Saturday, August 11, 2012


You tell me...maybe this walking turd just found out that he's finally gonna be getting that proboscis job he's been waiting for his entire life, or maybe he just flashed back to 1976 and is doing a bad Jimmy Carter impression. Being a fan of early/mid-sixties tee-vee perhaps he's re-enacting the infamous "Look Ma, No Cavities" commercial! Of course with those dimples maybe he's even fancying himself as the new Shirley Temple to the point where he's gonna head for the nearest steps and do a li'l dancin' up and down 'em. More realistically, maybe some prankster told him some really exciting if far-fetched news, like perhaps Chuck Eddy and Anastasia Pantsios (amongst other fan favorites) have just been offed in the most excruciating way possible!!!

Actually it's none of the above...this chap is smiling because he had the pleasure of not only listening to a whole load of great music this week but reading some pretty hotcha energy-packed rockscreeding, and as a result is just bursting at the seams like a well-cooked wiener to tell you lumpen (and lumpy) proles all about it in his typically fannish if condescending way!

Well, one reason the fanabla's been flashin' the pearlies as of late is due to the acquisition of two old issues ('72 vintage even!) of CREEM, also known as AMERICA'S ONLY ROCK 'N' ROLL MAGAZINE as the cover proudly states and boy you better believe it! Hokay, there were "other" rock 'n' roll mags floating around in Ameriga at the time that were every bit as rock 'n' roll as the venerable Detroit-based rag, but they were fanzines 'n all and really, although it woulda been a grand idea, just how easy was it to trek down to your local newsstand and latch onto a copy of TEENAGE WASTELAND GAZETTE anyway? YOU know why I love readin' these old CREEMs other'n because they gave unaware teenage nowhere types the top tips on what to snatch up at the store. I dig 'em for Lester Bangs, Richard Meltzer, "Rock-a-Rama", gratuitous mentions of the Velvet Underground and Stooges, the snooty finger-flipping that was being aimed at the hippoids and all of that peace 'n love hucksterism! Not to mention more usages of the term "punk rock" than anybody else (other'n maybe Mark Shipper) was tossing about during the early-seventies and in a usage close to what it meant a good five or so years later too! I once wrote about being astounded at Nick Kent when he mentioned to Bryan Ferry that punk rock was "last year" ("this year" happening to be 1974) and how I unfortunately missed out on the entire shebang...well, if you can trust CREEM punk was 1971-2 and just why it flew right past us then is still a mystery. Hell, I sure coulda used some punk rock in my life '72 way, and I know that you coulda too!

Hot moments from these two issues (October and November if you're interested enough) include the bevy of reviews that are already having me comb the internet for more info (the third Frijid Pink album on Lion records entitled EARTH OMEN being a definite seek-out if only for the [again] punk rock ref  regarding "Mr. Blood", a numbuh which is described as having a Stooges cum Faces style accompanying '67 West Coast psych vocalizing). Also hotcha is the weirdo Firesign Theatre two-part "interview" that's noteworthy if only because it was "edited" by former BOMP cartoonist and future English rockscribe Jonh Ingham, while Lester Bangs tries to convince us that White Witch are (again, to use that common descriptive term) "punk" the same way Hot Scott Fischer said that Budgie were! And really, who could forget Richard Meltzer's "Dust My Pumice" which not only sports a fab photo of an unwashed "R" lyin' about in the gutter but keeps the young 'uns informed that for high-powered fun it just ain't Sopors and other chemical stimulants...Old Crow would also do just fine in expanding their horizons as airplane glue! Well, it's sure grand knowing that at least kids back then knew what was good for 'em and what wasn't, unlike today's youth who wouldn't know a binky from a bonghose and certainly never let the use of illicit drugs influence their listening habits!

And I didn't even mention the Bangs/Meltzer movie reviews, or the writeup of the "new" Stooges gig in London which some audience member compared to none other than Van Morrison's Them! After osmosing Nick Kent's description of the group playing primal metallic shards that sounded identical song after song I'm not sure WHAT to believe about that fateful gig at least until some live tape eventually turns up!

(Of special historical value is an ad appearing in the November ish...amidst the array of underground magazine ads that seem to proliferate is one for a pub entitled ALL YOU CAN EAT,  a youth journal that was "published monthly by a working collective of non-sectarian revolutionaries" which just naturally hadda've included future MAXIMUM ROCKNROLL founder Tim Yohannon!)

