Friday, July 28, 2023

Yeah, what an existence. But eh, it's an existence that I sure can stand existing in, if that makes a whole lotta sense to ya. Still sweating it out here in Western Pee-YAY (a distant relative of "yippie-ki-o-ki-YAY") trying to survive in a populace that doesn't seem to really be worth bothering with one iota but eh, what else would you expect of a state that would actually elect people like Josh Shapiro ("A great percentage of Pennsylvanians are too extreme for Pennsylvania") and John Fetterman (all of your fave old time sitcom characters rolled into one) to positions of potential annihilation anyway? Still I, at least in my advanced age, wouldn't wanna live anywhere else other'n the tri-county area (or maybe eastern Ohio as long as it isn't Campbell or East Palestine)...things like rural roads, rustic scenery (which to me is all of the same century-old houses that I've seen my entire life as well as industrial parks and landfills) and people who thankfully have missed out on THE GREAT SEXUAL IDENTITY AND SELF-LOATHING CRISIS that is so prevalent elsewhere are what's making me wanna stick 'round these parts. Sure a lotta the females are tubboids or just too scrawny and plain looking enough to raise anything but one's ire, but it ain't like one really needs to be around 'em if one's well stocked up on NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC magazines not to mention some old art books!


Is this really the visage of a beautiful nude woman that I'm seeing in this 1949 FERD'NAND cartoon??? Well, I gotta say that the lass pictured above sure does look mighty inspiring to me! And here I thought that nude gal who popped up in a '67 DICK TRACY Sunday page was way ahead of the game which just goes to show ya what kinda people them Danes really are!


While sifting through the flotsam of a good six or seven years (no, make that decades) of things that have been shoved into corners here and there one does come up with a few surprises. Like man, who'd'a thought that anyone woulda saved some old kiddie-era drawing made by none other'n me considerin' that --- like --- this art ain't exactly somethin' for the AGES like a good full frontal 'r anything. I'm guessing that I was about five or more likely six (who'm I kiddin'---twenny-five --- I mean, have ya read any of my early writings?) when I did these because my vocabulary is right about in the range of HOP ON POP, though after all these years I wonder...who was Gustavus anyway??? And is "Bay Tovin" the one who "love girl"?!! That last pic of a gal onna swing ain't mine unless I was going through one of those "questioning" periods that woulda gotten my dick lopped off had they had the kind of stool teachers they have these days. Naw, that was definitely my cyster's own handiwork which only goes to show ya that if she thought she was doin' a self portrait boy was she way off the mark! Anyway, hope you enjoy alla this budding suburban slob just-post turdler artwork and remember, "boy Do not Go to the..." and if its raneing take an umbrella.


YAY! to Wade Oberlin for sending me (after I did my usual amt. of groveling) the latest issue of FAUX WOOD PANELING! It's perhaps the ONLY fanzine (in the truest bluest form) being made these days and it's a whole load of fun as well, even more fun'n when you were a kid and you spilled your entire mug of A&W down the rear speaker. You read my review of #1 back in the spring --- well, this is more of the same only more so, and you can bet your bottom buckskin that its just as loony as the first with more of them spirit of Meltzer musings and things you just won't see anyone else doing (on the printed or pixel page) these days! 

This mag is so whacked out to the point where Mr. Oberlin even interviewed his own dad (a cool idea but ya lost me when ya hadda go and mention the retch-inducing Michael Stanley Band), and the coverage given to Eddie Flowers and Heavy Mother was a real treat as well. However, I thought that Heavy Mother was that Alabama biker band that Flowers wrote about in an ancient issue of TEENAGE WASTELAND GAZZET (sick!).  As Vinnie Barbarino used to say, "I'm so confused..." You can get it all (and maybe even more since my package came with a THREE STOOGES comic book that already got lost in the rubble of my own fart-encrusted boudoir) via and you better...


Now for the reviews which I think ain't up to my usual snuff especially when you consider that I've been on a virtual roll at least since January but eh, even me at my most nerve-frazzled and inspiration-less comes off better'n most of the competition when they're pumping on all cylinders so be thankful for once, willya? STRANGE BUT TRUE DEPARTMENT: none of the spinners reviewed today were sent by either Paul McGarry or Robert Forward which kinda make me feel nice inside thinkin' that I'm not the mooch that I have strived to be for lo too many years. The only freebee this time comes from the aforementioned Mr. Oberlin, 'n I betcha ya can't guess which one that is!

Luther Thomas-11TH STREET FIRE SUITE CD (Corbett Vs. Dempsey Records)

Yay! The Corbett/Dempsey label has once again come to the rescue, saving me from having to dish out heavy duty ebay $$$ for a platter that, way back in the early-early eighties, I was considering purchasing via the NMDS catalog! Too bad things like dismal financial straits and the fact that I can't have everything that I want sorta got inna way of dumping all my hard begged on fun things like records and letting the less important trivialities like savings and utilities just cook on the back burner. Prioratize man, prioritize.

Maybe it was best that I waited to hear this effort from BAG mainstay Luther Thomas because, had I given it a go way back when, this spinner just might have been too o-mind even for an eager learner such as myself to filter through the sieve-like mind. Thomas, a man who had clocked in many punk funk hours with the Human Arts Ensemble before moving to NYC to hobnob with the likes of James Chance, really strives for the sonic cosmos with this duo effort with the man playing some mighty post-post-POST Ayler tones (maybe even post-post-POST Mitchell or Jarman for that matter) accompanied by flautist Luther C. Petty, with the two Luthers trying their best (and succeeding!) taking the ideals of the first generation of free players and splattering 'em on the pavement even more.

