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Wockly Sniplet Reviews from

June 2009

Terry Anderson and the Olympic Ass-Kickin' Team

Bad Rabbit

Harold Budd & Clive Wright*
Johnny Bulford*
Reggie Calloway

Carbon Leaf

The Church

The Cubists
Dark Knights of Camelot
Everyone Is Eating Shit Today
Meredith Fierke

Sarah Fimm
Avi Fox-Rosen

Adam Franklin
Hiding In Public*
The Insomniacs
Jump Up and Down
Heather Kropf
The Lemonheads

Frank Lenz*
Love Is

Magic Wands
Marcy Playground
Foster McGinty
MC Rut
The Moog

New Roman Times


The Project Pale

Rich White Males
The Seldon Plan

Shark Speed
Sissy Things

Mindy Smith*
Spaceships Are Cool

Stillhouse Hollow
Vitamin String Quartet
Brian Walsby - Manchild 4
Roy Young
Your Part

*Top Picks

Additional Items Received


Akatombo - Unconfirmed Reports (Limited edition CD + DVD-R, Hand-Held Recordings, Progressive)
Remember way, way, way back in the 1990s when so many people were doing cool mail art projects? Unfortunately we don't see too much of that art form anymore...so we were particularly delighted to received one of the limited-edition run (only 500 copies were made) of the new double disc package from Akatombo...which is the one man project created by Paul Thomsen Kirk. Instead of the traditional compact disc offered in a traditional jewel box or sleeve, Kirk placed his discs in a plastic sleeve and inserted them into an unconventionally large white individually-numbered envelope (complete with Japanese writing on front)...and then included two cool photo flats, two random newspaper clippings, and a random photograph. But of course packaging is nothing without substantial music...and fortunately that's what makes this package such a cool treat. Akatombo music is an intriguing brand of progressive modern electronic dub/pop that is somewhat accessible...with lots of cool experimentation going on. We only had time to spin this one once before uploading reviews (and weren't even able to squeeze in a viewing of the DVD)...but that was enough to rate this one as a top pick this month. Nine cool trippy tracks here including "Friend For Hire," "Tondo," "Blood Orange," and "A Prior Disengagement." Recommended for fans of Scorn. (Rating; 5++)

Terry Anderson and the Olympic Ass-Kickin' Team - National Champions (CD, Double Naught, Pop/rock)
There are tons upon tons of ultra-creative, ultra-weird bands on the planet. And then every so often a band comes along...that just plays good music. And that's just what Terry Anderson and the Olympic Ass-Kickin' Team provide for their fans. Instead of blowing their listeners away with volume or abusing technology in an attempt to cover up for a lack of talent, Anderson and his bandmates (Dave Bartholomew, Greg Rice, Jack Cornell) seem content to merely provide good, solid, toe-tapping music. As is the case with past releases, National Champions provides good solid 1970s-influenced slightly boogie-infused pop music. Terry's band plays with a solid tight feel...and his slightly loose vocals sometimes recall early Edgar Winter or even Joe Walsh at times. Some really cool cover art this time around on the tri-fold cardboard sleeve. Nice passionate pop cuts include "Goin' or Comin'" and "Feel Right Now." Nice smooth totally entertaining stuff. (Rating: 5)

Autorotation - Everything Is Everything (CD, Teknostan, Progressive pop)
We have to hand it to anyone smart enough to leave North America at this point in time...and that's just what the folks in Autorotation did prior to recording the imaginatively-titled Everything Is Everything (the band is now based in London, England). Robyn Sellman and Igor Olejar describe their band's music as "Kate Bush singing on a Sigur Ros track that was remixed by Aphex Twin, while being drowned in a sea of shoegazeness by the Cocteau Twins"...and that's probably about as good of a summary as we could come up with for the overall sound here. The tracks on this album definitely have cool dreamy qualities that are soothing and inviting...but the songs are, for the most part, uptempo and varied enough to keep the listener's attention from start to finish. In addition to the eight tracks that make up the album, this disc also includes two remixes provided by Norway Pumpkin and Dave Renwick. Everything is a cool, satisfying spin featuring clever cuts such as "Mittelschmertz," "Green Army Choir," "Metal and Wood," and "Clearscope." Nice professional digipak sleeve features some really lovely artwork and a nice foldout poster. Cool sounding stuff... (Rating: 5+)

Bad Rabbit - Film Music from The Limits of Control (CD EP, Lakeshore, Soundtrack)
This CD is different for a couple of reasons. First, how often do you see an EP release of music from a film? And second, the four tracks on this disc don't even sound like music for a film (!). Bad Rabbit is the trio consisting of Jim Jarmusch (guitars), Carter Logan (drums, percussion), and Shane Stoneback (organ). These three musicians have created what sounds like modern progressive jazz/rock compositions that was used in the film The Limits of Control. In some ways, this music reminds us of some of British experimental dub artists from Great Britain in the 1990s (think The Grassy Knoll or something similar). These tracks are spacey and spontaneous...and sound really, really cool with the volume turned way up. Four slightly spooky cuts here: "Sea Green Sea," "Dawn," "Dusk," and "Blue Green Sea." Smooth and intriguing. (Rating: 5+)

Brownfinger - No Lice (CD, Carrot, Pop)
There's no doubt folks are going to compare Brownfinger to The Beatles. After all, they look like 'em, play like 'em, dress like 'em, and sound like 'em. So what's the biggest difference between Brownfinger and The Beatles? No Lice attempts to answer that question with a big bolt of cross-county pony love. This Finland-based quartet gives it all they've got here...from the fuzzy-guitar driven "I Can't Take It (No More Lice)" to the beautifully melodic "Without Your Shitty Attitude." There are so many wonderful things here that we get mad. We get mad and then we get frightened. We get frightened and then we get jumpy. Jump way up high and never come down. Come down and then go back up again. All the light in the world is never enough. Enough for your stupid shit. Enough of your stupid shit. Your stupid shit. Stupid shit. Shit. Shit. Shit. (Rating: 2)

