Charming Hostess — Eat
(Vaccination Records VAC016, 1999, CD)
by Mike McLatchey, Published 2017-05-18
Every so often in going down this list of worthy albums, I find myself in need of revisiting an album, usually to refresh my memory or see if it holds up. In the 90s, the San Francisco bay area was a real hotspot of fascinating and diverse musical activity and Charming Hostess' debut, featuring members of Sleepytime Gorilla Museum and fiddle player Jenny Scheinman, was one of the real classics from that era. The vocal trio of leader Jewlia Eisenberg, Carla Kihlstedt, and Nina Rolle was the center of the activity, three brilliant singers who combined traditional and modern sensibilities with an infectious feeling of joy, terrific harmonies and superb lyrics that were well-augmented by the other instrumentalists. The combination of all of the elements was strikingly original at the time, defiant of any simple classification, but most importantly it all worked together with a real sense of fun and positivity. Very few debuts come with this caliber of musicianship at all of the levels and the chemistry made it all feel effortless. And over a decade later it still sounds fresh and invigorating.
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more
Holger Czukay RIP – Holger Czukay, a musical experimentalist without boundaries who has been involved with expanding the sound palette of rock music since the late 60s, has died at the age of 79. After studying with Karlheinz Stockhausen in the early 60s, he became fascinated with the possibilities of rock music, and was a co-founder of the pioneering group Can. He leaves behind an impressive body of work both as musician and producer. » Read more
John Abercrombie RIP – Another of the greats of jazz guitar has left us. John Abercrombie plied his way through a beautiful series of albums on the ECM label as well as bringing his talent to bear on albums by many of jazz's greatest artists. From his early work in the group Dreams to Gateway and outstanding work with Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Wheeler, and many more to his own trios and quartets, he brought a unique instrumental voice to the world. » Read more