would probably seem strange to some of the more pop-oriented amongst you who wonder how I can play CD after CD of blaring avant garde jazz nightly without losing a beat of total earbusting eruption!) but really, how could anybody HATE this great early slab of rock & roll slop which owes plenty to not only spiritual forebearers John's Children (Chris Townson being a latterday member) but AM pop kings the Sweet and even a touch of the Move! No wonder these guys were the bubbling under triple threat of the fanzine scene of the day even though it seems as if the majority of the British teenagers this music was aimed at were more interested in leftover hippie jams and progressive art twaddle! (Yeah, they shoulda been like us manly Amerigan kiddies listening to Melanie sing double-entendre tootage and Joni Mitchell asking us to analyze her inner crisis!)
AND ON A TOUCHING FINAL NOTE: last night while under the influence of not only a meal of chicken and dumpling soup, even more chicken grilled with bacon and gorgonzola, french fries and a piece of Snickers Pie that really wasn't as good as one would be led to believe (not forgetting the five or so slices of bread I ate trying to stave off starvation waiting for the meal!) but a few frosty mugs of heavily-caffeinated carbonated beverage, I spent a good portion of the evening and dare-I-say witching hour combing through boxes of old paperbacks and fanzines looking for long-unread material to occupy my spinning brain. (And no wonder, considering how all of that food and drink gave me more energy than an upper and a bigger stomach lump than a twenty-pound gallstone!) Anyway, amidst a bevy of goodies (such as the long-lost issue of FORCED EXPOSURE with their MX-80 Sound interview and a hypesheet for the Disposable God Squad, one of my favorite obscure-o late-eighties/early-nineties New York City underground bands next to Binky Phillips), I discovered a long-forgotten 'zine that was sent to me in an envelope embossed with a San Francisco postmark. Along with the digest-sized enclosed "read" was a short letter, an epistle soooo nice that I thought I should share it with you readers for the contents of this fan note do need to be aired out in the public view in order to, er, clarify a few things that have happened since these days when such things occasionally arrived at the offices (along with some hatespewed crankage, but we'll forget about that for now!). Anyway, for those of you with inquiring minds, the text of the letter is as follows:
I don't recall having ever sent you SUPERDOPE directly-usually Grady takes care of that for me. Here's the latest issue in case you're interested & thanks for the great comments a couple of BTC's back re: our place in the canon of fanzines. What I'm interested in is the latest BLACK TO COMM; can't seem to find a retailer around here who has it. Hope $6.50 is enough-send to SUPERDOPE, 520 Frederick St., Box 33, San Francisco, CA 94117.
Saw the VON LMO experience last Sunday w/Monoshock as his backing (and warm-up) band-the show included a bit where LMO placed a screaming power drill on his guitar strings and later in his ear. Hooray!
Considering that this time of year marks the second anniversary of something I would prefer to forget all about (but can't and better yet shouldn't), I thought I'd better post this letter because its author seems to have removed from his own beanie a few things himself. (He claims that there never was any correspondence between he and me, or at least he did before begrudgingly and in a typically sneering fashion admitting maybe there was!) The VON LMO comment also brings up a lot for speculation since Mr. Hinman also criticized me for praising a man he considers a boring no-talent (along with the Plastic People of the Universe, though really, who can judge the tastes of a man who consistently raves on about some of the worst garbage to get passed under that vague category that goes under the heading "alternative music"!). And yeah, I know that the above speculation of VON LMO might not exactly be a positive appraisal of the man and perhaps Hinman was indeed "putting him down" (it could be, even though Jayzey might have enjoyed LMO's thriller driller tactics from the tone of his note---I guess it's one of those mysteries that we'll never know the truth about!). I dunno, but I knew that it would be best to let you dear readers judge just who is the REAL "hypocrite" (as I said, a term usually used by people who are living personification of the word, but we'll forget that for now!), a guy like me who is a raving maniac about the music/gulcher/civilization he loves and isn't afraid to let the world know about it, or some schmuck who loves to brandish derougatory and hate-spewed pseudo-facts about people who he was once "pals" with (please note the quotation marks), yet totally forgot about and decided to trample upon on his way up the ladder to amerindie success. Anyway, have fun in Hawaii, and don't forget to watch out if they're sacrificing necktied computer office nerds to the great volcano god down there!!!
