KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Asylum Street Spankers – “Spanker Madness ” – [Spanks-A-Lot Records]

Studebaker Hawk   1/16/2005   CD, Country

grass,…. wine,….. beer, …..hash…… on this happy tribute to the joys of (mostly) natural intoxication. While these are mostly new songs, the style and subjects go way back to the jug bands, blues shouters and such from the early 20th century. (and the skiffle groups, hip folk singers and revivalists of the 1950s and 60s) with lots of harmonica, slide guitar, kazoo, group singing, trad jazz and much more.. must have been quite a recording session!
The Spankers are from Austin and they know their loco-weed very well. Most emphatically Politically INcorrect – there is only one very tiny “bad word” on this, but the concept is pushing the edge, as it should be. .. just have a lot of fun wit it!
*review by Studebaker Hawk

Grinning Idiots – “It’s not the M.O.M.A. ” – [Chainsaw]

Studebaker Hawk   1/16/2005   A Library, CD

A local (Mid-Peninsula) group that has been around for a while, this is the first recording from Grinning Idiots. I think the main strength of this group is the arrangements, especially in the use of the horn section. Mostly Pop-Jazz-Rock with more than a bit of white-boy T.O.P. funk, with some excursions into sample weirdness and studio tricks. All songs have vocals and are band originals (in their live sets they also do some killer covers!) Cut # 4 is actually the title track, but it is called “Weird Stuff.” Cut #1 is most popular among the band members and does capture their sound well. The G-Idiots could probably do very well on commercial radio (well, KFOG maybe) in an alternative universe. *review by Studebaker Hawk

Three Day Stubble – “Figshta Diaries, the ” – [Nerd Rock Music]

Studebaker Hawk   1/16/2005   A Library, CD

From the self-proclaimed inventors of Nerd Rock: Staged in March of 1998 in San Francisco, The Figshta Diaries tells the musical story of a girl’s painful rejection by her family and society, her loss of mental health, and of her ultimate, if ambiguous, psychic redemption. (that was from their web site) 3 Day Stubble has had a long history of strangeness and is more than just a bit silly, but there is a lot of interesting music under the top level. They started out in Houston but now are off-centered in SF. (don’t believe the mailing address on the CD – there is a San Francisco in Texas, but not with that Zip Code.) Good stuff for any non-speciality show. I really like the Glockenspiel. *review by Studebaker Hawk

Countdown Quartet, the – “Countdown Quartet, the ” – [Yep Roc]

Studebaker Hawk   1/16/2005   A Library, CD

Out of Chapel Hill, North Carolina (same place as the Squirrel Nut Zippers come from – and the SNZ guitarist is also part of this group) – well, this is a crazy mixed up group – it don’t know if it is a grungy R & B lounge act, a cast-off New Orleans Mardi Gras Indian krew, an ’50s – ’60’s RocknRoll band or a Dixieland/Swing combo! Fun vocals – some almost in a Doo-Wop style add a lot to this group. Loud and cheezy recording style for the most part – high energy sax and t-bone over a killer guitar/drum/bass funk line give us something new yet old (and I like it a lot!) *review by Studebaker Hawk

Neuburg, Amy X and Men – “Sports! Chips! Booty! ” – [Racer Records]

Studebaker Hawk   1/16/2005   A Library, CD

Amy X and her All Boy Choir do some fun stuff here – right outa Oakland and as crazy as ever. She can sound like a female Klaus Nomi (that is different from a male Yma Sumak) and she can also write some damn clever songs. Style and substance and somewhat danceable (or you can sing in the shower) (or drink in the shower) rhythmical tunes that remind me a bit of the late Idiot Flesh or the even later Frank Zappa with unusual instrumentation and effects. Very nice version of the “Alabama Song” for all you Brecht and Weill fans. I like! *review by Studebaker Hawk

Electric Voodoo – “Staying Powers ” – [Tekito Records]

Studebaker Hawk   1/16/2005   A Library, CD

deep from the dark side of the French Quarter (home of the Voodoo Queen Marie Leveaux [lee-voh]) comes this twisted ceremonial music – creole chants and African drums layered with amazing feedback freakout electric guitars & keyboard wizardry. I have never been to a real voodoo event so I am not sure if this is kosher, but it sure is scary enough!
Great for late at night… oh yeah, the last track ends quickly, like they ran out of tape. *review by Studebaker Hawk

Those Darn Accordions! – “Amped ” – [Globe Records]

