Sunday, December 03, 2017

Gotta admit, much to the dismay of my my enemies no doubt, that as of this past week I've definitely been on the manic side of the pole. Really guys, does life all of a sudden feel so positive and  EXHILARATING and other words I haven't used in years. Blame it on the plethora of downright GOOD rock 'n roll etc. music I have been spinning as of these last few days, which coupled with the fine words of people I have read and respected for years, really pumps the good ol' Serotonin into a mind that has been devoid of any positive polarity for quite some time now.

Yes, the writings that are zoning me to my true suburban slob roots may be older than you'll ever be and ditto goes for the music, but right now when I slap on a high-energy post-Velvet Underground slice of pure atonal mania (usually Rocket From The Tombs or Can...take your pick) while reading Miriam Linna's Cleveland reminiscences on her sadly stillborn KICKSVILLE 66 blog or some old Peter Laughner pick of the hiss from his college paper writing days I feel the same way alla those guys who are OD-ing on heroin during this so-called "Opiate Crisis" do. Now that term really gets me puzzled...somehow I'd get the idea that the lack of opiates would be the thing causing the crisis but once again I'm wavering off the beaten track.

So (I'm warning you!) expect some real long-winded bornados this week because man, I feel more like Bill Shute detailing a platter's eternal value intertwined with some sordid aspect of my past (if only my past were as sordid as his!) rather than goin' the midgie "Rock-A-Rama" route that I have been trying to stay on with varying results these past umpteen years. To be honest with you the only review I do go off the rails with is the one regarding the Zep boot (its purchase spurred on by a brief mention in BACK DOOR MAN #1) but still, that one's a result of brain chemistry gone amok that at this point in time I hope never ends!
Amidst a slew of celebrity deaths of late, maybe a so fond farewell to JIM NABORS. He liked 'em, and he LOVED 'em!
Anyway, hope you'll settle back for the ride...what a long strange trip it's going to be as someone once said kinda/sorta... But before we get into it, howzbout casting your eyes over the only William Burroughs article worth reading in 2017??? I don't agree with a whole good lot of it (after all, calling Burroughs an alt-right double agent is kinda akin to calling Jay Hinman a brilliant libertarian mind) but it's either that or some radical fags on some obscure blog who hate the guy for not being wild enough in their sodomatic eyes. C'mon, it just might be worth your while to give it a swing...

Led Zeppelin-GOING TO CALIFORNIA 4-CD set (Graf Zeppelin Records, Japan)

Like many of you more astute readers, I spent a good portion of the seventies and even some of the eighties loathing the ground that these guys tred upon. My hatred of Zep came partially from their music, the slurpy folk and sludge metal of "Stairway to Heaven" not to mention a number of entirely dreadful single sides from "D'yer Maker" on to that hideous FM playlist filler which Robert Plant wrote about his dead son. The other part came from their fans, most of whom were part of the stoner generation that seemed especially abhorrent to a relatively straight-laced and head on straight (hah!) kinda kid like I. Y'know who I'm talkin' about, the archetypal greasy longhair zit-pocked boxboy who just naturally set off a whole load of stench alarms in my comparatively well-formed brain. Plus ya gotta admit that their music wasn't exactly that noisy, that atonal, that maddening and (most of all) THAT CONDUCTIVE TO A TRUE SUBURBAN SLOB RANCH HOUSE KIDDIE LIFESTYLE the way everything from Elliot Murphy and even Dylan at his most midclass teen spokesman to the Velvet Underground and a slew of bands bred in the nerve-cranked centers of our UHF-bred existences were. Not that the rest of the "kids" knew it, but I sure could sniff it out and as time has proved I WAS RIGHT AND THEY WERE WRONG!!!! 

Pardon the shouting, but back to the saga. Around '81 I decided to toss away my anti-metallic inhibitions even if Pere Ubu at their earliest could wipe Black Sabbath off the stage and decided that maybe there was something to this HM blunderbuss of sound that had captivated many a people, some who even knew where they were treading. After all if such mid-sixties stalwarts as the Troggs and Yardbirds could be responsible indirectly or downright obviously for Black Sabbath and Zep and if intelligent mind of the early/mid-seventies could conceive of the fact that the Velvets, Stooges and Pink Fairies were metal and that Alice Cooper, Budgie and (even) Zep were punk rockers in the classic tried and true sense then maybe there was more to this music than commercial sludge.

But I played the first Zep platter that I procured at the infamous Hartville Flea Market and thought it was nothing but boring blooze swipes done up sans the standard trash aesthetics that made other non-hippie bred music of the same strata so appealing to me. Face it, Black Pearl (who also straddled the hard blues and neo-metallic realm) these guys just weren't.

But give up I did not given how my interest in a decade old form that had been mishmoshed outta recognition was ever-growin'. Spurred on by various smartcrit writings digging up the whole Zep = Punk Rock equation (see the Mad Peck punk rock cassette compilation in a now-ancient FUSION) perhaps it was possible to enjoy Zep using the same set of braincells that I did to enjoy the Stooges and Troggs and hey, if there was a definite connection in style and credo twixt such acts in 1971 why couldn't there be one ten years later?

