In Holiday Guide

Xposed 4heads release a new CD with a gig Dec. 19 at Linneman's Riverwest Inn.

Xposed 4Heads choose to be human ... and other holiday gift ideas

The re-formed and re-vitalized Xposed 4Heads got back together a couple years ago after a decades-long break, releasing a new 7" vinyl 45.

Now the early '80s band returns with its first full-length CD, "Choose to Be Human," which was released in late November.

"As the main lyricist, I wrote lyrics about trying to get along, forgiveness, putting away one's ego,
collaborating and getting together with one another," says frontman Mark GE. "Yes, true to form, there is alot of social commentary about social media, isolation, 'Merica becoming generic and everyone being a winner regardless of whether they earned it, all against a backdrop of '80s synth art pop.

"I'm pretty proud of the witty, yet sincere and positive lyrics in the songs. The album truly was a musical collaboration of the band members."

The 15-track record features a number of appearances by well-known guests and is both catchy and experimental at the same time.

"We have James Chance (Contortions) and Blaine Reininger (Tuxedomoon) playing solos on a couple songs," says GE. "There is a surprise eight-minute epic space opera called 'Hot Aliens' and an all purpose holiday song named 'Sing Along Again.' We think we came up with a catchy album of ear worms."

"Choose to Be Human" is officially launched on Saturday, Dec. 19 with a release party at Linneman's Riverwest Inn. The 9 p.m. show also features Substitute: Tales of The Who.

"We will have a light show, outfits, props, audience interaction," says GE. "Given that the creative team behind our releases in the last two years has rarely played out as Xposed 4Heads, (so) in many ways this is our debut."

Giving the gift of local is pretty easy these days, from coffee roasters' gift sets to indie business gift cards. But don't forget the talents of local musicians when shopping for the music lover on your list this holiday season.

Here are some other new local releases to consider...

Jazz guitarist Dick Eliot assembles a group of friends for "I'll Remember April," recorded with producer Gary Tanin. As I noted elsewhere on the site, a baker's dozen jazz standards and classics give ample room for Eliot's bubbly, sinewy runs, solidly supported by a band that includes drummer Andy LoDuca, percussionists Johnny Ricco, Timothy Hourgan, Johnny Garcia and Louis Martiniz, and bassist Don Eliot. My favorites are an infectious romp through Sonny Rollins' Caribbean jazz classic, "St. Thomas," and an equally inspired take on Antonio Carlos Jobim's "One Note Samba." Find it at dickeliot.com.

Long-running power pop squad Trolley is back on track again with "Caught in the Darkness," its first full-length in a few years. As always, the 12 tunes here are chimingly melodic and energetic, with a classic Beatlesque vibe balanced by the band's own songwriting voice.

You can hear it and download it Trolley's Bandcamp or order a CD from trolleymilwaukee.com.

We caught up with Leo Minor in spring upon the release of a 7" vinyl electrofunk workout. Later in the year, mostly Jason Todd, followed up with a CD EP, "Amnesia," that is part classic Arthur Baker and part ethereal space mystery music.

Find it on iTunes and Google Play Music or get a physical CD copy from a local indie music shop in town, like Acme or Rush-Mor.

TriBeCaStan isn't a Milwaukee band, but it does count long-time Brew City musician John Kruth among its leaders, so ...

The acclaimed world music outfit tours regularly along the East Coast and has issued a number of CDs, the newest being "Goddess Polka Dottess," with its blend of free jazz, klezmer, funk, Eastern music and other styles all rolled into a single satisfying gumbo.

Last year, the group released a similarly unique and engaging holiday CD, "Coal, Again!" Find them both at tribecastan.tv.


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