Danny Wilde – Any Man´s Hunger (1988)

Daniel “Danny” Wilde (real name Danny Thomas; born June 3, 1956) is an American musician. He is a founding member of The Rembrandts.
Wilde was born in Houlton, Maine, but is known for breezy California power pop through his records released in the 1980s and 90s.
Having left the band Great Buildings, Danny Wilde struck out on his own and delivered Any Man’s Hunger in the late ’80s. While “Time Runs Wild” and the title cut got moderate airplay, it was Wilde‘s tongue-in-cheek “Contradiction” which stole the spotlight, sending up the U.S.’ involvement in Central America in a not too flattering spotlight. Full of good, hard-rockin’, pop tunes, “Any Man’s Hunger” is a fine first solo effort from an emerging singer/songwriter. It’s refreshing listening.
Any mans hunger is a classic, albeit an underground one, this is possibaly on of THE best guitar albums of the 80’s laden with many a pop gem ie Time Runs Wild, Ain’t I Good Enough, Set Me Free, Any Man’s Hunger and Contradiction. if your familar with the Rembrandts then this is a 80’s style version still with the jangly guitars killer hooks and strong harmonies, but this album has that ‘live’ drum sound familar in the 80’s. It also has its slow burners aswell in the shape of Wouldn’t Be the Firsttime, Every Goodbye and Too Many Years Gone By. As stated already this album is great so if u like the Rembrandts then its highly reccomed you get this.
If you loved ‘The Boyfriend’, then there’s every likelihood that ‘Any Mans Hunger’ will appeal too. ‘Time Runs Wild’ is a glorious hooky introduction to the album, radio friendly, energetic, and full of great melodies. ‘Ain’t I Good Enough’ is a personal favourite, it’s just as catchy as its predecessor, sort of similar to what Glenn Burtnick was doing at the time. ‘Wouldn’t Be The First Time’ is a magical slice of 4 minutes, the guitar melody is supremely beautiful, and it segues into the chorus seamlessly. This one reminds me of Dutch AORster Ralph Van Maanen. ‘Bitter Moon’ with its jangly acoustic guitar and high-stepping drumwork is certainly a reminder of that late 80’s production technique, but the song itself is still a winner for mine. ‘In A Bordertown’ has a different feel, with a bluesy and R&R hint. Not quite Americana, close but no cigar. ‘Set Me Free’ continues the acoustic jangle a la ‘Bitter Moon’ but it’s those killer choruses that really do it for me. ‘Every Goodbye’ by comparison is restrained, sultry and moody, following it up with the title track, ‘Any Man’s Hunger’ has a bit of everything within, it could’ve been the third single for the album had it got that far. ‘This Old Town’ moves in the same direction as fellow solo rocker John Kilzer, an earthy approach but with a big production. Toward the end of the album, Danny sings a song called ‘Contradiction’, which is a pisstake on the political situation between the USA and Central American elements at the time (think Nicuragua, Grenada etc). Danny signs off with ‘To Many Years Gone By’, which is dominated by acoustic melodies and a backwash of keyboards.

Tracklist

1.  Time Runs Wild – 4:46
2.  Ain’t I Good Enough – 4:18
3.  Wouldn’t Be The First Time – 4:10
4.  Bitter Moon – 4:18
5.  In A Bordertown – 3:50
6.  Set Me Free – 4:42
7.  Every Goodbye – 4:23
8.  Any Man’s Hunger – 4:55
9.  Contradiction – 2:46
10.  Too Many Years Gone By – 4:00

Companies, etc.

Credits

Notes
Release Date: 1988
Recording Date: June, 1987 – August, 1987
Duration: 46:35
Genre: Pop/Rock
Styles: Contemporary, Power Pop

Label – Geffen Records

Wilderness Road – Wilderness Road (1972)

Wilderness Road was a rock band founded in 1968 by musicians Warren Leming, Nate Herman, and relatives Andy and Tom Haban. The group, which performed an elaborate stage show, drew on American folklore, and was active in the Anti-War, and Peace Movements of the late Sixties and early Seventies central to Chicago‘s counterculture movement of the period.
This Chicago quartet combined hard rock, bluegrass, and improvisational theater with chaotic but thrilling results. Formed in the overlap between Second City comedy and the Yippies, they interrupted their own live shows with fake commercials. We declared that there “was no better music to be heard anywhere in the land,” but Wilderness Road broke up not long after recording their second album.
This record is like a cowboy comic book, telling the story of a guy who killed a man because he “had the right.” There’s some old-time religion thrown in, as well as some medicine-show. The album cover is listed in several collections as one of the top covers of all time. The early seventies vibe might put you off, but it’s a melodious joy, even now. It’s more fun than Gunsmoke reruns.

Tracklist

A1.  “Wilderness / Queasy Rider”  (Written-By – N. Herman, A. Haban) – 3:14
A2.  “Peaceful Life”  (Written-By – A. Haban) – 4:25
A3.  “Revival – Yes I Am / Testify”  (Written-By – N. Herman, W. Leming) – 1:28
A4.  “Ten Miles / Testify Reprise”  (Written-By – N. Herman) – 2:41
A5.  “Lost And Lonely Navigator”  (Written-By – N. Herman) – 2:42
A6.  “Sing Your Song To The Lord / Brother Are You Troubled?”  (Written-By – N. Herman) – 2:14
A7.  “I Had The Right”  (Written-By – N. Herman) – 3:27

B1.  “Pictures In A Gallery”  (Written-By – A. Haban, N. Herman) – 4:54
B2.  “Bounty Man / Interlude In”   (Written-By – N. Herman, A. Haban) – 5:10
B3.  “Dr. Morpho’s Revenge”   (Written-By – A. Haban) – 3:25
B4.  “Death Dream”  (Written-By – N. Herman) – 1:01
B5.  “Don’t Cry Lady”  (Written-By – N. Herman) – 1:35
B6.  “Rider’s Return”   (Written-By – A. Haban, N. Herman) – 6:00

Companies, etc.

Credits

Notes
Released: 1972
Genre: Country Rock
Length: 42:!3
Produced for Nimbus 9
Recorded at Columbia Studios, Chicago
Manufactured by Columbia Records/CBS, Inc./51 W. 52 Street, New York, N.Y.

Label – Collumbia Records

Styx – Return to Paradise (1997)

Return to Paradise is a live album by Styx, released in 1997. It features songs from their successful reunion tour with Tommy Shaw, but without John Panozzo, who died in July 1996. It includes three new studio tracks, including “Dear John”, which Shaw wrote as a tribute to Panozzo.
Styx was one of the all-time favorite targets of many rock critics, but the mixture of bleeding-heart ballads, catchy arena rock, and ambitious art rock appealed to millions in the late ’70s and early ’80s. After 13 years apart, the Chicago-based band’s classic lineup of vocalist/keyboardist Dennis DeYoung, vocalist/guitarist Tommy Shaw, vocalist/guitarist James Young, and bassist Chuck Panozzo reunited for a successful greatest-hits tour in 1996. Drummer Todd Sucherman replaced John Panozzo, who died of chronic alcohol abuse that year. The highly enjoyable, 17-song concert Return to Paradise was recorded (and filmed) on the final date of the 1996 tour — on the autumnal equinox — in front of an enthusiastic hometown crowd at the Rosemont Horizon. The quintet seems to be having a blast. The tour’s theme and stage setup was based on 1981’s Paradise Theater (number one). As such, the boisterous “Rockin’ the Paradise” is an appropriate opener. “Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)” maintains the full-tilt pace. A frantic jam ends “Too Much Time on My Hands.” Before Young starts the dramatic “Snowblind,” he reminds the fans that it was accused of containing satanic backward messages, lists the devil’s many aliases, and says, “None of those bad guys had a damn thing to do with this next song.” DeYoung dedicates “Show Me the Way” to John Panozzo; a photo of the late drummer is projected on the stage backdrop and the fans ignite a sea of lighters and candles. A blistering version of “Come Sail Away” ends the regular set; the encores are “Renegade” and “The Best of Times.” (Although “Mr. Roboto” was regarded as a cheesy sci-fi embarrassment by many, its omission is disappointing.)

Tracklist

Disc 1

  1. “On My Way” [*]  (Tommy Shaw) – 5:02
  2. Paradise[*]  (Dennis DeYoung) – 4:29
  3. “A.D. 1928/Rockin’ the Paradise”  (Dennis DeYoung, James Young, Tommy Shaw) – 5:23
  4. Blue Collar Man  (Tommy Shaw) – 4:34
  5. Lady”  (Dennis DeYoung) – 3:28
  6. Too Much Time on My Hands”  (Tommy Shaw) – 5:43
  7. Snowblind”  (James Young, Dennis DeYoung) – 5:26
  8. Suite Madame Blue”  (Dennis DeYoung) – 8:31
  9. Crystal Ball”  (Tommy Shaw) – 5:56

Disc 2

  1. The Grand Illusion”  (Dennis DeYoung) – 6:50
  2. Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man)”  (Tommy Shaw) – 5:54
  3. Show Me the Way (Dennis DeYoung) – 5:11
  4. Boat on the River”  (Tommy Shaw) – 3:16
  5. Lorelei”  (Dennis DeYoung, James Young) – 4:03
  6. Babe”  (Dennis DeYoung) – 4:50
  7. “Miss America”  (James Young) – 6:15
  8. Come Sail Away”  (Dennis DeYoung) – 8:33
  9. Renegade (Tommy Shaw) – 6:01
  10. The Best of Times/A.D. 1958″  (Dennis DeYoung) – 7:42
  11. “Dear John” [*]  (Tommy Shaw) – 3:03

* Newly recorded studio tracks

Personnel

Production

  • Producer: Dennis DeYoung
  • Engineer: Timothy R. Powell
  • Mixing: Dennis DeYoung, Gary Loizzo
  • Art direction: Ioannis, Linda Loiewski
  • Design: Ioannis
  • Illustrations: Ioannis
  • Digital painting: Ioannis
  • Photography: Mark Weiss

Notes
Released: May 6, 1997
Recorded: September 21,1996, Allstate Arena, Rosemont, Illinois
Genre: Rock
Length: 1:50:10

Label – CMC International

Bernard Wright – Nard (1981)

Bernard Wright (born November 16, 1963) is an American funk and jazz keyboardist and singer who began his career as a session musician and later released four solo albums. His mother is Roberta Flack.
Wright was born in Jamaica, Queens, New York. He attended the High School of Performing Arts in New York Classmates included writer Carl Hancock Rux, gospel recording artist Desiree Coleman Jackson, and rappers Slick Rick and Dana Dane. He was offered a slot touring with Lenny White when he was 13, and he played with Tom Browne at the age of 16.
Nard is the debut album from American funk keyboardist Bernard Wright. Released in 1981 when Wright was only 18 years old, the album reached number 7 on the Jazz Albums chart in the US.
Like Tom Browne and Lenny White/Twennynine, Bernard Wright was part of Jamaica, Queens’ R&B/funk scene of the late 1970s and early 1980s, which gave us such major hits as Twennynine’s “Peanut Butter” and Browne’s “Funkin’ for Jamaica.” Browne and White were both talented jazz musicians, but R&B/funk was their main focus at that time. Similarly, keyboardist/pianist Wright occasionally flirts with instrumental jazz on his debut album, ‘Nard, but pays a lot more attention to vocal-oriented soul and funk. The only instrumentals on this out-of-print LP are the jazz-funk smoker “Firebolt Hustle,” the Rodney Franklin-ish “Bread Sandwiches,” and a relaxed interpretation of Miles Davis‘ “Solar,” which finds Wright forming an acoustic piano trio with bassist Buster Williams and drummer Roy Haynes. Otherwise, this is an R&B album that is defined by such impressive funk as “Spinnin’,” “Master Rocker,” and the goofy but wildly infectious “Haboglabotribin’.” Recorded when the keyboardist/pianist was only 16, ‘Nard was expected to be a big hit, but surprisingly, didn’t fare as well as albums by Browne and White.
GRP Records signed him in 1981 and released his debut album ‘Nard, tracks from which were prominently sampled in hits by Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Skee-Lo, and LL Cool J.

Tracklist

1. “Haboglabotribin'”  (Don Blackman) – 4:22
2. “Firebolt Hustle”  (Harold Grate, Henry Grate) – 4:11
3. “Music is the Key”  (Weldon Irvine, Tommy Smith) – 4:20
4. “Spinnin'”  (Al Flythe) – 5:33
5. “Just Chillin’ Out”  (Al Flythe, Barry Johnson, Marcus Miller, Bernard Wright) – 4:35
6. “Bread Sandwiches”  (Denzel Miller, Steve Teele, Bernard Wright) – 3:52
7. “Master Rocker”  (Weldon Irvine, Ronnie Miller, Bernard Wright) – 4:56
8. “We’re Just the Band”  (Henry Grate) – 3:03
9. “Solar”  (Miles Davis) – 7:20

Personnel

Notes
Released: 1981
Recorded: 1981 at A&R Studios, New York City, New York
Genre: Soul Funk Jazz
Length: 41:12

Label – GRP Records

Bill Wyman – Stone Alone (1976)

William George Wyman (born 24 October 1936), born as William George Perks Jr., is an English musician, record producer, songwriter and singer. He was the bass guitarist for the English rock and roll band The Rolling Stones from 1962 until 1993. Since 1997, he has recorded and toured with his own band, Bill Wyman’s Rhythm Kings.
He has worked producing both records and film, and has scored music for film in movies and television.After establishing himself the eccentric but interesting Monkey Grip, Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman resumed his solo career in 1976 with Stone Alone. Sadly, this album lacks the focus and solid songs of the previous album and ends up feeling like the typical rock star’s ego-trip side project. Stone Alone can’t be faulted for ambition, though: nearly every song tries out a different musical style (’50s-style rock, disco, and reggae) and Wyman enlists a veritable who’s who of guest musicians (everyone from Dr. John to Al Kooper to Joe Walsh) to bring the songs to life. However, this impressive degree of ambition is undone by the fact that Wyman treats everything as self-parodic kitsch: he delivers the ragtime jazz exercise “No More Foolin'” in a mock-Louis Armstrong voice that makes the song grueling to listen to and weighs down the catchy disco-pop melody of “Peanut Butter Time” with smutty, juvenile lyrics and sugary-sweet female backing vocals. Other tunes are undone by lackluster songwriting: “Wine and Wimmen” is an attempt to create a Rolling Stones-style rocker, but is too halfhearted and hookless to get the job done. Despite the overbearingly cutesy approach that dominates Stone Alone, a few solid songs manage to shine through: “Apache Woman” is a disco/rock hybrid that blends hypnotic dance beats with ethereal synthesizer touches and “Quarter to Three” is a ’50s-style rock rave-up whose infectious sense of swing overpowers its tongue-in-cheek arrangement. However, highlights like these are few and far between and this problem reduces Stone Alone to a curio that should only be sought out by Bill Wyman fans and Rolling Stones completists.

Tracklist

1.  A Quarter To Three  – 3:08
2.  Gimme Just One Chance  – 2:47
3.  Soul Satisfying  – 2:50
4.  Apache Woman  – 3:32
5.  Every Sixty Seconds  – 4:12
6.  Get It On  – 3:42
7.  Feet  – 3:53
8.  Peanut Butter Time  – 3:50
9.  Wine & Wimmen  – 3:27
10.  If You Wanna Be Happy  – 2:42
11.  What’s The Point  – 2:32
12.  No More Foolin’  – 3:32

Companies, etc.

Credits

  • Mastered ByDennis King
  • Producer, Arranged ByBill Wyman
  • Engineers: Gary Kjellgren, Howard Albert, Ron Albert
  • Audio Mixers: Bill Wyman; Gary Kjellgren; Anita Wexler; Tom Dowd; Tom Moulton

Personnel

Bill Wyman – vocals, guitar, piano, percussion
Van Morrison – guitar, harmonica, saxophone
Danny Kortchmar, Terry Earl Taylor, Joe Walsh , Ron Wood, Bob Welch, Jackie Clark – guitar
John McFee – fiddle
Lenny Pickett , Mark Colby – saxophone
Stephen Kupka – baritone saxophone
Mic Gillette – trumpet, tuba
Floyd Cooley – tuba
Craig Dentweiler – horns
Joe Vitale – piano, electric piano
Paul “Blind Man” Harris, Hubert Heard, Nicky Hopkins – piano, organ
Al Kooper, Mark Naftalin – piano
Dr. John – organ, marimba
Albhy Galuten – synthesizer
Greg Errico, Jim Keltner – drums
Kwasi “Rocky” Dzidzornu, Guille Garcia – percussion
Clydie King, Paul Harrison, Ruth Pointer, Venetta Fields, Bonnie Pointer – background vocals

Notes
Release Date: 1976
Genre: Pop / Rock
Style:  Blues Rock
Duration:  40:07

Label – Rolling Stones Records

Bruce Woolley & The Camera Club – Bruce Woolley & The Camera Club (1979)

Bruce Woolley (born 11 November 1953) is an English writer, performer, record producer and composer.
Bruce Woolley was born in Loughborough, England on 11 November 1953 and was educated at Loughborough Grammar School, where he learned electric guitar and began to write songs and where he met his future wife, Tessa. He lived in Shepshed, playing the UK pub and club circuit extensively for some years, before landing his first professional engagement in 1974 with Ivor Kenney’s Dance Band at Leicester Palais. After a transfer to Derby Tiffany’s, Bruce left Ivor and the Mecca circuit for London in 1976 to pursue a career in songwriting, after being offered a publishing contract with Everblue Music in Piccadilly. 10 years’ writing finally paid off with his first hit “Dancing With Dr Bop” for Australian group the Studs – a number one record. After a short tour of the Orient as guitarist for Tina Charles, this was followed by his first English hit “Baby Blue” for Dusty Springfield, co-written with Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes, and soon after that in 1979 he had his first international hit, the Ivor Novello Award-nominated “Video Killed The Radio Star” – also co-written with Horn and Downes, who later became The Buggles
This LP from 1979 features the song “Video Killed The Radio Star”. Ironically, the song became somewhat of a self fulfilling prophecy for Bruce Woolley. He released a rocking version of the song in 1979, but it was eclipsed by The Buggles version thanks to MTV showing their music video repeatedly.
BW&TCC were similar to The Buggles but rocked harder and also featured Thomas Dolby who would become famous very shortly with his solo LPs. The album shows similarities to Bowie, Sparks, Devo, Talking Heads and Brian Briggs. The band is tight and lively and Woolley’s singing and lyrics are a lot of fun. The album was released in the US as a self titled LP and released in Europe as “English Garden”.
Around that time he established the new wave music outfit The Camera Club with a young Thomas Dolby on keyboards, Matthew Seligman on bass, Dave Birch on guitar and the late Rod Johnson on drums. Seligman at the same time joined The Soft Boys, and was consequently replaced by Nigel Ross-Scott (later to join Re-Flex). The Camera Club released their debut album English Garden in 1979 and toured England, America and Canada. They disbanded after two years largely spent on the road and following disagreements with CBS Records, who refused to release their second album.

Tracklist

1.  English Garden – 3:03
2.  Video Killed The Radio Star – 2:54
3.  Dancing With The Sporting Boys – 3:27
4.  Johnny – 3:02
5.  No Surrender – 3:35
6.  Flying Man – 2:50
7.  You Got Class  (Written-By – S. Gent) – 2:11
8.  W.W.9. (Instrumental)  3:50  Clean / Clean – (3:50
9.  Get Away William – 3:14
10.  Goodbye To Yesterday / Goodbye To Yesterday (Reprise)  (Written-By – M. Seligman, R. Johnson) – 5:59
11.  You’re The Circus (I’m The Clown)  (Written-By – G. Adcock) – 3:31

all songs written-ByB. Woolley, D. Birc, G. Downes, T. Dolby, T. Horn

Companies, etc.

Credits

Notes
Released: 1979
Recorded at Eden Studios, London.
Duration: 57:12
Genre: Pop/Rock
Styles: New Wave/Punk

Label – Columbia Records

Jah Wobble, The Edge, Holger Czukay – Snake Charmer (1983)

Snake Charmer is a collaborative EP between musicians Jah Wobble, The Edge and Holger Czukay released in 1983 through Island Records.
Too much. Too many and too much. There are times when it is, indeed, possible to have too much of a good thing, and this is one of those times. The Snake Charmer “mini LP” brings together what one would think to be a fantasy lineup of experimental-pop artists; Jah Wobble, the Edge, Holger Czukay, Jaki Liebezeit, Animal, and François Kevorkian. The result is lead-thick and equally bland. All of the contributor’s parts are well-played but good luck trying to latch onto anything specific, with every element vying desperately for a place in these over-dense and overproduced mixes. The title track, “Snake Charmer,” could have been okay if left well enough alone — but no. Wobble‘s signature repetitive and plodding bass, the Edge‘s trademark chiming, delayed guitar, and Jaki Liebezeit‘s creative drum and percussion work are utterly buried beneath Czukay‘s wheezing dictaphone samples, french horn, guitar, and piano. On top of that, club elder-statesman François Kevorkian piles yet more polyrhythmic electro-nonsense, climaxing with what can only be described as the ‘anti-‘Don’t-Fear-the-Reaper’ cowbell; an element so unnecessary and distracting that it threatens to become the song’s featured instrument. With all of the well-mannered hand-shaking, back-patting, and tea fetching going on in the studio, the collective never got around to picking a leader and, thus this pilot-less collection of tunes plods diligently ahead, but to no specific destination.

Tracklist

1.  “Snake Charmer”  (Czukay, Kevorkian, Marland, Wobble) – 6:12
2.  “Hold on to Your Dreams”   (The Edge, Kevorkian, Marland, Russell, Wobble) – 8:38
3.  “It Was a Camel”   (Czukay, Liebezeit, Marland, Murray, Wobble) – 5:45
4.  “Sleazy”   (Animal, Walker, Wobble) – 3:46
5.  “Snake Charmer” (Reprise)   (Czukay, Kevorkian, Marland, Wobble) – 6:54

Musicians

Additional musicians and production

Notes
Released: 1983
Recorded at: The Fallout Shelter, London
Genre: Post-punk
Length: 31:15

Label – Island Records

John Wayne – America, Why I Love Her (1973)

Marion Mitchell Morrison (born Marion Robert Morrison; May 26, 1907 – June 11, 1979), known professionally as John Wayne and nicknamed Duke, was an American actor and filmmaker.
America, Why I Love Her is not only a book, but was also a record album that John Wayne recorded. On the inside fly leafs of the jacket is the following message:
Perhaps no person in recent times has been more closely identified with the basic values of the American way of life than has John Wayne. Both personally and professionally, he has consistently reflected the solid, essential character of this country. In this book, he speaks directly to “the good things about America.” As he says, “For a number of years I have tried to express a deep and profound love for these things; to be able to say what I feel in my heart.”
With full-color photographs and text, as well as words and music from John Wayne’s best-selling record album arranged for piano and guitar, America, Why I Love Her is a celebration of the varied aspects of American life. From his statement about the natural beauty of the landscape to his feelings about the people “working together, with a sound that brightens the air,” each section reaffirms Wayne’s belief that “United we stand, divided we fall; we’re Americans, and that says it all.”
America, Why I Love Her is a book that belongs in every American household–to read, reflect on and cherish.

Tracklist

1.  Why I Love Her – 2:56
2.  The Hyphen – 2:29
3.  Mis Raices Estan Aqui (My Roots Are Buried Here) – 2:41
4.  The People – 3:46
5.  An American Boy Grows Up – 4:29
6.  Face The Flag – 3:52
7.  The Good Things – 2:40
8.  The Pledge Of Allegiance – 4:19
9.  Why Are You Marching, Son? – 3:58
10.  Taps – 3:01

Credits
Engineer – Pete Abbott

Notes
Released: 1973
Genre: Words Spoken
Length: 34:21

Voice recorded at Manzell Studios, Hollywood, California.
Gatefold

Label – RCA Records

The Von Bondies – Pawn Shoppe Heart (2004)

The altercation between the Von BondiesJason Stollsteimer and the White StripesJack White earned the Von Bondies some literally spectacular publicity — and simultaneously broke and perpetuated the link between the band and its former friend and mentor. However, the group’s Sire debut, Pawn Shoppe Heart, not only lives up to the bigger and brighter spotlight thrown upon them as a result of that incident, it also reveals that the Von Bondies are finding their own voice. Working with producer Jerry Harrison, they sound better on record than they ever have. Previously, Stollsteimer‘s throaty baritone often sounded muddy and tended to overshadow the band’s playing. On Pawn Shoppe Heart, the crisp but not too-slick sound gives Stollsteimer‘s voice, and the rest of the group’s instruments, room to breathe and resonate; the result is an album that helps set the Von Bondies apart from their contemporaries and rocks just as hard as their early work. That the Detroit garage rock mainstays sound more fully formed on an album recorded in San Francisco with one of alt-rock’s biggest producers is somewhat ironic, but the results speak for themselves. The excellent, exhilarating single “C’Mon C’Mon” alone justifies the Von Bondies‘ jump to a major label and the attendant major recording budget: its quick-shifting dynamics, call-and-response vocals, and poppy sheen make it not only the best and most distinctive song the Von Bondies have yet recorded, but one of the best singles of 2004. In fact, “C’Mon C’Mon” is so good that it nearly dwarves the rest of Pawn Shoppe Heart, but the album does have several other nearly-as-good moments. “Not That Social,” an icy-hot piece of punk-pop sung by bassist Carrie Smith, capitalizes on the Von Bondies‘ boy-girl vocal interplay, a trick that also adds some playful complexity to the otherwise primal “The Fever.” “No Regrets” borrows T. Rex‘s stomping glam and gets the album off to an appropriately attention-getting start; “Poison Ivy” is a rush of lust that rescues Pawn Shoppe Heart from a slight slump in its second half. The Von Bondies find Detroit a hard place to escape even in song, and tracks like the in-jokey “Been Swank” (which riffs on the name of the Soledad Brothers‘ drummer, Ben Swank) and “Broken Man,” which describes Stollsteimer and crew as “a broken band from a broken land,” tend to pull the group back into the scenesterism that most of the album works so hard to escape. And when the band returns to the swampy, bluesy side of its music, Pawn Shoppe Heart becomes a hit-or-miss affair; tracks like “Right of Way” and “Crawl Through the Darkness” are big on power but relatively small on memorable melodies. On the other hand, the slow-burning “Mairead” doesn’t quite justify its five-minute length but does make full use of Stollsteimer‘s powerful voice, and “Pawn Shoppe Heart” itself — as well as the thundering cover of “Try a Little Tenderness” hidden at the end of the album — shows that the band is still in touch with its roots. Ultimately, Pawn Shoppe Heart is a transitional album, offering an imperfect but real and exciting look at where the Von Bondies have been and where they are going. Most importantly for the band, the album shows that the Von Bondies are now able to succeed or fail on their own terms, outside of the context and constraints of Detroit’s garage rock scene.

Tracklist

1. “No Regrets” – 2:34
2. “Broken Man” – 2:10
3. “C’mon C’mon” – 2:15
4. “Tell Me What You See” – 1:56
5. “Been Swank” – 2:44
6. “Mairead” – 5:11
7. “Not That Social” – 3:01
8. “Crawl Through the Darkness” – 2:45
9. “The Fever” (Jason Stollsteimer / Don Blum) – 2:38
10. “Right of Way” – 3:46
11. “Poison Ivy” – 2:14
12. “Pawn Shoppe Heart” / “Try a Little Tenderness” (Stollsteimer, Irving King, Harry M. Woods) – 9:28

All songs written by Jason Stollsteimer except where noted.

Companies, etc.

Credits

Notes
Released: March 9, 2004
Recorded: Sausalito Sound, The Plant and Studio D Recording, Sausalito, CA and Ghetto Recorders Studio, Detroit, MI
Genre: Alternative rock, indie rock, garage rock, punk blues
Length: 40:46

Label – Sire Records

Ted Leo And The Pharmacists – The Brutalist Bricks (2010)

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists are an American rock band formed in 1999 in Washington, D.C.. Though the group’s lineup has fluctuated throughout their career, singer/guitarist Ted Leo has remained the band’s main songwriter, creative force, and only constant member. The group’s music combines elements of punk rock, indie rock, art punk, traditional rock, and occasionally folk music and dub reggae. Their most recent album, The Brutalist Bricks, was released on March 9, 2010.
The name Ted Leo on the spine of a CD is like a trademark of consistency. Before the first note cuts through the air, you know what you are going to get. It’s been this way since his time with Chisel back in the mid-’90s, and it’s no different on this first record for Matador, 2010’s The Brutalist Bricks. Leo and his band display the expected high level of passion as they run through a batch of consistently strong power pop-influenced, punk-tinged rock & roll songs, never dialing back to anything less than nine or so. Even the quiet songs, of which there are a couple, seethe with barely suppressed feelings and rage. Anyone thinking that the regime change in the U.S. that took place between this and Leo’s previous album have tempered his anger at the system would be dead wrong. Leo’s typically knotty and sometimes hard-to-decode lyrics rail against the kind of troubles and injustices a new Administration, even one more in line with Leo’s ideals, can’t just wipe away. In lesser hands, the words could fall flat, or at very least become an annoyance, but Leo’s delivery and total commitment win out. It helps, too, that The Brutalist Bricks is loaded with very sticky melodies and hooks; Leo’s gift for singalong choruses and soaring vocal lines hasn’t deserted him here. The production is first-rate, too; the guitars cut through the air like shards of glass, the rhythm section sounds deep and rich, and there are enough little sonic touches (handclaps, organ, sirens, sound effects) to keep things interesting. Quite a few of the songs rank with Leo’s best work; the ripping, Damned-inspired rocker “Where Was My Brain?,” the super catchy (and slightly creepy) “Ativan Eyes,” the dynamic “The Mighty Sparrow,” and the typically poignant ballad “Even Heroes Have to Die” all qualify. Only the laid-back almost dance-y track “One Polaroid a Day” falls short of his usual standard, as Leo’s low-register croon isn’t his strongest vocal attribute. In many, if not most, artist’s case, making the same record again and again would be seen as a fault. In Leo’s case, it’s somehow comforting that every few years he’ll be along to inspire and cajole his fans with his dedication and passion. The Brutalist Bricks will let no one down in that regard.

Tracklist

1. “The Mighty Sparrow” – 2:37
2. “Mourning in America” – 2:59
3. “Ativan Eyes” – 4:22
4. “Even Heroes Have to Die” – 3:46
5. “The Stick” – 1:57
6. “Bottled in Cork” – 3:18
7. “Woke Up Near Chelsea” – 3:51
8. “One Polaroid a Day” – 4:10
9. “Where Was My Brain?” – 2:19
10. “Bartolomeo and the Buzzing of Bees” – 3:21
11. “Tuberculoids Arrive in Hop” – 2:26
12. “Gimme the Wire” – 2:55
13. “Last Days” – 3:47
14. “Everything Gets Interrupted” (iTunes Exclusive Bonus Track) – 2:39

All songs written by Ted Leo.

Personnel

  • Ted Leo – guitar/vocals
  • James Canty – guitar
  • Marty Key – bass
  • Chris Wilson – drums

Notes
Released: March 9, 2010
Recorded: 2009
Genre: Art punk, punk rock, indie rock
Length: 41:50

Label – Matador Records