Category Archives: The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
The Wallflowers, Bringing Down the Horse

Celebrating Jakob Dylan, born on this day in 1969.Ed.

On the subject of The Wallflowers: I resisted Bob Dylan’s fortunate son and his band for a long, long time. I distrusted Jakob Dylan, scion of privilege and owner of one set of amazing cheekbones, the way I do all scions of privilege, and I continued to do so until the night I saw him live in Woodstock, where he was joined for a song or two by the great Garth Hudson, formerly of the Band, on accordion. And wham, I was sold.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m no fan boy of Jakob Dylan or the Wallflowers, but they’ve released some great pop songs over the years, most of them (in my humble opinion) on 1996’s sophomore release, the punningly titled Bringing Down the Horse. Produced by T-Bone Burnett, the album went quadruple platinum—and this despite the defection of lead guitarist Tobi Miller at the beginning of the sessions, which led Dylan to bring in a bevy of guitarists to fill in, including Mike Campbell of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers—and spawned four hits, two of which I happen to love heart and soul. I call the LP an example of Pop Americana, and Dylan himself has described how, despite the LP’s roots lite feel, he “wasn’t interested in making a throwback album from the ’60s or ’70s.” And this is obvious from opening cut, radio smash “One Headlight,” on. As for the LP’s mood, Dylan has said, “Every song, fortunately or unfortunately is about feeling massively defeated, because that’s what I was living.” Hey, join the club.

Say what you will about Dylan, and the boost he got from being the offspring of the most famous folk-rocker of the 20th Century, he has a natural facility for writing catchy melodies, and if one compares his work to that of his old man during the same period, Bob’s carpet rat beats him hands down. Sure, you occasionally detect echoes of his dad; the title “Three Marlenas” sounds like a tune off Blonde on Blonde, and the song boasts the same circus organ sound that helped make “Like a Rolling Stone” so famous. That said, its primary debt is to the Velvet Underground. In any case, it’s both lovely and moving; if its chorus doesn’t win you over, you lack a heart, my friend. As for “6th Avenue Heartache,” it positively soars, thanks in part to Mike Campbell’s slide guitar and Rami Jaffee’s organ, but mostly because of the way the band piles vocal upon vocal until you swoon.

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TVD Radar: The Podcast with Evan Toth, Episode 92: Jane Monheit

It’s the time of the year when holiday music sounds as fresh as the stacks of Christmas trees being sold at your local firehouse. With some melancholy, however, we know that in another month or so we’ll be dragging those trees down the driveway and onto the curb while searching for music without so much comfort and joy to keep us busy until the birds of spring begin to chirp.

But, we’re not there yet! The days are short, and the novelty of a cozy, warm evening by the fire with a softly murmuring hi-fi in the background has not yet worn off. And what better music to hear than some traditional and popular Christmas tunes? But what to choose? There’s no shortage of places to find the stuff, but it’s not so simple to find enduring holiday classics crafted with care, skill, and class.

Acclaimed jazz and pop singer, Jane Monheit knows her way around a Christmas song or two, and she’s here to prove it with her newest release, The Merriest. The celebrated vocalist has released many albums, several of which have appeared on the Billboard Jazz Charts, and of course, she’s entertained audiences all over the world. Here, however, Jane hand-picks some of her favorite Christmas tunes with a crack band backing her up. John Pizzarelli even comes by with his guitar to join her on a rendition of “That Holiday Feeling.”

Jane and I discuss her relationship with the holidays, the lush production behind the album, some dates she’ll be performing in support of the new album, and much more. If you’re searching for something familiar, yet fresh, to accompany you through the holiday season this year, consider giving Jane Monheit’s new album a spin.

Evan Toth is a songwriter, professional musician, educator, radio host, avid record collector, and hi-fi aficionado. Toth hosts and produces The Evan Toth Show and TVD Radar on WFDU, 89.1 FM. Follow him at the usual social media places and visit his website.

