Saturday, December 31, 2011


Being in a particularly NATIONAL LAMPOON-ish mode as of late I thought I'd use this classic '74/'75 cover to adorn my by-now "traditional" year-end summary of just what the year 2011 doth wrought for good and (especially) for bad. And given how this particular issue appeared on the stands right around the time I started to morph from a creepy kinda kid to a creepy kinda teenager, I felt that its inclusion on this blog would have been particularly fitting in a personalist sorta way though I sure would have loved (for the sake of accuracy) to have been able to change the dates on Father Time and what's left of The New Year's banners to reflect something more, er, up-to-date. But I think you get the message and besides, considering just how hotcha the mid-seventies were and not just in retrospect but even at the time (at least for UHF-watching, comic book-reading, perennially underachieving louts such as myself) I sure enjoyed seeing this cover if only to remind myself of just what a fun time I did have in those definitely non-sacrosant years, at least during the times when teachers and old people weren't pestering me and I was bound to find some thrill on tee-vee with only a few channels to choose from unless a tornado was drawing in the Cleveland and Akron stations. Now if I were only smart enough to go see Rocket From The Tombs like I sure wish I was able to even if I couldn't get a ride to the Viking Saloon if my life depended on it!

Nothing too hotcha happened this year, but that's par for the course considering how the past thirtysome years haven't been whatcha'd call prime with regards to high energy rock 'n roll. Not that there weren't or aren't any wowzer rock acts crawling about long after the Big Beat died an inglorious death (1982 AT THE LATEST...afterwards all we're doin' is pretendin'), but it ain't like they're gonna jump up and bitecha on the butt like they did way back when fanzines and moles in the mainstream (Lester Bangs, R. Meltzer) were more'n anxious to tip you off to the new and mighty acts you dare not miss. But I will say that 2011 did have its moments, even if they probably went by so fast you thought they were one of those "floaters" infesting your inner eyeballs that make it seem as if there are insects crawling all over the place!

So w/o any further ado, here's my choice for best of '11...nothing earth-shattering as usual, but when all's said and done this'll probably look better'n all of those VILLAGE VOICE polls and blogschpieler top choices seen throughout the web to abject shame!

ALBUM OF THE YEAR: hard choice really...I mean, which Fadensonnen Cee-Dee should I pick? Well, of the three I guess it's platter #1 that earns the highest honors for this year. Given the overtly squeaky-clean image that "rock music" had saddled on in since the eighties it's sure wonderful to hear something overdrive again.

SINGLE OF THE mean they still make 'em? They sure do, but that don't mean that I buy 'em! Of course a few good spins have passed my ears these past twelve months, but the best of the seven-inchers to have affected me in a totally uninhibited, frank way just has to be the by-now aged Electric Eels' "Agitated"/"Refrigerator" single coupling two oft-spun faves onto one quick-fix platter. Not as good as the oft-repressed Rough Trade 45, but fine enough that it sure looks good snuggled in my collection next to various seventies underground goodies of the same musical strata! In fact this is so good that it kinda makes me wanna get some of the extreme rarities that are floating around in my tape collection and press them to vinyl thus creating some instant underground musical collectables (many of which I have been writing about for decades on end, and those Eclectic Eels recordings do deserve a proper dissemination amongst the rabid rock followers who have survived the years!) but...naturally I'm too nice a guy to want to venture out to do something even that devious.

EP OF THE YEAR: the Philip Cohran and the Artistic Heritage Ensemble  ZULU 45 COLLECTION
box set of some of the most primal looking discs I've seen since the death of Moxie Records! Undoubtedly some of the best jazzy r 'n b made by this under-the-radar former mate of Sun Ra whose own fame enver did reach the heights of the interstellar one. It's really great to discover some of these long-forgotten musicians whether they be in the jazz, rock or whatever idiom, and getting these seventies-vintage self-released platters was just one of the few joys I've encountered these past 365 rotations. One can only hope that '12 delivers more funtime listens along these obscuro outta nowhere lines, but I'm not holding your breath.

BOOTLEG OF THE YEAR: Patti Smith's THE POETRY PROJECT 1971 CD, which not only contains a ne'er before heard by me poetry reading but those three no-wave-ish tracks taken from an old one-sided bootleg EP as well as a Max's Kansas City show from '74 you really have to crank up to enjoy. More please!

ARCHIVAL DIG OF THE YEAR: No bout a doubt it the JACK RUBY Cee-Dee that ugEXPLODE felt worthy enough to spring on us unsuspecting peons this past October. A typically over-the-edge, wild-eyed treat that should only go to show most of them nouveau punques of the past thirtysome years that all they're doin' in but a pale copy of the original hard blare that perhaps died out before everybody (including myself) was astute enough to know.

REISSUE OF THE YEAR: DO WHAT THOU WILT, an album of extremely rare (if issued at all) sub-garage sides from early-seventies English thud rockers who perhaps listened to too much Hawkwind and snorted too much white powder, but despite their overall lack of success never did get the chance to get written up in the NME like they undoubtedly hoped they would have been. Call it a PEBBLES for the Possessed, if you so desire.

BEST QUICKIE CASH-IN COLLECTION OF THE YEAR: FRANK ZAPPA'S CLASSICAL COLLECTION  which is nothing but an unauthorized usage of the famed freak's visage along with recordings of the classical tracks he most loved and swiped from in his own work. Kinda like those quickie garage band/heavy metal/New York Rock/CBGB collections seen for the past decade or so, only with Stravinsky and Varese tracks 'stead of Sonics and Motorhead.

BOOK OF THE YEAR (ROCK 'N ROLL DIVISION): none other'n  C'EST LA GUERRE, that collection of the early writings of Byron Coley that's got an entire nation wondering...who's Byron Coley? Well, blame the sickoid "rock critic" mentality that's permeated the scribing business for that horrid mishap, but otherwise osmose to these great writings created during the final gasps of the Golden Age of Rock Criticism/Fandom-centered writing that just happened to get published in ritzy journals.

BOOK OF THE YEAR (SECULAR DIVISION): the eleventh edition of the ongoing DICK TRACY series which seems to be hitting an even more fever pitch as the stories roll on. This one features the entire Coffyhead and Mumbles sequences as well as the Heels Beels/Acres O'Reilly saga which extrapolates on the already heavily-imbued derangement of the strip, and to new heights of ugh! I'm surprised they didn't cart Chester Gould away after he dreamed up this one!

MOOM PITCHER OF THE YEAR: strangely enough, I didn't even review this year's fave on the blog! In fact, I only saw the thing via youtube and in about nine ten-minute segments but despite that still thought that FAREWELL MY LOVELY (1975) was the best flick to grace my eyes these past 365. A grand meshing of Old Hollywood and the New here (captured at a time when there at least was some Old H-wood still around), FAREWELL features Robert Mitchum as Phillip Marlowe in a role he shoulda played thirty years earlier working on two strange cases that eventually intertwine into a pretty good hotcha climax. Supporting cast is pretty good from Charlotte Rampling (one of those actresses I'm not supposed to like because of the people who do like her, but I do anyway) to that guy who plays the typical-like dimwitted thug who hires Marlowe to look for his long-lost sweetie, plus then-perennials such as Joe Spinell, Sylvester Stallone and Sylvia Miles (who still excites Don Fellman in that HELP! fumetti she did with Tom Poston) show up. As does Harry Dean Stanton, a guy who Bill Shute waxes poetic over but I never saw his special appeal...well, he is good as the corrupt detective who eventually chickens out right before the climax. The youtube version has the nudity in the whorehouse scene matted out, though whose idea was it to let the expletives go undeleted as we used to say during the Watergate days? So even with the titties boxed out, prepare to blush is you are of the faint-hearted.

POST OF THE YEAR: Golly, I've been on such a roll pumping out enough sharp and witty screeds that should have earned me a Pulitzer in bullshitting, but amongst all of the snat 'n sassy writings I've  managed to crank out these past 365 the bestest and personally fave-ravest just has to be that SOUNDTRACK FOR THE SEVENTIES collection of the toppest and boppest longplayers to come outta that decade which I whipped up for you a good month or so back. Subjective and biased perhaps, but I think it zones into the cheap-o flea market and bargain bin aesthetic that people like myself reveled in at the time rather accurate-like. And besides, I think my own record-scouring credo sure made a whole lot more sense'n those of most of my seventies compats who spent them years either drooling over their copies of DISCO FELCH VOL. 7 or tried their best copping their fashion sense from the covers of Melanie records. As for the women...

BLOG OF THE YEAR: Some ups, some downs. THE HOUND BLOG (which just happens to be a personal top tenner) hasn't been the same since Jim Marshall began posting sporadically, while Lindsay Hutton over at THE NEXT BIG THING just ain't cranking out the reviews, news and what-you-chooze with the vim, vigor and verve that you kinda thunk he would. As for my no doubt about it fave blog this year, IT'S ALL THE STREETS YOU'VE CROSSED NOT SO LONG AGO (see link on left, stoopid!) is the hands down winner. Esp. since they've been printing those old gig listings swiped from none other'n THE VILLAGE VOICE which not only helps me with whatever research on New York nth string acts that I need to do, but saves me the time from trekking over to Youngstown to check on the microfilms at the library! I only hope they get to make it to 1981 just so's I can remember the name of that "country and western heavy metal group" from Austin Texas that played both CBGB and Max's on two consecutive nights.

DEATH OF THE YEAR: no question about it...IMANTS KRUMINS.  I still can't believe it, and it tops all the others, even the likes of Sean Bonniwell's, Sam Rivers, and who could forget Cheetah!



