JANGLE ON! for JAN. 2008!
By Eric Sorensen, written exclusively for NOT LAME
Here’s a quick recap of what’s new in jangly music over the past seven months:
THE RINGLES-RICKENBACKER BALLET Hot off the presses from JAM Records. If the album title isn’t enough of a clue, the five Rickenbackers pictured on the CD itself say it all. “Feeling Nothing At All,” “April’s Wish” and “The Way” prove that the Ringles can still chime with the best of today’s power pop bands. When they’re not maximizing the treble controls on their Rickenbacker guitars, the Ringles demonstrate that they excel with their brand of pseudo-60s psych-pop material.
TONY LOW-TIME ACROSS THE PAGE Speaking of the Cheepskates, Cheepskate alum Tony Low has released another solid pop album. Jangleholics’ ears will perk up when they hear “One Fine Day” and “Where Are You Now.”
THE LOLAS-LIKE THE SUN Twenty tracks of superb garage pop/rock from another JAM Records artist. “Dr. Apache” is a chiming jewel of a track that reminds me of the Cheepskates. Other tracks like “Blue Shadows” and “Sticker” showcase the band’s Hollies-like harmonies. Power pop is alive and well!
SMASH PALACE-EVERYBODY COMES AND GOES This New Jersey group improves with each release. “Hoping” is a jangling masterpiece that sounds like the companion to Tom Petty’s “Listen To Her Heart.” “Just Like You,” “Is This A Dream?” and “I Want To Tell You” are other standout tracks.
TIMELESS FLYTE–a four-volume tribute to the Byrds. Although this 41-song set is only available via download (CDBaby and other INTERNET music sources), there are many “nuggets” featured on the four volumes that make it well worth seeking out. Indie pop luminaries like Michael Carpenter, Jeffrey Foskett, Andrew Gold, Bill Lloyd, Bobby Sutliff, Walter Clevenger, Tony Poole, the Kennedys, Walter Egan and the Retros join Executive Producer Les Fradkin in a solid homage to the Byrds. The four volumes are sub-titled “Reflyte” (early material), “The Byrds Dylan Connection” (all covers of Dylan songs), “Eight Miles High” (psychedelic era material) and “Full Circle” (tracks from the Byrds latter years).
ASH AVENUE-AND THEN WE IGNITE Another excellent pop album with Gin Blossoms references. “Mistake Me Home” and “Disposable King” are jangle-candy treats.
DAN FERRARI-DON'T LET IT FALL Wow–hooks galore! One of the finest indie releases I have heard in several years. Ferrari’s vocals and songcraft remind me of Robin Wilson/Gin Blossoms, the Goo Goo Dolls, Paul Carrack and Kyle Vincent. “Blanket” features the most chiming guitars, but this is a stellar pop album from start to finish. This disc has stayed on my “play” stack since my promo copy arrived two months ago.
MARMALADE SOULS-MARMALADE SOULS This self-titled disc is much more Beatlesque than it is Byrdsian, but tracks like “It Won’t Be Too Long,” “My Heart Belongs To You,” “Daydreams,” “Belly Butterfly” and “Words of Love” are representative of the primo pseudo-60s pop on this excellent album.
THE BONGOS-DRUMS ALONG THE HUDSON Tracks like “Bullrushes” bring back fond memories of the strummy jangle-pop that the Feelies recorded twenty years ago.
LAS FRADKIN-12 Another chiming, jangly sonic feast from the master of 12-string pop/rock! “Lay Down Your Arms” and “I Know You Rider” are my favorite tracks – inspired by 60s folk/rock.
In the “something to look forward to” category: Graham Allman Talbot (AKA GAT and one half of the STARBYRD duo) was kind enough to send me an advance copy of his next project, which will appear under the SKYRYDERS moniker. Graham channels Roger McGuinn with the best of today’s McGuinn disciples; this is most evident on tracks like “I’m Home,” “Together We Are One,” “Turn! Turn! Turn!” and McGuinn’s “May The Road Rise To Meet You.” The Skyryders disc should be released in the next two months.
In the “blast from the past” category, I recommend PACIFIC by THE RUMORS (released in 1998) to those of you who spend time combing through the bins at used CD stores. Rickenbacker riffs abound on songs like “One More Chance,” “All I Want,” “Seven Days” and “Nashville Song.” The Rumors combined elements of REM and the Volebeats in their original pop/rock repertoire.
A public thanks is extended to my long-distance friend, Ray Verno, who has been compiling and sharing “Byrdsian” CDRs with me. Ray has been very successful at surfing the net and downloading obscure Byrds-inspired music. Together, Ray and I have exchanged over three dozen versions of one of our favorite Gene Clark-penned songs–“I’ll Feel A Whole Lot Better.” Ray and I finally met in person last spring–at a Roger McGuinn show at the Barns of Wolf Trap.
Until next month, JANGLE ON!
Eric Sorensen, has over 40 years of passion inside his ears for all thingsruled by the misty, mystical jangling spells of a 12-stringed Rickenbacker and his postings here will unearth and enlighten all as to finding that next great jangled strum. No one owns a larger collection of cover-versions of "Eight Miles High" than this Janglemeister, as well. Eric was the lead project honcho with putting together tribute albums to Gene Clark (FULL CIRCLE) and Buffalo Springfield(FIVE WAY STREET) and his earlier column writings appeared on the fabulous Fufkin.com site under the name "Further Observations From A Jangly Music Fan".