Monday, December 31, 2007


Yes it's that time of year again when I scour through everything I've written and just downright experienced o'er the past 365 and lay it on the line as to just what the highlights and lowlifes of this year we call 2007 were for all you gathered ginchies out there! A fun task for sure, though not as much fun as I'm sure Richard Meltzer had when he was putting together his 77 things about 1977 for PHONOGRAPH RECORDS MAGAZINE way back least that guy hadda lotta good shovellin' ahead of him with not only the lousy moments of that year, but all the stellar commodities to make it out thirty years back. Thirty years...sheesh, when we were talkin' thirty years back in '77 it was all just-post World War II times and Ameriga and the world was just waitin' with anticipated breath for alla those great things that the fifties and sixties gave us like tee-vee, rock & roll and best of all fun teenage jam-packed LIVING!!! (You know, all those things that intellectuals and self-obsessed bloggers just loathe!) Jet forward sixty years to 2007 and all I can see are the dregs of the worst aspects of Baby Boomer (a)morality comin' at us, and with lousy music, tepid tee-vee (not to mention political thunkness) and extremely snoozeville music to match! Some "future", eh?

But '07, despite being so far from the original high energy taproot of it all, was a good enough year for me. First off, I managed to get that turntable I received for Christmas last go 'round set up thus re-introducing myself to a lotta old vinyl as well as newies I've snarfed up throughout the days. Not only that, but there have been no major catastrophes wreaking havoc in my life and for that I am thankful, plus the music and television situations weren't a TOTAL washout. Of course it ain't like it was back in the sixties when fun television shows and great rock & roll were just BURSTING FORTH from the ozone and all normal healthy teenagers hadda worry about was where to get the kopecs for the latest Seeds album, but if you knew where to look (mainly via the internet) you probably could find what you wanted more'n anything else in the world!

So settle back because here's the top of the tippy-toppest and the scrapings from the barrel...the best and worst of 2007 as designated by none other than the team of me, myself and yo! Anyway, hope you like it, and if you wanna compare notes you know where you can leave your little missive for all to see!

BEST ALBUM OF '07!-A hard choice, but then again such is the life of a blogger. Does Lou Rone's PLASTIC PISTOL count even though it's only available via download (y'know, i-Tunes and Napster!)??? I might also stick the oft-loathed Stooges comeback album entitled (in case you've already forgotten) THE WEIRDNESS but frankly even though I've been only one of two people on record liking this disque (the other being Iggy's mother) I haven't played it at all since reviewing it way back in the spring of this fine year. Ditto George Brigman's RAGS IN SKULL which is a bona-fide (heee!) winner yet not exactly one of my all-time pre-beddy-bye spins since this disque would get me so pumped up that I wouldn't be able to head off into slumberland until at least five inna morning!

Gotta also admit that I haven't been playing ex-Shangri La Mary Weiss' comeback disque DANGEROUS GAME very much, but that's probably because I tend to get preoccupied with a lotta other discs both old and new and things like that tend to get shoved aside in the shuffle. But that doesn't mean it's not a top pick to click, and I still luvvit very much!

So what's it gonna be? Howzbout this: for best vinyl album, the Day Care Center's JUMPING JACKPOT OF MELODY, best CD release, the Stooges' THE WEIRDNESS (which I know will grow on all of those fickle naysayers who were expecting RAW POWER PART TWO) and for best download album, Lou Rone's PLASTIC PISTOL! Howzat for wigglin' my way outta a potentially big controversy, only to get myself into an even bigger one!

BEST SINGLE OF '07!-None other'n the Figures of Light's "It's Lame"/"I Jes Want to Go To Bed" on the Norton label. When I ordered a batch of singles from this long-lived and esteemed company last summer a note from none other than Miriam Linna was included amongst the goodies saying I'd probably like this one the best. Naturally she (as usual) was right even though it is probably easier to "read" me than it is to read GO DOG GO! Sounding like a long-forgotten 1966 garage band raver that Tim Warren somehow missed back when he was compiling his BACK FROM THE GRAVE series of long-forgotten punksters, this rec was, despite the primitive sound quality and performance, actually recorded and released a whopping six years later in the year of our Nixon 1972 which makes it a time-warp disc par excellence we coulda used more of back in the age of singer/songwriters! Sure doesn't sound like what a punk rock record was supposed to sound like back then (that is, if there were that many punk platters to begin with for us to compare this one to!), and the fact that it even exists only goes to show you that despite their cultured backgrounds even child prodigy underground film-makers and Rutgers University rabble could come up with a solid garage rocker while everybody else on campus was suffering from post-riot stress syndrome! And yeah, I know this Norton release came out in '06 but remember, we're talking BLOG TO COMM-time which can stretch the boundaries sorta like...well, don't wanna use that anal-ogy regarding Matthew Sheppard's hiney yet again!

BEST REISSUE of '07!-Boy whadda tossup this 'un is! Could it be the Afflicted Man collection, or maybe those once-obscure Moby Grape albums that I hope will finally solidify their status in the rock & roll world? Of course there are the recent Coloured Balls reissues for those of us who are more heavy metal minded, but given where these guys originated from perhaps they do suffer from guilt by assholeciation.
Maybe the Home Blitz CD, an interesting slice of moderne-day garage rock schenanigans that somehow flew under my radar (not that I was looking!) these past ten or so years? And while I'm at it, how could anyone forget the Screamin' Mee-Mees and Hot Scott Fischer's WARP SESSIONS 1972-1973 which coupled the two Slippytown CD-Rs into a professional silver-disc package with liner notes and everything you the discerning rockism fan would love, and STILL you ignore this stuff like a plate of spinach!!!

But for the best of the year, the award definitely goes to the Afflicted Man. True none of the Accursed sides ended up here (perhaps another volume is on the way?) but what we do get is pretty boss hoss stuff especially considering how its all low-grovel psychedelia in a Deviants/Pink Fairies/Hawkwind vein being played by a buncha punk rockers (of the '77 English variety) who reportedly had connections with the National Front which certainly wouldn't endear them to some of the more leftoid people in the Cee-Dee buying community! And I still gotta mention just how lovely those liner notes are! Gee, you just can't find writers like that anymore, or any less for that matter!

BEST ARCHIVAL DIG OF '07!-There have been many great long-forgotten albums and singles discovered by me this past year such as the Exuma one not forgetting French faves Rotomagus, but if you ask me (at least judging from all of the pre-nightie-night spin-time I've given it) the best old-timey discovery of '07 for me was none other than Sandy Bull. INVENTIONS was not only a top spin throughout the spring/summer of '07 but one of my faverave sixties-oriented platters even earning more than a few "turn it downs" which is always a good sign of eternal punkitude if you ask me! And the way Bull (with the help of drummer Ed Blackwell) tackled everything from Indian raga to country and western, medieval sacred songs and rock & roll and mixed it up w/o looking like Windham Hill quap is certainly a plus in my book! Later disques are nice although iffy, but the earlier offerings along the lines of INVENTIONS and FANTASIAS (which was recorded in '62 when the rest of the folk music movement was more concerned with giving their lovers cherries!) really set the stage for a whole lotta good things to happen later in that decade!

BEST BOOTLEG OF '07!-Given how bootlegs have become as rare as intelligent thoughts on a BOSTON GLOBE editorial page it's not like I have a whole lotta examples to choose from like I might have back in the glory days of the mid-seventies. But hey, the recent spate of Velvet Underground wares has gotten my attention span extended past the usual two minutes with a number of nice packages that true, might rehash the same old we've heard for eons awlready but oh the way those leftovers get stretched out into nice three/four CD sets with boffo packaging and superior sound that makes a lotta these current look-backs look about as feh as they can be! AFTER THE WHITE HEAT was a good enough collection of the Velvets at their '70 dancitudest true, but for the best of '07 the award just has to go to LIVE AT THE BOSTON TEA PARTY (CD division) and A SYMPHONY OF SOUND (vinyl)! The former has four whopping performances from the group's early/mid-'69 Boston Tea Party gigs cranking out a whole load of energy that's oh so pleasurable, giving credence to the fact that Boston in fact was the group's second home (Cleveland was its third, and suggestions for fourth and fifth place will be gladly accepted). A SYMPHONY OF SOUND captures the group playing at the Factory with Nico banging on a bass guitar with a drum stick and Ari romping all over the place without any adverse affect from the high-volume being churned out by the band as Warhol rolls film. Beautiful cover, immaculate pressing and a clarity that's a big improvement over all of the other SYMPHONY OF SOUND recordings that are flying about...if only I could send this one back in time to my 15-year-old self would the world be a much better place today!

BEST PACKAGE OF '07!-The Stooges' HEAVY LIQUID six-CD set which captures Iggy and crew during their '73 sumburst finish as they nova their way to immortality, while making some of the best scar-laden sounds to ever be committed to, Cee-Dee for nabobs like us to peruse and study like pimples on our butts for years on end. A verifiable classic, especially with the revealing Dick Clark interview tagged on at the end!

BEST JAZZ ALBUM OF '07!-The hands-down winner obviously has to be the Sirone/Bang Ensemble's CONFIGURATION, which is a few years old anyway but like I said, I live in a time of my own! And frankly, as far as jazz in this decade or in fact this century goes it's still great to see that the form hasn't totally prostituted itself to rap and disco and other substandard forms of communication like way too many other types of musics trying to be "with it" have these days! And not only that, but this quartet plays just fine especially with Charles Gayle's Ayleresque lines meshing with Bang's great Jenkins-ish violin playing. Sheesh, I really liked it back when jazz and punk rock were making their twains meet, and in some ways this one still proves that such combinations work fine since this was recorded at the late CBGB Lounge which should bring a tear to the eyes of people who you thought never had a sentimental bone in their heads!

BEST JAZZ EXHUMATION OF '07!-The Art Ensemble of Chicago's LIVE two-LP set on Affinity, which may or may not be available in the here and now via Sunspots or any of those Italian labels reissuing the BYG rarities, or via some Japaneses label for that matter. Frankly how this one missed the radar all these years is pretty srtange since I find both of the discs included, especially the second one with that incredible wall of percussion and Fontella Bass' frightening vocalese particularly engaging. And its more representative, more enveloping than any of the other Art Ensemble live albums you will chance upon making it an all-out killer!

ELLIOT MURPHY-THE MURPHYS (Red Lounge, Germany) A surprisingly energetic set of demos recorded for AQUASHOW and sounding better'n the official platter, with Murphy and the remnants of Elliot Murphy's Aquashow band trying their darndest to get that recording contract even though the rest of the guys left in disgust! The minimal drummerless sound here actually succeeds better (as far as recalling that feral side of the sixties) than all of Murphy's subsquent (and varying) official releases, and if you still think of the guy as some second-rate Dylan-imitation Springsteen wannabe, then these songs might just do something to change your mind even a tad li'l bit!

Also worthy of note (and your buying power!), the Sonics' BUSY BODY which upchucks a whole load of previously-unreleased 1964 hard-edge radiowave-captured mania from these Northwest Mounters and naturally has you begging for loads MORE! Could it really have been a good 27 years since I first spun ORIGINAL NORTHWEST PUNK in my knotty-pine basement thinking it was one of the greatest platters (even the slow schmoozer "Love Lights"!) ever to grace my ears??? Boy, was that a lotta albums, worries, and hair ago!

BEST BOOK OF '07!-Gotta say that as far as good ol' downhome book readin' went, '07 was a pretty snaz year for acquainting myself with a number of reads that I know will stick around in my beanie for a lifetime, if not longer. And perhaps it should be of no surprise to you that the books what got me all excited and hub-bubby this year weren't any of the rock reads that I may have graced eyes upon (mainly because there were so few of them), but the ones devoted to comics! In particular newspaper comic strips and panels which goes to show ya that no matter how old and crotchety I get, there's still a nine-year-old kid inside of me who's more'n anxious to read a comic page right inna middle of the living room floor as long as it's filled with classic strips dating from the twenties! And as far as the collections that are out there go, I found myself especially taken in by the OUT OUR WAY book that not only has been a constant bedside treat ever since its arrival here last June but something that sure dredged up a lotta happy memories of my great comic strip obsession that overcame me back when I was like nine going on ten and at least until I discovered comic books a good year or so later. I still recall with fondness looking through the want ad section of the old SHARON HERALD for this long-running panel which the paper sometimes would not print in order to publish a few more ads, and that one along with OUR BOARDING HOUSE were great lookbacks into an antiquated style of cartooning that still had relevance for the older readers who were in on the game ever since these cartoons debuted in the early-twenties! But given how my parents and relatives were always telling me just how great things were then compared with the hippydippy then/now, I too had a great admiration for both of these panels that amazingly enough lasted into the early-eighties and an age when the post-DOONESBURY style of art and storytelling had pretty much taken over the comics page to the point of nada.

DEATH OF '07!-Naw, the ones who shoulda died didn't, but there's always next year! As for the biggest celeb death that I can think of, I'd say that the passing of Ike Turner was perhaps the most important one of the past planet revolution, not only for his "pioneering" (as they say) rock & roll work but for the way he handled Tina so she wouldn't get out of line! A credit to his manhood!

BEST ROCK MAG OF '07!-In the absence of any new issues of BLACK TO COMM the best rock & roll rag of the past sun-twirl just has to be none other than UGLY THINGS, a read that has been improving as of late with a more varied approach to...well, music that I really like to listen to! How Mike Stax managed to tap into my brain and write about all this great music and general kultur I'll never know. The latest takes me back to those great days of reading CREEM and ROCK SCENE at the newsstand, where unfortunately you won't find UGLY THINGS but then again no matter how hard I wish 1975 will never come back so why cry about it???

Honorary mention should go to PUNK magazine, yet another blast from the past we could all use a lot more of. And true, a mag like this would obviously be a "trip back in time" as they all say, but can you think of a better place to be than the raw and exciting past as opposed to....2008?!?!?!?

BEST POLITICAL COLUMN OF '07!-Justin Raimondo's counterattack against the various anti-Ron Paul machinations going on as we speak, which you can read here. As someone who knows about these smear-mongers firsthand I can appreciate the effort Raimondo put in to discrediting a whole slew of pre-thought human beings who are out to shoot down Paul's should-be-rising star with some of the lamest lies directed at the Good Doctor one can imagine! Kinda makes me wish someone the caliber of Raimondo was around to give this humble scribe an uplift back in May '04, but frankly I think I did a pretty good job of throwing the turd back inna toilet, if you know what I mean.

BEST POST OF '07!-Boy, has my writing been a rollercoaster of creative ups and doof-esque downs but hey, I gotta admit that there were a few goodies to come out amidst the crankouts and generally uninspired offerings. Personal fave of mine, the "Spotlight on FLASH" history that not only earned me some good feedback regarding something I threw my heart, soul and perhaps liver into but an actual response from the "elusive" Mark Shipper and promise of an interview that unfortunately never materialized (see below). That FLASH piece was a doozy that I would have published in the pages of my own fanzine in better times, but since these times are more or less worse I guess you get stuck reading it for free so don't complain! Also something I think you'll remember as the years go on...the unexpurgated BLOG TO COMM interview with George Brigman!

BIGGEST JOY OF '07!-I know what you're thinking, that the fizzling out and eventual death of the "Detailed Twang" blog was certainly cause for celebration. And in a different time and mood I probably would have said that, especially since whatzizname's new and mp3-improved blog lasted barely a year. Well, although I must heartily bellow out a hefty "GOOD RIDDANCE" to Mr. H and his postpunk bleatings especially after all the ruination he bestowed upon me really, of what consequence was his exit from the world of music blogging anyway? Just one less pest to worry about in my book, and nada more. And may you get alcohol poisoning from your microbrews, my man!

No, the real highlight of the past year was the grand return of DENIM DELINQUENT to the internet scene. Now that more and more people are hooking up with WWW access, high energy rock & roll lovers can also get into the nitty gritty of seventies rock & roll fandom on line now by accessing pages from this legendary mag that really helped pave the way for a whole slew of like-minded reads throughout that decade. If you wanna absorb something SMART yet FUN with regards to the seventies rock scene (as well as some ALL NEW/ALL NOW!!! scribblings of great importance) then give Jymn and his site a try. You'll never have to read Greil Marcus again!

