Monday, October 31, 2011

Mesia - Mesia EP

Hear The Track Here

Last review this month is also from Los Angeles and show a very different rock side (to me anyway) than the Alternative style of Animal Games. Mesia are a four piece classic heavy rock band with some great ideas and an EP that's just itching to assault your ears. Using almost the same instrumental line as another famous Los Angeles band - The Doors - Mesia deliver a very startling, and to my ears very enjoyable fistful of songs that rock as hard as any you are likely to hear. Mind you, don't let it stop there because this is a band you really need to dig into because as casual as their music sounds at first, it takes time to tease out all the hidden depths...

Hidden depths in a rock song eh? There's a thing.

Put it like this, try the first track - Point Of No Return - and if you like that I can absolutely guarantee you will lap up the rest just as easily. Of course, being an ultimate rock animal I am almost honour bound to like this but let me tell you of one element the band bring to bear on their music. While their roots are firmly embedded in the rock, there are elements of a kinda/sorta proggy thing but - thankfully - very musical and it's in these sections that I see what great ideas these guys have for song colouration. Not the kind of thing you are likely to get bored with, especially if rock is your religion as it is with me and almost everybody I know and love (all fully paid of members of the 99% I might add on a topical note).

There isn't a track on here that doesn't carry its weight and while I am aware it won't be every one's cup of tea I know there is a huge market for a class rock band and Mesia are most definitely that, especially when they get to take their little musical detours (the proggy kind of interludes). Now I know you'll be a bit boggled about my comments there concerning anything prog rock because as you know (only too well) I have a visceral hatred of the genre. Mesia, however, take it to a whole different level and if this is the direction prog rock should go in then I'm all for it, Excellent collection.

MUST HAVE heavy maaaannn.

Animal Games - Neon Wild EP

Hear The Track Here

Here's a review request that has been on the books since August and here it is, the night of Halloween, over a two month wait which I can only apologise for but hey, there are LOT of people wanting reviews. Anyway, Animal Games saw my review of another artist (who they had played with) and liked what they read. Next thing you know, here we are - albeit 2 months later. A five peice Los Angeles band consisting of Chris Buxton, Frank Tobias, Daniel Gonzales, JP Grado and Matt Hansen. Having lived there for a while in my mis-spent youth I learned one thing: LA is a tough town musically; got to have your stuff together or they will eat you alive and not even bother to spit out the bones. This was always true with rock bands I suspect it still is with Indie Alternative bands a la Animal Games.

Neon Wild is a five track EP and if I hadn't known their location then Casual Touch (the first track) would have given the game away with it's breezy, guitar drenched West Coast sound. However, that's just a passing thought because the more you get into the track the more you hear the heavier influences like The Cure and Smiths respectively. Not to say that this is copying, but they are certainly drawing inspiration from these two bands, structurally and in performance. The same can be said for the excellent production which as good as anything out there, and definitely punches its weight.

For my money, the standout track just has to be Neon Wild itself, simply because of that blend of influences mentioned above with a leavening of New Order to make it go at a particular clip. Very nice indeed. Should you happen to live in LA I see that Animal Games are live, gigging band and if these five tunes are any indication of what they represent that I think this would be a very lively and entertaining live act, certainly their tunes hold up well. As you know, sometimes this material really makes me jump about and sometimes it doesn't and there is no rhyme or reason to it other than personal preference because although I like a couple of the tracks a lot, others merely passed me by. There again, this isn't aimed at me, those who it is aimed at are in for a treat though. Solid work, and a band worth watching.

Highly Recommended LA Indie.

Road Apples - No Turning Back

Hear The Track Here

Last track for review this month from Soundclick is a particular favourite of mine, Road Apples. Of course you have have come across him as A Cry of Hounds, Sad Hill Cemetery, Shaketown Breakdown or even Ska Rapples, all are known to be Road Apple aliases. Sowing confusion, of course, isn't the only thing he is good at, he's a pretty dab hand at turning in a good tune too. Although the last thing I reviewed was a collaborative effort with another Soundclick veteran, Alchemystic, the last actual Road Apples track I reviewed was The Weak and The Wild (June 2011), a very nice slice of almost country rock, and rock is usually the underlying flavour in most of his work. Yes, and that's probably why I like him (sigh).

Damn I hate smartasses...

So, in all the time I have known of his work, I know he's explored pretty much every inch of the rock genre except, apparently, blues. Although I could have sworn he did a blues as Ska Rapples unless my memory is fritzing again. Couldn't stand that thought so I went looking and lo Neophyte Blues (August 2010) pops up and a fine piece of blues it was too. As I mentioned at the time, what counts for me with tracks like this is authenticity and Neophyte Blues had that. So, in fact, does No Turning Back although the authenticity is of a different stamp. Where Neophyte was a classic blues in structure and feel, No Turning Back takes its cue from the pop blues of the 1960's. Raw, naked and powerful as a slap in the face.

With the exception of the stereo sound, this could well be an early Yardbirds, not to mention some of the rawer Beatles tracks. Whichever side of the argument you plump for there is no denying that No Turning Back is a) a class song and b) a solid, punchy performance. As someone whose musical life was shaped directly by exposure to the then new, and raw beat sound, the atmosphere of the track said it all. No Turning Back has so many of those qualities I had to check my watch to make sure it wasn't running backwards. Oh yes, you will have heard the like a million times before from lots of bands but that's never stopped it rolling right along, this time in Road Apples capable care.

High class rock blues. MUST HAVE.

Dollar Bill and The Unmentionables - Missing the Kerfluffle

Hear The Track Here

Now you know when somebody puts the following bands down as influences, you are not in Kansas any more Toto. (Ed: shouldn't that be Tonto?) I speak of Weird Al Yankovic, Frank Zappa, and Devo among others who Dollar Bill and The Unmentionables cite as influences as if the band name hadn't given you all the clues you'll ever have needed that this is not going to be anything approaching normal. 'Strange music for strange people. NOT serious' state the band to make it even more obvious.

Music with a capital Fun, ya know?

Also please note that the object in question is a Ker-fluffle as opposed to a ker-fuffle, this is an action I am duty bound to take being a member of long standing of the Royal Society of English Pedants. Just to show that I am also sensitive to my surroundings I also point out that, mad as he may be, ol' Buck is a man not afraid of his emotions. Missing the Kerfluffle is a song about his dog who, sadly, just died and is an instrumental and this is where I discover no matter how experimental you look, the music will out. In fact, the strongest reference with this track out of the influences would be Frank Zappa because it is, at bottom, a guitar track.

