Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Etron Fou Leloublan-LES TROIS FOU'S PERDEGAGNENT (AU PAYS DES...) CD (G&R Essential Music, Russia)

When I picked up this Cee-Dee (purely outta curiousity) I really didn't know what to expect. Believe it or not, but your humble blogger has about as much knowledge about the "Rock in Opposition" groups of the seventies (even Henry Cow, the most opposing rock band of all!) as he does of advanced calculus (or anything else that's growing on his teeth) mainly because...well there were always these other exciting groups worthy of my time and what little money I had and it wasn't like I had an opportunity to seek everything out. But I'm always on the go to try something different (no, not that you thilly thing!) so's I decided to pluck down some dinero for this recent reissue of the second platter by the French sax/bass/percussion trio Etron Fou Leloublan just to see for myself whether or not all of those innerlectual articles on these supposedly "austere" continental groups that were popping up in OP and TROUSER PRESS were worth paying attention to in the first place!

The good part: Etron Fou's use of a variety of Gallic and international starting points in creating their own style which, while sounding "French" enough owes loads to not only the jazz rock likes of Magma but people as diverse as Philip Glass and Captain Beefheart. And like Magma or Beefheart you can't call it strict avant garde jazz or even progressive rock (or at least prog as in "classic" rock ELP/Yes/Genesis mellotronica), but something that while still in the realm of brainy anal-retentiveness does have a certain swing to it that makes for good foot kick-up listening. I'm sure these guys wowed the audience at CBGB back in '82.

The bad part: the Zappa influence which not only seems to permeate a good portion of this European progressive rock but seems to overwhelm the more "freaked out" vocal stylings just as much as Zappa's own lack of personal hygiene knocked out more than a few groupies. I mean it's bad enough listening to Zappa's own "bizarre" musical/societal jibes and "digs" but it sounds even worse spoken in a foreign tongue! But at least these Leloublans don't stoop to the slick fusion music of mid-seventies Zappa, and personally I felt this engaging enough that perhaps some more of these late-seventies RIO platters are in order, right?

UGLY THINGS #26 (a rock & roll publication!)

Although I only got the thing yesterday, I thought I'd better tell you all about the latest issue of UGLY THINGS before some creep out there trying to garner up some blogger brownie points does. And man-oh-man is this one yet another winner! Remember when you wuz a kid and you'd stay buried in your bedroom for a good two or three hours just pourin' through the latest comic books, or back in the eighties when you'd finally get the new issue of KICKS or THE NEXT BIG THING and nothing short of an atomic bomb up your wazoo could rouse you from the intense concentration of finding out more about your fave rock and roll icons than you ever knew existed? Well this new issue of UGLY THINGS'll not only bring back fond memories of a spendthrift youth but keep you locked inside your abode for a good four nights let alone hours straight with only time out for pee-breaks! (Which doesn't matter since you can always bring the magazine in there witcha!) And really, if you don't salivate at the thought of holding one of these throbbing young issues between the palms of your sweaty hands then you don't know what rockism means, an' it's a lot more'n what you'll find in a wide variety of newsstand mags claimin' to deal with the heart and soul of "rock music" (or "rap" or "jazz" or "what-have-you") these days that's for sure!

I'm sure that there are many people out there in real-life-land who will tell you that UGLY THINGS is a fault-filled, unworthy periodical not worthy of your time or moolah, but these people are just about as wrong as I am straight! I dunno where these naysayers, and they are out there, are coming from because the way I look at it UGLY THINGS is perhaps the ONLY rockism mag worth reading these days! If you can, imagine a combination of (WHO PUT THE) BOMP!/DENIM DELINQUENT/BACK DOOR MAN/(insert one of many seventies/eighties worthies here) and multiply the energy by ten and you've got a typical ish of UGLY THINGS, especially in the way it writers hand it to you all matter-of-factly w/o the b.s. and extraterraneous hokum used for filler by way too many rock "critics" using music as a stepping stone to a career writing douche bag instructions. The people of UGLY THINGS come from the suburbs and they know what this music means to people still living there, which is why UGLY THINGS is probably more relevant today than it was when it started up a full quarter-century back!

