New music – it’s one of the things that keeps me going. Over the years I’ve built up a ton of sources for it but no better than my friends. Early last month when I went home to Chicago for a week many of my friends bombarded me with new stuff. It’s been a slow process going through it – I always try to recapture the good old days when the internet hadn’t made it possible for one person to commandeer thirty albums at a time, when you’d drive to the record store with a friend or two (or even earlier have mom drop you off for an hour at a time so you could browse all that stuff you were curious about but couldn’t afford) and if you came home with two CD’s, usually at around 16.99-18.99 a piece, you felt gluttonous and in over your head for a day or two. Well, these days when someone hands me a baggy of CD’s* like Mr. Brown did first inclination is of course to try and listen to them all as quick as possible. Which we did over several late night/early morning sessions with a boombox and more than a couple twelve packs of Goose Island. Of course at that point the music is in an early stage of acclimation with my nervous system – it swells occasionally to the forefront to make instant time/place associations but inevitably takes a back seat to the presence of my beloved friends and family. Once home though, after those baggies are unpacked and strategically sorted out by the Hi Fi system, well, as the Reverend Horton Heat has taught us, ‘Slow… ain’t no reason not to take it… slow’.

So it’s been a month and here are some of the gems:

Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine – HOT DAMN!!! Is it any wonder this album kicked me in the nuts and held my head under water? Jello is back and he’s recruited a cabal of underground music co-conspirators, including Billy Gould of Faith No More (subsequently replaced (?) on bass while FNM tours with former Ween & Rollins Band four-string master Andrew Weiss) to kick in the doors of the next decade and return his raging socio-political criticisms to the forefront of underground music’s consciousness. If you love the Kennedys and part time supplementals such as Jello’s albums with The Melvins, this my friends, is for you!!!

Maximum Balloon – There is little argument that TV On The Radio is one of the most earnest, progressive and titillating groups to have arisen in music within the last ten years. From the Young Liars E.P. in 2003 to 2008’s Dear Science the group has carved their own little niche of modern music and continued to evolve it seemingly away from the influences of any scene or media. Now with Maximum Balloon TVOTR guitarist Dave Sitek presents a cycle of songs that, while obviously displaying similarities to his father-group follows TVOTR’s evolution into something of an alternate reality: the songs have a similar marching evolution to them; a hazy electronic waft and pirouette that carries often-intricate layerings of Sitek’s trade mark fuzz-tone guitar jangle through to sometimes bombastic, Shirley Bassey-esque horn accents. Add to the pot guest appearances by the rest of the TVOTR crew and a host of vocalists who will appeal to the same sensibilities n listeners and Maximum Balloon is a electro-rock phenomenon that follows perfectly in rotation with any TV On The Radio album.

David Lynch presents Fox Bat Strategy – Do I even need to say anything else? The group who appeared in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me for ‘Blue Frank’ and ‘The Pink Room’ have released an album that was recorded circa 1994. The album contains lyrics written and directed by Lynch and unfortunately stands as a memorial to late guitarist Dave Jaurequi. It’s not quite as creepy as the FWWM tracks, but contains that smokey, neon tremolo that defines Lynch’s late 80’s/early 90’s amalgam of 50’s nostalgia and the darkest of the night’s forces.

* And the baggy vehicle is soooo appropriate, as I’m sure Mr. Brown realized, as music is my A#1 drug of choice.