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Tarantula – “S/T ” – [Self-Released]

Tarantula is a young-ish 4-piece band from New York. They cite influences from both classical and the rock world and are comprised of cello, violin, guitar/bass, drums/percussion, glockenspiel, and melodica. This release has an upbeat, European gypsy-music/chamber rock feel to it, especially with the prominent strings. It’s all instrumental music that the band describes as “melancholic melody.”

-Cynthia Lombard

  • Reviewed by lombard on March 29, 2005 at 6:38 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Roberts, Alasdair- “No Earthly Man”- [Drag City](CD)

    Scottish folk-inspired musician Alasdair Roberts initially caught the attention of Will Oldham when he was in Appendix Out. Even back then he acknowleged folk inspirations, including Vashdi Bunyan, who he covered on one album. This release explores even older Irish, Scottish & English traditional songs. The lyrics are intense on these ballads about poisoning, fratricide, shipwrecks, infanticide and lost love. “A Lyke Wake Dirge” is a charm song, traditionally sung while viewing a dead body. Voice-with strongly accented vocals-is prominent. A beautiful, mesmerizing release.

    -Cynthia Lombard

  • Reviewed by lombard on March 29, 2005 at 6:21 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Cooper-Moore & Assif Tsahar “tells untold” [Hopscotch]

    Tsahar’s Hopscotch label as been delivering pure beauty as of
    late, whether en masse with Underground Orchestras or in more
    subtle style as with these above-the-clouds duets. While I
    remain a charismatic agnostic, it is still hard not to hear
    the harp as a heavenly harkening. And there’s something about
    the thumb piano, that seems to summon up otherworldly vibes
    as well. This release even pipes in a shofar, a ram’s horn
    for ancient atonement. But this album doesn’t strictly serve
    up its spoils past mortal coils, there’s rootsier-than-the-
    holes-in-a-bluesman’s-shoes “diddley-bow” on “Deviations”
    and the CD closer as well. It’s a one-string, rubber-band
    thing that rumbles and stretches. Or if you want neither
    angels nor men, how about computer? While not credited, #8
    has Assif spiraling tenor scurries into what sounds like
    a bubbling cauldron of circuitry (but possibly a homemade
    concoction of Cooper-Moore?’) For as much competing bliss
    and brimstone as is found here, this album hangs together
    supremely. At once refreshingly relaxing, and gloriously
    gnashing. The melody at the end feels like coming home,
    the rest of the joys are definitely otherworldly.

  • Reviewed by Thurston Hunger on March 29, 2005 at 1:31 am
  • Filed as Format,CD,Jazz
  • 1 comment
  • Cluck, Diane “Oh Vanille / Ova Nil” [Important Records]

    Even without a few heartfelt harmonies dubbed in, and the
    gracefully guided crack of her voice, the words alone cut
    right past the ear to the heart. “And you fade from me like
    you know I’m dying.” Ouch. But really you’ve got to hear her
    vocalize that sentiment, it winds up catching the body
    language of hurt, all in an ornate loneliness despite being
    surrounded by a 1000 midwives. Is it a paean to a child lost
    during childbirth?’ Listen to “Bones and Born Again” and tell
    me. The recipe here is simple enough an acoustic guitar (oft
    a 12 string rattler!) and some songs in a shaky voice, I
    guess you’ll want to hear her soon. Shaky…but unswerving.
    And that weird (New England?) clip to her voice, like a lost
    Roche sister? Enunciation of renunciation? Arrow of my
    sparrow? These songs take flight, like the woman singing
    pretty sad songs strung on a clothes line. Stringing songs
    along. They can dry out their tears and catch the scent of
    her breeziness. Coaxed, comforted. An essential album for
    those with souls cracked but intact.

  • Reviewed by Thurston Hunger on March 29, 2005 at 1:28 am
  • Filed as Format,A Library,CD
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  • [coll] ?World Psychedelic Classics Vol. 3: Love?s A Real Thing: The Funky Fuzzy Sounds Of West Africa? — [Luaka Bop]

    In this amazing compilation released this month (3/2005) from David Byrne’s Luaka Bop label, we are treated to music recorded in West Africa in the early to mid-70s. While the music is surely African in origin, it is under the heavy influence of the Western pop and rock sounds of the previous decade. The result is like hearing James Brown, Jimi Hendrix, Carlos Santana, Latin and Cuban rhythms held up to an African aural fun house mirror.

    Of course the very deepest roots of most Western music have origins in the cultures of Western Africa, and maybe this is why these twelve tracks sound so natural and strange and familiar all at the same time. The liner notes do a great job putting this in context, but the gist of it is that cheap record players, imported vinyl, and cheaper studio technology all came together to make this music possible.

    All tracks are strong, so picking a track at random is not a bad way to decide. I particularly like 1 (check out the video on the CD, too), 3 (lots of yelps and call-and-response), 7 (in which a bunch of countries are scolded: ‘Do you think this world is yours? Better change your mind?), 8 (this is one of the ‘funky and fuzzy’s referred to in the title), and 10 (a little surfy and with steel drums). 4 is an instrumental.

    –Hunter Gatherer

  • Reviewed by Hunter Gatherer on March 28, 2005 at 9:55 am
  • Filed as CD,International
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  • Boom Bip — ?Blue Eyed In The Red Room? — [Lex]

    Boom Bip is Cincinnati native and producer/musician/smartypants Bryan Hollon. This is his second full-length solo album, released in March 2005. (He has also released a collaboration with Dose One which we have in Hip hop/CD and a remix album called Corymb (A/CD).)

    The music on this album is clean, beautiful, cerebral, and airy (on most tracks at least) electronic music. Above all it is cerebral. You could actually hum along with some of the songs. Live instruments appear (guitar, drum, autoharp, strings), though usually highly processed.

    Two of the stand out tracks feature vocals. Do’s And Don’ts starts with a mantra of thou shall not believe/thou shall not be led and launches into a litany of choices one has to make. By the end of the song, the mantra and the litany are buddies. Vocals by Gruff Rhys of Super Furry Animals.

    Another stand out track is The Matter (Or Our Discussion) with ethereal and beautiful vocals Nina Nastasia that contrast with the blunt 5a.m. truths of the lyrics. The song should make sense to anyone who has ever fallen out of love.
    –Hunter Gatherer

  • Reviewed by Hunter Gatherer on March 21, 2005 at 1:05 am
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Lekan Animashaun — ?Low Profile (Not For The Blacks)? — [Honest Jons] — (33 rpm)

    This is classic Nigerian Afrobeat music by baritone sax player and then leader of Fela Kuti’s Africa 70, Lekan Animashaun. Originally recorded in 1979, this LP was re-released by Honest Jons Records in 2004. Copies of the original album are exceedingly rare because harassment from the Nigerian government delayed its release and when it was finally released it wasn’t promoted very well.

    The release contains two songs about 11 minutes long, one on each side. Both tracks settle into a groove with scads of horns, scads of percussion, bass, guitar, and organ. Different instruments step forward to add their thoughts and then recede back into the music. Then some lyrics are shouted by men and answered by a female chorus. Rinse and repeat.

    The lyrics are translated into pidgin English, which is to say enough English to get the point across.

    The first song Low Profile (Not For The Blacks) is a reference to a statement by General Obasanjo. Commenting on a rise in robberies by armed bandits, he helpfully suggested that people keep a low profile.

    Se rere is an exhortation to be good and act right, similar to what Dr. Laura does at the end of her show each day.

    Three word review: Nigerian Soul Stew

    –Hunter Gatherer

  • Reviewed by Hunter Gatherer on March 20, 2005 at 11:56 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,International
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  • Willie Hightower — ?Willie Hightower? — [Honest Jons]

    Willie Hightower is a largely forgotten southern soul singer who had a too few hits and who is too obscure for the magnitude of his talent. This collection of his work by Honest Jons Records should renew interest in this singer who is still performing today.

    This is the third in a series: Check out Candi Staton and Bettye Swann in Soul/CD for more great soul music.

    Mr. Hightower has an expressive voice that growls, moans, shouts, croons, and overpowers all arrangements. His voice is like that root beer that says ‘stands up to ice cubes? on the can. The most obvious influence is Sam Cooke. A quote in the liner notes describes his voice as ‘Sam Cooke after a night on the tiles.’ To my ears he sounds somewhere between Otis Redding and Sam and Dave.

    The tracks with Fame of Muscle Shoals (1, 2, 5, 6, 9, 10) are particularly tasty. Time Has Brought About A Change is an answer song to Sam Cooke’s A Change Is Going To Come. With lyrics like ‘But now I’ve got my pride deep down inside/And no one will ever take it again,? it’s obviously about the civil rights movement. This song, along with Poor Man and If I Had A Hammer, gives a sense of his ability to personalize and express what was going on around him at the time.

    –Hunter Gatherer

  • Reviewed by Hunter Gatherer on March 20, 2005 at 10:48 pm
  • Filed as CD,Soul
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  • [coll] ?The Sound Of Philadelphia? — [Soul Jazz Records] — (33 rpm)

    Soul Jazz Records has put together an awesome 20-track set of songs from the mid-60s to the mid-70s when funk and soul recordings made in Philadelphia dominated the charts and airwaves. (This is actually part two of a series started with their Philadelphia Roots compilation, which we have in the Soul collections on CD.)

    This Philly compilation differs from most in that it reaches beyond the obvious Gamble and Huff hits (though they are certainly present here) and includes more obscure tracks, especially ones featuring the session musicians that made the Philly Sound possible. They are listed in the liner notes, but since they only got union fees for their playing I will list them here as well: Ronnie Baker (bass), Norman Harris (guitar), Earl Young (drums), Karl and Roland Chambers (drums, guitar), Vince Montana (vibes), Bobby Eli (guitar).

    Though one or more of these musicians are on almost every track, in particular check out A3, B3 (The Family is actually MSFB), and B4.

    The music is varied and not laid out in a neat stylistic order, so you will have to bounce around to find a track that works for you. There is straight ahead soul by uber-foxes The Three Degrees and Frankie Beverly. There are proto-disco tracks like 100 South Of Broadway and Hot Pants. There’s some party R&B by Ruby & the Party Gang. There’s soul with fuzz guitar by Yellow Sunshine. All tracks are worthwhile, just bounce around and you’ll find something you like.

    There is a little bit of confusion around two of the tracks by The Three Degrees: D5 is the instrumental version of B2. They both appeared together on a 7″ on Neptune Records. The A side (with vocals, B2 on this collection) is called What I See and the B side (instro, D5 on this collection) is called Reflections Of Yesterday. A minor point sure, but one that must be cleared up.

    Instrumentals: A5, B3, B4, C1, D2, D3, D5

    –Hunter Gatherer

  • Reviewed by Hunter Gatherer on March 20, 2005 at 9:14 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,Soul
  • 1 comment
  • Enslaved – ?Isa? (Back On Black) 33 rpm

    It must be something to do with the climate. What else
    could you blame for so much great Black/Death Metal
    coming from the Nordic climes, whose total population
    could probably fit into one of the smaller LA suburbs ?
    And Enslaved keep the winning streak going with this
    exceptional release. This Norwegian 5-piece (yes, they
    add the subtlety of keyboards to the usual guitar/bass/
    drums line-up) is one of the finest exponents of the
    genre, and they bring a wide range of colours and
    textures to bear here, with the high-point being the
    closing 12+ minute epic ‘Reogenesis? with Arve Isdal’s
    lead guitar playing simply scintillating. Death never
    tasted so sweet !

    Terry Tyke

  • Reviewed by Tyke on March 17, 2005 at 2:00 pm
  • Filed as A Library
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  • Nmperign – ?We Devote Every Effort To Offer You?. – (Siwa) 33 rpm

    As Nmperign, Bhob Rainey and Greg Kelley perform some
    ridiculous sonic atrocities on their trumpet and soprano
    saxophone. The kinds of things they do should probably
    be illegal, but thankfully they aren’t – they’re just absolutely
    off the wall. The first of this 2 LP set is so quiet and subtle
    overall, you’d swear somebody’s given you a blank record
    by mistake. But, what you really get is an incredible display
    of control and invention, with sounds ranging from lengthy
    tones to burbling trills and barely audible breath bursts –
    don’t be shy with your levels for this ! The second LP, while
    you could never accuse it of being loud, requires a lot less
    attention to detail from we the listeners, but still continues
    where the first LP left off, with Rhainey and Kelly still
    abusing their instruments in the most attractive way
    possible.

    Terry Tyke

  • Reviewed by Tyke on March 17, 2005 at 1:49 pm
  • Filed as A Library
  • 1 comment
  • Santos, Rusty – “Heavens, the ” – [U United Acoustic Rec]

    Musician and producer Rusty Santos brings us a pleasant pop-rock album. He’s got emotional, straining vocals and at times spare acoustic guitar and plucking. There’s a nice simplicity to this that gets a bit fuzzier, feedbacky as the album progresses (especially on track 7 “It’s”).

    -Cynthia Lombard

  • Reviewed by lombard on March 15, 2005 at 6:44 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • [coll] The Music People [Soul Patrol]

    This album is a collection of 12 deep funk tracks from the late 60′s and early 70′s. Released by the ‘Soul Patrol Corporation? in May 1998, these tracks are as infectious as they are rare. The original 45s for all these songs are regularly auctioned on rare record sites for more than $100.

    Of course rarity is not a guarantee of quality, but I love every single track on this album. The obscure labels represented here are from a variety of areas like Indianapolis (A5), Milwaukee (A6), Texas (A4 and B4), and L.A. (B5), so it’s a great way to sample local funk sounds from around the country.

    I wrote the track times and original labels for the 45s on the back. (Hey, I have to do something to earn the two hours.) Some corrections/additional information to the track listing on the back:

    B1: Features Ural Thomas

    B3: I also saw the artist listed as Eddie Bo with James K Nine

    B5: The correct name of the song is I Who Have Nothing (Am Somebody)

    B6: The artist is listed as Bob French’s Storyville Jazz Band on the original 45.

    Instrumentals: A1, A3, A4, A5 (with spoken intro and outro), B3, B4 (with spoken intro),

    Misogyny alert: A2 (If you don’t get in that kitchen/’I'm going to break your jaw/’cause ‘I’m hungry)
    –Hunter Gatherer

  • Reviewed by Hunter Gatherer on March 13, 2005 at 9:13 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,Soul
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  • Grayskul — “Prom Quiz” — [Rhymesayers Entertainment]

    Grayskul is three gentlemen from the Pacific Northwest: MCs Onry Ozzborn and JFK of the hip-hop collective Oldominion and Rob Castro on bass. (They also have the alter egos Reason, Fiddle Back Recluse, and Phantom Ghost El-Topo, respectively.) Produced by Mr. Hill and Fakts One.

    This release is a 12″ single promo for their 1st album Deadlivers, which was released 2/15/05. Rhymesayers is the same label that brings us MF Doom and Mr. Dibbs, both recently added to the KFJC library.

    The music is doomy (goth?) hip-hop with clever rhymes that go great with the heavy beats and that point out (in case you hadn’t noticed) that the world is fucked.

    Three songs on this 12″ single:

    Prom Quiz (radio/dirty/instrumental versions) A ‘morality rap? about the pressures that young women face in today’s culture. Sympathetic or misogynistic? You decide. Catchy sample of a whistle or something.

    Cursive (radio/instro versions) Features Mr. Lif helping out with some raps about how their raps are hard to understand like cursive. There is a sped up sample, so don’t be confused. 33rpm is the right speed.

    Thee Adventures (clean) Bonus track not on Deadlivers with a catchy piano sample riff.
    –Hunter Gatherer

  • Reviewed by Hunter Gatherer on March 13, 2005 at 1:30 am
  • Filed as 12-inch,Hip Hop
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  • Simon, Joe – “The Power of Joe Simon” – [Spring Records]

    Country soul baritone Joe Simon is a powerful man with a powerful voice. The Power Of Joe Simon, released in 1973, is a collection of 10 of the singles that he recorded with Spring Records.

    Working with a variety of producers and wearing his special purple pants and multicolored vest, Mr. Simon sings tales of love lost and found. This is deep soul, but country influences are also always present, though stronger on some tracks than others (esp on the last two tracks).

    Many of these songs will be familiar, the biggest hit on here is Gamble and Huff‘s Drowning In the Sea Of Love (R&B #3), which pops up on most Philly Soul compilations. Step by Step was a hit in the UK.

    Read the text on the back of the cover for an example of some crazy slang and some ideas for back announcing.
    –Hunter Gatherer

  • Reviewed by Hunter Gatherer on March 13, 2005 at 1:18 am
  • Filed as 12-inch,Soul
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  • Parker,Evan and Peter Brotzmann “The Bishop’s Move” [Victo]

    A circular breathing round tripper, this sextet aurally pleasures you for 73m and it’s FREE ! Supergroup of two free jazz pioneers’ trios who got together in Quebec in May 2003. 2 saxes, piano-Schlippenbach, bass-William Parker and 2 drums-Hamid Drake and Paul Lytton. Schlippenbach provides the center of gravity but his chords never tie down the soloists moves. E Parker and Brotzmann set their horns on fire with relentless wailing that sometimes never stops to breathe. Dual master blowouts are a RARE event especially when backed by rhythmic GIANTS such as these.
    3w: FREE YOUR ASSSSS (mind will follow)
    – Outlier

  • Reviewed by outlier on March 12, 2005 at 3:53 pm
  • Filed as CD,Jazz
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  • Bailiff, Jessica w/the.dithering.effect s/t [Resonant] (45 rpm)

    Drift and reverb drench the haunting vocals of Bailiff while echoes of spacecraft vapors fill the void. The label is well-named, waves of drone are the attendant feature on this release. A slower, hazier, Twisted Village version of Amber Asylum. Or maybe drop Kendra Smith’s vocals in on the Garbage and the Flowers (TW-Deep Funnels of Entry comp), add drone and strum, chill and serve. A very enchanting sound, not quite sirenesque, but of the earth and sky. Some sundown haze and fresh air on the ‘there’ side. Jessica Bailiff is the female half of Clear Horizon (with David Pearce of Flying Saucer Attack), no letup on this release.
    3w: HER MAGIC CONTINUES
    – Outlier

  • Reviewed by outlier on March 12, 2005 at 3:44 pm
  • Filed as 10-inch,A Library
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  • Swell, Steve “Slammin the Infinite” [Cadence Jazz]

    HARD BOP with freeish developments, Grachan Moncur (New Africa Suite w/ Roscoe Mitchell, Dave Burrell, Alan Silva and Andrew Cyrille) is my best point of reference. Swell’s compositional style is edgier than Moncur and his trombone work is more modern with a slip and slide delivery. No chatter, some reed screed and blowout ‘bone, but we are slammin the infinite here not regressing to the average. Mateen(tenor sax, alto sax ,clarinet) gives a spirited performance while Heyner-bass and Kugel-drums seriously sustain the energy delivered by the leadmen.
    3w: Limitless FREE BOP
    – Outlier

  • Reviewed by outlier on March 12, 2005 at 3:35 pm
  • Filed as CD,Jazz
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  • Sun Ra and the Myth Science Arkestra “Live in London” [Blast First]

    The good vibes on this recording are infectious. Sun Ra channels the world’s discord and uses the mystical powers of the Myth Science Arkestra to convert this malaise into musical merriment. Ranging from Afro Jazz chaos to spacey intoxicated big band sounds, this set captures the unorganized cohesion that was the magic of the MSA. 1-3 are astral jazz explorations while 4-6 run the old school stride and ballad routines, singing included on 5,7 and 8. Not as out there as “Concert for the Comet Kohoutek” but nobody goes home disappointed.
    3w: Cosmic Party Jazz
    – Outlier

  • Reviewed by outlier on March 12, 2005 at 3:26 pm
  • Filed as CD,Jazz
  • 1 comment
  • Messthetics #1 “UK 78-81 DIY bands R to Si” [hyped2death]

    Three chord punk and English power pop in roughly equal proportion. Leather jackets – Probably, but not the safety pin in the cheek stuff. Angry, jaded, anti-corporate, anti-government and definitely anti-Thatcher songs that brighten your world by telling you how depressingly awful their world is. But they don’t let their emotions get in the way of a good jolt of electric guitar and snotty vocals. Royston (3) and Seize (19) impress with some clever pop and bash respectively. Ripchords (27) and Reekie (29) are also of note. Nothing quite as enraged as Flux of Pink Indians or slick as Gang of Four but then not much is.
    3w: buggered blokes bangup
    – Outlier

  • Reviewed by outlier on March 12, 2005 at 3:18 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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