Sunday, May 13, 2012

Although May has hit us the same way a fart slaps the back of yer 'nads with a rather potent sting,  at this point in time I feel as if I'm stuck in the dawggy days of stifling, humid summer. I could blame it on the mild winter we've had which makes it seem as if we've just skipped from autumn to spring with one mere step, but right now I gotta admit that I'm slipping into those midsummers doldrums that usually come with the extreme heat and my naturally built-in laziness (coupled with a strong loathing of life and hefty ennui at that) fully in gear. 'n yeah, I know that I'm alleged to be "too smart" to let such things as the pressures and travails of "real life" get to me, but sheesh, well sometimes mere existence just does that no matter how hard one doth protest and yell and yammer I will, but frankly I find that there's no way that I can stop killer time from doing his dirty work! Each morning when I look into the mirror I sure can see the evilness of his handicraft etched into my puffy eyes and spotted nose just brimmin' with blackheads, not to mention those li'l "blebs" of skin around my eyes which my doctor says he can burn off at a good $150 or so a pop!

Well, at least amidst the personal decay I've come up with some more of my juicy reviews that you can easily enough glom below, some of the material courtesy of Bill Shute whilst others were donated by none other'n Weasel Walter! All I gotta say is both of these guys really know how to hurt a person's eardrums with the massive wall of cacophony that they've been inundating me as of late, but thanks anyway guys!

Lizzy Mercier Descloux-ZULU ROCK CD (Ze)

Yeah, you know the only reason I bought this 'un, right? It's because of the description regarding how both Descloux and ROCK NEWS/Ze Records head Michel Esteban heard this late-sixties South African pop record produced by a transplanted Englishman by the name of Julius Levine which had a strong Velvet Underground vibe and they wanted to recreate the sound for their own profit and pleasure! Can't complain with a goal such as that, and although the real questions I had remain to be answered (like, who was Julius Levine and what record were Esteban and Descloux listening to?) at least I have this platter to contend with, and contend with it I must!

After the dark New York no wave-ish records Descloux had previously recorded this 'un sounds mighty lighthearted. And it sounds undoubtedly like something I would have chucked into the trash had I heard it at the time. Really, in 1983 the LAST thing I needed was squeaky-clean fluff or new wave pop or any of those sounds that were turning the eighties into the years of cringe, but fortunately I am now at least a little more mature to realize that this music ain't fluff by any stretch of the groin. Yeah, it can come off just as queasy as any white man invading the aboriginal music scene you'd care to think of, but it does have a certain special lilt about it. And frankly, if I can't locate the records that were the inspiration for this I just better listen to this all the more and pretend...

Not quite the sub-Saharan Velvet Underground I was expecting (neither were Group Inerane, who at least come closer to the taproot), ZULU ROCK's got a light bounce, snappy folk rocky melodies and a "feeling" that might remind a whole lotta people of Paul Simon's GRACELAND which this platter obviously gets compared to a whole load of times. Thankfully when ZULU ROCK ain't sounding like the music for some beer commercial it does have an interesting, trance like feel (which I guess is where the Velvets refs figure in) that I can find a whole lotta affinity for. But right now all I can do is flash back to those years when after being bombarded with sounds made by a rock contingent that knew how to rope the best aspects of VU/Detroit aesthetics and translate them into late-seventies cataclysm, the remnants began wafting into ethnic variations and other tangents that seemed to have very little in common with the original thrust and you can bet that I was a sad boy!

