Sunday, October 30, 2011

Eh, nothing much to pre-ramble on about this time...guess I blabbed myself outta existence the previous weekend post to conduct anything resembling a sane, thought-provoking schpiel this go 'round! Whatever, don't let that spoil your reading these tempting write-ups which only goes to show you that what I deem appropriate enough to blab about in this blog won't be imitated, emulated, copied or downright swiped by others in the rockscribing'll totally be IGNORED. Whether that's proof of my unique take towards music as it stood as a hard-driving, obsessive teenage force in our lives or my total irrelevancy in the post-post-post age of rock is up to you, but I would appreciate if you did spend more'n a few seconds to come to your conclusion.


After all of the advance hoopla regarding this late-seventies vintage New York band (thanks to Russell Desmond of CAN'T BUY A THRILL fame), you can bet that I was hoping Flamingo Road's reunion disque would turn out to be a classic GREAT AMERIGAN ROCK 'N ROLL ALBUM worthy of the Sidewinders and Hackamore Brick (two aggregates mentioned in Desmond's review of Flamingo Road's CBGB audition way back '77 way), or at least something relatively akin to a hot late-sixties punk rev with just the right touch of metallic electricity to give it that all-important propulsion. Well, after some careful thought and a number of heated spins, all I gotta say is that THIS CHANGING TOWN is just as hotcha a platter that I was hoping for, and who knows, with perhaps a few more plays I might just rank it up there with the aforementioned classics as well as a few eighties brave attempts by the Droogs and scant others whom you might read about in these pages in the near future, but don't exactly hold your breath ($$$ concerns, y'know).

With hefty roots in mid-sixties English Invasion, Flamingo Road take their influences and pound 'em into a sound that comes off strikingly seventies without 'em lookin' like imitators or even emulators...imagine the Zombies, Nashville Teens, Gary and the Pacemakers or even Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas transposed to late-seventies New York City and maybe you'll get at least a li'l drift. Moments of pop brilliance abound (Flamingo Road do sound pretty New Jersey proto-power pop at times) and perhaps the Sidewinders/Brick comparisons do transpire on tracks like "Forgery", a slow and burning-ly intense number that has various elements originally spotted in such bona fide hits as "Moonshine" (Sidewinders) and "Peace Has Come" (Brick). Thankfully the guys in Flamingo Road didn't bother to pay attention to a load of the then-current trends overtaking the music scene which is why this 'un does hold up strikingly well long after rock 'n roll had ceased to be that International Youth Language Jymn Parrett was telling us it was back in the days of his DENIM DELINQUENT in the mid-seventies.

Too short (clocks in at 25 minutes), but I really don't care even with the occasional shortcomings (including a song titled after the band which is a glaring remake of "Tobacco Road"!) because THIS CHANGING TOWN's a definite go-gettum and (dare I say?) even a highlight of a year that I thought had little goin' for it in the first place!

Andy West with Rama-RAMA 1 CD (Magna Carta)

No, I never was whatcha'd call a fan of the Dixie Dregs nor the new progressive metal nor any of the former Dregs/Winger/Zappa/Malmsteen alumni who appear on what I've been told is more or less a solo outing from this ex-Dregs bassist issued back '02 way.  However, since I'm always looking for hooks to reel me in to listening to a certain music, and I recall how West/Rama actually did a gig promoting this platter at the long-gone CB's 313 Gallery (a strange place for such a loud, electronic act to perform), and how I clung to what was goin' on at the three CBGB spaces up until their closing because I believed (and still do!) that CB's was one of if not the last connection we all had to a seventies kultur manifesting itself so late in the game well... Let's just say that I'm still curious as to what was transpiring at the club on that fateful night in 2002 when this act made its way to a stage that seemed more attuned to singer/songwriters, toned down amerindie mewls and perhaps a free jazz attack or two, but at least this platter helps.

Not-so-surprisingly, this mostly-instrumental outing's way more engaging than the various Dregs et. al. musings I've heard ever since those guys began getting hefty press in the pages of the same pubs that were pumping Travolta travails until even that became too embarrassing to do. At least to my clogged ears RAMA 1's a dark and intense moderne hard rock romp, kinda like the instrumental MX-80 tracks heard since the eighties only with synths added to give the proceedings a particulary cyborg tone that does appeal. Nothing offensive here, in fact it's all pretty much hard 'n gnarly with perhaps some jazz cliches tossed in to commercialize this album as if it was ever gonna sell like hotcakes in the first place. But despite that  RAMA 1 is about as androidal as anything in the post-Chrome/Industrial music genre that one could want these days. Heck, at times this even reminds me of Japanese bass/drums duo Ruins who themselves have been taking the heavy metal/industrial trip to heights that even give me the creeps at times.

Nice li'l surprise ya got here, West! And really, if Capricorn had plunged their dollars into an act like this 'stead of that cornpone Jimmy Carter back in '76 then maybe we wouldn't've hadda endure alla that sissified Southern Rock crap that they were permeating the seventies with, eh? (OK Eddie Flowers...calm down!!! Don't take it so seriously!!!).
Bridget St. John-SONGS FOR THE GENTLE MAN CD-R burn (originally issued on Dandelion UK, though Four Men With Beards have reissued the thing if you're interested)

Funny what things you'll find when cleaning your closet out, though as far as being "funny" goes this particular platter is far from high-larious. Sent to me eons back by a certain fan and follower of BTC (no names, but I will hint around by saying that this fellow left the safe confines of Ameriga quite awhile back for the wild frontiers of New Zealand),  this was recommended due to an alleged Nico feeling circa CHELSEA GIRL that I guess was supposed to ooze straight outta the platter...that I cannot deny, but frankly what made that particular longplayer such a dandy wasn't exactly the glop strings and lilting flute, but Nico's natural decadent charms that (at the time) could only come out of a late-sixties New York Warhol frame of mind 'stead of an England that still longed for the moral guidance and vision of a Queen Victoria.

SONGS FOR THE GENTLE MAN has none of that, and in fact sounds more like typical early-seventies mellow wallow that really keyed into the ever-buddin' sense of introspective lurch that was affecting youth at the time. Maybe if it had more of a bite to it I could feign appreciation, but otherwise forgive me if I, to use another phrase of those days, just don't want to get involved.
The Rock-A-Teens-WOO HOO CD (Sparkletone)

Gotta admit that I was having trouble looking for a fourth disque to round this post out, and in fact I had even spun a certain bootleg of worth about half way through before I remembered that I already wrote the thing up way back in 2004! Well, it was a good platter but anyway,  after that debacle I decided it was the Rock-A-Teens or bust because I just knew that I hadn't mentioned this '59 wowzer to just about ANYONE for at least a good fifteen years.

And this 1995 reissue on the Sparkletone label is a must have, not only for this mid-South act's smasheroo hit "Woo Hoo" but for the entire knotty pine basement fun of it all. Yes, one spin of this classic will show all of those fifties-haters (read: hippoids who loathe the post-World War II/pre-radical era because it was so stable, secure and fun---if you weren't a jerkoff pinko that is!) the high quality of post-rockabilly garageisms being made during the late-Eisenhower era, and if you so dare do disagree I'm sure that Morris Levy coulda sent a few guys over to your house to, uh, make you change your mind. Or at least make you an offer you couldn't refuse, to use a much-loved cliche from my grade school days.

There ain't a duff track on this spinner...even the slow schmoozers like "I'm Not Afraid" as well as the purposefully clunk-laden "Untrue" soar so high, but that may only be because the drek we've been forced to listen to these past four decades would even make King Crimson sound like the Stooges in comparison. But it all goes down smooth-like, from the twangy darkness of "Pagan" to "Oh My Nerves" not to mention the Gene Vincent cover "Dance to the Bop" which has them lyrics about "pickin' 'em up and layin' 'em down" which I'm surprised never did get any of 'em banned in Boston.

