Outsight

Bloody Beautiful

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Outsight brings to light non-mainstream music, film, books, art, ideas and opinions.


Published, somewhere, monthly since July 1991. Feel free to re-print this article.

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BLOODY BEAUTIFUL

Bloody Beautiful is an extravagantly produced magazine of the bizarre

and bawdy, the vintage and vital. By way of a manifesto and philosophical assertion,

the debut issue includes a Bloody Beautiful hall-of-fame. Among the deceased

luminaries listed are Anton LaVey, Mae West, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Tallulah

Bankhead and Fellini. The focus of the issue is Tin Pan Alley personage Ian

Whitcomb. Detailed articles on the genre include a Whitcomb interview and discography.

A vinyl seven-inch included is Whitcomb performing “They’re Wearing ‘em

Higher in Hawaii” and “Yaaka Hula Hickey Dula.” (For music reviews,

the magazine will only do vinyl releases.) Other features include an article

on royal madman King Ludwig II of Bavaria, a photo essay on Gunga Din scriptwriter,

Chicago Tribune journalist and Fantazius Mallare novelist Ben

Hecht and homage to torch singer Ruth Etting.</p>

ROCKING WOMEN

Betty Blowtorch (http://www.bettyblowtorch.com/)

is the new project led by former Butt Trumpet vocalist Bianca Butthole. In the

spirit of The Runaways with the unabashed crudity afforded by these days, the

group rocks hard and sings proud about fast sex in a fast life on Are You

Man Enough? </i>(Foodchain; http://www.foodchainrecords.com/).

A monster rock sound comes from the production and engineering talents of Matt

Hyde (Monster Magnet, Porno for Pyros). Violet Skin (http://www.violetksin.com)

is an all-female Detroit indie rock quartet that offers a more restrained post-punk

power pop on Kabuki (Violet Skin, POB 833, R.O. MI, 48068). Jill Jones

(http://www.jilljones.net) teams up with multi-instrumentalist Chris Bruce on

Two (DAV Music, http://www.davmusic.com). Formerly part of the Paisley

Park revue, this party girl sheds her trend-pop image to emerge as a sophisticated

rock lyricist and vocalist on Two. The Franc Graham Band features journeyman

drummer Billy Conway (Morphine) and other experienced and able players backing

singer-songwriter Franc Graham on Sugar Tree (cdfreedom.com). Her blues-inflected

rock is electric poetry, rock with emotion. Her understated, mature music

has a snaky, tough groove. Leslie Nuss launches from the cover of Action

Hero Superstar</i> (Littleleaf Records; http://www.leslienuss.com) with a cape

and a bold look. The tough exterior of this packaging belies the artful sensitivity

of the heartfelt pop inside.</p>

DVD REVIEWS *******************************************

The Bedroom, a.k.a Shisenjiyou no aria (An Aria on Gazes)

Hisayasu Sato, director

Music Video Distributors/Screen Edge

http://www.musicvideodistributors.com/

http://www.screenedge.com/</p>

In the ’90’s rampant reports of date rape drugs like roofies infiltrated the

cultural consciousness to affect the modern rape fantasy in this hour-long art

roughie. An exclusive club called The Bedroom boasts girls that willingly dose

themselves with Halcion, a knock-out soporific named after the mythical bird

given the power to calm the stormy waves. No storms of protest arise from these

doped dames as men have their way with them in any manner of chemically-enabled forbidden pleasure. There is plenty of Asian skin in this erotic feature

filmed in the unique Japanese style: showing everything in close-up detail but

skipping over armpit and pubic hair, taboo in Japanese society. The

Japanese language film includes English subtitles and film-within-a-film motif

as The Bedroom clan videos their endeavors for a daily video diary. Fetishistic

and stylized, this is an excellent example of Pink Cinema- a Japanese pornography

subculture product that mates the gratification of the burlesque with a durable

art house plot. Also of note, actor-ghoul Issei Sagawa (Mr. Takano) murdered

and ate a female Dutch college student in Paris and eventually came upon

his freedom in Japan after time spent in French and Japanese asylums. (4)</p>

GWAR: Phallus in Wonderland

</i>Music Video Distributors/Metal Blade Video

http://www.musicvideodistributors.com/</p>

The GWAR band formed as a side-effort to the founding members’ college training

for future careers making B-movies. It is this film aspect that brings about

the dramatic choreography to their live shows. The band became more successful

and such movie hopes were set aside, until GWAR itself became a vehicle for

making movies. There was a natural translation to video for the Live In Antarctica

</i>(1995) tour. However, the quintessential fusion of these heavy metal monsters

and monster movies in the GWAR filmography so far is GWAR: Phallus in Wonderland.

