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Random Stabbings 9a

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Eric Burdon "Soul of a Man" (SPV USA Records)
From the shambling miscreant who pled “Oh lawd, please doan let me be misunderstood” and unleashed the careening proto-punk primal screams of “It’s My Life” comes a collection – no, clinical research study – of blues, gospel and rock standards.  Drummer/producer Tony Braunagel herds all ears on deck with a perfectly concocted aura of one-take looseness that lubricates the big-league sound, a special treatment not reserved for the roots material alone but the curveballs in kind, such as the beer-sloshed Tex-Mex bash “Como Se Llama Mama”; the sultry, lone-spotlighted “GTO”; and “Circuit Rider,” a honky tonk bum-rush that out-Monday-Night-Footballs Hank Williams Jr. Perhaps if Burdon had stuck only to these guns throughout his career, completists would feel more compelled to pay this a visit, but the record should be considered essential study material nevertheless – after forty years of thumbing his nose at every straight in sight, one could glean some useful survival techniques at a bare minimum. Order at

Brothers Past
"This Feeling’s Called Goodbye" (SCI Fidelity Records)
Not often will you encounter a song in which a full-throttle Steve Howe-like guitar solo full-stops to make way for a congenial bit of ska (“Simple Gift of Man”), one of many pleasant surprises on this Barcalounger electro thesis. Brothers Past mostly butter their trance-tronic bread with fluttery Tortoise-like jazz tailored for gigs backing up Weather Channel forecasts, but there are occasional showers of arena-prog, a textbook emo crescendo at sign-in track “Leave the Light On,” and one or three college-radio rope-ins (“Too Late to Call” would have been a Smashing Pumpkins brat-a-thon had it not been cowed by a Goo Goo Dolls sweet spot). A tasteful Verve feel abounds, layered with just enough R2D2-bleep-bloops and scratchy noise filler to keep up with the Joneses. Order at

The 88
"Over and Over" (Jimitrax Music)
Along with the first couple of tunes, the cover for this record raises the hackles of non-stupid people by threatening a violent Spoon-feeding of nimrod nu-mod exhibiting heavy research into Small Faces, Raspberries and Beatles, the song structures leaning toward things like “Got to Get You Into My Life” and Madonna’s “True Blue” for six minutes or so, but the skies eventually clear to reveal plainly that some long, torturous nights of songwriting went into this. The appropriately four-eyed Keith Slettedahl’s range is early Rod Stewart with some high-wire falsetto, branding him as an art-deco Spiderman who could keep things safe enough for politically retarded “Down With Love” types in their plaid “trousers” and skinny ties. But mind-control hookery does abound here. “Hide Another Mistake” is to The Who’s “I Can’t Explain” what menthol is to mint, a brazen throwback to familiar gulps of Pepsodent-smile glucose, whereas the engaging “All Cause of You” glimpses an indie-wasteland Vegas of the future where the chorus girls expose shockingly rebellious tattoos. The post-coke-generation gears keep cranking in “Nobody Cares,” its syncopation courtesy of the same hand claps Ray Davies used when he wore short pants, but things take a turn for the edgy in the slide-guitar-driven “Bowls,” wherein Slettedahl ratches his Buzzcocks whine up a notch into real-deal Paul McCartney territory to knock out some worthwhile White Album filler. Things improve by leaps and bounds moving forward, with an unexpected Broadway burn-out soliloquy (“Jesus is Good”), a Maroon 5 take on 60s girl-group shimmy (“Battle Scar”) and a left-field bolt of Three Dog Night schlock (“Everybody Loves Me”). Unfairly overlooked upon its debut four or five months ago, there’s a depth here that could lead to true greatness. Order at

Twilight "Twilight" (Southern Lord Records)
Vomit-spattered Beelzebub worship indemnified by random acts of jiggling speed metal in case mom checks in with sandwiches. Despite such dishwasher-safe Cradle of Filth gimmickry there’s a Manowar-or-something doppelganger steering them toward more sublime ideas of brutish impact, and the punk part of the equation is DIY in the tradition of gore-core tape-trading’s first wave. Order at

Carly Simon "Moonlight Serenade" (Sony Records)
Alright class, calm down. Yes yes, Geritol-guzzling oldbie pop stars resorting to Glenn Miller is one thing, but this is another – Simon has been releasing collections of standards since she was porn material. Whether she’s gotten better with age is a matter of the individual listener’s tolerance for froggies in the throat, which, it must be said, have set up a few lily pads here, and in the real world her pedigree is of course purebred pop star, not whip-trained soprano. In this collection, however, the lady demonstrates real affection for the stuff, not that big a stretch when the million-piece backup band is this good, but – eh, let’s just say common clucks like Ashley Simpson couldn’t pull this off for all the belly shirts in Belize. Simon becomes truly enraptured in the title track for just one example, and has a lot of fun with “I Only Have eyes For You,” hands down the most appropriate song for her range. The supersize package includes a DVD of the songs as performed by Simon aboard the Queen Mary II.  Tough life, you gotta admit. Order at,,3298929,00.html

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