So I decided take stock in Zep bootlegs and bootlegs only figuring they were undoubtedly devoid of the slick studio hijinx that made those radio tracks so iffy. And I decided to stick to the earlier, less brain-dusted version of the band when they seemed more or less of the same soundscapading as many of my all-time fave noisebusters. And y'know what, some of those bootlegs do present a brilliant spark of punk intelligence that fits snugly in with the whole sound overload that stood strong against the rising tide of deeply meaningful folk mewlings that were being force fed into our pre-teen mindsets by people who seemingly "felt" and nothing else in their lives.

GOING TO CALIFORNIA's perhaps one of the classic Zep boots next to that one that has that ancient painting of  some small titted gal tweaking the nipple of an equally devoid of breast matter nudie directly next to her, and its legendary status reaches far and wide as far as these kind of under-the-counter albums went. So I decided to get this comparatively cheap (!) 4-Cee Dee set which not only features the original album but the show at the Berkeley Community Theatre from the night before (September 13, 1971) along with a few neat enclosures and even a "Trade Mark of Quality" sticker and you know what I think???

I think the shows were OK...nothing great in that transcendental fashion when the Velvet Underground play on drum-less into areas that seemingly go beyond music itself such as towards the end of "Sweet Sister Ray" or the "Chelsea Girls" Ondine segment, but fine enough. In fact, if these guys only realized that drum solos a la "Moby Dick" were snoozeville and that their folky bids for the hayseed hippie audience were more than just "misguided" these guys might have been the MC5 or even the Stooges. Which is strange because like, we know that they all were huge Iggy fans but unfortunately it never was reflected in their all-encompassing repertoire.

First night...iffy live recording but still clear enough to enjoy the various bits of true metallic crunch like "Black Dog" while osmosing the fact that "Communication Breakdown" might just be the real late-sixties punk rock gryphon to duke it out with everyone from the Stooges to It's All Meat.  This is pretty much what rock 'n roll really meant before the great energy crisis of sound to hit only a few years later. "Dazed and Confused" also roars even if the Yardbirds take on the BBC a few years earlier surpasses just about every Zep take I have had the pleasure of hearing. Especially that dreamy drone section which didn't quite translate well into the Zep portion of the program.

The familiar night after sounds a tad better SQ-wise and also does well when you edit the more knucklehead moments outta the thing. Of course there's the played to death "Stairway to Heaven" that lost its luster for me a few radio plays on (even though the final portion did set the stage for various early-mid-seventies hard rock chording that even filtered into the pop charts) but the harder rock elements thankfully pay you back many fold. Gotta say that I did like the live takes not only of this night's "Whole Lotta Love" but the previous one where the band roars into Ricky Nelson's "Hello Mary Lou" and other long-forgotten faves. Maybe if these guys had stuck true to their rock 'n roll roots they could have ditched the burp wheeze of their more mystical material and just like kicked jams out and nothing but!

A good 'un true, and it might even pass favor with some of your more classically trained punks just like a kidney stone passes through your pee hole. Blood for the ears if you do crank it up, and I'm sure SOME enterprising bootlegger has a cheap available version out there somewhere in the ether of internet.
Matt Krefting-MICROCHIPS CD-r burn (Kendra Steiner Editions)

Bizarroid effort courtesy KSE featuring this sound sculptist who intersperses various recordings both "found" and not with music that sounds like muddled synth strings which give off a particularly drugged air. Next to O-Type's MEDICATION this is perhaps the best recorded example of what a fever dream or an overdose of Ny Quil is like. Thirty years back I would have said this was a chilling document of things to come, but with the concept of actual microchips being placed not only in animals but humans (with no consideration of the implications that would cause) we're not talking future shock but present day shock and I do mean it! End of socially redeeming portion of this post.
Razor Boys-1978 LP (Hozac Records)

After looking through years of various Max's Kansas City, Club 82, CBGB and Mothers gig listings I've gotten to wonder if the rising time of glam groups that played there and just about every other dump inna land had any sorta value to 'em redeemingly social wise or other. I get the idea that most of those long-forgotten groups were just as good as the bunch that did get all the huzzahs 'n Maybelline contracts, but of course without listenin' to any of 'em how can we tell, eh?

Well, if they're as good as Atlanta's Razor Boys then they just might have been a whole lot better'n any of us woulda expected. They got the glam slam look down great true, but they also had the sound. Kinda like a cross between the Sweet and Spiders from Mars with a touch of Dolls and maybe even a bitta Iggy. And they were doin' it all in the land of Southern Rock which ya gotta admit wasn't exactly "conduit" to this kind of prance-y prance! Pretty exciting music here, and no cut is duff no matter how your listen in!

