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Sunday, October 17, 2010



Going 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 Glass
At 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.

“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 Gal
ás“Wild Women With Steak Knifes” (Mute) :: Exactly!

Ariana Gillis
To 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 Kelly
Eastbound 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.

Steamboat 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 Morgan
Alliterative Run On Sentences (Media Blackout) :: I am the greatest!

Cassius Clay
I Am The Greatest (Columbia) :: Exactly!

The Cringe
The 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.

fin 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.

L’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!

“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 Kaye
The Ballad Of Cat Ballou (Capitol) :: Oh, what an episode!

Be seeing you!

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