June Panic
Songs from Purgatory
(Secretly Canadian)

Entertainment Today Sep CD Review Series


Wow.  This was a hard CD to get into.  From opening track "Sundowner" through "Second Virginity" I was sitting there with a look on my face like the dog farted.  But my problem was that I really didn't understand what I was listening to.  What I failed to understand at first was that this three-disc collection was salvaged cassette tape recordings (anyone remember cassette tape… anyone? anyone?) that had been buried underwater, mangled, and warped; but through painstaking and steadfast cleaning, brought back to their original state.  This is a diary of a man's life, five years of his ups and downs, recorded and catalogged, destroyed, and then resurrected.  It's like "The Bell Jar" but musical, although I'm not quite sure how crazy June Panic is (judging by the entire first CD…it's a safe assumption).  As you progress through these you really start to understand their beauty and why they were made.  I didn't get Ween or the Dead Milkmen at first either; but once you're in that mode… it ALL makes sense!  Fifty-three songs, some of it brash and abrasive, some soft and monotone, some simple and beautiful; but every single song paints a picture so perfectly.  His emotions are so easily transferred on tape; things that would be lost in 16-bit decoding.  Collections like this really strengthen my resolve for a more "luddite" approach to recording. Recording tape really captures the soul of the music, as well as the notes and words.  My favorite disc was definitely Disc 2, tracks like "Me + Another Baby Panther", "Co-op Tune", and "Forever" reminded me of a surreal mix of Ween and Samiam and some lo-fi Nirvana.  Basically this is what every famous "Grunge" band started off doing but quickly abandoned once the mainstream version caught on.  If not for anything else, this CD is a must-have because it perfectly captures the way we all were: sitting in our bedroom at 16 with a tape machine and a microphone, trying to understand why things are the way they are, and then trying to make it rhyme.


Entertainment Today Sep’07 CD REview Series


Mark Johnston, a native Californian, has travelled the world with various circuses, sideshows, and arena rock tours. As a musical monkey he has delighted fans the world over. Upon his return, he has since founded the Atomsmashers Publishing Company, written 2 books in the company's Warm Horchata series, created a weekly comic strip based around LA's more "colorful" characters, written reviews, articles, and rantings under various pseudonyms; this has since culminated in Johnston being named Captain Fabulous by the Superhero Association of America.