January 2016 Comics, Poetry, and Reviews by
Stream "More or Less"
|babysue comix #248
babysue comix #249
Alan J. Bound
Keith Emerson Trio
The Good Dinosaur
Jesus comic #51
The Lady In The Van*
Little You, Little Me
|Plus Sized Dan|
Scary Little Friends
Pete Seeger & Roger McGuinn
Yuka & Chronoship
Additional Items Received
You have a sex organ
Doesn't mean you
Boone - Duet Hits (CD, Goldenlane
/ Cleopatra, Pop)
Whether you like him or not, you have to admire Pat Boone's desire to try new things. His venture into the world of heavy metal a few years back was peculiar to say the least. But it sure got him plenty of instant media exposure. This one's causing the same kind of reaction and discussion. Duet Hits is a curious collection of songs in which Boone covers well-known songs along with some of the original artists who created them. Bizarre moments include Pat and James Brown performing "Papa's Got A Brand New Bag," "Tears of a Clown" sung with Smokey Robinson, "Shotgun" with Gerald Albright, and "That's the Way of the World" with Earth, Wind & Fire. But for us the oddest track is "I Can't Help Myself" with Pat singing along with The Four Tops. Hearing this album is something like having two stereos on at the same time. A more appropriate album title might have been When Worlds Collide. What's really strange about Boone is that he doesn't seem to really try to change or adapt his voice to fit any of these different styles of music. He sings just like he always has...and it just sounds...really, really weird hearing him performing alongside the original artists. We have to admire the guy...he's got guts. This is a curiosity, that's for sure. This is one we'll hang onto just to see how people react to it...for the same reason that we still enjoy turning folks onto the music of the 1960s oddity known as Mrs. Miller (she always gets a reaction here in our plush office suites).
J. Bound - Deep Space: The Alan J. Bound
Retrospective 2005 to 2014 (Independently released CD, Progressive/instrumental)
This compilation is being released to (hopefully) make others aware of the cool instrumental music created by guitarist Alan J. Bound. Appropriately titled Deep Space, this album presents nine tracks recorded by Bound from 2005 to 2014. Fans of the band Can should note that Jaki Liebezeit plays drums on these recordings. All nine tracks have been remastered and four were remixed for this release. Fans of trippy 1970s progressive music will find a lot to love here. These compositions have nice flowing qualities and plenty of subtle psychedelia is laced into the mix. But the heart of the music is centered around Alan's totally groovy guitar playing. This guy has a great sound and we particularly like the fact that he doesn't overplay. Instead, Bound seems to focus more on getting ideas across rather than trying to impress folks with speed or volume. Truly neat spacey stuff. Our favorites include "N365," "Elephant," "Ikarus," and "Moonglider 2014 Remix."
Baby - Electric Friends (CD, Hearts and Plugs, Pop)
This band has the potential to become hugely popular. And we do mean...HUGE. We liked this group the last time we heard their music. But since then they've really focused their sound so much so that they are now extremely stylized. The songs on Electric Friends have a nice commercial pop sound without ever having that awful canned overprocessed digital gloss that we find so annoying. Even though layering and studio polish are part of the puzzle, they are used in such subtle ways that they add emphasis to these tracks rather than having detrimental effects. Brave Baby is comprised of Christian Chidester, Jordan Hicks, Keon Masters, Steven Walker, and Wolfgang Zimmerman. Even though the songs on this album have an instantly familiar sound...we're having the hardest time trying to come up with possible comparisons and/or influences (?!). Whoever or whatever they sound like, the guys in Brave Baby have an infectious sound that--with the right bit of luck and timing--could propel them to superstardom overnight. Eleven smart classy tracks including "Daisy Child," "Be Alright," "Electric Friends," "Ancients," and "Call It." Stunning in so many ways... Top pick.
Card - Follow Me Down (CD, Monomer
Recording Company, Pop)
Simple good solid toe-tappin' music with no frills. Lew Card has been playing mandolin in different bands around the Austin, Texas area for the past ten years or so. But he's also a singer/songwriter as well. Follow Me Down is Card's third full-length release, and it's a keeper. At a point in time when so many musicians are trying way, way too hard to impress others with their songwriting skills and vocal talents, Lew's music comes across like a nice breath of fresh air. This guy is a natural. He doesn't push or force his music, he just lets it happen. With a bit of luck, this fellow could eventually have a huge following. His songs certainly have an appeal that could cut across a wide cross section of listeners. We particularly dig the vocals. Card has a super smooth voice that is instantly warm and genuine. Cool reflective mid-tempo pop cuts include "Walkin' Shoes Blues," "Do My Own Thing," "Come On Up," and "Gone Back Home."
- Original Motion Picture Soundtrack: Score by Carter
Burwell (CD, Varese
Sarabande, Film score)
Before receiving this soundtrack we had already heard great things about this film. It first caught our attention because it was produced by Todd Haynes who we will forever respect for his brilliant underground documentary about The Carpenters called Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story. That film is not commercially available because everyone's dearest friend (Richard Carpenter...blech...) sued Haynes for using songs without his permission. But you can still easily find and view the film on YouTube.com. Watch it...it is essential to understanding what the world of The Carpenters was probably really like. But onto the present film, Carol. This is a different sort of movie with a different sort of plot. The story takes place in the 1950s where a younger and older woman fall in love and then have to deal with the difficulties and problems that arise from their involvement with one another. Critics are falling all over themselves praising this one, and we have a strange intuitive feeling that they're probably right. Here we're only covering the music. If you're familiar with Carter Burwell then you can probably already guess that this is something rather special. The majority of the album consists of Burwell original compositions but a few tracks from the past are included to provide a feeling of appropriate time and place (Billie Holiday, Georgia Gibbs, Les Paul & Mary Ford, Jo Stafford, Helen Foster & The Rovers). Those tracks are appropriate and nice, of course...but it's Carter's original instrumental compositions that steal the show here. The tracks are mesmerizing, haunting, and probably add incredible multiple layers to the emotional aspects involved in this movie. We cannot wait to see Carol. But until then, we'll be playing this one whenever we feel the need to create some incredible moods around our plush office suites. Highly recommended. TOP PICK.
