Saturday, April 14, 2018

Lots to go through today...as you can see from the vast amount of reviewage below I've been busier than a proctologist at a nudist colony writing up the following freshies, and believe-you-moi some of 'em are pretty good items that'll stand up to time, if not to at least a repeat play! Big heaping hunking thanks to the fellows at Feeding Tube Records as well as Gregory Raimo, Bill Shute, Paul McGarry and the irrepressible Bob Forward for the items they donated which, thankfully, have become the property of me and me alone! Not only that but there are even more goodies of an everlasting nature heading for the ol' abode which means we have some REAL wowzer reviews to look forward to as the days unravel!
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I had a big schpiel regarding "current events" lined up but decided to scrap it in favor of a less windy (if you can fathom that!) summation of my views. And as my own soapboxing opinions go well, frankly I dunno where this Syrian brouhahaha is gonna end up but right here from my jaded POV all I gotta say is Trump, I thought you were the peace candidate! I thought you were against the war without end neoconnish "deep state"! And while I'm on a roll I thought you were a whole lot closer to the leave 'em alone anarchist principle than most everyone else on the boards 'cept maybe Rand Paul!!! Well you are a saber rattler true, but nothing next to what the Nobel Peace Prize winner Barack Obama or Bill Clinton or even/especially George II were and like, I was under the impression that you had some sorta idea as to what constituted justified use of military might and that we were rid of those days when the use of force was instigated by various sociopolitical happenings that, only a short time later, were either proven to be false or exaggerated beyond the realm of what actually had happened!

Or, to put it more succinctly:



Well, if we're here next weekend I'll assume everything turned out kinda/sorta OK, though given that martial law will undoubtedly be slapped on all internet activity in case of a National Emergency maybe you won't get to hear it from me!
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And now, onto something less burdensome on the mind and more uplifting than Penelope Playtex, the reviews!


New Parents-TRANSIENT RESPONSE LP (Feeding Tube Records, available via Forced Exposure)

Man oh man did I hit the jackpot this week with a HUMONGOUS package of freebies courtesy the infamous (as they should be) Feeding Tube Records label! Outta nowhere came this big box filled with the latest and upcoming offerings that label has or is about to unleash upon us, and as you can guess I am suffering from SENSORY OVERLOAD just thinking about all of the good times I'm gonna have plowing through this massive soundstorm!

Rather than listen to the entire batch in one sitting and end up with a bad case of mental indigestion I'm gonna take this package one day at a time. I hope you guys at Feeding Tube understand because you certainly do not want me to die of a brain attack...and with that in mind let me handle this particular lovely first. It's a platter by an act called "New Parents" and if that sounds ikky to you tough turds because this particular band is pretty good even if I believe they shoulda ironed a few things out before committing this to vinyl. But that's my opinion...for the most part New Parents present a pretty smooth folky-rock that comes off part early-seventies Amerigan garage rock and part late-sixties English folk screech a la Fairport Convention. Well, maybe a bit of that and other pseudo/neo hip refs might come up (Byron Coley mentions Brinsley Schwarz which I guess could be considered a fair approx. of the direction this one heads in) but whatever, these guys do make for some good easy going yet tension-tinged music that doesn't make you wanna join that progressive school in BILLY JACK'r anything like that!

Really, this might be a good try even for the gruffer amongst ya readers, and if you wanna kick my behind because you can't understand the thing well, maybe some other day.
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Hollow Deck-ALL THE ROOTS LP (Feeding Tube Records, available via. Forced Exposure)

Hollow Deck are the duo of Mia Friedman (vocals, gourd banjo, fiddle, guitar) and Andy Allen (tenor saxophone, clarinet, flute, drum machine etc.) and when you put them together you get a pretty good combustion like when you put sodium and chloride or nitro and glycerin or ass and hole together coming up with something that sounds like a music you might have experienced ages back, or maybe it was just that fever dream you had last night. It's hard for an old turd like me to tell anymore.

