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  • Slipped Discs - December 2009

    Discs You May Have Missed
    by John Noyd

    Kitka - Women's Vocal Ensemble - photo by Pixie Vision Productions

    Kitka - Women's Vocal Ensemble - photo by Pixie Vision Productions

    Initial Thoughts

    For those celebrating miraculous births this month, KITKA’s gorgeous collection of global lullabies, “Cradle Songs,” nurtures a haunting blend of female voices for eye-opening testaments to nap-time. Those fed up with the season’s commercialism can find bittersweet solace from ARCTIC MONKEY’s biting bon mots in the dark, mosh-pit glossy, dance-rock packed inside the marvelously malevolent, “Humbug.” Meanwhile, Slipped’s December details people’s tendency toward deference, stalking the exalted and subverting responsibility.

    Disc Reviews

    Dave Rawlings Machine - A Friend of a Friend

    Dave Rawlings Machine - A Friend of a Friend

    Dave Rawlings Machine

    Album title: A Friend of a Friend
    Record Label: Acony Records

    Assembling a crackerjack team including long-time collaborator Gillian Welch, revivalist and raconteur Rawlings picks and fiddles contemporary Dust Bowl bluegrass. Toe-tapping happiness grazing cautionary tales, “Friend,” renders and remembers faith-based fables and gospel-flavored shotgun swan songs. Train yard bards shooting the breeze, DRM play Madison’s High Noon Saloon Dec 7th.

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    Dave Rawlings Machine online:

    Download A Friend of a Friend from Amazon
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    Christine Vaindirlis - Dance Mama!

    Christine Vaindirlis - Dance Mama!

    Christine Vaindirlis

    Album title: Dance Mama!
    Record Label: Ubuntu World Music

    A feisty maestro commanding cool jazz and smokin’ R&B rooted within pan-African grooves, Christine’s honey-covered harmonies and big band stampede feeds your feet sweet, frenetic medicine. Navigating hairpin turns through soulful vocals and whiplash brass, funky zydeco and doo-wop soukous, “Mama,” channels impassioned evangelism; a world-class, booty-shaking bouquet dipped in sass and imagination.

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    Christine Vaindirlis online:

    Download Dance Mama! from Amazon
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    Mittens On Strings - Let’s Go To Baba’s

    Mittens On Strings - Let’s Go To Baba’s

    Mittens On Strings

    Album title: Let’s Go To Baba’s
    Record Label: Soungs Records

    A veritable garden of quirky curiosities, existential wit and literate kismet, “Baba’s,” boasts both gray, no wave guitar psychedelia harvesting lofty, alt-Goth waltzes and banjo, cello and mandolin spiking pastoral, prog-rock rodeos. MoS’s smirking, earnest grandeur merges into democratic genre-jumping offering sentimental laments and mocking double-talk, deadpan stanzas and granola-soaked anecdotes.

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    Mittens On Strings online:

    Arms and Sleepers - Matador

    Arms and Sleepers - Matador

    Arms and Sleepers

    Album title: Matador
    Record Label: Fake Chapter Records

    Birthing slow explosions alongside quibbling rhythms, A&S’s baroque kaleidoscopes spin tingling kinderpop into oceanic ambience, drawing patient cadence from slippery whisperings. Electro-acoustic druids from New England, A&S concoct eerie folk electronica reveling in liberating minimalism. A fluid fog of quietly classical trip-hop chamber-rock, “Matador,” surpasses the passive to float over edgy, enigmatic elegance.

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    Arms and Sleepers online:

    Download Matador from Amazon
    Purchase Matador on Amazon

    Tegan and Sara - Sainthood

    Tegan and Sara - Sainthood

    Tegan and Sara

    Album title: Sainthood
    Record Label: Sire Records

    Examining how far from perfect we are, T&S volley teasing, time-bomb tempos into impetuous, kinetic calisthenics, confronting choppy-water obstacles to snare love’s illogical lobbying. Tactful battleaxes parlaying blasts of bashing pop into frantic romance, “Sainthood,” is frosted to neon perfection - a pipsqueak blitzkrieg buffed into intense, anxious, well-timed insolence designed for maximum impact.

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    Tegan and Sara online:

    Download Sainthood from Amazon
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    Glass Ghost - Idol Omen

    Glass Ghost - Idol Omen

    Glass Ghost

    Album title: Idol Omen
    Record Label: Western Vinyl Records

    Nebulous tenors narrate disembodied biographies swimming in impish synths, slithering between machine beats and tumbling, jungle percussion. A short-circuited circus of post-modern androids sorting through shattered reality, Glass Ghost hosts day-glo hymns addressing bureaucratic static. Mesmerizing, intoxicating and strangely familiar, “Idol,” calls forth Major Tom promises from Kafkaesque scenarios and Clockwork Orange dreams.

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    Glass Ghost online:

    Download Idol Omen from Amazon
    Purchase Idol Omen on Amazon

    Final Thoughts

    Everyone from BOB DYLAN to TORI AMOS present musical season’s greetings this year, but re-mastered compilations from FRANK SINATRA and RAY CHARLES ring those silver bells best. Tastefully classy and classically hip, “Christmas with Sinatra and Friends,” and, “The Spirit of Christmas,” roast those chestnuts. For a luminous, new age jazz perspective unwrap DAVID ARKENSTONE’s tranquilizing, “Christmas Lounge,” or revisit golden moments through the nostalgia generated by, “A Hollywood Christmas.”