This is easily the best day of the year for aging music fans, as there are a plethora of new music from longtime vets.
The big news for a certain niche of fans is the much-anticipated Replacements reunion. As noted in an earlier post, the devastating news that guitarist Slim Dunlap suffered a massive stroke inspired Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson to enter the studio to bash out not only a remake of one of Slim’s songs, “Busted Up”, but three other cover tunes. These four tracks, along with drummer Chris Mars’ version of Slim’s “Radio Hook Word Hit”, are everything we’ve all been waiting for. They’re punchy, energetic, fun, and clearly all one-take performances.
Those that participated in the auction that raised over a hundred grand started receiving their copies this week, but the EP is also now available for download at Amazon and the iTunes store. Vinyl versions will be available sometime next month.
The Replacements EP would be enough for this “Wester-nerd”, but my bank card was maxed out by a number of other albums. The return of Son Volt is probably the highlight, especially since Honky Tonk features some of leader Jay Farrar’s best songs since the band’s 1995 debut, Trace. As one may have guessed from the title, it’s also their most overt country album, and Farrar’s gruff voice is perfect for these songs of heartbreak and betrayal.
A few days ago, I heard the Beatles’ “Rain” on Sirius, and noted to myself how that track predicted the arrival of Robyn Hitchcock by a decade or so. Commemorating his 60th birthday, Love From London is quite possibly his best album since the Egyptians broke up in the mid-90’s. His eccentric lyrics are as absurd as ever, but it’s accompanied by the liveliest, most experimental music backing he’s utilized in quite some time.
Open Your Heart by The Men topped my best album list last year, and they’re already back with New Moon. While there is nothing really new here, there is nobody that is fuzing elements of punk, shoegaze, and white-noise rock ‘n’ roll as this Brooklyn-based band.
Other albums worth mentioning include singers-songwriters Caitlin Rose’s The Stand-In and Josh Ritter’s The Beast In Its Tracks, former Sonic Youth leader Thurston Moore’s new band, Chelsea Light Moving, and Cerulean Salt by former P.S. Elliot leader Katie Crutchfield’s rockin’ Waxahatchee alter-ego.