This is a treasure trove of eclectic selections in a 2-CD package compiled by KVCU Boulder, Radio 1190, the student-run radio station of University of Colorado, Boulder. Rock, electronica, folk, country–lots of genres that allow you to ???sit back and enjoy some of the best music Colorado has to offer??? (Disc One, 1). There???s something for everyone here. See inside for breakdown of songs by genre.
This is intensely relaxing music, the kind you expect to hear when you???re getting a massage. It whisks you to tribal visions and rhythms with gentle guitar and percussive drone, male chanting that summons images of chieftains dancing purposefully around a fire, and an earthy reverence. Amanda Brown and Bethany Cosentino are joined by Bobb Bruno and Cameron Stallones in this creation of ambient goodness. Side A is more tribal; Side B is more drone/trance. B2 is the most psychedelic.
Vlor began in 1997 when Brian John Mitchell and Russell Halasz recorded guitar in a racquetball court. For this CD, Mitchell is joined by guests such as Jon DeRosa of Aarktica, Jessica Bailiff, Annelies Monsere, Martin Newman of Plumerai, Paolo Messere (and many others). The music is, for the most part, relaxing, reverby guitars (although 16 features an amazing bit of beauty produced by a dulcimer or lute). 8 is the oddball, in a great way, in that it???s the only fast-paced rock song in a sea of calm shoegaze. Just the thing when you have unpleasant houseguests.
Out of San Francisco come the mellow, acoustic sounds of Sonny & the Sunsets. Guitars, keys, tambourines, bells, fingersnaps accompany the clear vocals of Sonny Smith, whose lyrics are stellar. There are nice back-up vocals from the Sunsets, all contributing to a consistently upbeat vibe that isn???t surf, but is reminiscent of the 70s and Bob Dylan on occasion. Definitely worthy of many a listen, especially since each song is likable in its own way.
Tom Nunn and David Michalak are the maestros of the skatchbox, contructed out of cardboard boxes and played with combs. Is it dogs panting, or frogs croaking, pigs oinking, helicopters rotoring? A bevy of artists join these two creative people, adding voice, viola, trombone, sax, gongs, electronics, and slussomatic (which sounds like the computer from ???Lost in Space???). It???s a wild, weird ride, and it???s very KFJC.
Faun Fables??? web page describes its music as ???songtelling,??? and it is captivating. Dawn McCarthy???s gorgeous voice is the strongest instrument on this CD of songs that celebrate birthdays, memories, home life, and dreams. Violin, theremin, flute, guitars, and percussion are joined by the sounds of plates and silverware clinking, tea kettles whistling, and other voices adding to the jaunty, earthy richness (1, 3) or absolutely poignant, evocative mood (2, 4) created in this work of art.
Out of a low-fi haze are some real diamonds in the rough. Down-home guitar strumming, interesting lyrics, and acoustic simplicity characterize these songs by Rob from Eat Skull and Beth from Times New Viking. This is really good freak folk.
This is one creative 23-year-old. Matt Lajoie (who chose the name ???Cursillistas??? because it looked pretty) writes and performs all his own music in Portland, Maine. The flavor is ???folk-inspired psychedelia??? and features toy piano, guitar, and banjo, along with voices. Reminiscent of Devendra Banhart on 7. The experience is almost down-home religious at times. Enjoy.
Mantles, The: The Mantles 12??? 33 rpm Siltbreeze (2009)
Garage/psyche: This four-piece out of San Francisco deliver some solid guitar work and lyrics on their debut full-length album. The lyrics are printed on the insert and worth reading–lots about break-up angst, but jewels like ???I???ve heard of love and romance and orders of restraint, but I never knew what they were until I met you??? (B3). I???ve starred my picks on the back cover.
– Pax Humana
Side A is a lovely descent into peacefulness with Ramona Ponzini providing vocals, Japanese bells and wind chimes, Maurizio Opallo offering acoustic guitar, and Roberto Opallo supplying outer space. Highly relaxing and indeed aptly titled ???Losing Consciousness.??? On Side B Mykel Boyd manipulates sounds using field recordings from a cemetary in the snow–it???s very quiet and I???d suggest mixing but it has beauty alone, as ???Silence Takes the Simpler Form.???
Pop folk/rock: When you???ve got a good thing going, why change? Together since 1983, the Bats have a nice, mellow sound. Side B is my favorite with its easy-going pace. Robert Scott on vocals, guitar, Kaye Woodward on guitar and backing vocals, Paul Kean on bass, backing vocals, and Malcolm Grant on drums deliver. Alastair Galbraith on violin on A1. A2 has some nice wah-wah, and B4 has masterful bass.
A nice little taste of what Frankie Rose can do without Crystal Stilts and Vivian Girls (although J. B. Townsend plays guitar here). Side A is fast-paced and reminiscent of Vivian Girls energy, while Side B is slower, with organ and mournful beauty.
Punk: Although the lyrics are sometimes hazy and screaming, the prevailing mood is not anger but driving energy. Lemmy Caution on guitar and vox, Janie Too Bad on bass and vox, Mr. Stix on drums, Red Exposure on organ. Short bursts of energy, some of it dance-worthy, and my picks feature the excellent bass work of Janie Too Bad.
Shoegaze ambient: Jon DeRosa offers vocals (on 3 and 12 only), guitar, bass, and pump organ on these highly relaxing, ambient tracks. My picks are less drone and gaze and offer slightly more structure, but each of these has merit and will suit more than few of our shows. Although he???s lost hearing in one ear, DeRosa makes lemonade out of lemons, or peace out of chaos.
Americana: Mark Growden offers a breath of fresh air with his first studio album in eight years. His rich voice is backed up by himself on accordion, banjo, baritone sax, and handlebars (which sound strikingly like a flute), Seth Ford Young on acoustic bass, Myles Boisen on guitar, Alex Kelly on cello, Chris Grady on trumpet, and Jenya Chernoff on percussion. The mood is often somber and deep, but the tempo picks up and is reminiscent of the band that processes behind the hearse in a southern funeral (5, 12). Very homespun and honest.
Caleb Mulkerin and Colleen Kinsella bring us another release of freak folk. As their MySpace page says, they are ???an intimate team, walking blind through each other???s songs.??? Discordant, high-pitched, acoustic sounds predominate. Track 3 is a cover of Blondie???s ???Heart of Glass.??? Track 4 is the only instrumental, filled with psyche guitars.
International: Out of Madagascar, Angola, Mozambique, South Africa, Ghana, and Cameroun come these fine sounds of garage rock, surf, and psyche. Guitars, percussion, organ, occasional horns back up vocals in English, French, and other languages, all of it upbeat, energetic, and tinged with the sound of the 60s that reached Africa. These bands infuse the songs with funk, soul, and style, and there are indeed howlers and screamers in here. Check out the covers (11, 19, 20) and the psyche effort (13). Enjoy!
Horrotica pop: Heribert Thusek (a Jazz session player) and Horst Ackermann (songwriter and radio comedian) teamed up to create this soundtrack to a movie that never existed, by an imaginary pop group. It???s quite funny with its over-the-top sound effects of screams, gunshots, whips, chains, dialing phones, footsteps, water, thunder, and moans and groans. 7, 8, 10, and 12 are funky and jazzy despite their gory subjects, and 1, 13, and 14 are full of moans and groans that are suggestive and borderline as far as the FCC is concerned. This is a great Halloween add!
Biafra, Jello and The Guantanamo School of Medicine – “Audacity of Hype, The” – [Alternative Tentacles]
Punk politics: This is a completely awesome release from Jello Biafra???s quintet. The guitars are driving, energetic, and rounded out by skilled percussion, and of course, there are the words, which work with the music to make this a tour de force of political commentary. The insert is a must-read–it contains the lyrics along with other clips of commentary. Eye-opening and smart and appropriately scathing, but always backed up by the frenetic energy of truly good music.
This compilation is another celebration of Generate Records??? tenth anniversary. Filled with improv jazz jams with a variety of artists, chief among them Jeff Arnal on percussion, this sampler contains some accessible and not-as-accessible music. I liked the tracks with Gordon Beeferman on piano. Enjoy walking on your experimental jazz side!
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