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SWAYING WIRES/I Left a House Burning: And some records just come with that extra dose of special sauce. Standing out from the pack, this crew might come across as just a touch twee at first brush and that's why you should keep brushing. The little girl voice leading the way with folk inspired acoustic and electronics behind her singing words that just hit the right nerves, this set has the kind of magic to it that everyone is always looking for. Stuff that's obviously the product of lots of hard work that's hidden behind the curtain, if you are looking for soft and gentle sounds that do more than just lay there and sound pretty, this is going to be friends with your replay button for quite some time. Killer stuff.

HEDERSLEBEN 3/The Fall of Chronopolis: Finding themselves on the corner where space and prog get into a collision that leaves their respective vehicles mangled, the cosmos and beyond are explored in way you can only do when this music is a way of life as opposed to a commercial affection. It may not be for everybody, but if you're young and prefer headphones to ear buds, you don't have to wait for Jeff Bezos or Richard Branson to offer you space travel. Strap in.

THOR/Metal Avenger: For a cat that seemed to be over and out 30 years ago, Thor seems to be having his best year ever. Roaring back from the reissue of his debut lp, Thor rounds up a bunch including Henry Rollins, Cheetah Chrome, Fast Eddie Clarke and many more. All band together to give the thunder crunch real muscle throughout. How can you be a hard core metal head and ignore this? Killer stuff that shows the underground may go away but it never really leaves.

DOUBLE DOSE OF THE BLUES/various: This twofer encompasses two sets, "From Clarksdale to Heaven" and "Knights of the Blues Table", both sets about the blues, the first remembering the music of John Lee Hooker by rockers and others he inspired, the second a heavy dose of English rockers that mostly were the generation that carpet bagged our blues and sold it back to us. Since Hooker wouldn't want to be remembered as a museum piece and since most of the rockers might have had lousy jobs that didn't involve picking cotton but did inspire them to get ahead and get out, this is mostly right on smoky, after hours blues outing---whether high octane and laid back powered by too much ‘juice' from the jelly jar. Both compilations are well done collections that hit the bulls eye squarely and deliver the most palatable slice of blues any white boy could hope for. Killer stuff throughout.

SWEET LEAF/various: The subtitles say it all, this is a stoner rock salute to Black Sabbath. I never thought I'd see the day when Sab was an oldies band fit for tributes and that's why it's never good to be too provincial. You could almost think this is a labor of love as it's clear in every byte that the various members of the nu breed love them some Sab. Even Captain Kirk shows up. Now you can indulge in all aspects of this sound, including the aspects that weren't legal in your grandpa's time. You have to admire cats that love their work and this is a fine display of same.

PAT BOONE/R&B Duet Hits: 60 years ago today when Rosa Parks was refusing to go to the back of the bus, Boone was sanitizing R&B hits for white America so this r&b duets album isn't really as strange a duck (as strange as it sounds) as his heavy metal album was several years ago. The song list is loaded with familiar party songs from over the last 50 years in duet with the original artist (so how long has that James Brown track been in the back of the garage?). Funny thing is, he still sounds like the white guy he was 60 years ago. At his age, if he does the white guy dance when shaking it to these songs, we'll give him a pass. We don't want him breaking a hip trying to be hip.

JASON KAO HWANG/Voice: Sunday afternoon arts council music in the extreme, every edge here is experimental and you really don't know where to plunk this on the progressive jazz/contemporary classical spectrum. Out there music for out there eggheads, all the rest of you are on notice.

JENNY GILLESPIE/Cure for Dreaming: Chicago's own ditched us for the west coast where she rubbed elbows with supporters of the rock greats who combine with her vision to help her birth a set that makes her sound like all the great schemata queens of the late 60s/early 70s. While she packs a load of earnest early Joni Mitchell, moon eyed college boys won't have this in their headphones as this is almost new age girl friend music dealing with weighty themes of existence that are the typical college girl's province. Cutting edge stuff you wouldn't normally think of in the same breath as ‘college girl', it's certainly out there for the taking and ripe for the picking.

SECRET STORM/Dragon: Fronted by a lass that's worn several pop skins as she's worked her way across the board, prime mover Lauren Hoffman comes back as a pissed off tortured artist that's right in step with these pissed off times. With an economy of words in her arsenal, Hoffman hits hard, hits often and makes her point without excess to drain off.

COLDAIR/The Provider: In which we find the Eno influence taking hold of the nu generation as this Norwegian cat records in Philly with some underground aces that keep things too hip for the room. If you like down mounted electronics etc, this is the place.

Volume 39/Number 31
December 1, 2015
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2015 Midwest Record

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