THE USELESS POST OF ROCK LISTS!
In case anybody out there wonders what today is the twenty-seventh anniversary of, it's that of the 1979 Kent Creative Arts Festival (taking place at where-else-but Kent State University in Ohio!) which, besides featuring a headlining Daevid Allen and (New York) Gong doing the entire Radio Gnome Trilogy also had Gilli Smyth and Mother Gong, a pre-Material Zu Band, euro tenorman Yo'cho Seffer (hope I got the name right!), Giorgio Gromelsky, longtime Cleveland progressive snoozers Orb, Tin Huey and (subbing for a couldn't make it William Burroughs) the Styrenes who evidently made the biggest impression on me that day. And if you think it was a hard-enough fact for me to cram down my throat that is was TEN years since that fateful day back inna spring o' '89, just think how old and crotchety I feel about this very same fact TODAY!!!
Anyway, since I don't have anything particularly witty or off-the-cuff to say I thought I'd pull a Dave Marsh on you and just fling a list of the tops-in-pops getting a spin here at BLOG TO COMM central these past few days. Remember when there'd be some letter sent to the fine folks at THE NEW YORK ROCKER and often-or-not there would be some guy (usually a hardcore aficionado) who just hadda end his note with a list of his top faves for the day? Or maybe you remember the old FUTURE fanzine where Greg Prevost would do the exact same thing mixing up the British Invasion with krautrock and some of the six-oh garage squall that would eventually overtake the young ruffian. Well, consider this a continuum on this theme of old which not only gives one insight into the inner workings and mindset of the blogger who refuses to die!, but it also make for a good SPACE FILLER, dontcha think???
(....in no particular order....)
DG-307-HYSTORIE/HYSTERIE 2-CD set (Guerilla)
Luther Thomas et. al.-THE RAP CD-R (No Label)
NOISETET OBSCURE CD (artists' label)
MARZETTE WATTS CD (ZYX/ESP Germany)
Cecil Taylor-NEFERTITI, THE BEAUTIFUL ONE HAS COME 2-CD set (Revenant)
CHARLES TYLER ENSEMBLE; Charles Tyler-EASTERN MAN ALONE CDs (both ZYX/ESP Germany)
Chinaboise-THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD CD (Gulcher) (in memorium Dave Mahoney)
The Modern Lovers-SONGS OF REMEMBRANCE CD-R (Punk Vault)
(Ronald) Shannon Jackson and the Decoding Society-STREET PRIEST CD (Moers Music Germany)
Phillip Glass-NORTH STAR CD (Virgin)
Roxy Music-FOR YOUR PLEASURE CD (Virgin)
Howzat? Kinda reflects a nice li'l seventies niche that I've settled into which I sure think's a lot sweller'n all of those eighties/nineties niches we see nowadays. Next time I'll post something real...
Friday, April 28, 2006
THE USELESS POST OF ROCK LISTS!
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Music Revelation Ensemble-NO WAVE CD (Moers Music)
Listen, I've got a load of new Cee-Dees and whatnot I could be reviewing here, but I won't. Not that I'm any sort of ingrate 'r anything, but at this nanosecond lemme just say that I don't particularly feel like writing about a batch of recordings that have either been handed down to me by various fans of this blog or purchased thanks to the fruits of my labor! Oh yeah, I'm grateful that I've got a bountiful enough collection of sonic scrapings of a wide supermarket variety ranging from old faves to snips you ain't heard yet and I can appreciate everything from the steel-string tones of John Fahey to the sonic disembowelment of Voivod, but when I get into a particular musical groove I want to stick with that same pattern and nary deviate from the form ('n not even one iota!). And that's one reason why I used to hate the old grind of reviewing albums for a vast array of music publications back inna eighties...y'see, I may have been Fed-X'd everything from the humblest of home-made gruel to the latest flash/crash/bash in amerindie alterntivistas which I'm sure woulda made the average music hound out there drool, but it really pained me to have to write up inna neat paragraph as to why I liked or hated the said disque in question even if I certainly wasn't in the mood to want to have any part of it! Like, maybe I'd get some interesting retro-garage band single from some schmucks out there in Podunk Iowa and it mighta been a great slab of six-oh squall and all, but if I wasn't up-front-'n-center for retro-punk activities it was sure hard for me to switch gears from whatever jag I was on (say, early heavy metal or mid-seventies Amerigan punk motifs) and "get into" what those Podunks were laying down on a single that probably wiped their bank accounts out in the process of recording and pressing the things! I probably gave a whole batch of worthies the bum's rush because of this (and maybe even vicey-versey!) but WHO CARES because my reviewing for hipster publications days are long gone anyway, and besides I'm sure that everyone who did get a bum rap from me has either done the most honorable thing such as slash their throats or (more probably) write little nasty things about my "tastes" whenever and wherever they can in order to "get some get back" this far down the line. Unfortunlately not enough people have gone the former route, and frankly, who knows how many J. Neo Marvins there are out there in alternativeland grumbling and plotting their next salvos against me any my self-made enterprise as we dare speak!
So I guess we'll have to wait a little while longer for the next round of Mike Stax-delivered goodies as well as some mailorder maulers I've received last month to make it to these pages, but until then I want to write about something that I really am enjoying to the utmost fullest in the here and now rather'n just another tossout that might sound good as is worthy of your time and effort, but I just "can't get into it" to be tres-seventies retro about it. In fact it's something that I've been playing almost every night for the past two weeks so you KNOW this is a true winner in the BLOG TO COMM annals of what is! Only once in awhile does a record (er, Cee-Dee!) like this strike at the core of my being, and getting on a one-disque-only monorail such as I am now kinda throws me back to my teenage days when I would make a ritual habit of playing everything from WHITE LIGHT/WHITE HEAT to Bowie's LOW and even LIVE AT THE ROXY AND ELSEWHERE night after night because the music somehow nullified the negative energy and hostility of the days with its own brand of negativism, and if you quite don't understand this I'll bet you're probably one of those upstart snooty types who used to do their best to make my life miserable back during them old high school days. Y'know, like when I'd be at my locker swithcerooing books between the sixth and seventh periods during my freshman days 'n they'd make the announcements over the loudspeakers for sports tryouts, and you happened to walk by with the rest of the big kids and said real loud "Hey Chris, you gonna try out for the blow job team????" 'n of course everyone guffawed while I grumbled! (oooh my brused soul!)