The soundtrack is selected tracks from the GWAR album America Must Be Destroyed

(Metal Blade, 1992): “Crack in the Egg,” “The Road Behind,”

“The Morality Squad,” “Gor-Gor,” “Ham on the Bone”

and “Have You Seen Me?” The plot is The Morality Squad, the shotgun-wielding

Grambo, Captain America-styled Corporal Punishment, et al versus the guitar-wielding,

crack-smoking aliens from Antarctica. The Morality Squad is putting on trial

The Cuttlefish of Cthulu, the animated penis of GWAR vocalist Oderus Urungus.

This theme hints at the ACLU-aided battles GWAR fights to defend itself. With

the gratuitous gore of Herschell Gordon Lewis and the anti-Family Values choreography

of a Giuliani-censured art exhibit, this rock-and-splatter flick is a head banging

holocaust of hard rock and bad taste that bars no holds as the rubber-suited

actors hack and slash and expose their artificial members. (4)</p>

VINYL REVIEWS *******************************************

Captain Sensible/ The Real People split seven-inch

Captain Sensible "Cigarette Sandy" b/w The Real People "Waiting

for the World”</p>

Musical Tragedies

http://www.empty.de/Tragedies.htm

The 21st edition in the Musical Tragedies series of saw-tooth, colored seven-inch

records suggests “Where are they now” questions on British underground

pop. Raymond Burns, a.k.a. Captain Sensible, co-founder of the The Damned, emerged

as one of the mostly accomplished musicians and with the greatest pop ‘sensibility’

of the British punk era. Captain Sensible did not actively seek a solo career

from The Damned until the unexpected success of singles gave him this track

that led to LPs and side projects. Through Neat Damned Noise (POB 42850-123,

Houston, TX 77242-2480; neatdn@aol.com), he emerges on Musical Tragedies with

another power pop gem, taken from <tt>Mad Cows & Englishmen (1996)</tt>

at the same time that album was reissued as The Masters (1998) in the

format that launched his name as a separate entity. The Real People never equalled

the future superstar hype of their 1991 debut. Here the original group’s Griffiths

brothers offer their non-LP track “Waiting For The World” from the What’s

On The Outside</i> (Musical Tragedies, 1998) sessions. The Real People’s Merseybeat

interpretation mixed with the sound of The Monkees is a Brit-pop classic. Zany

cartoon art from Klaus Cornfield and an original British postage stamp integrated

into the label design make this yellow vinyl edition limited to 500 copies a

Brit-pop collectable. (3.5)</p>

The X-Rays

Grown Up Drunk

Ken Rock, Fabriksgatan 39 B, 412 51 Göteborg, Sweden

Kenrock69@hotmail.com

Both songs on this fast, aggressive English speed-punk band’s release, "Grown

Up Drunk” and “Ghost of Tim Price” repeat on both sides of the

seven-inch. The music is fast, hard and heavy. After the initial yellow vinyl

pressings of this trashpunk offering sold out, later editions came out on black vinyl.

(2.5)</p>

Idyls

The Sonic Boing!

