aka

February 2020 Comics and Reviews by

aka

LMNOP discography. Listen/stream on Bandcamp, CDBaby, & Spotify

American Pleasure Dome*
Fred Argir

babysue comix #377
babysue comix #378
babysue comix #379
Anton Barbeau*
Andy Bown*
Bucket Boys
Marshall Crenshaw*
Alan Davey's Psychedelic Warlords

Daystar*
De Marion*
John DeNicola
Drose*
Eva and the Vagabond Tales*
Fitted
Future Scars

Sean Hamilton
Adam Hill*
Tim Holehouse

Neil Innes
*
Inutili*
Pi Jacobs

Jesus comic #70
Bill Jones*
Parker Longbough*
Miki Moondrops*
Monkeypox
Tami Neilson*
New Riders of the Purple Sage
Pallas Athene
Fernando Perdomo*
Thorbjorn Risager & The Black Tornado
*
Gary Ritchie

Tommy Sands
Bob Sharkey*
Shplang*
Mark Sieber
*
The Silent Boys*
Speedealer
Thought
Woolworm*
*Top Picks

Additional Items Received

February 2020 Thought.

It's 1923 again. Things are exactly as they should have been in 1962.

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American Pleasure Dome - American Pleasure Dome (Independently released CD, Pop)
Judging by the name of this band, we weren't quite sure what to expect. The only reference point that came to mind was the 1980s British band Frankie Goes To Hollywood, whose Welcome To The Pleasuredome was a brief blip on the radar for most music fans. Well, we're pleased to report that the Minneapolis, Minnesota-based band American Pleasure Dome bears absolutely no resemblance to that British band. This, the band's debut full-length release, is a pure shot of highly melodic guitar pop, crafted with acute attention to detail. The band is driven by the songwriting skills of Hans Schumacher. This fellow has a fantastic knack for coming up with instantly familiar sounding melodies. Fortunately for everyone, Hans and his band members opted to keep things simple and straightforward...which allows listeners to focus on the cool lyrics and wonderful flowing melodies. Listening to this album, you might swear you've heard some of these songs before. But make no mistake, these are brand new originals. And the familiarity might just be because Schumacher has been influenced by some of the coolest classic pop/rock bands from the past few decades. Rounding out the group are Park Evans (lead guitar), Brenda Shepherd (bass), and Greg Schutte (drums). Minneapolis continues to churn out some of the best pop bands we've ever heard. And American Pleasure Dome is right up there with the very best. As if the killer songs weren't enough, the vocals are light years beyond what we normally hear from pop bands in 2020. Twelve instantly satisfying tracks including "Time Wave," "Dark Side," "Bad Girlfriend," and "Minnesota Goodbye." Recommended. Top pick.

Fred Argir - No Pushover (Independently released CD, Rock)
The music on this album instantly jumped out of the speakers and grabbed us by our throats. No samey tamey safe pop here, Fred Argir is a real rocker who isn't afraid to turn his guitar all the way UP. We're huge fans of electric guitars. And lately we're often saddened and disappointed at how many modern artists choose to bury the instrument way down deep in the mix. That's not a problem here, as loud overdriven electric guitars are pushed way up front. Add to this the fact that Argir is a master of the instrument...and you have one loud aggressive album with real punch. Although you'd never know it from the sound of these tracks, No Pushover is a solo recording with the exception of drums provided courtesy of Derek Abrams. Also produced, engineered, and mixed by Argir, this album presents twelve rockin' tracks that ought to wake up even the sleepiest jaded listeners out there. If you loved bands from the 1990s when loud guitars were the norm, there's an excellent chance you'll totally dig this album. Although they do have the potential to please lots of listeners, these songs are a lot louder and more intense than what one normally hears out there in the world in 2020. We keep seeing and hearing signs that loud rock is making a comeback. So perhaps this is one more case where the world is opening up to the idea of turning everything up really really loud and just letting it all rip. We sure hope so. Argir is a real credible guitarist whose music is gutsy and inspired. Folks into electric guitars will love tracks like "Beggar's Anthem," "Shake You," "What Do You Think," and "Every Day's a Friday Night."

Anton Barbeau - Anton Barbeau Presente Kenny Vs. Thrust (CD, Big Stir, Underground pop)
Anton Barbeau is, without a doubt, one of the most talented singer/songwriters of the past few decades. He's also one of the most prolific. Barbeau has released a whole slew of albums over the years. Unlike so many bands and artists who are a passing flavor of the month, Barbeau has fans all over the world who immediately welcome each and every batch of new recordings from him. Kenny Vs. Thrust is one of the most direct albums we've heard yet from Anton. The tracks were recorded with two different backing bands. Kenny is a Sacramento, California based band that backs Anton in the United States while Thrust (also known as Charms Against the Evil Eye) backs him when he's playing overseas. Some of these songs were written when Barbeau was a teenager while others are more recent compositions. If you've never been exposed to this man's music, this is as good of a starting point as any. This album presents super smart melodic guitar-driven pop/rock with real staying power. It seems like a cardinal sin that this fellow has not received more recognition and attention for his work up to this point. But the good news is that the folks who appreciate him really appreciate what he does. We've collected all of Barbeau's albums over the past few years. And we've never been disappointed, not even once. These eleven tracks are cool, vibrant, and ultimately fiendishly catchy and listener friendly. The playing is inspired and refreshing. The vocals are, as always, wonderfully cool and real. But ultimately it's the songs that make Barbeau's music so wonderfully addictive. Each and every track on this album is a direct hit, but some of our initial favorites include "Wire From the Wall," "Land of Economy," "Jingle Jangle," "Haunted in Fenland," "Popsong 99," and "Burning Burning." Highly recommended. Top pick.

Andy Bown - Gone To My Head! (Import CD, Big Pink, Pop)
This is one of those great obscure gems that seems to have generated very little interest over the years, despite the fact that it's one of our favorite pop/rock albums. We picked up the original vinyl album many years ago in the cutout bins of a cheapster department store. Seems like it was one of those three-albums-for-a-buck specials. We immediately fell in love with Andy Bown's music and we figured it would just be a matter of time before he had a great deal of success. But despite the fact that it received many excellent reviews when it was released, Gone To My Head! got very little airplay and sold very few copies. Really sad considering the quality of the material. Bown's songs have heartfelt sincere lyrics and they're delivered with such cool integrity that it's almost impossible to not enjoy them. It took many many years but the album was finally reissued on CD by way of the Big Pink label in Korea. It's kinda pricey, but well worth every penny. You can also stream the album, which would be the best way to initially discover Andy's music. We just recently acquired this reissue and it reminds us why we held onto the original vinyl LP for so long. Bown's second album (Sweet William) is just about as good as Head and yet...for some reason, it remains out of print. His third album (Come Back Romance, All Is Forgiven) is next on our want list (it has also recently been reissued on CD). Bown has had more financial success later in his career as the keyboard player in Status Quo. But that pales in comparison to his solo recordings. Do yourself a favor and discover Gone To My Head! It's one of those great unknown pop albums that's almost certain to change your life in many ways. Incredible stuff that's impossibly smart and catchy. Recommended. Top pick.

Bucket Boys - Love'n'Hate (CD, Bogey's Bar / Bishops Agency Studio, Pop/rock)
This German band has a very listener-friendly sound. Many years ago their career approach would be called paying your dues. These days that probably translates into working your ass off in order to get what you want (haw haw). These guys really are driven to make music and entertain people. Thus far in their career they have put out no less than fourteen (!) albums. And they continue playing live as much as possible in order to get the word out about what they're doing. Love'n'Hate is another collection of smart pop/rock tunes with all kinds of influences, although most cuts seem mainly inspired by American artists. The band is comprised of Joe Vander on drums, Michael Lange on lead vocals, Andreas Kehren on bass, and Helge Lange on guitar. (This album also features special guest Petra Lange on vocals.) This album features thirteen rockin' tracks, driven by cool infectious rhythms and snazzy guitar licks. Listening to this, you can be certain that these folks put on one helluva live show. Kickass slick tracks include "Won't You Be," "Tonight," "Don't You Know What Love Is," "True Love," and "Thoughts On An Electric Chair - Reloaded."

Marshall Crenshaw - Miracle of Science (reissue CD, Shiny-Tone, Pop)
Marshall Crenshaw fans will welcome this reissue with wide open arms. Just recently he regained rights to five albums he recorded for the Razor & Tie label from 1994 to 2003. So now the world will thankfully be reintroduced to this particularly fertile phase of Marshall's multi-faceted career. In the mid-1990s he opted out of working with major labels and set to work recording his music the way he wanted it to sound in his own recording studio. Thus at this point he was probably focused mainly on pleasing himself instead of recording songs in a way that profited others. You can almost feel the effects of recording freedom on these cuts. Without the constraints and demands, the music seems to flow more evenly and naturally. Fans should note that Crenshaw did the unthinkable with this release. In some cases he tinkered with the original recordings. Two tracks ("Only An Hour Ago" and "There and Back Again") were remixed/reworked. And another ("Seven Miles an Hour") is presented backwards (although the original non-backwards recording is also included). This album has held up exceptionally well over time. The songs still sound strong and the vocals are, of course, always spot on. It's a shame that so many people often only acknowledge a band or artist for one hit song. While we will always enjoy and appreciate "Some Day Some Way" (his best known single), in reality Crenshaw has recorded dozens upon dozens of songs that are just as good if not better. Presented in a nice slick digipak sleeve on his own Shiny-Tone label, Miracle of Science will remind fans why they fell in love with this man's music in the first place. Super resilient tracks include "(Soundbite)," "What Do You Dream Of?", "Laughter," "Starless Summer Sky," and "There and Back Again." Includes the bonus tracks "What the Hell I Got" and "Misty Dreamer." Recommended. Top pick.