Unlike some of the various AACM and BAG recordings that I've heard since day uno, there is nary a hint of any Great Black Music slap on the dashiki historical references with European classical modes here and African folk ritual there --- Thomas and Petty play on as twisted and as free without the eclecticism, diving face first into the freeform sway to the point where even the old standby "Since I Lost My Baby" gets an avant blues treatment that woulda given Ivory Joe Hunter let alone Pat Boone conniptions. In typical AACM/BAG fashion "small instruments" are utilized to add them much appreciated tinges of sound coloration, and don't forget Thomas' own vocalizing which, in that ol' free jazz holler style, twists and screeches in a last gasp of a fashion that naturally fits in with a music custom made for your own frayed nerve endings.

Nice 'nuff reproduction of the original cover as well although the liner notes are way too small to make out and were not reprinted in the mini-gatefold for that much needed perusal. Anyone willing to send a readable version my way will not be thanked, but feel good that you did something for a person who is undoubtedly way better than yourself.



That guy from Finland's still at it burnin' a whole lotta outta print punk rock that I get the feeling is gonna stay outta print given that nobody gives a good golly ned anymore, as if they ever did inna first place. (Wait, didn't this come out legit-like during the big Steve Hall reissue frenzy a good decade back? Too lazy to even google it myself to find out!)

Whaddeva this contains the entire Afflicted Man MUSICAL BAG album with the rare enough singles that I'm sure you've all spun many a time so there's no need to get into the gritty details. Nice sleeve here and the sound's so good you wonder where the original source came from, though I coulda done without those electronic screeches between the cuts which I assume's the fault of the Finn who fleshed this one out.

If you can snatch this up fine, and don't forget the other Steve Hall Afflicted/Afflicted Man/Accursed efforts (like Hall's go out in a blaze of glory "Going Down"/"I Didn't Mean It" which is perhaps the most pumped up 45 rpm production made since the MC5's "Looking At You" --- still waiting for a Metal Virgins burn which might head my way more later than sooner)!


Various Artists-BLOODSTAINS ACROSS THE MIDWEST CD-r burn (no label)

The same Finn who released the above did us all whatcha'd call a public service here, not only for people who missed out on the original releases but those who missed out on the BLOODSTAINS series as well. Lotsa this has since been legitimately released but then again a lot hasn't so no matter who you are you're gonna be in for a nice treat given the wide array of talent presented on what you could call a late-seventies take on the PEBBLES series. 

Tracks that caught me by the tail include the Embarrassment's "Sex Drive ('member when they were the hyped up under-the-counterculture group poised to do great things back in the early-eighties?), Detroit's Cult Heroes (with former MC5 roadie Hiawatha Bailey who sure had some wild tales to tell!) with their "Berlin Wall"...and of course Cleveland shoulda-beens the Baloney Heads doing a rather spiffy Who rewrite entitled "I'm a Drunk" which was so good that it even got them some FM radio air time and even a few live radio spots! Of course some industry connections sure helped 'em out but I ain't complainin' like I know they weren't. 

Heck, this platter reminds me of the surge of wild creativity that was bursting forth all over the place back then although you never woulda known it if your main source of musical information was Anastasia Pantsios. And knowin' quite a few of you doofs I know she probably was...



Listening to this reminds me of that now-deleted R. Meltzer hype that the erstwhile rock figure wrote about the group's general musical musings referencing everything from "A Day in the Life" to FREE JAZZ with all points between thrown in. The best thing about it is they're doing it all LIVE...

An album that only goes to show ya just how freaked out soundwise yet true to the core of rock 'n roll (and even jazz) form Smegma are. The sound the group emits touches on not only the above refs but has still enough room for the Creative Construction Company, ONE RUINED LIFE OF A BRONZE TOURIST and even that one rock group whose name I dread mentioning considering the twisto changeo of their entire DNA makeup from hard street blare to giddy college student jellybabydom. This is some mighty exploratory music (maybe even an aural version of an exploratory on your very own Mammoth Cave) which takes the usual "art" angle and splatters it all over the pavement mashing it all into utter meaninglessness. Enough that if alla those music and art teachers who always told ya that you were not allowed to play scrunchy primitive music or create free abstract art until you learned the basics of "professionalism" heard this they'd know they were wrong alla the time. 

Sure that attitude will lead to some heavily leaden and self-indulgent works some if not most of the time, but here it has all the more meaning just like the Shaggs did or even bands like Mars and Red Transistor who had nary an idea of what proper forms of playing were, but bulldozed their way into the pantheon of rockist beauty because of their thankfully unprofessional outlook.

One thing that might get your favorite cloven hoofed animal is that, although the sound is otherwise hi-fi stereo 1961 clear enough for me, Meltzer's vocals are buried even deeper than a fat man's penis. However, given some of the mature subject matter that's at hand as one might surmise from such titles as "S*** of God" and "Up Your A**" not forgetting "I Never F***** My Sister" maybe it's best they REMAIN that way in case you're extremely skittish about such subject matter or worse yet your Aunt Flabby just happens to be stopping by. Maybe there is a version of this for less bashful listeners and if so, maybe you'll be first in line to snatch one up but I won't because I'm quite satisfied with this thing as it is!


Caligula-TECHNICAL AGGRESSION LP (Ripping Storm Records)

Lotsa eighties heavy metal really drilled holes through your psyche, while an even number of these acts just bored the Stove Top outta ya. Caligula was one group that fortunately stuck to the hole drilling aspects of the metallic realm not only borrowing heavily from the then-still exciting Metallica, but by adding some interesting sonic flourishing of their own. Interesting neo-classical tinges here and interesting Anthrax-derived moves there give this record an added oomph to differentiate it from the rest of the newer than new metal bands that were beginning to sprout up all over the place. And the fact that these guys were doing it on a small label without any slick technodrivel to commercialize it for stoners who wanted slick music makes this 'un all the better!