The notes that came with this (yeah, I hate referring to these notes just like I hated going through Cliff Notes to discover what the hidden meaning in MACBETH was according to the doof who wrote them analytical money wasters) do give a wild approx. of where Hollow Deck are "coming from", but to me the hazy, dreamy and (dare-I-say) surrealistic stew that comes forth from these grooves recall everything from Erica Pomerance (sorta) to one of those soundtracks to some late-forties/fifties-era underground films that Sidney Peterson used to do. But like a Peterson film or any sort of what is now known as "outsider art" there's an air of self-produced elegance and individualism that comes forth that seems to  be void in many similar projects heard not only then but now. It's personal to the likes of Friedman true, but if you can join in on what she is trying to relate, get "into her universe" as Meltzer might have suggested, you're in for the ride ALONG with Hollow Deck and there's no reason why ya'd wanna get off!

So in other words this ain't bad at all...and thankfully it eschews the too personalist aspects of much art where we have to share in the misery and disgust the artist dishes out, soaked menstrual pads and armpit stench included!
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Tommy Jay and the General-FLORIDA SONGS LP (Feeding Tube Records, available via Forced Exposure)

What a surprise! When I was listening to this outta-nowhere (actually Columbus Ohio, and NO JOKES!) platter I thought I had stumbled across some great lost (and probably loathed at the time) late-sixties/early-seventies album that somehow got released in the here-and-now! Yes, Tommy Jay and the General are a pretty retro rock act that conjures up the better moments of the post-garage/pre-glam era in Amerigan pop/rock music, and if you were the kinda guy who used to pinch pennies to buy those mid-seventies cutouts by the likes of the Flamin' Groovies and Woody's Truck Stop you'll just love the dickens outta what Jay and the General are up to on this long player! Only trouble is, you'll have to pay a lot more than 99 cents for this but given the rate of inflation you still might come out on top.
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Hopital de la Conception-THE ELECTRIC ROCKIN' CHAIR cassette (Opaque Dynamo Records, write to Gregory Raimo, 29 Rue imbert Colomes, 6300 Lyon, FRANCE)

When it comes to the early French punk rock groups you undoubtedly never heard about before, European Son might have been one of the more tasty of the entire batch of obscurities who should have released something but remain forgotten because of their misfortune even to this very day. Perhaps somewhere in between the atonal flow of Mahogany Brain and the arrival of Metal Urbain (at least from the few reports extant they were!), European Son were a two-guitar and two-guitar only group who wore their influence on their name. Not only that but the two were perhaps one of a handful of seventies acts to actually tackle "Sister Ray" long before the Velvets' more cute and camp influences began to penetrate the hearts and minds of acoustic buskers and other precocious jellybabies, people who never were able to stomach the real reason for being that I would have ASSUMED was part and parcel to the Velvet's entire reason for existing in the first place.

Like you, I never had the opportunity to hear European Son and they do rank on my list of various VU-minded acts who never released any documents I must hear sometime in the near future. However it is a WELL KNOWN FACT that this new French group, Hopital de la Conception, is the SPIRIT AND ENERGY OF EUROPEAN SON WOOSHED INTO THE MINDS AND BEINGS OF TWO OF THE TRUE HEIRS OF FRENCH UNDERGROUND ROCK BRAVE ENOUGH TO ACTUALLY CHANNEL THE FERAL ELEMENTS OF THE VELVET UNDERGROUND INTO THEIR OWN DECADENT DNA, and I really do mean it.

Two tracks (flip the tape over and it's the exact same thing!) that surprisingly enough have that "Sister Ray" hard-nosed Velvets drive which kicks up the spirit and makes you PROUD that you are a mammal and alive in the here and now if this is any indication of what the future shall bring us in music. Like European Son this is two guitars (and vocals) and nothing else, with loads of feedback, atonal soloing, repeato riffs and that whole general basement/bedroom/garage recording rock 'n roll that'll get you up and moving like you did when you'd rush to the mailbox and open up the latest issue of TAKE IT! even before you got to your welfare check. It's that much Velvet homage and thankfully eschews all of the sappy sweetness that never really was part of that group's heritage no matter how many versions of "Sweet Jane" you may hear strummed.