Alan Davey's Psychedelic Warlords - Hall of the Mountain Grill Live (London 2014) (Limited edition CD, Purple Pyramid / Cleopatra, Space rock), Captain Lockheed & The Starfighters Live! (Limited edition CD, Purple Pyramid / Cleopatra, Space rock)
One of the most surprising bands in the world of music is Hawkwind. In the first few years of the group's existence they were underground kings in Great Britain. But in the United States they were extremely obscure and unknown...probably because there were no hit singles and the music received very little airplay. But as decades have passed, the band has become legendary. Who would've thunk it? Better late than never, and the good news is that more and more folks' ears and minds finally opened up to the strange wonders of the original space rockers. The most recent Hawkwind-related project that really grabbed our attention was the 2019 album The Future Is Us by Hawkestrel. Formed by Hawkwind bass player Alan Davey and featuring a slew of folks who also played in the band over the years, the project was/is a fine return to form. You'd think that reviving a sound and style from so long ago would not work, but The Future Is Us is a remarkable spin. And one we'd highly recommend. But prior to that band being formed, Davey was in The Psychedelic Warlords (named after a song on the fifth Hawkwind album). These two discs capture the band in concert in 2014, playing two albums in their entirety to celebrate their fortieth anniversaries. Davey and his associates adequately play riveting renditions of The Hall of the Mountain Grill and Robert Calvert's debut solo album Captain Lockheed and the Starfighters. Listening to these new live versions it's easy to see why there has been an increasing number of Hawkheads over time. Droning, crashing walls of sound and energy. Not sure how folks who never heard the original albums would/will react to these live recreations (?). But our guess is that this music will appeal to just about anyone who loves loud and trippy droning progressive rock. Both of these are limited edition runs of only 500 copies each so...if you want 'em, you better grab 'em quick.

Daystar - The Complete Recordings (Independently released CD, Pop)
We must start out here by complimenting the band on coming up with a fantastic album title. We were immediately confused, thinking that Daystar must be some obscure band from the past we'd never heard of. We also figured that apparently some label collected long lost recordings and compiled them for an album. But when we couldn't find a label name or a date when the recordings were made, we began to feel a bit skeptical. A little searching on the internet revealed that these clever folks simply chose this as the title for their debut album. Totally hilarious...! But don't think for a minute that this is a joke band, because it most definitely is NOT. The tracks on this album are inspired by classic pop/rock artists from the past like Badfinger, Big Star, Cheap Trick, and Dwight Tilley. Most of all, however, these songs remind us very much of babysue favorite The Records. But rather than being a mere retrospective band, the guys in this Portland-based quartet are taking ideas from the past and reinventing them...making them totally cool and relevant in 2020. The band is comprised of Derek Phillips (lead vocals, rhythm guitar, piano, mellotron), Joel Roth (guitars), Kelly Simmons (bass, harmony vocals, cello), and Nick Foltz (drums, harmony vocals, piano). If you like any of the previously mentioned bands--or even if you don't and you just like good solid guitar pop--there's a very good chance you'll totally dig the groovy sounds on this album. Smart, melodic, and recorded with acute attention to detail, The Complete Recordings is one helluva debut. These folks are belting out of the gates on a real high and we can only imagine what they've got up their sleeves for future releases. Cool instantly catchy cuts include "Right At Home," "A Lot to Love," "Summer Girls," "Sunny Golden Side," "Get Yourself Away," and "Fade Away, Love." Familiar...yet totally new sounding material with depth, clarity, and imagination. The vocals are truly outstanding. Recommended. Top pick.

De Marion - Down the Road of Mainstream I Saw You, Canzone (CD-R, Noja Recordings, Experimental/underground pop)
Wow. De Marion is a very unusual and very different sort of musical artist. These songs are really not quite like anything we've heard before. We love the album title. We knew right off the bat this was going to be something unique. Down the Road of Mainstream I Saw You, Canzone is a mostly one-man recording project, although a couple of outside drummers occasionally lend their talents. These tracks lie in that perplexing area where experimental music meets underground pop. So while these tracks are ultimately listenable and very entertaining, they're also very curious and intriguing from the perspective of pure sound elements. If this is any indication of what underground music in Italy sounds like these days, then we'd sure like to hear more. These compositions were recorded on a Fostex 4 track cassette recorder (!), so that may explain the simple and sparse overall vibe. This man has managed to accomplish the impossible here. Using minimal equipment, he has recorded an album's worth of material that is exceptionally well-focused, interesting, and entertaining. The CD-R is housed inside a simple folded sheet of paper printed off a copy machine. So the entire project was independently recorded, produced, and manufactured. Intriguing tracks include "Frown," "God Put a Blind Flange In His Path," "Matthew," and "Spoon." Readers should note that De Marion also plays guitar in the band Suzanne Silver. This is a wonderfully creative album that we can recommend without reservation. Top pick.

John DeNicola - The Why Because (CD, OMAD, Pop)
John DeNicola is one of those guys you've likely been exposed to before, but you probably don't know his name. With the release of The Why Because this talented and prolific man finally steps into the spotlight to offer his debut solo album. If you want to find out what DeNicola has done in the past, visit his website (link above). Rather than focus on past accomplishments here, we'd rather focus on the music at hand. This is a slick, solid album chock full of super polished melodic classic pop. In a perfect world, many of these tracks would be huge hits. But because they bear little resemblance to the kind of schlop pop that currently sells big time in the United States, who knows? Our guess is that this music will develop a cult following consisting of those who are already familiar with DeNicola's music and music label as well as those pop fans out there who just happen to hear about it or stumble upon it. These songs are very reminiscent of radio hits from the 1970s and 1980s when commercial songs began to have a really big sound due to increased access to new technology. But it's the songs themselves that make this record so appealing. John writes cool soaring melodies that could be appreciated by just about anyone who loves pop music. And his vocals are absolutely spot on every time. DeNicola either wrote or co-wrote almost all of these tracks. And each and every one sounds like a potential top ten hit. If you like quality commercial pop, these tracks will likely be right up your alley. Smooth pensive cuts include "You're the Only One," "Everything You," "Butterfly," "I Am Not Willing," and "I've Had the Time of My Life."

Drose - Boy Man Machine+ (CD, CmptrStdnts, Progressive/experimental)
Regular readers (all four of you out there) may recall seeing other albums reviewed on the CmptrStdnts (Computer Students) label. For everyone else, we want to highly recommend anything/everything that comes out on this obscure but exceedingly challenging underground music label. Once again, they've hit our target dead center. Boy Man Machine+ is a remastered reissue of this band's 2016 album and it also includes their debut 7" vinyl release. The first thing that caught our attention about this was was the cover and artwork. At a point in time when just about everyone is trying to overdo everything, this band and label opted to keep things extremely simple and sparse. The packaging here is absolutely the coolest of the cool. Black. White. Silver. And Clear. Stunning. But of course packaging is really only as interesting as the music itself. Not surprisingly, Boy Man Machine+ is a wildly inventive and unusual thrill ride. Drose is an experimental rock band based in Columbus, Ohio. Main songwriter/vocalist Dustin Rose is coming from a direction not quite like any we've heard before. The tracks on this album are harsh and violent, but they're not just loud thrashy noise. Although many may not realize it, these crashing violent compositions were obviously carefully constructed. Unlike so many modern albums that are layered to death, these tracks have strange sparse qualities that really grab you by the balls. Sometimes there are only a few instruments playing, but it's the way they're played that makes things interesting. The tracks also tread on that fine line that separates atonal noise from experimental rock. They're not totally noise. But they're not totally musical either. One thing's for sure. There's a lot of force and anxiety that bleeds from this one. Rose calls the album "an indictment of human consciousness." That probably sums things up better than we ever could. Seventeen perplexing cuts including "The Unraveling," "Numerical Control," "Heat and Patience," "A Voice," and "Knuckle." Bizarre crazy music that's unlike the rest. Recommended. Top pick.

