Lost links & Re-ups

On any post, if the link is no longer good, leave a comment if you want the music re-uploaded. As long as I still have the file, or the record, cd, or cassette to re-rip, I will gladly accommodate in a timely manner all such requests.

Slinging tuneage like some fried or otherwise soused short-order cook

03 July 2022

Love Him or Hate Him, but You Can't Ignore Him

He is King at least for a day... 
 



A member of the graduating class of whack-jobs that includes Gary Wilson & Zolar X...

Presenting the man, the myth, the true Con(n)undrum. 

Bobby Conn definitely deserves his time here at NSS.  I had been planning this post for several years or more. I would work on it & then I would put it away for a while. The task of chronicling Bobby Conn's diverse career just seemed daunting.

Then blog-friend MrDave commented on my April Marc Bolan post.

MrDave5/2/22, 9:35 AM...
     "Bolan looks like the illegitimate sex-child of Bobby Conn and (his lovely partner) Julie Pomerleau which I'm sure is exactly what the two of them were going for. Speaking of which, if you have any, I'd love to have it! (I've only got a low bitrate version of "Homeland")."
 

Songs like "Baby Man (refrain)" or "California" from the Rise Up! release are just soooooooooooo Marc Bolan / T Rex as relates to MrDave. Then listen to the BeeGee-esque "Face Blind" or the Bowie-esque "More than You Need" or the Devo-esque "Underground Vktm" from Macaroni. You’ll be scratching your brain in uncertainty. Say what? That's how I felt in the past, but I felt I owed it to MrDave to forward to the goal. (I wasn't going to post Macaroni but now I name-dropped tunes from said pasta, so here[___])

Conn was born Jeffrey Stafford in New York. He spent much of his young life in the Chicago suburb of St. Charles. He started a hardcore punk trio in high school called The Broken Kockamamies. In 1989, Bobby joined the Chicago avant garde rock quartet Conducent: Bobby Conn - guitar; Rex Jenny - bass / vocals; Le Deuce - loops, beats, atmosphere; & DeShawn -drums / vocals. Conn went solo in 1994 after Conducent broke up. His first lineup consisted of ex-Conducent member DJ Le Deuce on turntables, as well as his future wife Julie Pomerleau (aka Monika BouBou) on electric violin. Conn has released seven studio albums (the latest being 2020s Recovery), a live album Live Classics, & several EPs. 

 

 

A few years back I happened upon the widely circulated & very puzzling YouTube clip of Bobby Conn performing "Never Get Ahead" on a local Chicago cable access program. The song was just weird/good enough to make me search out more Mr. Bobby. What did the rest of Bobby Conn's music sound like, I wondered? After all these years & much time invested in listening to his entire output, I'm still wondering. I get it, but I just can't say. You just have to listen for yourselves. I recommend multiple listens. It won't sink in on the first play (or even the third for most). It's complicated, requires paying close attention, because it's music with a lot of tiny moving parts. 

 



 

Since the YouTube video of "Never Get Ahead" was my first exposure to Bobby Conn's music, I've started at the beginning with his self-titled 1997 debut Bobby Conn that features that song. I have seen the album described as no wave or post rock. Not entirely inaccurate, but with the mutant pop/disco/soul of "Never Get Ahead" or the heavy metal bludgeoning of "The Sportsman" or the 13-minute-long musique concrète collage of slowed down layered snatches of Paul McCartney on "Who's The Paul? #16" it becomes apparent there is much more going on here. 

 

Bobby Conn - Bobby Conn, Truckstop TRUCK02CD, 1997.
all decryption codes in comments

Overture
Axis '67 (Part One)
No Kids, No Money
Never Get Ahead
Who's the Paul #16   
Who's the Paul #33
Payback
The Sportsman
Axis '67 (Part Three) 
 
 
 


Conn's next album was 1998s Rise Up!, which is both a parody of mainstream rock & a political message, but an updating of the whole protest music concept for an apathetic generation not much interested in protesting anything. Musically it is a massive step forward from the first release. Produced by Jim O'Rourke & featuring a much deeper musical collaboration with his future wife, violinist Julie Pomerleau, aka Monika BouBou. Bobby's image of a diminutive, falsetto-singing, drug-addled rocker with glitter eyeshadow & chipped painted fingernails gave this outing a "leper messiah" edge.

Bobby Conn - Rise Up!, Atavistic ALP306CD, 1998.

The Twilight of the Empire    1:41
Rise Up!
Axis '67 Pt. 2
United Nations
California
Passover
A Conversation   
Baby Man
Baby Man (refrain)
White Bread
Lullaby
Ominous Drone   
Rise Up, Now!
 
