KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

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

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

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

Bukowski, Charles Readings, SF ?73 and Iowa City ’73 [N/A]

stingray   1/14/2005   A Library, CD

2 CDs of beat poetry from one of the masters. In his tired, gravely voice, Bukowski holds forth on sex, death, oppression, and whatever else comes to mind. No track titles on the CD, so I made some up after listening. For the most part each CD is a contiguous recording that was divided up into tracks. Whoever did this did a pretty lazy job of picking where to start tracks. Sometimes he will say the title of a poem on the end of the previous track. The sound quality is poor, but you can always understand what he is saying.
I *think* Disk 1, tracks 3-12 are the San Francisco recording (the sound quality is different and there is no discernable audience noise). The first 2 tracks of the 1st disc and the entire 2nd disc sound like they are from the same recording, which I assume is the Iowa City recording. It’s all good and heavy, drop the proverbial needle anywhere and let a couple tracks play (but watch for language!).
Language: Disc 1 – 3, 5, 7, 10
Disc 2 – 1, 3, 7, 8, 11, 16, 19, 20
Stingray

Apostle of Hustle – “Folkloric Feel” [Arts and Crafts]

stingray   1/14/2005   A Library, CD

This three-piece (plus guests) out of Canada delivers well written and produced psychedelic folk. There’s just a touch of electronics and feedback on some tracks. There are some Latin-folk influences (lead singer Andrew Whiteman had recently returned from a trip to Cuba where he learned to play the tres (a Cuban guitar)), especially on tracks 3, 7, 8, and 10. The sound is melodic and shimmery, and the production has resulted in an appealingly full sound.
Favorites: 1 (Prog-rock-influenced folk jam), 3 (great, but still mellow use of bongos and tamborine), 7 (a Latin-influenced contra style ballad), 8 (laid back swing beat, longuey vocals).
Track 11 is a :37 second long very quiet shimmery little chord.
Language: 3 (‘shit?), 4 (‘fuck’),
Stingray

Reverend Glasseye – “Happy End and Begin” [Music for Cats]

stingray   1/14/2005   A Library

Reverend Glasseye gives us an all-too-short 5 tracks of organ heavy gypsy folk rock. There are klezmer and Irish folk influences here. It’s the sort of music you could imagine a bar full of people singing along to at 1 in the morning. The instrumentation is very thick, with reeds, a trumpet, organ, guitar, bass, drums, and vocals. My favorites are 1 and 4, but they are all great!
Notes: Track 10 ends with about 7 minutes of ocean waves and seagulls.
Stingray

Man Man – “Man Man” [Ace Fu]

stingray   1/14/2005   A Library

Seemingly a normal man, but with all the powers of a man, it’s Man Man, answering the question: What if Frank Zappa had assembled an ensemble that included Tom Waits on lead vocals? This CD features Honus Honus? gravely vocals in front of an ensemble that includes percussion, horns, piano, guitar, synthesizer, violin, and a children’s chorus (track 1 only). Circus, folk, and klezmer influences combine to make something that is both unique and groovy. It’s cool. Check it out!
Favorites: 1, 3, 7 (instrumental), 9
Notes: Track 10 ends with about 7 minutes of ocean waves and seagulls.
Stingray

14 Year Old Girls – “Strategy Guide” [Retard Disco]

stingray   1/14/2005   A Library, CD

Imagine that Devo were a bunch of nerds. OK, fine, Devo are a bunch of nerds, but imagine that they were obsessed with video games and gamer culture rather than, umm, whatever it is they were obsessed with. Songs about Megaman, Pac Man, Wario, Tomb Raider, et al. The music is catchy, sometimes punky electro-pop with male and female vocals. It’s well produced and fun, and the lyrics are often quite brilliant. All the songs are very short (none over 2 minutes), but the breaks between the tracks are very short, so you can let it track through and play a couple of them. If you have time, the liner notes are quite hilarious.
Favorites: 3, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12, 18, 21, 22, 24, 25
Language: 3 (‘fucking?), 5 (‘fucking?), 14 (‘shit?), 26 (‘fucking?)
Stingray

Aroah – “The Last Laugh” [Acuarela]

stingray   1/14/2005   A Library, CD

Aroah is lead by Irene Rodriguez a Spanish female singer/songwriter. This album predominantly features her clear, simple voice and acoustic guitar work with occasional appearances by drums, flute, and electric guitar, but always sublimated to the voice and acoustic guitar. She is clearly strongly influenced by John Fahey (and says as much on her website). All songs are in English (including the one with the Spanish name) and she has no discernable accent).
Language: 12 (‘fuck’, though she says it so gently I had to listen a couple times to make sure that’s what she was really saying)
Stingray

99 Hooker?s – “Generica”

stingray   1/14/2005   A Library, CD

Sexually charged beat poetry rants over a bed of bass, guitar, samples, and occasional reeds singing over the top. The words aren’t sung so much as spoken in time. The rants are directed variously at Hollywood (7), religion (3,8), redneck America (4), and, umm, miscellaneous. I really like the last track, but it is quite long. From the label’s copy: ’99 Hooker’s Generica is to pop music as crank is to Michelob?.
Members of Note: M2 (of Chemical Brothers), Donald Miller, Ray Sage.
Language: 3 (‘shit?), 4 (‘fuck’), 6 (‘motherfuckers?), 8 (‘shit?)
Oh yeah, the punctuation is correct. ?99 Hooker? is the name of the band leader.
Stingray

Slow Poisoners, The – “Melodrama” [Rocktopus!]

stingray   1/14/2005   A Library

The Slow Poisoners are Andrew Poisoner and Rick ‘Foxx? Trott. These guys have a 4-track and they are not afraid to use it. Well, probably they have some digital recording equipment that sounds like a 4-track. Point being, the songs definitely do not suffer from overproduction. Andrew and Foxx play all instruments with the exception of some trumpet on track 4. The songs are simple, mostly uptempo, clean sounding pop with clever, easily understood lyrics. This is not art. This is entertainment (not that there is anything wrong with that).
Note – Tracks 2, 6, and 13 comprise a 3-act melodrama of the handle-bar-mustachioed-villain-ties-the-girl-to-the-train-tracks variety.
Favorites – 4 (Todo Es Mal!), 7, 8, 11 (a piano rag, instrumental), 14
16 is a cover of This Little Light of Mine.
Stingray

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