Saturday, June 18, 2011


Well, still haven't dished out the big bucks for the latest Forced Exposure order yet, though I plan on placing a nice hefty big online order this Monday if only to break up the stultifying boredom around here. But until then it's back to the shoe boxes filled with about 35-plus years of cassettes that I've more/less neglected to spin...unravel??? for quite awhile which I guess I better attend to before they ALL decay into nothingness. Surprisingly some of these cassettes have held up well while other have...well, I don't want to depress myself over the fact that my $5.99 factorycassette investment back in 1975 has gone ka-plooey, but  let me just console myself over the fact that I never did get into the 8-track frameset like many a classmate whose collections had gone instant obsolete within the span of a good two or so years. I mean, imagine how some of THOSE plastic-encased monstrosities have fared what with those rubber wheels gummed up as well as their penchant to jam worse than a Mellotron at the end of a King Crimson tour!

Might as well start off with some old privately/secretly-recorded onto blank cassette finds, all of which contain music that for all I know has remained hidden from general public view in a variety of cassette collections being stashed away in a few lucky collectors' attics and dresser drawers for years on end. And really, a lotta these recordings are something that I would've thought'd've made it into a whole lot more collections of fans and true believers this far down the rockism evolutionary line than they (obviously) have. Unfortunately most of these obscure wonders are privvy to only a few bona-fide fans world-wide, especially this particular item which I  received from a certain chap named Jim Clinefelter some time in the late-eighties which was about ten years after it woulda done me good but better late than never.

What really intrigues me about this particular cassette's the rarity as well as the social significance of the music at hand, the "a" side being an obscure live recording by notorious non-wave band Bernie and the Invisibles recorded live in Cleveland during the avant-garage year of 1978 while the flip's an equally rare 'un featuring the first Cleveland appearance of the Cramps from the exact same year which I thought would have gone down in history as some classic era for underground rockist tendencies but never really did (to most, it's all '77!). Yes, these recordings (and those like them) are harder to find than sanitary napkins in Tehran, and the fact that both of these items haven't made it out into the public square like you think they shoulda is pretty criminal in itself because THE PEOPLE  really need to hear this music, man, and the sooner these sounds make it out to the vast unwashed for their own personal pleasure the BETTER I say! (And no, I'm not going to dub my copy off for anybody! Don't have the means to do so and besides I really can't see myself being the Rubber Dubber for the 21st Century!)

Bernie Joelson is definitely a Cleveland rock treasure, a guy who was taken by Peter Laughner's "Go out there and do it yourself!" credo and more or less became Bernie and the Invisibles. And really, if anybody could have made the claim to have combined the better moments and ideologies of Wild Man Fisher (rip), Syd Barrett, Tuli Kupferberg,  (perhaps) David Roter and the Velvet Underground (using pure seventies rockspeak) it might have been Joelson. Well, at least it might have been evident by this show where this downright "street poet" in the best Lou Reed sense rocks out on his electric guitar making an overall racket that seems to combine the best of late-seventies punkitude with a sheer swivel that approximates those just-pre WHITE LIGHT/WHITE HEAT demos that have been bootlegged for ages on end. All of this (of course) coupled with a true poetic sense and enough technohow to get around having but a rudimentary understanding of your musical instrument.

Numbers like "I Don't Know Where I Am" and "I Feel So Much Worse Than Dead" are vast enough to appeal to the dud-thunk and high-thought edges of  punk attitude, and beneath the fuzz blare and way-off guitar wangs lies the heart of an unsoiled genius. Perhaps the best punk-intellectual to be found on tape, and one in the fine tradition of Russell Desmond or Tim Ellison even.

Later on the Invisibles became not only visible but auditory and maybe something "was" lost in the transition/translation, but if you want to hear something outta the original Cleveland non-wave and waiting for someone to uncover the Harlan and the Whips tapes is getting to be too nerve-wracking then Bernie and the Invisibles are the ones for thee.