Once again it's time to slip on my Criswell fiberglass wig'n do some predictin' as to what the following 365 366 have in store for us. Nothing esoteric or brainy here...none of that so 'n so's gonna win the presidency quap that all of those other psychics would predict on the covers of the once-bountiful tabloids cluttering up your local supermarket check out lines. Just the real hard deal and nothing but, mutt!

THE NUMBER OF ARCHIVAL UNDERGROUND RELEASES WILL DWINDLE TO NADA! Yes, if you think my boast about releasing an Eclectic Eels bootleg would ever come true...ferget it!!! 2012 is gonna be the first of many years where private tapes made by once promising underground aggregations remain locked away in dresser drawers and closets worldwide. No more rare surprises, and don't even expect Feeding Tube or ugEXPLODE to release any no wave rarities while yer at it. If you want your seventies thrills to linger on, it's gonna be PUREPOP all the way!

THE ONLY ITEM RESEMBLING THE FANZINES OF YORE TO MAKE THEIR APPEARANCE THIS YEAR IS GONNA BE UGLY THINGS! Gotta admit that SHINDIG and the rest of the new mags I've seen don't exactly thrill me the same way that an old UGLY THINGS or DENIM DELINQUENT do. Not that I read that many new rock mags considering that if I wanna read something that insults my intelligence I can always go on-line and dial up a number of totally disturbing blogs and sites of note out there in pixel-land. I will say that UGLY THINGS at least continues to sate my rockist being, and receiving a bi-yearly issue is akin to the good ol' days when I'd get a huge packet of long o.p. Marvel comics in the mail and just bliss out in their majestic energy for a good afternoon and even part of an evening t'boot! Which I guess does make Mike Stax the new Stan Lee (but does that make Johan Kugelberg the new Jack Kirby?).






Thursday, December 29, 2011

ANOTHER MAD PAPERBACK REVIEW! THE ORGANIZATION MAD by the usual gang of idiots! (Signet paperback, 1960)

Hope you had a merriest of Christmas...wish I did! But as the old philospher said,  despite all the amputations there were a number of great moments to be had this past December 25th, including the receiving of a number of hotcha gifts that really helped to sate the soul so t' speak. These gifts include a collection of DENNIS THE MENACE DVDs replicating that series' second season courtesy of Mr. Lou Rone, the entire run of the legendary JOHNNY STACCATO private dick thriller featuring John Cassavetes thanks to Brad Kohler, and none other than volume one of the daily BLONDIE comic strip (featuring the very first right up until the wedding of Blondie and Dagwood) via the graciousness of one Bill Shute, a name that better do a few ringy-dings in your mind after all these years! All of these items are whatcha'd call necessary to retain the proper BLOG TO COMM frame o' mind, but for now they'll have to wait their turn w/regards to their time in the blog spotlight because frankly, I'm gonna hafta eat 'n digest everything about these items before I can give 'em a fair shake! For now, I'd like to talk at'cha 'bout a tried and true book that's graced my library in one form since at least 1970, and if it coulda survived all those years w/o being tossed into a wastebasket or sold at a garage sale (which come to think of it is what happened to my first copy!) then it coulda survived in yours as well!

THE ORGANIZATION MAD's got a boffo Kelly Freas cover (tho no actual Alfred E grin guaranteed to sucker at least 100,000 early-sixties adolescent geeks into buyin' the thing!) and innards that reprint some of the earliest post-Harvey Kurtzman material at a time when you could see the shakiness in transition from Kurtzman's particular "chicken fat" style to Al Feldstein's more sleek, cosmopolitan humor vision. This 'un also contains some of Jack Davis' last MAD work before he joined up with just about every imitation in sight willing to milk his rep before returning to the fold a good decade later, and although it ain't as finely detailed as the stuff he was doing for HUMBUG (as well as some of his earlier MAD work) it's sure eye-grabbing. No Elder in sight, but there's a lotta Wally Wood which helps not forgetting the newcomers along the lines of George Woodbridge (who was better off doing westerns at Atlas), Bob Clarke and of course Don Martin who was at least two years away from perfecting his famous bulbous-nosed style which we all remember him best by.

No comic strip spoofs, but ya do get the classic tee-vee takeoffs on DISNEYLAND and GUNSMOKE which are boss even if they were edited for paperback form. (Not uncommon in these early fact I even noticed that Wood's "Wedding Album" had the needless narration excised which did improve on the thing!) As usual, some succeed while others flop. I mean, it's sure funny watching Walt Dizzy try to hide the millions of megabucks he's made o'er the years (especially for a Disney-hater like myself), yet "High School Dance" couldn't even hope to reach the level of an ARCHIE comic strip dealing with the same subject matter! And even this early in the game you can see the usual ideas and gimmicks that MAD'd be milking well into the late-seventies (when I stopped paying attention) well into perhaps today's variation on the mag which I assume is the usual pale image of that pale image everybody seemed to loathe with a passion as far back as the mid-sixties!

Not a high-rated collection true, but a definite keeper (this time). And lo and behold, whoever had previously owned this particular paperback was so possessive of it that he even wrote his name on the inside front cover in a show of true MAD loyalty or something like that. Nice move "Brian Davis" or whatever your name is, but if you want to get thie copy back you're gonna hafta fight me for it!

Sunday, December 25, 2011


Like I'm sure a good portion of you readers are, I too and filled to the brim with great memories of Christmases past to the point where I can even remember what I was doing on certain December 25ths when I was but a mere tot. In fact, the earliest one I can remember (age three) is still deeply etched in my brain, especially the part when, at the family Christmas party, I snuck up on my cousin and bit him on the back of the neck because he wouldn't let me play with his new lithographed pressed metal filling station/garage! After this not-so-nefarious act I do recall cuz crying his eyes out while sitting on the toidy upstairs as somebody rubbed ointment on his bite (which I was too young  to consider an insult, as I've had all my shots and have shown no signs of any disease venereal or otherwise...and not only that but why weren't the grown ups worried about any infections I'd occur biting into his neck!), and recall my absolute dismay that it was he who was getting the sympathetic treatment! I mean, it was """"I""""" had been the snub-ee who was not allowed near that classic fifties-styled garage complete with a car park lift and a number of plastic vehicles to go with it!

The next year was also a fab 'un with me not only receiving my own more modern-looking gas station which also came with a garage park and a slew of plastic Jaguars and Lincolns to go with it but a rifle similar to the one Chuck Conners used on tee vee's THE RIFLEMAN which I would walk around pretending to blast away crotch-level just like in the opening of that famed western series. While we're on the subject of deadly weapons, I also got this dart plunger mini-automatic machine gun with various BEETLE BAILEY cardboard characters to mow down, something which in retrospect I find reprehensible since the guys from Camp Swampy were on our side. Why no Viet Cong or even leftover Koreans, or maybe that wasn't keeping too much in the BAILEY spirit one would surmise. I also remember watching THE BARNEY BEAN SHOW  that afternoon as the family party roared on in the basement, the only Christmas show of his I recall in which he actually appeared even if it was only to tell us that since it was Christmas there wouldn't be any kids on or even drawings using one's initials today but cartoons and nothing but. (I remember the set coming off rather dark as if they wanted to save $$$ by using only the barest lighting essentials, though perhaps it was filmed in advance and given the quality of some of the local station film reproduction in those pre-videotape days I wouldn't doubt it.)

After that Christmas well...they were a mix and match affair. The one I had when I was six or so was OK until I kicked my cousin (same one I bit a few years earlier) because he bust my toy drum pounding it really hard like the drummers in the rock groups did on tee-vee...I certainly remember getting hauled off and whipped for that while one of my aunts was laughing her head off because I told my dad I kicked him because "that's what they do in PEANUTS".  The Corgi Toy X-mas a few years later was also a joy to behold (still remember staring lovingly at the Ghia L4-6 for minutes on end as if it were a moon rock, only snazzier) while Christmas age 12 was pretty good considering the stash of comic books and collections of old Golden Age reprints I lucked out on. Getting into my teenbo years, '75 and '76 stick in my mind if only because I was buying records and well...that sorta figures into fun times really big, y'know? (12/26/75 continues to resonate not only because we went to Cleveland that day but because I bought a cutout copy of the Reuben and the Jets' FOR REAL album on cassette [a comparative snoozer though I wouldn't mind giving the thing another listen] and got sick after my first visit inside a Red Lobster restaurant [the one in Niles Ohio...still there!]  which I blame on the greasy fish I ordered. I guess that's what I deserved for passing up on the first ever copy of CHELSEA GIRL to grace mine eyes, though I recall also passing on a Tanned Leather album I had seriously been considering buying for some time and for the life of me I wonder if that was something smart to do or not considering their mid-ranking, and rather mixed reception,  in the krautrock hall of fame!)

Nowadays Christmas is just another time for me to reflect on past funtime excesses, the boffo gifts and all of the shenanigans that seemed to go woosh once the whacked out seventies clocked over into the giddy squeaky clean eighties. Oh, there were a few good holiday periods sprinkled throughout the "Reagan years" as they say ('82 and '86 being particularly spunky, though '83 was a loser considering the midnight shift job in a junkyard that all but practically ruined my reason for being) but really, along with sleds, stuffed stockings, meringue cookies and those kid fights every party was bound to create the Christmases of past as just about as much a memory as all of those relatives who used to populate those parties who are either now gone or just too old to cut the cheese anymore. All I do on Christmas is eat leftovers and spend recently given moolah via ebay...certainly not the wild kiddie party look at the presents times we all used to have during that great baby boom-dominated tee-vee throbbing rock 'n rolling post-World War II/pre-Politically Pious days that now seems about as distant as the Triassic Period.