Not only that, but you get those studio track outtakes that originally popped up on another mid-South sampler whose name escapes me (and I even have it in my vast colleciton somewhere...drat!) as well as a mono take of the exact same album if you're that much of a comparative shopper! And as far as the rest of the package goes...well, it's pretty nice though considering this release's importance it shoulda had a little more care put into it, with a nice booklet just bursting with pictures and posters and all sortsa whimsy we've come to appreciate from these well-researched endeavors. You might also notice that the liner notes  look mighty familiar and they should, since they originally appeared in a long-gone issue of KICKS which only goes to show you the budget conscious nature of the folks at Sparkletone! Sheesh, I know we all have to cut corners and make best with what he have within our grasps, but even I gotta say this is ridiculous!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

BOOK REVIEW! NUTS (a graphic novel by Gahan Wilson, Fantagraphics, 2011)

Bein' a kid is tough. You knew it when you actually were one but you always got ridiculed for bringing the sordid subject up---kept gettin' called an "ingrate" if you were brave enough to confront your elders on the subject, but as far as I can remember most of us brats kept our mouths shut and suffered in humiliating privacy. As you got older and the past became more in-focus you were positively sure that it was those indignities and horrors during your kiddyhood that made you the grown up sick-o neurotic that you most certainly are! Yeah, all of that talk middle-aged teachers who never seemed to really have childhoods of their own (or when they told you about it made it seem like such a dreadful, dreary existence no matter how hard they tried embellishing it) gave us about how your school days and youth were "the best years of your life" always did seem like a load of hooey, and when you hit your teenage years and were out on the streets or buying records or going to see groups or doing all of those decadent things teenagers used to do ol' Mrs. Cosgrove's third grade pronouncements seemed more and more like the patronizing clapola that you knew it was all along! But back then you were too intimidated to call her out for the Pollyanna-ish opines she was spewing, and besides if you did you'd only get a violent whacking from your father once you got home so like, why bother?

That's why I really like this collection of Gahan Wilson NUTS cartoons that were taken from those alla those old issues of NATIONAL LAMPOON you used to sneak peek at the newsstands. You know, long before the management discovered that this pub wasn't exactly anudder MAD knockoff and started stocking it behind the counter with the rest of those adults only publications! Yeah, I know that in some circles saying that you liked the cartoons in those old NATLAMPs would be akin to standing up in front of the entire 1963 grade school student body and telling 'em your favorite television program was HAZEL but hey, I will admit that I find a whole lot more humor in one episode of THE APPLETONS or (perhaps) TROTS AND BONNIE than I have in the past quarter-century of funny pages espied! And although I never was what'cha'd call a fan and follower of  the once-omnipresent Wilson, these NUTS strips sure do capture the entire addled goofed up misery of childhood existence from the viewpoint of the kidz in question 'stead of from some twenty/thirty year rosy glasses hindsight like most kid strips have. Nothing has really done that since LEAVE IT TO BEAVER, which again  is the total gulcheral antithesis of what liberated people consider conduit to modern thought processes but then again we're talking the real world not Berkeley, and if I wanted to osmose some real fantasy I'd most certainly take a trek there!

Taking the entire concept of childhood nostalgia 'n tossing it out on its ear, the cartoons in NUTS really do lay it out onna freeway as far as all of those indignities and manipulations that alla us kids hadda endure. They remain relevant even to an old turd like myself because NUTS details that eternal struggle between kids who wanna go on at their own pace and enjoy what they want to and when, and having to endure all of the culture and force that the elders deem proper for a well-rounded education and social nurturing. Not surprisingly the latter's what always messes up the kidz...parents toil under the impression that ramming music lessons, the classics and the social graces will make their children sophisticated elites ready to lead the world but more often than not all they get are a buncha hate-filled, angry adults whose minds have been twisted beyond repair or worse yet...Liberace

I gotta say that Wilson's understanding of kidhood and all its travails really does act as a firm counterpoint against the usual sickening sweet remembrances of growing ups past, not to mention what I always assumed parents and teachers thought was best for all of us in that disturbing communal way. Not to forget how more often 'n not it just ruins us and comes back to haunt us 'til our dying day. Summer camp humiliation, mangling accidents, death, physicals and all of the prohibitions against having a good time are all trotted out and put on display as if some War Crimes Tribunal case against "the enemy" was being prepared. But man do these comics hit home because hey, I hadda LIVE THROUGH a good portion of it all so I can tell you just what kind of damage can be done to a kid who ain't left alone and feels like he's being indoctrinated into a Nazi-like cult at every turn throughout his childhood! Only as far as I can tell we kids didn't break the Second Commandment as much as the denizens of Wilson's world do...for us it was mostly the scatalogical post-poopie pee potty mouthisms with an occasional "big" word, ifyaknowaddamean.

But hey, I do tend to ramble on quite a bit. And hey, these NUTS 'toons have really taken to me like lice to scrotum to the point where I'm constantly re-reading 'em during my pre-beddy bye time thus knocking the ARCHIE collection of 1946-48 newspaper strips off the #1 spot on the book hit parade 'round here! Not too many things can live up to something along those lines, which must go to show you that maybe I am in my own strange and twisted way coming to terms with a lotta things that I never thought I would come to terms with in a million years.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

In the interest of deviating from the abnormal just to spice up this one-track blog,  I definitely should gab on about something other'n music, old television programs, DVD-R's that Bill Shute sent me or some other form of ancient gulcheral wonderment that usually makes up the bulk of my writing (and usually only appeals to me and nobody else on this Earth). For a change of pace, howzbout a li'l bitta "current events" like perhaps my own personal take on the current "Occupy Wall Street" movement that I guess is beginning to take the world by storm if the glowing tweets from a variety of obviously wealth-based news sources can be trusted. I certainly do have mixed feelings about these protests...I mean, it's sure interesting to see that such a movement like an Occupy Wall Street can spread like wildfire without the intercession of a Comintern these days, and it does warm the cockles of my heart to see that there are more'n Tea Party activists out there acting concerned about the bailout of the banks and what way too many news programs call "crony capitalism" (which surprisingly seems to go against much of the thrust of these protesters' whole credo...I mean, if the unwashed hoards out there want free college educations then why can't Big Biz ask for more moolah for themselves?), but I do get the creeps when I see the throngs of what seem like leftover eighties rabble still ranting and raving about Ronald Reagan (who I guess is to the left what Roosevelt was to the right for the past eighty years, and we know how far that got 'em!) and how he's still gonna blow up the entire world, all the while chanting what I thought were long-discarded neo-Marxist heartbleeds being pampheted by the local chapter of the "Even more Revolutionary Than That Other Revolutionary Communist Party" staked out on your local campus! I mean was bad enough having to live through the student turmoil of the early-seventies once to have to suffer through the entire shebang all over again!

But hey, once you get down to brass tacks one can only go so far mouthing pieties about "the people" and what everyday working folk go through when for all intent purposes the average Amerigan guy who works for a living is the spiritual successor to those construction workers who bashed the living daylights outta the hippies who were taking dumps on the stars 'n stripes in protest of the Kent State killings! Certainly takes the romance outta any revolutions you care to dish us, dontcha think?

Of course I could add that how could any of these protesters know about work when obviously none of 'em are at work or are too busy sticking up those stoopid "I am the 99%" pix that we're supposed to feel sorry over), but I assume that they're terminally unemployed because of the rich bankers and traders whom they're taking out their anger and angst on while acting so peaceful that police actually pepperspray 'em (yeah, I don't buy that line about this being exactly a "peaceful" protest myself, though I gotta say that this generation is showing more imagination by releasing bowels upon police cars 'stead of Ol' Glory!).