Eva and the Vagabond Tales - Uncharted Ocean (CD, Mother West, Underground pop)
A very beautiful album full of articulately crafted compositions. Eva and the Vagabond Tales is cool band featuring the songwriting skills of Russian born singer/songwriter Eva Mikhailovna. The first thing that will probably affect most people about this album is...that voice. Ms. Mikhailovna has a super silky cool voice that you'll swear you've heard before. But it also has the fresh appeal of an artist who has just jumped headfirst into the world of music. Songs are, of course, the real centerpiece of any great album. And songs are indeed what make Uncharted Ocean such a cool and magical spin. These tracks were expertly produced, arranged, and recorded by Eva and Charles Newman (who has worked with supercool artists like The Magnetic Fields and The Bones of J.R. Jones). The arrangements on these tracks are superb. Eva's songs would already be rewarding and genuine. But the preciseness of the backing instruments pushes things to an even higher level. A whole crew of talented folks offered their skills on this one including Jacob Plfum, Alan Arteaga, Jasmine, Capitulo, Charles Newman, Jack McLoughlin, Logan Coale, Claudia Chopek, Christian Dupree, Cameron Baldeon, and Ivan McCormick. You might think with so many folks involved these songs would sound super thick and overproduced. But instead, the exact opposite is true. There are plenty of wide open spaces in the overall sound and the instruments are given proper separation. When you listen to this music you may feel as if you're sitting in the middle of a field on beautiful sunny day hearing a small group of musicians playing out of pure love for what they're doing. But in the end, it's ultimately that voice that will draw more and more listeners to Ms. Mikhailovna's music over time. She's got a magical presence that will instantly draw you in and keep you mesmerized. Ten impeccable cuts here including "Demur," "Please Keep Me," "Thoughts" (this one is particularly beautiful), "Heart Still Beats," and "The Lighthouse." Immediately intoxicating and real. Highly recommended. Top pick.

Fitted - First Fits (CD, Org, Underground progressive pop/rock)
Fitted is a band created by four underground superstars. The group is comprised of Bob Lee (The Freeks), Edvard Graham Lewis (Wire), Matthew Simms (Wire), and Mike Watt (Minutemen). Those familiar with any of these artists and bands already know that this album bears absolutely no resemblance to substandard dreck created by talentless nobodies like Ariana Grande, Drake, Ed Sheeran, Lady Gaga, Travis Scott, Elton John and Beyonce. If subhumans like these are in your list of favorites, some mentally deficient little reader might just want to realize they are visiting the wrong website today. But back to things that matter. As thinking listeners would expect, First Fits is a bizarre experience. Lee, Lewis, Simms, and Watt are operating in a universe where music is art. And, as such, it can be anything and everything all at once. Hard to say exactly what this band sounds like. There are similarities to art rock bands from last century, but the music is by no means retrospective. There's an experimental edge, but the songs are not without structures and melodies. If college radio still had the main grip on cutting edge music (no longer the case due to the internet and streaming), they would most likely be playing the hell out of this one. Six curious tracks including "Plug In The Jug," "The Legend of Lydmar Lucia," and "The Chunk That Got Chewed" (them's some great song titles). Interesting stuff.

Future Scars - Harrow (Booklet with CD-R, Matron, Progressive pop/rock)
This cool package was originally released in 2018, but we've only just now been exposed to it. Future Scars is a progressive rock band based in New Mexico. They have a sound that combines elements from metal, indie pop, and progressive rock. Harrow is one nifty spin. The CD-R is housed inside a large lyric booklet, complete with some really cool art individually designed for each of the ten tracks. The music sounds something like an odd cross between Curved Air and Jefferson Airplane, while not really sounding all that much like either. The band is comprised of Eliza Lutz (guitar, vocals), Paul Wagner (bass, vocals), Marcus Difilippo (drums), and Dylan Blanchard (assorted keyboards). At a point in time when too many artists and bands sound way too perfect and polished, this album has a nice organic sound that gives you the impression you're hearing a real band playing in real time with one another (which is probably how most of these tracks were recorded). After spinning this disc a few times we got curious about what the band was like live. An internet search revealed some very visual videos that are bound to make fans even more curious and interested in what these folks are doing. Cool progressive rockers include "Dog Star," "Bad Faith," "Breakwater," "Family Tree," and "Whale Song."

Sean Hamilton - Table For One (CD, pfMENTUM, Percussion)
We've always been fond of pure percussion releases. There aren't many folks who release these kinds of albums and yet...for some reason they're usually more interesting than more traditional sounding discs. Because there are relatively few folks who will even listen to pure percussion music, we have to hand it to those out there who have the desire and determination to record such things. Table For One is an odd spin. In the liner notes, Sean Hamilton describes this album as "a collection of improvised vignettes for solo drum set, percussion, and vuvuzela." That's probably the best and simplest way of summing things up. Noticeably absent from these compositions are vocals, melodies, and anything catchy and/or instantly familiar. There's a certain primitive sound present in these tracks that is immediately gripping and absorbing. Because there are no solo percussion artists who are familiar to most people, coming up with possible influences and/or reference points is difficult. Suffice to say, Table For One is a decidedly uncommercial effort in which artistic integrity takes precedence over fame or fortune. By creating music on his own terms with little regard for how it might affect his own personal gain, Sean has created an intriguing album chock full of music that doesn't sound anything like the pork dribble that's churned out by major labels and famous recording artists in 2020. Twelve curious cuts, including "Cash Only," "Acquiescence Of," "Cynic Finick," "Growth/Bloom; Wilt," and "Table For One." Mentally challenging and unusual.

Adam Hill - Water in the Draw (Independently released CD, Pop)
There are those out there in the world making music who sound very much like everyone else. And then there are occasionally folks out there who play the game in their own unique way. Singer/songwriter Adam Hill easily falls into the latter category. Water in the Draw is a collection of one man recordings, but they don't sound like they were recorded by a single individual. Using only piano, guitar, bass, and vocals, Hill manages to come up with a sound that is instantly distinct and memorable. Some have called what he does 'old timey music,' and that descriptive term fits...at least up to a point. Adam seems influenced by songwriters from a simpler time...all the way back to the 1930s and 1940s. But occasionally the present day takes hold and the listener is suddenly jolted back to 2020. Draw is Hill's fifth full-length release, and it's chock full of the kind of music his fans have come to know and love. The album features five originals and three traditionals. The delivery is what will probably impress most folks about this one. At a point in time when so many are trying so hard to impress and be unique, Adam seems to just let his feelings and emotions flow naturally. And, as a result, his music comes across sounding exceedingly genuine and real. These songs are wonderfully understated and they are presented with simple arrangements that are a perfect fit for each track. Strong resilient cuts include "Echo Chamber," "Magnetic North," "Ghost," "Liberty," "Sally Ann Johnson," and "Airplane Man." In a world full of fakes and wannabes, Adam Hill immediately stands out from the pack as a real person making real music. Top pick.

Tim Holehouse - Come (CD-R, Aaahh!!! Real Records, Alternative country/underground pop)
This is a very different sort of album. And it's honestly not quite like anything we've heard before. According to the press release, Come is somewhat of a departure for this fellow since his previous releases featured mutant delta blues music. Tim Holehouse writes and records music that is decidedly uncommercial, but ultimately very listenable. The songs on this album were written over a five year period, but they were recorded in just two weeks at Silent City Studio with Robert Hobson. Tim's songs have a very personal sound and feel. We definitely get the impression that he's using music as a vehicle to express his innermost thoughts and feelings. There are no catchy choruses here and no potential hits. This album is an exercise in artistic expression where the moods, ideas, and sounds involved are what matter most. But when you consider this, many may be very surprised at how accessible some of these compositions are. In some ways, we are reminded of Cat Stevens' Mona Bone Jakon album (recorded right before the phenomenal success of Tea For the Tillerman). Holehouse has a vocal style that is, at times, slightly reminiscent of Stevens. It's kinda difficult adequately describing the sound of this album. It's one of those you just have to hear to 'get' it. The more we spin this, the better it sounds. Cool intelligent cuts include "Numbers Game," "One Day at a Time," "24 Hours," and "London."

