***Before we get into the main vein of this writeup, here's a rather invigorating review of Lou Reed's ROCK 'N ROLL ANIMAL platter I thought you oughta read if only because it begins with a name-drop of none other than obscure and mystical rockscribe figure Wayne McGuire. Considering that this came from a college freebee paper it's amazing that the thing reads as credibly as it does (and it doesn't hurt that I agree with Mr. Foye's opines even if ROCK 'N ROLL ANIMAL is more pose 'n pout), especially when the reams of collegekid scribing I've come across o'er the years come off like Erma Bombeck after a few too many pink ladies at the garden party. And there was this one character I remember who actually went by the name of "Guz Scullin" who wrote this particularly rancid prose for one college paper tying in everything that was honest and noteworthy in late-seventies "music" to...Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes??? Really, was it actually thirtysome years ago that even a relative fluffweight as Elvis Costello seemed so revolutionary and trendsetting and "out-there" in the face of blind Eagle worship? Well, next to the stuff Scullin and his classic rock pals were pumping to even Elmer Fudd singing in the shower came off avant garde!
Anyway, enjoy some truly hotcha rockscribing for once in your life, some of it coming right up...
The Velvet Underground-SOUNDTRACKS, 46th ANNIVERSARY DELUXE EDITION 3-CD-R + 1 DVD-R set (no label)
This collection comes as the surprise of the week if not month, but don't get your jockeys too far up your crack because it ain't like this set's chock fulla any ne'er before heard obscurities. Most of this has been in circulation for years, though if you don't have the Warhol Museum stuff that hasn't been issued legally or the soundtracks to THE CHELSEA GIRLS and HEDY that have appeared on long gone collections this is the place to get 'em all in one nice package.
As for me, the ten minutes of CHELSEA GIRLS Velvetizing taken from the DVD release was an ear-opener as it sounded almost totally different from the audience take that's been circulating since the eighties (which also pops up here for interesting comparison mongering). The brief clips from the PHILLIP JOHNSON GLASS HOUSE film as well as the heavily distorted "I'll Be Your Mirror" from SCENES FROM THE LIFE OF ANDY WARHOL were also enjoyed if only because of their rarity and hey, I'll listen to any Velvets even if it sounds like it was recorded in the vast cavernous reaches of Patrick Amory's obviously cavernous rectum.
As an added bonus comes a DVD-R of the Velvets filmed live in Boston '67 doing a wide passel of sounds that I doubt any of us ever heard before including the rarity "I Heard Her Call My Name" as well as an early take of "Walk and Talk It" guaranteed to get any self-respecting fan of the band salivating worse'n Sam during his days of dementia. Oddly enough, what I got with my package was not this promisingly juicy slice of Velvets live that I hoped but the Japanese film classic TERROR OF MECHAGODZILLA that, while not a bad flick in itself, ain't exactly what I was looking forward to after the promise of a CD-R of a poorly filmed Velvet Underground show had been circulating for quite awhile. It was kinda like the old sitcom standby routine where a buncha guys are hoping to see naughty nudie films and all they get were home movies of someone's trip to Mexico, while at the exact moment the Women's Club was getting ready to view what they thought were the vacation trip flicks only to get a buncha teenage gals romping around in the all together! Mighta been funny when you saw it on tee-vee back then, but I sure felt bummed. Oh well, it'll probably be on youtube within a week.
***The Infrared Radiation Orchestra-9 GREAT ROCK 'N' ROLL DANCE HITS; PREPARING THE FEAST OF SKELDON CD's (Jargon Records, available from Kim Draheim, 2457 State Route 89, Seneca Falls NY 13148 USA or try email@example.com if you so desire)
Oh no...more recordings by OLD FOGIES!!!! Well, I'm more'n positive that we're all gettin' up there now and besides, considering just how dead 'n decayed rock 'n roll is here in 2013 (no later than '68, '82 at the very latest, and 2006 when they boarded up CBGB the final nail) I'll take my rock 'n roll any way I can even if Grandma Moses were to appear in a leather g-string and pasties singing "Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell" while cutting up an effigy of James Taylor with an electric carving knife. Well, it'd probably be a whole lot sexier'n the stuff that is being presented as eroticism these days which, once you strip away the clothes, tattoos, shaved nether regions and various piercings, is about as sexy as a medical book showing feminine hygiene techniques...for your pooch.
But heyheyHEY ya gotta admit that its oldsters like the Infrared Radiation Orchestra who are the only ones who are cranking out hotcha high energy rock these days, and the reason is rather obvious if ya ask me. It's because their rockism memory goes back farther'n MTV videos that's for sure! Like back to the mid-sixties when rock was finally getting some heavy-duty respect (or, as Lou Reed once said, "rock 'n roll is the real avant garde!") and heading for a quick supernova before becoming a mode that was, for the most part, meaningless. And as far as I'm concerned it was the SIXTIES where rock (and rock 'n roll especially) held its last stand before becoming mutated beyond belief, and with a name like the Infrared Radiation Orchestra you know you ain't in for that modern mewl emote that has permeated most rock music for the past few decades. Now they ain't gonna be a Hawkwind knockoff like I kinda had 'em figured to be with that moniker, but they're still pretty good. They kinda sound if the members were locked in a closet since 1978 and just emerged thinking that ROCK SCENE was still being published, that's where their minds are at and hopefully will remain!
