Wednesday, October 05, 2022

Yeah I know --- you wonder where the fekawi I've been this past month, right? Well now that I'm back aren'tcha glad you stuck around in eager anticipation for today's epistle to you unwashed types? I mean, given the utter blandness of most rock 'n roll blogs which have either gone semi-comatose like THE NEXT BIG THING or are just too bound up in that modern form of politically pious puke that's so in vogue, BLOG TO COMM just might be the only place onna web where one can devour some really potent and (perhaps even) still meaningful rockist writing without having to endure a whole load of socially-conscious filler, or at least the kinda filler I disagree with! And when I'm talkin' rock 'n roll writing I mean the kind that doesn't rot on ya like the last fortysome years of rockscreeding most certainly has in case you still pay attention to the quap that I assume ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY is still pumping out! (I mean who knows what they're up to now, I fortunately enough have not read a single mainstream periodical since I was at Midas Muffler waiting for my new exhaust!)

Hey, just take a look at what passes for "rock criticism" or whatever it's called these days --- a hefty portion of what I've been coming across as of late is totally cringeworthy with nada of the zap or punch of say, a Bangs or Meltzer unless you want to figure the pair's occasional garment-rending virtue signaling into the mix. Horribly wretch-inducing stuff that even makes those contributions to OP I sent 'em way back in '81 look totally readable in comparison and that's pretty bad!

It obviously must be rather hard for these current "rock critic" (yech!types to separate the rock from the hippydippy right on heart hemorrhaging that goes on these days. And y'know what? In many ways it's really sad to see just how many of my old time favorite writers who used to berate the whole radical right on politicizing of rock 'n roll eventually embracing the exact same lurch leftwards with a passion that would have done even the most starry eyed altruistic teenbo gal with a Che poster in her suburban bedroom proud. 

Just recently I happened upon the website of a certain eighties-vintage rock critic who I must say is a rather loathsome being. That's besides the point, but despite my antagonism towards this particular specimen I must admit that even I never would have thought him to have sunk as low as he has after happening upon this gent's very own website where I espied a recently posted piece on --- now get this--- the Kyle Rittenhouse kerfuffle with an entry which made even the most boo-hoo political punk mewlings of the eighties found in such esteemed periodicals as FLIPSIDE and MAXIMUM ROCKNROLL seem rather solid in comparison! Given the truth about what actually did happen and the eventual trial and outcome I personally felt the case closed and with the right outcome given that a pair of miscreants were attacking a guy with an AR-15 and got what for, but the sappy sobbiness still lingers on, at least in the hearts and minds of those who somehow think that maybe the Shining Path really did have something going for them after all.

I will say that it was a quite a bit of a surprise to find this particular scribe totally down with the "struggle" what with his fists up revolution spew regarding the holy innocence of the thugs who were out to kill Rittenhouse and how My Hero was earlier seen chatting with some policeman (shudder!) who even offered the kid something to drink (egads!) all done up in a way that I'm sure put a smile on Tim Yohannon's ever-putrefying corpse. I woulda called said rock crit many a thing way back during the late-eighties but I NEVER woulda called him a total bleedheart crybaby who would seemingly fall for any sorta radical clarion call hook line and pamphlet or even an "anarchist" fanzine for that matter! Well it now looks as if he now IS everything that I thought even he once stood against and with a good four decades of make up to boot! Good thing I was so disgusted that I didn't read down far enough to glom some of his music critiques, but I assume  that if his social spectacles are skewered the way they are his musical tastes haven't evolved any either!

And man, that is exactly where rock fandom and socially aware one-upmanship stand here in the early days of what is proving to be the bleak twenties. And I really in my heartest of hearts hope the above schpiel will make you APPRECIATE this blog all the more even when I do sound off on those things that probably make a good 99.999...% of you reg'lar readers uncomfortable. Yes, the festooned radicals of today are nothing but a new version of those moral uplifters that D.W. Griffith used to rail against, only those old biddies had a good REASON as to why they smelled bad!
In other news well, things ain't exactly goin' accordin' to hoyle as far as my own personal universe goes. Naw, it ain't anything GNARLY that I have to contend with at the point in time, but the sit-chew-a-shun around here most certainly could be a whole lot easier on the nervous system. Without mentionin' too much (it's not that I want you to feel sorry for me --- I just don't want you laughing at my misfortune like I would at yours!) let's just say that throughout my life I've hadda down a few reality sandwiches but right now I'm facing a reality hoagie that's gotta be devoured and with relative gusto at that! Thus the reason these blogs have been so far apart, and although I hope to get back to the ol' weekly rigmarole one-a these days such a time will have to wait until who knows when. And if yer hooked up on some machine when the time does arrive don't come cryin' to me!. 