It's got a glitchy, grimy backing track though, replete with wtf noises so I guess - at a pinch - it is experimental and certainly alternative and personally I liked the distinction between the dirtiness of the backing track and the clean sounds of the guitars. I though it made from some interesting textures. However, I am a well known nerd about these things I know that most of humanity doesn't share my fascination with sound and its uses. So they'll either go 'oh, another instrumental' and move rapidly on or see that at least Dollar Bill and change are having fun and yes, could be interesting to see how they develop.

Recommended but odd instrumental.

Rude Corps - No Justice, No Peace

Hear The Track Here

One of the very best things about the so called Golden Age Of Rock was IMHO that the songs weren't just songs - they were also self help manuals. Topical, timely and yes politically motivated. That's a taste I have never lost (all my songs have messages) but sadly there are very few musicians around these days who feel the need to help their fellow men and women in that way. Thank God then for musicians like Rude Corps who is a political writer par excellence and one of my favourite artists on Soundclick, partly for that political content and partly because his music is very, very good. He's been around for long enough to get that patina of capability musicians get once they have been doing this a few years. In other words, the quality will always be there, then it just becomes a question of personal taste.

The far right in the UK is presently focused on the English Defence League and this song is inspired by an anti-EDL demonstration in September of this year which Rude Corps was present at. Like almost everywhere these days, there is massive resentment among us 'common people' and an aching desire for change - especially of the financial kind, although it should noted that the riots in the UK recently had nothing whatsoever to do with anything political. I prefer that my political involvement is of the Playing For Change variety, but kudos to all of those people worldwide involved in the Occupy movement. We all have to play our part - especially musicians. IMHO that's what this gift is for, and I like to think that musicians like Rude Corps think so too.

So what of the music??

As I said at the beginning, quality (in songwriting or performance) is not a problem with this guy, it's going to be good. The step for you is going to be a personal choice, especially because this is an extremely angry and violent political song lyrically. The sound clip at the beginning is from the demo when the crowd 'de-arrested' people with their sheer numbers. 'There's the sirens and here's the police, It's class war once more on the streets, Molotovs lit, bricks round your feet, shout it out "no justice, no peace!' are lyrics that would have gone down just as well in the punk era as today as indeed would the music. Rude Corps has always had a liking for stoked-up punk and No Justice, No Peace brings that anger and aggression right back into our lives. Although I don't agree, AT ALL, with violence to make a point, it is time to get angry. Just find a non-violent way to do it huh?

High energy cry from the heart. Highly Recommended classic punk rock.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Time Is Up - Imagine If

Hear The Track Here

A review request now from the blog and something a bit special insofar as all the members of this band are but a mere 14 years old, so according to all known signs and portents it isn't going to be up to much is it? Welllll, depends which way you look at it I guess. Time Is Up is Arran Morton, Jack Bartley, Josh Smithurst, Evan F Chalkley and Tom Pratt and look like they are at least well known at their school in Belper here in the UK midlands (Derbyshire to be precise) but warn me they are 'probably not your genre as we're screamo/post hardcore' but they add, 'our current single doesn't have much of that in it' Not that it matters anyway because, by this stage believe me I would have heard everything - good, bad or indifferent.

First off I have to say that if I were this together when I was that young, I would feel proud of what I (and my friends) had done. However being so young and not having access to many sources of equipment and direction causes problems especially if you are asked to judge what they do. See, the problem is that, despite all appearances, the internet musical bar is very high indeed and most regular listeners will already have their likes and dislikes set in stone and one thing I can guarantee is that will not be back for more if the music isn't up to scratch. This is not to say - in any way - that the band, and this single isn't any good because it is. Given their age and circumstance. (Ed: Ooohhh Gilmore, such weasel words) OK, I know that doesn't sound too promising so let me explain...

Put up against the competition the track sounds wobbly (in the vocals, pitch and phrasing particularly) and is pretty much bash-bash-bash lo-fi rock but there again remember this may well be the first steps on a long journey, and they have plenty of room to grow. As is it, this is a pretty decent tune if you can put aside the audiophile quibbles and if there is one thing I've heard more than any other it has to be lo-fi material of all genres. Taken into the wider picture, obviously the band need to concentrate on getting those vocals nice and tight, and stop the drummer flailing around so much but these are just personal quibbles because the band asked my opinion. I think the band has fans that like what they do and right now that should be enough, live work will soon iron out the kinks.

In the meantime, this is pretty good to be going on with (especially at 14).

Gangbangsters - Killin It CD

Hear The Track Here

You will find a lot of the tracks on the Gangbangsters Killin It CD on the Soundclick page and regular readers will already be more than aware of some of this California based hip hop musician's wilder concoctions. Ryan Wixted (aka Gangbangsters) has proved time and again that he is at home with hip hop as he is with other musical forms and past reviewed tracks have shown a very active musical imagination so when he asked me to review this album I said **** yeah!! Now, don't get me wrong, I certainly wouldn't have done that if the WHOLE thing was hip hop, even I have my limits. There again, as I said, prior exposure to this musician has softened me up no end, and the first track on this thirteen track album will show you why.

Out of all the Gangbangsters tracks I have reviewed (15 or so) none has hit me harder than Letzgetfuctup (July 2010), a huge slab of high energy punk rock that goes like a bat out of hell and just as grimy. On this album that Must Have is followed by Brainwashed (December 2010) which got a highly recommended from me for being hip hop of a very high order, with a great song to go with it. Bobblehead (track three) is the first absolutely new track and to me and, to all intents and purposes, it's a rock song in the grand old order, although lyrically it's a bit naughty and would probably get a Parental Advisory slapped on it on Soundclick. Nonetheless, solid rock track for all that. Get Retarded (May 2011) got a good look in review-wise and is yet another awesome bassline slice of hip hop that just cries out to be played REALLY REALLY LOUD. I'm An Epidemic (January 2011) covers much the same punk rock ground as Letzgetfuctup and despite that being the better song, this is still energetic as hell and pogo material par excellence...and another Must Have.

New tracks Get Down Bitch (excellent rock based hip hop), No Dice and Make Nonsense continue in the rock/hip hop vein and - to be honest - I probably would have given them all good to high ratings anyway had I been reviewing them separately. What this shows is that this CD is probably about as close to getting the very best out of this musician you are likely to get, and there are still tracks worth talking about!! Californian Sleaze, for example, is as rough as a bears butt soundwise, but a really excellent slice of hard indie rock - if you can get past the lo-fi approach. The true test of albums worth IMHO is how many quality tracks it contains and seeing as this scores 13 out of 13 I'd say it would have to be...

MUST HAVE (even if you have to buy it!!)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Pilesar - Ricochet

Hear The Track Here

Like a lot of long standing Soundclick veterans, Pilesar has gone through a lot of changes since I first met him reviewing the innocuous sounding Just a Turtle (September 2004). Still as mad as a box of frogs of course but offering listeners a truly different experience has always been his style. Back in 2004 I wrote 'There's no doubt that Pilesar is not just a lunatic with an odd slant on life' and that turned out to be a massive understatement. It would be no word of a lie to say that you will not have heard anything quite like Pilesar before although this is not AFAIK one of his 'live' tracks, which tend to be very, very weird indeed. All very Pilesar, of course, and instantly recognisable to those who have grown to love what he does.

So out of the endless Pilesar tracks that have passed by my ears, nowhere was there any sign of any ordinary music, and plenty that was experimental to the max so there is no way I (or anyone else) would have been prepared for his latest move. Ricochet is, to all intents and purposes, Alternative Indie with a side dish of 1980's electro-pop and about as commercial as any you are likely to hear. Wait!! Pilesar? Commercial? If you think I am having some kind of episode (a known factor when reviewing Pilesar material) then I suggest you go listen to the track yourself. For sure if you are already aware of his work, this is so surprising a move it would be best to be sitting down when listening to it.

Mind you, that won't last long because, besides being well poppy, it's also got a pretty good groove. Now as a percussionist of known valor, Pilesar has often cooked up some tasty riddims in the past, but you'd be dealing with a different reality to the beats market that's for sure. Nope, on the contrary, Ricochet is about as 'normal' as Pilesar has ever got to my knowledge AND it's an actual song! With words. Odd words yes, but words nonetheless. It also comes in at a whisker short of three minutes so what harm would a quick listen do? Tell you, well worth the time...

Highly Recommended Alt indie from the Pilesar Quadrant. (No, really!!!)

Farrell Jackson - Never Alone/Cherub In The Garden

Hear The Track Here

When I first met Farrell Jackson I had no idea about his music, he just happened to be someone I met while hanging out in Mixposure's Mix Radio chat room of a Saturday night. As much as Mixposure is a decent site for musicians, by musicians, it also happens to be one of the very best spots online to find true, good quality, old-fashioned-if-you-like rock and pop music. As it happens, Farrell is one of the prime exponents of this genre on the site and I will always welcome this musician into my household.

Why? Well the man has gathered at least five Must Have's from me since 2009 and they don't come cheap and although it would be fair to say I have a bias for this genre, it certainly wouldn't be fair to say I am blinded by the glory, know what I mean? (Ed: not.a.clue.Gilmore.) As a musician of a 'certain age' almost any Farrell Jackson track is replete with evocations of his younger heroes and heroines, soaked up along the way and now spicing Farrell's work and nowhere is this more evident than on this track.

It IS one track, despite it's billing, there is a noticeable break between Never Alone and Cherub. It also dates back to 2007 according to Soundclick, and I know for a fact the guy has only gotten better in time so - it would be fair to say - I wasn't really expecting to like this as much as I ended up doing. There again, so far so Farrell Jackson... Not a musician (or songwriter) you should make snap decisions about, his tracks work better with time. Never Alone is an ingenious blend of the Byrds and the Beatles via West Coast rock and - as such - about as close to aural honey as you can get. It also takes up the bulk of the time with Cherub in the garden being a kind of acoustic afterthought. Either way, if you like classic rock, then this is a treat.

Highly Recommended vocal harmony.

Chayse Maclair - I Thought This Was Supposed To Be Music

Hear The Track Here

Fourth time around for American hip hop musician and rapper Chayse Maclair, whose Soundclick page is surprisingly full of tunes. Ahhh, but what of those previous reviews? Did I like what I heard? Well, the main problem with indie hip hop (ie musicians who release independently through the internet) is that most of the scene is made up of rappers looking for music. It is very rare in indie music to come across a team that has both rappers and musicians - especially on Soundclick which seems to have a massive overlap of rappers to musicians, but it was always so on that site. However, the same thing can be found on every site. What it leads to, usually, is a distinct disjoint between music and rapper.

Chayse Maclair hasn't fallen into that trap at least, although the jury is still out on that after his last track Two Fingers To The Sky (August 2011), which definitely did not get a smily big thumbs up from me. Mind you, the previous two tracks had featured music from both Anno Domini and Flawless Beats so that's a high bar to reach, so that allowed him to slip one bad one by. Coming back then with a track titled like this is either total confidence or misplaced bravado, so which is it? Judging by the 'take it to the moon, take it to the stars' attitude shining out of this track, I'd have to say total confidence - and rightly so.

To say this is the best thing I have heard from Chayse yet is an understatement. In fact, this is the best (and freshest) piece of hip hop I have heard in a good long while and - I assume here - that this is all home produced, in which case double good as Mr Orwell would have it. I jump at that somewhat shaky conclusion because Chayse lays out a rap castigating the state of the hip hop scene and was helped by Maria acoustically. Now seeing as one Maria Zouroudis is listed as co-writer, and the highlight of the track is the sweet disjoint between her vocal lines and Chayse's precise putdowns. What really surprises me is how fresh and alive this is, in contrast to the majority of the genre. Chayse, top of the class dude!

MUST HAVE indie hip hop.

Jonski - Take Two EP

Hear The Track Here

Actually this is billed as a digital album which, obviously, can be of whatever length. The reason I affixed the EP label to it is because there are only three tracks on it and unless they were twenty mins each (Ed: God forbid!) not really what I would consider an album. Yeah, but what's that mean anyway, all that counts is the music this whateveryoucallit contains right? Jonski is a new name to me from Wales (the country not the prince with big ears) who I suspected has been put forward by a certain bear of my acquaintance (Ed: whatever you do, don't ask him what he means by that) and I am always willing to listen to something new.

As long as it is something new that is...not an easy task.

