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Reviews from

October 2009

Acres and Acres
Afternoon Naps
Alcohol #43
Blue Mother Tupelo

Michael J. Bowman
CJ Boyd*

Cool Tall Grass
Crash Kings

Elco Deck
Don't Matter
Family Burn

Josh Fix*
Fluffy Dump

Lita Ford
Foreign Cinema
Ace Frehley
The Gears
Gene The Werewolf
Lisa Germano*
Globes On Remote

John Wort Hannam
Happy Time

Caroline Herring
Michael Hurley
I Love You
Like Beat Like

The Lovely Eggs

Mark Matos & Os Beaches
Genevieve Maynard & The Tallboys*
Milks and Rectangles
Helen Money*
Monsters of Folk

Nine Below Zero
The Old Man and His Po Buckra
Orquesta La Palabra
Parlour Steps
Joel Plaskett*
Scene of Action
Sea Wolf
The Sextons

Special Patrol
Spring Tigers
The Swimmers

Mark Sylvester
Taking Woodstock

Trick 'R Treat
JD Webb
Why Make Clocks*
David Widelock Trio

You Are Home
You Go

Mike Zito

*Top Picks

Additional Items Received


Acres and Acres - All Nations (Independently released CD, Folky pop)
Acres and Acres is the duo consisting of Kris Pope and Dave Scholten, both of which are/were also in the band Down With The Butterfly. Feeling that some of the material they were writing was more stripped down compared to their other band, Kris and Dave decided to form Acres and Acres as an outlet for their more subdued compositions. All Nations is a collection of tracks that were recorded "live off the floor" at Spaces Between Studio and All Nations Church in 2008 and 2009 (a DVD will also be released that captured the recordings in process). Nations is a nice smooth spin featuring highly melodic organic folky soft pop compositions with a heavy emphasis on vocal melodies and lyrics. A far cry from twenty-first century throwaway pop, these tunes come across sounding completely genuine and inspired. Excellent songs and fantastic vocals from start to finish. Cool credible cuts include "From a Forest," "Appleseed," "Polar Bear Song," and "Don't Come Knockin." Credible and accessible modern folk/pop. (Rating: 5+)

Afternoon Naps - Parade (CD, Happy Happy Birthday To Me, Pop)
Most underground pop groups try very hard to sound as different and unique as possible. Cleveland, Ohio's Afternoon Naps take the exact opposite approach...writing and recording surprisingly fresh and accessible radio pop. Parade is a short album (just over 30 minutes long)...but it's much longer than the band's last mini-album Sunbeamed (which lasted only 22 minutes). According to the press release, band members Tom Dechristofaro and Leia Hohenfeld were heavily influenced by C86 bands, 1960s bubblegum, and the band Yellow Balloon. We can hear all of these influences and more here. This ten track album is a pure jolt of catchy melodic pop delivered with sincerity and style...the perfect kind of music to listen to this Autumn while driving with the windows down watching the leaves change colors. The more we spin this one...the more involved we become. Cool keepers include "Beach Bums," "The Day We Started," "Discoverse," and "Bubblegum 45." Recommended. (Rating: 5++)



The shittiest drug
Of all.

(Rating: 1)

Blue Mother Tupelo - Heaven & Earth (CD, Diggin' Music, Bluesy country/pop)
Bluesy up-tempo pop from the husband and wife team of Ricky Davis and Micol Davis. Mr. and Mrs. Davis record tunes that are clean...but with a slightly gritty approach. Both have professional, commercially inviting vocals...and most of the tracks feature male and female vocal tradeoffs. True to the claim of the press release that accompanied this disc, Micol's voice is reminiscent of Sheryl Crow and Ricky sounds slightly similar to Gregg Allman at times. Pop fans may be surprised at the amount of material here. Instead of the usual 30 to 40 minutes...Ricky and Micol present a whopping 66 minutes worth of music. Fourteen heart-driven tunes here including "Always Lookin'," "The War," "Biloxi," and "High in the Sky." (Rating: 4++++)



Spin the bottle.
Break the bottle.
Date the bottle.
Irritate the bottle.

(Rating: 1)

Michael J. Bowman - Psychic Borderland (Independently released CD-R, Progressive pop)
Folks who were drawn to Lou Reed's Berlin album...may find that Michael J. Bowman's Psychic Borderland is a similar sort of endeavor (like Berlin, it is a concept album). Bowman is one of the few folks who have been able to effectively transform themselves out of the underground cassette culture of the 1980s and 1990s and retain constant credibility in the digital age. Borderland is a peculiar album. Instead of direct pop, these compositions take a more indirect approach. Michael's early fans might not know what to make of this...the songs are abstract and strangely distant. But what matters most...is that this intriguing fellow's creativity remains completely intact. Eight oddities here including "Dreaming Close Encounters," "Far Out (On The Inside)," "Crazy Uncles," and "Passage." Wherever Bowman goes...we are willing to follow. (Rating: 5+)

CJ Boyd - Aerial Roots (CD, Joyful Noise Recordings, Bass/instrumental)
Fewer and fewer people seem to be making instrumental music these days (probably because of the potentially limiting fan base)...but there are even less instrumental artists whose compositions revolve around the bass guitar. CJ Boyd is one such man taking a decidedly obtuse approach to music. Making things even less commercially oriented...the songs on this album are long...very, very long. Only three tracks here. The first is over fifteen minutes long, the second almost nine minutes, and the third close to twenty minutes. CJ is the only player on this album...utilizing his skills on electric bass, double bass, harmonica, melodica, and percussion. The songs don't really fit specifically within any one genre...but there are plenty of traces of modern classical and jazz and ambient music here. The lengthy songs are a plus...because they allow Boyd to really relax and manipulate sound at his own pace. Really beautiful sparse stuff...that sounds even better if you turn the volume way, way up. Cool mentally challenging compositions from a man with a truly inventive mind. Recommended. (Rating: 5++)



People who brag
Brag about nothing
Worth bragging

(Rating: 1)



Grass is tall,
Grass so cool.

(Rating: 1)

Crash Kings - Crash Kings (CD, Custard / Universal/Motown, Pop/rock)
Unapologetically commercial pop music. The guys in Crash Kings play keyboard-driven modern pop music that is not unlike the more hard rocking side of Ben Folds. If you're looking for peculiar artsy underground stuff, you won't find it here. On this self-titled album, these fellows offer nothing but upbeat melodic pop tunes. But that is by no means meant as a cut...because this short album (just over 36 minutes in length) features some great soaring melodies. The playing is tight and spirited...and the vocals right on target throughout. Top picks: "Mountain Man," "Non-Believer," "You Got Me," "My Love." (Rating: 4+++)

deVries - Death to God (CD, Noise on Noise, Pop)
deVries is Travis deVries who was originally in the Seattle, Washington-based band The Turn-Ons. Death To God was some time in the making. The album was originally recorded in Seattle in 2007 with assistance from friends and members of The Turn-Ons. The album was later mixed in 2008 and is only now being released by the folks at Noise on Noise. deVries has since moved to New York where he has assembled a group of musicians for live performances (Dan Olivo, Sean Gibbons, Lisa Aguilar, Marco Echanove). Death To God features hazy, distant pop tracks that are simultaneously subdued, hummable, and introspective. Travis has a great understated vocal style that works perfectly here. Instead of predictable pop, God features fourteen melodic, dreamy tracks including "Boys Are Bores," "What A Wasted Life," "Slowing Down," and "Wherever You Are." At times some of the tracks on this album remind us of The Television Personalities. Cool reflective music with a heart. (Rating: 5+)

Elco Deck - Winters Gun (Independently released CD, Pop/soul/funk)
This cool little CD arrived in our mailbox without any accompanying press release and/or information on the band. Eiko Peck is the main driving force in the band Elco Deck. Although housed in a decidedly underground-looking digipak sleeve, Peck's music is surprisingly accessible and packs some major commercial punch. Instead of churning out abstract atonal artsy crap, Eiko and his band churn out totally upbeat funk/soul/pop tunes where the major emphasis is on vocal melodies. The sound quality is excellent...and the arrangements feature some very precise horn and string arrangements that push these tunes to the next level. Peck has an amazing soulful voice that is the perfect centerpiece for these tracks. Exceptionally catchy cuts include "Wake With the Wind Calling," "Don't Save," and "Fall Away." Totally groove-driven pop stuff. (Rating: 4++++)



Your arms don't matter.
Your legs don't matter.
Your teeth don't matter.
Your head don't matter.

