Wednesday, May 24, 2017

MAGAZINE REVIEW! UGLY THINGS #44 (available from FORCED EXPOSURE)

Do ya think I should apologize because I didn't get the previous (#43) issue of this much hailed mag and passed on reviewer doodies to none other than Brad Kohler? Heck no...apologies are for jellyspines anyway, and besides I had a good excuse for being later'n a teenage gal in trouble being that my order from Forced Exposure was held up for months and like, I thought I could wait.

Actually I could wait not because #43 was such a turdburger (far from it) but hey, I used to wait months if not years for records I wanted so bad to hit the cutout or used bins so why not the same amount of time for a fanzine that I know I could use like heck but...sheesh I'm still waiting for a lotta things I never got since turdler days and if I can still hope to get a toy Batmobile that has evaded me for so long maybe I can wait for my UGLY THINGS! Who sez carpe diem hasta be the rule of law anyway?

So wha' th' hey but I got both #43 and #44 of UGLY THINGS in my mitts and I sure am having a fun weekend readin' 'em both. And since Kohler has filled you in on what was in store with #43 then why bother giving my own detailed rundown on the rag, hunh? That's kinda like what it used to be like in those old comic book spoof fanzines of the sixties where EVERYONE hadda do their Spiderman and Fantastic Four takeoffs issue after issue as if one just wan't enough. So with that here are my impressions of the latest UGLY THINGS which I hope you can osmose into your own private cranial capacity in one way or another.

The mag's a trip throughout, what with the cover stories on Jan and Dean (neat interview with Dean---didja know that Jan would "boost" copies of "Baby Talk" from stores in order to up its position in the charts?) and the second part of the "Things to Come" saga (the first part dealing with organist/singer Steve Runolfsson was a real trip---it's amazing just how far that guy could go considering his Asperger's Syndrome 'n all) not forgetting the usual trips we all can look forward to with glee. My particular fave piece has to be part one of the Geofrey Crozier story which surprisingly enough is going to be made into a book! I'll bet some of the stories that are to be uncovered (you should have heard some of the things Lou Rone told me!) will curl your straighties!

The reviews are hotcha enough that I have already purchased one item mentioned in these pages and am saving up for another that I might have to wait for as long a time as I waited for these! Bill Shute appears amongst the regular fellers (including Greg Prevost, one of the top writers here even if I couldn't find anything of his in this 'un) and it's sure great seeing Tim Stegall back from the dead and writing up a storm as well. Sheesh, after the trouncing and crap he used to get back inna eighties from lesser minds it's sure great seeing him rise above it all while the penii who put him down are wallowing in their own self-importance and general nada. Justice at its finest!

Just wanna keep it brief, because I know that yer gonna wanna get hold of this asap if you ain't already. A real wild ride here, and one bound to keep you occupied...until the next ish at least and hurry up on that 'un as well, hunh?

Sunday, May 21, 2017

So how'd'ja like the past seven days or so anyhow? For me they were just another seven days to trudge through, but at least a few nice things managed to happen such as the arrival of a few packages of worth just like my fortune cookie said! And hey, if you can't trust fortune cookies what can you trust? And so, rather than fill out this post with a number of tiresome anecdotes about my cootie infestation or humorous bowel movement memories here's what been spinnin on the ol' bedside boom box since we last spake.


RAZORLEGS cassette (available from razorlegs.bandcamp.com)

Just when I resign myself to the sordid fact that wild recordings and high energy rockist sounds are no more, things like this come into my life and give me hope for at least a short spell before I go back into my misery. The due of P.D. Fadensonnen and Andrew Hurst plow into some mighty heavy waters on these recorded live sides, on the first (entitled "Journal of Eyes") sounding like what that German critic heard in Guru Guru that reminded him of the Stooges while on the flip ("The Slithering Embassy") Fadensonnen lays down a pretty nice wall of guitar that's trying to dredge up comparisons in the mind yet nothing seems to be coming across. The psychedelic revival lives on, only not in ways that I'm sure most would have envisioned. A guaranteed topper during a week that had more than a few high points, as you will see below.
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TV EYE CD (Seventeen/Easy Action Records, available via Forced Exposure)

It's been forty years since the concept (no matter how loose it might have been and would become) of punk rock began to growed like Topsy, so it's fathomable that a whole slew of anniversary cash-ins are bound to hit the internet sites more sooner than later. Some I'm sure are indispensable, others feh, but this one's a pretty good effort that deserves your attention and spare change. TV Eye were a bonafide Birmingham England punk rock act that not only had the smarts to name themselves after a Stooges song before things like that became hackneyed but to record a number of hot, high energy records that have remained buried until now. And these Eyes were a pretty hot band too, sorta punk in that bridge between early-seventies flash and late-seventies style not sounding like either in particular but whew! They kinda come off more like just-post-Loney Flamin' Groovies back when that band was lifting more than a few Stoogian moves, not to mention some early Heartbreakers too! There must be thousands of these lost, unheralded bands out there for us all to discover and I only hope this is the first of a bursting floodgate full of equally tasty offerings guaranteed to make us all feel even more pissed off than we were were these recordings were being made!
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Chris Carter-THE SPACE BETWEEN CD-r burn (originally on Industrial Records, England)

You've heard this electronic dance repeato riff music before, but maybe that "before" was when ex-Throbbing Gristle member Chris Carter did it on this 1980 cassette which means that if you heard it here you probably heard it being done one of the first times ever! Kinda mesmerizing in that mid-seventies hor summer day way when you had the tee-vee tuned in to some PBS public service program and were too tired to switch the station because MONTY PYTHON was going to come on eventually and the incidental music on said PBS show was all synth-y like this and somehow it fit in well with the mental state you were in and your anticipation regarding watching MONTY PYTHON inna first place. If you like seventies electronic sounds and that whole ramalama you might just like this!
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John Coltrane-COMPLETE 1961 VILLAGE VANGUARD RECORDINGS 4-CD-r set (originally on Impulse Records)

Well it ain't like I got the entire thing since I can only find the first two disques of this here and nothing but! That's fine enough by me what with the classic quartet-plus's entire recordings from the famed gig(s) being made available like they are here. I'm sure the actual item looks hotcha what with the booklet that undoubtedly came with it and the hi-gloss case too. Music like this sure goes to show ya just why pretentious pseudo-intellectual types used to drool all over Coltrane to the point where they were incorporating various melodies and chords of his into their various hippie cantatas for years on end. Listen to it with your Wayne McGuire 'stead of Grace Slick ears firmly in place and maybe you will understand the true nature of it all.
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The Stanley Brothers-COMPLETE COLUMBIA COLLECTION CD-r burn

Sounds like the kinda music that upper-crust rock critic types listen to just so's they can claim to be down and dirty with the same kinda rural folk that deep down inside they hate with a vendetta. Still pretty good deep-dish country twang from them pre-flash days, a precursor to a whole lotta sixties folk from the Holy Modal Rounders on down which is where I guess the whole bohemian angle re. this music fits in. Since I'm not in a folk mood as I type this (current passion include mid-seventies hard rock proto-punk of a comparatively ignored variety, more of which I will spew forth upon in future posts) it's not exactly prickling my pear but I get the feeling that when the broken tooth country folk feeling returns I'll be spinnin' this more'n just a few times a day I'll tell ya!
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Rudy Rosa-A MUSICAL CLIMAX CD-r burn

The hits of the seventies done up on a customized Hammond organ with synthesizer built in. I get the feeling that this album was given away free with every purchase of one of those strange contraptions at your fave local mall. Everything that was irritating about seventies music (other than prog rock, disco, AM teeny slurp, dud metal...) served up for your parents and relatives who would still find this quite outrageous. So sudsy that you could put your dishes next to the speaker and they'll sparkle in no time. The only other thing I can tell you is that this Rosa guy sure made all of those punk rock platters of them days that I have sound even better!
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THE FORUM QUORUM CD-r burn (originally on Decca Records)