4 Chords is the first track up and damned if I didn't instantly snap into the 'ooohh that's nice' mode, which generally means someone has tapped into my copious musical memory and stirred it up. A lot of that may have to do with the rock pop that makes up the song, you will have heard similar a good many times before but at least Jonski makes it energetic, fizzy and buzzing with energy. Damn fine production too. Playstation Hero is second track up and (gulp) it's a ballad. Still, the pop nous Jonski showed so well in 4 Chords is also at work here, a piano ballad that Elton would give his right nut for. What this track shows is that - whatever else he might be - Jonski is a primo songwriter; terrifically knowing lyrics married to a simple, yet highly effective arrangement.

Making Noise makes up this extremely winsome threesome, a track that is the rockiest of the trio, but no less effective; coming over as something Bowie might have thrown out when he was young and sassy. Has a ridiculously catchy 'all the people' chorus to that is impossible to forget once heard, or at least that proved to be my my case. My real (and only) problem with this fine collection of songs and music is, which is my favourite? That, my friends, is a hard, hard choice because they all display an extremely high standard of songwriting and performance, and - as I said - a very knowing pop sensibility. Certainly this release has brought yet another excellent musician into my sight lines and that's no bad thing.

Excellent pop material. Highly Recommended (and at $5, a steal!!)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Ludicrous - The First To Touch Me

Hear The Track Here

People have been known to swoon into dead faints when they see me approaching with my 'anti-music-label' tucked under my armpit. They know full well that there is one topic I get most crap about it's my tirades against the labelling of music. However, despite my insane and fantastical rants, there is a serious point to be made here. If you call yourself something you obviously are not, then it's going to cause you problems. Jazz people listen to jazz, acoustic people listen to acoustic people and so on and so on. Personally I am fond of the catchalls. The problem is, lets say, if you call something acoustic and the only thing about it that is acoustic is a female vocal, because it is in fact experimental electronica (and of a good standard too!) then its a classic case of audience misdirection.

Which brings me to this track...

None of the four Ludicrous tracks I have reviewed so far have exhibited any sign of acousticism, they've been a very intriguing blend of pop for the most part and very good too. Certainly The First To Touch Me came as a surprise because it is so experimental in feel and most assuredly electronica with the exception of the electric guitar that lazily strums through the intro before beefing up a tad. In structure, style and elements this is an excellent piece which is why I have my panties in such a bunch about the classification. If I were looking for decent experimental electronica, I'd be a bit miffed about missing this little beauty,

Of course, experimental anything isn't to everyone's taste and as I say, this really surprised me by coming for what I had considered an above average pop group, but it carries it's weight well. Like a lot of experimental electronica it uses some fairly familiar elements, but uses them in such an interesting way, you can't but wait for what comes next. I've often raved about the vocals on Ludicrous tracks and I do about this one too, even though its one of the most experimental elements going on in here. Sooo, change of classification and viola....instant audience..

Highly Recommended whateveritis.

Ralph Atkinson - Black, Orange & Blue

Hear The Track Here

Canadian musician Ralph Atkinson makes his review entry this month a topical one. Seeing as it's (whispers) that time of year, he has decided that this months entry shall be a Halloween compo entry. Not, I hastily add, for this Halloween but for the 2009 variety which I only remember because my kids puked for hours but I guess that's a typical Halloween for you. Of course, that got me wondering how this track fared in that compo but (shrugs) no mention... Still, its a Ralph Atkinson track and regardless of vintage it's going to be of a certain standard, a typically high standard.

Ralph being a complete gear-head (I mean that in the nicest of ways) decided that spooky lyrics and sound effects didn't really convey the butt-clenching, gut wrenching catharsis he had in mind, so he called in the special squad. 'Diabolus in Musica' was called into the studio and invited to lay down a few licks and if you imagine some sort of devilish rock god, then gear-head you ain't. What the term applies to is a form of music known as a tritone, also more commonly known as the 'Devils music' and the title, of course, of Slayer's 1998 album. All of which, to put it kindly, should be putting the poop up you, or out of you whatever...

Skirting that lethal bog instantly, Ralph delivers a few thrills and spills yes indeedy but - to be honest - I would have cared if Old Nick had indeed been around for this, he would have heard some excellent music rather than the bash-bash-bash of his usual minions. So, the devils music, isn't that the same reference people used to use for the blues? Slap me in a dress and call me Katie (Ed: please, please readers, try not to think about this), that's also true and where does Ralph excel most? The blues, and Black Orange & Blue is about as solid a piece of electric guitar blues this side of a certain rural Mississippi crossroads as you are likely to hear. (Ed: it may interest readers to know that no souls were sold in the making of this review)

Spooky s**** Highly Recommended for Fright Night.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Origamibiro - Quad Time Remixes EP

Hear The Track Here

I imagine Nottingham's Denizen Records are feeling pretty damn smug right about now, and IMO should be allowed to wallow in it a while. It isn't every label (virtual or otherwise) who can single themselves out in their choice of material to release. Denizen's first surprise for me was the amazingly good Hhymn, who I actually managed to see live last Wednesday and they are every bit as interesting and inspiring live as they are on wax (as it were). I had trouble defining exactly what kind of music Hhymn do make, and if I thought that was hard, Origamibiro....well, it's all there in the name really. Now maybe like me you were thinking that a band with a name like this wouldn't really interest you, but I'd urge you to at least take a listen - different is different.

One of the reasons I love Soundclick's Pilesar is because they guy makes music out of anything, whatever happens to be lying around, and the music is awesome. Origamibiro do much the same thing but in a much more structured, intricate way that works the old 'can't wait to see what's coming next' magic trick. In other words, if you start listening you may find it difficult to stop. Origamibiro & The Joy of Box (to give them the full monty) is three guys whose field of endeavour stretches from soundtracks/audio-visual works to performing interactive installations. The EP consists of various remixes of their (very) original Quad Time track and here is where I suggest you start this amazing musical journey, the video is top quality and shows exactly why Origamibiro are that bit special.

Quad Time is a totally engrossing, very tasteful musical experience in its own right and - for my money - would get top marks for originality and sheer musical beauty - all seven plus minutes of it. However the EP also features yet another Origamibiro take on the theme, Quad Time and the Genius of the Crowd, and then remixes from Leafcutter John, Joseph Minadeo, Soil and Water, Juxtaphona and Low In the Sky all of which successfully explore the theme set out in the original. What really blows me away is how much great music can come from such simple beginnings. Seriously, I can't urge you strongly enough to get your hands on a copy of this EP.

MUST HAVE originality. Beautiful.

