Vengeance is Theirs

Vengeance is Theirs

Outsight brings to light non-mainstream music, film, books, art, ideas and opinions.

Published, somewhere, monthly since July 1991. Feel free to re-print this article.

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Cramps’ record label is to be distributed by Mordam Records (
The Cramps (, having
regained control of 6 full-length titles, are teamed with Mordam Records in resuscitating
their Vengeance label. This is the source through which they originally issued
the singles "The Way I Walk" / "Surfin’ Bird" and "Human
Fly" / "Domino" in 1978. Vengeance Records will initiate
its resurrection with a simultaneous re-release of six back catalog titles in
October 2001, including color vinyl LP releases. Following in spring 2002 will
be a new album by The Cramps.  The six titles for reissue in October 2001
are Smell Of Female, Look Mom No Head, Rockinnreelininauklandnewzealandxxx,
Big Beat From Badsville, A Date With Elvis
and Stay Sick!

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tour of recent recordings covers the spectrum of contemporary African music.
On Putumayo Presents African Odyssey (Putumayo) we hear acoustic
songs from all over the African continent. It is the complex rhythms of this
music, combined with gentle, lilting vocal melodies that make this music as compelling
and easy to enjoy with each listen as the first time. African Odyssey
is an aural travelogue taking us to the Portuguese-based sound of Guinea-Bissau
(Manecas Costa), Kenya (Doctor King’esi) and the cheerful "tuku" music
of Zimbabwe’s Oliver Mtukudzi. This and more were previously only available
in their local markets. More high-profile artists such as Putumayo recording
artist Habib Koite (Mali) round out this recording. Mama Sissoko is very popular
in his native Mali. The Tinder Records recording Soleil de Minuit gives
us a chance to hear his craft and experience the talent that led to his popularity.
He himself comes from the Manding griot tradition of singing storytellers and
thus has a vast tradition of songs to draw from. To that he combines upbeat,
smart arrangements based on Afro-Cuban music.

Listen to or Buy African Odyssey at CDNow

Listen to or Buy Mama Sissoko at CDNow


it’s not. It just moved to America and continues to live on CD. Some of that
is due to reissues. F.O.A.D. Records (http:/
just put out Insanity is a Sane Reaction, looking back on Christ on Parade
1986-1989. Their angry, iconoclastic punk rock combines the loose, raw sound
of early West Coast punk with a vaguely Brit-punk delivery. The Casualties of
NYC reach back to the same time and are still making records. Their latest is
Die Hards (Side One Dummy;
They have an even more Brit-punk sound, still being very heavily influenced
by early G.B.H. There is also a strong resemblance here to The Exploited. Jorge,
vocalist for The Casualties, has a sputtering, manic delivery very similar to
Wattie Buchan. East Bay punkers The Criminals decided to conclude their discography
with a final release, Extinct (F.O.A.D. Records). They even list their lineup as "The Criminals
were." Well, whatever disgust and dashed hopes led to this translates into
potent, angry punk rock here. The
Criminals consisted of refugees from Blatz, the Gr’ups, the Hi Fives, and Red
#9. However, there are plenty of youngbloods to take the baton in the East Bay
area. One is The Fleshies. This group just put out Kill The Dreamer’s Dream
on Alternative Tentacles. They take their time on each track and give their
songs a thick, rubbery bottom, fusing angry street punk with ’70’s arena rock.
Another group of dynamic upstarts is Smogtown. Their self-titled EP on Disaster
Records is the quality, Detroit-inspired hard punk with a muscular, driving
backbeat that we come to expect from this Bomp! subsidiary.

Listen to or Buy Christ on Parade at

Listen to or Buy The Casualties at CDNow

Listen to or Buy The Fleshies at CDNow

Listen to or Buy Smogtown at CDNow


of the exciting, new albums from Scandinavia have one foot in the past and the
other in the present. There are three fine examples of this on the Northside
label (
First is Garmarna’s Hildegard von Bingen. Usually this group gets their
medieval inspiration from Swedish folk songs, but this time they turn 12th Century
mystic nun Hildegard von Bingen. In their ancient-meets-modern style they fuse
hurdy-gurdies, strings and electronics as vocalist Emma Härdelin revisits this
ethereal material over folk sonics and breakbeats. On Hippa, Hoven Droven
sets aside their usual large, bombastic sound for mostly original, instrumental
pieces of varied mood. As with much Nordic folk music, when slowed down it has
the soul and sound of good, warm Celtic music. Finally, Triakel offers Wintersongs.
The vocalist here is Emma Härdelin again and the fiddle player is Kjell-Erik
Eriksson from Hoven Droven. This is the permanent outlet for quiet, reflective
music for these musicians. This relaxed celebration of wintertime is built around
a hymn Benny Andersson (ABBA) wrote for the approaching millennium in 1999 and
asked Emma to sing.

