Saturday, August 31, 2013

B.A. Johnston "Mission Accomplished"

(Mammoth Cave Recording) This delightful song cycle posits that Johnston is a mutant fusion of Atom and his Package and Stompin' Tom Connors, but per the latter, rather than expressing his throbbing Canadian patriotism by employing jingoistic sloganeering and didactic geography lessons Johnston instead complains about Tim Horton's hash browns, gas prices, and the livability of Windsor, Ontario. This album also presents some of the most effective message music I've heard in ages, the message being: don't let B. A. Johnston watch your cat while you're out of town!

Friday, August 30, 2013

M.O.T.O. "Golden Quarter Hour of..."

(Rerun) First off, if one is weaned on hardcore punk, there is no better format than the 8 (or more) song 7" EP! So I'm already sold before I slap the needle on the grooves. Sure 7.5 minutes per side might sound a might murky, but if Paul C. has taught us anything over the last 100 years and 1000 songs it's that his near-jingle catchy, off kilter pop tunes don't need no steenking fidelity to soar. This diverse suite of songs features some impressively mature, sensitive, nuanced compositions...and some beautiful messes! And a song where he just rocks out to the refrain "All City seven years in a row!" which is somehow repeated 400 times in 75 seconds. Paul, give yourself some've been all world for at least 30 years!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Growth "Turn" b/w "The Flood"

(Human Audio) Martin Savage's label explodes with not so much savagery as a methodical, slow rending of flesh by jagged wolf teeth. Jandek-spooky minimalist ghost garage as frightening as finding a growth.

Murder by Guitar "D.O.A." ep

(Human Audio) Swedish post-punk darkwave gems that sound way better than D.O.A.'s "Murder by Guitar" ep (which is only a half joke...I actually have a mediocre D.O.A. 90s record titled "Murder").

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Strawberry Savage "Too Cold To Cry"

(Human Audio) Like most strawberries, and unlike most garage duos, this is tasteful. But dont let that put you off, trashmeisters, as this minimalist, raw pop platter feels like an ethereal campfire singalong and an art garage hoedown. That Jenny Silver's Swedish accented-English evokes a bit of Nico's German accented English don't hurt, nor does a cover of King Louie (New Orleans self-abusive one man band, not Chicago teen rapper).

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Loves It "All We Are"

(Team Austin) The twangs the thang on this natural, earnest, straightforward love letter to folksy, rural, honky tonkin' Americana that manages to somehow simultaneously coexist as a burlesque of the same music. This magic trick is pulled off, in part, by clever, thrilling songwriting, and clear-voiced, confident singing by both the dude and lady. Love it, indeed!

Monday, August 26, 2013

The Rolling Stones: “The Ed Sullivan Shows" DVD, “Some Girls Live In Texas ‘78” DVD

 The Rolling Stones:
“The Ed Sullivan Shows”
“Some Girls Live In Texas ‘78”

(Guest review by Gary Pig Gold)

The jury – to say nothing of the legal teams – appear to still be out on precisely how much of a bigger bang the Rolling Stones made in marking their supposed fiftieth (!) year together. For example: Did the long-thought-lost Mick Taylor truly succeed in again, albeit momentarily, filling Brian Jones’ gigantic musical shoes during the band’s 012/013 concerts? And speaking of quasi-reunions, how come the Stones invited back the best bass player they’ll ever have and then only let him play for a song or two ??

Now, seeing as the vast majority of their fan base these days prefer sitting in front of flat screens as opposed to braving the crush at the local EnormoDome, the band has kept the anniversial ball, well, rolling with some fabulous new books and a slew of brand new/old DVD releases specially made for all December's remaining children.

Two such items contain some cream from the band’s considerable on-stage capers, both on television, where the young Stones initially made their greatest generation-dividing impact, and later down there in Texas at the, um, height of one of their many, many one-last-comeback tours.

