MOOM PITCHER REVIEW: DOWNTOWN '81 STARRING JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT!
When this flicker was finally released a few years back after being held up for who knows what reason I'm sure SOMEBODY stood up and took notice. Maybe one of those New York elitist (as opposed to Mencken-elitist I guess) VILLAGE VOICE types who claim an ever-vigilant all-enveloping relationship with the prole unless he's a Queens Archie Bunker hardhat or somethin' rushed to the nearest arthouse to get an eyefull, but frankly I gotta admit that despte NOT being a beret-wearing art-snob from the chic enclosures of En Why See my own attention regarding this film was a little bit piqued. Now, I can't say that I care very much about the artwork and career of Jean-Michel Basquiat who stars as himself in this lower Manhattan romp filmed during the final days of the New York Scene in full bloom, but the setting (like I said, lower Manhattan), the time (1981) and the smattering of stars and cameos in this moom had me more interested in seeing this under-the-counterculture film than I am eyeballing a whole barrel of Fatty and Baldy-approved wares out there, and given the star-studded rockist intent of the thing yeah, I could say that DOWNTOWN '81 is perhaps one of the last great rock & roll flicks to have graced my laser launching pad. But I won't.
Actually it's halfway-there decent and watchable, and 75% enjoyable at that. Rising artworld star Basquiat plays himself, a down-and-out local artist/new wave musician (leader of the band Gray, whose only recorded output can be heard on the soundtrack though I don't know exactly where) who, after getting released from the hospital is locked out of his apartment by landlord Giorgio Gromelsky (best known to you as the one-time Yardbirds manager) until he can come up with the four-hundredsome bucks to pay his back rent. Attempting to sell a painting in order to raise the cash, we see Basquiat travel the hip confines of Manhattan meeting up with everyone from old school rappers to fellow new (transmuting into "gnu"...this was the transitional early-eighties y'know) wave musicians, seeing his band's equipment get ripped off in the process and running into a whole slew of women who I guess are supposed to be "good looking" but even at that time I missed the stark femininity I grew up with so they don't seem that hot to me to begin with!
Yeah, DOWNTOWN '81 has a lotta that self-consciousness to it that was probably copped from European art films and PBS documentaries, but its still worth an eyeballing (and perhaps owning) at least for the variety of guest stars who pop into the mix when you least expect it. INTERVIEW/cable TV host Glenn O'Brien (who was one of my fave contributors to the old SPIN back in the mid-eighties!) plays the rock critic for THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR interviewing Japanese quick-flashes the Plastics, while no wave violinist (and bandleader of the GLENN O'BRIEN'S HOUSE PARTY group---see how it all ties in expecially considering how O'Brien wrote this thing!) Walter Steding has a long scene explaining the problems that even successful underground stars had in En Why See at the time! (Lance Loud pal Christian Hoffman and Cameo-Parkway/Red Star label bigwig Marty Thau appear in this scene as industry wonks!) Also getting ample screen time are DNA (well into their downtown noise thing having long forsaken a steady rock beat that got my undies in an uproar way back when) with a strange interlude consisting of bassist Tim Wright talking to drummer Ikue Mori in English and Spanish with Mori responding in the only English she knew at the time..."shut up!" (Which might figure since I was told the two married if only to keep Mori from being deported!) And while we're at it, the big "rock star" getting mobbed while going out to see Kid Creole and the Coconuts (how early-eighties NEW YORK ROCKER can you get?) is none other'n Elliot Murphy wearing his famous shag coat, and guess who that tough lug playing the doorman at the Peppermint Lounge preventing Basquiat from sneaking in to see the Contortions (the Joseph Bowie/Bern Nix version!) is? That's right, none other'n John Morton of Electric Eels/Ex-Blank-X fame WITHOUT his hair bleached blond! Believe-you-me, DOWNTOWN '81 has more of those hipster guest stars sneaking in and out of the mix (and while we're at it, Bradley Field, Mahogany Brain's Patrick Geoffris, and Tish & Snooky also show up as do O'Brien's patrons Chris Stein and Debbie Harry as well---what'd'ja expect anyway???) which kinda makes it come off like a low-budget IT'S A MAD MAD MAD MAD WORLD and funnier to boot! True there's no Lou Rone, Miriam Linna or Robert Quine here, but ya can't have EVERYTHING!!!!
