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Hone, Logan – “Variety Show” – [Wellness Association of Los Angeles]

Phew!!!!!! Wow!!!!! Man!!!!! Not quite outsider but sort of because of production values and oddness. A+++++++. Mostly solo, multi-instrumentalist. Neurotic and sane songs of love and life. Beats sound like the 1980′s sometimes. Instruments sound like from the 1980′s sometimes. Hints of Eno. Hints of post-punk. Hints of pop. But wait…. it is all so TWISTED. Track 1, “I Miss You”, starts out with a drum beat that feels j..u..s..t.. a bit tooooo slow. In comes a familiar guitar riff, then an electronic piano blurble, vocals sounding a bit like a chant, some off the wall guitar, more electronic mistakes, and full up rockestra with instruments that seem to have been found at the local thrift store. YEP!!!! With a big smile on my face I settled back in my old ’97 Lexus and scuttled down the black as midnight hwy 280, blasting this audio gem. Each track is like it’s own sonic universe: tweaked enough to be unique from the last track but familiar with the Logan Hone thread. Superb lyrics made me laugh out loud more than once and had me nodding in agreement. “Get In the Car” may be my favorite pop number of the month because it goes for it and then churns it up. Bravo for something so familiar and yet so beautifully strange. Refreshing. It gives me hope for new sounds.

  • Reviewed by Naysayer on October 24, 2017 at 10:20 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Pikacyu-Makoto – “Galaxilympics” – [Upset The Rhythm]

    Guitarist Kawabata Makoto of Acid Mothers Temple (oh…my…god) and drummer/vocalist Pikacyu of Afrirampo (OH…MY…GODDESS). That should just about do it. Nine songs of psychedelic madness, some with vocals, some with growls, some with calm, some with guitar and drum onslaught, all with an amazing interplay of rhythm, riff and raw vision. This is a trip without the tab. Check out their live sets on YouTube. Yes please. Explode your head.

  • Reviewed by Naysayer on October 24, 2017 at 12:25 am
  • Filed as 12-inch,A Library
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  • Cremator, The [coll] – [Finders Keepers Records]

    Czech New Wave Cinema of the 1960′s had some pretty twisted, beautifully filmed and challenging films, many of which were not seen for decades due to the government banning them. Juraj Herz’s “The Cremator”, from 1969 is one of these. The tale of a cremator who is obsessed with the Tibetan Book of the Dead and the passing of the Dalai Lama, who is influenced by Nazi sympathizers (it takes place in the 1930′s) who talk to him about the importance of his partial German heritage, his half Jewish wife who is the mother of his two sons, his eventual spiral into madness as he realizes it is his purpose to send people back to the dust from which they came… let’s just say it won’t end well. It’s described as a horror comedy. Well, if anyone can make Nazi’s funny, the Czech’s can. A film with this overwhelming storyline needs a strong soundtrack and classic Czech experimental soundtrack composer Zdenek Liska does the trick. Moving away from his usual found sound and re- sampling type style, Liska goes orchestral for this endeavor. Rich, haunting orchestral pieces with soprano singer Vlasta Soumarova Mlejnkova chanting out vocalizations of sounds, not words, fill the spaces. Think echoes in large abandoned cathedrals where sounds bounce around, “celestial choral” sections accompanied by chimes and bells. Think giallo richness. Think old school haunted houses where strangeness lurks. Beautiful moody settings, perfect for a crematorium. Indulge. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.

  • Reviewed by Naysayer on October 23, 2017 at 11:49 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,Soundtrack
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  • Mimmo, Gianni – “One Way Ticket” – [Amirani Records/Amirani Contemporary]

    Gianni Mimmo is that unique musician/artist that is so dedicated to his craft, his art, that he really lives it to the fullest. “One Way Ticket” is a solo project for this soprano sax jazz improviser, but here the improvisation is with a twist. The fifteen selections, bookended by spoken word, include original compositions and eight interpretations of classic works by artists including, Mingus, Lacy, Monk, Webern, and Ellington. On the international jazz circuit, Mimmo is compared to Steve Lacy in his skill and expertise. It shows here. Interweaving such an array of sounds and tones Mimmo plays with ideas, elongating sounds and then switching shape with lightening speed. The recording is so intimate that we hear Mimmo’s breathing, his buzz into the horn, his fingers pressing the keys and the keys moving on the saxophone. These sounds become faint, but continuous percussive additions to the sound of the sax itself. Unique, challenging, elegant. .