Ken Rock, Fabriksgatan 39 B, 412 51 Göteborg, Sweden

Kenrock69@hotmail.com

http://home.swipnet.se/~w-15321/idyls.htm

These Swedish kings of trash garage rock mark their manic rock-n-roll in outlandish

stage names. Astro Gilberto plays guitar while Dimmy Jean sings and the rhythm

section consists of Ringo Fire on drums with Chris Mono on bass. This seven-inch

EP consists of four songs of their frantic, out-of-control rock. (2.5)</p>

Idyls

I can’t Stand the Idyls

Ken Rock/Hard-On Records

Kenrock69@hotmail.com

hardon@swipnet.se

This 45 RPM 12" is a full dose of Idyls insanity. The Trash garage music

from these spastic Swedes is noisy and loose; a Scandinavian lo-fi, high-volume

catharsis. There is a Hispanic motif to the packaging and promotional poster

included, but the production is pure white-boy noise-rock, fast and loud. (2.5)</p>

Ramones

We’re Outta Here: All the Hits Live – For The Very Last Time

eMpTy

http://www.empty.de/

http://www.officialramones.com/

This is the live document of the final Ramones show. Their 2263rd show was

recorded at the Billboard in Los Angeles August 6th, 1996. The release features

a full-color foldout cover. Inside is photos and personal letters from each

of the final Ramones: Johnny, Joey, Marky and C. Jay. There are 32 tracks over

the four sides of the double-LP, the first record being pressed on thick blue

vinyl, the second on red, although a few hundred mispressings exist on black

vinyl. Among the guest stars that showed up for this final blast are Lemmy (Motorhead),

Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam), Lars Frederiksen and Tim Armstrong (Rancid), Chris

Cornell and Ben Shepard (Soundgarden) as well as former Ramone Dee Dee Ramone

himself. Their short and simple rock songs are the very essence of pop and their

boisterous, enthusiastic delivery of these anthems proved the genesis of American

punk and the catalyst for the birth of British punk. This final celebration

was the opportunity to review and play one final time all of those classic songs

we know so well. (4)</p>

CD REVIEWS *******************************************

Thrall

Hung Like God

Reptilian Records, 403 S. Broadway, Baltimore, MD 21231

http://www.reptilianrecords.com/

Mike Hard, voice of the God Bullies, continues to lead his dark, demented rock-n-roll

project Thrall. Hard approaches his songs with the domineering vocal style of

a fire and brimstone preacher. His evangelism is a message of fierce individualism

and withering iconoclasm. Thrall is a sonic descendant of God Bullies with an

aural affinity for the harder bands on Amphetamine Reptile Records and Touch

and Go Records. (4)</p>

The Invisible Men

Come Get Some

Dionysus Records, POB 1975, Burbank, CA 91507

http://www.dionysusrecords.com/

http://www.theinvisiblemen.com/

Much of the revival garage rock has a pretty tame, fun spirit. However, The Invisible

Men cross boundaries by infusing their throwback ‘60’s sounds with punk rock

lyricism, like the in-your-face use of obscenities. Combined with a harder-edged

sound, Come Get Some comes across like stoner rock with an organ. Now

unmasked and no longer The Legendary Invisible Men, the group spews and stomps

barefaced and bold. (3)</p>

Lost Sounds

Memphis is Dead

Big Neck Records, POB 8144

bigneckrecords@usa.net

This band features two members of The Reatards and a smashing cover of "You

Must be a Witch” (LolliPop Shoppe). The trio attacks each song with rapaciousness

in this raw, eight-track recording. The analog keyboards and primitive guitar

rhythms suggest ‘60’s garage rock, but the monstrous distortion and anti-pop

attitude suggests early Wire. (3)</p>

Limecell

Destroy the Underground

Confederacy of Scum/Headache Records, POB 204, Midland Pk, NJ 07432

http://www.limecell.com/

Limecell set their sights low and make their mark easily in a world of fast,

simple songs about drinking and the like. They include a cover of Motorhead’s

“Love Me Like A Reptile” and their own revved up hard rock should

go over equally well with fans of that group as well more basic hardcore acts.

(3)</p>

Sham 69

Information Libre

Anagram Records

http://www.cherryred.co.uk/

info@cherryred.co.uk

Brit punk rockers Sham 69 always had a basic approach to anthemic punk rock

typical of American punk acts. However, their use of saxophone and keyboards

gives much of their material a very sophisticated feel. This CD reissues their

1996 opus presenting the group exhibiting a mature, developed rock sound built

upon their past efforts. There still is the mix of socio-political awareness

with attempts to recapture past glory with something as formulaic and empty

as “Hurry Up Harry.” Sham 69 was underrated early on and this lack

of attention may have stunted their growth. (3)</p>

G.B.H.

