Saturday, July 31, 2010


Dunno if it's the summer solstice or a general lack of energy/stimulation on my part, but yer lucky enough that I was able to crank this itty bitty titty committee post out. Yes I have been sloth-like in doing my blog doody this weekend, though maybe I should relay to you (in order to wiggle outta any cries of lethargy on my part) that I have been immersing myself in certain gulcheral matters past which will probably be written up in a larger-than-life post within the month of August. But for now I'm merely coasting on my old batch of Cee-Dees and Dee-Vee-Dee's (the good ol' vinola is taking a rest right now mainly because I'm too lazy to go downstairs to listen to any!) to get me through the current economy drive as well as a few fine items that I hope you'll gain incredible knowledge about after reading the following short but particularly sweet reviews I managed to "whip up" for you...

THE STORY SO FAR (fanzine from date on it but I'd gather late 1980 or so)

One thing I will say about the English (actually British) rock et punk fanzine scene of the late-seventies/early-eighties is that for the most part these rags were spiffily laid out, filled with enthusiasm (or at least as much enthusiasm as one could muster up in the Land o' Green Teeth) and believe-it-or-not but you could even find a few interesting bits of pertinent information previous unbeknown to even the most studious of tight-sphinctered rock fans as well. These fanzines were also written in a pleasing, breezy style and can be read in the wink of an eye unlike many of the more Golden Age fanzines which could engross for nigh on an entire evening. Sure there were a few exceptions like THE NEXT BIG THING which really could captivate the imagination for hours on end, but that 'un was clearly running on Amerigan fanzine impulses which makes it a different ball of haggis altogether.

THE STORY SO FAR's not that different'n the comparative batch of English fanzines of the day, but I will admit that it does have a certain flair about it. Some would want to classify this one as an adherent to the "post punk" (a nauseating and misleading term if there ever was one) credo, but unlike many of the fanzines coming out of that ever-polarizing scene this one has its own charm, charisma and downright smartness about it. And although I couldn't care one whit about the Mo-Dettes after all of the negative pus I've heard about them throughout the years (to the point where I'll probably forsake spinning the FREE FLEXI-DISC enclosed) I gotta admit that it's sure fine reading the interview with 'em which doesn't shed any real light on the situation but hey, better this than suffering through an early-90s Eddie Vedder interview where he airs he neuroses for one and all in the grand tradition of Joni Mitchell!

The editors certainly scored a coup by getting an interview with the Clash even if they were about two years well-past their prime at this point. Ain't gonna fault anybody for that, though I much prefer the gab with Dr. Mix and the Remix (an act I was more than anxious to immerse myself in at the time only the lack of $$$ kept me from picking any of their albums up at the time) and Spizz (of "energy"/"oil" fame) even if they were one act outta many via the Rough Trade cadre that didn't quite flibben my jib but that doesn't mean I have to hate 'em even though for all practical purposes I should!

And to prove that they weren't more of those Ameriga-hating British snobs there's even some Yankee content here via articles on the Cramps and (get this!) the Surfaris, a group you woulda thought was way outside of the realm of early-eighties English musical tastes but who rate a good page of homage so why complain?

Hmmmm, come to think of it THE STORY SO FAR does outrank/flank much of the competition with its swank print job, popular interview subjects and overall outlook and perspective. Well, at least this one runs rings around some of the competition that was way too politically horseblindered to take seriously (somehow you'd never think of a Crass-affiliated band or 'zine to be free form and letting it all hang out) or just too artiste-ic to matter. At least THE STORY SO FAR has a personality and way about itself, and you gotta give credit to a fanzine that was running articles on all-time greats the Barracudas while others were too busy reading socialist tracts to notice which is one reason this particular rag hits while many others missed by a mile!
Dara Puspita-1966-1968 CD (Sublime Frequencies)

This 'un's been dangling 'bout in the collection but only now did I whip up enough courage to give this dig up a halfway-decent review! You probably never heard of Dara Puspita (translation: the Flower Girls), but from what I've heard they were pretty big stuff in mid-sixties Indonesia to the point where they actually earned the ire of none other than strongman leader General Sukarno himself who actually interrogated the girls in '65 for the heinous crime of playing rock & roll music. From what I've heard about Sukarno and his over-active glands I shudder to think what some of this interrogation entailed, but thankfully Dara Puspita made it out of the gulag alive and kicking enough to enjoy a pretty good career in their native land cranking out a good local variation on the Big Beat that got 'em loads of prestigious gigs as well as a few chart-toppers that I'm sure still warm the cockles of more'n a few budding Jakartan pre-teens who grew up listening to the Puspita way of rockism!

1966-1968 comes in a great decorative fold-apart digipack-kinda cover complete with the expected color photos and even a booklet with a rather detailed history of the group written by rock historian about town Alan Bishop. Put 'em all together and it makes for good reading while listening to the disque which presents a good enough representative portion of Dara Puspita's recorded output which (according to the booklet) was so in demand that the price of their first album doubled when demand outstripped supply. It's kinda funny that such hotcha teenage rock & roll coulda existed side-by-side in such a hostile environment (esp. given the massive slaughter going on when Sukarno was eventually ousted a short while after his anti-Beatles outbursts got Dara Puspita in a load of hot water), but hey I'll take this sunshine pre-jaded teenage rock in any language anyday and lending ear to these gals take hoary old Western rock modes and translate them into their own market is really a joy to behold.

Mostly original with a Beatle snatch here and Ventures cover there, and even some "Bye Bye Blackbird"/"Glad All Over" redo's elsewhere which really tells you where these femmes were coming from! Instrumentally this is straight by-the-book mid-six-oh teen rock sung in Indonesian most of the time with a few English lyrics tossed in to surprise you because you still thought they were singing in their native tongue until you spot a few "yeah yeah"-type phrases and whatnot. No pretensions or messages like the kind that would seep into the rock of the late-sixties...just good and commercial teenage music that sorta worked for the local teens the same way Paul Revere worked for us! And what's best about Dara Puspita is that they don't play themselves either as rock-bandwagon-jumping t&a airheads or threatening proto-feminists but straight-ahead rock & rollers who don't need gimmicks or women's lib to get to the top of the heap. In fact if you really wanna pick nits, these gals did more for women as achievers than all of those stenchy radical lezbo/MS. mag types put together mainly because they delivered w/o putting themselves into a self-exile of sullen crybabyish man-hatred.

What's best is that they backed up their own truly assertive (in the best sense) femininity out with some pretty tasty hunka cheese beat music which is all that matters to a chauvinist pig like me. And if you're a pig or a strictly kosher carnivore this'll certainly knock you for a loop that you've needed knocked for quite some time. Yet another outta-nowhere surprise that's helping me make it through these times some call the 21st century but I call dullness on earth!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Atlas Television Presents... SUPER-LOST SUPER-MARIONATION DVD-R (Atlas address given)

Have you worn out all of your Gerry Anderson Supermarionation DVDs and still want more? If so you might want to give this way-outta-the-loop platter a go. A definitely home-made affair courtesy the anonymous ones at Atlas Television, SUPER-LOST SUPER-MARIONATION's a grey-market collection of old Japanese Gerry Anderson knockoffs that only add to the stereotype that all Japan could do at the time (before the nation got its collective act together) was imitate the success of western technology and art and do a mighty shoddy job at it! Of course if you like shoddiness like I tend to at times a disque like this certainly does come in handy, and these Japanese kiddie shows do help out when one is on the lookout for the best low-fi entertainment that was being passed off for kids (and adults) who thankfully didn't know better.