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Graded on a Curve: Hawkwind,
In Search of Space

Why go in search of space when you’ve already found it? You would have to ask the space rockers in Hawkwind, which on its 1971 sophomore LP In Search of Space takes you on an aural tour of the cosmic beyond on a psychedelic double-decker bus, pointing out the sites while reminding you, on “You Shouldn’t Do That,” to not feed the pulsating Day-Glo protoplasm. I know, I know—it looks friendly. But it will envelop your hand like the Blob, and have the rest of you for dessert.

What differentiated the early Hawkwind from their psychedelic rock brethren was their rich instrumental palette and decided Krautrock tendencies. They came at you with guitars, flute, saxophone, synthesizer, and audio generators, lots of audio generators. And they sure knew how to establish a killer drone. The almost sixteen-minute ”You Shouldn’t Do That” dispenses with choruses and bridges and all of that nonsense because they just kill the momentum—I doubt you’ll find any bridges in the furthest reaches of space, but who am I to say? I should have flunked physics (and would have had my teacher not been terrified of seeing me again) and for all I know the universe is one big chorus.

In Search of Space revs its engines with the aforementioned “You Shouldn’t Do That,” which opens with the sound of eon-glugging space whales, then rockets you into the psychosphere (a word I may have just made up!) at the speed of lava lamp. Nik Turner’s alto saxophone and what sounds to me like the whistling noise on Flipper’s “Sex Bomb” join some group vocals that sound like an endless repetition of “Chick-fil-A.”

After that Turner and electric guitarist Dave Brock really get down to business, accompanied by lots of soaring intergalactic noise (and some cool hissing), and my only problem are the lyrics, which reveal that like David Crosby and so many other freaks of the era, Hawkwind had a pathological fear of what Freud called “hippie hair castration,” as demonstrated by the lines “You try so hard to get somewhere/They put you down and cut your hair.”

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Needle Drop: Roxy Music, Roxy Music, Flesh + Blood & Avalon, Abbey Road Half Speed Masters

All eight Roxy Music albums have been reissued as half-speed masters and are available for the first time as individual albums. They were pressed on 180-gram vinyl in Germany at Optimal. The albums all come in poly-lined sleeves and include the original album sleeves. Miles Showell cut the previous discs at half speed in 2016, but these new cuts were done on upgraded equipment. For our purposes here, we only have access to Roxy Music, Flesh + Blood, and Avalon.

The group’s self-titled debut in 1972 was a groundbreaking work. Coming right in the middle of the late ’60s/early ’70s hippie days, the album was like a musical visitor from outer space. The initial lineup, which included Bryan Ferry, Phil Manzanera, and Andy MacKay, has remained intact right up until the group’s most recent tour this year. The rhythm section for the album was Paul Thompson and Graham Simpson. Thompson would last all the way through until Siren, and Simpson would leave after the group’s debut.

A rotating cast of bass players followed on the group’s next seven releases. More significantly, the group’s debut and second album included Brian Eno. Eno would of course leave the group after its second album and pursue ambient music, collaborate with Robert Fripp and David Byrne and, more significantly, become an in-demand and highly successful record producer.

Even 50 years later the album is a jarring and garish mix of styles and attitude. This is the height of DIY art rock. The album has touches of glam, glitter, or prog and the group dipped far back to mix in old jazz, cabaret, musique concrete, and the influences of crooners on Ferry’s vocals. The packaging includes a gatefold jacket, original sleeve, and the album in a poly-lined sleeve. The pressing is excellent and the sound is natural, with only the limitations of the original recording taking away from the overall sound.

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Graded on a Curve: The Allman Brothers Band, Brothers and Sisters

Remembering Gregg Allman, born on this day in 1947.Ed.

When it comes to your bad karma and shitty luck, The Allman Brothers Band is a tough act to follow. And no, I’m not just talking about the tragedy that was Allman and Woman. I’m talking about the motorcycle accidents that claimed the lives of Duane Allman and Berry Oakley; rampant infighting and supernatural drug use; and a big-time cocaine distribution bust that led Gregg Allman to testify against his road manager in order to save his own ass. But despite the deaths, the duplicity, and even Cher and Man, The Allmans remain the most influential Southern blues-rock band of all time, and next to Lynyrd Skynyrd, the best damn band to hail from south of the Mason-Dixon Line.

But here’s the thing about the Allmans; I can honestly say I never much cared for them until Duane Allman took that fatal spill on his motorcycle. Because Duane, God bless his totally rad facial hair, was a blues player, and the fact is I despise the blues. As The Simpsons’ Bleeding Gums Murphy immortally said, “The blues isn’t about feeling better. It’s about making other people feel WORSE.” Don’t get me wrong; I can handle them if they’ve been radically tweaked, freaked, warped, or twisted. But Duane, a traditionalist, played ‘em old school, making me the dick at the party who ran out screaming every time somebody put on “Statesboro Blues” or, even worse, “Stormy Monday.” As for “Whipping Post,” it’s way up there on my Shit Parade alongside “Midnight Rambler,” “People Have the Power,” and the entire recorded output of The Clash.

The bottom line? One man’s tragedy is another man’s blessing, and Duane’s untimely demise had the ironic effect of transforming The Allman Brothers Band into a group whose music I actually like. 1972’s Eat a Peach had a few great songs, such as “Blue Sky” and “Melissa,” that took the band in a non-blues direction, but it also included the infamous “Mountain Jam”—really, did the world really need a song so long it took up two sides of a double LP? It took the advent of guitarist/vocalist Dickey Betts as the Allman’s de facto leader to produce 1973’s Brothers and Sisters, which emphasized a unique hybrid of country rock over the blues, and threw in some good-times boogie for good measure.

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Needle Drop: Marvin Gaye, What’s Going On 50th Anniversary 2LP Edition

What’s Going On from Marvin Gaye, released in 1971, is arguably one of the greatest albums of the pop-rock/soul era. It is Gaye’s masterpiece. It’s a deep, spiritual and musically sophisticated concept album that transcends R&B, soul, and pop.

Gaye, like Stevie Wonder, met resistance from Motown head honcho Berry Gordy for making an album that eschewed the hit Motown formula for creating a personal artistic statement, but Gaye prevailed. Many of the themes Gaye explored on the album—war, race, the environment, economic inequality and lack of human empathy—are just as relevant today. The way Gaye wove R&B, soul, pop, gospel, and orchestrated music into a suite of interconnected and often repeated songs and themes has rarely been matched.

While groups like The Beatles, The Who, and Pink Floyd, among others, have created sweeping and fulsome concept albums that are timeless, solo artists such as Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan have come close, but perhaps only Stevie Wonder has created any works to match this stunning musical and recording achievement.

The sound quality is very natural. The strings and church feel have a mesmerizing ambience and Gaye’s voice is front and center. This reissue was mastered by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio, was pressed on 180-gram vinyl at Precision in Canada, and comes in a 2-LP, gatefold tip-on jacket.

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Graded on a Curve:
SUSS, SUSS

Based in New York City, SUSS is an ambient country trio whose new self-titled full-length, their fourth and a 2LP set, is out now through Northern Spy. For their first two albums, SUSS was a quintet. Then, with the departure of William Garrett, they were a quartet for their third LP, and now, after the passing of Gary Leib in 2021, a three piece featuring Jonathan Gregg, Bob Holmes, and Pat Irwin. SUSS collects four EPs: “Night Suite” (the final recording with Leib), “Heat Haze,” “Winter Was Hard,” and “Across the Horizon,” the last making its debut with this release. Across the four sides, clear progressions deepen a sound of striking cohesiveness and precision.

