The Living End
If you're thirsty for some late '70s, early '80s leaning punk rock, check out the latest by the Australian trio The Living End. Originally a rockabilly band, the Melbourne natives have moved to a faster, harder attack over the past five years, bringing to mind the early work of Bad Religion, The Clash, and Green Day. The band has been on the road as openers with Green Day, Blink 182 and The Offspring, and the influence of all those modern punk bands (as well as some manic harmonies with Beatles roots) is readily apparent throughout Roll On, the band's followup to its 1998 self-titled debut and two prior EPs.
While not particularly groundbreaking rock, for anyone with a penchant for that classic U.K. punk sound from the age of The Sex Pistols, The Living End nails it well on Roll On, delivering high octane gems in the title track, "Pictures in the Mirror," and "Riot on Broadway." This is fist-pounding, chant-with-every-chorus punk rock.
Will Hoge has put together a solid dose of rootsy rock on his independent CD Carousel (available through www.willhoge.com. Hoge enlists the aid of solo artist and former Georgia Sattelites leader Dan Baird on lead guitar, so you know to expect some classic reverb on the guitar crunches here. The opening track, "She Don't Care," borrows the vocal drawl delivery of Jimi Hendrix, as Hoge complains "and every time I see her I just cry/ain't no sense in even wondering why/she don't care about me."
But Hoge isn't a Hendrix clone by any means. On "(Pretty Sure) I'm Over You" he calls to mind vintage stomping Elvis Costello, "Mrs. Williams" offers hints of The Gin Blossoms and the title track moves in swirling Counting Crows territory.
Carousel romps through a variety of timeless rock styles as Hoge sings of heartache and dreams and broken romance, all of which are encompassed in "Let Me Be Lonely": "You tell me you don't want to fight/you're just here to see if I'm doing alright/well darling, let me be lonely tonight."
Every track here bristles with urgent energy, and the sort of sentiments that any spurned lover can cry along in their beer with – "Don't you know I'll be your fool again," he sings in "Your Fool," and you'll be nodding along with him and wanting to pat his arm and tell him not to stress, just let her go.
This is Saturday night bar rock the way it was meant to be. This is a Carousel worth its spin.
Classic Beck reissued; NOW 6 offers 19 hits
Jeff Beck fans can now catch two more of his '70s albums on digitally remastered and restored CDs. Epic has reissued Blow by Blow (1975) and Wired (1976), two of Beck's biggest-selling albums. Produced by George Martin (Beatles), the discs found Beck collaborating with Stevie Wonder, Jan Hammer and Narada Michael Walden, and covering jazz great Charles Mingus.
For music that's a little more modern, check out the sixth edition of Epic's NOW That's What I Call Music! Series. With hits from Britney Spears, Lenny Kravitz, U2 and more, NOW That's What I Call Music! 6 calls to mind the K-Tel collections of the '70s – hit follows hit follows hit. Included are Spears' "Stronger," U2's "Beautiful Day," 'N Sync's "Bye Bye Bye," Shaggy's "It Wasn't Me," Backstreet Boys' "Shape of My Heart," Evan & Jaron's "Crazy for This Girl," Creed's "With Arms Wide Open," Everclear's "AM Radio," and more.
If you want to turn your basement into a rowdy, hedonistic club, you might want to seek out The Lords of Acids' latest industrial-tinged dance collection Farstucker on Never Records. Following years of club play (including their classic 1990 mix "I Must Increase My Bust") The Lords hit it big a couple of years ago by landing "Am I Sexy?" on the Austin Powers The Spy Who Shagged Me soundtrack. That mainstream release, however, was one of their tamer songs (and, aside from their 1994 album VooDoo-U, one of their only releases on a major label). Usually, the Lords (featuring the core team of vocalist Deborah Ostrega and synthesizer master Praga Khan) come up with racier titles of sexual orientation and back them with pounding beats, thumping basslines, bizarre samples and R-rated lyrics. Their latest effort is no exception. If you're curious, check them out on the web at www.lordsofacid.com.