Kim Fowley

Bad News from the Underworld

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Although Kim Fowley was a noted trash rock producer in the '60s and America's answer to Malcolm McLaren in the '70s (the Runaways and Venus & the Razorblades were originally his idea), he's never been accused of being much of a musician or songwriter. As a result, his more "musical" records tend to be fairly awful, the best (an extremely relative term) being probably 1978's Sunset Boulevard or 1979's Snake Document Masquerade. 1995's Bad News from the Underworld is actually fairly listenable, however, in that it cuts the musical content down to the barest minimum and lets Fowley do his goofily paranoid and dystopic spoken word thang unencumbered by the need for hooks or choruses. Recorded around 1984 by the underground electronic artist and fanzine publisher Rich Labonte (slightly better known as Flatrich), the ten songs on Bad News from the Underworld are skeletal electronic music performed on simple analogue synthesizers and first-generation drum machines, over which Fowley croons and growls his stream-of-consciousness spew. Actually, those who can tune out Fowley's vocals might find this an interesting curio of very early D.I.Y. electronica; those who can't will probably find it pointless and annoying, but less so than most of Kim Fowley's other albums.

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