This group was in for a fair share of hard knocks back when their album hit the stores and even after, but frankly I can't see why since THE FORUM QUORUM was a pretty solid rock platter by a pretty solid rock pop bunch with (true) all of the expected classical music touches to keep your mind active. If you like the David's ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER LIFETIME and various other late-sixties offerings that were heavy on the pop yet light on the hippydippy you'll probably like the way these guys used harmony vocals along with  intricate arrangements and made them actually listenable 'stead of mere decorative glop. Not bad at all even if saying so just might get me thrown outta the Lester Bangs fan club.
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Unseen Terror-THE PEEL SESSIONS 12-inch EP CD-r burn (originally on Strange Fruit, England

There was a time when this kinda grind/sleazecore music captivated my addled-like mid-eighties imagination. Not so much anymore considering that I'm a lot older, don't have that much time left on this planet and would rather spend whatever time I do have listening to music that really speaks to my inner being or something as equally dippoid as that. But it still does fire up my old-time feelings back when I was young and a whole slew of sounds made up my fanzine-bred existence. If you feel the same way about eighties total rampage and total musical oblivion well, maybe you'll be captivated by this as much as I haven't!
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Ray Stinnett-A FIRE SOMEWHERE CD-r burn (originally on Light in the Attic)

I don't know why this '71 album made by a former member of Sam the Sham's Pharaohs didn't get the release treatment back in those days. After all, the likes of Cat Stevens, James Taylor and the rest of those mellowed out deep-thinking introspective types were just milking the record buying populace outta tons of dinero with their soft paens to peace trains and mental breakdowns. I guess it was the fashion then even if T. Rex could manage a hit album right at the exact same time doing the exact same OPPOSITE! Shelter Records coulda made a mint with this guy considering all of the near-suicidal gals there were back then, and if they coulda sold this album with a dose of Narcan boy, would that have been a gimmick even the most sensitive of teen angst peddlers couldn't come up with!
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Various Artists-UNSPEAKABLE AVENUE REDCOATS CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

I know you look forward to reading my reviews of these Bill burns that cap off most of these posts as much as I do listening and writing about 'em. This particular entry is no exception to the usually high quality line of rarities that pop up on these outta-left-field thangs. Once again this 'un's got a nice selection of forgotten sixties garage band wowzers from the likes of the Shags and Shaprels (what the heck is a shaprel???) to bouncy rockabilly and neo country I guess you'd call it, to some weird avant garde things that only go to show you that there' still an avant garde even this late in the shockaroonie game. As far as the avant stuff goes The Unspeakable Practices (I'll betcha you can tell what orientation they are from there mere name!) present a wild and muffled sorta free jazzy thing that's buried somewhere in the muck, while "The Bush Organ" by Dada La isn't the dirty double "e" I thought it was! Good selection, I even liked the weird country bright unto white funky "Burning Mountain" by Happiness?!?!?

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

FANZINE REVIEW! PISSING IN A RIVER (S/W Press, available via contact@cherrystyles.co.uk)

One thing that I really dig about those seventies devoted to a single artist or act such as the two Iggy/Stooges ones let alone the David Cassidy STAR SPECIAL or SLADE PARADER is how they not only concentrate on the immediate subject at hand but capture the entire fun zeitgeist (betcha haven't read that word in awhile) of the era at hand. And when I mean "zeitgeist" I'm especially talking about that partricular rock 'n roll era which was front and center to many a teenball's reason for existing albeit unfortunately bubbling under the slick veneer of AM/FM totalitarianism. That also goes for the two Patti Smith fanzines of the day, ANOTHER DIMENSION and WHITE STUFF...the former had a neato New York rockfan attitude complete with references to various artists surrounding the Smith sphere (Jim Morrison. Lou Reed...) while the latter, put out by future British Weakly reg. Sandy Robertson, also donated plenty of time to other interesting musical acts who were somehow situated with a variety of Smithian kultural points that I'm sure appealed to the same level of suburban slobs who tried to get about as much outside kultur as they could from their ranch house fart-encrusted bedrooms via mags such as these and others more widely available.


It's kinda nice and heart-cockle warming to find out that even in this day and age there's a new Smith fanzine out and abou, and when I discovered this wondrous fact I naturally just hadda latch onto a copy of PISSING IN A RIVER. Nice job too even if it looks more like a professional '90s "fanzine revival" mag rather'n typewriter pecked out seventies cut 'n paste, but its a fanzine and I sure haven't read many new ones in this day and age of this quality so picking up a copy was something that I had on my gotta do list for quite a long time..

Looks pretty good too with a few new snaps, fan art, the same old Patti/Television poster from the '74 Max's Kansas City shows we've seen for years and other pertinent illios, and of course a whole lotta that great fan-based writing that used to make some of the professionals look rather turdlerish in their own Big City desk 'n chair ways. But just how does it all come off in that overall affects you and me (as the sorta guys who ate this whole CREEM/ROCK SCENE hype up and took it as our own personal salvation) in the all 'round rockist game, unh?

Well, sad to say but the zeitgeist that fueled kids like us to scour flea market and used bins for Flamin' Groovies albums back then has changed into a totally different style of what used to be called fan worship. Now don't get me wrong---PISSING IN A RIVER ain't as bad as most of the rather disturbing rockscreeding that passed for insightful thought throughout the eighties, nineties and onward mind ya, but it's still pretty shall I say a tad bland. Not that I don't mind wistful maidens with causes galore to pound into anyone within earshot to give all of the intimate details of their barely creaking mindgears but sheesh, next to the writings of earlier femme rockfans the likes of Chrissie Hynde in NME, Lauren Agnelli, Miriam Linna and even Patti herself these gals seem to exude a rather vapid appreciation of all things down home and rock 'n roll gritty. No way could I see any of 'em wanna plunk an old Link Wray platter on the Victrola and do a li'l kicking of the jams like you kinda hoped they would---in a few ways they seem to be the spiritual successors of the iron haired gals who used to make grave stone rubbings, swoon over every cult cause they would read about in their parents' NEWSWEEK and go out to change the world supposedly for the better but with far more devastating results.

I know it may be asking too much, but if there is a PISSING IN A RIVER #2 howzbout some space devoted to Patti bootlegs or artists encompassing the totality of the Smith sphere, perhaps embellished with some reprints of rare writings and the like. Or would that be too much to ask from a generation of kids who don't even know what a 45 spindle adapter is supposed to look like? Given how far rock 'n roll has deteriorated since I was a mere turdler I guess I would be hoping for too much.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Slim pickings here this week. I guess the reality of cutting lawns and scouring roadsides for aluminum cans to cash in has taken the free time outta me and I just haven't been able to listen to all of those Cee-Dee-Ares that Bill Shute, Paul McGarry, Bob Forward and P.D. Fadensonnen have sent my way. Too bad for me (and you) because frankly at this period in time I sure can use all of the free time I can get and even more, given that I ain't exactly the spring chicken I used to be and well, I'd rather spend my remaining days goofing off just like I did when I was a young blubberfarm rather'n goin' out volunteering for various civic projects like all of those other elders do once they're retired and don't have the sense enough to plop down in front of the tee-vee for whatever little fun and jamz one might find there these days! I know we all must do our best to server mankind, and I am doing just that by gettin' outta the way and enjoyin' myself for once (and not inna bathroom, ifyaknowaddamean...).

