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January 2008 Reviews by

Keith John Adams
A Dream Too Late
Arms and Sleepers
Assholes of Tomorrow

babysue's Repetitive Venom

Beauty No Beauty
Benazir Butthole
The Billionaires
The Bonedaddys
The Boneless Children Foundation
The Breakup Society

The Brother Kite*
Katrina Carlson

The Dig

Dirty On Purpose
The Dodos

The Epochs*
The Evaporators*
Everybody All At Once

ft (The Shadow Government)*
Girl In A Coma
Glass Trees
Glorious Monster
Golden Death Music*
Hey Willpower

I'm the Mommy, That's Why

Laura Bush's Turds
LD & The New Criticism*
L'ocelle Mare
LSD March

Raine Maida
The Mary Onettes
Eric Matthews
Me and Bobby McOil

The Mumlers
Nardwuar The Human Serviette
Negativland (DVD)*
Negativland (CD)
Pig People

Leroy Powell
Steve Robinson*
Rock and Roll Like Retards
Andy Santospago*
Science and History

See The Real Ugly
The Soulshake Express
Anna Stafford

Andy Swan
Terminal Bathroom
Text Adventure*
Mia Doi Todd*
Twilight Hotel

The Very Hush Hush*
Volcano The Bear*
Von Hemmling

The Wheels On The Bus:
Mango's Big Dog Parade

Jim White
The White Lodge
World No World

Youth Without Youth*

*Top Picks

Additional Items Received are listed at the end of this page...


Keith John Adams - Unclever (CD, Happy Happy Birthday To Me, Pop)
Another spunky album from up-and-coming singer/songwriter Keith John Adams. This young fellow's music features excellent melodies and a cool punchy sound. If you liked the debut albums from Elvis Costello and Joe Jackson, you will most likely find a lot to love about Unclever. Adams uses the simplest of approaches to present his music...usually using a standard drums/bass/guitar setup. Vocally, he sounds something like Thomas Dolby (if he were a young rocker, that is...). Although Keith is British, he once again hooked up with Athens' eclectic Happy Happy Birthday To Me label to release this album. But that isn't the only Athens connection...that's also where backup musicians Jason NeSmith (drums) and Kay Stanton (bass) reside. In the late 1970s and early 1980s Keith John Adams would have very quickly become a major cult celebrity. In today's unpredictable musical climate...who knows? Adams is one helluva songwriter who has that curious spark that separates him from the pack. (Rating: 5+)

A Dream Too Late - Intermission to the Moon (CD, Tooth and Nail, Pop)
These guys' super cute image and sound is bound to turn lots of folks off...but perhaps even more will be turned on by the upbeat positive pop tunes on Intermission to the Moon. The guys in A Dream Too Late recorded a super slick, super polished batch of modern pop tunes that will most likely appeal to very young listeners. The band's intricate, tasteful, danceable soft pop tracks are rather lush...and feature thick arrangements and heady harmony vocals. In some ways, this album sounds something like a cross between Duran Duran and The Lassie Foundation (?!?). This may not be the most accurate description in the world, but at least that gives you some idea of where this band may be drawing inspiration from. Eleven groovy cuts here including "14th & Knott," "Trendsetter," "Be Honest," and "A Night Polaris." (Rating: 4+++++)

Arms and Sleepers - Black Paris 86 (CD, Expect Candy, Progressive)
The debut full-length album from Arms and Sleepers. These folks create artsy progressive music that is difficult to describe. But unlike most artists creating music completely within the safe and secure confines of their home studios, the members of this band tour to promote their decidedly uncommercial sounding music (early 2008 finds them touring Europe and Canada in addition to the United States). Any new unknown band with the stamina and energy for this...must surely be in it for the long run. Black Paris 86 features twelve tracks that showcase this band's ability to create dreamy instrumental pop layered over shuffle-ish rhythms. In some ways, Arms and Sleepers tunes have quite a bit in common with jazz. The songs don't sound rehearsed...and our guess is that improvisation played a big role in these recordings. Soft, intricate, pensive, and soothing...this is an album with a ton of staying power. Cool slightly trippy cuts include "Greetings From Tokyo," "Lausanne," "Warm," "Butterflycatcher," and "Rooftops/Lanterns." (Rating: 5+)



The children of today
Are the assholes of

(Rating: 1)

Atonement - Music From the Motion Picture (CD, Decca, Soundtrack)
Except for the occasional bit of clickety-clicking from a keyboard, the soundtrack to the film Atonement could easily pass for a straightforward classical offering. The tracks on this CD feature music composed by Italy's Dario Marianelli who has also created music for the films The Brothers Grimm and Pride and Prejudice. The beautifully flowing piano solos are played by France's Jean Yves-Thibaudet. Atonement is the film recreation of the popular 2002 novel about a British romance. You won't find any cute pop tunes here from the hippest group of the month nor any happy singalongs to brighten your day. From the sounds we're hearing on this album, our guess is that Atonement is a very serious film. As such, these soft, subdued, thoughtful pieces must surely provide the perfect accompaniment. Lush, intricate, soothing music for discriminating listeners. Another excellent soundtrack from the fine folks at Decca. (Rating: 5+)



I just don't understand you babysue people at all.
All you do is criticize and complain
And tear everyone to shreds.
Why are you so angry at the world?
Do you think it is cool to cut everyone down?
Well, it isn't.
Your thoughts and ideas may have been interesting
At one point in time but now they are just
Repetitive and boring.
If you hate society so much why don't you
Just give up and kill yourselves?
Do us all a favor and lighten up.
Your kind of humor isn't the least bit
Funny at all.
And by the way, your poetry

(Rating: 1)



If there is beauty
In everything
Why is there no
Beauty in

(Rating: 1)



Benazir Butthole was a wonderful woman.
Benazir Butthole contributed so much to society.
Benazir Butthole was a kind and giving lady.
But now Benazir Butthole is just a pile of
Motionless bones and rotting

(Rating: 1)

The Billionaires - Really Real For Forever (CD, Too Soon, Pop)
Man oh man. This album features some killer songs. Really, really, really killer. When this pop band is "on"...they really hit the bull's eye dead center. Really Real For Forever has some cool and juicy super nifty upbeat pop nuggets. Tracks that had us immediately hypnotized include "The End of Summer Song," "Highschool High" (our favorite), "I Love You Mother Nature," "Eighties Movies," and "NYCab." These smooth, clean tracks are absorbing and super hummable...perfect stuff for driving around with the windows down. The unfortunate news...is that this album is rather uneven. Other tracks are less than spectacular. "Pass the Bottle" is virtually unlistenable while "Cold Day" and "Confidence" just don't make much of an impression. If this album consisted entirely of tracks as good as the keepers...Really Real For Forever would have easily been a top pick for January. The main reason we're covering this is to shed some light on a band with a huge amount of potential. With just a tiny bit of fine tuning...The Billionaires could easily create a top notch pop masterpiece. (Rating: 4++++)

The Bonedaddys - Waterslide (Independently released CD, Rock/blues/pop)
The Bonedaddys return with another groovy, bluesy, funky album that is a pure feelgood listening experience. While listening to this CD, we couldn't help but be confused. Why aren't these guys already hugely popular...? They have a super bright, commercial, catchy sound and they can play like holy hell. This band has been together since 1985 and Waterslide is their sixth full-length release. The album contains thirteen groove-driven tracks that feature cool, funky guitars, well-arranged horns, and great thick vocal overdubs. They may be taking the long road, recording and releasing their music themselves...but our guess is that, over time, these guys' hard work and determination will eventually pay off. Lots of underground bands create underground noise for underground snobs (like us). The fellows in The Bonedaddys write and play convincing upbeat tunes, all of which could easily be successful hits. Top picks: "Waterslide," "Makin' Roux," "Oughta Give It Away," "Reverend Singer," and "Jula Girl (Dancing On My Dash)." (Rating: 5)

The Boneless Children Foundation - Stars for Anyone (Independently released CD, Rock/pop)
The first thing that caught our attention about this band was the name. The Boneless Children Foundation...??? Haw haw haw haw...what a hilarious name. But the great news here...is that these guys have much more to offer than just a killer band name. Stars for Anyone features extremely cool, unpredictable stream-of-consciousness rock with a difference. In the age of everyone-sounds-the-same and/or technology-drives-the-sound...the guys in The Boneless Children Foundation play refreshingly real artsy rock and roll. The band is currently based in San Francisco...which somehow seems appropriate. Peculiar lead vocalist David Sophia Siegel provides the obvious focal point of the band...but each band member's input is actually integral to the strange overall vibe. It took a couple of spins...but we finally realized who this band reminds us of...the great underrated 1990s Austin, Texas band The Pocket Fishrmen. Hell, at times they even sound like Savannah, Georgia's underground celebrity band Gam. Stars for Anyone is a refreshing reminder that there are some truly creative bands lurking underneath the surface. Killer tracks include "Stars for Anyone," "Beekeeper," "Relax," "People Care About Their Cars," and "Will Never Come True." (Rating: 5++)

