Saturday, March 31, 2012
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Where have you gone Ernie Bushmiller, a nation turns its lonely eyes to you.
All kidding aside, you sure as shootin' can bet Nancy is happy, and so am I that the crucial years of this strip (or at least the dailies) are FINALLY being reprinted, and in chronological order to boot, by the fine folk at Fantagraphics. Thankfully my evening hours and Sundays no longer have to be filled with the constant re-perusing of old NANCY collections, for this book's the first of hopefully many volumes in which one of my all time favorite comic strips is being given the royal carpet treatment after years of not only utter neglect but downright abuse at the hands of a lotta snobs who think they're so hot for liking CALVIN AND HOBBES! And not only that, but NANCY continues to deliver on the fun puns 'n great art for us real-life comic strip fans while all of that extraneous junk that's been hitting the comic pages o'er the past few decades does little but mirror the rest of the contents of yer modern day newspaper industry that deserves to die a quick and inglorious death!
Yeah, I know that I've received more'n my fair share of flack for admitting to loving this totally "uncool" (yawn!) strip, but as I've said many a time I am more'n willing to be ridiculed for something I deeply believe in than something I most certainly don't. And if there's anything that I will stand up for here in these beyond-jaded and loathing teens it is NANCY. I'm not the only one either...in fact I still come across many an older folk who will admit that they remember reading NANCY with the same pride that they had working on the WPA, and as for the younger generation (in this case people who are in now in their mid-to-late-forties!) I can still vividly recall how my two cousins would always hit the funny pages of THE YOUNGSTOWN VINDICATOR to read NANCY before they'd look at anything else! They also freely admitted that they really enjoyed it with its simple art and surprising gags that, as Bill Griffith once said, caught you off guard like no other comic strip could either before or since the Golden Age of NANCY got wooshed away by killer time.
But most of all these kiddoes went for the strip mainly because NANCY reflected that growing up inna sixties/seventies/even eighties nice 'n relaxing feeling that brings back alla them cool memories that any true blue would remember with joy! For them, NANCY gave 'em the same sense of suburban security and relevance to their everyday living the same way that OZZIE AND HARRIET, LEAVE IT TO BEAVER and GILLIGAN'S ISLAND reruns made 'em feel all nice and gooey inside. Reading NANCY, like watching the aforementioned television programs and eating Hostess Twinkies, was the funny paper equivalent of going over to their aunt 'n uncle's for a backyard barbeque or hitting the toy department to buy a cheap Matchbox car to play with. At least that's something that hits the ranch house home in a real meaningful way that I'm sure still resonates with the two of 'em!
I should know, because NANCY has the same effect on me, being part of some of my earliest memories back when I'd sit on my dad's lap on the living room couch 'n he'd read me the funnies even if I could barely understand what was goin' on in 'em. But for a toddler just discovering things like comic pages NANCY was something that I sure could relate to even with my underdeveloped brain running on half-strength. And throughout my childhood the daily reading of NANCY was just as much a part of my routine as watching television or fighting with my sister...speaking of my sister I can still clearly recall the day when I heard her laughing uproariously over a strip where the friz-haired one was bawling her brains out because her mashed potato dam holding the gravy burst! Since we were having meat loaf with mashed potatoes and gravy that very night Jillery and I made it a point to wreck our own mashed potato dams in hilarious homage to that particular day's strip. Who sez comic strips aren't an interactional and stimularing influence on youth?
But as for these particulars...as you'd've surmised by now they're great. Beginning this series with the 1943 strips was an intelligent choice considering how the mid-forties were the years when NANCY more/less became the kinda comic that fans recognize it as, with the artwork becoming simpler (and to the point) and the gags evolving into that one-beat joke that really was brainier'n most wags gave Ernie Bushmiller credit for. These more or less "transitional" comics are not only fun, but give you a before-your-eyes example of comic strip evolution as you can see with some of the elements we've grown up reading just starting to bud, reaching fruition within a few years when NANCY eventually settled into the groove that most of us post-WW II/pre-hippie kids grew up with. It's also interesting glomming various characters who either were one-shots (like Sluggo's lookalike yet full grown sailor uncle Spike) or soon-to-be-axed familiars like the Sputters, the couple next door who used to let Nancy stay with 'em while Aunt Fritzi was away. Not only that but interesting early takes on longtime NANCY standbys such as Marmaduke for Rollo the Rich Kid and Janie for Irma, Nancy's rival can be espied with ease. Yeah, I know nothing as esoteric as this will make it to trivia night at your favorite local bar, but just settling back with this book is not only a fun way to pass the time, but comic history mutating right before your very orbs!
But hey, the thought that this book even exists does wonders for me. Can't really complain other'n about some of the anti-Japanese sentiment strips that were par for the course (frankly I've become very pro-Japan after reading more and more about the subject to the point where if I were around back then I certainly woulda taken a traitorous turn if only to stick it to the progressive types whose racist attitudes made the conservatives look mild in comparison!). But that's just me...otherwise I can't say that there was anything particular to bellow against here other'n the lack of Sunday pages and maybe something a li'l more'n Dan Clowes' opening remarks which were good, but after years of similar praise what more really can be said?
I can only hope this series continues on until the rather bitter end. In fact, I even pray they reprint those primitive enough early-eighties strips that showed Bushmiller in the final throes of an ever-decaying approach which one commentator stated showed a real loss of viscosity on the part of a man whose style seemed to be ridiculed even when he was up and goin'. After all, there are plenty of strips both seen and unseen I would love to enjoy either as a memory-stimulator or fresh in my mind no matter how much they did look like the efforts of an elderly man who was suffering from Parkinson's. There are also plenty of obscurities I'd like to investigate like the series of December 1962 comics featuring a strange Nancy lookalike with a bulbous nose that seem to be about as obscure as the various Charlotte Braun appearances in the mid-fifties PEANUTS which also had been forgotten for years. Whatever, a project like this is but one that really brings out that never-suppressed slobbo suburban kid feeling in me, and with more books to look forward to all I can say is...what the hell do we need Gary Trudeau for anyway?
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 12:20 AM
Sunday, March 25, 2012
***Shrapnel-LIVE CBGB's 5/1/82 CD-R burn
Given that I've been starved not only for some previously-unheard punk rock (of a more seventies pre-spikehaired Amerigan bent) but never spun anything by this long-gone group featuring future Manitoba's Wild Kingdom and Monster Magnet members it was like hey...why not snatch it up? Sure glad I did, because not only were these guys performing punk as an early-seventies neo-metallic endeavor with a healthy mid-Amerigan attitude a good ten years after the fact (think the Sidewinders morphing into the Dictators with just the right touch of speedmetal slowed down a few paces custom-made for the favorite cut out bin of your choice), but the music was so straightforward and energetic to the point where your mind keeps thinking that sounds like this were not allowed to have existed this late in the game what with all of that New Romantic and hardcore and electrowhatsis replacing that "old" seventies-styled straightforward sounds that seemed so out of touch with the current trendy movements in full gear. I'm sure there were plenty of groups also playing CBGB at this time who were affected little if any by the previous decade of underground upheaval, and if this was so then I wouldn't mind hearing each and every one of 'em and as soon as possible because rilly, after a good three decades of some of the worst abominations being passed off as new and innovative this old drive continues to keep me pumping on all gears!
Shrapnel cook even better'n you would've expected from anything even remotely associated with the original surge of En Why See underground rock (given how it was all over no later'n '79), starting off with an appropriately jacked up take of the theme from UNDERDOG all the way through a rather romping twentysome-minute set that certainly left me breathless. Dunno the song titles, but whatever it is they're doing Shrapnel sure did it swell with parts echoing then-current Motorhead riffage with various punk points tossed in coupled with an approach that reminds me of just what Jeff Dahl was up to back in the eighties/nineties only without the El Lay smarm that eventually sunk into his overall sound. Given their choice of influences both musical and not (Lester Bangs himself brought up the entire JETSONS/COMBAT aura of early/mid-sixties television greatness embedded in the Shrapnel psyche) these guys coulda been the ultimate UHF/suburban ranch house group that shoulda been playin' down the street, only by the time Shrapnel was on the ascent everything was so watered down to the point where most jerks thought that drek like Styx and Journey were the ultimate in high energy thrills! Wrong place, wrong time, but the RIGHT style, sound and tackle!