So, you can choose from a package comprising four – or six if you spring for the Deluxe edition – complete (with commercials even!) Stones-featured Ed Sullivan Shows remastered from those once-Swinging Sixties. Then, on much the opposite end of the musico-historical scale, view a long-rumored and ultimately shelved (because, as director Lynn Lenau recalls, "they thought they looked too old") semi-low-budget 16mm film of a typical show from their S.E.A.T. (as in "Seventy Eight American Tour") supporting the just-released "back-to-basics" Some Girls long-player …which, buy the way, can now be yours on DVD, Blu-ray and/or "Special Edition with CD digipack presentation including a reproduction tour program" (included on all configurations however, it should be noted, is the Stones' (in)famous 1978 SNL appearance starring Dan Aykroyd as Tom Snyder).

On a budget, and can only afford one of the above items you say? Especially after plunking down £229 (plus postage + handling) for “Bill Wyman’s Scrapbook” ?? Let us then compare The Ed Sullivan Shows Starring The Rolling Stones and Some Girls Live In Texas ‘78 in order to help make up what’s left of your mind…


SULLIVAN:  CBS Television Studio 50, NY, NY and CBS Television City,
                      Los Angeles, California.
SOME GIRLS:  Will Rogers Auditorium, Fort Worth, Texas.


SULLIVAN:  Six Sunday nights between October 25, 1964 and November 23, 1969.
SOME GIRLS:  Tuesday night, July 18, 1978.


SULLIVAN:  England's Newest Hit Makers.
SOME GIRLS:  The London Green Shoed Cowboys.


SOME GIRLS:  2,856


SULLIVAN:  Lipton Tea, Pillsbury, Dove soap, Anacin, Easy-On Spray Starch, Chef Boy-Ar-
                     Dee, Lux Liquid, The Man From Glad, Geritol ("America's #1 tonic"), Aqua
                     Velva, Aero Shave, Aero Wax, Burlington Mid-Length Socks, Infra-Rub, Lees
                     Carpets, Polaroid Corporation, Pacquin Cold Cream, Ben-Gay Lotion, FTD
                     Florists, Sleep-Eze ("when you can't sleep because tension has you all wound
                     up"), Sominex ("if you can't sleep because of simple nervous tension or daily
                     problems"), Vivarin Stimulant Tablets ("Give yourself a lift!"), ProSlim 7-day
                     reducing wafers, Norelco, Cheesecake nylons (yes, cheesecake), Hai Karate
                     After Shave and Cologne, Juan Valdez's 100% Colombian Coffee, Teflon II
                     Certified Cookware, and Zerex anti-leak anti-freeze.
SOME GIRLS:  Bill Graham.


SULLIVAN:  Giant cheese wheels, ironic dripping chandeliers, orange then blue screen,
                     purple and (paint it) black screen, psychedelic rib cages and lots of reflective
SOME GIRLS:  In the words of “Old Gods Almost Dead” author Stephen Davis, "a bare    
                          stage surrounded by a huge red lips and tongue logo painted on a scrim. A
                          pair of giant tonsils floated over Charlie's drums."


SULLIVAN:  London Lee, Itzhak Perlman, Stiller and Meara, Peg Leg (really!) Bates,
                     Laurence Harvey, The Kim Sisters, The Berosinis, Phyllis Diller, Morecambe            
                     and Wise, Leslie Uggams, Gitta Morelly, Dusty Springfield, Tom Jones, Totie
                     Fields, The Half Brothers, SeƱor Wences, Les Olympiades, Eddie Schaeffer,
                     Hal Holbrook, The Romanian Folk Ballet, Sandy Baron, The Muppets (twice!),
                     Franco Corelli and Renata Tebaldi, Louis Armstrong, Joan Rivers, Robert
                     Goulet, Red Skelton, The Michael Bennett Dancers, Flip Wilson, Petula Clark,
                     Monroe the Acrobat, "this group of forty-four nuns from the Convent of the
                     Sisters of Saint Benedict in Erie – that's Erie, Pennsylvania, of course" aka
                     Sisters ’67, Alan King, Rodney Dangerfield, Ella Fitzgerald, Robert Klein, "from
                     the Hawthorne Circus, an amazing tiger riding a horse," the even more amazing
                     Lucho Navarro (who impersonates motor cars with his mouth) and, of course,
                     Topo Gigio.
SOME GIRLS:  Peter Tosh.


