FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY BARREL TO YOURS
Unlike many of you regular BLOG TO COMM readers, sometimes I like to get downright adventurous and purchase, perhaps even listen to, some of the more OBSCURE and instantly ignorable records that have been released over the years by flash-in-the-pan rock groups who certainly have to achieved the same level of fame that a Talking Heads or even Wooden Shjips have lo these many years. I guess it's just my gambling nature to do something along the lines of picking up a disc by some relatively obscure act who might have played CBGB a number of times between the mid-seventies and 2006, or perhaps espy the cover of some disc in the "three for 99 cent" bin (remember those?) which looks enticing enough, but whaddeva here are three albums I latched onto recently if only because I remember seeing the act in question's name bandied about on one of those old CBGB gig listings, or perhaps they just looked interesting enough to snatch up, or most likely because I'm running outta steam thinking up good enough blog posts and have lowered myself to the point of dishing these crankouts atcha hoping you'll eat 'em up thinking they're either innovative, precocious and delightfully avant garde while they're nothing but an aging neo-hipster's attempt at survival. And, as Iggy once said, "I didn't think it would come to this!"
***THE MIX LP (Word of Mouth)
I dunno how far you more recent converts to the BLOG TO COMM system o' values dig into the archives, but way back when I reviewed an album entitled FREE PARKING by this guy Stu Daye, a name that might not mean that much to you but it sure did to a few hardrock maniacs stationed in En Why See. Well, at least his name did mean something to someone to the point where Daye actually got signed to Columbia to do an album that would probably be all but forgotten if not for the great cover showing hunters shooting down flying fifties/sixties-era vehicles from the sky. Yeah, back in them days the covers were usually better'n the music therein, but as for Daye he was one of those guys who seemed to play on forever, fronting groups with names like the New Model Army (no, not them...), Stu Daye's Streethearts and these guys circa. '80, an aggregation that not only played CBGB (which ain't nothin' considerin' how Daye had been part and parcel of that scene for quite some time) but had none other than Corky Laing for West Bruce and... fame on drums, a factiod that was proudly displayed on that very CBGB listing perhaps in the hopes to draw more than a few stragglers into the club thus raking up the moolah in the process.
Naturally an album such as this would've slipped by the collective interests of most New York Scene-watchers, it being on a small label and produced by Felix Pappalardi to boot (he not exactly being hipster bait in the tres gnu wave early eighties), but surprisingly enough the resultant album entitled what else but THE MIX sounds a lot better than I, and especially you, would have expected. It's way more hard-rock power pop than the watered-down late-seventies metal or punk posturing I would have expected outta this, and not only that but this album does have a few snappy highlights that I'm sure could have earned 'em some berth on the Greg Shaw pop train at the time! Well, maybe even a brief mention by Gary Sperrazza! in whatever column he woulda been writing at the time since this is the kinda fodder that woulda filled a few pages of THE SHAKIN' STREET GAZETTE if that had still been up and running. Smart enough cover of "Chain of Fools" too. Naturally I won't be playing this much in the fifty or so years I have left on this planet, but it is a halfway-there decent metallic popster that those hair bands of the eighties could have taken a few good lessons from!
***Unknown Gender-DO FOR YOU LP (Crush Records)
Twas under the impression that these guys (led by New York highly-sought-after drummer Ethan Winogrand) woulda been true to some sorta seventies local rock aesthetic thanks to Winogrand's role as the leader of Joe Cool, an aggregate that appeared to have garnered some notoriety in the area during the '76-'77 season opening for the likes of the Ramones and John Cale. Unfortunately his eighties project Unknown Gender, at least regarding this particular '88 album that was actually handled by the New Music Distribution Service, shows the same kind of electro-new wave ginchy pop bandwagon jumping that had affected the recordings of way too many promising acts who seemed to fumble about once the hard-edged seventies gave way to the soft schlock eighties. Unlike such groups as Velveteen or Chemical Wedding (acts who at least were able to transcend the usual dancefloor pratfalls and come up with some halfway-decent recordings in the process) Unknown Gender merely dashed out their funky music with layers of eighties electrowash sans little if any of the seventies underground rock grit I assume Winogrand and company created back in their seventies guise. And with a name like Unknown Gender I was expecting something more akin to an electrode-clamped William Burroughs nightmare par excellence. All I got was standard "rock of the eighties" ginch!
***FRICTION LP (Beach Front)
After finding out there was a third Friction (after Peter Laughner's '76/'77 group and the infamous Japanese one) I was curious to hear what this particular breed of band with the same handle as those two stellars would sound like. Dunno if this Friction is the same one whose label I spotted on various '82-era CBGB listings back in the day, but I'm guessing in the affirmative since this particular group hailed from kinda/sorta nearby Vineland New Jersey so they MUST be, right? Well, whether they are or not this 1988 self-produced album is nothing but typical Pat Benetar/rehash gnu wave that I can't see anybody who has shown enough intelligence to tune into this blog wanting to listen to even on a "lark". Aren't you glad that I take all of the chances searching out these potentially bung albums so you don't have to?
***BOOTLEG OF THE WEEK!: Iggy and the Stooges-NIGHT OF THE IGUANA LP (Ruthless Rhymes)
This is one that people have been warning me not t' get ever since it popped up on the scene sometime in the late-seventies, replete with all sorts of ripoff sagas about the horrible sound quality to be found therein amongst other tales of consumer woes whether real or imagined. For someone who sat through all three sides of the Yardbirds' LAST RAVE UP IN LA and thought it was perhaps accentuated by the portable cassette quality I have no qualms about this album, which is certainly better'n its reputation. Recorded live at New York's I guess "prestigious" Academy of Music New Year's Eve '73 (on a bill with Blue Oyster Cult, Kiss and fledgling glamsters Teenage Lust) NIGHT OF THE IGUANA's nothing more or less than yet another fantab document of Iggy and band in self-destruct mode romping through their recent set with general (lack of) grace and even aplomb. No major revelations true and none of the venom or ire that can be found on METALLIC KO will be evident, but back then when Iggy exposed his soul (amongst other things) it seemed as if the walls of the castle were about to come tumblin' down. In case you're interested Bomp released this legit-like a few years back, but I'll stick with this bootleg-bin stuffer in all its original, unfiltered glory!