And one of the best things about 'em is that Robert Christgau thought they were a bunch of fascists because they used to prowl the stage in army gear and sing songs with titles like "Hey Little Gook"! Personally, I couldn't think of a higher recommendation for picking up a recording such as this, could you?????
***The Kiosk-I SHALL BE RERELEASED CD
Another one of those mighty surprises that kinda sneak up behind you and goes WHOMP! when you least expect it. David Keay may not be a household name even in my household, but this verifiable BLOG TO COMM reader has, along with the assistance of Laura Feathers, come up w/one of the best self-created/produced/delivered home made offerings I've had the pleasure of hearing since the Golden Age of Home Recordings back when cassette tapes were flyin' off the shelves at Zayres nationwide. This duo definitely remembers exactly why a sizable number of those home recordings were so powerful to begin with...with only the barest essentials (acoustic and cheap electric guitar and percussion) Keay and Feathers have created a release that brings back the best memories of the sixties and seventies, recording it with an eighties DIY ideal before pressing the whole thing to aluminum like was wont in the nineties thus making for a modern-day release that's just brimming with everything you've loved about the idea of bedroom bands but were too inhibited to admit to anybody you knew!
With a deep down inside flicker that reminds me of a primitive Shangs, the Kiosk take those boss references to past accomplishment and recreate their more powerful moments with the aid of their strictly beginners gear. Song titles do give hint as to the content..."Ralf and Florian," "Roky and Stacey," "Jan and Dean" and "Billy J. Kramer" give you at least a little hint of what's gonna be in store on these rather consuming numbuhs. And what you will eventually lend ear to might just surprise you, especially if you've never experienced the "motorik" sounds of Kraftwerk or La Dusseldorf created with clanky acoustic guitars, cheap chord organ, tambourine and bongos! Not to mention a rather keen strip down of what made the 13th Floor Elevators so inspirational in the first place with their basic chordage reduced to a sound that reminds me of those early Messiah/Magic Tramps track back when Eric Emerson wasn't singing with 'em! And I gotta admit that I thought the tribute to "Mr. Chomsky" with the extreme psycho-guitar interplay was one of the more boffo things I've heard from this decade even though I would have preferred Keay was singing about somebody closer to a Karl Hess or Murray Rothbard for my own personal tastes.
Hokay, I thought maybe some numbers toddled about a spell, but overall the Kiosk are a pretty nice example of that whole DIY "ethos" which didn't quite churn out the kinda quality music that Peter Laughner sure hoped it would but overall did a pretty good amateurish job of it! Only problem is I don't know where you can get a copy (no address on the case and I threw the envelope away) so David, if you read this can you fill the readers in???
I gotta admit that I really love all of these nuevo-NUGGETS "history of punk" collections that have been cluttering up the ebay auctions these past ten or so years if only for their mere being, and this 2006 release courtesy MOJO ain't no different. True it coulda used the ol' Kris Needs' hefty DIRTY WATER liner notes treatment plus the array of tracks is nothing that's out of the ordinary, but along with the aforementioned Needs offerings, IT CAME FROM THE GARAGE, CBGB AND THE ROOTS OF PUNK ROCK and various other history lessons this works as a tossout that was fortunately programmed snatly enough for my tastes. Artists include (but are not limited to) the Stooges, New York Dolls (and their English doppelganger the Berlin Brats), Dr. Feelgood, Kilburn and the High Roads, Mott the Hoople, Can, Hawkwind, Be Bop Deluxe (???) and even the Jook, who I once said were kinda dullsville but maybe time can soften this ol' turd up more'n a bottle of Kaopectate ever could!
***Sachiko-ANKO CD (Utech)
Ain't been paying much attention to the new Japanese underground as of late, and not only because my terminal lack of moolah has limited me from doing so. Must admit that many of the newer practitioners of the form, even if such practitioners had been in one of the many lineups of Les Rallizes Denudes, just haven't been dishing out the bared-wire intensity thrills that I'm always looking for in this music. Frankly, I've been burned by way too many of these platters that have been promising early-Velvets thrills and hefty warm drones to help me through the coldest winters and loneliest summers, and ya gotta admit that almost all of these recordings sound more like half-baked theorizing rather than the hard-edged fire music that had been coming out of the rock underground throughout the seventies. Hey, if I wanted to hear milksoppish pale-dry appreciations of already overworked ideas copped from the Velvets, there are plenty of cheaper domestic examples for me to choose from!
Former Overhang Party member Sachiko more or less fits into this unfortunate pattern, and although her most recent is one that I will admit has its good points I doubt that I'll be giving this another spin as long as you live. On overdubbed viola, recorder, percussion and voice Sachiko creates a massive La Monte Young-inspired wall of angst that varies only a few notes. Meanwhile the lass had added some clanky percussion and her own Yoko-ish gurgles and cacks which remind me of the time the neighbor's cat decided to, at three in the morning no less, serenade me from the bottom of my bedroom window during a particularly hot and muggy August night. Engaging perhaps, avant garde definitely, but nothing that really reaches into the core of my inner being and all of that intellectual garble that teachers used to push on you with a vengeance. Not that I have anything against Sachiko, but like a good portion of the new experimentalism that's being created I felt a major component has been lost somewhere between the spark of idea and completion of same.
***WELL, WADDAYA KNOW, no sooner had I reviewed the Paul McGarry burns received last week that yet another package from my biggest fan should wing its way to my door! And, as the old saying goes, will wonders (n)ever cease??? Even though it ain't as big as the previous parcel thus ain't as good (as Johnny Wadd used to say, size does count), Paul did send a nicey-nice enough selection of platters this time that I will admit did brighten up my pre-beddy bye time a whole lot more'n watching Rachel Maddow pretend she could talk to anybody with more than a third grade education. However, of the four that were jetted off this go 'round I am only gonna review three if only because Paul wasn't astute enough to remember that I have already reviewed one of the burns, the Stepson elpee, which as you all remember didn't exactly get the five-star treatment 'round here! Shame on yew!!! Well, that's one on him, but for the rest of us here's the stuff that did make it through customs.
The Styrenes-IT'S STILL ARTASTIC (ROIR)
Next to Mirrors' primal thrust the Styrene Money Band might as well've been Steely Dan, but that doesn't mean they didn't spend their Clevo years 'n beyond making some of the better ('n even Pere Ubu!) music to come out of the area (Pagans included!) at least until it all came down 'round 1980. Most of the early single/EP sides are here (though for some reason the original "Radial Arm Saws" and "I Saw You" continue to be MIA) as are the 1981 album trax along with a variety of new and old rarites that tingle the nerve endings to varying degrees. Personally I could have used a whole lot more of the all-out rocking material and less of the ballad-y saxophone-laden numbers, but this does serve to remind me about a whole lotta things that Cleveland in the late-seventies stood for which unfortunately was repressed and scorned by a whole load of people who I'll bet nowadays just love to say they were in on the entire schpiel from the beginning and how great it was blab blab slobber slobber, and you know who I'm talking about don't you Anastasia!
***Johnny Dowd-WIRE FLOWERS (Munich)
Ya gotta be kiddin' me, right Paul? Hokay, I will be the first (or at least third) to admit that I never did cozy up to the new alt. country sounds, and this 'un by longtime cult fig Dowd really does fit into that entire genre complete with the heavy twang vocals and def backwoods approach. So if you like that relatively new "alternative" to the slick drek that passes for c 'n w these days then you'll probably snuggle up to this more than I did. As for me, the only consolation I could get from it was that, considering Dowd is a tried and true Southerner albeit now living in Ithica New York, odds are that he is not making fun of the downhome cornpone types in typical Upper Crust patronizing urban terms which gets my goat just as much as these same El Lay/New England types laughing their heads off over ethnic blue collar workers for keeping their pants up 'stead of sprayin' it all over. Of course if Dowd is poking fun at his own that would make him one of the biggest traitors to the Southern cause since Mary Kay Place, and we all know what happened to her (mainly, her career fizzled out faster'n you can say Debralee Scott!).
***The Fred Bison Five-BEAT ROOTS (Woznorov)
Basically the old Bevis Frond group doin' some off the cuff sixties rock as a free magazine giveaway. Too bad somebody didn't convince the Rolling Stones to do the same thing with JAMMING WITH EDWARD 'stead of charging $1.97 for those off-time blooze run throughs. Gotta admit that it wasn't too bad a spin for the "throwaway" that it was, but if I didn't tell you that I couldn't wait until some of the psychedelic swirling would just stop (esp. when it seemed to be more self-indulgent than satisfying) I'd most certainly be lying to you. And you wouldn't want me to do that now, would you???