But I am not here to praise Christmas, but to bury it! Yes, along with the funtime frolics and ginchy greed there was, and most definitely REMAINS, a lotta bad baggage to go along with the holiday season. And considering that you readers are probably on a pretty hotcha holiday high as we speak its time that somebody was around to drag you down to where you belong! And that someone is me...

So, here are the top twelve (one for each day of Christmas) lousiest things about the Holiday Season which I know you will agree with me about (and you better...after all it's my blog!).. Yes, for every MISTER MAGOO'S CHRISTMAS CAROL or A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS there must be about ten THE CHIPMUNK WHO PLAYED WITH HIS NUTS THROUGH CHRISTMAS, and for every great Christmas song there must be a dozen or so barfers, all not surprisingly written within the past thirty or so years! So why spend the holidays thinking nothing but world peace when you can Vex the Halls with these definite X-mas low points both past and present...

1) THE CHRISTMAS EPISODE OF THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW-I'm sure at least a good 25% of us can agree that this series was one of the best ever (a def. top forty placer no less) which is no mean feat in an era that produced plenty of good television viewing which continues to stand the test of time. But hey, this reworking of the old Scrooge saga from the series' first season was definitely one of the ten worst this 'un pumped out. (The ten worst ANDY GRIFFITH episodes is a task worthy of a future BLOG TO COMM, and as usual your imput would be unceremoniously tossed by the wayside.) The fact that the ever-sickening Ellie played by Elinor Donahue (who was put to better use on FATHER KNOWS BEST, not exactly one of my top forty classy-era tee-vee choices!) is a featured player in this Dickens rewrite only adds more lump to the rump. Better the umpteenth rerun of EIGHT IS ENOUGH's own sappy mom is dead X-mas schmoozer than this, and I loathe that 'un with a passion!

2) THE CHRISTMAS EPISODE OF THE ADDAMS FAMILY-Given the general irreverence and sexy nature of the boss mid-sixties series, it's sad to see them ruin the chance to do some funny holiday skewering and turn such an opportunity into a gosharootie who's gonna play Santa Claus complete with sappy "Meaning of Christmas" epilogue that's so atypical of the show's entire reason for existence. Oh the wasted opportunity, like seeing Santa subjected to the usual Addams hospitality with all of the telegraphed in advance gags and gaffes with St. Nick making a quick getaway! Now I woulda loved to have seen that!

3) THIS REMARKABLY TERRIBLE NEW CHRISTMAS SONG ABOUT AMERICA I HEARD IN THE SUPERMARKET TODAY-For new heights in jingoistic patriotic fervor this 'un can't be beat. It starts off with lyrics along the lines of "Merry Christmas America" complete with a few cops from other well-known hymns crooned in that typically gruff pseudo-country male singing voice heard so often these days. Then if you can believe it, things get worse as the spiritual successor to Roger Whittaker begins moaning something about This Land Of Ours and the holiday season. If you thought "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer" or the recent rash of "updated" goody-two-shoes happy birthday Jesus Christmas songs were beyond the realm of the puke pail, this 'un makes those come off like Fear's "Fuck Christmas"!

4) THE CHRISTMAS EPISODE OF THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW-Back to the tee-vee. Not that this particular installment of the Van Dyke show bugs me the same way that the Griffith one does, but that's only because I've always held Griffith's in a much higher regard. Y'see, although DVD's first series was one that was always on the tube throughout my growing up years and even when it was being syndicated to all heck,  that doesn't mean it was exactly a top-tenner in my book! But probably remember this one which was being presented as an actual installment of the fictitious ALAN BRADY SHOW,  a "very special episode" as they used to say where the usually egomaniacal Brady hands the reigns of his very program over to his writers (and of course Dick's very own wife 'n kid) to do the singing and entertaining while he sat on his throne dressed as Santa the whole time. First off, whose idea was it to have the no name hired help do the entertaining in the first place, Mel Cooley's? I mean, couldn't they wrangle the Redcoats into making another appearance thus boosting the ratings through the roof? Secondly, if you thought that the likes of Van Dyke, Mary Tyler Moore, Rose Marie, Morey Amsterdam and that kid who played Richie singing in that irritating version of "Little Drummer Boy" was a great way to enjoy the holiday season you must have really loved those specials and failed series that Van Dyke had been tossing at us ever since the demise of the original.  For mushies only.

5) THE LITTLE DRUMMER BOY TEE-VEE SPECIAL (narrated by Greer Garson)-Speaking of the drummer boy...for all of the people out there who complain about "the true meaning of Christmas" being lost in the wave of crass commercialism here's what you get! Aren't you glad??? Don't worry, someone's old timey aunt or next door neighbor'll think this 'un reflects a wholesome, traditional approach to the nativity but hey, if somebody came up to me and played some horrid drum and told me that the resultant raa-taa-taa-taa was a present, I'd bop him one!

6) MISTLETOE-Yeah I know, given my obvious ugly features it's the only chance for me to do any smooching any time of the year, but why does it have to be octogenarian old ladies which hefty denture breath? Why no hotcha young 'n giggly gals of Asian heritage??? If you see the dreaded weed hanging above you in a doorway or arch, be on the lookout for the Miss Grundy in your life.

7) YOGI'S FIRST CHRISTMAS-Of course I like Yogi Bear! After all, he's one of the more identifiable visual if not spiritual icons of the boss late-fifties to mid-sixties baby boomin' funtime entertaining conglomonolith tee-vee world alongside everything from THE TWILIGHT ZONE to Conelrad. Not only that but his personage, along with that of the rest of his Hanna-Barbara brethren, was perhaps as easy to spot during the 1959-1965 growin' up years as Coca-Cola logos and Green Stamps. Best of all, his original moom pitchers still hold up even for alleged oldsters like myself which would figure since these early Hanna-Barbara 'toons were designed not only for the toddlers but the parents and babysitters watchin' 'em with the brood, as if a four-year-old'd necessarily know that Yogi's persona borrowed heavily from Ed Norton or that Augie Doggy's daddy and Snagglepuss were Jimmy Durante and Bert Lahr swipes cleverly enacted by the long-missed Daws Butler.

But after the relative fun energy of the early/mid-sixties gave way to hippydippy sheesh, the entire Hanna-Barbara stable seemed to be drawn into the hipster jive of the day dragging the kids who liked the old fifties-oriented cartoons kicking and screaming the entire way!  And naturally the Yogi Bear persona got muddied throughout the transformation into early-seventies social relevance...first off there was YOGI'S GANG, a Saturday morning series on ABC where the entire H-B outlet to date would fight all of the evils in the world from smog to prejudice with typical 1971 relevant gloss. (The particular scene where Ranger Smith utters the unlikely line "How I hate people who are different than I am!" still resonates deep within my beanie!) After that Yogi was used in a variety of Saturday fodder from the LAFF-A-LYMPICS to some vaguely STAR WARS cum disco cash-in series (I think it was called YOGI'S TREASURE HUNT) that went out with a standard late-seventies plop, along with any shard of respect I might've had for the famed bruin who undoubtedly'd been hot stuff back during the days when he was plugging Kelloggs' Oh's but nowadays was just more flea market filler.

And from this period in Yogi's stellar career came this particular bit of dribble, a Christmas special that not only reunites Yogi and his li'l butt bear Boo Boo with the old Hanna Barbara lot but has the pair fighting to stay awake through the holiday season in order to meet none other'n Santa himself. By this time the pretext of getting anybody over seven to wanna sit through this boring X-mas dross was dropped, though frankly I couldn't even see the kids who might still be catching the old Yogi's on tee-vee wanting to view this turd either! A shame on just about every front, from the tiresome dialogue to the dull musical numbers that always dragged these specials down to the old animation hands from the forties who were ending their careers working on pale imitations of what they started out doing a looooong time ago.

Oddly enough, despite the title this was not Yogi and Boo Boo's first animated Christmas (according to YOWP, they celebrated Christmas via the Golden Books series way back in '61!), since the two actually appeared a couple years earlier in the strangely incongruous CASPER'S FIRST CHRISTMAS (never saw it) of which a spot in Christmas Hell might just be in store if only for the bizarre concept.

8) Fish on Christmas Eve-A tradition I sure could do without, especially when this tradition stenches up the house with the odor of strong fish fried in grease that nobody outside a starving Nigerian would want to eat. If you want to replicate the same effect in your abode, just invite some Zoroasterians to stay at your place for a few hours. At least on a good day my own armpits'll curry the aroma of McDonalds hamburgers!

9) "PEACE ON EARTH, GOOD WILL TOWARD ALL MEN"-Not that I'm particularly against peace or treating honest, holy and loaded with bucks men with cheer, but such things sound so phonus balonus when mouthed by some of the most two-faced, one-dimensional louts to walk the face of the earth. I mean yeah, there will always be people protesting for "peace", though when there's a war they want you can bet they'll not only be the first to wave the flag, but the first to make sure YOU'LL get inducted (forget about them...after all deep down they're still for peace!). And as far as that good will stuff goes, nowadays there's so much baggage packed onto that phrase that when starry-eyed world-huggers utter it, the "all" seems to be truncated into something along the lines of "all people who tend to share our world view and you BETTER tow the correct line because we've got a billion dollar media industry and politicians at our beck and call to make sure your life is ruined if you don't!" These are the people who think "Happy Holidays" translates into the start of the Winter Solstice as if the past two thousand years was just a gross sidestep towards that perfect world where we can all love, throw frisbees and have somebody else pay the bill in peace...

