Sunday, May 06, 2012

Well whaddaya know! Not only did I manage to scrape up enough money to buy some fresh listening grub, but lucky me even obtained two new (and unsolicited more/less!) freebee items that were sent with the express purpose that I review them for this blog! In other words, once again I am in JOYBELL HEAVEN because of the kindness of these two individuals who felt me worthy to review their latest wares! Just goes to show you what an "important" kinda guy I am that people would actually send their efforts my way just so's I can mention 'em on this blog which is traveled even more frequently than Vanessa Del Rio's hiney!

Obviously the thought of these freebees in my collection makes me feel like a particularly proud feller, and although I could easily act like the typical bigcity rockcrit snoot and dismiss these without giving them a fair listen as sort of a cruel joke I most definitely will review each note on these platters with an open mind and unclogged ear canals! And you thought I was some kind of inefficient jerkoff doof all along, eh? Well I AIN'T, and the mere fact that two platters filled with freshly-recorded music have made their way to my door only goes to show you that maybe I haven't been "written off" as a hasbeen nobody like way too many people out there in wonkland think I have...right? RIGHT????

All kidding aside (after all, I am one of the lowlier forms of life when it comes to expressing exactly what it is which makes a certain grouping of sound patterns entertaining, life-rearranging or just plain disgusting for that matter!). here's what's passed from the needle (or laser light) to the speakers to my hammer/stirrup and ultimately my braincells (all two of 'em!) this past week. Just five items mind you, but like I said two of 'em are newly-minted and one of 'em ain't that old anyway. If you wish, use these writeups as a basis for whether or not you wanna hear these offerings either via the web or the good ol' fashioned way just like you did back when you were a kid and you'd cruise the Robert Christgau Consumer Guide to find out where your kopecks would be heading within the next few days. Only don't come crying to me in the same fashion you've always wanted to strangle the "dean" because he gave some duffoid item an A+ and you just wasted your entire week's worth of lunch money on some dog because of it!

Avant Duel-BEYOND HUMAN CD (available via Avant Duel)

I mean...who woulda thought?

This year has produced a brand spanking-new album (true it is a "Cee-Dee," but it's so hard for me to drop good ol' seventies music listening jargon!) by a new group that has captured my spirit, imagination, consciousness and a whole lotta that rockcrit hyperbole I just can't get outta my system after reading some old issue of CIRCUS magazine. The amazing thing about it is that the two behind it have been making this brand of deep-space gothic no wave quasi-metal for quite some time, and if you must know this platter has excited me like nothing since the recent Rocket From The Tombs download  so let's not say that this is one of those flash-right-by-ya spins that get played once and filed in the back of your collection with the rest of your Lou Miami and the Cosmetics discs!

Only goes to show you that rock 'n roll as a futuristic, high energy endeavor is in the hands of the old timers and don't let anybody tell you different! Avant Duel is the new group that VON LMO and Otto von Ruggins have put together with LMO on vocals and guitar and von Ruggins handling the electronic devices, and these two, who have been working together since the sixties in such acts as Funeral of Art and of course the infamous early Kongress, really have their karmic thought patterns aligned since their resultant BEYOND HUMAN platter's one of the meanest, most soul-searing releases to have been heard in quite a long time. If you miss the garage-clang of the old Chrome albums or considered the ELECTRONIC MEDIATION-era Tangerine Dream and Harmonia punk rock groups, you certainly will go for this under-the-radar extravaganza!

More than a few moments do echo the previously namedropped acts with a few obv. refs to not only HALF MACHINE LIP MOVES but MEDITATION and MUSIK VON HARMONIA clearly evident. LMO hasn't lost any of his vocal stylings or guitar prowess o'er the years and is still the classic emoter when it comes to vocal duties (and yeah, his blitzoid no wave guitar is highly evident), while von Ruggins is one of the few people who can take the new generation of electronic gear and make it sound like everything from a discarded Martin Rev track to something I really wish more of those eighties new wavers woulda done 'stead of the giddy dance music they eventually came up with! These guys use electronics the same way William Burroughs used language, and the resultant sounds ain't anything that woulda satiated yer typical Rock Lobstering neophyte that's for sure!

Lotsa standouts on this 'un such as "Electromagnetic Playground,"  a great synth buzz utilizing the classic "Sister Ray" riff while "Hologram Girl" reminds me of Malcolm Mooney-era Can run through Uniblab from THE JETSONS. "Dark Rift" is gothic nightmare with backwards vocals, horror moom organ (which was actually played by LMO on a guitar synth...and let it be known that the man actually did a lotta keyboard work on this 'un!) and pounding Klaus Schultze-styled drums (some played by von Ruggins!) that really drive the aforementioned ELECTRONIC MEDITATION comparisons home. Disque closer "Beyond Human" sounds like Burundi drums and guitar strangulations backing LMO's chanting in an attempt to raise Jimi from the grave! All points in between aren't bad either as you'll probably find out eventually.

