Saturday, April 30, 2005

Help Solve This Mystery!

Good evening, I'm Robert Stack with Unsolved Vinyl Mysteries. Tonight we have a particularly peculiar case of the Mysterious Test Pressing from Australia.

(scene: the back of the head of a man sitting in his living room... there is a stereo and speakers in front of him and music playing in the background)

Robert Stack: On the night of April 30th, a young man was going through his record collection when he pulled out a record from his box of 45s and 7"'s. He pulled out what he thought was a Downliners Sect 7" of "Showbiz" b/w "Killing Me" from their late 70's (attempted) comeback... but to his surprise, the record had been replaced (music swells) by an unknown and unnamed test pressing.

(scene: man's head tilts and holds sleeveless record with white label up to the light. He scratches his bald spot.)

Narrator: To his surprise, he had no idea where this record came from or how it landed in his collection. Nor does he know where the Downliners Sect record got to because he was planning to blog about it this weekend (music does a suspenseful attaca).

Man (faced obscured): I, I, I was just planning to groove a bit on "Killing Me" but the record should have come out on Raw. This record is a test pressing from CBS Records, Australia.

Stack: Investigating further, the man noticed a mysterious run off groove inscription on the A side that said "From Kings Cross to Hollywood." We asked Dr. Cole Lector, a noted vinylologist and rock and roll expert.

Dr. Cole Lector (an erudite man with a pipe sitting in front of a wall of vinyl albums) : A "run off groove inscription" (Lector does the quote marks sign with his fingers) appears between the record label and the grooves that contain the music. Typically the artist uses this to make some obscure statement, usually about hookers. My guess is that this inscription suggests that the artist is from Sydney Australia (where the famous Kings Cross nightlife neighborhood is) and would like to go to Hollywood. This is, of course, where all the best hookers are so its not surprising that a "rocker" (quote marks again) would want to go there.

Stack: Hmmmm.... (long look at camera). When we return... more clues are found, a possibly damaged artist is revealed, when (orchestral music swells) we listen to the record itself.

((Advertisement for The Disc Doctor Miracle Cleaner!))

Robert Stack: Welcome back. Our mystery tonight is the strange test pressing. Here is a picture of the record. There is handwriting on it that says "CAT 002" and what appears to be a date of 7-8-89. We will provide a way later in the show to contact us in case you have any information. But first... (Stack looks hard at the camera)... the mystery deepens.

Record owner (in shadows): I had never heard it before. There are a few records in my collection like that. I got them as review copies and just never got around to playing them. So I put this record on and...

Robert Stack: At this point, the owner of the record was even more stupified!

Record owner: It was like no one or nothing I had ever heard although it was clearly made by someone on a four track recorder or very cheap recording equipment. There's a Casio keyboard drum beat machine and a very fuzzy guitar that sounds like it was plugged directly into the recorder. The singer is a male but somewhat effeminate and refers to himself in both songs as a "queen" or "Godess". He also claims he is "God's gift to the universe." Weird!

Robert Stack: But that's not all. In the A-side of this mysterious record, the singer refers to a "big machine in his living room ... and its coming for you." Ian Moody is a psychological expert.

Ian Moody (a short-haired, wide-eyed dorky looking guy): Clearly a megalomaniac. But then almost all rock stars are. While its not clear that the singer is actually threatening anyone or make a sexual innuendo, it is somewhat troubling to hear this as it is no doubt a reference to his penis. Also the second side refers to magic rituals, Sanskrit and secret alphabets -- he sounds a bit like Iggy Pop had he hung out with David Bowie for too long (winks at camera). He believes that he alone is "the pleasure of your masturbation" which is obviously hinting at the artist's problem. He also talks as if he is on speaking terms with Pan, the satyr God and refers to himself as the Mother of Creation. Clearly this individual is disturbed. It is a cry for help.

Dr. Cole Lector: I'd have to disagree with Dr. Moody. In fact, I would say that it is preposterous. He's apparently trying to channel a swishy Marc Bolan or Ian Astbury. But to state that lyrics suggest some disturbed state or that he is mad is, well, mad in itself and presumptuous. Many artists who are perfectly sane adopt odd personnas in order to make a statement or to shock their audience. In fact his lyrics are quite poetic and probably refer to a male hooker - here's a few lines from the song we are tenatively calling "Sanskrit Secret" (makes quote marks)

You're Pan my man
you understand
I kiss the wind
you breathe it in

soon our magic mask
will bring me back again
if I should die before I wake
you will guide me
Obviously, the magic mask refers to this imaginary personna. And Pan is probably a hooker.

Robert Stack (looks at screen with befuddlement and does a double take): In any case, authorities in Sydney, Australia and Hollywood, California have been notified to be on the lookout for an androgynous home taper with a guitar and a casio. He is known to hang around hookers.

(cut to shut of Dr. Lector nodding vigorously)

(return to shot of back of man's head listening to record and pulling at his hair)

Record Collector (in shadows): Really, I'd like to clear up just who this is. I've done Internet searches on the lyrics and have turned up all nil. But I'd really like to find out what happened to my Downliners Sect record!

Robert Stack: Um. Maybe next week. For now... (looks at camera with his famous Robert Stack gaze)... Please download the songs. If you have any information, please leave a comment at the end of the posting. Otherwise stay tuned for messages from our sponsor.

"I'm The Fucking Queen of the Universe"
"Secret Sanskit"


kenedik said...

Post a message on

They are music industry people. Put a link to your mp3's and I bet someone will have an answer for you right away.

Just a thought.


mike said...

I'm about 80 percent sure that either David Nichols (Cannanes) or his brother Michael (Shambling Mounds, Blairmailer, etc.) were either behind this or at least part of it. I got the same 7" from David back in the day.

Mike said...

(note: CBS was probably just the pressing plant)

Jakob said...

Whatever it sucks.

Jim H said...

It's not the Downliners, that's for sure. Hopefully, that will turn up...

Bodil said...

This was a single released by David Nichols on his Frock label. I can't for the life of me remember the name of the woman (yes, it was a woman) who made it, but from memory she was an American who was hanging around Sydney for a short while and recorded this with some help from (again, from memory) Stu Olsen (of a hundred excellent Sydney bands, these days of Garbage & The Flowers) and some members of Matrimony (whose lone Frock LP was reissued by Kill Rock Stars some years back). One thing that I do remember clearly is that it is fucking terrible! I think there ought to be a special place made in the annals of rock history for the Frock label - without a doubt the least distributed, poorest selling imprint of all time. I can remember David taking boxes of unsold discs and leaving them in alleyways when no-one was looking, just to get them the fuck out of his house! He once offered me a whole box of Shambling Mounds singles (total sales - 20 or 30) as I left his house after a visit. I declined. Not all of the releases were awful. Fungus Brains' "I'm So Glad" LP is an unrecognised classic; the Matrimony LP is pretty great too. By the way, in regards to a previous post, Michael Nichols was never in the Shambling Mounds... at least not that he ever admitted to me....

Anonymous said...

"i.o. pan" by flame fortune.

'utterly remarkable record from cult chanteuse', according to frock catalogue.

she went out with michael hutchence in the mid-80s (and he produced her single "sex symbol"), and was murdered in 1991.