It might be easy enough for you to find, given that I have the feeling that not too many of these sold.


The Fastbacks-1985 OK LP  (Hey Suburbia Records)

I'll always be grateful to Imants Krumins for clueing me in to this mid-eighties Seattle band that, thankfully, left a whole load of the neo-hippie self-consciousness that the local scene was famous for outta their act. Like the more entertaining (to my own rockist attitude) groups to burst forth from that period in time, the Fastbacks took a whole load of the best the seventies had to offer (power pop, early punk musings, heavy metal before it got an image) and wrapped it up into a rather pleasant package that was a great alternative (in the truest form) to the load of ech! that was going on in just about every corner of the music world. Seventies rock titans the Sweet get covered here, as does the Jefferson Airplane with the best re-do of their catalog since the Pink Fairies laid down "3/5 of a Mile in Ten Seconds" during an early-seventies John Peel session (I'm exaggeratin' here but only a little!).


Just yer usual reminder that back issues of BLACK TO COMM are still available, and that you should be buying 'em all up before I really run out of interesting things to say 'bout gettin'  'em which is probably going to be in the very near future.

Thursday, July 20, 2023

I may be ignored, I may be vilified and perhaps I may even be murdered for what I'm doing, but in no way will I BACK DOWN!!!!!! Here's hoping that you're filled with the same vitriol and loathing as I am or else you probably will not appreciate one letter let alone word of what I've written this warm 'n muggy day. The way I feel well --- let's just say that if you're in good straits as far as mental cogging goes you better turn your computer off until (maybe) the next post because in no way are you gonna come outta this feeling nice 'n happy that's for sure!

Maybe I shouldn't feel as homicidal as I do at this very nanosecond thanks to the pow'r-packed-parcels that have arrived, most notably the few from Robert Forward with more Richard Meltzer HEPCATS FROM HELL recordings of definite worth. A surprise package it 'tis as well since the latest includes the infamous Chris Burden episode which has been a favorite of mine ever since I first heard (part of) it sometime in the late-eighties thanks to the kindness of one Eddie Flowers. Burden's a guy who was, at least until the mid-seventies or so (afterwards he's a bit iffy what with those toy cars rollin' around 'n all), one to be GREATLY ADMIRED given the way he used to use his own corpse for punishment as art! Listening to him cuss and act all neofascist (a "put on" neofascist but halfway convincing enough for my tastes) like he does here really hits a warm spot straight in the middle of my brisket to be all gosh darn and personal about it. Too bad the part where Burden takes his Uzi and fires it out the KPFK window isn't on here, but otherwise I find listening to this Meltzer/Burden banter mighty inspiring in a life-reaffirming, feel good about yourself way! So take THAT alla you goody-two-shoe John Bradshaw, Leo Buscaglia and UP WITH PEOPLE types! 

Also like the ones where Claude "Kickboy" Bessy either guest hosts or sits in with his group Catholic Discipline, an aggregation that seemed to get more than their fair share of HEPCATS airtime I'll tell ya! People who think that the French were/are horrible rockers should listen to the works of Bessy as well as that of J.P. Kalfon (still waiting for a Crouille Marteau album!), Dr. Mix, Marie et les Garcons and a whole slew of Gallic groupings I and undoubtedly you have never even heard because you will change your opinions about them so-called "surrender monkeys" (not like us run from Afghanistan with our tails between our legs Amerigans) right away!
So what else is goin' on in the wild and woolly world of what passes for my very existence? Well, besides some extraneous activities like writing a comedy routine based on the Moors Murders I've been handling a whole slew of real-life gosh darn it activities --- things like working (yech!) and getting rid of about sixty years of antiques that have cluttered up the abode and I'm not talking about whatcha'd call antique antiques but unsalable items that I don't think anyone would want in a millyun years. Anyway, if any of you are going to be in the tri-county area this September be sure to stop by and see the pile of offal I'm leaving at the curb for bulk pickup --- who knows, you might find some scrap wood for the ol' fireplace or perhaps even a few good bargains, that is if you're interested in half-finished projects and broken lamps and chairs that have been lying around ever since my mother got the notion to turn her love of antiques into a bonafeed business! Sheesh, you'd never see ME taking my personal passions and trying to make money off of them now, would you?

Also had the extreme pleasure of celebrating yet another birthday recently and although birthdays, like Christmas, sure ain't what they were when I was but a budding turdler I can still ooze some warm 'n toasties remembering the fun ones I lived through and at times even survived. For my birthday treat I was presented with a rather scrumptious dinner at The Elmton in Struthers Ohio, one of the few olde tymey mam 'n pap restaurants 'round these parts that's still up and runnin', and a good time I sure had ordering their broasted chicken with equally broasted potatoes which I only seem to get when I hit this outta the way suburban spot. Dining at The Elmton really does send me back in time (in a good way for once!) with that midclass restaurant-y atmosphere --- sheesh, all that's missing's the cigarette smoke with really does add a pleasant dimension to the pizzas that The Elmton's also pretty well know for!

It was also nice taking a ride to and fro the place reminding me of when Youngstown Sheet and Tube (employer of none other than Kenneth Patchen's very own dad and at one time mine!) was up and goin' full blast, scarin' the bejabbers outta me well into adolescence with all that noise and fire shooting all over the place! That's been torn down ages ago and Struthers is now a rather soot free and breathable place unlike it was back when windows had to be cleaned at least five times a week (I remember when kid show host Barney Bean'd repeatedly'd mention about going to Struthers High School football games and having to hold his nose throughout the entire proceedings!). I assume that it's a whole lot poorer compared to the days when industry was king and the unions made sure that the steelworkers were getting paid even better'n most white collar workers, but we can console ourselves that at least the air is crystal clear!

