Saturday, January 29, 2005

Happy birthday to both H.D. Manitoba; King Of Man, and H.B. Vedder; King Of Man version 2.0.

Back at the dawn of No Future, before mid-70s boredom turned into late-70s hate, Rich Stim and Dave Mahoney were two young guys living in a trailer park. This trailer park was located in the midwest college town of Bloomington, Indiana. Rich was a newspaper writer by profession(ombudsman, obituaries, and music reviews), but longed to be a musician. He could play sax, bass, guitar, and other assorted instruments. Dave was a drummer, who even did gigs with a local country band. They both sang. In 1975, they began working up a batch of songs composed by Rich. They called their project Chinaboise.

In the very same trailer park lived Rich Fish, who soon moved into a house where he built a tiny studio in an empty bedroom (the teenage Gizmos would record there in '76 and '77). Rich Stim and Dave Mahoney joined their former neighbor at Home Grown Studios, where Chinaboise recorded a handful of tracks over a few months in '75.

Stim asked guitarist Bruce Anderson to join them in the studio for a few songs. Bruce was invited because he was the driving force behind MX-80 Sound, the high-energy avant combo which Stim considered local gods. It turned out Bruce had been thinking about moving MX-80 Sound closer to rock music, and the Chinaboise duo would soon join MX-80 to record the classic BIG HITS EP in 1976.

But back in '75, things were still kinda like the early 70s, and that's nowhere more evident than on this new Gulcher CD of Chinaboise music. If MX-80 '76 is like a pissed-off art punk finally lashing out, Chinaboise '75 is the punk's older boho brother smirking cynically and blowin' his horn.

"The Greatest Story Ever Told" was released on the BLOOMINGTON 1 comp LP (BRBQ Records '75), but none of the other Chinaboise material ever came out officially. Well, Rich says they "handed out cassettes to some people in town." "The Greatest Story Ever Told" is a great track. Stim's deadpan vocal and lyric combine with Bruce's jagged avant-metal guitar and Dave's drumming to sound not unlike the "new" MX-80 Sound of '76. Except this also has female vocals by Carolyn Boner and Kim Torgerson (who took photos of MX-80 over the years).

Bruce Anderson also appears on the ever-timely oil crisis ditty "Living On Oil," the angular MX-80-like "Take Two," and "Self-Conscious Pisser" (vocal by Steve Hoy), which became an MX-80 instrumental, abbreviated "SCP." There's also an early version of MX-80's "Myonga Von Bontee," done here as a sax-and-drums duet by Rich and Dave. "Partners In A Crime" was also re-arranged as an MX-80 song; the Chinaboise precursor features vocals by Stim, Dave, and Rich Fish, with only piano accompaniment.

There are a few tunes dominated by a sort of (pseudo-)beatnik campfire vibe--just Rich and Dave interacting like the doob's been passed for awhile. "Girl You Got It (So Go Get It)" and "Demons In The Lone Star State" both feature Rich on recorder! "Sodium Nitrate" is filled with back-and-forth hepster dialogue plus bebop sax. "Caught Between Dreams" moves the action to a jazzy little tavern just down the street.

"Working Girl" has Stim's typical workaday lyrics turned inside out, from the woman's point of view, with a lovely vocal by Holly Thomison. "Dear Tears" has a similar feel, with Kim Torgerson singing. These two tracks remind me of Stim's work in the 80s with Angel Corpus Christi (Mrs Stim).

The most surprising sounds here are two tracks of spoken-word humor done in the Firesign Theatre style. "Breakfast At The Gables" has Rich Stim, Rich Fish, and Carolyn Boner doing a mock morning radio show, complete with sound effects and fake commercials. On "In The Sahara" Stim is a bad stand-up comedian, Carolyn and Kim are drunk audience members, Fish an announcer and a drunk, and drummer Brad Fox
provides rimshots for Stim's jokes.

Yep, this is a weird one, Gulcher mulchers--lots of DIY fun, interesting musical approaches, and underground history in the making. The CD package includes cool early pix of the MX-80 boys and the rest of the crew, and an interview with Rich Stim. (Eddie Flowers, Slippy Town)

Talk about cross collateralising cultures.... I'm sitting here filling out the MCPS forms for my old man's soon to be released album of pipe tunes. It's turned into quite a project but it's all nearing completion. Check out the kiltie photo above. While I painstakingly list this obscure fare, which is not altogether straightforward, I'm listening to the great Radio Student (Hey BIGor and Ms Viva!!), broadcasting from Slovenia and hoping that something gives that'll mean we can head out that way this year. They just played a Beavis and Butthead trailer for the station... we really are not sodding worthy! You can tune into this sensation also by selecting the listing on yonder sidebar.

Hope to be able to give you the skinny on the tour dates for their Croatian neighbours, THE BAMBI MOLESTERS very soon... I'm on a sorta long weekend so I'm relatively chilled in that I don't have to think about going back to the rat race until maybe Monday evening.

OK, I just felt like a break from the compilation of publishing details for bagpipe tunes. It's a strange and complicated world and doesn't it all sound the same to you? That's what my parents used to say about The Ramones...

You wanna know "wha' 'appen(ing)? Well check out NERVOUS SHAKES "SEPARATE BEDS? I DON'T THINK SO" available now on the NUN label. Their Fred Willard-esque take on album titles contains the kind of no-frills, superior rock action that can sneak under the radar so easily these days.Straight outta Brussels and harbouring a prediliction for buzzsaw rock and roll. I thought track 5 was titled "Swedish Love Gym" until I adjusted my glasses. Turned out it was "Gun". Ah well, you can't have everything. So yeah, a considerable octane then. Visit their bijou website and sample their wares.
The South may well rise again! 'bama's DEXATEENS will be landing to serve up substantial lashings of their punk rock Skynyrd-lickin' marinade at the following venues during February...

Raising Kain, the Grease Monkeys, Taylor Hollingsworth

w/ the Grease Monkeys, the Down Roads, Taylor Hollingsworth

w/ the Grease Monkeys, the Illegal Movers, Taylor Hollingsworth


w/ Taylor Hollingsworth, & 2 others

w/ the Grease Monkeys, Taylor Hollingsworth

w/ the Grease Monkeys, Denghis, Taylor Hollingsworth

Their just released second album, RED DUST RISING is on the prowl now via Mr Crider's ESTRUS imprint and it's sure to put the wind up them January cobwebs. You heard ol' Neil sing about it and you heard ol' Neil put it down but this should be a wake up call to the old duffer that them there Southern men still don't need him around anyhow.