Sunday, July 17, 2011

Y'know, I really wish that I could enjoy these summertimes the way that I did when I was a kid, but for the life of me I can't. Of course I don't have those three months of unbridled ecstatic vacation time to look forward to like I once did, nor could I parade about a swimming pool without somebody pointing out my stretchmarks as well as those li'l blibby things that dot my torso, but sheesh I'd even like it if I could ride a bike, go down to a corner grocery store and buy some hotcha junk food 'n comic books to take back to the abode and enjoy while either the radio or a tee-vee airing some class early-sixties vintage program is wailing about. Even if I could ride down to the river and throw rocks in it to see how big a splash I can make would I feel like a more complete human being. Eh, but those days are long gone, and even if I were a twelve-year-old this very day I would just shudder at the lack of mental stimuli there is out there to absorb. At least when I was a kid there were Fugs albums.

One thing that has been providin' a li'l back brain stimulation as of late's been a recent order from Ken Pierce Books from whence I've received the 1963-64 collected works of PEANUTS as well as the 1957-1962 collection of DENNIS THE MENACE dailies. Thankfully these volumes have been not only helping me kick up the feet during the evening hours but have been making me flash back to my just-into-the-double-digits-days when things such as PEANUTS and DENNIS THE MENACE paperbacks were what I pretty much based my entire existence on! And true, I have most if not all of these comics somewhere in my vast paperback collection (mostly stored in boxes amidst years of old MAD collections and various other comic strip flotsam) but it was sure nice flashing back to them times when things such as comic strips were definitely something to get obsessed over especially if you were a fat slob like me who was bored with sports and needed to do some real vicarious living through some medium that certainly was not under the strict confines and rules of the local Blue Pencil board.

Nice reading here too...especially heart-warming to glance at things such as the 11/22/63 PEANUTS strip if only because that one perhaps not so obviously sticks out in my mind. Not because I remember having it read to me or anything along those lines that fateful day but when I was like nine or so I was pouring through the batches of old newspapers saved o'er the years and of course I scoured through the entire Kennedy assassination edition totally in awe, as if this then not-so-recent happening was of World War II vintage! (Which wasn't so strange in itself considering how my parents and relatives were still talking about the war as if it had ended only yesterday!) Well, to a kid like myself it might as well have been an era as far off as the Big One, but somehow reading the comics and television listings for that day o' infamy was a strange flashback to a totally different in many ways world that was only a good six or so years after the fact! But for years that particular strip about Snoopy taking Charlie Brown's poncho so he could sleep on his doghouse in the rain really does something to me, not to mention that one NANCY where Sluggo does a little cross-dressin' in order to sneak in free on "Ladies Day" at the football stadium!

As far as the DENNIS THE MENACE "panels" I've been reading go well, these also sure brought back the memories, this time of my age eleven obsession with this comic when not only was I reading these late-fifties vintage DENNIS's with relish (and perhaps a li'l mustard and ketchup...gotta sneak my li'l cornball joke in there!) but frequently eyeballing the infamous tee-vee series then running heavily in syndication at the time.. I will admit that by the late-fifties the comic was starting to tone down in the violence department, but I can still get some good belly laughs outta the thing esp. when Dennis and his friends walk in on mom taking a bath or some strange gag is made about the fact that Dennis' younger pal Joey's so confused about his sexuality which does seem rather timely if you ask me. (Always liked the one where Dennis asks his mother to explain to Joey why boys don't play with dolls because Dennis forgets!) Sheesh, if Joey were around these days (wait, he still is, isn't he?) I'm sure his parents would be helping to nurture his feminine side and shower him with all of the dolls and other female accessories he so desires. Kinda like that kid up in Toronto whose parents are keeping its sex secret from the world so he/she can decide its own gender as if something like that can be discerned other'n by the proof being in the pudding, or the sausage for that matter! Something which is making me want to take up a pool to see who can come closest to the actual date and time when this kid commits suicide (I say its late-teens...maybe early twenties).

Also helping me to make it through the night's a recent package sent forth by none other than P. D. Fadensonnen. Seems like the fellow has yet another release out which he would like me to write up, or dissect if you will for this particular blog (which will occur in the nearer than you think future!) as well as some Cee-Dee-Ares that he thought I would get a kick outta of which I am of course appreciative. Amongst these particular goodies are a Les Rallizes Denudes burn of a live '73 show which I think I don't even have (or at least have in part on one of those 10-CD sets I purchased a good five years back), an early Fadensonnen-related group called King Crab as well as a new version of Monoshock going under the name International Hello which I must say I do have some strange trepidations about but of course will play 'n flay when the time arrives. A big hearty thanks to thee P. D., and the rest of you keep those cards and letters comin' in!

