Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Opening with the staccato guitar romp, call-and-response sizzler "White Night", The Postelles updates the 70's power pop template with the nervous energy that all those THE bands (The Vines, The White Stripes, The Strokes, The Hives) thrilled us with a decade ago. They look unapologetically backward, and singer Daniel Balk's cheerful croon makes these mostly up-tempo gumdrops go down easy.
The Postelles - "White Night" (from The Postelles)
The Postelles - "California Sun" (from Summer Undercovers)
Sunday, January 29, 2012
I was going to put Wild Flag's excellent album here, but Trip already got that one, so I'll offer up a left-field choice. I don't know much about Have Gun Will Travel, but Mergers & Acquisitions is a near-perfect mix of rustic and tuneful that will transport you to the halcyon days of early alt.country. This is the album Uncle Tupelo didn't make between March 16-20, 1992 and Anodyne.
Have Gun Will Travel - Time Machine
Have Gun Will Travel - Disappearing Kind
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Butch Walker makes musical confections, sweet rock candy that cuts through the sour indie rock landscape. Once upon a time this stuff made you a star, but now it just makes you a cult hero to folks who want to enjoy new music but who don't subscribe to the new musical paradigm. Big hooks, big drums, sly words, plentiful beer, willing girls and cunning song craft all wrapped up in a shiny box and bow. It hits your body first and then works its way to your brain. A sugar rush in all the right ways.
What makes this partnership go is the marriage of Bill Lloyd's jangle pop guitar sensibility to Radney Foster's clear, warm vocals, but what makes it soar are the old school harmonies, two voices meshing as one on immediately memorable choruses. Sure their cover of "Picasso's Mandolin" is a misstep better left to the craggy story telling of the great Guy Clark, but the daylight fading, gracefully aging title cut reminds us of the Foster and Lloyd's Top 40 hitmaking heyday. And album closer "When I Finally Let You Go" is a heart tugging, father to daughter love letter that will inspire more "Ahh Seanie" comparisons than this author would care to admit.
By the way, go buy the fantastic This One's For Him: A Tribute to Guy Clark, which features our boy Radney absolutely killing "L.A. Freeway".
Foster & Lloyd - "It's Already Tomorrow" (from It's Already Tomorrow)
Radney Foster - "L.A. Freeway" (from This One's For Him: A Tribute to Guy Clark)
Monday, January 23, 2012
If you didn’t know this album was cobbled together from odds and ends after Ms. Winehouse’s death, could you discern it by listening? Maybe, especially once you noticed “Tears Dry,” an alternate version of “Tears Dry On Their Own” from the brilliant Back to Black album. But would it make the experience any less enjoyable? I can’t image that it would. Winehouse was one of the last contemporary singers who could fully inhabit a song, tugging at melody and tempo to make other writers’ tunes her own, and never resorting to studio tricks. Her buoyant takes on chestnuts ranging from “Our Day Will Come” to “A Song For You” never fail to charm, and they serve as a reminder of what a rare talent she was. You won’t find her death in this collection. Only her life.
Sunday, January 22, 2012
Rock and roll is dead? Nah... it's just Fucked Up.
Fucked Up - "Queen of Hearts" (from David Comes to Life)
Fucked Up - "Turn The Season" (from David Comes to Life)
Thursday, January 19, 2012
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
We interrupt our 2011 countdown to acknowledge 2012.
As Far As Yesterday Goes plays like an unwritten John Hughes movie, with looming heartbreak leavened by day-glo horns and impossibly sunny arrangements. Each chorus, each handclap and each strum screams pure pop. There are 60's nods everywhere - the "I Should Have Known Better" harmonica riff that powers opener "Caught in The Middle" to euphoric heights, the heavenly, Turtle-y "ba-ba-bas" of "You Do Something to Me" and album thesis "On A Summer Day" that plays like a full on celebration of Small Faces ultra-modness crossed with the elegance of Bachrach/David classic.
Teenage Kicks review of As Far As Yesterday Goes
The Red Button - "Caught in The Middle" (from As Far As Yesterday Goes)
The Red Button - "On A Summer Day" (from As Far As Yesterday Goes)
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
The lyrics are mostly uplifting (and ordinary, but they work) and who doesn't love an album that calls to mind the fractured, desperate beauty of Sister Lovers and the deeply touching melancholia of Sunflower / Surf's Up era Beach Boys.
