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Reviews from

September 2009

Action Dead Mouse
Kristy Apps
The Dustin Bentall Outfit*
Rob Blackledge*
Aimee Bobruk
Cheap Red
The Da Vincis
Dead Voices On Air*
Drag Me To Hell
End Result

Extra Happy Ghost!!!
Susan Fancher*
Far From Fresh Food

The Feelies*
Jerry Fels and the Jerry Fels

Sarah Fimm*
Final Gravity

Robben Ford
John Frazier and the 8 Year Olds*
Goose Creek Symphony
Robin Guthrie

Human Nature
The Injured Parties
Hot End

Into The Presence

Rena Jones
Kites With Lights
Roger Kleier*
Nathan Lee

The Little Heroes
The Love X Nowhere
Low Low Low La La La Love Love Love

Mac McAnally*
Miss Derringer
Mist and Mast

Dan Moretti
The Orphins

Out Like Lambs
Elin Palmer

The Receiver*
Shonen Knife
Sick Chuckle
Chad Smith's Bombastic Meatbats
The Sound of Death

State Shirt
Swine Flu

Patrik Tanner
Telegraph Canyon

Ten Pole Tudor
Gordie Tentrees
Time and Distance

The Twees
Two Hours Traffic*
Ugly Colored People

Derek Webb
Simon Whetham
Wingdale Community Singers

The Woods
Hilary York*

*Top Picks

Additional Items Received


Action Dead Mouse - Revenge of Doormats and Coasters (CD, Greed Recordings, Progressive pop)
Most of you out there will probably guess from the name of this band that they aren't playing music that sounds even remotely similar to Michael Jackson or Taylor Swift (heh heh heh...). This is the second full-length release from Italy's Action Dead Mouse...and it's a peculiar spin indeed. The first thing that caught our attention about this release is that on the inside insert the band introduces themselves by saying that "semi-instrumental bands lyrics need little space to be written..." and they then proceed to prove this by including all the lyrics to this album (of which there aren't many)...on a tiny 4 inch by 4 inch sheet of paper. Accordingly and as you can guess, most of the music on the strangely-titled Revenge of Doormats and Coasters is instrumental. To be even more precise, these are guitar instrumentals...somewhat math-rock-ish in nature...but definitely driven by rhythms that inspire movement. Some of the pieces involve violas and trumpets, some were recorded with a more straightforward rock sound. It would be hard to categorize this music in one specific genre...so we just opted to describe it as progressive pop. Plenty of good, obtuse cuts here including "Tom Cruise Told Me Dan Savio Is Not Dead," "Room 121," and "Another Sad Messiah Pt. 1." Strange and puzzling stuff...! (Rating: 4+++++)

Kristy Apps - Pour Me Out (Independently released CD, Pop)
Although Kristy Apps has been playing and performing for about a decade now, Pour Me Out is only her third full-length release. Apparently Apps is more concerned with quality than quantity because in terms of quality...she really delivers. What struck us most about this album were the vocals. This young lady has a voice that is as good or better than most classic pop and rock artists. Unlike the average modern day crooner, when Kristy sings a song she sounds like she means it. Several folks have already (appropriately) compared her vocal style to Janis Joplin. Although Apps is probably best known in her native Australia at this point in time, she has been making inroads toward transferring that success to the United States. Pour Me Out will no doubt elevate this young lady's career to the next level. Mature, thoughtful, pensive, smart tunes abound on this impressive album. Some of the softer tracks feature remarkably beautiful melodies. Top picks: "Pour Me Out," "You Could Be You," "Push It," "Happiness." (Rating: 5)

The Dustin Bentall Outfit - Six Shooter (Independently released CD, Pop)
In the 1990s folks in Japan began outdoing Americans at their own game...writing and recording rock music that surpassed what Americans were capable of producing. Now in the twenty-first century artists in Canada are doing the exact same thing...in the field of Americana pop/rock (!). It seems ironic that folks in another country would be outdoing Americans in this particular field...but we've heard it time and time again over the past few years. There are a slew of credible Canadian artists whose Americana/pop beats the crap out of stuff recorded here in the sloppy-and-quickly-deteriorating ol' U.S.A. And we can now add Dustin Bentall to this growing list of artists because...Six Shooter is an absolutely stellar collection of organic-based folky pop. These tunes recall early Neil Young...but the overall feel and vibe are much more modern. Bentall has a great masculine voice and writes some truly catchy tunes that sound better and better the more familiar they become. Eleven cool hummable tunes here chock full of chiming guitars and pedal steel guitar. Killer tracks include "Railroad," "Take The Money," "Arizona," and "Deserts of Our Minds." Recommended. (Rating: 5++)

Rob Blackledge - Inside These Walls (CD, One Revolution Entertainment, Pop)
Pure pop fans take note...Rob Blackledge is poised to be one of those "next big thing" artists...so be prepared because you're going to be seeing and hearing this guy's name a lot over the next few years. Rob recently had a song on the reality television show Ruby and also co-wrote the song "Runaway" that was a hit for the band Love and Theft. Now with the release of Inside These Walls, this Nashville, Tennessee based artist is well on his way toward garnering international success. Walls is a slick effort...super slick and polished. But the studio gloss never disguises nor threatens this guy's cool effervescent personality from shining through. Folks who love the music of The Pearlfishers (that definitely includes us) will go apeshit over this album. Blackledge's music is chillingly upbeat and genuine. His songs feature wonderfully flowing melodies...and he has a voice to die for. If you think all commercial pop music is crap, think again. Inside These Walls is positive proof that pure pop is still alive and kicking. Kickass tunes include "Should Have Known Better," "Everything," "Granola Girl," and "Our World." Recommended. (Rating: 5++)



Stop donating

(Rating: 1)


Aimee Bobruk - The Safety Match Journal (Independently released CD, Pop)
This...is a debut album...???!! Whew, you'd never know it from the sound of the smart, mature compositions on The Safety Match Journal. Aimee Bobruk's smooth, crystal clear voice immediately reminded us of Mary Hopkin...although in terms of songs she is markedly different. So many up-and-coming artists quickly throw together some words and music...and are then declared "the next big thing" by easily-persuaded folks in the media. Journal is a different animal altogether. Aimee writes smart, memorable tunes that hold up to many repeated spins...and the arrangements are impeccable. The minute subtleties in these compositions all serve their appropriate purpose...which is to support the main melodies. This is easily one of the best debut albums we have heard this year. Cool pensive cuts include "Liverpool," "Fools for Love," "Here She Comes," and "Shores of Gold." Recommended. (Rating: 5++)

Capybara - Try Brother (CD, The Record Machine, Progressive pop)
Hailing from the unlikely city of Kansas City, Missouri...Capybara is probably one of the most original sounding pop bands we have yet to hear in 2009. The individual parts of the music aren't all that different...but the way the parts are put together and, in particular, the ideas behind the music are what sets these guys apart from the crowd. We can hear a few traces of other bands here...some of the arrangements remind us a bit of Pattern Is Movement...the vocals occasionally recall The Flaming Lips...and some of the melody lines are sometimes similar to what Andy Partridge might come up with. But these are just comparisons to give you some idea of where these guys are coming from because in actuality they don't really sound that much like anyone else. The band consists of Mark Harrison, Jared Horne, Darin Seal, and Joel Wrolstad. Incredibly, Try Brother is the band's debut album (!?!). Killer tunes abound here...but our initial favorites include "The Wimp," "Hello City Glow," "Magpies," and "Birthday Song for Bridgegirl." Unusual stuff...very, very effective. Highly recommended. (Rating: 5+++)

Cheap Red - Cheap Red (Double CD, 555 Recordings, Pop/rock)
Cheap Red is the new band created by Jen Turrell and Stewart Anderson (formerly in the band Boyracer) that also includes Akina Kawauchi and Arland Nicewander. This short album (clocking in at just over half an hour) was recorded quickly during a long three day weekend...which may explain the playful spontaneity. The cuts on this album are straightforward and basic...and feature all four members trading off on lead vocals. Boyracer fans may be surprised at how smooth and subdued some of these tracks are. We particularly love the strings used on many of these cuts. The album features two discs. The first contains the original fourteen tracks that make up the album. The second CD features remixes by a variety of artists including Bracken, The Sisterhood of Convolted Thinkers, Team Forest, Fingernail, King Prussia and more. We really like the direction in which this band is heading. Fresh, cool, inspired cuts include "Let's Start A Riot," "The Hurt On Her," "Red Shoulders" (a really beautiful song), and "The Day I Was A Horse." Great stuff...! (Rating: 5+)

The Da Vincis - See You Tonight (CD, Olympic, Pop)
We had to listen to this short little album over and over before we finally realized who it was that the guys in The Da Vincis remind us of. There was something really familiar about the music but it only hit us a week later. These guys have a sound that is strangely reminiscent of Stackridge. When's the last time you heard a band from Mississippi that sounded like...Stackridge...?!? Our answer is...NEVER. See You Tonight may be short (only just over half an hour long)...but all eight tracks are satisfying and real. These guys' keyboard-based pop is smart and highly melodic...played simply without unnecessary fanfare. We just noticed something else interesting about this band...they're very, very young. The oldest member of the band is only...17 years old (!). But you'll find that hard to believe when you hear how mature these tunes sound. Top picks: "Vermont," "Nickels and Dimes," "Oh My Gosh," and "John Wayne." Very nice stuff... (Rating: 5+)

