Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Comboland (again)

My blog reading has been lagging almost as much as my blog writing but I've been trying to catch up with some old favorites the last few days. In doing so, I note that local rock writer Karen Mann has a podcast of Welcome to Comboland out on rockthetriangle.com. I mentioned WtC here a couple of years ago - as I recall, it started out as a 3-cassette demo of local and local-ish bands that Godfrey Cheshire was flogging around Europe before it was pared down into a single LP. Self-publishing and self-promoting was a bit tougher in those pre-Internet days, so getting small European record companies interested was often a way to get your stuff out (I still have the UK-based Albion Records import LP of the dB's "Stands for Decibels"). I was never really able to judge how successful Cheshire's efforts were - I know my copy of the Bad Checks' "Innocence" was put out by a French label but beyond that I have no idea if much came of it. But the bands and songs on the Comboland LP are almost uniformly good and stand the test of time. There's a lot of overlap in bands and even songs with the Mondo Montage and More Mondo LPs that Dolphin Records put out (which reminds me that it's about time I digitized those puppies) but there are a few things that are missing from either that are nice to hear.

When I first read through the latest issue of Paste Magazine, I almost choked over their review of the umpteenth recording from Tommy Keene, first at their description of him as an iconic figure among mid-Atlantic bands and then their throwaway line about the otherwise "arid landscape of 80's music". First of all, I'm pretty sure Tommy Keene was always viewed as a third-rate Alex Chilton, who was REALLY the darling of the DC-VA-NC-GA bands. Secondly, only someone that only knows about 80's music from VH1-Classic could make such an assinine statement. I suppose that's better than the decrepit Rolling Stones writers who might make the same statement but mean something totally different (as they seem to think that nothing recorded after 1979 is worth listening to) but a listen to the podcast that Karen has posted should disabuse anyone of the notion that there wasn't good music to be had in the 80's.

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