February 2016 Comics, Poetry, and Reviews by


Stream "Introspective Evolution"

Antlered Aunt Lord*
Awfully Awful

babysue comix #250
babysue comix #251
babysue comix #252
babysue comix #253
Anton Barbeau*
The Black Ships
The Blue Dolphins

Bill Carter*
Cathryn Craig & Brian Willoughby

Brian Cullman*
The Evening Shades
Ex Norwegian
The Flash

JD & the Straight Shot

Kung Fu Panda 3

The Lemon Clocks*
Adam Levy
The Miamis*
Old Man Canyon*
Ovens For Bobby
Bill Pritchard
Chris Robley
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Thought for February 2016
Try The Pie*
Ellen Wade
Henry Wagons

Doug Wahlberg Band
Wheel In The Sky*
Wormy Area
Z For Zachariah
*Top Picks =

Additional Items Received

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February 2016 Thought: UNPLUGGED.

Like most people, I usually find myself following along with the daily flow of news that spews forth from the internet, television, and social media. It becomes such a regular part of everyday life that I usually rarely even think about it because it seems so normal. One month ago I decided to pull the plug on it all. I've done this several times in the past but I had apparently forgotten how good it feels to not know what's going on in the world. Whether you realize it or not, you have a choice as to whether or not you follow the flow of useless information. What I have found...at least for myself...is that all of the information does me no good at all. In fact, the complete opposite is true. I'm not really doing anything about anything...so what good is it knowing all this stuff? For me, it just takes up space in my brain that could be used for other things. Hearing about all the retarded things going on and hearing how mean and hateful people are only brings me down and makes me feel anxious. If you're involved with things, I can see how it's important for you to keep up with stuff. So this thought is intended for those who aren't involved. If you're like me, you might very well find yourself much, much happier when you don't keep up with what's happening. So...what has served as a replacement since I unplugged myself? I've had the entire series of Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman playing almost non-stop while doing other things. It's one of the greatest television shows ever, there's really nothing else quite like it. I'm much happier following Mary's antics than the latest political maneuver, the latest hate crime, or the latest weirdo news item that suddenly has everyone's attention for about two or three seconds. Will I ever plug back in? Maybe...but maybe not. Considering how much better I feel when I don't keep up with the daily slop that's thrown into the hog trough...I may very well stay unplugged forever.

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Antlered Aunt Lord - Ostensibly Formerly Stunted (And On Fire) (CD, Happy Happy Birthday To Me, Pop)
There have always been and there will always be weird band names. This is one of the more peculiar ones we've heard of late...Antlered Aunt Lord. Hmmm...where on earth did they come up with that one...?? To quote directly from one of the most well-written press releases we've ever received, this band's music "...is everything today's music is not--melodic, lyrically inventive, reticent, and moving." Antlered Aunt Lord is the one man band created by Athens, Georgia's Jesse Stinnard. Although this is his first official release, the songs were culled from hundreds of recordings he had already made. The compositions on Ostensibly Formerly Stunted (And On Fire) are intrinsically intelligent and creative and, as hinted by the above quote, they have almost nothing in common with modern day commercial pop/rock. We've always been a fan of one-man bands. This is an exceedingly strong debut from a guy who's going to be turning heads around the world in the very near future. Gotta include a couple more lines from that killer press release: "Antlered Aunt Lord is an elementary substance having particular luster, insoluble in water. Antlered Aunt Lord is always with us until the day he comes back in all his glory." Brilliant words, brilliant music. Highly recommended. Top pick.




Awful, awful,


Anton Barbeau - Magic Act (CD, Mystery Lawn, Pop)
One of the main reasons we write about music is because it makes us aware of artists we would otherwise probably never even hear. We dig just about everything we receive from the fine folks at Proxy Media, but this time they really hit the target. Anton Barbeau...is absolutely great. The press release describes this cool fellow as an "international indie hero," and our immediate reaction is that he truly is just that. Barbeau's connections in the world are impressive and wildly appropriate. But rather than drop names, we'd rather focus on this talented fellow's music. Barbeau writes artsy underground pop with hints of psychedelia and his lyrics are light years beyond what we normally hear. But what really grabs us is this man's presence. Anton writes great songs, to be certain...but it's his personality and spirit that seem to really separate him from the rest. This music reminds us of so many other artists...but in the end Magic Act is a purely original album. We can hear hints of many of our favorites here including The Monkees, Herman's Hermits, The Young Fresh Fellows, XTC, The Television Personalities...and that's just the beginning. Thirteen wonderfully creative tracks here, and they're all completely groovy. Highly recommended for fans of credible modern pop. Top pick.