Coldair - The Provider (CD, Twelves,
Creative, trippy, intense, dreamy, hypnotic, curious, confusing...these are just a few of the words that come to mind while spinning The Provider. While we can hear hints and traces of a variety of other artists here, it seems virtually impossible to come up with any single obvious comparison. Coldair is the solo band/project created by Tobiasz Bilinski. Although only 25 years old as of this writing, Bilinski has covered a lot of ground over the last decade. He has released five full-length albums (two of which were recorded with his previous band Kyst), played numerous concerts in some very prestigious places, and impressed a great number of people with his dense and complex progressive pop compositions. Recorded and mixed with Jeff Zeigler in Philadelphia, The Provider is an ominous and formidable album. Tobiasz combines distorted electronics with traditional instruments, creating a sound that is simultaneously friendly and somewhat unsettling. It isn't often we hear music that stands squarely on its own. This is one of those cases. Ten puzzling cuts including "Endear," "We Are Weak," and "Suit Yourself." Just slightly disturbing and very, very different. Top pick.
Cooper - Depot Light: Songs of Eric Taylor (CD, Red Beet, Pop/Americana)
Red Beet Records is a good example of what's right with Nashville, Tennessee in the twenty-first century. While the city is mainly known for processed cheese carbon copy artists who sell millions but offer very little substance, there are also some totally cool threads of real talent bubbling just underneath the glossy surface in Music City. Despite the fact that this album features songs composed by Eric Taylor, East Nashville's Peter Cooper insists that this is not a tribute album. Instead, he says that he recorded these songs "...because they are the songs I most wanted to sing." If that's not the right reason for making music, what is? Cooper has been heavily influenced by Taylor's music...and he's not the only one. Others who appreciate his music include Lyle Lovett, Nanci Griffith, and Joan Baez (among others). We must admit that, prior to hearing this album, we weren't familiar with Eric's music. If the point here is to make more folks aware of Eric Taylor's presence in the world of music, it is already succeeding...because it quickly made us fans of the man. Smooth, reflective, pensive cuts include "All So Much Like Me," "The Great Divide," "Two Fires," "Deadwood," and "Happy Ending." Really nice warm sound quality on these recordings...obviously a sincere labor of love. Recommended. Top pick.
Coulson - Electric Classical (Independently
released CD, Guitar/instrumental)
Hard to know whether to call this an EP or an album because it's kinda in the middle somewhere. This short album (that clocks in at just over twenty-four minutes) presents ten instrumental tracks with guitarist Sam Coulson providing his interpretations of some well-known classical compositions. When Steve Howe left the band Asia, Coulson was invited as his replacement. Talk about credentials. Anyone who can follow in Steve Howe's footsteps has to have real talent. And here, on his first solo debut, Sam proves just that. His playing is precise and inspired. But what is most surprising here is how sparse these recordings are. Instead of layering everything to death, Coulson chooses to present these compositions simply without unnecessary fanfare. Really nice sounding stuff. Coulson is obviously sowing the seeds for what will undoubtedly be a long and rewarding solo career.
Joe Egan - Out of Nowhere (CD, Angel
This is an album that was many years ahead of its time. Up to this point in time, Joe Egan has been mainly known as one half of the band Stealers Wheel who had some huge hits in the 1970s including "Stuck In The Middle With You" and "Star." After the band broke up in 1975 Egan recorded this solo album, but it was not released until 1979 because of contractual obligations. The album was apparently well received but it was nowhere near as popular as music by Stealers Wheel. Up until now Out of Nowhere was only available on vinyl. The years have been kind to this album. Thanks to producer David Courtney and Angel Air's Peter Purnell, Egan's long lost album can once again be heard by old fans as well as an entirely new audience. Today these songs would fit somewhere in the folk/pop/Americana genres. What impresses us most about these tracks is the fact that they don't sound the least bit dated. Joe wrote some great songs for this album that surely should have received more attention than they did when originally released. Hopefully this Angel Air release will bring this album to the attention of a much larger audience. Gerry Rafferty seems to have garnered most of the attention after Stealers Wheel ended. Hopefully this reissue will change that. Ten groovy tracks including "Back on the Road," "Why Let It Bother You," "No Time for Sorrow," and "Out of Nowhere." The accompanying booklet offers notes from Egan's younger brother Kevin as well as David Courtney. Top notch stuff, recommended. Top pick.
Emerson Trio - Keith Emerson Trio (Independently
released CD, Pop)
This is the first CD release of these previously rare recordings. So...what do we have here...? This album presents the very first recordings ever made by keyboard legend Keith Emerson, captured live in his parent's living room when he was a teenager. Talk about interesting. These recordings originally existed only on four acetates that were finally reissued on vinyl in 2015. Now these rare recordings are being released on CD and also being made available as a download. As a member of the bands The Nice and Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Keith forever cemented his place in musical history. Now his fans get a chance to experience some of his first musical performances. What may surprise many is the fact that this trio played straightforward jazz. No progressive tendencies and very little in the way of rock (although a few segments do hint at things yet to be). These seven tracks present three young guys who were obviously just happy to be making music. An interesting slice of history now available for all to hear.