Dead Voices On Air - Fast Falls The Eventide (Double CD, Lens, Progressive)
The eleventh full-length release from Mark Spybey's Dead Voices On Air. For those who haven't been exposed to Dead Voices On Air, the endeavor is a purely artistic one. Spybey isn't trying to create music that fits in any one genre...and his compositions rove and range all over the place with no particular destination in mind. Fast Falls The Eventide is a big splash of creative genius. Together, these two CDs contain almost two hours' worth of music. Some of it is purely experimental...while some of it is more musical than Mark's fans might expect. Like previous DVOA releases, this album spins like a purely spontaneous experience...although these tracks were obviously tweaked and polished to minute perfection. We always have a problem trying to describe this man's music...because normal adjectives and descriptive variables don't seem to fit. The overall effect...is the feeling you get while dreaming. Strange, unfamiliar, distant...these are some of the feelings that come to mind while spinning these discs. The first CD contains new compositions...while the second presents (for the first time on CD) Spybey's 1994 cassette release Abrader (along with two additional unreleased tracks). It's an interesting look at the present and the past...and possibly an indication of where things are headed in the future. We've always been suckers for this kinda ultra creative stuff. As such (and as you might already guess)...this one is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. (Rating: 5+++)

Drag Me To Hell - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack: Music Composed by Christopher Young (CD, Lakeshore, Soundtrack)
We're not sure why this CD is being marketed so late in the game as this film was released several months ago (?). In any event, if you have not yet seen the film Drag Me To Hell...by all means GO SEE IT. It is without a doubt one of the best horror/suspense movies we have seen in years...and it really does keep you glued to your seat the entire time. Perhaps because of the unexpected overwhelmingly positive response, the soundtrack is now being made available for fans of the film. Composed by Christopher Young, this soundtrack does everything a great horror soundtrack is supposed to do...make your skin feel creepy-crawly...make you feel nervous...and generally jerk you around in terms of your overall mood and psychological state. Nice big orchestral sound here. Fourteen killer cuts including "Drag Me To Hell," "Black Rainbows," "Loose Teeth," and "Concerto To Hell." Be sure to turn the volume way UP on this sucker... (Rating: 5)

801 - 801 Live: Collectors Edition (Double CD, Expression, Progressive/pop)
A fantastic time capsule. 801 was a groundbreaking endeavor for a number of reasons. First, because this particular line-up featured Brian Eno during his best obtuse pop phase. Second because the outfit included some of the most incredible progressive musicians in Great Britain in 1976: Phil Manzanera, Bill MacCormick, Francis Monkman, Simon Phillips, and Lloyd Watson. This version of 801 was formed by the members mainly as a vehicle for enjoyment (they only started rehearsing three weeks prior to their first live performance). This deluxe double CD reissue is a real mindblower. The first CD features the tracks from the original vinyl allbum, recorded live at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on September 3rd, 1976. The second CD features a rehearsal performance at Shepperton Studios on August 23, 1976. The set list included tracks from Eno and Manzanera's solo albums, Quiet Sun selections, and two cover tunes (John Lennon and Paul McCartney's "Tomorrow Never Knows" and The Kink's "You Really Got Me"). The track listing on both CDs are almost identical, but there are plenty of differences between the two performances that make both of these discs essential. Hats off to Manzanera's Expression label for making this double disc set available to the public. Highly recommended. (Rating: 5+++)



When people pray
Bad things

(Rating: 1)

Extra Happy Ghost!!! - How The Beach Boys Sound To Those With No Feelings (CD EP, Saved By Radio, Pop)
Extra Happy Ghost!!! is the one-man band created by Matthew Swann who is better known as the bassist in the Calgary band Hot Little Rocket. Swann recorded this short little EP (about 18 minutes in length) in his apartment and then added additional drums and mixed the tracks elsewhere. The hilariously titled How The Beach Boys Sound To Those With No Feelings presents six peculiar lo-fi pop tunes with a remarkable emphasis on lyrics and vocal melodies. We hate rating EPs because they only seem to give an initial impression of what an artist is all about. So in this case we're going to leave this one unrated. But we do want to mention that Swann has a killer knack for coming up with some fantastic melodic hooks... (Not Rated)

Susan Fancher - In Two Worlds (CD, Innova Recordings, Experimental)
Susan Fancher is a superbly talented and creative lady who expands the boundaries within which the saxophone can be utilized. This lengthy album contains nearly 70 minutes of music...and almost all of it would alienate casual listeners. In Two Worlds presents seven lengthy compositions by Morton Subotnick, Reginald Bain, Mark Engebretson, Edmund Campion, Judith Shatin, James Paul Sain, and John Anthony Lennon. While some of the pieces might fall into the category of modern classical, other compositions are so strange and peculiar that they could only be described as purely experimental. These high tech recordings involve all kinds of trippy electronics...while in many cases the saxophone itself is presented without unnecessary effects. The playing is extraordinarily precise and effective...and ultimately very provocative. Fancher currently teaches at Duke University...but our guess is that her true love is creating heavenly/heady recordings like these. Calming, disturbing, cerebral, confusing... This stuff is amazing from anyone's perspective. Highly recommended. (Rating: 5++++)



Food is never fresh and
Neither are the people
Who sell it.

(Rating: 1)

The Feelies - Crazy Rhythms (CD reissue, Bar/None, Pop/rock), The Good Earth (CD reissue, Bar/None, Pop/rock)
We've compared various bands to The Feelies over the years...but up until now the band has never received a proper review in the pages of babysue. Thus and accordingly, this is going to read more like an overall reaction/review of the band rather than a specific review of these two reissues. Unlike most people who were immediately blown away by Crazy Rhythms when it was first released on vinyl, we were not. Sure we liked some of the tunes and liked the fact that The Feelies didn't sound too much like other bands at the time...but we just weren't totally blown away like so many other people were. It wasn't until several years later when The Good Earth came out that we began to feel more impressed. There was something subtle about the album...that made us keep playing it over and over and over and over. Fortunately at about the same time a rabid fan of the band talked us into catching them in concert. Seeing the band play...was when we first fell in love with The Feelies. These guys were/are, without a doubt, one of the most incredible live bands of all time (right up there with The Poster Children who shared a similar style and/or sound). So after being blown away by the show we went back and began spinning both Rhythms and Earth again...and promptly fell in love with the band's recorded sound as well. Even to this day we don't feel as if any of the band's studio albums truly capture the intensity of the band in concert. But if you can't see 'em live (which is certainly unlikely)...then we can all thank our lucky goddamn stars that the folks at Bar/None have opted to reissue these two previously out-of-print albums. Rhythms is probably the more groundbreaking of the two albums...but we still prefer the strange subtlety of Earth. But in all honesty, both of these are absolute MUST HAVES. Interestingly...the band has begun playing live again this year (?!?). The Feelies truly are one of the most original and unique bands ever. Highly recommended classic stuff. (Rating: 6)

Jerry Fels and the Jerry Fels - So Twice They Named It Nice (CD, Nobody's Favorite, Pop)
Can you believe this Jerry Fels guy? He was a solo artist. But now that he's playing with a band he (rather generously) named it Jerry Fels and the Jerry Fels. Actually a rather brilliant idea...can't believe no one thought of it before...?!? We're usually suckers for folks taking a simple approach to music...so not surprisingly this cool, sparse, simple little album immediately caught our attention. Instead of trying to blow people away with power and technology, Fels and his bandmates instead rely mainly on lyrics and vocal melodies. The arrangements are strangely bare...most of the tunes sound as if they were created using nothing more than an acoustic guitar, a drum set, and a casio keyboard. The direct simple sound is what first caught our attention...but as we became more familiar with this album we became more and more impressed with the intelligent (and often rather humorous) lyrics. This peculiar little trio is bound to be an underground favorite in the coming months/years. Clever songs include "Twice A Day," "Nobody Does Me Like You Do Me," "Books Are My Only Friends," and "This Space Is Yourspace." Smart and slightly goofy stuff. (Rating: 5)

Sarah Fimm - Red Yellow Sun (Independently released CD, Soft progressive pop)
Sarah Fimm must be going through a very productive period in her musical career. She just recently released a brand new EP...and has now quickly followed up with the impressively executed full-length Red Yellow Sun. Listening to this music...our minds are still blown away to think that an artist whose music is this rich and well-developed is still virtually unknown to most people. Although playing for a relatively select audience, Fimm is as good (and in most cases much better) than artists on major labels. And the sound quality here is outstanding from start to finish. Just because this is an independent release, don't expect sparse lo-fi pop...because Red Yellow Sun features the exact opposite. Sarah's soft, pensive tunes are played with precise instrumentation and sometimes layered with fantastic sounding strings. And her voice has to be heard to be believed. The soft, subdued vocals on this album have strange haunting qualities that stay with you long after the disc has ended. Packaged in a beautiful embossed black and white tri-fold digipak sleeve (complete with foldout lyric sheet)...this just may be Fimm's best release yet. Highly recommended. (Rating: 5+++)

Final Gravity - Final Gravity (the actual title can't be typed) (Independently released CD, Pop/rock)
Into 1980s hair bands...? If so, there's a good chance you'll dig the sounds of Los Angeles, California's Final Gravity. Although the funny thing is...only one of the band members has the hair to match the sound (the other three have short hair and are somewhat conservative looking). But regardless of the visual image, the sound is there. The chugging guitars...urgent arena-esque vocals...pummeling rhythms...and, of course, the intricate in-your-face lead guitar. In all honesty we were never big fans of 1980s hair bands...but for some reason the more we listen to this album the more we like it (?). Either our tastes are regressing...or else this band just happens to have some groovy tunes and they know how to play their instruments like holy hell. Nifty cuts include "Parallel Lives," "Line 'Em Up" (our favorite), "Lab Rats," and "Been Wasted." Good loud pop/rock stuff. (Rating: 4+++)

Robben Ford - Soul On Ten (CD, Concord, Blues/rock/pop)
Robben Ford's fourth full-length release on the Concord label. Soul On Ten was mostly recorded live. Tracks one through eight were recorded at The Independent club in San Francisco, California in April 2009. The final two cuts were recorded live in the studio. Robben Ford is one of those guys who is so good at what he does that he makes it all sound so damn easy. Playing and singing with such style and maturity certainly isn't easy...but it somehow just sounds so much better when it sounds like it is (!). Ford has a great bluesy voice...but his guitar playing is what probably really sets his fans on fire. Some of the spontaneous fluid leads on this album remind us very much of Frank Zappa...except the songs themselves are light years more normal and accessible. Ford is incredible to be certain...but so is his backup band which includes Neal Evans (B-3 organ), Travis Carlton (bass), and Toss Panos (drums). Fans of rhythm and blues music can't go wrong with this album. Clean, groovy, gritty cuts include "Supernatural," "Indianola," "Earthquake," and "Thoughtless." Highly absorbing stuff...! (Rating: 5+)

John Frazier and the 8 Year Olds - Boogieman (Independently released CD, Progressive pop/rock)
We had to spin this CD over and over and over before we began to make some conclusions about it. Not that the music sounds all that drastically different from other bands...but somehow the approach just doesn't seem to fit in with the average twenty-first century rock band. John Frazier and the 8 Year Olds play inspired melodic pop/rock with a difference. The first thing that struck us about this album was the guitar. Frazier's loose jerky fuzzy guitar sound recalls artists from the past like Television, Richard Hell, and The Velvet Underground. But overall the band's sound is markedly different. Some of the tracks on Boogieman are all-out rockers...while others are more melodic flowing pieces that recall 1980s-era David Bowie. Playing with John on this album are Dug Winningham (bass, piano), Veronica Olvera (drums), and Pinky Weitzman (viola, violin, stoh violin, saw, vocals). Punchy, smart inventive tracks include "Road Rage," "Some Knew Truth," "Adjust," and "Compensation Pills." These folks take the heart and soul of early punk and new wave bands and effectively push the music into the twenty-first century arena. Recommended. (Rating: 5++)

Goose Creek Symphony - Head for the Hills (CD, Bo, Americana/country/pop)
The guys in Goose Creek Symphony began offering the previously unreleased album Head For The Hills in the late 1990s to their fans at their concerts and through their web site. Now finally in 2009 they are offering an official retail release...completely remastered with a bonus track. In the first phase of this band's career in the 1960s and 1970s, they were a real oddity. Their style of unpredictable Americana pop just didn't fit in...and image-wise they looked something like an odd rural version of The Turtles. Of course here in the twenty-first century there are thousands upon thousands of bands taking such an approach with music. But when these guys began, they were one of the real originals. Head For The Hills was recorded in the 1970s just after the band got out of their contract with Columbia Records. The album was recorded but never saw the light of day until the 1990s. This is a professional album that some company should have released when it was originally recorded. Nice to see that it is finally available for the world at large to hear. Nice solid cuts include "Goin' Down the Road," "How-Do-Hi," "Workin' for the Devil," and "Lazy." Groovy sounding stuff that still sounds relevant today. (Rating: 5+)

Robin Guthrie - Carousel (CD, Darla, Progressive/instrumental)
Here in the twenty-first century Robin Guthrie is a very busy man. Actually, he was a very busy man in the 1980s and 1990s as well. While most folks still know him mainly as the man who played the heavenly hypnotic guitars in The Cocteau Twins, Guthrie's solo career has now eclipsed his work with his previous band. He now releases solo albums...records film soundtracks...records with other artists he admires...and acts as producer with groundbreaking artists (old and new). Carousel is another beautiful sparkling collection of dreamy instrumentals that encompass a wide variety of sounds and styles. These tracks feature hints of classical music...ambient...plenty of shoegazer-esque trippy sounds...and more. Carousel may surprise some of Robin's fans because the album seems much more focused on specific hummable melodies than previous releases. But not to worry...the essential heady sound remains intact. If you loved Continental and Imperial, you're sure to love this. Folks who may have missed the boat at this point in time...would be well advised to pick up anything by this incredibly influential artist. Recommended. (Rating: 5++)

Human Nature - Reach Out (CD, Sony Music, Soul/pop)
We had an initial knee-jerk reaction to this band. After all, they're playing songs that we've heard MILLIONS of times too many to begin with. And that's one of the main reasons that we run for the barf bag whenever anyone even begins to seriously discuss that horrible American Idol bullshit. But after listening more closely we realized there's one big difference between the pathetic American Idol creeps and the guys in Human Nature. The Idol assholes do a horrible job of trying to recreate classic hits from the past. The guys in Australia's Human Nature...do an incredible job of recreating the idea and sound of the original tunes. So much so...that for the majority of this album you might even think you're listening to the real thing. Which brings up another perplexing thing. If this sounds so much like the original...why not just listen to the original? Well...probably because the sound quality on most of those old recordings was rather limited and limiting. Thus, hearing these songs recorded with the clarity and punch that twenty-first century technology allows...is interesting to say the least. These guys are incredibly good at what they do but we're still somewhat confused...because we can't decide whether or not to listen to this...or the original vintage recordings...? Either these guys really love the old hits...or else they're purely motivated by money...could be either one (?). Hmmm.... (Not Rated)



Mothers kill their babies
Because they

(Rating: 1)

The Injured Parties - Fun With a Purpose (CD, Zenith Beast, Pop/rock)
The Injured Parties is the new band created by Larry O. Dean who some of you out there will remember as a member of the bands Post Office and The Me Decade. Fun With a Purpose features a more stripped down sound with most of the songs using only the bare essentials (guitar, bass, drums, vocals). This 53 minute album features simple straight-from-the-hip pop that sounds something like a cross between Muswell Hillbillies-era Kinks and early Young Fresh Fellows. Playing with Dean on this album are Jimmy De Lauriea (bass, vocals) and Mike Ebersohl (drums, vocals). Though professionally recorded, mixed, and mastered, these songs have a nice, loose sound and feel that is really appealing. We particularly like the fact that Larry doesn't push himself in the vocal department. So many vocalists try way too hard to get their point across and end up failing miserably. On this album, the vocals are rather subtle...almost having a slightly unrehearsed sound that is a perfect fit for the tunes. Cool guitar driven pop cuts include "American Comfort," "Been There, Done That," "Beauty of the Block," and an interesting, odd cover version of Alex Chilton's "Holocaust." A pure feelgood experience. (Rating: 5+)

Himalaya - Himalaya (Independently released CD, Rock)
This band was formed in 2007 by former members of Asteroid #4 and Three Four Tens. The folks in Himalaya offer nine tracks on this, their self-titled debut. It's a lengthy album that clocks in a just over an hour (that's a helluva lot of music for a debut). The press release that accompanied this album pretty much spelled out likely influences: Spiritualized, Spaceman 3, Jesus and Mary Chain, Pink Floyd... This CD features dreamy, slightly drone-y shoegazer inspired pop tunes with remarkably well developed vocal melodies. Plenty of reverb and effects used here...but it all adds (rather than detracts) from the overall sound. Folks either love this kinda music or they hate it. We've always been fond of semi-psychedelic pop...so that one goes over really well with us. Cool reflective cuts include "31," "Melt Away," "Sleep," and "I'm Alive." At times this band's sound reminds us of Chameleons UK. Really nice smooth mentally challenging pop. (Rating: 5+)



If you heat your butt
You will die.

