Saturday, April 30, 2016

Love Has Left the Building


The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes” or as the case be, Prince. The world mourns the passing of music's second most enigmatic celebrity (surpassed only by Jacko) He was totally fucking cool and bad exaggerated foppish mini-pimp decked out in puffy sleeves and every shade of purple imaginable. I gotta say though, I was never a huge fan. As for his status as musical genius, lest we forget, the Love Symbol formerly known as Prince, followed up “Purple Rain” (a trite, quasi-biographical musical, chock full-o- drama for yo' mama and bad acting) with the much maligned “Under the Cherry Moon” (a self indulgent, pretentious clunker, filmed in black & white, no less)

Prince Rogers Nelson was a revolutionary figure in music (less so in film) and his first five albums alone would have secured him a place in the annals of American music. “Purple Rain” however was what ultimately transformed Prince from a cult favorite into an unstoppable musical force. Burning him deep onto the psyche of music lovers worldwide. “Purple Rain” struck a nerve but after “Under the Cherry Moon” he was dishing out mediocrity as an entrée. Not that Prince wasn't on his game. He wrote chart busters for himself and others, boosting the careers of a handful of artists. (Nothing Compares 2 U by Sinéad O'Connor being the most memorable)

Prince's performance at Super Bowl XLI in 2007 was electrifying. (the bar for halftime entertainment having been set quite low..... Up With People, Tops in Blue, Aerosmith, the Janet Jackson / Justin Timberlake wardrobe malfunction) Opening with a thunderous refrain from Queen's “We Will Rock You” under storm clouds, then seguing into a muscular arena rock take on “Let's Go Crazy” The crowd rushed the love symbol stage platform in a scripted frenzy. Prince effortlessly worked in covers of Proud Mary, All Along the Watch Tower and The Foo Fighters' Best of You before closing with a rousing version of Purple Rain complete with audience sing-a-long. Shine on you crazy diamond.

It's rumored that he left enough recorded music behind to release an album per year through the foreseeable future. Here's hoping that's nothing more than wishful thinking. Prince released at least 39 albums while alive, few of those albums are still compelling. While prolific, Prince Rogers was also the king of indulgent doodling. I'd hasten to bet that hundreds of hours spent hunkered down at Paisley Park (an unyielding big box monolith jotting out of the prairie in Chanhassen, MN.) didn't necessarily result in a treasure trove of killer tunes. The Prince is dead and the lesson we should all come away with is simply this; Prayer has few if any medicinal properties. If you're deathly ill... go see a doctor.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Dirt City Chronicles podcast episode 36

Yo!, Dirt City Chronicles, trawling (some might say trolling) the internet for music. Back with yet another edition of the only podcast dedicated to local (Albuquerque/New Mexico) music on the interwebs. Don't be fooled by imitations or knock-offs, this is the real thang. An uninitiated listener might consider the local music scene a shallow sea to fish from.... they would be wrong. If you take all 35 previous podcast episodes (this being #36 with #37 queued up) that's well over 37 hours of local music. It wouldn't be that much of a stretch to build a 48 hour plus playlist of nothing but local music with a negligible number of repeats. That's a playlist rotation on par with that of let's say..... Beatlerama, the all Beatles online radio station.

Disclaimer: I snipped and (or) padded some tracks in order to keep this playlist under 60 minutes. Some podcast episodes have clocked in at well over an hour. This resulted in YouTube advising me to trim 'em down in order to keep folks tuned in. An hour plus is asking too much, tune in, tune out... I get it. For $50 Facebook will boost my page allowing me to reach more people in the United States. No guarantees though and I have no idea how much of a bang you get for your bucks. Either way, for a non-revenue producing, labor of love venture.... any amount of money poured results in no return. That's money better spent making a dispensary run or buying tracks/albums online in support of local musicians.

Being liked gives me a sense of enormous well being. In order to drum up more likes, I did kick around the idea of emulating R. Stevie Moore's cassette club with a Dirt City Chronicles cd-r club, what with all those surplus cd-r packages gathering dust on my shelves. However, the cost of shipping nipped that idea in the bud. For those not familiar with R. Stevie Moore, he got his start in the mid-1970s by offering cassette only releases of his music by subscription. I once sent away for a “free”catalog from Floyd's Record Shop in Ville Platte, La. A process which required my mailing them a few postage stamps and a self addressed envelope. I could go that route, but seriously who out there still spins cds?

One Track Mind and Track Marks on His Arm

Few local bands of late have gained as much notoriety as Glitter Dick. Their Tom of Finland inspired record release flyer in 2012, was described by the Weekly Alibi as “borderline pornographic” it caused one UNM student to lose his shit, grousing that “the image caused him to lose his appetite” Deemed tasteless and pornographic by the administration, the flyer was banned from campus. Glitter Dick followed up with a poster featuring Tom of Finland, Robert Mapplethorpe and a few other artists.... which didn't help matters any. Posted around the UNM campus, they were quickly torn down, though the administration denying having anything to do with their removal.

In 2013, Glitter Dick then appeared on the syndicated court-tv show, “Judge Mathis” under the pretense of lead singer Kendoll Killjoy suing guitarist Magnum P. Nye. The band would later reveal that the television appearance was nothing more than a creative way of funding their debut album “Sparkling Richard” The video of that particular episode has since been pulled from YouTube. Johnny Wilson (The Gamits) conducted an interview with the band for his website “For the Love of Punk” he tried in vain to pry the details from Killjoy and bassist Dee Dee Ramen (Kenta Henmi) Ramen cut him off, advising Wilson that his wife is a lawyer while tossing in a curt “Don't Worry About It” True, she's a partner in the law firm of Maruchan, Ramen & Noodles.

