Outsight

The Tommies 2002

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<

p align=”left”>THE

TOMMIES</a>


Here is the Top 10 Recordings for 2002 from Outsight, listed alphabetically:



Acid

Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O. / In C / Squealer Music</a>

Foetus

/ Blow / Thirsty Ear</a>

Gabriel,

Peter / Up / Geffen</a>

Glandien,

Lutz / The 5th Elephant / ReR Megacorp</a>

Spring

Heel Jack / Amassed / Thirsty Ear</a>

Taylor,

Chip & Rodriguez, Carrie / Let’s Leave this Town / Lone Star Records</a>

The

Residents / Demons Dance Alone / East Side Digital </a>

Various

Artists / Tipsy Remix Party! / Asphodel</a>

Voices

on the Verge / Live in Philadelphia / Slow River</a>

Watson,

Doc with Frosty Morn / ‘Round the Table Again / Sugar Hill</a>


For archived reviews of the Top 10, visit the Outsight

Home Page</a>. While you there, join your music-related Web site to the Outsight

Web Ring, “Music’s Haven on the ‘Net”</a>.

</p>


GET A LOAD OF THIS


Load Records (POB 35,

Providence, RI 02901) is a purveyor of strange but beautiful noise. The Load Records

roster tends toward artists unfettered by the verse-chorus-verse convention… The

group Forcefield is unfettered even with vocals on Roggabogga. This album

is an audio document of the 2002 Whitney Biennial in NYC when the performance

collective swelled to almost 60 performers in knit suits to quasi-ethnic soundtrack

bleeps, beeps and all that is electronic… On its debut full-length CD bareskinrug,

Pleasurehorse goes in for the sputtering, forward-moving series of beats and tweets

that share the same horizontal, motive energy of breakbeats. Indeed, breakbeats

figure in as one of the substrates to the music of this one-man show, again without

vocals…



EXPLORING THE POSSIBILITIES


Robert Poss was one third of the three-guitar wall of sound in Band of Susans.

Since that experimental rock group disbanded in 1995, he continued to work wonders

with the guitar as a sonic alchemist. Poss now has two new solo recordings out

on Trace Elements Records (172 E. 4th St., No. 11D, NYC, NY 10009). Distortion

of Truth</i> is a compendium of studio and live works. As such, the sound varies from

floating, eerie soundscapes like “Radio Free Albemuth Revisited” to beat-heavy

NYC art-rock that recalls Band of Susans (“You Were Relentless”). Crossing

Casco Bay</i> relies more heavily and consistently on Poss’ theorem that feedback,

distortion and overtones are “the cake, not the frosting” for the post-rock guitarist.

Deceptively simple, these drifting, floating layers of guitar drone give rise

to architecture of subtle beauty when appreciated with distinct stereo separation.




WALDRON RIDING A ZEPYR (UPWARD)


Pianist Mal Waldron has died. He featured as the sole musical accompaniment to

jazz vocalist Judi Silvano

on the recent Soul Note

album Riding a Zephyr. Waldron was in Billie Holiday’s band for her final

two years. Waldron wrote or co-wrote most of the music on this album which features

beautifully simple, understated piano, giving room to Silvano’s delightful phrasing

and playful scatting. The disc contains a synopsis of Waldron’s creative life

in the tenth, closing track, “Mal Waldron”.



DEAD KENNEDYS DIGITALLY REMASTERED


The Dead Kennedys’ digitally remastered back catalog passed the 100,000 mark for

total annual sales in 2002. Laying aside the controversy discussed in the underground

press regarding the band wresting the back catalog from Jello Biafra, it certainly

seems to be a successful venture that has found many buyers. The band sells

the product through Manifesto Records and Plastic Head Distribution. Showing

that even hardcore collectors are jumping at the chance to replace their worn

copies, the band marked their 33% jump in sales with a decision to reissue all

the titles on vinyl for these buyers, starting with Fresh

</a>Fruit

for Rotting Vegetables</a></i> and Give

Me Convenience or Give Me Death</a></i> in September 2002.

</p>


BOOK REVIEW


Allan Metz, Editor

Blondie,

from Punk to the Present</a></i>

Musical Legacy Publications


This book is a tour-de-force exegesis of the entire Blondie career and the effect

lead singer Deborah Harry has on the role of the blonde female vocalist in pop

and rock. Nearly the first third of the book is given over to the punk milieu

from which Blondie sprang and Blondie’s role in that scene. This makes the book

a fascinating overview of the nascent New York City punk scene. Like the rest

of the book, several authors contribute pieces of no more than a few pages. This

makes for much redundancy as the same topics are covered, but treat this book

as casual reading and reference and the many points of view coalesce into detailed

complete if kaleidoscopic view of the territory. In here are some real nuggets,

like the uncensored interview of Harry for High Times and cross interview

with Nina Persson of The Cardigans. There are plenty of photos from all parts

of the Blondie/Deborah Harry history and some interviews with the photographers.

