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Saturday, January 13, 2018





Bruno MarsDoo-Wops & Hooligans (Elektra) :: Music whores a vacuum which is why, now that Michael Jackson’s gone, space has opened up for Bruno to moonwalk into his void with an album that merges an ace imitation of MJ’s voice with Freddie Mercury’s breathy archness, all sheathed in a synthesized swirl that’s straight outta the ’80s—and as we all know, nothing says the ’80s better than Bruno!


Bruce WillisThe Return Of Bruno (Motown) :: That’s right, Motown. What were you expecting? Stax?


Cybill ShepherdMoonlighting (MCA) :: Stax, you idiot! Not stacked! Stax!


Miles DavisThe Man With The Horn (Columbia) :: It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that schwing!


Grace Kelly & Phil WoodsMan With The Hat (Pazz) :: Sometimes I think that you can’t find a jazzier cat than big boppin’ sax man Woods. As if studying with the great Lennie Tristano wasn’t enough, he then married Bird’s widow Chan and shuffled off to Paris. You’ll probably know him best for his smooth solo on Billy Joel’s syrupy single “Just The Way You Are” but don’t hold that against him because he’s more than made up for it by joining sax siren Kelly for this new album of smooth soundin’ duets. Bonus points awarded if she calls her next album Dial S For Sax.


Grace KellyDial M For Murder (Alfred Hitchcock) :: Geddit?


Dave RaveLive With What You Know (Bongo Beat) :: What if The Who Sell Out-era Who and the Rubber Soul-era Beatles had recorded an album together? The result would’ve been this practically perfect in every way pop record, which is nothing less than Dave Rave’s apex of auditory expression. In fact, it’s so sonically stellar that it would’ve easily made my Village Voice 2010 Top Ten list had I heard it last year—so let that be a lesson to all you tardy publicists!


SIZZLING PLATTER OF THE WEEK: Jonny BurkeDistance & Fortune (Dreamcar) :: Jonny comes rockin’ outta left field in 4/4 time with a voice that sounds like snarky Alice Cooper; lyrical skills that easily evoke Elvis Costello on a magnanimous day; and wiry Keith Richards riffs which simply reek with the sonic simplicity of Bowie’s “Rebel Rebel.” Then he unexpectedly detours into Elliott Murphy country-folk territory for a spell before blasting out the other side in full-bore rock mode again. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say that this is the sound of someone who’s completely confident in the knowledge that he can do just about anything he wants to in the studio—but I do and he can.


Be seeing you!

Sat, January 13, 2018 | link 

Saturday, January 6, 2018





Ray SantilliAlien Autopsy: Fact Or Fiction (FOX) :: No comment.


Discovery Networks InternationalMichael Jackson’s Autopsy: What Really Killed Michael Jackson (Discovery Channel) :: No comment.


Daryl Hall & John OatesLive At The Troubadour (Shout! Factory) :: One day, when I’m old and I can’t stand listening to loud rock ’n’ roll anymore, I’m gonna sit myself right down in a wicker rocking chair and mellow my mind with this smooth sounding triple disc audio-visual combo that touches almost every career base from their early days to their mega-platinum hits. But not today.


Big Star - #1 Record & Radio City (Fantasy) :: A twofer blend of generic up-tempo pop rockers and geriatric snoozak ballads, the latter of which would’ve sounded a whole lot better had they been done by Todd.


Arthur NassonEcho Garden (self released) :: And speaking of the Runt, multi-instrumentalist Nasson unleashes a charmingly naïve Rundgrenish crash course in pop music styles that begins with Brian Wilson, ends with Rick Wakeman, and has more than a few ambient stops along the way to whet your whistle for much more.


Paul LangloisFix This Head (Ching) :: Wherein the Tragically Hip’s guitarist hunkers down to come up with one of the most moving debut albums I’ve heard since Johnny MacLeod redefined what it means to be a triple threat singin’ songwritin’ guitarist—and if you’ve ever heard any of Johnny’s albums, you’ll know that’s mightly impressive praise indeed!


Johnny & The G-Rays“Trying To Chew My Head” (Attic) :: Exactly!


The Homemade Jamz Blues BandI Got Blues For You (Northern Blues) :: When he reviewed Grand Funk’s On Time in Rolling Stone, Lester Bangs wrote that “the drumming is guaranteed to send you up the wall.” I’m a Don Brewer fan so I didn’t agree, but after hearing the brutal monotonous bashing on this album, I have to admit that I now know how he felt. I Got Bruise For You is more like it.


ArthurWatch The Years Crawl By (Rock City Recording Company) :: I hate listening to whiny adenoidal singers but I gotta admit, after hearing this record, that if I had to listen to one whiny adenoidal singer as the years crawl by...I’d listen to Kurt Cobain.


SIZZLING PLATTER OF THE WEEK: Dave KozHello Tomorrow (Concord) :: They may tag sax sessions like this as being “contemporary jazz” these days, but that sounds like some kinda condescending old fogey “Boots Randolph” label to me because where I hang out—on the corner of Coryell and Deodato—it smacks of nothing less than good old-fashioned “fusion” to me. Sure, the liner notes and track notations are strictly new age feel-good folderol, but that’s more than offset by having Herb Alpert on trumpet and Sheila E. on vocals. Bonus points for resisting the temptation to call his album Koz And Effect.


Robert PlantNow And Zen (Atlantic) :: Sheesh.


Be seeing you!

Sat, January 6, 2018 | link 

Saturday, December 30, 2017





Presented for your needle-droppin’ groove approval, in semi-strict random ethno-alpha-numerical order so as not to show any undue kickback payola favoritism, is Jeffrey Morgan’s 2017 Top Ten List Of Records as they appear on my official ballot for this year’s Village Voice rock critics poll, which I’ve been voting in annually ever since Robert Christgau was kind enough to give me the nod some five decades or so ago. In other words, and I’ve got a million of ’em, these are my Sizzling Platters Of The Year, all of which deserve repeated spins on your old grand-dad’s Victrola. Don’t ask why! Just buy them!


Various ArtistsMake America Great Again (Greatest Songs Of The USA) (Curb) ● Obscured By CloudsThermospheric (Psycheclectic) ● James Williamson & Dennis TekAcoustic K.O. (Leopard Lady) ● Edward SayersUnderdog / Overlord (self released) ● Stolen AppleTrenches (Pagani) ● PlasmaticsLive! Rod Swenson’s Lost Tapes 1978-81 (MVD) ● Jenna NationYou Don’t Know (self released) ●  Iguana De BandaEtiqueta Negra Del Lugo (Boca Del Rey Discos) ● Various Artists24 Classic Blues Songs From The 1920s Volume 14 (Blues Images) ● Donald TrumpMake America Great Again (Culture Factory)


Be seeing you!

Sat, December 30, 2017 | link 

Saturday, December 23, 2017





Ronnie Earl & The BroadcastersLiving In The Light (Stony Plain) :: Exemplary axe execution elevates this one into the upper blues guitar echelon, but so-so singing drags it back down into the pedestrian part of town where side two of Jimmy Page’s Outrider lives.


Ronnie Earl & The BroadcastersSpread The Love (Stony Plain) :: Exemplary axe execution elevates this one into the upper blues guitar echelon and an utter lack of vocals keeps it there. Bonus points for covering “Cristo Redentor.” Points deducted for including a liner note quote from a pulchritudinous Padre plugging your positive qualities as a human being. Ronnie, Ronnie, Ronnie. Next time, ditch the shameless self-promotional spiritual payola and let your God-given gift of music do the talkin’ for you instead, alright? Oh my brother, testify!


Duke Robillard’s Jumpin’ Blues RevueStomp! The Blues Tonight (Stony Plain) :: Era-specific pastiches never work because the practitioners can never duplicate the primitive period sound that they’re aping but boy does he ever do these rhythm ’n’ blues to death and die tryin’ in the process. The closest that the Duke comes to cliché is when he covers “Frankie And Johnny” and “Ain’t Nobody’s Business” but most everything else that he chooses to uncover is spot on, from Ike Turner’s “Tore Up” to Helen Humes’ “Million Dollar Secret.” Clocking in at over an hour in length, this is one retro record that’s an absolute must for your next rent party.


Duke RobillardPassport To The Blues (Stony Plain) :: You might like this one better if you’re a modern era maven but, as your physician, I’d advise you to take both of these and crawl to me in the morning. Your papers please!


Andy KimHappen Again (Iceworks) :: Whether you know it or not, you know Andy as the wunderkind singer-songwriter responsible for such infectious worldwide mega-hits as the Archies’ “Sugar Sugar”—and admit it: your brainpan’s jukebox is playing “Sugar Sugar” right now just by reading that song title, innit? Well, never one to rest on his considerable royalty checks, this tasteful new long player is everything that you’d expect from such a staunch pop stalwart as Andy. Smart singing, smart songwriting and smart playing all add up to Happen Again being the best solo album that John Lennon never lived to record. It’s also the new album that Bryan Ferry wishes he’d recorded instead of Olympia.


SIZZLING PLATTER OF THE WEEK: Black Country CommunionBlack Country Communion (J&R Adventures) :: The vocals are of the scotch-garglin’ style that made Steve Marriott and Bon Scott benchmark wailers; the bass is a bowel-buffeting beast that’ll massage your innards from stench to stern; the slick-swervin’ guitar is straight outta mid ’60s studio nirvana; and the pulse-pounding drums with their thick bludgeoning beats sound uncannily just like John Bonham of Led Zeppelin—which they oughtta since the skin-smashin’ stick man is none other than Bonzo’s son Jason. Toss in some synth-soaked atmoogspherics and you’ve got a recipe for the kind of good old-fashioned “Black Country Rock” that Mom used to hate!


Be seeing you!

Sat, December 23, 2017 | link 

Saturday, December 16, 2017





Kristy LeeLive At The Soul Kitchen (self released) :: All rise! Court is in session! The honorable Judge Kristy Lee presiding! Wielding an acoustic guitar like a gavel, this rightfully irate woman dispenses Alabama justice in the form of cautionary tales like the aptly-titled “45” in which an abused woman shoots her abuser in self-defense with Exhibit A. The female jury in the audience is solidly on Kristy’s side because she’s got too much soulful personality and heartfelt passion to be held back by the quivering likes of you, you worm, so stand up and take your medicine like a man. Guilty on all counts! Next case.


ImmolateRuminate (MVD Audio) :: The album cover outside shows a skeleton awash in flames while the album music inside shows the vocalist buried alive in dense slabs of Spectorish sound; a sonic distinction that almost makes this the Exile On Aladdin Sane St. of death metal. Double bonus points for having a singer who actually sings instead of screams and for having a band that’s smart enough to take their musical cues from Powerman 5000—not that they’d ever admit it.


Elizabeth And The CatapultThe Other Side Of Zero (Verve Forecast) :: From the label that gave you Billie Holiday comes another woman y’gotta watch out for, what with her woeful tales of doomed romance like “Go Away My Lover” on which she laments: “Darling won’t you go? Leave me to my tower, leave me all alone.” But it’s not all Garboesque fun ’n’ games because there’s a dark Lynch-pin supporting these proceedings that’ll make you nervously laugh at her insightful lyrics and then suddenly think: does she really mean it?


Jonas & The Massive AttractionBig Slice (self released) :: Having studied such previous purveyors as Springsteen and Aerosmith, it’s apparent that Jonas & The Massive Attraction want to prove it all night that they’re the new modern masters of the Power Ballad; an aspiration which they admirably achieve on three quarters of Big Slice. But since man does not live on ballads alone, I’m pleased to say that the remainder of the record is a raucous romp of ramped up heavy duty rock ’n’ roll that, with a little bit of dedication to the cause, could very end up reverberating all the way back to the sonic neighborhood where Buzz Shearman’s legendary band Moxy used to live—and yes, that’s a challenge.


FIZZLING PLATTER OF THE WEEK: Bryan FerryOlympia (Virgin) :: I was looking through my record collection for some rejects to give away as Christmas presents when I came across this prime candidate. The come-hither satin sheets cover photo may look like a Roxy Music throwback but this ballad-bloated album ain’t no Stranded by a Country Life mile. Which only goes to show that you can lead Bryan Ferry, Eno, Phil Manzanera, Andy Mackay and Chris Spedding back to the fountain of rock, but you can’t make them drink.



Be seeing you!

Sat, December 16, 2017 | link 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017



While you’re visiting, don’t forget to view the dozens of essential selections from my vast archive of
hundreds of extremely rare and previously unseen rock ’n’ roll photographs from the 1970s and 1980s—all of which were taken by myself from my front row center seat at various venerable venues; vintage historical portraits which include the following rock stars caught in their youthful prime:

David Bowie
(1976 Station To Station tour) :: Lou Reed (1974 Sally Can’t Dance tour) :: Iggy Pop (1977 The Idiot tour) :: Bob Dylan (1978 Street Legal tour) :: George Harrison (1974 Dark Horse tour) :: Paul McCartney (1976 Wings Over America tour) :: Pete Townshend (1976 The Who By Numbers tour) :: Johnny Winter (1976 Captured Live! tour) :: Jeff Beck (1975 Blow By Blow tour) :: KISS (1977 Love Gun tour) :: Alice Cooper (1975 Welcome To My Nightmare tour) :: Freddie Mercury (1977 News Of The World tour) :: Amanda Lear (1975 Sweet Revenge tour) :: Rod Stewart (1977 Foot Loose & Fancy Free tour) :: Mick Jagger (1975 It’s Only Rock ’n Roll tour) :: New York Dolls (1975 Tokyo Dolls Live tour) :: Keith Richards (1975 It’s Only Rock ’n Roll tour) :: Ian Hunter (1989 YUI Orta tour) :: Elton John (1974 Caribou tour) :: Mick Ronson (1989 YUI Orta tour) :: Steven Tyler (1977 Draw The Line tour) :: Sparks (1975 Indiscreet tour) :: James Brown (1986 Gravity tour) :: Miles Davis (1985 You’re Under Arrest tour) :: Roger Daltrey (1976 The Who By Numbers tour) :: Bruce Springsteen & Clarence Clemons (1975 Born To Run tour) :: John Entwistle (1976 The Who By Numbers tour) :: Keith Moon (1976 The Who By Numbers tour) :: The Who (1976 The Who By Numbers tour) :: and more!

Ask any dealer and he’ll tell you that the best way to get someone hooked on your product is to give them a free sample, so here’s just a small taste of what’s coming your way when you click on the eleven gallery links to your left:

Wed, December 13, 2017 | link 

Saturday, December 9, 2017





SIZZLING PLATTER OF THE WEEK – SIDE ONE: Betty MoonRollin Revolution (self released) :: Back in the ’70s my all time fave femme singer was Wendy Herman of Angletrax so you can bet your bottom dollar that I’m pleased as punch to report that this here Moonage Babedream is a heavy hard rockin’ revolutionary Hermanesque hellion who’s got a slinky ’n’ sly predatory eye on your danglin’ prize. “I’ve got skin and know how to use it and I wanna lose it,” she confidently declares on “I’ve Got This” so who are you to say nay? Bonus points for having the refreshingly good taste to salute her roots by covering Grace Slick, who was my all time fave femme singer back in the ’60s don’tcha know. Points deducted if she doesn’t call her next album Moonage Babedream.


Robert PlantBand Of Joy (Rounder) :: Although I may listen to Manic Nirvana more than any other Plant platter, I know deep down in my heart of hearts that Fate Of Nations is his artistic apex. Luckily, Band Of Joy happily straddles the sonic fence somewhere between the two in that it’s much less manic than Manic and far less fateful than Fate. In other words, it’s a relaxed romp that’s part honeydrippin’ desire, part flower power posy, and part tremolo trouble.


SIZZLING PLATTER OF THE WEEK – SIDE TWO: Bachman Turner OverdriveBachman & Turner (Box Of Songs) :: So what if this album is technically credited to “Bachman & Turner”? I’m never afraid to call a spade a spade, which is why I’m tellin’ ya that this is a BTO album as sure as the day is long—and the day’ll never end as long as you’ve got this hot wax drippin’ off your turntable on eternal auto-repeat. But don’t take my word for it: just listen to the infectious “That’s What It Is” with its thick hunka-chunka power chords and st-st-st-stuttering vocals ’cause in BTOland things ain’t never gonna change.


