Sunday, May 28, 2017

You can just tell that spring has set into mine weary bones by the way I've become (once again) extremely long-winded about the musical subject matter at hand! Yes dear readers, I do know what has revived my youthful revelry in all things musical that once excited me to no end---it was me pouring through some old boxes of gunk not knowing what to save and what to recycle as paper for Brad Kohler's bi-yearly blogpost rundown and in the process of saving and tossing having chanced upon a whole slew of long forgotten and olde-tymey reading which really got my rockscribe roots showin' like hemorrhoids in a nudist colony! The biggest catalyst for my exuberant joy commenced when I came upon (no, not that!) famed somethingorother Robert Nedelkoff's fanzine of interest LOVE AND LAUGHTER, a read which I gotta say is one of the few self-published screeds which still had strong connections to the definitely non-ginch intellectual punkist seventies rock fandom of HYPERION and CAN'T BUY A THRILL done up in a day and age when the music and the audience for that matter had wound down like an antique vibrator. It was rather hard to chance upon good rockscreed in the eighties (and nineties, and beyond) so when I did come upon something that was worthy of my eyes it certainly was time to celebrate!!!

And LOVE AND LAUGHTER was the kinda read that reminds one of the real Golden Age of rockscreed, what with Nedelkoff's punk intellectual opines on everything from the Red Crayola and Peter Blegvad (holdovers from CLE #3-A!) along with the usual musical cherces of the day which are mostly made up of forgettable eighties amerindie faves but wha' th' hey??? Great tastes, great cheap pecked-out look and frankly I love the entire thing (and am searching for the other issues that I have stashed inna abode) even if the guy praises, and to the hilt at that. some of the then-current alternative music that never could stand the test of time. Oh well, that's his perversion and so did I but it's still a winner that tops most crudzine efforts of the time, other'n my own natch! One thing I do wonder tho is...whatever HAPPENED to Robert Nedelkoff anyway?

My lengthy and loopy opines might also have to do with the fact that I've finally, after a few months of scrimping and saving, have purchased a variety of music and reading material that really is stimulating my mind in ways like nothing since the last great spurt of musical anarchy both old and new. Yeah, now I don't have to rely on those garage revival tossaways that Bill Shute hates so much because for once there's gonna be some fresh (more or less) meat on the table to munch upon. And hey, I even got hold of some new rock-oriented reading to soothe your suckems 'stead of more comic strip collections and moom pitcher writeups during the weekdays (although I gotta say that I love 'em all equally and hey, next to music old comic strips are the love of my ever-changing and usually for the worse life!) so if you're tired of the same old, tune in for some same new!

But please do bear with my bornado writing this week if only because I feel (hope?) that it is a passing fancy and that by next week I'll creep back into my usual capsule review self (well, capsule enough so's that I at least have enough room to stick a nifty album cover next to said writeup!). Like I once or twice told you, the far-more experienced Eddie Flowers told me that elongated extrapolations on one's personal encounters (or not) with the subject at hand might have worked for Lester Bangs and Richard Meltzer (and, although he didn't say it, Bill Shute) but THEY SURE AS HELL DON'T WORK FOR ME as if anyone out there really is interested in the sordid details of my more boring than thou life in the first place. Best advice re. rock writing that I ever got, and although I broke the rules out of sure joy de rockism next time I will have more of a sense of brevity in mind while telling you all just how you should think, act and buy.
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YET ANOTHER EARLY HEAVY METAL SPOTTING, this time in the pages of something called GO (dated 8/22/69), which in the course of a review of the first Stooges album brands the group's music as being "hard, heavy, heavy-metal ego rock" which again does predate the Saunderian usage from the Sir Lord Baltimore review even if it falls behind the Electric Flag 'un by two years. Again this might all be old turd long flushed but sheesh, somebody's gotta be categorizing this anal retentivity before it all gets lost to time!
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OK,time to settle back for some long windedness...


The Velvet Underground-BOSTON TEA PARTY JANUARY 10th 1969 2-CD set; JULY 11th 1969 2-LP set (both on Spyclass Records, available via Forced Exposure)

Am I the only person alive who believes that the Velvet Underground remain the most positive, focused, purest and (heck) even most danceable concept to ever hit the world of rock 'n roll (at least until the Stooges and Man Ray)? Put all of that lame eighties-beyond hype and sensitive girlypoo appreciation aside and focus of the Velvet Underground as they were.  I'm talking the Velvets as that Wayne McGuire-hyped FORCE that might as well have been the Fifth Horse of the Apocalypse playing the soundtrack to a world in chaos as the mode of the music changes into something that...well, I wasn't expecting James Taylor but what did come in their wake was mighty earth-shattering indeed.

It's grand seeing both of these oft-circulated and bootlegged shows get the royal  remastered and generally cleaned up treatment. Fantastic sound especially on the January show, and the performances are even better than I remembered. I even prefer these over the Quine tapes which for some reason never get a spin anymore...dunno why but I think it's that one version of "Waiting For My Man" which must have been the ultimate live piss-take on this verifiable stoner anthem. But really, these two offerings are fantastic slices of the Velvets as they stood as the premier exponents of creative applications of sonic ideals in rock performing in one of the few cities that welcomed them with open arms and influenced a generation of bands playing in their image, at least until the self-conscious radical element got the best of everyone as it all slid down the commode.