Okay, so the vast majority (if not all) of 'em look like people who would not only hate the music and tee-vee shows (and civilization which spawned such wonders) that I wax on about, not to mention me on a personal basis...let's keep looks outta this and concentrate on the message. What is it, I might ask...well, that's not exactly hard to discern but from what I gathered from some of the people I've seen interviewed on the boob tube their goals can be pretty lofty. Some of the demands being spouted would be rather murderous to the economy and society in general (quick, somebody drop cartoon pamphlets of THE ROAD TO SERFDOM, or at least Steve Ditko's THE AVENGING WORLD via plane!) while others are about as loony as the banter that spaced out health food chick on FERNWOOD TONIGHT used to spout. Most of it's angry kid rant which (when channeled through seventies-vintage punk rock) could be exhilarating, but forgive me if this time 'round it just sounds like spoiled brat generation take two with the new spawn just trying to out-gross their already disgusting hippoid parents in the revulsion department. Can't have any sympathy with screaming pampered scions of DAILY WORKER/VILLAGE VOICE-lapping comrades who think that shouting down your opponents is the true way to justice 'n equality, though you folk really are giving me a laugh the way you echo everything the guy with the microphone says in some spiritual sense of united personhood.

Naturally the only real sound commentaries on OWS that I've come across as of late have emanated from the alternative right. Jim Goad (as usual) had a good (and judging from the combox comments, rather incendiary) piece on it on the TAKI'S TOP DRAWER site, while this commentary from Thomas Fleming of CHRONICLES notoriety done on the DAILY MAIL website perhaps sums up my own personal opinions more'n anything I would dare commit to pixel. Sometimes I think that letting such articulates as these spout off what I believe in is way better'n having someone as inarticulate in the realm of debating as I am (did I ever tell you about how somebody once thought I should try out for the debating team in high school, an even more boring waste of time than the evening I was dragged to a Model U.N. gathering?) do the blithering.  But whaddeva, in the long run I thought that those days were gone forever...y'know, the era of the angry anti-capitalist rant and raver who always dreamed of that working man's utopia, then either went to said utopia and returned a neo-conservative (a guy who left the religion, sort of), or stayed there and became one of the most glowing apologists for a regime that would make their visions of evil capitalism look like heaven on earth! In other words...hysteria does repeat itself, and one can wonder just how long it will be before the spiritual successors of the "no pasaran!" brigades get frustrated enough to head for the local cemetery to dig up corpses and affix them in sexual positions. Your guess is as good as mine.

As for me...well tomorrow morn I'm gonna get dressed and go to work for about eight hours (if not more) then go home, and maybe do more work. I guess that also makes me a filthy capitalist, but I am saving my earnings for future use like perhaps a weekly trip to the local restaurant of my choice during my retirement years as well as towards whatever comic strip collections or musical archival digs might be in store in twenty year's time when the stuff I crave'll really be hitting the reissue circuit. And hey, perhaps some of those stock investments of mine might help pay for a few added luxuries like a stereo system for my aging platter collection, or maybe even a new microwave for the kitchen or an extra stock up of toilet paper so I don't have to rush out to the store so often during the cold winter months. Yeah, I know that I ain't "hip" because of this, and neither are the people around me who also sweat through the eight-plus grind, but at least we have some sense of security even if we hardly ain't earning what we most definitely should. But then again, as the famed home builder Jimmy Carter once said, who said life was fair?

Don't take it all too least the protesters who snuck in with Ron Paul t-shirts and "End the Fed/Bailouts/War" posters were right up my rather expansive alley. But the rest well...maybe if you just got rid of that whole hippie stench permeating your entire movement then yeah, I could take y'all a li'l more seriously. But until then, maybe if you just went home, took a bath or at least wiped, then returned to Occupied Territory smelling nice 'n dainty 'n with mind more focused and replenished I wouldn't be having this strange flashbacks of early-seventies mock-revolutionary  self-righteousness that reminds me of Gloria Stivic more'n anything!
On to udder noose...the recent "passing" of Moamar Howevahyaspellit should also be noted in these pages, at least in a weak attempt at looking like a sophisticated bumbler 'stead of the inept one I always come off as. Not that I ever liked the guy, but I thought he had neat hair that coulda earned him a spot in The Three Stooges had one been available. Actually, the only reason I'm bringing this up is because when I first saw the death photo of him that has been splattered across the globe as of late, I actually thought he slightly resembled the original Frankenstein Monster (played by Charles Ogle) from the Edison Studios' 1910 production of the famed Gothic thriller! Really I did, and although the following two snaps would  never would make any of those ol' SEPARATED AT BIRTH tomes you used to see at the local mall book shops I sure thought there was a strange resemblance for whatever reason you'd care to dream up at this time! Sheesh, Che Guevara looked a lot happier in his death snaps! Not even a li'l smile like Sharon Tate managed to put up!

Well, I guess it's time to switch to a much cheerier mode'n get on over to the record reviews! Not much this go 'round (with regards to both items for display and bandwith to display my own personal opines), though what I have received and glugged down has been quite pleasing as you will eventually find out. I will admit that it sure is heartening to see that the year is going out on a better note'n it came in on, what with the recordings listed below not forgetting a bevy of recent releases that I hope to get my paws on once the **ahem** "financial situation" clears up around here---who knows, maybe autumn will be thee rockin'-sockinest time of the year this go 'round making up for the depressing way that 2011 burst outta the starting gate! So please  dear readers, keep the economy a 'rollin' and get out and do some serious purchasing (you can buy some back issues of my own fabled fanzine for starters) so's I can enrich my collection a whole lot more'n I'm able to do at this financially miserable time!
 Larry Young-LAWRENCE OF NEWARK LP (Perception)

The last in my weeks-long series of Young reviews, this '73 sesh benefits from the likes of James "Blood" Ulmer on guitar as well as a rather decent  middle eastern motif that doesn't make you think hezbollah one bit. Might be too conga-drummy for my tastes, but Young's Hammond makes enough good swirls to suggest the shifting sands of the Sahara and the electronic piano highlights help the entire friggin' situation along, giving the entire affair that classy sophistacado jazz feel that made you feel like puttin' on a suit and ti. As far as these early-seventies neo-fusion efforts go, this 'un sure beats Return to Forever and all of those similar-minded efforts all hollow, as if I had to tell you such an obvious fact of like like this straight out!

Gary Wilson-FORGOTTEN LOVERS LP (Feeding Tube, 90 King St., Northampton, MA 01060)

Like I said, for a year that seemed to be rather sparse in the archival digs dept. things sure seem to be picking up at a rapid pace now that we're careening straight into 2012 and hopefuly better finds in the high energy reish/new gunch department. First there was the Jack Ruby disque reviewed last week giving me palpitations of joy, and now this particular piece of vinylized wonder, a collection of rarities by the original king of outsider electronic lounge jazz schmooze Gary Wilson, has adorned my collection like nothing before it or since! This outta left fielder has made its way onto my not-so-sanctified turntable thanks to the gracious efforts of one Byron Coley (who tipped the Feeding Tube label off re. my address---thanks to all parties involved!), and those of you who have gone for Wilson's previous platters will definitely spill plenty seed regarding these bizarrities that were mostly (if not all...actual liner notes woulda helped this thing!) recorded during his golden age in the seventies back when men were men and indie records seemed to have an instantly more satiable air 'n regular mainstream offal!

Some tracks originate from Wilson's ultra-rare debut album that I've never seen offered for sale anywhere outside of an old New Music Distribution Services catalog (not that I was looking closely enough to notice), while others were more or less left in the trash can until now but they all will thrill ya if you go for Wilson's keen sense of nutty twistos on the entire Michael Franks oeuvre. Now I gotta admit that maybe some of this did remind me too much of incidental music for a 1975-vintage ABC MOVIE OF THE WEEK or at least a local public affairs program of the same time-strata, but once you get the image of past and future stars for that net climbing up and down the ladder of success while being inter-twined in some Aaron Spelling production you'll even enjoy these nuggets in a strange, nostalgic fashion. I sure did even though listening to some of the instrumentals on this gave me the willies about rather difficult chemistry tests ever-encroaching upon my "phase two" sense of intellect!