Led ZeppelinA Work In Progress: 15 Camera Mixed Edition – The O2 Arena, London, UK, 10th December 2007 (no label) :: If the heavy bludgeoning sound doesn’t kill you, the band’s preternatural performance will. You can’t buy it in stores so download it now—and whatever you do, make sure that you get this two disc edition ’cause it cleans the clock of the officially released Celebration Day. So if you want to hear the drummer’s spot-on impersonation of the singer wailing “I Can’t Quit You Baby,” this is the place to be, see?


SIZZLING PLATTER OF THE WEEK – SIDE THREE: Leon Russell & Elton JohnThe Union (Rocket) :: It’s always admirable when a legendary rocker gives a helping hand up to another legendary rocker whose star has inexplicably and unjustly dimmed. Bowie did it for Lou and Iggy when they needed it and now Elton is doing likewise for Leon on this long player that proves you can go back home again—and for me personally, home is when I first saw them performing live: Leon in 1971 at O’Keefe Centre and Elton in 1974 at Maple Leaf Gardens. Bet you didn’t think they knew how to rock ’n’ roll but, back then, they sure as shootin’ did.


I say did because, as is often the case with efforts of this ilk, there are no real out ’n’ out rockers on The Union; that’s what albums like Leon Live and Rock Of The Westies are for. Instead, there’s a heartfelt poignancy that’s never wistful because this is one helluva joyous celebration of two men’s mutual musical respect. You can still pick out Leon’s distinctive piano playing a country mile away, and if he doesn’t sing in that fever pitch whoa-wailin’ style that he used to do back when he was filling football stadiums, his voice still has as much soulful resonance as it ever did—especially on number like the archetypal tune “Hearts Have Turned To Stone,” which sounds like a 1971 outtake from Leon Russell And The Shelter People during his “Holy Trinity” heyday.


Me, I’m more than happy to have a Leon-Elton-Neil Young duet on “Gone To Shiloh,” not to mention “Snakey” Jim Keltner on drums; Bernie Taupin on lyrics; Brian Wilson on background vocals; and T Bone Burnett on guitar and production—not to mention heartfelt liner notes by Elton himself and a painterly ‘old masters’ cover photo by Annie Leibovitz. But most of all, I’m especially happy that in 2010 the world is once again getting to hear a man who was one of my main musical heroes back when there were musical heroes worth having.


Yeah, I miss Leon, too.


Be seeing you!

Sat, December 9, 2017 | link 

Saturday, December 2, 2017





KMFDM“Superpower” (Metropolis) :: What we need is a musical arms race!


ChromeoBusiness Casual (Last Gang) :: The gleaming band logo and leggy album cover just reek of the late ’70s and early ’80s when syntho disco ruled the royal roost—and the septum-snortin’ music within follows white suit. If you’ve ever had an unhealthy hankering to hear Bryan Ferry produced by Giorgio Moroder, then whip out that coke spoon and dig deep ’cause this album is nothing to sniff at.


Ice TLive In Montreux (MVD Visual) :: Remember when this guy used to be relevant?


Parliament FunkadelicLive 1976 (Shout! Factory) :: Proof positive that, back in the ’70s, black folk dressed up just as silly as white folk did. File under: Space Riot.


Ice T“Race Riot” (Priority) :: I do.


The TwistersCome Out Swingin’ (Northern Blues) :: Twelve rounds of kidney-crushing belts to your flabby midsection that’ll leave you gasping for air. As your corner man, I advise you to pull a Liston and stay seated on your stool for the remainder of this jumpin’ jive.


Nick ToschesThe Devil And Sonny Liston (Little, Brown) :: The best sports book ever written by a rock writer, period.


Sonny ListonWorld Heavyweight Champion (Big Bear) :: Dive, schmive. He’s on the cover of the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper and he slugs it out with Davy Jones in the Monkees’ Head. That’s good enough for me, Champ.


Tyler KyteTalking Pictures (Orange) :: Proficient pop songs performed by a Canadian who makes present day Burton Cummings sounds like latter day Lemmy Kilmister.


TantricMind Control (Silent Majority Group) :: They may have a name that sounds like they’re some kinda sexdrone band, but they come across instead as a Mensa version of Metallideth—which is definitely saying something since both Hetfield and Mustaine are no slouches in the smarts department.


Public EnemyRevolution Tour: Australia 2003 (MVD Visual) :: Remember when these guys used to be relevant?


Miles DavisThat’s What Happened: Live In Germany 1987 (Eagle Eye) :: How he had the appalling bad taste to think that tripe ballads like “Time After Time” and “Human Nature” were the modern equivalent of “My Funny Valentine” and “If I Were A Bell” I’ll never know.


Public EnemyApocalypse 91: The Enemy Strikes Black (Def Jam) :: I do.


SIZZLING PLATTER OF THE WEEK: Kevin Eubanks – Zen Food (Mack Avenue) :: If all you know about Eubanks is his bandleader stint on the Tonight Show, then prepare to be very pleasantly surprised by this highly intelligent jazz album that starts out sounding like a cool classic cross between Stanley Clarke’s School Days and Jan Hammer’s Oh Yeah? before it veers into a vintage Prestige and Verve vein that alternates between being sensually spiritual and so seriously swingin’ with funk as to be borderline heavy.


Nine Inch Nails“Hyperpower!” (Interscope) :: What we need is a musical arms race!


Be seeing you!


Sat, December 2, 2017 | link 

Saturday, November 25, 2017





NushuHula (self released) :: Nushu is the band name of Hillary Burton and Lisa Mychols, the latter being the ‘primo pop princess’ responsible for one of my favorite all time brain-invadin’ tunes, the aptly-titled “Out Of My Mind” which drove me just that. But even I’m sane enough to know that this beach blanket slice o’fun in the sun has enough chirpy chick vocals and jing-janglin’ guitars to get you offa that thing and dancin’ the strip-shake before you know it. Chirps up!


Chloe CharlesLittle Green Bud (self released EP) :: Evocative soundscapes languidly swirl about like windswept snowflakes. Then Chloe’s magnificent voice materializes in the middle of your mind with a warming timbre telling warning tales rife with the learned experience of one who knows. Meanwhile, her acoustic guitar proceeds to gently pluck away at your meager defenses until you finally capitulate.


The Hyena Dog RobberyThe Hyena Dog Robbery (self released) :: Kids, if you’re gonna steal, make sure that you steal from the best like these sonic satirists do. When they aren’t busy burgling guitar riffs from “Secret Agent Man” and “James Bond Theme” they’re busy burgling vocals from the Cramps and My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult. Now that’s what I call snatchin’ the pooch!


Middle Class RutNo Name No Color (Bright Antenna) :: Y’never know when something new’s gonna come rocketing in outta left field to grab you by the ears and shake you wide awake—and you won’t sleep for days after you hear this relentless amped-up guitar ’n’ drum overdrive onslaught that wittily welds angst-ridden Trenton Reznor boo-hoo heaviness with angry Peter Townshend screw-you poppiness.


Pamela Des BarresI’m With The Band: Confessions Of A Groupie (Chicago Review Press) :: She’s my little douche coupe, you don’t know what I caught.


Keith RichardsLife (Little, Brown) :: “That’s life.” “What’s life?” “A book.” “How much does it cost?” “Thirty bucks.” “I only have a dollar.” “That’s life.” “What’s life?” “A book.” “How much does it cost?” “Thirty bucks.” “I only have a dollar.”


Frank Sinatra“That’s Life” (Reprise) :: What’s life?


Desi ArnazA Book (Buccaneer) :: Well, that was fun.


Bad BooksBad Books (Razor & Tie) :: What if the David Bowie who recorded Hunky Dory and the Kevin Ayers who recorded whatevershebringswesing had teamed up to record a delightfully light album like this intelligent airy offering? Too bad the naïve cover art is so visually repulsive though. Style, boys. Whatever happened to style?


Franklin D. RooseveltThe New Deal (1933) :: What rock ’n’ roll needs is a Works Progress Administration!