Yeah, I know, cut the chin chow and let's get to the reviews! Well, you know you could have scrolled down if you're that impatient...I mean, what's stoppin' ya!
La Ligne Claire-CHERI LP (Bruit Direct Discs, France)

Once in awhile some generous soul out there in internetland other than Fadensonnen will zip over to me their self-produced wares for, shall we say,  "reviewing purposes". Sometimes these outta-left-field items are the armpits (hairy at that!), but more often than not I do receive some rather life-reaffirming records, tapes, Cee-Dees and whatnot  that still seems to stand the test of time. This outta-nowhere album is but one of 'em, a 12-inch mini-LP (or perhaps maxi-EP?) from a new French aggregation that calls themselves  La Ligne Claire. And if you're still of the mindset that the French couldn't rock et roll to save their Gallic behinds all I got to say to you is "fie on thee!!!"

La Ligne Claire's sound could be called "no wave" in the broadest of senses considering that no wave in the purest of senses was New York City-oriented and lasted a mere two years best, but in other ways these Francoids are part of a retro-seventies noise-clank era that gave us the likes of the Magick Markers as well as this all-gal Eyetalian band called Allun who released a number of pretty good primitive recordings that Eddie Flowers and Eddie Flowers only seemed to acknowledge even existed. La Ligne Claire follow in the footsteps of these two aggregates with CHERI, a pretty good encapsulation of the mad guttural growl that was late-seventies underground rock, or at least until the major labels and Anastasia Pantsios spit polished their favorite (and easily molded) ultra-commercial and downright precocious ideals of this growing concerned and re-packaged it all as "new wave". Y'know, that major Cleveland "underground rock" putsch where Insanity and the Killers as well as those wowzers the Adults replaced the Styrene Money Band and Pagans as the growing trend in upwardly-looking youth market statistics but I digress...this group filled with actual YOUNG   PEOPLE is mighty good, even better'n the Sediment Club who had a great EP just last year and are probably better'n even what the Markers and various other similar-minded types might be cranking out at this very minute!

If I hadda do any strong comparisons I could dish out names like Theoretical Girls and maybe even those hoary old Godz, but La Ligne Clare are different. There does seem to be the spark of innocence and youth that will probably get wooshed away as the hard slam o' reality finally sinks in, but the spazz joy and Velvet-y drive is enough to have one thinking Jonathan Richman '72 meets Arto Lindsay '77, and that's a pretty heady equation in itself!

You can probably latch onto a copy easily enough if you scour the internet (can't find the address or price fact I couldn't even decipher either the printed enclosure nor the personal letter that was enclosed with this particular platter. Guy, if you're reading this, howz'bout cluing us in as to how interested parties can obtain copies for our very own???
Various Artists-A BUNCH OF STIFF RECORDS LP aka A BUNCH OF STIFFS (Stiff, Germany)

Got this 'un if only for the inclusion of a Magic Michael track, but if you ask me this longplayer's a pretty good deal in itself and would have been even if the Magic One had been unceremoniously left off. Michael does swell with his "Little By Little", singing in that faux operatic voice that you woulda thunk'd kept him in the ranks of Can longer than he was, but the rest certainly does more'n "hold its own". Sometimes it is hard to remember that the likes of Nick Lowe and even Elvis Costello sure had their listenable and perhaps even culturally significant moments early on whilst they were still under the spell of the English underground-cum-pub attitude, and the likes of Dave Edmunds doing "Jo Jo Gunne" and Graham Parker (uncredited) sure bring back memories of '76 rock mag scouring when certain pundits actually thought that these geezers along with Dr. Feelgood and the Flamin' Groovies were gonna be some brand new vanguard to take us into the latter portion of that decade and rescue us from the evil clutches of Emerson Lake and Palmer! And come to think of it, I do remember how it was music like this which really upset the "classic rock" dolts I hadda put up with in the late-seventies who thought that the likes of Lowe and Costello were beyond the pale when it came to the likes of those abhorrent punk rock types! Well, you can't argue with a Boston fan or a spiritual sphincter I always say!

Jill Read does early-sixties gal emote fine with "Maybe" while Larry Wallis and the Takeaways do fair Dylan (though not enough that Mouse'll lose any sleep) on "Food". And hey, even Motorhead do their best in their attempt to move heavy metal into its second generation on "White Line Fever". I also better mention Wreckless Eric's "Whole Wild World" because if I don't Lindsay Hutton'll put the Old Grimper Moor Curse on me (that's where everything ya eat tastes like British cooking!). In all, this kinda reminds me of what an interesting label Stiff was before they decided to cash in all their chips on the more gnu wave-y stylings of Lene Lovich and whoever they were signing in order to fill the gap left by the defection of Costello, failing miserably in their desperate attempts to regain lost lucre and credibility for that matter!

Can-RITE TIME CD (Spoon/Mute EEC)

Yeah, yeah...sure I had my innate fears about getting hold of this 'un after hearing all of the horrific naysaying that was goin' on 'bout this '86 Can reunion Cee-Dee. Funny 'nough, it wasn't until this oft-maligned disque was long o.p. that I finally worked up the courage to discover for myself whether or not the original Can line up with the legendary Malcolm Mooney front and center would cut it in the giddy eighties, and by then I was constantly being outbid on the scant few original copies that were being offered up on ebay!