Yes, what we need in this world is more civility and nicey-nice, but until then at least I got my books and my poetry to protect me, and maybe some Cee-Dees as well! Anyway, here's my current obsessive fave, the Music Revelation Ensemble's 1980 release of a disque that went by the title of none other than NO WAVE. Now considering how the New York-derived no wave movement was bigger than big (or so we wished!) back when this platter originally was recorded for the German avant garde label Moers Music, and also considering how two of this group's more famed members (James "Blood" Ulmer and Ronald Shannon Jackson) were rather popular on that very same New York scene (particularly at CBGB's) with their own bands at the very same time, who couldn't doubt that this platter would very easily snuggle up to the likes of VON LMO or even the king 'n queen of no wave James Chance and Lydia Lunch's various endeavors considering the massive atonal blur that these Music Revelators exuded. Anyway, in case you're wondering I already did a review of NO WAVE long ago (o'er five years in fact!) in the pages of BLACK TO COMM #24 which earned a hearty round of approval from Brad Kohler solely for the part where I said that the current useage of the no wave terms was "looser than Matthew Sheppard's sphincter," but in order to play it wild and keep my mind unfluttered all these years later I am NOT going to refer to that write-up in order to bolster this one or to make sure I don't contradict anything I said earlier or nuttin' like that. When you're blogging you gotta take it hard and nasty!
Anyway, the Music Revelation Ensemble were one of those avant-jazz/rock supergroups of the eighties that, along with Last Exit, Machine Gun and others I would like to know more about, straddled the furious boundaries between rock and the jazz avant garde, almost coming off as fusion version of WHITE LIGHT/WHITE HEAT in the process and that's no mere hyperbole! The Music Revelation Ensemble had much going for it from the presence of Ulmer, who was then riding high on the punk/funk/jazz circuit headlining shows at CBGB and gettin' precious front cover space in THE NEW YORK ROCKER to boot (and ya gotta admit that he was one guy who deserved it, unlike the reams of subpar alternative indie bands who would later gobble up a lotta the mag's reason for being). Drummer Jackson, who had spent the late-sixties playing on everything from Charles Tyler's bee-youtiful debut disque for ESP (another frequent spin in these parts!) as well as with Kings Albert Ayler and Ornette Coleman (w/Ulmer joining Jackson in the Coleman group throughout the seventies!) was also getting notice on the En Why See hipster club circuit with his Decoding Society which not only featured some of the best players of the day (like Byard Lancaster) but future wonders such as Living Colour's own Vernon Reid who might've been a little more technical in his playing but still soared a mighty strong line whether playing in a jazz or rock vein.
Add of course saxophonist David Murray (who, as I recall saying in my original review taught James Chance a thing or two, and various google searches will dredge up some interesting Murray refs. courtesy Chance himself!) and electric bassist Amin Ali (whom I know nada about...I can't always be Chuck Eddy) and you have a superpower that shoulda rankled more feathers back in the days of old when kicks certainly were getting harder to find, but at least they left us this album (and more!) to listen to especially in these days when you feel like some old-time panhandler searching for that one nugget of prime musical listening pleasure inna stream of utter flotsam and derivative-hip buttspew.
I ain't gonna do an autopsy on the four tracks found herein, but lemme say that they're all top-notch powerful, complete with Jackson's manic drum-soloing that doesn't come off all "Hey look at me at this drum set playing an extended meaningful solo...WORSHIP ME!!!!" but total energy personified. Ulmer's playing ain't as bowl-you-over abstract as Sharrock's but it's still nerve-twisting enough to shock you out of your amerindie complacency. Angular and bluesy while being nasty, and fortunately far removed from the "standard" jazz guitar experience enough to give Al DiMeola the sonic laxative attack he's sorely needed for the past few decades.
Murray's sax playing isn't as all-out as Peter Brotzmann's nor is it as flesh-rending as the early Frank Lowe but it's suitable enough. I do find him more enjoyable than some of the other free players who never quite latched onto me such as Oliver Lake (although I really enjoyed that one Arista Freedom disque of his with one of those ne'er to be heard from again BAG guitarists playing some mighty angular lines). And as for the unknown-to-me Ali, its great hearing an electric bassist in a free jazz context NOT because he's playing a more rock-oriented instrument but because he seems right up-front and on top of (or maybe in back of) everything.
The sound can be huge and loud, or Delta blues gone New York decadent. "Time Table" sounds like an all-out blast that I kinda imagine one of Bruce Anderson's early pre-MX-80 Sound hard fusion groups sounded like, while "Big Tree" sounds like more of the same only with a Velvet Underground heartbeat to it. "Baby Talk" has this kiddie melody that's so outstandingly ridiculous yet so in-tune catchy that the major theme has been going through my head even while trying to cop some snooze during a particularly bad head cold last week which I'm still trying to shake off (shades of Patti Smith's "Kimberley" careening through Lester Bangs' dreams back in the waning days of 1975!) while Cee-Dee closer "Sound Check" is the group's no-bout-a-doubt-it "LA Blues" complete with the crashing intro, free-splat drum playing courtesy Jackson and jazz/blues chording from Ulmer, who sputters these spoken/sung lyrics complete with "thank you"'s, free verse the likes of "Peace, no war, no babies falling down" and other incoherent bits in both the native and German tongue! It crushes like nothing since the heyday of the underground revolt of the seventies when music like this (and more) was not just some young upstart form of expression but a revolt that had to be quelled. Or at least staved off until it shed any original meaning or power it may have originally had but that's another blogpost for another day.
Obsessive/compulsive impulse had me bidding on an Ornette Colemen 2-CD live set recorded in Italy '74 with both Ulmer and Jackson, but although I won the auction ebay pulled the thing AFTER it was all over for reasons not totally unknown to me. Other Music Revelation Ensemble and James Blood Ulmer recordings hopefully to be coming my way soon, as to which I'll keep YOU posted, unless I become obsessed over something else in the meantime that flutters my way, that is!