“Part IV: In Retrospect” contains discographies from the U.S. and U.K. perspectives

along with many pages of appreciations from various authors. Metz gives a short

synopsis of each article explaining how it fits in. The book is a must for the

Blondie fan and adds much to those that are interested in the NYC punk landscape

she grew out of. (4)

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


DVD Reviews


Lee “Scratch” Perry

The

Unlimited Destruction</a></i>

Jet Star/MVD



This 45-minute DVD documentary is a colorful and personal portrait of The Upsetter,

dub architect Lee “Scratch” Perry. Much of the interviewing occurs in Perry’s

home where we see he is, apparently, never out of costume and never out of character.

His home is just as eclectically decorated as is Perry’s apparel. Subtitles would

have been helpful for Perry’s thick accent, but it is worth straining to hear

him expound his Sun Ra-like philosophies and comments on working with Bob Marley.

Some concert clips are here also. (3.5)



The Vandals

Sweatin’

to the Oldies: The Vandals Live</a></i>

Kung Fu Films


This fully packed double-DVD collection is built around a release of the group’s

hour-long VHS documentary. The first disc of the VHS’s material now has an additional

audio track of the band’s own commentary on each part of the documentary and concert

video. Not only do we see live footage of the group performing such songs as “Urban

Struggle (I Want to be a Cowboy)” and “Anarchy Burger,” but we find the real story

behind “Pat Brown.” Or do we? The interview with the singer of the South Bay Surfers

on the second disc seems to cast doubt on all that, or is it all in good fun?

Good (but not necessarily) clean fun is had by all The Vandals on this DVD set.

Also on the second disc is a hilarious analysis by the band of their own audience

getting into the show and the totality of Joe Escalante’s interview of Bjork and

Siggi of The Sugarcubes. (4.5)



Bruce Lee

The

Legend Lives On…</a></i>

Waterfall Home End./MVD


This DVD documentary explores the impact of Bruce Lee on the role of kung fu in

the movies through interviews with several people. Many of these people were students

at Bruce Lee’s school. They augment the personal exposition that is anything but

glorification but rather an intimate portrayal of a man who had advanced to phenomenal

athletic abilities and loved to express that, as well as fight. In many ways,

Bruce Lee comes across much like Harry Houdini, a superhuman of sorts whose greatest

feats are still legendary and unable to be reproduced. Lee’s brother and son also

give interviews as well as the late actor James Coburn (a student) and Jackie

Chan, perhaps Lee’s closest modern day equivalent. The DVD indulges the viewer

with a few of Lee’s longer fight scenes in their entirety. (4)



Ozzy Osbourne

Crown

Prince of Darkness</a></i>

Chrome Dreams/MVD


This is an unauthorized biography of Ozzy’s career, so it contains no music. However,

it does contain much that is revealing about this powerful persona in heavy metal.

Mostly through the interviews of a journalist and two authors of Ozzy books, we

learn about Ozzy’s crimes and misdemeanors, his highs and lows and his rather

unexpected current acceptability. For instance we find out things popularly known

about Ozzy, say urinating on the Alamo, biting the head off a bat or wearing a

dress to a photo shoot, but also the events of that time or that day that led

up to those events. (3)



CD REVIEWS


Steve Roach / Jeffrey Fayman

Trance

Spirits</a></i>

Tranceportation/Projekt


On Trance Spirits, Roach rejoins Jeffrey Fayman and Momodou Kah, the percussionists

on the 2001 CD The Serpents Lair, for a new album of ambient soundscapes

with exotic, ethnic, acoustic percussion. The authentic African percussion forms

a dense substrate to the electronic soundscapes produced on guitar and synthesizer

by Steve Roach. Robert Fripp is on hand to lend his talents to this live (not

overdubbed) recording on three tracks. (4)



The Vandals

Internet

Dating Super Studs</a></i>

Kung Fu Records


The Vandal return with tongue-in-cheek humor and another great post-punk album

that recalls the best of power pop. Their scathing wit is here turned to Internet

dating. Like neo-punk method actors, The Vandals got so immersed in the idea for

this concept album that includes date-a-band-member over the Web for pre-release

promotion. The fast, up-tempo songs make good on all the fun and jokes possible

about relationships in and out of the chat rooms in fast, guitar-focused rock

that is the clarion call of talent and quality in the largely mediocre modern

punk rock movement. (4)



