Lotus Blazes on “Bellwether”

Lotus – “Bellwether” mp3

Is this tonal or atonal? With the prominent off-key cowbell it’s hard to say. Don’t get me wrong, we like more cowbell. Is this rock or is it some kind of 70’s funky jazz fusion? Wait that old school vocoder effect, now we’re in clubland! But the geetars and keys speak of jam bands in a sun-drenched summer bong-fest. Could it be this is all of those things? Presenting the very talented Lotus, ladies and gents, a jam band which brings a broad vocabulary and tangible joy to their performances. Summer playlist keeper material, fasho.

“Bellwether” (mp3)
from “Hammerstrike”
(SCI Fidelity Records)

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Broken Social Scene’s healing “World Sickness”

Beloved Broken Social Scene. Post modern angst would not be the same without you. Here we find our heroes deep in the throes of what the Germans call Weltschmerz – world-ache, or world sickness. Musically somewhere between Godspeed You Black Emperor’s patient apocalyptic swelling, and something like goth rock on a sunny beach, this is a group whose sound is not easily pinned down. And that’s good. Let it fly, be free. “Forgiveness Rock Record” is their latest brave salvo of empathy and understanding thrown headlong into the prevailing maelstrom of cynicism and pessimism. I’m grateful for that.

Broken Social Scene
“World Sick” (download mp3)
from “Forgiveness Rock Record”
(Arts & Crafts)
World Sick (play)

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Sexy Robot Practice w/ Nick Andre and E da Boss

Nick Andre and E da Boss – “Robot Practice” mp3

Without Robot Practice, where would we be? WHAT would we be?! UN-PRACTICED ROBOTS! Perish the thought. This track is a bit advanced for the average humanoid. Perhaps that’s why it’s on Slept On Records. Don’t sleep on it, I say, this is good music to wiggle your antennae to, from San Francisco electronic music adventurers Nick Andre and E da Boss. In the often absurd realm of genre classifications, I can readily call this “Experimental” and “Pop.” Blurring the line between found sound collage and original source material, what emerges is a comical and cuddly invitation. Short & cute.

Nick Andre and E da Boss
“Robot Practice” (mp3)
from “Robot Practice”
(Slept On Records)

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The Library is on Fire and it sounds gorgeous

The Library is on Fire – “Vanessa’s Theatre of Peace” mp3

Here’s some magnificent pop entropy from Brooklyn’s The Library is on Fire. I may have observed before but it bears repeating – Brooklyn is one of the gr8est band camps in the world right now, there’s so much good music being created there these days. This single “Vanessa’s Theatre of Peace” is a little adventure, from the careening chaos of the intro thru grunge-flavored psychedelic pop verses all the way to a blissful meltdown ending. Total ear candy.

The Library is on Fire
“Vanessa’s Theatre of Peace” (mp3)
from “Magic Windows, Magic Nights”
(Fill in the Blank Records)

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The Cassettes serenade yon “Lady Faire”

The Cassettes – “Lady Faire” mp3

What is “pushing the envelope” other than an overused term to describe music that is “over the top” or “edgy” or gag me leaping with a fork, so many other criminally flogged phrases? But I can’t restrain myself, The Cassettes are edgy, over the top and they really push the envelope. Sorry! But it’s true. This band is fearlessly and playfully creative. “Lady Faire” is a rockin’ and original number from their “‘Neath The Pale Moon” CD. There’s some kind of electric singing saw or theremin solo that is a right crack up, and the lyrics are perfectly adorable and silly. From the wonderful Buddyhead Records.

The Cassettes
“Lady Faire” (mp3)
from “‘Neath The Pale Moon”
(Buddyhead Records)

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Oh Mi Dios, We Are Dios Rocks!

Dios – “Stare At Wheel” mp3

Los Angeles art rockers Dios offer some convincing reasons for fans to buy their music directly from them so “some suit that doesn’t give a f!ck about music or art doesn’t get to take his cut.” And if not satisfied with their value-packed audio and artwork bundles, you can, for a mere $5,000, hire the whole band to hang out with you in Vegas, Disneyland, their local bars and sleep over at their mom’s house for a weekend! Now, I’d never bother to tell you any of this, except their record just happens to be seriously brilliant. The single they are generously sharing for free, “Stare At Wheel,” sounds like the Cramps had an acid trip with the Beatles and both Brians – Jones and Wilson! – at Wolfmother’s house and recorded the event. A gorgeous and mysterious song, expertly and lovingly realized. Check it out.

“Stare At Wheel” (mp3)
from “We Are Dios”
(Buddyhead Records)

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The Paper Chase’ Big Plans for the Big One

If you have ever lived in the San Francisco bay area, you probably already know this deal. When the faults decide to wiggle the map, and all the phones and networks go down, we’ve already got a meeting spot worked out with the ones we love. And we don’t worry much, living as we do in one of the most beautiful and culturally rich places on earth. The Paper Chase captures that Sword of Damocles lifestyle perfectly in this bold and novel piece. Gorgeously arranged analog keyboards and creatively processed drums set the stage for an existential vocal meltdown. A most entertaining 9 minute catastrophe. Enjoy.

The Paper Chase
“When (And If) The Big One Hits… I’ll Just Meet You There” (download mp3)
from “Young Bodies Heal Quickly, You Know”
(Beatville Records)
When and If The Big One Hits Ill Just Meet You There (play)

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Pere Ubu, Bring Me The Head Of Ubu Roi

Pere Ubu is not exactly a household word, but their art has influenced decades of popular and influential acts like the Pixies, Joy Division, REM, Bauhaus and others.  The songs on their new album make up the backbone of a theatrical production, “Bring Me The Head Of Ubu Roi”, that premiered in 2008 at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall. Based on the play “Ubu Roi” which premiered in Paris in 1896 provoking riots, the story is a re-telling of “Macbeth,” as a ruthless satire of the bloated and corrupt state of pre-World War I Europe. The new piece is “Brutal, lacking charm, and without redeeming values, an album for our times,” boasts Pere Ubu’s founder David Thomas, “It is, in fact, the only punk record that’s been made in the last 30 years.” Quite a statement, yet one that a man with his credentials can make, when the music and text is this far outside of the norm. Entertaining, scathing, and very funny work.

Pere Ubu
“Act 2 Scene 1” (download mp3)
from “Bring Me The Head Of Ubu Roi”
(Smog Veil Records)
“Act 2 Scene 1″ (play)
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