  • Reviewed by Naysayer on October 23, 2017 at 10:26 pm
  • Filed as CD,Jazz
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  • Oxbow – “Thin Black Duke” – [Hydra Head Records]

    “Thin Black Duke” is Oxbow’s 7th album in 30+ years and their first release in 10 years. It is a stunner. Like the bands Swans, The Fall, Psychic TV, and Half Japanese, Oxbow is in the category of having survived longer than possibly initially thought and yet still creating new sounds. They are not in the retro circuit. With age hopefully comes maturity in one’s art. Such is the case here. Eight songs of dense musical interactions with lyrical depth. Is this a song cycle? Is this Oxbow’s stadium rock album? If only stadium rock was like this. Track one starts out with a whistle then falls into a symphonic cacophony before the toe tapping song takes over. This sets the stage. Bassist Dan Adams, drummer Greg Davis, singer Eugene S. Robinson, and guitarist Niko Wenner work so well on these tales of observation of sadness, difficulty, challenge…..life. Song structures change mid song, going from symphonic to almost noise. Layered guitar drum and bass with piano embrace Robinson’s distinctive voice and vocalizations, interpreting the cinematic lyrics with growls, howls, whispers, purrs, hisses …. haunting and always keeping the listener on their toes. Musical themes run through the works, like leitmotifs. Multiple listenings are needed to gain interpretation. This is a work for contemplation. Enjoy.

  • Reviewed by Naysayer on October 22, 2017 at 12:14 am
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Nerftoss – “Maiden Powers” – [Ehse Records]

    Nerftoss, the solo project of musician John Jones is a pleasure from a variety of styles pulled together to make a unique, infectious sound. “Caliber” one of the few tracks with vocals, feels like post-shoegaze, with the vocals quieter than the bass, indistinguishable yet domineering. Many of the tracks are a type of loop of rhythmic beats or hypnotic drone and psychedelic patterns, pumping, pumping, pumping forward while odd rhythms and chords pop in and out commenting to each other while the loop continues forward.
    New Psychedelia transforming your head. Turn on.

  • Reviewed by Naysayer on September 19, 2017 at 10:35 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Morgen Wurde – “Brach Auf” – [Time Released Sound]

    Morgen Wurde is Wolfgang Rottger from Kiel, the German port city on the Baltic that was a major manufacturer of subs and boats during WWII. It was also mostly destroyed by bombing during WWII. Does this matter? I think place and history affect artistic creation one way or another. With references to fire, whether it be destructive or transformative, the 11 tracks present a fluctuating tone of electronic swirl and percussive tone reminiscent of Tangerine Dream and other such groups but with an obvious 21st century bent. Propulsive yet ambient, electronic in a space journey type of manner. Flow over, through and beyond the space portal.

  • Reviewed by Naysayer on September 19, 2017 at 9:50 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Mezei, Szilard / Guazzaloca, Nicola – “Lucca and Bologna Concerts” – [Amirani Records/Amirani Contemporary]

    A brilliant recording by Hungarian viola player, Szilard Mezei and Italian piano player, Nicola Guazzaloca. These master musicians pair up for recordings at 2 concerts and give performances of improvisational bliss. From slow and quiet almost silence, to loud bursts of volatile sound, Szilard bows, scratches and engulfs his viola, nursing and cursing a rich array of sounds, even bits and hints of Hungarian folk tunes. Nicaola, plucks and strums the inside of the piano then moves to eloquent chords, patterns, trills and other innovations on the piano keyboard. The interplay between them is thrilling to listen to, hearing the two shadow and mimic each other, then explore around the other’s sounds. Serious for sure, but fun. Lots of fun from these improvisers.

