Saturday, July 02, 2011

Well, here we are, halfway through the year 2011, and really at this point in time all I gotta say is if the rest of the year turns out to be just as barren of interesting musical endeavors and general fun kultur as it has been for the first six months boy will I be saving the long green like mad!!! Yes, I do have my impending retirement to look forward to and had been concerned about frittering away my hard-begged on the likes of records, fanzines and other fun whatnot, but frankly this year has proved to have been pretty lacking in general high energy fun and games on the current and archival circuits to the point where I'll probably have to (shudder!)  continue digging into the ol' shoeboxes and depths of my vinyl collection in order to sustain a healthy resensification around here for quite a long while. Naturally this might help reacquaint me with a lotta my "old friends", but as far as keeping up my image as a HIGHLY-ENLIGHTENED KNOWLEDGEABLE BLOGGER WITH DEEP POCKETS goes I guess I might just have to abdicate my throne, at least after I wipe up.

Now, there have been a few interesting new arrivals that have made this year a li'l more palatable'n it might have otherwise been such as the Fadensonnen platters as well as the various releases on the Kendra Steiner Editions microlabel, but frankly these releases are "abberations" and perhaps the death knell of a once-varied and vibrant free music scene that's gone down the tubes along with everything else I grew up thinking was interesting and a slap in the face to conforming mediocrity.  Well, at least my Forced Exposure order finally arrived which will help deaden the pain and suffering around here for a least a few days, though in order to make the best of it you can bet I will piecemeal my reviews of the procured items over the span of a few weeks (perhaps months) just so's I don't shoot my entire wad off in one sitting ifyaknowaddamean.

MICHAEL MOORE, I EMPATHIZE WITH THEE DEPT.:  had a doctor's appointment  Tuesday, and you'll be happy to know that everything's fine with my flesh and bones, and that includes the blood 'n tinkle samples I contributed a mere week ago. Pressure's really good too plus I was lucky enough that I didn't have to go through that "turn your head and cough" routine nor the one where the doc tells you to turn around and then all of a sudden he shoves something up your butt (I actually prepared for that one by washing my exhaust system out extra hard as to not embarrass myself with any dingleberries). Yes, everything's downright dandy with me 'cept for the unmitigated fact that I have since my last check up ballooned up to a giganto 250 pounds! Actually 251 if ya wanna be a stickler about it, and although I am doing my PATRIOTIC DOODY by becoming a member of the Obese Amerigan Generation of which there is no waiting period it's not like I'm actually relishing the fact that if I keep this up I'm going to have to be shopping for a bra or two. Let's just say that right now it's serious diet time (no more "pass the spuds" for me!) and plenty of hard labor just so's I can slim down to at least 210 (which doc sez would be fine considering my height and simian-esque build) so if I seem even crankier than I have been these last few eons, now you know why!

Corpulence aside, hope you like this not-so-massive missive running down just a few of the recent goodies I have acquired thanks to my hard work and ability to scrape up a li'l moolah for entertainment purposes. The FE order has helped a li'l as have some ebay winnings (if you can call bidding on items nobody on this earth would want in a billion years "winning"), so as far as my impending insanity goes I guess I'll have quite a way to go before I go totally bonkers thanks to the lack of that all-important aural stimulation. Still, I long for the days when not only were the vaults containing all sorts of archival fun and games were wide open with tapes and whatnot there for the taking, but the days when there was a vital and interesting music scene that sure made living in the here and now a whole lot more palatable than having to rely on decades-old wonders that anybody could fantasize about, but trying to live it was an entirely different matter. I guess those days are about as long gone as high-energy tee-vee and Shake-A-Puddin', and no matter how long and hard the post-postmodernists berate me for being "stuck in the past" I'm never gonna schmooze up to their sickening standards nohow!

Before I get into the meaty potatoes of this particular post I thought I should mention the appearance of a new blog devoted the reviewing nothing but Les Rallizes Denudes recordings thus fulfilling a humongous gap that's been left on the web for quite a long time. Authored by none other than P.D. Fadensonnen (see second paragraph), the goal of this rather unique endeavor is to review all of the extant Les Rallizes Denudes recordings from their late-sixties earliest until guitarist/leader Takashi Mizutani's last performance gasp in the mid-nineties, not necessarily in chronological order but hopefully from beginning to end with all points in between filled in nice and neatly. Definitely a blog with a daunting mission that I will be following incessantly if only to get yet another perspective on this terminally elusive Japanese group that I'm sure some folks still think are French (and why not given their rather continental approach to various late-sixties Amerigan noise-rock counterpoints that sound as if they could have popped outta Paris or Rouen just as easily as they did Tokyo!). Good luck to thee P.D., and here's hope that you'll be pumping out reviews faster than Youngstown Ohio pumps out illegitimate crack babies!

