Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Run-Off Groove #192

Aloha, and welcome to the 192nd edition of you know what. You know what, right?

YEAH, THE RUN-OFF GROOVE, WHOO-HOOOOOO!!! I am me, and you know who... eh.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us The Run-Off Groove, in conjunction with Shanachie Records, is giving you have a chance to win a copy of Spirits In The Material World: A Reggae Tribute To The Police, featuring new interpretations of classic Police songs by Horace Andy, Inner Circle, Junior Reid, Toots & The Maytals, The Wailing Souls, and even Joan Osborne. I reviewed the album in Run-Off Groove #190, and I think the album is worthy of many listens. Click the following link and enter right now:

  • Before I start things, there was news today that drummer Buddy Miles died this morning at the age of 60. This was a guy that was a powerhouse on everything he played, and not only played mean, but looked cool when he did it too. Expressway To Your Skull was my favorite album by the man, the cover used to scare the crap out of me. It wasn't the distorted photo of Miles, but those damn skulls that were found in the title's lettering. If any of you have never heard this man's work, hunt his albums down. Buy the Band Of Gypsys album, that should be in every collection, rent or buy the DVD. Understand why this man's passing is a great loss in the world of music. Rest in peace.

  • Begin? We must.

    Image Hosted by ImageShack.us This is not Lorna Doom of The Germs fame, but Lorna Doom, two happy and funky white guys from Providence, Rhode Island who like to twist hip-hop into shapes unknown. The Diabolical EP (Corleone) is a brief look into what these guys are about, which is mixing and arranging various beats of known and unknown origin, sometimes changing the texture and mood a number of times in the same song. Over that are lyrics that are twisted and, from the outside, odd, but upon listening and understanding, you'll realize that beyond the dope doodoo rhymes are hints of intelligence:

    Another caucazoid annoyed at the void
    In culture in white boys brought up playing Asteroids
    Genealogies and my family tree is free in the breeze
    Got the whole culture on its knees
    My skin's a birthright that I don't accept
    Nonetheless, white still moves first in chess
    Who's the best? I confess, I vote for Deep Blue
    22 divided by 7
    Never clean sheve, 3.14
    What's the score? Pro-war fanatics antics got me
    Panic stricken, manic, sick and tired
    Of guns fired and lives expired
    Satire's too easy and inappropriate
    Disassociate myself and exfoliate

    If it wasn't for the funky loops, it could easily be one of those great songs you'd find on a punk 7", where someone feels isolated from the rest of the world, feels like an outsider, yet seeks the music that gives him inspiration to carry on and make it to the next level. A track like "How Cool Can Two White Kids Be?/Playa Hatin' (Player Hating)" is their way of saying that they are true to the music, and as different as some might hear it, they're struggling like anyone else and are willing to prove themselves by going on the road for a world tour, if need be.

    Lorna Doom have no dance routines, no flashy grills, and aren't about snappy choruses. It's dorky and nerdy, but not in a cLOUDDEAD or Reaching Quiet sort of way, it's hip-hop 98 percent of the time, with the occasional "off" sample that will keep the edgy sample spotters coming back for more. I only received the EP to review, I can only hope the full album takes things over the rim so one can ask for a refill of Brim.

    (The Diabolical EP is available from CD Universe.)

    Image Hosted by ImageShack.us Electronics and acoustics, classical and avant garde.

    I didn't know what to expect when I played Sulle Tracce Di Ned (Studio V38), but it is one of the more interesting and beautiful things I've heard in awhile. Mauro Orselli is a musician/composer who has explored the outer side of music and life in his work, and he does so on this album. His playing is remarkable, easily being able to play something classical in nature to making sounds as if he's inside of the piano. Throughout the album, he decorates with sound and brings in various other instruments and voice to make things appear more vivid. There can be some angelic singing in the songs, courtesy of Marina Mulopulos and Beatrice Carratori, while in another part of the album they might be grunting at each other.

    The album is avant-garde classical that's not for the faint of heart. Everything is open to interpretation, or no interpretation at all, just a willingness to create and make music, and to keep sound moving at a lively pace. Very moving and motivating, makes me wish I could find people like him locally so I could contribute and participate.

