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HJORTRON/Skatefolk: Here's a deceptive little record that's deeper than you might think. An impressionistic set of guitar/sax dialogs inspired by nostalgia---skate board trickery of the 80s. If the classic ECM torch hasn't been passed here... Everything a pomo youngster could want in his own ECM record without having to riffle through his father and older brother's collections for generational hand-me-downs, this almost feels
like a rite of passage set that leaves pop tastes behind as new, future doors are opening.

SARA PETITE/Rare Bird: An organic gal that hit the wrong big city to develop her vision of country a few years ago serves up a ripe, mature set that defies genre lines and mixes up her own Americana stew with tasty results. You don't want to judge a record by it's cover because you could easily pass this up as some granola record because Petite knows how to rock when she wants to---and not in a forced fashion. A great left field record that magically has loads of universal appeal without going for the lowest common denominator.

TUNETOWN/Entering Utopia: Recorded at the same session as their auspicious debut, this left leaning jazz trio continues to write the nu book on improv in a way that combines brawn and brain. With every note checked for quality control before being released into the ether, you can hear the echoes of generations of left leaning sounds that shaped the future come. Fun stuff for anyone that knows how to let their non-linear freak flag fly.
(Three Pines 1)

RANDY LEE RIVIERE/Wyoming: Just because there's a bunch of states out west we don't think about much doesn't mean they aren't full of people with concerns and here we find a Wyoming cat that has picked up the rocked up country vibe that went on display when Walmart parking lots began tearing down the countryside in the heartland. He just puts his own modern, special sauce in the mix. Western heartland people are pissed off too. A smoking set that sends a message, doesn't need smoke signals to do it and makes a rocking point in fine style.

DOMENIC CICALA/Come on Over: A DC area Americana mainstay pushes the envelop backward to make a delightfully off beat set of honky tonk duets on songs from various sources that he runs through a pedal steel and makes it all come out fine. The set took a while to put together because he wanted the right voices on the right songs and didn't want to hurry through the process. You can give anything a country/folk edge if you try and Cicala did a fine job of giving it his all.
(Tortured Artist)

CHAD LEFKOWITZ-BROWN/Quartet Sessions: The modern sax cat that honks with everyone from Julliard crews to Taylor Swift lets you know right from the first honk on "Mack the Knife", this might be an oldies set but it's no gift shop record. A total badass throughout, he's working here with two different quartets and shows them both how to deliver. Mixing old and new at a lot of levels, this is a state of the art cat doing a first class job of marking his territory. Hot stuff.
(LA Reserve)

CORY WEEDS/O Sole Mio: This sax tribute to all things Italian might have been recorded in New York with a first class crew that could do this all day long for the next Scorsese pic, they ain't doing this for a bunch of organ grinders and monkeys on Mott Street. A hip, happening bouncing and bopping set, this takes chestnuts you thought you were over and done with and roasts them one more time for you to get your groove on. This is a trip through the Big Apple that won't turn up any worms. Dig it.
(Cellar 100619)

MAGNET ANIMALS/Fake Dudes: A bunch of modern cats revel in a return to no wave and loft jazz but add a soupcon of David Byrne to the mix because of what a sucker punch of a year we've had and he finds some ranting in order. The out there contingency that this would have been a natch for in the past has probably grown larger than we might imagine.
(Rare Noise 126)

ALI CAN PUSKULCU/Gibberish Shreds: When Zappa first gave us "Are You Hung Up?", who would have thought this Turkish malcontent would take those seeds, run them through his sound shifters and turn them into a whole concept album? Puskulcu might not be able to tell us what's there to live for or who needs the Peace Corps but if you're hippie and trippy and would sleep on Owlsley's floor, you might find all those answers and more lurking in these bytes. The gauntlet has been thrown.
(New Focus 256)

SKOLD/Dies Irae: With Marilyn Manson being the new victim of cancel culture, his guitar man returns to his own industrial noize, turns his guitar up to 11 and let's the darkness envelop. This is what happens when the suburban kids want to listen to something other than beats and don't want to feel like grandpa. As Snoopy would say "Argh"----and there's all that and more in this air.
(Cleopatra 1800)

Volume 45/Number 121
March 1, 2021
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2021 Midwest Record

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