Yes this "Electric Rockin' Chair" is rockin' me crazy (the package this came in sez INTENSE SATURATION INSIDE and who am I to argue?) and I suggest that you send these guys (or at least Gregory Raimo, see address above) some filthy lucre and hope he sends you something back. And (as Peter Laughner said about the Electric Eels) just hope it doesn't bite you when you open the thing!
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METTE RASMUSSEN/TASHI DORJI cassette (Feeding Tube Records)

Part of the Feeding Tube package that arrived this week, this particular item is so new that it isn't even listed as a forthcoming item in the Forced Exposure on-line catalog. That means you better keep your peepers wide open lest you want to miss out on this pretty top notch cassette featuring saxophonist Rasmussen and guitarist Dorji in a duo setting that (to coin a phrase) is probably the LAST WORD as far as they go. Rasmussen's playing reminds me of Roscoe Mitchell...in fact when guitarist Dorji is wailing away on his guitar this comes off like one of those deep groove Art Ensemble of Chicago sessions during their French stay when Mitchell would be getting into some gnawing solo while Malachi Favors would aimlessly pluck his zither. A necessary must-have for any of you who still harbor some hope that the whole jazz idiom hasn't succumbed to the same classical dalliances that it seems to have (or at least that's the impression I get after combing through some of those upper-reached cable stations which feature the latest in piano jazz tinklings...and I do mean "tinkle"!
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Hy Maya-THE MYSTICISM OF SOUND AND COSMIC LANGUAGE CD-r burn (originally on Smog Veil Records)

Gave this Bob Forward burn another go at it (like I said I would) and hey, it sounds less leaden and in fact downright inspiring in parts just like I thought it would. Robert Bensick's early-seventies aggregation (which also included the likes of Scott Krauss and his then galpal Cindy Black, both who later shared the stage with Peter Laughner in Cinderella Backstreet) actually perform a steady riff rock raveup on the live tracks and come off as psychedelically explosive as those double-LP Amon Duul II albums on the "studio" tracks. You can hear echoes of Pere Ubu to be (thanks to member Allen Ravenstine) as well as some surprisingly quiet tracks heavy on the flute that recall various krautrock experiences around the time everyone started coming down off the trip. Another one of those "too bad it didn't get out a lot more than it did" efforts that still sound refreshing to us more continental rock types.
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ALISON'S TEA HOUSE LP (Chelsea Productions)

NYC radio bigwig Alison Steele might have a big fanabla in the local market, but around here she was just someone whose face once appeared in some ad that popped up in CREEM. I guess the three-minute interviews that appear on this album were meant to break her big nationwide, though I don't think they did any good because...for the life of me...I can't recall having heard any of these on any of the local radio stations that would have been ripe to air 'em!

Still they're fun enough to listen to what with Steele doing some fairly good interviews with an array of dunces (Graham Nash, Chi Coltrane even if I did like "Thunder and Lightning" a whole lot!) and downright geniuses (Lou Reed---he was still one at the time I think---and Tim Buckley) with Steele trying to make sense out of it all no matter how inchoate or uninterested her subjects may be. Some good moments pop up here like when a slightly addled Lou talks about others swiping from the Velvets credo (or so his friends say, he can't hear it) or when Tim Buckley asks for cognac in his tea. The J. Geils Band one's a particular hoot. Might be worth searching out if you miss your old local "free form" FM station before it went "classic rock" oh so long ago.
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Tactics-THE SOUND OF THE SOUND VOL. 2-1984-1988 2-CD set (Memorandum Records, available via Forced Exposure)

Sometimes I wonder just why I spent precious lucre on a collection of eighties-era Australian-vintage new wave considering that by this time the new had undoubtedly metastasized into gnu and bore only a slight resemblance to what this breed of music represented only a short decade prior. DESPERATION is why I got it---after all, what else new is coming out to get me to part with my hard-begged? Plus the Velvet Underground/Television/Love comparisons didn't hurt either even though I have known well eough to not to fall for that gag since at least 1986.