This disque might be a drag since it's all in Japanese and you're lucky if you get some French subtitles or a slight bitta narration in a high-class English accent, but the spirit of bargain basement fun and games shines through on these programs which are slightly analogous to what the 1960 Toyota was to the 1954 Ford. SPACESHIP SILICA's the earliest of the lot, a 1960 production (NHK really must have been anxious to crank out their own SUPERCAR swipe since that 'un was barely out of the hamper when this arrived!) is the most primitive of 'em all with marionettes who don't even move their mouths and off-the-shelf windup toys adding even more addled mystique to this tale of a dragon that's attacking a spaceship (there's the subplot about this survivor of another ship wrecked by said dragon) with an ending that's so bizarre I'd swear the good guys lose! Really, this one is about as coherent as some of the dreams I've been having recently, a few which I think are also being relayed to me in Japanese!

The '63 production SPACE PATROL that follows ain't the English knockoff that was actually syndicated in the USA under the title PLANET PATROL as to not confuse any Tom Corbett fans but an original Japanese series that's a slight (in the strictest sense) cut above SILICA. This is the one with the French subtitles and some frog doing an intro/outro voiceover, and at least the puppets here can open and shut their mouths and move about somewhat. Interesting use of cheap pre-anime-styled cartoonage in the outer space scenes, and overall the influence of FIREBALL can be discerned from the entire premise to the colorful cast of supporting characters including a cowboy named what else but Tex and a Mexican boy named what else but Pedro whose sombrero keeps popping off his head whenever he becomes startled or surprised. Believe-you-me, if you wanna live you should give a listen to Japanese voices intoning Western and Mexican accents!

By the time AERIAL CITY 008 popped up around '70 Japanese television had gone color and the production values had slightly graduated to the point where this one resembles what THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO would have looked like if Anderson had to rely on the same technology he used with TORCHY THE BATTERY BOY. Interesting Sci-Fi fun nonetheless, with an international team going to work trying to save the world from an experiment using the force of magma that would turn winter into spring gone awry! Again, hearing Japanese voices doing French accents with a strange Frenchese mixture is quite strange as are all of the trotted-out ethnic portrayals which probably wouldn't go over well with the kind of people who write for big city newspapers and act as arbiters of what is supposed to be prim and proper in this post-racial age, but you know the members of these various groups usually chortle with approval at the appearance of an El Brendel or Chico Marx (let along Leo Castillo) so why should we let these upper-crusts tell us what to enjoy anyway! And yeah it's all cheap plastic junk, or at least the televised version of such, but it's MY cheap plastic junk and don't you forget it!

Atlas stuck this short kiddie show entitled THE ADVENTURES OF POINDEXTER at the end, a program which has nothing to do with Supermarionation having been produced for Educational tee-vee way back in 1953, but since it was marionette-based I guess they figured what else to pad the package out with! This is undoubtedly what those classroom instructional television programs that PBS stations aired in the mornings/afternoons for years were like, and oddly enough when PBS first went on the air in this area in '73 much of their programming was along the lines of this fodder for the little finks in second grade!

One more thing, the music for all of these Japanese productions was composed and performed by none other than Isao Tomita, the same guy who made bundles on those electronic albums in the seventies that really wowed the rubes with their technological wheezes and chortles. (Though frankly, I do remember taking a copy of his FIREBIRD SUITE out of the library and being totally snoozed by the banality of it all!) Here he does some surprisingly way-above-par adventure music that suits the action well, complete with this one awe-inspiring interlude in SPACE PATROL which was supposed to represent some extraterrestrial lunar music but sounds like rather good early-sixties classical avant garde to me. Hmmmm, by any chance does Tomita's involvement with these programs make him Japan's answer to Barry Gray?

Saturday, July 24, 2010


Yes, that's what most of us do when we advance onto a weblog that we really know nothing about! But have no fear with BLOG TO COMM, for here we pick the brightest of reviews at peak crackling perfection and present them to you, the discerning reader, at their ripest and therefore juiciest best. While other blogs are more concerned with rushing out posts under the misguided ruse of being "timely", ours are left to ferment and age for that special tanginess you most certainly crave, and really, once you get down to it you don't know whether you'd like to read our particular posts, or eat them for that matter.

All kidding aside, there really ain't that much to crow about this weekend, just a few recent arrivals that (except for the Gulchers) has been out for awhile and perhaps long past their blog shelf life as if that really did matter here, where the anciant and freshly-popped intermingle to the point of who can tell which is which. As soon as I have an opportunity to experience a few more recently-pressed disques and platters (maybe within a couple of weeks, months even!) I can guarantee you that there will be some epic, magazine article-length piece coming atcha to tickle your tootsies but good. Anyway, make do with what I have to offer and don't crab about it too much lest you be doomed to reading LEXICON DEVIL for all eternity!

Lord Buckley-A MOST IMMACULATELY HIP ARISTOCRAT CD (Collector's Choice Music)

Like I'm sure many of you readers have, I first discovered Lord Buckley via the Bizarre/Straight label sampler ZAPPED at which time I made an effort to seek out this very album which was only to be found via a few scant 8-tracks located in the rear sections of certain Radio Shacks and Mason's Department Stores in the tri-county area. And, like perhaps a few more of you, I also got to see Buckley in action via his late-fifties YOU BET YOUR LIFE appearance which has been running in syndication as THE BEST OF GROUCHO ever since those monochrome days. You too might recall the way Buckley freaked Mr. Marx out with his witty revising of Shakespeare custom-made for the bop set...

Unfortunately it took a good thirtysome years since this elpee became almost impossible to find to get reissued, and thanks to the relatively obscure Collector's Choice label at least I can get to hear now what I missed then without having to pay collector's choice-y prices for an original I might have been lucky to pick up for a mere two dollah had this 'un landed in the used record shops back in the eighties.

I must say that these particular home recordings have Buckley doing his best hipster bit that definitely was a highlight of the already hopped-up fifties, conveying his entire oeuvre of black slang and general youthful (for a man in his fifties!) rather spiffily if I do say so myself! At least it does Buckley better'n that double-set of the typically douse-like Lenny Bruce that Bizarre issued around the same time. After listening to this platter it's easy to see not only just how well Buckley was plugged into the entire jivespeak bit but just how much various sixties/seventies "innovators", from stand-up comedians to radio disc jockeys (and not only Wolfman Jack) swiped more than a little from him. Well, at least most of the ones who have, even the more nauseating examples of sixties "innovation" have sung his praises and ya gotta admit that the fact that Frank Zappa hisself was responsible for this album's existence boosted Buckley's hip underground credo a bit just like "The Eric Dolphy Memorial Barbecue" helped move more copies of IRON MAN than anyone coulda imagined.

Of course those days of hotcha beat-talking hipsterisms are long gone and in some respects Buckley's entire routine is about as dated as those MAD takes on the classics redone in bopese, but someone (like myself) who is more than anxious to explore the old frontiers of the bared-wire cool can surely appreciate these proto-"improvisational" routines from his Marquis de Sade and Einstein tribs to his own cool sprew on "The Raven". And of course "Governor Slugwell" which astounded me way back in when I was a mere young and impressionable type who decided to warp himself because frankly, school and authority weren't doing a good enough job of it. Especially entertaining was "The Train", a piece which I don't think could be performed by anyone on this earth with a full set of teeth.