And the guy wondered why it was so hard getting hold of a copy of BLACK TO COMM at his fave local record dive! With all of the distortions and outright lies so many "friends" and observers (including yourself) have propagated, who'd wanna sell my rag anyway? Kinda goes to show you just how much things could change in the course of a few years, but then again I guess some people will do anything to ensure their lofty perch amidst the top of the blogs, right wadface?
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 1:45 PM
Sunday, May 07, 2006
THE RETURN OF VICARIOUSNESS!!!
Yes, I have been lax (but not Lax). Nothing new really, since back when I was doing my print fanzine job there would be weeks, maybe even months where I'd go by without ONCE sitting down in frontta the old word processor to peck out a review or article of interest and worth and it wasn't exactly writer's block that was keeping me away from the keyboard! More or less I was just a bit bored with the whole game and had little of the ol' motivation to keep me going and between you 'n me there were more'n a few times when I was seriously pondering giving up the whole game, like I'd keep telling myself over and over again that this grind-of-an-issue I'm working on is gonna be the LAST one, no bout a doubt it! Natcherly something would come along giving me the ol' nudge to keep struggling on and cranking those rags (and later on posts) out, whether it be some hot new musical recording or group that caught my fancy or some nasty-toned former friend (hah!) who decided to take the easy way up the ladder by tromping all over me...yeah, it was most undoubtedly the LATTER that's been giving me the wherewithal to keep on keeping on as they used to say, so be thankful for the small favors that have been begotten by small minds!
I've been giving a lot more'n the tasty items mentioned below frequent spins here at the BLOG TO COMM offices, and frankly I'd review a lot more than the tidbits presented herein if only the blasted things would spin on my computer! Like, I have this CD-R that was sent to me by some guy named Aaron Goldberg down in the land of the same continent that this certain retarded marsupial of ill-repute resides, and I would link up his own blogspot if I only remembered the address (where you can see a nice tasty snap of Brigette Bardot's now prunefaced hiney!) but anyway this guy Aaron actually sent me a presumably great recording of the Sonny Sharrock Band with Pharoah Sanders recorded in Washington DC about a year or so before Sharrock's death, and it sure seems like a great thing to lay ears on only I can't because my computer has trouble digesting some of these CD-Rs and the one Aaron sent is amongst the unplayable on my fickle box! (Well, it's an iffy proposition because I can spin such other CD-R goodies such as the Roxy Music FIRST KISS double-disc set as well as a good portion of the Rent Control label's offerings albeit those seem a bit temperamental.) So's that one will have to wait until I can either drag my old box out to spin it on or better yet get hold of the fambly car'n take a long enough spin so's I can enjoy the thing en toto, but for now we'll have to be patient with regards to waiting for a review of some of the items that have hit my mailbox the past few weeks (incluling a batch of Japanese modern-day psych sent my way thanks to a winning ebay auction). Well, who said life was supposed to be EASY anyways?
Tamar-Kali-GEECHEE GODDESS HARDCORE WARRIOR SOUL CD (Oya Warrior)
One of the joys of hooking up to the internet back in 1999 (gee, don't you miss the twentieth century? I sure do!) was getting back in touch with what was going on down at the infamous CBGB's, not so's I could re-hook with the latest hardcore or fashion-plate-of-the-moment weekly flavor but merely to see what was happening on the under-the bubbling-under scene. (You know, the one that always seemed to produce the best music that never "made it" because it was either too primitive or had musical tendencies that rubbed against the grain of amerindie tastemongering.) Believe me, if you thought that Talking Heads were the pinnacle of the New York underground in 1975 there were probably ten other groups playing the clubs that had the same flash and flare but only did it better! And as for no wave...we all knew about the big four who popped up on NO NEW YORK, but it took an additional twelve years for the Red Transistor single to appear and who knows when we'll get to hear the Gynecologists, Terminal and Daily Life, bands considered by those in-the-know to be even BETTER'n what James and Lydia doth wraught.
