The Old Soul-The Old Soul (Friendly Fire)

shiroi   4/25/2007   A Library

This is a fun unique mix of lively good time rock and much more. Among my favorites are the jaunty, brassy “P Is For Protein,” a modern ragtime shuffle “Boobie Trap,” modern rock meets 60’s psychedelia of “Take Care & Brush Your Hair,” and a song like a party at the end of a parade, “Shotgun Wedding.” – Shiroi

Cocorosie-The Adventures of Ghosthorse & Stillborn

shiroi   4/18/2007   A Library

This is the third album by sisters Sierra and Bianca Casady. Some of it is like Bjork as a little girl in a scary fairy tale land. Occasional sound of running streams. “Bloody Twins” is eerie folk sung to a music box. “Japan” goes from nursery rhyme style to opera via reggae with great repeated verses “Everybody wants to go to Japan” and ‘Everybody just hold hands.” “Werewolf” has a poetry intro, piano loop and swishing drums. “Animals” includes a shuffling rhythm and bicycle bell. “Houses” is like if Tom Waits’ granddaughter was copying his style, discordant piano, coins dropping. “Girl and the Geese” has a spoken story abut a girl who talks to geese who were once human. Quaint interludes, percussive diddling, other oddness but very clear production. Other sample lyrics: “tears fall in the kitchen sink,” “don’t speak I can hear you,” “covered in piss” etc but it is pretty in addition to sometimes scary and always strange. Anything derivative still in combination adds up to original musical art here. – Shiroi

The Blow: Poor Aim: Love Songs

shiroi   4/11/2007   A Library

This is a limited edition EP reissued with additional mixes. It sounds like the Raincoats meets the Young Marble Giants, the Inflatable Boy Clams and Devo’s backup band adding bits of r&b/funk.”Come On Petunia” is actually a very different version of The Police’s “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic.” “We Are Over Here (Lucky Dragons Remix)” has overlapping children’s voices saying variations of the title which singer Khaela Maricich does the main vocal. Occasional reggae and dance pop elements too. “Hock It” even has a bit of jittery rap element. The smoothest thing is the production; the rest is quirky, minimalist basics with layers, inventive fun. – Shiroi

Yamasuki – Le Monde Fabuleux Des Yamasuki (Finders Keepers)

shiroi   4/3/2007   A Library

A multi cultural psychedelic rock opera with major youth oriented choral arrangements. Japanese gagaku style whoops abound in places such as track 1, “Yamasuki.” My other favorites are the quaint and charming “Aisere I Love You” and the fun, lively “Abana Bakana.” A concept album conceived by 2 French producers, based on the “Yamasuki” dance, originally sometimes used as an educational tool for French students to learn Japanese. Pounding drum patterns, vibes and fuzz guitar, with beauty in the sung youthful vocals. “Kono Samourai” and “Yama Yama” have been sampled for rap tunes. A unique combination for fun and artistic listening. -Shiroi

Songs For Nao [coll] – [Chapter Music]

shiroi   3/22/2007   A Library, CD

Super cool collection of various low-fi-but-often-lots-going-on indie Japanese bands. Often with horns, acoustic guitars, tender female vocals and quirky male vocals. AMong my favorites are the lovely folk of “Swan” (#4), campfire style singalong if they invited a horn to go blat blat, which is “Lilac” (#6), male folk pop of “Stars” (#7), little girl style of ‘Summer Days” (#8), Shaggs meet grunge style of “Kilimanjaro” (#9), slow Bjork-ish folk of “Temperature of Windowside” (#10), female harmonica folk of “Good Night” (#11). These are all referring to song titles. #1 is not a Shaggs cover. Just Shaggs inc=fluenced. My Pal Foot Foot is the name of the band. Subarashii-no ongaku, sugoi! -Shiroi

Refrigerator-Bottles Of Make Up (Shrimper)

shiroi   3/14/2007   A Library

All acoustic, recorded onto 2 inch analog tape. Guitar and piano oriented alternative indie folk, avoiding the progressive this time. Franklin Bruno from The Mountain Goats and Nothing Painted Blue is on piano, adding to the original quartet. Recorded in the living room of singers Allen and Dennis Callaci. Song titles inspired by Tim Buckey, Nina Simone, Elton John, Need New Body and A. P. Carter. -Shiroi

Denen Ni Shisu (soundtrack)

shiroi   3/9/2007   A Library

This 1974 film’s soundtrack’s title means “Death In The Fields.” Terayama Shuji made the avant-garde film which compares a runaway boy’s coming of age with Japan’s loss of innocence from World War II. It is a mix of traditional Japanese musical styles. Sad folk, often in enka syle, spoken words of sadness often with flute and guitar, dramatic choral portions, children’s singing, group singing, shouted word with accompanying musical drama. Magnificent material. -Shiroi

Colossal Yes “Acapulco Roughs”

shiroi   2/21/2007   A Library

Folk pop with horns, piano, whistles, including extended meanderings, like long midtempo pop celebrations. Flutes and strings, too, rhythm section getting more uptempo occasionally. Rumbling drums on “Between Ass & Ophir.” Some nice harmonica on “Poor Man’s Zodiac.” This is a side project from the drummer of Comets On Fire. -Shiroi

Bates, Martyn / Troum – To a Child Dancing In The Wind (Transgredient Records)

shiroi   1/16/2007   A Library

The Eyeless In Gaza vocalist teams with German duo Traum to record works of the Irish poet W.B. Yeats. Ambient, melancholy, vocals like a mix of David Sylvian and a mellow Marc Almond, this has expertly layered, carefully crafted soundscapes. For examples, “Mad As The Mist & Snow #2” is slow, eerie, with long echoing tones. “The Magi” is a strange, horns heavy instrumental like mid perios Eyeless In gaza. Then “I Made My Song” has vocals at the forefront and gets high pitched. Evocative music for disturbances in your meditation. – Shiroi

Love Is Love [coll] – [Mono Records]

shiroi   11/26/2006   12-inch, International

An odd and intriguing assortment of various pop and traditional music from Ethiopia, Siere Leone, Kenya, South Africa, Zambia, Nairobi and Tanzania, with string and other instruments. “Toomus Meremereh Nor Good” may be my favorite. Others are more mellifluous in places. “S’modern” sounds very old. “Castle Beer” sounds very primitive and unproduced. “Uolayinda Kubota” has a cheerful rhythm. “Jumbe Nipelek Kwetu” makes me think of a cheerful Tom Waits. “Chemirocha” is actually cute. All songs have their charms. – Shiroi

Waits, Tom – “Orphans ” – [Anti-, Inc.]

shiroi   11/12/2006   A Library, CD

A fabulous and diverse collection, all in Tom’s unique styles. Discs 1 and 3 are more raucous, while disc 2 is more like the pre-Swordfishtrombones album mellower material. “Lie To Me” sounds like a demented Elvis. “Lucinda” sounds like Wolfman Jack with indigestion. A long standout track “The Road To Peace” is about suffering. “Heigh Ho” sounds like he is singing from a sewer. He covers the old songs “Sea of Love,” “Goodnight Irene,” “Young At Heart” and “Two Sisters.” Some of his songs start rather prettily, then there is a bash on a trash can lid or some equivalent and the fun off kilter tune really starts. Some songs are mostly spoken word, such as ‘Army Ants,” which is like a nature documentary. “Redrum” is a little instrumental. “Children’s Story” is about the least happy or soothing imaginable. Other spoken story pieces, with music or just sound effects, are “First Kiss,” “Nirvana” and ‘Spidey’s Wild Ride.” Masterful original stuff here; if not original material, still original approach and execution. – Shiroi

The Evens “Get Evens” [Dischord Records]

shiroi   10/30/2006   A Library, CD, Format

Here Amy Farina joins Ian MacKaye from Fugazi and Minor Threat. The first song “Cut From The Cloth” starts with an odd sound and some casual talk, which any commercial stations would cue past, so if you play it, keep that stuff in. Same with track 4, “You Fell Down.” These are minimalist basement recordings with integrity. Sample lyrics are about a “carved up plastic person,” and he sings, “I don’t accept the social currency, & ditto with the president.” Basic low-fi baritone guitar and drums rock, occasionally jazzy but only slighty ever punky. Ian sings more basically but Amy sings more soulfully. -shiroi

Weaver, Sylvester – “Remaining Titles of Sylvester Weaver 1924-1927, The ” – [Earl Records]

shiroi   10/29/2006   12-inch, Blues


Very good old rare blues and blues-folk. “I’m Busy And You Can’t Come In” is a perky folk instrumental. “Where Shall I Be?” has a female vocals group added to Sylvester’s guitar. This is mostly well preserved considering its age and rarity. “Weaver Stomp” is cool midtempo minimal jovial track. “Soft Steel Piston” sounds like “Oh Susanna” in places. “Bottleneck Blues” is a lively instrumental. “Guitar Rag” and “St Louis Blues” are the scratchiest sounding but still have a cool charm from that. “Black Spider Blues” includes Sylvester’s desire to put that spider in the bottom of your shoe. – Shiroi

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