Sunday, November 06, 2011

Please forgive the slim pickins this week. Other'n the Sinatras platter which starts off the shebang this particular offering's nothing but old rehashes or long-lost booty that finally rose to the surface like scum inna bathtub, something which only goes to show you either how hard up the real high energy rock 'n roll scene has become as of late (like, these past thirty years!) or the lack of moolah that would only go towards some hefty disque-buying if only I could scrape enough of the long green together! Well, I will try to get an order in to some place (Forced Exposure seems the most likely) this upcoming week just so's I don't have that much of a shortage of fodder to keep me well and happy for at least a couple of weeks, but for now it's rerun time and nothing else but, hole!
The Sinatras-ARE YOU READY! LP (Rave Up)

Ah memories...I remember how these guys along with fellow LESiders the Erotics were the punkier of the various house bands popping up at Max's Kansas City during the v.-late-seventies/v.-early-eighties strata of rock. Y'know, right before that club, along with the punk generation such groups were representing, sorta gave way to a music that might have been more harsh, but ultimately turned out to be less enthralling considering its unabashed traipses into what I would call hippydippy love 'n radical peace territory. My curiosity regarding the Erotics was sated by a now-rare CD they had released way back in the late-eighties (overdrive hard-punk not quite hardcore but still in out there territory---maybe I'll dig it out and review it for you one of these days) and now the Sinatras have this 12-incher to their name, a pretty good effort even if the thing runs shorter than an early Elvis album.

Heartbreakers meet Voidoids here, nothing whatcha'd call English p-rock-influenced but steadily in the New York Rock territory of all-out energy w/o the kultured British class-conscious bleat. Hard driving as well, though the Sinatras had that perfect touch of melody to slip into the mix just so's you could tell they had the TALENT to create instant classics in a Thunders vein. In all, a great reminder of where punk stood in between addled innovation and rote heartbleed, and as a treat the folks at Rave Up even slipped in some actual live @ Max's tracks to pad the album out! Gives this release that certain class I've come to expect from these outta nowhere labels lo these many years. Too bad it took thirty of 'em for this to finally make it out, but then again when you're dead are you really gonna care?

The Tornados-THE EP COLLECTION CD (See For Miles, England)

Also got this supermarket Cee-Dee collection which has what I believe's the group's only Amerigan album and nothing else, but for a few raviolis more I ended up with this neat gatherin' of the "Telstar" boys' English EP collection which not only contains those early slush ravers  but a nice slew of rarities that'll sure send you back to the days when the future really did look bright. Nice packaging (with the expected detailed notes), plenty of tracks I and probably you have never heard before (including such weirdies as "Life On Venus" complete with a bad Amerigan accented spoken word opening and more "Telstar" references'n you can shake a stick at!) and even the group's final efforts when only drummer/Ed McMahon lookalike Clem Cattini remained from the original lineup appears. Yep, I'm talking about that one EP where the revamped and leather-jacketed Tornados actually do the dreaded Beatle Beat (with vocals!) in a vain attempt to latch on to the new generation of rock that was unfortunately wiping the likes of the Tornados off the charts. If you're ever having a 1962 party, slip this onto the box and watch the funsters sway and swoon in between showing of SUPERCAR, LEAVE IT TO BEAVER and ROOM FOR ONE MORE (how'd that turkey get stuck in here?).

PHEW CD (Les Disques du Soliel de Paree, France)

Really liked Phew's cooin' and careenin' on those oft-bootlegged Can tracks (making me think she woulda been the logical replacement for Damo Suzuki, but unfortunately that never transpired), but on this debut solo disque she, along with her Kraut masters Czukay, Liebezeit and Plank, fall into the early-eighties gnu wave stylings that by this time had permeated what had been known as krautrock but now seemed a startlingly different muenster. Still, Phew's Japanese charms save this from being yet another relic of a past that wasn't that hot to begin with, as she actually sings her traditional-minded Japanese melodies to the definitely Teutonic backing of the former Can-sters. Although this does have way too much of that early-eighties feeling that didn't quite gel with me compared with what came before, it sure digests smoothly when presented in such an entertaining and perhaps even underlyingly intense fashion. Well, at least it passed the evening pre-beddy bye book-reading lounge-about test. Hmmm, methinks I better search out that other Phew album of mine wallowing somewhere in the vast reaches of my ever-aging vinyl collection.

