BEST OF '05!
Gonna keep this short/sweet w/o any longwindedess and w/plenty of linkage (you may have to scroll down to catch some of the writeups in question) so's you can read what I wrote about these top spinners and grinners for '05 back when they were fresh 'n new in my ears. (Not that I've heard all of the top tracks for '05 yet...after all, I've yet to lend lobe to such must-haves as the new Mahogany Brain album which I'm sure would get mentioned here if only I did have the chance to give it a listen.) And true, some of this tuneage might be of an '04 or even '03 vintage if you wanna get technical picky-nose about it, but remember...although """you""" may be up-to-date and Johnny-on-the-spot 'n all, in BLOG TO COMM-time, what's here IS now!
BEST ALBUM OF THE YEAR-Lou Rone's ALONE (Gulcher). What else can I say? Thurston Moore once referred to Suicide as being "heavy metal Kraftwerk" but this is the only true heavy metal electronic record of all time, or at least since I heard the last one (Chrome?). Kinda sounds like one of those groups you woulda heard at Max's Kansas City back inna late seventies only you were too busy scarfing up your three-drink minimum to care. Second best of the year goes to NOISETET OBSCURE, who prove that you can have an avant garde fusion jazz punk rock group...and get away with it! Fantastic playing (plus you get a cover of Eric Dolphy's "Hat and Beard"), and what's more is that these upstarts outta nowhere sound much better live! #3 disque---the Earth People's NOW IS RISING which also mixed the avant-jazz and rock to surprising effect and without succumbing to the tasty raunch of Return to Foreverisms that have become so prevalent in "fusion" o'er the years!
BEST SINGLE OF THE YEAR-Didn't hear it.
BEST REISSUE OF THE YEAR-This was a great year for reissues, archival digs and whatnot which certainly kept me happy considering how all the stuff this music ultimately led to bites the big fanabla. The best reissue award for '05 goes to Chinaboise's THE GREATEST STORY EVERY TOLD (Gulcher), which was released as a cassette back in '75 but'll be totally newz to yewz if you were outside the confines of the Bloomington Indiana music scene in the mid-seventies. (And, of course, the title track can be heard on the not-so-obscure BLOOMINGTON ONE sampler on the Bar-B-Q label alongsides such groups as MX-80 Sound, the Screaming Gypsy Bandits and a buncha thingies w/Caroline Peyton mugging alla the attention.) An interesting collection of wares laid down by future MX-80 Sound vocalist Rich Stim and crew that foreshadows a lotta the more creative home production n* w**e (using pure 1978-speak) to come out, and they were doing this in 1975 before anyone hadda tell them to do it! Also tops on my reissues of '05 list...Arch Hall Jr's WILD GUITAR (Norton) which was a great surprise at least for sagging early-rock fans like me, complete with the singles, live tracks and dialogue from various hot-to-trot Hall movies thrown in (of which Norton has DVD's available!). And I can't forget the reissue of the George Brigman JUNGLE ROT album on Bona Fide either. A real schmoozer!
BEST ARCHIVAL DIG OF THE YEAR-By this I mean an item which has material never before unleashed upon an unsuspecting rockism audience. This year's award goes to The Magic Tramps' KICKING UP MOONLIGHT DUST (www.magictramps.com), a more than complimentary collection of this infamous yet way undocumented New York proto-punk group that featured Warhol star Eric Emerson on most of the lead vocals. Also top to pop this year was Umela Hmota II's VE SKLEPE 1976-77 which I must admit was one of the better proto-punk raveups heard by these ears in quite awhile. You may not consider this a pure archival exhumation because one track on this 2-CD set was "previously released" (and by ME!), but since I never figured into the affairs of the "serious" underground world one iota I think I'll let this one slip by.
BEST BOOTLEG OF THE YEAR-Hands down winner has to be The Velvet Underground-AT THE FACTORY: THE WARHOL TAPES, where we can finally hear those early Velvets rehearsals w/o the annoying room clutter the original bootlegs had. Not only that, but the entire tape has been restored to its correct length so we can also revel in the Velvets working out an early Pickwick-era track as well as that bizarre take of "Venus in Furs" with a blues backing! Makes my mouth water for more, which is always a good sign!
BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR-ALL YESTERDAY'S PARTIES compiled by Clinton Heylin. Nothing but classic Velvet Underground critiques written while the band was still alive, and what's best about it is you don't have to read over-and-over ad infinitum the by-now cliche quote of Eno's (or was it Elliot Murphy's) about how the Velvets only sold X amt. of albums when they came out but everyone who bought a copy formed a band!
DEATH OF THE YEAR-Too many to mention, such as Link Wray's, Carson's and of course Gilligan, but the one that kinda struck me the hardest was that of political columnist Sam Francis. Francis was a man who, as part of the paleoconservative movement, was saying loads of things that perhaps had to be said and were, but because of his at-times caustic (and perhaps truthful even if controversial) opines not too many people got to read him because he was too "over-the-top" for most newspaper publishers. And you know he was good because he really drove most of the current leftstream crazy with some of his views which you can read on the Vdare site if you so desire. Oh well, with Francis gone I guess I'll have to stick with Taki and nothing but when the current postmodern bluegeon gets to be too much.
BUMMER OF THE YEAR-The eventual closing of noted rock dive CBGB's thanx to owner Hilly Kristel's tapped-out-ness with regards to trying to come to a deal with the landlord who want his club out and wants it out NOW! Well, at least Mr. Muzzy Rosenblatt'll get his wish in October when Kristal must vacate, and dunno about you but for sentimental ol' me it's gonna be sad seeing the place which booked many original music group of varying stripes having to go the way of the 82 Club, Max's Kansas City and all those other haunts which meant something positive in rock & roll at a time when cover bands and horrid disco music ruled the musical roost. I guess that once Hilly moves to a new location, the seventies'll finally be dead!
BLOG TO COMM POST OF THE YEAR-Personally I think my writing this orbit was pretty good 'cept for the last month or so where I took a nosedive (getting lazy and all in my old age), though of all the goodies that I've written such as my Mencken appraisal or Meltzer filmography (not forgetting the interviews conducted with Paul Marotta and Dee Pop), the one this writer is the most proudest of can be found here.
Saturday, December 31, 2005
BEST OF '05!
Friday, December 30, 2005
DG-307-HYSTORIE/HYSTERIE 2-CD set (Guerilla Records, Czech Republic)
Those of you who barfed over my Umela Hmota II review a few weeks ago will be sure to barf over this one. Springing forth from the same creative Prague underground that gave us the likes of the Plastic People, the aforementioned Uh II (as well as Uh III and just plain ol' Umela Hmota) and a number of bands I hope will be belatededly deified more sooner than later, Dg. 307 were "thee" group on this rather fertile scene that certainly pushed whatever cutting edge buttons were there to be pushed, and in one of the more oppressive political climates of the twentieth century to boot! Dg. 307 (name taken from the clinical code mistakenly believed by the band to refer to "schizophrenia," something which I'm sure that more than one member of this entorauge must have been diagnosed as) were more or less an aggregate than a band, co-led by Pavel Zajicek and Milan Hlavsa (who I believe was in an early incarnation of the Plastic People), and for a buncha longhaired upstart teenage PUNKS (in the purest CREEM sense) they really cut to the core of a true youth against oppression anti-government rebellion with their unique (and some might say "trying") rock music featuring the bizarre instrumentation of, besides the usual rock gtr/bs/drms lineup, cellos plucked as guitars, auto exhausts/mufflers banged or blown through, scrap and sheet metal used to their sonic capacities as well as busting balloons, moaning human voices and whatever else Dg. 307 could get their hands on. However, these guys were far from being yet another Familiar Ugly, Redness or Einsturzende Neubauten given that in many ways they were more extreme than any of their Western compatriots and paid for their over-the-top soundscapading in a big way.
When the Czech government, after years of just plain ol' harrassment of free-minded kids and their bands at concerts and private digs began their purge against the underground in earnest during the late-seventies, amongst those rounded up and given hard labor prison time was Zajicek, the crime being more or less creating a public distubance and being a young anarchist which mighta gotten him sneered at in the west, but things were much different in a world where the government tried to protect people from themselves. When the official organ of the Czechoslovakian Communist Party reported on the harsh sentences handed down (the ones that also made the Plastic People of the Universe cause celebre amongst many of the same people who once lauded communism for its support of the arts), of course the state-sponsored hack reporting on the situation which was beginning to draw western ire just hadda come out for the record and mutter that, despite this heavy-handed crushing of what some may call unbridled creativity (but the Powers That Be find mere snot-nosed hooliganism) the state really is an open-minded and caring about the wants and tastes of its people institution! Yeah, really, and the guy even went on and on about how the benevolent ones who were so aghast at free speech that even the usually communist-leaning NATION magazine was up in arms aren't a buncha pious prigs one bit...heck, they even support a whole batch of young beat groups and disco musicians who perform at various communist youth hoedowns and the like! But only a capitalist paper tiger would think that the "sounds" created by the likes of these "music" combos consisting of nothing but unemployed wasted blights upon the fine face of freckled Czech youth were fit for the fine and cultured tastes of such children of the revolution...OH!!! Besides their obscene lyrics which NO magazine would dare print, these ruffians and drug users were making nothing but a horrifying racket using non-musical devices and glorifying a decadent western vision that certainly clashes with our perfect order...
Really, if you get hold of the book that comes enclosed with the original album version of the Plastic Peoples' EGON BONDY'S HAPPY HEARTS CLUB BANNED, do read these Czech Communist Party press releases dealing with the underground purge. Not only are they a hoot showing just how similar the objections to rock & roll were on both sides of the curtain, but they reveal a not-so-strange sameness in the abject dismissal of creative energies that many an original music high energy group hadda endure at the hands of not only supposed rock fans but many a "critic" during the late-seventies, perhaps the height of local garage band/underground rock energies. After reading these pieces, you too might think that, had the situation been a little different, Anastasia Pantsios herself could have been a commissar of culture over in the Worker's Paradise with little if any effort!