Harold Budd & Clive Wright - Candylion (CD, Darla, Instrumental/progressive)
The latest collaboration between Harold Budd and Clive Wright was recorded during the last few months of 2008 at Wright's Desert Sky Studio in Joshua Tree, California. The first ("Sunday After the War") and fifth ("Beautiful Intruder") cuts may be slightly shocking to fans because the compositions actually feature drums (!?!). But not to worry...the drummers' subtle presence is a far cry from the crashing/bashing style of someone like, say, Keith Moon. The last collaboration between these two artists (A Song for Lost Blossoms) was more restrained and subtle...but Candylion is by no means a vast departure. Rather, the two have simply come up with a collection of tracks that should be ever-so-slightly more accessible for the casual music fan. This album can either be used to create subtle moods in the background...or listened to intently. These tracks succeed on either level. We've been fans of Harold Budd for decades now...and the man has never let us down...ever. Twelve soothing, absorbing cuts here including "Sunday After the War," "On Ships That Sail," "She Slipped Through the Door," and "In The Midst of Life." Recommended. (Rating: 5++)

Johnny Bulford - Livin It Up (Independently released CD, Country/pop)
While we may not be the first to say it...we will be one of the first to say it. In the near future, Johnny Bulford is gonna be big, big, BIG. The world of country music hasn't had a new, credible, genuinely talented male singer/songwriter shaking things up in quite some time. So at this point in time Bulford is just the man to fill the bill. A word of warning. If you don't like super slick country/pop this probably isn't going to float your boat. But if you have any interest at all in this genre of music, you will by all means want to get in on the ground floor here. This guy has what is undoubtedly one of the best voices in the business...and he's only just begun. To be honest, we don't identify in the least with a lot of the subject matter presented on this album...but we can sure as Hell appreciate real talent when we hear it. And in this case, it doesn't really matter to us what the songs are about...as long as the melodies...and particularly the vocals...are this goddamn incredible. Anyone who can deliver songs this corny and have them come across totally genuine and sincere...must be something special. We only hope that Johnny doesn't get caught up in the star making machine which could allow him to compromise his talent. Hell, in any event...at this point in time this guy is absolutely on fire. He makes artists like Kenny Chesney (vomit) and Garth Brooks (fart) seem like real sissies. Eight killer tracks here including "Livin It Up," "My Heart's Yours," and "The Real World." Recommended. (Rating: 5++)

Reggie Calloway - Bring Back the Love (CD, Universal, Soul/pop)
It's so easy to identify a good soul album nowadays. A bad soul album is one that incorporates annoying (c)rap-hop into the overall sound...while a good soul album does not. Fortunately for all of us, Reggie Calloway's latest (and first nationally released) solo album most definitely falls into the latter category. Calloway has been making music for decades and is probably best known for his work with the acts Midnight Star and The Calloway Brothers. Reggie has been involved in writing hit songs in the past...and Bring Back the Love is chock full of what ought to be modern soul/pop hits. Instead of throwing trash/gimmicky elements into his music, Calloway keeps things simple and straightforward...arranging his tracks with subtle style that is most appealing. But the main attraction, of course, are those super smooth sexy vocals. Anyone who loved great soul music from the 1970s and 1980s will find a lot to love here. Cool tracks include "Bring Back the Love," "Sabrina," "Hotel Lonely Room," and "So In Love." Smooth, subtle, and so so niiiiiiiice... (Rating: 5)

Carbon Leaf - Nothing Rhymes With Woman (CD, Vanguard, Pop)
Okay, we're going to admit right off the bat here that the guys in Carbon Leaf don't write and record the most original sounding music on the planet. But you know what? Sometimes listeners don't need the most unique and strange sounding thing on the planet when they're just trying to deal with everyday life. All they really need (or want) in many cases is some simple, pleasant, hummable soft pop to take their mind off things. And that's just what Nothing Rhymes With Woman delivers. This album features thirteen Americana-inspired organic pop tunes that are smooth and instantly accessible. The songs are pretty much all mid-tempo...and the vocals delivered with appropriate restraint. Producer John Morand managed to give these guys a really nice, thick sound on this album that is a perfect match for their tunes. Cool laidback cuts include "Indecision," "Lake of Silver Bells," and "Meltdown." (Rating: 4++++)

Cavashawn - Cavashawn (Independently released CD EP, Pop/rock)
The first thing that caught our attention about this band was the merging of styles. This cool little EP features tracks that are either modern power pop...or modern pop with heavy threads of 1950s radio music thrown into the mix. It's an odd combination but surprisingly...it works. This, the band's second self-titled EP, will likely please all the band's rabid fans who have already downloaded their music on MySpace (where they are reportedly quite popular). The guys in Cavashawn record modern pop with a nice, driving sound...and virtually perfect vocals (the harmonies and backing vocals are incredible). The more we spin this one...the better these songs sound. Ultra-hummable cuts include "All the Lonely Girls," "Keep the Lights On" (a particularly strong track), and "The Day You Forgot About Me." (Rating: 5)

