PRETEND IT'S OKAY
If you know Buddy Seigal only through his learned, excretion-laden scribbling in this very section, you know only half the story. Under the stage name Buddy Blue, the singer/guitarist/songwriter is an elder statesman of the San Diego roots-music scene. After recent forays into jump blues, he returns to early rock & roll on Pretend It's Okay, although assigning any one style to Blue is foolhardy. The musical answer to a spent Pall Mall filter, he has absorbed 100 years of American music (and fortysomething years of hard and soft living) and packed them into every note, lick and verse. From the honky-tonky romp "When Merrill Pitched a Boogie" (a tribute to dearly departed boogie-woogie pianist Merrill Moore, a guest on previous Blue albums) to a hard-driving rearrangement of Jethro Tull's early nugget "My Sunday Feeling" (which crescendos here into brassy chaos), Blue and company prove they're still smokin.' Relatively new sideman Bruce Gilbert's key pounding is eerily possessed by the same demons inhabiting Jerry Lee Lewis and Pete Jolly. Longtime Blue bandos Jerry Rig and Petey Bogle provide steady thumpa-thumpa bass plucking and a muscular backbeat on the drums, respectively. And as is common on Blue discs, assistance is provided by an impressive guest list, which this time includes Billy Bacon; should-be-country-god Chris Gaffney; his fellow Costa Mesan Freddie Brooks; Craig Doerge (who's on nearly every track of every Super '70s rock compilation); and Doerge's wife, recently unretired "Queen of the Beatniks" Judy Henske. Yet Blue's the real star, singing more confidently than ever, adding his twisted humor (both musically and lyrically) to many cuts, and honoring us with guitar runs that sound as if they've come from a forgotten master. One complaint, though, from one Weekling to another: Buddy, goombah, you are too generous, always stepping back from short, infrequent but fabulous solos to allow others a moment in the light. More you, please. (Matt Coker)
KILL ROCK STARS
The press called them the Swiss Slits, but the girls of the no-longer-long-lost punk band LiLiPUT (formerly Kleenex, until the same sort of lawyers that got to Redd Kross heard about them) were and are much more than just a quirky footnote to the first wave of punk. Rescued from eBay hell, this comprehensive discography (the first CD features singles and live tracks, the second two LPs) is almost every track a classic. Songs such as "Ain't You" might be just a few chords removed from "Vindictive," but listen closely, and you'll hear echoes of the bare-bones bravura of the Mo-Dettes, the irrepressibly brassy spunk of X-Ray Spex, maybe even the sly charm of Blondie without the saccharine commercial sheen (and can we sneak a Raincoats reference in here, too?). Listen even more closely, and you'll hear the first rumbling hint of sounds that would win new life with Sonic Youth, with Bratmobile, with a whole new wave of fiercely experimental music made by women. The energy, spirit and urgency behind these recordings is undeniable: LiLiPUT sounds as up-to-the-second fresh as anything wriggling through the underground now, and it's charged with enough sheer force of personality to vaporize a degenerating generation of vapid punk bands. This is music that demands to be heard—even 20 years later. Ask yourself why you're not listening yet. (Chris Ziegler)
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