Hokay, the above does come off quite overwrought and really is an exaggeration of the current state o' affairs, but in the sage words of Eddie Haskell you'd feel the same way too if you were pushed around as much as I've been! But man, the cringe cancer that I've been enduring thanks to everything from precious petunia former rock critics spewing radical treacle to going through the everyday grind of reality can get to ya --- if you let it, that is. And as you can tell I SURE AM!!!!  But actually I'm getting my share of fun time in when I can spare it, like on a Sunday afternoon or in the evening when the moon rises and it's time to put my mind in a sling. My eyeball situation is improving somewhat and I've begun to tackle some books that will probably be written up on this blog in the quite distant future. My toidy-time reading has been devoted to a batch of old HI AND LOIS books I decided to snatch up which is kinda funny because that particular comic strip never was one of my faves, Howevah, I gotta say that HI AND LOIS, like it's "brother" comic BEETLE BAILEY, had a good groove it got into with gags that might not make you laugh out loud but were clever enough to make you wanna sit on the pot a little longer to get to the next few 'uns. And, surprisingly enough, I find the later-on eighties comics to be better'n the earlier ones (both art and writing-wise) which is a surprise given how I think most entertainment has just fizzed out once that dreaded decade settled firmly into place!

Seems as if Paul McGarry should take the blame for the majority of these contributions but please don't harm him. PD .Fadensonnen sent in the cassette and well, I gotta claim responsible for a couple of these myself. And with that it's time to dig in!!!!

Various Artists-THE EARLY SOUNDS OF GARAGE ROCK 2-CD set (Not Now Records)

Well whaddaya know, a NUGGETS for the pre-First Psychedelic Era!  And believe it or leave it but the folk who compiled it did a pretty good job slappin' the thing together! Sure there are some glaring omissions as well as a few inclusions that might seem a bit outta place, but otherwise if you're in the market for a double disc collection of pre-Beatles "nugget if you duggit" platters this does make for a wild time. The only thing that's missing is Lenny Kaye  doin' the liner notes. It just goes to remind ya of just how great rock 'n roll, radio, teenage hijinx and overall funzies were before a buncha National Honor Society types hadda tell us we were all evil for liking cheeseburgers and going to monster movies, being normal  'n stuff like that!
The Ventures & the Fabulous Wailers-TWO CAR GARAGE CD (EMI Records, Japan)

'n speaking of the pre-First Psychedelic Era here's one that slipped under my radar. And, as you'd expect after all these years, it's an iffy affair what with the updated takes on various past accomplishments done by the original acts who most certainly do not have all of their original members along for the ride. But this 2009 effort is kinda neat, at least if you wanted to know that both the Ventures and Wailers were somewhat up and functioning at the time. I get sloppy sentimental like that sometimes.

Here's an outta-somewhere surprise, an FM broadcast from '79 featuring everybody's fave Bloomington Indiana band not counting the Gizmos. Taken from a record release party for the SUBTERANNEAN MODERN album, this set is a must have for those fans of the group who were picking up their debut EP at the same time they were also scarfing up similar efforts by Pere Ubu and Debris. Features trackage mostly heard on the legendary OUT OF THE TUNNEL platter along with at least one new to mine ears effort that will make you seeking this 'un out all the more tingling (hint: try Youtube!). Somewhat rough around the edges but that only adds to the gnarliess of it all.
Fadensonnen-HERETIC VISION cassette (Fadensonnen Records)

The latest. And a change of pace what with the horror music organ creeping about while various Controlled Bleeding/Nurse With Wound/John Cage ideas slip by complete with some addled femme  (?) vocals. And that's just the "A" side --- flip it over and you get one of the best re-do's of "LA Blues" since "I'd Rather Be Made Out Of Stone" followed by a Loren Connors cop that might fool a few of that man's fans and like good! When they said cassettes were coming back I wasn't thinking of this in particular, but I'm sure glad they're coming back if they're all gonna sound like that!
Teenage Head-KING ST. TEDDY BOYS CD-r burn 