The Breakup Society - Nobody Likes A Winner (CD, Get Hip, Pop/rock)
Ahhh, how refreshing...a band whose music focuses first and foremost on songs. The guys in The Breakup Society write and record refreshingly melodic guitar pop in the grand tradition of The Young Fresh Fellows. (Interestingly, Scott McCaughey sings and plays on one cut on this album ["By A Thread"]). This band is driven by the songwriting skills of Ed Masley...a fellow whose melodies and lyrics seem to naturally flow like gliders in the sky. Like McCaughey, Masley writes songs that are classic pop in nature (in the same general vein as mid-era Kinks)...but delivered simply without walls of overdubs and mounds of effects. Nobody Likes A Winner is a pure feelgood experience chock full of positive, uplifting tunes that are instantly hummable. Pop music just doesn't get much catchier than this. Cool pop tracks include "Nobody Likes A Winner," "The World Will Change Our Love," "13th Angry Man," "Lower Expectations," and "This Doesn't Matter." (Rating: 5++)

The Brother Kite - Moonlit Race (CD EP, Clairecords, Progressive pop)
Thank God this band is finally beginning to catch on. We've been psyched and impressed with The Brother Kite since we first heard them. Moonlit Race has been released to satiate fans until the band releases their third full-length. This EP includes "Get On, Me" (an absolutely killer cut from their Waiting For the Time to be Right album) plus five more tracks that are exclusive to this EP as well as three bonus videos. This disc does exactly what it was intended to do...temporarily satisfy fans until the next album is released. Moonlit Race reminds us of why we fell in love with these folks' music in the first place. Their songs are totally heavenly and...incredible. We can't wait to hear the next album (!)... (Rating: 5+++)

Katrina Carlson - Here and Now (CD, Kataphonic, Pop)
A word of warning. Katrina Carlson is a commercial pop singer...and extremely slick and commercial pop singer. So if that isn't your cup of tea you might as well skip right on to the next review. Now for you folks who like your music light and easy...Here and Now features twelve cool, breezy, easy-on-the-ears soft pop tunes. Carlson has apparently already had a good bit of success with the track "No One is to Blame" (a cover of the Howard Jones tune on which Jones himself appears). Katrina isn't trying to expand boundaries...or blow listeners away with weird technology...or make ground breaking audio compositions. Her music succeeds mainly because it does just what is was intended to do...calm listeners by providing soft, melodic feelgood pop to put them in a good frame of mind. Twelve smooth tracks here including "Be the One," "Here and Now" (our favorite), "When You Kiss Me," and "Some Small Way." (Rating: 4++)

Dartz! - This Is My Ship (CD, Deep Elm, Rock)
Loud punchy aggressive rock music with plenty of herky jerky rhythms. Dartz! is the trio consisting of William Anderson, Henry Carden, and Philip Maughan from Teesside, England. These guys play a brand of peculiar, angular rock music that was popular in underground circles in the United States in the early to mid-1990s (Drive Like Jehu certainly comes to mind). We can hear possible traces of early Gang of Four and XTC...and even occasional hints of Guided By Voices. This is a nifty raw sounding album that is likely to appeal to young rockers and college kiddies. Top picks include "Network! Network! Network!", "Once, Twice, Again!", "Documents," and "Teaching Me To Dance." [Note: This is part of a new series offered by the folks at Deep Elm whereby only 1,000 actual physical copies of the CD are being pressed (to encourage downloads) so if you want one...you'd better grab at this one QUICK.] (Rating: 5)

The Dig - Good Luck and Games (Independently released CD EP, Pop)
Nice, thick, substantial guitar pop. It takes a lot these days to get us to cover an EP...but Good Luck and Games immediately caught our attention. Man, are we impressed. Produced by Bryce Goggin, these six tracks have a really great big organic sound...while still sounding punchy and cool. The guys in The Dig are playing a brand of super melodic guitar pop that was popular among underground music snobs in the mid-1990s. Cool ultra-hummable cuts include "Good Luck and Games," "Lovesick Woman," "Marianne," and "The Last Thing." As with all good EPs, this one left us feeling really hungry for more... (Rating: 5)

Dirty On Purpose - Like Bees (CD EP, North Street, Progressive pop)
This EP follows on the heels of this band's debut album Hallelujah, Sirens (a release that caused quite a buzz among many writers and fans). The first thing we noticed about this EP is the improved sound quality. These five songs are much more polished and accessible than the music on the debut CD. That said, the unique things about the band's sound remain intact. These thick, heady tunes are bound to please the band's fans and satiate listeners until the next album is released. The best EPs are those that leave the listener wanting more...and that is the exact feeling we had when this short disc ended. Five cuts here: "Audience in the Room," "Like Bees," "Back to Sleep," "Send Me an Angel," and "Airshow Disaster." (Rating: 5)

The Dodos - Visiter (Advance CD-R, French Kiss, Pop)
The second full-length release from San Francisco band The Dodos. Visiter contains neat modern folky pop abstractions with cool, free-flowing melodies and interesting arrangements. The band consists of Meric Long (vocals, guitar, trombone) and Logan Kroeber (drums, percussion). We would have liked to have seen the actual complete release on this one rather than an advance CD-R. As such, this one definitely gets a thumbs up...but only a partial review because we received only part of the actual final product... (Not Rated)

The Epochs - The Epochs (CD, Rebel Group, Pop)
This is an outstanding album from a band whose music doesn't instantly fit into easily defined categories. The Epochs is the band created by brothers Ryan Holladay and Hays Holladay who started making recordings together in elementary school. In 2000 they released one CD themselves titled Ten Billion Light Years of Solitude and then decided to add more members to the band before recording The Epochs (the band now also includes bass player Kevin Smith and drummer Kotchy). This album is as familiar and catchy as it is confusing and difficult to pin down. In some ways, these songs remind us of hits from late 1970s FM radio...but in other ways they sound more like 1980s pop. Ultimately the music is rather modern and relies on smart technology. Whatever the decade and whatever the style, these songs have real staying power. Instead of modern throwaway pop, the Holladay brothers write substantial modern songs that rely first and foremost on memorable melodies and fantastic vocals. Slightly funky and soulful while decidedly accessible and upbeat...this is an album that is bound to appeal to an extremely wide range of listeners. Our guess is that everyone from children to grandparents could probably get off on this (!). Killer tracks include "Thunder & Lightning," "Love Complete," "Picture of the Sun," "Mouths to Feed," and "Giving Tree." Recommended. (Rating: 5++)

The Evaporaters - Gassy Jack and Other Tales (CD, Mint / Nardwuar, Pop/rock)
We've always liked The Evaporators. But now, after hearing this CD and seeing videos of the band performing live, well...now you just might say that we've fallen in love. This band's music incorporates all the best elements from bands like The Dickies, The Buzzcocks, and The Pocket Fishrmen. These guys play funny, bright, catchy upbeat buzzsaw pop infused with infectious playful passion and unbridled enthusiasm. On this release, perpetual self-promoter Nardwuar The Human Serviette is joined by bandmates David Carswell (guitar, vocals), Hamm (bass, organ, piano), John Collins (bass), Scott Livingstone (drums), and Megan Barnes (vocals). This album presents fifteen tracks that show just how tight and effective The Evaporators really are these days. In an age when so many people have lost their enthusiasm and sense of humor...Gassy Jack comes across like a refreshing freezing cold bucket of water thrown in the face of those who take music way too seriously. Killer tracks include "Where's The Butterknife?", "Gassy Jack," "Shakin' With the Shaggy Shaker," "Evatone Soundsheets," "Crispy Space Bacon," and "St. Roch." These guys are pumping up the bar...showing what we should expect from twenty-first century rock bands. Highly recommended. (Rating: 5+++)



Everybody clap your hands together.
Everybody march together for charity.
Everybody sing together in unison.
Everybody get really angry together and
Tear each other to shreds.

