Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Naked Skeletons!

Bob Baker's Marionette theater in downtown LA has a fantastic new Mexican-themed show called "Allegre!" that the Bubblegum Queen and I caught this morning, along with a busload of Head Start kiddies from Pomona. "Allegre!" is a little mature for this audience, but they seemed to dig it.

The show's centerpiece is a black light extravaganza featuring an all-skeleton cast grooving to "Hernando's Hideaway." There are painted ladies, a terrifying bony clown who juggles a skull, monsters playing vibes on a dinosaur's ribs and, unbelievably, a pair of fleshless burlesque beauties with tassles where their tatas should be. One does a classic Sally Rand fan dance!

"Allegre!" is $10, plus you get free ice cream in the party room after the show. Highly recommended.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

cult of the week - Steve Kilbey

artist: Steve Kilbey

title: Unearthed

year: 1987

label: Red Eye Records

personnel: Steve Kilbey (all instruments except…), Karin Jansonn (keyboard, guitar), Russell Kilbey (fretless bass, something else)

tracklisting: out of this world, guilty, pretty ugly pretty sad, swampdrone, judgement day, rising son, tyrant, transference, my birthday the moon festival, design error, nothing inside, othertime, heliopolis, famine

cotw say…

the creative force behind one of Australia’s most acclaimed groups of all time, The Church, Steve Kilbey’s varied solo career has received surprisingly little attention, perhaps due to his dogged determination to often ‘go it alone’.

‘Unearthed’ was Kilbey’s solo debut, and sees him apply many of the familiar jangly trademarks of The Church to more introspective settings. the heavy use of wispy synthesized strings and ticking rhythm boxes help to give the album a lo-fi quality, adding to the haunting atmosphere of tracks like ‘Design Error’, ‘Tyrant’, ‘My Birthday the Moon Festival and ‘Famine’, but sometimes detracting from the quality of the writing. thankfully, more traditional offerings like ‘Nothing Inside’ help to remind us of just who we’re dealing with here.

a fascinating meeting of shoegazing eighties indie, and atmospheric bedroom synthpop. dig out your copy of ‘Unearthed’ today!

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Paul Williams - Someday Man (Collector’s Choice) CD

Ten tracks spread over 28: 04 would affront some punters, even some critics. Robert Christgau considered the ratting out of albums falling under the half-hour-that-stretches a high public service, but can an artist really be that scrupulous in weighing the clay? Its’ not like lying about the casualty count in Iraq or the public getting stiffed five fewer Cheetos in a sixteen-oz. bag.

It’s also not like each of the twenty-eight minutes don’t contain a revelation or two. Commended to me by LITG co-editor Kim Cooper as “the adult counterpart to the Partridge Family album you reviewed for the book,” 1972’s Sound Magazine is indeed a fair prequel to Paul Williams’ 1970 solo debut, with David Cassidy’s noble-teen romanticism and eagerness to embrace joy and disappointment a fine match for Williams’ gentle cynicism and worldly mature sigh. What might strike 21st century listeners with particular intensity is the unforced, un-ironic optimism of the record. Yes, it’s a period piece.

Williams had been hanging around Hollywood for some time, appearing in films like The Loved One (1964) and The Chase (1966) as well as standing in line at the now-famous open audition for The Monkees. An eponymous 1968 album recorded with The Holy Mackerel was a thing of delicate beauty lost in the general apocalypse of that weirdest of years. A contractual obligation to Reprise for another record sent Williams into the studio with songwriting partner Roger Nichols and a cast of L.A. session bravoes. Two (Hal Blaine and Larry Knechtel) would later turn up on Sound Magazine

The album is a young man’s reverie. “Someday Man” finds Paul at the outset gently cursing his luck for being born among so many human grinds and ciphers, with “So Many People” reiterating the point with wistful insistence. There’s a fine edge of insecurity in “She’s Too Good to Me” and “Trust” coming from a romantic disappointed, but unbowed. “To Put Up With You” is Dylan’s “Positively Fourth Street” as done by a member of the human race, with Paul’s courtly dismissal to an insufferable one as sweet and civilized as Bob’s rant is boorish and hammy. “Do You Have a Heart” is reminder of the daily utility and necessity of love itself. Underneath the whole is an assumption that the human heart is not merely a poorly-designed personal-use pump for circulating antifreeze.