If you wanna see just a glimpse of what Struthers used to be like check out the Youngstown Ohio episode of ROUTE 66 with that opening shot of Sheet and Tube. (I believe I posted a clip from this 'un a good five or so years back, and as you know I do not like to repeat myself!) That's been torn down (replaced with a truck and trailer dealership and other smaller enterprises) and now that I'm much older and its been ages since those environmentalist types finally got their way at the expense of the local economy all I can say is that I sure miss the old industrial atmosphere of the place with the incessant churning, putrid sulfur and unbridled terror of it all. The perfect place for Throbbing Gristle or even early Pere Ubu to have recorded an album.

The chicken was excellent along with the broasted potatoes (which was actually a quartered lengthwise huge Idaho tossed in the broaster with the chicken thus taking on a lot of its greasy, tangy and spiced flavoring), although I thought the pizza wasn't up to snuff --- too floppy with a sauce that was somewhat too sweet and a cheese that was so chewy you could gag on it! Still I had two slices so you can say that I did get some enjoyment outta it, and the best thing about it is its economical value --- it stays with you all day! Gonna take the rest and crisp it up inna oven (got one of those pizza stones I'd like to try out) and maybe pour a whole load of Parmesan cheese (or better yet get some Romano) and see if that helps it out any.
When I was but a young suburban slob I used to get really upset to the point of froth when the other kids would just about ALWAYS leave me out of their various plots and schemes. Of course being the verifiable cube that I was raised to be didn't help endear me to anyone (as if Mom's advice to get a haircut, learn to play the piano, perform at parties and the girls would come flocking to you had any meaning after 1945) so maybe it was best that I did what I did and stayed in my bedroom until reaching middle age. I've learned since those days of self-loathing and general sniveldom --- now I can leave people out of MY own personal doings and feel so good doing so. One thing I've learned along this horse crapped road of life's that it's sure great getting even and putting other people down! Makes me feel all --- holy inside.

Hey, are you still getting all gaggy and eye-watery from alla that haze from those Canadian wildfires that continue to be roaring outta control? Don Fellman says it's bad where he is over in Flushing (no jokes) New York but it just hazes a little here, not as bad a few weeks back when I was actually forced by my cyster to wear a face diaper while cutting her yard. Gotta admit that I like that smoky smell which reminds me of the autumn when everyone's beginning to start up their fireplaces. Funny thing, but I keep mentioning to various folk that the reason for those wildfires is that Stokey the Bear from the old DUDLEY DOORIGHT cartoon is back in action, but surprisingly enough nobody seems to remember him! 

Boo to Wade Oberlin for not sending me a copy of the latest issue of FAUX WOOD PANELING! Now I'll guess I'll have to actually dish out the dollars for one even though I am such an important person on this thing we call the blogosphere, at least to the point where I should be getting my copy gratis! An' I'm broke or else I woulda bought one but sheesh, being a rock "writer" certainly does not have its perks. I mean, it can't even get me a choice seat at Popeye's Chicken and Biscuits let alone The Elmton!
More "current events" as far as the various turntable trivialities 'round here go:

Figures of Light-FEEDBACK MUSIC CD (FOL Records)

Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention-WE MAY PLAY SOME THINGS THAT MIGHT SOUND STRANGE LP (Zapped Records bootleg)

Pink Floyd-THE GRAND UMMAGUMMA PARTY CD (Alrarities Records bootleg)

WOODY'S TRUCK STOP CD (Kismet Records)

MOTHER MALLARD'S PORTABLE MASTERPIECE CO. CD-r burn (originally on Cuneiform Records)

The Thirteenth Floor Elevators-EASTER EVERYWHERE LP (Radar Records, England)

David Bowie-THE MAN WHO SOLD THE WORLD CD (Virgin Records)

BRAKAMON CD (RCA Records, Spain)

Gaea-FUTURE UNIVERSE CD (self-issued)

Magic Muscle-LAUGHS AND THRILLS CD (Wide World Records, Germany)

The Rolling Stones-OUT OF TIME LP (Monroe Records bootleg)

The Third Ear Band-EXPERIENCES LP (Harvest Heritage Records, England)

Nico-DESERTSHORE LP (Reprise Records, England)

Siouxsie and the Banshees-LOVE IN A VOID LP (Banshee Records bootleg)

The Move-CALIFORNIA MAN LP (Harvest Records, England)

The Bags-"L. Frank Baum"/"Max Roach" 7-inch 33 r.p.m. single (Stanton Park Records)

Gavin Bryars, Christopher Hobbs-ENSEMBLE PIECES CD (GB Records)


The Charles Mingus Orchestra with Eric Dolphy 1964-PARKERIANA LP (Ingo Records bootleg, Italy)

The Gun Club-FIRE OF LOVE LP (New Rose Records, France)

Peter Brotzmann/Sonny Sharrock-WHATTHEFUCKDOYOUWANT CD (Trost Records, Austria)
Now for the reviews featuring items not only donated the the cause of rockism by Mr. Forward but by Paul McGarry, along with a few turdbits that I actually parted with hard-to-come-by pennies for! Sheesh, since I stopped publishing my crudzine ya'd think I'd have all the moolah in the world to dissipate into the pockets of mailorder and ebay peddlers but sadly enough that is not the case --- now, I would if only more people would care to stock up on a few back issues so whatever you do see the link below and take the hint---I know you guys are reading my back issue come ons given the high view count so it ain't like you don't have any excuses to be so kulturally deprived!!!!!

