Saturday, November 21, 2015

I guess the biggest news of the week, at least concerning us high energy maniacs goes, would be my (and perhaps your) finding out about the recent passing of none other than Stooges saxophonist Steve Mackay, dead at the still too young age of 66! Actually this sad occurrence happened about a month or so back but none of you ozobs dared tell me which does make me wonder about what kinda friends I do have...I mean, I hadda find out about it via Brad Kohler and his snail mail letters if you can believe that! (Not that the previous reports of death had been greatly exaggerated but from what I can tell this one is the real deal.) The very same man who added alla that glory and zoom to side two of the ever-incredible FUNHOUSE album (and a guy who also made it unlistenable even for hefty Stooges fans such as Mark Shipper), Mackay's intense wailings on that epochal scar of an album transformed Iggy & co's sophomoric effort into something that I will proudly admit, even a good fortysome years later, was perhaps even more otherworldly than what many of the the other heavy hitters of the day were able to come up with. Avant garde rock yet nothing like the art flash of those days, and hefty funk that kinda echoes those various James Brown excursions into the realm yet in some ways was rather white kid knotty pine suburban in execution, and you know there's nothing wrong with that.

Back in the late-nineties I engaged in a few extensive phone calls with Mackay during the execution and delivery of the abortion that also went under the name BLACK TO COMM #22, and he sure came off like a totally cool guy who really seemed interested (and not just feigning interest in order to put on a happy smiling face) in not only the project at hand but how I was coming along with it all. And next to some of the jagoffs I'm come across these past thirtysome years let's just say that Mackay was a prince in comparison! Not only that, but Mackay, who had OK'd the use of a pre-Stooges Carnal Kitchen track for the Cee-Dee that came with the ish, even paid me a REALLY BIG compliment when, after I had sent him a stack of issues to do whatever he wanted to with 'em, he cheerfully told me that he gave away all of the cut 'n paste Cee-Dees that came with the ish (mostly consisting of old comic strips like LITTLE ORPHAN ANNIE and LI'L ABNER that were affixed to the numbered yet otherwise blank covers) but kept the one with a quickie drawing that I did for himself because it was the only special, unique one in the entire batch! And here I thought that particular cover was just a cheap tossout done up because I'd just run out of clip art to use! Nowadays I feel kinda kiddie oh-gosh proud of it all (back then I was so wiped out by the agony of getting that ish out and seeing the sad results that I was totally oblivious!) because hey, a Stooge actually said something nice and constructive about a suburban slob nobody like me and how many times in this world of ours does that happen???

So here's to you Steve, and forever may nimnul rock critics and fly-by-night fans alike spell your last name CORRECTLY which ya know they never did.
Other'n that...what else can I say about a week where the closest thing I had to a "rock 'n roll dream" featured none other than the even more sensitive half of the "Simon and..." team, namely Art Garfunkel? As they say, Ny-Quil does have some amazing powers! Anyhoo in this 'un I actually meet up with the famed frizzy-topped singer at work of all places and, after a short pause of wondering whether I should do so or not, query him about a certain (and real, this not being part of the dream) BEETLE BAILEY cartoon where Simon and Garfunkel were actually mentioned! In that 'un guards Beetle and Plato, in order to test an out-of-sight General  Halftrack (who already gave 'em the password) to find out whether or not he was an Amerigan and not the enemy, toss out some specifically culturally succinct questions only a US and A-er could answer correctly. Y'know, things such as "Who won the World's Series" and "What's a BLT", all of which Halftrack responds to with the right answer. However, when Beetle asks him "What's the name of Simon and Garfunkel's latest album" the General (who we finally see in the fifth panel) mutters to himself "Simon and Garfunkel???" and is immediately caught in a hail of bullets! Since there was no date on the cartoon that I have in my possession (taken from an old paperback which sometimes neglects to reprint the original en toto) I was wondering what the answer to this was myself, though for some reason BOOKENDS kept popping into my mind and at least in my dream I was whatcha'd call extremely curious as to what album of their was current when that 'un first hit the Sunday papers.

