BOBBING FOR BLOGS IN THE TOILET
Yes, that's what most of us do when we advance onto a weblog that we really know nothing about! But have no fear with BLOG TO COMM, for here we pick the brightest of reviews at peak crackling perfection and present them to you, the discerning reader, at their ripest and therefore juiciest best. While other blogs are more concerned with rushing out posts under the misguided ruse of being "timely", ours are left to ferment and age for that special tanginess you most certainly crave, and really, once you get down to it you don't know whether you'd like to read our particular posts, or eat them for that matter.
All kidding aside, there really ain't that much to crow about this weekend, just a few recent arrivals that (except for the Gulchers) has been out for awhile and perhaps long past their blog shelf life as if that really did matter here, where the anciant and freshly-popped intermingle to the point of who can tell which is which. As soon as I have an opportunity to experience a few more recently-pressed disques and platters (maybe within a couple of weeks, months even!) I can guarantee you that there will be some epic, magazine article-length piece coming atcha to tickle your tootsies but good. Anyway, make do with what I have to offer and don't crab about it too much lest you be doomed to reading LEXICON DEVIL for all eternity!
***Lord Buckley-A MOST IMMACULATELY HIP ARISTOCRAT CD (Collector's Choice Music)
Like I'm sure many of you readers have, I first discovered Lord Buckley via the Bizarre/Straight label sampler ZAPPED at which time I made an effort to seek out this very album which was only to be found via a few scant 8-tracks located in the rear sections of certain Radio Shacks and Mason's Department Stores in the tri-county area. And, like perhaps a few more of you, I also got to see Buckley in action via his late-fifties YOU BET YOUR LIFE appearance which has been running in syndication as THE BEST OF GROUCHO ever since those monochrome days. You too might recall the way Buckley freaked Mr. Marx out with his witty revising of Shakespeare custom-made for the bop set...
Unfortunately it took a good thirtysome years since this elpee became almost impossible to find to get reissued, and thanks to the relatively obscure Collector's Choice label at least I can get to hear now what I missed then without having to pay collector's choice-y prices for an original I might have been lucky to pick up for a mere two dollah had this 'un landed in the used record shops back in the eighties.
I must say that these particular home recordings have Buckley doing his best hipster bit that definitely was a highlight of the already hopped-up fifties, conveying his entire oeuvre of black slang and general youthful (for a man in his fifties!) rather spiffily if I do say so myself! At least it does Buckley better'n that double-set of the typically douse-like Lenny Bruce that Bizarre issued around the same time. After listening to this platter it's easy to see not only just how well Buckley was plugged into the entire jivespeak bit but just how much various sixties/seventies "innovators", from stand-up comedians to radio disc jockeys (and not only Wolfman Jack) swiped more than a little from him. Well, at least most of the ones who have, even the more nauseating examples of sixties "innovation" have sung his praises and ya gotta admit that the fact that Frank Zappa hisself was responsible for this album's existence boosted Buckley's hip underground credo a bit just like "The Eric Dolphy Memorial Barbecue" helped move more copies of IRON MAN than anyone coulda imagined.
Of course those days of hotcha beat-talking hipsterisms are long gone and in some respects Buckley's entire routine is about as dated as those MAD takes on the classics redone in bopese, but someone (like myself) who is more than anxious to explore the old frontiers of the bared-wire cool can surely appreciate these proto-"improvisational" routines from his Marquis de Sade and Einstein tribs to his own cool sprew on "The Raven". And of course "Governor Slugwell" which astounded me way back in when I was a mere young and impressionable type who decided to warp himself because frankly, school and authority weren't doing a good enough job of it. Especially entertaining was "The Train", a piece which I don't think could be performed by anyone on this earth with a full set of teeth.
And hey, if you wanna read what it is that Buckley's saying on this platter just be sure to click here!
***Ben Miller/degeneration-EYELANDS UNDER EYELID CD (Gulcher)
Ex-Destroy All Monsters man Miller has been recording these electronic soundscapes for quite some time now, and tho I'd made some half-hearted stabs at obtaining his earlier offerings (especially this one from about five years back he did around the time he was playing the CBGB 313 Gallery to promote it!) this is the first actual flesh and blood disque of his that I've been able to lay paws upon. Surprisingly enough (surprisingly enough since I was expecting something on the fringe on imtonal as opposed to atonal grate) this is a pleasant recording of free-sound that's as engaging as it is relaxing. That doesn't mean it's one of those releases created to revitalize your life energy forces, but it's certainly worthy unto itself. Actually EYELANDS UNDER EYELIDS has a rather engaging electronic sound that was recorded complete with a prepared (I guess) guitar coming off a lot like some of the more interesting recorded excursions you would have seen popping up in the late-seventies NMDS catalog, or perhaps heard on a more adventurous college radio station of the day. Come to think of it, this does revitalize MY life energy forces, and it just might yours as well!
