Wednesday, April 29, 2009


It's amazing what things one will find while searching about for other totally-unrelated goodies. Take me f'rinstance...just last Sunday I was looking through about thirtysome years of collected flotsam/jetsam which I have stored in old apple boxes stacked and teetering in my closet, trying to locate a few well-worn issues of TEENAGE WASTELAND GAZETTE just so's I could photocopy 'em for famed Australian somethingorother Dave Laing (note spelling...we're not talking the dingo fellator here!). Well anyway, while on the search for that legendary fanzoonie I came across a whole passel of readable goodies that I had been wanting to get my hands on for the past few months if not years. Amongst the finds were that issue of UGLY THINGS with Johan Kugelberg's junkshop glam article which certainly got my salivary glands into drool-mode, and although no TWGs were to be found I did get hold of a bundle of the early issues of the famed Scottish fanzine THE NEXT BIG THING which were xeroxed for me by none other than Imants Krumins (after a few years of pleading!) way back in 1990. And believe it or leave it, but even this far down the poop chute these NEXT BIG THINGs continue to satisfy my more basic music cravings than most anything out there on the reading scene these days! Sure, even an old issue of HOPPY BUNNY IN THE HAPPY FOREST is more energetic that just about every music mag one sees onna stands these days but who could deny that THE NEXT BIG THING is a read that stands upright and stalwart against today's cultured and snobbish music press, making for some extremely funtime reading in these rather placid times when the idea of rock & roll and high energy entertainment seem about as alien to your average alternative kultur denizen as wiping one's butt after a dump.

You all know THE NEXT BIG THING editor Lindsay Hutton from his currently up-and-running blog which I assume you have all read and enjoyed ever since the thing popped into being back in the nowhere year of 2003. But how many of you newly inaugurated readers know that this guy, while still an addled teenager, created THE NEXT BIG THING as an outlet for his pent up hostilities and anti-social behavior, a fanzine created NOT necessarily to go mano-a-mano with the reams of British "punkzines" then cluttering up the musical landscape but as something more akin to the classic Amerigan breed of reading that had been making minuscule waves but waves nonetheless for the previous few years...mags like BACK DOOR MAN, DENIM DELINQUENT (hokay, that one's Canadian!) and even a few more that certain toffee-nosed uppercrusts think I mention way too much both here and elsewhere. But so what if I mention 'em over and over (including THE NEXT BIG THING because Lindsay H. is what one would call a genius, and what's more he was putting out a fanzine that, while clearly dedicated to the "new wave" pre "gnu wave", was also blabbing on about all those groups the well-heeled punques couldn't stand like Blue Oyster Cult, David Bowie (!) and even Kiss! If it had developed into the early eighties I coulda seen DENIM DELINQUENT looking a lot like what THE NEXT BIG THING did during these early issues!

You can see the roots of Hutton's current-day curmudgeonness in these early NBTs as well...we all know what a crank the guy can be (and who'd blame him considering all the stories I heard about his dead end job at the golf club factory and besides having to eat bull balls day in and out can get to a man), and you can betcha bottom dollar that this sorta crankiness is what makes these NEXT BIG THINGs such a wonderful read whether one is on or off the toidy. And yeah, these early reads are the tippy top whether you're wanting to read about the up and coming wowzers in the music industry or perhaps the oldsters, and whatever Hutton is writing about is bound to bring a smile even to the most comatose of reg'lar BLOG TO COMM readers he being his ornery Scot self throughout each and every word of these wondrous mags. F'rinstance, take the debut issue of his mag (cover date "Spring 1977") which is sparse on the illustrations (cover drawing of Tom Verlaine copped from snap originally appearing in TROUSER PRESS, inside illio from BOC piece expertly lifted from some old ZIG ZAG and who knows where the Dictators snap came from!) but heavy on the teenage enthusiasm. And I mean teenage like I mean like back when I was a teenager and things like buying records and prowling through flea market bins was like an adventure Huck Finn never would've had the pleasure to come across! True, you coulda read all about the intellectual and perhaps even Marxist applications of what punk rock was all about in a myriad assortment of fanzines not forgetting Greil Marcuse even, but it's nothing like hearing it from a teen who hadda scrimp and save his dinero to get to hear the latest faves and not get it free direct from the promo man! And this was a Scottish teenager too and you know how tight with a pound those cheapskates are!

Even with the one-sided pages (Hutton didn't move on to double-sided saddle-stapled issues of THE NEXT BIG THING until the early-eighties!) and general make-do with whatcha got this debut issue has a lot more to say both content and image-wise than the entire run of any nineties era "Golden Age of Fanzine" read that you can think of, this particular one included. The articles on the Dictators, Television and the BOC are are nice talkin' atcha 'stead of toya pieces which, while not really opening up any new avenues or explaining anything new or out of the ordinary about these acts are pretty nice in their own rabid, teenage tartan way. Hutton also delivers his own personal take on the new phenomenon with a "history of punk" piece which naturally covers a lotta the same area as all of those other rundowns on the sixties garage bands and the New York Dolls 'n all them goodies, but it sure is grand reading some kid write about it 'stead of Dave Marsh blabbing on in farcical rants about his own particular take on the whole idea of punk nor Professor Marcuse's standard tying in of the usual indecipherable Frog philosophers whose main claim to fame was spreading AIDS across Paris back when people didn't realize the sexual revolution was long dead and gone!

Dunno if I could say that anything tops the debut NBT for typical fanzine stamina, but the rest of the early issues, even when Hutton would squoosh the mag pages down and print 'em sideways just like in TB SHEETS, sure read pretty good especially after having been inundated with the arid ROLLING STONE style of then and I presume now. True it may seem a bit obvious for Hutton to put the likes of Richard Hell and Talking Head on the cover (using Sire Records promo pix to boot!) but given the "neo-Velvets" stature of both acts who could fault the guy raving on about 'em (Heads much more than Hell who seemed to come outta the late-seventies unscathed unlike David Byrne and crew) back when they seemed like a lung-fulla fresh air next to the stale farts that were popping forth from the charts and college dorms of the day. The musical coverage, while firmly seated in what was going under the new wave "rubric" (copyright 1985 Robert Christgau) was way more varied than it was in other fanzines of the era, perhaps due to the inclusion of writer Brian Guthrie who seemed more or less to be an underlying conscious of the mag, the Corporal Boyle to Hutton's Sergeant Carter. And so if you could expect Hutton to rah-rah the more bodacious aspects of the new underground rock it was Guthrie who seemed to add a bit of, er, "class" to the proceedings that is if you consider articles on Ultravox classier than those on Pere Ubu.

