Sunday, January 29, 2006

Various Artists: Deep Six Compilation

LP, C/Z Records, 1985

This record is sort of like what a Cuban cigar is to most American cigar aficionados - better as a legend than experienced in real life. The Skinyard, Sound Garden and Melvins cuts are like preliminary sketches. Skinyard's Jack Endino even admitted this on his web page calling these versions "embryonic" and pointing the listener to later recorded versions. Sound Garden always impressed me as a band that hit as often as they missed and here they missed with both feet firmly planted underneath their hair waving heads. And the Melvins had much better years ahead of them though they turn in one decent cut ("Scared") which (I believe) best showcases the Open D tuning that would characterize the 'Seattle sound' in years to come. They have three other cuts on the record. Malfunkshun, a band that broke up before they did much show some scattered brilliance bringing a nice noise-crud-infested guitar to the mix and often odd embellishments (hand claps!) to their cuts but failed to hold my interest for an entire track. It's all cool stuff, I guess, but more of historical interest than a compelling listen.

The best cuts belong to the more (then) established of the bands - Green River reaching their peak with both Stone Gossard and Bruce Fairweather turning in their first incredible twin guitar electric metal minuets (on both cuts) (Steve Turner having left prior to this recording). The cuts are a bit unpolished but that's cool I like it that way. And Mark Arm's vocals will improve in the coming years. There's a neat "fuck it all" attitude they bring to their songs (the Melvins would catch that 'tude soon enough), in partic. "Your Own Best Friend" which ends with a cut-up and an extended sloppy drum solo but is important as it outlines the fast-slow/rave to heavy song arrangements that made bands like Nirvana. "10,000 Things" opens the album and it's clear why it was chosen as it gets your attention even if the backing cuts to that side fail to excite in the same fashion.

But it's the U-Men who steal the show with an incredible closing cut "They" - a swamp-surf- metal-rockabilly-garage bastard of Elvis rave-up that manages to pay tribute to about 10 different songs and 20 different artists and puts The Cramps and live Killdozer to shame if they had any. Unfortunately, it's their only contribution. They wouldn't have been embarrassed opening for Screamin' Jay Hawkins, this band.


Links/Saved Round:

Because this didn't fit in the review above, it needs to be said that Deep Six is considered by many a seminal album, sought out by collectors (the vinyl at least), as it predates both Sub-Pop and of course the Seattle hype era and is the first recorded evidence of many of these bands. Also, it should be noted in more than passing that this album and perhaps a good deal of the momentum that propelled the Seattle scene into prominence wouldn't have happened without the industry of C/Z label owner Chris Hanzsek and his co-producer Tina Casale. Although I suspect that the record was also part shrewd business ploy since Hanzsek also owned a studio (still does) which got a lot of work when the Seattle scene took off.

The album was re-released as a CD in 1994 and is easy to find on E-Bay or in used music stores but remains out of print.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Shutterpunk Mix

It's amazing what treasures you'll find buried in a shoebox. More evidence that I was infinitely more creative when I was a stoner....

Goth Fashion Disaster, 1980's

"Memories in My Head"
mono lo-fi minimal

Self-portrait, 1980's

"Red-Headed Eric"
Live Wanderus

Punk Rock Girls and Longhair Boy in Dupont Circle, Washington DC 1980s

Dart Drug, 1980's

"'84 Pontiac Dream"
Boards of Canada
The Campfire Headphase

Husker Du Lisner Auditorium, 1980's

Cute Girl At Show 1986

"I'd Like to Take You Out Tonight"
Blood On the Wall
Awesomer, Awesomer, Awesomer...

New Wave Girl Skirt Envy, 1980's

Lone Punk Dancer, 1980's

"Where the Wind Turns the Skin to Leather"
Arizona Amp and Alternator

Molly Ringwald Guitar, Dag Nasty Shorts, 1980's

These are all from a recent photo scanning frenzy... Additional photos with some captions at my flickr site

Monday, January 23, 2006

Frankie Goes to Hollywood: Two Tribes

I think when pressed as to whether these were indeed all of the Frankie Goes to Hollywood band members playing on this tune, producer Trevor Horn deferred and implied that while he had hired some pro musicians and there were FGTW playing somewhere in the mix.

A band that arose out of the Liverpool punk scene, FGTW boasted a few notable assets - singer Holly Johnson, a McLaren-ish Paul Rutherford and someone having the good sense to hire Trevor Horn to produce their songs and Godley and Creme to produce their (at the time) stand-out videos... they were also helped by the idiots in the BBC1 decrying their first hit, "Relax" as a tribute to anal sex. I think they even came under the ever-helpful eye of the PMRC - at any rate, these shallow attempts at censorship only made the band more notorious.

And I sure dug that video of two old men kicking the shit out of each other, didn't you (banned in the UK for being too violent, ha ha, but it got lots of play on MTV)?

This 12" included two mixes of "Two Tribes" - one, an overly long "Annihilation" mix of "Two Tribes" and the "Surrender" mix which emphasized the instrumentals and that bitching guitar underscore (dadadadumdadadadadadumdedumdedum) that makes you wanna put on your Miami Vice shades and go steal a cigarette boat (well, not really)... there's also a hyperactive version of "War (What Is It Good For)" that falls flat, a mock-interview of the band acting as if they were the second coming of the Beatles and a dry post-industrial spoken word piece ("One February Friday") featuring the British actor who was the same voice one would hear if the U.K. ever had a nuclear war.

So, Frankie Say: come relive the Cold War paranoia, Trevor Horn style, because when two tribes to to war, a point is all that you can score... now I gotta get back to work on the black gas.

"Two Tribes (Surrender Mix)"
"One February Friday"

Wiki entry
Band Website - FGTH plan a 2006 tours. They have tried several times to get Holly Johnson back in the group but he has backed off.
Album cover picture taken from classic 45 where this record retails for $12.00.

Friday, January 20, 2006

It's Friday; Time for a Likker Run

I'm not totally going soft rock on ya with all this Burt B stuff ... here's a great song that's been rocking the hacienda to rev up yr weekend...

"Let Me Be Your Liquor Man" - Minni-Thins (Kentucky)

(more on Minni-Thins at M&M)

More Bacharach (and Hal David) Semi-legal MP3 Song Mix

Special Coffee and Cigarettes edition...

I can't help myself - I'm on a Bacharach kick. Ones with asterixes come from indexes found via

Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head
* - BJ Thomas
Close to You* - The Carpenters
Alfie - Ron Kaplan
Do You Know the Way to San Jose* - Dionne Warwick
The Look of Love - Bobbe Shore (via Bialeks Music)

Burt goes political in his latest album At This Time

Burt Bacharach Online

Thursday, January 19, 2006

As Japanese as Burt Bacharach

I wonder if when you jump the Andersens' bones they make little cooing sounds and fluttery moans.

Prepared Landscapes came out in early 2005, self-released on their own label, but it wasn't until the holiday lull in new CDs that I got around to ordering it. Well, actually, it wasn't until this month that I actually found an online vendor that I could buy it from.

Andersens make lo-fi easy listening psychedelia as if it were a religious rite - they're kind of like The Carpenters playing in front of an ancient shrine in long flowing robes after a short dose of acid. They make great music for watching snow fall and steam rise from the grates of the city.

"Bacharach" - Andersens (Burt Bacharach is or was very big in Japan - give this song at least two listens before making up your mind on it.)

Bonus Bacharach:

"Walk On By" - Dionne Warwick (Groovemaster mix)

  • Stream more Andersens at Myspace
  • Das Gemeine is a great find for Japanese underground stuff you can't find anywhere else. I've got some more Jap U-pop to unload here over the next few days.
  • Previous VM post on Andersens
  • And finally...

  • Ain't he cool? Here's some Bacharach tour dates...


Some great music found at MP3 blogs in recent days...

