A Cool Million

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

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American Composers Forum Received $1 Million as a McKnight Endowment Grant for

its Innova Recordings Label and Recording Assistance

Program. “The McKnight grant is a tremendous vote of confidence in Innova and

the artists we serve,” said label director Dr. Philip Blackburn. “This endowment

will enable us to serve more artists, increase our staff, and remain at the forefront

of recording and distribution technologies. Commercial labels are narrowing their

artistic focus in order remain profitable. We maintain faith in the artists and

their visions, so this grant definitely helps us buck the trend in the recording

industry. Innova works in partnership with artists to guide them through the complexities

of releasing a CD, and provides them with the technologies and industry relationships

to create awareness. “Innova connects non-mainstream artists to new audiences

using distribution technologies now common in the world of popular music, but

strikingly absent from the world of classical and new music,” Blackburn explained.

Five Web radio stations, Liquid Audio MP3 tracks, printable music scores, multi-media

enhanced CDs and a variety of purchasing options are among Innova1s offerings.

DVD releases are also in the works. “Innova pushes the boundaries of contemporary

music unlikely to find support in the conventional record industry,” said Forum

executive director Linda Hoeschler, “New releases are selected for the integrity

and originality of the work, the artist1s willingness to support and promote the

work, and the technical quality of the sound recording.” Artists who publish with

Innova can receive a low-interest loan through the Forum’s Recording Assistance

Program with no money down. They retain 100 percent of the net profit, full artistic

control and all rights to their work. Founded in 1975 by the American Composers

Forum, Innova Recordings currently offers more than 75 titles. Visit them on the

web at http://www.innova.mu. One representative

and fascinating new recording on the label is Thomas and Beulah by Amnon Wolman

and Rita Dove. Composer Wolman united with poet Dove to provide a performance on digital acoustic piano and a soprano for a cycle of recitatives for a neo-operatic

biography of U.S. Poet Laureate Dove’s grandparents. A multimedia portion of the

disc provides 15 minutes of video along with complete texts, scores and background

information on this theatric work.


The Voodoo Glow Skulls signed to Victory

Records</a> and VGS vocalist Frank says, “We are very excited about this! Victory

is one of the few independent labels out there that still maintains punk/hardcore

credibility.” The band went into the studio to record on February 25 and plans

are underway to release a new album in June. As yet untitled, VGS promise the

new release will showcase their trademark combination of Latino ska punk rock.

Watch http:/www.victoryrecords.com for summer tour dates.


Strapping Fieldhands return to the scene with their first album in five years.

The Philadelphia band’s announcement of the release of The Third Kingdom marks

first new studio album since 1997’s Wattle and Daub. The Third Kingdom is out

on Strapping Fieldhands’ own Omphalos Records label. Through Omphalos, the Fieldhands

released their debut LP, Discus, which SPIN called one of 1994’s “Ten Best Records

You Never Heard.” For this release, Omphalos Records has obtained national distribution

with Big Daddy Music Distribution. The band has retained a steady following and

critical acclaim for its unique “pastoral psych” sound. After disbanding in 1997,

the Strapping Fieldhands regrouped in 1999, writing new material and recording.

Touring resumed last year, looking to take their skiffle and ’60s freakbeat back

to the masses. The Third Kingdom will be available in record stores May 2002.

Strapping Fieldhands will tour the U.S. extensively this spring and summer.


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SOULFOOD is a shrinking-world electronica project that produces mystical, trans-cultural

‘ethnotechno’ as aesthetically superior independent productions. Drawing primarily

from indigenous cultures, these electro-ambient-folk visions are soothing as they

are ethnic. On Guitar Meditations (SOULFOOD Music), guitarist Billy McLaughlin

joins SOULFOOD for a tranquil blend of acoustic guitar and synthesizer meditations.

McLaughlin is a lauded jazz guitarist for this reflective aural experience aimed

at setting a mood massage, meditation and yoga. Another pairing is Inlakesh

with SOULFOOD on Entering Dreamtime (SOULFOOD Music). Inlakesh

is a didgeridoo duo that brings two styles and excellent technique to this sonic

exploration or Aborigine mysticism and Tibetan traditions. They also combine with

DJ Free of SOULFOOD’s synthesizer’s ethnic percussion for a sound experience rich

in rhythms. Go direct to the wellspring of these fantastic visions at http://www.soulfoodmusic.com.


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Gretchen Lieberum offers jazz vocals and subdued trip-hop on Brand New Morning.

