Current Issue Details

Buy Current Issue

Reviews > CDs

Published: 2002/04/22
by Jesse Jarnow

Holding The Bag: Capsule Reviews of David’s Foote, Dr. Hector and the Groove Injectors, Lotus, A.J. Love, mindGOflip, The Ordinary Way, Schfvilkus, SOMA, Kirby Swatosh

How Ya Doin’ – David’s Foote There’s some good stuff on
How Ya Doin’. In fact, it begins utterly maturely and surprisingly,
with one of the finer repeated lines I’ve heard lately, "water doesn’t feel
the same anymore". The music underneath is pretty swell also. After that,
though, the album becomes a bit more muddled and muddy. There’s a sense of
humor at work that I don’t quite get, which – I suppose – is a higher
compliment than saying it’s not funny at all. It just strikes me in a weird
spot in the back of the brain, above the ears. It’s framed like some of
Zappa’s stuff, but I just don’t get it. "The Clock and the Door" feels
representative of the album: pretty decent lyrics, a brooding flat-line
arrangement, and clearly recorded (though indistinct) production. Some of
the music is more typically upbeat, but I’m still having a hard time trying
to figure out what they’re going for. More info…
Vital Signs – Dr. Hector and The Groove Injectors
A genre recording of Southern blues-rock, Dr. Hector and The Groove
Injectors are fronted by guitarist and songwriter Dru Lombar, a fixture on
the roots scene for over two decades, including work in the Connecticut band
Grinderswitch. The quartet stomps through 10 tracks here, each an exercise
in some aspect of the low-down. For the genre, it’s not bad, but rarely
broaches any original territory. Lombar is a decent guitarist who plays with
conviction but never leaves the idiom, either to play outside the box or to
bring anything back to it. The rest of the band is admirably tight and
listen and react well (especially during the slowly simmering "Safe In Your
Arms", but are hardly sensitive enough to make the music interesting in a
recorded setting. The band’s arrangements play on traditional roots-rock
forms, spiced with a little bit of cloying slapping by bassist John Davies.
Like Allman Brothers Band albums, the disc ends with a cover, in this case
Elmore James’s "Picking The Blues". More
Vibes – Lotus
There was a band like Lotus at my school. I mean, they didn’t sound
exactly like Lotus, but the idea was the same. They, like Lotus,
arrived firmly in the tradition of the post-Phish instrumental jamband.
Lotus, a two guitar/bass/percussion/drums quintet from Indiana – does it
quite nicely, actually. The hit some great feels across the 10 improvised
tracks, and listen to each other exceptionally well. The music is mostly
ambient/airy groove livetronica, and is quite pleasant to listen to — and
probably amazing to encounter in a dorm lounge or a house party. On songs
like "Sunrain", the band does a damn fine facsimile of Sound Tribe Sector
9 (not a bad bunch of folks to imitate, actually). In other places (the
first half the 13-minute "Decay :: Rebirth", the unfortunately disc-opening
"L’immeuble") the band’s grooves are a little too pedestrian. All things
told, though, the chemistry is there, and – with work, and a little bit more
of a nudge in one direction (minimalism? ambient music?) – the band might
just hit upon a completely unique sound. More info…
Interplanetary Funk – A.J. Love Lame album name, gimpy
cover art, slightly-less-gimpy sound. Guitarist A.J. Love is joined by a
band that includes Artists for the Advancement of Creative Music member
Hanah Jon Taylor on saxophone. The music is Hendrix-derived rock-jazz. The
band isn’t particularly adept at grooving, though Love’s thickly distorted
wah-guitar certainly makes a case for their exuberance. In places, they
shift towards liter sounds ("Tears For Earth" and the interchangeable
"Sunshine On A Rainy Day"), but Taylor makes nice contributions throughout.
The Hendrix cover ("Who Knows") is a bit regrettable (slow and without
balls), as is the Coltrane cover ("A Love Supreme") (fast and without
balls). Love and Taylor have some nice interchanges across the disc, and
their basic sound (distorted guitar wound together with saxophone) has great
potential, the duo’s chemistry has a long way to go before it nears
transmutation. More info…
Bounce Bounce Sound – mindGOflip