But I did get to listen to the following burns, and thankfully they kept me well 'n happy more'n had I listened to THE MANY MOODS OF KAREN QUINLAN spinning over and over again. At least these precious plays kept me goin' on more'n usual which I will say did help stave off the yawns, and for that I am thankful to the fine fanablas who sent me these burns. As they say in the porn biz, keep 'em comin'.
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Anyway, Happy Mother's Day to whomever out there this would apply to. And a hefty ditto for Unhappy Child Support Day which I get the feeling many of you male readers suffer through on more holidays that just one!
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PLATTER OF THE WEEK! Kim Fowley's ANIMAL GOD OF THE STREET (Skydog), a long-time bubbling under (but no more!) favorite which, surprisingly enough, has usurped such other late-night faves as PARIDIESWARTS DUUL and WHITE LIGHT/WHITE HEAT as top beddy-bye spins here at the BTC HQ. Fowley's albums were always solid and steady affairs, but this particular one (especially for being a bootleg) surpasses even those late-sixties wonders with its no-holds-barred lineup of tracks and topical subject matter that for once does not make you wanna puke. And hey, if anything really captures the true ideal and feeling of the Altamont Generation it is a track like "Is America Dead?" complete with all the pent up violence and hostility of the day rolled up into one neat track which sure makes the entire Jefferson Airplane schpiel wilt in comparison! All of your favorite 1969 rock moves are packed firm, full and completely on the draw in a way that'll make you wonder just why Fowley wasn't the real rock svengali of the early day (like I suppose he thought he was anyway)! If you haven't got it, you can't be a friend of Bill Shute (or mine either for that matter!).

Second most played beddy bye platters...both Mahogany Brain albums!
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The Clear-FILL IT IN YOURSELF CD-r burn

Dunno much about who these Clear people are other than they hailed from Holland and that this was released in 1981, but this burn of a cassette release (complete with vinyl pops and crackles!) is a pretty outta-left-field surprise that deserves to get heard no matter how many years it has been since being laid to tape. Yeah it starts out kinda new unto gnu wave (copyright 1982 Bill Shute) like the rest of those indie wannabes who were but pale versions of previous glory, but then the gettin' gets good what with the shards of atonal guitar wails and hefty repeato-riffs to keep one more'n just "happy". There are even a few definite mid-sixties cops to keep you shaggy headed ones alert, and is that really a reggae song they tossed in that doesn't sound like a bad Police interpretation? The iffy sound quality only makes it all sound better in that raw and urgent way, and as far as final flirts go this one encapsulates everything good that the under-the-mainstream of the day stood for before that big dive that we never were able to crawl outta ruined us for life. Just try 'n find it...I dare you (nyaaah!)!
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Giant Sand-TUCSON CD-r burn (originally on Fire Records)

Pretty iffy stuff here, with the few good moments of genius being washed over by a lot of musical twaddle that really don't gel in any way/shape/form. Horns and strings don't accentuate the music but merely get in the way, while the beyond-laid back sounds fails to stimulate those brain nodes ever in search of stimulation that can revitalize and give meaning back to this ol' life of ours. Which is sad because if the better songs were worked out more this might have been a decent release. Otherwise it's just more feh music that represents the final stage in that sad decline of a sound that used to make up the soundtrack for my life and like, I'm never gonna rest because you know it ain't gonna get any better.
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Wire-SILVER/LEAD CD-r burn (originally on Pink Flag, England)

It ain't tingling my nodes like earlier Wire platters have, but SILVER/LEAD still has a good enough emote drone to it that doesn't exactly conjure up bad memories of eighties post (yech!)-punk downfall. Not rock 'n roll true, but there's still a nice rehash of late-sixties pop unto psych feeling that almost makes you wanna check the calendar to see what year it is. Downbeat yet still solid enough to make one forget most of the spawn of this band which usually came off more art project 'n anything. 'n somehow I get the idea that this is kinda what a solo Syd Barrett album from 1981 woulda sounded like.
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Various Artists-BALTIMORE'S TEEN BEAT A-GO-GO CD-r burn (originally on Dome Records)

Ya take a buncha kids who grew up on Bobby Vinton, Frankie Avalon and the milder aspects of late-fifties/early-sixties teenybop rock 'n roll, thrust 'em smack dab into the moptop era and whaddaya got? Groups with tough names like the Executioners and the Impacts who just can't get that soft and melodic close-dancin' boy idol days outta their system! From the looks of it (or at least judging from this platter) Baltimore musta been filled with bands like these, not that there's anything evil about cheapo soft moody rock unless you're in the mood for a little Motorhead. Actually a few of these high school heavers (like Bobby J. and the Generations) approach BACK FROM THE GRAVE-level cheap guitar crank it out inna basement quality but some of the A-Go-Gos who appear here sound more like they Went-Went. But I'll take the whole slew of 'em over today's disco/schmooze/technowhiz that's for sure!
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CHELSEA CD-r burn (originally on Captain Oi!)

I remember Lindsay Hutton moaning on endlessly (or something like that) about what a self-abusing snob Gene October acted towards him (or was that Brian Guthrie who was doin' the complainin'??? Arlo Guthrie?????). Considering how Hutton and I are as thick as genital pus maybe I should dismiss this recording on a mere sense of blogger pride, but I will be true to my own rock credo and say that this platter is...actually listenable! Pretty hotcha late-seventies British punk rock is what's in store, some of it rather anthemic (such as their clank take on the Seeds' "No Escape") while other moments unfortunately fall into the punk fake book series of Buzzcops and Sex Pisstakes. But these days all I gotta say is so what. Later on you even get a ballad called "Many Rivers" that reminds me of some outta-nowhere '71/'73 hot single with a bullet that woulda fit in swell with the teenybop renaissance prevalent on the AM dial them days. Nice bitta punk ya got there boys but I ain't giving up my Flamin' Groovies platters for this...yet!
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Kaoru Abe and Masatuki Tarayanagi-7/9/70  STATION '70 CD-r burn

Dunno the whys, wheres and whatfores of this particular free player but it sure packs the proverbial pounce regarding the splat that's been a part and parcel of our musical heritage. True the idea of out-there saxophone teamed up with splintering shards of electric guitar grate ain't nothing new, but considering that this live in front of about five appreciative patrons gig was laid down in 1970 it sure was new then and maybe we should give it some credit if only for that! Tarayanagi's guitar playing does parallel and predict a whole slew of seventies guitarists from Derek Bailey to Rudolph Grey, and while Abe continues on the brave path burned by the likes of Archie Shepp albeit you better not expect him to break into some Ellingtonian rhapsody any time soon. Is it me or do these types of records sound better when under the stress of supreme mental anguish? If so, I sure wish I was under some right about now...
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Various Artists-BEER-CAN OCTOPUS MOUNTIE CRASH CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Another one of those mystery meat collections where Bill provided nada information as to what actually transpires on this. Good thing too because it was pretty fun just settling back and trying to guess what it was that in fact passed my ears the last hour that I sat listening to this thing. It's got some pretty hotcha stuff here too, from a slew of Aunt Jane's pickle commercials that are mildly entertaining in that snazzy fifties-humor kinda way, to a coupla of song poems and a nice batch of old time cylinders featuring more of that turn of the previous century music that sounds pretty hot when played next to the stuff ya hear on the radio these days!

The Aunt Jane commercials were taken off what I guess was some sorta promotional reel that was sent out to promote the new campaign to get Ameriga eating the product, mostly dealing with someone getting their tongue all twisted over the word "pickle" usually pronouncing it "pookle". Nothing outrageous mind you, but thankfully these commercials are in that tradition of those old radio spots which used to play on satire and spoof to the hilt while still being safe enough for everyday ranch house consumption. The song poems are crazy enough as well, the first one dealing with a gal who drinks beer and ties the cans to the back of her car (or something like that) and the second a country weeper about a guy in prison for drunk driving and vehicular homicide in the process. The latter one might have actually made a legit sixties country song given the depth of regret and sorrow the singer exudes and hey, if "Welfare Cadillac" could be a hit why not this heart-tugger???