  • Reviewed by Naysayer on September 18, 2017 at 11:06 pm
  • Filed as CD,Jazz
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  • Angels In America – “Narrow Road to The Interior” – [Ehse Records]

    Wiped out, stoned, addicted, dusty, dirt, heat, squatting in infested broken down buildings: these are the feelings I get when hearing Angels In America’s “Narrow Road To The Interior”. Don’t get me wrong. I actually LOVE this sound, like walking through tar or muddy snow after eating something you shouldn’t have or didn’t know you had. Moppy Pont and Merv Glisten are the duo that make up this Baltimore based project, creating echoing vocals, kind of mumbled, sometimes just too tired to get the word out. Harmonies stumble through the sound infested background, filled with drones, lost choral repetitions, the sounds of detritus and wind, electronic surprises and irritants with guitar and maybe bass accompaniment, broken up beats, then a wail or scream. God, I love this so much. Kick back on your filthiest couch, listen and indulge in what feeds you. AIA rule.

  • Reviewed by Naysayer on September 16, 2017 at 5:14 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Perkis, Tim / Walton, Scott – “Applied Cryptography” – [Pfmentum]

    Upon hearing the first notes of this 2016 work by Tim Perkis (electronics) and Scott Walton (piano), I felt I was experiencing something bigger, something grander than many of the unique pieces of which I have the privilege of hearing. Perkis’ instrument is things electronic. Walton is a multi-instrumentalist, on this release performing piano. They are both skilled, knowledgeable and experienced performers. On this CD, something clicked, at least for me. An interplay of piano interludes, improvisations, arpeggios, and chords play with, around and against the electronic soundscape of blips, skronks, squelches, buzzes, hums and more. The piano is fully explored, even inside as wire is pulled and scraped. Or is that the electronics mimicking the piano? The quality of interplay between the two musicians and their instruments is stunning. The playing is shared with one not overwhelming the other but playing along side and in conversation with the other. Both may settle into quiet or one will dominate while the other supports or reacts. Sometimes they go in different directions, but they never get lost. Alas, the sound of experience and skill and creativity. If we did a top ten of the year, this would definitely be on my list.

  • Reviewed by Naysayer on September 15, 2017 at 9:20 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Bag, Alice – “Alice Bag” – [Don Giovanni Records]

    Alice Bag is a punk rock icon, hailing from East Los Angeles, one of the original LA 100, the original punks from the mid 1970′s LA punk scene. Her original band, The Bags, was a major influence on what was to come in the punk scene. She was also a member of many other bands including Castration Squad and the amazing Cholita! the Female Menudo fronted by one of a kind Dr. Vaginal Creme Davis. Alice Bag has continued her career in music as a performer as well as author, activist and teacher. This 2016 release showcases Bag’s power punk/ power pop energy in 11 numbers that vary from old school punk sound to 60′s girl group shoo bop. Lyrics are direct political statements about abuse directed towards women, cultural and racial prejudice, inequalities in education, feminism. It’s all powerful stuff in simple language with a continuous beat. The musicianship is solid with a rotating cast of musicians who understand what Bag wants them to play and how it should sound. Many have worked with her in different projects so their is a solid, family feel to the recordings. This is not retro: it is a continuation of an artist who pushes herself on and on. A great addition to the collection.

  • Reviewed by Naysayer on September 4, 2017 at 10:03 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Rotten Fux – “Rotten Fux” – [Six Weeks]

    Rotten Fux. The continued comment on many sights is will they last more than a year before they all OD. Not sure if they made it but this 2006 release on Six Weeks Records assured them some infamy with 9 tracks of hardcore punk energy. Bay area punkers from the now defunct Burnt Ramen club scene, taking names like Filthy, Smelly, Inbred and Steve’s Little Brother, one can guess the sound, speed and quality. But that’s the fun of it. They meant it, I’m sure, maybe, I don’t know, but with song titles like “My Rules”, “Sick of Life”, “STD Song” and “I Like Drugs”, you know a good time is guaranteed. Sometimes you just have to sit back and let it happen, not worrying about quality. Just enjoy. Each song under 2 minutes, so commitment is not an issue.

