Saturday, August 30, 2008

UGLY THINGS #27 (even still not a fanzine anymore!)

Back when I was a younger and much more cavalier than I am today man I used to rattle certain females who were giving me a hard time by saying "I guess it's that time of the month again!" Then these wimmer (who would all be oh so "deeply offended" at my scabrous remark) eventually hit the "change o' life" aka menopause and since they're acting crabby all the time I can't use that once-accurate retort (to their general behavior) anymore!!! Well, nowadays I know it's that time of the year when the new UGLY THINGS hits the mailbox, and lemme tell you that having a newie of this 'un in my clams sure is a lot more pleasant than being locked up with one of the femme persuasion while she's going through her lunar yelps and moans!

Yeah, you probably are thinking that this is going to be one of my standard UGLY THINGS reviews where I go on and on about the contents of the latest issue and my various opinions regarding said innards. Well, as usual you are right!, because what better way is there to get the fence-sitting rock fan who doesn't know better or perhaps even some casual stroller to this site who doesn't know his Pretty Things from his Private Things to latch onto an issue of this CRUCIAL, LIFE-SAVING MAGAZINE!!! And as you'd expect, the fine folks behind UGLY THINGS spare nada in their attempts to bring to you not only some of the best writing to be seen in print these days (music-related or not) but some of the most in-depth articles on people you never heard about, or if you have you never thought they had that much of a story to begin with!

WHAT I LIKE ABOUT THIS JUICY, 216-PAGE INFO-PACKED ISSUE OF UGLY THINGS: For one thing, the overall writing sure has improved, and if this were a kinder world the people who write for UT would be making their opinions known in a whole slew fulla "mainstream", "above ground" publications but they won't because what editors are looking for today are boring, sycophantic, go-with-the-flow superficialists whose main claim to fame is using their analingual skills as a substitute for clear, concise reporting. Hot features can be found all over this ish as well, like the Who/Small Faces one that I'm surprised hasn't earned author Andy Neill a free plot at the Rock Writers United Cemetery and Classic Auto Show campgrounds. Of course all of the features here are what I would call boffo, and whether it be the piece on the Spats (of "Gator Tails and Monkey Ribs" fame), the history of Koala (a band I've yet to hear even though they did feature a future Sir Lord Baltimore and Magic Tramp) or one of the many articles I've yet to eat up and digest because there's just dad-blamed too much of it, who could deny that this ish of UGLY THINGS is perhaps even better than the previous ones if that can be fathomed. Or at least it's on its own exalted plateau as an example of what rock & roll really is about, and it ain't about the embarrassment it has become these days, sweetie, as a neat comparative study would easily show you!

The reason I haven't really "gotten into" (man!) all of the articles this ish yet is because I always like to read the various recording, book and Dee-Vee-Dee reviews first in order to see what hotcha material that's missed my notice has been released as of the past few months. The recorded music segment naturally is my fave, and not only do the various "critics" give their all with regards to telling you what is and ain't good about whatever disque may be at hand, but the writing seems to have improved to the point where certain contributors whose material I have pretty much poo-poo'd the past few rounds are actually showing themselves to be good and even insightful writers. Even that "unnamed" gal who I criticized last time for being too much of a hippoid did a good review of a Love reissue, a statement that I don't think will earn me any gooshy goosh response from the mysterious "Jeff" nor would I want any, but facts are facts! It looks like I'm going to be salting away plenty of money to grab up all of the books, records and other flotsam that has been plugged in this issue, and I have the sneaking suspicion that you will be too! Oh wait, I'm still trying to get hold of much needed items reviewed three issues back, so maybe sometime in 2019???

WHAT I DON'T LIKE ABOUT UGLY THINGS #27!: Not enough gratuitous mentions of the Velvet Underground. No nude photos of Gillian Hills.

Les Rallizes De'nudes-NAKED DIZA STAR 3-CD set (Univive Japan, probably sold out by now)

Really, do I need every Rallizes Denudes (or, as the cover says, "De'nudes") release that's coming outta the vaults every so many months, and for sky-high prices at that? On the surface, the answer is nope which is why I haven't been snatching up the various eighties/nineties-period Denudes releases that have been making their way to many an online Cee-Dee emporium. That just wasn't Mizutani and company's prime era even though they finally got somewhat of an audience that should be affored to an underground band of their caliber long beforehand. But even when we're gabbin' 'bout Les Rallizes Denudes at their mid-seventies height of atonal bliss is it worth dishing out the yen for just about every shard of recorded music that is currently being made available? The answer to this just might be no as well. I mean, how many takes of set closer "The Last One" do you need in your collection anyway since they all sound the same, albeit with Mizutani dishing out some unique soundcapading passing as lead guitar on each different one?

Gentle readers, I'm afraid this just might be the last Denudes set I'll be purchasing in quite awhile, unless someone uncovers more of the group's late-sixties high energy psychedelic recordings and commits them to silver complete with a Certificate of Authenticity issued by the Japanese Red Army. Not that there ain't some bright spots on this one (especially on disc #3, oddly enough recorded in the early-eighties long after the band's apex) but little that can't be found on many of the groups' other releases legit and not can be heard here. For the ultra-serious collector (or which I never claimed to be) who has to have everything in every format, and frankly showing gals my Les Rallizes Denudes collection ain't quite as boss as whipping my etching out as Bill Shute found out thirtysome years back trying to get gals all hot and bothered with METALLIC KO!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

HOGAN'S HEROES (1965-1971 series originally aired on the CBS television network, now seen on TV Land weekdays from four to five in the afternoon and perhaps during prime time as well!)

HOGAN'S HEROES has never been one of those tee-vee series that aloof, "in-the-know" people ever looked fondly upon, but I can remember when it was whatcha'd call real he-man kick up yer feet in the evening viewing for more than a few guys who looked like James Arness and spent their working days inflating truck tires with their lungs. As for wee-little me, I didn't know what to think of it...HOGAN'S HEROES, at least to my underdeveloped six-year-old mind, seemed like yet another war drama in the trend of sixties-period World War II-based programs that began with COMBAT and continued for a good five or so more years with TWELVE O'CLOCK HIGH and THE RAT PATROL. Like all of these well-remembered (yet try to find 'em on your tee-vee screen) sixties programs, HOGAN'S HEROES had that dark adventure series look to it that would make a casual observer think it could be another GARRISON'S GUERRILLAS, but the laugh track and more than obvious stabs at humorous storylines amidst the sabotage and explosions made what would otherwise be a standard WW II series for nostalgic veterans a comedy which only added to the confusion a tee-vee loving chile like myself was going through regarding the true nature of this show! But whatever, the mix of adventure and sitcom sure made for a winning combo with a whole lotta people besides my Battle of the Bulge-surviving uncles who were spending their free time between betting on horses and doing household odd jobs front and center for this 'un.

Naturally, the youngsters that I knew who also ate up tough-kid fodder like DANIEL BOONE while I was raving about THE LUCY SHOW to anyone who would listen seemed to think that HOGAN'S HEROES was the tops. One actually told me, and his parents at the exact same time, that because of HOGAN'S HEROES he thought the Nazis were cool because they wore great-looking uniforms and drove around in neat tanks and guys like Colonel Klink and Sergeant Schultz were really cool once you got down to it, and he would've have minded fighting for Germany had he been around during the war, staunch HOGAN'S HEROES fan he be!