Good scribin' and great snide attitude make these CREEM all the more desirable, and it sure makes me feel all heart-warming cocklie readin' about rock 'n' roll the way it should be written a component to dunce mid-Amerigan ranch house living as important to your entire growing up as junk food and UHF TV! It's too bad that when it comes to "rock" today all the peepholes want to read are antiseptic articles about equally squeaky-clean bands because frankly, this is what rock writing and the presentation of the music as an "International Youth Language" should aspire to 'stead of the dorkoid bland goody two shoe miasma that's been all the rage at least since that fateful day Lester Bangs deep sixed in a pile of porno mags trying to cure a simple case of the sniffles with Darvon of all things!
Also making me a rather happy camper's the arrival of a postcard from none other than the oft-mentioned Bill Shute, a man who certainly knows how to pick his friends if his choice of me as one is any indication. Seems as if Mr. B had been spending his free time this year in Florida doing what else but betting on the dog races! And believe it or not, but the guy is actually having a whole lotta fun down there..."Nothing like nightly greyhound racing & mosquitoes all day everyday." Gee, this guy must be the first person I ever knew of who likes to be bitten by those pesky little insects!
Another thing that's been "occupying my time" as of late has been the acquisition of a variety of early Siouxsie and the Banshees recordings that have been filling me in on all of the fun that I've been missing out on after poo-pooing their output for so long. Funny, for a guy who even a year ago couldn't give two figs about Ms. Siouxsie and her twin pitcher's mounds I'm all up and going for a whole slew of pre- and LP-era recordings that I have recently acquired. I have Nick Kent to thank for that naturally (when some people toss in words like "Velvet Underground" and "Can" into their prosody my inner turmoil does grind to a halt) as well as my own budding curiosity which I gotta say is probably about as potent as it was during my days of intense obsessive compulsion in the seventies. And believe it or not but cassettes are making a comeback and as proof I got a whole slew of Siouxsie material on a buncha C-60s outta England which I gotta admit remind me of the old days! They seem authentic enough and look a lot like the cassettes one could find at any English flea market a good thirty years back which gives 'em a humongous A+ in whatever book I will be writing and which you undoubtedly won't be reading any time soon. Not that you particularly would care...

THE EARLY TAPES is perhaps the boffo-est of the batch with one side consisting of a March '77 show in which Siouxie and the boys prove (along with Wire) that the best punk rock that was coming out of the UK at the time was more or less the perfect fan-oriented melding of Velvet Underground art rock with early-seventies krautrock precision and English "people's rock" remnants 'stead of the more common and perhaps at-times misconceptions that were being promulgated by nimnul rock critics who were still getting high on life. Of course (like with Wire) it was all presented with a hefty amateur hour drive which, along with the bare-wired intensity, has all of the primal drive of a MONSTER MOVIE coupled with the wettest dreams of the entire Velvet Underground and Stooges fan clubs that were extant at this time. And, like the best of the Amerigan underground rock acts of the day such as the Electric Eels and Mong, Siouxsie had the smarts to pay homage to the best of sixties television by covering the CAPTAIN SCARLET theme which might not have been quite as out-there as Dave E. singing "Meet the Flintstones" or Mong also paying homage to Supermarionation via the closing theme to FIREBALL XL-5, but it still means more'n all of those righteous punks you used to see in the eighties who couldn't play a note of rock 'n roll because they were too busy SAVING THE WORLD, and I don't mean saving it from having to listen to their tiresome yelps either!

Biggest surprise tho is the flip, which features the infamous 1976 100 Club punkfest recording of "The Lord's Prayer" with Siouxsie and longtime sidekick Steve Severin aided by future Ant Marco Pirroni and Sid Vicious himself on the traps doing his best to keep time despite his obviously addled state. I really dunno if I could call this obv. Velvets-fueled set early punk or punk as it would be known for the next few years but it sure is a throbbing mass of guitar distortion and haze that does come close to the "Sister Ray" drive that these four precocious souls were striving for. Best thing of all is that the sound is pretty hotcha...a whole lot better'n the previous version I heard which came off as if the recorder was placed in the empty echo-y reaches of Sid's own mind. In fact this variation is extremely listenable even if it does make all of those hi-fi nightmares like METALLIC KO sound like half-mastered Steely Dan albums in comparison. A must-get for any true follower of the long line of intensity.