(Rating: 1)

Folklore - The Ghost of H.W. Beaverman (CD, bumbleBEAR, Progressive pop)
Folklore is the new project created by Jimmy Hughes who is the guitarist in the band Elf Power. The Ghost of H.W. Beaverman, the band's debut album, features eleven tracks. What will catch most folks' attention initially is the fact that each song on this CD features a different vocalist. Folks contributing vocal talents are Andrew Rieger, Amy Dykes, Jon Croxton, Bren Mead, Ian Rickert, Heather McIntosh, and Scott Spillane. While this would best be described as a pop album, it is not a predictable pop album. These odd, slightly loose and peculiar progressive tunes don't feature familiar song structures and traditional arrangements. Hughes and his pals seem to allow a good bit of spontaneity to creep into these tracks...and that is a huge plus. If you're looking for a quick fix of immediately catchy happy pop, this may not float your boat. But if you're looking for something a bit more substantial that will hold up over time...Beaverman will surely fill the bill. (Rating: 5)

ft (The Shadow Government) - The Black and White Album (CD, Modern Radio, Progressive rock)
We knew this CD would be interesting before we even began spinning it. Once again, the guys in ft (The Shadow Government) have come up with an entertaining...and rather perplexing...batch of modern progressive cuts. Rather than try to create songs that fit into any specific category, these guys seem to be driven purely by the desire to create...letting their minds and music take them wherever they may. The lack of boundaries is what probably makes The Black and White Album such a cool spin. Unlike many artsy ultra-creative bands, these guys do not merely pump out weird crap...the tunes have real substance. Many of these songs have lyrics and melodies that are relatively easy to latch onto...while other cuts delve into more experimental territory. This album presents a neat blend of styles...and some truly absorbing music that will stand the test of time. Don't expect these guys to hit the big time anytime soon...the music is much too obtuse and esoteric. But our guess is that super cool fans and writers will go absolutely apeshit over this album. We sure did. Killer tracks include "More Instruments," "The Greatest Generation Doesn't Have to Apologize for Anything" (great song title), "Watch Out for That Bullet, Guy," and "So Many Limo Seats." Plenty of super cool drum sounds on this disc. This release is also available on vinyl from the folks at Scenester Credentials. Highly recommended. (Rating: 5+++)

Girl In A Coma - Both Before I'm Gone (CD, Blackheart, Hard pop/rock)
Girl In A Coma is a hard pop/rock band...not a girlie pop band (there is a big difference). The band began in 2001...and the three girls have been steadily peddling their wares ever since. Their dedication and hard work seems to be paying off. This, their latest full-length, was released by Joan Jett's Blackheart label. Nina Diaz, older sister Phanie Diaz, and Jenn Alva play hard pop that focuses on lyrics and melodies. The trio's overall sound is reminiscent of some of the more adventurous girl groups of the 1990s...when ladies were more inclined to toy around with power and volume. Both Before I'm Gone is not a perfect album. The quality of the music varies from track to track. On the weaker cuts, these girls sound like a lot of other guitar bands. But on the strong tracks...they prove that they are a force to be reckoned with in the near future. The playing is nice and solid throughout. Neat, meaty tracks include "Clumsy Sky," "Road To Home," and "I'll Ask Him." It'll be interesting to see where they head with their next release... (Rating: 4+++)

Glass Trees - Glass Trees (CD, Maggadee, Pop/rock)
You'd think, considering the fact that this is yet another guitar band, that this CD would sound exactly like millions of others. But instead, the folks in the creatively-titled Glass Trees distance themselves from the multitude of twenty-first century bands by simply playing from their hearts and souls. Although we're not sure if these were influences or not, on occasion different tracks on this self-titled album sound like a variety of bands including (but not limited to) The Velvet Underground, The Feelies, and Teenage Fanclub. The band members made the wise decision to keep their music simple and straightforward...without getting carried away with layers upon layers of overdubs. Many of the tracks have a nice, laidback rocking sound that is decidedly out-of-synch with the majority of today's superficial bands. The guitars sound groovy indeed...as do the subtle, relaxed vocals. By not trying too hard...these folks have managed to come up with thirteen tracks that are instantly effective and ultimately very cool. Top picks: "Kissin Girls," "Why Not?", "Claire and Jim," "Kevins Dream." (Rating: 5)

Glorious Monster - Adventures On Earth (CD, Skeptic, Progressive pop)
Smooth and well-produced articulate dreamy pop. This is the debut album from Glorious Monster, the duo consisting of Danny Burke and Brian Casey. Prior to releasing this album, Burke and Casey were (and still are) in the business of producing commercial music for television. As such, our guess is that these fellows were probably really ready to create music without any constraints. Adventures On Earth presents twelve progressive pop tunes that seamlessly combine accessibility with artistic creativity. Although hummable and memorable, these songs are presented in a manner that is not consistent with modern-day commercial pop (i.e., the arrangements are too creative for the casual listener and there aren't enough catchy choruses to meet the average dope's needs). What probably impresses us most about this album is its staying power. After playing it several times the tunes only get better...revealing the subtle layers of substance beneath the surface. Kickass tracks include "Now You Are," "Angela," "Sunrise Surprise," and "Alone At Last." (Rating: 5+)

Golden Death Music - Ephemera Blues (CD, Helmet Room Recordings, Progressive pop)
Really nice, smooth, soft, mind-expanding progressive pop with a difference. Golden Death Music is the solo project created by Michael Ramey. Michael's music sounds something like a cross between progressive pop bands from Athens, Georgia mixed with the technology of Stereolab. The twelve tracks on Ephemera Blues are slightly odd as well as slightly familiar sounding. Ramey injects his odd pop with all kinds of unorthodox ingredients...and seems to understand the meaning of restraint. We had to listen to this album several times before we finally ended up loving it. Our guess is that Michael isn't making music in order to become famous nor make money...but simply because he has ideas that he wants to nurture, develop, and distribute. Slightly hypnotic and mentally psychedelic in many ways...Ephemera Blues is an album that has real staying power. Wonderfully heady tracks include "Endless Dream," "Together," "Lost In Violence," "Ringing," and "Into the Ocean." Beautiful, absorbing stuff...highly recommended. (Rating: 5+++)



Green, green, green.
Shut up about

(Rating: 1)

Hey Willpower - P.D.A. (CD, Tomlab, Progressive/pop)
Smart and captivating electronic music fueled by modern techno soul pop. P.D.A. has already generated great word-of-mouth overseas. Now the folks at Tomlab have made the album available to folks in the United States (with a different song sequence, new artwork, and a bonus track...a cover of Architecture in Helsinki's "Heart It Races"). Hey Willpower is the duo of Will Schwartz (of Imperial Teen) and Tomo Yasuda (of Tussle). Our guess is that in this endeavor Will and Tomo were probably heavily influenced by artists like early Prince and Michael Jackson. Unlike lots of underground albums with little or no commercial potential, P.D.A. has a lot of tunes that could easily become hugely popular among millions of listeners. Listening to this, you almost can't help but be pulled into the cool grooves. Nifty hummable pop tunes include "Uh-Uh-Uh" (a great track that sounds almost like Sparks in some ways), "Hundredaire," "Too Hot," and "In the Basement." Super cool stuff... (Rating: 5++)

Ifwhen - We Will Gently Destroy You (CD, Clairecords, Progressive)
This is, without a doubt, the strangest release that we have yet to hear on the esoteric Clairecords label. Ifwhen is the new band formed by Merc, who some will remember as a member of the shoegazer band All Natural Lemon & Lime Flavors. We Will Gently Destroy You is a strange album indeed. The best way we can describe the sound of this CD is to say...that it sounds like two (or possibly three) different CDs are playing at the exact same time. This band's arrangements are decidedly unconventional and strange. If the oddities were stripped away, some of the songs might sound almost normal...but with all the peculiar layers of additional sound...the music sounds extremely muted and slightly crazy. Strangely dreamlike and hypnotic, this is an album that is bound to confuse writers and fans. And in this day and age...when most folks feel as if they've seen and heard everything before...that is a real accomplishment. Bizarre, trippy cuts include "Only Faster," "A Furious Kind," "Escape Method," and "Nothing Left to Avoid." Sometimes sounds kind of like a cross between The Cocteau Twins and a toned down Skinny Puppy (???!!!)... (Rating: 5)



Why do I get to stay up late at night?
I'm the Mommy, that's why.
Why do I get to drive a car and you don't?
I'm the Mommy, that's why.
Why do I get to beat the dog when I get angry?
I'm the Mommy, that's why.
Why do I get to eat and you don't?
I'm the Mommy, that's why.
Why do I get to do whatever I want while you stay locked in a closet bound with duct tape?
I'm the Mommy, that's why.
Why do I get to sniff and snort and shoot fun things all day long?
I'm the Mommy, that's why.
Why do I get to screw with your head whenever I feel like it?
I'm the Mommy, that's why.

