GEE DAD, IT'S ANOTHER BLOG TO COMM PUFF-PIECE WEEKEND FILLER!
Sheeeeeeeeeeeeeesh. Been busier than a tattoo artist at a biker chick initiation these past few days, but managed to crank out enough filler to pad out what otherwise would be a measly post created if only to satisfy my own sense of self-importance. Frankly not much has been happening here at BTC central to warrant any major fireworks show...besides the gig at the salt mines and readying up the place for the approaching winter season I haven't had the time to listen to a whole slew of newies let alone buy any. Not that there has been much worth buying as of the past few months...seems that the crucial proto-punk upheaval market has sorta dried up a tad bit, and besides that I've had to resort to rummaging through dozens of boxes of long-stored fanzines and other reading material collected over a good four decades in order to stave off pre-beddy-bye boredom at the hands of a few easy-enough-to-latch-onto items that I've re-read to the point of insanity! Hopefully a few new books won on ebay and/or ordered elsewhere will be heading my way shortly, but until then I'm going to have to survive solely by digging into some old fanzines (as well as the box of comic books I found in my closet) hoping I've forgotten everything I originally read in 'em so's they'll come off new and refreshing to me. Gotta say that fanzines as well as comic books/strips do make for good visual stimulation especially late at night while I'm spinning my longtime faves that never seem to go out of style in this abode (current fave is Amon Duul I's PARADIESWARTS DUUL on the Ohr label, a disque that, in the words of none other than MIKE STAX, sounds like a jam between the Velvet Underground, Jefferson Airplane and the Manson Family!).
In other news...well, as far as the current socio-political clime goes only a fool or a resident of Melbourne (same thing?) would not admit that the idea of Barack Obama as our next prez is pretty heady stuff even for a dyed-inna-wool grouch like myself to comprehend. I guess two weeks later the fact that he's gonna be the next prez of these here United States is finally starting to sink in, which I must admit is a pretty startling enough revelation as the time I found out I hadda go to summer school or fail at Algebra Two! Not that I like or hate our future prez even if I disagree with a good portion of what the Big O stands for (I have a rather middling opinion of him, honest!, even if his denial that selfishness is a virtue kinda made me wonder if he is willing to sacrifice his own beliefs like he'd like us to sacrifice ours), but after the past eight years for whatever good or bad they were with the outgoing George W. at the helm I do have quite a fear of what could transpire, at least if Obama lurches even further to the fringe than even his wildest supporters would have ever dreamed! Gotta admit that, unlike many of you regular BLOG TO COMM tune-ins, I did find a few things to like in the outgoing George W. Bush, his hillbilly persona being the best thing of all not to forget his nomination of both Roberts and Alito to the Supreme Court which seems like the move of someone with a modicum of intelligence (I would rather see a case in the court that I support go down on good law rather than one I support win on bad), and his lip service with regards to keeping what little holy and sacred there was in Ameriga seemed gosharootie enough even if I do know better. But Bush's Middle East policy was just about as wishy washy as they come with the odds seemingly stacked in favor of dispensationalists and other useful idiots of the New Order make him the new Woodrow Wilson as opposed to the Calvin Coolidge figure many seemed to think of him as. Naturally this means that he'll, like Wilson, be thought of highly before the next fifty years are up, but considering how all of the most praised ex-prezzes were complete despots or morons what else is new?
However, next to Bill Clinton Bush sure looked a lot less evil so maybe I should give him credit for that! We'll see how Obama fares once he gets his digs into the rotting corpse known as politics and heck, even I'll try to keep my eye and ears wide open and maybe even give the Big O a fair shake at it even if it is against my natural strain of curmudgeonness! But whatever you may think I am beginning to get really nauseated...the hosannas of praise surrounding the guy are even worse than the ones that made John Kennedy our first Hollywood president a good half-century back, and you can betcha bottom buckskin that a biopic about Obama will become the modern-day equivalent of PT 109 a lot more sooner than any of us would think!
But if Obama is going to govern the way I think he is judging from the cabinet picks that are already being floated about I have the sneaking random insect doom feeling that all we really will be getting the next four years'll be the same old same old dressed up in Camelot version 2. I mean, if any of you regular readers of both a pro and anti-Obamaite stand take a gander at his very own pick for chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, you'll see a man who certainly is not a fresh face rooting for change of any sort but a guy who is probably more gung ho than Bush on Amerigan involvement in the Middle East (as long as we turn it into a parking lot) who had a big hand in the recent Freddie Mac kerfuffle that I'm sure swung more than a few votes in the Obama direction! Is this what we have to look forward to in the new administration, not forgetting the Clinton retreads whose names are being bandied about as we speak (anyone for Hillary as Secretary of State?). Sounds like whoever decides to run against Mr. O in the next presidential election should be playing "Won't Get Fooled Again" as a campaign song because it certainly does look like a case of "meet the new boss" as Ron Paul opined the day after the election. Despite any of these (I gotta admit) serious misgivings I must 'fess up to the fact that I think it's kinda cool to have a chief of staff who lost the middle finger on his right hand because he hurt in while working in a fast food restaurant and, because he wanted to go swimming 'stead of to the emergency room it hadda be amputated! True this might be a case of teenage stupidity on Emanuel's part but maybe it's a testament of badass cool, sorta like when that biker ripped David Clayton Thomas' ear off then handed it to him, and all Thomas did was toss it in the trashcan! Wow, I guess I'd want that guy's finger, at least one of the other nine, on the button, wouldn't you???