The New DealLive: Toronto 7.16.2009 (SCI Fidelity) :: This synth, bass and drums aggregate is great at cranking out the trippy transcendental trance beats in a way that sounds like an intoxicated unification of prog rockers FM with trance rockers Tangerine Dream under the amped up aegis of hardhouse rocker Lisa Lashes. Then some maroon on stage has to break the mood by inanely yelling out: “All right Toronto! Let’s take this one out! C’mon! Are you with me? Are you with me?” No kid, that’s where you lost me. Next time, keep your mouth shut.


Motionless In WhiteCreatures (Fearless) :: At first scream, these guys seem to be the scare apparent to Pantera only a lot more melodic with an upped ante of atmospheric keyboard washes. Maybe they oughtta change their name to the Ozzy Osmonds.


Trent Reznor & Zack de la Rocha - Rage Against The Pretty Hate Machine (Polemic) :: I wish.


SIZZLING PLATTER OF THE WEEK: Randy Weston And His African Rhythms SextetThe Storyteller: Live At Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola (Motéma) :: Man, if you think that’s a mouthful to visually digest, then just wait until your ears get hip-addicted to one of the most slammin’ist live jazz albums to be released in many a moon ’cause this thick smoker sounds as if it came wafting outta some swingin’ soiree where the ultra suave groove on ultra waves of sound.


When ivory-tinkler Weston isn’t smearcasing Keith Jarrett at his own game on the Latin jazz pioneer tribute “Chano Pozo,” he’s hunkered down and hammering away on “Jus’ Blues” like a seriously schizoid Mike Garson. Then the band comes roaring in straight outta Heavytown like they’ve been depth charging Dizzy’s “Manteca” for breakfast with a four-sided Miles Dark Magus chaser.


And just when you think that your head is gonna explode from this overdose of sheer aural ecstasy, they lower the pace and let you take five before cranking it up all over again.


That’s slammin’ist.


Be seeing you!

Sat, November 25, 2017 | link 

Saturday, November 18, 2017





Jay SemkoJay Semko (Busted Flat) :: Wherein Jay uses his emotive voice to ably express these eleven country cautionary tales of life’s up and downs. Bonus points for writing the greatest cross-border breakup song ever, the humorously hurtin’ “Before You Leave Canada.”


FreelandCope (Marine Parade) :: The solid song structures of Nine Inch Nails solidly anchored by the squawky bloop ’n’ blorpy synthesizer sounds of vintage Eno. If you liked the hyperkinetics of Pretty Hate Machine but hated the tepid languor of Another Day On Earth, then this one’s for you.


Paul OakenfoldPerfecto Vegas (Thrive) :: Lisa Lashes may be the heaviest hardcore DJ in the world and Jeff Mills may be the most psychotically hypnotic, but this double dose of mellow beats shows you why Oakenfold is the tranciest tripper of them all.


The JezabelsDark Storm (self released) :: A good EP will quickly make its mark and leave you reeling in its wake while a lesser full length album is just trying to get traction—and this EP is better than just good. From the elegantly beguiling water front cover of a water wading woman to the passionate music and literate lyrics within, it’ll have you smitten with its heartfelt emotion and strength. Wordier than Patti Smith and whoopier than Lene Lovich, this is one teaser that has me eagerly anticipating the inevitable long player.


SIZZLING PLATTER OF THE WEEK: The Flowers Of Hell“O” (Optical Sounds) :: The essence of all criticism can be boiled down to the one line that stranded spaceman David Bowie says at the end of The Man Who Fell To Earth. Having recorded an album of literally unearthly sounds that he hopes his wife will hear in outer space when it’s played, a boozed-up Bowie is confronted by Rip Torn who says that he heard the alien-sounding record and didn’t like it. Bowie’s reply: “I didn’t make it for you.”


Well, the Flowers Of Hell made this album for me. I’m its target audience and you are too if you’re addicted to dreamy minimalist drone music as expertly exemplified by such album as: Terry Riley’s Persian Surgery Dervishes; Eno’s Discreet Music; Gavin Bryars’ The Sinking Of The Titanic; and Tony Conrad’s Outside The Dream Syndicate, to name only a few of my own personal favorites.


During its languid 45 minute length, “O” will evoke all of these albums as treated guitars, violin, trumpet, cello, double bass, drums, percussion, flute, chimes, organ, and baritone sax coalesce to sculpt a seamless sonic soundscape that will transport your mind deep into an inner realm which records rarely seek to reach these days.


And, in the best value an ambient enthusiast is going to find these days, “O” is issued on a double layer disc whose flip side DVD includes a 5.1 mix, hour long concert film, plus bonus live performances.


Now that’s what I call a sustained release.


Be seeing you!

Sat, November 18, 2017 | link 

Saturday, November 11, 2017





MudvayneMudvayne (Epic) :: Visually, the artwork appears blank unless seen under a black light. Musically, the disc should’ve been left blank too.


David Lee Roth“Blacklight”  (Wawazat!) :: You see?


Bill DanaMy Name...José Jiménez (Kapp) :: You see?


JW-JonesMidnight Memphis Sun (Northern Blues) :: Did I hear a hint of Pat Boone in JW’s voice on this bloozified country twanger? Lemme go play it again; I’ll be right back.


Pat BooneIn A Metal Mood: No More Mr. Nice Guy (Hip-O) :: I bet Tony Bennett wishes he had Ronnie James Dio and Ritchie Blackmore sitting in on one of his swingin’ sessions!


JW-JonesMidnight Memphis Sun (Northern Blues) :: Indeed I did!


Dan ManganNice, Nice, Very Nice (File Under: Music) :: As nice as this gentle romp is, wouldn’t it be nicer if Canada’s answer to Kevin Ayers could now find his Canucklehead counterparts to Cale, Nico, and Eno?


Kevin Ayers“Falling In Love Again” (Island) :: Exactly!


Hadouken!For The Masses (Surface Noise) :: The cover sticker claims that this one contains “The Prodigy’s energy” but it’s just a monotonous retread of Liam Howlett’s brainchild without a single shred of originality. Now you know why the band’s name translated into in English means: “Bland Theft Audio!”


Peter BjornLiving Thing (Sony) :: Track one is awash with a pale pallet of minimal synth sounds and handclaps. Track two introduces the drum machines. Track three, well, you get the idea.


Dusty Rhodes And The River BandPalace And Stage (Side One Dummy) :: Don’t let the band name fool you ’cause this ain’t no country hoe-down, it’s an ambitious aural production that’s reminiscent of ELO-down.


Vienna TengInland Territory (Zoë) :: Is this the richly complex imaginary soundtrack to a silent film or a foreign film? Either way, it’ll provide you with a wealth of mental images that’ll last a lifetime. Close your eyes and see for yourself.


Charles MingusEpitaph (Eagle Eye) :: This two hour excursion into the depths of tuxedoed symphonic avant jazz is boring to watch but an excellent aural delight if you pass on the visuals and just play it as an audio disc.


Billie HolidayThe Life And Artistry Of Lady Day (MVD Visual) :: Stacked & Smacked is more like it.


The Lovely FeathersFantasy Of The Lot (Sparks) :: Hysterically tinged melodrama that dresses like a New Wave queen but kicks like a ’80s synthpop mule.


Geoff BernerKlezmer Mongrels (Jericho Beach) :: If you can’t say anything good about a song called “Half German Girlfriend” with lyrics like: “The Nazi and the Orthodox Jew would both be disgusted if they knew about the dirty things we do,” then don’t say anything at all.


Blue AshNo More, No Less (Collectors’ Choice) :: This debut album from 1973 interprets the mid-’60s Who, right down to the guitar and drums, with pop songs that are more tightly focused than most complete Who albums from that early era, along with a dash of Badfinger thrown in for good measure.


Emma-LeeNever Just A Dream (Special Agent) :: This singing songstress does it all with a switch-hitting style that runs the gamut from languid piano blues to bouncing bossa nova to jazzy horned-up swing. She emotes earthily and wails wildly, but can she rock?


BatusisBatusis (Smog Veil) :: Holy misunderstanding! At first I thought this was some kinda Adam “Batusi” West tribute album! Then I took another look and discovered that it’s a four track EP by Cheetah “Dead Boy” Chrome and Sylvain “Sylvain” Sylvain that’s gotta lotta grungy guitar! Holy overdose!


