Two selections from Whispers of Arias
by Stephen Mead and Kevin MacLeod, November 2011
It's appropriate that Stephen Mead has named this double-album of poetry Whispers of Arias, because despite the layered, operatic music and big dramatic themes, these recordings, ultimately, sound very little like arias: The vocals are so tortured and quiet that one can't help but think of a ghost in a symphony hall, desperately trying to impress something upon the listeners, something dire, something unbelievably tragic.
Four Experimental Music/ Spoken Word Tracks by The Subliminator
"A spoken word artist by category, Brannen brings to his performance a six pack of Theremins and loop station. He creates his loops live each time and stores nothing for future shows. His performances are organic, leaving open the window for the raven of spontaneity to come tap, tap, tapping at the shoulder of subconscious between audience and performer."
Three Songs by August Traeger with an Interview by Eric Smiarowski
"Somnaphon bicephalic records August Traeger data bending graphic artist supporter of gay marriage supporter of arts experimental music attendee noise installations graduated anthropologist archaeology enthusiast nomadic spirit noise artist project horse"
Two Songs by The Good Ones
You might classify this in your head in that moderately offensive umbrella category of "world music," but you'd be better to call this punk rock. It's acoustic, and there isn't any screaming, but the ethos is right. It's a DIY-sounding record with choppy guitars leaning into staccato structures.
Two Songs by Adian Baker
His work is varied—his most recent album, Only Stories, may surprise fans of his more ambient work with its abundance of vocals and straightforward sounding guitars—yet there is a definite linearity to be found within the trajectory of his albums. This new, almost Nick Drake-ian feeling, converges with the ambience and creates something at once contrite and sinister.
Solar Lunar Serenades
by Tina Seligman, March 2011
'Solar and lunar cycles profoundly connect all people, transcending time, geography and economic status. My ongoing mixed media series of "Etudes" studies relationships between the movements of the sun, moon, tides, earth and our bodies. From the visual patterning, I transcribe music, which has been performed and recorded for the project by flutist, Jo Brand.'
Two Musical Tracks by Pygmy Jerboa
The minimalist compositions on Top Secret Jazz are beautiful, but at the same time almost a form of aural violence. They attack, recede, and belittle the listener, in the best sense possible. To listen to Top Secret Jazz is to give yourself over to the unknown.
Patrick Nylen's new album, Con*tect, relies heavily on found sound, which he incorporates digitally into the equivalent of an aural trip on hypnotics with rhythms that either take the rough edges off the brain after a hard day of mentally taxing work or propulsively encourage the psyche to reenergize.
by David Williamson, April 2010
Presenting a West Texan to Watch For: David Williamson, whose poetry, spoken word, and hip-hop has entertained the region for several years. He's now settling into a folk-rock groove, and his strong lyrics and gentle melody is ready for your attention.
The Train Wrecks
The Train Wrecks have only been releasing music for the last three years. That isn't terribly noteworthy until you actually sit down and listen to a song like "Desert Gunfire." It's not just a great piece of lyrical storytelling, well within the traditions of their musical heroes. The song is a well-tuned and well-played blast of old-school country and blues.
His strongest influences are pretty easy to figure out, and they certainly carry through on his album, Turtle. You could say that some of DeYoung's favorite music is the kind that sneaks up on you, introduces itself to you with a quiet, steady rhythm and a clear, easygoing voice. It's unassuming and best gets to you after the first few moments of the first song. That means you have to stop and pay attention.
The Clockwork Dolls
Other artists are certainly trying for their own niches with similar approaches to The Clockwork Dolls. Still, no other group has come up with anything quite like this. The Clockwork Dolls have any (remotely) similar acts beat on ambition alone. This ambition really shines through on "Blades in Autumn." The track proves to be even more distinctive in its words and sounds than the last.
The whole album is an electrifying, intelligent contribution to hip-hop, and any song is a great introduction, but there's something special about "Rockets." Although it's number eleven on the album, it's quite possibly the most energetic and engaging track on an album filled with similar gems. "Rockets" is catchy and original, and knows where to place its musical hooks to keep your mind punching along to the rhythm.
The song is a calculated mix of that southern rock you would expect to hear, but there are also traces of blues closely followed by the kind of clean, sharp rock sound that usually does well on commercial radio. Some moments of the song even contain flickers of what could be best described as low-key metal. A lesser group would try to put all of this together and wind up sounding a little too busy. Turtle Folk never slips up.
The Folding Chairs
There's really nothing out there that sounds quite like them. The group obviously knows this and has chosen to remain ambivalent about it. They're not trying to sound out of the ordinary. Nothing in this music suggests desperation to stand out in the crowd.
