I got a pal. He is really interested music, even more than me. He owns a couple of guitars (Fenders!), amps (Fenders! tube!), and more recordings than me. Okay, maybe four times the number of recordings that I own. And I own a ridiculous number, no I won't admit to how many. I've been collecting for thirty years and I'm too bleeping anal to toss any away. In desperation I sold a few as well as traded a few. Serious mistake. The really bad ones remind me of mistaken choices, or whom I should never take advice from.
At any rate when Rocking Mr. Tom shows up, we usually go shopping. And when I talk shopping I'm talking the Fetus. An institution in the area for a long time, they have a great selection of blues, rock, and more. I can't speak for country as I can't stand that crap. Okay, I don't mind the quality country; Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, and serious old school artists. Not that putz Garth and Wynonna.
So here is the list of what I bought this time. It had been quite a while since I had last shopped for recordings:
Death By Sexy - Eagles of Death Metal
Separation Sunday - the Hold Steady
Flashback - J. Geils
Showtunes - Stephin Merritt
Biggest Prize In Sport - 999
Elan Vital - Pretty Girls Make Graves
Broken Toy Soldiers - the Raconteurs
The Repulsion Box - Sons and Daughters
Songs and Other Things - Tom Verlaine
Dumbing Up - World Party
Living With War - Neil Young
So far I've listened to several recordings, but not enough of all of them. I have listened to these four in depth enough to make a review.
Biggest Prize In Sport by 999 is old school New Wave from the early 80s. I've had a vinyl copy for over 20 years. I loved it then, its pop, its catchy, it has wonderful guitar licks, and its completely meaningless from a seriousness angle. Its a guilty pleasure at its finest. When I saw it in the used bin for $7, I couldn't pass it up. I've rarely seen them in the new racks much less in the used rack. Embarrassed? Nope, its a band which has sentimental value as well as entertainment value. They might be the Bay City Rollers of the New Wave or Punk era, but nobody's hardly heard of them, so maybe its okay? You mileage might vary.
Separation Sunday by The Hold Steady is quality rock and roll with a twist of anger. Some might call it Power Pop or even Punk, but its just all rock and roll isn't it? I heard a cut off this disc on the The Current. The first thing that grabbed me is the vocal similarity to Mark E. Smith of The Fall. I also found the lyric about "your rat faced friend" hilarious. Great biting lyrics about a wide range of stuff. The disc just demands to be played loud. Lots of good crude guitar work and just solid rock and roll. The disc has been well reviewed elsewhere. I find it highly recommended if you like things like the Fall, the Clash, the Jam and other intense music.
Dumbing Up by World Party was a pleasant surprise to see in the record shop in the "new" bin. Its a bit short compared to his (Karl Wallinger of course) other recordings, but it holds up well just the same. If you remember the early days of The Waterboys, then you should consider checking out World Party's back catalog. Personally I suggest you start with Bang! as well as Egyptology. The man has a mind for hooks and catchy lyrics, but he also knows his sound. He always surrounds himself with great players and his recordings sound the same over his 20 plus years of discs. He likes lush production and smooth vocals that may not appeal to everyone. I really have always liked the sound of World Party since Karl was a part of the Waterboys. I thought that was partnership that broke up and each carried a solid portion of the musical ability and later recordings prove that Mike Scott and Karl Wallinger have the chops to carry off their own careers with ease.
Living With War by Neil Young was the biggest disappointment so far. Where was Neil's angst when he made Prairie Wind? I don't know where Neil was, but Shrubbery (its a nickname for George W. Bush by a Texan newspaperwoman you should know even if I can't remember her name at the moment) and his administration have sucked for a long time. I really thought this disc showed Neil's age. Too little, too late. What? The last five or six recordings have left me very unexcited. I don't think I've really enjoyed anything since Arc Weld and before. I expect more from Neil and frankly, I've not found it. Its begun to piss me off. Not bad enough like with U2 where I won't be buying anything new of theirs, but I'll be thinking long and hard before I buy another Neil Young recording. I'm so freaking disappointed.