Ick. Not my bag at all. Gross funk-pop from Colorado that succeeds in
blandness even when delivering straight-faced Tenacious D-like sex
invocations (from "Traintracks and Coastlines": "I use the motion lotion to
open up a potion / Of moonlight bodies just sexin’ on the ocean." Then the
singer repeats the thing about "sexin’ on the ocean" for emphasis.) Maybe if
I got really hammered on Jaegarmeister and started smoking cigarettes and
went to a sports bar to pick up girls and I… nevermind. Not worth it.
There are occasionally some small hints of catchiness, but they’re mostly
buried in utterly irritating stuff.More
Death & Taxes – The Ordinary Way Dunno why, but I
envision these kids wandering off the Twelve Tribes bus, or at least
emanating from that spot in the lot. There are a whole lot of asides
involving the phrases "child" and "my dear" here. Well, actually just on the
first two songs, but they pretty well set the tone for the record. The
Ordinary Way, an eight-piece from Virginia, are chockful of cosmic advice
stemming out of one of those fractured American road/peace-bird
semi-Christian theologies. The sound is closest to Rusted Root, but a little
more fully textured. There’s a lot going on, and it’s all very hippie. With
such a large band, they find interesting ways to syncopate the grooves,
often involving some blend of an acoustic string instrument (guitar or
mandolin) and some kinda hand-drum. And though I can’t actually name any
other bands that sound precisely like this, I can envision them easily,
playing at a Rainbow Gathering or one of a regional festival. More info…
Genrealization – Schfvilkus
Schfvilkus pull off eclecticism pretty well. Though the album is
front-loaded with horn-drink funk numbers, which are all kinda generic, the
band makes some nice and tantalizing deviations as the album progresses. It
certainly helps that they have Flecktones reed-man Jeff Coffin along for the
ride (he picks up co-writing credits on six of the disc’s 10 tracks). "Much
Minutes" is a rich, Middle Eastern soundscape with programming courtesy of
DJ Viper, "Sierro Del Yugo" slinks along an almost succeeds in sounding like
a smoother version of the late viperHouse, "Scuffle For Truffles" begins in
ambience and slowly builds back to the bland funk (though hints of the
ambience remain), and "Wasn’t It?" finds the band playing hyperspeed dub.
The free intro to "Rockdweller" doesn’t quite make it, but the drunken Lou
Reed-ish country number (the second of two unlisted bonus tracks) is pretty
nifty. There’s some filler, but these guys have their heads screwed on
right; good, creative use of horns. Worth checking out if you’re into that
sorta thing. More info…
Sleepy Little Home – SOMA
Formed by the Scharnberg brothers and sister – vocalist/percussionist
Shannon, drummer Brent, and guitarist Brian – along with bassist Ivan
Kirimaua, SOMA creates a generic blend of singer-songwriter folk and
pseudo-funk. The lyrics combine personal insight with undeveloped political
commentary while the relentlessly upbeat grooves and semi-soulful soloing
combine in uninterestingly. Their name, derived from the evil,
mind-censoring drug in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, is an odd choice,
given the nature of their music. As their music is neither radically
politically nor ironic, the name might give unappreciative listeners more
than ample ammo to insult the band’s innocuous music. More info…
Swat’s Candy Kitchen – Kirby Swatosh There’s a nice
innocence on this disc. Swatosh’s voice is almost weird enough to make an
impression, but not entirely. I’ve used the comparison before for somebody
else, but this guy phrases things like Al Yankovic — slightly nasal,
clipped and rhythmically chopped syllables within verse structure, etc..
Mostly, it’s just in the way they both pronounce the word "so". It’s like
"suhhhhho" or something. It kinda shapes the disc. The production on
Swat’s Candy Kitchen is pretty thin, and the drums sound like they’re
programmed (even though there’s a credit for a live player). The songs are
upbeat pop, vaguely jangley, with Swatosh’s voice always upfront and the
production extra-dry. Occasionally, studio flourishes drift in (a doubled
guitar here, a random doubled part, etc..) Jangly, jangly, but not so hot.
More info…

Show 0 Comments