Studebaker Hawk   1/16/2005   A Library, CD

Honey, I Shrunk Those Darn Accordions!
The reality of logistics and money having an 8 accordion band finally hit these guys – now down to just 3 boxes, a bass and drums, but still pumping out some great covers and originals. I wish the energy of their recent live shows made it to this recording, but it is still a fun thing from a great local band. Try tracks 3 and 5 for the covers…great for soundtrack and Garage band shows.
*review by Studebaker Hawk

Those Darn Accordions! – “Clownhead ” – [Globe Records]

Studebaker Hawk   1/16/2005   A Library, CD

Coming off the strength of their prior CD (No Strings Attached) TDA has been exploring the range of styles that might work with an 8 accordion band – from new wave techno-rock to blues and modern country. Some of this works, some is a bit weak. Track 4, (a cover of “Low Rider” ) and track 9, Devo’s “Uncontrollable Urge” work just fine as novelty versions.
The Ancient Accordionist Clyde Forsman makes a vocal treat on “The First Bratwurst of Summer” which is the only polka style track. This is a 1999 recording and the band would soon loose several of the players, including Big Lou. *review by Studebaker Hawk

Naked Orchestra, the – “Brief Repairs on the Gradually ” – [Jonathan Freilich Records]

Studebaker Hawk   1/16/2005   CD, Jazz

The avant-garde music scene in New Orleans is a bit rough – there is so much other great musics going on there it gets ignored by most. Jonathan Freilich (New Orleans Klezmer All-Stars) put this group together to explore the outside possibilities of New Orleans & klezmer traditions. The others in this orchestra come from some of the best brass/funk/punk/junk bands. Some of the compositions are a bit stiff and “anti-funky” – something that is very hard to do in “The Big Sleazy,” but the rest have an unusual energy. Track 5 takes klezmer harmonies at an analytical pace so you can really hear the complexities of the chords and rhythms. *review by Studebaker Hawk

Sprague Brothers, the – “Forever and a Day ” – [Hightone]

Studebaker Hawk   1/16/2005   A Library, CD

A modern version of the Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly & the Crickets, Chad & Jeremy, The Beach Boys, early Beatles, any surf band, any rock’n’roll band, any rockabilly (old style) – these two actual brothers can do it well! These tracks are not covers of obscure 50’s and 60’s songs – they are original “oldies” in the best meaning of the term. Rockin’ good times, and I hear they are a great show to see live (mostly in SoCal region, but they do tour this way.) *review by Studebaker Hawk

Southern, Terry – “Give Me Your Hump! ” – [Koch Audium]

Studebaker Hawk   1/16/2005   CD, Comedy

A hard call between spoken word and Comedy, but I think Southern would have wanted to be in that category. He was a contemporary of W.S. Burroughs, Lenny Bruce and the Beats of the late 1950s, but he was also a major influence on the young writers of the National Lampoon generation. His writing included “Candy,” “The Magic Christian,” and the screenplays for “Barbarella,” “Dr. Strangelove” and “Easy Rider.” among many others. This recording is a collection of some of his readings and comedy productions, done by him and his friends (including Michael O’Donoghue and Martin Mull.) Not everything is a real winner, as satire & “black comedy” can be a very fine edged sword. Terry Southern died in 1995 at the age of 71 after a long spell of not doing too much…
MOST OF THIS HAS TONS OF “BAD LANGUAGE & PRURIENT CONTENT” AND CANNOT BE PLAYED DURING THE 6AM-10PM TIME PERIOD. PERIOD!!!!!!
*review by Studebaker Hawk

Green, Bernie & Stero Madmen – “Musically Mad ” – [Bmg Spain]

Studebaker Hawk   1/16/2005   CD, Comedy

Back in 1958 Mad Magazine was not as juvenile as it is now – adults could read it without too much shame. From time to time the magazine produced recordings, this was their first attempt. With a studio orchestra led by Bernie Green, a TV and movie soundtrack writer/conductor plus the very dry humor of Henry Morgan on some tracks, this is a very mixed bag of trash. Nowhere near as funny as earlier Spike Jones or the Hoffnung festivals recorded in the late 1950s (or PDQ Bach later on,) but for it’s time I guess it is OK stuff. Apply to Affected Areas, Close Cover Before Striking and RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY!
(I don’t think this is an authorized in USA issue – there is no mention of it on the official Mad Magazine website…) *review by Studebaker Hawk

Mustafio – “Mustafio Has no Comment ” – [Stinko Productions]

Studebaker Hawk   1/16/2005   A Library, CD

Once again this somewhat mysterious personage from some place or the other regales us with a non-stop stream of commentary on his life, friends, enemies, and whatever. This time there is only one long track (with some music as a bed) so you will just have to find your own starting and finishing point.
I heard one tiny “Shit” at about 8 minutes till the end but it is not something to worry about… *review by Studebaker Hawk

