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FLUID FOUNDATION: The first taste of this progressive reggae crew's debut is going to hit you as reggae from space. With a load of behind the glass talent shepherding this in the right direction, the reggae/surf mash up is well primed for today's ears that want to go skanking without having to skank to their grandpa's reggae. While the beach may be timeless, it's soundtrack is free to shift like the tides and sands. The host of new beginnings that underpin this release make it all come to the fore. Well done.

THE VAUDEVILLIAN/Bringing Satan Down: And here's the proof Canada has a sense of humor. This rock and ragtime trio has snookered their way across Canada leaving their tracks on the hearts of many. Picking up where oddball neo found music types like Leon Redbone and Michael Hurley leave off, their stuff is original but sounds like it leaked out of the jug at the end of Prohibition (which was an American thing if I remember correctly). This is a gasser if you have a sense of humor too. It's not a comedy record, just a bunch of medicine show musical stylings sure to leave you smiling. Leave your sense of seriousness at the door and join the party, it's a doozy.

JEFF COFFIN/Sometimes Springtime: Ditching the mu'tet for his selftet, Coffin makes a special set for his pop. Sounding very personal, hopefully his pop is still around to enjoy this and see what sonny boy has been up to (it‘s hard to tell from how the dedication is written). This is an unexpected, non hell raising side to Coffin.

JOHN BROWN'S BODY/Fireflies: American reggae pioneers celebrate their 20th year and 11th album by finding two original members surrounding themselves with a whole new crew letting them boldly skank where they have never skanked before further advancing the cause of future roots. Timeless but forward thinking, the lyrics are food for thought and the sound is as bold as a sonic boom. This is how you stay relevant across time and pop culture tide. Well done.

SOLILIANS/Shin: Hasidic doom metal? Avant klezmer? The Internet has finally blown everything to bits. Ambient dubs of klezmer and Hebrew prayers? I barely know what to say about minimalist music to start with but to take it to these subdivided divisions...? Prayer music that sounds like it came from a service led by people that live under the subway tracks, playing this around the house might be a sure way to get your parents to pop for an exotic vacation and get you off the hook for bar mitzvah lessons. So wild I don't know what to say.

KEVIN KASTNING-SANDOR SZABO/Perspectives: Let us again marvel how Kastning has more guitars with more strings than Carter's has pills and how he plays them with more duet partners than Carter's has pills and how he does it all without repeating himself no matter how many releases he releases in toto. Pairing off with Szabo for their sixth release together, they find the sweet spot where Windham Hill used to collide with ECM all the way down to the cover picture and layout of the old Hill dates from that time. A masterful adult listening date, you can't say they do so much with so little when their guitar's have 36 strings. A first class audio getaway, even it's outré avant garde moments feel right in the pocket rather than right from the Twilight Zone. First class stuff all the way.

JENNIFER PASKOW/Make A Circle: Sure, Paskow has all the touchy feely credentials and extra credits that you would expect from a modern LA based kiddie music maker, but she also has shared the stage with Ringo, Walsh, Booker T and the rest for a John Lennon tribute project. A veteran of music jungles on both costs, Paskow delivers a kiddie record that's actually a dose of sunshine pop that plays well for proverbial kids of all ages. A real victory for crowd funding, this set scores high marks throughout and opens jaded ears in new directions as well as giving kiddies something that doesn't speak down to them as it entertains.

SONUS INENARRABILIS/Nine Live Play the Music of John Clark: The French horn master with a resume and chops so deep that Mark Twain probably couldn't measure them in his days on the Mississippi, he sets sails with like minded jazzbos and musos to create the kind of genre bending date that Red Seal used to sneak out in the 50s that you probably came across when cleaning out your Grandpa's basement and wondered what they were, like "Peter and the Wolf". Mixing all kinds of jazz with a classical feel and vibe, Clark simply made a great record and didn't care who cared. This set isn't about chops uber alles but chops now and forever. Deep stuff that never gets pretentious or overblown, this is for people that miss real music or want to know what it is they have been missing. Well done.

GABRIELLE LOUISE/If the Static Clears: Adoring Joni Mitchell but not to the point of being a stalker or a manqué, Louise is more of a grand throwback to the schmatta queens of the era, many of which you won't remember but who certainly did something to leave a lasting import on Louise. With lyrics as her driving force, the music has the spirit of her adopted home of Colorado pulled from the music that came to inspire country rock. So many try but Louise captures the spirit of the era and brings it forward quite nicely. Not really an exercise in boomer nostalgia, this is a folkie singer/songwriter for now tastes with enough of a worldly inspired view that she doesn't need to wallow in shoe gaze kvetching. A winner throughout that has what it takes to become an audio old pal.

JOEY STUCKEY PRESENTS LADIES OF THE SOUTH/various: These ladies of the south aren't a bunch of pageant material, sorority sisters. This is a bunch of sisters doing it for themselves, whether guitar slingers, sweet voiced attitude problems or everyone in between. A well stocked, well balanced sampler of artists produced by Stuckey over the last 6 years, the well traveled rocker knows his stuff and has a finely tuned ear for cherry picking talent. There's some mighty fine, fun stuff on the horizon.

THY DIRTY DEUCE/333: Signaling they are located half way to hell, this power trio shows there's more going on in Door County than ya hey dere stuff and polka. Sounding like the gritty younger brothers of ZZ Top interested in kicking it out modern style with a mix of styles in the mix, this is the sound of young hormones raging through the exurbs getting ready to rise up angry via the reach of the Internet. Tear down the walls indeed! Hard stuff for those ready to step up to it.

Volume 39/Number 294
August 22, 2016
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2016 Midwest Record

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