SULLIVAN:  "And now (pause) singing (pause) singing Time on my si- (pause) Time On My
                      Side (pause) The Rolling (pause) Stones!" 
SOME GIRLS:  "Welcome the fucking amazing Rolling Stones!"


SULLIVAN:  Merry Clayton, vocals, "Gimme Shelter" (but you can't see her; you can only
                      hear her). 
SOME GIRLS:  Doug Kershaw, fiddle, "Far Away Eyes."


SULLIVAN:  Brian Jones, guitar, bottleneck, sitar, dulcimer, recorder, piano.
SOME GIRLS:  Ron Wood, if you let him, guitar.


SULLIVAN:  Singing "Let's Spend SOME TIME Together" under Ed's strict orders.
SOME GIRLS:  Singing "Sweet Little Sixteen, she's got the grown up blues, tight dresses
                          and Tampax, she's sportin' high-heel shoes" without Chuck Berry's consent. 


SOME GIRLS:  2  (though he is positively on fire throughout this show!)



(sorry, I kid:  During the Stones' inaugural Sullivision appearance, Bill was actually given a live microphone into which he was moved to add harmonies during "Time Is On My Side")


SULLIVAN:  "The Last Time," "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction," "As Tears Go By," "19th
                      Nervous Breakdown,"  "Paint It, Black," "Lady Jane," "Have You Seen Your
                      Mother, Baby, Standing In The Shadow?," "Ruby Tuesday," "Gimme Shelter,"
                      "Honky Tonk Women."
SOME GIRLS:  "Honky Tonk Women," "Starfucker," "When The Whip Comes Down," "Beast
                          Of Burden," "Miss You," "Shattered," "Tumbling Dice," "Happy," "Brown
                          Sugar," "Jumpin' Jack Flash."


SULLIVAN:  "Street Fighting Man," "Under My Thumb," "Sympathy For The Devil," "Mother's
                      Little Helper," "Get Off Of My Cloud," "2000 Light Years From Home,"
SOME GIRLS:  "Sister Morphine," "Bitch," "Turd On The Run," "Short and Curlies," "Cherry
                          Oh Baby," "Claudine," "I'd Much Rather Be With The Boys."


SULLIVAN:  Six-and-a-half to twelve (per appearance).  
SOME GIRLS:  Approximately eighty-three. 


SULLIVAN:  well, It's important to remember that eight months before the Stones' debut
                      appearance there, The Beatles were paid a total of only $10,000 for their first
                      THREE Ed Sullivan Shows.
SOME GIRLS:  It should also be remembered that the Stones paid filmmaker Lynn Lenau
                          and her crew a total of only $1,000 to shoot Live In Texas ’78


SULLIVAN (in a message to Stones co-manager Eric Easton following the band's first Ed
                   Sullivan Show):  “We were deluged with mail protesting the untidy appearance,
                   clothes and hair, of your Rolling Stones. Before even discussing the possibility
                   of a contract, I would like to learn from you, Eric, whether your young men have
                   reformed in matter of dress and shampoo.”
SOME GIRLS (Mick Jagger, by way of introducing "Respectable" to the bemused citizens of
                        Fort Worth)“I'm afraid if the band's lacking slightly in energy, it's because
                        they spent all last night fucking …but we’ll do our best.”


OUR SPECTACULAR COMEDY & NOVELTY RECORDS ISSUE IS REAL AND ALIVE!!! We moved a bunch of copies Friday at our release party, and it will be in Chicago stores later this week and available online by Wednesday and subscribers and contributors should have copies by mid-September! Check our Facebook and Website for more info! All the reviews posted after this date will appear in the next issue (#52)

Friday, August 16, 2013

White Mystery “Telepathic”

( It can’t be overstated how important WM are to the local scene. With fine chops (Alex’ blues rock guitar wailing and Francis’ mighty drumming blend together with the eerie harmony siblings usually reserve for when singing together) and a knack for writing simple, smart, catchy, earnest garage rock ditties, they are musically as good as anything we got here. But it’s the personalities that put them over the top; onstage they just make you root for them, these is the band at your school you want to play every dance! New classics on this one include the infectious “Break A Sweat,” the chaotic “Jungle Cat,” and the knock out “Dirty Hair.”