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 3:44 PM
Sunday, April 16, 2006
RONALD SHANNON JACKSON PUNK FUNK TOUR 2006
Ronald Shannon Jackson's work with and without his long-running group the Decoding Society has become an obsession of mine as of late, so naturally I've been doing a little bitta checking up on the man both with and without his jazz/rock aggregate via the good ol' internet. Anyway, while hitting upon his own personal website I've come across this page announcing the European itinerary for his Summer '06 Punk Funk Tour! With a lineup like that playing with Jackson I can only hope that all you lucky Limeys, Sausages, Pervos, Polacks and wood shoe types (tuff luck Wops 'n Frogs!) who may happen upon reading this will make a hearty attempt to catch one or maybe even all of these gigs which will probably be the highlight of your life, let alone the 2006 musical season. Without even having heard this group perform I can tell you that these well-seasoned veterans are far more worth your time than the latest flavor to pop outta the butt of amerindie central, that's for sure!
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 7:17 PM
Yeah, and if your names are ___ ______ and ____ ____, or even ___ _________ for that matter (take a WILD guess!) I hope the Easter Bunny left a nice steaming one in your basket! Anyhow, in case you aren't astute enough, you can betcha bottom food stamp that I ain't exactly in a happy mood even during these festive times when I should be doing cartwheels thinking about all the tasty candy that I'll be gobbling these next few days. I don't wanna go into the whys and wherefores of my bad mood (it'll only give more ammo to at least two of the three unmentionables listed above) but let me just tell you that I'm going to try and forego my rotten feelings for today and peck out a nice li'l ol' post telling all of you anxious beagles out there about some of the fun (and maybe not so) items that have crossed my path over the past week or so. Just don't expect me to be my usually jovial self (hah!), because right now I feel like heaving a whole batch of colorful hard boiled eggs at more than a few targets out there!
But really, if you think I'm having a rough go of it being a totally ignored and hated person on the lowest of the low rung of the blogosphere, you should just try being Dawn Eden! A gal introduced to me by none other than Lindsay Hutton thanks to his linking up of her Gene Pitney obit on his post (which in turn led me to a J. D. King caricature of her which certainly got my eyes lit!), I gotta say that I've been tuning in to see what Eden has been writing as of late about almost as much as I check out various other blogs to see what bad is being said about me (that's a joke, OK?)! Now personally, I really dunno what to make out about Eden's rock criticism...her musical values seem to be too much on the bland mainstream side for my own left (make that right)-field tastes (and besides that, she's also contributed to that Jim DeRogatis book which allegedly tears down the sacred rock LP icons of all time that I don't think anybody out there in the real world liked, although the fact that both of those wonderful rock critics Dave Marsh and Parke Puterbaugh heaved heavy dung-filled shovels at the thing speaks a lot more POSITIVELY about the book than anyone else could!), and her politics are more Bushian than Buchananista (take her support for the current goings on in Iraq and who knows, possibly Iran in the near future as well), but when it comes to societal/sexual mores or whatever they're called today Eden hits a bullseye that would make William Tell proud. And believe it or leave it, but I find her Dawn Patrol blog pretty good reading even if Miss Eden is ranting on about subject matters way above my third-grade edjamacation, though I must 'fess up to the fact that if anyone's getting burned up over the way all of those tres-"moderne" feminist types treat Dawn and her "reactionary" (read: anything that "keeps" women, minorities and gays down, or at least somebody said something like that about a certain you-know-who once!) opines it sure ain't Dawn...it's ME!!!!! I mean, if you think I've been through the grinder thanks to the various unmentionables above, you should see what Dawn goes through and on a daily basis as well! And although she probably would barf at the thought, I gotta admit that I do feel sorry when the lass is being PICKED ON like that! Yeah, reading what those dykes (at least in spirit!) hafta say about Dawn really gets my blood way past the 98.6-degree level, although I guess if a buncha hairy-pits who still read MS. can get so hot and bothered over one gal who can stand up against all of the evil lunacy that has "gone down" (calm down, Dave!) over the past few decades then I guess Dawn certainly is doing something right! And y'know what? I think I actually like the lass in my own gosh-it-all platonic way and she ain't even Japanese! Whaddaya say about THEM APPLES???
Before I get to the reg'lar portion of today's post tell me...izzit me or are some of the pix posted earlier this month (and late last) downright blurry??? I dunno what happened to cause that and I dunno what I can do to put them in focus if they are but please do let me know. Either the pics are outta-focuse or I may be having a stroke and I would like to know one way or the other!!!
BRUTE FORCE CD (Sepia Tone)
Although Sonny Sharrock was NOT a member of this all-black jazz/rock band from the terminally hip college town of Silver Springs (boho hippie body-piercing capital of Ohio) who unleashed this album on us sometime in the very late-sixties or very-early-seventies, he does play on six of the seven tracks here and I could forgive you for thinking so because the heavy guy with the 'fro standing in the front on the cover does bear a slight resemblance to the guitarist of atonal reknown. And for an all-black rock group from Silver Springs of all places Brute Force is purty wild, or I guess as wild as alla those all-black bands that permeated the New York Scene in the eighties back when the Black Rock Coalition seemed to be at the peak of its powers. Even though this disque starts off with some pleasant but ineffectual jazz rock that owes more to the production of Herbie Mann than one would have hoped for, as the album progresses into such uncharted territory as the aptly named "Monster" and the fifteen-minute "Ye-Le-Wa" Brute Force end up sounding a lot like the best of what spiritual leader Pharoah Sanders had been putting out for us before he hit the rhumba highway. Beautiful scrunch here. I mean it.
Various Artists-NEW YORK NOISE VOL. 2 CD (Soul Jazz)
Let's face it Clyde, nobody has come up with a halfway decent no wave sampler ever since NO NEW YORK started flying off the shelves back in 1978 thanks to a strategically-placed "PRODUCED BY ENO" sticker, and NEW YORK NOISE is no exception. It seems as if a lotta bozos out there get their no wave and post-punk and fluffy art projects all mixed up, which is why we have compilations like this which mostly mash up some post-disco and art-rock wannabes with the eighties post-no wave scene, some stragglers and oh yeah, TWO bonafide classic no wave number from Red Transistor and the Static amidst the slop. Sonic Youth from their first and best album are here, perhaps way outside the time limitations but better they than the Pulsallama or Arthur Russell dance rock stuff that had me heading straight for the arms of Miriam Linna around the time I began to realize that new wave 1976 and gnu wave 1982 weren't quite one and the same. And hey, I gotta admit that even Y-Pants, a band I dismissed upon the release of their CD collection a few years back sound OK next to some of the dance-y dross here but sheesh, what ever happened to the Gynecologists, Daily Life (the Static with Paul McMahon), the A-Band, Terminal and the Ghosts? I mean, I don't wanna hafta wait for some Smithsonian collection to be released on my 110th birthday, the same day I get a brand new plastic dung removal unit inserted upsides my way-worn (the NATURAL way) sphincter!
