Saturday, April 28, 2018

Wow, it's time for yet another weekend posting? You betcher buttocks it's time but as Shemp Howard once said "HOW TIME FLIES---geddit???"! And, as usual, this one's yet another hotcha thrill-packed edition which I really do hope you'll stick around for.

Gotta admit that I have been busy these past seven days not only with the usual drudgery but with me trying to do some TOP SECRET (at this time) work on the internet which I do hope comes to positive fruition rather soon. Big heaping thanks to not only Bill Shute but my cyst-er (well, it's better than sis-TURD) for their help in trying to alleviate this quite sticky problem that has befallen me (special thanks to Bill for pointing out the issue in the first place). Dunno if our work will amount to anything in the long run (haven't heard back from the ne'er do wells at this time) but even if I deep six with this endeavor I am grateful to the two for their efforts in helping to reverse this GREAT WRONG that has transpired against me. But then again, when hasn't a GREAT WRONG not happened to me in this life o' mine??? Should be used to these things by now...

But otherwise I've spent the week coping with that demon called "reality" rather well. Of course my usual listening, reading and viewing patterns help out even if I am having to rely on old seventies-era fanzines which exude the freshness of rock 'n roll amid the ravages of hippie flapdoodle, not to mention nothing but ROCKY AND BULLWINKLE gracing my cathode connection. And of course the fine recordings featured below which I must admit rank as some of the better sounds heard in '18 so far. Gives me hope...hope for what I do not know but I believe that I do have a reason for sticking around at least for a few months. Must thank not only Feeding Tube and Indexical Records for their contributions to the cause but Bill Shute and Paul McGarry---maybe Bob Forward if I can only remember where I left his package...

International Harvester-REMAINS 5-LP box set (Silence Records Sweden, available via Forced Exposure)

For many people, the 1967-1976 era of rock 'n roll was one of great experimentation and discovery of the inner karmik wooziz of being High on Life and smiling on your brother. The usual Sunday School Peter Pauper Press stuff y'know. For others it was a stretch of horrid musicmaking with the good groups either being shuttered to the back of the bus or breaking up entirely with mud festivals, definitely low-energy hippie fashion and a pacifism that looked ridiculous only a few years later embroiling the minds of even the most wide-eyed first graders extant. And yet for others (meaning people like ourselves who may or may not have been of rockism conscious during those days but wha' th' hey?) they were a time of great sonic advancement what with the fine works of many an act (who were being deigned punk rockers until the 1977 brigades deemed them outta the scope, but they definitely were still punks in the same way Hitler deemed the Japanese "honorary Aryans" so why quibble?) that, while not getting the attention that the whole grain folkies or San Fran hacksters got were still tops in an underground of fanzines and guys who were "woke" enough to take the values of the snootier-than-thou Counterculture and chuck 'em to the wind.

And yes, International Harvester fit in here just fine and dandy.

Forget that these guys (and the commune they served) were part of the International Communist Conspiracy which as we found out had no sympathy for rock 'n roll of an experimental, high energy mode. While you're at it forget that these guys were spiritual hippies in many ways just like you forgot that Amon Duul and the MC5 had been pigeon-holed in the same manner. It only makes the music sound deadlier, more punk rock in that great early-seventies fanzine sorta way. And while yer at it, please do forget that International Harvester were intellectuals who were aware of the new minimalist sounds being inseminated by the likes of Terry Riley (perhaps their #1 primo influence) and other musical trailblazers although thankfully they never did get as pseudo-intellectual gunked up the way Grace Slick did when she'd drop Stockhausen's name and dribble such pearls of wisdom along that lines that ASCENSION was John Coltrane's "acid trip". Wow.

Try listening to 'em the way you listen to all of those other great late-sixties punk acts from...well, you know who they pure unbridled energy and enthusiasm, like those guys down the street who had their band and used to bast away rough and rugged chordage until the law finally came upon 'em and pretty soon that house was condemned with bandmembers scattered to the four reaches of your county ne'er to be heard or seen from again.

And if you reallyreallyREALLY wanna listen to them now's your chance for Silence, their long-running label over in Sweden, has just issued a five-LP box set which not only contains their debut album entitled SOV GOT ROSE MARIE (which translates into SLEEP TIGHT ROSE MARIE) but their second platter done as just plain Harvester entitled HEMET (or HARVEST). That leaves three additional records to contend with, and those are taken up by some pretty enticing live and rehearsal outtakes that only add to the entire International Harvester aura of them being yet another one of those uncompromising European aggregations which took the better moments of then-current English and Amerigan motifs and built on 'em using their own Swedish twentysomething mindset. I must admit that their appreciation of the classical avant garde filtered through various underground rock moves does give these recordings a certain intensity you just couldn't find in Anycommune USA during the same stretch of time.

A fantastic fact this is perhaps the best rock 'n roll box set since the Chrome one or the Yardbirds LAST RAVE UP IN LA or better yet the Velvet Underground boot from the early-eighties which seemed so esoteric at the time. All of the group's wares collected in one nice package complete with a poster, some liner notes (coulda used much more---Byron Coley's article found on the FORCED EXPOSURE website is way more compelling and in fact my downloaded copy now adorns my own box for added perfection), and considering the rareness of the material and (most of all) its overall IMPORTANCE this package has gotta rank as one of the true archival uproots of 2018 and perhaps the best reissue of heretofore unknown aural explosions since the Rotomagus album from a few years back.

If you really care, you can read my original review of  SOV GOTT ROSE-MARIE here, but in this company of records perhaps it's best to give this particular platter another round of huzzahs. When it comes to the concept of late-sixties punk rock with all of its avant garde (whether intentional or not) mysteries and efforts at expanding the realm of sound within a rock 'n roll context this album does live up to any promise you have for the entire form. The a-side consists of short numbers, some of pure addled guitar rock that could have come outta ANY garage in ANY nation on the face of this earth, some quite enveloping such as when a group of femmes who sound as if they're taking a break from working in the fields chant "Ho Ho Ho Chi Minh" in unison to a bizarroid drone, and between the "readymades" and the straightforward primitive rock 'n roll it is quite encapsulating. I find the flip even better what with the two extended tracks featuring repeato-riffage trance-inducing sounds that remind me of something the more-"competent" Amon Duul I circa PARADIESWARTS DUUL might have come up with. The spirit of Riley as well as the Fugs, Godz, Velvet Underground, the Churchmice and naturally those same guys from down your street can most certainly be discerned, and a lot more too once you get your mind wrapped around these soundscapades.

Like I said, the next album saw the name shortened to just "Harvester" and the title a cool and concise HEMET. which I almost typed out "hazmat" given my lack of knowledge of the Swedish language. This effort shows a toned down band still cranking out beautiful repeato-riff rock although the overall results do seem quite "restrained" next to the free form expression of SOV GOTT. There's even a strikingly Northern European-styled drinking song that makes you want to swill your ale in nicely decorated beer steins, not to mention perhaps the sickest ever version of the ever-lovin' "Everybody Needs Somebody to Love" that you'd never know was that song unless you strain your ears to hear the buried vocals. Yes, this is another testimonial to the benefits of outer-worldly inspiration and its effect on the musical talents of the day, at least before James Taylor gave it all a bad reputation.