Mike Prather - Living On The Edge

Hear The Track Here

I blame Mike Kohlgraf. It was him that introduced me to country singers such as Morris P Rainville and Mike Prather and I developed a taste for the style 'right quick'. There again, when done with care and attention, country music can be some of the most emotive music around. While I am not a big fan of the more saccharine tastes of the country music world, I do like a great many musicians whose true label should be Americana. Music folk art has always been a staple of the American culture, and its subjugation by the like of Nashville 'c&w' commercial bullshit only makes it more important and, by my lights anyway, more vibrant and alive than ever before.

It is underground of course, and it takes time to cultivate a good list of indie country musicians but it is worth the time and effort when it throws up talents like Mike Prather. Now I'm sure he is more prolific than the paltry three tracks (out of 66!) of his I seem to have reviewed and obviously a massive oversight but hey, only so much time in a day, innit? Considering its title, Living On The Edge is a tremendously relaxing experience made even more notable when you hear one man, one voice and one guitar, all pitch perfect.

As a working musician I would have rated this track and his performance of it because I know how hard restraint can come when dealing with more delicate material. Moreover, the sound is just awesome, huge acoustic tones backing the honeyed vocal with fingerpicked flourishes that underpin everything wonderfully. Considering it's utter simplicity, this is a very powerful, emotion packed song that truly shows just how good Mike Prather is, especially with this kind of material; his voice is the real highlight despite the challenge from the guitar.

MUST HAVE country ballad (yes, I know. Amazing innit?)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Avalanche - From The Barrel Of A Gun

Hear The Track Here

Out of all the hundreds of thousands of rock bands I have come across while reviewing none - not one - have touched me in quite the same way as Avalanche; great songs, wonderfully experienced musicianship and production values that most of us can only dream about. Ever since I first met them back on Songplanet in 2005, Avalanche haven't put so much as a foot wrong but with the addition of a new member - Stephanie Krowka - the band have gone on to a whole different level, as was evident with the new, remastered and remixed version of The Golden Sun (September 2011) which is undoubtedly in the running for Track Of The Year this year...and I don't think I'm giving away any secrets there.

Like Golden Sun, From The Barrel Of A Gun is a new track, recorded this year for inclusion in the forthcoming HD Documentary DVD "The Road Less Travelled" scheduled for release in early 2012. Produced by both Michael Foster and David Pendragon - who is also making the documentary - the track again features the new lineup with Stephanie on backing and harmony vocals. The very best thing about Avalanche isn't their musical skills and experience (they have been together as a band for over 30 years) but in their extraordinary ability not just to write killer songs, but to write killer songs that have meaning and depth and often a social message. In this case, about the separation between people, especially victims of senseless wars (And aren't they all?) That, my friends, takes real skill and talent.

Don't be misled by the 'very rough mix' comment on the song page. Avalanche's idea of a rough mix is thousands and thousands of miles above what most of us consider a rough mix. Admittedly, it doesn't have the clarity and sharpness their fully mastered tracks have, but everything that is there is heard without exception and that's a neat trick all on its own. Musically, the track is a slow rock brooder, not always my favourite cup of tea but like all Avalanche tracks there is a lot to take in and endless plays to get yourself familiar with it definitely helps in your appreciation of just how good this band is. Classic rock in every sense of the word but not, to my mind, as strong as Golden Sun but it couldn't be could it?

MUST HAVE rock nonetheless.

Thomas J Marchant - Don't Ask, Don't Get

Hear The Track Here

I think it was with the Antennaheadz track Butterflies (August 2008) when I first noticed the metamorphosis happening to Maidstone's Most Likely Lad. Prior to that music coming from this quarter tended to be opaque, difficult and very experimental. Butterflies was the first track attributed to Thomas in his real name, and also Soundclick's introduction to his new musical persona; acoustic troubadour. I use that term specifically because although the basis of Thomas's oeuvre since then has been in this style it isn't folk - far from it. In fact, Thomas went and created his own little niche in which he has been enormously successful and is now, IMHO of course, one of the most original and striking musicians on Soundclick.

He is an incredibly difficult musician to pin down and describe which is why I generally don't try too hard, and if if was hard before, Don't Ask Don't Get just raised the whole wtf game to a different level. I've always admired musicians who take chances (even when they don't work) because that is the way to true originality, and Thomas J (in whatever guise he is in) has always tried harder than most. This track is a classic example of how different Thomas is so if you like your music soft and gentle, best not hang around here. If you like music that is 'like other things' then I'd do the same thing because this is unlike anything you have heard before and I'd be willing to bet on that.

And that intro? Chopsticks innit?? Don't Ask, Don't Get sees our intrepid hero doing a Bjork (I kid you not!) in a very, very quirky song that doesn't/shouldn't fit together, and yet does and delivers such musical kick in the pants in the outro build it purely forces you to play it again Sam (Ed: whotf is Sam?) Lyrics have always been a highspot with this songwriter and although the track doesn't really go anywhere lyrically special, it has some very expressive Oohs. Come on, you'd have to hear it to know what I was talking about so why don't you stop wasting time and go have a listen. You'll either turn green, shrivel up and die or you'll come away with a big smile and oooohhhs on your lips. What's to lose?

Highly Recommended (and original) Oddity.

Pidgeman - I Told Ya Baby

Hear The Track Here

I wouldn't have said, given Pidgeman's rock song back catalog that he would be into classic forms of rock but this is a musician who I have underestimated more than once since we first met back in 2007 so the fact that he is into 'da blooz' should come as no surprise. You may remember me reviewing his tribute to the late, great Gary Moore - Still Got Moore To Give (Tribute to Gary Moore) (March 2011) - and although it was more rock than blues, it certainly got the message across. As I said at the time, the hardest thing about playing the blues is getting the sound, the authenticity right - without that it's just another semi-rock blues thing. You will have heard the like a million times without blinking an eye. Takes a real bluesie to make you NOTICE the blues is being played.

Although the guitar carries the blues standard exceptionally well on I Told Ya Baby, the rest of the track just doesn't come up to that mark. In fact, it's again more rock than blues. I mentioned Chicago blues and The Butterfield Blues Band in my review of the Gary Moore tribute and I see no reason not to restate that here with this track, the brass section work being particularly evocative of the big blues bands period circa 1965-68. The more I listened to the track though, the more I realised that it wasn't influenced so much by Chicago blues as by Chicago (the band). If you listen closely to the arrangement of this track it is pure Chicago...

