Saturday, November 18, 2017

I'm pecking this 'un out on a particularly rainy and overcast Saturday morning. Frankly I find the entire scene with the dank skies and rather soggy atmosphere beautiful...for some reason overcast rainy days remind me of my fun turdler times when I'd feel so safe and secure in my ranch house while the tee-vee was cranking away just knowing that if I were outside them walls I'd be shivering and soaked beyond belief. Perfect comic book reading weather, quite like that infamous day I always flash back to when I was pouring through that WORLD'S FINEST 35-cent "giant" in my aunt and uncle's warm living room while the rest of the fambly were dealing with a disastrous garage sale out inna cold. It's memories like these that will live on forever in my brain because hey, in my life so-called milestones like high school graduation and all of those other supposed "highlights" do come off mighty insignificant next to your first Tootsietoy or various Halloween hijinx, that's for sure.

Got a pretty snazzy batch this time, some of these via the fine folk at Forced Exposure and others from the fine folk in San Antonio Texas, Waterdown Ontario and Tempe Arizona. A nice snuggle up to batch if I do say so myself. And hey, I gotta say that the up 'n comin' months are starting to look bright what with a few promised reissues and rehashes of classic hard-nailed neo-Velvets seventies-bred items that just might be comin' our way, and for doofs like me who look upon the mid-sixties noise upheaval as the true birth of the BLOG TO COMM aesthetic maybe we all should delay our planned mass suicide if only for a few months, eh?


They (whoever those obscure-o "they" types we always read about may be) have called Battiato Italy's answer to Eno, but I guess that only makes sense if you believe that Lewis Furey is Canada's answer to Lou Reed. Lotsa differences between the two to the point where comparin' 'em would like be comparin' me to Yul Brynner due to our follicle-deprived scalps but hey, if you think that a unique insight into VCS3 synthesizers and various musical mayhem does bond certain artistes together then Battiato just might be ol' Brian with a plate of spaghetti 'n meatballs and don't you think any differently!

The fine folk at the Superior Viaduct label have actually have re-released three of Battiato's earliest efforts and they sure did a spiffy job of it what with the heavy vinyl pressings and thick cardboard covers. I bought 'em all up too not only to discover just what it was that made this guy worthy of a reissue series on such a hot label, but because I'm always on the go for some new musical hook and given that the watertap of flowable faves has been shut off for a good many years it's like I gotta take the chances that woulda scared me (and my wallet) a good ten or so years back!

So what is it about Battiato and his electronic sounds that have the retro-underground rock brigades all a'flutter here in the long-after-the-fact teens???

Well, 1971's FETUS doesn't exactly set my scope on fire even though it seems to have everything good going for in, including a gross-out cover up there with the rest of those sicko sleeves that began making an appearance during that decade. But the music, eh, doesn't sound as beautifully nauseating as I would have wished with the typically seventies synth sounds once again zooming me back to some lonely day during the summer of 1975 where I would be so bored outta my entire life to the point where I'd actually sit through an airing of AVIATION WEATHER or CAPTIONED ABC NEWS on the local PBS station before switching over to the late movie and becoming even more ennui'd than usual. Unfortunately the "local color" once again seeps through just like it did with Le Stelle di Mario Schifano and Les Rallizes Denudes inserting a little too much local folky components to a music I would have hoped was purely seventies driven and like, you can't make a good album on disgusto covers alone!

Next year gave us POLLUTION which as you might already surmise was Battiato's commentary on the whole ecological upheaval that was being hammered into our kiddie heads no matter where you turned back during those more natural than thou days. Sheesh, if I had my druthers I'd CLOBBER all 'em teachers and media magpies who were scarin' me to death with alla that Paul Ehrlich Chicken Little clucking about how we only had ten years left on this planet so we better give up all sorts of things so we can live in a better environment where we call all hunt for grubs with sharp sticks together. Anyway since this is all in Eyetalian I can't make out what is being said, but as far as the music goes there really ain't much to it that would make me wanna go out and collect bottles off the street for the local recycling scam. Other'n a Pink Floyd ca.1969-ish instrumental passage near the end of side one I can't fathom a thing of what went on during the forty or so minutes it took to play this thing.

SULL CORDES DI ARIES is the final entry into this Superior Viaduct trilogy and I must admit that it sure cuts a good swath into the whole Europrog pop movement as it is a marked improvement over the first two efforts complete with an entire side of mesmerizing repeato-dirge sounds akin to various Teutonic takes of Floydian concerns to an extended instrumental which reminds me of those classic Third Ear Band recordings that Imants Krumins used to rave to me about. Thankfully the singing is kept to a minimum and the general feeling is akin to something your lost seventies universe wanderer woulda loved injecting various substances to in the sanctity of his suburban squat. Of course by the time he tried to sell it at the local record emporium the thing was all scratched up and a few hypos were to be found within the sleeve, but think of all the fun he had with the platter and maybe you too will want to osmose it all in your own voyeuristic from afar way.