Already hugely successful on MP3.com, this eminently listenable recording should

take her farther as a rare example of ‘haute hop.’ However, I would really like

to hear her in an acoustic jazz setting…Louise

Goffin</a> offers her own mix of quality vocals and hip electro sounds on Sometimes

a Circle (Dreamworks). Here the forward-moving, slippery, quick-paced beats lend

a brisk, horizontal motion to the vertical soaring and floating of Goffin’s effective

pop vocals. Goffin is the daughter of ‘60’s husband/wife singing duo Carole King

and Gerry Goffin…Ja, a.k.a Janice Franco,

a smooth, multi-lingual jazz vocalist. In an acoustic jazz setting she performs

Brazilian and jazz standards on Passion of My Soul (BAP Records). Important in

this production is the subtle but effective percussion from BAP Records founder

Larry Fratangelo, a journeyman world-class percussionist. Delivered in a classic

style, this album recalls the popular success of peerless American jazz talent

and fresh Bossa Nova rhythms that first fused in the ‘60’s. Ja delivers this material

in Portuguese, Italian and English…The success of Katrina Carlson’s Apples for

Eve (Kataphonic Records), released September 11, 2001, was closely tied to the Kenneth

A. Carlson film Go Tigers!, released

September 14. The tragic events of that time did nothing to help either the film

or Carlson’s record. Classically trained for opera, Carlson exudes technique

on this album of radio-ready pop songs. Also a film and television actress, Carlson

is surely well acquainted with the ups and downs of show business and is already working

on a sophomore release to include Goo Goo Dolls members and other musical guests…Erin

O’Hara</a> finds in West African polyrhythms a shifting, constantly interesting rhythmic bass for the ebullient, fun Indestructible Joy (Mother Trucker

Records). This Irish singer has a rich voice and gives us dark, sincere tones

and bright, glistening upper register singing. Guitarist Tom Gavin joins Erin

on this sophisticated folk-rock album… A tough and triumphant rock sound comes

from Marianne Pillsbury on

The Wrong Marianne. Full of vigor and energy, these songs are pure fun even when

Marianne defiantly proclaims, “I’m not your layaway girlfriend.” This 5-song DIY

EP promisingly presages her full-length due out this spring on Bondage Records,

San Francisco. Singing and playing acoustic guitar in her rock trio Katie

Garibaldi</a> delivers her 13 originals on After the Storm. Sung softly and sincerely,

these are fine songs on the third album from a hard-working adolescent alt-folk

artist charming her way with sad and celebratory love songs delivered with authenticity

and melody. There’s a sad, majestic beauty to Nina Nastasia’s songs, like a slow-moving

distant funeral march against stark landscape. On The Blackened Air (Touch & Go),

her second Steve Albini-produced album, Nina surrounds herself with musical

talent that works with David Bowie, Indigo Girls and even Cirque du Soleil. This

large, talented ensemble present varied and understated arrangements of cello,

viola, accordion and more behind her dark and direct vocals and guitar… Gothic

darkwave electronica serves as the background to medieval-styled vocalist Regan,

providing a slow-melt dance track for fetishists public and private. After a college

career in Classical music, she has turned her talents toward the dark side on

The High Priestess (High Priestess

Productions). Producer Nick Launay has worked

with Kate Bush, Killing Joke and more. These are a good starting point for appreciating

the seductively sinister beat music…


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Listen to or Buy Brand New Morning at CDNow</a>

Listen to or Buy Sometimes a Circle at CDNow</a>

Listen to or Buy Apples for Eve at Amazon.com</a>

Listen to or Buy After the Storm at Amazon.com</a>

Listen to or Buy Blackened Air at CDNow</a> </p>


Mick Turner is one of The Dirty Three and with Will Oldham plays in Bonnie Prince Billy and Marquis de Tren. Turner joined with Dirty Three bandmate Warren Ellis in forming King Crab Records in 2001. Right off, Ellis takes the opportuntity to make available his 3 Pieces for Violin. This is music originally created for Canadian dance company The Holy Body Tattoo. Around a tango theme, Ellis composed very rhythmic, entrancing music that Ellis admits is a deconstructed, transmogrified collage of tango elements. Created while musing about the floor-sounds made by tango dancers in a studio, this is the first solo release from Ellis, who also performs in Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds. Also on the label is Prepare to Die from Nate Denver’s Neck. The group initially formed briefly in London in 1967. This reunion album made over 1999-2001 is an electro-folk effort with strange, primitive electronics, a heavy metal heart and a bemusing, child-like sense of humor. Rounding out a triumvirate of releases on this ambitious label is the Observatory EP from Bud Early. Tentative, but not pensive, this reflective, impressionistic album is full of bright imagery supported by a sparse rock trio and gentle, rolling rhythms.


