Saturday, July 05, 2014

Didja make it through the Glorious Fourth intact? I managed to, even though having to appear as King George III during the fambly Independence Day Pageant for the 35th straight year in a row was yet another downer---if only cousin Clyde would kick off maybe I could be Nathan Hale, a role I could really get choked up over! But besides all that well, things went rather swimmingly to say the least, having gone to the Mesopotamia Ox Roast and flea market which yielded some good comic buys in the past (a LITTLE LULU paperback in 1975, the SUPERMAN FROM THE THIRTIES TO THE SEVENTIES hardcover in '92, and a BEETLE BAILEY collection not forgetting some old MAD "Super Specials" in '97) but nada this time. Well, I will admit that it was fun walking around looking at the dogs and the fat tattooed women, not necessarily at the same time.

At least I managed to get a good enough's night sleep considering the neighborhood kids didn't attempt to re-create the Battle of Lexington and Concord in the middle of the night like they did one year. Anyway, enough patriotic prattle and for those of you who were expecting it, here are the reviews...

KONRAD CD-r burn of LP (originally on Ethereal Sequence, available from Forced Exposure)

When I first saw this 'un listed on the Forced Exposure website a week or so back, visions of outsider loserisms danced in my head than any sugarplum fairy ever could. Really, take one look at the cover 'n dontcha just see some early-eighties wannabe hopin' to take over the world with his new music dancebeat thud custom made for the rest of the kids in his remedial butt wiping class? But hey, maybe Bo Diddley was wrong when he said you can't just a book by looking at its cover (and in his own personal situation, can't judge a porn video by looking at its clam-shell case) because KONRAD the album (and Konrad the artist) is a pretty interesting bit of self-produced low-budged music that satisfies on a variety of levels, and both as music to guffaw at and as real interesting stuff that you'll probably be scrutinizing just as much as ditzy dames combed the lyrics of "American Pie" for deep meanings back in the early-seventies days of high school relevantism.

Some of it has a quirky new wave sound while other parts come off a little too close to disco beat for my tastes (and one track sounds like Cat Stevens trying to cash in on the late-seventies underground rock trend), but however you look at it KONRAD has just enough of a spark of imagination and interest to keep you holding on, even through that pseudo reggae anti-police cum plea for cooperation track which is really saying something.

At least it holds up enough against various similar-minded outta-nowhere efforts such as Gary Wilson's YOU THINK YOU REALLY KNOW ME or the Paul Vanase and Baby Bones albums (two strikingly different platters that KONRAD seems to owe at least some allegiance to) to rate a huge huzzah, and although the $24 price tag might seem a tad high maybe you can find someone to burn a copy like I did!

And yeah, I know that you'll probably dismiss KONRAD (and Konrad) as a phonus balonus gnu wave casher-in-on who couldn't rock 'n roll his way outta a Bobby Rydell album sleeve but frankly, I'd HATE to hear what your home-recorded experimental fraught-with-meaning self-released album would sound like in comparison, you li'l oneupmanship self-absorbed nothing you!
Urkas-STAMEN AND PISTIL CD (Kendra Steiner Editions, see link on left)

Typical of the KSE limited edition offerings with a heavy industrial musique concrete sound (which, as my dad once said, was performed by people who had concrete blocks dumped on 'em) that reminds one of Stockhausen getting his 'nads lopped off. To be honest about it I wouldn't say that there was anything remarkable about it to differentiate if from a variety of KSE offerings that have graced my laser launch pad these past few years, though surprisingly enough Cee-Dee closer "Avoid Liars" recalls early Harmonia sodomizing their audio generators making this one a shoulda oughta get for you longtime krautrock maniacs out there. A surprising winner that should get sold out (only 99 made!) before you get up the courage to buy a copy.
John Coltrane-SELFLESSNESS featuring MY FAVORITE THINGS CD-r burn (originally on Impulse)

Yeah, this was the first bit of Coltrane I ever listened to (age sixteen) and it didn't impress me at all, at least to the point where I shied away from listening to anything else by the guy until I got heavily into an avant garde music jag a couple of years later and just had to give in. Playing this 'un again after all these years I can see that perhaps SELFLESSNESS wasn't exactly the best place to start for a young neophyte suburban slob such as myself. Heck, it was a posthumous cash-in anyway (as were INTERSTELLAR SPACE and AUM even though they would've been far better introductions) so like how was I to know? But tell that to the local library 'n not me!

