Sunday, May 01, 2016

Gods And Queens: Untitled (2008)

Not only is the album entitled Untitled, but every song on the record is also entitled Untitled. 1000 copies were released in three colours: purple (425 copies), orange (425 copies), and clear (150 copies). My copy is purple. Each record was bundled with a CD of all of the tracks. I guess you'd label this band as noisy hardcore. Discogs applies the terms Hardcore, Shoegazer, Indie Rock. I guess that works. The band's bandcamp page says this:

"Gods And Queens have never claimed to be re-inventing the musical wheel. The band play a noisy, melodic brand of music directly influenced by 1990′s stalwarts Unwound, Lush, or Lungfish." [source]

It's not a bad record, but I don't listen to it very often. Despite being released in limited quantities, the record is not valuable. I couldn't find any tunes on youtube.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Godley + Creme: Ismism (1981)

In this case, I will disagree with Mark Allan over at Allmusic, who wrote:

"Prone to pretension, these two English Frank Zappas revel in outright silliness on much of this album, which was also released as Snack Attack. The mix puts their voices higher than usual, highlighting some truly bent tales of munchy madness, desert skullduggery, and JFK assassins. For contrast, there's the gorgeous "Wedding Bells," a rare AM hit for the former 10cc mates. Throughout all of this, you get the nagging feeling this pair was capable of so much more." [source]

Snack Attack, on its own, makes this a five star record. Who cares about the other tracks?

"I feel like Kojak sitting in a Cadillac
I gotta eat, I gotta eat a Flapjack
a stack, a rack, a six-pack Jack
just call me Jack Kerouac
click-clack open up the hatchback
I could eat a Bubble car or a packamack
pattacake, pattacake Big Mac
good God it's a snack attack"

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Lol Creme & Kevin Godley (AKA Godley & Creme]: L (1978)

Godley & Creme's 3rd record, after leaving 10cc, is entitled L. I often wonder what inspires a band or singer to choose a title like that. In the internet age, it is difficult to search. Also, consider the anaemic New Zealand band called No. That is simply a dumb name. In any case, Mark Allan at Allmusic said this, and it hard to completely disagree with:

"Together, these two multi-instrumentalist studio freaks were the British Frank Zappa. Overwhelmed by their own cleverness, they often wasted brilliant production and gorgeous vocal harmonies on trite material. The title of this album and a song called "Sandwiches of You" offer a hint of the problem. It's impossible to feel any emotional attachment to the material because of a sense that everything these guys do is tongue in cheek. This is a thoroughly forgettable outing by two chaps capable of much more." [source]

Still, there are some interesting elements in the mix. I also love the minimalist jacket design, even though the title of the record leaves much to be desired.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Goddo: Pretty Bad Boys (1981)

Pretty Bad Boys contained a genuine big hit, the singular of the LP name: Pretty Bad Boy. I think it was a big hit, or maybe it was just locally popular. Who knows?  

Hey you good lookin' 
In the very front row
You're the kind of sweet thing
That I'd like to know
Maybe we could make eyes
After the show
Your can have it fast
You can have it slow
I guess you've figured out
What's on my Mind
After the gig
We could have a real good time
You show me yours
I'll show you mine
Bring a willing girlfriend
She can be next in line 
I'm just a pretty bad boy
I'm just a pretty bad boy
Pretty bad boys need pretty bad
pretty girls too
Ya' know what
We could go to my place if you're so inclined
Got rugs , beds, showers, lubricants
And things that bind

I ain't no Mike Mandel 
But I can read your mind
Just your eyes are screamin'

Although I have never seen Goodo live in concert, I have seen Mike Mandel perform. As I mentioned earlier, I always thought that this was the end of the line for Goddo, but the band released a CD in 1992, In 2001, they released an anniversary edition of the live record. A CD of new material was released in 2003. There was a compilation in 2008 and a new live record in 2013. I haven't heard any of that stuff.

Monday, April 25, 2016

David Bowie: ★ (Blackstar) (2016)

Look up here, I’m in heaven
I’ve got scars that can’t be seen
I’ve got drama, can’t be stolen
Everybody knows me now

Look up here, man, I’m in danger
I’ve got nothing left to lose
I’m so high it makes my brain whirl
Dropped my cell phone down below

Ain’t that just like me

By the time I got to New York
I was living like a king
Then I used up all my money
I was looking for your ass

This way or no way
You know, I’ll be free
Just like that bluebird
Now ain’t that just like me

Oh I’ll be free
Just like that bluebird
Oh I’ll be free
Ain’t that just like me

- Lazarus, David Bowie

On January 9th, I held in my hands a copy of ★ (Blackstar) on vinyl. I put it back on the rack, thinking that I would pick it up later because I had something else in my hands that I wanted to buy, though I can no longer remember what that was. The next morning, I looked at the newsfeed on Facebook. The first thing I saw was "RIP David Bowie." I really thought that one of my friends had written a short, macabre review of the new David Bowie record. However, scrolling down the page confirmed that Bowie was dead and I was stunned, absolutely stunned. After all, his new record had just been released.

