by Tom Hallett
It's been a weird couple of weeks in rock n’ roll, gang. From on- and off-stage bickering between a reconstituted Iron Maiden and Ozzy’s wife Sharon Osbourne (who calls herself “The Real Iron Maiden”) to the arrest of Poison guitarist C.C. DeVille on domestic abuse charges (“I’m innocent!” he swears, but on one website, an astute music fan fires back, “Maybe—but your guitar playing is still guilty of SUCKING!”) to the deaths of a couple of legends (multi-instrumentalist Vassar Clements and Voivod axeman Denis “Piggy” D’Amour), the shit is shakin’ and the world continues to slide inexorably off of its axis.
OF THE WEEK: “There's a basic rule which runs through all kinds of
music, kind of an unwritten rule. I don't know what it is, but I've got it.”
— Ron Wood
SONG OF THE WEEK: “Black Into Black” — Peter Himmelman
That’s OK, though, cuz here at the ‘Dial we’re comfortably
ensconced in an air-conditioned room (who cares if the electric bill comes to
more than we make in a month) with ten thousand albums, a case of Old Milwaukee
and a couple sacks o’ goodies. In our cool, noisy little retreat, it’s
easy to pretend that Ozzy can still kick Bruce Dickinson’s ass (and that
Bruce isn’t the classless, self-aggrandizing meathead he really is) both
on- and offstage; that C.C. DeVille has finally stopped riding on the coattails
of his cheesy ‘80s career and admitted that he’s really the older
sister of Dr. Ruth Westheimer; that Vassar and Piggy might be swingin’
on a star somewhere, blasting glorious, fiddle-augmented prog-metal out into
the cosmos. And hell, even if we do have to eventually go out for crappy fast
food and more cheap beer, we’ll just make a mix, throw it on the ol’
headphones and slap the blinders on for our little stroll. In the meantime,
here’s a little aural treat you may enjoy ...
My Favorite Revolution
singer/songwriter Eugene Edwards lays down his pop-perfect, hook-a-riffic little
masterpieces the way a kid might fill in a stamp collecting book—his faves/inspirations
(Elvis Costello, The Byrds, Matthew Sweet) first, carefully pasted in and lovingly
ordered, the rest thrown in a bit more willy-nilly as the pages go on. And though
the Costello influence is absolutely the first thing you notice here, the fact
that El wouldn’t have sounded the same without his own influences (Nick
Lowe, Ray Davies) has a definite bearing on the whole shebang. Edwards, who
readily admits to and isn’t one bit ashamed of his influences, manages
to reach deeper than most modern pop-sters when it comes to channeling the best
of those snappy, snarky inspirations.
Kicking off with the insanely infectious “Your Own Nightmare” (“She
got by on her face, she got by on her body/ She got by the security, an’
now she’s become your hobby ...”), My Favorite Revolution
immediately establishes Edwards as both a pen and a voice worth keeping an ear
on. The rollicking, melancholy “Congratulations, My Darling” rings
out like an outtake from My Aim Is True, with Edwards haphazardly spitting out
lines like “Your tender age is your best piece of jewelry,” while
“I’ll Be True (Someday)” meanders in like a sun-drenched,
late-afternoon beer buzz.
Though Edwards played and sang virtually every note on this record himself,
he’s left plenty of room for future bands (he’s recently put one
together for touring purposes) to interpret and flesh out live the 14 mini-dramas
populating My Favorite Revolution. Is it better than the stuff Elvis Costello
put out two and a half decades ago? Naw. Is it more fun than anything Mr. C.
has released in the past decade? Hell, yes. MFR doesn’t break any new
ground, but then it doesn’t pretend to. It’s simply a killer collection
of memorable, heart-tugging guitar pop that, once you hear it, won’t easily
slip away. Street date: 9/13.
Rock legend Neil Young, who’s apparently back up to full speed after
a recent health scare, is set to release a brand new album on September 21.
Dubbed Prairie Wind, the record (yes, it’ll be available on vinyl)
comes on the heels of a new Young best-of package. Featuring a lineup (pedal
steel whiz Ben Keith, keyboardist Spooner Oldham, drummer Chad Cromwell, percussionist
Karl Himmel, bassist Rick Rosas and special guests including Emmylou Harris)
that hearkens back to the best of the man’s country/rock phase, APW promises
to be another classic Young offering. Fans and the curious can pre-order the
album and get a Neil Young T-shirt to boot by logging onto NeilYoung.com.
Watch this space for my official review in the next few weeks.
That’s all the space we have this week, folks. Tune in again for more
news, reviews, rants an’ raves next time out. Until we meet again—make
yer own damn news.||
If you have local music news/gigs/events/CDs you’d
like to see mentioned in this column, or you’d just like to tell me about
your own favorite revolution, send replies to: Tmygunn777@peoplepc.com.