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Sunday, October 21, 2012



Alex Cuba
Ruido En Al Sistems (Caracol) :: Isolationist unilingual clod that I am, the only foreign language records I’ve ever owned are David Lee Roth’s Sonrisa Salvaje and Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Music—which explains why I thought that Ruido En Al Sistems meant “Al’s Sister Is Rude” until I saw the added album cover translation which said: “Static In The System.” So I have absolutely no idea what Alex is singing about on these fourteen tracks; heck, he could be going on about cubaña be migrant farm workers or cubaña bop Juan Valdez for all I know.

But what I do know is that he’s got a pleasing enough voice that certainly knows its way around a catchy melody. Sure it’s mostly easy listening music, but since that’s what the whole history of pop music is pretty much predicated on, it’s no hangin’ matter—and it certainly ain’t no capitol crime neither given that Ruido En Al Sistems has more than enough up tempo toe-tappers to keep your ears perked and prevent you from nodding off into an unscheduled zzzzzzzzziesta.

The Great Pretender (Eagle Vision) :: Sometimes when I’m under deep regression hypnosis, I can still dimly recall the fateful childhood day when I was forever lured away. It occurred one afternoon in the early ’60s. I was in the kitchen using an acetylene blowtorch to melt away the plastic face of one of my G.I. Joes and turn him into Christopher Lee in The Curse Of Frankenstein when I glanced into the living room at the black and white television just in time to see Mike Douglas introduce Liberace, who proceeded to jauntily introduce his first song at the candelabraed piano by cracking one of his trademarked mink-lined megawatt smiles and slyly saying: “Here’s a little ditty I picked up in Chicago...”

Well, after that forced exposure, it didn’t take long before my entire life became one long lurid lavender descent into a nocturnal Nether Nether Land of Andy Warhol movies; After Dark magazines; and, yes, Freddie Mercury solo albums.

You literally had to be there or be square but, if you weren’t, then this brand spanking new feature-length Eagle Vision biography about rock ’n’ roll’s Crown Prince Of Mince will have to suffice as a suitably sordid substitute for those golden glory hole years of glorious wretched excess.

Of course it’s no secret that clean-shaven long-haired Freddie was a notoriously stingy interviewee, which is why the extensive extended television footage of hirsute chain-smoking Freddie being interviewed about his Mr. Bad Guy and Barcelona recording projects are a fascinating rare visual treat to behold—but not nearly as fascinating as watching how many times Freddie compulsively licks his Chiclet choppers after uttering each and every breathless sentence. I lost count after 537 but maybe you’ll do better.

Anyway, splice in some contemporary interviews by ye olde Queen crew and you’ve got an essential addition to any mauve maven’s alternative lifestyle library. Bonus points for including candid footage of Freddie smooching one of his mustachioed Mustafa boyfriends in a crowded psychedelic discothèque—now that’s entertainment!

– “Let Me Entertain You” (Elektra) :: Exactly!

Be seeing you!

Sun, October 21, 2012 | link 

Sunday, October 14, 2012



The Tragically Hip
Now For Plan A (ZOË) :: From the Foxx-less Ultravox! and the Scott-less AC/DC to the Hague-less Van Halen and the Gabe-less Genesis, rock ’n’ roll has been riddled with reams of bands who bravely tried to carry on with other voices after their lead singer did the mung fade, including the Hunter-less Mott The Hoople (Carry On) and the Jimbo-less Doors (Other Voices).

Well, now you can add the Hip to that replacement roll call. And while it’s a shock to hear a new singer replace old what’s-his-name, it only takes a few tracks before the new pipes settle in for a comfortable fit with nary an auditory leak to snag your attention. Which means that the Hip now have a heretofore unrealized expressive new heft that actually manages to transcend the basic rock template and—

What’s that you say? They didn’t change their lead singer? It’s still the same guy who wailed away on such classics as “Fifty Mission Cap” and “At The Hundredth Meridian”? Well, whaddya know? I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks after all!

Van Morrison
No Plan B (Blue Note) :: Exactly!

Life (Alive) :: Now I know that this is supposed to be a cuss word free, family-friendly column—especially for alla you impressionable young fillies—and I know that golden rule got reamed when I reviewed Howard Chaykin’s iconoclastic art anthology a while back. But I also know that when a suave and storied bluesman opens his new album by drawlin’ to the nit-pickin’ studio technos: “Can’t be happy on every fucking thing,” I just has to quote the man ’cause that there’s an axiom worth remembering—and you’ll be remembering Mr. Williams ’cause he’s whipped out the best authoritative album I’ve heard this year since T-Model Ford’s Taledragger came flying off the flivver assembly line.

Even better, Life is the blowsy blooze album that Iggy Pop has always wanted to record and dang near came close to waxing on several occasions—and don’t laugh: just like the Igg at his elucidatory educatin’ best, Mr. Williams’ lyrics dispense minimal jewels of wisdom and are backed up with a slow-drippin’ vocal delivery that’s as thick as molasses and is guaranteed to stick to the roof of your brain twice as long before it comes loose.

And speaking of loose comers, Mr. Williams is backed by a buncha soul-stealin’ Delta-dealin’ young snots who don’t take no sonic shee-it from nobody ’ceptin’ of course Mr. Williams who could kick each one of their collective heinies into the middle of next week without even scuffing the toe of one of his patent-leather shoes.

Then again, what else would you expect from a man who’s got the brass sassafras to rhyme “wanna” with “Obama”? Why, not since George Harrison dared to rhyme “visas” with “Jesus” and Bob Dylan dared to rhyme “stir” with “triple mur-der” have I heard such unrivalled poetry!

Be seeing you!

Sun, October 14, 2012 | link 

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