Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Ozzie "The Parabolic Rock"

(S-S) I've long considered S.S. one of my favorite labels, and I pity anyone who has written it off because the releases seem too off-kilter or because they thought it was a Nazi-themed (S.S. is actually the owner's initials, though maybe he shoulda thrown in a middle initial for non-Nazi's sake, just like fans of strikeout pitchers like Roger Clemens should never have started displaying cumulative "K" placards until the 4th strikeout). What makes the label so amazing is that it doesn't seem to distinguish between ridiculously obscure bizzaro art punk damage music acts from the dusty past and contemporary bands that seem to be headed down that path (like A-Frames and Wounded Lion). No record they've ever released, however, showcases the label's strength's like this one. Ozzie was a local band (the label and band are from Sacramento, CA), or rather a few loose bands. Scott S. found their amazing "Android Love" single from '77, and decided to try to reissue it like he had done with similar ridiculously rare and unloved and unappreciated records. Anyone listening to this would want to spread its gospel: it's a goofy yet jarring bar rock meets proto-New Wave with power pop meets some kind of stumbly mess. There's a ridiculous hazy guitar solo, and some Zolar X space glam vocal things and some other weird stuff. It is something that needs to be heard. But as Scott explains in the exhaustive liner notes, upon tracking down band members he learns that they have a cornucopia of lost recordings, and while none are as good as "Android Love," the 23 tracks that make up this double LP are so diverse and disjointed and great that the instinct to want to share them would be universal. But only a label with  a mission like S-S's would actually do it! Psychedelic songs about organic gardens mingle with novelty songs making fun of Nazis and punk rockers, earnest pop songs about the beach meet a non-novelty tribute to Jack Ruby, and a mindblower called "Cookies Rundgren," that may actually be about cookies and Rundgren. There's theatrical rock opera music, futuristic audio emanations, goofy pop, and lots (and lots) of bar band boogie rock. Some of this may not be exactly the stuff a label that puts out avant garde punk should be devoting its resources to, but S-S isn't scared of boogie rock if it makes a grander point about creativity, perseverance, and people who make music for themselves regardless of how the world receives it. The well researched liner notes here are as exhaustive, making the fractured narrative of this band as interesting as the notes in any Norton record. As Chicago's most famous Ozzie (Ozzie Guillen of the White Sox) might say. "This fucking shit is fucking great!"

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