Voxtrot – Raised By Wolves EP (Cult Hero)
Texas’s answer to THE SMITHS? Well, maybe on one song on this 2005 EP, but other than that (yet another reworking of “This Charming Man”!!!!), if you combine the songs from this debut with those on their new EP, you have the best album’s worth of songs by anyone of late. Yes, it’s odd that a group from the American South can sound so blatantly English, but unlike many anglophilic groups, they’re not coy, fey, or over-stylized, they’re just a first rate pop group with bite, and we should be proud to call them ours.
Voxtrot – Mothers Sisters Daughters and Wives EP (Cult Hero)
Of the two EPs, I think I prefer this new one, as it comes on harder and thicker, adding a decidedly American edge to their Brit-inspired multifaceted pop. Don’t miss.
Sleepover Disaster – Oceanographer EP (Overcast)
This is the best shoegaze/dreampop MY BLOODY VALENTINE-ish record I’ve heard in eons, even better than the Fresno, California band’s LP last year. This should make my Top 10 for the year!
Wire – Chairs Missing (Pink Flag)
Though I miss the older bonus tracks on this new remastered version, the sound is killer. Pointing the way from Pink Flag’s short, clipped, punk minimalism in 1977 to 154’s expansive and shocking atmospheric art rock in 1979, this concise 1978 transitional LP remains powerful and unique.
Willie Nelson – The Ghost (Masked Weasel)
It’s the early ‘60s Willie I like best. He’s young and country, but there’s this sort of sighing melancholy, so amazingly understated, that set his work apart along with his reputation as a songwriter (“Crazy,” etc.) “I Can’t Find the Time,” and “Night Life” remain some of the quietly saddest songs the genre ever produced; while others lay it on thick, Nelson quietly withers, and he still shows flashes of that these days as a beloved international star.
The Go-Betweens – Tallulah (Beggars Banquet)
R.I.P. GRANT MCLENNAN; out of all you gave us, this was your finest hour, in songs and singing, so it’s no wonder I pulled this out and played it with such a heavy heart.
Jon Auer –
Songs From the Year of Our Demise (Pattern 25)
Such a beautiful debut solo LP by THE POSIES veteran, I just keep playing and playing and playing this! Really lovely stuff, not at all like his band, much as I love them too. This is what solo LPs are for!
The Mutants – Fun Terminal (White Noise)
I bought this CD reissue at the band’s San Francisco reunion show last month with the awesome AVENGERS and FLIPPER because the bonus tracks doubled the length of this fun 1982 album. Although a little late in their career, and not surprisingly a little too mannered in the production as a result, Fun is still a really modestly twisted party-punk record with just enough weirdness to have a lasting edge. And live, both then, and recently, they could be a real gas. Check out “New Drug” and from the bonus tracks, “New Dark Ages.”
The Move – “I Can Hear the Grass Grow” on YouTube.com
I haven’t had a lot of time to browse this amazing web site, but for some reason, it’s the Move I wanted to see most, and I found what I was looking for in this vintage clip. Simply put, this band was one of the finest live acts of the 1960s, very nearly as smokin’ hot as The Who, and though they look a little stiff on this footage in terms of moving around the stage, in all other respects this is totally exciting, and it’s great to see them playing—and so young, too. ROY WOOD with no facial hair!
Jon Auer – Live at Mercury Lounge, May 12
An aborted set, as the POSIES veteran unfortunately got stuck between two full band acts on a Friday night in the now-obnoxious Party-central East Village, and his attempt at doing an intimate solo acoustic/electric set was sabatoged from the get-go. I don’t know why large crowds think it is OK to yack so loudly that they are drowning out a musician, especially when there is a different room in a club where people can talk. But what was heard before the chatter grew too much to bear was pretty extraordinary, especially “Four Letter Word” and “Bottom of the Bottle.” The cover of JOE JACKSON’s “Is She Really Going Out With Him” was welcome, too.