(Rating: 1)

Jetboy - The Glam Years Movie and CD (Deadline / MVD Visual, Pop/rock)
We really wanted to like this double disc set...but unfortunately we found it rather boring. The Glam Years Movie and CD is just that...a double disc set that includes a DVD and an audio CD. To be fair, we had never been exposed to Jetboy before...so this is probably not the best starting point if you want to get into this 1980s big hair band from the past. The DVD was very disappointing. The grainy visuals wouldn't be so much of a problem...but the sound quality really detracts from the overall experience. The band's big hair and loud anxious guitars reminded us in some ways of The New York Dolls...except the songs aren't as memorable. The audio CD was more entertaining (it includes a bunch of demos as well as one brand new 2007 recording)...but it also left us feeling somewhat cold and empty. This may be one of those cases in which you had to have been there to appreciate this. If that is the case, then we can easily recommend this package to folks who are already rabid fans of the band. Others...will probably find this to be rather tiring and uninspired... (Rating: 3-)



Laura's turds
Are so warm and slender
Swimming 'round
Inside a blender.

(Rating: 1)

LD & The New Criticism - Amoral Certitudes (CD EP, Acuarela, Pop)
This EP is particularly intriguing because it represents the merging of three babysue favorites all within the scope of a single CD. First, this is the latest release from LD & The New Criticism (LD Beghtol was formerly in the bands Flare and The Moth Wranglers). Second, this time around LD's music has been released by Spain's always eclectic and increasingly influential Acuarela label. Thirdly, and perhaps most surprising, is a cover of Lisa Germano's "If I Think of Love." Amoral Certitudes is a bit different from the last release by The New Criticism. These pop tunes are much more baroque and classic in nature...and there seems to be a lot less sarcasm in the lyrics. This is a short EP (very short) that only lasts about 16 minutes. But quality is all that matters when smooth, intricate pop sounds this good. Wonderfully gliding tracks include "AKA Paradise," "Light Verse," and "Sex Surrogate." This EP serves its likely intended purpose...which is to satiate listeners until the next full-length comes out. Recommended. (Rating: 5++)

L'ochelle Mare - L'ochelle Mare (CD, Sickroom, Instrumental)
The music on this CD is so odd and peculiar...that it is very difficult to describe or compare it. L'ochelle Mare is the new solo project created by Thomas Bonvalet who some folks may know as the guitarist in the band Cheval de Frise. On this CD Bonvalet's music is decidedly uncommercial and rather obtuse. The sixteen tracks on this album were "recorded in different deserted French places in July 2006"...which may explain the strange, stark quality of the music. Thomas is quite a guitarist...whose songs are even more intriguing given the fact that his approach to playing is almost entirely different from the average modern-day generic guitarist. Quiet, unpredictable, and ultimately thought provoking...this album stands out as one of the most unique releases of late. (Rating: 5)

LSD March - Nikutai No Tubomi (Double CD, Beta-lactam Ring, Experimental)
Named after a song by the long lost 1970s band Guru Guru (remember them...???), LSD March is the wildly exploratory band based in Himeji, Japan. The band's music is driven by the odd talents of guitarist Shinsuke Michishita...a fellow who is obviously not interested in writing and recording the next "big hit" (that may be the understatement of the century...). Nikutai No Tubomi features strange hypnotic drones. The first CD features only one lengthy track that could easily drive some folks completely up the wall. The second CD is divided into eight sections...but is no more commercially viable than the first. Pretty wild stuff here that could take several spins to absorb. We would have liked to have seen the actual complete release on this one. As such, this one definitely gets a thumbs up...but only a partial review because we received only part of the actual final product... (Not Rated)

Mahjongg - Kontpab (CD, K, Progressive)
We were very let down by this album. On the first two tracks on Kontpab, the folks in Mahjongg set the bar very high for themselves. Perhaps too high...as the remainder of the album seems to flounder and meander. But rather than pass this one by altogether, we wanted to mention this band because they obviously have the potential to create something really great in the future. "Pontiac" and "Problems" (the two meaty tracks on this CD) are based around cool, infectious rhythms and have an overall sound that recalls The Talking Heads' legendary Remain In Light album. We were immediately hypnotized by the neat sounds and were ready to give this album a very high rating. But unfortunately, the remaining tracks just don't add up. In fact, we had a difficult time even getting to the end of the disk without ejecting it. So the moral of the story here is...Mahjongg is a band with a great deal of potential...if they can harness and focus it. The first two tracks would rate an easy 5++...but because the rest of the album is a wash we had to lower the rating substantially... (Rating: 3++++)

Raine Maida - The Hunters Lullaby (CD, Nettwerk, Progressive pop)
To our ears, Raine Maida sounds something like a cross between Peter Murphy and John Vanderslice. Maide was the leader of the Canadian band Our Lady Peace for about a decade before embarking on his solo career. The Hunters Lullaby is a good, it not somewhat uneven, album. When he's on, Raine sounds like a confident tunesmith with a great deal to offer. When he doesn't hit the target, this fellow sounds too much like lots of other underground artists we have heard over the past few months. The best moments are the softer, more personal segments. The weakest songs are the ones that seem to meander too much (we were turned off by the (c)rap hop that renders "The Less I Know" unlistenable). While Maida has the ability to write some really strong, interesting melodies...his lyrics tend to be the weakest link. So...what we have here is an album with some great...and not so great songs. We aren't discounting this guy, however. Raine Maida has some great strengths that, if nurtured, could produce some truly exceptional music... (Rating: 4)

The Mary Onettes - The Mary Onettes (CD, Labrador, Pop)
This Swedish band is obviously heavily influenced by bands from the 1980s. The folks in The Mary Onettes have apparently experienced their fair share of ups and downs during the course of their career. Now that they have landed on the ultimately credible Labrador label (easily one of Sweden's best), their career is likely to experience a major swing straight up. True to the claim of the press release that accompanied this disc, the songs on this CD remind us of several different bands including The Church, The Cure, and Echo and the Bunnymen. Considering the fact that there seems to be a 1980s revival in motion...these folks may very well find themselves the darlings of the ultra-cool segment of the population. Super hummable catchy tunes include "Pleasure Songs," "The Laughter," "Explosions," and "Under the Guillotine." Nice. (Rating: 5)

Eric Matthews - The Imagination Stage (CD, Empyrean, Pop)
We played The Imagination Stage over and over and over again. But for the life of us we could never quite figure out who Eric Matthews sounds like...although we are certain that his songs sound remarkably familiar. In the end we determined that perplexing similarities don't really matter...while substance and credibility do. Imagination Stage presents thirteen cool, thoughtful, dreamy soft pop tunes that feature intricate arrangements and Eric's genuinely cool voice. These tunes have a nice classy, cool sound that is immediately inviting and genuine. In the end, substantial songs are what make this album such a great spin. While Eric's tunes may sound familiar...there is an intriguing and curious depth to his material that may take several spins to sink in. We like every track on this album, but particular favorites include "Well Known Liar," "Little 18," "Devil Red Glow," and "Does He Keep You Warm." (Rating: 5+)



Freedom is just
Another word for

(Rating: 1)

The Mumlers - Thickets & Stitches (CD, Galaxia, Pop)
Really nice melodic understated soft pop that focuses on vocal melodies, lyrics, and smooth rhythms. The folks in The Mumlers have a nice, loose sound that is not unlike some of The Kinks' country-influenced recordings from the 1970s. But to make matters even more interesting, the members of the band also seem to have been influenced to some degree by early blues and jazz artists (the vocals are particularly reminiscent of female blues and jazz singers from the 1940s). This band is driven by the songwriting skills of Will Sprott, whose music is decidedly out-of-line with what is currently selling in the world of crappy commercial pop. His loose shuffle-ish songs are peppered with cool horns and rhythms that are just perfect for a comfy afternoon romp around the park with the pets. Sprott's tunes might not hit you in the face immediately...but given a bit of time, they are bound to make their way into your cerebral cortex and remain there indefinitely. Nifty tunes include "Dice in a Drawer," "Hitched to the Sun," "Shake That Medication," "Whale Song," and "So Long." Cool sounding stuff indeed... (Rating: 5++)