The third album in the package REMAINS I features material more/less recorded live in a variety of settings that show International Harvester returning to a more extended Parson Sound-styled drone-rave that is really enveloping. Wondrous trance music that again recalls those early Exploding Plastic Inevitable-era Velvet Underground workouts, and I know I am boring you and beating that dead horse until it could be sold as ground round at the supermarket but the legendary Family Dog New Year's Eve jam where Quicksilver Messenger Service, Big Brother and the Holding Company and the Oxford Circle got together to make an extended feedback WHOOP also comes to mind. It's all done so matter-of-factly as well making the listener feel like some turdler who wandered into the rehearsal space just totally MYSTIFIED by the effort making for a pretty durn fine introduction to that fine sound known to most as rock 'n roll. Really beautiful...if you were, unlike many staunch Stooge-o-philes, sucked into the dreamy drone of "We Will Fall" you might turn to jelly upon listening to these as well.

REMAINS II continues on the fine path of live free-form freakout music complete with the repeato-riff motif and buried in the back vocals. Some mighty impressive music here, including a song based on a Jew's harp twang that turns into a Hawkwind-styled space mantra as well as another that comes surprisingly close to Harmonia's "Watusi" thanks to the soprano saxophone squealing its way through. The music builds and intensifies as it approaches what one might imagine a musical nova as it all overtakes both the senses and your very psyche. Yet it remains as pure a rock 'n roll as anything grand that was coming out of the late-sixties. I for one am that International Harvester could get all esoteric and experimental and radical yet retain that unadulterated early mysticism-era Rolling Stones base.

The final disc (REMAINS III in case you weren't paying attention) begins with this chamber-jazz-styled horn interplay that's slow and dolorous enough to eke some long-hidden emotions in you, followed by even more live repeato-riffage that once again conjures up all of your favorite comparisons that have been over-used these past fortysome years but WHAT DO WE CARE! The Jew's harp even makes a re-appearance before the album ends on yet another slow and introspective note putting a close on what I'd call a pretty together and (best of all) statement for an avant punk modus opporandi approach to the better moments of late-sixties sound exploration.

Should be a good contender for some year-end award. Check back in a few months and find out for yourself, if you live so long.
The Remains-LIVE 1969 CD (Sundazed Records)

I mean, who wouldn't have thought that a one-off Remains reunion being performed at thee hip-de-la-cool Boston Tea Party a good three or so years after their demise wouldn't go off in any way other'n SPECTACULAR? Sound quality ain't as hotcha as I would have hoped, but the energy that the foursome put out is just as manic as it was on that live-in-the-studio demo that was being touted about as "legendary" for quite a few years before Eva Records eventually put the thing out 'round '82 way. Unfortunately no faves like "Don't Look Back" appear but the show is still worth it as Barry Tashian and crew bludgeon their way through a bunch of crowd pleasers and some interesting takes on longtime faves such as "La Bamba". Even beats the Epic album which I still think coulda used a little beef up here/there (I originally thought that one was a downer but give it time and it'll grow like chancres on you too!).
Bridge of Flowers-LIVE/DEMOS LP (Feeding Tube Records)

Well whaddaya know! Here's a up and running rock 'n roll group that takes the best ideas/moments of various late-sixties/seventies rock moves and does 'em up (even swell-like!) for the late-teens! The best thing about Bridge of Flowers is that they play their repeato-riff rock really nice and sloppy on this half live/half demo effort that sounds like it was recorded straight into a 1974 Panasonic portable and pressed directly to disc. The lack of editing and other efforts of "improving" only add to the bared-wire intensity of it all giving you the same feeling you got during the great tape trading frenzy of the eighties listening to your fave groups in the raw w/o any major label tinkering. It will be interesting to hear what Bridge of Flowers will be up to in the future but then again maybe not...after all, they did everything PERFECTLY in its own imperfect way here.
Sun Ensemble-WE WHO WALK AGAIN LP (Indexical Records)

Although "new music" may be as old as the hills these days the Ghost Ensemble do a pretty admirable job of resurrecting it for whatever new brigade there is that still listens to this style of surge. Three compositions, two by members of the group and one by famed John Cage contemporary Pauline Oliveros, roar and overtake you just like many of those similar works for "small orchestras" that you used to pick up via the NMDS with ease. Best of all it all sounds quite fresh. I'm sure a few of you wags'll be put off sayin' that it's nothin' new and that maybe we should all move on, but personally there's a spark here that seems to have been missing from some of the experimental music I've had the at times (dis)pleasure of hearing. It does take me back to age five when I was first discovering things like this thanks to CAMERA THREE, and frankly what's wrong with that???
Papa Lord God-THE SHEIK OF DOWNFALL CREEK LP (Feeding Tube, available via Forced Exposure)

This one didn't quite grab me by the cajoobies but it's still interesting. A 45 rpm album, Papa Lord God plays a variety of instruments on this outing in ways you never really would have guessed, from soothing church organ to scronky banjo and dobro all done up so it will probably remind you not only of a funeral parlor but of past efforts like those guitar albums with Fred Frith and Derek Bailey that popped up in import bins during the mid-seventies. I personally found it not as improv-y wild as I would have hoped it to be, but this guy does it good enough and like, maybe he should get mucho brownie points for doing in without the pretension and dilettante-ish manners often found today (or so I'm told...).
Andre Williams-I WANT TO GO BACK TO DETROIT CD-r burn (originally on Bloodshot Records)

I gotta admit that I was under the impression that by now Mr. Williams woulda been sleepwalking through the rest of his recording life because well...he sure did a whole lot in the sixty-plus years he spent in it and why tax yerself so late in the game, y'know? Well, thankfully Mr. Williams does present a pretty straight-ahead if kinda canned platter here sing/talking and coming up with some really bright numbers I sure wouldn't have expected outta your typical octogenarian rocker! There's still a spark of humor here and there ("Mississippi Sue") and some heart-felt paens to Detroit that seem sincere enough, but what really got me up and pumping was Williams' cutting (and totally meaningful) sneer at THE ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME (INC.) on the "talking blues" (I think!) track entitled what else but "Hall of Fame". After all you MUST admit that this organization has always viewed the concept of rock music through those ROLLING STONE/WMMS-FM turquoise eyeglasses firmly in place! You know what I'm talkin' about---phony rebel "music" that has more to do with Dr. Teeth from THE MUPPETS SHOW than with the Electric Eels---safe, controlled glitz as opposed to the hard-edged GROWL that I assume still gives these spiritual reform league types the jitters. The darker, primitive, gnarled side, the line from Screamin' Jay Hawkins to the Stones to the Stooges to Suicide that always seemed to interfere with the rather myopic opinions to be found in most rock journals and radio playlists then and now! Good call Andre, and I'm a fan for LIFE!
Jandek-DUBLIN FRIDAY CD-r burn (originally on Corwood Records)