Thee Midniters-IN THEE MIDNIGHT HOUR CD (Norton)
Tried downloading a cover snap to grace this particular post but the sneaky spuds at Norton put up some weird protective barrier between me and the pic in question (probably because the cover artwork is so holy that it should only be viewed under the strict and safe confines of their site). Oh well, I guess if you wanna see it bad enough you can always go there to check out the typically tasteful Norton cover art, and while you're there why dontcha pic up a copy or ten of IN THEE MIDNIGHT HOUR in order to pad up your collection against the rising tide of blanditude which can be found therein. I guess the "thee" in "Thee Midniters"'ll tip you off to the fact that this here's a Mexican-Amerigan buncha musicians who used to play a fine blare of powerful dance-rock at least until the self-consciousness of El Chicano swept over the scene, and if you like that mid-sixties dunce-thrash that seemed to spring from the corpse of Ritchie Valens you'll certainly want to go for this breed of wild frat chicanery straight from the streets of East El Lay back during the days when the Mexican influence in local rock & roll was very hard to deny (not that you'd want to!). Personal faves include the strange soul twist on "Gloria" (complete with expertly mimicked Van Morrison lyrics), a perfectly '64-punk drone-riff take on the old "I Found a Peanut" song my sister used to bug me with whilst I was a tyke, and the infamous "Down Whittier Blvd." done with local dee-jay Godfrey, who later took Kim Fowley's "The Trip" and made it into a classic PEBBLES VOL. 3 staple!
Norton also sent me some udder wares including the latest single in their Rolling Stones covers series (complete with impeccable London ripoff sleeve and labels as per usual) featuring a King Kahn/Flakes double-header, but since my old turntable remains unrepaired and my luck in finding a new one remains dizz-mal I'll have to put that one (along with my entire vinola collection) on ice as they say. However, I do plan on getting a system into my abode by the time the NEXT Norton Rolling Stones tribute single wings my way, which should be a doozy considering it's a duo between none other than Jay Hinman and Dave Lang schmoozing it up on the famed contract-breaking legend "Cocksucker Blues"! I'd make a pun about the dynamic duo going to the "head" of the class with this one but that's too corny to ever see print, er, pixel!
Vietnam-THE CONCRETE'S ALWAYS GRAYER ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STREET CD (Vice)
Aha! Finally was able to download a Cee-Dee cover snap even if it does look like lang! Gee, I seem to remember a band also called Vietnam from the early-eighties, a self-proclaimed "no wave" group from Georgia back when that state was popping out zome of the least-Southern-sounding rock you could imagine! Anyway, when I saw that a band called Vietnam was playing at the CBGB Lounge a few months back I figured it couldn't be the same batch, but considering that the first Vietnam weren't exactly breaking office box records its not like the second ones weren't swiping their names on purpose...after all, look at how many groups there were with the names the Coachmen (at least five by my count), the Sonics (four), L-7 (three) and Destroy All Monster (two), and you know that none of 'em were exactly hitting the top of the pop charts at any given time so why should I bust the chops of these new Vietnam guys especially when they seemed like a pretty good act to begin with!