10) "JINGLE BELL ROCK"-I remember when I was a high school frosh, or a sosh for that matter, and I was in the gym when a buncha gals from my class put on this quickie, impromptu show for some teach where they sang this song while kicking it up Rockettes-style. Naturally the teacher smiled with sublime approval. The whole thing makes me glad I was the high school champeen striker-outer if this is the quality of gals who I hadda attend class with!

11) "IT'S THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR"-Yeah, the Johnny Mathis favorite which ain't so offensive offhand, but that line about "scary ghost stories" really gets me. I mean yeah, telling horror sagas has really been a Christmas tradtion right? And don't go 'round sayin' that the song refers to A CHRISTMAS CAROL because that ain't exactly like a horror tale that's supposed to scare the bajabbers outta ya 'r anything.

12)  IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE-Last but most certainly least, the doggo that is best known for spawning a whole load of equally saccharine ripoffs from the likes of a Marlo Thomas tee-vee movie to THE FACTS OF LIFE (who were unique enough to substitute Santy himself for the angel trying to get his wings). A movie so nauseating that I must say that it's turned me off of the entire career of not only James Stewart, but I can't even watch THE DONNA REED SHOW w/o doin' a little wincing myself.

Now, I will admit that I once did not have such an animosity towards this particular fact the first time I became aware of the thing was long before the recent (mid-eighties on) rash of retropraise heaped upon the thing. Oddly enough, I was doing a bitta channel surfing on a sunny summer afternoon (!) around 1975 or '76 when I just happened to catch the scene where the gymnasium floor opens up during a dance and the attendees go plop right into the water, and gotta admit I thought that scene was pretty funny 'n keeno neat in a typically goofball kid way! After awhile between household chores and the usual fights with my sister I managed to catch the part where Stewart was shown just what a rotten and horrid state of affairs his li'l bubble of a world would be if he only hadn't been born. Seemed dramatic enough but nothing that special. However, since this was during the era in Amerigan tee-vee/moom pitcher culture where the Hollywood of the past was being bombarded atcha on the cathode of today and old movies/tee-vee shows were such a rage it wasn't like I was harboring any great  loathing towards IT'S A WONDERFUL least not yet.

That would come later, during a time when the "essence" of feeling good about one's self would beat actually being something/one to feel good about in a throbbing, seething, o-mind kind of way. Maybe it's because it's the same kinda people who would be more'n glad to evict a 99-year-old widow if she's late with the rent before tuning in to sniff and slobber over this diabetic delight that I hate the thing. But it's the moom pitcher itself...sappy, sentimental, gooey and just plain ol' cornier'n a sharecropper's tootsies that really gets to me. And the fact that none other than Frank Capra (the same guy who almost derailed Harry Langdon's career and wanted to turn the OUR GANG comedies into gritty urban realism) glopped his hokum charms upon this mess is enough to make me wanna slaughter the next starry-eyed gooch to sing the praises of this moom with a repeating tape-loop of Margaret O'Brien at her pig-tailiest!

I'll bet Hitler and Stalin woulda loved this film with a passion, though since Hitler croaked before it was made we'll never know what his opines were. As for Stalin...well, I wouldn't doubt that a copy of the film was snuggled into the Kremlin for his personal perusal and maybe he was so moved that he requested a Soviet rewrite of it for the local market...something called IT'S A WUNNDERFUL POLITBURO where Stalin himself sees what life would have been like if he, Lenin, Trotsky, Marx, Engels etc. weren't born, then has the angel shot!

And on that "wunnderful" note, Merry Christmas, hokay?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

BOOK REVIEW! GOOD 'N' MAD by the usual gang of idiots (Signet, 1969)
Well whaddaya expect right before Christmas, flat broke me dishing out even more hard-begged money for the usual inanities? Naw, it's gonna be old books at home this time courtesy of none other'n Brad Kohler, a man who rescued this particular read from a Coraopolis PA Goodwill and sent it to me under the impression that I probably never saw it before in my entire life. Well, in the words of Lou Reed hisself it just goes to show ya how wrong a BLOG TO COMM contributor can be, for GOOD 'N' MAD was actually the first actual flesh 'n blood reprint of MAD material and the second MAD-related paperback to make its way into my library (the actual debut book being THE MAD ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN KLUTZ), a present for me from my mother who bought it on one of her shopping jaunts thinking that this was just the kind of book her li'l progeny'd gobble up with typical addled glee. Nice choice mom, but what'cha gonna get me next time...PLAYBOY'S LITTLE ANNIE FANNY????

All jesting aside, that original paperback eventually became neatly bisected due to over-reading (though I never had the heart to toss it out and it still remains in my paperback collection snuggled against other single-digit comic strip reads that haven't been gazed at in eons) so Brad's gift sure came in handy. And considering that this particular paperback heralds a whole lotta things of importance (since it contains stories from the last days of '63, a very crucial time in gulcheral history as well as some of Wally Wood's final contributions) I couldn't have been happer even if Brad had sent a bound edition of ancient TAB DIGESTs, for the sagas reprinted in this 'un sure capture that great era in pre-hippoid Ameriga that continues to hold up (via reruns, auto shows, non-renovated shopping plazas...) long after the bell bottoms and headbands have been tossed into the trashcan hopefully ne'er to be retrieved!

Some pretty hotcha stuff here, like four Don Martin comics, two Sergio Aragones, and of course a couple of Spy Vs. Spys which always get my mind piqued. The Walter "Crankcase" hosted tour of a Chinese restaurant was also good for a laugh esp. if you still go for that Three Stooges short where Moe and Shemp think they're eating a dog and cat freshly chopped up by Larry, something that my father used to tease me about incessantly when I'd order takeouts complete with the meows and barking. Heck, even the "Government Greeting Cards" piece was boss, and I HATE it when MAD gets into their more literate poetry/greeting card spoofs which had made up a bulk of their lampooning throughout the sixties and seventies!

But it's done so swift here to the point where I didn't even skip over "The MAD Hospital Primer" like I would have only a few short years after first latching hands upon this collection. Even that ol' New York Liberal schmooze Dave Berg ain't as annoying as he would get as soon as the hippoids themselves put his own credo to test. At least his observations regarding automobiles and early-sixties college students doesn't annoy like his later deep insights into rebellion and the generation gap which only made him look like an even bigger fuddy duddy than he originally was!

Naturally it's the comic strip send ups, something which originally drew me to MAD inna first place, that makes GOOD 'N' MAD the must-have book that's been rotting away in my library for a good forty-plus.  "Future Educational Comic Pamphlets" features the likes of Dick Tracy, Joe Palooka, Popeye and Mary Worth in wild takeoffs of those freebee comic books that various special interest groups circulate in order to teach us about everything from National Parks to rectal probes. This 'un does hold a special place in the MAD canon if only because this was Wood's last comic spoof in the pages of that hallowed read...after his departure the job of comic strip depictions was handed over to Bob Clarke, a man who could not accurately copy the styles of the originals the way both Wood and Bill Elder did with relative ease. This particular story also has a special meaning in my own life due to the mention of a comic pamphlet in the introductory schpiel that (believe it or not) just happened to be published by none other'n Planned Parenthood! ESCAPE FROM FEAR was the title ("Joan and Ken Harper's marriage was on the rocks, because they loved each other!"), and when I got this book I didn't know what Planned Parenthood was so innocently enough I went and asked the folks! Well, you shoulda seen the look on their faces especially when I told 'em where I found out about them (and hearing the rather watered down explanation of that institution that certainly didn't clear anything up on my part!), but the strangest thing was they didn't forbid me from reading MAD and certainly tolerated me buying up the entire paperback range as well as a whole buncha issues when the mood struck me! And to this day, I still don't understand why (esp. when a relative had his copy with the SUMMER OF '42 spoof confiscated with a stern warning never to even go near an issue of MAD as long as he lived!) considering how my parents used to be overly protective of my reading material to the point where I was once sternly lectured when found reading a collection of comparatively mild generation gap cartoons at a local paperback rack!

Gee, just goes to show you how funny things could get before all of this sexual revolution crap was being shoved in all of our faces! At least we can re-live those pre-sickoid days with a copy of GOOD 'N' MAD, coming to an overpriced "buy it now" ebay auction near you!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

A word to the wise (and perhaps not so) may be in order. Reviews #1 and 3 are more or less standard writeups of important product that's been on the market for quite some time only I've gotten around to it now for whatever reasons I harbor in my simian-like brain. Review #2 is yet another one of my attempts to do an essay-length themed piece in the tradition of Russell Desmond, Brian Doherty, Lester Bangs and various other scribes whom I've been swiping from for nigh on thirty years. Whether or not my efforts to emulate the rockscreed stylings of the seventies and beyond work or not is up to you, but at this time I couldn't give two flying figs...I'm having too much of a damned time trying to figure out this new blogger "interface" as it is to be pestered by your at-time inane musings!

Cradle-THE HISTORY CD-R (available through CD Baby)

This is that all-gal Detroit-area band that future New York Doll/Heartbreaker Jerry Nolan drummed in, which wouldn't necessarily have made 'em an all gal group at the time but at least they were one when they recorded the music that appears on this Cee-Dee!. And it ain't the fact that a future rock icon like Nolan was once a member of Cradle that anybody remembers 'em...nosiree, the only reason these femmes're even getting the reissue treatment is because three of the four members were the Quatro sisters, y'know, as in Suzi, Patty and Nancy, two of whom later made it big in seventies rock circles, one as a Fanny fill-in and the other as a solo star/HAPPY DAYS semi-semi-regular in her own right! Other'n that, all Cradle were wuz yet another local group on the Detroit scene who were tryin' to grasp at some of the glory that the MC5 were lucky enough to accrue which in my book is a whole lot more important'n the fact that half of 'em were making  music that I might be interested in hearing one of these days. Maybe not this month, year or even decade, but when I'm 112 like, why not?.

