CD Review 

**** Capt. H.M. "Howlin Mad" Murdock
*** Sgt. B.A. Baracus
** Col. John "Hannibal" Smith
* Lt. Templeton "Faceman" Peck


VARIOUS ARTISTS
Worker's Comp: Stumptown Sessions Vol. 1
(Stumptown Quality Records)
***1/2

There's no getting around it; that Duane Sorenson fella at Stumptown Coffee is a pretty cool guy. Name one other business where the boss would foot the bill for an album featuring his employee's bands? This gorgeous album--made of pressed vinyl that's thick as a hamburger patty--features past and present Stumptown grunts, all recorded live after-hours on the premises. And what a stellar lineup of Portland indie royalty it is! 31knots strut their stuff with the barn-burning hollers of "White Hot," Urban Legends trot out their signature jingle-jangle feel-good pop, while the Operacycle and the Swords Project continue to boggle the brainpan with jazz and mathcore. Not-so-well-known bands appear as well, including the high and lonesome sounds of Shelterbelt, the retroactive tech stylings of Igloo, and Bootyproof, whose cut "Officially" is possibly the best pop song I've heard since I was 14. Good goddam! What are they putting in the coffee over there? WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY

NEAL POLLACK & THE PINE VALLEY COSMONAUTS
The Neal Pollack Anthology of American Literature
(BMI)
*

In Neal Pollack's introduction to his Anthology of American Literature, he declares himself the greatest writer ever, dismissing all other writers as "too provincial, too tweedy or too dead." It's a charming beginning, but Pollack fails to move past the threshold of this premise. Backed by banjos and the languid moaning of crop-sharers (including Mekons' Jon Langford and Sally Timms), the nine tracks on the CD are a send-up of spoken-word vignettes. Each track introduces--and re-introduces--Pollack's fictitious alter ego as a super-accomplished, super-sized egoist and writer. Ultimately, the CD is a one-pony show; a concept paralyzed by Pollack's inability to step out of the way of his own stories. PHIL BUSSE

BRICK LAYER CAKE
Whatchamacallit
(Touch and Go)
***

I always wondered about Todd Trainer, the drummer for Shellac. Aside from being an amazing musician, he's always seemed vaguely dirty to me--not dirty, unclean, but dirty, umm... eccentric. Perhaps it's the way he carries himself--tough and careless like Iggy Pop. Whatchamacallit, Trainer's first record Brick Layer Cake in nearly eight years, is an eye-opening opus of salacious lyrics and great, sultry rock guitar solos, thick with slow, seen-it-all, rock-and-roll requiems that unwrap provocatively as breathless, almost sinister parables. The way he enunciates each word--"soofffftt... waaaarmm... innsiddee"--makes you feel like he's whispering hot overtures, even when he's not. Dirty, yes, but totally capturing the dysfunctional sexuality in rock, and therefore hot. JULIANNE SHEPHERD

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