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Random Stabbing 9b

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Brazz Tree "Quest" (Brazz Tree Records)
Acoustic guitar, violin and tabla carry this agreeable mixed-ethnicity ren-fair folk, Mazz Swift’s muscular warrior-princess vocals constricting themselves around Celtic, C&W and incidental Middle Eastern by turns. “Ghost,” one of the more noteworthy pieces, begins with a lonesome Civil-War-battlefield fiddle fit for a PBS documentary, while “Return to My Town” lays some intriguing ad hoc percussion underneath Irish-jig grog-house.

Month of Mondays "Dead Horse" (Month of Mondays Records)
Bon Jovi may be dead even to the majority of hayseeds who swallowed his Young Guns shtick, but someone needs to inform these oldbies that a little self-effacement goes a long way in the new millennium. Thus, of all the album’s hatchlings, indie one-off “Dick’s Creek” would have the strongest chance of survival were it not trapped in an unmarketable lump of cowboy-glam not even Desmond Child could miracle out of Dead Man’s Gulch. Order at

Darren "Anything is Possible" (Shark Meat Records)
Technopop balladry pickled in 80s formaldehyde with occasional bleats of sequencer Tourettes. The first two George Michael-esque weepers – “The Limit” and “You Were Loved” – run the risk of getting drowned out by peals of laughter from mainstreamers unaware of the bizarre electro tinkering taking place not only here but in myriad other underground dungeons, notably at the Warp Records stable. Song-wise, worst case would be that this transplanted Londoner zapped here in a time machine and actually believes that happy-pants crooning a la Kool and the Gang (“Out of the Rain”) still ropes in the babes, and the painfully innocent keyboard lines partook of the same Kool Aid. Listeners willing to tough it out, however, will eventually encounter “Spread the Love,” a vocodered robo-boy-band shtick that’s the perfectly logical mutant offspring of the neo/retro influences at work. Either way, the melodies meet Billboard specs, and the programming is up for the Pepsi Challenge anytime. Order at

The Tubes "Wild in London" (Snapper Records)
The Bar-Band Thing That Can’t Be Killed marches on, this time straight into Shepherd’s Bush Empire Theatre with the tape rolling. Dressed in chaps and Stetsons, reeking of eau de Budweiser, Fee Waybill and his coterie of slap-head bounders breathe new life into their Ming Dynasty-carbon-dated nudge-wink AOR meisterwerks, belting out “Talk To Ya Later,” “She’s a Beauty” and the Rocky Horror-inspired “Don’t Touch Me There” as if the old major label spooks were standing around cross-armed ready to assassinate them if they strayed from the script. Being that this is, betcha a buck, the same set they’ve been doing for over 4,239,718 years now, the quality of the sound is magnificent, putting the user right there with all the sexy degenerates in the crowd – you can almost smell the Blistex on the herpes cases.  Order at

Lowry "Awful Joy" (Oddmob Records)
Detestably contrived psychedelabilly indie-waste slobbering all over its own unfunny hip-hick mock-ambivalence, brought to borderline life by Alexander Lowry’s pilfering of whatever un-catchy glop Wilco and Semisonic don’t have under lock and key.  The results fall flattest when Lowry’s old-joke Neil Young/Tom Petty drawl hogs the spotlight, ie most of the time, until he finally begs for inspirational help from Coldplay in “What You Get,” earning himself instant bragging rights to the Tao of Bathos. Order at

Gothminister "Empire of Dark Salvation" (Dancing Ferret Discs)
Funhouse Frankenmetal and synth-washed Type O Negative me-tooing played by alien vampire S&M Berliners using mid-tempo Megadeth lines to shove low-voiced tales of like totally ominous foreboding down the throats of the eternally dag-nabbed. Sample lyric: “Blood red skies/where demons fly.” The label spared no expense producing this guilty pleasure for the milky contact-lens patrol.
Order at

The Ocean
"Aeolian" (Metal Blade Records)
Unusually creative frontal assaults of monotone staccato grind-metalling through Mesa Boogies emulating steady covering fire from M-16s. Nile is the type of band that pulls this off almost as nicely, but The Ocean is comparatively more like a Rock Em Sock Em Robot in their jabs and feints, and closer to Black Dahlia Murder in their vocal approach, which touches no tones that can be found between Crumbsuckers bellowing and black-metal shrieks. For percussion fetishists into the heaviest of heavy. Order at 

Mi and L’au "Mi and L’au" (Young Gods Records)
If only every band on earth would play this kind of stuff we’d never have to fear violent psychokinetic outbursts from shoegazing Carries again. Like a music box from Bellevue’s catatonic ward, this guy/girl pair offers slow-drip electro waltz and obsessive acoustic guitar as support for their vocalisms, a Tricky-like angle where they try to weird each other out and bring on the spooks by lighting their faces with flashlights under their chins and making like Yoko Ono under hypnosis. Paint-drying fans, this one’s all you. Order at

Jimmy Sparks and the Blizzard
"Jimmy Sparks and the Blizzard" (Jimitrax Music)
Falsetto sighs, folkie strumming, subtly progressive drum tracks, fire-sale jazz chords and microdot banter mark this King Crimson/Floyd mystery meat, most of it equal parts industro-Misfits and early Zappa straightjacket jazz. The least forgettable rants would have to be “Covered in Ice” and “I Have Returned,” but all of it has obviously undergone multiple surgeries to enhance the production and provide brevity – there’s little if any filler, and an antique melotron can be heard in “Dear Majesty.” Guys this odd tend to find themselves eating their centipede burgers alone, even at art school. Order at

Outraged ranting, indie label release news and spaghetti sauce recipes are always welcome.  Email

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