Saturday, October 12, 2013


How are you enjoying the nice 'n warm October weather we're having here in the tri-county area anyway? Believe-you-moi I sure do appreciate this summertime extension we're having which I must say reminds me of some of the surprisingly nice and toasty Octobers that we've had in the past. Y'know, the kind that somehow intermingle with the better moments of my (and maybe even your) growing up days when I'd be reading comic books and watching old tee-vee programs when I should have been smoking pot like all of the other eight-year-olds out there!.And hey, since the Indians are predicting a cold winter I better get my hot weather jollies in while I can because this January you know that I'm gonna be freezing my toogles off shoveling the snow at six inna morn just fantasizing about all of that warm weather most of us took for granted only a few months prior! But hey, other'n that at least winter gives me a good enough reason to GOOF OFF!!! and we all I sure could use a whole lot more of that as the year winds down.

In other news...Tom Hanks has diabetes. And like... are we supposed to cry about it??? Even a sniffle or two regarding the fact will certainly not come from my obvious clogged sinuses I'll tell ya. I mean, thanks to a double family whammy which already guaranteed my baldness I'm gonna be more'n apt to get the dread disease than YOU probably will and guess what...NONE of you young whippersnappers are gonna care one bit whether or not my blood can be used as syrup for Dracula's pancakes.

I gotta admit that, although I couldn't give one fig what you think, it does burn me up a bit hearing all of that sad and sympathetic talk aimed towards a man of whom I have a total loathing and hatred for. Someone who I frankly wouldn't mind wishing some evil upon if only for the past three decades of his sniveling career which I somehow think was supposed to be directed towards the likes of me, as if anyone from Hollywood had cared to ask me what I like inna first place. This current crop of mewling reminds me of when I was a kid in school just loaded with all sorts of problems and miseries and inner demons trying to bore a hole through my noggin, and alla the girls would feel sorry for not me but some cutesy boy kid who had something not-so-drastically bad befall him! Of course the skirts felt this way only because he was a good looker and I was just another blubboid pimplefarm! I mean---I know I look more like Karbunkle or even Fester Bestertester than I do Guy Smiley, but I was the one who was having the problems and my heart and soul getting ripped outta me, and like the same people who were shedding tears over some updated Freddie Bartholomew type were continually tell me to "get over it" like it was that easy to toss off those traumatic experiences that pretty much shaped my entire personality and being!!!!

Yeah, tell me to get over the constant haranguing and debasement and abject ridicule, then go home and rub yourselves off while listening to Dylan sing about Hollis Brown and Hattie Carroll thinking you're all oh-so-superior to the rest of us mouth-breathers! Hope you feel really good, and don't forget to clean up the mess!

So you can (obviously I hope) tell that I have an extreme aversion to people showing sympathy for well off big name stars who bruise their pinky whilst all these poor schmucks with nada to their name actually cry' their li'l eyes out because of it! (An exaggeration???  Well, maybe not by much!) Well, I guess that now that the Kennedys have been dropping off like flies Ameriga needs some new hollow idols to bleed heart over and really, can you get any more hollower-than-thou than Hanks?

I think I've dished out enough curmudgeoness for the week...anyhoo here's what stimulated my stirrups this past week or so:

The Walnut Band-GO NUTS CD (Numusi Records, Germany)

Back during the illustrious days of underground rock making inroads into barfoid teenage listening patterns, I was thoroughly under the impression that all of the acts that were playing the much-fabled CBGB/Max's Kansas City circuit in lower Manhattan were of a thoroughly punkoid stock! Yes, I actually believed that each and every artist that set foot on the hallowed stages of those clubs was worthy of my record collection, and the fact that both clubs were able to subsist on the bevy of bountiful acts that not only existed in the local area but worldwide was living proof that this world was heading toward a powerful post-Velvets vista of high energy jamz that would last us for nigh up to a good decade or so, at which point something even more beneficial would come around to push us true believers into even greater realms of musical expression! Yeah, back then ignorant kids like myself could really conjure strange if compelling theories as to where rock music was heading and thankfully it wasn't into the sordid album rock direction the rest of the kids thought it would!

Funny how a li'l research could change your perceptions within the blink of a wink or however that old saying goes. Loads of digging and review scrounging had me discovering early on that maybe some of those CBGB and Max's acts just weren't as punk rock or even gnu wave-y as we all thought they were going to be. Oh yeah, some of 'em may have been punk rock in a 1971 CREEM magazine punk rock sorta way, or punkier than thou or even sorta punk, but a good portion of 'em weren't exactly punk like you me and the bedpost thought it might be. In fact, some of the groups that were appearing on the stages of those haunts were pretty much aping their directions from rather non-punkian sources, or even non-underground stylings of any sort or maybe even non-rock 'n roll ideals for that matter! Hard to believe that, but it's true as anyone who plunked down moolah for albums by the Movies and City Lights (both good enough acts at least in part) could tell you with a slight sense of disgust on their faces.