Rube Waddell – “Bound for the Gates of Hell ” – [Vaccination Records]

Studebaker Hawk   1/16/2005   A Library, CD

Much more Rube Waddell from various recent live & studio recordings. Mutant Sea Chanteys, Jug Band Classics, Stompin’ One String Guitar, Sousaphone Squonk, Beat-up Pie Tins, Tom Waitsish Vocals, A Tribute to “Mannix” and other goofy fun junk from this local trio – they have toured all over the place but now reside in the Mission District. Track 14 fades into a long ambient wash but comes back for a thrilling conclusion – wait for it!
(BTW, the actual R.W. was a famous screwball pitcher from the early 1900s – quite a character on and off the field…)
*review by Studebaker Hawk

Zoot Horn Rollo – “We Saw a Bozo Under the Sea ” – [Zoot Horn Rollo Records]

Studebaker Hawk   1/16/2005   A Library, CD

Long after leaving Capt. Beefheart and The Magic band, guitarist Bill Harkleroad (AKA Zoot Horn Rollo) now living in Eugene, OR recorded this tasty rock-jazz fusion thing. At first it was going to be a home-studio solo project but he made connections with drummer Greg Bendian on the Internet and the project grew into this form. All instrumentals and mostly twisted yet beautiful, this is “Good Fusion” with varied guitar tastes, some sax and harmonica and a lot of local Eugene talent. By the way, Harkleroad also was a founder of the group “Mallard” and he also wrote a book about Capt. Beefheart. *review by Studebaker Hawk

Laika & the Cosmonauts – “In Absurdistan ” – [Yep Roc]

Studebaker Hawk   1/15/2005   A Library, CD

Laika & The Cosmonauts, direct from Finland in 1997 take another look at the surf music thang – they are not as frantic as some bands, an easy beat and clean melodic guitar, some organ/synth – reminds me more of the Ventures than anything else. All instrumental tracks (only a tiny amount of vocal effects and shouts, still qualifies for “Surf’s Up!”) with just a taste of that Finnish Reggae Tango on some cuts. check out the “Zap Comix” style booklet… *review by Studebaker Hawk

Lewis, Walter “Furry” – “Take Your Time ” – [Adelphi Records]

David Richoux   1/15/2005   CD

A very laid-back 1969 recording session with Lee “Mudboy” Baker helping out (check out that giant can o’ Falstaff!) this is a simple, honest Memphis/Delta blues style – easy pace, classic lyrics, big ol’ guitar. Furry was born sometime around 1893 so he would have been about 76 at the time of this recording. He played guitar for traveling “medicine shows” in the early 1900’s and got into the blues in the 20’s. Lost his leg in a train accident but he still got around quite a bit, recording in Chicago and Memphis, even worked as a street sweeper! – check out the full biography inside the booklet… great stuff!
*review by David Richoux

Youngblood Brass Band – “Unlearn ” – [E Pluribus Bumpass Music]

David Richoux   1/15/2005   CD, Jazz

Back with Attitude – the Youngbloods have jumped up several levels since their last CD. with special guest vocal by Ike Willis (ex-Zappa) track 4 and lots of & rap-poetry stuff with Talib Kweli and Mike Ladd – some bits of bad language tracks 7 & 8, DJ Skooly scratching and a solid brass section, lead by “The Warrior” on Sousaphone (check out his acoustic-weird tones on some tracks using no electronic effects…) These guys are from the suburbs of Madison, Wisconsin but they still live in the heart of New Orleans Soul. *review by David Richoux

New Klezmer Trio – “Short for Something ” – [Tzadik]

David Richoux   1/15/2005   CD, Jazz

Yet another in the “Radical Jewish Culture” series – this one finds Ben Goldberg noodle-ing around on his clarinet – mostly minor key and mysterious (even the Freylekhs are pretty slow,) Dan Seamans rumbling around the basement and Kenny Wollesen holding the whole thing together on percussion. Very dark and sad yet beautiful music on this CD. *review by David Richoux

Riley, Steve & the Mamou Playb – “Happytown ” – [Rounder Records]

David Richoux   1/15/2005   CD, Country

Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys are of the generation that followed the modernization and revival of “Cajun” music by Beausoleil, Zachary Richard and a few others – Steve has taken the style just a little closer to mainstream rock using electric guitar and some electronics. Just a bit. They are still an exciting band, especially in a live setting. This recording covers a lot of different styles from straight old traditional Cajun waltzes to some eerie & dark swamp funk. Instros and some vocals – in Cajun and some English. *review by David Richoux

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