And yeah, it's a given that the best rock and roll was laid down in the past, and UGLY THINGS editor Mike Stax knows that which is why he's milking the entire sixties/seventies punk era for all its worth and much more! That's the reason UGLY THINGS is such a success and why you should be reading a copy of this mandatory mag as soon as possible before you turn into another Robert Christgau or something. And you wouldn't want that to happen to you now, would you?

Number 26, like the previous killer-diller, is just chock-fulla loads of pertinent and life-enriching rock and roll information and if you think I absorbed every shard, every little factoid of information that was presented within the thing after only a good four hours straight readin' the thing then you're even screwier than I originally thought! However I gotta say that after last night's marathon my head kinda felt like that guy on THE WILD WILD WEST's whose own cranium swelled up because he had gathered so much knowledge that his brain just had to expand! Yes, UGLY THINGS is just that much info-packed, and one mere issue has more real rock and roll history packed in its pages than the entire leather-bound collection of ROLLING STONE has in a good forty years worth and that's including all the ones where they got Lester Bangs, Mike Saunders, Meltzer and Patti Smith to help out with the writin'!

Loads of goodies here, like the 1988 interview with Rob Tyner where the former MC5 frontman got to let his opinions about past White Panther glories be known (and not so glories as well...seems he still had a bit of a mad-on about John Sinclair as did some of the other members of that troupe!) as well as loads of hot, in-depth and potentially hazardous to your underwear pieces on the Sons of Adam, the Pop Rivets (Billy Childish pre-Milkshakes), Pretty Things, Artwoods, Trees, and even the Cedars from Lebanon (!) get a few pages in here which only goes to show you that when Mike Stax and company pay homage to the sixties they go out of their way to do so! And add to that the music, book and DVD reviews and you got it...a good reason not to go out for at least the next seven or so weeks and save your money so's you can purchase a good hunka junk that's being reviewed or advertised...things you NEED 'stead of those bare essentials your parents were always tellin' you about!

And although it's really too early to call, I gotta say that my favorites article in this ish just has to be Johan Kugelberg's hot rundown on "punk before punk" which is mainly a good excuse for him to rant and rave about his favorite proto-punk music and imagery, everything from the Electric Eels to TEENAGE WASTELAND GAZETTE with a whole lotta rare records stuck in-between. Given how much my head's still stuck in '73 like O. Rex's let's just say this piece's gonna be the re-re-re-reread of '08 because there's just so much good high energy here to waste on just one go! But then again, I'll read just about anything on Rocket From The Tombs even if it's those words printed over and over on a sheet of paper...I'm that stoked!

And OK, I know that a few of you readers will want me to write something NEGATIVE about this ish if only to show that I'm not in the back pocket of the one called Stax so...(ulp!) here I go! Actually, I gotta tell you one writer who wrote a whole lotta reviews about Beatle books and DVDs this go 'round is way too much hippydippy 16-pin up 1970 trendy for this mag's great pages. I mean, anybody who would want to take a hunk of nauseating Beatle hagiography like THE US VS. JOHN LENNON and write about it in such glowing, teenage revolutionary terms straight out of a 1960s junior-high underground paper seems part 'n parcel to the unquestioning Beatle brigade of hidebound sixties idealists that I thought UGLY THINGS fought so valiantly against! Sheesh, those reviews where the Beatles get unmercifully bashed for straying from their rock roots sure come off a lot more smooth to my digestive tract, and I am not one of those Beatle-hating guys you sometimes still see either! However, I'm sure this particular person is very nice and I certainly don't wish her any ill will. How's that for an example of just what a kind a generous sort of person I can be when I put my mind to it! And that one page "article" on Les Rallizes Denudes...yikes!!! Everything in that obviously cranked-out tossaway is something I knew about already so where's the originality??? I know that Mike Stax is always on the lookout for "name" writers and he did earn another feather in his cap by getting none other than Gene Sculatti to do a few DVD and book reviews, but what on earth possessed him to include that Denudes piece as well as a half-baked review of some Elliot Murphy demos other than he just felt sorry for some schmuck down on his luck! Well, Stax always did have a kind heart for rock writers and stray dogs I guess, though I wonder how he got this far in life giving bums like that guy precious space in his million-selling mag! You better watch out Mike, or the next thing you know you'll be losing money hand over fist trying to sell your unwanted magazine to people who think you've lost your marbles!