Oh yeah, there are also a couple chapters from some old radio shows, but they were so boring that I couldn't care less if the hero got offed during the cliffhanging end. If I tuned in next time and found out they did I'd probably be the happiest guy alive!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

BOOK REVIEW! TRUMP---THE COMPLETE COLLECTION (Kitchen Sink Press, 2016)

For years I was under the impression that this Harvey Kurtzman just post-MAD project was gonna be the pornographiest of pornography if only because of the involvement of the Hugh Hefner PLAYSELF empire in backing this mag! Yes, vision of bullseyes, belly buttons, butts and bushes permeated my adolescent thought patterns after I read that description of said mag in the essential Les Daniels tome COMIX, and given that none other than the infamous Don Fellman himself said he thought TRUMP was a rather shady deal my attitude towards this particular publication was about that same that I'm sure the Clean Minds Committee had...naughty stuff here and best to hide in between the mattress and the spring box for those late night excursions, ifyaknowaddamean...

Now that the mag's two issues have been collected in book form and that cheapo peons like myself can settle back and read these sagas after all these years all I gotta say is...boy was my adolescent mind working overtime with this 'un! TRUMP ain't that durty and heck, HELP! was way durtier than this even though it wasn't that XXX to begin with, and it sure looks good what with the color pages and slick typesetting and all but...like the early MAD (and HUMBUG and HELP! for that matter) you have to wade through a lotta "eh!" material to get to the meat and potatoes funny stuff, of which there is some mind ya.

A lotta the spark of the original MAD magazine does pop up, and these mags do continue with that screwball Kurtzman style of yuks complete with the help of those MAD artists like Bill Elder and Jack Davis who not only appeared in not only a lot of Kurtzman's endeavors but a whole slew of other MAD swipes throughout the fifties and sixties. Sometimes the humor pops on all cylinders---the LI'L ABNER spoof is just as good as many of the funny page takeoffs that appeared in the original MAD comic book (and way better'n the comparatively trite LI'L MELVIN that showed up in PANIC---even Elder's mimicry was far better in the TRUMP take!) and the fold-out reconstruction of mid-twentieth century living as seen a million years from now could very well be Elder at his sneaky art best. Jack Davis' take on the old RIN TIN TIN television series was also worthy of his days with the original MAD  (not to mention HUMBUG) as was his "Engineering For Prosperity" article which was one of the first of many spoofs detailing faulty and deceptive products---in other words it's yet another one of those pieces which plenty of satire wags in the seventies would claim were the precursors of the big consumer protection movement that took the early portion of that decade by storm.

However ya just can't deny that, like in MAD, HUMBUG and HELP! there's a lotta misfire and filler to put up with. Elder's ETTA KETT spoof in #2 just doesn't cut the moostrick though that's probably due to the fact that this strip just wasn't as popular or as eye-grabbing as the more famous comics that were ripe for picking. The CANDID CAMERA takeoff done by Wallace Wood didn't elicit any real yuks (though it sure did serve as the springboard for a whole buncha spoofs MAD or otherwise) and the sexy paperback book covers just come off like a good way to stack up three pages with something that's supposed to be lascivious but ends up unfunny to the max. I could go on but if you've poured through any old MAD collection you'd get the idea of just how far off the mark some of these satires can get.

Like the other humor rags of the day it's pretty much take your pick. The big budget Hefner heaved on TRUMP helped out loads and I gotta admit to loving the dickens outta the unused painting showing some typical old tymey kids feeding everything from bugs and goldfish to a parakeet to the Venus Fly Traps in the grandfolk's hothouse (Elder did something quite similar, with some of the same models, in a great beer ad in MAD a year earlier). And hey, who can deny that fifties satire sure beats the stuffing outta current day humor which just comes off like a buncha bad taste utterances that's supposed to teach us peons the right way to live. Or something like that. But thankfully doesn't. But anyway, if post-MAD fun 'n jamz are your big thing you might just like this historical har har.

And oh, did I tell you that DOODLES WEAVER actually contributed an article to the first ish, the one featuring the sexy drawing of an alien insect creature ripping off the spacesuit of a sexy young femme that was illio'd in the aforementiond COMIX book (the very same pic that got me thinking that TRUMP was a mag not to tell the ol' man about)???

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

MOOM PITCHER REVIEW BY BILL SHUTE! FREDDY UND DAS LIED DER PRAIRIE (Germany-Yugoslavia 1964) starring Freddy Quinn and Mamie Van Doren!


Also known as FREDDY IN THE WILD WEST and
THE SHERIFF WAS A LADY (a direct translation of the German title would be FREDDY AND THE SONG OF THE PRAIRIE), this vehicle for beefy German singing star Freddy Quinn (whose “western” singing is more like Gordon MacRae in the musical OKLAHOMA than, say, Roy Rogers) is wonderfully entertaining. There used to be a Western-themed amusement park in California called Corriganville--it was previously a Movie Ranch where many B-westerns were filmed--run by former Three Mesquiteer and serial star Ray “Crash” Corrigan, which featured Western-themed entertainment, gunfights and simulated western brawls performed by stuntmen, etc. Imagine such a Western-themed park in the middle of Bavaria or Croatia (as this is a Yugoslav co-production, I’m guessing the locations are there, as they were in the Winnetou movies), with skits and musical ditties and gunfights and trick shooting and everything you’d expect at such a place....but done by people who not only just know the cliches, but who know them on a cartoon level and have no sense of tone. It’s almost like what a Dudley Do-Right cartoon is to a Mountie film--if the Dudley Do-Right film was made by Germans and Croatians and was live-action. This is the kind of film where after the hero shoots someone, and does it as casually as if he’s rolling a cigarette, just for the heck of it, he throws a silver dollar in the air and shoots a hole in it.

There’s a plot here to keep things moving....actually, there’s a few alternating strands of plot, as if ONE archetypal western plot was not enough....so we have the man who’s seeking the family who raised him after his own parents were killed....the man who is seeking his long-lost love from childhood....the man who is confused with a famous gunfighter....and the one (stop me if you’ve heard this ten times before) where the suave man who runs the saloon and owns everything in town is not-so-secretly the head of the criminals. You’ve also got a female sheriff who dresses like a man to be more convincing.

And then you’ve got Mamie Van Doren (no, she’s not the Sheriff) as the head entertainer at the dance hall, doing songs that start in English and segue into German. Mamie was always a talented all-around entertainer (she performed for the American troops in Southeast Asia for years, performing deep in war zones and being adored by soldiers starved for both entertainment and for lovely ladies, something she rarely gets credit for), and she brings that sexy and entertaining presence to this film, and fortunately her spunk and attitude and physicality transcend dubbing. The producers made a wise decision to import Mamie Van Doren for this film.

I never did manage to see this on American late-night TV back in the day (although I remember seeing it listed once in TV Guide), but I recently scored a letter-boxed English-language (well, mostly----Freddy’s songs are in English, parts of Mamie’s are, but the other dancehall songs are in German) print, and it’s beautiful to look at....and those Yugoslav Western Sets look like something at a Western theme park.

Clearly, the people who made this film love Westerns and romanticized Western popular culture, and that love comes through in every frame. It’s almost like those German and French rock and roll bands of the early and mid 1960’s who adored Eddie Cochran or The Ventures or whomever. They may be a bit off on the “tone” of the performance, but their spirit overcomes any cultural awkwardness, and it’s best to just go with the flow.

Director Sobey Martin was originally from Germany, but most of his credits are in American television, including such shows as VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA, RAWHIDE, THE TIME TUNNEL, PUBLIC DEFENDER, LOST IN SPACE, and BOSTON BLACKIE. Since this film has the same kind of “please the whole family” kind of feel you expect from television of that era, Martin was probably a good choice. The excellent supporting cast, including such familiar names as Beba Loncar (as the Sheriff who’s a lady) and Rik Battaglia (as the oily saloon owner), all seem to “get” the spirit of the film, playing their characters as the “types” that they are, with a physicality that communicates more than whatever dialogue they are mouthing.

I came into this film not knowing what to expect. I knew it was a vehicle for Quinn and that it was probably a homage to old-fashioned westerns, so I was not expecting a Eurowestern of the German or Italian or Spanish style, but the film quickly establishes the level it’s going to be played out on (even before the majority of the opening credits roll), and if you are willing to go along with it and surrender any pre-conceptions----and imagine yourself at a Western theme park in Germany, holding a large stein full of dark beer, and there to enjoy yourself and forget the tedium and pain of reality for 100 minutes, then it’s totally successful. And you’ve got Mamie Van Doren being Mamie Van Doren too....what’s not to love about that!