Not having played any of this guy's recordings these last few years it was sure pleasurable to have been "reintroduced" to Jandek via this live spinner. An immediate trance-inducing show this was too, as the man strummed away freely on his guitar while spouting some of the better pearls of alienation and distress (or so I gathered!) heard in a long while. And what's best is that the audience seems to have been appreciative of his outside-the-outsider talents which is more than you probably could have said about Jandek's neighbors! Like the best, Jandek transports you to his frame of mind and his inner turmoil, and somehow we don't regret being there one iota!
The Jay Five-MUSIC TO WATCH GIRLS BY CD-r burn (originally on SR International Records, Germany)

Yeah they might look hip enuff, but these Germans play nothing but instrumental horn-based covers of the schmooze hits of the day (in this case 1968) just right for any Holiday Inn restaurant, the kind we used to eat at while on one of our fambly vacations way back when. And when I hear these guys roar through the likes of "Days of Wine and Roses" as well as "Goin' Out Of My Head" boy do I get the cravings! Cravings for some chicken croquettes with gravy but man I can't find any around here for some stupid reason! Hey Bill, maybe you can find some Chinese music to send me next time...plenny of those kinda restaurants y'know!
Various Artists-LILAC THUNDERSTORM MILITIA CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Yet another one of those "surprise packages" sans any track listing, this does work swell at least with the bevy of old radio ads that were stuck on here. This starts off with some definitely post-WW II-era jingles, the kind I can recall still hearing well into the early-seventies before everything went down the ol' fallopians. One track sounded like an "avant garde" take on early-seventies pop---perhaps it was an honest attempt to mix the new sounds with the top 40, who knows? Also heard were what sounds like some angry feminist reading a short story in the other room, a car engine turning on, some weird live late-seventies-era pop music and the soundtrack to a Fanny Brice coming attraction. Total messed up sounds here. I like it.
Before I go let me leave a gentle reminder that there are plenty of BLACK TO COMM back issues still available directly from me myself and yo that you can pick up for rather depression-era prices at that! If you like the dribble that appears on this blog then you will most certainly like BLACK TO COMM! If not well, can you think of a better way to line yer bird cage???

Thursday, April 26, 2018


I know that it does seem kinda stroon-ish (well, at least to me it does!) to be reviewing the latest issue of UGLY THINGS a mere week after being in possession of a copy. After all, these mags are what I would call JAMBUS-PACKTUS with loads of pertinent rock 'n roll information you just can't get outta some aerie faerie blog out there in the internet ether. Well, maybe my blog and hardly anyone else's, but still these mags are one huge hunkerin' mass o' information, energy and downright FUN all presented in a little neat package for one to ooze and peruse for years after the fact (I should know!) and while other mags of the same "strata" wallow and rehash or just present that rock sound as another cause-laden hippie concern UGLY THINGS deals the real!

The new ish is really no great exception to the high quality and outright zoom to be found in the others. The late Fred Cole gets the royal funeral treatment with a reprint of the Greg Prevost interview that was originally found in FUTURE #5 (the last issue of that much-missed missive) while he gets to present us with another interview featuring the second (and best) Marilyn Munster, mainly Pat Priest! Of course there's more to life than Prevost (though some might doubt it), so we're also privy to some good pieces on everything from pre-teen rockers the Little Bits (more of that kiddie-rock hype a la Gary and the Hornets or Tony and the Tigers, and probably just as good as 'em too an' I mean it!), the Bougalieu of some old BOULDERS album fame and (naturally) much much MORE!!! Actually one of the articles here that had me going was on the Hungarian group Omega, an act who most Amerigans remember for their mid-seventies rather progressive rock album of feh quality (despite it being produced by krautrock fave Dieter Dierks) but who, at least judging from this article, began life as an early-sixties instro-rock-styled aggregation which does sorta redeem 'em, at least in part.

What naturally draws me to each and every UGLY THING has just gotta be the reviews. And Saint's Preserve (or at least Saint's Jam or Jelly), but there are actually quite a few offerings here that I would gladly part with my hard-begged for, such as the Yardbirds Anderson Theater repackaging (the accompanying article by Will Shade really did that for me!), not to mention the appearance of a 1969 live reunion album by the Remains and maybe even that 45th anniversary remake/remodel of the first Roxy Music album (tho frankly I think I'll hold out for the FIFTIETH anniversary edition!). Better save my grickels for these items, or better yet hold out until I can get them at bargain basement prices long after they've become obsolete due to new technological triumphs.

One beef with this ish...the likes of Bill Shute and the rest of the reg'lar fellers appear true, but what the heck happened to JYMN PARRETT, a man whose opines I most greatly respect???? Hope he can be wrangled in for the next issue, and like soon!

As usual, this magazine is a must to read. Get it and settle down for an evening of fun perusal, of course after you've already read all my stuff that is!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018


Had THE COUNTERFEITERS been made a year or two earlier, it would probably have been a PRC release and have had a somewhat lower budget. It’s got a PRC star—Hugh Beaumont—and was directed by the prolific PRC regular Sam Newfield (under his Peter Stewart alias). It was produced by Maurice Conn, who made several excellent series for his Ambassador-Conn Pictures in the mid-1930’s: a group of Mountie films based on the stories of James Oliver Curwood and starring Kermit Maynard (brother of Ken); and a group of action-adventure films teaming Frankie Darro and Kane Richmond (such as the great ANYTHING FOR A THRILL). This was a comeback of a sort for Conn, and he was more than up to the task. The producers managed to get this picked up by 20th Century Fox’s B-unit as a bottom-of-the-bill programmer, which got them a much wider audience and better financing although this is still a very low-budget film—it’s just a better-made very low-budget film.

Although Hugh Beaumont is best-known for the LEAVE IT TO BEAVER TV series and his Michael Shayne detective films at PRC, he played the heavy in a number of films, quite convincingly I might add (and for someone who was a minister in his off-screen life, he should get extra points for being so good as a brutal heel!). As with the best B-crime films, this does not waste a second in getting into gear. It starts on an airplane where a British guy is sitting next to Hugh Beaumont, who is playing solitaire and cheating against himself! Beaumont sees the other man catching him cheating and suggests they play Rummy for a penny a point. When the Brit loses, he pays Beaumont in counterfeit money, pointing out that he knows that Beaumont is in that racket and he’s got a deal for him. It turns out the Brit is a British treasury agent, working with the US authorities on an investigation. The Brit is found out and beaten brutally by Beaumont (in the film’s first seven minutes!). The rest of the film follows the cat-and-mouse game of Beaumont’s gang and the federal authorities.

The real highlight of the gang is Lon Chaney Jr. doing another variation on his OF MICE AND MEN signature role as Lennie, this time as “Louie,” the tough but dim-witted member of Beaumont’s gang. And he’s paired up with the great George O’Hanlon (star of the Joe McDoakes comedy shorts and later the voice of George Jetson) in a series of funny sequences, including an extended one at the horse racing track. Getting these two old pros together to do their thing was a brilliant move—B programmer producers know that a reliable cast can take a modest-budgeted project and make it sparkle. Do you REALLY need a big budget when you’ve got Lon Chaney Jr. and George O’Hanlon trading quips and doing a kind of crime-film variation on Laurel and Hardy? Of course not….just block the scene and turn on the camera. There’s even a great in-joke where Beaumont asks O’Hanlon, “so you want to be a gangster?” making reference to the “So You Want To Be….” titles of the Joe McDoakes comedy shorts. That, my friend, is entertainment at its finest.

