All I gotta say is "goll-lee," even though we always knew he was joining the Marines because they were looking for "a few good men"!!!!!
Thursday, January 31, 2013
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Haven't seen this Ed Wood faverave in quite awhile so it was almost like seeing an entirely new moom pitcher once again! Like Ernie Bushmiller, Wood always knew how to transpose real life into his medium, and naturally in this film you kinda feel like Wood has crept into your mind and presented life the way YOU remember it, the way YOU experienced it before some kumbaya teacher shamed you into being so altruistic and caring that you turned away from it with a vengeance!
And for those of you film snobs who first read about Wood in the pages of THE VILLAGE VOICE or THE NEW YORK ROCKER (like me) and latched onto his entire "oeuvre" because it seemed campy enough for you to feel superior to (not like me!), let me tell you that THE SINISTER URGE will destroy all of those above-it-all attitudes you have not only regarding the works of Wood, but of all those people who saw movies like PLAN 9 and BRIDE OF THE MONSTER at the theatre or on tee-vee and didn't look upon 'em with all of that disgusto high horse so firmly in place! I know how all of you effete Eastern Seaboard lib/rad types act, in that snootish way where you think you're about ten rungs ahead of the rest of us up that ol' evolutionary ladder the way you treat us all with either condescending pity or abject sneerdom! As if celebrating Kathy Griffin doing a mock go down on Anderson Cooper is any sorta high mark regarding Western Civilization next to some old fogie back in 1925 tellin' everyone that Rudolph Valentino was a guinea faggot, but believe it or not I'll take that ol' fogie fanabla over Griffin and the guttural ideals she spews just about any day of the week! At least he seemed like a real-life breathing piece of flesh and blood and dontcha think that just about everybody on tee-vee these days is so two-dimensional that they go invisible when they turn sideways?
Everything from the presentation to the sets and acting make you think (wish? hope???) you were around back then considering how things were much definitely more on the ball than they are a good half-century later, especially if petty thugs and girly pix were the only things we hadda worry about. It's so real as in this is probably the way your grand/great-grandpappy was talking, acting and thinking back then, not to mention dressing and existing with all of that boffo furniture and by-now long-rusted automobiles roaming the streets of this world of ours. And what's best about it is you don't need a scorecard to tell the goodskis from the badskis in this 'un, not unlike later when you find out you're rooting for the hero in the pic who turns out to be the villain who's actually the hero, in an anti-hero sort of villainish way!
Fantastic Wood one-liners too from "Show me the picture and I'll show you the crime" not to mention "Pornography, a simple name for a lousy business!" (not exact quotes, so please don't bother to write in)...man that's stuff they shoulda had on DRAGNET or at least HIGHWAY PATROL (THE ROARING TWENTIES???). But whatever the line may be, it's backed up by top notch performances (why Dino Fantini didn't get an Oscar and Jodi Foster did I'll never know!) that's even more real'n the time the cops came over to your place because of that missing cat in the neighborhood and you were seen with a wiggling bag of rocks heading for the river but it was all circumstantial anyway! But why take my word for it...go find a DVD or old VCR tape yourself (I did have a youtube link up of the entire film posted, but I got rid of it after someone had it "taken down" due to a third party complaint that undoubtedly had something to do with a copyright infringement...which shocks me because I never thought anybody would have renewed the copyright on this 'un in a millyun years!)
*I made that word up...neat, huh?
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 4:13 AM
Saturday, January 26, 2013
I'm sure most of you readers remember THE BIG BEATLE CASH-IN OF 1964, right? That's back when a whole load of companies, inspired by previous Davy Crockett success no doubt, decided to ride the tail of the massive Beatle musical putsch of the day by issuing a whole line of products with Beatle photos, autographs, mop tops and whatnot in order to promote their putrid wares. Many of 'em were legit, but who could deny that a good portion of the "Beat" produce that was coming out was just another cheap, un-licensed way to cash in on the success of others without having to pay big bux for the rights! Like if somebody wanted to sell Beatle tampons without getting the official OK from NEMS, all they hadda do was put four shaggy mop top images on the package and maybe a guitar and a few musical notes and ta-DAAH!, ya got "BIG BEAT TAMPONS" up and running at the local drug store of your choice just right for the bobbysoxer in your life who just washed her snatch and can't do a thing with it.
Naturally Beatle album ripoffs were par for the course back then, what with all of those fly-by-night imitations you saw clogging up the flea market stacks a good decade or so later. Of course these knockoffs were about as far from the real thing as you could get, as were all of those knock-off albums of the day like the Mary Poppins one my mother got at the supermarket dang cheap because the actual soundtrack was going for a whopping $3.50 elsewhere. It's also as obvious as the pimple bruises on my face that more'n a few Aunt Petunias out there bought those imitation Beatle platters for their ninny nieces and nephews under the impression that these were the real thing which must have disappointed more'n a few brats Christmas Day 1964 who were opening that square flat gift expecting an actual Beatle platter only ending up with an item along the lines of THE FABULOUS BEATS GO COUNTRY STYLE! Well, before any of those un-appreciative blobs decided to WHOMP! Aunt Petunia one for making such an obvious mistake ("Well, they had long hair and were holding guitars on the cover so I thought it was a Beatles album!" "Chris, how could you!") maybe they should have given this 'un a spin first because hey, under alla them layers of teenage exploito quick buckness this is actually a hot record that I would have proudly displayed along with my actual Beatle albums back then, that is if I had any actual Beatles albums back then!
And when I say as good as the ril dil I mean that the Fabulous Beats probably coulda held their own in Liverpool '62-'64 albeit with a more swinging name. And they're just as good as the Poppees, Marbles, Flamin' Groovies circa SHAKE SOME ACTION or maybe even that local touring version of Beatlemania that had Lennon frothing even though they did pay tribute to him on-stage the night he died. And the fact that the Fab Beats were doing Mersey-styled takes on country and western hits only goes to show you the versatility of the act, not to mention that this was undoubtedly of Nashville origin.
Vocals sound rather 'merkun to me and certainly not of the bad imitation limey voxes we've been hearing local yokels who were trying to sound like limeys do for quite some time. The playing is not too slickoid (if slickoid at all) but just right. Of course the performance is up to mid-sixties standards and straightforward enough with believable renditions of everything from "Don't Let the Stars Get in Your Eyes" to "Release Me," all done upin the same way that I'm sure any self-respecting Beat act from the day woulda done 'em to beef up their live set.
The frequent "yeah yeah yeah" toss ins do date it ('natch!), but they add a certain proper rock time frame that at least will zone you back to a period in your lift that was a whole lot more fun and exciting than most of the ones you've had since the demise of rock as that high energy resensifier some time in the eighties if not earlier.
And it's snazz enough that you kinda get the feeling that any mid-aged daddy who woulda walked into the room while this was playing back '64 way woulda muttered in disapproval, but deep down inside you can tell that the old fanabla woulda been enjoying it even if he wouldn't dare tell his progeny in a millyun-billyun years!
After all this retro-rave I'm sure you're all just champing at the bit to give the Fabulous Beats a spin. Well, if you have a fit enough computer as well as the capacity to "burn" blank Cee-Dee disques NOW YOU CAN!!! Just click here and you'll be taken to a page where you can find this budget rack release that might have cost ya a mere forty-nine pennies at the Woolworths of your choice back '64 way but can be downloaded for free (I think) here in the teens! Of course with the cost of internet services rising not forgetting that trek to the local "entertainment center" for blank disques plus the frustration in downloading these things the cost just might top the ol' forty-nine pennies, and in modern moolah as well! But I guess that's just why we have friends to mooch offa now, right?
In my Mahogany Brain writeup appearing in the final issue of my fabled
crudzine, I pondered whether or not that this act would have played the backdrop for the '68 Parisian rioters the same way the MC5 actually made their way to Chicago to fan the flames of dissent and revolt at the Democratic convention that very same year. Turns out that, although Mahogany Brain weren't rabbling any rousers during the '68 incivilities, their future label mates Red Noise were, in fact making their performance debut right on the front lines taunting the police just like any good sons of middle-class bourgeoisie filled with self-righteous political zeal woulda whilst going after the lower-class sons of hard-workers who were cops only because they needed a job!