The tracks here were taken from two pretty hotcha live shows (one opening for the MC5 themselves on New Year's Eve), with a sound that's surprisingly clear and not in that high-end FM radio way either which seemed more attuned to the ears of downed out dropouts and various breeds of dog. Performance is particularly snat in its commercial appeal...close to the Detroit ideal in an early Alice Cooper-ish fashion complete with vocal harmonies that add yet another tasteful dimension to Cradle's show. These almost baroque stylings give the act a maudlin but often driving sound, adding to an image which thankfully doesn't put titzenazz up front and musical whatziz behind like many all-femme aggregates do yet it doesn't come off feminist militia complete with the mandatory nutcrackers. Like the best non-male rockers, it puts music ahead of agenda or titty-lation and for that I'm sure we could all be proud.

Really, this is a surprising set that has an ethereal, dream-like slow burn to it (or is this because I'm more or less reminiscing about Christmas holidays past fill'd with youthful erotic exuberance?), and how could I not mention the interesting choice of subject matter from transvestism ("Man is a Man") to dildos ("Peter Porno") and even Iggy Pop ("Funny Man"), perhaps the most disgusting subject in the whole lot!
Suaka-EPISODE 1 CD (Stonedeaf

White Stone-LIVE IN NYC CD (CD Baby)

Heavy Metal Will Stand! Now how many times have you heard that war cry being uttered from the pages of your favorite rockscapading read o'er the past thirtysome years? Now if you ask me (and why not?) this particular phrase certainly made a whole lotta sense when it was first bellowed, (see Metal Mike Saunders for more details), though by the mid-seventies or so it seemed to ring rather hollow what with all of the "lite metal" acts that were beginning to dot the FM scene like chancres on a teenage whore's lips. Nowadays such musical call to arms are laughable considering what has become of the entire heavy metal "idiom" which managed to go from Sabbath to Ozzy to Autograph with a couple of calculated flops.

Naturally when Lauren Agnelli used this phrase as the title to her review of THE DICTATORS GO GIRL CRAZY in CREEM it seemed the most fitting thing in the world to say, and when Don Underwood uttered the exact same words in his RADIO ETHIOPIA writeup I could easily concur. And when Lester Bangs and a whole number of card-carrying rock scribers both pro and fan would utter the most magnificent metallic praise upon such Stooges classics as FUNHOUSE and RAW POWER I felt like signing up for the heavy metal fan club myself. But along the way, something strange happened.

I think Frank Kogan, for all of his faults, hit the nail on the head when he said that the spawn of the seventies rock generation wasn't exactly looking for raw ear-bleeding energy in their music but technical precision, professional performances and an over abundantly clean sound without any spec of distortion, atonality or energy for that matter. Where listeners such as myself and perhaps you were interested in music as a violent catharsis tonality/metre/chords/any semblance of cold humanity be damned, the majority of the ever-popular 18-34 (give or take) market was looking for a music with a clean sound, professional playing, clearasil vocals and worst of all a total lack of energy. It may have been loud, grating and perhaps even sludge-y, but it certainly signified nothing!

The heavy metal groups, hearing the clarion call of mega arena bucks, were just itching to dish just that out to a world fulla youth who somehow decided that a guy playing a guitar fast was akin to good musicianship no matter how lameass the entire solo might have been. I blame it on a lotta things from bad drugs, bad upbringing, bad examples and Andy Secher, who turned HIT PARADER into one of the shallowest, one-dimensional excuses for a rock music of any genre let alone heavy metal which, judging from some of the brilliant pearls of wisdom he's spouted, he knew about as much of as he did quantum physics.

But hey, when heavy metal did click on all pistons via the speedgrindcore movement...talkin' early Metallica, Slayer and even a more trad outfit like Anthrax who I found rather was some of the better original music to make its way outta the dump that most of us readers remember as the eighties. Pretty refreshing in fact, especially when the hardcore punk groups who seemed to be the last gasp of the seventies regime was flaking away into meaningless political diatribes or experimental piddle and what had held so much promise for us (such as the New York Underground) had pretty much fizzled out into nada with the survivors more or less making bigger fools of themselves than the "dinosaur" groups they oh so loathed. (Or so we thought...) Heck, even the spawn of Pere Ubu were making horrible records and with MX-80 Sound temporarily out of action it wasn't like there was that much to really sustain a person like myself. At least speedmetal helped fill a gap, no matter how minuscule in might have been in my own listening parameter.

Of course I liked my metal a whole lot more when it was mixed with that high energy (early) punk that had been my bailiwick for a few years prior. Naturally the best metal always had a load of punk rock credo to it...take the Stooges and even UFO, whose early platters with Mick Bolton on guitar seemed just as much born of NUGGETS as they did Zep. Face it, for me heavy metal was always best when focused through a gritty punk lens 'stead of the progressive professionalism that most heavy metallics seemed to cherish...the distorted quivering amped up drive sans the pyrotechnical blah Eddie Van Halen "hey look at me play fast c'mon 'n worship me!" stylings that continue to make me wanna cringe even though that era is long dead 'n buried with the corpse of "classic rock" still lingering on somewhere on your FM dial.

Yes, consider that Rocket From The Tombs were originally billed as being "Dumb Metal" (a term that could have applied to most of the HM practitioners of the day, but I guess they meant it differently) and that their live radio broadcast was part of a "heavy metal showcase" where they opened for not only longtime Hendrix cover group Paragon but Youngstown's Left End just beginning their long slide into collector's heaven.  And over in New York recall the various heavy metal festivals at Max's Kansas City not forgetting Von Lmo's "heavy metal dance rock/electroshock" depending on which "Voice Choice" you happened to read, and if anybody can tip me off to the name of that "heavy metal country and western band" that played a CBGB audition one night and Max's the next (autumn 1981) I will be eternally grateful, especially since you'll save me a trip to the Youngstown Public Library microfilm department which should cost me a pretty penny in gas! (And I recall the story about the bass guitarist from Bitch Magnet talking to someone I used to know with the bassist saying that when they played CB's in '87 all of the other groups on the bill with them were heavy metal, he even making the assumption that CBGB was now a metal club and nothing but which does surprise me because if so why book Bitch Magnet?)

But all kidding aside, I sure do like my metal and punk mixed up nice and heavy (Wurm and Rotomagus should also fit in here somewhere), which is why I tend to pick out a whole lotta metallic recordings that have emanated from the bowels of the New York underground from the seventies until the final days of CBGB's. Call it nostalgia if you will but I'll only bop you on the nose...let's just say that it's more spiritual, like listening to a music that has roots from way back during the birth of feedback into redlined teenage recordings and late-sixties blind rage mixed with avant garde inclinations that might or might now be intentional, all the way through to more modern applications of all of these influences and ideas that cranked out goes to show you the logical end result of a good thirty years of rock emulation and bared-wire intensity!

Anywah, the two groups on today's itinerary have at least one thing in common other'n being of the metal idiom, and that is they were both alive and perhaps even kicking during the final days of the last gasp at CBGB, a haunt who as we now know never really shied away from heavy metal from the Dictators and Sorcerers down through a number of eighties acts on whom I will probably discover sometime before I do the big check out into the great record shop in the sky. And for a guy who had more or less tuned into the various live CBGB cybercasts throughout the early-to-mid-oh-oh's I can tell you that as far as metal went the folks at CBGB were probably more conscious of it as an underground form to be reckoned with as most of the labels who were willy-nillying signing some of the worst ever heavy metal acts back in the mid-eighties. I can recall seeing a number of metal acts who were worth their weight in stud leather via these cybercasts, from Karen Black to Crisis and the Electric Magic Side Show (OK, I missed their set by a few minutes!) There was even was rather obscure band I caught called Cherry Hill High who were being touted as metal via some website that had linked up a number of archived CBGB 'casts...and these guys were pretty great not only because they had a seventies look down (with the lead singer kinda looking like a sneako perv with an Australian army hat and mirrored shades) but their sound seemed to take the early Dictators credo and muddled it out as if these guys didn't care that much whether or not you liked what they were doing for you. But what I did experience was pretty good hard rockin' in that cool seventies style I sure do miss, and although I fear that any recordings by Cherry Hill High let alone the cybercast I saw are perhaps lost to the ether I can only HOPE that somebody, a member of the group or someone from their inner circle will read this and provide me with all of the information, snaps, sounds etc. that I can use if only to sate my inner turmoil regarding what I had experienced oh so long ago.

Enough rheumy reminiscences...first on today's bill so-to-speak is this Indonesia transplanted to En Why See metallic batch who go by the name Suaka. Dunno what that means, but if you were to tell me that it means an Indonesian version of Pantera or Metallica I'd probably believe you. A group whom, like many acts both famous and not before 'em, got their break via a CBGB audition night, Suaka may tread some metal cliches both old and new and throw in a li'l progressive influx here and there. However, its their devotion to a more punkist frame of mind that keeps me interested in these guys as a variant on the same (and tried) forms that don't tend to bore even though you've heard that hotcha boiler room blast passing as a guitar solo many times before. No real meaning of the world here, but every group can't be Von Lmo!