Neil Innes
We were originally going to review the new Neil Innes album. But after thinking about it, we decided a mini-overview was more in order considering the fact that we've never covered any of this exceedingly talented man's albums in the past (although we've used his name as a point of reference more times than we can remember). Innes is one of those ultra-brilliant minds out there in the world who, for whatever reasons, has remained somewhat of an obscure but legendary character for decades. He came to the attention of many (including us) as a member of the way-ahead-of-their-time experimental pop group The Bonzo Dog Band. That splintered off into other bands, solo albums, television appearances, and even landed him an on-and-off position as a member of Monty Python. But while most folks have either seen or heard Neil's music over the years, few seem to know his name. And even fewer realize the extreme depth and completely incredible wealth of material this fellow has created. To discover the man and his music, you could pick just about any starting point because everything he's done has been genuinely inspired and creative. We can initially recommend Nearly Really, simply because it's his latest album. Although it's difficult to come by (you have to order it online from his website, link above), the album is yet another example of why we love Innes so much. Smart songs. Killer vocals. Super intelligent lyrics. If we had to guess why this man has not had more success, it's probably because he has done a great deal of comedy material. In many cases, that would mean substandard songwriting in favor or chuckles and laughs. But in Neil's case...comedy has always been and still is secondary to writing top notch songs. So most folks probably simply wrote him off as a comedy musician. But that would be to miss the point entirely. If you never heard Neil's songs in The Bonzo Dog Band, there's a very good chance you heard him as the songwriter/leader in The Beatles parody band The Rutles. Although the band was considered a joke by many folks, it was really much more than that because the songs were actually as good or better than The Beatles themselves. But at the same time they were hilariously funny. So picking up any/all albums by The Rutles would be another great starting point. In addition to his latest album (mentioned above), there are all the solo albums that have unfortunately fallen through the cracks. And yet they are some of the very best pop albums ever recorded. We can think of few artists who have managed to come up with albums anywhere near the caliber of How Sweet To Be An Idiot, Taking Off, The Innes Book of Records, Off the Record, and Recollections. There's also a wealth of wonderful videos you can stream on the internet that up to this point have received very little attention. Hard to believe that at this late stage in his career Innes could come up with something as credible and truly entertaining as Nearly Really. So Neil, if you happen to read this...we want to say thank you for creating all the superbly entertaining music that has been and still is such a critical part of the soundtrack to our lives. We're looking forward to the next album...and the next...and the next... Top pick. [Additional note: One week after writing this, we received the very sad news that Innes had passed away in his sleep. The good news is that he apparently died without pain and suffering. The bad news...is that the world is a far less entertaining place without his unique sense of humor and timeless songwriting skills. Rather than re-write the review above, we chose to leave it exactly as it was written at the time.]

Inutili - New Sex Society (CD, Aagoo, Progressive/rock)
This Italian band plays some far out shit. We were having a hard time determining whether this music was more like modern improvisational jazz, space rock, or bizarre alternative underground pop. But after a few spins we finally determined that the guys in Inutili are treading in a strange area that incorporates different elements from all three. New Sex Society is a wild unpredictable spin. Just when you think you have these guys pegged, they skip into a completely different sound and audio universe. Who do they sound like? Hmmm.... Well, when they're in their space rock zone they remind us of Hawkwind. Some of the more bizarre jagged rock/pop stuff occasionally recalls early Gang of Four and even very early Roxy Music at times. But when they delve into other areas...it's hard to say really. This is a far cry from what's happening in the world of commercial music in the United States. And that, of course, is a wonderful thing. Inutili is comprised of Danilo (inutile) De Francesco (guitar, vocals), Pietro Calvarese (guitar), Alessandro (abarth) Antinori (bass, drums), and Lorenzo Mazzaufo (drums, bass). The brilliant folks at the Aagoo label sure know how to pick some choice acts. New Sex Society features stunning compositions that challenge the listener, all the while remaining musical enough to be entertaining spin after spin after spin. In a world chock full of too many safe and samey bands, Inutili immediately stands out BIG TIME. Exciting intricate compositions include "Rooms," "Seeds (Japanese)," "Space Time Bubble" (our favorite), and "Singing Dogs." Highly recommended. Top pick.

Pi Jacobs - Two Truths and a Lie (CD, Travianna, Country/blues/pop)
We don't review as much country pop as we once did because so much of it has become generic digital dribble that is indistinguishable. Accordingly, we're always pleased when we come across something that breaks the mold and works. This is one of those albums that proves country pop doesn't have to mean predictable and boring in 2020. Pi Jacobs is a very talented and focused musical artist with a killer voice. And she's got some fantastic musicians backing her up. Jacobs has released several albums prior to this, but for us Two Truths and a Lie serves as an excellent introduction. Although she's definitely making music her own way, if we had to provide an easy reference point we would say that these songs remind us in many ways of Bonnie Raitt when she was at her peak. The songs are basically country, but they've got plenty of bluesy threads running through them as well. Pi has a voice that really makes these tracks sizzle. She comes across sounding totally genuine and sincere. Backing Jacobs on this album are Butch Norton (drums), Adam Hall (dobro, banjo, backing vocals), and Zack Hall (upright bass, backing vocals). These three guys are super tight and provide the perfect solid foundation for these groove-driven tracks. Housed in a tri-fold cardboard sleeve, this is one cool and instantly satisfying album. If you love good solid country pop without all the unnecessary and frivolous twenty-first century gloss, you just might find yourself falling in love with Pi and her band. Solid gripping cuts include "Broken Cup," "First Thing Tomorrow," "Diana The Hunter," and "Slow On Down." Groovy soundin' stuff with cool rhythms and solid bass lines.

Bill Jones - Wonderful Fairy Tale (CD, Brick Wall Music, British folk/pop)
Pure, clear, sincere, and inspired. We've long admired ladies who have the rare gift of a perfect clear voice. Some of the more obvious ones that come to mind include Mary Hopkin, Maddy Prior, Alison Krauss and Emmylou Harris. If you're a fan of any or all of these exceedingly talented artists, you're almost certain to love Bill Jones' voice. Although not as well-known around the world, those that know her music have had their lives forever changed. Jones released a handful of albums a few years back that were instant successes with critics and discerning music fans. But after making her initial splash, Bill opted to take a break from her music career in 2004 to raise her family. Now her many diehard fans are rejoicing as she has now re-entered the world of music. Not surprisingly, Wonderful Fairy Tale picks up right where she left off. Her clean pure voice remains instantly gripping and real. The songs are super strong. And all we can say is...welcome back, Bill Jones. We've missed hearing your inspired brand of English folk/pop. And we're hoping this is just one of many new albums to come. Hats off to the folks at Brick Wall Music for not only releasing this album, but also for creating a totally classy package for it. The disc is housed in a cool triple-fold cardboard sleeve complete with a lyric booklet. Fairy Tale is another classic album from an artist who is destined to become more and more legendary over time. The backing musicians are fantastic, and the sound quality has an appropriately organic sound. Wonderful flowing tracks include "The Arboretum," "Wonderful Fairy Tale," "My Elfin Knight," "The Three Ravens," and "So, Here's To You." Smart. Resilient. And beautiful in so many ways. A true twenty-first century classic. Highly recommended. Top pick.

Parker Longbough - Green and Gold/Drink the Hemlock (CD, Wilderhood Music, Underground pop)
We were psyched to receive this in the mail because we've been really impressed by previous releases from this intriguing underground pop musician. This Anchorage, Alaska-based recording artist's real name is Matthew Witthoeft but he opts to release music under the name Parker Longbough. But whichever name you use, the important thing to remember is that this young fellow is extremely talented and creative. We have no idea what underground pop from Alaska is supposed to sound like. But if this is what's happening in the dark remote corners of the chilly state, we can't help but wonder what else is happening there that the rest of us aren't yet aware of...? In any event, for an instant dose what's happening in Alaska's undercurrents, there's probably no better starting point than the humorously titled Green and Gold/Drink the Hemlock. Witthoeft creates music using the basic essentials and keeps the overall sound direct and simple. But it's ultimately the songs themselves that make his music so ultimately entertaining and original. If you like the sound of underground pop artists before technology made everyone sound way too digitally perfect, you're likely to get major kicks out of these tracks. They sound very much like they were recorded on an analog tape machine (not sure if they were or not though?). The guitars are loud and up front in the mix. Matthew's distanced vocal style works perfectly for the songs he writes. The end result of all the elements combined is an album that will stand up to dozens upon dozens of repeated spins without ever sounding tired or dated. We love all ten tracks on this one, but initial favorites include "The Statement is the Answer," "Rising Black," "Governor's (Butter) Cup," "Bad Attitude," and "Sleep Comfortably." Wonderful stuff with that cool mysterious spark we're always searching for. Highly recommended. Top pick.

 

Miki Moondrops - Fuwa Fuwa Music (CD-R, Air House, Pop)
Miki Moondrops is the duo of Miki Masuda Jarvis and David Lord. This is the duo's second full-length release, and it's another direct hit. The songs these two create might best be described as dreamy atmospheric pop. The songs are light and have instantly infectious beats. But there are threads of slightly hallucinogenic sounds that bleed in and out of the mix. Jarvis has a voice that is perfectly suited for this style of music. And Lord's ability to create dreamy layered audio pushes the music to another level. Fuwa Fuwa Music presents eight expertly crafted compositions that should please even the most discriminating modern pop fan. Our favorites include "Shells," "Orange to Pink, Mushroom to Turtle," "Dragonfly Wings," and "It Is Glowing"...but the truth is that every single track is exceptionally entertaining. It should be noted here that everything that comes out on the Air House label is a must have. This small independent label based in Kansas concentrates on quality and creativity, and the resulting releases are always great. Top pick. [Readers should take note that this album has only been released digitally, so there is no physical format for it at this point in time.]