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

I Did It Just The Same - Eurythmics

Annie Lennox moan-scats through a minor cut from the (aborted) soundtrack of 1984's 1984 movie. The album never got much respect - both of the singles bombed (although "Sex Crime" was a dance club hit with that robot dance inducing chorus). But in these times of fears of over-zealous 'crats tapping phone lines, the album merits a few spins. This cut was actually from the flipside of the 12" single which popped up in the box on the same day the NY Times broke the NSA story. So think of this as some good soundtrack music the next time you have phone sex with your foreign girl/boyfriend and the NSA. Just don't visualize John Hurt... unless you want to.

Wikipedia actually has a write-up on this soundtrack that never was and gives some background on this song:
Most of the tracks were instrumental, with song titles and lyrics of the two songs on the album being derived from Orwell's text. For instance, "I Did it Just the Same" is taken from a passage in the book where the antihero, Winston Smith, relates how he committted "sexcrime" with a prostitute—initially deceived by her makeup, when he got close to her, he realised she was "about fifty - but I did it just the same".
So was the sex crime that she was an older lady or that he did it with a prostitute or that he did it all? Never really clear...

Link: Brother John wrote about this a few months ago and lamented that 1984 was left off the E's November 2005 box set release (which has something to do with the fact that the soundtrack was released on another label besides RCA in England). However, the CD is readily available as an import and on the used CD/vinyl sites like Gemm.

"I Did It Just The Same" - Eurythmics

Buy 1984 (For the love of Big Brother)

Sunday, January 15, 2006

False Prophets: self-titled LB

1986, Alternative Tentacles

I remember this band around the timing of this release as having one of the more exciting and theatrical frontmen in the genre and I suppose like many bands of that era, I'm more excited that I saw them live than whether I have their records. But as records go, this one was pretty decent.

False Prophets (1979-1993) were a left-wing protest / militant band, contemporaries of Reagan Youth and Beefeater/Fidelity Jonesand all three of these band collectives feature an outrageous frontman. There were also of the few East Coasters signed to Jello Biafra's label at the time. Live, Stephan Ielpi would goosestep around the stage, scarily get into everyone's faces and generally try to make you feel uncomfortable about politics whether or not you shared his. His between-song harangues suggested what it might be like at a Communist party meeting in a Cambodian mental hospital. Their band name basically was a refutation of the notion of following a band, declaring up front that they were just False Prophets like all the rest.

I remember coming late to the show (in Baltimore, I think) while they were setting up (this was in the mid-80s) and the kids (back then "kids" were junior high kids not college indie preps) were sitting outside smoking cigarettes and mumbling about "synthshit" but later on when the band had warmed up they were up front doing their little tribal dance. I saw them later on (at the Fidelity Jones debut show), the band had improved and frontman Stephan Ielpi had gotten even more strident and less enjoyable - their show seemed more like a lecture with songs thrown in than a concert with engaging between-song words.

While operating as a 2nd generation hardcore-thrash band (later an anti-metalcore stance was pretty evident), False Prophets rarely stayed within the conventions and aesthetics of the form utilizing synths (!) sometimes doubling up piano and organ and showing a reverence for Alice Cooper and 60's British Invasion (The Kinks). Still, they took more cues from classic punk like the Pistols, Clash, Black Flag and Dead Kennedys. About a third to half of the songs here are classic hardcore. The better hardcore songs on this record are available for download at Alternative Tentacles, this album having been reissued in 2000 with some of their earlier singles. "Taxidermist" was about the most original "thrash" song to appear on ROIR's NY Thrash compilation in the 80's featuring non-ironic slow rawk chorus and a shimmery Queenish piano arpeggio in the bridge. The dumbest cut is "Suburbanites Invade," a reggae-Clash-ish rant (replete with reggae cliches like rants about Bobbylon) about, well, the suspicious, complaining suburbanites and how they should "and live in your own Hell" - I'm thinking there's goes half the door at most punk shows but it would make city life so much more enjoyable what with the petty criminals now preying on the dwellers exclusively.

