Saturday, March 30, 2013

Terrible Spaceship "Invaders 1938"

( This electronic dance/lounge/groove/scrambly funk exploration of Orson Welles' "War of the Worlds" broadcast may not cause the same sensation as its subject matter did, but it should! When i first listened to it I actually thought this Orson-sampling weirdo dance music was really happening!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Doug Sahm "The Return of Wayne Douglas"

GUEST REVIEW BY GENTLEMAN JOHN BATTLES (SteadyBoy)  Whenever the subject of pioneering Country Rockers comes up, names like Gram Parsons, Mike Nesmith and Rick Nelson are usually among the first to be dropped, and rightfully so, but what of Doug Sahm? Anyone remotely familiar with the cat knows he had more different styles than Carnaby Street in it's ascension, but he began his remarkable musical career as a small, small boy, a pre-teen steel guitar prodigy. His dad took him to the Honky Tonks, where he was photographed sitting on Hank Williams' boney knee. Even when he staked his claim in Rock n Roll with The Sir Douglas Quintet, his was probably the only album of 1965 to contain a version of "He's In The Jailhouse Now" not sung by a guy in a rhinestone Nudie suit. In the Late 60s The SDQ were already incorporating C & W- based originals, anchored by Doug's Country-as-chicken fiddle playing. Doug never got his just due for being hip to Country and making Country hip, but he would always return to his first love, and, in what would sadly amount to his last sessions, he ain't just "Huggin' Thin Air," as he would lament in one of the dozen heartfelt selections on tap here for you. Doug Sahm's swan song release, unjustly, met with poor distribution when it was originally released on CD. It's possible that many of his fans never knew it existed. Doug's friend in this life, and fan for ALL life, Freddie "Steady" Krc, saw that this was a situation that needed to be rectified, PRONTO!  This time around, the album gets the full treatment it, and the fans, deserve. Deluxe 15O Gram Vinyl (Plus a Free Download Card), full color artwork by Kerry Awn (who did the SWEET poster for Doug's memorial show), liner notes by Rush Evans and one color photo by Bob Zink (Doug in all his glory, playing at a used car lot with an older couple waltzin' across Texas behind him). Even if you actually have the elusive CD, you need this on vinyl. Why? BECAUSE DOUG SAHM'S A STONE GROOVE!!!!!!!! This is the Hardcore Honky Tonk, the kind of stuff you could be forgiven for thinking had left this world before Doug actually did. It hearkens to the fun, Big Fiddle sound of Mercury-era Sir Douglas Quintet (e.g. "Dynamite Woman,” "Magic Illusion,” "Texas Me,” which is re-made in glorious fashion here), but it's music that isn’t pissing around, like these new "Country" acts that make Garth Brooks sound like George Jones with six sets of balls. Sahm doesn’t mince words putting those phonies down, either. "Oh, No! Not Another One,” is probably Doug's best Down Home Humorist fare since "You Can't Hide a Redneck (Underneath That Hippie Hair), but Sahm is serious as he was about the sanctity of baseball when he sings "He skips across the stage like a gazelle...I'll bet he's never heard of Lefty Frizzell...Oh, no, not another one." He's going up to bat (with lead, not cork, in his Louisville Slugger) as a Country Music fan, as if there could be any doubt about his passion. Aided by a starting lineup, which includes Augie Meyers, Bill Kirchen, steel guitar maestro Tommy Delamore, and monster fiddle player Bobby Flores, San Antonio's Number One Son brings it all back home, not knowing he'd soon be going home himself. His spirited vocals cut a trail through songs of sin ( "Cowboy Peyton Place,” "I Can't Go Back To Austin," and the SDQ staple, "Dallas Alice”) and redemption (“Beautiful Texas Sunshine ,” the opener).  Listen close to his reflective take on the classic, "Texas Me.” Like this fine album as a bookend to Sahm’s long career, there's a nice surprise at the end.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Picture Day "Every Day is..."

( A snapshot of what you want Midwestern rock bands to sound like -- sorta rootsy, but with the kind of hooks power pop encourage, plus a pinch of everyman humility. Should be called Picture Perfect.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Arrica Rose & the ...'s

( Spooky pop that sounds like a beautiful ghost singing karaoke over AM radio-broadcasted  60s pop instrumentals.  Also, if her backup band branches out on their own like War, the Pips, and the JBs did, good luck googling them!