I get the feeling that this will be one of those platters, like the Velveteen one, which I'll come to really enjoy before shoving it back in the rack until the next Velvets ref. tingles my cranium. It is a nice effort that I will be spinning for quite some time, if only to unlock whatever it was in here that was supposed to be so life-reaffirming and all, (And hey, if anyone can point me towards any of those Julius Levine-produced tracks that were the inspiration for this, please let me in on the big secret! They sound like they'd be the real deal high energy platters to listen to w/o the interference of some European femme interloper!).
Edison With The Weather-OFF THE CUFF CD (Sus 4 Records, available via CD baby)

Another pick up in my quest to discover some of those under-the covers New York underground groups that spent some time (one gig if any) playing the New York underground of CBGB and Max's Kansas City from the early-seventies until 2006. Even (especially?) if they weren't exactly new wave, hardcore punk or something that would have immediately been written up in a variety of magazines devoted to such music at the time. As to where Edison With The Weather fits into all this well, they were more in line with some of those groups whose names you used to see presented in teeny tiny letters on the CBGB ads in the back pages of THE VILLAGE VOICE, usually on one of those Tuesday nights when they'd cram four or five groups onto a bill and you'd never hear from 'em again much to the dismay of the band members at hand. Given that these guys ('n backup gal singers) were performing a jazz rock that reminds me of mid/late-seventies Steely Dan with maybe a touch of Hall and Oates arrangements and Cars emote tossed in, it ain't hard to see why they'd fail in the middle of all of that decadence goin' on. Then again, Edison et. al. had some interesting punch and swerve in their music that didn't have me rip the disque off of the laser launch pad the way I would with various items too reminiscent of the worst moments of AM top forty decline and fall. And although it was quite obvious that they never were gonna make as big a splash in the wild world of rock as many lesser lights at least they managed to get this halfway decent spin out which is nothing to burn the house down about, but nothing to loathe either.
The Beatles-HISTORICAL STAR CLUB TAPES two CD-R set burn (originally released on Mister Claudel Records)

For a guy who missed out on latching onto that Beatles Star Club album that came out 'round '76  (mostly out of boredom if anything) this release of questionable legality (I think it was on the market for a few nanoseconds before the legal eagles took notice) does come in mighty handy. Can't compare it to either that legit double-LP set nor the various Star Club bootlegs that have come out in the interim (since I ain't got any of those!)  but for you readers who've irritated your family and friends with those Silver Beatles demos (and yes, I was told to "take that boring junk off" by supposedly open-minded popsters back inna early eighties!) you pretty know what to expect. Mainly the four getting outta their leather duds 'n into the EMI groove that would take 'em into heights heretofore unseen by many an act pop or not. Fun rockster ambiance (not quite Max's but livelier 'n the Fillmore)  and a great selection of oldies and numbers soon to be familiar to us all can be heard, and in better quality than one might expect. An entertaining as well as "historical" presentation despite the numerous incomplete recordings, and as a bonus we get some numbers by King Size Taylor and Cliff Bennett taken from a Star Club New Year's Even bill they shared with the Beatles that must've been one of those shows that the patrons'd never forget in a million kazillion years! Or one of those shows that I'm sure a few thousand locals said they attended when in reality they were at home listening to their Horst Jankowski albums!
Metal Rouge-LET US PRETEND THAT WE HAVE NO PLACE TO GO CD (Kendra Steiner Editions)

The latest in the KSE catalog which might go to prove that this label just very well may be the Obscure Records of the teens. For a moment I thought that this 'un was gonna be some hotcha heavy metal romp but as usual I was wrong...turns out that former New Zealanders Metal Rouge play this free form clang that reminds me of Michael Nyman and a slew of those seventies composers who were taking various Cageian, Glassian and Rileyian modes and going into even crankier realms with it. Add a lot of the modern-day electronic improv/freeform sounds that certainly ain't alien to the likes of the folks at KSE and you'll get an even better idea. At times noisy, at others rather calming, this one doesn't sound like anything you'd hear outta the beret and stale doritos gang who used to show each other their gravestone rubbings back inna seventies. Considering how such mirror-gazing consciousness was considered "art" when I was entering into high school perhaps you should be all the luckier for it!

