Rock/pop: This is a cool repressed EP, one of 300 available in pink vinyl from Chuffed. This San Francisco band has chosen an apt descriptor in ???fresh???–offering upbeat, organic tunes with guitars, xylophone, harmonica, toy piano, subtle percussion, and male voices singing interesting lyrics about innocent topics. Every song is good, but ???Endless Love??? is the standout with its energetic guitar start and solo.
Jason Robert Quever pens some fine pop songs dealing with subjects such as the transition from lover (?) to employee (1), nostalgic questions about whether you can wait all summer long (3), wishing you could hold onto people (7), how things and people become ???just another thing to dust??? (8). The overall vibe is mellow and poppy, with a delightful foray into a honky-tonk treatment of love taking a wrong turn (5). Pretty and cute and appealing all around.
This collection of 7??? releases celebrates the 10-year founding of the Generate label. Opening with two accessible jazz tracks by Gordon Beeferman???s Imaginary Band, transitioning to atmospheric with the fabulous Ernesto Diaz-Infante and Jeff Arnal, and finishing off with the experimental minimalism of Aperiodic, this is a tasty sampler of what Generate has to offer. Instrumental save for enthusiastic vocalizations on 1 and distorted vox on 5.
The Committee to Keep Music Evil compiled these Telescopes songs that are no longer available on record store shelves. The United Kingdom quintet delivers screaming vocals and thrashing guitars and drums on Side One, but they settle down into a fine trippy haze on Side 2, where the male and female vocals sound like a choir on B2. Check out the cool guitar moves and rare clarity of some of the vox on A4. Psychedelia is the unifying element between the two sides.
Todd Tobias and Robert Pollard team up to deliver some garage and psychedelic tracks in a low-fi way. All but B2 (which is instrumental) feature hazy, male vocals that are hard to make out, but the content of the words probably is secondary to the voice adding to the overall gestalt of the songs themselves. A1 and A2 are upbeat rock, while B3 is a heavy garage assault. A3, B1, and B2 are some mellow psyche pieces that are the strength of this EP.
Electronica: This compilation is available for free download from IVDT. Who knew that hip hop beats could undergird the oboe (5) and harp (6)? Intelligent dance music can be found on 3 and 8. Glitchy ambience is the prevailing medium in the remaining tracks, which is appropriate to the wintry theme of this CD. Phortran???s ???First Snow??? (4) is particularly appealing in its uniqueness, with piano and drums adding to the bubbliness characteristic of a first snow.
This is the debut release from this San Francisco quartet of guys who play powerpop/rock. There will be plenty of opportunities to catch them live, and you???ll want to after hearing this. Side A is a very upbeat and 60s sounding love song with cute lyrics. Side B is a quick-paced and more dissonant sound, appropriate to a break-up song (at least I think that???s what it is). Regardless of the content, this is adorable.
Afro-Latin funk: From time to time Martin Perna from Philadelphia and Adrian Quesada from Texas team up to form Ocote Soul Sounds. This release features the two with their friends serving up Afro beat gems, both instrumental and with Spanish and English vox (Tita Lima lends her pretty voice to 5). The percussion is stellar, as are the flutes, guitars, keys, melodica, bass, and glockenspiel. They do Fela Kuti proud with their infectious, lively rhythms.
This green and white vinyl contains two treasures from Glasgow and introduces Slumberland???s praiseworthy project of releasing two limited-edition split 7??? pop singles every couple months. On Side 1 we get a peppy rock tune called ???Join the Dots??? performed by Roy Moller, presented by the Company, and on the flipside is ???Flaxen-Haired Boy??? by the Hermit Crabs, a smooth, mellow taste of folk sung by dulcet-toned Melanie Whittle. Either song guaranteed to lift your mood and get you psyched for the next such release from Slumberland.
Pop: Okay, this Seattle band sounds a lot like The Cyrkle. Instead of red rubber balls, Mighty Tiger discusses other things (???I wish you???d take a shower every day??? (9). Most of the songs are cheerful and upbeat, with rocking guitars and percussion, male lead vocals (except on 11), and an innocent sound that takes you back to the 60s. Some forays into psychedelic (6) and folk (11) territories. These sounds are intoxicatingly catchy.
Dance: If you???re feeling low on energy, simply put on this CD and in no time your blood will be pulsing to the electronic sounds coming out of the beat-laced ether created by Germany???s finest. The effervescent textures are contagious and some tracks are enhanced by vocals (2, 4, 5, 7, 10?, 11). Transports you to a cool nightclub atmosphere with a refreshing vibe, although 13 closes the CD on a more soothing, ambient note (albeit a beat-driven one).