Over the subsequent hours and days that followed, light was shed on the fact that Bowie had been suffering from cancer and that this record was a parting gift, a last, great piece of art. How many people get to go out like that? He turned his death into art. It's really an incredible and courageous and giving act. But, it is also profoundly sad. I've never felt so upset about a celebrity death since the murder of John Lennon.

Of course, once Bowie died, finding a copy of this record on vinyl or CD was impossible. I had to wait for a repressing, which I finally obtained. I have been listening to it and I really like it, but listening to this record is a profoundly saddening experience. Although I have had a copy for weeks now, it has take me some time to write something about it.

I felt the same loss when Lou Reed died. I heard about his liver transplant, but I still hoped for a new record. I felt that some of his later records were among his strongest: Ecstasy, Set the Twilight Reeling, but not The Raven (well, maybe parts of it). Also, Lulu confounded me, but I will admit that parts of it work. Suddenly, he was gone, like the friends Reed memorialized in Magic and Loss.

But, back to Bowie. The Next Day was a welcome surprise, after Bowie's ten-year absence. When I heard about the new record, I thought that we all could look forward to several fabulous more Bowie records. This is not to be the case, sadly. It's extra sad because I loved the later Bowie output. Many Bowie "fans" were never really fond of his later period, but I loved in all. I really liked Earthling, Hours, Heathen, Reality, and, especially, Outside. I wasted Bowie to keep making records.

I consider myself lucky for having seen Bowie in concert during the Earthling tour in Toronto in a small venue. We saw the David Bowie Is exhibit in Toronto when it came through. That was also really interesting.

By the way, I watched part of Lady Gaga's Grammy's "tribute" to Bowie on Youtube. What a train wreck that was. It was simply horrible and I switched it off after about 2 minutes. To begin with, I really hate melodies. But, more importantly, I think she was the wrong person to do a tribute. I just do not see how anyone could imagine that these two singers have anything in common, despite the theatrical elements. Lady Gaga's music, to my ears is, frankly, awful.

Bowie was one of my favourite musicians. He will be missed.

I wrote everything above some time ago, but I delayed in posting is. I think I wasn't entirely comfortable writing about his death. And then, Prince died last week, and we are going through this all over again.  Now I worry about all of my favourite aging rock stars, like Leonard Cohen, Bob, Dylan, Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, the remaining Beatles, Stones, and Zeppelin, etc. An entire generation of music will pass away in the next ten to fifteen years. But, Prince was way too young.

Goddo: Lighve: Best Seat in the House (1981)

The cover and title are perhaps a tad misogynistic, but it was the early 1980s. I guess we can forgive them for that. This is a really solid double live (or lighve) record. Here's more from the CITY TV broadcast. Goddo records are not hard to find, and they should be priced at under $10 each.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Goddo: An Act of Goddo (1979)

This record is probably as good as the first record, but maybe not quite as good as the second. It sounds like a Goddo record, with lots of big sounds and solos. The most well known track on this record is the infectious So Walk On.

Here's a clip some youtuber has posted from that CITY TV and CHUM FM simulcast I mentioned earlier. You get a good sense of what these guys were all about. They should have been more famous.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Goddo: Who Cares (1978)

This record is entitled Who Cares, I guess. If you read all of the text on the cover, the real title might be:  If Indeed It's Lonely At The Top WHO CARES It's Lonely At The Bottom Too! I mean, that's what is printed on the jacket, but others just refer to it simply as Who Cares, without a question mark.

Once again, it was released only in Canada. I suppose it can be hard to make it in the music business if your records aren't being released in the USA.

I'd argue that this record is better than the first. So many bands or singers have a hard time with the second record, but not in this case. Cock On is probably the most recognizable track. I also really like Sweet Thing and Oh Carole (Kiss My Whip), a sexual tribute to Carole Pope of Rough Trade. Oddly (and this will come up much later), Carole Pope was apparently the world's first openly-lesbian singer, so it's odd that Godovitz would sing about her in a very heterosexual way. But, as a adolescent, she did something for me, but more on that later.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Goddo: Goddo (1977)

If you were asked to name a Canadian power trio, you would probably come up with Rush, or maybe even Triumph, before Goddo. There's nothing wrong with that. Rush is far better known. On the other hand, Goddo was relatively unknown, especially outside of Canada, and that's too bad.

