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KEVIN HICKS/Wave Tripping: This young bone man has a slew of undeniable and unimpeachable credits already tucked under his Lab Band graduated belt and that special something he has on the ball tells you you're in the presence of a most auspicious debut. With enviable credits in and out of the classroom, this jazzbo loves his work and doesn't make it sound like he's carrying out a chore. A modernist that knows jazz backwards and forwards, this is certainly a date you have to take the time to get to know better. Hot stuff throughout.

LE SEUL ELEMENT/Demon: A dark wave trip through hell, one of the tracks here has already been tabbed for a major motion pic soundtrack where such spookiness is in order. Diverting himself from his usual duo projects, the main noise maker here is all on his own with sounds that will scare the hell out of future lapsed Catholics. A wild ride genre fans are sure to appreciate.

SATOKO FUJII/Invisible Hand: 79 albums into her career, what does hell raiser Fujii do next to surprise us? How about a double cd of solo piano where she locates her inner, introspective Keith Jarrett and delivers her stamp on same. There are the detours you'd be disappointed if he didn't deliver at this point, but by and large, this could be Jarrett playing solo in some church with great acoustics. She's managed to open the ears and surprise yet again.

MOSTLY OTHER PEOPLE DO THE KILLING/Loafer's Hollow: Everyone on board here is so well decorated in the jazz world that when they get together for these busman's holidays where God only knows what's going to happen, you owe it to yourself to go along for the ride---especially since they never cover the same ground twice. Taking the sound back to the early 20th century whorehouses in locales where libraries weren't built yet, this sounds like what Scott Joplin would have been doing if he could have mixed modern hallucinogenics with his home made hooch. Expertly done craziness, There's just no better jazz with a sense of humor extant. Killer stuff.

HULLABALOO/Best of V. 2: 13 years in, if you think that has something to do with the 60s TV show, you're kids are probably well ahead of the curve as opposed to where you are. Great stuff for post tots; how can a parent not love a song around having fun until you've tired yourself out and have to go to sleep? Utterly great country rock for kids that gets high marks for not talking down to the youngest youngsters with any sense of comprehension; rollicking and charming at the same time, this can easily be appreciated by kids of all ages. A fine example of just what's flying high under the radar. Well done.

BETH GARNER/Snake Farm: When you were wondering what happened to the next Lucinda Williams record along comes Garner and steals Williams thunder. With slurry vocals that don't sound like she had a stroke, slide guitar that hits all the right notes and lyrics that grab your ear as well as the music does, how can you not say Garner is the whole package? One of those kinds of dates roots/Americana really needs to power it through the morass, this is smoking stuff that hits the rocked up end of the back 40 with the power of downed power lines falling in puddles. Well done.

JOE SULLIVAN BIG BAND/Unfamiliar Surroundings: Simply put, here's a modern big band that respects tradition and plays as if to the manor born. A supreme listening date by a Canadian crew that is well distinguished north of the border, mainstream jazz doesn't get any purer in form than this. A direct hit throughout, this is in the pocket of stuff you thought you'd never hear again. A complete win for the jazzbo.

ORK/Soul of an Octopus: More of a prog rock date than the label is known for, this set powered by King Crimson's drummer is an apple that falls pretty far from the tree. Defying expectations and shattering pre-conceived notions, raging hormones not soothed by hard rock and head bang have a new avenue of pursuits here to take them on their journeys out of suburban circles of hell. Uneasy stuff for uneasy times.

BEAVIS & BUTT-HEAD/The Complete Collection: As he's proceeded to show us with "Idiocracy", "Office Space" and "Silicon Valley", Mike Judge has always been a man ahead of his time when it comes to the zeitgeist. Now, you never have an excuse not to have a moronathon anytime, anyplace, as the almost complete B&B hit's the street giving you a ton of the original cartoons, a deluxe edition of the movie and a boatload of extras that only a Cornholio that is in dire need of tp for his bunghole could pass up or ignore. A paean to the true believers that knew what was going on here before the hoi polloi caught on, do your self a favor and find out exactly why shows like this can't exist today because the jokes are writing themselves and the news cycles are too fast. This wasn't the end of modern civilization, it was a last gasp attempt to save it. Paramount should display this in their lobby walk of fame right next to "Godfather" ( and restore the extra footage to both). Killer stuff, fartknockers.

Volume 40/Number 98
February 7, 2017
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2017 Midwest Record

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