And so it goes on and on...anyway, six years later I still enjoy settling down in my jammies at night and catching some of those fly-by-night pan-flashes that always seemed to put on a great show before vanishing from sight, original material and all. I've mentioned a couple of more than worthy groups who've entered into that mystic void in this earlier post, and who knows what other potential wonders were missed because of technical difficulties or general stupidity on my part! But I will say one thing. A lotta the ignored acts en masse that have appeared at CBGB o'er the years whether they be heavy metal wannabes or acoustic experiments or avant garde jazz purveyors have beaten the TAR outta the groomed for success acts with one felt swoop, and considering how the bands with some sorta smart function to 'em are continually passed up in favor of comparatively substandard fodder sure says something that everyone else will be saying in twenty year's time, so please let me be the harbinger for once!!!
Fortunately with the advent of cheaper ways for groups to get their music across at least some of the newer worthies have had an opportunity to make their efforts more or less "permanent" which is what singer/songwriter Tamar-Kali has done. I caught Kali on a CBGB cybercast about four or so years back and thought her act was one wild throb of hard-rock blur. There was a strange echo/standing wave to her show that gave an ethereal quality to it, that is until I discovered that I had opened two windows to her live-as-it-was-happening gig which created the effect, but in some strange way I think Kali would have appreciated that because her music was out there free-form crank that seemed to say more about what "punk" was supposed to be (or what it once was) back when it was a grassroots garage thing and brainy En Why See rock critics weren't analyzing the heck outta it like they would once "punk" became another hip insect for them to dissect.
Yeah, some of this (actually, a lot!) does borrow heavily enough from the STANDARDIZED ALTERNATIVE ROCK CLICHE BOOK with that heard-it-all-before guitar riffage and emotionless emote lyrics, but Tamar-Kali fortunately revs beyond all the staleness to put out a pretty nice (if short....25:54) offering that's actually had me spinning it repeatedly over the past week or so. Maybe its because Kali can also be fresh enough to slip a little bitta heavy metal (in the best early-eighties CREEM-speak possible!) prowess and nifty jazz inflection into the not-so-standard punk mix making for something that reminds me of what underground music was all about before the rules were broken thus put into full force and "punk" had yet to become pUnk and thus punque...y'know, back when the heavy metal jazz rock of MX-80 Sound and the post-Roxy hillbilly glitz of Debris somehow got fitted into the same confines as Patti Smith and Iggy, but it all seemed so pure especially when compared with what else there was out there and there was a lot!
It's a shame that Tamar-Kali somehow got bum-rushed outta the "scene" (whatever that stands for these days!) but at least she left something behind for obsessives like myself to peruse. And at least she had something interesting to say in the process which is more than I can say about way too many wonks I unfortunately seem to come across not only on the music scene, but on the printed page/screen as well.
The Offs-LIVE AT THE MABUHAY GARDENS NOV 7, 1980 CD (Vampir)
I never did pay much attention to the Offs during their lifetime even though they certainly had the underground credo (such as a single on the Max's Kansas City label) that obviously would draw me to such acts. I dunno, maybe it was because there was already so much good stuff going on during those days that missing out on the Offs woulda been akin to missing out on Hibiscus and his Screaming Violets...but who knows, maybe they were good as well???
Of course as the years roll on things like the Offs become the stuff o' lesion which is why I picked up this live in San Fran platter recorded during these junkies' West Coast stay. Postmortem hype has the Offs straddling everything from the ska/reggae beat to no wave and while that all does figure in somehow or other these guys also tip their hats to da blooze (w/ and w/o "rhythm 'n") as well as the Velvet Underground (doing typically early-eighties rehashes of "Sweet Jane" 'n "Heroin") an' it all makes for more more'n just another typical quarter-century-plus "document" of what was and will unfortunatey never be. For me, it's a durned on-target appraisal of just what was happening in underground music that was GOOD before everything went down the gnu wave road to sweetie pie gush, and I'm sorta glad (but not proud) that I was at least comatose when bands like the Offs were getting more'n an appreciative nod out there. I'm not exactly overjoyed that I missed out on these guys back then, but hey, I wasn't some rich kid who could afford all of the hip records as soon as they came out, was I?
The Metal Boys-TOKIO AIRPORT CD (Acute)
I originally bought the vinyl version of this 'un (along with its "sister" record, mainly the Metal Urbain album!) from Wayside Music back in the early-eighties when it seemed as if most "(underground) music aficionados" out there wanted to remember the past seven or so years of punk upheaval the same way most people in the US of Whoa wanted to remember the War Between The States in 1866 (which was nada!). Maybe that's why a lotta now-valuable wares that command heaping piles of bucks on the collector's market were going for a mere bag o' shells back then, but at least on-the-ball (alledged) dumboids like myself knew enough to gobble up all the soon-to-be gone homemade singles and publications we could before they became lost for all eternity, eh? (Well, I guess not considering all of the ebay auctions I get rapidly outbid on!)
Anyhoo, the fine folks at Wayside were touting this 'un as sounding like a "heavy metal Hawkwind" which kinda stymied me even then because...I always thought that Hawkwind already were kinda heavy metal! But still, at this time the idea of heavy metal encroaching on punk rock (or what we at least could call punk terrain) seemed mighty tasty, as the final days of the original New York City scene seemed to be interbreeding musical styles including a lotta heavy metal as it was. (And considering the presence of not only Von Lmo and heavy metal music nights at Max's Kansas City, but the existence of MX-80 Sound as well as this visiting from Austin Texas heavy metal COUNTRY band playing both Max's and CBGB [anybody remember who they were???] it sure looked as if metallic waves were being shot through an already-changing scene.) And at a time when even I felt there needed to be a "change" of sorts (which had me drawing myself back towards various mid/late-sixties albums that most of you were already familiar with but were totally new to me), it seemed as if what I did need in my life was more heavy metal and less gnu wave, or at least some of the hot metal on punk terms that was part and parcel of the best, Metal Mike Saunders-approved metallic excursions extant.
TOKIO AIRPORT ain't quite a metallic monster, or one that would even turn the head of your typical metal monger straight outta La Verne California (onetime home of DENIM DELINQUENT who should know!), but it is an interesting enough Frog electronic muncher that you would have expected to come out of the musically confused eighties. Eschewing the poppier side of electronic music as it stood in the early-eighties, at least the Metal Boys put a little more life 'n vigor into their electronic underground hipster style and even added a Dr. Venus clone on vocals which gives the thing an even more futuristic vision. Melodically this comes off like an even buzzier take on early Roxy Music/Eno trailblaze, perhaps stuck in an early-eighties which heaped me into even more ennui than one can imagine (well, how would you feel seeing all of the energy and gnarl of the late-seventies reduced to Soft Cell and Madonna???) but still holding up in its own superb way. And y'know, this stuff did hold its own next to all of the punk/metal smash and crash of the day after all! Well, to be honest about it I'd rather spin the Metal Boys next to some once-faves like Swell Maps who (at least in my humble opinion) don't quite hold up all these years later, and I'm not saying that just because a buncha nimnuls out there like 'em!
The Lovin' Kid-ALONG THE WAY CD (Honey, available through CD Baby)
Here's another act I "discovered" back when I first hooked up to the web during the dusk of the Picean Age and (as I said) "rediscovered" the En Why See underground going on at CBGB. And with a name like the Lovin' Kind I kinda thought this group was gonna be some throwback to mid-sixties popsterisms, maybe because of the group name's similarity to the old Dino Desi and Billy hit. I finally got to see this group on a live cybercast opening for the Shirts at CB's and was surprised at the straight country popisms extant. I was even more surprised when a soon-to-exit Shirt Annie Golden joined the femme singer/guitarist for a vocal duet! And I was really surprised when I switched over to the gallery next door and, after seeing some seemingly earnest guy play Pete Seeger and Daniel Johnston songs on an autoharp, encountered this rather early-seventies-looking hippie-type bluegrass group and kinda wondered what was going on at the center of terminal hipdom, but then again I get that way sometimes!
Of course, I was superduper surprised when, years later I stumbled upon this unknown-to-me Cee-Dee of the group and discovered that the brains behind the Lovin' Kind were none other than Lisa Burns and Sal Maida! You may know who Lisa Burns is...I reviewed her first solo alb in these "pages" earlier (and just try finding that writeup!) and positively at that, and she and (ex-Milk and Cookies/Sparks/Roxy/Kongress...) bassist Maida also had the electronic rock band Velveteen going for 'em throughout the eighties to boot! (A review of their '83 Atlantic mini-LP can be found in the pages of my latest.) And although I had the sneaking suspicion that both of 'em were keeping busy with music in some capacity I didn't realize that the Lovin' Kind was "it". Which of course led to a bit of speculation on my part which undoubtedly resulted in me buying this piece of long-forgotten (released 1998) New York trivia.
Those of you expecting a return to late-seventies new wave style will be in for a shock, though actually this does have a lot to do with a New York "sound". Mainly the sound of not only CBGB but Max's Kansas City in the days when a lotta finger-pickin' folksters amongst other allegedly non-"underground" (whatever that was!) types could easily snuggle into sets amidst a wide range of local talent plunking down everything from leftover glam slams to heavy metal moronities. Like when the Unholy Modal Rounders could pop up on some Max's flyer amidst the ever-growing local talent as well as a Jimi Hendrix tribute act which does show a bitta eclecticism you wouldn't see only a few years later! By the eighties after things cooled down such "open-mindedness" could once again be spotted, and frankly this far down the line it's not a question of punk vs. metal vs. art vs. whatever, but good vs. bad. As it always was (only then we KNEW that punk was good on its own merit because it just hadda know better!).
Anyway, even though I usually cozy up to country music about as much as Dave Lang cozies up to virtue I surprisingly found myself enjoying this one quite a bit. Yeah, it's probably because two famous underground charter members of the En Why See scene are involved with it (thus giving me a proper "hook" to latch my own set of tastes onto it) but I find this breed of sound a lot more palatable'n the country music I have been hearing over the past few years which either devolves into pea-brained jingoism or moderne-day popisms that only has a steel guitar to separate itself from the rest of the pop quap out there in listenland. Burns' voice is perfectly suited for this style of c&w folkism and the acoustic stylings fortunately don't dredge up memories of that folk mass you happened to wander into while looking for one of the Tridentine variety. ('n talk about a gulcher shock of the worst variety!) In all, The Lovin' Kind are downright pleasing despite what some might see as a paen to "new" country, and who knows, even if they weren't "connected" to a New York Underground past I might still even like 'em! But please, don't hold me to that!!!
TERRY DAME'S ELECTRIC JUNKYARD GAMELAN CD (available through CD Baby)
Yeah, the only reason I prob'ly got this 'un was because of a gig at the CB's 313 Gallery a week ago, and since I was in the mood for interesting esoterica that plays that soon-to-capitulate haunt I thought I'd pick it up in a sorta "what the hey" kinda manner. Anyway whatcha got here's a homemade instrument sorta gamelan band sorta "led" by this longtime New York somethingorother named Terry Dane (who also blows some saxophone down the line) and yeah I gotta admit that it's pretty engrossing not only as fake enthnomusic goes but on a Harry Partch level as well. My fave of the batch just happens to be "America The...Everything Is...Beautiful" which develops into this weird tone poem that reminds me of those arid pastoral soundscapades Neu used to come up with.
Marilyn-SEX MEANS NOTHING WHEN YOU'RE DEAD CD (try CD Baby)
Ah, another timepiece. Marilyn was this freaked out gal who not only wowed 'em at the Mudd Club back when it was slowly but surely becoming the new hipster hangout for New York deca-elites (stealing a lotta the thunder from Max's Kansas City in the process), but Marilyn also ended up somewhere down the line as the vocalist for Kongress, at least some time after former Amish gal Iolsa Hatt held down that chair. Anyway, besides fighting it out with a few hundred other ladies as the most whacked-out songstress on the scene, Marilyn managed to put out a few singles which appear on this relatively new disque alongsides some ne'er before heard trackage and if you're one of those old-timers who pines away for the days of the freaky female punkettes from Edith Massey on down this will be "thee" Cee Dee for you! Kinda camp, kinda showstoppy put-on, but whatever it is this warmed-over corpse of a CD will probably satisfy the average reader of this blog in a strange, decomposed sorta way. Yeah, it sorta straddles the area between hard-edged New York rock and Danceteria schmalz but it's still has more'n a toe in the former and even Otto von Ruggins co-wrote the title track so it's not like this is some sorta gnu wave fashion plate gunch pose, y'know???
The Misunderstood-THE LOST ACETATES CD (UT)
Way back when (like, 1983) I wrote this really long and rambling review of the Misunderstood's "Children of the Sun" single that the fine folks at OP actually published which if anything proves...that those guys would print ANYTHING!!! If you ask me I'd tell you that review was a turd bomb then and remains an even smellier one all these years later, but I guess a buncha people out there think differently because somehow this review has ended up on the web (if you're that bored and want a good laff you can snatch it up yourself via your favorite search engine). Maybe the unmitigated fact that this review is up and running on the internet proves that somebody thinks there are some worthy tidbits of info and knowledge in the thing and like, I'm not "embarrassed" by this 23-year-old review...it's just that I think I coulda done better with it, even during those brain-addled times.
Maybe Mike Stax sent me this disque in order to rectify (calm down Dave!) things, so once again I'll give the Misunderstood the old college try 'n see if I can relay to you (within the confines of a rather short space just for old time's OP[tion] sake!) as to why you should buy this thing. I guess you've been following the ultra-long Misunderstood story that's been taking place in the infamous UGLY THINGS magazine, and although I've kidded Mike about the massiveness and detail that can be found therein y'know it was all a ha ha joke not to be taken seriously! But if you wanna talk about obsessiveness that Misunderstood piece is a prime example of it...really in-depth leaving no stone unturned and frankly, how many years has that piece been running anyway? I'll bet I'll finally read the last chapter of the thing one of these days, probably while getting my IV tangled up at the old cranks home.
As far as this Cee Dee goes, this one starts off with a buncha recently-discovered acetates of the band in their West Coast days before they made the trip overseas thanks to the influence of their pal John Peel, and if you're of the mindset that rock & roll kinda took a nosedive around the time everything hadda become avant garde and psychedelic (sorta like the folks at KICKS, who featured the band in the second issue of their mag way back in '79, do) you'll drool over these tracks done long before the advent of Glenn Campbell and his pedal steel and showing a pretty good punk clank that presents the group in their 1965 mode long before the forces of psychedelia threw this band into the English whirl. You could call these tracks "typical"...as in on one hand they show the great primitive pounce that was part and parcel of Amerigan garage moves while also showing an atonal barrage that, as we've learned later on, didn't necessarily originate with the advent of the Stooges only a few short years later.
The psychedelic-era tuneage with Campbell at the helm (recorded almost immediately after setting foot upon the shores of Blighty) fits in more with the post-Yardbirds British-psych image I've had of the Misunderstood for quite some time. The take of "Children of the Sun" is almost identical to the single version while the rest seems more or less like the same Amerigan garage rock rechanneled from English influences re-REchanneled once again for the new underground mode that was beginning to make tracks Over There. Fits in well amidst a playlist of Deviants and Fleur De Lys CHOCOLATE SOUP wonders which might not flash me back to 1967, but 1983 sure pops into my psyche every time I hear this stuff!
Yeah, it ain't that much better'n the original. Maybe when I proofread the thing I'll punch it up a bit here and there.
The Dom Minasi Trio-GOIN' OUT AGAIN CD (CDM, available through CD Baby)
As I've said earlier, one of the best things about tuning into the cybercasts that take place on the myriad assortment of CBGB stages is the discovering of a variety of crucial acts I never would have known about beforehand, thus my life is deeply enriched having heard these groups and solo performers whom I never would have found out about had I decided to remain a luddite for the rest of my born days. And amongst those clandestine groups I've become aware of thanks to the miracle of technology is the Dom Minasi Trio, an act that had been playing at Dee Pop's freestyle series at the Lounge since its inception in '01 until the present albeit at its new location at Jimmy's Restaurant. And believe-it-or-not, but I hadn't even heard of Minasi before seeing his name on the Lounge roster...in fact for a short while I might have had him confused with the infamous Australian garage band meister Dom Mariani which wouldn't be too much skin off my nose anyway since all them dagos look alike, but anyway discovering Minasi was a total (and welcome) surprise.
