Thursday, February 28, 2013

David Armo "Poets on the Wall"

( Should be called David HEART-O, because the emotions, poetics, and soul he's carrying into his music is more than an armful!

The Cartoons "She's A Rock and Roller" b/w "Who Cares"

(Last Laugh) One might say 1981 is a little late to sound like the Dolls and sing about bad girls hangin' at Max's Kansas City. But one would be a fucking idoot. because it's NEVEr too late to sound like the Dolls and sing about bad girls hanging out at Max's Kansas City. This faithful reissue of an ultra rare punk nugget is as sweet as ultra rare punk nougat.

Village Pistols "Big Money" b/w "Strawberry Fields Forever"

(Last Laugh) Having never seen a bootleg or original of this actual record (though I've seen the front cover, as it was used as the LP cover for Killed By Death Vol. 7, where many first heard this), I had no idea Mitch Easter recorded this pummeling, violent, proto-hardcore caveman punker from 1981. I still don't believe it, he must have had an inbred cousin working at the studio that day (Ruprecht Easter?). Certainly one of the best 90 seconds or so in punk history. I'm not surprised Last Laugh put this out, as the vocals sound alot like the Mentally Ill 90s LP they recently reissued. The flip is a goofy molestation (can one goofilly molest?) of the Beatles, which is pretty psycho, I imagine this is what all Beatles records sounded like to Mark David Chapman.

Magic Shadows "Under the Stairs" b/w "Sunburned Mind"

( Ominous garage trash spookier and weirder than Canadians are supposed to get. Magic, indeed.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Churchwood "2"

(Saustex) Moody, mighty, sinister sounds that somehow become roots music by putting some mortar and pestle action to country, rock, jazz, blues, punk, experimental, and whatever it is that Beefheart did on even days. Sly lyrics and ominous vocals make this album enjoyably disconcerting.

Japan Jaunt by Steve DeRose

( Steve "Pudgy" DeRose has many interests -- soccer, classic porn, craft beer, pop music, dancing -- but zinewise he has mostly focussed on Chicago soccer history and international soccer. This time however the soccer is a guest star in a thick zine giving travel tips from his nine journeys to Japan (to see soccer, amongst other things). Bar reviews, train tips, and a Brazil vs. Japan blow by blow soccer match report make this Pudgy's best zine yet.

Wes Hollywood "Fantasy Arcade"

(Sweet Science) Veteran power popper Wes Hollywood makes the great state of Illinois ( the unofficial Official Home of Power Pop) proud with a stingy baker's dozen (or as you call it, 11) perfectly crafted pop pastries that will make you think you are pogo-ing at a packed IPO Festival. Better yet, it is released on the classic, yet not actually real or ever done before to my knowledge, deluxe gatefold one LP in mono and then another LP of the same songs in stereo format. As Joakim Noah would say, this "Hollywood as Hell!" Or, as Heaven, if you prefer. 

The Beaumonts "Where Do You Want It?"

(Saustex) Absolutely filthy honky tonk music that makes me realize that David Allan Coe's canonical X-rated underground LPs should have been a lot more can curse like a sailor about sex and drugs and booze and god and Toby Keith (or Anita Bryant in DAC's case, but they're sorta the same person, right?) and still have a true to Texas country hoedown! More fun that Hugh Beaumont on a bender! 

Melvin Taylor "Beyond the Burning Guitar" "Taylor Made"

( There's smooth and there's smooth, and the smooth jazz and blues of Taylor is smooth as freshly ironed satin sheets; smooth as Silk brand soy milk; smooth as soft serve ice cream; smooth as a black velvet painting of a baby's bottom. And his smooth Beethoven's 5th on "Beyond the Burning Guitar" makes Walter Murphy's disco version seem positively jagged! His more recent "Taylor Made" camouflages the smooth-osity by opening with a "Damn it's bluesy in here" number that roughs up the smooth, but by the time his blissful "Beneath the Sunset" kicks in, and his silkikication of a formally funked-up Isaac Hayes tune wrap you in satin, you'll be declaring, "Damn, it's smoothie in here," while drinking this sonic smoothie.