And hey, if you wanna read what it is that Buckley's saying on this platter just be sure to click here!
Ben Miller/degeneration-EYELANDS UNDER EYELID CD (Gulcher)

Ex-Destroy All Monsters man Miller has been recording these electronic soundscapes for quite some time now, and tho I'd made some half-hearted stabs at obtaining his earlier offerings (especially this one from about five years back he did around the time he was playing the CBGB 313 Gallery to promote it!) this is the first actual flesh and blood disque of his that I've been able to lay paws upon. Surprisingly enough (surprisingly enough since I was expecting something on the fringe on imtonal as opposed to atonal grate) this is a pleasant recording of free-sound that's as engaging as it is relaxing. That doesn't mean it's one of those releases created to revitalize your life energy forces, but it's certainly worthy unto itself. Actually EYELANDS UNDER EYELIDS has a rather engaging electronic sound that was recorded complete with a prepared (I guess) guitar coming off a lot like some of the more interesting recorded excursions you would have seen popping up in the late-seventies NMDS catalog, or perhaps heard on a more adventurous college radio station of the day. Come to think of it, this does revitalize MY life energy forces, and it just might yours as well!
Crawlspace-IGNORANCE IS BLISS CD (Gulcher, or try getting it direct from Eddie Flowers @ Slippytown [see link on left] since he needs the money in a hurry!)

NOW, THIS IS THE EDDIE FLOWERS I KNOW AND LOVE!!! Of course you're smart enough to realize that I don't mean "know" in a Biblical sense nor do I mean "love" in the same way as well, but gosh darn it this new Crawlspace album is a mighty nice surprise especially for a dunce like me who's been in on the game since the mid-eighties when former Gizmo Flowers was first fermenting his group via freshly-penned numbers such as "The Void that Slithers" and other beauts that he was hyping via his various EDDIE PICKS THE HITS newsletters (a definite mid-eighties highlight in a gonz-void world that certainly needed 'em!). I remember hearing some slightly-later Crawlspace recordings from '87 or so telling him how fuller and more rehearsed they sounded with him giving me one of those "no shit Sherlock" replies...certainly deserved that 'un but as far as evolutionary patterns went Crawlspace was reaching far and beyond what any of us doofs coulda imagined after hearing those early sub-bedroom demos back '85 way.

By this point in time you woulda thought Crawlspace to be an extra-terrestrial form of indescribable energy unknown to the ken of human comprehension but surprise, for on their latest the group really returns back to the roots, to the basics of it all which makes for a fine example of DOWN-HOME HIGH ENERGY PROTO-PUNK-INFLUENCED METALLIC SHARD MUSIC that hasn't been heard in quite a long time. I'm sure the unaware might think this an obscure early-seventies Texas self-released post-psych wonder that you usedta hafta pay upwards of $500 for before the eventual "legit" reish with bonus tracks was made available sometime in the oh-ohs, but it ain't.

Eddie sounds a whole lot older than he did on those Gizmos and early Crawlspace recordings; deeper and more cigarette-rough in a way that can easily pass for black especially with the remnants of his Deep South accent firmly in place. Musically it's way back to the first Gizmos EP's metallicus-proper stylings meets late-sixties punk electricity that's so convincing that you'd expect to hear this being blasted from one of those cheap old farmhouses where get-away-from-it-all longhairs congregated back in those strangely stormfront days. Subject matter ranges from aging baby-boomer women who still slank as slutty now as they did then to Glorias Stavers/Leonard (who not surprisingly did all the do they could for their respective publishing fields) and it's such a snat mix of smarts and below dumbo raveon ("Vote Yes on 69"!) that it's hard to believe such a perfect distillation of midwest hard-edge rock and fanzine credo would be allowed to exist in 2010! All done in a basement-level lo-fi t'boot!

I remember my first exposure to the Eddie Flowers moniker via his letter to BOMP! circa. 1971 where Greg Shaw remarked that at twelve Eddie was the mag's youngest reader who deserved to have his head warped by rock & roll...looks like the job was "well done", and crisp to a "t" too!
The Brain Surgeons-EPONYMOUS CD (Cellsum/Ripe & Ready)

Gotta admit that I had a slight interest in hearing this group after finding out that onetime Blue Oyster Cult drummer Al Bouchard left their ranks long after they lost their overall meaningfulness (which to me was around the time they forsook the psychedelia of the Stalk-Forrest Group for the heavy metal chicanery they eventually became known for in the v. late-seventies) in order to hit the streets with an act that typified a more Stoneybrook set of aesthetics. A few cybercast appearances via the CBGB website also had me salivatin', though unfortunately I missed out on 'em due to sleep and I can only hope and pray that those ain't lost for all time. Obviously, outta all of the BOC members past and present Bouchard was, along with Les Vegas and perhaps R. Meltzer one of the more conscious of the bunch...I mean, here's a guy who turned his back on the millions in order to play his own particular brand of New York street smart rock even if he hadda do it with his wife Deborah Frost, a woman who in my studious opinion has to be one of the worst rock critics to ever besmirch a printed page and I don't CARE if she's written for THE NEW YORK ROCKER (a lotta doofs have...they can't all be Miriam Linna!) because her tiring politically preachy screed-on against Joe Carducci and his ROCK AND THE POP NARCOTIC ("oh boo-hoo, what a racist this man is, and there's only one Jew in Blue Oyster Cult anyway so there smartypants!") was enough to send this sidelines-bound scribe into fits of nausea worthy of a lifetime supply of Ipecac!

But that was long ago and we should let bygones be bygones and all that...are you KIDDING??? This elephant never forgets, and come to think of it I'll never forget the throngs of "classic rock" Eddyites I knew who were really hard-on for BOC while showing all sorts of antipathy for anything even remotely high energy, underground, exciting or having a connection to the decidedly non-ROLLING STONE-sanctioned history of the great youth struggle ending somewhere in early-eighties bong heaven. So maybe I should loathe this Cee-Dee on mere principle alone, but that would be hard to do because once you get down to it, do """""I""""" have any principles myself?

So where does that leave the Brain Surgeons' EPONYMOUS debut release anyway? Well, given my utter rantings and ravings to the contrary and the fact that I find the female portion of the group rather abhorrent all I gotta say is that I love this one to the utmost! Given its utmost high energy appeal mixed with a slash-and-burn that reminds me of the best of the early-eighties underground (NYC style), this comes off like a forgotten early-eighties just-post-Max's slice of New York hard rock that was smart enough not to realize that the powerhouse seventies were being replaced by the pallid eighties!

The Brain Surgeons really do remind me of what all of those under-the-covers En Why See bands who were playing CBGB throughout the eighties and even until their last days a few mere years ago probably if not definitely sounded like. No, not the ones who were all aflush with the uplifting sounds of the post-new wave or the hardcore screech that was getting the obvious underground press (not all of it positive), but the kinda groups who were more or less the spiritual successors of those hard mid-seventies bands from the Dictators and Tuff Darts on down who really didn't have a peanut gallery to sustain 'em via fanzines or any "alternative" radio outlets. Y'know, the kinda groups that only Hilly Kristal, I, the bands and their mothers could love with their lack of pretension, stick-to-it'veness and (best of all) non-lockstep groove that seemed in rather short supply that I sure could have used a whole lot more of 'stead of some of the simper that did come out during that sorry decade.

