But considering that Seger hails from the Detroit area - Dearborn to be exact - it's pretty safe to figure that his work from the '60s has at least a passing similarity to other groups from the time. The Bob Seger System isn't the Stooges or the MC5 - he probably wasn't capable of such musicality - but what his band was able to do easily matches some of the Nuggets groups that people care about. That might not be the most glowing evaluation, but the Bob Seger System was more than a capable '60s rock act that touched on psych - just a bit - and foreshadowed Seger's future as a cheese ball '80s rock dude.
While Cleveland often enough gets a bad rap, there are now innumerable opportunities for unique avenues of expressions. Not so thirty years ago. When Pere Ubu began, they presaged post-punk, which seems ridiculous considering that in 1975 the tag punk didn’t really resonate yet. Even beyond that, the relative isolation of original music in Cleveland seems to have given rise to something that couldn’t necessarily have been attained in NYC.
A few cliques of bands have been able to avoid this particular modern musical trapping. But not too many. Out of Athens, Ga during the ‘90s the Elephant Six folks really were able to remain rather human during their rise to indie acclaim. That’s probably not the last instance of such personas, but considering the new agish Dark Meat has been making the rounds with Indian head gear and war whoops of jazz abandon, it only makes sense that some other folks would have, by now, figured out how to walk in similarly warn tracks.
I finished work (with a sixteen year old who may soon be visiting a stripper pole near you) and mounted, yes mounted my bike for the treacherous ride through many a suburb to the most worthless and decrepit bar on the east side of Cleveland - maybe even the MidWest. Since I had to work, I understood that my trip, via bicycle, would steal time from the enjoyment of the “musicians” I was to see. So be it. I knew I didn’t care about Chaotic Alliance (kids from Clevo) or the latest spiky haired punk bands to come through: Monster Squad and Cropknox. I figured the Krays would be taking the stage last, since not only had they been around the longest, they were one of the few punk bands still playing at the time that weren’t in need of instrument theft (others included US Bombs, The Stitches, The Briefs and The Clorox Girls).
It’s bizarre that at this juncture of the internets development, folks can make a living – or at least draw some income – by posting all too brief comments on new albums, toys or clothing. But folks don’t enjoy reading the way in which they once did. Sad. But in the past, the funk tracks posted have touched on some cheesy ‘70s pseudo soul and even a Cannonball Adderly track which was pretty much some jazz spiced up with a funky back beat. A few days ago though, TSS gave us “Trespasser” from a group called Bad Medicine.
I haven’t listened to Hungry Krauts, Daddy! in a while, but I recall being pretty unimpressed by its lack of consistency. And even though it’s just a comp, if these three discs were compressed and offered as a single album comp, it may have turned out a bit better. Having come to this series in an out of order manner may not have helped my perception. But from even a cursory listen, this first volume of the disc offers more of an even selection.
I got an email from the band, the Knife, the other morning. If you don’t know them, they’re a Swedish electro pop group, with a penchant for the artier side, and whose albums have been getting progressively darker. Recently, one half of the outfit, Karin Dreijer Andersson, left the group to branch out and form a solo project as Fever Ray. The resulting album is tremendous, a slow burning, high intensity success. It sounds a lot like the Knife. If you haven’t already, I’d urge you to give it a listen.
Anyway, this isn’t what I wanted to talk about. What the email said was this:
Tomorrow, in a year - A Darwin opera
The recent mystic and confusing love affair with all things lo-fi should be confusing to those that have for a long time been into shitty punk, pop and garage bands. The tag that some of these groups have found themselves working with doesn’t necessarily please ‘em. But the press needs some way to figure everything. And the fact that Jay Reatard has been lumped into all of this is even more disconcerting. But Blank Dogs – nee Mike Sniper – is one of these folks. And regardless of how much work he’s released over the last few years, I’m gonna say that his greatest contribution to underground rock music is releasing a disc by the Beets.
One of the labels first discs comes in the form of Wet Cookies’ Soul Protection. With the group counting a Noisepusher alum, the disc should be expected to traffic in electronic based, dub influenced dance music. That’s not an apt summation – but close. The level of cheese found on Noisepusher albums – one which included a version of “Kung Fu Fighting” – shifts over to this disc as well.
Easily overshadowed by his cousin, Max Ochs still possessed more musical talent than most who were given an opportunity to record music during the 1960s. Having only a slight back-log of tracks two that are counted on a Takoma compilation that alongside Fahey and others helped define American Primitive Guitar, Ochs has been only an occasionally active player since the folk revival. But with the emergence of Tompkins Square Records as an outlet for new and old acoustic works, Ochs has been given another chance to impact music.