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Recorded bliss and misery

Check the racks at your local record peddler for new releases by two of Detroit's most-difficult-to-pin-down-and-therefore-all-the-more-engaging-cuz-of-it sonic armadas. The ever-evolving Larval (aka Larval Orchestra), with musical changeling Bill Brovold in the driver's seat, unveils Larval 2 on NYC's Knitting Factory Records. The album's tracks are split in tone, tempo and texture between heavier-dutier, rock-based excursions and more pensive, often foreboding works, depending upon which of the two (and then some) permutations of musicians is performing Brovold's compositions. Some of those individuals include members of Poignant Plecostomus, the Witches, Transmission -- the standout baritone saxophonist Colin Stetson -- Howling Diablos, Blue Dog and many others. You can see Larval live at Friday's newtopia at Clutch Cargo's (see previous page for contact info and details on that event) and Oct. 16 as part of Ann Arbor's annual cutting-edge jazz celebration, Edgefest. For more info on Larval 2 consult your local computer and visit Knitting Factory Records at

Another slippery outfit, the formerly Ann Arbor-based quartet Maschina will celebrate the release of its new album Purple Finger Syndrome (Fingrrrr Productions) at Ferndale's Magic Bag this Friday. Though Maschina has recently relocated to Chicago, the mark the band blasted into Detroit-area musicgoers' minds won't soon be erased. Maschina isn't afraid to mix its musical metaphors, often jumping, within the same song, from heavy-duty thud rock to frantic, Keystone-Cops-soundtrack flights of electric trumpet bumblebee fancy -- with the added threat of Seth "Queen Maschine" Hitsky's waaay over-the-top, hyper-theatrical narrative vocals. The cumulative effect is akin to hanging out with Mr. Bungle on that band's non-pretentious day off. Purple Finger Syndrome follows close on the heels of Maschina's live CD release on Gold Dollar records and is a potent reminder that some ideas are best left for rockin', because the concepts, metal, jazz, spazz and otherwise, fly fast and furious from the deus ex this Maschina. Flashy-trashy, fly-round-the-way girls Stun Gun (riding high on rumors of involvement with ICP and traffic-stopping group outings around the streets of usually blasé Ann Arbor) open the show. Magic Bag is located at 22920 Woodward Ave. in Ferndale. Call 248-544-3030 for more info.

Though there will be no live shows to easily peg this next record to ... After a successful limited pressing of their eponymous debut single last year, the brotherly duo of Allan and Brian Oakes are hoping to give the Everly Brothers or, at the very least, older brother and Volebeat frontman Jeff Oakes a run for the money with their 16-song debut CD, September Sky.

Working under the acronym A.N.B, the Oakes duo is this time guided and abetted by the lights of Witches-Volebeat John Nash -- who is said to play with "the dexterity of Jimmy Page" -- and one Bill Peterson on drums. At times, there's an obvious lack of musical interplay between Al and the rest of the band -- much like the effect created on Syd Barrett's two solo albums -- with Nash's guitar effects detracting from such tracks as "Martian Twilight" and "Easy Going Charm." Still, September Sky has an everyman-Americana point of view, with lyrics that Australian wannabe cowboy Simon Bonney (formerly of Crime & the City Solution) would have a wet dream for. Most memorable is "Space Lake," with a hilarious reference to an imaginary Roswell U. If this infamous city of Martians ever does form a university, notify Cinecyde guitarist Chris Girard, stat. For further info, contact Executive Music, 26120 Hendrie Blvd., Huntington Woods, MI, 48070.

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