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CLAUDE HAY/I Love Hate You: Malcontent, industrial, white boy blues from down under that is so oddly compelling that it's flying high under the radar with malcontents everywhere. Sometimes sounding like barn dance music from Jupiter (and we don't mean Florida), you can hear the genesis of Oz rock from a generation back peppering these proceedings. And a little T. Rex. And a little kitchen sink... It's not for everyone but you can bet this would power the proceedings at a beer blast where the participants were brought up on electronica.

OMAR & THE HOWLERS/Too Much is Not Enough: Stay with me. This Jimmy Reed tribute was recorded before the Jimmy Reed tribute Dykes already put out. If you don't appreciate Reed the way Omar and his pals do, trust me, it's a Texas thing and your musical history education needs a little spiffing up. More of an organic set that a guest driven set, this set has the Howlers last recordings with Gary Primach and is a purely heartfelt date, loving tribute to one of the Texas music greats who's music endures but needs to be kept in public focus. Hell, this whole thing is a Texas thing---showing how big Texas is, they got room for this, for Willie, for ZZ Top......... Killer stuff blues fans that don't like dust in their tributes will love.

KARTHALA 72/Diable Du Feu!: Where is the line that separates something from being dated and something that is retro cool? While the guts of this set sound too modern to even be considered in the same breath as dated, the most retro thing about this is the muddy sound that makes it seem like it some set of old tapes from 40 years ago just dug up. Loaded with snippets that recall Mongo, spaghetti western music, deep funk, dark funk, early Afropop and stuff that would take a hundred more listening to figure out, this is wild, crazy stuff that could stand next to 70s psych pop or "Bitches Brew". The soundtrack for your next over the top freak out, this is taken from the sound that pissed off suburban parents 40 years ago. It's great. It's unclassifiable and indefinable but if you aren't about mainstream music, this is the bomb! And if that's not enough for you, it comes with it's own set of remixes from top to bottom. Check it out.

IRIS ORNIG/No Restrictions: In the course of writing for the world wide web, we've had the chance to make friends with a lot of European musicians, and many of them tell us there's two ways to do things--the right way and the European way. We laugh it off. However, if there's more to it than just a snarky comment, Ornig has certainly absorbed the right way in the decade she's been over here. Like Miles in his comeback years, she isn't afraid to break from originals to jump on Michael Jackson's back for a sec and she certainly doesn't think straight ahead is a bad concept. You can't play this as background music at work, but you can dig it just fine on the weekend when you want some jazz that's not too easy, not too angular and fits in just right with a laid back afternoon that needs just the right amount of spice. A bass player that knows how to lead and give everyone room to strut their stuff, Ornig serves up a wonderful set that really delivers the goods throughout. (Side note to Iris: Oh yeah, I enjoy your music).

JESSE & NOAH/Driven Back: You have to give these cats a lot of credit for not calling themselves Bellamy Bros II since their pops were the original back in day. While only having Florida in common with the older generation, these kids sound is different. Mixing indigenous timeless Florida rock with left of center roots/Americana sounds of today, they have their own sound and vision that will get your love flowing in their direction in due course. Fun stuff that's for contemporary tastes and not their parents, these third generation musos know how to hit all the right notes.

JOEL BEHRMAN/Steppin Back: Not only is this an auspicious debut of a trumpeter who's paid his dues, him and several other of the cats on board here were members of Lavay Smith and Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers. You wouldn't know. With tours of duty with everyone from KC and the Sunshine Band (he was born in 1975 so it must have been the mall parking lot version) to Sheila E, this is a player who knows the ropes. A high octane, pure jazz outing, this is the stuff the jazzbo comes for. Tasty work from the whole crew, this is killer weekend music that goes well with a slowly sipped, third cup of coffee and what's left of the Sunday paper (and the Harbor Freight flyer). Smoking stuff you can't resist.

MICHAEL BRAM/Suitcase in the Hall: Rock MVP back ground cat who has been drumming for Jason Mraz forever and making pit stops to play with everyone from Joss Stone to Willie Nelson, Bram straps on a guitar and lights sparks with label owner, blues producer Dave Gross that really ignite in a fine way. Whether kicking it on smart originals or covering country greats, Bram has an ear and a passion for music that you almost haven't felt since the 60s when music was as essential as food to a lot of people. This is a solidly smoking set that blows your ears open nicely.

GIGI LOVE/Sweet Relief: In which we find ourselves a poster girl for the new paradigm. If you don't know her, you probably know her voice as she's opened for Dave Matthews, closed the Olympics and hit the road on behalf of Mountain Dew's ad agency. All that and she still has to put out her own records. A classically styled folk rocker with modern edges that writes em as well as sings em, her confessional and personal songs will resonate with today's young lady that isn't into EDM. Usually finding positivity hiding somewhere in the morass, Love feeds on the energy of recording in Hawaii with some good pals and serves up something that is a new link in the chain for female singer/songwriters whether folkies, rootsy or whatever flavor the time it is. Nicely done.

ANN RABSON with Bob Margolin/Not Alone: Former Uppity Woman and multi blues award nominee Rabson's 4th solo record is practically a real solo record with just Margolin twanging his ax in the background behind Rabson and her piano serving up a set of songs flying from her heart whether she wrote them or not (and she didn't here). From Tom Dorsey gospel to soul, hokum, blues and hard core classics, Rabson in the spotlight is a real treat. With the charm that has won over live audiences worldwide shining like a beacon, this is another one of those deceptively simple records that grabs hold and doesn't let go. One of the best times you can have playing records, this is a date that any real muso heads, blues fans or otherwise, owe it to themselves not to miss as she could give lessons on how much you can do with little more than a voice and a piano. Killer stuff throughout.

Volume 35/Number 355
October 20, 2012
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2012 Midwest Record

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