Les Rallizes Denudes-HEAVIER THAN A DEATH IN THE FAMILY; DOWN AND OUT IN TOKYO CD-Rs (no label)
With all the Denudes collections I have available at my fingertips I don't think any of these were really necessary. However, if you're unfamiliar with the band these are a good place to start. DEATH is a high energy cooker mostly dating from (I believe) the late-seventies, though the 10:32 "People Can Choose" comes from a 1973 gig done somewhere between Les Denudes' late-sixties garage psychedelia days and the mid-seventies hard sonic blare. In fact it kinda sounds Euro hardrock enough to have shown up on some early Skydog release! I'm unsure of TOKYO's time and place (and too lazy to find out...sinus headache is getting to me again!) but it's a good set, slightly slowed-down, laid back yet intense with an eerie creepy-crawl feeling to it as well as song titles in French which I'm sure would confuse a few more people who think this band originated in the land of wine and cheese. Well, considering how leader Takashi took not only a European name for his Asian wunderband but a Euro approach to playing American late-sixties hard rock innovation I can see how the confusion would reign...
Anthony Moore-PIECES FROM THE CLOUDLAND BALLROOM CD; REED, WHISTLE AND STICKS CD (both on Blueprint, available through Forced Exposure)
I was expecting some of that SORT OF-period Slapp Happy Velvets-rock here, but all I got were avant voice pieces and sound collages performed with the help of various Faust members amongst other passerbys! Interesting enough, though I bought these during one of my very frequent Velvet jags and was expecting something Richard Williams would have raved from here to Fredonia and back about in some now cruddy MELODY MAKER back in 1972. (And he might've raved about this one...I dunno, but I'm talking about raves as in rock's total eruption!) I think that I'll file mine next to Tony Conrad for those especially introverted moments. Now, can anyone tell me if those Anthony More records (like FLYING DOESN'T HELP) are worth seeking out or should I just stick with Peter Hammill if I wanna hear British prog rockers go proto-punk?
Anyway, thaz it for now...still have to get to the Mike Stax stack as well as some more Japanese wonders (LSD March and Up-Tight live) that have been laying about the abode, not to mention whatever else I can get my germ-riddled hands on, so expect all of that whenever it may be...but certainly not now!
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 2:36 PM
Sunday, April 09, 2006
Stand by for some more half-backed theorizing, mindless Velvet Underground worship, substandard writing and a generally lackadaisical effort to attempt at revealing to you just exactly why you should or shouldn't purchase the various items that had the misfortune to be mentioned below. As Lindsay Hutton once uttered, "Every one a Maserati!" but in this case I don't think I've even reached the lofty heights of a Subaru 360.
Big Star-#1 RECORD/RADIO CITY CD (Ardent/Stax)
As Edgar Breau once said, "these guys sound like they've spawned a lot of imitators." Of course he was talking about the Ramones, but as far as Big Star is concerned we can say purty much the same ol' thing. And, as Brian Eno once said, only a few thousand albums were sold, but everyone who bought one formed a band. To which Billy Miller added, "they all suck." Of course ol' Brian and Billy were talking about the Velvet Underground but the same thing can be said about this classy early-seventies mid-South wonder which took everything good that the mid-sixties and early-seventies hadda offer and didn't come off like amerindie forgettables in the process. And even with all the altie wannabes ripping Big Star off from here to San Diego and back I gotta admit it sure holds up better'n all the turds it spawned.
Mick Farren-MONA (THE CARNIVOROUS CIRCUS) CD (Captain Trip Japan, available through Slippytown)
Farren himself referred to this as one of the worst albums ever made, and considering that John and Yoko actually mentioned that MONA was one of their faves maybe Farren did have a point. Still, I gotta admit that Farren's contractual obligation disc sounds a lot better to me now than it did twennysome years back when I first heard it, with a good gruff dirge like quality to it that woulda come off bee-you-ti-ful if it were interspersed in between the Deviants' debut masterpiece PTOOFF!. The Hell's Angel interview at first turned me off faster than a chastity speech at a gay bar, but considering that PTOOFF! was to've had clandestine telephone calls (including one to Yoko herself!) mixed in with the music maybe MONA is just a belated take on what might have been, eh?
Hackamore Brick-ONE KISS LEADS TO ANOTHER CD (Mr. Nobody)
Well, the long-time bargain-bin classic and subject of a major Tim Ellison article in the last issue of his MODERN ROCK MAGAZINE has finally gotten a reissue, though don't start panting too heavily Rover. The lack of a bar-code, in-depth liner notes and the presence of audible if you turn it up just enough hiss (not forgetting the general third-generation sound on their single-only "a"-side "Searchin'", a radical reworking of the Coasters classic) all point towards an illegit release but still, it's good to have this wowzer in a format that sounds much better'n your old reliables and only a total dullard'd doubt that ONE KISS LEADS TO ANOTHER remains a hot one long after other then-contempos had worn out their welcome on your turntable. And boy, could I go into the wonderful inner workings of this classic garage band ranker, like not only how Hackamore Brick predate Patti Smith's early live and recorded efforts by a good three years but how these whoosh-where-did-they-go? guys encompass the entire career of THE VELVET UNDERGROUND (including their early experiments up through their mid-range folk period until the final days when they revisited their early roots through an early-seventies sense of pop!) mixed in with the best of the British Invasion and that Neil Young album everybody likes...but I won't.
The Beatles-SGT. PEPPER'S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND CD; MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR CD-R's (originally on EMI)
These items were jetted my way by a noted musical entity to be named at a later date NOT necessarily for review purposes, but for my own personal pleasure. Well, that's all fine and dandy, but I thought I'd give 'em a mention not in order to show just how "all-encompassing" I can be when it comes to music that doesn't fall outside the usual no-chord thud, but as a challenge which I thought would be especially "involving" but not totally disgusting like trying to tackle writing about the KEITH EMERSON PLAYS THE CLASSICS WITH HIS THIRD LEG album or something equally pretentious.
Yeah, I gotta admit that SARGE PEPPER ain't exactly been one of my favorite Beatles outings, and I've been telling everybody within earshot exactly that for the past few centuries! However, since I must admit that I haven't even heard the blasted disque in its entirety ever since Jillery packed up her records and split for parts known and since album tracks glommed on "Classic" FM radio don't necessarily tell the whole story I figured why not...it's a freebie y'know?
And if you think that I'm going to tell you that I've experienced some great epiphany and that SGT. PEPPER is in fact one of the best albums to ever hit the bins at Ernie's Stereo Mart then I'll tell you that you've been mixing a little something in with your sterno. And if Billy Miller could spout off that the Velvet Underground were a great band that spawned substandard emulators I can say that SGT. PEPPER was a overblown and way-too-self-conscious album that led to even worse art rock that sorta gave the following decade a huge dank demeanor that a thousand VON LMO's couldn't wash away. And yeah, I know that such admirable people as Sterling Morrison (and probably the other Velvets) as well as Richard Meltzer himself have waxed eloquently about SGT. PEPPER, but that doesn't mean that I have to like it. But who can fault 'em anyway...I mean they were the Beatles and given that the only bloke to give the thing a huge thumbs down at the time was Richard Goldstein and everybody knows he's a snooze maybe Sterl and Richard had something going for 'em, y'know?
Yeah, it's "art" and not rock which should disqualify SGT. PEPPER on a whole load of bases, but in order to say something "good" about it (in the same fashion that certain people love to say nice things about bad people...like "that Hitler sure knew how to build a Volkswagen!" or "Chris' new web site has some interesting posts about music sometimes, and he got me curious about a modern Japanese compilation a few weeks ago"...y'know, real patronizing fluff that serves no purpose whatsoever!) I'll say that I thought "Getting Better" sounded slightly bouncier and even more eloquent than I remembered, but maybe that's because Don Fellman once ranted on about how he could relate to the lyrics of that one! Anyway, before I get a deluge of response crying "Sellout!" lemme just remind you that for the most part I still believe that SGT. PEPPER is pretty tiresome, non-rocking, and sure to disappoint the garage-bred primates amongst us. As it has for almost four decades awlready!
Regarding MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR, I dunno why a lotta goofs bust on this one because it sure sounds better than its predecessor. And for a throw-together consisting of an English EP set and some newies it seems a lot more cohesive than PEPPER's "bo-de-oh-do"...after all, the familiar tunes on this one at least come closer to a Floydian sense of psychedelic construction than it did on PEPPER, and I gotta admit that tracks like "Baby You're a Rich Man" and even "Penny Lane" have much in common with REVOLVER's sense of 1966-styled rock experimentation fortunately not forgetting the "rock" which seemed in such short supply on PEPPER. Not only that, but do I detect the influence (no matter how slight) of a Velvet Underground repeato-riff on "Flying" or is it my over-Velvet-saturated imagination at work again? You tell me...I just wondered, because at the same time these tracks were being laid down the Beatles were also engaging in a session of avant-garde musique concrete that reportedly bore a heavy resemblance to what the Pink Floyd and Velvets were up to at the time. Don't be so surprised...after all, you gotta remember that Brian Epstein was snuggling up to Lou Reed telling our favorite perv that he and his boyfriend listened to THE VELVET UNDERGROUND AND NICO during their holiday, and another report had Eppie and John Lennon himself doing the juke box jury thing with the debut VU platter so I wouldn't be that surprised if Lennon had swiped a few tricks from the Velvets playbook! And not only that, but Sterling Morrison claims that none other'n Hari Whatzizname did his own pinching, this time a solo right off THE VELVET UNDERGROUND AND NICO and straight onto MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR (or was it "You Know My Name"???) so maybe all that talk about the Velvets influencing all the biggies and while they were still around is more than just idle thunk onna part of a buncha rockcrit wannabes? It certainly is something to ponder, and if someone out there has the time and backing to do a book on the vast Velvets influence maybe an interview with a well-plied Paul McCartney would be in order???
Rust-COME WITH ME CD (Akarma Italy)
Forget the actual why as to the reasoning behind me scarfing up this particular disque, but I'm at least relieved that I hadn't made yet another one of my pig-in-a-poke purchases along the lines of the time I bought an album by the eighties British group Japan thinking they were going to sound like early Roxy Music, or for that matter Dead or Alive just on the basis of a NEXT BIG THING piece back in 1981. Anyhoo this mystery group is pretty on-target for an unexpected newie...I thought they were from Texas since they had a sorta 1969 hard rock appeal that sorta jetted out from the 1966 psychedelia scene there, but the pic of 'em on furrin' cop bikes had me fooled. Whatever, this is okay late-sixties garage-psychedelia transmuting into hard rock with heavy pop undertones. Nice enough to at least get pushed to the back of your collection.
Open Loose-COME AHEAD BACK... CD (Koch Jazz)
Sax/bs/drms trio that I learned about through the Freestyle Series back when it was gurgitating at the CBGB Lounge a few years back. Nice mid-range sounds that don't quite grab you as much as some of the other bands who are playing the same circuit, but I find it a lot more involving than a lotta the other music getting rubbadubbed on ya out there. Nice background engager that stimulates your inner workings to the point of "say mama!"
The Loons-PARAPHERNALIA CD (UT)
Y'know, I must admit that I've been a bit suspicious of The Ageless One (that's Mike Stax to you) and this hot-off-the-press disque by his band the Loons. Y'see, I had a feeling that this new entry in the long-line of Stax-related releases was gonna be more of that Pretty Things ripoff bloozey stuff Mike really goes for but I'll admit has me looking for the nearest Sky Saxon album within a few spins. Well, I was wrong, because this new Loon gooner is a pretty hot straight-ahead rocker that believe-it-or-not reminds me of what the Droogs were doing in the eighties when that pack of garage band miscreants were one of the few aggros out there on God's Great Map trying to produce THE GREAT AMERIGAN ROCK ALBUM inna tradition of the MC5, the Flamin' Groovies and noneother'n the same Hackamore Bricklayers mentioned above. Melodic, powerful, emotional (without abusing it!) and energetic...it coulda been as wild as the Droogies' own KINGDOM DAY if Stax worked at it but I guess there's always another album. Bad point: gurl member ruins the great sexist imagery of these garageoids plenny but I guess they needed somebody to hit the high notes.
