Robert Dayton has contributed writing and/or art to numerous publications and shows - most recently he did a series of Fantasy Beards. He is currently publishing a series of self-help tracts called Y2K Compatible which are available from him. Robert is in Wet Dirt, the modern song and dance duo Canned Hamm, Hallmark, and legendary longtime lucidly malleable act July Fourth Toilet (whose latest album was voted June’s vinyl of the month by Julian Cope on his Head Heritage site). As an actor, he is in the upcoming feature Leslie, My Name Is Evil about the Manson Family. He starred in the cringe comedy Male Fantasy which was recently released on DVD. As DJ Body Beautiful, he spins without boundaries every Sunday for his emotional and free admission evening FEELINGS at The Ossington in Toronto.
1. Love Got in My Way
This Joe E reissue by brand new label EABLA Records has been described as “... a poor man’s Elvis taking aim at a Pet Sounds for the middle-aged melancholic and coming up with a masterpiece...” It opens with an echo laden yelp and swings into Joe E belting, “Gimmee that come on sign!” Then things take a maudlin turn with such perfect songs as Table for Two for One. The liner notes explain how Joe E thought he’d make it big in 1975 by sinking twenty thousand dollars into this album. That didn’t happen, but hopefully this reissue can rectify that.
2. Doug Randle
Doug Randle’s 1970 album Songs for the New Industrial State was also unjustly ignored. Two male lead vocalists sing minor-key soft-pop against a completely lush soundtrack by amazing session musicians. Described as “David Axelrod meets The Free Design.” Recorded during a mid-life crisis, the songs deal with rather intense subject matter such as consumerism and the environment, but it sounds even more prescient today.
I just found out about Hank when my band WET DIRT played with them. Skewed personality pop. Great catchy song-craft. A droll late-night showman with pervasive female harmonies. Piano/synth driven. I love their new album The Luck of the Singers and the song Exclusive Plot is a gorgeous tune imploring the listener to come visit their tombstone.
4. God Monster of Indian Flats
A messy film that people describe as indescribable Grade Z, but director Fredric Hobbs, a total artist, clearly knew what he was doing. God Monster takes place in a frontier town and features a mutated sheep monster that may be the key to all creation, but much of the film is focused on power and mining rights. It ends in total carnage on top of the town dump. Hobbs eventually retired from film and turned to sculpture. I'd love to find his other films and interview him.
I was recently on a panel with Frank Santoro who draws the comic book Cold Heat. Frank had a copy of the DC comic book Thriller from 1983. I hadn’t thought about it in ages, but I had a subscription years ago. The writer, Robert Loren Fleming, apparently worked in the DC Comics mailroom before this came out. It’s a challenging story that gets better with each read and with every year. I am amazed how it improves with age! The world just wasn’t ready for it. Overlooked and easy to find in dollar bins. Illustrator Trevor Von Eeden is interviewed in this month’s Comics Journal. His art in Thriller is unique. It suits the rapid neo-pulp pacing and spirituality of this near-future city. Highlights include: a terrorist villain named Scabbard who keeps a huge blade in the flesh of his back, narrow jagged horizontal panels that match an intense helicopter sequence, and massive translucent eyes from spectral forms.
Comments (newest first) +click to add comment