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Odd Toot – “Mental Money” – [Hydrogen Dukebox Records]

Odd Toot – or The Odd Toot, he will respond to either – is Simon Smith from Edinburgh, Scottland. This CD, released in April 2000, is his second full-length effort.

The music on this CD calls on different styles and genres much like Aquaman calls on his various sea creature friends. There is D&B, funk bass, jazz chords, flute and trumpet solos, processed vocals, samples from scratchy old recordings. There are even samples of Chevy Chase in Caddyshack and one that I believe is from Sing Along With Mitch.

Mr. Smith is a producer, engineer, and session musician. This shows in the immaculately produced tracks on this CD.

This CD could be worked easily into sets containing all kinds of music, except possibly country and polka. It just goes to show what can be had at Amoeba Records for $1.99.

–Hunter Gatherer

  • Reviewed by Hunter Gatherer on October 27, 2004 at 1:11 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Dosh – “Pure Trash” – [Anticon Records]

    Dosh is Minneapolis-based drummer and keyboardist Martin Dosh. He is also associated with the bands Fog and Lateduster. This is his second full-length release. In his spare time he gives drumming lessons to kids.

    This second full-length release is sort of a family affair. Most of the album was recorded and mixed while his wife was pregnant or had just given birth to a son Naoise (pronounced nee-sha). His wife and another son, Tadhg (pronounced tiger, without the er) can be heard speaking or singing on some of the tracks. The CD insert contains an illustration from Mrs. Dosh explaining each song.

    For such an experimental CD it’s easy to listen to, and I don’t mean that in a bad way. Although the drums sound very dirty or dusty the melodies and chords are beautiful and consonant, featuring his Fender Rhodes piano, an acoustic guitar, a saxophone, and what sound like sampled kids toys.

    The songs have a layered feel. The first layer usually comes from his Akai Headrush pedal that has a 12-second sample memory. On top of that stacked up like spinning plates is any number of layers that could contain drumming, sounds from the innards of an open-faced Rhodes being played directly, samples, voices, etc. When it seems like it might all come crashing down, Dosh heads off in another direction.

    –Hunter Gatherer

  • Reviewed by Hunter Gatherer on October 27, 2004 at 1:06 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Breuker Kollektief, Willem “With Strings Attached” [bvhaast]

    To unfairly reduce the Kollektief, this is a group committed
    to serious fun. The musicianship is top-notch, but the accent
    probably falls on the fun. In selecting the six composers for
    this collection, each one brought something unexpected if not
    unaccepted to the concert hall. I think this attitude is the
    key to Breuker, breaking the rules, breaking the walls down.
    Typewriters turn up on at least two tracks, one of which you
    have heard, even if you think not. George Gershwin shines in
    the keys of Henk de Jonge, it seems so polished and stately
    that it’s easy to forget his rebellious origins. Read the
    liner notes for more info on that and the others here (as
    well as the importance for lapsing copyrights). The one
    composer still above ground is actually not just a composer
    but a band member. Alfred Janson’s 20+ minute piece has some
    sax daggers, trumpet wisteria that blossoms into fire, and
    about 12:30 into it the strings fritter while Janson himself
    straps on his accordion to carry out the vendetta with a
    hint of a smoking scat-gun as well. Towards the end of that
    piece, the players chase each other sonically (and probably
    physically on stage to boot.) Tremendous, don’t miss the
    return of the sinewy “Sensemaya” with snakey strings.
    Hail to the Kollektief!

  • Reviewed by Thurston Hunger on October 26, 2004 at 2:46 am
  • Filed as Format,CD,Jazz
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  • Volumen/No-Fi Soul Rebellion – “Lady Cop/Ch*rch” – [W?ntage Records] — 45 rpm

    Two bands from Missoula, Montana release a split 7″ on a label based in Missoula, Montana. Coincidence? You decide.

    Volumen take the A side with the song Lady Cop. It’s 3:42 of funky fun with fuzz guitar and synthesizer. For some reason I was reminded of Urge Overkill circa The Kids Are Insane. Let’s hope this isn’t the last we hear from Volumen for a while – according to their website one member just got married and another is expecting a baby. Let’s all hope for a long winter with lots of studio time.

    No-Fi Soul Rebellion is essentially one guy, Mark Heimer, who wanted to perform in a band but didn’t want the hassle with bandmates. His solution? He invented the “Soul System,” a bass guitar with the strings removed and a mini-disc player embedded inside. On stage, his wife dances around wearing the Soul System while the husband karaokes to his own songs. They’re like a post-modern Partridge Family.