Nardwuar The Human Serviette - Welcome To My Castle (Double DVD, Mint, Miscellaneous)
Anyone who is even remotely familiar with Canada's Mint Records has to have seen and/or heard of notorious self-promoter Nardwuar The Human Serviette. In addition to being the lead singer of the band The Evaporators, this young fellow also has the remarkable willpower to pin down and interview lots of famous people. The first DVD in this set features two programs Nardwuar taped for public access cable. Because of the random nature of the material some of it is funny and some is just junk...but it's always worth watching in order to find the laughs. During the first Welcome To My Castle show we enjoyed watching Nardwuar getting kicked out of the Juno Awards (it looked boring and stuffy anyway)...but then got a bit bored as he and his camera man began making their way around Canada trying to locate folks who listed themselves as pen pals in a 1966 issue of Teen Screen magazine (!). The segment began to get a bit dull until...amazingly...he was actually able to find one of the women who had run an ad (and she was still at the same address!). The Sonic Youth interview goes on way too long (the guy with the dark hair and sunglasses--who cares what his name is--showed himself to be a real pretentious dullard). Much more interesting is the segment where Nardwuar and his pals visit millionaire Jimmy Pattison's house (a fellow who proves to be way cooler than the folks in Sonic Youth). To be honest, we were just about to pull the first DVD out of the player (there's so much to take in here...) but when Welcome To My Castle II began...we noticed that not only was Micky Dolenz going to make an appearance...but also Ernest Angley (!!!). So, of course, we had to continue watching. Hearing Dolenz talk we realized something we never realized before. This man has to be a homosexual (not that it matters, of course...). Micky was actually a lot more considerate and polite to Mr. Serviette than most arrogant celebrities. Our favorite tiny segment, of course, is when Nardwuar gets Ernest Angley all heated up. He first asks him if he can cure the summertime blues...and follows up by questioning if he can "cure stupidity" (HAHAHAHAHA...!!!). Ernest gets so mad that he tells Nardwuar to shut up (it's priceless!) and informs him that God is likely to strike him dead. Ain't that just like a Christian...? Everyone with a brain knows what an asshole Angley is...but this video is living proof of the fact. We finally had to stop watching midway through...mainly because there are about five and a half hours of material here (!?!). Included are eight videos from The Evaporators' Gassy Jack and Other Tales album (!) that are great fun to watch. We will end here with a couple of conclusions... Despite all the celebrities that he interviews, the most interesting person is actually Nardwuar himself. He seems to purposely give people the initial impression that he is just another annoying pushy nerd with a weird voice and a microphone. But in actuality...the guy is an extremely well-informed and intelligent individual with a memory that'll blow your mind. It's extremely interesting to see who brushes Nardwuar off...and who is personable enough to speak with him. The segments featuring Jello Biafra are particularly revealing. When he is first interviewed, he would hardly give Nardwuar the time of day. But when he is interviewed the second time (and knows that the guy interviewing him actually is somebody)...he then seems to have all the time in the world to chat. What a jerk. Nardwuar's ability to uncover who is a creep...and who's isn't...is amazing and astounding. (His chats with an almost totally incoherent Courtney Love are a scream.) Nardwuar usually doesn't have to say anything, some celebrities seem as happy as peaches to dig their own graves. But back to the DVD set... We'll certainly be viewing more of this later as time allows. In the meantime, from what we've seen, we can most certainly recommend this for folks who are celebrity hounds and for those who want a good laugh. There are chuckles aplenty here. A great little package full of curiosities. (Rating: 5+)

Negativland - Our Favorite Things (DVD, Other Cinema), The 180Gs: 180 D'Gs to the Future! (CD, Seeland)
A stimulating package from the band that made mutilating other peoples' material a way of life...as well as an art form. Our Favorite Things is the first DVD release from the perplexing guys in Negativland. The disc is almost certain to please the band's fans...as well as anyone who ever appreciated the visual works of The Residents. Our Favorite Things features what might be described as a "best of" assortment of Negativland tracks. While the familiar cut-and-paste sounds flow by, viewers are treated to psychedelic images that blend the unfamiliar with the extremely familiar. What we like best about these videos is the fact that...by not saying anything at all themselves...the band's message comes through loud and clear: Our society is really screwed up. Many of the visuals are somewhat similar to The Residents...but the inclusion of all the familiar stuff gives them a completely different perspective. In addition to the twenty videos, the DVD also includes a wealth of bonus material that is ultimately worth watching. Included with the DVD is a CD by a band called The 180Gs...who present thirteen covers of Negativland tunes. As if this idea weren't strange enough already, adding to the oddness is the fact that the group is a R&B/doo-wop act. Hearing such strange songs presented in such a normal environment...ranges from smooth and pleasant...to goofy and hilarious. We love hearing the group croon the line Communism is good (from "Christianity Is Stupid"). We were late jumping on the Negativland bandwagon. But nowadays we tend to get big chuckles from everything that these guys produce. Our Favorite Things is the band's first exploration in the world of video...and it is a resounding success. (Rating: 5++)

Negativland - A Big 10-8 Place (Double CD + DVD, Seeland, Experimental)
Reissue of the third Negativland album from 1983 that includes a bonus DVD. For one reason or another, the band's early recordings totally escaped us. While in some ways quite similar, in other ways A Big 10-8 Place is very different than the band's twenty-first century recordings. Whereas nowadays Negativland compositions seem to focus mainly on creating humorous mutilations of familiar songs by other people...the tracks on this album are much more random experimental creations (with even less commercial appeal). Plus...there are some segments that are actually real songs in the traditional sense. Our guess is that noise addicts probably really liked early Negativland...but don't care for the newer albums. We actually appreciate and enjoy both...but we probably prefer the more obvious sense of humor that has become more and more focused over the years. The DVD contains an hour's worth of material featuring the band's first experiments with video. Another excellent addition to the continually growing Negativland section in our own personal library... (Rating: 5)



Deep down inside
All people are
Lying, cheating,

(Rating: 1)

Leroy Powell - Leroy Powell (Independently released CD, Americana/country/pop)
Good pop that crosses Americana flavored soft rock with country. California's Leroy Powell writes and records what might best be described as hippie country music. The surprising part about his sound is that...it works. Leroy looks something like a scraggly version of Keith Urban...but his music is light years better and inherently more real. This, Powell's debut solo album, features a really nice mix of soft, earthy, country-tinged pop that goes down super easy. Cool, intricate guitars combine with nifty easy rhythms to create exceptionally nice and soft feelgood pop. Top picks: "Go To Extremes," "Keep the Diamond," "Easy to Fall," "Gypsy Lady." Recommended for fans of artists like Shuyler Jansen. (Rating: 5)

Refree - Els Invertebrats (CD, Acuarela, Pop)
Refree is the solo project consisting of Raul Fernandez. This, the fourth Refree album, features ten artsy underground recordings that seem to dance around all over the place in terms of sound and style. Raul's melodies are complex and unconventional and yet...his songs have a nice flowing quality that is immediately absorbing and real. Some of these tracks might fall into the folk category, others are slightly jazzy...while others come across sounding like puzzling progressive pop. Fernandez has a subtle, frail, decidedly unpretentious style of singing. It seems sad indeed that this music will be lost on most Americans, as all of the songs are sung entirely in Spanish. Considering how bland and tiring the English language can be...we love the change of pace, of course. Eleven groovy cuts here including "Buenos Dias Por la Manana," "El Portal," "El Sant Sopar," "Marlina," and "Nana al nino que nacio merto." A truly cool album. (Rating: 5+)

Steve Robinson - Undercurrent (CD, Sunshine Drenchy, Pop)
Most folks who write and record either don't have any idea of how others perceive their music or they have an extremely unrealistic (and usually inflated) sense of who or what they are. Florida's Steve Robinson doesn't seem to be suffering from either of these delusional mental defects. Steve is from Northern England but has been in the United States for the past couple of decades. During most of that time he played in the Florida band The Headlights...which, perhaps, eventually prompted him to begin recording and releasing solo albums. Robinson's songs are an almost perfect melding of British pop with modern folky Americana. The songs on Undercurrent (his second solo album) are surprisingly slick and commercial. In terms of overall sound and style, these recordings rival anything we have heard from artists on major labels in recent years. The songs are upbeat and ultra-hummable...and ultimately sound like underground hits that you have previously heard somewhere in your subconsciousness. And this guy has a totally killer voice (!!!). Fantastic tracks include "Wooden Hill," "Love Is Real," "Forget About Love," and "I'm In Trouble (Again)." Oh, and before we forget to mention it...Steve's voice is sometimes reminiscent of Peter Noone (of Herman's Hermits fame). Great stuff. Recommended. (Rating: 5++)



Rock and roll
You idiots.
Everybody dance
Like retards.
Let's all get drunk
So that we can
Rock and roll
Like retards.

