YUKhONIC / Salute The Curse Split 7"
This is an artsy release that sort of defies description/categorization. YUKhONIC is a two-person noise project with synthesizers, discordant drums and guitar, and distorted screaming vocals. Salute the Curse is a bit less interesting and more straightforward -- slower and somewhat more indie sounding with background talking rather than singing. I don't really know what you'd call this: noise, art rock, indie rock? It looks like quite a bit of work went into this release -- the covers are all hand-assembled/painted. Anyone into experimental noise or looking for something that deviates from the norm should look no further, but it wasn't really my thing. Cephia's Treat Recordings BD
Zao / Outcast
Half of this is a re-release of a 1995-ish split 7-inch. The two bands also released one song each that was previously unreleased. This is where each band started out ... check it out if you're into them. Steadfast Records MH/AH
Howard Zinn Artists in a Time of War
It's easy to tell that this spoken word CD's topic of discussion, examining the role of artists in society during times of war, isn't political historian Howard Zinn's forte, but he still tackles the subject admirably. Using quotes from some of history's greatest and most outspoken artists, from writer Mark Twain to singer Eartha Kitt, Zinn explains how it is the responsibility of all artists (or people within any other profession, for that matter) to challenge the government and its decisions. Zinn also tackles patriotism and loyalty to one's country, saying it is important for people to protect their country, but to recognize the difference between a country and its government. A country should be celebrated, but its government should be continually criticized, he says. Artists in a Time of War is an engaging conversation with a lighter feel than most of Zinn's lectures. As always, he speaks with resonance and humor throughout, and has the kind of voice that captures the attention instead of droning away in the background. Another excellent spoken word disc from the dream team of Alternative Tentacles and AK Press, and while it won't move off the shelves like a Dead Kennedys CD, well, it should. Alternative Tentacles JS 7.2003