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Sunday, October 3, 2010



David Lanz
Liverpool: 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.

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

Of 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 Kim
Grand (Red Ink) :: What if Paul Robinson’s Diodes had been an ’80s synth art rock band instead of a ’70s punk art rock band?

Dance Party
Touch (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.

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

Great Lake Swimmers
Lost 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 Taylor
Lady 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 Montreal
Tree 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.

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

Brent Randall And Those Magnificent Pinecones
We 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 Thousands
The 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 Orphans
Yonder (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.

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

Romi Mayes
Achin In Yer Bones (self released) :: A few years 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.

Where It Hurts (Fallen Angel) :: And speaking of dangerous dames, I’m almost embarrassed to admit that, back in 2003, I compared Sarah Jane Morris to John Cale because of her wonderful “unmedicated and proud of it” wonkiness. I’m even more chagrined to ’fess up that, seven long years later, I now hear a hint of Lou Reed in her current phrasing on Where It Hurts’ opening track “A World To Win.”

But either way I’m fulla hooey because if there’s anything that Sarah Jane Morris is, it’s 100% original, as evidenced by this new cool new jazzbo release of hers which displays an increased majestic evolutionary breadth and scope to her already imposing lyricism. But as always, it’s her distinctive vocals which make the greatest lasting impression. For no matter how painfully truthful her subject matter might be, that voice, however it may threaten to break from overwhelming emotion, always stands strong by the last stanza—and it’s that strength which infuses this record with its deepest soulfulness.

She got to me a long time ago and, after hearing Where It Hurts, I have no doubt that she’ll get to you as well—especially on the aptly-titled “Betrayal” wherein the Sarah Jane Morris that I first fell in love with can still be peripherally glimpsed prowling around in the dark guilty recesses of your deceitful psyche.

Time to take your medicine.

Be seeing you!

Sun, October 3, 2010 | link 

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