CIRCLE JERKS – live in San Francisco, ailment 1981
This bootleg (which must be a board recording, see because of how good it sounds) was called “Live On Broadway”. Not sure if there was a venue in SF called The Broadway, population health or if it’s just a joke. Either way, it doesn’t matter.
BLACK RANDY AND THE METROSQUAD – “PASS THE DUST, I THINK I’M BOWIE” (1979)
Black Randy was a truly whacked individual who blazed his way through the original L.A. punk scene until his demise from AIDS somewhere in the 1980s. His scorched punk funk bears some resemblance to that of the James Chance/Contortions axis, but Randy’s words are considerably more nihilistic (if you can believe that!), as well as funnier. Many gross and wonderful tales about the man can be found in the excellent oral history “We Got The Neutron Bomb” –
The three tracks I recommend the most are “I Tell Lies Everyday” (with a wicked high-pitched backing vocal chorus), “Down At The Laundromat” (the sleaziest white reggae possible), and the band’s completely frantic cover of James Brown’s “Give It Up Or Turn It Loose”. The download here is the extended CD version of the record, with several bonus tracks.
GOBLIN – “DISCOCROSS” (1979)
My life can get mighty hectic, since not only do I do this site and have a weekly radio show on KXLU, but I’m also in three bands at the moment. They each hold different pleasures for me, as far as regularly playing in them, but the one that raises the most eyebrows seems to be Nilbog, a Goblin cover band. Goblin, in the ’70s and ’80s, did the soundtracks for most of Dario Argento’s films, like “Suspiria”, “Deep Red” and “Tenebre”, as well as scores for plenty of other Italian genre films.
Since I’ve starting playing bass in this band, I’ve made it my mission to track down every Goblin record, which can be difficult, since not only did they do studio albums and soundtracks, but sometimes they also put out stuff under pseudonyms and alternate band names. This album, “Discocross”, is apparently one of the least-known records by the group; it’s an LP that not a single one of my four Nilbog bandmates had even heard of. The fan site Goblin.org sez:
“The more casual Goblin fans moreso celebrate the band’s first few albums as their best and would consider their next venture, ‘Discocross’, to be the beginning of their downfall. ‘Discocross’ contained Goblin’s least interesting music, being a collaboration between the band and composer Giorgio Farina apparently for the soundtrack to another Italian television programme. In fact, it may even be fair to say that ‘Discocross’ is not a Goblin album, as the band name does not appear anywhere on the LP likely due to contractual obligations. None of the music was written by Goblin, instead written by Giorgio Farina who the album is solely credited to. The sounds were pure instrumental disco with sound effects overtop, sadly lacking the incomparable style that earned Goblin their reputation. ‘Discocross’ has become the Goblin’s rarest LP in recent years, merely being a piece of interest for pure Goblin fans who wish to follow the band’s work from beginning to end.”
The above review doesn’t seem to take into account that even though Goblin didn’t write this music, these extended disco cuts (the album is only three songs, but clocks in at thirty minutes) are almost identical in tone and feel to the Goblin score for the Italian cop film “Squadra Antigangsters” from the same year, 1979. The first track, “Farina’s Suite”, is the longest (15 minutes), but goes through several different distinct funky movements; there’s even a few cool animal-sounding distorted vocoder growls buried under the surface here and there. The second track is somewhat blander, and the third, complete with strangely-placed racing car sound effects, is mostly just a reprise of the first, but played in a looser, more spacey way.
JELLO BIAFRA on “THE OPRAH WINFREY SHOW” (198?)
I’m not sure which of the two Biafra vs. Tipper Gore appearances this audio is from, but in any case, it’s a nice little historical document to have. This excerpt is a sparring match between Biafra, who at the time was embroiled in an obscenity trial regarding H.R. Giger artwork included as an insert with the DK album “Frankenchrist”, and Gore, who was one of the heads of the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC), an organization founded by several senators’ wives in the ’80s to combat what they saw as “alarming trends” in popular music.
KYLE MacLACHLAN – “DIANE: THE TWIN PEAKS TAPES OF AGENT COOPER” (1990)
Conceived as a audiocassette promotional product tie-in with the then-current TV series, viagra
this is a montage of all the times during the first season of “Twin Peaks” that Agent Cooper, information pills
so expertly played by Kyle MacLachlan, mind talks to the mysterious “Diane”, his assisstant back at the FBI headquarters. TwinPeaks.org mentions:
“The tape includes such gems of Cooperian philosophy as “Leasing may be the fast track to affluence, but equity will keep you warm at night.””