"Seven Deadly Sins," the dramatic opener - Ielpi sounds like Rollins would later sound opening up with a dramatic primal sermon and then the band exploding into razor-sharp thrash. They had a tendency to go over the top but in these songs they sort of skim the glass edge. "Functional" is another standout and one of the few thrash genre songs with organ in it (besides Great Plains, ha ha)

Suffice to say, there's a lot of offbeat stuff here. The goofiest cut is "Marat/Sade" which is a cover of what sounds like a Broadway number (it's actually from a movie about Jean Marat and Marquis de Sade) which seems to defend Jacobin Jean Marat's murderous excesses during the French Revolution. Ooohkay. The band's version is well-arranged, sort of what a punk band covering Les Miserables might sound like and like most of this record well-recorded - it's goofy as hell but also audacious and brave.

"Faith', the closing cut and a more traditional rock-punk song, is my favorite with it's skankin' tribal drums and bass, double guitar attack and piano embellishments.

Not a bad record to have around, mostly well recorded and mixed (although at times, such as in "Helplessly Screaming" the bass was turned up too loud) -- yes, there are some clunkers mostly on the first side and some cuts where the band (principally the drummer) overreached, although not exactly essential as the follow-up, Implosion (which was released a year later).


  • Alternative Tentacles False Prophets band site has a band history written by co-founder and bassist Steve Wishnia, a picture of Stephan Ielpi in his prime and four superb MP3s from the reissue of this record Blind Roaches & Fat Vultures. Here's Punknews' review of that reissue.
  • The band reunited for the 2002 NY Thrash Compilation 20th Anniversary - pictures here
  • Coincidentally, many of the members of False Prophets have become authors:
    • Guitarist/Keyboardist and backup vocalist Debra DeSalvo is making her own music with her own band and has written a book called Language of the Blues
    • Steve Wishnia is senior editor at High Times, often pops up on Alternet and Indymedia and has written Cannibas Companion which is also available at Ripoff Press.
    • George Tabb has been writing for Maximum Rock and Roll for like forever and has several books which can be ordered via his website.
    • Guitarist Steven Taylor joined the False Prophets after this record was made but wrote a memoir and diatribe entitled False Prophet: Fieldnotes from the Punk Underground about his experience describing the breakup. I've read most of it online at Amazon via their "Search Inside" feature.
  • Last year, Stephan Ielpi reported that he is in San Francisco working on a poltical music project with "Mike" from Faith No More - not sure who that is since there was more than one Mike in FNM.
  • Drummer Ned Brewster and guitarist-founder Peter Campbell whereabouts unknown

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Vox Pop: The Band The Myth The Volume

blogger12" EP, Mystic Records 1982

Band (from left to right - not verified):
  • Dinah Cancer (later to 45 Grave; now in The Graverobbers)
  • Paul B. Cutler (later to 45 Grave, Dream Syndicate, Naked Prey, producer, engineer)
  • Jeff Dahl (later to Angry Samoans, Lazy Cowgirls, Poison Idea, Jeff Dahl Band. etc)
  • Del Hopkins (later played in Jeff Dahl Band)
  • Mitch Ochoa (disposition unknown)
  • Don Bolles (seated front; later to 45 Grave; producer, author)
There's little documented about this L.A. band. I believe they were active in the timeframe of 1978-1980 and preceded and perhaps overlapped a little with 45 Grave to which three of the members eventually ended up. They are most famous as a footnote to The Germs story in that this band is often cited as the reason Darby Crash kicked Don Bolles (Germs drummer) out of the band. More on that below.

I don't have a discography but apparently they released two (?) singles at least one on the same label that released some Angry Samoans (Bad Trip Records). The front cover photo of this record has Dinah Cancer holding what looks to be a 7" record (that's Paul B. Cutler providing the full frontal nudity and I think that's Jeff Dahl standing in shock to left). I am not sure whether this posthumous Mystic(!) release (1982) contains the singles or was previously unpublished material. I'm guessing buried deep in some old fanzines in my archive, one can probably put together a more fuller story. At any rate,there is some information about this band scattered all over the Internet, so I thought I would, in the tradition of Lexicon Devil and Please Kill Me, put together an oral history of the band.

If you have any remembrances of the band or can talk with intelligence about the provenance of this record or their other releases, please add comments...

An Oral History of Vox Pop:

From Flipside history of .45 Grave; Author Unknown: Don and Paul [are] from Phoenix and Dinah is from Los Angeles. ... Paul was in Phoenix in a band called ‚Turquoise Orchestra, the jazz version of Vox Pop. Don was playing in Krazy Homicide but since they weren't very active decided to take up drums and join The Exterminators with Rob [Graves - later in 45 Grave but not in Vox Pop - ed]. At about this time, the Consumers - a local Phoenix band Paul was in, Don and Rob all moved to Hollywood - right into the Canterbury Arms luxury apartments. The Consumers, among others practiced in the basement - that's where Don met Dinah [two hearts in the original text]! The Consumers didn't last long, and Don was offered many drumming jobs - he chose the Germs and The Skulls. The Germs finally got around to auditioning Don in The Masque bathroom and after much deliberation... Don was a Germ.

Flipside: Jeff Doll [Dahl - sic] the guy with the big red afro called up Don one day looking for a girl, he and Don talked and found they both liked Blue Cheer, so Jeff brought some live tapes over to Don but they ended up in the studio making noise. Jeff needed a band to play his songs and he already had a gig booked at Kings Palace. So they came up with a total meaningless name - Vox Pop. Paul was in it cause he was there, Dinah joined later cause she had always sung - "occasionally unis [? - editor] on vocals", Mike Ochoa joined cause "he was a weird guy with a synthesizer" and Del because they needed a drummer. Everyone wanted to play lead guitar. They ended up playing about 7 times and some guy liked them enough to put out their single on Bad Trip Records. At one show Mugger from H.B. [? - is this Mugger from Nig Heist - editor] got up on stage and sang "Fuck me in the wenny" to the tune of "Louie, Louie" and Vox Pop got another song... [Flipside, 1980 -]

Don Bolles: Vox Pop was a big band in that there were like seven people in it, and one of them was kinda fat. So it was big that way, but really we couldn't pay people to go to our shows. People did not wanna go see someone being like Flipper-meets-Runaways-and-Faust. [Mark Prindle interview, 2004)

Paul B. Cutler: I had known Don and Rob from Phoenix and Dinah was Don's girlfriend. We had nothing better to do, so we started a band. [interview by Pat Thomas BOB Magazine; 1987 published on Steve Wynne's website]

Brad Duff: Vox Pop was basically 45 Grave with everyone switched around on instruments, plus Mikey Borens (I think) and Jeff Dahl, a couple other people (even me) were in and out of the band. [Dig It Fanzine; date unclear]

Nicole Panter (Germs Manager): Don Bolles wore dresses and make-up [in Vox Pop]. And Darby [Crash] was mortified: He'd get on Don's case, "People are gonna make fun of us if they see you like that." Darby was not an ironist. He was too deep in his own shit to see irony. - Lexicon Devil: The Fast Times and Short Life of Darby Crash, 2002

Barry Spradling: Don Bolles came walking past us with a striking feminine make up job on his face, and what appeared to be a fifties style police uniform. My poor straight friend stopped Don and said "hello!" thinking he was a girl, and Don replied "Hi!" back to him in a manly tone. "[via via Gerardo Velasquez tribute page - the Darby Crash biography has a picture of Bolles in Policewoman drag]

Don Bolles: Well, I still kinda do that. I look fuckin' hot in drag! I have this whole teenage rock star body even though I'm almost 50 years old. [Mark Prindle interview, 2004 - editors note: see for yourself whether Don Bolles still has a rock star body - that's him second from the left, picture taken in 2005]

Pat Smear (Germs): The fact that Don wore a dress was like, whatever, that wasn't it, I don't think -- it was that he was in a fucking joke band. I mean, you're in the most serious band in town. How can you be in a fucking joke band? -[Lexicon Devil, The Fast Times and Short Life of Darby Crash, 2002]

