The Freelance Mentalists.
Saturday, January 28, 2012
  Dirty Water Sandwich: some P&J Comments and then some
Dirty Water 2: More Birth of Punk Attitude doesn't have the sometimes spectacular transitions of its recent forerunner*, and isn't quite as abrasive, but compiler Kris Needs sets the same pace and perspective right off, veering from  Captain Beefheart's lean and loping "Zig Zag Wanderer" to the cooler rifle range poise of The Human Expression's "Love At Psychedelic Velocity." Zig-zagging from familiar to emerging landmarks continues as Death's "Freaking Out" shrugs over over the cliff, with its stop-start momentum spun around some more by Dizzy Gillespie's "Bebop", with the spiraling electric guitar of (I think) Charlie Christian (there's no "punk jazz" per se on here, but Diz and the live MC5 dig deep and deliver quickly, gratifying rock-head attention spans and appetites).   Yeah,doo-doo-wopping Silhouttes, strutting off to the poorhouse, smirking "Strange as it seems, all my money turned brown") Suicide suggestively crooning about a "Creature Feature", the Velvet Underground's Live in Texas 69 version of "I'm Waiting For My Man", with its sly classic spoken intro and brown narcotic boogiemorphic tendencies bleeding through the VU's better known distinguishing marks--yea, just when all those guys rushing to a peak of cool, we get the one-two punch of Patti Smith's "Piss Factory" and Wayne-to-Jayne County's "Man Enough To Be A Woman" Concise epics,bluntly bum-rushing the enemies of promise, and challenging themselves too. And just in case the Misunderstood's truly flower punk (acid in at least two senses) "Children of the Sun" seems a little too grand, the Unrelated Segments' "Story of my Life" immediately brings us back to itchy grievances, warty warning signs and the still-fresh zits of tombstone testimonials. Sometimes it seems like "right band, wrong track", but even then, context can fortify, as Blondie's (lyrically blurry but sonically tonic enough) late 70s "X-Offender" zigs back to the United States of America's "Hard-Coming Love", where chanteuse Dorothy Moskowitz and the USA's male geeks lure each other though  shuddering  psychotronic blossoms of (what turns out to be) foreplay, or at least something left gracefully for generations of imagination, in mid-air. Back to street level again, for the Godz' heartfelt, country-busking serenade, "C'mon little girl turn on" (that's the whole lyric, and all that's needed). These thrift store cowboys get washed through the Lower East Side by the alley waves of  Holy Modal Rounders' "Indian War Whoop." So it goes, jumping back to the late 70s for the rattling b-movie tumult ("I do this every night") of "Imagination" by the sic and aptly named Rudement. Contextual momentum or not Some of the daring juxtapositions just doesn't fit (Woody Guthrie, Big Star, the Flamin Groovies, --possibly more examples of right artist, wrong track). But squinting as sternly as possible (and okay, Faust and some others are growing on me) these two discs still seem to have at least 97:26 of keepers. (sorry this is so long, but it's an involving album)
I'm totally infatuated with David Murray Cuban Ensemble (important to credit the Ensemble, not only the maesto) Play Nat King Cole En Espanol(some of these songs are Portuguese too, maybe). According to the promo materials, Cole's original versions, replete with stiff phonetic phrasing of fluid melodies, were received with affectionate amusement by his Latin fans (re Airto Moreita on Brazilian response to Getz's bossa nova). But IKC and/or his producers chose songs of amazing potential--there's no sense of Murray imposing his own thing, and/or renovating from the ground up. Stuff, frequently new stuff, happens every second, with  zero hyperactivity or claustrophobia. He likes to feature different sections of his Ensemble on diff subsets and recurring approaches--the horns don't ride your ass into the ground, the accordion doesn't perk you into terminal Stsrbucks. A Yoda-like tango singer pops up at just the right moments. Murray's string arrangements alone are worth the price of admission.
Comments on Lydia Loveless and Live From The Old School: please see the Country Comments in previous post, Son of Deed Poll
Thought I had more about Omar Rodriguez Lopez and Telesterion, but it's sharp-edged, fluid (sawtooth waves employed?), analog musk, more astute than noodley, any purple more blended than The Mars Volta's reigning peacock screams. Latin rock with jazzy tendencies, rec to fans of early Santana, Rock En Espanol, whatever just went out of print on Shadoks. A personal Best-Of; you can stream it and a ton of his other albums here:

(Zechs Marquise,Omar's younger brothers' band, also has a 2011 album. Getting Paid. It's uneven, but worth checking out here: )
Golden Beirut takes various routes, but the taut caution times boldness, straight ahead as far as possible and always ready to veer, evokes Wanna Buy A Bridge? at different points in every listen (so far).
Wondering about the sweetly unpretentious undercurrent of words in tuneyard's SXSW set ( spare, intimate, hopefully still archived on NPR) and greedy for more wonder< I dove through the rippling, gritty, snapping stripes of whokill to lyrics, and uh-oh. Something about a woman  confronting the male invader of her ghetto courtyard, with a naive indignation and other elements which seem unlikely, in a woman  who hasn't gotten killed yet. Kind of the wrong whiff of arty thing, combining badly with the tough textures. But tough cookies, listen to the music, try not to, Garbus and crew have got it (what does she do, construction-wise? George Clinton as Laurie Anderson as George Clinton?)
Western Teleport instantly evokes a post-budget, post-the-latest-Disaster Radiohead fan, sailing his flapping rig over the mountains like "Gyro Gearloose of the desert," as my  drive-in colleague described the helpful hermit in 60s (70s?) high speed b-movie classic Vanishing Point. But the movie's supporting character gives our rebel hero some means to go far beyond the sandy inventor's test drives, most likely. On Western Teleport, Son of Gyro has himself  become airborne, seeking his own fugitive muse babe in areas nailed by Robert Christgau: "where dystopian sci-fi is indistinguishable from democratic-socialist realism." Yep, he's kind of a Woody Partch Beefheart character as well, though no kind of musical geezer, necessarily traveling too light for that. Emperor X has also left another album's-worth of musical Easter eggs on both (or anyway two) sides of the screen: hidden all over the real-time USA, and as free downloads on his website.
Comments on Lydia Loveless and Live From The Old School: please see the Country Comments in previous post, Son of Deed Poll
.Can't find my notes on Note of Hope, but they (Ani Di Franco, Lou Reed, Studs Terkel, most others, incl connective bassist Rob Wasserman and Van Dyke Parks, who composed the opening instrumental) find the music in Guthrie's words and def vice versa. This time, the words aren't only unpublished lyrics, also diary entries, maybe letters, jottings on envelopes, whatever may have gone through the melodist's mind while browsing this stuff--maybe next time from his pictchas? (G. drew, in some periods earned more from signpainting etc than music etc)
Not too far from Scrooge McDuck or Shakespeare's royals, Watch The Throne  strives, jives, thrives and dives deeper into a vast vat of  illusions and realities, in a way I haven't witnessed since Brian Wilson Presents Smile. The  ultimate Bubble Boy-to-Man focus of which I'll take any day over The Smile Sessions' endlessly charming, endlessly endless blurfest (yeah, even the double-discs edition, much less the box)
Didn't quite make it, but worth checking out:
Erkin Koray, often billed as the father of Turkish rock, has a new self-selected release, Mechul: Singles & Rarities (Sublime Frequencies), just out (or should be; scheduled for Aug. 30). "This collection features tracks not found in the many unauthorized Erkin compilations and LP reissues that have emerged in the West over the years." Haven't seen any of these, just occasional others on various artists comps, so can't care this any previous all-Erkin albums. But, despite what sometimes sounds like straight-from-7"-vinyl transfers and a few melancholy melodies not reaching me through the language barrier, I got into most of this pretty quickly. The opening title track, a swirling ballad with surfy undertow, non-generically recalls Lebanese-American Dick Dale's proud use of his Middle Eastern inspirations. Others cut across suggestions of, I dunno, bootlegs young Neil Young jamming with Traffic, Deep Purple's "Highway Star", Jorge Ben's (possibly misspelled, sorry)"Umbabarumba (Porto Africano"), Talking Heads. My associative illusions as much as anything, certainly not any lifts or glosses (astute assimilation, maybe). It def isn't just a course in Western Civ Rock with a Turkish mustache. Seehttp://www. for more info.
PS:He started "Turkey's first-ever rock and roll group in 1957.." "Over time, he began to find inspiration in folk sounds from Turkey's Anatolian interior, and radio broadcasts received from Egypt and Lebanon. He looked to the East from his Westward-leaning Istanbul perch, and began incorporating these sounds into his own work." Hence these 1970-77 tracks, and much else. Hopefully he'll bring out some more albums over here, of vintage and new music.
The Raincoats' self-released Odyshape sounds fantastic. Don't know if they remastered it, don't have the original at hand, but jeez. Only thing (maybe irrevocable about the basic tracks, or deliberately, appropriately challenging) occasionally it seems like the words get obliterated by bold queries' naked light bulbs bouncing off naked (and this promo's case, nonexistent) vinyl. Could call it virtual vinyl, combining most of the best properties associated with analog and digital.  Groove's dubwise speedbumps are challenging and melodious too (one's from Portugal, the sound reminds me).
In ingratitude and fake closing:
I can't find any bad music inspiring/requiring me to write, much less listen. Once upon a time, the Four Seasons, Lou Christie, the Bee Gees faithfully delivered new, horrible harvests of glory--but no more! And, beyond the ever-budding catalogs of Bob Dylan and Neil Young,  where are the golden apples with worms and soft spots, so ripe for the plucking of tough love?  There are some happy exceptions. Bad metal vocals can be abrasively stimulating, handier than coffee for already multi-tasking drivers, especially those of us with (so far) non-metal bladders. But oops that's all I got to write about those.
*From late 2010 ( for Dec 7--why were DW and DW2 released so very close together?)
 Past several recent deadlines, I was all set for a  hazy shade of winterlude, but immediately started burning turkey calories with Dirty Water: The Birth of Punk Attitude (Dec 7), 23 cannily programmed known (at least to collectors) milestones and revelatory rarities.Starts with the title track, which doesn't sound that great now, then the Seeds--but instead of "Pushin' Too Hard", it'd "Evil Hoodoo", crackling with full-bodied fuzz, no thin garage bluster, but headed out in mirrorshades Milky Ways and leather ripples you can live in: your home away from home, turns out that's the first theme established, to be developed in all sorts of vivacious variations.
          The second theme comes from the next track, the Deviants' "Garbage." It's not as flashy, it's kinda dumptruck Bo Diddley and some spare air interspersed with gobs of reverb, but all shaped by characterization, as are the words. Mostly spoken: "Garbage! Get yours today. (sung) C'mon and feel it (speaker) IIt'll maek you feel good like it thinks you should. C'mon and feel it. It'l make you large, it'll put two cars in your garage. Garbage! c'mon and squeeze it. Garbage! c'mon and stroke it. Garbage! c'mon and suck it. Garbage!" No more instructions, too obvious to bother(this whole thing is also kind of asend up of drug commecials like the Standells "Try It" and of rock operas, reminding the Who they may have been better off with "A Quck One" mini-opera) time to just  "Do It!" as Deviants' offspring Pink Fairies instruct, streamlining toward spirit of '76--but instead of Pistols and Dammed, we get Gene Vincent! Well, he did make it into the UK's mid-60s, and even had Billy Zoom in his last American band, but also it's a floating oasis (like I said cannily programmed also includes timing, so we don't get burned out or expect the obvious), and set-up for the Flaming Groovies' "Teenage Head", which gallops along like Vincent's colleague Link Wray, calmly (home away from home) characterizing, in first person, a bit like the Stooges and also going back to high school, so it's okay that he brags about his jailbait girlfriend, even with grown-up proficiency, then calmly transferring, re-branding with a hot pokerface: "I'm you." Like if only! Then T.Rex's girl-happy "Elemental Child", with Bolan's new toy, his electric guitar, making its live and lengthy debut. (home away from home can also remind us a lot of these guys were ex hippies, still jamsters, although re-wired with newer self-tied leashes)
 Things get darker but back to Deviants' absurdism with lung-wounded march of the Monks" "I Hate You", then Jook's Slade-inspiring suedehead harmonies ( also harmonizing with Monks' high wild pitch and Deviants mock operatic tendencies, but Gene Vincent's sweetness too)"Oo oo Rudi", prob influenced the Clash's angels-with-dirty-faces moments too, But scarier characterization in Mott The Hoople's "The Moon Upstairs", where a lad damaged by head police "roams free as a bird with broken wings"  and "those who laugh let this be your epitaph, and you'll feel every blow" it's punk and metal vengence, but also the frustrated idealism of "rejected neglected" ex-hippies and their family members in home away from home:"not trying to bleed you just trying to feed you, but you're too fookin sloww!" Also, "for those who laugh", Ian Hunter's own mad laugh back in arc of triumph (say like Vincent Price. getting revenge on reviewers in
Theatre of Blood), then immediately to extremely rare Hollywood glamsters Zoltan X's z-movie celestial butt patrol: "Humans are fu-u-un! Ahhh hah hah!" Then Sun Ra's "Rocket Number Nine," MC5's Ra-inspired" Rocket Reducer No.62", live with their brothers and sisters of course, MC5 little sibs the Up's "Sisters Sisters", I  thought they were the set's only girls, but they just sing that way out of respect. Disc 2 takes us back to Earth, sort of with David Peel and the Lower East Side's wino park art, Silver Apples, streetwise Tom Sawyer philosophy, a bit like Rounders here, as they ease up on the home-grown electronics; Also  the New York Dolls' "Subway Train", Last Poets' "On The Subway", Suicide, Silhouttes, Sensational Alex Harvey Band Rocket From The Tombs, Red Krayola Dictators ("Teengenerate" 's self-mocking goon party sounds like a precursor  of "Jackass",etc) it all fits, even the lesser tracks (Can, Saints) and true dud (Peter Hammill), make it back to that home away from home.
 "Do You Love Me?", apparently no relation to  the one that goes "Do you love me, now that I can dance?", although might be an extremely mutational descendant, rhythmically--it's by the Stooges, when they had James Williamson and Ron Asheton both, with Asheton's  groove and Willamson's more impulsive approach to guitar-touching. Sort of a cyclonic, peyote boogaloo conga line, with no stress, and this is what I mean about a home away from home, or one thing it can mean: not only the overall stance, but an extended, hard-charging, skull-rattling, yet reassuringly, invigoratingly steady ride.   Don Allred
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