The Copper Gamins "Los Ninos De Cobre"

(Saustex) I was so mesmerized by this combo's debut EP that I was as much worried about letdown as I was excited to hear this full length. For a group that sounds like such  a bizarre, hypnotizing, raw force of nature, a year of polishing seemed like it could only hurt. Boy was I wrong. This Mexican caveman blues duo is simply incredible, sounding shamelessly like the White Stripes at their nastiest, if the White Stripes were actually some backwoods, off-kilter Lomax field recording find. Cobramarkable! 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Tommy Roe "Devil's Soul Pie"

(Airebelle) The "Sheila"-singing 60s pop star still has a boyish voice, but now sports a mature sense of songwriting that he's obviously proud of, as this new album shows off his chops, especially as a lyricist. The slick Nashville production ain't bad either, if you're into slick (and with an opening track that echoes the Beach Boys' "Kokomo" a lot of folks probably would be into it). 

SWANS "The Seer"

(Young God) I know this album has been receiveing raves for months and my apologies for getting to it so slowly, but I blame the packaging. For some reason my copy of this 2 disc set came with disc 2 packaged on top when you open the jewel case, and it opens with a regular sounding song, a pretty piece of almost-Americana, which sounded good, but I just wasn't up to figuring out how it fit in with the SWANS thang, and I put it aside for months, rather than wrangle witht Gira-gone-No Depression. So anyhow, when I stopped being a coward I quickly heard that even the rest of disc 2 disputes this, with it, and most of the album, sounding hypnotic, dangerous, and genuinely weird (with purpose). One track opens with what sounds like two minutes of bacon frying. And another just sounds like a haunting, slow air raid siren. And when I finally ended with what I should have started with, disc one declares everything to come with conviction by opening with a minimalist unit of mayhem that sounds like the Who portraying Orc marauders. Much of the album is eerie instrumental cacophony, with one of the only vocal tracks sounding like a serial killer serenading a bound victim before dismemberment. SWAN ON!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Rockin' Johnny Band "Grim Reaper"

(Delmark) Though his awesome guitar chops, crack band, and personal travails certainly qualify Johnny Burgin for genuine bluesman-ship, his imperfect, sometimes mild vocals and wordy lyrics don't quite cut it as throaty, raw, resonant Chicago Blues 101. Which often makes him more compelling than the cookie-cutter veterans he likely wouldn't mind mimicking, but can't. Rockin' Johnny's triumph is that he sounds different, his voice adding vulnerability and fragility to a genre that's about facing woe with bold ruggedness. As a bonus for us, Roctober friends and family help out on this album as well, with Aaron Cohen providing liner notes and James Porter penning a ditty that rhymes "drinking wine," "turpentine," and "Bride of Frankenstein!"

Spy Device "Miniaturized"

( Spy Device's catchy kookiness seems to be a friendly tug of war between driving, early, poppy British punk, a la Buzzcocks/SLF, and the kind of nerdy, regional New Wave from the early 80s that every city had, even though none of the bands broke through. I'd say the latter wins the contest, but it seems like every one of those bands had an actual song about inflatable sex dolls, or some such jokey taboo subject, and I think the inflatable doll song here is a metaphor for females with shallow, "plastic" personalities, not about an actual rubber fuck toy. Then again, they have a rat song, that I'd say is obviously a metaphor for "the rat race," but my rat friend Ratso insists it's really about athletic rodents, so what do I know.

Brain Food Special #3

( This crisply drawn comic rant really sticks it to bicyclists, smart phone users, and especially the whiners to are keeping the reasonable white man down -- religious fundamentalists, hyper multiculturalists, and of course, postmodernists. Between cartoonist Mike T. and myself, one of us does not know what postmodernism is. Not sure which one, but I have a good guess.

Glam Bang Pow! A Heroic Curiosa by Rita Cheetah and Rv. Xen

(GBP) Way better than regular fan fiction, where one just writes detailed sex stories about characters from comics or movies or TV, this is submersive fan fiction, where the superheroes having Letters to Penthouse carnal adventures are clearly supposed to be the authors! You may call it creepy, but I call it...OK, maybe creepy, but still totally awesome! 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Bill Daniel's Mostly True, 2nd Edition

( A thicker, up-to-date, new version of this fascinating, graphically lovely reflection on the history of hobo graffiti, the romanticism of train hopping myths and realities, and the nature of art. This volume still excels when unearthing archival reprints of articles of yore championing hobo heroes, but it's the coverage of new school hobo-ing (and their art, slang, and gossip) that makes master filmmaker Daniel's Mostly True Mostly Awesome. 