  • Reviewed by Naysayer on September 4, 2017 at 8:30 pm
  • Filed as 7-inch,A Library
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  • Higgs, Daniel – “Fools Sermon, Part 1, The” – [Editions Mego]

    Outsider artists are a unique breed, difficult to define, hard to acknowledge, challenging for many to listen to. Once in awhile there exists an artist considered outsider more than outsider, yet whose vision is so complex and unique as necessary to be reckoned with. Such is Daniel Higgs. A member of Lungfish and participant with Skull Defekts as well as projects with Asa Osborne of Zomes, Higgs has a respected calling card. His solo work has often been stripped down, haunting, lyric heavy about mystical topics and other. “The Fools Sermon, Part 1″ is a 35 minute sermon, a sermon intoned, not sung, by Higgs as fool, seer, visionary, nonsense maker, mystic, outsider in that he knows something more than most of us may be able to grasp. Maybe balanced with Sufism, Christianity and revelations about the Before (before it started), Higgs enunciates his poem with such specific authority that his unique voice becomes the instrument that will carry you away even if you do not grasp his meaning. Eli Winograd accompanies on bass and bass keyboard, Fumie Ishi plays drums and voice, Higgs plays banjo and speaks. Other sounds float in and out of the recording: Zen like and mystical. This work takes effort from the listener but with it might come a new understanding. Stunning.

  • Reviewed by Naysayer on September 4, 2017 at 6:11 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,A Library
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  • Schimscheimer Family Trio – “Boken Home” – [BAG Production Records]

    This is the second album by the Schimscheimer Family Trio, the fake sibling musicians this time accompanied by their fake uncle (Ben Goldberg on Bb and contra-alto clarinet). “Broken Home” is a sort of concept album musically describing the families semi-traumatic family experiences, their fake relatives, and some animals that could cause problems. All instrumental, Jon Arkin (drums, percussion, electronics), Michael Coleman (keyboards) and Kasey Knudsen (alto sax, electronics) are working in Henry Cow territory, sort of, with a lot of other ideas floating around. Songs might start out with a straight ahead jazz riff and then change into a series of repetitive notes, jumping into a tappable rhythm which then gets covered and challenged by another rhythm. Tempos change, time signatures change. The sounds twist and bend. Yet it sounds light and humorous. The quality of the musician’s skills is superb. They are putting so many sound ideas in to play, yet in this enjoyable almost bouncy way, with out letting you forget the sinister underneath. A truly enjoyable experience and a great listening surprise.

  • Reviewed by Naysayer on August 21, 2017 at 12:44 am
  • Filed as 12-inch,Jazz
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  • Lil Bub – “Science & Magic” – [Joyful Noise Recordings]

    I can’t stop laughing about this one. Some background info for those not in the know. Lil Bub is a cat, from outer space, who is an internet sensation like LOL Cat and Grumpy Cat. She has her own Youtube talk show with guests like Whoopi Goldberg and Steve Albini (Big Black, music producer). So Lil Bub was born with a serious bone disorder that would have made her paralyzed. But amazingly, she pulled through and now walks fairly well (probably because of her roots from outer space). She does have her tongue continually hanging out and a unique meow which are some of her selling points. BUT…. Lil Bub is also a music composer who has channeled or “guided” her human persons through the process of composition. Matt Tobey, her person, says she guides him continuously and Andrew WK experienced her power, first hand, in the studio. The 10 tracks are electronic lounge styled tunes with guitar and strings with drum beats, very fitting for what is being made by other musicians today. It’s cat cocktail music from space. And Lil Bub meows and purrs vocals, but not in that ostentatious white trash cat, cat’s meowing “Jingle Bells” sell out style. Lil Bub is the real deal: not overdoing it, knowing how a little of her goes a long way. No ego for Lil Bub. A sincere true artist. Enjoy and dance away.