    (Sulle Tracce Di Ned is available from CD Universe.)

    Image Hosted by ImageShack.us The last time I heard Saint Bernadette, they were playing in an empty venue that helped give the music its warmth, space, and eeriness, making it a personal favorite. But with the release of the I Wanna Tell You Something EP (Exotic Recordings), it seems the entire band have shed their melancholy and are ready for, get this now, pop radio!

    Is it true? While I do like to hear music with slight dark and fearful tones, the accessibility of the five songs on this EP is too good to ignore, and too good to even call bad. "In Between" could easily become the pop/rock hit of the summer of 2008, with vocalist Meredith DiMenna tearing up the place to create something that is quite heartfelt. I kept on listening, wondering when they were going to bring back the charm of gloom, or to see things through a green tint, and it wasn't here at all. Is this their way of wanting to become more popular, or just a way to prove that they can do it too? Regardless of the answer, there's a lot of variety on this for something that's only five songs in duration. With their next one, they could easily go down a new wave-ish/electronic sound, or maybe country with a hint of funk. It's unknown, and I hope their fans are open enough to go with them for the duration of the ride. Another remarkable release from a band everyone should pay attention to.

    (I Wanna Tell You Something will be released on March 4th.)

    Image Hosted by ImageShack.us Chris Humphrey is a jazz singer who is in control of his voice and his music, never going too much over the edge, never holding back. Nothing But Blue Sky (Cadence Jazz) has him coming off like the perfect gentleman of jazz, with the help of some incredible musicians, including Matt Wilson (drums), Mark Shilansky (piano), and Martin Wind (bass). Together, they take some classics and turn it into a smoothed out party of sorts. The album includes covers of Johnny Nash's "I Can See Clearly Now", Thelonious Monk's "In Walked Bud", and Duke Ellington "Solitude". He has the kind of qualities that are not unlike Harry Connick, Jr. or Michael Franks, but Humphrey has his own unique sound that separates him from them.

    The small handful of original compositions (""Anna's Song (Safe In My Arms)", "A Love So Strong", and "Lullaby For Jackson") will definitely keep him in the spotlight for those who are looking for future standards, and... I like a good, expressive singer and this is one who knows what he's doing. Fans of Wilson will also like his drum work throughout this album, so pick it up for him too.

    (Nothing But Blue Sky is available directly from ChrisHumphrey.net.)

    Image Hosted by ImageShack.us Doug Munro plays the guitar like there's no tomorrow, and he does it in a way where you want to hear his work all day. If you could, you'd put him on pause, and he would be there when you came back. He's that reliable, and he is that good, or at least I think so. Big Bossa Nova 2.0 (Chase Music Group) sounds like a pre-digital album, as the sound is very warm, as if it was recorded directly to tape. That is due to engineer Eric Helmuth, and while it doesn't list what kind of microphones or equipment used to capture everything, Helmuth definitely has the ears to determine what will make everything sound perfect, or at least the closest thing to perfection. For those who seek Brazilian albums from the 60's or 70's for its sound, this is that album that will make you stand up and weep.

    Then there's the music and the musicianship itself. I like Munro's sense of space, where he knows how to carry the melody but occasionally flirts in and out with the kind of elegance that comes from someone with knowledge of music. The selection of jazz songs he covers are amazing, from Wayne Shorter's "Fe-Fi-Fo-Fum" and Sonny Rollins' "Blue Seven" and Chick Corea's "Spain", which sets up the colors and tones as the opening track. Bassist Michael Goetz is subtle in this and the rest of the album, but one can sense when he's going into his space too. Then you have another major highlight: a guitar-based album where you can actually hear the drums, an important part of a lot of "world" music. Musicians can show off all they want, but when the drums are there and it's pushed way back in the mix, I tend to think that the engineer, producer, and artist didn't care enough to share the talents of their drummer. On this album the drummer role goes back and forth between Jason Anderson and Jason Devlin, and their playing is ear candy for any fan of percussion, and well recorded percussion at that.

    The big surprise is Munro's gentle cover of Beck's "Devil's Haircut", and I say gentle because while it lacks the sampled soundscape of the original, the listener gets a chance to focus on the melody and Munro gets a chance to explore that melody through his improvisational playing. That's the one thing I also like about this album too, that it is improv, the jazz influence of course is everywhere, so this isn't one of those Starbucks-type albums where everything is put in cruise control, "just add spice".