Live in Japan

Anagram Records

http://www.cherryred.co.uk/

info@cherryred.co.uk

Buzzsaw punk rockers G.B.H. are here captured live in the Land of the Rising

Sun in 1991. It’s a clamorous, loose affair and certainly not to be taken as

definitive of the group. However, they are able to look back and perform all

their classic ‘80’s material like “Give Me Fire,” “Drugs Party

in 526″ and the “City Baby” songs. There are 17 tracks in all

on this album for the serious G.B.H. collector. (3)</p>

Sonny Flaharty & The Mark V

Hey Conductor

Bacchus Archives/Dionysus Records, POB 1975, Burbank, CA 91507

Bacchus summons up names from the past and saves regional garage acts from

total obscurity. This group is an Ohio sensation dealing out hard garage pop

with some pretty gnarly fuzz and a touch of The Animals in them. This album

is a mix of vintage recordings ‘60’s presenting live and studio episodes from

the band. (3.5)</p>

The Mullens

Tough to Tell

Get Hip Recordings, POB 666, Canonsburg, PA 15317

http://www.gethip.com/

gethip@gethip.com

This garage rock revival group has a thick but loose sound like a well-produced,

sober New York Dolls. Their potent, punchy tunes walk the border between rowdy

and jubilant. The Dallas quartet is rather melodic than mean but their rock-n-roll

has serious backbone. It is perhaps their Texas heritage that gives a slight

country edge to their music, recalling the Rolling Stones on such tracks as

“Waitin’ on the Jury.” (3.5)</p>

Mock Orange

The Record Play

Lobster Records

http://www.lobsterrecords.com/

Mock Orange is very serious about the production of their album. Their result,

here with producer Mark Trombino, is a crisp sound giving life to every dynamic

nuance of their emo core. Their group vocals and burning emotion of their songs

is an unforgettable sound for the very fact that they are so convincing. They

also try harder than the typical indie rock group to work sophistication into

their arrangements like unexpected stops and changes. (3)</p>

The Easy Livin’

Good Time Head-On Collision!

Dionysus Records, POB 1975, Burbank, CA, 91507

This group combined in April 1998 from the refugees of The Morning Shakes

(New York) and The M-80s (Virginia). Their wild, exuberant garage punk threatens

to tear itself at the seams at several points on the album, like the explosive

“Funhouse Mirror.” This power trio hearkens back to a time when wild

rock and roll was outlandish in and of itself and they recapture the contagious

enthusiasm of sonic vandalism of rock-n-roll. (3)</p>

Man is the Bastard

Mancruel

Deep Six Records

http://www.deepsixrecords.com/

Man is the Bastard went out of business in late 1997, but Eric Wood of the

band returned to the studio in 1999 to remix six of these tracks and release

Mancruel. As a continuation of the “power violence” noise-rock

group’s assault on animal cruelty, this album is an impressionistic opus of

the nightmare experienced by rhesus monkeys in bizarre experimentation with

artificial surrogate mothers. Musically their percussive noisecore used here

marks this as one of the better albums going purposefully for cacophony. Drummer

and bassist keep a tight groove behind the electronic noise and vocal howling.

(4)</p>

Rocket 455

Go To Hell

Get Hip Recordings, POB 666, Canonsburg, PA 15317

http://www.gethip.com/

gethip@gethip.com

This is a 15-track collection looking back on the Detroit garage rock group.

Like any rock group, personnel changes were a fact of life for Rocket 455. The

CD booklet here includes a family tree of all members and where some went. The

Detroit rock-n-roll outfit distilled the underground of Detroit rock from the

Stooges right on up to their own day, remaining a viable symbol of the city

itself as long as they were extant. Various vinyl sources are collected here

covering the band’s career. (3.5)</p>

The Priests

The Priests

Garage Pop Records, POB 88003, Rochester, NY 14618

Bright, twanging guitar and a thunderous, amphetamine-tribal rhythm section

mark the boundaries of this frantic group. The singer’s tortured vocals introduce

the psychotic into the mix while the vintage organ brings things into the ‘60’s.

