Saturday, June 13, 2009


Memories, memories... After receiving a couple cassette tapes as part of my recent Volcanic Tongue order (more on that in later posts...cantcha just wait???), I started thinking not only about all the fun I had buying, listening to and making cassette tapes from my mid mid-teens until the mid-nineties but just how much that medium hit the skids after years of being a top listening mode for many a budget-conscious kiddo out there in penny-picking land. It may seem strange to you, but your humble blogger has gotta admit that he (me) really was a big fan of the cassette form during my up-and-coming days, even during that era when eight-tracks were hot stuff amongst box boys who used to toke in the parking lot to Sabbath after work on hot 1975 evenings! And even all these years later I still have a passing fancy for these oft-jamming and crinkling tapes which introduced me to a lotta music I otherwise wouldn't've ever heard, or would have heard years after when the impact would have diminished greatly. And if I hadn't had the opportunity to hear hundreds of great albums via dubbed tapes or the purchasing of actual pre-recorded cassettes would there even be a BLOG TO COMM??? Perish the thought!

But whaddevva, since I was cranking out the old black beauty to spin the aforementioned Volcanic Tongue spawned tapes I decided to give a listen to a number of cassettes I had purchased this past winter and shoved onto the back burner. So voila, what else should appear but a special cassette installment of BLOG TO COMM featuring these now-obsolete wonders that sure used to mean a lot to me during those dark and distant days! Now, what other blog out there would think of something as wild and as woolly as that, hunh? Kinda sends me back to the two for two dollars bin at the old Musicland in the Eastwood Mall searching for all sorta of esoteric weirdies and picking up such ultimate favorites as YOKO ONO/PLASTIC ONO BAND and NUGGETS in the process!

And true it doesn't mean a thing to you but sheesh, try being a pimple-laden plumpo with only a few cents to rub together scamming all the rock & roll you could with it...maybe then you'd feel different about me and my tearjerking woes regarding an underpriviledged childhood!

Kawaguchi Masami's New Rock Syndicate-LIVE JAPAN 2007 cassette (no label)

Japanese rock has been on the wane, or at least it has for me after a few purchases of items that didn't quite light my butt up as much as they might have yours, but releases like this sure stir up the sukiyaki in my soul. Kawaguchi Masami's New Rock Ensemble are the latest in a long line of those great post-Rallizes Denudes-influenced Japanese groups that kinda make me glad that I didn't off myself during the past few eras of rock destitution, for these guys really know how to kick out some high energy rock & roll for a world which has worshipped the worst aspects of sound and kultur for a longer time than I can imagine. The New Rock Syndicate wallow heavily midst the late-sixties Southern Californian hard garage rock style...think Alice Cooper ca. first album meets just about every Doors-swipe you'd pay mucho dinero for via ebay doused in a heavy Les Rallizes Denudes feedback swirl straight outta the ballrooms of San Francisco. The Denudian influence cannot be denied since they even do a nice ballad kinda reminscent of Mirrors' "Slow Down" or "I've Been Down" (or a number of other numbuhs with "Down" in the title) not to mention a variety of equally powerful ditties to have come outta Japan in the wake of the Denudes guys themselves. Kinda short timewise but since they said everything they should've within those fifteen or so minutes why should I complain?

It even comes in a nice package complete with psychedelic poppy information insert and delicate paper band keeping it all together (not forgetting the bright orange cassette shell) reminding me of those more inventive eighties/nineties cassette releases coupled with music that seemed like such a blessing when it would show up in the eighties, and who knows what havoc it could wreak if more people (mainly you dolts) got to hear it in the here and now!

REPAIRS cassette (Captured Tracks, available through Volcanic Tongue)

Outta nowhere surprise here, a release from a buncha mid-Amerigans who seemingly never heard that the Cassette Culture revolution went online ages ago. Good for us, because I don't remember 75% of the cassettes that used to wing their way to my door back in the confused eighties being as good as this...electronic throb of a "minimalist" variety recorded in fine basement fidelity that remind me more of some early-seventies Suicide tracks that Alan Vega has yet to add vocals to. A whole hour of this might seem pointless and futile, but at least Repairs knew enough to keep the tracks down to a few minutes each and limit 'em to four. You might think that paying approx. ten smackers for about seven or eight minutes of music is rather costly but look at it this way...would you rather pay that ten bucks for hours of music that stinks? If so, maybe I should re-orient this blog to suit all of you losers out there!
The Sensational Alex Harvey Band-VAMBO ROOLS cassette (Vertigo England)

