Sunday, August 24, 2008


Y'know, it sure it nice to go into the basement on a sunny summer afternoon (when I should be out playing ball with the other boys in the neighborhood!) and do nothing but spin a buncha albums of an old and new variety while shuffling through boxes of thirty-plus-year-old fanzines, TV GUIDEs and DICK TRACY reprints reliving the glories of youth just like a whole buncha kids would've been doing for years, at least until their teachers told them to go out and save the world! But then again, I'm not one of those kinda guys who feels "superior" to others because of the fine work they do uplifting their communities! Actually, I'm the kinda bloke who feels all the more smug when I put on a t-shirt, drink Dr. Pepper and listen to years of great under-the-gulcheral music while throwing myself into a "culture" that I really can rally behind! Frankly, I think I'm doing more than my fair share of "saving the world" by listening to old albums while reading comic books than a whole workshop fulla "Kumbaya"-singing kiddoes out there campaigning for the candidate of their choice while stamping out forest fires, but that's just my "blinkered", anti "freak flag" point of view. At least I'm stayin' outta the way and not causin' any trouble!

Just a few of the new to my doors wares received. Do with it what thou wilt.

DORIAN LP (Amerama)

If it weren't for that meanie-spirited rundown in PUNK magazine which evolved from an interview that John Holmstrom agreed to if only for the freebie steak dinner, I don't think anybody with the golden guts to read this blog'd remember who this Dorian guy was. Naturally I knew about him long before I got my mitts on that hitpiece sometime during the past millennium, since astute me was anal retentive enough to have recognized the Dorian name on a number of mid/late seventies gig listings found in THE VILLAGE (retch!) VOICE announcing long ether'd performances with the likes of Television (at TV's Hotel Diplomat gig!) and Pere my teenage-encrusted mind I thought that because Dorian (and Zero) were on the same bill as such stalwarts of underground cacophany it certainly meant that this guy/band must've taken more'n a few cues from these cold wavers or something like that, and boy was I excited to hear what the resultant spew ushered forth from this Eny Why See stalwart sounded like! Naturally I was wronger'n a oddsmaker at a "Dewey For President" campaign meeting because this Dorian fella sounded nada like the wide array of groupings that were coming outta any avant garages at the, while the likes of Television and Pere Ubu were helping to blaze a brave new trail into late-seventies underground rockism and eighties dispersement, Dorian was more'n content to reshape and rehash the early-seventies glam stylings of the likes of Bowie, solo Lou and even Jobriath, who I guess was "friends" with Dorian during the latter's En Why See days so why should any of us be surprised.

Actually this ain't that bad of a spin even if you're not that hotsy-totsy with the whole homo glam game that seemed so fuh-nee once 1975 started to roll around. Dorian may have a strange voice natural for such a genre but at times the music backing can be fairly rocking. Better than Another Pretty Face and almost as good as the Dolls though when the guy gets into his overwrought mode you might feel like spinning an Elton John album afterwards to clear your head. But whatever the deal, at least Dorian attempts to put on a better show than a good portion of the glam-era Bowieclones of the day. Even when Dorian sings about picking up Howdy Doody in the men's room on the overbearing nine-minute closer "Silver Stringed Marionette" you can appreciate where the guy's "coming" from even if you're straighter than Pat Boone on an acne cleanup fix. One of those weird outta-nowheres on a small yet seemingly "legitimate" label that you can file next to Get Wet, FUTURE LANGUAGE and various other new wave-era professional-looking releases that sure reeked big money backing and high-tech promotional putsch but hardly made it outta the 99-cent bins alive.

Sky Saxon-A STARLIGHT DATE WITH RICHARD MARSH LP (Arcania International, distributed by Norton)

You may have heard some of these early sides that came out on various albums in the wake of THE BIG HUMONGOUS SKY "SUNLIGHT" SAXON COMEBACK OF 1985, but this 2003 release is (perhaps) the only place you will hear all of the surviving tracks cut by either aspiring teen idol Little Richie Marsh or his matured alter-ego Sky. Saxon sounds every bit the fourteen-year-old that his alleged 1945 birth date would have us believe on the early sides (one even cut for an MGM subsidiary, surprising since that's where the Seeds ended up after leaving GNP-Crescendo) whilst romping through some purty digestible rockabilly and teen-idol numbers (one even done under the auspices of former Little Rascal Darla Hood, who warbles some background vocalese!) before the Sky Saxon persona began to show itself on such raucous sides as '64's "Do The Swim". That ain't the Bobby Freeman hit I hoped it was gonna be but makes for a good enough mid-sixties segue into the mop-top Seeds period we all know 'n love.

