Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Back in the nineties when Bill Shute and I were sending each other humongous boxes of everything from videotapes to books on loan in order to expand our horizons without the aid of hallucinogens and get some freebee entertainment, Bill was more'n apt to slip into the crate a few low budget Frankie Darro films for my viewing pleasure. I gotta admit that I was not familiar with the perennially youthful Darro until I caught him acting with Gene Autrey in THE PHANTOM EMPIRE serial on MATINEE AT THE BIJOU back in '80, but my father was more'n apt to tell me just what a popular guy he was in thirties features and serials both of the zilch grade and the high quality variety. And yes, father and I would frequently watch the various poverty row features that Darro would act in, he in fact telling me about how he wasn't one of those kids who could afford to see every chapter of the BURN 'EM UP BARNES serial so the kids who did see it would have to act it out for him! However, recently my father admitted to me that he really didn't care for Darro because the once-famous star used to do a lotta crying and whining in his films, and if there's anything my father hates is when a man whimpers! He never liked Michael Landon for exactly the same reason, and to this day I wonder why dad never kicked me outta the house flat on my keester like you'd'a though he would given that I've spent a hefty portion of my life doing the whine and moan game myself!

As you'd surmise this DVD-R double billing of Frankie Darro/Kane Richmond really does send me back to the days, not of the thirties when these films were being released, but the nineties when Bill would shoot 'em my way and I'd watch 'em during the ten-to-eleven PM hours while everyone else was feeling superior to me watching NORTHERN EXPOSURE and NYPD BLUE. And hey, you can bet that I was getting more bang for my buck watching stuff like this than the crapezoid programming that's been thrusted at us for nigh on three or so decades awlready! YOUNG DYNAMITE features Darro as the young brother of a state trooper (played by former BOYFRIENDS co-star David Sharpe) whose sister is engaged to a corporal in the troopers played by Richmond. When a load of gold is stolen by thugs working for a "respectable" smelter its the state troopers to the rescue, along with Darro who naturally has to get in on the game being such a youth-identifiable character 'n all. YOUNG DYNAMITE also features this weird old wheelchair-ridden guy, an Eyetalian needle salesman who likes to mooch free meals off of the family, and a strange ending that you'll probably wanna re-play a few times just so's you get everything straight in your brain!

The print of THE DEVIL DIAMOND that follows is of better quality even though it was also shot, for poverty rower Ambassador-Conn Pictures no less, in the same year of 1937, but we're only concerned with trash aesthetic quality and nothing technowhiz now, are we? This un's yet another strangie featuring Darro as a prizefighter wannabe who's being used by a buncha hoods as a front for the heisting of a rare diamond that's gonna be cut and sold separately by some investors. Richmond plays a cop working undercover as an author and hot on the trail, and while we're at it none other than one of my favorite actors, one Byron Folger, pops up as a dumb Swede in those pre-Polish joke days when the Scandies were the ones who were getting all of the hard knocks. It's a good 'un too, with lotsa comedy relief and a good fight scene just when you think you're gonna nod off due to the less dramatic parts. This one woulda looked perfect on your fave UHF station some muggy August night, especially filled with local used car commercials and of course rather sticky armpits that make your pit hair intertwine...ouch!

Bill got his copy from Grapevine video, who I used to buy old OUR GANG silents offa back '91 way. They're linked up on the left in case you're interested in this and other rarities they offer, and I must admit that they do their best even if some of the films they sell look as if they survived not only the bombing of Dresden but at least three days in an Occupy Wall Street enclave. I recommend 'em for anybody who not only misses these on-target low-budget features, but the world and the ideals from whence they sprang and which we will probably never see the likes of again. 

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Not much goin' on 'round here this weekend as you will see when you read this particularly even more iffy than me at my iffiest post. Yeah, I did get some new goodies flung my way which I am slowly but surly wading through, but given the incursion of REAL LIFE upon my humble existence not to mention the fact that Don Fellman's been callin' me a whole lot these past few nights during the only time I have to settle down 'n listen to anything well... Not that I mind Don Fellman calling...see, he's the only guy other'n Lou Rone who'll give me a ring anymore (I've alienated just about everyone else!) and the noted phone pal of Edward D. Wood's perhaps the only real entertainment I'm getting these days considerin' what a wealth of knowledge he has regarding everything from En Why tee-vee of the sixties to Bela Lugosi! But let's just say that I sure could use a whole lot more hours in the day between work, household doodies and gabbing on the phone which does take a huge chunk outta not only my ever-dwindling PM Cee-Dee 'n easy chair activities but my own personal self as well!

As you can tell, massive amts. of free time have become a luxury that I have to make the best of, and you can bet that those precious few hours I have to myself each night ain't gonna be wasted with subpar musical sputum or flaccid ROLLING STONE-styled rock "critiquing" that's for sure! But things have been so hectic here that I haven't even had the time to "decompress" as the upwardlies say, which might account for the edgy and snarky tone of this particular entry which might be even gnarlier than the past few months of 'em have been!

Well, at least I did manage to spin a few rather recent acquisitions so all's not lost. But to be honest about it let's just say that this post ain't one for the archives or to refer back to just in case you're having second thoughts about buying a TriPod CD and need something to edge you over to the pro side. In fact, if you really want me to admit it, this 'un's only bein' done for my own personal health, and if you decide to skip over this whilst on the way to the vast asst. of piddling rock blogs that do clutter up this "sphere" of ours I don't blame you a bit, other'n to wince at your obv. lack of good taste.

TSU-FALLEN ON DEAF EARS CD (available via CD Baby)

I wrote this jazz-rock trio from Philadelphia up quite a long time ago and figured hey, why not give 'em the royal BLOG TO COMM treatment once again! TSU sure could use the additional plugaroonie, especially when you consider that this group sure ain't gonna get any publicity because they don't sound like any of those big names in the jazz industry who've been hogging the fusion spotlight for a good fortysome years. TSU come off more like the halfway point between the John Scofield Trio and MX-80 Sound which is cool enough for me even if they ain't as noisy or as angular as you'd probably like it.

There are periods of atonality that do suit me fine, kinda reminding me of what John McLaughlin woulda done had he never went near that Sri Chinmoy fake and kept on doing heroin like any self-respecting jazz musician should. Whaddeva, this is a release that has enough drive and energy along with tasty playing that doesn't sound jagoff, and waddaya know but it just might please not only you but maybe even that irksome annoying bow-tied jazz club patron in your life. (I sincerely doubt it, but it might be worth givin' it a try.)
TriPod CD (Moonjune) 

Here's one of those outta-nowhere acts that seem to be after my own heart. TriPod are a sax/bass guitar/percussion trio from New York City who were discovered playing CBGB's by none other than Genya Raven back '98 way. From there the group headed for relative fame and fortune not to mention a slew of releases and tours that have kept them at least in the minds of people who detail these under-the-cover acts for a variety of publications and websites. They're just what this Doc Rock's looking for, esp. since I have a one-track mind and really like to base my various reasons for getting interested in certain acts with regards to where said act might have come from (figuratively speaking) and just how they honed their entire approach via music/background/image to appeal to my own "blinkered" set of values.

I mean, why else would I care about some of these nth stringers who used to wallow about on the En Why scene unless I'm as much of a screwed up mentally constipated turd as I've revealed myself to you lo these many years! Well, I have made it a life mission to try anything out there that might just suit my listening parameters, and considering just how dudsville most music has become as of late can you blame me for looking for these outta-nowhere acts in some of the most interesting places possible?

For a group that seems to be doing well as they are without the major label push or overall adulation, TriPod sure know how to do so with an uncompromising music that, as us cornballs would say, defies description. The comparisons to free jazz do fit in here as does the refs. to various "Rock In Opposition" aggregates (Etron Fou Leloublan comes to mind) and Captain Beefheart, though oddly enough I was reminded of the early three-piece TV Toy whose demos recorded at Vanguard Studios back '77 way have the same spirit of jazz rock basics as TriPod. At least on this recording (the only TriPod I've lent ears to) there's a good New York basic sound and approach that ain't all glopped up or no wave artsified, with smart references to various seventies accomplishments all reshaped for an audience that undoubtedly remembers the hot past and never did want to let go of the bared underbelly of underground rock even when that became "unfashionable".