The Black Ships - Dead Empires (Independently released CD, Pop/rock)
We've rarely heard bands surface from Saratoga Springs, New York. But if the folks in The Black Ships are any indication of what's happening there musically, underground music fans will soon be focusing their attention on the city (apparently there's an up-and-coming music scene that is gaining quite a bit of attention). Dead Empires is a puzzling and slightly oblique underground pop/rock album. The songs combine the sound of goth with the sound of shoegazer...creating a slightly peculiar moody ambience that is surprisingly soothing and appealing. It's probably those groovy vocals that are pulling the fans in. The band is comprised of John Gill, Greg Tebbano, David Ochal, and Ben Patten. The sound of The Black Ships has a good bit in common with underground British bands from the 1970s and 1980s. Listening to this, we're reminded of several artists from the past including (but not limited to) John Foxx-era Ultravox, The Cure, Lush, and Joy Division. This self-released album features eight well-crafted cuts including "Dead Empires," "Where the Rain Falls," and "Sarin."

The Blue Dolphins - Come On! (Independently released CD, Pop)
The Blue Dolphins is the California-based duo of Victoria Scott and Alfonso Rodenas. Scott and Rodenas met at a rock club on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles and soon afterward started making music together. Come On! is a surprisingly accessible album with a great deal of commercial appeal. Rather than taking the super artsy approach to making music, Victoria and Alfonso have chosen the quick path to acceptance. Just about every song on this album sounds like a hit and the overall sound is very familiar and smooth. The vocals are outstanding and the arrangements are meticulous and appropriate for each tune. In some ways, this album reminds us of FM radio pop from the 1970s and 1980s because of its breezy sound and feel. There's a lot to take in here...fourteen captivating tracks featuring cool hummable vocals and great vibes. Our favorite cuts include "Come On!", "Breaking for the Blue," "Shelter Me," and "Free Fall From Bliss."

Callenberg - Lost in the Mail (CD, Bend, Underground pop)
Another strangely satisfying collection of underground pop tunes from Sweden's Anders Callenberg. We really liked this fellow's last album (The Bailout Shop) that was released in 2015. Lost in the Mail is cut from the same fabric but it's even more interesting and rewarding. Callenberg has a sound that's difficult to compare to other musical artists. He presents his songs simply and stays away from overproduction and too much multilayering. The songs on Lost in the Mail are simple and direct, using only the essential ingredients to get the point across. Anders cites influences like Spacemen 3, Yo La Tengo, and Leonard Cohen. If you like any of these, there's a very good chance you'll totally dig this guy's music. Eleven smart tracks delivered with very restrained vocals that are a perfect fit for each track. Our favorite cuts include "What If It Never Starts?", "Me and My Wallet," "Bus 18," and "Strange Hotel."

Bill Carter - Innocent Victims and Evil Companions (CD, Forty Below, Bluesy Americana pop)
Bill Carter is one of those guys you've most likely been exposed to before, even though you may not know him by name. Based in Austin, Texas, Carter has been playing music for three decades with his band The Blame. But chances are you've probably heard other folks covering Carter's tunes. Artists who have chosen to present their interpretations of Bill's songs include Stevie Ray Vaughan, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Robert Palmer, The Counting Crows, Storyville, Omar and The Howlers, The Brian Setzer Orchestra, Ruth Brown, John Anderson, and Waylon Jennings (whew!). Innocent Victims and Evil Companions is Carter's ninth full-length release, and it includes some of the best of the best lending their support. Players on this album include Charlie Sexton, Denny Freeman, David Holt, Dony Wynn, Mike Thompson, Richard Bowden, the Tosca String Quartet, and John Mills (yet another whew!). If you're wondering why so many key artists have chosen to cover Carter's material and why he's surrounded by so many talented musicians, all you need do is hear his music and you'll know why. This album presents completely gripping bluesy Americana pop/rock tracks that should appeal to just about anyone. Yup, the appeal really is that far and wide. After hearing these fourteen tracks, we can sure see why this man has the respect of so many. Housed in a cool digipak sleeve, complete with lyric booklet. Totally groovy. Recommended. Top pick.

Cathryn Craig & Brian Willoughby - In America (CD, Cabritunes, Pop)
Solid, captivating music from the duo of Cathryn Craig and Brian Willoughby. We don't want to immediately begin with name dropping here because, in all honesty, these two artists don't need it. In America is a nice, smooth album chock full of resilient songs that will easily stand the test of time because they have a nice familiar classic sound. In America is so smooth and well-crafted that you may immediately be asking yourself why you've never heard Cathryn Craig and Brian Willoughby before. Well, in fact, you probably have (here's where the name dropping begins). These two talented individuals have/had connections with a whole string of amazingly talented bands and artists over the years including (but not limited to) Chet Atkins, The Righteous Brothers, Strawbs, Mary Hopkin, Roger Whittaker, Monty Python, and Nanci Griffith...and that's just a partial list (yow!). We're mentioning these only because we're hoping it might spike your interest in hearing this album...because these folks make music that's right up there with these other artists in terms of talent, style, and artistry. Most of the tracks are originals, and they're amazingly resilient and focused. But Cathryn and Brian also throw in a handful of well-chosen covers including a particularly effective version of "Those Were The Days" (a song surely long overdue for a comeback). Sixteen rewarding tracks here including "Curragh," "In America," "We're Walking Each Other Home," and "One More Song."

