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Music Reviews

Primetime Sublime Community or – “A Life in a Day of a Micro… ” – [Corporate Blob Records]

Studebaker Hawk   1/16/2005   A Library, CD

East coast project combining real and synthi musicians, cut-ups and complex editing for a lot of funny stuff. There are a lot of references to modern classical composition but more silly than most.
The long production ‘A Life in a Day of A Microorganism? is a take on those 1950’s elementary school science films that soon goes horribly wrong. Even broken into 3 parts it is a bit too long (and there are a few lame ‘Gay Jokes?) but it might fit somewhere in your show. The shorter tracks are outstanding and well worth a spin. There are some ‘self-promotion? sort of announcements but not overdone… *review by Studebaker Hawk

Skerik – “Left for Dead in Seattle ” – [Critters Buggin]

Studebaker Hawk   1/16/2005   A Library, CD

Every Track is Different! These are recordings done over the last 10 years with various combinations of musicians. They were ‘left for dead? on the shelf because Skerik was too busy doing other things to finish them, but he finally did it. This is not at all like Skerik’s Syncopated Taint Septet – not much ‘jazz? here at all.
Track 1: just a low voice intro.
Track 2: sort of a Tower of Power/JB Horns Groove thang. Shake it!
Track 3: goofy Vocorder + Parlament-Funkadelic feel – very fine!
Track 4: vocal + sax jazzy thing that has more than a touch of Zappa.
Track 5: rapping drum (real and machine) & bass low ride – clean vocals.
Track 6: violin feature over various vibes and marimbas
Track 7: Psycho-Klez with Idiot Flesh like craziness vocals – scary stuff but fun.
Track 8: the feel of track 7 continues instrumentally into the desert…
Track 9: Goof-Rap version of this Xmas classic – not just for December!
Track 10: continues the Santa thing into Hell- lots of guitars.
Track 11: Bonus track with string orchestral effects – very minimal.
All are interesting and worth a spin!!! *review by Studebaker Hawk

Walls of Genius – “Before … and After ” – [Self Release]

Studebaker Hawk   1/16/2005   A Library, CD

Walls of Genius were not the first to use a mix of goofy instruments, samples, vocals/spoken word and noisemakers in a post-punk/new wave experimental weirdo band but they were certainly among the early ‘well known? perpetrators of this kind of quirky SubGenious music that has since become a staple of KFJC’s library. This is a CD reissue of a 1984 cassette release, part of a series of about 30 tapes made between 1982 and 1986. Little Fyodor is still touring around the country, performing for secret societies in strange little clubs. He pronounces his name as: “fee-ay-dor” ‘Spazz Music of Macho Irony? is what the Rev. Stang calls it. More at letterstodanfogelberg.50megs.com/ and littlefyodor.com MANY FUCKS on Track 10 otherwise clean *review by Studebaker Hawk

Connah, Graham – “Because of Wayne/The Only Song ” – [Evander Music]

Studebaker Hawk   1/16/2005   A Library, CD

This 3 CD 2 Group set from Graham Connah is quite something! Part jazz, part rock, part Zappaesque weirdness with interesting combinations of wind, string and electronic instruments, some clever vocals and a wacky, playful quality that will have you trying to dance along to the odd time signatures and jolly funky squonks. Disc One (Because of Wayne) were recorded live at Bruno’s in 98/99 as “Sour Note Seven” and the other 2 discs are 2000 studio sessions as “Jettison Slinky” with many line-up changes but there is a conceptual continuity throughout. Mighty Fine! *review by Studebaker Hawk

Donner Party, the – “Complete Recordings 1987-1989 ” – [Innerstate Records]

Studebaker Hawk   1/16/2005   A Library, CD

We have the first two LPs collected on this CD, but Disc 2 has previously unreleased material. Donner Party crossed a lot of styles, from Byrds/Dylanish 12 string jangle-hippie folk rock to cow-punk to sort of They Might Be Giants to thrashing junk kore with serious lyrics. There are some happy little songs about death and what happens to your guts when you die and other sweet things, but mostly I would call this just really good late 80s SF Rock. too bad there is not a lyric sheet in this – there is some fine writing…
Don’t miss the 2nd CD Bad words noted on Disc 2 track One (Please Don’t Listen) *review by Studebaker Hawk

Father Harry – “Spring 2000 ” – [Oblate Media and Communi.]

Studebaker Hawk   1/16/2005   A Library, CD

No bad words on this CD
some questionable snippets of (maybe) Backstreet Boys and such are used to punctuate the themes, but Fr. Harry is back as his usual wacky self, telling clever little messages of goodness to the great unwashed.
If you liked him on his previous hit records, you will like this one, but if you have avoided him in the past a great big foot might come down out of the clouds and skoosh you like a bug. *review by Studebaker Hawk

Mekons – “Journy to the End of the Night ” – [Quarterstick Records]

Studebaker Hawk   1/16/2005   A Library, CD

The Mekons have been around since 1976 , making one or two albums a year since then and are still creating interesting music. Blends of strumbly folk with reggae tinged lyrics, fiddle driven cow-punk tear stained ballads, moody gloomy happy pop songs – whatever the want to do seems to come out great. Important, clever lyrics, great arrangements – a KFJC standard (check the library!) well worth many spins… Try any track. *review by Studebaker Hawk

Lars Vegas – “Smoking ” – [Akers Recording]

Studebaker Hawk   1/16/2005   A Library, CD

twisted beat poetry lyrics spoke/sung over a moody swingly jazz combo – strange references and clever insights, indeed smokin’ is the proper tone – even an ode to liver and onions on this fun goof. All tracks are interesting – try them! From what I can’t find on the web, this seems to be the second CD from a Boston area band that includes Dana Colley (of Morphine) on Bari Sax. Akers Recording is MIA. if I find out any more I will add it here: If you like this, try Fred Lane and His Hittite Hot-Shots (2 albums in A library) *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

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

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