    Big Bossa Nova 2.0 carries the traditions of all of those jazz and bossa nova hybrids that continue to thrill the cratedigger, and is not an imitation of what was, but a continuation of what is. This is a "vinyl-worthy" recording, and I hope Munro and/or his label will consider releasing this on vinyl in the near future.

    (Big Bossa Nova 2.0 will be released on April 2nd, but is available online from CDBaby.)

    Image Hosted by ImageShack.us If one tends to believe the trends of mainstream music, then someone will tell you that the sounds of South America are not an issue anymore. Yet musicians continue to be influenced by the sounds and the different cultures those sound represent. Felipe Salles's South American Suite (Curare) sounds like a man with a plan, and a band on a mission to commit themselves to honoring and sharing the beauty of the music and people of "the other America".

    Salles' opening saxophone solo in "Seven Days" may come off a bit like an introductory John Coltrane salute, but is more along the lines of Sonny Rollins or Pharoah Sanders. The rest of the band get in there, and Salles begins playing along with Jacam Manricks (alto sax), and suddenly one can sense that this is going to be an album that will reach its goal by taking the scenic route. Having the violin within the mix (courtesy of Laura Arpiainen makes things even sound more complex, and with a tight band helping things along (Joel Yennior on trombone, Bertram Lehmann on drums, Rogerio Baccato on percussion, Nando Michelin on piano, and Fernando Huergo on bass), it reminds me of those albums one would find where the entire band is on the cover, and everyone is smiling. It's a trip down south (interpret that as you want), and one can understand why there are grins from ear to ear. "Seven Days" goes on for close to eleven minutes, and that's just the first track. Inbetween you have songs about unity and strength, family, innocence, and having that private time for play time. By the time it reaches "Three Views", where Salles and the band sound like they're hesitating because they're about to get to their destination, you wish the album went on for at least another half hour. It doesn't touch on just one style of Brazilian music, but the various styles that exist throughout the countries, the different moods, shapes, and colors that one would normally have to explore on a series of CD's released by Luaka Bop. But it's here performed by a group of musicians and friends, and it might move people to leave their jobs and join Salles' caravan. The theme for the album is great, and it's an album meant to be heard as an album from start to finish. One can get lost in the sound, and that's not exactly a bad thing.

    (South American Suite is available from CDBaby.)

    Image Hosted by ImageShack.us Diane Hoffman is a jazz vocalist who is very expressive in her work. Perhaps it comes from her love of painting, or being able to utilize her painting skills to create art in anyform. She does this on her new album, My Little French Dancer, where she goes back to a number of standards for new interpretations.

    How are those interpretations? Quite good actually, with new renditions of "Close Enough For Love", "You're My Thrill", "Sunday In New York", "Two Years Of Torture", and "Well You Needn't". Even if you've heard these songs before, or are more familiar with the original instrumental versions, Hoffman throws in a lot of surprises by either changing the tempo and style, or adding something with her singing that adds a bit of the new to the traditional. She also offers a sad song to a friend who had passed away, in the form of "Farewell, Noelle". I had expected something soft and delicate, or perhaps bluesy, but the song has a bit of "Fever"-like spunk to it, as Hoffman sings: Noelle, my little French dancer, Noelle, my little French dancer/so full of life, so full of love/Noelle, only yesterday we sat across from each other, toasting love, life and kitchen-ly things/glad were we with our own little song. Rather than dwell on loss, it's a celebration of the life of a good friend, and that unexpected approach is something she utilizes throughout My Little French Dancer. She does show hints of her influences, but of course most musicians and singers too. Listen to her and find out what they may be, then with luck she may influence you.

    (My Little French Dancer will be released on May 5th, but is available online from CDBaby.)

    Image Hosted by ImageShack.us What are the Stolen Moments (Jazz Net Media) the Piers Lawrence Quartet speak of on their new album? For one, Lawrence is a "young" guitarist who fell in love with jazz at a young age and was moved to study the instrument formally. He decided to take his music to the studio and stage, and with this album he decided to collaborate with three jazz greats, all of whom still play with youth in their hearts.