Hokay, I will admit that I thought some moments bored a tad, perhaps reminiscent of late-seventies prog slog as opposed to punk expression, but I get the keen feeling that repeated plays'll get me to cozy up to the group's entire approach just like it did with everybody from Roxy Music to Copernicus. As it stands, this TriPod debut was a pretty mighty opus in musical cross-referencing that didn't end up sounding like pretentious twaddle, and (as usual) its things like this that only makes me wonder what else I've missed coming outta CBGB during their last decade when so many groups were playing and you really hadda wade through the wheat to get to that good ol' chaff!
The Terrorists-FORCES 1979-1982 CD (ROIR)

Here's another bottom of the stacker that I put off playing because ain't like reggae's one of my favorite forms o' moozikal expression 'r anything! Oh, I do understand its value and worthiness, and if I were one of those guys who used to book hotcha New York underground clubs inna mid/late-seventies reggae acts would have been making it to the stage of said club as often as those groups of the punk variety. But given that I bought this thing it wasn't like I could just let it languish in the collection so... Well, it's pretty tantalizing esp. for a white reggae act , and they were definitely helped on by the special guests such as Lee "Scratch" Perry and Roland Alphonso whose sax playing gives some of the more ska-ish tracks that perfect early-sixties instrumental rock flavor I luv so well. And considering some of the zilch white reggae acts there were floating around in the late-seventies at least these guys went for the down-home authentic sound and approach which didn't make 'em sound like the latest bar band to discover the more hippified side of the Trenchtown beat!
David Aaron's Short Memory-CYNICAL RAT BASTARD CD (, also available via CD Baby)

 Nice session from one of those groups that used to play the Dee Pop-curated "Freestyle" series at the CBGB Lounge back in the early-to-mid-oh oh's. Nothing that's gonna get your mind all in a jumble, but still a good modern approximation of the late-bop scene bordering on early avant concerns. Toned down, but driving enough to make you wanna put down your old issue of LOLLITOTS to pay attention to Aaron's tenor prowess which, while still "growing", has the right tension that I've admired in the playing of a whole slew of similar-minded jazzers of many a strata. Classic rehashing of the background jazz mumble will be found on "Soy Sauce Chicken on Rice".
AND NOW, JUST WHAT YOU'VE ALL BEEN WAITING FOR...A FREE PLUG OF UGLY THINGS #33! (you know where to get a copy awlready...see link up on the left!)-Great issue as always, and it's sure nice seeing that the mag has settled into its own special niche which has been refined over their past thirtysome years of existence. New 'un's got a whole lotta obligatory reading in it (guaranteed to keep you glued to the toilet for hours on end) including some mind-expanding interviews with Johnny Echols of Love, Ed Sanders of the Fugs (hokay, that 'un wasn't quite as probing!), John Morton of the Electric Eels, and Barrance Whitfield of BS and the Savages, not forgetting pieces on Group 1850, the Craig and Wimple Winch along with a whole slew of six-oh-related articles on groups near and dear to editor Mike Stax's heart. Even Greg Prevost writes up and down the page about such seventies glam/glitter faves as Jobriath which is something I never thought I'd live to see even if I made it to 110! And I'm not even tellin' ya about the other surprises like the new Cyril Jordan column where he rattles off about the time the Flamin' Groovies met Brian Wilson (who performed "Johnny B. Goode" in his own special arrangement for 'em!) which is just as strange as the time when Wilson corralled Alice Cooper and Iggy Pop to sing harmony with him on a version of "Short'nin' Bread"!

Sure the $9.95 price tag is a whopper, but given that there ain't that much else goin' in in the flesh 'n pulp print world when it comes to high energy rock 'n roll you certainly couldn't do any better...or worse. Mainly because there isn't anything else out there to compare this to especially in these gulcherally depraved times. You can sniff and moan about the death of the fanzine idiom which kept you afloat for many a year, or you can act like a man and buy this brand spanking new mag---which will it be, pod'ner?

Thursday, May 24, 2012


Maybe it is ridiculous for me to be writing a review of this first issue of what promises to be a new series of POPEYE comic books done up the way creator E. C. Segar woulda wanted it back inna thirties. After all, I can't admit to being as huge a fan of the old THIMBLE THEATER strip as many strip aficionados are, or at least I should state that I ain't as much of a cheerleader of Popeye 'n crew as I am of such contemporaries as NANCY and DICK TRACY let alone a score of obscure comics many readers could care less aboutAnd yeah, although I am smart enough to recognize that POPEYE creator Segar was one of the countless talents to have emerged during the years when the comic strip "came of age"  it wasn't like I was that agog over Fantagraphics' eighties reprints as I remain over those aforementioned big deals in my otherwise pithy life. Perhaps being over-exposed to POPEYE comic books and animated cartoons as a kid killed it for me. More likely it was my sister, who in order to prove her intelligence over my eight-year-old self, angrily told me that she knew why Popeye was named so, and he wasn't squinting either! Naw, his eye was actually GOUGED OUT and he didn't use a patch or prosthesis either...he just let his eyelid flap inna wind and allowed dust and junk collect in the now-empty socket which really nauseated the bejabbers outta my single-digit self! Kept me away from the guy for years on end until I came to the realization that hey, maybe not covering up an eye-less hole on your face is kinda cool...

Perhaps I'm just being a stubborn ol' turd by not rah-rahing a nice portion of those oft-heralded "classic" strips the "right people" go for the same way I steer clear of the "relevant" underground platters that most fanzines/blogs drool over in their usually smug, self-congratulatory way (as opposed to MY smug, self-congratulatory way 'natch!). After all, as Brad Kohler might have said, I don't have to hate LITTLE ORPHAN ANNIE just because Dick Cavett likes it! And yeah, I know that these broken clocks can be right on rare occasion, but man I have my dignity to look out for as well!

If I had been in an even more dour'n usual mood I would have passed this up faster'n leftover sauerkrautade but sheesh, that writeup on Bhob Stewart's POTRZEBIE blog noting this new version of the (as they say) "venerable" strip with artist Bruce Ozella's apt mimicry of the mid-thirties style and swerve looked so tasty. Besides, it's sure nice 'n fuzzy to know that there is an artist who is doing fine-lined old-styled comic strip art in the here and now, a fact which would be just as good as discovering they still make Studebakers! Not that it matters that much long after the fact, but it's sure heartwarming to see the thirties look being utilized eighty years later, and in something that's an above-ground, relatively mainstream publication as well!

Really, I do like this new POPEYE reincarnation which at least looks faithful, or at least comes off easy on the eye and mind the same way that Bela Zaboly's Segar-esque yet oft-ignored take in the forties was. Maybe its even as guffaw-inducing as Bobby London's mid-eighties remodeling which I thought was the hoot's galore! In fact, I even like the ACTION COMICS #1 spoof cover, and you know how much I can't stand this satirical ripoffs/homages of/to everything from EC to Archie which have been milked to death ever since the fanzines of the fifties and sixties came up with that idea which has been re-hashed to the point of nausea!  I mean, if you wanna swipe from past accomplishments at least be like me and mimic the covers of old issues of BACK DOOR MAN which is way more original than grinding a once-brilliant idea into the dirt.

This revised POPEYE tale's at least faintly faithful to what I've read in the few eighties-vintage volumes of Segar-period comic strips. Not as good as what I've read, but us beggers really can't be choosers. This 'un has Popeye, Olive and brother Castor Oyl heading for an island located in the "Ninth Sea" in an attempt to find another Jeep to breed with the only living example (Eugene) they already have. Along the way Wimpy joins the adventure (and is eventually set adrift to hopefully be picked up later) and Bluto and his shipmates tangle with the gouge-eyed one for reasons that seem rather unclear (he's trying to stop Popeye from making it to the mysterious Jeep-infested island but the dialogue is vague as to tell you exactly why). And by the time Popeye does reach the isle who should he meet up with but none other than his old enemy the Sea Hag, who somehow doesn't seem as frightening as she must've been back in the thirties. But hey, soooo much has gone down since then to the point where I'm sure even Lex Luthor comes off like a fine, genial person compared with some of the rot they call human beings romping around these days! I guess that next to the Kardashians or Lady Caga neither the Hag nor the creepy Alice the Goon are as nerve-frazzling as they once were back in the boffo thirties, and that's most certainly the truth!

I have the sneaking suspicion that a lotta the hardcore old-time fans of the original comic, whether they be snobbish about it or not, might not cozy up to this take, but even with my objections I find this POPEYE revision a mildly pleasant diversion from the same old of 2012. And although a $3.99 price tag woulda flipped me out back when I first started buying comics way back inna seventies (and I remember the heck I got when it was discovered that I dished out $1.00 per for those EC reprints back in the mid-seventies!), I can't say that paying that much for a comic in the here and now would be highway robbery unless you're talking a book dedicated to most of the quaff seen in today's papers. And hey, I wouldn't buy a collection of DRABBLE comics even if there was a toilet paper shortage...old issues of TOO FUN TOO HUGE maybe but that's another story.

Sunday, May 20, 2012


If you were a kiddo back inna seventies who had any sense of where rock et roll music lied beyond the confines of your radio or mainstream magazine outlet, bootlegs were undoubtedly a major part of your collection if not lunch table music gab conversation. Mysterious, clandestine and definitely attention-grabbing especially if you were some ranch house kinda kid isolated from a lotta the realities of teendom, these platters were just as desirable as the recs one could espy in the import section which most of the time were the same as the US fodder only on different labels and perhaps with different covers. Given the wide array of material one could latch onto (especially if you've heard everything by your fave rave acts and wanted more) and at fairly reasonable prices ($4.99 for standard insert sleeve, $5.99 for flesh and pulp covers), bootlegs gave you more bang for the buck than most of the legit produce that was being made available at the time, and with all of us depression-era waged kids who really hadda count the pennies who could afford to pass up a bargain like that?