Do You Wanna Play Some Magic? Emerson Lake and Palmer In Concert 1970-1979 by Garry Freeman

( Author Freeman, a world class collector of bootleg concert audio, was at quite an advantage as he compiled this minutely detailed guide to every concert ELP played in the seventies -- he's actually heard almost all of these shows. And though one need not be at that level of fandom to appreciate this book, it is not for the uninitiated, it pretty much just jumps in without explaining who these prog-nosticators are, and why we should care. But if you're a fan you are in for a treat: set lists, gear lists, PA tech specs, annotations (first ever concert with synch video, a show played in darkness except for little red amp lights, etc...). There are also color photos of the band's brilliant "Tarkus" prop, a tiger hanging with the band, and rare flyers. What do you get when you mix prog rock and obsession? Garry Freeman -- earth's #1 prog-sessive!

Iggy and the Stooges "Raw Power Live - In the Hands of the Fans" DVD

( Guest review by Gary Pig Gold)
(MVD) As the opening credits of this grand MVD Visual DVD state, (and I quote), "On September 3, 2010, Iggy and the Stooges performed Raw Power live in Monticello, New York. Six fans filmed the concert and interviewed Iggy and the Stooges after the show."
Really then! A concept so crystalline in both its simplicity and beauty – much like Iggy himself, one such as myself could argue. But the result is mountains above and beyond the ultimate DIY epic for Generation YouTube: What we have here is a real-time and, of course, real LOUD (thanks in no small part to the work of audio recordist Max Bisgrove) down 'n' dirty antidote to all those precious Jonathan Demme-style concert films regularly being awarded art-house praises and prizes.
Raw Power Live: In The Hands Of The Fans is in fact, with all apologies to The TAMI Show, the best on-screen rendering of rock 'n' roll I have ever seen.
First off, we introduce the six esteemed camera(wo)men/filmmakers themselves:
* Nick Esposito, surrounded by Stoogephelia galore inside his very own fun house showing off "rare, out-of-print French vinyl" (with picture sleeve!)
* Edwin Samuelson, who has seen the Stooges six times in concert (and jumped on stage with them four of those six times)
* Stephen Schmidt, who describes himself as "somewhere between a Stooges fan and a Stooges historian" (and wonders how the band ever got from John Coltrane and Harry Partch all the way over to "Search and Destroy") (simple, answers Iggy: "All the great black and hillbilly artists had been ripped off already")
* Britt Clardy, a 23-year-old film student from Denton, Texas who looks all the world to be a long-lost refugee from Blue Cheer
* Amy Verdon, pacing excitedly amongst her most impressive indeed floor-to-ceiling record collection
* Matt Goldman, curious to know exactly what happened after each original Raw Power master was faded out on its initial vinyl release (again, Iggy explains "There was a point in time when to hear a good, memorable song was like" – expectant pause – "an alien visitation. It was 'Oh my god, it came in! Where did it come from? Nobody knows!' And it came, and it put that message in your brain and then" – even more dramatic pause – "it disappeared. And for me, that was the point of the fade out: To make the song disappear as the message is being repeated in your brain") (and, to demonstrate, Iggy sings a note-perfect chorus of  "Be My Baby" straight into Matt's startled face).
But enough of this yakkin'! It's time to cut straight to, in bassist Mike Watt's words, the small Borscht-belt town of Monticello and a pad called Kutsher's for this 70-minute concert rendition of Raw Power and then some which is both furious and fabulous in both its, well, power and rawness. I mean, what else can one expect from a set list which kicks completely off with "Raw Power," "Search and Destroy," "Gimme Danger" and then "Your Pretty Face Is Going To Hell," I ask you?!
Next though, things get even more raw as Iggy invites the audience – that is, as many as the startled security staff will allow – to join his Stooges on stage for "Shake Appeal" (I wonder if Edwin Samuelson made it this time?). The accompanying mosh-eye-view offers all the unmistakable cinematic aesthetics of your standard riot police surveillance footage …that is, until Mr. Pop asks "the talented and personable New York State dancers" to exit at song's end (and, in true New York State fashion, few oblige).
It should be noted however that Iggy doesn't return the favor by leaping off stage, in his own time-tested inimitable way, until twenty seconds into "Death Trip." But by then we've already been treated to a deliciously cheesy/sleazy rendition of "I Need Somebody" which would not sound one inch out of place in that peeler bar a block behind your local bus station. James Williamson's trademark teeth-pulling guitar work reaches all new depths of delight on both this and the Sun Ra-by-way-of Mothers of Invention "Night Theme" which follows Iggy's refreshing mid-"1970 (I Feel Alright)" Evian water bath. P.S.: Special mention must be made here to accompanying saxman-in-the-shadows Steve Mackay for helping keep the John Coltrane/Harry Partch portion of the equation alive and honking.
"Beyond the Law," "I Got A Right," "I Wanna Be Your Dog" (complete with completely crazed audience sing-along) and an encore "Fun House" wherein Iggy delivers "a message to Heaven; to James Brown: Hey James? Lemme in!" and quicker than it all started there's just "No Fun" left for the good citizens of Monticello.
But we the viewer still have forty-four minutes of post-gig interviews with Iggy, James and Scott "Rock Action" Asheton to enjoy, during which we discover the "template" for "Death Trip" was none other than Frankie Ford's "Sea Cruise" …not to mention Mr. Goldman learning all about those notorious fade-outs, of course.
It must go without even saying that Raw Power, to say nothing of Iggy Pop himself, seems to have aged not one iota since those g(l)ory days of '73. But what is surprising is just how perfectly this film captures every grunt, howl and lambaste of the original's pointed purpose, doing both the landmark album and its creators more than proud. Director/editors Joey Carey and Luis Valdes should immediately be awarded a trunkful of Oscars for bravely adhering to Iggy's "Fuck the dramatic hocus-pocus" edict throughout their production, I do say.
Because, as no less an authority as the head Stooge Himself proclaims, "This shit really sizzles and we are so obviously a crack band in a class of our own."
Raw Power Live is the living proof. Watch it today, and often.           

