Saturday, July 27, 2019

WHEW! Dunno about you but I'm still reeling if not rocking from the massive response to last week's Jay Dobis interview, something which really seemed to draw in the readers and responses like nothing since those early Dave Lang and Jay Hinman traipses into personal destruction a good fifteen years back. Of course credit must be given to the interviewee much more than it should be to the interviewer, or so sez humble me but anyway, it sure is good to know that there are still some readers out there who see rock 'n roll as a maddening obsession rather than backdrop to getting cooze! And if you think this week's post is gonna be a letdown in comparison well, you might just be right.

But still there have been a few goodies to grace mine ears during the past few weeks, and below are just a few of the wonders I thought I'd pass my opinions on to you because like, why else would you want to read BLOG TO COMM other'n because this just might be the ONLY place on this planet where at least some shard of neo-gonz rockscreeding mighta survived in a world of cut and paste rock critic hackdom (and really, do even these kind of sycophantic slobberers exist here at the dawn of a new decade in which we can finally see all that we loved and cherished buried with a brutal ardor?).

Even with the bevy of beauts I've reviewed below there are still a whole lot more platters that I have been spinning as of late. F'rexample the first two Savage Rose albums really do brighten up the ol' atmosphere 'round here especially with that triple keyboard lineup that gave those albums a nice solid whump! inside my brain! Funny how folk keep comparin' this act to the Jefferson Airplane which I personally can't see at all---these guys (and gals) were a solid straight-ahead rock 'n roll act that delivered intensity (no matter how sublime) in place of commercialized revolution dressed up in a rather commercial sound, and in more ways than one I could see them as the contemporaries (not in sound necessarily but suaveness) of the rest of the straight-ahead rock 'n roll acts of the day from Hackamore Brick to the Stooges and maybe even the good ol' Velvet Underground themselves! Yeah, I know any comparisons to those titans has become a rock critic cliche at least a good forty-five years back but this is BLOG TO COMM, not the COLLEGE MUSIC JOURNAL so cut me some slack! At least I have a better right to bring 'em up'n any of you do because like, I'm so pure and innocent in my still stuck in the seventies rockist ways!  Not only that but they get a whole lotta name droppings in the Marie et les Garcons review below so if Velvets slobbering is not your game may I suggest you skip this post entirely!
JUST FOUND OUT DEPARTMENT: our, well at least my, thoughts and prayers go out to Andrew Klimyk, younger brother to Jamie and veteran of a variety of acts from X-Blank-X, Tender Buttons, Red Dark Sweet and Death on a Stick who has suffered a series of strokes and is in what you'd call less than perfect condition as a result. Here's to your speedy recovery Andrew---we certainly need more people like you up and about in the music world and a whole less people like...well, I'm sure all of you have a fave musical figure of ire to insert here and it better not be me!
And with or without further ado (does it matter?), here are the reviews!

Marie et les Garcons-76/77 LP (Instant Records, France); 1977-1979 LP (Feedback Records, France); RE BOP ELECTRIQUE 12-inch EP (We Release Whatever The Fuck We Want To Records, Germany)

I recently chanced upon (whaddaya mean "chanced"---I've been lookin' for 'em nigh on six months!) some records that seemed tl slip into the cracks in my collection, perhaps ignored because they just happened to arrive at a time in my life in which maybe there were other more pressing things to do than settle back and enjoy music as that eternal form of inner turmoil expression that's kept me goin' for a pretty long time in my life. There were a few doozies in that batch I'll tell ya, and as the days/weeks/years go by you'll be readin' 'bout some of these catches that just might make your life the carefree suburban slob way to go as we fend off the hideous onslaught of Miley Cyrus.

But the dooziest of 'em all just hadda've been the Marie et les Garcons platters that were located after being shuffled from stack to stack before I was even able to give 'em a spin! And hey, let's just say that the discovery of these platters just HASTA be the biggest even that July has in store, for when it came to the kind of music that makes up the soundtrack for my wildest dreams its groups like Marie et al. that create it, for they had everything goin' for 'em in a world where most bands might have some, some might have none but hardly any have 'em all.

