Saturday, January 31, 2004

Gary Young's Hospital - The Grey Album (Omnibus, 2004)

Gary Young's Hospital
The Grey Album


Rating: 7 heavy eyes out of 10
Many of you are probably having the same reaction to this that I did, which went something like this: “Gary Young? The Gary Young from Pavement?  Plantman? Holy shit!” That said, this is a decent enough release by someone I had assumed was long gone from the music scene (although it appears, unknown to me, that he released an album in 2000 as well). Those familiar with his post-Pavement work of the mid-90’s, this is roughly in that same vein of sound. For everyone else, the closest touchstone I could come up with is Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd, with a bit of mellow psychedelia ala The Radar Brothers or some such similar outfit, with a bit of silliness thrown in. nothing groundbreaking, but worth checking out if you happen upon it; additionally, he seems to be playing out a lot lately, and I can only imagine the live shows are worth a viewing.

Tammy Wynette - The Essential Tammy Wynette (Sony, 2004)

Tammy Wynette
The Essential Tammy Wynette


Rating: 7 old goats out of 10

“The First Lady of Country Music” is what they called her, and this compendium of her career is here to prove they were right. And although there are many female country singers I enjoy a bit more, it’s hard to argue with her ability to wrangle some of the best country anthems of all time – “D-I-V-O-R-C-E”, “Stand by Your Man”, “I Don’t Wanna Play House”, all classics. This is a great starter disc for anyone wanting to be introduced to Wynette’s music, or as a great mix for the already informed. Yet another quality disc from Sony’s “The Essential Collection”.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Weezer - Blue Album (Geffen, 2004)

Blue Album (Deluxe Edition)


Rating: 10 pocket pistols out of 10
I suppose a review of this is sorta silly, really; I figure pretty much everyone has heard this record at this point, and you’ve already made up your mind about whether you like Weezer or not. This deluxe edition release is a 2 disc affair, the first being a re-mastered version of the Blue Album, their debut. It sounds great, but if this is all there was to it, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend the purchase. The hook is in the second disc, which compiles hard to find early tracks, demos, and live material; if nothing else, having easy access to “Suzanne” and “Mykel and Carli” make this purchase a must for any Weezer fan.  For me, this is a perfect record, one of my all-time favorites.  

The Von Bondies - Pawn Shoppe Heart (Sire, 2004)

The Von Bondies
Pawn Shoppe Heart


Rating: 4 moving vans out of 10

I was discussing this album online with an internet friend of mine, lamenting on how boring this album is.  And he said “I've heard the record. Agree that most of the album is a snooze. That being said, if they put 'C'mon, C'mon' on there seven times in row instead, I'd still listen to it.” That pretty much sums it up – one great single and a lot of pap.

Viva Voce - The Heat Can Melt Your Brain (Minty Fresh, 2004)

Viva Voce
The Heat Can Melt Your Brain
Minty Fresh


Rating: 6.5 blindfolded killers out of 10
Looks like husband-and-wife musical pairings are the new brother-and-sister (perhaps the same thing in some states, but let’s not go there) - The Arcade Fire, The Rosebuds, The White Stripes, and now Viva Voce have all shown us that separating your personal work lives are not necessary to maintain a healthy relationship.  This is bedroom pop at its finest – and I don’t just mean stylistically, the pair actually recorded the album in their bedroom on a four-track.  Their music is a spacy, psychedelic rock sound with the occasional dancy beat – fans of most Elephant6 groups, Beck, Papas Fritas, and shit, maybe even Air or Stereolab fans might take a shine to it.  Pop bands are a dime a dozen, but it’s only a small handful that are worth paying attention to.  This is one of them.