Nine Inch Nails was the critics’ choice as Best Tour of the Year in Rolling Stone

magazine. Trent Reznor’s Nothing Records capitalizes on that success with two

recordings. And All That Could Have Been (Nothing/Interscope)

is 16 tracks recorded during that lauded Fragility 2.0 tour. Captured raw and

arena-sized, this is the 100-lb hammer-sack industrial rock that made Nine Inch

Nails a byword in heavy music: “Terrible Lie,” “Head Like a Hold,” “Starfuckers,

Inc.” and more. There is also a special companion CD Still And All That Could

Have Been. Besides being available in stores with the previously described recording,

this second CD can be had singly at http://www.nin.com/still.

This continues the live aspect, featuring four NIN tracks recorded live, but especially

“deconstructed.” That is, they are performed minimally, minus the bombast and

thunderous delivery Reznor is know for. For comparison purposes, there is only

one common track, “The Day The World Went Away.” An excellent augmentation of

the live disc, this album showcases the melodic success of Nine Inch Nails compositions,

delivered as the real songs they are and not just amplified catharsis. A must

for the hardcore fans, Still includes new vocal track, “And All That Could Have

Been” with four new instrumentals.


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Jews with Horns is perhaps the most energetic and exciting of albums in The Klezmatics’ discography. This funky East-meets-West fusion was a 1995 pioneer in the rising popularity of spirited klezmer music aimed at a wider audience. This was a successful, attention-getting disc for the group and features such special guests as Marc Ribot on electric guitar and the inimitable Moxy Früvous with backing vocals. Two years after this 1995 release, the group followed up with Possessed. This is more reflective, a more mature klezmer soul album that shows another facet of the sophisticated ensemble. The heart of this album is the inspiration provide by Tony Kushner’s play A DYBBUK: Between Two Worlds. Kushner also provided such moving, sephardic English lyrics as

“Let us in!

Let us tell you where we traveled

How our hopes our lives unraveled

How unwelcome everywhere we’ve been.”

Once again Moxy Früvous is on hand along with such other guests as Adrienne Cooper

and John Medeski on Hammond organ. Rounder Records

re-issued both discs this year.


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Listen to or Buy Possessed at CDNow</a> </p>


William Herrick

Jumping the Line

AK Press

“Jumping the Line” is a hobo phrase for “riding the rails,” or hitching a ride

on a freight car. It also brings to mind crossing boundaries, maybe even switching

sides. Herrick has done both. Beginning life as a rail-riding hobo, Herrick developed

an awareness of the plight of the downtrodden and eventually became not just a member

but an employee of the American Communist Party. Herrick was a hard-working element

of the Party and an able union organizer and cell initiator. Willing to put his

life on the line in backing his beliefs, Herrick traveled to Spain with the Abraham

Lincoln brigade to fight the fascists in the Spanish Civil War. Comintern, the

International Communist Party, hoped this effort would lead to a home for Communism

in Spain. While Herrick’s soldiering was brief (he took a bullet to the

neck, nearly crippling him), the Communist atrocities and double-dealing there

made him see the Party in an entirely different light. Returning to the States,

an anarchist at heart, Herrick had a wife to support and was tied to the Party

for a paycheck. His outspokenness about the Stalin-Hitler pact led to his dismissal

and his full emergence as an anarcho-social democrat. Appearing in these pages, as Herrick formalizes his distrust of all power, are such figures as Emma Goldman,

Cole Porter and Herrick’s former employer Orson Welles. This fascinating work

is historically enlightening and a textbook in the formation of practical anarchism

from an adventurer-author struck from the same mold as George Orwell. (4)


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More on the book from Amazon.com</a></p>


Various Artists

Backcomb ‘n’ Beat: Dream Babes, Vol. 3

RPM Productions

Continuing their examination of classic girl group sounds of the ‘60’s, this volume

focuses on the years 1964-1969. These were the years that also gave us the birth

of psychedelic rock and these singers, while dulcet and innocent in voice, are

swathed in heavy, beat music harder and more mysterious than vocal pop of today.