Note the plethora of recordings that some might call "avant garde" or "new jazz" that have popped up here. Seems as if my musical tastes are really heading back to my late-seventies interest in various "diddy wah" music as the hicks call it, something which I chalk up to the plain and dirty fact there's actually nothing popping up out there being created these days that dares to tingle my sonic nerve endings. The lack of anything archival also has me digging more and more into the ol' collection for my aural delights as you can tell from the listening list that proudly on display directly above. Gotta get used to this maybe not-so-gloomy fact anyway, because in a few shorter than short years I'm probably gonna be living off that pittance one calls Social Security and them old spinners I've had since my shoulda been wayward youth is ALL you're gonna read about here:

Bob Dylan-SHADOW KINGDOM CD-r burn (originally on Columbia Records)

Yeah the guy's been a living legend for at least the past sixty years and he smells funny, but at least he ain't milking his image while missing cues and singing offkey like Sinatra did taking advantage of his notoriety figurin' the doofs'd pay anything to see him before he croaks. Well, some of those concerts I've heard where Dylan telephoned it all in weren't exactly the man's tippy toppest moments (remember LIVE AT BUDOKAN as well as a bazillion bootlegs where it seemed as if the guy was just rushin' through it all to get it over and done?) and that goes for many a studio sesh as well. But on SHADOW KINGDOM Dylan actually presents himself as a pretty onna ball guy reworkin' the old chestnuts for some documentary that I'll bet I (or maybe even YOU) will never get around to seeing. Yeah some of these new and supposedly improved versions don't quite jibe with the originals, but if you've stuck around with Dylan this long through good 'n bad you're not going to abandon him now, are ya?
Charles "Bobo" Shaw & Lester Bowie-BUGLE BOY BOP CD-r burn (originally on Muse Records)

A lotta people forget just how important the New York loft scene was to the advancement and development of that thing we call THE JAZZ O-MIND. Given the wealth of the newer than new freeform "Great Black Music" that took place in such places as Studio Rivbea not to mention the wider-than-wide assortment of albums that came out of that particular movement (such as the should be legendary five-LP WILDFLOWERS series on Douglas) you know that it was a crucial movement in the progress of and development of jazz to the point where even the tux 'n tails stodgies at DOWN BEAT were forced to cover it!

Here's a boff sesh from Rivbea featuring AACM star Lester Bowie and BAG founding member Charles "Bobo" Shaw doing some trumpet/drums duos which succeed even with a lineup that would seem foreign at least to the Leonard Feathers amongst us. Bowie once again proves as to why he was such a renowned trumpeter because even Miles Davis was speaking praise, and that guy never said anything nice about nobody so ya know he hadda been good! Shaw's drum work gets PRETTY CLOSE to the original intent of the message and meaning of the thump set forth oh so many centuries ago, but that's nothing new since I always knew he was one of the better trapsters on the set given his work with the Human Arts Ensemble and a few other exemplary efforts that are hidden in various dark corners of my very own collection. 

Definitely one out of many high points in the chronicles of the seventies jazz underground when it seemed as if this new thing was gonna burst forth upon us like a festering pimple just waiting to be squooshed! It never did (at least to my satisfaction) but at a time when names such as Anthony Braxton and Cecil Taylor were actually on the lips of more'n a few pseudo-intellectual college students it sure seems like the next humongous movement in sound!

Harmonia-DOCUMENTS 1975 CD (Gronland Records, Germany)

Since I'm not made outta money (or Mayda Munny for that matter) I decided to pass on the Harmonia box set even though it has a neato book enclosed 'n maybe even a cool poster I can hang on the wall (if I decide to identify as a pre-pubescent girl that is). So 'stead of dishing out the big bux I saved a bundle by getting DOCUMENTS 1975 on its lonesome 'n true I'm missing out on alla the fringe benefits of the box set, but I figured out long ago that I can't have everything given that I couldn't AFFORD it all so why let that bug me like so many other things do! 

So now you know why I used to bitch heavily (albeit jokingly) about not being on the right promo lists just like R. Meltzer used to do! Gotta take after yer idols or else you ain't no fan!

Still's good to hear what I'll betcha's the final last word as far as any more Harmonia releases go. Sounding like Kraftwerk with lead poured up their asses, Harmonia take the usual "motorik" rhythms and double time 'em before getting even dreamier'n alla those interstellar nod outs that the likes of Kraftwerk as well as Neu! did. Not as punk rock as La Dusseldorf but heading in that direction. Pretty hotcha sounds that even get into those drones like the kind that a certain group whose name I fear mentioning at this time seemed to bank their entire existence on!


Anthony Braxton-FOR ALTO CD-r burn (originally on Delmark Records)

Good thing I finally got McGarry to burn this for me before my hearing's shot for good. The first of Braxton's solo alto albums which shows the future star of the mid/late-seventies beret and stale doritos crowd playing a tonal, eloquent and (if you can believe it) copasetic music that's even quite pleasing to the ears --- before knocking you down with the standard hard scronk that still upsets quite a few precious petunias out there. Dedications to John Cage, Cecil Taylor and even fellow AACM member/bandmate Leroy Jenkins might give you a hint if you're one of the few readers not familiar with Braxton's output, and if you don't think this is just as "adventurous" today as it was back in '69 you've certainly got another thought comin'!