Monday, February 11, 2013

Hypno-Hog's Moonshine Monster Jamboree by Andrew Goldfarb

( hillbilly-exploitation novella features moonshine swilling, two-headed pig farming, outhouse dwelling, hicks who have ridiculous adventures where they are soaked in rains of death toads and deal with lunacy. It's fun and freaky, and the florid language is a hoot, but I must say it's kind of disappointing that despite being exquisitely crazy and bizarre it's not really filthy or depraved in any way. Goldfarb, despite being a Slow Poisoner, seems to be too pure of heart to truly exploit, to truly deliver nasty scumminess that a black-hearted public wants from their exploitation material. But despite being a poor pornographer, Goldfarb may one day be the weirdest children's book author ever, and the genius who finds the perfect rhymes for"cannibal," "pig poop," and "naked hillbilly." BTW, please visit the publusher's website to see a booklist you will not believe exists! 

New Kids on the Block by Nikki Van Noy

(Touchstone) I do not think the idea of a New Kids on the Block book is absurd. As one of the last American boy bands to explode in popularity without Disney or Swedish intervention, and as a group that had the same management/mentors as New Edition (children who notoriously lived lives that would kill most adults), there are stories to be told. But perhaps an authorized biography may not be the place to tell them. And more significantly, over twenty years after a band's heyday may not be the time to write a book that feels like it expects a primarily 14 year old readership. This book tells of loyal fans, a successful comeback, and loyal fans that fueled a successful comeback, but just because people in their late thirties still like their relatively youthful looking idols and still enjoy their solid pop tunes doesn't mean they still read Tiger Beat. I am baffled by why anyone would market a juvenile book to middle-aged people, but I guess no one ever went broke acting like people were stupid. That said, for a band that this book implies respects their fans profusely, this book is pretty insulting to their intelligence.