Anyway, like those Vietnam guys these guys are also from the South (Texas transplanted to En Why See) and are a duo as well, but that's where the similarities end. And although I gotta clobber them for evoking (albeit second-hand) the memory of Erma Bombeck (beyond-the-pale cutesy-drivel columnist and heroine of all myopic teachers and perennial Home Ec Club gals during my high school years) with the title of this thing I gotta congratulate Vietnam for evoking some of the better moments of sixties rockhood (electric Dylan, Velvets and blues-saturated Stones) w/o coming off as total eggheads. True, this one's eventually gonna get buried in the collection next to all those other quick-flash fixes and the vocals do tend to borrow too heavily from the alternative "My head's too heavy from last night's orgy and daddy's gonna cut off my trust fund" blooze, but these two (with the right percussive backing in the sparse Maureen Tucker vein) surprisingly do safisfy on this half-hour trek. Vietnam will probably fizzle out just like 99.999...% of their local brethren, but at least they put out this halfway-decent and listenable disque that doesn't borrow too much from the font of moderne-day alternative beyond-cliches.
Sunday, August 27, 2006
MOOM PITCHER REVIEW: DOWNTOWN '81 STARRING JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT!
Sunday, August 13, 2006
(as the bi said)...THESE ARE A FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS!
Summertime really is taking a toll on me not unlike the great summer of '78 back when all I felt capable of doing was dragging myself outta bed at 9:00 AM to watch the fifteen-minute ROCKY AND HIS FRIENDS, lolling around the house watching even more tee-vee and listening to the likes of NUGGETS, the Flamin' Groovies' SHAKE SOME ACTION and the Airplane's SURREALISTIC PILLOW (OK, nobody's perfect!) all day/night long. Of course things have changed a bit since then, mostly because there's a LOT MORE to listen to these days and frankly I don't think I ever would've 'fessed up to having actually listened to let alone owned (still own it too!) a Jefferson Airplane disc (actually cassette) even a decade ago, but since my reputation is shot all I gotta mutter is (in the sage words of Benito Mussolini)..."eh!"
But sheesh, I hate neglecting my duties in this life o' mine even if it means having to struggle to toss out some interesting shards of rockscribing your way (I figure that there must be ONE lonesome BLOG TO COMM fan out there somewhere in the wilds of Borneo for all I know who hangs, nay, clings to every thought, word, semi-colon and keystroke of mine, and who am I to deny this sheltered soul an occasional cheap thrill anyhow?), but struggle to peck out a hopefully interesting post I will because once you get down to it, I'm that kinda guy. The kinda guy who strokes his own ego playing big time rockfan-cum-blogger who actually has a fanbase worthy enough to keep him afloat, a Meltzer in his own mind who couldn't punch his way out of a paper bag if plopped inside the "real world" of rock scribing because, frankly he's too good for the current "rock criticism" scene which has banished the post-Bangs/Meltzer/Tosches madmen gonzos to the far reaches of blogger space in favor of some of the more outright HACKS to have seen the insides of an editorial board but...my do I ramble on...
No real reviews this time...just a list of stuff I've been giving a listen to over the past week or so with a few oldies scattered amidst the batch in order to give that lone Bornean an idea of what kinda life he can live vicariously through. By mid-week I'll try to get something more coherent out for your dining and dancing pleasure, if the spirit moves me like an overdose of Swiss Chris, that is!
Jackalope-SALTIER THAN EVER CD (Challenge)
Perhaps it's because of my fond memories of lazing about on Sunday evenings listening to this trio play introverted free blast at the CBGB Lounge that I keep coming back to this. Again, if you told me back in the late-seventies that I would be spending a good hunka my time almost three whopping decades later listening to John Abercrombie (then the nearest-and-dearest to the hearts and minds of the ECM/DOWN BEAT ideal of a "perfect" jazz guitarist) I probably woulda told you to jump inna lake, but this platter sure brings back memories of the strangely sublime music that Abercrombie, with the help of saxophonist Loren Stillman and drummer Bob Meyers, was laying down at the Lounge along with a whole splattering of other upstarts and established persons giving me a new strange hope for the world of jazz which I had feared been taken over by the Al DiMeolas of this world. Too bad Jackalope weren't together twenny-plus years back and stomping their stuff at CB's proper back then...I mean, I sure would've liked to have seen them on some 1982 bill opening up for some hot latest avant flash with Abercrombie joining them for a spaced-out jam, sorta like the way that the Social Climbers got the John Scofield Trio to open for 'em with Scofield joining the band for a wild jam that eventually ended up on the STATE OF THE UNION elpee, albeit in a one-minute clip.
Doodles-FRANCE TOUR 2004. 11. 18 AT POINT EPHEMERE IN PARIS CD-R (no label)
Someone somehow has been issuing a buncha live in Paree CD-Rs by a variety of Japanese underground gods 'n goddesses in a series of quickie-crank out (albeit in color) insert covers and mini-sleeves, and I got two of 'em. Unfortunately the one from Miminokoto wasn't as hot as expected (was hoping for a patented modern-Japanese take on Velvet Underground sensibilities but got too much early-seventies Pink Floyd for my troubles, and I don't think Imants Krumins' naysaying was what got me into thinking this either!), but Doodles were fine as usual. These lassies have been worming their way onto my launching pad as of late, and although I still don't quite cozy up to their latest endeavor I find the rest of their recorded output pretty snazzy, including this live 'un which still showcases the duo's great femme-pop cum Velvet Underground obsessive pounding that reminds me of the final days of VU-homage (first wave division) before it became like an autopsy. I mean, I'd sure like to hear what the groups all those twelve-year-old kids who used to go up to Lou Reed backstage and tell him they shot up to "Heroin" sounded like. I certainly DON'T want to hear the bands that the pampered menials of the eighties and beyond did filtering the Velvets through the mire of bad alternative drivel which continues to shame me (for having stuck up for the Velvets and spawn) in the first place!
John Coltrane-MEDITATIONS CD (Impulse)
Naturally it was Wayne McGuire who turned me onto this one via his infamous Velvet Underground article in CRAWDADDY ("The Boston Sound" which is mandatory reading for anyone who is interested in the spiritual inner workings of the Velvet Underground and while we're at it, howcum nobody's had the initiative to actually put McGuire's Universal Musical Force into working order anyway? Now that would be a better 21st-century homage to the VU 'n all of the poochies who have been sullying their sound for the past umpteen years!). And yeah, I gotta admit that, like his mid-sixties period onwards, it is amongst Coltrane's best...now I gotta say that at one time I never did think of Coltrane as that much of a boss pioneer as a lotta you readers out there have. In fact, I remember the first time I heard Coltrane via the copy of MY FAVORITE THINGS (which didn't inspire the pithy title of this particular post!) I took outta the Sharon Public Library back in '76 thinking it was rather pale jazz tinklings (certainly nowhere near the searing ream [calm down, Dave!] of the likes of Coleman or Taylor that I would be introduced to within a relatively short time) but thankfully I pursued and persevered and yeah, I thought that Coltrane was even better'n what all those hippies out there made him out to be! As McGuire said, a culmination of the New Black Music that had seemingly sprung up from nowhere and continues to permeate and mutate in ways that the guy who does those PBS documentaries will never understand.
Terry Riley-PERSIAN SURGERY DERVISHES 2-CD set (Mantra France)
This one was a toughie (albeit desirable) Shandar set to try and find for quite a long time 'n even during the Golden Age of Record Bins. Fortunately I got my own copy of this Riley rarity (as well as Albert Ayler's BELLS, two volumes of that Virgin sampler of solo guitar with Fred Frith onna cover and a scratchy copy of Ayler live also on Shandar) from Bill Shute, who was really hurting for money whilst I was hurting to hear new sounds nigh on twenty years back. Somehow I think I got the best of the deal, and although I haven't had the opportunity to listen to any vinyl faves for quite some time (I hope you RICH and money-tossing readers are getting the hint!) it's sure nice getting an earfulla these old classics once in awhile if only to remind you of where you've been, and perhaps shoulda STAYED. Perhaps my fave Riley disc next to CHURCH OF ANTHRAX (with John Cale true, but still a sublime post-VU classic), PERSIAN SURGERY DERVISHES features two whole disques of nothing but great, pulsating pure organ tones which, like Klaus Schultze's CYBORG and Suicide's earlier material, sorta straddles the great punk divide between the early-Velvet Underground and the krautrock answer via Can, Neu! and a whole lotta groups that, as BRAIN DAMAGE once said, put out twenty of the worst albums ever made! Those guys at BRAIN DAMAGE were satirists true, but anyway the driving organ drone of PERSIAN SURGERY DERVISHES still has the unmitigated power (especially when played late at night during a serious fanzine-reading/internet scouring session) to whisk me back to my ennui-filled yet erotic (in the purest, Jonathan Richman sense) teenage days and if anything can do that it should be praised to the rafters!
Suicide-disc two of THE SECOND ALBUM + THE FIRST REHEARSAL TAPES 2-CD set (Mute)
Suicide's second album is still a hard one for me to sit through without fidgeting with all of the sleek new wave production that reminds me of everything that went bad with the form, but the bonus disc that came with the rather recent (like, seven years ago!) reissue of that 'un has become a recent hot bopper around here these past few days. Like the Riley discs, these early droners make for fine evening listening with their "enveloping" atmosphere that sounds like electronic Nico gone android (no jokes please) and, like a small taste of the apple, makes you yearn for a bigger bite (in this case, whatever may survive of the earlier, even more carnivorous version of Suicide from the early-seventies days of obscurity). If only this had reached the populace at an earlier date maybe we wouldn't have had to put up with Kraftwerk going disco!
Additional note: the various CD-Rs that Mr. Jonathan Behar burned for me (including TWO Milk 'n' Cookies live disques!) will not properly play on my computer box so a listening to these and others will have to wait until I can take 'em for an exceedingly long car ride. Anyhoo, hope this one will hold your attention (amongst other things) until I can get more into the swing of things and the spirit catches me or whatever. Believe me, I will try to get another one out to you later this week, even if you don't hold your own bad breath!
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 10:48 AM
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
J. D. King and the Coachmen-AMERICAN MERCURY CD (Ecstatic Peace)
What else can I rilly say that hasn't already been said in BLACK TO COMM #25 anyway? Oh yeah, I forgot...none of you budding upwardly crusty music snobs who claim allegiance to the big beat yet IGNORE the mighty garage pounce that stands right in front of you have had the righteous GUMPTION to pick up a copy of that well-meaning and well-delivering moderne-day fanzine even though you sure have had the opportunity to latch onto a copy or ten for nigh on three years already! Oh yeah, I can tell you all about the gracious beauty of the thing from the in-depth and revealing interviews (including one with the leader of today's band in question, none other than J. D. King!) to the boffo reviews of wares both old and new/printed and aural, not to mention the hot-to-trot Cee-Dee that you get with each and every copy and where you could've heard FOUR (count 'em!) tracks that appear on this very release that I'm reviewing for you lumpen hoi-polloi today, but NO, all of you impatient blogprowlers, in a typical fit of adolescent masturbation mind you, have forsaken the greener pastures of BLOG/BLACK TO COMM enlightenment for the pale posturings of lesser "men" who """think""" they speak for the ages but have an all-encompassing agenda about the lifespan of a flea. Let's face it, there are those who ponder, muse and dictate from their fart-encrusted boudoirs, and there are those who speak, nay YELL from the rafters about the coming of a truly new age in sound and vision, one that owes much from the beautiful past while speaking for an unseen future, and J. D. King is but one of the prophets of the Third Testament and that's one undeniable truth which even you stodgiest of athiests better BELIEVE.
