Tuesday, March 21, 2006

CD of the Day, 3/21/06: Pushstart Wagon-LA Was Our Alamo

It's always interesting to see the torch pass. Almost 20 years ago, Paul Westerberg and the Replacements recorded "Alex Chilton", one of the best tribute songs in rock history. And now, LA's Pushstart Wagon lead off their fine album LA Was Our Alamo with "Paul", a tribute to Westerberg, which directly references one of my favorite 'Mats tunes, "Can't Hardly Wait": "Jesus wouldn't buy you no smokes/he wouldn't laugh at your off-color jokes" they sing on the chorus, and the circle is complete.

Pushstart Wagon isn't a 'Mats tribute band, though. While there is a palpable Replacements influence at work here, other influences enter into the mix - there's some REM, some Being There-era Wilco, as well as an Americana element to their sound. The highlights on this album are many. Any song titled "Radiation" is going to put Fountains of Wayne's "Radiation Vibe" in my head, and in some respects this track sounds like a slower version of the FoW classic but with a sound of its own. "Breathing Room" is most the classic power pop-sounding track on the album, kind of in between Cheap Trick and Weezer. "Defend You" jangles and shines like a cross between the Gin Blossoms and Smile-era Jayhawks, and the closer "Los Angeles" is a graceful, understated ballad that reminds me of David Mead's similar paean to NYC, "How Much", which closed his great Wherever You Are EP.

You can stream "Breathing Room", "Paul" and "Los Angeles" at their myspace page, and some tracks are also streaming at their site. Sample the rest at cd baby, and you can buy it at Not Lame or Kool Kat. This Alamo is worth remembering.

No comments: