Bobb and The Kidds – “Take Me Home Vienna” – [Mighty Mouth Music]

humana   9/11/2015   7-inch, A Library

Well blow me away if this guy’s voice doesn’t remind me of The Bee Gees! This reissue of a 1981 single and the flipside were part of an album called “Harvest of Dreams.” The voices of the “kidds” at the very start of Side 1 is endearing, but don’t expect peppiness from this little 7″. Brooding lovesongs are what they are. You can almost see the skies melting above Trimble’s head as he mourns plaintively.

Cuban Cigar Crisis – “#Hip5ter” – [Self Released]

humana   9/11/2015   12-inch, A Library

This is very energizing rock with guitars and well-vocalized lyrics, both male and female. The lyrics themselves are smart and audible, conscious of the world, or at least the musician’s world, and the tempo change in “Over a Low Simmer” is well-done and enlivening. There are a few slow songs on here, but not many. I don’t know much about this musician and his helpers (except that they’re based in San Francisco and refer to Lake Oswego), but what I can hear is good.

Authentic Indian Dances and Folklore [coll] – [Kimbo Records]

humana   9/11/2015   12-inch, International

We have Carole Howard (Princess Wa-Be-No-Que of the Chippewa tribe) to thank for this uniquely enriching album that details the folklore behind and the steps to four dances of great importance to the Chippewa Native Americans. Chief “Little Elk” (AKA Eli Thomas) explains to an interviewer what the significance of these dances is to his people, who hail from an area of Michigan near Mt. Pleasant. Chief “Coming of Thunder” joins Chief Little Elk in the chants and authentic drumming of the Corn Dance, the Rain Dance, the War Dance, and the Strawberry Dance. A written instruction booklet is included, but I recommend listening to each dance all the way through to get the full experience of it. This is one of those rare treasures that you hope will never get lost.

Kuhl, Tim – “1982” – [Flying Moonlight]

humana   9/10/2015   12-inch, A Library

This is fairly mellow music composed and programmed by Kuhl, originally on an iPad. A few other musicians add their talent (Satomi Matsuzaki of Deerhoof gives vox on A4), Geoffrey Bankowski speaks the lyrics he wrote on B1, and Grey McMurray does vocal effects on B3, which includes words by Herman Melville from “Moby Dick.” The title track (A2) is cool with its change-ups. The percussiveness throughout the album is remarkable. Take a listen.

Parker, William – “For Those Who Are, Still” – [Aum Fidelity]

humana   9/7/2015   CD, Jazz

William Parker–composer, musician, magician. This three-disc opus defies genre classification, so I invite you to open your ears for this listening experience that is like no other. The first disc, “For Fannie Lou Hamer + Vermeer,” was commissioned by The Kitchen and performed on October 28, 2000. “Red Giraffe with Dreadlocks,” the second disc, was recorded in Paris, France, in 2012. “Ceremonies for Those Who are Still,” the third CD, was performed at the Jazztopad Festival in Wroclaw, Poland on November 15, 2013. It is dedicated to Rustam “Roost” Abdullaev and contains a tribute to Sonny Rollins. The mixture of composed and improvised music on each of these CDs defies explanation and requires you to just lose yourself in the aural experience. The track titles are lovely, as are the lyrics, as are the vocalists singing them, and the musicians are stellar in communicating the message that is timeless and eternal.

Insect Ark – “Portal/Well” – [Autumnsongs Records]

humana   8/19/2015   A Library, CD

Dana Schechter (from Brooklyn, NY) is Insect Ark on this release. Self-described as experimental/doom/drone, Insect Ark’s sound is created by Schecter’s bass and other instruments. It sounds intense, and I believe Cy Thoth would give it his approval.

Gnom I Snegovik – “Last Snowman” – [Cubby Control]

humana   8/19/2015   A Library, CD

This release from the St. Petersburg band is even more experimental than usual–all except the last song reflects a compilation of tracks recorded by each band member individually. Then the tracks were mixed together, and the result is quite bizarre, especially the vocalizations at the beginnings of the songs. Drones, noise, strangeness. Right up KFJC’s alley.

Vorontsova, Julia – “Over” – [Self-release]

humana   8/19/2015   A Library, CD

This self-released album from St. Petersburg born and Los Angeles based Vorontsova is simply lovely. The music has a distinctly world folk flavor, as well as rock, and it’s not just because she sings the lyrics in such beautiful Russian. The instrumentation is wonderful, including guitar, strings, kalimba, and ocarina. Enjoy your sonic travels on this one.

Never Young – “Never Young” – [Self-release]

humana   8/11/2015   12-inch, A Library

This is a band out of California, and they are GREAT! It’s punk garage, fast-paced, high-power, amazing. The lyrics (printed on the sleeve) are somewhat depressing, but the music belies the lyrics and the guitars and drums get you rocking in your shoes.

Goddess – “Paradise” – [Self-release]

humana   8/10/2015   12-inch, A Library

With their splendid mix of heavenly vocals and instruments such as horsehair fiddle, French horn, lap dulcimer, tambourine, toy guitar, keyboard, piano, and pump organ, New York band Goddess rules. Other reviews call it haunting psych, and maybe it is some of that, but I think it’s better described as earthy folk. Fran Pado and Tamalyn Miller harmonize with each other in an enchanting way while Andy Newman creates some magical music. This is a winner.

Boratto, Gui – “Abaporu” – [Kompakt Schallplatten]

humana   8/7/2015   A Library, CD

Warning: Give me anything by Gui Boratto, and I’m going to love it. The Brazilian electronic musician, guitarist, and producer offers his signature tech house beats infused with South American style here. Some of the songs have lovely vocals, and the entire package just wraps around you and whisks you to a place that is at once vibrant and comforting. Enjoy.

Damaged Bug – “Cold Hot Plumbs” – [Castle Face Records]

humana   8/7/2015   12-inch, A Library

John Dwyer of the Oh Sees appears here to offer us “cracked pop alchemy”–the description is so apt I had to use it. The record sleeve has the lyrics printed out, and they get more interesting as the album progresses. Side B’s pace is particularly frenetic. Bedroom recordings with synths and what-not definitely quirky and catchy.

Odin, Raven – “Illicon Valley” – [Audiocrats Productions]

humana   8/3/2015   CD, Hip Hop

All I know about Raven Odin is that he’s smart. He’s an amazing writer and his quick-paced speaking makes you sit up and take notice of what he’s saying. His name seems to be based on the myths of Odin, the god who used ravens to tell him all the news of the kingdom. That is exactly what Raven Odin does here in this CD based on Silicon Valley (aptly changed to Illicon), where I assume he hails from. I particularly enjoyed hearing him drop local names such as the Voodoo Lounge in his track “In the Zay.” Modern-day poetry–well worth listening to.

Cabbages, Captain, & King – “Cabbages, Captain, & King” – [Edgetone Records]

humana   8/2/2015   CD, Jazz

This is jazz in the finest, innovative sense of the word. Jon Arkin on drums, Karl Evangelista on guitar, and, last but not least, Eli Wallace on piano. They work together extremely well in this debut album, although they’ve been together since 2013. Wallace composed the music, and the trio arranged it. It’s accessible and a blast to listen to.

Godspunk Volume Fifteen [coll] – [Pumf Records]

humana   8/2/2015   A Library, CD

This is a compilation by nine bands, among them UNIT, Nil By Nose, Howl in the Typewriter, Dumb Robot Pilot. Each band shares in the cost of the compilation. The sounds do have a punk vibe, but they mostly struck me as the clown on the cover does–with a carnival creep that startles. Listen for yourself–there’s plenty of material on here.

Tobias, Todd – “Moorea” – [Hidden Shoal Recordings]

humana   8/1/2015   A Library, CD

This music is perfect for enveloping you as you destress. Written, performed, and recorded by Tobias, the instrumental tracks ease you through whatever you may be doing quite painlessly. The masterful guitars accompanied by drums, keys, and samples lure you in and takes you for a mighty pleasant ride, with lots of beauty to be had every track along the way.

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