In SUSS, Jonathan Gregg plays the pedal steel and dobro, Bob Holmes the mandolin, baritone guitar, acoustic guitar, harmonica, violin and keyboards, and Pat Irwin the electric guitars, national guitar, eBow, harmonium, keyboards, melodica and loops. Their music is exactly as advertised, and if ambient and country seem an unlikely combination, the SUSS’s approach is warm, organic and compelling rather than an underwhelming exercise in style-stitching.

Earlier this year, Tompkins Square released the latest volume of their Imaginational Anthem series,  the set curated by Luke Schneider and titled Chrome Universal – A Survey of Modern Pedal Steel. It featured nine tracks from as many different pedal steel players carrying their shared instrument far beyond long-established norms.

Like the musicians on Chrome Universal, Jonathan Gregg’s pedal steel travels outside the realms of standard twang, while simultaneously fortifying the country side of SUSS’s equation. As reinforced by the titles of the five tracks on side one , all named for locations in New Mexico, California and Arizona, the “Night Suite” EP offers a feel that’s decidedly Southwestern, and further enhanced by the guitars of Holmes and Irwin, though the titular vistas are distinct from the increasingly common strains of desert noir heard on the contemporary scene.

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TVD Radar: Pleasure, Joyous first vinyl reissue in stores 1/6

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Jazz Dispensary proudly announces the latest release in its acclaimed Top Shelf series, Pleasure’s long out-of-print classic Joyous. Produced by Wayne Henderson (The Jazz Crusaders), the 1977 album delivers instant party vibes, thanks to a lively blend of soul, funk, disco, and jazz.

As with every title in the album-centric Top Shelf series—which reissues the highest-quality, hand-picked rarities (all culled from Craft Recordings’ vaults)—Joyous has been cut from the original analog tapes by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio and pressed on audiophile-quality 180-gram vinyl at RTI. The LP is housed in a tip-on jacket, featuring faithfully reproduced original designs. Returning to vinyl for the first time since its original release, Joyous is out January 6th and available to pre-order beginning exclusively at JazzDispensary.com.

Ahead of the holidays, Jazz Dispensary is also adding a groovy new colorway to its popular “Catnip” T-shirt. Perfect for all jazz cats, the design (now available in Granite or Ivory) features an original illustration by Favorite Vegetable. The Jazz Dispensary store also includes a variety of exclusive gifts, including a logo T-shirt and crewneck, a corduroy logo hat, a zeotropic slipmat from record animator Drew Tetz, and a variety of bumper stickers, in addition to a curated selection of vinyl LPs.

Hailing from Portland, OR, Pleasure formed in 1972, blending the talents of two local acts: The Franchise (featuring drummer Bruce Carter, guitarist Marlon “The Magician” McClain, and bassist Nathaniel Phillips) and The Soul Masters (featuring keyboardists and brothers Donald and Michael Hepburn, saxophonist Dennis Springer, trombonist/guitarist Dan Brewster, vocalist Sherman Davis, and percussionist Bruce Smith).

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Needle Drop: The Who, The Who Sell Out & Tommy, Abbey Road Half Speed Masters

The Who Sell Out, released in 1967 and the group’s third album, was a major breakthrough for The Who. It was the group’s first album that proved throughout that the band was more than a post-R&B, heavy English pop band. The thematic concept album presaged Tommy—which was more ambitious and a double album—by two years. With The Who Sell Out, Townshend and The Who offered a concept album, but one that was light and fun.

The album did include “I Can See for Miles,” another of the group’s dynamic hits, but it was now clear that Pete Townshend was a songwriter with lofty goals and the talent to back it up. The album featured faux radio commercials and station IDs with songs that reflected new pop ideas about commerce and youth culture, often from a very English point of view.

This new 180-gram vinyl reissue, which was remastered by Jon Astley, cut by Miles Showell at Abbey Road, and pressed in Germany at Optimal, comes on the heels of the 2020 deluxe CD box and vinyl remaster of the album. At first this new vinyl album remaster, particularly in terms of the vocals, doesn’t sound quite as bright as previous reissues and, in fact, at times it sounds best when the fake radio material is presented.

