by Tom Hallett
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “Champagne for my real friends, and real pain for my sham friends.” — Tom Waits
SONG OF THE WEEK: “Freebird” — Lee Greenwood
Hey, hey, ’Dial-heads, the curious and you ever-lovin’, ever-present government watchdogs. Thanks for tunin’ in, turnin’ on an’ droppin’ trou—just a few short reviews this week, then it’s back to scanning the turbulent spring skies for cloud-seeders, alien scout ships and the inevitable, Earthly return of Timothy Leary’s ashes ...
Track Listing: Starlings/ DSM/ Forty-Niner/ Negative Man/ Hellen/ Slow Ants
Personnel: Karl von Kries
Track Listing: Son Of Sam/ Georgia Straights/ The Future’s Going To Forget
You/ New York/ Silverlake/ Toxic To The Good Times/ Three Penny /Two Sticks/
J/ One Down/ Outro
Personnel: Karl Von Kries: vocals, keyboards, sequencing, lyrics, mixing, guitar/
P.J. Aylward: drums/ Mike Suby: lead and rhythm guitar/ Scott Kesner: bass guitar.
The brainchild of one Karl von Kries, INSTAR is the official moniker for both
this multi-instrumentalist/singer/songwriter/ music nut’s recorded projects
and the various touring bands he haphazardly tosses together when the mood strikes
him. Rich Girls and Secret Services are both thoughtful, multi-layered
amalgams of Kries’ most obvious influences—Jeff Buckley for vocals
and lyrical content, Radiohead, Modest Mouse and Wolf Parade for the musical
style, and Roky Erickson, Jandek and Andrew W.K. for the somewhat damaged genius
shtick bolstering the whole shebang.
The songs here all flow on their own, with obvious standouts like “Starlings,”
“Dam” and “Negative Man” (from Rich Girls),
and “Son Of Sam,” “The Future’s Going To Forget You”
and the rollicking, über-chunky anthem “Toxic To The Good Times”
(from Secret Services) all vying for your fickle, indie rock-geek attentions.
Kries displays an amazing knack for melding modern-rock sensibilities (sequencing,
sampling, experimentation) with honest, sometimes pain-wracked lyrics and classic,
pop-a-riffic hooks. A noble, rewarding musical adventure.
rather than blather on and on inanely about the man and his music, methinks
an excerpt from Karl’s own online bio/PR kit will do rather nicely. Besides,
he’s the only person besides myself I’ve ever come across that uses
this particular writing style to any decent effect whatsoever. Here then, is
Mr. Von Kries in his own words: “History: Karl began his musical career
by playing flute in the third grade, but the next decade saw him add blah, keyboards,
guitar, and other instruments to his repertoire. His technical skills blah blah
blah blah blah also, as blah assembled blah blah early analog synthesizer from
a blah and later blah blah and blah a blah blah recording studio. Karl cut blah
blah blah blah blah blah blah. The result? The unique sound of INSTAR ...”
Get it? Naw, me neither. But the MUSIC is damn fine: emotive, memorable and
definitely worth a spin. Me, I’ll be there if I can afford the blah, find
a blah to the blah, and maybe even a few blahs to get me through the blah. Otherwise,
blah it. Blah it all. Blah it out for yourselves at InstarMusic.com.
Round The Dial's Infrequent And Quite Useless Rock ’N’
Roll Time Waster Of The Week:
Bored? Sittin’ at work, nothing to do but enter boring data and gaze
longingly out the window dreaming of the overwhelming joy to be found back home
rotting on your sofa in front of “Spongebob Squarepants” re-runs?
Well, here’s your chance to break the monotony, shock and amaze your music
buddies, or just casually toss another half hour of your boss’ time down
the proverbial toilet: Make a list of the first 10 songs that come to mind by
different artists with the same title. Keep in mind we’re not talking
about different versions of the same song by different artists here, just songs
that have the exact same title
Example: For this week’s Song Of The Week, I chose local faves Arcwelder’s
song “Freebird,” which obviously shares a title with one by a famous
Southern Rock band whose heyday came in the late ‘70s. I can also tell
you that the Arcwelder boys definitely titled the brief, lively instrumental
track as they did in a direct response to the drooling, drunken idiots present
at nearly every rock n’ roll show—local, national or international—who
insist on bellowing out obnoxious requests for the ponderously long, overplayed
number made famous by those long-dead Southern boys with the same title.
When you’ve collected the 20 songs, play them back-to-back until that
dreadfully slow, loud and nerve-wracking office clock says it’s time to
get back to cartoons, alcohol abuse and long, lonely evenings alone with your
music collection. Judge for yourselves which one has the most (if any) redeeming
listening, sharing or re-playing value. Play ‘em repeatedly until you
absolutely cannot stand one of ‘em. Collect the winners in one file, burn
’em and never listen to the ones you hated again, as long as you live.
Now get to it, gang—Google, Limewire, All Music Guide, iPod and your own
music collection should give you a great start. What’s the friggin’
pay-off? Hey! Look at the clock—you’ve wasted 10 minutes alone just
trying to figure out what the hell the point of this exercise really is. Guess
what? THERE IS NO POINT!! That’s why we call this segment “ROCK
N’ ROLL TIME WASTER OF THE WEEK!!” Pick up your non-prize on the
way out, and have a cold one for me at the corner
That’s it for me this week, kiddies. Tune in again next time ’round
for more, more, more. Until then, keep one foot in the gutter and your heads
in the clouds, and for cryin’ out loud, make yer own damn news.
If you have local music news, gigs, events or CDs you’d like to
see mentioned in this space, or you’d just like to discuss your lifelong
fixation with licking postage stamps with someone who actually understands,
send replies/questions/dissertations on the subject to: Tmygunn777@peoplepc.com.