Rakehell "Pure Pop Poison"

(Three Peas) Russ Forster gets poppy and philosophical, putting more into his music than he has since 8-tracks distracted him in the 90s. That said, he does still sing (ostensibly, metaphorically, and group-sex-ixcally) about 8-tracks (and Jesus, and fire, and hypocrisy, and "Love is Confusion," which is not "Love or Confusion"). This has more hooks than a tackle box and more brains than cervel de veau.

Stevie Jackson "(i can't get no) STEVIE JACKSON"

(Banchory) This solo debut from Belle & Sebastian guitarist/songwriter Jackson is a joyful monument to pop prowess, which references the Beatles not so much musically, but in detailed cultural metaphor/anecdotes (comparing running from the rain to the Fabs running from girls in their movie, and inferring biographical significance to what Beatles albums you had as a lad). Then he brings it home by actually referencing the Beatles musically, but rejecting John, Paul, and even George, by crafting a perfect Ringo song about bad e-mail decisions! He's a magnificent Mocker!

Nix Comics Quarterly #5

( More blues-punk-R&B/horror-goth-comedy comix, most scripted by Kenn Epstein, and illustrated by some underground all-stars. Horror comics have always been one of the medium's most reliable genres. with the best EC comics standing as arguments for comics as literature, and the worst Charlton knock-offs feeling like goofy b-movies. On the other fist, Rock n Roll comics have pretty much always sucked, with Todd Loren's worthless biography series serving as a pathetically low high point. That Nix's needle almost always jitters on the EC-side of this gauge is an awesome testament, especially when the musical vibe reverberates so loudly through the pages. Also of note: Nix's monster hunting priest who looks like Question Mark (of the Mysterians) now makes more sense to me, since "Q" is not particularly priestlike or philosophical or even physical in a monster-fighting way, but after seeing the Rodriguez documentary (in which a guy I always dismissed as stealing his look from Q and his vibe from Dylan is proven to be a genius, monk-like, super strong musical hero) I have a new point of reference. Also, the best Merinuk comic Nix has ever published dwells in these pages. As well a dick pics.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

chris lawhorn "fugazi edits"

( By creating short, powerful, groovy songs by sampling snippets of every Fugazi tune ever Lawhorn has made some great music. But he has not done much of a magic trick, as these dance and experimental tracks really emphasize how driving, and funky, and challenging, and solid Fugazi's songs already are, rather than transforming anything. That said, this is the best "new" Fagazi reocrd you're going to hear these days,  and if you've never heard Fugazi before, then this, perversely, this is a great introduction, even if it doesn't really sound like the band. 

Iron Maiden - The Ultimate Unauthorized History of the Beast by Neil Daniels

(Voyageur Press) Though the title might indicate a more through text, it's not inaccurate to label this hefty scrapbook an impressive historical survey. Jam packed with gorily full color images and dynamic layouts, this is a visual feast (as in, Eddie the demonic mascot feasting upon flesh and souls). Photos from every era of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal's greatest band, artwork from every Eddie-graced LP cover and picture sleeve single (no Indians on the "Run to the Hills" sleeve, though Eddie is about to flay a devil with a tomahawk), every tour date, scores of tour shirts, hundreds of gig posters, backstage passes, and concert tickets, and an eleven page annotated discography stuff the pages. And while there's an abundance for every Maiden fan, there's probably a lot that individual fans could take or leave (if you bailed on the band when Bruce joined this will be a short read; if you stopped caring in the 80s, then seeing the big poster for Maiden/Limp Bizkit may not impress, etc.) But bottom line, one of the most visually captivating bands ever deserves a visual document like this, and I can't imagine an "official" release topping this.

Joshua Barton "The Wood Panel Program"

(Lafayette) Folksy shoegaze played amidst, atop, around, and through field recordings of streets, dens, roads, and mystery spots. Reccomend this? I wood!

Forced into Femininity "Messiah of Evil"

(Centers of Disease and Control) Just genuine batshit crazy sound sputterings, more playful nuttiness than evil noise, but evil and noisy nonetheless. A pagan pig-murder parasitic party in your ears!

