Saturday, March 03, 2018

Nice week we're havin' here, innit? Well, it could be a nicer week if it were only a li'l warmer around these parts but I can't complain. After all, I'm the kinda guy who sees a whole lotta beauty if ya can believe it in all kinds of atmospheric conditions whether they be overcast rainy summers or frigid winter morns just as much as I can warm 'n sunny days, if only because these kinda days remind me of FORMER kinda days when I was a kid and a rainy afternoon meant I could do nothin' but hang out in my room playin' with my Dinky or snuggled up in front of the tube wonderin' whether or not to go to the bathroom or watch a favorite television program. I even have the soiled underwear to tell you which path in personal decisions I eventually took which sure does dredge up those rather soaked up times when perhaps my judgement wasn't exactly the best.
I'm not as Citalopram-induced "up" as I was when I posted about my inner pride in being a true "star" (but not a wizard) two weeks back, but I'm still feeling quite chipper if I do say so myself. "Loopy" might be a better term, perhaps because the ONLY beddy-bye music I have been listening to these past fourteen or so days has been the Mahogany Brain WITH (JUNK-SAUCEPAN) WHEN (SPOON-TRIGGER) Cee-Dee which somehow fits into my own scatterbrained sense of being better than  most of the other recordings I have at hand. (Well, not really since the Brain's SMOOTH SLICK LIGHTS also has gotten some airplay around here as well as a few others I'll be reviewing for ya shortly.) These platters sure make for a great soundtrack to reading THE AESTHETICS OF ROCK too making me wonder how none other'n R. Meltzer himself would have handled these had they made their way into his mitts back when he was still a rock writer of some renown (but not much as far as the music editors of STONE were concerned!).

I've also been reading my collection of Patti Smith WHITE STUFF fanzines, the ones that future English Scottish rock scribe Sandy Robertson did up way back '77-'78 way when these kinda mags were a nifty way to get to the bared wire intensity of it all without having to wade through pages of REO Speedwagon drivel like ya hadda do when reading a "legit" newsstand mag. Awe inspiring to say the least. Yeah, I know I mentioned this 'un about a decade back when I got hold of a disque containing the entire zine run but sheesh, you just can't read a computer screen onna toidy or next to your bed late at night, and that's why I had the dang things printed on to paper the way God intended such things to be enjoyed.

After getting a load of some of the daft rock musings found on the web (and this blog is included in the list, or at least my contributions are!) it's sure great reading some smart and down to earth rock screeding (and written in the classic neo-gonzo style as created and nurtured by such demons as Lester Bangs, Nick Kent, Charles Shaar Murray, Patti herself etc. and so forth) done up not only about the lady but the acts of the past we like such as Lou, Kim, Iggy and the rest who were still producing a rather potent grey-room-breaking shock in our systems even during this late stage in the game. I'm talkin' the groups and people that surely mattered a whole lot to a load of us suburban slob kids who used to pose in front of our bedroom mirrors pretending we were at Max's Kansas City, and one page of Robertson or one of his cronies spewing forth about the likes of everyone from William Burroughs to Harry Crosby sure beats the entire ROLLING STONE HISTORY OF ROCK AS A BACKDROP TO HIPPIE EXCESS schpiel we've been fed for a longer time than anyone can imagine.

Oh yeah, I must also admit to another beddy bye fave this past week, mainly a disque of the Rocket From the Tombs demo broadcast on WMMS as it was aired without the sound quality up-grade (?) of the legitimate album and with almost all (about five or so seconds missing) of Peter Laughner's commentary just the way that I'm sure most lucky listeners heard the thing way back when. The gaps between the songs are annoying to say the least, but the power and energy is so pure and straightforward that it's amazing that something this good would even be considered broadcast-worthy at the time...a good decade later with the entire corporate rock world wallowing in the abyss of tired tropes and cheap mummery such an act wouldn't have even been considered holy enough to soil the sacred airwaves of 'MMS, but sheesh the mere thought of a rock 'n roll group of such QUALITY being publicized like this even during the day of "free form" radio boggles the mind. Remember that story Nick Kent once gave us about how Iggy Pop and Lou Reed, both outta work once the Stooges split and Reed departed the Velvets, were considering putting together a band but decided not to because it would just be too much for any stage to hold? Well, Rocket From The Tombs was just that group and at this point in time all I can ask is...for moremoreMORE!!!!! because we need it and like yesterday!
Here be the reviews which I think you can make your way through without any help from myself. Not as wondrous a batch as the previous ones were but fine enough at least with what's being promoted out there in the so-called "real" (hah!) world if I do say so myself. Yeah, the pickin's might seem rather skinny as the days role on but one thing I gotta get into my head and get into it soon is...1977 just ain't comin' back any day soon as like I gotta make with what I got so quit bein' such a spoiled crybaby, Chris! So let's stop snifflin' away and read...