That unsolicited testimonial naturally led to a whole slew of "lectures" with me (and I guess a whole generation of kids born long after the war) being subjected to talks about how evil the Nazis really were and how they mass murdered Jewish people who were related to our neighbors and how the allies just hadda go and put an end too all that carnage or else who knew what would happen! And, while HOGAN'S HEROES was still being regularly viewed in the abode even after all of this, it was impressed upon me that the program really wasn't an accurate portrayal of those aforementioned Nazi atrocities (flashback to THE TWENTIETH CENTURY with shots of bodies piled in mounds and a closeup of some kid's face). It all went over my head...after all, when I was in the first grade "Jews" didn't seem like anything that my neighbors were but people straight out of the Bible (I didn't have any concept of them still being around...after all, how many Pharisees do you see on the streets these days?) and really, it wasn't like I was that hot on these army shows anyway, unless you count GOMER PYLE USMC!

Dunno why nobody is rerunning that underrated Jim Nabors comedy these days but the at-times play-it-safe TV Land is once again airing HOGAN'S HEROES after a good umpteen years of neglect bringing this show to my, and a whole load of unsuspecting television viewers', attention. Now, I must admit that I eventually did more or less become a follower of the series when it was being rerun as pre-primetime fodder for many a local station (after being subjected to school it was great looking forward to seven in the evening when one could settle back and relive some good television for once!) and I even recall sneaking a peak once when a tornado warning was drawing in channel 55 from Akron in the late-eighties, but now that I'm older and more, ahem, mature what do I think?

Well, I could state the OBVIOUS and say that I do get a fine tingling joy watching HOGAN'S HEROES since this is the series that really riles the snobbish, PBS-viewing PC crowd who thinks that there are "good" wars (ones that serve their own concepts of international brotherhood singing in perfect harmony) and "bad" ones, usually of a capitalistic nature. After all, to these nabobs of (television) negativity (some of may have even served in the armed forces), there is more or less this "human" side to conflict that seems to be one part collectivism and another humanitarianism with a good load of pap tossed in. Thus we have Studs Terkel's THE GOOD WAR and Tom Brokaw's THE GREATEST GENERATION (which Lew Rockwell said should have been titled THE STATIST GENERATION) and a lotta historical rehashing that comes off (after a fashion) not unlike the concept of the Soviet "Patriotic War" brouhaha that I guess older Russkies are buying into even at that late stage in the game. It mostly seems like sick romanticizing through red-colored glasses if ya know what I mean, and pretty much about as unreal (and perhaps as evil) to the hard truth of it all as an old gung ho war comic rotting away somewhere in the collection!

And after a good four decades of decision I have come to the conclusion that HOGAN'S HEROES is pretty good...I wouldn't say that is was great in a LEAVE IT TO BEAVER/TWILIGHT ZONE sense but who but an ardent hater of this blog would think that the show wasn't way beyond "passable". Not only with its nice enough mid/late-sixties feel, but with the general comidramatic premise and natural ability to zone one back to a pre-relevancy non-controversial feeling of suburban goo. Bob Crane may not exactly be another William Holden (obv. model which would figure since this show was lifted hook line and sabotage from STALAG 17) but he plays it smarm sleazy enough as the mastermind behind the undercover operations going on at the camp. The rest of the prisoners are pretty much straight from central casting (Richard Dawson as the smartass English guy, Robery Clary as the short French teddy bear for the teenage gals who might tune in [the Davy Jones role], Larry Hovis as the loveable dumbo and Ivan Dixon just the token black even if they do try to give him meaningful roles) and hey, I gotta admit that it sure was a stroke of genius to have Jews play the roles of the generally stupid, nieve Nazis. I mean, what better way to rub salt into the wounds of the losers!

And yeah, this show is about as "real" as GILLIGAN'S ISLAND but it's almost as fun. True, the writers really do stretch boundaries when they have Commandant Klink (played to perfection by Werner Klemperer) cozying up to prisoner Hogan who seems to be playing nursemaid one minute while plotting the destruction of strategic targets the next plus the badskis are so stupid that they trounce the whole "master race" concept in one single bound. However, all I say to that is so what? because once you get way down to it is anything on tee-vee (even the news once you get down to it) "real", or at least is it supposed to be? Was NORTHERN EXPOSURE (as an example of early-nineties "quality" television) "real"? How about those hard-edged cable dramatic shows that snoots like to view for their bared-knuckleness??? Naw, at least HOGAN'S HEROES plays it for mid-Amerigan excitement and laughs and if you can't dig that then may I suggest a good workshop for you to vent your woes over???

And really, are the Nazis on HOGAN'S HEROES any "nicer" than the ones on 'ALLO 'ALLO, another good Nazi-laden sitcom which I believe has avoided all of the barbs and slings that HOGAN'S HEROES has dodged over the years. (The only criticism of 'ALLO 'ALLO I've encountered was that the limeys who are playing the krauts on this show do horrible German accents that sound English no matter how hard they try!) Of course that 'un had loads of fun double entendres and some pretty snappy writing, so maybe that's why it avoided what I would have thought was inevitable controversy. Maybe they aren't as socially conscious in England as they are here? Or maybe people are too busy roughing it out with the abysmal mess that is taking over all of Europe (rampant Third World immigration, nutcase fringe types...) to care. Who knows?

So forget all of those critiques that MAD used to dump upon this show. With network prime-time tee-vee at an even lower low than their already early-eighties dump and independent television pretty much eaten up by the new smaller networks, shows like HOGAN'S HEROES really are to die for. And what better way to digest your pork rinds than to watch this 'un 'stead of anything broadcast after 1979, eh?

Sunday, August 24, 2008


Y'know, it sure it nice to go into the basement on a sunny summer afternoon (when I should be out playing ball with the other boys in the neighborhood!) and do nothing but spin a buncha albums of an old and new variety while shuffling through boxes of thirty-plus-year-old fanzines, TV GUIDEs and DICK TRACY reprints reliving the glories of youth just like a whole buncha kids would've been doing for years, at least until their teachers told them to go out and save the world! But then again, I'm not one of those kinda guys who feels "superior" to others because of the fine work they do uplifting their communities! Actually, I'm the kinda bloke who feels all the more smug when I put on a t-shirt, drink Dr. Pepper and listen to years of great under-the-gulcheral music while throwing myself into a "culture" that I really can rally behind! Frankly, I think I'm doing more than my fair share of "saving the world" by listening to old albums while reading comic books than a whole workshop fulla "Kumbaya"-singing kiddoes out there campaigning for the candidate of their choice while stamping out forest fires, but that's just my "blinkered", anti "freak flag" point of view. At least I'm stayin' outta the way and not causin' any trouble!

Just a few of the new to my doors wares received. Do with it what thou wilt.

