Unless you’ve been under a rock, missed the Grammys and close your eyes while you’re at the grocery store checkout, you’ve probably noticed it’s the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ arrival in the U.S. To mark the occasion, there’s a new box set called The Beatles: The U.S. Albums that, more than anything in the band’s recent catalog, is truly the sound of Beatlemania.
The guitar work — whether acoustic strumming or flat-picking, punchy electric lines and pedal steel — is stellar and, most of all, tasteful throughout. In essence, Another Self Portrait is a five-star album any music lover should have in his or her collection.
Nathanson, a veteran of folk-laced rock, sings a path to my heart with this latest amalgam of longing mixed with bouncy fun. His many references to San Francisco also hit close to my part of the globe and bring the album a fresh, sincere vibe. Last of the Great Pretenders is a window into what it’s like to be inside of Nathanson’s head.
About 10 years ago, BBC disc jockey Spencer Leigh reviewed a show by my old band, the Badge, and wondered how we were able to write songs that matched the work of Rubber Soul-era Lennon & McCartney when McCartney couldn’t seem to muster the same magic.
The Goondas have put out one of the most passionate odes to garage rock of the year with Dog Show, an album that is all sweat, energy and aggression. It’s raw without feeling unfinished, ragged in all the right places, and just plain fun. If you’re looking for no frills rock and roll, you can’t do much better.