(3.5)</p>

Dave Carter & Tracy Grammer

Drum Hat Buddha

Signature Sounds Records

http://www.signature-sounds.com/

http://www.daveandtracy.com/

Drum Hat Buddha is an exquisite album, an acoustic masterpiece of timeless

beauty. Dave Carter is an understated guitarist and non-flashy banjo player

that seems a figure out of dustbowl folk. Perfectly complementing is Tracy Grammer

a warm, melodic mandolin and fiddle player breathing spring into each song (even

when she is not singing). Songs like “Disappearing Man” exhibit a

haunting, sublime poetry of the type not expected in Americana of any stripe.

Drum Hat Buddha is a peerless and classic album. (5)</p>

Adam Chaki

No One Knows Where The Hell We Are

Les Disques Audiogramme, Inc.

http://www.admachaki.com/

Canadian singer-songwriter Adam Chaki (SHACK-ee) began his career at 17 mostly

with dancehall bands. A keen awareness of rhythm is a prerequisite for such a

career. Now that he creates music with greater maturity and sophistication one

can hear that past expertise giving rise to what may seem an oxymoron: a danceable

singer-songwriter. Interspersed with these upbeat numbers is poignant storytelling

with a slightly world. This pan-ethnic influence is probably due to the fact

that this musician played with other musicians from a long list of countries.

(4)</p>

Figures at Dawn

In From the Cold

Bullseye Records of Canada

http://www.bullseyecanada.com/

This 1986 record comes from the height of the Figures at Dawn arc. The voice

of singer Suzanne Palmer makes the strength of the songs shine through the dated

productions and arrangements. But the very fact that such ‘80’s sounds were

so song-oriented allows for some longevity and their “In From Cold”

figured in a 1997 Beverly Hills 90210 episode. This CD reissue places

the Canadian keyboard pop rock in their rightful place as mid-‘80’s creators

of enduring music. (3)</p>

David Quinton

Bombs and Lullabies 1981-1988

Bullseye Records of Canada

This Canadian rock musician spent part of 1980 on tour with Stiv Bators and the

Dead Boys. Needing to back off a bit from that lifestyle and having his own

music vision he experimented with various forms of period pop for the rest of

the decade. Here the ex-punker gets modern with keyboards and synths (instruments

he admittedly loathes) putting together tough little songs. This compendium

collects the bulk of his recording career for the years listed. (3)</p>

Various Artists

Messages: Modern Synthpop Artists Cover OMD

Oglio Entertainment Group

http://www.oglio.com/

16 contemporary synthpop artists cover Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark tracks

on this tribute record. After starting with crude tape experimentations, OMD

eventually honed their craft into becoming the most sophisticated craftsmen

in the genre. Their precise but elegant electro-pop with the distinctive rhythms

of an acoustic drummer are not lost on these modern practitioners. All offer

purist translations, respectful of the masters that cannot be improved on.

Especially good contributions come from Color Theory (“Hold You”),

Cosmicity with the obscure “Bloc Bloc Bloc” and Dark Distant Spaces’

take on “We Love You.” (4.5)</p>

Attention Deficit

The Idiot King

Magna Carta

http://www.magnacarta.net/

The Idiot King is a new tier in sophistication for these steadily advancing

post-fusion prog rockers. Only their second album since 1998’s Attention

Deficit</i>, they have already made significant advances. The cohesion

and fluidity of the tracks here is full of peerless, excellent musicianship. There is

a more jazz-like feel to the album, which probably reflects guitarist Alex Skolnick’s

new found interest in jazz and fusion. The Idiot King is a royal wedding

between jazz and rock brought to this inimitable level from the fun Manring

solo project Thonk (1994) that first brought together Michael Manring

(Michael Hedges), Tim “Herb” Alexander (Primus) and Alex Skolnick

(Testament). Since then, the trio has ‘progressively’ moved from rock roots into intelligent,

daring instrumental jazz-fusion. (5) </p>

Various Artists

Bluegrass 2001

Pinecastle

http://pinecastle.com/

info@pinecastle.com

Pinecastle’s seventh installment continues a very important and worthwhile

series of compilations. The Bluegrass series brings together top talent

from that year in new arrangements. These compilations are not merely label samplers

but important albums that map out the master musicians of the year and serve

as a guide for what to look for in personnel listings of releases on all bluegrass