DORIAN LP (Amerama)

If it weren't for that meanie-spirited rundown in PUNK magazine which evolved from an interview that John Holmstrom agreed to if only for the freebie steak dinner, I don't think anybody with the golden guts to read this blog'd remember who this Dorian guy was. Naturally I knew about him long before I got my mitts on that hitpiece sometime during the past millennium, since astute me was anal retentive enough to have recognized the Dorian name on a number of mid/late seventies gig listings found in THE VILLAGE (retch!) VOICE announcing long ether'd performances with the likes of Television (at TV's Hotel Diplomat gig!) and Pere my teenage-encrusted mind I thought that because Dorian (and Zero) were on the same bill as such stalwarts of underground cacophany it certainly meant that this guy/band must've taken more'n a few cues from these cold wavers or something like that, and boy was I excited to hear what the resultant spew ushered forth from this Eny Why See stalwart sounded like! Naturally I was wronger'n a oddsmaker at a "Dewey For President" campaign meeting because this Dorian fella sounded nada like the wide array of groupings that were coming outta any avant garages at the, while the likes of Television and Pere Ubu were helping to blaze a brave new trail into late-seventies underground rockism and eighties dispersement, Dorian was more'n content to reshape and rehash the early-seventies glam stylings of the likes of Bowie, solo Lou and even Jobriath, who I guess was "friends" with Dorian during the latter's En Why See days so why should any of us be surprised.

Actually this ain't that bad of a spin even if you're not that hotsy-totsy with the whole homo glam game that seemed so fuh-nee once 1975 started to roll around. Dorian may have a strange voice natural for such a genre but at times the music backing can be fairly rocking. Better than Another Pretty Face and almost as good as the Dolls though when the guy gets into his overwrought mode you might feel like spinning an Elton John album afterwards to clear your head. But whatever the deal, at least Dorian attempts to put on a better show than a good portion of the glam-era Bowieclones of the day. Even when Dorian sings about picking up Howdy Doody in the men's room on the overbearing nine-minute closer "Silver Stringed Marionette" you can appreciate where the guy's "coming" from even if you're straighter than Pat Boone on an acne cleanup fix. One of those weird outta-nowheres on a small yet seemingly "legitimate" label that you can file next to Get Wet, FUTURE LANGUAGE and various other new wave-era professional-looking releases that sure reeked big money backing and high-tech promotional putsch but hardly made it outta the 99-cent bins alive.

Sky Saxon-A STARLIGHT DATE WITH RICHARD MARSH LP (Arcania International, distributed by Norton)

You may have heard some of these early sides that came out on various albums in the wake of THE BIG HUMONGOUS SKY "SUNLIGHT" SAXON COMEBACK OF 1985, but this 2003 release is (perhaps) the only place you will hear all of the surviving tracks cut by either aspiring teen idol Little Richie Marsh or his matured alter-ego Sky. Saxon sounds every bit the fourteen-year-old that his alleged 1945 birth date would have us believe on the early sides (one even cut for an MGM subsidiary, surprising since that's where the Seeds ended up after leaving GNP-Crescendo) whilst romping through some purty digestible rockabilly and teen-idol numbers (one even done under the auspices of former Little Rascal Darla Hood, who warbles some background vocalese!) before the Sky Saxon persona began to show itself on such raucous sides as '64's "Do The Swim". That ain't the Bobby Freeman hit I hoped it was gonna be but makes for a good enough mid-sixties segue into the mop-top Seeds period we all know 'n love.

STARLIGHT DATE is a good enough growler that should have any true believer zoning back to the year of 1962 where, as the boff liners say, you can "taste the teddy bears and feel the chocolates" in the bedrooms of the gals who would be most likely to have taken Sky to their hearts had he only made it big this early on. As for me, I prefer to imagine myself the pesky kid brother who would quietly creep into Big Sissy's bedroom while she was spinning these discs on her cheapo player in order to sneak a peak under the bed for unwrapped Christmas presents before getting yelled at all over the place! It's that Amerigan teenage innocent, and so representative of that (oft hated) pre-radical youth teenage fun 'n games era that it even had me standing next to the turntable snapping my fingers outta sync just like Ricky Nelson and his brothers from I Felta Thigh on that episode of OZZIE AND HARRIET guest-starring Wally Cox as a nebby prof living in the boys' frat house, or better yet Beaver Cleaver the time he joined a record club!

Great cover (complete with gorgeous label repros on the front as well as an early and double-exposed snap of a teenage Sky on the back taken March '59) and even greater mastering make these pretty musty singles sound at least 1961 hi-fi which is good enough for even a clarity-hater like me. With all the makings of a proto-punk collection of early-eighties vintage (think classic Bomp!/Voxx circa 1981) done with that fine labor of love flair, A STARLIGHT DATE WITH RICHARD MARSH sure takes me back to them days when I really was throwing myself into the hidden facets of rock history when bands like the Sonics and Trashmen seemed every bit as meaningful to an Amerigan underground kinda sound as...the Zantees???
Roky Erickson and the Explosives-HALLOWEEN: RECORDED LIVE 1979-1981 2-LP set (Norton)

I dunno if you remember the big Sky vs. Roky battle of the burnouts that was goin' on in the pages of magazines as diverse as TROUSER PRESS and THE NEW YORK ROCKER back in the early eighties like I do, but considerin' just how mentally whacked both Seed-spreader Sky and Elevators stuck between the floors Roky are it sure is surprisin' to see both of 'em fully-functioning as well-respected and well-recorded rock & roll icons well into the early part of the twenty-first big one. And it really is eye-gouging to see that the one called Mr. Erickson has not only one, but two releases on Billy Miller and Miriam Linna's Norton label because frankly, I can remember the abject shock I went into reading my copy of KICKS #2 way back when where Mr. Miller was putting down the International Artists label as something stuffy Europeans were buying up for big bucks when all the label released was psychedelic trash. I guess the man of means meant something along the lines of those later records like Endle St. Cloud's THANK U VERY MUCH 'stead of the classic Rokin' sides the Elevarors were layin' down at the time (or at least I hope he meant that!). And people think my writing can get mighty obscure!

It's always great to hear Roky and whatever band that might've been backing him up tear into it, and tear they do on these two sides which I believe have previously been released on Cee-Dee but hey, you want your buckskins to go towards the Norton empire so they can release even more of these goodies, right? The Explosives are a sympathetic enough backing band even if they look pretty new wave for the part (well, back then I guess Roky was new wave in the best indie underground true-life way possible!), and the numbers are of course going to settle well within your own third eye sounding just as HEAVY METAL in a 1976 issue of BACK DOOR MAN way possible as can be. Heck, there are even some new Roky tracks here that (of course) are worthy of your hammer and stirrup as well as a spirited cover of the Beatles' "I've Just Seen a Face" which, like Roky's various Beatles/Stones/Dylan remakes throughout the years, sounds as if it was birthed from the mind of the man himself. The shindig even ends with an ad taken offa KLBJ radio! I don't think the station's namesake would approve, but it sure does seem like a sneaky joke of some sort!
Ruth-"Mon Pote"/"Mescalito" 45 rpm (Poutre Apparente, available through Volcanic Tongue)