(Rating: 1)

Sambassadeur - Migration (CD, Labrador, Pop)
Instantly satisfying super catchy hummable soft pop. The folks in Sweden's Sambassadeur stepped out of their home recording environment...opting to create Migration in a real recording studio. Because we haven't been exposed to the band's earlier recordings, we can't make a comparison here. But based upon what we're hearing...we'd bet that this album will be an instant hit among pop fans the world over. These tracks remind us a great deal of early Ivy. The songs are built around gentle grooves and feature the incredibly effective breathy vocals of Anna Persson. There are no mind-taxing complex passages here...no ultra weird electronics to shock the brain...and no searing, noisy guitar solos. These folks get in a defined groove on this album and stay there for the duration of all nine classy tracks. Truly effective cuts include "The Park," "That Town" (a particularly engaging tune), "Migration," "Someday We're Through," and "Something to Keep." This is the kind of stuff that simply makes us feel good inside. Recommended. (Rating: 5++)

Andy Santospago - Tiny Problems (CD-R, Pop)
Because we were already fans of the band The Vinyl Skyway, we were immediately drawn to this solo album by band member Andy Santospago. To be honest we were kind of expecting a lot...but Tiny Problems met our expectations and more. Andy writes and records complex modern pop with classic pop overtones. His tunes combine some of the best elements from the past (early melodic pop bands from the 1960s and 1970s) with the more heady, effervescent elements of the present (complex musical passages and the multi-layering that technology allows). Vocals don't get much better than this. Santospago sings with a cool understated presence that is a perfect fit for the songs he writes. This classy little album features twelve tracks including "Early Choir," "Squander," "Dust Cloud in Central," "In Spite of Everything," and "Forest Green." It seems criminal that, at least up to this point, this is a CD-R only release. Surely some intelligent label will step up to the plate and re-release this superbly pleasing batch of tunes. It is definitely bound to catch on like wildfire. Andy is easily one of the great unknown talents of the twenty-first century. Highly recommended. (Rating: 5+++)



Science is a wonderful waste of time.
History is a wonderful waste of time.
Science is wonderful and
History is wonderful but
They are both just a waste
Of time.

(Rating: 1)



Look into the sky and
See the ugly.
Look out over the ocean and
See the ugly.
Look into the eyes of your friends and
See the ugly.
Look into the mirror and
See the real ugly.

(Rating: 1)

The Soulshake Express - Heavy Music (CD, Beatville, Rock/pop)
So many artists create albums with confusing titles and music that is difficult to comprehend. The folks in Sweden's The Soulshake Express have recorded a straightforward rock album and named it exactly what it is...Heavy Music. This album is chock full of fat, thick guitars, driving rhythms, and intensely vibrant vocals. The band claims to be influenced by a variety of hard rock acts including MC5, Deep Purple, AC/DC, and Helicopters...and it shows. These guys are playing smart, loud muscle rock that emphasizes their ability to rock out like holy Hell. Although some of these tunes have a slight stoner rock sound, overall this CD is much more direct and based around pure classic rock and roll energy. It sure feels good to come across a band with a sound and style so simple and effective that all you really need to do is turn the volume way up and just enjoy the groovy goddamn music. Killer cuts include "Woman Like You," "Push," "Gypsy Daughter," and "Make It Last." Great rockin' stuff. (Rating: 5+)

Soriah - Ofrendas de Luz a Los Muertos (CD, Beta-lactam Ring, Experimental)
Truly bizarre and frightening stuff. If you really dug the tripped out electronics on Hawkwind's 1970s albums but weren't too keen on hearing a rock band roaring away at the same time...there's a good chance that you will be heavily enlightened by the hallucinogenic sounds on Ofrendas de Luz a Los Muertos. Soriah is an entity that creates music for pure entertainment. This album contains only two tracks: the title cut and "Esqueleto de Chapulin." These tracks are artsy noise creations built around repetitive drones and echo-drenched electronic sounds. But rather than being repetitive and predictable...these pieces end up being extremely heady and creative. This is the kind of music that will absolutely make boring and shallow people freak out. While some of the passages sound rather satanic, our guess is that this wasn't specifically intentional. One thing is certain. Soriah isn't for everyone. But if you're into psychedelic music and progressive tripped out experimental German bands from the 1970s...this music is bound to make you feel really, really high. The more we hear this...the more involved it gets. Great cover art. Crazy and wild. Highly recommended. (Rating: 5+++)

Anna Stafford - String Music (CD, San Gabriel Music, Violin/instrumental)
Los Angeles, California's Anna Stafford is an up-and-coming violinist whose songs have much more in common with modern rock and pop bands than traditional classical music composers. You may not know her name...but you have almost certainly already heard Anna play. She has already performed with well-known entertainers like LeAnn Rimes, Andrea Bocelli, Kelly Clarkson, and more. String Music presents eleven original compositions that highlight Anna's abilities with the violin. Our guess is that her music will appeal to her target audience...those folks who are into polished commercial stuff. According to the press release, some of Anna's favorite artists include Pearl Jam, Metallica, and Live. Not the most creative acts in the world for sure. But that may explain why Anna's own music doesn't really push or extend any boundaries. Still, String Music is certainly pleasant and upbeat...and will likely be quite successful in the world of commercial music. If she were to slant her music in a more creative direction...Stafford could easily create a masterpiece. (Rating: 4+)

Andy Swan - Ottawa (CD, Kelp, Soft pop/folk)
Folks who enjoyed Neil Young's first solo album will likely be mighty impressed with Andy Swan's Ottawa. This young Canadian fellow writes soft pop tunes that are pensive and highly melodic...and peppered with a slight hint of country. If there is one word that sums up this guy's sound, it would most certainly be unpretentious. While other artists offer recordings that are overdubbed and overproduced to death, Swan and his pals create simple, pleasing, toe-tapping pop that seems to come straight from the heart. His lyrics are thoughtful and intriguing...offering many interesting twists and turns. The more we spin Ottawa...the better it sounds. Cool, classy tracks include "If My Daddy Could See Me Now," "Can I Pay You With Sunshine?," "Belt Buckle," and "The Sound of Snowflakes Falling." Great stuff. (Rating: 5+)



Go to the bathroom
And never come out again.

(Rating: 1)

Text Adventure - I Believe in Lassies (CD, Dear Stereo Fan, Progressive)
This is certainly a different sort of album. The first track ("Pink Smoke") is bound to leave listeners initially pawing at buttons to see what's wrong with their CD player and/or computer. What is this? Some kind of defective Lemon of Pink disc in disguise...? Fortunately, once the track gets going you no longer want to tap buttons...because the soothing relaxed nature of the music quickly sinks in. Text Adventure is the duo of David Roy and Stephen Scott. After scanning through Darla's press release, we were tempted to just cut-and-paste their text into this review...because they did such an excellent job of summing up these guys' peculiar approach to music. David and Stephen's music is slightly dreamlike and twinkly in nature...much of it reminds us of the feeling we got as kids laying underneath the Christmas tree looking up at the blinking lights. Although we're not quite sure what that feeling is, it somehow sums up our reaction to this album. Stark, subtle, serious and slightly silly...I Believe in Lassies is difficult to describe and/or classify. And that just may be its greatest strength. Cool, refreshing, inventive tracks include "If It Could Talk, It Wouldn't Say Anything," "Boobook (for R)," "Cowboy Shadows," and "Sunset in the Silver Forest." (Rating: 5++)

Mia Doi Todd - GEA (CD, City Zen, Soft pop)
If we were picking out our favorite female artists of the twenty-first century, Mia Doi Todd would most certainly be included in the list. GEA continues with more of the same substantial, pensive, intelligent music that made us first fall in love with Ms. Todd's music. This time around Mia's songs (and particularly her voice) remind us very much of Heidi Berry. Todd's seventh full-length release, GEA features some particularly depthy and insightful lyrics. The songs fit somewhere comfortably in the netherworld where soft pop meets pensive British folk. The arrangements are subtle yet strikingly appropriate. But the real draw here is Mia's own voice and presence. Lots of albums spin by and don't leave much of an impression. This young lady really lays herself on the line with her music. So, instead of merely hearing songs pass by, you actually get the feeling that Todd is allowing you to get to know her through her music. And that just may be the secret magnetism of her music. This album is very real, very deep, and extraordinarily personal. Ten beautiful, intoxicating tracks including "River of Life / The Yes Song," "Night of a Thousand Kisses" (such a killer melody), "Sleepless Nights," "Kokoro," and "Old World New World." Intricate, genuine, and absolutely beautiful music. Highly recommended. (Rating: 5+++)

