Muscular Christians-DAN MARINO IMPORTANT MESSAGE; LET'S GET A TAN CDs
Kosmic Daydream-PSYCHOSOMATIC PLAYGROUND CD (both available through CD Baby)
IMPORTANT NOTE TO BLOG TO COMM'S MYRIAD ASSORTMENT OF MALCONTENTED CAMP FOLLOWERS! PLEASE READ THIS BEFORE PROCEEDING ON TO THE ACTUAL REVIEW!!!!: the following review of these three items is going to be one that will, like a good many of these postings, have interest, relevance and meaning for me and me only! Although some of you faithful standbys "might" be able to extract various shards of much-needed information from this review, a good many will find both the subject matter and my re-reinforcing of various well-known facts and common assumptions in this writeup a total waste of one's precious time and perhaps even bodily fluids. Therefore, if you do not feel in the mood for any of my rock history rehashings or discussions of musical acts you never heard of and perhaps never will outside of this blog and a few personal myspace pages, please exit as soon as possible and try to console yourself by rubbing off to various amerindie/alternative speculations that can be easily obtained elsewhere. Don't say you haven't been warned.
***OK, now for you REAL, TRUE-BLUE BLOG TO COMM READERS who dared to stick it out with your Fearless Leader this far down the tubes here's a review of three discs that I've chosen to lump together not only because the two acts in question seem to have a certain sense of under-the-counter rockism appeal to 'em (in their own way) and both tend to take to the more quiet side of musical erudition, but because today's acts were both easily spotted at the old CB's 313 Gallery located smack dab next door to the more famous CBGB, and as people who've read me for years can tell you I certainly know when to milk my underground rock & roll historical knowledge for all it's worth!
Anyhoo, both the Muscular Christians and Kozmic Daydream were groups who could more or less be easy enough to tune in if you (like me) were savvy enough to enjoy CBGB via virtual reality aka their live cybercasts. And, like most of the acts that played the smaller next door room(s) at CBGB (a space which, towards the end of its long run, was almost akin to what the old Mercer Arts Center was with three stages featuring simultaneous underground entertainment) these bands had that spiffy New York street smart sound that had been around since the sixties when the Fugs and David Peel were taking the folk boom into even more perilous directions than Jack Linkletter ever would have dreamed. And you know darn well that had both the Muscular Christians and Kosmic Daydream had been around in the sixties or even the seventies they probably would have been one of hundreds of under-the-covers local groups that woulda came and went without leaving any sort of recorded memorabilia to remember them by. At least with the glut in self-produced wares that have plagued many-a-rockfan from the nineties onward thanks to cheap Cee-Dee pressing rates there are a few acts which fortunately have released product that I at least find worthy of repeated listening, and thankfully my moolah was well-spent plunking it down on these two relics of mid-oh-ohs underground folk/rock/punk cusping that, fortunately, hearkens back to earlier achievements while staking some sort of occult claim for the future. Or so we hope!
As for the Muscular Christians...well, with a name like that I was expecting either a C. S. Lewis-derived buncha religious nuts or maybe something akin to the same sorta anti folk of the eighties that in fact helped create the original CBGB Canteen space that the Gallery eventually turned into. I shoulda been tipped off at least by the fact that these Muscular types have appeared on Gallery bills with ex-Holy Modal Rounder Peter Stampfel that they were going to be closer to the HMR-style of NYC street folk. I mean, sheesh, both Stampfel and fellow Rounder Steve Weber are thanked on both of this groups' platters! However, whether this act was taking cues from the acoustic folkie Rounders or the psychedelic rockin' version of the band remained to be seen and really, given how much I like the Rounders of both varieties you can be sure this was gonna be a mystery that I certainly was anxiously awaiting to discover for myself!
In my humble opinion Cee-Dee Numero Uno DAN MARINO IMPORTANT MESSAGE's the better of the group's two offerings, not only showing a fine Rounders-styled acoustic pounce that hasn't been heard in quite awhile but a high-larity that really does seem out of place especially coming from the oft-sullen underground (at least for the past twennysome years or ever since AIDS ruined these liberteenagers' fun 'n games for a long long time). And with subject matter ranging from molesting little boys to Harvey Fierstein all done in about as bad a taste as you could imagine how can one go wrong? Hokay (in order to prove I am not in the back pockets of these Christians or anything related thereof) I gotta say that the broken-tooth Appalachian style of the Rounders (as well as that of early Dylan and of course all those real broken-toothed Appalachians) is missing...these guys clearly have been to the dentist, and that there shoulda been more of that fingerpickin' style so crucial to all of those original Rounders platters you so nearly and dearly love. But then again the Michael Hurley classic "Slurf Song" from the "watershed" HAVE MOICY! doth appear here and that should help realign at least some of your basic core beliefs with regards to these guys.
Followup Cee-Dee LET'S GET A TAN is a whomper as well...a much different whomper at that as not only have the Muscular Christians undergone some personnel changes since release #1 some years earlier but good sound overhaul as well with the addition of drums and more electric instrumentation that makes this a much diff. animal 'n the Musculars of yore. But don't fret Sweet Polly, for LET'S GET A TAN is still a nice folk rocker in itselt, perhaps more akin to Peter Stampfel and the Bottlecaps than the Rounders but good 'nuff for those of you who miss the late-eighties mini-revival of the Stampfel sound that seemed to be making an imprint on the amerindie scene of the day. (This even has a re-do of "Slurf Song" that's pretty much an entirely different animal if you can fathom that!) This time the subject matter ranges from mideast terrorists to Dr. Phil, but no matter how grim the outlook may be these guys really know how to look in the face of the apocalaypse and laff out loud!
Finally on today's itinerary's the sole Cee-Dee by Kozmic Daydream, yet another new buncha young upstarts who like I said had been playing many a gig at the CB's 313 Gallery 'stead of the main room. However, at least judging from PSYCHOSOMATIC PLAYGROUND these cats 'n kitten're ready to play just about any major stage with their unique blend of classic late-sixties rock moves with less-enthralling modern punquisms that at least work unlike similar efforts by a variety of other new groups mining old territory out there! The Kosmic Goddess (!) a.k.a. Jennifer de los Santos is the lead vocalist who gives the group their unique push with her nasal-y Betty Boop voice, while the guitar/bass/drums backing are more'n apt in not only recalling the better moments of late-sixties West Coast rock but eighties/nineties underground styling of all stratas which like I said works despite these rather sorry influences. (Which is kinda strange, because when I tuned this band in back in the mid-oh oh's I thought Kosmic Daydream were just another buncha alternarubes who were mixing their hippie up with hokum even worse than David Crosby at his rheumiest!) Nice under-the-coverisms here, and if anything Kosmic Daydream remind me of this bunch that also came outta NYC in the early-nineties called the Deep Space Sextet who also had a Boopish lead vocalist fronting this Big Brother and the Holding Company-esque aggro with a synth (!) who wore their influences proud by performing "Turtle Blues". Kosmic Daydream don't quite go that far, but give 'em time and take away their Clash records and who knows what genius they may come up with!