Harmonia-DOCUMENTS-1975 CD (Groenland Records, Germany)

Yes, even more Harmonia recordings are up and about for our perusal years after the fact, and although these things ain't as crucial to my listening parameters as an unearthed goodie from one of my top ten spinners would be it's like eh, I ain't gonna ignore it. These guys did put out some rawther fast-paced, energy-driven music and better unreleased Harmonia than the sorta drek that has been tossed out as "rock music" these past fiftysome years which, had I never heard the life-reaffirming sounds of groups like Harmonia, would have turned me off of the entire "rock" concept faster than you can say Andy Secher!

"Tiki-Taka"'s a new version of the old Harmonia "chestnut" and if you liked that you'll like this re-arrangement that goes on a quite different tangent. Sounds close to the old Kraftwerk/Neu! "motorific" (hah!) style that was probably losing favor around the time this remake was being laid down.

"Live at Onkel P3 in Hamburg" is a perfect soundtrack to the overcast dusk I'm enjoying this Sunday PM. Here the trio are joined by Guru Guru leader Mani Neumaier on a live jaunt that has that great repeato-riff sound that hearkens back to that one rock 'n roll group I'm trying to stop name-dropping if only due to cranial weakness on my part. You know, the one that pretty much set the pace for every other hot chug in music that came out until at least 1979??? But it works swell as Rother strums electric guitar while Rodelius tinkles electric piano and Moebius scronks subdued on the synth. And Neumaier's playing is pure steady, keeping the beat with a few rolls here/there. This is one of those tracks I sure wish could go on forever but hey, the evening has only so many hours.

"Proto-Deluxe", an early version of the DELUXE track what with a return to the more "zuckerzeit" Harmonia sound with a pounding piano and soaring guitar lines. The kind of electronic whiz that attracted Eno to these guys and had Bowie swiping more than a few ideas for LOW (as if he really was as "original" as all those rock critics would have led us to believe). Some old Harmonia licks are tossed in and others abused. It works, at least as a template of things to come very soon.

"Live at Fabrik in Hamburg"---more with Neumaier and a track that a kinda chunky almost dance beat taken to its logical (?) extreme. It kinda drives and swerves back and forth like "Autobahn" on 45 packing a whole load of energy even with the not-so-cyborg use of synths. Kinda reminds me of the electronic music pop avant garde of the mid-seventies which, only a scant few years later, sounded like nothing but rinky dink.

Krautsters are sure to enjoy this rumble and even some of us more rock 'n roll-inclined types might (that I won't guarantee that!). Nice to see the archives being flushed out like this which only makes me hope that perhaps in the near future more 60s/70s artyfacts will be making their way to our ears thus staving off the inevitable plunge into total non-funzy disaster at least by a few months.
Battre Lyss-TILL DEN STRANG SOM BRAST AN ATT ALDRIG SPANNA EN BAGE (without the umlats and other accentuations) CD (Guerssen Records, Spain)

There's nothing here that really make me wanna jump for joy the way a good straight-ahead rock 'n roll platter does, To me this is mostly laid-back early-seventies bell bottom rock, the kinda music I would have imagined some ironed-haired cause-afflicted gal would listen to in the privacy of her boudoir while sniffling about the plight of Biafrans. Some elements of late-Beatles McCartney seem to seep in here and there while a whole load of budding FM strains can easily be discerned. Not the kind of exhumation that I particularly care that much for, but giving how I can't judge you readers one bit I'll bet a whole load of you will go hog wild for it.
Cathy Berberian-POP ART LP (Vinyl Ermitage Italy, available via Forced Exposure)

Surprisingly solid ('cept for the William Walton closers which still have a sorta charm) platter with Berberian singing Kurt Weill (and not making me sick), the Beatles and some freaked out avant things ("Stripsody" by herself and things from ex-hubby Luciano Berio) that will remind you of her classic work on "Fontana with Aria Mix" or whatever it was called. If you're the kinda kid who used to take an interest in the "new music" because of its relation to the budding rock as art movement of the late sixties, or you have that Steely Dan album which mentions her, you might take some initiative to seek out and give this rarity a spin.
The Monochrome Set-1979-1985: THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS 6-CD set (Tapete Records Germany, available via Forced Exposure)