Yeah, the obv. Zappa ref on the cover would be a big tipoff of the kind of music you'd expect to hear between the grooves, but Red Noise were moving and shaking between a whole load of influences including (acc. to ROCK ET FOLK) the Plastic Ono Band, MC5, Velvet Underground, Art Ensemble of Chicago, Albert Ayler and Frank Wright! Sounds like a recipe for a pretty solid dose of high energy jamz, and once you get over the snatches of body function humor, fifties rock cliche (the spoofing of said item, not the music itself) and overused cutup this does live up to late-sixties/early-seventies excursion that'll hold your attention for a way longer time'n all of the announcements off the WOODSTOCK album combined with every Joni Mitchell bleat recorded from 1967 until today combined!
Side one plays with your sense of decency (as well as nerves) even though more'n a few moments feature what I would call listenable-enough licks that are akin to an UNCLE MEAT outtake. However, the side long jam on the flip's more to my liking with a jazz bent closer to what all of those expat Amerigan players holed up in Paris were doing with a steady "Sister Ray"-inspired rock drive complete with organ folded into the batter ever-so-lightly. This one's worth the listen even if you don't go for the obscure English-language references to urinating and being knee-deep in excrement that pop up elsewhere on this disc. And for those that do, well it ain't like I'm surprised!
Red Noise split apart shortly after their sole release here, with leader Patrick Vian gaining some fame as a solo artist while the more Marxist members ended up forming Komintern, an act which actually ended up recording an album for Harvest Records of all labels. Something tells me that neither Vian nor Komintern's extant output lives up to the more fire music-inspired moments of SCARCELLES-LOCHERES, and as usual none of you readers more "in the know" would care to part with one braincell of your vast memory banks and fill me in as to whether or not I should splurge for their platters! Figures!!!
Here's a rather obscure outing from yet another even more obscure French act which reminds me of the Rock In Opposition groups that accrued an eentsy weentsy bit of MELODY MAKER publicity around the time this was originally released back '77 way. Maybe they ain't as "in opposition" as Art Zoyd or Etron Fou Lelouban were, but there still is plenty of that Gallic electronic buzz and minor-key doom-laden chording to contend with. And even though this in no way tingles my nerve nodes the way many continental clankings from the same nanosecond did, I do enjoy the moody droning synth-buzz and mystico-chanting that permeates this rather engrossing if progressive platter. There's a new vinyl edition of this 'un out now, though since it doesn't contain the bonus live tracks buy only if you are desperate enough!
Lotsa talk about this long-lived (fifty years!) Hungarian group had me goin' back to this particular piece of work, their sole US album released in the wake of the Euro Rock mania that was created by a few well-placed articles in NEWSWEEK and ROCK SCENE back in the mid-seventies. Displaying typical for the day prog/pop moves, Omega and OMEGA really don't echo as much of a refreshing import rock attitude as they do taking the worst aspects of English and Amerigan rock moves and driving them into the ground. Halfway-conceived ideas drenched in mellotron wash and moog boogie. Shoulda put a little bit more paprika into the recipe eh, Omega?
This Christian teenage album's been the talk of the self-produced early-seventies outta nowhere album crowd for quite some time, so it's pretty nice finally getting to hear a download which I guess should be easy enough for YOU to find on the web. If you like very-early seventies stripped down folk rock with femme vocals, a hippie Christian outlook, beginner's rhythm guitar and a general primitive basement rock feeling you'll probably enjoy TROUBLED immensely. Just beware of the opening "collage" track which packs more relevant youth concerns and observations in it than an average episode of ROOM 222.
Other'n this being a meeting of minds between Belltone Suicide and Parashi (I thought I reviewed their previous KSE releases, but I was wrong) I can't tell you a thing about this background-wise. I also can't relay who played what and how the entire kaboodle was processed so to speak. Other'n that, I can tell you that this Barrett/Griffin recording is in the beyond-ken KSE style of atonal musique-concrete that you always imagined those early Pierre Henry albums to sound like only you never got the opportunity to hear any in the first place so stuff like this had to do.If I had an all-night radio show where I could play anything I wanted w/o fear of being held down while people farted in my face, I think I would spin a track or two of this just around 4:55 AM before segueing into an Anthony Braxton solo contrabass clarinet cut. And I do get the feeling that you would too.
Whenever my younger 'n me cousin would thumb through my record collection, he'd giggle uncontrollably whenever he'd pull the INSTRUMENTAL GOLDEN GOODIES volume out the stack 'n espy Dave "Baby" Cortez's "The Happy Organ" proudly emblazoned on the front cover. Gee, I wonder what got the kid snickerin' like that because "The Happy Organ" sure was a boffo v. late-fifties instrumental as was Cortez's "The Whistling Organ" which also appeared. I dunno if my cousin made note of the title of that one for if he did, I'm pretty sure the har hars woulda been long-runnin' for this high school dirtyboy!
I wonder if my cousin'd go for this recent collection of Cortez classics, but for his information both "Happy" and "Whistling" appear here along with a whole slew of trackage I must admit I am not familiar with. Most of it fits into the '59/'60 breed of hotcha top 40s instrumental musings, the kind that seemed custom made for one of those teenage dance party teens would hold in their living rooms where somebody would eventually bust a lamp. The moods range from exuberant to bloozy, and as a surprise there's even a vocal number which ain't anything special but at least you'll finally get to hear what Cortez sounds like when he opens his mouth.
If you (like me) have pangs of misery over the fact that it's been almost fifty years since rock 'n roll and funtime TV/comics/social gulcher have been replaced political/social piousness, then this is this the platter for you! I don't see a return to this breed of bonzotude returning anytime soon but maybe if you play this 'un before watching some old LEAVE IT TO BEAVER episodes whilst or whilst not playing a hotcha game of MONOPOLY with yer best friend (squint your mind a bit while you're at it), some of them ol' feelings'll just might come gushing back!
Bill Shute's been enamored by this recent ('12) volume of English beat rock enough to list it in his best of the year list, and it's not hard to figure out why. The selection of these Carnaby weirdies is refreshing enough to make ya wanna dig out your "psychedelic special" issue of GORILLA BEAT for an additional perusal. The obscurities appearing therein guarantee that none of this has appeared elsewhere, a boon here in these budget-conscious times when our collections are being taken up with too many space-wasting repeats. Or maybe Bill's just excited over the nekkid broad that appears on the cover just like any other reg'lar BLOG TO COMM reader who's been caught with the goods (mainly an old NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC and jar of Vaseline) o'er the years?
Bill might've thought it good 'nuff to make his "top ten" but I frankly have quite the opposite opinion. Not that LE BEAT BESPOKE's a roarin' turdburger of a platter, but the music heard within these...grooves?...ain't exactly the kind of music I like spendin' my ever-dwindlin' free time to. This is mostly adult contemp pop as opposed to rock with nada of the garage/beat/freak swing that I prefer in these retrohashes, and in fact I could say that there's such a standard slosh to these tracks that I coulda easily seen my one uncle who dug the bejabbers outta Dean Martin, Horst Jankowski and Bert Kamepfert givin' these spins the thumbs up! As for me, I think I'll just play my scratchy old copy of "Hound Dog" on his cheap portable stereo while doing strange interpretive dances that seemed perfect (to an eleven-year-old) for accompanying the wild sounds heard within those grooves.
Not as whackoid as you'd think, this collection of hotcha r&b players gathered together by famed deejay Freed really do lay down some wild grooves that fit in with the instrumental mania of the v. late fifties. Players include Sam "The Man" Taylor, "Big" Al Sears, Freddie Mitchell and "King Curtis" Ousley, a guy who (or so I was told) met his end shortly after he called into Jay Diamond's talk show in New York City and said that Miles Davis was a pimp who mistreated his stable (draw your own conclusions). Really good dance-floor grooves on this hour-plus spin that captures a huge hunka fifties rockist spirit, though it sure woulda been better if Freed just shut up and let the guys do their speakin' for themselves via their wailin' gear!
Here's the first Stephen Painter (Dark Sunny Land) burn to makes its way into my boom box, an effort by French "nomad" Ghadalia Tazartes that originally came out way back in '77 and was promptly forgotten by the same noise maniacs whom you thought would've eaten this tape-patchwork up like pasta fazool. Not being familiar with Tazartes (thus having to do a lotta googlin' in order to make this review sound a little less than 'tardoid), I found out that he was part of that seventies French trend that gave us a whole wild bunch of sounds both of a rock, jazz and "Musique Concrete" style, only in Tazartes' case its ethno-oriented tape loops and a standard music catalog all mooshed together that makes up his modus opporandi or whatever it's called. Mesmerizing at one point, frightening at others, Tazartes seems fascinated by the middle-eastern chants and drones of his upbringing and uses them to rather startling ends giving YOU (the listener) a real roller coaster of a listening experience that leads you into la-la land at one point then wakes you up with a bizarro bleat the next. It might remind you of a thousand bedroom experiments that got the "cassette culture" treatment during the derailed eighties, but remember this was done before your garden variety self-conscious college kid even had the inkling or inclination to dabble in such areas some say we should not dabble in (and judging from some of those eighties efforts, maybe they were right!). More of Painter's produce in future posts.