    Stolen Moments features drummer Sir Earl Grace, pianist Chuk Fowler and bnassist Jim Hankins and together they play the kind of jazz for fans who have never forgotten the music of Wes Montgomery, Pat Martino, Bill Evans, or some of George Benson's early CTI sides. While there are a number of cover versions here, I really liked the songs Lawrence had a hand in writing, including "Samba Christina" and "Dimanche". While Lawrence occasionally displays the kind of flashiness he could easily pull off in an Al Di Meola manner, his approach is to keep it simple and become 1/4 of the ingredient behind each of these songs. Those who love a good piano in their jazz will definitely fall in love with Fowler's playing. It's a satisfying sound, it sounds like home.

    So what are these Stolen Moments? Buy, don't steal this album, and discover them for yourself.

    (Stolen Moments will be released on March 1st, and is available from CDBaby.)

    Image Hosted by ImageShack.us I've seen his name in a number of magazines and website, but up until now I had never heard the music of Søren Kjærgaard. This Denmark musician gained a love for music at an early age, and at the age of 20 was already performing his own compositions on stage. Contests, awards, honors, all of this for a man who will only be celebrating his 30th birthday next week (early Hau'oli La Hanau to you).

    I mention the age factor because when I popped in Optics (Ilk Music) to listen for the first time, I didn't know any of these things. I generally avoid bios until I listen and reviewed the album, so obviously as I write this I have listened to the album and am coming up in my head ways to describe what I had heard. What I heard was someone I assumed was up there in age, someone maybe in their 40's, 50's, or even 60's. Kjærgaard plays with the kind of maturity and power that comes from someone I generally thing has been around the block a few times, and puts all of his passion in his playing. I'm talking about someone who can play on a Keith Jarrett or Cecil Taylor level. I then look in the bio and I think... 30?

    Optics is part of a long line of albums Kjærgaard has recorded, but it's his first international recording as a leader, as the album features Ben Street (bass) and Andrew Cyrille (drums). As soon as the album begins with the title track, there is an immediacy to the sound. It doesn't sound digital or cold, and in my mind I'm thinking this has got to be an analog. While it doesn't list it in the liner notes, I was right; the album was recorded direct to analog 2-track by James Farber, with everyone in the same room. This results in a sound that becomes more intimate without barriers, similar to a nightclub setting but without annoying conversations and glasses breaking in the back room.

    What's on the album? Musicians who play incredible together, but also know the intricacies of each's others playing and their own. Some of it sounds a bit avant-garde, the closest mainstream comparison I could make would be the Rick Wright tracks on Pink Floyd's Ummagumma album, where the piano may not be played in a normal fashion, or where temps and signatures to not exist. It can be free, and one can sense mental movement with these three trying to carve something out of sound. It then moves into some very tight playing, which at times can sound like they're trying to compete against each other, while other times it's allowing each other to shine cohesively, and of course for Street and Cyrille to allow Kjærgaard to speak his mind through his playing. Some of it sounds abstract, some of it sounds minimalistic (like some of ECM's more obscure moments), other times it sounds like a puzzle being put together one by one, where Cyrille will find some percussion (could be sleigh bells, could be maracas, could be shakere) and throw it on the floor, on his drum set, or on himself.

    For impatient ears, Optics may be painful to listen to because this isn't just one standard after the other, playing the familiar solos, melodies, and drum fills. There's a lot of depth in this album, but it takes a concentrated listen or two to listen to. The title track itself is a 4-song suite meant to be heard as a whole, and it is assembled in real time, no quick fixes here. By the time they get to "Cyrille Surreal" (the third song in the suite), they finally reach a platform to work on and even then it's not done in a regular 4/4 way. It's a challenging listen, but it comes from musicians who challenge each other and themselves to create something like this. The amazing thing is that these three had only met each other once before, so everything recorded in the studio was done spontaneously, and yet it sounds like Kjærgaard, Street, and Cyrille had been rehearsing this for days or weeks. Optics is an album that will become a personal "secret masterpiece" that if someone was to ask if people still make incredible, forward-thinking jazz in the 21st century, I'll have to bring this album up in conversation.