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT OF '07!-Along with the highlights of this momentous year there were a few bummers to go along with the unbridled joy. None of the email interviews that I had going and planned either for the blog or the next issue of my magazine panned out...the one with NEXT BIG THING editor Lindsay Hutton was terminated by myself because it just wasn't going right and reminded me of one of those painful bowel movements you have after eating half a jar of Planter's Peanuts. And besides, I think he was taking offense at some of the questions I was lobbing his way, like whether he was a Celtics or Rangers fan and if he wore anything underneath his kilt! The one with Scott Duhamel was axed rather quickly because of the same reason, though at least I had the good sense to quit with that 'un after a few questions given my general duncitude was evident even that early in the process. Unfortunately the biggie I had planned with Mark Shipper of FLASH magazine fame didn't even commence, with Shipper at first all excited about it to the point where he even emailed me to say that he'd be giving me a ring-a-ding one Sunday afternoon before he committed anything to type, only to drop all connections as if somebody out there did a little name-smearin' (mostly mine!) as some sick sorta "getback" for a prior humiliation! (And it does get worse...yet another email interview, this time with Paul McMahon of Daily Life, A Band, the Bluebirds etc., was unceremoniously dumped because the guy was told by "higher ups" to cut off all no wave discussions with me lest a lotta the mystique go outta the movement. In udder words...I just cain't win!!!!!)

Of course the most humongous of all of these letdowns just has to be the fack that none other than Dave Lang, our old pally down Orstralier Way, couldn't keep control of his basic inner needs and reproduced, thus cluttering up the gene pool even more than it is already! Sheesh, as I mused at the time, why is it that these snobby elitists who are so hip to and want to force birth control down everybody's throats don't practice the thing themselves, or better yet why did't Dave have the smarts to cut the worm off at the end and get his tubes tied like a good li'l liberal anyways? And now we have more of his evil sputum to contend with which doesn't exactly do my stomach any good! And the fact that he survived his recent bout with the AIDS virus that gave him so much discomfort and near-death trauma (which the pagan side of me must admit brought a little bit of holiday joy since I really love it when bad things happen to bad people!) was rather disappointing although it sure is nice to think of all the agony the man suffered through...if only I could have seen it firsthand! And yes, I would wish the worst illnesses I've gone through on my worst enemies, and knowing that this slur-monger was pretty much on death's door only gives me more HOPE for his next bout with Mr. D!

But the bastard having offspring...what a revolting development as El Schnozzola would have said. How this 'un passed the state eugenics board I'll never know!

BEST BLOG OF '07!-Guess! All the other ones (even the good ones!) took a drastic nose-dive in '07, not counting the one that mercifully took a self-inflicted hit between the eyes to the joy of all true rockism fans out there! (See "Biggest Joy of '07!")

BEST TEE VEE VIEWING OF '07!-Someone (and you can guess just who it was!) on another blog has recently made the oh-so-astute comeent that "TV blows", and if anyone should know about blowing it's this Southern Hemisphere blowhard/suckup who probably still holds the record for Aboriginal humm jobs extant! Actually, TV does not blow, but 99.999...% of the programs on it do and that includes all of those tiresome "made with the rancourous adult in mind" thangs like THE SHIELD, SIX FEET UNDER, THE SOPRANOS and other illegal immoral and fattening offerings that seem created especially for the champion felchers who live amongst us and their blogger wannabes who continue to keep this world in the sick sad shape its been in for the past thirtysome years!

As for me, the only real tee-vee joy this year outside of the occasional old movie, LEAVE IT TO BEAVER re-re-rerun and once-in-awhile Britcom has been watching the long forgotten Hanna-Barbara cartoons of the early/mid-sixties that are appearing on Boomerang and seemingly nowhere else on this globe of ours! And given how the old indie stations and general cheap UHF outlets at least around here are more content on running infomercials than the old reruns that used to make up their bread and butter (though the local MY-TV station is airing MY THREE SONS, THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES and other olden goldies during the AM hours when most of us honest citizens are up and working!) and even TV Land is starting to pump their schedule with horrible eighties/nineties sitcoms like DESIGNING WOMEN, WINGS and JUST SHOOT ME, it's like the only way to get any heavy duty early-sixties fixes these days is to tune into the old YOGI BEAR and YAKKEY DOODLE cartoons that air with a nice enough frequency! Heck, Boomerang is even running the obscure BATFINK cartoons that Bill Shute told me about ages ago and given how little we have in the way of great sixties trash to wallow in these days be thankful for small favors such as this! Y'know, when I'm dictator, first thing we do is run nothing but fun stuff like this on TV and all dissenters will be shot!

THE "WHA' 'APPENED" OF THE YEAR AWARD!-The virtual vanishing of the It's All Meat CD (with additional tracks!) on the Hallucinations label! Talk about here today and gone tomorrow, and frankly the only copy I was ever able to locate of this Canadian Classic was via ebay, where my (or so I thought so) high bid of $15 vanished a few minutes before the auction was up! Gee, I didn't think that many people remembered this very good late-sixties Toronto group and for the sake of It's All Meat's memory thankfully they do, but who would've thought such an item would become a much-desired disque to the point where it would be garnering such high prices only a year or so after its release! As they say, whatta bummer!

BIGGEST PISSOFF OF '07!-Rick Noll making fun of my syntax!

BEST BUZZ OF '07!-When Jymn Parrett said on his DENIM DELINQUENT site in the spot where he links up this very blog that I am, if you can believe it, a "solid" writer! Let's just say that this was a compliment that really made me feel as if perhaps there was some meaning in my quarter-century-plus "career" of writing screeds on music most people could hardly give a whit about! Twas a compliment from a true rock & roll legend (fanzine division) which I certainly never will forget! And for a guy who thought my writing had the consistency of oatmeal, let's just say that I was jazzed all the more!!!

'n OK, maybe you don't think its any great shakes, but my year tops your minute ANY TIME (hee!), and don't let anyone tell you different!
And now, because you didn't NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS FOR 2008!!!

Yes, the dawn of a new 365 (or in this case 366 since it's leap year) always symbolizes a fresh new start, and as you all know that means it's time to make amends with your evil side and start acting like a goody two shoes for once in your miserable existence! So in order to get the ball rolling and hopefully inspire a whole load of you lumpen proles out there to do the same, I will now list my resolutions for 2008 just so's I can be a good example and hopefully get some of you readers motivated enough to make amends in your own lives, or whatever's left of them. I should add that in order to be realistic about it all I'm only going to make resolutions I know I can keep, so none of this "help save the planet" or "lose some weight" or "remember to say 'please' and 'thank you'" quap that you know I never will be able to do past day one! Naw, this is gonna be the real deal and with zeal as to how I am gonna make a better man outta me once midnight starts ticking away. Until then, call me a cro-magnon par-excellence...

I RESOLVE to have even more misspellings, grammatical and factual errors and a general piss poor attitude in my postings this year. True I should be working in the opposite direction when it comes to improving my blog, but then again I'm trying to keep in that great crudzine style of putting out the cheapest, most unreadable excuse for a blog just like I did with my own fanzine and why should I buck tradition anyways?

I RESOLVE to slip even more gratuitous, biting, cutting and downright inflammatory remarks concerning Dave Lang, Jay Hinman, Ken Shimamoto, Chuck Eddy, Anastasia Pantsios and sundry other types of people who have wronged me in some way into my blogs. True this may turn off some of the more casual readers, or perhaps even those misguided few who actually have affinities for the above rock "critics" but the way I look at it, the more I chip away the more these tall icons of filth will crumble into dust. And true, one of the above "bloggers" has shut down his second on-line attempt to be hipper than the rest of us, but personally I won't be satisfied until the whole lot of 'em, ex-blogger included, are swinging away from the rafters like they should have been ages back!

I RESOLVE to name drop the Velvet Underground, Stooges, BACK DOOR MAN, DENIM DELINQUENT, CAN'T BUY A THRILL, CBGB, Max's Kansas City, various 60s/70s rock kultural references and obscure groups that nobody even remembers outside of offhand mentions and club listings as often as my posts will allow. True it only makes me look even more repetitive and obscurer-than-thou mentioning these things ad infinitum, but the way I look at it maybe somebody from one of those old obscure groups, now a broken-down shell of his former self, will out of frustration do a word-search at the homeless shelter computer and see his former group mentioned, thus writing in expecting to finally get a little bitta that fame that was due some thirtysome years back! Or maybe even a handout or two!!! So you see, there is some madness in my stupidity!

(and finally)...I RESOLVE to deliver more action-packed, info-filled and high-paced blogposts this year for you, the eager and faithful BLOG TO COMM reader! Not really, but could you think of a better way to shut down this year end post other'n with some cheap ploy to make you all feel a little special yourselves???

Saturday, December 29, 2007


And boy do I mean it! No, I'm not talking about any post-holiday depression around here...far from it!!! What I'm talking about are the blues as is music, a subject that doesn't too often pop up in any musical conversations that I usually have but, for the sake of being different, will expound about on today's post even if it is going to be within the context of a coupla items that've hit the ol' mailbox as of the past few deliveries and I'm kinda short on fodder of a different nature as of this writing!