Kele FlemingWorld In Reverse (Tin Forest) :: Don’t let the ambiguous name fool ya ’cause Kele’s a she and she’s got the kind of powerful high ululating voice that, in my world, would be screamin’ out maximum amped rock ’n’ roll just like Grace Slick used to do—so you can imagine just how expressive and impressive Kele sounds singing her own insightfully sensitive songs from behind an acoustic guitar.


The Black PacificThe Black Pacific (Side One Dummy) :: I dunno; sounds like a double time thrashmo version of Marilyn Manson, whadda you think?


The New CzarsDoomsday Revolution (Samson) :: Now that the Ramones are ancient history, these wannabe revolutionaries are D-U-M-B enuff to think that the coast is clear for them to steal the Gabba Four’s patriotic American eagle logo without anyone noticing—which only proves that they’ve been snorting too much Carbona. At least they have the common decency to record an album of Steve Miller meets ZZ Top hard-edged power pop puds instead of the expected “1-2-3-4!” knock-offs, but still...


SIZZLING PLATTER OF THE WEEK: Kate ReidI’m Just Warming Up (self released) :: With song titles like “The Only Dyke At The Open Mic” and “Emergency Dyke Project,” you can probably guess which side of the swingin’ gate country singin’ Kate is straddling. She’s got a brain as big as her heart and a good-natured sense of humor that’s even bigger. But don’t let her cheerful chirpy voice fool ya ’cause Kate’s nobody’s fool, nuh uh. That’s why she prefaces each set of lyrics in the booklet with insightful little explanations and relevant bits of advice like: “In mainstream pop culture, lesbianism is becoming a marketing tool to reach male audiences. Not good.”


Of course Kate’s right but, what with me bein’ a guy who still harbors eleventh hour Honor Blackman conversion fantasies, I’m not ashamed in the least to admit that talkin’ tales like “Ex-Junkie Boyfriend” and “Truckdriver” made me fall head over heels for her.


Marlene Dietrich“Falling In Love Again” (Decca) :: Can’t help it.


Be seeing you!

Sat, November 11, 2017 | link 

Saturday, November 4, 2017





SIZZLING SOUL PLATTER OF THE WEEK: Phil CollinsGoing Back (Atlantic) :: I know good music when I hear it and on Going Back what I hear is Brother Phil skillfully interpreting a whole funky mess of Motown classics from “Jimmy Mack” to “Papa Was A Rolling Stone.”


It’s a welcome change of pace from the days when a scam artist like Mick Jagger could get away with hacking out inauthentic rubber soul covers like his mugging versions of “Going To A Go-Go” and “Harlem Shuffle”—and don’t get me started on that leering violation of “Dancing In The Streets” that he committed with David Jones. Compared to such base vulgarities, it’s obvious that Brother Phil’s nuanced and righteously respectful vocals were just made for mature Motown material such as “(Love Is Like A) Heatwave” and the reverse parenthetical “Uptight (Everything’s Alright).”


Granted, to the untrained ear, some of these inner city songs may sound pretty white. But so is Brother Phil; what can I tell you?


Davy Jones“Daddy’s Song” (Head) :: Exactly!


The GlassAt Swim Two Birds (Plant) :: This suavely smooth selection of synth-soaked songs initially evokes dissipated memories of latter day Japan ennui and Roxy languor before phase shifting into a solid electro barrage of modern day dance beats which sound like any day Telex whimsy. Bonus points for actually recording a song called “Heavy Disco” in 2010.


Telex“Moskow Diskow” (Virgin) :: Exactly!


Katherine WheatleyLanded (The Hoot Music Company) :: Not since Sparks’ Indiscreet has there been such an amusing airplane crash album cover—landed, geddit?—but the yucks stop there because this is one country record that’s no laughing matter. Inspirational verse: “I’m not the murdering kind, but killing you is on my mind. I’d have made a very fine wife, I’m good and ready to bury this knife.”


Diamanda Galás“Wild Women With Steak Knifes” (Mute) :: Exactly!


Ariana GillisTo Make It Make Sense (self released) :: I’m sure Ariana would never agree that her sensitive socially-conscious acoustic music is of the neo-psychedelic ilk, but that’s exactly what it is—and to make sense of that, all y’gotta do is listen to the first track “Blueberry Ocean” and then stick around for such additional under-the-influence excursions as the Dylanary “Be A Man” and the watery Badalamentistic atmospheric reflections of “Agent Orange.”


Jadea KellyEastbound Platform (self released) :: Jadea manages to whip up a good head of steam on the opening track “Never Coming Back” which musically has all the verve ’n’ swerve of—I kid you not—a Zeppelin outtake circa 1969. Then she regretfully reverts to type by inexplicably settling down for the remainder of the record, thereby derailing the disc for its duration. Next time around, somebody oughtta tell her to play to her strengths and get the Led out.


HeartSteamboat Annie (Mushroom) :: Not that much Led.


SIZZLING PLATTER OF THE WEEK: Marco BeneventoBetween The Needles And Nightfall (Royal Potato Family) :: Aided and more than ably abetted by Reed Mathis on bass and Andre Barr on percussion, quirky keyboardist Marco serves up eleven excellent eclectically inventive electro acoustic instrumental essays which evoke aural ambient echoes of earlier like-minded albums, none more so than Paul McCartney’s McCartney and Nash The Slash’s Bedside Companion.


Jeffrey MorganAlliterative Run On Sentences (Media Blackout) :: I am the greatest!


Cassius ClayI Am The Greatest (Columbia) :: Exactly!


The CringeThe Cringe (Listen) :: Exceptionally intelligent power pop that oughtta be spinnin’ on your turntable right now if you’re half as smart as you think you are. The subtle glam rock underpinnings only reinforce my feeling that this one sounds as if it originally came out on vinyl in the mid-’70s—and if it had, I woulda worn out my copy in a week.


Meatdrawfin du monophone (self released) :: Bonus points for coming up with a cool cross of ’80s syntho Europop that gives lip-service to John Foxx’s Ultravox and hip-service to the aforementioned U.S. Mael’s Sparks. Points deducted for having an album title that’s not in English.


CaracolL’arbre Aux Parfums (Gross Maman) :: Doesn’t anyone speak English anymore?


The Stranglers“Sverige” (EMI Sweden) :: I guess not.


David Lee Roth“Loco Del Calor!” (Warner Bros. Spain) :: Okay, you made your point.


The Rolling Stones“Con Le Mie Lacrime” (Decca Italy) :: Alright, enough already.


The Beatles“Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand” (Parlophone Germany) :: Shut up!


Kraftwerk“Die Mensch-Maschine” (Kling Klang) :: Oh, I give up.


SIZZLING SUPERSIZED PLATTER OF THE WEEK: Matt AndersonLive From The Phoenix Theatre (Busted Flat) :: “What’s all this about me being the Orson Welles of rock?” Meat Loaf once asked me, after I’d made the not-too-subtle suggestion to his songwriting foil Jim Steinman that, well, Meat Loaf was the Orson Welles of rock.


“The great thing about Orson Welles is the combination of power and brilliance,” said Steinman, which is exactly how I feel about Matt Anderson’s musical largess—and, as it turns out, so does Mr. Anderson, what with him singing self-deprecating songs like “One Size Never Fits” and having a website indelicately dubbed “Stubby Fingers.”


Now it’s no secret Matt’s one hell of a barn-burnin’ guitarist, but I gotta tell ya that it’s his bravura vocals that steal the show from start to finish. F’rinstance, his unearthly wails on “I Play The Fool For You” are so utterly uncanny that he’ll have you giving your speakers a well-deserved double take. But whether he’s essaying ballads or blues, Matt always sings ’em with a deep-seated soulfulness and bottomless depth of emotion that’s always backed up by his good-natured personality.


That’s why, just like the man himself, Matt Anderson’s Live From The Phoenix Theatre is larger than life and even harder to overlook. Now who you gonna believe: me or your own ears?


Stubby KayeThe Ballad Of Cat Ballou (Capitol) :: Oh, what an episode!


Be seeing you!

Sat, November 4, 2017 | link 

Saturday, October 28, 2017





Bud Abbott & Lou Costello & Lénore AubertAbbott And Costello Meet Frankenstein (Universal) :: Folks, they just don’t write ’em like this anymore:


LOU: I hurt my poor little head.


BUD: Get up and go to work! That is, if your head doesn’t bother you too much.


LÉNORE: His head is all right.


BUD: Is it? But is your head all right?


LÉNORE: Certainly.


BUD: Frankly, I don’t get it.


LÉNORE: And frankly, you never will.


Edward G. Robinson & Boris KarloffFive Star Final (First National) :: In 1931, the same year that Eddie G. made Little Caesar and Boris made Frankenstein, the two teamed up for this seldom-seen newspaper melodrama that’s worth the price of admission alone just for the scene in which a cynically bemused Robinson looks up at a ghastly grinning Karloff and says: “You’re the most blasphemous thing I’ve ever seen. It’s a miracle you’re not struck dead.”


Arch ObolerDrop Dead! An Exercise In Horror! (Capitol) :: If Arch Oboler is remembered at all these days, it’s as the director of such twonky forays into 3-D filmmaking as 1952’s Bwana Devil and 1966’s The Bubble. But long before that, beginning for three years in 1936, Oboler was best known as the writer who shocked audiences from coast to coast with the infamously eerie Lights Out radio program—and in 1962, Oboler recreated some of his most horrific radio shows for this album which still horrifies today.


Where else can you hear the sickening sound of a man literally being turned inside out while a hapless witness moans: “...inside out...a man being turned...inside out...” before suffering the same fate himself. But of all the episodes that Oboler recreates, none are more legendary than the 1937 tale of a lab-tampered chicken heart that grows exponentially until it finally consumes the entire world. It’s no laughing matter...or is it?


Bill Cosby“Chicken Heart” (Warner Bros.) :: You bet it is—and on this twelve and a half minute track from his 1966 album Wonderfulness, Cos does a literally hysterical take on hearing Oboler’s Lights Out episode as a child, complete with the original radio show’s archetypical thumpthump sound effect of the tell tale heart. You’ll laugh so hard you’ll turn...inside out...


Nine Inch NailsBroken (authorized download) :: After originally circulating for decades as a visually deficient nth generation VHS bootleg, Trent Reznor finally uploaded this affluently filmed pre-Saw torture porn companion to NIN’s Broken EP for anyone to download and burn to disc. The killing joke being that, due to the high quality of the new digital format being so perfectly pristine, it’s the muddy old videotape version that’s now scarier by default because it literally looks as if it did come straight from a psychopath’s abode.


Esa-Pekka SalonenBernard Herrmann: The Film Scores (Sony Classical) :: Decades ago I had an obscure import copy on vinyl of Herrmann conducting his own score for Hitchcock’s Psycho. I don’t have that album anymore, but this 1996 recording of Salonen conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic is such an uncanny note for note recreation that anyone who has Herrmann’s soundtrack memorized won’t find a single auditory flaw. Plus, Salonen also recreates the soundtracks for Hitch’s North By Northwest, Vertigo, Marnie, Torn Curtain, and The Man Who Knew Too Much as well as Herrmann’s cruisin’ for a bruisin’ “Night-Piece For Orchestra” score for Scorsese’s Taxi Driver.


Kenneth AlwynThe Franz Waxman Score: The Bride Of Frankenstein (Silva Screen) :: And if you’re hooked on hearing classic Universal Monster movie soundtracks, then look no further than this 1993 recording of the Westminster Philharmonic Orchestra recreating Waxman’s classic score. You can argue until you turn blue about which of Whale’s two Frankenstein films were the best, but if there’s a general consensus that it’s the second, then you can bet that Waxman’s music had a lot to do with it—and if you don’t believe me, just read the liner notes to see what Whale himself told Waxman’s son John in 1957.


William T. StrombergThe Monster Music Of Hans J. Salter & Frank Skinner (Marco Polo) :: Wherein arranger John Morgan digs deep into the Universal Studios Music Department archives and comes up with the original sheet music for The Wolf Man, Son Of Frankenstein, and The Invisible Man Returns, plus rare unused cues. The result, thanks to Stromberg conducting the Moscow Symphony Orchestra, is another album of excellent audio recreations. So excellent, in fact, that the original “Universal Signature” logo themes are faithfully reproduced for each film, varying in composition and length between fourteen and seventeen seconds. Now that’s accuracy above and beyond the call of duty.


Basil GogosFamous Monster Movie Art Of Basil Gogos (Vanguard Productions) :: Gogos was the greatest living monster movie painter and this colorful comprehensive book shows you how he single-handedly redefined the entire genre, from FJA’s Famous Monsters to Rob Zombie’s Hellbilly Deluxe. Add in dozens of rare pencil illustrations and vintage magazine pieces and you’ve got one of the greatest graphic art volumes extant!


SCARY PLATTER OF THE WEEK: Boris KarloffAn Evening With Boris Karloff And His Friends (Decca) :: Back in the day when there was no home video, the only way you could get to watch an old Universal monster movie was on television during the late show, where it was listed as a “melodrama” in TV Guide. Or, you could put on this 1967 Forrest J Ackerman-produced platter and let Uncle Boris walk you through audio clips from Frankenstein, Bride Of Frankenstein, Dracula, The Wolf Man, and others.


But what makes this disc worth hearing is Karloff’s good-natured animated delivery of Forrey’s script, as when he follows up Bramwell Fletcher’s mad cackle in The Mummy that “He went for a little walk!” by sonorously intoning: “Yes, I went for a little walk—and in that year and in years soon after in The Old Dark House, The Back Cat, and The Raven, I went for other little walks that somehow always panicked people. And then, in 1935, I met...”


Well, go hear it for yourself—that is, if you can dig up a copy...


Be spooking you!

Sat, October 28, 2017 | link 

Saturday, October 21, 2017





Mike EvinGood Watermelon (Just Friends) :: Just like the first song “Great Pop Song” shows, Mike Evin plays tribute to the tinny transistor radio tradition of Top Ten bliss. Powered by a jing-janglin’ piano, happy hippie handclaps and chirpy chick backing vocals, the resultant pseudo-Gospel proceedings are both exhilarating and exalted in a charmingly naïve way not heard since early Runt-era Rundgren. Go ahead. Ignore him.


Kelly Joe PhelpsWestern Bell (Black Hen) :: He’s got a name like an old jazzbo stringer and a mug like an old Waitesbo singer but inside the sleeve this acoustic guitar slinger has woven a thoughtful instrumental album.


Leeroy StaggerEverything Is Real (Boompa) :: The cover sticker says “the title track is (sic) rollicking 3 minute classic reminiscent of late 70’s New York punk” but that’s a (very sic) rollicking three line lie written by some promo bumpkin who’s obviously too young to have lived through late ’70s New York punk to know what they’re talking about—which does a disservice to Stagger Lee’s latest album of pop country tunes. Trust me: if this sounded anything even remotely like Unca Lou or David Jo, I’d know.


Howling BellsRadio Wars (Nettwerk) :: England’s long-lost missing link between Juju and A Kiss In The Dreamhouse. Really.


Anti-FlagThe People Or The Gun (Side One Dummy) :: This anti-Obama album reflects a refreshing return to their raucous roots. A portion of the sales will be donated to Amnesty International but don’t let that socialist sop stop you from counting up this spare Clashian change that you can really believe in. What’s that you say? They’re not anti-Obama? They just rage against the machine that pulled his puppet strings? Uh huh.


Danko JonesThis Is Danko Jones (Aquarius) :: He walks into the room with a record in his hand. He plays it on the turntable and you ask: “Who is that man?” I’m here to tell ya so you’ll understand: this is one Mr. Jones who knows what’s happenin’ baby—and this fifteen track, thirteen-year spannin’ compilation of hellacious hard rock ’n’ roll will have your bouncin’ brainpan borin’ huge holes in your noggin!


MinistryAdios… (13th Planet) :: This political polemic is about as humorously heavy as heavy humor gets these days and it’s a fitting epitaph for one of rock’s more rebellious rabble-rousers. Points deducted for (1) partially lifting the record title from the last Ramones studio album; and (2) not including “Jesus Built My Hot Rod” so that they could cleverly call this live set: Let’s Hit The $#!%in’ Road.


Tipper GorePMRC (Parential Warning) :: Sorry.


The End Is Not The EndHouse Of Heroes (Gotee) :: And, in the end, they’re being compared to The Beatles but using a Rigbyish string section doesn’t even make them a not so Badfinger. Points deducted for still putting a hidden “bonus track” on an album—and who started that stupid trend, anyway?


The Beatles“Her Majesty” (Apple) :: Ooops.


SIZZLING PLATTER OF THE WEEK Watermelon SlimEscape From The Chicken Coop (Northern Blues) :: The back cover shows a big rig’s rear with a bumper sticker that reads “HOW’S MY SLIDE PLAYING? 1-866-540-0003” so I’m here to stick my finger in the hole and dial up an endorsement that this is Slim’s best record yet—and if the title “Gone Dead Train” means anything to you, then you’ll dig where he’s headed. Bonus points for slingin’ a hot hash duet with Jenny Littleton.


Big Black“The Power Of Independent Trucking” (Touch And Go) :: A chicken in every port.


Be seeing you!

Sat, October 21, 2017 | link 

Saturday, October 14, 2017





David LanzLiverpool: Re-imagining The Beatles (Moon Boy) :: Shrewdly eschewing the cloying saccharine sentimentality that mars most Beatle tribute records, pianist Lanz and his band exhibit a thoughtful jazz-tinged sensibility that sees original melodies tastefully blended into lush new realms of atmospheric sound such as “Because I’m Only Sleeping” and “Rain Eight Days A Week.” Add on a couple of sublime Fab-inspired originals and you’ve got an exceptional album the likes of which either Creed Taylor or Manfred Eicher would’ve been proud to have released during their CTI and ECM heydays.


FredGo God Go (Sparks) :: What if George Harrison’s Beatles had been an ’80s pop band instead of a ’60s pop band?


YakuzaOf Seismic Consequence (Profound Lore) :: If you’re looking for a one way doom ’n’ gloom excursion that’ll leave you stranded out where the busses don’t run, then this is the prog metal album for you. It surprisingly surpasses all aural expectations by fusing ominous ambient atmospherics with mournful midnight mass saxophones and bone powdering guitar. Season with echoing vocals that evoke the best of Kyuss’ John Garcia and the Obsessed’s “Wino” Weinrich and you’ve got a recipe for disaster—literally. Please, sir, I want some more.


Matt And KimGrand (Red Ink) :: What if John Catto’s Diodes had been an ’80s synth art rock band instead of a ’70s punk art rock band?


Dance PartyTouch (Hell Ya!) :: It sure didn’t take me long to realize that this is a hip hybrid of The Time’s frail-chasin’ masculinity and the Rolling Stones free-basin’ femininity back when they were going through their pansy sailor suit and trawled on makeup phase—or am I thinkin’ of the New York Dolls after they went Commie? Either way, this outrageous oral extravaganza is a smart ’n’ sassy synth-soaked power pop pastiche of disco-dancin’ pud-poppin’ bathroom bliss.


SevendustCold Day Memory (Asylum) :: Melodic melodies and three part harmonies inharmoniously merge with malodorous Drano-drinkin’ vocals. File under: Crosby, Stills, Nash & Kilmister.


Great Lake SwimmersLost Channels (Weewerk) :: According to the front cover promo sticker, Mojo mag says this is “Ambient Zen Americana” but that’s an ignorant lie by a rag that reviews too many records for its own good. I know ambient when I hear it and this ain’t it unless you consider folk songs sung by a Neil Young impersonator Music For Fairports.


Maria TaylorLady Luck (Nettwerk) :: Maybe I’m dreaming, but on tracks like “It’s Time” and “A Chance” she sounds like a female Eno doing her own airy side two of Before And After Science. Then again, maybe I gotta lay off them pickles and ice cream before I go to bed.


The United Steel Workers Of MontrealTree On The Tree (Weewerk) :: They’ve got the greatest band name since the Reverb Mofos and they’ve got the greatest album cover since Jeff Beck’s Guitar Shop. Then how to explain that, instead of muslin-bleachin’ metal, I get wonky banjo-pickin’ shades of Boiled In Lead? Beats me, but I like it.


KleerupKleerup (Astralwerks) :: Synthesizers! Sequencers! Drone! Need I say more? More!


Brent Randall And Those Magnificent PineconesWe Were Strangers In Paddington Green (Endearing) :: If Gilbert O’Sullivan and Julee Cruise had formed the Asylum Choir instead of Leon Russell and Marc Benno, this might have been the ’luded result.


The Hundred And ThousandsThe Hundred And Thousands (Nettwerk) :: Sounding like Midge Ure’s Ultravox with a Cheap Trick chaser, this might be the ultimate apex of ’80s Euro synthopop.


Tin Star OrphansYonder (Sparks) :: Unlike a double D divorcee with too much hooch under her heaving halter-top, this one takes a while to get going. But when it does, it quickly unleashes a sensuous six minute violin-laden instrumental that quickly kicks into shorter schizo songs with gnarly Aqualung vocals which are loaded with personality—and I’m all about personality.


BarzinNotes To An Absent Lover (Monotreme) :: Sensitive soft-spoken songs about lost love and broken hearts that taps into a sliced open Bryan Ferry vein.


SIZZLING PLATTER OF THE WEEK: Romi MayesAchin In Yer Bones (self released) :: Many moons ago I lauded this hot hellcat for her last release Sweet Somethin’ Special. Well, she’s back with yet another set of electrified countrified cautionary tales told from a small town woman’s view. Only this time she seems be in a lot lighter mood, which is even better—but don’t let your guard down ’cause this is one dangerous dame.


Be seeing you!

Sat, October 14, 2017 | link 

Saturday, October 7, 2017





Dweezil ZappaReturn Of The Son Of... (Razor & Tie) :: Brown singers don’t make it.


Lorrie MathesonIn Vein (I Can’t Read What The Name Of The Record Label Is Because The Logo Is Printed In Glossy Black Enamel Against An Equally Black Matte Finish) :: Look, I’m all for artsy black on black Warholian art direction but not when form impedes function, alright? That said, this is a folksy pop album with rusted edges of insanity that some blind folks might like—but if you can’t read any of the lyrics or album credits, who will love this lad’s In Vein?


Johnny ForeignerWaited Up Til It Was Light (Nettwerk) :: What we got here is some erratic experimental pop music the likes of which used to be regularly served up by Stiff and Island. It’s Jam packed to overflowing with noisy unbridled enthusiasm and joyous burbling Vibrators spunk. Male and female vocals collide as if they were yanked from an Orson Welles optical soundtrack and guitars wail with a frenzied out of control Buzzcocks aesthetic. In fact, I haven’t heard such a bracing barrage since Robin Scott’s M. Or is that Howard Devoto’s Magazine?


SIZZLIN’ PLATTER OF THE WEEK: Tim HusHockeytown (Stony Plain) :: It’s that time of year when I start to get a-thinkin’ about my annual Top Ten list and this joyous upbeat country celebration of what it means to be a prairie-bred Canadian is already on it, the only question bein’ how high a rankin’ it’ll receive by the end of the year.


Y’see, I spent several of my teenage summers livin’ on a farm in Prince Albert and some of my adult years residin’ in Saskatoon, so I can testify to the veracity of such Saskatchewan songs as the two-fisted “Saskatchewan Son-Of-A-Gun” and the culinary-berry “Talkin’ Saskatoon Blues.” But don’t you go thinkin’ that this is some kinda concept album about the land that Dief The Chief made famous ’cause it ain’t.


Tim rambles from coast to coast to coast on numbers like the rail-rumblin’ “Canadian Pacific,” the molten-hammerin’ “Hamilton Steel,” the fish-flounderin’ “North Atlantic Trawler” and the patriotic title track which comes complete with no less a Canadian icon than Foster “He shoots! He scores!” Hewitt callin’ the play-by-play. “Hockeytown” is poised to become the new unifyin’ Canadian national anthem, so you can forget all about them playin’ “O Canada” at the next puck drop—and I’ve attended three Stanley Cup parades in Toronto so I should know.


There’s no mistakin’ that Tim is the heir—and boy is it ever apparent—to the wood-splinterin’ cowboy singin’ legacy of the legendary Stompin’ Tom Connors. But don’t take my word for it, just ask Stompin’ Tom yourself the next time you see him and Tim Hus sharin’ a stage.


And after you hear Hockeytown you’ll know why this is one of the best albums of the year—and Howe!


Be seein’ you!

