Friday, October 31, 2014

Obviously Halloween

So, okay, it's been a while, because I had three different albums lined up to post and they all looked promising, but like ten minutes into the first sides I caught myself staring at the turntable with that sadness that puppies have when you tell them that you're actually a cat-person and they have to leave. Many, many times albums that aesthetically seem ridiculously awesome turn out to actually devour both your time AND expectations in an aural frenzy of really boring shit.

One of these was Woody Woodbury's "First Annual Message from the President of the Booze Is the Only Answer Club" from 1960. 


Woody was or maybe even still is a comedian who specialized in drinking-humor - not to be confused with those comedians whose routine was playing drunk while doing their act - which is basically telling an audience of drinkers that drinking is just great, so I feel it's a little limited. The album here is made up of a live recording in Florida where Woodbury pretty much just wanders the crowd asking rather tame questions and hopes for the drunks to fill in for the laughs. It's failing hard on my ears but I dunno; different types of humor are for the most part only funny in the era they came from, excluding the very talented work. 

A shame, as the LP comes in a shiny gold gatefold-box with a small catalogue featuring other albums on the label, a newsletter and a little 130-page paperback set into a separator that sits above the vinyl.


And the others I may mention in the next posts, but right now I'll do the obviousest thing and put up a goddamn Halloween sound-effects LP. (Seriously, I just ran out of Halloween-themed stuff, and while I'd love to post some old Misfits, it's just too done to death by others)



So this is "Sounds to Make You Shiver!" on kid's label Pickwick. Good and weird cover-art. Cheap-ass effects.
Side 1 is "A Night in a Haunted House", and you'll realize a few minutes in that the owners should really close the windows - the wind blowing through the place in insane. It's actually not a bad listen, and the mish-mash of everything is so non-linear it can really get your imagination running around wondering what the exact hell is happening.

The second side is shorter chops of separate effects, many you'll recognize from the first side. The "Cats" and "Dogs" tracks, well, they're human-made cat and dog noises. Ask your friend to meow and it'll pretty much be better than this, but nowhere near as spooky, I guess. Back-cover!!:




Download:  
A Night in a Haunted House
Blood-trembling, skin-curdling effects

Monday, October 13, 2014

100% Undiluted


Pretty much a staple on "weird album cover" sites, this simple but striking LP art caught most off-guard (and still does) and produces at least a few laughs caused most likely by unclear or confused connotations; for one - "lesbian concentrate", which conjures up all sorts of impressions. Two - ...well, no, I think that finishes it.  

It is, of course, a visual spin on a can of Minute Maid frozen concentrate orange juice, with some condensation rippling the bottom and oranges on the side made into the "Venus" symbol, BUT WHAT THE HELL DOES ORANGE JUICE HAVE TO DO WITH LESBIANS!? I hear you profanity-laced-screaming at your monitor (the walls are thin in this building). After all, something you're not familiar with can be pretty damn funny.
When I was younger, my hetero-male and media-fed imagination only brought up two dissimilar forms of imagery when the L-word was ever passed through my ear canals and those of course were A) boyish creatures with shag haircuts that hated men with such hate and B) super-hot porn-action!! and as time wore on I learned that the media likes high-contrast stereotypes for whatever evil reasons and most lesbians are neither seething cauldrons of rage bent on castration-sprees nor walking XXX-DVD covers, which was a great relief as I just can't handle either of those types of people.

Another thing I did when I was younger was listen to the Dead Kennedys, which was awesome. And somewhere in the seemingly mountainous reams of information (translated into punkese via hardcore rhythms, scathing satire-rage lyrics and dada-esque photo-collages) contained in the DK's magazine-size inserts and booklets in the albums there was a picture of Hollywood screen-star and songstress Anita Bryant. Covered in pie.
Deciding that if it was worth Jello Biafra's derision, I had to know more. 
During the 60's, Anita sang her way through music charts, sorta like a female Pat Boone (or vice versa) with innocuous pop tunes and some country stuff and religious things. 1969, she becomes the spokeswoman for the Florida Citrus Commission. She also gets more religiousafied, in that bad way that makes some of them filter their 'discomfort' with gayness through like two misinterpreted lines out of a 12,000,000-line book, and started to proudly denounce a good chunk of humanity as 'less-than'.
So that wasn't good. Some people have problems with other people, and that's fine. When those problems are based on misinformation and fear, then we move out of the 'fine' area, and when someone has a modicum of authority/fame and uses that to impart their imaginary moral high-ground to the masses, then someone named Tom Higgins just might smash your face with a banana-cream pie.
Boycott-time, and the LGBT community hit the OJ market hard, gaining huge support through celebrities like Barbra Streisand and from the beginning of all this there came out this album from the national women's recording label (Olivia) with a plain white cover and a mocking can of orange juice as one more slap in Anita's face.


I was wrong about this album, musically; owned it for years with only a smattering of chords from each track listened to when first getting it and then somewhere down the line I mentally mixed it up with one of the other lesbian LPs I have and thought it was all bad folk-music (a lot of bad folk came out in 70's DIY). Until I recently - wait, yeah - today, tried ripping it to the PC and found out it's pretty cool. Some funk, some folk, some spoken word, most of the lyrics are awesome and the first track, "Don't Pray for Me" being a scathing rebuttal/attack on Mme. Bryant ("Stop quoting scriptures out of context, to stir up feelings of bigotry!"), followed by the track "Nina" which I thought was about Nina Simone, who as it turns out was not exactly a supporter of all that is gay, but nope. That track is performed by Meg Christian, who I also happen to have an album by and is also the very first LP that the Olivia label put out in '74. Amazing voice. 

So there ya go: a seemingly-silly album jacket with some very strong stuff underneath that was a lending hand in the LGBT equality movement. Like I said, I tried to rip my copy, but it turns out it's pretty trashed with skips & everything, so I grabbed a copy from the Internet Archive and it includes the front & back covers as well as liner notes and inserts. Check it out, very worth it! And here's a page that has the covers and inserts and lyrics (included in the dl below).

Track list:

A1 Linda Tillery - Don't Pray for Me
A2 Meg Christian - Nina
A3 Teresa Trull - Prove It on Me Blues
A4 Cris Williamson - Sweet Woman
A5 Judy Grahn - A History of Lesbianism
A7 Sue Fink - Leaping Lesbians
B1 Gwen Avery - Sugar Mama
B2 BeBe K'Roche - Kahlua Mama
B3 Mary Watkins - No Hiding Place
B4 Pat Parker - For Straight Folks...
B5 Meg Christian - Ode to a Gym Teacher
B6 Teresa Trull - Woman-Loving Women
 
Download:
Juice!  (contains image-files of front and back covers, liner notes and inserts)

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Bat Pie; The Crown City Four - Sing a Song of Sickness


I first saw the cover to this like 12-15 years ago on some "weird LP art" site and it always freaked me out a bit with it's Charles Addams-like illustration of a couple of creepy beatnik-types gazing lovingly over a giant pie as a small colony of bats erupt from the pastry into the evil-scientist-like lab settings.

Add to this the title of "Sing a Song of Sickness" and I totally needed to find this and see what the hell was up. It HAD to be disturbing; how could you look at this cover and not be intrigued? So many questions: what are their intentions? Why is the pie crust seemingly liquid? Why is the boy gnawing on the table? Is this some sort of visual allegory for a joke common in the early sixties? What the fuck?
Well - many, many years later and I found it somewhere. I can't remember where I lucked out on this sort-of-rarity, but I probably got a vinyl-geek hard-on and had to walk away from the wherever-it-was slightly bent over.
When I flipped it and looked at the back cover my expectations faltered a bit on seeing a caricature of four clean-cut smiling lads' heads caught in a swirl of musical notes, and their group name going by The Crown City Four. I was enough of a record-nerd by this point that these two signifiers would bring me to an album of barbershop-quartet music. But I had hope.
No, it's barbershop-quartet music.
I don't have enough hyperbole or adjectives or adjectival hyperbole (aside: when I was a kid, I thought for years that this was pronounced "hyper-bowl", and that's the most interesting fact in the entire world) in my system to convey my pure dismissal of this form of music.
BUT! with song titles like Watch World War Three (on Pay TV) and The Annual Get-Together of the KKK and the NAACP, this had to have some merit, and yeah okay it does.