Jeff MacDonald (Redd Kross): I thought Vox Pop was fantastic! They weren't a "joke" to me -- at the time they were one of the only decent bands in town. I saw some incredible Vox Pop shows -- twice when I saw them Paul Cutler was nude. It was total rock and roll! [ Lexicon Devil, The Fast Times and Short Life of Darby Crash]

Paul B. Cutler: I would like to find a way to promote violent revolution in the streets and towns of America and until I do, there will be no Paul B. Cutler LP. That was, and will remain, my long-term goal. After all, why kill someone poor when you can kill someone rich ? You can't own something if it burned to the ground. [interview by Pat Thomas, BOB Magazine; 1987 published on Steve Wynne's website]

Jeff Dahl: 'kay, here's a strange one that came outta of the blue! I just had an email from a pal in LA telling me that there is a movie currently in production about the seminal LA punk band, The Germs. It's called What We Do Is Secret and I have no idea when it is supposed to be out in theaters or on DVD or on cable or whatever. I guess it's an actual legit movie coz it's starring Lucas Hass, Bijou Phillips and Shane West. Okay, I think it's weird that they're making a movie on The Germs to begin with but here's where it gets really nutty. As you may or may not know, at the time of The Germs, their drummer, Don Bolles, was also in a band called Vox Pop with me. I played guitar, I sang some of the songs and I did tons of illicit substances. Germs singer/martyr, Darby Crash, saw us once and pronounced us the worst band in the world, though he might have actually said we were the worst band in history. God knows we tried. Anyway, some friends who have been on the set during filming have said there is actually a scene in it where Vox Pop is playing a show! Which means that some poor actor type is playing me in a movie. I dunno whether to be flattered or amused or confused by the whole idea? Imagine going to see a movie where someone is playing you? Even a small scene or bit part ... kinda creepy, huh? If you had told me, in 1980, when we were stoned, drunk and porking anything that would allow us, that in 2005 there would be a movie about this stuff I would have laughed in your face... F'n hilarious. Whatta world... [via Jeff's website - date unknown but recent]

  • "Production" - a song that puts a lie to the notion that this was merely a joke band - in retrospect, maybe 45 Gravewas the joke band. It's just that one was commercially and regionally more viable for the time, I guess. It also didn't help Vox Pop that Darby disliked (or maybe was jealous) of the project. At any rate, a finer tribute to Blue Cheer I have never heard even by Blue Cheer. Paul B. Cutler wrote.
  • "Procession" - a spooky qualude queerity featuring Dinah Cancer in backup vocals that suggests Vox Pop might have gotten a better reception in NYC opening up for Lou Reed, Suicide or The Cramps. Has some awesome two guitar work that riffs off the vocals. Ends with a lock groove. Cowritten by Cutler, Dahl (hmmm, Lazy Cowgirls anyone?) and Sims (Cancer's real name is Mary Sims).
  • "Become a Pagan" - It's like either old school L. A. Punk (The Bags?) playing 45 Grave or 45 Grave playing like an old LA Punk band. A perfect primal bridge between the genres of early punk and goth. And then if that sounds weird enough, the song then morphs into a late 60's acid rock jam combined with what sounds like a brutal S&M scene. Cancer screams "Pagan!" and someone responding with what sounds like the whip-grunts. The music falls apart for a minute and then the whipping ritual recommences until it sounds like Cancer is ready to collapse. I once played this for a girlfriend who was into goth and hadn't heard early Dinah Cancer and so was naturally intrigued. She smiled when she heard it and said, hey she's saying "'take it' like I do.." (referring to an unnatural act of copulation illegal in most states) and I said, no she's saying "Pagan!" A few days later while engaged in an unnatural act of copulation (illegal in most states), she started saying "Pagan!" and I naturally replied"Unhh!"...written by Dahl, Cutler and Ochoa.

Saved Rounds:
  • From liner notes:
    • A Goldar Production
    • recorded at Mystic Sound Studios
    • Engineers: Steve Benner, Paul Cutler
    • Front Photo: Robert Hill
    • Back Photo: Ed Culver
  • (p)(c) DM Music (1982)