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Blue Collar's New Slabs!!
By Mick Polich - 09/25/2008 - 10:11 AM EDT

New Slabs, Part Whatever – new music that I’ve been catching up on:

I’ve decided I needed to make a change (such as the Yogi Berra quote, ”When you see a fork in the road, take it!”) – I haven’t been throwing out my cards from the deck as far as the music goes. Sure, it’s been fun to talk about the ol’ music heroes, but I am always on a constant search for new artists, new sounds. Having said that, I’ve been pretty surprised by my discoveries – if I just keep my antenna up, something usually comes my way in the unusual and cool:

“14K God” - Panther, 2008 Kill Rock Stars. I saw  this cool little video at the daytrotter.com site ( per a suggestion from Paste magazine). Very lo-fi, funky, hip. Imagine James Brown channeled thru a couple of Portland, OR. white boys in a D.I.Y., indie style ( bare bones, electric guitar clean, with a cello, no less, and drums), crazy caterwailing vocals that teeter on the edge of falling off the short cliff, and you’ll START to understand Panther (although hearing is believe). I’ve always had a perchant for two-piece bands, dating back to the Spinanes on Sub Pop Records – the Black keys seem to be a prime example now. This makes me wanna pop a beer and dance in my driveway…..

UTECH Records, various – wow, talk about noise as art: this label is out of Milwaukee, and is the very reflection of the poor, post-industry economics that blanket that city. Found sounds, noise, goth-like overtones, drones, Asian tinged wordless vocals - if the Butthole Surfers were Green Bay Packer fans, this might be a product. Not for the squeamish – it ain’t exactly metal, but the overtones say color me dark. Still, a fascinating exploration if you dig this sort of experimental, unsettling music.

“Real Animal” –Alejandro Escovedo, Back Porch/Manhattan Records. Alejandro has been thru the mill – part of early punksters the Nuns, then onto the pre –country punk group Rank And File in the ‘80’s, solo in the ‘90’s (with a bout of Hepatitis C thrown in that almost killed him) – the man continues to inspire and make wonderful hybrid rock music. This disc, produced by veteran David Bowie producer Tony Visconti, is like a journal of friends and experiences, some dead and gone, that have surrounded Escovedo.

“Chelsea Hotel ‘78” channels old buddies from his New York days – “Spider and the boys” – along with a Sid Vicious encounter, in Bowie-ese fashion. An album of tales to tell, from a man who’s probably lived a couple of rock lives.

“Meet Glen Campbell” – Glen Campbell, Capitol Records. No, I’m not kidding – I used to be a huge Glen Campbell fan when I was a lad (great voice, killer musician – Glen was part of the “Wrecking Crew” that did a lot of studio work back in the 1960’s – even did some Beach Boys gigs….). Glen tackles tunes from the Foofighters, Green Day, and U2, to name a few - all lovingly reproduced with the same glitz that made him a household name back in the late 1960's. Hey, it's o.k., download it - it's great stuff! 

“Superfuzzbigmuff” – Mudhoney (deluxe edition, Sub Pop Records). Here’s everything that was right about the grunge movement before all those stupid Nirvana wannabes decided to swoop in and kill it off for good ( or, perhaps a change in taste with nu –metal?). Mudhoney was THE unsung band of the Seattle scene in the late 1980’s/early 1990’s, and with this deluxe edition from Sub Pop, you’ll understand why. Fuzzed-out, amped up, 1960’s era garage band guitars, pre - screamcore vocals from the great Mark  Arm, and pure punk attitude channeled thru flannel shirts and Converse All –Stars tennis shoes. Boo-yah!!

Hope you can enjoy any of these new 'slabs' of music - remember, keep those ol' portals open, and some cool stuff might spin your way! 

“Music is the weapon of the future” –Fela Kuti




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