Final Girls - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack: Music by Gregory James Jenkins (CD, Varese Sarabande, Soundtrack)
When you combine comedy and horror...the results can sometimes be disastrous. We just watched the trailer for Final Girls and...we have the feeling that this time the combo works. The few quick blips we saw featured some funny moments and some beautiful cinematography. So this is one we're adding to our list of wanna-see-films. The soundtrack is interesting. Composed and produced by Gregory James Jenkins, the tracks on this album have a much more current sound than your average twenty-first century soundtrack album. These tracks feature lots of synthesizers and drum machines...and in some cases could actually pass for techno pop. Check out Jenkins' web site (link above). Even that looks and feels different from most modern television/film composers. These twenty-eight tracks sound great whether you're watching the film or not. We particularly like the fact that this movie includes Taissa Farmiga. We absolutely loved her in the American Horror Story series. She's a very interesting up-and-coming actress. This film looks like great fun and the music most certainly is.
Joven - Casa de Socorro (CD, Acuarela, Progressive ambient
shoegazer dream pop)
We can't give any biographical information about this band because everything thus far that we've seen (the press release, information on the internet, etc.) is in Spanish. Fortunately minor things like that don't get in the way of being able to appreciate cool and substantial stuff...no matter what genre or language. Gente Joven is a Spanish band that's composing and recording music that sounds very much like underground American shoegazer bands from the 1990s. The songs are decidedly moody and mid-tempo...and there are subtle atmospherics floating around in the mix that put the listener into somewhat of a dream state. We have to admit that we can sometimes be label snobs. In this case, we had a pretty good idea this would be rather cool simply because it's on Spain's Acuarela label (these folks have an uncanny knack for releasing the coolest of the cool Spanish artists and bands). Ten groovy tracks here including "Garcilaso," "Mi Doble es un Alpinista," "Radiografia de una Centella," and "Honrosas Excepciones."
Giraffes - Usury (CD, Silver Sleeve,
Although the band has been around since 1996, we're kinda embarrassed to admit that we've never (to our knowledge) been exposed to the music of The Giraffes until now. But if Usury is any indication of the band's overall output...we've been sadly missing out on a way cool group. If you're a fan of alternative underground guitar bands in the United States in the 1990s there's a good chance you will find Usury very appealing. Instead of treading into the oh-so-tame world of technology and digital perfection, these four guys play it rough and raw...relying on their skills and energy (rather then digital effects) to get their point across. This short album (just over twenty-eight minutes long) features six raw, gripping cuts. Our favorites include "Blood Will Run," "Product Placement Song," and "Washing Machine" (some great guitar stuff happening in this one). Readers should take note that this is the first release on the newly formed Silver Sleeve label, created by Lightyear Vice President Sky Spooner. The label was formed to focus on alternative rock and country bands and the Brooklyn, New York music scene in particular.
Gillespie - Cure For Dreaming (CD, Narooma, Progressive pop)
This is an interesting and different sounding album that's coming from a unique perspective in the world of music. Whereas most artists create music that can easily be pigeonholed into one or two categories, Jenny Gillespie composes songs that have much more depth and a very wide focus. According to the well-written press release that accompanied this disc, Cure For Dreaming "blends an earnest folk sensibility with experimental flavorings of progressive jazz and sunny sixties and seventies R&B flavored pop." That pretty much sums things up nicely and succinctly. For us, what really sets this music apart is the fact that Ms. Gillespie is an artist who is truly inspired. If you allow them to have their intended effect, these songs can affect you in a rather profound way. If these cuts themselves aren't enough to blow you away, then Jenny's vocal most certainly will. At a point in time when canned technology-infected perfect vocals seem to be the norm, this lady's voice sounds remarkably real and resilient. The more we spin this album, the better it sounds. Eight gripping tracks including "Dhyana By The River," No Stone," "Last Mystery Train," and "Pain Travels (Chakra Husker)." Highly recommended. TOP PICK.
Good Dinosaur - Original Soundtrack: Music
by Mychael Danna and Jeff Danna (CD, Disney, Soundtrack)
Great idea for an animated movie. This one presents a world where dinosaurs had never become extinct...and it tells the story of a boy and a dinosaur, apparently presented very much in a manner similar to "boy and his dog" films. We haven't seen this movie yet, but from what we've reading this one is very much made for children, unlike most of the previous Pixar / Disney films which can appeal to both. The music for The Good Dinosaur was composed by brothers Mychael Danna and Jeff Danna. The Dannas took an interesting approach with this score. They used traditional strings, percussion, and brass...but they also threw in some unexpected instruments...pre-Colombian instruments...a bouzouki...the Turkish cumbus...the Iranian saz...a Nordic instrument called the harpolek... All of these help to give the film a backdrop that harkens back to another time and place. Listening to this, one really gets the feeling of time travel...or of worlds from the past colliding with the world of the present. Beautifully executed tracks here, thirty in all. Our favorites include "Homestead," "Lost in the Wild," "Pet Collector," "Run with the Herd," and "Homecoming."