Of course it's feh. The kind of glopped up synthed out music that I in part started up my own crudzine to rebel against. If you have a soft spot for the casio-sound of the day by all means go for it, but for a soul like myself who was hoping for perhaps the LAST VESTIGE of the aforementioned Velvets/TV/Love approach I must admit that I was gravely disappointed.
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Bruno Fontaine-PIANO WORKS-ERIK SATIE CD (Aparte Records, France, available via Forced Exposure)

Naw, I ain't goin' highbrow on ya, but I did have a hankerin' to give the works of Erik Satie a listen to if only because of years of just won'drin'. For a novice like myself these tracks come off fairly good, relaxin' on a Sunday afternoon piano music that, while not exactly a part of the noise explosion in classical music that was about to transpire, does show the beginnings of the un-tethered approach. Might go well with small sandwiches (crusts cut off) and tea at your next chit chat get together.
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Various Artists-WHAT'S SHAKIN' CD-r burn (originally of Elektra Records)

Yeah I would leave it to Elektra to take their pre-Buddah Lovin' Spoonful recordings, slap 'em on a platter with other tracks Elektra owned the rights to and put it out in a way that made it look as if this was a Lovin' Spoonful platter and nothin' but! After all, how many of us SAVAGE YOUNG BEATLES owners fallen for the same gimmick over 'n over? Well, despite the obvious scammitude associated with the thang WHAT'S SHAKIN' is what I'd call a pretty swell album and not only because these Spoonful tracks ain't bad at all! There's also some early Paul Butterfield efforts ca. EAST/WEST (an' y'know I was listenin' to that 'un last night and thought it was boffo---and when the title track came on...whew!) and even those steady bloozy efforts from Al Kooper and a pre-God Eric Clapton back when he was tryin' to be black just like everyone else sound real neat! And if you can imagine, the famed folkoid Tom Rush sounds good in this company too. Well, this platter did come out 1966 way, and for the most part did anybody in the so-called rock 'n roll world stink up the atmosphere the way they would even a good two years later?
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Charlie Parker-THE COMPLETE DIAL SESSIONS, DISC 3 (originally on Stash Records)

Third part in this box set starts off with two takes of "Dexterity" (which should be well known to fans of the early Art Ensemble of Chicago) then rages through a number of takes of the likes of "Bongo Bop", "Dewey Square", "The Hymn", "Bird of Paradise". "Embraceable You". "Bird Feathers", "Klack-oveesede-tene" and "Scrapple From the Apple" each. Again this made for fine Sunday afternoon morning listening and although this particular era of jazz doesn't fray the ends of my nerves the way future endeavors would I can just hear it all coming with the way Parker and company swing the style in ways I'm sure your Aunt Martha never would have thought of!
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Various Artists-ME, MYSELF, MELINDA, AND SANTA CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Gotta say this one didn't really get me all hot and bothered, but maybe that's because I was listening to the Christmas-oriented tracks in the month of April which is something I might have been gung ho on when I was five but today....eh!

And I must say that the bevy of corniness on this one surpasses past corny burns on Bill's part, what with the like of Sammy Walker singing a deathly dirge about global warming which really does make me laugh considering the plunging temperatures we've had here recently, to a "song poem" about Georgia that sounds like something Lester Maddox would have had the good sense to run through the garbage disposal at his restaurant.

A good portion of the tracks are naturally hokum true (Freddie Lennon's "That's My Life" is what son John's records woulda sound like had the ex-Beatle survived that fateful day) and seeing that Groucho's daughter Melinda Marx was another one of those sixties singers trying to cash in on daddy's fame is of mild interest. And those Bill Cosby and Andy Williams Christmas Seals PSAs sure brought back memories of three in the morning AM radio on the midnight shift. But for the likes of me the only track here that really got me cookin' was the one by "the Death Killers" who sound all but seven-years-old, but man can they play electric guitar!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sheesh.