Poh Hock, Gallimaufry (self-released)
According to Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary, the definition for the word “gallimaufry” is “a confused jumble or medley of things.” That tracks with respect to this EP, as Poh Hock Kee’s latest songwriting foray blends jazz, prog, classic rock, soul and disco. This one launches with a spazzy bang with “Forward,” a light-speed tune that sounds like Al di Meola invading a Tonight show band rehearsal, and that leads into something even more show-stopping, “Another One Of Those Times,” which combines straight-ahead Return To Forever-ish prog rock with a highly melodic pop vocal that would have fit fine with peak-career Janet Jackson (Debo Ray does the honors on the singing end). But wait, there’s more, “I Don’t” reads like Eddie Van Halen jamming with Talas but much bigger-sounding and more sweeping. Whatever, I have no idea where this guy’s been, but this is truly groundbreaking stuff, demonstrating a deep love for wonky experimentation without ever getting bogged down with academic tedium. If you’re a prog guitarist, get on this immediately, this guy’s a genius. A+
Glorious Bankrobbers, Back on the Road (Sound Pollution Records)
“Swedish sleaze-rock,” these guys call what they do, but first we should talk about how this band would have made a few thousand bucks, maybe enough for a second-hand 1982 Toyota Corolla or a nifty barbecue smoker-barrel, if their manager hadn’t sold all their promotional freebie records in secondhand stores for beer money, which (spoiler) resulted in this band being denied any reviews or radio airplay, and of course they broke up soon after the release. It’s awful what happens to nice, totally innocent dudes who just want to get drunk and steal girlfriends, it’s just the worst, it’s almost like no one cares about us, but anyway, the guitar sound pulled me in for a second here, and I was expecting to hear some sort of New York Dolls vibe, which always gets props in this newspaper column, you guys know the drill by now. But no, this is basically a Poison clone band, as in the singer sounds exactly like Brett Michaels, which means the overall effect isn’t all that sleazy, but I get what they mean. All righty then. B-
• Like every Friday, a new batch of albums will appear this Friday, April 7, whether you plan to buy them or not. This is a devilish plot that hatches every week because the record companies know that you’re going to have to spend all your money someplace on Fridays, so they figure that if you happen by chance to see new albums, you’ll buy them, even if they’re from Van Morrison or someone who used to be in the Smiths, because you can’t control yourself. But enough of that sort of talk, let’s dig in to this week’s foul-smelling pile and see what we — ah, look, it’s an album from Thomas Bangalter, who is one half of the former French house music duo Daft Punk, whom you know as weird techno nerds in motorcycle helmets. I was honestly never big into Daft Punk, preferring instead to listen to more traditional deep house stuff as well as being a bit allergic to Auto-Tuned singing in general and bands hiding their faces for no reason whatsoever in particular, not to mention the fact that if there’s any band I can’t stand, it’s Phoenix, but anyway, you get the picture. Bangalter’s debut solo album, Mythologies, comprises the score of a 90-minute ballet of the same name, which premiered in July 2022, featuring direction and choreography by Angelin Preljocaj. All I’ve heard so far from this record is “L’Accouchement,” which isn’t in waltz time so I doubt there’s much dancing, it’s just really melancholy sad-face sturm und drang. Hard pass from this critic.
• Heather Woods Broderick is a singer-guitarist who’s originally from Maine, which is near New Hampshire; otherwise I probably wouldn’t be giving her any free publicity in this column. She has released solo material under her own name, as well as having been a member of Efterklang, Horse Feathers and Loch Lomond. She has a new album coming out this Friday title Labyrinth, which includes the push-single “Crashing Against The Sun,” a very nice, lush slow-burner that has a shoegaze tint to it while rooted in something along the lines of Lana Del Rey as far as woozy, halcyon vibe. It’s decent, even if the keyboards sound like they came from 1993.
• If you’re a GenXer who hates to feel old, don’t read the rest of this sentence, because it will tell you that the very first Mudhoney album came out 34 years ago. That band is sort if the Ed McMahon of ’80s/’90s grunge, like, basically they were awful, but because they were from Seattle, like Nirvana and Soundgarden and all those guys, they were given recording contracts and studio time and groupies, just as long as they didn’t blow up really really bigly, not that there was ever any danger of that actually happening. So, right, the band’s new LP, Plastic Eternity, is led off by the single “Almost Everything,” which is decent insofar as having a no-wave/noise-rock feel to it, like it sounds like Michael Stipe doofing around with a garage band that has a deep love for neo-psychedelica a la Brian Jonestown Massacre. That genre’s been done to death, sure, but this is a pretty good attempt.
• For my last trick, look, it’s Billie Marten, a British singer-songwriter and musician from Ripon in North Yorkshire, whatever that’s supposed to designate in the British language. She first appeared on the acoustic folk scene at the age of 12, when a YouTube of her singing attracted thousands of views, or so it’s claimed (seriously, go look, Wikipedia doesn’t quite believe it but it’s still in her Wiki page). Drop Cherries, her new album, includes a tune called “This Is How We Move,” an unplugged bit powered by guitar and a string section. It’s kind of Joni Mitchell-ish, if that’s your jam; it didn’t immediately grab me but it’s OK.
If you’re in a local band, now’s a great time to let me know about your EP, your single, whatever’s on your mind. Let me know how you’re holding yourself together without being able to play shows or jam with your homies. Send a recipe for keema matar. Message me on Twitter (@esaeger) or Facebook (eric.saeger.9).