Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Then there's people like Emitt Rhodes, who's a cult hero for no good reason whatsoever. Far from obscure, his music is loaded with melodic charisma, that essential ingredient that makes you want to hear some records over and over again. Often called a musical dead ringer for Sir Paul McCartney, Rhodes is really the Macca we all wish Macca would be: an incredible pop tunesmith without all the gooey sentimentality and overflowing cuteness. The crown jewel of Rhodes' small body of work is his self-titled debut album. Released to critical acclaim and modest commercial success in 1970, Emitt Rhodes has since taken on mythical status among power-pop and '70's rock aficionados. The album is a tour-de-force: just like McCartney on his first solo album, Rhodes played all the instruments and sang all the vocals himself. But even more impressive are the songs. Only 20 years old at the time, Rhodes had already absorbed the best of '60s rock and matched it. Lennon/McCartney certainly weren't writing songs the caliber of "Somebody Made for Me" or "With My Face on the Floor" at that age. This precocious, good-looking kid should have been unstoppable.-[Steven J. Hyden]Perfect Sound Forever
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Big White Lies is every bit as strong as the debut; the dozen songs include a well-placed cover of Bread's "Everything I Own" alongside such lovely originals as the summery "Roll On," the dreamy (natch) "Dream Away" and the slightly more forceful "Hard Again." Von Sneidern has a definite gift for both songwriting and arranging; unobtrusive little touches include the exotic percussion on the catchy title track and Bryan Higgins' sweet french horn flourishes (à la the Beatles' "For No One") on "Here I Go." The whole package (purportedly the first to contain interactive CD-ROM liner notes) is an essential pop treasure from one of the most talented auteurs to come along in ages. -[John M. Borack] Trouser Press
If you like "Big White Lies" get it here!
Monday, April 28, 2008
Imagine what sort of records Brian Wilson would have made if he had been chasing the Stones and Syd Barrett instead of McCartney and the Beatles, and you will have an idea of the band's sound. From the rush of "Keeping the Sparks" to the summoning beauty of "It Comes in Waves", Low to the Ground arrives like cool rain on a hot day.
This is the way records should be made -- great playing and singing of songs written, not sampled, adapted or otherwise stolen -- all in a work that shows something new, something deeper on each listen. Not unlike label-mates Velvet Crush, The Waxwings set high standards. For a band to do this on their first shot out of the barrel is frightening indeed. Take the coins from a dead man's eyes and buy this record.-[James Mann] Pop Matters.com
The Connecticut-born writer/singer/guitarist/producer gets able assistance on The Rooks from bandmates Kristin Pinell (lead guitar/vocals, the same role she fills in the Grip Weeds), Annmarie Gatti (bass) and Jim Riley (drums), as well as guests like the Grip Weeds' Kurt Reil, Richard X. Heyman and drummer Patrick Yourell (who had previously played with Mazzarella in the Broken Hearts). The Rooks' bright, '60s-influenced pop packs a real wallop, both musically and lyrically. Easy faves are the stately ballad "Steeplechase," the unashamedly Beatlesque "Night Writer" and the swirling "Reasons."-AMG
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Saturday, April 26, 2008
If you like "Grand Prix" get it here!
Teenage Fanclub - Grand Prix - 1995
Friday, April 25, 2008
The Cheepskates' "It Wings Above" is rooted in some of the same 1960s rock that informed their early work, but also has a somewhat more modern power pop and alt-rock sensibility. One of the chief traits distinguishing this from other retro-sounding groups is the light and winsome tonality of Shane Faubert's lead vocals, which contrasts heavily with the generic snot-brat garage attitude many revivalist-style combos adopt. There's a little bit of a surf thrust to the tempo and percussive drive of some of the tunes, which are generally airy and peppy love tunes. It's not a major accomplishment, but it's fairly pleasant pop-rock that's neither insipid nor crude.-AMG[Richie Unterberger]
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
If you like "Teenage Symphonies To God" get it here!
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
One of the salutary side effects of rock's indie-fueled progression leftward has been a general elevation of bar-band standards. The number of balding journeymen bashing out today's chart hits for tonight's barflies probably hasn't shrunk, but today's population of knockabout groups with tried and true virtues, a thorough lack of trendy pretensions and the burning ambition to write and record their own material have appreciably more on the ball than those Johnny B. Goode-enough rockers largely displaced when underground modernists took over most urban sinkholes possessing a stage and a sink.
The Bad Examples is a good example of this upward trend. In its poppy Beatlisms, the Chicago quartet bears more than a passing resemblance to another onetime bar band, Squeeze. Singer/guitarist Ralph Covert writes solidly tuneful songs in a variety of Midwest rock veins (one of which favors the Spin Doctors); the group plays 'em all with engaging skill — if an unfortunate weakness for shmaltz. Although there's absolutely no need for another desolate number about waiting for the phone to ring ("Statue by the Phone"), and the phrase "sick and tired of being sick and tired" (used in "Ashes of My Heart") is hereby banished to the songwriters' book of untouchable clichés, most of the numbers on Bad Is Beautiful say something original in an easily familiar way. "Faces in Picasso's Notebook" is a touching post-breakup get-together; "One Perfect Moment" removes a skeptical curtain from romance; "Stranger Than Fiction" and "Promises in the Dark" both acknowledge encroaching adulthood: "Someone as old as you should never look for the truth/In promises made in the dark." -[Ira Robbins]Trouser Press
The Bad Examples - Bad Is Beautiful - 1991
Not to be confused with the Hard Rock band from the late 80s, THIS Dirty Looks (Patrick Barnes, Peter Parker and Marco Sin) signed to Stiff in 1979 after only 10 gigs and have the unique record of claiming Stiff's biggest ever selling album in the US. Their eponymous debut album was released to positive reviews in August 80 - produced by Tim Friese-Green, it included a duo of great singles in 'Let Go' and 'Lie To Me'. Epic released the album in the US where it sold almost 100,000 copies.
"If you can get past the flat, brittle production on Dirty Looks (try cranking it up loud), you`ll find this Staten Island, New York trio playing power pop with a vengeance. Chief assets: good melodic instincts coupled with tight, lean drive, like an adolescent Cheap Trick gone new wave. Moodily ranging through taut reggae ("Disappearing"), crazed quasi-rockabilly ("Drop That Tan"), even an emotionally masochistic ballad ("Lie to Me"), they may seem to let their depression run away with them, but when Dirty Looks soar, you might even be convinced that "rock`n`roll is still the best drug" (from the memorable "Let Go"). "-TrouserPress
If you like"Dirty Looks" get it here!
Dirty Looks - Dirty Looks - 1980
Monday, April 21, 2008
The Records are probably best remembered for their cult classic and minor hit "Starry Eyes" -- a near-perfect song that defined British power pop in the '70s. And while they never quite matched the success of that record, their high-quality output from 1979 to 1982 has not only held up better than most of the era with its timeless appeal, but has also served as a blueprint for the various waves of British and American power-pop since then. Some have gone as far as to call them the "British Big Star," which is probably a fair comparison -- within their genre, they're seen as giants, yet the general public has missed them for the most part.-Chris Woodstra, All Music Guide
If you like "The Records" get it here!
The Records - The Records - 1979
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Los Angeles-based power pop combo the Cretones were comprised of singer/guitarist Mark Goldenberg, bassist Peter Bernstein, keyboardist Steve Leonard, and drummer Steve Beers. After signing to Richard Perry's Planet Records, the Cretones issued their debut LP, Thin Red Line, in 1980. Linda Ronstadt was so impressed with the record that she covered the cuts "Mad Love," "Justine," and "Cost of Love" on her new wave-inspired album, also titled Mad Love, which additionally featured Goldenberg on guitar. The Cretones resurfaced in 1981 with Snap! Snap! -- although the album was their final recording, they never officially split.-Jason Ankeny
Ripped from vinyl @ 320. Hope you enjoy it!The Cretones - Thin Red Line - 1980
One Lone Car's latest full-length was recorded at Uranus Recording in Tempe, Arizona, the facility owned by Gin Blossoms frontman Robin Wilson. The connection is not tangential: The local quartet has opened for the "Hey Jealousy" hitmakers several times over the past year, for starters. And like the Gin Blossoms, One Lone Car spins sweet, loaded pop songs that are a bit more substantive than bubblegum-pop and better crafted than most radio-ready modern rock. Dustin "Dei" Plegge heads up One Lone Car with a pure, emotive voice capable of displaying decent range. He pulls the whisper-to-a-scream crescendo in "Highway," the album's most full-on rock track, but most songs find him a little bruised but never broken.-Christian Schaeffer(riverfronttimes.com)
Though it is packed with memorable hooks and Jules Shear's subtle twist of phrase, Got No Breeding was virtually ignored upon release, due in part to Columbia Records mismarketing the band as part of the new wave. The Polar Bears were, in reality, just a good, hard-working rock band jamming with a sometimes overenthusiastic Shear. The songs are among Shear's finest and the album is one of his most consistently enjoyable. After the demise of the Funky Kings, singer/songwriter Jules Shear formed his own band consisting of Stephen Hague (keyboards and, later, a noted producer), Richard Bredice (guitar), David White (bass), and David Beebe (drums). They were signed to Columbia Records in 1978 solely on the basis of Shear's demos -- at the time, the band had never played live together. They recorded their first LP, Got No Breeding, in 1978, which quickly found critical acclaim, drawing favorable comparisons to Jackson Browne, the Kinks, Bob Dylan, and Bruce Springsteen. Unfortunately, it failed to sell when Columbia tried to lump the band in with its new wave promotion."-AMG.
If you like "Got No Breeding get it here!
Saturday, April 19, 2008
Friday, April 18, 2008
Ripped from vinyl @ 256. Hope you enjoy it!
The Undertones — guitar-playing brothers Damian and John O'Neill, bassist Mickey Bradley, drummer Billy Doherty and singer Feargal Sharkey — started out writing simple, fetching melodies with lyrics about teenagehood and playing them fast and raw on basic guitars, bass and drums. With Sharkey's piercing, quivering Irish tenor out front, songs on the first album ("Jimmy Jimmy," "Here Comes the Summer," "Girls Don't Like It") are spare and efficient pop gems that are as infectious as measles, suggesting a bridge between teenybop and punk. (The original US edition, wrapped in completely different color Xerox artwork, adds the crucial "Teenage Kicks" and "Get Over You" from the band's first two 7-inches; a limited-edition English 10-inch released at the same time combined those two tracks plus a pair from the LP. The 1994 reissue adds seven bonus cuts — mostly contemporaneous B-sides — to the original album. The 2003 edition musters six of those and four more non-LP singles sides, including the classic "You've Got My Number (Why Don't You Use It?)."-[Ira Robbins] Trouser Press
If you like "The Undertones" get it here!