Money for Art's Sake
Esoteric Records, Mifflintown, PA
I ran a very, very obscure fanzine in the '80s and received some attention from a major-league fanzine and all of a sudden my PO Box got deluged with records of all sorts. This was one of them. These types of records really tore me apart -- do you follow your instincts and rip into them (thereby delivering to your readers the goods) or do you encourage such efforts because they are supporting a local music scene, however mediocre it may be. This isn't to say I had any problem slagging or praising some of the larger indies or majors. It's just that when your faced with a slab of vinyl that someone poured their heart, soul and bank account into, you kinda think twice.
I can't remember how I handled this record -- probably made a few subtle comments and moved on. And listening to it 15+ years on, I'm still on the side of my original assessment. I'd like to say that the Mifflintown scene was happening but most tunes are fair-to-middling bar rock with a few oddball songs and even one atrociously bad Ian Curtis imitation (a band called Worker Burn-Out) that I might include someday on my "worst ever" compilation.
So I'm not saying these two tunes are the greatest but they stand out. "Out To Paint The House" by Briggs Beall reminds me of Colorblind James Experience and I'm sorta doubting that they ever crossed paths but who knows. "Journey to the Center of Your Mind," a cover of the Amboy Dukes classic by The Shout really isn't very remarkable but it does have some spirit and indicates a band that listened to more than The Hooters or .38 Special. (and who, you ask are The Hooters, you mean you don't remember "Concubine"???)...
"Out to Paint the House" - Briggs Beall
"Journey to the Center of Your Mind" - The Shout