The drama is muted and the pathos as frail a snowflake’s shadow, but the overarching mood of saturnine ease in the midst of bustling horror is something the next generation of L.A. singer-songwriters would repeatedly maul. The album went nowhere, Williams/Nichols would shortly place hit after hit for the likes of Streisand and The Carpenters and the world’s rolled a few more times over the leonine heart of the diminutive Mr. Williams. He’s still up and buoyant and worth more to L.A. than a herd of Bukowskis.

-Ron Garmon

Purple Image - S/T (Radioactive)

Cleveland’s Map City label was founded and run by the songwriting duo of Pete Anders and Vini Poncia, long-time props of bubblegum giant Kama Sutra. The company’s doors were open from 1969-73 and if this 1970 uranium funk monstrosity is the only justification for the venture, then no more is needed. Purple Image did only one album and it’s hard to imagine anything they might’ve done to top it.

The septet plays like a looser, psych-metal edition of War, with 6: 22 opener “Living in the Ghetto” coming on like an elderly freight train clattering at high speed through a bandsaw works, brakes futilely screeching as cow-catcher splits the factory boiler. There are four more tracks to the finale, each a uranium-rich soul jam, with only ‘We Got to Pull Together” expressing standard Motown sentiments in a sub-Temptations manner.

Purple Image bows for all time with “Marching to a Different Drummer,” a hypnotic swayback strut down a big-city avenue through the middle of a vast sunny Weirdness. About one third through the 15: 28, you’ve followed the sweet one with “her skirt extra high” back to her brownstone, taking her doggie-style as you pass the joint and exchange groans. This is what life sounds like to free people in an urban cage.

A minor masterpiece, to be sure, and further indication that the Great 1970 Reclamation Project has some years left to run.

-Ron Garmon

The Glitterhouse The Almost Complete Recordings, 1966-1974 CD

Coming out of the wealthy, mainly Jewish Long Island suburb of Great Neck, the Glitterhouse were, like Love on the West coast, a mildly psychedelic white pop band whose talented lead singer-songwriter was a black man. And like Love, the Glitterhouse stayed in their little corner of the world and didn’t broaden their appeal, ultimately splintering.

But it’s silly to suggest that the two bands were analogous in much beyond these broad strokes. Glitterhouse leader Mike Gayle was a less controlling personality than Arthur Lee. So when his band found themselves signed by Bob Crewe and told not to play any shows for nearly a year, so the world would be surprised when their album came out, that’s just what they did. In the studio, Crewe was best arranging seductive fairy tale psych numbers like “ Tinkerbell’s Mind” and the Zombie-ish “Happy To Have You Here Again,” less successful in the soul tunes with incongruously chipper backing vocals.

Maybe if the songs Crewe got on the Barbarella soundtrack (the band mugging vocally over overwrought session tracks) had done better… or the single had hit somewhere other than New York… but they didn’t, and soon the Glitterhouse was no more.

This generous collection, released by keyboardist Moogy “Utopia” Klingman on his own label, collects that one silver-foil album (Colorblind-First Edition), the Barbarella material, plus the charmingly fey early singles and band-recorded demos from 1968 and a too-mellow reunion attempt where Mike waxes autobiographical on “Grandma, Why Do You Live in Harlem?” Overall: nice stuff with a few killers. Too bad they couldn’t capitalize on the sound of those early singles and their live skills—but if you laid all the “too bads” in sixties rock and roll end to end, you could walk to London without wetting your feet. (Kim Cooper)

CD available from Moogymusic

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Free The Eichhorn 46!

Thanks to our pal Caleb from Swifty Morales Press, for a limited time we have free copies of Dennis P. Eichhorn's beautifully printed anthology REAL STUFF as a premium for new or renewing subscribers to Scram, a journal of unpopular culture.

REAL STUFF is a collection of true life adventures from the bigger-than-life reality of longtime Scram contributor Dennis Eichhorn, in collaboration with Triangle Slash, Rick Altergott, Peter Bagge, Jim Blanchard, Ariel Bordeaux, Rupert Bottenberg, Chester Brown, Ivan Brunetti, Charles Burns, Howard Chackowicz, David Chelsea, Dan Clowes, David Collier, Dave Cooper, Robert L. Crabb, Lloyd Dangle, Julie Doucet, Michael Dougan, Gary Dumm, B.N. Duncan, Gene Fama, Mary Fleener, Drew Friedman, Renee French, Roberta Gregory, Sam Henderson, Jaime Hernandez, Gilbert Hernandez, Sean M. Hurley, Gerald Jablonski, Peter Kuper, Carol Lay, Jason Lutes, Kent Myers, Bernard Edward Mireault, Carel Moiseiwitsch, Terry Moore, Pat Moriarty, Joe Sacco, Seth, Leslie Sternbergh, Carol Swain, Holly Tuttle, Colin Upton, J.R. Williams, Jim Woodring, Joe Zabel and Mark Zingarelli.

