RED RED MEAT – “THERE’S A STAR ABOVE THE MANGER TONIGHT (1997)
Red Red Meat’s early music was a cacophonous racket which I shied away from, psychiatrist but “Manger”, view their final album, was a near-perfect blend of dense dubby atmospherics and unlikely poetry, and a continuation of the themes they birthed on their previous effort from ‘95, “Bunny Gets Paid”. Scaruffi.com, the Italian website that’s turned out to be one of the most unlikely sources of rock errata, sez:
“[The album is] replete with synthesizer and other sophisticated arrangements, which was, de facto, a postmodernist exercise in stylistic deconstruction, bordering on trip-hop and ambient music while retaining the cacophony of Captain Beefheart and Pussy Galore.”
RRM frontman Tim Rutili later went on to found the insanely boring Califone.
BOBCAT GOLDTHWAIT – “MEAT BOB” (1992)
I was a massive fan of the “Police Academy” movies when I was a kid (don’t ask), and the only lasting legacy of that worship is an undying appreciation for the Bobcat. In later interviews, the man has not shyed away from trashing the “Police Academy” franchise, and it’s a shame because he was easily the funniest thing about it, playing the character of “Zed” with such aplomb that it made me fart.
I used to be terrified of this album’s lurid cover whenever I’d see it as a child. Upon hearing Bob’s material now, I’m struck by how articulate and intelligent it all was, but of course, the really good stuff could have done nothing but go over the head of a young child.
I found this on the Bobcat’s Wikipedia page:
“On ‘Hollywood Squares,’ Goldthwait was asked the question, “What does Michael Jackson do in his spare time?” and he jokingly replied, ‘Blows Bubbles.’ After the show, he was told that he was never to return, for he was banned.”
LE GROUPE X – “FRRRRRIGIDAIRE” LP (1973)
“[Le Groupe X] was probably a one-man project, conceived and played by Gianluigi Pezzera, who worked as sound engineer with many Italian pop artists. His two albums were totally instrumental and mostly based on keyboards.
The first one, ‘Frrrrrigidaire’, came in 1973 on the EMI subsidiary CiPiTi, containing seven tracks among which the long ‘Multi facet’ covering the most part of side two. The album has a classical inspired progressive sound, but there are some jazzy and lounge influences here and there. A single with two tracks from the album, but credited to The Vietnam, was also released on the same label. A second album, ‘Out off’, came five years after his debut as soundtrack to the film of the same name, and is usually considered the best and most accessible of the two, though a bit less progressive. It contained 15 short tracks.”
All’s I know is this record is completely daffy, and funky as three-week-old unwashed drawers. And it’s also the only album I’ve ever heard of that has five consecutive “R”s in its title.
SONIC YOUTH – “4 TUNNA BRIX” E.P. (1990)
SY recorded four Fall covers for a Peel Session on October 19th, 1988, and released it on their own bootleg label, Goofin’ (presumably a play on the name Geffen, their major label overlords) in May of 1990. Supposedly, Mark E. Smith thought that the recordings were complete shit; recently, MES was quoted in the Kansas City, Missouri rag The Pitch:
“Even such icons of American alternative rock as Henry Rollins and Sonic Youth have often praised the Fall as a forebear of their music. Some artists might be content with such praise, but not Smith. ‘I mean, I wouldn’t even shake hands with Sonic Youth, you know,’ Smith says.”
I myself am not fond of this session, but SY do get kudos for covering a cover (”Victoria”).
DEE DEE RAMONE – “STANDING IN THE SPOTLIGHT” (1989)
Trouser Press sez:
“Dee Dee tried to go solo twice. Redubbing himself Dee Dee King, the goofy [ex-Ramones] bassist made an inexcusably stupid rap-rock 12-inch (’Funky Man’) in 1987, and then released an entire album just months prior to [the Ramones’] ‘Brain Drain’. And he still went ahead and left the group. ‘Standing in the Spotlight’ finds him talking over music, but it’s hardly a rap record; Dee Dee’s nerdy sense of rhythm, inane good-time lyrics and la-de-da delivery make it a laughable disaster. The slickness of the Daniel Rey-produced/played tracks â€” a variety show of rock, oldies and pop idioms (with minor assists from Debbie Harry and others) â€” only underscores the star’s awfulness. Most embarrassing are two surprising stabs at autobiography: the schmaltzy ‘Baby Doll’ and the (hypothetically) bilingual ‘German Kid,’ which contains the eminently mortal ‘It’s pretty cool to be half German’.”
I’ve had several friends ask me for this one, especially after they all at one time or another watched “Ramones: End of the Century”, the feature-length documentary on the band, in which the filmmakers included a short clip from a Dee Dee solo music video. I guess you could consider this album “fun”, since it’s not meant to be anything else, but it’s also pretty hard to sit through without wanting to jam a fork into your own eye, as well as there being few recognizable qualities that give certain signature Dee Dee-written Ramones tunes (like “Psycho Therapy”, “Pet Sematary” and my absolute favorite Ramones song ever, “Outsider”) their golden luster. But it’s still of historical interest, so here ya go.