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Burning Spear – “Alive In Concert ’97″ – [Burning Spear Music Prod.]


Burning Spear (aka Winston Rodney) is a stalwart of serious roots reggae music. This is the live performance of a great in-depth collection of tracks representing almost four decades of work. The tracks are all energetic, swaying, and rolling with a great bass-line and punctured with a great horn section. Complete with a skewering of Columbus and Slavery, as well as tributes to Marcus Garvey, Haile Salassie, and … Jerry Garcia.

Favorites: Tumble Down, Marcus Garvey, Slavery Days, Not Stupid


  • Reviewed by selector on March 4, 2015 at 1:38 pm
  • Filed as CD,Reggae
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  • Doom Chuggy [coll] – [Thrill Jockey Records]


    This is a pour-over of both Psych and Metal offerings, curated in a partnership with a coffee roaster.

    Half Psych, half Metal. Lots of chuggy guitar riffs. The music has “a roasted, molasses body and a chewy dark chocolate finish”, with hints of machine-oiled metal-shavings.

    Track 3 (“Black Metal”) is so awful that everyone will enjoy it!

    Metalish Tracks – 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 10, 15
    Psychish Tracks – 6, 9, 11, 12, 13,
    Punkish Track – 8, Golden Path


  • Reviewed by selector on February 4, 2015 at 4:40 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Left Hand Side, The – “Left Hand Side, The” – [BodyDeep Music]


    Lots of cool jazzified-reggae and some instrumental funk from local artist. Has very nice roots bass lines, with plenty of sax, keyboards, and guitar melodies woven in. Vox on last track Woman Be Free. Also, an array of other interesting instruments appearing: sitar, tabla, baritone sax, and melodica.

    Favorites: Praying Mantis, Not Even, Desert Sand, Heartbeat


  • Reviewed by selector on January 28, 2015 at 4:36 pm
  • Filed as CD,Reggae
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  • Altered Labyrinth – “Lifeless Husks” – [Cream Cloud]


    Alternative/indie/pop, slow to mid-paced, not quite so “labyrinthy”, but lots of cool bendy jangly guitar on most tracks. Has elements of My Bloody Valentine, Brian Eno, Adrian Belew, and XTC. Vocals seem a bit drowned out in most places.

    Favorites: Blinded, Chameleon Stripes, In The Lake


  • Reviewed by selector on January 28, 2015 at 3:40 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Bomb The Music Industry – “Scrambles” – [Asian Man Records]

    Thoughtful punk from Jeff Rosentock. Nice lyrics, and nicely articulated. Introspective, humorous, sarcastic, sometimes with a “miserable 20-something” feeling. And, while including some 20 instruments/musicians, and recorded in several studios on a budget, it plays with a very nice focus. Unlike earlier work, doesn’t include much in the way of ska-leaning tones, except for It Shits!!! There’s a great background story on the flap about how much work the album was and how they managed to do it on the cheap.

    Cold“, and “Saddr” more mellow than the rest of the set.
    Sort Of” seems starts off quiet, but shifts up two gears about half-way through.

    There’s a sample of Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s Dirt Dog at the end of 25!, and a clip from the movie Milk at the end of It Shits!!!

    Favorites: Cold Chillin, Wednesday Night Drinkable, and 25!


  • Reviewed by selector on January 7, 2015 at 6:15 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,A Library
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  • Lehman, Steve Octet – “Mise En Abime” – [Pi Recordings]


    This release is a nice display of future-leaning ensemble jazz. There is a custom-built vibraphone throughout, making the whole album give off a spacey vibe. And the rhythm section is great, keeping the tunes catchier if you just gotta have rhythm, like me. But a crew of other instruments create quite the orgy. At times, light, soft, ethereal, but for the most part, urgent, kinetic, chaotic. It slows down, stands still, and speeds up all at the same time.