First they were French which is cool since the best rock 'n roll has always been of a Gallic groove even if the likes of Lou Reed would not admit it. Second, they were a huge part and parcel of a "scene" so to speak which holds the same musical desires (Velvets, Patti and all those group names I've been abusing ever since 1981) that helped make a full blooded man outta me when everything else was injecting musical estrogen into my veins. And third, they made some pretty hopping music that epitomizes everything that I love about the 1964-1981 era of sound as a teenage form of true avant garde expression, but if you were reading this blog inna first place I think you woulda known alla that by now. Just brushing up with the newbies, that's all.

These three were reissued (or maybe two were reissued---I think 76/66 just might be seein' the light o' day just now) a few years back and they might still be available via the usual internet sources Maybe some outernet ones as well but hey, if you consider yourself a fan and follower of the BIG BEAT you might want to get hold of these before you do anything else in your miserable life. For these Marie et les Garcons recs are pretty spiffy platters if I do say so myself and like, if you think that the post-post-POST under-the underground musical scene as it stands today has nil the effect and power that this music held during the glorious past well, Mariet et les Garcons are just more prove to back up your totally spot on theories!

The 76/77 album's a downright sonic reduction on all counts, not only because each side contains a 40-minute (or so it seems---grooves are really close together) rock rant recorded in glorious portable Panasonic lo-fi, but because the Garcons crams into that time some way-outta-kilter expressions of mid-seventies under-the-counterculture music that not only traverses some mighty familiar punk rock territory (and even Bowie!) but contains some brilliant vocals courtesy Patrick Vidal that sound totally attuned to the teenbo o-mind even if you don't understand a word of French! (Whew! Take that you anti-run on sentence Nazis!) At specific instances the guitar rave turns into an atonal neo-Mars-ish clash of frequencies (which might figure since they did share labels!) and you're there lapping it up just like you did back when the forces that spurted forth the creative juices which spawned such groups as Marie et les Garcons were way mightier'n the likes of Pantsios would ever admit. These basement-level performances are loose in that beautifully primitive way (Marie's drumming is stuck somewhere between Maureen Tucker's, Michael Weldon's and Miriam Linna's and she can even do a roll) and if somehow you FORGOT just what it was that made you save up lunch money for rare singles by the likes of Patti, Lou, Iggy et. al. the fury and drive behind these basement recordings will bring it all back home. Yes, it is "beautiful"...

The Ze album (which got the reissue treatment from Feedback Records a few years back) might not have the same urgency as the above, but it still got that cheap young upstart seventies Velvet Underground heavy duty aura about it that once again says more about the true nature of rock 'n roll during that particular era in time than the collective prattling of ROLLING STONE's "Random Notes" ever did. An' the mofo sure holds up not only with the standard Garcons faves like "Re Bop" but with some hefty tributes to the acts that made the Garcons more'n just one of those acts that the big crits would sorta pat onna head before moving on to more lucrative endeavors. Especially enticing is a cover of the infamous "Roadrunner" which makes that Greg Kihn take the local FM station used to play to death all the more nauseating. At least you get the idea that these guys didn't discover the song after some wonk at Berserkley gave Kihn a pile of records and had him choose a hip sounding enough song to cover. 77/79 has the same sorta primitive appeal previously found in old scratchy singles and various 99-cent cutouts of the day that all GOOD rock 'n roll needs, and like all those other acts who took the best the sixties hadda offer us and molded 'em into a true vision for the seventies this works fine. I only wonder why this 'un got stuck with a cover showin' one of those shirts with a li'l alligator on it!

The twelve-inch RE BOP ELECTRIQUE ain't anything to get my underpants in an uproar but I guess those who liked the group's dabbling into disco forms will go for it more than they did all those other former punk groups who mighta still been punks in some form or another doin' the disco thing when the disco thing was somethin' to be doin' (but not for me it wasn't). Two extended electronic music versions of the groups (I guess) signature song really don't excite me much if at all, but Ze at least had the good sense to put the original on as well just so's it wouldn't be such a loss to all their old time fans. It ain't exactly anything I would want to be reminded of lest I soil my view re. the Garcons permanently, and if that cover Photo ain't a tipoff re. the chic decadent disco cum new wave crowd this is aimed at I dunno what is!

