In 1993, The Posies turned in one of the finest power pop records
decade with “Frosting on the Beater.” So, it was almost a given that
it’s follow-up wouldn’t stray too far from that formula. And thankfully
it didn’t. The 14-track “Amazing Disgrace,” was just as accessible as
it’s predecessor, if a little less optimistic
in tone, likely a result of troubles within the band (drummer Mike
Musburger and bassist Dave Fox left before the recording of this one),
and disagreements with their label at the time.
Omnivore Recordings has just re-issued “Amazing Disgrace,” the
a trio of the band’s DGC albums getting the re-issue treatment this
year. This two-disc set includes the original record and eight bonus
tracks on one disc as well as a bonus CD with an additional 15 tracks,
mainly boasting demos and alternate versions of
The album, their last for DGC, is easily one of their best
only to “Frosting on the Beating.” Though there wasn’t an obvious hit
single in the U.S. from “Amazing Disgrace,” the record still managed to
become their biggest seller in Europe up to this point. Songs like
Throwaway”” and the fantastic “Ontario” compete
just as well as most of the tracks off of “Frosting on the Beater,” but
the album inexplicably didn’t pay off as well here as it’s predecessor.
This re-issue, just like “Dear 23” and “Frosting on the Beater” serve as a great second chance for people to rediscover these three extraordinary albums from one of the best power pop bands to emerge from the 1990s. And thankfully the band that is just as vital today as when these albums were first released, still touring and releasing new music.
The Posies – Amazing Disgrace [30th Anniversary Re-Issue/2 CDs/Omnivore Recordings
John has covered The Posies a few times in the past. Take a look at his coverage of Failure and Dear 23/Frosting on the Beater .
The Reverend Horton Heat (known by his parents as Jim Heath) is likely the only musician out there to be name-checked by Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, John Lydon and Rob Zombie. But it makes sense, as no band since The Cramps has done a better job of fusing rockabilly with a sharp punk rock attitude. And his latest, “A Whole New Life,” shows he still has a foot planted firmly in each musical camp.
The band is at it’s best when they’re playing ferocious up-tempo
like “Perfect,” “Hate to See You Cry” or the New Orleans-styled
“Tchoupitoulas Street” (a song you’d swear was an old standard, but is
actually a Heath original). The album takes a brief detour on the Nick
cave-ish dirge “Don’t Let Go of Me,” the weakest track
here. But the band quickly corrects course for the remainder of the
record. They also throw in a great cover of “Viva Las Vegas” on the
closing track – a perfect ending to this 30-plus minute nostalgic ride.
This latest effort marks an even dozen albums for the trio and is just as solid as anything they’ve done so far. If you never dug their high-octane rockabilly/cocktail vibe, this record certainly isn’t going to change your mind. But, if you’re a fan, “Whole New Life” will only serve to reaffirm that admiration.
Reverend Horton Heat – Whole New Life / Victory Records / 2018 / Twitter
Only Elvis could get away with having an album full of songs by a rising star recorded entirely for him. But that’s exactly what happened in the mid-1960s, with one of Elvis’ favorite songwriting duos, Ben Weisman and Sid Wayne, convinced an early-in-his-career Glen Campbell to record a dozen-and-a-half of their songs, so they could pitch them to The King. The tactic obviously worked as Elvis went on to record 12 of those songs, including “Clambake” and “Easy Come, Easy Go.” You’ve got to wonder if “Clambake,” one of the most fun songs on this record, was the inspiration for the entire Clambake movie Elvis would star in (and sing this song for the soundtrack) in 1967. Continue reading “Glen Campbell – Sings For The King”
You’d be hard pressed to find a recent musical genre that’s been dissected more in the past two decades than Grunge. Countless books, articles, documentaries, and radio and TV interviews dig into the Seattle-based phenomenon and just about every single discussion on the topic eventually comes around to the ground-breaking indie label Sub Pop. So, it’s surprising there was any new material left to report about the label, let alone an entire book’s worth. But, Gillian G. Gaar manages to find plenty to cover in this latest book about the label. Continue reading “World Domination: The Sub Pop Records Story (RPM Series)”
The Germs may have only released one proper studio album before frontman Darby Crash died, but you’d be hard-pressed to find more than a handful of more influential hardcore/punk rock bands to come out of that era. Everyone from the Minutemen and L7 to Soul Asylum and Pennywise owe a debt of gratitude to that Southern California band of nonconformists. So, it’s frustrating just how few songs the band managed to record during their four years together. Continue reading “THE GERMS – What We Do Is Secret [RSD Black Friday Vinyl]”
Paul Kelly is a national treasure in his native Australia, but like Colin Hay or Graham Parker, he’s perpetually on a list of woefully under-appreciated musicians here in the States. Continue reading “Paul Kelly – Nature (CD)”
The sophomore record from the Texas-based Power Pop band Fastball is likely remembered by most for the lead track and ultimate earworm “The Way.” The ridiculously catchy song about an old couple who goes out for a drive and gets lost forever, was endearing for the first few weeks of it’s release… but seven weeks in, the amount of time it spent on Billboard’s Modern Rock chart, it had more than worn out it’s welcome. Continue reading “Fastball – All The Pain Money Can Buy [20th Anniversary Edition]”
It’s been more than four decades since country/honky tony legend Lefty Frizzell passed away but his music inspired a slew of musicians that are still around today, a diverse group that includes everyone from Willie Nelson to John Fogerty. His music was also a key ingredient that helped launch the careers of The Everly Brothers and Roy Orbison (who was so inspired by the singer that he took the name Lefty Wilbury for tag in band The Traveling Wilburys). So, while a massive 20-disc retrospective box set may seem excessive to some, it’s seems a pretty appropriate tribute to the influence and popularity of Lefty. Continue reading “Lefty Frizzell – An Article From Life: The Complete Recordings (CD Box Set)”
Much like Tom Waits or Nick Cave, Ed Hamell (better known as Hamell On Trial) is one of those extremely rare musicians that have somehow managed to go decades ignoring conventional wisdom and norms of the restrictive music industry, and focus purely, instinctually on churning out remarkably creative records in pursuit of entertaining vs. simply selling a shitload of records. And have confusingly been able to make a living at it. Continue reading “Hamell On Trial – The Night Guy at The Apocalypse: Profiles of a Rushing Midnight (Vinyl)”
Long before Dan Wilson became the go-to songwriter for an incredibly diverse range of musicians from Adele and Taylor Swift to Weezer and Nas, he was known as that guy who sang that earworm “Closing Time.” Continue reading “Semisonic – Feeling Strangely Fine [20th Anniversary]”