(Rating: 1)



Hurt the one you're

(Rating: 1)

Into The Presence - Into The Presence (CD, Razor and Tie, Pop)
The debut full-length release from Into The Presence. This band is the duo consisting of Luis Maldonado and Tim Alexander, neither of whom are newcomers to the world of music. Alexander was previously the drummer for Primus and A Perfect Circle while Maldonado was formerly a session musician whose credits include playing with/for Pat Monahan, Glenn Hughes, John Waite, UFO, and more. Partly because of their fondness for artists from the 1970s, Luis and Tim recorded this album entirely on analog equipment which may explain the warm overall sound. Instead of hundreds of overdubs, the duo opted to use only the essential ingredients necessary to get their point across in each song. Many comparisons will undoubtedly be made between Luis and Freddie Mercury (some of his guitar leads even resemble Brian May at times). He has one of those precise, piercing voices that really breaks through the void. What started out as mainly a solo recording for Maldonado's material evolved into a truly joint endeavor as Alexander's input became more and more prominent throughout the project. The more we spin this one...the better it sounds. Groovy tracks include "End Game," "The Garden," "Radio," and "Coming Home." (Rating: 5+)

Jive64 - Goto 10 (Independently released CD-R, Electronic/pop)
Talk about different. Jive64 is Israel's Roy Cohen...a fellow who has an obvious affection for early blippy-bloopy electronic game music. Cohen provides three cover tunes on Goto 10...one each by Beyonce, Rufus and Chaka Khan, and Kylie Minogue...probably a wise move as this will give the average listener something familiar to latch onto. But from our point of view, the other six tracks are the real meat on this album. This album has a very dated sound...but in this case, the dated sound is entirely on purpose (i.e., that is the way Cohen meant for it to sound). The Pacman/Pacwoman art on the front of this album gives a clear indication of what's going on inside this man's head. Cool tracks include "Goto 10," "One Live Up," "Outcome," and "Summer Start (Extended Remix)." (Rating: 4+++)

Rena Jones - Indra's Web (CD, Arabesque Distribution, Progressive/instrumental)
Beautiful, intriguing, intricate instrumental music from Rena Jones. This is mainly a solo album but Jones does elicit some help and/or assistance from a handful of additional musicians on this album. Indra's Web...is a dreamy, moody collection of tunes that don't easily fit within the confines of any one specific genre of music. The songs feature subtle, sparse arrangements and extremely restrained percussion instruments. Rena's main instrument is the cello...so that obviously plays a major role in most of these tracks (although the sounds are sometimes so obtuse and odd that you may not recognize the cello itself). In addition to playing cello, Jones credits herself with programming and mixing...so you know technology played a major role in the creation of this album. This album won't clobber you over the head on the first spin...but will instead remain in your "favorites" stack for an extended period. Top picks: "The Awe and the Wonder," "Helix," "Point of Existence," "The Problem of Time." Intelligent and well-executed. (Rating: 5+)

Kites With Lights - The Weight of Your Heart (CD, 24 Hour Service Station, Pop)
Kites With Lights is the one-man band consisting of Jonah Cordy. While spinning The Weight of Your Heart the first couple of times, we were reminded slightly of Ronnie Martin's Joy Electric. Cordy's tunes and overall approach are somewhat similar...although less bubblegummy. The tracks on this five song EP recall a variety of artists from the 1980s when techno-based pop was just coming of age. Some of the electronic percussion and keyboard sounds on this EP may have even been lifted from vintage equipment (?). Jonah has a great understated voice that is a perfect fit for this style of music. The beats are steady and persistent...the vocals breathy and subdued...and the keyboards appropriately dreamy and distant. Top picks: "The Weight of Your Heart," "We're Ready," "Sound of the Rain." Nice, memorable, smooth stuff... (Rating: 4++++)

Roger Kleier - The Night Has Many Hours (CD, Innova Recordings, Experimental)
Talk about eclectic. The Night Has Many Hours is the final installment of a trilogy of albums from guitarist/composer Roger Kleir (the first two albums were KlangenBang and Deep Night, Deep Autumn). This album is, for the most part, a solo recording...although Kleier does enlist some assistance from Joan Jeanrenaud and Annie Gosfield on a couple of tracks. Kleier's compositions are difficult and complex. Sometimes beautiful and sometimes strangely spooky, these compositions tread all over the place in terms of sounds and styles. To quote directly from the press release that accompanied this disc, Kleier's music "draws equally from improvisation, contemporary classical music, and the American guitar traditions of blues, jazz, and rock." That sums things up rather well. The album is divided into eleven sections. The tracks range from classical to ambient to drone to experimental to modern classical...and then proceed to go way off the deep end. This is extremely heady and inventive music...a far cry from the vapid shallow crap that the average twenty-first century music fan downloads. Precise and intricate...this album is the work of a true musical genius. Turn it up really, really loud...and you'll swear you are seeing things. Highly recommended. (Rating: 6)

Nathan Lee - Risk Everything (CD, One Revolution Entertainment, Epic pop/rock)
Okay, so we admit right off the bat that epic pop and epic rock aren't exactly our top favorite forms of music. But while spinning this one we couldn't help but be impressed by Nathan Lee because--even though his overall sound isn't what normally appeals to us--this guy is damn good at what he does. Lee is a personality-type artist. He has a very strong image and voice that should appeal to a wide variety of listeners. Vocally...he sounds something like a cross between Tom Waits, Peter Gabriel, and Bruce Springsteen (?!?). The songs on Risk Everything are epic-type pop/rock compositions with big arrangements and a big slick sound. Our guess is that over the course of the next year or two, millions upon millions of people will know the name Nathan Lee. Urgent pop/rockers include "Open Road," "Wrecking Ball," "Back To You," and "Broke and Hollow Man." (Rating: 4+++)



The world is

(Rating: 1)



There are no boundaries to

(Rating: 1)

The Little Heroes - Thank You (CD, Wednesday, Pop)
The last time we heard from The Little Heroes was in February 2007 when we reviewed their Cinematic Americana album. At that point in time, the band's sound was way too similar to some unmentionable guitar band from Athens, Georgia whose music was always ruined by a grating egotistical lead singer. Hop forward two plus years...and thankfully the guys in The Little Heroes are sounding less and less like that irritating Athens band...and more and more like themselves. Yup, we were pleased as punch that Thank You finds these guys treading more and more into their own musical world...and from the sounds we're hearing on this album that is a very good thing. A lot of time, energy, and money went into the creation of this album...and the sound quality is superb. Artists making guest appearances include Angus Cooke and Brian Mann. This short album (lasting just under 30 minutes) should easily elevate the band's career to the next level. Cool cuts include "Say I'll Be Gone," "Back Where You Came From," and "Postcards Sent West." (Rating: 4++++)

Livan - Happy Returns (CD, P&C Pumpkin Music Ltd., Pop)
Energized melodic pop/rock that is instantly danceable. Livan writes and records pop with a slight industrial edge that recalls many underground British bands from the 1980s and 1990s. Possibly the best frame of reference would be to compare his music to Sisters of Mercy. The songs on Happy Returns have that cool, metallic driving sound that Sisters of Mercy fans love. In terms of vocals, Livan's voice reminds us very much of David Bowie. Unlike most albums from underground artists, Returns is remarkably accessible and has a great deal of commercial potential. Eleven cool cuts here including "King of the World," "Kiss and Tell," "When the Lights Go Down," and "Liberated Mr. Hyde." Nice familiar sounding stuff. (Rating: 4++++)

The Love X Nowhere - High Score Blackout (Independently released CD, Pop)
The first full-length release from San Francisco, California's The Love X Nowhere (the band previously released three well-received EPs). Recorded at the legendary Tiny Telephone studio with Justin Phelps (who has also worked with the bands Cake and Dresden Dolls), High Score Blackout is an album that goes all over the place in terms of sounds and styles. A few of the softer tunes on this album remind us slightly of Neil Finn. On other cuts the band's music reminds us a bit of babysue favorite Redd Kross. Some of the songs are more subdued and moody...while at other times the band puts the pedal to the metal. There is only one cut that doesn't work ("The Gyre"). The rest...all pretty much hit the target. Smart focused cuts include "Tomorrow's Retreat," "Northern Time," "Knockoff," and "Gooseberry." (Rating: 4++++)

Low Low Low La La La Love Love Love - Feels, Feathers, Bog and Bees (CD, Other Electricities, Progressive)
We're not sure what motivates up-and-coming new artists to come up with names that are either impossible to pronounce or a bitch to type (?). This one rates as extremely difficult in both categories. But music is what matters...and in this case the songs on Feels, Feathers, Bog and Bees are much easier to digest than the band name. The band is a constantly evolving group of musicians based in Wormhill, Derbyshire, England. The music might best be described as progressive experimental pop. The overall sound is something like Sufjan Stevens except...more unpredictable and distant. On this particular album Low Low Low La La La Love Love Love (really hate typing that name...) is Kelly Dyson, Ellis Dyson, Chris Robinson, Hugo Edwardes, and Brian Lutchmiah. This album is extremely smooth and satisfying. Only one real flaw...the bad distorted vocals in "Friend To Mine" render the song unlistenable. Otherwise...this is a killer collection of tunes. Top picks: "Document 19," "Where're You Goin'?," "Blackbird 2," and "Bored Of The Stood Life." Intriguing. (Rating: 5+)