But, thankfully, true rockism righteousnesss did prevail, at least in the former Czechoslovakia to the point where such things as a Dg. 307 2-CD collection of their earliest escapades can exist and leftist ideology is relegated to such unimportant bastions of irrelevance as college campuses, alternative music blogs and American television network programming. And no longer do a bunch of overstuffed bureaucrats have to judge what is permissible or not for public consumption because now we the evil consumer can pick up many easily enough obtainable recordings by their worthy Plastic People, Umela Hmota and now Dg. 307! And hey, if you know the Czech language and want to condemn them for their obscene lyrics go ahead...as for me I'm too busy osmosing to their underground rock splatter complete with twisted takes on everything from John Cage's "First Construction in Metal" to fifties rock riffage slowed down and inverted complete with some of the best clatter to get laid onto tape, thanks to the clandestine spies and photographers who documented all this chicanery in the first place!
Much better than the later (late-seventies on) Dg. 307 tuneage (which was extremely staid and stilted, perhaps due to the ultra-depressing nature of the Big Clampdown and with too much of the "message" depending on their native tongue for furriners like myself to comprehend), HYSTORIE/HYSTERIE features not only most of the material that ended up on their early-nineties Globus album but loads more live trackage recorded at concerts that I'm sure more than a few people would have compared to "happenings." Most of this is gruffly-shouted (by Zajicek) vocalese with a heavily percussive rhythmic backing aided by the clanking found objects and thumping bass guitar or perhaps chanted vocals and nothing but. In some ways this is also similar to famed Maoist Cornelius Cardew's "The Great Learning" which the Scratch Orchestra recorded in the early-seventies, though when you least expect it there may be some electric guitar (perhaps played by Alfred of Umela Hmota doing a little moonlighting) tossed in to add a little Velvet Underground feedback wail. Definitely an acquired taste (I can see one blogmeister, upon hearing it, relegating the entire spew into the same trashcan he callously flung the Plastic People and Von Lmo into), but I can understand the pain, anguish and (yes) rock & roll that went into this music recorded under the iron fist of a government that always spoke of compassion, equality and fairness for its subjects, so you KNOW something evil is amiss! Definitely a classic of Czech underground music that should appeal to the more, er, noisily-inclined amongst us.
Gold Sparkle Trio with Ken Vandermark-BROOKLYN CANTOS CD (Squealer)
Another one of those new avant jazz groups I missed back when Dee Pop was presenting that great Freestyle Jazz series at the CBGB Lounge, the Gold Sparkle Trio (with Ken Vandermark helping out on additional woodwinds) play a fairly good free sprawl slightly influenced by the sixties groundbreakers yet with enough seventies loft intensity to jar me out of my complacency. Might be too slick in spots but at least I enjoyed the unique take of the Revolutionary Ensemble's "The People's Republic" albeit without the African percussive/chant opening. Another reason for me to believe that CBGB was/is much more than a place resting on late-seventies laurels and nth-rate bands rehashing the original spirit for all eternity.
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 4:48 PM
Monday, December 26, 2005
Mars-THE COMPLETE STUDIO RECORDINGS 1977-1978 CD (Spooky Sound/G3G, available through Forced Exposure)
Hi-Hope your Christmas was merrie and NO, nobody picked up on any of the hints I was dropping with regards to what I wanted for the yuletide season so I guess there'll be no workable turntable around here, or at least for a little while! I really shouldn't complain given the wads of moolah I've received, so I guess I'll be having a little fun with the cash given the checks don't bounce! Anyway, today's post in question ain't gonna be one of those infamous BLOG TO COMM "gang-reviews" where I prattle off about a whole slewwa "recent acquisitions" not only to clue you hipsters in on what's "hot" and "happening" (hah!), but to lord over you all the neat-o items I have and YOU don't! Just kidding...you know the real reason why I (a "respected" rock critic with a hotline to all the boss underground cabals around) do all this, and that's in order to SAVE THE WORLD from the encroaching arm of terminal boredom at the hands of godless Guccioneism and rampant Eddyspeak! Be thankful, you proles!
I just got hold of this rather recent (circa. last year) collection of the infamous (and first?) no wave group Mars' studio recordings after a long bout of deep-seated inner debate, which is one reason you're reading a review of this one in late 2005 rather'n when the thing actually CAME OUT. Y'see, since I already had these exact same items on other disques in my collection (including the top-ten spinner NO NEW YORK as well as the Atavistic reissue of the exact same Mars tench "retreated" by Jim "Foetus" Thirwell under the command of Lydia Lunch I presume) I figured that yet another recording of the same old same old would only be clogging my already over-clogged collection up even more, and man can I use the space! Well, I managed to latch onto a used copy of THE COMPLETE STUDIO RECORDINGS thanks to the people at ebay who offered it to me at a reasonable price, and so what if my vast array of recorded wonders is pushing everybody out of house and home anyway? I mean, it ain't like the rest of the occupants here hafta STICK AROUND, y'know?
All funnin' aside, THE COMPLETE STUDIO RECORDINGS is a pretty good wowzer of an archival dig even if you have all those aforementioned platters (as well as the totally boss MARS LIVE which I actually had reservations about when I first chanced upon it over a decade back, probably because of the artsy/decadent direction most of this music headed in by the time the eighties hit and all these punques hadda be radical!) because not only were Mars so musically-attuned to a specific "o" frame-of-mind that seemed to flourish in the seventies underground but fizzed out soon after, but the music in its original form is so much better than the eighties "reprocessing" which was interesting enough but frankly totally unnecessary cluttering up the mental decoding even more. Herein's a sound, a style that seemed to take everything that was good and wholesome about New York underground music from Lou on up through Suicide, Man Ray (the group not the photog) and the whole glam trip through the unmitigated noise that be RADIO ETHIOPIA (album and song) on and on. And it's all taken on a strange, feral quality by the time the group recorded their swan song that later appeared on the Lust/Unlust 12-incher. Hearing the group go from their '77 debut (originally scheduled to appear on Patti Smith's own Mer imprint but hustled onto the French Rebel label because of Smith's usually short memory) with the even-then cranky "Third Uncle"-styled riff up through their Eno-produced NO NEW YORK trackage (which, despite the original verdict, is so strident that I wish Eno had worked with more no wave groups including the unrecorded/documented ones seemingly lost to all time) finally ending with their totally chaotic conclusion is quite a trip, or at least a lot better'n hearing the usual young upstarts with their blinding flashes of brilliance turning out even more tired than the old fart music these groups set out to destroy.
The insert to this mini-LP-sleeve-styled offering's a help complete with not only a much-needed history of the group but explanations of all their songs (as if they needed any explanation) but anyway it's sure nice to get a li'l insight into the world of Mars after all these years of willful obscurity. And, believe-it-or-leave-it, but hopefully an article on Sumner Crane will be appearing either here or within the pages of a future BLACK TO COMM! (I hope you readers are noticing my sly linkage up to the BACK ISSUES post that I keep sticking in these reviews and such in order to nudge you into scarfing up a whole buncha these crucially needed fanzines rotting away here at BTC central...really, if you like the writing and ideas found within this blog you should buy the mag in order to read some of my more, er, UNCHAINED opines!) Y'see, I've been talking to Lou Rone about him and Lou's been filling me in on a lotta things about Crane that I'll betcha didn't know, like that he and Mars drummer Nancy Arlen were married for awhile and that Sumner was a big opera fan, which I guess that you woulda figured given his JOHN GAVANTI album, so whatever you do, buy up a lotta back issues so's I can afford to put the thing out SOON, and you won't be sorry!
A postscript entitled...YECCH!
Finally, props for even keeping the Simply Saucer flame alive must be thrown to Chris Stigliano of BLACK TO COMM magazine (formerly PHFUDD!), a rock fanzine journalist who was featuring the Saucer on his covers long before the LP was even issued. I don't know if you want to call his various calls to action the groundswell that got folks to stand up and take notice, but the band could very well be a distant memory for Hamilton mall shoppers & space rock freaks to this day if not for his intervention. A quarter of a century is an awful long time to remain unacquainted with this canonical, far-ahead-of-the-herd rock & roll music.-Jay Hinman, PERFECT SOUND FOREVER
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 10:56 AM
Thursday, December 22, 2005
As Can's SOUNDTRACKS album was more or less a "filler" disc and not really their "second" full-length offering per se (that honor would go to the all-time classic TAGO MAGO which was just around the corner anyway), this is not exactly the "next" BLOG TO COMM post, the proper one of which should appear sometime within the next few days. Consider it more or less a posting of some loose end reviews and bits on whatever I happened to be engrossed with at the time, and perhaps some interesting fodder for future biographers to pour through, a footnote to a footnote if you will. You are free to comment on the musings herein (please "press" the "#" icon below to be taken to where your critiques etc. can be aired), but it ain't like this 'un's anything to get all pee-pants about if you know what I mean...
Bobby Beausoliel-disc two of the LUCIFER RISING soundtrack CD that came out last year, burned for me by Brad Kohler!
Brad told me that he was reading the Kenneth Anger biography that came out about ten years back entitled ANGER that he borrowed from some guy and almost lost the tip of his finger during the period in time he was giving this 'un an eyeballing making ol' Brad stop right then and there because that book just hadda've had some strange, mystical powers that no-doubt-about-it caused some potentially evil hoodoo to be laid upon Our Hero for sure! I know what Brad means...when I first played the CD edition of Brian Jones' PIPES OF PAN AT JOJOUKA some ten years ago I coulda sworn that the pagan rhythms contained therein did some damage not to me (since I'm damaged beyond repair already), but a relative of mine which made me feel spooky whenever I'd give that platter a whirl ever since! However, I gotta say that even with all the spookiness abounding I've experienced no bad vibes while watching the Anger filmage I've reviewed here, plus I've listened to the Jimmy Page recording of the original LUCIFER RISING soundtrack as well as the Bobby Beausoliel version that's often bootlegged as being Page's very own without any ill effects, so all I gotta say is (given what I know)...who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men???