***Crawlspace-IGNORANCE IS BLISS CD (Gulcher, or try getting it direct from Eddie Flowers @ Slippytown [see link on left] since he needs the money in a hurry!)
NOW, THIS IS THE EDDIE FLOWERS I KNOW AND LOVE!!! Of course you're smart enough to realize that I don't mean "know" in a Biblical sense nor do I mean "love" in the same way as well, but gosh darn it this new Crawlspace album is a mighty nice surprise especially for a dunce like me who's been in on the game since the mid-eighties when former Gizmo Flowers was first fermenting his group via freshly-penned numbers such as "The Void that Slithers" and other beauts that he was hyping via his various EDDIE PICKS THE HITS newsletters (a definite mid-eighties highlight in a gonz-void world that certainly needed 'em!). I remember hearing some slightly-later Crawlspace recordings from '87 or so telling him how fuller and more rehearsed they sounded with him giving me one of those "no shit Sherlock" replies...certainly deserved that 'un but as far as evolutionary patterns went Crawlspace was reaching far and beyond what any of us doofs coulda imagined after hearing those early sub-bedroom demos back '85 way.
By this point in time you woulda thought Crawlspace to be an extra-terrestrial form of indescribable energy unknown to the ken of human comprehension but surprise, for on their latest the group really returns back to the roots, to the basics of it all which makes for a fine example of DOWN-HOME HIGH ENERGY PROTO-PUNK-INFLUENCED METALLIC SHARD MUSIC that hasn't been heard in quite a long time. I'm sure the unaware might think this an obscure early-seventies Texas self-released post-psych wonder that you usedta hafta pay upwards of $500 for before the eventual "legit" reish with bonus tracks was made available sometime in the oh-ohs, but it ain't.
Eddie sounds a whole lot older than he did on those Gizmos and early Crawlspace recordings; deeper and more cigarette-rough in a way that can easily pass for black especially with the remnants of his Deep South accent firmly in place. Musically it's way back to the first Gizmos EP's metallicus-proper stylings meets late-sixties punk electricity that's so convincing that you'd expect to hear this being blasted from one of those cheap old farmhouses where get-away-from-it-all longhairs congregated back in those strangely stormfront days. Subject matter ranges from aging baby-boomer women who still slank as slutty now as they did then to Glorias Stavers/Leonard (who not surprisingly did all the do they could for their respective publishing fields) and it's such a snat mix of smarts and below dumbo raveon ("Vote Yes on 69"!) that it's hard to believe such a perfect distillation of midwest hard-edge rock and fanzine credo would be allowed to exist in 2010! All done in a basement-level lo-fi t'boot!
I remember my first exposure to the Eddie Flowers moniker via his letter to BOMP! circa. 1971 where Greg Shaw remarked that at twelve Eddie was the mag's youngest reader who deserved to have his head warped by rock & roll...looks like the job was "well done", and crisp to a "t" too!
***The Brain Surgeons-EPONYMOUS CD (Cellsum/Ripe & Ready)
Gotta admit that I had a slight interest in hearing this group after finding out that onetime Blue Oyster Cult drummer Al Bouchard left their ranks long after they lost their overall meaningfulness (which to me was around the time they forsook the psychedelia of the Stalk-Forrest Group for the heavy metal chicanery they eventually became known for in the v. late-seventies) in order to hit the streets with an act that typified a more Stoneybrook set of aesthetics. A few cybercast appearances via the CBGB website also had me salivatin', though unfortunately I missed out on 'em due to sleep and I can only hope and pray that those ain't lost for all time. Obviously, outta all of the BOC members past and present Bouchard was, along with Les Vegas and perhaps R. Meltzer one of the more conscious of the bunch...I mean, here's a guy who turned his back on the millions in order to play his own particular brand of New York street smart rock even if he hadda do it with his wife Deborah Frost, a woman who in my studious opinion has to be one of the worst rock critics to ever besmirch a printed page and I don't CARE if she's written for THE NEW YORK ROCKER (a lotta doofs have...they can't all be Miriam Linna!) because her tiring politically preachy screed-on against Joe Carducci and his ROCK AND THE POP NARCOTIC ("oh boo-hoo, what a racist this man is, and there's only one Jew in Blue Oyster Cult anyway so there smartypants!") was enough to send this sidelines-bound scribe into fits of nausea worthy of a lifetime supply of Ipecac!
But that was long ago and we should let bygones be bygones and all that...are you KIDDING??? This elephant never forgets, and come to think of it I'll never forget the throngs of "classic rock" Eddyites I knew who were really hard-on for BOC while showing all sorts of antipathy for anything even remotely high energy, underground, exciting or having a connection to the decidedly non-ROLLING STONE-sanctioned history of the great youth struggle ending somewhere in early-eighties bong heaven. So maybe I should loathe this Cee-Dee on mere principle alone, but that would be hard to do because once you get down to it, do """""I""""" have any principles myself?
So where does that leave the Brain Surgeons' EPONYMOUS debut release anyway? Well, given my utter rantings and ravings to the contrary and the fact that I find the female portion of the group rather abhorrent all I gotta say is that I love this one to the utmost! Given its utmost high energy appeal mixed with a slash-and-burn that reminds me of the best of the early-eighties underground (NYC style), this comes off like a forgotten early-eighties just-post-Max's slice of New York hard rock that was smart enough not to realize that the powerhouse seventies were being replaced by the pallid eighties!
The Brain Surgeons really do remind me of what all of those under-the-covers En Why See bands who were playing CBGB throughout the eighties and even until their last days a few mere years ago probably if not definitely sounded like. No, not the ones who were all aflush with the uplifting sounds of the post-new wave or the hardcore screech that was getting the obvious underground press (not all of it positive), but the kinda groups who were more or less the spiritual successors of those hard mid-seventies bands from the Dictators and Tuff Darts on down who really didn't have a peanut gallery to sustain 'em via fanzines or any "alternative" radio outlets. Y'know, the kinda groups that only Hilly Kristal, I, the bands and their mothers could love with their lack of pretension, stick-to-it'veness and (best of all) non-lockstep groove that seemed in rather short supply that I sure could have used a whole lot more of 'stead of some of the simper that did come out during that sorry decade.
Both Bouchard and Frost sing, and both play guitars along with Bouchard's drumming along with other band members who seem rather flex-like and it's all an enjoyable slide of En Why See rock thirtysome years after the fact. Frost is a good warbler and her strangely soothing vocal cords do sound fine wrapped around the tough-gal Stoneybrook material extant, while Bouchard shows that maybe he shoulda been the front-and-center singer for BOC all those years 'stead of fastened behind the drums. To add to the entire Cultasaurusness behind it all longtime scribblers David Roter (whose posthumous album is still waiting to be released and why none of his early folkie stuff???) and Richard Meltzer contribute pertinent lyrics that should bring back warm and toasty heart cockling to fanz who have been in on the drive since the get-go. Heck, even the uh-capella take of "Love Potion #9" didn't make me wanna rip the disque from the laser launching pad and that's really saying something positive.
Ain't saying that I'll be buying any more Brain Surgeons offerings (there's an economy drive going on, y'know), but I will be spinning this one more than twice before filing it away in one of those big boxes of mine until I am somehow jarred into digging it out again. Fans of the whole Dictator mystique that probably introduced YOU to the Cult will undoubtedly wanna nuzzle at this 'un, and as far those surviving late-seventies bongsters who moved and grooved to these guys well...maybe if you didn't act so high and mighty like your hero Chuck Eddy you might actually be able to enjoy a good part of this as well!
***SPECIAL NOTE TO STEVE WHO LEFT A "DO NOT PUBLISH" MESSAGE VIA THE COMMENT BOX A FEW DAYS AGO: Leave me another message (which I will of course not publish as well) giving your email address and I will deliver all of the information you have requested nice and personal like. And if there is anybody out there who would like to send me items either for review on this blog or perhaps just for my own personal enjoyment, feel free to send 'em all to 701 North Hermitage Road., Suite 23, Hermitage PA 16148 USA Earth and don't forget the bubble wrap!