JANGLE ON! for MAY 2008!
By Eric Sorensen, written exclusively for NOT LAME
With the advent of spring came a steady stream of new discs featuring crisp, chiming and jangly 12-string tracks. Here are some of the top albums and songs that made my playlist during the past month:
THE QUARTER AFTER - CHANGES NEAR My Top Ten list for 2007 was just amended to include this terrific pseudo-60s disc that provides firm evidence that there is no sophomore slump for this group of pop musicians! With Dominoc Campanella on Rickenbacker 12-string, and a strong supporting effort from the other bandmembers and guests like Ric Menck of Velvet Crush, this disc grooves from start to finish. “Early Morning Rider” grabs “Song of the Month” honors, but “She Revolves,” “Changes Near,” “Follow Your Own Way,” “Turning Away,” “See How Good It Feels” and “This Is How I Want To Know You” are also standout band-penned tracks that will appeal to jangly pop fans. There is also a very strong Gene Clark vibe on several of the less jangly tracks – which really shouldn’t surprise anyone since Menck’s aforementioned band, the Velvet Crush, nailed their recorded version of Clark’s “Why Not Your Baby.” Changes Near is timeless psych/pop that may owe a debt to 60s pioneers like the Byrds and Love, but we in turn owe a debt to the Quarter After for their devotion to a genre of music that they excel at!
Speaking of Byrds-influenced pop, the word is on the street that the RHINOS will soon release their second disc... and I got a sneak preview of the terrific Byrdsian track “Everything That She Believed.” The disc will jump right into my Top Ten list for 2008, and this song will definitely compete for jangly “Song of the Year” honors.
THE MALIBUS - NOW!
This band wears its love of the Beach Boys on their shirt sleeves and demonstrates that reverence on all 14 of the original tracks, but the chiming track “MCMLXV” will remind pop fans of the Barracudas’ coda to the mid 60s “I Wish It Was 1965 Again.” Like the Barracudas, the Malibus make the leap through time quite effortlessly!
EDWARD ROGERS - YOU HAVEN'T BEEN WHERE I'VE BEEN
This disc is hot off the presses (Zip Records) and it showcases Rogers’ continued knack for writing songs with a nod to the 60s – in particular, the British Invasion. Fellow indie pop singer/songwriter George Usher collaborated with Rogers on this disc, and guest artists like Roger McGuinn, Marty Willson-Piper and Pete Kennedy should further whet jangleholics’ appetites. McGuinn’s Rickenbacker 12-string is very pronounced on “Blind Man’s Blue” and Willson-Piper and Kennedy share lead guitar duties on the extended final track “What Happened to Manfred, What Happened to Jane.” Upbeat pop tracks that also feature chiming guitar riffs include “The Last To Leave The Party” and “I’ll Always Leave A Light On.” The album exhibits contemporary pop through a prism of Kinks/Ray Davies, Zombies, Byrds and other influences, and the result is every bit as strong as Rogers’ debut disc Sunday Fables. Long may you run, Sir Edward!
THE SPONGETONES - TOO CLEVER BY HALF
This latest 18-song disc proves that the Songetones are still America’s Fab Four. This is Beatlesque pop at its best. Every song has a melody that is catchy, and tracks like “Invisible Girl” even add some frosting to the cake with some chiming guitar play. Long may you run, Sir Jamie, Sir Steve, Sir Patrick and Sir Rob.
JAMIE ROUNDS - THE PASADENA POP SESSIONS
I discovered Jamie’s earlier work on the CDBaby site several years ago, and I finally added this 2007 release to my collection. The Pasadena Pop Sessions includes tracks that feature Nicole Gordon on lead vocals and Orleans (remember “Dance With Me?”) on backing vocals … as well as Jamie’s very cool covers of “Bells Of Rhymney” and “Surfer Girl” (sounding like Beach Boy acolyte Jeffrey Foskett). The highlight of this disc is Jamie’s original song, “Nothin’ To Do Town” that sounds like an outtake from Tom Petty’s Full Moon Fever album. The song blends 12-string electric guitar riffs with lyrical references to Gram Parsons’ last journey into the dessert. I highly recommend all of Jamie’s discs to Byrds fans in particular and pop fans in general!
THE GOLDBERGS - UNDER THE RADAR
Another disc chock-full of classic power pop tunes that will remind listeners of the Knack and the Rubinoos. “Please Won’t You Please” and “Feel The Sun” are embellished by ringing, chiming guitars.
THE VERY BEST OF DANIEL WYLIE AND THE COSMIC ROUGH RIDERS and ROSS - A COLLECTION FOR ENIMIES AND FRIENDS are two superb compilations that showcase the talents of the Cosmic Rough Riders and Ross. The former band favored Byrdsian pop; the latter artist favors Beatlesque pop. Both genres of music favor a generous portion of jangly guitars. If you don’t already have the earlier works by these artists, both compilations are an excellent way to fill in the gaps in your library. Favorite tracks: the demo version of “The Loser” by CRR and “My Sister” by Ross.
THE HOLDENS - WHAT PULLS GRAVITY (1993) and TED HOLDEN - KILLERMYWAY (1995) are my “blast from the past” discs this month. I discovered both discs at the CD Cellar in Falls Church, Virginia, where founders Kenny and Ted introduced me to many jangly pop artists. The two discs feature Ted Holden on muted Rickenbacker 12-string guitar – sounding like a blend of the Feelies and REM. Songs like “Too Good” and “4 Walls Down” have stood the test of time nicely.
Until next month, jangle on!