You can watch THE COUNTERFEITERS for free on You Tube as of this writing. This film packs a lot into its 70 minutes (and had it been a PRC film, it would probably have been 10 minutes shorter, perhaps robbing us of some of the priceless Chaney-O’Hanlon comedy sequences!), has a great supporting cast, most of whom you’ll recognize (although Robert Kent is going under his Douglas Blackley alias, for some reason), and moves quickly in spite of having a number of different characters, all of whom are fleshed out nicely. THE COUNTERFEITERS is a fine example of how to make a B-crime programmer, and if you are a fan of either Chaney or O’Hanlon (or better yet, both!), it’s a must see….or at minimum, you could always fast forward until you hit their scenes together, which go right up until the finale.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

There ain't much to crow about this week, though crow I must over what GOOD has been happening. Take f'rinstance the bevy of beauteous booty that I had the opportunity to review, a good portion of it what'cha'd call prime listening material if I do say so myself! Big thanx to Bill, Paul, Weasel and HoZac for the donations. Also thanks be to William Burroughs that the anti-gun hysteria is dying down now once it has been realized that the fruits of David Hogg's "acting abilities" have actually SPURRED ON pro-gun attitudes (and raised Laura Ingraham's ratings as well!) and that nobody really cares what that drama queen fluid gender Emma whatzername has to say. I guess those acting lessons weren't all for the better as if I could stand seeing the two head off your typical High School production of THE SOUND OF MUSIC. Sheesh, weren't high stool kids smarter back in the seventies when they would walk out of class in protest because busing was turning their school into a battle zone what with inner city youth brutalizing (and in at least one case stabbing) the already-established students? Surprisingly enough, this was NEVER mentioned in all of those TV reports on busing I used to see at the time nor in any Norman Lear "comedy" I was tuning in to! Oh how times have changed! And oddly enough alla that negative Don Trump coverage is making his poll numbers go up which might not be so fine for those of you who thought he was gonna be the guy who would tear it all down, but boy does it make those prissy media types get more indignant by the day and that's sure fun to watch!

But hey, let's just talk about the music at hand. Some pretty good wowzers here that I will recommend, even highly, to you which I gotta admit is something that gives me HOPE for a bright future of even more high energy efforts such as these! And so, without any more bloviating here's this week's presentation complete without commercial interruption:

Dane Rousay-AN INEVITABLE SOLUTION (TO) CD-r burn (Kendra Steiner Editions)

Percussion lovers will undoubtedly go gaga over this new Rousay effort which, although easily enough drawing comparisons to a variety of previous solo-banging efforts, really can't be compared to any of those John Cage or Marcel Duchamp efforts that used to pop up on the old Finnedar label. There seems to be an underlying intensity to it, though the performance may come of slightly nonchalant. Whatever, the resultant music does make you draw attention away from whatever you're doing so you can enjoy Rousay's little intricacies and fills here and there which you might miss if you happen to be reading old comic books (like I was when this had been spinning) of doing the connect-the-dots. Yet another limited KSE edition so you better hurry up before it all gets lost to time.
THE WEEPING BONG BAND LP (Feeding Tube Records, available via Forced Exposure)

Yet another beautiful surprise from what is perhaps the most driven-by-their-own-personalist-view vinyl label extant. Dunno who the people behind the Weeping Bong Band are (the hypsheet calls 'em a supergroup of sorts, yet I didn't recognize any of the acts these people came from!) but their music is great lay back and watch the clouds roll by (it would help if you were under the spell of some cough syrup or just zoned your way back to age three) sounds that remind me of various early-seventies kraut-rocky items of worth. Perhaps that jam on side four of Amon Duul II's YETI would be a good reference point or better yet some of the lesser known records that have come out on the infamous Brain label. And not only that, but this album is filled with plenty of "crummy fuzztone leads" as Greg Prevost would have put it! You might be surprised that someone could have recorded and released such an expressive and even warm (ooh!) album here in the cyborg 'teens, but it has been done and perhaps we are all the better for it.
Shutaro Noguchi-LOVE SUPER TERRANEAN LP (Feeding Tube Records, available via Forced Exposure)

Gotta admit that I wasn't as happy about this 'un as I usually tend to be with much of the Feeding Tube catalog. Sure it has its moments of brilliance not only via Noguchi's fluid guitar playing and the almost in-the-background ethereal female vocals but sheesh, a whole lotta this reminded me of some of the frillier moments to be found in various seventies progressive rock recordings. Not that this is as tinkly aerie as say Steve Hillage or the just-pre Buggled version of Yes but I wasn't really enthralled by the thing. Well, the opening strains did recall the Fripp and Eno classic NO PUSSYFOOTING of which I could ooze some listening pleasure but otherwise I wasn't jumping up and down over the thing. Great cover tho.
Weasel Walter-SKHIIZM CD (ugEXPLODE Records)

WW plays all the instruments on this effort, but in no way is this anything akin to a Todd Rundgren album that's for sure! Hard-edged rock (borders on a whole slew of rockcrit-derived genre terms that really do not mean a whit) that sears as guitars wail on while synths create a demonic vision that Chrome never even dreamed of. Should appeal to fans of the eighties over-the-top screedage whether it be of the punk-unto-hardcore-unto-total sonic eruption style (meaning this ain't for ya punks who thought that the music was the then-current update on the ol' hippies throwing bombs at the man radical rabble movement) or of the even newer heavy metal as pure noise transposed into energy that never really did make it with the box boy pimplefarm crowd.
F.U.K.-"Road Kill"/"I Got a Head" 45 rpm single (Hozac Records)

There's so much intermingling with Destroy All Monsters here, from Sue Rynski's imitation of Niagara on "Road Kill" to the members that were shared by both bands, that I could see my four-year-old self being confused just like I was with SUPERCAR and FIREBALL XL-5. But plagiarism/homage aside this is a boffo rec, perhaps one of the year's best. Like you all know, I really miss the punk before pUnquE (I can't HELP writing it like Robot Hull!) style of rock 'n roll that sorta got wooshed over in favor of marketable fashion, and this more or less one-off effort has the same sorta late-seventies Detroit Rock spunk sim'lar to the likes of the likes of the Mutants, Cynecide and other acts that sorta paled in the shadow of the Grande Ballroom days! But hey, what else would you expect because frankly there's nothing WRONG with this! This take me right back to the eighties which were long after the heyday of groups like F.U.K., but boy were those records CHEAP!
TWEN MOODS CD-r burn (originally on Amaden Records, Austria)

European-styled instrumental fluff, the kind that reminds me of the opening and closing theme to some early-seventies afternoon dialing for dollars type program. Ra-daa-daa-daa-dippy-do and all that, but it still serves me well if only to dredge up some memories of funtime-era tee-vee. Credit must go to the Monterey Mood-Mixers and Johnny and the Shamrocks for creating this continental concoction and yes, you could just hear the besweatered locals in their burghs listening to this while eating their strudels midt cream und Museli while wearing ledehosen. Maybe even wearing hats with little feathers in them too!