Mac McAnally - Down By The River (CD, Show Dog Nashville, Pop)
This phase of Mac McAnally's career is being boosted in a big way because he is officially the first artist to be signed to country superstar Toby Keith's Show Dog Nashville label. McAnally has had a long and multi-faceted career. His fans will no doubt be won over hands down with this release. Down By The River is a super slick album chock full of listener friendly country-flavored pop. Toby's stamp is all over this album. The sound of the album virtually resembles the sound of Keith's recent solo albums. Some of the tunes themselves even sound remarkably similar to Toby. And even Mac's current web site is eerily similar to Keith's visually. But songs are the main event here...and in terms of songs, McAnally always seems to deliver. Eleven classy cuts here...and Mac's voice has probably never sounded better. We can't help but feel as if this album will be hugely successful. Cool hummable tracks include "Blame It On New Orleans," "If You Hang Around Long Enough" (our favorite), "Over and Out," and "Big Disappointment." We've been big fans of Toby Keith for years...but in all honesty, we feel that this album is much better than Toby's more recent albums (!?!). Recommended. (Rating: 5++)

Miss Derringer - Winter Hill (CD, Nickel and Dime, Pop/rock/punk)
Intriguing new pop/rock band with a difference. Miss Derringer lead vocalist Liz McGrath will no doubt be compared to Deborah Harry (Blondie) time and time again over the course of the next few years. Not only does she resemble Harry physically (she's a really beautiful platinum blond)...but her voice even recalls the slightly deep urgent cooing heard on early Blondie albums. Interestingly, the three guys in the band (Morgan Slade, Sylvian de Muizon, Cody James) look like they could be members of Turbonegro (!?!). Winter Hill isn't a concept album necessarily...but some of the songs revolve around a mob war that took place between the Winter Hill gang and some of their rivals in Boston, Massachusetts in 1960. So now you might be asking yourself...what do pop, rock, punk, 1960s girl groups, and 1960s mobs have in common? The answer, of course, would be...Miss Derringer. Winter Hill is a fun, upbeat pop album full of catchy groovy melodies and feelgood pop that should please even the most jaded music fans. Top picks: "Click Click (Bang Bang)," "Bulletproof Heart" (a really killer cut), "Black Tears," "Tell Me So," "Mausoleum." (Rating: 5+)

Mist and Mast - Action At A Distance (Independently released CD, Progressive pop)
Most artists start their careers creating guitar pop/rock...and then eventually evolve/devolve into other forms of music. In the case of California's Jason Lakis, the exact opposite seems to have occurred. Lakis was formerly in the band The Red Thread...a cool, credible country slow-core band. When the band split, Lakis opted to take a more conventional approach to music and thus Mist and Mast was born. This endeavor is much more guitar pop-oriented...although hints of other genres creep in and out of the music. Action At A Distance picks up where the last Mist and Mast album left off. The album features smart, adventurous melodic guitar pop with a difference. At the heart of the tunes are Jason's cool understated vocals. At times some of these tunes recall Jason Martin (of Starflyer 59 fame). Winding intelligent melodies...uniquely satisfying guitar lines...smart pensive lyrics...what more could you ask for? Once again Lakis hits the target dead center. Cool creative tracks include "In Public," "Elm Street," "X-Ray," "In The Fall, From The Fall," and "Two Seams." Excellent stuff. (Rating: 5+)

Moraine - Manifest Density (CD, Moonjune, Progressive)
Moraine is the quintet consisting of Dennis Rea (electric guitar), Ruth Davidson (cello), Alicia Allen (violin), Kevin Millard (bass guitar), and Jay Jaskot (drums). This, the band's debut CD, features compositions that are obviously inspired by many of the great 1970s progressive dinosaur bands. These five musicians have a sound that recalls British bands like Camel and Curved Air. The violin and cello add just the right classical touch to the music...while the guitar, bass, and drums give the band some punch. The band's influences give you some indication of how eclectic their sound is...Mahavishnu Orchestra, King Crimson, John Abercrombie, Oregon, Univers Zero, Dr. Nerve... Interestingly, while the music harkens back to the past...in terms of sound these folks are presenting music that seems modern in every way. Groovy jazz-inspired cuts include "Save the Yuppie Breeding Grounds," "Disillusioned Avatar," and "Revenge Grandmother." Interesting stuff. (Rating: 4++++)

Dan Moretti - Tres Muse (CD, Foundations Jazz, Jazz)
Tenor saxophone player Dan Moretti really delivers with this release. Tres Muse presents eleven tracks of pure modern jazz. The sound is thick and resonant and the playing genuinely inspired throughout. Joining Moretti on these recordings are Marty Richards on drums and Marty Ballou on bass. These three fellows are so tight on their instruments that when spinning this album it is very easy to forget that you are listening to a trio (they have a really big thick sound). Dan has played with a wealth of well-known artists over the years...including (but not limited to) Aretha Franklin, Mike Stern, The Crusaders, Nile Rogers, and Chic. He is also currently a professor at The Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. The moods here range from sombre to sexy to provocative...always inventive and right on target. Top picks: "Off The One," "Mumbo Jumbo," "The Corner," "Leelander." Superbly recorded and executed... (Rating: 5+)

The Orphins - Wish You Well (CD, Adair Park Recordings, Progressive pop)
The second full-length release from The Orphins. This band is the quartet consisting of Thomas Barnwell, Daniel Upton, Jen Upton, and Max McDonough. These folks write and record underground guitar-based pop/rock with a difference. The tunes on Wish You Well have a dense thick sound that is characterized by driving rhythms and complex guitar lines. What is interesting is the fact that...with so much going on musically...the vocals are rather straightforward and subdued. It's kinda like hearing a complex progressive band with vocals one would normally associate with pure popsters. We'd like to cite some possible references and/or soundalike bands. But the more we spin Wish You Well the less inclined we are to compare the music of The Orphins to other bands. A tiny bit similar to Guided By Voices perhaps...but not really...? Interesting heady tracks include "In The Dark," "Grazed," "Tundra," and "Wish You Well." Totally cool sounding stuff. (Rating: 5+)

Out Like Lambs - Out Like Lambs (Independently released CD-R EP, Soft pop)
Only four songs...but this cool little CD-R EP clocks in at 25 minutes and 32 seconds. This Ocean Grove, New Jersey band writes and records what might best be described as improvisational folky psychedelia. Their tunes incorporate all kinds of odd sounds...mainly organic in nature. Slightly dreamy and chock full of accidental melodies and ideas. So hard to rate EPs so we're not going to try. But from what we're hearing on this little disc, we'd bet these folks have an incredible full-length coming up right around the corner... (Not Rated)

Elin Palmer - Postcard (Independently released CD, Progressive pop)
The debut solo album from Sweden's Elin Palmer. Some folks may already be familiar with Palmer's playing as she has acted in a supporting role for a variety of well-known underground artists including (but not limited to) Eric Bachman. Postcard is a wonderfully fulfilling album. Palmer's music recalls a variety of artists...most notably Lisa Germano and Rasputina (although only occasionally sounding like either one). She writes wonderfully flowing melodies, has an incredible voice, and threads lots of cool stringed instruments into her compositions. This short album (clocking in at just under 30 minutes) is a rather mindblowing debut. We can't help but think that Elin Palmer will be an underground celebrity over the course of the next few months. Killer heady pop tracks include "Postcard," "Paint," "Balloons," and "Whaleboat." (Rating: 5+)

Parasites - Solitary (CD, Kid Tested, Rock/pop)
More totally KICKASS power pop/punk from those unstoppable guys in Parasites. Solitary is the band's first new album in over a decade. But don't expect to hear a tired sounding band aping their past glories. On this short album that clocks in at just over thirty minutes these guys toss out twelve instantly infectious tunes so goddamn catchy that you'll find yourself humming along on the very first spin. So many bands in the twenty-first century aspire to play this kind of super fast buzzsaw catchy pop...but very few succeed. The guys in Parasites sail through these tunes with flying colors from start to finish. This is easily one of the best power pop/punk albums we've heard this century. No joke, this damn thing ROCKS. Killer cuts include "All the Time in the World," "Real Real Good Time," "Hanging Around," and "The First Day of Summer." Hopefully this will be the one that brings these guys the recognition they so obviously deserve. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. (Rating: 5+++)

Petracovich - Crepusculo (CD, Red Button, Pop)
The third full-length release from Jessica Peters Malmberg who goes by the name Petracovich. Crepusculo is a beautifully inspired album featuring more of the kind of smooth, soothing, smart songs that Jessica's fans have come to expect. There's an interesting but sad story attached to this album. It was recorded in 2008 while Malmberg was pregnant with her first child. Shortly afterward the child was born...only to die 8 days later. At that point the album was appropriately shelved in order to give Jessica time to grieve. Thankfully time has passed now which has allowed Crepusculo to see the light of day. (And, as a side note, Jessica is also now pregnant with her second child.) We would recommend this album highly to anyone who ever loved Kate Bush's first two solo albums (before she got carried away with technology). Crepusculo features wonderfully melodic tunes with weaving arrangements, smart lyrics, and a totally groovy vibe. Petracovich is one of those underground artists who could easily become hugely successful if all the right pieces were to fall into place. Thoroughly entertaining from start to finish. (Rating: 5+++)