The Cunts "Apocalyptic Garage Rock: Anthology 1978-Onward"

(Disturbing) That the Cunts (who I believe are spelling the band's name out rather than writing C*nts or Cnuts for the first time in over 25 years) do not sequence this retrospective (their third) chronologically is not only not a problem, it's a revelation. Considered the first Chicago punk band, the Cunts qualify on naughty name and absurd d.i.y. semi-existance far more than they do sonically, as they remain the odd man out in Chicago punk history (odder even than Skafish) precisely because they never sounded like cookie cutter punk/hardcore/trash rock. That tracks recorded in 1978 don't feel much different than tracks recorded in 2002 is made more amazing in that the Cunts don't really care what they sound like -- they somehow maintain their sonic aesthetic while jumping from garage rock to Doors-sounding stuff to noise to novelty rock to whatthehellisthat rock. Any south sider can tell you what it's like to feel a certain pride about being from the "real" Chicago while also knowing that all the cultural action/good venues/happenings/places cabbies are willing to drive are north of us, and the Cunts kind of make the best of that, soldiering on in blissful, working class semi-invisibility, not giving too much of a fuck about being ignored for 35 years. This collection (limited to 1000 copies) is simply Cunt-tastic!

Corleone - 10 Years - Everythign I Own is Broken or Bent DVD

(Corleone) This DVD retrospective of a decade of damaged music demonstrates why Providence and RISD is better than New York and Pratt or Chicago and Art Institute. Every urban art school has some visionaries that branch off into avant garde multimedia messes, but for the last two decades (half of which Corleone has been keeping score) it has been Providence that has been making the most delicious noise, performance art, and ridiculously progressive animation (please forget the Family Guy has RISD roots and note that half the Cartoon Network lineup is just toning down the nutso animation and bizarre narratives of the Fort Thunder Providence era). And no noise band from anywhere else has rocked as hard as Lightning Bolt, or its heirs, which include Mindfalyer (who kill on this collection). Highlights of this DVD include Jacob Berendes defying gravity, Black Pus performing a muscular audio exorcism, Lorna Doom giving a pleasant tour of the city, Snake Apartment giving a stomach churning animated anatomy lesson, Fang Island playing for jumping pre-adolescents, The Body blurring out with their fury out, a cartoon of a chipmunk frolicking with a behemoth. There's also bonus live footage and a spectacular poster gallery of stunning Corleone-related work by some incredible artists.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Grant Langston "Working Until I Die"

(  Grant fancies himself a West Coast/Bakersfield-style C&W traditionalist, but this record has more to do with the last the late 80s when Randy, Garth, Travis and others were following George Strait's lead and being more timeless than old timey. This is a fun, but serious,  collection of clever honky tonkers that manages to do the classic country trick of using wordplay and tropes that should seem silly but making then address genuine hardship with sincerity. 

Kathy Greenholdt "When You're Dead"

( Beautifully moody, brightly dark Americana that is worlds beyond the quality of her last (fine) album. I recommend you all go Green(holdt).

Al Miller Chicago Blues Band "...In Between Time"

(Delmark) Miller is a Chicago blues/rock all star because he blew harp in the Dirty Wurds in the 1960s (replaced, I believe, by Roctober's own Alex Wald) and in 1995 recorded a pretty solid CD for Delmark. He then self-released a stellar record a few years later which didn't break any new ground but sounded as good as the best thing you'd hear in a Chicago blues club that year -- especially because his sidemen included such all-stars as John Primer, Dave Specter, Willie Smith and Barrelhouse Chuck. Re-released on Delmark, this mix of classics and original compositions (some qute keen, including the solid "Lake Michigan Waters" and the great "In Between TIme" ) may prove that a decade-plius late, it is finally Miller Time!