I have, at least as of the past two or so decades, been surprised at the number of decidedly non-punk acts that were playing the clubs during the mid-to-late seventies which as you know has shattered my pre-conceived notions like potrzebie! Of course there were the slew of heavy metal groups from the likes of Sun/Son and Sorcerers not to mention that all-time great Von Lmo at CB's and Max's, but they had at least a shard of early punk credo that I'm sure kept 'em interesting enough to the reams of regular attendees (as well as the unacquainted few). Rhythm and Blues (and just straight-ahead blues) was a big enough ticket in mid-seventies New York to the point where Max's even got mentioned on the cover of a Spivey Records sampler as a hot place to hear the likes of the Dicey Ross Blues Band, the Sugar Blues Band and other acts that never did get out as much as some thought they should have. (Did the legendary Rice Miller Band ever release anything?) And who could forget this quote that ex-Shirts singer Annie Golden spewed forth about how going to CBGB wasn't exactly a predictable experience given how Hilly Kristel would book not only the standard punk rock locals but jazz rock, rockabilly, psychedelic and other kinds of acts that probably couldn't get a gig anywhere other'n CBGB especially in those original music-starved days.

(One of the weirdest things I've discovered about the booking patterns at CBGB and Max's [and to a small extent Club 82] was the presence of progressive rock acts at the clubs! Max's seemed to be the bigger offender even though Peter Crowley drew a thirty-plus-year memory block when presented with some facts [blaming it all on Deerfrance who was booking acts while Crowley was cavorting in England managing Wayne County], but both places actually did book quite a few prog rockers amid the usual up-and-coming acts. One of them was called Amber Waves [led by mellotron and acoustic guitar player Jimmy Maraval] who actually performed their rock opera entitled "Justice and Sundown" at Max's twice where a special showcase for Manticore Records was attended by Emerson Lake and Palmer's manager! The guy was impressed, but this was right when ELP was falling apart and both they and Manticore's days were pretty much numbered. Another group called Elixir started life as a Genesis cover band complete with the Peter Gabriel costume changes but got to play Max's providing they did mostly originals. Another act that played CBGB a bit more frequently than Max's called Travan billed themselves as "a progressive rock band for the twentieth century" making me wonder which centuries the other prog acts were playing, and who could forget Chicago's Pentwater who played CBGB and Max's late-'76 and even used a track from their CB's show on their self-produced OUT OF THE ABYSS platter! If any of you have any more information on these or any other prog groups that made it to the stages of these clubs [or photos, tapes or even personal recollections for that matter] please send it along because frankly, we need all of the information we can get before it all fizzles out into the ether! And who knows, I might even like what I hear!)

Of course one of the strangest acts that I've noticed popping up on the local punk circuit (or at least at Max's) was this Boston aggregation that was going by the name of the Walnut Band. Saw their name on two Max's gig listings (considering the gaps I have as far as these gigographies go there may have been more) during the summer and autumn of 1976, one on a five-band packed bill that also featured none other than local hard-rock and Kongress mates Guardian but space rock explorers and probably progs in their own right Master Radio Canaries. A li'l googlin' out of pure curiosity brought up the fact that the Walnuts not only were a "pop" group but had an album out on the Appaloosa label which did stimulate my bean a bit considering how Boston was pumping out good pop acts like Coraopolis PA pumps out unemployment checks. Sounded OK enough to me I'll tell ya. However, further research had me discoverin' that this group was more or less closer to the Grateful Dead than they were the Atlantics, at which point I kinda wondered what the heck was going on since hippie rock never was the forte of the New York underground scene unless you considered the Shirts or Hackamore Brick to be hippies (I didn't).

So yeah, with influences ranging from the Dead to Allman Brothers you could say this group was more suited for Watkin's Glen rather than Max's Kansas City, but how did their home-made effort of an album turn out anyway? Gotta say that frankly, this thing ain't that bad...nothing that would tweak the nodes of your average BLOG TO COMM fanabla but interesting enough to keep you going through at least one spin. Maybe a four out of ten star deal...the Dead references and Allman twin guitar leads do prevail, and although that ain't exactly a selling point when it comes to me parting with my moolah I gotta say that I wasn't offended at all. Maybe the hippie dippyisms weren't as overt as I had expected, though the seventies San Fran vibe does its best to make its way through the boundaries of your headband. Strange that such a prim, proper and downright staid area as Boston could produce a group like this...

In all, this probably ain't that different from a few thou other local psychedelic acts who were selling their records at gigs before dumping 'em off at the local Goodwill. At least another little missing bit of rock esoterica has been uncovered in this great jigsaw puzzle of long gone underground rock history, though once you get down to it couldn't it have been Junior Birdmen instead???
The Connection-LET IT ROCK CD-r burn (originally on King Yum)

Who woulda ever thunk that power pop would still be up and running here in the 'teens! Of course it's been quite some time since Greg Shaw's famed PP-themed issue of BOMP! made its way to your door, and as far as I can recall the movement didn't congeal that far outside of a small cadre of local moptops and their miniskirt wannabes. But if you were the kinda guy who plunked out the pezoozahs for SHAKE SOME ACTION (even an early import copy!) before it hit the cut out racks like I managed to do given my depression-era wages or met up with the Scruffs, Shoes, Socks or even Suspenders on the basis of a few fanzine articles boy is this the group for you!