Both Bouchard and Frost sing, and both play guitars along with Bouchard's drumming along with other band members who seem rather flex-like and it's all an enjoyable slide of En Why See rock thirtysome years after the fact. Frost is a good warbler and her strangely soothing vocal cords do sound fine wrapped around the tough-gal Stoneybrook material extant, while Bouchard shows that maybe he shoulda been the front-and-center singer for BOC all those years 'stead of fastened behind the drums. To add to the entire Cultasaurusness behind it all longtime scribblers David Roter (whose posthumous album is still waiting to be released and why none of his early folkie stuff???) and Richard Meltzer contribute pertinent lyrics that should bring back warm and toasty heart cockling to fanz who have been in on the drive since the get-go. Heck, even the uh-capella take of "Love Potion #9" didn't make me wanna rip the disque from the laser launching pad and that's really saying something positive.

Ain't saying that I'll be buying any more Brain Surgeons offerings (there's an economy drive going on, y'know), but I will be spinning this one more than twice before filing it away in one of those big boxes of mine until I am somehow jarred into digging it out again. Fans of the whole Dictator mystique that probably introduced YOU to the Cult will undoubtedly wanna nuzzle at this 'un, and as far those surviving late-seventies bongsters who moved and grooved to these guys well...maybe if you didn't act so high and mighty like your hero Chuck Eddy you might actually be able to enjoy a good part of this as well!
SPECIAL NOTE TO STEVE WHO LEFT A "DO NOT PUBLISH" MESSAGE VIA THE COMMENT BOX A FEW DAYS AGO: Leave me another message (which I will of course not publish as well) giving your email address and I will deliver all of the information you have requested nice and personal like. And if there is anybody out there who would like to send me items either for review on this blog or perhaps just for my own personal enjoyment, feel free to send 'em all to 701 North Hermitage Road., Suite 23, Hermitage PA 16148 USA Earth and don't forget the bubble wrap!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Given just how much the Dark Sunny Land and JAS Cee-Dee's have been flibbin' my jib as of late it's no wonder I spent the entire afternoon going through boxes and boxes of disques in order to find these two tea coasters! Both of 'em feature DSL/JAS guitarist Steve Painter along with his pals Fish Eye Bro and (on WHERE THERE ARE NO ROADS) Rick Breault making the unholiest kind of racket you can imagine, and given that the high energy just ain't comin' at'cha as fast as it was back when we was wuz kids it's stuff like this OUTTA KILTER ASKEWED FREE FORM SPLAT that typifies the music that reflects our mindset and modes better'n anything dontcha think? As far as being a reflection of the times go 12 Cent Donkey just might be the mode of the music changing that will make the walls of the city shake and it's too bad Tuli Kupferberg won't be here to experience the blast first-hand given how he was doing his own wall-city shake a good fortysome years back!

NO CASH VALUE on Slippytown is unfortunately long out-of-print, though what would you expect with a Cee-Dee-Are that was issued in a limited edition of a mere 127??? Funny that this one took less time to sell out than the Screamin' Mee-Mee's/Hot Scott Fischer platters but then again I guess the underground buying public might just be hotter on Donkey's crazed blues-unto-screech that they whip up on what are billed as the "red" and the "blue" bulb sessions. Don't know exactly what that means and really don't have the time to ask anyone as if that really matters...anyway these two sesh's are whatcha'd call a mighty exemplary rehashing of the country blues into a more metalloid psycho-revisionist music that's about as much part Red Krayola and part Nurse With Wound as it is part rural haller. Hearing the Donkey revisit Howlin' Wolf's "Natchez Burnin'" and "Moanin' at Midnight" being rendered into scarcely-unrecognizable sound mass is something that will remind you of the braver moments of v. late-seventies avant rock excursions (and their take on Dock Boggs ain't anything to pass up either!), plus the originals "He Was Blind" and "In the Land of the Lotus Eaters" are beautiful in their own quasi-incoherent surrealist way that does easily enough echo the pathburning work of the LAFMS. Might be a download of this somewhere you might not want to forget about until it's way too late.

Survivors might also want to try WHERE THERE ARE NO ROADS, the Donkey's offering for Gulcher where the now-threesome perform what sounds like a thicker, non-bedroom, recording with a fuller sound that comes closer to the Dark Sunny Land/JAS approach and feel. Def. references to the like-minded O-Type recordings can be easily discerned as will an overall addled mindnumbing feeling that Smegma has been known to produce on occasion. Nice amorphous aural puh that naturally makes for pleasurable bg listening to old FRITZI RITZ comics, but even in the foreground this comes off as a majestic attempt at creating new vistas for the new decade if not the rest of the millennium. And right when the electronic blur finally makes you submit up comes Painter doing this acoustic folkie thing that sounds way outside the usual "outsider" pantheon of underground snobbery mixing a little John Fahey with a lot of Mayo Thompson.

Nice befuddling sound you got there 12 Cent Donkey. You certainly ain't dabblers in the hallowed realm of DIY idiocy, that's for sure!

Saturday, July 17, 2010


Before I get to the main crux of this here post let me thank each and every one of you Facebook people who "wrote on my wall" to wish me a "heppy birthday" (as Krazy Kat woulda said) last Friday! Since I hardly ever go on Facebook anymore due to the lack of time or even bravery I must admit that I found out about your little missives via the various emails I got notifying me of your well wishes, and believe-you-me every one of your hearty congratulations is full appreciated deep from the bottom of my pitted, fat-clogged heart. But really, don't you people know that it is wrong to write on walls? What do you think this is, a restroom in a rundown Esso on the outskirts of Dubuque??? Now I want each and every one of you to get your buckets of hot soapy water and SCRUB OFF YOUR COMMENTS RIGHT NOW!!! That'll teach you to write on other people's well-kept walls...sheesh!!!

And for the few of you who like to snicker and go tee hee over my ever-advancing age all I'll have to say is, I wonder where you will be when you're teetering the totter like I am! Yeah, I can see you all fulfilling your life-long dream stuck somewhere in Middle Management at a local K-Mart while listening to your Swa LPs and rubbing yourselves to glossies of Wooden Shjips or whatever they're called while cozying up to thoughts of better days as a young and upstart devotee of the eighties snob rock brigade. If you're going to age, at least do it the smart way like I have and don't let the sound of life slamming the door in your face get you too discouraged. Frankly, I have no complaints other than not being born a good five/ten years earlier so's I could have experienced a lotta my favorite rock/tee-vee/gulcheral happenings first hand!

But hey, fuggit those nebs! All I wanna do right now is apologize about the comparatively skimpy weekend post that I'm about to dish out at you. Not that I haven't been busy immersing myself in healthy, BTC-approved fun 'n fact, I am sitting through some very interesting, life-reaffirming medium that will be mentioned in a number of future posts, but I haven't had that much of an opportunity to immerse myself in any new recordings of soundscapading of any sorts to report on this week. (The usual "economy drive", y'know!) Now I have been spinning a load of wonders including the two 12-Cent Donkey CD's which I hope to report on later plus a number of oldies have been getting reg'lar airplay on a more-than-frequent occasion during the wee-wee hours, but since I've already spouted off about these various musical gems why should I be redundant? What I wanna gab about right now is...well, none other than SPY VS. SPY!

