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Reviews

NEW AT PCR: Reporter-Time Incredible

Reporter/ Time Incredible/ Holocene

Breathy vocals and 80s synthesizer effects galore are incorporated into Reporter’s new album “Time Incredible.” Grooving bass beats and garage sounding guitars also plays well to off-set such electronic effects heavily use in new wave 80s hits. Upbeats tempos and a slightly European electronica air, opposite of most Portland bands, are armed on tracks such as “Geronimo’s Bones” and “One Night.” The album also consistent in its shifting through danceable track to danceable track, keeps the party going.

Track picks:
1. Geromino’s Bones
4. One Night
9. Love Sounds

Sounds like: Friendly Fires, The Rapture, Glass Candy, Human League

FCC Clean

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GOMER HENDRIX Revolution 10 CD

GOMER HENDRIX / Revolution 10 CD / Skitz Records / 2010

Humor and rock usually mix like oil and water, but in the hands of some particularly eccentric individuals like MARTIN MULL or CHEECH AND CHONG it can work to amazingly entertaining effect.  Mr. HENDRIX skewers and twists the work and words of many rock heroes, but does so in a creative and often loving way.  There are some un-PC political sentiments thrown out like little Molotov Cocktails along the way here, so be prepared to have some sacred cows served up to you as steaks.

SOUNDS LIKE:
WEIRD AL YANKOVIC, FRANK ZAPPA, BONZO DOG DOO DAH BAND

SUGGESTED TRACKS:
3  “Here Comes The Rain Again” (EURYTHMICS gone classic rock)
8 “The Wind Cries Shazzam” (HENDRIX meets a comic book reference)
9 “Prince Loves Himself” (ROMANTICS meet some purple-hating)

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SHAREEF ALI & THE RADICAL FOLKSONOMY The Once And Future Boyfriend CD-EP

SHAREEF ALI & THE RADICAL FOLKSONOMY / The Once And Future Boyfriend CD-EP / Self-Released / 2010

It’s a familiar sound, but a friendly one.  Who would have thought that after all the noise that was popular the last 20 years in the music underground that there would be light and easy sounds on the other side, but that’s the sound of the day today.  Anti-Grunge?  At least the thoughtful lyrics here don’t insult my intelligence.

SOUNDS LIKE:
BRIGHT EYES, DYLAN, RICHARD THOMPSON

SUGGESTED TRACKS:
1  “Come Closer” (autobiographical country folk boogie)
4 “Broken Record” (skewed country)
6 “Married To The Sea” (folk-skronk ala THE KNITTERS)

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PILAR DIAZ s/t CD

PILAR DIAZ / s/t CD / SiteLA Records / 2008

Few artists are able to successfully meld sounds from this century with sounds of centuries past, but Ms. DIAZ pulls it off here with creativity and aplomb.  Clearly she has a lot of respect for Latino musical traditions, and that gives her the ability to mix up those traditions a bit without seeming cloying or opportunistic.

SOUNDS LIKE:
MANU CHAO, BEBEL GILBERTO, BJORK

SUGGESTED TRACKS:
1  “Tu Y Yo” (great layered samples meld old styles with new ones)
3 “Novia De Soldado” (a touch of indie rock)
6 “Perdido” (wistful guitarron, accordion, and fiddle mix)

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ARTEMIS Auralei CD

ARTEMIS / Auralei CD / PTFM Records / 2010

More shoegazer “trip-pop” from Oakland – not a place from whence I’d expect stuff this mellow, but that’s me.  COCTEAU TWINS are a decent point of departure for the sound these guys conjure, although I could list off a bunch more 4AD bands as well.  Dreamy and spacey – probably good for coming off of a tough “morning after.”

SOUNDS LIKE:
LUSH, MY BLOODY VALENTINE, BJORK

SUGGESTED TRACKS:
1  “Auralei” (have no idea what it’s about, but it sounds sumptuous)
3 “Seven” (shades of KATE BUSH)
6 “Lagoon” (short and sweet dance stuff)

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MAD CADDIES Consentual Selections CD

MAD CADDIES / Consentual Selections CD/ Fat Records / 2010

I have to say that I’m a sucker for horns added to a punk/ska/reggae mix.  These guys have a great sense of music history, and blend all kind of musics from the last century so seamlessly it’s astonishing.  Not ever song hits a home run, but when they get it right, these CADDIES easily hit it out of the park.

SOUNDS LIKE:
MIGHTY MIGHTY BOSSTONES, REAL MCKENZIES, OPERATION IVY

SUGGESTED TRACKS:
6  “State Of Mind” (almost sounding like MEN AT WORK)
10 “Monkeys” (goofy banjo Dixieland punk)
17 “The Gentleman” (straight-ahead punk potboiler)

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DANDELION WAR Geometries And Orchids CD

DANDELION WAR / Geometries And Orchids CD/ Self-Released / 2010

Shoegazer pop seems to be hitting a 20 year nostalgia peak right about now.  Here’s an only slightly updated version of the sounds that used to come from MY BLOODY VALENTINE and LUSH a generation back.  Still sounds sweet, but can get a bit self-consciously pretentious at times.  A different kind of Oakland sound to be sure…

SOUNDS LIKE:
DOVES, EDITORS, DARKER MY LOVE

SUGGESTED TRACKS:
2  “Spectacle” (did I mention they sound like the DOVES?)
3 “Kahlo” (spacey tribute to a famous artist)
6 “The Petals Of Lipaceli” (COLDPLAY, anyone?)

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New at PCR: Christopher Willits – Tiger Flower Circle Sun

Christopher Willits / Tiger Flower Circle Sun / Ghostly International

Combining ambience and electro dream-pop, Christopher Willits has just released his latest, Tiger Flower Circle Sun. “i am a conduit of the process, a kind of gardener,” Willits has said of himself and his fashion of creating music. Using and designing much of his own software to create his masterpieces, this abstract visualizer definitely delivers in tracks like “Plant Body”, “The Heart Connects To The Head”, and “Flowers Into Stardust”. The pinnacle of the album arrives in “Light Into Branches”, complete with the rare vocal accompaniment and keys of nostalgia. Not only is it an extremely visual piece, the cohesiveness of the tracks make the beats and loops that much more melodic. FCC Clean.

Tracks that stood out:
3. Sunlight Is You
7. New Life
9. The Heart Connects To The Head
10. Intend-Evolve
13. Light Into Branches
15. Flowers Into Stardust

Sounds like:
Taylor Deupree, Shuttle 358, Fourcolor, Sawako

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New Music Review: Open Mike Eagle “Unapologetic Art Rap” (Mush Records)

Open Mike Eagle “Unapologetic Art Rap” Mush Records

Review by Salex

Its about time for a good underground hip hop record to come out this summer. Open Mike Eagle is an extremely talented freestyle MC that has been dominating stages and battles in the LA underground, and on a national level. As a co-founding member of the crews Swim Team and Thirsty Fish, Open Mike Eagle melds knowledge, energy and lyrical prowess with amazing timing and rhythm. His latest full-length release, “Unapologetic Art Rap”, is a great example of how the underground hip hop scene is still alive in Los Angeles. His smooth crisp voice, diction and annunciation of lyrics mixes well with the sampled records and beats. The subject matter is a combination of dark gritty social commentary, inner reflection, and “art rap” parties. The first track “Art Rap Party”, Mike raves about how there “ain’t no party like an art rap party, cuz and art rap party’s so smart”, but he is quick to clown those who claim they are “art artists”. Most of you probably know the type; the hipsters at shows (of any type) because it is the intelligent “cool” thing to do for the moment. Scenesters who are quick to flee and move on to the next “cool” thing, so that they feel art-like. He questions what art rap really is in track #7, and rhymes about going to parties where “rappers rapping about art, where the artists are painting rappers while the rappers are rapping about the artists painting the rappers”. Mike is definitely not a scenester. He is in it for the love; the passion; artistic expression, and  his overall addiction and dedication to hip hop. In the track, “I Rock” Underground hip hop is a scene supported by hard working producers and MCs trying to scrape by on the small amount they get paid for gigs., and in the track “I Rock” Mike tells us that he is a ” 9 to 5’er”, because he “can’t rap for a job”, because he is a completely committed hip hop MC, constantly “swimming in hip hop”, but he “can’t look like a slob”. Even though he is in the rat race by day he is a kick ass dominating rapper by night. Rockin’ with his “Freak Flag” out, Open Mike Eagle is confident, witty MC who is not afraid to show his overly observant, intelligent rhyming skills. He speaks his mind in rhymes. This is not your typical dance floor party hip hop. These are intelligent, poetic and sophisticated hip hop tracks with cleverly chosen instrumentals, and heart thumping bass; minus the cheesy repetitive Top-40 hooks. This is the perfect summertime album to pop on at a house party or poolside enjoying some drinks, or just to relax and groove to.

For Fans of: Aesop Rock, Azeem, Myka 9, The Grouch & Eligh (Living Legends)
Genre: Hip Hop, Experimental

**FCC WARNING** Tracks: 1, 2, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12, 13

My track picks
#2 – Freak Flag
#3 – I Rock
#7 – WTF is Art Rap?
#8 – Unapologetic

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HOT FOG Wyvern And Children First EP

HOT FOG / Wyvern And Children First EP / Self-Released / 2010

RONNIE JAMES DIO may be gone, but he’s far from forgotten. A whole new generation of geeky Dungeons and Dragons-playing metalheads are keeping the dream alive, steeped in Olde English Pagan mythology and rhythmic bass-string boogie. The lyrics are written in Gothic typeface, and the back cover of this 45RPM 12” vinyl offering includes the classic comment, “I’m gonna kill you in the face.” It will make the adolescent male nerd in you start jerking your cervical spine violently!

SOUNDS LIKE:DIO, SCORPIONS, MOTORHEAD

SUGGESTED TRACKS:
1 “Dwarf King Of The Sovereign” (can’t get more D&D than that!)
3 “Blood Wedding” (serious ‘70s metal vibes)
4 “Death Killers” (the sequal to “Killed By Death”?)

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