Anyway, Kohler had some co-worker "burn" the second disc from that recent (and already deleted) LUCIFER RISING soundtrack since I already had the first disc on some Led Zep bootleg in my collection and even though that wasn't Page doing it like I said the thing still sounded like Pink Floyd during their post-Barrett/pre-DARK SIDE OF THE MOON brain-foggiest to me anyway so why bother getting another copy to clutter my already brimful collection? Anyway, the co-worker who burned the thing played a bitta it to see if it turned out OK and when Kolher asked her what she thought of it, she deadpanned "It was interesting." Oh well, another friend down the drain for Brad, but his loss is my gain I guess because this is still interesting enough (in the ol' "jab the electrodes" fashion) for me to write about it on this blog rather'n toss it aside for some future upheaval when the going really gets rough!
There's an Orkustra (Beausoliel in San Fran '67) LP out now and I assume that these "excerpts" included herein are from the same live shows that one can now hear in its entirety on that disque, if one wants to do such a thing as that. Anyway, I must admit to the shock of too many people who think they have me pinned down that I actually like these all too-brief numbers (which were discovered in the attic of ex-member David La Flamme, who would later end up in sissified Frisco snoozers It's a Beautiful Day) which have that sorta smartsy-set jazz-rock "progressive" sound that usually doesn't make that much of a mark with me. However, to its credit Orkustra doesn't come off all high-falutin' statement-making proggy like too many of their compats would in a year's time, in fact reminding me more of some other intelligent design musicality that had been going on from Musica Orbis in the seventies on down the line. The Magick Powerhouse of Oz (which I believe was a large [11-piece?] ensemble formed under the heavy influence of Kenneth Anger hisself...lack of the obligatory "enclosed booklet" has got me straining the braincells tryin' to rememeber them old CREAM PUFF WAR sagas) are also engaging, playing akin to what rock & roll mighta sounded like in ancient Egypt complete with a bass clarinet probably tooted by Beausoliel and loads of other interesting exotica mixed in with the tough psychedelic tuneage that flows from raging excitement to slow-burn brain-twist with ease. Its mideast/mystical qualities woulda meshed fine with the Babylonian sequences from INTOLERANCE (well, it woulda come off better'n all that gooshy muzak that's been tacked onto silent filmage this far down the line!). Good enough, but after all that we're "treated" to a live in prison performance of the LUCIFER RISING soundtrack by Beausoliel and his Freedom Orchestra from a whole decade later, '78 in fact. I kinda wonder what the "captive audience" (hee!) who sat through this thought about the progressive strains more akin to the laser light shows kids usedta get high to, but I guess it was a diversion from the usual prison fun and games and who knows, maybe attendance did count towards an early parole! Well, it's a lot better'n sitting in the chapel and singing a buncha hymns while pretending to be pious just so you can gobble up all the brownie points in the world!
Idiophonic-DEVIL'S SPOUT CD-R (Rent Control)
Hey, I'll betcha yer all SICK of me telling yez how much I miss all of that great (and OK, some not-so great) avant garde "Freestyle Music" that Dee Pop had been presenting at the CBGB Lounge these past three years, or at least until last September when the series was abruptly axed due to Hilly Kristel's ongoing problems with his greedy landlord which has culminated in CBGB's eventual eviction from their old 315 Bowery location this upcoming October. Too bad, and although Kristal has his problems I still think it woulda been really keen had he let Pop continue with this truly epochal series at the Lounge, perhaps even letting all the best freeform avant garde bands play there New Year's Eve as part of a big bang celebration of sorts! It would all be kinda like a final days extravaganza more or less that, along with all of the punk, pop, experimental etc. acts that play the place, would have made the closing days of the Fillmore look like Ding Dong School in comparison! But that's only wishful thinking, and although the series is continuing at some place I haven't heard of until now called Jimmy's Restaurant there's no cybercasting available like there was at CB's, and no sound system for that matter either!
But anyway, I'm sure gonna miss the vast array of aggregates that played those Freesytle nights (to the point where I actually just bought CDs recorded by two series regulars, the Gold Sparkle Trio and Paraphrase on ebay last night, perhaps as some sorta strange homage!), including these guise whom I reviewed in the pages of BLACK TO COMM #25, but don't hold it against them. In fact, I picked this CD-R up long ago after catching a cybercast (or at least part of one) featuring this trio of electronic sampling, woodwinds and drums, and although I wish I could own a copy of the magnificent livespew I did glom, at least I got this document which is probably the only thing we're ever going to hear from Idiophonic at least for a long time. And for a guy who has hated "sampling" and all sortsa modern electronic gimmickry I gotta say how much I enjoy what Peter Kay can do with one of them newfangled things, making it sound like some old moog on one track and a tinkling piano on another and it all makes me flash back to the daring seventies rather than the art-obsessed boring post-avant garde a lotta this stuff eventually developed into. Jeremy Stark is fine (kinda post-Lacy on soprano sax and AACM-ish [albeit a white AACM, if you get my drift] on bass clarinet) while Paul Corio sure knows how to play around the beat more'n Sunny Murray even! You can still get this one if you search hard enough, and I dunno about you but it was this sorta squall that (to me) represented the fire and drive of New York Underground Music just as much as, and definitely even MORE than a lotta the fluffy koochie-koo that was being passed off (and accepted) as "new" and "daring" from the eighties onwards. Well, at least I don't think this review will come off as DATED as a lotta VILLAGE VOICE puffpiece prose on a whole slew of eighties performance quap does fifteen years after Karen Finley crammed her last yam!
Various Artists-NO NEW YORK CD (Antilles Japan)
Still Eno's (and maybe New York's) last moment in the sun, a culmination of everything good about the seventies avant garage taken to its logical conclusion long before the eighties turned the desire into mush and too many suburban bedroom bands sprang forth from this foam like Venus rising only to pollute the air with more pretension than I ever could stand. And not only that but Bradley Field, Nancy Arlen and Ikue Ile were just as much the "new" Maureen Tucker as Scott Asheton ever was!
MINDROT (the animated film quarterly) fanzine #15, August 20, 1979
I've come across fanzines dealing with just about every popular gulcher subject extant over my many years of collecting, but never have I seen one devoted to animated cartoons and nothing but! Well, MINDROT is the first and perhaps only one that I will, and for a nice digest-sized fanzine they do a pretty hep job getting down the nitty-gritty dirt of cartoons whether they be of a Saturday Morning variety or the old classic stuff. This ish in question features articles on the way-too neglected Columbia cartoon studios including such beyond-obscure legends as THE FOX AND THE CROW series (probably better known for their whacked-out National/DC comic books than for the actual films...and can any of you actually claim to have seen one of these anywhere?) as well as the KRAZY KATs which probably had even less to do with the actual strip as the POPEYEs had to do with THIMBLE THEATER (and I have seen some of those Krazy Kats which are sure to arouse the ire of the strip fans for sure!). However, there's nothing here on the ol' LI'L ABNER series that the famed Fleischer Brothers (or at least Dave) did for Columbia in the forties (and those I used to watch on the daily AM cartoon show during my preschool dayze), but gosh-it-all if I must say that this effort to document a hideously-forgotten part of animation histoire is a pretty admirable thing, almost as good as interviewing members of seventies proto-punk bands or releasing compact discs with your own fanzines on a shoestring budget to boot!
Interesting aside, the following issue of MINDROT was to have had an article on this guy John Wilson who did those terrible animated 'toons for the old SONNY AND CHER show...really! You may remember (if not, sorry I brought it up!) how Cher would sing a song like Melanie's "Brand New Key" (which I didn't know was dirty until Don Fellman recently told me so...but it ain't like I was thinking about that hippie atrocity for all them years!) or worse yet Coven's "One Tin Soldier" from BILLY JERK which really got my neck red back in those brazenly relevant early seventies when all the girls would swoon to this slice of preachy mush. Those cartoons were a double dose...along with a heart-rendering hippoid ballad only made worse (if possible) by Cher's calculated upscale musical stylings you'd get a sanctimonious-beyond-belief cartoon to watch it to..and people wonder why McGovern lost given the guy was the epitome of "cool" hip political savvy personified! I wouldn't mind reading that aforementioned article, though I have a strange feeling that it wouldn't touch ANY of the arguments I've just made which would figure!
Really nothing else to gab about here...just rattling off about a few faves I thought you dear fans might want to osmose to, but while I'm at it, here's a word especially aimed at all of my dear Aussie fans, and I know there are some! I do hope you Australians are braving the summer heat down there as well as the riots set off by unrestricted immigration from the Middle East which I do know is keeping some of you'ins from going along with your normal lifestyles, but such is the price to pay for your, or at least your government's white guilt. So remember, play it safe and stay away from the beaches (and nativity scenes) for now, unless your name's Dave Lang, then let's see how far your liberal we-are-all-one thoughts'll getcha while getting your throat slashed! Until then, toodles!
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 11:58 AM
Sunday, December 18, 2005
A THREE-FOR-ONE SHOT HERE!
Yes, while other blogs may give you one review per post thinking they've done their duty and it's time to go back to their white-collar jobs having fed the lions so-to-speak, here at BLOG TO COMM at least I attempt to give you more bang for your buck! This time by posting three-count-'em-THREE writeups on items I'm pretty sure you'll want to someday listen to, watch or read so whatever you do, don't go saying that I don't go the EXTRA MILE for yez INGRATES out there!