I naturally was a bit wary about plunking down a good ten bucks or whatever it translates into after I send my moolah to Volcanic Tongue for one of my biannuals, but it looks like I didn't waste my filthy lucre with this choice! Rare seventies punk reissues ain't exactly comin' outta the chute like they used to, but this French side (featuring Thierry Mueller, the same guy responsible for those Illich albums that many a mail order set sale list are still trying to unload) is everything I like about these self-released homemade discs and (believe it!) loads more. Named after the group's guitar and bass player Ruth Ellyeri (who poses topless in the blurry front cover photo), this band has all of the makings of a two-sided high energy MONSTER as only the French coulda done it at the time. With a steady repeato-riff beat (reminiscent of this famous sixties New York-area band I seem to mention more often than not when writing about such seventies-era underground rock acts as Ruth), the group chugs out two pretty hot melodies as girly French vocals help drive the beat even more and electronic swirl recalls everything from fellow Frogs Metal Urbain to early Pere Ubu resulting in a fine piece of avant garde churn and grind that fits in well with the whole ROCK NEWS style if not the Gallic version of I WANNA BE YOUR DOG's concentration on all things ooh-la-la! A fantab single that I'm positive will get more than a few plays before the year is up, though for reg'lar readers who might wanna pinch the pennies lemme tell you that these sides do appear on the new Mueller collection of seventies rarities that Fractal has just released, and if you don't think I've already got my order flyin' overseas then may I call you late for dinner????
Masami Kawaguchi's New Rock Syndicate-CAT VS. FROG LP (Palindrone Recordings)

Gotta say that I haven't been that hopped up over some of the new Japanese underground rock recordings that I've heard while others seemed just ducky, but this one does the entire current day scene some real JUSTICE. In the tradition of the Broomdusters this New Rock Syndicate bunch borrow "freely" from the fine drive of that group that I seem to mention way too much, and not in a sickly pencil-thin drone way that people like J. Neo Marvin and other superficialists have for nigh on thirty years, while the massive psych-feedback screech reminds one heavily of yet another "borrower", namely Japan's own Les Rallizes Denudes who really seem to have started one big hunkerin' ball a'rollin' when they got their chops together forty years back. Really nice blast here, and what's best about it is that this is current-day rock and not the brave new blare of the past. It's enough to make me wanna burn all of my ELO 8-tracks!
Will try to get another post in by mid-week, but until then, hop in your car and keep on driving until you hear Bon Jovi sing "You've Had a Bad Day". Then euthenize yourself as swiftly as possible!

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Never saw this George Kuchar film before (which some kind soul felt proper to post on Youtube) but after giving it an eyeballing I felt it was so marvy that it needed to be shared with you, the discerning BLOG TO COMM reader, before this piece of cinematic wonderment gets yanked off for all eternity. Either a maginficent slice of mid-sixties surrealism, or someone has tapped into Dave Lang's innermost wet dreams!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Curlew-1ST ALBUM + LIVE AT CBGB 1980 (DMG/ARC, available through Forced Exposure)

Back when the prospect of New York City "new/no wave" merging with avant garde jazz seemed like a pretty marbly piece of steak to nibble on I was really anxious to indulge in as much of this real-life fusion music that was within my grip as I possibly could. Unfortunately a lotta the avant-jazz rock that was spewing forth from a number of En Why stages didn't even make the tape-trading lists (and you woulda thunk that people would've been more'n anxious to record those Sonny Sharrock-era Material and Phillip Wilson's Magic shows that were being laid down at the time) but a few managed to slip out even if it took a good ten or so years for someone to do just that. Of course any stout-hearted BLOG TO COMM reader would remember such black and white mix 'em ups as the Arthur Doyle/Beaver Harris-period Blue Humans, Luther Thomas' Dizazz as well as these (admittedly caucasian) Curlew guys, a bunch who've had quite a few platters released on the Cunieform label but for some strange reason I haven't heard a thing by them until my last order from the folks (not too sure if they're fine folks yet!) at Forced Exposure delivered this recent double-disque to my very portals.

'n YEAH I know that sometimes these punk-bred "downtown" musicians can sound as well as look pretty white (using that word in the purest Lester Bangs sense) but that doesn't mean that this platter should be flung onto a whole pile of inaccessible early eighties underground slush like I would've back in the day (only to find out that some of it wasn't that bad after all...well, too late for all you goofs who sent me yer review items o'er the years!). And even if Curlew is a pretty pasty-faced bunch they still can cook a bit of hot jazz funk on these two discs consisting of their first album that I can't recall seeing for sale anywhere back then as well as various choice CBGB gigs from the transitional year of 1980. Like Material it's a grab-bag of various jazz/rock influences that seems to be wrapped up in a good slice of late-seventies electric Ornette, and yeah it would figure that Ornette Denardo Coleman, long past twelve and present on disque #2's CB set, is doing a pretty good job lending a slice of authenticity to these guys' admirable efforts.

Of course I'd be lying to you if I said this is gonna be one of those repeated pre-beddy bye feet kick-up spins that helps ease me into slumber, but between the NYC funk-punk and the stabs at young upstart expressions of chic brilliance there is much worth listening to here. Of course I'm still pretty wary about picking up anything else by Curlew (FE has a nice selection of their Cunieform output available as well as related discs with and without leader George Cartwright), but this stuff sure goes down a lot smoother than a good hunka what many bloggers are champing at the bit to promote as hot early-eighties experimental sounds and besides that who knows, perhaps someone will be issuing all of those other punk/avant crossover recordings sooner than we all would like if repackages like this catch on with us aging punk/funksters who like to play Archie Shepp and Electric Eels records...simultaneously!

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Holy Modal Rounders-LIVE IN 1965 CD (ESP-Disk')

Remember way back in an old issue of SPIN when Byron Coley actually mentioned my name and Robert Christgau's in the same stinkin' breath with regards to our undying fanditude for the Rounders/Hurley/Clamtones HAVE MOICY album? It didn't exactly bug me back then, but time has proven that the older I get, the thinner the skin becomes! Yeeesh!!! Naturally none of this has anything to do with the review at hand but hey, I thought what better way to open up this Rounders writeup than to dredge up this particularly meaningless factoid from the distant (twenny years) past!

Haven't been payin' much attention to the early, folky acoustic original Rounders duo as of late but ESP sure has, which is probably why they issued this neat live album recorded in Detroit '65 showing the band still in their early-sixties folk mode but more'n anxious to slide right into the late-sixties psycho-folkrock that gave us such stellars as INDIAN WAR WHOOP and THE MORAY EELS EAT THE HMR's. Second elpee tracks mingle with future nutcase hits and if anything the team of Peter Stampfel and Steve Weber are just beggin' for some electric instruments and drums so's they can jump on the same rock & roll bandwagon a lotta their folkie contemps were. Of course they were probably a good two years away from that, but judging from Stampfel's Beatle bangs he was getting ready to make the big jump, perhaps warming up with the aforementioned Moray Eels not forgetting the All Night Workers of "Why Don't You Smile" fame.

Contains the future hits "Indian War Whoop" and "My Mind Capsized" (later to be immortalized on MORAY EELS...) in early yet psychedelic even at this stage versions as well as future Unholy Modal Rounder numbuh "Monday Morning" sounding as it probably did during Stampfel and co.'s stay at CBGB back in Spring '75. The liner booklet notes, although written with a Lower East Side hippoid mindset that kinda seemed dated at birth, say a load more about these sixties survivors than you ever could! At least now I know what "Black Eyed Susan" is really about! Yum!!!

