KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Straphangers’ Art Ensemble “Straphangers’ Ball” [Artichoke/Rolling Records]

jack soil   3/6/2005   A Library, CD, Format

Real-time improvisational sounds inspired by the subways of NYC; there’s more go
ing on here than you can imagine. My best guess is that Straphangers refers to t
he people holding straps day in and out while mindlessly traveling around the bo
wels of NYC. Eight people on multiple instruments. All home tapers – ideally, th
is would be a cassette release. All headed in far out directions, everyone augme
nting one another despite themselves. This is a bizarre experience for anyone. R
antings, screaming, cacophonous insanity. Heavy use of panning effects in portions.
Echoes, free-form sounds, underlying drones, all blended together in a free-form
manner which could cause you to stop breathing. This was done in one take. Even
though there are tracks listed, the whole thing is one enormous beautiful nightmare.
Hardly a quiet moment to be found in 74 minutes of sonic pressure. Starting off with
the feel of a 300 year old American indian burial ceremony and leading on to
territories unknown. Pot in wherever you like, pot down when you realize that
you’re forgetting to breathe. Definite difficulties await you, are you up for the
challenge?

Puro Eskanol – “Rice and Beans – latin ska underground vol. 2” [Aztlan]

jack soil   3/6/2005   A Library, CD, Format

Part DOS of project by a couple of guys from San Francisco on the Aztlan label.
The focus of the album, just like Volume 1 is Latino based ska. Some songs are
in Spanish, others are in Engles. Pick and choose your favorites. Many of the
bands on the collection have been around for more than 10 years. The sounds range
from classic ska, to almost pure latin sounds done by ska bands such as the ”
Skaliente” track by Yeska. Tops are Let’s Go Bowling’s “Esta Noche”, Link 80’s quick
little “El Estupido”, and Hepcat’s instrumental “..Solo”. Don’t stop there though.
All are fine little numbers. Pickit up, pickit up, pickit up!

Resonance Vol. 6 Number 1 [Resonance Magazine]

jack soil   3/6/2005   A Library, CD, Format

Equation: choose an adventerous show on KFJC, eliminate all mic breaks, don’t segue
any of the track = this fantastic disc bundled with the Resonance sound magazine – published by the likes of the LMC (London Musicians Collective). Full of
variety and ear tingling sounds. There are experimental sounds here for everyone.
Spice it up. Track feelings are listed below.

1. Tumbling into a bottomless pit – silence for 2 min.- resume your fall.
2. Beautiful Harp and lost church bells
3. Simple drum solo – could track into 4 if you wanted
4. Additional drum solo
5. Quick eastern flavors – very appealing
6. Improv – air, walking bass, guitar, drums – fusion-esque
7. Free jazz sounds pieced together to create a monster. Examine.
8. Quiet, nearly lonely, sax figuring it out
9. Skronky
10. Broken sounds; glue missing; instructions smeared; frustrations
11. Extremely quiet leading to an over modulated psych meltdown

This is Ovenguard, Volume 1 [coll] – [Ovenguard]

jack soil   3/6/2005   A Library, CD, Format

An Eclectronic (a new word?) Sampler. Behold the inaugural CD release from
Ovenguard Music. Whacked, spaced-out, tape loops, ambient situations, found
sounds, turntables, sound collage, great use of stereo effects, well thought out noise,
deeep basss and insanity all put together in this collection of avant oven guarde
music produced by an troupe of DIY scientists. Wobbly – provides the instantly
catchy insanity. Seattle based Bran Flakes inject humor into the collection by
providing looped beats with the humorous assistance of Charles Grodin, the Beatles
and Mr. Rogers. Known in Bakersfield – simple tryyped out electronic collages and
loops. Space Mesa – takes you on a paranoid tryp to their own world and back
(includes guide, Charleton Heston as Moses). Liar Ball ?’? Involution – an East Bay
outfit checks in with deep bass influenced noise. The Involution tracks were my
favorites. All are great. I believe this CD is one out of 200. It’ll Piss listeners off
because they’re gonna love it but they’ll never be able to find it.
Great for headphones. Experiment.

New Bomb Turks – “At Rope’s End” [Epitaph]

jack soil   3/6/2005   12-inch, A Library, Format

Going strong since 1990, this is the Turks’ 4th full length allbum with tons of
7″s and comps. in between. Keeping with the theme of their last outting “Scared
Straight”, they’ve got horns and piano embedded in several selections; of course,
the whole thing rocks like hell. At times, I thought I was listening to odd
combinations of KISS, the Stones and the Who. Songs are short blasts of adrenaline
that are rooted in hardcore punk as much as hardcore R&B. Oh yeah, six out of
the thirteen rippin’ tracks have language. . Classic ass kickers. Attitude abounds.