I can't see how amerindie/new music/alternative types could appreciate the Velvets one iota. They don't have the 3-D depth or O-mind or mental capacity for that matter to slip into the Velvets' entire reason for existence. It ain't all soft paens and clunky chords being churned out at those modern day equivalents of folk hoots...it's the hard grind churn of WHITE LIGHT/WHITE HEAT as the catalyst for the heart and soul of the (real) new age you just can't get outta tinkling chimes and George Winston. But hey, you just wouldn't know that given just what some of the exceedingly dwindling spawn is up to these days now, can ya?

January---sounds like Lou and gang were at least ticked off if not downright angry and it transposes into sound well. "I'm Set Free" is performed passionately yet intense enough to the point where it coulda made me cry had I heard this version age seventeen, while even "Candy Says" and "Pale Blue Eyes" sound wiry. A particularly potent "Sister Ray" caps it all and maybe after this performance you kinda think Lou wasn't kidding us about how all the instruments are wrecked after this number's performed.

Six months later they seem more at ease and even "Ray" comes off loose complete with the "Murder Mystery" tag on which was about as close to doing that famed song live as they could get away with.

Even (ESPECIALLY?) if you have heard these circulatin' through the tape lists for the past thirtysome years it's essential listening for the true Velvets obsessives gathered here. Remember, it's 2017 and we all need the Velvet Underground even more because frankly, because of all those amputations (and the fact that there just ain't any rock 'n roll stations anymore) this and precious few others are all we have. And ya better be appreciative about it---you have no other choice left unless you consider today's post-post-post rock an "alternative"!
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Sameti-HUNGRY FOR LOVE CD (Sireena, Germany)

Krautrock buggers always went for Sameti's Hawkwind-influenced and typically Teutonic space album on Brain Records but they never really cozied up to this followup featuring a revamped band, a commercial sound (and cover) and a new label, Warner Brothers. HUNGRY FOR LOVE was too commercial for the same audience that was just coming outta the psychedelic haze of TANZ DER LEMMINGS true, but that doesn't mean that it was a total dudster like so many made it out to be. In fact I gotta align myself with the pro-HUNGRY crowd (all three of 'em!) which has deemed this 'un a fantastic outta-nowhere surprise and a downright listenable mid-seventies punk rock excursion that of course woulda been turded upon by those "real" punk types who, along with their spiritual spawn seen popping up at antifa and related neo-Marxist rallies these days, look pretty assholeish when compared to the authentic brand.

Michael Paul Ferrera in the pages of FUTURE called HUNGRY Germany's answer to RAW POWER and he did have a point. Not that it sounds like an atonal homage to that overdriven monsterwerk but it does have the same sense of energy and knock the audience out power and might. At times its a Slade stomper and at others a weird shift back to BLACK MONK TIME's robot riff rock. Just give a listen to the LP opener (aptly entitled "Intro") where a guy imitating an Amerigan radio dee-jay talkin' pidgin English gives these guys a rave up unheard since KICK OUT THE JAMS.

True nothing here approaches the frenzy of those Detroit pioneers but hey, they do a really good job kicking up the testosterone almost in the same way the Good Rats did on their first platter. Best track's the all out closer entitled "More and More" which has a fake live audience cheering while the band pumps you up and up until you think you're gonna explode like a balloon! Good stuff here that's been washed under the import bin rug because it doesn't sound like what krautrock is supposed to sound like, but if you're big on hard pop bonecrusher early punk doings then this record might at least (in part) help you have that good time you've been denying yourself for quite a longer time than any of us can imagine.

Don't be anti-Sameti-ic...buy a copy and kick out them jams Teutonic-style!
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Iggy & the Stooges-ST. LOUIS AMERICAN THEATRE 10/8/1973 CD-r burn

I don't care what the ever-tightening sphincter types out there in rock criticism land say, I can listen to any of these Stooges live shows and find something noteworthy and fresh even if the set list might be exactly the same as every other tape from that particular timescope. Portions of the St. Louis show have been previously released, but it's sure nice hearin' these all in one big gulp as the action (tension) unfolds before your very ears and the man called Iggy proves once again why he was the real king of the slag heap in an era when there were many pretenders (some legit, mind ya) to the throne. SQ is raw, but this is probably the way it sounded to alla those tender ears of the day weaned on Cat Stevens records.
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MX-80 Sound-SO FUNNY LP (Feeding Tube Records, available via Forced Exposure)

