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CIGDEM ASLAN/Mortissa: Pulling material from a time when the Greeks, Turks and Armenians weren't at each other's throats and there was cultural cross pollination, Aslan pulls from that song bag, modernizes the tunes for our ears and leads her crew through the killer kind of stuff that's going to force Greek restaurants that feature music to up their game. A killer intentional pop record with lite ethnic overtones, this is a smart and dandy ear opener that ears will at least a quarter of century on them will flip for. Aslan has a great feel for what's she's singing and the backing crew is so spot on that it's almost too good to be true. You don't have to know what she's singing about to get pulled into the flow and have yourself one dandy world beat time. This is the kind of stuff that entices you to expand your musical horizons.

SWIMMING POOL Q'S/A&M Years Collection: A central part of the first wave of new wave from the greater Atlanta area in the early 80‘s, they were power poppers at the core that ultimately didn't fit the format as MTV and AOR were converging to tell you what to like when they decided to push it. This set includes their two albums that have never been on cd before as well as a boatload of rarities. Following their muse and bringing together divergent producers like David Anderle and Ed Stasium on the same record, their unique sounds stands up well today and feels fresher than a lot of the stuff that got the glory at the time. Only one of an army of bands that were well loved but never got their due, this complete collection rights a lot of old commercial wrongs and is sure to bring a lot of jaded old ears out of the closet to celebrate something that got left behind in the golden days of the cd explosion. Still hot stuff that works well.

SUZI STERN/Romancing the Dark: Known as a jazz vocalist, Stern steals away from her normal métier and goes art chick. Kind of like Judy Collins in her cabaret period, Stern brings her beautiful voice to the fore in service of taking it down a different set of back alleys celebrating the dark side. A collaborator of scores of jazz and new age luminaries, it's clear Stern wants to mark a little territory of her own.

STEPHEN McQUARRY TRIO/Azure: Just your nice, solid, swinging piano trio that serves up jazz piping hot. Tasty stuff throughout, this is good time, sitting down jazz that knows the right notes, the order to play them in and how to hit them just right. A solid set of pure entertainment, this is a nice reminder of what a sophisticated night out sounded like. Well done.

DRIVIN N CRYIN/Songs from the Psychedelic Time Clock: The third of four eps to be released over a year, the vet southern rockers are just out having a good time . A concept born out of the need for spontaneity, it you are looking for music that gleefully colors outside the lines as it waits to be discovered, this is the kind of stuff that'll be sure to float your boat.

JASON LEE BRUNS JAZZ COLLECTIVE/Live at the Catalina Jazz Club: A hard swinging drummer, Bruns has been leading his crew from one success to another for the last several years of setting the night on fire in California. With an affinity for Latin/Arfo-Caribe sounds leading the way, whether rocking or jazzing or mixing up both, Bruns delivers a party groove that is so on the natch that he makes covers his own with an undetectable ease. This set is a gasser and it's loaded with the vibe of making you wish you were there at this live recording. Hot stuff throughout.

BARBEZ/Bella Ciao: The underlying theme of this record is music of defiance. If you read the liner notes and think your parents would like this set of tunes from the Roman/Jewish period or the Italian Resistance Movement, let me tell you now, this is going to be a little to electro and space age for them. Certainly the sound of resistance by the very nature of it's envelope pushing moves, this is hard to define mash up music that fills a snuggie all of it's own.

SMOKE FAIRIES/Blood Speaks: Hard hitting chick shoe gaze. Full of down in the mouth lyrics, this duo has great harmonies and a solid musical sense making this a winner of dorm hallway malcontent music. Must hear music for self confirmed outsiders that don't like the mainstream but don't want to get too weird either.

Volume 37/Number 309
September 6 , 2013
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2013 Midwest Record

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