Mother Mallard's Portable Masterpiece Co.-1970-1973 CD-r burn (originally on Cunieform, and before that Earthquack Records)

Even more of the same of what I encountered in last go 'round's Mother Mallard review. Seventies-vintage analog synths playing repeato riff sounds owing heavily to the minimalist composers and general experimental credo of the previous umpteen years. A mesmerizing delivery (even without the use of brain alterations) that could even be called "assessable" to blokes who just otherwise wouldn't give it the time of day. An electronic music that makes you feel like you're floating on air as Greg Prevost would have said. Check out the innovative sampling of Theresa Brewer which I somehow think she would not be flattered by.

One from Mr. Forward that kinda threw me for a loop. Taken from some podcast whose name I couldn't make out (forget the host's own moniker as well), none other than one Mr. C. W. Bell, he of Cleveland underground rock music fame, gets the royal treatment as he talks about the past and plays three songs by three bands that I guess really mean a lot to the ol' fanabla. 

Being a long time Cleveland under-the-underground First Wave fan I really enjoyed listening to Bell tell the stories about his coming of rock 'n roll age not to mention his involvement in the various groups he has played in o'er the years --- really dredged up a whole load of feelings as to why I was so OCD over this stuff during my own musical coming of age. 

One clarification should be made regarding Bell's comments regarding Lance Loud and "Muscle Boys" --- the television appearance of Lance and co. was on THE DICK CAVETT SHOW and it weren't even the Mumps playing as Bell tells but a proto Mumpsian act with not only Lance and future Mump Kristian Hoffman but Loud's sister that went under the moniker Loudness. I'd post the video of it directly below but it looks as if it got taken down. Grrrrrrr...

Boots Randolph-YAKETY SAX CD-r burn (originally on Bear Family Records, Germany)

And now for a saxophonist QUITE DIFFERENT than Braxton! Yeah, memories of "Yakety Sax" will take you back to the days of THE BENNY HILL SHOW and late-night seventies/eighties stoned out tee-vee viewing, and the Senor Wences ref on "Difficult" was nostalgia bubbling enough to remind me of more'n a few ED SULLIVAN SHOWs from my fainter than faint years. Not only that but each and every track on this collection's got that sixties instro feeling that gives you the same kinda thrill chills as anything Johnny and the Hurricanes ever whipped out. For alla you better-than-thou plastic jewelry and lipstick Northern snobs out there (and as for the girls...old joke true but still pertinent) this is the kinda music that you'll point to when you wanna prove that you really do like alla those rural hard workin' types despite what you'd call your own better snobbish judgement.



Really wasn't familiar at all with Harrison's works other'n that collaboration he did with John Cage, so this collection was more than what I would call a halfway decent introduction to the works of a guy who is remembered much more for being a homo than for being a composer. But don't let that get inna way of you getting some enjoyment jollies outta this collection which I gotta say I found, fairly entertaining even if some of these compositions are way less aleatory and thus exciting than some of what Cage was up to way back when the guy was big name enough that he could even pop up on tee-vee game shows not only here inna USA but Italy as well.

Not surprisingly (at least for me) the only track here which actually grabbed my stirrups was "Canticle No. 3 For Ocarina, Percussion and Guitar" which dates way back to 1942 and reminds me a whole lot of Cage's various "First Construction in Metal" efforts, only with an ocarina and guitar added giving the found object clangs a rather ancient/third world gamelan-esque bent that sorta foresees Harrison's budding interest and influence. The rest is decent enough even if a whole lot doesn't even feature the guitar and percussion that well-hyped onna cover but guitarist John Schneider's "well tempered" axe going through a number of compositions that really don't come off that differently than many earlier classical guitar works. They still have enough of a unique aura to 'em, probably due to the Pythagorean tuning which is something I guess only a mathematician with a whole lotta time on his hands could come up with and hooray for him just for that!

For alla you people who got turned onto the avant whatever after listening to Eno and snatching up those Obscure Records platters, this just might suit you fine. Maybe not, but like I said I've given up second guessing you guys long ago!


Hmmmm...don't think this post has turned out as negative and generally loathing of humanity as I thought it would. Must be doing something wrong. I'll try rectifying myself in the back issue segment directly below.


In the annals of rock fandom there hasn't been a publication as vilified, as lied about and as utterly loathed as BLACK TO COMM. Hardly a dago bi when some enlightened being goes out of its way to spit upon the magazine for its honest and down-to-earth brass tacks reporting and righteously opinionated views. Views which have often run counter with the current mode of accepted breed of thinking that gets you in good with the body odor crowd, and if you'd WANNA be compatico with those kinda folk well... Let's just say you'll never see BTC mentioned in conjunction with any other fanzines when a history of the form in the eighties/nineties is bound to be written (not that I especially care given the general loathing I have for the type of person who would write such a piece in the first place)! Enough of that. Anyway, if you need a good reason to join in with the rest of the precious petunia revelers in post-gonz rock "journalism" why don't you buy one or even more copies (see highlight above) and really get your indignation all in an uproar like ya shoulda done ages ago.

Sunday, July 16, 2023

BOOK REVIEW! PULL DOWN THE SHADES - GARAGE FANZINE 1984-86 by Richard Langston (HoZac Books, 2023)

Yeah, I said I wasn't gonna get it if only because of the fact that the people who trudged out this compilation of a comparatively obscure eighties-vintage New Zealand fanzine entitled GARAGE had the unmitigated haggis to include some commentary written by a certain chupapollas who goes by the moniker Tom Lax. Now that name might mean nada to you but it sure meant a lot to the people who were involved with PULL DOWN THE SHADES, undoubtedly due to the fact that Mr. Lax released various within-the-realm-of-GARAGE's-scope New Zealand underground wares on his very own Siltbreeze label. It sure means a lot to me as well because after I graciously dubbed some rare tapes for this seemingly friendly fellow he decided to join in on the pile on instigated by Jay Hinman's own character assassination a good two decades back, chiming in about the horrid quality of one of the tapes and the fact that Tom Hazelmyer hadda force Lax to send me a Siltbreeze label Halo of Flies single! It all kinda reminded me of that MAD magazine spoof of he-man mags for sissies entitled CHICKEN, the part where the "Chicken of the Month" upon seeing some toughies beat up a little girl, runs into the fray, slaps the girl one himself, then quickly skeedaddles away! Kick any crutches outta the arms of any crippled kids lately Tom?

