C&C Gramophone, the ‘You don’t know shit about rap’ edition: Divine Styler
We played a fantastic show last night at Chicago’s Empty Bottle with the cosmic, sonic merrymakers known as Fever the Ghost who thankfully turned us on to Luis Alberto Spinetta. We’re diving in deep into Spinetta’s robust Catalog and won’t come up for air any time soon. ‘Por’ is a track off of the ‘Artaud’ LP by the Spinetta fronted group, Pescado Rabioso, that broke up before the record was finished.
Detroit spacerock scenesters didn’t necessarily embrace this local limey-loving quartet, but their girlfriends sure did. Whilst many of us were out scouring musty record shops for a Pram 10-inch or getting high watching a bootlegged VHS tape of Flying Saucer Attack, the Crushies were rocking it shirtless, reading about themselves in Spin magazine, and generally preparing for imminent stardom after scoring a deal with an Elektra subsidiary. Success eluded them however, their label shut it’s doors on them, yet the group managed to eek out a few noteworthy nuggets including my personal fave, “No. 1 Fan”. This track boasts many shoegaze/spacerock prerequisites: breathy vocals, distorted drones, and tidal-wave washes of reverberated guitar. However, unlike the bulk of occupants of this woozy world where vocals were moodily mixed a tad under everything else, Majesty Crush had a frontman who could kick out a totally in your face & literate lyric. David Stroughter, MC’s so-close-to-genius-he’s-a-nutjob vocalist, takes on the persona of wannabe president assassin John Hinckley, Jr. to sing a most endearing, definitely sexy, and utterly freaky ballad to the object of his obsession, Jodie Foster. Listening to it again I couldn’t help to sing along with the outro refrain, “I’ll kill the president for your love.” Now that’s what I call romance!
"O Canfona", Marcos Valle
What a pleasure to listen to. I have no idea what Mr. Valle is saying, but it hasn’t stopped me yet from running about the house singing it in top voice.
Thank God for coin tosses. It was crazy hard to pick just one Rollerskate Skinny track to proffer to—what I must assume is—the largely uninitiated blogopolis. Rollerskate Skinny was so much more than an adjective snagged from the pages of A Catcher In The Rye or the title of some track I never heard of by the group Old 97′s. Rollerskate Skinny, the band that had amongst it’s ranks the little brother of My Bloody Valentine's Kevin Shields, happened to be the group I envied most in my Summer of Love. With their first and best LP, Shoulder Voices, they managed to smash krautrock, spacerock, noiserock, psycherock, artrock and rockrock together with surreal Dan Bejarian wordsmithery and belting Bewlay brotherly vocals. Basically they one upped Mercury Rev (another love of mine at the time) by being way more ambitious and way the fuck less silly.
Rex Ritter & his merry band of Jessamine were kindred spirits on the opposite side of the country. Apparently they were midwesterners—originally from Ohio—who wanted to drop the “mid” in a big way and found a home in Portland, Oregon. Rex was a deep lover of music & musical electronics and helped turn a lot of mitten-staters on to the very unheard of, American 60s psyche duo the Silver Apples, much in the same way Broadcast made people dig up old The United States of America records. Beyond sharing a common love of the uncommon with him, I found that both Ritter and myself were struggling with typical pop/rock arrangements. I had an aversion to anything verse-chorus-verse-chorus and Rex was embarrassed by his guitar because it was such the obvious rock & roll tool. At a time when the Farfisafied Stereolab was just cutting their first 7 inch and synths were still associated with groups like the overly hairsprayed Heaven 17, Rex was quoted in a fanzine firmly asserting that his next record would be made completely sans axe. So, although there is a lot of guitar on many of their songs it is often obliterated from normalcy via a daisy chain of boutique guitar pedals. This attitude of being uncomfortable with the mores of rock left a huge impression on me… and so did the guitary gurgles, filtering phasers, distorted delays, primitive drum pounding and unintentional hard rocking of “Ordinary Sleep”.