Sunday, September 04, 2005

Two books that might be of interest to NBT readers are Grit, Noise and Revolution: The Birth of Detroit Rock 'n' Roll by David A. Carson (University of Michigan Press) and Sin-A-Rama (Feral House). The first offers a very detailed history of rock 'n roll in Detroit, startin' off with the likes of John Lee Hooker and Hank Ballard via Fortune records, Del Shannon, Jack Scott, Motown, Gino Washington and Hideout records to the main focus on the MC 5, Stooges, Detroit Wheels, Alice Cooper etc. It rounds up an incredible amount of information, so much so that at times it clashes somewhat with the actual "flow" of the story. But hey, the subject bein' what it is, I can't think of any reason you folks out there would not want to dig into this. The story ends in the early 70s so there's plenty of room for a second volume on stuff like the New Order, Sonic's Rendevouz band, Gories and, yes, Detroit's Acid House scene. The second is an equally (maybe even more so) well-researched history of sleaze sex paperbacks of the sixties. Co-edited by Miriam Linna, this set rounds up all kindsa arcane knowledge on writers, publishers and cover artists. Not to mention the incredible selection of reprints of original cover artwork that'll keep your peepers busy for hours on end. Both books get the thumbs up, no two ways about it. And yep, seein' the picture of the Pleasure Seekers in the former, I figure it could have once inspired a story easily suited for the latter...
Mo Pitkin's House of Satisfaction

Trash comes in many forms these days. In my experience it always alluded to a certain quality, a romantic notion not shared by conventional society. It's become synonomous with a putdown in terms of social class but when applied to music these boundaries are still unbreached. Of course there's calculated trash but that will never measure up to the beating organ of the stuff that comes from within. So there's CANDYE KAYNE's "White Trash Girl", the latest album from that Big lassie of the blues. Her voice is as big as her person and a warm breeze of bar-room r&b. Lovingly laid down in the climes of Austin, TX - the record reeks of character, the like of which the Universal Musics of this world could never understand. This is something that could really be cultivated. Both in terms of building up a justified celebrity and also in terms of the music. She wouldn't be a "novelty" after the first coupla verses because this is an artist that genuinely has talent.

A big, dirty rasping ability that doesn't require airbrushing or smoothing out. This collection of originals and standards is the kinda thing that should be travelling around these alleged shindigs like the Edinburgh Festival. I'd be right there in Princes Street Gardens if there was the prospect of hearing her holler Bull Moose's "Big Fat Mamas Are Back In Style". Candye isnae fat though, she's just big-boned and she can swing like a highwire gymnast. Contact Ruf Records in Germany for availability details.

And (honestly, I didn't do this purposely) that brings us to HEAVY TRASH. Jon Spencer and Matt Verta-Ray's rockabillious side project that's currently blowing through Europe. Like the CK album it comes in a fabulously art-directed digi-pak. Though these things will never match a record jacket, these two items are very well dressed. And they're less likely to get totalled in the mail.

Anyway, HT is likely to have your average Cramps fan salivating and owes a lot to that hiccuping vanguard while being altogether cleaner and more countrified. Their self-titled Stones-kissed twangfest is available on several imprints worldwide. Check their website for your closest harbinger. This Trash augments their irresistable rattle with a certain degree of style in presentation that offers a formidable prowess in terms of concept. The only fault I can see with all this is that they spelled Jon Graboff's name wrong on the jacket. A daft oversight really being that it's the same as Spencer's. But anyway, I bet this is a whole lotta yuks in a club so hopefully the circus will head this way eventually. I think we could use some of their tomfoolery right about now. I'm a sucker for songs that celebrate the great Jim Dandy. HT recall the America that we love, not the one that's dragging everybody to hell in a handbasket. A wise man recently likened the state of the nation out there to be "the shuffling of chairs on the deck of the Titanic". Iraq presumably playing the role of the iceberg.

And on that sustained chord with a smidge of echo...

Mr Wills tells me that the new BARRACUDAS album should be available in the more discerning Euro outlets. It is also gettable from Not lame and direct from NDN. One way or another you should all be able to procure a copy in order to learn the words for the arcane singalonga'cudas that will take place at the hallowed Dirty Water Club this coming October 7th. There are also 2 Spanish shows confirmed...

