Music/Program Director Brian Turner calls 'em as he sees 'em.

ONEIDA Come On Everybody Let's Rock (Jagjaguwar)
Very much the New York band of the moment (have to laugh at the promo/publicity label somebody put on their press kit, not written by the band: "They play in lofts!"); a dynamic, continually out-of-control rock outfit combining crazed elements of jazz, no-wave, soul-stomp and other mutations of sound. One of these recent "loft shows" i saw reminded me of one of the Blues Explosion gigs circa the In the Red singles era, but way more rousing and threatening. Great to see where these folks are headed.

JUN TOGAWA 20th (God Ocean)
The latest release from the Hoppy Kamiyama camp showcases 20th anniversary recordings of a mysterious avant-pop Japanese female vocalist, whose influences definitely speak via her cover choices on this disc: Brigitte Fontaine's "Comme a la Radio", Patti Smith's "Because the Night" (quite screwed up & claustrophobic), Slapp Happy's "Casablanca Moon", plus others by the Velvet Underground, Vanessa Paradis, and surely kindred spirit Phew.

WEASEL WALTER/FRED LONBERG-HOLM/JIM O'ROURKE Tribute to Masayuki Takayanagi (Grob)
Before Merzbow, Masonna and other noisehounds, Japanese guitarist Masayuki Takayanagi reigned supreme as the king of noise (and to many still does, the new folks surely owe a huge debt to him). He dabbled in the netherworld of extreme playing in the jazz world proper (a recent DIW reissue has him offering up Lee Konitz compositions) but laid out a blinding wall of harsh amplified string sound that sometimes made Sonny Sharrock sound like Nick Drake. Here, he is paid homage on two separate sessions by Chicago luminaries Weasel Walter (Hatewave, Flying Luttenbachers, many others), cellist Lonberg-Holm and many-of-many-hats Jim O'Rourke (who is done up in total black metal makeup on the back photo and renamed "Lycanthrovampyr"). This is an amazing, brutal record that completely melts.

JEGA Geometry (Matador)
AKA Dylan Nathan, longtime cohort of the men behind the Aphex Twin & Mu-Ziq) and the associations definitely influence what is going on. Spindly, abtract electronic workouts that are jagged and arrthythmic, yet hold some real mesmerizing ground over gorgeous and moodier keyboard landscapes. Elements of Aphex, Autechre add some serious bite but this succeeds in creating textures amidst a friendlier environ, which makes this disc especially interesting.

YOUNGBLOOD BRASS BAND Unlearn (Youngblood Brass Band)
The notion of a New Orleans-style brass band teaming up with hiphoppers and turntablists may not land anyone on MTV, but an interesting idea it is. Mike Ladd, DJ Skooly, and Talib Kweli funkify the proceedings, and there's even some input from longtime Zappa sideman Ike Willis.

GO-BETWEENS Friends of Rachel Worth (Jetset)
The Australian combo's return as a band (after quite a few solo discs from chief songwriters Grant McLennan and Robert Forster) is not quite the "band" reunion in terms of the old lineup. It's Grant & Robert helped out by Sleater Kinney/Quasi folks and other pals, but it sure is excellent. Since the dawn of 1980 these two songster geniuses have created literate, edgy, tense pop contained within music that recalled everywthing from lush UK folk to Television without the guitar hero theatrics. This record should win a whole new slew of fans (history factor or not).

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