Caledonia - We Are America (Independently released CD, Progressive pop)
Canada's Caledonia is a truly collaborative band. Each of the members contribute songs and ideas that are integral to the band's overall sound. Considering the fact that all five members contribute material, you might expect We Are America to sound uneven or disjointed. But the exact opposite is true. By involving sounds and ideas from all five members, these guys manage to have an impressively cohesive sound...and this album flows extremely well overall. America blends ideas from folk and pop...while presenting melodies that are strikingly resilient. On the first spin or two this album might not make a huge impression. But at least for us, half a dozen spins later we found ourselves pleasantly hypnotized by many of these cool, understated songs. Caledonia is Steven Gates, Zac Crouse, Ian Bent, Steve Rebele, and Kris Pope. This album will no doubt be an underground favorite for years to come. Credible substantial cuts include "Restless Year," "We Are America" (hard to believe we could love any song with a corny title like this...but we do), "The Victim," and "Light Rock Station." Recommended. (Rating: 5++)

The Church - Untitled #23 (Advance CD, Second Motion, Progressive pop)
Most folks...including ourselves...would never have imagined that Australia's 1980 signature guitar band The Church would still be around three decades later. But still around they are...and still writing and recording the kind of strangely inviting moody pop that made them a favorite many years ago. Instead of sounding burned out, the band still sounds strong on Untitled #23. These ten tracks are dreamy and slightly peculiar...but by no means do they give any indication that this band is on the decline. In fact, quite the opposite is true. There are some really great tunes here. But unfortunately, because we received an advance CD without artwork, we can only heartily recommend the disc while offering no rating... (Not Rated)



Too many cooks
Cook too

(Rating: 1)

The Cubists - Mechanical Advantage (Independently released CD, Progressive pop)
We honestly can't remember the last time that we received a submission from an artist or band based in the unlikely city of Augusta, Georgia. That's the city the folks in The Cubists call home, however...although their music doesn't sound anything like what you would expect from a smaller Southeastern city out in the middle of nowhere. Mechanical Advantage was recorded over a two year period with the assistance of producer David Barbe (Drive-By Truckers, Cracker). The album features nine tracks of peculiar modern pop. Some of the tracks are almost straightforward (note that the word almost is in italics)...while others are more abstract and hazy. Instead of sounding like any one particular artist or band...these tracks have elements that remind us of a whole slew of artists all the way from the 1960s on to the present. The vocals are totally killer throughout. Cool standout cuts include "The Orchestra Breathes," "Bad Time" (a really cool cut), "Mechanical Advantage," and "Hallelujah Hollywood." (Rating: 5)

Dark Knights of Camelot - Hurrication EP (CD, Olympic, Rock)
If there's one thing we love like fuck here in the plush office suites at babysue, it is big, thick, fuzzy, overdriven guitars. And that's just what we got when we shoved the latest EP from Dark Knights of Camelot into our CD player. This Hattiesburg, Mississippi-based trio plays big ballsy rock/pop with aggressive ballpower. Everything sounds like it was recorded in the red...and the songs absolutely kick ass. Although this EP only presents five tracks, all five are pretty incredible...and left us totally hungry for more. Killer hard rock cuts include "Wanna Be," "I'd Rather Be," and "Luster Lack." We can't wait to hear what these guys will do on a full-length effort...! Recommended. (Rating: 5++)

Ellington - More Like a Movie, Less Like Real Life (Independently released CD EP, Pop)
The debut EP from Australia's Ellington. To record their first EP, the guys in this band made the confusing choice to travel to Atlanta, Georgia to record. We can't figure out why anyone would want to go to Atlanta for any reason (?!?)...particularly if they were living in such a fantastic place as Australia but hey...the important thing is the music and these tunes came out sounding great. More Like a Movie, Less Like Real Life is a short spin, featuring only six tracks. But in that short amount of time these guys make their point. They provide smooth, melodic, commercial upbeat pop that makes for some great springtime driving music. Cool cuts include "Between Faith and the City Lights," "Love," and "The World Through Weary Eyes." (Rating: 4++++)



Everyone is eating shit today
Just like they did
Hundreds of

(Rating: 1)

Meredith Fierke - The Procession (Independently released CD, Pop)
Northfield, Minnesota's Meredith Fierke doesn't look like a cool, hip up-and-coming songwriter. But things aren't always what they seem...because this normal looking unassuming lady is obviously impressing lots of folks and making waves with her wonderfully reflective and melodic soft pop. What we find most surprising about Fierke's sound is that with a little luck, she could very easily find herself evolving into a big time celebrity. That is, if she is willing to change her appearance and approach to suit the average monkey-minded music listeners (you know, the kind of airhead saps that tune in to Oprah and/or Ellen to get their daily listening fix). Personally, we hope Meredith stays just the way she is...and instead of compromising herself, sticks to her standards and plays to a smaller audience. She's bound to catch on with lots of folks regardless of what approach she takes, because The Procession is an extraordinarily strong album. The melodies are cool and memorable...and Fierke's voice fits her music to a T. Eight nifty cuts here including "The Procession," "Sad Horse Bones," and "Running On." Really nice sounding stuff here... (Rating: 5)

Sarah Fimm - White Birds (Independently released CD EP, Soft pop)
The last time we heard from Sarah Fimm was way back in December of 2002 when we covered her A Perfect Dream album. You know it's a weird world out there when there are underground, virtually unknown artists out there as talented and focused as Sarah. This young lady creates music that could---if it was marketed correctly--sell millions upon millions of copies. But because the world of popular music is driven by cash and corruption, there are always thousands upon thousands of artists out there capable of appealing to the masses who just never register on the crappy mass media radar. No matter. What matters it the music (of course)...and on White Birds Ms. Fimm once again proves herself to be as good (or in most cases better) than her contemporaries. Only six cuts here...but they all hit the target. Smooth melodic cuts include "Counting Waves," "Afraid," and "White Birds." (Rating: 5)