Brian Cullman - The Opposite of Time (CD, Sunnyside Communications, Pop)
This is an interesting album. Even though it has a very familiar basic sound, it's difficult coming up with obvious comparisons and possible influences. What strikes us most about these songs is how warm and resonant they sound. This is not generic technology driven pop, this is real music played by people playing real instruments. Brian Cullman is an interesting fellow with an interesting story. To read more about his life and career visit his web site (link above) and read his biography. Cullman has made a lot of intriguing contacts over the years. In the 1980s and 1990s he was in the New York band OK Savant. He's also done a lot of writing and has been published in Creem, Crawdaddy, Musician, Rolling Stone, The Paris Review, Spin, and Details (gadzooks!). But music has apparently been running through his veins all the time, so he eventually turned his attention to recording as a solo artist. The Opposite of Time is a very mature album full of smart songs with insightful lyrics. Brian's got a really great voice. He never sounds like he's trying too hard, he just lets the melodies and lyrics flow naturally. He's backed by some major players here including Jimi Zhivago, Jenni Muldaur, Glenn Patscha, Didi Gutman, Byron Isaacs, Leni Morrison, David Berger, Tony Leone, Aaron Johnston, Rich Hinman, Jeff Hill, Mike Sandoval, Jake Jacobs, and Murray Weinstock. There's no telling how much commercial success Cullman with have with this album because it's probably a bit too intelligent for the average listener. But the great news is that he's already achieved what matters most which is...artistic success. Brian is one of those guys who will probably be appreciated most by other musicians and songwriters. Killer tracks include "Times Are Tight," "Spoiled Child Blues," "Memphis Madeline," and "Beneath the Coliseum." Highly recommended. Top pick.

The Evening Shades - Alright (Independently released CD, Pop)
Peppy smart intelligent modern guitar-driven pop. This is the debut full-length release from The Evening Shades. What grabbed our attention most about this album is how direct and focused the songs are. In a world where everyone seems inclined to overproduce and overlayer, Alright stands out because it has a nice simple sound that allows the listener to focus on things that matter like songs and melodies. And considering how good the songs and melodies are here, it's nice to be able to easily discern what's going on. Shades songs have a nice tight vibe and they're a totally upbeat experience. The rhythms are persistent and infectious. The guitars are mainly rhythm instruments, played with force and conviction. And the vocals are the icing on the cake. Refreshing effervescent tracks include "Forgive Me," "Here and Now," "Second to None," and "Any Louder (Can We Make This)." Quite a debut. These guys are doing everything right.

Ex Norwegian - Pure Gold (Independently released CD-R, Pop)
We should probably begin here by saying that this album features the 2012 line-up of Ex Norwegian which was/is Roger Houdaille (vocals, guitar), Michelle Grand (vocals, percussion), Giuseppe Rodriguez (vocals, bass), and Lucas Queiroz (vocals, guitar). And playing drums on the album is guitarist Fernando Perdomo (who is also a solo artist). Unlike previous releases Pure Gold is, for the most part, a cover album featuring interpretations of songs recorded by The Shirts, Melanie, String Driven Thing, Bay City Rollers and more. That said, this is a different sort of cover album because the band opted to choose tunes that aren't so well known. So instead of hearing tunes you've heard way too many times, you hear versions of songs you've likely never heard before at all...combined with some brand new Ex Norwegian songs that you've definitely never heard before. We've been big fans of this band for years. We're pleased to report that this is (not surprisingly) another direct hit. We love hearing this line-up playing together again...everyone seems to naturally fall into a groove together and the music is pure magic. We received a CD-R but, at least for the time being, Pure Gold is being offered exclusively as a download on Bandcamp...so click HERE to get yours now. Another truly great album from a truly great band. Top pick.

The Flash - Original Television Soundtrack: Season 1. Music by Blake Neely (Limited Edition Double CD, La-La Land, Soundtrack)
Super cool limited edition double album set featuring a ton of music from Season One of the television show The Flash. If you're tired of not getting the right bang for your bucks, in this case you'll get it. The two discs in Original Television Soundtrack: Season 1 offer over 137 minutes' worth of music. That's a lot. And it ain't nothin' to sneeze at, neither. These beautifully executed tracks by Blake Neely are intricate, precise, and highly melodic. This guy is not only a composer but also a conductor, arranger, orchestrater, pianist, and author. But our guess is that Nelly's real passion lies in creating music, because there's a great deal of passion and energy flowing through these tracks. Precisely executed compositions include "Dr. Wells Has Secrets," "Called Some Friends For Help," "A Girl Oliver Once Knew," and "Saving Innocent People." If this one appeals to you, the best idea is to grab this album fast. It's only being offered in a limited edition run by the cool folks at La-La-Land. So once it's gone...it's gone.



Take this
Grain and
Cheese it.


Hallas - Hallas (CD, The Sign, Pop/rock)
Interesting blend of progressive rock, pop, and metal. This self-titled album has a sound and style that seems to come from a different sort of universe. These tracks combine sounds from 1980s pop with songs that remind us in many ways of 1970s Black Sabbath. These five guys can really play. No flash-in-the-plan technology here...these men are very focused and tight. This is a very short album that is only about 24 minutes long, but in that amount of time these fellows show they've got what it takes to really make some waves. The band is comprised of Tommy Alexandersson (vocals, bass guitar), Alexander Moraitis (guitars), Marcus Petersson (guitars), Nicklas Malmqvist (synthesizers, organs), and Kasper Eriksson (drums). This is probably the first time we've heard a Swedish band playing this style of music (!). Four kickass cuts: "Autumn In Space," "Insomnia," "Tale of a Tyrant," and "Hallas."

Hannibal - Original Television Soundtrack: Music by Brian Reitzell, Season 3, Volume 1 (CD, Lakeshore, Soundtrack), Original Television Soundtrack: Music by Brian Reitzell, Season 3, Volume 2 (CD, Lakeshore, Soundtrack)
As any thoroughly devoted soundtrack fan knows, horror films and television shows often produce some of the most interesting music. The music for Season Three of the popular television show Hannibal was, once again, composed by Brian Reitzell, who has impressed and amazed listeners and viewers in the past with his strangely dark and atmospheric music. Plenty of weird stuff here, to be certain. Some of these cuts are more like atmospheric soundscapes than melodic compositions...and those are the ones that grab us the most. Reitzell is one helluva creative guy whose music most certainly puts just the right spin on this disturbing television show. Over an hour's worth of music here...and it's all one dizzying bizarre experience. If you a fan of the show you'll definitely be interested in these albums. If not and you just dig totally trippy intense music...then you'll probably want these even more. Turn these up really loud for that unusual extra punch. Top pick.

JD & the Straight Shot - Ballyhoo! (Independently released CD, Americana/bluesy pop)
The Americana craze has quickly spread to the rest of the world. And the folks in JD & the Straight Shot are reaping the rewards of overseas audiences who are more than ready for a real dose of American roots music. This band is comprised of Jim Dolan, Aidan Dolan, Erin Slaven, Byron House, and Marc Copely...all of whom have killer connections in the world of music. On this album, the band decided to record using acoustic instruments. We never heard previous releases so we cannot compare and contrast the previous sound to the present. Unlike some Americana artists whose music seems more like calculated pop than true roots music, these folks have a sound that is remarkably genuine. And talk about chops. These folks are truly focused on what they're doing, and they seem to be totally in synch with one another on different levels. Jim has a great voice that provides the perfect focal point for these tracks. All of the songs are original with one exception, the well-chosen cover of Spirit's "Nature's Way"...a song with a message that certainly seems even more relevant in 2016 than it did way back when it was originally written. Ballyhoo! sports a nice organic sound and our guess is that these tunes will really resonate with fans. Eleven classy cuts including "Empty," "Under That Hood," "Hard To Find," and "I'll See You Again."

Jimkata - In Motion (Independently released CD, Electronic pop)
Bright and upbeat electronic pop with a great deal of commercial appeal. This is the third full-length release from the guys in Jimkata (and their sixth release overall). Possibly the best way of describing this is to say these guys sound something like The Police, except with a more updated electronic sound. The melodies and vocals are particularly similar at times. The band is comprised of Evan Fridell, Aaron Gorsch, and Packy Lunn. These three guys are focused and dedicated. They've achieved quite a bit of success over the past few years and it's all due to their own hard work--they've done it all on their own without the aid or assistance of a record company. In Motion has a familiar listener-friendly sound that will appeal to a wide range of music fans. Features nine well-crafted tracks including "Wild Ride," Build Me Up," "Ride the Wave," and "Synapses."

Kung Fu Panda 3 - Music From the Motion Picture: Music by Hans Zimmer (CD, Sony Classical, Soundtrack)
2016 seems to be starting off with a bang in the world of movies and film. Whereas the end of 2015 saw a lot of releases that folks just weren't so crazy about, now it seems like every other movie is getting unanimously positive reviews. That's certainly true of Kung Fu Panda 3. All the major reviewers are giving this one a thumbs up so here's yet another one to add to your list of "must sees." The music for the movie was composed by Hans Zimmer. This fellow sure has come a long way since the days when he was in the band The Buggles (remember that strangely addictive song "Video Killed The Radio Star"?). These days he's about as far from being a novelty act as one can get. Zimmer has worked his way into being one of the most in-demand composers for film and television. But he's also much more than that...he's a performer/celebrity himself...putting on live performances for his devoted followers all over the globe. The music for this soundtrack might surprise many folks. Instead of featuring zany, goofy kid-style music, it features wonderfully melodic classically-influenced instrumentals that are exceedingly well-conceived and produced. These tracks have a huge slick sound and they really pack a major punch if you have a killer speaker system. Beautifully executed cuts include "The Power of Chi," "How To Be A Panda," "Two Fathers," and "Try."

