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CHARLES McPHERSON/The Journey: An original bebopper that came along near the end of the era but has kept it all alive with his work on Clint Eastwood's "Bird" shows he's still keeping it alive now. Honking his sax for over 50 years without really taking a break, he's got the muscle and Úlan to pump it out like a young lion herein. Dazzling, killer stuff that doesn't need to follow fashion, this is the real deal and it's timeless. Well done.

RC & THE MOONPIE BAND/Individually Wrapped: This almost reads like a commercial: Four out of four pissed off white boys prefer to back a blues belter that can sherpa them down nasty back streets looking for low down, dirty thrills as they tear it up down home style. Dripping with sincere DIY ethos, this set sounds like it sprang from clubs where the front door is in the alley. Authentic, contemporary blues that'll get you smiling for sure.

JESSI TEICH/Twisted Soul: Until you actually listen to this, everything about it screams insane, trust fund, art chick but all that changes when light hits byte. While she certainly sings like she's possessed, and the Jersey native didn't have to make a point of recording this in Paris to make her point, there's loads of 50s jazz thrush tortured artist effect on board, but it's all done with a wink that really throws you off. Wild stuff? Throughout. She's made her bones with enough jazz malcontents to know how to color outside the lines with measured moves that keep the wheels from falling off, this is one thrush that'll never be warbling from a gilded cage. A really wild kick in the pants your ears are looking for.

MOSAICS/Of Colors: No, we're not commemorating the assassination of Malcolm X with this title, we're letting you know that disaffected college kids have something they can point to when down mouth sounds are required because the world just sucks. Using sounds beyond music to make their point, guest artist Woody Woodpecker gets your attention early on as he rivets points home. You know the drill, kiddies---and finals do suck, too.

STEVE EARLE & the Dukes/Terraplane: 40 years on and you think you can predict what Earle is going to do? An album of original blues that have been gestating in his psyche ever since leaving Texas finally gets to escape. With the kind of energy that loaded pre-war Texas blues, this is hard core choogle where you get the blues and you paid your dues. Fun stuff in Earle's hands because he's sincere about what he's doing, you can bet this is going to take a load of today's incoming college freshmen and their over the top mental challenges back to the delta they've never been to but will identify with. Earle hits it out of the park in an unexpected way.

PAPERHAUS: DC left of center rockers that have been living out on the road since releasing their early eps find the center point between alt and prog and serve it up in fine form for left of center ears. Trancy with an edge, this crew is aligning itself as the new sound of the underground.

COMPLICATED ANIMALS/In This Game: This duo claims to be pioneering indie samba but I'm hearing more overtones of "Sultans of Swing". And that's after they've gotten TV music directors to use their stuff where Brazilian sounds are needed. Recorded in the woods off Lake Michigan on the Michigan side over the course of a year, the Portuguese lyrics must have thrown Ludington visitors off their game and had them wondering just where the Manitowoc express left them off. This certainly ain't your daddy's world beat, it's sure to bring younger tastes into the tent and interest them in poking around further.

Volume 38/Number 97
February 5, 2015
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2015 Midwest Record

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