Ashley, Robert – “Atalanta (Acts of God)” – [Lovely Music Ltd.]

humana   1/3/2016   A Library, CD

Maybe some of you might now of Atalanta through hearing Marlo Thomas and Alan Alda sing of her in the CD “Free to Be You and Me.” The story has the same root as this opera, which is to say that Atalanta was a princess who could run faster than any man in the kingdom. In order to help her choose a prince, Atalanta’s father said whoever could beat Atalanta in a race would win her hand. If he lost, he would die. One man wins the race, but because he and Atalanta made Aphrodite mad, they were turned into leopards who could not reproduce. This opera is about the male leopard, whose three-part character is compared to Max Ernst, Willard Reynolds, and Bud Powell. The music is avant-gard classical, the keyboards are by Blue Gene Tyranny, and the liner notes explain the musical setting in great detail. I do not care for this, but someone will.

Trubee, John and The Ugly Janitors of America – “a Blind Man’s Penis and Other Smash Hits” – [Trubee Records]

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

This album is truly great. It contains songs that have been lying in wait for us since 1983, and although they are full of FCCs, they contain great messages underneath the jaunty, almost humorous beat and melodies, which are catchy and appealing. Kind of rock, deceptively silly, and rollicking. Trubee is smart, and he uses humor and sarcasm to deliver his words. Horns, percussion, guitars, male and female vox. I particularly enjoy “Take a Shit on Me.”

Wainright Sisters, The – “Songs In The Dark” – [PIAS]

humana   12/7/2015   CD, Country

This album is a family affair, with Martha and Lucy, daughters of Loudon Wainwright, joining voices and guitar strums to bring you lullabies sung to them by their mothers (they are half-sisters) and written by their papa and their mamas. Other family members and friends join them in the music production. It’s haunting country folk in a minor, nostalgic key, beautiful and evocative. The feeling is akin to that you get when you listen to Marissa Nadler.

Bell, Olga – “Incitation” – [One Little Indian]

humana   12/2/2015   A Library, CD

This short but sweet aperitif of Bell’s Incitation track and Radio Version of it leave you wondering what the other tracks sound like. Bell (who is based in Brooklyn but born in Moscow) executes the electronics of this music well, and her voice is perhaps her greatest instrument. Lyrics printed on CD sleeve.

Aquarius Records 45th B’Day Bash [coll] – [Aquarius Records]

humana   12/2/2015   A Library, CD

There’s a little something for everyone in this compilation disc of excerpts from in-store performances at Aquarius. Spin the track dial and see if you come up with reggae, rock, electronics, noise, jazz, metal…Only 50 of these were made so enjoy being among the chosen few to listen.

Cooley – “gael-linn” – [Gael-Linn Records]

humana   11/23/2015   12-inch, International

Joe Cooley hailed from Ireland and played the accordion with such heart that this album was made to preserve the experience of his music for generations of lovers of jigs, reels, and country folk music. Tony MacMahon writes the touching liner notes that describe how the first 8 songs were recorded at a session just a month before Cooley died at the age of 49 on December 21, 1973. After a stint in America and San Francisco, Cooley was home and packed the bar in South County Galway so there were even folk outside in the rainy November night gathered to hear the musician one last time. Side two has songs from earlier in Cooley’s life. This is a bittersweet tribute.

Dead Recipe – “Day of Mangoes” – [Self-release]

humana   11/15/2015   10-inch, A Library

Look at the bright colors of the cover art and the grey marble vinyl and you’ll get an idea of how cool this music sounds. Kyle Albrecht and Camille Lewis both sing and play the songs, which are reminiscent of the music of Tipsy, for some reason. Maybe because it sounds tropical and whimsical with the funky bass lines. Their voices are really upbeat and the shakers add to the holiday feel of this album. People have called them pop, surf, psych, folk–you tell me what you think.

Dance of The Reality, The [coll] – [Real Gone Music]

humana   11/15/2015   12-inch, Soundtrack

Imagine writing and performing the soundtrack music to your father’s autobiographical film. This is exactly what Adan Jodorowsky has done, and he has done it with such lovely finesse that it alternately lifts you with its whimsically happy songs and tugs at your heartstrings with the nostalgic and sadder songs. Not a one on here isn’t a winner in its own way. I really want to see this movie now, but I know I have felt it first through the music. Think lovely orchestration with piano, strings, and up and down transporting through the emotions.