If I'd have written that a few years ago I would have felt compelled to shoot myself in the head. At the time of their greatest fame, I really didn't like Chicago or what they represented but I have got a deeper appreciation of them as time goes by. That's why I think I started to like this track more and more because it gave me that big band, breezy feeling without any of the claptrap that surrounded Chicago for the longest while. Now Craig (aka Pidgeman) is probably fuming at the mouth now that I've compared him to that band, but hey, that's what I think. I also think that this is a cracking track and one you should take a listen to, even if blues is not really your thing. My only quibble with it was technical, I thought the mix should have been a bit clearer but hey, small change.

Highly Recommended big band blues.

Friday, October 21, 2011

333maxwell - Where oh Where are You Tonight (the drinking song)

Hear The Track Here

If you stayed up waiting for our numerically challenged regular to turn up, wait no longer. Indeed, put the cat out and go to bed, we'll be OK entertaining ourselves with this guys music. Now if anyone can write a consummate drinking song, it's going to be our very own Max. Or maybe I should be calling him Maxsch on this occasion but maybe that's just too silly. There again, writing a drinking song with that kind of title is also kind of silly because the whole thing about the demon alcohol is that you never remember where you are, or indeed what you were doing there in such insalubrious surroundings with such disgusting company...and then there's the blackouts...

I know, let's have a drink to steady our nerves, shall we?

I think that to make a truly monumental drinking song, you would have to go back to the musical mores of an earlier age. Most modern musical forms are not compatible with the legless musical sprawl that makes great drinking songs. The music of Prohibition (when alcohol was probably the equivalent of pot smoking today) is the richest territory for this style and was obviously the first spot for Max to head for (after the pub of course.) Mind you, 333maxwell often ventures back for some of his best inspiration with some of my own Max favourites coming with a 1940's/50's feel that has an uncanny ear for. As indeed he does for 1930's drinking songs too apparently.

Tell you what when Chas Holman (Max to you) gets to croonin' all my Beatles senses get working and here is a perfect blend of both George Harrison and Paul whatsisname working in tandem to give us an inspired (or drink fuelled) love song in the time honoured tradition. No matter what kind of excuses ('she is a pretty rough mix') Chas might come up with, this is a beautiful enough track to forgive all aural sins. For example, listen to the the clarinet work with the vocal. Only one word for that muh friends, brrrrrr. So as good as the song goes, its the instrumentation that really singles this out for special attention and of course...

MUST HAVE piss-up.

Satellite 3 - Ghost (Storie Remix Featuring Raven-K)(Short)

Hear The Track Here

If there is one image that sums up the modern state of musical stagecraft, it has to be the pointed finger. Back in the murky past, pop musicians had to make funny faces all the time to get noticed, or cavort shamelessly with hussies replete with drink and drugs, throw things out of hotel windows. Things like furniture TV's and luxury cars I mean, not the hussies or the drugs although this is musicians we are talking about so you never know... In other words, all a bit exciting and dangerous. So what do we get these days to replace such minor pleasures? The in-your-face, look-at-me-I'm-talking-to-you didactic digit chased by menacing scowls and dental hygiene from the Planet Mammon. Aah, you realise, this is a hip hop track.

Not it survives :)

Raven-K is the hip hop rapper who triggered the finger waving diatribe above, but is responsible for for this rethink of Satellite 3's Ghost, now remixed by Justin Storie of the band. I reviewed Ghost (December 2010) and liked it despite a couple of sound problems. As a song it was right up there with the best of them. Justin's remix has simplified the musical content of the track and IMHO it is now the track it always promised to be - and that means if you liked the original you are going to love this new, shorter version.

There is, apparently, a longer version on Raven's Majority Rules mixtape but it isn't the one on Raven's page, both turn out around three minutes each. If there is a longer version, I'd be very interested in hearing it. Mind you, this version has brought some joy and light into my miserable life this week because I do feel a bit smug that I saw in the original how arresting this song could be if treated properly and - to be honest - I feel like Justin read my mind. This is exactly what I was thinking about at the time and for sure, Raven is definitely the icing on the cake.

Highly Recommended indie rap

Mosh GoGo - Cheats, Chicks and Powders EP

Hear The Track Here

A review request from the Rebelriffs blog now, this time from Northern Ireland in particular and Derry in general. Not a huge amount of information around about this four piece band but judging by the publicity stuff coming with this EP, this release is considered to be a move into a 'edgier, heavier sound' You KNOW that is going to go down well with me and you'd be surprised at how many great bands have come from this area, so I dived right in...Actually, it's a three track EP so there ain't much too dive into so just remember don't try this at home kids... I was going to lie down (as you would do with a massive head wound) but decided I'd still play the EP, once I'd done that lying down is not an option.

While it's obvious that Mosh GoGo has much to thank U2 for, the quality and depth of the material on offer on this very, very likeable EP soon dispense with that notion. It isn't so much that Mosh GoGo sound like U2 as much as they sound like every Irish musician you ever heard including the Saintly Bob himself in his happier phase (Ed: was he ever happy?). Alternative rock is the name of the game here with heavy emphasis on guitar rhythms and textures which I guess U2 shouldn't have the monopoly on (or should that be monotony?) OK, Enough knocking U2, at least for a minute or two. All three tracks have been professionally recorded and mastered so there isn't going to be a whole lot of nit picking about that, it sounds bloody wonderful; full, rich and demanding.

Once you get past the EP's initial familiarity, you begin to notice how musical this band is, all captured with that terrific clarity and punch supplied by the production. I must admit that while downloading the EP I saw a clipping from Ireland's premier music newspaper Hot Press that seemed - at the time - a bit over the top. There again, I should have given that paper greater credence because they are right when they say they 'could, and should be huge' Indeed they should and if this is the calibre and quality we are signing up for then I'm all for it. Excellent introduction to a rocking band....

Highly Recommended stadium rock (already)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

N Talekt - Feelin' Good

Hear The Track Here

I was rooting around in my attic (as you do) and I came across the first review ever for Virginia based rapper N Talekt. The track was I Got U (February 2006) and I wasn't exactly complimentary, and he was new to the game after all. There again, as I pointed out at the time, the competition is relentless and never ending and if you want to make even the smallest dent in Soundclick's hip hop world you'd better have your musical ducks in a row. Subsequent tracks have fared much better showing that, when prompted, N Talekt can indeed up his game and more power to him for that. Last track I reviewed was Stay A While (March 2009) so it's been a while. So what has changed since then?

Let's find out...