Avi Fox-Rosen - Welcome to the Show (CD, Frosenox Music, Progressive)
Self-professed vaudevillian Avi Fox-Rosen presents an album that would sound slightly peculiar no matter what decade it was released. On Welcome to the Show, Rosen's band consists of Art Bailey (accordion, keyboards), Chris Berry (drums), Benjy Fox-Rosen (bass), and Jon Singer (Marimba, glock, xylophone, percussion). On some of the tracks on this album, the overall sound and vibe is reminiscent of Frank Zappa...while other tracks are much more accessible than such a comparison might imply. It's hard to pinpoint exactly what genre this music fits in...the only real constant in the music are Fox-Rosen's surprisingly smooth and resonant vocals. Some of the tracks have a cool jazzy sound that is most appealing. We particularly like the lyrics on the album so its too bad that a lyric sheet wasn't included. Twelve tracks here including "Welcome to the Show," "The Tower of Babel," and "So Long, Farewell." Interesting stuff, well executed... (Rating: 4+++++)

Adam Franklin - Spent Bullets (Advance CD, Second Motion, Progressive pop)
Although the name Adam Franklin probably doesn't ring a bell in most folks' heads...there are most certainly a good number of you out there who remember the wonderfully gliding guitar-driven pop/rock band Swervedriver. For folks who do or don't remember the band, Franklin was the driving force. Since the demise of Swervedriver about 8 years ago, Franklin has been laying low...until now. We were Swervedriver fans for sure...and we're pleased to report that Adam hasn't lost his touch. Spent Bullets is a cool album full of sparkling melodies and cool guitar sounds...not as loud and aggressive as Swervedriver, but just as effective nonetheless. Franklin's voice still sounds fantastic. This would've been an easy top pick this month....but unfortunately, because we received an advance CD without artwork, we can only heartily recommend the disc while offering no rating... (Not Rated)

Hedley - Never Too Late (CD, Fontana, Hard pop)
Catchy loud anthemic pop/rock from Canada's Hedley. Over the past three years the guys in this band have managed to make quite a name for themselves...racking up no less than seven #1 songs (included here) in their native country. Never Too Late is the band's debut release in the United States...a compilation of their hit singles and other tracks aimed specifically at garnering a fan base here. These guys write and record the kind of melodic buzzsaw pop that was very popular in the U.S. in the mid-1990s. The playing is fast and tight and the vocal melodies way up front in the mix. Here in babysueland we're accustomed to hearing all kinds of odd, artsy underground Canadian artists...but rarely do we receive submissions from such a calculated commercial act. This band writes some really good songs that are easy on the ears...but sometimes the overly glossy production gets in the way of things. In addition, the super slick photographs pushing a targeted image are...just kind of annoying. So, while there are some really good songs here...the way in which they are presented doesn't exactly push our buttons. But hey, we can still get a kick out of cool cuts like "She's So Sorry," "Never Too Late," and "Hand Grenade." (Rating: 4+++)

Hiding In Public - Worlds Away, Yards Apart (Independently released CD, Pop)
Wonderfully melodic keyboard-driven pop music reminiscent of some of the best artists from the 1970s. This one quickly squeezed under the fence right before we were uploading reviews...and we're glad as hell it did. The folks in Hiding In Public play extraordinarily warm and hummable smooth pop music that spins like a non-stop string of oughta-be hits. We don't hear many self-released CDs that are as ultimately satisfying as this. Driven by the songwriting talents of David Holland (whose vocals remind us very much of the vocalist in The Solipsistics if he were more commercially inclined)...these guys have come up with eleven cool treats here. We only had time to spin this one a couple of times...but initial standout cuts include "Worlds Away, Yards Apart," "Free After Free Fall," "Can't Find The Key," and "Picture Of Me With A Portrait Of The Queen." Great stuff, just perfect for springtime driving... Recommended. (Rating: 5++)

The Insomniacs - At Least I'm Not With You (CD, Delta Groove, Pop/blues)
The guys in Portland, Oregon's The Insomniacs recorded the tracks for this album in a mere two days...which may explain the nice open sound and free-form spontaneity. In a very short amount of time, these guys have managed to make some real waves with their music. Their last album (Left Coast Blues) was very well received, and the same will most certainly be the case with At Least I'm Not With You. These guys play danceable swing-style pop with plenty of blues influences in the grooves. Instead of going for an artsy sound or image, these fellows keep things simple and direct...creating music that could very easily appeal to millions upon millions of music fans. Good vocals, great rhythms, and totally spunky guitar playing abound. Thirteen cuts here including "Lonesome," "Root Bear Float," and "Insomniacs Boogie." Good stuff. (Rating: 4+++)

J.A.C.K. - Deletist (Independently released CD, Progressive rock)
The first full-length release from New York's J.A.C.K. The guys in this band (J.P. Gilbert, Chris Tordini, Tim Monaghan) met while attending New York University. They play a brand of loud, screamer rock that recalls big hair bands from the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s...all the while delivering their tunes with the modern harsh intensity of twenty-first century rockers. These guys play hard...really hard...and their songs pack a major punch. The songs on Deletist are characterized by driving rhythms, complex guitar riffs, and a vocalist who can wail and screech like a banshee on acid. This band makes music most listeners will probably either love or hate. Personally we tend to dig cuts like "Dracula," "I Cut Off My Arms," "Bug," and "Rainbow Blood." Nice, good, and HARD. (Rating: 4++++)



Jump up and down
And have some fun.
Jump up and down
Jump up and down
And have some fun
Like the motherfucking shithead
Of a retard that you

(Rating: 1)

