Forced Exposure #7/8 (Summer/1985) (pg 75)
FUNGUS BRAINS review by Byron Coley
You’re Commuting All Over Me is commuting again!
Today: Trash Flow Radio 8/31/13 Labor Day Weekend Special
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That sweet voice.
Tallying The Weekly Commute
MARILYN CRISPELL & IRÈNE SCHWEIZER Overlapping Hands (FMP - 1991)
Tallying the Midweek Commute
MAD RIVER Mad River (Capitol - 1968) Paradise Bar and Grill (Capitol - 1969)
Oh summer, what benders you bring!
You’re Commuting All Over Me’s driving team had no inkling we’d be hampton grease band deep in beard rediscovery during these dog days. We write rediscovery, cuz our initial beard incursions fifteen or so years back had us all but forsaking the beloved punk skronk tribe with whom we cut our turns during the formative years. While we soak in the woolen similarity of all our sonic interests nowadays – i.e., idiosyncratic combustion – back then it was all wide eyed wonder at how bountiful those Happy & Artie Traum rex on Capitol actually were, in contrast to what we believed our contemporary underground rock raison d’être was at the time. Let’s put it this way: once the scales dropped from our ears, any record with members of the Section [Kortchmar/Sklar/Doerge/Kunkel]moved to the front, as did any record on United Artists between 1971 and 1976…you know, that sorta thing. Interesting that the Drag City cohort is finally coming ‘round; don’t miss the Mickey Newbury deluxe set or Chris Darrow’s Artist Proof. But that that-was-then was then, this this-is-now is now, so we’ll tell our zombie beard tale in riveting depth another time.
MAD RIVER have always been an anomaly, not quite of the Haight to where they decamped from Antioch, not quite the freakazoid amphetamine gazelles as some portrayed them, but always a compelling mystery until recently. Their two Capitol LPs from ’68 and ’69 are pure nitro, as if they shed wood with the Richard Hell line up of Television and portaled back to the Bay area to recount the tale. Naturally, few cared or understood their thorny vernacular, least of all Nick Venet, who was assigned to produce their debut and somehow mucked up or sped up the tapes. Our VG+ original has always sounded a bit soiled, so we could never tell the diff. We love the record’s primitive bristle all the same, as much as we do their weird arrangements. They’re evidently playing above their reach. Nevertheless, it’s a matchless stone beard classic. Their second, Paradise Bar and Grill, is beard of a straighter comb, but no less a nugget of wayward pedal steel and wonk than the debut. Some bemoan otherwise, but come on people…“Leave Me Stay”? “Revolution’s In My Pockets”? Elegant friction spilling from hidden vectors.
It’d be swell if some forward back flip agents of au courant – like Drag City – would upgrade the Collector’s Choice serviceable 2000 reissue. Love’s not the way to treat a friend, but such a move is surely overdue. In the meantime, track these down and familiarize yourself with the MAD RIVER story in Flashback, Issue 1 (Spring 2012). Most of these wayback zines are woefully lame and speak nada to the dukes and duchesses of now, but wow, Flashback’s crew has so far comported themselves rather winningly. Issue 3 spotlights MIGHTY BABY! Superb.