But all jesting aside, FORGOTTEN LOVERS is a true winner from one guy who seemed to have more of a sense of what late-seventies electronic musings were about than Tomita and Rick Wakeman combined. Not only that, but while a good portion of electronic sounds from those days have more or less fizzled worse'n  Reddy Kilowatt  suffering a case of erectile dysfunction, Wilson's jazz-bop musings sure hold up swell and go to remind me about the better moments from them days that never did seem to "date" and sound foolish once 1980 clocked in. A definite keeper that you'll probably ignore, but then again I never could judge the inferior intellects of some of you supposedly staunch BTC supporters!
The Happy Jawbone Family Band-OK MIDNIGHT, YOU WIN LP (Feeding Tube, see above for address)

Wow, what a surprise! When I first plunked the needle down on this outta-nowhere platter I thought I was hearing a remake of "Joy of a Toy Continued", then after about halfway through side one I kinda got the feeling that this indeed was a remake of the entire Kevin Ayers debut merged with the New Zealand appeal/squeal of the Tall Dwarfs. By side two all of that still remained, although a dash of Eno circa TAKING TIGER MOUNTAIN was also reverberating in my mind.  Never thought an album like this could still be made, but the Happy Jawbones fortunately proved me wrong!
David Roter Method-FIND SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL CD (Unknown Tongue)

A long time ago there was this certain "fellow" who used (operative word) to write for BLACK TO COMM who happened to meet up with another "fellow" who most certainly did not write for said publication on a New York subway train, and amidst a wide variety of subject matter (including how fellow #2 no doubt about it hates and will continue to hate until his last dying breath my rotten dago guts) none other than the subject of the then-latest David Roter Method, and come to think of it the only David Roter Method album in existence at the time, BAMBO came up. Considering what a dolt he could have been most if not all of the time, it's no surprise that #2 thought this particular platter was a horrid slab of "commercial" mainstream rock whose chords unfortunately have tainted his precious amerindie-attuned eardrums and stirrup, and he made his opinions regarding this album known to former friend #1 in no uncertain terms. Naturally, I disagreed with the assessment of this particular pudenda's pronouncements then, and a good quarter-century or so after I must admit that I have not changed my opines one iota even if it would cause me to turn in my membership card to the "Rough And Tumble Eighties Rockscribes Stupid Enough To Continue On This Dumb Path Club", not that I ever go to the meetings 'r anything.

But mainstream rock paens aside (and there are many here from Brooce to those latterday BOC albums Roter contributed lyrics to) I gotta admit that I really enjoy listening to David Roter and his Method. Even with the slick production and the AOR leanings I can appreciate the guy's crazed sense of humor and unique insight that seems rather barren in the wide fields of nada that makes up the entire "Classic Rock" spectrum. Roter is a rock humorist, a rarity in a genre that can get rather grueling at times, and his rattlings about late-20th-century En Why See living (and mid-20th-century confused kid-dom) will really make you wanna sit down and do a li'l chucklin' yourself. And it'll also make you wonder just what the guy was up to during his early folk troubadour days which were talked about all across the Stonybrook plain long before he ever committed a note to plastic (as far as I can tell...still harbor hope that maybe there's some extremely limited single or even album out there waiting to be rediscovered).

Yeah, some of this might bring back too many memories of eighties dystopian mewls from the dankest of playlists, but at least I can certainly enjoy a number such as "I Think I Slept With Jackie Kennedy", which might also be the exact same 1979 single a-side Roter did for Unknown Tongue and is a high-larious bruiser in its own right. I also felt sympatico with "Middle Age Boy" because, revealing snot that I am, I thought Roter was scraping up my own current-day feelings and blabbing 'em out for the world to hear!!! And of course how could anybody not enjoy a song with a title like "It Was Only a Hand Job Irene", co-written with none other than Roter's old friend and companion R. Meltzer hisself!

The Method themselves should be mentioned even if their sounds might not be as undergroundy as you would like but still excellent in its own way (think second Dictators album), especially when you consider some of the dross that has been passing as rock et roll these past five decades. None other'n Andy Shernoff (co-composer of not only the title track but "Human Timebomb") and Scott Kempner of Dictators fame turn up, as does former Blue Oyster Cult drummer Al Bouchard, a man who certainly tried hard enough promoting Roter on his own Cellsum label in the nineties. Also present is a Tommy Mandel whose main claim to fame is being a former Bryan Adams keyboardist, but since I think he was in some hot late-seventies En Why See-era groups as well I wouldn't come down on him too hard!

Well, I thought it was a nice enough package. You may beg to differ, but then again like I've said many a time I've given up second guessing you lamebrains loooong ago so don't bother me with your hipper 'n thou preenings...and I'm gonna be too busy listening to David Roter to care about any of you terminal snoozers to give a toss anymore!
YET ANOTHER ROCK 'N' ROLL DREAM I THOUGHT I'D BLAB ON ABOUT UNDER THE DELUSION YOU'D CARE ONE WHIT ABOUT IT (which is why I snuck it at the end of the post so's you can skip over it if you like!): dunno why I had such vivid dreams last night, but amidst some doozies including watching "cut down" clips from what was supposed to be either  TO TELL THE TRUTH or a MATCH GAME '74-styled celebrity game show featuring (in one segment) Dwight Eisenhower and the Rev. Billy Graham amongst other elderly-looking statesmen types (all wearing what looked like Supreme Court/choir robes!) and (in the other) one of the pinheads from FREAKS as a panelist (different episode) getting emotional and crying into cohort Clarabell the Clown's fluffy collar when another panelist croons to him/her a romantic ballad, I encountered a dream sequence where I happened to not only be visiting Paris (!) but was present at a recording session for none other than the Patti Smith Group's RADIO ETHIOPIA album where, in between takes, Patti and group break into this rather foreboding musical numbuh  into which Patti injects her own rendition of  (and using a rather amateurish French accent no less!) the Maurice Chevalier chestnut "Every Little Breeze Seems to Whisper Louise"! The song was an obvious goof and fizzled out after the third line where Smith forgets the lyrics and hums the melody, but like the Electric Eels' goof of Mott the Hoople's "Violence" this 'un sure woulda made a good bootleg outtake or at least something to be added on to a reissue like Arista did with "Chicklets" on the very same platter! (And if you think that was weird, howzbout the one I had where I was watching a video of Paul Revere and the Raiders ramming through this obviously Detroit heavy metal-inspired number that clearly had ideas lifted from the Stooges!)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

SHANNON (half-hour series syndicated by Screen Gems/Columbia Pictures, 1961)

Scrapped my original review, mainly because gosh-darn-it I just couldn't help myself getting into this overlong diatribe about how the late-fifties to the late-sixties  (stead of '50-'59 and everything after was kitty litter) were the real Golden Age of Television! Now, that's something which I've probably gotten into not only on this blog but elsewhere for years on end, and I just didn't want to once again bore you outta your obviously jaded skulls with my impassioned if (as some would say) incoherent schpiel regarding my not-so-obscure views. But the fact still remains that the '57 to '67 span of tee-vee broadcasting was most definitely tee-vee's real GA, years when you'd have even more trouble crowbarring me away from my boob tube the same way you'd find it extremely difficult to pry Chuck Eddy's mouth away from Robert Christgau's rectum. And frankly, although anyone who'd beg to disagree might not be a subversive, he might as well be and don't let any guidance counselor or lesbian gym teacher tell you different!

SHANNON is but one of the many television series from this true Golden Age that gets me all hot and bothered, especially with that early-sixties look/feel and hard-edged style which never could be replicated even if often imitated for years on end (clever, huh?). And yeah, I know that during the late-fifties/early-mid-sixties we were being bombarded with private eye/cop shows and most of 'em were pretty engaging, but even if some would say that SHANNON was cut from the same patented cop show cloth it obviously was quite different than the competition. George Nader played the lead in this syndicated series, an insurance investigator whose cases take him on some pretty strange twists and turns that were bound to get him into just as much hotcha water as anything Phillip Marlowe or Philo Kvetch could hope to come up against. Film vet Regis Toomey played Shannon's boss at the "Transport and Bonding Surety Company", and not only that but Shannon's brand new 1961 Buick Special was equipped with everything from hidden cameras to a dictating machine and even a special compartment to keep a gun handy! Y'know, additions that I thought would have been standard on cars here in 2011 which only goes to show you how ahead of its time SHANNON really was and perhaps remains!