Sunday, August 17, 2008


These are just a few of the observations that I have made about life, politics and the "human" condition over the past few weeks (if not longer) that, for a change of pace, I thought I'd share with you dear friends. Guaranteed to make you think, to ponder your own political and social ideologies, and most of all write comments that come off more or less like the cackling of indignent old bag progressive ladies like the kind you used to see on DONAHUE all the time but then again as the sage says, so what else is old?:

Republicans are huge champions of the concept of limited government seemingly to the point of anarchy...until they get voted in and start tripling the size of the state. Democrats are huge champions of the concept of the working man, ethnic Northeastern lower-mid class types and Southern NASCAR fans...until they get voted in and start treating their voting blocs in the most patronizing ways possible while doing nothing for them.

According to members of the ruling elite, people of opposing races/creeds always seem to "smell funny".

When scores of people from various "protected classes" are "terminated" (to be kind about it) by repressive regimes it is described as a holocaust. If the scores are not from a group or race that is considered "politically correct" it is merely an "unfortunate incident".

I don't know about you, but I find it highly hypocritical when liberals lecture me about "hate" when they seem to just be brimming full of it themselves. I don't expect to see Arthur Sulzberger cozying up to conservative pundits or Southern populist politicians at any cocktail parties soon, provided that they were invited in the first place.

Members of various races and nations may hate us, but they want us to like them anyway.

And while I'm at it, aren't these polarized members of a wide variety of minorities (and majorities come to think of it) usually the most self-righteous, self-centered and generally self-absorbed creations to walk the face of this earth? Definitely a change from their fore bearers, who seemed to osmose self-pride and the better qualities of man as opposed to many of their adversaries.

In Europe and Canada, not only has the political "center" been moved to the extreme left but political correctness has been raised to such an art form that I cannot fathom such concepts as free markets and especially free speech being tolerated in these formerly admirable lands. Heck, it's come to the point where preachers in these nations are being prosecuted under hate speech laws for airing their beliefs with regards to traditional Western morality, and I'll bet most of you Amerigan readers of this blog are just itching for the trend to hit these shores more sooner than later!

Western Pennsylvania is a pretty strange place. After all, where else would you see the back of a vehicle splattered with pro-life bumperstickers, with one proclaiming "Hillary For President" placed strategically in the midst of it all?

Political "pundits" of the libertarian persuasion who see nil value in paleoconservatism while ignoring its contribution to the modern libertarian movement would be daffy enough to cheerlead for a political hack (and career ruiner) like Rudolph Guiliani over a principled politician the likes of Ron Paul. Kinda strange for a guy who claims to have been breast fed from the very teat of Murray Rothbard.

Call me an ogre if you will (won't be the first time), but I really don't mind it when bad things happen to bad people. Even if I do question the validity of the death penalty on scant occasion, I'm not exactly sad to see most of the people who are subject to it get offed in sometimes painful manners.

"Gay" at first meant "happy". Then it meant "randy" before mutating into becoming "radically homosexual". Nowadays it seems to mean "obnoxious" more than anything.

It took a good eightysome years, but Mencken's observation about politics being the worship of jackals by jackasses seems to have really come to full fruitation in the current US presidential contest.

And gosh all crimony, but I had a really snappy close to this particular blog. I thought it up last night after waking up from a weirdie dream with a bladder fulla recycled iced tea, but wouldn't you know it I actually forgot the pertinent point that I was trying to make! I shoulda jotted it down, but at three AM the last thing I wanna do is switch outta snooze mode (which is a shame, because some of my brightest ideas pop into my mind either just right before I fall asleep or in the middle of some far out fever dream) so I guess my observation will just have to be lost to all history, at least until my next deep slumber. But I'll tell ya, it was a killer that would have had a good 99% of you quaking in your boots!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Suicide-LIVE 1977-1978 6 CD set (Blast First, also available through Forced Exposure and Volcanic Tongue)

Here's one package that I wasn't exactly bustin' at the seams to snatch up, but since I still do harbor at least the slightest bit of respect/interest/curiousity regarding the late-seventies first-LP period Suicide I decided to get this $70-plus box before I felt like too much of a Johnny-cum-lately. And yeah, six full disques of Suicide taken from the private tapes of Howard Thompson (noted limey a&r man who I guess had good enough tastes to sign MX-80 Sound to Island) might seem like a mighty redundant offering for those of us who have all of the available live cassettes of the day and more, but sucker for punishment that I am I fell for the whole meal deal and actually doled out the moolah for this slightly-tempting box set. Remember, Suicide's '78 tour of Europe (which this set documents) was definitely chock full of some of the most self-destructive gigs in rockism history next to the Stooges' '73 cross-country jaunt and really, how could I afford to pass up the promise of total hatred and blood-smeared rock loathing as this?

Really, how could any rockism fanatic out there up nose at these six disques brimming with that great Suicide electro-thud rock? This ain't the Suicide of the "nice" yet commercial second album...naw, these tangy tidbits were recorded just before the lure of flash and disco caught Vega and Rev by the electrodes resulting in a number of records that didn't quite jazz me the way their oft-referred to debut had. Quality ain't that bad either, akin to some good audience tapes of the day that always seemed to sound better when transposed to digital, something tough for an analog lover like me to say but it's true so why should I deny it! And naturally the entire package is done swimmingly, complete with a booklet more of which I will prattle on as the review progresses!

The first two disques feature Suicide on home turf in En Why See playing at such haunts as Max's Kansas City and the once decidedly anti-Suicide CBGB, and as you can guess the local fans are out there rooting for the local team. (Only on the tape of the early '78 Palladium gig do we get to hear any of the massive booing that would become part and parcel of their European tour, but that's only because the audience was probably there for the glitzy headlining act and didn't want any part of Suicide's street rock.) Perhaps the most interesting aspect of these En Why See tapes is the presence of this yodelling guy that Blast First's Paul Smith refers to as the "Shouting Man" in his booklet notes, some chump who moans along with the familiar Suicide numbers and does these weird spazzy wails of unbridled approval in between numbers! This guy also pops up on a 1981 recording of Suicide live at the Peppermint Lounge that I have, not to mention a bootleg EP of Johnny Thunders/Wayne Kramer's Gang War and believe-it-or-not but a scant few people actually remember this wailing weirdo who sounds like he was released from Bellvue a tad prematurely! Anybody out there know who this dude is? If so please make his name and cell number known to us as soon as possible! Who knows, a recording contract with Lexicon Devil just might be in the offering!

It isn't until Suicide hits the Olde Country that the fur really starts flying, with Suicide facing a whole load of yobs out for the Clash and Elvis Costello "deeply offended" over Suicide's New York thrust and, in typical European football/political thug fashion make their opinions known in the most vocal (and voilent) ways possible. Oddly enough these gigs are pretty strong in sound and content, and perhaps are enhanced by the raucous response those lilly-livered europeons give to one of the bestest rock groups to ever hit the boards. Some of this, like the famed Brussels show which ended with someone swiping Vega's mic, has been floating around for quite a long time and frankly I think a few things here were taken from the famous ROIR HALF ALIVE tape but it ain't like I'm complainin'. I will say that you might be smart to play these disques piecemeal over the course of a few nights or even a whole week lest you get bogged down in way too many takes of "Harlem" to the point of mental collapse (not that it wouldn't be a fun way to go, though make mine "96 Tears"!).

