Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Week In Review: And The Circus Leaves Town, Pere Ubu

And so, another Caucus has come and gone.  The logic of seeing countless, endless political bullshit commercials, unknown phone numbers hanging up and not leaving messages about their wonderful Koch sucker promising bigger and better things, and the Trump letters going into the garbage bin and back the local landfall are gone, which means we're spared of seeing anymore political bullshit adds for about three weeks.  In the end, Hillary and Bernie ended up in a tie, although Ms. Clinton claimed victory in 6 straight coin flips and rigged a few caucus places along the way.  For all the grandstanding and great thinking of Donald Trump, he came in second behind Xenophobic spick Rafael Cruz, or Ted, but in my book Rafael will be his due name.  Lesser of the evils Marco Rubio came in a close third.  In the meanwhile, Martin O'Malley, a distant third in the Democratic race decided to hang it up.  He really couldn't compete with the Hilary money making machine, he did have some great ideas but he was kept in the dark most of the time.  Also Rand Paul and Mike the Hack Huckabee dropped out of the race, the former Arkansas slum lord, who did win the Caucus in 2008 I think (or 2012, Rick Santorium won the other and was barely a blip on the screen).   Which if you look at the whole picture is that whoever wins the GOP Iowa nod is basically the kiss of death, which one hopes will be the fate for Rafael Cruz, which rhymes with douche.  Donald Trump is a blowhard, but Cruz is more dangerous and if he becomes POTUS, this world will not be for long and the USA can be qualified as a third world country.  After all, the stay at home vote in the 2014 elections are cause for the do nothings that are in Congress.  But if you look at the whole picture, the Iowa Caucuses are worthless, since Iowa is not a primary.  The only thing good is that sometimes Iowans can weed out the worthless, such as Mike Huckabee who didn't show up last week at a music gig.  But then again, we'll be stuck with Rafael Cruz ready to carpet bomb ISIS and go after poor people on welfare, but turning a blind eye to the Corporate Lawyers and Career Politicians who are robbing us taxpayers blind.

While I have no time to spare to hear the latest garbage that is Bro Country or poor grammar rap pop, the latest scour on the horizon is some white boy wanna be black hack known as Kane Brown.  In this wasted era of pretending of country being the new rap and rock has fallen upon these deaf ears and is best to be left to the generation 30 or under.  The dudes behind Farce The Music have done a great job in exposing hacks like Kane Brown or Sam Hunt, Florida Georgia Line and even made a decade long jabbing at Gary Levox of Rascal Flatts.  It's bad enough to shake my head and change the channel every GAC video I see of some backward baseball hat wearing fool driving pickup trucks and chasing scantly clad 16 year olds.  But alas, this type of shitty music is here to stay;  I chose to ignore it and leave it to Farce The Music to let people know about how awful this so called country music really is.

Another music death:  Jon Bunch, singer of Sense Field died, he was 45.  He may have chosen to end his life.  Also the passing of Jimmy Bain was revealed he had lung cancer, he died last week at age 68.

Joe Dowell, pop singer who had a hit with Wooden Heart for Smash Records in 1961 passed away from a heart attack Thursday (the 4th)  He was 76.

Joe Alaskey, the voice over for Looney Tunes and Bugs Bunny passed away at age 63.  He can be heard as the voice over for Foghorn Leghorn and Yosemite Sam in Who Framed Roger Rabbit as well.  Another cancer victim: 

Maurice White, the leader of Earth, Wind And Fire died Thursday (the 4th) after a lengthy battle with Parkinson's Disease, he was 74.  White started years ago as house drummer for Chess Records as well, playing drums behind Billy Stewart's 1966 hit Summertime.  EWF was originally signed to Warner Brothers but their major hits were on Columbia with That's The Way Of The World, Shining Star and the 1973 hit Evil.

57 years ago, you all know too well about that ill fated plane ride that took Buddy Holly, J P Richardson and Richie Valens into the Great Beyond. Dion was part of that ridiculous Rock and Roll Winter Party From Hell that some shit head promoter decided to zig zag these guys going to Davenport than to Duluth and then back down to Minnesota and then Clear Lake in same days, hopefully is burning in Hell for their devious actions.  Dion managed to talk about his experiences on that tour in a hour long segment that he has up on his website or you tube. 

After taking a half year off, Tad has returned with a couple new entries into his Back Up Plan blog. It's nice to see him back in action again.

2000 Man has been also back in action as well.  His latest review is the 2 album set of Todd Rundgren's Something/Anything.  I had the 2 LP set that Rhino came out, but there was a awful scratch on one of the sides and I traded it back in.  Down the road Goodwill had both CDs for 3.88 so I wasn't out of a copy.  It's a sprawling album even for 2 records it's all over the place but it has the hit I Saw The Light and an extended jam of Hello It's Me, but my favorite side is the one that Todd is doing the studio jam.  Rundgren's career is all over the fucking place and you really have to pick and choose the albums as he puts out.  A Wizard/A True Star is one of those either or albums that will try your patience and the 2 LP Todd is where a lotta folk got off the bus but as far as I know Something/Anything might be his best overall album.

So much for the big Snowageddon event that they predicted this week.  We ended up with about three inches all told, with most of the heavy stuff staying north and west of here.  If anything the grouchy old groundhog from Puxatory didn't see his shadow, a early spring perhaps?