As many of you longtime readers of my bile already know, I'm not really that much of a fan, follower of just plain ol' aficionado of the blues. Not exactly by choice, but due to a maybe not-so-strange sense of taste on my part. Oh sure, I can consider 15-60-75's JIMMY BELL'S STILL IN TOWN one of my all-time top faves and I'm smart enough to know that the Paul Butterfield Band's EAST/WEST ranks amongst the tops in late-sixties audio delights extant (plus don't forget that I actually reviewed a tape of Muddy Waters live at Max's Kansas City in the pages of my very own fanzine), but frankly for every image of the Numbers Band or Butterfield or Top Jimmy and the Rhythm Pigs out there I gotta say that at least twenty boring visions of ineffectual white blues being played by half-withit hippies in the seventies come along to ooze all over the place into one big massive messy lump of drool. Y'know, like the old SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE band backing up the Blues Brothers not to mention that whole phony early-eighties Robert Cray-led movement that of course gave us that whole "House of Blues"-dominated chic geekdom way more attuned to aging hipsters and whites who wanna slum with the lower-class black minions who don't even listen to the blues anymore because it reminds 'em of times they'd just as soon like to forget!

But hey, as any astute pigeon out there would know there sure is a lot more to the blues than dullsville white men performing it...there's also rather astute white men who perform the stuff as well (and like I said these postwar blues thrills just ain't a black music anymore especially with all these whites "borrowing" from it to the point where it might as well be urban white ethno soundspew!). But it still has enough of an interest quotient to appeal to the average BLOG TO COMM reader on some esoteric level, and even I tend to take the horse-blinders off once in awhile and drink from the fonts of other'n rockism proper which is why I thought, just for a lark, to give these two blues of a white persuasion discs a try and see what all the hoopla is about. And for a guy who thought the Allman Brothers were just a load of hooey and who couldn't hack a lotta this stuff when it was being presented sans any stain or fly specs via FM rock radio all I gotta say is...boy I guess I'm pretty hard up for new thrills if I have to resort to the blues (just kidding, all you serious and humorless tightasses out there!!!).

The first offering on today's schedule may not seem like your standard white blooze offering and in fact, for years I didn't know what to expect of this particular album which frankly I never even saw for sale! But I just hadda get the Jeff Simmons' LUCILLE HAS MESSED MY MIND UP/NAKED ANGELS SOUNDTRACK twofa (World In Sound) because I missed out on it during my initial Frank Zappa days-of-midteenaged-fandom and I always was kinda curious as to what this once-solo star/future Mother was up to and why he rated a solo album which even Ian Underwood or Motorhead Sherwood didn't! Yeah, strange inklings in the back of my mind bug me even this far down the line which is why I'm sure glad that even these quickie cutouts are being reissued years later, and besides with all of the hoopla about the NAKED ANGELS SOUNDTRACK that's been buzzing about (the subject of a posthumous CREEM "Rock-A-Rama" review courtesy Joe Fernbacher as well as a top ten of all time fave of none other than BABOON DOOLEY creator John Crawford!) you can't say that this scribe wasn't just a little bit curious...he was more or less OBSESSIVE/COMPULSIVE about it!!! And since this is the closest that I've ever come to hearing Simmons outside of my copy of ZAPPED not to mention an almost-renting of the aforementioned flick around 1990 (was short on cash) perhaps I can rest a little easier at night knowing that I have finally experienced the solo Jeff Simmons en toto and have found out that the guy was way better'n Judy Henske and Jerry Yester but next to Tim Buckley and Alice!

And both of these records are good even if they are confusing. And no doubt about it, Simmons uses the blues within a Zappa context the same ways that Buckley used avant garde jazz and Alice Cooper garage band rock. Only that specter of Zappa-goo has to infiltrate everything to the point where you don't know and can't discern where the original artist leaves off and Zappa picks up. It's the same thing that made PRETTIES FOR YOU confusing if still a nice late-sixties garage band artyfact (fortunately Buckley survived the Zappa aura perhaps because he was already an established act) but let's just say that if you like that weird confusing Zappa-style which mooshed together a whole slew of late-sixties mainstream sounds with a "bizarre" attempt at modern experimental sounds you might like LUCILLE HAS MESSED MY MIND UP. I guess Zappa liked it enough to have covered two songs from this on two of his late-seventies albums, and only the stodgiest of Zappa-haters wouldn't 'fess up that his lead work as "La Marr Bruister" on the title track is good enough just like all that stuff on UNCLE MEAT. And naturally you gotta wonder what kinda screw Zappa gave to Simmons that would make the guy wanna quit the Mothers of Invention right in the middle of 200 MOTELS and go back to the safety of Northwest Rock obscurity where he remains as of this very writing.

But LUCILLE is good inside and outta the white blooze spectrum, with some bizarroid psychedelia on LP opener "Appian Way" plus some general laet-sixties production moves and aural vinegar to keep you at least slightly interested between the whiteboy blooze chooze and patented hard rock movements that can be easily found here.

I actually prefer NAKED ANGELS since it's mostly straight ahead blues rock instrumental, maybe not that different from the same Dave Lewis Trio stuff that Simmons teethed his rockism on during the early-sixties Northwest days. Add a whole lotta Dave Allen and the Arrows to the mix and you got a pretty hot soundtrack disc that of course has a few softie duds, but those probably fit in with the visuals which we don't get to see here and whatever it sounds like it's sure to be a great film because the r&b and the organ screech seem to work their ways into whatever visuals may be playing in your mind and that may even be without the use of extracurricular stimuli turning your nervous system into a giant mass of frazzled wire! I wouldn't exactly call it the soundtrack to Altamont like Fernbacher did, but it's still a whole lot better blues stew than way too many professional blues workouts that we all get to hear whether we want to or not!

Given how we're technically still in the holiday season it's still right and natural to think back to those great Christmastimes of old not only of all of the Christmas morning fun unwrapping our presents and wanting moremoreMORE!!!!, but of all of the extracurricular fun and games that one would have for a good ten or so days before we hadda get back to the ol' grind of even more humiliation via teachers, students and parents (once they got an eyefulla our report cards!) come January!

For me the Christmas of 1975 was a time to remember...not only for the actual Christmas day festivities but for the whole mass of unbridled excitement that I experienced, not only spending gift moolah on records and the like especially after telling the folks I was gonna put it all in the bank but the sights and sounds of all of the other kiddies going through the shopping malls and plazas also spending their X-mas booty! I still recall the joy I had reading at the National Record Mart newssatand that issue of ARCADE with Crumb's high-larious "Frosty the Snowman and his Pals" story along with Bill Griffith's powerful saga about Jocko the ventriloquist's dummy walking through that seamy 1930s carnival world all beat up after being violently discarded by some frustrated kidnappers, pondering whether I should buy it and try to sneak the thing past the parental censors in my midst. (Also big in my 12/75 memory bank was reading all those great CREEMs with the ripped-up covers that John Stanton gave me...def. a big highlight in my listening makeup and a whole lot better'n those CIRCUS rags I had previously obtained!) And I remember seeing the cover of the recent NATIONAL LAMPOON at the newsstands as well, the one with some nice old SATURDAY EVENING POST-styled front cover painting of a boy whizzing into an open manhole as some elderly couple look on with bemusement! Funny how such things as that automatically stick into one's mind, though frankly I didn't think that would would make it into the house alive either!

But if you were in En Why See at the time probably the biggest thing to hit you upsides the head was the weeks-long CBGB Christmas Rock Festival that was going on at that sadly-gone gypjoint from the middle of December until Television closed things out on New Year's Eve. The followup to Hilly Kristel's very successful Summer Fest which brought in the reporters and gave initial exposure to the likes of not only Television but the Ramones and all those infamous "save the world" bands, the CBGB Christmas Festival lasted longer, had many more groups on the bill and unlike the first fest managed to get some outta-town talent into the place including Utica New York's Zobo Funn Band (whom I've actually heard...they kinda remind me of Tin Huey without the zip), Boston's Bonjour Aviators (another garage band Aerosmith and that's meant as a compliment!) and Connecticut's Jasper Wrath whose 1972 album is supposed to be a psycho/prog classic even though I understand that by this time they'd devolved into some pretty boring jamz. Anyway, this winterfest once again presented a nice cross section of just exactly where underground rock was heading here in the states, from the punk rock of the Ramones to the avant garde of a pre-Crozier Kongress and of course the usual heavy metal and general garage stylings that were going down at the time. Of course there were also the blues being played on the stage of CBGB at this time (and at this festival) which is where these Kane Brothers fit into this strange saga that I'm sure most of you readers have tuned out of this early in the story!