    (Optics will be released on March 3rd.)

    Image Hosted by ImageShack.us Community, or at least a sense of it, is something I have talked about for years. It's what I seek in my own life, it's what I try to find on various music forums, it's what I like to find with friends. Because of that, it's something I don't consciously look for when listening to music, but it's something that moves me when I do sense it.

    Lazy Magnet is actually the creation of one man, that being Jeremy Harris. He described Lazy Magnet as being "10 bands trapped inside one man's body", and after hearing He Sought For That Magic By Which All Glory And Glamour Of Mystic Chivalry Were Made To Shine or Is Music Even Good (Corleone) (you can simply call it Is Music Even Good?), he goes from playing bluegrass to high voltage noise, pure indie pop to svelte punk rock. Today, Lazy Magnet is everything from a self-contained solo project to bringing in any and all friends to create the biggest bands, the tightest trios, any and all combinations are okay. The album will appeal to fans of Schlong, Ween, David Bowie, Sparks, Todd Rundgren, 10cc, The Duhks, Mr. Bungle and lost Sesame Street episodes. Hell, I'll even say that some elements sound like some of my own early music.

    Throughout the album, the songs go back and forth from sounding like wholesome homemade recordings, to full on orchestrated metal and punk madness, or some country music played in the backyard shed. This means that Lazy Magnet are/is far from being lazy. When Harris brings in his friends to collaborate, the mental musical chaos in his mind becomes a virus and everyone celebrates the unity of sound through becoming hyperactive from an overdose of Slim Jims and Western Family cheese. Seeing him and his collaborators (14 in total) in the inside of the CD package shows friendship, unity, and yes, community. They all look like they're braving the cold with their fall/winter clothes, and all looking like they're having an incredible time. Yeah, it's nothing but photo booth photos, but there's still a sense of "something", perhaps communication between each other that is often lost in some forms of music. Which leads us back to the title of the album: is music even good? In the hands of Lazy Magnet the man, and Lazy Magnet the everchanging concept of a band, music is indeed good.

    (Is Music Even Good? is available from Corleone Records.)

    Image Hosted by ImageShack.us Uke Of Spaces Corners County, what kind of name is that? I'm listening to the opening track to their So Far On The Way (Corleone) album, and "Dead Pens" is nothing but a guy with an eerie voice playing a messed up guitar, a choir of unknown voices, and someone playing a Moog or some unknown analog synth, and it sounds like the kind of distorted recordings I'd find on some cult compound. Then "Today The Mirror" is a compressed drum machine, or the drums from some old keyboards, with the singer doing his thing while pouring pellets on his guitar. It sounds like it was recorded in the same room that has a rusty lawnmower, and I don't know what to do.

    Uke Of Spaces Corner County is the creation of Dan Beckman, the primary eerie voice behind the name. There's a photo inside where there's a sign telling people to listen to the "folkish-baladry featuring many fine voices and plucking cluckers", and it sounds exactly like that, all recorded onto cassette or the tape machine from the recording studio that hasn't been in use since they converted to digital 25 years ago. The music is folky, very much of the moment although the songs are arranged to a degree. It's music of the people, but what people I'm not quite sure. It's very free and independent, without a care in the world. If Arlo Guthrie was born and raised in Olympia, Washington, traveled the country on a bicycle and eventually met up with Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips while jamming with Beck Hansen's peanut butter & jelly eating cousin, it still wouldn't sound anything like Uke Of Spaces Corners County. However, I'd like to hear what he would be able to do with Jordin Sparks's "Tattoo".

    (So Far On The Way is available from CD Universe.)

    Image Hosted by ImageShack.us Mugwump rock never sounded any better in the hands of a band who call themselves Night Wounds, a bunch of noisy, nasty punks who tear it up big time on their brand new album, Allergic To Heat (Corleone).

    The music is high velocity rock and noise with a slight punk edge, think of a band who was totally possessed by Nirvana's "Endless, Nameless" instead of "In Bloom" and you got an idea of what these guys are about. Things get very claustrophobic sounding immediately, but it's very organized in a Rapeman or Trumans Water fashion, complete with monotonous drums and fierce drones that move in and within the riffs and twisted vocals. This is not the kind of music for everyone, but since you're not everyone, this is for you. If Night Wounds sound like this here, I can only imagine how much more intense this would be in a small club or basement.