He's got well smarter about the depth of material he is using, that's for sure, although - on the face of it - this is a fairly standard rap, you will have heard its like more than a few times. Well, N Talekt has a couple of elements that are definitely working in his favour because - if I were honest - this isn't really the kind of hip hop that I particularly like; it being from the softer side of the rap field. Mind you, it is a song about feeling good and the track sure does make you feel that, or it does once you get past the glitchy (intentionally) intro and into the true meat and potatoes...

I don't know why but from the first time I heard this I have thought Chicago, maybe it's in the groove which definitely could have come out of the Windy City, or in that slightly jazzy vibe. For sure its not coming from the rap which, of course be coming from anywhere. Because I have had exposure to this rapper before I am more likely to give him a fair listen regardless of what I think about its desirability for me personally. I think if you are into hip hop big time and hoover everything up then this is fair game. To be fair though, I have heard him do better and that back catalog is still there.

Recommended jazzy hip hop.

Those Among Us - Fallen Hero

Hear The Track Here

I kinda like this new(ish) fashion for releasing EP type thingies. If you want to know what a band is capable of it will take a few tracks to give you a good idea, so giving them a variety pack (as it were) is a good deal. Now here I must state that an EP, for these purposes, is no more than four or five tracks. I have reviewed twelve track jobbies who claim to be EP's but are far from it and - to be honest - if you weren't expecting that amount of tracks, it can be a bit dispiriting for a reviewer like me. I just reviewed (last month I think) Azoora's latest EP, and I have reviewed all of Those Among Us's's's various EPs and - for my money - this format fits these bands perfectly.

Lino Gonzalez, Steven 'Mez' Mesropian and John Brandon (aka Those Among Us) tread the same musical ground as John's older band Silvertrain and that is bound to do well by me. See I like good songs and I like rock and Those Among Us supply that in abundance. It has to be said that this band is considerably rockier (harder even) than Silvertrain but the quality of the songs is the same, so putting the two together was a very smart move indeed. Fallen Hero is the fourth and final track of the One EP, having already reviewed the other three - The Final Hour (April 2011), One (June 2011) and The Way We Love The Way We Live (September 2011). The final tally after those tracks is two Must Haves and a Highly Recommended, moreover considering that both of their previous EPs got the same kind of result it would be fair to say I am massively biased in favour of this band.

Mind you, I am (finally) in a majority here because a lot of people I know also get all big eyed when you mention them (they have stuff on Rock Band that does very well) and rightly so. If you'd have asked me back in the day if anyone could do Silvertrain better I'd have laughed. No longer. So, considering that almost their entire output has had resounding accolades from yours truly, it's a given I am going to like this, but will you? As the song comment states, this is 'a straightforward rock song' and indeed it is, but with that special something that always catches your ear, especially if you like classic rock which is what this track most resembles.

Highly Recommended 'straightforward rock song'

Weylin's Slayer Orchestra - Prelude To Annihilation

Hear The Track Here

In the space of some ten tracks and a year or so, Weylin's Slayer Orchestra has gone from an eh? to a ******* A, if you know what I mean. Took me a while to get where this heavy metal head was taking me but once it clicked, he's been very consistent at piquing my curiosity. The problem is soundtrackery and all its attendant horrors. Weylin, however, goes into an entirely different - and almost proggy - universe to come up with a musical that is distinctly different, albeit with a lot of very familiar elements. I am a big fan of metal, particularly Goth flavoured and that is the brand Weylin's Slayer Orchestra usually indulge in - with a twist of course.

Weylin says of the track that it is 'much faster than my previous songs' which was a tad worrying because I thought his previous track were nippy enough, certainly if you like a kick drum going like a heart attack. Still, there is no denying that it does actually fit the frenetic pace of certain sections of his music. Now because the music is soundtrack based there are bound to be bits where it's a) stacked with violins and b) maudlin as hell and just as slow but in between are some of the best mixes of metal and orchestral it has been pleasure to hear in a long while.

Speaking of soundtracks, there is one right now that I do like very much and that's Han Zimmer's work with Rodrigo y Gabriella on Pirates Of The Caribbean 4, and Prelude to Annihilation has much of the bombast and fiery energy that powers that soundtrack. One of my problems with this genre has been that soundtracks do not, in fact, create images - or at least the soundtracks I have heard and I've heard a couple over the years. I can count good soundtracks creators on one hand and Weylin is well on the way up there as Prelude To Annihilation will be only too pleased to show you.

Excellent soundtrack and a MUST HAVE for fans. Highly Recommended nonetheless.

Manifest Destiny - You've Been Drinkin'

Hear The Track Here

As many of you are aware, I am a bit of a history nut and consequently didn't make my usual move of searching under the bands name for additional info - I knew better you see. Should you try it with this band you will be inundated with thousands of links because - as most Americans SHOULD be aware - manifest destiny in that context was taken to mean American expansion was not only wise but that it was readily apparent (manifest) and inexorable (destiny). Of course it didn't take into account a whole race of people that were already living there but hey, this is America, right? This 'divine destiny' was there, apparently, to establish on earth the moral dignity and salvation of man, and I guess the jury is still out about that one eh? Still, let me put the ol' soapbox away because there is even confusion over the musical Manifest Destiny.

Either there are two bands in Oklahoma (Oklahoma, Oklahoma) or they are the same band that have undergone a major change. See one MD is this one, and one appears to be a heavy metal band. Mmmmm. This Manifest Destiny consists of Josh Coats (guitar and vocals), Benjamin Delay (drums), Robert Yocom (bass and scream), David Solomon (lead guitar and keys) who make very passable rock based indie music with a decidedly American slant. Or maybe that just me being parochial again, bad Gilmore. You can find this track on the bands Facebook page, they don't seem to have a strictly music site per se. Each to their own and Facebook is as good a place as any to attract interest these days.

The burning question is, will they?

I think that would depend on whether you liked this kind of material, and there is a large audience out there for this. As you can tell from my tone, I wasn't overly knocked out by the track, but that isn't too say it isn't good. Just not my cup of tea. To be sure the band put their all into it, and if you give it the time to grow on you there is a very decent song here. To my ears though, something was lacking, and I suspect that is was either a technical or personal taste. I thought that the final mix was a bit flat sounding, even though the performance going on underneath it was anything but and I am prepared to go with that explanation. For most people, of course, it will be a straight like/don't like choice and that's the way it should be.