Allun-ADAN CD-R (Slippytown)

Before falling on hard times (which I certainly hope he has overcome), Eddie Flowers was riding pretty high releasing a wide array of interesting items on his own Slippytown label. I gotta say that it was a pretty neat idea of Flowers, a man who for a good forty years has been a fanzine writer in good standing even though that is one of the more thankless jobs around here, to operate a record label of his own no matter how shoestring the entire project might have been, because for once in our lives we do need more people who are on this side of the aisle to head on over to that side, ifyaknowwadamean. Really, could you imagine what it would have been like if Lester Bangs or R. Meltzer operated their own under-the-counterkultur labels back in the seventies? Well, I'm sure if Meltzer did we'd finally get to hear that conceptual rock act of his called alternately Applejack/the Stump which was being hyped in the pages of CRAWDADDY as early as 1967!

One of the neet surprises that Slippytown had to offer was this particular platter from an Italian all-gal act called Allun. And if you think you've heard all of the off-the-wall anti-music/rock acts that have been cluttering up the space o'er the past five decades you probably missed this 'un in the mad rush...fantastic free sound that seems to owe more to Roscoe Mitchell than it does Lou Reed, toy instrument and violin-dominated music that I gotta say outdoes all of the "cute" (even though they weren't trying to be) eighties feminist agitprop groups like Pianosaurus (I think) and Y-Pants (I know!) who were also dabbling in the noisemaker as musical instrument game. Free splat that drives you to the point of madness before it all ends in the billionth cover of "I Wanna Be Your Dog", only you don't quite feel like puking your guts out at the roteness of the entire affair (because for once, Allun knew enough to make the song itself the punchline to the entire nth generation Stooge worship joke, and perhaps we were part of that entire schtick all along!). A nice diversion from the usual clunk that you'll bet'll have be scouring the Cee-Dee boxes looking for more Slippytown gems that seem to've evaded my singular consciousness.
Last Exit-KOLN CD (Unheard Music Series)

Dunno why I passed on reviewing this free music classic for so long, but whaddaya know, while looking through a pile o' platters guess what I should find but this very passed up platter in question. Made me feel guilty enough to actually take it out 'n give it a spin, y'know? Really can't say enough good things about this all-star lineup who, on this (again) too-short offering plow through a number of ditties that sound like the perfect combination of late-sixties European blare and WHITE LIGHT/WHITE HEAT noise extrapolations. Peter Brotzmann naturally does his best to emulate a boiler room explosion while (Ronald) Shannon Jackson plays on patterns that would have sounded alien even to former boss Albert Ayler as Sonny Sharrock does his best to prove himself the true heir to the jazz/rock guitarist throne 'stead of the usual pretenders who have been topping way too many DOWN BEAT critics polls. And the cohesive glue 'n brains behind it all, Bill Laswell, doesn't come off as the smorgasbord schmuck I'm sure a few consider him if only because he's had his pinkies dibbled in more'n a few projects that mighta seemed a li'l too "commercial". If you wonder what that version of Material ca. 1980 when Sharrock joined the ranks sounded like this might be about as close a guess as any of us'll come, at least until somebody has the brains the release the actual booty for our mortification!

Rancid Vat-ICONOCLASTIC ICONS CD (Baloney Shrapnel)

And in closing...this nice li'l bit of scronkoteria that I (with shame and total remorse) must admit I have ignored for quite a longer period of time than any sane person should. Back inna eighties, it was groups like Rancid Vat along with scant few others (Antiseen and the Angry Samoans come to mind) that set the pace and the tone (amongst other things) for what "hardcore punk" should have aspired to, and while most of the groups from this generation of p-rock ultimately revealed themselves to have been the hippoids that I always thought the punk stood against it was acts like Rancid Vat that reminded us that punk rock started out as a snotty, raggedy afterbirth of teenage addled scronk and, although it was goin' out a totally different animal at least some acts didn't forget where their true origins lie.

Purported a "Greatest Hits"-styled package, I'll admit too many of the Vat's best material was left "Larger Than Life", "Pencil Neck Geek" or "Cluster Bombs" are to be found on this spinner. However, there's more than a good share of true Vat wonders to be found, from the tres-addled (and much  improved) cover of Three Dog Night's "Joy To The World"  and the Heartbreakers' classic "Born to Lose", not forgetting such originals as "Guest List" (originally appearing on the group's definitive LP BURGER BELSEN), "Sad as a Turd", "Anti Social Disease" and of course the religious ditty "The Ballad of Brigham Young" which I once read actually got some airplay on the Brigham Young University radio station! And what makes this package all so special is that the liner notes were written by one Jim Goad, who now seems to be offending more weaknees than one could have ever imagined on the TAKI'S TOP DRAWER website. Face it, until Smithsonian/Folkways gets around to releasing the definitive Rancid Vat collection sometime 100 years from now this might be your only bet to give Rancid Vat a listen to, unless you wanna spend $$$ tracking down all of the original releases!

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