Big Sad Guy Waiting for the Undular Bores (bit.ly/bigsadguy)
Before Eric Johnson passed away in June, he wrote thousands of songs. This double album contains the last ones he played with his band Big Sad Guy. More than a few contemplate life and death. Recorded and produced over the course of a year at Handsome Family Studios, Undular Bores has the same warm tone as The Handsome Family’s Honey Moon. Multiple styles are played, but the songs generally settle somewhere in the neighborhood of alt.country. Dave Gutierrez' pedal steel perfectly complements Johnson's often plaintive singing, and the drummer's brushes keep the tunes moving without a bunch of silly fills. Sounds like sitting on a porch in the woods drinking beer. (Geoffrey Plant)
Is this really necessary? The instruments are canned, the renditions are bad and the whole thing rips off Dave Seville's Alvin and The Chipmunks. The original Chipmunks, however, had some original material, real instruments and their voices were really freakin' weird. The ZhuZhu Pets, on the other hand, sing sub-falsetto and skim through the material on Meet the Beatles. The cheap recording quality reflects a budget crippled by the licensing fees for these songs, and since the raison d'être for this cultural wet-fart is to make money and sell more toys, the world is going to hell in a hamster cage. For your fix of money-grubbing musical tie-in garbage, stick with Father Abraham in Smurfland or the truly astonishing Pac-Man Christmas Album. (Geoffrey Plant)
This audaciously fresh improvisational collaboration among drummer Prieto, keyboardist Jason Lindner and vocalist/poet Kokayi braids together funk, ambient, jazz, hip-hop, classical, rock, etc., into an exhilarating collection of tunes determined to lift the spirit. Lindner’s big-band experience allows him to orchestrate remarkable textures and stretch the compositions harmonically. Clean, fast, complex and soulful, Prieto takes a similarly orchestral approach to his kit. Speaking of soulful, Kokayi brings dazzling energy, playfulness and deep feeling to his rhymes and vocals. Together, the three groove into blissful abandon. Proverb Trio should reach across genres and bring isolated musical camps together in resounding acclamation. (Mel Minter)
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