(Rating: 1)



If your house catches fire
Stay inside with
Your family
And burn.

(Rating: 1)

Josh Fix - This Town Is Starting To Make Me Angry (CD EP, Flop of the Century, Pop)
In most cases when everyone is drooling all over themselves over a new artist it's usually just a lot of overheated hoo-hah over nothing. But in the case of Josh Fix...the drooling is not only called for but well-deserved. This guy's got it all...great songs, great lyrics...and the right kind of attitude to make it all work. Folks who have been in search of the new Ben Folds will probably be gushing all over themselves when they hear Josh sing. He's not a Folds copycat...far from it. But his music has all the same soaring pop elements that make Ben's music so appealing. So many folks seem to be singing this guy's praises...let's just hope it doesn't go to his head because at this point in time...he is most certainly hitting a real peak. Highly recommended. (Rating: 5+++)



Love your

(Rating: 1)

Lita Ford - Wicked Wonderland (CD, J L R G Entertainment, Rock/pop)
After a 15 year break, Lita Ford returns with her first full-length album since 1995's Black. Produced by husband Jim Gillette, Wicked Wonderland is a thick hard-hitting batch of modern heavy metal for the masses. This is over-the-edge stuff...so if you are a purist, you probably won't get into the incredibly thick overproduced sound here. At times there is so much going on that it boggles the mind. For listeners into a commercialized death/goth/heavy metal kind of sound (i.e., Marilyn Manson), however, this is probably about as good as it gets in 2009. Lita's voice sounds great and the sound quality is excellent. To be honest, this really isn't our kinda thing...but we still found several tracks on this disc to be rather interesting. Includes a book with some killer photographs of Ford who is undoubtedly one hell of a photogenic babe... (Not Rated)

Foreign Cinema - Non-Synchronous Sound (CD EP, Parallax Sounds, Progressive pop)
Foreign Cinema is the project spearheaded by Dave Han and Natalie Silva. This is a very short CD clocking in at just under 20 minutes. But on these four tracks these folks prove they have the talent and skills to deliver the goods. Non-Synchronous Sound presents lengthy subdued pop tunes with a heavy emphasis on rhythm and cool dreamy sounds. Neither shoegazer nor slo-core...these progressive cuts emphasize some surprisingly effective vocal melodies. Well done. (Rating: 5+)

Freedom - Black On White (CD, Angel Air, Pop)
This is an interesting and unique piece of musical history. Freedom was formed in 1976 by Bobby Harrison and Ray Royer, both of whom were previously in the band Procol Harum (before being dismissed due to internal disagreements). Shortly after forming the group, Harrison and Royer were commissioned by Italy's Dino De Laurentis to record a score for the film Black On White. The film was an interesting experimental project and is probably best remembered as a film that existed without dialogue (the lyrics in these songs served to tell the story). Not surprisingly, these songs hold up well without the visuals. Our guess is that these tracks were lifted from the original master tapes because there is some minor muffling and/or tape damage that can occasionally be heard. In addition to the original tracks included in the film, this deluxe edition also includes four bonus tracks...making it the best official snapshot of the original line-up of the band. The sound quality may be dated...but the songs themselves have held up well... (Rating: 5)

Ace Frehley - Anomaly (CD, Bronx Born, Pop/rock)
We never cared for the band Kiss...not even when they released their debut album (which was the only thing they ever released that was even slightly listenable). So when the new Ace Frehley album found its way to our trusty ol' mailbox, we weren't quite sure what to expect. We always try to give albums a chance even if we weren't impressed with the artist and/or band in the past. And in this case, we're glad we did. Even though Kiss burned out long, long ago yet still continues to churn out crap for bucks...on his own, Ace Frehley presents surprisingly real and credible pop/rock that could easily be enjoyed by just about anyone. Anomaly spins like a non-stop string of oughta-be hits. The album contains a mix of originals and covers...with the most notable surprise being the more-than adequate cover of The Sweet's "Fox On The Run"...which actually sounds much, much better than the original. Killer guitars, throbbing rhythms, and excellent lead vocals...Frehley's music has almost nothing in common with the stuff churned out by his "other" band. And that is a very, very good thing. Housed in a totally killer cardboard foldout sleeve. (Rating: 5)

Gamer - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack: Music Composed by Robert Williamson and Geoff Zanelli (CD, Lakeshore, Soundtrack)
This is an interesting soundtrack for a variety of reasons. The album begins with the cover tunes "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" by Marilyn Manson and "The Bad Touch" by The Bloodhound Gang...and then comes to a conclusion with a medley of tunes by Sammy Davis, Jr. (?!?). But the music in the middle is the real meat here. Tracks three through twenty-two are original compositions created by Robert Williamson and Geoff Zanelli. These two fellows have created soundtrack music that is a perfect fit for a film about mind control technology. The tracks have a huge thick sound and combine elements from classical music with industrial techno rock from the 1990s and beyond. Thrilling and intense cuts include "Deathmatch," "Upgrades," "You Have to Escape," and "I Think It. you Do It." Lots of mind-boggling disturbing sounds. If you think all soundtracks sound the same, think again. This one comes from a completely different universe... (Rating: 5+)

The Gears - Rockin' At Ground Zero (Double CD, Hepcat, Rock/pop)
Impressive double CD package that presents the critical recordings of the band The Gears, a Los Angeles, California-based band who made music from 1978 to 1982. For the first time ever, this set collects all the essential recordings made by this band. The first disc (Rockin' At Ground Zero) presents the band's 1980 LP along with their first single ("Let's Go To The Beach") and five never-before-released tracks. As an ultra-bonus, this set includes a second CD (Rare Cuts) that presents a comprehensive overview of studio recordings by The D.I.'s (including the entire EP Lock and Load which was produced by Billy Zoom). There's a wealth of material to take in here...a total of 55 (!) tracks in all. Fans of power pop/punk and buzzsaw pop will find this to be an intriguing missing piece of the puzzle... (Rating: 4++++)

Gene The Werewolf - Light Me Up (Independently released CD EP, Pop/rock)
Calculated, schmaltzy, premeditated, predictable, and full of generic hooks. But the surprise is...Light Me Up contains some absolutely killer tunes (!!!). We had to listen to this EP a few times before we realized that these guys are actually doing a satire of hard rock/pop bands. The line in the song "Make Love" first tipped us off: "I wanna make love to you until you don't even matter." Haw haw HAW!!! We love bands with a sense of humor...and these guys most definitely do. The guys in Gene The Werewolf are based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. We're sure they have their share of detractors because of their intense in-your-face approach. But while other bands are meekly roaming around the planet not doing much of anything...these guys are making a real impression. This isn't a perfect EP as the fourth track is kinda ruined by some rap crapping but...other than than, this little disc ROCKS. Killer upbeat ought-be hits include "Superhero," "Heart Attack," and "I've Got The Love." Super tight musicians presenting super slick songs that could easily sell millions. (Rating: 5)