(Again, for those of you who've decided to avoid the bitter future-shock of BLACK TO COMM #25 for the more safe, comforting realms of comparatively dull mutterings...) This album is, like all true works of rock & roll, heavily indebted to the glorious moments of sixties music without reaching too far into the utter sham and sideshow drivel that decade is best remembered for. At one moment you hear electric/bluesy John Fahey (as well as some jazz guitarist whose name escapes me now) melding into the early Velvet Underground...either the free-form joy of "Noise" off the ESP ELECTRIC NEWSPAPER sampler or the live EPI flash and blur of 1966. At other times these Coachmen (sic) swipe from the font of pre-retch San Francisco (Big Brother and the Holding Company at the Trips Festival) not forgetting FIFTH DIMENSION-era Byrds back when David Crosby was nothing but a fun little butterball...no, make that more of early Love or at least the mad tromping of Los Angeles before punk wafted into fringe. Throw in a little country-rock a la Moby Grape (OK, part of the SF equation I guess though I'm sure many denizens would beg to differ), some Stooge thud and a lotta New York darkness (they play black & white not unlike Lisa Robinson's positive portrayal of the New Yorkers of the mid-seventies as recounted in the November '75 CREEM) and you might be halfway there. Of course that other half always seems to depend on the listener which is why AMERICAN MERCURY (named after noted curmudgeon H. L. Mencken's infamous political magazine that somewhere-down-the-line was turned into a racialist rant after Willis Carto got hold of it sometime in the mid-sixties) may or may not succeed within your own listening parameters, but then again there's no accounting for anybody's dunceability these days so why should I worry?
Of course a whole lotta you "open-minded" types will shy away from this one even though it is all instrumental, for as D. D. Faye once said in an old BACK DOOR MAN she used to get yelled at by the landlord because her noise was threatening, while the jerks who played Journey and REO Speedwagon at equally-loud volume didn't because their bleat was hip-approved. One glance at the titles will lay it all down for you, with their name-droppings of such decidedly non-PC anti-heroes (of today's thumbscrew battalions) as Elizabeth Bentley, John Birch and James Burnham (go look 'em up on Wikipedia!), not to mention a particulary joyous song about the Virgin Mary which seems especially fitting in this day and age when people are actually getting tattoos of her getting a coathanger abortion (OK, being presented with a coathanger if you want to be a stickler about it) on their arms.
And although it took over three years to get out, AMERICAN MERCURY stands the test of time, at least on my own personal level where the distant past can be as refreshing as today's news, and dang-it-all if this one just isn't one of the top albums of the year as least as it stands here in August of '06. But then again it ain't like I'm in any loops out there like I mighta been two decades back, and even if I were all I can tell you is that I've been bored silly by whatever little Yeah Yeah Yeahs/Franz Ferdinand/White Stripes-derived goo that has graced my ears so make mine AMERICAN MERCURY alla way! I'm sure you'll remind me about this 'un when it's time to peck out my top o' the year list, and I'm purty sure I won't need reminded but your thoughts are nice anyway.
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 6:59 PM
Thursday, August 03, 2006
The Velvet Underground-LIVE AT MAX'S KANSAS CITY 2-CD set (Atlantic/Rhino)
For years this "contractual obligation" album has been the most summarily dismissed (and not usually offhandly at that) Velvet Underground rec even by some of their most ardent fans. Well, not exactly dismissed (to get into Mr. Kimball histrionics)...let's just say that LIVE AT MAX'S was one of those discs that most people who listened to the Velvet Underground back in the mid/late-seventies (at least the few I knew) sorta sheepishly shied away from while praising the '74 two-LP LIVE 1969 WITH LOU REED to the rafters. OK, I can see how that plump-buttocked double set would pique the interest of more'n a few Velveetas out there not only with the previously-unreleased tracks, Elliot Murphy's suburban decadent liner notes and the sleekly-intense feel, but it wasn't as if LIVE AT MAX'S was without its own special charm that seemed to turn off even the most serious of Velvet afionados out there.