Got other newies like the Jook collection, the Mustangs and the Metal Boys' TOKYO AIRPORT (plus a few oldies I'm sure) I'll clue you in on either next time or a few times after that (or both!). Until then, have fun, keep a-rockin' and remember not to take any wooden langs!
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 9:27 AM
Saturday, April 08, 2006
FREESTYLE JAZZ NEEDS YOUR HELP!
(Blogmeister's note: here's something I've received via email today that I thought was important enough to share with you readers since just about everything Dee Pop is involved with is automatically worth your support, especially his tireless Herculean Efforts [thanks Jerry Lewis!] to keep avant garde jazz alive and thriving under usually difficult circumstances. So if you're an aficionado of the freedom-in-jazz movement and are able to attend any or all of the gigs I've kindly listed below, please get offa yer duff and do just that before original live avant sounds become the thing of boring culture and jaunty beret-wearing! And we don't wanna see the avant garde lowered to such standards, do we?)
Help this series survive! Please foward this email to anyone you feel might be interested. This is serious. I need your help! Thanks with all sincerity, Dee Pop
Dee Pop presents: FREESTYLE JAZZ
Every Thursday @ Jimmy’s 43 Restaurant
43 East 7th Street - NYC - 212-982-3006
SPECIAL WEDNESDAY SHOW April 12:
EDDIE GALE QUARTET featuring
DICK GRIFFIN, John Gruntfest, HILLIARD GREENE, DEE POP
April 13 8pm & 10pm
Steve Lehman Quartet
8pm Radio I-Ching: Andy Haas, Don Fiorino, Dee Pop
10pm Flex Trio: Daniel Carter, Drew Gress, Ehran Elisha
8pm Joe Fiedler Trio, John Hebert, Mark Ferber
10pm Frank Lacy Trio
May 4 8pm & 10pm
Michael Attias, Tony Malaby, John Hebert, Gerald Cleaver
8pm David Aaron's Short Memory: David Aaron, Rob Ritchie, Matt Wigton,
10pm Gene Ess Quartet
8pm Radio I-Ching
9pm George Haslam, Roy Campbell, Hilliard Greene, Dee Pop (2 sets)
8pm & 10pm Ellery Eskelin & Gerry Hemingway
8pm Green Morocco: Joe Giardullo, Todd Capp, Rich Rosenthal
plus Joe Giardullo Remembers Steve Lacy- solo soprano saxophone.
10pm Hayes Greenfield, Ed Schuller, Bob Meyer
10pm Sonic Openings Under Pressure: Patrick Brennan, Dave Pleasant,
June 15 tba
8pm & 10pm John Abercrombie, Adam Kolker, John Hebert, Bob Meyer
$10 per set • 1 drink minimum
Great and reasonably priced food & Large Selection of Beer Available. Come early or call for reservations.
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 1:05 PM
Friday, April 07, 2006
A BLOGGER IN NEED IS A BLOGGER INDEED!
Like, I sincerely doubt that anyone out there in realworldland can help me but given my, er, power as a blogger of well reknown I think I'll give it the ol' college try. (And besides, maybe an ex-member or their mother is cruising the Google in the hopes that somebody out there still cares in order to save themselves or their progeny from a lifetime cooped up inna bedroom!) Y'see, I'm looking for ANYTHING...information, CD-Rs, tapes, pix, what-have-you, on a couple of very obscure New York City groups who seem to have come and gone without leaving much if any imprint on the local music scene which is a total honest-to-Lmo shame given that these bands were pretty good and didn't cave in to current alternative/amerindie trends that seem to have ruined way too many funtime listening sessions for people like myself (tried and true rock reactionaries) for way too long a spell. Their names??? None other than Lucky and Kleiner's Kalabah Syringe!
The former bunch were, for a short spell, able to be seen via the CBGB cybercast archives when a 1999 gig at the infamous sister club CB's 313 Gallery had popped up amidst the mix of solo folkies and acoustic rock jams that permeate the place. However, these guys weren't just your average runna the mill daddy-cut-off-my-trust-fund-woe-is-me! soft and introspective REM wannabes...their sound actually seemed more or less rooted in a hard-rocking early-punk style that owed more to a New York 1975 groove rather than the musings of a good quarter-century later. The leader of the group reminded me of Harry Toledo with his slicked back hair and he played a Fender Stratocaster as well as sang while some other guy alternated between a bass guitar and acoustic standup (one instrument that linked Lucky to many of the other groups who were playing the Gallery at the time) while their drummer played a small trap set also akin to those that shared the same stage. From what I remember from the then-archived gig this trio opened their set with an instrumental very reminiscent of the Heartbreakers' "So Alone" which I think accounts for some sorta cool, mainly because I have the sneaking suspicion that this Lucky bunch never even heard of the Heartbreakers!
I also remember tuning into a live as it was a-happening gig, also at the Gallery, which ended with this interesting jazzy thing with the bassist playing his acoustic while the guitarist pecked out these staccato lines that must have come from sorta avant garde background but didn't really to fit into that form! And yeah, I've done a web search on these guys and for years trying to find that li'l something, only to come up with one group called Lucky who had a CD out and all, but they looked too healthy and well-scrubbed in the typical amerindie mode to be the same bunch that I'm on the lookout for. Can anyone out there in computerland help me get Lucky???
As for Kleiner's Kalabah Syringe (cool name even if I don't know what it means!), I with I knew a lot more about these gonzos! They kinda looked like the late-seventies Flamin' Groovies, but that's probably because they had two proud baldies inna bunch and dressed in suits and ties which I think is cool especially in these casual times when it seems that many bands step up to the stage straight from their day jobs at the fish market. Kleiner's Kalabah Syringe also had a boss sound which reminded me of a cross between the early-seventies Flamin' Groovies variety and the Velvet Underground with a bitta the SHAKE SOME ACTION driving-pop Groovies tossed in for good measure, and I still remember giving them a try via a live cybercast also from the Gallery but turning it off after awhile because somehow I perceived the set to be devolving into some sorta bloody mess that was conflicting with my personal sense of rockism (either that or I was getting too tired to comprehend and enjoy the music at hand). I can still kill myself for doing something as stupid as shutting these guys off, because after making it to the main CBGB stage for one gig these guys jettisoned themselves into nowhere sans any traces that they had even existed in the first place! Too bad even if they kinda looked like a buncha toughies who get drunk at wedding receptions and try to start fights.