Lisa Germano - Magic Neighbor (CD, Young God, Soft puzzling pensive pop)
Reflective strange modern lullabies for people with a heightened sense of perception. Lisa Germano's music has touched us more deeply than any other artist in the twenty-first century. Sometimes music serves the simple purpose of providing entertainment...but in other cases music can go farther than that...much, much farther. In our constant search for music that is unique and genuine, Germano wins the top prize. Her sound is so highly stylized that at this point in time she has no competitors. She operates in a unique genre of music that she herself has created. Magic Neighbor picks up where Germano's last album (In The Maybe World) left off. The melodies are heavenly...strangely hypnotic and trippy. The lyrics come straight from the heart (as always). And music itself is peculiar and strangely absorbing. And at the heart of the songs are those heavenly vocals...strikingly subtle yet amazing vocals that can evoke real emotion in the minds of listeners. Lisa is obviously not making music for money. If she were, she wouldn't be recording these types of albums. It would be a lot easier to just create the kind of simple mindless dribble that appeals to average anybodies. This eleven track album reveals more of what we already knew. This incredible lady's music just keeps getting better and better. Over time, more and more people will look back and realize that Lisa Germano was one of the most important recording artists of this decade. Until that time...her relatively small yet passionately devoted fans will follow her anywhere she chooses to go. Music so decidedly beautiful that it is difficult to describe with mere words. Initial favorites: "Marypan," "Kitty Train," "The Prince of Plati," "Magic Neighbor," "Snow," and "Cocoon." It just doesn't get any better than this...ever. Highly recommended. (Rating: 6+++)

Globes On Remote - The Woo-Hoo-Hoo (Independently released CD, Pop)
The debut album from Los Angeles, California's Globes On Remote. The band consists of Stephen Andrews, Tawny Carson, Kevin Ignatius, and Daniel Medina...four folks who claim to have been influenced by artists such as Tom Tom Club, Hall and Oates, Michael Jackson, and Huey Lewis (hardly the kind of ultra-cool underground artists most musicians would want to be associated with). Considering the high profile reference points, we were surprised to find the tunes on The Woo-Hoo-Hoo have much more in common with twenty-first century underground pop bands in the United States and Great Britain. The band recorded, mixed, and produced the album themselves but did seek outside assistance for mastering. The album has a nice slick sound...straightforward...never overproduced...and full of the genuine spirit of a young group of musicians who are having fun recording music. Cool fresh cuts include "Hi Kix," "Robit Attack," "Bear Falls From Sky," and "Nation-Building." Nice hummable stuff with good solid beats. (Rating: 5)

Grassmarket - Port City (Independently released CD, Folk/pop)
The debut full-length release from Grassmarket. This short album (that clocks in at just under 30 minutes) presents some mighty smooth and intricate soft pop tunes with slight hints of country, folk, and bluegrass. These folks aren't going the easy route with their music. Instead of clobbering listeners over their heads with volume and/or originality, the three musicians in this band seem to be driven by pure inspiration. And you can definitely hear plenty of inspiration on these ten tracks. Extremely strong melodies and superb vocals abound here...as this trio casually lets their music flow in the most natural way possible. The more we spin this one...the better these tracks sound. Impressive compositions include "Endless Summer," "This is the Life," "Heartful," "Road Often Traveled," and "I'm Gonna Make a Great Fossil." This one's bound to catch on instantly with a lot of listeners... (Rating: 5+)

John Wort Hannam - Queen's Hotel (CD, Black Hen Music, Folk/pop)
The fourth full-length release from John Wort Hannam. Hannam used to teach but in the mid-1990s he heard an album by Loudon Wainwright III that changed his life. Shortly afterward he bought a guitar and began making music. Produced by Steve Dixon (an incredible artist whose music we highly recommend), Queen's Hotel is chock full of pensive folky/pop with a smooth organic sound and feel. Interestingly, the album was recorded almost entirely live...only a few harmony vocals were later added. In addition to Hannam, the players include Dawson on dobro, John Reischman on mandolin and mandola, Rob Becker on upright bass, Geoff Hicks on percussion, and Jeanne Tolmie, Tyler Bird, and Jenny Whiteley on backing vocals. In an age of throwaway music, the tunes on this album come across like crystal clear mountain water. Smooth, cool, credible cuts include "With the Grain," "Church of the Long Grass," "Worth a Damn," and "Lucky Strikes." (Rating: 5+)



Now is a very happy time
And everything is good.
Every day is a happy day
When things go as they

(Rating: 1)

Caroline Herring - Golden Apples of the Sun (Advance CD-R, Signature Sounds, Soft pop/folk)
Really classy modern folk/pop. Caroline Herring's music recalls classic folk/pop artists from the 1960s like Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell, and Judy Collins. On Golden Apples of the Sun, Caroline proves that when you have genuine talent, you don't need tons of backing instruments and state-of-the-art technology. This album presents twelve tunes very simply and without unnessary fanfare. Along with Herring originals, she covers tunes by the previously mentioned Joni Mitchell and Cyndi Lauper as well as traditional bluegrass and blues tunes. Caroline has a voice that is mesmerizing and real...and a perfect fit for the pensive, simple sound of her music. This album should appeal to fans of artists on the Rounder label. We would have liked to have seen the actual complete release on this one rather than an advance CD-R. As such, this one definitely gets a thumbs up...but only a partial review because we received only part of the actual final product... (Not Rated)

Michael Hurley - Ida Con Snock (CD, Midheaven, Folk/pop)
Talk about an unconventional career path... Michael Hurley's musical career began way back in 1965 when his debut album First Songs was released on the Folkways Records label. Shortly afterward he was signed to Raccoon Records (Warner Bros.) for his second and third albums. He then moved in with Peter Stampfel of The Holy Modal Rounders...which resulted in about 15 years' worth of collaborations. More recently Hurley has played with Giant Sand's rhythm section and has toured with Son Volt, Lucinda Williams, Smog, and Palace Brothers. And now on this, his twenty-first full-length release, Michael is backed by New York's Ida. Ida Con Snock is a smooth ride featuring seven originals and five cover tunes. True to the claim of the press release that accompanied this disc, Hurley shows no signs of fading or burning out. His highly stylized sound has stood the test of time well. Twelve modern classics here including "It Must Be Gelatine," "Valley of Tears," "I Can't Help Myself," and "Any Ninny Any." (Rating: 5)

I Love You - Bell Ord Forrest (CD, Joyful Noise Recordings, Progressive pop/rock)
The real name of this band is Yah Tibyah La Blu...which, translated from Russian, means I Love You. (The band made the wise decision to change the name to something that could at least be pronounced by the average American listener.) This band is the duo of Justin Randel and Charlie Mylie who call Kansas City, Missouri their home. Bell Ord Forrest is a strange spin indeed. Instead of treading in one genre of music, these guys create wildly inventive stuff that goes all over the map and back. We can hear traces of a variety of artists here including (but not limited to) Brian Eno, Nine Inch Nails, Ultravox, and The Flaming Lips. Plenty of electronic experimentation going on...and yet many of the songs are surprisingly listener friendly and accessible. Crazy cuts include "The Colloquialism Is Simply Gas," "Cliff Drive Nights," and "Sorry I Drank Your Soda." Goofy and unpredictable...with slight hints of subtle insanity. (Rating: 5)



You can beat your pets.
You can beat your spouse.
You can beat your children.
You can beat anything you

(Rating: 1)