Dunno what pile of papers the notes to this one lay in, but it's sure a great sampler or whatever it is that Bob Forward sent my way. Reich sounds like a more swinging Philip Glass on many of these numbers, some which could have fit on side two of David Bowie's LOW without sounding out of place. Then there's the next-to-last track (preceding "Four Organs" which I reviewed last year) which for some odd reason or another reminds me of the theme to an early-sixties television drama. When I hear this I am reminded of when I was a teenbo and experimental music like this was a major force in my soon-to-be-twenties life and how I would have loved to have been thin, handsome and well groomed listening to this in some suburban squat along with some equally musically enthralled knockout-looking gal of Japanese heritage, which is much better'n listening to Bon Jovi in a cheap hovel with some Caucasian who learned feminine hygiene in the Balkans!
THE PLASTIC CLOUD CD (Lion Productions)

Not bad for a quick flash late-sixties effort. Still there's no real vim or vigor to separate this one from a whole batch of non-major label quickies that filled out the flea market bins of the early-seventies. A definite San Francisco vibe can be discerned, while the lead guitar of Mike Cadieux does take on some great cheap sitar imitations worthy of the Electric Prunes' Vox wah-wah pedal ad. Still the Cloud fail to reach the great heights of contemporary acts who had not only broken on through to the other side but were hootin' and hollerin' with unabashed glee. Well, they can't all be wowzers!

Like the Cisco Kid, Boston Blackie was a bad guy who just hadda go good because the readers really liked him...kinda like wrestlers back inna seventies and eighties who became crowd pleasers and thus were forced to become nice and wholesome much to our discontent. Never saw any of the Boston Blackie films but this radio show with Chester Morris in the lead's pretty tiptop, what with he playin' a detective who always outsmarts the dumbski if vengeful cops who really would like to see the guy get the chair and keep taggin' murder raps on him. In "Devon Caretaker Murder" Blackie gets blamed for the killing of some yardman at a ritzy estate when his coat is found with blood splattered on it, while in "Spy Ring" he gets blamed for the death of some debutante type who trots off with a guy claiming that he is Boston Blackie. Guy just can't stay out of trouble for one day. Pretty standard formula radio detective drama which I think holds up more'n an entire run of LAW AND ODOR could ever. By the way, do you think anyone could get away with a name like "Boston Blackie" in these overly sensitive times???
Gang War-STREET FIGHTING CD-r burn (originally on Skydog Records, France)

I sure remember the hubbub over this meeting of grinds what with the ever-pocked Johnny Thunders joining forces with radical jailbird Wayne Kramer in a band that was just custom-made for the whole NEW YORK ROCKER-bred rock maniac who was gettin' a li'l tired of all that Athens Georgia coverage. Two live shows to discern, one from Montreal and the other from Boston and both of 'em sound great not only sound-wize but performance-wize as well...Thunders keeps his habit under control while Kramer adds those total-energy guitar lines that even had Ted Nugent drop his egotism for once. If you can find a better example of the high energy game being played during the '79/'80s cusp may I direct you to maybe Von Lmo and MX-80 Sound only???
Cluster & Farnbauer-LIVE IN VIENNA 1980 CD (Bureau B Records, available via Forced Exposure)

I think part of this has been previously used to pad out some other Cluster or Kluster reissues, but if ya wanna hear these live gigs in their entirety this would be the thing to get. Ambient or whatever they call it electronic moosh sizzles its way into your brain in a fashion that might have even shocked LaMonte Young while the addition of drums gives this that primitive beat that maybe does reveal the true Velvet Underground influence that I could only hear on Cluster's more "accessible" efforts. Nothing I would call a must have, but a kinda/sorta have thing it is most indeed.
The Troggs-LIVE AT THE BBC CD-r burn

A lot of this has turned up on previous Troggs bootlegs, at least one of which has been reviewed on this blog some years back. But am I gonna turn down another chance to give a listen to my favorite British Invasion group? No way you fanabla you! Quality is top notch as are the performances complete with acoustic versions of "From Home", "6-6-5-4-3-2-1" and "Wild Thing" that top the unplugged game more'n that MTV series ever did! Excitement personified, and if you really do care you get the chance to hear that weird cover version of "Little Green Apples" which was so anemic they only performed it live like twice! Listen to it and maybe you too will turn green as well!
Chris Gantry-MOTOR MOUTH CD-r burn (originally on Magic Carpet Records)

This 'un used to be found in the record bin at Donofrio's supermarket in Hermitage Pennsylvania back 1973-4 way...I remember seeing this weirdo item scattered amidst the various grownup sorta fare as well as a copy of THE WHO SELL OUT that was goin' for $3.49. Back then I didn't have $3.49 to my name so much to my dismay I didn't get THE WHO SELL OUT...and thankfully I didn't get this schmoozy neo-country pop singer/songwriter-styled emote either which is one of better things in life that could have happened to me. That is, thankfully I didn't buy this 'un unless it's now one of those rare collectors items goin' for quadruple digits which in that case I wish I DID buy it, kept the thing well-preserved and sold it to some dumbo out there for beaucoup bucks!
Various Artists-UNUSUAL ESTONIAN STALACTITLE SEAS CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Bill has been known to really toss some wild and uninhibited Cee-Dee-Ares my way and as usual this is just one more of 'em! A pretty varied selection of weirdities too featuring three carousel calliope takes on sixties hits that I could never ride a pony to as well as a buncha weirdie things like some mesmerizing pygmy chants, this one's got it all. Some of it is pretty entertaining despite me thinking it was gonna be junkoid toss out (Max Woiski and the song poems of Bob Gerard come to mind) and things like Ukulele Bailey charming kinda in the same way Tiny Tim was, but the one thing that really got my attention is the Great Stalacpipe Organ at Luray Caverns which reminds me of a turdler-era vacation the fambly took there way back when. The reason these organ favorites bring back the memories is because I remember getting WHUMPED by Dad there...y'see there was this one stalagmite that I thought looked pretty phallic (I think it's called "The Wedding Cake" and not "The Wedding Tackle") and I kept bringing this undeniable fact up to everyone's attention until Father in typical Popeye fashion can'ts stands no more and POW! did I get it and but hard! Thanks for dredging up that 'un Bill!

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