***AND HERE'S ONE LAST ITEM FROM BILL SHUTE, WHO SENT ME YET ANOTHER CARE PACKAGE EVEN THOUGH I WASN'T FINISHED WITH THE ONE HE SENT ME A FEW WEEKS BACK!!!
It's kinda funny how the Yardbirds, who during their final months were a quite potent quartet that could have equaled the underground roar of the Deviants or Pink Fairies, hadda evolve into the "New" Yardbirds and ultimately Led Zeppelin who are best known for being the soundtrack to a whole load of bad seventies jive that sucks about as much as the stoner generation that took their music at face value. Oh yeah, even I will admit that ol' Zep were purty good on occasion even to the point of metallic breakthrough, but that's only when I'm trying to listen to 'em analytically and objectively, thus leaving a whole load of my personal trash aesthetics outta the mix. At that point I can find many relevant and pertinent things to say about the group, but when I just wanna listen to something that tears at my soul and rips through my inner being it ain't gonna be Zep or any of those seventies bigtime washouts that does it. Leave that to the Stooges and Velvets and Five and all of those acts that didn't fit in with the entire seventies game plan yet cut a swath that most Pantsiosites out there still pretend never did exist (or if it did it was but a mere aberration the less spoken about the better).
Yeah, the Yardbirds just might have reached the same heights as the Stooges and Pink Fairies (who were to have shared the stage at the Roundhouse in '71 with a reformed Yardbirds that never did materialize) but on these '67/'68 recordings they sure come close. Taken from various sources live, studio and television, CUMULAR LIMIT presents the group during their transition from mid-sixties English bloozemeisters to an underground proto-metallic force that undoubtedly had the energy and power that most of you reg'lar readers crave. If you're game for the LITTLE GAMES album and were one of the many who snatched up the Anderson Theater album when it went cutout in '76 you'll really appreciate this 'un. As for me, it sure is making me think twice about seriously considering buying the new BBC sessions box set now that my Della Quercia BROKEN WINGS bootleg is kinda valuable these days...
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 7:06 AM
Thursday, March 22, 2012
OK, I am positive that by now each 'n every one of you know the entire story by heart. In fact, if you know the schpiel to the point where you can recite it in your sleep you're BOUND to win an extra no-prize. New English weekly music paper gets up and runnin' in the early-fifties. Said paper successfully (more or less) covers the trends and fashions of the day before falling by the wayside thanks to their tired old writers not being able to keep up with the zeitgeist. Fresh blood injected during the early-seventies helps the paper's popularity to fly through the roof while ruining more'n a few lives in the process. Despite the burnouts and fatalities the publication reaches its creative peak before evolving into an organ for the Labour Party's failed campaigns of the eighties, eventually settling into just kinda "being there" for whatever new idea might be happening these days, not that I've noticed...
'n yeah, you can say the same thing about every other fifties brainstorm (with more'n a few variations here and there) from MAD to PLAYBOY I reckon, or even a late-sixties up 'n comer like CREEM whose best years coincided with THE NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS's yet flamed out much earlier after the departure of key ingredient Lester Bangs and the mag's growing penchant for covering the mainstream when it should have been boosting the underground. But like those other periodicals NME was a product of its time and perhaps was at its best when the music was at its as well. After all, it's sure grand reading one of the paper's young upstarts like Nick Kent or Charles Shaar Murray goin' at it regarding some glam superstar or punk flash in 1972 'stead of dribbling all over Adam and the Ants, just like it was fun when MAD was taking on old movies and comic strips in 1956 or PLAYBOY was mixing in articles on hotcha sleek sportscars, intellectual interviews and Jean Shepard along with the juggins. And, as we've known for about the past twenty years but were too frightened to admit, the post-World War II period of gulcheral creativity is long over, perhaps wiped out by the same kids who feasted on it for the previous twenty years yet thought they could do a much better job (obviously they didn't).
Pat Long's tome on the paper is pretty much on schedule, on target and on cue in its development throughout the years and (best of all) doesn't mince any meat with regards to the gritty underbelly of it all. The ultimate conclusion being that the NME was a driving force in English rock screeding coverage at a time when the world really needed the likes of Murray, Kent and of course Mick Farren writing about the new decadence, and long after all of them had left the paper it continued on in various capacities which might not have suited the fans of the old standbys but I guess still translated into mucho notoriety given just how many laurels there were for the up-and-comers to rest on.
Obviously I prefer the seventies portion of the program* where those aforementioned writers and of course Ian MacDonald were brought in to help compete against main rival MELODY MAKER with a more snot punk approach to counteract MM's rather arse-licking pop/progressive reason for being. As you probably would have guessed considering how each and every one of you seem to know my inner being, soul and true motives behind my outward actions more than I do, I really enjoyed this part of the book because it details the introduction of underground, gonzo journalism to the paper which really made it stand out as a seventies punk gryphon, and since for the most part I was part of said audience let's just say that it all hit home rather hard even though I was getting my NME third hand, and on very scant occasion at that! Being one of those suburban creeps who lives vicariously through all of those sixties/seventies decadent auteurs even this late in the game, it's such a joy not only to read about the ever-budding appearance of various punkisms that the likes of Murray and Kent were so anxious to disseminate to a wider audience, but each act of senseless violence and abject drug-addled misbehavior almost makes it seems like it's your gore that's getting splattered all over the walls at the 100 Club!
And not only that, but reading about the behind-the-scenes goings on mentioned in loving detail also add an oft-unprobed dimension to the overall saga, giving you a good background as to where these writers were "coming from" to the point where I'm sure that even the most scabrous of BLOG TO COMM followers will feel "normal" after reading about the rather debauched lifestyles of the various NME contributors we've vicariously worshiped from afar. Whether it be Kent's eventually debilitating drug addiction or the time Tony Parsons (from the comedy team of Tony Parsons and Julie Burchill) beat up Farren in the NME offices after finding out about the former Deviants singer initiating the offal-smelling Burchill into the ins and outs of bondage and discipline (a hotcha punk subject over in England considering how they like to get their asses whipped...reminds 'em of school 'r somethin'), these intimate details are sure INVIGORATING even if you've already read about these goings on's ages back. Your favorite anecdotes may differ, but then again I've always been partial to that particular era of rock writer as rock performer as everyday bloke which is why I've (hate to say it but) long "idolized" everybody from Eddie Flowers to Lenny Kaye to the stars of the NME who seemed to not only make it look all too easy, but so natural as if any jerk could do it! At least they as musicians, scribes or even as general messups seemed so ABOVE everything you've hated about rock as a hippie credo as these writers spewed their definitely non-schlub opines while gettin' to look cool gettin' snapped at parties and whatnot unlike you in your suburban ranch bedroom lookin' at yerself inna mirror while air guitarring to Stooges platters!
This book compliments Nick Kent's own extremely informative autobio hand-in-glove, (one interesting fact recounted here which was left out of Kent's particular creation was that it was none other'n Can's keyboardist Irmin Schmidt who introduced him to the dread heroin!) even if the guy comes off looking more like a prick if only because Long is writing from a particularly non-sympathetic, jaded third person eye-view. Not only that but there are a few interesting snaps (though far from enough) which you might like such as the one with Kent and then-galpal Chrissie Hynde taken when the couple were not ripping each other's entrails out! The snap with Charles Shaar Murray goin' at it with John Lydon was engaging enough, but that's only because I thought that the former looked retro-hip enough in that 'fro of his which he at least was smart enough not to trim all the way off even when such hairstyles seemed so "uncool." And whether you're a longtime NME reader or casual peruser you'll love the way this brings back memories of rock scribing at its height before that great fall into whoredom blah blah you know the score by now so what's like keeping you???
*Not that the fifties/sixties were exactly dry years for the paper or to read about for that matter. I for one thought that the sagas behind the various NME awards were funnier'n the six o'clock news, what with Ray Davies storming off the stage when the Kinks didn't win the "Best New Group of 1964" award and John Lennon chewing out NME publisher Maurice Kinn backstage right before Kinn and (get this!) CHEYENNE star Clint Walker presented the Beatles with some prestigious trophies! However, the post Farren/Kent/Murray portion of the book was a comparative snoozer for obvious reasons of course but really, I've read enough about Morrissey a good thirty years back to want to absorb any more about him into my already crowded cranium this late in the game, and I believe you can understand why!
