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A Head Full Of Peach Salsa
with Moondog!

July / August 2005

RATING MUSIC AS CHIPS AND SALSA- a code key:
^^^^^ = Five chips Fresh crunchy chips for homemade peach salsa with the freshest ingredients. Mmm-MM!
^^^^ = Four chips Not quite as crunchy or fresh. But, then again, it's not microwaved burritos. So there's some nutritional value, yes?
^^^ = Three chips Oh, come on! So a few of the chips are a little limp and the salsa's been sitting in a bowl in the hot kitchen. It's still peach salsa, man!
^^ = Two chips
It physically resembles chips and salsa, but it ain't quite it. Don't feel bad if you miss hearing this.
^ = One chip It seems to resemble a foodstuff, but who knows what it is anymore? If you must, crane your neck briefly to take notice of this, as you would a car wreck on the highway.
No chips It's actually a microwaved beef and bean burrito with that nasty "green chile sauce" that actually seems to have been made from tree bark moistened in tomato juice. Eeww. You're not going to eat that, are you?   

  Los Lobos has been around since the late 1970's. That's the late 1970's, people! I don't know how many of you knew that, but it just blew my mind afresh… The only rock institution I could think to compare them to stylistically, aside from the unique place they hold in the post-Tex-Mex rock and roll firmament, is the Band. It just seems that David Hidalgo, like Robbie Robertson, always at the very least displays a solid musicianship, and a thoughtful approach to his art. The same goes for his frequent co-writers Cesar Rosas and Louie Pérez. Personally, I think their most fruitful period was that when they worked with the great and rarely considered producer Mitchell Froom, particularly on their last major studio projects for Warner Brothers, Kiko and Collosal Head. And Froom is one of a virtual firmament of stars appearing on their latest great album, The Ride. ^^^^½ Other guest stars of note, include Little Willie G. (late of 60's band Thee Midniters, lending his soulful vox to a funk filled reworking of Lobos' "Is This All There Is?" , a highlight of the album), Dave Alvin (of the cult-fave Blasters), soul legend Bobby Womack (who joins in on a medley of Lobos' "Wicked Rain" with his own "Across 110th Street"), Ruben Blades, Richard Thompson, Elvis Costello, Mavis Staples, Tom Waits, the Band's own Garth Hudson, and even the band Café Tacuba. And, yes, if you hadn't already noticed, this session finds Hidalgo and company revisting some old favorites, which is as close to a weakness as this album betrays. But what time they didn't seem to spend on songwriting… well, who cares? They just sound great! "Wreck of the Carlos Rey" makes great use of the tremulous voice and tuneful guitar of Thompson (another frequent collaborator of Froom's). Elvis Costello belts out a version of "Matter of Time" with great depth of emotion over a simple piano and pedal steel backing. Mavis Staples brings the soul to Lobos' Rhythm and Blues-y, horn drenched "Someday." Café Tacuba jam out on the latin-y rocker "La Venganza de Los Pelados." This album effortlessly switches gears from latin flavored musics, to guitar pop, to blues. It's a musical chameleon act that Los Lobos makes look easy, and, more importantly, fun, while still bringing more feeling to their playing than we have a right to expect from any entity that has been around this long. The late 70's! Geez…!

  All right. If you're like me, you're probably getting bored with the fact that Brazilian artist Arto Lindsay has been putting out such persistently funky wonderful stuff for years. I mean, come on, can't this guy just do a nice boring album? No? (PHHHPHHHT!) Figures! Oh, all right, I guess I'm not really bored with Arto Lindsay at all yet. His latest is Salt (Righteous Babe) ^^^½, another funky exercise in electronica and a further development of the samba and other rhythmic influences that turn up in Lindsay's work. Perhaps one weakness (mine, really) is that he lyrically will be bilingual (Brazilian Portuguese and English), without providing a translation. Not that much of an impediment, though, when he throws down his breezy vocals on tunes like "Habite Em Mim," the album opener. The eternal samba rhythms are revisited, with touches of electronica, on the sex drenched "Personagem" (which he kindly translates as "Character"), as well as "Combustivel" (with tinges of forro-esque accordion), and, more abstractly, in the programmed rhythyms of "Salt." Lyrically, Lindsay remains in the orbit of themes of sex and frequently visited in Brazilian music, but Lindsay remains on the forward looking edge of Brazilian/ North American pop fusion, always with a grasp of dance pop, and a great depth of imagination. Check him out.

  And I suppose the first question many of you… a few of you… well, not that many but some may have is: Who is Tom Kazas and why should I care about him? Tom Kazas was one of the principle movers/ shakers behind a cult neo-psychedlic pop band of the 80's from Australia, known as the Moffs. Still not ringing any bells? If you plug the name into "All music.com" it spits back a sparse acknowledgement of someone who worked on comedy albums of one kind or another. Not the same guy. O.K., his biographical material online has not been exactly complete. Maybe all you need to know is that he has a solo album out that he has self released, available on import only, called Telemetry ^^^½. Oh yeah, and that he is principally a singer and guitarist, but that the album is quite a nice mix of guitar/ mellotron layered post-psychedelic pop, with its' head clearly in the stars… which is a nice place to be. Take "She's from Fornax," a trippy ode to a far out lady from a not wholly evident rock-opera sci-fi opus about a doomed alien race ("there's no pain she's not seen/ and no joy she's not been/ she could be the last of our line/ hope we save her in time"). "The Enlightenment Machine" recalls King Crimson (the "buggled" version, if you know what I mean). It's a funky animal of shifting rhythms thrown into high gear, bringing (as usual) mellotron and guits along for the ride, until a tenser wrap up that wouldn't be out of place on a Mike Oldfield album. Are we recalling Syd Barrett yet? Robert Fripp? The Flaming Lips? A little Brian Eno on "End as Begining [sic]"? All of the above comparisons fit Kazas' album pretty well. Kazas songs reflect bits of private meditation which fly off in frenetic little explosions. Telemetry may be hard to find right now, but if you like the spacey, the far out, the imaginative (say, Radiohead, Pink Floyd, Porcupine Tree), then this one may be for you. (Editors Note: find out more at www.tomkazas.net, you can get Telemetry from www.freakemporium.com, happy listening, Susan.)

  Well, that's all for this issue. Please join me for more attempts at musical guff every Friday night/ Saturday morning from Midnight to three a.m. on the "Call It Thing" show, in the Friday Gothics slot. Until next time, see you on the radio.

Copyright © WWUH: Program Guide, 2005

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