I originally had an extremely long and scathing writeup regarding this man (along with a detailed comment on the inclusion of a review of the mag written by a certain Patrick Amory, a guy who really deserves the aforementioned chupapollas descriptor) within the realm of this review but decided to can it. I mean, why should any of you care one bit about my passion for a well-deserved REVENGE anyway, even though for me it means all the world?

But against my better judgement I actually went out and bought my own PULL DOWN THE SHADES which goes to show you that maybe my sales resistance isn't as sturdy as my own sense of personal pride ought to be. Well, the fact that some brave commenter on this very blog brought up the fact that none other than my very own crudzine is briefly (very briefly it turns out) mentioned within PULL DOWN THE SHADE's pages helped lower my sales resistance somewhat. Sheesh I didn't even know that BLACK TO COMM even made it as far as New Zealand way, but y'all know just how much of a sucker I am for seeing my name in print (at least in a positive, non snarky way) and for just that I actually dished out the hard-begged dinero for the thing. Well if was either for that or for my Vitamin D-3 pills and you all know where my priorities lie! 

And you know what kinda buttons of mine to push when it comes to my long-held PASSIONS, and if you didn't know it by now let me tell you this --- music is one of the few things in my existence that I will defend and maybe even maim and kill for in its pure and holy name. No Mr. Hinman, music is not something that I would call "unimportant" by any stretch of the imagination --- it is perhaps the only reason for me sticking around on this planet any more than I have to. The madder you get me about it well, the more resolve I have to DESTROY all of you (like you did me) over it. (And like I said a few months back, I can forgive or at least I can to an extent, but in no way will I allow myself to forget. After all, it is hard to forget being fucked over the way I was and probably will be for the rest of my born days by low on the rung people such as you.)

Looks as if I didn't edit enough of that bile out of my system but I sure have the RIGHT to make my opinions known even thought most of you are undoubtedly bored silly by it all. Anyway... A fanzine entitled GARAGE might lead one to believe that this was one of the many eighties-oriented rags devoted to covering the crazier aspects of mid-sixties local rock aesthetics, but it sure was no UGLY THINGS or any of the wide assortment of mid-sixties homages that were a welcome relief from the MTV garbage so prevalent during those staider than staid times. Naw, within the pages of GARAGE's six ish run was one of the more concise documentations of the New Zealand "sixties revival" scene (or much better yet sixties rock influenced scene) which spewed forth a whole number of groups that really made an impression on the smart set trust fund kiddies with enough spending money to buy out the Taj Mahal. And PULL DOWN THE SHADES collects 'em all, complete with the personal ruminations and interviews with a number of "important" people spewing their usual personal opines on the subject. Unfortunately those include the ones by Mr. Lax and for the life of me I will not LET it get my goat (but it will)!

Due to these lack of finances I in no way was or am for that matter one iota familiar with most (if not practically all) of the four-decades old New Zealand underground music that is covered in GARAGE's them thar pages. Other'n for maybe a few Verlaines promos that I remember were fair enough and a Chills album I hadda beg a certain someone for a free copy (both good but not good enough to cash in for platters I needed more) I am about as ignorant of the New Zealand underground as I'm sure most female indie rock types are of feminine hygiene which is really saying something! Now I did like some of the Tall Dwarfs but not enough that one of their promos also got plopped onto the sell pile (kept my NZ originals tho). Gawrsh, putting out my own publication during those extremely tight budgeted days really took a whole lot outta my record collection!

Heck, I don't even think I've heard a Flying Nun label record in my entire sad 'n sorry life let alone owned one! Not that I am immensely saddened by this fact but hey, I guess it was things like owning records like the ones GARAGE covered that gave you the all of them important brownie points one needed to have some gosh darn standing in the underground rock scene of them days.

Well, one thing that perhaps cooled my jets regarding the New Zealand groups was the incessant hipper 'n hip hype that sure came off somewhat calculated (the latest in a horribly long line of local self-promotion that when it came down to it made me very wary), and given that lack of filthy lucre it wasn't like I was gonna be dishing out a whole lot for more of that twee music (or I assumed so, and you know what Felix Unger said about that word!) that might have gotten some college radio rodents tingling in the groin area but probably would do nothing other than bore me silly! But eh, I got the book and figured that maybe I should, besides see my mag's name in print, learn about these kinda groups which may somehow appeal to me before my hearing's totally shot to shit, y'know.

Even after a mild perusing I must fess up to the fact that I really do think that GARAGE was a fairly interesting local scene 'zine, or at least one that did a great job layout/printing-wise whilst covering what to these locals must have seemed like a music that was really worth blabbing about. It sure (thankfully) lacks a load of the narcissism and self-love that some of the competition on the home made publication scene wallowed in, and the writing is so good that even a fool like myself who knows very little other'n what I told you about already can enjoy reading about these groups even if, for the life of me, I can't see buying most if not all of the spinners mentioned in GARAGE's pecked out pages.