Yeah, the old MAD standby which is still getting the royal treatment a good 49 years after it first appeared in the pages of that once-hallowed humor magazine. Dunno about you, but SPY VS. SPY has captured my imagination ever since I first espied the feature in some old MAD paperback or other, perhaps because of the obviously European-influenced artwork (which was certainly different from the Amerigan delineations that I had been accustomed to) or maybe the inhuman animal-esque appearances of the spies themselves is what drew me to Cuban expat Antonio Prohias' utmost creation. Perhaps t'was the convoluted (some would say "Rube Goldberg-esque") manners that the spies try to off each other with or obtain vital information about technology that still seems lifted straight from some early-forties WW II B-movie. It's amazing that this comic has lasted as long as it did (though I understand that a newspaper strip only lasted the lifespan of a butterfly), because if anyone other than Prohias had attempted a comic like this you know the well of imagination and thought would have dried up a good six months into the entire shebang (which is pretty much what happened to the strip after Prohias' retirement, even though it lives on not only in name but in legend/product licensing!).

In an age where one can actually possess the entire runs of classy late-fifties television series for their own personal advantage why not the entire run of Prohias SPY VS. SPY which not so surprisingly enough is available via a 2001 "Watson/Guptill" softcover volume. It's probably an easy enough find if you're wont to go traipsing around at local rummage sales or remaindered book stores and don't have all of the original MAD these appeared in handy. Well, at least this book does bring some sort of "closure" as they like to say regarding Prohias' stay at EC with not only his Spy but infrequent non-Spy cartoons. Not only that, but there are also pix of his occasional cover suggestions plus a brief introduction to Prohias' pre-Spy cartoons that were created during his days as a celebrated Cuban cartoonist who was more/less forced outta the country due to some rather public attacks thanks to noted liberal icon Fidel Castro. Now, I gotta admit that the inclusion of those was helpful since I never saw any of the "Hombre/Mujer Sinestro" cartoons beforehand, but frankly I was left even hungrier for some examples of his even earlier ERIZO and OVEJA NEGRA work which surprisingly doesn't even appear here at all. More examples of TOVARICH other than the ones presented in MAD would have been also really nice to peruse. Perhaps there's some other volume some reader can point me in the direction of, or perhaps some web sources?

Sheesh, whaddelse can I say? Howzbout that I've always been more partial to the black spy than the white because he seemed way more sinister in his dark garb (plus the white spy because of his outfit comes off more of a "good guy"), and that the only part of the entire MAD television show on Fox that I really enjoyed were the animated SPY VS. SPY (and Don Martin) cartoons because they were the only part of the program that had any relevance to the magazine of yore. You can find the entire run easily enough on youtube, either presented as they originally appeared of doctored up by some well-meaning yet misguided fan. Frankly I liked the old Mountain Dew commercials a whole lot more:

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


God Bless Bill Shute! And I do mean it! Yeah, I know that many people out there would be more fit to utter "God (something else) Bill Shute" he being the INNER MYSTIQUE STOOGE as Patrick Amory once sputed, but not I! The reason for this is because the man has actually gone above and beyond the call of doody by remembering my birthday not only this, but every other year we've known each other which is something that I must admit I don't do with regards to his which is why I always send him a larger than life Christmas present to kinda "make up" for my sieve-like memory! This year his gift was a real topper to top all tops, he didn't send me that Ronco Mister Microphone that I always wanted in order to spout off obscenities over my sister's transistor, but (get this) a book!

Yeah, I know I already have a book but this one is different from the usual punk rock paens that have been crossing my eyes as of late. If you can believe it, this particular tome for our times was actually written by none other than Ed Wood Jr., the same one of (yawn!) "turkey" moom pitcher fame, and as you might have guessed this 'un's all about the Film Industry (or at least what it was when Wood was writing this book in the mid-sixties) entitled HOLLYWOOD RAT RACE, and man is this a real eye-opener worthy of Luis Bunuel doin' the ol' cornea slice! Not only that but it was actually pecked out in a nice, breezy talk-to-you style and firmly executed for the young gal (and even guy) who was thinking of breaking into the BIG TIME with that one-way ticket to H-wood and all of the promise and defeat that trek undoubtedly would entail!!!

Hokay, ignore the rather horrid back cover come-on once again bringing attention to Wood's own, er, peculiar penchant for lush angora sweaters (which reminds me of that story Taki Theadoracopolous continually rattles off regarding his own personal cocaine-related travails entitled "Giovanni the Cocksucker", a saga which I might relate to you upon request) having a fetish for femme frills the only thing that Wood is really going to be remembered for once the years roll on into milleniums and not his fine film work? I should hope not!

I guess the publishers needed a "hook" to string in the prospective customer but anyway...this fine, easy-to-read book is an involved rundown (and small enough to be a one-night engrosser) as to what all of you aspiring stars and starlets out there pining to perform in front of the cameras have to do, or maybe even might wanna do in order to make your lifelong dreams of being a professional actor come true. Most of the info here is pretty well outdated (there's nothing here about having to blow a gaffer to get a brief walk on), but it still makes for interesting enough if not outright educational reading as to what it was like trying to make it in the film game back in the days before Hollywood decadence and self-pitying piousness really got outta hand!

Wood lays it out there for those of you who, despite his pleas for you to stay in Iowa where you will be loved and not lost, still want to be in mooms despite the great odds against ya. All the smart stuff about having a really good agent, being prompt, studying your subject matter as close as you possibly can, and things that perhaps might not be as obvious to us around-the-world-twice people who already have a handle as how to behave out there in reality-land. Filled with smart talk, sound advice and even some personal anecdotes from Wood himself (a masterful relayer of local lore that he mostly picked up from some of the H-wood veterans he had befriended), Wood makes HOLLYWOOD RAT RACE a pretty hotcha read that (thankfully) seems to surpass the usual Hollywood as snobbery and platform for Social Activism that it has sorrily become somewhere around the time people started taking Meryl Streep seriously.

Since I have about as much of a desire to become a Big Hollywood Star as Jay Hinman has of singing the Internationale in Red Square its those movie-making anecdotes that really held my attention. Many are pretty scary in their own right, like the one about the time western movie vet (and regular Wood actor) Bud Osborne got canned because the fresh young upstart director wanted him to perform a particulary dangerous stagecoach stunt (which was eventually performed by a rank amateur resulting in death, injuries, a new director and Osborne getting his old job back!) were pretty revealing with regards to the stupider, more oily side of Tinseltown I only thought existed in THE DAY OF THE LOCUST. One story where longtime actor Reed Howes, after getting a friendly build up from a young actor on the set of MR. ED, was ultimately asked by the sneering jerk "how does it feel to be a has been?" continues to steam me even if the dying Howes' retort "Don't worry son, you'll never be one" hopefully had the brazen walking turd running away with his tapeworm dangling between his legs. But still, you never know who Wood and his cohorts from Criswell and Tor Johnson to Bela Lugosi (men who the tres name-dropping self-promoter Wood seems to have had a truly deep friendship with, and certainly not on that Hollywood phony cameraderie level) will meet up with in this book, and after reading about them chancing upon the Three Stooges and Pat Butram at the Brown Derby what else could one expect!

(Especially surprising is the chapter on the "nudie" films where, as Wood suggests, more than a few of the budding Hollywood upstarts will undoubtedly be beginning their movie careers. However, as Wood so aptly points out, be prepared to go through a whole lot of humiliation. And please, don't be too surprised when you realize that it's you up there on the screen doing the carnal oompah with whoever, or whatever. Reminds me of a story I heard about Wood seeing some young thing who looked like Grace Kelly totally freaking out when she saw herself doing the do with a German Shepherd, though whether or not Wood was the one doing the directing on that particular bit of pornography I do not know, or want to know for that matter!)