The Infrareds have two platters out that are pretty snat, sorta in the intersection between the Figures of Light, Flamingo Road, the Bizarros, post-synth Simply Saucer and a few dozen more local rock groups that sorta flopped around in the seventies but came off so hot thirtysome years later when there was nothing left that could touch it. Both of their albums are definitely worth the time and (perhaps not so much) trouble it'll take to procure 'em, because frankly in the here and now it ain't like you can just run down to the local record shop and buy stuff like this. That is, if there really are any record shops left (alla 'em here've been bulldozed or now serve as law offices or plumbing depots...go figure!)
PREPARING THE FEAST OF SKELDON is the longer of the two, translating into what you would have called a two-album set a good three-and-a-half decades back. Here the trio of Kim Draheim (guitar, theremin and vocals), Paul Nolan (drums and vocals) and Richard Terry (bass guitar and vocals) rage through some hot sixties/seventies hot flash points done (thankfully) w/o the self-conscious back-patting and self-congratulatory feelings associated with way too many sixties leftovers that are about as appetizing as four-day-old meatloaf. Nothing that I would call upper-echelon true (that lofty height being reserved for the higher-than-high standards set forth by the Velvet Underground, Stooges and even Seeds), but powerfully potent and even more so in this post-rock era which, come to think of it, is the "no future" that was being blabbed about ad infinitum back in the late-seventies. And it all ends with a mad medley of "Eight Miles High"/"Third Stone From the Sun"/"2,000 Light Years From Home"/"Interstellar Overdrive" that fortunately doesn't make you think of your older sister's first boyfriend, the one that your dad beat up when he brought her home two minutes late some dark Friday evening.
Yeah, even after all these years I'm still lookin' for them hot seventies groups that I hope will give me the same kinda thrill that I got when I first slapped on those old Alice Cooper and Stooges albums oh so long ago. Y'know what I'm talkin' about...bargain bin unadulterated high energy suburban slob FUNZIES, the same kind that the Seeds and Sonics and the whole NUGGETS mentality was supposed to mean to people like us only the scourge of progressive rock and people too chicken to say they liked Guy Lombardo so they liked the Moody Blues kinda overtook everything. Well, at least it overtook everything until rock 'n roll (or just plain "rock music" by now ) became obsolete (and I beating a dead issue this post or what!) because the kids were just as much a buncha assholes as their folks were only they were too altruistic to admit it.
Although there are many an unrecorded group that deserves to be discovered I kinda get the feeling that the Amerigan scene has been tapped out for all its worth. Of course there are some promising releases that are scheduled to come our way pretty soon, but otherwise I have the sick feeling that we've pretty much heard all there is to be heard outta this nation of ours unless some delusional sixty-plusser who was in some wild 60s/70s underground aggregate gets the idea that maybe we wouldn't mind hearing his nth-string band no matter how loathed and hated they were back when they were actually delusional enough to think that Kim Fowley was gonna walk into the bar they were playing and offer to produce 'em like "that!"
Krautrock has always been a good source of these late-sixties/seventies jamz. This is a proven fact especially when considering how the entire genre (at least at its fringiest) adhered to the wilder aspects of mid-Amerigan trash aesthetics rather than they did of English progressive rock regurgitations of early-twentieth century classical moves. Y'know, those panderings that in retrospect seem more like a lame attempt to relay to the oldsters that this rock music wasn't just a buncha noise, but had "class" and "integrity" and all of those things that tin pan alley, symphonic struts and other "legitimate" forms of music most certainly possessed as well (it didn't work). Another proven fact is that a good portion of krautrock at its most extreme could easily be played in heavy rotation with everything from the Dolls to the Remains with a little Beefheart and STARSAILOR thrown in, and if groups like Ainigma or Siloah weren't stuck in their little Teutonic enclaves and got out more maybe more people would be trying to gobble up their albums the same way holdover Beatle fans in the mid-seventies were on the lookout for that flea market copy of YESTERDAY AND TODAY that just "might" have the butcher cover underneath the pasteover!
Dunno how A.R. and Machines would fit into this, but gawrsh I sure hoped they would have been a fun slice of krautrock with enough punkian overtones to make even Greg Shaw blush. Yeah we all knew that A.R. is in fact ex-Rattle Achim Reichal and that he went the kraut route after forsaking his beat roots like I'm sure a whole buncha similar-minded mop toppers did nationwide. What little I had heard did not impress, but Imants Krumins was big on 'em and that guy always had tastes that I sure loved to latch onto like the remora I most certainly am so why not cling onto the man's musical memories even in death!