There are some nice surprises on these platters like an English radio ad for the Suicide and Real Kids albums (!) plus some backstage patter with Vega, Rev, Thompson and Miriam Linna gabbing abour something which I can't make heads nor tails of considering the quality. I guess that's all part of the official bootleg feel of this, and maybe the information to be found here will come to good use...once somebody transcribes it!

And, as to signify a happy ending, this box set ends with a typically powerful Max's set with the boys home from battle and in front of a friendlier buncha miscreants than the ones they hadda put up with the past few months. In a way, it does warm the cockles of my heart to see that the two of 'em made it back OK.

While I'm at it, I should tell you that the enclosed booklet it a joy to behold just like all of those other well-detailed Cee-Dee enclosures coming out with just about every juicy slice of heretofore unknown historical facts we sure can use a lot more of. The mandatory flyers ("Suicide are the Seeds of the 70s!"-Lester Bangs) and snaps are of course here and reprinting a review of MELODY MAKER's Richard Williams (consider him the "anti-Welch" if you like) was a stroke of genius, but the best bunch outta the batch just has to be the inclusion of Miriam Linna's Red Star press releases (or shall I say "communiques") which, like all of her scribblings, are worth repeated reading and not only while you're on the toilet trying to overcome the hemmorhoid struggle. Insightful true, and perhaps these tasty rarities create more of a mystery as to just where the famed rock writer/drummer/record label head is coming from, perhaps even more than her subject matter. Gee, I remember when Linna was always putting down things like punk rock and new wave at one moment, then she would be writing articles on groups like the Feelies (while praising Devo in the process!) and the Ramones the next which really confused a kiddo like me who was living in the heart of AOR-land where anything that wasn't Van Halen was punk rock, and thus loathed with a vengeance. Well, reading these press releases where the lady's hyping up Suicide to the hilt while minutely detailing the struggles they had at their shows with the Clash and Costello, while not writing retch-inducing comments about how sucky those acts are, really is startling! Perhaps they made her edit it out since she's not being paid to present her own opinions here, but if you think that I'm still pretty mixed up about all this then you're probably right as usual!

Sunday, August 10, 2008


Here are a couple clips of the great-yet-oft ignored Dom Minasi Trio taken from one of many appearances at the old CBGB Lounge that someone graciously felt fit to upload onto Youtube. First vid has Minasi and group doing a beaut of tribute entitled "Ode to Eric" (and I don't mean Bloom!) while the second's "All The Things You Are" which I suppose is a new thing take on an old jass standard given a new twist by Minasi. Given how those Dee Pop-manned free-form jazz cybercasts (from which these were taken) brought me such joy during the first part of this otherwise feh decade all I can say is...enjoy it while you can before these too become but mere memories! Hopefully more cybercast material from all three CBGB stages will make it to Youtube, but until then enjoy these tasty little treats:

Saturday, August 09, 2008


OK, my past few weeks of posts have not exactly been up to BLOG TO COMM snuff, but as usual I have a good excuse that I'm sure would've even done Eddie Haskell proud had he decided to use it against one of his many adversaries. It's called REAL LIFE, and believe-you-me that even the densest of BTC readers will comprehend just what kinda of ennui a snot like me has to go through day in/out to the point where (after putting in a solid eight hours [even more!] at the concentration, office and doing my housebound "chores") all I can muster up is sitting in front of the boob tube staring at the umpteenth rerun of some DROOPY cartoon or better yet plopping right into my comfy chair in the bedroom and spinning the same Amon Duul I disque over and over because I'm too lazy to delve into my collection to find some worthy Cee-Dee I haven't played in quite awhile. I remember getting into a similar funk a good thirty years back when August just seemed to coat me with a dinge of a weird self-loathing. I think the terminal overcastness of the month coupled with the humidity might have helped ooze me into that state of nullitude, but strangely enough the only thing that seemed to break me outta my funk so-to-speak was a Dr. Mabuse movie (the original Fritz L**g silent) that aired on the local PBS station one Sunday evening. Don't ask me why.

Thankfully a few well-timed orders helped freshen up my psyche and right now I feel back to my old fun-loving self. Ahh, let me tell you that there's nothing like living the old BLOG TO COMM lifestyle by doing what comes best to the well-rounded fanabla...mainly kicking back in the aforementioned comfy chair, stretching the legs up on the ol' bed, and listening to some new to thine ears high energy rockaroll while reading a classic fanzine or five and resensifying oneself to the manic peckings of Meltzer and the rest of the real-life noise boys. I could see myself doing this for the rest of my life, and if you think I'd be an ogre for being so self-centered while there are people starving in India all I can say is why don't you go there and sacrifice your very bod for the stewpot and leave me alone? I'm sure a few hungry untouchables will thank you for it!

Here's just a sampling of a few goodies that I have received over the past week that I thought I'd let you know about before you decide to take the big monetary plunge like I did. More recent arrivals are ruminating in my fertile mind for future posts (don't want to jam-pack my cranium with music and end up dying from the impact a la the Leader in an old HULK comic!) so whatever you do, don't tune out lest you miss some mighty fine rock screeding that I could only hope will inspire you for once in your life to be a truly negative force in the war against latte liberals, knowitall teachers and other people getting away with their crimes against humanity these days! so midoudt further adieu, it's time to clue you in...

Figures of Light-SMASH HITS CD (Norton)

Well, I have been waiting for this particular release to come out ever since I got hold of the Figures' reissued single that Norton put out two years back (in fact, I was waiting for it even before Norton announced it was going to be released, psychic that I am!), and now that the thing's here and safely nestled within a stack of digital wares begging to be reviewed this weekend all I gotta say is...BOSS JOB, NORTON!!! Now, I should 'fess up to the plain truth and tell you that I was a little bit worried as to how this platter was gonna turn out...after all, haven't we had more than our share of aging sixties/seventies garagesters trying to re-live past glories by reforming their old bands whilst trying to re-capture a youth that many of these guys gladly gave up for their white-collar jobs and a heavy duty hankerin' for Earl Klugh? I mean, looking at more'n a few of these white-fringed baldies with goatees (grown to keep the eyes off the bald spots!) reminds me of something I would have seen in a mid-sixties period MAD satire that never did get off the ground. But hey, with the young 'uns these days trying to prove to all of us that they can be every bit as boring as their elders why should I squabble about age anyhoo?

Ageist cracks aside (as if YOU are a spring chicken, eh?), SMASH HITS is just that, a great slice of heavy-duty garage punk that sounds just as much 1966 mid-Ameriga as it does the '73-vintage post-VU cum Stooges CREEM-rock it professes to be or even that rare bright shard of intelligence in the mid-eighties come to think of it. Yes, core members Wheeler Winston Dixon and Michael Downey may be old coots now, but they still can sound just as wild and rock & roll as they did back in 1970 when Rutgers coeds on the lookout for future hubbies wet panties over the fearsome roar these Figures of Light could toss out in an age of introspect and post-psychedelic frazzled nerves.

You may remember Dixon for his underground films which I assume Norton will be reissuing on DVD any day now...he had been making them ever since 1964 when he was but fourteen, and I think Downey was part of the same u-ground "cadre" as well. But whatever you think about aging academics getting back to their rock roots after all these years all I gotta say is I'd rather see Dixon and Downey than my old High School English teacher reliving hippie heaven with her Peter Paul and Mary-inspired folk trio anyday!