Still, even the cover of Rodgers and Hammerstein ain't as bowtie clunky as I remembered it to be. Actually nice if middling but nothing that would capture the imagination of THIS teenbo music maniac that's for sure! "I Want to Talk About You" fares better, if only for Cotlrane's tenor solo which oddly enough reminds me of Eric Dolphy's bass clarinet solos with less of a vibrating feeling inside your musical psyche. The title track comes closer to the Coltrane I was hoping to know 'n love at the time,  complete with a double drum set up as well as the presence of Pharoah Sanders at his creative peak. Surprised that 'un didn't affect me in a positive, life-reaffirming way during those young 'n impressionable days but then again, what do scab-laden teenage losers know about this sorta jazz, y'know?
The Hammersmith Gorillas-GORILLA GOT ME CD-r burn (originally on Big Beat, England)

A pox upon thee again Paul McGarry, because if you read your musty old mags you woulda known that I reviewed this 'un a loooong time ago. But thanks for bringing it to my attention again, because GORILLA GOT ME is about as good as these seventies English punk rockers got. The logical extension of Crushed Butler and the rest of those wild Jesse Hector bands, this one is filled with good hard thud rock that still has a lot of the previous English punk rock sound in it (talking everything from Stud Leather to Spunky Spider and all of those other GLITTERBEST bands that got people like Charles Shaar Murray all agog over the punk credo long before you even knew lambchop sideburns existed!). Not only that, but the entire proceedings go down so smooth that you don't care that Hector was a grizzled veteran (first recording age 12 in 1959!) by the time these tracks were laid down. A longplayer's worth of studio slam here, and for those of you who can't get enough there's the live set from the 1976 Mont de Marsan punkfest which makes me wonder---where in heck's the Pink Fairies set from the same gig???
STAND BY FOR CRIME! starring Glenn Langan and Adele Jergens CD-r burn

Somehow listening to these early-fifties radio programs on a hot Saturday evening reminded me of my barely-into-the-double-digits days when I would listen to this old horror radio show on WPIC-FM which, back in them days, operated as a free-form rock station when it wasn't airing long-forgotten radio shows as part of a nostalgia kick. Considering that I still enjoy many of the things now that I did then, you could say that I'm either a suburban slob old-timey fun kinda guy at heart or mentally stuck at age ten. Most likely both, but then again it ain't like we didn't know that already!

These shows ain't horror-oriented though, but firmly in the fifties detective category in which I can imagine more'n a few Byron Folger types had matched wits with the leading man in order to solve the situation at hand. STAND BY FOR CRIME features Glenn Langan as crusading radio announcer Chuck Morgan who workds for a big El Lay station along with his sexoid secretary (played by Adele Jergens) and his boss, Pappy Somethingorother who more or less functions as the show's Perry White. Naw, Morgan doesn't get yelled at for calling him "Chief" but he is suckered into posing as a communist under the flimsiest pretenses (after all, if the mad ten-thousand to one plot to catch the real villains failed it wasn't like he was gonna get his job or reputation back!) in the first episode and tries to find out who poisoned a successful boxer in the second, and if you like everything from DRAGNET to I LED THREE LIVES on the tee-vee this is just more of the same only w/o a picture tube. I thought that the relationship between Langan and Jergens coulda been a bit sexier given it seems like they're head over heels in lust with each other but hey, this ain't Mickey Spillane!
Bob Hastings as ARCHIE ANDREWS (NBC radio series, 1946) CD-r burn

While I'm listening to old ray-dee-yo programs might as well slap this classic series on the laser launching pad. After the immediate success of the ARCHIE comic book line a branch out into radio was inevitable, and judging from these two episodes the series was just as anarcho-teenage fun as the comic book and and eventually the strip turned out.

Bob Hastings (who surprisingly enough passed away the VERY DAY I played this disque for the first time...hope that had nothing to do with it) is about as good an Archie as anyone coulda gotten who wasn't Henry Aldrich, while Harlan Stone as Jughead at least comes off better'n the guy who played him in that sixties sitcom pilot with Patty Duke's father as Mr. Andrews! The rest of the cast is passable I guess, though I thought the voice of Archie's pop would've been more suited for Mr. Lodge (his deep voice comes too way too authoritative...none of that sitcom daddy muddledness I've been used to all these years) but for old timey radio I guess it's good enough.

Speaking of sitcom hijinx I guess these two episodes are boss enough considering how both of 'em milk those time-honored plots to the comical max, what with Archie getting his rotten egg smelling tonic, glue, bubble bath soap and Wildroot all mixed up in the first 'un and then spoiling Pop's plan for an evening bath in the second. Yeah, I can already hear you readers sayin' that it's all mere kitty litter next to the meaningful and relevant comedies you see today, but lemme tell you that while listening to these I laughed even harder 'n the time the cripple across the street did a mean splat tryin' to escape from his burning house! These programs will probably do nil for all of you sophisticados, but then again it's a suburban slob thing, so you wouldn't understand.