Dad "Hobbies"

(Lafayette) Every time I hear Grimes I always think she will be better than she is, because she's so youthful, futuristic, dance-oriented, experimental, and smart. But she just doesn't sound good enough. This cassette sounds exactly exactly how I always hope Grimes sounds. Get this, and a cassette player, if you want to dance, smile, and avoid disappointment.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

"pdx a go-go - making waves up north"

( Portland gets a lot of jibs and jibes these days for all the this and that the town has to offer, but you rarely hear folks celebrate what the place really knows how to deliver: instrumental surf rock! Well fret no more, as this compilation cures that ill. In its digital groove you can ride the tides with Susan SurfTone, who brings the aquatic party to life, Wave Sauce, who explore surf's spooky undercurrents, The Outer Space Heaters, who challenge Dick Dale's guitar prowess, the Surf Weasels, who get so traditional they seem to have recorded their drums in 1963, and Shade 13, who mercilessly bring the power of the tsunami down on you. This is one super surf comp that's not all wet!

The Galileo 7 "Staring at the Sound"

(State) Magnificently melodic, kaptivatingly Kinksy, and commendably Creation-ist, this set by ex-Headcoat Allan Crockford is a non-regressive time travel trip to the 60s that manages to only deal with the bands that were 40 years ahead of their time. On a scale of Galileo 1 to Galileo 6 I give this a G7!

Suzy Chunk "Girl From the Neck Down"

(State) With a voice that is a little Dusty, a little Brit girl group, and even a little 60s boy band (if not a bit manlier than Peter Noone's), sultry Suzy is the ideal singer for Glenn Prangnell's perfect period pieces that combine post-skiffle Beat music with some odds and sods borrowed from California production pop. This will thoroughly charm you, and maybe even magically transform your drab duds into Swinging London mod dazzlers.

New American Farmers "Brand New Day"

( Exquisite Americana that not only makes intimate indie music out of 60s country rock concepts (they even have a Byrd in hand, Gene Parsons), they also deconstruct an ELO song, proving that pure hearted roots music can even turn excess inside out. Old McDonald had a hit!

Mercury: An Intimate Biography of Freddie Mercury by Lesley-Ann Jones, Queen: The Complete Illustrated Lyrics

(Touchstone; Backbeat) British journalist's Lesley -Ann Jones' second biography of Queen frontman (and the King of Frontmen) Freddie Mercury might certainly be the best book written about him yet, but that is, sadly, not saying much. Everything I've ever read about the complex, tragically short, but intensely rich life of the Zanzibar-ian dynamo has offered some passages that share memorable, touching things about him, but never enough to paint a convincing portrait of a man who kept a lot inside. This is not a perfect book. By focussing on the biography there is a lot about the music that goes unexplored, which makes sense, but leaves holes, as the music was so important to him. Also, Jones is proud of her access to the band and her her own journeys and research and she becomes a character in a book that already had a main character so big that 350 pages couldn't contain him. But that access, those hundreds of hours of interviews with everyone you could think of, means that the biographical elements, the anecdotes, the personal details of Freddie's private life, professional life, sex life, and what ever percentage of his inner life he was willing to share with others, is as thoroughly covered as it ever has been. More an action reporter than a poetic writer,, Jones gets in there, researches, and reports, and if you don't demand your music writing be particularly musical, than this is the source that can provide you the most data, much of it compelling and some of it heartbreaking, on Freddie available, and true fans should read it.
More satisfying, though it contains pretty much no facts, research, revelations, or prose (other than very brief introductions from May and Taylor) is the hefty collection that every Queen lyric, arranged alphabetically, each song illustrated by a small reproduction of the LP, and picture sleeve single if one existed anywhere on earth, plus large stunning photos, handwritten first drafts, or production notes (surprisingly Freddie's handwriting is slightly messier than Brian's, John's, or Roger's), artifacts (including actual promotional robots from the "News of the World" LP cover), artwork (especially from the "Innuenedo" album), fan art, stills from video shoots, and a Freddie doodle or two. Even if it's hard to appreciate the lyrics as poetry, because it's impossible to not hear the recordings in your head, this visual feast of magnificent excess is perhaps a better tribute to the life of Mercury than any biography could be.