Pugwash - Giddy (CD, Ape House, Pop)
Golly gosh and gee whiz...we're not as cool and ultra-hip as we thought we were...cuz up 'til now we have never even heard of Pugwash. But one thing's for certain...after hearing Giddy, we won't forget the band name anytime soon. Pugwash is the band driven by the songwriting skills of Britain's Thomas Walsh...a man who obviously has an incredible knack for writing heavenly pop melodies. Pugwash fans should be forewarned that Giddy is not an album of new material. Instead, the album collects some of the best tracks from Walsh's previous albums and includes a sneak preview of the next release (two tracks are included that will also be on the next full-length album which is due out in 2010). It isn't difficult to see why Pugwash ended up on Andy Partridge's Ape House label...the songs are very similar to Partridge's recordings with XTC. Other comparisons could be made to classic pop artists like The Beatles, Teenage Fanclub, and Electric Light Orchestra. After hearing this, we can see why so many folks have gone apeshit over this band. Thirteen killer tracks including "Apples," "Anyone Who Asks," "Pillow Cases," "My Genius," and "Two Wrongs." Great and powerful heady pop stuff. Recommended. (Rating: 5+++)

The Receiver - Length of Arms (CD, Vital Music, Progressive pop)
Dreamy, intricate, progressive pop. The Receiver is two brothers...Casey Cooper and Jesse Cooper who are based in Columbus, Ohio. Length of Arms is the brothers' second full-length release...and it is really something else. Arms is by no means a lo-fi endeavor. These guys write smooth hummable soft melodies...and then add layers upon layers of sounds and vocals to give their music a really thick cool sound. Producer Mike Landolt managed to give the brothers' songs a nice slick sound without making them sound like generic artificial twenty-first century copycats. Vocals are usually the weakest link in a band...but in these guys' case the vocals are what stand out the most. The more we spin this album...the better the songs sound. These compositions are smart, intricate, and totally mentally absorbing. Killer tracks include "Keep the Desert," "Little Monster," "Castles In the Air," and "Amazing Thing." Starflyer 59 fans should love this one. Recommended. (Rating: 5++)

Secondstar - Teeth (Independently released CD, Progressive)
Packaged in a simple cardboard envelope/sleeve. This five song EP from Secondstar contains nice, smooth, hummable, melodic pop. This band is all about songs. Strong songs with smart lyrics...and some rather heavenly harmony vocals. Teeth has an overall organic sound. The songs are simple and stripped down without unnecessary sounds and overdubs. Hard to tell a lot about a band from five songs...but from what we're hearing, we'd bet these folks have a helluva full-length coming up in the very near future... (Not Rated)

Shonen Knife - Super Group (CD, Good Charamel, Pop/rock)
It's always cause for celebration here in the plush babysue offices whenever there's a new Shonen Knife album. We've been huge fans of the band ever since the guys in Redd Kross helped spread Shonen Knife's crazy brand of power pop/punk across the United States. In case you somehow missed out on the band's output over the past few years, they have a sound that is unique. These three girls combine crucial elements from 1960s girl groups with The Ramones and The Archies...and blast it out from a totally cool Japanese point of view. Supergroup starts out with could be called "classic Knife"...the title track charges out of the gate with the upbeat, optimistic buzzsaw energy that these girls are known for. They then proceed to cast out ten more cool, clever tunes that are bound to please their fans across the world. Lyrics have always played an integral part of what Shonen Knife are about...and Super Group is no exception. Hilarious lyrics are evident in "Slug" (in which the lyrics repeat the line Slug...I don't like the slug...I don't like the slug...) and "Deer Biscuits" (which is a song about how deer biscuits smell like soybean flower--haw haw!!!). Goofy, smart, silly, strange...we could never EVER get enough of this kinda stuff. They made us laugh long ago and they're STILL making us laugh today. The band will be playing shows in the U.S. in October and November 2009. If they play anywhere near you...you MUST GO. These girls are just THE BEST. Highly recommended, as always. (Rating: 5+++)



Laugh and laugh and laugh and laugh
Then throw up all over

(Rating: 1)

Slicnaton - Basendrums (CD, Extemporate, Experimental/progressive)
People spout off about alternative music all the time...when all they're really discussing is music that isn't commercially successful in terms of sales. Slicnaton is a true alternative band...because these folks are playing to a very small and very select audience (i.e., folks who prefer music as sound rather than music as songs). Slicnaton is the duo consisting of Nicholas Slaton and Ian Davis. Slaton is credited with playing basses and electronics while Davis is credit with drums and electronics. While the title of this album might imply danceable electronic music, this stuff certainly doesn't fit within the strict confines of the bass and drums category. The pieces on this album are almost totally experimental and there is more of an emphasis on manipulating sound than coming up with melodies and/or song structures. The band's RIYL list will probably give you a clue as to whether or not you have the potential to appreciate what they're doing: Tony Conrad, Marco Ciciliani, Milton Babbit, Henry Texier, M.F. Cote, John Cage... If you're into any of these artists, you may very well have the potential to dig Slicnaton. Obtuse stuff...definitely an acquired taste. (Rating: 5)

Chad Smith's Bombastic Meatbats - Meet The Meatbats (CD, Warrior, Progressive)
We have never been fans of the Red Hot Chili Peppers..not even for a minute. So when this disc arrived in our mailbox the first thing we noticed was that Chad Smith was previously a member of that band. But we try to give everything and everyone a chance...and in this case, we're glad we did. We are pleased to report that Chad Smith's Bombastic Meatbats have virtually nothing in common with the previously mentioned Peppers. Meet The Meatbats presents a surprisingly pleasing batch of progressive jazzy instrumentals. And you get a lot of bang for your bucks here...this album clocks in at over 55 minutes. But its the songs and particularly the spirited playing that make this album such a great big ball of fun. These guys are real pros...but they play with the passion of very young musicians. Ten groovy cuts here including "Need Strange," "Oh! I Spilled My Beer," "Lola," and "Into The Floyd." This album should appeal to rock and jazz fans alike. (Rating: 5)



Music died a
Long time

(Rating: 1)

Squirtgun - Broadcast 02.09.08 (CD, Kid Tested, Rock/pop)
Up to this point in time we had never even heard of the band Squirtgun. Question: How unhip is that? Answer: Very, very unhip (but even more so to admit it in public). The band was birthed in Indiana in 1993...so it is appropriate that Broadcast 02.09.08 was recorded live in the band's hometown of Lafayette (to a capacity crowd). This band's music recalls some of the obvious...The Ramones, The Queers, Bracket... but they're obviously masters of their own recorded universe. Steady propulsive rhythms...loud fuzzy guitars...easy catchy vocal melodies... This is loud in-your-face feelgood stuff that sure as hell entertained the crowd on this particular night. The band slams out nineteen of their classics including "Frederick's Frost," "Another Sunny Afternoon," "Please Be Mine," "Across the Wire," and "Mary Ann" (from the album of the same name that was a tribute to the character on Gilligan's Island). Fun rockin' stuff played with balls and conviction. (Rating: 5+)

State Shirt - This Is Old (CD, LFA, Progressive pop)
The curiously-titled State Shirt is a one man band with a truly creative approach. The first thing that caught our attention here was the cover photograph on the cover...a really cool double exposure of the artist laying in the grass. The tunes on This Is Old remind us in many ways of some of Todd Rundgren's albums from the 1990s. The State Shirt guy uses technology to drive his pop...but the music is really all about lyrics and vocal melodies. Arrangements are kept to a minimum, leaving plenty of open space on these tracks. Some of the tunes are almost straightforward pop...while others delve into more experimental territory. We love the label name LFA (stands for Los Fucking Angeles...haw!). Groovy tracks include "This Is Old," "Computer," "So Weird," and "I Hate California." Cool graphics, memorable tunes, a unique approach to marketing... This guy has incredible potential...and he's only just begun... (Rating: 4+++++)



People get Swine Flu
Because they're

(Rating: 1)

Patrik Tanner - Quills (CD, Dark One, Soft pop)
If you like the ultra-positive vibes given off by bands who don't feel the need to have an annoying edge and push the envelope...well then, Patrik Tanner might just be your favorite new underground artist. To be more accurate, Tanner isn't really a new artist at all. Quills is Patrik's eighth full-length release. His tunes revolve around a gently played piano...and the vocals are way up front in the mix so that you can easily understand the lyrics. On several occasions different musical segments on this album reminded us of Neil Innes...many of the melodies are slightly similar and even the vocal recall Neil on his later recordings. By keeping things simple and direct, this fellow has managed to come up with an album chock full of positive energy. Sixteen pensive melodic tracks here. Our favorites include "The Next Available Agent," "A Moment In Time," "Beautiful Then," and "Rebuild the Titanic." Nice music delivered straight from the heart. Real. (Rating: 5)