By the way, one of the brighter spots regarding the past election (not that a whole lot of it wasn't bright already in its own bizarre way) was the passage of Proposition 8 and various other state props nationwide that definitely (until some appeals court overturns the whole shebang) "denies" the "rights" of "gay people" to "marry", (howzat for belaboring points!) pretty much in part due to the heavy turnout of blacks out to boost the Obama vote even more! Not that I believe in the idea of tyranny of the majority one iota, but it sure is heartening to know that people, especially blacks who are most of the time "uplifted" and "patronized" by the same sick white liberals who push Planned Parenthood in their neighborhoods, do have some of that good ol' sense of Western Civ morality that I thought was in such short supply these past few years. And yeah, its also great seeing these same "open minded" libs on the tube complain that blacks have been "taught" to "hate" homosexuals resulting in such a stunning defeat for the gay cause while trying to hide their true loathing for blacks because of it! Even funnier is reading the views and opinions via a certain "blogster" who, in a typical fit of pseudo-libertarian self-righteousness, make such ridiculous claims regarding Prop 8 such as "this is a civil rights issue, and should be treated accordingly" and "if you’d put the federal civil rights legislation of 1964 to a vote of the people, there’s a very strong chance it would not have passed either, but only ten years later virtually everyone, of every political persuasion, was glad we’d officially put institutional racism behind us"! Odd enough things for this faux one to say, especially since back in the day people of the libertarian persuasion were vehemently against the entire concept of civil rights, preferring way-sounder ideas such as individual liberty to the LBJ-bred morasses we still find ourselves wallowing in fortysome years down the line. Contrary to that writer's views, I'm sure that even a good decade after the bill was passed there were many people who prided the idea of freedom of association over people being "forced" to intermingle whether they wanted to or not who weren't that thrilled by Prez Johnson (a die hard racist) and his obvious vote-getting scheme. I thought "self" over the "group" was the basic hallmark of libertarianism, but perhaps the definition has been changed and wrangled with to the point where it can mean anything this aforementioned blogster who's stuck in the middle of New Sodom (which must have affected his thought processes) wants it to mean! And frankly, anyone who would take the vague concept of equality over liberty is not a libertarian by any stretch of the imagination no matter how much the ideals behind it are tampered with. If such ideas as gay "marriage" and any capitulation to the entire sexual freedom cause of the past fifty years is indeed "progress" (as this person states) then please call me a reactionary of the worst stripe because only a dimwit would prefer the general moral/social clime of today to that of the pre-enlightenment times of the oft-loathed forties and fifties!
(And in related news, I noticed how said blogger totally IGNORES the fetid actions of some of his sainted homosexual activists who have been storming church services and harassing parishioners, but I guess his rosy myopic worldview lens just don't detect any actions of a negative "vibe" that his brothers-in-butt might commit. Come to think of it, the major news outlets must be buying their camera lenses from this guy's optometrist as well because I haven't seen any of the action going on at Mount Hope as well as other spots, not to mention the rabid pro-gay venom on the web and elsewhere, on the nightly news either! As Crass once said, evil eats itself but since these guys've been eating each other for years I guess I better come up with a better analogy...zee professor must have heez stoopid leetle jokes agin!)
OK, I know you readers ignored the previous few paragraphs and just skipped down to the meat 'n potatoes review segment of our soiree, so midout further ado...
***Dirty Tricks-NIGHT MAN LP (Polydor)
Here's one-a them enigmas as you'd call it, a group that I had just a slight curiosity about after reading reports that it was actually these guys (going by the name of Dirty Tricks) 'n not the Damned who were the first British band to play at CBGB in January of 1977 (see pic on the right, or maybe better the lower right depending on how this page gets laid out, for visual documentation) in case you're one of those hardcore anal-retentive rock historians like I am. Well, if such minuscule shards of fact as which of these bands was first to play CBGB matters to you, then you'd want to know all about this debut Dirty Tricks elpee, but before we go any further lemme just get a few things straight...first off Dirty Tricks were not from anywhere in the British Isles but Bill Shute's stomping grounds of San Antonio Texas al though they hadda go England to get their career jump-started (which is why they were not only signed to Polydor Records but had a then-trendy Hipgnosis cover complete with a bitta titty to help push sales through), and if anything that makes 'em the seventies equivalent of the Walker Brothers because these Tricksters obviously made a bigger impact over there than they did here! And as far as the Dirty Tricks vs. Damned thing goes, I think when people say that the Damned were the first British group to play at CB's they mean the first British pUnK band which sure makes a whole heckuva lotta difference as far as punkism historical correctness goes!