Shael Riley and the Double Ice Backfire
"You almost wish Hughes was alive and making films today. The world of Songs from the Pit would be quite welcome there. It's a potential classic all on its own, but it would be even better if there was a little something extra to give it that extra push into the consciousness of the universe of sound at large. It deserves that much. It certainly deserves some attention."
David Rovics, revisited July 2009
David Rovics has been called the musical voice of the progressive movement in the US. Amy Goodman has called him "the musical version of Democracy Now!" Since the mid-90's Rovics has spent most of his time on the road, playing hundreds of shows every year throughout North America, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and Japan. He and his songs have been featured on national radio programs in the US, Canada, Britain, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, Denmark and elsewhere.
'"Don't tread on me" hangs menacingly in the background as Bill puts his passions and obsessions into the better of the two songs available on his site. His opinion is clear and relentless, but he manages what so few folk artists seem to be capable of. He possesses the ability to throw down a very decisive view while keeping the music steady, right under the point. All the while, the song never loses sight of the necessity to craft compelling, black comedy lyrics.'
The Steve Elmer Trio
"The sound and flow bounces and moves with insight and enthusiasm, coming off as brand-new and traditional at the same time. There's a great sense of exploration in the song. The tone and force could change at any moment, but it would never make the Elmer and his cohorts any less in command. Each member is distinctive and impressive in their own way, but no one musician ever runs roughshod over the others."
"Listen to any one of his songs and it's not surprising that Pittsburgh-based hip hop artist Jasiri X has had so much success with his Net-based news series 'This Week with Jasiri X.' Give him a few moments between subjects, and it seems possible he could deftly craft a few minutes of hip-hop brilliance on almost any topic of the day. He's just that good."
Salvage My Dream
"The reality of Salvage My Dream is that it's not a group of four or five guys. It's writer/musician Robert Fisher in his bedroom in Scarborough, which can be found on the east coast of England. His brother also occasionally contributes some of the beautiful violin work you'll find in some of the material. Fisher, who also plays in a band called Nurale, has been working at this music for quite some time. You can tell."
The Jameson Raid
"Their lyrics are vivid in their surreality, and their music seems precisely created to inspire visions in the sober, allowing images of the countryside, the Atlantic, and the desert with intense clarity. Using the tools of post-grunge, electronic rock 'n' roll, they turn contemporary popular music into an immersive, fully sensuous experience."
Unlikely's Musical Year-End Review
by Eric Smiarowski, December 2008
"It's the year's end and my fiancé and I are on baby watch as the due date is upon us. This is also the most sober I've been while writing a review so please pardon the lack of innuendo and blatant pornography. It's been a pleasure bringing these tiny auditory offerings to you. I like to think of them as suggested listening."
Peter Blood and the Nights of Habit
This album is like watching CNN war coverage on one television and S-and-M porn on another while fucking a Bubble-Yum-blowing, pig-tailed, barely-legal blonde, all during a three-day meth bender set off by winning the state education lottery. The beautiful violence described by Peter Blood's empathetic lyrics juxtaposed against the pop instrumental hooks either took vast genius or a great stroke of luck to create.
Belinda's own writing has grown to span a vast array of subjects, styles and publications. She has traveled in over twenty countries, lived in Europe for six years and was part of an East Indian family for twenty-two years. These cross-cultural experiences often inform her work, as do her experiences as a Registered Nurse. These days her poetry, stories, and art can be found in hundreds of journals, reviews, anthologies, books and chapbooks.
910 Noise, featuring The Pony Gropers
Noise art can be compared to birth. An ugly little thing violently squirming in its own filthy ooze, noise art often emerges as a complex orchestra of aural neurotransmitters, body mass, and bloody tissue. In other words, noise takes on shape. 910 Noise is a collective of artists who sculpt with noise and performance. The use of traditional instruments in radically untraditional ways often produces their unique visions of sight and sound.
Euphoria Ripens by Barry Wallenstein
I listened to this record a bunch of times, each time in a different setting. Every time I listened I was transported to an idyllic city where cabs honked trumpets and poetry blended with fun. Barry Wallenstein and his crew put me into a space of meditative contemplation with just enough tragedy to recognize the good times. I couldn't help but write a poem as a review or, as the case may be, my review as a poem.
The good Doctor applies time and craftsmanship to his art. He currently uses the vehicle of traditional blues to deliver his stories but has been known to go punk rock and specialize in the international language known as Esperanto. The music is self-described as "rough edged songs on quirky homemade guitars." This description is accurate enough seeing as the man creates his guitars from cigar boxes.
