Radio City: Class Of ’77 (Radio Heartbeat, 2009)
This is a lost power pop gem from the late seventies.. or can you lose something that was never released. Radio City was too pop for the punk scene of New York and never got the break they would have deserved, but they did record a fantastic bunch of songs that finally thirty years later see the light of the day. Especially the opening tracks Don’t Mistake Love (recorded 1980) and Little Runaway (recorded 1978) are really wonderful pop songs that should be listed among power pop classics. The next eight songs are from Radio City’s demo tape that was recorded live in winter 1977. It still sounds good to me and there’s some really good songs like Tomorrow, It’s Ok, Bleecker Street and She’s A Heartbreaker among them. Class Of ’77 ends with three songs from their live rehearsal tape. I’m not 100% sure was it a good idea to add them, because eventhough the songs are good the sound quality isn’t and it doesn’t make it that enjoyable to listen to them. However, the first one So Easy is such a great song that I suppose it would have been criminal to leave it out. Not as criminal as not giving this great band a record deal back in the seventies though.
Radio City at myspace
The Lemonheads: Varshons (Bad Taste, 2009)
I’m a big fan of The Lemonheads and Evan Dando. The Lemonheads have given us several great cover versions in the past and therefore making a cover record might seem like a good idea. Usually it’s a horrible idea and eventhough for The Lemonheads the idea doesn’t sound too bad, the end result is still rather dissapointing. Varshons does contain some really good stuff, but there’s just isn’t enough of it for a full-lenght album.
A good thing is that Evan Dando haven’t selected the obvious songs to cover and instead have made some obscure choices. For example picking a rare Gram Parsons song I Just Can’t Take It Anymore instead of a Gram classic is great idea. Gram’s shadow isn’t hanging too close above and the song sounds almost exactly like 90’s The Lemonheads (okay, I admit I’m a fanboy stuck in the past and one of the reasons I’m not so into this cover disc is that overall, it doesn’t sound like The Lemonheads I fell in love with). Too bad Evan didn’t do the same thing with Townes Van Zandt and selected Waiting Around To Die. He might have pulled of some rare Townes number, but now I’m just left wondering how is it possible to make one of the best songs ever written sound so lame. I admit it’s a bit personal thing as well. If I had to choose the 10 greatest songs ever, this would be one of them. I love it to bits and I probably wouldn’t approve any other versions than the original. Dirty Robot is probably painfully bad, but how would I know for sure. I really can’t even listen to it. I refuse to even think about it. On a positive note, Wire cover Fragile is a great one and garage classic Green Fuz is another treat. How about 7″ inch cover EP with I Just Can’t It Anymore as A-side and those to as the b-sides. Now that would be worth all five hearts..
The Duke & The King: Nothing Gold Can Stay (Loose Records, 2009)
One more american record… or maybe the american record of the year. Okay, some treasures like The Avett Brothers album haven’t been released yet, so let’s not start making those end of the year lists now. However, The Duke & The King have really created an almost perfect album and I have completely fallen in love with it.
The Duke & The King are Simone Felice & Robert “Chicken” Burke. Simone Felice was the drummer for The Felice Brothers which is one of my favourite bands and therefore I had really high hopes for The Duke & The King, but I still wouldn’t have guessed I would end up loving this even more than any The Felice Brothers album (that’s a lot of love, almost like an overdoze). Simone Felice is also an author and it’s no wonder that Nothing Gold Can Stay is lyrically strong and contains heartbreaking storytelling wrapped into beautiful americana, folk and even country-soul songs. The characters of the songs have met the darker corners of life, but there’s a sense of vulnerable optimism around. I kind of love the simplicity of the record. It might even sound lazy, but this bare and sensitive approach is always the best way to go.. if you can write songs, you don’t need to hire the royal philharmonic orchestra. Especially If You Ever Get Famous, The Morning I Get To Hell, Union Street, Water Spider, Summer Morning Rain and One More American Song are utterly wonderful songs and Nothing Gold Can Stay is one of the finest albums of the year.
The Duke & The King at myspace
is now available exclusively at allscandinavian.com. Album Better Than Wages is due out on 2nd of september.
Stream album at allscandinavian.com
Astrid Swan at myspace
Astrid Swan at blogspot
The Micragirls is about to release their second album Wild Girl Walk on 9th of september. I’m looking forward to this garage rock’n’roll blast. It should be a whole lot of fun. Summer’s gone/Girl Go Crazy download single is out now exclusively at Bone Voyage Shop. You can listen the a-side (can you say that about download-single) also on their myspace. It’s actually a great pop song and should appeal to pop fans as well. No wonder I think it’s absolutely gorgeous and perhaps my favourite The Micragirls song so far. I do like that garage rock stuff a lot as well, but well pop music is the thing that is closest to my heart and therefore I wouldn’t mind if there were more songs like Summer’s Gone on Wild Girl Walk. However, I promise not to be too dissapointed, if there aren’t because I’m fairly confident it will be a really good record no matter what.
The Micragirls Website
The Micragirls at myspace
Bone Voyage shop
New Shindig! magazine arrived last friday and like I’ve said before it’s absolutely brilliant psych / garage / power pop / folk etc mag. Actually it’s the finest rock magazine there is and I’m not even the biggest 60’s freak there is. It’s just so refreshing to see cover stories about bands like The Flamin’ Groovies, The Pretty Things, Julie Driscoll instead of that seventh hundred Bob Dylan / Neil Young / Bruce piece. Plus it feels like every story and every tale is written with love, care and passion. The review section is torture for my bank account though. Where can I find the money to buy all those beautiful reissues they are introducing to me? What is that new band I’ve never heard of with all those cool influences?
This new sep-oct issue actually comes with a sampler cd full of songs by these bands I’ve never heard of. Well I do own The Beep Seals, The Campbell Stokes Sunshine Recorder albums and an older El Goodo album. And The Higher State, The Junipers and Jim Jones Revue albums have been on my shopping list for a long while, but the rest is pretty much new to me. There’s a couple of songs I don’t like at all (especially Diagonal is not my cup of tea at all), but most of it is really good. The ones I mentioned above are all great (I should buy The Higher State album asap I think, pretty perfect 60’s west coast / byrds stuff) and the first new band I’ve gotten addicted to is The Magnificent Brotherhood and their song Lifetime. It’s a german garage / psych band whose debut album was released last year. I need to go and spend some time listening to their other songs. Same probably applies to many other artist on this discs.
The Magnificent Brotherhood at myspace
The Higher State at myspace
The Junipers at myspace
The Beep Seals at myspace
The Campbell Stokes Sunshine Recorder at myspace
El Goodo at myspace
Jim Jones Revue at myspace