Umela Hmota II-VE SKLEPE-1976/77 2-CD set (Guerilla Records Czech Republic, though more easily obtainable for us Amerigans [and others?] through Tamizdat)
I'm sure anyone who's poured through his doggie-eared copy of BLACK TO COMM #19 already knows the story behind this famous Czech underground rock group by heart, but for those cheap-o slackers who are too penny-pinched to buy a copy here's an all-too-brief encapsulation of the Umela Hmota saga which doesn't even COMPARE to what has previously been written in those pages but like I said you'll hafta fork over hard-earned cash for that! Anyway, Umela Hmota were, more or less, a (proto-) punk grouping stationed in the heart of communist-riddled Prague, Czechoslovakia that was formed in 1973 by the mighty triumvrate of vocalist Dino, bassist (later guitarist) Alfred and guitarist Josef Vondruska, heavily under the influence of not only the underground rock that had been creeping through the strict confines of the prevaling Iron Curtain kultur of the times (Fugs, Mothers, Lou...) but such local legends as the Plastic People of the Universe and DG-307. Umela Hmota (name translating into "Artificial Matter" aka "Plastic" so you know where their loyalties lied!) played the vast array of underground festivals to surprising success despite their lack of solid chops (or perhaps because of it) and continued on until a 1975 rift in the group (reportedly caused by Vondruska wanting to introduce his pro-heroin numbers into the band's repertoire) ended in an Amon Duul-ish negotiation. Thus, a Vondruska-less group continued on as Umela Hmota 2 (or II) while Vondruska started his own variant entitled what else but Umela Hmota 3 (III), an outfit which Dino (in the enclosed booklet) describes as being "MC5-influenced" but if you want to hear for yourself all you have to do is pick up a copy of the CD that comes with BLACK TO COMM #22 which I know you'll want to do one of these days.
Anyway, as far as Umela Hmota II/2 is concerned, critics have compared these guys to everyone from the Fugs and Velvet Underground to David Peel and Hawkwind and I ain't gonna argue with that, but while we're at it how about if I toss in some early Black Sabbath and the Detroit heavy metal of the Stooges and MC5 as well! Yes, for a group born of a totalitarianism that most alternative doofuses on this side of the fence continually dream of, Umela Hmota II certainly had their high energy down pat! The band is pure primitiveness yet play with a strange finesse that's unassuming especially for a mid-seventies garage band, utilizing interesting primal wah-wah guitar leads courtesy Alfred complete with Dino's bellowing growl and a repeato-riffage that sounds more punk 1970 than 1975 but that would figure since these guys with their shoulder-length hair and beards more or less resemble John Sinclair-dominated Detroit than mid-seventies New York, if you get my drift. But since I'm sure things were at least five years behind everything else over in the Worker's Paradise, who could blame Dino for wearing a headband as late as 1977? Not me!
The influence of the Plastic People and DG-307 can also be discerned amidst the hard-edged first-LP Stooges meets first-LP Fugs sounds extant, perhaps due to Dino's cheap-o harmonica playing (which sounds more like a beginner's Hohner accordion being played by, well, a beginner!) as well as his kazooskapading which at times takes on atonal bliss worthy of Albert Ayler. And what's even better is that, despite the language barrier, you can still enjoy Uh II on pure musical merits alone and feel great that at least these guys were fighting against a REAL enemy of evil intent 'stead of the vague anti-capitalistic/moralistic downpat leftscreed heard by way too many wonks here inna West these days making me wish all those pampered leftoid bands seen cluttering up alternativeland would be immediately transported to the gulag of their choice where they can ponder the ultimate end results of their political dreams preferably while flinging heavy sacks of salt somewhere in Siberia.
Meanwhile the rest of the group rocks out like just about any primo punk battalion you could find in Europe (or elsewhere) in the early/mid-seventies with maybe a tinge of a "progressive" sound (thanks to the Plastics and/or Zappa influence?) but that doesn't get in the way at all. It all snuggles up fine with the overall approach of Uh II, who on these two discs have issued some of the better proto-punk sprawl I've heard since...well, Les Rallizes Denudes, Chinaboise, the Magic Tramps...
As far as my favorite tracks go...I like "Vodovodu Alkohol" which sounds surprisingly similar to the one appearing on the CD sampler that comes with issue #22 of my own fanzine which is no surprise because it's THE EXACT SAME TRACK only sounding much better, more like a studio recording rather than the clandestine cassette job I originally thought it was! "Slunecny muz" is the cut that reminds me of the early no-chord Sabbathisms mentioned earlier, while "My dva a knez" (which turned up re-recorded on Uh's second reunion LP back in the early-nineties) is an intense creepy-crawl that comes off like Uh 2's answer to Rocket From The Tombs' original version of "Final Solution" and this just might be "thee" sequel to that mass of Blue Cheer/Hawkwind cosmic ooze for all I know.
There's also some live tunage (including an entire CD recorded Feb. '76) which features Alfred also tinkling the ivories on an electric job (which makes 'em sound even more like the 1972-period Plastic People, or is it just the cheap equipment?) and it's all what I would call "highly recommended," especially if you're like me and are in a quandary as to just who to give the "Best Archival Dig of 2005" award to this December 31st! A daunting task for sure, and although VE SKLEPE-1976/77 originally came out two years back that's no excuse for me NOT to give it any belated dues because it is that important if you've ever considered yourself rockism inclined one iota. Like I said in my earlier post, e-mailing their label (Guerilla) will probably do you no good but Tamizdat (who have an office in NYC where you can send payment w/o worrying about any overseas sticky fingers) were helpful (and fast), and I just ordered Guerilla's 2-CD collection of DG-307 '73/'75 sides entitled HISTORIE/HYSTERIE from 'em as well!
SINS OF THE FLESHAPOIDS DVD (Other)
Over the years the Kuchar Brothers' films have been getting all sortsa typical revamp/revision thematic remakes from alla these upsprout kultur-driven Susan Sontag wannabes who are more'n anxious to inflict their warped ideas of right and wrong upon us presumingly unsuspecting peons who don't know any better. I mean, if you thought people finding weird homo/politico insight in Shakespeare back inna seventies were strange, you should see what all those Queer/Feminist Studies groups at yer local college are now doing with EVERYTHING ELSE from kiddie books to old films and music to even this six-oh avant spew which I didn't think even took itself that seriously to being with! And it is a shame, because although people like the Kuchar Brothers (Mike and George) are getting feted by a whole buncha gays out there I gotta admit one thing, and that's their films, at least the ones seen on this brand-spanking-new DVD, are pretty much 100% hetero-oriented themselves! OK, the one with pop artist Red Grooms as a guy torn between a rock and a hard one does border into the realm of "hey sailor" territory, but anyone who'd think that this one was pro-queer whether in a modern or sixties sense has gotta be mixing a little something extra into his umbrella-endowed drink.
Anyway, this disque features three of brother Mike's (who I "think" is the gay one...the other's normal, right?) films, most notably the title feature which is considered by some one of the top underground films of the sixties which is no mere feat considering just how many of these flickers had been unleashed during those whacked out days. And of this trio, SINS OF THE FLESHAPOIDS is certainly the best of the batch, a futuristic tale set a million years from now where humans, recovering from a nuclear war, decide to indulge themselves in the pleasures of unmitigated lust and Wise Potato Chips while their humanesque androids (aka "fleshapoids") do their bidding as supposedly docile slaves. Amidst the decadence, opulence and just plain "ence" a fleshapoid (played by Kuchar reg Bob Cowan, who also "assembled" the magnificent score and narrates the saga sounding like a cross between Criswell in PLAN 9 and Charlie Chaplin from his forties reissue of THE GOLD RUSH) develops feelings of love for a female counterpart who works for the extremely femme-ish George Kuchar in the futuristic domicle nearby! The quest for love leads to a literally electrifying climax and I dunno about you, but I totally enjoyed the ending to this rather engrossing tale which actually made me feel good in a wholesome, satisfying way because...even in the world of underground flicks and all that sleaze found therein true love and happiness can be obtained if one looks hard enough. Won't give too much away, but I have the feeling this won't settle well with hardcore feminists one bit.
Also included on the disque are THE CRAVEN SLUCK, featuring a bleached blond housewife with a dullsville hubby (once again played by Cowan) who ignores her even after rescuing her from a suicide attempt (she later falls for a mop-topped stranger played by George Kuchar while walking Bocko the dog, yet another Kuchar regular who's seen here in a disgusting short scene trying to take a dump) and gets zapped by flying saucers for her troubles. (I gave the ending away because in this film it doesn't matter---Cowan also plays the handicapped and abused spouse of the cruel-beyond-belief Kuchar, who gives his ailing wife water straight from the toilet to wash her pain medicine down with!) THE SECRET OF WENDEL SAMSON is the fag one I mentioned earlier, with Grooms playing himself (a pop artist) who's torn between the gay set (in highlarious sequences that I'm surprised don't earn the ire of today's Stalinist gay libbers [rather than their praise] considering how they portray the idea of gay life/love straight outta some Charles Dannemyer nightmare!) and the straight stuff, all ending in a great shootout that's gotta be seen to be believed if you want me to be cornball about it. And they're all a hoot and seedy like NAKED CITY could get at times but not dirty one bit (I'd give all of these films a PG-13, and a fun PG-13 at that!) and if you had kidz you'd probably rather they sneek-peek this one as opposed to some message film that's going around making all the coeds misty-eyed and heart rendered. Well, it's a lot better'n watching the Edward Murrow/Joseph McCarthy story rehashed for a new generation of thumbscrewfreaks!