Suaka might not have the same sense of forced submission that early Metallica had and they do have the kinda demeanor that could appeal just as much to the prog leftovers as the metallic bunch, but their sense of addled punkitude, when it rears its ugly li'l head, drags this recording down to the ragged level of grovel that I most certainly enjoy. And although I personally don't expect much success (critically/financially/muff-wise) in Suaka's future...frankly they're too nice to make it least they present a heavy metal vision that doesn't reek of the eighties fake glam devil-sign trappings that were just about as indicative of the entire decade's blandness as rubic cubes. And that's something we can believe in, even after grunge replaced metal as the new choice of teenage addledness a good two decades back.

Frankly I got a bigger kick outta White Stone, whose LIVE IN NYC was recorded at the hallowed CBGB haunt in front of what seems like one of the smallest audiences they've had in quite awhile. Might have been one of those 7:00 PM opening gig slots that the club would have during their later years when up to six or so groups would get booked per evening and of course the opening act always gets a duff reception because hardly anybody would be in the club so early in the first place. But whether or not this is true it sure looks like White Stone got the crap end of the stick trying to warm up a handfulla people who were just starting to get into their evening jollies. Hey, I guess even the better groups got stuck in worse situations on their way up, even if most of 'em probably never got anywhere at all in their nefarious climb to the top of the rock 'n roll slag heap!

Can't help but like this group. First off, White Stone are heavy metal in the classic, CREEM sense just like in that 1981 special issue where what was left of the bullpen was once again stretching the boundaries trying to explain just why acts like the MC5 and Amon Duul I were just as important to the heavy metal canon as Ted Nugent and Molly Hatchet. Second off, this group is a duo consisting of guitar and drums, though don't expect this to sound anything like Randy Holden's POPULATION TWO for (#3) White Stone's overall musical abilities are very loose and matter-of-fact (dare I say amateurish?) in the same way I'd see these weirdo off-the-wall groups at the CBGB 313 Gallery on the Kenny McLaughlin-hosted rock 'n roll party nights or whatever they were called and these acts outta nowhere'd come on and perform their original compositions only to dissipate into nothingness as soon as they were through. I remember one show (which started on a Saturday afternoon...and you could tell it was gonna be a LONG night!) where McLaughlin had booked this duo consisting of a Lenny Kaye lookalike on a cheap electric piano and his drummer pal playing some of the most untogether jazz-rock-y music as if they were a low budget Steely Dan thinking this was the first stop in their trek towards fame, fortune and perhaps a lip synch job on AMERICAN BANDSTAND (which was long gone by this time, but the thought seemed to be there!). Naturally I didn't hear a thing from this duo after their CB's appearance, but sheesh would I love to hear that set they did again as well as anything else they may have laid down in their boudoir or basement for that matter. Had more soul 'n feel than the entire recorded output of the eighties-nineties combined I'll tell ya!

And for a buncha guys who say they had been doing this metallic pounce since the mid-eighties (!) White Stone's resultant sound is pretty amateur hour grasping for life! It comes off kinda thin considering the stripped down setup, but as usual its primal nature and general approach makes this platter a definite metallic must have. I am reminded of the reviews that such critics as John Rockwell (THE NEW YORK TIMES) and Fred Kirby (VARIETY) gave this similarly endowed act that went by the name of Ice (featuring future Necessaries/Love of Life Orchestra member Randy Burns/Gunn) back during their CBGB Summer Festival gig in 1975 where both scribes mentioned this duo's comparatively "thin" sound due to their lack of a bass guitarist. And yeah, White Stone also can sound "thin" especially for an act that purports to be metallic (I mean, you should check out the under-miked, weak singing courtesy of guitarist M.C. Cancassi!), but then again I really find no fault with this group or their music, which has a whole lot more going for it entertainment and energy-wise than a good portion of what was being pumped to the locals with regards to what heavy metal (as a movement/style/marketing ploy) was supposed to mean and supposed to be for that matter.

Because once you get down to it what this heavy metal stuff was supposed to "be" all along is "fun", and although something along those lines would undoubtedly be foreign to those stiff punque rock elitists of the eighties (sorry if I can't get the image of this blahed out representative from Existencil Press on the old MAXIMUM ROCK 'N ROLL radio show vehemently denying that the music of Crass or they labelmates was in any way to be construed as "entertainment"...glad that I have people like her telling me how evil I am for seeking pleasure outta something meant to change the world for the betterment of all) well, it sure makes sense to me! Gotta say that I love White Stone on all levels, from their primitive performance to their use of seventies metallic chords long discarded as well as the fact that they just durn lack a bass guitar, and even if sometimes their material can be a li'l rote I'm not throwing out any babies or bath water at this time. When I listen to their guys all I can say is that "Long Live Heavy Metal" still has a shard of meaning and dignity left in its oft-hollow cry, and although I might have sniffed at the prospect at one time now I am full front and center for the least-pure, least-talented metal money can buy, or obsessed fans can beg from long-gone groups for that matter!.

WHITE STONE POSTSCRIPT-I just hadda find out more, and it turns out there is a li'l bitta information on the group available via the web that perhaps sheds some light on this act. Por ejemplo, it seems as if White Stone are not as flybynight obscure as I thought, and in fact they even have a number of Cee-Dees available (via CD Universe) which really surprised me considering how they sound as if they're barely able to get the music they recorded here out of their systems and into the air! Also the group was only a duo for this particular recording (or so I would surmise), also utilizing a bass guitar on most if not all of the rest of their output. One release currently available is an instrumental tribute to their favorite guitar heroes from Leslie West to Steve Hackett (!) and yeah, they consider this above release not metallic in nature but more in a "post punk" vein. I'll still be drawing my own conclusions for quite a long time, though right now I'm really hungerin' to hear that electric piano/drums duo who played that King Kenny's night afternoon at the Gallery oh so long ago...
Little Diesel-NO LIE CD (Telstar)

Betcha wond'rin why I snatched this particular spinner up a good five years after the blasted thing was released. If you must know, this is the reason why I bought it! Yes, the UGLY THINGS review was less than complimentary, and although it ain't like I stake my curiosity on any item on just one review it wasn't like I was champing on the bit to rush out 'n buy the thing!

It wasn't until reading the aforementioned WAITAKERE WALKS post entry, coupled with memories of ex-Diesel Peter Holsapple's article on the Winston-Salem proto-punk scene in the first issue of KICKS that I decided that Little Diesel were actually worth whatever $$$ that Moviemarz were offering for this li'l slab. And it's a pretty hotcha one too. If your idea of punk rock was a buncha kids who got together in somebody's garage and did their best to pound out music tightly based on the standard CREEM/ROCK SCENE credo with loads of mid-seventies bargain bin wonders tossed into the mix well, this'll bring a smile to the face of anybody still mourning the loss of the late Gizmos!

It's got that Mid/South style and swerve down, that's for sure, with an approach that comes off like FLAMINGO-period Flamin' Groovies with a few Ludlow Garage audiences tossed in for good measure. The choice of covers are definitely atypical...yeah I'm sure there were more'n a few local garage bands out there who were adding MC5, the Electric Prunes and Bowie in with their own originals, but Little Diesel were also doing everything from Beatles filtered through Blue Ash ("Anytime At All"), Spirit ("I Got a Line on You") and even Kool And The Gang's "Hollywood Swingin'". Why the Stooge-influenced version of the Osmonds' "Yo Yo" was left off I'll never know, though you will be glad to hear that the platter ends with a hidden treat, a cover of Aerosmith's "Sweet Emotion" which I guess proves that Jymn Parrett was right all along to call 'em "punk rockin'" in the fourth issue of his sainted DENIM DELINQUENT fanzine! So good that I wouldn't even mind hearing the pre-Diesel Rittenhouse Square's take on Yes' "Yours is no Disgrace"!

Little Diesel also crank out some good originals too, the strongest of 'em being the New York Dolls "tribute" "Kissy Boys"! And the mix of these originals and the covers works swell as a lighter side to the at-times hard, underground and avant garde rock that was coming out of places as distinct as New York City, Cleveland and Prague during the same time. Nothing wrong with that naturally, but Little Diesel have a nice, suburban freshness to their sound which easily enough correlates to just about everything else that was retaining the wholesome ranch house picnic ideal during a time when Ameriga was suffering through everything from Watergate to STAND UP AND CHEER. I can relate to Little Diesel on this fun, UHF tee-vee potato chip 'n mayo kinda level, and really, maybe YOU should too!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Maybe I ain't the most credible sorta rock scriber to pump out a post on power pop.

So what!

As if I'm any sorta "expert" on just about anything I blab on about here on this blog, and that goes for moom pitchers to old tee-vee shows to music itself! But since I have maybe """some""" information on a subject at hand and you don't, it's me who comes off looking like Encyclopedia Brown when it comes to such banter that anybody in his right mind woulda known or cared about long before the creation of this internet made the world so small that sometimes I feel like I'm engaging in a footsie fight with a Mongolian. And I know...I could leave the subject of power pop to a number of more talented and knowledgeable writers whom I sure could put to pixel just exactly what it was that made the "movement" so interesting way back in the seventies when any music of a rock 'n roll variety that was outside the extremely limited AM/FM sphere was looked upon with extreme suspicion.

And hey,  I for one can recall the closing days of the seventies when even such a comparatively quaint character as Nick Lowe was considered to be the most shocking, despicable and bad apple evil punkster in that otherwise wholesome world of "rock music", even to the point where a relatively pleasant chart-struggler like "Cruel to be Kind" would get the quick flick offa the car radio! To just about everybody I knew, it was just more of that pesky punk rock that shouldn't be cluttering up our precious airwaves, which is one good reason why the Youngstown/Sharon/New Castle area has remained such a rust-bowl when it comes to high energy music to the point where a group such as Sister Ray hadda struggle to make any indent while lesser acts (all covers even!) were given the red carpet treatment in an area that claimed to be so big on the rock & roll ideal but were closer to the Snooky Lanson groove once you really got down to it!

