Used to be, you couldn’t keep me away from this blog for too long, but now I don’t seem to even check in to say hi. So hello again, and howya doing, me I’m fine thanks. The excuse I’ll offer up is I’ve recently gone through a major relocation (from London to North Yorkshire) and still haven’t really got my feet firmly planted on the ground, nor got my proverbial shit together. But while unpacking some left over boxes recently, the following oddball selection of records slid into my sweaty little hands. And I thought oh, what the hell. So here I am again, PS Reconizing again.
One of these days I’ll get my life in order, and this blog will again, as the song goes, cut you into little pieces. You just wait.
1. NICK TOSCHES AND HOMER HENDERSON “Sweet Thighs Of Mother Mary” (7″ 45, Chaldea, 1998) Sure Nick Tosches has an ego the size of a NY city block, but he’s also given the world a great run of cutting novels/bios and deep-reaching music texts that stand with some of the best toughass lit to come out of late 20th Century America. Homer, well, he’s another kettle of fish entirely: a sort of Emmett Miller of the post-Roky Erickson TX generation, producing songs that lurk in the liquor store parking lots of our collective imaginations, utilizing all appendages (head, hands, feet, liver) to their fullest potential. But damn does Homer’s drawl suit the twisted religious visions Nick’s lyrics dredge up here, as he conjures up a lo-fi musical accompaniment that is as beautifully crafted as it is unexpectedly weird. Coulda used an entire album of varied stuff like this, this pair’s clearly capable – but outside of 3 songs, this meeting of the minds didn’t seem to come up with anything else. Ah well – I guess it’s back to Nick’s books then. When’s Nick gonna write that bio of Hubert Selby Jr. we all know he’s got in him?
2. BE-BOP DELUXE – Modern Music (Harvest Records, 1976) BE-BOP DELUXE has got to be up there with, like, VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR and the MAN band with Those Brit Bands Most Likely To Be Overlooked By Us Dumbshit Americans. BBD’s distinctive mix of overly arranged pomprock slickness, Bowie-derived stylistic elements (skinny suits, ironed hair, thin vocals) and that hot-shit lead gtrist named Bill Nelson, well, wasn’t exactly gonna grab yr average KISS fan and wrestle em to the floor. But I’m agreeing with THE MECHANICS Dennis Catron: this record’s mix of ROXY MUSIC futurism and TODD RUNGREN ambition ain’t at all half-bad. No siree, although it maybe a tad over long in the end. Heck if Peter Hammill had mellowed the fuck out and joined up with COCKNEY REBEL, I couldn’t have imagined they’d have put out something as attractive as this. It’s not Bill Nelson’s frequent solos, but his neat gtr runs, eloquent fills, and multi-part harmonics that stick with you about his playing. And while he ain’t Hendrix, the guys that were trying to be Jimi at this late stage (think Frank Marino) aren’t the ones you realistically wanna listen to anyway. I’m still tripping on the way the vocals sound sorta like Vitus Mataré in TROTSKY ICEPICK. To be inadvertently put in a TROTSKY ICEPICK state of mind . . . that’s a rare talent indeed.
3. VARIOUS ARTISTS – Enigma Variations 2-LP (Enigma Records, 1985) Laugh if you want but for an 80’s independent label sampler, this one’s hard to beat. It’s a double record set, it still goes for pennies in those few used records stores left standing in America, and it’s got: gnarly NAKED PREY trampled by a drunken TEX & THE HORSEHEADS carrying a bloody REDD KROSS playing clever GAME THEORY smoking desert GREG SAGE while painting GREEN ON RED. And half the time, these were non-album tracks. Hey somebody, anybody! Get the full Enigma LPs by all these folks back on to CD and pronto. Being that this was Enigma, there’s some useless filler in here too, esp. on the synth-heavy final side. But while I usually don’t have patience for the garish ineptitude of CATHEDRAL OF TEARS or the collegiate smarm of GET SMART!, when they’re followed respectively by Alex Gibson’s ominously gorgeous PASSIONNEL and a very young and reckless LEAVING TRAINS . . . well, I can sit still and then some. For a few months there, Enigma was actually pretty good at collecting all the killer SoCal bands not on SST, and this one proves it.
4. SUPPER SESSION “Breed For Speedlove” (from the Rubbing Souls and Scratching Holes 7″ 45, Piece Of Mind, 1991) Raymond Pettibon now sings – well, intones at least – with THE NICHE MAKERS, but back in the early 90’s he was content simply to write messed-up lyrics for others (one being art gallery owner Richard Heller) to bring to life. Here, it’s a moving bit of hate mail to the Bruce Springsteen School of mid-80’s Americana poprock – you know, those industry pawns that always seemed to tuck their white t-shirts into tightbutt, ripped jeans prior to stepping in front of MTV’s cameras. If you’re wondering, yes I’d reckon this actually beats that BREWS SPRINGSTEIN parody cut tucked away on The Melting Plot comp all them years ago. And when they start in with that refrain of lord speed run fucker, can’t drive, I always sing along.