The Lemon Clocks - Time To Fly (CD, Jam, Pop/rock)
We sure were pleased to receive this album. It was only a few months ago (September 2015) that we reviewed the last album (Now Is The Time) from The Lemon Clocks. It blew us away and we're pleased to report that we have the exact same reaction to Time To Fly. This band is the trio comprised of Stefan Johansson (vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards, drums), Todd Borsch (vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards), and Jeremy Morris (vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards, drums). So the question might be...what do you get when you combine three multi-talented multi-instrumentalists? And the answer, of course, would be...a band whose depth and creativity seems to know no bounds. This group seems to borrow it's inspiration from the psychedelic jangley 1960s when cool songs like Tommy James and the Shondell's "Crimson and Clover" were hugely popular (we still love that song no matter how many times we hear it). Time To Fly is chock full of super hummable guitar pop tunes laced with all kinds of trippy electronics and experimental guitar sounds. There's a lot to take in here...fifteen songs that clock in at just over 70 minutes (!). The best part is...they're all totally groovy and hypnotic. Another Top Pick for The Lemon Clocks. Recommended.

Adam Levy - Naubinway (CD, Think Piece, Pop)
Artists have used music as therapy for years. Sometimes it really works: John Lennon's Plastic Ono Band is a prime example. Adam Levy has been the leader/songwriter in the band The Honeydogs for two decades. In 2012 he was dealt a heavy blow when his son committed suicide. The event must have been devastating. Eventually Levy used music as a way of working through the emotional issues related to the death. But instead of creating a depressing downer of an album, he instead opted to record songs that reflected a sense of optimism and hope. And that's probably what makes Naubinway such a different sort of album. Levy's songs sound something like a cross between Elvis Costello and The Beatles, without ever sounding too much like either. Whether you know the details of what inspired the album or not, these songs are enjoyable and refreshing on many different levels. Adam has a nice friendly spirit and it comes through loud and clear on these tracks. Lots of folks are talking about this one, and we can certainly see/hear why. Includes a nice thick lyric booklet that you can actually read (!). Cool and intelligent cuts include "Take It as It Comes," "When Your Well Runs Dry," "Marigold," and "Naubinway."

The Miamis - We Deliver: The Lost Band of the CBGB Era (1974-1979) (CD, Omnivore Recordings, Pop/rock)
Our first reaction to this album can be summed up in a single word: Wow. We're huge fans of the Omnivore label because whoever's selecting music seems to have taste that is an almost exact mirror of our own. Up to this point, we thought we had pretty much heard all of the important cool underground New York-based bands from the 1970s, especially those connected with clubs like CBGBs and Max's Kansas City. And that's probably because, at the time, we were avid readers of magazines like Punk Magazine, Trouser Press, and Rock Scene (all three did an excellent job of exposing folks to some of the greatest music of the 1970s). Even though less known nationally and worldwide than all the other bands, The Miamis were apparently a top favorite among the coolest of the cool New York bands at the time. But the reason most of us (including yours truly) never heard the band is because they were never signed to a record label. Thus, they were mainly a live band and only recorded a few tunes during their time together. Other bands got signed and became famous, but unfortunately the folks in The Miamis finally threw in the towel and went on with their lives. The Miamis were formed by brothers James Wynbrandt and Thomas Wynbrandt and also included Dale Powers, Tom Mandel, and Georgie Day. Now, thanks to the fine folks at Omnivore, this band is no longer just a distant memory among a select few. The bands fans and everyone else can now hear what all the fuss was about thanks to the release of of the appropriately-titled We Deliver: The Lost Band of the CBGB Era (1974-1979). The album collects all of the band's studio and apartment recordings plus nine well-chosen live recordings. We can sure hear what all the excitement was about. These songs are infectious, and we can only imagine what it must've been like seeing these folks playing in small clubs around New York. Captivating songs include "We Deliver," "I Want A Girlfriend" (wow...), "Let There Be Pain," "We Need A Bigger Navy," "Open Up Your Heart," and "Wang It." This band should've been huge but more importantly...they made a real and lasting impression on those who were fortunate enough to hear and know them at the time. Recommended. Top pick.