Subtitled "Big Hits and Close Shaves", VAMBO ROOLS is one of those "Greatest Hits" collections that the Amerigan record companies in the infinite wisdom deemed too unimportant to release in the USA so anyone over here who really wanted it hadda scour the import bins, or better yet one of those record shops where they could pick up slightly used wonders like this and at reduced prices at that. Anybody who had all of the original Alex Harvey albums didn't really need this, but thirtysome years after the rage this does make a nice sampler for lunks like me who don't have the complete set and could use something like this for those long drives in the country. Good selection too with such wonders as "Framed", "St. Anthony" and "Action Strasse", but whose bright idea was it to leave SAHB signature song "Vambo" off especially considering the title of this undoubtedly "reduced price" release?
Pink Floyd-MEDDLE cassette (Harvest UK)

Haven't heard this in quite some time, and really can't say that its aged any. If there was anything here to age that is. Parts do recall some of the less inspiring moments of krautrock (and danged if "One of These Days" isn't a dead ringer for a good part of My Solid Ground's entire reason for being) while "A Pillow of Wind" still has some of the late-sixties Floyd mesmo feel to it, but the rest seems just like more of Alan's psychedelic breakfast which might have been OK at seven in the morning but at five PM I'm kinda looking forward to something a little meatier!

The neatest thing about this English edition is that it has a different cover than the Amerigan one which was washed out in blue making for an interesting variation that I'm sure collectors worldwide were wanting to latch onto, anal retentives they may be. On the original version you can easily see the oriface that was hidden from view which I pondered may be a closeup of a human ear, but something inside makes me think perhaps it's something naughtier which is why the blue noses in the USA dribbled all that equally blue tinting on it! Sure this is a lotta malarkey, but when you're fifteen and perusing the import bins you naturally think up plenty of strange things, like maybe it's a Wallaby vagina opening up in anticipation of reproduction. (I wouldn't know...I guess we'd have to ask an expert like Dave Lang.)
Deep Purple-THE BOOK OF TALIESYN cassette (Harvest Australia)

Y'know, I could be reverse-o/change-o hip like Chuck Eddy and rave up and down your medulla as to how great this album is because Lester Bangs mighta said so way back when romilar was still a drugstore cheap thrill, or I can be Mister Curmudgeon and just lash out at Deep Purple and all of those pimplefarm teens who used to spin those horrid late-seventies albums of their in between bouts of religious conversion and illicit procreation for fun and profit. But I won't, mainly because this album seems to be stuck in a netherworld between unmitigated brilliance and deep despair (on the part of the guy who actually bought this thing!) Really nowheresville if I must say, with maybe one track ("Listen, Learn, Read On") having maybe a shard of the late-sixties post-psychedelic hardrock pounce that made more than a few of these lost British obscurities proto-punk icons. Underneath the boffo cover lurks a record (or in this case cassette) just trying to decide whether it be hard rock, psychedelic or progressive failing on all fronts. You might want to track down the budget collection of early sides that Scepter of all labels released in the early seventies utilising the pre-Warner Brothers (inna USA) Tetragrammaton-period hits.

And, in the sage words of John Cleese, now for something completely different:


I changed the title of this 'un ever so slightly in order to placate the less prurient amongst my readers (mainly Jillery, who threatened to tell someone if I used the correct title prude she may be), but then again I doubt any of 'em would want to pick this up in the first place so why bother? One of those platters that I woulda killed for during my teenage Zappafreak days, FREAKS is durn good, in fact BETTER than the official '71 Mothers live albums, this 'un featuring the Flo and Eddie fronted group live at the Fillmore in '70 right after these former Turtles began turning many a Southern Californian sunshine pop well-scrubbed teenybopper into raging Mother-humping phallus freaks. FREAKS is way more "together" (using standard early-seventies hip teen lingo) than the legit offerings with the raunchy humor and general hackneyed fun and games sharing equal time with some pretty hot playing (even when Zappa begins standing on his "look how well I can play, and dig that cop from Stravinsky!" soapbox) making for a disc that stands head/shoulders above many of the other Zappa/Mothers boots documenting the same time strata. Sound is surprisingly excellent, cover is surprisingly Schenkel-inspired, and I guess even Zappa, bootleg hater he may be, felt it worthy enough to release as part of his "Beat the Boots" series snaps/crackles/pops and all. Cover track listings, jumbled and vague as they are, mislead...I couldn't find "The Mud Shark" here anywhere at all!


Anonymous said...

The covers on "The Book of Taliesyn" are the best tracks ; it's nowhere near as good as "Shades Of Deep Purple". Too much Blackmore and Lord wankery.

J.D. King said...

"I changed the title of this 'un ever so slightly in order to placate the less prurient amongst my readers..."

Cop out, baby.

I'd say, "fuggin' cop out," but that might go over your, self-described, literal mind.