So please, if anyone out there has any info or concrete material regarding the above aggregates (and others!) please let me have ALL OF IT! Leave a post or snail-mail whatcha got to me at 714 Shady Ave., Sharon PA 16146 and maybe I'll be able to sleep even better that I already do at nights! Please don't let these guys go the way of the Disposable God Squad or Tuli Kupferberg and the Fuxxons as far as forgotten New York wonders go, for they deserve to be noted and lionized a lot more than a lotta lamebo loser bands out there are, that's for sure!
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 9:33 PM
Thursday, April 06, 2006
Sunday, April 02, 2006
DON'T JUST SIT THERE...READ SOMETHING!
Reading can be just as fun as listening or watching, that is if you're reading the right sorta thing that's totally in tune with your own personal sense of funtime balance. That's why I hold reading in the same high regards that I do listening to some great high-energy rock or jazz disque or watching a classic comedy or tee-vee show...of course I prefer reading the right things (old timey comic strip/book compilations, classic fanzines with as many Velvet Underground references that can be crammed in...) just like I strive to watch the right movies and listen to the even righter recordings out there because frankly, life is way to short to get stuck looking through old issues of SWELLSVILLE or spinning the Ex (who, in my typically MAD-bred mentality, should've been called the Ecch!!!).
Anyway, this particular post will be devoted to some of the "printed matter" that has been crossing my eyes as of late. I mean, I've got to do something whilst sitting on the commode or listening to music during my evening wind-down from a day at the thumbscrew factory hours, and reading (whether it be onna computer or the old fashioned way) always seems to fill the bill when it comes to a thrill, Lil! (That's the Basil Wolverton influence at work!)
UGLY THINGS #23 (It's supposed to be a fanzine but I think it's outgrown its original roots plentyfold!)
Back in the middle part of the decade we now call the eighties, there were two young boys on opposite ends of the Amerigan continent who were both totally enthralled with varying forms of sound patterns, the one on the left coast being swayed under the spell of early-sixties British bluesmeisters and beatsters (not to mention various new colony hanger ons) and the one on the right manic Velvetisms as well as the varying paths those drones could lead to. Both started up their own fanzines around the same time, although while the kid on the right coast sorta crashed and burned into a sea of indifference and abject hatred (which he either wallowed in or abhorred depending on the situation at hand) the one on the left became world-reknown and a lot more than a just a passing fancy in the realms of garage band aficionadodom. And besides, he managed to keep his hair which is a lot more than I can say about the right-coast dullard!
Of course the left coast fanzine magnate I'm talking about is none other than one Mike Stax, and keeping true to form he's gone and released himself another issue of his now-beyond-legendary UGLY THINGS magazine for us eager peasants to consume, and although I gotta admit that this particular ish is over half-a-year-old I just got the thing which naturally makes me a Johnny-Come-Latelier (yeah, I used that one in my last post but I thought it was so neat I decided to use it again!) but rather you read my opinions on the magazine rather than some disaffected, above-it-all blogger or gosh-it-all lapdog drooling all over the thing complete with that stinky dog breath and stringy-drool drying up all over the furniture looking like Christmas tree tinsel! And besides, when this magazine was originally released back inna Summer of '05 I expressly told Mr. Stax not to send me a free copy because for all intent purposes my own BLACK TO COMM fanzoonie is deader than a doornail (though don't be surprised if the Phoenix doesn't once again rise from the ashes of my crash and burn sometimes in the distant future) but he sent me one anyway nice guy that he is who still cares about us little people even though he is now one of the biggest of the bigshots when it comes to the wonderful world of garage band fandom and can probably afford to throw away his underwear (and maybe his sunglasses!) after wearing them just once.
Nice glossy cover as usual, and even nicer innards too. And although frankly it would take an average person at least three weeks to fully read, digest and comprehend any issue of this mag (and for me at least six months!), I'll make a gallant effort to at least tell you all about what I've perused of this thing! Part 1,403 of the Misunderstood story is presented featuring the time between October 4, 1974 at 1:30 PM and 2:30 that same day (Glenn Campbell's ingrown toenail crisis being presented in vivid detail) and...alright, that's a joke, but in reality the post-Misunderstood saga is pretty interesting even if you kinda wanna upchuck at the idea that member Rick Brown spent a good portion of the early-seventies ramalama-ing in India and Nepal complete with a haircut that seems modeled after my very own only NATURE did it to me! Still it makes for funtime reading even if you're not that keen on the Misunderstood after a certain point in rockism history thinking that all that post-'67 stuff is nothing but hippydippyisms. I skimmed through the parts on the likes of the Pilgrims, that pre-Move Mike Sheridan article and even Mike and the Ravens (though I did "read 'em"...let's just say that I gave these the old quickie perusal like I used to give my algebra and science textbooks back when I was studying for tests in High School which would account for my iffy knowledge of these pieces, as well as my dismal school grades) but then again I always seem to do that because I like to get to my favorite part of the mag, mainly the book, DVD and RECORD (er, Cee-Dee) REVIEWS!!!!
I always like to throw myself full force into the review sections because now I know which new record/book releases there are out there in "buy me!" land and I can send my shekels to a lotta neat places so I can review things on this blog and act like a big shot cluing you ignorant peons in! Unfortunately there weren't that many things reviewed that really would light a fire under my expansive back-issue collection (though the Buddy Holly CD/DVD set looks tasty as does that Sundazed double 10-inch set of Byrds FIFTH DIMENSION outtakes). But still, it's always great reading about these new recordings (of old faves and soon-to-be's) which kinda flashes me back to my barely-into-the-double-digits days when all this great fifties/sixties squall was being presented to me via garage sales and flea markets, and at cheapo prices as well!
Mike also sent me some Cee-Dees straight from his own custom-made Ugly Things label, and I will review those in earnest in a future post (since this is an all-print edition of BLOG TO COMM in case you skipped over the intro). However, the special Mike and the Ravens CD that comes with this issue makes for a tasty cherry on toppa this hot fudge sundae of an issue, with over twelve minutes of great early-sixties vintage garage band crank that makes me wanna go to the nearest shopping plaza and pick up a new copy of MAD IN ORBIT along with the top album of the week for only 99 cents and ten bottle caps...waidaminnit!!! Thanks for nothing, Mike!
