Parasol's Sweet Sixteen, Volume Three
Looking for some catchy, innovative pop rock? Check out the latest sampler from Urbana, Illinois' own Parasol Records. Parasol's Sweet Sixteen, Volume Three includes 18 songs from artists connected with the Parasol conglomerate's four sublabels (Parasol, Hidden Agenda, Mud and Spur). Parasol has attracted some of the finest independent artists for years, as well as some artists who've been on both sides of the major label/indie label line. Case in point: Parasol's Sweet Sixteen, Volume Three includes the first release from Urbana native Adam Schmitt since his two CDs for Reprise Records in the early '90s. "Let's Make This Easy" is a typically catchy Schmitt rhythmic rocker, and a teaser for his upcoming Parasol album, Demolition.
Parasol's Sweet Sixteen, Volume Three opens up with "Mercury, The Sun and Moon," a 60s-ish gem from Jenifer Jackson that mines the same upbeat throwback vein as The Cardigans. Then comes "Wonderful Pain," a sad, string-augmented hymn from Neilson Hubbard's excellent Parasol disc, Why Men Fail, reviewed here in January. Other highlights include Club 8's oddball mix of squeaking percussion and quietly harmonic choruses in "Keeping Track of Time," the grandiose dreampop sounds of Fonda's "The Sun Keeps Shining on Me" from an upcoming Hidden Agenda album and Vitesse's "Trying to Frame a Dying Art," which mixes the vintage '80s synth and guitar sound of Love Tractor with the deep laconic vocals of Joy Division.
For more info on these and other Parasol releases, check the web at www.parasol.com.
New On The Shelves
The Epic/Legacy label has unleashed The Very Best of Dan Fogelberg this week, to coincide with a short summer tour that does not, unfortunately for fans, bring Fogelberg through the Midwest. The 17-song collection spans 1974-93 and includes "Part of the Plan," "Heart Hotels," "Longer," "Hard to Say," "Leader of the Band," "Same Old Lang Syne," "Run for the Roses," "The Language of Love" and more. It is the first hits collection from Dan Fogelberg to truly feature all of his chart toppers on one disc (1982's Greatest Hits only included 10 tracks and missed his latter hits).
On the opposite end of the sonic spectrum, Warner Bros. has released a "hits" collection from Ministry titled Greatest Fits. The disc opens with the guitar-heavy "What About Us?" a new track from the movie "A.I.," which features some rapid fire vocals a la Rage Against The Machine. Then it goes back to the beginning, pulling up some old tricks from the late '80s, as Ministry was transforming from a Europop synth machine to an abrasive noise act: "Stigmata," "The Land of Rape and Honey," and "Thieves." The disc then covers the early '90s, leading off with a live version of "So What," and moving on to studio versions of "N.W.O.," "Just One Fix," "Jesus Built My Hotrod," and their grungy take on Bob Dylan's "Lay Lady Lay." Late '90s offerings come in "Supermanic Soul" and "Bad Blood." The disc closes with a bashy new cover of Black Sabbath's stomping "Supernaut."
A while back, Rhino Records released an expanded version of the 1972 psychedelic garage rock collection, Nuggets. That expanded version of the original Elektra collection was called Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era, 1965-1968. Now, the label returns with a new four-CD set of even more flower-power psychedelia, British R&B blasts from the '60s titled Nuggets II: Original Artyfacts from the British Empire and Beyond. The set doesn't include a single hit, but does offer flower power-era fuzzrock, from cult favorites like The Creation and The Pretty Things, as well as tracks from better known bands like The Move, The Troggs, Them, The Small Faces and The Guess Who. Various bands on the set included some of the first recordings from future stars like David Bowie, Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones, Jeff Lynne, Marc Bolan, Van Morisson, Dave Edmunds, and members of Deep Purple, Yes, Little River Band, 10CC and Emerson, Lake and Palmer.