Elliott Murphy (1976) Night Lights (LP) RCA (APL1-1318)

Elliott Murphy

 Night Lights 


RCA (APL1-1318)

Produced by Steve Katz

*** noteworthy

This third long-player by Murphy is produced by Steve Katz (fresh from producing a string of Reed albums) and features Doug Yule (Velvet Underground), Ernie Brooks (Modern Lovers) and Jerry Harrison (Talking Heads), and on one cut a 4th-grade chorus.  It sounds very much like the arty side of mid 70s New York–perhaps a bit too much for many listeners–and appears to be heavily influenced by English artists such as Ian Hunter and David Bowie and especially by fellow East Coasters Jonathan Richman and Lou Reed.

Reportedly Murphy’s earlier albums show more of a Dylan influence, but the imprint still remains here, becoming clear on “Lady Stiletto” (which sounds like it must be about Patti Smith). While this album sounds more arty and urban than the following three artists, you can sense a connection with Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, and Tom Waits, and Murphy perhaps helps shed some light on a bridge between Dylan and those three artists.

It’s easy to see why some were looking at Waits, Springsteen or Murphy as sort of the new Dylan. And these three clearly had more than that in common.  Their music was informed by American folk but clearly urban.  Each had released two albums that were praised by critics but ignored by the masses, and by 1976, all three had recently recorded a third album.  It’s also easy to see why Bruce and Tom eventually found much more success.

It’s also easy to see why folks today focus on other music from this specific time and place.

While Murphy picks some great influences, so many others from this setting were focused on creating something new–a brand-new sound rising from the corpses of the past. Most bands looked back to pre-Sgt. Pepper 1960s but also looked to create something all their own. And unlike Murphy, most were not introspective and arty.

In 1976, the Ramones released their first album, the Dictators had done that the year before, the Talking Heads were getting ready for 1977, Patti Smith was spitting about a “Piss Factory,” Blondie were doing their thing, and bands such as Suicide were clearly taking the past and making something new.
Of course, there was much more.
Finally in 1976, the parts of the world interested in the underground got a taste of what was going down on the east Coast when both the CBGB and At the Rat compilations were released. While the bands from these albums have been mostly ignored, many were clearly creating a sound that would influence every aspect of punk/independent/underground music.  And that music influenced everything else.

On the other hand, one can’t help but focus more at what was going down elsewhere on the east coast at this time, but his album by Murphy certainly has its moments, even if those moments often sound stolen.  You have to appreciate that he doesn’t hide his influences, with for example, vocal elements on “Lookin’ For A Hero” clearly coming from Velvet Underground (who had borrowed those elements themselves).
Likely folks will find this set fairly enjoyable or fairly annoying.

— winch: author of



La Misma (2016) Kanizadi (LP) estado tóx’co 023

Kickboxing with a pack of girls, endless rumpus stomp and jarring jabs, tons of fun and more than a little bit menacing, snapping at you in language you can’t understand (unless you’re maybe from Brazil or Portugal then maybe if they let you you can wrap your fingers around the fists and get some inside grin) snapping at the heels of some demons in a language any punk in the world is bound to understand.

It’s amazing to me that it’s the future now and people are still making kickass punk statements like this.

— winch

author of

Blondie: Little Doll (LP) 1979 bootleg

Little Doll
Barbie Records
***** Good Shit

Pretty great bootleg from 1979 Dallas show, radio broadcast, top-notch sound capturing the band just before things would go wrong.


Ignoring Plastic Letters, the set offers two cuts from each of the other albums from the 70s, concluding with a rocking ’60s medley that crashes into a version of Iggy Pop’s “Funtime.”



The album ends with demo cuts from 1975, including a version of the Shangra-La’s 1965 “Out in the Streets” which is pure gold.

— winch


Obits: I Blame You (LP) 2009

I Blame You

Subpop 785
Produced by Sanoff-Janney & Obits

Recommended ****
Debut set from this Brooklyn outfit of rock & roll veterans.  The set is consistent throughout with several highlights, has a hard-rock garage sound with a heavy bass-driven backbeat, the powerpop influence becoming clear on the last cut, a number called “Back & Forth.”  The songs are credited to the band except one cut, a solid cover of “Milk Cow Blues.” 
This album is one of Subpop’s better 21st Century offerings, should appeal to most anyone with rock & roll running through their veins.
— winch
author of Kalamazoo: Growing Up Sideways in the 1970s

New York Trash (LP) 1982

Various Artists
New York Thrash


Rating: **** (Recommended)
While NYC played a huge part in creating the punk of the 70s, here the influence comes back home, from NYC to the UK, to the West Coast and back to NYC.  Of course, many NYC outfits would likely argue against such simplifications, and many would say that they were all part of the NYC underground of an era.  We tend to separate things by decades but 1982 was only five years after 1977, and especially when it comes to NYC, ’75 to ’85 was more of a decade than the 70s or 80s.  
  1. “I Hate Music” – The Mad (1978)
  2. “Getaway” – Kraut
  3. “Shotgun” – Heart Attack
  4. “Social Reason” – The Undead
  5. “New Year’s Eve” – Adrenalin OD
  6. “Illusion Won Again – Even Worse
  7. “Cry Now”  – Fiends
  8. “Here and Now” – Nihilistics
  9. “Nightmare – The Undead
  10. “Taxidermist”- False Prophets
  11. “Regulator (Version)” – Bad Brains
  12. “Riot Fight” – Beastie Boys
  13. “Love and Kisses” – Nihilistics
  14. “Asian White” – Fiends
  15. “Last Chance” – Kraut
  16. “Emptying the Madhouse” – Even Worse
  17. “Paul’s Not Home” – Adrenalin O.D.
  18. “Scorched Earth” – False Prophets
  19. “God is Dead” – Heart Attack
  20. “The Hell” – The Mad (1980)
  21. “Big Take Over (Version)” – Bad Brains
  22. “Beastie” – Beastie Boys


Other than the Mad cuts, all these songs were recorded from 1981 – 1982.  Classic 1982 NYC underground comp, originally on cassette only.    


— winch

(author of Kalamazoo: Growing Up Sideways in the 1970s)