Wednesday, February 27, 2013


Only once in a lifetime does a film like this come along to take you by your nerve-endings and frazzle you into a mess of spasms. Yes, ZARDOZ is a moom pitcher that you will never be able to rip out of your cranium, one that will stick around with you forever just like every other beyond-feeling flick from PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE to DEADBEAT AT DAWN. Something you ain't gonna be able to shake from your psyche until you're about as old and senile as the aged denizens of The Vortex living in abject mayhem flipping out while twenties-vintage dance music is constantly played. Yeah it's one of "those" films, but it's one that will separate the high energy true-believers from the IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE patsies, that's for sure! The feel bad, in a good way, movie a soul like I has been waiting for.

Imagine a meeting of minds between Edgar Rice and William Burroughs and you might get something akin to ZARDOZ. Or howz'bout this...ZARDOZ is a bold move taking the oft-tread Sci-Fi "dystopian utopia" saga and injecting some much-needed life and vision into its sorry carcass! Yeah, that's pretty much what ZARDOZ is, a futuristic thriller that is fortunately void of all of the modern day hangups and restraint that have turned me off to contemporary television and cinema faster than you can say HBO. And it's done with a peak perfection to the point where you actually feel like protagonist Zed (recently retired from James Bond actor Sean Connery) trying to get to the bottom of the mystery regarding the entire meaning and mystery that makes up the god Zardoz, an early-Greek-styled flying stone head that pukes weapons from its gaping mouth for his elect followers to murder reproducing "Brutals" with while his worshipers fill Zardoz with grain that is being planted for reasons that seem quite alien to these barbarians with flashy seventies-styled long hair.

Zed, for reasons that will become painstakingly clear in upcoming flashbacks scattered throughout the film, stows away on the floating head and is transported to the world of The Eternals, an immortal people who live in a society that reminds me of a cross between 14th century England and the hippy-dippiest Southern Californian commune you could find. Thus begins the real mystery regarding this seemingly primitive invader who has trespassed upon the sanctity of an advanced people with neo-psychic powers who have been living on for three centuries and, if anything, long and crave for a nice and painful death if only to break up the stultifying boredom.

The intruder isn't actually taken to kindly by everyone, with the Vortexans not sure of what to do with this decaying and armed primitive. May (played by Sarah Kestleman) wants to study him for scientific purposes which would seem sensible since he is the first peon from the outside world anyone has seen in over three centuries. However Consuela (Charlotte Rampling, an actress who worked wonders in these mid-seventies noir-ish dramas) would like Zed terminated immediately, perhaps after he demonstrates the process of sexual arousal by looking at her instead of the female mud wrestlers being projected on a screen. The tension between Zed and the Eternals, coupled with his own quest to discover just what Zardoz is, leads to a bubbling under intensity that pretty much underlies the entire film adding even more energy (remember that word?)  to a flick that's already packed to the gills with a whole load of mutated Science Fiction ideas and twists I never saw on CAPTAIN VIDEO, that's for sure! And hey, I'm not even talking about the mind-expanding psychedelic interludes with squiggly sperm-like protozoa darting about or the scene where Zed is being crash-coursed in the sciences and arts with text and classical paintings being flashed upon naked torsos!

I won't give any more away, but you should be more'n aptly pleased by the way ZARDOZ progresses with various plot twitches and switches that might take at least four viewings to fully comprehend. But one should be enough for it to give you the full impact. Let me just say that, without ruining things, the entire story ends in a huge violent cataclysmic bang that will undoubtedly leave you stunned, which in turn is followed by perhaps the most extremely somber and strangely moving ending in a film that I've ever seen in my life. Let me tell you that the final two or so minutes of this film had such a strange effect on me, as if it were ripped straight from one of my most feverish, Ny Quil-induced dreams to the point where it seemed as if director John Boorman actually plagiarized  my mind, that's how powerful even for a jaded fanabla such as I it is! (Oddly enough, having been vaguely tipped off to the ending yet vastly unsure of the situations surrounding it I did, prior to viewing ZARDOZ, conjure up a vivid dream where I viewed what I perceived the ending to be, and although what I dreamed was most definitely not in the film the same sad, depressing emotions that I experienced later were already evident in the hidden reaches of my cranium.) A fantastic's too bad it tanked like it did because it really deserves an even larger cult following than the one I assume it has these days.

Stills from the strangely moving closing of ZARDOZ

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The passing of art rock pioneer Kevin Ayers last Monday wasn't anything that came like a total surprise to me...I mean the guy was gettin' up there in years and what's an average rock 'n roller's lifespan anyway...twenty-seven? (It may have gone up to 34 in recent years but in 1971 if a rocker made it to thirty it was like pension time for him!) However, once again Ayers' death reminded me of the evil scourge of time and how we're all growing older and although I still envision myself as that pimply prepubescent runnin' around the house in stocking feet I'm now that very same old pudge of an aging baldoid fart who I remember seeing back when I was ten wonderin' just how the hell these blubberfarms were able to exist in the first place! Although Ayers never exactly was a household name especially here in Ameriga he certainly was the toast of the import bin set, what with his appearance on the debut (and for me the best) Soft Machine album not to mention a string of albums throughout the seventies that were recorded for the likes of Harvest and Island where he got to record with everyone from Syd Barrett to Nico and everybody thought he was so great for doing just that! His songs were whimsical, emotive, deep, sometimes hard and intense, but whatever they were Ayers seemed to have epitomized the 1969-1974 "Harvest sound" about as much as Barrett did and perhaps even more than labelmates Pink Floyd or the Move did which was no mere feat.

True Ayers' career was filled with more than a few songs that really didn't thrill anybody with a rock 'n roll set of dissonance, but even a track like "Falling In Love Again" from YES WE HAVE NO MANANAS seemed to fulfill some sorta English quirkiness quotient that was so important to many an artist over there during the early/mid-seventies days. That 'un was recorded right around the time Ayers' career seemed to be taking a downturn and he started putting out albums that I don't think I'd care to listen to in a millyun years, but as far as his earlier output goes well, who could deny that debut JOY OF A TOY was about as 60s/70s cusp maddening psychedelic as most anything else coming out o'er there at the time? Or how about WHATEVERSHEBRINGSWESING which not only had one of those great Harvest gatefold sleeves with the textured cover but the ever popular "Stranger in Blue Suede Shoes" where Ayers gets to do his Lou Reed impression. And although many people seem to pass on this 'un, the JUNE 1, 1974 album is an occasional funtime spin for me where Ayers, who had temporarily switched over to Island Records, gets to perform with his faves on that label's roster not surprisingly enough trying to sound more Island than Harvest in the process. However when he does his old songs recorded for his previous and future label he comes off like a strange amalgamation, kind of like an automobile that is part Lincoln Continental and part Cadillac yet still running about as fast as the regular models.

I'd probably be lying if I said I was going to miss Ayers...after all, I've passed on a good portion of the records he has released  and haven't heard anything he's recorded from the late-seventies onward. But I sure will pay tribute to the Ayers who did all of those rather hotcha albums and single sides (most which were gathered on the budget collection ODD DITTIES) as well as helmed the original Soft Machine with that suave yet evil bass voice of his. I mean, it's the least I could do for a guy who provided me with at least some moments of musical merriment, and it's a whole lot more'n I'll ever do for any of those betrayers of the rock 'n roll idiom who pelted us with some of the worst inanities to ever get passed off as music these past thirty years of total rockist depression!
Awhile back, I published a piece mentioning how, thanks to the onslaught of rampant feminism and male emasculation, I much prefer the concept of "ladies" (petite and nice-smelling beings that are soft and lumpy) to that of "women" (a generic catch-all phrase meaning men with vaginas). For months (and given the stone silence I received regarding my pertinent opines) I felt as if I was the only person on the face of this planet who felt this way regarding what has happened to the dangerous sex, but it seems as if somebody else has the same sense of where things have gone wrong with the overall pulchritude and general sensibilities regarding the current state of females too! That's why I am linking his article here. A man's gotta beef up his opinions and core beliefs with those from fellow travelers no matter how crutch-y it may look, y'know!
Here's the brunt of what I've been dealing with auralwise this week. For a change, all of the platters and disques reviewed this week are newies at least to my collection, with some obtained via the sweat of my brow and others received thanks to none other than Bill Shute for which I am forever thankful (and no Bill, you are not getting my first born because frankly I doubt there will ever be one!). I've also been spinning some old forgotten faves that I haven't touched in awhile such as the Anthrax "HyProGlow"/"Got The Time" promotional CD on Elektra as well as MX-80's WE'RE AN AMERICAN BAND, and with an alarming regularity as well! Guess I'm into yet another one of my heavy metalloid phases, perhaps spurred on by a mention via the TROUSER PRESS website regarding MX-80's "post-metal" stature which I will admit has gotten my interests perked up with regards to hearing more groups in this genre such as Isis (the recent group, not the lezbo horn/forn bunch!) and perhaps Cult of Luna. I'm hoping that some of you readers are willing to clue me into any of these groups that, who knows, may even tickle my fancy! I sure could use a li'l ticklin' to break up the boredom around here, y'know, so "pookie pookie" away!

Can-LIVE IN HANNOVER LP (B13, Russian Federation)

It's so great living here inna 'teens, what with all of these rarer 'n tampons in Afghanistan Can live recordings finally being made available. And this 'un (from the usually reliable unless you can't rely on 'em B13 label) is no exception. Naw, this 'un ain't MONSTER MOVIE re-packaged for us dolts who thought we were really gettin' in on a good thing, but an actual live recording from the mid-seventies which features none other than "Magic" Michael Cousins fronting the group! You may have heard the stories about Magic Michael having been a member of Can for about a month before either he left or they shoved, but if you've wanted to hear him with these guys (on a number of classic EGE BAMYASI-themed romps) and wish they had at least laid something down on vinyl well, now's your chance.

After hearing Michael filling in the Suzuki role and rather credibly at that I kinda wonder why there was a parting between the ways. The guy does sing well and even in key, and you get the impression that Michael's stage antics would have been just as maddening as the guy he replaced were. I guess that the members of Can also had to deal with his "mind" which is probably why not only was their relationship so painfully brief, but those Michael had with the English Nirvana and Vertigo Records not to mention Nick Kent were as well. But sheesh, I do have to give credit to Magic Michael for returning to the fold at least for this one performance...after all if I were hired to front Can and got the bum's rush within the span of a few weeks I'd still be holding a deep grudge lo these many years later!

As with most all of these B13 releases, sound quality's really good (lifted offa FM!) and of course in keeping with the label's packaging scheme they slapped it in a clear plastic sleeve and on translucent vinyl. If you have the money and Forced Exposure (or ebay) has it ripe for pickin' I'd say yeah, get hold of one and worry about eating another day!
Kraftwerk-LIVE 1971 2-LP set (B 13, Russian Federation)

This is the same recording of the Ralf Hutter-less Kraftwerk with Neu! that you can pick up on-line for nada (along with the BEAT CLUB take of "Truckstop Gondolero," also available on the ORGANISATION reissue), but if you crave a vinylized version here is one for you. If you want to read my original writeup just click here but if not, just listen to this and marvel at the fact that the same brains that gave you this as well as those early, driving Kraftwerk albums closed out the decade by recording dance music that was so klutzy that even white kids with palsy could dance to 'em! But here it was like they really were punk rock, and just as punk as Iggy and Marc and all those other teenage throbhearts were as well!
The Styrenes-ESSENTIAL STYRENES VOLUME ONE 2-EP set (Mustard, available via Forced Exposure)

Yeah it's mostly old stuff that I assume you've owned for more than a few years (with only one newie in the batch), but the packaging (gatefold sleeve!) is boffo and you can stand to have dupes of these classy Styrene sides in your collection. I only have one beef with this particular package though, and that is I sure wish that head Styrene Paul Marotta would have reissued the spiffy "Radial Arm Saw"/"Just Waking" single here instead of these oft-heard if classic tracks. But I guess that's why they're going to have a "Volume Two" of this, I hope.
Greg "Stackhouse" Prevost-MISSISSIPPI MURDERER LP (Mean Disposition, Spain, available via Forced Esposure)

I must admit that I didn't quite know quite what to expect from Greg Prevost's latest...after all, the man has taken us on many a staggering musical trip through Sonics screams and Chocolate Watchband mysticism, Southern Californian surf raves and psychedelic Stonesianisms...but I decided to gamble my twelve bucks on this and boy am I glad! Glad because this ain't some cheap-o toss out whitebread phony guy with facial hair and leather jacket with Southside Johnny badges splattered all over but something that I can really osmose into not only now, but in a good twenty to thirty year's time before my mind snaps for all practical purposes!

It's more'n obvious that Prevost has "evolved" over the years and has dabbled in a variety of rock-related realms that would stagger an average chump such as I, but whatever the guy does and whoever he does it with you can bet that it a full-force realism to it that really puts alla them late-seventies white college students play the hard blues attempts I've come across to shame. Prevost and band rip through two sides of originals (with titles like "Death Rides With The Morning Sun," "Too Much Junk" and "Downstate New Yawk Blues") mixed with hoary (and perhaps even whore-y) old blues numbers written by Robert Johnson, Blind Willie Johnson and perhaps a few more Johnsons we don't even know about) that comes off like the best 1971 Flamin' Groovies album recorded by the Rolling Stones in Loose Gravel's outhouse. And it's really a believable release as well, nothing like the patented tee-vee/radio blues takes we've been inundated with time after time which I must say turned me off of the form faster than you can say "Robert Cray rhymes with gay!"

I personally (as if that ever did matter) hear an early-seventies vibe to this which is probably why I've dropped the Groovies/Stones/Gravel comparisons, but who but Helen Keller could deny that this platter does have that raw groove to it that seemed to signify the Stones ca. STICKY FINGERS not to mention the entire Kama Sutra reason for the Groovies' entire being*. Prevost growls and snarls in the best post-Jagger filtered through Dave Aguilar's larynx way (maybe with a tad of Sky Saxon or perhaps even some Iggy thrown in) and not only that but the ol' fanabla plays guitar (and not just electric but acoustic and dobro) really snat like! Yeah, we always knew him as an out-front-there singer in the Jagger vein, but the man can really plunk a guit-box in a way that'd make most self-proclaimed hotshots blush! And coupled with the backing of drummer Zachary Koch and bass guitarist Alex Patrick (and a Keenan Bartlett on piano, selected tracks only) Prevost has made way for a front running in the SWEEPSTAKES OF 2013 with this wild messterpiece! I only wish that some mighty name in the business woulda written the liner notes to just so's people would notice it the same way they did when Muddy Waters lent pen to sing the praises of A SPOON FULL OF SEEDY BLUES!!!

And hey, I didn't even mention how Prevost's originals are literally as good as the covers showing a marked maturity in composition and execution of said musical forms (ecch!), or how you KNOW this is gonna be a real mover in the world of blues because all of the aforementioned whiteboy blooze choozers will probably LOATHE it, but whatever can be said only a mentally challenged idiot would deny that MISSISSIPPI MURDERER ain't the first exhilarating, life-reaffirming get up and shed your inhibitions album of the year! And if you don't like it then you can't be my pal...I mean, it's so good that Prevost could take a turdley Donovan number (mainly "Hey Gyp") and kick out jams galore with it, and even the Yardbirds couldn't do that on their LAST RAVE UP IN LA triple-header!

If I thought last week's collection of bizarroid obscurities courtesy Bill Shute was strange, I don't know what kind of words to use to describe this nutley crew! A rather incongruous mix. this 'un starts off with a not-so-ha ha Mike Nichols and Elaine May cut (sheesh, were they ever funny?), which is followed by a number by The Third Rail of NUGGETS fame, in turn followed by a Three Stooges Christmas single which is followed by... Loads of X-mas stuff on this 'un which makes me feel like a doof listenin' to it two months after the holiday, but I still gotta say that it was sure fun giving a listen to Howdy Doody and the whole Doodyville gang celebrate the season not to mention the long-forgotten holiday novelty trackage from the likes of everyone from Eartha Kitt to Lorne Greene! Neat enough to dredge up those kiddie holiday feelings, though why Bill just hadda stick the Gentrys' "Keep On Dancing" right before Jeanne Tanzy singing about wanting a dog for Christmas is a bigger mystery 'n that one holiday season where I woke up about three in the morning and nothing was there then viola...the room was filled with presents but a mere two hours later (and I still don't figure it out because the folks were obviously asleep the first time I peeked and well...I don't wanna ruin anything for you true believers who still happen to be out there!).
Anthony Braxton-WILLISAU (QUARTET) 1991 CD-R burn of a 4 disc set (originally on Hat Art, Switzerland)

Remember when Anthony Braxton was being primed by Arista Records to be the new John Coltrane? I sure do, with the man (who had been starving everywhere from Paris to Tokyo for the past six years) getting prime publicity in magazines even your mother reads not to mention major kudos from jazz snobs whom only a few years earlier were all aghast at this "new thing in jazz" which they thought was nothing more than jazz's answer to the new cacophony that had infested rock 'n roll (and of course they were right!). Braxton's back catalog was getting reissued, while recordings that nobody every knew about were suddenly popping up on labels like Inner City and Muse and you could even pick 'em up in your local National Record Mart, that's how easy to snatch up these things were!

By '80 or so it was all over, with the major labels cutting back drastically by cutting their free jazz labels and nobody in general really giving two hoots about free jazz even though it was the haute thing a good five years earlier. Thankfully the lack of major label backing (and I'm sure a big fat royalty check) didn't stop Braxton, and true over the years he's done a few things that seem rather uninspired if in fact insipid (like perform with a stand up comedian), but more often than not what I've at least heard of his post-Arista output was of interest, still keeping with his mix of the "New Black Music" with an avant garde classical sensibility that even had the John Cage types attuning their silence-prone ears to Braxton's metahonk!

WILLISAU was recorded a good ten-plus years after Braxton's fall from major scrutiny, and although none of his old AACM mates like Leroy Jenkins or Steve McCall are here to help him out the backing band is more than copasetic. Pianist Marilyn Crispell could be a stand in for Muhal Richard Abrams while percussionist Gerry Hemingway's marimba playing is almost as close to the free style as some of the lines Joseph Jarman was laying down in the Art Ensemble of Chicago. Mark Dresser reminds me of longtime Braxton collaborator Dave Holland as well, so it ain't like Braxton's just messin' around with a buncha upstarts who wouldn't know his work from an Al DeMeola solo!

Overall the playing is fantab in that halfway point between the jazz and classical avant gardes, and even a few themes from those old Braxton albums pop up in case you were getting misty eyed nostalgic for the old days. And sometimes the playing is straight enough that if you know one of those people who hate the seventies avant stuff but still go for the earlier variety you could play it for them and then, after they beam approval and ask who it was, you could say that it was Braxton and watch the look on their face! I'm sure you'll get a good 'n hearty laff outta it, at least until they smack you one real good!
IT'S A BIRD, IT'S A PLANE, IT'S...BURGESS MEREDITH! CD-R (four tracks from 45s sent by Bill Shute)

The BATMAN craze of the mid-sixties was one that  I gotta admit really did affect me, and even though I never did get that Batmobile model that I wanted nor most any of the other Bat-items that were comin' out other'n some trading cards that I stapled all over my soon-to-be discarded bookbag I was more'n front and center for the program when it was airing twice a week on the same Bat-station that was airing THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN in the afternoons. I think that even in my still-undeveloped pea brain I could see a slight connection between the two, although by the time it all finally congealed and I was more'n anxious to watch both programs with total adolescent gusto they were both banished from local television screens in a move to seem to suggest "HEY KIDS, you don't want to watch these old superhero programs now, do you? How about feasting your eyes on something really meaningful, like BLESS THE BEASTS AND CHILDREN!"

Burgess Meredith was no stroon which is why he was willing to cash in on his BATMAN fame by recording a couple of singles bound to at least put a li'l whipped cream 'n cherry on the beauteous hot fudge sundae of a mint he was undoubtedly making at the time. The first of these has him reciting mooshy prose to a cheap backup of "Greensleeves" that I somehow get the feeling would have turned most mid-sixties people off like Raid yet might have appealed to your Aunt Petunia for all I know. The other one has Meredith doing his Penguin character talking about his dastardliness to yet another crank-out backing with gals chiming in "he's the Penguin" every so often. Funny, when Burt Ward did that single with the Mothers of Invention ("Boy Wonder, I Love You" backed with "Orange Colored Sky") it was like he wasn't allowed to mention the words "Batman" or "Robin" because National Periodical/DC would charge him $10,000 every time these words were uttered or something. Here Meredith gets away with the evil deed repeatedly though I wonder, perhaps DC did rush in and put this record on ice faster'n they did with Jan & Dean's BATMAN around the same time! It only goes to show you that you can be one of the nastiest comic book villains extant, but whatever you do don't screw around with National's lawyers!
Sun Ra and his Astro Infinity Arkestra-COSMO EARTH FANTASY CD (Art Yard, available via Forced Exposure)

Here's another rarity from the avant garde's most mentally challenged (and if you read any bio of him you'd agree too!) practitioner consisting of even rarer those other rare Saturn sides coupled with some rehearsals that I don't think ever made it into the public realm. Loads of "strange strings" get plucked on the title track while some 1962 numbers show a more traditional bent. It all ends with yet another version of "Space is the Place" that turns into a massive preaching tirade by Ra with his followers chiming in their approval! I must be getting old, because I think I would have appreciated this 'un a lot more back when I was a teenbo 'stead of now considering all of the questionable philosophical quap that I discovered that Ra had disseminated throughout his rather wild ride lifetime. But I get that way sometimes.
*For some reason I'm also tempted to mention Faces during their period, but that's probably only because Prevost (along with many other proto-punk movers and shakers) were hot to trot on A WINK IS AS GOOD AS A NOD among other entries in that group's catalog. Frankly I never paid that much attention to 'em myself (if only because I thought they were rather ikky!) but who knows, if I get hungry enough...

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

BOOK REVIEW! WIRED UP!, GLAM, PROTO PUNK, AND BUBBLEGUM EUROPEAN PICTURE SLEEVES 1970-1976 by Jeremy Thompson and Mary Blount (Wired Up Media, 2012)

Sheesh, I usually don't dish out the megabux for books such as these, but WIRED UP looked soooooo enticing with its promise of a bevy of rare single sleeve snaps and besides, the latest editions of DICK TRACY and NANCY reprints are months away and I'm sure you do understand.

If you're looking for another "final frontier" of rock & roll to immerse yourself in, the early/mid-seventies glam/proto-punk scene that was transpiring in England and on the Continent is one that I'm sure you'll want to (re)-discover.  Naturally I ain't talking about the already well-known commodities who've been thrilling us for ages, I'm talking about those groups and records that had people like Charles Shaar Murray tossing the ol' "punk rock" tag about a good four years before the Sex Pistols emerged on the British Weekly Music Paper horizon. Y'know, the days when it seemed as if just about every hotcha and worthy rock group out there was a closely guarded secret, and this was especially true among the throngs of kids like myself who really coulda used acts like 'em and many more back when we were ten! No "Kumbaya" touchy-feely Nazi enforcement here...we're talking downright decadence for overipe kids who just graduated from SPACE ANGEL 'n wanna try out somethin' a li'l different!

Even a brief stroll through Robin Wills' highly recommended PUREPOP blog (see linkup on left) will show you just how much punk rock there was happening long before Mr. and Mrs. Front Porch found out about it on the ABC Evening News, and although we all knew about Iggy here and the Flamin' Groovies there and various points in between it seems as if there were plenty of other groups with names like Stud Leather and Grudge of "When Christine Comes Around"/"I'm Gonna Smash Your Face In" fame that were so under-the-radar that they slipped by just about anybody who couldn't afford an overseas subscription to the NME, and even those who could as well!

Naturally all of the groups who get their pic sleeves plastered all over this book aren't punk, but there is a nice cheap attitude behind WIRED UP! that suggests the same bargain basement attitude that clung onto a lot of the punk produce that was coming out in the late-seventies. And since the connections and correlations between the early-seventies p-rock pathfinders and late-seventies clingers has been trotted out over and over I shall refrain from any more speculating, but I will say that thumbing through this book is perhaps the next best thing to having had a brother stationed overseas who was sending you alla these records with an alarming regularity! Too bad you were too stupid to know what you were getting so you clipped all the sleeves to use for an art class project!

Some pretty neato examples of European artistic abilities abound, from surreal T. Rex sleeves (the Italian issue of "Jeepster" featuring a guy with tits for cheeks!) to New York Dolls items that are so obscure that I've never seen before and probably won't ever see again. A few strange inclusions do pop up (like, what's so special about an Osmonds "Crazy Horses" or Fanny pic sleeve if it's taken from the actual album?) but we do get to see some interesting items such as the French version of the Sparks' "This Town Ain't Big Enough For Both Of Us" single which shows big brother Ron Mael with a decidedly non-Charlie Chaplinesque mustache! Maybe this snap was used because France was hit so hard by the Nazis and we all know just how much social significance mustaches can have!

Now don't get me wrong, WIRED UP! ain't filled with nothing but big names...there are literally hundreds of obscuros floating about here whose wares have been released with covers that I'm pretty sure you'll all want to cast eyes upon*. Some legendary if obscure proto-punk sleeves do show up (such as the one for the fantastico Ning single not forgetting a couple by the promising if forgotten Streak), though I must admit that the vast majority of never weres who ended up in the tome looked interesting enough that I wouldn't mind givin' 'em a listen even if they might not aspire to my particular/peculiar sonic tastes. I mean, I sure do get the feeling that a platter like "Trucking Song" by Skin might not exactly be a top ten spinner here at BLOG TO COMM central, but deep down inside I get these impulsive messages from some uncharted area in my brain sayin' that the single's gonna be a much better ride'n all of those late-eighties promo packets I used to get from all of those aspiring indie labels that turned me off to indie rock with a passion combined!

So have a whole load of fun with this book whether it be marveling at the commercial and cheesy yet pleasing artwork that adorns the covers of groups with names like Tiger, Zips and Gang, or by staring at Dana Gillespie's boobs on the "Andy Warhol" single for that matter. And when you're done with all that you'd be wise to read the text including Robin "Barracudas" Wills' preface not to mention some previously released interviews with the likes of Chris Townson (John's Children, Jook) and Jesse Hector of the Hammersmith Gorillas among many more! And if you're still on the edge wondering whether or not to dish out the filthy dinero for this book (which, at least when I last looked, was still available via Forced Exposure) just tell you self that you can do worse with regards to what you've purchased over the years, and more often than not you have!

*Of course more'n a few of the acts pictured on these sleeves look about as corny as UP WITH PEOPLE with a few LAWRENCE WELK SHOW audiences tossed in, and if you wanna give these geeks a listen to you must really be hard up!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

As you can obviously see if you only check this post out, there really ain't that much for me to crow about this week. I guess that my overall lethargy with regards to giving you a jam-packed post is nothing but a combination of da winter blooze combined with a general laziness, not forgetting the lack of any real impetus to go out and snag some new high energy, resensifying music which is in such scarce supply these days. Not that I expect the world of rock & roll to return to its previous heights of  glory from the late-fifties up until whenever it petered out faster'n you can say chuckeddyisaputz (no later'n '68 on an overground level, '81 at the latest underground-wise) but SHEESH, I would have expected more'n a few torchbearers out there to have been keeping the cause alive somehow, someway! And although it may seem rather outta date for a pimplepudge such as I to even care here in the not-so-glorious year of 2013, you know that I still harbor perhaps an inkling of passion, desire and even some hope that there will be a renaissance in rock heading out way very soon. Gee, I kinda feel like Chaing Kai Shemp or whatever his name was rallying the Taiwanese troops by tellin' 'em that this was  gonna be their year to finally conquer the Mainland, for the thirtieth year in a row!
Now for some GOOD news! Got an email from none other than GREG PREVOST this past Tuesday, and it turns out that he's now got a new web site which I've graciously linked up on the left side because it does need to be publicized! I spent a few minutes goin' through it and found his linkup to be really informative, complete with an autobio and rare snaps of the guy which will split your eyes open wider'n the time Luis Bunuel did the razor treatment on that lady in UN CHIEN ANDALOU...if you wanna know what Greg looked like in his high stool yearbook now's your chance, but don't say you weren't warned! (Actually he looks typically early-seventies-ish, but that's only because he had his long locks put into a ponytail!!!) Can't wait to comb through the rest of the site because hey, what else is there to do on this web 'cept for bidding on scratchy Cee-Dees and looking at topless Tahitian maiden postcards?
And now what you've been waiting for, a whole buncha neat capsule-like reviews (mainly because everybody thinks I'm such a long-windy-kinda guy, and what else is new?) that I hope you can squeeze some knowledge and value outta the same way you squeeze a blackhead until you get that li'l drop of bloody water extracted 'n it feels so good it's almost like your pore's singing the sextet from LUCIA. Some goodies here and maybe even a surprise there, even though the only one I could really care to mention with regards to this post is that this must be the first time in history where both Magma and Smegma were reviewed in such close proximity! As my father would say, "Lead on, MacDuff!"

Miles Davis-DOUBLE IMAGE CD-R burn (originally on Moon Records, Italy)

Dunno if this is the same Moon Records that also issued a neat Ornette Coleman bootleg back in the eighties, but if it is you can tell that this particular label was built on dissonance if anything. And for a guy who was knocking the jazz avant garde to smithereens in the infamous Leonard Feather-helmed DOWN BEAT blindfold test of 1965, he and his band (including Jack DeJohnette, Wayne Shorter, Dave Holland and a pre-e-metered Chick Corea) sure lay pretty free on these sides that were originally recorded for Eyetalian radio. Great in/out playing that roams between fusion and the "new thing" that Davis had once so vehemently rejected, typical sounding of that period in Davis' career when it seemed as if Columbia was releasing his albums just about every other week.
Erkin Koray-MECHUL-SINGLES AND RARITIES CD-R burn (originally on Sublime Frequencies)

I dunno, I just got this "thing" about Turkish people. Every times I think of 'em, all that comes to mind are a bunch of burly sailors on leave who are more than anxious to turn your anus into the Grand Canyon. The second thing that comes to mind is their penchant for rather heavy and downright sick pornography, none of which I actually have seen mind you but word does get out. Maybe that's why I've been avoiding this Erkin Koray guy, the "Jimi Hendrix of Turkey"'s work for so long, other than he was actually called the Jimi Hendrix of Turkey in the first place.

All kidding aside, I still gotta say that this collection of singles and rarities didn't quite excite me the way I was hoping it would. Electric saz sounds to enticing y'know, but for the most part the music Koray performs sounds like commercial late-sixties pop with a mid-eastern twang to it. Kinda Greek-sounding in many ways, but don't tell any Greeks I said that. Some nice tricks here/there but nothing comes even close to breaking through that barrier between music that's "there" and something that's in the process of "becoming" (or at least can get your lobes off in varying degrees of aural stimulation).

Bizarroid collection sent in by Bill Shute featuring everything from two sides of an Irene Ryan quickie cash-in single to a Dick Cavett/Mel Brooks radio commercial for Ballantine beer not forgetting a number of covers that sound so bad only Mike Douglas coulda done 'em worse. Some high-larity is in store, such as with nine-year-old Michelle Cody's "Merry Christmas Elvis," and while we're talking Christmas you sure wouldn't mind hearing Mae West singing a Christmas ditty to a 1966 garage band beat nor Kay Martin's hot-for-Santa moaner. After giving all of these a go all I can say is Bill, you have a pretty warped sense of humor!
The Velvet Underground--LIVE AT THE END OF COLE AVENUE, THE FIRST NIGHT 2-CD set (Keyhole England, available through Forced Exposure)

It's nice that I don't have to replace my cracked up copy (disques fine, case mutilated straight from the bootleg distributors) of this once-very limited edition live set, but if memory serves didn't the original numbered variation sound a whole lot crisper'n this supposedly legit take? And for that matter better mastered as well??? Performance-wise this is the Velvets at their Doug Yule period best (even if that particular era is already over-documented) complete with a neat free-form after hours jam through various Velvet riffisms you won't be able to hear elsewhere. But if """""I""""" were in charge do you think this 'un woulda sounded a whole lot better'n it does? NOT ON YOUR NELLIE!
Smegma-MIRAGE CD (Important Records, available through Forced Exposure)

Impressive newie (with a ca. 1973 track just to sweeten the pot) that takes the standard Smegma layer upon layer of sound and spits out a music that reminds me of Italian Futurists and crazed dadaists meeting up with the best demo tape Bizarre/Straight ever received before dumping it in the waste can. Better ebb 'n flow than The  Grateful Dead ever came up with, which on one hand takes everything good the sixties ever had to offer us from the Art Ensemble of Chicago to Ventures, yet on the other a total rejection of the entire kit 'n caboodle and with a vengeance!. Another mysterious miasma courtesy these guys, and the only fault that I can find in it is...once again no R. Meltzer!
Magma-KOHNTARKOSZ CD (Seventh Records, France)

Given that Magma never were a top ten spinner here at BLOG TO COMM headquarters it wasn't like I was exactly plannin' on picking up  more of their records any time soon. However, a mention of 'em, positive at that, by Lester Bangs via a CREEM rejection slip sent to none other than Eddie Flowers (which is available for viewing on Eddie's own website) had me doin' a li'l reconsiderin'. Judging from the ones he sent Flowers, Bangs really knew how to write nice rejection slips which even included bits and pieces of solid information regarding the guy, and if he was willing to go out on a limb to give the thumbs up to Magma well...I know I was kinda burnt by his Tasavallan Presidentti review but it ain't like I've totally written the legacy off, y'know? Maybe Bangs had something going with his Magma insight, and you all know that I'm so hungry for rock et roll in the day and age that I'll try just about anything even if it means being burned by old Omega albums that Passport released over here in order to cash in on the Euro Rock hype of '74/5!

Gotta say that hey, Bangs was right again...KOHNTARKOSZ is a winner in a European '70s rock scene kinda way, almost as spacist as Can and Amon Duul II but definitely in their own realm. This is kinda like a fusion Sun Ra, only with a white European sensibility and some pretty neat chops that sound like everything you heard about the whole DOWN BEAT-hyped jazz scene, only better.

Manic atonal fury is followed by quiet segments that fortunately don't decay into Gnu Age tinkerings. The horns that made their debut sound sooo Chicago are fortunately gone, and I can THANKFULLY sit through the entire platter w/o having to distort my sense of values trying to find something here that I hope I really like! A keeper for sure which I'm quite surprised A&M (home of the Carpenters, Cat Stevens and many a seventies slop pop disaster) actually had the peanads to release back in the days when things were so open in the world of major labeldom that even Anthony Braxton managed to finagle a deal!
Uh, like maybe next Wednesday or so? Only if I can manage to crawl outta this gigantic crater of funk I've obviously tumbled into...

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Haven't seen many of the old Warner Brother mooms ever since they left the local television screens in the eighties, but when I do see 'em the memories sure come rushin' back. Memories of not just what I was doing and where my adolescent mindset was headin' when I first started paying attention to film as something more'n electronic babysitter backdrop, but memories of how people used to behave and interacted with one another in a definitely pre-modern (and more human) way. You used to see it with your grandfolk and uncles and aunts who actually made it through the thirties and forties intact, though today the ones who are left have become so jaded with the way things are that even they couldn't care anymore. But when I settle back and watch an old Warner Brothers movie (or television program, or anything made prior to 1967 for that matter) I can still get an inkling of just what it was kinda like back then, when things like family and friendship and duty and all of those other dirty words still had meaning, long before the peace and love generation took hold of the reigns and EVERYTHING became so back-stabbing you wonder when these so-called starry-eyed types have the time to be so everybody but us peons natch!

Watching JUKE GIRL this past Sunday afternoon naturally flashed me back to the Golden Days of Tee-Vee, or at least the days when films like these and many more were cluttering up your local station's morning/afternoon and late night (or even prime time if you lived near an indie!) schedules long before the court room cases and talk show hosts of an even more questionable sexuality than Merv Griffin's began popping up on your screen. This is the kind of film that, along with repeated LITTLE RASCALS/OUR GANG shorts, really gave us kiddies an education in cinema history that you never could get in any college elective course, and with the jam-packtus talent both in front of and behind the camera you really know you're in for a funtime watching this 'un unravel before your very eyes...I mean, it's so good that even Ronald Reagan does an above average job in it and you'll admit so even if you still haven't taken down your Mondale/Ferraro campaign signs off the front lawn!

The whole shebang has to do with two itinerants played by Reagan and future BEVERLY HILLBILLIES director Richard Whorf who end up in the sleepy Florida backwater of Cat Tail. While there, Reagan teams up with a Greek farmer (George Tobias, or Abner Kravitz to you!) who's tired of being pushed around and cheated by the local packing bigwig Madden, done up particularly wicked-like by June's own pop Gene Lockhart. Whorf however decides to stake his claim with Madden which, along with vying for the affections of a local "Juke Girl" (I think they now call 'em whores) played by the always watchable Ann Sheridan, leads to a split between the two which intensifies once Reagan and Tobias manage to get the local pickers to work for them thus resulting in a very successful snap bean payoff in Atlanta. Naturally that's when the funzies really start, and although I don't wanna give too much away let's just say that what happens next leads to a big rip roaring climax unseen since the days of BIRTH OF A NATION, and if you ain't sitting at the edge of your seat waiting for the entire humongous outcome to burst all over you like a festering pimple then you have all of the nerve, stamina and mental capabilities of a Karen Quinlan and boy do I pity you!

The Warners stable is out in full force here from the oft-used Tobias to the even more oft-used Alan Hale playing the kinda big buddy type his son would use to great capacity on GILLIGAN'S ISLAND. Not only that, but the likes of Guy Wilkerson, Fuzzy Knight and even William Hopper pop up in the mix lending their talents to the great Warner's drive to show everyone what a putz studio MGM really was. Also be on the lookout for the infamous Willie Best as "Jo Mo" selling lucky charms in front of the juke joint almost like he would have done in real life, though in reality he would have been selling "something else" in front of one, ifyouknowaddamean...

Really, I couldn't've thought of a better way to spend my freebee time than watching JUKE GIRL, and millions of thanks be to Bill Shute for sending me a dub of this. Now if Bill could only send me some other items to rekindle those adolescent obsessions of mine, like a complete run of 1961-1973 Marvel Comics, the entire PATTY DUKE SHOW collection, fried to a crackly crunch Cheetos and maybe some old NATIONAL GEOGRAPHICs and a jar of Vaseline. And while yer at it, remind me to keep the water runnin'!

Saturday, February 09, 2013

I'll bet all of you readers in the New England area and all points north DIGGING OUT after that big snow storm that hit yesterday, right? Unfortunately, we denizens of the tri-county area got nary a flake if only because we were located just on the perimeter of not-so-little Nemo's path, and I say "unfortunately" because hey, I sure coulda used a few days off from work with nothing to do but burrow through boxes of old magazines and long-ignored cassette tapes, even if that ain't as fun as when you were a kid 'n you could spend the entire snow day either sledding (or better yet having your big cyst-er pull you around the house on said sled since there's nary a slop in sight!) or watching game shows like any normal pimplefarm would. But lazyass me'll take a snow day anyday even if my years of kiddie fun are loooong behind me! Oh well, we still have to contend with winter here in the Northern Hemisphere for at least another month-and-a-half so maybe there will be some more deadly weather advisories posted which will guarantee a whole lotta loungeabout time for myself and maybe others! No doubt about it, what we all could use in the here and now are some more excuses to just goof off and do junk, as Beaver and Wally might say.
I suppose the best way to start off (in all seriousness, natch!) this week's borefest would be with a nice and heartfelt mention of the recent passing of someone who really meant more to us (as suburban slob junkfood-eating UHF-TV watching comics reading ne'er do wells) than most of those other sixties Big Names combined, mainly Troggs lead vocalist and BLOG TO COMM role model in his own right Reginald Maurice Balls, better known as Reg Presley! And man is his death something that really does make this fanabla feel older than Methuselah, especially when you consider how circa age 20 I was wearing a Troggs "badge" on my windbreaker while my compatriots would proudly sport their AOR faves on their probably imitation leather jackets! In the middle of the rustbelt during the 70s/80s cusp I gotta admit that donning a Troggs button was about as revolutionary (and as shocking) as driving down the street in a 1963 Studebaker Lark, something that might have seemed klutzy and downright old-fogeyish to all of the "cool" ones true, but an act which decade later would undoubtly be considered downright "hip" and even "avant garde" to the same people who once upped nose at our tastes and ourselves for that matter. But we knew better now, didn't we?

More than any of the Beatles or Stones or any of those hippie-press favorites who always used to make me feel creepy, Presley was one mofo of a singer who pretty much captured the whole gnarly aspects and attitudes regarding what this thing called "punk rock" used to mean. Or at least what it used to mean being a punk in a 1966 as remembered by 1972 rock fandom types kinda way somewhere between the death of the original punk rock era and the late-seventies onslaught. Through the good times and bad Presley and his Troggs stood out as total professionals albeit in an exciting, primitive way, and even with the bad career moves and twists of fate that might have clobbered other groups these Andoverites managed to survive long into the new century more or less intact. In many ways the Troggs, like Roky and the Elevators or Mayo and the Crayola or Lou and the Velvets, never really left us at least in spirit, because you always knew that there were people out there who remembered it all with a certain pride, and all these years later considered this music to have been as timeless and as current as any vibrant, speed-breaking music could be. And they knew better now, didn't they?

Only a stroon of the highest order would deny that the ice-breaking hit "Wild Thing" was boffo enough to the point where if The Troggs did nothing else their place in punk rock history would have been cemented, but how many of us reg'lar readers know that the guys really were eclectic enough in their own corny and commercial yet underground trailblazing kinda way. True, their forays into bubblegum might not have been as snappy as the stuff that was coming out on Buddah, and covering "Little Green Apples" wasn't exactly a smart way to endear yourselves to the budding psychedelic scene, but when The Troggs were pumping on all cylinders from their early tough guy tracks to their psych pop and later on heavy metal excursions they definitely were an aggregate to contend with (and if you don't think "Come Now" and "Feels Like a Woman" wreck most lame excuses for metal both then and now boy are you messed up!). Contend with enough that echoes of their earlier trailblazing work could be heard in the likes of early Black Sabbath as well as the Stooge, and even Mirrors knew enough to include obscurity "Too Much of a Good Thing" in their live set along with "Feels Like a Woman" and could you think of any other act then or now who would have had the intelligence to do that?

Y'know, I am surprised that the death of Presley hasn't issued forth all of the garment-rending angst and rheumy reminiscences that the passing of lesser light have over the years. True, Presley obviously wasn't as flashy as Mick Jagger or Roger Daltrey, but then again would you have seen ANY of the Troggs soaking up the sun at San Tropez or starring in Ken Russell films? Naw, if anything Presley and his crew seemed more like the kind of British louts you've heard about for ages, content with downing loads of fish and chips and hanging around throwing darts at the local "public house" as they call 'em over there 'stead of jetting all over the world and posing for pics while promoting various chic causes involving Third World types who like to stick discs in their lips. Nothing that would exactly make the pages of PEOPLE let alone ROLLING STONE. And y'know, I believe that Reg and crew were all the better for not acting like the schlubs that all of those big name stars did much to their (and perhaps even our---after all, it was out moolah that made 'em big inna first place!) embarrassment!

And so, another spokesman for our generation (whatever that was!) is gone, and to you Reg we raise a nice plastic tumbler of Great Shakes in your memory. And while I'm at it I might as well pull out all of my Troggs platters and play 'em end-to-end while indulging in some Long John Silvers and maybe a comic book or three while lazing about the abode. After all, what better way to pay tribute to a guy who really knew how to bring out the baser instincts in us all with his transcendent music?
How have you been celebrating "Black History Month" anyway? For me, I've been pouring through the batch of John Coltrane Cee-Dee-Are burns that Bill Shute felt gracious enough to send my way a week or so ago! Not being that familiar (if at all) with Coltrane's Prestige sides, it's been rather ear-opening giving these pre-Atlantic and Impulse albums a go even if most of 'em were with Coltrane as a sideman yet issued as if he were fronting the entire affair, sorta like that Paul Bley recording that came out as an Ornette Coleman album back in the late-seventies that had Coleman suing the Inner City label into deleting the LP from their catalog. Those of you who discovered Coltrane after Grace Slick said that ASCENSION was his "acid trip" may be disappointed in these more boppish recordings, but for me the man does good in the company of a variety of late-fifties up 'n comers (including the recently departed Donald Byrd) and when Cecil Taylor gets into the mix boy, are you in for a fine late-evening pre-beddy bye sesh! Some real rarities too, including tracks from one of those rare 16 rpm albums that Prestige used to put out that're now going for beaucoup on the internet market! Maybe Eddie Flowers was right when he said in a review of a Coltrane album in PRIMO TIMES that jazz had no future...after stuff like this how could it?
This week has been one of the more lackadaisical in recent memories, with me spending my evening free hours (in between cranking out copy for this post and others) doing naught but sitting in my comfy bedside chair, feet usually placed strictly upon bed,  listening to music while trying to read something I've read repeatedly these past few weeks or so trying to eke even more beneficial stimulation outta the entire sordid experience. Sometimes I don't even read but stare at a pic of, say, Li'l Abner reacting to something-or-other, while closely studying the fine pen drawing and remarking just how detailed the art in Al Capp's monstrously successful strip was at least until the quality took a nose spin sometime in the early-seventies. (The artwork was considerably looser at least beginning in the mid-fifties, but still palatable enough for a conny-sewer such as I.) Sometime the boxes of fanzines stashed in my closet where my shoes should be...I know my priorities...offers some respite from the bangs and whangs of workaday living, but still I shudder at the dearth of visual stimulation to accompany my aural delights. TRANSLATION: I sure can use a hefty heaping amt. of hotcha reading to keep me well and happy during these long winter nights, so if anybody has any rare scribblings (by the likes of Bangs, Meltzer, Saunders, Farren, you know the score...) they would love to copy for me or even some rare musical doody that would fit in with this blog's very existence, please notify me via comment box below (naw, I will keep ever scrap of correspondence personal 'n confidential) and maybe we can work up a trade or something either involving moolah or better yet, old issues of that rotten rock mag I used to do that I can't even give away to starving Eskimos...waddeva, lemme know if yer interested and maybe we can take your little sister along for the ride and dicker!
Hey, any of you kids wanna be in a fanzine??? I'm only askin' because I got a note from none other than "THEE" oft-name dropped Eddie Flowers (he of Gizmos, Crawlspace and the most shameless self-promoter since Oscar Wilde, Walt Whitman or even Andy Warhol) stating in no uncertain terms that the one-time wunderkind of rock fanzines is starting up a rag of his own which is going to be entitled MOUSETRAP! Mr. Flowers is on the lookout for some hotcha material to publish within its pages, so a casting call has been put out for one and all aspiring scribes to get in touch with the guy and tell him what you can offer to the cause! Yes, a good thirtysome years after the original Golden Age of Rock Fanzines had plummeted into a vast market crowded with subpar sputum, one of the ORIGINATORS of the form is back in business with an idea which (if it does come to fruition) might just be the ultimate expression in rock fandom to hit the underground ever since the final issue of my infamous if vastly unpopular crudzine swan-dived into a well-deserved obscurity a good decade or so ago.

I'm planning on sending something in which I know will fit in with MOUSETRAP's overall reason-for-existence, and I have the feeling that you just might want to send something as well! (Actually I was thinking about sending the Stephen Painter interview which saw the light of day on this blog last Saturday only I ran the idea by Steve and he preferred it come out post haste so there went that brilliant idea!)  If you have an idea, or maybe even a chapter from that Great Amerigan Fanabla you've had hidden in your closet for the past ten years why not send it to Eddie and see if he'll salute it? He can be reached at and I know he'll be interested in whatever you have to spare, no matter how hideous and unprofessional it may be. After all, he asked me to contribute so you know his standards ain't as lofty as one may think!
Here are some of the "newies" that I've spun this week, most of which were freebees sent to me by Bill Shute as well as Stephen Painter just because they wanted to know what I thought of 'em! Wow, talk about devoted fans, and to show my appreciation well, I reviewed 'em! Can ya ask for anything more really? Anyway settle back and find out whether or not you want to spend the last bux outta your welfare check on a disque after I give it the good ol' third degree or whether it should go towards something like food or booze, and while yer at it THANK ME!!!!. willya?

Them-TIME OUT, TIME IN FOR... CD-R Burn (originally on Rev Ola)

Wouldja believe that I actually had this Cee-Dee-Are in my collection for a good ten or so (even fifteen!) years before I decided to give it a spin? It was just one of those things that fell between the cracks, me seeing it one day and then losing it the next, but on this hazy Friday afternoon I decided to finally play it and I'm sure you know why...  Because I'm bored silly, that's why!

Rev Ola did a good job reissuing this final and post-Van Morrison Them spin along with a buncha rare 45 sides that one could only hear for years via various sixties garage band collections, and although I really don't wanna get into how much the commercial psychedoodle must have sounded high-larious (complete with the patented sitar twangs) when this came out '68 way I gotta say that the resultant spew was pleasurable enough in its own over-produced pop way. Somehow I could see this 'un selling for a nice 59 pennies in a Montgomery Wards record department a good two years later, only to hit the heights of collectors prices by the time I was on the search for a copy which always seemed the case! Some jazzy moves here, and Association "bob bob bob ba's" there, and naturally it did mean more to you as a rockin' suburban turdburger slob than San Francisco ever did but just try tellin' that to your local "classic rock" aficionado!
Fadensonnen-PD2 2-CD set (See link-up on left if you want to latch onto a copy for yourself)

Yet another one from PD hisself, two platters filled with nothing but solo electric guitar screech that's guaranteed to make all of those snooty "classic rock" types say "my six-year-old brother can play that!" to which you would respond "well, why don't he!" Frankly I am not sure if any first grade type could perform on an electric guitar the way Mr. F does, but if he could then boy will we have some hotcha primary school talent shows to look forward to!

Echoes of Glenn Branca, Arto Lindsay, Rudolph Grey, Lydia Lunch, Von Lmo (need I mention any more late-seventies En Why See underground ax-grinders?) can be heard, and if you are one who still holds your Lust/Unlust singles proudly to your boobies you might appreciate this if even in the slightest. Pure (or even impure if you like) sound like this has always been a cathartic experience in my life and it just might do the trick for you better'n est, and I'd hurry up if I were you because only 100 of these things were pressed up!
IGNATZ CD-R burn (originally on K-RAA-K)

I was going to make a Krazy Kat joke regarding the artist who made this obscurity, but since this Belgian guy actually took his name from the infamous brick-tossing mouse of comic strip infamy I guess it would fall flat on its face. Still, since the guy sings as if he were a mouse doing a Bob Dylan imitation the resemblance is uncanny. Musically this comes off like a collage of various ethno styles and sixties avant garde ideas mooshed together like a nice Denver Omelette Sandwich w/a few dill pickle slices tossed in for good measure, ranging from Greek baccala stylings to Alan Sondheim outtakes and John Fahey backed by Pink Floyd electronics excursions into who knows what kinda universe. Calm enough for those late-night introspective moments, but paranoia is guaranteed to set in deep.
Keiji Haino-21ST CENTURY HARD-Y-FUIDE-Y MAN CD-R burn (originally on PSF, Japan)

Japanese legend Haino cranking out a Hurdy Gurdy sound which actually comes closer to some early Lamonte Young experiments than anything you'd see an Eyetalian with a monkey crankin' for coin inna park. Dark drones invading the sanctuary of your fart-encrusted bedroom, putting the last thirty or so years of  experimental electronic improv in perspective w/o you busting the bank account. Not only that, but Haino actually does a li'l singing on the 26-minute final track, and it ain't any of that "Donna E Marmalade" stuff either!
Ashtray Navigations-EXPLODING FLOOR MARTIN DENNY CD-R burn (originally on 8mm)

One of those acts that I've read about for ages awlready but (as far as I can remember) never did get the opportunity to hear. Maybe not (I think I have one of their singles around somewhere...), but waddevva let's just say this is like a first lissen for this group, and I must add that I was mighty impressed with what had transpired between my stirrups. Sorta reminds me of a stripped-down Controlled Bleeding, or maybe Nurse With Wound if they weren't such a buncha sex perverts...pretty hot "noise" music that actually sounds invigorating if you can believe that you jaded fanabla you!
Various Artists-THE STORY OF OAK RECORDS CD (Wooden Hill, England)

Bought this 'un strictly for the presence of the Velvet Frogs' Process Church-saturated "Jehovah" (their two other extant acetates can be found on the PSYCHEDELIC SCHLEMIELS VOLUME FOUR
set which might still be easy enough to snatch up), but the rest of it ain't exactly tossaway material. Nothing spectacular here true, but for being a selection of early English psychedelia and garage band freakbeat done up by a mostly unknown flock of stillborns this is a worthy once-in-awhile spin. If you were one of those guys who flipped over the well-known British Invasion groups then wanted to know about the second-string (then third-string) groups, I guess these acts were whatcha'd call nth stringers. But oh what a string it was!
Willie Lane-GUITAR ARMY OF ONE CD-R burn (originally on Cord-Art)

I dunno if people can sue for having their various stylings and ideas "appropriated," but if they can Loren Connors could really clean up taking this Willie Lane guy to court! Slow, stirring and downright moving electric guitar overlay seeps into your psyche and boy, when your guard's down will you feel the impact! If you found yourself in many an introverted moment being swooned by Connors' many electric guitar excursions you'll be sure to get a kick outta this. Only problem is, only 350 were pressed so better search now before the searching gets rough!

That Bill Shute never ceases to amaze! Here are more of those "song-poem" records featuring  twelve of those "your poems set to music" wonders that have been making quite a hipster ruckus ever since John Trubee sent his "Blind Man's Penis" in to have it set to music and created a New Youth Snob sensation! Some pretty weird wonders here, including Gene Marshall's "United Nations" not forgetting "Song of the Burmese Land" can just imagine the look on your Uncle Ernie or Aunt Matilda's face when, after paying the upwards of three digits bux to have their song "published," they spin the finished product in drooling anticipation and utter "that's not how I thought they were gonna sing it...I was gypped!!!" That is, unless these efforts were all by Bill himself  written as a budding poet trying to break into the biz the easy way!

As an extra bonus Bill slapped on a track by some limey lounge act going by the name of The Fat Doormen who do a pretty cornballus version of "I Hear You Knocking" complete with "knock-knock" jokes I can't make out through them thick accents they got over there! Sounds like something that would be a hit at those Holiday Camps that I understand are still up and running, and if any of you English readers were forced to spend any of your away-from school time holed up in one of these camps and were more or less forced to endure one of these cheezy moosical acts against your will well, think about it this way. You coulda been made to go to the Indian Burial Mounds like I was!
Various Artists-THE GOLDEN ROAD VOLUME 2 CD-R burn (originally on Psychic Sound)

Coulda sworn I reviewed this 'un once before...must be experiencing one of those bad David Crosby/Stephen Stills/Graham Nash type album titles again. Thankfully nothing on this collection of folk rock rarities sinks to the levels that those hasbeens did back in the days of whole wheat peace 'n love hucksterisms if only because this contains nothing but hotcha pre-reek rock from back inna mid-sixties when just about EVERYTHING rockist related sounded pretty good! GOLDEN ROAD's a nice mix of familiar garage rock acts (Woolies, Rovin' Kind...), soon-to-be-famous types (Keith Allison) and the usual peacecreep suspects doing some credible post-Dylan/Sonny & Cher/Association/Byrds rips that make you feel peaceful in that pre-Eagles way, and the best thing about it is there's nary a hippie in sight! Maybe in a year or two, but right now it's still '65-'66 which is certainly fine by my own sense of values.

Highlights include the Patriots' '"I'll Be There" with that keen Sonny Bono whine (probably sung by a woman!), Jimmy Satan's "Eve of Destruction"-inspired "What's It All About" and the aforementioned Keith Allison spinner which is entitled "Look At Me" (kinda reminds me of something I woulda liked if I knew enough to like it if I were only around to like things like this song back when these songs were around to be liked). The rest fits into the mid-sixties snarl enough too, so it ain't like you're gonna be sufferin' through any BLESS THE BEASTS AND CHILDREN suburban hippoid emote here one bit!
Home Body-IN REAL LIFE CD (Feeding Tube )

First pick outta the latest Feeding Tube Records batch is this strangitie which I gotta admit sounds more like eighties "new wave" (y'know, long after that term morphed from Ramones and Pere Ubu to Madonna and Missing Persons) than anything else the Feeding Tube label, usually know for its "avant" inclinations, is best known for. Female pop vocals are backed by casiotone electronic beats and blurbles making for a listening experience that seems to hearken back to the days of Max Headroom and MTV (wait, that's still around albeit in a vastly different form, innit?) which naturally does not settle well with a 100% red blooded rockist like myself. Hopefully an aberration.
See you mid-week? Sure hope so! Next weekend? If I survive!

Thursday, February 07, 2013


Considering that I'm not quite as much of a LI'L ABNER fan as I am of DICK TRACY, NANCY and ARCHIE it ain't like I'm gonna be gobblin' up all of the comic strip reprint anthologies of Al Capp's creation that'll be comin' down the pike these next few decades. However, I just hadda dish out the kopecks for this particular volume (#5 if you're keeping count) if only because of cover star FEARLESS FOSDICK, a character whom I gotta say is even more of a faverave of mine than ABNER even to the point where if he were the star and ABNER the "strip within a strip" I'd be tossin' out the spare change a whole lot more frequently, ifyaknowaddamean...

These extremely early FOSDICK appearances really are an eye-opener even for this comic strip fanabla who's been around the "classic strip" block for a much longer time'n you could imagine. After years of seeing this DICK TRACY burlesque drawn in Capp's typically exaggerated style with Fosdick sporting not only an extremely protruding jaw and bowler hat, it's interesting to see just how much the original Chester Gould style was mimicked in these early strips right down to the thin pen artwork, the dark shading and even Gould's very own signature via FOSDICK creator Lester Gooch. FOSDICK had yet to take on a life of its own with weeks of high-larious continuity, but these early antics sure do figure heavily into Abner's own travails such as in the case where it turns out that Fosdick's arch enemy Stoneface is "for real" and Gooch is forced into having the fictional version bump off Fosdick, or when yet another character, this time Rattop, tortures Fosdick by draining ten gallons of blood (!) outta Li'l Abner's "ideel" all to no avail! For a FOSDICK fanatic like myself these brief appearances ain't nearly enough, but they at least help eke out the chortles especially in these humorless times when the snide and snarky humor to be found therein has been replaced by some of the unfunniest, most tasteless and "redeeming" (to perverts, social planners and asst. jizbags) utterances to have graced our planet since the days of John Milton and his irksome ilk!

Of course the reg'lar ABNER sagas are up-to-snuff too, with tons of that sarcastic Capp humor dealing with everything from zoot suits and Sadie Hawkins Day to Abner being reduced to having to get a job in the "skonk works," and between the snat writing and the detailed art (which reminds me of those late-18th century political cartoons by the likes of Keppler and Opper that more or less helped pave the way for the Amerigan comic idiom) you can bet this book's one that you'll be starin' in awe at for many an evening just wond'rin' where all of the talent and inspiration that made the Golden Age of Comic Strips so funzies went. And not only that, but there's a neat-o preface where not only are a slew of rare Capp snaps reproduced, but we get to read a nice number of FEARLESS FOSDICK Wildroot Cream Oil print ads as well as Abner hawking none other than Cream Of Wheat!