Like so many things Paul Westerberg touches, the Replacements
reunion of the mid-2010s didn't end in explosion or tears: it merely
faded away, coming to a conclusion somewhere in Europe sometime in the
summer of 2015. The rumored album never materialized but Westerberg resurfaced swiftly, popping up at the start of 2016 with Wild Stab, an album he recorded with Juliana Hatfield under the name the I Don't Cares. The two Gen-X heroes harmonize and trade lines throughout but the scales are tipped ever so slightly in Westerberg's direction, supporting the story that Wild Stab's origins lie in demos Paul started but never finished. Then again, it's true that it never felt like Westerberg
completed any of the digital EPs he knocked off in the 2000s; these
were records that were intended to keep him dwelling on the margins
where he feels most comfortable. Wild Stab
is certainly not polished -- from its thin, tinny audio to the cheerful
cacophony of shout-along vocals, it's proudly ragged -- but it feels
unified, benefiting from the editing and instigation of Hatfield. Even when her voice isn't heard, her presence is felt in how Wild Stab
emphasizes sharp hooks and smart songwriting, but the striking thing
about the album is how it feels buoyant, an emotion that doesn't come
easy to either member of the I Don't Cares. Operating as a team, Westerberg and Hatfield
lighten each other's load, encouraging one another to tell corny jokes
and make noise, tossing out the occasional fully formed tune along the
way. Sometimes these songs take the shape of a bit of brooding but
usually they're knockabout pop and old-time rock & roll running at
the pace of an old Rockpile
record. All the mess, from its demo-quality fidelity to its throwaways,
is intentional and the album is better for it: it's two old pros having
a good time, so it's hard not to have a good time too.
A fine relaxed effort and an album that makes really fun. I often listen to it in my car because it just makes fun and driving in my car is fun, too :-).
This is a further wonderful power pop band of the seventies who never rose to fame because there were no promotion at the time for the band by E.M.I. And the band is GREAT. You should give these guys a listen. I know you will enjoy!
The 13th Floor Elevators
were the biggest thing on the Texas psychedelic scene in 1967, and far
and away the most successful act on International Artists Records, so
it's no great shock that Houston's Lost & Found, who were signed to IA in the wake of the Elevators' hit single "You're Gonna Miss Me," bore a certain resemblance to Roky Erickson's crew of inner space explorers. It didn't hurt that the Elevators befriended Lost & Found during their early days as the Misfits (thank the fates they changed their name, leaving the moniker open for Glenn Danzig a decade later), or that they were persuaded to cover the Elevators' "Don't Look Down" during the sessions for their first (and only) album, Everybody's Here. However, this album suggests the band was best served when they were trying to clear a musical trail of their own. Vocalist Peter Black was woefully incapable of replicating Erickson's feral howl no matter how hard he tried (and his attempt to mimic Bob Dylan
on the title track was no better), but on poppier tunes like "I
Realize" and "Forever Lasting Plastic Words," he summons up a fine
folk-rock croon, and at its best, the guitar interplay between Black and Jimmy Frost suggests John Lennon and George Harrison
as much as anyone in the psychedelic Southwest.
The extended blues
workout "Zig Zag Blues" takes six minutes to go nowhere in particular,
and the trippy final cut, "Living Eye" (named for a hip Houston
nightspot of the day), is only a bit more interesting, but there was a
great folk-rock band lurking within Lost & Found that rises to the surface for a few pleasing moments on Everybody's Here
-- too bad no one was around to encourage them in that direction back
in the day, especially since the band called it quits by mid-1968, with Peter Black and bassist James Harrell going on to form another act beloved by fans of Texas psychedelia, Endle St. Cloud.(allmusic.com)
Glenn Danzig, John Lennon, George Harrison? ...whatever, this is psychedelic garage with an interesting sound. Sure they are heavily influenced by the 13th Floor Elevators, but nevertheless they have a selfhood in her songs. You decide! Take it or...
The third long-player from Strawberry Alarm Clock
runs the gamut of pop music. This unfortunately detracts from the
album's cohesion instead of unifying it. As with their previous release Wake Up...It's Tomorrow, The World in a Sea Shell
offers a few criminally overlooked tracks. However, for the most part,
the contents vacillate between the saccharine sweetness of the mid-tempo
opening track "Sea Shell" and the overly orchestrated "An Angry Young
Man" and "Home Sweet Home." Any cohesive momentum from the first two LPs
has seemingly been discarded for the external input of different
writers. Increasingly, the band began to turn externally for material.
This was partially due to pressures from producers Bill Holmes and Frank Slay, who brought in Roy Freeman to write lyrics for the band because -- in the words of bassist and composer George Bunnell -- "they thought we were awful at it." Contributions also come from the somewhat unlikely team of Carole King and Toni Stern. "Blues for a Young Girl Gone" and "Lady of the Lake" are akin to the stuff the pair was concurrently writing for the likes of the Monkees. Both suffer the double-edged sword of having such a strong voice written into them. They end up sounding more like the Mike Curb Congregation
than any of the other material on the disc. Saving the album are the
kitschy "Barefoot in Baltimore," as well as the lost rock & roll
masterpiece "Love Me Again" -- a spirited number that could easily be
mistaken for a discarded Buffalo Springfield track. The latter features the return of the classic Strawberry Alarm Clock
noir vibe -- replete with haunting vocal harmonies, over-amped fuzz
guitar leads, and harpsichord-drenched accents that drive the tune front
to back. The fitting "Eulogy" is a final group effort and draws on the
same strengths as "Pretty Song from Psych-Out" and "The Curse of the
Witches" from Wake Up...It's Tomorrow.
Nice album of the Clock. Hope you enjoy.