Heather Kropf - Hestia (Independently released CD, Soft pop)
The third full-length release from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania's Heather Kropf...a young lady who has made quite a name for herself around her home city over the past few years. Our guess is that Hestia might just be the album that helps catapult her career to the next level. To our ears, the songs on Hestia sounds very much like a cross between Suzanne Vega and early Kate Bush without sounding too terribly much like either. The problem with most up-and-coming artists is that they try too hard...way, way, way too hard to make a big impression. And by doing so, they end up sounding like...well, they just sound like they're trying too hard. Kropf seems to take the exact opposite approach. Her songs are subtle and restrained and she never sounds like she's pushing herself or her music. Her songs are strong and she has a wonderfully resonant voice that is particularly effective. Eleven cool tracks here including "Joy Comes Like the Morning," "Kite" (a particularly moving cut), "Grace," "Devolving," and "Red Sky." Really smooth beautiful stuff. Recommended. (Rating: 5++)

The Lemonheads - Varshons (Advance CD, The End, Pop)
Our interest in The Lemonheads has been somewhat of an on-and-off affair for many years now. Early on in the band's career when all the little girls were pulling their hair out for Evan Dando we didn't care for the band at all. But after the initial popularity died down...we gave Dando's music another chance and eventually fell in love with many of his tunes. So after everyone else stopped listening to the band...we had just begun. And the more we listened, the more we liked it. And when Evan began releasing solo albums we were even more impressed. So all of this leads us to 2009 and Varshons...an album of covers that was inspired by mix tapes created by Gibby Haynes (The Butthole Surfers). This is by far the most un-Lemonheads-ish album we have heard yet from The Lemonheads. We're actually glad that in this case we only received an advance CD (which prevents us from providing a full review and rating) because...well, to be honest...we're not quite sure how we will feel about these songs (?). They're good but...there's no telling what these will sound like over the course of the next dozen spins...? (Not Rated)

Frank Lenz - Strictly Background: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (CD, Velvet Blue Music, Soundtrack)
Frank Lenz is one of those people out there who...like Mitch Easter...produces and plays with lots of incredible artists and yet, he himself remains virtually known to the average music fan. We have enjoyed virtually everything we have heard from Lenz up to this point, so we were particularly curious as to what sort of music Frank would deliver on a soundtrack CD. The music for Strictly Background is a mixture of underground pop cuts and light instrumentals (for lack of a better descriptive term). There's a lot to digest here...29 (!) tracks in all...and each and every one is super satisfying in its own way. Don't expect the kind of big orchestrated schmaltzy sound you normally hear on soundtrack CDs. These cuts are, for the most part, simple and rather sparse. Whatever Lez does, he does well. This disc does a great job of showcasing just how multi-talented this fellow really is. Cool creative cuts include "Getting Older Makes You Bolder," "God I Need A Map," "Acting," "Getting Booked," and "Favorite Films." Recommended. (Rating: 5++)



Love is hate.
Hate is love.

(Rating: 1)

Magic Wands - Magic Love & Dreams EP (CD EP, Bright Antenna, Pop)
Only four tracks here...but they're all very smooth and appealing. Magic Wands is the duo consisting of Chris and Dexy Valentine. The songs on Magic Love & Dreams are very commercial and poppy. Chris and Dexy write cool melodies and then pad their tunes with particularly appropriate arrangements. These four songs are full of neat backing vocals and cool keyboard sounds. We can't help but feel that this is a taste teaser to get listeners prepped for an upcoming full-length release. Cuts featured here are "Black Magic," "Starships," "Teenage Love," and "Kiss Me Dead." (Rating: 4+++)

Marcy Playground - Leaving Wonderland...In A Fit of Rage (CD, Woz, Pop)
Most people will remember Marcy Playground as the band that delivered the hit single "Sex and Candy" way back in 1997...although these guys were actually responsible for much more memorable songs that can be found on their previous albums. Instead of breaking up and making a big deal out of it, after a few years the guys in Marcy Playground simply decided they wanted to put their energies into other projects for a while. So...that's exactly what they did. But a few years later they made the decision to start writing and recording again. Five years passed...and eventually Leaving Wonderland...In A Fit of Rage was born. This album finds the band playing a brand of soft pop that recalls their earlier work while sounding a bit more polished and focused. There are the occasional surprises. We were somewhat taken aback by "Emperor" which sounds very much at times like Jane's Addiction (?!?). The album finds vocalist John Wozniak in fine form...and the rest of the band playing with punctual precision. Later this year the band plans on releasing a CD featuring B-sides and rarities. Wonderland presents twelve fine cuts including "Blackbird," "Star Baby," "Good Times," and "Down the Drain." (Rating: 4++++)

Foster McGinty - Peach Red (Independently released CD, Pop/rock)
New York City's Foster McGinty is a credible up-and-coming young guitarist whose music recalls the blues-influenced rockers of the 1970s like Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix. But unlike the vast majority of guitar hero wannabes, McGinty has the voice and the fingers to make some real magic. The cool digipak sleeve recalls the look and feel of 1970s vinyl LPs as does the artwork on the CD itself (the package also includes a foldout poster complete with lyrics to the songs). Peach Red is all about songs and cool guitar riffs...and there's plenty of both in these ten tracks. Nice smooth rockers include "Can't Help But Shine," "Dream-Catcher," "Circus Mind," and "My Time of Uncertainty." Good stuff. (Rating: 4+++)

M C Rut - 25 Years (CD EP, Bright Antenna, Rock/pop)
On the opening cut on this EP the guys in M C Rut sound very much like a modern version of Jane's Addiction (the vocals are particularly similar). But on some of the other tracks the band's overall sound is more similar to modern dark pop bands like Darker My Love. Hard to make a lot of assumptions based on six tunes...but we are initially very impressed with what these guys are up to here. Cool hard rockers include "25 Years," "I Guess You Could Say," and "I Don't Really Know." Cool chunky thick guitars and dynamic throbbing rhythms... (Rating: 5)

The Moog - Razzmatazz Orfeum (CD, Musick, Pop)
The second full-length release from Hungary's The Moog. The guys in this band have a nice, thick sound that recalls many of the college radio bands from the 1980s...but the music is injected with a heavy dose of twenty-first century urgency. Whereas the band's debut album (Sold For Tomorrow) was produced by Jack Endino (famous for his work with the band Nirvana), Razzmatazz Orfeum was produced by Geoff Ott (who has worked with biggies like Queens of the Stone Age and Pearl Jam). We don't often receive submissions from Hungarian bands so we can only assume that--unlike places like the United States and Europe--the country is probably not littered with thousands upon thousands of rock bands. Orfeum is a nice, slickly-produced effort that will most likely appeal to a wide range of music fans. The songs are melodic...and the band's (mainly) pop music is infused with enough energy and electric guitars to please rockers. Twelve cuts here including "This Is Horror," "When I See You," and "Make Me Happy." (Rating: 4++++)

New Roman Times - On The Sleeve (CD, New Granada, Pop)
New Roman Times is the quartet consisting of Daniel Owens (vocals, guitar), Josie Fluri (bass, vocals), Michael Allen (drums), and Harris Thurmond (guitar). Originally from Orlando, Florida, the band now calls Austin, Texas their home. True to the claim of the press release that accompanied this disc, the tunes on On The Sleeve bear a slight resemblance to Australia's alternative/pop band The Church. We can also hear traces of David Gedge (The Wedding Present) creeping in from time to time. The folks in this band are stylish both in terms of sound and image. Most listeners will definitely find the tracks on this album interesting and accessible. The band's music has lots of commercial possibilities...but this is by no means a cut because there are all kinds of cool and interesting things happening here. The folks at New Granada do a great job of unearthing credible new acts...and this band is yet another cool addition to their roster. Ten neat cuts here including "Smoke In Your Disguise," "On The Sleeve," "New Distance" (this one has a cool early-Roxy Music kinda sound), and "Young Hearts." (Rating: 5+)



Nudity sucks.

(Rating: 1)



Pull up your pants
And shit real

(Rating: 1)

The Project Pale - Our Inventions and How They Fail Us (CD, Ohm Resistance, Progressive)
Hmmm...this is one of those discs that isn't going to be easily summed up in a couple of clever sentences. Produced by Bill Laswell, Our Inventions and How They Fail Us is a peculiar musical journey through a jagged variety of musical genres. The folks in this band combine experimental electronics with pop drones and heavy metal guitar riffs...to create a strange and unpredictable musical universe. By defying easy categorization, The Project Pale will probably alienate the majority of listeners who want their music sealed up in neat little disposable plastic bags. But in the process of doing so, they will probably open up a lot of receptive minds along the way. Strangely compelling cuts include "Driving These Icy Roads," "Pulled Out To Sea," and "With Open Arms." Cool, trippy, and gripping. (Rating: 5+)

Rich White Males - We've Come to Kick Ass and Play Bubblegum (CD, Cheapskate, Pop/punk/bubblegum)
This band sounds very much like a cross between The Ramones and The Queers. We definitely get the impression that the guys in Rich White Males are playing music first and foremost to have a good time. And because that's most certainly the right attitude, we can heartily recommend the buzzsaw bubblegum tunes on this album. Oh sure, it's all been done before. And because this is true, that makes the intent behind the music that much more important. The band is the trio consisting of Russell (guitar, vocals), Dangerous Dave (bass, backing vocals), and Eric Rochester (drums). The lyrics are light and funny... certainly appropriate for this style of music. Eleven cuts here including "In Love With a Nazi Girl," "Everybody Hates Me," "Back On Smack," and "Invisible Girl." (Rating: 4+++)

The Seldon Plan - Lost and Found and Lost (CD-R, Beechfields, Pop)
More smooth, melodic, pleasing guitar pop from the folks in The Seldon Plan. This Baltimore, Maryland-based quartet consists of Michael Nestor (vocals, guitars, keyboards), Dave Hirner (bass), Dawn Dineen (vocals, guitars), and Matthew Leffler Schulman (drums). The subtle, unassuming tunes on Lost and Found and Lost remind us of the vastly underrated band The Hang Ups. The folks in this band aren't trying to push the limits of music or to sound like the latest cool and hip band. Instead, they play smooth pop that is easy on the ears...and there are no sudden bursts of noise or harsh technology giving the music an "edge." The band's fans will no doubt be pleased with this twelve track album...nothing but smooth, breezy stuff here. Top picks: "Lullabies for Old Hearts," "Lonely Bridgewater," "Ezra Jack Keats." (Rating: 5)

Shark Speed - Sea Sick Music (Independently released CD, Progressive pop)
Smart hard pop with an edge. Sea Sick Music is the debut full-length from Utah's Shark Speed. While the press release that accompanied this disc compared the band's music to Franz Ferdinand, The Appleseed Cast, Minus The Bear, Ra Ra Riot, and American Football (all of which hold true to some degree), in our minds this music has even more in common with the music of David Gedge (The Wedding Present, Cinerama). At times, the vocals are incredibly similar sounding...sometimes even recalling Julian Cope. Sea Sick Music finds the band flexing their punchy muscles as they toss out cool danceable songs with an emphasis on interesting dual guitar licks and catchy melodies. Ten crafty tracks here including "Cast Off Dance Off," "Battle Born," "Deep South Detox," and "Ten to Twenty Years." (Rating: 5)