Plots naturally follow the usual suspicious claims and fraud ripoff attempts, things that would probably bring a yawn to the real life investigator but in this case usually lead to an average of three murders and an episode-capping killing in self-defense or suicide. Yeah, like Beaver once said, you can't beat Wednesday Night on tee-vee because that's when the most killings are, and although SHANNON might have aired on a different night in your market you're bound to get just enough fatal carnage to soothe your savage boobies. Of course, in between the slaughter there's always the boppings on heads and of course the sticky intrusions into the lives of people who usually start out having a grave animosity towards Our Hero, but by the end of the show seem to iron out all of their initial loathing perhaps due to the fat insurance check they're about to receive!

Nader plays it typically cool to the point where you think he was a hypnotist, and does a good job of portraying that essence of pre-touchyfeely manhood that permeated seventies television which only goes to show you how good of an actor the guy was, ifyaknowaddamean. Toomey's naturally great as well which would figure since the guy had been a longtime veteran with enough b-movie footage shot to reach around my waistline twice even. And really, I gotta say that a show like this succeeds a whole lot more'n the variety of MANNIXes that I grew up watching because well, it was shot in black and white, and even though our abode didn't get a color set until 1980 even then you could just feel the multicolor technology fighting it out with early-sixties intensity mano-a-mano.

Hey, if I were an up and running slob during those years you could bet that I would have been glued front and center in front of the box watching programs like SHANNON 'stead of hanging around at the pool hall like I shoulda, though at least for me there would have been one hitch. Y'see, where I live SHANNON was being run on channel 27 Monday nights at seven, yet on channel 33  THE JIM BACKUS SHOW,  another downright early-sixties winner featuring the future GILLIGAN'S ISLAND co-star as the editor of a small newspaper, was being aired directly opposite! Both of 'em were hi-quality examples of great early-sixties programming that seemed to get washed away once the late-sixties got their multicolored claws in gear. I mean, if you wanna talk about quandaries look no further!

(Big heapin' hunkin' thanks to Bill Shute for burning #'4 and 5 of his where are the rest???)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Guess what pudendas! For a short while, there probably wasn't gonna be any weekend posting here, not because of any blackberry jam-ups or general lethargy but due to the strangeoid fact that my computer was not able to get on to AOL for a good three days runnin'! Yes, I will admit that panic did ensue, but after much fretting and dribbling I did what any boy scout woulda done day one, that is disconnected my modem and waited a minute. And whaddaya know but AOL was back up and running which I must say really did tingle my tootsies even if that also means I hafta look at that horrid Huffington Post gossip and precocious political goo page they always shove in your face when you sign in. But at least the blog's "out of traction and back in action", and  so here are just a few of the interesting items that have been catching my fancy as of the past seven that I know you'll just love reading about!

JACK RUBY CD; Weasel Walter-OMINOUS TELEPATHIC MAYHEM CD (both available via

Real stop-the-presses material here! Yes, the infamous Jack Ruby, a group often spoken about in hushed and not-so tones by the few who were lucky enough to witness one of their rare live appearances, have finally been granted a reissue thanks to the weasel-y efforts of one Weasel Walter of ugEXPLODE  records fame. Considering just how obscure most of these no wave-era recordings are (in fact I was once told, by an expert on the subject no less, that hardly any of the no wave groups had recorded their live material nor saved their rehearsal tapes making these finds a whole lot more special as time erodes whatever evidence is left), it would be wise not to up one's nostrils at an effort like this...hard-edged New York rock that takes whatever grand accomplishment there was goin' on in the burgh already (Velvets, Heartbreakers, Television...) and warp-drives it into massive electronic rock churn which refuses to let up. In many ways these recordings (some dating back as far as '74 and thus predating the entire no wave mindset by a good three years) come off more like the post-no wave aggregations that were cluttering up the post-snarl radical schmooze NYC of the eighties (remember God is my Cop Shoot?), but just when you're ready to accept the total noise impact using a jaded 1986 sense of arrrgh what should appear but ACTUAL POP ROCK STRUCTURES that'll certainly send you for a loop. And this package really does have a number of interesting surprises in store for you info-wise, like did you know that none other than Boris Policeband was once a member???

While we're on the subject of ugEXPLODE here's the latest Weasel Walter effort showing the master drummer in duo settings with a number of up and coming performers making a nice hunk of noise that reminds me (naturally) of those Rashied Ali duo albums with Leroy Jenkins and Frank Lowe that appeared on the former Coltrane member's Survival label back in the seventies. The folks who perform with Mr. Walter are whatcha'd call some of the brightest new stars in whatever there is left of an avant garde jazz scene, and for those of you who just can't get enough of the second era of new jamz ca. 1967-1975 these tracks certainly will fill the bill. I must admit that the biggest surprise regarding these duos are the three concluding ones featuring Walter in consort with an Alex Ward who plays not only guitar but clarinet doing (get this!) three Pere Ubu covers, "Non-Alignment Pact", "Final Solution" and "30 Second Over Tokyo" in a manner which deconstructs the original versions which were pretty well deconstructed mid-sixties psych gems in themselves!  Pretty nice sense of self-contained anarchy ya got there, Walter!
Larry Young-HEAVEN ON EARTH LP (Blue Note)

The next to last in the Larry Young collection of recently-purchased platters, this 'un (sad to say) doesn't quite excite my nodes the same way the others had. Don't know whether to blame the lackluster album cover or the presence of George Benson, though I woulda thunk that the appearance of famed free player Byard Lancaster'd brightened the platter up at least a li'l bit. One of those albums you just know woulda skidded the shorts of at last five DOWN BEAT jazz critics upon first play, definite five-star material and don't forget to put the thesaurus back when you're done, boys.
Les Rallizes Denutes-DOUBLE HEADS 6-CD set (Phoenix)

I know that I could be spending my money on more fresh and undiscovered material rather'n another Les Rallizes Denudes reissue, but this particular one seemed so promising despite being recorded  a good five years after what I considered this mysterious Nipponese group's best moments (the mid-seventies in case you're taking notes). Well, just goes to show you how wrong having presupposed ideas can be, for DOUBLE HEADS is a boss set of live Denudes shows done at a time ('80/'81) when the group seemed to have recovered much of the high energy I thought they had lost, perhaps due to the addition of second guitarist Fujio Yamaguchi who had previously clocked in time with Murahachibu, yet another Japanese underground rarity that I might look into if only to help complete the Les Rallizes Denudes roadmap of groups and  influences that I have been working on this past decade or so.

The sound's surprisingly crisp considering how many of this group's supposed "soundboard" recordings come off as if they were taken offa wax cylinders that were hitched up to the PA. Performance is equally stunning as Mizutani and crew take the old Denudes standbys and once again rearrange and remodel 'em just so's you don't get bored hearing "Ice Fire" done the same way over and over (not that you would). Some great feedback-induced moments pop up as well which only goes to prove that, if anything, these guys were the perfect distillation of Velvets unto Blue Cheer screech that never did get its fair shake, though not through the fault of Mizutani who I guess in his own self-righteousness didn't care one whit! Whatever, yet another nicety that any real fan of this stuff  for the past XXXXX # of years should grab up, and praise be to Phoenix for gettin' it into our paws and at a fair price too.