Kinda makes me wonder how some of the teenage denizens of 1979 woulda held up to a CLOCKWORK ORANGE-styled listening session consisting of some of the harsher aspects of what was passing under that "vague rubric" (copyright 1985 Robert Christgau) of new wave that was being hawked via a larger underground cabal than anybody up there on the surface would dare admit existed. Yeah I least we could dream...

The funny thing is, after listening to a load of the power pop quap that was making its way out back inna late-seventies it's surprising that the music as a whole never did find a huge following on the AM band (even in this area which admittedly was basking in some of the radiation being emitted from the Cleveland scene of the Raspberries, Circus etc.). Perhaps that would have been a vision only Greg Shaw would have thought feasible, but given how the movement could have pumped out some mighty strong, hard rockage while retaining the mid-sixties British Invasion feel you woulda thought that more'n just a few "radicals"'d latched onto powerpop as the return of mid-sixties triumph. I guess the proliferation of sopors and rise of disco and AOR put the kibosh on all of that, but really, wouldn't you think that for every pilled out arena rock kid stoked to the gills on Journey (and Anastasia Pantsios) there woulda been ten wholesome and 35% less cavities kids out there who sure coulda used some power pop in their lives???

Yeah, that's all water under the bridge and rock et roll as we knew it has ceased to exist outside our own personal fart-encrusted bedrooms, but that doesn't mean we can still LOVE it the same way that all of those silent majority types who were reminiscing about the Big Bands in 1971 did while the world was hippie-ing out around them. Here are just a very few "power pop" offerings that I've been listening to as of the past few weeks, hardly enough to make up an article worthy of Greg Shaw's BOMP! issue mind you but just the right thing for a mid-week musing that's bound to send you straight to the late-seventies when a more'n a few kids were more content to look back to the mid-sixties at that.
Of course I know why I ignored the Atlantics back when they were actually making some headway into whatever there was of a late-seventies power pop market. Given how my tastes were being drawn towards a shall we say...avant garde mode being affected into a rock 'n roll frame of being (see Clevo/Ako/Kento sphere of sound) music like that of the Atlantics just didn't seem to phase me in light of whatever Roky Erickson (who you believe me was just as "new wave" to mine ears as Pere Ubu!) was apt to be doing. And hey, I gotta admit that the looks of the guys as espied on the left wasn't exactly conduit to my own sense of sartorial about new wave morphed into gnu wave (copyright 1977 Don Waller) and a fashion sense that seems to have been birthed from the mind of a fellow who walked in on his parents goin' at it age three and thought dad was on top strangling mom thus twisting his own sexual identity into something I'd prefer not to get into on this family-oriented blog.

But hey, after listening to these three recent Atlantics exhumations that were released via the Something Hot Communications label (and available via CD Baby) I've gotta admit that these Bostonians were just the right mix of pop and hard rock to almost (operative word) punk (and even metal!), and the combination makes me wanna go and search out the group's own late-seventies big label release that most definitely got lost under the tide of a whole load of subpar sputum. Aural visions of weep wimp sounds got quickly flushed outta my system with these disques that prove hometown Boston certainly did have a life outside of the perennial Velvet Underground worship that it banked its rock 'n roll image on in the seventies. Not quite Raspberries or Cheap Trick, but still hotcha enough with potential AM weirdities like "Pop Shivers",  "Lonelyhearts" and "Television Girl" that, in another world, might have broken outta the local scene ghetto and onto national acceptance, but frankly the kids were too album-oriented braindead to catch on. These guys might've been the best pop group to have come outta Boston since the Sidewinders,  and they certainly were tough enough to match that hallowed act in the teenage potential top 40 outta nowhere hit department.

The two studio disques are definitely the best place to start since ATLANTICS LIVE has too much of that FM radio live sound that kinda irritates me due to the special frequencies that were aimed towards car stereos and dogs. It's a good slice of the live action the Atlantics could whip up but leave it for last. The rest, dug up from rare studio sessions and self-produced singles recorded twist '79/'81, are about as "representative" of what the power pop movement could have aspired to if only a few more spiritually-endowed teenagers out there realized it as the music speaking to their lives and bought these records up faster'n Fonzie (I know...repetitive, but I won't shut up until each and every person on this planet agrees with me, and after that it's straight to Mars all the way!)..

One interesting aside...see the guy on the far left in the first pic with the standard evocative of the mid-sixties snazz-looking suit 'n tie, the modified Moe Howard Beatle hair and the large birth control glasses? That's none other than Fred Pineau, a name that should ring bells if you were a fan and follower of the Boston fanzine scene throughout the seventies. Music-wize he was a member (along with John Horvorka) of Joe Viglione's typically Velvets-minded Astral Projections before ending up with garage band Aerosmith rockers Bonjour Aviators before becoming an Atlantic, and not only that he was a contributor to Viglione's much needed/missed fanzine VARULVEN. Smart credentials for a seventies icon of BLOG TO COMM proportions, and I gotta admit something that does add that special dimension to the music, considering that sometimes what goes on behind the stage is just as important as what's happening in front of a load of wild, screaming teenagers (or aging hipsters like ourselves pretending that this is what their image of what wild, screaming teenagers was supposed to be!)
Took me awhile, but I finally latched onto 2010's Poppees collection entitled POP GOES THE ANTHOLOGY that Bomp! Records unleashed on a public that we all know couldn't care less. But since the folk at Bomp! knew that and released it anyway I couldn't offer them any more kudos than possible. Along with the Planets, Best, Cross, Great Mistaque and a few dozen other groups due for an exhumation, the Poppees were part of the third-string underground New York scene, though where many of these groups drew their energies from various late-sixties/early-seventies rock movements the Poppees' credo was strictly of an early/mid-sixties vintage...mainly the early/mid-sixties Beatles back when the Fabricated Four weren't into their cosmic consciousness phase and could still belt out a Little Richard number with a surprising amount of conviction. Even with this retrogarde stance the Poppees were able to make a dent on the local scene, at least enough that various local critics could point to 'em as if they had just made some sort of big discovery worthy of Columbus..."hey, look at this new rock group I discovered all on my lonesome...they're so great, and while you're at it NOTICE ME for discovering 'em as well!!!"

Gotta admit that it's a good collection with both of the Bomp! single sides sounding about as clear as a good Beatle Cee-Dee bootleg of 1963 studio outtake vintage, 'n not only that but  a coupla tracks I think were supposed to have appeared on the LIVE AT CBGB album power pop up. And (of course!) how could anybody forget some powerful in themselves demos and live throw-ins (including one from the old 82 Club, a subject matter I had been thinking of devoting an entire post to one of these days, at least when things start gettin' slow!) that present the Poppees as something more'n just a throwback nostalgia trip for girls who iron their hair and still proudly display their "George" buttons. I would have thought that the cash-in album under an assumed name they did in '76 during the Beatlemania Revival woulda found their way here, but I guess that dealing with Laurie Records ain't exactly the easiest task in the world so that'll have to wait for a future release.

Finally for today's power pop skim over comes this 'un, an album that was hot off the presses in '77 yet a flea market find  in '82! Yes, here's none other than the first platter from the Chicago-area power poppers who were roamin' under the name Pezband! Like many of you, I remember the press this group, who were actually signed to the Passport record label, best known for importing progressive rockers like Nektar over to these shores as well as signing some of the local proggy home grown acts like Larry Fast's Synergy, had garnered back in the late-seventies. Heck, I even remember all of the stories about 'em in the pages of BOMP! and TROUSER PRESS which gave me the impression that Pezband must have had a mighty good press on their side if they could get all of the boffo print that they were sure grabbing up! And true these guys were just one of the many fine outta nowhere acts that made up the musical vocabulary of the seventies, but when this generation of music got washed away by the time of post-disco wave fluffy metal giddiness a few years later, didn't you shed a tear even though you were one of those sophistacados who thought they were nothin' but Raspberries whitewash?

The debut album is a little too slow and perhaps even maudlin for many (and whose idea was it to get Clarence Clemmons to guest on sax anyway...Little Steven?), but I like it if only for its smart seventies aura and abilities to, like the Raspberries, take the mid-sixties English rock these guys "grew up with" and beef it up for a seventies audience. Smart, sharp and quite sophisticated in its own mop topped way...too bad stuff like this failed to make an indent into the beanies of mid-Amerigan youth while Foreigner did, or maybe we wouldn't be living in the current state of duh that we most certainly are!
For a kiddo who grew up with the sounds of music like this blarin' from teenage radios and carpool drives long before I could even  fathom the fact that someday I'd possess thousands of sound artyfacts let alone a few platter here 'n there,  these recordings positively fit into my perhaps preconceived notions of what power pop had been and should surely remain. And although the genre certainly has lived on (I recall writing about a comparatively recent act called Morgan Taylor's Rock Group in the lastest issue of my very own fanzine) it ain't like it's as prevalent as it once was a good thirty years back when we were all younger, a whole lot more innocent and certainly stupider than we are now.