FINAL ASSESSMENT OF IT ALL- '76/77 a must-have for even the ones who like to dabble merely a toe in the ocean of mid-seventies post-VU jamz, 1977/1979 for those who heard the first one and need more after being saturated in the basement blare, and RE BOP ELECTRIQUE is for after all is said and done and you kinda come to the realization that yeah, all of the good 'uns started to peter out once the sappy eighties got into gear.
WEEPING BONG BAND II LP (Feeding Tube Records)

Another album from the group whose name conjures up the worst images of overall'd hippies on the front porch doin' those Marin County jams! Personally this stuff ain't whatcha'd call upper echelon BLOG TO COMM listening material but I find it rather interesting what with the twangs of stringed instruments coagulating with the juicy amorphous bloat. Side two kinda reminded me of those later-on Ash Ra Tempel ventures that bordered on the Gnu Age, but this was still a whole lot better'n what that genre could eventually poke out as the dreary eighties rambled on and on. I guess if you're the type of guy who thinks that reality is for people who can't face drugs you'll go for this big time!
SOUTHWIND CD (Big Pink Records, Japan)

Yeah, I always like to thumb through old rock mags of varying stripes to see if I missed out on class acts of the past that deserve a spin or a million for that matter, and as you know I highly cherish the opines of greats like Greg Shaw and Jymn Parrett when making that wise purchase that could have gone towards my doctor bills. Southwind did get a passing rave from Shaw in his ALLIGATOR WINE enclosure included in the premier FRANK'S APA, but frankly I thought their debut was a total wash out---neo-country rock without the verve and excitement to make it as noticeable or as appealing as various other late-sixties rock acts trying to survive in a world of hippie doodle. And if I only knew that future Elvis Costello cheapo knockoff Moon Martin was a member...sheeesh!
Various Artists-WORKING CLASS DEVILS---SUBVERSIVE BEAT, R 'N' B AND PSYCH FROM POLAND 1965-1970 CD-r burn (originally on Beat Road Records)

The Polish always have gotten a lotta hard knocks from comedians and such, but this record shows that there was what seems like an active beat scene there during the mid-to-late sixties. Yeah, judging from these tracks it might not have been anything that special, but some of these numbers do cut the mustard as far as delivering on cheapo psychedelic thrills they way local wonks from Anytown USA could. Dunno if any of these groups were approved by the government but if they were I gotta say that the heads of state o'er there were slightly hipper'n the ones we had o'er here! And you haven't lived until you've heard  the way Niebiesko-Czarni translate "Purple Haze" into Polish, kinda/sorta that is!

I guess that now dad's long gone 'n decayed I can say what I want about his daughter's recording career. And frankly I have nothing to fear from Pop even if he were alive because these crank 'em out and dress 'em up tracks from Nancy Sinatra ain't that bad in that late-sixties cheezo variety show gunch sorta way I thought it was gonna be. Early stuff has that patented Annette woola woola high stool spirit swing to 'em that recalls brain aneurysms received while sipping vanilla shakes through straws at McDonalds. The later on hits and sundries really recall single-digits me thinkin' that they better not have music like this when I reach teenbo age, but now it sounds a whole lot more human'n the cyborg entertainment being foisted upon us in the here and now. Her theme to the Allen and Rossi spy spoof THE LAST OF THE SECRET AGENTS does make me wanna catch that one sometime soon. Oh how I miss THE CBS FRIDAY NIGHT MOVIE!
Various Artists-MOD SOCKS AND FOREVER FLARES I guess that now dad's dead I can sD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Hah! This 'un's a real surprise from the Royaltones doin' a "Tequila" swipe to some nice down-mood local single sides including a couple from Youngstown Ohio's Fortels who I'm surprised people around here aren't talking about in hushed and humbled tones. Even stranger is Jerry Van Dyke rendition of the MY MOTHER THE CAR theme with additional verses!

In between all that I get cheap-o attempts at the charts that were good but no cigars. These include a number of doo-woppers and twist cash-ins as well as a country popper about a Playboy bunny which reminds me of when I was a kid and although the whole Playboy Enterprise was up and about and more popular than even Shake-A-Puddin' the mere mention of such stuff to the folks was totally verboten! It wasn't until years later when the concept of tits 'n twats entered my mind that I knew why but sheesh...I kinda find it hard to get through my skull that something like PLAYBOY would be up and about during such a rather wholesome, clean-livin' era in my existence! I do feel creepy about it all...I mean, what about NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC?
Have you gotten your fill of BLACK TO COMM back issues yet? Well, if not why dontcha make a glutton outta yourself and feast upon these ageless morsels of rock 'n roll mania and rare photographs coupled with some hearty writing and maybe even some misinformation or two tossed in! Remember, a BLACK TO COMM literate Ameriga is a FREE Ameriga!

No comments: