Sunday, December 23, 2012

I guess this is the last post I'll be doing before the big day, and I don't mean when I'm getting my next colonoscopy either! Naw, I'm talking 'bout CHRISTMAS, and although I really don't feel like writing anything special about it this year (just mull over last year's wondrous collection of the holiday season's worst for that tingling feeling) maybe I should mention to you that this particular X-mas is (now get this!) the fiftieth one that I can remember from the furthest reaches of my mind! Yeah, lo these many eons later I can still vividly recall that day way back in '62 which will forever remain burned into my memory the same way other memorable days such as my fourth birthday party and the infamous skidmark incident most certainly are, as well as the wild joy I had driving over everybody's gifts in my pedal car and being filmed with those hot lights whilst tearing into presents that would end up smashed to bits before the day was over. This was also the exact same day I mentioned in last year's roundup where I bit my cousin on the back of the neck because he wouldn't let me play with his new lithographed metal gas station getting some grief (but no spanking!) for my deed. Dunno exactly what this might mean, but deep down inside I'd kinda like to re-enact that day oh so long ago even though that is an impossibility. I mean, that toy garage has probably been consigned to the trash heap within the span of a good three years, but maybe if an exact copy can be purchased from an antique shop and if my aunt will let me back into her basement...

But anyway, Merry Christmas even if in this day and age I really don't feel like celebrating (though maybe you do, and why should I step on your tootsies?), and I hope you get all of the Dinky Toys and Mattel games that I didn't way back in the kid-saturated sixties 'n seventies! As for all of those who couldn't give a fanabla, just read the rest of this and maybe your senses will be deadened enough to the point where alla the holiday glitz just won't matter anymore.
Just finished polishing off the last of the Fadensonnen Christmas Cee-Dee-Ares he most graciously sent, this time sitting through three whole volumes of Andrew White platters that actually originated from the collection of none other than no wave/free music revivalist Weasel Walter himself! Like I may or may not have told you before, this White guy is a rabid fan and follower of John Coltrane, and besides having released a ton of albums on his own label (which were available via New Music Distribution Service for years) he even annotated all of Coltrane's solos straight onto staff  and clef that's what kind of guy White is! The playing ain't late-sixties/seventies hard-and-outre AACM/BAG or even ESP/BYG for that matter, but if you're still agog over what jazz was saying in the early/mid-sixties and think that the death of 'trane was a bigger late-sixties loss than that of RFK/MLK combined, I get the feeling you'd enjoy the entire White catalog which might be available via ebay if you have enough moolah to bid on any.

And I guess that tops off the Fadensonnen Christmas package for this year. Between these latest acquisitions and the Tim Buckley STARSAILOR-period live show I received last January (not to mention the guy's original recordings which have a drive and swing to 'em that I'm surprised hasn't been outlawed) all I gotta say is Fadensonnen, if it weren't for you I'd probably still be spinning that CBGB album of mine in an attempt to review it for the twentieth time in my sorry life!
Not as many platter to offer this as I woulda liked to have written about, though if I must pat myself onna back (which is the only "touching" that I seem to be doing these days) I will admit that I did a pretty good job with what I did have at my disposal. I do hope that 2013 brings more archival digs and discoveries of highly-charged rockist delights both old and new than the previous solar spin has, but for now I shan't complain considering how these mostly newies (with one toasty tossed in at the end) really do fill the bill with regards to high energy jamz! And if you don't think I feel honored in my own cornballus way writing about these spins and tipping you off to 'em (thus enriching your life, and mine as well for that matter) then you don't know what kind of cloistered antisocial stay-at-home one-track-mind excuse for a glob of cells and tissue I've become over the past seven or so years! Anyway as they used to say, read on MacDuff!