What a fine upstanding supporter of the BLOG TO
COMM aesthetic you are, Art! Kick 'em out!!!
Turns out that ol' Art (who looked like his early 1970's CARNAL KNOWLEDGE-period frizzed-out girlie heart melter self) was familiar with the particular episode of BAILEY rather well (I could tell from the smirky look on his face after bringing it up to him) and said that the correct answer was PARSLEY, SAGE, ROSEMARY AND THYME in a way that revealed a sorta nostalgic happiness on his part. But hey, the dream was not over yet, for soon after an elderly couple (who were probably the same age as Art is today) were talking to him asking about the MC5 of all acts, and Mr. G immediately pointed at """""ME""""" stating to the pair that here was one of the biggest experts on 'em and that included not just everyone in the Ann Arbor area but  the whole wide world! Boy did I feel wonderful and Art, you're a really boffo guy to say such great things about a lowly peon such as myself. I promise not to make fun of ANGEL CLAIRE again or bring up that story R Meltzer wrote about in GULCHER where you hailed a taxi and the driver, knowing who you were, decided to have a little fun by not mentioning S&G as one of his favorite folkie acoustic singing duos!
N. E. Howe, here's what's been occupying my ever-shrinking free time these past few days, and a good batch it most certainly is. Didn't have to rely on the Cee-Dee-Are burns (other'n the traditional Bill Shute mixdisque closer) since this edition contains some real flesh 'n blood offerings that I either bought or got as hipster promotional items to peruse! Only goes to show ya that I'M MOVING UP IN THIS WORLD NOW, AIN'T I??? Sure glad I got these platters to help me through the oncoming cold weather and frankly, I do hope you can osmose my joy in listening to these newbies because the way things are going in my life even finding a penny on the pavement is cause for great celebration in my otherwise humdrum existence. So if you find any on the street send 'em all to me but before that, dig these realities...


I've been waiting for this for quite a long time (that is, if you think thirty-five years is a long time!) so those sounds you hear really are my salivary glands working overtime!

These Mars exhumations which have been coming out on labels such as Feeding Tube and Widowspeak are steady listening here at BLOG TO COMM central and this new edition/addition is no exception. In fact given its uniqueness and chock fulla rarityness it's perhaps one Mars album that's gonna get played until the grooves wear down, that's how important to the canon of pre-amerindie Velvets-touched rock 'n roll sound as energy this particular release is!

Side one features some early Marsian mischief that was done back when the act was toiling away under the China moniker in February and June of the glorious year 1977. I gotta say that for being one of a thousand under-the-covers NYC bands yet to make their mark (if lucky) China sure sound as good as the rest of the upheaval goin' on around them. Perhaps even better than the majority of the competition if I'd only get a chance to hear more of what China were up against, but snat nonetheless.

The no wave warble of the familiar material has yet to sink its fangs deeply into the future Mars sound, yet you can hear the roots of the terror in the cross-frequency vocal harmonies amid the earnest attempts to capture the post-Patti Smith/Television attitude and spirit that was sure getting its fair share of notice in the burgh back then. I'm sure it seemed shocking to at least a few of the members of the audience, and that even includes the ones who were already buffered by a few years of New York maelstrom that had been going down quite fine. But even today this sounds as new and as fresh as it was originally meant to be back in those rather pumped up days.

Flip it over and we're now in September and China is definitely Mars, and a little more of the clank und dirge that made these guys no wave frontrunners can be detected. Still in the standard punk rock mileau true, but the frequencies now bear more a more atonal splendor and you can hear the aesthetics behind the soon-to-be-released "3E" single being fleshed out right before your very ears. Pretty exhilaratingand bound to appeal to the same types of BLOG TO COMM-sters who came of age with the early Patti, TV and Ramones records before throwing themselves whole hog into the entire hot bubbling underground goin' on in New York and other places before noticing in 1981that this music was starting to suck!

A definite BTC highly recommended spinner, and if I in fact call this the record of the year (and knowing me I probably won't) I might be passing myself off as an even smarter sorta fanabla than I even gave myself credit for lo these many years. If you buy only one album this must be a real tightwad!
Fadensonnen-PRODROMES-SONGS FOR GUITARS CD-r burn (Fadensonnen, see blog link on left for information)

This one is supposed to be a "solo" album and it is if only because PD is not joined by any other earthly entity on this platter and handles all of the musical gear by himself. Perhaps it is one of the PUREST solo albums one can find these days as well because PD "accompanist" RD played all of the fear himself. And it's all for the better too, for this ain't one of those OLIAS OF SUNHILLOW platters that shows off all of the artiste's talents as ten-thousand instruments (played in the humblest way possible) are overdubbed to a throbbing mess but those lyrics, oh how MELODY MAKER artistic they are!