Coming soon: Scram #21, the Swamp Issue, cover by Lark Pien. Past cover artists include Andrice Arp, Bartley Johnson, Tom Neely, Daniel Clowes, Steven Weissman, Gene Sculatti, Doug Allen, Mari Kono, Dave Cooper, Christine Shields, Tim Hensley and Peter Bagge.

For info about Scram and subscription rates, please visit http://www.scrammagazine.com

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Lulu Speaks

It's happened twice now. The first time, I coulda swore the little
tabby cat meowed "Hello." But nah, it must have just sounded like
"hello." Coinkydink.

This morning, she stood by the side of the bed in which Richard I
were lounging, and distinctly mewed, "Wake up."

It was declarative, insistent. I got up and filled the food bowl.

In the tradition of Michigan J. Frog, I expect she will refuse to
repeat this trick for an audience. But Richard and I and the other
cats and now you know: Talullah Belle Cooper can talk.

cult of the week - the door and the window

artist: The Door and the Window

title: Detailed Twang

year: 1980

label: NB Records

personnel: Nag (vocals, wasp, bass, toy piano), Mark (vocals, drums, sax, bass), Bendle (vocals, guitar, bass, toy piano, drums, organ)

tracklisting: dads, habits, we do scare each other, order and obey, he feels like a doris, part-time punks, in the culture, subculture fashion slaves, sticks and stones, positive, why must you build walls around us?, detailed twang

cotw say…

at what point does laddish amateurism become studied artiness (and vice versa)? via it’s members’ philosophy to never actually learn to play any instruments, that question was frequently asked of TDATW. and yet, the addition of punk legend Mark Perry (of Alternative TV fame) to the group for their only album, allowed for some very interesting music to be made.

the ATV influence is certainly noticeable, as the band (g)rumbles on through a set of slow-paced, half-songs, all characterized by tuneless vocals, jazz-influenced drumming, and minimal arrangements. amongst all the poorly recorded, lo-fi weirdness, there are some genuine musical moments to savour on ‘Detailed Twang’. in particular the toy piano/ bass run on ‘We do scare each other’, and distorted wasp synth on the opening and closing tracks.

polished, it most certainly ain’t. but if you like your music to polarize…

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Comedy Club Heckling

Gene Gregorits, of the late, to-be-revived Sex & Guts magazine, has been amusing himself lately by getting shitfaced in comedy clubs and engaging the comics in banter.

COMEDIAN#1: Speaking of penis size, they say it doesn't matter, but-
C1: Have I ever seen a two inch dildo. That's good. No one's ever yelled that out at me before. And what is your name, sir?
G: Gene! Like gene HACKMAN! (guffawing)
C1: Like Gene Hackman...meaning that you're rich. i can tell by that bike that you rode here on.
G: Hah hah.
C1: So what do you do sir?
G: I just jack off and drink beer!
C1: He just jacks off and drinks beer. You should get up here.
G: Only if i can get naked.
C1: He'll only do it naked. Alright, alright. I guess the circus let out early tonight. Fuckin daisy Duke shorts and a tank top and a denim jacket.
G: I've been wearing these clothes for five days. It seemed to make sense, when I left the house.
C1: Oh just shut the fuck up.

For more, see his LiveJournal.

Friday, May 20, 2005

According to Eric Matthews's website, Cardinal's only album will be re-released by Empyrean Records on June 11 with a disc of extra tracks, including demos and tracks from the long out-of-print Toy Bell EP.