Can-A DOUBLE LIVE PROMO ALBUM BY CAN 2-LP set; Ash Ra Tempel-ASH RA TEMPEL REUNION 3-sided 2-LP set (both on B 13, available via Forced Exposure)

Here are two of the three latest B 13 releases (the third being a live recording of Joy Division at the Paradisio in Amsterdam) that have made their way outta whatever clandestine factory they were produced at and into my abode, and if you're an old-timey krautrock fan like I assume you are let's just say that these two platters were worth the thirty-five years after you broke your last syringe and cracked your bong wait! The Can set was recorded right around the time the group was just beginning to latch onto a wider transcontinental audience (with TOP OF THE POPS appearances and British hit singles just around the bend) and as you'd expect the group do a pretty good job weaving in and out of their interstellar journeys even though former frontman Damo Suzuki had been long gone from the act. For those of you who miss Suzuki rest assured that a Thaiga Rag Raga Ratnam pops in here and there to do some rather Damoesque vocalizing which does lend a nice touch. Anybody out there wanna download that recently-unearthed disque where none other than Magic Michael fronts the band for me (and yourself while you're at it)??? Check the links on the left (I believe it was the "Mutant Sounds" one...).

The Ash Ra Tempel set is a boon considering how it ain't the so-so later-on band who were more of a new age outfit but (get this!) a reunion of the original trio with now-bigwig star in his own right Klaus Schultze rejoining his old bandmates Manuel Gottsching and Hartmut Enke on drums and electric lap steel guitar! So if you're a humongous fan of the debut Ash Ra album and tracks such as the side-long acid rock brain-scrambler "Amboss" you'll probably if not undoubtedly like this '73 show where the trio sways and dabbles through three sides of krautified space rock that makes you remember the power and frazzling nerve-end frayed feeling Ash Ra were once known for. OK, it ain't as downright earth-shattering as the debut, but these track are a fine example of what space rock represented before the entire genre tumbled into the whole laser light show gimmick of the late-seventies where doped up teens would enhance their highs to flashy effects while DARK SIDE OF THE MOON blared over the sound system.
Various Artists-30 YEARS OF MUSICAL INSURRECTION IN FRANCE 3-CD set (Spalax, France)

I must admit that, outside of three Magma albums and an Etron Fou Leloublan platter, I really haven't paid as much attention to the French underground rock scene as I perhaps should have. Not because of all of the negative remarks that have been made regarding French rock groups mind you, but because a whole lotta the music that was coming outta the French scene was beyond the grasp of any pus-poppin' teenager's local record store or wallet for that matter. Now that we're living in the days of internet and instant gratification things have changed, and after all of these years we can now listen to (and perhaps even enjoy!) the same outer space washes and wooshes that French radicals and the merely disenchanted got to hear way back in the late-sixties and seventies while making up our own minds as to whether or not this brand of brie is the utmost in rockist expression or just more progressive hogswill that deserves to be buried in the memories of insomniacs who spent a good portion of the late-seventies listening to all-night college radio stations.

Three disques here ranging from 1968 to 1997, and as you'd prob'ly surmise only the first and thus earliest tracks were able to grab my primitive psyche. In fact that first platter is a doozy not only with a collection of previously-released wonders like Mahogany Brain's "Silkskin Dawn" (kinda sounds like an early Raincoats session before the gals really got a handle on their equipment) but some ne'er before wonders by some woefully undocumented acts that have remained outside of my sphere for quite too long. Naturally the more pre/proto-punky material is what appeals to me (I just hafta get the Red Dawn album on Futura downloaded even if I thought the youtube tracks I've lent ear to were more Zappa 'n Beefheart if you get my drift), though none of this is what you would call Rotomagus or even Les Blousons Noir proto-punky. More like them French freaks who wanted tp sound like The Soft Machine but come out "Sister Ray" instead, merging the best of each genre in a mess that might even remind you more of some 1968 basement band who never did get outta their knotty pine recreation room intact!

(Anybody out there know if Dagon, whose "Suite Pour Orgue" from 1972 appears here albeit in part, have any other recordings extant? Talk about a band whose entire history has been swallowed up in classic earthquake fashion!)

The rest of the set doesn't quite affect me like the first platter...too slick experimental progressive that's dated perhaps even more by the occasional nods of the head to new wave rock. I will admit to liking the always engaging Etron Fou Leloublan as well as Gilbert Artman's Urban Sax (Lard Free's appearance is also a definite jazz-rock highlight), but otherwise the later-on trackage is strictly pick and choose. If you're a poor boy maybe you can get someone to burn the first 'un for ya thus saving the expense of buying a long-box set with only one sturdy goodie for you to hold near and dear to whatever there is that's left of your heart. At least that 'un proves just how powerful and exciting French rock could be, and although I knew the French always had their heads on straight after I read an article (right before a high school history class commenced no less) as to how Patti Smith and Lenny Kaye got a special award from the French rock industry maybe it's time the rest of the world caught on, savvy?