As the mag continued to grow with what seemed like a regular publishing schedule (something that inspiration BACK DOOR MAN was barely able to keep up with and DENIM DELINQUENT didn't even attempt!) and even more pages per ish, the covers got more detailed, cluttered and perhaps even fun-looking with pastiches from STAR TREK, STAR WARS (shudder!) and GREASE (double shudder!!!!) appearing on the front. Dare-I-say these covers sure looked professional and even the innards, still printed on one-side and all with Hutton's lettering capabilities growing by leaps and bounds, were covering the better aspects of the late-seventies "scene" w/o the political smarm nor the chic oneupmanship that you could find in a load of subpar sputum vying for your punkist moolah. The layouts were improving and it was a joy for the eyes to read Hutton's smart and THINK FOR YOURSELF smattering of pieces on a whole slew of people you wouldn't expect like the Tubes and Bowie, but still it was a charm to glom up some interesting natalistic raves on the Human Switchboard (and Human League!) as well as other acts that seemed to peter-poo out once the rabid seventies transmogrophed (I made that word up, neat huh?) into the pee-pee eighties.

By the close of the decade Hutton was getting more and more people to write for NBT (and not just everyday people but those of might and perfection!) and the mag seemingly joined the garage band fragment of the great late-seventies punk rock bust-up (along with KICKS and perhaps FUTURE), and although the magazine eventually did go double-sided and professionally printed around 1981 and the likes of Miriam Linna, Gary Sperrazza!, Gregg Turner and the rest of the surviving fanzine mafia were continuing to contribute I personally gotta say that the latterday issues just don't have the same zing, zang and zip of these early NBTs. Oh they read great enough and even the graduation to slick covers and more pages in the mid-eighties was a welcome evolution, but the feel and energy of the earlier issues is lacking perhaps because the later issues were so well done. I assume that the lacklustre music scene of the eighties and Hutton having to rely on articles on Dead or Alive and Clarence Clemmons is what made NBT a publication that was merely "really good" and not fantabulous outta this world like it usedta be, and considering what a mess those days were with the fun and energy seen in the seventies doing a 180-degree turnaround, it's no wonder that most if not all rock reads of the time come off rather feh in comparison. And like I said Hutton is still at it on his very own blog which is nice if you like to read the obituaries to see if your name is in it, but I only wish he had the same kick and verve (and more record reviews!) that he did back in the day. It would be nice if Hutton lived up to his natural anti-social self and did a whole lot more ragging on people on the "scene" he deems unworthy (his anti-NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS tirades were pertty funny with smart anti-communist gags thrown in which were bound to get the typical Working Class British pseudo-radicals all in a huff!) like he probably will on ME once he reads this piece, but I guess we're all older and perhaps worse off all these years later. But what can ya expect from a guy who hates dagos, taigs and those who don't eat sweetmeats anyway? (Sheesh, just kidding LH!) Awww I shouldn't complain...I mean us chromebus domebus types should stick together in the face of follicle tyranny, right Lindsay??? (And while I'm at it, any way I can get that Erasers tape you reviewed sent to me on a disque???)

Saturday, April 25, 2009


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!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Here are a few more Cee-Dee-Ares that I got outta the Bill Shute pile I think you might wanna know 'bout. Will try to be short and succinct for the sake of not boring any of you readers outta your skulls (hah!).

Marion Brown and Gunter Hampel-GESPRACHS FETZEN (Calig, Germany)

A particular rarity that I fer sure never got to lay eyes let alone ears upon and I doubt any of your reg'lar readers have as well. Two of the major madmen of late-sixties freesplat improv get together for this rather sublime free blow, complete with yet another appearance of the seemingly omnipresent Ambrose Jackson! Not what I would call either Brown's or Hampel's most outre recordings extant, but it sure goes down a whole lot smoother'n any of those current-day lounge schomooze jazzers doing their paradiddles expecting us all to look on with rapt attention!
Carla Bley/Mike Mantler/Steve Lacy-JAZZ REALITIES (Fontana)

Gotta admit that I never did cozy up to either Carly Bley, Carla Bley's hairdo, Michael Mantler nor ESCALATOR OVER THE HILL (a rec of which I barely made it outta side one), but this particular session w/noted communist soprano sax player Steve Lacy amongst the leaders is pretty engaging if perhaps clinical. Comes close to some of the more by-the-numbers ESP-Disk releases that I rarely if ever play, but it works out swell enough.
Frank Wright/A. Penck-RUN WITH THE COWBOYS

Here's a weirdie that came out as part of a series of albums made by the obscure madman (and visual artiste) A. R. Penck, recorded in England sometime in the eighties with ESP/BYG master of the post-Coltrane sphere Frank Wright as well as euro legend Peter Kowald. All of the records in this "series" (of how many, I do not know) have these weird and loopy hand-drawn covers and they probably also all have Frank Wollny on guitar. Wollny's playing is particularly left-field which is good for him cuz that means those whangy guitar riffs really fit in with the music in general which features Wright on a particularly crazed jag himself as well as some of the most muffled moans passing as vocals I've ever had the pleasure to hear. There does seem to be a faint recollection of cowboy music heard within the aluminum (which would figure considering the debt that the late-sixties avant jazz scene had to the singing cowpoke!) and I really couldn't see any of you who'd've dreamed of a Legendary Stardust Cowboy/AACM collaboration not wanting to hear this easily enough I guess downloadable classic!
Spontaneous Music Ensemble-KARYOBIN (Island UK)

I've been meaning to play my copy of the Ensemble's ONE TWO ALBERT AYLER more sooner than later, but until I can dig it outta thirtysome years of serious record collecting I'll just settle with this burn which was originally released on Island Records if you can believe it! Far from the prog rock or reggae that Island or any of those chi-chi English labels were known for, KARYOBIN is a slow burner that doesn't erupt into massive emotional release like you probably thought it would, but sorta bobs and weaves in a pleasant enough chamber jazz way. Oddly enough this was recorded by Island regular Eddie Kramer, who had the misfortune of being "lionized" by the Emerson Lake and Palmer faux-boogie woogie numbuh "Are You Ready Eddie" (or was that Eddie Offord?).
Thanks for the burns Bill. You really are helping to irrigate a musical drought around here!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


If you ever wanted to ask Anastasia Pantsios a question, here's your chance!

