Saturday, May 25, 2013

Just gettin' off the bladder infection (urine's now a nice and bold gold color and smells its old unwashed school lavvy self) but managed to crank out a few reviews anyway here in the oddly cold last days of May. Yeah, can you people here in the Western Pee-YAY area believe this cold spell we're having which sure doesn't fit in with the barbeque and grill mindset usually associated with the Memorial Day weekend. Well, I hear it's gonna get warmer this upcoming week and in fact nice 'n toasty for that matter, but as for now it's still kinda chilly, like the weather you get around Easter with that glowing hope in your guts that SUMMER VACATION IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER even though it was always a good eight weeks off. And my mother used to tell me not to wish my life away like that...sheesh, with the kinda life I was leadin' back when I was eight wishin' it away was the best thing I could do in order to overcome all of the degradation and humiliation I was gettin' from all quarters!

Onto one more thing before we get into the reviews you've all been waiting for, and that is this article which had me laughing like nothing since SPUNKY AND TADPOLE (or was it BUNKY AND JAKE???) and only goes to show you that author Jim Goad is the new Ambrose Bierce if in fact this piece of his is indeed the new DEVIL'S DICTIONARY. Have a good laugh while learn something in the process, just like you used to do with both Lenny Bruce and HIGHLIGHTS FOR CHILDREN!
Frank Lowe-THE LOWESKI CD (ESP-Disk'), the Revolutionary Ensemble-THE PSYCHE CD (Mutable Music)

A coupla wonders recorded back during the days when this free jazz wielded a strange, almost hypno-doodle spell over loads of suburban pimplefarm types who only started listening to it because snooty rock types would drop free jazz names all over the place and sheesh, I'm sure even Big Ethel would want to be in the hot and bothered circle too now, wouldn't she? The Lowe release is a big surprise being made up of nothing but outtakes from the infamous BLACK BEINGS recordings...nothing that tops what already has shown up on that infamous album that Rudolph Grey said only a few people should ever be privy of hearing but a nice addendum anyway. Loads of free play complete with Lowe's high-squeal tenor competing against Joseph Jarman's alto as the group goes off for places unknown before ramming into aural brick walls taking us all with 'em. Biggest surprise of the set is a violin solo by "The Wizard" who begins strumming his instrument as if he were a mandolin-wielding Italian in dire need of Brioschi...that's before he's bowing the thing to the point where you think he's gonna cut right through it just like Morticia did on THE ADDAMS FAMILY. They really shoulda just reissued BLACK BEINGS and this together, but then again who said that the record companies, both big and little, cared about the hard-on-cash crowd like ourselves? They only care about milking as much moolah outta us squirts and the only mewling they do about our situations they leave to their folk singers!

THE PSYCHE was the only album to come out on the Revolutionary Ensemble's own "RE:Records" label...this was in 1975 right before the trio of Leroy Jenkins, Sirone and Jerome Cooper were signed to A&M/Horizon and suddenly bestowed a whole lotta major label money as well as record shop space. And like with the rest of the Ensemble's small label output there's that special "urgency" apparent that suits the music just swell. Leroy Jenkins is at his usual tops on violin sounding oh-so kultured one moment then guttural the next, while Sirone shows why he was one of the top bassists on the new free scene ever since the sixties. And Cooper not only handles the percussion with that weird detached multiethnic style that makes you wonder where exactly he is copping his motif (and that's from all over, you moron!), but he even dabbles on the piano sounding like the best imitation of Cecil Taylor that I've heard since "Loose Lip Sync Ship." Good 'nuff that I'm not more'n curious to know whether or not any of the other RE albums other'n the ESP 'un 'n this have been reissued on disque...MANHATTAN CYCLES on India Navigation is one album just ripe for a relistening to here thirtysome years after the fact!
John Cale and Friends-LIVE AT THE OCEAN CLUB IN NEW YORK, JULY 23, 1976 LP (B 13, Russia)

Sure the tape of this infamous "all star" gig (Lou Reed, Patti Smith, David Byrne...) recorded live at Mickey Ruskin's post-Max's beer garden's been circulating for quite some time, but it's the first time I've dared lay ears on it even though the opportunity had arisen many times in the past. Not that I was missing that much, but it's still a hot enough encapsulation of mid/late-seventies New York underground aesthetic. The performance comes off more like a hootenanny 'n an actual group (lotsa acoustic guitars and NO DRUMS!) and the results for the most part are highly reminiscent of the early Fugs, the earlier Velvets themselves (during the Falling Spikes era) and that other Reed/Cale gathering with Nico at the Bataclan just a good four years earlier. So intimate that it sounds like you've been invited to a special party to which only the creme de la hip were invited. Patti Smith does some vocal duetting that'll please you about as much in the here and now as it would've back in 1976, and if you were one to read about it in ROCK SCENE and sure wished to heck you could be there well here's the next best thing so don't complain!
Chrome-LIVE AT ON BROADWAY 1981 CD-R burn (available on Helios Creed's website I believe)

Here's a disque sent me by none other'n PD Fadensonnen for who knows what reason or other (I mean, has St. Swithin's Day crept up on us again?) consisting of what is supposed to have been the actual first live appearance of none other than Chrome! Yes, that very same group which bombarded the rock fanzine world with wall-to-wall ads for their albums thus creating a big hubbub if only out of curiosity... Of course things like a feature in CLE #3-A as well as Stephen Braitman's review of HALF MACHINE LIP MOVES in the last issue of BOMP! helped, at least to the point where a few more of their records might've been chucked into the local landfill had the message not gotten out.