The album package comes complete with an OBI-strip, the original psychedelic poster that came with the record and a certificate of authentication, but the LP is only in a paper sleeve. Overall, however, this Abbey Road remaster is a worthy addition for Who fans.

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TVD Radar: Pacific Breeze 3: Japanese City Pop, AOR & Boogie 1975–1987 2LP in stores 2/24

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Celebrated archival reissue label Light in the Attic (LITA) announces the latest chapter in its acclaimed Japanese City Pop series, Pacific Breeze, which delivers a mesmerizing blend of AOR, R&B, jazz fusion, funk, boogie, and disco from the country’s flourishing bubble era of the ‘70s and ‘80s. The highly anticipated Pacific Breeze 3: Japanese City Pop, AOR & Boogie 1975–1987, continues the exploration with songs that push the boundaries of the genre and offer glimmers of the next waves of music, including Shibuya-kei, hip-hop, and electro.

Expertly curated by Yosuke Kitazawa and Mark “Frosty” McNeill (dublab), and once again featuring the iconic artwork of legendary artist Hiroshi Nagai on its cover, this volume of Pacific Breeze is a female-forward offering, spotlighting the voices of women who would become household names in Japan as actresses and pop idols. Brimming with an innovative spirit, the album includes essential hits and under-the-radar rarities, including techno-pop classics from Susan, Miharu Koshi, and Chiemi Manabe; funk from Miho Fujiwara and Naomi Akimoto; and a sultry reggae jam by Teresa Noda.

Pacific Breeze 3 also delivers hypnotic jazz fusion by Parachute and Hiroyuki Namba, a synthesizer fantasy from Osamu Shoji, and magnetic pop by Makoto Matsushita and Chu Kosaka. As with the last two records, the visionary members of Yellow Magic Orchestra continue to have a presence on Pacific Breeze 3, with Haruomi Hosono, Ryuichi Sakamoto, and Yukihiro Takahashi taking up producer and musician roles on many of these tracks.

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Graded on a Curve:
V/A, Reboot Rescored Presents: The Golem

Released in 1920, The Golem: How He Came into the World is a German silent horror film and a landmark of German Expressionism directed by Paul Wegener and Carl Boese with roots in a 16th century Jewish folktale. Often described as the Jewish Frankenstein (and directly inspiring James Whale’s subsequent film), The Golem’s strange power is still very much in evidence, especially when accompanied by a new score made possible by arts and culture nonprofit Reboot featuring members of Wolf Eyes, Universal Indians, Love Child, Espers, Secret Chiefs 3, Dead C, Boredoms, The Flaming Lips, Los Lobos and more. The Golem Rescored is out now on 2LP and digital via Reboot Records.

Reboot’s raison d’etre is admirable: to reimagine, reinvent, and reinforce Jewish thought and traditions. If a broader enterprise than a record label, Reboot has released a few musical items in its history (the organization was formed in 2001) including A Great Miracle: Jeremiah Lockwood​’​s Guitar Soli Chanukah Record and a rescore for Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments (the first film from 1923, not DeMille’s ’56 remake) by Scott Amendola, Steven Drozd, and Steve Berlin, who also contribute the closing piece to The Golem Rescored.

“Loew Sparks on High Gratitude Love” is the selection by Amendola, Drozd, and Berlin, and it’s the longest excursion into rhythmic patterns and tangible melodies on the entire set, though it should be noted that the piece comprises a handful of shorter varied segments that cohere into an attractive, at times proggy, eclecticism. It contrasts well with the longer passages of abstraction that proceed it.

Opening side one is “Born Mystic Section” by Threshing Floor, a group featuring Alan Licht and Rebecca Odes of the terribly undersung late ’80s-early ’90s indie rock trio Love Child, Gretchen Gonzales Davidson of the fab Universal Indians and Slumber Party, and John Olson and Nate Young of noise kings Wolf Eyes. Theirs is an immediate dive into abstraction as methodically building tension that occasionally rises to maelstrom-like levels.

