SO WHAT ELSE IS OLD?
Don't fret. There are actually a few reviews of fresh, HOT OFF THE PRESSES stuff this time even though I could easily enough continue this blog by reviewing whatever I might find rummaging through my record, Cee-Dee, book and Dinky Toys collection if I wanted to. But hey I just got a batch of newsies in (as well as an oldsy I snatched up via ebay) and for the sake of making this blog look a li'l more professional decided to review a bit from each category in order to let the world know just where I stand on such questions as "loner" "outsider" music and mid-eighties metallic pounce. And who knows, I might throw in a little moralizing and jabs at the snob elite effetes while I'm at it, one-track minded person that I may be.
***TANK CD (Roadrunner)
It takes a big man to admit when he's wrong, and I'm the kind of guy who is about to do just that! However, waiting 24 years to 'fess up to one's mistakes ain't quite the proper way to go about it, but then again it never was like I ever was exactly prompt w/regards to fulfilling my doodies as a rock fanatic (as opposed to critic). What I'm talking about is the magnifico error that I made in the third issue of my very own fanzine, a rag that I must admit was perhaps my favorite of the early crudzines that I had been cranking out in the mid-eighties what with the SF SORROW cover concept and generally top-notch printjob for a xerox mag. However, in the course of a small piece on the then up-and-coming "speedmetal" group Metallica (long before they struck gold with a sound that borrowed as much from early-seventies Genesis as it did from Motorhead) I mentioned that the group's leader was none other than ex-Damned bassist Algy Ward (!) if you can fathom that obvious fox pass. Obviously somewhere down the line I had mistaken this particular person (who during his tenure with the Damned wanted them to switch directions into a more M-head style before unceremoniously being kicked out) as being the ringleader of Metallica instead of his proper aggregate TANK, a gaffe which all these years later continues to stymie me to no end! Of course it's not as bad as me mistaking Sister Ray warbler Sam D'Angelo as being named Zan Hoffman, a guy who was working a totally different field than the Ray-sters, but I just chalked it up to another "oops!" and left it at that. I mean, ten-thousand years from now I know that the truth will bear out, that is unless the only recorded history of mankind extant is the entire back-issue run of BLACK TO COMM!
Maybe that's why it took me so long to finally latch onto one of Tank's recordings even though I had been quite tempted to ever since those not-so-halcyon days which I'm sure we all would agree came off total douse in light of the underground rock flare/flair of the seventies. I mean, from what I heard Tank were yet another one of those totally atonal (and amoral for that matter) heavy metal groups that seemed to be holding their own in the battle against the comparatively fluffy "hard rock" sounds that permeated that decade. The concept behind them (post-Motorhead shredded sound) certainly appealed to me in the face of some of the weaker "amerindie" musings of the mid-eighties, and really when it came down to the music scene and where it should have been instead of was at, I sure thought (w/o having heard a single note of their music) that what we sure coulda used was a lot more Tank and a lot less Autograph!
Tank did accrue a whole lotta notoriety during those days (and even sans any major rockpress coverage on their part) and from what I could tell had quite a following in the En Why See area. In fact they were garnering gigs not only at the heavy metal hangout supremo L'Amour's but at CBGB on repeated occasions, something that might have had my mind tipped off in a direction that these guys might have been more speedmetal than lite. In fact given this and Ward's Damned credentials might just have made Tank a heavy metal cum punk "gryphon" as Michael Koenig might have said in the pages of TAKE IT!, but in reality they were closer to the British New Wave Of Heavy Metal than to the metallic flange of acts ranging from MX-80 Sound to Von Lmo. So all of you punkoids might wanna look elsewhere for your hard-throb thrills because Tank really ain't gonna be filling any of your bills anytime soon!
But where does that leave the rest of us on the lookout for hardcore jollies? Well, Tank ain't that bad, and in fact these ozobs obviosly outshine most of their brethren in the imitation Johnny Thunder hair brigades. Even through the slick production Tank can offer up some mad crunch that does help break up the constipation clogging up one's mind, but still once you get down to it this ain't the hard-crunch-gunch mad spurt that made up HM's most stellar moments in the eighties. In fact this is so gauged to the 198X mindset that amidst the standard clarity that made up metal at the time there's an ode to AIDS sufferers where Ward begs science to hurry up and find a cure (sheesh, I wish they'd find a cure fast for something that plagues most BLOG TO COMM readers like Painful Rectal Itch!) as well as a tune about the Challenger disaster ending with none other than former Prez Ronald Reagan's memorial speech! I guess if you are nostalgic for the eighties (and many people surprisingly are!) this would surely help out, but frankly I woulda preferred something that surged against the squeaky-clean well-scrubbed pallor of the day. Good for introverted, confused moments.
