Sunday, January 29, 2012

Throbbing Amateurs


After losing out on the greatest record ever to come out of the booming metropolis of Laurel, MS. recently (AND costing a friend a hundred or so bucks in the process), I decided I would console myself within the arms of another pack of local losers from the Magnolia State.

I originally bought this record for the name alone thinking it might be a Johnny Rebel-style ummm, 'novelty' single (the A-side's song-title doing much to increase my hopes). Turns out, there's not a hint of racial prejudice to be found. Little to no competency either.

What is this record even supposed to be? Are they intentionally trying to be funky? Why are they singing like that? What year is this from? Is this a song about drugs or girls? Typically, the Rebel Band's lone (?) effort ask many more questions than it could ever hope to answer (a drum solo too???). To confound things even further, the b-side is some velvet moaning about a lost antebellum past or some shit that is way too close to the Marshall Tucker Band for my liking. All that is sure is these Rebs recorded at Malaco in Jackson and hailed from the hometown of fictional show-girl Blanche DuBois.

At the end of the day, the truth may never be known, which allows The Rebel Band to pass seamlessly into the speculative beer-belly ranks of accidental bar-band loser-geniuses alongside the likes of Fat Bruce and Smokehouse. Enjoy?


Sunday, January 15, 2012

Pure Guap For Now People

DESPERATE ANGEL, ‘SHAKE YOU DOWN’ b/w ‘THAT IS ALL’ (December Records, 1978)

This one’s dedicated to my favorite Tucson Tostito; for not only turning me on to this record’s existence, but also for still speaking to me after I made a spectacle of myself at his wedding*. …and who is now (I’m told) a full-time, graduated so-and-so, so let’s hear it from the tree-tops for my main tofurkey T-top! Love ya, Muff Rocker!

Doing their best to look like Mick ‘n’ Keef on the cover, whilst doing their utmost to sound like Starz or Artful Dodger in the grooves, the ATL’s Desperate Angel, minus the inseminating influence of the nascent new wave, would likely have been just another bunch of opening act AOR satin dolls; appetizing after-thoughts before the inevitable BTO/REO denim buffet. However, if the DA’s weren’t exactly hep to Seditionaries high chic or the dress code at La Mere Vipere, they certainly were on-time and up to date (enough) for Greg Shaw’s prophesied late 70s pop revival.

And yes, before you soil your signed, stamped Exploding Hearts bed-spread (number 1 of 50!), I realize that most people don’t think of mainstream melodic 70s hard rock as conforming to the skinny-tie strictures of what today we know as power pop. …which is unfortunate, as schlock groups like Starz, Piper, Rex or even The Babys have a helluva lot more to do with a workable post-Raspberries aesthetic than dross like the Fast Cars or the Pointed Sticks. Only one of dozens of examples of the draw-backs of a punk education (others being Crass and the entire recorded output of the city of Portland, Oregon).

But enough of my usual screed…

The sound of Desperate Angel, like fellow peach-state poseurs XYZ, represents the new wave or new direction taken by handfuls of mainstream rock groups from 1975 until the end of the decade (when the synths get too heavy for my taste). Following in the boot-steps pioneered by KISS, Cheap Trick, and, yeah, probably Boston and Aerosmith too, groups like Desperate Angel – to quote The Shaw – naively flirt with the power pop style in such casual, shamelessly commercial fashion that – despite utterly stiffing upon release – sound fresh and dynamic today in ways that groups like the Merton Parkas or Modernettes simply cannot; flash-frozen as they are forever in the polka dot/striped shirt freezer-section of a failed hype-market. It should also be recalled that despite the perms and big collars, one of the most common tags initially affixed to groups like Desperate Angel by writers of the time was Punk Rock (and some – like the Babys and KISS – even had the bubblegum trading cards to prove it). Also, just to needlessly muddy the waters further for those un-read-up-on-their-power-pop-read-ups, who checks in at #10 on BOMP!’s All-Time Top Power Pop Records list ahead of Generation X: none other than Scandinavian freakbeat giants, ABBA! But that’s a tale for another time.

So enjoy the shake und shred unt Desperate Angel as I speculate upon whether or not the weight of my digital imprimatur will now cause this single to trade for $250 or up. Here’s hoping!



*If you see a pattern developing here with me and weddings, move ahead three spaces.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Gettin' Jiggsy


For my last blog post of the year I figured I would cave to mounting pressure and give the people – all three of them who commented – what they wanted: MORE FROM NEW JERSEY’S OWN TERRY HUGHES!

As of this writing, more of the mystery surrounding Mr. Hughes continues to be deciphered and filled-in. At WFMU this year, Justin Collectorscum – in between my marathon of downing beers – clued me into to the fact that Terry was once the guitarist in lo-fi/art/punk/whatever-the-fuck-cause-I-haven’t-heard-it-yet supa-group Jigs & the Pigs. So I guess that’s worth something to someone; maybe even me if someone can hook up some mp3s.

Now how one goes from that – whatever that is – to earnestly worshipping at the altar of Jagger & Johnny one minute to Atlantic City house-rocking the next is anyone’s guess, but Terry does it here with great power pop aplomb backed by The Backyard Party who apparently were all ex Jigs as well as whoever else was in the bar or studio that night; Terry takes great pains to thank everyone who showed up for dollar beer night on the back sleeve including ‘what’s her name,’ ‘that girl from Atlantic City’ and the dog (now likely deceased R.I.P.).

Of the two cuts, ‘Hey Leo’ is unfuckwittable with its power chords and brevity. I also am assuming that that must be Leo that Terry (in the shades, striped shirt and Richard Hell-ish frown) is pointing to on the cover. The b-side is good too, if a bit more vulnerable and endearing and, for whatever reason, that doesn’t work as well for me. …especially given Terry’s third single where he throws love and affection straight out the window in favor of full-on Jabbers-style date-baiting.

If Bruce Springsteen’s Cadillac motors on melted-down Crystals’ records then Terry Hughes’ El Camino runs on jello-shots and your girlfriend’s bar-tab. Have at it T.H. and may I echo your feelings as to the origins of Leo’s haberdashery. HEY LEO WHERE’D YOU GET THE HAT!