1-girl:2-boy Amerindie Trio Licks, 2003

CORDELIA’S DAD “Jane”/”Promise”/“Closing Year” Last year, in “Camile’s Not Afraid of the Barn,” these indie-rock-moonlighting Massachusetts folk festival standbys set mysterious words about beached sharks, pellet guns, Chinatown firecrackers, and the smell of dirtbikes to a riff from “Jane Says” by Jane’s Addiction. Their new three-inch CD EP leads, coincidentally, with a traditional upstate-NY ballad… Continue reading 1-girl:2-boy Amerindie Trio Licks, 2003

Confusingly Named Background Gloom Licks, 2003

RAPTURE, Songs for the Withering The Rapture that Williamsburgers don’t know are a heavy-hearted quintet of Helsinki codeine-metal fops who quote Emily Brontë and Sophocles on their lyric sheet and gorgeously balance light croons with heavy grumbles about cold years and hangings and maggots (“our only friends”) and “bad dreams, hollow sleep of dark rooms,… Continue reading Confusingly Named Background Gloom Licks, 2003

G.G. Allin review, 1987

Snark, pure and simple (okay, paired with a pinch of one-upmanship I suppose), prodded by my annoyance of at an early example of the tiresome hipster schtick of pretending to like (or actually liking, who cares) music by a mentally ill person — in this case, a presumably dangerous and smelly one. In retrospect, I… Continue reading G.G. Allin review, 1987

Country Licks, 2003

Toby Keith tests the army’s latest super-secure landline technology. MERLE HAGGARD Like Never Before Merle has no doubt made more beautiful, more political, and jazzier albums, but maybe not all at once, and probably not in the past quarter-century. This one’s two pinnacles might be the best Gulf War II song and best Patriot Act… Continue reading Country Licks, 2003

Neo-Prog Licks, 2003

NIGHTFIST, The Epic For a CD recorded for $600 and containing barely 26 minutes of music, this one sure seems long, though the title suggests that’s exactly how these five recent high school graduates from Menlo Park, California, want it. “Rabid fans of Yes, Queen, Dream Theater, Grateful Dead, and Metallica,” reportedly not at all… Continue reading Neo-Prog Licks, 2003

German music Licks, 2003

RPWL, Stock Jetboys from Friesling, Germany, they started out six years ago as a Pink Floyd cover band. Their third CD still opens with a Syd Barrett song, which itself starts with rocket blastoffs, then drifts into deep space. The singer’s got the Central European softness and English-as-second-language everyday conversational tone of the guy in… Continue reading German music Licks, 2003

Outsider Proto-Punk Reissue Licks, 2003

MICHAEL YONKERS BAND, Microminiature Love St. Paul, Minnesota, 1968. Techie-teen leader of Michael and the Mumbles tires of twanging surf ditties at prom and VFW crowds, so he saws down his Fender and slashes open his speakers and lets his ominous baritone vibrato’s pomped-up medieval-castle Procol Harum poetry fall into black holes of Link Wray-reverbed… Continue reading Outsider Proto-Punk Reissue Licks, 2003

3 Indie Rock single reviews, 2004

Grandaddy: “The Rugged and Splintered Entertainment Center” Over repeated Casio tinkles playing an organ-grinder/boombah-stick oompah, and opening appropriately enough with a fake warp (unless that’s just my own worn-out turntable belt fucking up), a lonely where-oh-where-are-you-tonight campfire hymn to man’s best friend—namely, the trusty cabinet containing your TV, VCR, crappy receivers, eyesore knickknacks, and gallons… Continue reading 3 Indie Rock single reviews, 2004

Monster Records Metal Reissue Licks, 2004

TRUTH AND JANEY, ERUPTS! In April 1976, an unpretentious numskull trio from some Iowa cowtown recorded this ballroom concert (longest endurance tests 9:05, 8:12, 7:21, 6:51), not issued on double vinyl till the early ’90s, and not on CD till now. To read their backstory, you need their 1,000-pressing 1976 studio LP, No Rest for the… Continue reading Monster Records Metal Reissue Licks, 2004