Saturday, March 19, 2011

You can just tell by the addled tone of this post that this has been a creeping, crawling, slower than a pustule ooze week here at BTC headquarters. To be honest about it there ain't really that much worthy of this blog to gab about, though as usual I will give it the old college try and attempt to pad this post out to an "acceptable" weekend-length size.

You might feel grateful that I did go against my vow of spendthriftiness this year and dished out some big bucks for not only an order from Forced Exposure (which will probably arrive more later than sooner since I forgot to tell 'em to cancel any orders for outta-stock items 'stead of holding back the entire kitten caboodle) but one for some old comic-related items from Ken Pierce books, a company that seems to handle just the right kind of early comic strip fodder guaranteed to get me spread out on the living room floor just like I did when I was a kid. I'm just giving you readers heads up on the nature and flavor of some up and coming posts headed your way so's you won't be startled when you finally read the things.

But otherwise as you will see shortly I had to resort to busting into my old cassette collection in order to come up with some halfway-entertaining fodder this weekend. Actually I was looking for a specific cassette that's been moiling away in some box here in the abode for well over thirty years, and although I wasn't able to find that particular one I did come up with a few tasties that I just know you'll want to osmose my opinions about. Still on the lookout for that particular cassette (which, if you must know, is of early-eighties English hippie/punk vintage) so who knows, there may be more cassette culture reviews coming up in the not-so-distant future if I play my cards right and clean my closet out!

THE MORE THINGS STAY THE SAME, THE MORE THEY STAY THE SAME DEPT.-I just gotta tell ya about this 'un before I explode like a festering pimple all over my computer keyboard! I had the strangest flashback last Friday morning and although it wasn't of a lysergic nature it sure zoned me a good thirtysome years back to the days of local FM-rock thuggery when knuckle-dragging neanderthal rock ideals weren't necessarily a good virtue to flaunt. Y'see, the radio just happ'd to be on and a locally produced commercial for the upcoming Motley Crue/Poison/New York Dolls show popped up amidst the "classic rock" fodder that was guaranteed to destroy the sanctity of the ride to work (and since I was a passenger it wasn't like I could switch stations w/o getting my hand chopped off!). Nothing special about this particular commercial, other'n that throughout the thing the names of Crue and Poison were being touted (in high-gloss announcer-ese) as the real reason for that evening's festivities while the Dolls were sorta shoved to the back of the advertisement so-to-speak as if they were just an "add on" and not the real reason you the hair metal fan would want to see this particular show! Really, the Dolls' name was mentioned by the patented FM-radio announcer rather offhandedly and in less-than-approving tones, as if they weren't exactly a sane reason why anybody who'd listen to this radio station in the first place would want to trek out for a "real" rock & roll evening! Talk about shades of 198X rock snobbery back when just about anything that was wild, vibrant and high energy was getting poo-poo'd (or worse yet tagged as criminal) while subpar light and fluffy metal sputum was being touted as the real rock way to go! Sheesh, that commercial was almost as bad as those old CONSERVATIVE CHRONICLE ads Rush Limbaugh would read where he'd cheerfully spout off the names of his favorite neocon columnists but muffle his voice when he would mention Joseph Sobran's! And frankly, I thought that those days of puton macho metallic pose were long gone, but now I can see that it still lives on in the hearts of the terminally unemployable and spiritual AV Club survivors county-wide!

Before I get to the hambone of this post I ought to give you heads up that the Les Rallizes Denudes 4-CD set entitled GREAT WHITE WONDER is back in print, this time on yet another Rallizes-approved label, Phoenix. There have been quite a number of Les Rallizes Denudes Cee-Dees coming out over the past decade or so and this set is definitely one of the more interesting of an already prolific and noteworthy legacy. And what's best about it is that for you thrifty (stingy) Scotsmen types it's a whole lot cheaper'n the original. Forced Exposure had 'em last time I looked, and perhaps one of your favorite hotcha underground sources is carrying the thing as well so (just a word to the wize) don't tarry.

Well after all of that cereal filler, what else would you expect but the write-ups???