The cruddy sound actually helps out, emphasizing the almost heavy metal levels that the Sex Pistols could attain while nobody was looking. Otherwise the performance is sloppy but sure with a whole lot more drive and even instrumental proficiency than the likes of Anastasia Pantsios would admit. Looking back it's strange to know that many of our associates were knockin' the Sex Pistols and anything under-the-underground in general yet this sounds overall straight-ahead and to the point as far as a rock 'n roll expression goes. I guess that listening to too much Styx will rearrange your listening parameters in ways even Lawrence Welk never would have dreamed of.

Charlie Parker-THE COMPLETE DIAL SESSIONS, DISC 4 CD-r burn (originally on Stash Records)

The fourth and final entry in the Charlie Parker box set I've been reviewing the last four weeks. A bit of a denouement next to the previous editions but still bop enough to make me forget all of those phony hipsters who swore by this guy's name these past sixtysome years. Best moments...the two takes of "Crazeology". The part I probably didn't care for the most..."How Deep is the Ocean" but then again I never really did like it when the new breed of jazz players would dip into the comparatively mild "legitimate" tin can alley sounds as if they were trying to prove to Mr. and Mrs. Front Porch USA that jazz indeed was a serious music as if said Front Porchers would care inna first place!
Various Artists-ORBIT RABBIT TWISTIN' STOP SIGN CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Not as top notch as I woulda hoped but that's probably because I am in no way in the mood for the twangy country strains that appear. In fact, I'm not in the mood for any of the instrumental dance tracks or foreign-language pop numbers or black guys trying to imitate white guys imitating black guys soul like we get from Bobby Powell. In fact I ain't in the mood for ANYTHING right now but I won't let that get in the way of this review. What I do like here? Well, the obscure Rascals single gets me right inna brisket (it is an early one before they went total negritude) while the two In Sound US Army radio shows sure bring back more of those middle-of-the-night work shift memories only without the smell of the sewage plant wafting nearby. Sometimes I wish Bill would send me Cee-Dee-Ares with radio ads that reflect a HAPPIER time in my life!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

BOOK REVIEW! JAMES BOND 007 : THE GOLDEN GHOST by Ian Fleming, Jim Lawrence and Yaroslav Horak (Titan Books, 2006)

Back when I was a young and inquisitive teenbo I wasn't allowed to watch them James Bond moom pitchers that were being broadcast on nationwide tee-vee at the time. They were just too durty or something like that especially for an up-and-sprouting suburban slob such as I, so even the thought of asking permission to watch GOLDFINGER or ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE with the hotcha Diana Rigg was out of the question.

However sometimes I would click the dial onto the station where these off-limits mooms were being shown and hope that perhaps I would get to see something rather nefarious, like a wild bloody fight scene with entrails a' drippin' or better yet some high quality bellybutton and bullseye action on the part of one of the Bond Girls. Alas, I didn't get to see anything as exciting as that when I did tune in, though perhaps I was just catching the moom at the wrong time. Oh well, there was always some NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC special on the other channel to contend with I'm sure.

There's very little bullseye action in THE GOLDEN fact there's only one to be espied via a distant photo of a gal en delegant flagrette or whatever the French call it, but that doesn't mean this book's a no go for us slo' mo's. The idea of there even being a JAMES BOND comic strip inna first place was pretty wild in itself, and judging from this book the likes of Jim Lawrence and artist Yaroslav Horak were able to pull such a task off rather smooth like what with such great scripts and hard-edged art that ain't as goop-ish as one might imagine.

Gotta say that I enjoy these BOND 'toons even more than some of the old continuing saga serious strips this was patterned after like say...RIP KIRBY which I never could follow despite the fine artwork because it was so upper crust or somethin'. Transposing the BOND theme to comics might have seemed impossible to some, but Lawrence and Horak did a splendid job of attuning the strip for daily consumption without sacrificing much of the over-the-top sex 'n bloodshed to be found in the flicks. The occasional use of mild expletives might startle those of you who are not attuned to seeing such language used in the dailies, but after a few "damns" 'n all I think you'll get used to 'em.

Four stories here...the first deals with the launching of a new dirigible whose flight is heavily rumored to be sabotaged by a seer whose previous predictions have come true (a goodie even if the fate of said seer and her involvement in it all never is revealed), the second has Bond coming into contact with a former MI-6 spy (and main squeeze as they used to say)  supposedly gone rogue and some weird robot men killers on the prowl, the third a weird case of some exact doubles causing trouble for the real deal people who eventually end up dead with Bond naturally falling for a Palestinian activist involved in the saga, and the last a weird plan where fireballs from the sky seek out and kill various folk sorta like those drones you read about today. In all some great comic strip reading that'll make you wanna seek out more, if you have the time and moolah that is!

As for me these BOND strips were fine and dandy, but what I really would like to see is the English comic strip take on the old GUNSMOKE series entitled GUN LAW. From what I have seen there's plenty of bullseyes and bellybuttons in that one!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018


The first three of my six years in Oklahoma, 1979-85, I usually shared an apartment or part of a house with one or more other people--that’s what you do in a college town, it saves a lot of money, and people can drift away when they need to. At this distant point, I don’t exactly remember what exact chronological order these places were in, but I do remember that in my first two years, I wound up for maybe 6 months crashing with two guys from Mississippi in a place that rented for $80/month. That was the total rent, not 80 each. It actually had two bedrooms and a kind of sewing room (I was never exactly sure what its intended use was, but it was an internal room with no windows) that functioned as a 3rd sleeping area, which I got when I moved in because I was the last of the three. Why was it so cheap, you may ask? Because it had a hole in the wall.

