antic Lead, Omnirox Entertainment
What hath David Bowie wrought? Though he didn't exactly emerge from out of thin air—his influences include Anthony
Newley, Jacques Brel, and Scott Walker—countless artists
have attempted to walk in his customized shoes, and actor-
singer Gene Dante is the latest in a long, glittering line.
Dante has even starred in The Rocky Horror Show, so if you
can imagine a cross between Bowie, Marc Bolan (arguably Bow-
ie's finest protégé), and Rocky Horror scribe Richard "Riff Raff"
O'Brien, you can imagine The Romantic Lead with its theat-
rical vocals, glam guitar work, and lyrics like "I am alive/ and
I am real/like the pain we share/and the love for you I feel"
and "Intentional, exquisite and obscene." I adore the for-
mer Davy Jones, but, well...there can only be one.
Burnt Sugar the Arkestra Chamber, Making
Love to the Dark Ages, LiveWired Music [3/17/09]
Making Love to the Dark Ages features only five tracks, and
the first, "Chains and Water," clocks in at 26 minutes, divided in-
to three sections. As such, you might be expecting an instrumen-
tal release, but four of the pieces feature vocals (seven different
singers show up in the credits). Experimental, yet easy on the ears,
the disc brings to mind free-jazz classics like John Coltrane's A
Love Supreme, Archie Shepp's The Creator Has a Master Plan,
and Sun Ra's Space Is the Place. Granted, there's more of a
soul/R&B influence to Greg Tate's Burnt Sugar the Arkestra
Chamber, but you get the—mind and ear-expanding—idea.
Melvin Gibbs' Elevated Entity, An-
cients Speak, LiveWired Music [3/17/09]
"When the ancients speak, descendents listen."
-- "Ancients Speak"
Throughout Ancients Speak, programmer/bassist Melvin Gibbs (Defunkt, Ronald Shannon Jackson's Decoding Society) combines funk, hip-hop, Afrobeat, and other sympathetic sounds.
On "Canto por Odudua," he ev-
en throws a little psychedelia in-
to the mix. Gibbs' multi-talented
collaborators include DNA's Arto
Lindsay (co-producer), Medeski,
Martin and Wood's John Med-
eski (keyboards), and P-Funk's Blackbyrd McKnight (guitar).
In his openness to a variety of African-oriented genres, Gibbs'
fabulous confabulation—27 musicians altogether—recalls Bill
Laswell's ever-evolving Material supergroup. Though I didn't
like "Macumba" at first, even that growly, beat-heavy num-
ber eventually won me over. For open-minded groove ad-
dicts: he offers the perfect prescription for your condition.
Peelander-Z, P-Pop High School, Eat Rice Records [4/14/09]
"We are not Japanese. We are not American.
We are not human beings. We are Peelander-Z."
-- Peelander-Yellow (guitarist/vocalist Kengo Hioki)
If you've ever wanted to know what the Ramones would sound
like reborn as a Japanese-American trio, Peelander-Z provides
your answer—the title, P-Pop-High School, even suggests Rock
'N' Roll High School, the cult classic in which Da Bruddas appeared.
On their fifth full-length, the Peelanders rock and roll with
speed, humor, volume, and attitude. To me, it's sound and
fury signifying very little, but your mileage may vary.
Endnote: For more information about Gene Dante,
please click here or here; and for Peelander-Z, here or
here. Images from The Ephemeric and All About Jazz.