STARLIGHT DATE is a good enough growler that should have any true believer zoning back to the year of 1962 where, as the boff liners say, you can "taste the teddy bears and feel the chocolates" in the bedrooms of the gals who would be most likely to have taken Sky to their hearts had he only made it big this early on. As for me, I prefer to imagine myself the pesky kid brother who would quietly creep into Big Sissy's bedroom while she was spinning these discs on her cheapo player in order to sneak a peak under the bed for unwrapped Christmas presents before getting yelled at all over the place! It's that Amerigan teenage innocent, and so representative of that (oft hated) pre-radical youth teenage fun 'n games era that it even had me standing next to the turntable snapping my fingers outta sync just like Ricky Nelson and his brothers from I Felta Thigh on that episode of OZZIE AND HARRIET guest-starring Wally Cox as a nebby prof living in the boys' frat house, or better yet Beaver Cleaver the time he joined a record club!

Great cover (complete with gorgeous label repros on the front as well as an early and double-exposed snap of a teenage Sky on the back taken March '59) and even greater mastering make these pretty musty singles sound at least 1961 hi-fi which is good enough for even a clarity-hater like me. With all the makings of a proto-punk collection of early-eighties vintage (think classic Bomp!/Voxx circa 1981) done with that fine labor of love flair, A STARLIGHT DATE WITH RICHARD MARSH sure takes me back to them days when I really was throwing myself into the hidden facets of rock history when bands like the Sonics and Trashmen seemed every bit as meaningful to an Amerigan underground kinda sound as...the Zantees???
Roky Erickson and the Explosives-HALLOWEEN: RECORDED LIVE 1979-1981 2-LP set (Norton)

I dunno if you remember the big Sky vs. Roky battle of the burnouts that was goin' on in the pages of magazines as diverse as TROUSER PRESS and THE NEW YORK ROCKER back in the early eighties like I do, but considerin' just how mentally whacked both Seed-spreader Sky and Elevators stuck between the floors Roky are it sure is surprisin' to see both of 'em fully-functioning as well-respected and well-recorded rock & roll icons well into the early part of the twenty-first big one. And it really is eye-gouging to see that the one called Mr. Erickson has not only one, but two releases on Billy Miller and Miriam Linna's Norton label because frankly, I can remember the abject shock I went into reading my copy of KICKS #2 way back when where Mr. Miller was putting down the International Artists label as something stuffy Europeans were buying up for big bucks when all the label released was psychedelic trash. I guess the man of means meant something along the lines of those later records like Endle St. Cloud's THANK U VERY MUCH 'stead of the classic Rokin' sides the Elevarors were layin' down at the time (or at least I hope he meant that!). And people think my writing can get mighty obscure!

It's always great to hear Roky and whatever band that might've been backing him up tear into it, and tear they do on these two sides which I believe have previously been released on Cee-Dee but hey, you want your buckskins to go towards the Norton empire so they can release even more of these goodies, right? The Explosives are a sympathetic enough backing band even if they look pretty new wave for the part (well, back then I guess Roky was new wave in the best indie underground true-life way possible!), and the numbers are of course going to settle well within your own third eye sounding just as HEAVY METAL in a 1976 issue of BACK DOOR MAN way possible as can be. Heck, there are even some new Roky tracks here that (of course) are worthy of your hammer and stirrup as well as a spirited cover of the Beatles' "I've Just Seen a Face" which, like Roky's various Beatles/Stones/Dylan remakes throughout the years, sounds as if it was birthed from the mind of the man himself. The shindig even ends with an ad taken offa KLBJ radio! I don't think the station's namesake would approve, but it sure does seem like a sneaky joke of some sort!
Ruth-"Mon Pote"/"Mescalito" 45 rpm (Poutre Apparente, available through Volcanic Tongue)