WOMAN, THE INCREDIBLE LIFE OF YOKO ONO by Alan Clayson with Barb Jungr and Robb Johnson (Chrome Dreams)
Gotta admit that I spent the latter portion of the seventies listening to the likes of Yoko Ono as much as I did everyone from Zappa and his kin to the Velvets, and if I didn't say that Ono's earlier musical stylings (which were becoming easy to find thanks to Apple's wares going cutout back in '76) weren't some sorta strange influence on me I'd probably be trying to hide more from you readers than I already am. And as I said way back in the now o.p. issue of BLACK TO COMM #23, the lady was like a real-life Lilly Munster/Morticia Addams in hotpants to me in the days when she and hubby John Whatzizname were acting like the bare hair bunch doing a lotta strange things that only made me wanna burrow further into the past of comic strips and television because the present was getting just a little too freaky, but I dunno, I kinda thought it was all "cool" even in my own suburban brat way. And as I grew up and started discovering different things on my own (instead of authority's, the media's or other kids') terms I started to see Ono as someone who was making a racket with music and art in a way that sorta connected with me as a guy who found release in things that were upsetting and confrontational if anything. Maybe that's why I have a soft spot in my heart for the early wails and moans Ono laid down on all those records that it seems nobody would ever give the time of day to, and although almost all of her later works (whether in music or art) were pretty pallid in comparison and only the most sissified of American (and World) "Manhood" seems to flock to her and the club remixes of earlier recorded endeavors Ono's making her megabucks with these days it's not like I'm totally tossing the dame off, even though she can be a pretty big pain to bear at times given her kneejerk opines on things I certainly don't want to know anything about!
It's those times when she isn't doing the old hippie pontificating that I'm more concerned with, and WOMAN deals with those moments just as much as it talks about every mis-step and career blunder Ono may have made down the line. The only problem is, the entire book is one big wooooooosh through Ono's life that seemingly mentions all bases but doesn't dwell on any of 'em. A lotta neat dirt we could've used has been expurgated and what's worse is that there's nothing negative about Ono anywhere to be found, as if she never made a bad album or said some things that might have qualified her as a class-A moonbeam, and really we know she's done both.
OK, I gotta admit that there are loads of interesting little shards of info especially detailing her pre-John days that I didn't know about (and two Deviants refs. including a mention of Mick Farren's clandestine recordings of telephone conversations with various London underground personalities [Ono included] that were planned to be used on PTOOFF!, and drummer Russell Hunter's description of Ono as "bossy" and "ordering everybody around" during her London stay in '67) but overall I was left wanting MORE. Which may be a good sign if at least there was a little satisfaction, but frankly I couldn't find very much if any. Lack of good pix also hinders the thing a bit...you'd think they would have dug up some long-unpublished oldies somewhere rather'n rehash the same old snaps! Anyway, if you're curious about Ono as a Beatle wife or as a beatnik this would be a nice book to get, but I would have preferred something more intense and in-depth, perhaps written by a master of the Old/New Rock Criticism that sprang from the pen of Bangs and Meltzer rather than this speedwritten (and come to think of it way too short) tome.
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 11:44 AM
Thursday, December 15, 2005
Earth People-SKY READERS and NOW IS RISING CDs (Undivided Vision, link up to the group via their site and they'll in turn link you up to CD Baby who are selling these things and loads more natch!)
Didn't wait until Christmas to dish out for the latest Earth People CDs like I said I would over here (scroll down, smarty) because frankly, in this day and age I just can't deny myself of good music (whatever that may entail years after the fact) even if I have bills to pay and presents to buy for my loving (hah!) relations. Anyhow, just to fill you in (because I doubt a good portion of you readers have been paying close attention as I dole out every exact-o/minute-o detail of every obsession I've had regarding art, music, Asian gals, postwar (II)/prehippie vehicles/architecture/tv... since the day I was born), Earth People are a currently-functioning jazz/world music (and we're talking REAL WORLD for once!) group that's more or less "led" by percussionist Andre Martinez (who plays besides traps your standard free jazz fare of African balafons, steel drums etc.), saxist/guitarist Jason Candler and guitarist Doug Principato, three onna-ball fellows who have at least been attempting to make waves on whatever there is left of a New York avant garde scene these past few years. Dunno exactly if they're succeeding...after all, it's not like alla them major labels are banging the door down to sign 'em or THE VILLAGE VOICE music section's featuring 'em in yet another bid to cozy up with the proles of color (even though Earth People is neatly integrated but who knows...I ain't read the Eddy-manned VV section in awhile so maybe White Guilt doth bear out in some perverted fashion???) but whatever, Earth People DO succeed on pure high-falutin' ENERGY alone, making a sound that's akin to the best moments of seventies loft jazz with psychedelic guitar lines thrown in here/there and an all around get-up-and-LIVE feeling that I haven't heard outta most if not all of what's "expected" to be speaking for the new and precocious youth of these days for a LONG time...
SKY READERS (2003) features the group in a more "stripped down" mode, minus their cooing femme vocalist "M" as well as a lotta the guests who have been clogging up live performances for quite some time. (Vibraphonist Karl Berger, who has been front and center at a number of CBGB Lounge shows or at least cluttered amidst the rest of the group in the claustrophobic stage setup is missing, as is bassoonist Karen Borca who used to spend loads of time with Cecil Taylor and late hubby Jimmy Lyons back during the glory days of the late-sixties.) Anyway, SKY READERS consists of two tracks, the first, entitled "Magical Flower (Horus the Red Travels Backwards)" clocks in at an amazing 41:22 beginning like one of those old Pharoah Sanders albums complete with tinkling percussives and glissandos all over the place! It doesn't stick around in karmic bliss for too long, venturing into free Taylor-like play and freakout jazz of varying stripes and more tenor squeals (thanks to free legend Sabir Mateen) than you can count. "It's That Simple" (which was recorded at the same live gig at the Walker Space...guess this is what became of the originally planned CBGB Lounge album) continues in on the same group-play path as "Magical Flower" and its anarchic mangle plays pretty well too, even better (OK, in some ways) than earlier Coleman/Coltrane groundbreaking tries and more all-out than the Art Ensemble too...very close in spirit to the mid-seventies New York groups who were documented on WILDFLOWERS and played as if they were of a cohesive whole, or perhaps everyone in the group thought they were the leaders which is why they sounded the way they did.
There's a funny (ha-ha and strange) story behind NOW IS RISING (2005), Earth People's latest. Y'see, this disque was recorded over a number of sessions last year as part of a student project at some school that trains tomorrow's studio engineers and producers, and although the playing was hot and the results superb the kidz at the school just couldn't relate to the free jazz Earth People laid down and petitioned the school asking that the rest of the planned sessions be dumped so's they could all go back to their rap gulcher music! The sissy administration actually caved in (shades of the sixties!) and after offering Earth People a poor mix of the resultant spew the school reportedly started acting all high horse to the point of threatening to destroy the masters! After cool heads and negotiations were held a proper mix of these sessions was made, and the results of this debacle have been issued in a limited to 250 copies edition which is good for fans of the new jazz improv who want their music and want it NOW no matter how many pampered kerchiefed gangsta wannabes say otherwise!
"M" is back singing along in her detached way, and the songs are shorter (longest being the title track at 13:33) which gives the group a chance to show off more of their ALL INCLUSIVENESS!!! By that I mean NOW IS RISING features in varying quantites and at times simultaneously interesting snatches of everything from Beefheart-inspired spoken word to Gregorian Chant (OK, sounding too much like the Fugs using the same motif on "War Song" 38 years earlier!) and early-seventies pseudo-political chant w/fife and drum preen and even some early-avant Dolphyisms all snuggled side-by-side with everything from Mark Hennan's apt Tayloresque piano lines and more of Mateen's swing-funk post-seventies stylings. Yeah, it's a REAL "World Music" especially when Principato adds in some of his searing electric guitar leads which may not exactly be Sharrock-esque or anything but sure sounds fine when he's under the spell of Hendrix (or is it Chris Karrer leading off "Jail House Frog"?) on the powerful closing instrumental entitled "Draft Dodger," which may be about as "relevant" as the Shirts singing about the same thing in 1976 but given the manic pounce and tear of this song unheard in sissy alternative circles for ages SHOULD I REALLY CARE??? The entire disc is so sheer with its balance of seventies loft jazz and acid guitar rockism fighting it out between the free-play and (dare I say) underground rock riffage...believe me when I tell you that Earth People have yet to play a bum note or release a duff track, and with a record like that (coupled with their ability to take an all-inclusive "we-are-all-one-culture"-styled 1969 ROLLING STONE credo while NOT coming off looking like hippie stinkeroos all the while!) it's a shame that most of you BLOG TO COMM readers are gonna pass this one off in favor of, oh, whatever "cool" and "hip" "gotta have it" item is being plugged on one of the competition's blogs. Go figure.
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 5:02 PM
Sunday, December 11, 2005
JOYBELLS!!! EVEN YET ANOTHER BLOG TO COMM LISTENING PARTY!
One look outta my bedroom window'll tell ya that wintertime is here (at least it is here north of the equator...dunno how you Chileans are taking it!) which only means ONE THING...at least now I have an excuse to hang around in my stuffy boudoir and kick these blogs out your way! And for one thing I don't have to feel GUILTY anymore about not cutting the grass and trimming the shrubs while staying inside my room listening to the myriad assortment of cee-dees that have flung their way to my door o'er the past few weeks, because other'n drive shoveling now my time is pretty much MY OWN! (NOTE: of course this is all an exaggeration of a great magnitude...I'm only giving you this disclaimer because there are some assholes out there who like to come to their own conclusions about who I am and how I live my life and act like the armchair psychologists they are when it comes to judging everyone else but themselves...)
Anyway, w/o any further McAdoo (cute, huh?) here are just a few of the newies that I've glommed o'er the past few weeks, and although I know that mentioning the nice people who've sent me some freebee disques in order to show my gratitude also earns the ire of others who have nothing better to do, I'll just hafta grin and bear it because, once you get down to it, them's the breaks. And besides, I've actually purchased a few of these wonders through the goodness of my hard work and labors (just so's I don't give TOM LAX any more fodder...) so punk you!
