THE GERMS – What We Do Is Secret [RSD Black Friday Vinyl]

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]”

Fastball – All The Pain Money Can Buy [20th Anniversary Edition]

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]”

Lefty Frizzell – An Article From Life: The Complete Recordings (CD Box Set)

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)”

Hamell On Trial – The Night Guy at The Apocalypse: Profiles of a Rushing Midnight (Vinyl)

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)”

Semisonic – Feeling Strangely Fine [20th Anniversary]

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]”

Becky Warren – Undesirable (CD)

Becky Warren’s semi-autobiographical debut drew a lot of attention for the intriguing story of the relationship between an Iraqi War vet and his girlfriend. But, not to take away from the beauty and brutality of War Surplus, on her follow up, Warren uses a much larger canvas and turns in a wonderful, genre-stretching album for her effort. Continue reading “Becky Warren – Undesirable (CD)”

R.E.M. – The Best of R.E.M. at the BBC (Vinyl)

It’s been seven years since R.E.M. officially walked away, but thankfully folks are still digging into their vaults to pull out some remarkable, unreleased music. The MTV Unplugged series last year was a nice surprise, but this latest from the BBBC is an even more impressive find. Continue reading “R.E.M. – The Best of R.E.M. at the BBC (Vinyl)”

Cock Sparrer – the Albums 1994-2017 (CD Box Set)

While The Clash, The Damned and the Sex Pistols all justifiably get their due in just about any discussion around the origins of punk rock, Cock Sparrer is almost always inexplicably left off the list by many in this country. Which is odd considering the London band had several years head start on all of the aforementioned peers, dating all the way back to 1972. And as influential as the trio mentioned above clearly are, it’s hard to imagine the Dropkick Murphys, the Bosstones or even Rancid (especially Rancid!) existing without Cock Sparrer to firmly lead the way a generation earlier. Continue reading “Cock Sparrer – the Albums 1994-2017 (CD Box Set)”

Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit – Live from the Ryman

Jason Isbell surprised many when he walked away from cult favs Drive By Truckers 10 years ago. What were the chances of an Americana artist that bristled against modern country music making it beyond a record or two. Turns out, the chances were a hell of a lot better than most thought. It helps that Isbell also happens to be one of the best songwriters to come around in a generation. Continue reading “Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit – Live from the Ryman”