labels. The focus, as with others in the series, is on instrumental bluegrass

studio recordings. (However, this CD includes a bonus vocal track: “It’s

Mighty Dark to Travel” sung by Scott Vestal with Kati Penn backing.) Series

veterans included here are Jeff Autry (guitar), Wayne Benson (mandolin), Randy

Kohrs (resophonic guitar) and Scott Vestal (banjo). Making their debuts are Jim

VanCleve (fiddle) and John Cowan (bass). The musicians stretch out with everything

from classic bluegrass like the aforementioned Bill Monroe vocal track to contemporary

bluegrass like Sam Bush’s “Foster’s Reel” and even include a cover

of “Also Sprach Zarathustra,” better known as the theme to 2001:

A Space Odyssey.</i> (4.5)</p>

Victor Wooten

Yin-Yang

Compass Records, 117 30th Ave. S, Nashville, TN 37212

http://www.compassrecords.com/

info@compassrecords.com

Electric bassist Victor Wooten continues to press boundaries, merging jazz

and pop. The result of this eclectic experimentalism is an uneven if ambitious

product. Fortunately, the two approaches are separated onto separate discs.

Yang is the vocal disc and contains a cute, but not much more, use of

16-month-old Kaila Wooten’s vocals, unnerving word-by-word track separation

on “Singing My Song” and overtly funky tracks and rap-like vocals

that become merely trend-pop. However, worth the price of admission alone is

the Yin, an instrumental disc of funky jazz verve. This shows us the

smart, fun bass playing that got him attention in the Grammy-award winning Béla

Fleck and the Flecktones. Béla Fleck even joins in along with Bootsy Collins

and other guests. (3.5)</p>

Letum

The Entrance to Salvation

Cold Meat Industries

The Entrance to Salvation is dark ambient electronica in the tradition

of Raison d’Etre, Sephiroth and Coph Nia. These creations are slow-rolling thunderheads

of sound echoing across antique landscapes. Like coming across an inviting,

lit oasis of marble-built ruins; gentle voices of medieval chant, a gothic chorus

periodically arise on this dark and brooding work. (4.5)</p>

Novadriver

Void

Small Stone

http://www.smallstone.com/

http://www.novadriver.com/

Unabashedly following in the footsteps of Black Sabbath, this stoner rock

band takes us on a power drive to cosmic limits. Volume and distortion combined

aptly with Blue Cheer pace and that throwback attitude of the first days of

the stoner rock revival make Void a classic for the last three decades.

Novadriver epitomizes the best possibilities from today’s hard psychedelia.

(4.5)</p>

The Satori Group featuring Michael Alig

A Terrible Beauty

Blueprint Productions, POB 650, Lincoln, LN1 1ZA, England, United Kingdom

http://www.michaelaligclubkids.com/

Noted Club Kid and techno-party promoter Michael Alig is doing hard time for

murder for killing his then-new roommate, drug dealer Angel Melendez. The details

are gory and callous. Alig appears to accept his guilt, but this CD serves as

the soundtrack to a modern day opera about The Club Kids and the death and dismemberment

that cut Alig off from the life he had created. Featuring sound bites from Alig

and an interview from Clinton Correctional Facility, this disc is a fascinating

look into the details and motivations that never appears crude and crass, but

instead revealing and honest. All of this to ready-for-dancing club beats including

“Body In The Box (Angel)” based on David Bowie’s “Angel.”

(4)</p>

Butterfly Jones

Napalm Springs

Vanguard Records

http://www.vanguardrecords.com/

Butterfly Jones bases its smart, swinging power pop on psychedelic rock and

soul. The soul of this project is Dada guitarist Michael Gurley and drummer

Phil Leavitt. At an era where melody is subsumed by teen-nasal vocals and distorted

guitars, butterfly Jones opt for a hooks and harmonies – well-crafted songs.