And while we're on the subject, let me correct an earlier comment of mine which stated that the Phoenix label who've re-released the current Denudes offerings was one that, like Univive, was solely devoted to reissuing select Denudes recordings and nothing but! Turns out that this Phoenix is the same one that had released a number of other under-the-scope rarities including a few items reviewed in these very "pages" such as the Fraction MOON BLOOD CD as well as the Flower Travellin' Band one that I recall I wasn't too hot on. Surprised none of you reg'lar readers caught this obv. flub up, which only goes to show you that when you're a first grader you can probably get by with a lot of errors especially if you're surrounded by toddlers!

Magic Michael-"Millionaire"/"My Friend and I" 45 r.p.m. single (Atomic Records, England)
Sheesh, you'd think that a guy like Magic Michael whom Nick Kent called "Ladbrook Grove's answer to Wild Man Fisher" would have had some more exposure out there than is available for us meager fans to latch on to. But other'n this single (and the GREASY TRUCKERS BALL album as well as the A BUNCH OF STIFFS sampler...subjects of future postings)  I really can't find much information on this elusive being who seems to be one of those shadowy figures whose work roughly equates to what people such as David Roter or David Peel have been doing ever since the late-sixties. All I know is what you already know, stories about him singing nekkid in front of throngs of irate concertgoers at one of the Glastonbury fests not to mention his extremely short stint as a post-Damo vocalist for Can. And the fact that none other than Kent himself tried forming a group with Michael in the mid-seventies should pop at least a few nerve-endings in people like myself who are always on the go for interesting if conceptual proto-punky pairings as well as the actual executions of such!

I always thought this one was on Stiff but I guess it ain't. Well, it shoulda been on that label considerin' how the Magic one is assisted by none other'n the 1980 version of the Damned sans Dave Vanian, and they sure do a good job of backing this verified loony up. Kent said Michael sang like Frank Sinatra but I don't quite think so...his vocalese is a bit operatic and somewhat Ferry-like, but whatever it is it's sure fine especially when fitted with this punkish power pop which has me thinking the last great gasp of English underground rock before the BIG DIVE INTO THE CHASM!!! Surely Stiff-esque enough for me, with even a li'l Pink Fairies touch to give it that all-important connection to England's late-sixties/early-seventies underground roots. A rec that surely makes me want to know more about this elusive character who probably deserves a detailed collection of his own, just like such other neglected seventies under-the-radar performers as Roter as well as Bernie Joelson  (Tuli Kupferberg?) do. Underground "hip" record know your duty so DO IT!
Brent Farris-FOUR ENVIRONMENTS...COLLAPSING  CD-R (Kendra Steiner Editions)

Still chipping away at the Kendra Steiner Editions pack of limited edition releases that ol' Doc Shute gave me a whopping one month back. Here's the latest in this fine series of music that cannot be named (or perhaps even reviewed as my remarks will attest to)...a platter by a guy called Brent Fariss who, besides playing a contrabass, dabbles in electronic effects as well as tapes along with "field recordings" at times using percussionists all to an effect that reminds me a whole lot of the Vito Acconci Saliva Studies CD from a good decade back. It's brilliant, moody and introverted perhaps, with interesting hard clanks and an overall effect that might have been recorded by shoving a mic up his butt for all I know! Then there's what sounds like ambient room noise, some interesting bits of conversation being overheard about some art exhibit featuring parts of a dismembered body or something to that effect (Joel Peter Witkin?) which adds up to even more edginess and creepy feelings as Beaver would put it. Only a really sick, perverted iand mentally stunted individual could get into a recording like this, which I guess is why I think it's one of the best pieces of modern avant garde I've heard in quite a long time!
Scarcity of Tanks-SENSATIONAL GRADE CD (Total Life Society, PO Box 6592, Cleveland, OH 44101)

Interesting (and valid) enough followup to the group's previous two endeavors showing a good mix of underground rock proclivities and plain old bargain basement avant garde, the kind the likes of Matthew Ming Wascovich, Andrew Klimeyk and former Death of Samantha strummer John Petkovic (amongst the rest) have been dabbling in for quite some time. The results are enticing, with the less-eighties/nineties minded numbers (such as track #3, "Cannister Fault") relying heavily on a straight-ahead post-VU drone. You know, the kind men like. Other moments can get rather too Cosloy-esque for my own tastes with their anti-life rigidity and remind me of way too many promo duds of the early-nineties, but I can't deny that these guys do have quite a good idea of what this whole post-rock era is supposed to encapsulate. Sure to get lost along with all of the other self-produced experimental rock efforts of the past number of years, which is too bad considering its overall approach and execution which I will admit is more than halfway decent in its attempt to somehow continue a fine legacy in Cleveland underground music that began a good three-plus decades back in case any of you were keeping score.

1 comment:

Serena WmS. Burroughs said...

Sorry you didn't love the SOT all the way through; I recommend giving it some more spins, maybe you'll get more out of it. Errata: it's Matthew Ming Shank Wascovich, not John Wascovic, and the song you mention is "Canister Fault," not "Consider Fault." Have a good remainder of the Fourth, and try not to lose any fingers!