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lombard

Kudo, Reiko – “Rice Field Silently Riping… ” – [Majikick Records]

lombard   11/10/2005   A Library, CD

Longtime avant garde Japanese psych scenester Reiko Kudo presents this beautiful solo release, with some help from husband Tori Kudo (Maher Shalal Hash Baz) and others. This is subtle, folky beauty with spare vocals, piano, bass, and some harp, strings, percussion, trumet, clarinet, guitar, and euphonium. The female vocals call to mind a Japanese version of a stripped down retro folk artist ala Vashti Bunyan. Simple lyrics create an understated mood. Quite lovely.

-Cynthia Lombard

New England Roses – “Face Time with Son” – [Doggpony Records] (CD)

lombard   10/26/2005   A Library, CD

New England Roses have a lo-fi, DIY, friends-hanging-out-having-fun sound on this release from 2005. Featuring JD Samson from Le Tigre, Sarah Shapiro on vocals, and Brendan Fowler, they have a sound that’s a cross between feminist punk pop and the unpracticed sounds of My Pal Foot Foot-era Shaggs. In “Kids in the City” they yell “We are the kids in the city, losing our virginity in Central Park” , making me think of the rebel kids of Larry Clarke’s films. They end with covers of songs by Dave Matthews, George Michael (“Faith”) and Tracy Chapman (“Revolution”).

-Cynthia Lombard

Danny & the Nightmares – “Freak Brain” – [Sympathy for the Record Industry] (CD)

lombard   10/26/2005   A Library, CD

Tormented musical genius Daniel Johnston is apparently in a good mental place right now after years of battling mental illness. He’s been releasing music for 25 years now, with his first cassette in 1980. I particularly enjoyed this 2005 album, where he’s joined by friends doing creepy, horror-movie themed rock. Haunted houses, Lucifer/Satan, death, Jesus and love are components of the overall story on this outing, which is great 4-track recorded lo-fi fun in time for Halloween.

-Cynthia Lombard

Whip – “Atheist Love Songs to God” – [Resonant] (CD)

lombard   10/26/2005   A Library, CD

Whip is the solo project of Jason Merritt (also of Timesbold) of Brooklyn, this being his 2nd release. It begins in a folky vein very akin to Will Oldham and ventures into country-inspired territory on “16th & Mission.” With his gravelly vocals Merritt sings about Kurt Cobain on one track and is inspired by Tom Rapp, Lou Reed, and Leadbelly on others. This is an enjoyable, introspective album.

-Cynthia Lombard

[coll] Is Orange Birds [Marriage Records] (CD)

lombard   10/12/2005   A Library, CD

This is a 2004 collection from Portland, Oregon-based Marriage Records. It’s a variety of indie pop and mild experimentation of the spare, lofi, DIY variety. There’s female vocals from Manta (you’d swear it was Sarah Dougher’but it’s Portland’s Marianna Ritchie), international percussive flavor from White Rainbow, wacky electronics from Yacht and an embedded Police cover from The Blow. A nice little sample from Marriage. (Added 10-5-2005)

-Cynthia Lombard

Bats, The – “At the National Grid” – [Magic Marker] (CD)

lombard   10/12/2005   A Library, CD

Legendary New Zealand pop-rock band The Bats return with their first album in 10 years (they’ve been around for 23). It’s pleasant, jangly guitar pop with nice harmonizing vocals. It definitely harkens back to the best of the 80s and 90s guitar bands, with mesmerizing workouts ala their NZ cohorts and American bands like Yo La Tengo. Alastair Galbraith provides violin on a few tracks. This is a beautiful, contemplative, moody and catchy release from 2005. (Added 10-5-2005)

-Cynthia Lombard

Duplex – “Ablum” – [Mint Records] (CD)

lombard   10/12/2005   A Library, CD

This is a fun, kid-like poppy record that seemed like a cross between Trachtenburg Family, King Kong and Jad Fair. Upon closer inspection it turns out that this Vancouver, British Columbia-based group is comprised of kids and adults and the release is meant to be an adult-friendly kids? album. The kids on here include 3-year-old Abe Caruso on xylophone, harmonica and rattles. A couple of 11-year-olds are also members. Enjoy the songs about salad, monkeys, robots, camels and a wacky number about Bethlehem. They also cover one of my favorite ‘School House Rock? songs’the somber ‘Figure 8.’

-Cynthia Lombard

Dalaba, Leslie – “Timelines” – [Tzadik Records] (CD)

lombard   9/28/2005   A Library, CD

Released as part of Tzadik’s Oracle Series in October 2004, this is an amazing undertaking by trumpet player Lesli Dalaba. In an attempt to represent a history of the earth Dalaba did extensive research using geophysical and archeological data. She then plotted a timeline of the earth musically (see timesheet on CD and in the liner notes). Joined by Carla Kihlstedt (vioin), Zeena Parkins (harp), Ikue Mori (electronics) and Amy Denio (voice), Dalaba paints an intriguing portrait of the earth’s life, with sounds of water, buzzing, crackling, thunder, static, a march to symbolize human migration, and female voice.

-Cynthia Lombard

[coll] “PDX Pop Now! 2005” -[PDX Pop Now] (CD)

lombard   9/14/2005   A Library, CD

Non-Profit PDX Pop Now! has as its mission to evangelize music from Portland, Oregon via festivals and compilation CDs. In advance of their August 2005 festival (free and all-ages) they released this collection of Portland artists. It includes heavyweights like Sleater-Kinney and Decembrists (with a previously unreleased demo) along with a variety of pop, rock, electronic, and miscellaneous genred artists. There’s a nice 4-track recording from Mirah, a fun electronic piece from Glass Candy, upbeat girl rock from the Gossip, and a European-feeling gypsy-ish track from Shicky Gnarowitz.

Haiku:
Portland promoters
Pop Rock Electronic Odes
Lovely Ladies too

(added 9-14-2005)
-Cynthia Lombard

[coll] “A Second Tribute to Jandek: Down in a Mirror” [Summersteps] (CD)

lombard   9/14/2005   A Library, CD

Reclusive artist Jandek played his first live concert ever in fall 2004 and his first show in the U.S. in August 2005 and played a few more in September, including a NY show. This tribute to him, released in summer 2005 comes out just in time to celebrate his emergence from obscurity. Acoustic, folky, weird spoken word, psychedelic are terms to describe the folks covering Jandek on this release. George Parsons (#10) has the weird spoken piece, Marshmallow Staircase (#8) takes the psych route, and KFJC faves Six Organs of Admittance, Mountain Goats, Okkervil River and Kawabata Makoto round it out. Lots of lo-fi stuff to inspire.

Haiku Review:

Jandek fans rejoice
Folk psychedelic sojourns
Lo-fi beauty nice

(added 9-14-05)
-Cynthia Lombard

Eau Claire – “Eau Claire Ep, the” – [Clairecords]

lombard   9/14/2005   A Library, CD

Released in May 2005 this is an ethereal EP featuring Jessica Bailiff and Rachel Staggs. Bailiff lives in Toledo and released her first album in 1998. Staggs lives in Austin, Texas and was in Austin bands Swells and Experimental Aircraft. Recorded and produced by Low’s Alan Sparhawk (an old friend of Bailiff’s), Eau Claire’s EP is misty, spacy, and fuzzy with buried female vocals. It’s reminiscent of shoe gaze, space rock, with nods to bands like My Bloody Valentine and the mellow side of Lush. Nice beauty. (added 9-14-2005)

-Cynthia Lombard

Baby Dee “Love’s Small Song” [Durtro Records] (CD)

lombard   8/9/2005   A Library, CD

While listening to this I was reminded of Antony, so it’s not surprising that Baby Dee shares a label with Antony & the Johnsons. The feeling is dramatic, like this is the soundtrack to an opera or musical, with themes of love and nature (including bird samples from Baby Dee’s mom’s Cleveland backyard). Baby Dee is a drag performer from NY and on this release (recorded in 2001) utilizes voice, piano, accordian and harp. CD2 is a lengthy track of bird sounds. Limited to 1000 copies, enjoy the beauty and drama of this self-described “circus freak and happy whore.” (added 8-9-2005)

-Cynthia Lombard

Dead Texan, The- “S/T” – [Kranky] (CD)

lombard   8/2/2005   A Library, CD

This is the first solo project of Adam Wiltzie of Stars of the Lid, Aix Em Klemm and Windsor for the Derby. Wiltzie calls the music here mini symphonies and the sound IS symphonic, atmospheric, almost classical with piano, strings, guitar and bits and pieces of voice (although subtle). Pop this into a computer to see music videos by Wiltzie and Christina Vantzos. Very pleasant material. (added 8-2-2005)

-Cynthia Lombard

Partyline – “Girls with Glasses” – [Retard Disco] (CD)

lombard   7/19/2005   A Library, CD

The latest project from Bratmobile’s Allison Wolfe is D.C.-based Partyline. With Allison’s vocals it’s similar in sound to the girl punk-pop of Bratmobile, but the lyrical content is more political, with disses against the presidential race (“..fuck Bush and Gore…” in “Unsafe at any Speed”), procreation (“I don’t wanna marry. I don’t wanna have your brats.” ), and romanticism (“No Romantic”). There’s plenty of humor and sass too (“give me head or gimme justice” in “No Romantic”). Super fun EP. (added 7-19-2005)

Note: Language and sexual content on tracks 1, 4

-Cynthia Lombard

Yuppie Pricks, The- “Brokers Banquet” – [Alternative Tentacles] (CD)

lombard   7/19/2005   A Library, CD

Yuppie punk concept band The Yuppie Pricks wax philosophical about coke parties, day spas, expensive vehicles, self-absorbtion, trappings of wealth (from Gucci to the Hilton sisters) with potty-mouths and lots of sexual content. The lyrics are unny, with ingenious rhymes–including rhyming jacuzzi with floozies and Gucci with Susan Lucci. Lots of bad language and sexual content. (added 7-19-2005)

-Cynthia Lombard

Isobella – “Surogate Emotions of the Silverscreen” – [New Granada Records] (CD)

lombard   7/19/2005   A Library, CD

Beautiful dreamscapy music from Isobella out of Tampa, Florida. Although it’s new, it has a sound akin to the late 1980s/early 1990s 4AD (Cocteau Twins, Lush) and shoe gaze scenes. Female vocals, with perhaps some buried male vocals too. They began working together in 1998 as Akasha, eventually changing their lineup and name to Isobella. Beautiful stuff!
(added 7-19-2005)

-Cynthia Lombard

[coll] “Yo Yo a Go Go 1999” [Yo Yo Recordings] (CD)

lombard   6/21/2005   A Library, CD

This is a great document of Yo Yo a Go Go, the indie music festival held in Olympia, Washington beginning in 1994. The 1999 fest has many highlights, from the simplicity of folky Mirah and Mountain Goats to Yo-Yo regulars/feminist icons Mecca Normal and The Need. Pop sweetness from Crabs and Sleater-Kinney always rock. The closer is Negativland leading the audience in a “sing along” of Casey Kasem’s raunchy outtakes. (added 6-21-2005)

Note: Language on 9, 21

-Cynthia Lombard

Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players- “Vintage Slideshow Collections from Seattle, Vol. 1” – [Bar None] (CD)

lombard   6/14/2005   A Library, CD

This is a wacky pop opera/concept album that provides the soundtrack to their touring slideshow of found photos. You can pop the CD into a computer to see slides for a few songs. It IS a family affair, with the youngest Trachtenburg starting her drumming career at age 6. Kitschy lyrics inspired by Swiss fondue, corporate marketing memos, and tourists in Japan. 2003 release. (added 6-14-2005)

-Cynthia Lombard