SINGLES GOING STROONADIER EVERY DAY!
On a lark I decided to pick a few seven inchers outta the collection at random and write 'em up for this mid-week crisis review (the crisis being that there ain't any new records comin' out that I exactly feel like giving the time of day to...of course that all may change when the Figures of Light CD finally sees the light of day next week!). Anyway, here are just a few goodies I chanced upon as of the past two days that you may have an affectation for or could care less about for all I know, but then again this is my blog and what I say goes!!! Howzat for spewin' venom outta my frothing mouth Jeffy???
***Alice Cooper-"No More Mister Nice Guy"/"Raped and Freezin'" (Warner Brothers Germany)
I sure do remember when "Mr. Nice Guy" was ridin' high on the AM charts sometime around when I was getting tired of comic books and looking for a new thrill in life. By that time I had pretty much written Alice off as just another freak jive turkey who was trying to look weird while displaying none of the shock tactics that even the cover of Rare Earth's WILLIE REMEMBERS could convey, and this single really didn't do that much for my adolescent sense of outrage (which admittedly was practically nil at the time). So thirty-five years later how does it fare? Well, "Mr Nice Guy" sure sounds a lot keener'n all the other offal that was crowdin' up the AM airwaves like Tony Orlando and Dawn, Vicki Carr and Helen Reddy (stuff girls liked, y'know!) so maybe I shouldn't've been that picky with my listening preferences. Flip "Raped and Freezin'" sounds a lot better though with a title like that I doubt it'd be gettin' much airplay. A real finger-popper that does tend to veer solidly into Rolling Stones/Velvet Underground territory just like Ken Highland said it did in his HYPERION review way back in the day. Strangest thing occured to me while listening to this though...how could Alice have made it so big with rock & roll this good anyway?
***Slade-"Gudbuy 't Jane"/"I Won't Let it 'appen Again" (Polydor Germany)
Part of the same batch of Kraut records (and my copy of UMMAGUMMA) that I bought at an old General Store turned antique shop way out in the boonies a long time ago. I guess the proprietors were selling off the collection of some returning army vet and GUESS WHO was the beneficiary of not only a whole buncha glam-era singles but old copies of CREEM and FUSION (the fanzine issue) that once belonged to our boy in uniform? It wasn't Posonby Britt, that's for sure! Anyway, in anticipation of the copy of SLADE PARADER that I hope will be winging its way to my door soon comes this boffo single, a surprise since I used to think that Slade were instant douse despite all of the rockcrit hype that surrounded these English thug rockers. Well, despite the heavy media putsch this is a cooker of a record with a good enough English thunk on the a-side that I'm surprised wasn't a hit over here, but then again there was a lotta xenophobia being played out in the radio stations of the United States back then which is why T. Rex sadly never did make it big after "Get It On". I prefer the flipster a lot more, a driving song that has enough of the light metal touches that made glam rock such a pleasing antidote to the same early-seventies pop-sludge miasma I mentioned in the previous writeup.
***Distorted Levels-"Hey Mister", "Red Swirls"/Tar Babies-"Rejected at the High School Dance" (Bona Fide)
This one's been bandied about on another blog about a year back, but I thought that maybe you'd want to hear about these archival dig-ups from someone other than a rank amateur. Back in '77-'79 Greg Prevost was editing the great FUTURE fanzine (a rag I sure would like to write up in an up-'n-coming BTC if only Mr. Prevost would get back in touch with me and fill in a few details!) and playing in a number of groups with a whole buncha weird names like The Creatures From The Black Lagoon at poolside parties. House ads in FUTURE promised all sorts of albums and EPs from either Greg's groups or Greg solo, but the only thing to make it out during the days of FUTURE was the Distorted Levels single, a verifiable garage release if there ever was one. It took no time for Greg to disown the thing refusing to talk about it in pretty much the same fashion David Thomas clammed up about Rocket From The Tombs until he needed that punk dinero, but time had softened our former fanzine editor to the point where he eventually allowed Rick Noll's Bona Fide label to re-release this rarity back in the nineties.
