Sunday, December 16, 2012

Although I am one fellow who is never at a loss of words, I must 'fess up to you that I really don't know how I should begin this weekend's post. Perhaps with a snappy joke or a mean ol' snarl at this poophole we call a world?  Howz'bout with a bit of current events, like (for the sake of being on top of a hot and breaking story) the Sandy Hook school shooting of a few days ago? Even with a hot button topic such as this I don't really know what to say, other than all of you "cause"-related people really now have a hot and potent tragedy you can all exploit and wagon jump onto! Yes, whether you're for gun control or prayer in school or even mandatory medicating all youth who display anti-"social" or even extreme nerdoid  behavior, now you can pester your friends and family with the unquestionable righteousness of your ways! Sheesh, if that kid didn't go and plow down all of those students and teachers then I guess somebody who strongly adheres to any or all of the above causes (and more!) would have had to have done the dirty deed if only to get the causemongers all cackling like deeply offended schoolmarms!

Now that I got the "socially conscious" portion of the blog outta the way, down to the nitty gritty, mainly da MUSIC!!! I am, happy to say, still plowing through the Fadensonnen pile of Cee-Dee burns which I have so graciously received last week, and even a good week-plus later I must admit that this is (so far) the bestest Christmas present that has wormed my way into my over-wormed heart so far this year (of course I haven't received any presents other'n this to date, but the sentiments do remain!). I mean,  even if I were lucky enough to have been offered a weekend at the Tokyo Health Spa this year, I'd forego the opportunity of having Kim and Han play bongos on my pitted butt to stay home and spin these shiny disques that the obscure yet talented Mr. F sent my way, thaz how good they iz! This week I played his double-spinner Tony Williams Lifetime show recorded live in Newcastle, England way back '70 way and let me tell you these guys are simply di-voon! as Patrick Amory would say. Fine enough even if this was recorded when Jack Bruce had joined the original Williams/McLaughlin/Young trio on bass guitar and unfortunately deemed to torture us with his vocal rendition of "One Word," that hideous bonus track available on the Cee-Dee reish of the second Lifetime album. Some early Mahavishnuisms also appear though they don't sound bad at all (although I must admit that I like Good God's rendition of "Dragon Song" so maybe I am a Mahavishnuista at heart!), and although the sound quality isn't quite up to snuff you can still get the same spiritual effect as if you were sitting at a choice spot at some club listening to this unfold right next to the rest room and it hasn't been cleaned in ages! Guess that's what I get for adding too much cabbage into my diet.

Next week I hope to tell you about the three disques of Andrew White recordings that I've finally lent ear to a good three-plus decades after wondering about this Coltrane obsessive who sold his wares through the New Music Distribution Service. Sheesh, these recordings really do make me miss the seventies, or at least the joys of tearing through just about any record shop extant with an open mind towards what was available, joy in my heart over the thrills I was about to experience, and only $2.98 in my wallet which does bring those old timey memories down quite a bit, eh?

Also played a preview of the new Fadensonnen platter, one which I better not tell you too much about lest I blow the entire schpiel but it's a hot noisy one for those who enjoy distortion and mayhem over clarity and nice manners. If its any indication of how 2013 is going to turn out musicwize, you can bet it'll be a banner year with people like Fadensonnen pumping these beyond-belief recordings our way.
Seems like it was just a short while ago that the previous issue of UGLY THINGS hit the newsstands with a rather Shaw-esque bomp, and here it is December and lo and behold none other than issue #34 is up and running giving us rockism fans even more reason to rejoice this holiday season! You just can't believe how important any new issue of UGLY THINGS is to my own well being, for when said magazine wings its way to my door I'm more or less cozied up in my pungent boudoir reading the thing cover to cover looking for new releases, interesting hooks and whatever else may be within its pages that will undoubtedly enrich my life manyfold!  No bout a doubt it, UGLY THINGS really zaps my ever-thirsting desire to know EVERYTHING about rockism, and zaps it well enough that I even suffer withdrawal symptoms when the next issue just don't come out fast 'nuff! Believe me, I will scrutinize any freshly printed and even oldie moldie issue of UT just to find that new and elusive hook to latch onto, and so far I've found more than a few (and really, if you want to know where the roots of it all came from the name Anestis Delias should be looked into) so you know this really is gonna be a boss issue!

