September 28th, 2012 | Album reviews

Stephen Kalinich and Jon Tiven
Shortcuts to Infinity/
Yo Ma Ma: Symptomology

MsMusic Productions

Stephen Kalinich of Brian Wilson/Beach Boys/Brother Records fame has some new, slightly off, weird, lyric-rich, aw-shucks rock songs to share with the world. This is a double disc CD, the Shortcuts side being a true collaboration between equals and the Yo Ma Ma side being more of a Kalinich solo album. It’s more or less Kalinich’s first recorded work in 40 years, and if you’re expecting another A World of Peace Must Come, you’re in for one hell of a motherfucking surprise. Written in the voices of semi-autobiographical characters, “Stevie Nobody” has a lot of rage and cursin’ and sex-talk to lay on ya, and Jon “Jumpin Jack Hashtag” is his perfect foil. A part of me longs for the alternate reality that never happened, where Kalinich’s career had skyrocketed alongside his 70s peers, making his name as well-known among music geeks as, say, Van Dyke Parks (who should totally record with Stephen! Come on, guys, make it happen! Domenic Priore and me will front the money!). But instead, fate had Kalinich making a 40-plus year purgatory of his career, only returning to the garden of earthly paradise now. What we find find there is a rabid, post-apocalyptic snake too bemused to bite us, his songs like worms in the squishy apple of Knowledge.

-D. M. Collins