And who could forget the myriad assortment of bootleg mail order businesses like Pied Piper Records who offered all of the latest boots along with a few import singles, Japanese-only live albums ("complete with lyrics sheet!" that read as if they were transcribed by that sailor from GILLIGAN'S ISLAND who didn't know that the war was over) and even a taping service featuring all sortsa rarities that would eventually make their way to vinyl within the span of a few earth-spins! Most of these businesses were of mid-South origin for some reason (perhaps the same reason so much porn used to emanate from the same area!), though I do remember buying a huge stack of booty from a dealer who had a Pittsburgh PO box address so maybe it was a whole lot closer to home than I ever realized! And hey, some people denote the passage of time and trends via various social/political changes and the like, but I do by noting the changes in bootlegs from the original rubber stamped covers to photocopied insert sheets on through to the full color sleeve era of the late-seventies and then the advent of the Cee-Dee bootleg and ultimately those of the make your own variety that you can get via this very here internet! Sure comes off more interesting'n anything kids learn in World History these days, that is if they still teach it!

A few years back I made a habit on this blog of reviewing an old boot that had somehow made its way into my collection at the ass end of each and every weekend post. Well, let's just say that this post is nothing but one big mass of bootleg reviews and you don't have to wait until each Saturday to see which one ol' Unca Chris is gonna write up! Here are but a few of the classic vinyl-style boots that I've picked up o'er the past few months, platters that certainly do recall the Golden Age of Record Shops and loads of thrills that could be found for $4.99 a pick, cheaper if they were used, all gathered in that special bin that was proudly emblazoned "BOOTLEGS" as if the FBI were nothing but a distant threat to all of our musical happiness.

Back during the original heyday of the rock bootleg era in the seventies, The Amazing Korneyfone Record Label, along with Trade Mark of Quality and Wizardo, was one of the more visible companies to make their presence known in the back room of the local head shop of your choice. Korneyfone's (or as the bootleg fans would say "takrl") track record in releasing rare material with a bit more quality and finesse was above the average, not only in their handling of the class acts of the sixties/seventies but in their willingness to release product by acts that weren't quite the big names that most bootleggers were hoping to bank their bigtime bux on. Yeah, those rumors of Velvet Underground and Thirteenth Floor Elevator boots back in '69 were really nothing but that, but years before such acts were finally honored with their own illegal dupings Korneyfone was pumping out platters by the likes of Genesis, King Crimson and Gentle Giant. Even if those names don't quite pop your nodes then maybe their exemplary offerings by Roxy Music (CHAMPAGNE AND NOVOCAINE among a few other rarities) and Sparks (ONE AND A HALF NELSON) might. Who knows, I've given up second-guessing you readers long ago.

Takrl also pumped out this Alice Cooper set which was, for some odd reason, a little more obscure'n some of the other Korneyfone releases that I've come across which is one reason why I've had to rely on a cassette dub of it for quite a long time. But after that 'un got lost in the vast boundaries of my tape collection it was time that I procured an actual copy and (as usual) I am ever grateful for doing so small pleasure'd life I lead. Now, I will admit that very few of these Alice boots capture Alice in his prime, and in fact other'n the ones that reproduce his 1969 FM broadcast from the Avalon Ballroom as well as another extremely hard-to-find collection of second LP outtakes (not forgetting the slew of '69 Toronto releases which can be picked up with extreme ease) I can't think of any Cooper bootlegs that dig into the pre-superstar era with any real depth. That's why PARRICIDAL SLUMBERS is such a wowzer, not only for its representation of an obscure LOVE IT TO DEATH-period show but for the additional goodies that the folks at Korneyfone stuck on at the ends, most notably the "Nobody Likes Me"/"Slick Black Cadillac" flexi/cardboard disc that somehow made it out to fan clubs around the time of the SCHOOL'S OUT tour. An extremely vital platter for fans of the band especially when you consider "Nobody's" prominence in the PRETTIES FOR YOU-era Cooper set and how it should've made the first LP but somehow didn't.

For me the big draw here's the live gunch showcasing the group at their Detroit hardest romping through choice tracks from LOVE as well as a rousing encore of "Return of the Spiders", that sleeper from the EASY ACTION album back in the days when only Stiv Bators seemed to be paying attention! Now that's something which I gotta say certainly surprised me considering how at one time Alice was about as anxious to dump his older material from their sets as the Stooges!

Sound's about as good as these Korneyfone's get (HOT WACKS gives it an excellent mono but I'd say it sounds very good at best, and perhaps coulda sounded better if some gloss was added on), and personally I think the less-than-perfect sound enhances the music just like a tinny transistor made the 1963 Top Forty come off so energetic. The big question, at least for me, remains just exactly where did this show originate...the announcer thanks the crew from ABC (presumably the television network), which makes me wonder if this was perhaps an IN CONCERT production, but since that show didn't debut until '73 I'm not so sure. Was there an earlier appearance of the Cooper group on the perennial #3 network, perhaps filmed for some prime time special that might or might not have been aired? The mystery lingers on...

But nitpicking anal retention aside, PARRICIDAL SLUMBER's just begging for a proper reish. Like I said, this is the Cooper group at their best long before Alice dove head first into metal cliches and embarrassed himself even worse'n when he was singing those horrid ballads that might not have made you, but made """""ME""""" do more'n a li'l cringing. Concrete proof that the '69-'72 era of heavy metal was the form in its prime, though with the advent of Sopors (and in Cooper's case, Budweiser) what could ya expect but the entire genre to flounder into wallowing pools of ineptness and self pity that might've worked for the Music Machine, but not for anyone else!
Here's one I got for totally personal reasons. Now, I'm not what you'd call a Beatle fan the same way that there are thousands of aged hippoid types who still believe that John Lennon held the key to everlasting peace even though he beat his wife and used to trip out while watching lesbians goin' at it, but I just hadda pick up THE BEATLES IN ATLANTA WHISKEY FLAT to have 'n hold for my very own! And you wanna know why? Because this was the very first ever bootleg that I recall up for sale when I first espied the bootleg section at White Wing Records in Niles Ohio oh so many years ago! Those nostalgic pangs continue to resonate lo these many years later and like, why shouldn't I give in to these absolutely rockist impulses of mine anyway!

Strangely enough, I remember that after espying the paper insert held in by the rather poor shrink job, my undeveloped simian-like mentality had me believing that that this album was actually  recorded live at none other than the Whisky-A-Go-Go in El Lay! Nowadays I must admit such an idea popping into my head seems so ridiculous...however, considering not only that I was just beginning to "understand" rock 'n roll in a "serious" fashion but that the Whisky was a popular hangout often mentioned in the rock press, what else could a mixed up kid suffering from Asparagus Syndrome come up with? Yeah, I can hear all of you oh-so-proud jackoff people who loathe me laughing your pitted butts off ya, but then again I doubt you were combing through bootleg bins as early as I was and listening to Amon Duul I when you were still in high school. So that's two lollipops you owe me an' you better PAY UP!!!

As for the performance, it's a wild enough Beatles live show so you're pretty much gonna get what you expect. Sound quality's all right AM during a rainstorm quality, though it kinda veers off into radio waves from Algeria in spots. Frankly I don't care because this spinner at least presents the foursome raw and energetic like you'd want them to be, uninhibited by George Martin's behind-the-board tricks that perhaps could have been a hindrance. It's a fairly straightforward performance as well, with an overanxious audience and the Beatles themselves sounding like they were having a pretty hotcha time at it. Nothing that I'm gonna be playing incessantly mind you, but a nice reminder that even when you strip the larger-than-life status away from 'em these guys were...well...not as hot as the Downliners Sect but then again they could hold their own.
Gotta say that I've enjoyed a pretty good percentage of the Pink Floyd bootlegs I've been buying for a good three or so decades, and that even includes some of the ones where David Gilmour was slowly but surely helping to drive the group into a more prog/space rock direction which resulted in all of their songs eventually sounding like WISH YOU WERE HERE retreads spun ad infinitum. This double platter set courtesy the long-gone Dittolino Discs ranks with the better Gilmour-period sets I've heard, and considering how this 'un reportedly dates from 1970 I'm surprised I found anything of worth in it at all! Maybe the audience-recorded sound takes the gloss off of the usual Floydian spew, and if anything something like this might just be why this release sounds better'n some of the legit Floyd platters that have graced my ears for far too many eons!

Whatever,  it's hard for me to disagree with anybody who might think that the version of "Atom Heart Mother"  spanning disc #1 was way more nutgrabbing'n the official take, and though I never did care for "Sing To Me Cymbaline" in any variation I find this one quite...passable. The take of "A Saucerful of Secrets" which closes the set was pretty palatable even though much of the terror and abandon of the original was definitely lost somewhere in the mix so hey, it's a definite keeper even if Pink Floyd were a group with such a duff reputation at the time that Jymn Parrett of DENIM DELINQUENT hadda keep apologizing to his readers for liking 'em!
Y'know, it's funny that I can't even remember seeing any Dittolino Discs in the bootleg bins of my youth, and here I am...years later...actually owning two of their albums. Not that it's any great feat considering what a rather duff platter GONE TO CALIFORNIA is. In actuality sides two and three of the oft heralded LIVE ON BLUEBERRY HILL double set, CALIFORNIA contains some of the more tiresome, lackluster and downright boring Zep performances heard in quite awhile. Unless you like horribly long drum solos such as "Moby Dick" (at least the drum solo performed during the first Umela Hmota gig 12/74 was hilarious given the entire punk nature of the group!) or organ recitals that sound like Sun Ra on a bad cozmic jaunt I can't see anybody outside of the most rabid Zep fan wanting to hear this. At least your patience is rewarded by some halfway-there renditions of "For What It's Worth" and "Blueberry Hill" but you'll hafta strain yourself to like 'em given that there were many other bands during the same time this was spewed who were doing the heavy metal trip with a lot more force and stamina. Well, I will face up to the fact that I did get my usual amt. of jollies listening to this affair, but it's gonna be a back of the bin item in reserve that's for sure!
As the old saying goes, let the buyer watch it or he's gonna lose his money faster than a horny teenage boy in an adult bookstore. And really, I didn't watch out when I latched onto this copy of the Rolling Stones boot entitled LIVER THAN YOU'LL EVER BE thinkin' that it was gonna be the 1969 original. Obviously a bootleg of a bootleg (nothin' new), but it does come on sick green vinyl and sounds pretty good even with the crackles and pops makin' you think that the Stones were doing yet another Rice Krispies commercial.

