Listen and Learn With Vibro-Phonic is a various-artists compilation and a fine example of what listeners might come to expect from co-producers Dennis Davison and Jonathan Lea's L.A.-based Vibro-Phonic imprint. Davison and Lea (of L.A.'s the Jigsaw Seen) compiled this eclectic collection -- which features "rarities, B-sides, and previously unreleased tracks" -- by asking some of their close friends and musical associates for contributions, many of whom are or were at one time affiliated with EggBERT Records, who distribute Vibro-Phonic. This isn't a pop compilation, either, make no mistake about that. What you find here is a wide assortment of tracks in various styles and genres and a fine expect-the-unexpected introduction to quirky future releases by the label. The collection begins with a "Peter Gunn Theme"-style crime jazz instrumental, the vibe-and-clarinet-soaked "Traces of Ether." The track is reportedly taken from the soundtrack to Jack Apple's Swan Lake: A Film Noir for Radio and credited to Non Credo, featuring talented multi-instrumentalist Joe Berardi (Double Naught Spy Car) and vocalist Kira Vollman. David Nolte and brother Joe Nolte of L.A.'s legendary the Last contribute "Perfect World." The track began life in 1997 as a David Nolte demo and was completed for release here with additional layers of percussion, bells, and Wednesday Week's Kristi Callan on vocals. The Jigsaw Seen's mod rocker "Another Predictable Song" features E-bow and sawed violin, while ex-Bongwater vocalist/performance artist/comedienne/actress Ann Magnuson gives David Bowie's "Moonage Daydream" a transformation, turning it into a loungy vamp rife with considerable theatrical flair. The Insect Surfers, a surf instrumental group led by David Arnson, contribute their twangy instrumental version of the Bee Gees' "Massachusetts" (it originally appeared on the EggBERT-released tribute to the Bee Gees, Melody Fair). Brian Wilson's touring group, the Wondermints, offer up "Rejected Beer Ad No. 1," while former Posies contribute their version of the Bobby Hart (of Boyce & Hart) penned "Keep It a Secret" under the name Tube Top. Jigsaw Seen pal Kristian Hoffman (helped out by Davison, Lea, and former Geraldine Fibbers bassist Bill Tutton) covers the Small Faces' "Green Circles." Reissue record producer Andrew Sandoval (who records under the name Andrew) gathered a dozen or more musicians for his Baroque pop gem "Dream About You." The collection is rounded out by submissions from the Jupiter Affect (featuring Michael Quercio, ex-Three O'Clock), Wednesday Week, longtime L.A. psych-folk denizen Skooshny, Davison's the United States of Existence, and a handful of lesser-known but equally eccentric L.A. acts.
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AllMusic Review by Bryan Thomas