We Can Embarrass The Sun and Make Faces At the Moon

THIS WEEK: the anachronistic sounds of Dutch Missionary Records.

señior Renfield

To celebrate the spirit of sock-hops everywhere, there’s a kinda socked-up song from the Dutch Missionary Records project: “Run Away” by The Running Relapses of Judgment, NM (aka “me”) on the DMR myspace.

“Run Away” was written ‘in character’ from the perspective of a young would-be escapist trying to enlist an amorous travel partner.  Typically (for me, the former short storyist), his shaky but endearing woo has defeated itself by the final verse, and rather than desperately clinging to fantasy, the song ultimately tries to unmask both escapism and convention.  BTW, “Run Away” was one of the songs The Heavens Gates played at our wedding gig and it went pretty well.

Dutch Missionary Records was my main musical project between the third Brothers K album (from which those previous songs came) and the toga antics of The classic Heaps.  Each song was attributed to a different fictional (and oddly named) band and the liner notes of the 3 resulting albums chart the incestuous trading of (fake) members between the different (fake) bands on the (fake) label headed by Milo Cantos [aka my nom-de-blog].  It was a tribute of sorts to the liner notes of (real) compilations like Left of the Dial, “Astral Glamour” [collecting all the recordings 70s UK punk lost gems The Homosexuals], and the previous discussed garage bible The Nuggets Box Set.

I guess by its very definition, almost all garage rock songs have a 50s feel to them, and most of the songs of DMR were garage with varying amounts of jangle, bite, organ solos, etc. Never mind that probably no one would have actually been fooled into thinking that these were a bunch of different bands (because I wasn’t trying to do, like, different voices)–the point was to let the songs create the bands rather than the usual way round.

Of course, the multiplicity of made-up bands was also the undoing of the project–when people ask, “what’s your band called?” it’s not helpful to say, “which fake one?”  By the end of the liner notes to the 3rd DMR album, the label’s headquarters have been blown up and all of the various fake personages have been dispatched. Of course, chosing a single band name that will encompass everything you foresee making is much harder than choosing a deliberately terrible band name (like “The Weeping Swords”) for a single track that you are not even officially a part of; I still haven’t really decided upon a single name that does everything I want, which is fine because The Heaps have kept me plenty busy.

WHAT’S GOOD: Pablo Álvarez Rubio as the insane crony Renfield (see above) in the Spanish language version of the 1931 Bela Legosi “Dracula” that was filmed on the same sets after the Legosi version wrapped each day; Rubio’s over-the-top, better-than-Dwight-Frye (see below) performance must be (one of) the reason(s) why people say the Spanish version is better ’cause it’s sure not Carlos Villarías as Dracula (see bottom of the page).

BONUS: Here’s another DMR track with a 50s glaze, though of a different sort (doo-wop acappella except making  sounds like a beatbox and synthesizers instead of, you know, nonsense syllables).  It’s “Not Cryin'” by The Shrapnelles (aka “me”):




One Response to “We Can Embarrass The Sun and Make Faces At the Moon”

  1. oh man, love the carlos villarias screen cap.

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