Thursday, May 07, 2009


In case you don't know or remember and even if you don't care, today marks a very important anniversary in the history of rock & roll, or at least regarding the history of it as deemed relevant and meaningful by people of a certain gnarly moozical bent such as myself! Y'see, it's the fifth anniversary of the creation of the very blog you are reading at this very moment! Now, doesn't that send tingles down the back of your spine? Well, it should because frankly, if it weren't for the actions of a couple of wizeacre bloggers who felt it proper to SMEAR me with a variety of half-truths and downright lies BLOG TO COMM would not exist, or at least it wouldn't exist as we know it today! In fact, my writing "career" wouldn't have even entered the computer age if it were not for the reckless antics of one Mr. David Lang and another Mr. Jay Hinman because I was planning on retiring and for good from the writing industry if not for the bald-faced lies both perpetrated under the guise of looking politically-correct "hip" or perhaps just plain libel! Sure if anything I am doing this blog out of pure SPITE rather than any sorta "devotion" or "love" of music because I thought that I had enough of losing everything from my money to my sanity writing, editing and publishing a fanzine that I got little if any feedback, notoriety, fame, reward, kick or pleasure outta only to get the all-star between the thighs that both of these supposed "friends" delivered in their attempts to prove just how radically leftoid they could be taking on me and my decidedly pro-decency viewpoints. Well screw 'em Jack, because I'm gonna be around and I'm gonna be around to STAY and if anybody don't like it then they can go read any of the aforementioned dorkoids' blogs and get a real taste of what printed dysentery can be!

Maybe you do feel that I've been beating this dead horse to the point where it could be sold as ground round at Sparkle Market and I have "gotten over" unprovoked slams in my life that make the attacks of these two fools seem Katzenjammerish, but so what! cuz the pair of 'em just happened to play their games at a time in my life when the last thing I needed was any sorta negative energies directed at me or my life's "work" for that matter (especially considering all of the turmoil and heaviness that was happening to me on all levels of my existence)! I mean, how could anyone (at least anyone in their right mind) NOT like me, my fanzine, my blog and my various writings o'er the course of the last twennysome years which shoulda earned me some fame alongsides that of Meltzer or at least Ranier Karasz (not like I was expecting any from an industry that thinks the highest of hacks like Chuck Eddy nor a fandom that tends to gravitate towards some of the mushiest melodies extant), but the fact that I have been rejected like this en masse only goes to prove the public wouldn't know good high energy rockist writing if it came up and bit them on their overtly cellulite-riddled buttocks. Yeah, I do get miffed about it sometimes whilst crying myself to sleep, not out of any sorta egotical self-pity (nothing wrong with that!) but when I do see what passes for thought and insight whether it be in the realm of music or something else and compare it with my naturally superior contest, pard, no contest!

So today, just settle back for a moment and think of what it would be like in a world where my superior head/mindset was switcheroo'd with that of the prevailing tide of which both Misters Lang and Hinman both proudly ascribe to, and how much better it would be for all of us. And then show your anger and angst for all to see, preferably in the faces of these tormenting geeks who continue to rule the world while my natural energy and pow'r is all but ignored in the face of pure unadulterated mediocrity!

Awww, enough vengeance're a coupla reviews you might wanna gnaw on like Sam would on my dinosaur toys:

TV Toy-SHARDS 1977-1983 CD (Reversing Recordings, available via CD Baby)

Wow, no sooner do I order that TV Toy disque via CD Baby than the thing arrives thus saving this posting from being just another mindless rantscreed that most of you could care less about. If yer astute enough to click on that link or scroll down just a tiny bit you can read my review of this overlooked group's debut single which I thought was a pretty smart example of late-seventies "cold wave" before the eighties awashed the whole thing in a snot-jelled sea of "new musik". And not so surprisingly this Cee-Dee collection of TV Toy's various singles as well as unreleased live/demo bits gives you (the discerning listener) a more-than-ample idea not only of what they were all about being an underground rock group with progressive proclivities but as far as documents of what was going on in New York/New Jersey back in the day and, well, I just wish there were more of these things floating about because I'd rather hear some thirty-plus-year-old recordings by a band with energy, ideas and verve than a current-day offering from some schmucks who seem to be playing around with all of that old innovation doing little if anything with it.

Surprisingly enough I prefer the group's earliest demos (recorded at Vanguard Studios of all places) when the still-threesome were playing a more British artrocky music which, due to its stripped down nature (guitar-electric tenor sax/bass/drums), reminds me more of some of the early-eighties minimalist groups like Blurt than they do the King Crimson TV Toy were obviously trying to ape. Of course the intricate melodies and tricky soloing (as well as the use of glockenspiel) do point the way towards the then-popular import bin attitude but there's nothing here that would frighten away those staunchly punkoid types who used to upchuck o'er the thought of neoclassicism pretending to be rock music.

The later, more attuned to the now sound TV Toy material's closer in spirit to the whole Pere Ubu-spawned style of urban thud that I'm sure most of you reg'lar fellers would "appreciate" a tad more than the group's original direction. It was a nice touch for the compilers to use the John Peel broadcast of the "For What It's Worth" single complete with his typically reserved commentary, and the rest of these guys' recorded output ain't that bad as well even if the later on tracks seem to suffer from the same post-scene trauma that really got me disappointed in the whole kitten kaboodle back in the day. But that's nothing new as anyone who had to live through the dullsville eighties after the high energy seventies can tell you, and even if you're one of those guys who (like me) can't see why we found those mid-eighties TROUSER PRESS issues worth reading at all you won't tend to hate these numbers as much as you thought you would've.
Die Engel Des Herrn-LIVE AS HIPPIE PUNKS CD (Captain Trip Japan)

Here's one that a few people have been telling me to AVOID like with a capital "A" for as long as this post-Neu!/La Dusseldorf project of Klaus Dinger's has been on the market. Being able to afford such omissions in my life at the time I did what I was told, but now that it's 2009 and frankly this ain't exactly been a year for high quality/energy jamz what little choice do I have but dig this latterday krautrock effort up if only to inject a little more refreshment into my already sagged out life? Let's face it, the way things are going these days maybe we shouldn't "poo poo" these kinda items even if that means the possibility of latching onto something that just doesn't reach for the stars the way FUNHOUSE or OUT OF THE TUNNEL do, but then how many of those do we come across in the here and now anyway?

These Engel Des Herrn guys do come off as quite a surprise for being a nineties krautrock group with the standard proto-punk credentials. Instrumentation-wise this is a guitar keyboards or electronics to be found and the only variation from the standard form is when the bass guitarist takes a turn bowing a bass violin during the extended (26 minutes +) "Cha Cha 2000" redo. A definitely more punky vibe does ensue, and danged if the guitar interplay on this live set doesn't just recall everyone from Television to those "Sour Mash" bands that came out a good five years after. And although the energy level never does peak the way it woulda on even a halfway-there Television boot tape there is a nice bounce and atmosphere to this even though it is way too long (eighty minutes) and I don't blame you if I ketch ya noddin' out about 3/4ths through.

Dinger of course keeps this show together as the leader and vocalist (perhaps "conceptualist" as well) and although the results ain't exactly Neu! or La Dusseldorf at their punkiest they sure make for a generally more adherent to krautisms past time than a good portion of those latterday faux-krautsters I've had the mispleasure of hearing as of late. And since LIVE AS HIPPIE PUNKS has been floating around at reduced prices perhaps it's time YOU TOO decided to snatch this up because it does make for a good Dinger continuum from his early Kraftwerk days on down and who ever went wrong pursuing that?


Bill said...

Congrats on the 5 year anniversary of BLOG TO COMM. I make a point of checking it twice a week. You provide both a unique perspective and an incredible knowledge base.
There's no one else doing anything remotely like what you're doing (and have been doing for 25+ years), and it's something that needs to be done.
BTC is one of the few things in the "vast wasteland" of cultural commentary that can truly be called ESSENTIAL.
Thanks for taking the time to do this, Chris.

Yr friend in South Texas,


L. Genet said...

Lemme chime in with a Happy Five Spot to you as well. I wanted to e-mail you privately, but don't see any way to do it other than here and now. I was wondering whether you knew how to get in touch with big Sol Gruberger??? We were pals, I wrote for his zines and we lost touch shortly after he moved to Pennsylvania. If you have his e-mail, could you mail him MY e-mail address? Sorry to ramble on. I follow your blog of the best out there fo' sho'. And thanks for listing mine. Ok. Nuff said, xxxLisa G.

Christopher said...

Lisa, I scoured my email address book and couldn't find a thing. I now believe that the only correspondence me and Solomon've had was within the comment section of this blog...naturally I could be mistaken and will continue to hunt Mr. G's email address down but hey Solomon, if you're reading this howzbout writing Ms. G yerself and getting back in touch with an old contributor, hunh?

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