Bloody Beautiful

Bloody Beautiful

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 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.


Betty Blowtorch (
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?
A monster rock sound comes from the production and engineering talents of Matt
Hyde (Monster Magnet, Porno for Pyros). Violet Skin (
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
( teams up with multi-instrumentalist Chris Bruce on
Two (DAV Music, 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 ( 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
(Littleleaf Records; with a cape
and a bold look. The tough exterior of this packaging belies the artful sensitivity
of the heartfelt pop inside.

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

The Bedroom, a.k.a Shisenjiyou no aria (An Aria on Gazes)
Hisayasu Sato, director
Music Video Distributors/Screen Edge

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)

GWAR: Phallus in Wonderland
Music Video Distributors/Metal Blade Video

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
(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)

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

Captain Sensible/ The Real People split seven-inch

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

Musical Tragedies

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;, 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
(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)

The X-Rays

Grown Up Drunk

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

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.


The Sonic Boing!

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

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)


I can’t Stand the Idyls

Ken Rock/Hard-On Records

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)


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


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)

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


Hung Like God

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

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)

The Invisible Men

Come Get Some

Dionysus Records, POB 1975, Burbank, CA 91507

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)

Lost Sounds

Memphis is Dead

Big Neck Records, POB 8144

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)


Destroy the Underground

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

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.

Sham 69

Information Libre

Anagram Records

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)


Live in Japan

Anagram Records

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)

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)

The Mullens

Tough to Tell

Get Hip Recordings, POB 666, Canonsburg, PA 15317

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)

Mock Orange

The Record Play

Lobster Records

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)

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)

Man is the Bastard


Deep Six Records

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.

Rocket 455

Go To Hell

Get Hip Recordings, POB 666, Canonsburg, PA 15317

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)

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.

Dave Carter & Tracy Grammer

Drum Hat Buddha

Signature Sounds Records

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)

Adam Chaki

No One Knows Where The Hell We Are

Les Disques Audiogramme, Inc.

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.

Figures at Dawn

In From the Cold

Bullseye Records of Canada

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)

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)

Various Artists

Messages: Modern Synthpop Artists Cover OMD

Oglio Entertainment Group

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)

Attention Deficit

The Idiot King

Magna Carta

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
, 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)

Various Artists

Bluegrass 2001


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.

Victor Wooten


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

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)


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)



Small Stone

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.

The Satori Group featuring Michael Alig

A Terrible Beauty

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

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."

Butterfly Jones

Napalm Springs

Vanguard Records

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)

Rival Schools

United by Fate


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)

Lloyd Cole

The Negatives

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

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)

Sun Ra & His Intergalactic Arkestra

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

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
comes from one recorded selection captured at this time and thought
to have never been recorded before. (3)


Everybody Wants to Know

Beggars Banquet

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)

Spring Heel Jack

The Blue Series Continuum: "Masses"

Thirsty Ear

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

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)

Alex Sniderman

Alex Sniderman

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

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)

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)

Kim Wilson

Smokin’ Joint

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

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)


Smoke and Mirrors

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

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)

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
, Shannon Wright is as a sophisticated and unflinching songwriter of
exquisite musicianship and authenticity. (4.5)

Fred Koller

No Song Left to Sell

Gadfly Records, POB 5231, Burlington, VT 05402

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)

Various Artists

Fluorescent Tunnelvision

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

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)

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