This is from the San Diego portion of the Stones' infamous 1969 US tour and it shows the guys soundin' kinda tired 'n worn even at this stage in the touring game. The performance has this overall feh appeal to me lacking the total abandon energy that I know every goombah out there hears in the Stones' music no matter which album or tour it is, complete with this mindset that the Stones of 1964 are the same animals as the Stones of today snooze blab snooze. Heard loads better stuff from the bootleg realm making this 'un for rabid Stones fanatics only. Maybe it would sound better had I heard this on a cheap portable stereo in some filthy crash pad in 1970? Slip me some orange sunshine and I'll bet even Lady Caga'll sound like Patti Smith in her prime!
Here's one of those few boots you'd see that was actually comprised of tracks from legitimate albums, some which just might have been in print by the time these obvious homages came out! However, in this case the platters which make up the contents of this 'un were long gone, and since the Nazz were considered a cult group with one famous member who was chopping the seventies charts then why not do a bootleg "Greatest Hits" collection anyway since the Nazz's legit company certainly weren't in the position to??? I mean, if Trademark of Quality could take selections from the two Lothar and the Hand People platters and release 'em under the title SPORES then Korneyfone had every right to give Nazz the same royal under-the-counter treatment so-to-squawk. So unlike RETROSPECTIVE FORESIGHT  which featured previously unreleased Nazz gems TWENTY/TWENTY HINDSIGHT's nothing but previously-released nuggets which sure came in handy especially at a time when the legit albums were all but impossible to latch onto unless you were willing to pay $12 a pop via some TROUSER PRESS auction.

Speaking of NUGGETS (well, I always seem to be some time or another!), I know that quite a few of you reg'lar readers wince at the thought of Nazz's inclusion in that classic collection of sixties-era punk rock. In fact, a few have even questioned if the Nazz were indeed punks at all which I gotta say is a fair enough question considering how their sound seemed too late for the '64-'66 days yet out of touch with what was passing for late-sixties punkisms. Well, the way I figure it is if those critics at CREEM could get away with callin' acts like Asheton Gardner and Dyke as well as Ten Years After punk rockers, and fanzine luminaries could make statements about Mike Heron's SMILING MEN WITH BAD REPUTATIONS or Aerosmith as well as ex-Nazz hisself  Todd Rundgren's very own SOMETHING ANYTHING being punk rock, then Nazz sure as shootin' are punks too!

At least TWENTY/TWENTY HINDSIGHT's got a good selection of Nazzian snazz to it as well as their more hard rock moments that tend to snooze ya even more'n a George Harrison slide guitar solo. Naturally "Open My Eyes" and "Hello It's Me" are here as well as that strange "Tighten Up" spoof, and even if the rest doesn't live up to your own late-sixties punk standards the selection might just be a better bet'n having to wade through all three legitimate albums just to get to what I assume are the best parts.
As you know I ain't exactly a fan of the Grateful Dead, but after years of reading about the inward-driving atonal beauty of the acid test recordings I figured that maybe I should give whatever I could find of 'em a test myself, inquiring mind that I possess. That's why I snatched up this ELECTRIC KOOL AID ACID TEST boot that the United Fan Club Society outta Goteborg Sweden released back when bootlegs were really starting to come into their own with snazzy color covers, detailed liner notes and a general love and care that the major labels had all but ignored until smart folk like Billy Miller embarrassed 'em into doin' a better job. The sleeve snap shows Jerry Garcia doing the Mouse (get a load of his bulbous middle stump!) and also comes with the expected in-depth if slightly incoherent notes and splatter vinyl making this one a gotta have for the true pre-burnout San Francisco luvvers amongst us. However, I gotta say that listening to Ken Kesey or whoever it was spewing psychosociological inanities into a mic while Jerry Garcia noodles on his guitar and violins intermittantly squeak ain't exactlly my idea of a good trip. Neither was the extended bagpipe drone on side two or the Tornados chestnut "Telstar" sped up to 78, but I guess if you just surrender to yourself and let the tab take its course everything will turn out all right. Of course one of the best things about this particular test is that Garcia is mentioned as playing organ which is something that makes me wonder just how the guy could perform on a keyboard missing a middle digit! 'd sure like to hear the guy work out a few scales which might be good for a chuckle or two!
I'm sure you, just as I, have been flummoxed o'er the years as to just what the where's, why's and howcums regarding the Italian bootleg scene.  A scene which, for some odd reason (like lax laws regarding the copyrights of non-Italian acts) resulted in that particular profession flourishing to the point where I understand that record shops with bootlegs and nothing but once dotted the landscape! A nice and in-depth article on Italian boots would be most welcome since all of those rather necessary and thankfully inexpensive platters that were coming out during the seventies (usually on the Joker International label) were fine additions to my record collection. Not only that, but they provided bootleg material at budget bin prices which I'm sure was a big break for kids who hadda choose between buying a cut out album or a comic book with the moolah that was at their disposal.

Although I've already had most of this Bob Dylan material available thanks to a box set collecting all three A RARE BATCH OF LITTLE WHITE WONDER albums that Joker sure milked in a variety of versions and formats, I decided to pick up these mid-seventies reissues courtesy the Buhay label. Buhay was yet another Italian bootleg company of whom I could find no discography, information or any other releases for that matter making me wonder if this in fact was some shady fly-by-night operation trying to cash in on the LITTLE WHITE WONDER craze in their own dishonest way. Well, can't pass up a bargain like these even if I already have a batch of this BATCH, and besides I think the addition looks swell in my collection even if there really ain't nobody around for me to show it to. But who knows...maybe someday...

Back during the days when it wasn't like you could exactly hit your nearest record chain to pick up the TMOQ catalog as easily as you could WEA's,  let's just say that albums like these (that picked and choosed choice nuggets from such legendary issues as GREAT WHITE WONDER and JOACHIM ANTIQUE) really helped out if you were one of those guys who wanted to hear a li'l more Dylan than was out there and never thought in a million years that Columbia would have ever had the brains to release THE BASEMENT TAPES. Quality ain't exactly top notch and in fact is a little worse'n the Joker originals, but it's still great to give these albums a go considering the material at hand ain't always as "relevant" and "meaningful" as many rose-colored rear view mirrors make Dylan at his politically conscious "best" out to be! In fact the guy could get pretty down home and slightly non-PC funny when he wanted---I'm still chortling over numbuhs such as  "I Shall Be Free" which had me doin' more'n a few double takes and eventually a google lyrics search in order to understand what the budding upstart was really singing  (the stanza where he talks about being drenched in black paint and having to take a bath at the back of the tub was a real belly shaker!). Perhaps Columbia, oh so conscious about their big star's reputation as a down and gritty yet sensitive artist, just wanted this portion of his character played down if only a li'l? Well, years later this material all came to light but I guess in the seventies it was still considered a hot button topic.

Naturally this reissue does make one ponder a few more questions than it does answering the ones we've already asked. Besides just what the heck Buhay Records was, why the different that the Joker versions song juxtaposition on vols. two and three? I understand that there was at least one song substitution made if only because of tricky copyright legalese, but it does seem that Buhay had some rather occult issues of their own which resulted in slightly different releases than the more familiar Joker ones. Whatever, these three Dylan platters are pretty nifty items that remind me of a whole lotta good things, more often 'n not what Dylan was like before he because the utter embarrassment that he became even when if wasn't trying back in the seventies and beyond. And, in a roundabout way, these albums only go to prove to you that if you thought these sixties rockers were starting to get useless back when they were hitting thirty, then you can just imagine how they are a good forty years later pumping the same paens to the equally aging hippoid audience! At least Lawrence Welk wasn't that condescending to his!
I haven't been exactly doing the rah rah over some of these newer boots that take rare tracks from legitimately-released Cee-Dee material and slap 'em onto vinyl, but since this collection of early Velvet Underground wares going under the name of PROMINENT MEN looked neat enough I figure wha' th' hey... It's sure nice to once again hear these choice nuggets plucked from the PEEL SLOWLY AND SEE box set, but as usual the typical bootlegger joke pulling is hard 'n heavy not only with the cover blurb passing these tracks off as demos for the first two legitimate albums but by the use of a truncated take of "Heroin" 'stead of one of the many complete runs! Besides that, the "All Tomorrow's Parties" take these shadowy figures used is an extremely short one with Lou Reed abruptly ending the number in a hail of undeleted expletives! It does kinda irk this humble reviewer who enjoyed the complete version and would have liked to have experienced it in this format, but after years of study I've gotten the impression that many of these bootlegger types ain't exactly people of high moral standards. But then again, are you?