Listen to or Buy Garmarna at CDNow

Listen to or Buy Hoven Droven at CDNow

Listen to or Buy Triakel at CDNow


Hightone Records label (220 4th St., #101, Oakland, CA 94607;
bequeaths to the world a trio of country and truckabilly releases. On Here
I Am in Dallas
Dallas Wayne is a country baritone in the honky-tonk tradition
with refreshing, self-deprecating humor. You can hear this on his Hightone Big
on the excellent compendium Twang Bangers. This is not merely
a label sampler but an overview of excellent songs from Wayne, Bill Kirchen,
Redd Volkaert, and Joe Goldmark to spread the word about the Twangbangers tour
of these artists across America this fall. Kirchen also has a new album on the
label entitled Tied to the Wheel. His trademark, upbeat truckabilly includes
dusted off chestnuts like "Truckstop at the End of the World" and
new material.

Listen to or Buy Dallas Wayne at CDNow

Listen to or Buy Bill Kirchen at CDNow


Harris, Director
Pollock (DVD)
Sony Pictures Classics / Columbia Tristar Home Video

Harris incarnates the spirit and life of noted American abstract painter Jackson
Pollock in this impressive self-directed opus. This superlative film was the
winner of the 2000 Toronto Film Festival, Marcia Gay Harden won an Oscar for
Best Supporting Actress portraying Pollock’s lover, fellow artist Lee Krasner
and the Independent Film Channel tried valiantly to promote the film beyond
the art theaters and to a wider cable audience. However, this film failed
to win the wide appeal and popular recognition it deserved. Pollock is
a time capsule from an Apollonian America when minions of the muses like Jackson
Pollock could gather energy from an aware nation. Now, in a Spartan America
that tends toward sports icons and other personified action figures, the Dionysian
effect of explosive expression and accelerated fame is contrary to contemporary
film themes. However, this does not change the fact that Harris’ portrayal is
convincing and the recreation of the exaggerated impulses and effects makes
for a emotion-laden visitation of the uncontrolled aggression and insecurity
that were the seeds of self-destruction for Pollock as he strove to blaze a
trail under the manipulations of Peggy Guggenheim. This film is based on Steven
Naifeh’s and Gregory White Smith’s book Jackson Pollock: An American Saga.

More on the movie from CDNow


New Order
– Taras Shevchneko
Red Films / Music Video Distributors

only available in the United Kingdom, this is the 53-minute VHS document of
the 1981 New Order appearance at the Ukrainian National Home in New York City.
The sudden suicide of Ian Curtis ended the possibility of an American Tour by
Joy Division the year before. New Order had not yet fully transformed themselves
into the globally successful synth-pop band they later became. Still with one
foot in the gloomy Goth of Joy Division they begin charting their own direction
by performing about half of the Movement album, and a rarity in the New Order
discography as "Little Dead." (3.5)

More on this video title from CDNow


Looking for a Home (Thanks
to Leadbelly)
M.C. Records, POB 1788, Huntington Stn., NY 11746

name guests Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, Henry Butler and Kim Wilson
join others in backing folk-blues legend Odetta in her tribute to the legendary
Leadbelly. This pioneering solo artist was one of the first women to make a
name for herself singing folk, blues, protest songs and more. She combines her
verve and talent on this bold, electric blues collection of Leadbelly renditions.
The 71-year-old, a legend herself, presents the classic Leadbelly rural blues
material in a voice still strong without a hint of weakness. The material is
mostly songs written by Leadbelly, like "Rock Island Nine," along
with traditional material he made famous, like "Boll Weevil." (4.5)

Listen to or Buy at CDNow

Wylie Hubbard
Eternal and Lowdown

and Lowdown
is the blues
album from Ray Wylie Hubbard. This is a premeditated foray into the genre
by the progressive country artist. Hubbard is not merely regurgitating 12-bar
blues progressions, but inviting the blue devils into his sophisticated songwriting.
The communion with these melancholy spirits results in big, bold Texas blues
with ominous spaces and deft guitar stylings from producer Gurf Morlix. (4)

Listen to or Buy at CDNow

Head Jazz
Label M, 53 W. 23rd St., NYC, NY 10010

M’s Head Jazz compilation is cool jazz for headphones, saxophone chill-out
music for after hours. There is something sly and funky about almost every track
on this disc. Texas tenor saxophonist David "Fathead" Newman discovers
in "You Can’t Always Get Want You Want" a slowly swinging, sexual
Southern soul. Tracks from Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Ornette Coleman and Yusef Lateef
are deep groves that open up into kaleidoscopes of subtle production and arrangement
when "viewed" through headphones. (5)

Listen to or Buy at CDNow

The Carnivorous Lunar
Activities of Lupine Howl
Beggars Banquet/Vinyl

Howl is the guitarist (Mike Mooney) and rhythm section (Sean Cook, bass, and
Damon Reece, drums) from Spiritualized. The threesome began composing songs
together, separate from Spiritualized, as far back as 1997. The CD opens with
Vaporizer, their funk rock opus about confronting customs on drugs that
was the group’s debut release as a single on their own Vinyl Hiss label in the
start of 2000. The album was mixed at Massive Attack’s Christchurch studios.
The trio spent ’99 helping that group capture their trip-hop sound and there
is similar neo-psychedelia here as ’70’s hard-rock chords meet electronic beats.

Listen to or Buy at CDNow

Reddick & The Sidemen
Paul Reddick & The

Reddick and company dig into the pre-World War II rural blues repertoire. They
come up with Delta gems for their tough, electric blues sound. They use studio
effects and unexpected equipment to achieve raw, analog visitations of the past
blues masters on almost every track. Colin Linden produced and adds signature
guitar to this exquisite example of visceral urban blues with clear juke joint
roots featuring Reddick’s harmonica. (3.5)

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to Gone
High Five
Small Stone Recordings, POB 02007, Detroit, MI 48202

to Gone displays a raw, unpretentious heavy metal sound like what Metallica
revealed on Garage Days. In this they include the distorted power blues
that is the foundation to Black Sabbath. The result is a branch off the hard
rock tree not currently heard in the stoner rock or extreme Southern rock genres
through it can be compared to both. (3)

Listen to or Buy at CDNow

Dog my Cat
NorthernBlues Music

gives us an east-meets-west sound through acoustic blues that he performs on four
tracks with the Mohan Veena. This is a sitar-like acoustic F-hole guitar featuring
a dozen sympathetic strings. Indian slide guitarist Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, with
whom Manx studied, inspired this variation. On the rest of the tracks, Manx
gives us the lap slide guitar with which he has been touring and performing
since the ’70’s. (4)

Listen to or Buy at CDNow

Lee] Plays & Sings Torch’d Songs, Charivari Hymns & Oriki Blue-Marches
Like Records, POB 6179, Hoboken, NJ, 07030

Lee gives us pop lyrics with vaguely blue horn-backed arrangements. His avant-garde
past brings in the occasional unexpected metaphor and turns to this exquisite
collection of songs. Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley was interested enough
to co-produce and perform on this album. A heightened honesty exudes from this
album that lacks pretense and unnecessary ornamentation. The room left is taken
up by authenticity and the crisp emotional effect of sudden sadness displayed
with musical economy. (4)

Listen to or Buy at CDNow

S. Ware Quartet
Corridors & Parallels
AUM Fidelity, POB 170147, Brooklyn, NY 11217

growling and shrieking with utmost clarity in wild free-jazz combos, Ware returns
to the indie-jazz label scene after his two Columbia albums with another release
of focused jazz in a very traditional style. Longtime collaborator Matthew Shipp
makes his recorded debut on this album on the synthesizer. The introduction
of this instrument onto Ware’s sonic palette is done masterfully; the versatile
instrument offers unexpected, bright sounds like a prepared piano. This thirteenth
album is one of Ware’s most coherent and important works. (5)

Listen to or Buy at CDNow

The Simple Life
Label M

The Simple Life, Leon Parker looks back on recent years of varied and
creative collaborations with artists as diverse as Charlie Hunter and ethnic
percussionist Kazi Oliver. Hardly simple, the rich bevy of this work, including
his own jazz gigs and workshops on percussion and vocal-body rhythm, suggest
a large scope of experience that is funneled into this music rich in world and
post-bop influences. The largely short pieces bounce from one to another on
the vibrant collage of fresh approaches to jazz. (3.5)

Listen to or Buy at CDNow

The Nature of Time
Ultra Modern/Innova Recordings

Perfect is a collective of Minneapolis artists and groups making experimental
music of many sorts from electronic to acoustic. Though such diverse sources
are drawn upon, this records blends seamlessly into one cohesive work: an hour-long,
complex canvas of experimental sounds. (4)

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Innova Recordings

Quartet Flute Force begins their album by playing behind radio personality Garrison
Keillor captivatingly reading poems of Stephen Crane. Then the virtuoso female
foursome present three pieces for flute quartet from modern composer-flutists
Elizabeth Brown, Robert Dick and Gary Schocker. The concluding piece is another
modern composition, this time by Eric Stokes, showcasing their talents alongside
Meridian String Quartet. (4)

Listen to or Buy at CDNow

Moorat Fingers
10" Schlitz
F.O.A.D. Records

Moorat Fingers includes members from Britain, Germany and America. Thus, it
comes as no surprise that they boast a punk rock sound that fuses Euro-stylism
with the American post-pop approach. Thus, we have catchy, angry hooks. This
is a reissue of Schlitzed (Vortex) with the addition of "(I Wanna
be Your) Razorblade off a seven-inch release. (3)

The Coast is Never Clear
Velocette Records, 83 Walton St., Atlanta, GA 30303

The Coast is Never Clear we hear indie pop artists working with the engineering
of John Croslin (Guided by Voices, Spoon) and the mixing of Roger Moutenot (Yo
La Tengo, Lou Reed) for intelligent, sophisticated but fun and natural songs.
This is a lo-fi approach but with inoorporation of instruments usually heard hi-fi:
flutes, horns and violins. All in all, 18 other musicians show up backing the
rock sextet on an ambitious and successful bittersweet, hip song-oriented album
with a sweet coating of Moog. (4)

Listen to or Buy at CDNow

Blow Mr. Low
Stony Plain Records

normally blows "Mr. Low," the baritone saxophone, as a member of the
Duke Robillard Band or as he did with Roomful of Blues and as a session player
for Stevie Ray Vaughn, Big Joe Turner, Ronnie Earl and more. Duke Robillard
shows up to sing a couple songs on James’ solo record, as does New England blues
harpman Sugar Ray Norcia. The ten-track CD is a potent, swinging mix of blues,
R&B and jazz. (3.5)

Listen to or Buy at CDNow

Keneally & Beer for Dolphins

POB 232623, Leucadia, CA 92023-2623

Keneally’s seven-piece band mixes sounds of ’80’s rock, funk, horns,
female backing vocals and Zappa-esque changes. There’s a lot going on in this
album and it works very well, a fun and coherent romp through pop and rock idioms
fused into a cohesive vision of sophisticated party-rock. Dancing is
a vibrant expression of joy through large-ensemble, expansive rock. (3.5)

Listen to or Buy at CDNow

Artesia With Love
River Productions, POB 683, Artesia, CA 90702-0683

Leigh fuses angry, thunderous industrial sounds with hyper, accelerated east
India melodies. This curried cyber-crunch is an excellent juxtaposition of the
exotic and delicate with rigid, artillery-fire rhythms. Ginger Leigh has been
doing this sort of at-home production for a decade, now. If Steve Albini had
set up shop in Calcutta instead of Chicago, this could be the sound of Big Black.


White is an Irish post-folk singer-songwriter with a gift for melody and songwriting
that overcomes the excessive use of large, electronic beats on this album. Since
picking up the guitar as an angry punk in 1985 and releasing a Stiff Records
single, White has continued to hone his craft. Along the way his talent and
touring got him some special friends and some of them join him on this album. Liam Ó
Maonlaí (Hothouse Flowers), Nick Seymour (Crowded House), Angela McCluskey (Wild
Colonials) and more joined White in the studio. Name producer John Leckie twiddled
the knobs as he did for Pink Floyd and Radiohead’s The Bends for this
elegant, hip album. (3.5)

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