What I found most surprising about these shows is that it's more'n obvious that Filmation based the voices they would use for their late-sixties/seventies Saturday morning ARCHIE cartoons on the radio program, right down to Veronica's Southern accent which ain't as squeaking as it was in the cartoon but still packed with quite a few "y'all"s in the drawl! I always felt it strange that Veronica would have such an accent because not only is the ARCHIE universe supposed to be based on ARCHIE creator Bob Montana's own Haverhill MA upbringing, but she never really came off as the Southern belle type to me. Maybe Veronica would look the part if she wore one of those flowing gowns with the wide-brimmed hats like the young ladies used to back in 'em antebellum days, but otherwise its Boston Brahmins all the way, and you can't really argue otherwise!
Various Artists-FLUXUS ANTHOLOGY CD (Anthology Records, Italy)

Considering just how free splat the entire Fluxus structure was (is?) you would expect a recorded anthology of Fluxus-related pieces to be rather varied if still rooted in that mad mid-sixties musical frame. And this 'un is no different than anything else you would have expected from these artists who made their mark either tossing out brilliant conceptual art or pulling one of the biggest jokes on the art world to date. Some of it is what you would call standard sound pieces from John Cage's 1956 "Radio Music" to Yoko Ono's "Toilette Piece" (straight offa FLY), while others feature spoken word/singing and sound manipulation that sound just as battily brilliant now as they did back when you first discovered this stuff when it was a whole lot fresher'n it is now. The biggest surprise of all is the contribution from the deformed conceptualist Joseph Beuys who sings an early-eighties new wave-y number ostensibly about Ronald Reagan! Buy it, and supply your own beret and stale doritos.
13th Floor Elevators-LIVE EVOLUTION 2-CD burn (originally on Charly, England)

Hmmmmm, here's an item that I was actually contemplating buying, only none other'n Paul McGarry beat me to the punch and dared burn the set up for my own personal pleasure! Good choice here Paul, because this live set by the infamous in a time of their own Elevators is one of the better dig ups of classic new-to-my-ears sixties psychedelic punk music heard in quite some time.

Really top-notch on all fronts, from the cover art (I assume the actual packaging is really high quality as well!) to the soundboard quality and best of all the performance from Roky and crew, who are thankfully so addled that they don't realize that the mode of the rock is definitely changing against their favor. First disc is a mad drive through various first and second LP tracks done up even more exciting than they were on the actual platters, while the second features some incredible jams on familiar tuneage that at times feature guest musicians on flute and what sounds like a melodica (don't have the actual package so find out who is where for yourself!).

In all a royal treatment for a band that deserved their fame and notoriety a long ago yet only got it after they were long dead and buried, and its a good thing I didn't hear this back in '78 during the beginnings of my Roky mania or else I would have plumb keeled over (like I know you all woulda wished I did long ago!)
Brian Jonestown Massacre-REVELATION CD-r burn (originally on A Records)

Although it may seem like blasphemy to some of you modern day fans of the Big Beat, I never did care for Brian Jonestown Massacre that much. Maybe I "did" give them a good writeup at one time and I believe that I dismissed one of the Cee Dees at another time,.frankly I can't remember, but it wasn't like I was the kinda guy to rah-rah 'em like way too many others out there in "notice me!" land seem to have. Well, sheepishly enough I gotta say that with the release of this disque my opinion of the band has changed, and for the better at that which I am not ashamed to say even though maybe I should be..

On REVELATION the group strut their post-underground values rather well reminding me not only of Roxy Music before the first big break but even some of the Ballroom-era San Franciscan bands when they would get on one of their long drug-induced psychedelic jags. If you wanna, add a little bit of English melancholia to the mix for a dandy neo-psychedelic effect! Surprisingly remarkable spinner here that shows that maybe there is some good music being produced long after it all seemed to slide into the big abyss we call "youth culture".
Various Artists-DRIFTIN' QUADRANGLE KIKO BEAT CD-r burn (this week's contribution to the cause from Bill Shute)

Dunno why Mary Astor and Ricardo Cortez appear on the front of it, but I won't be such a stickler for ACCURACY what with this selection of rarities Bill Shute copped off the web when none of us wuz lookin'. Quite a selection of  different musical forms here too from the early-sixties Minneapolis instrumental din of the Poor Boys to the new bop thing of Jackie McLean (not forgetting Sonny Stitt's bloozey schmooze and Jimmy McGriff's r&b instro guaranteed to bring out the Soulman in us all). The Bandits do Pet Clark's "Downtown" just as El Lay session as you would imagine, while Bill once again hadda sneak on a whole lotta that country and twang he so desires (best of the batch---Jim Adams' "Ballad of T. Eugene", a "topical" tale of a murder plot gone awry I would guess) Some moments like Los Angeles del Paraguay's "Guantanamera" get me in the mood for playing with my dinky, though I dunno why Bill would include the Surfaris' "Beat '65" since I got that 'un already...sheesh, you think he woulda known better'n that now, eh?

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