Anton Barbeau
Srdan Dalagija
Frank Gratkowski Trio
Jarboe and Telecognac
Lock Up Your Daughters
Beaver Nelson
The Pets
Matthew Shipp
The Peek-A-Boo Book of Spells
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Anton Barbeau
Anton Barbeau
17th Century Fuzzbox Blues

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Anton Barbeau crafts one hell of a pop song. Be it an assignment for a songwriting class ("Dig My Pig") or a retelling of Roman Polaksni's Repulsion ("Jane too Soon"), Barbeau can go-go-go. The ditties are slight, some little more than two chords bouncing back and forth. The lyrics, too, are sweet and odd and tasty -- just the right mix to leave you singing along after only a listen or two.

By no means do I intend to cast aspersions on simplicity. I love simplicity. Some of my best friends are simple. And Barbeau knows that simple and pop are a potent mix. Take "My Babe, She Wears a White Wig." Here, Barbeau crafts a delightfully contagious tune from standard elements, yet it's the refreshing little spy-theme-tinged wah-wah guitar, coupled with silly and sing-along-able lyrics that lure you in. Barbeau's taking it back, doing it old-school. These are '60s style bubble gum pop songs like 1910 Fruitgum Company used to do.

Some songs, such as "Pin for a Head," go goofy, telling funny and revealing love woes in true They Might Be Giants style. These are the kind of songs that make me want to skip school and go pee in the woods. You know what I'm saying? Turn it up loud and annoy the neighbors with turbo pop. I think doing so would make ol' Barbeau proud. After all, what better flattery for a pop songsmith than to see his listeners dancing around the living room making fools of themselves? Here's to looking ridiculous and having a great time doing it.

-- Rodney Gibbs
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