Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Wednesday Roundup.

The Sun Sawed in 1/2-Elephants into Swans. The big news for 2013 so far is the return of The Sun Sawed in 1/2, Tim Rose's psych-tinged power pop group that ruled the 90s as one of the genre's top artists (1997's Fizzy Lift made John Borack's Top 200 Power Pop albums of all-time in his Shake Some Action! book). But after their fourth album, 2000's Bewilderbeast, all we heard from Rose was his Fresh Mowed Lawn project, which put out a fine 2006 album. The good news is that the new album is like they've never been away. "You're the Something" continues their big, brash, melodic sound, complete with horns; the title track recalls Jellyfish with its keyboards-based melody, and "Brittle Star" is a gleeful power-pop number. And the mark of a great power pop band is the ability to handle the slower material with facility; here, tracks like the McCartneyesque "Ocean" and "Nowhere Fast" are as strong as the rockers. A triumphant return.

CD Baby | iTunes | Bandcamp

The Great Affairs-4. For a few years now Denny Smith has been alternating between the hard power pop of fORMER and the roots rock of The Great Affairs, but now that he's retired the, uh, fORMER it almost seems as if he's merged the two sounds on this new 7-track EP from the latter. This is apparent right off the bat- while "Rock 'n' Roll Heart" rocks as hard as anything released under The Great Affairs name, it isn't exactly hard. "Shame on You", on the other hand, does rock fairly hard in the classic rock sense as its bluesy underpinning means it wouldn't sound of place on a Black Crowes record. For those who liked the traditional roots/country-rock sound of The Great Affairs, "The Ring" is a midtempo gem and "Gone" is a wonderful, primarily-acoustic ballad with an indelible melody. But "Fits & Guitars" is as loud and brash as its title implies, meaning that his, uh, former band isn't quite dead and gone.

CD Baby | iTunes | Kool Kat (with bonus disc and alternate artwork)

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