80 PROOF MEDIA
TO LOVE THE BEE GEES-A Tribute to the Brothers Gibb/various: Strange as it seems, this pomo tribute to the Bees Gees opens with a track that sounds like it stole it's instrumentation from a late period John Stewart record. And it sails farther off the wall from there. Using it's pomo-ituity by some of the leaders of the style, they pierce the normalcy America held to it's ear drums and finds the weirdness inherent in the music, almost sonically ripe for a skewed "Behind the Music' episode. Available in a super deluxe edition that brings together everyone from Emit Rhodes to Mary Margaret O'Hara, you ain't never gonna have Saturday night fever again the same way. Wild stuff where the deconstruction is the sixth man on the court.
PROJECT GRAND SLAM/Made in New York: A tasty set that harkens back to when fusion had a distinctive New York edge to it and was just starting to add vocals. The group is donating the proceeds to New York City organizations that support the arts for kids and if that's not doing well by doing good, what is? Fun to groove to and all for a good cause...beat that. Well done.
JOSH SMITH/Over Your Head: The guitar tyro that hasn't put his axe down since he was 3 continues to deliver wild and wooly stuff when he goes off the clock to do his own thing. One of the background MVPs that keeps the music biz humming, he attracts some biggies to lend a had on his new outing. What he's doing here is a long way from backing up "American Idol" winners so strap yourself in for a wild ride and let him put those rabbits out of his hat to continue to confuse and amaze guitar fans that like to rock.
LINEAR DOWNFALL/Sufferland: Nashville malcontents show just how far you can color outside the lines in that town and still be taken seriously by the insiders like those who run film festivals and such. The sound track for a pic that sounds like hell, these pals of Flaming Lips go for the weird in the pomo and keep off the wall alive and well. Ah, the rock version of progressive jazz.
MAN HAT TONE
BRAD VICKERS/That's What They Say: A white boy with the blues that learned them by playing with some of the best, Vickers can take the blues in any direction you want them from Nawlins to the wrong end of Highway 61 and back. Kick ass stuff from a guitar slinger that can sing ‘em as well as sling ‘em, this is a distillation of what it was to hang around a campus coffeehouse and hear young Dan Hicks or Leon Redbone way before anybody knew who they were. Well done.
CHRIS HAUGEN/Falling Water Shimmering Strings: While yoga and surfing inspired this new age guitar man, his playing reminds me of instrumental work from Richard Thompson in his Sufi period. It was smoking stuff then and this new side to it is smoking now. You can hear the sincere hippie in Haugen's soul as this almost sounds like waves breaking in Malibu or Marin County. High minded, sitting down guitar music without an egghead edge, this is great stuff for people looking for a much needed audio getaway. Well done.
CHARLES RUGGIERO/As Heard on TV: This album is fun right from the retro cover before you even break open the shrink wrap. Then you hear the first notes of jazz "Bewitched" and this set of jazzed up, classic TV themes really takes flight. A real palette clearing fun romp as the tunes veer all over the tv map, if you can't dig this, then you are a hipster that simply too cool for school and should be expelled. Since Charlie Brown gave most people their first taste of jazz, and they responded by liking it, this set is such fun on so many levels that the best thing to do with it is shut up and listen. Killer stuff by a crew that clearly digs their chosen profession.
SONIC PORTRAITS JAZZ
ROBERT IRVING III-GENERATIONS/Our Space in Time: Miles' 80s main man took his sweet time to getting around to his third album, and he does it with a bunch of his young charges, inspired by his sax playing wife to mentor them the way Miles mentored him. Left leaning stuff that explores the edges without going over them, this is nice stuff for left leaning ears that know they are in the hands of a vet who won't let them down. Irving is leading a bunch of young ‘uns that are playing for keeps.
SWAHILI BLONDE/And Only the Melody Was Real: It's hard to be a malcontent for real when you are tilling the fields in LA. I mean, you can be discontented with how things are, but you have to be from the heartland, American's version of Manchester, to have the proper malcontentedness to it all. This is malcontent music for scenesters.
VIOLENT MAE/Kid: And the Velvet Underground are still inspiring anyone who ever bought one of their records to go out and start their own band. This duo that didn't start out as a group finds their métier on album two which leaves you wondering when they are going to break into their rave up on "Heroin". They have that high energy/down mouth thing down cold.
Volume 38/Number 351
October 16, 2015
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2015 Midwest Record
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