Monkeypox - The Mostly Complete Recordings 2005-2005 (CD-R, Think Like A Key, Pop)
If you like hearing and knowing about really cool obscure things, you need to either get your hands on this one or at least stream/download it. Monkeypox was a short-lived Florida-based band featuring the talents of Roger Houdaille and Chris Price. Houdaille is, of course, the leader of the band Ex Norwegian as well as the head honcho at Think Like A Key Records. After this band split, Price headed off to Los Angeles and signed with Geffen Records. But in 2005 Monkeypox was a living thriving local phenomenon. Though the band only existed for a short period (2005), they apparently made quite a mark on the locals. Like so many up-and-coming bands, they never really expanded their popularity further out there in the world. Thanks to the fact that both guys now have solid careers in the world of music, we are all finally treated to the nifty cool sounds of Monkeypox. The Mostly Complete Recordings 2005-2005 includes the band's entire Hey! That's My Wife! Get Your Own album plus non-album singles, B-sides, and the In Limbo soundtrack recordings. The band adopted fake names and each had their own fictional history. Thus, while the band was alive and kicking, it was comprised of Johnson Jackson (from Guinea), Junior Bevel (from Aruba), Maurier Debbouze (from France), and Ahmed Imo-Tep (from someplace in Arabia). Judging by the sound and energy here, we'd guess that these guys were having one helluva time during their brief time making music together. While the band had an obvious sense of humor, the songs were anything but jokes. These recordings present a group of musicians making music for all the right reasons. The playing is solid, the vocals excellent, and the overall vibe is wonderfully inviting and real. Cool guitar-driven pop cuts include "The Sailboat Adventure," "Anywhere," "For Lovers Only," "Surfin' Surfside," "Pepper Tan," and "Aventura." Totally cool that this one is now out there for everyone to enjoy. Neat stuff.

Tami Neilson - Chickaboom! (CD, Neilson Records / Outside Music, Bluesy pop)
New Zealand-based recording artist Tami Neilson is a lady who has it all. She's got the look, the voice, and most of all the songs...to go all the way. We've been impressed with her previous albums, but Chickaboom! hits a new peak, even for Tami. Ms. Neilson is one of those folks who has true presence. And this presence comes across loud and clear in her recordings, her videos, and her performances. Originally from Canada, she grew up making music with her family in the Neilson Family Band. So it seems interesting and fitting that, for this album, her brother Jay Neilson flew down to New Zealand to add his talents to these recordings. Tami's songs delve into pop, rock, rockabilly, soul, country, swing, and more. But whatever she does, she does it right. And that's probably because she's got one of those amazing voices that seems perfectly suited for just about any style of music. We love hearing this enchanting lady operating in any genre she pleases, but we have to admit we're most impressed when the volume gets real low and she transforms into an incredible crooner. A good example of this is the closing track "Sleep," which instantly recalls Patsy Cline in so many ways. It's a truly beautiful track that is destined to become a classic in the years to come. Tami is, without a doubt, one of the great up-and-coming female vocalists in the twenty-first century. She's doing everything right. And more and more folks are realizing just how good her music is. If you haven't yet heard her, Chickaboom! would serve as the perfect introduction. It's smart. It's focused. It's resilient. And it's ultimately very very listenable. Killer stuff, recommended. Top pick.

New Riders of the Purple Sage - Thanksgiving in New York City (Double CD, Omnivore Recordings, Pop)
Whew. We haven't thought about this band for ages. After doing a bit of reading, we discovered that--with the exception of one period--the band has been active in one form or another for a very long time. Avid fans of New Riders of the Purple Sage will be particularly interested in this release however, because it captures the band during their golden years. Thanksgiving in New York City was recorded on November 23, 1972 at the Academy of Music. For this concert, the band was comprised of John Dawson, David Nelson, Spencer Dryden, Dave Torbert, and Buddy Cage. Taken directly from the band's master reel-to-reel tapes, these recordings capture all the energy and entertainment that occurred on this particular Thanksgiving evening. Housed in a tri-fold digipak sleeve, this package will likely reignite interest from fans all over the globe. In addition to the CD release reviewed here, this one has also been released as a triple LP on colored vinyl, as well as a digital download (of course). An interesting snapshot of the band in 1972 that will surely bring back memories for lots of listeners.

Pallas Athene - Pallas Athene (Independently released CD-R EP, Dreamy underground progressive pop)
Pallas Athene is the one woman musical project created by Canada's Breanna Johnston. This self-titled and self-released EP is quite magical in many ways. The tracks are sparse and slightly spooky...recorded with traditional instruments and modern electronics. Johnston played in more traditional bands in Canada for many years. But after experiencing a hand injury which caused her to pause her music career, she suddenly had to put everything on hold. But instead of making her throw in the towel, the hiatus caused her to rethink what she was doing. And thus, she began a new phase of her music career with the Pallas Athene project. If there's a single word we would use to sum this one up, that word would be...haunting. These tracks were recorded using only the essentials. But at the heart of these recordings are Breanna's wonderfully breathy vocals. She never forces things, opting instead to just allow her music to take her wherever it may. This EP presents five lovely tracks that sound nothing like commercial music in 2020. And that, of course, is a huge compliment. While commercial music continues to descend further and further in the wrong direction, it's underground artists like this who prove that intriguing credible stuff is still being recorded. But these days you just have to dig to find it. All five tracks hit the target. Our favorites include "Through Hell," "The Wall," and "In Silence." Strangely intoxicating and inviting.

Fernando Perdomo - The Crimson Guitar: A Tribute to King Crimson (CD, Forward Motion Records, Guitar/instrumental)
Sheesh...is there anything this man can't do? It's very easy for us to make the solid and true claim that Fernando Perdomo is one of the most talented musicians in the world right now. He's also one of the most prolific and diverse. He records killer classic pop. He also records mind-blowing progressive rock. He plays multiple instruments. He has a voice that'll blow your mind. He's a master of studio recording. And yet he also manages to find time to play with a whole wealth of other credible artists as well. This project is a real departure, even for Mr. Perdomo. Covering King Crimson would be a risky endeavor for anyone. But presenting King Crimson material in complete solitude with nothing but a guitar...? Now that takes guts. We weren't surprised in the least to find that this exceedingly impressive fellow has, once again, achieved the impossible. He has not only re-adapted material considered sacred by fans...but in many cases has come up with renditions that are as good or better than the originals. The Crimson Guitar is nothing short of mesmerizing and fantastic. We have to admit that we'd always prefer to hear Perdomo playing Perdomo, simply because we love this guy's own compositions so much. But if we need to take a detour now and then, this is one helluva excellent detour to take. Intricate. Precise. Eclectic. The King Crimson guys will no doubt be blown away by this one. Our guess is that the release of this album will result in Fernando playing as a guest artist with the band in the very near future. Highly recommended. Top pick.

Thorbjorn Risager & The Black Tornado - Come On In (CD, Ruf, Blues/rock/pop)
Hot and provocative bluesy pop/rock from Thorbjorn Risager and The Black Tornado. Listening to this album, you'd probably never guess that Risager and his band are based in Denmark (?!) because the songs have a decidedly American sound and feel. Come On In is different than most modern blues/rock albums we hear because there's a heavier emphasis on songs and less of an emphasis on extensive guitar solos. But what really sets this music apart from everyone else are the vocals. Risager has a deep growly voice that really grabs you by the throat, and he stays focused for the duration of each and every track. True to the claim of other reviewers, this guy's voice is reminiscent of classic artists from the past like Ray Charles and Joe Cocker. This is Thorbjorn's tenth album, and it's a direct hit in each and every way. His band is tight, tight, tight. Groovy rhythms combine with a big fat thick sound to create songs that absolutely command movement. Yup, it's mighty hard to sit still listening to this stuff because the grooves are so solid and focused. Backing band The Black Tornado is comprised of Emil Balsgaard, Joachim Svensmark, Kasper Wagner, Hans Nybo, Peter W. Kehl, Soren Bojgaard, and Martin Seidelin. Far more than mere blues rock, the songs on this album teeter into a variety of other territories including funk, gospel, soul, pop, and rock. Instantly appealing tracks include "Come On In," "Last Train," "Never Givin' In," "Over the Hill," and "I'll Be Gone." Good solid rockin' stuff.

Gary Ritchie - Head On A Swivel (CD, Fancy Two / Tone, Underground pop)
Cool underground guitar pop featuring instantly infectious melodies and an overall upbeat vibe. Taylor, Texas-based recording artist Gary Ritchie is a recording artist who's doing everything right. This album was recorded by Ritchie and his bandmate Jeff King (and produced by both). Both of these guys play so flawlessly that you'd think you're hearing a full band playing together. Seemingly inspired by some of the best ideas and sounds created by classic pop bands from the past, Ritchie and King have managed to come up with an album that spins like a collection of hit singles. You won't hear any artsy noise and the songs aren't hampered by unnecessary thick layering. Head On A Swivel has a fresh upbeat sound that's easy on the mind and ears. The songs are super strong. But they're pushed to another level due to the precise cool vocals (and vocal harmonies). Underground pop fans will be instantly drawn to the precise catchy sound of compositions like "Maybe It'll Be Tonight," "Head On A Swivel," "False Alarm," "Arms Around A Memory," and "Record Store." Housed in a cool digipak sleeve featuring simple slick artwork, Swivel is bound to push Ritchie's name and music even further up the spectrum in the years to come. If you're a fan of positive feelgood pop, you're almost certain to fall in love with this guy's music. This is what popular music ought to sound like in 2020. Refreshingly real and inspired.