Saturday, May 06, 2017

If there is one fact of life that we can all agree on (other'n the eternal jerkitude of Dave Lang), it's the one which says that my obsessions were one thing that really kept me goin' (both physically, mentally and even spiritually) throughout my kiddo and early adulto life. My infatuation with a variety of things was the fuel which gave me something to live for, to look forward to, and generally made up my entire reason for breathing at a time when life generally coulda been dull for a suburban slob kid.When I was seven it was dinosaurs, eight automobiles and whamming my Dinky Toy inna bathroom, comic strips at ten and comic books at eleven. When I got older the obsessive drives continued and hey, if I only had the same self-control and sense of reality as others maybe this whole rock screeding and fanzine hoo-hah on my part never would have happened! Now tell me---aren't you UPSET??????

I thought I had gotten over the whole idea of limitless drooling uncontrollable passion towards everything once I got my life a little more in focus and my bloodstream filled with chemicals that were supposed to alter such compulsive behavior in me. Obviously that is not the case, for just like it was when I was a kid and the mere sight of an Edsel would send me into swoons of classic Amerigan automobile fun and jamz it took the mere entry of the LES PUNKS Cee-Dee (reviewed below) into my life to get me (once again) flipped out over French rock of a punk or similar variety! And with that I just hadda dig into the miracle of internet and find out just about everything I could on acts like Gazoline, Kalfon Rock Chaud and of course the men behind the scene like Marc Zermati of Skydog Records fame and especially Yves Adrien, perhaps "thee" biggest booster of rock as energy en Francais, a man who seemed like the best aspects of Bangs, Meltzer, Kent, Murray, Farren and all of your favorite under-the-underground writers with some of their worse aspects tossed in true, but still boff enough to rate a mention in these pages considering the forgiving nature that moils in my soul like a turd that didn't quite go down the drain.

I sure wish there was more info on Adrien available in English because at this point in time all I have to rely on are google translations and most read like Andy Kaufman's "Foreign Man" character talking endlessly on a caffeine jag. But from what I can tell ya man, this guy is everything I like about the 1964-1981 period of rock 'n roll as pure energy transformed to sound! If he had only written in the Amerigan language he mighta been just as revered o'er here as the likes of all of our other fave rave rock extrapolaters who, come to think of it, were loathed by the majority just as much as they were loved by the rabid (and rockist correct) few who continue to worship their souls long after rock for all practical purposes has been dead and long buried as that International Youth Language we all seemed to adhere to at one time or another.

Sure the guy had his faults such as in his praise of lesser minds like Prince not forgetting his reverence for "techno"/"disko" as a post-"disco" movement, but who can fault Adrien for a few false moves considering his stature as a town crier for the likes of the Stooges, Dolls, Groovies and the rest of those acts that used to get the red carpet treatment in France at a time when hardly anybody thought those guys could rock the roll for some strange reason or another.

As you may have already sensed, I do get the feeling that his post-seventies writings might be a little hard to cram down the ol' optic nerves the same way I kinda shudder at a few of the things some of the once-greats wrote when the eighties gave way to the MTV generation, but then again I've tried reading a whole slew of eighties-era rock mags and the like and find just about everything (with a few exceptions) totally unreadable so why should I quibble about this one guy anyway? From what I can tell Adrien was one of the better rock 'n roll fans (with the proper soapbox) to SPREAD THE WORD to the French equivalent of our own suburban slobs who found this music the perfect soundtrack for their lives, and the more Adrien (and Patrick Eudaline and Alain Pacadis) we can get into our moldy lives (and the less Ann Powers and Anastasia Pantsios) the better!

And while I'm at it, can any of your faithful readers out there direct me to some pertinent translations of the man? After all, my old issues of CREEM are getting dog-eared and it's really hard to read those old NME's while perched on the toilet.
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And like, so what else is goin' on here in BLOG TO COMM-land you say? Well, other than the recent infusion of Gallic rock consciousness into my otherwise drab existence not that much. Life has given me some hope since a few essential items will be (or already are) winging their way to my door as we speak, and I am having more than enough fun sitting in front of the boob tube (or flat screen these days...hiss!) watching old programs via Dee-Vee-Dee, some of which will be mentioned in upcoming mid-week posts. Lemme tell you, I am in fanabla heaven when I'm plopped in the comfy chair watching an old SUPERMAN episode or listening to the Velvets while reading FRITZI RITZ in my jammies during the night. That's what I love about life...as a kid the concept of horrid UP WITH PEOPLE humanistic social relationships were being pumped into my brain at an alarming rate but (as I knew even then) the people who were pushing this agenda on unwary kids were as wrong as wrong can be! After all, things are more important that people and don't let anyone tell you different!
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And with that, let me delve into just a few of those "things" that I've been listening to this past week!


Ernesto Diaz-Infante-MANITAS CD-r burn (Kendra Steiner Editions)

KSE reg Diaz-Infante takes us on a 44-minute excursion through the newer-than-new classical guitar style that I somehow can't see the likes of Segovia engaging in. Acoustic strums, shards and clops in what seems like a random style. For fans of the old GUITAR SOLO albums on Caroline and Derek Bailey enthusiasts. Some may call it noodling, but I call it the natural progression of things and maybe you should too.
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Various Artists-LES PUNKS: THE FRENCH CONNECTION CD (Soul Jazz England)

And here I am still excited as all heck from the Max's Kansas City double duty set reviewed last week and THIS monster has to enter in to my life! Like I've said the French always seem to be ripe for criticism when it comes to rock music but we know better, and this collection of various French rockers really does excite me the same way I used to get excited walking into the Drome thinking about all of the boffo records I wasn't going to be able to buy with just three bucks in my wallet. For being more or less ignored throughout the history of rock 'n roll there sure were a whole load of good groups coming outta the place, and as far as an encapsulation of what was going on in France as proto-punk mutated into punk proper before eventually petering out into punque this set has the biff bang pow that made record buying such a fun if chance-y experience during those rather dollar-depressed days.

Can't say that there's a loser in this pack and most if not all of the groups are born and bred of that Velvets unto Stooges unto wherever you wanna go with it (Groovies, MC5, Suicide...) sound that typified the latter portion of the seventies, at least for me. It all just oozes that whole smart set style that was pushed by the likes of Marc Zermati, the much mentioned Yves Adrien and Patrick Eudeline (howbout some English lang translations of Eudeline while you're at it???) which came to fruition back when this breed of custom made for suburban slob sounds finally made its way into that enclave and suddenly even the likes of CRAWDADDY couldn't ignore it anymore. None of that cheap "gnu wave" crap that was created for those who couldn't handle the real thing...this is French punk rock 'n roll done up as wild and furious as all of those other self-produced high energy screechers and be THANKFUL you're far beyond the depression-era wages days that kept you from getting this stuff the first time 'round for it's once again available and for a song!

Personal faves naturally include the rougher of the bunch...Gazoline's "Sally" sounds like it was recorded on a wobbly Wollensack after the guitarist had all of the fingers on his left hand sewn together. Of course it's great. 84 Flesh's "Salted City" also rubs a certain raw nerve ending in my psyche, and of course I can't resist Metal Urbain and Marie et les Garcons even if the latter tends to point the way towards softer if still pop enough trends for people who couldn't keep time with a metronome.