And one thing I really do love about HOLLYWOOD RAT RACE is Wood's style. He writes as if he was still a depression-era kid using terms like "shank's mare" (that's taking a walk, though my dad always uses the phrase "shank's pony" which might be a local variation) which really does give this a homey, old-timey air (even when he's writing about the seamier side of the burgh) that you just don't get to read anymore.

So to all you wannabe stars and starlets, watch out for the phony talent scouts from studios you never heard of and have a stick-to-itveness that will never die out (as well as a job on the side in case the acting career doesn't quite pan out) and who knows, maybe you too will end up in the pitchers! Probably one of Ed's but there's more glory in something along those lines than there is acting in that real-life trash that's being touted as cinematic art these days, eh?

Along with the book, Bill also slipped some of his freshly-released KENDRA STEINER EDITIONS (see link on left) CD's into the packet, and although these were not "gifts" per-se like the book was and were for "review purposes" only they certainly made for exemplary background for one's humdrum everyday existence. Listening to the Sir Plastic Crimewave CD while reading the Wood book did make for one of those stimulating evening pre-beddy bye kickoffs, especially when this underrated Chicago musician (whose entire style of noise-unto-sound seems to hover close to what many practitioners from Chrome to Dark Sunny Land were/are also up to not only then but now) gets into one of his unique atonal splurges. At times Sir Crimewave (sounds like an old James Bond villain) plays what sounds like a bowed guitar drone not unlike Jimmy Page's LUCIFER RISING soundtrack while at others his music is middle-eastern raga robot music played by an android Ravi Chancre, but on a banjo 'stead of a sitar! It's strange to think that of all of the sonic reduction being created in the here and now the only stuff I really like to dig deep into is this sorta-post-music free sound which, come to think of it, does sound like the end-all in a long line of atonal fuzz. A definite contender for year's-end toppa the list and hey, I might even pick up that new album he did with Michael Yonkers one of these days even if MICROMINIATURE LOVE was better than a hot toddy and Sominex combined (well, it wasn't that dull though all of you readers seem to have a higher opinion of it than I do).

Braver souls might also want to give Derek Rogers' CIRCUM_NAVIGATE a try. This is one of those small three-inch CD's consisting of eighteen-minutes of Rogers' strange soundscapadings which comes off like extraterrestrial static with strange mumblings underneath. Reminds me of when I was a kid listening to shortwave between-the-station gurglings finding interesting electronic melodies therein (an idea later utilized by Von Lmo in his various late-seventies bands) or better yet this horribly cheap car radio my father installed in his 1979 Chevy station wagon, only a lot more frightening. If anyone finds out that Derek Rogers is an alien I wouldn't be surprised in the least (the disque might actually contain secret messages to fellow aliens in sleeper cells across the world).

Anyway great choice of stuff you gave away there Bill...and wait until you see what I'm getting you for X-mas this year!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Saturday, July 10, 2010


Show your age and tell me which television commercial slogan I swiped that one from!

Anyway, some wisenheimer who shoulda known better asked me why I bother to write these (admittedly) putrid posts especially in the face of what some would call indifference if not outright hostility. The answer's easy enough. It's only that I'm so obsessed with music, especially that of the rock & roll variety created circa. the mid-sixties to the early-eighties (at the latest) and that I just can't CONTAIN myself in my over-rambunctious enthusiasm for the sport to the point where I feel it's my duty to, that I MUST express my every little tingling opinion and critique of whatever in this realm of sound happens to light my fancy your reaction be damned! This probably seems tres-adolescent and perhaps masturbatory to you, but then again isn't rock & roll (in its purest, most unjaded form) adolescent jack-off music to begin with? Besides, I always considered my growth to have been stunted around the age of twelve anyway since, really what else was there out there to make one look forward to growing up anyway?

Just a few this time (as is the norm these days considering the drop off on new or archival material making its way to my head worth the salt to pound). Given the current economy drive here at BTC I have been spending more time digging deep into the archives for music, books and other visual arts to sustain me, and of course many of the goodies that I have been enjoying as of late have been mentioned on this blog before, perhaps more times than you would care to know. (Yes, I know I do repeat myself, but I will continue to do so until EVERYBODY on this planet of ours agrees with me and my tastes, desires and opinions 100%, and you know I ain't going away until everyone does!) Surprisingly some of these "oldies" that I have originally poo-pooed or just plain ignored seem to sound way better now than they did the first time I spun 'em and just tossed 'em off as mere flotsam. F'rexample, I've been constantly spinning Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band's double-duty set TROUT MASK REPLICA which is known and loved by most all of you BTC readers even if I remained one of the few who never "got" it let alone saw its benefits. Yet here a good fortysome years after its release and a good thirtysome after I first heard tracks from it via various sources I find myself playing this on an almost nightly basis which is something that I never thought I would have uttered keypad let alone vocal cords. I don't know why it took so long for me to finally "get" it (esp. since I do swear by all of the early Beefheart platters and even find CLEAR SPOT a very-welcome relief after a Content Providers listening session), but as the old cliche-spewer says "better late than never" for TROUT MASK has finally wormed its way into my pithy little heart. Maybe listening to all of that horrid post-punk that was influenced by it, not to mention the reams of mental midgies singing its praises is what colored my opinions all these year?

Who knows...or who cares for that matter. Here be the reviews!

Glaxo Babies-THE BEWILDERMENT YEARS 1978-1980 CD (Cherry Red, UK)

Awl-right, maybe I do have about as much a right to review this post-punk dribble as Dave Lang has the right to let ANYTHING flow from his wretched diarrhea mind, but gosh darn it all I sure can enjoy this group for their unabashed love of the Velvet Underground ("Musicians wanted to take over where the Velvet Underground left off" read the 1977 musicians ad, and even vocalist/ad-placer Rob Chapman says he realizes just how wretched that ad would have read even a good ten let alone twenty years later), Can and Neu! even!!! 'n yeah, I know that bands with such true-to-life influences like that could end up the reekiest while those with some rather off-the-track historical backing could out-rock 'em with the blink of an eye, but we're talking 1977, and yeah even then I thought I was the only person within a good fifty-mile radius who even knew who they were which is why I hold these Velvet-inspired seventies groups in such high regards at least until I finally give a listen to 'em!

OK, it's true that I'm not as much of a connie sewer of these groups as maybe I should have been or at least should be but as the old coot lookin' at the painting of the nekkid lady said, "I don't know anything but art but I know what I like!" And I like this, not in any overtly melodramatic way like I do with the Electric Eels or Von Lmo but enough to at least spew a few paragraphs of praise so's to let you know this ain't just some old phonus-balonus self-conscious prance that always seemed to emanate from the British Isle like reek from a bottle-fed baby's diaper. Naturally the standard Velvets-cum-kraut-cum-Syd feeling of the whole British art-punk scene can be discerned, but I like the way the Glaxo's filter it through hot Wire-inspired jangular edgy sounds which can get into a fairly restrained yet pleasing enough free splat here and there, especially when the standard vocal/guitar/bass/drums lineup is augmented by some quasi-free jazz sax play here/there.

Earlier stuff's the tits coming closer to the seventies crux of true VU homage mixed with the usual haughty English vocalizing. The later-on experimenting does tend to veer into the noise-for-snooty-artistic-ambition mode (some may disagree and if they do, they can go screw) but at least the earlier material makes this a budget cut-out worth at least a little time to seek out. Nothing earth-shattering here (even their ode to the famed whore "Christine Keeler" ain't the awe-inspiring classic I'd hoped it would be), but it will do swell until more late-period Velvety exhumations make it into my abode and my mindset as well.
Smegma-LE STATION RADAR LP (no label, unless "Le Station Radar" is the label!)