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Graded on a Curve:
The Clean,
Compilation

Remembering Hamish Kilgour.Ed.

Over the decades there have been many bands in the post-Velvets guitar-rock sweepstakes, but none better than The Clean, New Zealand’s on-again off-again kings of post-punk/DIY string splendor and one of the cornerstones of the whole Flying Nun sound. In 1988, the generically titled Compilation LP helped introduce to world to their brilliance.

In the world of heavy-duty record collecting, single artist compilations are often viewed like a small army of redheaded stepchildren. The words Best Of and Greatest Hits are the tip off to a certain type of casual abbreviation, a CliffsNotes or Condensed Classics treatment for careers that obviously encompass much more than can be adequately summarized through the cherry-picking of chart-toppers or the most noteworthy tunes of an artist or act. But sometimes these comps provide a valuable service in the procurement of music that was originally released on 78 RPM discs or vinyl 45s, records that would be tremendously difficult to obtain in their original form. Indeed, there is a big difference in perception between a lowly Best Of cash-in and a well-ordered anthology presenting often scarce and forbiddingly pricey material.

You want the easiest route to The Falcons, a ‘50’s-‘60s R&B group with members that included Eddie Floyd, Sir Mack Rice, Joe Stubbs, and Wilson Pickett? Well, that would be You’re So Fine and I’ve Found a Love, a pair of far from perfect yet basically indispensible LPs chronicling this historically titanic acts’ progress for the Lupine and Flick labels. You want to taste the root of jazz via New Orleans in the ‘20s? Any physical format other than shellac that holds Louis Armstrong’s Hot Fives and Sevens is a comp, some obviously better than others. You want the full picture on the early belladonna-whacked work of Siouxsie and the Banshees? Then please don’t neglect Once Upon a Time: The Singles.

In 1981 The Clean began a quick spate of recording, making quite a ripple in their homeland, a hubbub that would take a few years to travel the oceans beyond their shores as one of the earliest and finest examples of the Kiwi nation’s Flying Nun record label. Featuring Robert Scott and the brothers David and Hamish Kilgour (with early assistance from Peter Gutteridge and Doug Hood), this band forms one of the four pillars upon which the whole Flying Nun experience rests, the others being Tall Dwarfs, The Chills, and The Verlaines.

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TVD Radar: The Strokes, The Singles–Volume 01 box set in stores 2/24

VIA PRESS RELEASE | The Strokes confirm the release of The Singles—Volume 01, a box set collecting the group’s electrifying early singles set for release on RCA Records/Legacy Recordings, the catalog division of Sony Music Entertainment. The Singles—Volume 01, available in stores and online on February 24, 2023, is available to pre-order HERE now.

The set features ten unforgettable singles from the band’s first three albums—Is This It (2001), Room on Fire (2003), and First Impressions of Earth (2006)—as well as rare B-sides from the original single releases. All ten singles will be pressed on black 7” vinyl, with the artwork from each original release replicated in the package.

Videos for all ten A-sides, including “Hard to Explain,” “Last Nite,” “Reptilia,” “Juicebox,” and “Heart in a Cage,” are now available in high definition. The Singles—Volume 01, a first of its kind collection from the band, is a perfect holiday gift for the modern rock enthusiast in your life.

Formed in Manhattan in 1999, The Strokes—singer Julian Casablancas, guitarists Nick Valensi and Albert Hammond Jr., bassist Nikolai Fraiture, and drummer Fabrizio Moretti—were at the center of a fertile scene of guitar-driven rock bands in New York City at the turn of the 21st century. Their debut EP “The Modern Age,” released by the venerable indie label Rough Trade, sparked a worldwide frenzy; major label debut Is This It, released later that year, was hailed as the best album of the year by Billboard, NME, Entertainment Weekly, Time and CMJ. It also made the year-end best-of lists in The New York Times, Rolling Stone, USA Today, MOJO and the No. 2 spot on the Village Voice’s prestigious Pazz & Jop poll.