Jim Ryan founded the Left Coast Improv Group in 2001, and the one uniting theme is that the group creates together without an agenda. Cooke Co. Wind & Brass, RDT3, and other LCIG related projects are represented here. The songs can be seen as happy accidents, or as orchestrated miracles that come into existence by virtue of the musicians. LCIG is performing at the Outsound New Music Summit on July 25, 2009 at the Community Music Center in San Francisco. Whet your appetite!
Twelve ???remixes??? of as many artists, by the San Francisco-based DJ Female Convict Scorpion, master of creating psychedelia out of turntables, sampler, theremin, whistles, and vocals. Ornette Coleman is on here (9), as are the Swell Maps (1), John Lee Hooker (5), among others. Creepy and skittery and spacey, but uniquely funky on 12 with the lyrics of ???Sloop John B??? echoing eerily in the background.
This split features two experimental duos. Side A features I Heart Lung, with Chris Schlarb on electric guitar and electronics, and Tom Steck on drums. The sounds are definitely ecstatic, with 2 being my favorite track. Side B is DWMTG, with Dale W. Miller on drums, cymbals, and electric toothbrush, and Tony Gordon on bass. 10 short tracks (times are on inside sleeve) show how these two romp together playfully. The first track sounds like a dog???s squeaky toy. Enjoy.
Soundtrack: Big band is the name of the game, and Si Zentner is the man and trombonist to lead the band executing Jerry Goldsmith???s compositions. Side 1 features music from ???Warning Shot,??? most of which is fast-paced and suspenseful, save for 4 and 5, which have a slower pace. It???s easy to get caught up in the big band exclamations. Side 2 is a sampling from Goldsmith???s other film/TV scores, with ???Von Ryan March??? and ???Mona Lisa??? standing out, and the ???Theme from ???The Man from U.N.C.L.E.?????? taking you down memory lane.
On their 16th album, Sonic Youth sounds simply phenomenal. From the catchy opener to the slightly creepy closing track (in which Kim Gordon begs someone to suck her neck), these songs are unanimously fabulous in their masterful guitar work, drums, and bass. Each and every one rocks in its own way, and elements of psyche can be found throughout. This is just my cup of tea.
Steel drum lovers rejoice! This reissue from the late 70s group Steel an??? Skin is fast-paced and upbeat. Side A is ???Afro Punk Reggae Dub,??? a chance for the flavors of Ghana, Nigeria, St. Kitts, Trinidad, and the U.K. (the birthplaces of the musicians) to mix and mingle in a wonderful dub. Side B opens with a :39 ???Gadzo Drumming,??? followed by ???Reggae Is Here Once Again,??? a happy, disco-like beat that features vocals and lasts 4:29. A sweet step back in time.
Soundtrack: This is a period piece for the sixties if there ever was one, full of suspense and intrigue appropriate to a movie about counter-espionage with a bevy of beauties in the wings. Be sure to read the liner notes. Tracks 12-23 are bonus tracks by father of electronic music Tristram Cary (and form component elements for Track 9). Enjoy.
Hip-hop: Out of Toronto, Canada comes the unique perspective of Derek Christoff, aka D-Sisive. Through a combination of singing and rapping lyrics that range from touching tributes to family members (5) to daydreams (13) to multiple means of death in this ???wonderful world??? (19), D-Sisive offers songs intended for kids in school and college (at least according to his lyrics). I don???t know much about hip-hop, but the stories on this CD are worth listening to.
FCC: 1, 2, 4, 6, 9, 10, 14,, 15, 17, 18.
Picks: 13, 9, 11, 5, 6, 8, 18,.
PGM: Songs end abruptly.
Nary a bad one in this sampler from North Pole Records. The Benefactor Magazine bundled this CD with its March/April 2009 issue. Included are jewels that range from folk/acoustic/weird (1, 2, 3, 4), to cool electronic pulsing (5), to rock (7, 8). Rollerball is on here (9), and an Italian DJ offers interesting hip hop on 10. The star of the bunch is 9-year-old Road Race (6, 11), who plays keyboards and is accompanied by Shane deLeon. 11 proves him a DJ in his own right. Enjoy.
Picks: 1, 2, 8, 11.
FCC: Major language at beginning of 10.
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