Grab hold of all your sissy things
And cram them

(Rating: 1)

Mindy Smith - Stupid Love (CD, Vanguard, Pop)
We fell in love with Mindy Smith's voice and music back in 2004 when she released her debut album on Vanguard (One Moment More). In 2004 we knew there was something really special about Mindy...and now, five years later, lots of other people obviously feel the same way. Smith has made quite a name for herself in a very short period of time and she shows no signs of letting up. On the curiously titled Stupid Love, Mindy presents thirteen songs dealing with the ups and downs of relationships. At least at this point in time, success hasn't spoiled her yet. Instead of becoming a sellout artist, Ms. Smith continues providing the same sort of smooth, soft, genuine songs that she presented on her debut. But instead of sounding like more of the same, Stupid Love actually takes the basic song ideas and pushes them one step further both in terms of lyrics and melodies. Mindy treads on that fine line that divides commercial music from artistic integrity. Somehow, miraculously, she manages to provide songs that are both commercially viable and substantive. Wonderfully memorable tracks include "What Went Wrong," "Highs and Lows," "Couldn't Stand the Rain," and "Take A Holiday." At this point in time, it seems that Mindy Smith can do no wrong. We've loved everything we've heard thus far. Another highly recommended album for a uniquely talented young lady. (Rating: 5++++)

Spaceships Are Cool - Spaceships Are Cool (Independently released CD EP, Progressive pop)
One of the first things that caught our eyes about this release...was that these tracks were recorded "between Autumn 2006 and Summer 2007"...which led us to wonder why there was such a delaying in releasing these tracks (?). It could be that this was initially a limited-edition disc that caught folks' attention and is only now being distributed to a wider audience. It seems as if every other up-and-coming modern progressive pop band is compared to The Flaming Lips by reviewers lately...and we can't help but make such a trendy comparison here. But the folks in this band are by no means playing copycat. These five tracks are simultaneously spacey and melodic...and feature some wonderfully absorbing melodies. The band is mainly Rob Maddison on a variety of instruments, although additional musicians include Ben James, Rob Yunioshi, and Helen Malltby. A cool and satisfying EP from an important up-and-coming act... (Rating: 5)

Stillhouse Hollow - Dakota (CD, Me and the Machine, Pop/country/bluegrass)
The fellows in Franklin, Tennessee's Stillhouse Hollow play subtle, melodic, soft pop with hints of country and bluegrass threaded into the mix. The band consists of Nathan Griffin, Joel Meeks, Jess Perkins, and Scott Calpin. At a point in time when everyone under the sun is trying so desperately hard to sound unusual and different, the songs on Dakota are a refreshing change of pace because these guys seem to be taking the exact opposite approach. Instead of relying on technology to create what the public is accustomed to hearing, these guys use traditional instruments to create songs that are simple and yet ultimately very entertaining. This album is all about songs...and there's not a bad apple to be found here. These twelve tracks are sparse and smooth...and the music truly sounds like it is coming straight from the heart. These timeless tunes can be appreciated by everyone from teenagers to folks in their eighties and beyond. Nice relaxing cuts include "Path," "Goosebumps," "Can't Take My Love," and "Whiskey." Cool and very, very smooooooth... (Rating: 5)

Vitamin String Quartet - per Versions (Independently released CD, Instrumental), Performs Radiohead's In Rainbows (Independently released CD, Instrumental)
Los Angeles, California's Vitamin String Quartet is taking the idea of the Kronos Quartet in a slightly different direction. This year the band releases two albums with distinctly different flavors. per Versions is a collection of (mostly) cover tunes by modern twenty-first century artists while Performs Radiohead's In Rainbows is, obviously, a cover of the well-known Radiohead album. per Versions is an intriguing 15 song collection of material from such diverse artists as Of Montreal, Spoon, The Decemberists, The New Pornographers, Portishead, Sigur Ros and more. Performed as instrumentals played on classical stringed instruments, many of these tracks bear little resemblance to the originals...and that is probably what the folks in Vitamin String Quartet are striving for. Perhaps even more interesting to modern music fans are their covers of Radiohead tunes...very interesting takes that present the band's music in an entirely new light. Tight, proficient playing and surprisingly simple arrangements make these two discs an odd and entertaining spin... (Rating: 5)

Brian Walsby - Manchild 4 (Limited Edition Graphic novel/comic book with bonus Melvins CD, Bifocal Media)
This is quite a package...and because it was produced in a limited edition of only 3,000 copies, you will probably want to grab a copy before they're all gone. There's no telling how many hundreds of hours Brian Walsby spent on this hefty comic book (we counted 98 pages!). Not only is this book much thicker than normal, but Walsby crams lots of stuff onto each page...way, way, way more material than the average comic artist gives the reader to chew on (the amount of text crammed onto many pages is staggering). Not only are the stories interesting and funny, but the artwork is always right on target. As if this cool thick comic book weren't enough to overload your senses, the package also includes a fifteen track CD featuring the music of The Melvins. The disc offers an interesting overview of the band's sound then and now. The first eight tracks were recorded in 1989 in Berkeley, Califonia while the remaining seven cuts are from a 2008 show in Boston, Massachusetts. The music is classic Melvins all the way...and the sleeve, of course, features more groovy comic art from Walsby. It seems as if the twenty-first century is birthing a whole new breed of boring, safe artists. As such, some of the jarring stuff in this package come as a welcome and refreshing slap in the face. (Rating: 5)