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Memphis Heat – The True Story of Memphis Wrasslin’

(Off the Top Rope) My first thought watching this spectacular documentary about the Memphis-centered pro wrestling scene in the 1960s and 1970s is that maybe all that talk about athletes and concussions and brain damage is less spot on than I thought, because Jerry Lawler, Jackie Fargo, Jimmy Valient, and Sputnik Monroe took more blows to the head than anyone, and they are so sharp now it’s ridiculous. My second thought involves rushes of memories of watching regional, low-budget pre-WWF wrestling as a kid and how utterly engaging and organic and spectacular it was despite lengthy 2 out of 3 falls matches lack of muscle tone, and a production vibe that felt like one of those local weathermen in a Dracula cape hosting monster movies shows. Or more specifically, like the low budget car dealer ads starring wrestling personalities that played during the Sunday morning broadcasts in Chicago. I recall one of my eye-openers to adulthood as a kid being the day after a huge Nature Boy Buddy Rogers match that had been hyped for weeks on All Star Wrestling I checked the Tribune and there were no results listed in the sports pages, despite this clearly being one of the biggest sporting events in the nation. But as we learn in Memphis Heat, those results might have been in the Memphis newspaper, because their wonderful broadcasts (we see plenty of excerpts of not just wrestling but the intervews and shenanigans that made their productions special) were some of the highest rated shows in the region. They sold out the Colliseum more times then Elvis we are remnded, and time after time this engaging film shows why not only the immensely talented, incredibly intelligent Lawler earned his “King” title, but how all these characters, from the bold Monroe (who refused to honor the city’s segregation policies) to the intense Valient (who really scared me as a kid) are true wrasslin’ royalty.

Andre Williams “Life”

(Alive) Of Andre Williams’ dozen comeback albums he’s made over the last two decades this is genuinely one of the best The swampy, slink ghost blues rock thst Matthew Smith and Jim Diamond eke out (celebrating the Detroit side of Andre, without erasing the Chicago side) perfectly matches his now hoarse, mellow, haunting voice. Highlights include a heavy, gaspy take on the closest thing he ever had to a hit (for someone else) “Shake A Tail Feather,” a tasty toast about a naughty fly, and some Tom Paine-esque sature on an anti-anti Obama song. But the highest highlight may be the snippets of candid audio from the sessions in which Andre takes no shit and makes it clear that he’s running the show, not some puppet masters. It reminded me of the surprisingly in control Michael Jackson directing the dancers and musicians in This Is It. But with a happier ending.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Bobby Whitlock “Where There’s A Will There’s A Way: The ABC Dunhill Recordings”

(Light in the Attic) This handsome package remasters and reissues two early 70s solo records that if people know them at all they know them because the cats Whitlock backed up in the past (Clapton and George Harrison) returned some favors. But these deserve to be more than asterisks on someone else’s discography. The first album, self titled, sees the Memphisian at his best, soul shouting over country rock (or, more accurately, country gospel rock). Whitlock’s throaty robust vocals match the 70s studio bombast note for note, when they don’t conquer and overpower it. The 2nd LP, “Raw Velvet,” rocks harder (bringing some actual Southern Rock to the West Coast country rock sound) with some off-roading into swamp rock. These boundry-blurring excursions are a pretty perfect solution to the anomaly that is and always will be “white boy soul,” and this addresses many of that concept’s inherent problems in ways Justin and Thicke could still learn from.

Public Image Ltd “First Issue”

(Light in the Attic) I could be wrong, but I don’t think PIL’s debut was released in the US, or if it was, something went wrong with distro, because I never saw a non-import copy, and I saw lotsa “Metal Box”s. Even if it was, this version, with a bonus of their first single (a repro of the sleeve and all) is certainly new to these shores, and well worth the wait. Forget what came to be known as post-punk, this in many ways was thekey post-punk release, as Mr. Punk Rock was done with punk, made clear with a musical declaration that dubby, noisy, atmosheric, ambitious art rock was where it was at. And though these forays into dance clubs and anti-religious poetry night at the pub contain more pretension than a Silver Jubilee’s worth of Sex Pistols singles, they also seem more thrilling and challenging. Their only “hit” off the album (ahe band’s theme song…something I endorse wholeheartedly for all bands) may be the most familiar thing here, but even that sounds fresh in the context of this nice packaging. There’s also a lengthy archivsl interview, but I can only take about five minutes of Johnny Lydon talking.