Their catchy pop tracks are also populated with guest appearances by keyboardist

Mark De Gli Antoni (Soul Coughing), vocalist Julie Ritter (Mary’s Danish) and

bassist Mark Harris (Venice). (3)</p>

Rival Schools

United by Fate

Island

http://www.rivalschoolsunite.com/

Singer and guitarist Walter Schreifels was the creative force behind Gorilla

Biscuits and Quicksand as well as occasionally playing in Youth of Today. Consistently

helping to define ‘80’s and ‘90’s hardcore as a player and producer, Schreifels

now presents a new project drawing on those sounds along with other journeyman

indie rockers. This is a more mature, vocal-oriented project but lacks the punch

of Schreifels’ early efforts. (2.5)</p>

Lloyd Cole

The Negatives

March Records/At-Source, 2401 Broadway, Boulder, CO 80304

http://www.marchrecords.com/

http://www.lloydcole.com/

http://www.war.com/

British songster Lloyd Cole relocated his career to New York in the 1990’s

and continued to create his aching-heart songs of love and yearning. As he continues

to create with heartfelt lyrics and strings in an era when CD reissues are making

time-tested torch singers a household name, his less-able efforts are sublimated

by the past. (2)</p>

Sun Ra & His Intergalactic Arkestra

It Is Forbidden: Live at the Ann Arbor Blues & Jazz Festival in Exile

1974</i></p>

Alive/Total Energy, POB 7112, Burbank CA, 91510

Even for Sun Ra, this live recording is especially raw, organic, angry and

clamorous. Rather than try to map any sort of pattern onto the fluid stream

of pieces, Total Energy presents this experience as one continuous, 64-minute

track rather than index it. “In Exile” refers to the fact that this

episode of the festival, before it completely fell apart and disappeared for

two decades, was a hastily put together proxy in Windsor, Ontario. The cacophonous

cosmic jazz of the Sun Ra ensemble echoes the thrashing death throes of the

festival itself and this fittingly concludes Total Energy’s trilogy of Sun Ra

recordings from the Ann Arbor Blues & Jazz Festival. The title It Is

Forbidden</i> comes from one recorded selection captured at this time and thought

to have never been recorded before. (3)</p>

Swell

Everybody Wants to Know

Beggars Banquet

http://www.beggars.com/us

After five excellent, criminally under-acknowledged indie pop albums with

a streak of psychedelia, David Freel goes it alone for this, the sixth Swell

album. Carrying the mantle alone is a transparent transition here, as the sophisticated

pop wizardry continues uninterrupted. Freel’s experimental pop is about approaching

the hook and chorus obliquely through melodies that are more implied than stated

and a subtle disparateness between vocal and instrumental lines. The effect

is as if a candid recording were made of Freel a cappella with rhythm

instrumentation added later. The effect is captivating and this Freel solo approach

works as well as the band efforts that preceded. (4)</p>

Spring Heel Jack

The Blue Series Continuum: "Masses"

Thirsty Ear

http://www.thirstyear.com/

Spring Heel Jack includes Matthew Shipp, architect of Thirsty Ear’s Blue

Series</i> on a few of the tracks here. Other New York free jazz scene guests

include avant-bassist William Parker. The album proceeds along, opening with

the gentle “Chorale,” featuring Shipp and Parker in delicate interplay

before John Coxon’s and Ashley Wales’ experimental electronica. This fusion

of approaches, the edgy jazz with the edgy electro, increases in volatility

into the album. Only the hardiest of listeners should not expect to find, at

some point, that the idea wears thin though all that preceded that point was

spectacular listening. (3)</p>

Les Claypool’s Frog Brigade

Live Frogs – Set 2

Prawn Song/Red Ink/Columbia

The second release from Les Claypool’s Frog Brigade was recorded live at San

Francisco’s Great American Music Hall. This is the group’s full-length rendition

of Pink Floyd’s 1977 classic Animals. One may expect with the superficial

humor of such Claypool recordings as Pork Soda, combined with the comic

possibilities of art-rock about farm animals, done by a band named for amphibians

that this would be a setup for a farce. However, such is not the case, as Les

and company executes a faithful version of the work in all seriousness in a

way that should be appreciated by any Pink Floyd fan. (5)</p>

Alex Sniderman

Alex Sniderman

Psych-O-Sonic, 355 Clinton Ave. #3F, Brooklyn, NY 11238

http://www.alexsniderman.com/

Promising rocker Alex Sniderman seems torn by two possibilities. The opening

track “She’s Emotion,” the same song given a video treatment on this

enhanced CD, shows Sniderman trying hard, too hard to recreate a formulaic ‘60’s

rock sound. On the rest of the CD his true colors and talents emerge as a power

pop songwriter with a fun sound akin to such an ‘80’s possibility as Randy Newman