Telegraph Canyon - The Tide And The Current (CD, Velvet Blue Music, Progressive pop)
We've been big fans of bands on the Velvet Blue Music label for so many years now...that we can't even remember when we were first turned onto this relatively small but substantially influential label...? In any event, a great many Velvet Blue bands have been covered in these pages over the past few years. We can now add Telegraph Canyon to our list of favorites. The folks in this band play an Americana-type brand of sculpted progressive pop that is a bit different from most bands we have heard on this label. The band consists of Chris Johnson (guitars, banjo, vocals), Chuck Brown (bass, vocals), Austin Green (drums, keyboards, bells), Tamara Dauble (violin, vocals), Brian McCorquodale (pedal steel, piano, percussion), Andrew Skates (organ, accordion, mandolin, guitar), and Erik Wolfe (guitar, bass drum, vibes). You might think that with so many people involved the overall sound would be busy and overproduced...but this is not the case. The compositions on The Tide And The Current display an impressive use of restraint, despite the sometimes complex arrangements. The centerpiece here is Johnson's unique voice. This fellow sings with a strangely distant urgency that is appealing and genuine. Sometimes super soft, sometimes grand and slightly intense...this album shines brightly with the ferver of creative ingenuity. (Rating: 5+)

Ten Pole Tudor - Made It This Far (CD, Angel Air, Pop/rock)
The first new Ten Pole Tudor album since...1981 (!?!). Yup, you read that right. Twenty-five plus years later and the band makes their grand return with Made It This Far. Most folks will probably remember Ed Tudor Pole as the quirky guy who made an appearance in The Sex Pistols' The Great Rock'n'Roll Swindle fillm performing his song "Who Killed Bambi." You would expect an artist and/or band resurfacing after such a long period to sound tired and/or dated. But based upon the sounds we're hearing here, Ed and company still have the spark. The title track alone is worth the price of admission here. "Made It This Far" is a great, super catchy upbeat track that ought to easily reignite the band's fans. But the album reaches much farther...offering an additional fifteen cuts (!)...all of which sound refreshingly inspired. Cool catchy pop/rockers include "One for the Master," "The Occasion," "I Laid Her Down," and "Shutup Tracey." Includes detailed liner notes by Ed himself. (Rating: 5)

Gordie Tentrees - Mercy or Sin (CD, Yukon Economic Development, Roots/folk)
The third full-length release from Yokon roots singer/songwriter Gordie Tentrees. To support this album Gordie is performing no less than 180 (?!!!) shows in Canada, Europe, the United Kingdom, and the United States...so you know this guy means business. Tentrees' songs immediately recall Bob Dylan's very early recordings (before too much success transformed him into a generic crap recording artist). In the world of roots/folk music, things either work...or they fail miserably. In spinning this album, the first word that comes to mind is...inspired. Instead of sounding forced or phony, Gordie comes across sounding like a genuine, real artist whose music is anything but contrived. Backup musicians Ken Hermanson (banjo, lapsteel, guitar) and Matt King (upright bass) provide just the right amount of support to make these tunes cook. The centerpiece here are Gordie's cool heartfelt vocals. In a world full of throwaway artists, it is refreshing to come across an artist whose music comes from the heart. Top picks: "Alfred," "Hey Mama," "Mercy or Sin," "Ross River." (Rating: 5+)

Time and Distance - Gravity (CD, Not Alone, Pop/rock)
The third full-length release from Time and Distance. This power pop/rock trio resides in the unlikely city of Charleston, West Virginia...a place not normally known for its up-and-coming power pop/rock bands. Gravity features smart hard pop/rock cuts with soaring melodies and driving rhythms. In terms of songs...this band sounds something like a young Ben Folds fronting a loud guitar band...even the vocals are remarkably similar sounding at times. The band' sound is slick and professional...but their songs still pack quite a punch...most likely because of the thick, gritty, overdriven guitar that is always prominent in the mix. This band is playing for a very young audience...most likely teenagers and college students. But their songs are much more substantial that what you might expect. Cool, creatively-crafted cuts include "First Time Caller, Long Time Listener," "Living In Fiction," "Sunday," and "Gravity." (Rating: 4+++++)



Throw trash

(Rating: 1)

The Twees - Lessons To Connect (Independently released CD-R EP, Pop)
This is a super short EP lasting just 11 minutes. But with these four tunes, the folks in The Twees seem to easily solidify their image and sound. The three guys in this band have what might best be described as a New York City sound. Their music draws heavily from artists like Lou Reed and early Talking Heads. Cool thumpy rhythms combine with strange staccato guitars and reserved spoken/sung vocals. Hard to rate an EP this short...but our initial reaction is that these guys ROCK. (Not Rated)

Two Hours Traffic - Territory (CD, Bumstead, Pop)
Shamelessly accessible guitar pop...with an instantly lovable sound. Two Hours Traffic is the band begun by the duo of vocalist Liam Corcoran and guitarist Alec O'Hanley...but which also now includes drummer Derek Ellis and bassist Andrew MacDonald. Although we unfortunately never heard it (damn!)...this band's last album (Little Jabs) released in 2007 apparently made a big splash among lots of influential writers and fans. Territory is a super slick collection of guitar-based pop tunes. The vocals are way up front in the mix...and the overall sound is very, very familiar sounding. If you don't like slick pop music well then...you probably won't care for the sound of this band. But if, on the other hand, you're a sucker for really well-produced catchy guitar pop...you'll probably have the same reaction we did. This stuff sounds just...grrrrrrRRREAT. Every song here is a keeper but particular standouts include "Noisemaker," "Territory," "Drop Alcohol," and "Happiness Burns." Recommended. (Rating: 5++)



The white person is ugly.
The black person is ugly.
The brown person is ugly.
The yellow person is ugly.

All people are ugly
Regardless of their

(Rating: 1)



The universe is

(Rating: 1)

Derek Webb - Stockholm Syndrome (Advance CD-R, i no, Pop)
Stockholm Syndrome took several spins to sink in. But now that it has become part of our subconsciousness, this disc is one of our favorite new albums. A word of warming...you have to like technology-based pop to enjoy Derek Webb's music. Even though the songs themselves are basic melodic pop, many of the compositions are draped in layers upon layers of technology. And this is a super slick professional effort...no lo-fi electronic pop here. What is probably most appealing about Derek's music is that his brand of pop has some refined doses of genuine soul/R&B thrown into the mix. Another plus here is that Webb isn't afraid to throw some oddball tracks into the arena. We were particularly surprised to hear the doo-wop-ish "Freddie, Please"...which actually works amazingly well (!). The centerpiece of these tunes are Derek's super smooth, superbly effective voice. This guy has a killer voice...and he manages to evoke emotions without sounding artificial or phony. We sure hate the fact that we received an advance CD-R...because this would have been an obvious TOP PICK this month. This one definitely gets a thumbs up...but no rating because we received only part of the actual final product... (Not Rated)

Simon Whetham - Quiet Please (Extremely limited edition CD-R, Lens, Experimental)
Talk about an extreme limited edition...there are only 100 hard copies being issue of this particular disc (!). So if you don't get yours quick...well then, you probably just won't get yours. This CD contains only one piece..."Quiet Please" that lasts just over 28 minutes. The piece was created using recordings Simon Whetham made in and around Peckham Library which is located in the Peckham area of London, England. The recordings simply captured the everyday sounds of life and work in and around this particular public place. The recordings were then snipped, folded, and manipulated to create this lengthy piece. It isn't music in any conventional sense...and there are many segments that are so quiet that you almost don't notice the disc is playing. Hard to rate something like this...because there isn't much out there to compare it to...(?). A very odd spin indeed... (Not Rated)

Wingdale Community Singers - Spirit Duplicator (CD, Scarlet Shame, Soft pop)
Wingdale Community Singers is the quartet consisting of David Grubbs, Nina Katchadourian, Hannah Marcus, and Rick Moody. The first thing that caught our attention here was the fact that Marcus was in the band. We were first turned onto Hannah's music in August 2000 when she released her refreshingly cool Black Hole Heaven album on the Bar/None label. Spirit Duplicator is an extremely reserved soft folky/pop album that reverberates. The overall sound and feel of this album reminds us very much of Carly Simon's first few albums (before Simon's music became way too polished and commercial), both in terms of vocals and melodies . We have the feeling that these musicians were not out to make a hit album. This is one of those cases where we most certainly get the impression that the folks involved in this project made these recordings purely out of inspiration. Fifteen tracks here...and not one of them is a clunker. Particular standout cuts include "I'm in the Mood (to Drive)," "I Was Once a Young Man," "Montreal," and "Death Is Only a Dream." Soothing and very satisfying. (Rating: 5+)

