The Carnivaleros

carnivaleros5Dreams Are Strange

RootaVega

The Tucson, Ariz.-based Carnivaleros have always possessed a knack for unusually interesting arrangements, often combining instruments not normally heard together.

On “Dreams Are Strange,” the band makes a swampy Appalachian acoustical foray into Americana, with an expansion of its sound due to the presence of Heather “Lil’ Mama” Hardy’s violin on most tracks.

Tying it together is the decidedly non-Tex Mex/non-polka accordion of singer-songwriter Mackender, who favors basic North American folk and, occasionally, Middle Eastern and klezmer idioms.

Six of the album’s tracks are instrumental, including “Chestnut Oak” (featuring banjo); “Tumacacori” (vibes and lap steel); and “High Speed Yard Sale” (tuba).

Highlights among the album’s eight vocal numbers are the country-and-Cajun “Hesitation Bridge”; the incredibly witty title track; the jump zydeco “Gonna Jump in a Hole”; the upbeat “Who’s to Say” (which would have been a perfect vehicle for the late Dan Hicks, with its Hot Licks-type chorus); and the hard-luck tale “Wore Out My Welcome.”gnm_end_bug

Tracks
1. Hesitation Bridge
2. Dreams Are Strange
3. The Chestnut Oak
4. Gonna Jump in a Hole
5. Mamie Eisenhower
6. Tumacacori
7. Who’s to Say
8. Moving On
9. The Red Maple
10. Wore Out My Welcome
11. Donna’s Song
12. Psychic Mary
13. Time Traveling
14. High Speed Yard Sale

Total time: 48:49

External links
artist’s website
Bandcamp
iTunes Store

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Camper van Beethoven

New Roman Times

Vanguard

Well folks, here it is. They’ve been hinting at it with reunion shows and archival releases for some time now. It took two years, but there really was no hurry, since the original intention was to regroup on stage and not in the studio.

Kudos to Camper van Beethoven, for taking it one step further than where they left off 15 years ago and logically arriving at a prog rock opera about a young soldier from the Fundamentalist Christian Republic of Texas who lives in a fictional North America in which there’s many different countries that fight each other every once in a while, and Texas has gone neo-fascist and California has had a civil war.

There will be no spoilers here about what happens to the protagonist of “New Roman Times,” but the cat will be let out of the bag concerning CVB’s acquisition of superhuman abilities when it comes to playing their instruments. These guys are amazing when it comes to ska, norteño, garage rock, country, klezmer and Middle Eastern music.

This is not your father’s Camper.

Tracks
1. Prelude
2. Sons Of The New Golden West
3. 51 7
4. White Fluffy Clouds
5. That Gum You Like Is Back In Style
6. Might Makes Right
7. Militia Song
8. R ‘n’ R Uzbekistan
9. Sons Of The New Golden West (reprise)
10. New Roman Times
11. The Poppies Of Balmorhea
12. The Long Plastic Hallway
13. I Am Talking To This Flower
14. Come Out
15. Los Tigres Traficantes
16. I Hate This Part Of Texas
17. Hippy Chix
18. Civil Disobedience
19. Discotheque CVB
20. Hey Brother

Total time: 1.1 hours

External Links
artist’s website
amazon.com
iTunes Store

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