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!


Anonymous said...

i was kind of bummed out by the mars record. it sounds like a piece of crap.

Anonymous said...

Mystery Trend's obscuro Ron Nagle had a good pre/glam album named''Bad Rice''in the very early 70s.Later during the new wave years formed with Scott Mathews the quirky power pop duo Durocs,but thats another story...

Serena WmS. Burroughs said...

Byron Coley, or as I sometimes refer to him, B. Coli, sent me a cassette of Meat Puppet oddities and rarities a long time ago that had a version of "Everybody's Talkin'" on it. That song was written by Fred Neil, another secret Clevelander, who also wrote "A Little Bit of Rain," which was covered by Ambitious Lovers on the "Rubáiyát" compilation, which also had John Zorn's version of "T.V. Eye." The "In A Car" EP is my favorite Meat Puppets stuff...when Bill Orcutt was visiting Faded Barber House, I put that on the record player, and he called it in like three notes. (Do you remember "Name That Tune"?)