Got a bunch of recent Smegma releases recently including the I AM NOT ARTIST boxed set, but rather'n spring it all on ya as yet another "Smegma Surprise" post I thought I'd just piecemeal 'em to you given I haven't had the time to sit through alla this stuff in one sitting like I might have once. This one is quite the mystery as you can tell from the heading above...I forget whether the label was "Le Radar Station" or the title of the album (if any) was (I'm sure someone will write in with a particularly insulting post correcting me of the situation, and ditto with the "go screw" part), but in any case this 'un consists of some very recent Smegma recordings including an entire side that was taken from a 24-hour "telethon" concert which from the sounds of it must have been recorded somewhere in the midst of the twenty-third. Fantastic soundmewls here with free splat sounds galore and a lotta chattering in the background from the bravest of the chattering classes who came to see this, and when you're just about to get into this dream-like mode yourself up comes this hard rock guitar solo jarring you outta whatever complacency you've fallen into! No Meltzer here, but that doesn't mean it's for the doggies.

Flip's got two tracks that have a nice lilt to 'em. I would have compared them to the quieter of the old Art Ensemble of Chicago tracks like "People In Sorrow" but I believe I've used that "descriptor" before. Actually this is quite engaging and dare-I-say relaxing in its own way w/o any time signatures or smashing crescendos to get you all "rowled up" as they used to say. Smegma are a group that occasionally let me down true, but when they're "on" they just hafta be one of the few true rock & roll bands operating here in the early part of the 21-st century that really do make a difference! And they've been "on" for a good hunk of their recent releases and hey, why should I complain about the sorry state of "music" these days when at least these guys and guyettes are around to add total upheaval to our otherwise sordid existences.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010


I know that you avid BTC followers awlready know who Lou Rone is, especially after reading his various Von Lmo reminiscences in the latest (last?) issue of my very own crudzine, but are you familiar with Lou Rone, the man? I consider Mr. Rone to be a friend, or about as much of a friend that one can be via emails and telephone (like, we never went out for pizza together, y'know?) and his assistance with not only the last issue of my rag but this very blog has been what many would call "monumental". And compared with you, Rone's been what'cha'd call a mover and shaker in the underground scheme of things...he was there at the very beginning, or at least his group Cross was important enough to perform at the infamous CBGB Summer Festival in '75 where none other than Debbie Harry was front and center taking their entire act in. Cross also shared a bill there with the Best featuring former Koala cum Magic Tramps/future Joe Perry Project singer Jay Mala which should turn on at least a few light bulbs in the more metalically-inclined minds out there. He was also front and center for Kongress at their Elgin Theater gig and of course sat in with the Von Lmo group (David Bowie and John Lennon were doing the front row bit at the group's X-mas '79 gig at Max's, sitting through the whole thing with expressionless looks on their faces!) for about a good year or so before getting into his own bag for quite some time. Really this guy should have been famous but for now he's nothing but a sidebar, and although a number of releases since have been helping to rectify things at this point it's like, well, you know... Really, it should make your blood boil to see men like Rone get poo-poo'd by the mass of music mongers out there while relative effetes like Joe Satriani get their mugs plastered all over the cover of GUITAR TECHNICIAN magazine and rake in more bucks than you or I ever will!

Since it was Lou Rone Night here at HQ I decided to first play the DVD collection of the first half of the first season of THE UNTOUCHABLES that Rone gave me for Christmas a few years back. Now that there's a workable DVD player here I can now enjoy a good backlog of disques that have been moldering away, but I had a hard time getting into that famous television series even if it did come outta the "Golden Age" of fun trash circa 1957-67. The idea of glorifying men who were in effect denying people of their own personal freedom of guzzling hooch, dabbling in narcotics and playing hide the salami with buxom broads to me is beyond the pale. As Murray Rothbard once told Joseph Sobran, at least the mob provides people with services they want as opposed to the government, which forces services on people whether they want them or not! (Sobran had a good counter-response saying that both deal in their own version of a protection racket, something that Rothbard actually concurred!) If the show was about the brewers, distillers, pimps. prostitutes and dealers who were fighting for their right to make a decent living despite the draconian measures of John Law then yeah, I really would get into it. Maybe that's one of the reasons that THE DUKES OF HAZZARD rubbed some people the wrong way, and I don't mean the Northern snobs here who hated that whole "good ol' boy" image!

After about a half-hour of that chicanery I decided to do myself better and slapped on a DVD that Rone made years back of his last ever group, Triple Cross (though it may be his prior band Funhouse intermingled in there), performing at two noted NYC hotspots in '86 and a good five or so years later seemingly having a hard good time of it as they crank out their rather unique take on the heavy metal idiom. Now as you may know I do have an affection for at least the better moments of HM proper...not exactly the stuff that was passing for metal in the eighties but its earlier, less developed and generally more primal sound. And Triple Cross for the most part took the better moments of v. early-seventies metal and merged it with jazz influx and the rock technology of the day resulting in some pretty good music that should have made it bigger than it did but you know that the musical listening public of the day was too entrenched in the more superficial fuzz to even give the good music its proper dues.

Rone's playing's just as hard-edged rough as the stuff you heard him do with Von Lmo or his various solo platters kinda coming off like Jeff Beck had he joined up with the Stooges. The rest of the band ain't no slouch either as they keep up with Rone's frantic pace through a lotta tricky twists and turns which might just surprise some of you few readers who are unfamiliar with the various Rone groups and their work. Material is mostly instrumental, though we do get to hear Rone belt out the Don Nix classic "Going Down" doing a mighty snarly job at it too. Vid quality varies with the older stuff having a less-clear sound and slightly runny visuals, but the energy and might extant still comes forth full blast.

Overall quality is akin to those old CBGB cybercasts; one-camera in/out zooming usually from a high perch. Really, I can't see any regular BTC reader not being able to exude even the slightest enjoyment out of this.

Anyway, here's a sweet taste of at least one number from the '85 Limelight gig:

Sunday, July 04, 2010


Lessee...the calendar sez 'tis July. Can ya believe it??? How time flies to coin a phrase. I mean, here we are halfway through 2010 and hardly anything "monumental" has happened in the World of Music (at least that world within my own personal sphere) that's guaranteed to knock myself, or presumably any of you readers out there, for a loop bigger than the one I used to get opening up my latest package from Disques du Monde or Rough Trade circa 1981. It sure ain't like it was back in them olden days when it seemed as if great records on both a mainstream and underground level were comin' at'cha faster than the speed of sound, or at least faster than the speed of Dame Elton John heading for a bathhouse. Not anymore. Sad to say, it looks as if any semblance of raw, uncouth, disturbing and high energy rock & roll music, or any real fan-based support behind it, is finally gone. Nyet nada nohow no-mo. How it lasted so long, dying a slow death since whenever Max's Kansas City closed shop and Lester Bangs died, is mystifying to say the least. But why should I really cry over'll have to admit that rock was a fifties/sixties phenomenon and everything good about it that happened afterward was mere coasting on gas fumes. The International Youth Language has turned into mere babble and frankly if it weren't for the few survivors of the total-eruption crowd who made the past such an edgy place to be I don't think I'd even bother to care anymore. At least I won't be there for the funeral conducted by the Reverend Christgau, with Dave Marsh, Parke Puterbaugh and Anthony DeCurtis amongst the pallbearers. Anastasia Pantsios the paid-by-the-hour necromancer mourner in black veil hiding her face that turned Eric Carmen to stone.

