Known Johnson

March 30, 2007

Overlooked Alternatives: Grant-Lee Phillips, Gant Font feat. Interloper, Turtle Island String Quintet

Filed under: Music,News,Overlooked Alternatives — Tom @ 9:40 am

Forgive me, I’m a few days late in delivering the new release news this week. I’ve been tied up with all this Rush-stuff going on – tickets, the album-art controversy, and just general little tidbits going on – that I haven’t had a whole lot of time to concentrate on the new stuff out this week.

Grant-Lee Phillips – Strangelet: I’m not going to say too much because I’m going to review this soon, but it’s simple: if you like Grant-Lee in any capacity, be it fronting Grant Lee Buffalo or solo, you’ll probably enjoy this. It’s just another album of solid songs from Gilmore Girls’ crackly voiced town troubador.

Gang Font feat. Interloper: Imagine, if you will, if Fugazi suddenly decided to throw out the vocals and ramp up their musical skills to the level of jazz musicians. That’s what Gang Font feat. Interloper sounds like – a punk band gone jazz. And they’ve got the roots to prove it – Husker Du’s (I’ll let you put in the umlauts) Greg Norton on bass, taking a break from restaurant duties, with The Bad Plus’s drum-basher Dave King, the keyboard oddities of Craig Taborn, and Happy Apples’ guitarist Erik Fratzke. Check out Blogcritic Mark Saleski’s review of the disc.

Turtle Island String Quartet – A Love Supreme: The Legacy of John Coltrane: Usually, these “string quartet tributes” elicit groans from me, but in this case, it’s worth further investigation. First, this isn’t your usual string ensemble – rather than coming from the classical world, these guys are a jazz ensemble of string players, and even a quick listen to clips on their site shows that these guys actually swing.

Not only do they tackle the entirety of Coltrane’s classic A Love Supreme, they take on a number of other well-known piece by the giant such as “Naima,” “My Favorite Things,” and “‘Round Midnight.” For once, one of these string tributes appears to actually do justice to the source material.


  1. I’m a long-time fan of TISQ. Pretty much anything they’ve ever recorded is worth a listen!

    Comment by Tom C. — March 31, 2007 @ 5:29 am | Reply

  2. It sounds like these guys are something worth digging into. You’ll have to let me know how this one stands up to their other works.

    Comment by Tom — March 31, 2007 @ 7:03 am | Reply

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