Surprisingly Ramones-y/Cramps/Hasil Adkins approach on these otherwise post-six-oh garage-marinated tracks no doubt thanks to the KICKS team helping out not only in front of but behind the scenes. (Billy Miller, he the utterer of the "you guys make 'Sister Ray' sound like 'Macarthur's Park'!" observation regarding the Light's debut gig recording, produced the entire shebang.) Primitive but not pretentious, closer to Umela Hmota than the Motards, with a CREEM sense of suburban sprawl firmly in place to the point where you too will think you're stuck inside some Sharpsville PA nutty pine basement listening to a band that will go nowhere but the attic, that is. And given that Dixon's about a good two years away from his own six-oh it's amazing to listen to the guy sing...he sounds just like every other sixteen-year-old scrunch-whiner of the late-sixties on these recent re-dos from the Figures songbook that, like all good mind-addled teen rock sorta breaks down all manner of time and taste barriers to create sounds that seem to transcend a whole load of classifications. To me it'll always sound like something I sure wish the band down the street woulda been playing 'stead of "She Came in through the Bathroom Window".

Naturally (as it is with these high-quality all-out rockin' packages) I coulda used much more, like maybe one disc with the entire live debut tape and another with alla the new stuff, but I guess that one'll have to wait until 2020 when a neural implant will give us every second of Figures sound and vision embedded into our li'l peabrains. But why should I bitch 'n moan over what seems to be pure teenage (in a true CREEM 1972 sense) perfection? True, judging from that tee-vee smashing finale (which comes off as one of the most cataclysmic live show finales since METALLIC KO or Suicide live in Brussells) the entire gig must've been one big huge, throbbing expression of total suburban teenage angst and why should we be denied the full meal deal any longer??? Dear Mr. and Mrs. Kicks...please rectify the situation at hand and unleash this caustic material right now. We high energy rock & rollers DEMAND it!!!! (Howzat for pushing my rockism weight around, eh? Betcha it don't work.)
The Dictators-EVERY DAY IS SATURDAY CD (Norton)

Hoo boy...remember when these Dics tapes were being circulated about on the clandestine trade lists of the mid-eighties and you flipped noggin over the fact that such rarities as the group's 1973 demo tapes as well as BLOODBROTHERS outtakes that sounded better than the legitimate takes weren't available on vinyl (them being the virulently anti-Cee Dee days)? I sure do, and I even remember how twennysome years back none other than Billy Miller hisself was practically down on bended knee begging lead Dic Adny Shernoff for permission to make these tempty recordings available to more than a precious few! Well, it took over two whopping decades for Shernoff to finally give the green light, but then again what are twenny years in light of an ETERNITY of heavy metallic rock bliss anyway? (TRANSLATION: if you go to heaven you get to listen to all of the great high energy music that has been created for your own enjoyment, while if you go to hell it's nothing but listening to a popular Melbourne-area blogger talk to you about his ten favorite SST albums over and over again ad infinitum! Yeeeesh!!!!)

But music as good as the stuff on EVERY DAY IS SATURDAY is enough to make me tend to the straight and narrow so's I won't end up "down there" as part of an eternal alternative music workshop discussing the social validity of the nineties "_____core" phenomenon. In fact, when I was listening to this momentous platter last night I was throbbing and pounding, fill'd to the brim w/such ecstatic glee that I thought I was back in the late-seventies and getting all googly over this music just like I did the first time around! Yeah, it's that good, as good as it was reading about the Dictators in a whole buncha magazines when GO GIRL CRAZY came out and trying to find the platter in the bins at the local record shop (can only recall seeing it ONCE and why I didn't buy it then I'll never know!). Good as forgettin' all about 'em for a few years until you re-discover them via MANIFEST DESTINY and BLOODBROTHERS and then seeing their mugs once again splattered all over the place as if they've never left. And even as good as finally BUYING their recs at ultra bargain prices because...well, it's the eighties and nobody wants to talk about seventies high energy rock & roll music no more. Nobody but me, but then again I always was a stick inna mud.

But man-oh-Manitoba is this 'un grand! The early '73 demos are fantabulous sounding like heavy metal before it really got a name for itself and all we got were boring eighties hair bands for our troubles. I'm still jaw-gaping surprised at just what a powerful group the Dics could be even this early in the game, and if you thought songs like "Weekend" were boffo on GO GIRL CRAZY wait'll you hear how they came off before the Blue Oyster Cult production team got their mitts on 'em! "California Sun" also pops up with a surprising new line about those frisky girls in Frisco...I just hope they were girls Adny...I mean, in SF you can't be too sure! The new stuff like "Backseat Boogie" is top notch enough that it should've made the first alb, but my fave of the batch has to be "Fireman's Friend" (yes, taken from the SUPERMAN show, the one where these criminals who give out free coffee and doughnuts to hard-working firemen are working up a scheme involving walking through raging fires in an asbestos suit!) which is perhaps the third NYC underground-rock-related song about the Man o' Steel that I can think of offhand, the other two being songs about Lois Lane (and both titled "Lois Lane"!) that were done by the Planets!

The late-seventies Asylum-period Dics are done well too, not only with some nice radio ads stuck in amidst the blast (that's one thing I like about these Norton disques...those ads for albums, gigs and whatnot really give their releases that "you are there" feel!) but tracks that, like I mentioned earlier, sound better here than they did in legit form. Unfortunately we're deprived of a few great rarities like "Tits To You" but that doesn't mean the hot flow of lava is gonna be any chillier, and if you're one of those goombahs who really dug such already outstanding tracks as "Baby Let's Twist", "I Stand Tall" (not for your average MRR fan!) and especially "Borneo Jimmy" (tribute to Meltzer) prepare to be astounded. Like I said, it's all heavy metal like it used to be in the good ol' days, and if Black Oak Arkansas had only evolved a bit differently from their early-seventies "Feet on Earth, Head in Sky" days they mighta ended up just as good as these Dics, only with a Southern accent!

Did I mention two takes of "Sixteen Forever"? Howzbout a number of nineties/oh-ohs recordings to round things out? Well, if I didn't, you get 'em here and they don't even charge you extra!
Cold Sun-DARK SHADOWS CD (World in Sound Germany, available through Forced Exposure)

Dunno how this missed on my radarscope for so long but here's one of those unexpected outta-nowhere offerings you kinda thought just hadda exist down the line and well, with all of that other good proto-everything stuff comin' outta the woodworks these days why shouldn't we be treated to a platter by the band that more or less would coalesce into Roky Erickson's very own Bliebalien once the haze of late-sixties psychedelia turned into early-seventies jadedness. The death of Texas psychedelic rock and its mutation into hard blues and New Country didn't quite affect electric autoharpist Bill Miller and band the way you mighta thought it would, and on these '70 recordings Miller's Cold Sun keep the spirit of lysergic addledness alive with a drive and vision that reminds me of just what the Thirteenth Floor Elevators woulda been cranking out had they come back from San Fran with a few more of their braincells intact.