And finally for today this limited (300 only!) collection of English early/mid-seventies punk rock rarities guaranteed to have you donning your old platforms and doing the pogo! Or (in my case) settling down in front of the television set with a bowl of fried to a crackly crunch Chee-Tos and pretending that the New York Dolls are on DON KIRSHNER'S ROCK CONCERT. Fans of Robin Wills' Purepop blog (see link up on left) will undoubtedly love this album featuring nothing but a punk of an English nature recorded back when the only people over there who even cared about this music were Charles Shaar Murray and Nick Kent, though I have the feeling that most of the people who this album is aimed at have already downloaded these tracks from that very same blog! I also get the feeling that the people who compiled this album also downloaded these tracks from Purepop, but in this day and age wouldn't that be expected?
In all a grand slab of punkitude that not only features some of the classics of early-seventies British punkitude (Stud Leather, Castle Farm and of course the same Slowload who gave us the album's subtitle) but a couple of heretofore unknown aggregates like Mississippi, Incredible Hog and Sleaz Band who do a more'n apt job the way they take various popular boogie and pop forms and twist 'em into something that might have been way too stark for the standard stompers of the day. And yeah, although side two tends to fizzle out in spots this is still a great 'un for the true punk rock aficionado, sorta like an early-seventies answer to PEBBLES or BLOODSTAINS ACROSS... for that matter. And, unlike what I might have speculated about LE BEAT BESPOKE above, the showing of tits on the cover ain't the reason I'm rating this hard pop pounder so high in the annals of punk-related collections, and you should know better'n to even let the thought enter into your fertilized minds!
***More whacked out reviews for youse to peruse next time? Unless I do get that special soo-prize in I wouldn't doubt it one bit, nitwit!
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 3:24 AM
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Haven't been givin' the ol silent flicks much of a go lately so it was quite a refreshing experience watching this '26 feature starring not only the ol' French snoot himself Adolphe Menjou but phony Hispanic Ricardo Cortez, D.W. Griffith fave Carol "Scarecrow" Dempster and import actress Lya de Putti. I will say one thing about de Putti, and that is that she sure was a gal with a last name that never registered too well with me because it reminds me of the Italian word for uterine inner-lining remnants or something of an equally gross gynecological nature. Of course "Putti" sounds too much like "pooty" anyhow which makes me wonder why she didn't change it to something less odoriferous like Tammy Titsley or Betty Bounce.
Not bad looking at all in that late-silent dark sorta way, with creepy shadows and the kind of weird angles that Wil Eisner and Jack Kirby were making good use of years later. I guess Griffith himself was watching a whole lotta expressionist films, the kind that were comin' outta Europe and making the film snobs go all agog, deciding to swipe a few ideas himself which would be fitting considering how they've been swiping from him for a good twenty years already. It would seem fitting for this type of film which is based on a novel by English hack Marie Corelli who ripped it off from FAUST anyway, and given the film's satanic theme what else would Griffith had done anyway, sprinkled it with fairy dust???
But man, even with the hackoid theme this film at least looks good. True the soundtrack (which comes off as if it was taken from a mid-thirties reissue that made its debut in an Albuquerque bowling alley) roars on and on regardless of the on-screen action, but it is sure easy going on the eyes and looks wonderful even if the subject matter coulda been tweaked a bit. The opening scene featuring the big revolt of the bad angels vs. the good just hadda've been cut considering its legendary in film historian status, but the short bit I saw was at least promising. The aforementioned dark tone also benefits the film, though while the likes of Cortez (a hotcha b-movie co-star by the late-thirties) and Menjou seem just right I gotta say I can't stand looking at Dempster who exudes all of the warmth and charm of your average afternoon talk show hostess who thinks she's a man. Dunno what Griffith saw in her but I guess it all worked out for at least two or three paragraphs of fame in your standard film history book eh, Carol?
Standard story, lovey-dovey couple (one a crit, the other a writer) failing in life, Crit gets fired for writing unpopular reviews by the original Jann Wenner, gal sells story. Crit meets up with Satan who presents him with wealth and woman with figure, gal withers into nothing. It all crumbles around crit who returns to gal after he realizes that really was Satan and all is sweetness 'n light. Now aren't you glad that I'm around so you don't have to watch these things yourself, as if good direction and visually appealing scenes ever did appeal to you!
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 7:27 AM
Saturday, January 19, 2013
Well, if ya must know there's one thing outta many that's really getting me down inna dumps and that's the current situation regarding none other'n former Dr. Feelgood guitarist Wilko Johnson. Turns out that the guy, still a young 65 if you can believe it, is unfortunately suffering from pancreatic cancer which as we all know is like instant death certificate. However, instead of doing what many would by getting chemotherapy for his problems, Johnson is choosing to go out of life in a grand fashion by undergoing a farewell tour to end 'em all consisting of four British dates. I guess this constitutes his own special way of saying sayonara to his long-time fans who've been in on the game ever since the mid-seventies when DOWN BY THE JETTY became one of those bubbling under pub rock platters that even impressed the import bin people over here, especially considering that none other than Russell Desmond of CAN'T BUY A THRILL fame raved on about it in the first issue of his seminal fanzine which I hope all of you readers are familiar with given the wealth of information these self-produced reads continue to exude.
Y'know, something along the lines of seeing my fave entertainers passing on really never did get my emotions a 'roarin' so much when I was younger, but now that I'm closer to the the old boneyard than I was as a spoiled brat suburban pimplefarm the image of the Grim Creeper keeps rippin' and tearin' at me a whole lot more than it used. And even though I'm not exactly what'cha'd call a huge fan of the Feelgoods (with only the aforementioned JETTY as well as their "Roxette" single to my name) it ain't like I'm gonna deny their power or put down the latterday recordings which I don't think filled the bill as much as the Wilko-period act did. (And frankly I didn't even care for the Wilko Johnson Solid Senders platter which is why it ended up in a "sell"-pile headed straight for Record Revolution in Cle. Hts.) But digressions aside, who could deny that these guys were the first "real" British punk rock act (mid-seventies division) to come outta the place and the template for the original Stiff Records credo, not to mention groundbreakers for a good hunk of the better sounds to have emanated from England for quite some time. The Feelgoods were even getting called punks in CREEM as early as '75 and besides that, when they made their En Why See debut at Max's Kansas City the following year none other than the Ramones opened for 'em perhaps because even at this early stage in the game it was recognized that punks were punks wuz punx. And this was before it became pUnquE and by that time who could deny a whole lotta the energy and passion was gone?
Here are the Feelgoods on THE OLD GREY WHISTLE TEST March '75 romping through selections from that much-desired debut album which should go to prove the power and might of Johnson's guitar prowess even though Cyril Jordan from the Flamin' Groovies thought he couldn't play worth shit.
***OK, on to something I hope will be a little happier for us all, mainly the reviews! I'll tell ya, if it weren't for Bill Shute and ebay this blog would probably consist of me reviewing the same top ten beddy-bye spins that have been soothing my savage boobies over and over again for the last ten years, and I must say that I really do appreciate the parcels he's been sending (if only because I have the negatives) because otherwise I'd starve to death! I'll tell ya, between him, Forced Exposure and ebay I don't know how I would survive hearing new and interesting things (free stuff off the computer does help, but since mine takes about ten hours to download something that used to take five minutes it ain't like I'm gonna be hearing Beethoven's First Bowel Movement without many an interruption!), and as you can tell I am forever grateful to Bill as well as Paul, Steven and PD which really must prove what a mooching nogoodski I can be when finances fail!
But enough typetripe...I at least managed to get one new goodie in this week which, judging from the fact that I did not give it a measly CREEM "Rock-A-Rama"-length examination, ultimately proves that it's in the running for a top-notch "Best Of" mention once '13 clocks out into the hopefully more lucky year of '14! Come to think of it, the other ones aren't anything to sneeze at either not counting that turdburger that I tacked on at the end. Anyway settle back 'n enjoy, and if you by any chance do not agree with me you know who you can make your feelings known to, and when you talk to 'em tell 'em I said their mothers collectively blow doggie wads!
