Album reviews: Kilbey/Kennedy and Dereck Higgins

kilbey kennedy
Album: Inside We Are The Same
Artist: Steve Kilbey & Martin Kennedy

Inside We Are The Same is the fourth collaboration from the duo of Steve Kilbey (The Church) and Martin Kennedy (All India Radio). From the outside this may look like a side project, but in reality this music rivals that of the participant’s day jobs.

Each of the previous releases in the Kilbey/Kennedy cannon have been stellar collections of dreamy, neo-psychedelic songs that would appeal to fans of The Church and All India Radio (and anyone with good taste). While another album in this vein would have been welcomed with open ears, Inside We Are The Same shows Kennedy exploring new musical avenues while Kilbey pushes his voice to a register that fans of The Church and his solo work may not be familiar with.

“Amenia” begins with a keyboard/guitar swell that sounds like Richard Wright sitting in with Radiohead. Just when it seems the song is headed for Pink Floydville, an angular guitar riff sparks the song into an accelerated affair. Kilbey sounds as if he’s reporting from the outer edge of a hurricane, relaying information in a slightly excited state.

Kilbey Kennedy on Amazon

The lusher side of German legends Cluster and Harmonia rear their head on “This Is The Universe”, a song that sounds as big as it’s subject matter. Kennedy’s genius as an arranger comes through as the seemingly sparse tune comes off as nearly symphonic in it’s effect. Kilbey’s lyric for the song finds him at his lysergic best, and even the dolts who only know him for “Under The Milky Way” will be sucked in.

As “Once” oozes like ether out of the last grooves of the vinyl, one has to wonder what Kibley and Kilbey eat for breakfast. If Inside We Are The Same weren’t enough, Kilbey just participated in the creation of possibly the greatest album The Church has ever recorded and Kennedy with All India Radio releases essential instrumental albums as if it were a bodily function. Whether it’s Vegimite or just plain old inspiration, here’s hoping they keep the brilliant albums coming.

myths

Album: Myths…Realities
Artist: Dereck Higgins

Dereck Higgins latest album Myths…Realities is a collection of previously unreleased material recorded between 1985 up through 2004. Committed to tape primarily via a 4-track cassette recorder, what looks like a hodgepodge on paper is in fact a cohesive borderline masterpiece.

Via his popular YouTube channel (search for “Dereckvon”), Higgins has been one of the greatest proponents of instrumental music of the last decade. Although Higgins’ discography touches on everything from punk and ambient to rock and jazz, Myths…Realities is a collection of exquisitely composed and performed music that is best described as cinematic.

Primarily known for his bass work, the diamond of this album is Higgins’ sublime guitar work. There are no orgies of shred to be found – which is a blessing. The choice of effects, the eerie beauty of the chord progressions and fluidity of the playing are reminiscent of the classic Echoes album by A.R. and Machines.

Playing all of the instruments, Higgins creates a hypnotic space groove on “Dickson Drive” that is fleshed out with sublime guitar tones that Steve Hackett would be envious of. “Happy Today” is an uplifting yet still edgy extension of krautrock that fans of Michael Rother should embrace.

Music lovers on the hunt for something new seem to need comparisons to get an idea of what an artist has to offer, but Myths…Realities is a truly original work. Higgins proudly wears his influences on his sleeve, but there is more than enough of his own DNA in the mix to create something new. This is a fascinating, emotive work that can only help grow the already sizable cult following Dereck Higgins has amassed.

Myths…Realities was issued on limited edition vinyl and word has it that most of those copies are gone. For the curious, visit dereckhiggins.bandcamp.com to sample the album.

During his six years at the Kinston Free Press, Jon Dawson won 11 North Carolina Press Association Awards for his music criticism and humor columns. If you’d like to submit and album for review, email jon@thirdofnever.com.

Wolfgang Van Halen to replace Michael Anthony in Chickenfoot

wolfgang1

According to a member of Van Halen’s road crew, Eddie Van Halen’s son Wolfgang has been tapped to replace Michael Anthony in Chickenfoot.

“Wolfie enjoys being in a band with his dad and uncle but didn’t realize what he was in for with David Lee Roth,” the roadie said late Wednesday. “How would you like to be in a band with a vocalist who looks like Carol Channing with an Adam’s Apple and sings like Don Knotts on peyote? The new Van Halen live album is great but the vocals sound like a winded Vin Scully calling a Dodgers game in a hurricane.”

Michael Anthony is reportedly leaving Chickenfoot to devote more time to his hot sauce company.

New Lenoir County business specializes in wigs for dogs

dog toupee best

A La Grange man hopes he’s not barking up the wrong tree with his new business venture.

When Michael Gagliano, 63, retired after 30 years as a merkin tester for Walmart, the first thing he did was visit the local dog shelter.

“I wanted someone to pal around with who would always agree with me,” Gagliano said. “I figured a dog would be the way to go.”

Gagliano says he immediately fell in love with a Golden Retriever named Frank at the Lenoir County SPCA. When his friends congratulated him for rescuing the dog, Gagliano shied away from the spotlight.

“It’s not like I ran into a burning building and actually rescued the dog,” Gagliano said. “I went to the pound and bought a used dog. He jumped in the truck – I didn’t even have to pick him up!”

Although friendly and cute as homemade shoes, Frank wasn’t very outgoing at first.

“Frank was a little timid but you could tell he was a sweet dog,” Gagliano said. “The only thing was he kept his head tucked under his belly most of the time. If it was cold out I’d understand, but the humidity was somewhere between squidgy and gravy. When he finally raised his head I realized why he was concealing his head: He was bald.”

