Call it synchronicity, but it often seems that The Artist Formerly Known As Prince–shall we just call him PeeWee?–and I lead virtually identical lives!
He writes the word “Slave” on his face, and I sit chained to a word-processor!
He’s a guy and so am I!
And, perhaps most astoundingly, his new album’s opening track “P Control” contains the lyric “you need Pussy Control”–while at my own house, our new kitten Sally often misses the litterbox!
Coincidence? You tell me, PeeWee!
THE GRATEFUL DEAD Hundred Year Hall (Grateful Dead/Arista) Unlike most schmoes whose Jerry Garcia eulogies named Workingman’s Dead and American Beauty as the best Grateful Dead albums, I’ve always maintained the band’s all-time peak came much earlier. For me, this lengthy 1972 live set catches the Grateful Dudes too late–with new pianist Keith Godchaux sitting in, making what was once sublime distinctly ordinary. Only one track here–“Cryptical Envelopment”–approaches the band’s all-time psychfest album Anthem Of The Sun, but since it’s 36 minutes long, why complain? 3.5/5
DEBBIE GIBSON Greatest Hits (Atlantic) Teendream Debbie Gibson spent the early part of her hit-filled recording career as the brunt of several sexist jokes that usually revolved around the word “jailbait”! It certainly must have shamed her record company–for that same label has now wisely assigned the role of this compilation’s producer to someone named Woody Firm. One suspects he’s a newcomer. 3/5
SON VOLT Trace (Warner Bros.) Though never the biggest fan of Uncle Tupelo–I mean, what a presumptuous name!–I’m muchly digging the works of that band’s offshoots Wilco and, now, Son Volt. Why? Because head Volt Jay Farrar writes consistently agreeable country-tinged tunes, sounds just like Lowell George when he sings, and looks precisely like fictitious cartoon imp Reddy Kilowatt! To Martians! 4/5
ERIC MATTHEWS It’s Heavy In Here (Sub Pop) As one-half of the completely fabulous band Cardinal, Matthews recorded one of last year’s very best albums. His new solo debut continues in that same musical vein–pure pop with touches of the BeeGees, Saucerful Of Secrets-era Pink Floyd and the Left Banke–and at times is even better. Buy this record or become an official member of the New Power Generation! The choice is yours! 5/5
THE BOO RADLEYS Wake Up! (Columbia) It’s 1995. Hip people sound like Lowell George and the Bee Gees. Saviors of British pop Oasis sound just like the Records. The Boo Radleys rip off Dionne Warwicke’s “I’ll Never Fall In Love Again.” It’s the year punk broke–and all’s right with the world! 4.5/5