Sunday, April 19, 2009


Whatever happened to the anti-war movement?

Saturday, April 18, 2009


Yes, I have just got hold of in my grubby li'l paws a collection of sounds past that, for all intent purposes, has just gotta be the all-out top spin hit here at BLOG TO COMM central, and with a little knowledge of this monstrosity known as internet it can be yours too! And what's best about it is that the whole thing can be had for a mere pittance, or let's just say a blank Cee-Dee-Are and some paper in your printer. That's wild bids on ebay or mail order hassles need apply, because all you have to do is burn these specific obscurities right onto your very own platter and print up some great liners right offa the same website you got the moozik from and voila, you've got a platter that is (at least for me) to 2009 what SHAKE SOME ACTION and NUGGETS were to me spring/summer 1978, or Rocket From the Tombs spring '80 or SUBTERRANEAN MODERN to that very summer or even Angel Corpus Christi's I [heart] NY to summer '85! It's that much of a hitcha right between the eyes wowzer of a hot rock winner, and if you don't like it may I call you Karen Quinlan for you must be brain dead even if you showed vital life signs by tuning into this blog o' blogs.

Don't have a specific title for this platter, but I wrote something like "ASSORTMENT OF MOSTLY ENGLISH PROTO-PUNK GLAM SINGLE TRACKS FROM ROUGHLY 1973-1975" on my copy which ain't as cool as PEBBLES but it'll do for now. But as for the whys and wherefores of the creation of this custom-made rockster...well, y'see being a huge fan of the GLITTERBEST compilation of rare "junk shop glam" of a decidedly proto-punkish nature I decided that, instead of waiting around for someone to do a sequel why not create my own spinner from the wide array of offerings available via ex(?)-Barracuda Robin Wills' PUREPOP blog where not only can you read about these obscure singles that at least for me remain yet another "final frontier" for early p-rock excursions but hear 'em as well! So, after I finally figured out how to download and burn as they say music offa this internet I decided to create my own collection of these pre-punk rarities just so's I could spin 'em chairside whilst reading the various blog entries that I printed up in lieu of writing my own liner notes for this exemplary project. Naturally I think that if this particular disque ever did make it into the public realm that my following notes regarding the trackage included would make a swell accompaniment to the correlating sounds. Of course if you want to play it safe you'd do wise to stick with the originals that Mr. Wills wrote because he is a professional at this while I am but a mere dabbler.

In case yer won'drin just exactly what is on this seventies NUGGETS variation (and perhaps would like to compile one yourself) I have listed the pertinent tracks (more or less in order of appearance) below along with those aforementioned commentaries which I hope don't collide with what Wills and his various commentators have already written. And to make matters easier I even took the time to link up each and every numbuh that I used here so's all you'll have to do it click on the title to be taken to the particular entry to hear and read for yourself whether or not the song in question's worthy of being on your particular collection of glitter rarities. Makes me glad that I'm living in the here/now where technology can present such items on demand w/o you having to bid on GOLDMINE auctions or hope and pray for a compilation to come your way like we hadda do even a good decade back! Now if only the web will evolve to a plateau where just about any recording that one would want to hear no matter how obscure could be "dialed up" and listened to with the flick of a mere keyboard!

mystery group-"All Night Long/Down on 42nd Street" (unreleased acetate)-Not that much of a mystery for as Wills' notes say some guy from the El Lay group Shady Lady who had trekked to London afterwords was involved in its recording. That's his wife singing both sides in a pretty "common" English accent which adds to the overall toughness. The flip side has a particularly En Why punk swagger to it that wouldn't've had made this group seem outta place on a variety of 1973-1976 lower Manhattan outlets, or at least I coulda seen 'em playing at the 82 Club whilst Billy Miller fought his way through the transvestites and fags in the audience to get to the front of the stage.

Daddy Maxfield-"Rave 'n Rock" (Pye, UK)-Yeah, these are the same guys from the SATURDAY NIGHT POGO album whom I guess were one of a thousand of those up-and-coming local acts of the early-to-mid-seventies in that town who just happened to survive long enough into the decade to get called punks and make some money offa it. True they were yanks but there was a pretty steady hard rock attitude in this that I guess must've appealed to some people of the limey persuasion since Pye released it over there and I'm sure it might have influenced at least a few of the more introverted amongst them to kick at least a few jams out in the process!

(By the way, I sandwiched this one in between the ex-Shady Lady tracks by error, but I think the programming of this platter works better because of it. You may beg to differ, but don't come complainin' to me if your own variations here or elsewhere on this platter do not work out the way you thought they would.)

Castle Farm-"Hot Rod Queen"/"Jewels of Fire" (unreleased acetate)-Another hard rauncher that almost approaches HM standards, and come to think of it might've even been considered metal proper considering some of the groups that were doused with the heavy metal tag back in the mid-seventies. These tracks do have such a dynamic pace to 'em that they might just please polar opposites rather than alienate 'em even more. Well, at least Jillery expressed an appreciation of flipster "Jewels of Fire" and I didn't think anything outside the Moody Blues songbook ever lit a fire under anything she'd dare sit on!

House of Lilly-"Turn Around" (Eurodisc France)-Another one of those great outta nowhere platters that, if anything, show that punk rock was a pretty unintentional movement born outta the brains of guys who were probably aiming to be the next Yes or Grand Funk only they couldn't afford the fairy suits or electronic instruments. Not that House of Lilly sound like either, but their punkiness, like that of the mid-sixties variety, might have been only a temporary phase o' mind that got washed away by the next special acid delivery. Still, in many ways it's much better'n the way self-conscious punkiness of too many yobs who seemed to try so hard to do what House of Lilly could with the mere flick of a mind.

(Again, I stuck this one in between the Castle Farm tracks for reasons unknown, and if you have any semblance of sartorial elegance you just might do the same thing yourself!)

Melody-"Stepping Stone" (Negram Holland)-Here's one from a Dutch group who had a few toes in the punk idiom back in the mid-seventies and, seeing a good bandwagon to jump on when they did, went whole hog into the sound 'n fury merely by adding "Bad" to their name! Even without the "Bad", Melody show themselves to have been good students of late-sixties/early-seventies Troggsian thug pop on this particularly twangy spin that sounds like it woulda been a top play at Rodney's English Disco back in the day though I don't even think Bingenheimer was aware of records this obscure!

Pantherman-"Pantherman" (Polydor Holland)-Hokay, the cover snap (seen above) of some guy dressed in a leather costume with a panther headdress probably looked silly even to the glitter cognoscenti in '74, a throwback to the Batman craze days if not worse. Well, at least this Dutch thumper'll dissuade any ideas of this being some cheap cash in on the already flanged-out expensive cash in maybe, but still pretty gnarly in its vocals and overall approach nonetheless.

Sharaton-"Caught in the Act" (VIP Holland)-Three Dutchies in a row...sounds like something from an old nursery rhyme don't it? Still, another good (unintentional) punker that seems to breeze by just right even if it lacks the usual strutting power and energy of most of the tracks to be found herein. But then again, who says that power and energy necessarily have to be conduit to interesting music? It sure helps, but don't tell that to 99.999...% of today's rock musicians!

Wowii-"Hooray for the Hoods" (Cartoon US)-Another Amerigan one! These guys were pretty popular in their Florida burgh and they even used to tour up and down the coastline playing at prestigious dives like CBGB way back when LOLLING STONE broke the news about that club's open-minded booking policy. Wowii also recorded three singles that I always get outbid on whenever they pop up on ebay, this being the last of 'em. It's a good postpost-glam rocker (and why not, being recorded in '79) with the mandatory enough punk wave sound and a tough teen hipster vocal that seems typical enough for the time. A bit outta place here, but still obscure enough to warrant some standing in the seventies pre/punk sweepstakes amidst the rest of these outta-nowhere wonders.

Eagle-"Come In It's All For Free" (Pye International UK)-I sure woulda thunk this t'be one of those obscure glam singles but actually it's a way-late Amerigan garage band number by the group that was once famed Bosstown-area losers the Beacon Street Union! A surprisingly tough number that still fits in with the glam scrunchers here. Note: only a good minute and fifteen minutes of this song appears before fading off into the ether, but its natural goodness made it worthy of inclusion.

Slowload-"Big Boobs Boogie" (MAM UK)-With a name like Slowload you'd probably think that the group ate a lotta peanut butter. Whatever, I must admit that Slowload weren't that much glam as they were tough proto-punky hard rock a la the various Jesse Hector groups which should figure, since Slowload actually sported as a member the singer/guitarist for late-seventies punkers the Fruit Eating Bears who I might just actually look into if only to see if they're as Pink Fairies UK lowbrow as Slowload (probably not, but it would be fun to find out for myself). Oddly enough these guys were actually on EMI subsidiary MAM (considering the title of this song, an appropriately-named label) who also had Dave Edmunds on their roster and I believe even Gilbert O'Sullivan hisself. Talk about going from one extreme to another!

Spunky Spider-"You Won't Come"/"Perchance" (Phoenix UK)--When it comes to English proto-punky glamrock this 'un seems to hit just about every top ten I've come across (all ONE of 'em!). And who outside of Helen Keller could argue that "You Won't Come" is an incredible slice of English punk rock not only predating the 1976-era of bands but cutting a good portion of at least the sissier amongst 'em to shreds! And yeah, all of the hype that compares "You Won't Come" to everyone from Swell Maps to Cock Sparrer to Metal Urbain to first LP Yes (OK, I never heard that 'un!) does seem rather accurate! Again, only the first minute and a half or so of each side of their sole single appears here (the flip being a surprisingly more psychedelic number straight out of 1968!) but they sure give you enough taste. Besides, you can listen to "You Won't Come" in all its glory on GLITTERBEST if you so desire.

Stud Leather-"Cut Loose" (Dart UK)-Along with "You Won't Come" yet another left field screecher recorded by a group that was probably trying to be Yes (read the interview with Stud Leather singer Roger Cook that I linked up) and got sidetracked somewhere down the line onto the road of evil punkitude.Whaddeva these Stud Leather guys really put out a fantastico slab with "Cut Loose" that sorta straddles the glam and punk eras w/o looking as smarmy as many of those ex-glamsters gone punko coulda given the opportunity. Nice intense bared-wire streak here as well with a cutting chorus of "hally hally, oh hallelujah!" which I think won't make it with any of the more saccharine-laced religious acts rakin' in the sheaves these days.

Grudge-"When Christine Comes Around"/"I'm Gonna Smash Your Face In" (Black UK)-Here's one that's had every serious rockscribe from Johan Kugelberg to Johan Kugelberg drooling worse than my dog Sam during his final years leaving tinsel-y trails of dried slobber over this double-sided whammy that sounds like some totally disconnected with '77 dork's idea of what punk rock is so he gets together some equally detached cronies to cash in with their own single...only it works bubblegummy melodies and all! These Grudge guys really do have it in for Christine to the point where they promise her some serious GBH for reasons that are quite unclear. The reasons for such malice on b-side "I'm Gonna Smash Your Face In" are much clearer, since the unnamed victim was goin' 'round tellin' everyone the lead singer was a queer! This is the kinda record I wish the women's libbers woulda attacked mercilessly back when it came out in ' least think of all the publicity that would have garnered! Comes complete with horrid Mae West and Elvis Presley impersonations too that aren't as indecipherable as that WC Fields one on "Flight Reaction" but strange enough!

The Passengers-"Something About You (I Don't Like)" (private press UK)-OK, this is way outta the glamscope having come out in '79 and is pretty much stuck in the punk wave proper scene, but the hard drive does remind one a bit of some of the earlier proto-punk/late-period garage band tracks appearing here so its presence does blend in well with the rest of the numbers. I usually don't go for this late-seventies UK stuff finding the more Detroit/Velvets/experimental stylings more applicable to my high energy being, but this does suit me well even if technically we're talking effect not cause. But as that oft-mentioned around here saying goes, "Five-hundred years from now who'll know the difference?"

Mustard-"Good Time Comin'" (EMI UK)-Closing out this li'l soiree's a good enough thud-rocker that almost approaches glitzy heavy metal pop but fortunately doesn't make you wanna puke like too many of the eighties-era top forty hits doing the same thing did. Hard power-chording rock that sounds like it was custom-made for the ROCK SCENE gang, and if anything comes off more or less like an off night at Max's Kansas City in '77 which is a good thing if you're wanting a break from the usual Blondie/Ramones sorta thang and still had a hankerin' for sounds of glam rock past. I do wonder if Bitch's version of the same song (which is also available on the PUREPOP site) was any better? Perhaps I'll have to wait for Volume Two to find out!

'n so that's it, perhaps thee top comp for this otherwise iffy year of 2009. It's got me rockin' and boppin' for sure and if you had any sense you'd let this thing do the same to you. We can only hope that Mr. Wills will post loads more of these obscure punkers really soon so's I can scrape together another disque of such wonders, and whaddeva ya do Rob, don't just offer snippets...I wanna gulp 'em all down, not just have a little sample that'll have me starving from here to Hell (or Melbourne...same thing!) and back!

BOOTLEG OF THE WEEK!: The Yardbirds-LAST RAVE UP IN LA 3-LP set (Glimpses)

Why would a guy like me who already has two CD versions of this infamous if obscure beyond belief Yardbirds bootleg want to latch onto the original vinyl version? Continuity's probably the most valid explanation I can come up with.

The sound is surprisingly good...digitalization usually improves on these audience cassette jobs but I still find this document of the Yardbirds' next-to-last stand (or thereabouts) to be strong enough sonicwise even if the sound tends to be a tad distant. Ah but that was the limitation of those old portable cassette recorders including the particular one used to record those two nights at the Shrine Auditorium before konking itself out for all eternity. The Yardbirds were about to konk themselves out as well, and considering the high energy (including their only known recorded version of "Waiting For The Man") these tracks exude how could anyone believe otherwise?

Strangely enough, while most bootlegs sport phony addresses with make-believe postal codes, Glimpses actually offer us what seems to be a legit address in the xeroxed insert enclosed where you can also purchase a Yardbirds t-shirt as well as photos from this very gig! I don't think that this address is still valid but I'm pretty sure it could have been at one time, which only goes to show you just how cheeky some of these bootleggers coulda been in the face of FBI harassment and the promise of long jail terms for exercising their fandom in one of the more extreme ways possible.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

SUNNY MURRAY CD-R (Shandar, France)

Just when I was ready to reach for the revolver (or maybe the rubber soul while I was at it) due to the lack of new moozical wares what arrives but a parcel from Bill Shute featuring not only a few of his and Brad Kohler's recent chapbooks (which I will probably peruse after re-reading the PLASTIC MAN volumes I just dug up) but a good dozen and a half (or even more!) of burnt Cee-Dees the man had the kindness as well as patience to burn for me. Now that's a "bailout" that I can really get into, and thanks to Bill I don't have to re-review some old Swell Maps album or Lester "Roadhog" Moran like I was plannin' for the guy has helped sate my listening parameters for at least the next few months! Good for me, but bad for Volcanic Tongue!

And what better way to start out the recent glut of Cee-Dee-Ares than this pick off the top of the pile, the ultra-rare Sunny Murray album recorded while he and a few thousand other Amerigan avant garde jazzmen were camping out in Paris France. That's a city you'd think would've had about as much a liking to this sprawl as they do to being humble, but surprisingly enough there was a lot of hot music coming outta that city in the very-late sixties/very-early seventies so they must've had something on the ball! All kidding aside (read my true opinions on the gallic ones here if you so desire), France has been kind to the free jazz expatriates who have traveled there for fame and perhaps even fortune, and the variety of labels that had sprung up during the course of the late-sixties if only to document this budding movement should only be one aspect as to how much of a following avant jazz had over there back in the dangerous late-sixties. Too bad hardly if any of the labels PAID their recording artists, but maybe someone will get a little from these reissues and such if we only hope and pray!

This self-titled Sunny Murray album, which should not be confused with an earlier self-titled Murray LP on ESP features perhaps one of only two true free-play percussion trailblazers (other being Milford Graves...please notify me of any more you might think of!) live on the radio in Paris playing for a surprisingly appreciative audience with a group containing many of the up-and-coming French free players along with trumpeter Ambrose Jackson, a name that seems to slip in and out of many of these expat jazz discs of the cusp. Playing is excellent, heavily reminiscent of Murray's ESP debut as well as the primal yet arrhythmic throb of those yet-to-be-recorded BYG discs of which Murray recorded at least three (unless there's one snuck under the wire somewhere). Murray and group play like salmon swimming upstream (howzat for hip sex ref comparisons?) in a massive bellow that seems to speak about as much for decaying nervous systems as the Stooges did. Mighty fine and intense play here too, all built up by Murray's percussive lead drumming more or less which fills in the sound or at least accompanies it rather than sets s rhythmic pace. But you knew that already.

Dunno if this one's available at the local record store or if you have to pay through your schnoz for an original (most likely), but I'll betcha dollars to dilrubas that if you look hard enough the whole mess will be available somewhere online for free, so get searchin' all you budget conscious bloodhounds out there!

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Well, happy day before Easter anyway. Holiday greetings aside, here are a few items of interest that I scraped up for this posting despite the current financial/musical crisis taking more than a little bitta the stuffing outta me. (As per my last post, I'm pretty much survivin' on old releases in order to stave off insanity, but boy could I sure use a collection of junkshop glam punk just about now!) Although I hope the situation will correct itself more sooner than later (meaning more obscurity reissues!) I guess we'll all have to make do with just what we've got even if the pickins seem to be gettin' slimmer all the time. Now believe-you-me, I do have some hot irons up my sleeve with regards to some hotcha posts featuring a few recently purloined platters, but those'll have to moil in the serenity of my mind just so's they'll have the opportunity to ferment awhile before I transfer my feelings regarding these items to keypad. Until then, read on and be glad you don't have to put together a bi-weekly blog in order to sate some of the hungriest of rockism appetites out there (talk about the white suburban slob's burden!).

Kenny Young and the Eggplants-EVEN ONE IS QUITE A FEW; TOXIC SWAMP & OTHER LOVE SONGS; ARRR!, THE SEARCH FOR EGGPLANTIS CDs (Coney Island Records, available via CD Baby)

I don't usually go trollin' 'round for tweepop or ameramericanism or geekfreaks or whatever that eighties/nineties-bred college rock is being called now, but I gotta admit that on a few occasions these kinda groups do come up with some mighty interesting rockaroll that doesn't make me wanna rush for the ipecac. Well, not interesting per se, but maybe just downright listenable even if it does have elements of that aforementioned tweedom hard-baked somewhere in its DNA.

I also don't usually go buying previously-unheard recordings unless I have some sorta strong hunch that it's gonna be worth the shekels to plunk down for such mysteries o' life, but believe it or not I actually am guilty of impulse buying these four platters by a group whom I discovered only after finding their name on an old CBGB's Canteen listing and doing a li'l googlin' outta curiosity. And soo-prize soo-prize soo-prize, but Kenny Young and the Eggplants, even with their geekoid covers and songs about pirates and squirrels, do have more'n a little amt. of testosterone that is sorely missing in this music that, albeit born and bred of that extremely-influential drone band and variations thereof (Jonathan Richman comes to mind), never even came near the high energy promise that even these aggregations' more acoustic leanings would have lent to their overall makeup.

Debut EVERY ONE IS QUITE A FEW (well, I think it's their debut!) is more stripped down, quiet and perhaps even a tad dour in its makeup. Of course I like it. The others are way more upbeat, not simpy like those guys in the Free Credit ads but downright hard rock enough even with the use of Young's acoustic guitar as a lead instrument. Young's vocals aren't annoying either and even when this trio do rage on into their more-childlike moments it's not like you wanna start beating up every toddler in your path like you do with a good portion of the touchy-feely music that has sprung up outta the underground with an alarming regularity o'er the past twentysome years.

I wouldn't call these Eggplanters anything I'll be championing from the highest rafters and in fact I doubt I'll spin any of these platters with any regularity for quite some time, but when I hear something pretty decent coming out of a genre that threw away any promise it once had for the sake of simpering sentimentality, I guess I gotta take notice!
TWISTED #1 (fanzine, 1977)

I haven't been reviewing that many old and well-deserving-of-recognition fanzines as of late, mainly because I haven't been getting HOLD of that many if any old fanzines like I mighta even a good year ago. Luckily enough I latched onto this curiosity...a fanzine called TWISTED that, with its glossy blue cover and newsprint insides, reminds me more of those weekly magazines we used to get in high school which we would read and discuss in English class (always a good break from the literature quap and such even if the stories contained therein were dork city). Actually TWISTED does seem suited for the more teenaged readers amongst the late-seventies new wave crowd with its nice-if-bopperish coverage of Iggy, Blondie and even the oft hyped Screamers, so if you're searching out TWISTED under the impression that its contents and attitude would be akin to something along the lines of BACK DOOR MAN don't expect any NATIONAL LAMPOON/SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE-styled attempts at bad taste here. However, an interview with manager/hipster par excellence Danny Fields proves that TWISTED's good taste was exemplary by far.
BOOTLEG OF THE WEEK!: Remember Mystery Date, that crazy board game for pre-sprout gals where they got the chance to pick a dream date with either Ted Bundy or Wally Cox? It was always a mystery just exactly who was gonna be behind that door ('n I always wondered just how that photo of the date in question was able to slip into the special slot behind said door w/o any of the girlies playing the game seein' it!). Well, trying to figure out exactly what bootleg I was to present for your edification (or is it mortification?) this week has become quite the problem...y'see, said bootleg did not have any printed cover or even paper insert for me to identify it by, and the only clue I had as to what this particular item might be was the use of the "Ruthless Rhymes" label which featured that pic off an old NATIONAL LAMPOON cover with the dog about to be shot through the head. Not that much to go on even with my HOT WACKS handy, so I guess I had to take the hard way out and play the dang thing to see just what this el-pee exactly is.

Problem alleviated, because today's group in question is the Ramones, and the album is...well, even HOT WACKS doesn't seem to know other'n this is side three/four of AT YOUR BIRTHDAY PARTY, a two-LP Ramones bootleg set that I have already owned for quite awhile. Recorded live in Aberdeen Washington, this is the platter from that particular set that was sandwiched in between clips from various radio reports on the group (including a brief interview with the group themselves) discussing club violence with the venue owner not forgetting this gab with a longtime faithful follower of the fellows. Quality is pretty good even with a hint of a worn-down battery on side two, and I wouldn't complain about owning it even if the platter's true origin seems to be a mystery. Can any eager beaver bootleg maniac out there tell me if this was released on its lonesome and re-packaged with another offering by the Dragonfly label (who were known for such twofa repackages in the v.-late seventies) later on in the game?

But whaddeva. I think I did pretty good with this mystery date. I mean, it coulda been a James Taylor boot once owned by Dave Lang or somethin', at which point I would've had to have the house fumigated!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Luther Thomas and the Human Arts Ensemble-FUNKY DONKEY CD (Atavistic, available just about all over the place [try ebay for a swell deal!])