I'm sure that NOBODY reading this piece would know or care who the Kane Brothers were if their drummer, brother Jonathan, didn't end up in the Swans back in the early-eighties. I guess that would be a good enough reason for anyone to reform their old pre-fame group whether it be Phil Manzanara doing an album with Quiet Sun or Crocus Behemoth reliving old heavy metal thrills with Rocket From the Tombs. But hey, the Kane Brothers Blues Band getting back together and recording a self-titled CD (on the Mythco label!) in this day and age would seem about as plausible as if any of the other "third stringers" on the NYC scene woulda done the same. And although I would have loved to've heard a Manster CD or even one of those instant obscurities that sound so fun like the Master Radio Canaries also inflict their sounds on us this late in the game I'm glad that the Kane Brothers had the good sense to get back together because I'd rather hear their bleats than Debbie Harry's latest anyday.

And what I do hear here does slam anything Harry and co. have done since their second or so elpee, with a pretty good and raw blues approach that true, comes nowhere near those classic Detroit sides done in the Van Battle backroom, but blows a good portion of what continues to pass for white blues into the crapper where it shoulda been deposited ages ago. Raw recording techniques (heavy on the distort!) help plenty, as does the raw and alive performance with Anthony Kane wailin' on harmonica and vocals comin' way too close to what I believe Lee Ving himself sounded like in his own blooze days or perhaps even Iggy ca. the Prime Movers as the sound translates from early-sixties black holler to late-sixties white redo without the sappy transitional stylings that I believe were inflicted on us by way too many Britishers who tended to change things within the safety of their solid uppercrust gulcher missing out on the Amerigan grime that usually comes with the territory. That's just my opine, but I think it sure does help explain why the Kanes are good raunch while a lotta these white imitators seem to have about as much verve and stamina in their translations of black music as John Hammond had of the blues (and please don't write me...I'm no expert on Hammond but from what I've observed his white blues seemed to lose way too much in the whole collector's scum/uppercrust ridiculously-high outbid on rare auctions mentality too often seen amongst these fellers!).

The transistor radio quality makes this an even more urban 1963-sounding item than anyone forty-five years later would have ever believed! And of course the choice of covers from "Rocket 88" to "Flip Flop and Fly" is keen, and it all sounds like something more'n the usual cheap-o blues redo so popular these past few decades. This sounds like really exciting hard r&b that's so vital you can almost hear the gunshots in the parking lot! Kinda makes me wanna hear more of those white blues aggregates that played CB's throughout their three-plus decades such as the Silver Ball Blues and and even the late-eighties "house band" at the 313 Gallery, the Bosco Blues Band! (And the early-sixties pre-Bosco Pteridoctyls, who actually rated a Smithsonian Institute recording that I sure wouldn't mind lending ear to one of these days...anybody have a hint as to where I should start looking???)
And to all ye faithful readers, please remember that Monday's the BIG DAY!!! Mainly the FOURTH ANNUAL BLOG TO COMM BEST (AND WORST) OF '07 posting where I lay it on the line as to just what alla the brightest highs and the deepest lows of 2007 were just so you the discerning reader know where to take all your year-end-wrapup cues from! Be there, because your name might very well be in it, and you better know where you stand in the BTC universe lest all your friends be laughing behind your back! (True it's a lame attempt to get more people to read my vastly superior blog scribblings, but wa' th' hey, it can't hurt!)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Controlled Bleeding-SONGS FROM THE SEWER 4-LP box set (Vinyl on Demand)

A happy day after Christmas to you all, and I hope all you good BLOG TO COMM-sters got what you well as all you BAD ones as well ifyaknowaddamean! And to all of my readers in the (y)UK, a HAPPY BOXING DAY! Paul McGarry was telling me all about this special day for you Britsters, Canucks and assorted aboriginies where everybody inna kingdumb sets up boxing rings in living rooms, garages and/or basements, invite friends, family and neighbors over, don the gloves and go at it a few rounds! Sounds really fun, especially with McGarry regaling me with tales of him doing his Muhammed Ali impressions upon entering the ring, and picking up lost teeth upon exit! I wonder why Boxing Day never caught on in Ameriga, because it sure seems a lot more fun than the day-after-Christmas tradition here inna U. S. of Whoopee where we put on disguises so people won't know that we're returning the not-so-goodies they gave us the day before! But for some reason I have the feeling that McGarry is (as usual) pulling my leg...perhaps "Boxing Day" is something a lot more old-timey traditional and suited for people who still read Charles Dickens and have strange romantic notions as to how much fun it would've been to live in mid-19th century England! Sheesh, you can't trust anyone in this day and age, right Paul?!?!?!

And although yesterday was Christmas, I gotta relay to you albeit one day late that X-mas '07 was one of the most uneventful Christmasses that I've ever had the opportunity to live through! And although many of the past twenny or so were pretty blech I can sure remember a whole lotta fun Christmastimes ever since I was a wee three-year-old and got that neat pedal car which eventually got handed down to a few younger cousins before ending up in the garage sale lot. Anyways that very evening we were at my uncle 'n aunt and cousins' house for the usual party, and my one cuz wouldn't let me near the tin gas station he got as a gift, so I bit him on the back of the neck right when he was getting really engrossed with his newfound item! A pretty good hickey as well (my sister thinks the whole idea of me biting him was sexual, but what does a three-year-old kid know about that stuff anyways!), and I remember him cryin' while sittin' on the upstairs toilet while he had some ointment rubbed on his bitemark! The best thing about it is that I didn't get whalloped for my behavior, probably because it was Christmas and my folks didn't wanna ruin it for me even though I clearly was the perpetrator! Ah, those are the memories I most value as I grow old!!!

How I sure wish Christmastime was still like those wild days of yesteryear, but with the fambly dying off or getting way too old to throw parties (and the babyboom-booms either living outta town or shirking their partytime responsibilities) I doubt I'll ever see them days again! But then again what else is least I had some fun rummaging through my boxes of fanzines and reading the final issue of HYPE which sure brought back those old rock & roll throb thrill feelings more'n pronto, and between hiding from visitors and avoiding yet another helping of ham (which I thought was way too fatty for my system to endure) I spent the day listing to SONGS FROM THE SEWER, this new box set of old and freshly-recorded Controlled Bleeding offerings that, shall I say, got me into a much more jovial mood than all the plum puddings inna world (an English trad I sure wish would've translated into Amerigan tastebuds 'cuz the stuff is good!) could ever!

For me and most of you readers I presume, Controlled Bleeding were more or less an eighties fixture on the underground rock scene, making album after compilation track of "industrial music" that most critics called hard listening or difficult or whatever words they could scrape outta their already dogeared thesaruses in order to describe the oftimes harsh and grating music that this group could dish out when it wanted to. For me, the haunting (and on-the-rise) specter of "krautrock" reared its head whenever I'd listen to those synth-laded screeches and repeato-riffs, an observation which didn't settle too well with head Bleeder Paul Lemos during our all-too-short letter-writing days. And true Lemos has every right to avow or disavow various musical movements that he may or may not have "borrowed from", but sheesh if I didn't think a lotta the Controlled Bleeding stuff I heard resembled choice moments from Neu! and Harmonia marinated in a little bitta Faust to boot! But hey, what does a snotty upstart rock & roll fan (not "critic" as way too many wonks would have it) know about this stuff anyways! (Don't answer that!)

But whaddeva, Controlled Bleeding were sure a good and engrossing in the face of eighties feelygoodisms group, and this box set (which reminds me of all those classy old-time box sets my dad and mom have with big band and opera tracks that they used to play a lot until sometime in the seventies when I think they just got too fed up with it all!) is a great encapsulation of Lemos and company's careers from their late-seventies days of bitter struggle until the present. And on these four platters they sure cover a lotta area and traverse into different underground genres that'll surprise even the more-in-tune listener. Take the "modern" stuff recorded only a few months back with the help of none other than Weasel Walter, which comes way too close to seventies-period Cecil Taylor for comfort. And of course there's the live early-eighties vintage tracks done at an old fogey's home in Nyack New Jersey with free jazz spatterers Borbetomagus which I'm sure surprised the gathered geriatrics who were more or less expecting the best of Guylum Bardot and his sister Brigette! Really, you're in for a surprise if you only knew Controlled Bleeding from their eighties electronic workouts and pseudo-Baroque classical tracks, and if you too miss the joy of opening up a 12-inch box to relive classic old-timey vinyl shock reaction, boy is this package custom made for you!

