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Now in our eleventh calendar year!
PCR #527 (Vol. 11, No. 18). This edition is for the week of April 26--May 2, 2010.

"A Nightmare on Elm Street"  by Mike Smith
Album of the Month: Hole- Nobody's Daughter  by Terence Nuzum
My Friend Erma: The Erma Broombeck Interview  by ED Tucker
FANGRRL Goes To The 2010 Sunscreen Film Festival  by Lisa Scherer
Inframan (1975)  by Jason Fetters
Interview With The Projectionist, Part 2  by John Miller
Action! .... Speaking Of .... Movie Notes .... .... .... .... .... .... Mike's Record Shelf  by Mike Smith

The Audio Philes by Terence Nuzum

Album of the Month: Hole- Nobody's Daughter

Album of the Month Hole: Nobody's Daughter.  

The early 1990's were a great year to be a teenager or a rock fan. Seemingly overnight the bland, boring, glossy pop of the 80's was obliterated literally when Nirvana's Nevermind entered the charts at Number One forever destroying Michael Jackson's chance of being king ever again. The new king of rock was a scrawny unshaven and unkempt youth in flannel and frayed jeans named Kurt Cobain. His queen was the loud mouthed and unpredictable resident bitch lead singer of the grunge band Hole. A suicide and a million tabloid heroin stories later the bitch is back. I mean that with all respect. I'm not about to turn this into a review for World Weekly News and discuss the conspiracy rumors of Courtney paying someone to off Kurt so if that's what you are looking for stop there. Dave Grohl claims she's Yoko Ono of the 90's and most people agree. Like her first love interest Billy Corgan, so much tabloid fodder has ensued since '94 (from her drugged-out Letterman appearance, to her losing custody of her and Kurt's Daughter Frances Bean, to this weeks earlier Twitter bitch fest with Corgan) that like Corgan you'd think it would take its toll on her fame. Somehow unlike Corgan it never does. There is probably not one person you could find on the street that wouldn't say "no I wont buy the new Hole album she is a crazy talentless bitch" and yet her shit sells and remains in the spotlight. There is a reason for this. It's called punk. Yes Courtney is known for being a coked up vindictive bitch but in the end we know she is being herself. 1992 to 1994 is forever known as the year punk broke. Never before or since has a sound and collective of bands so underground and dangerous looking become house hold names. Yet in those magical years (I'm sorry I sat out on most of it in a way) one moment stood out more than any other as the defining fuck you to the crumbling gloss of the 80's and opened the gates to the soul baring truth of the early 90's. That moment was Courtney Love interrupting and gate crashing a MTV interview with Madonna by throwing her tampon onto the pop queens lap. It was and still is the most punk moment of that whole era. Childish, irresponsible and pure punk rock. It signaled that the establishment could be fucked with by a bunch of unpredictable smack addict kids who played loud guitars. It meant that rules really still could be broken and the big guys could be toppled. The kids could actually be in control. After about 5 years, countless band splits and several overdoses the punks of 1992 realized the dream was over. Britney and the boys of N Sync had returned things back to normal.

Hole wasn't the best and brightest of the bands of the 90's necessarily but they were one of the most direct, blunt and honest. On the seminal Live Through This album Love didn't cop poses or write characters. Those songs were about her. The four years in the making follow up 1998's Celebrity Skin was a sugary sweet radio-friendly pop album that wasn't bad but it wasn't what once was. Now after a failed travesty of a solo album in 2006 and sobering up Love is back to save rock. While that probably isn't going to happen it is at least the best vocal scorching rock album you'll probably hear all year. The lead single "Skinny Little Bitch" is vintage Hole a sneering vitriolic classic that deserves to be the in the Billboard Top 40. Well in a perfect world. While the band is all new members from some Irish punk band (makes sense in the Love canon as she was a big scenester in the UK punk scene of the late 80's) save Love it doesn't much matter. No one was listening to Hole for Eric Eraldson's guitar solos. They were listening to that one earth shattering thing...that voice. You know the one I'm talking about, that sometimes sweet but mostly guttural shriek that can bring down the heavens. Love is to this day the most potent, loud, and frightening female vocalist of any era of rock. What possesses her? She knows how and when to lower and raise her voice on exact lyrics to get the most out of emotional impact. She can still devastate her vocal chords like nobody else (maybe Karen O of The Yeah Yeah Yeahs can equal her...maybe) even though the years are showing like they are on Bob Dylan and like Dylan it works awesomely.
Sample of "Honey" by Hole
Hearing her on "Honey", the so-called Kurt Cobain widow song, scream to the point of forever losing her voice lines like "I hold onto to you with all the life that's in meeeyah!" it gives goose bumps. The music isn't as raw as Live Through This but not as sappy as Celebrity Skin and the lyrics are easily the best she has written since 1994. Gone are the Celebrity Skin California Hollywood tales, the drugged out ramblings of her solo album, and back are the honest dark projections of her life that so enthralled us on Live Through This. So hate her all you want but in the end she is giving her all to you take it or leave. Bitch or no bitch she has had a life of one tragedy after another (self inflicted or not) but instead of burning out or fading away, like her past musical lovers, she once again has risen from despair and with her pain created furious rock. Truth is music. And like the blues men of the 30's every note she sings sounds like the real deal. That's why even if you hate her as a person she cannot be ignored. Hopefully future rockers are taking notes.

Roky Erickson w/ Okkervil River: True Love Cast Out All Evil.  

Like Courtney Love, 60's garage rock legend Roky Erickson is also a figure besodden by personal tragedy, though his is not self inflicted. After making a name for himself as the lead singer/songwriter for the first psychedelic rock band The 13th Floor Elevators, Roky took way too much acid (the Elevators big deal was that they dropped acid before every show) and he developed a fetish with wearing a patch on his forehead to "cover up unwanted broadcasts" to his third eye among other bizarre notions. One night in the early morning hours his mother found him in the backyard just standing around talking gibberish. By 1968 his label International Artists stepped in and had him committed to a mental hospital where he was kept in a drugged state when he wasn't being prescribed countless daily shock treatments that is. He eventually broke out with the help of his ex-manager Tommy Hall, complained he was receiving Russian transmissions through his teeth, and finally got busted by a cop for one joint where he was then sent to the infamous Rusk mental institute for three years. But it didn't end there for Roky. He eventually was deemed sane and released and began to make his legendary horror rock solo albums only to fall off his med's and lock himself up in his apartment for 13 years, where he had at all times numerous TVS and radios blaring all at once to drown out the voices in his head. He was eventually saved by family members in 2001 and went on to receive the accolades he had always deserved in the rock community. He went on tour and now finally has released a new solo album. Filled with tons of kick ass garage and horror rock right? Wrong. And there is the let down. On True Love Casts Out All Evil Roky is backed by indie rockers Okkervil River who accompany him by playing basically toned down alt-country. Which is kinda a shame when you consider what the album could have been. Will Sheff of Okkervil River also produces and I admit had a great idea when piecing it all together. He was given access to Roky's recording made while in Rusk. So amidst newly recorded songs we have various sounds recording from in the mental hospital as well as the two full bookend songs Roky recorded on a cheap tape recorder at Rusk. So it is really a moving and worthy attempt. The problem is the new music that is as I already said basic alt-country that is both something Okkervil River wouldn't usually play nor Roky. Okkervil River does dabble in folk rock but they can also crank it up and would have made a great foil for Roky had they went the garage rock route. Once you get past all that though it's kinda amazing to hear Roky sing in his grizzled state at times sounding awesomely like Ralph Stanley. Though one can't shake the feeling that Roky probably had little input here (I'm sure he was just happy to be playing music) and that this thing is Sheff's own vehicle like a Johnny Cash a la Rick Rubin project.

MGMT: Congratulations.  

I was crazy about MGMT's first album for about a week. The bursting with excitement electro-pop was catchy as hell but eventually got old too quick. Congratulations, though, is a keeper. Gone are the indie dance-poppers on the last album and replacing them are Anglophiles who revel in 60's psychedelia and Brian Wilson sunshine pop. But before I get you running out the door to buy it I'll warn you this isn't anything that hasn't been done before in the last 5 years. Bands like Caribou were already doing this thing to perfection years ago. But Congratulations, even though it isn't anything pioneering, still manages to be the most enjoyable of these trend albums yet. Its biggest fault is that it isn't quite enough...it lacks punch and in the end feels like background elevator music at times. But it surpasses their first album and shows they aren't afraid to go into uncharted territory, even if it costs them some fans, and in doing so they will win the race in the long run.

"The Audio Philes" is ©2010 by Terence Nuzum.   All graphics (except where otherwise noted) are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2010 by Nolan B. Canova.