Gosh! - Gosh! (CD, Guilt
Ridden Pop, Pop)
This album has a very appealing stripped down sound and, unlike most twenty-first century albums, everything is not perfect. Ahhhh...what a refreshing change that is (!). Gosh! is a cool up-and-coming band based in Rock Island, Illinois. The band is comprised of Padraig Steadman, Claire Lambach, and Kyle Prenevost. This self-titled album reminds us of some of the more obscure cool minimalist pop bands buzzing around Great Britain in the 1990s. The focus here seems to be on creating a mood rather than recording a perfect, polished wall of sound. To be more direct, rather than sounding like studio recordings these tracks actually sound more like a real band playing real music (whatever that is...we're still trying to figure that one out). We've only spun this one a couple of times thus far...but we have the strangest feeling this is one that's going to get better after 40, 50, or 60 spins... Nine nifty cuts here including "Dance Again," "Hangin' Out," "Blows My Mind," and "Always Awake Always Dreaming."
Victory - Hermit's Victory (CD-R, Hearts and Plugs, Pop)
The debut album from Charlotte, North Carolina's Hermit's Victory. We kinda had a feeling this one would be good, considering the fact that it's on Charleston, South Carolina's cool Hearts and Plugs label (we like everything we've heard from this up-and-coming independent music company). Hermit's Victory is the band created by Tyler Bertges, a young fellow with a different sort of sound and style. As far as style of music...this could probably best be described as moody progressive modern pop with threads of different genres entering into the mix. Bertges has a really appealing voice. Instead of oversinging (which so many are guilty of), Tyler just lets the words and melodies flow effortlessly. Thus, his songs have nice breezy qualities that make them very appealing and listener friendly. Ten intelligent cuts. Our favorites include "Night Owl," "Islands," "Novice," and "Sleeping Evil."
Joole - Shapeshifting (Independently
released CD, Pop)
Nice smooth direct mid-tempo pop with a great deal of commercial potential. Sydney, Australia's Sam Joole has a very smooth sound and warm personality. According to the press release that accompanied this disc, in addition to indie rock this album "...delves into South African harmonies, calypso rhythms, bluesy riffs, and folky acoustic thought-provokers." On the first couple of spins you might mistakenly think that this music sounds very much like a lot of other artists. We found that it was only after several spins that the truly unique qualities of this music became apparent. Joole has a great knack for coming up with songs that you can hear over and over again...and he's not afraid to take some chances (check out the wonderfully psychedelic audio experimentation in "Fantasy"...WOW...). Thirteen cool tracks here and they all have something credible to offer. Our favorites include "Shapeshifting," "Money and Blow," "Fantasy," and "You Can See Straight Through Me." Nice solid stuff with substance.
Lady In The Van - Original Motion Picture
Soundtrack: Music by George
Fenton (CD, Sony
This one's already on our list of wanna see movies...not only because it stars Maggie Smith (we always love her)...but also because the story reminds us of several strange characters we've known over the years who seem so tightly connected to their vans. The Lady In The Van is based on the true story of a woman named Miss Shepherd who lived in a van parked in Alan Bennett's garden in Camden Town's Gloucester Crescent for most of the 1970s and 1980s until she passed away in 1989. The music for this movie was composed and conducted by George Fenton who is one of the United Kingdom's most successful and prolific composers (he has written scores for over one hundred films thus far in his career). Fenton has also won numerous awards. Spin this soundtrack a time or two and you'll hear why. This album is a purely wonderful and inventive 58 minute plus spin. These tracks feature Clare Hammond on the piano (she's grrrrrreat...) as well as the Philharmonia Orchestra and the BBC Concert Orchestra. If you like genuinely inspired soundtrack music, it doesn't get much better than this. A far cry from some of the overblown music created for many of today's technology driven films, this soundtrack features crystal clear compositions that truly and effectively capture human emotions. Cool, pensive, introspective cuts include "Miss Shepherd's Waltz," "The Neighbors," "Curtain Down," "Alive and Well," and "Walk Through the Cemetery." Also includes three bonus tracks featuring music by Schubert and Chopin. Highly recommended. TOP PICK.
You, Little Me - I'd Watch the Day Til It
Died (CD, Monopolized,
We were immediately impressed with this band when we read the blurb on their Bandcamp page that states that they "utilize loud guitars to express their dissatisfaction with the lack of rock and roll in the diet of youths, which may result (if not soon treated) in a rise of fat mindless pop children." Sadly, it may already be too late (hahaha). Actually, if this album has its intended effect, there may be more mindless children turning up the volume and slamming around rather than safely nodding their heads in sheeplike unison to the plethora of bland modern pop. Little You, Little Me is the quartet comprised of Corey Bonnevie, Gavin Downes, Geoff Smith, and Michael Milburn. These four guys play with a wild intensity that is sadly missing in many twenty-first century bands. The songs are spontaneous, intense, and sometimes rather catchy. Fourteen kickass tracks here including "There's A Lot I Don't Understand," "Wrong," "Open Your Arms," and "Talkin' Talkin'." These guys are putting the rock back in rock music.