Twilight Hotel - Highway Prayer (Independently released CD, Pop)
Once upon a time in the early twenty-first century, it seemed as if guy and girl duos created nothing but underground electronic pop. But things have changed over the past few years...and so have guy and girl duos. Twilight Hotel is Brandy Zdan and Dave Quanbury. Together with their well-chosen backup players, Zdan and Quanbury present thirteen melodic pop tracks that combine elements from Americana, folk, and country. After spinning Highway Prayer a few times, we concluded that we wouldn't be surprised at all if these two individuals slightly alter their sound and style over time...and end up being hugely successful. They certainly have the songs, presence, and voices necessary to do so. The smooth melodic tracks on this album have real staying power. Nifty cuts include "Viva La Vinyl," "Highway Prayer," "Shadow of a Man," and "Sand in Your Eyes." Cool soft pop with haunting sounds from the past. (Rating: 4++++)

The Very Hush Hush - Evil Milk (CD, Sao Bento Music, Progressive/experimental)
The Very Hush Hush is the duo consisting of Grant Hazard Outerbridge (bass, vocals, keyboards) and Peter Bo Rappmund (vocals, keyboards, drums). On the oddly-titled Evil Milk, these fellows delve into three main areas of music: atmospheric electronics, progressive pop, and piano instrumentals. The seventeen tracks on this album are purely artistic endeavors in which Outerbridge and Rappmund allow anything to happen. As such, it is not surprising that this CD has almost no commercial appeal whatsoever. Of course in this little corner of the universe commercial appeal don't mean shit. As a result, we have been happily spinning and enjoying this album for the past two weeks. We couldn't get an initial grip on the music so we sandwiched this one in between other things we were listening to until...one day...we found that we were rather spellbound by some of these cuts. A word of warning: This is not easy music. So if you're looking for something cute and peppy to play in the car with the hood down, you probably won't go for this. But if you're into the more experimental side of the universe...you will most likely find quite a bit to love about Evil Milk. A cool, mentally absorbing album that doesn't sound like anything else currently on the horizon... (Rating: 5++)

Volcano The Bear - Amidst the Noise & Twigs (CD, Beta-lactam Ring, Progressive/experimental)
Talk about an artsy release. The cover of Amidst the Noise & Twigs features some fabulous artwork (the paintings are killer)...and little else other than the name of the band and the name of the album (there isn't even a list of song titles). The packaging is a good indicator of where this band is coming from. Rather than approaching music and career the way normal people do, these folks write and record confusing songs that incorporate so many styles and influences that it becomes virtually impossible to describe it. This album will definitely leave most people scratching their heads in confusion. So if you're one of those people who need everything mushed up into safe chunks and spoon fed to you so that you don't mess up your diaper, you would best be advised to steer clear of Volcano The Bear. This is not easy music. But for those with an adventurous spirit who aren't afraid to try something different (and we know there are at least five or six of you out there...), Noise & Twigs is a royally rewarding album full of strange and unfamiliar sounds. Unlike some underground bands who present crap as audio art, thinking that no one will notice...Volcano The Bear is a different sort of credible entity. Creative, peculiar, dreamy, and sometimes surreal...this is strange and mentally confusing stuff that reverberates in the subconsciousness... Highly recommended. (Rating: 5+++)

Von Hemmling - La Guerre Est Meurtre (CD, Royal Rhino Flying Records, Noise/experimental)
This is the second release we have heard from underground confusion artist Von Hemmling (actually the solo project created by Jim McIntyre). Not surprisingly, La Guerre Est Meurtre is an odd and peculiar spin. The album features six tracks of what most people would consider to be non-music. Blips, bleeps, drone sounds, accidental audio, eensie song fragments...all of these and more combine to create what McIntyre describes as a "linear nonlinear history of Von Hemmling." We didn't rate the band's last release and we're not about to rate this one. If the point is to confuse, then this CD is a resounding success. One can't help but wonder about the motivation here. Is this created purely as art...? Or to test the attention span of underground snobs like us...? Heh heh heh... In all seriousness though, we could only recommend this to folks who are into obtuse background noise. Weird stuff...! (Not Rated)

The Wheels On The Bus - Mango's Big Dog Parade (DVD, Porchlight Home Entertainment, Children's/educational)
Mango's Big Dog Parade is the third DVD in the popular children's series The Wheels On The Bus (all three of which are also available together in a triple DVD box set). This DVD plays something like a less psychedelic version of The Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour for tykes mixed with a nice healthy dose of Pee Wee's Playhouse (only the visuals are similar...this is not nearly as bizarre). The series is driven by puppets Mango (the monkey), Papaya (the toucan), and Argon (the big green dragon with Roger Daltry's voice). This DVD was made for kids age one through five so the stories are kept appropriately simple and direct...and chronicle the adventures of the bus and its occupants. Real people interact with the puppets which probably makes it easier for the tykes to follow what's going on. Some of the day-glo computer animation in the background is rather startling and unusual...but the goings on amongst the characters are all totally safe and playful. In addition to teaching simple words and skills, this feature also teaches some very basic morals and manners that remind us in many ways of some of the lessons learned on the Clifford the Big Red Dog cartoon series. Some of our favorite segments are the most basic...the extreme close-up video of insects is wonderful. We also enjoyed the segment featuring the polite fairies who are strangely reminiscent of The Bugaloos. There are bonus items too...as well as a cool feature that allows children to play the movie over and over again. Parents should be warned that this DVD is most certainly for very young toddlers five and under. Mango's Big Dog Parade is a squeaky clean adventure to be certain...but then, that's exactly what it was intended to be. Plenty of nice clean for for the kiddie boosters. (Rating: 5)

Jim White - Transnormal Skiperoo (CD, Luaka Bop, Soft pop)
Jim White writes and records music that sounds something like a cross between latter-day Bob Dylan and early Leonard Cohen. White's songs are soft, subtle, free-flowing tunes that focus on his extremely laidback vocals. This kind of super accessible modern folkie pop isn't what we usually go for...but for some reason, Jim's music comes across sounding more real and genuine than most. As such, we found a lot of enjoyable tracks here. "A Town Called Amen," "Jailbird," "Take Me Away," and "Pieces of Heaven" all particularly impressed us. It might not be the most original album ever recorded...but if you're in the mood for some smart, soft pop to put you in a good mood for the day, Transnormal Skiperoo will most likely fill the bill... (Rating: 4+++++)

The White Lodge - Twilight Vision (CD, Attacknine, Instrumental/atmospheric)
There are lots of bands whose music is either totally atmospheric or totally instrumental...but few we can think of whose music almost perfectly balances the two. To be a bit more direct, the music on Twilight Vision is subtle and heady and cerebral...but there are actual notes and melodies in these compositions (although generally very subtle and muted in effects). The White Lodge is a married duo consisting of Steven (her husband) and Emiliana (his wife). It somehow seems curious that a married couple would be involved in producing music like this. We're used to hearing married folks creating happy, upbeat pop and anxious hard rock...but artsy impressionistic instrumentals...? The good news is that not only are these folks taking a different path...but upon closer observation the music turns out to be substantial and highly rewarding. These tunes aren't just weird electronic slop thrown together with lots of reverb added to fool listeners. Steven and Emiliana obviously spent a great deal of time creating these intelligent and hypnotic tracks. Beautiful as background music...but also mentally stimulating if you turn up the volume a bit. Ten classy cuts. Recommended. (Rating: 5++)

Wire - Read & Burn 03 (CD, Cargo / Midheaven, Progressive)
The first new recordings from Wire in quite some time. We were big, big, BIG fans of early Wire recordings. So much so that when the band changed and evolved over time and left their initial sound behind, we were also left behind and eventually lost interest. As such, were were pretty much expecting Read & Burn 03 to be a wash. WRONG. The band's new energy and vision could have something to do with the fact that they spent the past few years re-exploring their early music (preparing CD and DVD reissues of their 1970s material). Whatever the cause and reason, the good news...is that the guys in Wire are most definitely back. The lead track (the lengthy ten-minute "23 Years Too Late") is pure genius. This EP is bound to re-energize the band's fan base around the world. The best news...is that a new full-length album is forthcoming. We can't wait. (Rating: 5+++)



There's a world outside
But there is no

(Rating: 1)

Yikes - Whoa Comas / Blood Bomb (CD EP, Kill Shaman, Rock)
This little EP caught our attention because Yikes is the new project created by John Dwyer, the man who drove fans into a frenzy with his band The Coachwhips. Yikes is the trio consisting of Dwyer, Eric Park (guitar), and Mike Donavan (drums). The tunes on this EP are garage band maniacal tracks drenched in reverb and echo. These guys don't just play...they seem to literally tear their instruments to pieces in order to get their point across. And the vocals are, as one might expect, totally out there (good luck trying to figure out the lyrics on this l'il sucker!). Our guess is that at this point Dwyer's fans are likely to follow him just about anywhere. We can't help but be impressed by the intense focus and power of these recordings. Totally RAW. (Rating: 5)