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 6:57 AM
Saturday, March 17, 2012
Now, unlike what you would be most inclined to think given the above graphic, this post ain't gonna be Paul ranting and raving about these various artyfacts like he did in the exact same ish of my aforementioned crudzine that I swiped the above pic outta. Naw, I'm gonna do all the tripewriting as usual...y'see, I'm only using the cartoon to make a strong enough point that you all definitely should be aware of, mainly that that today's Cee-Dee-Ares were sent courtesy of Paul, a man who had a sneakin' suspicion that I might like these spinners given how he has kinda sussed out my own tastes and values these past twenty-five year! And as you can obviously tell I am eternally grateful. But once we get down to brass balls the question remains, do I REALLY like the selection of pre-recorded material that Paul has jetted my way or am I gonna just lay right into this nice garden variety of music both old and older like some big oafish ingrate who relishes in biting off the hand that feeds him? Read on and see, MacDuff!
You probably will think that the following graphics used to illustrate this post are not suitable for children or adults for that matter given their grainy and distorted visage. If so you're right as usual, though I will 'fess up and tell ya that the reason I used these various cover shots (taken straight from the paper inserts that McGarry sent me), and ON PURPOSE at that, was only to stir up hefty old memories of not only my own long-deceased crudzine but all of those cheapo crank out 'zines you used to see throughout the eighties and nineties. I'm talkin' 'bout those 'zines which struggled vainly with the problem of putting out whatcha'd call a "professional" piece of work usually failing miserably in the process yet coming up with something that sure looks better in my own twisted, Addams Family values way. In case you can't get it through your thick skulls, I find the old rough and tumble look of the various 'zines of the past shadow lines, blurred snaps and all, rather invigorating as far as humbleness and low-fidelity goes, and perhaps a return to those days when all we hadda rely on were the barest of essentials to crank out even a halfway-modest fanzine like the one I did would be in order now that any doofus can put out a blog and make it look about as fresh and dainty as a page outta VANITY FAIR. And hey, I figure that even with technology being so keen that anybody could make a relatively low-fidelity blog look big budget maybe I can try to make my post look about as downright scuzzy as most of the distorted and definitely low-fi music that I've been listening to for nigh on the past thirty-plus years!
Well, ya gotta admit that a cheaply-laid out and poorly reproduced blog would reflect the obviously burned out and overworked writing you've been reading here these past three or so years. I only wish that I could add some ink stains or perhaps a few thumbprints to the layout, but even I am not that computer unsavvy!
Not sure exactly where this platter originates, but it sure is a third-eye opener considering that it's jam-packed with a whole lotta rare Thirteenth Floor Elevators-oriented interview material copped from television, radio and elsewhere. You've probably already heard a good chunk of this via the Elevators boots of the nineties, but most of it's fresh to my ears which only proves that perhaps there is something new under the fingers of the sun at least for a budget-conscious fan such as I. Roky Erickson plays it sane, introverted and all out orbital (the Gregg Turner CLE interview being just one juicy example) while electric juggist Tommy Hall even delivers some interesting insights into group's er..."inner workings." This sure adds even more to the mystique which I thought was penetrated long ago, y'know?
Mr. McGarry really loves this 'un to smithereens but (if you really must know) I poisonally found Homer to be too much middling '67 pop psychedelia for my digestive tract. Not without its moments of brilliance mind you, but this album consists of what I would deem rather standard psychedelic pop music that didn't sear my soul or reach the core of my inner being (ecch!) the way a late-sixties pop-psych act like, say, the David did. Even The Cowsills could have whipped Homer's butts on any given night, but (let me reiterate) that doesn't mean they were without any merit with a sound that does take the choicer moments of the Association and Harpers Bizarre and uses them for a springboard into some interesting late-sixties popadelic moves. (See what a nice guy I am...gotta at least end the review on an upbeat note!)
Yeah, I've heard about this Lewis backed by the Nashville Teens album for years on end and was mystified by it all enough to the point where I believe I even attempted to order a European edition of this via the old Midnight catalog back inna eighties (naturally it was outta stock). So giving this 'un a listen to no matter how late in the game does close yet another "cold case file" or brings "closure" into my life as a whole lotta metrosexual snobs would say. At the risk of having a good portion of my readership head on over to do some hedge-clipper neutering I'm gonna admit that this 'un ain't exactly the all-out screamin' all over the place platter that I was kinda hopin' it to be, but then again as you all know I have mighty high expectations regarding what I permit to pass through my ear canals and into my mind. It's an energetic and hotcha excursion nonetheless, one that at least still captures the mania and froth-inducing power of the first generation of rock 'n roll at a time when the second generation made it seem so passe in the eyes of way too many trendy teenagers. And hey, this really does pack a whole lot more whallop into its grooves (or whatever Cee-Dee-Ares have) than any of those Jerry Lee and Gail Lewis longplayers that continue to rot away in flea market record bins nationwide!
Considering just how humongous a Flamin' Groovies fan that I like to fashion myself to be (well, maybe not that much of a fan since I've not in possession of let alone never heard some of the group's v. late-seventies offerings like JUMPING IN THE NIGHT), it is a surprise that I passed up this platter by perennial Groovies head Cyril Jordan's group back when it came out. Well thanks to Mr. McGarry I can now sleep a little more comfier at nights because he dared to send me a burn of this, and man is it a good 'un! It sounds a whole lot like the latterday version of the Groovies only even tougher, and in fact reminds me of the Poppees in spots which wouldn't be outta the ordinary considering how none other'n Jordan produced their first Bomp! single way back when. Other moments recall various eighties tough boy takes on sixties standbys, the kind you used to read about in BUCKETFUL OF BRAINS back in those queasy times, and let's just say that if you still cherish your Long Ryders albums and thought that Voxx Records was the toppest label onna face of the earth you might get an extraterrestrial kick outta this 'un as well!
***Albert Ayler-STOCKHOLM, BERLIN-1966 (Hat Hut)
The Berlin portion of this program has already been reissued on the infamous Revenant box set which helped rearrange my own personal thought processes a good eight years back, but the Stockholm tracks are new to me unless they've popped up on some rare Italian bootleg that's languishing somewhere in my collection. And as usual, what else could I say except that this is yet another one of those Ayler recordings that showcase the man's talents at their peak back when it seems as if the rest of the jazz world was either scratching their heads in utter confusion or ready to ride the guy outta town on a rail. If you (like me) see something special and perhaps even holy in the Revenant box set or even a cut out Arista/Freedom album of his dating back to the mid-seventies, you'll undoubtedly more'n appreciate this.
Lotsa young and budding punquers used to think that the Vibrators were nothing but a buncha old fogies. Since I am an old fogie I can most certainly identify with the scorn that the Vibrators hadda endure not only back in those vary ageist days but in these equally youth-loving times as well. Considering that this group is still up and running they must be geriatric by now, but ya gotta admit that being older'n most of the punques of the day didn't stop 'em from making their way outta the seventies with their dignity relatively intact...unlike a hefty portion of the spiky hair contingent who immediately dabbled their tootsies into a variety of new trends only to end up even creepier'n most of the old turds these kiddoes thought they were replacing. I mean just take one look at Julie Burchill and don't tell me the end result of late-seventies pose wasn't one of ugliness and utter repression!
Naturally none of that has anything to do with the Vibrators, who on this disque are not only performing right in the middle of 1977 English punkitude (the Marquee Club to be exact) but are having to put up with a buncha young spuds who think they're so young'n fresh that anybody over twenty was looked upon with suspicion. Knox and the rest do the punk credo proud here rip roaring their way through a good fiftysome-minute set flinging the familiar with some crucial covers (Stones, Stooges) all balled into one nice long blur that makes you feel like you've just broken the record to the dash (even if you're sitting nice and pretty!)