Ton Steine Scherben-WARUM GEHT ES MIR SO DRECKING? (David Volksmund Prod., KG, 26917 Fresenhagen/NF)
You may have missed my mega-review of this and the second Ton Steine Scherben album in BLACK TO COMM #22, but lemme tell you that I really flipped out when these German proto-punk offerings were once again made available for people like myself who have nothing to go by other than now-obscure articles in the pages of EUROCK and GORILLA BEAT. But whaddeva, I gotta admit that as the years went by I didn't cozy up that much to those two-LP sets that TSS ("The German MC5" according to none other than "Dad" in the old FUTURE fanzine) released in the wake of this stellar debut. They were just too staid and sterile compared with what else was coming out on the European garage band scene at the time, and I do recall that a certain Swedish expatriate now living in En Why See compared TSS negatively to none other than the French heavy metal band Shakin' Street which only got my appetite even more whetted because, frankly Shakin' Street (w/ or w/o Ross the Boss on guitar) were a pretty hot hard rock band in the trad of the early metallic mongerers from Blue Oyster Cult on down but we can't account for tastes other than our own, right?
But as for this one, it shows TSS kinda mirroring the American garage style of the times (early-seventies) albeit toned down. Sort of a mid-tempo Flamin' Groovies or MC5 on Sominex, TSS put out some "pretty", maybe even slightly-engaging and perhaps even Mirrors-ish riffage on this debut, yet in the light of the competition on the early-seventies punk brigades both there, here and elsewhere abroad, TSS really don't live up sonically to their radical, table-smashing image. A good bargain-bin find for sure (do they still have bargain bins, or has that section been relegated to the "buy it now" portion of your favorite Ebay store???).
The Coffin Lids-'ROUND MIDNIGHT (Bomp!)
Second (I think) release by this nuevo-garage band that does a better job rehashing and mimicking mid-eighties efforts than most. Brad Kohler will probably think that I'm in a great mood when he reads this review, and although frankly I'm NOT (getting a painful headache from this recurring headcold festering in the vast resources of my nasal cavities) I gotta say that this moved me a lot more than most current garage contempos even with the now-patented football chants heard therein. Now I sincerely doubt this is going to be one of those perennial spins here at BTC central, but I like it enough in my cornbread 1985 way, and I'm pretty sure that if you like the conveyor belt of retro- and not-so garage punks that have been coming your way for longer than you can remember you'll like this 'un too!
The Bloody Hollies-IF FOOTMEN TIRE YOU... CD (Bomp!)
Hey guys, I found it, and what can be said about the Lids above can also be said about these post-garagoids (hailing from Buffalo En Why, home of Bernard Kugel, SHAKIN' STREET GAZETTE and BIG STAR so you know what kinda ozone these guys breathe!) too. Pretty hot six-oh filtered through the seven- and eight-ohs with an interesting lead vox that'll remind you of maybe that one guy in the Jujus or even your personal fave rockcrit with his stones cut off. However I think these guys could do a little better w/regards to their appearance...I mean, look at the guy in the picture (second from left), who comes off as if he's trying to ape the Jerry Harrison in Talking Heads look!
George Colligan's Mad Science-REALIZATION (Sirocco)
As any intelligent reader of this blog knows (and I assume there are a few), one thing that I wholeheartedly miss this year is the complete capitulation of the CBGB Lounge Freestyle Jazz Series that was going down not only on Sunday but for a short time Wednesday nights as well. Not having followed the current jazz avant garde for some time, it was an experience to acquaint myself with some of the new players on the scene as well as re-acquaint myself with the vast array of legends who had performed at the famed club's next-door venue, and considering how my own tastes are forever becoming "retro-garde" and more in tune with the experimentations of the sixties and seventies than the current-day recyclings this new jazz spoke to me with the same fervent energy-burst that no wave and Velvet Underground-derived musings did back when the action-packed seventies were mutating into the boredom-laden eighties! But you knew that already, right?
So you can imagine that I'm more than anxious to hear just about everything by most if not all of the bands that made that three-year-old series one of the biggest splashes in jazzdom since Sam Rivers instigated the loft scene back in the seventies. And although recordings from the actual series seem to be hard to come by other'n a few relics on the Rent Control label we should be glad that at least some of the bands and artists who have performed at this avant showcase have gone on to release records (er, cee-dees) on their lonesome. And one aggro that I had been anxious to hear ever since they popped up on the freestyle roster was George Colligan's Mad Science. An organ/guitar/drums trio, Mad Science not only had the underground name down pat but drew comparisons to Tony Williams' Lifetime (the McLaughlin/Young period) which certainly got my heart palipatating! Unfortunately Mad Science don't reach the same punky heights that Lifetime did, and they don't even attempt to, preferring to stay firm on terra with a cool (and non-avant garde) jazz flopster sound that may be slightly pleasing at times and in-tune with the mainstream of things, but what does any of that have to do with high-energy aesthetics anyway???
If anything, Mad Science remind me of the kinda groups that were still playing at the main CBGB club back in '75/'76 before the mode of the music changed to a more strident punkism, though the sound would make a comeback of sorts as the eighties and nineties gave way to more-open booking policies and the next door stages more conduit to a mixed variety of soundspews. Still, for the meat of the matter you should first try out the recordings available (or not) by erstwhile free jazz groups like Freedomland and other worthies who can be found easily enough by just popping "avant garde jazz" "freestyle" and "CBGB Lounge" into your fave search engine. For starters, may I recommend you hit Ben Gerstein's site where you can even download entire performances from his archives including some wild tuneage laid down at the very same CBGB Lounge freestyle series I've been mentioning throughout not only this post but this whole bloomin' blog, and download I will if I can only figure out how to do so w/o it all sounding like interstellar messages straight from Uranus!
Various Artists-KICKSVILLE! (Norton)
Great...a "repackage" of an earlier Norton volume called DESPERATE DALLAS DEMOS and more (complete w/a front cover snap taken from THE WILD ONE which remains a great biker/teenage flick despite too many hippie hootches parroting the the "Whaddya got?" line in order to justify their own mixed-up antisocialness!) which aptly documents the late-fifties post-Gene Vincent scene taking place in the same city where JFK later got a skullfulla lead leading to even more desperation on all our parts (and believe-it-or-not but Gene hisself even does a version of his famed "Say Mama" with the equally late Ronnie Dawson!). Most if not all of this was taken straight offa rare acetates (with their labels proudly emblazoned on the back cover!) as well as other never heard before sources, and it's sure fine of Billy 'n Miriam to liberate these once-obscuros for our own personal happiness and pleasure! Unfortunately there are no liner notes to explain things even more (though everything was said in one of those later issues of KICKS that you all give lip-service to yet ignore in favor of the latest post-punk alternative flash to dazzle yer eyes!) but let's just say that if you'd like to see the ghost of Elvis, Gene and Eddie hovering across the spectrum of Dallas rockabilly jamz during one of the coolest times ever to live then this be the disque for thee! Even featrures two tracks by former Vincent sideman/future sixties punk obscurity Scotty McKay, and I only wish Billy and Miriam would tell us more about the time they hung out in a motel room with him and Scotty played him a whole buncha prev. released items while tellin' 'em they were all-new unearthed obscurities!
The A-Bones-I WAS A TEENAGE MUMMY (ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK) (Norton)
Yeah, I missed the movie too (it's now available on Dee-Vee-Dee anyway), but I've had the vinyl version of the soundtrack and now I got the digital one as well which does add up to hosannas across the boards. Actually, this platter's got the entire elpee on it plus that FREE BEER FOR LIFE offering plus their ten-inch TEMPO TANTRUM platter the 'Bones did for some kraut label and a few newies including the actual radio station ad (didn't even know the flick made it outta the film developing department!), so you can say that this one gives you a lot more than you've bargained for. Anyway, if you've liked Billy Miller's post-Handsome Dick Manitoba-styled vocalese, Miriam Linna's post-Honey Langtree drumming (and post-Irene Ryan banshee wails) not to mention a sound that crosses late-fifties southern squall and late-seventies garage smarts, then there's no reason why you won't like this 'un!
Dredd Foole and the Din-THE WHYS OF FIRE (Ecstatic Yod)
Bad move---aping the BYG/Actuel cover/gatefold scheme for this release (it ain't the FIRST TIME this was done, and it's just as bad as when a hundred substandard/alternative [aren't they the same???] bands utilize hoary old Velvet Underground imagery on their platters in order to make their pallid music seem more enchanting while the real post-Velvets innovators are either dead, forgotten or starving), but despite this glaring faux pas I'm willing to forgive Foole/Ireton if only because his Din back in the eighties was one of the few groups that could successfully keep that selfsame post-VU ball rolling w/o succumbing to the easy pratfalls of their brethren (even if Mission of Burma did act as the Din on a few occasions including his first record!). This new Din features everyone from the omnipresent Thurston Moore to such names I could've sworn I've heard before as Chris Corsano and Mike Gangloff playing everything from prepared guitars to exotic things like the "ersaj" and "tampura" and this stew sounds like some massive windtunnel moan with some eastern spells thrown in for good measure. If anything, THE WHYS OF FIRE reminds me of some now-encrusted "new music" album I might have chanced upon back when I would scour the used record shops of Cle Hts. in the mid-eighties when the goods were still going and everything hadn't been digitized yet. And, at the time you could say that I was mesmerized by this sorta drone that still seemed like one big SECRET that only """""I""""" was in on! Still feel the exact same way at times which is why I'll say that THE WHYS OF FIRE is an interesting-enough spew worthy of a spin here and there...a real "doo wah" classic as they used to say.