Lizards - Reptilicus Maximus (CD, Hyperspace,
For some bands, artists, and music fans time seems to stand still. And that's not always a bad thing when you consider the processed cheese whiz that so often passes for music in 2015. The guys in The Lizards are playing a style of music that went out of fashion years ago. But folks who dig this kind of stuff still dig it and those are the folks these guys are playing for (while also playing what they most likely prefer to play as well). The band features previous members of the bands Black Sabbath, Rainbow, Cactus, and Riot. The Lizards are Mike Di Meo (vocals), Patrick Klein (guitars, backing vocals), Randy Pratt (bass, harmonica), and Bobby Rondinelli (drums). Also playing on this album is Scott "The Doctor" Treibitz on keyboards. If you love hard rockin' guitar bands from the 1970s and 1980s, much of this will have a very familiar sound. Using only the basics, these guys prove that they most definitely know how to totally rock out. Thumpy drums, driving bass lines, cool guitar riffs, and wailing vocals are the key focal points here. Features way cool cover art of a giant lizard fighting a giant robot lizard. Neat stuff.
Maynon - Watch Pot (Independently released
CD-R EP, Pop)
Another solid release from Richmond, California's up-and-coming singer/songwriter Marc Maynon. Unlike many new musical artists who start out recording strange or noisy stuff, Maynon's going the short and direct route...composing and recording songs that sound like surefire hits. All four tracks on this EP could easily end up being hugely successful. But don't think this guy's a sellout crap artist, because he most certainly is not. We compared Marc's music to Ben Folds and Pearlfishers in the past and both comparisons still apply. If all the pieces fall into place as they should, you may very well see this exceedingly talented fellow popping up in some mighty big places in the near future. We particularly like the lyrical content here. All of the tracks on this EP hit the target dead center: "Vintage Lens," "Something To Live For," "I Never Think With My Head," "Sensation." We're hoping a full-length album might be in the works because, if so, our guess is that this fellow will knock lots and lots of folks totally off their feet.
Moore - Aerial Visions (CD, Mind's
Eye Music, Rock/instrumental)
The eighth full-length solo album from Vinnie Moore, best known as a member of the legendary rock band UFO. Lending their support on this album are Richie Monica, Dave LaRue, Rob DeLuca, Dorian Heartsong, and Elliott Dean Robinson. Hard to believe in 2015, but at one point in time it seemed like guitar gods ruled the musical landscapes of the world. Yup, the faster your fingers could fly up and down the frets and the louder you played the more fans you once had. But even though guitar gods now seem to be in much less demand...that's not stopping Moore and his pals from delivering some riveting rockin' music for those diehard fans who still dig guitars. Spin Aerial Visions a time or two and you'll see why Vinnie has become such a legend over the years. This guy is not only good, he's also lightning fast and precise. Ten kickass tracks here including a blistering version of ZZ Topp's "La Grange." This stuff zips and rips...NEAT.
Morris - Ordinary Things (CD, Riverrock
Music Group, Pop)
Ordinary Things is a pure feelgood listening experience. And at a time like this--when the world is such a mess--that's probably the kind of escape that most people want and need. This is not an underground artsy album. Sarah Morris is shooting straight from the hip, delivering one potential single after another on this warm and friendly album. She's got a very friendly spirit and voice that should strike a chord with most music listeners. She's a natural. You never get the feeling Morris is trying to push boundaries or push herself, opting instead to just let her music flow naturally from her soul. If you're looking for something weird or noisy or something that stretches the boundaries of music, you won't find it here. But if you're looking for music that is simple, genuine, and inspired...there's a wealth of it on Ordinary Things. Cool reflective cuts include "Brighter," "You Still Have Me" (this one's easily our top favorite...amazing...!), "The Strong One," and "Hope, Sweet Hope."
Between something and nothing
Orlando & The Lefty Brothers Band - The
Bottom Line Archive (CD, Bottom
Line Archive, Pop)
We had to do a double take when this one popped up in our trusty ol' mailbox. Yup, believe it or not music fans...this is the first and only live album ever released by Tony Orlando. It's part of the Bottom Line Archive series, a label that's issuing some mighty impressive live albums from some legendary artists of all genres. Recorded in January 2001, this show features the big hits ("Candida," "Knock Three Times," "Has Anybody Seen My Sweet Gypsy Rose?", "Tie A Yellow Ribbon") as well as a wealth of other tracks that show what a versatile performer Tony was and is. The Bottom Line was a music venue in Greenwich Village that opened in 1974 and operated for thirty years. Tapes of live shows at the club are now being released...and our guess is that the fans are gonna eat these up.
Houses - Bad Reputation (CD, Aagoo, Pop)
This is a very interesting album that simply doesn't fit in with the current twenty-first century landscape. Other Houses is the solo moniker created by an exceedingly talented young fellow named Morgan Enos. To try to sum things up simply here... Imagine combining Big Star with different elements of many early underground cassette artists from the early 1980s...and you might begin to have some idea of what Morgan's music sounds like. When everyone is overproducing everything to death, sparse simple pop music like this instantly stands out. Enos isn't relying on technology and layering to get his point across. The main emphasis here is on songs...and there's a wealth of memorable material to be found on Bad Reputation. Smooth vocals, pensive lyrics, and great melodies...it all adds up to one helluva cool underground pop experience. Our favorite cuts include "Lades of the Region," "Sum of All Friends," "The Stars Are Cool," and "I Kept A Record." Recommended. Top pick.
Perry - Jambon Gris (Independently released
When musicians delve into humor and social commentary, the results are usually...disastrous. So we were pleasantly surprised to find that Nashville's Graham Perry travels into both terrains effortlessly and with great success. Could be because this talented guy has been making music for over three decades, or it could just be that he's talented and knows how to combine smart lyrics with good melodies. Recorded in his own home studio, Jambon Gris is a nice smooth spin and it's chock full of songs that have a surprising degree of commercial appeal. Perry has a cool knack for coming up with arrangements that are a perfect fit for each song. His lyrics are pensive and funny and he's not afraid of sending out strong messages to his listeners. We were particularly surprised to find that the song "Don't Eat The Cow!" is really good (?!). Graham is probably the only guy in the universe who could sing such lyrics and make 'em sound great. This talented fellow has had his music featured on several television shows and films. Spin Jambon Gris a time or two and you'll hear why. Nice smart music presented with class and style.
