Vacuum Tree Head — Thirteen!
(Pest Colors 42.13, 2010, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2011-06-01
Once one of the most prolific outfits around (when the band was based in San Jose, California, they put out no less than 10 CDs between ’93 and ’99), their output has slowed down considerably in recent years – possibly because the members are now separated geographically across the country – but the quality is as good as ever. The album at hand evolved over a period of seven years, and it may well be their best effort to date. Mainstays Jason Berry (keyboards, woodwinds, electronics, etc.) and Michael De Le Cuesta (mostly guitars) along with guitarist Charles Llloyd and drummer Justin Markovitz are joined by a large cast of additional players and vocalists, track depending, for this interesting and compelling brew of diverse and highly energized avant-garde rock, with lyrics split between English, Spanish, and Filipino. The compositions are tightly arranged, condensed into a short song format, seemingly informed by punk, RIO, psychedelic rock, world-pop, and just about anything else one can think of. Few of the fifteen cuts last longer than two minutes (with several under one minute), but almost any of them can get stuck in your mind for days after hearing them even once! Singers Sylvia Gordon and Lucy Foley appear (separately) on many of the cuts herein, and their vocal presence adds a touch that might occasionally remind the listener of Thinking Plague – well, just a little; Vacuum Tree Head really has their own thing going, and this latest release is definitely worthy of your attention.
Related artist(s): Vacuum Tree Head
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santana, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more
Shindig Festival Goes Lock-Down – Here's what they're saying: It's A Happening Thing! The Shindig! Magazine Lockdown Festival. In our days of no large gatherings of people, maybe it's still possible to have a music festival. Shindig! Magazine is giving it a go with a multi-artist streaming extravaganza on Saturday April 25. » Read more