And of course amidst the nutty industrial spew (I like the songs with the strange chattering voices careening throughout!) you also get the original group live, even some late-seventies trackage which shows the roots of the entire noise shebang that would soon come to blessed fruitation in the eighties as well as the now-legendary guitar/organ/drums version of the group not only on their single debut "Wall of China" (a rarity that always slipped between my oft-gaped fingers) but some live tracks including one at the famed CBGB opening for Suicide! For me this is the most interesting Controlled Bleeding lineup as they romp through what sounds like mid-seventies jazz/garage rock with ? and the Mysterians organ and John McLaughlin-inspired guitar sounding more like a band I think woulda played CB's during their mid-seventies initial spurt rather'n in the early-eighties well after the fall! Maybe with a name like "The Paul Lemos Trio" they coulda gotten their two gigs there and a Fred Kirby writeup before vanishing into nada but hey, the high-paced jazz/organ battles are so precise and entertaining I coulda used a whole elpee of this and less of the total blare because it just about exemplifies everything I liked about underground rock to begin with before it became way too self-conscious of itself (as have """I""" to a certain extent, but we won't talk about it at least not yet!).

At least the more in-control (and thus less engaging) material with Joe Papa doing his operatic moans was kept to a minimum if at all. Otherwise this box set is a great one to either introduce yourself to or refamiliarize yourself with just how important Controlled Bleeding were to the oft-barren eighties underground scene. And not only that, but the discs are pressed up nice and heavy just like in the old days plus the sound is sure pure, even in analog (yay!) and has that great vinyl warmth that you just can't get outta some Cee-Dee. Although it might be a bit pricey (paid plenty for mine, though I've seen copies being sold for as much as $125!!!!) some of you rich kids wouldn't lose anything scoring a copy for yourself. As for the rest of ya, well you know what to do once you hit 53rd and 3rd, eh?

Monday, December 24, 2007


Geofrey Crozier on CHILLER THEATER, channel 11 WIIC-TV Pittsburgh! Thanks to O'Haganzeuhime for the link-up!!!

Sunday, December 23, 2007


Since this will be the last post before the biggun (12/25) hits the skids lemme be the last but most certainly least to wish all three of you rabid BLOG TO COMM readers a very Merry Christmas (forget the "Happy New Year" for now since I will be seein' y'all before that!) and here's hoping that all you menna good will out there get all the Vac-U-Forms, Thing Makers and Corgi Toys (albeit I still have a hankerin' for Dinkys since they put out a whole lot more Studebaker models!) you never got when you wuz a kid! As Liberace once said, Christmas is such a special time of the year, so special that you don't hafta be a Christer (old TEENAGE WASTELAND GAZETTE/Richard Meltzer term whose Jewish counterpart I prefer not to mention on this brotherly love-oriented blog!) to like the thing! In fact, it doesn't even HELP to be a Christian or any associated belief for that matter to enjoy Christmas so hey, all I gotta say is whoever you are and no matter whatever trash heap you worship at a MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL (the people I think deserve to be wished "Merry Christmas" that is!) and don't get too drunk before attending the Midnight Mass either!

As far as Christmas presents to me go, right now I'm feeling smug and superior enough to tell you readers that I already got my biggie last night, and that was none other than a phonecall from guitar master and all around great human being LOU RONE!!!! And we had a really great gab as well, talking about a whole lotta things both happy and sad but what really knocked my socks off was when Rone was cranking out some venerable Von Lmo-era riffs on his guitar while discussing the difference between the band when he and Kip Kuba were in it and afterwards, sayin' how he personally felt the Lmo group went from being a prime heavy metal aggregate to something more in a Devo style (!) after he handed over the guitar reins to a number of other players. The subject of how a lotta the early Lmo numbers were refurbishes of "Communication Breakdown" and "Whole Lotta Love" was brought up, as well as how Rone thought that the Shanghai Side Show was nowhere near as good as what those same guys were doing while in the Geofrey Crozier-fronted Kongress a few years earlier! Actually, Rone thought that Crozier was still acting wild enough onstage, but he says that the band was out of tune and that guitarist Robert Crash (pre-Rone Kongressman) looked funny playing the guitar with his teeth like Jimi Hendrix, whose riffs Crash was also "appropriating"! Between the Lmo-riffs and tales of how the audience was booing the guy at the ill-fated 1981 Palladium gig (!) all I can say is...what kinda phonecalls did all of my much-loathed enemies get this Holiday Season...greetings from their Aunt Flabbies?

Here're a few more from the recent supermarket sweep that I thought you might wanna read about before the big day hits and you wanna email Santy with some last-minute gimmes. It certainly is an interesting and varied selection of hot stuff if I do say so myself, and as usual you can trust me and my opinions 100% because frankly, have I ever led any of you readers down the wrong path, at least with regards to how you should spend you hard-earned moolah and what kinda hard-scronk to spend it on, eh???

The Jacks-VACANT WORLD/SUPER SESSION CD (Shagadelic Japan)

Although I must admit to being uninspired by this Japanese folk rock group's SUPERSESSIONS and ECHOES IN THE RADIO reissues from a few years back. I should say that I remember liking THE JACKS SHOW, or at least I think I did and I wouldn't mind reaquainting myself with the disc if I could only find it in amidst the various piles of vinyl that passes for my collection these days. However, given all of the rabid hubbub regarding the primero Jacks elpee VACANT WORLD that was spouted off via Julian Cope's JAPROCKSAMPLER not to mention a certain Swedish prick who was selling a bootleg of some heard-way-too-many-times Les Rallizes Denudes tracks a few years back, maybe by attention was piqued enough to latch onto this reissue, which in this case was coupled with their commercial showtimey offering SUPERSESSION which like I said I already had but I figured getting the thing again was a bargain even if I had about as much love for it as I do Jay Hinman!

But as for VACANT WORLD...well, it is pretty good though not the Japanese rendition of a classic Amerigan rock album like I was hoping it would be. Not anything really eyeball-gouging, but not instant douse either. The hit "Marianne" is wild...I mean, who else would think of merging 1967 folk rock with free jazz drums other than the Jacks do on this wild tale about some sea siren who drags the unassuming singer down to the bottom of the sea? And that equally free lead guitar being played over a repeato riff drone! How this one ever went over in olden Nippon I'll never know!

Most of the rest of this doesn't quite reach the same heights as "Marianne"...the vibraphone-laden "Stop the Clock" once again shows hefty Kyu Sakamoto Japanese pop emote, while the rest seems pretty much lower-groove musings with those selfsame Japanese pop sensibilities taken into good West Coast pop and blooze styleings which really doesn't offend ya, but it ain't like this is Denudes Redux either!

The title track does have the same downer-groove folk style as some of the softer numbers cranked out by Les Rallizes Denudes, and you can see how the Denudes guys swiped a few moves from the Jacks. But if you think that the same swirl of Japanese feedback and metallic marching moon mice sound of Les Rallizes Denudes can be found here then...well lookee again!

Bonus tracks tagged at the end are an uplift esp. after listening to SUPERSESSION get into the horn rock to the point of nausea. But still this is only for the ultra-serious six-oh Japrock fan to study under the the microscope like that guy in WOMAN OF THE DUNES studied obscure desert insects. That was yet another ref. to sixties Japan not quite knowing how to handle itself and its relationship to the rest of the world, and that's really no occident, Jack! (Heeeee, ze professor muz have heez leetle joke...).

Terry Riley-MUSIC FOR THE GIFT CD (Elision Fields)

Dunno if this 'un is still in print because Elision Fields have dropped all reference to it on their website, so if you're looking for a copy of this nice slice of pre-IN C Terry Riley your best bet is to score on through ebay, and be prepared to pay a lot more than the $14.99 Brad Kohler paid for this. Yes, this very disc is a Christmas present to me from this longtime BLACK TO COMM supporter (and I don't mean as in a "sports supporter" either!), and although I usually don't open my gifts unto that fateful day arrives in this case I felt I just hadda even though I will refrain from playing the DVD of THE CORPSE GRINDERS he also sent me just like I will avoid the UNTOUCHABLES discs that other faithful companion Tonto, I mean Lou Rone gave me for that day of days coming atcha sooner than you expect!