Tommy Sands - Fair Play To You All (CD, Spring Record, Irish folk/pop)
Because so many Americans are hypnotized by so many phony money-driven artists in the twenty-first century, they tend to be unaware of genuine real artists making credible music all over the world. It's sad, but true. While talentless schmucks who don't deserve any money or fame receive tons of both, those who are truly inspired and credible tend to be obscure in the United States. Overseas Tommy Sands is a legendary singer/songwriter who has been making music for decades. His music is a far cry from commercial driven schlop pop. Sands incorporates elements from folk and pop, and then delivers his messages with distinctive style and personality. The guy has one of those voices that instantly comes across sounding very personal and real. Although we don't know this for sure, we can't help but think that Tommy is driven mainly by the desire to make music and express himself. This comes across loud and clear with each and every track on Fair Play To You All. With most songwriters, the weakest link in the chain are lyrics. But in this case, lyrics are exceptionally strong. Sands writes words that seem to come straight from his heart and soul. And his vocal delivery makes the words seem completely sincere and focused. Anyone wanting to discover an artist with true skill and talent would do well to investigate this man's life and music. He's recorded a whole slew of albums that are timeless and totally cool. Just a few of the standout tracks on this album include "Answer Not Blowing in the Wind," "American Dreams," "Ode to Europe," and "Every County on the Island."

Bob Sharkey - Green (CD, Mother West, Folk/pop)
If we had our way, this is what commercial pop would sound like in 2020. Things being the way that they are, Green sounds nothing like all the hugely famous musical artists out there. Thankfully for Bob Sharkey that is a huge compliment. At a point in time when so many rely on technology and multilayering to compensate for a lack of substance and talent, Green comes across like a refreshing blast of cool spring water on a warm summer morning. What strikes us most about these songs is the fact that they have true substance. No gimmicky sounds of the month here. No cutesy studio tricks. Sharkey's focus seems to be on carefully crafting lyrics and melodies. And on this album, he's done a masterful job of both. Green is a wonderfully understated album. These tracks have a sparse simple sound that makes it very easy to focus on what's really happening. And they were recorded using only the basics. The only players are Sharkey on guitars and vocals, Rob Jost on acoustic bass, and Jeff Lipstein on drums. These recordings were produced by Bob and Charles Newman. They have a warm organic sound that is warm and inviting. If you like the sound of real musicians playing in your living room (with some very expensive state-of-the-art equipment), you will most likely instantly react favorably to this one. Bob's got a great voice that's a perfect fit for the material he writes. Without ever pushing himself or trying too hard, he makes you feel comfortable with his melodies and lyrics. Sharkey released his first two solo albums in the early 2000s and then took a bit of a break. Now to the delight of his fans and others fortunate enough to hear his music, he's back with an album that ought to be an instant hit with just about anyone who loves immaculate singer/songwriter stuff. Every track hits the target, but some of our initial favorites include "Coastline," "Save Your Goodbyes," "Time Alone," "Waiting," and "Home." Excellent overall sound quality on this one. Great vibes from start to finish. Recommended. Top pick.

Shplang - Los Grandes Excritos (1994 to 2019) (CD, Big Stir, Underground pop)
To celebrate twenty-five years making music, Shplang and the folks at Big Stir have released the anthology Los Grandes Excritos (1994 to 2019). The album presents songs from the band's four studio albums as well as three unreleased tracks. This group has been a favorite in and around the Los Angeles, California music scene for years. Hopefully this release will make more folks in other corners of the world aware of this exceptionally talented and creative band. Even though Shplang can best be described as an underground pop band, it should be noted that the songs are not formulaic and predictable. If we had to provide an accurate reference point here, we'd have to say that many of these songs remind us of The Nazz. Not necessarily because they sound exactly like The Nazz, but more so because they seem to come from a similar unconventional way of composing and recording. Interestingly, the songs on this album combine a retrospective feel with a modern sounding overall approach. Excritos is an uplifting spin, chock full of memorable songs. In a perfect world, many of these would be hugely popular hits. But because quality pop music is now a very underground kinda thing, these guys will most likely remain a critic's favorite...and only appreciated most by those fortunate enough to stumble upon their music on the internet. The best news here is that this isn't just an anthology presenting past efforts, it also represents a new starting point as the band plunges forward into the next twenty-five years of their career. Solid memorable cuts include "Spanish Galleons," "Come Love," "Little Star," "Tokyo Go-Go," and "Mommie's Pie." Top pick.

Mark Sieber - He Who Types Between the Rows: A Decade of Horror Drive-In (Book, Cemetery Dance Publications)
Doesn't matter whether you're a fan of horror films or not. If you're into good solid reads, you're likely to find plenty of food for thought here. For years Mark Sieber has been self-publishing his writing on his own website Horror Drive-In. If you've never checked it out, now's a great time to start. After a wealth of credible content was added to the website over time, the folks at Cemetery Dance Publications were perceptive enough to notice the quality of Sieber's writing. And this led to the Mark's debut full-length print publication. Sieber is an excellent writer. And that's probably because he has the right motivation. Unlike others who write for money, fame, and all that boring kinda stuff...this man obviously writes as a pure form of self-expression about an art form that he truly loves. And that comes across loud and clear in his writing. This fellow has an amazing ability to express himself with words. Reading his material, you almost get the feeling that you actually know him. There's a lot to take in here...442 pages to be exact. The cover artwork is great...a photograph of two hands typing on an archaic typewriter and a teeny tiny drive-in theater is superimposed inside of it. Extremely intelligent and intellectual stuff. Sieber's writing is far better than most authors who are selling millions of copies. Let's hope word gets out about this one...and Sieber's book ends up being a huge financial success. Endorsed on the front cover by none other than Joe Bob Briggs (the man is a legend), He Who Types Between the Rows is a cool and direct HIT. Highly recommended. Top pick.

The Silent Boys - By the Light of the Moon (CD, Bossy Lil' Thing, Underground pop)
This is such a cool album. And we're pleased to see that this long-running underground pop band has hooked up with the fine folks at Bossy Lil' Thing to release By the Light of the Moon. The band has been active for about three decades now (yow!), but they seem to just be hitting their peak this century. The band is comprised of Wallace Dietz (vocals, rhythm guitar, composer of all songs), John Suchocki (lead guitar), Michael Click (bass guitar), and John Morand (drums). These songs instantly recall some of the more adventurous and interesting classic underground pop bands from the past including (but not limited to) The Go-Betweens, The Monochrome Set, The Chills, and even The Feelies at times. Being the music snobs that we are, all of these are obvious top favorites. So if you like any of these (or if you just appreciate good solid underground guitar pop), this album is likely to push all of your buttons just the way you like 'em pushed. Recorded using only the essential ingredients, these tracks have a nice organic sound that is refreshingly simple. Overproduction hampers so many modern pop albums, so this one instantly stands out from the ever-increasing tidal waves of technology driven techno dribble. At this point in his career, Dietz has become a true master of his craft. And this just might be the best Soft Boys album yet. Killer tracks include "The Arsonist," "By the Light of the Moon," "There You Go Again," and "Ghost of a Steam Train Heart." Highly recommended. Top pick.

Speedealer - Blue Days, Black Nights (Independently released CD, Hard rock)
Wow, this one came as a surprise. After a fifteen year break, the guys in Speedealer have released a brand new album chock of full of all-out power rockers. These guys started making music way back in 1992 in Lubbock, Texas and were part of the tidal wave of loud guitar bands that dominated the musical terrain in the United States at that point in time. Unlike some others who had big hits or made lots of money, these guys did not. And it's probably because their music was so loud and brutal. Well years have passed and times have changed, including the line up of this band. But the Speedealer overall sound has not changed. Blue Days, Black Nights is one overdriven rip-roaring collection of tracks that'll blow the minds of anyone who loved all the speed and thrash metal from the 1990s. The band is now comprised of original members Eric Schmidt (guitar) and Harden Harrison (drums) along with newcomers Ricky Pearson (bass) and Daniel Barron (vocals). Now that the 1990s revival (or whatever you wanna call it) seems to be in full swing, the timing of this release seems perfect. Fortunately for us all, more and more bands are turning up the volume and playing like there's no tomorrow. Tame and samey is slowly being pushed to the side, as loud and intense once again takes center stage. Ten gripping cuts here including "Never New," "Nothing Left To Say," "Shut Up," and "Blue Days, Black Nights." A fine return to form. Great to have these guys recording new music again.