 
 
 
 

If the Bobby Conn project went into full bloom with Rise Up!, 2001s The Golden Age (also produced by Jim O'Rourke) is a huge leap forward once again. The arrangements on this album are next level. Conn & BouBou are now fully in sync. So for anyone not sure where to jump into the Conn pool, this is probably the spot. The Golden Age is one of the most musically sophisticated pop albums around, with some very fine musicianship, bursting with intelligence. 
 
 
Bobby Conn - The Golden Age, Thrill Jockey thrill084, 2001.

A Taste of Luxury
Angels
You've Come a Long Way
The Best Years of Our Lives
Winners
The Golden Age
No Revolution
Pumper
Whores
 
 
 
 

All anyone needs to say is "King for a Day". As good a song as any by Bowie or Bolan. Punch the sky!
 
Bobby Conn - King for a Day, Thrill Jockey thrill 177, 2007.

Vanitas
When the Money's Gone
King for a Day
A Glimpse of Paradise
Love Let Me Down
Sinking Ship
Twenty-One
Punch the Sky!
Anybody
(I'm Through with) My Ego
Mr. Lucky
Things
 
 
 
 
 

So now on to Recovery, the newest Bobby Conn album. It's the soundtrack for the CoVid-19 pandemic nightmare. Alexis, play Disposable Future! 
 
 
 
Bobby Conn - Recovery, Tapete Records TR450CD, 2020.

Recovery   
Disposable Future   
Good Old Days   
No Grownups   
Brother   
On the Nose   
Bijou   
Disaster   
It's a Young Man's Game   
Always Already

Thank you, MrDave,

14 comments:

  1. Bobby Conn
    sInM_FTV_KdK59bANiL7EX6JthA8LHYO_djqldtyWHw
    Rise Up!
    IH7pakGkZ92ne9FGLhN0JGuNUxl0Xv-BGRZ8aCed6-8
    The Golden Age
    NBicz5u5-VrCkS8aYS7UqeJMQSzgltYLdOX2ZJNPjlA
    King for a Day
    pu0i2ePiXOBsNHy9u_4TRXd6fX-GTTPMgaBgqbmvKPI
    Recovery
    iIJKThTRcJ-g9h2OlERb5t9SGiq2dpSBuPMIIVHItac

    ReplyDelete
  2. THANK YOU!! Really appreciate you re-grouping and mustering the fortitude to bring this post to fruition! My exposure to Bobby was exactly the same -- I saw the "Never Get Ahead" video back in 2008 or so with no context and at first took it at face value as some crazy un-hinged Jackson 5 style video from the 70s before realizing it was a parody from the 90s. I was also intrigued enough by it to try to find out more about him, watching every video I could find (many times over) and getting even more intrigued. His other albums besides Homeland however have eluded me all this time so I am forever (further) in your debt. Hope someone else out there finds something to like here; it's not all gold but it's certainly an interesting and unconventional oeuvre from the many angles I've been able to catch a fleeting glance of it. Thanks Nathan!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It might not all be gold, but it's well worth taking the time to check out. Every time I dig into the Bobby Conn catalogue, I find something differenet catches my ear & mind. This time through I was totally amazed by King for a Day. It just seemed to hit all the right notes. Thanks for getting me off my duff on this post. Glad I finally followed through on it.

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  3. Thx! I somehow missed the BC phenomenon even thought I had been deep into Chicago stuff just prior...been meaning to explore him for a long time now....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the comment. No time like the present time to dig the Conn, man.

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  4. WOW! Thanks NOTHIN’ for the great intro as I missed it all. Just in time for BORIS THE SPRINKLER’S recent 30 year anniversary that my man Patrick Costello from Dillinger Four hipped me to after he played the anniversary show out Green Bay way (in the same kind of genre).
    Viacom mad at DU blog (new phone)

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  5. The cover art of "Recovery" says it all.

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  6. There's something Zappaesque about his music, always a good thing in my garden. Thanks for introducing us to the sounds.
    Even in this world overloaded with data you manage to find something akin to losing our virginity musicwise.
    And what a valuable thing that is nowadays.
    Everithing outside is frozen and I'm grateful to have a home in this barren cordillera.
    The miserable rural internet connection seems a wonder for me to explore.
    Your blog is always a ligthouse in a cold shaken ocean at night.
    Smoke Oh

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Man, you got me blushing here with your wonderful comment. Busting the musickal cherry, woo. Always try to post up whatever I'm listening to, & my taste in music is outre to say the least. Just try never to be boring.

      I'll try to keep the lighthouse lantern burning brightly. Any requests?

      Do you live near Cordillera del Paine?

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    2. Hey Nathan Only some 80 km away as the crow flies but by the argentinian side, along the same meridian more or less.
      Puerto Punta Bandera is a minuscule settlement in the Santa Cruz province by the Lago Argentino shores.
      Quite "outré" as well...
      Cheers Man.

      Delete