    VOX on Track 1 (Segregated)


  • Reviewed by selector on December 17, 2014 at 4:36 pm
  • Filed as CD,Jazz
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  • Thirakwa, Ustad Ahmed Jan and Ustad Amir Hussain Khan – “Rhythms of India (Tabla Recital)” – [EMI (India)]

    rhytms of india cover Rhythms of India - EASD 1335 (1969) - back

    Rhythms of India - EASD 1335 (1969) - label 1 Rhythms of India - EASD 1335 (1969) - label 1

    This is your brain, on Tablas. Two veteran Indian percussionists. Rapid-fire tabla drumming. A must for those with an interest in rhythms and drumming. And don’t miss one of the better features, the cool bass sounds of the (usually) left-hand tabla (or dagga?).

    I preferred Thirakwa’s A-Side tracks 1 & 2, Teen Tala & Ek Tala over Khan. Oddly, a number of reviews I read indicate that Thairakwa was showing his age with uneven speed and power. Forget that! It’s all amazing drumming!


  • Reviewed by selector on November 26, 2014 at 3:40 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,International
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  • Sandy’s – “Fourth Dementia” – [Uya]


    Part dreamy/psych-pop, part breezy surf rock. Soft vocals often fall under the echoy guitar work, but the melodies are still solid. Mellow summer beach music for baking in the sun.

    More upbeat and/or orchestrated tracks: Yuba Diamond, Who Lives, Lucy Lucia

    A couple of oddly-placed marimba tracks in the middle the beach vibe that would be a better fit elsewhere, Listen To My Shells, and Sisters.


  • Reviewed by selector on November 5, 2014 at 4:14 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,A Library
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  • Awaken! – “Light Current” – [Self Release]


  • Reviewed by selector on November 5, 2014 at 3:37 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Theard, Lovin’ Sam – “1934-1940 Complete Recordings” – [Wolf Records]


    Jumpin’ boogie-woogie jazz, with a big helping of novelty and hokum tracks. Some dipstick humor with Rubbin’ On That Darned Old Thing (covered by the Dead as The Rub). Sound quality is not that great, as if it has been taken from a ’78, but still tons of fun.


  • Reviewed by selector on November 5, 2014 at 3:32 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,Jazz
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  • Lemon Nash – “Papa Lemon-New Orleans Ukulele Maestro & Tent Show Troubador” – [Arhoolie Productions]



    A different way to listen to the uke. This is definitely blues, both southern and folk, with a few World War I songs. Songs related to Lemon Nash’s time in the bars, halls, and the red-light district of 50′s New Orleans and in traveling throughout the south in medicine shows.

    Far from common strumming, his right-hand action on the uke is quite nice with lots expert transitions to triplets and picking.

    A number of songs are interspersed with cool old stories of his personal experiences. Sweet and fun.


  • Reviewed by selector on November 5, 2014 at 2:55 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,Blues
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  • Davis, Stanton and The Ghetto Mysticism Band – “Isis Voyage” – [Cultures of Soul]


    Stylish spacey R&B jazz, with a very healthy side of funk, soul, and African rhythms. These are longer full-length tracks taken from the 2011 repressing session of the rare 1977 Brighter Days. Lots of groovy snakey horn and winding bass lines. Spacey and spiritual vibes for sure.


  • Reviewed by selector on November 5, 2014 at 12:09 am
  • Filed as 12-inch,Soul
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  • Miller, Jacob – “Each One Teach One” – [Rockers International]

  • Reviewed by selector on October 20, 2014 at 3:21 pm
  • Filed as 7-inch,Reggae
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  • Bleeding Rainbow – “Interrupt” – [Kanine Records]

    Buttoned-up alt-rock/noise-pop/shoegaze. A lot of guitar-soup and punk-minded music infused with mid-90′s indie-like songwriting. The drum and bass lines are really tight. Tempos are quick and most tracks clock in at about 3 minutes, so the tracks don’t take the time to explore sounds and textures as in previous work, “Yeah Right”, but that seems to be a positive choice in my opinion. Substantial wailing in the male-only vocals, contrasted with the even-toned female lead vocals, coming together in the middle of the boy-girl tracks.

    Standouts: Images, Start Again, Phase
    “Images”: includes strained vocal hysteria that doesn’t play too well, or maybe it does. In any case, still one of the standout tracks. Echoes of Sonic Youth/Thurston Moore.
    “Monochrome”: wordless vocals/moaning, classic shoegaze, reminds me of My Bloody Valentine.
    “Phase”: LOTS of reverb.

    I am not familiar with their discography, but I get the impression from web reviews that the focus of their series of albums hasn’t really been consistent, but that they are headed in a good direction with this album.


  • Reviewed by selector on October 7, 2014 at 8:18 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,A Library
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  • Touming Magazine – “Forever” – [Phat N' Phunky]


    Good springy/bouncy alt-rock (maybe post-punk) from Taiwan via Phat ‘n’ Phunky records. Has a lot of nice guitar twang and a rolling bass line. Always upgeat. Both tracks have great energy, along with guitar solos. The lyrics are all in Chinese, so I can’t make out all the details, except for “We Are Forever Young” on “Forever”. It don’t matter, it’s all good. Bonus for the two-headed turtle and roses on the cover.


  • Reviewed by selector on October 7, 2014 at 6:45 pm
  • Filed as 7-inch,A Library
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  • Imagho + Mocke – “Half Quartet” – [Three:Four Records]

    Two men, two guitars, one acoustic, one electric, and four mics. Lots of melodic interplay between the two, but overall, Imagho’s acoustic guitar is dominant. Eleven tracks, beautiful, mellow, peaceful, but mostly melancholic and moody. All instrumental.


  • Reviewed by selector on September 4, 2014 at 4:27 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,A Library
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  • Shinobu – “Tangram Sailors/ Ashtray Sea” – [Phat N' Phunky]

    Indie rock / power pop from San Jose. Fuzzy guitars, fast drumming. Seems like it fills a space shared with few other bands. Weird tuneful vocals, the meaning of which are an intellectual exercise. The the third track (Charyb Notes) is a bit of an existential piece. The last track switches up to fast punk, and may be a bit jokey, but it’s all good with me.


  • Reviewed by selector on September 4, 2014 at 3:28 pm
  • Filed as 7-inch,A Library
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  • Williams, Elmo & Hezekiah Early – “Takes One to Know One” – [Fat Possum Records]


    Lots of loud rockin blues out of Natchez Mississippi. Elmo fronts with vocals and jams wildly distorted riffs on a Fender, while Hezekiah plays the snare drum and harmonica (simultaneously). Pretty simple, fuzzy, raw, crankin’ electric blues. 1998 release from Fat Possum Records. My favorites: Blue, Booster, Hoopin’, and Natchez for the loud distortiony sound.

    – selector

  • Reviewed by selector on August 24, 2014 at 6:15 pm
  • Filed as Blues,CD
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  • Lord Tang – “Ep1″ – [Gigante Sound]

    A second album from Lord Tang (aka Dominic Cramp), Gigante Sound (Oakland). Wish I had more experience with ambient, but that seems to be the space that EP falls into … All slow electronic instrumentals … with three of the five tracks being light industrial dub I suppose.


    EP 1 by Lord Tang

  • Reviewed by selector on August 24, 2014 at 5:07 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Bruce Lee Band, The-Community Support Group-Really Records

    The Bruce Lee Band is the name given to the releases of Mike Park and his varied backing band. This is straight-up edgy ska-punk. Third-wave, fast, heavy on the ska upbeat, but with less poppy vocals and no slippage into Rocksteady or Reggae that’s common to many third-wave ska bands. An EP of five 2-minute songs. Past backup bands have included Less Than Jake and the Rx Bandits. This time, the artists include members of Bomb The Music Industry, Mu330, The Chinkees, and Skankin’ Pickle. Ska’s not dead!

    Stars for tracks: A1 (Agh!!!), A2 (Tanning Depression), B1 (We’ve Got The Money)


  • Reviewed by selector on July 2, 2014 at 6:48 pm
  • Filed as 7-inch,A Library
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