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WASTED WINE VS THE HYPNOSIS CENTER: Surreal stuff from the south that mixes in plenty of middle east accents that just let's you know how much it sucks to be stuck in the contemporary south. Manchester vibes continue to plant flags in the beaten down American psyche.

MATTHEW RYAN/Boxers: Long time rocker steps up and sings for the dispossessed white guy that finds himself bewildered by contemporary times that offer noting of what he thought he was promised. It's like Manchester came to Woodstock to thrash it out in the woods. I guess it's shoe gaze taken to the next level.

PLASMODIUM/Clairaudience: The 10th anni remaster/reissue of an underground classic, this mix mastering duo finds a way to put Ken Nordine and Bill Laswell in the same mouthful and have it come out right. Surrealistic on every level imaginable, this is non-reggae music that really requires a blunt. Crazy stuff for those times the youngsters want to get as non-linear as possible that hasn't become a step dated in it's 10 years.

TOMMY TALTON/Until After Then: Classic southern rock is alive and well as half of Cowboy soldiers on with a date that's just here to entertain with the vibe that flowed so mightily between Macon and Muscle Shoals. Right in the pocket, this set is one of those ones that makes you joyously sit back and reflect on where we came from and how we got here. Well done.

EUGENE MARLOW'S HERITAGE ENSEMBLE/Mosaica: Here's an ethnic set you just might not know what to do with. Marlow goes deep into heritage here mixing Jewish melodies with jazz and world all in the service of remembering Kristallnacht. Certainly, play this and you'll hear "Hava Nagila" like you never heard it before. There's no doubting Marlow and his gang are consummate pros, it's just that they've served up something so unexpected, it'll probably take a few listens before you can really wrap your head around it. Jewish jazz might be a small niche but Marlow and company do a great job of filling it to the fullest.

JIMMY BARNES/Hindsight: The Aussie shredder celebrates his 30th anni in the big leagues by revisiting the sounds he's laid down that powered the soundtrack of Aussie youth. He's also surrounded himself with loads of high profile AOR rockers that he's rubbed shoulders with along the way. A dandy way to recapture your own misspent youth even if your kids won't join in with you, Barnes is out to prove that a rocker to the core never gives up the ghost or the ability to howl all night long. A real roadhouse rocker from a cat that's hit the heights before and just wants to keep rocking the night away.

SEMICIRCLE/Blown Breeze, Grown Grass and We are Part of the Earth: It's like Belle & Sebastian never left. As twee as it gets.

PETER OPRISKO/Lost in a Kiss: This is so old school it's going to blow your mind. Recording in a real studio with backing from a slew of CSO players, Oprisko tackles the oldies with such aplomb you find your self thinking he was there back in the day. More romantic than Michael Buble because he's had time to live what he's singing and find the sweet spot in the lyric that the composer intended, he has enough of his own legs not to be a Sinatra manqué but Sinatra is the closest and easiest way to describe what he does. Remember when they used to say MOR is for morons? This set of kisses isn't on that list. Hot stuff.

JOHNNY SUMMERS/Piano Sessions V. 1: One of Canada's best kept jazz secrets, this singing trumpeter turns in such a sweet date that the next time someone says "Harry Connick", you might just answer back with "Harry Who?" Teaming up here with a piano player, this date might be simple, powered by a delightful loping gait, but does it ever hit the bull's-eye! Through it all, half of this jazzbo's set list are country songs and you can feel his love of Nat Cole. A dazzling date that's just going to blow your mind.

TIM MAHONEY/Peace of Winter: You want proof the record business has changed? Here's a cat that made his bones on "The Voice" playing solo piano with no singing. And he does it to celebrate his music getting used in some nifty national commercial without a label pushing or backing him. A nice set of simple, nearly new age pieces, if you like easy going instrumental music in a live setting presided over by a rapt few, this is going to give you the you-are-there experience of the intimacy of a player being at one with his instrument.

Volume 38/Number 47
December 17, 2014
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2014 Midwest Record

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