Mars-REHEARSAL TAPES AND ALT-TAKES NYC 1976-1978 3-cassette set (Anomia, Spain)
In what is undoubtedly the first major archival dig of the year, this triple cassette threat might not be the last word in either the Mars or the no wave saga but it sure comes in handy gettin' to the bottom of it all. Especially if you've been in on the game ever since that copy of NO NEW YORK hit the bins at the local record shop and you bought it just because Eno's name was plastered on the cover thinkin' this was gonna be anudder 801-styled post-Roxy Music affair!
Really, I am surprised that this even made it outta the dusty collection of former Mars bassist Marc Cunningham since well, it ain't like Mars are considered showbizzy rock music (TM) legends with a back catalog that can really reap in the big bux! But Marc actually felt it worthwhile to sweep through his boxes of moldering tapes, and he sure did a pretty hefty job of takin' what was salvageable and cleaning it up (more or less) for fan-based consumption.
Tape #1 features Mars, the early years, with the first side consisting of nothing but early rehearsals dating back to the summer of 1976. At this early stage in the game Mars guitarist Sumner Crane was sitting in at the piano and spending his time playing it in a particularly John Cale ca. THE VELVET UNDERGROUND AND NICO pounding style with those heavy repeato-riff chords straight outta the "Waiting For My Man" learn-to-play book vol. two. Needless to say anybody who likes Cale's performance on that instro during the 1966 days'll appreciate this to the utmost as he weaves in and out of various patterns and notes in a fashion that would've done Terry Riley proud. Some interesting surprises (like the cover of "Pale Blue Eyes" more or less) including the appearance of future Contortions Jody Harris on one track, this during the period in time when he was also fronting the r&b group the Screws who were gettin' loads of local stage time headlining shows for acts as wholesome and mainstream as...Wayne County???
Flipster's got some surprising early China-unto-Mars rehearsal trackage that was recorded right when the group made their grand name change because Elton John had produced an act called China over there in dental nightmare land and two groups with the same moniker weren't big enough in the town for both of us. Surprisingly enough, only a trace of the no wave deconstruction that the group was famous for could be heard at this time with song structures rather sturdy and way closer to the likes of the Ramones than say, Teenage Jesus. If you've heard those rather early Television recordings from '74 when that aggro'd go from crunchy garage rock into atonal flange you'd pretty know what to expect on these (gosh I hate to admit it but) exhilarating tracks which do exemplify that whole underground hotcha buzz that would ultimately be reduced to shallow imitation once it gained a huge audience and the "anybody can do it" credo suddenly translated into "PLEASE, STOP THAT MEWLING MUSIC FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!!!"
The final cassette features Mars in their death throes during the period that produced the posthumous NN END recording for Lust/Unlust. By now it seems as if any vestigial musical shards have been discarded making for a nice blare of a ride through the realm of screech. If anything the entire no wave movement seemed so cataclysmic (and perhaps remained so, at least until the original acts broke up and what crawled from the wreckage seemed just as art rock as the rest of the post-seventies generation) so it ain't no surprise to me that Mars would destruct in an self-immolating explosion of sound. Come to think of it, the punk nova of the late-seventies did help signal the end of the entire sixties/seventies bared-wire intensity line which is undoubtedly why the music that came out in its wake sounded so pallid. After this tape runs out I'm sure even heard-it-all-before jaded types like ourselves will think that nothing possible coulda followed this act, and as history as proven we've been more right than wrong most of the time so why should this 'un be any different?
One-a-those records I remember seeing repeatedly whilst prowling through the bins of the local shops as a teenbo, but never in a millyun years did I ever think I would actually get to OWN a copy! Here's Kim Fowley during his glambisexual period putting out a record that I woulda sworn was gonna sound like a cross between David Bowie and the New York Dolls but reminds me more of Elliot Murphy's suburban slide. It does hold up well as a '72 deca-glitter artyfact, and if you liked Murphy's Dylanesque trips through the dingier side of midclass Ameriga ca. 1972 this might appeal to you as well. Also noted for featuring an early Modern Lovers mention which, along with various namedrops in ROLLING STONE and CREEM among other prozines not forgetting Eno's "The Third Wheel," had kidz like me wondering "wha'?" before the actual platter finally made its way out a good three years after the fact.
Shepp had come a long way since those days of FIRE MUSIC and POEM FOR MALCOLM, but even a disdainer of straighter jazz forms such as myself can find this live set pleasing enough. A return to more Ellingtonian ground here, though some new thing remnants can be heard on the 27 + minute "Blues for Brother George Jackson." Can't really complain about it even if Shepp's playing sounds rather thin next to the guttural attack of his sixties output.
Doo wah classic of the week! The Hamilton Ontario duo Fossils (Daniel Fair and David Payne) create their own special spin of free sound and then proceed to take the already beyond-comprehension stylings and decompose 'em even further! So flipped out in a Cromagnon with touches of NEU! 2 way that most similar-minded bouts of moderne-day experimentalism (including a good chunk of the Kendra Steiner Editions catalog!) sound rather timid in comparison. And the best thing about it is that when you listen to it, you don't need to smoke anything!
William "I'll Play With Anybody" Hooker does pretty right by latching onto this live sesh with the underrated Sabir Mateen handling the saxophones, flute and clarinet. Pretty powerful duo setting here reminiscent of not only that all-time winner INTERSTELLAR SPACE but the Rashied Ali/Frank Lowe bubbler under DUO EXCHANGE which shoulda been on your Christmas Want List since at least 1976. Mateen's in extremely fine form here (it's like nobody told him that free play was "out" and Wynton Marsalis was "in"!) and Hooker's sheer wall of percussion gets your mind off of the fact that a lotta wonks out there who don't quite settle with you like his playing. Recorded at the CBGB Lounge during the Dee Pop curated free music series, this one does bring back happy memories of dialing in various cybercasts with the same wonderment some rural farm types would try to get hillbilly music in from a distant station way back inna mid-twenties.
And now for the bummer of the week, this download that I sure had high hopes for given the group's love for a metallic/punk/70s fusion jazz amalgam that I must admit sounded a whole lot tastier'n the Creed-y sputum they do deliver. Way over in the '90s grunge arena w/o even that shard of primal rockist supremacy we thought we were hearing in all of those Sub Pop platters. An overall embarrassment to the entire genre which very well might have killed me in my tracks had I not been reading THE AESTHETICS OF ROCK at that very same nanosecond.
***Oooh, have I gotta good 'un for you coming up! You better believe it man! (Yeah, right!)
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 4:48 AM
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
The DICK TRACY series rolls on and leaves your senses in about as good a shape as General Sherman left Georgia! The final part of the Crewy Lou saga finally wraps up with Bonnie Braids not only getting discovered by Crewy but slapped about a few times as well...of course that's before the brat's abandoned in Tracy's vehicle and Crewy falls to her death after being holed up in a Forest Ranger tower! Of course things don't exactly improve for Bonnie when after Dick takes her and Sparkle Plenty out for a motorboat ride the frustrated Johnny Ray wannabe Tonsils shoots Tracy in the head and knocks him outta the boat with Sparkle and Braids going around in a frightening pace before crashing into a hidden inlet. With all of these childhood traumas plaguing the pair, you'd think that the two of 'em would be holding down plenty of couch time at the local psychoanalyst given the near-scrapes and traumatic experiences they've encountered even before reaching the tender age of four!
The question of where Tracy got the money to build his million dollar house and drive an expensive Cadillac is finally answered, and the hard way when all of the fingers begin pointing at Tracy because of some missing valuables that have been poached from the police vault. Also Junior, who was about eleven when we last looked, falls hard for this post-high school gal he met at the roller rink named Model Jones who's supporting not only her alkie parents but a no-good brudder by working in a department store. The two actually elope (I guess he didn't tell her he was only eleven!) and even take a short bus trip outta state before...well, you'll have to read this 'un, dragged out in the slowest possible way by Gould who really knew how to milk a good disaster when he felt like it!
Gould really is at the top of his slag heap here. especially in the way he teases and leads you on one way then switches gears when the story needs a little zap. It's a known fact that Gould and his assistants planned storyline developments only a few weeks in advance, and that's undoubtedly the reason why certain characters such as BO Plenty and Gravel Gertie were originally written in as villains yet because lovable close friends of Dick, and why Tonsils, the dumb yet affable crooner, was originally pegged as a sorta good guy who eventually is forced into killing Tracy thus making him a bad guy if only because of circumstance. You really never can tell, which only makes Gould's assertion to none other than R. Crumb that "If you can't tell the good guys from the bad guys, then you're one of the bad guys!" rather strange considering the conniptions he has some of his characters going through! But it all works out OK, since BO and Gertie continued in the strip as a fun if white-trash couple for ages and Tonsils gets tossed to the Crime Boss' pet barracuda even when the bad guys believe he succeeded in his dastardly task!