    (Favorite songs: "Allergic To Heat", "Less Dead", "Hex Appeal", and "X.O.T.", although to be honest I like the entire album.)

    (Allergic To Heat is available from CD Universe.)

    The American Beat label are still turning out the goods, this time coming out with two nice albums from the pop/rock world and a country gem:

    Daryl Hall & John Oates-Whole Oats
    The Romantics-The Romantics/National Breakout
    Porter Wagoner & Dolly Parton-Always, Always/Two Of A Kind

    Image Hosted by ImageShack.us There are many generations of Daryl Hall & John Oates fans, some think they started out with "Sara Smile", others got into them during the X-Static era, while many became fans when MTV first hit the airwaves. But the Philadelphia duo had made an album on Atlantic that initially didn't do well and because of it, it had been hard to find. Whole Oats is their first album together, and it shows that their deep love for soul music, especially that of their home city, was very evident on this album. It might easily be mistaken for some Robin Thicke or Remy Shand outtakes, but then again those guys were probably ripping off Hall & Oates. All of these songs are great, from "Fall In Philadelphia" to "Lazyman" and "All Our Love". Oates handles vocals on two tracks "Thank You For..." and "Lilly (Are You Happy)", and even back then they had a sense for the kind of sound they wanted to achieve, a mixture of soul, pop, and early 70's rock.

    For me, hearing this album was like hearing a lot of the music I grew up hearing as a kid in Hawai'i, particularly the mid-70's. Throughout the album I kept on thinking that almost every pop/rock group from Honolulu pretty much borrowed something from the Hall & Oates recipe book, be it groups like Country Comfort, Kalapana, or Cecilio & Kapono. In fact, Cecilio & Kapono received tons of airplay for their version of "Goodnight And Goodmorning", the original version of which can be found on Whole Oats. It might be considered a pre-cursor to Yacht Rock, but for my fellow kama'aina who have ever wondered where that love for pure pop comes from, seek Whole Oats and consume immediately.

    Image Hosted by ImageShack.us I'm old enough to remember when MTV actually played multiple videos for The Romantics. Before they became one of MTV"s early darlings, I had heard of them on a compilation album Epic Records came out with way back when called Exposed, which came out in 1981. By the time MTV rolled around, the first Romantics album was two years old, an oldie and not so much a goodie in the world of new wave. But were they new wave? They were new and part of the wave, but they were a rocking band from Detroit who showed their love of rock'n'roll. While MTV did play other videos from the first album, what was appealing about "What I Like About You" was the riff and the fact that it was the drummer who was the singer, not the guys in the front. It had attitude, it had balls, and that's one of many reasons why that song lives today. You can't escape an evening of television without hearing that song, but the group had a lot more going on for them than just "that song". American Beat has put together the first two albums they did for Nemperor/Epic, and not surprisingly it hasn't dated. Of course, I remember what these albums were like when they first came out, so how would a newbie take this? Consider this a band who poured all of their heart into their brand of rock'n'roll, and sometimes had the image of being pop-friendly punks. "What I Like About You" was wholesome, but they also did "She's Got Everything", "Little White Lies", and "Girl Next Door". Their second album, National Breakout, owed a lot to Detroit's Motown sound, but in terms of rock, one could not find anything better than "21 And Over", which suggested that if you wanted "the goods", you had to wait for it. It made waiting all that much more special, even for impatient pre-teens with itchy nuts.

    The first album has been long out of print, with the original CD commanding prices of $20 and up. National Breakout makes its digital debut here, and both albums are here in their entirety.

    Image Hosted by ImageShack.us Country music was in somewhat of a crossroads in the late 60's and early 70's, but just as the worlds of rock, soul, funk, Hawaiian, Latin, and jazz were going through revolutionary times, so was country. A number of artists were struggling to move away from the pure manufactured country that seemed to be far from the origins of the music, while others were trying to bring back the ruthlessness of the outlaw. Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton were those who had been caught up in the lush style of country, but would find happiness together in the country music they wanted to create.