So yeah, let's keep on listening to rock et roll, though right now any releases of worth and might will have to be digested the same way people like Bill Shute listened to Big Band airchecks that were coming out in the late-seventies. Don't expect it to make any great comeback soon either, unless they start having rave-on dance party shows for septuagenarians shaking colostomy bags to the Stooges live from the Brad Kohler rest home. And yeah, we're all heading down that highway to oblivion and who said rock & roll was supposed to last as long as it did anyway. Frankly all I have to say is that I sure wish the majority of it didn't end up sounding so sucky a mere ten/fifteen years into its lifespan.

On that particularly sour note let me wish at least a very select few of you a happy July 4th...hope you're having about as much fun as I am, in fact I hope you're having much more fun since all I'm doing this day is watching DVD's of FERNWOOD TONIGHT and GOMER PYLE, fantastic programs true but frankly I'd rather be out with the rest of you tossing M-80s at kittens! These holidays sure get to be a drag once you get older and your aunts and uncles who used to host these celebratory picnics are either deceased or too old to stoke the barbecue fires anymore, and the younger generation's either living way outside the area or mad at each other to the point where having a shindig like in the old days is strictly outta-the-question!

So, given how most of you BLOG TO COMM readers are a buncha Boris Badenovs anyway I'll keep today's Independence Day post short and sweet just so's I'll have some time to unlax and rewind myself. Here are just a couple to keep you pacified until the next great depression.

The Royal Teens-LET'S ROCK! CD (Mighty Power, European Comunity)

Here's an "oldie" that I haven't spun in quite some time, and after giving it a listen maybe I can see why! Not that the Royal Teens were a lousy bunch really, but even the staunchest fan would hafta admit that some of the material they were writing/performing really had these guys pegged as being "gingerbread-y" as Jerry Hopkins put it in his CRUISIN' 1958 liner notes. Sure tracks like "Sham Rock" (covered by the A-Bones!) and its instrumental take "Mad Gass", "Royal Blue" and of course the big-time hit "Short Shorts" were fantastic representations of what late-fifties punk rock that wasn't Link Wray or the Wailers could aspire to, but many of the 32 tracks here, most with vocalist Joey Villa, do tend to lean towards the early-sixties Philly Pop trend that was beginning to creep into the music scene around the time Buddy Holly was being backed by strings (and if he had lived I wonder just what trajectories his career woulda taken off on!). The omnipresence of Villa makes up a good portion of this disque, which even has a number of 1967 flat-out chart-misses where he does his Chris Montez thing to no avail (calm down Bill!). Let's just say that the avid rock & roller who gets hold of this'll be doin' a lotta skippin' over in order to avoid the cheesier matieral and get to the good stuff.

Still I gotta admit that I do like the majority of the Royal Teens "proper" tracks here, even the vain attempts to try for another post-"Short Shorts" hit by jumping on a failing fad like "Big Name Button" or heading into novelty territory with a nice irritable crankout like "Harvey's Got a Girlfriend". Y'know, those numbuhs which anyone with a brain coulda told ya were destined for the lower rungs of the charts but still had more spunk than the entire Dancing with them Idols styled entertainment being cranked out atcha these days. There's something about 'em that just seems crazy enough to appeal to my own love of pre-PC-shackled teenage doofness that died out around the same time kids began forsaking THE BULLWINKLE SHOW for Judy Blume.

And of course you already knew that Bill Randall from the Knickerbockers and Bob Gaudio of Four Seasons fame got their big break with the Teens, as did sometimes member Al Kooper, right? Like you care!

Lotsa people were dumbfounded over my positive assessment of Living Colour back in the late-eighties. I remember one rock writer whose opinions I obviously more than (ho hum!) "respect" who also liked 'em ribbing me because of their obvious Jimi Hendrix influence (this at a time when I thought about as highly of Mr. H as I did of the guy who canceled GILLIGAN'S ISLAND), but he was missing the point of it all. Yeah, I might not swing to the memory of Mr. Haze like I do the Velvet Underground, but there were many groups who were influenced by acts that I could not care a whit about and worked them into interesting if not downright outstanding pieces of work. And Living Colour were but one of 'em. They reminded me a lot of the mid-seventies En Why See bands who might not have been "punk" as the term would eventually ooze into but were punky nonetheless, plus their ability to mix and match jazz, funk, freak and underground certainly made them refreshing especially in the face of an alternative that was either preachy pious hardcore, lame post-post Jonathan Richman sensitivity music, or tiresome experiments of experiments that were over and done with a good ten years earlier.

Naturally I began to tire of Living Colour after hearing them tackle dreary ballad material along the lines of "So You Want a Revolution" or whatever it was called, and like I said at the time any group that was willing to do a "love song in the age of AIDS" was asking me to hate them! But although I might have just ignored these guys' career after a point it wasn't like I totally wrote them off. And as readers of this blog know I did appreciate some of the other all-black groups (sponsored by the Black Rock Coalition, an organization I won't consider racist in any respect but more "ethnic" minded, like a Polish Club or a cadre of left-handed herniated Melbournians) such as Eye and I (24-7 Spyz were palatable but that didn't keep me from selling their album), and dang-it but even this far down the line I must 'fess up to wanting to hear more of the acts that sprang forth after Living Colour somehow reminded everybody that yeah, black people can play rock & roll (a fact that seemed to have been forgotten as if Screamin' Jay Hawkins and Bo Diddley had never even existed in the first place).

This BRC sampler was a cheap enough affair (one buck plus postage) so I figured, in the best 1977 flea market fashion why not pick it up! Glad I did too even if THE HISTORY OF OUR FUTURE doesn't quite fulfill my quest for the cream of the crop the way I woulda liked. Not that it's bad...I mean it's good enough that even the closing rap-rock number from Dadahdoodahda was sit-throughable, but I found a whole lot of it way too professional and aiming for the BIG BUCKS FROM PACIFIED PUERILES who somehow got to set the stage for the sap music markets of the seventies onwards. Naturally the groups that were more in the Living Colour vein with a more punk-y outlook, the ones who used to perform at CBGB whether or not there was a BRC-sponsored show like the Good Guys and JJ Jumpers, were more to my liking creating a nice hard-rock energy similar to Colour and those BRC groups that were able to record albums and maybe even sell a few. Too bad this didn't contain nothing but the more CB's-oriented local BRC groups since I would have loved to have heard some of the other obscurities on the scene, especially the group that was actually calling themselves "Destroy All Monsters" totally oblivious to the Detroit group of the same name (betcha a lotta people were going to CBGB expecting the others and getting these guys!) until they finally ended the confusion and changed their own moniker out of good sportsmanship more than anything!

Thursday, July 01, 2010

JIM GOAD'S BACK... TAKI'S TOP DRAWER, so prepare to be offended (in a good way!).

PS-I got to admit that I do disagree w/Goad on a few points kinda/sorta, especially given the Republican Party's staunch corruption and protectionism/tariff-mad behavior/imperialism in the late-19th century and onwards (plus, the Northern abolitionists really did have a more negative opinion of the black than the Southerners once you cut through all of the altruism the former was laying upon us), but I felt it an interesting enough rant to make available to you ignoramuses.