But why should any of the above critique really concern Mike anyways? According to the man hisself, UGLY THINGS is bringing in enough revenue that he actually quit his long-running dayjob at the dungheap to devote his full time to such a moolah-churning endeavor as this little cottage-cheese industry and to that I say...lucky dawg! Let's just hope that we'll continue to see more and more of these UTs tossed our way as the months roll on, because frankly with KICKS just keep getting harder to find and the majors either losing their importance long ago if they had any to begin with it's not like we have that much of a choice, eh?


Anonymous said...

Got my Ugly things in the mail today and as I was giving it an initial flip-through I saw a review of the Elliot Murphy demos LP (which I picked up and was glad of it fo'sho'!) thought it was a familiar topic and a familiar writing style, turned the page and lo and behold it was you!Glad to see you back in print Chris! Cheers, PhilthyRex

Anonymous said...

Don't forget the four reviews by Bill Shute!
Also, Mike asked me to do a full article on the great Johnny Otis for the next UT issue...

who else...Bill S.!

Christopher said...

Yeah Bill, but its like you're the big name, established rock writer whose been contributing to IT for a long time! We're talkin' lowdown losers like that guy who did that pitiful Les Rallizes Denudes piece!

eric said...

The new Ugly Things is fantastic! I really like the interview with Tyner,he saw through Sinclair.

Alison is indeed a very nice person, I've traded emails and CD's with her in the past.

Anonymous said...

Props to Chris & Bill for more great contextual whizz-bangs, and a great bowlful of snarky laffs due to Kulgelberg's rantings, also... I'm with the Stig on this, I've been reading and re-reading zines such as UT, Kicks and BTC for like two decades, loooong after Mojo et al were consigned to the recycling bin, or just the regular dumpster... y'all should check out Pete Frame's newbie tome, The Restless Generation, now THAT is deep content, my friends...

Joss Hutton

Anonymous said...


Pretty mean-spirited comments about Alison's reviews. What a prick you must be. I read them all and they read just fine. I found them balanced and insightful which is a whole lot more than I can say about your rantings. But then, anyone can have a blog, can't they?


Christopher said...
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Christopher said...
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Christopher said...

I deleted my earlier responses to Jeffy's comment because they just weren't ascerbic enough, especially for the cruel and unusual tone that BLOG TO COMM's notorious for. Now is the time to get down to brass tacks as they say...anyway Jeff, if you think my comments regarding Hayes' reviews (or THE US VS. JOHN LENNON for the most part) were "mean spirited" I'd hate to see how you'd react to the likes of Meltzer's review of DAS ENERGI in FUSION or your typical issue of TEENAGE WASTELAND GAZETTE, considering that you're familiar with the downright nasty tone of both Meltzer and the Shernoff gang that is. Frankly I thought I was being nice enough in my writeup even while still being critical, and frankly I'm sure you don't remember me writing that I didn't personally hate the gal even if I do think her style and opines were pretty much 1970 Beatlefan myopic. Of course if you did you wouldn't have written that absurd post but hey, I can understand especially if you're Alison's Philosophy teacher or met her at a peace rally and wanted to score some brownie points. And as far as "balanced and insightful" writings on her part (or mine for that matter) go, that review of THE US VS. JOHN LENNON was just as partisan as your standard VILLAGE VOICE critique of just about everything they pontificate on, and I'm just about positive that this very same writeup could have appeared in their pages with only slight editing. At least I come up front and don't promise that I'm going to give the "other side" of the story when I write a review (especially when there are a million websites and magazines where you can read differing opinions)...I mean, could anyone out there imagine a review of mine where I mercilessly slam a recording, and then (in order to be "fair") give the opposing views regarding the disque in question "equal time"..."Well, I know that there are some people out there who really like James Taylor and maybe we should consider how they feel about this." SHEESH!. you kinda remind me of all those old ladies who used to go around saying "If you can't say anything nice about anyone don't say anything at all"! And if I wanted to be "a mean prick" like you think I am I would have really torn into the lady and perhaps called her just the same amongst other things that would have made you run to the safety of mom's boobies for some comfort. But like I said, I have nothing against Hayes personally, and while I'm at it I guess anyone can have a blog (oooh, that was so "mean spirited" of you to even bring that up!!!) as well as a fanzine like I've head since the eighties as long as they're literate enough and have the time to put into it. What's the point of bringing it up? It's just a big "so what" anyways, and if you thought it would be a powerful ending to a simpy comment you're certainly more off your rocker than I ever would have guessed. Jeff, why don't you just settle down, go back to the commune and chill out with some Boone's Farm and maybe you'll regain your senses a bit. A little John Denver might help soothe your inner child while you're at it. And don't forget the special din-din this evening where Marigold's placenta's gonna be served up in a nice attempt to get one with her newborn's inner-spirit. Yum!

