Music Reviews

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

Qwel & Meaty Ogre – “Freezer Burner ” – [GALAPAGOS4]

Max Level   10/29/2006   CD, Hip Hop

Qwel the emcee has a lot to say and always says a lot. He’s an emotional dude who sounds like he means what he says, and his literate lyrical flows bring hip hop to some interesting new places. Producer/beatmaker Meaty Ogre is a solid collaborator, bringing mostly rock beats heavy on guitars, many of them of them way fuzzed out. The music and production are right there with the lyrics, offering some different ideas about what works behind an emcee. Somehow the midwest sensibility behind this comes out. Gotta say ‘I’m not crazy about Qwel’s singing on #6, but the song has a wicked rap in the middle, so it’s not like it hasn’t got anything. #8 is a short instrumental. If you’re looking for new sounds in hip hop, check out this intelligent, down to earth album.

Yoshihide’s, Otomo New Jazz Orchestra – “Out to Lunch ” – [Doubt Music]

Max Level   10/28/2006   CD, Jazz

Fantastic! Otomo (guitar/conductor) keeps blowing my mind with his varied projects. Here the late Eric Dolphy’s classic Blue Note record is rearranged for a jazz/rock ensemble and a few noise-type artists who add subtle touches with computer, sine waves, contact mic, mixing board, tubes, and the inside of a piano. Dolphy’s odd themes are the source material for this crazy mix of horn-heavy roller coaster jazz, headbanging rock, squirts and blurts, electronic snaps, crackles, and pops, and ambient textures. If Frank Zappa had extended his 7-minute “Eric Dolphy Memorial Barbecue” into a piece nearly an hour long, and had cats like Mats Gustafsson and Toshimaru Nakamura in his band, I think the sound would have been quite a bit like this. #5, the longest track by far, has more ringing soundscape and less in the way of well-defined jazz.

Solar Anus – “Skull Alcoholic ” – [Tumult]

Thurston Hunger   10/26/2006   A Library, CD

Andee of Tumult has plucked gold from the Solar Anus annals, the
compleat evil trinity of releases from bandleader Tenkotu Kawaho’s
Gyokumon label with a bonus track serving as the title as well. The
first disc is a dirtbaggers’ delight! Heavy metal alchemy, crusty
chords, dual guitar lines over thick-ass riffs and vocals squeezed
out of the lower intestine (and panned at times!). Drums drive this
thing like a female Sumu heart attack, evidently Solar Anus pairs
Takahiro Seki on drums and Ten Watanabe on “Japanese drums” and
moments do feel like attack of the killer taiko. However even as
disc one progresses, and we come across Maki Takahasi’s “chorus”
it seems there is more here than Black Sabbath worship. Maki is
either being tortured, or more likely mocking the tortured ones,
with screams and yelps. This release moves from worship through
parody ultimately to its own maniacal genius. The second disc is
pyschedelic light years removed, a grave Neu world in its own galaxy
of synths and tape-tweakery and supernovas of cymbal-ism. Is that
a tuba oompa-loomping out of “Meat Pressure” into “Deamon?” Many
of the pieces track by the way… Mirth and mimicry make for a
stupendous celebration here, in a sonic coital crime. Nothing is
sacred, and nothing should be! It ends with a crazed confession,
reverse-looped in Japanese…get David Lynch to make a video,
“The doom you like, it’s coming back in style!”

-Thurston Hunger

Maypole – “Real, The ” – [Anopheles Records]

Thurston Hunger   10/26/2006   12-inch, A Library

Dropping some interesting bombs into the mindmeld of firedaisy rock,
indeed there’s some sort of nuclear blast on the lead-off track
and at other times a reverb buster gets cut loose for a couple of
beats. Check the album cover for a slice of 1970, flip it over and
you see everyone sings on this. A good sign, as is a nest of Who’s
Next calibre rock und hoople before Sister Disco steamrolled the
unsuspecting long-haired boys and girls. Paul Welsh not only sings
but kinda plays melodic drums on this, if you know what I mean.
His hi-hat often whispers, “pssst.” Definite rock histrionics get
yer mental fog machine fired up. Even the old open-string trill
riff gets buzzed into “Johnny!” They even pump fake you with the
“rock ballad” intro on “You Were” but again a nice bit o’ bashing
works its way into the up-phase of that number. Yeah some songs
have “Yeah” in the lyrics. Man (if I may address you in the proper
vernacular), this is 1970! A lot of bands would hear stuff on the
radio and think, we’re better than that. Maypole was indeed, but
as the detailed liner notes describe, and the lyrics prophecy
“This scene for me fell through, for only a year but
the time I spent wondering I could have born another man”
Alas, Maypole often got the shaft, still this is enjoyable as a
time capsule / holy grail / hot R Baltimore. Definitely a shadow
hovers nearby of what could have been; mention of more ragged and
improvised (yet still loosely tight) live sets beckon a rare boot?

