JANGLE ON! for SEPT. 2008!!!
By Eric Sorensen, written exclusively for NOT LAME
Several promotional treats have arrived via the mail during the past month. Many thanks to the labels and artists who sent me their promotional discs. Not all were jangly, but one is certainly headed to the top of my “Best of 2008” list. To make this month even more pleasant, I was able to attend my third Roger McGuinn concert of the year – this time, at the restored Carlisle Theater in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Many Southeast Pennsylvania Boomer fans went home happy that evening after hearing Roger’s 24-song show that included numerous Byrds chart hits. Although Roger surrounds himself with four instruments, he clearly favors playing the Martin seven-string acoustic guitar that he designed several years ago. Here is a summary of the albums and songs I have been listening to recently:
THE RHINOS - IN RHI FI
Fourteen tracks of the finest jangly pop music this side of the 60s...and from the other side of the Atlantic (Sweden)! Think of classic pop bands like the Byrds, the Beatles, the Association, the Beach Boys, the Cyrkle and the Hollies and add some more recent influences like the late, great Time Lodgers. Jangly, chiming and ringing Rickenbacker 12-string riffs are interwoven into many of the songs, and the last three tracks give a nod to the circa 1967 Byrds sound that featured the emergence of David Crosby’s and Chris Hillman’s song arrangement skills. I mentioned the track "Everything That She Believed" several months ago, and this song remains a very strong candidate for "Song of the Year". I am indebted to the Rainbow Quartz label for sending me a promo copy of this terrific disc. From my perspective, pop music just doesn’t get any better than this! Long may you run, Sirs Leif, Lasse, Bjorn, Jonas and Palle!
THE PARTIES - CAN'T COME DOWN
A week after receiving In Rhi Fi, Rainbow Quartz sent me another top-notch promo disc by another excellent pseudo-60s group. This time, the Rickenbackers aren’t as chiming, but the tone of the Parties’ material will definitely appeal to fans of classic power-pop music. My favorite chiming track is "Gotta Get Out", but "Cold Life", "Yours And Mine", "Velvet Love Affair" and "Waterfall" are all radio-friendly tracks. The sweet boy-girl vibe reminds me a bit of the Kennedys and Dave Rave/Laura Agnelli collaborations.
FREDDIE STEADY'S WILD COUNTRY - TEN DOLLAR GUN
Texas Music Hall of Fame member Freddie Steady Krc returns with a 12-song disc that pays homage to the "Beatle boots and Tex-Mex roots" that so heavily influenced Freddie when he was young. While the Beatles and Sir Douglas Quintet references are plentiful, there are more subtle references (Buddy Holly, Bobby Fuller Four) also evident in Freddie's original compositions. Longtime pal and collaborator Cam King may have turned down the treble setting on his Rickenbacker 12-string guitar, but the mid-60s still provide the framework for songs like "What's So Hard About Love", "Pirate For Your Love" and "You Gotta Take That Girl". It's been three years since Freddie wowed our guests and friends with a solo acoustic house concert. Please, Sir, may we have another?
THE BEDSIT POETS - RENDEZVOUS
This is the sophomore release from Ed Rogers and Amanda Thorpe who are joined on this disc by newest BP member Mac Randall. There’s a lot less jangle on this disc than on THE SUMMER THAT CHANGED, but the 60s vibe is still present, with some cocktail lounge, French pop and British folk overtones. The upbeat "I'm In Love With A Girl" is an anomaly on a disc where ballads take center stage. It's still pop, and it's still a showcase for three very talented singers/songwriters/musicians.
THE JELLYBRICKS - GOODNIGHT TO EVERYONE
This is pure power-pop that transcends the last three decades. Just drop this disc in your CD player and keep hitting the replay button. Standout tracks include "Ruin Us", "Nobody Else" and "More To Lose".
THE SMITHEREENS - B-SIDES THE BEATLES
Pat DiNizio, Jim Babjak and Dennis Diken return to record more classic tracks on this second Smithereens disc that features Fab Four songs. Don’t miss their live shows that feature their excellent renditions of Beatles songs and their own repertoire of pop/rock gems. Babjak can still invoke some strong jangle from his Rickenbacker guitars!
STARLING ELECTRIC - CLOUDED STAIRCASE
Buried in the midst of 18 psych-pop tracks is the very jangly "New Era". Seek it out!
In the "Jangly Hall of Fame" category are several songs that I included on a "Jangle’n’Twang Roots Sampler" CD that I compiled in January 2001. Top tracks include "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me" and "Better Days" by the Jayhawks, "Hippie Girls And Sippin’ Whiskey", "Mt. Airy Mistake" and "Wiley Coyote" by the Psychedelic Cowboys, "Something I Don’t Recognize" by the Beachwood Sparks (pioneers in the new "Canyon Rock" movement), "The Trouble With Trouble" by the Blue Shadows (Billy Cowsill’s final band) and "Torn In Two" by the Schramms. Other "Jangly Hall of Fame" songs that were included in a late 90s "Midwestern Pop Sampler" include "Halcyon Days", "Miserable Girl", and "Day By Day" by Swinger, the very Beatlesque "Dirty Little Secret" and "Mr. Rain" by Love Candy, "The Colour Of Candy" by Bill Retoff, "Yer Gonna Need My Lovin’ Someday" by the Lolas, and one of my all-time favorites – "Is This Love? by Big In Iowa. Former Big In Iowa frontman, Big Bob Burns, now resides in the Washington, D.C. area...so I look forward to crossing paths with him at one of our area's live music venues.
Until next month, jangle on!