After a number of spins and some deep contemplation usually reserved for revenge fantasies involving handcuffs and electric cattle prods, I've come to the conclusion that A.R. and Machines are in fact fairly good krautscapading. Nothing that I would say exactly thrills me in a 1972 Can/Amon Duul shining beacon to the rest of the world in their Germanic prowess sorta way, but fine enough for those who still thought that the wa-wah was the best thing that happened to the guitar, and in 1972 as well. Reichel obviously hadn't forsaken his pop roots when this spinner was made, and that in fact keeps this from developing into another progressive snootfest with all of those "hey look, a Stravinsky cop here and a Vaughn Williams swipe there!" moves that were even more pretentious than a whole lotta punk-into-punque leftovers were once 1985 rolled around.
Sure at times the electronics sound like a buncha kids goofing off with the stereo tonearm and the congas banging on and on can intrude on the electronic groove a bit. Even the opening track "Globus" comes way too close for comfort to the progressive blather that way too many wonks consider rock music. But hey, most of this is fair enough krauty pop that, while pale next to the bigger releases oozing high energy pulse and drive, might just sound neato next to what the seventies greats were doing in the eighties when none of us could give a toss what with all of those underground and sixties garage band releases to contend with.
Via youtube, here's a track, in fact the track, that got me interested in picking this up after years of ho-humness. If you study the description of the video carefully (after being taken to the page it originally appeared on, natch!) you will note two words that especially piqued my interest, and if I do say so those potent words do heavily figure into not only the particular sounds heard, but the entire backbone of the German rock zeitgeist that made the movement the Teutonic equivalent of Amerigan late-sixties/early-seventies garage punk explorations. Listen on and tell me you don't agree with my (once again) vital and pertinent opines regarding these musical genres that are seemingly long dead 'n buried! (Don't worry, although you will agree you never would admit it in a millyun years...I've come to expect that from you lofty and oh-so-pious knowitalls!)
***The "NYC" August Rock Band-BETTER DAYS CD-R (LosTraxx)
Sure had high hopes for this 'un. Y'see, August was one of those under-the-wire New York groups that played a whole lotta times at CBGB, the 82 Club and Max's during the '75/'77 seasons, and although they weren't as obscure an act as say, Master Radio Canaries or the Jesse Fields Band they at least had enough of a rep to earn themselves a few off-mentions in the pages of THE NEW YORK ROCKER about as often as the Planets or Just Water got 'em. After what little I had read of the group I was conjurin' up loads of images of some hot post-Ziggy-styled glam slam done up in a guttural/gutter-al New York fashion, but it turns out that August, for all of their underground credo and image, were little more than a standard post-Stones bar band with various "classic rock" moves that coulda made someone a mint in the eighties. At first listen I was furious, at second I thought August were a good enough straight ahead band even if they strayed far from anyone's idea of what a New York band was supposed to sound like. It's your choice, though I should warn you that the exorbitant price LosTraxx is offering for a half hour of music might dissuade you more than just "slightly."
***ANYHOO---in closing here are a few youtube clips that I thought you'd might want to see, the first being a rather interesting (esp. in these uninteresting times) trailer for an imaginary ARCHIE moom pitcher that shows the Riverdale kiddoes getting involved in various moderne-day teenage mishaps, sorta like an update on the old MAD standby "Starchie" taken into full-tilt overdrive. Surprisingly enough I kinda liked it, even if I thought Big Ethel was actually attractive here 'stead of the dog she used to be in the comics...howevah, the guy who played Jughead looked real enough for my own personal tastes and really deserves some sorta special award for his rather mixed up, cringe-inducing portrayal of Archie's long-time best friend. This actually won some Canuckian internet award which, if anything, goes to show ya that the spirit of SCTV lives on somewhere, somewhat "up there."
Of course if this is too "bad taste" for ya maybe this pilot for an ARCHIE television series will do you right. Dunno if the '64 date given is accurate unless William Schallert was thinking of doing a quick exit from THE PATTY DUKE SHOW, but it's still a nice li'l slice of what might have been (and perhaps what thankfully wasn't since this particular Archie is so...un-Archie-like!) had somebody decided to take the bait and get this idea into production. Perhaps it's too DOBIE GILLIS all over, but where do you think Max Shulman got the idea for that 'un inna first place?!?!?
Sure some of the casting seems strange enough (Schallert is nothing like the plump 'n bald comic Mr. Andrews) but getting Wilma Flintstone herself Jean Vanderpyl as Archie's mom was a snat move if you ask me. And hey, that's none other than Ralph Monroe, Mary Grace Canfield, as Miss Grundy so if I were you I'd just settle back and enjoy it because hey, if she could get a role in this 'un you know it's gonna be a boss half-hour of sitcom jollies 'n not just another excuse to present half-assed humor and pseudophilosophical goo as quality entertainment. And as you know we've had enough of that these last umpteen years!
***Gotta go...boy was that a struggle to type out! I guess my budding Alzheimer's is starting to get the best of me, but hopefully I'll be recovered enough to present for you something a li'l less analesque (and perhaps more cognitive) next weekend. Until then, as they say in Holland don't take any wooden shoes!