Can-RADIO WAVES CD (G&P Essential Music bootleg, Russia)

Can't figure out why I passed on reviewing this one for so long (I even checked out this very blog and couldn't come up with any references to even mentioning the thing!). Really, this is a classic collection of Can at their obscurest best, and although it's not quite as encompassing as that four-CD set from a few years back this one's sure to appeal to all of those Johnny-Come-Lately Can fans like myself who really didn't pay attention to 'em until chic English post-punker types started dropping their name in NME interviews making me feel like a total doof for passing their albums up in the import racks thinkin' they were just another buncha Passports or something.

"Up The Bakerloo"'s a massive track which was recorded for the BBC in '72, a 34 minute tour de extravaganza that gives vocalist Damo Suzuki a chance to stretch out a bit while Irmin Schmidt roams all over the place on his keyboards and Michael Karoli plays all of that brittle guitar that influenced Pete Shelley so. Wavering fluctuation's perhaps the only way I could describe this forgotten classic.

"Paperhouse"'s taken from that BEAT CLUB video that diligent Can fans have seen all over the place (I'm sure youtube posted it unless someone had since taken the thing down) featuring Suzuki shaking his hair all over the place and the rest of the group looking equally freaky as they conjure up loads of Teutonic demons filtered through the previous five years of freak rock. Really, having this broadcast over the airwaves in Germany was akin to the Stooges popping up on MIDSUMMER'S NIGHT ROCK, only with more air time.

Clocking in at over fifteen minutes, "Entropy" purports to be a live track though it sure has a studio feel to me. Karoli once again lays out his unique guitar stylings while Suzuki moans, coos and chants and Schmidt does his jazzy electric piano clunks and plucks making this yet another maddening and previously ignored Can treasure. Maybe I should mention the "rhythm section" of Holger Czukay and Jaki Liebzeit, but I don't want to sound too froth-like.

Hey, is this a new recently-discovered take of "Little Star" (here listed w/o the "of Bethlehem") these crafty bootleggers used? It sounds way more feral, more driving than the DELAY 1968 take. Malcolm Mooney's vocals push the music even if he does sound like he's straining his vocal cords a little more than the standard daily requirement. Oh wait, the track's sped up slightly, that's all.

I forget what the a-side to "Turtles Have Short Legs" is since I ain't got the original on hand to find out (yeah, I could "google" it and find out if I really wanted to, but I'm not that diligent and why shouldn't I let you readers have a little fun once in awhile!). It sounds like a b-side, not quite of a stinker mentality mind you, but a strange attempt at avant pop-ness the kind the group would wallow in within a few short years. I think you can find this one legit-like somewhere out there in the great digital unknown.

Closing out the platter's "Shikaki Maru Ten" which is yet another flipster. Only this one comes off kinda like EGE BAMYASI's "One More Saturday Night" only more equatorial. The same jazzy electric piano chords and cool Suzuki chant though. A good one even if it does fade out a lot earlier than at least I would have wished. Check your favorite search engine for a download of this and perhaps the rest of RADIO WAVES and at non-existent prices t'boot!

So there goes a Can bootleg that really does live up to its promise of delivering the obscure (and not so) goodies for us here in the digital age. A real godsend as well, and while we're on the subject of Can boots can anybody out there tell me whether or not the SUNDAY JAM one even exists? I read about it on an Imants Krumins want list in a 1982-vintage issue of GOLDMINE (in fact, the same ad that made me get in touch with the ol' pooperoo!) but other than that... nada! Dunno where Mr. K found out about it so perhaps this is one of those phantom records that I told you about last week which people swear by seeing but no other documents of their existence seem to survive. Oh well, I recall coming up with some really cool albums in my nocturnal brain activity which for the love of Sam I sure wish had materialized into real-life flesh and vinyl!
THE MONTY PYTHON MATCHING TIE AND HANDKERCHIEF cassette (The Famous Charisma Label, England)

Izzit just me or were those old perennially cut out Monty Python albums actually funny? Or at least repeatedly listenable unlike most comedy spins that came down the pike which were kinda disposable after the first few plays. I must admit these Python platters came in pretty handy if you were a fan of the show and wanted a personal memento in those pre-VCR days. Of course back then I just used to tape the audio portion of a Python episode onto some extremely cheap Cetron C-60 to listen to at a future date, and although those "assembled in Mexico" cassettes had a lifespan of about five plays before the leader glue would let up thus spinning the tape up into the shell ne'er to be retrieved again at least my $1.00 tape purchase saved me a good four smackers considering it would cost me at least five bucks to snatch up all three available Python platters from the cutout bin!