Whaddeva the factoids, this album's from '75 and it's a typical mid/late-seventies heavy metal disque not unlike the throngs of similar items that have cluttered flea market bins for the past thirtysome years. And as far as heavy metal albums go it's...well, it's a heavy metal album, what more can I say? Nothing special enough here to get my spirits jumping like the better HM aggregates of the early-seventies could with the standard hard rock tracks (and post-Plant-derived vocal epiglottal spew) intermingled with the obligatory per-side ballad complete with synthesizer wash only making this bore me even more. I was hoping that Rodger Bain's production would have given NIGHT MAN a hard edge akin to his work on the Troggs' "Feels Like a Woman" not forgetting his work on various Black Sabbath and early Budgie releases but alas, no such luck occurs. It is ironic that metal as a genre went from some great primitive clunk music to this in a good five years, but then again, look what happened to the spiritual successor to early seventies metal, mainly hardcore, which upped the evolutionary process by at least three years!
***The 2X4's-THE 2X4's; LIVE 4/80 CD's
John Hovorka-1996-2006 COMPILATION CD (all items available via Metal Snowball Records)
While cruising (calm down Dave!) the internet looking for ideas to swipe I came across the existence of two CD's of very-early eighties 2X4's Cee-Dees that I just hadda have adorn my already bulged out collection! Frankly I must admit that I have ignored the collected work (recorded or not) of 2X4's leader John Hovorka...naturally I've read about him ever since the days when TAKE IT! and FORCED EXPOSURE were singing high holy mantras to this Boston local's prowess, but that didn't budge me too much. What did was finding out that Horvorka was a member of the early/mid-seventies Boston-area Velvet Underground/Modern Lovers worshippers the Astrals, a group which also contained none other that Count Joseph Viglione as well as future Bonjour Aviator/Viglione associate Fred Pineau. Considering my obsessive/compulsive nature with regards to groups of the sixties and seventies who have taken the VU credo and molded it into their own somethingorother, I was impressed with the idea of Hovorka's existence for this little historical aside more than anything else that he may have done!
The 2x4's Cee-Dees are rather interesting affairs even if they were both recorded within a month of each other during the spring of 1980, a bit outside of my own self-imposed timeframe but close enough for comfort. But even my own fears were allayed due to the involvement of ex-Modern Lover/Human Sexual Response member Rolfe Anderson as the producer of both disques, and Boston hero Erik Lindgren's presence isn't to be denied either. Musically the 2X4's have ingested a good hunk of the then-prevailing new wave gas fumes that were about to lead us into a decade of art project self-importance, and the fact that Hovorka's vocals do bear a slight resemblance to a load of upper-class artiste wannabe whiners does tend to date these offerings a tad. However, despite the dip into seventies/eighties cusp "experimentation" I find both of these spins rather entertaining with their hard-chunk rhythms and the general craft and talent that went into not only performing, but writing these numbers. And even with the more noticeable elements of post-rock or what-have-you permeating both of these platters at least the proud heritage of the Velvets filtered through the worship that Boston bestowed upon the group starting with Jonathan Richman and Wayne McGuire can easily be absorbed via Hovorka's general talents and musical craftsmanship. Not only that, but the claims of the 2X4's being Boston's answer to Pere Ubu are pretty much validated by their own ode to industrial clankitude entitled "Bridgeport Lathe" which summons up late-seventies industrial ghosts just as well as Tin Huey's "Hump Day" or even that brilliant Baloney Heads track that closed out their 1980 WMMS Sunday night radio appearance!
Hovorka's 1996-2006 comp is just that, selections from his various releases he's done on his lonesome o'er the past decade that are crammed together in order to lure the unsuspecting into buying up the whole kit 'n caboodle! While I'm not quite sold on that yet, I must say that I find Hovorka to have evolved into a mighty fine singer/songwriter (in the classic CREEM sense as Byron Coley would say) with these numbers which probably do recall some of the better masters of that form over the last fortysome years, though I would prefer to do some more studying before I make any more brazen comments. If anything the existence of these tracks and many more might actually make Hovorka the poet laureate of Boston pretty much the same way Lou Reed is of New York, but whatever you do, please don't take a look at the front cover snap of Hovorka which has him looking a lot like Dick Cheney! I guess we all are getting older, and at least he doesn't look like I now do, which some say reminds them of animator Bob Clampett without the Beatle wig!