Whaddeva, this ain't anything like those Terry Riley platters all you prog rockers dug the grooves outta back in the seventies. Naw, this is strictly "grey label" material (a ref. to Columbia's classical line appearing with a grey label 'stead of the usual red 'un for all you post-vinyl dummies out there!) featuring Riley not at his rock-si-chord or soprano sax but looping, echoing and generally mutilating a variety of sounds, mostly some late-fifties cool jazz with Chet Baker (!) that ends up sounding a lot more avant garde'n some of the avant garde that was coming out at the time (1963) this French play was being performed! Hearing Baker's muted trumpet going into repeato riff distortion ad infinitum does make for a splended bitta free jazz and I'm thankful that Kohler sent this thingie my way sure makes up for that Thoth Trio snoozer I got from his last go 'round!

"Bird of Paradise" is pretty much tape mangipulation that actually bears some resemblance to the John Cale mid-sixties experiments that came out a few years back, only without the Velvet Underground madness those tracks exuded. (There!, I got my first Velvet Underground mention in for today!) In some ways it sounds like the noisy squeal that I would make when I would yank and pull the reel-to-reel cheapie tape recorder we had (Christmas present 1964) because I used to see those computer reels going in all sorts of strange, counterclockwise directions while watching them on TV not realizing that they were spinning freely and in opposite directions of each other because the TV flickers at 30 frames per second! (Y'know, the same effect where the tires are turning backwards but the car goes forward!) I got belted for my experiments, but Riley gets his pressed up on CD!

Of course by the time "Mescalin Mix" (a tape piece similar to the various John Cage "Williams/Fontana/Bridge Mixes" that were part of his blue period) hits the boards you're ready to head straight for the ibuprophyn and hopefully it will kick in in time for "Concert For Two Pianos and Five Tape Recorders" performed by Riley in conjunction with Lamonte Young. Taken from a 1960 radio broadcast emanating from (where else but) the University of California at Berkeley, the announcer gives an interesting talk on the piece about to be heard even after the number has started! Funny, the exact same thing happened to the Red Krayola when they appeared on TV July 4 1967, also at Berkeley!

Confused commentators aside, this Riley disque really will hep sate the longtime fan or even guys like me who have borne a passing fancy to the likes ofRiley ad other new composers for nigh on thirty-plus years awlready! And you don't have to be a snooty prog rock geek to enjoy this blare either!
Daevid Allen and Euterpe-GOOD MORNING! CD (Esoteric Recordings)

And speaking of prog rock geeks, here's one I remember getting a lotta MELODY MAKER hype when it came out way back in 1976. Y'see, Daevid Allen, he of Soft Machine (pre-first album only) and Gong fame had just left the latter group and somehow ended up living on the tiny isle of Majorca off the Spanish coast. There he discovered a progressive rock group called Euterpe which would spend their off hours doing things like performing "Thick as a Brick" for whomever would traipse past their humble home. I guess there's not much else to do in Majorca, but anyway Allen went and hitched up with this unassuming drummer-less group and recorded the GOOD MORNING! album, a disc that I guess made whatever waves could be made in progressive rock circles at the time. And yeah, GOOD MORNING!'s a surprisingly entertaining psychedelic album that's once again available on CD after a good fifteen or so years so to all of those people who paid upwards of 75 bucks dollars for your early-nineties edition...tough turds, sweetie!

But whether you paid little or maximo for GOOD MORNING! it's still a good enough diversion. Allen never sounded as Syddish as he does here, and Euterpe are more than a fitting band to back him up with their acoustic/electronic makeup (mandolins and string bass meet Arp synths!) adding a whole load to the overall whimsy that Allen had been incorporating into his moozik for a good seven or so years already. The lack of drums don't deter just like it didn't with the Electric Eels, although on a couple numbers Pierre Moerlin and Mike Howlett do help out with drums and other things in case you're missing the more complex side of the Daevid Allen sound!

Even if you hate progressive rock this has more to do with the psychedelic leftovers anyway, so don't think I've gone off the same edge that Yes were so close to in praising this. Like the rest of the Gong and related Allen output, GOOD MORNING! still has enough of the pothead pixie edge to keep this from becoming another 1001 keyboards extravaganza showoffy thing for people too ashamed to say they like Bacn and Beethoven. And even the droneathon synth strings "bonus track" entitled "Euterpe Gratitude Piece" will excite...when the live Gong overdubs and munchkin chatter get overlaid onto the thing turning it into a psychonutzo extravaganza, that is!
Stackwaddy-BUGGER OFF! CD (Cherry Red)

Not only do I have the 1986 very-limited vinyl reissue (see issue #4 for a review, if you're unlucky enough to have that particularly cruddy-'zine in your possession!), but I also have two CD versions of BUGGER OFF! wasting away in my abode, one on a twofer of both Stackwaddy albums with "Girl From Ipanema" omitted, the other the entire disc plus a bonus track just so's people who have the first one would buy the second edition as welll! So why did I, who already has three takes of this British blues obscurity, buy this most-recent CD reissue? A John Peel session's the reason, that's why!

No need to tell you just how great Stackwaddy were especially if you've heard their two albums and read the story of their too-late-for-the-Eel-Pie-boom and too-early-for-the-mid-seventies-punk-blues-trip saga. Stackwaddy were tops in their (at the time extremely limited) field, and these tracks lay testament to their greatness as a heavy-duty blues rock group that fortunately had the grime and stamina most white musicians seemed to check in the cloak room. The previously lost Peel Session is a great bonus, one of those '71/2 vintage live in front of a studio audience affairs opening for Dion (!!!!) showing that Stackwaddy could do twice as well live as what they could do on vinyl. Bill Shute doesn't like 'em but I find Stackwaddy as fantastic now as I did twennysome years back when I first got hold of their platters!

Oh, and the insert sleeve is, in typical British reissue fashion, very informative to the point where you don't have to rely on any of those new four-color rock history mags anymore to get yer Stackwaddy information 'cuz it's all here! The foldout that gets neatly slid into the front plastic part of the case's got the usual expected esoterica including not only the standard who/what/wherefores of where the group "stood" at this juncture in their career but believe-it-or-don't a Charles Shaar Murray review that always sets my rock scribe fandom light a'blinkin'! And with rock writing thrills getting harder to find as all the greats are either underrepresented or totally ignored its the little things like this that top off my day. And the first person to write in saying "Get a Life" will get an all-star right inna groin. savvy?

Given the here today/gone forever status of these Les Rallizes recordings it's not like I can afford to grab up every last one of 'em. However, I will snatch up some of these obscurities when they do pass by, especially if they date from the group's best years which for me were the late-sixties. However, since recordings from those days seem to be rarer than humility in this very blog I usually end up settling for the group's second best era, mainly the early-to-mid-seventies which were pretty good years for high energy underground jamz all over the boards if one would look hard enough, right???

Here's one of the more recent Denudes CDs to come out on the Ignitus label, which like Univive seems to be releasing whatever they can from the vast array of surviving Denudes tapes in small quantities. This one seems to have been recorded live at what translates as a flower festival in April of '75, certainly a choice time in the Denudes chronology and this recording does prove so despite the usually iffy sound. The usual familiar numbers pop up, though thankfully there are some great feedback moments and a few re-arranged variations that will please even the most stringent fans of these Japanese National Treasures. The general rawness does tend to help too...don't let the sissified cover of an outta focus flower (which looks like something that shoulda been stuck onto the TWENTY-FIVE MOST UNFORGETTABLE CLASSICAL MUSIC MOMENTS FOR PEOPLE WHO WANNA SNEAK A LITTLE CULTURE INTO THEIR OTHERWISE DRAB HOUSEHOLDS ten-LP set that Sebastian Cabot used to hawk on tee-vee) fool you. This is high energy rock & roll personified and in a past world we used to call it heavy metal but I don't wanna throw too many people off the track thirtysome years later!
The Deviants-DR. CROW CD (Captain Trip, Japan)

Dunno why I have been shunning these latterday Deviants disques as of late...true they're not the same Deviants that recorded those three oh-so-fine albums in the late-sixties, but then again the Deviants that sprung forth from the London underground back in '66 was a much different group than the one that recorded PTOOFF!, and for that matter the group that recorded DISPOSABLE and DEVIANTS III weren't quite the same as the '67 variety either! So why should I get all discombobulated because Mick Farren is the only constant in the group's on/off forty year history anyway? As Linus used to say in the mid-fifties (and best period of) PEANUTS. "Five-hundred years from now who will know the difference?"

