Friday, July 15, 2005


George Brigman and Split-I CAN HEAR THE ANTS DANCING (Bona Fide, PO Box 185, Red Lion PA 17356 USA)

Haven't played anything by Brigman in a pretty long time; methinks it may be because of some of those later Bona Fide releases of his that had some of the swivel, but not enough of the swing. This reissue at least proves my theory that, while the sixties generation had a terrible time adapting to the seventies while defining the whole rotten state, the seventies flopped even more miserably (because they should have known better) while laying down the macadam for musical jamz that ended up just as bilious as the crud they were trying to overthrow. Not that Brigman and band had anything to do with this's just that he reminded me of just how all that promise and energy of the seventies devolved to a point where all it seemed to stand for once 1987 rolled around was Madonna and Poi Dog Pondering!

You may think that the music from this '78 sesh was out of step w/various trends and travails going on at the time, and if you thought so you'd probably be right. For a guy who really doesn't cozy up to "blues rock" (for all the images of white guys wanting to be black putting on all the airs of street tough falling flat on their trust-funded butts) I gotta say this one's chock fulla the better aspects of early-seventies hard blues chug filtered through Amerigan garage consciousness at a time when I'd swear that there were more aggros like this around just waiting to be discovered. The Groundhogs naturally come to mind as do a variety of other late-sixties/early-seventies British rock acts on the prog/trash cusp whom you've probably never heard of so I won't even bother mentioning 'em (or maybe I will...Killing Floor, early UFO, Velvett Fog...). And it has such a barnyard-production sound to it that could only come outta the more ruralfied portions of Pee-YAY, as well as an auguste primitiveness that even qualifies these guys as purveyors of punk, but don't go tellin' 'em that or they'll beat you up!

While I'm at it, howzbout a hearty round of applause for the return of Rick Noll and his Bona Fide records to the living. It was well over a decade ago when Noll surprisingly skeedaddled from not only record production but general communication with the outside world, not only leaving those of us in need of his mail order record business in the lurch so to speak, but leaving me with a huge hole in my bank account thanks to the moolah owed me for hundreds of old BLACK TO COMM back issues I'd been hightailing to him o'er the previous few years. Rumors of a down and dejected Noll filled whatever circles would discuss such things, and personally I had the idea the man was totally zoned out from the world in a haze of something I prefer not to mention here on this blog. Anyway he's back and hopefully there will be more to come from the Bona Fide camp as the years roll by, and hopefully I will be repaid in one form or another since I'm certainly not as rich as some of you "speculators" out there might think! Gee, it's great to be greedy and mercenary...sure beats that altruistic trip all of those other people in blogville aspire to!


What this country needs, and has needed for well over twentysome years, is a good no wave anthology. Of course for years we've had the infamous NO NEW YORK album which defined no wave for more'n a few booger-encrusted blobs back during the days when Eno still seemed to mean something to the rockism continuum, but frankly, I must admit that other'n that aforementioned sampler and a number of records on a variety of visionary labels such as Theoretical and Lust/Unlust (not to mention the first Walter Steding album and VON LMO's FUTURE LANGUAGE masterpiece), no wave has not been represented very well on vinyl or on any other medium you'd care to think of for that matter. Let's face it, the majority of groups playing under the no wave banner during the pivotal years 1977-79 never even got their wares released, and by the time the financial/audience stability was there to allow for representative works by no wave acts the first generation had been superseded by a new no wave era that seemed maybe a little too arty, funky and obtuse for me to care. Gone was the vision of the early-Velvets meets da blues in a 1965 garage band clanksprawl. Now it was just as ahty as wearin' berets and eating stale Doritos!

Ze never was my idea of a top-notch no wave company...Lust-Unlust and their various aliases seemed closer to the guttural TR3/Max's Kansas City concept of underground thud (as opposed to Ze's chic Hurrahs/Danceteria fashionplate stylings) and this new CD comp bears my own bigotries out. Oh, I like a good portion of it if not the whole kitten kaboodle, but I woulda preferred a gritty noise-throb as only Lust/Unlust head Charles Ball mighta been able to pull it off with not only the familiar uglies the likes of Dark Day and DNA (even the Love of Life Orchestra? Sick Dick and the Volkswagens???) in tow but a whole hunka previous-unreleased goodies by never-before-heard groupings (everyone from Daily Life, the Gynecologists and Terminal to such one-offs and sidebars as Tone Death and Antenna) thrown in for adequate measure. But we do get enough scronkage to help rile the not-so-wild beast in us all, with choice selections from the likes of the Contortions, Lydia Lunch and Mars we can hear elswhere but sound OK in this glug.

The rarities are what clenched it for me, mainly since I missed out on a lotta the 12-inch singles and other hard-to-find tench the first go 'round due to lack of adequate funding. A big mistake was made in not putting the entire Pill Factory (no wave supergroup) EP here, but then again I finally got to hear the Arto Lindsay "Arto/Neto" single a quarter-century after eyeing it at the Drome as well as those Rosa Yemen things that never did seem to get released. Still, 's better'n nothing (I coulda put together a better no wave crud sampler using rarities in my collection only I am under strict orders never to let this stuff outta my sight!) and if I had any real complaint about the thing it would be the color cover. After all, EVERYBODY knows that no wave music was black and white!

WORST BOOK OF THE YEAR, OR ANY YEAR FOR THAT MATTER: I bought a copy of Francis Davis' LIKE YOUNG really cheap only because of the ebay comeon touting this read as having a chapter on the Velvet Underground's influence on modern jazz (no foolin') which had me saliviatin' from here to Bizoo thinkin' about more hidden Velvets stylings in the avant garde that I surely would have loved to've uncovered. Well, as they say in Fredonia that's my tough turds, since this book is nothing and nothing but some stuck-uppy jazz critic (who kinda looks like the late Gene Siskel, a panty of another waist) giving his leave 'em, don't take 'em impressions on jazz and gulcher written for equally stuck-uppy types who read such higher-than-thou falutin' rags as THE ATLANTIC MONTHLY fercryinoutloud. After expecting something a bit more gunch-inducing w/regards to avant garde jazz, all I got was boring quap on twentieth-century music and a pretty lame putdown of the already lame beyond belief docuwhiteguilt romp JAZZ (where he meekly rails against the cringe-inducing Ken Burns and mini-series svengali Wynton Marsalis, the black Jimmy Olsen because they are "friends") mixed in w/loads of faint piddle passing as praise for various musics I don't think I'll care much abour after eyeballing this travesty (like, why don't the REAL minds and mouths of the day get to write their own books while nth-degree snugglebunnies like Davis are allowed to prattle off all they can bear?).

Absolutist worst parts include this needless chapter occultly tying in Bill Clinton's Monicagate woes and sixties garage band music (complete w/a quote from Patti Smith originally printed in ROLLING STONE comparing the Kenneth Starr investigation to the crucifixion, with the new morality being nailed to the cross this time---a real disgrace since at least John Lennon and Oscar Wilde were able to think up better Jesus/_______ comparisons than this drek!), not to mention perhaps the worst Velvet Underground article ever with Davis trying to somehow hitch his wagon to a Velvets star failing miserably, coming off as if he read a moderne Velvets piece that as usual just chugged the sainted storyline to the hilt and then some and proceeded to whitewash the original thrust even more! (Believe me, this is certainly not the Velvets to avant jazz comparisons/influences screed I was hoping for!). One for the flea markets within at least the next three weeks.

Expect another raveup later on, perhaps Sunday if I can pull a few vital strings.


Anonymous said...


No New York has a green cover, though, and the picture on the front has some red and yellow. And wasn't there a Teenage Jesus record on pink vinyl? I don't mind the picture on the cover of N.Y. No Wave so much, but I'm not crazy about the colors of the lettering. Black, red, and yellow?

Christopher Stigliano said...
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Christopher Stigliano said...
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Christopher Stigliano said...

Right, though I thought that the cover of the Ze sampler looked garish and perhaps more suited for some other music genre than no wave...perhaps it would have looked better on a release of Ze's more August Darnell/disco-oriented wares. At least NO NEW YORK had b&w photos of the group members on the back cover(some taken from xeroxes lifted out of THE NEW YORK ROCKER which added to a grainy mystique), plus Lisa Robinson's dictum about New York rock being b&w as opposed to color (see 11/75 CREEM) fit in with the no wave credo more than anything else if you ask me!