Wednesday, March 05, 2008


My recent review of the new Lookies split-single had me going back to the group's CD-R from way back 2005 way, a release that certainly didn't make that much of an indent in my life or else I would have remembered it before writing last Sunday's review. After re-reading my original opinions regarding that "mini-CD" (five tracks only) I could tell that I wasn't quite that enthused by the thing, perhaps soured by way too many very-similar-minded endeavors o'er the past twenty-some years to really care. However, a replay last night proved that, if anything, the Lookies of '05 were just as good as the present-day model with a nice slowed-down sorta hardcore/heavy metal cusp sound (again) not that too dissimilar from the likes of various Jeff Dahl aggregates of the early-mid eighties. Of course Powertrip came to mind, but then again there seems to be a nice tip of the hat to various other young upstarts of the eighties making up the Lookies' DNA that kinda has my head swirlin' way back to the days when TAKE IT! seemed to be the true standard-bearer for such underground squall. And a note to Brad K., I am in a bad mood today and this review hasn't been tempered by any negative vibes on my part. For modern-rock enthusiasts searching for jamz in an ever-decreasing genre.

Getting humongous spin-time on the chairside laser launching pad's David Bowie's THE MAN WHO SOLD THE WORLD, a strange admission for someone whose own personal opinions of the man have ranged from extreme wonderment (mostly during my teenage years) to rabid hatred depending on which issue of KICKS I have just read. I will say one thing about this 1970 release (acc. to Nick Kent a pair of bookends to the rock of that year with FUNHOUSE being the other), and that is it's sure a lot more pleasurable listening to Bowie rip off Black Sabbath for a change instead of Donovan or James Brown. This even tops all of that Ziggy-period glam and glitch that everybody says was a Stooges goof but to me came off more or less like Elton John after his latest hit of amyl nitrate at the White Swallow gay bar. I remember reading the always wonderful (even when he's getting into his underage teenage-idol gal lust mode) Metal Mike Saunders praising this one to the rafters in his must-read heavy metal history that PHONOGRAPH RECORD MAGAZINE published back in '73...of course a few years later Saunders was making "controversial" statements along the lines of "show me a punk band that was listening to the Stooges in 1972 and I'll show you a great band. Show me a punk band that was listening to David Bowie in 1972 and I'll show you a bunch of glitter faggots." Which kinda makes me wonder which year Saunders was listening to MAN... Care to retract anything, Mike???

Here's one that I picked up and reviewed in the latest ish of my own rag, and at the time I remember being rather iffy about it despite the fact that Crystalauger's TERRANAUT album was presented as an outta-nowhere self-released early-seventies artyfact with hefty Velvet Underground references. And yeah, this ain't no Hackamore Brick, but I gotta admit that I love the way TERRANAUT has this sorta early-seventies "hip" swivel filtered through primitive garage band playing and recording techniques. Kinda reminds me of the great albeit low-budget early-seventies vintage album by some here-now/gone-later guys from Los Angeles called White Light that I reviewed way back in issue #20. At times Crystalauger sound as if they don't know if they want to be the Velvet Underground or Steely Dan...well, what else would you expect from a group that were supposedly American soldiers (and American Indians too!) stationed in Southeast Asia recording this disc in Thailand!

Since Drag City's re-released this 'un on good ol' vinola (with additional tracks) I thought I'd yank my CD of Mayo Thompson's 1970 solo album CORKY'S DEBT TO HIS FATHER out just to see just how much it resonates in my ever-decaying brain this far down the underground rock turnpike. A long-desired platter for this long-time fan of the original Red C/Krayola (as well as those late-seventies forays with various Pere Ubuites adding some hotcha brownie points), I must admit that I originally wasn't that jazzed by CORKY, in fact likening it to a load of late-eighties mid-Amerigan underground recordings being made by way too many kids mixing their punk up with hippie rumblings coming to the fore. Nowadays I gotta say I really like it a lot more than I originally had...true this isn't an extension of GOD BLESS THE RED KRAYOLA like Greg Prevost said it was in the pages of FUTURE, but it's highly-engrossing late-period psychedelic singer/songwriter (in the best sense) rock with a garage credo still intact and running on good ol' down home Deep South hardsauce rather'n Southern Californian cocaine karma. These mixes of avant garde music and rural upbringings always worked wonders for groups like the Hampton Grease Band and Debris, and of course it shines fine when handled by Thompson on this attempt to "blow Van Morrison off the map" as he once stated in THE NEW YORK ROCKER. I had a good joke lined up about the cover engraving of a Victorian missy making goo-goo's at a chimpanzee behind bars, but for the sake of good taste I won't mention it.

And finally for today's chitchat's this relatively new platter that's certainly flew under my radar to the point of stealthness. Didn't know about this HARMONIA LIVE 1974 CD (Water) until recently and it's a good thing I got this 'un when I did because who knows how long it's gonna stay on the market! I mean, I lollygagged when that Harmonia with Eno disque was available about ten years back and just try getting a copy now! Anyway, you may be fooled into thinking this is a Harmonia studio album because not only are all the tracks previously-unreleased, but there is no audible applause or any indication that there's an audience out there grooving to Harmonia's rather hypno-beat electronica! I guess everyone there was stoned outta their minds to give any sign of life! It's a nice slice of mid-seventies krautopia, not as dynamic as their debut nor is it as electro-pop as DELUXE but still it has this great analog synth sound with a beat-box rhythm and Michael Rother's fine guitar lines weaving in and out when appropriate. At times this almost has the same ambience as a typical mid-seventies Suicide tape, without Alan Vega's over-the-top Stoogeisms and Byron Coley heckling the guy to fisticuffs, that is.


Anonymous said...

In your comments on Crystalauger's Terranaut, a correction. This was produced by a group of High School Students at the Singapore American School. No American soldiers were involved. I am aware of this becuase I was at school with them at the time.

Christopher Stigliano said...

Thanks for the information, Bruce!