Not only that, but Prevost gave Mr. Noll permission to release a heretofore unknown track by another forgotten Prevost group called the Tar Babies but first the Levels. Anyone who's heard this single knows what a winner it is, with Prevost doing his best to sound like Iggy meets Gerry Roslie while FUTURE contributors Carl Mack and Michael Ferrara create general garage backing on guitar/bass and drums respectively. Not as primitive as the Screamin' Mee Mees but a whole lot more wild than what a good portion of the "new wave" of the day was aping at. Flipside's "Rejected at the High School Dance" shows off more of a New York Ramones/Heartbreakers style, a shocker considering how Prevost was putting down da brudders in an early issue of his mag but then again I wasn't that interested in the Ramonsian way of thinking when their album first came out either! (Actually, everyone I knew told me not to go near the thing and frankly I complied, sheepish follower of trends I used to be!) I'm gonna hafta dig out my Mean Red Spiders (yet anudder pre-Chesterfield Kings Prevost band) and give a listen to their take of "Rejected" again just to do a side-hy-side comparison.
***The Lightning Raiders-"Psychedelic Musik"/"Views" (Arista England)
This is the group that Duncan Sanderson was in after the Pink Fairies went kablooey for good. Sounds great, right? Well yeah, but then again I just found out that Sanderson ain't even on this single and that the reason anybody even remembers it today is because Steve Jones and Paul Cook play on it instead. So score one for Sex Pistols fans and as for all you Deviants/Pink Fairies fanatics...well better luck next time.
***Kevin Dunn-"Nadine"/"Oktyabrina" (dB)
Here's a blast from the past that I haven't laid eyes upon in nigh over twenny-five years! Well, maybe I did give the li'l bugger a spin in the interim, but merely for cheap amusement. Anyway, this 'un was a solo single done up by Fans guitarist Kevin Dunn
right before rock media attention was being focused on the Georgia underground rock scenes of Athens and Atlanta, and at the time (1980) I latched onto this I thought it was a nice slice of electronic avant-new wave not that dissimilar to a lotta similar-minded underground throb thrills coming outta amerindie USA. Twenny-eight years later I find both sides of this project (even that at-times prog-flooey "Oktyabrina") better'n I originally dared, this time reminding me a lot more of a nifty Amerigan take on early Roxy Music or better yet early solo Eno with a hefty slice of Amerigan underground garage (thanks to the buzzing fuzz of Dunn's guitar lead) tossed in. A retro surprise outta nowhere, and maybe I should seek out Dunn's solo album from a year or so later even if some would dare call me candypants for doing so? I am brave enough.
***Styrene Money-"Radial Arm Saw"/"Just Walking" (Mustard)
Don't look for this 'un on your Homestead Styrenes collection, because for some odd reason strikingly different alternate takes of both sides werer used in its stead. Dunno why, but I guess that only boosts the value of my single all the more in case I have to sell the thing at some future date for colostomy bag money! All funnin' aside, I must say that I prefer the original takes of both to the more familiar (to you) CD version..."Radial Arm Saw" is a spright li'l jazz-tinged number that can sound AM -0- and avant simultaneously, and I'm sure it would have appealed even to the Steely Dan fan if slipped into an FM cokefest playlist. The instrumental flip has saxophone courtesy Jack Lefton and, after a brooding opening, sounds like Dixieland jazz sorta taken into an English prog/Canterbury direction with energy to spare. You shoulda seen the Styrene Dancers work up a sweat to it. Oddly enough, this 'un brought back fond memories of a period that was perhaps one of the darkest times I faced in my then-short life, yet (because of the music that was being churned out of garages worldwide) one of the best.
***The Flamin' Groovies-"You Tore Me Down"/"Him or Me" (Bomp!)
The very first Bomp! single which, for whatever reasons there may be, has the exact same version of "You Tore Me Down" that appears on the group's comeback effort SHAKE SOME ACTION from a whole year later. Dunno why this was chosen as the a-side since it's my least favorite track on that great album. It's just too slow and depressing for me, though it's not like I'm going on a campaign to have it banned from the next reissue of the thing. I much prefer the flip take on the Raiders' hit which, in the hands of the Groovies sounds a lot like the early San Francisco bands before the Ralph Gleason got to their heads. Kinda Vejtables/Mojo Men like, sorta like that Hot Knives stuff that was coming out just around the same time. Brings back memories of the ennui-laden summer of '78, and don't ask why!
***Before I forget, there's a new issue of DAGGER out, and I just got my issue! Of course I really can't relate to a lotta the groups mentioned in the thing (me being such an old behind-the-times fogey and all!) but I can spot a lotta interesting shards and factlets that do pass my fancy, and I'm sure you might find the magazine a nice lay-back-and-read if yuo're interested in a lotta the new stuff coming outta the underground this late in the game. Want a copy? Click on the link in the left column and buy one, dummy!