We like Aquarius Records, the boutique record shop located on Valencia Street in the Mission. The clerks there are helpful, their recommendations sound. And for the extremely discerning music fan, the store's insightful reviews, posted weekly on its Web site, provide a wealth of context to obscure, overlooked sounds. Sometimes too much context. Often too much context. What follows are two sample reviews, one real, one fake. Do you have what it takes to spot the impostor, or are you one of those music tourists who only just now discovered Charlemagne Palestine?
Was a bad Italian prog-rock record ever actually made during the '70s? That's the red-hot topic of discussion around the Aquarius office these days, and we've decided to answer that question with a resounding NO because the latest batch of sturdy 180-gram virgin vinyl rereleases from the always-reliable but mysterious AnonRec imprint (operating out of Middle Dalmatia?) is solid proof that just about every sleepy fishing village on Italy's Southern Adriatic coast during the decade of bell-bottoms and disco balls was home to a healthy and robust prog-rock scene consisting of swarthy, long-haired Italian musicians replicating (and often improving upon) the sounds of such British prog-masters as Gentle Giant, the Nice, and Henry Cow … but with a few twists. What sets Widow Sundae apart from the rest of the highly revered Corso Vittorio Emanuele prog scene of Bari, Italy, is the group's bizarre use of richly textured multipart harmonies containing a powerful baritone core actually reminiscent of crooner Claudio Villa's voice from his string of beautiful Italo-pop hits during the late '50s. Imagine the first two Premiata Forneria Marconi records but with more of a Latin-flavored symphonic edge!!!
(A Little Dab Will Do You/Plane-Tree)
Holy shit! The motherfuckin' Corndawg has his own little record label! That's right. Our favorite Southern-fried indie-comedian and country-folk novelty singer with an authentic twang (who just released a new CD titled The Liberated North) has been quietly releasing, via his A Little Dab Will Do You imprint, limited-edition CD-Rs by such obscure indie-folk oddities as Jimmy Cousins, Colin Matthews, and Uke of Phillips. But, the first ALDWDY disc to really make us feel all giddy and warm throughout our music-loving innards is Asian Mae's gorgeous Collsing, which we've been playing in the store just about every day over the last month. It's a magical collection of homemade, lo-fi country-folk with plenty of subtle psychedelic production tricks for all you fuzzy little Animal Collective fans out there. However, this Asian Mae (of Portland, Maine) also possesses a wondrous voice and a genuine talent for writing sweet pop tunes. Sure, we still enjoy Devendra and Joanna and Ms. Nadler, but Asian Mae is truly creating something special for the heart. By the way, we recently found out that Asian Mae is none other than Colleen Kinsella of the avant-folk outfit Cerberus Shoal, who has previously worked with the legendary Alvarius B (of the Sun City Girls). Wow! Talk about a small world.