Hardly ever play my good ol' vinyl version of this anymore, so maybe it's a good thing that Mr. McGarry sent me a burn of this if only to remind myself as to what a...a not-so inspiring album this really can be. Oh yeah, I gotta admit that I was bowled over by the tinkling gamelan sounds that open the album plus the brief section entitled "Sonny Sharrock" which was the only part of this album where you can hear the famous guitarist at all was brilliant, but after yet another spin I can't say that I find anything terribly special goin' on about this not-so-uncommon disc. Like a good portion of these Don Cherry albums which get a little too ECM for my tastes, ETERNAL RHYTHM takes that plunge into the "World Music" realm which is something that's more'n guaranteed to set off my various eighties-bred loathings (which include everything from Chuck Eddy and what eventually became of CREEM magazine to rock videos and even the Compact Disque format!). And given how my blood perssure's been acting like an oil gush these irritants are the last thing I need in my life! I will tell ya that next to just about anything that is being spurted outta the loins of the jazz mainstream these sick 'n sorry times ETERNAL RHYTHM may as well be ASCENSION if that's any consolation to you Don Cherry fans out there, but personally I coulda used a lot more of that bared-wire arrrgh!
***The Sadies-DARKER CIRCLES (Outside/Yep Roc)
Mr. McGarry himself said that this particular platter was his favorite release of the year 2010. Considering that the only other release he heard from that year was CARL SZYMYZNSKY'S ACCORDION FAVOURITES it's not hard to fathom why. All kidding aside, I found this group (from Toronto of all places!) to be OK, sounding rather late-eighties West Coast to the point where I thought they would have been part of that whole "Paisley Underground" scene that used to get rock critics all hot and bothered at least until the next Grateful Dead tour. A number of songs reminded me of the eighties Droogs filtered through the mid-sixties Byrds which was fine enough for me, while others were just too twee for my already tweeded out senses. A worthy effort but would I buy a copy for my very own???? NOT ON YOUR NELLY!!!!!
***Oh yeah, 'n a HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY to yez too...as Ghoulardi woulda said, turn green!
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 7:27 AM
Thursday, March 15, 2012
Guess what! I didn't buy this 'un for my own personal use but as a birthday present for none other than famed somethingorother Don Fellman ("Who's Don Fellman?"). Happy birthday Don, but you're gonna hafta wait until I'm done with these twenty episodes from the old (1957) BLONDIE tee-vee show before you dabble your greasy paws on 'em. After all, you're gettin' these disques for FREE and hey, like I gotta get some enjoyment payback on my end considerin' how you don't even get anything for me for my birthday, y'know? So be patient a bit and lemme settle back 'n enjoy these programs that are so obscure that I don't think they've been broadcast anywhere since 1963, and that's a pretty long time especially when we're referring to classoid fifties programming such as this!
Having only been familiar (albeit briefly) with the late-sixties series which really wowed the "children" at school but turned my mother off faster'n the tee-vee pilot for THE BOYS IN THE BAND, I pretty much went into this cold. And not having seen any of the BLONDIE features from the thirties and forties I had no idea what to expect from perennial Dagwood actor Arthur Lake*, who by this time was starting to gain a middle-aged paunch perhaps due to all of those stacked sandwiches he was downing! But the guy does a really good job at bringing the famed comic strip character to the screen (both visually and with that crack-y voice that fits perfectly!) even if you can tell age is catching up with the by-now 52-year-old actor. While I'm at it Pamela Britton as Blondie's pretty hotcha herself even if those fifties dresses kinda hide the attributes every red-blooded boy was looking for. Maybe there's a revealing swimsuit episode we can look forward to out there, but otherwise it's all guess as far as juggin configuration goes just like ya hadda do with Mary Tyler Moore, and that ain't fun!
As for the kids Alexander and Cookie well...at this point in the strip they were still pre-pubes so if you have the hots for the now-nubile daughter yer gonna be quite disappointed since the one on the show's still a good five years away from sprouting the significant mammary matter that you most desire. Former Great Guildersleeve Harold Peary as next door neighbor Herb Woodley was a brilliant stroke of genius even if the guy hardly looked like the character in the comic strip! (I've always imagined Dabney Coleman in the role though he certainly would have been way too young.) But still, Peary's natural slimy abilities made him a pretty good second banana in a program that was filled w/'em (perennial tee-vee player Hollis Irving as wife "Harriet" ["Tootsie" inna strip] does it hotcha even if she's nothing next to the hubba hubba brunette we've lusted after for ages). And although I was kinda hopin' that famed character actor Charles Lane would have gotten the Mr. Dithers role I will admit that the puny albeit irritable Florenz Ames did perhaps even a crankier job as Dagwood's boss than even a typecast curmudgeon like Lane coulda! Maybe it's a combination of his short stature and natural crotchetiness that makes his character so real life, and hey I remember back when it seemed as if EVERYBODY I knew over the age of sixty had at least a li'l Mr. Dithers in 'im!
Overall effect is typical fifties Hal Roach Jr. sitcom style with that nice if antiquated ambience you used to see in his other productions from AMOS 'N ANDY on down. It's a real relaxing feeling, a homey heart-cockling warm one if you ask me especially when those great sitcom plots are once again trotted out and made to look boffo long before the Now Generation jettisoned 'em all in favor of social significance up the wazoo. All yer old favorite storylines are used to peak perfection (Dagwood thinks Blondie's a klepto only she's collecting for the rummage sale, Dithers thinks Dagwood's betting on fixed horse races with pilfered money when all that happened was he got Cookie's porcelain pony glued up...) and the bevy of famous guest stars from the infamous George Givot to Alan "Fred Flintstone" Reed to JACK BENNY antagonist Frank Nelson and even Mr. Wilson himself Joseph Kearns really have ya keeping your eyes wide open just to see what long-gone player'll turn up next! Hey, BLONDIE really was one of those programs you could enjoy even if you weren't recovering from a bender the previous night and you needed something to help settle your head in a little...
Probably PD for longer'n anyone can imagine, there are DVD's of this flying around the underground old timey tee-vee circuit which operates on the same level as professional child molesters and terrorists. Most of 'em probably utilize worn out syndication prints and the one I latched onto was obviously taken from a thirtysome-year-old VCR considering the occasional scan lines and that at-times annoying zig-zag which appears across the bottom of the screen (not to mention the choppy editing which leaves a lotta crucial dialogue out). I guess we're lucky that we got these to view since it would be futile to petition NBC to release this properly using the original prints...I mean, this is the exact kind of programming those aforementioned hippoids in spirit don't want us to enjoy anymore, and if they haven't burned all of the negatives by this time I would be surprised!
One more thing before I vamoose...I thought I should let you know that the crafty compilers who slapped together these twenty episodes might have been smart guys, but they clearly didn't put any snaps of Britton on the plastic shell! Yes, the pic of Blondie seen above and on the reverse of the shell is not the future MY FAVORITE MARTIAN co-star (Mrs. Brown) but the original moom pitcher Blondie and future voice of Jane Jetson Penny Singleton herself! Either the snaps from the show are extremely rare or the mysterious burners were just too lazy to search for 'em so they stuck the easier to find movie shots on thinking that most people would be too stoopid to notice! Well, I caught ya bubs, and you're just lucky there's not Bureau of Fraudulent Dee-Vee-Dee Shell Squad to report you to or else you'd be stamping license plates 'stead of aluminum disques for the next ten-to-fifteen!
*Lake being a guy who should earn some sorta comic strip award for not only portraying Dagwood from the thirties through the fifties but also starring as the proto-ARCHIE comic strip character HAROLD TEEN during the silent era!
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 6:07 AM
Saturday, March 10, 2012
So much material both good 'n bad to babylon about that I hardly know where to start! However, I guess the best place to do just that would be by writing about something other than rock 'n roll, old moom pitchers, old tee-vee programs or the sausage sandwich I downed but a few hours ago. Something that many of your readers would consider downright innerlectual, like (as they used to say on LEAVE IT TO BEAVER) a li'l "current events." An in the news hot topic that's on the lips, tongues and perhaps even other body parts of Amerigans both here and abroad for all I know which cuts to the core the inner workings and being of the sociopolitical clime in which we all live. Something that's bound to make one angry and say that such topics should be verboten in a blog such as this as I tear away at the bulwarks of modern day thought processes in hopes of getting to the raw, unexpurgated truth behind the story at large.