Yeah, since I already own the entire Bull Vanguard catalog on vinyl and disque this particular collection (Vanguard's second Cee-Dee collection of Bull dooky, not only done within the course of eight years but with mucho repeats from the original!) ain't exactly crucial. However, this 'un does conclude with Bull's rather tasteful rendition of Floyd Cramer's "Last Date" which I sure don't mind hearin' without having to lug myself down to the basement and having to sift through years of vinyl residue to find it. Hey Vanguard, wouldn't you have thought that reissues of Bull's first and final for your grand 'n glorious label are whatcha'd call mandatory and yeah, you're probably making more money in a day with Joan Baez regurgitations than your average Polish plumber does in a year to care about giving Bull a proper retrospective, but that doesn't mean you have to treat the rest of your back catalog like dirt!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


As far as these sun 'n surf spy romps go COME SPY WITH ME is rather feh, but ya can't really hate it for giving it the ol' fanabla try. The ever lovin' (and ever fading) Troy Donahue stars in this bikini spy romp along with quick flash Andrea Dromm and oldtimer Albert Dekker, obviously as the established name that these teen movies always sneak in if only to trick some unaware adult into the theatre. Basically a whole lotta sun 'n fun in the Caribbean with Dromm as a spy ("Not a spy, a secret agent!") attempting to solve a couple murders while foiling Dekker's attempt at an electronic assassination. In between, Dromm and Donahue can be seen doing dances like "The Shark" at typically teenage beach parties which only goes to show that these undercover types can have fun while saving the world from an established actor who have to do something in between hotcha roles like the kind he had in THE WILD BUNCH. Something tells me that maybe she shoulda taken that offer to act on STAR TREK after all! Smokey (here called "Smoky") Robinson and the Miracles do the title track in case you're that hard up for anything significant about this typical Saturday afternoon UHF hole-plugger.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

In a week where the most kulturally-inclined happening tends to be picking up a pack of smoked hot sticks with American cheese ground into 'em at the supermarket, the arrival of an old beat up Kitchen Sink edition of the 1958 LI'L ABNER dailies (or at least those running from 12/19/57 until 11/21/58) certainly is cause for mucho joy and spirited agitation here at BLOG TO COMM headquarters. Received this (totally unsolicited-like) from Brad Kohler, who got it from Bill Shute (himself) who told Brad to pass it along to me, and if you think that I'm gonna be passin' this onto anybody else out there you're sadly mistaken because this is one collection of comic capers that I'm definitely keeping for my old age when all I'm gonna do it sit around and read old comic strips! No "Meals of Wheels" for this self-absorbed  pensioner nohow, and thanks be to Misters Shute and Kohler for making this book available to me and for a mere nothing at all because it's folks like them who really know how to keep a shut in such as myself happy when, for all intent purposes, I should be miserable being forced to live in the walking dungheap that most people out there call 2011, and don't you forget it!.

Y'know, 1958 was a pretty good year not only with the Royal Teens' "Short Shorts" and Link Wray's "Rumble" amongst many other spirited tunes on the radio, but with hotcha television shows like LEAVE IT TO BEAVER and who could forget THE ADVENTURES OF OZZIE AND HARRIET lighting up the cathodes across this fruity plain thus insuring a great evening of television viewing for hotcha suburban kids! Yes, it certainly was fun livin' during one of the best times in the nation even if Kruschev was causing a whole lotta woe across the globe, and I should know even if I wasn't even alive then because...well look at the evidence!!! And if one was a steady peruser of the comic pages there certainly was no shortage of fun and energy, not only with the classic strips of the past thirty years still being pumped out in force but with the new cream of the postwar era adding a li'l bit of dimension to your evening laff parade. And along with DICK TRACY,  LI'L ABNER was still chuggin' away on all cylinders with Al Capp's keen sense of satire and sarcasm fitting into the hotcha late-fifties mode of fun 'n games a whole lot keener'n alla those fifties-haters you see around these days would like you to believe.

In this volume the story line twists and turns through such everyday situations where a mobster gun moll switches places with Daisy Mae (who has amnesia and strangely enough rises to the top of the crime world!), the mayor of a neighboring town's pet parrot tips off the local Mafia in exchange for feathered cooze, an alien civilization buys Manhattan from General Bullmoose to use in a theme park, and perhaps the strangest genderbendinly confusing Sadie Hawkins Day race ever inked involving Abner's long-lost little brother Tiny (see the panel on the right or directly above depending on your browser  and tell me that maybe Capp wasn't hinting at the shape of things comin' all over the place)! If you think that outrageous and envelope-pushing comic strips began with ZIGGY I'm afraid that your'e gonna have a wild reckonin' to go through when you get done with these!

And now, as they say, the stuff that you've been waiting for...

Larry Young-CONTRASTS LP (Blue Note)

Third in my trove of recent Larry Young acquisitions, this 'un features the man during his Blue Note days continuing on the r 'n b-y hard bop which turns into magnificent free form right before your very ears. A surprisingly good sesh here that not only features his wife Althea cooing a version of "My Funny Valentine" that doesn't make me wanna puke but some hefty free splat that only goes to show you that there certainly were more'n a few ears being attuned to the "new thing" in the sixties long before the snobbish white kids discovered it and used it to their own nefarious ends. Not too bad, especially when you realize that in only a few years time Young would be pushing the organ pedals in Lifetime, perhaps the crowning achievement of his entire career and don't you forget it!

Stare Case-LOSE TODAY LP (De Stijl, available through Forced Exposure)

Gee, and I thought Fadensonnen was the only guy out there working on death-droning anti-rock cantatas these days! Looks like Stare Case is out there to give him a li'l competition, and on this longplayer this duo does a mighty good job of it what with the stripped down (I think they used to call it "minimal" back in the late-seventies) base in which just the right amount of cacophony is added to give it that sparkling air of irritable genius. Some pundits have compared this to "Sweet Sister Ray" but I would go back further in the Velvets catalog to like maybe their Falling Spikes/Warlocks days when monotonically maniaical ideas such as "Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams" were being fleshed out into directions I don't think the pop world had quite seen before...or since. A surprise outta nowhere winner that just might hold your attention for at least a spin or two before being filed to the back of the stack. 

Although I am whatcha'd call a halfway decent fan of the MX-80 Sound cadre, I really don't find myself playing the numerous recordings made by their various "offshoot" bands as frequently as I perhaps should. This '97 release being but just one of 'em, a double sided slab of bizarroid improv featuring MX-80 guitarist and drummer Bruce Anderson and Marc Weinstein, along with additional drummer/vocalist Russ Shoenwetter, bassist Ken Kearney and Myles Boisen on additional guitar. The sound is free, sparse and pretty downright intense with drummer Shoenwetter adding a whole slew of half-crazed speak-sing ranting all over the thing thus adding an even more offsetting air to the concept of avant garde improv post-heavy metal rock. Actually, I think it woulda worked out a whole lot better if it had remained an instrumental disc (in fact, if so it would have retained the free/fusion/experimental jazz-rock edge of the original pre-Rich Stim-era MX-80), but it ain't my album so I better shut up. And yeah, this is a surprising slab of under-the-gulcher rock that you know will get washed away by the tide of inferior amerindie  produce, but what's even more amazing about it is the cover photo...I mean, how did they ever get Chuck Eddy and Robert Christgau to pose for it?
ST 37-KBDP mini-CD (Kendra Steiner Editions)

Haw, didn't know that this long-lived Texas psychedelic/garage/experimental act was still up and operating but I guess they still are, and would you believe that they actually released a platter for Bill Shute's very own Kendra Steiner imprint? And would you also guess that this act hasn't lost any of that great flyover country exuberance that they had way back when dorks were writing up their psychoscuzz with some of the most absurd descriptors in the pages of YOUR FLESH??? Total eruption high energy hijinx here that I must say comes off like a hotcha buncha jammers playing lost Elevator vibrations in some abandoned farm house while riddled with some of the most scathing stimulants to be found on the planet channeling every forgotten acid casualty from the Lone Star State via their lava lamp. Speaking of lava lamps, if you liked the psychoscronk of Jim Shepard and his Vertical Slit this might make inroads into your own third sphincter. Only 113 pressed and when they're gone you know the rest...
THINGS ALSO HEARD, BUT NOT QUITE DIGESTED: via Bill Shute (who else?)-The Mike Stuart Span-TIMESPAN CD-R-Sorry but this didn't quite kick in like I thought those late-sixties English psychedelic beat platters should. Maybe a little too straightforward for my own personal tastes with only the cover of Tomorrow's "My White Bicycle" capturing my interest any. And that was just a BBC session track tagged on at the end! Karel Velebny-SHQ (ESP-disk) CD-R...passed this one up back when the ESP catalog was first being digitized in '92 (which was the only reason I bought a CD player in the first place!) for obvious reasons (the cover!), but the actual recording does hold up a bit even if the European free jazz feeling always did pale next to the localized take. Kinda think a Czech Gunter Hampel and you might get an idea of where this one's headed, only without Hampel's hard attack and total devotion to the Ayler ideal. Maybe they shoulda smuggled more ESP disks into Czechoslovakia just so's the bohemians coulda gotten a better idea of what was goin' on over here thus washing away that classicist European dinge that permeates this stuff!

