Welcome to A&A. There are 16 full reviews in this issue. Click on an artist to jump to the review, or simply scroll through the list. If you want information on any particular release, check out the Label info page. All reviews are written by Jon Worley unless otherwise noted.

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A&A #259 reviews
(November 2004)

  • Jello Biafra with the Melvins Never Breathe What You Can't See (Alternative Tentacles)
  • Blood Meridian We Almost Made It Home (Teenage USA)
  • The Comas Conductor (Yep Roc)
  • Dissent Swap Meet Seers (Wide Hive)
  • The Ends concrete Disappointment (Dirtnap)
  • Jean Grae This Week (Babygrande)
  • A. Graham and the Moment Band This Tyrant Is Free (Sonic Unyon)
  • The Great Unknowns Presenting the Great Unknowns (Daemon)
  • The Jeff Kaiser Ockodektet--The Kaiser/Diaz-Infante Sextet The Alchemical Mass/Suite Solutio (pfMENTUM)
  • Steuart Liebig/Minim Quicksilver (pfMENTUM)
  • The Methadones Not Economically Viable (Thick)
  • Mogami Mogami (Public Eyesore)
  • Ms. Led These Things We Say (Fish the Cat)
  • The Organ Grab that Gun (Mint)
  • Aaron Ali Shaikh/Dan DeChellis Under Careful Watch the Spoken Words Fly (Sachimay)
  • Various Artists A Houseguest's Wish: Translations of Wire's "Outdoor Miner" (Words on Music)
  • Also recommended: The best of the rest


    Jello Biafra with the Melvins
    Never Breathe What You Can't See
    (Alternative Tentacles)

    If you've never heard of Jello Biafra or the Melvins, then go on to the next review. Or, better yet, go to another web site. I don't mean to be, well, mean, but I do assume a certain knowledge of ancient music history when I write reviews. If you are familiar with the boys, then you have a pretty good idea of what to expect.

    Hardcore metal riffs and Biafra's unmistakable histrionic wail. The songs are loud, fast and (surprise, surprise) political as all get out. If you remember the album Jello did with DOA 15 years ago (!!) ago, then this puppy ought to bring on a nice flush of nostalgia.

    I know this statement approaches sacrilege, but I prefer the albums Jello has made with DOA, Nomeansno and now the Melvins to old Dead Kennedys. For starters, the production is much better. And while there are a number of DK songs which are undeniably brilliant, the albums tended to be kinda scattershot. And while there's no "Let's Lynch the Landlord" on these later albums, it's obvious that Jello and the bands like each other and are having fun. The albums are cohesive, solid shots of blistering rock and roll.

    And, y'know, these "other" bands are much better musicians than the DK boys were back in the day. Maybe I am getting old, but that does count for something in my book. Whatever. Even with considering all that nonsense, this album is a real blast--even if those who made it can count the days until they are eligible to apply for AARP membership. Sometimes loud music ages exceptionally well.

    Contact:
    Alternative Tentacles
    P.O. Box 419092
    San Francisco, CA 94141-9092
    Phone (415) 282-9784
    Fax [415] 282-9786
    www: http://www.alternativetentacles.com


    Blood Meridian
    We Almost Made It Home
    (Teenage USA)

    A collection of players from off-Broadway lights (Chupacabra, Black Halos, Bughouse 5) get together to play roots-heavy indie rock.

    The songs (written by Matthew Camirand) whip from the Palace/Simon Joyner axis all the way through early Uncle Tupelo and Eleventh Dream Day and into straight-up early (pre-major label) Pixies. Looking at those references, I get another hot flash of geezerhood. Oh well. That's what this stuff sounds like. Sue me.

    Not only does Blood Meridian bring to mind those bands, the quality of the music put it in their league. These songs aren't all haunting paens to the inevitability of death, which makes the dark moments that much spookier. The more upbeat songs not only provide a nice counterpoint; they're truly inspiring.

    One of those albums that sticks with you. There's so much going on that I know I missed more than half of it. That's okay. I've just got to listen again. With an album this powerful, that's a joy, not a sentence.

    Contact:
    Teenage USA
    Box 91
    689 Queen St. W.
    Toronto, ON M6J 1E6
    Canada
    Phone (617) 776-5106
    e-mail: info@teenageUSArecordings.com
    www: http://www.teenageusarecordings.com


    The Comas
    Conductor
    (Yep Roc)

    I've never seen these folks live, despite the fact that they live very close to me. I haven't seen anyone live in three years. A kid'll do that to you. Still, I'm familiar with the Comas. They're kinda hazy stars in the local firmament, known more for great live shows than for selling lots of records. Oh, and there's the fact that singer (and songwriter) Andy Herod recently broke up with Michelle Williams of "Dawson's Creek." In fact, this is a "breakup" album, with songs full of shattered hopes, unrealized dreams and all that.