The WHITE LIGHT/WHITE HEAT unto METAL MACHINE MUSIC sound of the other Fadensonnen platters does not rear its head here, but the results are still high of energy. Driving even. Sounds tingle and intermingle like a CLUSTER album more in an electro-acoustic mode while I am at other moments reminded of Loren Connors doing something not quite as aesthetically floating yet bare-wired. Totally against the grain of much of the DIY mulch being passed off as innovative, and hey do I hear a tad of the now sadly MIA Bruce Anderson as a bonifeed prime Fadensonnen influence? I for one hope so!

Totally caught me off guard I'll tell ya, and if I heard a whole lot more of these new (which for me is anything recorded after John Charles Thomas) experimental home-produced outings I could compare them to this but I haven't. Even if I had I'd still think PRODROMES a better way to spend your freetime enjoyment money because hey, why not????......whew!!!

The Flamin' Groovies-IN THE USA '79 CD (Echoes, available via Forced Exposure)

Yeah it ain't like there's anything new on this release of a '79 FM radio broadcast, but the Flamin' Groovies are sure good in any dose you can get and whether it be their late-sixties "goodtime", early-seventies grungey blooze or mid/late-sixties British Invasion incarnations this band is WORTH IT! Sound quality's about as clear as one of those first-generation dubs you woulda hadda pay $10 for a chrome tape of this back '80 way, and the performance is top notch post-British Invasion homage that never really did go out of style. Or you can call it punk rock if you still used that pre-Sex Pistols terminology to describe the baser elements of under-the-counterculture Amerigan (and World Wide) rockism. Might be a tad too many covers, but I'll take the Groovies in any wayshapeform and if they were doing Mantovani I'd probably still root for 'em like I do for my favorite badguys! And it sure made good backdrop for reading Cyril Jordan's TEENAGE HEAD reminiscences in the latest UGLY THINGS (review forthcoming probably more later than sooner!)
Asteroid B-612-YOU MEANT THIS FOR THE WORLD ALBUM/TEEN SUBLIMATION RIFFS EP 2-CD set (Off the Hip, Australia); ALL NEW HITS CD (Lance Rock, Canada)

By the time these Australian high energy guys hit the under-the-counterculture scene back inna nineties I thought I was finished with Antipodean rock for what I felt was good! The high energy Stooges/Detroit metallic output that shone like a bright beacon in a sea of post-rock nada in the eighties just wasn't shining anymore, and to be frank about it the load of new releases that were coming outta the continent weren't pumping on all cylinders like a whole slew of bands only a few years earlier had. I figured hey, why pay an exorbitant amount of money for Australian rock when I could pay much less for local produce that just was just as lifeless. You can see that even then I was doing my darndest to save as many pennies as I could, a noble task considering the rising costs of pork rinds.

A few mentions in those VICIOUS KITTEN mags I reviewed awhile back got me interested in Asteroid B-612 even though they just hadda cop their name from a rather iffy novella (or was it a boffo Sonics Rendevous Band track?). But even with the keen Detroit moves that were promised as well as the Lester Bangs "Teen Sublimation Riffs" ref I must admit that I find these Asteroids only passable. They do have the local sound down pat and were smart enough to cover Alice Cooper ca. LOVE IT TO DEATH, but I find little on either of these offerings that transcend the third generation Detroit style that Australian rock had made its underground mark with well over three decades back.

Groups like Rocket From The Tombs delivered on the heavy metal crunch with aplomb and even the Umela Hmotas in Prague took the basic repeato-riff and came up with some memorable rock sludge that sure beat the other form practitioners all hollow. But Asteroid B-612, even with their overdrive energy and obvious homage to punk forefathers both Detroitish and Australian, just don't break through into the same realm of total eruption that bands like Radio Birdman and many others (the Fun Things come to mind) had. Maybe it was the post-energy doldrums that did it, but I for one wasn't quite as jazzed as maybe I shoulda been.