Fripp & Eno-NO PUSSYFOOTING (Editions EG)
Wouldja believe I never ever heard this one in its entirety, only via bits and pieces at concerts or on the FM radio band not to mention various self-invited listening parties throughout the past three decades??? So maybe that's why I picked this one up after years of lethargy despite a rekindled early pre-pretension Eno fixation that began sometime in the nineties. Anyway, back during the Golden Age of Import Bins you couldn't miss this one amidst the wide array of Harvest Heritage budget reissues (which were going for the same price as the other imports over here so what kinda bargain were they supposed to be for us bin hoppers who hadda pay an extra two bucks for 'em?!?!?!) and original editions of Sweet albums, and since Island felt it worthy enough to give NO PUSSYFOOTING a release over here you could say that your typical trip to the record shop just wouldn't be the same w/o stumbling across the dynamic duo of King Crimson's Robert Fripp and just-ex Roxy wunderkind Brian Eno (who was still just plain ol' "Eno" at the time before somebody told him he was a genius or something and he hadda act like one!) playing around with their electronics sounding like the missing link between "serious" avant garde and the new age twaddle that Eno would be egging on with his Harold Budd endeavors in a few years. Still, at this early stage you don't feel like such a moonbeam listening to it...the whole "channeling" and crystals phenom would be a good ten years away anyway and this music, while suitable for a comfy night's sleep, isn't quite as instant pudding as it would become during the vapid eighties. BAD POINT: since the cover repro on the CD insert is too small you can't see the faces of the cards Eno is play solitaire with unlike on the HERE COME THE WARM JETS disque, so all you sickos might wanna buy the LP (and a good magnifying glass) anyway!
EYE & I (Epic)
A lotta folks who were reg'lar BLACK TO COMM readers really thought that I was outta my mind for giving a thumbs up to the first Living Colour album way back in issue seventeen, and although I can see the reason they'd think I'd TRASH such a disque for being too commercial or some other hipster reasoning on their part frankly I can also see their STUPIDITY as well. I mean, it was true that Living Colour were making waves during the close of the eighties with rock videos and tee-vee appearances (which some might have thought would have been the ultimate turn off for yours truly), but they came out of not only the New York jazz avant garde and Ronald Shannon Jackson's Decoding Society (well, at least Vernon Reid did), but their CBGB-bred sounds were cut from the same cloth as that of Manster, the Planets and other seventies groups who were talented enough and had that garage band emphasis in their sound, but didn't "make it" because frankly they were too indebted to various non-punk concerns (Zappa/McLaughlin in Manster's case, the Who [throughout their career] and Zep in the Planets') to be esoteric enough for underground consumption. Over ten years later Living Colour made it with the same aesthetics that Manster and the Planets lost out on, and perhaps their signing signified some sorta underground success considering that if they had been around fifteen years earlier their album would have sunk without a trace only to be a flea market pick within a few short years!
Speaking of sinking without a trace, this all-black group (part of the Black Rock Coalition which fueled a few dozen bands during special nights at CBGB way back in the late-eighties) got a contract with Epic on the heels of Living Colour's success, and whaddya know but Vernon Reid himself is present on one track as is former Funkadelic keyboardist Bernie Worrell! I remember when it came out and I read a glowing lead review in THE VILLAGE VOICE, but since I was told by a fly-by-night friend that their version of "Venus In Furs" was perhaps the worst ever I passed on this bunch figuring that maybe CBGB really did stand for "We'll Book ANYBODY!" like this same pal once wrote in my mag!
Anyway, Eye & I (who I once got confused with Kelvynator, another BRC bunch featuring yet another ex-avant jazzist Kelvyn Bell) featured Melvin Gibbs who put in time with the Sonny Sharrock Band before venturing into more rockism concerns and vocalist D. K. Dyson (dunno her resume offhand...), and despite the bad tipoff (and coming to the conclusion that the VOICE writeup was just another piece of white guilt rockcritiquing) they sure come off a lot better'n what I had been expecting all these years. Not quite MTV rock despite the mandatory video (of "Venus In Furs" even!), but halfway there enough to enjoy on a frequent basis. In fact, even with the attempts at commericalization and techslick production, this is a pretty energetic, straightforward rock & roll album, a bargain from the on-line cheap bin that you might wanna check out if you got the urge for well-made rock & roll that doesn't quite ginch you out.
Although definitely not a high-energy surge that I champion all over the place it's still pretty nice, with a bitta funk tossed in here and rap-influx there (and no gag-inducement in sight even with the once-in-awhile turntable scratch!) amidst a rather pleasant pop that reminds me of what new wave could have been had it only developed in a less Madonna-ish direction. "Venus In Furs" is nice enough, while "Down To Zero" reminds me of something I might have liked a bit in 1980 had it only been around then. "Prisoner in Babylon" is a good enough thumper too, and I gotta admit that amidst the snatches of rock and metal chordings EYE & I is a rather entertaining platter that, while far from BTC-inspired top ten echelon material is still ear-catching enough, like when Roxy Music used to take all sortsa styles and make it all their own and sell records to boot! I am surprised, really, and maybe it shouldn't have taken me fourteen years to discover but really, there's so much out there...
More coming soon, including a book review and other recording monstrosities I just know you'll wanna read about, or else you wouldn't be wasting yer time with this tossout, eh?
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 10:12 AM
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
CALLING ALL CADS!
You see the CD (actually 2-CD set) pictured on the left? I'm more than anxious to have one of these in my collection, as I have been even before the thing was pressed up! If any of you faithful readers have one you'd like to part with (or can obtain one for my greasy paws), and could use a copy of of every available BLACK TO COMM back issue (or maybe something worthwhile), well, as Monty Hall used to say... I tried contacting Guerilla Records (the label who released not only this but a 2-CD set of some early DG-307 wares I wouldn't mind wrapping my ears around) to no avail...perhaps their handle on the English Language is as bad as mine on the Czech tongue, but anyway I have an offer that stands and until someone can fling this slice of much-desired proto-punk my way you KNOW I'll be living a life that's not quite up to its fullest potential. Have some pity, willya???
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 3:51 PM
Sunday, December 04, 2005
HOO BOY, YET ANOTHER BLOG TO COMM LISTENING PARTY!
I still don't have any major projects/articles/screeds of note or worth to jettison your way as of now, but I thought it would be smart of me to at least review some of the flot/jetsam that has graced my laser launching pad (still out-of-commish w/regards to good ol' vynola) since we last had our little get-together. ('n besides, that pile o' un-reviewed tench growing ever-so-humongous in my room must be dealt with more sooner 'n later!) Anyway, here are some of the things both old, new, borrowed and maybe not-so-blue that I've been listening to (and "have" to review) over the last few days, and maybe if you take these reviews and roast them to the peak of perfection you'll find something of worth and might in here somewhere. For the life of me I can't, but, I dunno...maybe you're daft enough to do just that so getcherself in gear!
UP-TIGHT AND MAKOTO KAWABATA (Galactic Zoo Disc, available through Volcanic Tongue)
Japanese post-Rallizes Denudes wonders Up-Tight (along with Acid Mothers Temple hippie Makoto Kawataba sitting in) fare much better than they did on their previous snoozer LUCREZIA although Aoki and company still have quite a way to go before recapturing their early glory when it really seemed (no foolin'!) as if Up-Tight really were one of the few bands of the past twennysome years who actually are as good as their influences. The mock Velvets cover would have helped way back when, but today it seems like more past-digging hypeola to make up for present-day lack-of-accomplishment.
The Hypstrz-LIVE AT THE LONGHORN (Bomp)
I dunno how old most of you BLOG TO COMM perusers are, but it's a re-release of such a killer as this that reminds me of the Great Punk Rock Divide that transpired during the maybe not-so-halcyon days of the early-eighties when the music was changing but I was staying the same. Not that punk (as a music/notion/style/political soapbox...) was ever united (not that ANYTHING should be), but after a good six or so years of p-rock coming off to a good portion of us suburban slobs as this torrid mix of everything from mid-sixties garage aesthetics, avant garde snobbism, early-metal earbust and Detroit rockbluesjazzscrunch (in whatever incriments and percentages one would appreciate), by the early eighties it all sorta flung apart bigger'n the big bang itself. The sixties garageoids clung around their own camp with their fanzines, labels and various spokesmen (Greg Prevost being the unadulterated king of 'em all), while the hardcore guys sorta did the fine balance between late-seventies English aesthetics and early-seventies metallic moves. Ditto for the rockabillers and the "purer" heavy metal aggros (by the early eighties more and more underground groups were letting themselves be known as metal, perhaps more in tune with the likes of MX-80 Sound and VON LMO than Autograph!) and one thing that seemed most certain as the clock ticked away was...EACH AND EVERY ONE OF THESE ROCK CLIQUES HATED EACH OTHER! And though cooler minds such as Byron Coley's and mine thought that these twains should have "met" the prevaling winds said otherwise. Oh well, it is a pain being ahead of one's time.
Anyway, this HYPSTRZ re-release reminds me of THE BIG PUNK ROCK CRACK-UP OF 1981. No, I never did get their HYPSTERIZATION album when it came out at the beginning of that split way back when, but it was one of the things that was definitely on my "gotta have" list, me being a big fan of the Bomp!/Voxx empire then under the tutelage of the late Greg Shaw. Naturally my lack of money kept me from buying up EVERY slab of pulsating vinyl that I wanted to lend ear to back in those days (which is why I'm more'n willing to pay beaucoup for now o.p. Flipper CDs these days even if the early-eighties punk legacy has been tainted by various blogs out there), and although a quarter-century later is way too late if you ask me maybe if I squint my ears a bit I can ooze more early-eighties energy from these now-classic slabs of soon-to-oxidize aluminum pancakes just like I attempted to do with their vinyl forebearers so long ago.