I mean, here was a guitarist playing in an avant context, but he wasn't an all-out noisemonger like Sonny Sharrock. In fact, Minasi is pretty "tasty" sorta player coming off like Jim Hall gone abstract. In fact, the closest thing I know of that sounds like Minasi is Hall's playing on that Gunther Schuller Third Stream alb done with Ornette Coleman and Eric Dolphy. Only Minasi plays more intense, feral (to use a currently circulating adjective!) and deep. Add to that some mighty wide-ranging arco bass (played by Ken Filano) and Jackson Krall on drums and you had some of the best guitar-led avant jazz to come out of the series, at least next to John Abercrombie's Jackelope and Storm with Daniel Carter, who played one massive set two years back before blasting off for all eternity!
Don't let the inclusion of "Autumn Leaves" (Minasi's take which is bound to gag the typical suit and tie "light jazz" aficionado) fool you. This is engaging/engrossing, chamber avant garde jazz with a highly intense current running through the entire proceedings. And I will say that it was a surprise, especially considering just how much Minasi resembles the guy who used to play Murray the Cop on TV's THE ODD COUPLE so lemme just say that you shouldn't let looks fool you unless you look like Dave Lang or something.
IN OTHER NEWS: not much else to say really though I have stumbled across a few things you might wanna know about (but then again, might not...you paid yer money you takes yer cherce!)...first off, I gotta admit that I finally wrapped my mitts around a copy of that '87 CREEM Velvet Underground "special issue" that everyone from Imants Krumins on down was telling me was an all-out total grabber, and frankly I found it to be a bore beyond belief. And yeah, everybody likes to slam-dunk the post-Bangs version of the mag (even though I think it was starting to go downhill while Bangs was still there albeit it continued to have some moments on/off down the line...their 1981 heavy metal special remains a must-have for underground rock/metal maniacs!), but that '87 issue is just totally nauseating, with writers the par of Bill Holdship (who, along with the rest of the new CREEM stewardship, couldn't hold onto the reigns as tightly as their predecessors had and thus the music drove them rather than vicey-versey!) dragging what had become of that mag even further into the eighties mire. (It's no wonder I had delusions of BLACK TO COMM picking up the WIDE SLACK left by what had become of CREEM way back when!) And, when surrounded with asinine coverage of the "big" stars of 1987 the poop only smells poopier! I was in a big mental slump when that issue came out which was reflected in my writings at the time, and reading this issue only reminds me as to why I was feeling so low...the music scene, after years of under-the-counterculture energy, was pretty dismal, and things like the then-current CREEM only goes to remind me as to why this was.
Here's a peculiar bitta knowledge culled from an interview with Duncan Sanderson that appeared in KINGS OF OBLIVION #1 (a neat Ladbrook Grove-oriented fanzine of the mid-seventies)...really, you better sit down for this interesting fact which I know will knock your socks off! Anyway, did you know that none other than future Yes bassist Chris Squire once auditioned for the Deviants? Well, that's what Sanderson said, and what's even funnier is that Squire didn't get the job because the Devies (perhaps the most primitive band on the Isle at the time) thought he stunk! Anyway, I'm glad I found out, though could you imagine how I would have felt had I heard about this years ago and began searching out Yes albums thinking they might sound like the Deviants due to the connection? Well, I have done sillier things!
Another really strange bit of news...didja know that none other than Bill Shute (yes, thee one and the same) alledgely (I dunno for sure and this may be a rumor!) has a book of poesy out??? No information on the thing at this time, but the news, whether it be true or not, certainly got my ears a buzzing! What I wanna know is, does this collection consist of nothing but Moon in June stuff you read to your galpal in order to prove what a tenderloin you can be, or is Bill popping out the usual brainy wordage that people in berets read while smoking ciggies on holders??? I dunno, and although my fave poems start off "There once was a man from Peru" and "Milk, Milk, Lemonade" I have the feeling that something like this might be the biggest thing to hit the Texas poetry circuit since Roky Erickson's initial efforts! Keep an eye out.
And a personal note to Tim Ellison...you're famous and popular and have a lotta pull inna rock scribing world, right? Then why don't you use your influence and write a book on NO WAVE music??? I figure you're probably the only guy on the boards these days who could pull such a task off off without looking like a total dork, and better it be YOU to do the dirty deed than some "established" professional in the realm, dontcha think??? All I ask for the suggestion is...if you come across any hot rare recordings by some of the undocumented no wave groups mentioned earlier...make me some CD's, OK?
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 2:11 PM