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Published: 2007/09/23
by Jesse Jarnow

Indie Weirdo Round Up- Bishop Allen, Sir Richard Bishop, Diplo, Kamikaze Ground Crew, Patton Oswalt, Brazil 70 compilaiton

& the Broken String – Bishop Allen (Dead Oceans)
Actually, there’s nothing weird at all about Bishop Allen and their second album — unless one counts the 12 monthly EPs that appeared over 2006, forming something of a rough draft for & the Broken String, or the fact that it is some Kinksy kind of irresistible. Melodies like ‘Shrinking Violet’ and ‘Choose Again’ are sweet and overtly comfort-filled. ‘If it’s ever gonna get any better, it’s gotta get worse for a day,’ they sing on the big single, ‘Rain.’ ‘The News From Your Bed,’ meanwhile, is a ‘hey! you’re awesome!’ pop for shut-ins, or at least the occasionally melodramatic. Throughout, arrangements are filled with warm pianos, chimes, bassoons, banjos, and vocals that would be right precious if the songs weren’t so memorable.
Polytheistic Fragments – Sir Richard Bishop (Drag City)
Despite the dissolution of the Sun City Girls, the Bishop brothers show no signs of slowing. While Alan runs the DIY ethno-weird Sublime Frequencies label, brother Richard (Sir Richard, actually) continues a prolific stream of solo guitar work. Polytheistic Fragments — his second release of 2007 — presents his post-John Fahey palette over 11 warm, concise cuts. Though there is no attempt to hide his more wandering Indian and Arabic tendencies (‘Rub’ Al Khali,’ ‘Free Masonic Guitar’), Bishop here also embraces Americana, as on the pastoral ‘Tennessee Porch Swing’ and the quicksilver electric picking of ‘Canned Good & Firearms.’ He even allows himself a real finale in ‘Ecstasies in the Open Air.’ Accessibility from a Sun City Girl? Awesome!
pitchfork mix AUGUST final – Diplo (Pitchfork)
Hollertronix #7 EP – Diplo (Hollertronix)
For the last few years, it seems like Diplo’s been the guy who’s got the news, and his free mix for Pitchfork is no exception. He hits the best bits from maybe-flame/collaborator MIA’s latest (‘Paper Planes,’ ‘Bamboo Banger’), a gorgeous melt from ‘Iko Iko’ into a choir singing the Knife’s ‘Heartbeats,’ beatmakers du jour galore (Soulja Boy), some new discoveries (Baltimore’s DJ Tamiel), a few indie-friendly hitmakers (the White Stripes, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Spoon), authentic summer bangers (‘Umbrella’), and a handful of fresh mash-ups (including one of Nirvana’s ‘Drain You’ and Huey’s ‘Pop, Lock, and Drop It’). His latest Hollertronix EP features more of the latter, including a collaboration with Eli Escobar on a distinctly Diplo version of Justice’s inescapable ‘D.A.N.C.E.’
Postcards from the Highwire – Kamikaze Ground Crew (Busmeat)
Perhaps not all that it should be, the Kamikaze Ground Crew’s Postcards from the Highwire is enjoyable in as much as it exists for what it is: the first new album from the 20-years-running jazz supergroup since 2003. Utterly casual, the musicians — culled from the Berkeley/New York axis — include saxophonist/pianist Gina Leishman, clarinetist/guitarist Doug Wieselman, trumpeteer Steven Bernstein, saxophonist Peter Apfelbaum, and others. While the musicians’ dialogues are as intimate as ever — especially on the flowering horn overlays of Apfelbaum’s ‘Shotgun Bouquet’ and the ramshackle swing of Bernstein’s arrangement of Razaf and Berry’s ‘Christopher Columbus’ — there is something slightly diminished about their performance, like a lighthouse landlocked by erosion, and through no fault of their own.
Werewolves & Lollipops – Patton Oswalt (Sub Pop) "I’m drunk, here we go," Patton Oswalt announces at the beginning of Werewolves & Lollipops, the manic comedian’s second live album. Like David Cross and Bill Hicks, Oswalt is a social satirist, with honed pop culture instincts. In places, this gets the better of him, as when comparing the Bush administration to the Dukes of Hazzard. When employed in pursuit of absolutely surreal obscenity, Oswalt scores. Sometimes literally. ‘She’s trying to trick me into having a kid,’ he says of his spouse, in the latest iteration of ‘take my wife, please!’ ‘She’s gonna leave a trail of comic books going into her vagina, and I’ll get too close. ‘Hey, a Jack Kirby X-Men!’— UPPSSS!!! Pregnant! Fuck!’
Brazil 70 – various artists (Soul Jazz)
Like the original tropicalismo, one needn’t know a lick of Portuguese or Brazilian politics to appreciate the music that followed it onto the national stage — just a keen appreciation for harmonized folk-psych (Seco e Molhados’s ‘Amor’), baroque balladry (Nelson and Joyce Angel’s ‘Vivo Ou Morto’), twin guitar workouts (Novos Bainos’ ‘America Tropical’), and a thousand other left turns taken over sensuous and sensitive changes. Where the American hippies drifted quickly into the narcissistic Southern/prog/coke-folk bloat that has defined crappily strummed nostalgia ever since, the Brazilians succeeded in creating the more sophisticated type of rock the Americans fantasized about, which the inestimable Soul Jazz documents on Brazil 70.

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