Tony Coulter here, bringing you not just sights and sounds, but an announcement as well: Next Tuesday, January 18th, at noon EST, I shall return to WFMU's almost-airwaves, beaming myself to you from my home here in Portland, OR. Be there, won't you, for the launching of my new weekly Web-only show on Give the Drummer Radio, one of the station's nifty new alternate streams. (All hail Doug Schulkind for creating the stream, and for the invitation.) The shows will be three hours long, brewed fresh every other Tuesday, then rebroadcast the following week. You'll be able to tune in live by clicking on the Give the Drummer Stream link on the station's homepage -- or you can just listen to archives of the shows at your languorous leisure. I'll be doing a live playlist as always -- hope to see you there.
With that bit of news out of the way, let's turn to the real meat of the post: music released and unreleased from two should-be-famous gents: Val Rogolino (of Kath and Badge) and Jim Curnutte (of Assassin of Silence). Plus, of course, the pictures.
Badge: Badge (Orinj Rekerds, 1978) 7" EP
We'll begin the audio portion of this post with a Baltimore ensemble known as Badge, which served as a vehicle for the songwriting of Val Rogolino. Rogolino has achieved a degree of renown via his 1974 LP Kath, which was reissued by Rockadelic in 2005, and is soon to be re-reissued by Lion Productions. (It should be noted that "Kath" has generally been treated as the band/artist name, rather than "Badge," even though it's actually just the album title.)
Rogolino's delicate, yearning voice and introspective, sixties-flavored songwriting (he cites the Beatles and Beach Boys as his biggest influences) made a second appearance on a much more obscure 1978 EP, one track from which appears as a bonus cut on the Rockadelic LP reissue. I've given you the other three tracks, one of which is a re-recording of a Kath cut, and all of which sound only slightly less charmingly homemade, despite being recorded in a "real" studio.
Apples to Oranges:
As a special added bonus -- courtesy of Mr. Rogolino -- here are some unreleased outtakes from the 1974 Kath LP recording sessions:
Jim Curnutte, the Assassin of Silence:
Let's turn next to the music of Jim Curnutte, solo recording artist and leader of the band Assassin of Silence. Curnutte -- formerly of California and now based in West Virginia -- released a trio of albums between 1979 and 1981 that manage to seamlessly blend moody guitar-based psychedelia and cool new wavish electronics. His songs are intense, personal, and uncompromising -- but also pretty catchy, if you ask me. Sounding at times vaguely like a mix of the Doors, the Cars, and Gary Numan, they could have been hits.
Below you'll find tracks from the two Assassin of Silence LPs, plus cuts from his 1981 solo LP, one of which sees him venturing into minimal-synth territory.
Assassin of Silence: Beneath All the Madness (Neurological Records, 1979) LP
Assassin of Silence: Phaze Shifter (Neurological Records, 1980) LP
Jim Curnutte: (Factorial) (Neurological Records, 1981) LP
Finally, let's top off the album tracks above with two demos and an alternate version, all generously provided by J.C. himself:
PS: Tune in next Tuesday to hear more music from Val Rogolino and Jim Curnutte!
We finish now with some CD covers that caught my eye in the dollar bins, persuading me to take the plunge. Sad to say, all but one -- Bluesteele's Electric Blue -- failed to meet my musical expectations.
Art: Fay Jones
The Vogue: As Brass and Satin (Made in Mexico Records, 2000)
Ultraviolet Seraphic: The Wyvern (Muritone, 2000)
Earfood: Earfood (Omnigroove Records, 1995)
Art: Troy Amidon
Bluesteele: Electric Blue (Bluesteele, 2001)
Dreambox: ?? (??, 1992)
Excelsior: Uncommonly Smooth (Broken Glass Records, 200?)
Barefoot Gravediggers: Chewing Lessons de Espana (Wet Dog Records, 1993)
Je Suis France: Je Suis France (Pitch-A-Tent, 2000)
That's it for this time -- see you here in two weeks ... and on the radio, I hope!