Shakedown At The Majestic – “S/t” – [Self Produced]

humana   11/15/2015   A Library, CD

This is rock and roll at its most upbeat and fun. It’s catchy with the nice voices singing nice lyrics about love and life, and the guitars, drums, and bass are skilled and guaranteed to leave you wanting more. The band formed in New York City and I hope this isn’t their only album.

Ukiah Drag – “Crypt Cruiser” – [Wharf Cat Records]

humana   11/4/2015   12-inch, A Library

This sound is distinctive because it is part punk, part psych, and part je ne sais quoi. The guitars are great, the vocals are eerie because they sound like they’re coming from another dimension, and the subjects are death and hell. A great add for this time of year.

Qluster – “Tasten” – [Bureau B.]

humana   11/3/2015   12-inch, A Library

Three Steinway grand pianos played by three talented musicians: Onnen Bock, Hans-Joachim Roedelius, and Armin Metz. The result is mesmerizingly beautiful classical music that induces a feeling of peace, possibility, and contentment. Think Lubomyr Melnyk, or distant shades of Phillip Glass at his loveliest. It’s amazing how the three pianos produce sounds that overlap each other in a completely satisfying way.

Raya Brass Band – “Raya” – [Self Produced]

humana   10/31/2015   A Library, CD

This music is Balkan influenced, peppy, brassy, and truly great. It is dance music from a band in Brooklyn, New York. There’s sax, trumpet, accordion, keyboards, percussion, tuba, tupan, and snare drum, all played by six guys who know how to get your feet tapping. The band is named after a six-year-old girl (who may be the cutie on the album cover). I like this because it shows that great ethnic sounds can come out of New York City.

Evening Fires – “Incredible Adventures” – [Deep Water Acres]

humana   10/26/2015   A Library, CD

This music is perfect for a spirit walk as you stare into Evening Fires, letting the instrumentation take you through psychedelic realms that morph into trance-inducing drone. The tracks are nice and long, giving you enough time to venture out with your mind and then find your way home again, subtly changed for the better.

Chocolat Billy – “Mon Pere Est Ma Mere” – [Water Wing Records]

humana   10/19/2015   12-inch, A Library

I don’t know much about Chocolat Billy–this album was released 10 years ago, and they are a French band, if the French lyrics and track titles are any indication. But what I do know is that this is completely awesome rock music. It sounds as fresh to me today as it must have sounded 10 years ago, and I am so proud of KFJC for bringing this into the library. It has rejuvenated me with its quick pace, amazing bass, drums, vibes, guitars, and vox. The songs seem like they’re done, but there’s more life left in the guitar or percussion, and they live on. Read the liner notes. Live.

Bontemps, Arna – “Anthology of Negro Poets In The U.S.A. – 200 Years” – [Smithsonian/Folkways]

humana   10/19/2015   12-inch, A Library

This is one of those treasures from the Foothill College Library. Bontemps reads the poems of amazing songsters capable of summoning clear images of babies with sparkling eyes (A2), dreams of heaven and how it will be an equitable place, Death cutting the birth cord and handing the baby over to Sorrow, and much, much more. Be sure to listen to “Frederick Douglass” by Robert E. Hayden. These are powerful all on their own, but I’m sure some of you mixologists will figure out a way to set these poems so they strike the listener even more. A worthy add to our library.

Yamamoto, Tsuyoshi Trio – “Live At The Misty” – [Three Blind Mice]

humana   10/18/2015   12-inch, Jazz

This is jazz the way I remember hearing it growing up, brilliantly played by pianoist Tsuyoshi Yamamoto and his trio. The tempo change-ups (particularly on “The Loving Touch”) bring back great memories. The drums and bass are smooth and polished, and the piano converses right along with them to mix up a cocktail of sound intoxicating to the senses. Enjoy.

Star Child and Cobra – “Psychologies” – [No Label]

humana   10/13/2015   A Library, CD

This is an electronic music soundtrack to the movie “Psychologies.” That’s about all the background I know. The music itself is quite enjoyable if you like electronica that is atmospheric and calls up images of a world where the characters are supercool and forward moving. Kind of futuristic in a retro way.

Fraser, Nick – “Too Many Continents” – [Clean Feed]

humana   10/13/2015   CD, Jazz

Fraser wrote these tracks and played drums for them. They are avant jazz, with Tony Malaby’s riotous tenor and soprano saxophones and Kris Davis’ more structured piano adding to the challenging mix. Pushing the envelope, the music is sure to appeal to or disturb the KFJC audience. See what it does to you.

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