-Thurston Hunger

NV Groep ’65 – “Dank zij de Heer ” – [Grey Past Recordings]

Thurston Hunger   10/26/2006   10-inch, A Library

The A-side of this 10″ EP is just amazing. Droning, sacred vocals
strafe the title track (they even shine in the dirtier demo version
on side B). Heart-breaking, staircase down chords, they even mutter
something about “Ave Maria” to accentuate the Gregorian jonesing
going on. The piece see-saws between major and minor keys and could
sound as great in a dank hall in 1965 as it could sound in a set
with Crescent today. The second track is a paean to pot (well this
was recorded in Amsterdam, where people are required by *law* to
toke ;>). Speaking of winks, evidently the lead singer was referred
to (and possibly by himself) as Jesus…and hey he didn’t even feel
compelled to kill anyone! Take note all you budding messiahs! But
anwyays the pop here, and the harmonies in three spirits are divine.
They soar on “Lost” which gallops, as the girl gallops away and Pim
Abbestee hits a few high notes and has his voice break perfectly.
At other times Pim just let’s his falsetto flag fly! Finally on
“Pipe and you like it” more smoke, and harmonies that contract and
expand. Breathe in, breathe out…and then here’s a hippie hoedown
break. Again the A-side of this is remarkably good garage with a
psychedelic Dutch door! The B-side has two Mersey toe-poppers,
“Show me the right way to find her…before I kill myself.” Ah,
sweet innocent pop, and young obsessive love. With a tambourine
that means business! A great re-release, and lengthy notes in
packaging, minus two points for labelling four tracks wrong.
Seriously, do not miss this timeless gem!!

-Thurston Hunger

Great Ghost Stories [coll] – [Troll Records]

Thurston Hunger   10/26/2006   12-inch, A Library

Ghost ships, golden arms and great narrators. Subtle sound effects
sprinkled on the first three cuts, a whisper of wind, a swell from
the sea, a dancing spanish guitar fly (cool when it gets revved up
with reverb by some spectre) all serve as simple foley to the stories
here. The richest man in the world pops up on “The Guitar Player” he
has a vague fake accent, but he does toss a nice party. The first
three tracks all deal with the undead, and even have a bit of
disinterring, handing us an arm o’ ‘arm. The last piece, “Here We
Go!” about a “Boggart” ends up being the sound effect showcase for
Barbara Wood. Amityville Cornball action on that track. Voice
talents include CBS Radio Workshop workhorses, Dan Ocko, Robert
Dryden and Ralph Bell. Happy Halloween, 2006 from the bargain
bin to all the jack and jill-o-lanterns. Next year, here’s hoping
KFJC produces its own haunted radio plays!!

-Thurston Hunger

Human Element : The World’s First Human Beatbox Compilation [coll] – [108 Records]

Thurston Hunger   10/26/2006   CD, Hip Hop

Here’s a spit-kickin’ collection that’ll put a smile on your
ears. Beatbox is probably a lot older than drum machines,
but when it was too expensive to drop some cash for some
turntables, folks like the Fat Boys, Doug E. Fresh, Rahzel
and Kenny Muhammad just dropped their jaws instead. With
cymbals in their cheeks, snares on their tongues and a
gigantic bass drum stuffed in there somewhere, beatboxers
are more than half-man/half-machine, they’re cartoons and
comics and the lips that can sink ships. Stetsasonic and
Scratch of the Roots get things spinning, but I definitely
dug with Kmillion(#3) , B-Shorty(#6), and DOA (#8). Always
cool to catch QBert, who duels the drool out of B-Shorty
on #10. Field trips include a weird visit to southern fried
boogie rock from Kris Jung, and a rasta-muffin-huffin’
conclusion from Boxx. Looks like the project was run by
Fedahi, who run their mouths and game on #12 and cry out
“all the chicken heads in the house scream ‘Bawk’.” Is it a
coup or a coop? Click the Supah Latin enrolls an old school
with some new kids on the box; from their mouths to God’s
mix tape. Just plain fun all around.

-Thurston Hunger

Blowfly – “Blowfly’s Punk Rock Party ” – [Alternative Tentacles]

johnnydarko   10/25/2006   A Library, CD

Blowfly, who has been pushing the nasty parody envelope of soul and hip-hop records since the 70’s, turns rock with Punk Rock Party, full of foul-mouthed punk parodies. Bands Parodied include: Devo (Suck It), Stooges (I Wanna Fuck Your Dog), The Ramones (I Wanna Be Fellated), The Clash (Should I Fuck This Big Fat Ho), Billy Idol (Playing With Myself), O’Jays (Suck and Fuck Train) with the most obscure cover coming from Rocket From The Crypt (Fucked With A Dildo). Other tracks show the strong influence from Jello Biafra with parodies of Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Antiseen, Offspring & Dead Kennedys tracks. Sadly the vocals are quiet & hard to hear and the worn-out punk tunes & backing band aren’t quite enough to carry the release all the way thru 19 tracks (20-25 are clean versions), yet listeners will find humor in at least one track guaranteed. Check out the donut on booklet art. Tasty!

-johnny darko

to Live and Shave In L.a. – “Horoscopo: Sanatorio De Moliere ” – [Blossoming Noise]

johnnydarko   10/25/2006   A Library, CD

This album is a compiled remix of old works to get fans ready for the upcoming album: “Noon and Eternity” which will finally feature TLASILA as an octet with newest band members Andrew W.K. Don Fleming and Richard Russo. These reworked tracks span 15 or so albums from 1991-2006, beginning a new chapter for the band who has not released any original material since the original trio ended in 2002. Cuts are loopy grainy and crunchy with a mechanical robotic feel to them. Imagine being in a factory with robots shooting laser pens into your eyes. Frequent high pitch beeps keep your hands close to the volume controls with sound clips approaching unbearable levels at times. Some keyboard/piano clips accompany looped and half/eaten vocals, always surrounded by static, buzzing, churning and cyclical moving part sounds. The chaos & complexity of instrumentation makes sci-fi seem low-fi and empowers people who push buttons. Tom Smith and Thurston Moore could very well be the descendants of men who had to manually sound the alarm. Fine production and use of frequencies often create the sense of real world sounds occurring whirling around our heads. And then you realize its just Andrew WK bashing a bottle on your dome.

-johnny darko