And charm it most certainly had. and in more ways'n one...at least for a rock & roll acolyte/nut like I was during my mid-teen years when music seemed less like teenage background noise and more like an obsessive religion. First off it was a mysterious rarity (always a good sign for a CREEM-reading blackhead farm like myself) in the days before a surge in Velvets popularity forced major record stores to stock their wares. I mean, the only place where you could find this wonder (as well as LOADED and a load of non-top 40 Lester Bangs-approved psycho-mulch like Amon Duul II) was in one of those outta-the-way record shops that also had humongous loads of imports, cutouts and manhandled bootlegs amidst the $4.99 domestic brew. The kinda shops that John Cougar Mellencamp (in relating a saga about the first time he bought a copy of the Stooges' FUNHOUSE somewhere in Kentucky) said had sawdust on the floors. Second off, the show took place at Max's Kansas City which as any ROCK SCENE or Lillian Roxon-reading suburban blob knew was thee hipster rock & roll hangout (along with the 82 Club) where everything met everything else that was worth its salt on this decadent planet of ours. And third off, this really was a live album of true quality and value...none of that pre-processed cheese that sounded so bad that many live bootlegs came off livelier in comparison. The sound was good enough and although the performances lacked the avant-garde feeling that the Velvets made their reputation with, it was still a fun disc that set the stage for a load of interesting recordings to come out of the New York Scene over the next few decades. Witness a live '76 Talking Heads gig recorded at Max's that has made the tape circuit rounds for ages where a pre-art project David Byrne even quotes directly from Reed's "a tender love song from the early-fifties about the love between man and subway..." which is something that nobody could get away with even three years later, so at least give the artiste credit for doing SOMETHING while it still had a shard of gulcheral meaning!
There was a mention in Richard Nusser's review of the summer-long series of Max's gigs in THE VILLAGE VOICE (a review you can easily-enough pick up in the ALL YESTERDAY'S PARTIES book which I assume is near and dear to your nightstand for those inspirational moments) about how the Velvets had not only borrowed from the likes of Creedence and (I think he said) the Stones, but from their own early selves as well. And y'know, he's right. In many ways, the Velvets 1970 have a lot in common with the whole range of seventies bands that had drunk from the font of the mid-sixties variety of VU which makes them an even bigger punk gryphon than I'd thought. Listening to LIVE AT MAX'S KANSAS CITY is like taking a trip through the gulcheral underside of the seventies, and who'd've thought that by the time the decade clocked out there'd literally be thousands of bands worldwide taking the torch the Velvets were soon to drop, going in just about any direction from doltist emulation to bright innovation somehow eluding the radarscope of "respectable" rock marketability in the process?
Yes, LIVE AT MAX'S KANSAS CITY, this not-so-new 2-CD edition (after all, most of the unreleased stuff has been circulating albeit in low-fidelity for many years now) is a definite must-have. It's also (and not "arguably") """the""" spiritual kick-start of the seventies (with the Stooges and Dolls taking the cue and way too many to count getting in on the verve) and everything good that decade stood for especially in the face of a load of dross that seems to be remembered so fondly these sorry days. And what's best of all is that now the thing's a cheap bargain find if you look hard enough, which sure goes down smoothly especially when you've hadda pay upwards of sixteen smackers for Cee-Dee versions of cutout classics you once snatched up for mere pences! And with rockism kicks getting harder and harder to find as the years roll on, these rehashes sure do work miracles!
BEFORE I TUNE OUT, I must tell y'all that I just happened to latch onto even more Bill Shute poetic wonders, which believe-it-or-not were actually sent me directly from the man himself perhaps due to his graciousness at seeing his earlier wares reviewed on this blog! I haven't had the chance to digest these pamphlet-sized collections yet so expect a more thorough review of these collections with titles like COLORS IN RHYTHM and SLICED TOMATOES in a future post, but from what I've eye-gobbled it looks as if Bill is improving which is always a good thing even if he has started off in tippy-top shape. And although I'm not exactly gonna be an impartial reviewer of these things, I must admit that I even think YOU'LL like Bill's personalist takes on everyday life (y'know, that same life that some above-it-all hipster snob who probably actually reads this blog would think of as total squaresville) and what Bill can lay down for you in poetic form can be enveloping, touching, at-times scary and even funny! I mean, there was one sublimely witty poem here that was so catch-you-off-guard high-larious that I'd swear the spirit of Ernie Bushmiller had guided Bill's hand! Stay tuned for more coverage as it happens.
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 6:31 PM