Miller's electric autoharp, complete with various effects and presumably some preamps, was a magnificent construction that on this disque serves more that just as some massive rhythm instrument (which it is!) and despite what some observers have said is not quite an amplified jug substitute no matter how ethereal it sounds. At times it uncannily resembles an electric piano or a harpsichord of some strange construction, but whatever you may think it was a stroke of brilliance that Miller decided to choose this instrument which, although a small part and parcel of the folk boom of the early-sixties, has little of the jug-band frolic to it and is played in such a feral manner that any traces of Lovin' Spoonful good-timiness is shot for all good.

The music is minor-key dark psych (woulda made a good Elektra album along with the first Stalk Forrest) with hefty Doors refs thankfully filtered through a more Velvet Underground style of riff-angst. (A story about Miller discussing the Elevators with Lou Reed backstage at the Vulcan Gas Works sure makes me wish to be one of those proverbial flies on the wall!) Lyrics seem to hearken back to the late-sixties mysticism of the Elevators yet sound far more foreboding than anything even the mind-damaged ones could conceive of, with perhaps a far more doomed take on psychedelic concerns than the more myopic bands of the day would dare fess up to. Coupled with a high energy that many acts seemed to have forgotten about at the time Cold Sun win well with their double dose of mental crackup outlook and searing feedback atonal attack. Joy Division's got nothin' on these guys!

Anyway, if you want to know more about Cold Sun and their importance to the history of Texas rock why dontcha just click here for the entire deep-dish scoop on these Lone Star weirdies!
The Byard Lancaster Unit-LIVE AT MACALESTER COLLEGE CD (Porter)

Finding original Byard Lancaster albums has become just as hard as finding funny jokes on Comedy Central as of late which is why I really cherish (in a pure, Association sense) this reissue of a particularly rare Lancaster side that originally came out on the very private Dogtown label back in the early seventies. Playing particularly free (meaning you don't have to sit through those flutesy tracks that appeared on Lancaster's otherwise boffo IT'S NOT UP TO US), Lancaster and his various units pretty much have the Coltrane free flow and well as the Shepp percussive back to Africa sound down pat on these highly attuned sides. In fact, the only thing really missing's Sonny Sharrock's angular guitar lines but I guess he was too busy with Herbie Mann at the time and besides, Lancaster and group (including longtime bassist Jerome Hunter) are doing pretty fine for themselves in their attempts to alienate the mass of jazz listeners even more with these free-play numbers. The bonus tracks with Lancaster as a sideman (these being by "The J. R. Mitchell Experimental Unit") also do the disque fine with its fine slide from early-seventies post-new thing bop into the mid-seventies loft scene of which Lancaster was a reliable part.

Regular BLOG TO COMM readers'll probably already have this 'un on top of the current pile natch, but for those of you who are just perusing the blogs looking for "relevant" and "socially responsible" choices to adorn your big wide wonderful world of music collection all I gotta say is that you'll look really suave with this one proudly esconsed next to all of your Malcolm X spoken word discs. Of course that still won't keep you from getting beat up once you make a wrong turn on your bicycle, and I don't think your Che tee-shirt's gonna help you much either.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Dave E and the Cool Marriage Counselors-"Searching Through Sears"/"Love Meant to Die", "Psychology 101" EP (Christmas Pets)

Hey whaddaya know, some enterprising young sport decided to get the Cool Marriage Councelors track from the CLE #3-B flexidisc and slapped it onto the a-side of this very (presumably) limited edition seven-incher! And not only that, but the young entrepreneur also had the brains to stick Dave E's a capella version of "Love Meant to Die" (taken from an '80 WRUW-FM interview with CLE edition Jim Ellis in tow) as well as a decidedly low-fi live track entitled "Psychology 101" of which I know very little about on the flip!!! And in keeping with Dave E's intended vanity imprint which never did get off the ground this disc was "released" via "Christmas Pets" complete with John Morton-esque drawings of underwear and a clarinet amongst other niceties adorning the labels! No swastikas, thankfully. Sure brought back fond memories of my late-seventies/early-eighties Cle underground record hunting excursions when those singles and albums that most of us now take for granted were definitely hotcha fodder. Of course the bad part was that too much of the Cle underground remained just that, with only a scant few recordings being made available at the time to document a budding scene that the Cle music mafia (WMMS, Pantsios...) was more than anxious to suppress! A classic slice of Cleveland avant rock of the Golden Age (roughly '72-'80) that deserves to be unleashed from the shoeboxes of many a serious fanatic citywide. Now if only someone would release some Harlan and the Whips and Willie and the Criminal Mystics/Secrets tapes!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Mighty High-...IN DRUG CITY CD (Mighy High)

Hmmm, a newie has made it to my door just like they used to during the height of my own prolific fanzine days back in the nineties! Looks like I won't have to break out my dusty old copy of LIVE AT CBGB'S and give it the twentieth review of my career after all!

Anyway, reg'lar BLOG TO COMM reader Woody High sent me a copy of this, the latest (and perhaps ONLY) Cee-Dee by his group Mighty High along with the warning that I "...probably won't like it" which would seem strange coming from a guy who has sent me his own handiwork gratis. Dunno why Mr. High would even think of "shooshing" his very own release off like that but he did, perhaps due to some sort of self-hatred and inferiority complex? But really, suffer from modesty though he may Mr. High was wrong regarding my perceived opinions concerning this particular endeavor, probably because along with the disque in question Mr. High also sent along a check requesting all of the available back issues of my very own fanzine of which many copies are available thus guaranteeing that his platter will get a boffo writeup on this blog! So you budding musicians with a new release would do well to send my your rotting away analog/digital items along with a hefty order if you too would like to have your ignored offerings get the royal treatment here at BTC central!

All kiddin' aside, Woody and his pals really do come up with a good bitta heavy metallic punk rock on this disc, which I gotta admit is nothing I'm gonna spin on a nightly basis like I do with all my fave obsessives but that don't mean its rank. With lyrics straight outta the '77 eff-yew school (with more songs about drugs and the scoring thereof than I could shake a hypo at) and melodies more or less twisto-change-o variations on a whole buncha 1981 British Weekly punk fodder, Mighty High sure come off like the best of punk past that skedaddled through the offal that movement ended up producing to get to a meat-and-potatoes present which I for one can osmose to a lot more than I can to...say, Wooden Shjips (sic). Kinda reminds me of the days when it seems as if real underground/new wave/garage/hardcore rock battle lines were being drawn up, and you could guess just where these guys woulda been firmly plunked down. Not with the Kultur Klub or Mad Donna, that's fer sure!

Hey kids, sorry for the skimpy weekend posts that I've been dishing out as of late, but given the lack ot fodder and energy (I "do" have a real life, or something along those lines) I just haven't been able to crank out those ten-thousand word essays the way I used to even a few months back. But that doesn't mean I'm throwing in the towel just yet, for I have a few hot irons in the fire that I'm willing to poke in your eye once I get my sheishe together as they say in Germany.

As you can plainly see I've also been slowly but surely rebuilding my link 'em up bar on the left, although I still have to re-discover a few of the old blogs that my system lost about a month back which I must say does account for the skimpy look of the thing as it stands. So please, if you had a blog that was linked up here and I've yet to restore it to its proper place on the BLOG TO COMM mantle of respectability please let me know. Even if I never did link yer site up and you'd like to be included with the rest of the chosen few let me know and I'll try to rectify my past errors faster than you can say "your mother breast-fed the entire Seventh Fleet!"