"NOTHING IS BETTER FOR THEE, THAN BTC!"
Show your age and tell me which television commercial slogan I swiped that one from!
Anyway, some wisenheimer who shoulda known better asked me why I bother to write these (admittedly) putrid posts especially in the face of what some would call indifference if not outright hostility. The answer's easy enough. It's only that I'm so obsessed with music, especially that of the rock & roll variety created circa. the mid-sixties to the early-eighties (at the latest) and that I just can't CONTAIN myself in my over-rambunctious enthusiasm for the sport to the point where I feel it's my duty to, that I MUST express my every little tingling opinion and critique of whatever in this realm of sound happens to light my fancy your reaction be damned! This probably seems tres-adolescent and perhaps masturbatory to you, but then again isn't rock & roll (in its purest, most unjaded form) adolescent jack-off music to begin with? Besides, I always considered my growth to have been stunted around the age of twelve anyway since, really what else was there out there to make one look forward to growing up anyway?
Just a few this time (as is the norm these days considering the drop off on new or archival material making its way to my head worth the salt to pound). Given the current economy drive here at BTC I have been spending more time digging deep into the archives for music, books and other visual arts to sustain me, and of course many of the goodies that I have been enjoying as of late have been mentioned on this blog before, perhaps more times than you would care to know. (Yes, I know I do repeat myself, but I will continue to do so until EVERYBODY on this planet of ours agrees with me and my tastes, desires and opinions 100%, and you know I ain't going away until everyone does!) Surprisingly some of these "oldies" that I have originally poo-pooed or just plain ignored seem to sound way better now than they did the first time I spun 'em and just tossed 'em off as mere flotsam. F'rexample, I've been constantly spinning Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band's double-duty set TROUT MASK REPLICA which is known and loved by most all of you BTC readers even if I remained one of the few who never "got" it let alone saw its benefits. Yet here a good fortysome years after its release and a good thirtysome after I first heard tracks from it via various sources I find myself playing this on an almost nightly basis which is something that I never thought I would have uttered from...my keypad let alone vocal cords. I don't know why it took so long for me to finally "get" it (esp. since I do swear by all of the early Beefheart platters and even find CLEAR SPOT a very-welcome relief after a Content Providers listening session), but as the old cliche-spewer says "better late than never" for TROUT MASK has finally wormed its way into my pithy little heart. Maybe listening to all of that horrid post-punk that was influenced by it, not to mention the reams of mental midgies singing its praises is what colored my opinions all these year?
Who knows...or who cares for that matter. Here be the reviews!
***Glaxo Babies-THE BEWILDERMENT YEARS 1978-1980 CD (Cherry Red, UK)
Awl-right, maybe I do have about as much a right to review this post-punk dribble as Dave Lang has the right to let ANYTHING flow from his wretched diarrhea mind, but gosh darn it all I sure can enjoy this group for their unabashed love of the Velvet Underground ("Musicians wanted to take over where the Velvet Underground left off" read the 1977 musicians ad, and even vocalist/ad-placer Rob Chapman says he realizes just how wretched that ad would have read even a good ten let alone twenty years later), Can and Neu! even!!! 'n yeah, I know that bands with such true-to-life influences like that could end up the reekiest while those with some rather off-the-track historical backing could out-rock 'em with the blink of an eye, but we're talking 1977, and yeah even then I thought I was the only person within a good fifty-mile radius who even knew who they were which is why I hold these Velvet-inspired seventies groups in such high regards at least until I finally give a listen to 'em!
OK, it's true that I'm not as much of a connie sewer of these groups as maybe I should have been or at least should be but as the old coot lookin' at the painting of the nekkid lady said, "I don't know anything but art but I know what I like!" And I like this, not in any overtly melodramatic way like I do with the Electric Eels or Von Lmo but enough to at least spew a few paragraphs of praise so's to let you know this ain't just some old phonus-balonus self-conscious prance that always seemed to emanate from the British Isle like reek from a bottle-fed baby's diaper. Naturally the standard Velvets-cum-kraut-cum-Syd feeling of the whole British art-punk scene can be discerned, but I like the way the Glaxo's filter it through hot Wire-inspired jangular edgy sounds which can get into a fairly restrained yet pleasing enough free splat here and there, especially when the standard vocal/guitar/bass/drums lineup is augmented by some quasi-free jazz sax play here/there.
Earlier stuff's the tits coming closer to the seventies crux of true VU homage mixed with the usual haughty English vocalizing. The later-on experimenting does tend to veer into the noise-for-snooty-artistic-ambition mode (some may disagree and if they do, they can go screw) but at least the earlier material makes this a budget cut-out worth at least a little time to seek out. Nothing earth-shattering here (even their ode to the famed whore "Christine Keeler" ain't the awe-inspiring classic I'd hoped it would be), but it will do swell until more late-period Velvety exhumations make it into my abode and my mindset as well.
***Smegma-LE STATION RADAR LP (no label, unless "Le Station Radar" is the label!)
Got a bunch of recent Smegma releases recently including the I AM NOT ARTIST boxed set, but rather'n spring it all on ya as yet another "Smegma Surprise" post I thought I'd just piecemeal 'em to you given I haven't had the time to sit through alla this stuff in one sitting like I might have once. This one is quite the mystery as you can tell from the heading above...I forget whether the label was "Le Radar Station" or the title of the album (if any) was (I'm sure someone will write in with a particularly insulting post correcting me of the situation, and ditto with the "go screw" part), but in any case this 'un consists of some very recent Smegma recordings including an entire side that was taken from a 24-hour "telethon" concert which from the sounds of it must have been recorded somewhere in the midst of the twenty-third. Fantastic soundmewls here with free splat sounds galore and a lotta chattering in the background from the bravest of the chattering classes who came to see this, and when you're just about to get into this dream-like mode yourself up comes this hard rock guitar solo jarring you outta whatever complacency you've fallen into! No Meltzer here, but that doesn't mean it's for the doggies.
Flip's got two tracks that have a nice lilt to 'em. I would have compared them to the quieter of the old Art Ensemble of Chicago tracks like "People In Sorrow" but I believe I've used that "descriptor" before. Actually this is quite engaging and dare-I-say relaxing in its own way w/o any time signatures or smashing crescendos to get you all "rowled up" as they used to say. Smegma are a group that occasionally let me down true, but when they're "on" they just hafta be one of the few true rock & roll bands operating here in the early part of the 21-st century that really do make a difference! And they've been "on" for a good hunk of their recent releases and hey, why should I complain about the sorry state of "music" these days when at least these guys and guyettes are around to add total upheaval to our otherwise sordid existences.