Three good musical things that are making my world a better place:
- The Smithereens: The Smithereens Play Tommy (CD)
A friend and I took a little road trip to Nashville this past weekend that included a stop at one of the few independently-owned record stores worthy of mention in this region. This Smithereens album was the only item that I was counting on getting and, thankfully, the folks at Grimey’s had it. The band’s last two “tribute” albums were devoted to songs of the early Beatles, both sounding lifeless and dull (and therefore, pointless) to my ears. Play Tommy is an entirely different story. The recording is punchy and rocks harder than the original album by The Who, the guitar-playing is muscular and the drumming by Dennis Diken would have made Keith Moon proud. We listened to the disc at full volume on the drive home, then wanted to immediately hear it again.
“I’m Free” from The Smithereens Play Tommy (2009)
- The Doobie Brothers: Toulouse Street (CD)
If you happen to be walking down one of the main aisles at Wal-Mart, you might bump into a giant bin below a sign trumpeting $5.00! in the least subtle manner imaginable. I was recently, and I did, and the first thing I saw when I recovered my balance was The Doobie Brothers’ Toulouse Street, sitting on top of the disheveled heap of product, begging for a home. It was like seeing an old friend, but I had to leave it stranded there as I already have a copy – I now, in fact, have three. I love this album. I first heard it as a kid, from my older sister’s record collection, and would sneak peeks at the titillating nude photograph on the inner gatefold. Eventually, I purchased my own copy on CD. Years later, I was given a CD copy of the album in a mini-gatefold edition (preserving the salacious photo), which was a format that was fashionable for all of about one month. Now, the wizards at Mobile Fidelity have given the album a new lease on life by issuing a remaster (though it sounds like a total re-mixing). Once past the first track (“Listen to the Music,” which although hackneyed from overplay, still has a shiny nostalgic gleam), everything sounds brand new. The guitar work, especially, is forward in the mix and makes a solid case for the Doobies as a top-level guitar band, not just a wellspring of classic rock radio hits. This is the second album we listened to on the return trip from Nashville, and the volume knob did not get turned down.
- The Church: El Momento Siguiente (CD)
Translated from Spanish as “The Next Moment,” this is the second album in which Australian band The Church have transformed songs from their vast and varied catalog with acoustic treatments (the first is El Momento Descuidado, or The Unguarded Moment, from 2005). The majority of the songs here are deep cuts, most of which I was unfamiliar with. “Reptile,” from their album Starfish, is one of the more familiar, and is given a slinky, vampy and, well, reptilian beat. There’s not a bad track on this disc. (Sadly, Grimey’s did not have this, but two out of three ain’t bad!)
“Reptile” from El Momento Siguiente (2007) by The Church