Offhensky & Pleq
A Thousand Fields
No matter the day, no matter the year, Infraction releases are always a pleasure to receive, like some natural herb electrified through years of necromancy. They are all ambient, ethereal and wonderful in every way, but; given that I am not as avid a follower of such mindfulness music as I should be (and I obviously should explore the genre), this review will be challenging.
After you listen a few times, you may be overcome with the feeling of free floating just above the surface of a freshly-rained wide open field where the forest dwellers have just emerged after a storm. Yes, it is quite peaceful. And while it will remain for you to discover your own field of sanctuary as you listen deeply, the music continues to seep through all of us, becoming part of us in tiny little ways. And for those of you who are not stricken with slight synesthesia as I am, enjoy the music without all of the imagery. You may not know what you are missing, but enjoy the music anyway.
Hidden Target Recordings/Olive Juice Music
Released 29 March 2011
Long before Fragile Animal, Randi Russo released her second album, her first that wasn’t a CDR, the that one she decided to have mastered (Solar Bipolar), unlike most of the Antifolk class at the time. Her first release was completely lo-fi, un-mastered, brilliant, and flawed in it’s own way. This second album had been given the professional treatment. She handed it to me, hesitant about the way it had been finished, but what an incredible difference the mastering had made. Since then, we have stopped concentrating on the production values and focused on the more important lyrics and melodies, painful, heartfelt, and visceral.
Newline Records 2009
Featuring the voice of Neil Patrick Harris
Featuring the music and lyrics of Michael McCuistion, Lolita Ritmanis, Kristopher Carter, Michael Jelenic, and James Tucker
Full disclosure: Most of you should know that I have a weakness for animation and cartoons as well as for musicals. Now you know. This episode and its soundtrack combine both in the best Josh Whedon style. He wasn’t involved but his influence can be strongly felt, and Neil Patrick Harris of Dr Horrible fame is prominently featured, and that makes this just delicious.
Reviews are something new for me and for Radio Casbah so this will be a continuing and evolving artistic exercise in honest writing and musical reviews. Bear with me as we grow together.
Self-Released 23 August 2011
It’s a Catch-22, more or less. You’re a buzz band that’s impressed the hipsters with an effective Publicity Machine. Or you’re an underground band that only a few are aware of, and those few tell as many of their friends as possible, and somehow, it’s still an open secret from the rest of the world. Where is the fine line that allows for the hipster dollars and the underground credibility for the true music fan? Rarely do we have both, and only a few friends have been able to do it: Regina Spektor, Kimya, Adam, and their Moldy Peaches, Elizabeth Harper and her Class Actress. Even Nicole Atkins. But then there are artists like Joie Dead Blonde Girlfriend, The Teenage Prayers, and Gloria Deluxe, brilliant musical creators, that cause me to shake my head and wonder why the rest of the world has not yet caught up to what the rest of us have always known.
Rosie Flores And The Pine Valley Cosmonauts
Girl Of The Century
Bloodshot Records 2009
I remember my first Rosie Flores album as a discovered gem in a corner of one WFMU semi-annual record fair. It was Rockabilly Filly, her tribute to Rockabilly, which has always had a strong vein throughout all of her music, but this one had a few duets with a few greats, including Janis Martin. There have even been several opportunities to attend live shows in Austin as well as a few New Year’s Eve shows the Rodeo Bar in New York City. I have no regrets in this life, but regret missing them all.
Terminator 2 Judgment Day Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Silva Screen Records 2010
Like any piece of classical music worth its weight in cartoons, a good soundtrack score will build to a crescendo and explode, sometimes slowly, sometimes accelerating like a car driver that can’t help a lead foot. Music has done that to all of us. Terminator 2 may not employ much more that a few instruments and a few computer programs, but when it comes to an effective piece of music, it all comes down to only one question. Does it do the job and does it convey the big ideas. With Brad Fiedel behind the controls, the answer is yes.
Sally Tomato’s Toy Room: A Rock Opera In Four Acts
Directed by Wesley J. Turner
Music by Sally Tomato And Carlos Severe Marcelin
Severe Enterprises 2010
Rock operas in the tradition of the Who’s Tommy are frequently attempted and translated into album format, and frequently they are watered down versions of a former classic, but few are as ambitious and introspective as Toy Room seems to be here. Few writers of any art ever dare to look so deeply into themselves and thrive enough to emerge as spiritually evolved as the character Sally seems to have done. Friends and colleagues have successfully attempted smaller personal projects to process and to heal, showing only a few friends or writing a song or two, but Toy Room, in the expanded form of a musical is something rarely seen and even more rarely attempted.
The Wicker Man (1973) OST
Music and Songs by Paul Giovanni
Silva Screen Records 2010
This is probably one of the last soundtrack’s anyone would expect to see under my name for a review.Besides being a classic 70’s horror film, it is also one of a few appearing under what is known as “Folk-Horror”.
It purports to be, at least on the surface, traditional.The Wicker Man is based on a David Pinner novel, but the pagan elements as the film, and probably the novel, would imply have no real basis in any extant historical accounts, other than the possible concept for the “Wicker Man” itself.But it makes for some pretty suspenseful and chilling filmmaking at a time that the British Film Industry was pretty desperate.
The Cocker Spaniels
Live at Noni’s Bar and Deli
13 November 2010
Sean Padilla, AKA The Cocker Spaniels, is a musical powerhouse, causing comparisons to Raymond Scott who finally eschewed band members when they couldn’t satisfy Scott’s heightened sense of spontaneity and musical perfectionism. Padilla declares on his web site that he will take on a live band when he finds one worthy of his expectations. Once that happens, the dynamic of his live performances will certainly change. But a band won’t change the endless supply of energy that he brings. In some ways, the size of the audience doesn’t matter because Padilla gives everything to each performance, to every composition. Sean Padilla is an optimist.