The Fallout Shelter

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

2 Weeks and Counting

Since i am currently in the process of moving to Japan i will be deleting this page for good. So if you want anything get it by saturday 22 July because after that its sayonara baby!

Love to y'all.

Lester Bangs and the Delinquents - 'Jook Savages on the Brazos' (1981)

What can one say about Lester Bangs that hasn't been said already? A guru for about a zillion rock critics and Pitchfork-heads, Bangs was the first and greatest of the gonzo-style music scribes.

I just love the guy and would gladly exchange much of what he wrote about the artists for the actual music itself - I haven't listened to The Clash in ages but i re-read his NME piece on the band frequently. If you don't know Bangs then check out the seminal book, 'Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung' for a thorough (if problematic) collection of his work.

I really like Bangs definition of rock n' roll -

Good rock 'n' roll... I don't know. I guess it's just something that makes you feel alive.... To me, good rock 'n' roll also encompasses other things, like Hank Williams and Charlie Mingus and a lot of things that aren't strictly defined as rock ‘n' roll. Rock 'n' roll is like an attitude, it's not a musical form of a strict sort. It's a way of doing things, of approaching things. Like anything can be rock 'n' roll.

What is sometimes forgotten is the fact that Bangs had a brief recording career producing two albums. 'Jook Savages' was recorded with backing band The Delinquents in 1980 (released '81) and is surprisingly good - Lester's delivery is somewhat less than pristine but let's face it - who would want that? Indeed in retrospect Bangs was way ahead of the game, anticipating the way punk would transform itself, in America especially, into no-depression and later alt-country. The album has dated quite well i think and makes for interesting listening both, for those aware of Bangs the writer and even those who don't know him. And dues should be paid also to The Delinquents who do a sterling job supporting our man from Escondido.

Here is Bangs last-ever interview with Jim de Rogatis, from which the above quote is taken

and here are the jook savages.

Liverpool Express - 'Dreamin'' (1978)

And now for something comletely different. Liverpool Express are a faintly remembered band from... you can guess, and dealt in light breezy, power pop along the lines of Badfinger, Pilot and most of all, Sir 'thumbs-up-a-lot' himself - Macca.

So, OK a Beatles rip-off maybe, but definitely not without their own charms. The main reason i am posting this is for the title track, 'Dreamin' which is the first single i ever remember hearing. It belonged to an aunt of mine and I absolutely loved it, played it to death when i was around 8 and STILL think it's a gorgeous little tune. The rest of the album is good too but 'Dreamin' is definitely the highlight for me.

The band was formed in 1975 by main man Billy Kinsley and a few footie mates. His former band, The Merseybeats, had a long illustrious pop history supporting The Beatles in The Cavern during the early 60's and then going on to have a few sizable hits - remember Bowie's 'Sorrow'? - that's them. Unfortunately the era of Beatles-obsessed pop craftsmen was well gone by 1978 when this, their second album, was released and although LEX had a good degree of commercial success at the time, their impression in pop's rich tapestry was minimal.

However as their website shows - they are not forgotten and still have fans all over the world. Which is nice.

Anyone who likes a well-crafted pop song a la Aimee Mann, Nick Lowe or Dave Edmunds should enjoy this.

ps - i couldn't find an acceptable scan of the album cover so what you see above is an EP cover which is more or less identical to the original album cover.

John Cale - 'Music For a New Society' (1982)

Never mind John versus Paul. For some the ultimate in pop rivalries is John Vs. Lou and for me, Mr. Cale comes out on top. For these reasons - his many fine records - 'Fear', 'Paris 1919' etc., also - his production work for Patti, Nico, Stooges, Modern Lovers....

and this, perhaps his masterpiece.

Brooding, intense, scary but ultimately life-affirming this is music from the dark side of the fence - a sort-of 'Marble Index' for the 80's. Probably not for everyone - it took me years literally to get my head around it, but now I think it's one of the best albums of it's time - and it makes Depeche Mode sound like The Wurzles.

For more check out Mr. Cale's brilliant book 'What's Welsh For Zen?' - a truly great read for anyone interested in avant-garde-ism, pop music and surviving life