***Los Saicos-DEMOLICION! CD (Munster,Spain)
Some people think this is so wild that the Sonics pale in comparison. Actually the Sonics coulda wiped 'em off the stage within a good minute or so but that's no reason to pee on these Lima Beans. Like most Third World garage acts Los Saicos had quite a go of it mimicking foreign influences and translating it into the local vernacular, and like most of these groups the results are quite engrossing in the same way all of those bands on the early PEBBLES volumes sure came off like clean water after being polluted by early-eighties AM/FM pseudo-rock flatulence. But as far as being so good to make the Sonics seem like pee-wee's well, frankly I beg to differ even at the expense of making me look like a dissenting nabob in the face of hotcha rock screed supremacy!
***STONEWALL CD (Kismet)
Naw this ain't the homo bar nor the Confederate General nor that thing I keep ramming my head against in life but that infamous album that originally appeared on Roulette Records head Morris Levy's tax write-off label Tiger Lily. You might have heard the story about how Stonewall laid down an album's worth of demos in the late-sixties which ta-DAAH! got released w/o the band's notification or personal OK, but that's how Tiger Lily worked. Press up a few hundred albums, lose 'em somewhere and have your accountant tell the IRS some tall tale about the zillions that never did get sold or something like that. I'm no tax expert, and for that matter I'm not serving time for trying to be one!
But rather than dig up some cruddoid 1969 hippie pop recordings that I'm sure were flying around in the Roulette tape vaults at least Tiger Lily did swell with this 'un, a good hard rocker of an album that at least pumps on half of the cylinders giving a straight ahead performance that points towards future hard rock messterpieces along the lines of Dust. Nothing earth-shattering, but I find it slightly invigorating late-six-oh crunch that woulda been instant cut-out, but you know it woulda gotten a positive review in FLASH had it only gotten around. Good, but when it comes to Tiger Lily obscurities the one I really wanna hear is the album by the group Airborne, an act led by some ex-Teenage Lust guy that briefly appeared on the early/mid-1976 En Why See Club scene (y'know, CBGB/Max's Kansas City) before dissipating only to leave this brief reminder which word has it was actually sanctioned by the band who must've had their own personal connections with the label! Sounds like a real winner from its description (guitar-rock, perhaps similar in vein to Television?) so maybe the people at Kismet would be wise to snatch this one up for a future release, and hopefully soon t'boot?
***RARA IN HAITI CD (Soul Jazz)
Is this what caused that big earthquake awhile back??? Haiti has been known as the land of zombies and other nefarious occult dealings so what else could one expect from the land than a music such as this which sounds like a big Mardi Gras parade with weird horns playing three-note cantatas while chanting in a foreign to anyone tongue is bandied to and fro! The enclosed booklet found in this DVD-styled case tells you a whole lot more, and while some might still consider this stuff just more "field recording" ha-ha there's something BIG going on here that's a whole lot more'n what the eye sees and ear hears...this could be pretty cabalistic in its own frightening way. Who knows what strange magick this disque could weave...I mean, play it for Dave Lang and maybe he's learn to act human!
***Fraction-MOON BLOOD CD (Phoenix)
If you ask me the whole Jesus Rock thing just does not work out religiously, artistically or (especially) aesthetically. I mean, scratch just about any Christian rock performer ever-so-lightly and you're gonna get a Pat Boone lurking underneath the surface. If you have any doubt about this just latch onto the Circus album on Metromedia...I mean, if there was any promising "power pop" group outta Cleveland who coulda made it as big as the Raspberries it woulda been these guys, and here they louse up their sole longplayer with some pretty droning and humorless songs about Christ. And frankly you may hate Led Zep to Parma and back, but they never stooped so low with their magickal musical moments as Stryper or King's X!
Well, unlike all of the rest of those Christian rockers who might as well BE some cheap flea market church choir at least Fraction, on their own self-released 1971 platter, exuded quality, fine chops and a Christian bent that doesn't make you wanna puke. It probably won't convert anybody either but at least these guys had a good solid hard rock/SoCal outlook that sure holds up even if you can't take the overt Doors influence. Better'n a lotta the self-produced hard rock albums of the day that I've heard, and with a good enough post-garage band attack and appeal that should work well enough with old time Stooges fans and people who remember what the better moments of early-free form-era FM radio used to represent. New CD issue comes in miniaturized copy of the original with the boffo slide-out sleeve and lyrics, and it just might be a solid enough buy for you. But hurry, only 1000 made!
***Various Artists-CHERRY STONES HIDDEN CHARMS CD-R burn
And finally to the Serena WilliamS Burroughs pile for this strangie. No track listings here so I am in the dark, but what I've heard here ranges from interesting late-sixties pseudo-funk that sounds mostly performed by white garage band rejects to some straight-ahead soul schmoozers, one song with I even recognize with the crackling of my brain synapses eking out deeply-buried memories (the song is called "Peanut" in case yer interested). Educational and pleasing true, but would I actually run out 'n buy a copy? In this economy? Are you kidding???
***One more thing before I depart, be on the lookout for the recent re-re-release of the Doug Snyder/Bob Thompson DAILY DANCE album, this time on Cee-Dee (again) in a mini-LP sleeve and an outtake if you can believe that!!! I know you already have a dozen or so variations of this in your collection (like I do), but five or so more won't hurt now, will they?