The Vibrators “On the Guest List”

(Cleopatra) A solid set of songs by the Vibrators with guest vibrations from new and old friends, many of which shine like a…glow in the dark vibrator? Some guitar heroes deliver their signature sound, elevating the always catchy Vinrator catalogue (listen to Ross the Boss, Walter Lure, and old collaborator Chris Spedding), some are surprising (Wayne Kramer’s sound going somewhere new), some are better than you’d expect (Vibrators + Die Toten Hosen = awesome!?! Who knew?) and some are less than the sum of their parts (I would have expected Dickies meet Vibrators to rule, but I guess Dickies are naturally jealous of Vibrators when you thing about it). Definitely one of the more interesting ways to present your greatest hits!

Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine "Shock-U-Py!"

(Alternative Tentacles) Jello being Jello! This is as corny and obvious as the bulk of 60s protest music was, but in a lot ways it's just as important. And who can really fault a 7.5 minute epic that combines Dead Kennedy vocals, both country and KISS riffs, cheerleading Occupy-ers, FDR history lessons, and a laundry list of capitalist, corporate AmeriKKKa's woes and ills. Scathing indictments of Obama (and Oprah and Rodney King) may not have much bite if you consider the satiric re-spelling "BaRockstar O'Bomber" not particularly clever, but compared to other contemporary protest music...wait, there is none! So throw in D.O.A. and some Jello-isms, and I'm on board!

Anthrax “Anthems”

(MegaforceUsually a covers EP is just filler, or even a tired band’s surrender, but considering how awesome their last record was, Anthrax not only gets a pass but a pat on the back for so superbly compiling and packaging (recreations of classic covers by Boston, AC/DC, Thin Lizzy, etc.) this tribute to their influences. I also like that this isn’t about obscurities, it’s about playing the HITS, and since it’s one of the best hard rock bands ever playing them, its like experiencing your fantasy cover band. I love the fact that they are unashamed to love Journey’s “Keep On Running,” that they glorify “Anthem” by Rush (why is that not on the Loop’s playlist?), and that they make Chaep Trick’s “Big Eyes” bigger! . Like the Boston track they cover, this is “Smokin’!”

The Ar-Kaics "She Does Those Things To Me"

(Speakertree) Should be called the Are-Awesomes!

Epicycle “You’re Not Gonna Get It (1978-1981)”

(Hozac) Epicycle may not be the most respected early Chicago New Wave act, but then again, who is? Phil N the Blanks? Maybe Skafish at the time, but now? Ayhow, there are a few reasons this band may be under-loved. First off, they didn’t break up! Which is awesome in many ways, but fans of the poppy bar band from the 90s or 2010 may not dig their edgier power pop of the Jane Byrne-era, and potential 70s-heads may have been turned off by the slicker stuff they heard over the last thirty years. Also, for punk fans they were kind of everything but – some garage, some pre-Paisley Underground 60s revival, some radio pop – plus they actually had a song called “Hardcore Punk” that is anything but – I can imagine a Naked Raygun fan hearing this years later and getting pissed off. But whatever the reaon is that this band set to table to allow for glorious rediscovery, one thing that can’t be blamed is talent – the songwriting, playing, and pop sensibilities on the 14 tracks featured here are stellar. I am now hearing these songs in my head all the time…does that mean I’m Epipsychic?

First Base

(Hozac) Because bubblegum powerpop has some pretty specific formulas and because if you are true of heart, in touch with your inner horny teen, have some Kassenetzz-Katz 45s and Shoes LPs, and are willing to practive you can achieve some fine skillz in this arena, I have to say I have heard a number of genuinely impressive, borderline great proto-bubblegummers over the last few years. But this is the first time I had to spend fifteen minutes on the Internet confirming this was actually a contemporary band and not a reissue! First base? I feel like I totally scored!

The It*Men “Greatest Hits”

(Stow House) I’ve been thinking a lot about the recently departed Peppi Marchello, lead singer of the Good Rats, and one of my favorite stories involves him screaming in a towel as a teenager trying to make his voice scratchy and raw so he could get the proper vocal tone for rock ‘n’ roll. The singer for Cleveland rock garagers The It*Men either wore out his mother’s towels or just genuinely lived through the tough stuff, all those sorry stories scraping against his vocal cords. Considering what we know about Cleveland, I bet it’s the latter. I call them ‘rock garage’ and not ‘garage rock’ because these roughnecks are more Ac/DC than Sonics, more Motorhead than Mysterians. But they ain’t slick rockers above the garage, they are budget rock roughnecks singing about handjobs, drugs and whatever “the Bowie Dick Test” is.  This is It*!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Aleppo Pine “Holy Picnic”

  1. (Alone) Mystical phlute pholk that makes me want to live under a mushroom in an enchanted forest with nothing but a long cutved pipe, a beautiful elf-ess, and a CD player spinning this weird gem.

The Orchis “A Thousand Winters”

(Infinite Fog) Though English, this opens with  a mystical horse-themed narration by a woman with one of those sexy Bjork/Bardot/Badenov/not exactly sure where the hell the woman is from accents, and though I am not the top advocate on 90s dark psyche scapes with glimmers of rennasaince faire folk, that fifteen second scene setter is worth the price of the album!

Amber “Pearls of Amber,” Arrowwood “Beautiful Grave,” In Gowan Ring “The Glinting Spade,” Jahrtal “Reprisien & Instrumentalstuecke” Paths of Prakriti “Axis Mundi”

(Merlins Nose) I’ve never heard of the neo-folk/psyche label Merlins Nose (from Germany) but the array of sounds they laid upon my ear provided as trippy a trip as I’ve taken in (ye olde middle) ages. By far the highlight are the 1971 recordings by duo Amber, who utilize tabla and sitar to make their mellow psyche folk soar around the world. Somehow their calming precious folk music actually grooves…this is to be heard. Elsewhere…If the hypnotic weirdo drones and buzzes if Arrowwood were not created by tree-dwelling wood faeries than I’ll be a wood nymph’s uncle! To call In Gowan Ring “neo-folk,” or “phreak pholk” acknowledges the trancelike psychedelic effect of this music, but disrespects how traditionally, beautifully, meticulously this is actual folk music, and B’ee is an ancient minstrel spreading stories across the briar! I give B’ee an “A!” Jahrtal impressively creates ambient exotica that combines a blissful opium haze around a virtual Martin Denny, virtually stationed in Tokyo. And as far as the remaining group: Paths of PraCrappy!

Lyres "A Promise is a Promise"

(Munster) There is supposed to be a dead space between the dreary, awful 80s recordings of the Midnight Records-era garage revival and the trashier, tastier Estrus/Planet Pimp/Ripoff 90s revival. But no one told Monoman. He never cut back or compromised his own campy form of Cramps-ism/punked out archival revival garage mess rock he’d nurtured in the 70s with DMZ. He delivered timeless rock when everyone else was messing with instantly dated 80s effects. This late 80s material manages to be raw, spare, rich sometimes sexy, sometimes spy rockin’, sometimes Bowery punk messy --- the Lyres were telling the musical truth! And though anything more than a dozen Lyres tracks may be overkill, some Live in Holland burners (really working the crowd) ain’t no Ly!

Olympic “Everybody!”

(Munster) Don’t write off Czechs your ass can’t cash! That error is proven by this pre-Beatlemania beat band that’s still rockin’ in some form a half century later. Over the years they did strange 60s psyche, Tin Pan Alley-tinged garage, space walk excursions, straight up beat jams, and one or two wild and crazy wah wah freakouts from Czecholslavakia! They should have called this album “Everything!” because in addition to what I mentioned, during their ’65-’71 heyday they would also make poppy porn soundtrack cuts, drugged out Beatles experiments, borderline Byrds country-tinged flytes, fuzzy proto punk turbo skiffle…need I go on? It must be the kolaches…it’s hard to believe every country has a long-standing band this badass!