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2 CDs of beat poetry from one of the masters. In his tired, gravely voice, Bukowski holds forth on sex, death, oppression, and whatever else comes to mind. No track titles on the CD, so I made some up after listening. For the most part each CD is a contiguous recording that was divided up into tracks. Whoever did this did a pretty lazy job of picking where to start tracks. Sometimes he will say the title of a poem on the end of the previous track. The sound quality is poor, but you can always understand what he is saying.
This three-piece (plus guests) out of Canada delivers well written and produced psychedelic folk. There’s just a touch of electronics and feedback on some tracks. There are some Latin-folk influences (lead singer Andrew Whiteman had recently returned from a trip to Cuba where he learned to play the tres (a Cuban guitar)), especially on tracks 3, 7, 8, and 10. The sound is melodic and shimmery, and the production has resulted in an appealingly full sound.
Reverend Glasseye gives us an all-too-short 5 tracks of organ heavy gypsy folk rock. There are klezmer and Irish folk influences here. It’s the sort of music you could imagine a bar full of people singing along to at 1 in the morning. The instrumentation is very thick, with reeds, a trumpet, organ, guitar, bass, drums, and vocals. My favorites are 1 and 4, but they are all great!
Seemingly a normal man, but with all the powers of a man, it’s Man Man, answering the question: What if Frank Zappa had assembled an ensemble that included Tom Waits on lead vocals? This CD features Honus Honus? gravely vocals in front of an ensemble that includes percussion, horns, piano, guitar, synthesizer, violin, and a children’s chorus (track 1 only). Circus, folk, and klezmer influences combine to make something that is both unique and groovy. It’s cool. Check it out!
Imagine that Devo were a bunch of nerds. OK, fine, Devo are a bunch of nerds, but imagine that they were obsessed with video games and gamer culture rather than, umm, whatever it is they were obsessed with. Songs about Megaman, Pac Man, Wario, Tomb Raider, et al. The music is catchy, sometimes punky electro-pop with male and female vocals. It’s well produced and fun, and the lyrics are often quite brilliant. All the songs are very short (none over 2 minutes), but the breaks between the tracks are very short, so you can let it track through and play a couple of them. If you have time, the liner notes are quite hilarious.
Aroah is lead by Irene Rodriguez a Spanish female singer/songwriter. This album predominantly features her clear, simple voice and acoustic guitar work with occasional appearances by drums, flute, and electric guitar, but always sublimated to the voice and acoustic guitar. She is clearly strongly influenced by John Fahey (and says as much on her website). All songs are in English (including the one with the Spanish name) and she has no discernable accent).
Sexually charged beat poetry rants over a bed of bass, guitar, samples, and occasional reeds singing over the top. The words aren’t sung so much as spoken in time. The rants are directed variously at Hollywood (7), religion (3,8), redneck America (4), and, umm, miscellaneous. I really like the last track, but it is quite long. From the label’s copy: ’99 Hooker’s Generica is to pop music as crank is to Michelob?.
The Slow Poisoners are Andrew Poisoner and Rick ‘Foxx? Trott. These guys have a 4-track and they are not afraid to use it. Well, probably they have some digital recording equipment that sounds like a 4-track. Point being, the songs definitely do not suffer from overproduction. Andrew and Foxx play all instruments with the exception of some trumpet on track 4. The songs are simple, mostly uptempo, clean sounding pop with clever, easily understood lyrics. This is not art. This is entertainment (not that there is anything wrong with that).
A live, 2 disk recording from Einst’zende Neubaten. The music ranges from seductive (in a German sort of way) to aggressive and noisy. The instrumentation is heavy, driving bass, captivating vocals that recall a more German Peter Gabriel, and some excellent use of auxiliary percussion, noisemakers, and electronics. The bass and the intense vocals (even when I don’t understand them) are in every track really hold the whole thing together. Lyrics vacillate between German and English. All clean as far as I know (since I don’t speak German). It expertly toes the line between being catchy/hooky and edgy/noisy). Not a bad track on here.
Middle-eastern acid rock led by oud player John Berberian (an oud is kind of a fat mandolin). The music incorporates Middle Eastern and Armenian instrumentation and rhythms with western jazz, soul, and funk. Track 3 has some Armenian vocals; other tracks are entirely instrumental. Very groovy, laid back stuff. Break out the hookah, pick any track, and enjoy!
Subtitled Exclusive Tracks for Radio Friends, and with the name of the group misspelled on the cover(!), Big City Orchestra has been so kind as to provide us with 14 tracks of experimental ambience. Imagine some old piece of Sci-fi where the heroes were adventuring through the body of some kind of giant organic robot-being; here are the sounds, including the heart (1), the blood stream (2), the cerebellum (3), the language center of the brain (6), the bladder (9), and the bowels (12). Subdued enough to be used as beds, but interesting enough to stand on their own. If you were looking for some good haunted house music, you need look no further.
It turns out that catchy, hooky, 80′s-style electronic dance-pop didn’t die, it just moved to Omaha! Wet From Birth joins the 2 excellent The Faint CDs already in the library and provides 10 more tracks of music to listen to while wearing black lipstick, black fingernail polish, black boots, and black shirts with black designs. What Depeche Mode could have been if they weren’t so insufferable. My favorites are tracks 1, 2, 6, and 9, but you really can’t go wrong with any track. Play this!
This is presumably the same band as Ace T and the Hindenburg Ground Crew (for whom we have a 7″ 33), but while that disc is pretty much a novelty, this album is a bit more substantial.
Neo-classical post-minimalism from composer, San Francisco Conservatory of Music mainstay, and 2003 Pulitzer Prize winner John Adams. This CD contains new recordings of several Adams works. Road Movies uses piano and violin, while the others have only piano (2 pianos on Halleluiah Junction).
High weirdness from WFMU DJ Kenny G and People Like Us (Vikki Bennett). Arrhythmic sound collages pieced together from a number of sources. Tracks involve cutting together one or more 40′s-60′s ballads with audio samples from movie/tv/other. It transcends the ironic or satirical into the realm of weirdness for the sake of weirdness. Sometimes tracks track together. My favorites are tracks 1 (Language!), 6, and 12, but really you can choose any track if you feel a need to inject some bizarreness into your show.
A 2 disk set from Roots of Orchis. Disk 1 is their originals. Disk 2 is remixes of old Roots of Orchis tunes.
A 2 CD set put out by the folks at WFMU. Disk 1 is made up of non-WFMU radio moments that The Professor found ‘compelling, funny, or just plain odd?. Disk 2 is a collection of moments from WFMU broadcasts. The booklet provides an excellent overview of the clips. My favorites are:
The Advantage is a Canadian 4 piece band that plays covers of music from Nintendo (ORIGINAL NES) games. Is it a gimmick? Sure! But it’s still fun! The band is made up of 2 guitars, bass, and drums. Interesting to hear this synthesizer music played without a keyboard. Tracks are very short (none over 3 minutes, many under 1 minute). Tracks from the same game usually track together.
4 woman a cappella versions of American sacred songs of the 18th and 19th century. The voices are good but not spectacular. The arrangements are intentionally very simple, attempting to recreate these songs as they actually would have been sung. The production is probably a bit heavy on reverb, but it makes them sound like they are being sung in a church, which is certainly appropriate. It’s all pretty, simple, and sincere.
Kitten on the Keys Is Suzanne Ramsey, a San Francisco based one woman burlesque show. Live she performs on a piano. On this album she uses piano, toy piano, Wurlitzer, and Ukulele. Her voice is a bit ‘cute little girl? that belies the bawdy nature of her lyrics.
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