Fans of early-seventies krautrock will certainly appreciate this as will those who understand the finer aspects of late-sixties punk rock moves and Max's Kansas City right around the time the downstairs hadda close up due to "neglect." If you miss the dark, dreary yet energetic pulse of New York underground rock before the eighties white-washed it out of existence well, you know the score already.
Comateens-GHOSTS 12-inch EP (Cachelot)

Speaking of dark, dreary, energetic electronic pulsating New York underground rock, did these guys really fit in the same way such fellow travelers as Kongress or WKGB did? Perhaps, since not only do I associate the Comateens with the electronic, Danceteria geekiness of eighties New York "new wave" music but the edgy nova rock of the final days of Max's Kansas City which produced such eternal rock 'n roll concepts as not only Von Lmo but even the Zantees. So it was with a hearty adventurous spirit that I snatched this "maxi-single" considering how many of these New York acts produced some rather exciting moments even if they would eventually fall into some of the tiredest ruts that seemed to lay to waste all of the promise that these up-from-nowhere New York bands held for us just a few short years earlier. And hey, it turns out that the Comateens did a pretty hotcha job on this 'un sounding new wave yet still rooted in a style that took everything from the Velvet Underground to ? and the Mysterians and electronified it for a new generation of fans. And the fact they could refurbish these ideals with synthesizers and drum machines and pull it off w/o sounding totally worthless is something I sure hope the entire (surviving) group is proud of even a good three decades later..

With a style and swerve that just reeks last days of Max's/seventies-eighties rock cusp, the 'teens do a fairly good electro-dance-y thing on the a-side that surprisingly enough doesn't "offend" me if only because they managed to yank it out w/o the gloss and self-consciousness of their contemporaries. Flipsider "Late Night City" was a fave on the Marty Thau sampler and it sounds boffo here as well. Kinda like 1963 Top Forty filtered through Lou Reed and treated by Eno back when he was good. The theme from THE MUNSTERS actually succeeds which is a surprise considering how the early/mid-sixties tee-vee nostalgia craze of the eighties produced a whole lotta lame new wave damnation-as-praise. But like the Foreign Bodies version this works not only as a reminder of fun times but as a driving instrumental in itself.

One that's worth a find and hey, were those other Comateen records really as bad as I heard they were? Or let me restate that...were they as bad as the Comateens ended up looking with those 1962 Italian greaser haircuts? Whatever, it'd sure be good if some enterprising label'd gather up all of these early tracks and more and present 'em for us in the here and now since this music, which was probably up-nosed and poo-poo'd in its day, sounds a whole lot better'n most of the Madonna gunk that eventually came outta that sordid scene and continues to rot away this late in the game!
Fadensonnen-WHITE NIGHT CD (Fadensonnen Records, see link up in blog list on left)

Ah, yet another newie to sparkle my senses this week, the latest platter from PD Fadensonnen and his partner in sound RD. On this go 'round the duo make even more of an atonal blur of raucous spew than they have the previous five or so releases, trying to do their best to make the most hard-nailed sounds (viz a viz Chrome filtered through Les Rallizes Denudes' amplifiers) utilizing everything from anvil and snake phase shifter guitars and tape manipulations to stylophones, and rather than coming off like typical ten year olds jerkin' 'round with Big Brothers' stereo equipment this does take off on a rather feral bent. If you are one who is searching for the missing link between WHITE LIGHT/WHITE HEAT (or side two of FUNHOUSE) and METAL MACHINE MUSIC, you may have found it right here!!

Personal faves are "Lunar Stomp" and "Manhattan Tongues" (yours may differ), but "Snake Charmer": does have a certain appeal like one of those Can Ethnic Musical Forgeries. Whatever your likes, this is one that wouldn't look or sound too outta place in your industrial/avant music collection where it and the entire Fadensonnen catalog belong, natch!

I requested this one from Brad Kohler via his technowhiz friend not only because of the group's frequent mention in various issues of NEW HAVEN ROCK PRESS but due to the fact that Jasper Wrath were around long enough to have appeared at the CBGB Christmas Rock Festival in '75. If you ask me historical straws such as these need to be grasped at, especially if you're as anal about certain acts figuring into certain places and times such as I am! And hey, this '71 album, originally released on MGM's Sunflower imprint, ain't that bad an affair despite the group's rather Crimson/Tull-ish inclinations. Think English prog '69 before it became way too gluggo for your tastes, or better yet what the Moody Blues might have come up with had they decided to lock themselves in a closet and listened to every late-sixties Amerigan garage band album they could find in order to get the sound down pat. No Yes-inspired visions of damsels in distress fighting dragons here, nor are there any lyrics that would have earned us an "F" in high school English class...just some pretty good late-sixties pop with just enough classical influx that won't make you puke!