Gotta admit that I don't think that the Connection live up to the power and energy of '76 Groovies, nor do I ponder that the same folks who praised Pezband would think as highly of these New Hampshireites as they do Chicago's answer to the Raspberries. But for those of you starved for that seventies take on sixties accomplishment this just might be the group for you. Pretty hotcha rip throughs featuring that floor-stomping midwest-sounding take on Beatledom with a touch of Who, reshaped for a seventies clientele that shoulda prevailed against the fartwind of AOR but never did make it outta the garage. And yeah, like I once said listening to stuff like this in 2013 is kinda akin to my uncle listening to Bix Beiderbecke toons being played on mid-morning PBS, but at this point in time can any of you really care what people think of you anymore???
Various Artists-SLY DOG SHAKIN' CD-r (compiled by Bill Shute)

Hey, some real surprises here including an early take on the infamous Moving Sidewalks crowd pleaser "99th Floor", Kai Ray's "Trashmen's Blues" (the song where the group got their name from, and I don't mean the Rays!) and the Continental V's "Wake Me Up Girl" which sounds as good here as if did on that FLASHBACK compilation of Texas psychedelia a good thirty years back. As usual the country twang that Bill also included sticks out as much as a hunk of smegma in an Israeli nudist colony, but I guess Bill likes it that way. Also worthy of your ears is Chiyo and the Crusaders' "Pink Dominoes" which was produced by Kim Fowley and which also just might appear on one of those new Norton collections of various rarities from the famed King of the Cagas, but if not its here and you can pick it up for download with the mere flick of a mouse!
Wolf Eyes-NO ANSWER: LOWER FLOOR CD-r burn (originally on De Stilj)

Not bad a-tall scrounge noise from this long-lived Robert Forward fave (he sent me the disque!), though next to such masters as (former Wolf Eyes collaborators) Smegma this just don't come off as pow'r 'n might. Nice enough free crank that sounds like the attic of  your mind is being cleaned out of old LIFE magazines, and you can just feel the layers of dust being shaken offa your uncle's old World War II uniform as you listen to these guys making sounds akin to a gestating android in the second trimester of transistorized gurgle. But hey, I've listened to many of these post-LAFMS-styled groaners before and, although it makes a fine resensifier, if you have a handfulla the stuff that was being made thirtysome years back it ain't like you have to part with your hard-begged for more of the same! Get it free like I did and save a wad, John!
The Len Price 3-CHINESE BURNS CD-r burn (originally on Wicked Cool)

Another McGarry power pop burn he obv. deemed important enough for me to hear. Neat enough straight ahead power pop rock, but way too "Little Steven" for me to fully appreciate. Coulda used a little push of somethingorother to make it through the intestinal tract of my listening parameters, perhaps because I feel like I've heard this album throughout the past thirtysome years only it's been issued under different names and on different labels considering that the drive and feeling is unchangingly the same. Otherwise, it's fairly good rock that kinda makes me wanna go down to the radio station and strangle those giggling guys you hear on FM morning drive time as they make the off color remarks in between repeated spins of Journey, so it ain't like a total douse!
CELLULAR CHAOS CD (ugEXPLODE, try CD Baby for a copy)

Sure seemed like only a few months ago that this whacked out group (featuring Weasel Walter among others) put out a platter, but they have a new 'un anyway and boy is it a crazy affair. Doesn't sound as much Teenage Jesus or Siouxsie (two selling points CD Baby is using to push this one) as it does various mid-eighties underground noise acts, but it sure does its best to destroy all the cells huddled in your ear canals. Female vocals screech over a sonic attack that typified the whole spirit of underground mania, at least before the people in these groups began settling into chi-chi hi-fi living and totally forgot they were supposed to be degenerates in the first place. By the way, ugEXPLODE seems to be in some sort of flux, so if you want this order from CD Baby until the mail label can get themselves back on track.
Charity Chan/Peter Evans/Tom Blancarte/Weasel Walter-CRYPTOCRYSTALLINE CD (ugEXPLODE, see above for details)

A surprising free jazz outing led by Montreal pianist Chan and her ragtag band which not surprisingly also features ugEXPLODE label head Weasel Walter on drums. A might rage have we here, reminding me of nothing more than a Cecil Taylor Unit Structures session with Chan's piano sounding even more percussive than Taylor's (if you can imaging that!) while trumpeter Peter Evans plays even freer than Ted Curson ever attempted to. Coulda used the new generation's Jimmy Lyons on there (whoever he may be!), but maybe on the next 'un. Burton Greene's inner/outer piano approach also freely comes to mind. This has got all of the energy and tension that I loved in the music way back when packed into it more'n fudge, and if you too mourned the loss of the blare sometime in the early-eighties boy will this put a smile on your face! Gotta give this one all the stars in the world of the best heard by a batch of young upstarts in quite some time.
See you again, but who knows when...

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