JOSHUA JUGBAND 5 CD (Gulcher)
Betcha thought I was gonna tinkle-tinkle-little-sprinkle over this one, eh? Thought I'd get this Joshua Jugband Fiver and toss it slam-dunk into the nearest hogwallow outta mere spite, right? And of course you know the reason why, you insufficient little blogcrawler you! If not, just read on a little further, Gertrude.
Y'see, this Cee-Dee, or at least a good half of it, was originally released on CD-R by the fine folk (namely Eddie Flowers) at Slippytown records and gifts. And it was a good 'un too, a disque that sounded like some mad jam recorded in the basement by the next big thang garage ballbusters to make their way to your sonically-deficient cranium just BEGGING for the latest hype from hipstersville! I mean, what we need here in the oh-ohs is a band (even if it is one numbnut playin' all the instruments himself sorta like a Todd Rundgren for the inbred crowd) rehashing the best moments of PHALLUS DEI mixed with Stooges-level proficiency and if anything the Joshua Jugband 5 are the band that not only can, but has pulled such a Herculean task off at a time when one woulda thought rockism (in the purest, fanzine-bred sense) to have gone out with the Edsel as they used to say on long-forgotten sixties sitcoms I still get blasted for loving the dickens outta! And I liked that CD-R enough that I gave it a boffo review in the pages of BLACK TO COMM #25 and believe it or not but I've actually cherished having my own personal copy of this self-produced rarity even if I haven't played the blamed thing since that original writeup almost four years back.
Well, I'd be lying if I told you that there wasn't ONE BIG THING standing in the way of this Cee-Dee and a good review, and it's the performer's very own brother! Y'see, the "brain" behind the JJ5, namely a Swede going by the name Jakob Olausson, is none other than a very close blood relative of one Heinrich Olausson, a squirt of a fair-weathered "friend" of not only myself but the entire BLOG/BLACK TO COMM reason-for-being who, when confronted with a load of half-truth-filled personal-smear campaign lies directed at myself courtesy none other than Jay Hinman on his old AGONIZING SYNDROMES blog, decided that his bread was better buttered on the side of our bald-faced lying amerindie elitist, a turncoat groin-slug that I must admit still stings HARD even this far down the line! Yeah, I always seem to get stuck with these kinda people who pledge allegiance to the BTC way-o'-life one moment then vamoose for what they think are much greener pastures while blabbing total vile bile at myself and my endeavors, and I guess the world is full of cagey cretins whom I've TRUSTED such as Heinrich but that doesn't mean I have to LIKE any of these people who used me as a stepping stone/doormat on their way to wherever it is they can go in alternativeland. (Just take a look at Alan Licht!) And as you can guess, I like Heinrich Olausson just about as much as I like Jay Hinman, Dave Lang, Ken Shimamoto, Ron Rimsite and all of those other abusers whom I've had the misfortune to think of as bona-fide pals and fellow-travelers on the paths to pure BTC-approved righteousness. I used to get that way sometimes.
So what does that have to do with Jakob anyway? Well, remember that the two are brothers. I mean, shit doesn't fall that far from the asshole, right? Yeah, I can see both Heinrich and Jakob up there in their Swedish sauna crackin' open the brews and yappin' about how Heinie pulled a good one over that dumb dago in Sharon before heading out to the local farm for a good round of bestial delights as is wont the more perverted in the already sexed out portions of Scandinavia! And yeah, I also harbored the feeling that Jakob pretty much held the same ill-will towards me as his more "outspoken" brother...well, maybe not. I mean, I'm not sure about it, but perhaps Jakob and Heinrich actually HATE each other, and perhaps Heinrich's snooty oneupmanship putdown of yours truly is but one of the reasons why! Yeah, maybe that's it...these two siblings are forever locked in mortal combat ready to tear each others' oesophaguses out, with Heinrich the rabid anti-BTC hatemonger set to throttle for the sake of godless Hinmanism and Jakob all ready to kill and die for the honor of THEE GREATEST LIVING ROCK WRITER ON THE BOARDS (next to R. Meltzer and maybe Byron Coley) TO GRACE THE LAST TWENTYSOME YEARS WITH HIS TOTALLY ON-TARGET HIGH-ENERGY MUSINGS!!!!! Yeah, that's it! Jakob, you're getting a good writeup from this rock scribe feronceinyerlife!
JOSHUA JUGBAND 5, like I said is a great one-man overdub of primitive rock meanderings but FUN meanderings nonetheless that borrow from the best of the continent from back in the days when the world wasn't quite as small as it seems today. Amidst the garage-recording soundscapes come moments that remind me of krautrock at its punkiest from various Amon Duul (I and II) communal living room jams to things I'm sure only a Swede would know about (plus I gotta admit that that 19-minute closing number sounds kinda Neu!-cum-Harmonia to the point where if someone told me this was some rare Neu! live tape from back in the day I "might" believe him!). Post-psychedelic maybe, but without the acid-burnout feeling. Pretty fresh in fact. Olausson's guitar playing is also in the psyche-mood, perhaps coming a little too close to Bobby Beausoliel's Tracy Freedom Orchestra musings in spots but still fine enough (more SF '66 circa Orkustra than '75 prison hijinx) ro make me wanna bash the nearest headband freak to cross my path.
An hour of true space rock here...a real surprise from a guy who I gotta admit has a brother I wouldn't mind murdering with my bare arms (though a bare gun would do), and a surprise hit outta nowhere. Joshua Jugband 5, all ONE of you, I salute thee.
The Mumps-FATAL CHARM 1975-1980 (eggBERT)
I'm sure everybody who's heard about the Mumps knows the entire sordid story behind them...all starting back in the early-seventies when PBS ran this documentary mini-series entitled AN AMERICAN FAMILY which was more or less about the Loud Family from the comfy confines of Southern California and their supposedly "Typical American Family" ways of life. Nowadays people refer to AN AMERICAN FAMILY as the first reality series (basically the Louds let the PBS people in to film various aspects of their everyday living which was edited into neat one-hour blocks) but in some ways it seemed like some sorta uppercrust refuting of the entire OZZIE AND HARRIET/LEAVE IT TO BEAVER family ideal, ot at least that image as seen through the eyes of PBS elitists anxious to place a death mirror up against any aspect of what might seem to be unfettered wholesomeness at least to their kultured eyes.
Naturally the Louds weren't your typical American family being pretty upper-UPPER midclass (I believe Dad Loud owned a construction firm) with the kids having the freedom to scoot over to Europe to slum around if they pleased and whatnot. Whatever, I remember catching an episode of AN AMERICAN FAMILY in the late-seventies (when the Youngstown/Sharon area finally had a PBS station running) just to see what all the hubbub was about and getting totally nonplussed by the lack of action on the screen to the point where I actually switched over to FANTASY ISLAND on ABC (and believe me, I'd have to be EXTREMELY BORED to do something as desperate as that!). Maybe people do get riveted to this stuff, but to me it was nothing but a higher-class brand of soap. Still, I gotta admit that I passed on the final episode where, right when Mom and Dad were in the midst of the big brouhaha that would ultimately result in their divorce teenaged son Lance comes in to tell the pair that he was a living-and-breathing HOMOSEXUAL which didn't make matters any better that day. Whatever, after the series ended the family split up and Lance, thanks to his nationwide confession, launched his career as an underground icon not only becoming a rock critic of tad renown but getting sandwiched in between Danny Fields and Andy Warhol at Sly Stone's wedding reception (pictured in NEWSWEEK!) and forming his own rock band called the Mumps, who also got pictured in NEWSWEEK when that weekly rag decided to do one of their "whatever happened to..." schpiels a few years later.
From what I can recall three decades after the fact, that passing remark (complete with pic) mentioned that Lance and his Mumps were recording an album with producer Earle Mankey (ex-Sparks as if you didn't know) for the Beach Boys' Brother records (!) and even at that tender age I saw a crazy appeal in the Mumps look that kinda hit me kinda like the Flamin' Groovies did when I first found out about 'em around the same time. When I finally heard the Mumps via a live @ CBGB tape some years later I merely shrugged 'em off as a passing fancy more or less in the same vein as a lotta other local punk bands who were "there" but not enough to sate my undying drone-throb thirst. And by the time new wave developed into "gnu wave" and what was once innovative and fresh now seemed hackneyed I gotta admit that I cared about as much about the Mumps as I did most of the bands who came up with them a good half-decade earlier. I mean, I still had heavy hankerings for what had transpired in that oft-maligned decade we call the seventies, but now it was for the more high-energy moments such as Rocket From the Tombs and MX-80 Sound amongst a bevy of other sonic explorers. Frankly, by this time the Mumps seemed about as relevant to my musical genetics as the Harmonicats.
Of course that was a good quarter-century back, and now that the "coast is clear" as they say it's safe to admit that maybe a good portion of that seventies new wave was rather fun stuff and downright exciting despite the entire kahuna sorta toppling over into eighties Madonnaisms (a sad end-point for a scene that held so much promise!). True I can still see the value and excitement in the early three-piece Talking Heads long before they became an art project, and even a spin or two of classic Blondie is par for the course here in the jaded late oh-ohs so why not give the Mumps another chance since I've been doing that for everyone from Blue Oyster Cult to Aerosmith these days! At least these snot-nosers, just for their mere existence, seemed pretty exciting back in the days when one could find fun rockism thrills for mere cents at the local flea market!
Musically the Mumps ain't great shakes, at times sounding like a softer variation of En Why See punkisms or the B-52s or Blondie (or just about any other up-and-coming local band that wasn't heavy metal or no wave or rockabilly/blues) for that matter, perhaps without the special "something" that made those groups the stars they eventually became. (I gotta admit that Loud does not have that great of a singing voice and wacky stage antics don't always translate to record.) Much of the time they come off like Bearsville/early-Island-period Sparks which would figure given all of that overboard dribble that Loud would spew on the Mael Brothers in the pages of CIRCUS, though believe-it-or-not but even the specter of QUEEN can be discerned which does tend to send me back to those days of yesteryear when that band seemed to pop up from nowhere thusly infusing a strong sense of homophobia in many a budding pureblood. (Some who might have even gagged on their popcorn whilst watching that final AMERICAN FAMILY episode!) Still I gotta admit that I like the entire kahuna not necessarily because the Mumps represent the schtickier side of the seventies but for its revelation of that decade's more nobler aspects...the same one that seemed to present for us a smart pop sense and garage band albums even though boring singer/songwriters and hard rock morons held sway in the day (c'mon, you know the rant!).
Nice popisms here (like on "Anybody But You") mixed with the more outright En Why to El Lay sound and vision make the Mumps a band that you might wanna reckon with, if you're homesick for the days when it seemed that garage-bred energies had a chance (a miniscule chance, but one that at least guaranteed cheap cutout prices for such big label writeoffs within a few months!). At least it sounds much better and to-the-point than a lotta the mire the Mumps inevitably led to, which come to think of it probably sounds a lot better'n the stuff that all those bigname seventies bands led to as well but I don't wanna argue the big progressive vs. punk debate right now, especially while I'm listening to the Sparks-bred decapop of "Not Again."
(And while I'm at it, I should mention that track #4 "Muscle Boys" ought to be noted for inspiring none other than Craig Bell to write "Muckraker" after he caught Loud and band performing it on...THE TONIGHT SHOW in '74!!!)
As for Lance Loud, I remember him telling the press very shortly after AN AMERICAN FAMILY helped change television (for the better or worse I do not know) that he wasn't gay at all and that he was "going through a phase." We knew better, and so did he when he started popping up on PBS's TALES OF THE CITY and writing for THE ADVOCATE (as well as DETAILS and other magazines I've never read and probably never will) before proving to us just how gay he was by dying of AIDS. I think I should also mention Loud's friend and Mumps keyboardist Kristian Hoffman who not only was featured on AN AMERICAN FAMILY but eventually ended up hanging about the New York no wave scene (Lydia Lunch being a Mumps follower) singing on James White albums and acting in that long-held-up docudrama DOWNTOWN '81 before recording a slew of CDs that also appear, as does FATAL CHARM, on the eggBERT label. I do have reservations about buying Cee-Dees from a company named after that stoopid cartoon fetus of yore (which used to embarrass my mother to all heck when I'd be trolling for BELIEVE IT OR NOT paperbacks at the store) but I'll forget the childhood confusion for now. And if you're just as hung up, you might wanna forgo any past discomforts and snatch this disque up if only to help fill in your seventies rock psyche cracks at least a li'l bit.
(A DISCLAIMER: if you think this particular post has a sort of disturbing taint to it, you're absolutely right! An explanation is in order, mainly that I wrote the above under the influence...not of alcohol or some illegal substance but a ten-inch "white" pizza with fried greens, hot juicy red peppers and gorgonzola cheese which judging from my current mental state is just as psychotropic and mind-altering as the heavy-handed stuff! Believe me, a pizza like this just bursting with heavy duty strength is not mere kid stuff, and hopefully by my next post I'll come down off this trip and write something more in "tune" with the natural spirit of this blog for ya. But I doubt it.)
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