Part of the "Harvest Heritage" budget reissue series aimed to milk more money outta your standard MELODY MAKER reader, this reish now has guitarist Steve Howe's name proudly emblazoned right next to singer Keith West's in order to grab the attentions of the standard import bin hopper of the day. A good idea too, because your average FM/progressive radio type would certainly have benefited from hearing the Yes-man's earlier outings 'stead of the mulch he is best known for and who knows, if this 'un had only gotten out more'n it did maybe the future of rock would have changed for the better, with kids worldwide being hipped to the fact that the boring dross they were listening to at the time really did have roots in a sound that was young, fresh and downright innovative 'stead of the usual rock-devolved doldrums doused in Vaughn Williams here (Pink Floyd) and Igor Stravinsky there (who else but Yes?).

Nice packaging (even if it is custom made for the '75-'77 prog romanticists among us) and even better liner notes, though I sure would have thought ZIG ZAG's John Tobler to have been smarter than to write two major faux passes regarding John "Twink" Alder, first saying that he joined Tomorrow straight from the Pretty Things and that he "vanished" afterwards. Then again, I think I've made similar errors in my "career" which is why I'll forego dragging out the guillotine, at least for now.
Jandek-HASSELT SATURDAY CD-R burn (originally on Corwood Industries)

Not having played any Jandek releases in quite a long time I went into this with a whole lotta trepidation. Didn't know what to expect of the guy in the here and now (to me, Jandek'll always remain an eighties phenomenon who was mostly a memory to me once 1990 rolled around), and reading that he was playing the piano whilst singing on this 'un sure had me bracing myself for the worst, whatever that might be. Turns out my fears were unfounded, sort of. At this live show, Jandek plays simple yet effective piano while talk-singing his obscure, lonesome lyrics over the tinkling making for a surprisingly restrained yet powerful set. You can tell by even a cursory listening that Jandek made it through at least the second John Schaum book, and while I was spinnig this the main thought that entered my mind this kinda like that demo recording Robert Nedelkoff sent to Gary Sperrazza which got reviewed in the final issue of BOMP's "Crib Death" column back '78 way??? Bizarre and totally unexpected, I gotta say that this legend has lived on (both artistically and functionally) for a longer time than I'm sure any of us would have imagined back when The Units' READY FOR THIS HOUSE first hit our turntables back during the hazy days of 1981.
Parameter-GALACTIC RAMBLE CD (Kissing Spell, England)

Although I never really did cozy up to this way back when I got the thick vinyl/sturdy cover edition Kissing Spell issued back in the early-nineties, I must admit that Parameter and their sole ltd. ed. album GALACTIC RAMBLE has grown on me even more'n those weird blebs of skin that spring up all across my eyelids. As far as garage-level home recordings go these tracks do satisfy you in that mid-Amerigan teenage CREEM magazine way (even though they were English and probably scarfed up every NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS that landed in their paws), and when the group gets to producing their own straight-ahead rocking they do kinda come off like anygroup 1971 stuck in the basement trying to pay homage to the Velvet Underground via Kevin Ayers' "Stranger in Blue Suede Shoes."  An outta nowhere punk rock (in the classiest 1972 Charles Shaar Murray sense) surprise that might have caught the attention of at least Harvest Records who I'm sure were on the lookout for a new Syd Barrett just around this time.
Once again a hearty Merry Christmas to all you BLOG TO COMM readers, and if you don't get that album or turntable or Teisco guitar you asked for remember...I never did get that Vac-U-Form I've always wanted so I know how you feel! However,  I DID buy a much-sought after LIE DETECTOR game at a flea market a good five or so years ago which was cool since that was something I was gung ho on gettin' after watching alla those Saturday Morning television commercials that were hawking this battery operated game!!! Only problem is, I can't find anybody who wanted to play it with me, so if you're in the area and wanna take me on (you know what I mean, silly!)  howzbout dropping me a line 'r somethin' so I can clear off the kitchen table and maybe we can play a game or two before watching some Kenner's Give-A-Show Projector slides?

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