Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Tutu and the Pirates "Trail of the Great White Beaver"

(2013) This both legendary and obscure 70s punk band released a new album in the 21st century with a new sense of maturity,  as this is an album so refined, sophisticated, and cerebral that they pasted a dense bush of pubic hair to the cover (a scathing critique of Warhol's most notorious graphic design project, clearly). Also they think goofing about pussies, gay bars, and jacking off is fucking funny. And if you are dumb enough, and I mean gloriously, intentionally, brilliantly dumb, it is pretty funny. I suspect some of these songs were written back in their heyday, as there are two tunes about the disco craze (one including a premise involving a would be mass shooter, which even they may not have written in this era, and one a Bee Gees parody), but who cares how moldy these oldies are, they are as hysterical as they are historical. If punk had stayed this ridiculous we all would be better off, Danzig would be a lot be happier, and every album would have pubes!

Sunday, January 5, 2020

'O' Level "Pseudo Punk"

(1977/1992/2014, Munster) These rare sometimes satirical late seventies tracks were made by a band that was not so much UK post punk as they were side punk, as if they were standing next to the other bands and goofing on them, with humor that runs from dry wit to hints of Monty Python. Ed Ball (Television Personalities) had a ball here with his mates, and now you can too!

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Bloodstains Across Buffalo

(2014, Extra Evidence) I have known a number of genuinely demented "creatives" with Buffalo juice in their bloodstream, so I'm not surprised this '78-'82 punk/new wave/power pop/garage/trashrock comp is a magnificent mess. The Jumpers' "This is It" concussed me! Micky Mapp With Intro-Verse's "Please Police Me" is Happy Days-era rockabilly played by cartoon frogs! I tried to clean my stylus the first three times I played the Fems' Modern Lovers*-meets-a garbage disposal masterpiece "Go to a Party" (until I read the liner notes explaining that this was "mixed by baboons"). I actually dig the off key entries here, including the harsh "F.Y.Y.B" by New Toys which would make the Mentors request the guys tone it down a little, and Parousia's "Miss Ogyny," which apparently is a faux-new wave synth track by a Jethro Tull-ish prog band. "Go Go Go" by Electro-Man sounds like Weird Al trying to go straight, and failing. The Vores' "Love Canal" sounds like that fake hard rock song on the Cheech and Chong album. In addition to exquisite curatorship (assuming this isn't actually every punk single released in Buff-town pre-Thriller) I am most impressed with the liner note writer's harsh-assed critiques and outright dismissals of shitty b-sides, other bands in the scene, and the entire output of Electro-Man other than the one glimmer of greatness included here (explore the catalogue "only if you like rap rock songs about Kraft macaroni and cheese"). Before listening to this Buffalo, to me, was synonymous with losing four consecutive Super Bowls. But this comp proves that town had the goods to lose four consecutive Super Bowls of punk!
* based mainly on them saying "asshole" in as nerdy a cool guy voice imaginable, a la "Pablo Picasso."

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Code BMUS "Strike Now"

(1981/2014, EVER/NEVER) Mysterious 1980 post-punk broken furniture/field recording/coffee jitters art rock that's haunting is a pesky poltergeist way.

donnie "the colored section"

(2002, Giant Step/Motown) I spent a lot of this year re-visiting what I think might be a top ten neo-soul album of all time, and probably, the number one underrated album in the genre. Deep, challenging content married to deep smooth grooves, this album (as the kids say in 2019, so it will be outre in the new year, thus this shall be my last usage of said vernacular) slaps! If there is any knock against this it might be that the artist's nods to Stevie Wonder's work are too spot on/blatant, but then again, if you can write (and perform!) songs that sound as good as vintage Stevie it might be a sin to not do so.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Toni Basil "Word of Mouth"

(1982, Chrysalis) I think this record is REALLY slept on. I went to Apple Music and they don't even have it, just a compilation. I really believe Basil is one of the most fascinating figures in American entertainment, certainly on screen: she's in a top tier Elvis film (in probably the most dazzling music number in any of them), attends an Annette beach party, meets the Rat Pack, is in Easy Rider, helped the Monkees go psyche, made Shindig swing, and appeared in a brilliant segment during the launch of Saturday Night Live, introducing proto-hip hop dancing to non-Soul Train viewers. Significantly, she was no Zelig/Forest Gump stumbling into iconic moments in pop culture history, she was a visionary choreographer, a thrilling dancer, and a radiant screen presence. As a musician she made two LPs, this debut being known for the smash "Mickey," a sly remake of a Brit hit which topped the charts around the globe and earned the ultimate accolade, a Weird Al parody. But unlike many so-called One Hit Wonders, her song was no fluke floating in the ether; Basil's keen sense of which exciting youth/underground cultural trends were Ready For Prime Time that she demonstrated in her 'ography was being applied to pop music, and this record is insanely good. I do not have the 1981 UK version which has a few different tracks, but the US version is thrilling. Most of it has a Devo vibe, and a lot of it just has Devo literally playing the music. She cover's Love's "Little Red Book" as a New Wave groover! She makes David Essex' "Rock On" more futuristic and less creepy! Every song was created with video and dancing in mind, and the kinetic energy is always sizzling, while also always being whimsical and fun in the way the best pop is serious about structure but not too serious about anything else. I am particularly enraptured with the single "Shoppin' From A to Z" (the picture sleeve looked like a shopping bag). This absolutely absurd alphabet song has Basil sexily buying matzo, liver, zippers, and other staples to a beat, because as you know, "good girls shop, bad girls shop," so what else can she do? And for "X" she pays tribute to Margaret Wise Brown's most intriguing "good night" recipient. As far as poppy New Wave albums I really don't feel like there are any that I love more than "Word of Mouth." 

GLvis

(2018, owlsnest) Outsider music that's as introspective and thought provoking as it is raw and strange. More Daniel Johnston than Wesley Willis, but more GLVis than either of those colleagues, this Midwestern troubadour addresses topics of race, gender, and religion with jarring honesty, making this more than an oddball novelty. In fact, though some odd balls are juggled here, and this has humor and an original POV, there's really no novelty here at all (oiher than this being a one sided LP that used a font on the back cover that makes Comic Sans look dignified).

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Livefastdie "Hitstains"

(2014, Almost Ready)  Lots of shit references here in the art, lyrics, and liner notes (though I am counting "kick the shit out of..." as literal), but I think its fair to call this Vomit Rock. Trashy, ugly,  Zed Fi punk blurs culled from rare EPs onto this now rare LP. Makes your head feel like bad weed on a bad night.

The Tunes "Love Uncool"




(1982/2013, Cheap Rewards) Bouncy, chirpy Midwestern power pop that is SO prototypical it is almost hard to believe this is real and not a fictional band created by 21st Century Power Pop Re-enactors. There are some tempos that seem too fast for 1982, which makes me believe this is probably real, as fakers wouldn't have made that mistake, but this is SO perfect I'm still skeptical. Contains all the songs from the sole release by these Not-In-Kansas-Anymore (even though they are in Topeka) pop dreamers, plus six unreleased tracks, and they are all about girls, love, loving girls, and body temperature. And elevators and escalator metaphors. And like those machines, this takes me where I wanna go: To Deepfake Pop Heaven!