    Always, Always and Two Of A Kind were originally released on RCA in 1969 and 1971 respectively, and for some country fans this is the golden era. Parton had become a star through Wagoner, and together they recorded a string of albums that would help take them to the top of the charts, and it also helped bring Parton the stardom she enjoys today. These songs are a bit more optimistic and perky than some of the lonely records George Jones and Tammy Wynette made together, but with songs like "I Don't Believe You Met My Baby", "No Reason To Hurry Home", and "Curse Of The Wild Weed Flower", it didn't always have to be a melancholy world. There was always love and joy, but as with many love songs, especially country ones, you can't have both without a bit of heartbreak and pain. Wagoner had a way of expressing himself but still leaving himself vulnerable, while Parton became the voice you wanted to spoon with if there was ever a chance you could travel to the South and meet her for a cup of coffee and a nightcap. Together, both of them made the perfect musical couple, and one gets to hear not one but two albums on this CD.


  • Tickets for this year's Rothbury Music Festival in Rothbury, Michigan went on sale as of Wednesday (February 27th) at noon EST. This year's massive four day festival will be held from July 3rd-6th, and some of the artists already confirmed to play include Diplo, Bettye Lavette, Sage Francis, 311, Thievery Corporation, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Medeski, Martin & Wood, Derek Trucks & Susan Tedeschi Soul Stew Revival, Taj Mahal, and many others, all of which leads to the headliner, The Dave Matthews Band.

    For more information on special ticket packages and lodging, click here.

    Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
  • Time Machine has returned and they are about to release a long awaited new album called Life Is Expensive. As a sneak preview, the group have released a digital-only single for the songs "The Groove That Just Won't Stop" and "Something We're Becoming", which you can find right now on iTunes. I'll have a review of the single next week.

  • DJ Vette is back with a brand new mix for everyone to listen to, and it's appropriately called Back From Hibernation. Download it right now by doing right click thing here.

  • Lyfe Jennings will be dropping a new album on April 29th, called Lyfe Changes on Columbia. For a preview of what's to come, you can stream a brand new song called "Midnight Train" in the most convenient way for you:
    Windows Media

  • KRS-One and DJ Revolution can now call Duck Down their new home. The Blastmaster will be doing his album with Buckshot of Black Moon fame, while DJ Revolution's King Of The Decks album is currently being recorded and mixed for release later in the year. KRS-One will be on there, along with Sean Price, Tash, Guilty Simpson, Dilated Peoples, The Alchemist, Royce 5'9", Q-Bert, Defari, Kidz In The Hall, Planet Asia, and more.

  • If you're in the Chicago area, make sure to check out Anti-Crew, who are performing on Thursday night (2/28) at Reggie's (2109 S. State St.). If you're on the Columbia College (Chicago) campus, there will be a free shuttle bus picking up concert goes to take you to Reggie's at 7:45pm. For more information, contact Anti-Crew's manager Joe at 574-226-2963 or e-mail, joelluevano@gmail.com. First come, first serve.

    The show will also feature Fly Phoenix and Jamal Dose performing. $8 cover, and it's an 18+ show.

  • Hardcore black metal fans will want to be on the lookout for a forthcoming book by photographer Peter Beste. Titled True Norwegian Black Metal, it's an in-depth look at the scene in Norway that moved on much further than similar scenes in Europe and South America. These are bands whose members who have scared people by ruining graveyards, killing people, and burned down churches. The scene has been the topic of numerous documentaries, but this is the first time these bands have allowed an "outsider" to take a look at their world. The photos are accompanied by a number of articles, including those written by metal journalist Jon "Metalion" Kristiansen. VICE Books will release the book in the United States on May 15th, and a True Norwegian Black Metal photo exposition will be held in New York City at the Steven Kasher gallery during May 8-June 7. The photo exhibit will also make its way to London, Stockholm, Oslo, Berlin, and Los Angeles before the end of the year.

    Image Hosted by ImageShack.us A premiere party for the new Stones Throw Records DVD, Stones Throw 102: Living The True Gods, will be going on this Friday (February 29th) in Los Angeles at Evil Monito (1830 Echo Park Ave). The party will begin with a screening of the DVD at 8pm, followed by a live Q&A with Peanut Butter Wolf. The next 90 minutes will feature DJ sets from a wide range of people, including one from Egon, and the evening closes with a video DJ set from PB Wolf. Cost is free with RSVP, contact evilmonito@NOSPAMstonesthrow.com (make sure to remove the NOSPAM before mailing) for information and let them know The Run-Off Groove sent you. There will also be a free after-party too, so if you make it, ask around.

