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NOT A GOOD SIGN/For a Distance: Yes meets Zappa somewhere in Italy proving modern prog rock is alive and well as the kids begin to further their underground revolution against EDM. With one foot in old school and one foot in the future, this second album by these Italian kids is selling us our own 70s prog rock back to us the same way the Brits sold us our own blues back to us in the 60s. Prog rock fans have a place to camp out safely here.

HELEN AVAKIAN/Notes From Helen: You know how John Fahey and Leo Kottke can be from the same school but spent time in different rooms and you can enjoy each of them on their own terms? The same thing seems to be shaping up here with guitarists Muriel Anderson and Helen Avakian. Both have international chops but Anderson's were honed in suburban Chicago while Avakian's were honed in up state New York with organic edges in both of their playing as Avakian was around hippies and Anderson detoured into bluegrass. So what eventually happens? Avakian starts winning awards that Anderson was previously the only other woman to win. On this set, Avakian mixes soul with Civil War soul and classics of various types stirring up quite the tasty acoustic, guitar gumbo. Hey Helen, how about stopping by a little more frequently than every six years or so? Stuff like this is too good not to share. Well done throughout.

LOST ORIGINS/Forty Martyrs-Armenian Chants from Aleppo: Here's an ethnic record that'll confound you. The Syrian Armenian community makes a solo singer set of chants from their church, done in one take. Recorded because the time and place are close to being run out of existence, this is a real deep find for the ethnomusicologist fan or the actual ethnic looking to connect with his roots.

AMERANOUCHE/Sun Shine Soul: Just the way this record grabs you sonically right from the git when listening to it on a computer tells you that this is a set the makers care about. It gets better from there. A gypsy swing trio that doesn't bother restricting itself to a particular time or place, they might revere Django but they are well traveled rockers. Moving along nicely with nothing but killer playing at the fore, this is a dandy set that's custom made for those kicking back times when you want some easy to take music with some bite. Simply well done.

Volume 38/Number 164
April 13, 2015
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2015 Midwest Record

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