Sat, October 7, 2017 | link 

Saturday, September 30, 2017





Black Stone CherryFolklore And Superstition (Roadrunner) :: Wherein one of the best hard rock bands in America blends the best of Aerosmith and Alice in one timpani shredding session.


AnemoStentorian (City Canyons) :: They’ve got the same pop vocal stylings and 4/4 backbeat of Eurythmics with a heapin’ helpin’ of hard rockin’ Heart. That I didn’t clue in to this initially means that they’ve got their own thing goin’ on too.


Bob DylanBoth Ends Of The Rainbow (MVD Visual) :: Wherein the usual bunch of windbag wankers expound on Bob’s born again phase—as if the actual records themselves weren’t good enough.


The Dirty HeadsAny Port In A Storm (Universal) :: These four white guys do echoed dub like it genetically runs through their veins—and who knows, maybe it does.


Rick WakemanRick Wakeman’s Grumpy Old Picture Show (MVD Visual) :: Wherein prog rock’s greatest keyboardist hangs up his cape to try his hand at biographical multi-media stand up comedy—but don’t laugh ’cause he actually manages to pull it off thanks to his prattle-punctuatin’ piano passages.


Mark Berube & The Patriotic FewWhat The Boat Gave The River (KBM) :: I dunno if Mark Berube ever heard Marc Benno’s Asylum Choir work, but this one sure sounds like he did, right down to the mix’s schizoid stereo separation.


One Second 2 LateWorld Time Bomb (Red Ink) :: Wherein one of the best hard rock bands in Canada blends the best of old Korn and new Korn in one bagpipe shedding session.


SIZZLING TV SHOW OF THE WEEK: Jefferson AirplaneGo Ride The Music (Eagle Vision) :: This live in the studio session originally ran on NET’s Fanfare program back in 1969 and contains seven full-length songs from the Volunteers era, including a slow vamp on their then-current single “Mexico” as well as the elusive “Emergency” which was never waxed but remained a live staple—plus an extended barn-burning throwdown on “Volunteers” itself. Points deducted for Jorma’s ever-present swastika pendant. What a maroon.


Be seeing you!

Sat, September 30, 2017 | link 

Saturday, September 23, 2017





Comic Book HeroesTake A Seat (self released) :: I was gonna say something suitably snide like: “If real superheroes were as lame as these four Supersnipes, the world would be run by supervillains.” But it turns out I’m only half wrong because, just like the Hawk, they got enough Whoish power chord trappings to wake me up. Unfortunately, just like the Dove, they also got enough Hagarish power ballad trimmings to snooze me down.


North Side KingsSuburban Royalty (I Scream) :: These screamos write liner notes that brag: “This is the song Ice-T wishes he wrote in place of ‘New Jack Hustler’.” Yeah, right.


Ice-THome Invasion (Rhyme Syndicate) :: And this is the album the North Side Kings wish they’d made in place of Suburban Royalty. Yeah, right on.


Fear Nuttin BandYardcore (Bodog) :: Jahve nuttin d’feah bwah dis Korny wrekord widjil leeve fuh evva indie infuhmmy, mon.


The NotwistThe Devil, You & Me (Domino) :: Love their way, they’re the new Psychedelic Furs!


Bad Luck CharmsBad Luck Charms (I Scream) :: I scream, you scream, we all scream for this slovenly hard rock cross between the New York Dolls and Wild Man Fischer.


Keaton SimonsCan You Hear Me (CBS) :: You’re breaking up.


Neil SedakaBreaking Up Is Hard To Do (Rocket) :: Can you hear me now?


Your VegasA Town And Two Cities (Universal Republic) :: It was the best of Hall & Oates, it was the worst of U2.


PSEUDO-SIZZLING PLATTER OF THE WEEK: John Oates100 Miles Of Life (Phunk Shui) :: Strangely believe it, this one sounds a whole lot like DaBo’s Young Americans, which ain’t no insult by a long shot when you consider that it’s got a similar trifecta of breathy pseudo-soul lead vocals, smooth pseudo-soul background vocals, and slinky pseudo-soul strings—the only difference being that the erstwhile Mr. Jones never slipped into gritty pseudo-stud David Lee Roth vocal mode from time to time like pseudo-soul Oates does here.


Be seeing you!

Sat, September 23, 2017 | link 

Saturday, September 16, 2017





Joe CockerBird On A Wire (Eagle Rock DVD) :: Boy, what a difference a few decades can make, huh? Long after his 1970 Mad Dogs prime, we find the Rotating Rocker in Doucheland backed by a buncha lanky Eurodisco-dressing dudes ’n’ dudettes. Luckily, his voice is in fine fettle and his hair still reasonably long, even if he doesn’t paw at it once. Bonus points for belting out a boisterous “High Time We Went.”


Chad Van GaalenSoft Airplane (Flemish Eye) :: When he’s not using an effective falsetto similar to Bryan Ferry (“Willow Tree”) or a droll mid-range that evokes Neil Young (“Bones Of Man”), he’s using his own plaintive voice to front a series of oddball Eno-esque pop songs that remain upbeat, despite the mordant subject matter.


Obscured By CloudsPsycheclectic (Psycheclectic) :: An ambitious prog rock album where surface-sutured layers of trippy textures and trances melt into ominous simmering swatches of deep-seated psychotronic sensations before slowly coalescing together again.


Palmyra DelranShe Digs The Ride (Apex East) :: She begins with a “Wipeout” riff and then shifts into third gear—it’s all right—with a classic janglin’ guitar-driven groove that manages to stuff a wild surfin’ bird with a beach blanket bikini.


Tom VerlaineDreamtime & Words From The Front (Collectors’ Choice) :: These ’80s solo albums from Television’s anchorman sound like early herky-jerky Talking Heads in places, but it’s the wonky up-tempo tracks like “Mr. Blur” and “Present Arrived” that prove it all night like an analog TV set jammed between channels—and don’t I miss that sound!


SIZZLING PLATTER OF THE WEEK: Family Force 5Dance Or Die (Tooth & Nail) :: Cheap Trick and Flavor Flav meet the Jacksons and KISS on this utterly charming album that dares to mix high energy power pop and low brow ghetto funk with a big heapin’ helpin’ of Teutonictronics lathered thick on top. I haven’t had so much fun listening to an album in days, so ketchup!


Be seeing you!

Sat, September 16, 2017 | link 

Saturday, September 9, 2017





SIZZLING PLATTERS OF THE WEEK: Phil ManzaneraThe 801 Series (Expression/MVD Audio) :: 801 was the Plastic Ono Band of mid-’70s progressive supergroup rock ensembles, a nebulous ever-shifting central shaft around which revolved some of the greatest English art rock adherents ever: Roxy Music’s Phil Manzanera, Eno, Andy Mackay, Paul Thompson and Eddie Jobson; 10cc’s Lol Creme and Kevin Godley; Quiet Sun’s Bill MacCormick; Curved Air’s Francis Monkman; and many others ranging from Tim Finn to Simon Phillips. Now, for your pleasure, Manzanera has assembled his 801 tape archive into the following four separate live albums, all of which are on his Expression Records label in the UK which is distributed in the US by MVD Audio.


801 Live :: When it came out in 1976, 801 Live was immediately acclaimed as being one of the greatest sounding live rock albums ever released—and that goes double now that it’s been reissued in this definitive new expanded dual disc edition. The first platter contains the original live album augmented by a few numbers, which were left off the original vinyl pressing due to space limitations. The highlights include blistering versions of songs from Eno’s first three solo albums as well as Manzanera’s own underrated Diamond Head record. The second disc finds the live album duplicated track for track, only this time in a studio setting during a rehearsal recorded a few days before the gig.


801 Manchester :: Shortly thereafter, 801 hit the road to support their new studio album—which explains why there’s a surfeit of surefire songs from Listen Now performed, along with an unexpected Roxy cover that’s literally out of the blue.


801 Live @ Hull :: Getting back to mono, this excellent audience recording captures the band in a form that’s arguably even fiercer than on the above-noted sonically superior stereo Manchester tape—which was rabid enough to begin with.


801 Latino :: If it proves anything at all, this incongruous Latin throwdown proves that Manzanera does not live on art rock alone.


Be seeing you!

Sat, September 9, 2017 | link 


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