The 2.12.1978 Greyhound Pub gig in Croydon also enthralls even if the sound is typical late-seventies audience cassette muffled. Only adds to the overall excitement if I do say so myself and it ain't anything that ruins the more pleasurable aspects unless you're a boring hi-fi nut who still remembers thumbing through mid/late-seventies issues of STEREO REVIEW with nostalgic glee. (I better watch it since """""I""""" was that kinda kiddo in many ways, but only because the stereo equipment at my disposal was this late-fifties vintage system that sucked big time not forgetting a small cassette deck that never did work right because it was some off-brand dago concoction which was cheap enough for my folks to big name Panasonic/Sharp/Hitachi gear 'round these parts, mister!) But back to the item at hand (you can see that I'm only trying to pad this review out so that it's actually longer than the cassette cover I reprinted on the left and I don't come up short shafted) yeah, it does represent Siouxsie and band right when they were just about to break through into the living rooms of definitely non-punkoid English teenagers with a sound that in many ways wasn't that much different than some of the more art rock-y things that have transpired on said kids' own home entertainment systems for a good seven or so years. In fact, if you squint your ears a bit maybe you can hear the entire Spiders From Mars thingie being done right for a change, and how long have many of you been waiting for that? It sounded like a fun night, right down to the owner of the dive admonishing the audience for their behavior and tossing non-behaving miscreants out on their probably deafened ears.

Don't let the goofoid cover fool you, LIVE AND RARE 1977-1978 is a pretty hot cassette culture effort. True, yet ANOTHER
audience recorded live set with the same songs as the previously-mentioned tape (and pretty much the same sound quality) might seem like a humongous waste of money on my part, but the studio sides which sandwich 'em have their own special appeal. Listening to the Polydor demos with their beautifully flat sound reminds me of those early pre-Dolls Actress recordings not to mention the various Neon Boys/Television rehearsals and Eno/Lanier-produced demos which also stand as a harbinger of seventies things to come. Nothing that I really would care to avoid mind you even if the live show doesn't have anything in it to differentiate it from the other Siouxsie recordings extant. But as far as being yet another relic of an energetic past that seems to have slipped from the collective consciousnesses of just about everybody a tape like this does help out quite a bit. Just don't spin it until you happen to give the above two at least a good two dozen or so listens each beforehand.

Last but most certainly least as Bullwinkle might say comes not a Siouxsie cassette, but this Cee-Dee version of the John Peel Sesh 12-incher that drove more than a few people wild back in the eighties! You remember, back when Strange Fruit began releasing the first in what we thought was gonna be an infinite series of old BBC recordings that were gonna sound better'n the nth generation tapes we hadda rely on. Sure wish I had the smarts to pick up that pre-Polydor bootleg which not only had this material but a whole load of other rarities that appear in part on the above tapes, but at least this four-song release does exist.

For what reason I'd like to know since there are more'n a few Siouxsie BBC recordings floating around and paying big bux for four numbers ain't exactly a bargain! Still, this late '77 release stands as a testament to just what rock 'n roll at its most Apollonian could aspire to when left alone to its own devices and sheesh, like you know this drill by heart now so why don't you just go and seek these recordings out (I'm sure there are loads of downloads out there in computerland) and find out for yourself (or relive) rock 'n roll at the crossroads from a time when it seems as if everybody hated this stuff, but even a good fifteen years later they loathed it which only makes it all more meaningful in my mind. After all, what higher form of glory is there in life to piss off a white-haired beardo who still believes in the rustbucket rattlings of the Michael Stanley Band?
Wasn't planning on doing any "formal" reviews this weekn'd, but a few items passed my fancy and well, rather'n wait until next week...
Malachi-HOLY MUSIC CD-R burn (Verve)

Here's a longtime favorite of Bill's that he sent my way even though I already have an old and (shall I say) "hoary" copy of this festering away in my collection. San Francisco certainly popped out their share of weirdos in the sixties but this 'un at least had some talent we could all agree on. Malachi plays his guitar high up on the bridge giving his instrument a rather brittle, tension-packed sound, and the resultant music certainly ain't the same kinda peace and love prattle that Joanie Baez used to sing at the black radicals from "across the bay" as that old NATIONAL LAMPOON song used to go. Mystical as all heck but in no way would I call this "hippie" in the 1968 ROLLING STONE sense. Kinda like Robbie Basho on an even more spiritual trip up Sandy Bull's horn. Aided and abetted by the Jew's Harp playing of Red Crayolan Steve Cunningham.