Too young to have enjoyed these Coke commercials done up by some of the biggest hitsters of the day, but havin' 'em on one platter's sure to bring back some sorta memories of something I didn't experience in the first place! The infamous Jan 'n Dean one that popped up on PEBBLES VOL. 4 nor the Who's "Coke after Coke" one ain't here, but you get some hotcha takes by the Troggs, Box Tops, Tremeloes and many more. Most sound as good as the hits and some have the artist doing voice overs (the Sandy Posey one's a hoot!), and not only that but you get two by the Moody Blues, one Denny Laine era and the other Hayward and Lodge making for one interesting group evolution study right before your very ears!
OL' PAINT CD-R burn (originally on GWP records)

Yet another one of those whoosh wha' 'app'd?  kinda releases that reminds me of the flybynights I used to eyeball at the record shops back when I was twelve...y'know, the albums that had these really strange if at-times eye-catching covers that probably housed a whole lotta duff music custom made for the annoying hippie relative in your life. Judging from the cover of this 'un Ol' Paint sure woulda seemed like one of those kinda groups, only the music that pops up here certainly ain't the early-seventies relevant garbage that inadvertently turned more'n a few innocent bystanding kids into frothing white power maniacs. Actually, this Syracuse group did pretty good with their 1971 pop rock sensibilities that had just a tad bit of then-current introspection but some pretty nice moves that might have earned 'em a one-shot AM hit like the Rock Flowers or Giorgio. OK, it does drag a bit towards the end, but otherwise OL' PAINT was a nice li'l diversion that, with a little beefing up, coulda been a nice lost- LP contender to rank with Hackamore Brick and the Sidewinders. Think what Stories woulda sounded like on that first album if Michael Brown wasn't on the thing and you'r about halfway there.
Normal Love-SURVIVAL TRICKS CD; Microwaves-;PSONIC IMEDEANCE CD (both available via ugEXPLODE)

Coming in just under the wire are these two newies from the same label that gave you all of those mind-decaying Weasel Walter free jazz albums that are bound to give your brain that relapse its been beggin' for these past umpteen years.

When I saw the "Normal Love" Cee Dee I naturally thought it might have been a soundtrack for the famous Ron Rice Jack Smith underground film which not only featured Diane DiPrima dancing with preggo belly sticking way out but Tiny Tim looking upon the bevy of scantily-dressed dancers who accompanied Di Prima with udder amazement. (Unfortunately when viewing the film via ubuweb I couldn't spot Mr. Khaury at all...go figure!) Turns out that this new group only copped their name, but they sure did a good job of recreating the mind-addled whizzitude of that film with their sound which (to borrow a bit from the hypesheet) reminds me of a little bit Etron Fou Leloublan and a whole lof ugEXPLODE-styled midwest noise-destructo music. Or maybe downtown Manhattan improv musings  that don't come off like they were custom made for a stodgy VILLAGE VOICE feature. The Lydia Lunch-ish bleat of lead singer Rachel Bell (who also handles the sampler, and I don't mean "Home Sweet Home" either!) also points the way towards some no wave ref. pts. but given the myriad asst. of hodgepodge influences it's hard to say what you're really in store for here. A pretty grand slice of modern experimental techno art punk jazz music that doesn't come off one bit pretentious or officially elitist (you know..."our music obviously proves we are better than you will ever be!").

Microwaves on the other hand remind me of the mid/late-eighties post-hardcore melding into heavy metal rock that was confusing more'n a few staunch cheerleaders for "their" music out there in teenboland. And if you don't remember, a good portion of both the genres were making pretty good stands back in them days, at least until the boundaries became too warped and it became a little too cross-references and watered down for my own personal tastes. But Microwaves remind me of the earlier days of the movement(s) when the fierce music and pounding percussives hadn't run themselves into the ground yet. Parts come off like the Japanese bass/drums duo Ruins which is a rather dandy ref. pt. if you ask me, and if you're a fellow who is cherishing at the thought of Imants Krumins' record collection being auctioned off this might keep you satiated until the big day!

No comments: