Jul 17, 2014

RhoDeo 1428 Aetix


Today at Aetix a conjuring a fiendish witches' brew of primal rockabilly, grease-stained '60s garage rock, vintage monster movies, perverse and glistening sex, and the detritus and effluvia of 50 years of American pop culture, the Cramps are a truly American creation much in the manner of the Cadillac, the White Castle hamburger, the Fender Stratocaster, and Jayne Mansfield. Often imitated, but never with the same psychic resonance as the original, the Cramps celebrate all that is dirty and gaudy with a perverse joy that draws in listeners with its fleshy decadence, not unlike an enchanted gingerbread house on the Las Vegas strip. The entire psychobilly scene would be unthinkable without them, and their prescient celebration of the echoey menace of first-generation rock & roll had a primal (if little acknowledged) influence on the rockabilly revival and the later roots rock movement.....N'joy !

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The Cramps celebrate all that is dirty and gaudy with a perverse joy that draws in listeners with its fleshy decadence, primal rockabilly, grease-stained '60s garage rock, vintage monster movies, perverse and glistening sex. They have influenced countless subsequent bands in the garage, punk and rockabilly revival subgenres, and helped create the psychobilly genre, a term coined by The Cramps, although Lux Interior maintained that the term did not describe their own style.

Lux Interior (Erick Lee Purkhiser) and Poison Ivy (hitchiking Kristy Marlana Wallace) met in Sacramento, California in 1972. Shared common artistic interests and devotion to record collecting, had them pair up and decide to form The Cramps. Lux took his stage name from a car ad, and Ivy claimed to have received hers in a dream (initially Poison Ivy Rorschach). In 1973, they moved to Akron, Ohio, and then to New York in 1975, soon entering into CBGB's early punk scene. The lineup in 1976 was Poison Ivy Rorschach, Lux Interior, Bryan Gregory (guitar), and his sister Pam "Ballam" Gregory (drums). In a short period of time, the Cramps changed drummers twice, something that would follow the bands path..the rhythm section (bass,drums) changed ever so often 7 times each in fact over their 33 years as a band.

In June 1978 they gave a landmark free concert for patients at the California State Mental Hospital in Napa, recorded on a Sony Portapak video camera by the San Francisco collective Target Video and later released as Live at Napa State Mental Hospital. They released the two singles again on their 1979 Gravest Hits EP, before Chilton brought them back that year to Memphis to record their first full length album, Songs The Lord Taught Us.

The Cramps relocated to Los Angeles in 1980 and hired guitarist Kid Congo Powers of The Gun Club. While recording their second LP, Psychedelic Jungle, the band and Miles Copeland began to dispute royalties and creative rights. The ensuing court case prevented them from releasing anything until 1983, when they recorded Smell of Female live at New York's Peppermint Lounge; Kid Congo Powers subsequently departed. Their first European tour, after having veen cancelled twice, was a success.

With the release of 1986's A Date With Elvis, the Cramps permanently added a bass guitar to the mix, but had trouble finding a suitable player, so Ivy temporarily filled in as the band's bassist. Fur joined them on the world tour to promote the album. Their popularity in the UK was at its peak (many sell out dates throughout the UK) . It was not until late 86 that the Cramps found a suitable permanent bass player: Candy del Mar, who made her recorded debut on the raw live album "RockinnReelininAucklandNewZealandxxx", which was followed by the studio album Stay Sick in 1990.

The Cramps hit the top 40 singles chart in the UK for the first and only time with "Bikini Girls with Machine Guns"; Ivy posed as such both on the cover of the single and in the promotional video for the song. The Cramps went on to record more albums and singles through the 1990s Look Mom, No Head! (91), Flame Job (94), Big Beat From Badsville (97) for various labels.

In honor of the excess of The Cramps, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has on display a shattered bass drum head that Lux's head went through during a live show. On January 10, 2001, Bryan Gregory died at of complications following a heart attack. He was 47. In 2002, The Cramps released their final studio album, "Fiends of Dope Island" on their own label, Vengeance Records. Two years later followed by a compilation, How to Make a Monster.

On February 4, 2009 at 4:40 AM PST, Lux Interior died at the Glendale Memorial Hospital after suffering an aortic dissection (rupture) which, contrary to initial reports about a pre-existing condition, was "sudden, shocking and unexpected, leaving his partner of 37 years (Poison Ivy) behind.

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Continuing the spooked-out and raging snarls of their Gravest Hits EP, the Cramps once again worked with Alex Chilton on the group's full-album debut, Songs the Lord Taught Us. The jacket reads "file under: sacred music," but only if one's definition includes the holy love of rockabilly sex-stomp, something which the Cramps fulfill in spades. Having spent Gravest Hits mostly doing revamps of older material, the foursome tackled a slew of originals like "The Mad Daddy" and "TV Set" this time around, creating one of the few neo-rockabilly records worthy of the name. Years later Songs still drips with threat and desire both, testament to both the band's worth and Chilton's just-right production. "Garbageman" surfaced as a single in some areas, a wise choice given the at-once catchy roll of the song and downright frightening guitar snarls, especially on the solo. The covers of the Sonics' "Strychnine" and Billy Burnette's "Tear It Up" -- not to mention the concluding riff on "Fever" -- all challenge the originals. Interior has the wailing, hiccuping, and more down pat, but transformed into his own breathless howl, while Ivy and Gregory keep up the electric fuzz through more layers of echo than legality should allow. Knox helms the drums relentlessly; instead of punching through arena rock style, Chilton keeps the rushed rhythm running along in the back, increasing the sheer psychosis of it all.