Youth Without Youth - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack - Music Composed by Osvaldo Golijov (CD, Deutsche Grammophon, Soundtrack)
This, the soundtrack to Francis Ford Coppola's new film, features music composed by Osvaldo Golijov and played by the Bucharest Metropolitan Orchestra. Golijov was a composer-in-residence for the 2007 Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center and this is his second soundtrack recording (the first was for the film The Man Who Cried). Youth Without Youth presents 21 tracks of pure, sparkling brilliance. The majority of this CD features soft, subtle, meticulously orchestrated instrumentals that sound strangely familiar. This is not...repeat not...a throwaway soundtrack release. This music was professionally composed to perfection and performed with acute precision...so much so that it should please most serious classical music fans. Golijov has apparently already received a great deal of attention and praise for his work. No small feat for any individual working within the confines of classical music in the twenty-first century. Even if you don't see the film...our guess is that you will find yourself totally immersed in this music. Highly recommended. (Rating: 5++)

Zillionaire - The Street Lights Have Been Turned Down (CD, New Granada, Progressive pop)
Zillionaire was formed in 2004 by prior members of the bands The Washdown and Pohgoh. Rather than rush into things, the band members spent about a year and a half writing, practicing, and focusing their sound and style before recording The Street Lights Have Been Turned Down. The time was well spent...as this, their debut album, features smart, polished tunes with a unique difference. Instead of rock or pop, these guys present complex tunes that incorporate elements of progressive rock with odd hints of jazz. The lead track ("I Won't Let You Down [This Time]") is immediately peculiar and captivating. A word of caution. This band's music does not immediately sink in. We had to spin this l'il sucker several times before our belt buckles got sucked in. But once these guys caught our attention, they really made an impression. Odd, moody compositions include "The Gardner," "Jesus Told Me So," "Tonight Will Be Alright," and "No Contest." Some of the more poppy moments occasionally remind us of Starflyer 59... (Rating: 5++)


Additional Items Received:

The 11th Hour - Original motion picture soundtrack
About A Girl - About A Girl
A Catapult Western - A Catapult Western
Am-Boy - Horrible oracle blessedness
Ana D - Satelite 99
Appleyard College - Look at me
Arson Anthem - Arson Anthem
Ashia - Pay to be loved
Attorneys - Stereocracy
Raquel Aurilia - Finding my way
A Verse Unsung - Sleeping tigers
Belay My Last - The downfall
Ridley Bent - Buckles & boots
Beowulf - Music from the motion picture
Black Pig - It is what it is
Blind Shake - Carmel
Brigades Like This - Brigades Like This0
Bronze - Calypso shakedown
David Thomas Broughton vs. 7 Hertz - David Thomas Broughton vs. 7 Hertz
Burgandy Brown - My lucky 13
Mlle Caro & Franck Garcia - Pain disappears +
Barton Carroll - The lost one
Cassettes Won't Listen - Small-time machine
Charlus - Tragic accident
Chewy - Lorrie ruiz
Chingalera - In the shadow of the black palm tree
Classic Crime - Acoustic EP: Seattle sessions
Cloning Einstein - Cloning Einstein
Damemas - Let your tape rock
Yesan Damen - Chronos/katros
Steve Dawson - Waiting for the lights to come up
Dirt Mall - Got the goat by the horns
DOF - Red pine pasture
Dorothy Doring - Southern exposure
Do You See the Dark - Do You See the Dark
(D)ynamic (B)rown (H)ips - Wave the old wave
Eat Sugar - Eat Sugar
Edison Glass - Time is fiction
Ellis - Break the spell
Enchanted - Original soundtrack
Eux Autres - Cold city
Eyes Set To Kill - Reach
411 - On the independent music movement DVD
Failures' Union - Sinker
February Remaining - February Remaining
Robert Rolfe Feddersen - Robert Rolfe Feddersen
Feeding 5000 - The books we read
Feminists - Can't scream loud enough
Duff Ferguson - Good things
Dan Ferrari - Don't let it fall
Fire on Fire - 5 song EP
Able Baker Fox - Voices
Gecko - Terrible lizard
Get Set Go - Presents sunshine, joy, & happiness: A tragic tale of death, despair, and other silly nonsense
Dan Giverman - Thrills without gills: A celebration of the living land
Mike Glendinning - Random acts of grunge jazz
J Goodin - Don't come out of the hills, boys
Great Northern - Sleepy eepee
Gene Gregory - Looking forward
Gene Gregory - Live & raw
Brian Grosz - Bedlam nights
Id Guinness - Cure for the common crush
Marina Hardy - Pink violin
Zeus Henderson - Decompositions
Pamela Hines Trio - Return
Hitman - Original motion picture soundtrack
Ryan Holiday - Ryan Holiday
Holy Rolemodel - The sum of our parts
Holy Roman Empire - Egress
Brad Huff - Very hardly barely
Intodown - Brave new world
Invisible Man - Music for lost souls and misfits
Jet Lag Gemini - Fire the cannons
Dennis Jones Sr. - Instrumental
Desoto Jones - Aurora
Jones Street Boys - Overcome
Hezekiah Jones - Come to our pool party
Kaada / Patton - Live
Bela Karoli - Furnished rooms
Karon Kate - Mississippi stardust
Zc Keiller - Broken signals
Zac Keiller - In which we burn
Marianne Keith - Beautiful distraction
King of Prussia - Save the scene
Kite Runner - Original motion picture soundtrack
Corey Landis - Corey Landis
Last American Buffalo - Last American Buffalo
Lisle Engle - California miles
Loom - Angler
Los Doggies - Onebody
Love in October - Pontus, the devil, and me
Tor Lundvall - The seasons unfold sampler
Maharajas - In pure spite
Mammoth - Original uncut version
Justin Marcus - Ask how do i feel
Ky-Mani Marley - Radio
Madras - Up from the ground
Mamaguroove - Resistance is fertile
Bob Marsh - Viovox
Carol Martini - The rose in the boxcar
Jon McKiel - The nature of things
Melodic Meltdown - The missing link
Melodic Meltdown - Second skin
Men From Dystopia - Men From Dystopia
Metapuffs - Dimensional Maze
Mid-Air! - Mid-Air!
Monster In The Machine - Butterfly pinned
Murder Mystery - Are you ready for the heartache cause here it comes
Muy Cansado - Muy Cansado
Nad Neslo - Back from gone
David Newbould - Big red sun
Night Owls 4 - A shot in the dark
Ogogo - Solo view
Oh Astro - Champions of wonder
Olivia - Where we come from it never snows
Panda Riot - She dares all things
Papertrigger - Papertrigger
Photographic - Pictures of a changing world
Polyhymnia - The music of song
Rat Wakes Red - Energy garage
Rev. Bob & The Darkness - Gallows hill
Johnathan Rice - Further north
Steve Richard - Steve Richard
Ride Your Bike - Bad news from the bar
Rid of Waste - Rid of Waste
Rings - Black habit
Allene Rohrer - Alchemy
Rosey - Luckiest girl
Danny Ross - Introducing danny ross
Greg Roth - Caught looking
Rustic Overtones - Light at the end
George Scaplin - He really got through to advertising...
Tom Savell - You just gotta love it
Scattered Trees - Song for my grandfather
Danny Scherr - Richmond special
See - Tramtracks
Glenn Shambroom & Friends - Band math
Shelf Life - Rheuma
Simpler Machine - 2013
Souvenirs - Souvenirs
Springfactory - Springfactory
Stately Gentlemen - The hyperion sessions
Stop Motion Poetry - Stop Motion Poetry
Joe Strell - In the balance
Successful Failures - Rkpe for the burning
Summer Cats - Scratching post
Summerlad - City of noise
SupaPhat - Lose myself
Switches - We are switches EP
Tab the Band - Pulling out just enough to win
Temposhark - The invisible line
Tenspoke Indies - Blinded by the sound
The Tidbits - Let's dance with...
Titans of Filth - Feats of strength
Trembling Blue Stars - Exploring the shadows EP
Trench Party - Thanks.
Various Artists - Through the wilderness: A tribute to madonna
Various Artists - Post-Asiatic: Lost war dream music
Various Art ists - Mental mood music
Various Artists - What's happening in Pernambuco: New sounds of the brazilian northeast
VCV - 3753 Cruithne
Wagner Logic - Easiest to grab
Wasteful Consumption Patterns - Solder
Waun - Exploring all ave.
Jordan T. West - (Love) an asylum amongst the convulsions
Alex Winston - By the roots
Without -Spleen radio homicide
Young Frankenstein - The new mel brooks musical
Yvel - Yvel

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