Saturday, November 20, 2004

Seven inch wonders of the world:
Time to shift the hi-fi back into high gear so I can give you the lowdown on a couple of recent 45s. On top of the pile it's the Devil Dolls who's All Dolled Up double 7" (Corduroy) features some ace p-rock sounds in the early Raw Records vain but gets spoiled somewhat by weak vocals/lyrics. No such trouble with the Dirtbombs obviously; Crash Down Day/Ha Ha Ha (also on Corduroy) was recorded live in the studio down under, tho' I'd have preferred something along the lines of an actual "production" job there's no denyin' that these guys can cut it under any circumstance, and dig the Flipper tune on the, uh, flipside. From Fortune Teller comes a Dirtbombs/Gories split, the later w/ a track from their final LP, while the Dirtbombs song (A great take on Eno's King's Lead Hat) was only available on initial CD copies of their recent full-length. The Gun Club's Walkin' With The Beast/Secret Fires (Sympathy) is easily the most essential of this batch. Walkin' is a completely different take from the Las Vegas Grind version while Secret Fires is a great acoustic tune w/ plenty o' pedalsteel thrown in that makes it's vinyl debut here. My old crony Jos De Groot has recently set up his own label; A Fist Full Of Records. The first release was a bit of a let down, but he sure makes up for it with by putting out the debut EP by one-man band Jeffrey Novak. Goners 're gonna flip!. Contact Jos here for ordering info. Finally there's the White Stripes latest; Jolene/Do (XL) sees Jack butcherin' Dolly's tune in full Robert Plant mode. The first serious wrong in their career, maybe it is time to pull the plug... So there you have it, more on the little ones as they reach my doorstep.
The answer "comp" to that upcoming Koch thing...

The Gizmos ROCK & ROLL DON'T COME FROM NEW YORK (Gulcher 425)

When Dale Lawrence and Billy Nightshade took over the reins of Bloomington, Indiana's Gizmos in 1978, the band became one of the earliest (and one of the best) midwestern punk rock outfits. Taking their cues from the first wave of British punk (the Jam, Sex Pistols, especially the Vibrators), these new Gizmos combined raw energy with a classic pop sensibility. Their songs had a keen ear for melody, with lyrics that were concise and funny, equal parts youthful alienation ("Pay," "Tell Me Why"), regional pride ("Rock & Roll Don't Come From New York," "The Midwest Can Be Allright"), and reflection upon rock itself ("Progressive Rock","Reggae Song").

The Gizmos force-fed the new punk sensibility to a befuddled midwestern college town throughout 1979. Frustrated by perpetual outsider status in Indiana, they relocated to New York in 1980, recorded their most ambitious material, and broke up a year later. Cassettes of live shows circulating back in Bloomington would prove
to be the group's most lasting legacy, inspring a generation of Hoosier musicians, including future Blake Babies John Strohm and Freda Love.

The somewhat rootsier tinge of the band's New York recordings foreshadowed things to come: Lawrence would go on to front the Vulgar Boatmen, whose repertoire still includes several Gizmos titles ("Heartbeat," "Cry Real Tears," "Tilt-a-Whirl"), while guitarist Tim Carroll established an alt-country presence in Nashville, penning
tunes covered by the likes of John Prine and Robbie Fulks.

With 25 tracks recorded from 1979 to 1981, ROCK & ROLL DON'T COME FROM NEW YORK is the first comprehensive compilation from the latter-day Gizmos. Included are highlights from their 1980 split album with Dow Jones & The Industrials, HOOSIER HYSTERIA, and many never-released favorites culled from live tapes. Remastered
for CD by fellow Hoosier punk Paul Mahern (Zero Boys), this 2004 Gulcher release comes with a 16-page booklet featuring rare flyers, several unpublished photos, and liner notes by Dale Lawrence. ORDER HERE or HERE.

For details on upcoming Gizmos gigs over the holidays in Bloomington and Indianapolis, maybe Chicago and St. Louis too, subscribe HERE

The latest instalment of Richard Meltzer’s fly on the wall exposé of life as a STAR SPANGLE is up for your reading pleasure, visit the HISTORY section and it’ll hit you a’tween the peepers. There’s also an op to right those wrongs some of you may be harbouring about not having their records. Bargains abound in the BUY section of their cyberganghut. Meanwhile the band is holed up in Berkeley, CA recording the follow up to Bazooka! for a (hopefully) Spring 2005 release.