WRINGING IN THE GNU YEAR!
So here it is 2010...well, I never thought I'd live to see the year! Or at least the day, or decade, or something along those lines. Perhaps I never wanted to live this far into the futureshock even if the alternative seems mighty frightening. And yes, knowing that I live and breathe a good decade after the years started beginning with a "2" is a tough enough fact to get down the ol' throat as Linda Lovelace might have said. it really goes to show you just how much a guy such as I is more or less homesick for those times which we call the twentieth century! At least the twentieth century up to a point (really, I could have done without the massive carnage that was done in the name of creating wonderful new societies and breeds of men, not discounting a myriad assortment of American-approved "social planning" uplifts up to and including gassing undesirables in Nevada) but sheesh, I sure long for the days when a guy could flip on his television set and find everything from SEA HUNT to THE BOWERY BOYS on your fave local channels, and not during the middle of the night or once in a blue moon either! You know, I really have the idea that the populace is craving for more and more of that old timey television but the powers that be only push this new decadent brand of "entertainment" because it reflects their sick lifestyle that they want to promulgate, and at the expense of hotcha television viewing that made growing up in These Here United States so fine and dandy. I believe that to my soul and no school marmish lecture or finger wagging by sophisticated know-it-alls who believe THE HONEYMOONERS to be a sexually oppressive form of propaganda is gonna change my opinion one bit!
But ah, I went through this schpiel many times before and definitely will do so again, and if I can only change the attitudes of enough people to get off their duffs and DO SOMETHING!!!! the world will be a better place. Until then I will have to slosh on inna mud of Moderne Lifestyles while a buncha dykes and fairies (as Ten Years After would say) give me a lotta berating for my obviously superior credo during these days when the creation of this "new man" seems more akin to the construction of a new Frankenstinian Monster, one with a lisp I might add.
In case you're interested, here's a few newies that hit the boards since we last spake:
***Destroy All Monsters-DOUBLE QUARTET LP (Printed Matter)
DOUBLE QUARTET might have made one of my "best of '09" categories if only it had arrived in time, but better late'n never for this recent rarity to pop forth from the vast wealth of classic high energy Detroit rock spasm. Everyone who's in on the game knows that the Detroit heavy metal scene of the sixties/seventies was deeply entrenched in the free jazz idiom, and on this '75 side we see none other than Destroy All Monsters, the post-trio art project/pre-Ron Asheton helmed version romping through a half hour of what could only be called pure Detroit avant rock. Mike Kelley and Jim Shaw are still in the group but Niagara is MIA. However, Cary Loren has just signed up and along with a Jeff Fields, Kalle Nemvalts, and John Reed the group seems to be trying to achieve a style somewhere in between Ornette's FREE JAZZ and Smegma performed in such a way that you could just see before your eyes the reaction to it in the CREEM letter page had this thing somehow made it out into the general populace. Somehow I would have thought the original late-sixties White Panthers/psychedelic Detroit ideals would have been long-gone by this time, so be thankful there were some snoots out there paying attention!
Guitars (of the regular and bass variety), saxophone, trumpet, congas (no "real" drum set up!) and even tape manipulations! And the energy's so high that no pig can stop it, brother!
***Frank Lowe-THE FLAM LP (Black Saint, Italy)
Twenty years ago when I was more or less in contact with Rudolph Grey (the only time he has contacted me since then was when he got whiff via a story I had circulated amidst his own private circle that a lass in Canada was writing his biography, one that seemingly never did materialize) I had heard not only that the guy had in his possession of the then-obscure Frank Lowe album BLACK BEINGS but that he was in the audience during this album's recording! The second fact (if true) was something I felt was of a historical nature, but the first one was also an eye, or shall I say ear opener since I was never able to locate a copy of BLACK BEINGS despite it being a latterday ESP-disk release and thus stocked in a warehouse somewhere in Columbus just waiting to burn to the ground. And so, with a little nudge-nudge here and maybe some ear-bending there I thought I was in line to get a dub of this obscure rarity from the personal collection of Mr. Grey, and pretty post haste at that I might add. However, despite all of my string-pulling I never was able to get a dupe offa him, the reason (or so I heard) being that this album was so good and a special, unique vision in jazz to the point where only a few select people on this planet were deserving of lending lobes to BLACK BEINGS, and for all intent practical purposes I was not one of them!!!
Well, despite all that BLACK BEINGS eventually was reissued a number of times in the nineties and oh-oh's, so even the less-inclined amongst us now have the same rights and privileges as the chosen few. And here in the teens we same downtrodden types now have the chance to listen to Lowe's '75 Italian-issued masterpiece THE FLAM, done right before the time the man began to take the criticism against him seriously and started "toning down" his sax playing despite the fact that Lowe's manic tenor blasts were what made him one of the better heirs to the John Coltrane legend along with Roscoe Mitchell and perhaps early Pharoah Sanders. Lowe is backed by a typically exemplary group with a couple of BAG standbys (Bobo Shaw, Joseph Bowie) as well as AACM trumpeter Leo Smith helping Lowe lead the way with his deeply-inward-bent playing that at no time conjures any feelings of flamingos flying through the air while copulating or other images snatched from Johnny Nash album covers. Pretty hard bleat all over about as good as BEINGS, FRESH and even that duo exchange thing with Rashied Ali. Now available big-time, although VOLCANIC TONGUE (where I got mine) is sold out. Feh!
