ONEIDA Come On Everybody Let's Rock (Jagjaguwar)
Very much the New York band of the moment (have to laugh at the
promo/publicity label somebody put on their press kit, not written by the
band: "They play in lofts!"); a dynamic, continually out-of-control rock
outfit combining crazed elements of jazz, no-wave, soul-stomp and other
mutations of sound. One of these recent "loft shows" i saw reminded me of
one of the Blues Explosion gigs circa the In the Red singles era, but way
more rousing and threatening. Great to see where these folks are headed.
JUN TOGAWA 20th (God Ocean)
The latest release from the Hoppy Kamiyama camp showcases 20th
anniversary recordings of a mysterious avant-pop Japanese female vocalist,
whose influences definitely speak via her cover choices on this disc:
Brigitte Fontaine's "Comme a la Radio", Patti Smith's "Because the Night"
(quite screwed up & claustrophobic), Slapp Happy's "Casablanca Moon", plus
others by the Velvet Underground, Vanessa Paradis, and surely kindred
WEASEL WALTER/FRED LONBERG-HOLM/JIM O'ROURKE Tribute to Masayuki
Before Merzbow, Masonna and other noisehounds, Japanese guitarist
Masayuki Takayanagi reigned supreme as the king of noise (and to many
still does, the new folks surely owe a huge debt to him). He dabbled in
the netherworld of extreme playing in the jazz world proper (a recent DIW
reissue has him offering up Lee Konitz compositions) but laid out a
blinding wall of harsh amplified string sound that sometimes made Sonny
Sharrock sound like Nick Drake. Here, he is paid homage on two separate
sessions by Chicago luminaries Weasel Walter (Hatewave, Flying
Luttenbachers, many others), cellist Lonberg-Holm and many-of-many-hats
Jim O'Rourke (who is done up in total black metal makeup on the back photo
and renamed "Lycanthrovampyr"). This is an amazing, brutal record that
JEGA Geometry (Matador)
AKA Dylan Nathan, longtime cohort of the men behind the Aphex Twin &
Mu-Ziq) and the associations definitely influence what is going on.
Spindly, abtract electronic workouts that are jagged and arrthythmic, yet
hold some real mesmerizing ground over gorgeous and moodier keyboard
landscapes. Elements of Aphex, Autechre add some serious bite but this
succeeds in creating textures amidst a friendlier environ, which makes
this disc especially interesting.
YOUNGBLOOD BRASS BAND Unlearn (Youngblood Brass Band)
The notion of a New Orleans-style brass band teaming up with hiphoppers
and turntablists may not land anyone on MTV, but an interesting idea it
is. Mike Ladd, DJ Skooly, and Talib Kweli funkify the proceedings, and
there's even some input from longtime Zappa sideman Ike Willis.
GO-BETWEENS Friends of Rachel Worth (Jetset)
The Australian combo's return as a band (after quite a few solo discs
from chief songwriters Grant McLennan and Robert Forster) is not quite the
"band" reunion in terms of the old lineup. It's Grant & Robert helped out
by Sleater Kinney/Quasi folks and other pals, but it sure is excellent.
Since the dawn of 1980 these two songster geniuses have created literate,
edgy, tense pop contained within music that recalled everywthing from lush
UK folk to Television without the guitar hero theatrics. This record
should win a whole new slew of fans (history factor or not).