Saturday, January 04, 2014

So how did I spend New Year's Eve??? Not too different than I have the past twenty-five of 'em, huddled in my room cowering in fear thinking about how my entire existence has been a total waste with nothing to show for it. And how here it was, another year down the ol' pooper 'n what did it all mean (spiritually, socially, physically) anyway??? Of course I eventually got over the feeling and slapped on some handy next to the chair Cee-Dee whose title I now forget, but the gloom of shame was permeating the air heavier'n any underarm perspiration smells that might have emanated from my humidors otherwise known as armpits. I even read some old fanzines before hitting the sack around ten or so.

When I hadda wake up to pee around two it suddenly dawned on me that it's now been over fifty years since the Cool Life has ended (or was about to) and now I would be celebrating the demi-centennial of the mid-sixties, otherwise known as the transitional years which started off fine though by the late-sixties it would ALL be washed away by dull AM radio, boring television programs created by once-bright stars who were past it, radical hippies who somehow thought Havana was a better place to exist than Sharon, and the biggest loudmouths and back-stabbers to have called themselves children who I unfortunately hadda be shackled with in those prisons of so-called learning they call schools! The good side of it was at least programs like LEAVE IT TO BEAVER and DOBIE GILLIS were now being aired daily, even if most of the time it was during school hours and there was no way I could watch 'em.

But otherwise, New Year's Eve was not the kind I would have imagined I would be enjoying back when I was a young turd and thought life was gonna turn out way different that it obviously had. Then again, like I said my predictions regarding my existence never did turn out to be correct...somehow I thought I would end up being a successful, well-off financially, mannered specimen by this time in life and look where I ended up!

And worst of all, in the first discernible dream of the year that I had I was in my high school cafeteria trying to type out yet another issue of my fanzine monstrosity, being thwarted by fellow students every step of the way. Well, it beat the dream I had right after where I invened a way to remove hemorrhoids based on Biore Strips.

Enough of the silly self-pottying are some reviews which I managed to crank out between snivels. For a first time of the year effort, I must admit that I did...middling.

Coum Transmissions-HOME AGED & THE 18 MONTH HOPE LP (Dais Records)

Not being much of a Genesis Breyer P'Orridge fan (in fact, not even owning any proper Throbbing Gristle releases), I decided to snatch up this collection of various sound experiments, poesy recitations and interviews related to P and his early art aggregation Coum Transmissions anyway. After all, there's something about that pre-pussified experimental performance art that gets me right here! (hearty thump to the chest). And as far as abstract dada surrealist vorticism goes, Coum really outdid alla 'em by their sheer force of disgusto in-you-face-or-up-your-ass theatrics that included public puking, eating of puke, live sex acts, coprophagy (with an emphasis on the "phag" I'm sure) and other things that would dearly upset Otto Muehl and various other arbiters of clean living.

I can't make out if any of the above preversions (no's a joke, son) have been acted out on this album, but don't worry because it's still gonna shock your Aunt Maybelle like nothing since the time cousin Wilomena had to go out of state for "cosmetic surgery." Musically this is standard home recording free rhythmic sound played on piano or violin, with interview snippets from radio and elsewhere (including one where P'Orridge talks about his plans for the budding Gristle) sandwiching the various sound formations for wont of a better term. There's even a live portion from the time Coum opened for Hawkwind in 1971 which might be lacking a lot without the visuals, but I get the feeling that the audience got a whole lot more than they bargained for.

I don't go for other people's art projects especially when they seems akin to looking at their toilet fulla crap before flushing (OK, I'm sure that's been done at least forty years ago), but this sound portion was quite entertaining. And it did come off as good a slab of conceptual innovation as workable as a Chris Burden installation or Vito Acconci jacking off while hidden under some floorboards. Your own art professor may not think so, but if he don't just give him a blood enema until he sees the errors of his ways.
Yosuke Yamashita Trio-CLAY CD-r burn (originally released on Enja, Germany)

Hmmmm, seems like Yosuke and band had been listening to a li'l too much LIVE AT THE CAFE MONTMARTRE before recording this live '74 side at the Moers Fest, but since that bitta early-sixties avant garde splurge was such a wonderful experience I can hardly blame 'em! Yamashita's piano playing might cause Cecil Taylor to consider some legal action, but until he gets his lawyers on the rampage this will help if you can't find any of your Taylor albums offhand. Akira Sakata and Takeo Moritama might not be Jimmy Lyons and Sunny Murray respectively but they compliment Yamashita almost as well as the two did Taylor. An outta nowhere surprise that I'm sure many of you probably passed on back when this first hit the bins because hey, did any of you really think that Japanese could play jazz inna first place??? I mean, if it was as bad as their country and western...
Budgie-SQUAWK CD (NPL, England)

Sheesh, what a comedown! For a group that blasted ahead with a stellar debut that had all of the choicest aspects of punk rock and heavy metal rolled up into one megablare, this followup shows that the more these early-seventies groups "grew" and "matured" the more their albums began taking on not only airs of pretense, but deadened-nerve downer flatline. Not only are the "Iggy Pop bop" and Black Sabbath no-chord grind gone, but they've been replaced by more of that "good playing" and "exquisite production" that kids who probably lambasted their parents for their sophistication just loved to have crammed into each and every inch of their "rock". The Roger Dean cover (which was better'n his usual glop) should have been a tipoff, but then again if you can believe Metal Mike Saunders they were merely following the standard heavy metal trend of one good debut album only, so like maybe I shouldn't be too hard on 'em.
Suni McGrath-CORNFLOWER SUITE CD-r burn (originally on Adelphi)

Ok, so McGrath ain't as fluid as John Fahey nor is he as mystical as Robbie Basho (or as rocking as Sandy Bull), but the guy was apt enough to have recorded this mix of east 'n west slab that I'm sure would have done the job in any late-sixties college dorm lacking in Johnny Mathis or Mantovani records. Loads of fancy fingerpickin' and sitar twanginess to be found, sometimes with the addition of some brush percussion or tablas punctuating the procedures with exquisite taste. Still there seems to be something "strange" about it that keeps this from becoming a downright late-sixties blues/folk classic that I can digest well in my system. Maybe it's the fact that I'm actually listening to a rec recorded by a guy who calls himself "Suni"...sheesh!

