Reviewed by Music/Program Director Brian Turner

CHANO POZO El Tambor de Cuba (Tumbao)
Tumbao has been a great archiver of vintage Cuban sounds and this new 3CD set (with 148-page book) is a royal jewel in their crown. Within these 1939-52 recordings lies a rich array of an amazing musical history; percussionist Pozo was a major nail in the seal of African and Cuban rhythms, working as a percussionist with orchestras from those led by Arsenio Rodriguez to Dizzy Gillespie and Perez Prado. His story is both legendary and shrouded by mystery, Pozo was credited as being a "wildman", especially after his ascent to the New York City scene. This collection is full of amazing recordings, plus spoken anecdotes punctuated in between. Stunning stuff indeed.

MICHAEL YONKERS BAND Microminiature Love (DeStijl)
GARY WILSON You Think You Really Know Me (Motel)
Armed in 1968 with a mutant Fender guitar covered in dials and tinfoil, Minnesota wildman Michael Yonkers knocked us flat on our ass several years back with a 7" reissued on Get Hip. So now with a full LPs worth of primo 1960's rock and roll weirdness, we now have a genuine helping of serious primitive whumping complete with an orgy of feedback from Yonkers' self-designed arsenal. Imagine a wedding of Hasil Adkins and Von Lmo and you get sort of the picture. Hearing the extended lo-fi electronic shriekfest that is tagged on to the end of "Boy in the Sandbox" will send shivers, worth the price of admission alone. Words has it he is playing a midwest show once again (w/Sun City Girls!) and may come east for a visit. Another rock and roll space traveller, Gary Wilson, IS hitting the city very shortly, and it's quite the stir around town. For the uninitiated, his 1977 opus "You Think You Really Know Me" has been beloved here at WFMU for years (we even carried the LP in our mail order catalog). Now on CD (no extra tracks) after some years of high praise from various rock circles (Beck even gives him a lyrical shout-out in a song), Wilson's rock is a bit more airy than Yonkers. Well, that's an understatement. This thing is all 4-track recordings full of bizarre Steely Dan-isms, loungy synths, and an extremely unsettling persona singing along. A true loner in his own universe, Wilson makes the likes of Skip Spence & Syd Barrett seem like grounded studio pros. Behold at last...

JAY MUNLY Jimmy Carter Syndrome (Smooch)
DON HOWLAND The Land Beyond the Mountains (Birdman)
Described as "looking like death on stage and heckling audience members who aren't watching him", one could also claim that Bay Area singer/songwriter Munly has a lot in common with GG Allin or Gallagher II, but in reality this is not the case. Member of the popular Slim Cessna Auto Club, this record is a great visit to the underbelly of American roots music: eerie carnival organs, weepy strings, plodding/surging rhythms anchored around Munly's dark persona (see Cohen, Cave, Mark Growden). Unique, beautiful, original.
Kentucky hills resident Don Howland also has a majorly strange mojo happening; his old group the Gibson Brothers were the closest thing you could imagine to be a hayseed version of Pussy Galore as being (Jon Spencer even joined up for a while); later on he flexed his blues scholar muscles with the great Bassholes, and now he plunges deeper into a well of despair laced with lo-fidelity feedback & fuzz on this solo outing. The liners depict Howland as having offed himself with a screwdriver (yeesh! a picture to boot in the booklet, did we need to see that?) with the lack of "success" in the Bassholes, but you know it's just another fib as a spoof of past blues-legend liner notes (thankfully). Howland rocks out at home, offering up some killer covers too: Fuzzy Lewis. Thom Rapp (Pearls Before Swine) and grandmother of gutbucket herself Jessie Mae Hemphill. Music for LSD-ingesting boll weevils.

NELS CLINE SINGERS Instrumentals (Cryptogramophone)
That's right, there's no real singers in this band, hardeehar. But there is an amazing and diverse trio of Nels Cline (guitar), Scott Amendola (percussion/loops/effects), and Devin Hoff (bass) who draw from a pretty umlimited palette of sounds to create a really undefinable music somewhere amidst jazz and rock. Cline has been a west coast fixture for years, shredding strings with Thurston and Watt, creating smooth and sublime soundscapes for so-called "serious jazz" labels, drawing equally on inspiration from Jimmy Giuffre and Deerhoof. Instrumentals shows a vast array of Cline's colors, from meditative bop ("A Mug Like Mine") to a roaring noise testimony ("Blood Drawing") worthy of Gravitar and Fushitsusha fans' attention.

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