A beaut of a book both artistically and phonetically (especially when you read it out loud!)...they really do need to get these volumes out at a swifter pace dontcha think?
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 9:39 AM
Sunday, January 13, 2013
After that rather grim Public Service Announcement maybe it's time to switch gears and gab about something a little more spirit-benefiting and uplifting and all that hard sell. So howzbout this current event to tell Miss Landers about in civics class, mainly the fact that I got a nice surprise in the mail today and no it wasn't the latest issue of COMMUNIST ATROCITY MONTHLY either! Y'see, none other than Bob Forward (boy do my fans love me!), who out of the goodness of his heart, sent me tapes of some items I mentioned on this blog just a short week or so ago which is something that is surely cause for celebration here at BLOG TO COMM central! I mean, with no prying or asking or anything like that, the former Akronite who now lives in Arizona for some odd reason (I mean, why move from Akron?) sends a total of two cassettes to me GRATIS like, sorta as if I'm an important enough man on the food chain of rockism to hear let alone appreciate these rather obscure items that I'm sure even you would like to give a listen to one of these hours. Of course if I were that important (which I am) Bob would have pressed these recordings on Compost Disques considering how it's all but impossible for those to jam and get erased, but maybe next time when the man sends me something out of the goodness of his heart he won't make such an OBVIOUS flub which anybody less gracious than myself would definitely lower the boom on him for.
Not only that but another Huey appearance on WKSU recorded at the Kent Rathskellar pops up directly after, and that thankfully still has the pre-gnu wave-y sound and feel to it. In turn this is followed by a Chi-Pig live gig recorded off of the WMMS-FM "Homegrown" show which sounds pretty straightforward in its approach and appeal and, once again, is not as pre-packaged as this style of music would eventually get. Nice music if you can only get the image of a sycophantic Anastasia Pantsios schmoozing up to the group because they had a ratio of two gals to one guy and Pantsios of course was dung deep into that whole "women in rock" schtick that made her feel superior as a creature or something like that to the rest of us protruders (read, males!).
The other tape features Tin Huey live at the Townhouse in Kent Ohio way back '73 way, a time when the only ones who were paying attention did so because of a hot piece Peter Laughner wrote for ZEPPELIN or one of those local reads that was trying to hone in on the New Rock Journalism usually failing miserably in the process. Recorded before the fling into a more jazz/fusion honed underground rock (which is documented on a live at the Mistake opening for Pere Ubu 5/5/76 tape I have in the abode somewhere...) the Hueys are clearly punk mad what with the abundance of Velvet Underground and Stooges covers that I gotta say sound almost as good as those early Bowie versions and the Stooges themselves! The cover of an Amon Duul II track off YETI helps, and come to think of it the originals do have a nice import bin feel, and we're talking the more expensive albums that came out of that continental portion of real estate too! A definitely French underground sound can be discerned making the Hueys a rather Euro bunch when it came to presenting their underground credentials, and unlike you I happen to think the French made fine music even if I can't understand a word they're singing.
A hefty tip of the dunce cap to Mr. Forward who I must say knows how to fulfill my wildest moozikal fantasies, if only he'd use Cee-Dee-Ares instead of cassette tapes which can jam and always get stashed in the basement anyway, though we do know his heart (if not head) is in the right place.
***Yeah I know, I know, enough preliminaries and onto what you hungry freak daddies have been waiting for lo these many days...da revooze!
The Yardbirds-GLIMPSES 5-CD box set (Easy Action England)
If this had come out as a "sanctioned" mega-box set collection of the Yardbirds chock fulla television, radio, live and elsewhere recordings back '76 way, it surely would have "broken the hearts" (to use a common HuffPo cliche) of many a frail soul. Here in 2013 GLIMPSES more or less comes off like a 1971 box set of albums featuring a hot World War II-era Golden Age of Radio transcription that really wowed the folks back then but three decades later was not much more than a reminder of happier and more youthful times. You never would have imagined a now easy to espy set such as this in the sixties or seventies, but you can't deny that in the here and now its the same thing that a Stan Kenton broadcast was to your hi-fi nut of a father who didn't give a whit about music after the forties. And looking at what has transpired, who can blame him for his supposedly "horse-blindered" views?
But sheesh, a hungrin' rompified kiddoid such as myself is more'n hot over these five platters filled with (seventy-plus minutes each!) Yardbird trackage that happens to be pretty extant as far as covering the group's history goes! It's (mostly) all here from Clap on down, all done up in that anglified bloozy way that was just bound to go psychedelic once the electronic possibilities of the electric guitar were advanced upon to the point where just about any jerk with a wah wah and box could be the next Lou Reed!.
Now don't go throwin' out your old Yardbirds bootlegs (I mean, there's no "Happening Ten Years Time Ago" from MILTON BERLE here but you do get to hear Lloyd Thaxton acting like a nut!), but for serious Yardbird fans this might be the last word. It even includes the BBC sesh with "Dazed and Confused" that still sounds a bit muddy but better'n the way you've heard it the past thirtysome years. So round, so firm, so fully packed that the only thing that would "break my heart" about this set would be not having it in my collection!
Kraftwerk during their blockbuster "Autobahn" days when we all thought they were going to capture the hearts of Ameriga with their electronic weaponry...or else. Journey back to the era of record shops and import bins with such classics as "Kometemelodie," "Morgenspraziepgang" and of course their biggie done with the etapoint perfection these krauts are known for. Mostly a snooze, though it can percolate in spots. Save up for the early live recordings with various Neu! members and electric guitars keeping tabs on the avantness first, and then give this a spin. Nice cover pic taken from Kraftwerk's fabled appearance on that German panel show WHAT'S MY RACIAL IDENTITY (or was it I'VE GOT A SUBHUMAN, the game show where the loser really loses!)???
Yeah, I read Greg Shaw's review of this album in BOMP! just like you did and it sure piqued my attention, but after hearing the "I'm Chewin' Gum" single on some mid-eighties garage band sampler I really didn't have that much of a desire to latch onto that $25 pirate that Midnight Records was sellin', Nothing really special 'bout that single that differentiated the thing from a few hundred other self-produced home made snoozers that were not only coming out "then-then" (1975), but "then-now" (1984). Anyhow, after some serious thought (and a count of spare change) I decided that maybe it was time to give these guys another try since hey, I do know that first impressions aren't always the best and there have been quite a few things that I thought iffy at first but learned to love as said item grew on your like those weird paisley-like lesions on AIDS patients.
TRICKY ZINGERS (and Creme Soda) is just as fantastically out-of-place yet saying about as much as you could about the seventies as Mirrors, Milk and all of those other acts that just happened to be in the wrong place and the wrong time, or even at the right time but it still didn't matter. Like the aforementioned groups, Creme Soda really knew how to take the best the past (and "then-then") had to offer and refurbish it into snat rock & roll that nobody in their right mind would admit stood the test of time, but we knew better that's for sure. From the punkabilly of "I'm Chewin' Gum" which puts all of those eighties/nineties attempts complete with mock EC covers to shame to the imitation Iggy on "Numero Uno" and the Yardbirds' "Nazz Are Blue" (via Chocolate Watchband which is even better!), TRICKY ZINGERS can't be beat for pure rockist inclinations during a time when rock had been metastasized by glitz to the point where you knew it never would recover. And it didn't, much to the joy of way too many wonks who have kept "classic rock" radio stations afloat for a longer time than any of us could imagine.
It's pop, guttural, avant garde, punk and psychedelia, sometimes all at once, and one thing TRICKY ZINGERS really has goin' for it is that it retains the primitive nature that we love in rock (from early garage rockabilly recordings up through late-seventies punk addledness) complete with a low-fidelity that certainly does add a certain beauty to it all. Overall this does come off like the kind of album that would had been common if only those early-seventies Stooges, Flamin' Groovies and Hackamore Brick albums got out more...good straight-ahead rock with sidesteps into all of your favorite genres without latching on to one particular one at the expense of another, making for an out-of-time affair that thankfully did not conjure up images of demons and the standard concept album shenanigans so common at the time.