  • Lizz Wright has a new album out in stores right now called The Orchard (Verve), and you can catch her live if you have the chance. Here are confirmed dates:

    Wed 3/5/2008... Century Ballroom, Seattle WA
    Thu 3/6/2008... Yoshi's at Jack London Square, Oakland CA
    Fri 3/7/2008... Yoshi's at Jack London Square, Oakland CA
    Sat 3/8/2008... Yoshi's at Jack London Square, Oakland CA
    Mon 3/10/2008... Hotel Cafe, Los Angeles CA
    Thu 3/13/2008... Birchmere, Alexandria VA
    Fri 3/14/2008... Rams Head On Stage, Annapolis MD
    Tue 3/18/2008... Highline Ballroom, New York NY
    Wed 3/19/2008... World Cafe Live, Philadelphia PA

  • Marco Benevento's Invisible Baby album will be released by Hyena Records, and before it comes out, you can watch the video made for the song "The Real Morning Party" right here:

  • Jazz vocalist Charmaine Clamor has been gaining a lot of attention with her album Flippin' Out, and due to all of the positive reviews (including one from yours truly) that it has received, she's about to make some "next level" moves. Word has it that she is about to collab with an unnamed Grammy winning member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to be announced at a later time. She has two CD's planned for release later in the year. To make it even more interesting, she will be seen and heard in upcoming performances of The Vagina Monologues in San Francisco at the Herbst Theater on March 31st, and in New York City at the Philippine Center New York on Apri 18th and 19th.

  • CasUno and Rock Solid have a new EP they want you to hear for free, called Stink Talk. You can download it in full by clicking here:

  • I haven't had a chance to listen to it yet, but Colin Stetson is coming out with his debut album next weel for the Aagoo label, called New History Warfare: Volume 1. Stetson is all about the woodwinds and has played with the likes of Anthony Braxton, Medeski Martin & Wood, Antibalas, Tom Waits, Arcade Fire, and TV On The Radio among others. The press release for the album says it "defies genres", which means it can and will go all over the place.

    I'll have a review for it next week, but you can take a sneak preview of it by downloading two free MP3's from the album:
    Letter To HST

  • Can't leave without a bit of proper self-promotion. Book's Music digital broadcast #54 is ready to be heard and worshiped. Explore the potential of your iPod by listening to great music I myself put together. Go and download it by heading to PodOMatic.

  • That, my friends, is is for #192, and yet there's a lot of stuff I didn't get to. Some of the music I'll be reviewing include a new album on Quannum by Curumin. Imagine if Beck came from Brazil instead of East L.A., now imagine him doing traditional music with slivers of funk, soul, and hip-hop. Plus it's on Quannum, you know it's going to be hot, and it is. I'll have a full review next week.

    I'll also have some new classical albums from the Bridge label, including an album of Dmitri Shostakovich compositions by pianist Melvin Chen.

    There's jazz from Jimmy Bruno and the previously mentioned Colin Stetson to be discussed.

    I also have two DVD's from DJ Mike Relm and a compilation video highlighting the first 10 years of the Corleone label (upcoming releases from Corleone were reviewed in this column).

    What else will I be reviewing? Send me books, give me magazine subscriptions, fit me in clothing. I would also be willing to review audio equipment, pass them along, loan them to me. If you want to send me something for review, contact me through my MySpace page.

  • Until the Vagina Punch becomes the nation's official hand tactic or energy drink, I remain John Book, and I shall return next week.

    How about I leave with a goal? I want to be a fatty that gets a chance to be on G4's Attack Of The Show. Can we make that happen? DVDuesday my ass, how about some music reviews?

    Doug Munro said...


    Just a quick note to say thank you for the review!

    Your comments were right on regarding everything from the players to the arrangements and even the recording techniques!

    You have an artists ears and a players love of the music.

    Much Respect,

    Doug Munro

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