Not a bum note in the symphony, with personal faves ranging from Mike Stax's interview with Robbie Wood from The Bees (of "Voices Green and Purple" fame), Cyril Jordan giving us his own personal reminiscences of the early Beatlemania days and how he thought they were singing "I get high" on "I Want to Hold Your Hand," PEBBLES garage band faves The Haunted (remember "1-2-5"??????) and a spiffy interview with Mick Sahuc from The Rob Jo Star Band which is tasty enough to make me wanna give their only platter, which I thought was midway appealing, another spin. Reading Greg Prevost's record collecting obsessions is always a gas, and this time he talks about the thrills and spills of grabbing up every Byrds variation and pic sleeve and whatnot he could get his grubby little paws on!  Only goes to show you that I'm not the only obsessive/compulsive "gotta-have-it-all" kinda guy in the world!

Of course it's fantab reading the pages of reviews regarding records that we might consider purchasing for our own, if only these 300-press run platters were still available by the time we found out about 'em. Not only that, but it's sure boffo lending eyeballs to Jymn Parrett of DENIM DELINQUENT's writing once again, this time with the legendary fanzine publisher/editor/writer/ultimate rock 'n roll fan goin' on and on about a Michel Pagliaro 13-CD career-spanning collection that unfortunately left off the early Les Chanceliers numbers I sure woulda loved to have heard! (Jymn also did a writeup of an album featuring some ex-Savage Rose [yay!] guitarist's early group which was boss...the review that is, dunno about the album.) Hey Jymn, if you're reading this let me tell you I found that live tape of Pagliaro's recorded around '73 if you're interested in a dub (which I will have to have somebody make for me since I do not have the technology to reproduce any sorta sound whether on to disque or tape!).

(BIGGEST REVELATION OF THE ISSUE!: the "Steven Weed" from the Velvet Illusions musical group, the ones who did "Acid Head" on a now-obscure Moxie garage band EP was not, as previously reported, the same "Steven Weed" who was living with Patty Hearst when she was kidnaped by the Symbionese Liberation Army on that fateful day way back in 1974!)

Event of the year? Well, maybe one of 'em, and a pretty durn good one at that. Lots to read, digest and osmose here, and frankly I can't think of a better way to spend a late-autumn evening than curling up with the latest UGLY THINGS while some high energy sounds blast away on the bedroom boom box. So whatever you do, don't bug me during the post-supper/pre-beddy bye hours at least for the next two weeks because I'll be reading UT with rapt attention, and better yet get yourself your own copy so's you can occupy your own evening hours enriching yourself 'stead of pestering me with your inanities! Check the link on the left, or add one to your next FORCED EXPOSURE order like I dood!
As usual, here's a selection of previously (I hope!) un-reviewed items that I just know you'll love reading about, some oldies scattered among the newies and some recent purchases mingling with the ancient booty. Can't say that it wasn't a pleasurable experience giving these platters a spin, with even the tried and trues serving to remind me as to what music used to mean back when there was that bared-wire line of intensity which seemed to permeate just about everything that was good, and that even included those Sweet singles that were hitting the top of the charts at the time! Let's face it, although you may still stomp and rave and wax poetic about rock 'n roll as that all-out mind-distorting beyond belief music, the plain fact is that it's really been dead 'n gone for quite a long time even to the point where it ain't even big in Japan anymore! A sad thought once you realize just how long it's been since high energy ruled the waves (and clubs and rock mags...), and if you don't think I'm the modern-day equivalent to those old-timey fogies you used to see as a kid who lived for old comic strips, radio shows and early-tee-vee even but seemed totally lost in a world of protesters, lawbreakers and people making excuses for the worst aspects of mankind are right! I am (at this very moment even!) what those old war vets and hippie-hating curmudgeons of the past were, and looking back I can see all of the reason for their ire (and love of a past that slipped by too fast!) more than ever! Makes me want to spin a side of Glenn Miller before listening to my old World War II radio broadcast tapes of IT PAYS TO BE IGNORANT (the version with the comedy team of Tom Howard and George Shelton at the helm) while drinking lime rickeys, and I do mean it!

The Velvet Underground-LA CAVE 1968 CD (Keyhole UK); SQUEEZE CD (Kismet)

Not so surprisingly (considering how the band has been awarded supercult status for the past thirty-five years if not more) here come some Velvet Underground releases that, although not containing anything you'd even remotely say was "rare" and "crucial," just might fit into your own collection, mind and maybe even psyche nice and comfortably. Maybe not, but frankly I'd rather see my hard-begged go towards something along the lines of new Velvets disques of questionable legality than less essential items like food, shelter and of course that old standby fresh underwear. I mean, why buy all that when there are thousands of albums, singles, tapes and even Cee-Dees calling me like Sirens to a buncha sailors who haven't had any nookie for months on end!