The Secret Museum of Mankind Vol. 5 [coll] – [Yazoo]

jack soil   3/6/2005   CD, International

24 ethnic musical masterpieces spanning the globe – stops include Peru, Italy, A
rmenia, Finland, USA, India and more. Artists range from small girls choirs, to
soloists to elaborate village orchestras. Instruments include: fiddles, porcelain
cups tuned with levels of water, voice, zither (boxed harp), and syrinx (pan
pipe). Each track was remastered from 78s (with a little work done to get rid of
surface noise – fortunately, some of the surface noise character remains. The
time frame is similar to the last installments 1925 – 1948. This is another
excellent collection and definitely deserves to be in the KFJC library. Nearly
extinct old world sounds for a not so new world order.

Metal Eater – “Virus” [Dephine Knormal Music]

jack soil   3/6/2005   A Library, CD, Format

So here’s the deal, two guys, Steve Buchanan and Ron Anderson, on multiple instr
uments with some heavy-duty percussionists (Moe! Staiano, Gino Robair, Thomas Sc
andura) sittin’ in to create infectious blasts of symptoms such as: blurred twitters,
contaminated feedback, inflamed scronks, severe rumbles, toxic general noodlings,
damaged scanned materials, dehydrated clicks, and other sonic spores. Definite
jazz roots here. The concept is disease. Black Death, Yellow Fever, Rabies, you get
the picture? I wouldn’t be surprised if the CDC wasn’t after these cats for posing
a serious health risk to the general public. An ounce of prevention ain’t worth
shit here. My suggestion, embrace the virus; vaccinations are futile. Otherwise,
boil for at least 12 minutes before ingestion.

Jazz Jamaica “Double Barrel” [Hannibal]

jack soil   3/6/2005   CD, Format, Reggae

Stretchin it wayyyy out, it’s Jazz Jamaica, the London, England based band, producing
fine jazz/ska renditions of both classic jazz/easy listening and ska tunes. Includes
a brilliant foot-tapping rendition of Burt Bacharach’s “Walk on By”. This band pays
serious tribute to artists of the likes of Don Drummond, Winston Riley, Charlie Parker
and more. Classics such as the unforgettable Monkey Man are amazing. Toy with
the theme from Exodus, possibly pass on “The Grapevine”. All songs are instrumental
(except for minor exclamations during the first track) and lengthy enough to bead
up a bit o’ perspiration. Re-sole those dancing shoes, Jazz Jamaica now has a home
high atop black mountain.

Gas Huffer – “Just Beautiful Music” [Epitaph]

jack soil   3/6/2005   A Library, CD, Format

Full length release number 5 from the industrious multi-talented quartet based in
Seattle (each release comes with a comic penned by the Huffers themselves – also
known as the Del Lagunas – surf band). This is their third and best release on
Epitaph, and, fortunately, they do not sound like an Epitaph band! This a more
mature Huffer, ranging from great quick little pop punk tunes to slower ballady
stuff to even a little du-wop work at the end. Produced by Phil Ek whose produced
some amazing stuff from bands such as Built to Spill. Live, the Huffer play fast
and loud; it’s easy to tell these songs are scorchers when played live.
This record is really good. These guys love to play and this release tells it
all. Fill your can and get a rag.

Neil Hamburger – Raw Hamburger [Drag City]

jack soil   3/6/2005   12-inch, A Library, Format

Art Huckman, Neil’s mother fucking manager has decided that Neil needs to get wi
th the goddamn times; spice up his fucking act so to speak, so, what better way
to season up an act than to do a RAW album. At first thing’s don’t go so goddam
n mother fucking right, but as soon as the cock sucking sound man gets his head
out of his ass, Neilllll motherfucking Hammmburgerrrrr gets rolling. Neil moves
from tame G/PG rated humor to full on ass reaming rated R shit. No holds barre
d, no punches pulled. No one is safe around this raunchy madman. This is an ass
kicking record (literally, actually, Neil gets his ass kicked by a pissed off patron)
Neil doesn’t know when to fucking stop on this one. Language galore here. For
you music lovers, there’s even a little song tacked onto the end of the album
about a urine filled vegetable garden. Listen to this album a couple of times
and you’ll be reminded of the genesis that is Neil Hambuger. Perfect for late
nights. Bottom line, this shit is fuckin’ funny as hell, so get your head out of your
ass and play this record mother scratcher.

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