Channing Banks "Rock My ABCs"

( Kiddie rock that's kind of slinky, with vocals sung a lot sexier than you expect from songs for the pre-school set. Then again, most five year olds like Katy Perry, who preaches shameless sluttiness, and the magic power of big tits to her teenyboppers fan base, so innocent, encouraging, catchy, didactic music that just happens to to be delivered with a sultry lilt in the singer's voice is an incredibly better option. And if kids don't know exactly why they get a tingly feeling every time they brusha brusha their teeth, or eat their fruits and vegetables, that's all kind of positive. Bottom line: good kids music that won't annoy adults, good messages and attitude, and way hotter than the Wiggles.

The ABC & D of Boogie Woogie "Live in Paris," Ben Waters "Boogie4Stu"

(Eagle) This quartet is made up of the A, B, & D of German boogie piano master Axel Zwingenberger, British piano prodigy Ben Waters, and British stand-up bass veteran Dave Green. But for many audience members filling the Parisian nightclub Duc Des Lombards for the weeklong engagement in 2010, it was the C that drew them there, Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts. Considering that the advertising was relatively honest ("Boogie Woogie" is in their name, for Pinetop's sake!), folks knew what they were getting, but hardcore Stones fans who showed up that didn't dig old time rent party jazz may have been left cold...maybe. Then again, Watts gets to swing pretty hard on a special drum showcase, some of the vocal numbers, particularly "Route 66," are pretty rooted in the skiffle and the skifflier side of early Brit blues rock that set the stage for the Stones, and their slinky version of "St. Louis Blues" is pretty hep no matter what your bag is. Basically, this remarkable collection of cool, classy classics by Big Joe Turner, W.C. Handy, Dr. John and others, and originals so perfectly by the boogie woogie numbers it seems hard to claim them as original, is such a joy that you won't be bothered by the absence of the strutting or stumbling Watts' day job frontman and guitarist are known for (and you won't be bothered by their not being a frontman or a guitarist, for that matter). Also perhaps appeasing Stones fans even more is that 3/4 of this band played on Waters' stellar 2011 album "Boogie 4 Stu," a tribute to Stones founder (and Waters former bandmate) Ian Stewart, which featured every member of the Rolling Stones in some capacity. The jazz treatments of songs and styles associated with the late Stones road manager, longtime piano man, and boogie woogie enthusiast features brilliant covers of blues, jazz, and R&B numbers made famous by Jimmy Yancey, Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, and Bob Dylan (who sounds like R&B source material once Mick lends his voice and harp to it). While it is not as marvelous and energetic as the lively live album Waters recorded with his alphabet rockers in Old Paree, it is probably the best Stones album in a quarter century.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Hollis Brown "Ride on the Train"

(Alive) Thus New York, via fantasy Nashville, via Dylan-land combo keeps it fully honest, slightly bluesy, and all-American. It's a pretty smooth train ride.

Brian Whelan "Decider"

(Three Moves Equals a Fire) It seems that halfway between Nick Lowe and Bryan Adams ain't a bad place to be!

Midas Fall "Wilderness"

(Monotreme) Mid as well fall asleep.

The Kingsbury Manx "Bronze Age"

(Odessa) When I first heard about this band I was pissed, thinking they had stolen the idea for my reality show where Tyra Banks becomes a reverse Mormon and takes the entire lineup of the Sacramento Kings as her multi-husbands. I called it The Kings Marry Banks. But once I heard this lush, charming, Anglo-respectful, soothingly psychedelic, hypno-pop I not only let go of any negative feelings towards these Kings of the Chapel Hill, but I actually started to understand the human soul so profoundly (listen to "Handsprings" and you shall, too) that I couldn't bear to make DeMarcus Cousins. Jimmer Fredette, Travis Outlaw, and their crew enter into something as crass as a sham marriage with  a Top Model. Manx you very much, KM!

Susie Glaze & the Hilonesome Band "White Swan"

( Her voice is more like that of a rose-breasted grosbeak than a swan. Or it's more like an angel's! Super sounding Bluegrass-icana music that is executed so deftly it sounds too NOW to be labeled old-timey, though it is as old-timey as making ultra-specific songbird references. Fine fiddling, exceptional song choices, and perfect pipes make this Glaze tastier than the ones at your town's finest donut shoppes. 

Culture Queer "Nightmare Band"

(Tokyo Rose) Gentle, melodic, harmonic Midwestern psychedelia that will both soothe and scramble your mind. Even on the heavy title track they sound so pretty that the nightmare is dreamy.

