Agony Shorthand

Monday, January 26, 2004
STRANGE NOTES, 1/26/2004…..Our friend BM from down under helped to crack the PINETOPPERS mystery “offline”, as they say. He tells Agony Shorthand that the original Confederate Records mix of “Shout Bamalama” – the howling, crazed version found on “Sin Alley, Vol. 3” that I raved about last week – was cleaned up on subsequent reissues of the 45 to capitalize on Otis-mania. This later version, while great, sanitizes the original mix by toning down the percussion and the general wild panic of the first one….but at least we know where things stand on this important rock and roll question….Hey, there’s been some good chatter on the blog about lame 80s punk/hardcore lately, and I very much appreciated Dave Lang’s mention of not only CHRIST ON PARADE but the quick follow-up with FEARLESS IRANIANS FROM HELL….man, how I used to fuckin’ shred the half pipe to those badasses!....skate to hell, beeyotch!....that said, I’ll bet everyone’s a little red-faced that last year marked the 18th anniversary of BONER Records’ landmark “Them Boners Be Poppin’” LP, and I don’t remember a single commentator celebrating the event…..for shame!….Shifting gears a little, there’s this tremendous 1965 girl-pop song I’m smitten with from the “Where The Girls Are, Volume 2” comp…it’s “Looking For Trouble” by THE CHARMERS, which has this hilarious backing duo who beautifully parrot the jealous lead vocalist’s threats to punch out some harlot who’s threatening to steal her guy. The CD says it’s taken from “the Impact LP ‘Girls About Town’”, but I can’t find a single peep about this record online….is it by The Charmers? Is it a comp?? What the….?.....

Another giant of the girl genre is MARY WELLS’ inelegant kiss-off “Bye Bye Baby”; just a screamer from start to finish, with hooks bursting in every direction and an over the top rasped vocal from Ms. Wells…..We watched the recent Scottish film “Morvern Callar” over the weekend, not bad, dull in parts, but with a good soundtrack including (ill-placed) numbers from CAN, THE VELVET UNDERGROUND and LEE HAZLEWOOD….All right, one last question: has anyone heard the recent reunion CD from THE URINALS?....that’s one that might actually be good, no?....finally, I give a couple of spins to “IL CANTO DI MALAVITA : LA MUSICA DELLA MAFIA”, a 2000 Pias Records collection of Italian “mafia songs” (I’m no expert in Italian, but I’m pretty sure “La Musica Della Mafia” means “the music of the mafia”. Any cunning linguists in the house?)....careful not to play this one while slurping down mama’s Bolognese, lest you be subject to wild hallucinations of a gangland rat-a-tat-tat execution right there at your dining room table. It’s a fun listen if you’re a fan of wailing, torrid Mediterranean piazza sounds that hint at looming danger and death, as so many of us are….Until next time, keep your feet on the ground etc…..!