The grand return of MX-80 Sound after a good decade or so of virtual zilch, and it is a good return indeed! Nothing super special mind you, but it does sound like a grand attempt to recapture seventies glories of those over-the-scalp Ralph albums that solidified this band's rep as a different 'n the usual batch to contend with. Bruce Anderson's guitar playing is as overdrive shards of sound  as you'd expect after all these years, and Rich Stim comes off just as young 'n addled as he did back in the mid-seventies when he was. Dale Sophiea is back on bass guitar (is that his son on drums???) while Jim Hrabetin handles the third guitar spot making for an even fuller sound if you can imagine that. Lyrics are typically witty, humorous, deadpan, dry, sardonic and various other words that'll have you rushing to the dictionary, and frankly I don't know how I could have lived so long without hearing this (actually I do, Bob Forward burned this for me but the darn thing kept sticking!). The cartoon cover belies the fact that this is a head on collision into a roadblock of sound, and if you were in on the trip way back when then hey, why bug out now?
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Philip Glass-TWO PAGES, CONTRARY MOTION, MUSIC IN FIFTHS, MUSIC IN SIMILAR MOTION CD (Elektra/Nonesuch)

I grew to hate Philip Glass with a passion in the eighties if only because of the more spiritual-than-thou commercial brand he had acquired thanks to his soundtracks for films with titles I cannot pronounce and general fru-fruness by association (the Dalai Lama???). Gotta get those impure thoughts outta my system if only because I can't deny that the guy's earlier works were pretty darn good in their own repetitive modern classical this can appeal to you if you like krautrock sorta way. In fact, if you think of the Philip Glass Ensemble not as a collection of serious experimental musicians playing at art galleries but as a wild Velvet-y rock group with nothing but cheap "96 Tears" organs and saxes and flutes and weirdo ooh-wah vocals playing at Max's Kansas City the concept works pretty swell.

Two long OP albums (one hard to find, the other not so) appear on this Nonesuch collection giving us an idea of what the Glass Ensemble were up to long before they hit the art snob prime time. The Shandar tracks are stripped down to the basics either with Glass solo or with pianist Michael Reisman sounding much like the Glass of the seventies albeit without much of the added dimension that the Ensemble gives this music. Still mesmerizing and able to grasp your attention nodes the same way Terry Riley's PERSIAN SURGERY DERVISHES does at two inna morn. Come to think of it, there is a marked resemblance between "Two Pages" and that epochal all-night wonder which means that if you have the late-night jitters and want some appropriate sounds to exacerbate the experience you can't do better than this!

The rest came out on Glass's own Chatham Square label which is still easy enough to locate and affordable t'boot, but this might be the cheaper alternative and besides you also get the Shandar disc and just try latching onto one of those! These feature the Ensemble in all or in part and like the Shandar material feature more of that etude-y music that you (I will admit) do have to get your third ear in gear to understand and digest. But hey, it's a whole lot easier to digest this sorta sound than it is to put up with the use of staid hippie jargon like "third ear" to describe focusing on music via deeper level's'n just having it on while you pop the blackheads off your nose (which is still a valid option if you wanna get even more hippiedippy about it).

A worthy spin for those searching for such worthiness, but remember that after NORTH STAR it really does get worse no matter how many times VANITY FAIR and their likes may have told you otherwise.
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Brother Jack McDuff-SOUL CIRCLE CD-r burn (originally on Prestige Records)

I dunno about you but I was bored stiff by McDuff's organ soul jazz sounds which reminded me more of some e-zy listening piped in sound I woulda heard in a Holiday Inn restaurant during one of those family getaways. It figures that one of the leading lights of seventies schmuck jazz, George Benson, performs on two tracks. McDuff shoulda been locked in a closet and forced to listen to all of Larry Young's output in order before he was allowed to go near any keyboard.
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Various Artists-EMERGENCY EMPTY CONTRIBUTION SPOON CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

First off, whazzaheck is the ol' TEENA comic strip by Hilda Terry doin' headin' off this particular Bill burn cover??? Bill told me that he bought a collection of TEENA comics that GOLDEN AGE REPRINTS released a short while back and thought they were pretty lame girly stuff unworthy of anyone's attention. I requested he review the book in question to share his opinions with us iggerant readers but he's rebuffed that comment for some occult reason or another, probably because it was that dudsville that it didn't deserve any additional precious pixel time. However, he did put an example of the strip on this cover and although it ain't exactly barf-worthy like a good portion of the strips seen today are (which are not surprisingly also drawn by a batch of so-called "females" who shoulda been kept away from the pens and shoved in front of Easy-Bake ovens as turdlers) you can't deny that this particular example is kinda iffy. I guess Bill is trying to pull my chain, or daisy, or leg, and hopefully NOTHING ELSE!!!

Comics aside, I thought this was gonna be another one of those garage band-y collections Bill has the sense to send my way. Sorta like his version of BACK FROM THE GRAVE only done up by people who were too corny to come up with anything as outta tune spazz and the music that ended up on those legendary plats. Bill did have the smarts to sneak in some old commercials in between tracks (and one extended romp that sounds like someone changing the radio dial 'round 1940 way) and that always brightens these things up, and the tracks once again range from good corny to slick corny to non-corny. I like them all, even Martin and the Radicals' "I Lied" which had a nice '66 dirge sound to it that nobody could dance to but then again, who reading this blog dances? Overall a fun collection featuring a variety of garage-y offerings done up by guys who might as well have lived next door to you, but sheesh, why the STEREO REVIEW Cee-Dee propaganda anyway?

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-era devoted to a single artist or act fanzines 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 more'n anyone on this planet of ours woulda expected.

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.