Recommended energetic American indie rock.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Jon Solo - Kill Shot To The Heart

Hear The Track Here

A few years ago I suddenly went mental on remixing other people's tracks, and as an offshoot, entering time limited competitions - just to see whether I could do it, ya know? So I do know that writing to a strict timetable is one of the hardest tricks to pull off. Oh sure, most of us could come up with something that is at least listenable, at least if you've been at this game a while. To make something really standout though, now that's a different story. I think there are a tiny proportion of these tracks I am truly proud of after the event but that's part of the fun of it all. Which brings us smartly to Kill Shot to the Heart, a track written especially for the CBC 007 Challenge (mixed not stirred obviously) by Solo.

Jon Solo. (cue: theme)

This is also a track from his upcoming The Man Behind The Curtain CD, which I am most definitely looking forward to hearing. Jon has scored a fistful (Ed: that's five to the mathematically challenged amongst you) of Must Haves from me, simply because I love a well crafted, well performed pop song and Jon Solo knows how to do that and then some. Not sure about the rules of this challenge but the theme is obvious and if it wasn't then the intro of this track will bring it all back, in exploding, split screen awesomeness. Have to admit that that my heart sank when I saw it was supposed to be a soundtrack but I should have known better. Now given that both MacCartney (Sir, mi'lud) and Duran Duran have scored big kudos with me for their Bond contributions and I am not fond of either name.

Now if I had to describe Kill Shot To The Heart I'd say it was exactly that; a cross between Macca and Duran Duran written for the latest Bond extravaganza. So, if this was a time limited challenge this is jaw droppingly good, if not downright sick making to lesser musicians. Even if it was a more leisurely process this is an awesome track, nuanced, epic in scale and a chorus most of us would give our right nut for (Ed: Oi speak for yourself Gilmore, no one is getting near MY nuts). As I was saying earlier, Jon has done extremely well with me in the past, and a track as good as this is only going to add more lustre to his reputation for delivery as classy a piece of music as you would hear anywhere, on or offline.

MUST HAVE shouldabeenaBondtheme

(Ed: that'll be six now, and the end of the math lesson)

Whitman Speck - Butcher of Plainfield

Hear The Track Here

And now a cute little song about a murderer and body snatcher, but seeing as this is a track from notorious horrorcore stalwart Whitman Speck that should come as no surprise. This self styled 'King of the Sickos' is definitely not to be taken lightly. All of the twentyseven tracks on his Soundclick page have a Parental Advisory attached to them for good reasons. Best not to play Whitman to the kiddies, great aunt Mabel or the grandparents because there will be trauma should they be exposed. Whitman doesn't rap about the the darker side of life, he digs really, really deep to come up with some of the sickest, most lyrically screwed up raps and you know what? It works like gangbusters, at least for the adults amongst us. Moreso if you happen to like hip hop and infectious beats because that is this man's trademark.

Hip hop? Rap? From the UK??

Well yeah, take the look of surprise out of your face. Although I doubt very much if any American rapper would tackle material this hardcore so I'll warn you again, all Whitman Speck tracks are hard listens lyrically and this one goes even further than normal and I thought I had become somewhat blase about his style. Nothing like frightening the **** out of me to make me pay attention. In a long line of close-to-the-bone (no pun intended) tracks, Butcher Of Plainfield is as hard and uncompromising as any he has released and - this time - unleavened by any hint of humour, just a never ending litany of horrific and very disturbing lyrical images.

Now I can't say that all this talk of butchery (literally), murder, mayhem and casual very stark sexual references does anything for me because it doesn't. There again, horror movies don't get to me either so I guess I am just not that inclined. What keeps me on Whitman's side is that underneath all the schlock beats the mighty heart of a very adept lyricist and rapper, way above the norm and about as different as it gets. His use of words to evoke scenes is extraordinary, bringing it all to a grubby light. His ability to ride the beat is just as good, I don't think I have heard one track from this guy where he hasn't been right on the money. So, put all your inherent taste aside and take a walk through the terrifying world of Whitman Speck and be sure to dress appropriately - in brown.

Highly Recommended and sick as ****!

Shorthand Phonetics - Cantata no. 6 (Assistants of Assistants) CD

Hear The Track Here

First review up this month is a bit of a blast from the past for my older readers, hail a welcome return to Indonesia's answer to punk and all things noisesome, Shorthand Phonetics. For those who don't know this band, it isn't one. It used to be when they were all fifteen or so, but now it's down to one guy Ababil Ashari and has been for the past two LP releases. Whistleblower (June 2004) was where I first made their acquaintance, a track that was recorded in Ababils bedroom and (as I said at the time) sounded like it too. Now you would have thought that it would have stopped there but Ababil is made of sterner stuff than that and the band (at the time) did actually deliver some very fine tunes - albeit the most lo-fi you could get.

Cantata no. 6 (Assistants of Assistants) in Varying Keys, Op. 25 for Three Electric Guitars, One Bass Guitar, One Drum Kit, One Tenor and Additional Voices Where Appropriate (to give it full title) is a twelve track drama written and produced and, I guess, is somewhat autobiographical. There is a long and involved back story to this but lets not get into that here, maybe Ababil will explain more. In the internet/home producing field lo-fi is almost the soup of a day, every day. As many tracks I have heard that are worthwhile despite the lo-fi, it is heavily outweighed by those that are just plain not good. Fortunately Shorthand Phonetics kinda/sorta broke me in to their style back in the day and I haven't lost it since. As much as I liked their rough and ready approach Ababil has learned over the years to tame his music and now - good grief!! - he comes out with his prog-punk variations. Don't look at me like that, try a taste of track one - Overture - if you doubt my word.

There again, Aneurysm (track two) sounds like Syd Barrett during his out-of-his-brain-on acid period, except more demented. The track does show that Ababil has lost none of his songwriting talent. Not your normal song mind, but that was always the way with this musician. For sure, people like that like Thomas J Marchant will find much to like about this band, the same kind of devil-may-care, flip lyrics, and definitely a similar musical approach. Now obviously I am aware that music of this sort is going to have limited appeal outside fans of REAL lo-fi, but over the many times I have reviewed this band in the past I have noticed that more people than I would suspect latch onto the style and stick with it. If you are one of those, you may have to work a bit to get all that this sprawling work has to offer. Looking at from this end perspective, having lived with the CD for a while, I applaud the major strides taken with this project, technically and musically. It shows there is plenty of life left in this interesting, if often obscure, songwriter.

Highly Recommended blend of lo-fi punk, with a proggy feel (honest!)