I've forgone listening to all of those burned cee-dees that have been taking up much of my time as of late to dive into some of the stuff that I've owned, loved and perhaps even wrote about more'n a few times but seemed to shove to the back of the bus so to speak. Some of these items include the first two La Dusseldorf albums which I dug out after reading a review of the Water label reissues in the latest UGLY THINGS (you can read my musings regarding these items here...scroll down as they say). Another is this nicety which I originally reviewed in the twenty-fifth (and latest/last) issue of my fanzine and have returned to again and again since. And although I really don't play FUNKY DONKEY as often as I perhaps should I must 'fess up to the fact that of all of the Human Arts Ensemble albums that have been plunked out since the advent of the Black Arts Group in the early-seventies, this 'un is perhaps the best, most high energy excursion into avant-funk (before that became "hip" to the throngs of heroin-sated lower Manhattan denizens) to have been laid down to vinyl and eventually aluminum ever! These Human Arts Ensemble albums can be chance-y affairs with some like P'NK J'ZZ not quite living up to the promise of their titles and others being deeply-searing excursions into seventies loft jazz possibilities, but as things stand in the here and now FUNKY DONKEY is thee ultimo trip regarding that whole hip free jazz cum funk style of aggression that used to be the hip cause at THE NEW YORK ROCKER back in the early-eighties before it all went under with one felt swoop.

One of those NEW MUSIC DISTRIBUTION SERVICES offerings that I wish I had the intelligence to get hold of before they went under (though I did have the brains to purchase Arthur Doyle's ALABAMA FEELING from 'em amongst other worthies, so please be kind!), this digital version of FUNKY DONKEY really is the utmost when it comes to that more feral brand of seventies free jazz that seemed to dabble more than a pinkie in the realm of funk and rock. When listening to this live romp (recorded in a church!) the more electric tracks on WILDFLOWERS naturally come to mind, only FUNKY DONKEY is even less controlled than anything on that epochal series of avant jazz documentation which is saying something potent. The liner notes about mixing the JBs with a hand-grenade do seem apropos, though the Contortions going soul sauce just might be a tad overstatement...I kinda like that 'un though! Even HAE leader Charles "Bobo" Shaw's "Una New York" gets way into a funky Puerto Rican free splat while the "bonus" track written by BAG standby Oliver Lake proves that even though I always thought that guy was the least-exciting (but still cohesive enough) player in the BAG stable he sure could compose a mighty fine number that shouldn't've been left in the closet for this long amt. of time. Considering all the goodies that remain in the closet I'm sure glad it finally got to grace our ear canals for once!

Maybe I should mention this version of the HAE while I'm at it. Thomas of course is fantastic sounding like the missing link between Ayler and James Chance only with a way fuller sound and (classic) r&b romp than the latter, while future Defunkt trombonist/leader Joseph Bowie gets to step outta his dashiki into something more snappy with his equally urban style that at least seemed to typify a good portion of the very-early eighties underground for me. Brother Lester makes a trip from his Chicago stretch to lend his trumpet to the bray (you can easily spot his typical Art Ensemble-ish rolls and riffs a mile away here) while Shaw keeps it all together with his strong pulse. Marvin Horne's guitar, while not the same intense bundle of bare-wired nerves as fellow BAG-ger Richard Martin's, is funky-riff fine enough and electric bassist Eric Foreman seems to lend a heavy-enough bottom to it all. I'll bet the both of 'em ended up playing in disco bands to pay the bills and to that I say fooey! The rest of the guys on reeds, trumpets and percussion did their part, and they did it well to boot!

I should admit that even though this is the age of the Cee-Dee and that analog has all but been banished from the face of this earth howcum a nice portion of this recording sounds like a vinyl elpee with a big hunk of dust firmly clinging to the needle? I've been hearing great gobs o' goo as to how superior the Cee-Dee is to good ol' vinola, but at times this sounds like it probably was taken straight offa some longplaying copy w/o the proper pre-spin cleaning such an endeavor would require. Sheesh, sometimes releases such as this make me miss the good ol' days of warped albums and tonearms jumping all over the place!

But anyhoo, if you liked that Solidarity Unit Inc. album with Shaw leading a massive incursion into hard avant bop (and why shouldn't you since this is probably the jazz elpee of the year?) you'll certainly get your jollies outta FUNKY DONKEY. And considering how it seems to be popping up frequently on ebay and at a price you can afford unless you're from New Guinea why dontcha get hold of one and finally come to the not-so-strange conclusion that maybe I have been right about these things for all these years! Of course you can easily enough ignore the truth and go find comfort in the sanctity of your favorite amerindie blog, but when that hard wind of high energy suddenly hits you hard on the nape of the neck don't come crying to me!

Saturday, April 04, 2009

The Hanuman Sextet-9 MEALS FROM ANARCHY CD; Radio I-Ching-NO WAVE AU GO GO CD (both available through Radio I-Ching's myspace page and I'll betcha that CD Baby has 'em as well!)

Things are still frighteningly slow on the high energy circuit these days, though thankfully there are a few bits and pieces that've at least crept into my psyche and curled up there like little spirochetes worthy of mention. Take these two recently-released artifacts f'rinstance, the Hanuman Sextet (ne. Ensemble) one being what appears to be their first "legit" release (my review of their first illegit one appears here) while the Radio I-Ching thing is the latest in yet a string of releases by this post-Hanuman grouping, and both of 'em are what I would call, er, up your alley kinda music if your alley's pretty wide and expansive. But we're not talking about Dave Lang today, we're talking Radio I-Ching so we'll dispense with Antepoidal Ass-o-nines for now and get to the meat and potatoes of what exactly good is happening in underground improvisational jazz in the here and now!

I've spewed many a good word about these Hanuman Ensemble/Sextet/whaddeva people before on this blog, and if you so desire a handy word-search'll place everything I wrote about this act at your mere fingertips. But as for this brand-spanking-new release (recorded way back in February of '06 and only revitalized a few months back) what else can I say than it featured this amazing free-improv-avant-jazz act in the studio sounding a whole lot better (which doesn't matter to me but it might to you) than they do on CD-R cooking up a mix and match of various ethnic and not-so sources and presenting it to you in a package that doesn't quite reek "World Music" and you are the happier for it.