This may be a surprise to you, but both of these offerings are recommended despite my seemingly lukewarm attitude. You just can't get much of anything even remotely energy rock these days and these guys earn mucho brownie points for giving it a good go. Sure you might wanna spend shekels on the original Michigan and Australian bands first, but for those of you who want to hear a nice capper to the entire overdrive rock movemnt Asteroid B-612 just might deliver on oozing out some latent throb thrills in ya.
Wolf Eyes-"Enemy Ladder"/"Dull Murder Two" 45 rpm single (Third Man Records)

Bob Forward sent me a buncha platters a few weeks ago but I'm only gettin' to 'em now because...well...some of 'em looked kinda stoopid! And I was right about one, a long-playing album that I thought had no BLOG TO COMM anti-commercial high-drive potential no-how! Thanks for the suffering, Bob! However this single from Wolf Eyes is rather boffo...low-fidelity hard riff rock with growly muffled vocals that reminded me of some of Smegma's similar repeato-action recordings which would figure since these guys seem to have borrowed more'n a few moves from that El Lay unto Seattle ever-rotating aggregation. Sure there are more'n a thousand singles like this that have been recorded since the late-fifties, but once in a while it's nice to know that they're still being made and pressed up on the same technology that those original singles came out on well over fifty-five years back!
Eugene Chadbourne/Han Bennink-"Miss Ann"/"Woooo" 33 rpm single (Ecstatic Yod)

Haven't heard Chadbourne in so long so it was nice to also get this 2001 single from Forward. Chadourne's version of the Eric Dolphy chestnut is about as late-seventies neo-true to form as the man could get (and totally devoid of those jagoff har har tendencies that turn me off most of the time) while the flip with Bennink brings back every good memory you had of NMDS catalog scouring long before the free jazz/music scene became co-opted into mirror-gazing pretentious hip VILLAGE VOICE scene-dying-before-your-very-eyes fodder. Only question...why the solo version of "Miss Ann" when Chadbourne, in his insert notes, mentioned playing the tune live with Bennink??? That woulda fit in here nice and snug-like, eh?
Mike Rep and the Quotas-"Mama Was a Schitzo Daddy Was a Vegetable Man"/"Rocket Music On" 7-inch 45 rpm, True Believers-"Accept It!"/"Gusto Hungry"; "Death By Freezing" 7-inch 45 rpm (both on Hozac Records)

I'm only doing this 'un as a favor to Hozac Records since they did send these to me for the express purpose of reviewing 'em so's they can move a few units if not more. But otherwise I wouldn't go near them for all of the scabs in first grade if only because the people behind these two platters decided to side with the other instead of this particular guy who never gave 'em an ounce of trouble and in fact pumped up their stock at a time when most of the fanzine world was heaving a collective snore. Thanks for the loyalty guys, but otherwise (keeping personal feelings outta it) both discs are top notch. The Quotas '75 recordings reek that same punk rock riff rock aura that a thousand other bands across the world were playing at the exact same time, only those thousand other bands never thought of getting their cheapo tapes pressed to vinyl. The 8-track channel change on "Rocket Music" is still a beautiful sign of mid-seventies technology the way we hate to remember it. The True Believers 'un comes from five years later and still retains the Ohio basement sound of its predecessor. And like that one it's also out-of-date not only because of its sound but for the repeato-riff machinations that must have sounded cornballus even to the same kinda post-greasers who woulda loved the stuff up even a good twelve years earlier. A fine pair of did-it-themselves local rock releases...for a buncha turncoats that is!
Various Artists-NOW MORE THAN EVER CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Drat! I was hoping that the Connie Francis platter pictured onna sleeve (which was the subject of a hilarious review in KICKS magazoon complete with a boffo play on the title re. an unfortunate occurrence that was to happen a good seven or so years later) was gonna be on this particular disque but no luck. NOW MORE THAN EVER does have more'n its share o' goodies however, with the likes of Sandy Nelson doing some rather boffo versions of the Yardbirds and Association, not those Premiers going through some early-sixties rave, blooze from Mighty Sam and B. B. King, the Spectors and 2 of Clubs doing ca. '64 pop and a slew of sides from a band called the Others who might have been able to crank out one garage anthem in this batch ("I Can't Stand This Love Goodbye") but only managed to fill the rest of the disque up with some '67 sunshine pop that has that laid-back New England feeling to 'em. Another good one you got there Bill but sheesh, why didja hafta spare me the Connie Francis song, you nattering nabob of negativity you!

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