Sunday, December 02, 2007


See the fellow on the right (well, I'm sure you have stumbled across his visage somewhere before, eh???). Well, truth be known that this unfortunate broken-down bum is none other than memeME, and the reason for the empty pockets routine being displayed is that I've been spending (some may say "tossing down a rathole") a whole lotta moolah, way more'n I should, albeit on things that are certainly useful to my existence such as albums of both the vinyl and aluminium kind not to mention some reading material that I thought would accompany my moozikal listening hours in the evening (and all day Sundays!) a lot better'n if I just stared at the patterns on my wall for the duration. And yes, the hefty order from Volcanic Tongue did arrive, while my Forced Exposure one is due to show up this Monday and believe-it-or-leave-it but both of these events in my rather uneventful life are making me happier than George Maharis and Johnny Ray in a San Francisco men's room on shore leave day! Not only that but I splurged some dough for other items (which will remain TOP SECRET as of this writing!) as well as pilfered a few measly yet meaningful goodies from ebay that certainly will make for good future post fodder, and although I'm certainly in the Holiday Mood with a whole buncha material items either safely in the confines of my abode or arriving within the span of a few days let's just say that I'm the ONLY one around who's gonna be in the Christmas Spirit! Frankly, due to my impulsive ways I can't afford to buy any presents for friends and family, something which I'm sure will earn me terminal folding table status at all future family get togethers and who can blame 'em?

So, let's just say that I probably won't be dishing out the big bucks for quite awhile, but on the bright side I'll have a whole buncha goodies up for review for the next month or two so it's not like a total loss! Yes, sometimes "big spender" me has to learn to pull in the reigns and taper off on all of that spur of the moment buying (usually done late at night on the computer in the middle of a caffeine burnout), but at least you (the humble reader who I bend over backwards to please on totally rocksim terms) are in store for some mighty writeups on this blog in the weeks ahead so let's just say that my loss of cash is your gain, in reading some of the best rockfan-oriented critiquing and otherwise scab-picking writeups to be seen on the pixel'd screen, savvy?

Here's what I was able to devour and digest since the packages started a'rollin' in. Some items will be held back in order for multi-review gangbang article-length posts and are right now ruminating in the fertile valley of my psyche, so don't expect EVERYTHING all at once. This is just a tidbit appetizer before the ten-course dinner more or less, so don't gorge least not yet!

Lul-INSIDE LITTLE ORAL ANNIE LP (Eksakt, the Netherlands)

I'm sure that a lotta you beyond-obsessive music fans have had jags where you just HADDA hear some coulda been because of various critical reports or just because their name sounded rocking enough for that matter...and after years of toil and search you finally latch onto a tape or perhaps even officially released disc by said group only to be disappointed to find out that all of your preconceptions that were built up by the self-hype and your over-active imagination were hardly if at all met by this once-elusive wundergroup. Well, if you're expecting me to say that I was let down by this particular album which you KNOW I have been on the lookout for for twenny years well, you're wrong again, oh presumptuous one!

Yes, you could say that Lul's INSIDE LITTLE ORAL ANNIE longplayer was well worth the wait but it wasn't. Actually I would have been much better off had my still flavor-bud mind been exposed to this underappreciated classic back when it came out but who could fault me for not being able to latch onto one way back in the day when its IMPACT would have been much greater? It wasn't like the Eksakt label (probably best known for their logo, a cartoon image of a dog taking a dump) really gave that much a hoot about getting their product out to the public, or at least those in the square who wanted to hear their rather tempting catalog. And in the mad rush of late-eighties indie releases coming out from all corners of the globe it was more'n obvious that an album such as this was going to be buried under the weight of all of the big name underground rock offerings that were bound to get all of that all-umportant 'zinespace. But it's still too sad that something the high quality of this would get shoved aside by goobers whose poor li'l ol' hearts were palpatatin' to the grimy beat of all of those rather zilch-par tossouts that certain "competetive" blogs like to harp about until the cows come home even if their salability past the year 1990 was rather dubious at best.

OK, it has an unsuspicious looking cover and the group snap on the back looks even twee-er than the rank and file alternative/indie bands of the nineties. And am I missing an insert? I thought there was one which listed Lul's favorite and most influential acts a la the Aural Fit CD (names I recall that were supposed to be on the list included Wire, MX-80 Sound, Metallica, and Chic???). I guess I have less to rely on than my own ears here, but what INSIDE LITTLE ORAL ANNIE's got is one hegguva raw power putsch that doesn't give up one bit, a really classy pile of throttle that probably didn't make it out to the punkazoid public at large because it was too good to get out there and influence a new generation into making better and more intense music in their garages. And I guess we are all the sadder for it, really!