In case you're unfamiliar with what the hell barbershop quartet music is, it's quite obviously four guys singing. And they have a closely dynamic harmonic range, baritone to tenor, or however deep-to-high voices are done up (no castratos here), and it's usually acapella but these boys have the instruments going sometimes. And not just boys. Two tracks have a female solo vocalist, the funnier track being I Saw Adolph Today, the tale of a woman seeing the nefarious dictator working behind the counter of a Jewish deli after falling on hard times.  Yes, it's all pretty much black humor dressed up in wholesome-sounding b-shop-q flavors, and it works for the most part, especially if you know what the hell they're singing about.

Dated from the early-1960's, these guys had a previous album out on the PIP label entitled Smash Flops and it looks as if it had the same amount of Robert Colbert-like satire as this one does. Here's a portion of the back cover, go ahead and click the thing.


Track listing:

A1     Watch World War III (On Pay TV)     2:14
A2     Fill Out The Policies, Mother     2:06
A3     The Annual Get-Together (Of The KKK And The NAACP)     1:38
A4     Guillotine Days     3:05
A5     Fifty Million Commies Can't Be Wrong     1:43
A6     That Big Sporting House In The Sky     2:59
B1     It's Fun To Be Hazed     1:56
B2     Oh What We Grow (In Old Mexico)     3:02
B3     Send The Girls Over There     1:48
B4     I Saw Adolph Today     1:53
B5     The Richer They Are (The Slower I Cure Them)     2:21
B6     Leave The Slums Alone

Download here:
SICKNESS

(PS - Went through all previous entries and added track listings where needed. No idea why this never occurred to me before. No - I'm not OCD with typing tracks out and measuring the times; they're merely copy-pasted from music-sites. Also added nice green "download here" prompts.)

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Seduction Through Witchcraft (and your pet turtle)

Unrequited love is like being buried alive in a heart-shaped coffin.
YES I'm going through this AGAIN so I'm gonna bleed here for a bit and I just hope it's not too cringe-inducing for those happy souls entwined in the blissful embrace of some form of relationship that isn't sour yet that is more awesome than anything and certainly better than this chicken & capellini in homemade sauce made from the tears of the clearly unwanted, dined on alone in an empty apartment that mocks my existence with hollow echoes of utter, utter solitude.

Haha - just kidding. I have a cat, it's not that empty (the mocking continues, however).
Months of correspondence with someone who is an 80% match with my twisted soul and I was reading her all wrong so big deal, it's my fault for wishing too much and JESUS when that oxytocin starts pumping through your system like nitro in a dragster's fuel lines (see last entry) the mind goes completely batshit with infatuation-fantasies and damn I feel stupid now. But not really because it's human and we all go through it and blah blah blah and honestly I've done this so many times in my life I actually have a planned schedule on how to survive the emotion-bombed process in a complicated chart that helps immeasurably (okay it's a big photo of a bottle of Jack Daniels).

I'VE WRITTEN A POEM ABOUT IT ! READ IT NOW !

soliloquy into a dead phone

I want to experience life with you;
drink beer with you
walk down shitty alleys in the rain with your hand in mine
hear you sneeze from another room
miss you when you're out
wonder about a look you gave me the other day
ride in a cab with you
fall asleep with you in a booth in the Ovaltine Cafe
only to be shaken awake by an aggravated waitress
hold your hair back as you vomit in the toilet
place your surprised smile in the palm of eternity
smell cigarette smoke in your hair
bring you tea when you're sick in bed with a spike of whiskey obviously
see you cry to know you're human and be shaken to the core by it
feel your heartbeat with my ear to your breast
taste something you've made seen something you've made be a part of your history
and
crumble to dust in our old age together knowing this hasn't all
been some sort of mistake

Now was that so bad?

I haven't given up hope, though, and thankfully before passing out naked-drunk halfway through my door into the hallway of the lobby last night I dug this thing out of my collection and prepared to woo her through falsitudes and Satan probably. Apparently I still need a beetle and a live turtle though so maybe I'll do it next week.
And, yes, of course I'm kidding; if I can't win the Morticia to my Gomez, the Connie to my Dee Dee Ramone, the Poison Ivy to my Lux Interior, the Mallory to my Mickey over with my wit and charm then I'll just OH GOD I'M GOING TO DIE ALONE! 

So here we have something that has seen other music blogs before but so what it's awesome.
 