Old Man Canyon - Delirium (CD, Random, Dreamy progressive pop)
We hear lots of bands and artists from Canada. But this is the first time we've heard a Canadian band that sounds like this. Old Man Canyon is the band/project created by multi-instrumentalist Jett Pace, a young fellow with a different perspective on the world of modern progressive pop. Pace writes songs that incorporate elements from folk, pop, and progressive rock. His songs have a strange restrospective sound without ever borrowing too much from artists of the past. Using classic instruments combined with vintage and modern electronics, this man manages to come up with a sound that stands out from the pack. And his vocals are particularly appealing...subdued yet effective...and never overdone. This intricately produced album features ten tracks, each with its own sound and specific appeal. We can't get enough of cool heady cuts like "Learn To Forget," "In My Head," "I Don't Wanna Go Out," and "Sugar City." Old Man Canyon is bound to be an instant hit among hipsters all over the world. Recommended. Top pick.



These ovens
Can only be used by


Bill Pritchard - Mother Town Hall (CD, Tapete, Pop)
Before the release of his 2014 album A Trip to the Coast, it had been about eight years since Bill Pritchard had released a new album. That album was voted one of the Top 50 albums of 2014 by Rolling Stone magazine. Luckily his fans won't have to wait another eight years, as Pritchard decided to record this follow-up shortly afterwards. Mother Town Hall is likely to be welcomed by the same open arms that received A Trip to the Coast. More than any other artist, Bill's music reminds us in many ways of Pearlfishers...mainly because of the overall uplifting pop sound and pensive lyrics. If there's a single word we would use to describe this album that word would be...sincere. This is a far cry from so much of the calculated dribble that passes for pop music in 2016. Smooth, thought-provoking tracks include "Saturn and Co.," "Vampire From New York," "Lilly Anne" (our favorite), and "The Lamplighter."

Chris Robley - The Great Make Believer (CD, Cutthroat Pop, Pop)
The fifth full-length release from Chris Robley. The Great Make Believer is a smart and smooth collection of pensive modern pop sometimes reminiscent of classic artists from the past like Harry Nilsson (the vocals are particularly similar at times). The basic tracks for the album were recorded at a beach house in Seaside, Oregon but the vocals were redone later. Robley has apparently had some shakeups in his life of late and these recordings provided a sort of therapy for him. Ten classic pop tunes here and they all have intelligent winding melodies and way-above-average lyrics. This is one of those albums that will undoubtedly hold up well over time. Intriguing tracks include "Anonymous," "1973," "Mission Bells," and "Stained Glass Windows."



The nature of
Buffers is triangular and


Star Wars: The Force Awakens - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack: Music by John Williams (CD, Disney, Soundtrack)
The biggest blockbuster of 2015 must surely have been Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Folks just couldn't get enough of the movie. Even diehard fans from decades ago seemed to have their interest renewed. We've always felt that the music for the Star Wars films was the most important part of the puzzle. Sure, you've got stories, costumes, and special effects galore...but the music has always seemed like the main element that drove the films. Never could that be more true than with the latest movie. The soundtrack for the film was, once again, created by superstar John Williams. Interestingly, this is the first Star Wars score to be recorded in the United States (previous soundtrack music was recorded at London's Abbey Road with the London Symphony Orchestra). To tie this film in with those from the past, Williams incorporates familiar themes to give a feeling of continuity. Like the music on the album, the packaging here is outstanding. Incredibly beautiful triple fold digipak sleeve complete with cool photo booklet. A must for Star Wars fans and those who admire the genius of John Williams.

Suits - Original Series Soundtrack: Music by Christopher Tyng (CD, Lakeshore, Soundtrack)
In case you hadn't already heard about it, Suits is a new television show about...guys in suits. And it's getting rave reviews from most of the big reviewers out there on the internet so you'll probably want to keep your eyes open for this one. The music for the show was composed by Christopher Tyng who you might think, based solely upon his name, would be an Asian guy. But he's actually Welsh, and he's been extremely active in the world of music for quite some time. Thus far in his career Tyng has composed music for the television shows The OC, Futurama, Rescue Me, and Covert Affairs, and that's just for starters. Christopher is a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, composer, and producer...and he's staying very, very busy these days. This soundtrack features music that is a bit different from what you normally hear. Instead of classically-influenced pieces, these tracks have a more modern overall sound...probably to add the appropriate timeframe element to the show. Some of these tracks have a somewhat poppy sound...while others are wonderfully moody and provocative. Killer sound quality on this one. Twenty-seven intuitively intriguing cuts.

Try The Pie - Rest (CD, Happy Happy Birthday To Me, Pop)
One of the things that we love most out there in the world of music are those unique individuals who strip things down to their bare essentials...and make it work. As such, it would be impossible for us to dislike this album. Try The Pie is the curiously-titled band created by San Jose, California's Bean Tupou. Rest is an album presented so simply that most folks probably won't understand or get it. And that's kinda sad because...once again it makes it painfully apparent how mindlessly folks are led by technology and choreography. Tupou was previously in the bands Sourpatch and Crabapple and was also one of the folks behind the Think and Die Thinking Collective. If you love the sound of music that's recorded at home and sounds like it was recorded at home...there's a good chance you'll love this music. This one's been released on vinyl with a lovely sleeve and comes with a download card, courtesy of the fine folks at Happy Happy Birthday To Me. Top pick. Love this one.