Badly Drawn Boy

Have

you fed the Fish? </a></i>

XL Recordings/ARTISTdirect Recordings



Although boasting the appearance of a hand-waving indie rocker, Badly Drawn Boy

is a sophisticated pop rocker. Employing a touch of lo-fi and sense of humor,

Badly Drawn Boy is a pop artist with street style. Now reaching a new tier of

popularity, Badly Drawn Boy offers Have You Fed the Fish? as commentary

of moving in the world of celebrity. Rather than being a salacious and psychological

The Wall, it is a string of orch-pop about remembering the little things

and the reflection that comes with fame. Featuring more guitars than previous

albums, this is still a hip album with plenty of piano and under-produced songs

that will go over well with fans of Ben Folds Five and Of Montreal. (4)



Simon H. Fell

Composition No. 30

Bruce’s Fingers


This is experimental, new music from Britain. The third release in a series, Fell

is documenting on the double-disc release a middle ground between pure improvisation

and notation using good-sized ensembles. In development for 8 years, this opus

features the Big Band of The Royal Northern College of Music with featured improvisers

from jazz and creative music circles. The result has a jazz-like quality that

will appeal to free jazz fans. (4)



Laird Jackson

Touched

Consolidated Artists Productions



Laird Jackson is a gifted young vocalist who already boasts the effortlessly

delivered patient and measured phrasing that marks the best mature vocalists.

This 11-track album mixes originals from Jackson with songs by Stevie Wonder (“Visions”),

Joni Mitchell (“Tin Angel”), Donovan (“Catch the Wind”) and more. Having already

released an album of pre-1950 standards, her 1994 debut Quiet Flame, Jackson

now takes a more contemporary approach. Toward this end, there is a Brazilian

feel on “Visions” as well as her own “Towards the Sun” due to the percussion.

This song, like much of the album, features quick but bright episodes of instrument

improvisation from her New York band of Bruce Barth (piano), Joe Ford (alto sax),

John Benitez (bass), Cecil Bridgewater (trumpet) and Clarence Penn (drums). (3.5)




Mat Maneri featuring Joe McPhee

Sustain

Thirsty Ear


Mat Maneri performs on a bevy of violin forms on this delicate and focused album.

These violin derivatives include five-string viola, electric six-string violin

and baritone violin. The drone-like tone coloring of the slow bowing matched to

the low-frequency plucking from über-bassist William Parker gives an Oriental

feel to “Alone (Origin)”. Subdued, introspective keyboards from Craig Taborn lend

a chill, ambient feel to the music. Similarly disembodied and reflective is the

soprano saxophone of Joe McPhee. The entire measured and meditative approach makes

for a romantic free jazz, an experimental ensemble with poignant self-awareness.

(4.5)



Lemon Jelly

Lost

Horizon</a></i>

Impotent Fury/XL Recordings


Having taken different paths through the London electro-pop worlds, the duo behind

Lemon Jelly, Nick Franglen and Fred Deakin, became re-acquainted to make this

album. Their floating, ebullient tracks percolate with a natural enthusiasm for

the electronic genre and its easy-beat, smile-inducing possibilities. This is

electronica specifically made for listening, not dancing. Stripped of the need

to be utilitarian and predictable, the songs on this album offer more texture

and freedom of expression that translates into muted joy, that is artful electro-pop

that you can hum. (4.5)



Blood Brothers

March on Electric Children

Three.One.G, POB 178262, SD, CA 92177


The brand of high-energy aggro from The Blood Brothers is a spastic, sputtering

high-tension variety that recalls Japanese noise punk from Guitar Wolf to The

Boredoms. More than a catharsis, the group includes a lot of complexity in their

music through the unpredictable tempo changes of the guitars, which can launch

into angular, math patterns. The full impact of the surrealistic lyrics and horror-movie

imagery is best appreciated perusing the full-color booklet of over two-dozen

pages while listening on headphones. (4)



Add N to (X)

Loud

like Nature</a></i>

Mute


Full of sexual energy courtesy of siren Ann Shenton, this British band delivers

potent heavy electronic pop that lacks the muscular ostentation of industrial

music. Instead, the music of Add N to (X) boasts slinky, post-New Wave rhythms

with a classic vintage feel arising from the Moogs ands more. Too hip to be merely

retro, Loud Like Nature is hard club music with style. Adding variety is

contributions from guitarist Richard Hawley (Pulp) on “Sheez Mine” and drummer

Rowan Oliver (Goldfrapp). Legendary producer Kim Fowley (The Runaways) is on hand

to make a creepy spoken word contribution on “Invasion of the Polaroid People”.