This 'un must have been the third season album for Python, and it has a few good moments re-created in the studio for hi-fi effect including such classics as the "Church Police" skit and of course the ever popular one with Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw and James McNeil Whistler telling Prince Albert he's like a stream of bat piss. Some great guffawing goin' on in that 'un which actually reminds me of those old laughing records which were supposed to lift your spirits and, come to think of it, could make you feel a whole lot better'n any of these new timey comedians ever could so I gotta hand it to Python for like, rehashing twenties material for a jaded seventies world!
Johnny and the Hurricanes-CROSSFIRE cassette (Golden Circle)

Talk about cheapo crankouts! Dunno who these Golden Circle people are other'n they reside(d) in Stamford Connecticut, but they actually got a bunch of old Johnny and the Hurricanes singles and slapped 'em pretty messy like onto a cassette complete with snap, crackles and tape glitches and rushed 'em out to various Big Lots nationwide which is where I bought mine! Better'n nothing, and what else would you expect for $1.99? Contains the title track (later refashioned by the Fleshtones for their debut platter), "Reveille Rock", "Storm Warning" and five relative rarities that probably sound 100 times better on some official Hurricanes collection. But then again this has that basement kiddie player swerve to it and sounds like something I woulda played on my cousin's old turntable while marching around the room or doing wild interpretive dances! The absence of such classics as "Red River Rock" is stymieing, but then again that's why you have GOLDEN GOODIES VOL. 13, right?
Jonathan Borofsky and Ed Tomney-THE RADICAL SONGBIRDS OF ISLAM cassette (ROIR)

Bought this 'un due to co-artist Tomney's involvement with Harry Toledo and the Necessaries back during the Golden Age of New York Rockism, but given that this collab was done with chi-chi visual artist Borofsky you can bet that there ain't any rock & roll on this tape nohow! According to the notes, this album of dark droning vocalization was "partly influenced by Islamic prayer chants heard over a Jerusalem radio station", and frankly I can only thank Borofsky and Tomney for issuing this tape because in a few years this is all we're gonna be hearing and we better get used to it right now!
Jupiter Jets-RECORDED LIVE "OFF THE BOARD" cassette (CBGB)

Didn't quite cozy up to this back when I first wrote this 'un up, but time has kinda softened this ol' fanabla like a tasty dose of Hailey's MO. These Jupiter Jets were no flashes either, first starting life during the '75 New York City groundswell as Day Old Bread (heck, even Wayne County namechecked 'em on his "Max's Kansas City '76" numbuh!) then getting a whole loads more gigs as the Rudies before finally settling on this new and refreshing moniker which seems just about as custom made for the eighties as the sounds these guys produce on this live showcase tape which came out way back '86 way.

The music is def. eighties-bred, though surprisingly it's not as gnu wave offensive as a whole load of quap from those days was which is one reason I really turned my back on a whole lotta stuff I once loved w/a passion. Nothing irritating to the central nervous system here, and no jangle or undue emote is to be found. Kinda think of the better moments of Let's Active and other mid-South underground popsters 'stead of the usual offenders and you'll get a good idea of where these guys were comin' from. And they're good musicians, good writers and best of all they could churn out some good music and within a genre that seemed to be rotting away right before our very eyes. Y'know, back when new wave had already been surpassed by gnu wave and was beginning its even newer guise as "alternative" much to the chagrin of people who were in on the trip since at least 1973!
Well uh, that's it until next time. Don't forget to tune into this blog, especially if you want to see a living man decay right before your very eyes.

1 comment:

Serena WmS. Burroughs said...

Wikipedia lists a 45 of "Turtles Have Short Legs" backed with an edit of "Halleluwah." I remember seeing a double 45 package that has "THSL" and "Shikako Maru Ten" and some other songs in New York. I heartily recommend Suburbanbatherson's video for "THSL" on YouTube, and also the song "Avantcore" by Busdriver that samples it, and it was also used in the video game "PaRappa the Rapper."