Maybe it ain't the most perfect self-produced mid-seventies platter ("When the Sun Shines" meanders off into boogie jamz while "Daydream" coulda been a CSN&Y outtake), but it's good enough for me! And if that ain't enough of a selling point maybe the liner notes Greg Shaw most graciously contributed to this will sway your opinion if only a tad???
Don't know if the Stooges name-drop in Shaw's Creme Soda liner notes inspired me to pick this long-ignored spin outta the pile, but considering just how much of a Stooges rah-raher Shaw was (not to mention his role in getting more than a few Stooges rarities out into the public arena) I wouldn't doubt that there was a subconscious desire to play this 'un if only because of the Stooges ref. Let's leave that 'un to alla ya armchair psychoanalysts (y'know, the kind who have been telling ME for years
Any way you put it WILD LOVE's a fantastic filler in your own late-period Stooges collection even if some of the more shall we say tightassed among us somehow believed that Shaw was milking the Stooge fandom bandwagon for all it was worth at the time. It not only has some of those Detroit pre-tour rehearsal tapes when future Blue Gene Tyranny Bob Sheff was handling the piano dooties, but a whole batch of those Iggy/James Williamson romps through some old blooze chooze and Dylan's "Hollis Brown" which were always good for the creeps. Same sesh that some enterprising guys added bass and drums to for a Cleopatra release later on, but hot enough any way I can take it though I just know you will beg to differ. (Too bad only a fragment of their take on "Venus In Furs" survives because the folk at Cleopatra really coulda done a fantastico moosh up on that!)
I have the feeling this 'un and the rest of the Bomp! Iguana Archives releases can be had at remarkably low prices these days. The whole buncha 'em are what I'd call crucial, along with alla them Skydog and Fan Club platters that have been coming out ever since that big '77 drive to put Iggy on the map, and if you can't download 'em or snatch 'em off somebody ya know then I'm sure a trip to your favorite ebay store would be the best thing to do. And really, what better way can you think of reliving those great guttural days of the seventies than listening to the atonal drive of the Stooges, and getting out of your mind once and for all the squeaky-clean visage of not only the followup eighties, but Iggy's own ginchy solo career throughout the icky decade as well!
***Daevid Allen/Gilli Smyth/Gong-MAGICK BROTHER CD (Spalax, France)
Here's one I like to check back on every so often, the first Gong album as it originally looked back when Daevid Allen and company were operating under the aegis of BYG who certainly milked this guy for all he was worth! Gotta say that I like it enough...not that it's a top spin around here at BLOG TO COMM central but I gotta admire Allen for continuing on the psychedelic bandwagon a good two or so years after some fanabla at NEWSWEEK or somethin' informed the populace that it was as daid as a doornail. Fans of Syd Barrett and his various imitators will undoubtedly lap the Allen oeuvre right down to the bone, and even a hard-to-please like myself will admit that Allen's songcraft is good enough to the point where when I begin to start thinkin' Donovan, these gnomes of good taste living in my brain quickly and efficiently banish that thought deep into the reaches of my hopefully never to be retrieved memories. Y'know, along with all of those childhood traumas and humiliations which I will probably remember all the way to my deathbed, resulting in the look of utter horror I undoubtedly will have plastered all across my face.
Not being what'cha'd call a fan of late-sixties/early-seventies top 40 styled pop it wasn't like I was cherishin' the thought of spinnin' this particular platter, but actually this collection of "popsike" rarities is pretty good in spots. If you have a soft spot in your heart (or even head for that matter) for 1969/70 teenage gal popgoo this'll throw you for a loop, comin' off like recently-unearthed Left Banke at its best and Bobby Sherman rejects at their worst. Mostly obscuros, though none other'n Bread do show up in the mix not sounding as sappy as they did on "Diary" and "Make It With You" but perhaps just as popsy as "You Showed Me" and "Guitar Man" which gotta account for something. A nice diversion, worth perhaps a once in a lifetime spin.
***Don't expect anything new or especially unusual these next few posts, as if there has been anything new or especially unusual for this blog's entire run!
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 7:36 AM
Thursday, January 10, 2013
BLACK TO COMM BACK ISSUES ARE STILL AVAILABLE! WON'T YOU
PLEEZE BUY SOME?
Sheesh, I'm getting tired of trying to turn these long-unsold issues of my WORLD FAMOUS CRUDZINE into megabux to retire on, or even minibux just so's I can have a good time once in awhile! I mean, how would you feel if there was something that you poured your heart, soul and perhaps even a few body organs into overtaking every aspect of your existence and the thing sells about as well as a sex manual at a Sunday School picnic? Let's just say that I still have a whole lotta these INFO-PACKED READS available for the discerning reader just like you and well, if you're a guy who thinks that the material that can be found on this blog is educational, interesting, entertaining and perhaps even slightly silly well, you'll be able to find a whole lotta that and more within the pages of these fanzines! Come to think of it, these pages also consist of quite a few items that some may say are far more scabrous and socially/politically incorrect than anything I've published on-line. Y'see, it's obvious that I have to curb myself while on the web what with all the do-gooders and glorified hall monitors and snitches there are out there attempting to cleanse the planet of ne'er do well free-thinkers (in the most honest, true sense) like myself! Not to mention others who are so intent on tinkling on the new (in)breed's wonderful world where they can all throw frisbees, engage in non-procreative sex and act like the Peter Perfects they truly most envision themselves to be here at the dawning of the Age of Rampant Assholism! So if you wanna glom some really downright offensive, non-redeeming material that makes my everyday opines on this blog read like Sweet Mary Sunshine just pick up a whole buncha these mags and prepare to curdle!
Prices are postpaid in the USA, elsewhere get in touch with me via comment box (I will not publish your vitals so don't panic!) for rates because I'll have to make up a package and have it weighed for accuracy. You can send checks and money orders made out to me (Chris Stigliano) or even cash as long as it's well-concealed to 701 North Hermitage Road, Suite 23, Hermitage PA 16148 USA. If you wanna set up a Paypal deal, again get in touch via the comment box with all the gory details such as your email address and items desired and we can go on from there. Just remember, with every fanzine purchase you make you are helping a needy man fulfill his wildest dreams, and helping the economy too because every buck received will no doubt go to a Forced Exposure order or ebay auction of my liking!
BLACK TO COMM #14-Early 1989. Featuring part one of the Ron Asheton interview, a nice though could be much better given all the information discovered since piece on the Deviants, an article on Peter Laughner's Cinderella Backstreet, the Seeds and Charlemagne Palestine. $8.00
BLACK TO COMM #16-Found a few of these out 'n about I'd sure like to get rid of. Contains Rudolph Grey interview, Laughing Hyenas, clippings etc regarding Peter Laughner on the 10th anniversary of his death along with an old Laughner interview with Lou Reed from the early-seventies, Electric Eels lyrics, Brian Sands and loads more. You get either the first or second edition of this one for $8.00.
BLACK TO COMM #17-Early '90. The first of the "big" issues (74 pages) has a cover story/interview with Scott Morgan and Gary Rasmussen from the old Scott Morgan band. Also inside's an interview with Borbetomagus' Donald Miller as well as one, skimpy at that, with Maureen Tucker, not to mention pieces on Fish Karma (who I liked until hearing his overly-preachy kiss kiss moosh anti-gun song entitled "God Bless The NRA"), the Dogs (from Detroit, not the French ones or the Flamin' Groovies for that matter!), Rocket From the Tombs (with loads of old photos and the like, some never seen before or since!), the top 25 of heavy metal, METAL MACHINE MUSIC, a piece on the then-new proto-punk reissues and archival digs of the day and the usual reviews and news. $10.00.
BLACK TO COMM #19-Features interviews with Miriam Linna and Jeff Clayton (Antiseen), plus Joe Meek, Pink Fairies, fanzine history, Lester Bangs, Dictators/MC5 live, Rob Tyner obit, Umela Hmota and the Czech underground rock scene of the seventies, Elvis Presley, Lester Bangs and plenty more!-$10.00.
BLACK TO COMM #20-Mick Farren, Mike Snider, Craig Moore (Gone) and Adny Shernoff interviews, Roky Erickson interview and general update, Seeds, DENIM DELINQUENT, Shadows of Knight, New York Dolls, Richard Meltzer, Gories, Lenny Kaye, MX-80 Sound and tons of essay length reviews etc. 118 pages!-$10.00
BLACK TO COMM #21-From November '94. A VON LMO cover story and interview grace this ish, as do interviews with Metal Mike Saunders, Brian McMahon (Electric Eels) and rockabilly star Ronnie Dawson, plus you can read much-desired items on the Trashmen, Velvet Underground and Hawkwind like I knew you would! Not to mention a piece on the infamous TEENAGE WASTELAND GAZETTE fanzine! $9.00.
