A bunch of things I've bought or downloaded recently:
- Vintage Violence, John Cale. Criminally underrated album - 60's pop a la the Association or Pet Sounds-era Beach Boys mixed with off-kilter lyrics and a generally odd, ominous atmosphere. Particularly great is "Gideon's Bible," which melds Wes Montgomery-esque jazz guitar, Cale's Welsh brogue rolling over the lines of the verses and a soaring, classic chorus. But the whole thing is pretty damn good.
- The Singles, Smiths. To replace the Best..I and II that I sold back a while back. All the songs you really need, and not too much of the trademark Morrissey self-absorption or precious over-cleverness.
- Here's Where the Strings Come In, Superchunk. I'm "supposed" to like these guys and all, but I'm underwhelmed. I'm filing them with Archers of Loaf as pretty generic mid-90's indie stuff - loud but not sludgy guitars and decent but forgettable melodies. "Slack Motherfucker" is a great anthem, though. (I know that's not on this album, just a general observation.)
- Inspiration Information, Shuggie Otis. Not really the "lost classic" that everyone hyped it up to be, but not bad. The title track is a worthy addition to the 70's funk canon. But the Brothers Johnson version of "Strawberry Letter 23" completely kicks the ass of the version here.
- Hex Enduction Hour, The Fall. It's the Fall. It was released before 1987. What more do you need to know? I still rank Grotesque (After the Gramme) or Slates slightly above this, but it's all damn good.