On another note, I've been listening to Tim Maia's superb and weird Racional Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 albums from 1974 and 1976. Maia was a tremendous pop star in Brazil (literally) with an aesthetic pitched somewhere between Barry White's disco, Al Green's soaring sex-starved soul, George Clinton's psych-funk, and Caetano Veloso's tropicalia-pop. He joined a strange cult in the mid-70s and released these two albums, which have Portuguese and English lyrics that attempt to raise awareness about his new beliefs. Since my Portuguese is downright lousy, I'm not quite sure what those beliefs are, but I know that they have something to do with universal rationality (which isn't that bad of an idea on its surface) and probably involve giving lots of money to some long-dead con man. Anyway, the funk and soul on these albums is raw and pure, and Maia was never better than here (although much should be said for his previous albums, which have that inimitable Sao Paolo Does Memphis sound down). Unfortunately, Maia put Racional Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 out on his own short-lived label and, when he left the cult in the late 70s, refused to ever discuss them again, let alone re-release the albums for mass consumption. Even more sad, Maia seemed to have lost his edge afterwards. His post-cult output was slick and corporate, and he never again regained the raw passion of these two albums. Other than the mind control (and this point may be arguable), cults are the same as any religion, and the sound of a man on fire with newfound conviction is a sound hard to ignore. Worth seeking out.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

The Catalog of Cool

Fans of Gene Sculatti's Catalog of Cool compendium are advised that the site is online with new content over at http://www.catalog-of-cool.com, and further that we've added Cool logo paraphrenalia to our cafepress site, here.

Monday, May 16, 2005

"I always wear a wig onstage"

From Radar, the weird story of Marcus, the Australian grocery store magnate's son who wanted to be a rock star. You might remember the MARCUS IS COMING gimmick from The Idolmaker.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

cult of the week - Cardboards

artist: Cardboards

title: Greatest Hits Volume Two

year: 1981

label: Mom’s Records

personnel: Bill Bored (drums and bell), Max Haste (vocal and farfisa), De Ivanhoe (keyboards and generator), Ron Solo (keyboards and keyboard percussion), Keeth Teeth (keyboards)

tracklisting: on the r√ětz, electrical generator, copa cabana, gravity’s still working, bill’s rap

cotw say…

a first time visit this week to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, yet another city that played host to posses of electronic art punks at the turn of the eighties. And although no-one will have been fooled by the title of the EP, Cardboards are definitely one posse that are worthy of closer inspection.

a healthy does of humour keeps this seriously DIY workout from being in any way a drag, with Max Haste’s agitated warble drawing unavoidable comparisons with Fred Schneider of the B-52’s. musically speaking, the cool rhythm boxes of ‘Gravtity’s Still Working’ and the bouncy ‘Bill’s Rap’ are particularly appealing. throughout, the use of live drums and farfisa organ neatly offset any potential over-reliance on synths, and the urgency of the songs gives the tracks a punkier (artier?) edge.

sadly, it’s reported that shortly after completing this EP, Cardboards, erm, folded. (possibly our best pun ever!)

Saturday, May 14, 2005

LITG contributor Tosh Berman signing at Vroman's next month

Here's a message from Tosh of something for the L.A.-folks to attend....

A little bit in the future, but I want to get this information out due to the fact that I will be in Japan for three weeks right before this event:

Tosh Berman (yours truly & publisher), Paul Knobloch (the translator), and Tom Recchion (the designer) will make an appearance at Vroman's Bookstore for a book signing with respect to TamTam Books' latest adventure: Boris Vian's "Autumn in Peking."

The event will take place on Saturday, June 25 at 7:00 P.M. The bookstore is located at 695 E. Colorado Blvd. in Pasadena. Their phone no. is 626-449-5320.

I will give a brief introduction to the world of Boris Vian, and Paul, the translator of this masterpiece, will give a reading. We did a similar event at Book Soup - which was a huge success. Women fainted, men cried, and we sold tons of books. Also I made a special CD for that particular event - which is already a collector's item in certain social circles in Downtown L.A. and dark alleys in Venice, California.

I promise to make another 'original' CD for the Vroman's event as well. The music will be Vian's world - which in turn means the inner world of TamTam Books. It will be dark, beautiful, moody, danceable, sexual in nature, and lovely to hold.

What will make this event really special is that we will have Tom Recchion on hand to sign books. He has done the brilliant design work that is making books once again, a fetish to hold and smell. Oh, and also to read.

I will write a reminder to all of you once I get back from Japan, but let this notice serve as an invitation to a remarkable and intense experience.


Tosh Berman
TamTam Books

Del Rey & the Sun Kings Unique CD on eBay

Del Rey & the Sun Kings performed a beautiful Tribute to Monitor at the Lost in the Grooves book release party at Mr. T's Bowl. Now their debut CD is available--singular! There is only one copy for sale in all the world; this extraordinary package is being auctioned on eBay through next Sunday night, with an opening bid of $3.33.


In the 1980s, Jackson Del Rey was the lead guitarist and chief songwriter of Savage Republic and 17 Pygmies. After more than a decade pursuing other paths, Jackson Del Rey has returned to the studio and live performance as leader of his band Del Rey & the Sun Kings, and as lead guitarist of the reunited Savage Republic (aka Final Republic).

Del Rey & the Sun Kings have just completed work on their first full-length record, entitled “I Am The Light.” To acknowledge the rareness of this moment, Jackson Del Rey has personally constructed just 100 custom-numbered editions of the CD each one of which comes in a beautiful cloth bag which contains the CD inside a sleeve made of Chinese funerary papers plus a selection of ritual objects which may include scented seeds and herbs, a custom-printed scroll, straw, Chinese coins, tiny bangles, candles and beads. Every copy is signed with Jackson Del Rey’s chop. These collections of powerful items are meant to be assembled by the listener into a personal shrine to enhance the experience of the music.

Jackson Del Rey says of this record, “It contains my first recordings in over 15 years. Each item has a unique meaning, all of a mystical nature. The set is to be used to try to attain spiritual ecstasy through the use of music (not unlike the whirling dervishes of Sufism).”

The Sun Kings are;
• Jackson Del Rey
• Steven Bardo
• Jean Sudbury (Violin on tracks 4, 5, 6 & 12)
• Michael Bardo (Drum programming and additional keyboards on track 11)
• Tony Whiting (Shaker & Cabasa on track 5)

This CD has not been made available anywhere—none of the numbered editions has yet circulated. In addition to the 100 numbered copies, there is just one unnumbered set which Jackson Del Rey intended for his personal copy. This auction is for Jackson’s copy of “I Am The Light.” The winner will be the first fan to possess this unique and beautiful object, and to hear the powerful new music that follows in the tradition of Savage Republic and 17 Pygmies.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

The Holy Mackerel S/T CD (Collectors’ Choice)

What if Keith Partridge were twins? Go with me on this: in this alternate TV universe there’s two older Partridge brothers, one of whom is the sappy, poppy “I think I love you” Keith we all know and (pick your verb), while his twin is a wanna-be Dillard in a fringed vest and desert boots. That’s the scenario I was picturing while piecing together the disparate threads on this, Paul Williams’ first appearance on record. On the strength of his collaborations with Biff Rose (see “Fill Your Heart” on Hunky Dory), Paul stumbled onto a Reprise deal with Tiny Tim producer Richard Perry. Feeling shy, he put together a band featuring his brother Mentor, one-time Airplane bassist Bob Harvey and ex-Turtles drummer Don Murray. The imaginary band came together in the studio, but hadn’t a clue what they wanted to be. Still, strip off the clunky c&w tunes Paul wrote for Mentor to sing and the sub-Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake fairytale spoonerisms of “Prinderella” and damned if there isn’t a terrific little lite psychedelic pop record here, catchy and spooky like the best of the Association or Grass Roots. “Bitter Honey” is a spot-on hate-to-love-you tune with a lovely, longing vocal, “Wildflowers” is a fuzzed-out Eastern trip and “1984” (not the Spirit tune) evokes a cynical hopefulness that seems very much of 1968. This reissue comes in tandem with Paul’s marvelous solo debut Someday Man, also recommended. -Kim Cooper

I'm Lost in the Grooves, Fly Me

Travelers passing thru Terminal 3 of San Francisco Int'l Airport can now find Lost in the Grooves at Compass Books, just past the main security checkpoint. Look for us on the new trade fiction shelf, near the newspapers. (Thanks, John!)

Monday, May 09, 2005

New Scram and Lost in the Grooves swag

Cafepress is running a promotion where they encourage members to try their premium shop option for free, so I've been rotating our stock into the new shop here.

The shop is named for the 1947project blog, and has a more sober look than a typical Scram page, but if you click on the Scram logo or the Lost in the Grooves book cover, you'll be taken to pages packed with new offerings. I've even revived the Scramarama festival poster, which was never previously available.
The LITG section is quite full--with items starring Tom Neely's drawings of solo Paul McCartney, David Allan Coe, Emitt Rhodes, Esquerita, eX-Girl, Roosevelt Franklin, Frankie Stein and his Ghouls, Howlin' Wolf, Judee Sill, Linda Perhacs, Roy Wood, Sonny Sharrock with Space Ghost, Joe Meek with Buddy Holly, Exuma, Dogbowl, Yoko, Swamp Dogg, Slim Gaillard, Megadeth, the Potatomen, Chevrolet Sings and more!