(Well, a solitary review did catch my attention and that was the one printed in ish #4 regarding some locals called the McGoohans. With a name like that mental visions of more audio twee permeated my brain, but that writeup sure made this bunch and their McGOOHAN TOUCH LP come off like something that might just koochy-koo my fancy. Not enough that I would pay collectors' prices for the thing but what else is new?) 

Plenty seed is spilled regarding groups like the Bats, Doublehappys, Clean, Sloths and a whole slew more and even though these groups were about as much a part of my eighties listening tastes as The Masked Ginny Lynn they probably will mean more'n just a little to at least a smattering of you. And reading about 'em was enjoyable in its own down home way since well, it is healthy to learn about new things (even if they are four decades old) once in awhile because as I've always said you learn something new every day!

Just to give themselves an "international flair" a small enough portion of GARAGE is devoted to various longtime and definitely non-New Zealand oriented faves like Captain Beefheart, the Cramps, the Jesus and Mary Chain, Alex Chilton and Roky Erickson (the contrast between the local and not-so acts reminds me of the "American Food" portion of your average Chinese eatery's menu in case Aunt Mabel feels queasy about that furrin' stuff). It sure is refreshing to the musical soul to see others go on and on about these acts even if these particular pieces, like many of my own eighties/nineties efforts, sorta comes off like one of those "NOW IT'S MY TURN TO WRITE ABOUT "EM!" articles that trot out the same facts we've all known about for ages, with a few personal points tossed in to make it all look savvy of course. Thank goodness these fan-oriented efforts are presented in somewhat of a fresh perspective (at times with points and positions made that never even entered your mind) which makes the umpteeth piece on cult artist "X" worth settling down with especially on them cold winter nights.

GARAGE had the look, swivel and down home flavor that a guy like me has loved in these bedroom-level publications.. If you claim to be somewhat of a fan of not only eighties underground New Zealand scene (unlike me) but the entire rock fanzine concept (like me!), or are pretty much infatuated with these "non-professional" efforts which have always come off so on-target in approach and result (especially when compared with every bit of "professional" rockscribing that has gone down the pikes since the early eighties), you might consider seeking a copy of PULL DOWN THE SHADES for your own personal rockist library. You'll love it despite your preconceived notions that New Zealand is a somewhat outta the loop and backwards place not only as far as music is concerned, but as a nation of sheep farmers and unbridled feminists who really do deserve to have their teeth knocked out. I guess you just can't escape them human vermin nohow.

Thursday, July 13, 2023


Retro Comics Reprints, thaz a new 'un t'me! But eh, with Gwandanaland books being hard to come by these days maybe Retro is the new go-to as far as PD comic book reprints go. And if this collection is anything to go by maybe we're all in store for a whole lotta good comic reading thah should sate a whole lotta us long time fanz who are still stuck in the Saturday Afternoon Barbershop Kids ideal of heroism, excitement and suspense! Y'know, them things that are in rather short supply these days, or at least they seem to be judging from what I have been coming up against when it comes to modern day comic stories also known as "graphic novels" (yech!).

I gotta say that I am familiar with this long-running title which ran from '67 until Charlton's last croak in the late-eighties. I recall the sole ish I had perused contained a story drawn by the noted Wally Wood copycat Wayne Howard that was surprisingly well-executed as far as what one would have expected from a comic book this late in the game. Not that I ever went out of my way to buy any Charlstons during my rabid comic book reading days lest it was some old BEETLE BAILEY for a dime at the local flea market, but I sure found that particular ish of GRAVES a whole lot more engrossing than what some of the competition was cranking out at this time.

Thus, you can bet that I had more than just a slight interest in eyeballing the first fourteen issues hoping that the earlier ones were even as slightly engaging as that last gasp in the line was.

And they were...or at least most of them were. Yeah, some of the sagas that pop into the mix are whatcha'd call run of the mill with a few of the same old plots tossed out for a readership you think would have demanded more (even though this was Charlton). Really, if you think that the storyline where some timid soul who witnesses a murder is haunted by the ghost of the victim to go to the cops is anything near innovative or original then hey, maybe you've spent the first seventy years of your existence chained up in a closet. But thankfully the hackneyed plots are few 'n far between, and surprise surprise but even the well-overworked ghosts of the murdered sagas are somewhat off-guard catching! I particularly liked the one where the spirit of a devoted butler does his darndest afterlife best to make sure his master doesn't find out that Mr. Bigbux's playboy son was not only looting the wall safe but killed the servant in the process.

Heck some even do come off downright innovative and brain-teasing like the one where this nerdo guy and his knockout gal are in a world where the boyfriend isn't quite sure what is real and which is --- a comic book story (it actually has some interesting intricate plot switcheroos that will surprise ya)! Or better yet, this Steve Ditko-delineated effort with more'n a tad bit of that mystical DOCTOR STRANGE abstract styling which "ends" in an eternal loop with no end I sure can see in sight! Speaking of Ditko, I sure find it rather suspicious-like that Dr. Graves bears somewhat of a resemblance to Marvel's "Master of the Mystic Arts" though not enough that some sorta lawsuit coulda been put into action. Unless the folks at Charlton acted like John Goldwater at Archie woulda and called for more'n a few competitor heads to be placed onna chopping block!

Not bad at all even when a few of 'em don't exactly have endings that only Nostradamus could have predicted and the black and white reproduction does tend to wear on one's eyes. While you still have eyes maybe DOCTOR GRAVES would be a nice respite from the current batch of sadsack pseudointellectualism passing for fun 'n jamz seen in way too many of the current comic quap, or at least the quap I've come across when looking for bigger and better things. And y'know what? I get the feeling that after reading this your peepers, and your inner comic consciousness, will thank you and thank you like plenty!