I remember seeing this for sale back when it came out, stuck in the magazine racks at the Ralphs supermarket near my house when I was a kid (the show was originally on-the-air right as I was finishing elementary school). I had two similarly precocious friends at that school, who remain close to me to this day, who would watch every broadcast episode. I was mostly unfamiliar with the inter-character relationships and the arcs of the overall show when they took me to the cinema to see “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me”, which subsequently changed my life. The film makes as little sense now as it did then, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
FACTRIX & MONTE CAZAZZA – “CALIFORNIA BABYLON” (1981)
The “Artist’s Description” column on the Factrix page under the Music heading of Download.com sez:
“Sonic-terrorists Factrix (San Francisco, 1979-1982) were amongst the original instigators of ‘Industrial music’. Consisting of Bond Bergland, Cole Palme, and Joseph Jacobs (and occasionally joined by Monte Cazazza), Factrix raised an ungodly caterwaul. Employing modified electronic devices, an abused drum machine, feedback, processed ‘radio-gitarre’, ‘glaxo-bass’, and other unconventional instruments, the resulting tortured sound defied all formulas and bore little resemblance to anything else occurring at that time. Factrix performed their first two shows as Minimal Man (with Patrick Miller), later playing gigs with bands such as SPK, Cabaret Voltaire, DNA, Nervous Gender, Tuxedomoon, and Bachelors Even (Christian Marclay). Frequent collaborators included Monte Cazazza, Mark Pauline (Survival Research Lab/SRL), and Tana Emmolo-Smith. Ruby Ray (who provided live projections for Factrix), was also the photographer who helped define the look of such seminal underground publications as ‘Search and Destroy’ and the original tabloid version of ‘Re/Search’, who later put out the ‘Industrial Culture Handbook’.“.
Also, Wikipedia sez:
“California Babylon (LP) (Subterranean Records, 1982) – from a live performance with Monte Cazazza. This performance -which included Anabel Lee, Tana Emmolo, and a robotic pig named ‘Piggly Wiggly’ (made by Mark Pauline, of Survival Research Labs/SRL)- was videotaped and entitled ‘Night of the Succubus’.”
Trouser Press sez:
“It’s difficult to categorize Fingerprintz, which may explain why the group never garnered a large following. The primitively recorded first album occupies a dark, throbbing zone of bobbing pop and wry-to-bizarre lyrics…[l]eader/guitarist Jimme O’Neill’s Scottish accent and offbeat songwriting combine to chilling effect…
…The considerably slicker ‘Distinguishing Marks’, in contrast, is pure pop in extremis â€” musically, anyway. The songs hum like a finely tuned motor, with producer Nick Garvey removing any rough sonic edges. Only the relentlessly perverse lyrics betray a refusal to play by the book; O’Neill’s disjointed visions are inspired by pulp fiction, police blotters and hospital charts. A catchy collection that all sounds like hit single material.
‘Beat Noir’ took yet another 180-degree turn, away from pop and towards a rock/funk fusion. Finally in synch with the times, Fingerprintz delivered a stunning, idiosyncratic package of heavy bass lines, winsome melodies and O’Neill’s thematic fetishes (paranoia, frustration). The album was kinky enough to catch on in rock clubs, but too peculiar to reach a broader audience. (The US version deletes two songs.) Drenched in atmosphere, it remains a compelling work.”
“Beat Noir” is quite glossy, and it’s because of that that none of the songs, while all interesting, really stand out at all from each other. “Distinguishing Marks” is where the meat of the band lies, with the one-two punch of “Radiation” and “Jabs” making it very worthwhile.
The website NZmusic.com (the initials standing for New Zealand) accurately pegged the Gordons as having “created good, doctor
old-fashioned inner torment that has rarely been communicated so effectively ever since.” Couldn’t agree more. Think of the Gordons as Sonic-Youth-meets-The-Fall-meets-The-Clean-meets-my-retired-uncle-who-drinks-more-than-he-should-because-he-married-someone-too-young-and-she-left-him-because-he-was-much-too-boring-for-her-anyway.
My favorite track is the final one on the first of their two albums, salve
“Coalminers Song”, physician
which in the past has caused me to beat my forehead against the pavement repeatedly. In a good way. For more schooling in the ways of New Zealand rock, visit the sadly on-haitus Mixotheque’s inagural month of programming.