The Lovely Eggs - If You Were Fruit (CD, Happy Happy Birthday To Me, Pop/rock)
Fresh young guitar pop with attitude. The Lovely Eggs is the duo consisting of David and Holly (the latter of whom used to be in the band Angelica)...two musicians who met in Paris and then later started their band in an apartment over a jewelry shop in Lancaster, England. David and Holly's music is extremely reminiscent of underground pop/rock bands in the United States in the early to mid-1990s. Some of the tracks on If You Were Fruit remind us very much of the debut album from Boston's Fuzzy. The songs are presented simply without unnecessary overdubs and sounds getting in the way of the songs themselves. Fruit, the band's debut album, was originally released in the United Kingdom on the Cherryade label. Now, thanks to the fine folks at HHBTM, music fans in the U.S. can hear these folks' groovy sound. Cool stuff with a different sort of kick. (Rating: 5)

Map - Speechless (CD, Velvet Blue Music, Pop)
We get mighty excited here in the ultra-plush babysue office suites whenever we receive a new Map release. Not surprisingly, Speechless once again...delivers the goods. Although our guess is that the band's fans may be somewhat confused by the approach taken this time around. As the title implies, much of this album is instrumental...only two tracks feature vocals. As such, this mostly-instrumental album forces the listener to focus on the band's music and melodies rather than simply latching onto lyrics. We already loved these guys' guitar sounds...but somehow with that being the main focus this time around the guitars seem/sound even more spectacular and effervescent. So...why the lack of vocals? According to guitarist/vocalist Josh Dooley: "I was dealing with some family issues at the time I was recording, so I [also] didn't want to have any lyrical content that I would regret later." Interesting. To be completely honest, we probably prefer the band Map with vocals...most likely for the simple reason that the vocals sound so damn good. But we can certainly follow the band in this, their latest curious endeavor. Instrumentals rarely sound this smooth and personable... (Rating: 5++)



Math don't

(Rating: 1)

Mark Matos & Os Beaches - Words of the Knife (CD, Porto Franco, Pop)
Although this is the debut release from this particular group (Mark Matos & Os Beaches), according to the press release this is a "group of Mission District veterans who might be insulted if you called it a debut." That's probably because Matos is also in the band Campo Bravo and his accompanying players are all well-tempered veterans of the San Francisco music scene. Words of the Knife may be different from what you'd expect. If this represents the new sound of San Francisco, many people will probably be surprised to hear the soft, subdued sounds on this album and, in particular, the nice soothing pedal steel guitar in the background. Lots of musicians took part in the recording of these tracks. In addition to Matos, nine additional players are featured. The tunes are a cool mixture of folk, pop, Americana, and country...and they are all delivered with fine-tuned restraint. Mark has a cool, reflective, resonant voice that is the perfect centerpiece for these songs. Top picks: "Hired Hand," "The Moving," "Warrior & The Thief." (Rating: 5)

Genevieve Maynard & The Tallboys - The Hollow Way (Independently released CD, Soft folky pop)
The third full-length release from Sydney, Australia's Genevieve Maynard (who was previously in the bands Stella One Eleven and Bughouse)...and the first to feature her playing with the band The Tallboys (Richard Anderson, Stephen Campbell, Geoff Martin, Bryce Jacobs, and Brian Cachia). Although she's been making music for quite some time, for us The Hollow Way serves as an introduction. And what an introduction it is. After hearing this, we can't help but want to go back and get turned on by Genevieve's prior recordings. She writes and records wonderfully understated pensive soft pop...and her voice has that wonderfully inviting resonant quality that made Karen Carpenter such a favorite for so many people. But don't think you're going to hear calculated commercial pop like The Carpenters here...because the songs and the overall sound are markedly different. Instead of crafting catchy calculated pop hits, Maynard and her pals present sparse and slightly moody tunes that reveal different sides of her personality. The songs have a nice organic sound and flow by like ocean waves. After hearing this...we are now proud followers of Ms. Maynard. This lady is genuinely talented and her music comes across sounding 100% sincere and real. Cool tracks include "Ripped," "Green Beads," "Slow Sad Song," and "Take Me Home." Recommended. (Rating: 5++)

Milks and Rectangles - Civic Virtues (CD, Night Danger, Pop/rock)
That's not a typo...the band name actually is Milks and Rectangles (the word "milk" is supposed to be plural). We rarely review EPs...but when we do it means there's something kinda special going on. This Charlottestown, Prince Edward Island-based quartet has been around since 2005...and apparently since that time they've caught the attention of quite a few folks around the world. Civic Virtues is a nice, smooth spin featuring nifty pop tunes that sound something like a cross between The New Pornographers and The Kinks (more the former than the latter). The songs are presented simply without unnecessary ingredients getting in the way of the vocal melodies. Cool catchy cuts include "Armchair General," "Slander Debunked," and "Motel Fire Drill." (Rating: 5)

Helen Money - In Tune (CD, Radium / Table of the Elements, Cello/instrumental/modern classical)
We've been big fans of the cello for decades. Whether used in classical, pop, jazz, or rock...the instrument has a really wonderful warm resonant sound that is almost always engaging and inviting. Lots of folks have used the instrument in various strange ways...but perhaps few have pushed things as far as Helen Money. Helen Money is actually Alison Chesley who lives in Chicago, Illinois. One of the things that makes Chesley's sound unique is the fact that she plays her cello through an amplifier and uses guitar effects to alter the sound. The result...is some startling and sometimes intense sounds that we've never heard from a cello player. Despite the fact that Alison has played with an array of well-known artists, at this point in time she is still largely unknown. And our guess is that--if she continues making albums like In Tune--that isn't likely to change anytime soon. Music fans wanting easy comfortable music won't find it here. The tracks on this album range from smooth and serene to obtuse and bizarre. Chesley isn't afraid to challenge her listeners or take them places they haven't been before. Intricate bewildering cuts include "MF," "Sagrada," "Political Song for Michael Jackson," and "Everything I Am Thinking." Wild stuff. Recommended. (Rating: 5++)

Monsters of Folk - Monsters of Folk (CD, Shangri-La Music, Folky pop)
Monsters of Folk is a band composed of underground celebrities from other bands: Conor Oberst and Mike Mogis (both from Bright Eyes), Jim James (from My Morning Jacket), and M. Ward (from She & Him). Underground celebrity bands usually form to create music that is abstract and ultra-weird. Accordingly, the thing that may shock people about this band is how extraordinarily commercial the music is (?!?). This self-titled album features tracks that could easily be appreciated by the masses. That said, this is most certainly not junk. Instead, Monsters of Folk compositions are credible, soft, pensive, folky pop tunes with a difference. The melodies are strong...and the arrangements are varied and precise. We had to spin this album several times before coming the conclusion that this l'il sucker is just full of cool gems. Top picks include "Sat Please," "The Right Place," "Man Named Truth," "Magic Marker," and "His Master's Voice." We liked these guys' other bands...but we like Monsters of Folk even more. Recommended. (Rating: 5++)

Moodring - Scared of Ferret (CD, Silber, Instrumental/experimental)
This is an odd album...even by the admittedly strange standards set by the folks at North Carolina's Silber label (!?). Trying to describe the songs on Scared of Ferret is a difficult task...so perhaps the best way of giving you an indication of what to expect can be gained from a line in the press release: "The music is so raw and infectious and immediate that it feels more proto-everything than post-anything." That's probably a very good way of summing things up. Moodring songs seem to incorporate ideas and elements from some of the more obtuse progressive British dinosaur bands from the 1970s...all the while delivering their music from a decidedly twenty-first century perspective. A word of warning. If you're looking for accessible music, you won't find it here. These tracks are peculiar, odd, unfamiliar, and experimental. The current band consists of Mae Starr, Monte Trent Allen, Jesse Stevens, and Michael Braun Hamilton. Strange intoxicating cuts include "Pole Cat Intro," "#9," "The Weasel," and "Ricketts." Perplexing music from a unique perspective. Recommended. (Rating: 5++)

