I’m on my honeymoon this week, so I thought it would be a good time to offer up some backlog-clearing entries in my occasional series of Hundred Word Reviews. And though the musical styles are all over the map, there’s a theme of sorts this time: each of the acts reviewed has been covered previously, either via review or feature/interview.
Today’s four feature music from acts based in Europe or southeast Asia.
Three Minute Tease – Bite the Hand
A few years ago, American expatriate Anton Barbeau
relocated to Germany, and then he commandeered Robyn Hitchcock
‘s old band mates Andy Metcalfe
(bass) and Morris Windsor
(drums); the resulting trio serves up some fine dark-hued powerpop. On their latest, Bite the Hand
, they’re joined (on vocals) by wonderful husband-and-wife team Khoi Hunyh
and Karla Kane
from The Corner Laughers
, and on one track, the legendary and still-active Keith Allison
(Paul Revere and the Raiders
) on guitar. But it’s Barbeau’s voice songs at the center of it all, from the anthemic opener of “Bravely Fade Away” right through to the end.
Dewa Budjana – Surya Namaskar
Though Budjana’s Indonesian, listeners won’t hear much in the way of “world music” on this progressive/fusion outing. Featuring former Frank Zappa
drummer Vinnie Colaiuta
and sought-after session bassist Jimmy Johnson
, this is a melodic trip through the instrumental progjazz world. The influence of John McLaughlin
is one Budjana wears on his sleeve (and, as the gatefold photo shows, on his chest as well; I have the same t-shirt). The album occasionally sounds like mid 70s Jean-Luc Ponty sans
violin. Stinging guitar runs and knotty bass figures atop crackling drums makes this electric outing a delight for fans of the genre.
The Group – The Feed-back
Here’s a very strange – and until now, extremely rare – album: an avant-garde noisefest featuring Ennio Morricone
(yeah, the spaghetti western soundtrack composer). But this sounds nothing like the soundtrack from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
. This collective of composer/players officially bore the moniker Gruppo di Improvvisazione di Nuova Consonanza, hence the shortened Il Gruppo
(“The Group”). Sounding like a cross between Freak Out! Mothers
, and The United States of America
, it’s a weird yet wonderful foray into the outer reaches. It’s also not miles away from the kind of thing you’d hear on Bitches Brew
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