Kevin Morgan is a Lenoir County veterinarian who specializes in the treatment of bald dogs, cats and turtles.

“MPD – Male Puppy Baldness – is a rare condition affecting around three percent of the canine population,” Morgan said. “Follicly challenged dogs are no laughing matter. These poor cue balls are often shunned in the dog community, thus causing them to develop an inferiority complex. In extreme cases, these bald dogs with low self-esteem will lower themselves to hanging out with cats just so they won’t be alone.”

As soon as Gagliano returned home with his new dog, he posted a message on Facebook asking for spare dog hair.

“I was just glad to have a use for all of the dog hair that piles up under my carport,” said Jennifer Shrader of Kinston. “My dog sheds so much that his stray hairs form tumbleweeds. One of the hair tumbleweeds grew to such a great size that one of my neighbor’s inbred Borzois tried to start a family with it.”

Gagliano said his bald dog Frank initially tried to overcompensate for being bald.

“I didn’t care that the dog looked like he was wearing a swim cap, but it was obviously bothering him,” Gagliano said. “He would hunt down rabbits and birds to show off his hunting prowess, and in one instance he brought the bumper and driver of a passing Nissan Sentra up into the yard. Finally after a few days I started to receive Ziploc bags of donated dog hair from my Facebook friends. I then spent the next week piecing together a wig for Frank.”

Bags of dog hair have been pouring in says Gagliano.
Bags of dog hair have been pouring in says Gagliano.

As soon as it was finished, Gagliano secured his homemade dog wig onto Frank’s slick head with a mixture of Hubba Bubba and duct tape.

“I held up a mirror so he could see his new hair but Frank thought it was another dog and kept trying to sniff the back of it.” Gagliano said. “Eventually he realized what was going on and I could see his confidence soar. His posture was more assured, his breathing more relaxed and his rap with the little poodle next door reached Teddy Pendergrass ’84 levels.”

Donald Trump became the first celebrity to order one of Gagliano's wigs
Donald Trump became the first celebrity to order one of Gagliano’s wigs

Seeing the joy he was able to bring to one dog’s life, Gagliano decided to start a new business that would manufacture wigs for dogs.

“To contact me on the web, visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/mjgagliano72,”; Gagliano said. “If you need a rug for your Pug or a toupee for your Shar Pei, we’ve got you covered so to speak.”

Jon Dawson’s books available for purchase via the “Books” link at the top of this page and Amazon.com.

Restaurant for dogs opens in Kinston

dog at table

His, hers fire hydrants provided for canines

The efforts to revitalize downtown Kinston continue with the opening of a new restaurant designed for dogs.

“This has been a lifelong dream of mine,” said Belly Rub Cafe’ owner/operator Elliot Gould. “The whole world is going to the dogs, so I figure they needed their own restaurant.”

Gould, 44, studied veterinary medicine at N.C. State yet could never fully commit to becoming a veterinarian.

“To be honest, I really don’t like cats,” Gould said. “As it turns out, lots of people bring their cats to the vet. I interned at a vet’s office in Zebulon for a few months, and it was every day with the cats. I used to volunteer to assist in birthing calves or treating boa constrictors for STDs just to get away from that office full of smug, repugnant cats.”

Gould’s dislike of cats eventually led to a diagnosis of ailurophobia — an irrational fear of cats.

“The ailurophobia eventually derailed my career as a veterinarian,” Gould said. “I ended up in the food service industry, managing a string of Quincy’s Steakhouses throughout the Carolinas. Quincy’s CEO Jack Klugman and I had a good working relationship for many years — although he was a bit of a slob.”

Even though the restaurant business was good to him, Gould still had an itch to work with animals. After watching a “Lassie” marathon on Nick-At-Nite a few years ago, Gould got the idea to create a restaurant that would cater to dogs.

“We’ve got some great restaurants in Kinston right now, and a lot of the people frequenting those establishments are dog owners,” Gould said. “The idea behind the Belly Rub Cafe’ is simple: While you’re enjoying a fine meal at a great Kinston restaurant, drop off your dog with us so he or she can do the same.”

The Belly Rub Cafe’ menu boasts exotic fare such as a bacon bar, peanut butter biscuits, beef stew and Alpo pate’, all washed down with fresh spring water served in miniature replicas of toilet bowls. When nature calls, his and her fire hydrants are available in front of the restaurant.  Televisions in every corner of the restaurant will feature movies by Rin Tin Tin, Benji, Lassie and Sarah Jessica Parker on a continuous loop.

dog-in-restaurant

“Our bar is stocked with dozens of imported K-9 beers, including Chihuahua, Bulldog and Vienna Dog,” Gould said. “We’ve even got Amorous Doberman and Mailman’s Tears on tap.”

The Belly Rub Cafe’ has a strict no-licking policy, although there is a licking area provided on an adjacent patio.

Jon Dawson’s books available through the “BOOKS” link at the top of the page or http://www.amazon.com. Contact Jon at jon@thirdofnever.com.

Humor, music columns returning

Although it was a tough decision, as of February 25th I stopped writing for the Kinston Free Press. However, I will be publishing new humor columns and album reviews on this site beginning in just a few weeks.

I appreciate the letters and emails everyone has sent in since I left the Free Press, but I hope you’ll join me in this new endeavor.

If you’d like to purchase my first two collections of columns written for The Free Press, CLICK HERE to order from Amazon.

drunk baby

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