Ellen Wade - Then & Now (Independently released CD, Pop)
Ellen Wade is a uniquely talented Scottish folk singer/songwriter who obviously loves music and loves making music. Ms. Wade is probably best known as the lady chosen to replace Judith Durham in The Seekers at one point in time when the vocalist became ill. But that's just a tiny part of the story. To read more about Ellen's life, visit her web page (link above). It contains a wealth of interesting writing where she shares her life and experiences with the world. Then & Now is a nice smooth listening experience with the central focus being the vocals. Ellen's voice could probably best be compared to Joan Baez because her tonal qualities and phrasing are particularly similar. Playing with Wade on this album are John Sweet on acoustic guitar, Ed Newitt on violin, and Phillip Goss on keyboards, bass, and drums. Thirteen pensive well-executed tracks here including "She Moved Through the Fair," "How Cold The Wind," All I Ever Wanted," and "Wait For Me." Hard to believe Ms. Wade is 71 years old (!)...but she is. You'd never guess it from hearing this album.

Henry Wagons - After What I Did Last Night... (CD, Metropolitan Groove Merchants, Pop/country)
This is an album that isn't easily absorbed and summed up after a single spin. At first we thought we had an idea of where to place Henry Wagons in this great big ol' world. But after a couple of spins we found ourselves questioning our initial reaction. And at least on one occasion had to look and make sure we had the right disc in the player because the music wasn't sounding like we first thought. Mr. Wagons is a peculiar character. His music sits somewhere in that peculiar area where pop meets rock meets Americana meets country. His lyrics are what will probably first cause a reaction from listeners. Henry has a sense of humor to be certain. But his humor isn't simple and goofy, he writes songs that are solid and precise. But they just happen to have elements of humor thrown in. And man oh man what a voice. This man has a deep baritone that is instantly recognizable. In some ways, After What I Did Last Night... sounds like Leonard Cohen but with a twang. But the press release probably hit the target best when it described the music as "country noir." Twelve smart gripping tracks including "Cold Burger, Cold Fries," "King Hit," "Only Child," and "Melbourne."

Doug Wahlberg Band - Flying Under the Radar (Independently released CD, Pop/rock)
Doug Wahlberg is one of those guys out there who could easily be a superstar if the cards happened to fall in place a certain way. He and his band have connections with all kinds of major artists and yet...at least at this point in time Wahlberg remains somewhat of a cult figure. But it's not because his music doesn't have commercial appeal, because Flying Under the Radar makes it perfectly clear that Doug and his associates are making music that is exceedingly accessible. In addition to Wahlberg (lead vocals, guitar), the band is comprised of Rich Genovese on drums, George Miller on bass guitar, and Jeff Claypool on keyboards, guitar, and vocals. This album would already be an impressive spin, but it's even more so when you consider the fact that this is the band's debut. Many bands spend years trying to come up with something that sounds this good, and for these guys it's a starting point (!). Eight cool rockers here including "Love When It Rains," "Broken," and "Torture." Good solid stuff.

Wheel In The Sky - Heading For the Night (CD, The Sign, Pop/rock)
Loud, gripping, exciting rock played with balls and passion. After hearing this album we pulled up the band's video for the tune "Jezebel"...and we were immediately impressed. Music has gotten so tame in 2016. The guys in Wheel In The Sky have a great big loud aggressive sound that just might be what the doctor ordered to correct the sad lame state of modern music. The band's music is gripping and exciting. This album starts off softly but then quickly transforms into a mighty roar as the band slams out the extreme rocker "Death To All." Recorded and mixed by Olle Bilius and mastered by Niels Nielsen, Heading For the Night has a big thick sound without ever sounding too slick or overproduced. Wheel In The Sky is one of the best hard rock bands currently on the horizon. These eight tracks will probably get a reaction from even the most jaded listeners. Our favorite cuts include "Death To All," "Jezebel," "Rainbow of Evil," and "God On High. Recommended. Top pick.



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Z For Zachariah - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack: Music by Heather Mcintosh (CD, Varese Sarabande, Soundtrack)
Z For Zachariah is a disaster movie in which most of civilization is entirely wiped out with the exception of three individuals who, unfortunately, find themselves involved in a love triangle. The film was directed by Craig Zobel and stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, Chris Pine, and Margot Robbie. What immediately caught our attention about this soundtrack album was the fact that the music was composed by a woman. Although we're not exactly sure why, music for film and television is created almost entirely by men. While we've reviewed hundreds of soundtracks over the past few years, we can only recall one previous instance where the music was composed by a lady. Even more interesting this time is who this young lady is. Heather Mcintosh was the cellist for the Elephant 6 Collective. She has also played with the bands Of Montreal, The Olivia Tremor Control, Gerbils, Elf Power, Apples In Stereo, Great Lakes, The Ladybug Transistor, and more (yow!). She recently left Athens, Georgia and now lives in Los Angeles, California. Ms. Mcintosh is obviously an artist who knows how to make the right connections with the right people. This beautifully executed soundtrack album ought to set the stage for a long and rewarding career making music for film and television.Twenty-six beautiful tracks that rival some of the best soundtrack music we've heard... Amazing stuff.


