Eric Sorensen's JANGLE ON for July 2009!!!
By Eric Sorensen, written exclusively for NOT LAME
Jangly music may not be as prevalent as it was five years ago (the influence that Boomers have on popular music may finally be dissipating), but it’s still out there. It’s just getting a little harder to find and INTERNET resources are certainly useful in finding it. New discs and new tunes that have made my “Jangle Pop” play list over the past two months include:
Peter & The Penguins - HOW TO CHOOSE A SWEETHEART
Fans of Beatlesque pop have good reason to be excited about this 14-track album that brings back fond memories of the Spongetones’ early albums. The album features formulaic Fab Four-inspired pop tunes (period lyrical content, the construct of the melodies) that are overflowing with chiming, ringing Rickenbacker 12-string riffs. Want proof? Just listen to "She Took Me By Surprise", "Sweetheart", "There’s No Living Here Without You" and "That Day Will Come". You will be hard-pressed to find another new pop album that jangles as much as this one does!
Radio City – RADIO CITY
Radio Heartbeat Records has reached back--30 years into the past--to release these gems by an overlooked power-pop band from that era. The album credits indicate that three band members shared 12-string guitar duties...and it’s all good! "Don’t Mistake Love" and "Little Runaway" are the best of the chiming tracks, but the entire album is a feast for power-pop purists.
The Fire Marshals of Bethlehem - THE WORLD FROM THE BACK SEAT
This is the sophomore disc from a group that reminds me of the Kennedys, the Living Room Legends and the Trolleyvox. In other words: this band features excellent boy-girl vocals and lots of chiming guitars. "High Times" and "Off The Track" are the standout tunes on this top-notch disc.
Two Pound Planet - SONGS FROM THE HYDROGEN JUKEBOX
The wait for the re-release of this Mitch Easter-produced 1993 album was well worth it! The songs on this album deserved as much commercial airplay as the tracks from the Gin Blossoms’ NEW MISERABLE EXPERIENCE, but that was not the case. Sixteen years later, pop fans can still admire the talent and songcraft that was concentrated in this superb album. Although only one track – "Gone" – falls neatly into the jangle-pop category, SONGS FROM THE HYDROGEN JUKEBOX remains a worthy example of how a pop album should be built from start to finish.
Peter Holsapple and Chris Stamey - HERE AND NOW
Sometimes you can go back...and former bandmates and musical pals Holsapple and Stamey have done just that. "Early In The Morning" sounds as Byrdsian as any song that Holsapple and Stamey have released together and the track has a distinct Velvet Crush/Chastain-Menck vibe to it. "Tape Op Blues" concludes the album with a nice strummy track. Like their earlier collaborations, HERE AND NOW will be a timeless testament to this duo’s talent!
Other jangly songs that have caught my ear include: "Built To Last" by the Lemon Clocks (a band that includes Jangle All Star Pop musician Jeremy Morris – AKA Jeremy); "Sweet Relief", a new jangly solo track by Jeremy; "Coming Of Age", a terrific chiming Rickenbacker tune from the next album by GAT (Graham Allman Talbot); "Another Day Without You", from the forthcoming album by the Crown Prince of 12-String, Horst-Peter Schmidt; "I Feel Alright", by Your Gracious Host; "Journeyman" by the Lovetones; "Come With Me" by the Pete Best Band; "Billy" by Gyllene Tider and "Goodbye" by Ice Cold Pop.
Yes, jangly tracks may be a little harder to find these days, but they’re worth the search. Thanks again to the talented indie artists who share their material with me, and thanks to my good friend in Rhode Island, Ray Verno, who discovers jangly nuggets through the INTERNET. If anyone ever asks you what a Rickenbacker 12-string guitar sounds like, tell him/her "You’ll know it when you hear it!"
Until next time, jangle on!