Sonic Reducer: Micro Album Reviews

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I couldn’t believe my ears when I heard this years ago. Having since lost that record, I immediately snapped up this reissue. Seeking to hook into the contemporary hippie youth market, Chess Records gave Howlin’ Wolf an LSD-inspired band that sounds half Blue Cheer, half blaxploitation film soundtrack. All the usual Willie Dixon and Howlin’ Wolf standards like “Evil” and “Spoonful” feature Pete Cosey fuzz guitar with incessant wah-wah and a serious backbeat by Morris Jennings. Howlin’ Wolf apparently hated this record and the cover, but it really is a true bastard classic from the late ’60s. (GP)

Glen Campbell Ghost On The Canvas (Surfdog Records)

Glen Campbell, who announced he is suffering from Alzheimer’s, has released his final album. Luckily for my listening partner and I, none of the hooks on this overproduced "new-country" sounding record are catchy enough to lodge in one’s head. In fact, she was wishing for her own case of immediate onset Alzheimer’s, which would take away any memory of these songs. I was hoping for more Glen Campbell than is available here, most of the tunes having been written or co-written by Paul Westerberg, producer Julian Raymond and others. Campbell’s voice has still got it, but there’s not much else going on. (GP)

Joe Martinez ÒTransistor Radio Part II / The SurfÓ (Twilight Records)

If it weren’t for an inconspicuous “2011” in small print, collectors finding this 7-inch in a record bin would deliriously think they’d run across a long-lost obscurity. Joe Martinez allows that he designed the simple label with that in mind. The two cuts here are just as unassuming. Eschewing the throat-tearing rockers he performs with The Seeing Things, Martinez presents two languid reverb numbers that one expects to take off into a frenzy. The fact that they don’t is disappointing at first, until you find yourself satisfied and flipping this slab over for another couple of plays. (CA)

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