Like the best punk rock, Lul takes the time and effort to borrow from all sorts of expressive sounds with heavy metal, pop and even art rock making its way into the tight Ramones structures in a fashion that I'm sure even Wire never would have dreamed of. Speaking of Wire, there is quite a noticable influence of that group detected here as is the presence of the mid-eighties even-newer generation of metal bands that seemed like such a saving grace at the time. Of course you have to toss in the "cultured" Dutch vocalese which actually reminds me of David Bowie more'n anything as well as the mid-eighties underground outlook that fortunately only suckered me until the early-nineties, but put 'em all together and they spell a nice, perhaps even moving ("oh!" I hear you say!) slab of high energy rock & roll which I can't decide is the death knell for the early-eighties brand of hard-rock hijinx or perhaps the harbinger of a new era of underground rock that never really came to fruitation?

Two decades of hindsight later even a usually nonplussed sort as I's gotta say that INSIDE LITTLE ORAL ANNIE's a guaranteed BLOG TO COMM whaddeva-happened-to? winner, and it's way too bad that not only their old label hadda suppress it, but their NEW one which has just reissued this as well as their followup and other flotsam on one Cee-Dee is doing the same thing as well! And maybe they should know better, but until then be like Sammy Davis Jr. and keep an eye out for this in any format you may choose. At least it survives to prove that not all underground/punk records released in the late-eighties were mere shadows of what had gone before even though I tended to think so at the time (and now as well, come to think of it!).

The Squirrels-"Smoke"/"Hey You" 45 rpm (Orange)

Y'know, but I've been on my New York rock jag obsession for years now and even after all this time and all of the interesting groups I have uncovered there's no lettin' up on it! I'm probably the only person in the world who can claim to having this malady, but sheesh I pretty much would like to hear just about every rock group that played on the En Why See underground rock circuit not only during those "Golden Years" but those immediately preceeding them and a few after as well! Not too interested in the more "punk" acts that were spawned in the immediate aftermath of Sex Pistoldom though, but those with that sorta sense that "they hadda do what they hadda do" sans any impetus from England or elsewhere mind you. Punky perhaps, but not "punque". You know, the everyday suburbanite bands that were flocking to CBGB and Max's Kansas City reveling more in mid-sixties tomfoolery or late-sixties experimentation for that matter, and thankfully the internet has exposed some of these groups to me so far (after all, there are probably more'n a few aging guys whose careers went zilchville and in order to rectify something in their lives wanna put up their own Myspace pages to say that yeah, they played CBGB way back when too!) but there are still more that have sorta fell between the cracks of rock history just WAITING to be dug up and exhibited like King Tut's leathery corpse. I mean, where are all you guys who used to be in bands like Master Radio Canaries and Junior Birdmen anyways? (I know you guys are scouring the search engines hoping for even a tiny little mention of past endeavors somewhere out there in the great blogosphere!) Anybody involved with these or many other oft-ignored groupings care to drop a line and make all that hard work you did thirtysome years back PAY OFF for once??? If you're gonna waste your fifteen minutes of fame, you might as well waste it on me!

So thankfully I once in awhile do come across some item that did (miracles of miracles) make it out back in the day, but not to the extent that a distributor like Bomp or even Systematic would've picked up their wares up for the good of all men! Like this 'un by the ne'er-to'be heralded New York group the Squirrels. I remember seeing their name splattered across the entire CBGB/Max's scene during the very-late seventies usually on the same bill with the Ants, a trio of Puerto Rican origin led by the brother/sister team of Jaime and Nilda Canabis (!) which had originally popped up on the original mid-seventies scene as Antenna before Von Lmo and Otto von Ruggins copped that nom-de-no wave. At the time I figured that the Squirrels were just another one of those flash rarities that were here one day and gone the next, though after finding out that none other than former Lennon protege David Peel had signed them to his Orange label I really was more'n curious to at least find out a little more about this "porn rock" group that you could bet wasn't gonna be getting much promo space in the latest NEW YORK ROCKER,

No porn here, but the two sides of this probably only Squirrels release is pretty hitcha between the eyes quap, even as far as these "killed by death" as they say indie singles went. Don't let the early-seventies glam looks fool you, the Squirrels have little if anything to do with that era in rock which already seemed antiquated by the time the late-seventies rolled around. Believe-you-me, if the Squirrels owe anything to the past it's the MID-SIXTIES, or maybe even earlier as the a-side to this 'un, "Smoke", seems to owe more than a "passing" resemblance to the Bell-Notes' "I've Had It"! Only the typically modern guitar solo jolts you back to '79, but otherwise this could have passed for a proto-garage bopper from two whopping decades prior if you only squinted your ears a bit. Flipster "Hey You" does tred up the rock evolutionary ladder a wee bit, this time to the mid-sixties British Invasion sound, and the Squirrels come even closer to that than all of those moptop imitators of the day with moves straight outta the '64 Beatles! Who knows, maybe that's why Peel picked up on 'em!