Meanwhile, the Scram section will be getting more cover art over the next few days until most of the covers are represented. I might even publish those out of print early issues as a print-on-demand book if there's any interest. So consider this a sneak preview, and do let me know what you think. -Kim Cooper

Scott Miller & Final Republic Live at the Rite Spot

The free Lost in the Grooves concert at the Rite Spot in SF on Walpurgisnacht was a delight, with stellar appearances from an exquisitely nostalgic Scott Miller and a newly reformed and quite savage permutation of Savage Republic. Thanks to the artists and to the nice folks who came out to the show and put some folding green in the firebucket--it helped pay for the Millers' babysitter, and the Savages bar bill.

Here's the setlist (with props to Sue Trowbridge for those tricky Interbabe Concern titles):

SCOTT MILLER - PART I, Game Theory: Curse of the Frontierland, I Mean It This Time (which he said he never plays), Rayon Drive, 24, I Turned Her Away. PART 2, Loud Family: Screwed Over By Stylish Introverts, Don't Respond, Not Expecting Both Contempo and Classique, Where They Walk Over St. Therese, Where They Go Back To School, Asleep and Awake. ENCORE (sigh): Reginesraen.

FINAL REPUBLIC: O Adonis, Film Noir, Jamahiriya, Mobilization, Carcass, Spice Fields, Ivory Generation.

Ethan Port promises to post the MP3 of the FR set on the Mobilization website, so stay tuned.

A little bird tells us...

That Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top gave a copy of Lost in the Grooves as a gift to a pal this week!

Sunday, May 08, 2005

cult of the week - The Honeymoon Killers

artist: the honeymoon killers

title: les tueurs de la lune de miel

year: 1981

label: crammed discs

personnel: Marc Hollander (keyboards), Jean-Francois Jones Jacob (drums), Yves Flon (saxaphone), Vincent Kenis (bass), Yvon Vromman (vocals, guitar), Veronique Vincent (vocals), Gerald Fenerberg (guitar)

tracklisting: flat, histoire a suivre, decollage, rush, fonce a mort, j4, route nationale 7, ariane, laisse tomber les filles, l’heure de la sortie

cotw say…

perhaps unexpectedly, Brussels found itself at the centre of one of the most exciting, yet under-appreciated, post-punk scenes on offer in the early eighties. Marc Hollander’s legendary Crammed Discs provided a vehicle for numerous fantastic bands, including this local collective who are definitely not to be confused with the American hardcore band of the same name.

all the typical post-punk elements are here, gently squeezed through a European filter, which gives the Honeymoon Killer’s only album a delightful ‘folkiness’. ‘Fonce a Mort’, ‘Laisse Tomber Les Filles’ and ‘J4’ all hint at ska, but psychedelic keyboard stabs and angular guitars pull them in new, interesting directions (‘prog-ska’?!). elsewhere, the outstanding ‘Decollage’ transcends musical categorisation and sneaks in one of the most delightfully sinuous basslines EVER, topped off by Veronique Vincent’s breathy vocals. the non-aggressive, but nevertheless seriously warped outlook adopted by the Killers gives many of the album’s melodies a child-like quality, most effectively demonstrated on the excellent instrumental ‘Ariane’.

put bluntly, who needs to jam when you can have honey?

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Lee Harvey Oswald Band by Screaming Lord Duff

Touch & Go Records was chuffed (that's good!) to learn we'd picked Blastronaut by the Lee Harvey Oswald Band as one of the Lost in the Grooves great lost records, and asked if they could reprint Mr. Duff's essay on their website. Here it is, for your amusement, with links to some Duffish arcana.

The Go-Betweens - Oceans Apart CD (Yep Roc)

They are like cool uncles, world-weary and occasionally given to outbursts that embarrass your mother, bearing souvenirs from their travels and the idea that you, too, could someday break free. (For further expansion on this theme, see: “Born to a Family.”) This is a very nice Go-Betweens album, not an astonishing one. But that’s quite enough for the fans who know that when Grant lends his warm strum to something of Robert’s, when Robert turns his arch eye on something of Grant’s, it’s always worth hearing. Example: the bitterly nostalgic “Darlinghurst Nights,” which is probably the only song ever to name-check Aussie critic Frank Brunetti, perhaps because no one else would dare apply the obvious rhyme, spaghetti. When the Go-Betweens do it, it’s poetry, not doggerel. What can I say? They have rare gifts. -Kim Cooper

Darlinghurst Nights - "Darlinghurst Nights"
Born to a Family
- "Born to a Family"

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Whipped Cream & the Delightful Dolores

Pay a visit to the official site of Dolores Erickson, the whip-cream-bedecked beauty from the cover of Herb Alpert's best-selling piece of batchelor/dad pad ephemera, as celebrated in Lost in the Grooves by Becky Ebenkamp... with autographed LPs and outtake pics!

