Black Time – “Midnight World” – [In The Red Records]

humana   11/3/2009   12-inch, A Library

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.

Aarktica – “In Sea” – [Silber Records]

humana   10/31/2009   A Library, CD

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.

Growden, Mark – “Saint Judas” – [Porto Franco Records]

humana   10/30/2009   A Library, CD

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.

Big Blood – “Already Gone II” – [Dontrusttheruin]

humana   10/25/2009   A Library, CD

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.

Cazumbi – African Sixties Garage Vol. 2 [coll] – [No Smoke]

humana   10/24/2009   CD, International

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!

Vampires of Dartmoore, The – “Dracula’s Music Cabinet” – [Finders Keepers Records]

humana   10/24/2009   A Library, CD

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]

humana   10/22/2009   A Library, CD

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.

Generate Records 1999-2009 Gen 13 [coll] – [Generate Records]

humana   10/18/2009   CD, Jazz

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!

Times New Viking – “Born Again Revisited” – [Matador Records]

humana   10/17/2009   A Library, CD

Rock: This trio out of Columbus, Ohio delivered this album on a VHS cassette. Defining low-fi and haze, these tracks are short and not-so-sweet rock. It???s hard to tell what they???re saying, but it doesn???t matter. The guitars get distorted but sometimes melodies come through, although the overall feel is one of harsh, noisy energy. It will appeal to many.

Gudnadottir, Hildur – “Without Sinking” – [Touch]

humana   10/13/2009   A Library, CD

Classical: These are beautiful compositions for cello, occasionally augmented by zither, processors, organs, and clarinet. Sometimes the cello sounds like a drone, at other times it is jaunty and spirited, but the prevailing feeling is spare, lonely, and gorgeous. This summons images of freezing, breathtaking land and soundscapes.

Vile, Kurt – “Childish Prodigy” – [Matador Records]

humana   10/12/2009   A Library, CD

There are some real psychedelic gems on this solo project from this Philadelphia guitarist and singer. Other tracks are somewhat heavier and more intense, but all except 11 (which is instrumental) feature his deep voice delivering lyrics. Sometimes there???s a harmonica, horn, tambourine, or organ underneath. My picks are the ones with an upbeat strumming and hippie feel to them, and these sound a lot like a train chugging rhythmically along its tracks. Vile is on the train heading somewhere, and it???ll be interesting to find out his destination.

Vril – “Fatal Duckpond, The” – [Rer Megacorp]

humana   10/4/2009   CD, Soundtrack

Soundtrack: Although this is a soundtrack to a film of a curious name (???The Fatal Duckpond???), what it really is is a truly awesome collection of surf instrumentals from a four-piece band called Vril, whose name refers to an energy-inducing fluid in a science fiction book called The Coming Race. Each and every one of these short tracks is indeed full of energy and a truly distinctive approach to surf. You gotta love the guitar, bass, and percussion skills demonstrated here. ???Drop the needle??? anywhere and you???ll be satisfied.

Hudson Mohawke – “Butter” – [Warp Records Ltd]

humana   10/2/2009   A Library, CD

Electronica/Dance: My son has a t-shirt that says, ???Smooth like butta,??? and maybe that???s why this CD is called ???Butter???–it is indeed smooth. The beats are distinctive, the energy high, and the atmospheres alternately shimmery and weird. Lots of good effects (like computerized voices and quacking sounds), occasional lyrics (Olivier Daysoul is featured on 3, 11; DaM-Funk on 14; Nadsroic on 17), and if you like electronica and beats, you???ll want to sample this one.

Songs For Moms – “I Used to Believe In The West” – [Thrillhouse]

humana   10/2/2009   12-inch, A Library

The moms are angry, at least if you judge by these songs that can start out with what seems like mellow singing and then do a 180-degree switch into yelling, swearing, and fast-paced tirades. Sometimes this Oakland three-piece of females give you snatches of harmonizing and cool bass and guitar change-ups, but the mood swings in the music leave you on edge, which is probably the point. Alternating between upbeat quirkiness that is almost on the verge of country folk, and all-out punk, angry rock, this band has captured the rollercoaster moods of mothershood, even though its musicians seem way too young to have had this experience.

Gun Outfit – “Dim Light” – [PPM]

humana   9/25/2009   A Library, CD

This is truly great. Caroline Keith on guitar, Dylan Sharp on guitar, and Reuben Storey on drums put together some magic when they jam. It rocks, it infuses you with energy, and as Dale would say, they have some moves. The lyrics are snappy and smart, the male and female vocals in conversation with each other are reminiscent of the B52s, but this Olympia, WA band is its own brand of fantastic.

Vivian Girls – “Everything Goes Wrong” – [In The Red Records]

humana   9/25/2009   A Library, CD

Cassie Ramone, Kickball Katy, and Ali Koehler of Brooklyn are back with their fast-paced garage rock and vocals that are hazy but harmonizing in a pretty way when you listen hard enough. Drums, bass, and guitar almost overpower the melodies of the voices, but the lyrics sort of go with the title of the album. If you like the Vivian Girls, you???ll love this.

Buckley, Tim – “Live At The Folklore Center, NYC – March 6, 1967” – [Tompkins Square]

humana   9/25/2009   A Library, CD

Folk: This is literally a slice of Tim Buckley???s life, from his folk phase. Izzy Young had the good sense to turn on the tape to record this concert that 20-year-old Buckley gave at Young???s Folklore Center in New York City. No microphones or paraphernalia, just Buckley???s high-pitched voice and guitar recounting stories in a way that calls to mind Peter, Paul, and Mary and Jesse Colin Young. Lovely tracks all, evocative of times passed and definite proof of the talents of this artist who died too young. Read the informative liner notes.

Lenguas Largas – “I Feel 7″” – [Tic Tac Totally]

humana   9/24/2009   7-inch, A Library

This debut from the all-male Tucson band is intriguing. Side A is an uptempo number with hazy lyrics, a definite psychedlic vibe,.and hint of Hawaii at its start and end. B1 is even better, but B2 is the winner with its discordant guitars and percussion and winning title, ???Just Because I Can???t Divide Don???t Mean I Can???t Multiply.???

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