Sized Dan - With Marshall Ruffin (Independently
released CD EP, Progressive pop)
Atlanta, Georgia's Plus Sized Dan is the duo of Clay Harper and Ruairi Kilcullen...along with whatever guest musicians they happen to be playing with at any given time. This, the band's first release, features guest vocalist Marshall Ruffin who has become quite popular in the Atlanta area over the past couple of years. This five track EP features five bluesy pop cuts: "My People," "Plastic Bag in a Tree," "Monday Home," "I Believe You're Waiting For Me," and "Nothing To See." Also joining Harper and Kilcullen on these recordings are Tom Gray, Kevin Scott, Frahner Joseph, Darren Stanley, Vic Stafford, Mark Bencuya, Mark Johnson, Rick Taylor, and Eric Fontaine (whew!). Cool sounding stuff here and the main motivation seems to simply be the desire to create. Features beautifully subtle digipak sleeve design created by the always totally cool award-winning graphic artist Susan Archie.
Sarstedt - England's Lane (CD, Angel Air, Pop)
Another cool out-of-print gem given new life by the nifty folks at Great Britain's Angel Air label. Peter Sarstedt's path to success in the world of music is an interesting one. Originally from Delhi, India, the Sarstedt family moved to England in the mid-1950s. It wasn't long before Peter and his brothers began getting involved in the world of music there. Although he made a lot of music in the 1960s, it wasn't until 1969 when Peter finally struck gold with the tune "Where Do You Go (My Lovely)." The song was hugely popular, reaching the number one position in England and several other countries. Since that time Peter has continued to make music and has proven to be a longtime favorite among music fans. Recorded in 1997, England's Lane has long since been out-of-print. But now, nearly twenty years later, it is once again available for all to hear. The album was recorded and produced with Sarstedt's friend Brian Hodgson who many will remember as a member of The Rutles and Hogan's Heroes. Eleven smooth listener-friendly soft pop tunes here with a heavy emphasis on lyrics and vocal melodies. Warm, inviting cuts include "British Museum," "All Together Now," "Castles In Spain," and "The Last of the Breed."
Little Friends - Silent Revolution (CD
EP, RandM, Pop)
Scary Little Friends is the San Francisco-based trio comprised of Chris Jones, Charlie Knote, and Jon Payne. These guys have been playing around since 2013 and have made some amazing headway locally with their music. What struck us first about these songs is how surprisingly accessible they are. Most up-and-coming bands play artsy strange stuff and then later on adjust their style to suit a larger audience. These three guys seem to have jumped right off the diving board playing songs that sound like obvious direct hits. And what's even more surprising is that these songs are not overproduced. Instead of falling into the trap of overproducing their songs, these three guys leave things nice, simple, and sparse...which allows listeners to focus on the songs themselves. Seven super nice guitar pop tracks here including "Everything At Once," "Silent Revolution," "In This Lifetime," and "Rabbit Hole."
Seeger & Roger McGuinn - The Bottom Line Archive (Double CD, Bottom
Line Archive, Folk/pop)
This album captures musical icons Pete Seeger and Roger McGuinn in a rare live performance.from 1994. The two will be forever connected, of course, because Seeger wrote "Turn Turn Turn" which was a huge hit for The Byrds in the 1960s. What makes this recording particularly interesting is that the performance also features plenty of questions and commentary with radio personality Vin Scelsa. Listening to this album, you really get the feeling you are there on that historic night...hearing these two artists supporting one another as they present a wealth of incredible material. So much, in fact, that it took a double disc set to contain all the music the two created. The Bottom Line Archive series is presenting some incredible live concerts...a total of 24 albums are planned for release over the next couple of years. The releases features nice crisp sound quality and beautifully designed triple fold cardboard sleeves.
Sicario - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack: Music by Johann Johannsson (CD, Varese Sarabande, Soundtrack)
2015 sure ended with some well-received motion pictures. Sicario is yet another film that seems to be getting universally positive reviews from just about everywhere. It stars Emily Blunt as an FBI agent who gets involved in tracking down the transport of illegal drugs across the border between the United States and Mexico. Of course we're not reviewing the film here, just the music. After spinning this one just twice, our guess is that this soundtrack will receive the same sort of universally positive reviews. The music for Sicario is outstanding. This riveting eighteen track album presents music that no doubt adds plenty of extra ooomph to this film. As with virtually all Varese Sarabande releases, this one has a HUGE sound. The bass sounds really go right through you and some of the atmospheric sounds are absolutely out-of-this-world. It's interesting that the first thing this film reminded us of was the television series Alias (one of the best shows ever created). Strangely enough when we looked at the credits...we noticed that Victor Garber (who played the father in Alias) is also in this film. Bizarre coincidence. Intense tracks include "Armoured Vehicle," "Drywall," "Night Vision," and "Balcony." This is one wildly inventive album full of excitement and innovation. TOP PICK.
