Theta Naught + Alex Caldiero : Sound Weave 2 CD set (Differential Records)

As a completely live and improvisational recording with spoken word by Alex Caldiero and the accompaniment of 5-piece cello/bass/drums/slide-guitar/keyboard combo Theta Naught, Disc 1 is good to listen to at night when you feel like being at a jazz joint or a coffeehouse but you don’t want to have to leave the house. How Long Did It Last? is my favorite track, track 8, and that may be because by then the performance collaborations between music and poetry has finally stewed to just the right temperature for all the songs on the rest of the disc. Or, because by then my ears and mind have finally tuned to the proper channels for the attentive listening this record deserves. Disc 2 is an instrumental bonus disc that is on the same expressive ambient music plane. After being inspired by the voice of Alex Caldiero, it’s fun to listen to and decide what words it makes me want to say.

Onethirtyeight – The Sister CD (Tuesdays Music)

Only 6 tracks long, but the simple sonic atmosphere of The Sister has that slow timeless feeling of a journey on a leaky paddleboat through a swamp or an amusement park ride, with a mumbling old man and his sad lil’ granddaughter as your underpaid tour guides. Is this a Funeral March record? I don’t think so. You’ll feel bad about the fate of the curious Squid Boy, and be glad to move on to another track until you realize it’s about Sssix Foot Albino Penguins! You’ll wonder if the Earl On Mars doesn’t really know he’s putting on a show, and then google Alexandra Elsbeth to find out how to bring her flowers! All the songs were written and performed by one guy named Dan who is very good at pulling out the dark somber moods from his guitars and keys. Highly recommended, even if you already are depressed.

The Grave Robber’s Daughter by Richard Sala (Fantagraphics Books)

Attention all psychotic teenagers, abusive fathers, and killer clowns: Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned by a ’72 Datsun. Nothing can stop her. Not even you. The proof is in this comic book. What seems to begin as a predictable “damsel in distress” story about a potty-mouthed hottie named Judy Drood looking for a working phone in the abandoned town of Obidiah’s Glen, soon turns into a “how to” guide for surviving a gangbang in a haunted circus fairground. There is no hero to the rescue there and there doesn’t need to be. Fortunately for Judy there is one semi-sane human being in the town, a little girl named Nellie Kelly. They don’t become friends, but perhaps the mutual understanding that they both had shitty parents inspires them to want to protect each other in the midst of all the magic bottles, possessed dolls, mad ghosts, stab wounds, split skulls and splattered blood. Is there a moral to the story? Don’t be mean to girls.