Maybe I should have said a hole THROUGH the wall. There was, literally, an eight-inch wide hole in the main room wall that went THROUGH the wall and out to the external wall of the apartment, which was on an alley. We had it covered on both the outside and inside with tar paper nailed over the hole, but you could put your arm through it (I once did when we changed the tar paper), and anyone could have easily ripped it off from the outside....but what would it have gained them to put their arm into a cheap-ass apartment with three broke college students. They couldn’t have broken in, and if they did they would not have found anything worthwhile. Probably my cassette boom box, worth about twenty dollars, was the most valuable item. The restaurant I worked at each night fed me, so I did not need to keep much food at this place....I would keep a loaf of the cheapest white bread and the cheapest store-brand peanut butter, along with some twenty-two cent cans of mustard greens and collard greens and a little piece of salt pork or ham hock to season them. I also spent as little time as I could at this place. I would hang out at friends’ places whenever I could. I had some records but no record player, so people were happy to invite me over to let them listen to my copies of, say, ONE STEP BEYOND by The Chocolate Watchband or TIME OUT TIME IN FOR THEM or an Iggy bootleg of the Beatles’ YELLOW MATTER CUSTARD or my French 12” 45 of Cabaret Voltaire’s NAG NAG NAG/IS THAT ME FINDING SOMEONE AT THE DOOR AGAIN or the Public Image Ltd. NUBES bootleg, or one of the Radar Records reissues of International Artists albums or whatever. I probably had about 25-30 albums with me at this place (the rest in storage in another city with a friend who owned a home). Also, when I was lucky, a lady would take pity on me and invite me over for dinner and cook for me. I might stagger home at 3 a.m., get three hours sleep in this dump if I were lucky (there was no AC and next to no heat--again, that’s why it was $80 a month....we each had our own box-fan and would carry it with us to whatever room we were in), and then drag myself up, pour a quart of strong coffee over ice and chug it to get to my 7:30 a.m. classes and then to my work-study job at the college. Except at night while asleep, rarely were there even two of us at this place at the same time. We all had different schedules, and we all were smart enough to spend as much time as we could elsewhere. The good part of that was that when I WAS there during non-sleeping hours, I was often alone and could have the main sitting room--the room with the hole through the wall onto the alley--to myself. There also was a small stoop with a few stairs sitting on a broken concrete chunk that was our entrance/exit (there was no front entrance), which looked onto a dirt parking lot that was used by everyone who lived adjacent to it, probably seven or eight properties with room for maybe four cars. I did not have a car at that time.

We had an informal agreement that no one would smoke IN the place (one of the guys was a pipe smoker), so even though I did not smoke daily (maybe 3-4 times a week), when I wanted a cigarette, I’d go out back on that stoop and read an issue of TROUSER PRESS or CREEM...or maybe some orphan comic book I scored at a junk store or out of the trash. When I look back now, I can’t believe the things I did to get by in this period. I would discreetly finish half-eaten steaks from people’s plates when they came back to me at the dishwashing station or when I bussed tables. I would also, while cleaning up the place at night during closing, look for cigarettes in ashtrays that had only been partly smoked, put them in a baggie, and then when I’d get home after midnight from work, I’d separate out the burned areas and use the un-burned tobacco to roll my own. I must have done that for a year and never bought a pack of cigarettes....only Bugler rolling papers.

I’ve always been the kind of person who was happy to be alive--after all, look at the alternative! Living in a college town, I could always hear some band (who cared if they sucked!) for the price of a fifty-cent happy hour twenty-ounce beer, or go to the massive air-conditioned university library where they had all eight volumes of the 1950’s Yale posthumous collection of the unpublished writings of Gertrude Stein. I remember also reading and re-reading in that cool (or warm, depending on the season) and comfortable and spacious library Oliver Goldsmith’s 1760 CITIZEN OF THE WORLD, something which seemed timeless and really spoke to me.

I could also sit on my back stoop and smoke one of my Frankenstein cigarettes taken from people who might have had various illnesses, but I was too stupid or cheap to care. I’d say I could sit and watch the world go by, but actually, I could not. I saw a gravel lot, covered on all sides by the back end of fleabag student apartments--that was my “world” to watch.

One early Autumn evening on a night I did not work and wasn’t at anyone else’s house or at the library, I was sitting on that stoop and it dawned on me what a low-grade life I was living. I was sharing a tiny place with a hole THROUGH the wall onto the alley. I was smoking discarded tobacco. I had a place to sleep with no bed (just a cot mattress on the floor--trust me, none of us EVER brought girls home to this place!) in a room that was at most 8’ x 10’. What brought all that (and more I won’t mention) into focus in one crystalline moment of epiphany was when it dawned on me what I was reading: a coverless Charlton western comic that was also missing the first and last page which I’d pulled out of the dumpster in the parking lot. Somehow that throwaway comic book (hey, at least it didn’t have pickle juice or semen stains on it--I have SOME standards!) was the perfect symbol for my life at that time.

Also, though I often champion Charlton Comics and have spent a lifetime reading them, I’d be lying if I claimed most of what they put out was great. Much of it was, but there were some dogs--you could not put out the incredible number of books they did and not have some sub-standard items slip through. I love western films and western comics, but alas CHEYENNE KID #83 was a relative dog. The two CK stories that bookended the issue were adequate western timekillers, the first one actually slightly clever and witty, with a British “dude” character who could have been played by Terry-Thomas in a film (although missing the first few pages of the first story, I had to create my own beginning for it, which may well have been more imaginative than the actual beginning), but the middle story was an awful thing where some character set in the future went back in time to the Old West and spoke in Shakespearean English. It wasn’t funny, it wasn’t clever, it wasn’t exciting, and the language wasn’t even accurate or entertaining pseudo-Elizabethan. It just sat there on the page and took up space. Speaking of college, it was like a paper written by some kid who knew what he was doing sucked, but had to turn SOMETHING of a certain length in, so he just kept typing and hit the eight required pages or whatever. When you read it, you became part of the void that it existed in--it sucked you in to its world. Just like this awful story...and the apartment with the hole through the wall.

The question I have today is WHY do I still own this comic? It did not cost me anything, and I did not really enjoy it much when I read it. Why did I not toss it back into the dumpster? And even more than that, how did it make it through my many moves since then? Well, at least it was able to jump-start my memory about that apartment and that period in my life, which I’d put behind me, because of its continued existence. Now that that’s been accomplished, though, I am going to put it in the trash and pour this morning’s coffee grounds on top of it, so I won’t be tempted to reclaim it again. I’m hoping the coffee grounds will function like the stake through Dracula’s heart, killing it off once and for all.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Lots to go through you can see from the vast amount of reviewage below I've been busier than a proctologist at a nudist colony writing up the following freshies, and believe-you-moi some of 'em are pretty good items that'll stand up to time, if not to at least a repeat play! Big heaping hunking thanks to the fellows at Feeding Tube Records as well as Gregory Raimo, Bill Shute, Paul McGarry and the irrepressible Bob Forward for the items they donated which, thankfully, have become the property of me and me alone! Not only that but there are even more goodies of an everlasting nature heading for the ol' abode which means we have some REAL wowzer reviews to look forward to as the days unravel!
I had a big schpiel regarding "current events" lined up but decided to scrap it in favor of a less windy (if you can fathom that!) summation of my views. And as my own soapboxing opinions go well, frankly I dunno where this Syrian brouhahaha is gonna end up but right here from my jaded POV all I gotta say is Trump, I thought you were the peace candidate! I thought you were against the war without end neoconnish "deep state"! And while I'm on a roll I thought you were a whole lot closer to the leave 'em alone anarchist principle than most everyone else on the boards 'cept maybe Rand Paul!!! Well you are a saber rattler true, but nothing next to what the Nobel Peace Prize winner Barack Obama or Bill Clinton or even/especially George II were and like, I was under the impression that you had some sorta idea as to what constituted justified use of military might and that we were rid of those days when the use of force was instigated by various sociopolitical happenings that, only a short time later, were either proven to be false or exaggerated beyond the realm of what actually had happened!