I ain't exactly sure what to make of this 'un other'n its just another one of those "wha' ja expect" items, though hearing those early spins on vinyl does bring back the warm 'n toasties of just how much we woulda loved an album like this albeit with complete takes a good thirtysome years back. If you've invented a wayback machine, be sure to send this 'un to a certain geekoid coke-bottle glassed kid with weight and skin problems and a constant fear of flunking out who lived somewhere in the wilds of Sharon, Pennsylvania.
And in closing, here are two more recent items which just might pique your interest not only because of the rare material to be found therein, but because of the even more exacting care that went into the execution of each of these probably by now impossible to find wares. And besides both of these wonders featuring the same artist(s), these releases on the Mr. Natural label (yes, complete with the famed bearded high priest of carnal oompah featured on the label!) also come with full color covers (albeit inserted into a neet plastic sleeve) and on color vinyl makin' 'em look very much like the kinda bootlegs ya used to see from the late-seventies onward when the vinyl boot was certainly coming into its own.

I've discussed my feelings regarding Frank Zappa and his Mothers o'er the years so I don't have to get into how I pick up a few boots of his once in awhile if only to get on a li'l goony teenage nostalgic kick. And as far as kicks go both of these platters do deliver on the same kinda fun one woulda gotten back inna late-sixties awaiting the next Mothers album that seemed to be comin' at'cha a good five or so months apart. Platter #1 in today's discussion, which is entitled PIG MUSIC purports to have been recorded live at the Fifth Dimension in Detroit which was a club that's probably best known by me as one of the hangouts that booked local psychedelic legends the Seventh Seal. Dunno if the Seal opened for the group during this particular set, but the resultant Mothers spew's OK with rather good sound and a version of "King Kong" on the a-side that reaches the edge of fire music unlike nothing before or after "The Eric Dolphy Memorial Barbeque". The version on the flip ain't as exciting and in fact drags on, but this still ranks as a good enough Zappa artyfact for those of you who still warmly recall midnight movie showings of 200 MOTELS if not BABY SNAKES . As an added bonus the people at Mr. Natural even slipped on a radio ad for the first two Mothers albums which do reflect the weird mania surrounding the group but makes me wonder just what kinda radio station woulda dared to have run such an ad in the first place.

Of course when you're all done with PIG MUSIC what's keepin'
ya from givin' THE ARTISAN ACETETE RS-6406 a try 'cept if you were too stooped enough to latch onto it back when it was readily available! Done with the same care and craftsmanship that went into its sister bootleg, this 'un was actually slated to be released on Reprise but I assume got axed in favor of WEASELS RIPPED MY FLESH.  That would figure since this 'n that do share a couple of tracks even if the title track on that gets called "It Must Be Your Breath"  while a number entitled "Weasels..." 's nothing but another one of those free form pseudo avant garde jazz numbers with loads of whooping and Roy Estrada soprano hoots!

Still, these loose ended results are pretty fine even if they sound a li'l too thrown together for a real-life album, even if it is one by the Mothers of Invention! Ya get live versions of "Wipe Out"  ("Play something plastic" yells a member of the audience) and "Igor's Boogie" plus a pretty decent "Help I'm a Rock" along with new-to-mine-ears numbers that harken back to the last days of the original Mothers when they seemed to be going off on an even wilder tangent than they had the previous few years. Perhaps the biggest surprise here is "The Cookie Jar Lecture" which has Frank Zappa prattling off one of his middle class suburban putdowns vaguely reminiscent of Morrison's "The End" (which I believe was recounted in a 200 MOTELS related article that appeared in ROLLING STONE) all so condescendingly recited to the "96 Tears" riff and hey,  I gotta admit that I like it even if  all that the old stinkeroo's doing here is belittleing just about everything I've held near and dear to my heart since OZZIE AND HARRIET! A real class release if you can locate a copy, though it you do wanna cheat I'm sure there's some download of this available on the web that you can latch onto for free. But I know that you really wouldn't want to do that now, would you?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

MOOM PITCHER REVIEW! TABLE, DONKEY AND STICK (Germany 1956, released in the USA 1967)

Here's a Something Weirditie sent by Bill Shute for who knows what reason...I get the feeling that when Bill was a mere kiddie his mom stuck him in a theatre showin' this woofer just so she'd get some shopping done in peace without any of that "Mom, buy me THIS thing!" stuff 'n Bill figures why should he be the only one to suffer! A K. Gordon Murray presentation, TABLE, DONKEY AND CHAIR's a rather flipazoid German-filmed rendition of a Brothers Grimm fairy tale I never heard about done in rhyme and with at least two rather startling scenes that'll have you doin' more'n a li'l double-taking...'n after sittin' through this 'un all I gotta say is it's amazing what they actually put into some of these kiddie films way back inna fifties, or I guess that Germans just have a different sense of scatological values than us clean Amerigan types.

Dunno if you are familiar with the tale, but it has something to do with the three sons of a tailor who are chased away from home because of a nasty nanny goat who, when it is discovered that she lied about the lads not feeding her, is also run outta burgh by a rather pee'd tailor. All three sons become apprentences and, thanks to their hard work and diligence learning their trades receive magic gifts. One is rewarded a table on which food magically appears, while the other obtains a sack which contains a long stick which, on command, flies outta the bag to beat the bejabbers outta wrongdoers. And the third gets a donkey which, when mystical words are spoken, not only pukes but defecates gold coins, nuggets and dust all over the place! I mean it...and although you don't actually see the particles of valuable metal coming directly outta the donkey's anus you do get a shot of the gold stuff being sprayed out in high fiber fashion. And really, I can empathize with the ol' animal considering some of the weird food I've been eating as of late!

Leave it to K. Gordon Murray to take this old kraut flick 'n re-package it for Amerigan consumption, and yeah, I can see throngs of bored stiff kids on a Saturday afternoon watching this at some long-gone downtown cinema thinkin' they coulda gone across the street to see GODZAPPA EATS YOUR MOTHER if they were only cagey enough. Well, at least these kids were privvy to some scenes showing a donkey spraying a load of gold outta his hindquarters which musta gotten the entire lot of 'em hootin' and hollerin' like nothing outside of a kill whitey movie in some urban enclave. And hey, I couldn't think of a better Sunday afternoon recover from Saturday night UHF wonder than this, which I wouldn't doubt actually made it to some of the smaller stations extant back in the seventies during a time when it seemed that a good fiftysome years of filmed culture was being presented to us, and at rapid pace at that!

As a bonus, Something Weird added a whole buncha kiddie trailers at the end, and boy were some of 'em pretty ugsville! I guess it didn't take much for Murray to get hold of some European kiddie film and repackage it for the local market, but some of the domestic affairs that were offered look just about one step above of a locally-produced television commercial or one of those cheap 15 minute educational classroom television programs that your local PBS station used to run during the school year! I undoubtedly would have loved to have seen some of these films such as the one (presumably lost) with Santa and Whizzo the Clown if only they were being shown on television when I was three, so maybe these flybynight operators did have more of an idea as to what would zing the kiddies than most of the "respectable" members of the entertainment media ever would!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Although May has hit us the same way a fart slaps the back of yer 'nads with a rather potent sting,  at this point in time I feel as if I'm stuck in the dawggy days of stifling, humid summer. I could blame it on the mild winter we've had which makes it seem as if we've just skipped from autumn to spring with one mere step, but right now I gotta admit that I'm slipping into those midsummers doldrums that usually come with the extreme heat and my naturally built-in laziness (coupled with a strong loathing of life and hefty ennui at that) fully in gear. 'n yeah, I know that I'm alleged to be "too smart" to let such things as the pressures and travails of "real life" get to me, but sheesh, well sometimes mere existence just does that no matter how hard one doth protest and yell and yammer I will, but frankly I find that there's no way that I can stop killer time from doing his dirty work! Each morning when I look into the mirror I sure can see the evilness of his handicraft etched into my puffy eyes and spotted nose just brimmin' with blackheads, not to mention those li'l "blebs" of skin around my eyes which my doctor says he can burn off at a good $150 or so a pop!

Well, at least amidst the personal decay I've come up with some more of my juicy reviews that you can easily enough glom below, some of the material courtesy of Bill Shute whilst others were donated by none other'n Weasel Walter! All I gotta say is both of these guys really know how to hurt a person's eardrums with the massive wall of cacophony that they've been inundating me as of late, but thanks anyway guys!

Lizzy Mercier Descloux-ZULU ROCK CD (Ze)

Yeah, you know the only reason I bought this 'un, right? It's because of the description regarding how both Descloux and ROCK NEWS/Ze Records head Michel Esteban heard this late-sixties South African pop record produced by a transplanted Englishman by the name of Julius Levine which had a strong Velvet Underground vibe and they wanted to recreate the sound for their own profit and pleasure! Can't complain with a goal such as that, and although the real questions I had remain to be answered (like, who was Julius Levine and what record were Esteban and Descloux listening to?) at least I have this platter to contend with, and contend with it I must!

After the dark New York no wave-ish records Descloux had previously recorded this 'un sounds mighty lighthearted. And it sounds undoubtedly like something I would have chucked into the trash had I heard it at the time. Really, in 1983 the LAST thing I needed was squeaky-clean fluff or new wave pop or any of those sounds that were turning the eighties into the years of cringe, but fortunately I am now at least a little more mature to realize that this music ain't fluff by any stretch of the groin. Yeah, it can come off just as queasy as any white man invading the aboriginal music scene you'd care to think of, but it does have a certain special lilt about it. And frankly, if I can't locate the records that were the inspiration for this I just better listen to this all the more and pretend...

