Sunday, May 24, 2015

Eh, another slow week here in at BLOG TO COMM central. But I managed to make the most outta it that I could, and given the old "if life gives you lemons make lemonade" yadda I figured that if life could give me turds I'd better make some fertilizer! (I think I used this gag a whole decade back but hey, its' a good 'un!) Got a few newies to write up and one from the ol' box, and although I wouldn't vote this 'un in the "Best of '15" category I wouldn't say it was one of the worst I've managed to pop up. But hey, happy new week 'n all that, and hope you like what I have in store even if I have all of the pep, vim and vigor of Karen Quinlan (that one's for Brad Kohler---hi Brad!).

R.I.P. Chris Burden, perhaps the only conceptual artist of the seventies ('n forget any other decade!), at least the only one in the BIG NAME ($$$$$$) art world which would leave John Morton out who could create performance (and other) displays that were comparable to what the Velvet Underground and Stooges were doing in the realm o' sound. 'n as far as bared-wired danger and intensity went Burden might've even outdid 'em on a number of occasions (like the time he tempted his own fate by sticking live wires into buckets of water and positioning himself close enough that if someone wanted to tip one of the buckets over bye bye Burden). But whatever, the fact that Burden would create "pieces" where he would have himself shot, nailed to a VW or jammed into a bus locker had a whole load of nerve-twist to 'em that made alla those pretenders who followed look like the self-conscious and effete crybaby yam jammers they most certainly were. And hey, who could forget that Burden even had an installation/piece that went by the name of "White Light/White Heat" which appeared a good five or so years before overwrought Velvet Underground homage by a buncha people you think woulda turned pale had they heard 'em in 1966 became the de facto rule of true blue hipsterdom!
Should I say something about David Letterman's last show if only to be even more current events and with it and all? Well, how about this...good bye Dave, and don't let the studio door slam you in your geriatric ass! Yeah you used to be fun ripping off Ernie Kovacs to the point where you also had a short-lived NBC morning show, and when you had guests like Mousie Garner, Emil Sitka and Huntz Hall on I thought you were one of the last vestiges of seventies comedy fun and jamz to make it into the decidedly unfunny eighties. And how about all of those skits you had on your show that seemed as if they were inspired by the late-fifties MAD magazine as well as your serializing of old flicks like PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE if only to make fun of 'em but eh, that was cool anyway!

Dunno what happened, but within the span of a few short years you became a shrill unfunny status quo enforcer to the point where your schmoozing up to guests (political or otherwise) your network was backing and cold shoulders to those they weren't just reeked of typical upper crust snob appeal custom made for the ultra-rich 'n chic and hate-filled (for the things they are permitted to hate) people who populate New York City. Thanks for setting the stage Dave, and if it weren't for my LEAVE IT TO BEAVER Dee-Vee-Dee set I'd undoubtedly be smashing the ol' idiot box to smithereens because of the snobbish anti-suburban slob attitude you helped inject into every aspect of the entire television medium!
Nothing else to say within the realm of BLOG TO COMM-approved turdspeak, so here are the reviews!!!


As y'all know, I do hold an abnormal curiosity for many of the under-the-under-the-counter rock groups that used to play the New York City "punk rock" circuit throughout the seventies. 'n though I've eventually learned that many of these obscurities, the ones lucky enough to have left recordings in their wake that is, weren't exactly anything to jump up 'n down 'n holler about some were surprisingly better (in their own trying to be slickly commercial and falling flat on their faces sorta way) than I had expected. Better perhaps even to the point where I could refer to these whoa where'd they go??? types as being long forgotten rock et roll treasures without looking too obtuse, which is something I've often become championing a few acts you readers couldn't give one whit about lo these many years.

Where Doug Brockie's Infinity (a group whose name I first espied on a spring '77 Max's Kansas City listing and haven't seen anywhere until now) fit in with all of this twistoid rock taste reasoning  I do not know, but you could just imagine my surprise when I found out that this totally obscuro act had a Cee-Dee out 'n for quite some time (2003) at that. Naturally I snatched said Cee-Dee up like pronto, and although I wasn't expecting much outta it I kinda had the feeling that some outta nowhere recording by some long-gone seventies-rock act who played Max's would be a better bet than a good portion of all of those amerindie acts that flooded NYC a good five or so years later. (And besides, a lotta those under-the-cover bands at the time seemed to be more concerned with some of the earlier form of rock expression and like, maybe I could stand a li'l change once in awhile!)

And (as usual) I was right, for THE HIGH COUNCIL OF INTERGALACTIC BLUES is a way better package (by a buncha guys getting into the studio to record a Cee-Dee a good twenny-six years after the fact) than any of you reg'lar readers would think. Yeah there is a tendency for the ol' jam on post-Hendrix blooze stylings that have been milked for ages to show up, and Brockie sure ain't exactly got whatcha'd call a strong voice (sounds like he coulda used a few packs o' Ludens before stepping up to the mic). Not only that but the first few songs sound so typical "classic rock" to the point where I thought hair was gonna grow on my soles just by listening, but the playing is cut-to-the core pow'rful without alla that rock guitar god crap you've been inundated with for years and the resultant grind comes off like some weird post-psychedelic hybrid with clear early-guru-period John McLaughlin references and a whole LOAD of mid-seventies rock chording!!! And that's the kinda chord progression that I like, not that hippoid rehashing of Chuck Berry that became popular to the point of nausea.

But it must be a better'n expected treat or else would I have spent about twice as much time on this obscuro than I normally would! And given that I'm usually not drawn to these "HEY LOOK AT ME PLAY THE GUITAR---NOW WORSHIP!" brand of stud rock I can tell that Brockie has sure earned any sorta thumbs up accolades that might come his way. From what I can tell not too many have but hey, in the world of retch 'n roll what else is old?

Izzit good enough for you (the self-conscious rock snob) to enjoy the same way you do the REAL LIFE guitar manglers you've enjoyed for doped up years on end? Judge for yourself, fanabla.
Alice Cooper-LIVE AT THE WHISKY, 1969 CD (Bizarre/Straight)

(Did I review this on-line before? Well if I ain't it's been so long and given the dearth of hotcha new items to peruse well...) This one zipped by 'n went back during the early-nineties reactivation of the Bizarre/Straight label (which issued a few oldies, some newies, and NO Wild Man Fisher), and if you were lucky enough to latch onto a copy well, you were lucky since this one vanished faster'n  moist dog caga on a 100 degree day. Great quality recording of Alice ca. PRETTIES romping through the upcoming album (and more) to the applause of about one audience member. Makes a good companion to the oft-bootlegged Toronto show, though like that 'un docked a few Christgooian notches for being a little under a half hour.
Thee Mighty Caesars-ACROPOLIS NOW CD-r burn (originally on Hangman's Daughter)

Sheesh, didn't even know these guys were still around. I mean, how many years back did those Crypt label elpees come out anyway? But they are and the Caesars are still good. I'm not as nutzo about 'em as Paul McGarry (the guy who sent me this 'un) is but I really do think that they do a better job of the whole sixties garage band revival thing than some of the acts that were popping up inna late-eighties. This effort  (complete with lo-fi scrunch worthy of your favorite forgotten originals) does more for the form than a bushelfulla self-produced indie singles of the same time strata. The cover of "Little Red Riding Hood" is a li'l too obvious, but I still had a good time sittin' through it all.
Johnny Dowd-THAT'S YOUR WIFE ON THE BACK OF MY HORSE CD-r burn (originally on Mother Jinx)

Didn't like the earlier Dowd release that Paul McGarry sent me and I don't quite like this 'un either. But I gotta review something up and comin' just so I don't look like the total old turdball stick inna mud that I usually am. All I gotta say is that if you like that backwoods voodoo country rockapunk jive that's been used to varying degrees o'er the past thirtysome you'll like this more'n Tina Louise's belly button. As for me it all sounds like those two inbred rural rectums from NAKED LUNCH if they had gotten a recording contract with 415 Records back '80 way. Come to think of it that would make a winning combination if them backwoodsers could only get Valerie Solanis to play tambourine for 'em or somethin'.

Nice title there, and nice selection too. The "additional" gunch like the voice-o-graph recording and various messages that might have come from Bill's actual phone for all I know are fine in that cheap mid-Amerigan ranch house living sorta way, and the African field recordings and Japonais organ piece from Niger really help set the tone. The tone for what I do not know, but tone-setting it is.

Bill even snuck some jazz on here (Andrew Hill/Clifford Jordan, Connie Crothers/Jessica Jones, Mary Lou Williams) that doesn't make me think of dressing up like one of the Marsalises, and the obligatory soul and country offerings remind me of just how interesting both genres could be until they got way too popped up to tell apart. And hey, if I could only make out the century-plus old comedy routine from Cal Stewart as Uncle Josh I might be able to laugh along with it like I'm sure a whole slew of Mr. and Mrs. Front Porch types did back when this was first making the rounds way back when! And y'know, I somehow get the impression that the guy is way funnier'n any of those snoozathon late-night comedians scolding us suburban bumpkins for being such nice people, so maybe I should give the ol' unc a thorough listen!

1 comment:

Even Spot said...

Alice Cooper Live at The Whiskey 1969 is an excellent recording of the original band during the early days. Only a smattering of applauds you can count the people attending. I liked the talking between songs Alice mentions Janis Joplin. I'm one of the few who loves "Pretties For You" LP and to hear these songs live other than the under quality bootlegs I have collected.
I even purchased the vinyl as well as the CD of this live album.

BTW Original Bass player Dennis Dunaway just released a book this week titled "Snakes! Guillotines! Electric Chairs! My Adventure in The Alice Cooper Group"