Perhaps I should give my long and drawn out opinions regarding the war, the economy or maybe even a li'l bit onna prezzy-dential contest unraveling as we speak? Naw, if I gotta talk about something that'll draw in the readers, I better make it something real "hotcha" like about say...s-x! That always brings 'em in, though if you ask me the sexual matters that I am going to blab on about today ain't anything that's gonna get you all hot and bothered or make you do a banana stand...in fact this story's so CRINGE-Y that I wouldn't be surprised if your own cajoobies head back up into your ribcage while you read this. In fact, if said cajoobs rush back up so fast that they slam the back of your tonsils I wouldn't flinch a bit because this saga is like, that sick if rubbernecking automobile pile up entertaining.
What I'm talking about is that current "HHS Mandate" which directs all private health service providers inna US of Whoa to dish out for the benefit of their employees coverage for birth control of all sorts including aborficants and other heavy duty measures that are commonly used to make sure that the sucker that's popped up in some belly doesn't even get the chance to make it to the launching pad. As I'm sure at least a good 0.000001% of you readers would understand, more'n a few bizzez are aghast at the thought of going against their own moral credo as am I...after all, forcing people to act against their deeply held no compromise beliefs no matter what they may be is rather frightening unless said belief has something to do with eating your first born or measures that most people used to find morally abhorrent before the recent neo-Pagan movement made these distasteful practices mere "choices." (Yes, there is such a thing as being "beyond the pale.") Dunno about you (not that I care), but I find that the modern day leftoids and fellow clinger-ons who'd cheerfully force a hospital to pay for their employees' BCP's and IUD's or have them shut their doors for good to be frightenly akin to the same kinda folk who would be all in favor of forcing an Amish man to shave his beard, pay taxes and join the army (hmmmm, those Amish do have something going for them!), or making sure that a teetotaling Christian downs a fifth of bourbon or having an Orthodox Jew cook up a mess o' pork chops for that matter. Disturbing to say the least, though pretty much what you would expect in a world where the government is doing its best to trump everything from the private sector to industry and your very own brain cells in a fashion that would have been bound to give Josef Stalin a stiffy on his death bed.
Never mind that the US Senate said nada to any opt outs (which really goes to show you which side of the, er, bun the democrats who voted for it like to be buttered), it's the recent Sandra Fluck (no sic) brouhaha that really gets my very own babymakers in a twist. So the House or Senate or whatever has a hearing, and so this gal w/no real prerequisites comes forward to say just how terrible life is because the Catholic University she is a grad student at (Georgetown) doesn't offer contraception in their health care coverage, and so she has a whole bunch of the bleeding hearts in her audience soaking up tears in their hankies as she's telling 'em just how much she needs her birth control and how her college should pay the bill no matter what the Jesuits who run it think! Nothing really new here, and in fact the incident seemed so planned and scripted out that I thought I saw the entire premise on a Movie of the Week a good thirty years ago. Heck, this poor distraught flower, as well as the entire student body it seems, is so upset over her chosen university's policies that she can even see the doom and despair on the faces of the students just because they can't get their free goodies, and oh look just how much this contraception costs the gal (or how much Georgetown has to pay for it...I forget)...$3000, which makes me wonder where the mattress she must have strapped to her back was when she was testifying.
Of course the collected democratic faces were just as drawn out as all of those Georgetown students Fluck described, hearkening back to the Golden Age of Deeply Felt Heartbleeding that the likes of Phil Donahue excelled in back during the eighties. The depth of their sorrow reminded me of the '92 El Lay riots when Rodney King was trotted out in front of the cameras and did his "Can't we all just get along" routine, and naturally Peter Jennings was shown directly after obviously moved to have heard such an eloquent, heartfelt statement as this. I'll tell ya, it made me wanna go 'n put on a pair of Puerto Rican Fence Climbers and give Jennings a swift kick in his very own babymakers just so he could feel some real pain 'stead of play act at being such a humble piece of human specimen who thinks he knows the meaning of true inner turmoil way more than any of us brazen hoi polloi could attempt to!
Then adding perhaps a drop of fuel to the fire (though from the sound of the detractors it seemed as if an entire gallon was dumped) none other'n radio personality Rush Limbaugh did what anyone with a brain'd do...mainly point out the obvious and call out Fluck for what she is...a slut who sure is having a hard time hiding her loose ways behind her sickeningly sanctimonious demeanor. Frankly, the use of that particular descriptor didn't seem as horrid as what most exaulted (and honored for some strange reason) leftoid pundits whip up when talking about people outside their bubble, but wouldn't you know it was enough to get all of those typical mooshy touchy-feeley types all aghast to the point where Limbaugh did what no sane man should have and issued an apology albeit a rather tepid one*. Heck, I even broke my pledge not to listen to the guy again (I figured that Limbaugh would be laying off his attacks on the more paleo/libertarian elements in the political sphere at least for a short while) just to hear what he termed a "heartfelt" mea culpa, and while it all came off about as honest as the time Howard Stern got into trouble over that dead Mexican singer at least the famed commentator did make a few interesting points. I mean, perhaps he actually was "sorry" about the "slut" part even though I sincerely doubt it, but everything else did stand about Fluck 'n her crusade to turn Ameriga into something that bears no resemblance to the place it used to be back when most people realized that Fluck and her sexual/social liberation kind were nothing but communists without the scratchy beards. As for the women...
The question as to whether Fluck is a slut (which is pretty much a given considering the three grand she needs to spend on birth control!) or not really isn't the thing that gets my goat. I ain't her daddy, so I guess she can whore it up all over the place as much as her libido-driven heart so desires. Maybe she actually does the rough 'n tumble an average of five times a day even though with those looks I kinda doubt it unless she's hanging around the eye doctor's office looking for potential triumphs. But what galls me is that the woman attends a Catholic university solely because she wanted to stir up this bee's nest of an issue and crybabies about it in front of congress in order to make her point in front of one of the most controlling forces in our lives (and it ain't the church or the military or the old white men who run everything either...let's face it but the New Jackboot is a rainbow coalition!). Then she pouts like a li'l lamb because somebody called her a nasty name which maybe rates a four outta ten on the nastymeter but that's more'n enough for this li'l frail flower of a being to have to endure! Sheesh, it's so obvious that the entire affair was one big set up worthy of Rosa Parks being arrested because she sat at the front of the bus while getting the proper attention because she looked so nice and innocent...in case you didn't know the same fix was tried a few weeks earlier but bombed because the woman who the NAACP used for their test run wasn't as attractive and went wild on the cops while swearing up a storm! Just wouldn't look good inna papers, y'know...
It is kinda frightening that people like Fluck want people like me (I guess) to stay out of her bedroom (oooh. don't tempt me to dish out the comeback to that 'un I have cooked up!), but really, if obviously snooping types like myself are supposed to stay outta the gal's private affairs where and when she can display all of her knowledge copped from repeated readings of de Sade then why should anybody no matter what they think of the Margaret Sanger revolution eugenics and all have to subsidize her libertinism? As well as her medical bills, her public radio/television, art or local symphony orchestra for that matter? I mean, if you wanna pay for it outta your own deep pockets go ahead, but some of us are saving up as much as we can just in case we do make it to old age!
Like I said, it may not be any business of mine if this "lady" (or even "woman" for that matter) goes flat out for every braying donkey in the entire barnyard or takes on the college football team Clara Bow fashion, but then again why does it have to be anyone's business to pay for her trolloping affairs whether its you, me, or any organization that might find a whiff of promiscuity downright evil! Or support someone else's sexual matters in or outside of wedlock especially if we'd just like to save a little cash for ourselves or (if you're Georgetown) for something I'm sure would benefit the campus and its clientele as a whole rather than for a hole. Even if you think sex is for something other'n making babies why pay for some coed's night out when you yourself remain at home feeling like Calvin Coolidge? The fact is that if Fluck wanted her pills and foams and whatnot bad enough she could just trek to a nearby pharmacy and buy about a year's supply for much less'n the $3000 she wants Georgetown to dish out for her!
Sheesh, I remember back when people considered Joan Baez such a brave person for withholding a portion of her taxes that were earmarked for the Vietnam War, but nowadays these exact same folk believe that a Catholic organization has the "moral duty" to dole out money against it's own will for something that they find downright reprehensible (and for good reason given the dystopian present created by the past forty years of wall-to-wall screwing). And if anyone dares to balk you can bet the rampaging media and their political butt brothers will be out in full force to make sure they do the bidding, or at least die in the process!