Woolworm - Awe (CD, Mint, Rock/pop)
This is the second full-length release we've heard from Woolworm. We are so impressed with this band. If you love bands from the 1990s with super loud guitars, driving rhythms, and catchy melodies, there's a very good chance you'll go totally apeshit over this band's music. Awe is a cool, super solid album chock full of memorable songs. This band has a very loud aggressive overall sound, but the songs are much more pop-oriented. So this might best be described as overdriven power pop. This Canadian band is comprised of Heather Black on bass, Nick Tolliday on drums, Alex Pomeroy on guitar, and Giles Roy on guitar. At a point in time when so many rely on technology, these folks are taking the exact opposite approach. Using only the basic essentials, these folks succeed where so many others fail. And that's because they write great songs that hold up to many repeated spins. The stripped down approach works great on killer cuts like "Awe," "Hold the Bow," "Might as Well," "Let Me Wear the Mask," and "Woe Is Me." Totally groovy loud pop/rock with played with intensity and intelligence. This one blows us totally out of the water. We've loved everything we've heard thus far from the folks in Woolworm. And this one is yet another direct HIT. Highly recommended. Top pick.

Additional Items Received:

A
Academics for Pure Boredom - Slurps
Additional Items Composed - Reversal of radishes
Additional Items Reversed - Back to the additional items
Adele - My frisky rat puppy done ate my head off
Alice Copper - Lob it to Seth
Allman Brothers - Aunt Sissy's lather bastard
Am Not - Am too
Anohni - Hopelessness
Anthroplod - Plodroanth
Antlers for Booboo - Oh no not that tired old runt again
Ape - Don't say no words
Apples Got Smushy - Train smush
Application For Crap - Please submit crap
Athens Is Not A City - Trauma for the bush animals
August Wish - Traps for punted
Augusta Is Not A City - Wilma for the plush panels

B
Bad Bump - Banana tread
Badfigure - Crooked down
Bambi Dambi - Lambi
Ballerina Pumps - Blackass
Barge - Limpy
Beadulls - Desmocker
Beatles - Medium
Beatles - Medium rare
Beatles - Rare
Beatles - Not as rare
Beatles - Stuff that was never recorded
Beatles - Stuff that we wish had never been recorded
Bee Numb - Numb bee
Beyonce - Sorry album
Beyonce - I can dance but that's about it
Beyonce - My face is ugly
Beyonce - Don't you get tired of hearing my stupid name all the time
Beyonce - I'm really a boring old hag
Beyonce - My fans have poor taste
Beyond the Beyonder - Blander and blander
Bjork - Jorky B
Black Tabitha - Pastor of senility
Blankets for Blankets - Laps
Blender in a Blinder - Fizzle
Bobo's Pretty Duster - Lamp off, lamp on
Davis Bowee - All the dumb dudes
Breezer the Flew - Like dazzlers in fume
Garth Brooks - I've recorded tons and tons and TONS of music
Garth Brooks - And yet you babysue folks have never reviewed ANYTHING
Garth Brooks - What is wong with you goddamn undergroud music snobs?
Garth Brooks - I'm rich, rich, RICH
Garth Brooks - If you've got lots of money, nobody cares if your voice is shitty
Bumps Fifty - West
Jenna Bush - Why does my face resemble the rectum of a pig?
Jenna Bush - Trying way too hard to be clever and cute
Butler Pudding - Lippity gris gris
Buzz's Lamp Cord - Tawny frink

C
Car Mump - Dazed and refused
Casket of Corformity - Laser dog
Cast of Cast - Lastly
Cat Grave - Mickey's laboratory
Cesula - Maid in martians
Chance The Rapper - Coloring book
Chicky Chicky Clock - Rump of the month slob
Chump - Malaria
Chunks of Paisley Pumps - Lordy the snore is a plaza burn
Eric Clapton - I still don't know what a guitar is
Phil Collins - No vocal skills required
Sean Combs - How come I never get reviewed in babysue?
Sean Combs - You don't like me just because I'm hugely famous
Sean Combs - Hey, I make a lot of money you underground jerks
Sean Combs - I'm rich, rich, RICH...ain't that what it's all about?
Sean Combs - Lookin' ugly for everyone
Come To Lulu's Nurse - Romp and the bumpy tum tum
Confederate Railroad - Happy to snort crystal speed
Conscious Or Not - Grumpy lazy
Crap You Like - Tape measure
Crosby, Stills & Nash - We were friends once upon a time
Crunchy Links - Switches and prawns
Miley Cyrus - How come I never get mentioned in babysue?
Miley Cyrus - I guess it's because my music lacks substance
Miley Cyrus - I wish I wasn't dull and boring
Czerchnkii - Dim

D
Dadfinger - Where's dad's finger when you need it?
Dae Dae - Mae Mae
Daisy Days - Freezing
Damn People - Damn People
Damn Tumblers - Damn Tumblers
Damn Warp - Damn Warp
Damn Zoo - Damn Zoo
Devonte - I'm fish food now
Diets Are For Dimwits - Lassie's lost pudding cup
Dimmer than Dim - Inputs
Diorssi - New York is my damn
Dirty Pennies - Flocks and pimps
Doves That Die Today - Lassie
Drake - Setting a bad example for the world
Driplite Dirtbag - Directional
Dry Potato - Sync
Ducks for Ducks - Nine hundred ponies
Dumb Sounds - Like Nanny and the poodle

E
Each and Each - Teach
Eachy - Preachy
Eat The Bounty Feathers - Naptime
Ectonerf - Bah baddah bah
Elephant Muff - Beneath the blurry knob
Elves and Bumpy Thumpers - Original motion picture soundtrack
Emergency Flakes - Phasers
Empty - Flow
Empty Flower - 1 2 3 4
Enough for Five Thousand - One bottle
Enter the Entrance With Lockets - Glasses on the puddle
Eventually We'll All Die With Nothing - Pom poms
Everyone But - But Everyone
Ewe - Ranch funk
EZ - Not so

F
FA - La la
Famous Famous - Converter
Far Out Far In - Farin
Faxes Forever - Limp little pixies
Ferz - Lizzy
Fifty Million - Zero lads
Finks Forever - Live at the dead
Five Times Fifty-Five - Live
Four Times Four Is Four - Five times
Foxes - All I need
Fume - Lumps
Funky Laminate - Parking
Fur For Francis - Pouches

G
Gang of Flower - Untertainment
Gas Pumps - Last primper
Gauge Rage - Now cow
Germany's Burp - Lamp drill
Get Your Begging Done - Tower bitch
Vince Gill - Down to my last bad habit
Goddamn Children - Goddamn us all to hell
Graham Slackers - Naturally grabby
Ariana Grande - My fame proves that people are retarded schmucks
Grandmothers and Grandfathers - Nothing else to live for except the goddamn grandchildren
Grass Patches - Dolby
Josh Groban - Sitting on a toilet for charity

H
Hamster on a Bun - Heartache on a bun
Hamster on a Lettuce Leaf - Try to find something to stuff in your cheeks
Jennifer and Sarah Hart - Where did our love go
Jennifer and Sarah Hart - We loved Jesus very much
Jennifer and Sarah Hart - Happy together forever because we died together
Hay - Hay
Hazle - Measurements
Hell for Humans - Happiness is a dumb puppy
Help Me Help Me - Liver
Help the Hopeless - Bloody hearts get you nowhere
Hissy - Laserbon
Hitt - Dawn for the loud birds
Hizzers - Stuck
Whitney Houston - Howzuh bauwduh nuthuh drank?
Whitney Houston - You put water in my drink
Ian Hunted - Punts and nuttters
Husperate - ADN
Hut for Henry - Universe of sandy
Huzzle - Earlier albums

I
Ian - Jackknife
Icky - Picky, picky, picky
If It Dies Don't Touch It - I offered more than they wanted and they took it
If You Knew Nothing You Would Be Nothing - Drips
Inky Doll - Dampness and dryness
In The End The Beginning - Ridgefield
It Stays Warm - Square butter
IX Lamb Sweater - To each his each
IZZ - Each his to his

J
Alan Jackson - Now that I'm a girl
Alan Jackson - Now that I'm half a girl
Alan Jackson - My dress has a big tear in it
Alan Jackson - And my eyeliner is all messed up now
Michael Jackson - Off the floor
Michael Jackson - Towers of mops
Michael Jackson - Nose dopes
Jerry's Apple - Towers
Jerry's Crud - Narry a buster
Jersey is Swervy - Translustre
Jethro Toil - Sick as a tick
Jethro Wump - Aquatong
Jethro Zoo - Minstrel in the snake exhibit
Elton John - Where did my voice go?
Jones Is A Donkey - Drammamine
Jones Is An Elephant - Mine ain't mine
Judas Priest - Battle cry
Junk Is Just Junk - Lady trunk

K
Kaas - Lacey
Kalesh - Kaos
Kandy and the Ks - Lassie's drool
Kows - Land of the Kows
Kraftlunch - Radio lunch
Kraftdinner - Electric dinner
Kraftsnack - Trans euro snack
Krap - Krap
Krazy Cow - Lots of tips
Krunchy Krunch - Captain's caps and tons
Kudzu's Lamp - Drastic
Kunks - The Late Glossy Kunks Album
KWKWERA - Lists