Morningbell - Sincerely, Severely (CD, Orange, Pop)
The fourth full-length release from Morningbell. These folks have a sound that is instantly satisfying and totally gratifying. The band consists of Travis Atria, Eric Atria, Stacie Atria, and Chris Hillman. These folks write and record an intriguing brand of modern pop that is laced with subtle hints of funk and soul...which add a really cool genuine feel to the music. In addition to the four musicians in the band, Sincerely, Severely also features the talents of no less than eighteen (!) guest musicians. But instead of having a murky overproduced sound, the tracks on this album come across like sparkling clear blasts of spring water. The tunes are, for the most part, accessible and danceable...but they are also completely viable in terms of artistic credibility. To quote from the promo sticker on the front of this album: "Guitar takes a back seat to bass and drums for an album that evokes everything from Curtis Mayfield and neo soul to Tom Waits and African drumming." That's a pretty good summation of what's going on here. Or perhaps to put it more bluntly...we fucking love it! The vocal melodies are spectacular. Killer tracks include "Let's Not Lose Our Heads," 'Soul Ma'am," "The Blue Whale and The Fly," and "It Was All Mondays." Recommended. (Rating: 5++)

MV & EE - Barn Nova (CD, Ecstatic Peace!, Progressive)
MV is Matt Valentine (Tower Recordings) and EE is Erika Elder (Heroine Celestial Agriculture, The MV & EE Medicine Show). Barn Nova (the duo's fourth full-length release) is a different sort of spin as Valentine and Elder delve into the more obtuse side of modern progressive pop. Sounds, ideas, and influences romp all over the range here as these two musicians present eight unpredictable tunes peppered with plenty of inviting creativity. Surprisingly, some of the vocal melodies border on sounding almost normal...but the strange arrangements will probably frighten away those who prefer more standard and familiar sounding music. This album isn't an easy fix. You will probably need to spin Nova a dozen times or so before the tunes begin to sink in. But the good news...is that these tracks are substantial. Instead of wearing thin the first week, you will probably learn to love these songs in complex ways over the course of several weeks or months. Top picks: "Feelin' Fine," "Summer Magic," "Fully Tanked." Heady and slightly psychedelic. (Rating: 5+)

N'dambi - Pink Elephant (CD, Stax, Soul/pop)
Truly excellent slick modern soul/pop...! There is so much calculated techno soul/pop dribble tossed around on the planet in the twenty-first century that it would be very easy for a listener to become jaded and burned out on the genre. But, at least for us...all it took was one spin of Pink Elephant to renew our faith in modern soul/pop. N'dambi has a great voice...a really great damn voice...and on this album, she uses it for all its worth (and then some). Amazingly, this is the debut album (!) from this superbly talented young lady from Dallas, Texas. Produced by Leon Sylvers III (who has worked with Shalamar, Gladys Knight, The Whispers, and more), this album contains all the intoxicating ingredients that made 1970 soul music so appealing...but the overall sound is very current and utilizes the latest technology. From our own unique perspective, Elephant might just be the best soul/pop album we've yet to hear in the twenty-first century. Cool groove-oriented cuts include "L.I.E.," "What It Takes," "Take It Out," and "Imitator." Highly recommended. (Rating: 5+++)

Nine Below Zero - Its Never Too Late (CD, Angel Air, Bluesy pop/rock)
The guys in Nine Below Zero celebrate their 30th anniversary with the release of Its Never Too Late. The band consists of Dennis Greaves, Gerry McAvoy, Brendan O'Neill, and Mark Feltham. This band's music is not unlike Huey Lewis and the News (lots of harmonica threaded in the tunes)...except the songs are not nearly as calculated and commercial. Twelve tracks here delivered simply and without unnecessary fanfare. Greaves' voice sounds impeccable from start to finish. Top picks: "Mechanic Man," "Breakin' Down," "I'm So Alone," "Fairweather Friends." (Rating: 4++++)

The Old Man and His Po Buckra - Taxes (CD EP, Ever Reviled, Folk/progressive)
The debut CD from The Old Man and His Po Buckra. Taxes is a difficult disc to describe and/or rate because there are so few easy frames of reference. This music sounds really different...and that's probably an understatement. These sparse spooky tracks feature some of the creepiest vocals we have heard in quite a while...but the music itself is rather restrained and subdued. It's kinda like hearing what Tom Waits might sound like if he was breathing his last few breaths. Or perhaps what Don Van Vliet might sound like when he turns 90. Sorta folky...sorta bluesy...sorta bizarre...Taxes is bound to perplex almost everyone. An interesting collection of tunes to be certain. We're not going to rate this one at present because...well, we want you to make up your own mind in this particular case... (Not Rated)

Orquesta La Palabra - Musicholic (CD, Tornillo, Cuban/dance)
La Palabra was born in Cuba and raised in Detroit...and now makes music that incorporates all the elements from his diverse background. Musicholic presents modern techno/dance pop with a heavy cuban influence. The tracks feature complex multi-rhythms and thick arrangements that give the album a nice big fat thick sound that ought to go over like wildfire at late night nightclubs around the world. The real pulsing heartbeat in these tracks are La Palabra's smooth heartfelt vocals. This guy has a voice that will undoubtedly make the ladies go wild. Cool heady dance tracks include "I Hope You Dance," "Beautiful Girl," "Unleash Her Heart," and "Caimanera." (Rating: 4++++)

Parlour Steps - The Hidden Names (CD, Nine Mile, Rock/pop)
The folks in Parlour Steps write and record songs that sound something like a more smooth and subdued cross between The New Pornographers, Miniature Tigers, Ben Folds, and even the poppier side of The Smashing Pumpkins (at times). This Vancouver-based quintet is doing everything right. They have a nice accessible poppy sound that is centered around super smooth inviting vocals...and their songs are instantly catchy and memorable. Plus...they've got the right folks promoting their music (Team Clermont and Killbeat...both of which only seem to work with genuinely cool credible artists). Our guess is that Parlour Steps will first be embraced by underground pop fans around the world...and then shortly afterward be welcomed with open arms by the general public. Their music balances on that fine line where commercial pop meets artistic integrity. The Hidden Names is chock full of oughta-be hits...including "As The World Turned Out," "Soft Lies," "Blindness," and "Mad Mad Day." Truly neat stuff... (Rating: 5+)

Joel Plaskett - Three (Triple CD, Maple Music Recordings, Pop)
A triple CD...? Young singer/songwriter Joel Plaskett has bitten off quite a chunk here. And the amazing part is...it all works. Okay, so we have to admit that the music on these three discs could have easily been compacted onto two CDs. But because Plaskett was immersed in the idea of "threes" during the recording of this album, the tracks were (appropriately) divided between three discs. You would think that--with this much material--there would be a vast amount of crap/filler cramping the sound. But...not so. Three is amazingly coherent and consistent. Joel writes what could probably best be described as classic modern pop. His songs are well-crafted and feature wonderfully refined melodies and arrangements that fit the tunes to a T. Some pop albums enter your subconscious and then after a couple of months you forget all about them. Three is one of those cases where the music will be around for years...no, make that decades...to come. Nothing but killer stuff here. Our initial favorites include "Every Time You Leave," "Pine, Pine, Pine," "Wishful Thinking," "Sailors Eyes," "Demons," "One Look," and "All the Way Down the Line." Fantastic stuff, highly recommended. (Rating: 5+++)