Monday, May 02, 2005

Moe's Reading Recap

Moe's Books, Berkeley, last Monday night was the scene of a Lost in the Grooves extravaganza, as Bay Area contribs (and a few stray Angelenos) convened to read, spin discs and wax prophetic on the state of collecting in a post-vinyl world.

To begin, David Smay and myself shared some treasured discs from his collection, among them this Star Wars disco album which, as they guy at the record store said, “is actually pretty good.” We also spun an apocalyptic Osmonds number from The Plan and of course a little bit of Lancelot Link and the Evolution Revolution.

Then David shared his tale of the sad legend of Buck Naked and the Bare Bottom Boys.

Kevin Carhart read his essay on Dogbowl’s Flan and played us a singularly lovely song from the album.

Max Hechter was on a roll (but since he set up the reading at Moe’s we cut him some temporal slack) as he read an expanded version of his Cock Sparrer essay from the book, followed by his ever-popular presentation on Silver, the world’s worst pre-teen Finnish punk band. Here Max is putting their single on…

And here’s contributor Jacqueline Zahas giving her honest opinion:

Brian Doherty read his pieces on Appaloosa, Vulgar Boatmen and a local legend, Ron Nagle.

Alec Palao’s theme was “What were they thinking?”--the "they" being the artists who recorded such atypical tracks as Randy Newman’s hard rock 45 “Last Night I Had a Dream”… Mike Nesmith’s big band gone Monkees freakout The Wichita Train Whistle Sings… Wayne Newton’s gleefully Wilsonesque pop single “Comin’ On Too Strong” (a Terry Melcher/ Gary Usher production), Freddie Cannon and the Strawberry Alarm Clock taking on the Doors, Pat Boone’s version of “Song to the Siren” and… {shudder}… Hugh Masakela… singing!

Editrix Kim read an expanded version of her Roky Erickon essay from the book, with a little help from “L’il Roky.”

Jay Hinman presented a thought-provoking treatise on The Future of the Music Dork in the Digital Age, which can be read here.

Chas Glynn, an old pal of whom we see too little, shared some underappreciated yet groovy slabs of wax (Ultravox! The Bags from Boston) and riffed on some of the records he wrote about in his “File Under: Other” piece in an old issue of Scram, among them this guard dog on disc LP with two speeds, “Big Dog” and “Little Dog.”

Then Chas introduced John Trubee, whose The Communists are Coming to Kill Us he wrote about in Lost in the Grooves, and John went on tell the insane, inspiring story of how a fake suicide note was all it took to get a record deal (ah, the eighties).

Richard Henderson’s piece was called “The Golden Age of Anglophillia,” and included memories of being corrupted by late night early seventies radio and forced to trek into strange neighborhoods to buy weird little records without big holes in their centers. Among the items Richard shared was Pete Townshend & Angie’s mildly pedophilic “Peppermint Lump.”

We closed the show with Phantom Surfer Mike Lucas reading an excerpt of his unfinished book about record collecting adventures south of the border, with musical accompaniment from Carlos of the Mothballs (bravely playing sans amp) and the horrible wet snarfing sounds of Peanut the Dog.

Thanks to everyone who read, attended or bought a book, Cathy Lynch for the great pix and to Owen at Moe's. See ya next time!

Sunday, May 01, 2005

1947project in the LA Times Magazine

The following appears in today's paper under a wonderfully moody shot of Nathan and I in the old cells at the Police Historical Museum in Highland Park, courtesy of the scarily talented Mark Edward Harris:

Man Shoots Wife, Dog . . . 58 Years Ago
  • Bringing noir L.A. to a computer screen near you

    Ahh, 1947 Los Angeles. Frank Sinatra was brawling at Ciro's. Returning GIs were mixing it up with a newly emancipated female workforce. And the hacked-up corpse of a would-be starlet named Elizabeth Short was dumped in a vacant lot in the Crenshaw district, a horror that achieved everlasting fame as the "Black Dahlia" murder. For those who missed this roiling moment in L.A.'s past or who wish to revisit it, SoCal natives Kim Cooper and Nathan Marsak have created "1947project" (1947project.blogspot.com), a day-by-day blog of the year's most lurid misdeeds, complete with photos and directions to the locations where they occurred and wry commentary on the spot's current architectural and preservation status (or, more often, lack thereof). The D.I.Y. critic-historians, both 38, recently reflected on L.A.'s seamy mid-century past and the aesthetic homicides perpetrated here ever since.