Both side were recorded live in front of a sparse and nonchalant audience sounding like one of those garage band singles that was recorded in a roller rink in '62 by the group's manager and slapped onto a single to sell at future shows. There is a certain rec room ambience because of it. And those of you who are expecting porn will certainly be let down, but late-seventies archaeologists should have fun dusting off the grooves in order to piece together a bit more New York rock history. And besides, shortly afterwards Peel took the fledgling G.G. Allin under his wing...can't get anymore porn than that!
Flower Travellin' Band-SATORI CD (Phoenix)

Here's the premier bitta booty from my Volcanic Tongue order to get the royal treatment, the first in hopefully a long line of blog reviews to emanate from that megapackage hopefully stretching out within the span of at least three months! And yeah, I gotta say that I had high hopes for this second offering from the legendary Flower Travellin' Band...y'see, I often don't get enough heavy metal into my bloodstream like I should (pardon moi if I've used that expression at least fifty times in my ***ahem!*** "writing career") and given the notoriety surrounding this Japanese classic that actually managed to get international distribution thanks to Atlantic how could I resist?

Well, if that's the case I guess I better do some more heavy duty resisting lest my bank account empty to an all-time low because I was hopin' for a more feral approach to the metallic idiom more akin to the entire classic '71-era CREEM-approved madness that pretty much helped to set the stage for HM shenaniganzas for the next five years or so. Oh, I gotta say that I do like the thing, but it's "like" as in the way I like cheap imitations of the real stuff, like the way I like TWO VIRGINS because of how it apes everything from John Cage to Harry Partch or the way I like Count Five because of their obvious Yardbird rehashing into a Southern Californian state of rockism affairs. As for SATORI, it does remind me of a Toyota...remember the way that venerable auto corporation (as well as other Japanese concerns like Prince and Mitsubishi) would take styling ideas straight from Detroit and sorta fudge around with 'em coming out with their own strange Earth-Three-styled variations on old reliable Mustang and Chevrolet models? Better yet remember the early-sixties Chrysler/Dodge front ends with the diagonal headlights that were affixed to mid-sixties pickup bodies??? Well, the Flower Travellers do the same thing with the then-popular Western hard rock, with Zep and Sab riffs galore plus a traditional Japanese melody wailed in there to bring things back to their prospective roots. If you ever wanted to hear what a Japanese rock version of a 1971 Celica sounded like, here's your chance!


Anonymous said...

I knew the Master Radio Canaries from Long Island. LI had quite a few large hippy 'clans' and I went to a lot of their parties, took their acid, listened to their VDGG and Can albums. Saw them many times and used to own cassettes of their lengthy pieces with names like "The Idi Amin Factor" and "Cruise Missiles To Your Heart".

There was another art band called Ping Pong that came out of the ashes of Glenn Branca's The Static and Theoretical Girls. They were a Soho band, played at places like Tier 3, The Mudd Club. Musically they were more complex and through composed than the Canaries but they were also more of a performance art thing. One night they inserted the last section of Stravinsky's Symphony in Three Movements into their finale. I doubt many people recognized it as the Soho scene was bigger on attitude than musical literacy. But you could really hear that Stravinsky influence in all of their stuff, the asymmetrical rhythms. Very nice.

Taka Iki was a great sax trio from Philly. I wonder if any recordings exist of them. I would just label their music as 'sound geometry'.

Christopher said...

Uh, any more concrete information like names, dates recordings etc???? Let's just say you've really piqued my interests this time!!!!

Anonymous said...

I remember The Squirrels and the aforementioned song.-I also remember a "movie" being filmed at Max's that the Squirrels were in. The lead singer has been on "Oz" and other Tv shows from time to time..

Have forgotten his name...

arcticranger said...

I forgot about my reply here, I am the guy who knew those art rock bands on LI and downtown.

email is

I have some recordings yes. Who doesn't?