Scene of Action - 20 Minute Hourglass (CD, Popsmear, Pop/rock)
An appropriately-titled EP as this disc lasts almost exactly 20 minutes. San Francisco, California's Scene of Action have a big, thick, hard-rocking sound that is bound to appeal to teeners and young college kids. The songs have melodies that flow by like a wild roller coaster ride and the guitars sound big, thick, and nasty. Produced by Scott Llamas and Joel Montgomery, these tracks pack quite a punch. Neat cuts include "Jaded," "What's A Boy To Do," and "You Pardon Me." Smart and cool rockin' stuff... (Rating: 4+++)

Sea Wolf - White Water, White Bloom (CD, Dangerbird, Progressive pop)
The second full-length release from Sea Wolf which is the project created/spearheaded by Alex Brown Church. This band was originally just Church creating recordings in his home...but has now blossomed into a full-blown band with an impressive cast of musicians. White Water, White Bloom was produced by Mike Mogis (who also plays on the album) and features the talents of Lisa Fendelander (keyboards), Ted Liscinski (bass), Joey Ficken (drums), and Nate Walcott (cello, string arrangements). Church writes smart, intelligent songs that don't fit the mold. Although the tunes could best be described as pop, the melody lines are by no means predictable and samey...and the songs don't follow that verse/chorus/verse/chorus kind of mold. The CD is housed inside a beautiful cardboard foldout sleeve and (get this) includes a foldout lyric sheet on which the lyrics are printed large enough to actually read (!). And you will definitely want to read along because Alex comes up with some really nice, genuine words that add credibility to his (already) enduring music. This intoxicatingly beautiful ten track album features total keepers like "Wicked Blood," "Turn the Dirt Over," "Spirit Horse," and "Winter's Heir." Recommended. (Rating: 5++)

The Sextons - The Sextons (Independently released CD-R, Pop)
Nice, free-flowing smooth melodic pop from Minnesota's The Sextons. This self-titled album is the debut from these four fellows...but it has the sound and maturity of a group that has been playing together for years. The band is driven by the songwriting talents of Eric Moeckel...a fellow whose voice bears a striking resemblance to Freddie Mercury at times (but not nearly as forced). Rounding out the band are Adam Fekete (Subdivider), Jake Nyberg, and Adam Tucker (Nobot). These eight tracks were engineered, mixed, and mastered by Tucker and produced by the other band members. These fellows are off on a strong footing here...presenting credible, strong cuts like "Full of Holes," "Escape Plan," "Tracks In Fog," and "Post-Fade." Nice classy stuff, presented with style... (Rating: 5)

Special Patrol - The Stranger's Dozen (Independently released CD, Pop)
The third full-length release from Australia's Special Patrol. We were enjoying the smooth pop sounds on this album...but when we heard "Hot Air Balloon" we became instantly interested in this band. The tune is a super simple easy pop track that, in a perfect world, would be a hugely successful hit single. Because we were so blown away by that particular tune, we kept playing this CD over and over...and eventually warmed up to just about every song on this album. The folks in this band have a very simple, direct, sparse sound that is centered around vocal melodies and lyrics. There are no cutesy studio gimmicks and the folks in the band look like regular people. After spinning this album about ten or fifteen times...we finally decided that it had to be a top pick this month. There's so much to like here...hummable melodies...excellent understated vocals...inspired playing...and, above all, the songs themselves. Killer smooth pop cuts include "In Between You and Me," "Ordinary Life," "Hot Air Balloon," and "Like I Loved You Then." Recommended. (Rating: 5++)

Spring Tigers - Spring Tigers (CD, Bright Antenna, Progressive pop)
A short disc...perhaps way too short...because it leaves the listener wanting more. The guys in Spring Tigers have a bright upbeat catchy pop sound with driving rhythms and infectious melodies. Only six songs here...but they immediately capture these guys' sound and spirit. This will definitely whet everyones' appetites for the band's next full-length. Catchy underground poppers include "Car Song," "Beep Beep," and "Stripmalls in the Sun." Effervescent and heady pop with a difference. (Rating: 5+)

Supercluster - Waves (Independently released CD, Progressive pop)
Supercluster is an appropriately-titled underground superstar group from Athens, Georgia. The band members are Randy Bewley (now deceased), Bill David, John Fernandes, Bob Hay, Vanessa Briscoe Hay, Hannah Jones, and Kay Stanton (Pylon fans should take note that two of the band members are included here). So...what do Supercluster songs sound like...? A strange conglomeration actually. The tracks on this album sound something like a cross between Pylon and The B-52's...with a heavy dose of modern twenty-first century progressive pop thrown in for good measure. Some of the songs are rockers...while others are more mellow and subdued. After spinning this disc several times we're still not quite sure what to make of it. It's an interesting endeavor to be certain. We will be curious to see what direction these folks head to next... (Not Rated)

SwampDaWamp - Rock This Country (CD, Big Penny Entertainment, Rock/pop)
The guys in North Carolina's SwampDaWamp return with an album that is sure to please the fans and bring in plenty more. This band has a big, rockin' bluesy sound that really goes over like wildfire with folks who like to drink. The band's music is loud and funky...with the central focus being the incredibly gravely, sexy vocals provided by Gig Michaels (the guy has a deep throaty roar of a voice that has to be heard to be believed). The band's last EP (SwampDaWamp 2.0) had the fans jumping...Rock This Country will have 'em running to snatch up concert tickets. Slick stuff...that still retains the crucial elements so vital for this particular style of music. Cool hard pop/rockers include "Lady," "Good God," "Half My Life," and "Stoned." (Rating: 4++++)

The Swimmers - People Are Soft (Advance CD-R, Mad Dragon, Pop)
We were huge, huge fans of Fighting Trees, the debut album from The Swimmers. So much so that we wondered how the band could possibly outdo themselves with a follow-up. As much as we love some of the tracks on People Are Soft, this album does not meet the admittedly high standards set by the band's first album. There are certainly some tracks that we will be spinning totally into the ground ("Shelter," "To The Bells," "Dresses Don't Fit")...but there are several other tracks that we just don't get ("Give Me The Sun" and "Try To Settle In" don't seem to work at all). What impressed us about the first album were the songs themselves...presented simply without other variables getting in the way of the vocal melodies. Soft seems to meander around with songs being secondary to studio effects and gimmicks. By no means a bad album (far from it!), Soft is a hit and miss affair. But we're not giving up hope by any means because we feel certain that these folks have a great deal more to offer in the very near future. We're not rating this one because we received an advance CD-R... (Not Rated)

Mark Sylvester - New Music for Banjo (Independently released CD, Banjo/instrumental/classical)
It isn't often that the banjo is used as a classical instrument. But for Mark Sylvester, the unusual use of the banjo sounds surprisingly normal and appropriate. New Music for Banjo is short...clocking in at just under 30 minutes. The disc presents nine tracks, most of which are (surprisingly) quite short (only two surpass the five minute mark). This album is presented in four sections. The first three songs involve oboe and cello, the next track is a solo composition, the third section (four songs) includes viola and bass, and the final track features a string quartet. Subtle, sparse, and strikingly beautiful...the banjo seems to bring out the more organic side of classical music. A refreshing change of pace... (Rating: 5+)