I never did cozy up to these guys throughout their long career, although I did feign some interest at one time if only due to the group's interesting method of operation (art school sound and hijinx to be precise). Snatching up a few early Rough Trade singles and leaving it at that probably woulda been the best thing for me to do, for I find the grand bulk of the Monochrome Set's material (at least found on their first four albums plus two disques of single sides) rather thin sounding. Not that there aren't moments where they do plow straight into forms of smartpop that just do tingle the nerve endings like they should, but for the most part their music sounds like stripped down Roxy Music and Sparks records played around 39 rpm. Sorta the missing link between mid-seventies English glitzy pop revival and eighties thin-sound regurgitation (Culture Club, Dexy's Midnight Runners, Soft Cell...).
Don Dietrich/Ben Hall-LIVE AT MUG, DETROIT 12/31/2013 CD-r burn

Talk about ringing in the New Year! A total eruption set that shows that, if the avant garde of jazz wasn't already dead and buried, at least the dug up corpse re-ignited with electrodes sure comes off a whole load better'n whatever else is getting passed on as that once-vibrant slice of sonic spiritualism. Dietrich bellows on a tenor while Hall plays some of the best free splat heard in ages and to top it all off the two are doing it with this strange electronic drone wailing through the entire affair sounding like a buncha busted bagpipes that were found in the Royal Scots Fuselage trashcans still gasping for air. Absolutely mind-blowing to dig up an old cliche, and as you all know I JUST LOVE OLD CLICHES. But I love this total eruption attack even more and if you can locate a burn of it I know you will too.
Storm Bugs-A SAFE SUBSTITUTE CD-r burn (originally on Snatch Tapes, England)

Did I hear this one before? Sounds so familiar in its electronic screech and voice mangipulative way. Typically twisted very early eighties English experimentalism born and bred of the industrial revolution giving way to the vapid mechanical future we all thought we would be experiencing once 1990 rolled around. And come to think of it, weren't we right???
WHITE BOY AND THE AVERAGE RAT BAND CD-r burn (originally on Heaven and Hell Records)

Don't let the sweet strains of synth strings that open this 'un fool ya, this record is top notch heavy metal crank that (unlike the metal that inspired these guys and you'll know who they are once you listen!) doesn't let up one iota! Even the obligatory blues track drives you mad just like Iggy did on "I Need Somebody", and for a bunch of guys who were lifting from the established metallic munchers left and right they sure put out a platter that can actually drive one downright mad. Too bad the majority of HM fans eschewed this breed of blare for the kind of fluff that Anastasia Pantsios and the entire musical establishment deemed "proper" 'stead of the real thing or else the listening matter of the nineties might have been vastly different that it most certainly was.
Joe Houston-LIMBO CD-r burn (originally on Crown Records)

Not bad a-tall jazzy limbo/calypso music that sure made for fine backdrop to an afternoon of comic book reading. Various limbo-fashioned sounds done up in a nice r 'n b style that seep right into you like the best of this music does. And after all these years later I gotta say that LIMBO sure comes off as a better, more cohesive "concept album" (which it is) than THE SIX WIVES OF HENRY VIII ever did!
Various Artists-MALICIOUS BIRMINGHAM SLEEPWALK CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Here's another Bill burn with no hint of what's to be found within the aluminum layer on it, unless you count the title's obscure hints. Still a surprise what with the obvious song-poem, some Swede singing about his fat Olga in the days before the Polish got branded as the stupid ones, some weird neo-free jazz that sounds like imitation AACM howl and these really cheezy versions of pre-Beatles instrumentals done up on synthesizer. I kinda'd like to know who was responsible for that guitar noodling with brush drums in the foreground track. And those scratchy 78s that sound like the same track done up first in 1910 and then a good fifteen years later. AND that weird dirge that closes out the disque while yer at it.

Gotta say that I probably dig the old ads that Bill stuck on here more'n anything. You get Charlie McCarthy and Goodyear tires, not to mention the THIRD appearance on these Bill Burns of the infamous Choo-Choo Charlie "Good 'n Plenty" commercial! Bill must really like that 'un, or either hes' stuck on the famed candy coated licorice flavor. Your guess, but I always preferred Good 'n Minty!


Anonymous said...

Christopher is sweet on Patti Smith.

Anonymous said...

Patti Smith is going to play The Sea Hag in the remake of Popeye. No makeup needed.