Storrow - The Ocean's Door (Independently
released CD, Pop)
Nice direct friendly melodic pop from Chris Storrow. We never heard this cool fellow's last album (Hey, Sugar), but he apparently experienced some difficulties during the recording process. Thus, with this album he decided to keep things simple and direct...citing 1960s AM Gold era radio as his main inspiration. 1960s AM pop is something we've always been keen on...particularly bubblegum groups like The Archies and Ohio Express. So, not surprisingly, this album immediately struck a chord with us. The songs on The Ocean's Door aren't so much bubblegum as they are simple, direct songs that sound like hits from an era gone by. Folks into twenty-first century underground pop may find it interesting that there are many similarities between Chris Storrow and The Jigsaw Seen (an up-and-coming group that is a favorite here in babysueland). At a point in time when so many artists seem to be either churning out Cheese Whiz or trying way too hard to impress people...The Ocean's Door is a welcome and refreshing change of pace. Nine hummable tracks including "A True Christian," "The Safest Bet," and "One More Drink and Then Goodbye."
Nothing will ever be
Takenobu - Reversal (Independently released CD, Mostly instrumental)
The fifth full-length release from classically trained cellist and independent composer Nick Takenobu Ogawa (who just uses his middle name when releasing music). Takenobu's musical career almost didn't happen. He released his first album in 2007 but it initially didn't really take off. But thanks to the support of Pandora internet radio, some of his songs eventually did catch on...and the positive response and money he made prompted him to pick up the ball and continue moving forward. The lone vocal track ("Curtain Call") is nice to be sure, but it's the instrumentals on this album that really caught our attention. Takenobu flawlessly combines the worlds of classical and pop to create a nice smooth listening experience that could be appreciated by just about anyone. Housed in a very classy looking digipak sleeve, Reversal presents thirteen well-executed tracks that were recorded with precise attention to detail. Smooth and pensive.
Are worth expressing.
No thought should ever
Be given to
With sugar on
Unnatural - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack: Music by Edwin Wendler (CD, Varese Sarabande, Soundtrack)
We haven't seen the film yet, but from what we're reading Unnatural is a familiar horror story plot with a different sort of modern twist. We're all familiar with movies where animals hunt and kill people. But this time it's genetically modified creatures in the snow who pack a much bigger punch. Producer Hank Braxton specifically sought out composer Edwin Wendler to create the music for this film. Wise choice. Even without any narratives or visuals to go along with it, this soundtrack is one chilling and frightening experience. Wendler has done music for some well-known movies and television shows in the past including (but not limited to) Little Fockers, Fear Factor, I Spit On Your Grave: Vengeance Is Mine, The Resident, and The 5th Commandment. The music for Unnatural is riveting, compelling, peculiar, and ultimately very frightening. There are creepy moments...moody moments...and plenty of other worldly sounding segments that keep things from ever getting dull. There's a lot of music here, over seventy minutes. If you want an ear bending, mind-blowing experience, you can't do much better than this. Eighteen gripping cuts plus four bonus tracks. Recommended. Top pick.
Sonny Vincent - Bizarro Hymns (CD, Get
Sonny Vincent is one of those guys who has been around forever and done so many things...and yet he's still virtually unknown to the public at large. And that's probably because he never chose to sell out or enter the world of commercial music. Vincent got his start playing in Testers in the late 1970s and played alongside notable legends like The Cramps, Suicide, and the Dead Boys. After Testers split, he played in Model Prisoners, Shotgun Rationale, The Dons, and Sonny Vincent and His Rat Race Choir. While pursuing his own music and his own bands, he also played guitar for Moe Tucker (Velvet Underground) for a few years. Rather than burn out, give up, or disappear, Sonny has instead chosen to keep right on playing...which brings us to his most recent album Bizarro Hymns. You can immediately tell from the lead track ("I Don't Give A F*ck") that Vincent hasn't lost any of his original attitude. Featuring the talents of Ron Asheton (of The Stooges) and Torben Wesche (of King Kahn & The Shines), these songs have that familiar raw intensity that people normally associate with early punk and new wave bands from the 1970s. Once again, Vincent is a true inspiration for musicians of all ages...as he proves that you can age gracefully and never lose your ability to blow peoples' minds and ears.
Walk - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack:
Music Composed and Conducted by Alan
Silvestri (CD, Sony
Scanning through the basic plot, our first reaction was that this film didn't initially sound very interesting. But after reading the press release that accompanied this album and doing a bit of reading on the internet...our opinion changed. We can't wait to see The Walk. This is apparently one insanely good movie and everyone seems to universally agree on this. Based on the book To Reach The Clouds, the film tells the true story of Philippe Petit...the man who in the early 1970s decided to walk a tightrope stretched between the two towers of the (then standing) World Trade Center. If the idea doesn't sound interesting to you, do an internet search and read about this one. Our guess is that your opinion will soon change and you'll end up like us...ready as heck to experience this one. The music was composed and conducted by Alan Silvestri, an exceedingly impressive fellow who has composed music for such well-known films as Red, Flight, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, Beowolf (loved that one), Stuart Little 2 (totally loved that one also), Mouse Hunt (really, really loved that one)...and that's just the beginning. This guy has done a lot. This soundtrack is, as you might expect, an album that was created with incredible attention to detail. We didn't count the number of musicians playing on this one but take our word for it...there are a lot of super talented folks who lent their skills. Our guess is that this is a film and soundtrack that people will be talking about for years to come. Recommended. Top pick.