I naturally was a bit wary about plunking down a good ten bucks or whatever it translates into after I send my moolah to Volcanic Tongue for one of my biannuals, but it looks like I didn't waste my filthy lucre with this choice! Rare seventies punk reissues ain't exactly comin' outta the chute like they used to, but this French side (featuring Thierry Mueller, the same guy responsible for those Illich albums that many a mail order set sale list are still trying to unload) is everything I like about these self-released homemade discs and (believe it!) loads more. Named after the group's guitar and bass player Ruth Ellyeri (who poses topless in the blurry front cover photo), this band has all of the makings of a two-sided high energy MONSTER as only the French coulda done it at the time. With a steady repeato-riff beat (reminiscent of this famous sixties New York-area band I seem to mention more often than not when writing about such seventies-era underground rock acts as Ruth), the group chugs out two pretty hot melodies as girly French vocals help drive the beat even more and electronic swirl recalls everything from fellow Frogs Metal Urbain to early Pere Ubu resulting in a fine piece of avant garde churn and grind that fits in well with the whole ROCK NEWS style if not the Gallic version of I WANNA BE YOUR DOG's concentration on all things ooh-la-la! A fantab single that I'm positive will get more than a few plays before the year is up, though for reg'lar readers who might wanna pinch the pennies lemme tell you that these sides do appear on the new Mueller collection of seventies rarities that Fractal has just released, and if you don't think I've already got my order flyin' overseas then may I call you late for dinner????
Masami Kawaguchi's New Rock Syndicate-CAT VS. FROG LP (Palindrone Recordings)

Gotta say that I haven't been that hopped up over some of the new Japanese underground rock recordings that I've heard while others seemed just ducky, but this one does the entire current day scene some real JUSTICE. In the tradition of the Broomdusters this New Rock Syndicate bunch borrow "freely" from the fine drive of that group that I seem to mention way too much, and not in a sickly pencil-thin drone way that people like J. Neo Marvin and other superficialists have for nigh on thirty years, while the massive psych-feedback screech reminds one heavily of yet another "borrower", namely Japan's own Les Rallizes Denudes who really seem to have started one big hunkerin' ball a'rollin' when they got their chops together forty years back. Really nice blast here, and what's best about it is that this is current-day rock and not the brave new blare of the past. It's enough to make me wanna burn all of my ELO 8-tracks!
Will try to get another post in by mid-week, but until then, hop in your car and keep on driving until you hear Bon Jovi sing "You've Had a Bad Day". Then euthenize yourself as swiftly as possible!


Anonymous said...

Holmstrom was right about the Dorian lp,Like Elton John only even more Gay,real bad,I am really digging the Ruth Single and looking for the 3/3 Cd you reviewed in Ugly Things,where can i pick that up?!

Christopher said...

Gee, if Dorian sounds like Elton John only more gay, what does that make me, Harvey Firestein Jr.???? Gotta admit that I still think it's tops in a glam rock bandwagon-jumping Bowie sorta way, and I will spin the thing a few more times before I check out for good! 3/3 CD available through Forced Exposure or Volcanic Tongue (take your pick).

Anonymous said...

If you can dig Dorian, I wonder what your opinion is of Jobriath. Your reviews of his work in your blog are eagerly awaited.

Christopher said...

I never heard Jobriath, though now that his albums have been reissued I just might pick them up. I've heard nothing but good things about him, though the description of his stage show in that NEWSWEEK "Arts in America" special issue back in '73 reminded me more of a NATIONAL LAMPOON spoof of the entire glam/gay/glitter movement that a serious appreciation of the form!

Anonymous said...

Check out these YouTube clips of Jobriath on Midnight Special in 1974:

and a homemade video clip of Jobriath's "Ooh La La" (NOT the Ronnie Lane/Ron Wood song, but a Jobriath original):

Anonymous said...

could you please post some dorian music thanks man.

Christopher Stigliano said...

could you please send me a few thou so I can have the technology to post some dorian music thanks man.