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Graded on a Curve:
The Jam,
Sound Affects

Celebrating Rick Buckler, born on this date in 1955.Ed.

I missed most of England’s post-punk music—was too busy doing my taxes or drugs or something—and what I did hear (New Order, er, New Order) simply confirmed me in my mad conviction that I wasn’t missing much. What can I say? As a great man once said, Youth is wasted on the young.

The Jam are one of the many bands I snubbed back in the day. Why? Because I heard “Town Called Malice” exactly once and thought it was bouncy pop tripe, that’s why. It’s a piss-poor reason to write off a great band, but that’s the way I am. I was in an ugly mood back then and I needed ugly music to put me in the proper ugly frame of mind to think ugly thoughts about all the ugly things in the world. It was an ugly time.

The sad thing is I missed a lot of excellent music. The good thing is I’m getting a second chance to catch up, and what better way to catch up than by basking in the brilliant pop glow of 1980’s tres smart and musically adventurous Sound Affects? I used to smirk when people called Paul Weller a genius. Mark E. Smith—now there’s a genius, I would say to myself. And I will always prefer Smith to Weller, if only because I prefer off-kilter rock cranks with odd ideas on how to build songs to pop savants, Elton John and Eric Carmen excepted. But Weller is a Wunderkind no matter how you cut the liverwurst, and on the Jam’s fifth studio LP he outdoes himself.

Weller—who has gone on record as saying he thinks Sound Affects is the Jam’s best LP—cited the Beatles’ Revolver and Michael Jackson’s Off the Wall as key inspirations. I certainly hear the Beatles; Jackson not so much. Okay, so I suppose I do hear Jacko in the funky bass line that harbors “Pretty Money,” and on the heavy funk bass and drums that propel the altogether strange (the band basically natters away the first minute before launching into a herky-jerky ska beat) “Music for the Last Couple.” As for the Beatles, they’re all over “Start!” And amongst the unreleased tracks from the Sound Affects sessions are covers of “Rain” and “And Your Bird Can Sing.” The unreleased “Liza Radley” and “Dead End Street” both have Paul McCartney’s fingerprints all over them as well.

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Graded on a Curve: Revelons, ’77–’82

Formed in New York City in the late 1970s, the Revelons specialized in power-pop with a punk edge, but they only managed to squeeze one 45 (plus a few tracks on compilations) while extant. ’77–’82, the new LP available now from HoZac Records of Chicago, collects that single and adds ten more cuts for a surprisingly consistent whole. It should hit fans of melodic punk right in their sweet spots. And while a few Revelons collections have been available over the years on compact disc, this edition serves as the vinyl debut for nearly everything nestled into its grooves. Plus, Hilly Kristal contributes liner notes. Nice!

Mavens of pre-HC punk and associated styles may recognize the Revelons from Numero Group’s 2015 4LP Ork Records: New York, New York, which included their 1979 45, “The Way (You Touch My Hand)” b/w “97 Tears.” The A-side is heard on ’77–’82 twice, in its first recording dating from ’78 and in a second shorter take issued on the single that also closes HoZac’s reissue.

In either version, the song is a tough but catchy bit of business that supports the Revelons’ rep as a strong live act having played not just CBGB but also Max’s, the Mudd Club, Hurrah’s, and Danceteria. And “97 Tears” makes clear that the A-side was no fluke, as the flip’s raw melodicism blends street-rock attitude with guitars that crunch and chime.

Punk nuts might also know “Red Hot Woman,” the slab of sneering rockabilly that opens ’77–’82, from its inclusion on the 1980 Red Star Records comp Marty Thau Presents 2×5, where the Revelons were joined by The Fleshtones, Bloodless Pharaohs (featuring soon to be Stray Cat Brian Setzer), Comateens, and Ork labelmates Student Teachers.

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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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