Wednesday, November 10, 2010

O. Rex-MY HEAD'S IN '73 2-CD set! (Gulcher)

When it comes to seventies fanzine bands, none really could top the Gizmos. And when it comes to runner ups, who could forget such stellar attempts as Distorted Levels (or were they the Creatures From The Black Lagoon, or Tar Babies, or Mr. Electro and the Void?), the Zippers, the Afrika Korps or today's case-in-point O. Rex. Born of the same groundswell of printed mulch passing for fanzine brilliance that begat GULCHER and FUTURE (in this case O. REXTASYand RAUNCH & ROLL), O. Rex were a great huge hunkerin' mess of primal heavy metal in the classic CREEM sense scrunch, a West Bruce and Laing for the crudzine set that sorta gathered all of that hard-rock gunch worship that was so prevalent during the Golden Age of fanzines and managed to dunce it all up even more with its primitive pallor and general septic balance! You knew it was being created by doofs such as yourself rather'n flashy English dudes with smart saxon looks and good teeth which always seemed suspect from the beginning, and for THAT it just hadda be good!

Fronted by the dynamic fanzine duo of the Gruberger brothers (Solomon and Jay) with the added oomph of future Gizmo Kenne Highland, O. Rex weren't just another one of the hundreds of beneath-the-garage groups that were springing up throughout the seventies, they were one who even managed to release a snat single which by this time costs a whole lot more'n all the money you'll ever see! Fortunately the entire seven-incher appears somewhere on these two sprawling disques that come to us courtesy of Gulcher alongside a whole load more, and we can only be thankful that Mr. Bear, undoubtedly with the go ahead of Solomon G and maybe even Highland, decided to put it out because although your life might not be enriched by listening to these three heave up some early-seventies metal crunch for an ever-budding punk audience MINE sure is!

You might have forgotten, but stuff like "My Head's In '73" (Not forgetting its flipster "Califawnia Girls") was really hotcha stuff amongst the fanzine intelligentsia of the mid-seventies the same way those singles by Television, Pere Ubu and Mogen David were. Remember, this was long before the whole DIY mode sorta oozed into a mass of "so what" after every kid on the block who was just one-step-up on the evolutionary scale from stoner boxboy sounds decided to prove it by recording bad Stooge pastiches instead of bad Van Halen ones stinking up the atmosphere even worse! But back when these pearls of utter dunce-genius were recorded it was Christmas and VJ Day rolled into one when some bigname critic at some "respected" rag'd review one of these records you could be sure that the entire 500 press run'd sell out faster'n El Kabong!

There are a whopping 48 tracks sprawled out amongst these two disques and each and every one of 'em is a downright wowzer. Early versions of familiar Gizmo riffage appear in typical Flintstones bedroom cassette quality as do some definitely recognizable even at this early stage familiarities, and amongst all of the newies (ranging from ultra-doof bedroom jamz to even a trib to Jay's fave of the day Mountain!) are even some interesting covers that only go to show you that if some teenage nobodies from Dubuque could ruin old one-chord rock riffs, O. Rex could ruin 'em even better! You probably won't recognize their version of Link Wray's "Rawhide" (I didn't!), but you will "Shapes of Things" as well as "Pushin' Too Hard" done that special O. Rex way and mutter to yourself while it all transpires "why didn't I think of that?" (And don't worry, you will!)

Really, I could go one about each and every track here but maybe, just like Elliot Murphy surmised, it would be like chemistry. Or at least just about as boring (at least for you, if not self-indulgent fun for me!), but I'm sure you get the drift. MY HEAD'S IN '73 is a fantastico slice of mid-seventies beneath-the-underground hard crunch passing as rock that should excite at least half of the serious BLOG TO COMM readers who are still tuning in even this late in the game long after the rest of "underground rock USA" have ditched this stuff for the latest flash hype outta blogland. As for those types well, sometimes it is hard to second guess you guys but anyway you might get a good 'n hearty laff outta it...just don't go throwin' away your Content Providers disques, because I know you're gonna need 'em more'n I ever will!

A word about the packaging...unfortunately there ain't much to go by pic-wise (sheesh, I thought they'd at least stick in that one O. Rex snap 'n blurb from the "More New Bands" section of ROCK SCENE) but Eddie Flowers' liner notes are the best slice of new reading all year reminding me of just why seventies fanzinedom had the eighties variety on the ropes. Makes me wish the guy was more, er, proficient w/regards to keeping his own site updated with reviews and whatnot, and considering how I just can't get enough of this GA of fanzines-styled thrust into my life anymore the more Flowers and the less Lang the better, unnerstand?

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