The singles collected here are British independent productions, the creations

of Joe Meek, Mark Wirtz, Mike d’Abo and more. This was a productive time for girl

groups and this disc collects such excellent material as Sylvan’s death disc “We

Don’t Belong,” Glenda Collins (Meek’s premier girl singer) and the harmonies of

the Scots singers in The McKinleys. All this and more is exquisite material crowded

off the charts during a fertile period for girl group production. (4)


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Tom Jones

Loaded: The Brassed up Funked out Club Sides

RPM Productions

Tom Jones albums, like any vocal pop star of the 60’s and 70’s, are very mixed

affairs, a potpourri of then-current styles taking a shotgun approach to hitting

the charts with any one formulated track. This collection culls together the most

energetic, hard soul cuts to put together a mythical pure-funk album from the

dynamic maestro of blue-eyed soul. Toughening up the sound here is Jones’ regular

guitar hand, Big Jim Sullivan. This hard rock pioneer was tutor to Jimmy Page

and Ritchie Blackmore gives the selections the necessary punch. Jones’ choice

in soul covers – “Lodi,” “Polk Salad Annie,” “Venus,” “Witch Queen of New Orleans”

and more – show his knowledge of the obscure and the grinding potential of the

popular. Parallel to Elvis Presley in his overt sexuality and his ability to incarnate

electric blues styles, Tom Jones presents a charged sound experience on Loaded.



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Dead Media

Too Pure/The

Beggars Group</a>

Hefner always takes great care in their sophisticated indie rock albums that resonate

with the suggestion “would that the entire genre realized this potential.” Each

track is crafted with lo-fi adeptness to be the equal to anything else in the

field. Certainly skilled in production and arrangement, these songs breathe beyond

technique to full-lunged deliveries from the entire body of underground sounds.

Darren Hayman, songwriter and organizing principle of this group referenced Joe

Meek and Lee Perry as guiding spirits on this particular album. Thus we find joining

their intelligent use of distorted guitars and tasteful horn harmonies, deep beats

marking loping rhythms. The effect is not unlike Gary Numan’s early experiments

with Tubeway Army or Kraftwerk with guitars. Combined with their easy, even breezy,

delivery, this collection of Hefner songs is a memorable and hallmark opus. (4)


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Neil Halstead

Sleeping On Roads

4AD/The Beggars Group

A master of the understated, “sublime” approach, Neil Halstead earned critical

acclaim with a half-dozen albums spread evenly between Slowdive and Mohave 3.

These tracks came about during the recording of the third Mojave 3 album. Having

broken up with his girlfriend, Halstead ended up recording solo material while sleeping

in the studio. Despite such a genesis, these tracks are not excessively maudlin.

Halstead revisited the material over time with different musical friends and the

material obviously brightened as it grew, thought there is plenty of the achey-breaky

heart here. Also, because these songs were done outside of a band setting and

studio-borne, there is more done here production-wise to affect the final sound

than other Halstead projects. There is also a less Americana feel than those other

projects, though an English folk sound can be detected woven in with the healing,

introspection and sonic experimentation. (4)


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President’s Breakfast


Disc Lexia, 1707 33d Ave., SF, CA 94122

On III c, President’s Breakfast provide funky-jazz sounds with dub production.

However, the fun and free sounds bear a serious message. The theme of this album

and delivered through the spoken word portion of this funky beat kaleidoscope

is death row in America. These readings come from Kevin Cooper and Mumia Abu-Jamal,

both ‘live from death row.’ A bevy of guest artists, including Don Byron on “clarinet,

toothbrush” and Miya Masaoka on “koto, angles,” fully dress this music for its

courtroom appearance. This recording includes a lengthy exploration of John Coltrane’s

“Love Supreme” through the arranging of guest keyboardist Dred Scott. (3.5)


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Organic Grooves

Black Cherry

AUM Fidelity

This is the club remix album of Volume 1: Piercing the Veil, the debut collaboration

album from free jazz bassist William Parker and percussionist extraordinaire Hamid

Drake. Black Cherry is also the first non-jazz release on AUM Fidelity, though

it could not be said to be devoid of jazz. For, even as Organic Grooves bends

the tones of the Parker-Drake sound, Organic Grooves adds in some very jazzy keyboard

and guitar lines. Mixing well with Hamid’s ethnic percussion, on Black Cherry

the group trades in an “afro-cosmic” sound of rooted, electro-jazz sonic divination.



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Various Artists

Putumayo Presents Mississippi Blues

Putumayo World Music

The great Mississippi is a long and varied river. The river at one point is entirely

unlike the same body of water miles away. On this blues compendium, Putumayo travels

us up and down the river to hear the varied blues sounds that grew up along the

banks of the mighty Mississipi. While identified with Chicago blues and Detroit’s