    So maybe, just maybe, all those folks who put up the bucks for Smile will take the time to check out bands like the Comas who put almost as much effort into crafting otherworldly pop music. The Shins, of course, have managed to escape Albuquerque with a similar (though much less dense) approach to this sound. I don't want these folks to go away, but I do wish them greater success.

    The real question is how many people really like excessively-layered pop music. And this is excessive. There's no doubt about it. These songs do not need all the extraneous noise in tracks 25-48 (or whatever). Yeah, it does makes this stuff sound almost transcendent, but strictly speaking, it isn't necessary.

    Not necessary, but still really nice. Really, really nice. Maybe there isn't a big market for complex, moving music. Or maybe it's just really shallow--Brian Wilson is cool, but forget about everyone else. I don't follow that sort of thing. I just know good music. And I know great music. And I know this album is better than that. One final note: The package also includes a DVD of Conductor--the Movie. I'd watch it, but some crackhead (really) stole my DVD player and my stereo this week (he was smart enough to leave my 15-year-old TV). I bought a new stereo (got to do the reviews), but the DVD player will have to wait. Such is life.

    Contact:
    Yep Roc
    P.O. Box 4821
    Chapel Hill, NC 27515
    www: http://www.yeproc.com


    Dissent
    Swap Meet Seers
    (Wide Hive)

    Something of an electronica-jazz collective orchestrated by Gregory Howe, Dissent has evolved significantly in three albums, and this effort sounds much smoother and, perhaps strangely, more adventurous than the first two.

    What has struck me from the beginning about Dissent is that no one is doing anything quite like this. Yes, there are trip-hop moments that might remind one of Stereolab or Savath + Savalas. And there are big-beat moments than do recall Propellerheads more than anything else. But then there's more. And more. And...

    It's the breadth of Dissent's vision that is most impressive. That and the ability to carry off this stunning swath of sound. Ambition is great (I always salute it), but actually following through on far-reaching plans is most impressive. Dissent delivers.

    Fun? Yeah. Challenging? You bet. Rewarding? Absolutely. Dissent is always in motion, but this snapshot in time is most engaging.

    Contact:
    Wide Hive
    P.O. Box 460067
    San Francisco, CA 94146
    Phone (415) 282-9433
    Fax [415] 282-6432
    www: http://www.widehive.com


    The Ends
    Concrete Disappointment
    (Dirtnap)

    Good, old-fashioned Britpub punk from the heart of Texas. Ah, well. What matters is how the stuff sounds, not its point of origin.

    Not that Austin is such a bad place. But sloppy, slap-happy stuff like this sounds like it belongs in some seedy London club. And yeah, it's good enough to make that comparison valid.

    Like most Dirtnap bands, the Ends do not craft their songs. There's no pretense or subterfuge. What you hear is what you get, and what you get is a solid blast of loud, fast, messy music, delivered with panache.

    Don't ask me to explain why this stuff is so fun. If you don't have a soft spot in your heart for raggedy riffage and half-hollered vocals, that's cool. I like to feed off the energy in stuff like this. And there's more than enough juice in the wire.

    Contact:
    Dirtnap
    P.O. Box 21249
    Seattle, WA 98111
    www: http://www.dirtnaprecs.com


    Jean Grae
    This Week
    (Babygrande)

    I've spent quite a while trying to get into Jean Grae. I know why other folks dig her so much: She's witty, literate and exudes cred. I'm just not exactly thrilled by the way she presents her rhymes.

    The music, I mean. On most of her earlier work, the stuff has sounded just a bit too sloppy for my tastes. Maybe that was intentional; maybe I'm just too stuck in my ways. But I didn't really like her stuff.

    This album sounds a lot more "commercial," though I think she's as much playing with popular sounds as she is endorsing them. Nonetheless, I like it better. The album as a whole holds together musically--something that really couldn't be said about her earlier work.

    But hey, she's already tres popular. This album isn't that much of a departure. The differences are subtle--just subtle enough to interest me. The legend grows. The rampage continues.

    Contact:
    Babygrande
    Suite 1038
    8033 W. Sunset Boulevard
    Hollywood, California 90046
    www: http://www.babygrande.com


    A. Graham and the Moment Band
    This Tyrant Is Free
    (Sonic Unyon)

    There's something kinda wonderful about hearing a loopy, staggering alt country rendition of something that sounds like a hymn and is even sung by a choir. I'm sure I've heard "Glorious, triumphant, optimistic, transcendent" somewhere in my churchgoing youth, but I can't place it. And maybe it's just that Andy Graham has a perfect ear for making songs that sound almost like something or other.

    Take the second song, "Not the One," which has a ton of 1968 Bob Dylan echoes but still is its own song. Or take any of the other pieces on this album, all of which are deeply rooted in one canon or another but still manage to charm on their own merits.

    Many of the songs are fragments, barely a minute long (if that). And that's fine. If all you have if 45 seconds of brilliance, then play those 45 seconds and be done with it (I'd call this the Rob Crow rule, but I'd be showing my gray hair once again). Most interesting to me, these folks hail from Kansas City (the mailing address, in Kansas, is but a hop, skip and a jump from my old stomping grounds in KCMO). That doesn't make this album any better than it is (I'm not sure much could), but let's just say this has a definite Chicago (the city) feel about it.

    The music is wide-ranging, though mostly adhering to at least the fringe of alt. country. It's loud, twangy, contemplative or raucous by turn, and sometimes all that at once. This is one of those albums that could be become legendary. The first song (the aforementioned "Glorious") sets the tone, and the brilliance that follows seals the deal. This one won't sneak up on you. Greatness is apparent from the very start.

    Contact:
    Sonic Unyon
    P.O. Box 57347
    Jackson Station
    Hamilton, ON L8P 4X2
    Canada
    www: http://www.sonicunyon.com


    The Great Unknowns
    Presenting the Great Unknowns
    (Daemon)

    Southern rock and blues from, y'know, the outskirts of Boston. Of course.

    Becky Warren has one of those great alto voices that has both character and range. The lyrics are simple, and sometimes the melodies can be similarly unadorned, but Warren is able to convey so much with just her delivery. These songs would pretty good with any hack singing, but Warren raises them up considerably.

    The band doesn't really try to advance the formula. Drop in a blues riff, rock it out and keep the tempo moderate. The fact is that these folks don't need to reinvent the wheel. They just need to make sure that they're in sync with Warren. They do.

    All that isn't to say that the band is secondary. But in this style, unless there's some sort of incendiary guitar player (Michael Palmer is quite good, but he's not showy), the singer is the deal. And this deal means that the Great Unknowns may be able to lose the second half of their name soon enough.

    Contact:
    Daemon Records
    P.O. Box 1207
    Decatur, GA 30031
    Phone (404) 373-5733
    Fax [404] 370-1660
    www: http://www.daemonrecords.com


    The Jeff Kaiser Ockodektet
    The Kaiser/Diaz-Infante Sextet

    The Alchemical Mass/Suite Solutio
    (pfMENTUM)

    The Alchemical Mass was written between 1490 and 1516. In Latin. The music was commissioned by the Ojai Camerata (the Camerata sings the work here) and performed earlier this year. Suite Solutio was recorded back in 2001, and in "classic" classical music style has been added to this disc to fill it out.

    The Mass is, well, a mass. The vocal sections of the work sound fairly traditional, but the instrumental parts are more "conventionally" Kaiser. He likes to use instruments in unusual ways within relatively "normal" structures. This mass is no different. There's a good amount of noise and dissonance, but the proceedings never get out of control. Rather, a palpable intensity focuses everything toward the center.

    Avant garde? Ehh. I'm not entirely sure what that means. The mass is a powerful piece, one that is best enjoyed as a whole. The suite shouldn't be overlooked, either. Kaiser and Diaz-Infante and four of their pals work their way through music that is unmistakably Kaiser's. Very different from the mass, but just as intriguing.

    The main reason these two pieces are together on this disc is one of space. The mass wasn't really enough for a full CD, and the suite was lying around. Would that all of us have such attractive detritus. As usual, this adventure through the world of Kaiser is most invigorating.

    Contact:
    pfMENTUM
    P.O. Box 1653
    Ventura, CA 93002
    www: http://www.pfmentum.com


    Steuart Leibig/Minim
    Quicksilver
    (pfMENTUM)

    Three pieces here. "Mosaic" is made up of 23 short pieces (called "miniatures" in the liners), all based on Haiku. "Chrysanthemum" is a "single movement in 14 parts." "A Single Rosehip Bursts in Praise" was written in collaboration with a dance company. Whew!