Guest Review By Madeline Bocaro 
This film is a must see in 3D. The opening credits and graphics are actually the coolest part, taking you up inside the cyclone. For those who love MGM’s 1939 Wizard Of Oz, we must cite the references in the new Disney film… 
The opening scenes are in black and white, with the 1939 film’s original square aspect ratio. The film changes to color when the magician (soon to be wizard) lands in Oz, and the film broadens to widescreen. 
Characters repeat; the two women in the magician’s monochromatic life later appear as the bad witch Evanora and the good witch, Glinda. The crippled girl who begs the magician to make her walk again figuratively appears as the porcelain China Girl. There is mention that the magician’s former flame is now engaged to John Gale. As this film supposedly takes place prior to Dorothy’s excursion to Oz, could this be Dorothy’s dad or grandfather? In his ‘Professor Marvel’ black and white role, (James Franco) is a carnival magician/con artist with a tough audience trying to debunk him. He obviously does not have the magic of wearing Oz creator Frank L. Baum’s coat rubbing off on him, as Frank Morgan did. There are several lines of dialogue, referenced only with a few choice words, such as ‘my pretty’. 
The Wizard awards symbolic gifts to three characters at the end; Glinda, China Girl and Monkey. The gifts are trivial and unconvincing compared to a heart, a brain and courage. 
Oz is not a warm and fuzzy place. It is vast, with fantastic landscapes – scary jagged mountains and raging rivers. The art deco Emerald City is reminiscent of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. Munchkinland, where the yellow brick road comes to its swirling end, is crowded with not-so-cute and very tall residents. The Munchkins appear briefly, but they are not at all adorable. There are some scary and amazing creatures. The incredible River Fairies make one brief appearance. The one and only winged monkey is, in a twist, friendly. (The witch’s minions are ugly flying baboons). The monkey becomes the Wizard’s footman and companion. Lovely porcelain China Girl is the most beautiful and emotional character, but she is already broken, and her family and home (China Town) have already been destroyed. It would have been wondrous to see that place and its glass inhabitants in their full glory with the gigantic teapot structures still intact. Luckily, she travels with the Wizard and winged monkey throughout their journey. 
The new ‘good witch’ (Mila Kunis as Theodora) transforms into a bad witch. Her sister (Rachel Weisz as Evanora), who portrays herself as good, is actually bad. Glinda The Good (Michelle Williams) does more of the fighting than the pathetic Wizard himself, and must constantly reassure him that ‘you can do this!’ 
The main difference is that this was not a musical. This is definitely a good thing, as nothing could live up to Harold Arlen’s classic original score. 
There are no ruby slippers, no Autie Em, no crullers, no Lion, Tin Man nor Scarecrow, and no mention of the comforts and sanctuary of ‘home’. I suspected that something was amiss when too many of our beloved iconic images and characters of Oz were omitted from this film. Turns out that Warner Bros./Turner Entertainment, the owners of the 1939 MGM film, prohibited use of character likeness, the ruby slippers, even the shade of green of the Wicked Witch’s skin (they compensated by using a different shade), nor the mole on Margaret Hamilton’s pointy chin. Even the swirl at the end of the Yellow Brick Road was prohibited at first, but somehow made its way in. 
The main theme is that anything is possible if you believe in yourself…and that people will believe in you if you do the same. Unlike the kind, bumbling ‘man behind the curtain’ of the MGM film, this ‘wizard’ believes that he is not a good man, and constantly needs to have his confidence and character boosted by those around him. He soon realizes that wizardry can be achieved by trickery, illusion and invention. He cites Thomas Edison as a true wizard, as ‘he could see the future and make it happen’. But really, the true unsung hero behind this story is Jasper Maskelyne who is NOT mentioned – the real-life magician who created massive illusions for the British military during WWII, camouflaging entire coastlines, creating subterfuges and deceiving the enemy by innovative trickery on a massive scale, literally using smoke and mirrors. If you want to see the real thing, watch a documentary on Maskelyne – The War Illusionist. 
The farmers, tinkers and tailors of Oz all pitch in and volunteer their skills, becoming an army to fight the bad witches, under the direction of the Wizard. His intimidating celluloid effigy, flickering in light and smoke reprises the smoldering, scary Wizard head in the 1939 film. The citizens of Oz send a deceptive army of scarecrows - camouflaged by Glinda’s smoke - through the poppy field to infiltrate the bad Witch’s castle. Her flying baboons are overcome by opium, and the battle between good and evil begins. Glinda fights most of it single handedly – one on one with Evanora, while the wimpy Wizard wallows in self-doubt. 
The effects were incredibly spectacular and entertaining, but the actors fell short on all accounts. None of the humans were magical, loveable nor admirable, especially the Wizard. The overall theme and feeling was creepy and hostile, not enchanting and dreamy. True, the Oz books were more in the vein of the new film, and the 1939 film fantasy was an anomaly in light of that. But no one who has seen the original could feel at home in this Oz. 
Everyone should see the movie and ignore most of my criticism, because I am totally obsessed with the original Oz film. I think the next prequel should be called Planet of Oz - about when Oz was run by Apes, who were overthrown by the witch who subverted them as flying monkey minions. At the end you would see the Statue of Liberty in Emerald City, which would look perfect because she is green. Then some confused astronauts would land in Oz, and one of them would be Bowie and he would sing ‘Is There Life On Oz?’ Then chipmunks would take over and teach the Munchkins how to sing! 

