The Rhino label continues to reissue the catalog of Marc Bolan and T.Rex (best known for the early '70s hit "Bang a Gong"). Each reissue offers both the original album on one CD, paired with a second disc of alternate tracks, B-sides and more. The latest offerings are 1973's Tanx (featuring "Children of the Revolution," "20th Century Boy" and "Solid Gold Easy Action"), 1975's Bolan's Zip Gun, and 1976's Futuristic Dragon (which included the minor hit "New York City)." The label also has issued a two-CD set of songs Bolan recorded, but never issued, between 1972 and his death in 1977 titled Work in Progress.
Rockers Queens of the Stone Age made some waves last year on the concert and Billboard charts, and now the Interscope label offers a taste of their live show, on Over the Years and Through the Woods. The two-disc set offers both a thunderous live CD of the band's signature tracks and a DVD with video of their performances.
Savage Garden didn't have an extensive career — only two albums — before lead singer Darren Hayes went solo, so the new Columbia collection Truly Madly Completely: The Best of Savage Garden isn't a particularly expansive disc. The CD offers 10 Savage Garden key tracks, such as its big pop hits "I Want You," "I Knew That I Loved You," "Crash and Burn" and "Truly Madly Deeply," and two new Hayes solo songs, "So Beautiful" and "California," as well as five B-sides.
The RCA/Legacy partnership has reissued two of legendary soul singer Nina Simone's 1960's albums, Sings the Blues and Silk and Soul, with bonus tracks. Also available is a Simone collection of rare and live performances culled from the latter half of the '60s called Forever Young, Gifted & Black: Songs of Freedom and Spirit.
Arista has partnered with Legacy to offer The Essential Kenny G, a two-disc, 31-track collection of the popular saxophonist's best recordings, from "Songbird" to "Auld Lang Syne (Millennium Mix)." The set also includes his take on the theme from the movie Titanic and his collaborative recordings with Louis Armstrong, Aaron Neville, George Benson, Michael Bolton, Chaka Khan, Peabo Bryson and more.
Morningwood is the consummate NYC band. The group melds classic CBGB's era punk attitude, unapologetic pop-rock, some Blondie trashy disco glam and funnel it all through a lead singer who's young, charismatic and unabashedly on the make.
Or, to put it another way, Morningwood rocks.
And the reason is a savvy combination of old pros — the band is made up of former members of Wallflowers, Spacehog and Cibo Matto, who came together to support energized newcomer Chantal Claret, a 23-year-old New York film school vet now turned professional provocateur tease.
On the subversive strut of "Babysitter" she sings of playing doctor with a jailbait boy. But for all this teasing, the lyrics on Morningwood remain PG-13. It's all played with a wink and a nudge, as you might gather from the band's name.
Currently, Morningwood is moving up the modern rock charts with “Nth Degree,” a cheeky, pop confection and the first single from their debut album. The song doesn't really have much of a story, it simply puts together a pounding beat, crunch guitar riffs, a disco vibe, and lets Claret invoke people to “uh-oh, here we go/turn up the radio…come on everybody to the nth degree” before she starts spelling out the name of the band “MO-MOR-MORNING-WOOD,” she sings in a cheerleader-esque chant. It may not mean much, but it's the ultimate glitzy pop anthem, and will no doubt be blasting out of radio speakers for the next few weeks.
The album was produced by Gil Norton, who's learned a thing or two about working with female lead singers who can go from whispering seductively to screaming rock chants in a few heartbeats – he's previously produced The Breeders and Belly. Morningwood benefits from his expertise, sounding ‘80s retro on some tracks (“New York Girls”) AC/DC hard rock on others (“Easy”) and pure disco-froth-rock on others “Nth Degree”). And “Jetsetter” manages to combine a girly 4AD dreamy chorus with a furious punky string of screaming verses that bring to mind Pixies at moments.
It's a great, if sometimes derivative debut – a party rock amalgam guaranteed to get the blood pumpking, all the while proving that Claret is a singer with a rockin' seductive starpower that will hopefully shine for many albums to come.