Could go on but I spewed enough in the Zep review. So lemme just finish by recommending this one to all of you glitter kids out there who never outgrew the platforms and striped leggings. Hozac, if you can locate some of the other hard-rockin' no nonsense glam bands of the past howzbout givin' 'em a go. If you need any hints there are a whole buncha listings for seventies-era New York clubs available all over the web.
Kim Fowley-21st CENTURY YOUTH CD-r burn (originally on Trash-O-Gram Records)

Fowley must have known his days were numbered when he recorded this. It sounds like he's singing at his own wake. One of the dankest, most frightening albums I've heard in ages, this is definitely the 21st century equivalent of THE MARBLE INDEX. Fowley sing-songs in his unique monocroak style to a stripped down backing lyrics in a way heavily reminiscent of Richard Meltzer's various forays with Smegma amongst others. And he does it with the same resultant ooze of dark doom and death-mask ritual. After listening to it all I wondered if in fact this was the last punk rock (using the classic 1971 CREEM definition I adhere to) album that we'll ever hear.
Various Artists-MURDER BY CONTRACT LP (Aziza Records Spain, available via Forced Exposure)

I don't know about you, but """""I""""" sure  am surprised at the amount of great rock 'n roll music that has come outta the African continent during the sixties and seventies. Records like MURDER BY CONTRACT are a boon to recordkind for presenting these unknown yet top notch new faves to us or else where would we get the opportunity to hear them.

For the most part the groups that pop up here play a specific kind of kinetic rock that takes a whole lotta local color and pops it into the usual format, with the wilder tracks digging deep into sub-Saharan rhythms and percussives for a good hunk of their inspiration. Yeah some of it doesn't quite jibe, but when these groups got good they were cooking like acts such as Group Inerane and other relatively recent groups that have become underground hipster fodder during the past decade or so.

Personal fave: Narma Samith's "Ziffaffildada" which sounds like a roller rink organ backed by the Master Musicians of Joujoka's drum section.
Nihilist Spasm Band-NO RECORD CD-r burn

Back before he was poor Bruce Mowat used to call me up and sometimes during our conversations (more or less) he'd be spinning the Nihilist Spasm Band who could more than clearly be heard in the background. Good for him, because these guys are so under even the usual under-the-underground radar that they need all the help they can get! And so do you which is why you just might wanna snatch up not only this but other NSB efforts that are up and about. Loose free noise with a slight cohesiveness to it all. If you like TROUT MASK REPLICA or FUNHOUSE or the Scratch Orchestra there's no reason why you shouldn't like this.
The Chimps-MONKEYS A-GO-GO CD-r burn (originally on Wyncote Records)

Sheesh, I wonder what the looks on the faces of the low-budget kids who got this 'un from their normally reluctant parents were like when they gave this obviously Monkees rip off a listen! Starts out fair enough what with a fairly decent Davy Jones imitation on "A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You" and the Dolenz-alike on "The Girl I Knew Somewhere" making the stripped down backing sound a little better'n one'd think. However when "The Chimps Theme" came on I almost thought I was listening to a Mike Brown/Montage outtake while "5th Class Mail" goes from waltz tempo to total freak out a la side one of the LE STELLE DI MARIO SCHIFANO album! And it gets even better with some fairly good songs that owe little to the Monkees but a lot to the wild spirit of what was happening in the poppier side of rock music back during those best and in no ways worst of musical times! (And oh, you won't believe how they got away with "Your Uncle Grizzly" which certainly ain't a sexual switcheroo on "Auntie Grizelda" nohow!)
The Popcorn Explosion-HUNGER AFTER DINNER CD-r burn

Pretty good for a modern-day psychedelic rock try, and you know that for me the term "modern" can mean anything that happened after the signing of the Magna Carta! Norwegian in origin, this late-eighties effort reaches back to the lysergic past for inspiration just like many similar recordings of the same strata. However, I must admit that HUNGER AFTER DINNER also leaves that afterpunk taste just like many other post-Bomp! platters that were taking up a whole load of precious fanzine (excuse me...'zine) review space at the time. Good enough because at least I didn't feel offended enough by it to wanna smash Bill Shute a good 'un inna face for sending it my way inna first place, not that I would ever think of doing that to him (he's much bigger'n me)...

Various Artists-IT AIN'T HEARTBREAK, IT AIN'T FEVER CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Short 'n's good that I ain't Robert Christgau or else I'd knock this one down a few grades for length! Sandwiched by the Cobra's over-the-top Beatle rave (almost as good as the Barbarians' debut!) are a number of tracks both good 'n blah, the former consisting of Normie Rowe's rather good loco rock of a definitely mid-sixties variety, the latter the Three Sounds' lounge-y rhythm and somethingorother the kind you always thought you father was listening to when he was cheating on your mother. The country swing of Otis Parker and Ralph Pruitt do make for good tween high rest stops, and as far as keeping us up on our toes and dancing around like total retards I or even you can't do better'n this. Three guesses as to who the mystery figure on the front cover of this 'un is, and as the old sayin' goes the first two don't count!
LAST MINUTE NOTE!-from here on in, butt-related underwear stains or "skidmarks" as they are usually referred to will, at least on this blog, be referred to as "fartographs".

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