The Truman Bentley Jr. Newsletter

(3219 Carden Drive Columbus GA 31907) The last time I reviewed Truman Bentley's newsletters was January 2012, so for almost a year I've been gathering these densely packed, single-spaced, cult-promoting, deadly serious/hilarious parody, deep/deeply disturbing/deep doo doo-for-non-believers, masterpieces of maddening missive manipulation. And now I am going to open all 22 (!) of these thick envelopes and read them in one sitting and see if I can survive. Three important early notes: first off, only about half off these have the envelope covered in plastic packing tape, so I only risked losing fingers utilizing box cutters, Bowie knives and machetes to open these ten or so times. In addition, there was at least one duplicate newsletter, meaning Truman needs a new secretary, or the aliens have overtaken the mail service (a cloned newsletter?). And most importantly, one of the packages contained a DVD! So while I read, in the background there was the strange buzz of a Truman mix-DVD, which featured found footage, U2 songs, wacky local commercials, an archival documentary on mental illness, and the entire mouse/magic/Mike Ploog gruesomely desogned feature file The Witches. More on witches later. Processing all this stuff (which makes the Process Church seem like Episcopalians) ain't easy, but here are a few random concepts I absorbed: Though I can't tell where he stands in the Libertarian/Objectivist/Anarchist/Occupier spectrum, I do know that as far as work ethic and financial philosophy, Truman preaches that Steve Martin's Navin Johnson is a better role model than Dudley Moore's Arthur (though Liza Minnelli being a "gut bucket" may have as much to do with his dismissal of Arthur than the famed sot's money squandering); there's some correlation between aliens and vaginae (and fucking an alien body-snatched lady is worse than contracting HIV); "Truman Bentley, Jr. is BETTER than everyone else"; raisin cake is delicious; GET A JOB!; Amongst other reasons, Welcome Back Kotter sucked because there is no such name as Horshack; most policemen are homosexuals; The true SATANIC WITCH knows of her worthlessness and greatness trapped in the monkey body called SELF; you must be clean shaven at all times; our men in uniform and their military spouses perhaps receive  more respect than warranted from society; many freaks love reading the newsletter. Ultimately what I come away with is confusion, particularly confusion about what to do with this pile of incendiary information. Do I preserve it archivally for future generations? Do I burn them, removing all evidence, and kill all of you who read the review? Do I turn them over to Homeland Security? Do I send this to the Macarthur Foundation as part of Truman's Genius Grant application? Do I read them to my children as bedtime stories every night? The fact that I honestly can't answer these questions is impressive. Truman is confounding! And he uses Scote! Note: the majority of the latest batches of newsletters have devolved into repetitive chaos collage craziness, so Truman may have ascended to a new level of language, perception and kook-itude!

Monday, March 11, 2013

David Bowie "The Next Day"

GUEST REVIEW by Madeline Bocaro

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

dawn oberg "rye"

( If I had to pick my fave thing about this stellar singer-songwritier album I'd consider her husky, striking voice and the 70s-style piano pop songwriting, but I'd settle on her "rye" sense of humor!