The Cramps - Songs The Lord Taught Us ( flac 319mb)

01 TV Set 3:12
02 Rock On The Moon 1:52
03 Garbageman 3:37
04 I Was A Teenage Werewolf 3:03
05 Sunglasses After Dark 3:48
06 The Mad Daddy 3:48
07 Mystery Plane 2:43
08 Zombie Dance 1:55
09 What's Behind The Mask 2:05
10 Strychnine 2:25
11 I'm Cramped 2:37
12 Tear It Up 2:32
13 Fever 4:17
14 I Was A Teenage Werewolf (With False Start) 4:48
15 Mystery Plane 2:41
16 Twist And Shout 2:32
17 I'm Cramped 2:37
18 The Mad Daddy 3:16

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Combining what is arguably the band's finest full-length album with their debut collection of covers, Psychedelic Jungle/Gravest Hits offers up a substantial dose of the Cramps' punk-strained mix of rockabilly music and '50s horror flick aesthetics. Here, Kid Congo Powers and Ivy form just as fine a team as she and Gregory did on earlier releases, and if things aren't always as flat-out fried as on Gravest Hits and Songs, the same atmosphere of swampy, trashy, rockabilly-into-voodoo ramalama reigns supreme. The song titles alone show the band hasn't really changed its sights any: the opening two cuts are covers, "Green Fuz" and "Goo Goo Muck," while originals include "Caveman," "Can't Find My Mind," and the brilliant "The Natives Are Restless." Then there's "Don't Eat Stuff Off the Sidewalk," which almost sounds worthy of a Frank Zappa freakout (at least lyrically). Other legendary tracks like "Primitive" and "Green Door" get the Cramps makeover this time out, with the proper mix of respect and hot-wired energy, while "The Crusher" sounds like Interior's on the verge of going completely insane. The Cramps themselves take over the production this time out, resulting in a cleaner, crisper sound (especially when it comes to Knox's drums) that isn't quite as wired, for better or for worse. As commanding showmen, though, the quartet's style comes through big time, with Interior throwing in appropriate yells, yipes, and other sounds where appropriate; his antics at the end of "Goo Goo Muck" are especially gone. If anything, the moodier strutting throughout increases the creepiness of what's afoot; if things aren't psychedelic in the commonly accepted sense, it's certainly not easy listening. Interior sometimes sounds almost normal, but with the sense that something strange is lurking just around the corner, and Ivy is still one of the best guitarists around, her snarling reverb worth a thousand fret-shredders. Lux Interior's ghoulishly manic vocals, Poison Ivy's treble-heavy guitar distortion, and Knick Knox's tribal beat are all ideally showcased here. Adding to the riches from Psychedelic Jungle, the five-song EP, Gravest Hits, features inimitable versions of the Trashmen's "Surfin' Bird," Roy Orbison's early rockabilly side "Domino," and the Ricky Nelson hit "Lonesome Town." With quality roundups hard to come by, Cramps fans would do well to pick this two-fer of the band's prime early material.

The Cramps - Psychedlic Jungle and Gravest Hits  (flac 332mb)

Psychedelic Jungle
01 Green Fuz 2:06
02 Goo Goo Muck 3:05
03 Rockin' Bones 2:48
04 Voodoo Idol 3:38
05 Primitive 3:32
06 Caveman 3:51
07 The Crusher 1:46
08 Don't Eat Stuff Off The Sidewalk 2:02
09 Can't Find My Mind 2:58
10 Jungle Hop 2:04
11 The Natives Are Restless 2:57
12 Under The Wires 2:43
13 Beautiful Gardens 3:56
14 Green Door 2:35
Gravest Hits
15 Human Fly 2:13
16 The Way I Walk 2:41
17 Domino 3:07
18 Surfin' Bird 5:06
19 Lonesome Town 3:15

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One gets the feeling from the title and cover art alone that if the Cramps could have released this live document in Glorious Smell-o-rama they would have jumped at the chance. Even without it one can almost sense the whiffs of perspiration and energy the group was cooking up; recorded at New York's Peppermint Lounge with Powers on guitar, the quartet slams out a then mostly entirely new set of songs with, as expected, appropriate covers as needed. The wonderfully profane take on Hasil Adkins' "She Said" surfaces here, with Interior sounding like he's about to die more than once. The Count Five's "Psychotic Reaction" and the perfectly appropriate "Faster Pussycat," taken from the legendary Russ Meyer film of the same name, also give the band more than a little something to chew on. As for the originals, the usual mess of swampy rockabilly and industrial strength noise comes together in just the right way from the start. "Thee Most Exalted Potentate of Love" gives Interior the chance to do his undead but still wired loveman thang right from the start, while Ivy and Powers hit the twang hard and Knox keeps everything going just right. "Call of the Wighat" is another highpoint, with Knox showing that he's up to more involved pounding and percussion when the need arises. A studio cut, "Surfin' Dead," surfaces as a ringer at the end; if not quite the Cramps go Beach Boys, it arguably forecasts the Jesus and Mary Chain's "Kill Surf City" just enough.

The Cramps - Smell of Female  (flac 214mb)

01 Thee Most Exalted Potentate Of Love 3:03
02 You Got Good Taste 3:26
03 Call Of The Wighat 3:47
04 Faster Pussycat 2:47
05 I Ain't Nuthin' But A Gorehound 3:16
06 Psychotic Reaction 3:54
07 Beautiful Gardens 3:07
08 She Said 5:18
09 Surfin' Dead 4:12

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Anonymous said...

Any chance of a re up of Songs The Lord Taught Us :)

Gremlin said...

Could you re-up he Cramps - Psychedelic Jungle and Gravest Hits & Smell of Female

AliBoingo said...

Hi Rho - please could you re-up 'Smell of Female' - many thanks