I understand that the indie single they released shortly before splitsville was supposed to have been
"atrocious" though hey, some of the things pundits have been telling us sounded like turds o'er the years have turned out pretty nice after all so who's to judge other than me. There's a double-CD set featuring the album, the single and some latterday stuff recorded 'round the time of the CBGB gig out there that I wouldn't mind getting my ears on so as they say, "stay tuned."
Carla Lynne Hall-DIRTY5 CD (, or try CD Baby)

Goodness knows just how much I miss tuning into those CBGB cybercasts! From the clubs' three stages (including the gallery and lounge next door) there was a whole lotta music to contend with, some good, some atrocious, and maybe even a little of it inspiring. But hey, it was nice experiencing new music being performed on the spot as it was happening, mostly by some young upstart whose repertoire I might have had little affinity for but the desperation these acts would sometimes ooze was rather enjoyable to say the least.

Surprisingly enough I seemed to be tuning into the 'casts from the CB's 313 Gallery and the downstairs Lounge more often than the main stage. This was probably due to the fact that I was not exactly a huge fan of the rock music, underground or not, especially the kind that was emanating from the major club at the time. Too much of it seemed to derivative, not that there's anything wrong with that, but when bands swipe more from the likes of REM or Alice in Chains (two acts I never could wrap my ears around) rather than the Velvet Underground or MX-80 Sound you kind of get the feeling that rock 'n roll went off on a stray path ages ago! However, although I'm not exactly that fond of the myriad assortment of stripped down singer/songwriters and amerindie mewls that the Gallery and Lounge were noted for booking, I was more'n apt to be up and front for the various free jazz shows that would play the smaller stages considering that the post-"new thing"/loft scene is a music that continues to have a lasting throb-thrilled impact on me. And frankly, a good portion of the acts playing the various CBGB outlets were worthwhile even with a firm BLOG TO COMM sense of values firmly installed, and if I can only (re)experience that once-archived cybercast that an outta-the-way li'l trio called Lucky did back '99 way again I'd be happier than Elton John stowed away on a Turkish navy cruiser!.

Thus it's no surprise that I often would have a live show being cybercast directly from the stage of one of the CB's clubs, more often than not the Gallery or Lounge,  playing freely in my room as I would putzy about or do some serious readin'. Frankly I gotta say that I look back upon those moments in time about as fondly as I do when thinking about listening to oldies radio shows or even baroque organ recitals when I was but a mere teen. That's undoubtedly the reason I snatched this disque by Carla Lynne Hall which was recorded at the Lounge up...I mean true, she is a folkie and true her music is rooted in the Southern California singer/songwriter critics rock mode of the seventies, but the free spirited performance which has a little tinge of stage fright nerves comes off rather affable, as does the woman who is performing these numbers with the aid of an acoustic guitar played by either herself or accompanist Christian Cassan.

Maybe it does help if you think these songs are coming more from the emote of Tim Buckley than Joni Mitchell, but there is a nice intimate and perhaps even slightly intense feeling to this set which does lean heavily on the more Laurel Canyon aspects of sensitive solo singers (one tip off being the presence of a Little Feat cover). Think maybe Essra Mohawk 'stead of Linda Ronstandt and you might get a clearer picture. Thankfully, one word that Hall remembered from her school days was "tension" which she jams into these sometimes jazzy, sometimes folkie but never "introspective" to the point of nausea numbers.

So yeah, it's a good snatch up that should do me well as the years go on. And yeah, even a tuffy like you could like it perhaps in the same way that the mostly right on but sometimes skewered Nick Kent liked all that crapola that people like me avoided with a passion. After all, at least he was once a Sex Pistol and the best you could settle for was playing flute-a-phone in that first grade noise bangster you had with the kid next door. Still,  a nice display o' unrecognized talent that doesn't make me think of bell bottoms and body painting the way Melanie and her hoards of admirers did and that's gotta account for something!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Chris,

Thanks for the kind words as always, im guessing you havent made up your mind about the blogpost titles?

Gonna have to check out the Avant Duel disc - been playing Red Resistor ALOT lately - Von Lmo is never gonna get recognized for his post-I Heard Her Call My Name -guitar-stranglin prowess.


PD Fadensonnen