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humana

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.???

Pioulard, Benoit – “Flocks” – [Blue Flea]

humana   9/20/2009   7-inch, A Library

Benoit Pioulard is the pseudonym of Thomas Meluch, who hails from Oregon. Side A starts and ends with atmospheric mystique, but is modulated by Pioulard???s echoey voice adding melody to the weirdness. At the end it sounds like someone is scootering away. Side B is noise untempered by vocals–is it a train? Or a ship???s engine? The sounds are dense and captivating and make you wonder.

El-G – “Armelle 7″” – [Le Vilain Chien]

humana   9/20/2009   7-inch, A Library

French folk songs, each of which tells a story if only we knew how to translate it. Side A is a pretty song rendered by two sweet voices over strumming. Fresh and youthful. Side B features a male voice singing a more jaunty, weird melody, also over strums that crescendo and then quiet down again. Unique and worth a listen.

Searching For The Now 6 [coll] – [Slumberland Records]

humana   9/20/2009   7-inch, A Library

Pop/psyche: Side A is The School, a girl-fronted pop band from Wales. Bouncy, upbeat and bubblegum sweet–female vocal over keyboard rollicking melody with tambourine and other instruments. At least 2 false endings. Side B is George Washington Brown offering heavier rock on B1. B2 is more psyche sounding with slow and fast parts, with chaotic sounds appropriate to the ???Twin Towers??? title. A and B2 are my preferred tracks.

Searching For The Now [coll] – [Slumberland Records]

humana   9/20/2009   7-inch, A Library

This 5th offering of pop in the Searching for the Now series is brought to you on gray and black, beige and black vinyl and features two Swedish bands. Liechtenstein is a female three-piece, and their ???This Must Be Heaven??? is indeed heavenly, with angelic voices layered over each other, harmonizing over a fast-tempo snare, guitars, and bass. The Faintest Ideas are a male four-piece, with a hardcore approach on B1, but much more upbeat and impressive guitar and bass work on B2, with vocals less menacing and more understandable.

Gift Horse – “Two Lane Fiddles In a Four Lane World” – [Ruralfaune Records]

humana   9/5/2009   A Library, CD

Folk fiddle: Admittedly I have a soft spot for traditional fiddle music, and these polkas, hornpipes, and dances from Ireland, Scotland, America, and the Balkans fit the bill quite nicely. The team of Hal Hughes and Jill Kjompedahl complement each other nicely on fiddle with these upbeat, clearly bowed tracks. Inject some cheerful fiddle mastery into your sets with this fine addition to our library. Read the liner notes for excellent info about each track.

UV Race, The – “Malaria” – [SS Records]

humana   9/5/2009   7-inch, A Library

One of the great things about the songs on this 7??? is their origin and lyrics. ???Malaria??? sounds like a mosquito (the guitar and voice are buzzes). ???MASH??? is about the TV series–listen for familiar names like Hot Lips Houlihan and Klinger. ???Good Money??? is the standout for me, because the guitar work and vocals are more jaunty and upbeat. ???Cosmic Man??? is a short ditty–read the liner notes for the origins. Charming punk from Australia.

Sic Alps – “L. Mansion” – [Slumberland Records]

humana   9/5/2009   7-inch, A Library

San Francisco???s Matt Hartman, Mike Donovan, and Ty Segall offer ???L. Mansion??? and ???Superlungs (My Supergirl)??? (penned by Donovan, not Mike) on this pink vinyl find. Simple, low-fi garagey sound harking back to yesteryear with its upbeat guitars, drums, and vocals. Pleasant.

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