Anonymous said...

“I deleted my earlier responses to Jeffy's comment because they just weren't ascerbic enough,”
That’s A-C-E-R-B-I-C Moron. I read the earlier posts where you ranted incoherently on a variety of topics including 1969’s politicians. Are you having trouble staying focused Chrissie?

“especially for the cruel and unusual tone that BLOG TO COMM's notorious for.”
Really? As far as I can tell, the only thing your blog is “notorious” for is the fact that the “blogger” is a grade A Asshole.

I won’t waste my time going over every point you try to make, however feeble. I do find it ironic that you have no trouble dishing it out but a very cursory review of your blog clearly establishes that you are a thin-skinned pussy who can’t take his own medicine. From your first post, you whimper about former friends, Dave Lang, Jay Hinman and Ken Shimamoto turning on you with negative posts. Were your feelings hurt? So sad little Chrissie.

Perhaps if you embraced some of the peace and love philosophy, which you obviously despise instead of being a venom-filled troll lashing out at the world, your friends wouldn’t turn on you. Do you even have any friends left, Chrissie?

I’m sure your hateful demeanor has gotten you far in life. Do you still live with mommy and daddy in the basement of their house? Are you able to hold down a real job?

Alison expresses herself very well while you are an inarticulate loser, a wannabe who can’t express himself without resorting to nasty barbs. Are you having self-esteem issues, Chrissie? It can't be easy being such a LOSER.

Before you post your response and try to insult me in return, PLEASE try to do something about your run-on sentences. They are almost as annoying as the thoughts you express. And you call yourself a writer? Please.


Christopher said...

Oooh, I'm shuddering in my booties after that last post of yours! Since you really have a 'thing" against my "run-on" sentences I'll keep in nice and simple for your obvious under-developed mind. Oh boy, so I spelled "acerbic" wrong...break out the guillotine! I guess I can't all be oh-so perfect like you are!

Direct me to the posts where I rant about "1969's politicians" since I have no way of knowing what the hell you're talking about. But (chancing that you're only getting apopleptic over my criticisms of the hippie/peace movement) really, are you trying to tell me that the radicals of the late-sixties and seventies were the perfect peace and love maniacs that you and the rest of the left wing media make them out to be? I remember reading stories about the Paris Peace Talks in the early seventies where the North Vietnamese were wildly ecstatic over the fact that the US was in turmoil over the war with a good portion of your famed "1969 politicians" protesting in their behalf, and you can bet those mass murderers were using that simple fact as a bargaining chip! And that only prolonged the Vietnam war which your ilk (and mine, the right-wing libertarians and Robert Taft Republicans of the Ron Paul variety) wanted to end so bad. The only thing your beloved politicians were in favor of was a Communist victory, and there's no getting around that point especially considering some of the downright glee I remember seeing when the South fell back in 1975. At least the more astute amongst your kind (and how few they were!) knew enough to see the evils of the red-tinged peace movement, and they all became Libertarians in the seventies thanks to the work of such stellar minds as Murray Rothbard.

I think I'll skip the "Asshole" commentary (could use a nice juvenile "takes one to know one" retort that seems more in line with the tone of your post) but since the definition of that word is open to discussion maybe you can take it up with your new age priest.

I don't have trouble "dishing it out" or "taking it" (like I'm taking this guff from you, savvy?) The saga of what transpired twixt me and Lang, Hinman and Shimamoto has been gone over and over on this blog and there's no need to rehash it all for lazy readers such as yourself. I guess backstabbers are a common thing here in your wonderful world of peace and love. What else is new?