"Alive at the Deep Blues Fest"

(Alive) Recorded live at a Minnesota music fest this collection is great because on the one hand the whole thing has that warm, imperfect sound quality of a Dead bootleg cassette, and more importantly, because Alive bands Radio Moscow, Buffalo Killers, John the Conqueror and others bring the rock in a big, groovy, heavy, get-high-in-a-field-and-do-that-dance way. Apparently barbecue was involved in this recording (the food, not the King Khan collaborator) and you can tell!

The Annotated Boris by Rev Norb

( For more years than his youthful demeanor would suggest, Rev. Norb has been cranking out pop punk records while alternately finding time to write absurdly detailed, rambling-yet-focussed, multiple parenthesis-within-parenthesis, punk/pop/football/baseball meta-referencing, post-pre-postmodern screeds in various zines (from his own Midwestern gem Sic-Teen to the Punk Bible, Maxuimumrocknroll, to his current home in Razorcake), and all the while we were all not so much thinking, or dreading, but let's go with 'subconsciously expecting' that one day he would release an album that was somehow just a 100,000 word single sentence effusively describing the music rather than actually recording it, and while that is not exactly what this book is, what it is is basically a complete discography box set of his longest-lasting band Boris the Sprinkler, but in non musical form, or to be more precise, in the musical form of melodious written word, with the right Reverend describing every track he ever released with the band in a way that gives personal, professional, artistic, cultural, lyrical, odorous, its-place-in-musical-historical, ridiculous details about it, including plenty of footnotes, and to preemptively answer your question (be the question a straw man construct or a real one, as my head does contain a number of unidentifiable voices, or maybe I left the radio on, but that sounds like Paul Harvey, and he's dead, or maybe that's his new Super Bowl ad, which I would like to point out that, although I agree with praising Super Bowl commercial post-game critics [which seems to be an actual job now] that Harvey's words were some of his best and that the visual ode to the farming industry was moving and remarkable, the idea expressed in the tagline, that the Ram truck, or whatever the product was, would "bring out the farmer" in the purchaser, undermines the entire point of the fucking poem/video, which is that ACTUAL FARMERS ARE IMPORTANT, not that you can play farmer like you play cowboy and Indian and that somehow honors the lifestyle and labor and pain of this dying industry...but that has little to do with Norb, other than his Packers losing to a team that made it to the Big Game) you do not need this book, but it sure is enjoyable, and truth be told, likely more enjoyable than hearing all 972 Boris tracks. And the book is more than one sentence.

Roy and the Devil’s Motorcycle "tell it to the people," “Forgotten Million Sellers”

(Voodoo Rhythm) Roy and Ol Scratch's Scooter are back, bringing psychedelic blues blasts so potent they gave me rock spasms. Whether they get rural, garage-ey, experimental, folksy, shoegazish, or make guitars (or something) sound like witches having orgasms (listen to "I'm Alright" with that in mind and try to hear anything else), these Swiss never miss.  Also on the shelves (or digital equivalent thereof, if you're a young'n) is a re-release of their 90s classic "Forgotten Million Sellers," which is the rural psychobilly equivalent of Satanic incantations that make demons dance. So play it in church!

Pork #7, #8, #9

( The only thing that I can even remotely say that's not super amazing awesome incredible praise-gushing about this trash lifestyle art culture rag (other than Sean being a little too proud of not being uptight about punk "nazi stuff is cool" fashion) is that they are hitting so many home runs with interviews, features and spotlights that they're gonna run out of everybody awesome by lucky issue 13! #7 has Basil Wolverton's son Monte giving the skinny on the father of weirdo art, Jeff Gaither telling boss Ed Roth stories, Arturo Vega revealing egg cream ignorance, and Iron Maiden cover artist Derek Riggs being steady heady and he gets us ready for Eddie. #8 was a little light on legendary artists, but they made up for it with a White Mystery interview, and tons of comix. #9 has a fantastic feature on Gary Panter, asking him great, weird questions, and reprinting a 1980 manifesto. #10 shamelessly scrapes the bottom with Mike Diana and Shane Bugbee!  #11 has Dr. Demento!!! Breathtaking! As is asphyxiating on vomit! And