Recorded in 1969 by the world's only "Officially Appointed Official Witch" (it's true), this gem of echoey weirdness will ensure you get some form of love from somebody somewhere - perhaps in an orgy - if you do the exact steps necessary for what it is you're looking for. If that sounds vague, take a look at the tracks on the album;


The Self Fascination Ritual for Increased Power
The Isis Full Moon Ring for Magical Protection
The Demon Spell for Energy
Orgies: A Tool of Witchcraft
Sun Sign Amulets for Spiritual Protection
The Coleopterous Charm for Romantic Adventure
The Turkish Bean Spell for Tender Love
Seduction Spells From Around the World
The Emotional Bondage Spell
The Earthquake Spell for Unwanted Lovers
Witches and Wizzards

Yeah and there's no way in hell you're not listening to this. And play on some windy half-drunk night preferably inside a pentagram (which historically is NOT 'satanic' so there) with wild animals scampering about and for christ's sake buy a cloak already.

Download here:
Seduction Through Witchcraft 

(There's click/hiss in the first few tracks, but removed thereafter)

And check out her site! (Looks like it hasn't been updated since '03)

I'm off to sob uncontrollably and/or watch American Horror Story.



Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Burning rubber



I was just going to plop one of my poems in here in an act of obtuse laziness but since I haven't posted anything in a few days (days, year - same thing) I'd feel guilty and I feel guilt... well, ridiculously easy. I was going to put a metaphor in right there but the only two words that came up right away were moth and butter and I couldn't negotiate the term 'guilt' in there without feeling inept and somewhat aroused.

Anyways, I strongly feel that the human race is 90% wrong at least half the time, which mathematically comes out to be that we're fucking various things up anywhere from 110% to 240% of every waking moment, globally. Some people mess things around so magnificently they double up worldwide awkwardness for the rest of us and take up the slack for the unnaturally perfect who never do anything.

We live in a constant state of TV-inebriation and advertisement-sanitization with no view outside of our homes untainted by some bipedal perversion of reality selling us purple Windex or Fresh Alps Sun-Dried Laundry Febreze or manly steel-grey-colored razors or feminine pink/lavender-colored razors. (Sure, graffiti is a crime but that empty public space where art could be should be taken up by some unattainable physique chewing Mentos because of $ > society)
Photoshopped perfection wildfire-brandishing your cityscape puts a spotlight on that mole on your cheek, focuses a camera on your incorrect nose, introduces your receding hairline to everyone around you like a guest of honor at a surprise party. They don't make nice clothes for the larger members of our population so go buy some sweatpants and a baggy top to highlight your ostracization, fatty - and make sure you feel bad and anxious all the time, too.

But there I go again, grabbing my highly-decorated and quite obvious rant-flag and screaming down the highway like I expect to be heard or like I don't think most people already know this but put zero effort into changing it because bills/rent/food/family/time/how-the-hell-do-I-do-that?/etc.

So like yeah.
This isn't about we or us being wrong because some d-bag (hold it, hold it, hold it... wait - why is human genitalia (and sexuality, and products-relating-to: c*nt, d*ck, dildo, f*g, etc) often or always deferred to when needing an insult?  They're the best parts of the human body - I mean, have you ever touched some genitals? It's so much better than touching your eyeball or the black stuff under the fridge - and we wouldn't have cleaner whatever's without douche-bags, I think, so some questions about all this arise) sits at a desk and thinks of ways to make all of us feel like shit because the new Crystal-Lite watermelon/goji-berry elixer didn't turn us into Ariana Grande or whatever, but about how we're so unconsciously trained by that hairless Adonis in Buffalo jeans shoving bulge from the bus shelter at six A.M. before work to be uncomfortable in our bodies that not only our whole day is slaughtered in thinking "that woman over there couldn't possibly think I'm attractive - I HAVE A NORMAL BODY.", but our lives are somewhat controlled to a point as well.
(Wait. Did I just contradict myself about how this isn't about that but then it totally is? Good.)
Our eyeballs can't escape "flawless" people as they invade our vision non-stop and it only stops when we look in a mirror when we look for natural things to unnaturally fix and in our friend's or co-worker's faces and think "geez, a little effort?" and it's all just horrible. And it's been going on for so long now it's like some shitty "1984"-like medication taken on a daily basis to ensure a populace so self-aware that entire industries from the ones pandering to depression and anxiety to Lululemon survive on it.

We're all wrong in this together; we fart and get caught picking our noses, vomit when it's least appreciated, have unconcealable rashes on freshly-shaved/waxed, um, pleasure-zones (fun-crotches?), and have unmakeupped-faces dribbling mucous during a cold in front of someone we find desirable, so you're a human and start getting used to that. I'm sure you can look past that pimple on her forehead; I believe in you.

Now here's something that  has surprisingly little to do with that tower of words above, so put all that crap aside because we're heading back to 1964 to burn some rubber.


Nowadays things like this just make no damn sense, but drag racing was big in the 1960's. Really big. Car magazines, car-humor magazines, toys, model kits and sound effects albums like this beautiful thing.
Echoing announcers giving indecipherable play-by-play, revving, squealing tires, crowd cheering. And an ambulance.
Sometimes I can just really go for massive burnouts with the bass up and the scared neighbors, and this does the trick. I actually have two copies of this: the stereo one pictured, and a mono version. No, I don't have that ability to tell the difference between mono/stereo unless the piano or feet or whatever is 'walking' from one speaker over to the next, it's just that the mono version is a gatefold with color photos and extra stuff in the packaging, so I'm a geek in an aesthetic rather than aural way.
And I'm very cynical in thinking anyone can tell the difference between engine-noises, so I didn't split any tracks up, settling for giving the two sides their places. So sorry. But here's the track list if you care to do it yourself:

        A1 Super Stock Eliminations (Stick Shift)
        A2 Super Stock Eliminations (Automatic Shift)
        A3 Dragster Eliminations
        A4 Mr. Stock  Eliminator of 1964
        A5 AA/Street Roadster Eliminator
        A6 Top Fuel Eliminator
        A7 Top Gasoline Eliminator
        B1 The Sounds at the Finish Line
        B2 Blower Blowing Up On Dragster + Ambulance
        B3 A Two Engine Dragster, "The Freight Train"
        B4 The Sound of Shifting
        B5 "Troubles" at Starting Line
        B6 Stock Cars Lined Up Behind Ready Line
        B7 Dragsters Time Trials
        B8 Roadsters Time Trials

    Download here:
    Side 1
    Side 2

    Saturday, June 8, 2013

    How many c***'s could a c***-s***er s*** if a c***-s***er could s*** c***s?

    When you're young and innocent and unaware yet of your own unique personality, you do things, say things, live things (?) without fear of consequence because you inherently just KNOW that everyone is like you: NOT like you, to an extent. Meaning, like you in that every individual is exactly that.
    For example: in early elementary school (or all of elementary school),  there was "Show & Tell". You bring something to school, like a flower, or a picture of your mom, or a Barbie doll, or your new Knight Rider lunchbox with David Hasellbach's face on the thermos-thing, or you just point at your shoes, and then tell something about the whatever.

    So in Grade 4 I brought in my working miniature model of a guillotine. "This is a gilloteen. The man lays down here all tied up, and then you bring the blade up [it was made out of lead, for the weight/striking action] with this string and then um, you let the string go and um..." and the little lead blade falls and the tiny man's head [red paint splashed around the neck] pops off into the little basket with a rattle.

    The substitute teacher sort of looked nervous but smiled and said something like, "Hey that's really neat! Umm.... Nancy? Dear, what did you bring?" (pretty sure it was a Barbie doll). This was the same sub who earlier in the year turned off the lights in the portable-classroom unit and then played the track from Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon", the track with all the sound effects and screaming and "I know that I'm mad, I've always been mad..." and then asked us to write down our thoughts afterwards.  
    So thought that my model death machine would have impressed her into bringing to reality whatever pre-adolescent, pre-sexual fantasies I had of her. Nope. No being kidnapped and fed a diet of candy and Alpha-ghetti while watching cartoons forever and ever. (I really want to dive into that whole grey area period of life where you fantasize about whoever you're attracted to, that little window before you know about sex? And it's full of oddball undeveloped fetishes that either fade out of memory or stay with you, either repressed as a guilty "perversion" or shamelessly flaunted by walking around in a giant teddy bear outfit (I don't do that). But yeah, some other time.)

    That was most likely the first time where something that I thought was totally awesome was regarded with... oh how about 'lack of enthusiasm', by my peers. (It'd make a manifestly cooler tale to say my parents were Addams-Family-esque and bought the model kit for me with earnest encouragement to one day level up, but the blame goes towards my Mom's brother, uncle Denny, who was the resident Black Sheep of that side of the family: when I was like eight or whatever age you are in grade four he gave me a huge box of original Aurora "Universal Movie Monster" models [all 1961-1964] - all completed and masterfully painted - along with about 40lbs-worth of "Famous Monsters of Filmland" and CarToons/Hot Rod Cartoons/Drag Cartoons magazines from the early-mid-'60s. Also the first four (and only) issues of "Big Daddy Roth" magazine which was put out by Pete Millar, the dude behind early CarToons and later his own Drag Cartoons, but my A-hole brother stole those and sold them some decades back. Today the Roth mag's can go to $100 apiece. Vengeance shall be mine....) 
    Sure, once the shock wore off and they were reasonably sure I wasn't going to "show" them a butcher's knife not from a model kit, they gathered around with morbid fascination. But you get that from everyday people at a highway accident or the ubiquitous American school shootings/bullet-festivals.

    Another way of going about the discovery that you're stepping outside the traditional margins (or careening back and forth drunken-insanely across five lanes) is by releasing some music that the general populace ignores, or runs screaming from while dropping all personal belongings in hopes that the flailing beast behind them becomes distracted long enough for them to hide safely.




    I think this may be one of the latter. Contrary to the mentality of the status quo, though, the latter is quite a good thing.
    Tripping over the corpse of HAIR's salad days (and from that magical era before AIDS and a fear-mongering media) in a sexual frenzy of most likely unequal proportions comes (...frequently!) Phil Oesterman, Earl Wilson, and Billy Cunningham's "Let My People Come" from 1974, obviously a take on 'Let my people go' and a self-purposed body-liberating musical celebrating every single aspect of squishy wet human rubbin's. Just try to find another recording with a chorus of "Gurgle, slurp!", and email me when you do. I wrote something else concerning this release right here, if you care to do a bit of scrolling.
    I hope you do, because I go into a tad more detail there, if in a more frenetic and evidently drunken way. Suffice it to say, this ain't for the prudish, so there's the warning if everything else in this write-up didn't hint at that already.



    Astonishingly, this thing has very recently been off-Broadway revived as of this past February. I just wonder if the music had been updated. If anyone managed to see this, please leave a note on the experience! 

    Now if you don't mind, I'm off to tap me some Jack Daniels.

    Track Listing:

    Opening Number    
    Give It To Me    
    I'm Gay    
    Come In My Mouth    
    Dirty Words    
    Linda, Georgina, Marilyn & Me    
    I Believe My Body    
    Take Me Home With You    
    Choir Practice    
    And She Loved Me    
    The Cunnilingus Champion Of Co. C    
    Doesn't Anybody Love Anymore    
    Let My People Come

    Download here:
      Come!

    (PS - The post title is an actual line from the recording)

    Saturday, April 20, 2013

    Dedicated to Scratch Records (R.I.P. sorta)

    The year was 1980-something. 1988? Okay. '87 maybe. We heard about this little tiny record store in downtown Vancouver. We were from the odious 'burbs against our wills. We were used to heading out every week to Odyssey Imports, to Track Records, to Collector's RPM and A&B Sound and Sam the Record Man, all on one strip (after Odyssey moved over from Granville St). So here we had yet another record store to go to, on Cambie, near Hastings (apologies to non-locals - reading about "familiar" street names is totally irritating).
    It wasn't on street-level, it was just off the sidewalk and down some hazardous steps into a narrow pit that also housed three other shops - as far as I know, the only place in Van where such a thing exists - and second from the end before you popped back up the opposing staircase. Of the two, I preferred that other-end-staircase, but I can't say why.

    Creak open the door and shit, this place is small. Triangular too. 9 out of 10 times heading in and to your immediate left on the sofa behind the till was Keith Parry, owner-proprietor, music-lover of any genre and all-around swell fellow (as well as member of Superconducter among others), with a How-dy! and we were like, "Uh - hey." And hit the racks. We weren't used to benevolent (or non-paranoid, or anxiety-free) music-shop owners, but time went on and we eventually got on famously.  

    Tons of vinyl we'd never seen before. A small table full of used 7"'s (I refused to pay $8 for a worn copy of the DK's first single "California Uber Alles" and now kinda sorta wish I'd bought it, since I think brand new 7"s go for the same amount) and weird stuff all over the walls and ceiling including a giant homemade Residents eyeball-with-top-hat made out of macrame. No, paper-mache. Whatever. And rail-thin Keith with the hair down to the waist, perpetual smile and infinite (okay almost) knowledge on the local scene and anything vaguely underground.Tape cassette shelves on the walls, small zine-display, some rarities, GG Allin voodoo doll, tiny video cabinet with obscure VHS tapes, cheap dollar-boxes under the used bins filled with unexpected treasures. Like when I found that 1982 12" version of BAD RELIGION's first 7" (after the initial 1981 7" sold out they repressed it the next year in bigger size), and my buddy said, "Hey, cool - let me see that...". 
    Yeeeeeah. Next moment I looked up and the fucker was at the counter buying the thing.
    I eventually got it back 22 years later.

    Carl (The New Pornographers) Newman behind the cash register when Keith was out, staring down potential consumers just daring them to buy anything that didn't meet his approval. Small surprises like candy added to your purchase or doodled artwork on the store bags and yes I actually still have my plastic record bag with a big Scratch logo on one side and a life-size multi-colored open vadge adorning the back.
    Mr. Parry giving me an original 11x17 gig flyer for the Dead Kennedys/D.O.A./Toxic Reasons show at the Commodore Ballroom from 1982 after he saw me eyeing it with insane lust.
    It was just a warm, neat place. 
    Then he moved shop.
    Like half a block away, across from the ass-side of the ancient Woodward's building and permanently shadowed by the parking garage next door. I helped move a bit of stuff along with Claudio (where he at?), but my S.A.D. was spiking and it was a little weird. The new place was way bigger and had an awesome secret: a stairway somewhat in the middle of the floor-space led down to a series of rooms (used for storage, parties and - I believe - photo-shoots) that, as you traveled along, became smaller and smaller until you ended up in a tiny dank-ish concrete area with a manhole over your head that popped you up into the middle of Hastings. The rear of the place opened to a tight alley that threw you out onto the edge of Gastown.
    Only a few years later and Keith pulled up stakes and took a smaller location on Richards, a non-descript building with only a doorway and sandwich-board to let you know where you were. Head down the long hall and there ya go. At this point I had pretty much stopped hitting the place for stuff, maybe once every three months or so: all the record shops previously mentioned had bit the dust, Granville - once a main punk-hangout - was in the first stages of personality-suicide and getting downtown was less and less of a fun pastime and more of that depressing punch of reality we only feel fully in retrospect that things move forward and change has to happen. Other reasons being that old-school punk LP's in the used bins were on the decline and all the new music I was getting introduced to wasn't really available at the shop. It was also a weird feeling being in Scratch without any Keith ever in sight anymore (he retreated to the office for the distro work and other office-y business), and 2-3 workers in there busy doing figures or shuffling product away and not knowing you, or that you had been buying stuff from other incarnations of the place for like ten years. The laid-back relaxed vibe we felt had gotten necessarily replaced and there we are being moved forward. 

    Jump ahead to sometime last year and Scratch moves to a spot on Hastings. Like, almost literally a spot, something matching 50 square feet almost right across from Pigeon Park. Incredibly cramped but also kinda cozy, and I guess far too small to accommodate the both old and new stock needed for a venture to hold out for very long. Also, the two times I was in there, the clerk seemed to have ADHD and a nervous anxiety usually reserved for startled squirrels. 

    After 25 years, the physical store is dead, fully survived, however, by their online services, so go there instead and order away.


    As a tribute, I serve up "The Sensuous Black Woman",  by "The Madam" who was actually Lady Reed, a familiar face around Rudy Ray Moore (of many a Blaxploitation flick such as Dolomite and Petey Wheatstraw). You can also hear Lady Reed in outtakes - tho' not from this LP - on N.W.A.'s "Straight Outta Compton" on the track 'Gangsta Gangsta', if you're at all familiar with the release (damn, you should be). 
    But here she lays down the simple rules for sexually attracting, seducing and keeping your man, and keeping him interested and horny for your beautiful Black pussy. And, if you're prone to discomfort around words such as pussy and cock, please, please do not bring these things onto your computer, because it's pretty much nothing else BUT those words and better. Or worse I guess. As the jacket says, "Rated for Mature Adults Only". Not the immature ones who are gonna start heckling their monitor drunkenly half-way through.  And produced by R.R. Moore as well, put out on Kent Records which had a roster which included bluesman Guitar Slim Green and something called Snatch and the Poontangs. The year? Sources say 1977, but it sounds like something from '70-'72.