Surprisingly enough Chrome live sound different than Chrome on record. Still sharp with electronic blare, but a bit bass-heavy and not quite as nightmarish as those early recordings. Well, they were changing and the live act still utilized the krauty cum Stooges ideals of those olden platters, so if you're looking for a new oldie to liven up your rather dread existence you do know where to go now, don't you?
PARSON SOUND 2-CD-r set (sent by Robert Forward)

Forward's sending of the by-now embedded Parson Sound set at least got me into playin' it once every three years 'stead of once every four, and as I suspected Parson Sound remains a good example of  rock 'n roll at the cusp between being intelligent and chance-taking music that was to be treated seriously and rock 'n roll that's maddening enough to even drive those phony intellectuals who said they liked it all along out of the room. Good use of drone-theorem helps heighten the avant garde experience while the overall rock as art approach is out there enough to draw clear comparisons to not only Hapsash and the Coloured Coat but the Amon Duuls of both I and II variety. Kinda like krautrock '68-'71 in general, only with that devil-may-care Scandanavian attitude 'stead of the maddening German bloodthirst of Amon Duul II and Can. Just one of many late-sixties trailblazing, no-holds-barred kinda groups I hope we'll be hearing more from via archival digs in a few months let alone years.
Various Artists-BAMBOO SPACEWALK, close-outs from the Virtual Thrift Store CD-r burn (sent by Bill Shute)

Only had the opportunity to listen to one Bill burn this week, and this one's a fairly good selection starting off with some early-sixties instrumental rarities. The cheeziness goes on in a nice fashion until Bill suddenly goes country on us and this starts sounding like a deep south radio playlist circa 1955. (At least two versions of a toon called "Salt Your Pillow Down" played back to back was enough to pry me away from ARCHIE.) Things then return from the land o' cotton with some more prime Amerigan cheeze...this time Pittsburgh's own Terry Lee talking sap-like over "Sleepwalk" and a couple of weirdies callin' 'emselves the Weird Beard and the Crazy Cajun doin' their version of "The Night Before Christmas." The disque closes out on a rockabilly tone that I can sure enjoy, including an early cover version of Gene Vincent's famed "Woman Love" where singer Jimmy Johnson clearly sings "huggin'" 'stead of the word everybody thought Gene uttered which only goes to show you one thing, and that is that Jimmy Johnson is a GOOD BOY!
CELLULAR CHAOS CD-r burn (courtesy Weasel Walter)

Dunno exactly who what or why I got this, but I do know when, and that was a few days ago when Weasel Walter sent me a package with this just happening to be in it. Actually this is surprisingly smart hard-noise rock that seems influenced by Jack Ruby among others, with an "Admiral Grey," "Ceci Moss" and "Mark Edwards " (only name I know outta the batch, I think) joining Weasel Walter on vocals, bass guitar and drums respectively. Sound quality is typical cassette inna corner and the performance is what they used to call "punk rock" sometime in the '76/'77 cusp before the moneygrubbers got their mitts on it, and it all ends in a version of "Remake/Remodel" that probably made Rocket From The Tombs' version sound like  Mister Ed. Hmmmm, a surprisingly interesting recording from the here and now...will wonders ever cease?
Mose Allison - I Love the Life I Live Mose Allison-I LOVE THE LIFE I LIVE LP (Vinilissimo, Holland)

Gotta say that I was especially nonplussed by Allison's performance on an old episode of SOUNDSTAGE back '78 way, but Nick Kent's mention of former heartthrob Chrissie Hynde's NME article did something to me, and it wasn't make me churn up big bucks so's I could read the thing on ROCK'S BACK PAGES either! Hot '60 sesh here from one of the better white guys roughing it out on black turf. Allison's rather whiteguy kultured vocals come off ubercool in a way that would make you think this was the stuff Maynard G. Krebs'd been listening to 'stead of the Kingston Trio, while the playing is surprisingly jazzy w/o making overtures to the less-than-bopster around. Makes me wanna hear more (even some less 'n enthralling seventies sides)...any suggestions out there (regarding which platters to pick, not as to how far I can force my head up my nether regions!) would be appreciated.


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Anonymous said...

If it's not a stupid question, are there actually some Falling Spikes recordings in circulation?!

Christopher Stigliano said...

Unless you're counting disque #1 of PEEL SLOWLY AND SEE (which might be the Warlocks if Electra Lobel's chronology of the group being Warlocks then Falling Spikes is to be believed), I don't think so. A shame since Cale said just about EVERYTHING the group did was recorded to reel back '65 way.