Roy Young - The Best of 50 Years (Double CD, Angel Air, Pop)
A nice double CD set offering an overview of the career of Great Britain's Roy Young. Young is probably best remembered as the guy who opened up for (and even played with) The Beatles in Hamburg, Germany very early in their career. But far from being a one-shot deal, over the years Roy Young managed to play with a whole slew of legendary artists in addition to writing and recording music under his own name. Young has been described as "a mixture between Little Richard, Ray Charles and Joe Cocker." This description does a good job of summing up Roy's overall image and sound. These discs present tunes recorded from as far back as 1959 and as recently as 2006. The early tracks have a nice rough sound that is perfect for Young's style of raucous music. Noticeably absent from this collection are any songs recorded in the 1980s or 1990s. Our guess is that this is the time period when Roy was living in the United States and probably took a break from music. But the twenty-first century has seen him make somewhat of a comeback...and this year he is even being inducted into the 2009 Canadian Rock Hall of Fame. An excellent overview of a man whose music probably slipped past most folks' consciousness over the years. Twenty-seven tracks from a man who has literally done and seen it all. (Rating: 5)



Do your part
To help fuck up the

(Rating: 1)


Additional Items Received:

After The Fire - Radio sessions 1979-1981
Algreen - A wayward sound floods the streets
Trevor Alguire - Thirty year run
All The Fires - The map EP
Ancient Astronaughts - We are to answer

Christopher Bell - I'll be home
Bells On Cows' Butts - Driving to the shit on a shitty day
Brasstronaut - Old world lies EP

Church - Song force crystal
Coffinberry - Coffinberry
Cold Best - Dumbwaiter
Crap Detectors - Cornfield savages
Crystal Method - Divided by night
Crystal Nothing - Reunited by glub
Crystal Sissy - Trabby by the dooble
Crystal Tits - Ruffled der buh nowbie
Crystal Zits - Djkel li liu p

Death In The Park - Death In The Park
Desillusion - Blasphaesthetic

Eat Your Family - Night night
Eat Your Bumps - Lilly's sister eater
Eat Your Rats - Rats won't eat you
Effy the Dipper - Laxative pneumonia
Exume the Papa - Dammy

For the Foe - Drain
Fun Tax - Work the units
Furry Fur Fur - Basket of dough

Ghostbeard - What's the word bird?
Ian Gillan Band - Anthology
Gypsy Dave and the Stumpjumpers - A bucketful of ghosts

Trevor Hall - Trevor Hall
Don Harvey - Open music volume one
Hello - Goodbye
Hello Operator - The breaks
Hell Zebra Hell - No no gogo afro
Mike Herrera - Tumbledown
Honor By August - Found

I - Nomax
Icky - Stacked
Iddle Fiddle - Packy the dormer
Insouciant - Fall

Jake's Ju - Jaws from junk
Gary Judd - Goodnight human

Keygrip - Vis-a-vis
Kump - Drapery
KZ - 18727

Gilson Lampiao - Lampiao
Brian Larsen - Breaking
Limits of Control - Original motion picture soundtrack
Trey Lockerbie - The hummingbird EP
Lonely H - Concrete class

Mad Francis - Restless mind syndrome
Vincent Manor - Born in the wrong era
Matt Ritvo Group - Matt Ritvo Group
Phil McKenna and the Water Signs - Six degrees from a monkey
Melting Point - Get on the bus
Movers and Shakers - Larrabee

9 V Batteries - Escape plans make it hard to wait for success
T. Nile - The cabin song EP

Oh My Word! - The bestest album in the world ever! (Except for the white room by the KlF)
Once-ler - Last day of summer

Papa's Pot - Marry Me Wanna
Past Prissy - Mike's missy parlour
Perky Patty - The kind of temper we need
Joseph Pernicano - Evolving paths
Pie Tasting Pies - Last summer's bunk

Quack Quack - Nick nack
Quaint, Isn't It? - Treble for the mission
Queens of the Bone Maze - Little bo pump
Quiet Loudly - Soulgazer

Record of the Week Club - Record of the Week Club
Jason Ricci and New Blood - Done with the devil
Ritz Go Retarded - Licko
Rirry - Lassti
Robbers and Runners - Lobster smell
Rock and Roll Monkey Tops - Metered out

Brittany Shane - Have heart live young
Silent Killers - Everyone bleeds
Sincerely, Iris - Headlight sonata
Snow Patrol - Right on & new years eve
Soulo - Sun valley (disc unplayable)
Michael Stollaire - Holy avenger
Stone the Crows - Radio sessions 1969-72
John Stowers - Everything you do
Sway - Let it roll

Telly - Free music for sale
Ashley Lennon Thomas - Give up the ghost
Trashed On Fiction - Words trails maps
Justin Trawick - Starting over

Ugly - Meat
Up the Banana - Snuffy

Van Gobots - Van Gobots
Various Artists - Random variances
Various Artists - Taps from the attic
Various Art ists - No more bursts for brenda's shit
Various Artists - The other side of frodo
Various Artists - Freedom is another word for retarded
Various Artists - Tappy and the tote bags
Various Artists - How the west got easted
Gina Villalobos - Days on their side
Von Iva - Girls on film

What Time Is It, Mr. Fox? - And other stories
Wicked Wock - Happening no
Wicked Sea - Pictures of then and
Winky Do - Dopey winter
Wizzers for Bozo - Nopey lopper

X Parks the Spoot - D-3 kink
X Spots the Park - 3-D nink

Yappers - #3
Yippers - #89
Yo Yo Blend - Tap the yo yo
Younger Than Tina - Blasts from nono

Zoo Lips - Lipizoo
Z Stands for Apple - Zippers and blubber

LMNOP * babysue * dONW7

©2009 LMNOP
©2009 dONW7