BAM BALAAM #'s 11 and 14 (fanzine published by Brian Hogg in the seventies and eighties)
Face it bub, THE NEXT BIG THING wasn't the only fanzine to come out of the land of club/log throwing and men in skirts (that's Scotland to you!) not counting a buncha punk crudzines and the like...there was also BAM BALAAM, a rag that has more than a national identity to share with its still-going strong (at least online) countryman! Y'see, back in the early eighties I actually SUBSCRIBED to BAM BALAAM, a feat I was to repeat a few years later with Lindsay Hutton's own pub though sad to say, right when I skeedaddled my money to editor Brian Hogg the magazine just hadda deep-six, and along with the magazine went my hard-begged moolah as well. And I never got a refund either, which must mean that all of those stories we hear about stingy Scot tightwads must be true (he probably didn't wanna splurge for the postage, though he coulda deducted that and the cost of the envelope and the foolscap and the time to write the note and the pencil outta what he did owe me!) but I'm not going to crybaby and complain about it like I should given I'm such a poor boy who has to crawl through the gravel to do what most people can on a daily basis! I hold no grudges, right Jay???
Anyhoo I happened to come across these two latterday issues of BAM BALAAM via an ebay auction, and although I already owned #14 of the pair I thought an extra one wouldn't hurt especially when the original was somewhere in about thirty years of collected gunk gathering dust or mold somewhere in the abode. I'll get to that one later...now the ish that's all-new to me is #11 from sometime during the dawn of that miserable decade we now call the eighties. Of course it wasn't as miserable then (Madonna had yet to soil the visage and Bruce seemed still enshrined in his cult of mindless sycophants) so the fanzine energies were still running on seventies pow'r and might and BAM BALAAM was no different. In a move to shock the punque hipsters (or maybe sell a few more copies), Hogg slapped the Rolling Stones smack dab on the front cover (albeit the early variety, not the kind that later ended up recording such Highpoints of Western Civilization as "Angie"), and yeah, I'll admit that it's a pretty good piece as is the one on the Who and the Easybeats, concentrating on the wild early days of the sixties and fortunately cutting the cord when it comes to seventies excess (or even before)!
I also gotta admit that I like Hogg's manner of presentation: y'see, he writes about groups we've known about for years, and he tells us things we've known since the beginning as well...however, the way he does it is so matter-of-fact that it's like you're getting a refresher course and you like it, plus he might stick an interesting fact you never knew about or had totally forgotten, which suits me fine because I have a head like a sieve!
As for issue #14, this was the last BAM BALAAM and a beaut as well with the Velvet Underground featured on the cover. Again, I've known almost everything Hogg brings to light here but it's sure nice, even giving you a holy feeling as you read about the experimentations of Cale and the energy and promise they held for way too many people to count (that is, until those same people began playing lousy music in their "tradition"). Also figuring into this issue are Bobby Fuller, the Mockingbirds (Graham Gouldman) and pre-SAHB Alex Harvey, dishing out loads of info and pix for non-haggis types who've only known the man from his latter days in the seventies freak rock arena!
DC ARCHIVE SERIES; ALL STAR COMICS VOLUME 1 (DC, 1991)
I guess this series is popular because they're already up to the late-forties days of the Black Canary and artwork by Irwin Hasen (who later ended up drawing that dumb dago DONDI inna funny pages), and I would be a big liar if I didn't tell you that this series doesn't hold a special place in my comic book loving heart. Y'see, when I was twelve I was a huge fan of comic books both old and new, and considering how many old timey greats like Jack Kirby and Joe Sinnott were still active and many old heroes had been either reconstructed (like the Flash) or even reborn (like the original Flash), there still was a strong continuity whether it be character or saga-wise between the Golden Age heroes and the new ones that seemed to satisfy me as a kid who longed for the past I never knew that sure seemed neat enough if my folks could be trusted with their tales of nighlife and excitement. Unfortunately, this series of Justice Society episodes hadda arrive long after my comic book fandom turned to rockism, but I figured that I'd rather be late than never even if these old comics seem to have less and less relevance in my life at least until I reach retirement age and I can spend my waning days reading all the Golden Age comics I want to 'til I burst!
So what does this premier volume have in store? Well, the first Justice Society story (actually from issue #3) has the gathered DC heroes of the day (excepting Superman and Batman, who as the story says were keeping an eye on things though since they weren't part of the "All-American" branch of the DC empire I guess they needed special permission to appear there!) spinning yarns about their various adventures. Gotta admit that the artwork ain't as top-notch as it could've been (even Sheldon Moldoff comes off as a totally weak Alex Raymond swipe nothing like what he would be able to do in a very short while) but I like the sagas being spun from such soon to be revamped/forgotten old timers as the (original) Sandman, (original) Atom and Dr. Fate, all of which are in that classic Golden Age "suspend a lotta your practical and scientific knowhow and it'll all work out fine" sense. Even the Red Tornado, DC's attempt at a truly engaging superhero spoof along the lines of Supersnipe and perhaps even Plasticman to an extent shows up for a page!
Unfortunately the later JSA mega-stories that pop up in this volume don't quite get to me, but perhaps that's because the Big 'Un was getting in gear at this time and well, the patrotic jingoism of WW II is kinda making me nauseous as of late. Without getting into much controversy or looking like a pacifist geek I gotta say that most all of the propaganda that has been used to stir up hoi polloi Ameriga's pro-war zeal comes off worse than a Sunday School play, and sometimes I gotta wonder about the mentality of people who can suddenly hate others of different ethnicities or races with a drop of a hat (or a bomb for that matter). And yeah, I can goof on watching old Warner Brothers cartoons where Bugs Bunny sells chocolate covered grenades to a Japanese soldier, but milking an entire propaganda war on such banalaties can make one wanna head for the nearest vomitorium. And watching the Atom forcing a buncha fifth columnists posing as students at his college to sing patriotic Amerigan tuneage only sends me in search of Nico's "Deutschland Uber Alles"!
All funnin' aside, ya gotta be careful with these Golden Age reads despite what the Fandom Is A Way Of Neglecting Everything Else In Your Life people may say. Seek carefully, and remember, what mighta seemed like a great idea at twelve might come off like a total embarassment today!
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 10:12 AM