Not quite the sub-Saharan Velvet Underground I was expecting (neither were Group Inerane, who at least come closer to the taproot), ZULU ROCK's got a light bounce, snappy folk rocky melodies and a "feeling" that might remind a whole lotta people of Paul Simon's GRACELAND which this platter obviously gets compared to a whole load of times. Thankfully when ZULU ROCK ain't sounding like the music for some beer commercial it does have an interesting, trance like feel (which I guess is where the Velvets refs figure in) that I can find a whole lotta affinity for. But right now all I can do is flash back to those years when after being bombarded with sounds made by a rock contingent that knew how to rope the best aspects of VU/Detroit aesthetics and translate them into late-seventies cataclysm, the remnants began wafting into ethnic variations and other tangents that seemed to have very little in common with the original thrust and you can bet that I was a sad boy!

I get the feeling that this will be one of those platters, like the Velveteen one, which I'll come to really enjoy before shoving it back in the rack until the next Velvets ref. tingles my cranium. It is a nice effort that I will be spinning for quite some time, if only to unlock whatever it was in here that was supposed to be so life-reaffirming and all, (And hey, if anyone can point me towards any of those Julius Levine-produced tracks that were the inspiration for this, please let me in on the big secret! They sound like they'd be the real deal high energy platters to listen to w/o the interference of some European femme interloper!).
Edison With The Weather-OFF THE CUFF CD (Sus 4 Records, available via CD baby)

Another pick up in my quest to discover some of those under-the covers New York underground groups that spent some time (one gig if any) playing the New York underground of CBGB and Max's Kansas City from the early-seventies until 2006. Even (especially?) if they weren't exactly new wave, hardcore punk or something that would have immediately been written up in a variety of magazines devoted to such music at the time. As to where Edison With The Weather fits into all this well, they were more in line with some of those groups whose names you used to see presented in teeny tiny letters on the CBGB ads in the back pages of THE VILLAGE VOICE, usually on one of those Tuesday nights when they'd cram four or five groups onto a bill and you'd never hear from 'em again much to the dismay of the band members at hand. Given that these guys ('n backup gal singers) were performing a jazz rock that reminds me of mid/late-seventies Steely Dan with maybe a touch of Hall and Oates arrangements and Cars emote tossed in, it ain't hard to see why they'd fail in the middle of all of that decadence goin' on. Then again, Edison et. al. had some interesting punch and swerve in their music that didn't have me rip the disque off of the laser launch pad the way I would with various items too reminiscent of the worst moments of AM top forty decline and fall. And although it was quite obvious that they never were gonna make as big a splash in the wild world of rock as many lesser lights at least they managed to get this halfway decent spin out which is nothing to burn the house down about, but nothing to loathe either.
The Beatles-HISTORICAL STAR CLUB TAPES two CD-R set burn (originally released on Mister Claudel Records)

For a guy who missed out on latching onto that Beatles Star Club album that came out 'round '76  (mostly out of boredom if anything) this release of questionable legality (I think it was on the market for a few nanoseconds before the legal eagles took notice) does come in mighty handy. Can't compare it to either that legit double-LP set nor the various Star Club bootlegs that have come out in the interim (since I ain't got any of those!)  but for you readers who've irritated your family and friends with those Silver Beatles demos (and yes, I was told to "take that boring junk off" by supposedly open-minded popsters back inna early eighties!) you pretty know what to expect. Mainly the four getting outta their leather duds 'n into the EMI groove that would take 'em into heights heretofore unseen by many an act pop or not. Fun rockster ambiance (not quite Max's but livelier 'n the Fillmore)  and a great selection of oldies and numbers soon to be familiar to us all can be heard, and in better quality than one might expect. An entertaining as well as "historical" presentation despite the numerous incomplete recordings, and as a bonus we get some numbers by King Size Taylor and Cliff Bennett taken from a Star Club New Year's Even bill they shared with the Beatles that must've been one of those shows that the patrons'd never forget in a million kazillion years! Or one of those shows that I'm sure a few thousand locals said they attended when in reality they were at home listening to their Horst Jankowski albums!
Metal Rouge-LET US PRETEND THAT WE HAVE NO PLACE TO GO CD (Kendra Steiner Editions)

The latest in the KSE catalog which might go to prove that this label just very well may be the Obscure Records of the teens. For a moment I thought that this 'un was gonna be some hotcha heavy metal romp but as usual I was wrong...turns out that former New Zealanders Metal Rouge play this free form clang that reminds me of Michael Nyman and a slew of those seventies composers who were taking various Cageian, Glassian and Rileyian modes and going into even crankier realms with it. Add a lot of the modern-day electronic improv/freeform sounds that certainly ain't alien to the likes of the folks at KSE and you'll get an even better idea. At times noisy, at others rather calming, this one doesn't sound like anything you'd hear outta the beret and stale doritos gang who used to show each other their gravestone rubbings back inna seventies. Considering how such mirror-gazing consciousness was considered "art" when I was entering into high school perhaps you should be all the luckier for it!

Too young to have enjoyed these Coke commercials done up by some of the biggest hitsters of the day, but havin' 'em on one platter's sure to bring back some sorta memories of something I didn't experience in the first place! The infamous Jan 'n Dean one that popped up on PEBBLES VOL. 4 nor the Who's "Coke after Coke" one ain't here, but you get some hotcha takes by the Troggs, Box Tops, Tremeloes and many more. Most sound as good as the hits and some have the artist doing voice overs (the Sandy Posey one's a hoot!), and not only that but you get two by the Moody Blues, one Denny Laine era and the other Hayward and Lodge making for one interesting group evolution study right before your very ears!
OL' PAINT CD-R burn (originally on GWP records)

Yet another one of those whoosh wha' 'app'd?  kinda releases that reminds me of the flybynights I used to eyeball at the record shops back when I was twelve...y'know, the albums that had these really strange if at-times eye-catching covers that probably housed a whole lotta duff music custom made for the annoying hippie relative in your life. Judging from the cover of this 'un Ol' Paint sure woulda seemed like one of those kinda groups, only the music that pops up here certainly ain't the early-seventies relevant garbage that inadvertently turned more'n a few innocent bystanding kids into frothing white power maniacs. Actually, this Syracuse group did pretty good with their 1971 pop rock sensibilities that had just a tad bit of then-current introspection but some pretty nice moves that might have earned 'em a one-shot AM hit like the Rock Flowers or Giorgio. OK, it does drag a bit towards the end, but otherwise OL' PAINT was a nice li'l diversion that, with a little beefing up, coulda been a nice lost- LP contender to rank with Hackamore Brick and the Sidewinders. Think what Stories woulda sounded like on that first album if Michael Brown wasn't on the thing and you'r about halfway there.
Normal Love-SURVIVAL TRICKS CD; Microwaves-;PSONIC IMEDEANCE CD (both available via ugEXPLODE)

Coming in just under the wire are these two newies from the same label that gave you all of those mind-decaying Weasel Walter free jazz albums that are bound to give your brain that relapse its been beggin' for these past umpteen years.

When I saw the "Normal Love" Cee Dee I naturally thought it might have been a soundtrack for the famous Ron Rice Jack Smith underground film which not only featured Diane DiPrima dancing with preggo belly sticking way out but Tiny Tim looking upon the bevy of scantily-dressed dancers who accompanied Di Prima with udder amazement. (Unfortunately when viewing the film via ubuweb I couldn't spot Mr. Khaury at all...go figure!) Turns out that this new group only copped their name, but they sure did a good job of recreating the mind-addled whizzitude of that film with their sound which (to borrow a bit from the hypesheet) reminds me of a little bit Etron Fou Leloublan and a whole lof ugEXPLODE-styled midwest noise-destructo music. Or maybe downtown Manhattan improv musings  that don't come off like they were custom made for a stodgy VILLAGE VOICE feature. The Lydia Lunch-ish bleat of lead singer Rachel Bell (who also handles the sampler, and I don't mean "Home Sweet Home" either!) also points the way towards some no wave ref. pts. but given the myriad asst. of hodgepodge influences it's hard to say what you're really in store for here. A pretty grand slice of modern experimental techno art punk jazz music that doesn't come off one bit pretentious or officially elitist (you know..."our music obviously proves we are better than you will ever be!").

Microwaves on the other hand remind me of the mid/late-eighties post-hardcore melding into heavy metal rock that was confusing more'n a few staunch cheerleaders for "their" music out there in teenboland. And if you don't remember, a good portion of both the genres were making pretty good stands back in them days, at least until the boundaries became too warped and it became a little too cross-references and watered down for my own personal tastes. But Microwaves remind me of the earlier days of the movement(s) when the fierce music and pounding percussives hadn't run themselves into the ground yet. Parts come off like the Japanese bass/drums duo Ruins which is a rather dandy ref. pt. if you ask me, and if you're a fellow who is cherishing at the thought of Imants Krumins' record collection being auctioned off this might keep you satiated until the big day!

