By Mike WhiteThe Rondelles - Fiction Romance, Fast Machines (Smells Like Records, PO Box 6179, Hoboken, NJ 07030)
The Donnas – American Teenage Rock 'N' Roll Machine (Lookout! Records, PO Box 11374, Berkeley, CA 94712-2374)
One night as I was making the long trek home from work, I happened to tune my radio into a great show coming in out of Canada. I heard a couple of rockin' tunes and was so impressed by two of them that I vowed to find the records they were on.
As I drove, I frantically searched the dark interior of my car for any sort of writing implement. I grabbed a pen just in time for the DJ to back-announce his last set of songs. Without being able to see what I was writing, I scrawled the names of two groups.
Neither of them was at all legible. Ironically, though, I happened to receive albums by both The Donnas and The Rondelles within two weeks of that fateful night!
Both bands feature female vocalists: the terse vocals of The Donnas a stark contrast of the pithy Rondelles. Likewise, lyrically the Donnas sound like the tough, rebellious older siblings singing tune about "getting some" while the Rondelles' selections include lyrics of fancy, roller rinks, and holding hands.
That's not to say that the two represent the Madonna/Whore dichotomy – the titles of their albums are just the beginning of their similarities. Both groups kick ass with their raw, major chord driven rock; The Donnas heavier on a four-piece pure rock sound while The Rondelles employ an impish organ. The Donnas' sound is a bit more "polished" but neither band's production are far from their garage practice spaces. Good stuff!
Various Artists - The Adventures of El Frenetico and Go-Girl (Amusement Films, PO Box 26, New York City, NY 10028)
I really admire the drive and marketing skill of Pat Bishow. I've spotted his El Frenetico and Go-Girl films at some of the cooler video stores in Michigan bearing a sweet full-cover illustrated cover. And now even a soundtrack CD is available!
Featuring music from the first three EF& GG episodes, "The Wax Terror" "Crimes of Fashion" and "Shades of Crime," the album spotlights the tunes that accompany the videos' action, displaying a wide variety of styles and instrumentation. In keeping with the "south of the border" origins of El Frenetico, a few songs have a Latin flavor ("Frenetico Come Back," "La Batalla de los Campeons," "A Very Shady Lady") while battle tunes range in sound from Surf ("Daytime Fight") to Garage ("Ninja Break-in!!!") to (I hesitate to say it) Go-Go ("Always Have a Backup Plan"). A few of the songs have a primitive, albeit appealing, sound reminiscent of early Space Negroes.
The album is well produced and is as much fun to listen to, as the EF& GG videos are to watch! The videos (see CdC 6 & 7 for write-ups of the first two EF& GG films) and soundtrack are available from Pat Bishow (see above address).
Order the video from Amazon
Various Artists - Mack Daddies, Mean Muthas, Foxy Mommas (Fifth Planet Records)
Being the reluctant Grand Poobah of the Anti-Tarantino camp is a pretty funky role. I get a lot of flack from rabid fanboys and girls ("You're an asshole. Don't be a spazz just because Quentin Tarantino is a god among men and you are an idiot. You said yourself that RESEVOIR (sic) DOGS is a kick ass movie. Don't be such a hypocrite that is probably one of the reasons why nobody likes you. Your mom probably dosen't (sic) even want to speak to you. She's ashamed."), you get some hushed confessions ("I thought that the switcheroo scene repetition in JACKIE BROWN could have been edited into one scene." "I think the Bruce Willis part of PULP FICTION drags."), and you also get clued into the whereabouts and goings on of Tarantino at all times. It's a strange life I lead.
A few years back I got word of Quentin Tarantino's pitch meeting for JACKIE BROWN. The rumor was that QT had been given a cassette of blaxploitation radio trailers that he listened to on his way to his meeting and once he got in he threw out his straight-forward adaptation of Elmore Leonard's Rum Punch and went for a noveau-blaxploitation flick.
I didn't know how much stock to put in that story after I saw JACKIE BROWN and realized that it failed miserably as a blaxploitation film – or as any kind of film, for that matter. It was dull, dull, deathly dull. It took finding Mack Daddies, Mean Muthas, Foxy Mommas to loan some credibility to that tale.
MDMMFM is a killer compilation of commercials for well-known (CLEOPATRA JONES) and more obscure (BLACK RODEO) blaxploitation films—fifty-four phat cuts in all—each a fantastic mix of music, soundbytes, and groovy narration.
It'd be easy to say that MDMMFM is the audio equivalent of Something Weird Video's Rudy Ray Moore-hosted AFROS, MACKS & ZODIACS theatrical preview collection. However, while the disc occasionally suffers from a lack of visuals (The clothes! The cars! The action!), it's redeemed by being tightly edited and skillfully narrated. There's not a word out of place. The descriptive hyperbole and snippets of dialogue often border on poetry – and I don't mean the rappin' and tappin' of the Rudy Ray Moore's narrated HUMAN TORNADO ("Winnin', Grinnin', and Sinnin'!") or rhymed couplets of DR. BLACK & MR. HYDE ("Shot full of lead and he still ain't dead!"). Plus, MDMMFM features some one-liners that demand being repeated: "Children under 17 not admitted so bring your Momma, she'll like it too!" "Under 17 not admitted without a parent – or a note from your jailer!"