Robert Christgau once said there's no such thing as French rock. Another reason for him to take a much needed rest stay at a Belgian euthanasia clinic if I do say so myself.
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Shady Lady-RAVING MAD CD-r burn (originally on Rave Up Records)

Wow, another Stones/Dolls swipe! Only these guys were around before the Dolls got their act together and for that matter recorded this platter a good year or so before them guys even got inked to Mercury. The singer comes off like Micky Jo and the band is about as hard-clang as any good local boys could get at the time. Not only that but it's got the patented acoustic bloozy Stones-styled moaner in case you're still in doubt as to where these guy were comin' from. A wild ride through the early days of platforms and unis*x that should appeal not only to fans of the Stooges, but those of Jump and of course the Stones and Dolls right before the early-seventies promise twisted itself into variations that continue to both surprise and confound this far down the line.
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The Fleshtones-RADIO PARTY NYC CD-r burn

(I might have said this a few times already so bear with me...) There was a time when I considered these guys a buncha turncoats and renegades because of Whatzizname Zaremba's co-hosting that MTV show 120 MINUTES or whatever it was as if his presence on the net was gonna actually help the Fleshtones make that big zoom into the bedrooms of overweight smelly teenage girls like he hoped! But now that the smoke has cleared and it's 2017 all I gotta say is that I sure think these guys are pretty swell what with them being alive here in the late-'teens and playing the exact same kinda music they had for the past forty years! Live October '80 with that Big Beat sound that made the 'tones one of those new New York bands along with the Comateens, Bloodless Pharaohs and Zantees (really!) that took past accomplishment and remolded it for a music I thought would dominate the eighties! But I was wrong about that 'n so what else is old???
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COZMIC CORRIDOR CD (Mental Experience, Spain)

Moody synthokraut sounds from a group I never heard about until the folk at Mental Experience released this obscurity! Lots dark droning electric organ and synth couple with spoken female voice give this an eerie similarity to side two of Ash Ra Tempel's JOIN INN. Quite intriguing at times in a spooky gothic way only the Germans would work out without looking stoopid, and although this is about as far away from rock 'n roll as Cat Stevens it does make for better music to sweat the introspective creepies outta ya. Nice archival digup you have there, Mental Experience!
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David Johansen and the Harry Smiths-SHAKER CD-r burn (originally on Chesky Records)

It's really fun knowing that, after all of these years, the New York Dolls are still considered persona non gratis when it comes to "respectable" rock circles. But what would these same "classic rock" types who (of course) are all gung ho for the blues, at least in its cleaned up present state, think of a recording like this where chief Doll Davy Jo Hansen affects his best Howlin' Wolf vocalese on these backwoods blues numbers that are so raw 'n ruff you woulda thought Greg Prevost woulda had somethin' to do with 'em. The playing from these Harry Smiths might as well be the King Biscuit guys umpteen years later its that real a deal, and combined with Johansen's growl this makes for a pretty hotcha time! Good enough that I almost (key word) forget Buster Poindexter!
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Various Artists-EIGHT-MILE BASIN ST. RUMBLE CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

I don't think Bill will be snarl-like with me for dumping on this particular collection. It ain't bad, but none of the heights and thrills of previous burns seems to emanate from this one the same way the smell of greasy fried garlic emanates from your armpits on a 90 degree day. Not that the usual local rock group rarities aren't fine nor the cheap label soul, but they just don't wow me the same way previous Shutescursions have what with their ancient ads and old 78 crankolas. The best bouncers outta this bevy happen to be the early-sixties vintage instrumentals, and even Steve Marcus' take on "Eight Miles High" sounded better than I woulda expected some jazzy redo would turn out. I hope the well ain't runnin' dry because I can sure use more of those strangities that Bill always has the fortune of finding onna web.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

DEE-VEE-DEE REVIEW! THE CURTIS HARRINGTON SHORT FILM COLLECTION (Flicker Alley/Drag City)

Underground films might not be your fave rave kind of kick up your feet entertainment, but I gotta admit that I really do go bigtime for some of these avant garde-y excursions whether they be made by hard-to-decipher Europeans (anything from BLOOD OF A POET to ECSTASY) to short subjects made by guys tryin' to climb the ladder to success only by the time they climbed it all they found was a naked guy named Cess a' waiting. True a whole load of these films are flowery, poetic, flitzy and most of all appeal to heart-rendered gals who iron their hair and press leaves in books, but some of 'em do have a bit of energy and testosterone to 'em and (by golly) even look as if they were made by men who go for women, which is an anomaly given just how many of these early underground works dealt with the love that just won't shut up anymore.

Curtis Harrington's one guy who did make his way to fame and fortune as a director of everything from the mysterioso NIGHT TIDE to various Aaron Spelling tee-vee productions, but back when he was just another El Lay lost boy he was making such epics as FRAGMENT OF SEEKING and PICNIC which were getting shown at private screenings along with the films of his friend and sometimes collaborator Kenneth Anger.

This collection's the first time those early short films (as well as a few surprises) have been gathered for public consumption, and I gotta admit that I found it a kinda/sorta fun viewing experience even if the artzy meter might be tippin' way over inna red on a few occasions. But as long as I can eke out some definitely non-intellectual enjoyment like, who cares?

The early shorts do show quite a lotta that Euro expressionism/Maya Deren feeling that was big in those circles at the time...quite "surreal" in that "I've watched UN CHIEN ANDALOU a thousand times and I hope some of it rubbed off on me" sorta way yet appealing to a larger audience than just the confused gals with dyed pit hair who tend to flock to these films. You can see many similarities to other early underground works of the period from Anger's own works to those of Markopolous and Sidney Peterson, and the visions of a world long gone (yet you still could get a few glimpses of it as late as the seventies) do conjure up dream-like memories of at least my past...dunno about yours.

It's kinda funny that both FRAGMENTS OF SEEKING and PICNIC have similar themes dealing with youth looking for unobtainable love. The latter work seems quite striking in the protagonist's quest for the out-of-reach gal (funny how these films are so strikingly hetero yet Harrington always gets grouped in with "queer" cinema) and the scene where Our Hero is struggling to climb those narrow Hollywood steps (the kind you saw in Laurel and Hardy's THE MUSIC BOX) with the steps getting steeper and steeper as the heroine is dragged away really did make my leg muscles tense up quite a bit I'll tell ya!

Even more striking are the fifties-era color films especially THE WORMWOOD STAR, a documentary about  El Lay occultist and widow of rocketeer Jack Parsons Marjorie Cameron which is creepier than you'd ever imagine not to mention 2002's USHER, Harrington's final film which oddly enough was a remake of his first venture into cinema made back '42 way with the director himself reprising his earlier role and the male and female lead (OK, maybe that's what they mean by "queer"). Both are proverbial wowzers and entertaining enough that even someone not into the whys and wherefores of beret and stale doritos film as art could enjoy 'em even without a subscription to FILM COMMENT at hand.

It's even got one of Harrington's industrial films here which is entitled THE FOUR ELEMENTS that reminds me of something you woulda seen in school on some lazy afternoon, and if you too feel like taking a snooze while the lights are out just don't snore lest some teach whack you with a yardstick and send you to the principal's orifice!

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

ANOTHER GREAT SPECIAL GUEST POST BY BRAD KOHLER ENTITLED TWO RECORDS WITH ONE GREAT SONG EACH!


First we have the "Slow Death" 12-inch EP by the Leather Nun. The record is a curious mix of hard rock/punk and guttural industrial yawp. Not mixed as the peanut butter and jelly that came in the same jar, but as in you have your rockers, short and direct as a swordsman's feint, and you have a few songs where it sounds like your mom is vacuuming the living room in the foreground.