    Anyway the B side, Ch*rch, is a more mechanical, synthesized funk than the A side. It’s the kind of music that Morris Day and Devo could have made if only they had put their petty jealousies aside. Oh, and NFSR lose points for rhyming “lurch” and “jerks” with “church.”

    –Hunter Gatherer

  • Reviewed by Hunter Gatherer on October 20, 2004 at 10:41 pm
  • Filed as 7-inch,A Library
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  • Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings – “What If We All Stopped Paying Taxes?” – [Daptone Records] — 45 rpm

    Ms. Jones is not happy with the foreign and domestic policies of the current administration. So she rounded up the Dap Kings, house band for the Daptone label, and put her feelings into what she describes as an “anthem of discontent.”

    The first song asks the musical question “What If We All Stopped Paying Taxes?” It’s the sort of blistering retro-soul that we’ve come to expect from Ms. Jones & co. Sharon’s pissed, and as the song goes on you can feel the band absorbing her anger and reflecting it back to us as heat. Bush and Iraq aren’t mentioned explicitly, so this song will work just as well for the next country we invade.

    The B side is a slow but impossibly funky version of the public domain song “This Land Is Your Land.” Woodie Guthrie is dancing in his grave somewhere. The song is great from the horn section’s sour Yankee Doodle opening to the fade out, but the highlight for me is the way the trumpet solo enters.

    If you can listen to either song without shaking your ass you are probably Ralph Nader.

    –Hunter Gatherer

  • Reviewed by Hunter Gatherer on October 20, 2004 at 10:35 pm
  • Filed as 7-inch,Soul
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  • Jolie Holland – “Catalpa” – [Anti- Records]

    This is San Francisco-based Jolie Holland’s first solo release since co-founding and then leaving Be Good Tanyas, though it wasn’t originally intended to be. The tracks are mostly demo tapes that weren’t supposed to go “any further than my neighborhood” as she says. There is an unfinished feeling to many of the songs, and she coughs and laughs on some tracks. In another, you can hear an engineer dropping something (and he even gets a percussion credit). One song was recorded before it was finished, and Ms. Holland helpfully includes the extra lyrics of the finished version in her liner notes.

    The result is that listening to this CD feels like crouching outside her window and eavesdropping as she sings her mysterious songs of loneliness and restlessness. She’s accompanied by her guitar and little else. At times it sounds a little like a field recording of old Appalachian folk (due to the way she sings and her picking style, I think) until you listen to the lyrics, consider the whole thing, and feel the influence of Woody Guthrie and Syd Barrett. The latter even gets a co-writing credit on The Littlest Birds.

    There is something deeply American about the rootless feel of this release.

    –Hunter Gatherer

  • Reviewed by Hunter Gatherer on October 20, 2004 at 10:32 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Crimea, the – “Lottery Winners on Acid ” – [Double Dragon]

    Staggering from the ashes of the CROCKETTS, Davey MacManus
    (vocals/lyrics/guitar) and drummer Owen Hopkin re-invented
    their music selves as THE CRIMEA in late 2002, tempering a bit
    of their own chaos in and around Plaistow (which might be old
    London???s answer to Hamburger Hill) & enlisting keyboardist
    Andrew Stafford (dig the Roland VK-8 + XV-88) , bassist Joseph
    Udwin & lead guitarist Andrew Norton (ex-DENZEL). MacManus,
    a native of Dublin, plays occasional solo sets as KERNEL KROK;
    his biopictorial lyrics read vivid in either setting, shambling to
    a place called truth in a style somewhere between MUNGO JERRY
    and the DEPARTURE LOUNGE. First three tracks here were all UK
    singles ??? and they are terrific ??? rustic in all the right places and
    seemingly fueled by sufficient libations???.last two tracks equally
    good as drunken anthems/internal commentary/emotional palmistry
    ??????..Most excellent****
    MITCH October 2004

  • Reviewed by mitch on October 16, 2004 at 12:53 am
  • Filed as A Library,CD
  • 1 comment
  • Contrast, the – “Fade Back in ” – [Rainbow Quartz]

    Peterborough UK (East Midlands) quartet lets a
    third LP loose, featuring production by Andy
    Hawkins & enhanced vocals from mainman
    David Reid, whose mastery of the Rickenbacker
    and various retro psychedelia steers a remarkably
    consistent resonating sonic experience through a
    swelling, driving journey of great highs ( # 1, 3, 4 +
    12) and poignant lows ( # 8). Reid is a polished
    storyteller in song, whether relating a post-alterca-
    tion friendship ( # 2), warning of doom ( # 5),
    belittling fickle fame ( # 6) or letting savvy harmony
    convey self-depreciation ( # 10). Reid himself says of this
    material that it is???.???the most focused & direct stuff
    we have done. Sounds the most consistently like
    the CONTRAST?????? Bass = Richard Mackman; rhythm
    guitar/backing vox = Spencer Hart; drums = James
    Crossley; keys = Hawkins ??? rock-solid powah pop.
    MITCH October 2004

  • Reviewed by mitch on October 16, 2004 at 12:51 am
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Coastal – “Halfway to You ” – [Words on Music]

    Somber, sparse slowcore dreampop from Jason
    & Luisa Gough that shimmers, beguiles and lays
    claim to a particular signature serenity on this
    2nd LP. Missing regular drummer Jim Harker on
    this recording, Jason G. did the percussion honors
    himself, laying close by the bass of Josh Callaway
    and a host of buried samples. Melody, drone,
    lyrics of longing, a pursuit perhaps of melancholy
    in the service of stately dirge (Luisa G.???s keyboards
    a vital sonic element), COASTAL is all dual-harmony
    and mesmerizing alchemy; strings/bells/guitars/magic
    ???..Faraway vox + spoken word beauty plus Megan
    Lloyd violin ( # 2) lone yet intriguing instro ( # 8)
    heartrending cello bridges ( #1) epic haze via wistful
    viola by Helen Maltby ( # 9) languid memories ( #4)
    ???.. Out of Provo, UT ??? most pleasing and sophisticated
    masterwork
    MITCH October 2004

  • Reviewed by mitch on October 16, 2004 at 12:50 am
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • PacificUV s/t [WARM]

    Five-piece out of Georgia, aided and abetted
    by various folks (including Heather McIntosh
    from the Instruments!!). Adding female vox
    on some tracks helps to underscore that always
    crucial Slowdive connection. Fine floatation,
    nothing earth-shattering, nor earth-smothering.
    Pillowy layers of guitar, songs buried in
    feather beds can still breathe and walk among
    us as tunes. Upon headphone inspection you
    realize how much went into realizing these
    fluffy drifts of shoegaze. The pedal steel,
    the vibes, the electroprocessing, a touch
    of God Speed swirled/massed guitar, the
    cello-enforced roots, the noisette party
    favors…and undoubtedly the pharmaceuticals.
    Cuts #3 and #7 bubbled to the top of the pop
    for me…while #8 seems to fog a different
    window altogether.

  • Reviewed by Thurston Hunger on October 15, 2004 at 1:19 am
  • Filed as Format,A Library,CD
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  • subtle – “A new white.” – [lex records]

    subtle – “A new white.” – [lex records] (US release Oct 12, 2004)

    Oakland sextet subtle are Doseone, Jel, Dax Pierson (those three perform as Themselves), Alex Kort, Jordan Dalyrmple and Marty Dowers

    and they invite you “to euthanize the yolk slicked white horse you rode in on”

    lucious loops and synthetic silicon samples meet watery dirge of probing lyric delivered in doseone’s at times androgynous monotone

    recurring images of blood & morgue accompany motif of losing one’s arm / hand which is explored literally and symbolically throughout lyrics, song titles and album art

    stethoscope reveals hidden gems of fat beats, tasty teases of textures and opulent on occasion vocal phrasing

    slight lang. scattered throughout, mostly of the suggestive imagery variety, marked on liner notes where audible / possible; if there’s one complaint to be made about this album it is the difficulty in discerning the highly substantive lyrics from the vox. fortunately, extensive lyrics have been provided in the line art laden pseudo-copied liner notes which have a quasi-DIY feel

    subtle – reminding us that “[there's] more to life than manicured vaginas and a saline solution”

    mad hatter

  • Reviewed by Funkminsta Fulla on October 13, 2004 at 5:51 pm
  • Filed as Hip Hop
  • 1 comment
  • Born Heller – “S/T” – [Locust Music]

    A very cool release with female vocals from Josephine Foster–similar in sound to Mia Doi Todd..which at times are nearly operatic. The instrumentation (harp, mandolin, bass) gives it an extra experimental kick, especially on the early tracks. You’ll notice that one of the Oldham’s (Paul) recorded a number of tracks..and the final song has more of a Palace/folk feel to it and also features male vocals (Jason Ajemian-who also provides bass throughout). (added 10-5-2004)
    -Cynthia Lombard

  • Reviewed by lombard on October 5, 2004 at 6:06 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Little Wings- “Magic Wand” – [K Records] (CD)

    Spare, folky acoustic music with male vocals by Kyle Field. This is their 6th release and on it they work with Calvin Johnson along with a bunch of other guests. Kyle Field is also working on visual arts, with the cover art his handiwork. (added 10-5-2004)

    -Cynthia Lombard

  • Reviewed by lombard on October 5, 2004 at 2:38 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Mono – “Walking Cloud and Deep Red Sky ” – [Virgin Records Limited]

    Japan’s Mono returns for their third full-length release with only slight
    refinements in their sound . Most tracks feature Mono’s characteristic song
    structure: slowly building lengthy tracks, with delicate, icy guitar figures riding
    layers of droning strings and thick distortion that increase in waves of intensity
    and volume, until they explode in soaring crescendos of transcendent noise.
    Their sound on this outing, however, is a little more lush, with a greater emphasis on
    strings and more orchestral arrangements than previous recordings. There’s also a
    couple of shorter, quieter, less dynamic tracks that failed to impress this listener.
    For the most part, however, this is dynamic, almost sweepingly cinematic music,
    that achieves Mono’s stated goal of evoking feelings and emotions via music that are difficult to capture and describe in mere words. Play! DL

  • Reviewed by Daryl Licht on October 4, 2004 at 11:01 am
  • Filed as 12-inch,A Library
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  • Comets on Fire – “Blue Cathedral ” – [Sub Pop Records]

    Bay Area-based, KFJC favorites, Comets On Fire, return with
    their third studio full-length release. The material on this LP
    represents the next logical step in the continuing development
    of the group’s sound. It is very similar to their previous efforts,
    however, the songs are a little more structured and the keyboards
    play an increasing role in their sonic attack. Nevertheless, from the
    ripping, heavy, psychosludge of the opening track, to the
    early-70′s Floydian prog-psych of “Brotherhood Of The Harvest”,
    to the Chasney fueled acid folk of “Wild Whiskey”, this LP is an
    outstanding soundtrack for substance abuse. A little more subtle
    and refined, perhaps, but these guys are still just about the coolest
    stoners west of Dead Meadow. Highly recommended! DL

  • Reviewed by Daryl Licht on October 4, 2004 at 10:47 am
  • Filed as 12-inch,A Library
  • Comment on this review
  • Electric Masada – “John Zorn 50TH Birthday Celabr ” – [Tzadik]

    Electric Masada is a new variant of Zorn’s long running and
    multi-facted Masada project. The group, which may be Zorn’s
    most exciting and creative project ever, features many of the
    top players in the Downtown NYC scene such as, Marc Ribot
    (the big star of this CD, IMHO) and Ikue Mori. On this disc,
    they are captured live in September 2003 as part of Zorn’s
    incredible month long series of concerts at Tonic (NYC) to
    celebrate his 50th birthday. Rocking riffs, free jazz skronk,
    hard swinging grooves, and atmospheric electronic exoctica
    are all blended together to create the unique and incredible
    Electric Masada sonic attack. Powerful, yet lyrical; this is
    improvisational music at its finest. Genre blurring; this casts
    a light down the path of the future of music and beautifully
    represents the forward thinking aesthetic of KFJC. One of
    the top releases this year – don’t miss out! DL

  • Reviewed by Daryl Licht on October 2, 2004 at 10:57 am
  • Filed as CD,Jazz
  • Comment on this review
  • Dara – “S/T ” – [Ecstatic Peace]

    Dara has been a multi-media underground artist for a
    number of years (including, most notably, a stint in His
    Name Is Alive), operating in both the Ann Arbor/Detroit
    and NYC areas. This one-sided 12″ is her debut solo
    release and she’s responsible for all sounds contained
    withiin. Organs, synths, guitars, and assorted electronic
    noisemakers generate white noise drones and electro
    beats to create little lo-fi pop gems and instrumentals.
    Vocals, when present, are almost spoken, not sung,
    and are delivered in a little girl voice that reminded me
    of Cynthia Dahl. Nothing here is gonna change your
    world, but a quick hit of her outsider electro-noise pop
    will surely leave a smile on your face. DL

  • Reviewed by Daryl Licht on October 1, 2004 at 10:54 am
  • Filed as 12-inch,A Library
  • Comment on this review


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