Wiretree - Luck (Independently released CD, Pop)
Melodic guitar-based pop that harkens back to some of the better underground pop artists from the 1980s. Luck is the second full-length release from Austin, Texas-based Wiretree. The band cites their main influences as Elliott Smith, George Harrison, and The La's...which is appropriate as traces of all three can be heard here and there in these tunes. Some of the cuts also remind us a bit of early Marshall Crenshaw. It is important to note that even though this band is currently treading in underground circles...their music is surprisingly smooth and accessible. The band consists of Kevin Peroni (guitar, keys, lead vocals), Rachel Peroni (bass), Joshua Kaplan (guitar), and Daniel Blanchard (drums). Killer guitar lines abound here...as do super smooth, well-focused vocals. So many bands use gimmicks in order to get their point across...these folks don't. Straight-shooter pop tunes include "Across My Mind," "Back In Town," "Information," and "Heart of Hearts." Good memorable pop delivered with style. (Rating: 5+)

The Woods - The EP Logue (Independently released CD-R EP, Pop)
Super short EP (just over 12 minutes long) featuring five songs. The folks in The Woods write and record well-arranged soft progressive pop that recalls artists like Sufjan Stevens. The songs are, for the most part, built around a gentle strummed/plucked acoustic guitar...and arrangements play a key role in the overall sound. Hard to tell a lot about a band based on 12 minutes of music...for we are initially impressed with these cool understated tracks... (Not Rated)

Hilary York - In The Dark (CD, Hey Miau!, Pop)
We're going to try and hold back instead of instantly turning excitable and gushy here...no wait we can't hold it in... Hilary York is INCREDIBLE. It took three or four spins before we realized it, but In The Dark is easily one of the best albums yet to be released in 2009. And considering the fact that it's only about 33 minutes long, that's really saying something. This is the second full-length release from this young lady who resides in Austin, Texas. But considering the mature smart songs on this album you'd never know it. York has a slightly deep voice that occasionally recalls Marianne Faithful (even some of the vocal melodies recall Marianne at times). York's tunes are smart and reflective...and they come across sounding 100% genuine and sincere. There are no variables here that instantly stand out. No blatant use of technology. No weird image or anything like that. No unusual lyrics or ultra-weird song titles. Nope, there's nothing that stands out here except for...the words and the music. Eight originals plus an excellent cover of Randy Newman's "Baltimore." This lady's presence just oozes out of the speakers. Highly recommended. (Rating: 5+++)


Additional Items Received:

Air Waves - Air Waves
Al Atkins - Demon deceiver...plus
Arrivederci - Arrivederci
A Beautiful Curse - As it should be
Alchemist - Chemical warfare
Verden Allen - My masochistic side
Anthem In - The cloudbusting EP
Arctic Sleep - Abysmal lullabies
Assy Fish-Bass - Bass in my ass
Atsiaktonkie - Four wolves prophecy
Jacob Augustine - Harmonia

Baak Gwai - Find a stranger in the alps
Barrel House - Open road
Beat Circus - Boy from black mountain
Christopher Bell - Cover EP
Black Mold - Snow blindness is crystal antz
Bonnington Truce - Bonnington Truce
Boy Without God - Your body is your soul
Boz - Karma knows...
Brokencyde - I'm not a fan but the kids like it!
Bronze Radio Return - Old time speaker
Criag Buhler - Skykomish
Buskin & Batteau - Red shoes and golden hearts

Candace Brooks Band - The chase
Candy - Candy
Castevet - Summer fences
Circle Circle - Square square
Circular System - Signal morning
Color Turning - Good hands bad blood
Copilots - Escape through the trees
Estrella Cristina - This is life

The DGB - Victory song
Don Diego - A new beginning
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde - Promo edition
Cornelius Dufallo - Dream streets
Dufus - In monstrous attitude

Brenda Earle - Songs for a new day
Early Hours - Falling elevators EP
Pauline Edwards - There comes a time
Eyes Set To Kill - The world outside
Evan and the Modern Human Show - A moose supreme

Fame - Original motion picture soundtrack
Fans of Jimmy Century - Head go whoosh
Fonnie Fauss - New songs for the old frontier volume 1
Dodd Ferrelle - Lonely parades
Dale Frane - 401K: Madness, greed and escape
Funny People - Original motion picture soundtrack

Anna Garrott - What a way to go
Glen Iris - "Horseless" b/w "Big Hatchet"
Alex Gomez - Love sex & drugs
Nicki Gonzalez - Moron love
Gospel Gossip - Dreamland
Grand Hallway - Promenade
Grass - Rogue waves
Groove Kings - Blood red

Hadley, Norman & Keeble - An evening of gold
Ben Cooley Hall - Owning up to a life
Trevor Hall - Trevor Hall
Hallelujah The Hills - Colonial drones (defective CD-R)
Will Hanson - Hope on top
Don Harvey - A dance in red
Bill Hart - This is why
HB3 - The veldt
Fritz Helder and the Phantoms - Greatest hits
Hi-Nobles - Shake!
Heavy Hometown - Action figures
Hollis Brown - Hollis Brown
Hot Cha Cha - The world's hardest working telescope & the violent birth of stars

In Cadeo - Making our graves
Inspector Cluzo - Inspector Cluzo
Iron Horse - A boy named blue: The bluegrass tribute to the Goo Goo Dolls
The Iveys - The Iveys

Janus - Red right return
Jookabox - Dead zone boys
Simon Joyner - Out into the snow
Frank Jurgens - Last call at the tiki bar

Katastrophe - The worst amazing
Kennky and Leah - You and the night and the music
Kenny Young Project - Kenny Young Project
Kestrels - Primary colours
Kissing Cousins - Pillar of salt
Chris Knight - Trailer II
Greg Koons and the Misbegotten - Welcome to the nowhere motel

John Lefebvre - Psallngs
Laneous and the Family-Yah - Laneous and the Family-Yah
Steeuart Liebig/The Mentones - Angel city dust
Little Tybee - I wonder which house the fish will live in
Jennifer Logue - The pretty EP
Los Explosives - Los Explosives

Gunnar Madsen - Two hands
Chris Marshall - Starting out
Jesse Matheson - Pleasure pounds
MEM - Archaea
Men - Women aren't men
Men Aren't Men - Women
Kono Michi - 9 death haiku
Mike Middleton - Waxing gibbons
Mile Marker Zero - Mile Marker Zero
Misophone - I sit at open windows
Corbin Murdoch & The Nautical Miles - Wartime lovesong
Mystery of Two - Mystery of Two

Valerie Nicole - From the heart
Niggers - We are niggers

One Eskimo - One Eskimo
John O'Mara - Five year missionas
Orchid of the Living - Orchid of the Living
Joao Orecchia - Hands and feet
OS Haxixins - OS Haxixins
Over The Hill - Looking for a spark

Paper Heart - Original motion picture soundtrack
Paper Scissors - Howl
Pepper Dome - Let's try the otherside
Play the Angel - Play the Angel
Plea - Modern chaos
Pocket - 3 single sampler
Ana Popovic - Blind for love
Porcupine - The trouble with you
Pride Parade - Dose
Pretty Faces - Another sound
Public Good - No. 1
Puffy Dead Stuff - Dead stuff smells great


Red Channels - Red Channels
Red Rooster - Walk
Red Star Revolt - Red Star Revolt
Rent To Own - Spellbound
Requiem For Delinquency - Hobs end
RHINOCEroses - We is shore dedicated
John Robert - Meant to be

Secret Pop Band - Pardon the solar interruption
Sexy Accident - Mantoloking
Chris Smither - Time stands still
Soultet - Yours, mind, and the truth
Joe Stickley's Blue Print - Smoke leaves town
Storys - Town beyond the trees
States - We are the erasers
Heather Stewart - Life of the party
Luke Stone - Somethin's gotta give
Super 400 - Sweet fist
Nathanuel Sutton - Starlite
Swamphouse - The fade EP

Aly Tadros - Things worth keeping
Carley Tanchon - Pendot
Adam Taylor - Play the piano drunk
Textile Orchestra - For the boss
Tim Be Told - From the inside
Tin Star - Bettie Lane
TPF! - Es slassh tee
Adam Taylor - Play the piano drunk
Jessie Torrisi - Bruler

Unit Breed - Always distance the lonely
Uh Uh - Yuh yuh

Gaby Valezquez - Let me in
Vangough - Manikin parade
Various Artists - Welcome to the wetherbeat scene 1988-1991
Various Artists - Rockabye Baby!: Lullaby renditions of Aerosmith
Various Artists - Shark Batter introduces sounds from the scottish underground
Various Artists - Prids Tribute: Connect the dots (CD-R)
Chris Velan - Solidago
Mia Vermillion - Alone together with the blues
Vessel - Vessel

Billy Wallace - The road spit me out
T.h. White - Company book
Kat Walker - Jazz skat gumbo
Sean Walsh and the National Reserve - Homesick
War Tapes - The continental divide
Wedding Soundtrack - Na na na ro
We'll Go Machete - We'll Go Machete
The Wind Whistles - Animals are people too
Wonderbugg - Transgraduate
Woodward - Woodward
World's Greatest Dad - Original motion picture soundtrack

X Borts the Slorch - Trot trot

Yes Pleases - From whence it came
Michael Yonkers - With the blind shake
You Are Home - Phoneyhome

Zebras - Parasitic clones under the strong arm of the robotic machine

LMNOP * babysue * dONW7

©2009 LMNOP
©2009 dONW7