Anyway, these Hypstrz guys are more of that great six-oh revival spew that seemed so refreshing next to the utter blah that what had become "new wave" was churning out at the time. Putting out a set of nothing but hep garage band covers (with the usual soul stirrer tossed in for ample effect), the Hypstrz wow their Minnesota audiences with blasts from the past that didn't reek of cheap-o nostalgia but frothed forth pure high energy thrills. Of course those were different times...I mean, nowadays EVERY bar-band with a bent towards the past will play "garage rock" toons for the massholes. I mean, it's EXPECTED that sixties punk is considered top notch fun-time rollicking music by everyone these days, but back then anyone carrying the sixties garage band flag might as well have been one of those commie punks ya used to see on CHIPS alla time. And come to think of it, listening to LIVE AT THE LONGHORN in all its early-eighties fighting the "hip-to-be-square" mentalities going around glory does make for a more adventurous time than it does now given just how accepted the sixties punks are these days...after all, what's ANYTHING (art/music/film/food...) without a little DANGER innit?
Earth People-WAKING THE LIVING, SIMPLE, ISN'T IT?? (Undivided Vision, visit the band at their site where they can direct you to where these CDs can be obtained)
Old recordings (originally reviewed in BLACK TO COMM #25) true, but I was kicking myself over missing their show (via cybercast) last Wednesday at the CBGB Lounge and in order to make amends spun their first two platters back to back in a fit of self-righteous angst. Gee, I gotta get more angstsy if that's gonna spur me onto listening to this great moderne-day avantjazzrockspew, because despite the paens to gnu age philosophising (Margie Mead quotes) and covers that remind me of Prince and Mandrill outtakes (w/o the monkey natch!) the Earth People remain one of the few groups that can pull off a "World Music" style and still make it sound all noisy and disturbing. WAKING THE LIVING features two extended tracks (one almost hitting the forty-minute mark!) and a sound that blends everything from great seventies Loft Jazz noisecapades to hotcha up-n-coming vocalese (courtesy "M"), and not only that but the band lineup's pretty snat as well featuring everbody from ex-Jimmy Lyons basoonist Karen Borca to Freedomland's Daniel Carter and Shandar survivor Francios Grillot. SIMPLE, ISN'T IT??'s got shorter songs but still has that twenty-directions at once feeling that kinda make me think that everyone in the band was playing a different song in a different style, but being so "all-inclusive" and all it gels quite fine nonetheless. Great platters there, and while linking the above site up I discovered that there have been two more Earth People CDs released since these earth-shaking splatters. Guess I know where my Christmas money's getting dumped, eh?
THE LOOKIES (Redrum, PO Box 4091, Harrisburg, PA 17111-0091, write the group at The Lookies@comcast.net)
Recently I got a letter from Brad Kohler, who (with regards to a Star Spangles review I did in the latest ish) wrote "did you write that while you were in a good mood?" Y'see, for some reason Brad thought that I somehow hated the kind of music the Star Spangles would play, thus maybe I got a new NANCY book that day or a gold star on my forehead at work when I wrote that thing or otherwise I woulda trashed it to all eternity. Well, yes Brad, I certainly was feeling chipper the day I wrote that, but let me explain about many of my reviews that, although the music may not exactly be something that I'd be spinning on my computer day-in/out, doesn't mean it's not worthwhile with its own merits and reasons for people other than myself to be flipping out over it. It may mean that, after giving the thing a boss write-up and extolling the group's many attributes I'll probably be filing the thing away until Kahoutek really comes back, but just because something doesn't fall exactly within the firm, fit and narrow confines of what does make a good record here at BLOG TO COMM central doesn't mean I have to trash the thing. Yes Virginia, there are recordings I will give a nice thumbs-up to even though I'm not exactly going to be championing the bands that made 'em from here to Bizoo and back!
So where do the Lookies fit in? I dunno...I was hoping they'd be a neat pop-rock thing like the Beckies of yore give the name, but they're pretty much another post-hardcore bunch that seemed to permeate the late-eighties (which, to nobody's surprise, is when I began getting freebie records of this stuff outta mine ears!) and although there is a bit of excitement here/there it sorta reminds me of things I might've gone gaga for at one time only now I tend to pass this stuff over during the evening hours in favor of a more pure drone. You may go fer it and if you think so try the group's CD Baby page for more info, but guys, I just got into a big arguement a few hours ago and really am not in that much of a good mood right now. Too bad I didn't write this yesterday...I was feeling super back then!
Crushed Butler-UNCRUSHED (RPM UK)
I've been hyped to this proto-Hammersmith Gorillas group (featuring the long-lived Jesse Hector whose first recordings circa 1959 [age 12] are still available via Norton) ever since a ten-inch version of this rather short (21:12) CD came out a few years back. As far as that high-energy late-sixties p-rock thingie goes this unearthed rarity sure beats the Gorillas by far and comes off as just powerful and as high energy as Crushed Butler's comrats in arms...like the Pink Fairies without the psychedelia maybe or a less blooze variation of Stackwaddy or even Killing Floor. The funny cartoon enclosed therein (done in that classic English style nobody seems to rah-rah anymore) explains the Butler story for y'all, but anyways for more of that hard-edged punkoid oomph you could use some Crushed Butler alongsides the usual Rocket From The Tombs/Mirrors/Magic Tramps/Umela Hmota/Rotomagus/Denudes... spins that only goes to PROVE to you that the past was really the future and the present is the real dungeon that's so bad that I would want my worst enemies marooned here! Hope you're having fun, guys!
Sun Ra-SPACESHIP LULLABY (Unheard Music Series)
Here are more of those Ra rarities done with vocal groups (more of which can be heard on the Evidence 2-CD set of single sides made for Saturn) that sorta put an even newer, different light on what the man called Ra was also up to while helping to define the avant jazz genre during the fifties. Actually I was expecting more of the same outer-space weirdness that starts off this disc, namely the title track by the futuristically named "Nu Sounds" (and with a moniker like that you'd think they were some 1980 gnu wave aggro designed to capture the hearts and minds of Anastasia Pantsioses everywhere) which zooms off into the same orbit you'd expect Ra to inhabit, but frankly most of this platter sounds like a lotta the fifties vocal schmoozing that my folks listened to back then and still like to osmose on those radio stations geared towards the fifties/sixties easy-listening sphere. That's why I don't like to listen to this one when they're around, y'see, I have this image to uphold!
Lou Rone-PLASTIC PISTOL (it ain't out yet!!!!)
Those of you who flipped for Rone's solo debut ALONE (Gulcher) should prepare to do a little MORE flipping over this newie that, like its predecessor, does its best to take the hard-edged seventies guitar sound and add some even harder-edged electronic murk to the thing to make a product that sounds like---I dunno, maybe that perfect act you wish would have played Max's Kansas City back in 1979 only you were sick that night or sumpin'. The whole thing just pimplebursts that seventies weirdo self-produced underground bounce, at one time coming off like Suicide (or was that Kraftwerk?) with a heavy metal guitar and then Bowie's LOW (or was that Harmonia?) with even more Eno-weirdness or perhaps some snake guitar tossed in. Either way it's a sound winner that reminds me of how I'd get all hoppity hooper excited over these electronic projex back in my teenybop days and maybe I wasn't a wuss for it after all! (Some may disagree, but this is MY blog!) Hopefully PLASTIC PISTOL won't stay in the hamper for too long. Hopefully more'n a few people out there will pay attention.
The Invisible Eyes-LAUGH IN THE DARK (Bomp)
Here's another one that I'm sure will have Kohler wonderin' whether/not I'm inna good mood, and although I ain't that tippy-top right now (see Lookies review above) I'm still gonna give these Invisible Eyes guys the thumbs up. Good post-sixties rock (complete with Doors-via-Mysterians organ on one track) that, while it doesn't make me wanna turn cartwheels, does make me glad that the Bomp name doesn't always have to stand for just about every new group with some sixties refs filtered through the next forty years of nada into a """new""" product that doesn't seem to sell as much as it did back during the heyday of underground noiserocking. Cover seems a bit too ginchy in the worst mid-eighties "revival" fashion (which is why I ain't gonna download it here!) but for folks who miss the days when underground rock didn't mean having to say you're caca this iz zit!
THE MUSIC OF WILLIAM PARKER; THROUGH ACCEPTANCE OF THE MYSTERY PEACE (Eremite, also available through Volcanic Tongue)
I've been following bassist Parker ever since I saw his name popping up on more "Freestyle Jazz" listings at the CBGB Lounge than I could count, and considering his membership in the great all-star free jazz cum no wave group (!) Freedomland not to mention his involvement in various other groups such as New Dimensions In Music you'd think that Hilly Kristal'd give him a discount or somethin' if only Hilly wasn't having his own troubles! Anyway, here's a new disque featuring a variety of Parker performances in various groupings both old (1979) and older (1974) showing he and the rest of the new seventies jazz underground osmosing the influences of everyone from the sixties trailbusters to the seventies out-theres (AACM) with relative ease, churning out a new avant garde that's just as palatable as the classic loft sides we heard on WILDFLOWERS as well as the more recent jazz purity that can be heard via a number of dives other'n CB's. And with such stalwarts as fellow Freedomlander Daniel Carter and Freestyle regs like Billy Bang, Jameel Moondoc and Charles Brakeen helping out you don't have to kick youself (like I do) for having missed all of those beyond-blare cybercasts (though I am thankful for what I've heard...).
On the good news front, Freestyle Jazz head honcho Dee Pop tells us that the series has reconvened at some place I've never heard of before called Jimmy's Restaurant. The bad news is that there ain't any cybercast hookups for you to watch nor even a sound system...waah!
I guess that's it for today's installment. Next time we have more, including a buncha Cee-Dees graciously sent to me by Norton and other promo gravy to top those mashed potats! Not to mention a few interesting oldies scattered about and even some surprises that'll have you doing a changeroo on your pre-conceived notions of exactly what I and the BLOG TO COMM empire stand for! So hold on tight, and remember, if you see a Lang, STEP ON IT!!!
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 11:31 AM