That must prove that this album's legend was perhaps a whole lot more positive than I had been led to believe all these years, but in the meanwhile the Can people themselves got hold of the rights and have issued it on their own thus making the thing available in the here and now and at rather inexpensive prices at that. So after a good quarter-century of wonderin',  what do I have to say about RITE I gonna follow the hoards of disappointed Can-lovers who felt an incredible letdown after giving this one a spin or will I buck the trend and tell everyone just how much I love it, only to put my neck on the chopping block once again?

Well actually the answer to that is "all of the above" for RITE TIME is a mixed gaggle of surprises of both a positive and feh manner. Yeah, I will admit that band plays well enough albeit with too much of an eighties frame-of-mind in tow, but at times that works as an asset at least when the group gets into one of those mid-seventies electronic grooves that always seemed to have a nice, relaxing effect on me. Mooney's vocals actually carry the disque  like you knew they would, sounding just as forceful as they did on MONSTER MOVIE and are a definitely positive force on the entire session even when he's singing gunk like "Hoolah Hoolah" which really needs something to save it! At times it reminds me of those mid-seventies outtakes that made it on to (UN)LIMITED EDITION if Mooney still happened to have been in the group, and frankly this ain't that bad, at compared to some of the other post-krautrock atrocities I'm sure you've all felt the necessity to sit through! A downright keeper, though like a good portion of the group's mid-seventies output not exactly the best place to start.
Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart-AN EVENING WITH... CD (Head bootleg)
Another oldie from the archives and a good 'un too featuring that 1975 WLIR-FM radio broadcast hosted by Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart, ostensibly to promote their upcoming BONGO FURY album. Best known for being the source of many a once-rare Zappa bootleg track, the various archival digs which appear here had over the years been picked apart and re-pasted with other rarities but it's sure grand to give this 'un a listen to as it was originally aired. But no matter how you get hold of it, it's sure interesting hearing what Zappa and Beefheart were up to back in the early-sixties, and between this and WE ARE THE MOTHERS AND THIS IS WHAT WE SOUND LIKE we can easily see the genesis of the entire Zappa oeuvre from back in the days when having a high freak quotient wasn't exactly the way to go about doing business with the local record industry.

Besides these early tracks (many that, like "Status Back Baby" and "Toads of the Short Forest", eventually appeared re-recorded on official Mothers albums) come a few other surprises like an in-studio version of "Orange Claw Hammer" as well as this bizarroid offereing by a femme aggregate called the Smegmates who perform a particularly Zappy track called "Will You Drink My Water".  And Zappa does make for a good host here, knowing how to get the old stories outta an otherwise incoherent Beefheart who I gotta admit at times sounds as if he'd rather be out painting in the desert.

Not only that, but the "official" tracks taken from BONGO FURY serve to remind you of just what a good album that 'un was, especially since for the most part Zappa was pretty washed up at the time coasting on his "great googity moogity" image which I guess still appealed to the hippies who were buying his albums up with even more veracity! Well, with Captain Beefheart in tow how could the guy go wrong? Gonna hafta search out my tape of that 'un, but until then at least I have this particular offering to rely on. One that I'm sure can easily be found, purchased or perhaps even downloaded this late in the evolutionary scale of rock decadence.
A BOOK I WOULD SURE AS SHOOTIN' WANNA READ (IF SOMEONE'D ONLY GET IT TOGETHER!): a collection of every Lenny Kaye music column that he wrote for CAVALIER, even the ones where he writes positively about James Taylor and the Grateful Dead (well, wouldn't you???).
AND IN CLOSING, here's a link up to an article from TAKI'S TOP DRAWER that I thought was funny, even if perhaps it wasn't "quite" as accurate as author Gavin McInnes, a man I seem to agree with perhaps 60% of the time even  if he is a high-larious writer, would like us to believe. (I mean, if McInnes thinks that only liberals are closed-minded temper-tantrum-throwing venom-spewing ideologues then he's never been locked in a room with rabid pentecostals or hard-shell neoconservatives! But frankly, considering some of the flack I've hadda put up with from supposedly open-minded individuals I can empathize with the author 100%!)  However, the thread in the comment section dealing with the DC punk rock scene of the eighties was pretty interesting, even if we all coulda predicted what these punks would eventually have become well in advance!
And on that note I bid you a fond adieu, at least until I can think of something a little more wittier'n the above mess I've presented to you as carefully thought out, pertinent opinions!

1 comment:

Guy M. said...

Hi Chris, thanks for the great review and yes, you can find this record at allday in carrboro, NC
also with ride the snake in boston
and the very supportive tedium house

it's also available thru revolver/midheaven

and direct from us here, with a special price if you wish to get the also fantastic "atelier mediterranee" 7" made by david of Cheveu