Or, to put it more succinctly:

Well, if we're here next weekend I'll assume everything turned out kinda/sorta OK, though given that martial law will undoubtedly be slapped on all internet activity in case of a National Emergency maybe you won't get to hear it from me!
And now, onto something less burdensome on the mind and more uplifting than Penelope Playtex, the reviews!

New Parents-TRANSIENT RESPONSE LP (Feeding Tube Records, available via Forced Exposure)

Man oh man did I hit the jackpot this week with a HUMONGOUS package of freebies courtesy the infamous (as they should be) Feeding Tube Records label! Outta nowhere came this big box filled with the latest and upcoming offerings that label has or is about to unleash upon us, and as you can guess I am suffering from SENSORY OVERLOAD just thinking about all of the good times I'm gonna have plowing through this massive soundstorm!

Rather than listen to the entire batch in one sitting and end up with a bad case of mental indigestion I'm gonna take this package one day at a time. I hope you guys at Feeding Tube understand because you certainly do not want me to die of a brain attack...and with that in mind let me handle this particular lovely first. It's a platter by an act called "New Parents" and if that sounds ikky to you tough turds because this particular band is pretty good even if I believe they shoulda ironed a few things out before committing this to vinyl. But that's my opinion...for the most part New Parents present a pretty smooth folky-rock that comes off part early-seventies Amerigan garage rock and part late-sixties English folk screech a la Fairport Convention. Well, maybe a bit of that and other pseudo/neo hip refs might come up (Byron Coley mentions Brinsley Schwarz which I guess could be considered a fair approx. of the direction this one heads in) but whatever, these guys do make for some good easy going yet tension-tinged music that doesn't make you wanna join that progressive school in BILLY JACK'r anything like that!

Really, this might be a good try even for the gruffer amongst ya readers, and if you wanna kick my behind because you can't understand the thing well, maybe some other day.
Hollow Deck-ALL THE ROOTS LP (Feeding Tube Records, available via Forced Exposure)

Hollow Deck are the duo of Mia Friedman (vocals, gourd banjo, fiddle, guitar) and Andy Allen (tenor saxophone, clarinet, flute, drum machine etc.) and when you put them together you get a pretty good combustion like when you put sodium and chloride or nitro and glycerin or ass and hole together coming up with something that sounds like a music you might have experienced ages back, or maybe it was just that fever dream you had last night. It's hard for an old turd like me to tell anymore.

The notes that came with this (yeah, I hate referring to these notes just like I hated going through Cliff Notes to discover what the hidden meaning in MACBETH was according to the doof who wrote them analytical money wasters) do give a wild approx. of where Hollow Deck are "coming from", but to me the hazy, dreamy and (dare-I-say) surrealistic stew that comes forth from these grooves recall everything from Erica Pomerance (sorta) to one of those soundtracks to some late-forties/fifties-era underground films that Sidney Peterson used to do. But like a Peterson film or any sort of what is now known as "outsider art" there's an air of self-produced elegance and individualism that comes forth that seems to  be void in many similar projects heard not only then but now. It's personal to the likes of Friedman true, but if you can join in on what she is trying to relate, get "into her universe" as Meltzer might have suggested, you're in for the ride ALONG with Hollow Deck and there's no reason why ya'd wanna get off!

So in other words this ain't bad at all...and thankfully it eschews the too personalist aspects of much art where we have to share in the misery and disgust the artist dishes out, soaked menstrual pads and armpit stench included!
Tommy Jay and the General-FLORIDA SONGS LP (Feeding Tube Records, available via Forced Exposure)

What a surprise! When I was listening to this outta-nowhere (actually Columbus Ohio, and NO JOKES!) platter I thought I had stumbled across some great lost (and probably loathed at the time) late-sixties/early-seventies album that somehow got released in the here-and-now! Yes, Tommy Jay and the General are a pretty retro rock act that conjures up the better moments of the post-garage/pre-glam era in Amerigan pop/rock music, and if you were the kinda guy who used to pinch pennies to buy those mid-seventies cutouts by the likes of the Flamin' Groovies and Woody's Truck Stop you'll just love the dickens outta what Jay and the General are up to on this long player! Only trouble is, you'll have to pay a lot more than 99 cents for this but given the rate of inflation you still might come out on top.
Hopital de la Conception-THE ELECTRIC ROCKIN' CHAIR cassette (Opaque Dynamo Records, write to Gregory Raimo, 29 Rue imbert Colomes, 6300 Lyon, FRANCE)

When it comes to the early French punk rock groups you undoubtedly never heard about before, European Son might have been one of the more tasty of the entire batch of obscurities who should have released something but remain forgotten because of their misfortune even to this very day. Perhaps somewhere in between the atonal flow of Mahogany Brain and the arrival of Metal Urbain (at least from the few reports extant they were!), European Son were a two-guitar and two-guitar only group who wore their influence on their name. Not only that but the two were perhaps one of a handful of seventies acts to actually tackle "Sister Ray" long before the Velvets' more cute and camp influences began to penetrate the hearts and minds of acoustic buskers and other precocious jellybabies, people who never were able to stomach the real reason for being that I would have ASSUMED was part and parcel to the Velvet's entire reason for existing in the first place.

Like you, I never had the opportunity to hear European Son and they do rank on my list of various VU-minded acts who never released any documents I must hear sometime in the near future. However it is a WELL KNOWN FACT that this new French group, Hopital de la Conception, is the SPIRIT AND ENERGY OF EUROPEAN SON WOOSHED INTO THE MINDS AND BEINGS OF TWO OF THE TRUE HEIRS OF FRENCH UNDERGROUND ROCK BRAVE ENOUGH TO ACTUALLY CHANNEL THE FERAL ELEMENTS OF THE VELVET UNDERGROUND INTO THEIR OWN DECADENT DNA, and I really do mean it.

Two tracks (flip the tape over and it's the exact same thing!) that surprisingly enough have that "Sister Ray" hard-nosed Velvets drive which kicks up the spirit and makes you PROUD that you are a mammal and alive in the here and now if this is any indication of what the future shall bring us in music. Like European Son this is two guitars (and vocals) and nothing else, with loads of feedback, atonal soloing, repeato riffs and that whole general basement/bedroom/garage recording rock 'n roll that'll get you up and moving like you did when you'd rush to the mailbox and open up the latest issue of TAKE IT! even before you got to your welfare check. It's that much Velvet homage and thankfully eschews all of the sappy sweetness that never really was part of that group's heritage no matter how many versions of "Sweet Jane" you may hear strummed.