MC5-LIVE '70; LIVE '72 CD-r burns (courtesy of P. D. Fadensonnen)

Some more hotcha MC5 recordings containing material that even I haven't heard before! LIVE '70's got some exquisite-sounding FM/TV simulcast material complete with a typical early-seventies AOR radio gal announcing in that dry, detached style. The performance is top notch showing the group still had the pow'r and might of their KICK OUT THE JAMS debut even if that Lester Bangs review had 'em (at least subconsciously) "toning it down." The audience recordings from Soldier Field in Chicago Illinois (strangely enough laid down a day before the above tee-vee broadcast) packs a whole lotta wallop as well even if the batteries on the tape recorder definitely needed to be replaced. There's loads of squeal and wheeze goin' on with this one making it yet another coulda been wowzer that got sabotaged due to some guy being too cheap to buy a new pack of Ray-O-Vacs!

LIVE '72 details the Five on their last legs in Europe not only with what I guess are outtakes from the BEAT CLUB recording session (including "Ramblin' Rose," "Motor City is Burning" and other class favorites) but that live "MC2" show recorded at the Kennedy Gym in Copenhagen where Wayne Kramer leads a reshuffled version of the group through some old ("Kick Out the Jams") and new ("Gloria") faves for whatever was left of their fan base at the time. Of course next to what the full-fledged Five were doing only a few months earlier this kinda pales, but ya gotta admit that next to what a whole slew of acts were dishing out in the name of 'rock 'n roll" throughout the seventies (and beyond) this band in its death throes sure packed quite a punch in comparison!
Various Artists-RAZZLE DAZZLE CHAOS SHOES CD-r burn (compliments of Bill Shute)

Starts off great with two sides of the Echotones' 1959 garage ballad single "So In Love"/"My Baby Doll" on the Dart label before slamming right into Rotomagus' third and final release which I know you have already heard, digested and loved to the hilt ever since it got the royal reissue treatment a few years back. The Birdwatchers were too horn-y for me, though I did like listening to the Pretty Things' "I Can Never Say" in this company .The Everly Bros. (I heard the news today---hoo boy!)sound particularly gutsy on "The Price of Love", and only Bill coulda thought to follow it up with Sonny Boy Williamson's blooze chooze "Peach Tree".

Rather'n continue on this rather choppy track-by-artist recitation lemme just wrap it up by saying that the selection's continues on a wunnerfully varied track from Bill Haley and Gene Vincent to Screaming Lord Sutch and the Minnesota-based surfers the Elegants or something like that. And (for a change) there's not one country twanger inna bunch! (And wait'll you hear Gollum's double-sided heavy metal whop-a-rena "Prayer of Despair"/"Desert Heat"! It's such a solid slab of vibrating phlegm lodged inna sinuses passing as "music" to the point where you know that all of those sissy eighties "hair metal" bands woulda run home crying to mama had they given this 'un a listen!)
Mantronix-KING OF THE BEATS (Anthology 1985-1988) 2-CD set (Warlock)

I bought this one in honor of Imants Krumins since it was he who was the big Mantronix fan back in them dayze. I never could figure out why, just as I never could figure out how some rock critic types were more'n anxious to lump Mantronix in with such rock duos as Suicide and the Silver Apples. It must've been some strange delusional thing that quite a few of these writers get into, but even though I did tune in to SOUL TRAIN when Mantronix were on if only out of curiosity it wasn't like I was beggin' to buy any of this group's wares. And I don't care how many VILLAGE VOICE critics were jumping on the hip hop bandwagon thinking that acts such as this and Public Enemy were just as important to the "process" as the Jefferson Airplane and Rebecca and the Sunnybrook Farmers...I thought Mantronix were just another example of teenage fun 'n jamz goin' into areas I feel uncomfortable in, especially when it gets kinda dark at night.

Sorry Imants, but I can't get together with you on this one. This is rather alienating hip hop beat bleat that didn't engage or move me physically, spiritually, mentally or even bowel-like. Just more of that eighties dredge-up that made them years such a drag to make it through, and considering how that was the decade where it all went down it wasn't like this was anything to rip roar about, y'know?

If you happen to be one of those chic sophisticado types who can dabble in this style of beat bleat along with the rockism and utter raunch of the day I guess that's your problem (as Mr. Krumins himself would have put it), and I say good luck. But sheesh, I kinda like my rebellious noise to be something hard and uncompromising that would offend both the stuffed shirts and the heart-bleeds, and as far as being driving, moving, offensive, anarchic or anything else beneficial to the rabid musical process this has all of the rebellious attitude of a LITTLE LOTTA comic. Better to slap on a Seeds that is what I call teenage rambunction!

No comments: