Wednesday, October 31, 2012

BOOK REVIEW! EERIE'S GREATEST HITS (Harris Publications, 1994)

When I was a lad of fourteen, I was really gung ho on getting hold of alla the EC horror/sci-fi/adventure/humor reprints that I could lay my grubby little paws on. Strangely enough, I really couldn't care one whit about the line of horror comic magazines that Warren Publications was churning out even if they were pretty much feasting on the carrion that was left by the Werthamites and assorted do-gooders a good  two decade or so back. Now, I gotta give credit to to HELP! publisher James Warren for doing the obvious and recreating the spirit of fifties horror comics as sixties comic magazines thus circumventing the Comics Code once and for all, but they never did gel well in my brain...for me, the fifties were the cool times with the cool comics and cool tee-vee shows and cool automobiles while the present day was only good for scavenging fifties remnants via garage sales and afternoon viewings of LEAVE IT TO BEAVER reruns.  If I only knew about the underground rock spasms that were being birthed by the likes of the Stooges and Dolls at the time maybe my tastes in something concurrent woulda been brewin', but for me  the likes of CREEPY and EERIE were just too new and hot off the press for me to even remotely take seriously. As far as I was concerned it was 1963 and nothing LATER (unless it was something birthed from a hot fifties/early-sixties ideal that was ruminating around this late in the game, and within my ape-like mind these horror comics just didn't fill the bill!).

Maybe I was too hard on the Warren horror comics, though I gotta admit that the EERIE'S GREATEST HITS collection didn't cut to any quicks or affect me the way those EC comics had during my disformative years. Yeah, I know that this title was practically an EC knockoff (I've read COMIX too, bub!) and that Warren was tryin' like the dickens to recreate the fifties EC style for the mid-sixties comic club, but things (as usual) tend to get lost in the translation and the original potency always seems to be left in the men's room at the diner on that long road trip to comic book fruition. The stories don't quite strike you the way they should and the art just comes off too sixties to conjure boffo fifties memories, and even the fact that Warren was able to pull off a coup by getting old EC regulars like Johnny Craig (who'd lost his Milton Caniff-y style by this time) and Wallace Wood to work for 'em couldn't help me forget the fact that these comics were from the mid/late-sixties and came housed in mags with garish covers painted by Frank Frazetta with grotesque monsters abusing ample maidens with loads of double-D boobies fiting into B-cups and cleavage galore and inward navels perfectly placed within smoothly terrained bellies that...hey,  forget about what I said...these comics are a gas!!!!

Well, at least the covers were boffo, and even a curmudgeon turdball such as I will admit so were some of the stories. Nothing as engaging as the Warren comics which appeared in the aforementioned Les Daniels comic book history tome is here, but there are a few surprises such as Angelo Torres' "Soul of Horror" (with a telegraphed ending true, but it's nice reading getting there) and Johnny Craig's "Trial By Fire" (with art that looks more like I'm sure his commercial work at the time did). Speaking of EC regs, Al Williamson's "The Lighthouse" is yet another hit-me-over-the-head obvious story with fantastic art, and even personal fave Steve Ditko pops up with a nice horror saga that naturally doesn't rank up there with his Marvel work let alone MR. A. or THE QUESTION but still sates enough esp. if you were one (like me) to gobble up every WHERE MONSTERS DWELL for his early-sixties reprints. Best of the batch in my humble opinion's Alex Toth's "The Monument" which again has you knowing the ending well into panel #3 but when you finally get there boy will you be surprised at how wrong (in the right way?) you were!!!

I understand the Warren titles have been reprinted (again) recently, but this'll make a good toe tinkler before you decide to take the plunge into the hardcovered editions that'll fit fine in your own personal library situated in your own personal den as you wear your own personal smoking jacket and smoke your own personal cigar taken from your own personal humidor just like you always thought you would do this stage in your life. If you've read 'em before and wish you never sold 'em off at the family garage sale this might be the one for you...if you were the kind who just stood around at newsstands and read 'em for free this might also alleviate your guilt for being such a penny pinching tightwad. And if you were a kid birthed in the forties, fifties and first half of the sixties who missed out on a lotta hotcha teenage antix because your parents were afraid for you and kept you locked up with nothing but Maypo and JACK AND JILL this might be a good chance to check in on just one of a thousand neatly subversive and entertaining teenbo things you missed out on the first time around. It's never too late to start acting fourteen again, and in fact judging from kids today it's sure be nice if they acted fourteen in the cool, baby boomin' fun way 'stead of the "young adults" they most certainly tend to be anymore. Heh, get some EERIEs for your Dilton Doiley of a nephew and if they don't turn him into Eddie Haskell I'm afraid the brat's gone for good!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Yes, that's actually a snap of me, clumsily cropped so you didn't have to see anybody else who was snuck in this pic that was obviously taken w/o my permission oh so long ago. Thought I'd share 'em if only to prove that yes, I indeed had a youth as well as a pair of spectacles that had a very hard time staying on my face as you can not only see from the above snap but from this pic taken a few years later (circa issue #9 or so) which I've had the decency to post directly below:

Boy, wasn't I the skinny minny back then! Same slipping specs natch and the 'stache and beard an obvious tribute to the writer most near and dear to my heart, Byron Coley! Actually, looking back on those days all I can say is I'm sure glad that I don't have to re-live 'em, though I sure as shit wish that I had even more moolah to spread around considering the hike in price a hefty portion of the records I wanted back then have taken on the ebay circuit!

And, in order to get even with her, here are a couple snaps of Jillery from the same batch. Sheesh, there must be something wrong with gene pools if a fine specimen such as I could be even remotely related to someone of her stature!

OK, now that we've had our laugh here are just a few of the platters that I've been spinning this past week. Again I ain't been feeling up to writing what'cha'd call essay length reviews in the fine Russell Desmond/CAN'T BUY A THRILL tradition (guess the longwindedness has gotten outta me with my last major gastritis attack) but hopefully they're short 'n succinct enough to make an impact with you!  Thanks to Bill Shute for whatever burns may appear below, and while I'm at it thanks to CD Baby for making the recordings of nth-string New York acts of the 80s/90s/00s available no matter how forgotten or loathed by the same snides who would have championed these acts in the 70s they may be!

It seems as if my jass leanings have been tilting towards the AACM sorta thing these past few months, and this oft-forgotten album helped out during a fine afternoon display of basement box rummaging this past Sunday. McIntyre, along with the rest of the original AACM stable, really had his Ayler feelers working on optimum and this sesh is no exception. A-side's got a number of rather primal short numbers punctuated not only by McIntyre's playing but a chap by the name of George Hines who emits some of the most guttural Heimlich Maneuver vocalizing I've heard since those eighties John Cage recordings, while the flip's an extended workout not as free sounding as the Art Ensemble yet not as classical as Anthony Braxton could get when he was perhaps paying too close attention. If you like the rest of the AACM Delmark releases, especially Joseph Jarman's amazing output as a leader, this should fit snugly inside your own personal discomfort zone just fine.
Devo-BE STIFF 12-inch EP (Stiff, England)

Can't believe it, but this collection of pre-first elpee single sides 'n whatnot doesn't sound that bad at all in the light of the future which we all hadda do duty now for back inna early-eighties. True I don't really cozy up to "Jocko Homo" or their choppy take of "Satisfaction" in any form, but when Devo were trying to sound more like Roxy Music and Sparks than their college bred pseudointellectual selves at least the futuristic jumble can be set aside if just this once. A comparison spin twixt this and the group's tres-Hollywood output of just a few years later makes for a fine lesson in comparison between the original blueprint and too many cooks' hands making light work out of spoiled broth. Or something like that.
Streetkidz-LOOKING FOR A THRILL LP (Rave Up)

Dunno how this particular act bypassed me for so long but I guess now is the only time in my life that matters. Streetkidz were one of the many En Why-area rock groups who sprung up on the club scene in the seventies, and judging from this selection they really had the concept of what was goin' on punkwize down pat. Hotcha straight-ahead rocking here, sometimes in a Ramones blur and others a Motorhead screech. But whatever they do you can be sure the results are pretty energetic w/o the gnu wave smarm that would overtake just about everything in a good three year's time. If you like the early Rubber City Rebels tracks on that split album they did with the Bizarros back when they were still leather-jacketed scum attempting to osmose into the new direction in rock you'll probably love it. And it's perhaps enhanced by the fact that the people at Rave Up learned how to have their records pressed up the same way that Dave Gibson at Moxie did his and that's no joke!
Various Artists-Kyoto Jazz Massive presents SUCCESSION OF SPIRIT CD-R burn (originally on Impulse Japan)

Dunno exactly who the Kyoto Jazz Massives are, but one thing's for sure and that's they sure know how to put together a jazz comp! SUCCESSION OF SPIRIT collects a number of appropriate rarities from the Impulse vaults, and although this is far from being an Impulse "Greatest Hits" package it sure knows how to pack an avant garde wallop aimed right at your most starry-eyed and youthful recollections of just what this music was supposed to be after reading about it in CREEM. Two Pharoah Sanders tracks from his pre-sellout days make this one for those who can't afford the entire Sanders Impulse catalog (which was for the most part top notch even with Lonnie Liston Smith aboard) while (if you can believe it) Alice Coltrane doesn't make me wanna run for cover even with the tamboura drone. For me the best track here's from Albert Ayler's oft-loathed MUSIC IS THE HEALING FORCE OF THE UNIVERSE (which probably ain't the heaping comedown it's made out to be even though I've been frightened away from it 'n NEW GRASS on word of mouth alone!) though why in heck were two John Klemmer numbers stuck on??? Talk about bringing the property value down with these two turdbombs, but considering how I got it free maybe I shouldn't act like the spoiled brat ingrate that I've come to be known as lo these many years. But I will.
THE GREAT LOST KNICKERBOCKERS ALBUM CD-R burn (originally on Sundazed)

The "Lies" guys never were what I would've called "prime" NUGGETS material and in fact seemed more "show-bizzy"' than the other groups on that collection of prime mid-six-oh Amerigana. Standells included. However who other'n the most hidebound big city "rock critic" breastfed on late-sixties hippie screeds could deny that these guys were one of the more powerful local acts around to the point where they even made Johnny Ramone hang up his guitar strap for a few years in utter desperation! The always boffo Sundazed label should be commended for getting this particular collection out consisting of ne'er before released tunage that shows the group at their more "professional," "commercial" and of course exciting. Ups and downs abound, but you gotta admit that the Knicks at their lowest was much higher'n most groups at their tippy top and I ain't complainin' one bit! Best of the batch includes disque closer "My Feet Are Off The Ground" which has a fantastico churn to it that reminds me of something that woulda made a good Standells b-side 'n hokay, maybe you are turned off by the group's more 1963 hair and dress but as Bill Shute constantly tells me sometimes "get over it!"
Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs-THE MGM SINGLES CD-R burn (originally on Sundazed)

Sheesh, didn't know Sam the Sham released so many singles for MGM but I guess he did, and if you can believe the cover they're all collected on this nice shiny platter (or pitch black one in this case). Fourteen single sides here including the biggies, not to mention the flopsters and the legendary one that I'm surprised didn't make a bigger splash with the already over-rocked teenage crowd of the day. As with the Knickerbockers collection there are plenty of niceties and a few that don't quite light my fart, but I'll take this entire ring dang doo over Santana anyday, even the disque closer (as just "Sam the Sham") "Fate"/"Oh Lo" which really gets into the late-sixties proto-lowrider sound that seemed to permeate the early-seventies AM dial with a vengeance!
Transcendental Psychology-REDEFINITION CD (Chromium, also available from CD Baby)

Y'know, I had my doubts about an act that considered both Rick James and the Art Ensemble of Chicago major influences, but once I gave this 'un a spin I thought well... Transcendental Psychology are a rawther decent outfit despite their alleged love for hip hop and watered down eighties funk, and if more acts could work out such disparate influences and come up with something like this its best I dump my preconceived notions in the trashbin and start listening to other kinds of music like Eddie Flowers told me to do a good twenny-five years back. I figure "OK" to that, just as long as I don't have to surrender to myself.

Pretty straight ahead at times whilst intricately avant garde at others. Nothing that different than the various new free jazz groups that have sprung up o'er the past few decades but still in-groove enough to satiate my own personal listening patterns during those frequently introverted moments which I encounter more and more these winter days of my life. Grab a bottle of Geritol and encounter your own New Year's Eve with this under-the-radar classic!
Pinups-ALL THAT WE WANTED CD (Poptown Music, PO Box 52, Lincolndale, NY 10540 or try CD Baby)

Here's another one of those obscure late-seventies NYC groups that actually put something out back inna nineties, making me wonder how they managed to make it through the eighties considering how their music  was about as outta place as an Isetta at a Rolls Royce collector's club meet. Pinups played what I guess you could call a punk pop style with heavy paens to commercial (non) rock, and although a whole lot of this was I guess you'd say "halfway decent" it's nothing that really connected with me the way similar popsters gone the punkster route back inna seventies could. Probably needs a few more spins to sink in like a good rainfall on my hard-as-earth mind but prima facie-like it's a take or leave situation.
The Rousers-PLAYING THE ROCK AND ROLL FOR YOU CD (Rocktime, available through CD Baby)

Oh no, not more aging seventies survivors getting back together to record their old songs in order to get over their mid/late-life crises or re-live some of their misspent youth or something like that. Anyway, I always got the Rousers confused with the Rudies (aka Day Old Bread or the Jupiter Jets) which is an easy thing to do considering both groups were more or less pop rock power trios playing the same turf with similar names, but whatever it's sure nice to have these guys back even if they could spare to split a bottle of Grecian Formula between 'em. Too poppy for my tastes true, but if you were the kinda guy whose NYC listening parameters came closer to the Heats and aforementioned Pinups as opposed to the harder and angrier sort you'll probably love this 'un up to the rafters and I don't blame you! 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Given my ever-eternal comic strip obsession (birthed upon my daddy's knee and nurtured by repeated tee-vee viewings of DICK TRACY cartoons) I sure could use more and more reprints of some of them extremely early titles that undountedly set the stage for the strips we all know and love today like CRANKSHAFT and THE BOONDOCKS. Face it, a complete collection of HAPPY HOOLIGAN and MR. JACK would make this boy a really happy lad, and come to think of it the entire run of the 19th-century KATZENJAMMER KIDS strip'd be a gas to read too, especially the really early ones when an un-named (this being during the strip's pantomime years) third brother joined Hans and Fritz in their strictly Aryan hi-jinx. But at least there's has been at least one nicety that's made its way to my door, this particular collection being just one recent example of how a comic strip collection should be done 'stead of just slapping some yellowing clippings on a xerox machine and whirring away!

Given the legendary status of Gustave Verbeck/Verbeek's THE UPSIDE-DOWNS OF LITTLE LADY LOVEKINS AND OLD MAN MUFFAROO I'll dispense with what every other review of this strip and book has mentioned since intellectuals began paying attention to comic strips and critiquing them the same way they would a Picasso or Rembrandt. Y'know, ruin the entire genre the way they did rock 'n roll ever since those once-loathing college professor types began finding significance and worth in Donovan lyrics. I will state the obvious to suit my own purposes in padding this review out at least a few sentences...that the idea of taking six comic panels and having the story continue by flipping it over was ingenious, especially the way Verbeek could make a smoked clam look like a snake, an old coot with a basket a puppy, singing pixies bearded goblins or a black bird a long-haired boy with big eyes by merely inverting the image. And of course Verbeek's ability in making a cohesive story out of the project (and doing a whopping 64 of 'em!) proves that this man (and probably nobody else then or now) just hadda've had the right fervid imagination to pull it all off with a ton of elan. Believe-you-me, after a few strips your mind'll start a-wonderin' just how the guy's gonna work the storyline out by guessing in advance w/o flipping the page for a sneek peek, and usually being totally surprised when that image of a tent turns into an underwater explosion spurting water (and our heroes Little Lady Lovekins and Old Man Muffaroo) outta the drink thus throwing you and everybody else reading these strips for the proverbial loop!

I like it all, the ingenious designs, the intricate yet at times deceptively simple artwork, the strange story lines and even the now-verboten violence which might upset a few of the little ones out there. (Take the '04 Christmas strip where Santa's reindeers are killed when his sled takes an icy tumble!) I guess that kiddie strips could get away with loads of violence along these lines (not to mention the time Lovekins and Muffaroo gouge the eyes from that same giant snake which was once a roasting clam before being 180'd) in the days before public do-gooders and other Werthamites began running around trying to make this world a better place only ruining it even more in the process. Well, at least nobody but the most stringent iceblock could complain about the Lovekins and Muffaroo characters, a pair who seem to have such a special love 'n affection for each other that hasn't been seen anywhere (even kiddie books!) for years and come off so admirable in their own humble way! Their relationship has such a sentimental value (meaning, I don't think people have loved each other this way for at least eight decades) that it even brings a pang of what shoulda been (at least in my life) to my own jaded heart! I'm surprised that today's guardians of public behavior haven't trounced upon the strip for this very reason alone, because the last time I looked the concept of love has sure changed from being romantic to thinking with your genitalia and that ain't no good!

Didn't think I could get away w/o showing you at least one example, so here's something I found on the web (the publishers of this new collection actually reprinted these strips in their original size making this an oversize treat galore...and the book is so big I couldn't even fit it in my scanner!). Probably not the one I would have liked to have shown ya (that being a nice story having to do with Muffarroo and Lovekins going fishing and the latter falling deep into the brink) but perhaps the most colorful and fanciful of the entire run which was pretty fantasy-driven to begin with.

And, just so you won't have to stand on your head, the same comic flipped over so you can read the conclusion without breaking your neck.

Lotsa Verbeek art besides THE UPSIDE DOWNS can be espied in this book too, including some early '90s ones done for a French mag, his THE LOONY LYRICS OF LULU (slightly screwball) and of course THE TERRORS OF THE TINY TADS, yet another popular Verbeek strip filled with all of that boffo pre-World War I whimsy, playfulness, fantasia and other superlatives critical snobs like to toss around. Acting as more or less a turn-of-the-century version of Burroughs' Wild Boys, the Tads travel about in their "hippopautomobile" and encounter strange flub-a-dub styled creatures and other bizarro situations that might seem too kiddie on one hand but ingeniously clever on another. As usual, you will be the judge 'n jury but I happen to find 'em all rather amusing. My favorite of the bunch just has to be the one where the Tads give a coupla wimmen a ride on their boat only to be harangued about the rights of their gender in the voting booth to the point of nausea. Of course the Tads do the most logical thing and "suffrajettison" the gals which is something that might make you want to pout in self-righteous indignation but just puts a wide beaming smile on my face!

Saturday, October 20, 2012


Is it me, or is the mail wreaking havoc with my life? If I were a true paranoid, I'd say that the US Mail Service is trying to sabotage my music life what with packages I've mailed disappearing and orders taking their good ol' time reaching their proper destination, something which does weight heavy on my mind even more'n the prospect of having to undergo a nuclear colonoscopy! And while I'm in my classic bitch 'n moan mode I'll say that I definitely am one guy who really needs my music whether it be old faves or new variations, and now that there really ain't that much new stuff comin' out that I'd wanna kill for like there was when I was seventeen and my heart certainly was aware I am frothing at the mouth PISSED.  I've also been runnin' dry as far as discovering older forms of rock that probably bypassed the standard music listening fan of the seventies but by gum will not bypass ME!!! And, sad to admit it, its even come to the point in my wretched life where I'm even curious enough to wanna find out about some obscure NYC-area group (nth-stringers on the CBGB/Max's scene) like Elixir who, from all reports, began life as a GENESIS cover band 'n yeah, it's all for the sake of documenting some important musical history few really care about (now) but please...somebody help me!!!! (Still wanna hear these guys as well as any of the under-the-cabinet local acts  that played these clubs inna seventies so if you want some belated fame well, you know who to contact and it ain't Christgau!)

Of course the archival dig/reissue scene has dried up to the point where I see all of these opportunities to present us hungry rock chaps with the raw meat abounding, but it seems that nobody's willing to dish it out despite the fame and fortune that would be theirs for the asking!!! As you all know, I sure could stand being inundated with examples of Amerigan (and elsewhere) underground rock excursions from the sixties and seventies, but other'n a few tasty tidbits here and there where's the gush of releases anyway? And as far as reissues of items that we can all benefit from, why do the "major" labels re-package the same good, mandatory but heard many-a-time Velvet Underground and Stooge classics in new garb while ignoring the likes of Kim Fowley, whose I'M BAD and INTERNATIONAL HEROES has been on my want list for ages only who can afford the collector's prices that have been heaped upon these records over the past few years? You'd think that the bootleggers would reish this stuff considering the majors could give a hoot...I mean, that's what some enterprising young chaps did with the Hackamore Brick album and nothing did happen to them, right? Hey major labels, once you quit patting yourselves on the back how about opening up your catalog to a new and thriving audience (not to mention the old one who'd like to hear this stuff before they go totally deef)???

So in a vain search for something to refresh my "spirit" (to be hippie about it) I decided to break into my long-ignored cassette collection once again to re-acquaint myself with some old pals. I figured this would help ease the pain until my order from CD Baby (and maybe even Forced Exposure if only they'd get outta that weird world music bag of theirs and get back to the rock!) arrives, and besides I haven't played most of the following tapes in upwards of two decades so listening to these is almost like getting some new wares to enjoy. I was surprised to find that all played well 'cept for the Zappa one near the end of side two (warbly and uneven!), and although slippin' 'em in the boom box really did dredge up a whole slew of memories that I perhaps would have liked to have forgotten maybe they'll inspire me well in my life trek to incur revenge upon every soul that dared cross me. So until I crash the next school reunion with an automatic of my choice here's what's been keeping me entertained over the past seven...
Glenn Phillips-LOST AT SEA (Snow Star)

It's funny...right when I was in the middle of my MUSIC TO EAT hysteria back '76 way this 'un was getting released on the then-chance-taking Virgin label over in pip pip land. Unfortunately I didn't know it (as well as Bruce Hampton's ONE RUINED LIFE OF A BRONZE TOURIST) were even available, but if they had only gotten into my mitts at the time boy would my trajectory taken off on a totally different direction! But then again, maybe it's good that I didn't get to hear LOST AT SEA back then because I prob'ly woulda just thunk it was more of that jazz fusion stuff that really didn't settle well with my vital organs the way all of those early Alice Cooper and Captain Beefheart albums did. Maybe I would have liked it, but then again I'm sure there would be something inna back of my brain telling me that I had just wasted a good $6.99 on another glossy jazz platter that was so slick and professional (ech!) I could have traded it to some local burnout for a good nickel bag, and one thing I really coulda used when I was seventeen was a nice heaping bag of nickels!

Nowadays I say hey, this is just what the throngs of Mahavishnu-lapping rock groups 'n other DOWN BEAT aspirationists to the jazz rock echelons shoulda sounded like 'stead of alla that wanky jazz rock progressive fiz that was raking in the big bucks for some ungodly reason. Definitely benefits from the homestyle two-track basement recording (no "ship in a bottle" techniques as Peter Laughner once said), and it's so powerful and moving in spots it might even bring a tear to some of you more susceptible readers' eyes. Not mine, but I guess my heart doesn't break as much as the people at the Huffington Post wish it did (y'see, everything they write about regarding some supposed "tragedy" is always referred to as being heartbreaking, naturally reducing that term to utter dribble sans any meaning that it once might have had!) The rest of Phillips' solo material did not inspire me that much, but this 'un manages to transcend the usual trappings of seventies guitar flash and make for a rather...dare-I-say nice time????
Sick Dick and the Volkswagens-INTERFERENCE (New Frontiers, PO Box 426, Yellow Springs OH 45387)

This is DAILY DANCE guitarist Doug Snyder's En Why-era act's only real release which you just might be able to still get even at this late date if you write the address listed above. I'm sure you remember reading about this 'un for years...its the one that Lester Bangs actually gave some hotcha points to in the VILLAGE VOICE "Pazz & Jop" poll thus creating a big hubbub as to just who these guys were and what they did. I gotta say that when this first came out back inna early nineties I was a li'l  put off by the standard late-seventies neu wave vocalizing, but twentysome years later it doesn't phase me at all. And the electronic drone these crazies churn out sounds so grand especially here in the future when the ideas spewed forth were supposed to have overwhelmed us to the point of surrender but never really did. Wanna know more about this demi-Suicide-ish (they use a drum machine too!) hard driving underground splatter? Then just click here and pick option #24.
Kilslug-A CURSE (S.B.)

This cassette from one of Boston's more notorious "hardcore" groups is proof enough to remind me of just how much promise and action-packed gumption the entire "scene" had just before the hippie punks at MAXIMUM ROCK 'N ROLL began telling impressionable upper-middle-class kids to pay more attention to what was going on in Central America and the Middle East 'stead of in rock mags and record shops. After all, we don't want too many "rock stars" hanging around now, do we? All kidding aside this is fantastic blare, beautiful repeato-riff drone music that benefits from the garage recording techniques and addled, neo-Flipper-esque playing. If your hardcore tastes roam closer to Rancid Vat than Rancid, this is one (of many) for thee.
Treponem Pal-ADVANCE TAPE (Roadracer)

Mebbee I oughta forget mentioning this group if only because their original record label stiffed me outta $$$ for an ad. But gosh darn it if this act wasn't just one of the brighter highlights of the late-eighties gotta find something hotcha to keep me from goin' insane scramble I and I assume many of you readers were undoubtedly engaged in during those rather confused times. Heavy metal with easy enough to spot punk refs. is always a blast whether you're talking about early UFO or the Dictators, and Treponem Pal continued on that fine tradition with these three numbers that straddle both concerns to the point where I'm sure they might have alienated each camp even though these guys are successful to the max'n probably have enough money in the bank to keep them in penicillin for decades. References to Killing Joke would be too obvious (esp. since former KJ drummer Paul Raven once roamed their ranks) but if someone dreamed up the equation of their sound being equal parts Swans, Prong, early Black Sabbath and Von Lmo (!) maybe I'd give 'em a gold star 'n a nice wormy apple to boot!
Kilpig-COMPILATION 1984-1986; LIVE AT CBGB's (109)

Kilpig were an under-the-covers as I like to say group that was roaming the New York stratosphere in the mid-eighties, a good four or so years after their brand of brash pseudo-En Why art cum new wave rock had pretty much been washed over by geeky "gnu" wave and hardcore rumblings. Given that their vocalist Nozomi is Japanese Yoko comparisons immediately came to mind, though when she ain't doing her extended wailing I see her as more of a femme Damo Suzuki in the way she emits various epiglottal vocalese to the at-times Can-ish free schpiel. You may draw your own conclusions if you can only latch onto these two cassette tapes as well as an EP done for the obscure 109 label, a company that probably was in the right place but during the wrong time.

The 1984-1986 COMPILATION is a good place to start...its ninety minutes containing everything from "Sabre Dance"/"Do You Know The Way To Santa Fe" mishmoshes to various post James Chance sax bleats that sure sounded outta place in the starkness of the mid-eighties but such a relief from the usual "underground" mewlings that kinda made a whole lotta inquiring types wonder where things went wrong. The live tape's got some raw-ther entertaining takes on such hoary old classics as "Love To Love You Baby" and "Inagadadavida" plus some standard "noise rock" scrunching complete with that rather brittle, treble-y saxophone that seems to be doing catcalls all over the place. Not gonna call any of this "essential" but it just might be that interesting change from the everyday musical antix that you most certainly deserve a break from.
The Apostles and the Mob-LIVE AT THE LMC 22/1/83 (Cause For Concern, 53 Hollybush Hill, Snaresbrook, London E11 1PX England)

Looking back from a good thirtysome years hindquarterssight, a lotta the Crass-inspired anarchist musings that were comin' outta England didn't really hold up that well as opposed to various other genres and stylings that were popping up under that strange umbrella of "punk rock." And gol' ding it, but didn't a load of those acts with their antiwar, antimeat, antimale and antimoolah ideals just seem like the beginning of that whole love 'n violence hippiepunk hijinx that certainly turned off more'n a few people faster'n you can say Patchouli Oil? Well at least there were a few rambunctious rumblings comin' outta that scene that at least grabbed me by my stirrups, if only because they still swore allegiance to various sixties/seventies innovations that never did vacate my heart even if they might have seemed "passe" and "old turd music" to quite a few of the same people who were endlessly singing their praises just a few short years earlier.

Quality on this 'un ain't that hotcha, and in typical prole fashion the folks at this anarcho-whatziz company used the cheapest tapes money can buy outside of those hecho en Mexico Cetrons that jammed up many a tape deck inna seventies. But still the fire and energy roars on despite the up the hiney sound quality and the fact you can't hear any of the between-song patter that I'm sure contain a whole load of pertinent diatribes regarding various subjects that I'm sure meant a whole lot to the guy up there singing 'em but never did add up to much in your own personal math text.

The Apostles start the show off, and although these guys certainly were a mixed bag as far as political concerns go (what with their rabid animal rights and anarchist stance on one hand and their staunch patriotic fervor and Skrewdriver covers on the other) at least they had the good sense to base their musical aptitude on the likes of various old timey faveraves such as the Velvet Underground and Groundhogs. Nice drone blare here, perhaps aided by the poor sound quality in which we don't have to hear the singer rave on about everything from Zulus to forcing baboons to eat Mars Bars but I'm sure none of that interests you.

The Mob don't stray far from the same method of seventies underground rock stylings remooshed for an eighties jaded clientele either, with each and every one of the tracks from their set sounding as if the group locked themselves in a bank vault and spun CAPTAIN LOCKHEED AND THE STARFIGHTERS for 48 hours straight. So good in its approach and sublime rage that you even forget that the Mob were just spokesmen for one of the more intrinsically evil movements to hit the twentieth century, and the twenty-first as well for that matter. At least they weren't as explicit about it as most of the compats, meaning that there is a slight chance they'll miss the firing squad one the tribunal gets into gear hopefully more sooner 'n later.
The Trilobites-LET'S PUMP (Atomic Records & Tapes, PO Box 338, Huntsville 2220)

Once the nineties rolled in there were quite a lotta people wondering why I wasn't writing about the seventies/eighties Australian underground anymore...y'know, the same Australian scene that borrowed the better moments of late-sixties Detroit experimentation and seventies New York glam slam and gave us hope that it wasn't all dead? Well, the answer to that one was simple, mainly that the groups Down Under (or at least their spawn) who were out 'n about really began to suck. It had even gotten to the point where acts like the New Christs and Died Pretty were making lousy records, and I gotta admit that there's nothing sadder'n listening to something that was so filled with promise and hope for a high energy future that fizzled into the ashes of burned-outism faster'n you can say "yeah hup."

Dunno what happened to the Trilobites once they too hit the new decade with perhaps less than a vengeance, but this '85 live tape captures 'em doin' a rather rip-roarin' live set that at least conjures up fine memories of the Australian clime I remember so fondly. Y'know, just before that contenent became the home to a whole lotta bad trips we all best soon forget both musical and otherwise. Loadsa covers (Stooges, Groovies, Yardbirds, Dictators via themselves and the Rivieras) give an idea as to where these guys were comin' from, and although this ain't exactly the barnburner many were undoubtedly expecting it sure made for good late-night fun 'n jamz that helped slip me into the arms of Morpheus with a smile on my face and a jackhammer thud in my chest. If you can't find this I'm positive that the original singles are available somewhere, and if a CD comp has slipped my attention lo these many years I wouldn't be surprised about it either.
Frank Zappa-HOT RATS (Reprise)

Although I ain't as much of a Frank Zappa aficionado as I was durin' my Junior and Senor years in high screw-all, I still like to listen to Zap's earlier releases now that, since he's dead, the guy hasn't had the opportunity to annoy any of us with more of that drek he was inundating us with for quite some time. Anyhoo this particular cassette of 1969's HOT RATS just happened to be peering at me (or was it Miss Christine?) from the box of cassettes in the basement and since Lester Bangs' positive review in ROLLING STROON was still embedded in my brain I figured "wha' th' hey???" And y'know, this fusion blend of Zappa's was a whole lot better'n the jazzbo "look at me, I'm a renaissance man!" stuff he was doin' in the seventies even if that was far more digestible'n Return to Whatever no matter how commercial it could be!

Z's guitar playin's a whole lot more angular than usual and the band (utilizing only one Mother, the indispensable Ian Underwood) is muy simpatico to what ol' stinkeroo's trying to accomplish as far as bridging early-sixties avant garde jazz and late-sixties freak rock to the point where I kinda wish he woulda dumped his regular Mothers and kept these guys on full time! Don't think there was a virgin's chance in Penisland for that to happen, but at least we wouldn't have hadda put up with "Billy the Mountain" or "Camarillo Brillo" for that matter.

Of course the REAL icing onna cake's Cap Beefheart's vocalese on "Willie the Pimp," something which makes this a must have even for alla them late-seventies new wave types who loved the Beef but gave up on the Zap ages back. And of course Sugar Cane Harris' violin really adds the compliment to Zappa's guitar playing which ain't that annoying in that slick tenchnowhiz fashion that had people dribbling goo to the mere mention of his name. Even the usual session guys (not forgetting the wretch-inducing Jean Luc Ponty) don't get in the way, but the big mystery here is just why didn't Zappa offer sideman Underwood the chance to make his own solo recording for Bizarre considering how he pretty much keeps this 'un glued together with his overlaid woodwind work...yeah, I know that woulda probably sold about as good as Tim Dawe but what a 1976 flea market find that woulda made!
ALSO LISTENED TO (and slightly digested): Alan Vega-MAX'S KANSAS CITY 6/27/81, which not only might've been Vega's last stand at his longtime hangout but showcases his rather hotcha combo which not only contained guitarist Phil Hawk but had former Magic Tramps drummer Sesu Coleman in its ranks. Hear the death knells of Max's give birth to the ginchiness of Danceteria right before your very ears. If you like the first two Vega albums you know what to do by now. John Cale-MUDD CLUB 2/27/82 showcases the  famed musician/producer in a solo acoustic setting dishing out the cream of his seventies proggy career for dazed college students in Cardigan sweaters to rest shoulders upon each others' heads. If you like this period in Cale's career as well as saving leaves in the pages of old books this will go well with the hot chocolate. DMZ-THE RAT 9/4/77- they don't sound as six-oh as usual here but DMZ still churn out a mighty crank including hits from their various Sire and Bomp! outings as well as a ferocious cover of the Sonics' "He's Waitin'." This is the kinda stuff that CREEM used to call heavy metal back in the seventies, at least until that mag started to see which side of the butter their bread was on and more or less morphed into HIT PARADER junior. ELECTRIC EELS, EX-BLANK-EX, DAVE E-a collection sent my way by Jim Clinefelter ages back containing shards, mis-takes and other rarities that might sound fantabulous if some studio wizard with ultra-modern equipment got hold of it. Some ultra-rarities abound such as a live "Silver Daggers," and hearing Ex-Blank-Ex with Dave E. singing makes me wonder not only what else is out there that we just ain't heard at least since 1977. If I hate you, I hope you never get to hear it. The Troggs-MAX'S KANSAS CITY 6/17/78-listening to the vast array of live tapes recorded at Max's and CBGB throughout the seventies really drives home the fact as to how much rock 'n roll energy (as well as other forms of moozikal expreshun) was being presented on the New York club scene before the decadent seventies clocked into the sparkly eighties. As Annie Golden said about CBGB, you also didn't know what to expect when you went into Max's where you could see a wide variety of music being presented that was pretty much within (and sometimes on the perimeter) of just what hotcha rock 'n roll maniacs of many a stripe would drool for. Somehow the Troggs seemed custom made for a club like Max's, and hearing 'em careen through their melange of tried 'n trues plus choice r&b rompers sure makes for a fine example of sixties accomplishments being reshaped for seventies consumption. Back then knowing groups like the Troggs were still abounding pretty much fit into my scheme of things (or at least what I was discovering unfold before my very ears), and really gave me a spiritual connection to the music of the previous decade which mattered to me just as much as current music did. For the life of me I thought that the innovation of the sixties and the raw power of the seventies was gonna lead to an all-out explosion of high energy rockism throughout the eighties. Looking back, it's no wonder I failed math!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Some people sure have a sense of humus, like Bill Shute for sending me a burn that really puts the burn in these burns ifyaknowaddamean... Rich Devon (familiar actor from a variety of fifties/sixties tee-vee and cinematic offerings, one-a-those "know the face" kinda guys) stars in this whacked out western about two deputies on the hunt for a fellow co-worker who believe-it-or-not's a bloodthirsty and sadistic bank robber, stagecoach holdup artist, murderer and maybe even a racist and sexist for all we know. Most of the story is told in flashback as Devon relates to the leading lady (who turns out to be...well, I should give it away even if you probably ain't gonna see this 'un in a millyun years but in case you do I won't) everything that's transpired in our story up until the present, and considering that most of this moom takes place in the desert it's sure grand to see something other'n rocks and a stagecoach not forgetting that shrimpy guitar pickin' guy who I believe was put in this film for comic relief. However, with all of the weird below-the waist and between the knees shots which permeate this flick it ain't like the change in visuals is gonna spice this movie up any!

And I didn't even mention the choppy editing which lops off important parts of dialogue (which ain't really necessary given you can follow this film by scent alone), and what's even weirder are the scenes where a bunch of Indians go on the warpath and never do make it to their destination, wherever that may be. Perhaps they were the famous Fekawi Indians of TONIGHT SHOW fame, the ones who got their name because Johnny Carson said that when they'd be lost in the wilderness they'd come across somebody and say "We're the Fekawi!"

If you'd like to see a classic postwar western as envisioned through the mind of somebody with a severe brain injury this just might be the ticket. And like Popeye, keep an eye out for future Lois Lane herself Phyllis Coates in the water trough scene which AIN'T  anything like the one in MACON COUNTY LINE but something a whole lot more innocent and wholesome! Like yer gonna see any jugs in this moom, other'n the ones who acted in it.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

YOU think this post is rather skimpy? So do I. Naturally I have a good reason (don't know if its good enough for you but I'll give it a try) for the small stature of today's post not to mention my rather limpazoid writing, and that's REAL LIFE. You should try living in it sometime, it'll do you wonders especially when you have to work extra hard to get one thing done only to see another problem crop up and spoil your chances for some much-needed goof off time. Or better yet when you see your life savings dwindling down to nada after having to dish out $40 copay to some specialist who only tells you a few things you've already known (like you're fat 'n ugly) but now tell you ya got high blood pressure and if you don't get it under control your kidneys are gonna go kablooey! Like I need kidneys in the first the rate I pee I get the feeling the soda I drink goes right from my throat into my stomach and bladder faster'n you can say fanabla!

Not that there's hardly anything of worth that I'd care to buy which is comin' out these days. Frankly there hasn't been anything I'd really like to purchase (or get as a freebee!) other'n a few Forced Exposure Mailorder thingies here and a few CD Baby self-released goodies there. Let's face it, this ain't the seventies when tons of new and stirrup-stirring platters that dished out the best that the sixties hadda offer with seventies jadedness were coming out on a daily basis, and although I sure wish I could just do a hop skip and jump to an old timey record shop and spend a few weeks pay on loads of platters that have escaped my clams these past few decades that old song entitled "Them Days Are Gone Forever" just keeps playin' through my head like an eternal tapeloop. It's funny, now that I could afford all of those great sixties/seventies albums I used to lust over at seventies prices they've pretty much vanished from sight (only to go for jacked up prices via ebay "Buy It Now" auctions) thing I know I won't be able to eat all the foods I'd like even though I can now buy out the entire restaurant and give it to the poor!

Anyway here's pretty much what I've spun this past week during the evening hours when I thankfully had some time to myself (which usually lasts about an hour before Mr. Sandman knocks me out like a brain damaged palooka in the first round). Nothing to write home about true, but I do say it's a humbly spiffy selection indeed. What's more, I tried to keep everything rather concise since I really didn't have that much energy left in me to be as blowhardy as I usually am, and I know that more'n a few of you readers are thankful for that.

Maybe if I get enough scratch together to buy a few orders or beg certain people to do some downloading for me (there are a few interesting turdbits via youtube that I wouldn't mind having transcribed to disque) there'll be some more interesting if not downright entertaining things to educate ya in a "Gee I didn't know about that sorta way. But knowing just how stubborn you readers are, maybe not. Until then all I gotta say is, that's all I gotta say.

THE LARRY WILLIAMS SHOW featuring Johnny "Guitar" Watson and the Stormville Shakers CD-R burn (originally on Decca UK)

I think this was recorded live, though with the lack of audience reaction it's kinda hard to tell. Anyhoo, this is one of a couple albums Larry "Bonie Maronie" Williams made in England in the mid-sixties in an obvious attempt to cash in on the second generation rumbling goin' on in Green Teeth Land, and although he dragged Johnny "Guitar" Watson and band along you know that there was gonna be new and uncharted land being traversed on these sides. A cover of the Yardbirds' "For Your Love" is more'n just a subtle tipoff, and even though Williams' classic "Slow Down" is once again brought up for your approval the entire shebang comes off as the kind a rock 'n roll originator trying to come to terms with the British Invasion would naturally make. Well, at least this wasn't 1967 with Williams wearing flowers in his hair and love in his heart, but it's still a good cooker. A blast from a man who was such a genius he could actually shoot himself in the head with his hands cuffed behind his back!

Although I've never been whatcha'd call a big fan of this group I like to listen to Tractor at least once in a blue ball because 1) they were a pet group of John Peel's, who sure had a knack for picking out good groups to rah-rah about and 2) Tractor had a weirdo career careening between heavy metal adoration and brazen punkitude which always made for an interesting intersection between two rather big cult concerns in my book! Not only that, but their bedroom recordings sure came off a whole lot more fun 'n engaging'n all of the subsequent ones recorded by halfwit amerindie types who probably still haven't made their way outta their boudoirs whether they be fart-encrusted or not.

The debut album heard here's a sublime balancing act between early metallic concerns and neo-prog ideas that for once don't make me wanna puke, while even the acoustic demos done by guitarist/singer Jim Milne have an intense ting to 'em that don't make me wanna dredge up cringe-worth images of Codger Rotters during his eighties Floyd sojourn. There's something on this platter that'll appeal to just about every reg'lar BLOG TO COMM reader, and the appearance of special guest Nik Turner only raises the property values which doesn't surprise me considering how Tractor are sorta like a tinkertoy Hawkwind once you think about it.
Various Artists-THE SOULFUL SIDE OF TUFF RECORDS CD-R burn ("unofficial" release using the "Tuff" imprimatur)

When I was a kid I always thought that soul music was something for the big kids. Or at least kids who were in high school 'n college who by that time maybe weren't "kids," but I sure didn't think they were grownups either. If I recall correctly, the schoolchums who were my age were still into "Mairzy Doats" and of course a good bubblegum single or two while the tuff fifth graders swung with the Beatles and Stones not to mention the various other fellow travelers who were mopping up the place with their hair. Of course with the bonafeed grownups it was strictly "Shoo Bee Doo Bee Doo, " but before anybody got to that stage they sorta hadda pass from Mick Jagger through the Temptations before they hit the stage where they listened to the kinda music the oldsters (anybody over 25 or so) liked. To me, soul was something the big white kids who might have known one black kid from school listened to even if for the most part they seemed to hate blacks in general. Funny how I digested things in my mind back then even if my observations were probably more accurate than I'm willing to give myself credit for.

Anyhoo this collection of questionable legality features nothing but soul on the "legendary" Tuff label, a good selection featuring material by many aping to be the next big urban AM spin but most likely became disco fodder in the next decade. (Well, Van McCoy was a Tuff bigwig producer and recording star [Fantastic Vantastics] in his own right.) Brings back fond memories of evenings listening to the transistor waiting for the next playing of "Simon Says" as well as Saturday afternoon car cleaning doodies while the radio blared 'stead of the drudgery of school and cooperation, and that's a good sign.
Graham Parker and the Rumour-THE PARKERILLA cassette (Vertigo England)

You all know that I ain't that keen on Parker and a whole lotta that English pub rock music of the mid-seventies onward, but I just hadda get this for the cool cover snap! Other'n that I will 'fess up to the fact that this live set is halfway-decent Van Morrison cum Brooce-styled rehash that doesn't offend and perhaps recalls the likes of Mink DeVille and various other "street rock" types at their very best. In other words, music that was CUSTOM MADE for alla those aviator shaded jean jacketed short'n curly hair five o'clock shadow'd college kids you used to see during your mid-seventies junior and high school days, and you just KNOW that none of 'em have changed one iota o'er the past four decades other'n they're now a whole lot more wrinklier and worse for wear.

Yez, here's another example of ol' Chrissie buying up more of those albums he wished he coulda afforded to have bought back when he was prowling the record bins age twelve but he gets 'em long after the original excitement and energy has come to a standstill. Like hell...listening to A QUICK ONE's just as boffo exciting and even (pre) adolescent fun and games now as it woulda been for any well-congested sinusbrat who managed to finagle a copy of this on its day of release! Yeah it ain't as full-thrust as MY GENERATION, but the platter holds you throughout even when the group does tread into questionable areas such as the rock opera title track, not a bad number per se, but not as punky as the group should have always strived to be. The additional tracks from the READY STEADY WHO EP and various b-sides 'n outtakes sweeten the pot but it ain't like I'm gonna sell my copy of WHO'S ZOO any time soon even if it is the 1981 reissue with the paper insert 'stead of the full color sleeve.
Janet Hamill and Moving Star-FLYING NOWHERE (available via CD Baby)

Here's one I wrote up in the last issue of my very sainted hagiozine, but since that 'un was cranked out a good nine years back and I haven't listened to it since maybe it's time to give the ol' platter another perusal if only to pad this post out a li'l bit. As you might know Hamill was a college chum of Patti Smith, but instead of goin' the hotcha rockscribe punk poetess route Hamill became a school teacher and stayed far away from the limelight, at least until she decided to publish her own writings and tried the rock goes poetry game herself. This is the resultant album CEE-DEE which I found out about only after noticing a gig by the gal and her band at the ol' CB's 313 Gallery, and for a guy who was then (and still is) looking for the last shards of seventies rockist credo in a new millennium boy was I all choked up over this more'n Sammy the Snake was while Peter Cottontail slowly but surely slid right down ol' Sammy's gullet.

Hamill reminds me of a Maureen Tucker type more than Patti...I mean there's not a foul sound to be heard from the gal as she talk-sings her rather inspired if heard-it-before-somewhere poesy, while Moving Star are basic enough as they provide fitting accompaniment to Hamill's  neo-Smithian visions. If anything, this group come off pretty much like the kind we would've expected some astute early-seventies critic to have enthusiastically compared to the early-Velvet Underground in their stark appeal, kinda the same way acts such as the Magic Tramps, early-seventies Link Wray (really!) and even Patti's old Lenny Kaye/DNV Sohl duo would be considered the ultimate end trip in a decade-long evolution into raw and exciting visions that would eventually tumble into the abyss of giddy college rock musings and various absessive tonalities.

Really, this is another lost fave that's been wooshed over by loads of subpar sputum passing as innovation, and if you're yet another oldster who was weaned on sixties top 40 lowbudget spins and grew muscles to late-sixties epiphanies (almost giving up on rock 'n roll until the mid-seventies revival) I believe you will understand perfectly. If not, maybe you could understand the concept of beat poetry being recited to hotcha 1965-era NUGGETS riffs which I guess makes more sense than bongo bops, and if there's anything out there that can excite both the old fogie and young upstart BLOG TO COMM readers it's a spin like this but I assume that you've known that already...

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Betcha won'drin' where all of the hotcha new indie singles are comin' from these days, hunh? Y'know, all of those wild spinners recorded by tantrum'd teens in their living rooms while mom was pilled out of her mind in the bedroom and dad was out working at the salt mines? The ones with the spiffy covers and low-fidelity pressings that really used to brighten up your day because they seemed so much more exciting than real records? Well, wonder on, because none of these platters can hold a candle to "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo" or "Agitated" although  they sure can...well, read on 'n see for yourself!

Fooskashuta-"Goin' My Way?"/"Jack It Up" (Thrill-a-Minnit, 1322 Fifth Avenue, Megalopolis, PA 15100)

First up on today's litany of obscure post-post-music 45's this weirditie that originally came out on the now defunct Pubic Bust label in Japan. Fooskashuta (whose name loosely translates into "Sumo Wrestler Jockstrap Skidmark") are definitely part of the neo-gutter rock scene now making an indent on these shores, and a stateside release is more than welcome considering how most of the Japanese press run had tragically been melted down in order to make phony phalluses for a Tokyo-based Spring Fertilization Festival that unfortunately did not have enough dongs to spare. The music seems to be a tribute to early-eighties Japanese hardcore rompers the Stalin, though def. refs. to such late-eighties heroes as the Boredoms can be discerned if you listen ever-so-slightly. Vocals are typically crazed and not only off-the-wall but running over the other side screaming, though I find their English to be about as good as any heard on your typical East Bloc hardcore rant. With some luck, I might be able to get $1.50 in trade.
La Santa Muerte-"No Pasaran My Asaran"/"Viva La Morton" (Maverdo, PO Box 1939, Madrid Spain)

Spain ain't exactly been one of the underground rock hotspots other'n for a few Basque separatist punk platters that got unleashed about twenty-five years back, but these Deep Fried Falangists really know how to make up for years of neglect. A side's a snooty broadside against the communist forces who tried in vain to turn the Iberian Peninsula into Moscow West, while the flip sports a rather spiffy tribute to former Electric Eels/Ex-Blank-Ex guitarist John Morton. I guess the big man does case a huge shadow even across the Atlantic, and the Eels influence on these two sides is undeniable. Slip on a brown shirt and kick out some communists to the strains of La Santa Muerte today!
Dim Sum-SETTING ZERO EP (Hidden Galaxy, PO Box Infinity, Coney Island New York)

It was inevitable that Von Lmo imitators would eventually be cluttering up the field, and Dim Sum are no exception. From the imitation Lmo artwork on the cover to the rip-roaring atonal guitars this is nothing but a keen imitation of RED RESISTOR-styled overdrive that's so accurate I'm surprised Lmo hasn't sued yet. The screeching lead vocals of Friedrich Von Mengele (real name: Giuseppe Afanabla) get into that heavy New Yawk Lmo cum Handsome Dick Manitoba yelp that for a minute will make you wonder whether or not he's really singing about the cosmos or hailing a cab. Either way you're all set for a wild ride that'll take you to Andromeda and back, all in the comfiness of your very own fart-encrusted boudoir.
Public Toilet-"I Woke Up With Yr Mom"/"Made Ya Look" (Dine and Dash, available via Systematic)

It's sooooo obvious these guys Richard Meltzer, and I wouldn't be surprised one bit if each 'n every one of 'em jacked off to glossies of the guy that were printed up to promote THE NIGHT (ALONE). A-side is positively thee answer record to "I'm In Love With Your Mom" with its pseudo (or is it neo?) heavy metal chords that seem to owe more to Black Sabbath than Black Flag (yeah, what was the dif?), while "Made Ya Look" is a riff on the old kiddie game, only with a strangely sinister intent that really seems to be pushing the buttons during these days when anything kiddie and sex related cannot go hand in gland, A SERBIAN FILM notwithstanding. I'm sure that if you plug yourself in right things will go along rather smoothly, as the little girl said to the little boy on the way to the picnic.
Ai! Yi Yi!!-HEAVY FLOW EP (Triple Amputee, c/o the estate of Todd Browning)

More Far Eastern frolics from the always worthwhile Triple Amputee label, best known for releasing the boffo Butt Plug Fantasies single a year back. Grindcore guitars never went outta style with these Japanazi outcasts who sound like they're rarin' to have a go at yet another Bataan Death March, and the title track is more'n enough evidence that we're gonna hafta start up yet another war crimes tribunal before long. Singer Fuji Mammajamma actually shreds epiglottis on these sides which, besides the title track (perhaps the keenest tribute to Dean Corll ever committed to wax) also feature such to-the-point ditties as "Minimata Rectal Probe" and "Teflon Replacement Hymen" (when Mammajamma wails on about bruising his buster on this 'un it really gets ya here!).
Cash Cow-"Retard Superman"/"All F*cked Up" (Plastic Explosive)

And you thought things couldn't get any more tasteless! Well Cash Cow has proven you all wrong with this single that's guaranteed to get the group a whole lotta free publicity from a whole buncha nambla-pamblies who think that the severely retarded should not be made fun of one bit! Personally I don't believe Cash Cow are actually making fun of the usual IQ 50 crowd...after a close study of the lyrics I actually believe the group's making a keen and rather astute comment regarding fracking but I'm not 100% sure. Whatever the case may be, they wrap it all up in some mighty hotcha savage yet subdued music that echoes back to the late-eighties underground of A Dying Gymnast and Harm Farm. Yes, the classics!

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Spent the past few weeknights re-reading an old fave, Jim DeRogatis's LET IT BLURT; THE LIFE AND TIMES OF LESTER BANGS which I must say conjured up a whole load of latest rock-related feelings that have been hidden deep inside my well for way too long. Yeah, this tome for the times certainly helped settle some of the pangs I've had for the lack of third generation sounds and ideals long gone from the public scene, and like a solid collection of 1971-1976 CREEMs or any choice concurrent fanzine run (I recommend either BACK DOOR MAN or DENIM DELINQUENT), BLURT made for some rather pleasant reading if only to sharpen my own memory as to why the entire proto/punk snide under-the-counterculture period in life (roughly 1966 to 1981) was a period that was custom made for what we like to cheerfully call "rockism." Or maybe just "teenage culture" or better yet "mid-Amerigan suburban slob living" but whatever, it sure dug up a whole slew of emotions which fortunately did not remind me of my own past transgressions (which were usually the transgressions of others laid upon me but that's another post) but brought back them still-vivid memories. Y'know, of what it was like living on depression-era wages during a rather lonely and skewered youth when you sorta knew that adults in general and the kids who surrounded you loathed you with a passion but there was nothing else for you to do so you hadda roll with the punches and suck up to it at least until you came home and took out all of your aggression on the dog (TV wrestling hammerlocks and lip twists included). Of course that was all before settlling in for a side of a record you felt so proud of when you first plucked it from the record bin at the music store or flea market of your choice which made you feel you were making a decision as important as your parents when they went to vote. And really, in many ways it was more crucial  'n all that grown up "civic duty."

True there's a lot to be said that wasn't in the book (just go here for more) but I sure can get more'n enough mid-seventies/early-eighties CREEM-powered throb thrills from reading what DeRogatis wrote about a guy who, believe it or not, rearranged a whole lotta ways I thought about and heard music than I can outta the entire printed output of Greil Marcuse and Robert Christgoo combined. Of course it's more'n common knowledge that Bangs also whammied it out to a few million other suburband pimplecrop blobs other'n myself, but who could deny that the guy (along with Meltzer, Saunders, Kent, Farren, Kaye...) sure knew how to deliver on the high energy goods via print at a time when everybody else was tellin' us doofoids to settle back and kick yer country feet up. And although you may disagree, I gotta say that I think we should get down on our knees and be thankful there were some smart souls out there willing to tip off us from nowhere beyond-the-outkid types that there was something out there in life that was gonna rescue us from total whitebread boredom and loathing whether it be via books, mags, music, tee-vee or even comix and it wasn't as obscure as we all thought it would be!

Yeah, reports say that Lester could be ornery, rude, insulting, antisocial and worst of all had this sick humanist streak in him, but for once I gotta overlook the bad side and remember him as the REAL "consumer guide" scribe whose choices always made me wanna give it a try no matter how many 180's he did or Grateful Dead and Allman Brothers albums he championed. Kinda the same way that Eddie Flowers would at least pique my interest when he'd bring up some Carole King or Judee Sill platter as a top spin for the week, and y'know I'd go after either one of 'em the same way I'd go for a plate of peas and asparagus. However, considering all of the hotcha things people like Bangs have turned me onto back when I certainly was looking for a hook maybe it would be smart if I at least "branched out" a teeny weeny bit'n try something outside of the usual brainstrain. Lord knows I've tried even though the thought of it sometimes makes me feel like the real "schmorgasbord schmuck," a Chuck Eddy doing the seventies schtick for an eighties rock scene that he didn't realize wasn't copasetic to his roots and ideals just as much as they weren't to mine.

Like I said, you could poke and probe at this book like a gynecologist on a post-menopausal leg-swelled housewife drearily looking forward to having her soon-to-retire hubby home all day, but even though DeRogatis spelled "Sapphire" (Kingfish's long-suffering wife from AMOS 'N ANDY) the same way you would the former Nixon speechwriter and dipshit NEW YORK TIMES columnist's last name I ain't chidin' one bit. And maybe you shouldn't too. At least this Bangs project wasn't being helmed by the likes of people who really hated his guts even though they spoke proudly of his public persona, jealous that they weren't as flippant or as cruel as Bangs being so comfy in their hippie thoughts and dreams which look particularly rancid a good forty years after these schmucks finally gained the power they once said they eschewed for all.

DeRogatis really did a good enough job telling about the early days and the original success, not forgetting the back-stabs and tons of book proposals gone nowhere (rejected by the same blokes who'd nowadays would be more'n glad to publish PARKE PUTERBAUGH'S FORESKIN RETRACTION TIPS FOR SWINGING STUDS). And although the book does make you remember just how fun and wild the entire late-sixties to early-eighties coulda been if you only looked hard enough to find your particular jollies, you will feel sorrow upon reading about his death, or angry at all of the betrayals that not only were pulled on Bangs but which Bangs pulled on others, and just generally making you long for them old days when you coulda easily enough drowned your sorrows in either booze or a variety of chemicals both over, under and far away from the counter but just goin' to the record store seemed to do the trick.

What really got me amazed about the book was not only the saga of Bangs the rockscribe but Bangs the PROPHET! The guy sure knew what was happening and what the entire mess would turn into, not only regarding musical trends and the eternal power of the Velvet Underground and how they were the real movers of seventies music as opposed to the standard Beatles/Stones/Dylan line that was overhyped by the prissies at ROLLING STONE, but about the entire mode of the business he helped put on the map as well. Bangs knew that most of the writers (or "critics," a term I have used with disdain for quite some times) popping up at the time were only using rock 'n roll as a stepping stone into bigger bux bonanzas. In fact, the very same mags that Bangs had "put on the map" to be so coyly cliched about it were not as true to the musical ideal as they always wanted us to remember with a passion. The evolution of STONE into a glossy uberlib chic publication mulling around with whatever shards of teen music is left these days prove he was right about the rock press in general, and the fact that the vast score of eighties scribes were nothing but future television/mooms/theatre sophistacados just getting a foothold in the entire mess of it all gives one more'n a few thoughts to ponder considering how Bangs say the shit coming down long before anyone else! It didn't take long to see how correct Bangs was in sussing the entire corporate rock scene, and it does kinda drive me batty that in no way since his death would any major magazine print a Bangs, let alone a Meltzer, Tosches or any of the other greats who transcended the usual shillscam and wrote uncannily as if they were able to sneak into your brain and plug their own credo into your own personal tastes and values as if you 'n they were one 'n the same.

Of course the most shattering things this book revealed to me (must've been so painful that I forgot about it lo these many years later) was that Lester actually died while listening to the strains of the Human League's DARE album. Now, that was something which must have been the most agonizing, painful way for anyone to go next to Joey Ramone spinning U2 during his final seconds which really must have prepared him for an eternity in you-know-where. It's kinda like God was calling on Lester, but before the guy gave up his ghost the Almighty was gonna at least stick it to him good for all of that rabble-rousing and self-abuse (both kinds) that he engaged in his short 33 years. And although I must say that I haven't been as wild 'n wicked as Bangs was, the mere thought of passing into the great unknown to the Human League makes me do nothing but shivver...for me it's gonna be Rocket From The Tombs and Rocket From The Tombs ONLY, y'unnerstan'?
Now that October has descended with its shorter days and cooler temps, visions of spending more time inna bedroom with lotsa music spinnin' 'n funtime reading material are dancin' in my head with sugarplum velocity 'n boy am I glad! Dunno exactly why, but the fall season really brings back memories of my initial super-fi comic strip obsessions when I would comb the microfilms at the old Buhl Henderson Library to read forties-vintage comic strips while my dad'd chat with the librarian who used to work in his department. I do remember a certain Saturday afternoon at the library where I gotta look at a whole buncha was sunny if a bit cool, and I remember that issue of SATURDAY REVIEW with Ellen Sanders' Rolling Stones article (Mick Jagger's mug boldly peering at'cha on the front cover) was being displayed in the mag rack. We actually had that ish at home, and I can sure remember my father being really p.o.'d about it even though the mag didn't get tossed into the garbage the same way my cousin's MAD with the fabled "Trauma of '42" spoof did a couple years later! But you can bet that my dad's sub to the mag was not gonna get renewed, though the question remains why he subscribed in the first place!

But Mick Jagger aside, with the chillier weather and shorter days we're now having here in Western Pee-YAY it's pretty much natural that my thoughts turn to happier (at least during the weekends) times of childhood pursuits, and none could be more childlike than the funny papers. At least they were childlike and funny back then, with a wide array of high-larious and downright intense comics that seemed to appeal to just about everybody in the family and a few neighbors to boot. Digging into boxes of comic anthologies collected over the course of a lifetime certainly help out, and even latching onto a few new books or clippings also revive them old pangs of single-digit happiness that certainly meant a whole lot to me back when I was a kid and things were pretty tough. And the more I read of these old strips, the more I appreciate the wholesome yet bared-wire intense world that my parents and grandparents lived in and the strength there was which seemed to dissolve once families started drifting apart and the world began looking more alien and foreboding with each passing day.

I acquired this first volume of LI'L ABNER dailies (the Kitchen Sink Press edition from the eighties) quite awhile back, and re-reading these early strips was yet another fine way to occupy my pre-beddy bye time or at least get my mind off the fact that this fruit 'n yogurt diet the doc recommended makes me feel like an acid-reflex crater is being bored right in the center of my stomach. I gotta marvel at Al Capp's early style on these strips which has that fine late-twenties quill tip look and is quite different from the artwork best associated with the strip, and even at this early stage I can tell that ABNER was bound to develop into something so big it would practically overtake the entire comic strip industry in such a vast way that its popularity would only be eclipsed by PEANUTS sometime in the sixties. But these early strips have a nice, plain yet powerful style to 'em with artwork that only goes to show how slapdash the entire newspaper comic strip industry has become o'er the years, and with the continuity and the character development strong even in these early ABNER's you almost get the feeling that this comic could have been syndicated by NEA Services (who seemed to churn out many quality titles until King Features lured their artists away for three times the money) 'stead of United Features.

Is my lifelong comic strip obsession bubbling up to manic intensity once again? Of course, and although my wish of being able to read every pertinent comic page since the twenties (and maybe even earlier!) until the early-seventies deep six is never going to be fulfilled at least when I settle back with these old ABNERs I'm once again that fat eight-year-old pudge plopped right inna middle of the parlor floor like a bear skin rug readin' the daily travails of everyone from NANCY, BUGS BUNNY and yeah, even an ABNER that the sophisticated New York intellectuals quit reading long ago after Capp began making fun of them, and I'm all the happier for it!
Just gonna do a few quickies this weekend especially since I'm not exactly inna mood or mode to do the usual bloviating  that has kept this blog afloat for the past eight years. (Actually I've done enough bloviating to keep this blog pumped up on helium for the next ten milleniums.)  Most of these are the usual freebees that have been sent by various acolytes for wont of a better term, and I will say that these gifts have at least some redeeming quality/social value that warrants a mention in these "pages."  But whether or not I'd go out and purchase any of these with my hard-begged well, that's another question. Of all the discs and "disques" reviewed below I think there is only one I would actually want to part with my moolah to get (not counting those that I did part with the hard-begged for), and I'll leave it up to you to guess which one it is. First one with the correct answer wins a special no prize, or at least might get some of the overflow I've been receiving to review for this very how hotcha can that be!

Peppermint Trolley Company-BEAUTIFUL SUN CD-R burn (Now Sound reissue)

"You may need an insulin shot, but I like this band." Some fanabla actually put that on the paper sleeve that came with this burn. Don't know who, but whoever did write this probably thought that someone/myself for that matter wouldn't like this SoCal "Sunshine Pop" band best known for their work on the original BRADY BUNCH theme song. Frankly I gotta say that I enjoyed this 'un even though late-sixties teenage gal bedroom giggler pop music ain't quite my beat...nice enough emotive pop melodies (sorta in a New Colony Six vein) fill your fart-encrusted bedroom with sonic slush that'll reduce you to amoeba viscosity as the harmony vocals and neo-Left Banke arrangements actually seem to transcend the usual teenybop trappings. Nothing that I would call crucial, but fun nonetheless.
Gary Wilson-LISA WANTS TO TALK TO YOU LP (Feeding Tube)

Well whaddaya know! A NEW album from snakeoil lounge act Gary Wilson, or shall I say a vinylization of a recent (2008) cassette-only deal which I will admit passed me by the first time around. Time has not changed this man one iota, and the overabundance of mid-seventies mainstream jazzoid tracks done up in an analog synth style lay proof to the fact that Wilson's mind operates the same way today that it did a good thirty-five years back and I am one goombah who was raise a fine and hearty "huzzah!" to it all. Michael Franks in orbit, or perhaps Bobby McFerrin circling Jupiter (you thought I was gonna say Uranus...c'mon, admit that I ain't as obvious as that!)
The Neatbeats-LIKE THE CAVERN LIVE, REEL No. 1 CD-R Burn (originally on Majestic Sound)

Japanese Beatle devotees doing the British Invasion ramalama a good fifty years after the fact. If you go for all of those seventies facsimiles you'll probably also go for this over-the-top performance, though the slurred singing and Japanenglish might be a little too much for Western ears and that's no occident. Bonus audience banter'll also go over some heads, like mine esp. when the people at Majestic Sound found it worthy to bleep out some of the words being said on-stage. I mean I can't understand a word being uttered, but I wanna know what was being bleeped out, the context of it and just what the audience was laughing at!!! Drives me crazy just thinkin' about it!

Wonder what possessed Dr. Shute to dribble this one my way. Maybe this flick held some special significance for him, but frankly I never went for a lot of those NBC SATURDAY NIGHT AT THE MOVIES kinda features that seemed custom-made for people who looked like Dennis the Menace's folks to settle back 'n watch since they were too cheap to go to the mooms to see films like this when they came out. The music is "there"...OK stuff that registers in a mid-sixties "music that grown ups listen to" sorta way, and it did serve to relax me at least a little bit. But otherwise all it reminds me of is growing up in a clime that was switching from 40s/50s/60s postwar fun and jollies to Johnson/Nixon-era sophisticado, and that just don't settle well considerin' all of the pain and turmoil I hadda go through just to make it through Phonics class!

Lessee..."the only band that snoozes?" Naw, howzbout "a garage band that should have been playing while stranded in the middle of the motorway during a steamroller contest." I think Charles Shaar Murray said something to that effect but all I can add is that next to the better honed mid-seventies English punk acts of the day from Dr. Feelgood on down these demos and live tracks don't quite hit that rockist g-spot we're all searching for. Last resort stuff, after you've finished listening to all of your Feelgood, Groovies, Ducks Deluxe, Roogalator, Downliners Sect, Loose Gravel, Tyla Gang, Motors... records about fifty times over.
Various Artists-THE RICH RECORDS STORY CD-R burn (Blue/SPV)

I listened to this while re-reading the Bangs book mentioned above and y'know what? THE RICH RECORD STORY sounded just as tuned to the printed page in front of me the same way a late-seventies New York underground production or blaring free jazz session would have suited the same situation. I guess the potent power of Bangs had overcome me to the point where I could appreciate music that might not exactly be the kind I've championed as A #1 uno these past thirtysome years but sure had this inner turmoil to it that belied its "party time" roots or something equally rockcrit BS. I never loathe all musics outside of my own personal "realm" unlike what many a twat has opined, but it ain't like I'm gonna spend time singing the praises of the same quap every other scribe with a keyboard 'n screen has pumped up with seedy valor ever since the birth of "rock journalism" as another opportunity for people to prove just what kinda assholes they could become if they only tried hard enough.

Anyway, this is an interesting collection of single sides from this early-sixties Nashville label that's probably best noted for having Bobby Hebb in his pre-"Sunny" days. He clocks in with six sides of mid-South soul while other labelmates such as Lattimore Brown and Jimmy Church do their darndest to cop everyone from James Brown to Sam Cook and get away with it! Strangest tracks of all are John R.'s various talkovers over cheezy funk organ that certainly'll make you wanna utter the all important phrase "hunh, what was that?"

Lennon/Ono-ALTERNATIVE TORONTO MIX AND MORE CD (Goblin bootleg, Australia)

I gotta admit that it was ironic that I actually listened to this one while reading the LI'L ABNER book mentioned above! I'm sure "Al Crapp" as Lennon referred to the erstwhile ABNER cartoonist must be spinnin' in his grave knowing that a good forty-three years after their fateful meeting John Lennon is still being listened to as much as ever, even if it's by a guy who thinks the Lennon's solo career contained some rather pale and tres introspective musings that seemed to reflect the attitude of a jaded pop star who was so filled with contempt he'd toss anything at his hungry hoards! At least Capp would be pleased that people are still reading his long-gone strip, but he'd probably shudder that some of his fans are also fans of the mop topped one and at times the twains do intersect, at least a little.

But I will give LIVE PEACE IN TORONTO its dues Eric Clapton and all, if only because of the primitive pallor of the entire throwtogether affair as well as the extended Yoko feedback finale which really must have confused all the oldies fans in the audience! And this original mix with Lennon chastising the audience for not appreciating his genius and Yoko wailing in top form is what the official release should have been, something even more primal (and primed) with all of the roughness and edge left in. Sure it ain't gonna be a top of the stack spin (which is why I ain't played the thing in a good decade or so) but it does put the rest of the Lennon love 'n peace hucksterism catalog to shame.

Filling out the platter's some tracks from the YOKO ONO/PLASTIC ONO thingie as well as FLY which have since been reissued all legal-like, but ya gotta admit they sound good in the company and if you don't have that but you have this you're pretty much all set anyway. Well, you're set at least until you find the late-nineties Ryko editions going for mere pennies on ebay which they certainly are worth, and a whole lot more considerin' how Yoko was proving with ease that she was the queen of the slag heap at least until she started taking on airs of Carole King-esque singer/songwriter schmooze!