Just when the whole Glitter Dick experience couldn't get anymore trite, lead singer Kendal Fortson aka Kendoll Killjoy turned up missing. The situation was serious enough that the band put out an all points bulletin asking fans to keep an eye out for their missing singer. Fortson, who had been booted from Stabbed in the Back prior to the formation of Glitter Dick eventually turned up, though his band mate were none too happy. Magnum P. Nye posting on FB: “Let's go ahead and call the search off and let this fun boy continue his quest for god/meaning of life/hamdingers/cocks/bat boy/the 4th hole/Ray Bolger or whatever it is he's doing now” he closed by adding “It's been real. Magnum P. Nye - signing off for good” Ray Bolger?

Kendal Fortson released a statement of his own: “Having nothing left in Albuquerque, I had decided it was time to move on and thought 'sneaking away in the night' would be a possibility” Amazingly, Glitter Dick was set to play at Edge Fest, on a bill that included The Killers, Cake, Bad Religion and Minus the Bear (a band that included Santa Fe's own Alex Rose) An opportunity kissed off due to Kendoll's ill timed walkabout. Magnum P. Nye now fronts The Russian Girlfriends, an onerous local band that partakes of the sacrament at the Church of The Boss. You know how Dread Zeppelin was once a Led Zeppelin parody band and now they play it straight. Well I'm not sure if Russian Girlfriends are seriously aping Springsteen, a Springsteen tribute band or just a Springsteen parody band.... Note to self: Suzi de Sade, drummer for Glitter Dick served in the same capacity with The Teenage Werewolves.

If music be the food of love, play on

Get Action! play what they refer to as “burrito rock” others may slap them with whatever tag they please... but that works for me. These veterans of 'Burque's music wars take their name from the second album released by those wacky, incomprehensible Japanese punks, Teengenerate. It all makes sense once the needle drops. Scott Brown, Bill Bunting, Ashley Floyd, Ben Levine and Zac Webb cut their teeth with some solid local bands: The Gracchi, Ten Seconds to Liftoff, The Foxx and Scared of Chaka. You know them and they know what you like, crackling garage rock, vented without inhibitions or mercy. Check 'em out May 7th at The Launchpad (w/ Russian Girlfriends) and June 24th at Burt's Tiki Lounge (w/ Dying Beds, Weedrat & Alien Space Kitchen)

Kewl (that's how you spell it nowadays) cover of Tommy James' “Crimson and Clover” from Steve Hammond. He's simply the best Kansas has sent us since Gen. Kearney planted the stars and bars in the Santa Fe plaza. Steve's version of that epic classic comes via Lorchestral Recording Company's “Cover of the Month Series” featuring covers of Miles Davis, Wire, Melvins, Hank Williams, They Might Be Giants, Beach Boys, Kinks and others. Steve Hammond really needs no introduction around these here parts, seeing how he's the man behind Leeches of Lore, not to mention his work in Retard Slave, Tenderizor, Knife City, Filthy Jim, Black Ale Sinners. The man has an extensive catalog to back up my glowing attaboys. Don't take my word, see for yo'self.

I'm not even sure if the Teenage Werewolves “Your Cure for the Cramps” are still active. Though touted as a Cramps tribute band, their live shows went beyond that. The Wolves were (are) fronted by Los Angeles based singer, songwriter, sound engineer, music producer..... Jack Atlantis (the Show) who “has worked in practically every genre of music from 'Qawwali Pakistan Punjabi' to 'Greek Punk Rock” (i.e. The Barb Wire Dolls, who set up shop in Deming, N.M. for a few months back in 2012) Jack produced their breakout single “Revolution” You may just recognize one of the Werewolves as none other than the hardest working man in rock & roll: Billy Miles Brooke (Tragic Romance, The Dirty Novels, Pan!c, Loving the Alien and so much more)

Albuquerque's legendary garage rock combo, The Drags clock in with two tracks of their own and I've also included a cover version of “My Girlfriend's in The FBI” by New Kind of Mambo, a Portuguese duo who sing in English and copped their name from a single by Big Maybelle. How do you like them apples? Given their extensive discography and worldwide acclaim, I must admit that I've sorta taken The Drags for granted (same with The Eyeliners) Not anymore. I recently delved deep into their catalog and fuck me, I love this band, and to think.... I still have a copy of “Dragsploitation...Now! that I've maybe played twice. Charging from the bass knives to the treble, Dirt City Chronicles, keep those cards and letters coming in... all suggestions are welcomed and duly ignored. We're done here, peace out homies.

Instantly Recognizable ~ Get Action
Audiophile ~ Glitter Dick
Monday Night Raw ~ Weedrat
Psycho Punk ~ The Dying Beds
Crimson and Clover ~ Steve Hammond
Cars ~ Bring Back Dad
Surfin' Dead ~ Teenage Werewolves
I Like to Die ~ The Drags
Johnny T's O.D. ~ Glitter Dick
Lucky Boy ~ Alien Space Kitchen
The Scratch ~ Mother Queen Death
Why ~ Red Light Cameras
Life is a Gift ~ Colin Robinson
BTSD ~ Klondykes
Ghost ~ Weedrat
Quitter ~ The Talking Hours
My Girlfriend's in The FBI ~ New Kind of Mambo (Drags cover)
Except You ~ Get Action
Tastes Like Poison ~ The Drags