Oh, and I just loved your remark about how I maybe should have "embraced some of the peace and love philosophy" instead of being a "venom-filled troll lashing out at the world"! Haw, that's rich! Gimme a joss stick and some patchouli oil and maybe I can be a complete human being just like you! You remind me of that white liberal in an R. Crumb comic who's being murdered by a group of blacks and can only mutter "I understand where you guys are coming from"!

And yeah, I do have friends like Lou Rone, Bill Shute and Brad Kohler amongst others, and although we've only gabbed a few times maybe UGLY THINGS honcho himself Mike Stax could be considered one as well. I certainly would consider him a friend even though we may have had our issues in the past, but what friends didn't? Why else would he publish my bile anyway? (I guess that the sarcasm re. me criticizing my own work in the pages of his esteemed magazine flew right by your obviously pointed head. As I once said to the loathsome Jay Hinman "I can be self-deprecating too!") These people haven't done any back-stabbing in order to jump on nice, politically-correct bandwagons (the one I assume you're riding high atop right now) and at my expense, so yeah, I do have buddies in my corner. Stop the presses!

And how did you know that I live with mommy and daddy in the basement of my house? Man, you can read me like a book! And how did you find out about my job at the dungheap anyway???

And while I'm at it, I guess in your own horse-blindered opinion I just can't "express myself" and am an "inarticulate loser" certainly got me dead to right! Lissen pud, I've been writing for a wide array of fanzines including my own since 1981 and I damn well know how to "express myself" (a lot more than you can if your simpleton posts are any indication!) and in way more vivid ways than I assume your love and peace insipidness ever could! Or do you mean "express yourself" in the way your very own interpretive dance teacher says you should "envision yourself a flamingo flying gracefully through the air!"??? And yeah, I agree that Allison expresses herself very well, it's just that I was critical of just what she was expressing herself about and in what sort of tone!

Anyway, someone like Hayes who would approve the comparisons twixt a great president (despite his many liberal faults) like Richard Nixon and a comparatively third-rate one like George W. Bush (although he will be considered one of the greats in about fifty years time...I mean, look at how revered those evil despots like Lincoln, Wilson and FDR are these days!) shouldn't get off so lightly!

Really, I dunno why you're getting so bent outta shape about my review of her other'n you too may be a tie-dyed-in-the-wool hipster who hates to see those sixties radical dreams of yours flitter away along with the rest of the losers who were so sad to see the fall of the Soviet Union back in the nineties. I'm just guessing, but you know I ain't that far off the mark. Did I say I loathed the gal in my writeup? No, I said I think she's probably a nice person (especially compared with you, who comes off like a grade-a peace creep hidebound post-flower child) and I have nothing personally against her. In fact, if she ever would drop me a line or comment on my remarks regarding what I wrote about her (and did it in a civil tone) I'd be totally ingratiating. Just like I would have been with you had you not stepped up on your pithy soapbox showing your peace-symbol angst for all the world to see! What part of the English language do you not comprehend? Do I have to use PICTURES to get my point across to your obv. thick-skulled dome??? Or are you one of the very few who listens to Air America and gobbles up their hard-left idea of just what us anarcho-rightists are "supposed" to be. If you wanna create your own personal strawman just go somewhere else!

Anyway I'm sure this round will elicit another comment from you tonight Jefferoonie. I welcome the sparring really...too many people write in to tell me just how much they love not only this blog but my years of writing in BLACK TO COMM and other important fanzines o'er the years. In fact, some have compared me to such stellar writers (and influences) as H. L. Mencken and Wyndham Lewis! Frankly I am humbled, but then again you'd probably think I was an anti-semite nazi for even being mentioned in the same breath as those two. It would fit the form. But whaddeva, see you tonite!

Christopher said...

OK, that should read "obviously under-developed mind", plus excuse the mistake of placing a comma and a quotation mark around "thing" which I know Jeff will just have to nit-pick about! Oh, why can't we be so harmonious like you, and grammatically correct while we're at it!

Christopher said...

A final you can tell I edited out Hayes' name on the actual blogposting not because of the pithy brouhaha that went on above, but because Mike Stax himself asked me to. Y'see, he thought that Hayes, being a woman and all, might not take the criticism (for what it was) as lightly as if she were a man. And so I did it, not just because Stax wanted me to, but it's nice to see that there are some men out there who harbor good old fashioned feelings about the weaker sex even in these women's libber days! Who says chivalry is dead?