L
Lab Crutch - Tramps that David hates
Ladies For Pretzels - Louder than the other thing that we had discussed earlier
Lady Gaga - How come I never get mentioned in babysue?
Lady Gaga - If I look really strange, nothing else matters
Lamb Peppers - Smuppy
Lamps for the Homeless - These goddamn things don't work
Cindi Lauper - Elderly grandmothers with bad hair colors
Laxative Preamble - Naps and snappers
Let There Be Let - Now there be meow
Lisa Said - First time, long time
Lists - Stop the Lists
Loretta Lynn - Sings her favorite Nine Inch Nails songs
Loud and Loud - Dull and dull
Lumineers - Cleopatra
Lumps - Lousy mouses
Lung Disease - Trowel

M
Manners and Nanners - Tablets for pokey
Maroon 5 - Music for shitheads
Maroon 5 - Stupid people love our music
Maroon 5 - Our lead singer is one ugly old homo
Trayvon Martin - Skittuzz fo evuhbuddeh
Trayvon Martin - Juss a boy on his way to duh candee sto
Masta Ace - The falling season
Matchbox - Going down there
Math for Math's Sake - Plazas
Maze Lops - Trazzler
Mazer's Big Torch Bucket - Lipsy
Bruce McArthur - People in pots
Bruce McArthur - Landscape architect blues
Bruce McArthur - Big 'n' playful
Paul McCartney - Nursing home blues
Tim McGraw - Do anything for charity
Tim McGraw - Do anything to make money
Millie's Pork Bucket - Boxes won't go away
Money for Puny People - Lucky drop
Monkey Chuck - Arlene
Monkey Davis - Nervous
Monkey Pauline - Damnable
Moo Moo the Bow Wow - Trouser's ain't fresh no more
Motorhead - Clean your clock
Motorbutt - Clock your cleaners
Mrowl - Prowling for mrowl
Murphy and Nop - Dammy and slop
Murphy and Nuns - Drippy nun bitches
Murphy's Paw - Plaid and dumb
My Evening Girdle - Snippets and drabble
My Evening Snot - Things my animals forget to learn

N
David Nail - Fighter
Nasal and Tonsil - Lasers and urchers
Ned and the Headrumpers - Trowels
Aaron Neville - Apache
Newsboys - God's not dead
New York Dolls - We weren't real dolls
New York Dolls - We were real dolls
New York Dolls - We were really from Portland
New York Dolls - But we realized no one would buy music by the Portland Dolls
No More Blouses - Farmy
No More Bundt Cakes - Prowler
No More Cactus - Deal or no no
Nothing That You Haven't Heard Before - Repeat it
Now Cows - Blouses and thermometers
Numb's Fumbler - Town and mouth

O
Octorub - Norbie
Oh No That Old Shithead Is Here Again - Rotten old schmucks with no manners
Oooh - Uuuuuh
Oooh Oooh - Uuuuuh uhhh
Opposite of Opposite - Lopposite
Orange Floyd - Sharp glide of the goon
The Orb - It's 1963 and the stripes are grinding
The Orb - Big fluffy omelets
Osmosis - USB #7
Other Muzzles - Howdy Pops
Oz and the Schnoz - Pow wows and monkeys

P
Painted Fuss - Nope
Pants and Pantless - Rainy press
Part Blub - Fran is ugly
Dolly Parton - Lots of money makes me happy
Dolly Parton - Lots of attention makes me happy
Dolly Parton - Lots of everything makes me happy
Paws With Fingers - Ink bus
Pet Shop Boys - Super
Poodle Powder - Dust of the dawgie
Mike Posner - At night, alone
Pranks for Steak Loads - Heaps of slop
The Puddles - Nappy load
Punk Biscuits - Sap
Punk Noodles - Take this noodle and cook it
Puny - Runny infection
Pusfergradison - Nay, the basket sayeth

Q
Quacks - Trippy truck
Quails and Trucks - Lamb power
Queen For A Tray - Lower the pork
Query - Stop the questions
Quest for Dope - Smoking snuff
Quails Got Drunk - Beer and tissue paper
Quarternelson - A trotter in snuffer's cloning
Quicker Than Daffy - Cords that don't work
Quiet Little Worm Thing - Never thought about it and never want to now
Quiz Germs - Links that don't work
Quurtie - Lousy bench

R
Radiodud - Half of the basic shop
Radishes - Lavish stickers
Debbie Rafter - Lemme after
Raws - Raws and raws
Reel to Raoul - Mouthpiece
Reform Club - Never yesterday
Rely On Relish - Candy dash
Mick Rhodes & The Hard Eight - Paradise city
Roasted Trap - Asia's not there anymore
Rolling Bones - Get your mama's kraut
Rolling Chunks - Flower pots
Rolling Dammits - Sure thing not sure
Rolling Elderly People - Stocky plungers
Rolling Joints - Finky stinkers
Rolling Monkeys - Monkeys on Main Street
Rumpy - USBs and RTDs
Runny - Tippy's revenge
Rush - Beneath, between and behind
Ruzzer - Bow to the Ruzzer
Rylo - The dog's head is not steady anymore

S
Larry Samual - Barney doesn't have hugs for me
Santa Died Last Night - Presenting...
Santa Did It - Lamenting
Ed Sheeran - How come I never get mentioned in babysue?
Ed Sheeran - It's because my music is crummy, isn't it?
Ed Sheeran - Why do I look and sound so crummy?
Ed Sheeran - Are there any questions that have answers?
Blake Shelton - Can't help it if I'm a boring dullard
Blake Shelton - If you're into what I do you're obviously on the wrong web site
Blake Shelton - If people think I'm handsome they must really be confused and retarded
Shotgun Louise - Rampy dim
Shotgun Tina - Lousy lamps
Shotgun Zappa - Mouses and mouses
Smashing Drumsticks - Pass the pepper
Smuppy - The tatters that ground pepper
Sparse - Kim's Ono spy mouse
Bruce Springsteen - The Crazy Boss
Bruce Springsteen - I'm a generic old woman now
Bruce Springsteen - Shallow songs that everyone can buy
Barbra Streisand - Barfing up my breakfast
Styx - Suite madame blue: Radio broadcast 1977
Sultans of Swing - Subcontinental drift
Swap and Change - Loudness weird
Swenter - Flowers
Taylor Swift - How come I never get reviewed in babysue?
Taylor Swift - Well, if your publicist would send something...you might.
Taylor Swift - Really?
Taylor Swift - Sure
Swy - Rent

T
Tai Tai - Lists
Talking Sheds - Lambs forking up tonsils
Tea For Lunch - Massachusetts isn't a country
Teepee Tupperware - Laura's butter pand
Telltale - Taller toll
Thuds - Ready for emperors
Thunder - All you can eat
Justin Timberlake - Can't stop being shallow
Tonk - Thoughtly
Trilly Dills and Damp Dippers - Witch white
Trunk Idiots - Laugh when it's all over
Try To Try - Stop and try
Tummy Bus - Lambs and prawns
Tunker - Lassie's paw
TZ397 - Rowl the smunk

U
Ugly Banana - How do the hussy wink
Ugly Orange - Do the mouse
Ultraplucks - Eyebrow mania
Umbrella Vision - Church of tassle
Uncle Duck - Mushed
Uncle Pregnant - Does and rodents
Carrie Underwood - I'm proof that people will buy anything
Carrie Underwood - Making money is more important than making good music
Carrie Underwood - Cliff diving lesbians
Keith Urban - More pork from my smelly pig face

V
Various Artists - A collection of dull dribble that no one will ever notice
Various Artists - We stopped makin' em because they stopped buyin' em
Various Artists - No one buys these kinds of compilations anymore so that's why we keep producing 'em
Various Artists - Tribute to someone whose name we can't remember
Various Artists - Trying to get something heard never works
Various Artists - The most boring bands you never cared to hear
Various Artists - We're the last ones to know the last ones
Various Artists - Our albums are always the first to get thrown away
Various artists - Who gets to eat the trash

W
Wally Is Near - Stamp that thing goodbye
Wanda and the Wandas - Limp
We Don't Get It - Now is the now
Well I Guess This Is Just Another One - Lumps
Whether Or Not - Lousy weather
Why Can't We Eat It In The Car - Marbly
William XIII - XIII or 238
Wind That Goes - Don't

X
X - The day we tied our shoes wrong
Xie - La la the distance away
X-ray Pecs - Lookie away
X-ray Stats - Box cutters and tramplers
Xzistance - Lift down

Y
Yack Yack - Tacky tick
Yell All The Time For Whatever You Pay For It - Taxi service
Yellow Floyd - Park wide until noon
Yesterday's Potties - Damp portions
Yes We Will Be Bananas - Trap doors
Yes You - You guessed it
You might - Yes you might
You never - Well I never
Young and Bland - Stick, stuck
Yoyos for Panama - Sharp
Yoyos for Zop - Trollo mia presto
Yuck This Tastes Awful - Don't eat it then

Z
Zappa and the Zappettes - Trown
Frank Zappa - How flowers got in the potty train
Frank Zappa - Lukewarm mouses
Zi - See Zi play
Zunk - How the leaves got patchy
Zupper - Towels for Blanche
Zyle - Twelve and fifty

 

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