(4)



Race for Titles

S/T

Redemption Recording


Race for Titles has a classic, post-punk pop sound that is still mature and sophisticated

recalling The Church and song-oriented English indie pop. The album offers a lot

in texture for the listener, varying from ethereal guitar to an impressive wall-of-sound

approach. An important debut, watch for more from this Omaha, Nebraska band. (3)




Tone Sharks

Intention

Louie Records


This is the fourth recording from a quartet that excels in understated, restrained

live group composition. Their extemporaneous experiments succeed on the right

notes, not cosmic blasts of the sonic spectrum. Formerly, the group was a quintet,

but now has new member Tom McNalley on guitar replacing Steve Willis. Trombonist

Brent Heyne is not on the album. McNalley works well with the group’s other Tom

(Bergeron) on alto sax. The two lead the ensemble in a conversation of exchanged

phrases ably backed by busy but not distracting drumming from Dave Storrs. (4)



Thomas Dimuzio

Mono.Poly

Gench/Asphodel


Dimuzio excels at minimalistic electronic compositions of a coarse texture. These

are warm, floating pieces that allow much freedom for the imagination. They also

allow much to be built on them. In this 2-CD set, we have one disc of Dimuzio

live material (Mono) and then a disc (Poly) of collaborations with

Illusion of Safety, Fred Frith, Chris Cutler and more. All together, the anthology

spans the years 1997-2002. These collaborations are also recorded live and dates

and cities for each track are provided. The collaborative pieces tend to include

samples not found on Mono, giving the Poly disc a feel like the academic

electro-acoustic output of the Montreal musique actuelle scene. (4.5)



Alice Stuart

Can’t

Find no Heaven</a></i>

Burnside Records


This is a comeback album for a woman that had a career in the 60’s that include

working with Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention and opening for Van Morrison

on a European tour. (Actually, her recording comeback began with 1966’s Really

Good</i>. This is the third recording of her second career.) She let that go in

order to raise a family, but not before leaving enough of a mark to inspire Bonnie

Raitt, among others. Indeed, fans of Raitt will find this album to be much like

an aged and mellowed version of Raitt. Stuart is a singer-guitarist who is also

a capable songwriter as can be told on the poignant bitterness of “Blues in the

Bottle”. She has one other original here and then interprets such blues songs

as “Big Boss Man” and “Hard Time Killin’ Floor.” (3.5)



Sigur Rós

(

) </a></i>

MCA


This barely-named album of lo-fi vocals and delicate piano and string melodies

is an enchanting collection from this Icelandic band. Very evenly featured, the band

seems to want no distracting peaks and valleys on this gentle ride. Even the album’s

credits are only available on the site as the six-page booklet, of gray tracing

paper, is nearly featureless. The spare but not melancholy album features vocalized

sounds that fit the music appropriately, but not as words. Through the site, listeners

can post their interpretations that will “become” the lyrics through software.

Singer Jonsi Thor Birgisson calls the singing style “Hopelandish” vocals. The

album is classy chill-out music and somewhat otherworldly. (4)



The Ken Woodman Sound

Town

Talk! </a></i>

RPM

info.rpm@ntlworld.com


Volume Six of RPM’s Mood Mosaic series documents the bold-stroked ’60s orchestral

pop of UK producer Ken Woodman. Contemporary “orch pop” exhibits a schmaltzy neo-romanticism

that has more to do with America Middle Of The Road styles of the period. Woodman,

however was a horn player by profession in the 50’s and interjects his arrangements,

whether originals like “Town Talk” or renditions of Top 40 material like “Mighty

Quinn,” with jump-up-and-dance jazz band rhythms. So, this is not the soundtrack

to Love Story, but more like classic Henry James or Count Basie incarnated

into the pop recording studio. Woodman was instrumental as producer or music director

in recordings by Tom Jones, Lulu, Mia Farrow, Roy Orbison and more. Listening

to this compilation culled from 1966 and 1969 recordings (That’s Nice and Vibration), as well as taking in the detailed booklet shows how essential

his work, also heard on many radio and TV shows, was for 60’s and 70’s pop. (4.5)




The Church

Parallel

Universe</a></i>

Thirst Ear


The title to this exquisite double-CD set reflects the fact that the recordings

were made concurrently, or in parallel, with the opus After Everything Now

This</i>. As such, the set includes not only remixes of tracks on that album,

but new material as well. This explosion of creativity comes from the reunion

of the founding 1980 lineup. (Incidentally, drummer Tim Powles longevity in the

group made him the longest serving drummer in band history.) The group maintained

this lineup even though separated by continents, meaning this material was three

years in the making. Perhaps the high quality of the end result has something

to do not only with the great experience of these music architects, but forced

time to think and ponder over such a drawn-out project. The crisp, focused,

post-psychedelic pop created by The Church continues to refine a winning and somewhat

dark fusion of ambiguous, thought-provoking lyrics with vivid metaphor with intelligent,

sophisticated guitar-pop that survives as some of the best music out of the AOR

movement for its inherent quality. (4.5)