crossed with Joe Jackson and produced by Wayne Kramer. Sniderman actually did

secure Kramer to produce the album recorded in a whirlwind five days. (3)</p>

Astor Piazzolla

Maestro del Tango

Qualiton/Golden Stars

This three-CD presents over two hours of Piazzolla’s nuevo tango, but

unfortunately with no liner notes to put these recordings into the context of

his long career. Bandoneon virtuoso Piazzolla’s compositional extravagance and

superb playing created a new genre out of the rich sounds of Tango. This collection

is an excellent overview of pieces with vocals as well as instrumentals and serves

as a thorough introduction to the rich world of Piazzolla’s music. (3.5)</p>

Kim Wilson

Smokin’ Joint

M.C. Records, POB 1788 Huntington Station, NY, NY 11746

mc@mc-records.com

Kim Wilson, as vocalist and harmonica player for The Fabulous Thunderbirds,

has done much to popularize electric blues for the masses. On Smokin’ Joint,

out four years since his previous solo album, he unleashes unadorned blues energy

for the smoky club blues fan. Backed by young, energetic and talented musicians

like guitarists Rusty Zinn and Billy Flynn, Smokin’ Joint exhibits the

choices selections recorded live at four different club dates. (3.5)</p>

Gammera

Smoke and Mirrors

Audio Demolition, POB 2417, San Anselmo, CA, 94979

http://www.audiodemolition.com/

http://www.gammera.com/

Gammera presents a heavy, thunderous stoner rock with deep nods to the founding

fathers, Black Sabbath. While comparisons to Kyuss are expected, long instrumental

passages and weird, loping rhythms suggest Sleep and Melvins. Grooving with

the blunt simplicity of a pile driver and displaying the hard psychedelia of

Blue Cheer, Smoke and Mirrors is a promising debut LP. (3.5)</p>

Shannon Wright

Dyed in the Wool

Quarterstick Records, POB 25342, Chicago, IL 60625

PJ Harvey’s earliest material evidenced a fierce, dark post-pop sound. Shannon

Wright picks up where she left off with her mysterious melodies. Supported by

piano melody and occasional strings, her honest, revealing lyrics are delicate

as they are piercing. Wright is a talented multi-instrumentalist, but what will

stay most with the listener are her complex lyrics. In the context of her songs,

lines like “these tanks bore their wintry weight” open several layers

of meaning. Each song can be approached from a new angle. On Dyed in the

Wool</i>, Shannon Wright is as a sophisticated and unflinching songwriter of

exquisite musicianship and authenticity. (4.5)</p>

Fred Koller

No Song Left to Sell

Gadfly Records, POB 5231, Burlington, VT 05402

http://www.gadflyrecords.com/

gadfly1@aol.com

http://fredkoller.com/

On No Song Left to Sell, Fred Koller sings 14 songs co-written with

Shel Silverstein. In singing, Koller mixes the cool folk style of Dave Van Ronk

with the Silverstein’s sputtering excitement. Koller began a quarter-century

of collaboration with Silverstein after the two met in Nashville in 1974. These

songs are warm, humorous, mysterious and by and large real and unforgettable.

No Song Left to Sell is the paramount experience a music fan wants from

a singer-songwriter album. (4.5)</p>

Various Artists

Fluorescent Tunnelvision

Mother West/Submergence, 136 W 26th St., NY, NY 10001

http://www.motherwest.com/submergence

info@motherwest.com

Space Rock is all too often merely airy vocals floating disembodied over swirling

guitars. Fluorescent Tunnelvision explores the advancing edges of that

genre with groups achieving much more with that basic formula. These innovative,

creative musicians include Faust from the original Krautrock movement, SubArachnoid

Space, Djam Karet and more. But, even the groups with unknown names evidence

the same adventurous, experimental head music of impressionistic psych rock

on a white noise canvas. (4)</p>


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