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CD Review PHO - two


Record Label: PHO
Review by Sal Serio
May 2017

Recently in Madison to open a show for TAUK, the 7 piece horn-driven instrumental powerhouse from Minneapolis called PHO got the evening off on the right foot… well, both feet actually, as they immediately won over the Madison music freaks and got everybody off their butts and on to the dance floor. As such, I did not hesitate when asked to review the group’s new CD, their sophomore effort, simply titled ‘two’. There is a Prince vibe present here, which is not by accident. His Royal Purpleness had taken notice of PHO shortly before his passing in 2016, and actually invited them to open for Larry Graham at Paisley Park. Additionally, percussion on the ‘two’ CD is courtesy of Kirk Johnson from Prince’s New Power Generation.


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CD Review Squarewave - A Tighter Knot


A Tighter Knot
Record Label: Artisanal Records
Review by John Noyd
April 2017

Bound by earnest concerns cresting in hypnotic topics and focused hopes bubbling with fearless endearments, “Tighter,” creeps half-asleep in deep-sea fatigue strung among tight-rope kaleidoscopes; a tense sensation somersaulting from beleaguered to exalted, smothered in displaced promises, uprooted in rooftop thoughts and lifted in shifting dreams. Paving dark, defiant highways where twisted detours pass wind-blown beachfronts smeared in silver-plated industrial-twang, Squarewave’s interstellar tremors race into an endless night hovering just past the hi-beams as love, freedom and release weave nomadic ballads between cataclysmic burn-outs dipped in dawn-breaking radiance and airless mechanics spinning molasses-wrapped melodies around storm-distorted chords. Shadow-soaked experiences made tangible in roaring prog-rock riffs. subversive psychedelic leads and driven New Wave rhythms; “Knot.” floats, emotes and coasts painting tasty hay-wired spirals amongst angular cliff-hangers.


DVD Review The Rolling Stones  - Rolling Stones From The Vault : L. A. Forum 1975

Rolling Stones

Rolling Stones From The Vault : L. A. Forum 1975
Record Label: Eagle Rock Entertainment
Review by Gregory Hartumian
April 2017

With 55-plus years of history, the Rolling Stones continue “pushing the envelope,” as Keith Richards was quoted. With the new “Exhibitionism” installation and public exhibit at Chicago’s Navy Pier, running Apr. 15 thru July 30 (, the project is more of a stroll through their cumbersome history. One visits a re-creation of their dingy 1961 apartment, memorabilia, what it’s like to be backstage, and performance clothes, not to mention loads of photos.

However, it’s best to remember the music they produced over that timespan which is oddly pushed to the periphery with the exhibit. Eagle Rock Entertainment has been working with the Stones management, and band members, over the past decade in releasing audio and visual items that are prized by collectors. There are roughly one dozen rare videos concerts that have been floating around for years in varying degrees of quality.


CD Review The Obsessed - Sacred


Record Label: Relapse
Review by Sal Serio
April 2017

Scott “Wino” Weinrich is back with the Doom/Stoner Rock innovators The Obsessed, to finally record a follow-up to 1994’s release ‘The Church Within’! Many know of Wino from his early days with Saint Vitus and more recent years fronting Spirit Caravan. In reforming The Obsessed, Wino has maintained lead vocal duties in a 4-piece studio band, and a stripped down power trio unit for live performances. Engineer Frank Marchand has done an amazing job bringing an expansive, very live sound to the 14 tracks on this new CD project titled ‘Sacred’. The guitar sound is so immense it almost assumes a physical manifestation, and the chords hit like a head-on collision: concussive, dense, and impenetrable. Drummer Brian Costantino’s tempo is relentless and unforgiving, driving with jackhammer speed at times, evident on the more proto-punk stylings of “Haywire” and “Punk Crusher”.


CD Review Aimee Mann - Mental Illness

Aimee Mann

Mental Illness
Record Label: SuperEgo Records
Review by John Noyd
March 2017

Stripping away all but what makes Aimee Man one of the finest songwriters of her generation., “Mental Illness,” dresses perceptive duress in simply stated fates; her rich sensuous voice kindly underlines in cleverly crafted melodies backed by studious acoustic guitar, airy string arrangements and cozy open-hearted choirs. Mann’s quietly enlightened ballads are lovingly framed in melancholy modesty, transforming forlorn warnings into picture-perfect curtain-calls, underscoring a razor-sharp intellect behind each sweet turn of phrase. Flinty pop symphonies swaddled in fallen-angel sympathy, Mann’s ninth solo endeavor blends affectionate reckoning inside faultless resolve, supporting each song’s struggling characters in warm compassion as objective conjecture meets earnest concern and blind-faith perseverance embraces patient consolation.  Aimee plays Madison’s Barrymore Theater May 2nd along with beguiling ironist, talented troubadour Jonathan Coulton.


CD Review Six Organs of Admittance - Burning The Threshold

Six Organs of Admittance

Burning The Threshold
Record Label: Drag City
Review by John Noyd
March 2017

Dispatched with placid mastery, wistful intricacy and evocative serendipity “Threshold,” unscrolls exquisite hobo road-trips extracting ecstatic patters from synaptic guitar acrobatics to form floral chorals merging in thorny harp-like flights tastefully laced with river-running percussion.  White-water otters tramping in railroad-gypsy mystery, bewitched pixie proficiency and intuitive cruise-controlled industry, San Francisco’s Six Organs of Admittance blurs the lines between disciplined imaginations and improvised compositions; transcendental sentinels camping at heaven’s gate drizzling vigorous country-jazz arabesques over teeming, bohemian dreams. Enigmatic instrumentals sparkle among musical tarot-card readings weaving pastoral ballets entwined in sublime serpentine post-folk hypnosis; meditative cave-ins whose budding buddhic grooves greet shadow-chasing incantations dancing in the wind.  Full of surprises, the band’s live performances are incredible. Catch them playing Milwaukee’s Colectivo Coffee’s Back Room April 12th.


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