The Warlocks

Phoenix

Album</a></i>

Birdman


Songs such as “The Dope Feels Good” and “Shake the Dope Out” epitomize the drug-embracing

psychedelic jams of the trippy band The Warlocks. Its music is a sonic buzz of

drifting walls of sound that advance and recede like a body-affecting chemical

tide. Like Velvet Underground’s “Heroin” these narcotic anthems glorify abandonment

to substance-induced sensations with such effective use of well-wrought music

that The Warlocks may be able to sue West Coast drug dealers for royalties. Regardless,

even if you “just say no” to anything, cop a dose of Phoenix Album and

party all night with naught for nasty side effects. (4)



Deltahead McDonald

Blues on the Slide

Blues Religion Music


Deltahead McDonald is a human jukebox of the original Delta blues style. He performs

acoustic blues songs of the folk blues masters: Robert Johnson (“Walkin’ Blues,”

“Come on in my Kitchen”), Charlie Patton (“Tom Rushen Blues”), Son House (“Empire

State Express,” “Grinnin’ in Your Face”), Blind Willie McTell (“World’s Made a

Change”) and more. Like the early recordings of John Lee Hooker, this is simply

a solo performance of a man singing, playing guitar and stomping his foot for

occasional percussion. The style is nothing like Australia and everything like

the rural American south that it honors. The part that is Australia is the Australian-made

Beeton Brass Body Resonator Guitar (National Biscuit Cone) that McDonald plays

bottleneck slide on. The baker’s dozen of songs here are delivered in a patient

and melodic style, brightly played by this lowlands master from down under. McDonald

is justifiably proud that this is recorded in a live fashion; that is, with no

overdubs. The lead track is “Evil on my Mind,” which Johnny Winter did overdub.

(4.5)



Mike Marshall & Darol Anger

The

Duo Live: At Home and On the Range</a></i>

Compass Records

info@compassrecords.com


When Marshall and Anger speak of “on the range,” they refer to that open road

that they are three-quarters of the way to having traveled a million miles over.

They began their musical sojourn performing together in the David Grisman Quartet

in 1978 and continue to put on a live show of some of the best in Americana acoustica.

This album is a testament to the quality of their live performance in delivering

the goods in folk and bluegrass with a touch of jazz. The “at home” part of the

title refers to the extra tracks recorded just after their U.S. eastern seaboard

tour along which they gathered these gems. The scintillating music here summoned

from wood and wire warmly by the sonic alchemists includes fun Mike Marshall originals

(“Frogs on Ice,” “Big Man from Syracuse” etc.), traditionally yet artfully arranged

for subtle showcasing of technique but never showboating (“In the Pines,” “Down

in the Willow Garden”) and a healthy dose of Bill Monroe (“Jerusalem Ridge,” “Big

Mon” and “Old Dangerfield”) and more. (4.5)



C’est Mortel

C’est

Mortel</a></i>

Two Sheds Music


This self-titled debut album arising from the fertile Athens, Georgia scene begins

with an angular, mathy track and then follows with a triumphant bit of progressive

rock. Mostly instrumental, this album is a diptych, divided into three tracks

called “Your Misfortune is our Mirth” and “Magnum Opus.” Each half is over thirty

minutes long and conceived as a single live set, which is how the band performs

their music. The reach is for the majestic and this gives the pieces epic proportions

and a vast, cinematic sweep. The sophisticated post-rock band will

go over well with fans of Tortoise and Mogwai. Drummer Tom Naumann and guitarist/vocalist

Devin Brown are also in Jet By Day. (4)



Nirvana

Nirvana

Geffen


The previously unreleased treat for fans on this Nirvana retrospective is the

lead track, “You Know You’re Right.” The track came out of Kurt Cobain’s final

recording session. It is a particularly angry cut, almost abrasive and has an

air of finality about it. The rest has a greatest hits feel, taking well-known

tracks of Sub Pop releases, Lithium, In Utero and the band’s MTV Unplugged

performance. These include “Sliver,” “Smells like Teen Spirit,” “Rape Me” and

“All Apologies.” Because this collection hits the high points, it works as the

one Nirvana recording to get, if you feel you only need one. (4)



The Blam

The Blam

The Bla


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