Agony Shorthand

Thursday, July 17, 2003
JULIAN COPE TACKLES THE MIRRORS.....The July album of the month over at Head Heritage is a posthumous 1982 collection from Cleveland proto-punk rock heroes THE MIRRORS, a mid-70s band every bit as worthy of praise and adulation as the much-loved Rocket From The Tombs in my book. Never even knew there was such a collection (it's an "unofficial French LP"), but I do remember a blink-and-you-missed it Mirrors collection on Resonance records in the early 90s with some gawdy yellow cover art. All I really knew about them at that time was that Psychotronic Guide To Film editor Michael Weldon once played in the band, and that people said they compared favorably to third-LP Velvet Underground. Check and check. The Mirrors story has subsequently been pieced together via an appearance in de riguer pre-punk reading "From The Velvets To The Voidoids"; two sides on the 3x10" collection "Those Were Different Times"; and most importantly, a fantastic retrospective CD called "Hands In My Pockets" from a couple of years ago that shows what a motley pack of talented musicians and pre-punk culture hounds these guys were. They fit very comfortably inside the very narrow pantheon of legendary 70s bands who knew what to do to branch the groundbreaking Velvet Underground approach to rock and roll into new directions -- see Modern Lovers, Simply Saucer and Television for other fine examples. What's interesting is how Cope connected the dots back to the Mirrors from his encounter with Monoshock a few months back. An aside, covered in Cope's article: when Monoshock covered the Mirrors' "Everything Near Me" on their 3rd single in 1995, they actually studied and learned to play the song straight off of an audience-recorded 1975 live tape that had made the collector rounds. Pretty admirable, considering that a hi-fi studio version was later unearthed and placed on the "Hands In My Pockets" CD (and Monoshock's version is terrific as well, particulary since the words by necessity had to be made up).