***John Coltrane-INTERSTELLAR SPACE CD-R Burn (ABC-Impulse)
Speaking of Coltrane, I gotta admit that although I already have two vinyl copies of this posthumous duo session in my collection I sure am grateful to Paul McGarry for sending me a burn of this 'un so I don't have to trek on down to the basement to give it a listen whenever the spirit moves me. And no wonder they waited until after he died to put this out, for INTERSTELLAR SPACE would have been just too "out there" for the casual weekend listener! Y'know, the kidna folk who "liked" (if you could all it that) Coltrane because wags like Grace Slick and Jerry Garcia used to drop his name so people wouldn't think they were the addlebrained hippies that they most certainly were. This is Coltrane at his best, playing free as ever in a duo setting with Rashied Ali, who as you would know from the review directly above would later do the same thing with such seventies stalwarts as Frank Lowe and even Leroy Jenkins. Pure space music on par with the best of the seventies/eighties loft players only going to prove that had Coltrane lived he would have become an even more distorted monster player releasing music that would perhaps leap heyond the ken of the comprehension of your typical DOWN BEAT reader. But the rest of us would understand perfectly. Really, at some parts Coltrane is approaching an almost Roscoe Mitchell-level intensity and although it is usually more "proper" to make comparisons twixt the lesser-known players and Coltrane I find this kind of maybe not-so-chic contrasting all the more meaningful!
***Walter De Maria-DRUMS AND NATURE CD (no label)
...and no cover either, making any concrete info that I could get on this (other'n what I could find via the VOLCANIC TONGUE or the WHITE LIGHT/WHITE HEAT book) pretty el-skimpo. But still it is a big hunkin' heap o' joy to listen to the former Primitives drummer playing his set against the crashing of waves as well as the chirps of crickets sounding like a surf record waiting to happen or some cutting-edge avant garde electronic master using some of the oldest natural sounds imaginable. It ain't gonna be one of those everyday spins I'll tell ya, but it sure does make for once-in-awhile light playing that doesn't drive your beanie bonkers unlike a lotta the shallow mallow experimental music that goons like you and me made in our teens after reading about the trailblazers like Cage and Stockhausen thinking "eh, I can get away with that myself!"
***ALTER EGO #42 (fanzine published by Two-Morrows)
I don't usually go 'round buying modern comic magazines whether they are of the professional or fanzine gender, but this 2004-vintage issue of the resurrected ALTER EGO (perhaps, in its original form, thee top notch standard comic book fanzine of the sixties/seventies silver/bronze age) featured what promised to be a boffo piece on the old Hillman line of comics which, besides giving us Airboy, also dished up the infamous Heap, the Golden Age precursor to not only the Hulk (as a few comic followers have surmised) but more likely the seventies shaggy anti-hero monsters at DC (Swamp Thing) and Marvel (Man-Thing) who coulda been tied up in lawsuits for quite a long time had nobody bothered to hold the copyrights at that now-defunct publishing corporation. Good piece on the company and the characters too, making me wish somebody would release the definitive Heap compilation which shouldn't be hard considering how the guy's been appearing in Golden Age collections for years and since there's no copyright holder who's gonna stomp down the door and stop the alleged perpetrators?
A total surprise for me was the inclusion of an article on the Brothers Herring (Sid and Dave) as well as their ODD fanzine, one of the many MAD/satire reads done by amateurs during the fifties and sixties which is yet another subject in itself. I've liked the handfulla issues that I have chanced upon over the past few years even if the mag really ain't really that funny (as if these brothers could get away with the kinda humor they would have loved to include!), though it's sure neat looking at the fine artwork that these kids (and I do mean it since the mag started up in earnest when both of 'em were still in High School) dished out, plus the various artists and contributors (such as Jay Kinney) were especially noteworthy even if it seemed as if each artist would take his turn spoofing the same DC/Marvel character issue by issue! The Herrings (or at least one of 'em) are into graphic design now, which would figure.
Still, it's a hoot looking at the snap of the brothers around ages 11/12 reading multiple copies of HUMBUG including the HUMBUG DIGEST paperback which one brother is wearing on his head like a paper hat of sorts! They had to crack the spin of that one to get it to stay in place, and I only think of how they had to mutilate that book, one which I would have slaughtered for age fifteen, in order to pull off that admittedly humorous snapshot! Good thing I didn't see that pic way back when or I might have gone into a coma right then and there!!!
Oh there's much more like a piece on Don Heck, but since I never did care for him as much as the other Marvel Silver Age staff it's like I could pass on it. But boy, do I remember a lotta people hating that guy's guts!
***DON'T GO 'ROUND SAYING THAT I DON'T DO ANYTHING TO YOU!: Remember back a little over a year ago when I posted a nice li'l writeup on the obscure 60s/70s cusp radical rockism group from Virginia called The Titfield Thunderbolt? A few of you readers were so enamored by said article that you actually chastized me for not making their incredible single "Born on the Wrong Planet"/"In The Can" available via mp3, as if I had the technology to actually go ahead and do such a thing. (In reality I wouldn't know where to start making the vast array of rarities from my collection, whether they be via vinyl, tape or disque, available on the web no matter how enticing that may be to the majority of you regular visitors.) Well readers, fret no more for former Thunderbolt member Corvus the Hermit has GRANTED YOUR WISHES by making not only the group's three previously-released tracks available again via mp3, but by adding a new one just to sweeten the pot a little bit more. The entire kaboodle plus more is slated to appear on an up 'n coming Cee-Dee entitled NESCROSCOPIX which I hope makes it to our laser launching pads pretty soon, but if you just can't hold it in for that long these four musical marvels will at least give you a little taste:
"I Was Born on the Wrong Planet"
"In The Can"
"Some Jungle Music"
"On The Can"