Friday 30th September - Tomelloso (Beat)

Saturday 1st October - Madrid (El Sol)

If you haven't had the pleasure of a blast from this recently issued marvel then prepare to have those cobwebs sonically removed. For a wee while at least, you'll feel strangely optimistic about the world without the aid of medication.

If you’re as frustrated as I am with all The Stooges repackaging that’s going on then maybe you’ll find some solace in Mike Rep and The Quotas. As important as those Elektra artefacts are to me, I almost never have to hear them again. Would I go to see The Stooges? Yes, if they played Barrowlands – but I wouldn’t really travel to see ‘em. Truth is I can’t even really look at Iggy any more. He’s become a caricature and before you wade into me for this sacrilicious slur, I’m entitled to my opinion. If I could go see the guys without him, playing instrumental versions of the songs then I’d buy into that. Wee Jimmy I can live without, I guess it’s actually been that way since "The Idiot" and "Lust For Life" when he went eurodisco. The only time I saw him that he was any good - in my opinion - was the time when Andy McCoy of Hanoi Rocks was in his band.

Anyway, Mr Rep deals in that kinda blistering dirty rock that the Stooges spirit begat. One day he may benefit from his back catalogue being milked but for now he’s blasting out some primo riffage from his Ohio silo. "Black Hole Rock" is the title and may well serve as a billet to hang a name on his particular brand of rockist hootch. “Rocket Music On” kicks off the set to reach quite an altitude. Spartanly recorded, the imbibing of this should involve maximum volume wherever possible. You’d never be able to tell that it was recorded in 2004, I believe - according to the good offices of Dr Hesske - that it's "lovingly fucked with" to achieve this compressed, potentially dangerous energy. It’s like some great lost artefact from the wastelands of 1974 delivered like the Rocket From The Tombs gear that Smog Veil/Glitterhouse laid on us. Mike looks like Kris Kristofferson’s evil twin on the cover and his combo’s smokin’ scuzz rock is an example of what can be achieved when something is quite obviously delivered from the heart. The lyrics to “HM My Mind” are bleedin’ sublime and you get the feeling that he means it “Maaaan”. There are also elements of MX-80iness which makes it even cooler. I know Goner in Memphis has copies and Volcanic Tongue also (probably). Write to MIKE if you have any problems in tracking it down.

Likewise retro but making scary sense here in the wilds of 2005 are George Brigman and Split’s “I Can Hear The Ants Dancin’” and his “Jungle Rot” on the specially reactivated for the occasion Bona Fide imprint. Expanded and improved to counteract some nasty bootleg version of Brigman’s guitar slingin’ exploits. Chris Stigliano has covered both volumes at length but it remains to be said that these cd’s could eat up the faux-70’s output of boy-band prog like those Kings Of Leon for the first meal of the day. “Ants” was mostly recorded in 1977 and was somewhat at odds with the punk explosion that was happening around it. It sounds more like it was made in maybe 1972. Like Zappa or Hendrix footprints being found in Tom Verlaine country, some of this comes dangerously close to being noodly but there’s a psychosis evident that makes it seem somewhat dangerous. “Animal Dope” is like Nirvana dipping into some Stalk Forrest Group chops. The spliffmungous sounds of this Groundhogs fixated Baltimorian could make for some uneasy listening if you aren’t in the right mood.

“Jungle Rot” is billed as “the original fuzz-fried acid blues punk classic!”, if anything it sounds even more contempt-orary than “Ants”, it has a peculiar compression that stunts the overt ugliness of the blues-rock that perhaps offered up some sacrificial influence to the altar/mixing board that captured it. Sit right down and make yourself purposely uncomfortable. It’ll be worth it.
I'm somewhat relieved to have heard from Amy Allison that her sister and family made it out of New Orleans. Less relieved to hear that no positive indication of Alex Chilton's managing to bodyswerve the catastrophe seems to be in evidence. Of course, the reportage is that the evacuation of the area is stepping up but the horror stories just keep on coming. This is an area that's as big as the whole UK that's been totalled! I just heard a report on the radio to the effect that what's left of the city will have to be flattened. The water damage on its own will result in toxic mould being present which would render structures unusable. Such an important cultural location has simply ceased to exist. All that history, all those people's lifetimes work snuffed out in a fingerclick. Fucking heartbreaking. Meanwhile Condie and Donut Rumsfield are going down there today and Wee Smirko tomorrow. That's not gonna do much for the old lady who's body was dumped at a door to that astrodome place though is it.

"The president is facing real problems over his handling of the situation". Well, well...