Wednesday, May 09, 2012


I gotta admit that this one did look tasty. After all, I'm a fellow who really could use a new and exciting comic strip to brighten up my usually dour-encrusted day, kinda in the same fashion that I'd look forward to a page fulla funny and truly copasetic cartoons after a hard day in third grade. Unfortunately for me, most comic strips created after 1963, like most television programs, automobiles and general gulcheral concerns, really don't have the same energy and creativity that most strips et. al. created BEFORE that date did. Even when I was a kid I noticed that the newer comics that were being introduced at the expense of the long-running standbys weren't as funny, interesting or overall eye-catching even with their simple, quickly slapdashed style that did have a certain appeal. When I was ten, comics like DICK TRACY, LI'L ABNER and ARCHIE were what tickled my fancy along with the deceptive simplicity of NANCY, HENRY and FERD'NAND. These titles certainly mirrored my own growing up existence more'n CAMPUS CLATTER or THE DROP OUTS ever could!

The fine, thin penned OUT OUR WAY's also had a neat look about 'em that really did not seem that far distanced from the type of existence I was leading at the time, one which although firmly implanted in "modern times" still had a strong undercurrent of past experiences from the early-twentieth century to World War II cursing through its veins. Such new entries onto the funny pages such as FUNKY WINKERBEAN and DOONESBURY (both of which I could not tell apart given their penchant for soon to be outdated early-seventies youth relevance) just didn't cut it the way that the old faves from the thirties onward  could, and somehow I feel that one of the real reasons that newspapers are dying out is not because of internet supremacy or the alienation of a good portion of its readers, but because the comic pages are filled with unfunny, quickly drawn, uninteresting efforts that dare not insult or offend anyone no matter how slightly it may be, unless its somebody like myself natch!

But as for MUTTS sure seem to hearken back to some of the old 'n reliable standards I like in comic strips. The two main characters, Earl and Mooch, remind me of Chip and Bobo from those old John Schaum piano lesson books my sister still has stashed somewhere. And one thing we could all use here in the jaded and downright evil teens is more pre-hippoid visuals and attitudes to counteract the ever-enveloping actions of the modern day equivalents of the uplifters and do-gooders of the past who want to make sure we all walk in perfect unison and smiling smack dab into that big mass grave they've dug up for us! Can't argue with the retrogarde actions of anybody who'd wanna send us back to those halcyon and comparatively saner times now, can we?

Gotta admit that the art is actually halfway decent in its attempt in recalling the early fine-line comic strips with a more "modern" approach that's bound to appeal to the youthful fans of the up and coming underground comics that were coming out in the nineties. Trying to balance the old stylings with the contemporary doesn't always work out the way it was intended to, and at times MUTTS unfortunately reminds me of something that wouldn't look out of place in THE NEW YORKER not to mention some new kid book that their cartoonists always seem to illustrate. More often than not it ends up looking more or less like artist Patrick McDonnell* was trying a bit too hard to flash on past accomplishments while mixing in more modern references that don't always translate well to the comic page, hence the downright cringe I got when I glimpsed his CRUISING WITH RUBEN AND THE JETS spoof on one Sunday title panel. And true, McDonnell was trying to utilize the best of the past with the current slapdash in order to blase a path to the future I might suspect, but his overall effect doesn't quite hit my sarcastic comic strip psyche the same way Bobby London did with his DIRTY DUCK and POPEYE efforts. And ya gotta give London credit for having to put up with all of the current comic strip limitations and still coming up with a high-larious product in the process, at least until he got the 86 for introducing the subject of abortion into POPEYE when no one was looking!

I find most of the strips I've read in the four books pictured (one which contains nothin' but Sundays in color with a few repros from the reg'lar series) to be nothing quite out of the ordinary, but like I said you're talking to a guy who would love to latch onto a PRISCILLA'S POP collection done with the same care and quality as a volume of LITTLE ORPHAN ANNIE reprints. I will admit that I thought the strips dedicated to picking up pets at the local animal shelter had the right amt. of proper heart-tug w/o looking like utter pap for the mooshies out there, but when McDonnell gets into the same ol' tired ecological concerns the strip comes off worse'n some seventh-grade sermon which we all HAVE TO bow our heads in solemn sanctimony! And it ain't like I'm exactly willing to re-live those "sky is falling" days which used to scare the bejabbers outta me long before I learned to take my teachers (and others) with more than a grain of salt! (Come to think of it, where is Paul Ehrlich hiding out? I wanna smash his brains on the concrete RIGHT NOW if only for inspiring all of this doom and gloom that had us all cringing in the closet in abject fear!) When McDonnell sticks to putting out a pleasant, cutesy and hopefully witty effort he's doing OK,  though when he strays from the straight 'n narrow WATCH OUT!!!

Still, MUTTS beats out all of the new flash competition from DILBERT to FOR BETTER OR WORSE and the rest of those unfunny and stagnant comics that seem to appeal only to women who like to clip and affix comics to their work cubicles in order to say something they wouldn't have the ovaries to say face-to-face ifyaknowaddamean... Go figure. It ain't like I'd give the thing any awards, though I ain't ashamed to say that I do read it (along with DENNIS THE MENACE and BLONDIE) whenever I do pick a comic section up even this late in the sorry ol' game I call life. And you can go figure that 'un as well!
*yes, the same one who used to slam the skins in the infamous New York underground group Steel Tips alongside eighties outsider artist Joe Coleman

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Well whaddaya know! Not only did I manage to scrape up enough money to buy some fresh listening grub, but lucky me even obtained two new (and unsolicited more/less!) freebee items that were sent with the express purpose that I review them for this blog! In other words, once again I am in JOYBELL HEAVEN because of the kindness of these two individuals who felt me worthy to review their latest wares! Just goes to show you what an "important" kinda guy I am that people would actually send their efforts my way just so's I can mention 'em on this blog which is traveled even more frequently than Vanessa Del Rio's hiney!

Obviously the thought of these freebees in my collection makes me feel like a particularly proud feller, and although I could easily act like the typical bigcity rockcrit snoot and dismiss these without giving them a fair listen as sort of a cruel joke I most definitely will review each note on these platters with an open mind and unclogged ear canals! And you thought I was some kind of inefficient jerkoff doof all along, eh? Well I AIN'T, and the mere fact that two platters filled with freshly-recorded music have made their way to my door only goes to show you that maybe I haven't been "written off" as a hasbeen nobody like way too many people out there in wonkland think I have...right? RIGHT????

All kidding aside (after all, I am one of the lowlier forms of life when it comes to expressing exactly what it is which makes a certain grouping of sound patterns entertaining, life-rearranging or just plain disgusting for that matter!). here's what's passed from the needle (or laser light) to the speakers to my hammer/stirrup and ultimately my braincells (all two of 'em!) this past week. Just five items mind you, but like I said two of 'em are newly-minted and one of 'em ain't that old anyway. If you wish, use these writeups as a basis for whether or not you wanna hear these offerings either via the web or the good ol' fashioned way just like you did back when you were a kid and you'd cruise the Robert Christgau Consumer Guide to find out where your kopecks would be heading within the next few days. Only don't come crying to me in the same fashion you've always wanted to strangle the "dean" because he gave some duffoid item an A+ and you just wasted your entire week's worth of lunch money on some dog because of it!

Avant Duel-BEYOND HUMAN CD (available via Avant Duel)

I mean...who woulda thought?

This year has produced a brand spanking-new album (true it is a "Cee-Dee," but it's so hard for me to drop good ol' seventies music listening jargon!) by a new group that has captured my spirit, imagination, consciousness and a whole lotta that rockcrit hyperbole I just can't get outta my system after reading some old issue of CIRCUS magazine. The amazing thing about it is that the two behind it have been making this brand of deep-space gothic no wave quasi-metal for quite some time, and if you must know this platter has excited me like nothing since the recent Rocket From The Tombs download  so let's not say that this is one of those flash-right-by-ya spins that get played once and filed in the back of your collection with the rest of your Lou Miami and the Cosmetics discs!

Only goes to show you that rock 'n roll as a futuristic, high energy endeavor is in the hands of the old timers and don't let anybody tell you different! Avant Duel is the new group that VON LMO and Otto von Ruggins have put together with LMO on vocals and guitar and von Ruggins handling the electronic devices, and these two, who have been working together since the sixties in such acts as Funeral of Art and of course the infamous early Kongress, really have their karmic thought patterns aligned since their resultant BEYOND HUMAN platter's one of the meanest, most soul-searing releases to have been heard in quite a long time. If you miss the garage-clang of the old Chrome albums or considered the ELECTRONIC MEDIATION-era Tangerine Dream and Harmonia punk rock groups, you certainly will go for this under-the-radar extravaganza!

More than a few moments do echo the previously namedropped acts with a few obv. refs to not only HALF MACHINE LIP MOVES but MEDITATION and MUSIK VON HARMONIA clearly evident. LMO hasn't lost any of his vocal stylings or guitar prowess o'er the years and is still the classic emoter when it comes to vocal duties (and yeah, his blitzoid no wave guitar is highly evident), while von Ruggins is one of the few people who can take the new generation of electronic gear and make it sound like everything from a discarded Martin Rev track to something I really wish more of those eighties new wavers woulda done 'stead of the giddy dance music they eventually came up with! These guys use electronics the same way William Burroughs used language, and the resultant sounds ain't anything that woulda satiated yer typical Rock Lobstering neophyte that's for sure!