Dunno much about the whys and wherefores, but this collection of late-seventies Teenage Head live performances is what us old turds used to call a real roof raiser. You already know what to expect here --- high energy hard rock riffage with enough power and might to light up the entire eastern seaboard. It even has a few obvious musical ref's to the album that this group took their moniker from! A fine tribute to Teenage Head's late guitarist Gordon Lewis. Sure makes alla that stuff that got called punk these past fortysome years sound like the inoffensive pablum that it most certainly was.
The Heartbreakers-YONKERS DEMOS 1976 CD-r burn 

Every time I see the word "Yonkers" I think about that TWILIGHT ZONE episode with William Demarest and Joan Blondell. You know --- "Yonkers Yonkers Yonkers!" Well I won't let that get inna way of enjoying this collection of treats from the original Heartbreakers back when Richard Hell was acting as the tension builder the same way he did with Tom Verlaine. If you've forgotten about just how energetic and fertile the under-the-underground was a good 45 years back here's a neat refresher.
The Saints-HOPE AND ANCHOR November 26, 1977 CD-r burn

OK but not awe-inspiring performance by these Australian legends who I gotta admit did some pretty whoa stuff during their lifespan but, for some strange reason, never did really awed me out. Then again, I gotta admit that there was a hefty portion of that thing we called late-seventies punk or new wave or gnu wave for that matter that, while bold and pleasing enough to the ears, never did send me into spasms of obsessive/compulsive madness the way that, say, Pere Ubu did. For brainy eighties aspiring rockscribes, the kind that put out those mimeo'd fanzines that only their creators seem to remember this far down the ol' devolvement of rock line. 

Yeah it's eighties Lou with alla that glitz and shuffle, but you gotta remember this was done around the time he released that NEW SENSATIONS platter which was a pleasant surprise to those of us who thought Lou had  gone full force into the serious rock artiste realm. And really, dontcha think that this kinda Lou is better'n no Lou at all? Sheesh, what am I SAYING???
The 101'ers-OUTTAKES AND DEMOS CD-r burn

I might not think that much about Joe Strummer's career post 1978 or so, but his tenure with the 101er's is the kinda rock 'n roll that I tend to go heavy doody for. With more of that pubby-styled punk rock that labels like Stiff made a fortune on, Strummer shows no signs of future musical embarrassments as he and band romp through a variety of Greg Shaw-approved covers and originals that I'm sure woulda alienated his throng of future fans. More proof to the fact that 1975 was perhaps the watershed year for punk rock given the variety of trends that were enveloping the world during that rather spiffy year.
Joathan Richman-WANT TO VISIT MY INNER HOUSE? CD-r burn (BandCamp)

Fans of ROCK 'N ROLL WITH THE MODERN LOVERS are bound to love this 'un. Ditto those of you who were truly agog over I JONATHAN. Once again, a straightforward acoustic effort from this septuagenarian who sounds just as youthful and as in wonderment of life as he did back when those first albums came out '76 way, with a slight late-sixties jive only equaled by those Shangs platters not to mention Brian Sands' FIXATION. Never woulda expected it.
Beechwood-SLEEP WITHOUT DREAMING CD-r burn (originally on Alive Records)

Now I don't hate the people who put this 'un out, but I gotta say that SLEEP WITHOUT DREAMING is about as mimeographed as a whole load of other new garage band efforts out there, Y'know the kind that always get called "the coolest song in the world this week" on the Underground Garage but sound just about as commercially slick and antiseptic as just about every other release that hits the earwaves these sad 'n sorry days. Nothing to really bark about here which is kinda bad considerin' how the Alive label was seemingly created to spread the Detroit sixties underground rock aesthetic far and wide.
The Jam-MAY 23rd, 1981 Memorial Hall, Toronto Ontario CD-r burn 

I forgot how long it took for these guys to go from being a more'n adequate "new wave" band to being a buncha eighties mock soul fopsters, So this live recording sure came in handy --- well, if it's anything to go by you can see the beginnings of what would become a rather dire attempt to remain meaningful in a music scene that would reject all the power and might that the late-seventies had to offer. Can't really blame 'em for things like the Style Council but uh, this does tend to sound totally listless in parts or is it just the audience sound quality?  Face it, when you get down to it this is about as much fun as titty fucking Olive Oyl!       
Given the utter lack of response I've received in regards to moving these things I'm going to stop mentioning that there are many worthwhile and budget-approved back issues of BLACK TO COMM just begging to fill up the cracks in your fanzine collection. Just kiddin'!