LA CAVE 1968 is yet another issue of the infamous October '68 Cleveland gig which introduced Doug Yule to the world, and although this one has been around the block in various forms for the past thirtysome years who can deny that the people who released this really went to work on the sound quality improving it immensely from those nth generation dubs you paid $15 for back in 1979. Not that this sounds like a Windham Hill album by any stretch of the imagination (thankfully), but it does gain some clarity and cohesiveness in the process and hey, even some new trackage unheard by me via my own tape list trade has popped up making this the consumer buy of the year. And as anyone who's heard this 'un o'er the years can tell ya, the Velvets are pumping on all tubes here even though Mr. Yule had been in the band for only a good two or three days! Powerful enough that even those John Cale lovers who always thought the group took a nosedive when he left'll listen to this with rapt attention thinking to themselves that the band was just running on Cale gas fumes until the reality of Yule's presence in the organization was finally felt. They may be right, but at this point in time its like I could care less.

Believe it or not, but for all these years I have avoided listening to SQUEEZE, at least until this allegedly legit release on the Kismet label was released just recently! Yeah I was tempted to snatch this up way back '76 way considering just how much this post-Reed spin was an omnipresent import bin stuffer and that I was really wowed by the potency of LOADED, but naturally with my lack of funds it wasn't like I could indulge in every costly whim that would come before me. (Since I now have a real job I can now fulfill all of those empty teenage yearnings of mine, but a good three-plus decades later it just ain't as fun as if I had been able to splurge back when I was young with a mind as impressionable as Play Dough!) But hey, now that I've heard this sneakily packaged Doug Yule solo album all I gotta say is that it ain't as bad as the naysayers and effete rock critics made it out to be oh so long ago. Yeah it ain't anything along the lines of a "real" VU album, but Yule does a good enough job with some sly '71-period Grateful Dead musings that actually don't offend ("Dopey Joe"), Hackamore Brick-styled retro-flash ("Crash"), a sequel of sorts to "Sweet Jane" ("Jack and Jane"), some LOADED-inspired mishmosh that isn't as insulting as you'd think (forget which exact ones those are) and even this deca-glam number called "Louise" which sounds like something that the early Bearsville-period Sparks coulda worked wonders with! Once again proof that you just can't trust "rock critics" one iota like you thought you could, but then again could you ever take stock in what a geeky ass-licking gravy-train jumping big city self-important schmuck who's in the back pocket of a corrupt media and gangster-ridden industry has to say as if it ever would be intelligently thought out and true to one's soul 'stead of more churnout for twenty pieces of silver?

From one important cult group to another, this time the usually incredible MC5 recorded live in the studio for French television and elsewhere. I really woulda preferred the Skydog issue of this given their all-important stature in the punk and bootleg canon, but this recent reissue on Spain's Munster label suits just spiffy and in fact comes off like what those tracks on KICK OUT THE JAMS would have sounded like had it been a studio album. The sound is professional, and not only that but there are some additional tracks to be found here that I don't think made the tee-vee broadcast (or at least the circulating videos) which makes this a boffo bargain bonanza especially in these penny pinching times! And to show us just what kind of give-the-customer-more-than-he-asks-for kinda guys Munster are, they stuck on the first MC5 single (the '68 revised for the High Energy crowd reissued version) at the end and although you've all heard that a millyun times a millyun and one certainly will not hurt!
Various Artists-CBGB's AND THE BIRTH OF US PUNK CD (Ocho UK)

Said it before 'n I'll say it again, but these rather recent garage/punk/whatever it was being called at a certain point in time collections that have been coming out on small labels really do tickle my fancy! They all seem to come off as if somebody got the rights to a certain number of tracks and slapped 'em on a platter, and it was some outta work schlub's job to create some sort of tangentical connection outta the mess and write booklet notes tying all of the tracks together in some cohesive fashion. Surprisingly enough the results are usually stirring in a thematic way, even if most of these tunes are available somewhere in the reaches of my forty-plus-year-old record collection (well, I do consider my collection days beginning with the acquisition of the Mar-Ketts' "Batman Theme" which I won at a carnival back when I was seven even if I didn't get an honest-to-goodness record for at least another five years).

This set, purportedly having to do with the birth of the American punk rock scene and the importance of the famed NYC club CBGB in its growth and dissemination, is snatty enough even if you can tell right off the bat that the track selection is rather wobbly at best with a lotta things that don't quite fit the storyline popping up at the expense of tracks that the label probably couldn't wrangle the rights to. Still it all works out, and it even makes sense in a 1978 Greg Shaw-styled editorial way back when he was tracing the roots of late-seventies punk rock all the way to the mid-sixties garage band era thus helping to jack up the prices of albums one used to be able to score for mere pennies at any budget bin but now went for upwards of ten smackers a pop in collectors circles!

There is method in the madness even if the likes of the Seeds and Sonics weren't around for the CBGB scene and the Velvet Underground, Pere Ubu, New York Dolls, Suicide, the Heartbreakers and Wayne County were closer to the Max's Kansas City axis (and although I love the Electric Eels to the utmost they never even played a gig outside of Ohio so why slap 'em on here other'n to help fill in a line of rock evolution from the sixties garage bands to the late-seventies punks?). It's just a fun collection, a whole lot better'n the various punk history lessons that were coming outta ol' Blighty in the early-eighties, and it's programmed expertly enough that you don't mind sitting through a relative snoozer like the Dead Kennedys' "California Uber Alles" to get to the Dead Boys' "Sonic Reducer" one bit! The booklet notes even make more sense than you'd think given the high level of hackdom out there, and if there was any real fault with this 'un I'd say that it was presenting a Television track that originally appeared on their BLOW UP cassette release as a bonafeed CBGB recording. Oh well, I think I've made a few factual errors in my own scribing once or twice throughout the years...
The Fundamentalists-"A CIRCLE IS NEVER COMPLETE" cassette (Walls Flowing, contact ubgun12@yahoocom for more information)

Gee, like I am one person who doesn't miss the eighties, especially the music! So what should appear in my mailbox just the other day but a cassette (masterminded by Bob Forward of OWN THE WHOLE WORLD fame) featuring some of the more noisome bedroom "cassette culture" clank heard in a good two decades! Tell you what, between the home appliance squeaks and the manipulated Ronald Reagan State of the Union speech it was just like 1983 all over again, and considering how that year was one of the worst for me on all fronts it wasn't like I was cherishing sitting through this garble one bit. Actually the rock 'n roll-y fragments do hold my attention span for their short duration, and maybe I should console myself that this could have sounded like a true eighties abomination that could have been birthed from the fetid imagination of a J. Neo Marvin or someone of his pansypunk ilk!
Various Punks-PEBBLES VOL. 2 CD (AIP)

Twenty-year-old Cee-Dee cop of a thirty-five-year-old album that really helped expand my own rock history consciousness during a time when I thought NUGGETS was the first last and only word as far as any truthful garage band history went. Little did I know that the infamous Lenny Kaye compilation of mid-sixties proto-punkism was only the tippy top of the humongous iceberg and that albums such as the PEBBLES and BOULDERS series were merely the first steps in edjamacating us lumpen rock 'n rollers to the finer points of punk rock history! And no, it didn't all begin with Malcolm McLaren no matter how much the fraud woulda wanted us to believe so. (I mean, what do you think the real reason he had Sid Vicious and Jah Wobble splatter Nick Kent's gore all over the walls at that Sex Pistols gig? To cover his tracks, man!)

Volume two of this series was always one of my favorites. It was done up long before these collections of garage band obscurities lost their initial impact, and as far as sampling the pan-American scene it does a pretty swell job of it. I always liked the more pop-rock/Brit Invasion feel of #2 with the likes of the Choir belting out their mini-hit "It's Cold Outside" and Phil and the Frantics trying to fool everyone into thinking that their Zombies rip was their own creation. The Texas psychedelic aspect is also important from the pre-Z.Z. Top Moving Sidewalks and Zachary Thaks to Randy Alvey's "Green Fuz" each giving the Thirteenth Floor Elevators a run for the acid-damaged money. And of course who could ignore such classics as the Dovers' double-sided whammy (which proves that nasal voices were as much conduit to mid-sixties garage groups as fuzztone guitars), the Satans doing the "Can you guess my name" Rolling Stones schtick two years before BEGGARS BANQUET, and of course the Electric Prunes hawking Vox Wah-Wah Pedals! But hey, why did they ax the Litter's "I'm a Man" from this reish? Can't be due to copyright laws (as if Greg Shaw was paying attention to 'em in the first place), or maybe somebody from the group found out and threatened to bomp him a few times if he did put it on?

The bonus numbers are compatible to the entire thematic structure (such as it is), with yet another Choir side, the oft-used Avengers "Be a Caveman" and even more English rock "homages" including a keen "Tobacco Road" re-vamp. In all, this shouldn't have remained buried in the collection as long as it was, though why Shaw didn't re-publish the high-larious "A. Seltzer" liner notes from the original album is way beyond comprehension.

Most krautsters consider this fourth Guru Guru release their last "real" album, and although I haven't heard any of these Jello Biafra faves' later-on material (not counting that "reunion" three-CD set with Damo Suzuki that fortunately had a bonus disque filled with a vintage live set to cure our boredom over the other sides) I'm more than likely to take their word for it. Nothing as stark or as intense as anything from their Ohr Records period here, but this final spin for the Brain label still has a load of that left-field punch and stamina that people who consider themselves krautskateers fondly remember the band for. Some jazz spazz here and hard 'n heaviness there, and what kinda fanabla would I be by not mentioning the Eddie Cochran medley where Mani Neumaier and his co-horts rework those classic rockabilly sides in their own special way! Not one of the better platters to have come out of early/mid-seventies Germany, but a durn sight better'n most of the albums that were coming out at the time 'n you better believe it!
The Runaways-BORN TO BE BAD CD (Marilyn)

The original group from August '75, right after Kim Fowley published that infamous call to arms for a seventies girl group in the pages of BOMP and long before the actual living and breathing version of the act began inflicting El Lay clubs with their particular brand of hard metallic pop. The original trio (Joan Jett and Sandy West being joined by the soon to be axed Micki Steele) do have that El Lay street beat down pat, kinda comin' off like a cheap Sweet imitation with some bits and pieces of the Imperial Dogs and (maybe even) Atomic Kid tossed in for good measure. After hearing these romps through a variety of familiar and not-so originals and covers it's no wonder the staff of BACK DOOR MAN (or at least some of 'em) thought they saw the future of El Lay rock in the Runaways' teenage pudendal pounce!

Ra's first two from the late-fifties which won't dazzle those familiar with his more outre material but the "roots" can clearly be heard. Bop-period neo-Ellingtonian stylings abound here with only a tad trace of extraterrestrial jetstream. Just ignore the bonus vocal cuts on JOY and you'll do fine. Your (great) grandpappy might even enjoy it, so don't let him catch you listening to these lest you get the ribbing regarding how you're now listening to nice 'n wholesome music! At which point you'd do best to slip on a choice BYG or ESP side and bring it all back to reality.
Dark Sunny Land-EMANATIONS FOR A RETURNING CD (Skachimawakee, try obtaining it via

Comin' in right under the wire, here's the new release from Steven Painter a.k.a. Dark Sunny Land which, as you'd expect, is every bit as powerful as those other Dark Sunny Land and 12-Cent Donkey albums that have come out and have been ignored by people who I must admit are lesser beings than WE most definitely are! In case you were wondering, EMANATIONS FOR A RETURNING is, like Mr. Painter's other recording endeavors, stark ambient music (perhaps even in a "rock" vein) that for some not-so-strange reason reminds me of the early recordings of the infamous German duo Cluster. You don't exactly feel as if you are "floating on air" while listening to this (to use Greg Prevost's description of the early Cluster sound), but you are taken through a rather enticing aural trip that on one hand relaxes and the other creates a strangely eerie if enveloping emotional atmosphere. Listen closely and you'll even be able to discern the guitar and percussive lines amid the keyboard wash. Made for good late-evening listening last night and will most definitely be a nerve-calmer for weeks to come. Another hefty one to chalk up there, Steve, and too bad it came out so late in the year or else it might have garnered a mention in the year end wrapup. I mean, otherwise how would it look?
In the sage words of Tim Moore as George "Kingfish" Stevens, I guess that's a wrap it up I'll take it! As things usually go, 'll see ya again midweek with a little enticer then next week with something a lot more substantial. Maybe even a Christmas-themed post though after last year's big Christmas Jeer I might just link that 'un up and let you relive your own Christmas miseries as well as mine! We'll see what will transpire, but until then hang in there and don't take any wooden Santas!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Talkin' about high energy

Hozac records has just released the proto punk band FURY (1972 nyc)FURY was a trio featuring Sonny vincent.Think Sonic rendez vousband/mc5/hendrix/motorhead/pink fairies.....One of the best archival of the year.We need more FURY!!!