Love... for today.
Girls - "Honey Bunny" (from Father, Son & Holy Ghost)
Girls - "Love Like A River" (from Father, Son & Holy Ghost)
Sunday, January 15, 2012
With a scorched earth policy that leaves no riff unturned, Wild Flag's joyous rocket launch sounds like 1977 in 2011. I hear the new wave mannerisms of Lene Lovich and the exaggerated strangulated yelp of Richard Hell, but Wild Flag carries not a whiff of punk revisionism or slavish tribute. This is breathtaking rock and roll in the moment, loaded with hooks and F-U-N.
Inspirational verse from the slam bang opener, the absolutely irresistible "Romance":
"You watch us sing, we sing till we're crying
We sing to free ourselves from the room
We love the sound, the sound is what found us
Sound is the love between me and you"
If you are not moving to this one, have someone check your pulse.
Wild Flag - "Romance" (from Wild Flag)
Wild Flag - "Boom" (from Wild Flag)
Friday, January 13, 2012
"I'm a late bloomer, I'm a slow learner
And I've turned the record over, I'm a long player
My song is my saviour, Got to raise it up"
His vocals cling to melodies like thick maple syrup on the edge of an amber jug, causing the world to spin a little slower while Sexsmith spoon feeds melancholy one bite a time.
Ron Sexsmith - "Believe It When I See It" (from Long Player, Late Bloomer)
Ron Sexsmith - "Give Me Love" (George Harrison cover)
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Trip could come up with a list of one hundred albums about which he was genuinely enthusiastic in the past year if he set his mind to it. Me, not so much. It's not that there weren't that many (and more) worthy of enthusiasm, it's just that I didn't work hard enough to find them. I'll join the fray at album number 20.
Sunday, January 08, 2012
This is album is loaded with ringing electric guitars, Keene's dry vocals and wry wordplay and thankfully not much else. Sure there are nice touches like the Belle & Sebastian horns that adorn opener "Deep Six Saturday", but mostly Behind The Parade sounds like another record full of stirring, sharply played songs in a career full of them.
Tommy Keene - "Deep Six Saturday"
Tommy Keene - "Already Made Up My Mind"
(both songs on Behind The Parade on Second Motions Records)
Friday, January 06, 2012
Terry Anderson & The Olympic Ass Kickin Team - "Gambled And Lost"
Terry Anderson & The Olympic Ass Kickin Team - "Spend The Night"
(both songs available on More Smooth Jazz & Sweet Sweet Jams)
Wednesday, January 04, 2012
One of the benefits of year-end reviews is that you have had time to let an album sink in and make your own decision on its relative merits or shortcomings. A major drawback is having already other reviews. So this album is either a "well rounded pop-jugular album" (The A.V. Club) or a disc that "fails to muster much sense of enthusiasm for itself beyond those first and last tracks" (Drowned in Sound).
Me - all I hear is effervescent gloom that seems to be a lab experiment grafting Jesus and Mary Chain's acidic wall of buzz onto the sing-along friendliness of Irish goobers The Saw Doctors. In a year mostly devoid of guitar albums, this one couples stompy riffs with singer Justin Young's anthemic melodic swells in 3 minute amphetamine rushes. I love it, but skip the 8 and 1/2 bummer of a closer, "Family Friend", and make this a 10 song album that wraps up in a tidy 27 minutes. That gets the Teenage Kicks seal of approval.
The Vaccines - "Post Break Up Sex" (from What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?)
The Vaccines - "Norgaard" (from What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?)
Monday, January 02, 2012
But for now we'll each be putting up our favorite albums from 2011, which was a very good year for music, but had no slam dunk rock and roll classic, like Titus Andronicus' The Monitor from last year The Hold Steady's Boy and Girls in America in 2006. In 2011, music was everywhere - on your phone, in the car, on TV, and instantly accessible on your computer and ipod. Now with Spotify, you can stream millions of songs for free. It's mind-blowing, fantastic and incredibly daunting. Because with millions of options, how do you choose? How do you ferret out the diamonds in the rough, separate the wheat from the chaff, make sure you get to hear Ezra Furman and skip James Blake? We hope to help here at Teenage Kicks, and we'll start with our 2011 faves. And maybe this time next year we'll salute 2012.