Still, ya just gotta wonder about what youth has become if it would reject hotcha high energy musics such as those of the aforementioned acts for the comparatively pallid sounds of most everything which has transpired over the past thirtysome years! I mean, kids can be wild, vile murderous and all of those other cool things just as they were in the past, but the music that backs their rage is definitely some of the most hollow to reach ear in quite some time. Dunno about you, but I could see small teenage cabals surrounding free jazz, or the Velvet Underground, or even the seemingly innocent strains of power pop come to think of it, but only a starry eyed geek or VILLAGE VOICE reader would actually believe that the rap and hip hop, not to mention the sickening strains of Lady Caga (the Patti Page of the teens) has that societal force or whatever other leftover Marxist jargon you can think of to transform people. But hey, I guess that's my aging image of what youth is supposed to entail so send me to the old fogie's home and slip me a bottle of Geritol and like pronto!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

So after last week's post what were you expectin',  another blabathon only this time detailing the last 5000 years of civilization complete w/footnotes? Sheesh, it's like a blogschpieler like myself can't take a li'l break once in awhile!

Some oldies, some newies, and all are guaranteed to affect you, or not affect you, in one way or another. That's for wishy-washy nonjudgmental sure!

Mars-LIVE AT ARTISTS SPACE LP (Feeding Tube, 90 King St., Northampton, MA 01060)

From the same brains that brought you the boffo Gary Wilson album a month or so back comes this outta nowhere gem, an LP featuring the infamous no wave gang Mars live at the "legendary" Artists Space gig struttin' their atonal spew for those lucky and/or aware enough to have caught this act back when the catching was good. Each side features an entire set of typical Martian blare (the kind you've been accustomed to ever since the debut of NO NEW YORK oh so long ago) and although both of 'em are whatcha'd call "identical" in setlists there are quite a few variations that will make the more ass-tightened amongst us want to engage in some extremely close listening. It would be great if one could spin both sides in unison to discern the remarkable differences simultaneously but even after a casual listen I'm sure even a dolt like you will notice some remarkable variations twist the same numbers recorded on the very same evening!

Nice sound abounds too even if these were recorded by two different fans on two different machines (straight outta the audience!), and of course it's always fun giving this venerable group yet another listen because once you get down to it all of these seventies variations on sixties accomplishment were just as important and as crucial to the high energy listening attitude as the originals. As soon as the eighties clocked in the kicks really did get harder and harder to find until today it's all such a memory that even the smart hype regarding the latest in a long line of bared-wire intensity acts is nada but wishful if hopeless thunk.

Forced Exposure has been carrying this (still in stock!) and I'm sure even a casual perusal of the web'll turn up a few copies here/there. But whatever, along with the recent Jack Ruby platter this is living proof that maybe the true promise and potential the seventies underground possessed is still waiting to be discovered via archival digs such as these. One can only hope for more Artists Space-recorded bounty to make it's way to our ears, since acts like the Gynecologists, Daily Life, Terminal and of course the Communists (with former Kongress warbler and galpal to Von Lmo Iolsa Hatt) are just beggin' to be heard!
Bunwinkies-MAP OF OUR CONSTELLATIONS LP (Feeding Tube)

At last, an album that answers the question "Is Folk Rock Dead???" And, judging from the debut platter from this New England-bred group, the answer is nada! A pretty good album for these first-timers who sure know how to do a highly decent approximation of the Fairport Convention sound and sway right down to the charming femme lead singer, coming off very 1969 without the stultifying airs of hippoid pretension. Not only that, but the opening track sounds just about as Velvet Underground as all of those songs that both well inbred rock critics and fanzine upstarts were just itching to compare to the Velvets back in the early-seventies long before that became the de rigeur must do thing for these knowitalls to gain underground cred by!


Here's one that, despite the presence of MX-80er's Bruce Anderson and Dale Sophiea in the mix, I rarely play and perhaps given the company they keep (as well as the label they're on) it's not hard to see why. After all, any group that would boast not only Henry Kaiser (who never really lit any ass-fuses here even when teamed up with Anderson, whom I consider a vastly superior guitarist) but former Grateful Dead keyboadist Tom Constanten isn't exactly begging for me to give up precious pre-beddy bye time. But considering the presence of longtime faves Anderson and Sophiea I figured that this '95 obscuro'd be one worthy of the occasional drag out 'n reassess treatment, and if I didn't do just that you'd probably be reading my umpteenth review of LIVE AT CBGB's  here so quit your bellyaching!

Thankfully the results more resemble one of the better (and frankly, there have been worse!) MX-80 side projects and not a Kaiser solo album nor Dead community of living and breathing denizens of Marin County morphing from psychedelic karma to Whole Earth Mental Retardation. Although Kaiser's guitar does feature prominently it's Anderson's soaring lines that hold this one together. Even Constanten's keyboards have enough of that hipster avant garde inclination that Dead pundits used to rave about in the sixties...a little Ra here and some nice Cecil Taylor posturing there...and doesn't get in the way like anybody with two braincells to rub together might have thought. And it all goes by smoothly on these mid-nineties reworkings of various smart-rock moves of the past, the most exciting which has to be the remake of Sonny Sharrock's "Blind Willie"...a fitting tribute to the recently-deceased guitarist whose presence certainly was felt, at least by people like Anderson and undoubtedly even Kaiser who've glommed on his playing for the previous quarter-century.

Not bad at all, and I didn't even mention that the drummer on this 'un was one Lukas Ligeti, a trusted name in various jazz and rock circles to this day and his dad was even György which only goes to show you that genes don't pop that far outta the pool after all.

This bugger's over a decade old but (considering my advanced age) it sure seems like yesterday the thing was unleashed onto a public that had only then began to realize that if it weren't for the Sonics the Stooges or even Henry Rollins never would have existed. Well, nothing that obtuse, but it's sure grand listening to this noted Northwest Rock group during their oat-feeling days in the early-sixties when the Brothers Parypa were taking their cues from the Wailers and proceeding to thrust the entire local scene sound into warp drive. Naturally there are a lotsa Wailers covers not forgetting the familiar NW standards, current hits and vocals done with the addition of singers Marilyn Lodge and Bob Goldberg which make this a pretty hotcha trip back to a time which too many hippies say were dullsville, but with music like this who can believe 'em! And for fans of the "hit version" of the group the infamous SONICS HOUSE PARTY EP with Gerry Roslie handlin' the keyboard and vocal chores pops up at the end as to say goodbye to one era of rock 'n roll and hello to another! Snif!!!
The Mystery Trend-I'M SO GLAD I FOUND YOU CD (Big Beat UK)

Frankly, if it weren't for Greg Shaw's occasional name-dropping and that article on 'em in the oft-ignored COMSTOCK LODE I doubt if I'd even know who these guys were. But given the above hip creds plus the fact that the Mystery Trend even got their own mega-feature in the first issue of the essential CREAM PUFF WAR I just hadda latch onto this collection of what I guess is their "best" material as judged by some of the brainier collectors and anal retentives in fandom extant! I'M SO GLAD I FOUND YOU is a boffo set at that, a gathering of sides that gives us a good idea of where this group was coming from back during the early days of the "San Francisco Scene" when even the likes of the Jefferson Airplane and Grateful Dead could have been mistaken for the Chocolate Watchband and Teddy and his Patches if you squinted your ears just a li'l bit.

The Trend do have the early boss San Fran ideals in place from their Lovin' Spoonful-inspired folk rockisms to just the right touch of pop, sorta like Moby Grape and the early Flamin' Groovies did even when the Spoonful became the uncoolest group after Zal Yanovsky blabbed to the cops. In fact, you can also hear a li'l Great Society and Final Solution in their sound which would figure since all three bands were minglin' about at the time and surely some aspects of the groups mighta rubbed off on each other. This is San Francisco long before the acid burnouts took charge, way back when even punks like the Groovies coulda been mistaken for hippoids because nobody but a select few could tell the difference. Pleasant top forty-bred at one time, then quite chilling as on the infamous Verve side "Johnny Was a Good Boy" not to mention the shoulda-been-controversial "Mercy Killing" and overall a fine testament to just what the Bay Area could have accomplished despite the wave of publicity and ever-swelling egos.

The package set up's good as well, complete with liner notes from CREAM PUFF WAR's own Alec Palao as well as some back cover blurb which states that "the Mystery Trend are renowned as one of the first alternative rock bands..." An interesting assessment, but if this is so what does that make ABC???

Missed out on the Pups' platters way back when for a number of reasons like the lack of money, not enough interest, and the blamed fact that by the time SST got 'round to sending me freebees for review all they felt like doling out were those fusion-y albums of varied quality, some of which were even recorded by label stars Black Flag! But what I did hear, via various live and radio sessions sent my way by Imants Krumins, was rather impressive as were the occasional tracks that would pop up on various SST samplers and the like. Plus I gotta admit that the way this group had become entangled within the nefarious web of BREAKFAST WITHOUT MEAT (perhaps thee best fanzine of any stratum to make its way outta the dungheap I refer to as the eighties) was a rather noble effort, This is especially true considering that the Puppets, like the fanzine itself, were lurching about in all directions with regards to their musical mayhem making them perhaps the biggest omni-inspired musical act to hit the rockism boards since MX-80 Sound!

This debut, reissued complete with a load of rarities the group produced on their lonesome prior to their signing, is the proverbial bee's knees as it takes the then-already decaying concept of "eighties punk" and begins to deconstruct it into terrain I'm positive a good portion of the local fashion plate underground shuddered in fear at. Taking punk rock to yet another strange level, the Puppets can mangle and tangle the best ways possible...then when you're expecting the crash through the hymen of perception they draw back on stylish instrumental forms and whacked out covers of "Everybody's Talking"! Don't ignore the inspired take on "I Got a Right" which is bound to blow every bad eighties variation outta the water! Genius untampered with and molded into its own personalist form...I like it!