Al's Place Bluegrass Band
So Al's Place is not a hardcore bluegrass band. More of a coastal, easy, harmonic approach which leads me to a big but: all these folks have hard-ass jobs. I tell you, Al's Place is a giant slice of Americana. The way I found them is by hearing some thumping bass every Friday evening while I was trying to put my daughter to sleep. After she was asleep I could go out to my carport for a cig and hear the songs being played. I heard tunes by Johnny Cash, Bill Monroe, Hank Williams, etc.
Crystal guitar picking and vibrant distortions give this record the dream quality of an Oak tree limb growing into the vista of your cliff-side view of the sunset. The lyrics are coated in liquid bass lines that drip wax sarcasm all over your hippie candle. You will kick your beads and your girlfriend will ask "What's wrong?" and you will rock out because I'm for damn sure your weed is better than mine.
Empire State Troopers
Kelly Murphy's lyrics are a fevered search for a trap door in the root cellar of her heart. Digging in the pitch-black dirt of sordid relationships and leaving claw marks on the backs of her captors, she regales us with stories of inner personal battles on the wind of her golden pipes. Accompanied by Thom Hall driving riffs on guitar that, depending on where, can be construed as descending into or climbing out of crescendos...
Steve Gaylord, better known as Gay Tastee, is a regional folk singer songwriter out of Albany, New York. His songs are steeped in historical references, classic Russian novels, the walls of vandalized churches, and misanthropes drunk on Robitussin. His voice, while unconventional, intonates the sad desperation of the hopeless everyman.
With a stripped-down, folky-punky sort of sound that seems to celebrate the death of rock'n'roll as much as anything it did in life, the solo work of Joseph O'Leary slaps wailing, eerie vocals on surreal and evocative lyrics, then mixes with acoustic and electric instrumentation and ambient effects, for a final product that, for all its ingredients, comes off creepily minimalist.
Meet DEVI, a little New Jersey slice of pure rock and roll. Wildly praised by a host of diverse magazines such as TrifectaGRAM, New York Cool, Midwest Record, Guitar Gods, Ugly Planet and just about everyone else for an ear for what's happening in original rock, DEVI's been all over clubs in the greater NYC area bringing their blues-tinged party to grateful and jamming audiences.
George Wallace and The Moontones
The poems of George Wallace unwind like a flawlessly coiled beatnik, sensuously wafting through themes of loneliness, denial, and all those other traumas we associate with the word "love." In his new spoken word album Sky Is, Wallace is backed by Tony Lamb's band "The Moontones," who bring an ethereal fluidity to Wallace's sharp sense of location.
Two tracks from Pandemonium by Barry Wallenstein
with a review by Kirpal Gordon, June 2007
"No question, the band is fun, nutty, capable, but the first thing a listener is confronted with in Pandemonium, Barry Wallenstein's latest CD from Cadence Records, is the voice of the poet. No stranger to wrapping his well-crafted lyrics around what a little moonlight and a jazz ensemble can do, Wallenstein is a most distinctive word slinger. Play one line of verse from any of the nineteen poems on the CD and you know it's he."
"The attacks that occurred in the United States on 9/11/2001 did so just 19 days before my departure to Vermont. This had a grave affect on the course of my work, not altering it, but deepining it, catapulting me into what I believe is a most necessary look at what it meanst ot be living as a citizen of conscience on Earth and in this beautiful country, America."
Serendipity at Midnight
by M. Andre Vancrown, April 2007
At the age of seventeen, Vancrown began work on his first fantasy novel. By twenty, he had two complete novels that he now swears will never see the light of day. In 1994, he started a career as an award-winning Information Technology consultant, specifically as a Technical Writer specializing in Sarbanes-Oxley compliance documentation. Ironically, this career rarely coincides with his goals as a writer.
The stripped-down, moody compositions of Suchoon Mo are quiet, reflective excursions into passion, pain, and emotional contemplation, filled with Eastern sentiments expressed with Western musical styles. Infused with a sense of meditation, they use spiraling themes and partial repetitions to transport the listener downward through consciousness.
Steve Dalachinsky and Matthew Shipp
This month we present two tracks from the Steve Dalachinsky and Matthew Shipp collaboration, Phenomena of Interference. New York Jazz poet Steve Dalachinsky and free jazz pianist Matthew Shipp have teamed up to produce twenty-three sophisticated and varied tracks, smoothly merged together into a brilliant aural experience.
by Jim Andrews, January 2007
"No audio. You imagine the music."