Another Bill burn that sure brings back midwestern memories for him which is undoubtedly why he sent this one my way. Former Texas Playboy McAuliffe shines on this kraut package of Columbia-era sides of Texas Swing that (if anything) remind me of my father telling me his war stories 'bout being stationed way down yonder and listening to music like this onna radio alla time. This also reminds me of the Sunday afternoon radio of my youth even if the only country being played on it at the time was of the decidedly pre-New Nashville variety. But the music gets at you and does make for fine cool down therapy more vibrant than anything some new age musician coulda come up with. Prove to yourself that you're not one of those stuck up Northeastern effetes who hate Southerners and other decidedly non high set types and give this one a try.
James Chance and the Contortions-FEBRUARY 4, 1978 @ CBGB's (NYC)/DNA-MAY 27, 1979 LIVE @ CBGB'S (NYC) CD (Music Mine, Japan)

Wonder why this particular no wave document has been hiding from the reams of fans for so long? After all, this '09 release is that desirable amongst fans and collectors alike to the point where you woulda thought it'd get a li'l more press than it has. Heck, not even Weasel Walter has notified me of its existence, but maybe that's because he's perhaps doin' a li'l "behind the scenes" wheelin' and dealin' to secure the Amerigan rights to it and doesn't wanna blow his cover. Maybe not, but all of you late-seventies fans of pure unadulterated noise will be interested in this obscuro, and if Chuck Eddy or Parke Puterbaugh ain't gonna tell you about it then sure as shootin' """""I""""" will!

On this hour-long disque we get two stellar performances from half of the NO NEW YORK bands and (to be cute and coy about it) "what performances they are!" I know that there ain't that many Contortions tapes flyin' around (the only one I have in my possession's from a live in Toronto show where Chance's audience bating seems rather unconvincing...guess the jetlag musta gotten to him), but this 'un presents the group at their earliest back before the classic line up was fully in gear. Maybe Chance and company were looking for a nice big hook to ram into the backs of the chi-chi New York City clientele that was bar hopping across the underground at the time.

But anyway, future no wave filmmaker James Nares is handling the guitar on this one and the drums are being pounded by ex-3/3 member Chiko Hige, both of whom were to soon exit from the act only to be replaced by ex-Screws Jody Harris and Don Christiansen. Those two were at least honed pros which Nares and Hige most certainly weren't, and that's a good reason why this particular show sounds a whole lot more no wave in structure and approach than the albums. In fact this recording has the same lack of cohesiveness and utter primal approach as the Red Transistor live tape I have in my possession which is worthy of a release after heavy eq-ing and splicing no doubt!

Familiar tracks in their embryonic state just go to show you how much the Contortions evolved into the act that appeared on NO NEW YORK a good half-year later. "Dish It Out" and "Jaded" from that epic slice come off just as skewered if not quite of the same strain while the pre-disco take of "Contort Yourself" is also an great study in how already primal punk classics began life as something even more feral. And frankly I can't find any fault with this performance which must've heralded a whole new era in punkitude back in those over-amphed (no sic) days, yet only a choice few were around to notice or appreciate it. (And really, by the time it trickled down to us suburban peasants it was all over and done with, and don't let anybody tell you different!)

The DNA set from a good two years later features the talents of new member and former Pere Ubu bassist Tim Wright, and although I never really cozied up to the later version of the group and have made my opinions regarding them known on occasion I find this set rather...intense. Not the pile of primitive art pose that I always thought Arto Lindsay and the rest of the no wave survivors were wallowing upon after the initial surge of fame, but good hard-edged avant garde rock 'n roll that still had the whole seventies teenage attitude rather'n eighties pretension firmly in place. Snappy in spots even! I'm not sure if I can pinpoint exactly where DNA went from a funtime punk rock group to an art project, but on this 'un they're still popping on all cylinders with Ikue Mori doing her Maureen Tucker best, Wright laying down a solid bottom and Arto's un-tuned 12-string about as enthralling as a variety of out guitarists I can think of off the top of my over-used bean,

Along with this Cee Dee comes a booklet which I guess has something to do with the infamous Byron Coley/Thurston Moore NO WAVE read that stands as the ultimate on the subject to date. Wish I could tell you a whole load more about it but the dang thin is written in Japanese, and unless I take a lesson or two from Berlitz really soon it ain't gonna be like I know what was written in the darn thing! My guess is that this is just a translation of choice bits from the actual book, but let's just say that if you can read Japanese and have a hefty interest in the New York no wave scene of the seventies then boy, will this book come in handy!!!!
HERE'S A GOOD ONE you should send all of your socially aware friends who get their jollies tagging people like myself (and maybe even you) racist if only to bolster their own masturbatory sense of self-pride. Won't say it's the last word in the debate, but I think it'll drive more'n a few members of both sides of the aisles cackling like a bunch of indignant hens, as Wayne McGuire would have said. And frankly, ain't that just what we need in today's ever-collapsing world? And while I'm on an all-out offend the pussies roll, howzbout if alla you fudgepackers, bleedhearts, new age hatemongers and shrub scouts (I know you're tuning in) read this and then go 'bout acting all high-minded and moralistic like you usually do!
BIGGEST SURPRISE OF THE WEEK DEPT.: who woulda ever thunk it, but some enterprising chaps went out and did what I would have thought was the IMPOSSIBLE, mainly reissue the infamous Keggs (of BACK FROM THE GRAVE VOL. 8 I believe fame) single "To Find Out" backed with a ditty entitled "Girl" which I believe has been kept under lock 'n key until this very fateful moment! As any throbbing fan of "six-oh" rock can tell you, "To Find Out" is a wild mess of sub-garage band thud that sounds as if a buncha fifteen-year-olds decided that the best way to write a rock 'n roll song was to deconstruct "Gloria" to its basest form possible, while the flip is equally primal in its approach and utter suburban mindedness. Given that these guys hailed from the Detroit area I wonder if they ever rubbed shoulders with the MC5, Stooges or any of the other high energy groups that were making their presence known in the area at the time? Dunno where you can get it but these new rarities seem to be sprouting up on ebay all the time.
IN CLOSING, here's a li'l surprise that I happened across recently which only goes to show ya that, thanks to the internet, you can find just about anything you want to including such long-forgotten obscurities as this. Directly below is an upload of none other than a Japanese avant garde bit of animation from 1964 entitled Aos, which I only bring to your attention because the soundtrack was performed by who else but Fluxus star'n future Beatle wife herself Yoko Ono! Of course if some other artsy Tokyoite was doin' all the catarrhin' 'n catcalling on the soundtrack this "study" would still be of worth viewin', but for us Ono fans this flick is yet another lost bitta history that has been brought to our attention thanks to the efforts of some obscure soul out there who (thankfully) believed we deserved to experience this strange commentary on sexual frustration, or voyeurism, or something along those lines and decided to do something about it!!! Considering that the title of this film is identical to that of the recording Miss Ono made with the Ornette Coleman Quartet a few years later (the one which appeared on the boffo YOKO ONO PLASTIC ONO BAND platter) I was hopin' it woulda been some total free jazz freefall into the abyss of eternity but hey, if you're compilin' a Yoko Ono bootleg and needed an extra nine minutes to fill it up boy will this come in handy!



Anonymous said...

Sing 049 :: SLEAZE

1975 pre-Adverts LP from punk legend TV Smith. Originally released in an editon of only 50 copies. Proto-punk!


the pop rivets -1st b.childish band- were playing "fireball xl 5"back in 1977.and also "stingray"...those songs appear on the chatham's burning lp

ugEXPLODE said...

hey chris. if you want to do a trade, drop me a line. ha ha ha.

i heard about this cd, but have never seen an actual copy of it. both tapes have been floating around for a while. i have them, which is why i never really hunted this thing down.

for anybody interested in the early contortions chronology, there's a really extensive five-part blog post that i did last year which will clarify a lot of details.

part one is at:

Anonymous said...

reissue of the year 2012 :

David Arvedon:best of lp (mighty mouth music)2012

originally released in 1971

Think J.richman/modern lovers /V.U/Kinksian /Dan.jonston

amazing bostonian songwriter

Anonymous said...

How feasible would it be for you to put the Red Transistor live tape up, or to get it to people interested in releasing it? Besides their single and a few pictures, there's otherwise little to explore of them. I'm really curious as to how they came across live, especially in light of the later VON LMO "We're Not Crazy" which sounds almost completely different.