BLACK TO COMM #24- Features an interview with Doug Snyder of DAILY DANCE/Sick Dick and the Volkswagens fame, plus interviews with the Dogs (Detroit) and Greg Shaw, a piece on the old CAN'T BUY A THRILL fanzine and the usual feature-length reviews and the like. $9.00.
Also have some Cee-Dees that came with the now-out of print issue #22 (featuring Carnal Kitchen, Simply Saucer, Rockin Blewz [Metal Mike Saunders 1969!], Umela Hmota II & III, Backsnider, Milk, Dom, Brian McMahon [x-Electric Eels] and Moving Parts [Erik Lindgren w/various Mission of Burma]...). Can part with 'em for $6.00 each or, if you ask me nice enough, slip one into your already bountiful order for free!).
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 8:06 AM
Wednesday, January 09, 2013
Here's an oldie that I dragged outta the BLOG TO COMM collection in order to make it through the wait for the next volume of DICK TRACY strips due any day now! And as far as comic strip collections go, this 'un's a pretty good deal as far as a collection of Amerigan comics from the 1890's until the late-seventies go even if the usual comic upper-echelon snobbery is obvious (as the absence of NANCY, PRISCILLA or HENRY would attest to) and rare stuff you thought they's stick in here ain't nowhere to be seen. Por ejemplo I for one would've loved to've seen one or two of the earliest KATZENJAMMER KIDS appearances ca. 1897 when Mrs. K hadda handle three kids, one of which was named "Adolf" if Don Fellman can be trusted, but crucial items like that were deemed insignificant, or at least that's the impression """"""""""I"""""""""" surely get!
But hey, if you can't get to the library microfilm department and you wanna read some hotcha old-timey comic strips a book like this can't be beat. The compilers on this 'un at least knew enough to present the creamier of the cream of comic strips, and even if they did have an eye for the artzier aspects of the form 'stead of the cheaper, fun stuff this does act as a concise history that fortunately includes a whole number of items I'm sure glad made the grade at the expense of some things that didn't (read; we thankfully do not have to put up with THE KEWPIES!!!)
Good 'nuff selection including the entire Sunday Sea Hag run of POPEYE (complete with SAPPO topper), a hefty '29 vintage MOON MULLINS saga, that DICK TRACY where he had to work in uniform with an Indian agent to capture some bizarro badskis and plenty more. Really, there's enough good gunch here to keep you entertained whether you're sitting in your easy chair or sprawled out onna floor like any self-respecting blob, and although there are quite a few strips of a "questionable" nature included if only because of their "respectable" nature you can always bleeb over 'em. I sure did!
In all, a nice tribute to a form that really hasn't been worth its weight ever since life, along with rock 'n roll and fashions and tee-vee and people in general, just became cringe-y. But even with the absence of plenty of crucial entries (no "Nov Schmoz Ka Pop!" here either, though OUR BOARDING HOUSE merits a good six panels) and a concentration of comics as "art" 'stead of a fun way to spend the post-homework hours, this book does fulfill at least some of its promise. And really, this read will help out many of you who are not familiar with these long-forgotten strips that have been consigned to the newspaper files long ago, other than through other forms of medium ifyaknowwaddamean. After all, I am pretty sure that a whole lotta ya regular BLOG TO COMM readers jerk off to Tijuana Bible collections featuring the stars of once-popular comics not knowing from whence they originated, and if you're curious as to what THE BUNGLE FAMILY denizens were up to when not engaging in incest here's your chance!
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 5:56 AM
Saturday, January 05, 2013
Oh yeah I had my fun reading the comic books and watching tee-vee at the time (even though the reception was so bad I could only get one station in perfect, one fuzzy and the third almost non-existent), but the teacher I got during my eighth year in grade school looked like Margaret Hamilton, and she was more than apt to treat me worse'n the cigarette butt she was always suckin' on in the teacher's lounge. Now I do think that I got off on the wrong foot with her by mentioning the Rolling Stones' Amerigan tour as being more important than the political conventions that had transpired that summer (even though it was), but that was no reason for her to always single me out with the ridicules along the lines of "You're never going to get a job when you graduate from school!" and "If you were any stupider than you are now you'd be taking the upper berth to Polk State Hospital this very minute!" I guess my very presence does bring out the best in people, eh?
If I have any "resolution" to make for '13, it would have to be to slug it through without spending a whole lotta money of "frivolities" like music, rare books and little ginchy-goochy early-sixties items that catch my eye at the antique shows I may attend, if only to save up a whole lotta moolah so that in a good twenty years I'll have enough money to buy half of the items that I would like to possess now at twice the price!
***HERBIE comics that date from the early-to-mid-sixties and really must say that I still marvel (no pun intended) at the way writer Shane O'Shea and artist Ogden Whitney were aptly able to take the flipped out aura of Stan Lee and the DC house style and combine 'em into a series that merged cornball and camp with solid satire and even some hidden social commentary! Remembered only by the staunchest of Silver Age collectors who I now imagine are all now sixty-plus retirees holed up in their attics re-reading these stupendous sagas, titles like HERBIE only go to show ya just how innovative and suburban slob-minded these comic books could be long before amoral androids and half-nekkid gals with cleavage deeper'n Mammoth Cave began overtaking the comic pages sometime in the eighties! And you gotta admit that Herbie makes for a better kiddoid role model than Roy Rogers and Larry Flynt combined, especially in these post-decency days when you really do need a scorecard to tell the good guys from the badskis!
There's one thing that I must admit to you all, and that is I wuv my readers, and my readers wuv me! I mean, it was but a week or two ago that I asked if somebody out there in pixelland could download a copy of the Julius Hemphill album DOGON A.D. for me, and whaddaya know but longtime reader Bob Forward has gone off and done just that! I mean, he didn't even charge me a farthing or ha'penny for the deed neither, and if anything all I can say is that I'm a happy camper because of the man's goodness graciousness! Not only that, but Bob also sent me recordings of two other Hemphill albums which I didn't even ask for which only proves that he's one man who gives more'n what one expects and does a 200% job at it, certainly not like I would! What a generous man and Bob, while you're feeling up to it howz'bout sending me a disque of that Tin Huey WKSU-FM radio special (the one with the fifteen-minute "Tin Huey Story") as well as that live at the Townhouse 1973 gig and maybe some additional Akron rarities (still wanting to hear that Nightlife spinoff which various Hueys and Numbers Band members had in the late-seventies where they played jazz Sunday nights at some roadhouse where people were gettin' killed all the time).
I did have reservations regarding some of these later-on Hemphill releases (due to the fear that the man's "extracurricular activities" might have overtaken his talented stylings the same way that "you-know-what" has turned many a promising performer into pallid pablum) but I was wrong! RAW MATERIALS AND RESIDUALS's also got Wadud on 'cello not forgetting the Art Ensemble of Chicago's Don Moye on "Sun percussion" and the trio cooks just as hotcha as they coulda in 1972 as they do in 1977 when this sesh was laid down. Nice and introspective almost in a chamber jazz fashion even if you know that nobody involved would ever stoop to the "respected" bowtie and tux jazz sensibilities that Leonard Feather had fought valiantly to keep until the bitter end. FLAT-OUT JUMP SUITE's a dago session from '80 again featuring Wadud on cello not to mention Olu Dara on trumpet and Warren Smith on percussion, and as you'd guess it does have that certain ambience that you could only get from the throngs of euro jazz recordings from the late-sixties onwards. Only shows that as far as production and promotion of under-the-kultur Amerigan free jazzers in Europe go, these Italians can cook, and without garlic too!
Nothing here that a simple dialing up of the computer can't cure, and I'm sure the savvier among you are already downloading all three of these for your own personal jazz festival to be presented in the privacy of your own smelly boudoir. Have fun 'n best of all you don't have the bribe the Maitre 'd for a good spot right next to the night-stand, y'know?
And you were wondering when the new generation of Czech underground rock groups were going to spring forth! Well, they had, and it had happened a good twenty or so years back only nobody out there seemed to be paying attention. Not that they could, what with this release being so limited that it probably sold out its 20-press run a good three/four years after label owner Eddie Flowers unleashed this obscurity during the dark ages of the mid-nineties, a time when only a patented underground slob like myself would have bothered to pick up a copy given how everything else seemed so tenth generation to bother with in the first place.
Lebedung were (are?) one Czech group that fortunately did not let various western influences sway their sound unlike way too many aggregates from the former Iron Curtain who undoubtedly patterned their entire acts on various English and Amerigan models. The group's instrumentation would lend one to believe that Lededung were heavily influenced by the Czech underground of the seventies; besides a vocalist the act consists of two bass guitarists, a drummer and an occasional flautist with one of the bassists doubling on vibraphone when the music deems so. In many ways they do resemble some of the more angular underground aggregates of the early eighties who would play around without the presence of a guitar, yet in others the influence of the original DG-307 and perhaps even Umela Hmota II can be heard making Lebedung a direct descendant of those earlier aggregates who really hadda pay for the right to rock (or make obscene noise as the authorities would say) with threat of jail sentences.
The music is driving and hard, and even if the group is singing in French (?) you can still feel the message if only through the vibrations. I hate to use the term post-punk, but for those of you who hold a great affinity for the early Rough Trade sound this will fit in just as well as Beefheart or those 1982-vintage Loisada acts that were all the rage a good three decades back Only better because Lebedung come off as if they mean it without any noticeable pretensions or airs of artzyness. And although I will admit that listening through this all the way through was an at-times grating experience perhaps due to the language barrier (but then again, maybe not) I got a whole lot more fun and energy outta LIVE IN OPERA than I did with a good portion of those eighties/nineties "indie" releases that were supposedly custom-made for my own ideals and values but just sounded like a buncha trust fund kiddies acting all Guevara-like with daddy's dough.
Really, I never would have guessed that Bill was a collector of those back-of-the-mag song publishers who would set your poems to music but he obviously is, and although I wonder how he scarfed these platters up in the first place he did just that and man is he ever willin' to share 'em with me! Not as whacked-out as the various song poem collections that have come out over the years but still vital enough with more Rod Rodgers along with the likes of Cathy Mills, Bob Storm and of course who could forget Norm Burns and the Five Stars. Given the often lunkheaded poems they hadda work with you can't complain after hearing the results no matter how 1962 sorta-got-it the results may be. Wonder how these people woulda tackled Beaver Cleaver's "I Wish I Was a Bear" ("Something-something without care") if they got hold of it...the mind reels.
Last Wed.'s krautrock book had me diggin' this hardly played item out, a live gig by none other than the German expressionist group Kluster before they dropped Conrad Schnitzler and became plain ol' Cluster with a "c". Frankly I didn't think it was anywhere as driving as those Kluster albums that came out on the Schwann label, but the Musique Concrete form is rather interesting and if they had injected some rock styling into the stew I'm sure the results would have been pure schnitzel. Listen to after you made your way through the rest of the catalog, and that includes the various Harmonia spinoffs and maybe even some of those outta-the-way solo/duo sets featuring Mobius and Rodelius branching off with other practitioners of the form, Eno included.
Another krautster pulled from the pile, and again one that hardly ever gets the spinaroo here at BLOG TO COMM central because it always seems to be kept under wraps. And although I've been known to go out on limbs and say things that most would consider loony bin (until a good ten/twenty years go by and I'm proven right even though the same naysayers still won't admit it!) I find it more than obvious that Schulze, although a "progressive rock" schmuck and a German one at that, really came up with some downright startling "experimental music" here. This really does fit in with some of the better moments of sixties/seventies avant gardia, and that includes recordings not only of the likes of Cage, Riley or even Glass but Nico's MARBLE INDEX as Lester Bangs pointed out a few years after he died. Opening track "Ebene" really does have such a seventies feral feeling to it that it made the perfect backdrop for staring out the window last night as the sky faded from royal purple to black...sure woulda made a better soundtrack to Anger's LUCIFER RISING than the Beausoliel version, while the rest sounds about as introspective electronic as any halfway decent import bin could have gotten back in the mid-seventies. Next stop...CYBORG!
No label available for this item that Bill Shute burned for me, and when I say burn I'm talkin' 'bout the linings of your ear canals that will transpire after giving these classic rarities a go at it! Both Edgar and Reynolds have that early-sixties push to 'em that seemed slightly out of place in the world of Bobby Rydell, and as history has proven it was all for the better! Edgar plays it like an early-sixties buff rocker in the Del Shannon mold...not as pro but still wild enough for my own warped tastes while Reynolds seems to run the gamut of late-fifties rockabilly to Johnny Rivers swing (and some of the later tracks do conjure up images of lambchop sideburns and neckerchiefs!) displaying a fine range of emote and thrust. And the most interesting thing about the Reynolds sides is that his version of the Dorsey classic "Rag Mop" is the first time I've heard that song in its entirety since discovering it via BEANY AND CECIL, and I was only three at the time! Now I can go to the great beyond with my heart just a little lighter!
***OKAY OKAY OKAY, I've been dispensing with the weirdo dream re-caps for quite some time, probably because I usually don't have 'em at the same rate during the warm summer months that I do when it's nice 'n frigid. But now that winter's reared its ugly rear the vivid dreams have been comin' back faster'n skin blebs on my eyelids and well, I do know that you probably don't want to know about the one where I was careening through the neighborhood on a motorized wheelchair (not "scooter") at fifty miles an hour but maybe THIS 'UN'LL perk your peepers up a bit!
I do have recurring dreams about going into record shops, just like the kind that I used to traipse into back when I was a pot-pudge teenbo, where I discover bountiful bins filled with albums ne'er before seen and naturally ne'er to be ever seen again items that will only be found within the boundaries of my fetid imagination. There were even times when I'd wake up feeling extremely frustrated after obtaining a particular piece of plastic that's so near and dear to my heart, only to enter into the vestibule of reality and discover that my acquisition was but an illusion making for one sad sack of a rock obsessive! Other times I'm only saddened a bit because all my dream did was remind me of a past where I sure wish that I could have bought the entire record store out (save for the disco, grown up, hippoid folkie and e-z listening schmooze), and now that I can there are no record shops left around here to do so!
Well, the dream I had just this past evening (right after the wheelchair debacle) was but the latest in a series of many a record shop-based snooze fantasy that I've encountered, and although I didn't wake up in the throes of angst I sure thought it was a humdinger of one to share with you obviously dream-less readers. Anyway, in this dream I happened to be in one of those small, mom and pop-type record shops (the kind that you used to see operating out of old storefronts, aging shopping plazas or ancient buildings that used to serve as mini-marts or general stores) looking around when I notice somebody stacking in the "new release" display (which looked like an old comic book rack only larger!) this weird album by the MC5 entitled (now get this!) BLACK TO COMM!!!!! The cover was in a typical 1969 Atco design style, totally black except for the title "MC5-BLACK TO COMM" emblazoned across the top and a photo of the group in the middle that, judging from the fact that Wayne Kramer still had short hair in it, must have been taking early in 1967. I do recall Rob Tyner's 'fro being rather expansive tho, so maybe my brain circuits were crossing thus placing the 1969 Tyner in with the 1967 Kramer adding to more illogical dream concoctions! The entire group was dressed in black complete with turtleneck sweaters, and maybe one or two was adorned with a pendant featuring some strange design that was so in vogue back in them days.
Looking at the back cover (song titles listed at the top edge) I immediately realize that BLACK TO COMM was an album that some small label in the Pickwick/Springboard vein quickly rushed out in the wake of the MC5 mania that was sweeping the nation back in early 1969. I recall the title track leading off side one for sure, and although I couldn't relate to you what exactly those other cuts on the platter were the "vibrations" I was picking up from my dream seemed to indicate that the numbers here were also pre-album single tracks mixed with some outtakes that must have been lying about in the vaults. In other words, something akin to the various MC5 repackages and exhumations that have come out since the debut of BABES IN ARMS back '83 way. Nevertheless I am more or less enthralled at seeing this particular item being sold, although after looking at the one I picked off the rack and seeing that the shrinkwrap had been slit down the edge I grab another copy which was better sealed. After that I slowly but surely get released from the arms of Morpheus and, unlike the time I found that second Hampton Grease Band album not to mention recordings by Richard Robinson's Man Ray I didn't feel empty or cheated. After all, I already have most of this stuff in my collection, and although it sure was a swell enough album that would have adorned my collection perfectly it is like hey, why cry over it anyway???
***I'd like to tell you that I have a special surpise in store for next weekend, but I don't. Until then, see you mid-week with a book report that would have put a smile on your fourth grade teacher's face, before she sent you to the principal's office, that is.
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 3:07 AM