Entry for June 09, 2006

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Unlike most of my contemporaries in the highly-respected field of rock journalism, I lack a degree in English literature—or, for that matter, journalism itself.

But enough about me. Instead, I’d like to shine the spotlight on the anonymous rock critic who penned the bio for Van Morrison’s latest (and surprisingly dandy) album, The Healing Game. Read it, and you’ll learn that Vanno’s new track “Piper At The Gates Of Dawn” is “a reference to Pink Floyd’s debut album”!

Sheesh! After his “Rave On John Donne/Ummagumma” medley, you’d think that Irish crank would lay off the hip spacerock namedropping! Poseur!

***

SILVERCHAIR Freak Show (Epic) A fine successor to the flukeish-selling Frogstomp, Freak Show is a fully successful follow-up smash. Frighteningly sophisticated for 17-year-olds, fun-loving Silverchair here offer the final solution to the feeble systematic failings striking flimsily-skilled foreign songsters frequently since the formidable singing of our own Frank Sinatra. Ferocious stylings! Fantastic strumming! Fresh sounds! Frightening scenarios! For sure! Figuratively speaking! 4/5

AMON DUUL II The Best Of 1969-1974 (Purple Pyramid/Cleopatra) For all the talk about the so-called krautrock revival, it’s surprising it’s taken this long for an American label to wise up and reissue music by the German band that nearly founded the genre. Superbly cherry-picking the best of the group’s United Artists catalog—four albums of which, incidentally, were released domestically—the increasingly-groovier Cleopatra has constructed an essential album that, predictably, sounds like it might’ve been recorded yesterday. A mixture of early Pink Floyd, Jefferson Airplane, and a random lyric generator (song title: “Dehypnotized Toothpaste”), Amon Duul II were weirder than nearly everyone. They still are. 4.5/5

SUGAR PLANT After After Hours (World Domination Recordings) Given a choice between the idiotic lyrics of tweeps like Nearly Everybody and the stuff that this Japanese combo spews—e.g. “you don’t know how much cold my limb is”—I’ll take the sushi every time. Moody space drones, Galaxie 500 comparisons, past hipster indie U.S. releases; according to the new edition of Alternative Rock Digest, this is the goods, baby, so dig it while you can! 4.5/5

THE MANDRAKE MEMORIAL The Mandrake Memorial 4/5 Medium 3/5 Puzzle 5/5 (all Collectables) Unbelievably reissued by the Collectables label, this very fab Philly-based combo released three excellent albums in 1968-69—the third of which bears an M.C. Escher cover (Mott The Hoople beware!) and contains some of the most moodily psychedelic music ever recorded. Puzzle is its name—and your jaw will drop when you hear it. AOL fans note: guitarist in said combo is one Craig Anderton. Incredibly great. (Collectable Records, Box 35, Narberth, PA 19072)

A.C. I Like It When You Die (Earrache) A charming entry from the Most Offensively Named Band Ever—“A”=retentive/compulsive, “C”=rhymes with “hunt”—this good-hearted disc provides a solution to the nagging problem of Having To Listen To Records In Order To Review Them. Specifically, the 52-song album bears some of the finest song titles I’ve ever seen in my life—so why listen in the first place? Among the best: “The Internet Is Gay,” “You Keep A Diary,” “You Look Adopted,” “Because You’re Old,” “Being A Cobbler Is Dumb,” “311 Sucks,” “Windchimes Are Gay,” “Rene Auberjonois,” “You Went To See Dishwalla And Everclear (You’re Gay),” and the admittedly inflamatory “You Own A Store.” Paul Simon: come on down! 3/5

(BAM, 2/1/97)

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