As for the Cramps, I believe was recorded at the Drome during one of that record emporium's infamous in-store shows (which at times also featured the B-52s and Pagans!), but whatever, this is the group's first flesh and blood gig in their more or less home town kinda/sorta doing a superb-o job wranglin' rockabilly reverb outta p-rock attitude. I'm sure you already know what to expect, and if you're a fan of the group's early self-produced singles then you'll be more'n apt to fall for this tape which features enough Link Wray reverb to make you turn bluer than Ghoulardi! Gotta admit that I really wasn't following the Cramps' career in the eighties and beyond unlike many of you reg'lar readers, but I'll continue to hold these early recordings very near and dear to my heart until...something somewhere turns me off to the Cramps for whatever reason until I once again fall under their spell, but I do get that way sometimes.
Hmmm, another cassette rarity featuring material that was flying about on tape trader lists that I got hold of via the back page ads in whatever then-current issue of TROUSER PRESS just happened to be lying around. Forget which list I got this 'un offa (I think it was Dennis Metrano's), but if you ask me this particular Mumps show just hadda've been taken from the infamous Charles Ackers collection from which many of these live tapes have emanated o'er the years. Recorded live at CBGB, Lance and the guys can once again be found doing a really good job getting those ROCK SCENE British pop/New York underground influences all kicked out, kinda sounding like a three-way split twixt the Kinks, Sparks and Blondie with a little Fast thrown in for good measure. It is a shame that these guys never did get a chance to release an entire album of their goodies back when they were still alive and throbbing...remember that "Whatever Happened To" blurb in NEWSWEEK that not only detailed the then-current whereabouts of the Loud Family but pictured Lance and band in punk shock attire whilst hyping their album that was being recorded at Bearsville Studio with Earl Mankey producing??? That piece obviously is still sticking in my cranium a good 35 + years later, and frankly why wouldn't it!

Don't blame me...whoever it was that dubbed this 'un for me stuck the Delta 5 on without my prior knowledge in order to fill up the blank space! Well, gotta say that for a guy like myself who pretty much ditched that entire Rough Trade "post-punk" sound about as fast as it came up (well, maybe using 1983 as a fairly good cut off point) I find myself starting to become interested in these overtly conscious and perhaps too giving-of-themselves to be allowed to LIVE acts once again. Really, for quite a few years I've felt embarrassed in the fact that I do own a more than inordinate amount of Rough Trade seven-inchers, but here I am lending lobes to the Raincoats with a startling frequency these days! Heck, I'm even starting to nurture an interest in Au Pairs of all acts not only because Lester Bangs gave 'em his own imprimatur in som now-ancient VILLAGE VOICE (which seems to mean all the more thirty years after his own deep sixing than it did when the goof was still alive) but because any under-the-radar trash rock act who would dare perform "Smoke on the Water" complete with what is reported to have been the lamest drum solo heard since the inaugural Umela Hmota gig really must have had something going for it!

But this snippet of fellow Rough Trade demi-femis Delta 5 live in Boston really is something that sounds a whole lot more refreshing and perhaps in-tune with the 70s/80s cusp than many of the fashion plate wave and general DIY lethargy that was beginning to infest the underground music scene around this time. Hot, driving and thankfully not that filled with that Rough Trade socialist/feminist drivel (unless you think "Mind Your Own Business" to be a powerful political rant straight from the bowels of the Working Class)...this one actually had me tapping toe and nodding in time to the jerky rhythms extant. Could Delta 5 have been the best double-bass guitar group in England since DISPOSABLE-era Deviants? I most certainly think.....perhaps!
Judging from the cover you might be led to think this was yet another home-made offering that some nobodies going under the name "Refrigerator" had sent me (or had sent one of the many magazines I had been contributing to back in the bleak early-nineties) in the hopes that a mention would get their tootsies through the door and into the Big Time faster than you can say ALTERNATIVE PRESS. Well, if you did believe that how could I blame you, but in reality this particular Refrigerator was laid down by none other than VON LMO's Refrigerator and certainly not some hip flavor of the week trying to be as 90s obtuse as possible! Yes, this group's but another one of the many one-off acts that Lmo had led or had appeared in between honing his own brand of what one commentator so aptly called "heavy metal electroshock" back '79/'80 way, and although we may never get to hear "The Shortwave Band" or "Von Lmo and the New School" at least this particular gig survives for us future (language) generations to enjoy! To which I certainly raise and hearty and hefty "HUZZAH!" as would you if you had the opportunity to osmose this definitely En Why See underground no wave sesh!