These guys somehow latched onto the Industrial Records wavelength, and like metal bands that celebrate Satan, found their own avatar of darkness, Genesis P. Orridge. Not quite as featsome a character as ol' Scratch, in fact a runt when you get right down to ir, P. Orridge;s atonal scrapings done with Throbbing Gristle found favor with the Nun, so much so that they sort of re-did the T.G. composition "Hamburger Lady" as "Slow Death", perhaps not to be outdone in case there was a sudden craze for songs about burn victims dying horrible deaths and a corresponding dance featuring self-immolation. The Nun actually had a release on Industrial, a cassette I never heard, but actually might comprise some of this EP. I'm sure nude pictures of Cosey Fanni Tutti were part of the signing deal. This was the high point for the Nun, who slowly slid into mediocrity and eventually became such a joke that Union Carbide Productions made fun of them on their first LP. It may be tempting to make fun of other bands, especially when they pretty much deserve it, but remember, your own comeuppance is certainly on its way, which it did in the case of an instant ised bin crapper produced by Steve Albini from UCP that arrived two releases after they should have called it quits. Perhaps the Nun cursed UCP by using a copy of CROWLEY FOR DUMMIES and a Tibetan thigh bone that got thrown into the deal when they signed with Industrial.

The one great song on here in "No Rule" which boasts a repeato riff that James Williamson must still be kicking himself for not coming up with. The vocals sound like the voice I always figured Dr. Doom had, and the whole thing makes most Motorhead tunes sound like "Sally Go 'round the Roses". And I like Motorhead. (EDITOR'S NOTE---and I like "Sally Go 'round the Roses"!!!)

Another great thing about this EP is the band photo. They look like the kind of mental midgets, perverts and general undesirables that the Nazis would have sent off to the early concentration camps before figuring they made for much better guards at the same camp. (EDITOR'S NOTE AGAIN---quit making these concentration camp jokes! My grandfather died at Auschwitz! He fell out of his guard tower!)

Oh yeah, "Ensam I Natt" is a great song too, with an opening bass line that cuts like a meat saw. Alright, so it had two great songs.
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But this record really did only have one, but what a wowser. pragVEC were a French band that put out this 12" in 1979, and I heard the song "Wolf" on the local independent radio station that had an adventurous DJ named WT Koltek, The song is the apex of the Rough Trade indie sound, whip-smart but gutsy, full of hairpin turns but not at the cost of foregoing solar plexus for cerebellum. And the "pick the brains pick the brains pick the brains..." refrain is just cool.

I found this EP used long ago, and once I saw the other song titles I figured I was in for a one hit wonder. No song called "Existential" could ever be anything but a stinker. And what's more, if you find the same copy of the record I have, beware! They tried to cram too much music on side two which resulted in the shortest run-off groove I have ever seen on a record, guaranteeing that your stylus will leap as if off a ski jump onto the inner label.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

As Arthur Godfrey once said (and no, I don't mean "this performance was your swan song"), "howareyahowareyahowareyah"! Fortunately I've managed to get this weekend's entry in earlier than usual and with less stress than it usually takes as well which I guess goes to show you that I'm starting to get better at this racket! It was a nice week for music if I do say so myself, and of course you will be joining in my ecstasy once you make your way down to the review section below, one which may just rank with being one of the best I've done in quite awhile although I get the feeling that most of you will think it's just "rank". That's your prerogative, even though I sometimes get the feeling that you readers just ain't on the high frequency wavelength that I most certainly am.

But sheesh, after giving a good portion of today's platters a once-over all I gotta say is that I thought that a fairly good portion of 'em were good enough that I would just LOVE to spin 'em again which really is saying something! And given this is the age of records with one good track and the rest bowzers or platters filled with nil oomph at all making you wonder which form of sub-species these recordings were made for let's just say that I'm tossing the cornflakes and going full gaga over the Max's, Sect, Tapiman and Searchers offerings (Frank Wright too!) which has made this week one that I wouldn't mind reliving, at least without the constipation. And with the promise of future albums comin' out that sure live up to the BLOG TO COMM standards of addled wonder let's just hope that I won't be clockin' outta this life a lot sooner than I have planned (which is at age 139 of old age in the middle of a nice dream...).
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ANOTHER CASE OF HISTORY BEING DEBUNKED, AND MAYBE YOU HEARD IT HERE FIRST! (BUT THEN AGAIN, MAYBE NOT)-In the ongoing quest to find out who exactly was the first to coin a phrase or create a phenomenon, it's not quite sure just who exactly came up with certain terminology to describe certain forms of sound musical or not. Take punk rock f'rinstance...for years it was settled that Dave Marsh (yech!) was the guy who used this term to describe ? and the Mysterians, until someone determined that it was some guy who was introducing the Deviants at a 1967 gig who first uttered the famed descriptor (actually there was a 1957 episode of THE STEVE ALLEN SHOW in which a rowdy rock 'n roll band made up of leather jacketed tough guys was called the Punks, so who knows???).

But as for heavy metal well, any science class Dilton Doiley can tell you that the heavy metal elements are part of the periodic table and of course William Burroughs had Uranium Willy the Heavy Metal Kid, but as far as a term to convey a certain style of rock 'n roll well... The Fugs did have a "Heavy Metal Music" in which to publish their songs true, but as far as any application of the term in the way it was used in the seventies it has been often said that the first proper usage of "heavy metal" was in Metal Mike Saunders' review of a Sir Lord Baltimore album in the pages of CREEM some time in 1971.

Well, after doing some heavy commode reading I discovered this li'l turdbit from THE ROLLING STONE RECORD REVIEW collection of reviews done up by some greats like Lester Bangs, R. Meltzer, Lenny Kaye, the aforementioned Saunders as well as a bunch of nobodies like Jann Wenner. It originally appeard in a review of the Electric Flag's  A LONG TIME COMIN' album done up by a Barry Gifford that was published in the May 11, 1968 edition of the paper and in it reads a line that sez that this album "...is the New Soul Music, the synthesis of White Blues and Heavy Metal Rock" (my itals.)! Obviously a musch earlier use of the HM tag than Saunders' CREEM mention! Just a li'l history that I thought I'd share with y'all, and if this has been discussed many a time before whether via the various Saunders email postings or whatnot well, maybe you weren't aware and for that you should shower me with all of the appropriate and proper hosannas and I do mean like now!
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And since this is Saturday afternoon and I need to get some barbershop kids kinda fun in my system. here are the reviews!


Various Artists-MAX'S KANSAS CITY 1976 AND BEYOND 2-LP set (Jungle Records, England)

It's 2017 and who would have ever thought that in this sorry day and age Max's Kansas City would still be relevant to the rockist whos, whats, whens, wheres, whys and and hows that continue to live inside music maniacs such as ourselves! And like, who would have ever thought that the classic 1976 album would have ever been re-released in the present, and with an additional platter making this the kinda bargain most of us woulda killed for back when things like Max's, rock 'n roll and HIGH ENERGY were still alive and desperately trying to make that big comeback we all hoped it would.

Not only is the entire 1976 album reproduced 'cept for Pere Ubu's legendary "Final Solution" (Jungle couldn't get the rights, perhaps because the Ubu folk are still miffed about their inability to reissue that song on the DATAPANIK collection back '78 way) but a whole slew of tracks you would have expected (from the '77 Max's sampler) and not (Sid Vicious, Nico, Iggy???) pop up here and the entire proceedings remind you of just what the pow'r and might of rock 'n roll was before it all hadda rot into new unto gnu wave and became a pretty gross embarrassment once 1983 (at the latest) got into gear!

The original album holds up swell enough as an encapsulation of just about everything that was right about rock music back '76 way, and even with the omission of "Final Solution" you still get a nice crosscut of what else was going on in the NYC clubs of the day, sorta like an aural version of ROCK SCENE magazine without the cheap paens to the big names. The new material fits in swell too even if you (like I) wonder how Nico got on here since I can only recall her playing Max's once and why is there a solo-period Iggy track when you'd think it woulda been easy enough to obtain something from that Easy Action tape of the Stooges Max's show. (And hey, maybe some Alice Cooper or even Bachman-Turner Overdrive woulda fit in here if you wanna play it super-big or some Zymosis or Master Radio Canaries to be ultra-obscure about it!) But why quibble since their tracks snuggle in just as much as the Sid Vicious and Heartbreaker ones, and where else are you gonna hear the likes of the Knots these days anyway???