Additional Items Received:

Additional Items Composed - Reversal of radishes
Additional Items Reversed - Back to the additional items
Adele - My frisky rat puppy done ate my head off
Alice Copper - Lob it to Seth
Shirlette Ammons - Language barrier
Antlers for Booboo - Oh no not that tired old runt again
Apples Got Smushy - Train smush

Bad Bump - Banana tread
Badfigure - Crooked down
Bambi Dambi - Lambi
Ballerina Pumps - Blackass
Barge - Limpy
Beadulls - Desmocker
Black Tabitha - Pastor of senility
Butler Pudding - Lippity gris gris

Car Mump - Dazed and refused
Cat Grave - Mickey's laboratory
Cesula - Maid in martians
Chump - Malaria
Come To Lulu's Nurse - Romp and the bumpy tum tum

Dae Dae - Mae Mae
Daisy Days - Freezing
Dirty Pennies - Flocks and pimps
Doves That Die Today - Lassie
Ducks for Ducks - Nine hundred ponies

Eat The Bounty Feathers - Naptime
Elephant Muff - Beneath the blurry knob
Elves and Bumpy Thumpers - Original motion picture soundtrack
Empty - Flow

Far Out Far In - Farin
Five Times Fifty-Five - Live
Four Times Four Is Four - Five times
Funky Laminate - Parking
Fur For Francis - Pouches

Gas Pumps - Last primper
Gauge Rage - Now cow
Germany's Burp - Lamp drill
Get Your Begging Done - Tower bitch

Hell for Humans - Happiness is a dumb puppy
Help the Hopeless - Bloody hearts get you nowhere

Ian - Jackknife
Inky Doll - Dampness and dryness
It Stays Warm - Square butter

Jerry's Crud - Narry a buster
Jersey is Swervy - Translustre
Jethro Toil - Sick as a tick
Jones Is A Donkey - Drammamine

Kandy and the Ks - Lassie's drool
Krazy Cow - Lots of tips
Krunchy Krunch - Captain's caps and tons

Lamb Peppers - Smuppy
Laxative Preamble - Naps and snappers
Lisa Said - First time, long time

Manners and Nanners - Tablets for pokey
Maze Lops - Trazzler
Millie's Pork Bucket - Boxes won't go away
Moo Moo the Bow Wow - Trouser's ain't fresh no more
Murphy and Nop - Dammy and slop

Ned and the Headrumpers - Trowels
No More Blouses - Farmy
Now Cows - Blouses and thermometers
Numb's Fumbler - Town and mouth

Oh No That Old Shithead Is Here Again - Rotten old schmucks with no manners
Oooh - Uuuuuh
Opposite of Opposite - Lopposite
Orange Floyd - Sharp glide of the goon
Osmosis - USB #7
Other Muzzles - Howdy Pops
Oz and the Schnoz - Pow wows and monkeys

Pants and Pantless - Rainy press
Part Blub - Fran is ugly
The Puddles - Nappy load
Puny - Runny infection

Query - Stop the questions
Quest for Dope - Smoking snuff
Quicker Than Daffy - Cords that don't work

Debbie Rafter - Lemme after
Reel to Raoul - Mouthpiece
Reform Club - Never yesterday
Rely On Relish - Candy dash
Mick Rhodes & The Hard Eight - Paradise city
Rolling Bones - Get your mama's kraut

Larry Samual - Barney doesn't have hugs for me
Smuppy - The tatters that ground pepper
Sparse - Kim's Ono spy mouse
Sultans of Swing - Subcontinental drift
Swap and Change - Loudness weird

Talking Sheds - Lambs forking up tonsils
Tea For Lunch - Massachusetts isn't a country
Teepee Tupperware - Laura's butter pan
Trust Idiots - Laugh when it's all over

Umbrella Vision - Church of tassle
Uncle Duck - Mushed
Uncle Pregnant - Does and rodents

Various Artists - A collection of dull dribble that no one will ever hear

Wally Is Near - Stamp that thing goodbye
Well I Guess This Is Just Another One - Lumps
Whether Or Not - Lousy weather

X-ray Pecs - Lookie away
Xzistance - Lift down

Yell All The Time For Whatever You Pay For It - Taxi service
Yellow Floyd - Park wide until noon
Yes We Will Be Bananas - Trap doors

Zappa and the Zappettes - Trown
Frank Zappa - How flowers got in the potty train

©2016 LMNOP aka dONW7