Lotsa standouts on this 'un such as "Electromagnetic Playground,"  a great synth buzz utilizing the classic "Sister Ray" riff while "Hologram Girl" reminds me of Malcolm Mooney-era Can run through Uniblab from THE JETSONS. "Dark Rift" is gothic nightmare with backwards vocals, horror moom organ (which was actually played by LMO on a guitar synth...and let it be known that the man actually did a lotta keyboard work on this 'un!) and pounding Klaus Schultze-styled drums (some played by von Ruggins!) that really drive the aforementioned ELECTRONIC MEDITATION comparisons home. Disque closer "Beyond Human" sounds like Burundi drums and guitar strangulations backing LMO's chanting in an attempt to raise Jimi from the grave! All points in between aren't bad either as you'll probably find out eventually.

Fans of early-seventies krautrock will certainly appreciate this as will those who understand the finer aspects of late-sixties punk rock moves and Max's Kansas City right around the time the downstairs hadda close up due to "neglect." If you miss the dark, dreary yet energetic pulse of New York underground rock before the eighties white-washed it out of existence well, you know the score already.
Comateens-GHOSTS 12-inch EP (Cachelot)

Speaking of dark, dreary, energetic electronic pulsating New York underground rock, did these guys really fit in the same way such fellow travelers as Kongress or WKGB did? Perhaps, since not only do I associate the Comateens with the electronic, Danceteria geekiness of eighties New York "new wave" music but the edgy nova rock of the final days of Max's Kansas City which produced such eternal rock 'n roll concepts as not only Von Lmo but even the Zantees. So it was with a hearty adventurous spirit that I snatched this "maxi-single" considering how many of these New York acts produced some rather exciting moments even if they would eventually fall into some of the tiredest ruts that seemed to lay to waste all of the promise that these up-from-nowhere New York bands held for us just a few short years earlier. And hey, it turns out that the Comateens did a pretty hotcha job on this 'un sounding new wave yet still rooted in a style that took everything from the Velvet Underground to ? and the Mysterians and electronified it for a new generation of fans. And the fact they could refurbish these ideals with synthesizers and drum machines and pull it off w/o sounding totally worthless is something I sure hope the entire (surviving) group is proud of even a good three decades later..

With a style and swerve that just reeks last days of Max's/seventies-eighties rock cusp, the 'teens do a fairly good electro-dance-y thing on the a-side that surprisingly enough doesn't "offend" me if only because they managed to yank it out w/o the gloss and self-consciousness of their contemporaries. Flipsider "Late Night City" was a fave on the Marty Thau sampler and it sounds boffo here as well. Kinda like 1963 Top Forty filtered through Lou Reed and treated by Eno back when he was good. The theme from THE MUNSTERS actually succeeds which is a surprise considering how the early/mid-sixties tee-vee nostalgia craze of the eighties produced a whole lotta lame new wave damnation-as-praise. But like the Foreign Bodies version this works not only as a reminder of fun times but as a driving instrumental in itself.

One that's worth a find and hey, were those other Comateen records really as bad as I heard they were? Or let me restate that...were they as bad as the Comateens ended up looking with those 1962 Italian greaser haircuts? Whatever, it'd sure be good if some enterprising label'd gather up all of these early tracks and more and present 'em for us in the here and now since this music, which was probably up-nosed and poo-poo'd in its day, sounds a whole lot better'n most of the Madonna gunk that eventually came outta that sordid scene and continues to rot away this late in the game!
Fadensonnen-WHITE NIGHT CD (Fadensonnen Records, see link up in blog list on left)

Ah, yet another newie to sparkle my senses this week, the latest platter from PD Fadensonnen and his partner in sound RD. On this go 'round the duo make even more of an atonal blur of raucous spew than they have the previous five or so releases, trying to do their best to make the most hard-nailed sounds (viz a viz Chrome filtered through Les Rallizes Denudes' amplifiers) utilizing everything from anvil and snake phase shifter guitars and tape manipulations to stylophones, and rather than coming off like typical ten year olds jerkin' 'round with Big Brothers' stereo equipment this does take off on a rather feral bent. If you are one who is searching for the missing link between WHITE LIGHT/WHITE HEAT (or side two of FUNHOUSE) and METAL MACHINE MUSIC, you may have found it right here!!

Personal faves are "Lunar Stomp" and "Manhattan Tongues" (yours may differ), but "Snake Charmer": does have a certain appeal like one of those Can Ethnic Musical Forgeries. Whatever your likes, this is one that wouldn't look or sound too outta place in your industrial/avant music collection where it and the entire Fadensonnen catalog belong, natch!

I requested this one from Brad Kohler via his technowhiz friend not only because of the group's frequent mention in various issues of NEW HAVEN ROCK PRESS but due to the fact that Jasper Wrath were around long enough to have appeared at the CBGB Christmas Rock Festival in '75. If you ask me historical straws such as these need to be grasped at, especially if you're as anal about certain acts figuring into certain places and times such as I am! And hey, this '71 album, originally released on MGM's Sunflower imprint, ain't that bad an affair despite the group's rather Crimson/Tull-ish inclinations. Think English prog '69 before it became way too gluggo for your tastes, or better yet what the Moody Blues might have come up with had they decided to lock themselves in a closet and listened to every late-sixties Amerigan garage band album they could find in order to get the sound down pat. No Yes-inspired visions of damsels in distress fighting dragons here, nor are there any lyrics that would have earned us an "F" in high school English class...just some pretty good late-sixties pop with just enough classical influx that won't make you puke!

I understand that the indie single they released shortly before splitsville was supposed to have been
"atrocious" though hey, some of the things pundits have been telling us sounded like turds o'er the years have turned out pretty nice after all so who's to judge other than me. There's a double-CD set featuring the album, the single and some latterday stuff recorded 'round the time of the CBGB gig out there that I wouldn't mind getting my ears on so as they say, "stay tuned."
Carla Lynne Hall-DIRTY5 CD (, or try CD Baby)

Goodness knows just how much I miss tuning into those CBGB cybercasts! From the clubs' three stages (including the gallery and lounge next door) there was a whole lotta music to contend with, some good, some atrocious, and maybe even a little of it inspiring. But hey, it was nice experiencing new music being performed on the spot as it was happening, mostly by some young upstart whose repertoire I might have had little affinity for but the desperation these acts would sometimes ooze was rather enjoyable to say the least.

Surprisingly enough I seemed to be tuning into the 'casts from the CB's 313 Gallery and the downstairs Lounge more often than the main stage. This was probably due to the fact that I was not exactly a huge fan of the rock music, underground or not, especially the kind that was emanating from the major club at the time. Too much of it seemed to derivative, not that there's anything wrong with that, but when bands swipe more from the likes of REM or Alice in Chains (two acts I never could wrap my ears around) rather than the Velvet Underground or MX-80 Sound you kind of get the feeling that rock 'n roll went off on a stray path ages ago! However, although I'm not exactly that fond of the myriad assortment of stripped down singer/songwriters and amerindie mewls that the Gallery and Lounge were noted for booking, I was more'n apt to be up and front for the various free jazz shows that would play the smaller stages considering that the post-"new thing"/loft scene is a music that continues to have a lasting throb-thrilled impact on me. And frankly, a good portion of the acts playing the various CBGB outlets were worthwhile even with a firm BLOG TO COMM sense of values firmly installed, and if I can only (re)experience that once-archived cybercast that an outta-the-way li'l trio called Lucky did back '99 way again I'd be happier than Elton John stowed away on a Turkish navy cruiser!.

Thus it's no surprise that I often would have a live show being cybercast directly from the stage of one of the CB's clubs, more often than not the Gallery or Lounge,  playing freely in my room as I would putzy about or do some serious readin'. Frankly I gotta say that I look back upon those moments in time about as fondly as I do when thinking about listening to oldies radio shows or even baroque organ recitals when I was but a mere teen. That's undoubtedly the reason I snatched this disque by Carla Lynne Hall which was recorded at the Lounge up...I mean true, she is a folkie and true her music is rooted in the Southern California singer/songwriter critics rock mode of the seventies, but the free spirited performance which has a little tinge of stage fright nerves comes off rather affable, as does the woman who is performing these numbers with the aid of an acoustic guitar played by either herself or accompanist Christian Cassan.

Maybe it does help if you think these songs are coming more from the emote of Tim Buckley than Joni Mitchell, but there is a nice intimate and perhaps even slightly intense feeling to this set which does lean heavily on the more Laurel Canyon aspects of sensitive solo singers (one tip off being the presence of a Little Feat cover). Think maybe Essra Mohawk 'stead of Linda Ronstandt and you might get a clearer picture. Thankfully, one word that Hall remembered from her school days was "tension" which she jams into these sometimes jazzy, sometimes folkie but never "introspective" to the point of nausea numbers.

So yeah, it's a good snatch up that should do me well as the years go on. And yeah, even a tuffy like you could like it perhaps in the same way that the mostly right on but sometimes skewered Nick Kent liked all that crapola that people like me avoided with a passion. After all, at least he was once a Sex Pistol and the best you could settle for was playing flute-a-phone in that first grade noise bangster you had with the kid next door. Still,  a nice display o' unrecognized talent that doesn't make me think of bell bottoms and body painting the way Melanie and her hoards of admirers did and that's gotta account for something!