I was surprised to learn that Goddo had any history after the early 1980s, According to the band's webpage, they were around longer: In 1983, "[a]fter years of touring, the band collapsed under the weight of its own excesses and debt. A five piece reconfiguration called GODO later emerged with Godovitz leading the brigade through the mid-80s." The band released some stuff in the 90s and  2000s. I had no idea and I haven't heard any of it.

The band took its name from front-man Greg Godovitz. I was never sure if this was a good name or not, but after a while, one loses the ability to judge a name that one has gotten used to. Just think of all the crazy band names that we have become accustomed to. You know, like Scraping Foetus Off The Wheel or the Dead Kennedy's.

I have a particularly strong memory of watching a Goddo concert on one of those CITY TV and CHUM FM simulcasts. I also watched Rough Trade and Max Webster, and I think others. Since it was difficult to see many concerts in my small hometown, this was really cool. The instructions were to place your stereo speakers on either side of your TV. The music was then broadcast in stereo over 104.5 CHUM FM and the video from CITY TV, which I think was channel 79 at the time. So, you just had to turn up the stereo and turn down the TV, and you were set. But, in our case, we had one of those stereo cabinets, so the speakers could not be moved without great difficulty. Still, it worked well enough.

Anyway, the first record is a solid rock LP. It has some classic Goddo tunes like Under My Hat, The Bus Driver Blues, Drive me Crazy, etc.

As far as I know, this record was released only in Canada, first on LP and later on CD.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Glove: Blue Sunshine (1983)

Steven Severin (of Siouxsie and the Banshees) joined up with Robert Smith (of the Cure) and vocalist Jeanette Landray. As a big fan of both the Cure and Siouxsie and the Banshees, I had to have this.
Landray sings all but two of the tracks, something I didn't realize when I purchased the record. The Glove recorded one LP only, Blue Sunshine. For some reason, this album didn't make a big mark and it seems to have faded into obscurity, but It was re-released on heavyweight vinyl in 2013. I have the first UK pressing. 

Monday, April 18, 2016

Philip Glass: Songs From Liquid Days (1986)

I have a large collection of Philip Glass CDs, but not much on vinyl. This record is a strange electronic, classical pop record. The list of collaborators is long and interesting, and includes: Paul Simon, Suzanne Vega, The Kronos Quartet, Linda Ronstadt, The Roches, David Byrne, and Laurie Anderson. If you like Mr. Glass, you will probably like this. If not, it might be a listening challenge.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Genesis: Invisible Touch (1986)

It's easy to see why some people feel that this record is really a Phil Collins solo record masquerading as a Genesis record. I have to say that this is the weakest of the Genesis records, though I have never heard We Can't Dance or ...Calling All Stations. On the other other hand, there are still some interesting Genesis moments, like part 2 of Domino. I'll also admit to liking Land of Confusion, which is a political song. That might have been a first for the band. I don't hate Tonight, Tonight, Tonight or The Brazilian, which is something.

However, the title track, Invisible Touch, is really insipid as is In Too Deep and Throwing it All Away. For me, this was the end of the line for Genesis.

This record was 6x platinum in the US. How can that be? Well, my sister's ex-boyfriend bought a copy at full price. I paid $1 for my copy.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Genesis: Mama (1983)

The flipside to Mama (Long Version) on this Canadian 12" single is It's Gonna Get Better (Long Version). No one needs a long version of that track. The long version of Mama is not bad, though.

Genesis: Genesis (1983)

Back in high school, some of my friends were absolutely enamoured with the track Mama. In fact, at a school dance, they tried to get as many people as possible to request that the DJ play that song. The replied by saying that no one would dance to it. But, after a couple of dozen requests, the DJ relented.

To me, this is a schizophrenic record. It has some really commercial moments, like That's All, which really is a nice snappy little tune. Illegal Alien is simply offensive to any Genesis fan. And, if I were Mexican, I think I would be pissed off at the moustaches, the references to tequila, and the hangover. In other words, it brings in a whole bunch of Mexican stereotypes. What's worse is that Phil Collins sings in a pseudo-Mexican accent. This is a case where the band seems to have lost its way. I suppose one might be able to argue that while the track might come across as racist, that may not have been the intent, but the execution is definitely problematic. In any case, I think it's a lesser Genesis song.

I am also not a fan of Takin' It All Too Hard or It's Gonna Get Better. They are rather anaemic. Just a Job to Do is OK but not great. On the plus side, there are some good moments, like Silver Rainbow, Home by the Sea and Second Home by the Sea. And, I don't mind Mama.

But, back to the school dance. No one danced to that song when the DJ finally put on the record. I mean, how could you? The DJ abandoned the track less than halfway through and put on some unmemorable top 40 track that I cannot remember.