    Like Jeff Kaiser, Liebig seems to specialize in highly-crafted music that sounds improvisational but, in fact, is not. There may be moments here and there, but these pieces sound tightly-written to me. They're played with energy and enthusiasm, of course, but I don't hear any flights of fancy.

    And that's cool. These pieces are intended to challenge the listener, to make us hear more than we were expecting to hear. I like to talk about field trips to the frontal lobes, but this work is much more active than that. There's no spacing out here. Conscious, willful thought is required.

    Works for me. The three works here are distinct, but they are also quite obviously all written by the same hand. Liebig's work is sharp and twisting, commanding attention. Listening to this disc was exhausting, yet ultimately exhilarating. Quite the rush.

    Contact:
    pfMENTUM
    P.O. Box 1653
    Ventura, CA 93002
    www: http://www.pfmentum.com


    The Methadones
    Not Economically Viable
    (Thick)

    It never fails. Whenever my son Max (he's 2 1/2) gets antsy in the car, my wife and I throw in the Mopes' Accident Waiting to Happen. He starts laughing and bouncing and soon enough he's happy again. Dan Shafer was the force behind the Mopes, and he fills the same shoes in the Methadones.

    One of the reasons this music is so attractive to the (much) younger generation is that it's loud, but not bruising. The melodies are thick and easy to discern. Shafer's voice has something of a sing-song quality to it. And lastly, the stuff is fast. Perfect for short attention spans.

    You might think I wouldn't go for such a thing. Hah! Shafer's trick to is take the old Ramones schtick, run it through the Mass Giorgini (et. al.) punk wall of sound production machine and put it up on the counter like a thick steak. Okay, so I don't like steak. I like the Methadones. A lot.

    Very simple. So simple yer grandma can dig it. So there. Play it loud. Then play it louder. Drink one beer. Play it louder still. And dance yer ass off.

    Contact:
    Thick Records
    P.O. Box 351899
    Los Angeles, CA 90035-1899
    www: http://www.thickrecords.com


    Mogami
    Mogami
    (Public Eyesore)

    Jeff Arnal plays percussion (amplified), and Ryan Smith does a lot of computer tricks. Yes, folks, it's weird electronic noise time again. All those lacking a taste for the supremely abstract can simply walk on by.

    Not that there isn't plenty of interesting stuff here. Arnal and Smith keep their pieces lively and vibrant. The parts don't always fit, but they're always fascinating.

    Smith's computer work really brings this one home. Not unlike Panicsville, there's a sense of impending doom hanging over many of these pieces, an unease that is balanced somewhat by the unflagging energy of the components.

    The sort of thing that really catches my ear. Abstract doesn't necessarily mean mind-melting. Sometimes it's more of a deep tan.

    Contact:
    Public Eyesore
    c/o Brian Day
    2464 Harney #15
    Omaha, NE 68131
    e-mail: sistrum1@hotmail.com
    www: http://www.publiceyesore.com


    Ms. Led
    These Things We say
    (Fish the Cat)

    Few bands can make strident personal and political statements sound so damned appealing. Ms. Led opens up with a short history lesson and winds up with "there shouldn't be a stigma to being called a feminist." Hey, I couldn't agree more. But what really appeals to me is the awesome buzzsaw riffage.

    As noted in an earlier review, three-fourths of Ms. Led is part of Saeta, the exceptional avant-rock band. So while it is appealing to think of these folks are mere bashers, the truth of the matter is that these folks know how to play. That talent can be heard in the subtle touches which fill this album.

    There are tiny little references here and there, and perhaps even more impressive is the range of styles Ms. Led incorporates into its full-throttle roar. Kinda like a northwestern version of Firewater--substituting a Kill Rock Stars ethos for the klezmer, if that makes any sense.

    Anyway, this is another fine effort. I've now listened to this disc three times, and it keeps getting better. Truly fine.

    Contact:
    Fish the Cat Records
    www: http://www.fishthecatrecords.com


    The Organ
    Grab that Gun
    (Mint)

    While VH1 seems to have segued nicely into the 90s (20 years isn't nostalgia; it's ancient history), a lot of folks seem to be listening to the music of their toddlerhood. It's funny; I've never really gotten into that early 70s stuff, but I can't figure out why so many bands of twenty-somethings keep digging deep into Joy Division, the Cure, P.I.L., the Smiths, OMD and the like.

    As if we're actually talking about "the like." Nonetheless, these modern bands seem to hear connections that I never considered. Take the Organ, which is a wonderful amalgam of those three bands and then some. The most obvious influence is the Cure, but this stuff is better-produced than those early punky efforts and the songwriting is sharper as well.

    And still a considerable raw energy drives this album. The beats are midtempo, yet still insistent. The vocals are well-heeled, yet still impassioned. Not whiny. Just the faintest hint of angst. Really nice that way.

    Now, see, this was the music of my junior high years (though I never heard it until I was in college, naturally). I've got something of an emotional attachment to these gothic chord progressions and synthesized backbeats. The Organ does a sterling job of bringing back the best of the old and creating something entirely now. Scintillating.

    Contact:
    Mint
    P.O. Box 3613
    Main Post Office
    Vancouver, BC V6B 3Y6
    Canada
    Phone (604) 669-MINT
    Fax [604] 669-6478
    www: http://www.mintrecs.com


    Aaron Ali Shaikh
    Dan DeChellis

    Under Careful Watch the Spoken Words Fly
    (Sachimay)

    Shaikh plays sax (alto, soprano and sopranino) and Dan DeChellis plays piano. These are improvisations, and two-man excursions such as this can really get out of control fast if the folks involved don't pay attention to what they're doing. Shaikh and DeChellis don't shy away from pushing the envelope, but they're most meticulous when it comes to keeping their pieces in line.

    Generally, one or the other takes the lead and holds it for an entire piece. The second player on a given song chimes in when necessary and even occasionally wrests temporary control. But that's only temporary. When the crunch comes, the leader is in charge.

    I'm not sure if this is because one or the other has a particular theme or melody in mind before the start of the session (certainly, many of these improvisations do have a variations on a theme feel to them) or if Shaikh and DeChellis simply have a stellar repore. But there is a level of unspoken communication that is impressive.

    Improvisational music doesn't have to be manic (or even egomanical). It can be contemplative at times. The sounds of sax and piano complement each other quite well, and on this set, DeChellis and Shaikh do the same. Fine listening.

    Contact:
    Sachimay Music
    2780 North Delaware Drive
    Easton, PA 18040
    www: http://www.sachimayrecords.com


    Various Artists
    A Houseguests Wish: Translations of Wire's "Outdoor Miner"
    (Words on Music)

    Nineteen different acts contribute a version of Wire's seminal "Outdoor Miner." This is one of those high-concept tribute albums that has an equally high chance of utter failure. Didn't happen, though.

    I guess when you get folks as diverse as Christian Kiefer, Laura Watling, Should, Timonium, Fiel Garvie, Lush, Flying Saucer Attack and Polar, it really shouldn't be surprising that this album hardly sounds like the same song over and over again.

    Sure, the same lyrics reappear (for the most part) from track to track, but the melodies are sliced and diced (and occasionally whacked or fuzzed out altogether) so much that each track is its own new song.

    Hard to believe that a nice little hummable ditty could inspire so many wildly diverse renditions. Then again, maybe it isn't. For once, the exceedingly overused term "seminal" is actually accurate.

    Contact:
    Words on Music
    715 University Ave. SE #201
    Minneapolis, MN 55414
    e-mail: tidings@words-on-music.com
    www: http://www.words-on-music.com


    Also recommended:

    Andrew What's It All About? (Avebury)
    Andrew worships at the temple of American music, whether we're talking Buddy Holly or Big Star. Wink, wink. Anyway, the this study in the pop form is pretty, varied and always engaging. A little sugar for those who feel their spirits flag in autumn.

    The Anomoanon Joji (Temporary Residence)
    Ned, the "other," older Oldham brother, trafficks in much the same music as Wil. He's a bit more enamored of electric guitar work and isn't afraid to embrace his inner rock star. Still, the true beauty of these songs is their delicate grace, no matter how much stuff gets piled on top of them.

    Clyde Federal Sensitive Skin/Please Be Real double EP (Contraphonic)
    I'm sure there's a difference between a regular album and a "double EP," but I can't think of it. In the olden days, that sorta thing was called "side A" and "side B." Anyway, Clyde Federal blasts out mannered pop rock with a wee bit of soul, kinda like Elvis Costello in a straitjacket. No matter how manic the songs get, they're always letter-perfect. I'm not entirely sure that's a good thing, but there it is.