Laid down live at Max's Kansas City 5/28/80, here Lmo returns to the more straight-ahead no wave stylings of Red Transistor with the aid of then-galpal Iolsa Hatt (Communists/Kongress warbler plus an ex-Amish in case you didn't know from the previous ten mentions!) and fellow Lmo-ite Juno Saturn along with some other worthies creating an atonal stew (heavy on the cheap organ!) that not only recalls the frightening atonal fury of the original generation of NO NEW YORK acts but surpasses much of the gnu wave flackery that had replaced the underground rock innovation of the previous few years. Pretty overreaching anxiousness to be heard on behalf of Lmo and band, complete with an audience which teeters between appreciation and downright hostility! Two tracks ("Smudge Head" and the Red Transistor "chestnut" "Disco Zombie")  eventually ended up on the FUTURE LANGUAGE/TRANCEFORMER double-set a good decade back, though the entire show should be released for those of us who still think that the New York no wave was extremely under-documented and maybe should get a little bit more due tossed its way even after two books and way more compilations that usually seem to omit the really desirable gunch!.
Gee, I hope the authorities that be don't catch me listening to this anarchist hippie punk dribble! Well, if they do can they still throw me in jail for listening to proppy-ganda that's about three decades stale by now? Not the music, but the message it delivers about nuclear war and of course disarmament which just doesn't have the same ring-a-ding to it that it had in 1980 when way too many people thought that we actually were on the brink of nuclear destruction with Reagan and Breshnev just itching to turn Great Britain into one big smoking ashtray. Well, in some ways I do wish they turned old Blighty, Scotland and of course that vacationer's paradise Northern Ireland into a total barren wasteland but hey, the locals are doing a pretty good job of it themselves so what's a good three decades anyway?

Getting that snide bitta  har-har outta the let me just say that it's sure good listening to this collection of various anarcho-punk types not only gathered all in one place but fittingly enough recorded about as cheaply as possible. Most of the groups that appear on this "benefit" tape are of the obscure variety but that doesn't mean they're exactly fact if the Instant Automatons, Nice People or Murphy Federation didn't get any recordings other'n this out I would be surprised given how they fit into the better aspects of early-eighties art rock complete with the proper amt. of early-seventies proto-punk smudge to keep fogies like me interested.

Of course the "big" names like the Astronauts and Zounds are why I'm sure the majority of anarcho-punks bought this in the first place, and although both of 'em perform uppa snuff (with an outlook owing as much to the Pink Fairies as Crass) the obscuros also deserve a big hand. Good enough that even lazy me might do a little research to see if there's any concrete information on the quick flashes that were lucky enough to make it onto this tape!
Finally for today soiree's another one of those limited edition tapes that the former Sick Dick/DAILY DANCE guitar mauler Doug Snyder released on his New Frontier label back in the early-nineties. Stashed away and forgotten for almost as long, his TOUCAN SMILES features Miller along with  fellow Volkswagen-mate Brian Doherty (also of Borbetomagus fame), and although I recall (perhaps erroneously) this 'un not quite flibbening the jib back when I originally gave it a try nowadays I'm finding these tracks to be pretty snat in their electronic throbbing fashion. Most of it sounds like it could have been birthed from the original Harmonia with its heavy Teutonic pulse and a slightly punk-y demeanor and, like the best of the seventies krautsters, this has the perfect mix of primitive drone and sophisticated purity making for a recording that really would fit in swell with your German Expressionism listening sessions. Of course it ain't as brash nor as atonally beautiful as DAILY DANCE was in its Sharrockian glory, but then again how many of those, if any, do we come across anymore?
And next weekend,  maybe some flesh and bloody reviews of recently received rehash or maybe more tapes. We'll see how the winds of finance make out until then and, in the sage words of Governor Jerry Brown, just "go with the flow!"


Anonymous said...

I'd love to read a post devoted to "the Charles Ackers story"...

Lisa Falour said...

This is Lisa, who did MODERN GIRLZ in NE Ohio and BIKINI GIRL in NYC and I am now in Europe. I just loved the scene and Bernie sure was a trip. I promoted him for years, oh, all the groups and people, such stories!

I have a website and post clips on YouTube and Dailymotion if anyone wants to see them.