Various Artists - "Every Day Since '66/Ascension Days" (with Galactic Zoo Dossier 'Zine #6, Drag City Records 2005, DC-296)

From Aural Innovations #33 (March 2006)

Galactic Zoo Dossier is a fine underground psyche'n'punk'n'roll/comics publication with a raw, enthusiastic, sometimes necessarily crass, FANzine approach all the way, crusty and 'tudinous throughout. B/W, hand-scrawl and illustrated, mostly a retro-zine, along with a couple features on current groups (namely Acid Mothers Temple) look for interviews and features on Edgar Broughton Band, Exuma, Vanilla Fudge, Pip Proud, Cal Schenkel, etc, hippy comix, nifty lists and articles and best of all the admirable "Guitar Hero Trading Cards". But on to the tuneage...

Disc I "Every Day..." covers the '60s through 1990 and the more recent tracks, stylistically and fidelity-wise, blend in well with the oldies. There are lots of snippets that die before they get anywhere, particularly earlier in the disc, and many full-length ditties that while perhaps rare, just don't excite or amuse. BUT!!!... 32nd Turn-Off is classic killer '70s aggro-funk with "quaint" lyrics and calls to the audience ("unite" and "revolution", etc), wonderfully funky band-introductions and crazed ecstatic screaming towards the end.

"Lo-Fi"..."Lo-Profile"...don't even describe this...from the red-hot Core of the Earth comes..."Unknown Acetate"!! - despite the almost-overwhelming vinyl noise (or perhaps because of it), there's definitely something novel and "insider" about the incessant bass-drum surf-stomp, funk riffing and '60s raw-youth vocal. Skog also hits hard with 2 minutes of heavy surf-rock and power-riffage. The Bitter End delivers Diddly's "I'm a Man" with mean harp and classic bluesiosity. More pained, mean, true blues from Michael Yonkers and the Mumbles - never mind the Stevie Ray Vaughan and all that squeaky-clean, mild, lazy, edge-less pap you hear on those commercial so-called blues stations like K-PIG. This is the real shit. Actually, why even acknowledge the other stuff, as if the two had anything to do with each other? Anyway, off the little rant. In Time's "Weird House" is pretty cool '60s (or '60s-style) garage-punk, its riffs alternating with quiter guitar-plinks during the drop-outs. New Bag's "You'll Lose" is awkward uptight vox and vengeful lyrics, like maybe something off of "Freak Out!". Indexi's "Plima" is the big Bosnian '60s pop-psych find - native lyrics, dated string arrangements... endlessly annoying, cloying and sentimental, but novel I guess. Ah! Denny Gerrard "Hole in My Shadow" - now, here's something vital. A true classic this raw, rambling rock with harmonica, but defined by the great girl voice. Don't know her name but it sounds a lot to me like something presaging the post-punk/indie/femme-vox styles by many years, minus the irony maybe. Not quite as flat as Nico.

Act of Creation is Brit psych ala Pretty Things. Heavy Gunz Industries' bit is brief, campy Crazy World/Arthur Brown-type organ-driven psych-soul with a goofy freaky wailer. Barking Geckos' "Oklahoma Cotton Candy" is a strange spoken-word psychedelic pastorale. Electric Funeral makes a nod to Zep-style boogie between verses. Legendary Stardust Cowboy stumbles over "Message for a Man in a Saucer", in his comically monotone a capella nasality. Final track is an '80s experidustrial-type thing quite off the general theme by Partners in Wonder. GZD's liners describe this as being like the Residents meets Caberet Voltaire and that's a perfect description for this righteous slab of warped camp. Galactus sampled from "The Day the Earth Stood Still" (I think) speaks to end the disc.

After a brief introduction by Davendra Banhart, Disc II "Ascension Days" (sub-titled "Modern Expansive Sounds") explodes over with Acid Mothers Temple's "Dark Star Blues", a slow uber-pounder on 10, the sound of which just pulverizes the guitar into rubble, towards the end gaining some control over the distortion so as to channel it into a couple minutes of solid aural bleeding. Oneida's contribution is also pretty noisy and more plodding than usual for them, an eerie repetitive plinking harpsichord-ish organ-line distinctly rising above the swamp of gradually fading out noise-guitar. More noise and rambling jams follow, Japanese and otherwise, nothing too notable. Drag City/GZD's own Plastic Crimewave Sound (with Chris Connely) do a rendition of the Deviants "I'm Coming Home", just made me miss the original. Sawdust Caesars "Words Going Around Then You're Fucked" is a righteous rousing hardcore punk rocker. Things really begin to pick up with Clyde Federal's live "Corpses Flicker" - wow, great lyrics, Lou Reed-ish vox-style and classic barnstormer psych-jam that takes the lead guitar to epic levels. Next is the Heads' awesome Sab/Cactus/Blue Cheer brutal blues-boogie with drunken-Brit moan-vocal (I wouldn't have thought it a Seeds cover - "You Took Me By Surprise"). The late Michael Karoli and his last group Sofortcomfort leave behind a wonderful though brief live jam - nice beat, violin, effects...lovely stuff, '99. Free-bop jazz from Chris Corsano and Paul Flaherty - drums and tenor (?) sax. Ah, I must persue these Cherry Blossoms - "And the Wind Did Blow" is, to quote GZD again, a "shambly, earthy but transcendant ditty"...yes indeed, and the folky vibratto girl-vox also deserve specific mention...pure pastoral bliss. Ears, Eyes, Nose and Throat (ok, Six Organs of Admittance) offers pretty past-oral acoustic interweavings, somewhat Page-ish at times, love it. "Naad" is the name of the track by the Joy Poppers - wow, wow. A spacious live cosmic-arena rave-up sound of percussives, tronics and instruments galore, all orgasmically aquiver...tabla, sitar, harmonium, tambura, grand swells of accordion. What a sound. Psychic Ills bring it down with a simple chill beat and light mellow hypnotic keys. Very nice. Overall, I aver that both discs have their fair amount of so-so and so-and-so, but with the quality tunes and killer arcana of the 'zine, you've got a deal.

Reviewed by Chuck Rosenberg

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