Wetton - Live Via Satellite (Double
CD, Primary Purpose, Pop)
The first commercial release of two solo concerts by John Wetton from the early twenty-first century. These two concerts were originally recorded for radio broadcast. The first concert is from a tent-like venue in Stockholm, Sweden while the second was recorded in a state-of-the-art venue in Washington, D.C. Wetton is best known as a member of the bands King Crimson, UK, and Asia...but he has also had a long and rewarding career as a solo artist. You have to admire anyone who can entertain a crowd all by themselves using nothing but an acoustic guitar. But during these two concerts Wetton did just that. And the reason he succeeded is probably just because he was so focused and into what he was doing. Superb sound quality and you can tell the audiences were enjoying every moment. Two discs featuring twenty-nine precise cuts. Our favorites include "The Circle of St. Giles," "Book of Saturday," "The Night Watch," "Hold Me Now," and "The Celtic Cross.
Wilson - The Ann Wilson Thing! (CD EP,
Most musical artists from the 1970s have either given up or faded away. But not Ann Wilson. One of the two talented ladies in the band Heart, Wilson has matured gracefully...and she still got that powerful voice that resulted in her becoming a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee. After releasing her debut solo album in 2007 she now returns with her debut EP. The Ann Wilson Thing! features four bluesy tracks...and proves that in 2015 Wilson's music is just as vital as it ever was. Four cool tracks here: "For What It's Worth," "Fool No More" (a new song specifically co-written for this EP), "Ain't No Way," and "Danger Zone." The sparse loose tone of the last track is definitely the one gets us all worked up. Neat sounding stuff.
Yuka & Chronoship - The 3rd Planetary Chronicles (CD, Cherry
Red, Progressive pop/rock)
Rarely do we hear progressive pop/rock bands based from Japan. After hearing this, we're not surprised to find that--once again--folks in Japan are outdoing folks in other parts of the globe at their own game. Clocking in at almost sixty minutes, this lengthy album presents complex and mesmerizing performances from four musicians who can play circles around others. Yuka & Chronoship is comprised of Yuka Fonakoshi (piano, keyboards, vocal), Shun Taguchi (bass, chorus), Takashi Miyazawa (guitars), and Ikko Tanaka (drums). These four musicians have a huge sound that is characterized by state-of-the-art technology and technical proficiency. If you appreciate progressive rock icons from the past like Yes and Emerson, Lake & Palmer there's a good chance this will be right up your alley. Twelve spell-binding cuts including "Stone Age," "Age of Steam," and "I Am Thee (Awakening of Cloneroid)."
Additional Items Received:
Additional Items Composed - Reversal of radishes
Additional Items Reversed - Back to the additional items
Adele - My frisky rat puppy done ate my head off
Alice Copper - Lob it to Seth
Bad Bump - Banana tread
Bambi Dambi - Lambi
Ballerina Pumps - Blackass
Barge - Limpy
Beadulls - Desmocker
Black Tabitha - Pastor of senility
Car Mump - Dazed and refused
Cesula - Maid in martians
Chump - Malaria
Daisy Days - Freezing
Dirty Pennies - Flocks and pimps
Doves That Die Today - Lassie
Ducks for Ducks - Nine hundred ponies
Eat The Bounty Feathers - Naptime
Elephant Muff - Beneath the blurry knob
Empty - Flow
Far Out Far In - Farin
Four Times Four Is Four - Five times
Funky Laminate - Parking
Gas Pumps - Last primper
Gauge Rage - Now cow
Germany's Burp - Lamp drill
Get Your Begging Done - Tower bitch
Hell for Humans - Happiness is a dumb puppy
Help the Hopeless - Bloody hearts get you nowhere
Ian - Jackknife
Inky Doll - Dampness and dryness
Jerry's Crud - Narry a buster
Jersey is Swervy - Translustre
Jethro Toil - Sick as a tick
Kandy and the Ks - Lassie's drool
Lamb Peppers - Smuppy
Laxative Preamble - Naps and snappers
Lisa Said - First time, long time
Millie's Pork Bucket - Boxes won't go away
Murphy and Nop - Dammy and slop
Ned and the Headrumpers - Trowels
No More Blouses - Farmy
Now Cows - Blouses and thermometers
Oooh - Uuuuuh
Opposite of Opposite - Lopposite
Orange Floyd - Sharp glide of the goon
Osmosis - USB #7
Pants and Pantless - Rainy press
The Puddles - Nappy load
Puny - Runny infection
Query - Stop the questions
Quest for Dope - Smoking snuff
Quicker Than Daffy - Cords that don't work
Debbie Rafter - Lemme after
Reform Club - Never yesterday
Rely On Relish - Candy dash
Rolling Bones - Get your mama's kraut
Larry Samual - Barney doesn't have hugs for me
Smuppy - The tatters that ground pepper
Sparse - Kim's Ono spy mouse
Talking Sheds - Lambs forking up tonsils
Tea For Lunch - Massachusetts isn't a country
Teepee Tupperware - Laura's butter pan
Trust Idiots - Laugh when it's all over
Umbrella Vision - Church of tassle
Uncle Duck - Mushed
Uncle Pregnant - Does and rodents
Various Artists - A collection of dull dribble that no one will ever hear
Wally Is Near - Stamp that thing goodbye
Well I Guess This Is Just Another One - Lumps
Whether Or Not - Lousy weather
Xzistance - Lift down
Yell All The Time For Whatever You Pay For It - Taxi service
Yellow Floyd - Park wide until noon
Yes We Will Be Bananas - Trap doors
Zappa and the Zappettes - Trown
Frank Zappa - How flowers got in the potty train
©2016 LMNOP aka dONW7