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

SPIDER-MAN (animated series ABC/syndicated, 1967-1970)

Ahhh, tee-vee memories. Here's a program that I had a piddling interest in while it was being aired on ABC Saturday mornings way back inna late-sixties, only I didn't get as much of a chance to watch it as I would have liked. This was due to my daddy, who most certainly did not want me wasting my time watching cartoons on Saturdays when I coulda been working in the yard with him learning something! Really! And by the time I was getting heavily into the comic book scene in the early-seventies and at least could request time to watch certain Saturday AM 'toons that appealed to me (ARCHIE'S TV FUNNIES comes to mind), SPIDER-MAN had vamoosed to the independent stations that in no way shape or form I could draw in from a good 100+ mile distance! Really frustrating, because at that time what I needed most was SPIDER-MAN and indie tee-vee yet both of these necessities were far outside of my grasp! So cramming all of these facts together all I can say is yeah, I kinda do have a li'l "affectation" for these disques featuring a few of the episodes from the original animated series that I coulda been watching if only my character wasn't being built yankin' weeds outta the garden, and even though it is four decades too late better this 'n five decades...

The cheap sixties tee-vee animation does help...much better'n the various Saturday morning SPIDER-MAN cartoons that NBC was running in the late-seventies that certainly were too little too late for my own personal tastes. Not that those various series (I remember one of 'em being SPIDER-MAN AND HIS AMAZING FRIENDS for some odd reason, since I never watched the thing during it's original airing) were particularly fact, storywize they did hold up...but that supposedly "improved" animation style left much to be desired and in fact made my viewing of those all the more cringeing! The basic feel of the original holds up well and, if you can believe it, almost captures the Steve Ditko essence of the series back when he was drawing the thing. The stories are pretty good in themselves as they were adapted from those same early sagas, and I gotta admit that the show's penchant for focusing on the newspaper angle of the comic 'stead of Peter Parker as high school kvetch was pretty neat. Almost comes off like an alternative version of SUPERMAN with Parker as Kent, Betty Brant as Lois and naturally J. Jonah Jameson as Perry White which I kinda think was the intent of the series all along. I mean, can't argue with success.

Anyway, it's sure hotcha seein' these once again (yeah, I know I can latch onto a whole lotta these tee-vee rarities via youtube, but Bill Shute sure felt it in his heart to dub a couple disques for me!), and if anything they remind me of, like I said, just how I sure coulda used these 'toons in the early-seventies when I was in the midst of my comic book obsessions. And they certainly do hold up better'n those ultra-cheap Marvel productions that were popping up on indie tee-vee around the same time which were so primitive they made the mid-sixties King Features POPEYEs look like FANTASIA in comparison.

(One final foible...the cartoons that I saw were definitely taken off some relatively recent airing that originated in Canada [where the series was in fact animated]...I could tell this because the tee-vee "rating" that appears in the upper-left hand corner of the screen at the beginning of each episode has an outline of the Maple Leaf symbol etched into its own upper-right corner, and putting two and two together I figured that these particular broadcasts just hadda've originated in The Great White North clever deducer that I am. Fine enough, but what really stymied me is that in Canada these SPIDER-MAN cartoons must be considered mature subject matter by the nation's moral compasses [whom I picture to be a buncha brown noses who look like Mr. Weatherbee and Miss Grundy] because these programs actually have earned a "PG" rating north of the border!  I mean down here they'd probably get a "G" or even one of those OK for seven-year-olds ratings but up there a 1967 SPIDER-MAN cartoon is considered something that parents definitely must keep in mind that their children are watching and in fact must caution them about for whatever reasons the guardians of the nation's morals think they should! Yeesh, I know that Canada is a "progressive" country where Sunday Sermons are subjected to heavy scrutiny and hard prison time for the offending preacher, but I never thought it would get so bad up there that a program like this would be considered "verboten" by the new era of compassionate jackboots! Strangely enough, these same Canucks think nothing of hockey players plummeting each other into submission, so I guess some forms of violence are more equal than others! Hmmmmm, I guess that if SPIDER-MAN were to earn a generally healthier "G" in Canada there must be some sort of socially significance or redeeming value that would make the censors up there change their minds. Perhaps a hot bedroom scene between Parker and Brant would be the ticket. Better yet, one between Parker and Jameson! Who knows, with such kulturally konduit material like that innit SPIDER-MAN might have even won the Canadian Emmy Awards!)

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Much to the dismay of the various assortment of BLOG TO COMM-haters out there,  I managed to whip this weekender up in no time flat which I hope satiates whatever rockism-oriented cravings you might have had since my last posting way back on Wednesday. It's a purty nice edition too with some interesting finds and whatnot that, although perhaps not quite as tingling to you as it should be, really got me all hot and bothered just like I woulda gotten during my mid/late-teens discovering the inner workings of the Big Beat for the first time. And yeah, those days are long gone and maybe I should start to act "grown up" like way too many Margarets in my life have told me ever since I was three, but gosh-it-all if hearing some great high energy rocker careen through the hidden maze of my brain ain't enough to reaffirm my mere existence in this sick, sad world of ours. And maybe if you tried it for once in your life you'd feel the same way too. I mean, don't surrender to yourself, surrender to Sky Saxon!

Perhaps thee biggest rockist-related realization that I made this week was the surprise discovery of a long-abandoned yet still up-'n-running Myspace Page devoted to a group that I've been trying to find more and more about for the past five or so years, none other than these New York obscuros who were (and perhaps are) going under the mystical name of (S. C.) Kleiner's Kabalah Syringe. Well, it sure did help in googling the group's correct name (I believe that I was typing in "Calabash" or "Calabah" 'stead of the proper word) but hey, after discovering this group via a live as it happened cybercast from the CB's 313 Gallery way back in the mid oh-oh's I must say that I was more than a little impressed with what I saw and heard and it sure pains me that a simple mistake such as a misspelling has kept me from knowing more about this boffo act for years on end! If only my memory had been a little bit sharper maybe you woulda been readin' 'bout 'em in a 2005 post 'stead of in the here and now, but as the ancient sage used to say "better late than sterile"!

 After writing this interesting batch off as yet one of a million great high energy rock groups who didn't even make it to first base (in most cases, a second gig) it's sure great to know that not only is there some documented info on the Syringe out there, but that their Myspace page also has about a half hour of music available that I'm just gonna hafta download onto a platter for my own enjoyment, if only I can figure out how... And yeah, the group does have a CD out on the spiffily-titled Urinopolis label, but you try findin' a copy because heaven knows I can't! At least my own private press'll keep me sated until the obscure object of desire does make its way into my paws which I personally hope will be a whole lot sooner'n the length of time it took for me to finally get to hear Rocket From The Tombs' rendition of "Sonic Reducer"!

About all I can tell you about this act with what little concrete info is out there is that this shebang (who strangely enough were probably too loud for CBGB's more acoustically-attuned "sister" club, though I know that they did hit the big stage at least once in their career) was/is fronted by a Steven Kleiner, who besides being the front and center-man in the Syringe did put in some time as the drummer in a heavy metalloid group called Angel Rot in the early-nineties. (Kleiner was also doing some drum work in a group concurrent with his Syringe whose name escapes me at the moment.) Other'n that I could find nada, nyet and nothing else about Kleiner or his Syringe. And while you're at it, forget readin' 'bout 'em in any of the precocious and oh-so-cultured blogs or high-fallutin' newspaper arts and leisure sections because this act certainly does not have anything to do with the ideas goin' 'round 'bout what this post-post-post rock stuff is supposed to entail here in the beyond-decadent year of 2011. Really, to the tastemongers and elitist scum who set the tastes as to what teenage Ameriga is supposed to like and listen to Kleiner's Kalabah Syringe have about as much to do with music today as what Jan Garber had to do with 1970. Maybe that is true to a certain extent, but as far as us real rock 'n roll keepers of the ever-flickerin' flame...

I mean, when I first gave these tracks a go I wondered...just what WAS  sound comin' forth from my speakers anyway???  With the heavy early-seventies influx I first was thinkin' STICKY FINGERS period Rolling Stones with a nice dash of LOVE IT TO DEATH Alice and the Flamin' Groovies when they were prancin' about on the Kama Sutra label. That still holds, but then I started conjurin' up mental images of things even more outer-worldly, like perhaps Von Lmo meets the Groovies during their SHAKE SOME ACTION days (maybe that's because of the suits), or better yet one of those hotcha En Why See groups from the mid-seventies that never did get their fair share because they just didn't fit in with the preconceived notions of what New York Rock was supposed to be about. Judging from the amount of coverage Kleiner's Kabalah Syringe got/gets, I can tell that nothing's really changed in the past thirty-six or so years.

Whatever it is, it's amazing...hard rock (not quite heavy metal though I could see some 1974 rockcrit wannabe tossing that term around) with a definitely high intensity edge to it and a lyrical quality (especially on "White Cadillac") that makes the Stones' "Stray Cat Blues" sound like high school courtship! If you thought that every last vestige of what the best of seventies rock (on a mainstream and underground level) had long been banished well, I think Kleiner and his Syringe are bound to put a nice smirk on your face!

For a refreshing change from the same old Kleiner's Kabalah Syringe is one group that really helped convince me that perhaps the kinda gnarl that I go for is still being made somewhere out there, even if it ain't as up-front as it was in the late-seventies when you could pick up a healthy does of nihilism at your local National Record Mart. If anybody out there knows where I can latch on to their Cee-Dee (even CD Baby doesn't carry it, and I thought they carried all of these obscurities!), please notify me c/o this blog as soon as possible!
Well, enough of this Public Service Announcement. Here're but a few of the niceties that I managed to give a spin to this week. Other'n the review of the latest issue of DAGGER which begins this shindig, all of these items emanate from the recent CD Baby and Forced Exposure orders that I'm trying to space out in order to avoid the usual musical overdose. Whatever, I know there's something amongst these treats to please you because frankly, why else would you be reading this?
DAGGER #44 (a 'zine published by Tim Hinely...see link on left)

I could say that reading the latest issue of DAGGER stirs up enough printed matter ennui in my soul to make me want to get another issue of my own rag out into the public's paws once again. I could say that, but I would be lying. Frankly, I don't think that the ol' BLACK TO COMM "fanzine" (an obscure term dating from the early-forties denoting comparatively primitive publications made by fans of a certain sub-strata to express and promote various opinions and viewpoints not found in mainstream periodicals devoted to the same subject matter, if such reads exist in the first place) will ever see the light of day, most likely because here in the electronic age I can make  anything that I so deem publishworthy instantly available with the mere flick of a mouse and, if not satisfied, strike it from the record with just as little effort. No messy glue mock ups or worries over what the printer's gonna do with my oft-icky originals, and not only that but I can save the moolah that would go into a mag and use it for more beneficial things like food, clothing and maybe a record or two. I guess Mr. Hinely feels differently than I do, but then again it's his dime he's spending, not mine!

But hey, I really am starting to like DAGGER a whole lot more than I usually do, perhaps because it's one of the last of a dying breed (that I can anyone who's read this blog knows they still come out once in a blue ball!) and somehow sitting back in an easy chair and reading something like this is a whole lot more comfier'n sitting at a computer and typing/scrolling away. Latest ish is a wowzer, complete with an interview Hinely did with Babylon Dance Band/Antietam frontlady Tara Key (where she comes off like an everyday reg'lar rock fan...maybe I shouldn't've pissed all over her platters back then even if it seemed the proper thing to do!) and David Rick from Phantom Tollbooth. I guess Hinely has a thing for the eighties the same way I have one for the seventies. The piece on favorite old time record shops was boss, reminding me of the fun I used to have pouring through bins even if the only thing I could afford were cutouts and maybe a single. Too bad, because all of those records I would have loved to have owned'd cost me upwards of a few bank accounts these days but whatever, it's always nice to give DAGGER an eyeballing even if reading the reviews only tends to make me wonder...when exactly did I stop having that hankering for what was once called underground rock, and could it REALLY have been over a quarter-century ago???
Larry Young-GROOVE STREET LP (Prestige)

The first of the Young LPs I got via my last Forced Exposure order, this 'un one of if not thee first Young album recorded for Prestige way back when the budding organist was but a mere 21 years of age. Great early-sixties vibe to it with a heavy r-n-b bent that coulda gotten this slapped in at least two sections of your local record shop. Even at this early age Young was a pretty good master of the jazz/blues organ mode and not only that but he really had the keen sense to balance himself between stoic jazz standards and all out organ romps (like the title track) which coulda hit the local charts with a little editing and perhaps a lotta push. And it all ends with a tribute to John Coltrane which just goes to show you that at one time that great saxman had been fermenting a rather huge following, and not amongst goony hippie dorks who grew into latte-sipping Euclids still mourning the loss of their local Borders!
Bill Popp & The Tapes-25X30 CD ( or you can try CD Baby like I did)

Speaking of obscure New York groups (like I usually am), Bill Popp and the Tapes were but one of about a quadrillion of 'em trying to make themselves known in the burgh during the GA of underground hankerin's and beyond! But while many of these outta-nowhere group seemed to go by the wayside within the span of a few gigs, Popp managed to keep his Tapes going for nigh on thirty-plus years which must be a record for such a group that never was able to latch onto a big label deal or get alla the hotcha panting local rock critics to get their noses outta Madonna's hiney to take notice!

I gotta admit, for a guy who is definitely not that big a fan of many of the new wave power pop groups who have been inundating us for quite some time, I liked Popp and his Tapes a whole lot. They're nothing that I would want to listen to on a steady basis staunch high energy snob that I am, but I find the music digestible enough in small, single-like doses. Popp's a pretty good composer too, and these numbuhs do show signs of a pop talent who shoulda gone somewhere but, like most of these under-the-covers acts, got lost in the shuffle. But hey at least Popp stuck it out while others keeled over in their tracks, and if you still thumb through your old power pop issue of BOMP! you might just get enough ennui-filled nostalgic pangs giving this sleeper a spin.
Pinataland-SONGS FOR THE FORGOTTEN FUTURE VOL. 2 CD ( or try CD Baby like I did)

Yet another disque I purchased if only because I remember these guys getting billed on a lotta CB's 313 Gallery gigs throughout the early oh-ohs. I even remember that an album of theirs at that time was available free for download, but since I was only using a cheap-o hand-me-down laptop at the time I couldn't take advantage of this particular offer. It's not that I really wanted to though...for some reason Pinataland didn't quite seem like the type of act that would flibben my fibula the way some of the other groups on the scene woulda. But it ain't like the name was exactly escapin' the back of my cranium like way too many interesting treats on the En Why scene had lo these many years.

I was feelin' no pain whilst puttin' in my most recent CD Baby order, so I figured maybe it was time to give Pinataland the ol' get go and guess what? They're actually a fair li'l group that some of you would think would offend me but don't. Not surprisingly, they ain't anything that I would wanna rah rah from the bleachers about and in fact I find most of their tuneage and lyrics have a lotta that modern'n post-amerindie emote all goo'd over it, but Pinataland (and leader David Weschler) do such a nice enough job with the serious, inward and perhaps depressing singer/songwriter idiom that this platter makes for a once-in-awhile diversion. Not only that, but amongst the special guest players is one Curtis Eller, whose Curtis Eller's American Circus was one of those post-Holy Modal Rounder type of acts that was playin' the Gallery with an alarming regularity during the early oughts, and their own release is one that fans of the form would do wise in picking up, if only it were available somewhere!
Well, I know you were expecting more, but we can't all be as prolific as Mike Stax!