Still suffering from this shit flu, but I did managed to celebrate my birthday with my best friend going to Ruby's Pizza in down town Cedar Rapids.  They have oddball hours and they are closed on Sundays and a strange 5 to 9 on Saturday but their pizza is excellent, and even better when you mircowave it the next day.  We then watch the Cedar Rapids Rough Riders hockey team defeat Youngstown in overtime 4-3.  It had a few major fights, the one at the end of the second period turned out to be a in your face smackdown, with a couple players getting game misconduct and thrown out of the game.  As much fun as it was, I didn't think much of bleacher seats and the overcrowding and Deb, my best friend's wife was complaining about a couple girls with bad hygiene and some dude overpowering us with his Musk perfume.

Still feeling like shit, I did manage to pop in at the Sunday Rumors Popcorn Jam in a show of support but passed on playing.  As always when Brook Hoover shows up, he pulls more obscure songs out to play.  Dan Johnson, Jon Wilson  and Tim Duffy were the other major players.  Highlights was Baggy Spandex playing their songs,  Dan Hartman and Herm from Kick It doing a few songs and Joe Hovencourt of The Fossiltones channeling his inner David Lee Roth but the highlight was Ernest and older looking black guy, popping on stage and wowing the crowd with his version of The Twist and later topping that with a very soulful medley of Bring It On Home.  I haven't heard that much soul in person since Otis Redding passed away years ago.   As with previous jams, Jon Wilson brings the minimal of drums there, one bass drum, snare hi hat and cymbal, basically enough to keep things simple.   Perhaps sometime in the future I'll get to host the drummer jam but for now I have to start getting well in order to do that.  The Fossiltones play Rumors this Friday Night.  Smokin Guns with John Shaw invade The Chrome Horse as well and the beloved Past Masters are in Riverside.

Selected Discography;

Pere Ubu-The Fontana Years 1988-1993

The oddballs from Akron/Cleveland have been instrumental in making some of the most off the wall stuff since Captain Beefheart, but they kinda broke up around 1985 or 1986 before coming back in the late 1980s and made what I think is their most accessible albums, beginning with the avant garde via garage The Tenement  Year on Enigma. If Captain Beefheart ever fronted The Talking Heads it would have sounded like Something's Gotta Give or David Thomas making fart noises on the trombone on George Had A Hat.  Even if The Tenement Year owes more to Dub Housing than modern rock, it is perhaps their best of the four albums that was released between 1988 and 1993, still this record has more art rock than alternative. And they could come up with a college single with We Have The Technology.

The next album Cloudland, finds them signing on to Polygram on the revised Fontana label and they work with an outside producer with Steven Hague (The Human League, Depeche Mode) and David Thomas made some of his more dance friendly and alt rock songs beginning with Breathe which should have been played more often than not. With second drummer Chris Cutler in tow, his drumming with Scott Krauss was a bit more united than the all over the place of the previous album.  At times Pere Ubu can challenge The Underworld with dance type music, Why Go It Alone or Chase The Sun shows that but perhaps the mad fun is this the anti disco dance number Love Love Love.  And Allen Ravenstine's oddball noises fit perfectly into place.  But his leaving after that album Pere Ubu didn't recover very well.  Worlds In Collision starts out great with Oh Catherine and I Hear They Smoke The Barbuque, but the misplace of Turpentine! at track 3 derails the whole album and while there are some nice numbers (Mirror Man, Cry Cry Cry, Winter In The Firelands)  World In Collision is their weakest album of this era.

Polygram in the US bailed on the final album The Story Of My Life, and Imago issued it instead of Merucry/Fontana (in the UK it did come out on Fontana) and The Story Of My Life is their most straight ahead rock and roll effort beginning with the wonderful Wasted and Come Home.  There is an art rock moment in Postcard.  With the departure of Allen Ravenstine and Eric Drew Feldman it is Jim Jones' guitar work that stands out and by then Chris Cutler departed, leaving Scott Krauss as the sole drummer again.  Apocalypse Now, is a 1991 gig in Chicago that Thirsty Ear issued and it shows what Pere Ubu sounded like at that time.  One of those oddball CDs that Half Priced Books threw out in the dollar bins it's a nice artifact of that place and time of a band that was trying to present themselves as worthy to be included in alternative music but Pere Ubu  was throwing a curve or two just to be different.   With Tony Maimone and Scott Krauss departing, David Thomas kept Pere Ubu going with various lineups and changes and continues to make albums over the years but for myself, The Fontana Era was the band's most idealistically realized and perhaps most listener friendly.

The Albums:
The Tenement Year  (Enigma 1988) A
Cloudland (Fontana 1989) A-
Worlds In Collision (Fontana 1991) B+
The Story Of My Life (Fontana/Imago 1993) A-
Apocalypse Now (Thirsty Ear 1999) A-

All things Ubu:


2000 Man said...

Hey thanks for the kind words! It really is nice to see TAD back, too. Pere Ubu. Man, that is one weird band and I think you either love them or you just don't get it. Living around Cleveland all my life you might think I'm a big fan, but they're not really on my radar because they're weird. However, Rocket From the Tombs is one of my favorite bands. I saw them when they got back together several times, and man, they were something else!

R S Crabb said...

Howdy 2000
Thanks for stopping by. David Thomas seems to be on and grouch when he gets interviewed, I think he lives in Sussex (across the pond) but whenever he gets Pere Ubu back on their old stomping grounds the places they play at sells out in seconds. I really did not get them on their early albums, I think their Fontana albums did soften me up to listen to the Modern Dance and Dub Housing, their classic all time album. After Story Of My Life, I haven't paid attention since, since by that time the rest of the guys moved on to other things and then it became David Thomas and friends.
The results have been spotty since.

Here's hoping Tad can continue to write more as well. We need more voice against the SPIN/Rolling Stone/NME touting bad bands and auto tuned pop tarts. ;)

TAD said...

Thanks for the name-check, Crabby. And yes, I'll be continuing ... and you can safely assume I WON'T be reviewing Adele's new album....