Yeah, you might think that my entire argument's nothing but a mask and that I want the world to return to those grand days back when the Comstock Laws were in full effect and birth control was about as hush hush a subject matter as dirty little comic books and clandestine screenings of Candy Barr films. Well, in many ways YOU'RE RIGHT! After all, did you ever see what women used to look like back then? Really hotcha stuff, like Louise Brooks and Colleen Moore 'n that gal who posed for "Figure in Motion". They were not only sleek and curvy, but feminine (remember that word???), fashionable unlike today's rather dumpy breed, and overall very boss-looking whether they were in or out of clothing. And not only that, but they didn't smell as if they forgot to change their rag for the past ten years or neglected to wipe for whatever pagan reason that comes into their obviously hormone-soaked beings. Nowadays most of the "women" I see are nothing but overweight ugly buglies who think they're so special because they're female to the point where they end up chasing their sons around the house with hedge clippers threatening to lop 'em like any proud feminist should! And even the ones who do look pretty decent ruin their bodies with tattoos and shiny doohickies all over makin' about as attractive as a pile of horse plop on a Northeast Ohio country road! Which only goes to prove that the end result of all this feminism really was nothing but the go-ahead for women who are unattractive either by choice or by nature to destroy in whatever fashion they so desire all of their enemies real or imagined, or at least stomp their feet and throw the biggest temper tantrums on the face of the earth until they get their way. Judy Hennsler would be proud.
The best thing about the whole concept of femininity and masculinity which has been dumped down the well so-to-speak was that most females weren't sluts back then because virginity and good taste seemed to be a choice value, and if they were well...there always was that front door door for daddy to kick 'em out of right into the falling snow! To the credit of the generation of my parents, they continue to feel this way about loose women and the wolves who jump all over 'em, only they do their wretching in private just because they're concerned about their public image and don't feel like insulting people right to their faces. Fortunately I'm not as cautious about such things which is why my own poll ratings are down there somewhere with Brad Kohler's, not that any of us really care anymore...
But sheesh, don't you miss the good ol' fashioned concept of women as nice looking, sweet smelling, soft, feminine cheerful and real get along kinda people? None of that hard-edge women's libber stuff that's ruined everything about the relationship between masculinity and feminity these past thirtysome years and turned the sex act into something only for total pleasure gratification performed by two people who actually hate each other's guts! But hey, once you think about it these new women have the most effective birth control method built right into 'em, mainly their looks and their overactive persecution complexes!
Back to the matter at hand (mainly, forcing people who should know better into doling it out for your throb thrills)...frankly, I thought this particular piece was as extremely informative as it was funny. Not to mention "offensive" which is something that anybody who reads this blog with his inner child smothered to death knows needs to be heaved upon the current band of shot-calling compassionists. But then again I gotta say that I pretty much find myself in agreement with a whole load of what Jim Goad says in his usually insightful and analytic way even though ten years ago I wouldn't even go near the fella...funny how time can soften a person, eh?
Or, as a commentator on TAKI'S TOP DRAWER said regarding the entire affair, "If you want to make an upper-middle-class woman squeal in indignation, tell her she can't have something."
(Final note...after doing a li'l more reading I discovered that Fluck is also in favor of having Georgetown University pay for sex change operations, something which is a springboard for yet another one of my fly off the handle yet particularly potent screeds! I mean, talk about subject matter to be used as an offensive, in your puss [no, not that all yez gals!] excuse to rattle off a whole slew of witty remarks bound to get the charter members of "Compassion Incorporated" all bound up like a rubber band on a toy airplane!!! But then again, with real life the way it is these days who needs comedy writers?)
***Unlike Davy Jones' passing two weeks back, Ronnie Montrose's demise last Sunday certainly did not affect me even remotely in the same fashion as Jones' surprise departure did. Undoubtedly this is because whereas Jones was at least partially responsible for a slew of high-quality, energetic and fun records that still stand the test of time Montrose was just another one of those superflash seventies guitarists that all of the box boy burnout types liked because he could play "fast" even though his stylings had about all of the soul and depth of....of a box boy burnout if anything. As most of you already know, once craftsmanship and a "clean" sound replaced grit and unbridled energy as the hallmark of what makes "good rock" (not even talkin' "rock 'n' roll" which as I've mentioned many a time is a totally superior beast all together!) the entire mode and taste of the music mutated into a style that I'm sure none of us wanted anything to do with. Montrose was definitely part of the problem as to where rock took that wrong turn, and as we all know the corpse of that once mighty music continues to linger on. I mean, just tune in to some "classic rock" radio for a nice nostril-singeing example.
's funny, but the same breed of kids who went for technical proficiency and smooth, clean, tonal guitar solos (as a requirement for their musical well-being) over hard-edged atonal scree (and these battle lines were clearly drawn '79 at the latest) really weren't that much different than their parents who were hi-fi Mantovani freaks who still marveled at the way the sound moved from one stereo speaker to the next as Charlotte Pressler once remarked! After all, both pop 'n son based their musical preferences on just how clean, smooth, pure, professional and copasetic the music was with their own vapid, over-emotional lifestyles, and if Lawrence Welk could satiate the oldsters with his sounds of security then Montrose was custom made for Junior and his oversexed late-seventies bong-filled meaning. Makes me glad that I'm made of stronger bile to the point where I don't think I could have ever made it in life without hearing Lou Reed's guitar solo on "I Heard Her Call My Name", a solo which remains the perfect antithesis to all of that Montrose monstrosity that's been cloggin' up the FM airwaves ever since the late-seventies and early-eighties when rock 'n roll music was certainly taking a beating! Hey Ghost of Montrose, if you happen to be reading this lemme tell you that your slick musical skills will not be missed here...after all Lydia Lunch could say a whole lot more with her guitar playing and like, how many lessons did she have???
***Well, I guess that closes out the intellectual portion of today's post! Here are but a few of the new items I've had the chance to listen to and digest this past week. Interesting choice of items if you ask me, and although all of 'em ain't exactly whatcha'd call primo BLOG TO COMM fodder at least I had a fun time listening to 'n describing these items for the massholes whom I assume are just begging to be enlightened by my obviously etapoint and (in these sorry times) unique proctorockical examinations. And hey, if you just can't screw your minds into the overtly hard-edged all-enveloping meaning of it all what else can I say but what were you expecting anyway, Robert Christgau (I hope not!)???
Taking a break from the usual free jazz/post-no wave music that the label is noted for, ugEXPLODE dive head first into the modern-day classical avant garde with this album of electronic music by South Carolinian composer David Buddin. Funny, I didn't know that there were still any more of these types of composers around, but then again I wouldn't know considering how I don't read chic publications like THE NEW YORKER which I supposed still cover this music in between writing screeds on which solution to the Everyday Workingman Problem is the best from their lofty viewpoint (with #3, "the showers", taking a far and distant first place). Maybe I shouldn't hold that against Buddin, whose CANTICLES bring back memories as far and as distant as those fuzzy college radio station waves that used to deliver these kinds of experimental musings in between baroque organ recitals and some feminist type railing on about some crank listener mailing in a can of Nair which really got the ol' gal off her rocker!
Yeah, maybe I should disqualify myself with the same quickness and brevity that Bennett Cerf would because he knew who the Mystery Guest was after espying him in the hallway right before airtime, but I won't. As you might have guessed, I really haven't paid attention to any of these new classical things for ages other'n some random Terry Riley/Phillip Glass/Obscure Records spins o'er the past decade or so. And although many of you think I'm not qualified to prattle on about anything perhaps I'd better lay off writing about the New American Avant Garde Music or whatever it's being called these sorry times.
However, in the interest of cranking out at least a halfway decent review I will give it the ol' college try if only because I do not want to return my review copy of Weasel Walter. So here goes...in many ways this electronic album does recall some of the releases on Eno's label of yore (Michael Nyman?) with a few references of certain late-sixties experiments ("HPSCHD"?) and maybe even some serialism if I only knew what that word meant. Aleatory perhaps, though I have the feeling that it was all planned to peak perfection by Buddin and executed with the aid of pre-programmed synths sorta like an update on those Conlon Nancarrow piano rolls that took all the hard work outta performin' these things manually. The results are synthetic clusters of notes sounding as random as can possibly be which most people would tend to think the work of a madman or worse yet a pretentious college student jacking off with some electronic gear in the music lab. However with the proper liner notes explaining the whys, wherefores and procedure behind it all Buddin is justified, provided that a load of big 'n esoteric words unseen since the days of Geoffrey Chaucer are being used to explain the music as it exists to twitch the brains of more'n a few beret wearing souls. Wait...this release comes with no liners meaning that we, the listeners, are more or less left on our own to decipher the true meaning behind these "canticles"! I hope that doesn't mean Buddin's a fraud after all because if so there might be a few aficionados of the form who are about to bow their heads in abject shame! Awwww...go geddit!
It's pretty amazing exactly what some people will market as "proto-punk" in a deceptively vague way just so's they can soak unaware bunsnitches like myself outta a whole lotta hard-begged cash. Heck, even I can remember long ago when May Blitz were being touted as just that in some record auction flyer which caused an acquaintance of mine to gag phlegm worse'n Camille on her deathbed! It only goes to show you just how misused this particular term had become even in the eighties when punk history was being scrutinized after a good two or so decades of germination.
True, a lotta these recordings that are tagged as being the precursor to all of the hotcha and boss high energy wailings of the mid/late-seventies (mostly of a local variety which makes it even harder for astute types like me to check up on 'em) are worthy of your time and effort, but a good hunk are nothing but the same tired ol' boogie riffs copped from too many Humble Pie albums that were recorded by the same friz-headed guys you used to see sneaking into those horrid X-rated movies at the multiplex cinema. And dear brothers in armpit odor, these Canadian releases which too are being marketed as proto-punk gems are nothing but more of that standard local rock shuck 'n jive recorded by groups custom-made for the "More New Bands" section of ROCK SCENE along with all of those guys slapping Kiss makeup on their mugs in order to hide more'n their lack of insight!
Ontario's Sphex were just one of the many local groups that were poppin' up all over the place back in the mid-seventies, and frankly there's nothing much on this disc to separate 'em from the rest of the batch. Sphex seem like the typical suburban schmuck types who listened to way too much English prog and Amerigan metal and decided to slap together their own combination of the two, the results coming off way more Grand Funk 'n the Stooges for my tastes. It wasn't anything that I would deem totally offensive to the senses the way many similar aggregates of those times (and ours) were, but as far as creating that high energy sound that bowls one over upon first spin well, Sphex seem to miss the mark by at least ten Imperial Miles.
No addresses are listed on either release, though there is a Supreme Echo Facebook page that might give you some idea of where these can be picked up. Better yet, you can find copies on ebay easily enough before all of the sources dry up sometime in 2020. Well, at least you can if you're interested enough after reading this review (if ya ask me, the money you could spend on these can easily be put to better use searching out some more exciting and entertaining proto-punk excursions, many of which have been reviewed on this blog o'er the past eight years...just search us out with the above application and be taken to some write ups which really rave on about the raw and alive sounds that have been all but suppressed these sorry days!).
Listening to this debut from the same buncha upstart "no wave" kiddies (the leader who is the son of none other'n ex-Voidoid Ivan Julian and Bush Tetra Laura Kennedy) was enough to send me back to the dark and dank days of the v. early eighties. A time when underground rock seemed to be standing at the junction of some mighty forky road in which the music as a whole could shatter into a myriad asst. of directions that bore little if any semblance to where said music stood at least a good five years earlier. The jerky rhythms, angry if youthful singing and general lack of a "professional" "cohesiveness" (please note the use of quotation marks) really was the hallmark of many an "indie" release of the day, much of which was so self-conscious, self-indulgent and center-of-the-universe stultifyingly boring but occasionally could snap up a few sparks of brilliance. Not that I was particularly caring about any of it at the time because well, it just didn't have that sixties/seventies bop to it that seemed born of the Velvet Underground and fizzed out around the time Talking Heads turned into that white funk band that had about as much soul in it as Jan Garber!
If you liked the Sediment Club's debut 7-inch EP from 2010 you're bound to like this. In fact I spotted at least one repeat from that "eponymous" debut (I used quotations this time because I never use the word "eponymous" in everyday conversation and don't wanna come off like an effete!), mainly the track that sounds a whole lot like Ex-Blank-Ex's version of "No Nonsense" which of course piqued my ears up like Bugs Bunny's upon first spin that fateful spring day. Overall, TIME DECAY NOW is very reminiscent of some of the under-the-covers rock 'n roll that was being made in the v.-early eighties, a music that seemed to bridge the late-seventies underground avant garde (which was in effect the ultimate end point in the entire Velvets/Detroit/local garage/Lester Bangs undercurrent of Amerigan teenage living) and something newer, perhaps starker in vision and approach. Sparse, brittle, angular, jagged, and all of those other terms that had brainy college kids runnin' to their thesauruses looking up adequate adjective in order to pepper up their fanzine reviews, only with some movement and soul which was lacking in a good portion of the early-eighties "post rock" experiments. I'd say they're even better'n Julian's own mother's Bush Tetras which might sound like utter blasphemy to some of you readers who swallowed the eighties NEW YORK ROCKER rant hook line and Sting, but then again I'm sure a whole lot of you still wear your Stiff t-shirts and Ronald Reagan campaign badges upside down in proud defiance of "the man" and why should I burst any pre-conceived balloons around here anyway?
***SANDY EWEN, DAMON SMITH, WEASEL WALTER CD (ugEXPLODE, see David Buddin review above for link)
It's about time somebody released these recordings of Adam and Eve Link (from the I ROBOT/Eando Binder short stories featuring the infamous Sci-Fi metallic man and wife) having their first go at conjugal nuts 'n bolts bliss! In fact, I think the cover snap is one of Eve's very own synthetic hymen after Adam's metallic tool permeated it upon first thrust! All kidding aside, these improvisations between guitarist Sandy Ewen, bassist Damon Smith and drummer Weasel Walter do have a primal mechanical power to 'em that would conjure up images of copulating robots, something which I will admit makes for some pretty engaging soundscapades that I love to indulge in more often than not. Irrhythmic free sound with a penchant for high-pitched wails and squeals followed by quiet spells and percussive madness. If you still have all of those old Derek Bailey platters and guitar improv albums that Virgin issued in the mid-seventies (and even listen to them on scant occasion!) I think something like this would suit your listening parameters quite well.
Comin' in just under the wire's this newie from the former faux-Gizmos singer/songwriter Tim Carroll, a talent who does a pretty neat job on this album of originals ranging from bar band brouhaha to neo-Lou Reed detachment. It's all rather seventies, almost like a solo album on the old Bar-B-Q label out of Carroll's own Bloomington Indiana haunts which showcased a whole slew of similar-minded musical talents who, like Carroll, unfortunately won't find any true reward at least in this lifetime. But even though I thought some of this tended to come a tad close to the Springsteenian/Mellencamp mid-Amerigan veg-out there were more'n a few moments that shone pure hard-edged heartland whomp, "When I Have You" being the best example I could find. A nice mix and match, nothing that's gonna end the world mind you, but living proof that all of this Americana rock 'n roll with roots stickin' out all over the place doesn't have to be cornball!
***Plan on runnin' the post that was slated for this week next Saturday, that is unless I come up with another ton of hotcha interesting platters to blab on about in my typically unbridled fashion. Who knows, maybe there will be some other sociopolitical combustion that's bound to have be dust off the podium once again if only to give you all what for! But really, I can only hope for such luck as that! _______________________________________________________________________
*After some thought, I figured that this portion of the story was very similar to the situation a good fortysome years back when none other than cartoonist and political pundit Al Capp brought up the matter that the likes of Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin were calling the members of the "establishment" every filthy, foul mouthed name in the book yet uttered pure indignation and were deeply offended when Spiro Agnew responded by calling these rabble-rousers "coarse"! But then again, one of the hallmarks of today's left-leaning establishment is that, as one rather ill-informed commentator said about none other than myself, "they can dish it out but they can't take it" which seems all the more truer as politically correct touchy-feelyisms overtake logic and reason in the discourse. Naturally New York socialites and earnest and angst-filled anti-capitalist protesters are not supposed to "take it" given their lofty status in the upper echelons of modern day sainthood, but the typical everyday grovelers and bottom feeders such as myself as well as the more traditional elements in our society are because of our lowly status on the ladder of sociopolitical enlightenment! So I guess that's why these modern day neo-Marxists masquerading as comedians can fly off whatever handles they feel like it under the banner of free expression yet when I call a spade a spade or a dyke a dyke or an ineffectual blogschpieler a felchmeister you better WATCH OUT FOR FLYING HEADS!!!!!!!!
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 6:29 AM