  • Reviewed by Naysayer on July 31, 2017 at 11:31 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,A Library
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  • Bricusse, Leslie and Newley, Anthony – “Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory” – [Universal Music Enterprises]

    C’mon! It’s Willy Freakin’ Wonka. The 45th Anniversary edition. On GOLDEN VINYL!!!!!!!! Iconic. The songs of several generations. Even kids today say it’s better than the Tim Burton/Johnny Depp version.
    Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley hit a home run with this soundtrack about the poor boy who makes it big. Songs about spoiled brats, psychedelic boat rides on chocolate rivers, orange little people singing oompa loompa, songs about the near death of children by some of the most diabolical methods that out-Saw the “Saw” franchise. There’s the most unhappy song about cheering up, “Cheer Up, Charlie” and, of course, “The Candy Man”, made famous in a rocking funky version by Sammy Davis, Jr. Oh, and did I mention Gene Wilder. Gene Freakin’ Wilder!!!!! PLAY IT and all you dark heart naysayers can go jump in a chocolate river.

  • Reviewed by Naysayer on July 31, 2017 at 10:58 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,Soundtrack
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  • Pennington, Eddie – “Walks The Strings… and Even Sings” – [Smithsonian Folkways]

    This is a true treat: 20 tracks, mostly instrumental, by the stunning guitarist, Eddie Pennington. Hailing from Kentucky, he plays in the parlor movement style of Kentucky thumbpicking. (Read the booklet for an in depth explanation.) His skills are ever apparent. The notes float by ever so delicately, with intricate twists and turns that captivate the listener. His playing in so smooth, so perfect it is almost unreal. You can just see him sitting on a porch, picking away, telling stories, singing, and playing for hours. A joyful listen.

  • Reviewed by Naysayer on July 30, 2017 at 10:57 pm
  • Filed as CD,Country
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  • Pinguim, Astronauta – “Zeitgeist/Propaganda” – [Pineapple Music]

    Life is good when folks like Astronauta Pinguim exist. Luckily he “landed” here, his words, specifically in Brazil. He is of the folks who find great joy in recreating sounds with vintage 60′s/70′s synths, electric organs, drum machines and voice modulated vocals. So good. Each song is a joy of moog, synth, electronique and robot vocals. Great beats, smooth sounds, and rockin’ titles. You can’t go wrong when one song is named after the iconic 3 words said in “The Day The Earth Stood Still” – “Klaatu Barada Nikto”- even if he spells the first word wrong -Kaatu. Do “The Robot” with this one. I will.

  • Reviewed by Naysayer on July 30, 2017 at 10:33 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Infinite Plastic Internal – “Skyline Session” – [S/R]

    Mark Pino’s solo project Infinite Plastic Internal continues on the journey of modern day mantra with “Skyline Session”. Six instrumental tracks of percussion and drone, filled with many moments of silence and pause, this time. Sometimes the sound is what sounds like the hiss of a tape recorder. Other times, Pino’s drumming takes over guiding the listener through an array of rhythms and beats. Exceptional, as always.

  • Reviewed by Naysayer on July 30, 2017 at 9:42 pm
  • Filed as A Library,Cassette
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  • Baraki – “Colony Laspberry” – [Worm Interface]

    Baraki: a Pashtun tribe, a village in Afghanistan, a village in Poland or Iran, a commune in Algeria, a Belgian insult for a slob.
    This Baraki, wherever the name comes from, is an accomplished musician out of Kyoto. “Colony Laspberry” is his master class in many styles of electronic dance music, so well done that on a continuous listen, one wonders if this is many groups/projects instead of just one. It’s just one: Baraki.
    Each track is a unique sound: “rock “n job” starts off like classic Japanese electronica pop from the 80′s/90′s. From there it takes off. We get IDM, drill ‘n bass, environmental ambient, rave pounding beats, freak out spinning electronic bouncy mumble, squelch. All the sounds are here. Wow wow wow. Head spinning yes please.

  • Reviewed by Naysayer on June 14, 2017 at 12:03 am
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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