Taking Woodstock - Original Motion Picture Score: Music by Danny Elfman (CD, La-La Land, Motion picture score)
Taking Woodstock is a film about a man who accidentally finds himself involved in the planning and presentation of the Woodstock music festival in 1969. This film score presents a different sort of release from Danny Elfman. First, the score only lasts half an hour (a rarity in the world of film scores). And secondly because...much of the music on this album is based around electric and acoustic guitars (which, in order to fit the time period, was essential of course...). Elfman always seems able to change his sound to fit the style required...and on this album he (once again) succeeds magnificently. Without resorting to using a batch of familiar cover tunes, Elfman manages to recall the ideas and sounds of the artists who were making the music at the time. Another thing that makes this disc unique...is the length of the tracks. The majority of these compositions are under two minutes in length (!). Dazzling instrumental stuff that produces a heady high. (Rating: 5+)

Trick 'R Treat - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack: Music Composed by Douglas Pipes (CD, La-La Land, Soundtrack)
The soundtrack for the film Trick 'R Treat was created by composer Douglas Pipes, who is probably best known as the man behind the music in Monster House which earned him several nominations for awards: a Saturn Awards nomination for best music, an International Film Critics Association Award nomination for best new composer, and a nomination as composer discovery from the World Soundtrack Awards. The film Trick 'R Treat presents four interwoven stories that take place on Halloween night. Pipes presents eighteen trippy compositions here that clock in at just under an hour. We're big fans of soundtrack recordings...and this is undoubtedly one of the best to be released in 2009. Killer scary cuts include "Meet Charlie," "Toe The Quarry," "The Bus Driver," and "The Neighborhood." Freaky stuff with a big thick sound. (Rating: 5+)

JD Webb - The Introduction (CD, Infinite Music Group, Modern techno soul/pop)
JD Webb was originally in the band Raze before embarking on his solo career. The timing of The Introduction is excellent. The recent death of Michael Jackson has probably ignited a renewed interested in modern techno soul/pop...which is what this album is chock full of. Webb's music is slick...super slick and calculated...and layered with tons of vocal harmonies. JD's greatest strength is his voice. He has a soulful, precise voice that just oozes with personality. This album clocks in at an amazing 75 minutes and 27 seconds...way more than is normally offered on most current pop releases. Seventeen tracks of sparkling hummable modern soul/pop here. Top picks: "Better Man," "This Could Be Love," "Dance All Night," "Sky Is The Limit." (Rating: 4+++)

Why Make Clocks - These Things Are Ours (CD, Sleep On The Floor, Pop)
The last time we heard from the guys in Why Make Clocks was when they released their Midwestern Film album in October of 2006. We liked what we heard then...but we're even more impressed with the sounds we're hearing on These Things Are Ours. This, the Des Moines-based trio's third full-length release, features precisely effective and poignant progressive pop music with a difference. The tracks on this album are moody, subdued, and melodic...and ultimately filled with a genuine spirit that is rewarding and genuine. The promotional materials that accompanied this disc compared the band's sound to The Wrens, Pedro The Lion, and Guided By Voices. All of these comparisons hold true...but these folks are by no means copying or aping the sound of other bands. The songs are unique and real...and seemingly delivered with pure sincerity. Ten creative cuts here including "Self Impressions," "Bitter," "Checkmate," and "Sometimes." Recommended. (Rating: 5++)

David Widelock Trio - Skating On The Sidewalk (CD, Beegum, Jazz)
For every well-known musician on the planet there are hundreds...no make that thousands...of folks toiling away in the underground, often making music that is far more credible and real than the folks who are making the big bucks. Such is the case with David Widelock. Despite the fact that this California-based guitarist has been making music for more than three decades, his name is probably not familiar to most people...even though he has performed with some real biggies (Dave Brubeck, Lionel Hampton, Woody Shaw, and Mark Isham among others). In addition to Widelock on electric and acoustic guitars, Skating On The Sidewalk features the talents of Fred Randolph on acoustic and electric bass and Jim Kassis on drums. This is Widelock's first trio release since his album Too many Vitamins which was was released in 1985. The playing on these recordings is fluid and breezy...with a nice wide open sound that allows the listener to concentrate on the instruments at hand. The album features nine originals plus covers of Tom Waits' "Sixteen Shells From a 30-06" and Leadbelly's "Black Betty." Nice slick classic stuff from one of the great underground masters of the guitar. (Rating: 5+)

You Are Home - Phoney (CD-R EP, Sleep On The Floor, Progressive pop)
You Are Home is the one man band consisting of Matthew Dake. Phoney is an entirely instrumental disc...but these aren't the kind of instrumentals we are accustomed to hearing. Instead of computer-generated crap or technology driven progressive dinosaur music, these five tracks are simple and direct pieces with the main focus being live percussion and guitars. And instead of a super slick sound...the tracks on this disc have a nice, raw, rough sound that is particularly appealing. In some ways, Dake's approach to writing and recording reminds us of The Feelies. Rhythms drive the music in a big way with guitars utilized to strengthen and accentuate the rhythms. We particularly like the hard driving sounds we're hearing in "Damascus (Slow)." Interesting harsh stuff with a difference. (Rating: 4++++)



You go nowhere
When you are

You go nowhere
When you

(Rating: 1)

Mike Zito - Pearl River (CD, Eclecto Groove, Blues/rock/pop)
Folks into really cool blues guitar pop/rock should already be familiar with the music of Mike Zito. Over the past few years Zito has put out four independently released albums and one on the Eclecto Groove label (Today). With this, his second Eclecto Groove release, Zito secures his place as one of the preeminent modern American blues guitarists. Mike's main influences can be heard all over this album (Eddie Van Halen, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan). Pearl River is a sizzler of a disc. The album was co-produced by David Z. and Randy Chortkoff. The album has a nice slick sound...but never so slick as to water down the original intent and style behind the music. While the guitar playing will probably be what turns most folks on...just as engrossing are Mike's cool, deep, masculine vocals. Thirteen killer blues infected pop/rockers here including "Dirty Blonde," "One Step At A Time," and "All Last Night." The real thing with no additional filler. (Rating: 5)



Zoos aren't anywhere
That they are.
Zoos ain't anything
That they is.

(Rating: 1)

Additional Items Received:

Michel Ackermann - Kite
Air Waves - Air Waves
Al Atkins - Demon deceiver...plus
Arrivederci - Arrivederci
A Beautiful Curse - As it should be
Afghan Star - Original soundtrack recording
Alchemist - Chemical warfare
Verden Allen - My masochistic side
Anthem In - The cloudbusting EP
Arctic Sleep - Abysmal lullabies
Assy Fish-Bass - Bass in my ass
Atsiaktonkie - Four wolves prophecy
Jacob Augustine - Harmonia

Baak Gwai - Find a stranger in the alps
Norman Baker - The art of not knowing
Devendra Banhart - Baby EP
Barrel House - Open road
Bear in Heaven - Beast rest forth mouth
Beat Circus - Boy from black mountain
Christopher Bell - Cover EP
Sylvia Bennett - It's christmas time with sylvia bennett
Blackheart - Invisible
Black Mold - Snow blindness is crystal antz
Terence Blanchard Group - Choices
Bonnington Truce - Bonnington Truce
Boy Without God - Your body is your soul
Boz - Karma knows...
Brokencyde - I'm not a fan but the kids like it!
Bronze Radio Return - Old time speaker
Criag Buhler - Skykomish
Bunnygrunt - Matt Harnish and other delights
Buskin & Batteau - Red shoes and golden hearts

Candace Brooks Band - The chase
Candy - Candy
Castevet - Summer fences
Billy Catfish - Half a jug full = no deal
Circle Circle - Square square
Circular System - Signal morning
Co-defendants - The patdown
Color Turning - Good hands bad blood
Copilots - Escape through the trees
Shannon Corey - Overdue
Estrella Cristina - This is life

The DGB - Victory song
Marq DeSouza - & all his boyish charms
Don Diego - A new beginning
Ron Ray Band - On top of the heap
Mike Doughty - Sad man happy man
Downer Party - Ego-driven lust creatures
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde - Promo edition
Cornelius Dufallo - Dream streets
Dufus - In monstrous attitude

Brenda Earle - Songs for a new day
Early Hours - Falling elevators EP
Echelons - Don't kiss her face
Pauline Edwards - There comes a time
Eyes Set To Kill - The world outside
Eva & The Heartmaker - Let's keep this up forever
Evan and the Modern Human Show - A moose supreme

Fame - Original motion picture soundtrack
Family Curse - White medicine
Fans of Jimmy Century - Head go whoosh
Fonnie Fauss - New songs for the old frontier volume 1
Dodd Ferrelle - Lonely parades
Fighting the Villain - First impression
Lita Ford - A taste of...wicked wonderland
Dale Frane - 401K: Madness, greed and escape
Ad Frank and the Fast Easy Women - Your secrets are mine now
Fugitives - Find me
Funny People - Original motion picture soundtrack
Furious Seasons - Thank you for saturday

Anna Garrott - What a way to go
Glen Iris - "Horseless" b/w "Big Hatchet"
Alex Gomez - Love sex & drugs
Nicki Gonzalez - Moron love
Gospel Gossip - Dreamland
Grand Hallway - Promenade
Grass - Rogue waves
Groove Kings - Blood red

Hadley, Norman & Keeble - An evening of gold
Ben Cooley Hall - Owning up to a life
Trevor Hall - Trevor Hall
Hallelujah The Hills - Colonial drones (defective CD-R)
Will Hanson - Hope on top
Don Harvey - A dance in red
Bill Hart - This is why
HB3 - The veldt
Fritz Helder and the Phantoms - Greatest hits
Hi-Nobles - Shake!
Heavy Hometown - Action figures
Hollis Brown - Hollis Brown
Hot Cha Cha - The world's hardest working telescope & the violent birth of stars

In Cadeo - Making our graves
Inglorious Bastards - Motion picture soundtrack
Inspector Cluzo - Inspector Cluzo
Iron Horse - A boy named blue: The bluegrass tribute to the Goo Goo Dolls
The Iveys - The Iveys

Janus - Red right return
Cosmo Jarvis - Cosmo Jarvis
Jookabox - Dead zone boys
Simon Joyner - Out into the snow
Frank Jurgens - Last call at the tiki bar

Katastrophe - The worst amazing
Kennky and Leah - You and the night and the music
Kenny Young Project - Kenny Young Project
Kestrels - Primary colours
Kissing Cousins - Pillar of salt
Chris Knight - Trailer II
Greg Koons and the Misbegotten - Welcome to the nowhere motel
Kut - Doesn't matter anyway

Lazy Preacher - 4th & independent
John Lefebvre - Psallngs
Laneous and the Family-Yah - Laneous and the Family-Yah
Steeuart Liebig/The Mentones - Angel city dust
Little Tybee - I wonder which house the fish will live in
Little Tybee - Building a bomb
Jennifer Logue - The pretty EP
Los Explosives - Los Explosives
Lost Kisses - My life is sad and funny
Lower 48 - Everywhere to go
Lullwater - Forest for the trees

Gunnar Madsen - Two hands
Chris Marshall - Starting out
Jesse Matheson - Pleasure pounds
Kent McAlister & The Iron Chair - How i'll remain
MEM - Archaea
Men - Women aren't men
Men Aren't Men - Women
Kono Michi - 9 death haiku
Mike Middleton - Waxing gibbons
Mile Marker Zero - Mile Marker Zero
Misophone - I sit at open windows
Corbin Murdoch & The Nautical Miles - Wartime lovesong
Mystery of Two - Mystery of Two

New Slave - New Slave
Valerie Nicole - From the heart
Niggers - We are niggers

Robin O'Brien - The apple in man
One Eskimo - One Eskimo
John O'Mara - Five year missionas
Orchid of the Living - Orchid of the Living
Joao Orecchia - Hands and feet
OS Haxixins - OS Haxixins
Over The Hill - Looking for a spark

Paper Heart - Original motion picture soundtrack
Paper Scissors - Howl
Pepper Dome - Let's try the otherside
Pere Ubu - Bring me the head of ubu roi: The radio play, pt. 1
James Perry - Now you're gone
Play the Angel - Play the Angel
Plea - Modern chaos
Ellynne Plotnick - Life is beautiful
Pocket - 3 single sampler
Ana Popovic - Blind for love
Porcupine - The trouble with you
Pride Parade - Dose
Pretty Faces - Another sound
Public Good - No. 1
Puffy Dead Stuff - Dead stuff smells great


Rails - Parallel movements
Red Channels - Red Channels
Red Rooster - Walk
Red Star Revolt - Red Star Revolt
Rent To Own - Spellbound
Requiem For Delinquency - Hobs end
RHINOCEroses - We is shore dedicated
John Robert - Meant to be
Rockabye Baby! - Digital download card

60 Watt Kid - Welcome from the bright side
Micky Saunders / Dan Susnara - In the same old place / everything you're not
Secret Pop Band - Pardon the solar interruption
Self-Evident - Endings
Sexy Accident - Mantoloking
Chris Smither - Time stands still
Soultet - Yours, mind, and the truth
Starcode - A fine line
Joe Stickley's Blue Print - Smoke leaves town
Storys - Town beyond the trees
States - We are the erasers
Stationary Odyssey - Sons of boy
Heather Stewart - Life of the party
Luke Stone - Somethin's gotta give
Super 400 - Sweet fist
Nathanuel Sutton - Starlite
Roxy Swain - new love designers
Swamphouse - The fade EP

Aly Tadros - Things worth keeping
Carley Tanchon - Pendot
Adam Taylor - Play the piano drunk
Teleseen - Fear of the forest
Terminal Lovers - As eyes burn clean
Textile Orchestra - For the boss
Tim Be Told - From the inside
Tin Star - Bettie Lane
TPF! - Es slassh tee
Adam Taylor - Play the piano drunk
Jessie Torrisi - Bruler

Underground Soul - Soulraye
Unit Breed - Always distance the lonely
Uh Uh - Yuh yuh

Gaby Valezquez - Let me in
Vangough - Manikin parade
Various Artists - Welcome to the wetherbeat scene 1988-1991
Various Artists - Rockabye Baby!: Lullaby renditions of Aerosmith
Various Artists - Shark Batter introduces sounds from the scottish underground
Various Artists - Prids Tribute: Connect the dots (CD-R)
Chris Velan - Solidago
Mia Vermillion - Alone together with the blues
Vessel - Vessel

Billy Wallace - The road spit me out
T.h. White - Company book
Kat Walker - Jazz skat gumbo
Sean Walsh and the National Reserve - Homesick
War Tapes - The continental divide
Wedding Soundtrack - Na na na ro
We'll Go Machete - We'll Go Machete
The Wheat Pool - Hauntario
Where the Wild Things Are - Motion picture soundtrack : Original songs by Karen O and the Kids
The Wind Whistles - Animals are people too
Wonderbugg - Transgraduate
Woodward - Woodward
World's Greatest Dad - Original motion picture soundtrack
Anson Wright & Tim Gibson - Ukiah's lullaby

X Borts the Slorch - Trot trot

Yes Pleases - From whence it came
Michael Yonkers - With the blind shake
You Are Home - Phoneyhome

Zebras - Parasitic clones under the strong arm of the robotic machine

LMNOP * babysue * dONW7

©2009 LMNOP
©2009 dONW7