    How did you come up with the 1947 blog idea?

    Cooper: I started reading microfiche newspapers for various projects I was doing with museums, and I got to read all of 1904 and 1906 in San Francisco and the 1970s in Southern California, which was pretty great, but my own interest is more in the 1940s. So on my own dime I started reading 1947 under the assumption that because the Black Dahlia died in the beginning of the year [and] Bugsy Siegel died in the middle of the year, there was something really bubbling up in Los Angeles.

    Marsak: I started collecting newspapers and discarded postwar ephemera when I was 5. So when Kim thought this up, she shoulder-tapped me to add my two cents.

    What do you feel you learn by revisiting the sites of ghoulish L.A. crimes?

    Cooper: It's growing our mental maps of the city. I've always been the kind of person who, when we drive around with people who don't know L.A., or even people who do, will start going, "That used to be Gold Star Studios," and "That's where Bobby Fuller died," or whatever little fact I've managed to pick up. And we're just learning so much about these weird forgotten crimes that probably were the talk of the neighborhood for however many years until the people moved away, and now they've just been lost.

    Your entries on old L.A. crime scenes often seem more outraged about tacky design gaffes than about the crimes committed. Do aluminum siding or faux brick really rate as crimes against humanity?

    Marsak: Of course it's fatuous to say you can compare human misery with aluminum siding, but I'm not here to discuss human misery. I'm here to discuss what happens to our built environment.

    Why grisly murders?

    Marsak: Not all the crimes are grisly. We just uncovered this story about this drunk bus driver who has a bottle of wine and has refused to let anybody off the bus, and he's just driving around town.

    Cooper: And we're going with the vegetarian who freaked out and had to shoot a duck in Lincoln Park, because that's a wonderful story. I'm never going to be able to think about the ducks in the park the same way again.

    You connect the ambience of 1947 Los Angeles to tension between a newly mobile female workforce and returning GIs. Do you see the blog as something of a feminist work?

    Cooper: Absolutely, but I'm as sympathetic to the men dealing with the situation as I am to the women. Everybody got a pretty raw deal, and children probably most. It was not an easy time to be a kid.

    Marsak: We found a story about some kids who found four 40-millimeter howitzer shells in a cellar in Eagle Rock, and one blew up. What an interesting metaphor for the whole thing. Their fathers also have these unexploded bombs in their heads, so these kids have to deal with their dads who could go off at any minute, just as they're finding shells brought back from Okinawa or Dresden.

    So much drugs, crime and gore—is there anything positive to say about 1947?

    Cooper: People were remaking themselves. The city was on the verge of the prosperity that pushed our parents' generation along and helped us get master's degrees.

    Marsak: You could say that Googie's, designed by John Lautner and built in 1949, was probably being designed in '47. The aerospace industry was here, and L.A. was the center of the groovy new swingin' jet set, outer spacey, populux, whatever-you-want-to-call-it world.

    Give us your favorite noir sites in L.A.

    Cooper: Norton and 39th, the Black Dahlia site. Hollywood Boulevard. Broadway at night, with all the newly lit theater signs. In Chinatown between Gallery Row and Hill Street, there is an alley [that] looks like something out of the 19th century. There are cats eating food out of the trash cans. There are beautiful wooden fire escapes. It's so run-down and rickety and evocative and spooky, I love to just walk people there with their eyes closed and say, "Open your eyes. You are lost in time."

    What neighborhood best evokes the ambience of post-World War II L.A.?

    Marsak: The Mar Vista Tract or Lincoln Place in Venice—postwar housing [developments].

    If you could bring back any vanished L.A. landmark, what would it be?

    Cooper: Ponyland. The Beverly Center used to [be the site of] a wonderful little year-round carnival with ponies that you could ride. I went there when I was tiny.

    Who really murdered the Black Dahlia?

    Cooper: No one who's ever been claimed in a book to have done it.