Naturally the entire band are chopwise up-there, with Mia Theodoratus' electric harp twanging standing out even next to the exotic instrumentation (lap steel, raita, lotar, erhu, and other instruments with names that sound like characters from STAR TREK) of such members as Andy Haas and Dave Fiorino. The dual drum set up with David Gould and Dee Pop (who probably held some sorta record for being in the most groups at one time back in the early oh-ohs) is also worthy of mention, and I know that I would be considered a lout if I compared them to the Elvin Jones/Rashied Ali Coltrane lineup so I won't. And rather than belabor any points being made regarding this group and what might have been said about 'em before let me just close by saying it's sure nice hearing music that "borrows" from various styles and forms, without sounding like total caca in the process that is.

As far as "label-mates" Radio I-Ching go, well this has gotta be what...their third or fourth release (my bet's on the former) and there's no letting down with this group which is the Hanumans shorn in half and tin pan alleyed up if you get my drift. Yes, only Haas, Fiorino and Pop from that group are here, and although you're probably thinking of heavy duty late-seventies New York dankness with a title like NO WAVE AU GO GO there really is little Contortionesque punk-funk or Teenage Jesus screech to be heard within. Like on their previous endeavors, Radio I-Ching get into their standard free jazz growl yet can do the topsy-turvy loopsy bit when slipping in some surprising cover versions of "Judegment Day" and "I'm an Old Cowhand" fercryingoutloud! It's still not enough to win over your folks whose musical edjamication sorta ended when Snooky Lanson was forced to sing Chuck Berry, but at least they will know why you should be committed.


Dunno exactly when this one originally hit the cheapo record shop bins but I would say it was sometime after the infamous WHO'S ZOO double bootleg set on TMOQ came out, or perhaps the budget import collection DIRECT HITS since most if not all of WHO UNRELEASED was taken from most if not all of those legendary yet elusive elpees! Whaddeva, it sure was nice re-introducing myself to these classic single-only sides after a good fifteen/twenty years of neglect (y'see, there's only a certain amount of days on a feller's clock and we can't spend 'em all just playing the same ten great records over and over again w/o introducin' some new manure t' the compost heap!) and even I gotta admit t' lovin' the dickens outta the blue label with "WHO" proudly emblazoned across the top lookin' more like it was designed for some small-town high school marching band press from 1961! Good enough that it'll at least temporarily wash away all of those bad Who memories of rock operas and seventies stage pose machoisms that have soured you on this band o'er the past thirtysome years, and considerin' what the Who had become by that time that's some serious washin' bein' done!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Marc Edwards/Weasel Walter Group-MYSTERIES BENEATH THE PLANET CD; Weasel Walter/Henry Kaiser/Damon Smith-PLANE CRASH CD (ugEXPLODE)

This crisis is getting me down! No, I don't mean the economic crisis, I mean the MUSIC crisis! Yeah, jaded-as-a-whore I's gotta admit that there just ain't that much wild and mind-synapse-jarring music out there being released let alone made that I wanna snatch up these days, and even at this very moment I have orders "on hold" at both Forced Exposure and Volcanic Tongue that remain un-sent because frankly, I'm not that excited over laying down the even-harder-to-earn moolah for these particular items at this time. Yeah, there are a few things out there I haven't lent ears to that I'm sure I would get some pleasure outta like the JT IV and Death albums on Drag City, but I just don't feel like stampeding to the mailbox with an order just to get hold of some recordings that will probably only be a once-in-a-blue-moon spin. Let's face it, if you underground record bizzez really want to part this fool with his money, you better dangle some pretty tantalizing carrots in front of my schnozzola like maybe some obscure mid-seventies En Why See proto-punk screech or better yet that Detroit group from 1969 who had a hard enough time gettin' gigs because they sure made the likes of the MC5 and Stooges sound just "too" clean and professional.

Thank goodniz I've latched onto a few new items in order to keep my cranial nodes in proper functioning order, and both of 'em were sent to me by none other than WEASEL WALTER who as you may know has been dabbling in this even newer jazz/no wave thing for quite a longer amt. of time than even my mind can fathom. MYSTERIES BENEATH THE PLANET is the first, a neat li'l gatefold sleeve offering that features the dual drumming team of Marc Edwards and Weasel Walter leading two different aggregations through some pretty hotcha avant jazz spew that ranks with some of the better post-loft scene sounds that I've heard at least back in the early/mid-oh-ohs when I was tuning into the Sunday night freestyle gigs at the CBGB Lounge! I know what you're thinking...that Edwards and Walter are yet another buncha faux jazz personages who have no right to play the music because they don't wear dashikis, but I beg to differ 'n besides they sure were able to get some pretty well-known names in the even newer avant jazz world like Paul Flaherty and Ras Moshe to play with 'em! The results are fine enough to wallow amidst the rest of your pithy avant jazz catalog without looking like imitation flowery jagoff, and if you're looking for yet another good hot and cooking modern-day free jazz session (or rent buster), look no further.

Even creepier down the line is PLANE CRASH, an improvisational album featuring Walter playing along with (at least I'm told he is) legendary jazz guitarist Henry Kaiser and Damon Smith (who plays a newfangled upright seven-string bass!) making some of the more earwiggiest music I've heard from such quarters in quite some time. OK, it's not that I've been actually going out seeking such sounds, but if you're the kinda guy who likes the free splatter that seems to hold no formal links to jazz, rock or even classical you might enjoy listening to these fourteen "attacks" that the three present for you. Even this far down the pike they still have that spark of freshness that I rarely see anywhere these days.

On a sad note, the liner notes written by one Richard Gehr reveal to us that the three musicians who have made this wonderful Cee-Dee had died September 30th of last year in an airplane crash (hence the title) right after producing the recording session which has yielded this particular disque. This is definitely a loss that the free jazz world will never recover from (well, had it ever "really" recovered from the deaths of John Coltrane and Albert Ayler?), but what makes this story even spookier is that I was personally contacted by none other than Mr. Walter via email only a week or so before receiving these two Cee-Dees, and in fact the very package I received only a few days later bore the return address of the now deceased drummer! Talk about mystical connections from the great beyond---this is real BELIEVE IT OR NOT fodder, innit? Gee, the lengths I will go to just to milk a strange enough excuse for liner notes even more just so's I could pad this thing out and make it look more "professional" to the unaided brain, eh?