    Side one is her monologue on the subject, while side two is her giving a smaller version with a Q&A session, and it's hilarious. The audience of a seeming few is completely awesome. 
    Caveat on the sound quality: my copy seems to have been played several hundred times by someone using a rusty axe as a stylus and has been run through a 'click & hiss' eliminator, so that odd aural activity in the background is not the tides of the ocean or elevator noises.



    Download here:
      Sensuous Black Woman


    Monday, April 15, 2013

    Superstar From the Far East

    Antony Villa - Superstar From the Far East Sings a Special Tribute to Elvis

    Quick recap: Bad neighbors are out, new neighbors are pretty much up there like ghosts, have a new roommate. All of which equals less stress mentally and monetarily, so maybe I'll buy another record sooner or later. Everything's go.

    So, here's another gold hit of vinyl that has had a fair run through the "bad LP" sites and has apparently also pleased/spiritually-benumbed many an unsuspecting listener over the many years since it's unleashment into this world: "Anto..." well just look at the title above again. 

    Okay. Perhaps a year after E.Presley's ungainly death one might have had one's eye unceremoniously mugged with the 12x12" vibrant hues of blue/green jacketry offset by the familiar Bejewelry-implanted white jumpsuit now adorned by a fellow of seemingly Asian heritage while strolling past your favorite record-parlour.
    I really don't know how an adult human brain functioned in 1978, but would an adult who was a fan of EP grab something like this product, maybe in a fit of grief or "dear-god-Elvis-will-never-release-another-album-again-because-of-all-the-deadness-so-THIS-will-help-deal-with-the-loss"-thinking? 
    See, I simply don't know. Why the tribute album at all? If you like music and saw the mid-90's you also saw AT LEAST nine hundred 'tribute' albums dedicated to everyone from Nirvana to that guy busking outside of your local Safeway and how many of those survived any mental replay? Tribute albums have always been a higher form of novelty item, so why do people still throw their talent at the things like crumpled foil Teen-burger wrappers at a dustbin? For many it's the only way to showcase what they have if what they have isn't uhhh, say, history-making. In that, they went and wrote their own history anyway.

    Antony Villa AKA Antony Starluck AKA Antony Starluck Villa-Real AKA "The Singing Inventor" recorded this LP here in Vancouver in '78 at Total Sounds West studios - a studio owned by Vancouver jazz player Dale Jacobs who also poked around some piano & synth on some tracks (and also had his own couple of bands, "The Dale Jacobs Group", and simply "Dale Jacobs" who a year later would release "Cobra" - something you've most likely come across in the thrifts, the cover featuring a very large snake let loose in a very fine apartment) and put it out on the ubiquitous (no, not really) "Golden Constellation International Records Ltd" label located at what is now Al Halal Meats up on Victoria Drive near the Dairy Queen. Tiny shop. 

    Anyways, Let's look at the back of the LP cover.


    READ all of that and decide not to hear it, I dare you.

    The music is balanced out between soft rock-ish balladeering and disco, but a kind of disco that that group of older teens in the neighborhood worked for years at engineering, felt it was the high point of their lives and then later they all just went different ways and landed jobs managing lube-shop franchises in placed like Franklinville or something.
     
    The mystery as to why this Ernie Manuel gets his own photo-box and blurb may never be resolved, since he only gets co-writing creds on one track along with back-up vocals. Other than this the internets reveal nothing on the man.
    As for Antony himself, the man holds several patents - mostly on medical items - and still does musical work, although you can judge for yourself  if his talents have been honed to perfection in the years since. And then there's his own Facebook profile. A man of varied talents, to be sure.
     
    You can preview what this thing will sound like here, just to see if it's worth downloading the whole album HERE.
    Then we can all do the Moon Cat Dance!