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[coll] Sitar Beat Vol. 2: Indian Style Heavy Funk [Guerilla Reissues] (33 rpm)

This limited-release EP is the 2nd volume (there are three so far as of 5/05) of remixed psychedelic funk tracks featuring the sitar and the sounds of Bollywood and Pakistan. Each side has two funky tracks and a third track consisting of bonus beats for your mixing pleasure. Bend It Like Beckham meets Barney Miller. Enjoy!

One word review: Brownsploitation
–Hunter Gatherer

  • Reviewed by Hunter Gatherer on May 22, 2005 at 9:57 am
  • Filed as 12-inch,Soul
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  • ?5? Royales, The ?Dedicated To You? [Sing (King)] (33 rpm)

    The ’5? Royales, an R&B group originally from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, recorded these 12 songs while signed to King Records. This is a bootleg replica put out by ‘The Official Record Company? of Denmark back in 1988. The King label is covered up with a made-up ‘Sing? label.

    The ’5? Royales started out as a gospel group called The Royal Sons Quintet but changed names and switched to a more secular doo-wop/jump blues sound while signed to Apollo Records and then to a heavier R&B sound while at King Records. Throughout their career the strong gospel influence is always present.

    This record presents The ’5? Royales at the peak of their powers. This is mainly due to Lowman Pauling‘s excellent songwriting and guitar playing combined with the group’s effortless harmonizing. During these later recording sessions for King, Mr. Pauling really started letting loose on his Les Paul. Check out the guitar on Think and Messin’ Up as well as the call-and-response with John Tanner‘s vocals on Say It.

    Labelmate James Brown had a hit with Think in 1960, and The Shirelles and The Mamas and Papas had a hit with Dedicated To The One I Love. Check out the originals.
    –Hunter Gatherer

  • Reviewed by Hunter Gatherer on May 22, 2005 at 9:53 am
  • Filed as 12-inch,Blues
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  • Variable Unit ?Mayhemystics Outbreaks? [Wide Hive Records]

    This is the fifth release by Variable Unit, a San Francisco self-described ‘community? (as opposed to a ‘band?) with a fluctuating membership made up of experienced musicians interested in combining genres like hip hop, down tempo, dub, soul, and anything else they can get their hands on. It was released 4/20/2005

    This release started out as outtakes from their previous release, Mayhemystics, and soon took on a life of its own. Only two songs of the thirteen are new versions from MayhemisticsSecond Seals (originally Seals) and Liberation 2 (originally Liberation).

    The sound is a mishmash of genres listed above, bringing out the best elements of each. The great keyboard playing by Jacob Elyah Aginsky and the rhythm section of Thomas McCree (drums) and Matt Montgomery (bass) keep the music interesting and funky (especially on 8: Contradiction). DJs Quest and Zeph participate on this release as well. Azeem and Omega have a powerful delivery to match the power of the subject matter.

    Most of the songs are a reaction to the second Gulf War and the general hassles of being on the less desirable end of a capitalist society combined with a healthy dose of apocalyptic vision. They get points for writing the first song I’ve heard that points out the fact that vinyl records are made from oil derivatives.

    Instrumentals: 4, 7, 9, 13
    –Hunter Gatherer

  • Reviewed by Hunter Gatherer on May 22, 2005 at 9:48 am
  • Filed as CD,Hip Hop
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  • Nikaidoh, Kazumi ?You Dropped Something Again, Didn’t You? [Poet Portraits]

    Kazumi Nikaidoh, or Nika to her friends, is a Japanese singer/songwriter with a distinctive voice. This is her second album, released 2/2005, and it was recorded at her home when she got the chance between live shows. There are also two videos on this CD, one of a song that is not on the audio section of the CD.

    Nika plays the acoustic guitar with a distinctive fingerpicking style but far more distinctive is her singing style, which can sound cute and childish at one point and then broken and jagged with little warning. There are long sections of wordless singing that drifts away from the key and out of the meter.

    She is accompanied mostly by other acoustic instruments – piano, cello, flute, clarinet. This gives this CD a folky feel though parts of it sound poppy.
    –Hunter Gatherer

  • Reviewed by Hunter Gatherer on May 22, 2005 at 9:43 am
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Books, The “Lost and Safe” [Tomlab]

    The Books, a New York-based duo, are Paul DeJong and Nick Zammuto. Lost And Safe is their third full-length release.

    Put it on and you will hear acoustic instruments (guitar, banjo, cello, ?) sometimes highly processed and looped, sometimes not. But the most striking thing about this release is that about half the lyrics are from found recordings. Sometimes the spoken texts are obviously from different sources but they are put together to make a conversation which creates a rather unsettling effect. Other times it is oddly moving. The other lyrics are sung, spoken, or multi-tracked by Mr. Zammuto.

    The overall feeling of this release is one of calm in the center of a storm, loneliness in a crowd, and safety in the midst of chaos. It’s perfect music for people watching in a crowded city. Xlr8r magazine called it 23rd centry bluegrass in their review, which is about right.

    The songs on this promotional CD are in different order than the one that was released.
    –Hunter Gatherer

  • Reviewed by Hunter Gatherer on May 22, 2005 at 9:39 am
  • Filed as A Library,CD
  • 1 comment
  • Sun Ra “Spaceship Lullaby” jazz [Atavistic-Unheard]

    Doo wah Sun Ra… What an interesting time capsule on the
    outstanding (and appropriate) Unheard Music Series from the
    Atavistic folks. Hermetically-sealed Herman Blount sounding
    very earthbound, anchored to a trash can on the corner, but
    still with eyes searching for Saturn in the sky…and ears
    angling for angles in the stars. He punches his Chicago
    ticket twice at the end of the Nu Sounds section. There’s
    a sweetness to the jingle-like melodies, and more than a
    few jewels to the roughness here. Honestly, “Ra Coaching
    Roland Williams” may be my favorite. Or the Lintels
    picking up “Blue Moon” from scratch or the little racing
    dips in “Louise” (a favorite of my departed mother-in-law
    who is undoubtedly somewhere in the galaxy begging Sun to
    do another rendition of that number.) A lot of older folks
    will get jukebox shivers hearing these tunes. Liner notes
    are a must. Zoom zoom zoom…

  • Reviewed by Thurston Hunger on May 16, 2005 at 12:07 am
  • Filed as CD,Jazz
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  • Mu “Out of Breach” 33 rpm [Output]

    I can’t remember the last time I’ve been so attracted to
    something and terrified by it at the same time? (Grace
    Jones?) There’s something about Mu’s Mutsumi Kanamori that
    screams for your attention, and just plain screams. Is she
    a battle rapper at war with the world? She has zero tolerance
    for poseurs, paparazzi parasites and pretty much anybody she
    comes in contact who’s *not* named Luke. Lurking in the
    shadows here Maurice Fulton is the beat pimp, slapping hand
    claps and other Roland percussion together. He also doctors
    Mu’s vox, from Darth Vaderification to Spaced Invader robo-
    reverb. She adds her own effects, sounding like rooster,
    coughing up dry heaves (on “Throwing Up” of course). A
    twisted thread of justice and vengeance and English make
    this a pretty powerful car crash. When she screeches
    “Ugly lazy fuck loser”
    I know she’s talking especially to me! File this under
    disturbed disco… She’s probably a total sweetheart, but
    for now, I’ll respect the restraining (dis)order.

  • Reviewed by Thurston Hunger on May 16, 2005 at 12:06 am
  • Filed as 12-inch,A Library
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  • Fireballs of Freedom “Exorcism in the Key of You” 45 rpm [Wantage]

    Rock ‘n’ roll with its heart in the right place, smack dab
    in the middle of its inflamed liver. Each song kinda climbs
    up little ladders of riffs, with retro dirtbag guitar work
    and those damn ninth chords. Kah-runchy. Very, very blarey,
    and you can taste the amp hum on the “Exorcism.” Vocals are
    that kind of pent-up soul screaming, with RNR-101 emphatics.
    On the flip side a couple of covers, more party flavor…
    kicking you square in the beer nuts. This time with cheeze
    organ nacho baking on a copy of the Barkay’s “Copy Cat.”
    Finally to top things off, Hendrix’s “Ain’t No Tellin’”
    gets flamebroiled by these Oregon accumulators.
    Shot-callin’ and fireballin’

  • Reviewed by Thurston Hunger on May 16, 2005 at 12:05 am
  • Filed as 7-inch,A Library
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  • Love of Diagrams “We Got Communication” [Unstable Ape]

    Vocals blowing in the breeze, bursts of noise peppered guitar
    and firecracker drums. What could you want, but more? A LOT
    more… Melbourne trio that’s been touring with the Rogers
    Sisters recently, and they deliver the same sort of blitzy,
    frisky rock. All three sing, often through a squelchy mic.
    Guitarist Luke Horton chews up strings, nice choppy chompy
    chords and lines. When drummer Monika Fikerle and bassist
    Antonia Sellbach both sing with great abandon, panicking is
    fun!! Lyrics are kinda semaphoric. Flashed out and repeated.
    Like instructions on a bottle of pills. The two remixes are
    alright, #4 (“In the Red”) feels like a Tom Ze tribute at
    the onset…but later on we get the full throttle drumming
    from Maniakal Monika. “No Way Out” gets kinda 80′s Howard
    Jones keyboards, a thickened bass, and limp-along handclaps.
    Um, I strongly preferred the original’s head-rush. Check
    with your doctor. One fine fibrillating debut.

  • Reviewed by Thurston Hunger on May 16, 2005 at 12:04 am
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Summer at Shatter Creek “All the Answers” [Badman]

    Isn’t sorrow sublime? Yes. Is it wrong to feel a twinge of
    joy as the tear streaks your cheek? No. For every summer
    needs its shatter, and the beautiful things you float in
    amber are dead. Craig Gurwich has a little sparrow’s trill
    at the end of his voice and it’s a very pretty voice…then
    he piles the reverb on with abandon. Not just on his voice
    listen to the drums drop-p-p on “Rebecca.” He’s concocted
    a Zombies meets Six Feet Under meets the kid who broke your
    heart back in high school, and quit acting like you don’t
    remember his/her name. Just go put this album on and look
    darkly in the mirror and almost cry. This fine CD makes me
    want to go hide all of Brian Wilson’s medication. Those who
    think whistling is for getting blithely by the graveyard,
    well they should listen to the whistling on #6. And for
    those who feel lyrics always have to be cryptic to have
    heft, c’mon you know all the lyrics to “Heard It Through
    the Grapevine” and they get the job done. A lot of harm
    can be done in the harmonies too! Especially when you’re
    up the Creek without a major chord.

  • Reviewed by Thurston Hunger on May 16, 2005 at 12:03 am
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Nudge “Cached” [Kranky]

    I know some folks will listen to this and hear a subdued
    swirl of sound, but I’m telling you this CD is a bad mutha!
    Just check out “Contact” which sounds like Shaft in a Bush
    of Ghosts. That’s followed by “My New Youth” which tunnels
    through This Heat to a crackly meltdown, and then builds
    it back up with a beat and static like a bat out of hell,
    and I ain’t talking about Meatloaf. Then with “Remove Ya’s”
    melodica and shuffle-surging bassline, Nudge have released
    the Boredom’s first reggae single before the Boredoms even
    thought of it. A prominet ripple in the bass (not always
    bubbling over frets, sometimes bellowing up from keys)
    unites most of these tracks. At times Honey Owens chirps in
    with some vocals that taste like high-tech surveilance,
    there but not there. I could say that this band is like
    Supersilent on a funk binge, but that’s only right about
    1/3 of the time. Is this stationary dance music, liquid
    concrete, or just transcending trans-genre. Aces!

  • Reviewed by Thurston Hunger on May 16, 2005 at 12:02 am
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • (the) Contemporary Jazz Quintet “Actions” jazz [Atavistic Unheard]

    You shoulda heard just a what they saw…or sawed. When I
    first heard this I thought either they had some electric
    whammy guitar or distant voice on the first track. I just
    rejected the idea that saw would be used in the free jazz
    context. You hear it on the opening of #5, and it sounds
    like Niels Harrit’s saw is almost not there, it comes off
    as more than tape hiss but less than a fierce wind catching
    the mic. Franz Beckerlee’s sax seems to charge the most
    with it…buzzing into a held not alongside it, but then
    scorching away. When Hugh Steinmetz jumps in on his trumpet
    the saw is almost vanquished by the dual horn thorniness…
    but instead it never gives up, never backs down and it helps
    to keep the sax and trumpet from just spiraling away with
    the entire performance. Ultimately the saw blossoms again
    usually while Bo Andersen whips the drums and cymbals along
    or for one of two sturdy bass solos by Steffen Andersen. For
    all of its limited range, Harrit’s saw is repeatedly spell-
    binding and a big reason this quintet still sounds so damn
    Contemporary today!

  • Reviewed by Thurston Hunger on May 16, 2005 at 12:02 am
  • Filed as CD,Jazz
  • 1 comment
  • Smog – “A River Ain’t Too Much to Love” – [Drag City] (CD)

    The latest from Smog (aka Bill Callahan) recorded in Texas in November 2004 and released in 2005 harkens back to his days of great story-telling albums. Very simple instrumentation, mostly guitar, drum and Bill Callahan’s mesmerizing vocal style (more of a sneering conversation than singing) that always captivates me. Thematics on this release keep coming back to water, the river, brambles, family, and perhaps a journey into the country to contemplate all of that. There’s a folk/country vibe throughout and “In the Pines” is even a traditional train song. Jim White on drums and Joanna Newsom on piano on track 4. Excellent release! (added 5-14-2005)

    Note: Language on “The Well”–“fuck all y’all!”

    -Cynthia Lombard

  • Reviewed by lombard on May 14, 2005 at 2:46 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • X-TEMPORANEOUS BOOGIE

    Camille Howard seems to have been one of those musicians that could have much more well known except for the fact that she was Black, and American culture at the time would not let her succeed to the level of her skills. From this recording you will hear OUTSTANDING Blues, Jazz, and some AMAZING Boogie-Woogie piano, great singing, and fine arrangements of original songs from the late 40′s to the early 50′s.
    There is a detailed bio in the liner notes.
    David Richoux

  • Reviewed by David Richoux on May 13, 2005 at 10:04 am
  • Filed as CD,Jazz
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