Yes this "Electric Rockin' Chair" is rockin' me crazy (the package this came in sez INTENSE SATURATION INSIDE and who am I to argue?) and I suggest that you send these guys (or at least Gregory Raimo, see address above) some filthy lucre and hope he sends you something back. And (as Peter Laughner said about the Electric Eels) just hope it doesn't bite you when you open the thing!
METTE RASMUSSEN/TASHI DORJI cassette (Feeding Tube Records)

Part of the Feeding Tube package that arrived this week, this particular item is so new that it isn't even listed as a forthcoming item in the Forced Exposure on-line catalog. That means you better keep your peepers wide open lest you want to miss out on this pretty top notch cassette featuring saxophonist Rasmussen and guitarist Dorji in a duo setting that (to coin a phrase) is probably the LAST WORD as far as they go. Rasmussen's playing reminds me of Roscoe fact when guitarist Dorji is wailing away on his guitar this comes off like one of those deep groove Art Ensemble of Chicago sessions during their French stay when Mitchell would be getting into some gnawing solo while Malachi Favors would aimlessly pluck his zither. A necessary must-have for any of you who still harbor some hope that the whole jazz idiom hasn't succumbed to the same classical dalliances that it seems to have (or at least that's the impression I get after combing through some of those upper-reached cable stations which feature the latest in piano jazz tinklings...and I do mean "tinkle"!
Hy Maya-THE MYSTICISM OF SOUND AND COSMIC LANGUAGE CD-r burn (originally on Smog Veil Records)

Gave this Bob Forward burn another go at it (like I said I would) and hey, it sounds less leaden and in fact downright inspiring in parts just like I thought it would. Robert Bensick's early-seventies aggregation (which also included the likes of Scott Krauss and his then galpal Cindy Black, both who later shared the stage with Peter Laughner in Cinderella Backstreet) actually perform a steady riff rock raveup on the live tracks and come off as psychedelically explosive as those double-LP Amon Duul II albums on the "studio" tracks. You can hear echoes of Pere Ubu to be (thanks to member Allen Ravenstine) as well as some surprisingly quiet tracks heavy on the flute that recall various krautrock experiences around the time everyone started coming down off the trip. Another one of those "too bad it didn't get out a lot more than it did" efforts that still sound refreshing to us more continental rock types.
ALISON'S TEA HOUSE LP (Chelsea Productions)

NYC radio bigwig Alison Steele might have a big fanabla in the local market, but around here she was just someone whose face once appeared in some ad that popped up in CREEM. I guess the three-minute interviews that appear on this album were meant to break her big nationwide, though I don't think they did any good because...for the life of me...I can't recall having heard any of these on any of the local radio stations that would have been ripe to air 'em!

Still they're fun enough to listen to what with Steele doing some fairly good interviews with an array of dunces (Graham Nash, Chi Coltrane even if I did like "Thunder and Lightning" a whole lot!) and downright geniuses (Lou Reed---he was still one at the time I think---and Tim Buckley) with Steele trying to make sense out of it all no matter how inchoate or uninterested her subjects may be. Some good moments pop up here like when a slightly addled Lou talks about others swiping from the Velvets credo (or so his friends say, he can't hear it) or when Tim Buckley asks for cognac in his tea. The J. Geils Band one's a particular hoot. Might be worth searching out if you miss your old local "free form" FM station before it went "classic rock" oh so long ago.
Tactics-THE SOUND OF THE SOUND VOL. 2-1984-1988 2-CD set (Memorandum Records, available via Forced Exposure)

Sometimes I wonder just why I spent precious lucre on a collection of eighties-era Australian-vintage new wave considering that by this time the new had undoubtedly metastasized into gnu and bore only a slight resemblance to what this breed of music represented only a short decade prior. DESPERATION is why I got it---after all, what else new is coming out to get me to part with my hard-begged? Plus the Velvet Underground/Television/Love comparisons didn't hurt either even though I have known well eough to not to fall for that gag since at least 1986.

Of course it's feh. The kind of glopped up synthed out music that I in part started up my own crudzine to rebel against. If you have a soft spot for the casio-sound of the day by all means go for it, but for a soul like myself who was hoping for perhaps the LAST VESTIGE of the aforementioned Velvets/TV/Love approach I must admit that I was gravely disappointed.
Bruno Fontaine-PIANO WORKS-ERIK SATIE CD (Aparte Records, France, available via Forced Exposure)

Naw, I ain't goin' highbrow on ya, but I did have a hankerin' to give the works of Erik Satie a listen to if only because of years of just won'drin'. For a novice like myself these tracks come off fairly good, relaxin' on a Sunday afternoon piano music that, while not exactly a part of the noise explosion in classical music that was about to transpire, does show the beginnings of the un-tethered approach. Might go well with small sandwiches (crusts cut off) and tea at your next chit chat get together.
Various Artists-WHAT'S SHAKIN' CD-r burn (originally of Elektra Records)

Yeah I would leave it to Elektra to take their pre-Buddah Lovin' Spoonful recordings, slap 'em on a platter with other tracks Elektra owned the rights to and put it out in a way that made it look as if this was a Lovin' Spoonful platter and nothin' but! After all, how many of us SAVAGE YOUNG BEATLES owners fallen for the same gimmick over 'n over? Well, despite the obvious scammitude associated with the thang WHAT'S SHAKIN' is what I'd call a pretty swell album and not only because these Spoonful tracks ain't bad at all! There's also some early Paul Butterfield efforts ca. EAST/WEST (an' y'know I was listenin' to that 'un last night and thought it was boffo---and when the title track came on...whew!) and even those steady bloozy efforts from Al Kooper and a pre-God Eric Clapton back when he was tryin' to be black just like everyone else sound real neat! And if you can imagine, the famed folkoid Tom Rush sounds good in this company too. Well, this platter did come out 1966 way, and for the most part did anybody in the so-called rock 'n roll world stink up the atmosphere the way they would even a good two years later?
Charlie Parker-THE COMPLETE DIAL SESSIONS, DISC 3 (originally on Stash Records)

Third part in this box set starts off with two takes of "Dexterity" (which should be well known to fans of the early Art Ensemble of Chicago) then rages through a number of takes of the likes of "Bongo Bop", "Dewey Square", "The Hymn", "Bird of Paradise". "Embraceable You". "Bird Feathers", "Klack-oveesede-tene" and "Scrapple From the Apple" each. Again this made for fine Sunday afternoon morning listening and although this particular era of jazz doesn't fray the ends of my nerves the way future endeavors would I can just hear it all coming with the way Parker and company swing the style in ways I'm sure your Aunt Martha never would have thought of!
Various Artists-ME, MYSELF, MELINDA, AND SANTA CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Gotta say this one didn't really get me all hot and bothered, but maybe that's because I was listening to the Christmas-oriented tracks in the month of April which is something I might have been gung ho on when I was five but!

And I must say that the bevy of corniness on this one surpasses past corny burns on Bill's part, what with the like of Sammy Walker singing a deathly dirge about global warming which really does make me laugh considering the plunging temperatures we've had here recently, to a "song poem" about Georgia that sounds like something Lester Maddox would have had the good sense to run through the garbage disposal at his restaurant.

A good portion of the tracks are naturally hokum true (Freddie Lennon's "That's My Life" is what son John's records woulda sound like had the ex-Beatle survived that fateful day) and seeing that Groucho's daughter Melinda Marx was another one of those sixties singers trying to cash in on daddy's fame is of mild interest. And those Bill Cosby and Andy Williams Christmas Seals PSAs sure brought back memories of three in the morning AM radio on the midnight shift. But for the likes of me the only track here that really got me cookin' was the one by "the Death Killers" who sound all but seven-years-old, but man can they play electric guitar!