I'll tell ya, I haven't been as excited about an "archival" double-LP set since I got hold of the Rocket From The Tombs collection and that was a good decade-plus back! You may not share the same appreciation I have for the seventies post-Velvet Underground era of atonal angst but hey, it was this breed of style and swerve that made up the soundtrack for more than a few up-and-coming beneath-the-outkid types during those strange days. If you were part of that mileau (or were even too scared for that) well, maybe this is your final chance and like, how many opportunities do you have to re-live your suburban slobdom years anyway???
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Downliners Sect-DANGEROUS GROUND CD-r burn (originally on Steady Boy Records)

It's been quite a long time since I've listened to these guys, and considering that I haven't even heard anything recorded by the Downliners Sect after 1985 this was quite a re-awakening for me. This group's been active since 1963 yet they still sound as fresh as just about any of those blue wave bands that Charles Shaar Murray used to write about back inna late-seventies. This particular 'un from 1998 is pretty much in the same groove as their '77 Raw single not to mention the one they did for Inner Mystique a few years later...hard bluezy and even countryish rock that's has that rough edge that only a few groups in the Eddie and the Hot Rods vein really could pull off without looking like pampered effetes puttin' on a Sluggo act. Quite solid and definitely something that should please those of you who still have all of those early Stiff Records singles you bought via Bomp! way back when, like I do!
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Tapiman-HARD DRIVE CD (Guerssen, Spain)

Not bad early-seventies hard- rock from this Spanish trio who ain't quite into heavy metal "proper" but ain't quite Cat Stevens mewl either! They're pretty darn good in fact...punk rock if you followed Hot Scott Fischer's accurate description of the first Budgie LP as punk rock personified in an old CREEM magazine, or maybe you were one of the few who latched onto that CREEM special from ten years later devoted to metal but, as you'd expect, they tied the whole "Sister Ray"/Stooges mystique to the sound even though nobody in their right mind had been doing that since at least 1978! Early neo-hard thuds mix with some good straight-ahead longhair laments and it even has a toned down yet still potent cover of "Planet Caravan" that'll get you dragging out your PARANOID platter for that once-in-a-few-years spin. A nice change from the usual nice changes I've been privy to these past few months.
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Frank Wright Quartet-LIVE NYC SUMMER 1973 2-CD-r set

All four of these guys (inc. Wright regulars Alan Silva and Bobby Few---I think Muhammed brother of Rashied Ali plays drums) really pump the cylinders on this set which somehow has evaded the minds of free jazz fanatics lo these many years. Sound quality is good in that jaded club sorta way and naturally the Rev. Wright does his best to keep the whole Coltrane/Coleman/Ayler spirit of things going at a time where I woulda gotten the idea that most jazz people were of the Leonard Feather instead of Nat Hentoff variety, ifyaknowaddamean.  Total eruption fire music that, thanks to the miracle of internet, is probably available with the flick of a key or two for a mere bag of shells as Ralph Kramden used to say.
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The Searchers-GREATEST HITS CD-r burn (originally on Rhino/WEA Records)

In the whole Beatles/Stones/Kinks/Yardbirds/whatever rush of British Invasion bands the Searchers always seem to get lost in the mop top shuffle. 's too bad because these guys had the top pop slop sound down pat yet they weren't overly gloppy like some of the competition during those rather shaggy days. This sampler shows just what a hotcha act the Searchers were, they comin' off kinda like a lighter Beatles with a faster pace and nice jangly guitars that fit into the 1965 mode just as much as GILLIGAN'S ISLAND and Shake-A-Puddin'! All of the biggies and not-so's appear, and I finally get to once again hear "Bumble Bee" for the first time since '73 and discover who it was who recorded this obscurity since even Don Fellman (a whiz at these mid-sixties sorta things) couldn't help me!
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Gene F. Streiker and Larry S. Chengges-STRAYWINDS CD-r burn (originally on Shanyn-Alexus Records)

Who knew there were so many weirdities available throughout the seventies now totally forgotten to all but the guys who did 'em. Here's a strange self-produced album featuring various spoken word recitations set to electric piano that kinda sounds like something a nerdoid fifteen-year-old would noodle in between bouts of self-abuse to Joni Mitchell snaps. Neo-romantic conjuring here that sometimes manage to tug at a heart string or two---too bad the words are so obscured by the delicate playing! It does sorta fit in with the holier-than-old-folk youth movement laid back and touchy feely mood of those day so if you still cherish your Cat Stevens albums and sniffle at BLESS THE BEASTS AND CHILDREN you might find a soft spot in your head for something like this.
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Clifford Jordan-IN THE WORLD CD-r burn (originally on Strata East Records)

I didn't care for it that much given the mid-energy level IN THE WORLD just oozes. Still a grand enough example of the bop unto avant cusp what with the presence of such fifties stellars as Kenny Dorham and Richard Davis, not to forget Don Cherry making a rare appearance on cornet. A good pause from the usual freeform blasts but sheesh, in this stress-filled, tension-packed world of ours I sure could use a whole lot more JCOA free form platters and other beyond-abstract excursions rather than this comparatively tame mewl!
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Various Artists-POSTUM CRYSTAL DIXIELAND PIE CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Didn't think this 'un was that special. Oh, it does have its good spots like all good leopards do, from a live Jesus and Marychain track to a whole bunch of those classic old radio ads that really do bring back the memories of people telling me about all of those old radio ads back when I was a kid. However I didn't think that most of the musical numbers were that hubba hubba myself, what with the Mosaics comin' of like nth generation Hondells and the Europia a bad take on late-sixties Paul Revere and the Raiders. Maybe we are beginning to scrape the bottom of the sixties garage local rarity barrel after all of these years, and although I wouldn't call POSTUM CRYSTAL DIXIELAND PIE a washout it sure doesn't stand up to previous Bill Shute burn quality. Did like the "Dixieland One-Step" and the Edi-phone School Record in my own stuck a good century back way tho...

Thursday, April 27, 2017

MOOM PITCHER REVIEW! MR. MOTO'S LAST WARNING STARRING PETER LORRE, RICARDO CORTEZ, GEORGE SANDERS AND JOHN CARRADINE (1939)

Saw this 'un a long time ago, but given my sieve-like memory it was like watching a new moom pitcher all over again. Peter Lorre was always at his zilch-film level best as Moto (too bad World War II hadda break out 'n end the series), and he's really tippy top in this particular pelicula as the famed international agent trying to stop saboteurs (led by one-time silent screen leading man Ricardo Cortez) from creating an international incident by placing mines near the Suez Canal in order to stir up some major-league animosity between England and France.

Cortez is particularly good as the dirty deed dealer who's also a vaudeville ventriloquist (though his off-stage rapport with his dummy is not as intense as that of Von Stroheim as Gabbo nor any of the two TWILIGHT ZONE episodes dealing with this by-now overworked device) while John Carradine as a good guy posing as a badski who eventually meets his end in a diving bell sure ain't the Carradine we all know from those Crown International films of the seventies let alone MYRA BRECKENRIDGE. Virginia Field as Cortez's gal pal torn between helping his dastardly deeds and spending a stretch in a British women's prison is fair enough but just doesn't exude that hotchaness I like in these olde tymey mooms, while Robert Coote as the novelist Rollo is particularly good comic relief, sorta reminding me of Harold Lloyd what with his round glasses and the way he gets himself in the thick of things with Moto just happening to be around to save his ass from rowdy sailors or the conspirators themselves.

Gotta love these old mooms for what they still mean to guys like me who never could goosestep to the new snoozality so evident in everything that has been metastasized by the newer than new kultural vanguard or whatever it's called these days. Might be worth a look-see on some low-wattage tee-vee station or maybe even the web, though frankly the only way to watch a flicker like this is on a hot sticky summer night on some slightly fuzzy UHF station sitting on a Naugahyde recliner in your undies (no AC). Talk about being "glued to your seat", though whether that's because of the film's gripping nature or the fact that the sweat exuded has pretty much cemented you to the chair remains to be seen.