Posts Tagged ‘reviews’

Zappa Versus the Packard Goose

It’s easy to understand where FZ got his distaste of rock ‘n roll (and music) writers from — just read some the reviews of his albums and concerts, here.

On the other hand, though FZ wasn’t known as a very avid reader of books, he did publicly recite “The Talking Asshole” excerpt from William S. Burroughs’ seminal novel, Naked Lunch:

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Looking for a Virgin with Nice Breath.

Releases from the Zappa Family Trust:

In a previous post, I made the comment, rather flippantly, that “In the final analysis, it’s not what Gail (Zappa) says that is of any real importance, it’s her actions that speak volumes.” In this post, I’ve decided to put those smug words to the test.

First, I went to my Frank Zappa collection and identified all those posthumous releases (limited, of course, to those titles actually released by Gail Zappa and the Zappa Family Trust — thus, the list above).

Of these sixteen individual releases, I asked myself, which of them are the strongest, most worthwhile recordings, whether CD or DVD? Easy choice. Live recordings, particularly the full-length, or near full-length shows: FZ:OZ, Halloween, Imaginary Diseases, Buffalo, Wazoo, and The Torture Never Stops.

Next are those long awaited releases, and the archival type releases of interest to any diehard Zappa freak: QuAUDIOPHILIAc, Trance-Fusion, The MOFO Project/Object (the 4 CD version) and Classic Albums: Apostrophe(‘)/Over-Nite Sensation.

What’s left is a series of compilation CDs: Joe’s Corsage, Joe’s Domage, Joe’s XMASage, The Frank Zappa AAAFNRAA Birthday Bundle, The Dub Room Special! (the 2007 CD compilation of the 1982 video) and One Shot Deal. All of which seemingly lack Frank Zappa’s genius for conceptual continuity and compiled in such a hodgepodge of styles of musical eras as to be distracting to listen to overall.

By my simple math (okay, not my best subject), the ZFT released ten winners out of a possible sixteen since they first began. That works out to be 62.5%. Okay. Room for improvement, sure. But not that bad.

Not that bad at all.

Low Rock from A.K.A.C.O.D. & Bourbon Princess

Now for something completely different. A recent order from CD Baby finally arrived in my mailbox before my move into my new downtown apartment (yes, folks, I’m moving on up) at the end of July. First among these CDs was Happiness by A.K.A.C.O.D. (Also Known As Colley, Ortiz, and Dersch):

Former Morphine saxophonist Dana Colley collaborates with Bourbon Princess’ front woman / bassist Monique Ortiz and Larry Dersch of Binary System creating a darkly psychedelic sound which is sensual, cinematic and otherworldly.

Tracklist:

1 Happiness
2 Spanish Fly
3 Bad Weather
4 Cheer You On
5 Fifteen Minutes
6 Minor Key
7 Sun Burns Out
8 Three Chairs
9 DMY
10 Caught Staring
11 Hypnotized
12 Yellowest Leaves

The second CD is Black Feather Wings by Bourbon Princess. Music well-suited for film noir — drony, subtly melodic, with hints of jazz and blues. Potent lyrics. Creepy, smoky, lush. Monique Ortiz’s dark velvety voice is unique.

Tracklist:

1 Stretcher
2 Another Day
3 I’ll Take A Cab
4 The Spider Sings
5 Early Train
6 Sunset
7 The Dream
8 Black Feather Wings
9 Jerkoff
10 Sleep Deep
11 One Of These Days
12 Late Train

The last CD is also a Bourbon Princess release, Dark of Days. It draws from late 70’s and early 80’s post-punk and new wave, with a sophisticated and heady, soulful bite, and has drawn comparisons to Roxy Music, Patti Smith, Jim Morrison and Nina Simone.

Tracklist:

1 Still Asleep
2 The Waiting Noon
3 Blue Kitchen
4 The Hat
5 Dark Of Days
6 Cliché
7 Supergirl’s Complaint
8 In Between Songs
9 Master Manipulator
10 Minor Key
11 So Much Time

Like a lot of “low rock”, you either love it, or hate it. I suggest you click on the CD Baby links and give some of these tracks a listen. Frankly, I was blown away.