    DJ Zeph Sunset Salvage (Wide Hive)
    Whether he's got a guest MC or just kicks out his beats sans rhyme, DJ Zeph is stylish as hell. Actually, I prefer his more abstract, "solo" pieces. He gives his MCs too much room. He needs to keep his beats rolling no matter what else is happening. And when they roll, they really roll.

    The Get Outs Get the Message (Avebury)
    Kinda like punk meets 80s AOR. Tuneful, but always mindful of finding an anthem within the riffage. Not a sell out by any means; these two styles are a lot more complimentary than you might think. And anyway, the Get Outs keep the sound sloppy and rough. No chance this one's getting any play on Clear Channel.

    Hitchhike Night Light EP (self-released)
    Four folks from Austin who sound like you might imagine an Austin band sounded like some ten years ago. Understated, lyrical rock that always takes its time to get to the point. Languid in philosophy, if not in tempo. Let Hitchhike come to you; that's the best way to catch the high.
    Contact:
    106-A East Mary St.
    Austin, TX 78704

    Myrrh Larsen Unstrung EP (Whole Note)
    Solid, intriguing acoustic rock. Not folk, really. But then, who is silly enough to do an acoustic version of "Call Me?" Myrrh Larsen. It doesn't really work; the song isn't nearly as complex and important as Larsen and his boys want to make it sound. Which is kinda my comment on the disc. For some reason, though, I got through the mellow pretension and had a good time. Go figure.

    William Lazarus Like Trees We Grow Up to Be Satellites (The Backwards America) (Temporary Residence)
    Wonderfully orchestrated acoustic rock. Lazarus immediately brings us into his world and then proceeds to rewrite all the rules. In truth, "acoustic rock" is hardly complete or even particularly accurate. But that is the jumping off point. Where you end up depends on your own bad self.

    Mister Metaphor Die on the High Road EP (Omnibus)
    Grandiose ideas expressed through the exquisite simplicity of math. One of those "lines intersecting lines" kinda albums, and a good one at that. Mister Metaphor uses its construction to flesh out some really astonishing concepts. Each song travels a thousand miles--though they flash by in no time at all.

    Muck Roc (Pax Recordings)
    Sounds like Leonard Cohen played at half speed, and, well, that might well be what this is. It's certainly muddy, spooky and often dreadfully dreary. Just the sort of thing to warm a cold winter's eve. Put this on and wait for everything in your house to commit suicide. Or just bask in the blow of subterranean pleasures. Either is cool with me.

    Operation S Operation S (Broken Rekids)
    Imagine the Epoxies, only a bit more (and less) so. The synth-driven, bouncy punk does sound awfully familiar, but singer Cecelia (no last name that I could find) can really get grating in a hurry. Of course, these folks are French (or French Canadian or maybe they're just faking...it's always hard to tell), which adds yet another layer of annoyance. Anything that gets on my nerves this much must be pretty damned good.

    People Chasing People The Dayglow Light of Sleep (Milquetoast)
    Man, these guys have some nice riffs. They're played with the utmost sincerity and concern, which does tend to strip the stuff o some of its power. Still, the riffs are good, and the songs are often purty durned catchy. Let it go boys. A little abandon is always a good thing.

    Pinkeye d'Gekko Dry Clothes for the Drowning (Force MP)
    Somewhere between Mountain, the Circus of Power and a washing machine. The intent is there, but these boys came up with a sterile sounding album. I'm sure the live show is great. The stuff here is great. I just wish the sound had a lot more fire. Some of the best hard rockin' blues songs I've heard in a while.

    Shifts Vertonen 9 (Public Eyesore)
    One long, long (70 minutes long!) excursion towards the electronic noise frontier. Fans of the stuff (like me) will sit still for the duration, but that's probably because we've already destroyed all our brain cells. Ah well. I never turn down a good trip, and this one was a doozy.

    Luke Temple Luke Temple EP (Mill Pond)
    Nice little bits of folk-fuzz-pop. Temple wears his influences on his sleeve, but that's cool. If you ever wondered what Paul Simon songs would sound like if sung by Nick Drake, well, here's your answer. Pleasant, but hardly milquetoast.

    Twinkie Twinkie (Avebury)
    Some lovely, noisy, utterly deconstructive rock and roll. Not quite a complete mess, but you could hear it from here. I like to chew on the energy of albums like this. Others might like to use the disc for skeet. That's why America is so great. Keep rockin' (or whatever) Twinkie. After the election, we're gonna need all the noise we can get.


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