Motown Records, Luther Allison was born in Widener, Arkansas and began his career

in that state. On this album with such artists as Ike & Tina Turner and Bobby

Bland, we heard the most developed, urban sounds to spring from rural roots watered

by the Mississippi. Known for some sophisticated electric blues of his own, harp

master Junior Wells was born in Memphis and got his start in the same Arkansas

stomping grounds. His contribution to this disc, “Come on in this House” is direct

from the Delta. More rooted sounds come from the primitive guitar greats John

Lee Hooker and Artie White and folk-blues legend Mississippi John Hurt. More Memphis

representation comes from the city’s namesakes barrelhouse pianist Memphis Slim

and pre-World War II maven of blues song, Memphis Minnie. (3.5)


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Eleanor McEvoy


Blue Dandelion Records

Eleanor McEvoy, one of Ireland’s popular singer-songwriters, already has put recordings

out on Columbia and Geffen. With that experience and accessibility, Eleanor creates

a warm, personal independent recording and treats us to some of the violin playing

that earned her a seat in the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland. Eleanor’s

poignant, folksy songwriting richly accented by Brain Connor on Steinway piano

has previously been found suitable for production by Emmylou Harris, Marty Black

and Phil Coulter and more. Full of accurate hooks and expressive observations; Yola

is fully matured folk-rock from a talented veteran. (4.5)


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Take it to the People

Estrus Records, POB 2125, Bellingham, WA 98227

The CD version of the album contains the LP tracks with four bonus cuts culled

from their out of print debut 7” on Estrus. Coming all the way from the bustling

port and market town of Yokkaichi, Japan, Gasoline delivers primitive American

rock-n-roll with all the screaming, over-modulated fury of the typhoons that have

been known to strike Yokkaichi. The high priest of such potent garage rock, Tim Kerr,

engineered the whole glorious mess at his Sweatbox Studios in Austin, Texas. This

captures Gasoline primed and ready to deliver their intense rock-n-roll on a 2001

summer tour to the U.S. Here they demonstrated the energy they were prepared to

‘take to the people’ in the promised land of unrestrained hard rock that they

have so deeply incorporated. This electric nightmare blues mixes well with Jon

Spencer and Speedball Baby. (3.5)


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Total Sound Group Action Committee

Party Platform…Our Schedule is Change

Estrus Records, POB 2125, Bellingham, WA 98227

In this dynamic energetic garage rock combo, ace skronk engineer and guitarist

Tim Kerr and rawk vocalist Mike Carroll. They form a smashing, effective core

to this group, as they did in Poison 13. In their unrestrained aural assault they

blast through a number of explosive originals and a fiery but still joyfully rollicking

version of Small Faces’ “Happy Boys Happy.” Key on this track is the vigorous,

pumping Hammond organ and, as on many other tracks, the group backing vocals and

shrill whistle. This is sonic excitement. (3.5)


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Medusa Cyclone


Small Stone Recordings, POB 02007, Detroit,

MI 48202

Medusa Cyclone provides a swirling, psychedelic headspace of sophisticated space

rock ideal for headphones escapism. Central to the group is organizing principle

and creative font guitarist Keir McDonald. With occasionally other musicians along,

this disc opens asteroid-strong, but has sea-foam-delicate episodes, like the

faintly Western “El Mar Caribe.” The varied textures and intricate arrangements

make Tangier exotic as Tangiers and a spicy blend of diverse styles to boot. (4)


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Tim Hardin

The Best of Tim Hardin: The Millennium Collection


This retrospective of the legendary singer-songwriter features Hardin’s original

versions of “If I Were A Carpenter” and “Reason To Believe.” “If I Were A Carpenter”

provided Bobby Darin with his last Top 10 hit while Johnny Cash and The Four Tops

also rode it into the Top 40. Rod Stewart made “Reason To Believe” famous. However,

we can here hear Hardin’s own delivery of these classic songs as he, the author,

intended their delivery, and the effect is magical. Taken from Tim Hardin 1, Tim

Hardin 2 and Tim Hardin 3: Live in Concert, these powerful, poetic examples of

a late ‘60’s master singer-songwriter are blueprints for the art form. Hardin

was one of the natives found on the shore of the continent of man-with-acoustic-guitar

discovered and exhausted in the ‘70’s. Along with this is the politically incorrect

but fun and bluesy “Smugglin’ Man.” (4.5)


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Steve Morse Band

Split Decision

Magna Carta

Split Decision is a masterful album of instrumental hard rock from veteran guitar

ace Steve Morse (Dixie Dregs). Morse won five consecutive awards as “Overall Best

Guitar Player” in Guitar Player’s Reader’s Poll. He eventually had to be excluded

from voting to give other guitar-slingers a chance. This chop-laden disc is just

the sort of peerless Morse fare that won him such accolades. This ninth album

from Steve Morse Band is in diptych fashion, with the first half generally upbeat

and bold and a second half more reflective and relaxed. (3.5)


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