Agony Shorthand

Monday, September 12, 2005
STRANGE NOTES, 9/12/05......

"Strange Notes", cleverly taking its moniker from THE GERMS' track of the same name, is the "column" I like to write in which I pretend to be a chain-smoking 1940s journalist, unearthing musical factotums and wittily dispensing with hypocrites and bores. Bear with me as I indulge myself.....So anyway, how about that BRIAN JONESTOWN MASSACRE? A bunch of nutty junkie goofballs or what? As I mentioned earlier this year, before the "DiG!" DVD came out, I'd never even heard the band. Figured I would've hated them, based on everything I read about their dumb tantrums and hippie pants and whatnot. Turns out that the recent "Tepid Peppermint Wonderland" 2xCD overview of the band's decade-long career has got some pretty fine tunes on it. While they're certainly guilty of some overreach with glockenspiels and harps etc. at times, they're often really good at penning concise, 3-minute psychedelic pop songs that can run from lyserically-lush to dirty-raw depending on the approach taken. I'm not finished ingesting this massive collection despite having run through it a half-dozen times; there are some more gems in there, I can just feel it, baby.....I was hoping to be a little more blown away by JOSEPHINE FOSTER's recent "Hazel Eyes, I Will Lead You" CD, the way I recently was by her incredible record with THE SUPPOSED called "All The Leaves Are Gone" (one of the single best set of rock recordings the past 2-3 years). Ms. Foster often squeaks and warbles like KATE BUSH circa "Army Dreamers", and while that actually bothers me not one bit, the lack of any real throat-grabbing folk songs sorta does. She's got something pretty special going on, I just don't think it's located here.

I was, however, taken positively aback by a couple of downloaded recordings from a mid-60s all-girl Minnesota band called THE CONTINENTAL CO-ETS (pictured above). Their 45s "I Don't Love You No More" and "Let's Live For The Present" are some outstanding deep-reverb garage pop, with harmonies worthy of a chorus of angels straddling the heavenly throne. Easily one of the best discoveries I've found strolling the mp3 blogs, this one courtesy of one that appears to now be gone, "Mr. Barf's Rock and Soul a Go-Go".....Hey, speaking of mp3 blogs, what's with all the lame bellyaching in the comments boxes over at STRANGE REACTION? The site in question posts multiple 1977-85 vinyl-only punk treasures & a few laughable clunkers from all eras every week, but some folks appear to think that it's only valid if it comes from vinyl purchased directly at a gig in 1980 or from some set-sale auction in a European catalog. Strange Reaction has a few of those, plus a few he found 5 minutes ago on Soulseek. Like me & you, right? Who cares one iota how it got into the guy's hands -- the point is, he's helping it get into yours.....One CD that's left my hands and is sitting in the "to-sell" bag is 1980's "SCIENTIST VS. PRINCE JAMMY - BIG SHOWDOWN" . It's the first flaccid set of dubs I've heard from my man SCIENTIST -- no oomph, no grrrr, no ramalama here, and Jammy's stuff isn't much better. Scientist was a young man early in his career on this one; we know he got better just a year later.....Finally, let's back right up and give kudos to the aforementioned STRANGE REACTION blog for turning me onto the 45 by ROCK BOTTOM AND THE SPYS, a walloping piece of synth-driven KBD punk rock. The band's back story is exceptionally sordid, and one of the guys was just murdered in prison, but thank god "the jamz remain". You can get them at no charge both here and here. That's all for this time, keep your feet on the ground etc....!