And yeah, I gotta admit that these new Deviants are pretty snat themselves. Not only is Mick Farren still a prime frontman (though his voice is way too ragged at times, probably from years of marijuana abuse but then again he sounds just like what you'd expact a 60+-year-old rocker to sound like!) and Andy Colquhoun a fine guitarist in the Sid Bishop/Paul Rudolph/Larry Wallis vein. And the choice of material is fantastic enough from the warped re-do of "Strawberry Fields Forever" to the British folk singalong "The Murdering Officer" which comes off like the early folk rants I'm sure the Deviants were doing before they got louder equipment. An all-together album that true, ain't anything like PTOOFF!, but it's still solid enough. As the sage once said, its to have a ball to.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Yeah. You're wondering just where are all of those 1965 Falling Spikes and Warlocks rehearsals are rotting away as well as the '66 EPI shows with and without Reed, not forgetting all of those "Sister Ray"s parts two, three... that Lou said would take days to play if they were all strung together. Or how about that show where Doug Yule played a violin during that very selfsame "Sister Ray" that only Mike Kostek seems to remember and is still vainly trying to find a tape of??? Well, I'm wondering where all those shows are being stashed away as well, and until those tapes do eventually pop up (and they will, right around the time you all go deaf due to some ultramodernest new strain of syphilis bound to hit you upsides the head when it comes around in another ten or so years!) I guess we'll have to settle on just listening to all of them old Velvets boot LPs and disques we've been acquiring for years, or at least since the days when even the grittiest nth-generation Velvets tape was like aural manna fron You-Know-Where. At for a guy like me who admittedly does have a few gaps in the ol' Velvet Underground bootology these platters of both an analog and digital variety sure know how to "fill-the-bill" when it comes to satiating that intense hungerin' craving I had (still have!) for the Velvets ever since my mid-to-late teenage days when thankfully the sway of CREEM began to overcome my interest in things more...attuned to the hearts and mind of the other kids, and if I was gonna be an outcast I better do it on my own terms and with the Velvets beside me, savvy?

One of the nicer packages to hit the boot boards as of late is A SYMPHONY OF SOUND, a high-quality LP recording taken from the Warhol film of the same name where the Velvets and Nico create that wonderful din while Ari romps throughout the Factory and the cops come in and close the place down. You remember the've wanted to see it for ages after reading some Warhol filmography and probably thought the sole existing reel was going to be locked up for good so why bother losing sleep over it! Well, thankfully the thing did survive and can be seen on DVD and heard on a number of earlier boots. But you never heard it as clear as you will on this pristine platter which, unlike the bootlegs of the old insert-sleeve seventies days doesn't sound like it was pressed up on old Buick floormats. In fact, I'm surprised at how clean this album looks and feels as well as sounds, certainly a lot better looking than those old-timey bootlegs and definitely an aural improvement over those audience-recording tapes that have been flying around which leads me to believe that whoever did this spared no expense mastering the platter straight from the film souce, or DVD for that matter. (The cover gives a Japanese origin and for once I believe it considering how high the quality is especially with that crisp photo outtake [taken from a DVD? Wherever it came from, it looks as good as classic sixties photo stock!] on the obverse not forgetting the fine line early-Warholesque drawing on the reverse which does have the same sparkling quality of many independant Japanese vinyl offerings available these days.) It's a bee-youtiful all 'round affair not only with the crisp sound (and hey, is there some additional music missing from all other bootlegs appearing at the beginning? Some of this does sound fresh to the ears of the one called me!) to the professional cover, and it even comes equipped with some inserts, one consisting of shots taken from the video (though of exemplary quality) as well as a reprint of Lou Reed's "A View From the Bandstand" taken from the Warhol ish of ASPEN which once again goes to show you that Lou was capable of some pretty smart writing which makes me kinda wish he also spent a good hunkering portion of his life as a rock scribe. Not necessarily rock "critic", but as an aloof, detached observer sort of like Jonathan Richman was during his late-sixties writing days for VIRBATIONS (where he was also art editor!) or better yet Wayne McGuire.

Jumping three years into '69, the four-CD BOSTON TEA PARTY set showcases the group at one of their favorite watering holes in one of the more receptive cities playing their hearts out to the same kinda people who would be, within the span of a few years, taking the Velvets drone and blare and making it Boston's own even more than Cleveland did. Mainly because whereas the Cle bands that grabbed the Velvets spirit by the fibula were more or less tossed off as easy-to-dismiss jokes at least Boston sure knew how to crank out the VU plasma and make the local populace notice! But anyway, this is also a great package that once again honors the Velvets, this time from the Japanese Scorpio label who did some good stuff in the past but this 'un from the great cover reproduction to the picture discs pretty much tops a lotta those scuzzy CD-Rs of now outta-print boots that unfortunately take up too much bootleg space in my Cee-Dee collection! Is it any wonder that both this and the SYMPHONY OF SOUND album came from the great Land of the Rising Feedback, because between these albums and some of the newer aficionados of the form Japan seems to be the last great frontier when it comes to carrying on the Velvet Underground mystique without turning it into yet more alternative geek quap like it has been ever since the feral seventies clocked into the tepid eighties (and never mind the nineties, or TODAY for that sad matter!).

And what's more, the sound on these disques is unbelievably clear especially for audience cassette recordings, much better'n those TDK C-90s you paid $9.99 for back in '80 which gave you these same shows sounding all the muddier and/or large hall vibrato-y for your troubles! I dunno how Scorpio got hold of first generation tapes, or perhaps mastering and techniques for cleaning up the sound has improved in the quarter-century since stereo fanatics got into equalizers and all that now-forgotten STEREO REVIEW hi-fi gimmickry. But whaddeva, these four platters are filled with some of the better examples of where the early Doug Yule-period Velvets could go, and if you're one of those people like me who miss John Cale and the viola, well it ain't like ya wanna kill Yule or anything like that because he fits in fine and could you imagine what they woulda sounded like if they got Jackson Browne in there???

And y'know what, it ain't like I hate the guy. Not that I ever did, but I gotta admit he looked cool enough to be a Velvet plus he fits in the band like a proverbial glove on these platters which, as Jonathan Richman said in his brilliant-like c/o THE VELVET UNDERGROUND article, still showed enough of the early/Cale-era in their DNA as Yule didn't yet have the chance to put his imprint on the group. But don't worry because even though the tension-inducing Cale was outta the VU a good four months when disc #1 (1/10/69) was recorded the avant garde was still firmly stamped into the Velvets' overall sound and on more than one occasion you can hear them entering into that fabled "cloud" that Reed mentioned in that mystical interview which appeared in the ALL YESTERDAY'S PARTIES collection a few years back!

But hey, no fretting's allowed because the best of the 1969 Boston gigs are all here, including that infamous guitar mix tape from the March 15th show and it's all overpowering high-energy Velvets at their best. Ultimately it goes to show you just how lame all these bands who claim to cling to the Velvets' chic mystique these days really are, and true that may sound like old-hat redundancy on my part (but should go to show you just how much ire I have for bands who take a good thing and bring it down to their putrid, narcissic level) but one thing's for sure, and that's this music ain't old-hat or redundant one bit and in fact sounds just as alive and as gnawing at the inner core of your being as it did some 37 years back! Y'know, back in the days when these sounds were first being laid down for the high-class and flotsam who flocked to the Boston Tea Party to see these shows which have been forever preserved on these neat li'l disques for us and hopefully for future generations to enjoy long after the rest falls into the abyss. But you knew that already, and I'm sure anybody with the BRAINS to tune into this blog already knows plenty about the healing force of the Velvet Underground and just how important their music remains after all those other puny little bands have passed into the ozone so why not just quit reading this and SCAM a copy for yourself!

Before I go, I just wanted to share with you another strange bit of Velvet Underground myth-making that I have come across via the internet, mainly a poster for some imaginary Max's Kansas City show that appears on the left. Strange because this item is obviously a latterday creation of some slightly astute-yet-morally bankrupt person's twisted imagination (probably the same moax who created a B-52's live at Max's poster advertising a late-'77 gig using a pic of that band swiped from the front cover of their debut LP!) who for some odd reason actually thinks diehard Velvets fans will be fooled by a modern-looking poster advertising a December 196X gig that most of us would realize never took place! Now I'll 'fess up to the fact that I kinda chortle at the poster myself and feel like I too am part of the joke being pulled on novice Velvet Underground fans who, like all of us at one time in the past, probably don't know enough to see through the scam. And frankly, I feel pretty much honored that my obscure cult faves (or at least they would seem that way here in Western Pee-YAY!) are worthy enough to be used as fodder for this prankster's idea of creating a poster in an obviously 90's/00's fashion and passing it off as a sixties artyfact! But then again the saner side of me is slapping my psyche around silly only to make me wonder all the more...was this trip really necessary?????