33 1/3 is a series of books about a wide variety of seminal rock and pop albums. Join three of the authors for readings and special multimedia presentations. Hayden Childsâ€™s "Shoot Out the Lights" puts into context Richard and Linda Thompsonâ€™s albumâ€”from the personal history driving the songs, to the recording difficulties they encountered and the subsequent fall-out. He has appeared in "Lost in the Grooves: Scramâ€™s Capricious Guide to the Music You Missed." Kim Cooperâ€™s "In the Aeroplane Over the Sea" sheds light on the underground classic album by Neutral Milk Hotel. Cooper is the editor of "Scram," and co-editor of the anthologies "Bubblegum Music is the Naked Truth" and "Lost in the Grooves: Scramâ€™s Capricious Guide to the Music You Missed." Scott Plagenhoefâ€™s "If Youâ€™re Feeling Sinister" provides perspective on how Belle & Sebastian transformed from a cult secret into a polished, highly entertaining, mainstream pop group. He is the Editor-in-Chief of Pitchfork.
Sacramento pop band Knock Knock was recently awarded a SammieÂÂ to honor their second CD Girls on the Run (2008), but as superb as that release is, I feel their debut was even more deserving of recognition. Warm Fronts, Cold Shoulders (2004) is comprised of such an abundant range of intriguing textures and indelible melodies that it would inevitably be a tough act to follow. It's remarkable that punchy uptempo tunesÂÂ like "I've Been a Drag" and "Dan Can You Stand" can occupy the same space with the languid beauty of "Oceanography" and "Levee," but Knock Knock seems to have a knack for mixing things up withoutÂÂ having to struggle to do so.ÂÂ "Eye of the Storm" finds a nice balance between the two extremes and is perhaps the best representation of their work as a whole, but you certainly wouldn't want to miss out on other catchy numbers like "Jorge" and "Rotten Dogs." Think of a poppier version of Yo La TengoÂÂ and you might have an ideaÂÂ of what to expect. Frontman Allen Maxwell's feathery-but-urgent vocals compare favorably to Ira Kaplan's while Heather Conway adds an even lighter touch to a pair of songs a la Georgia Hubley.ÂÂ Tasty stuff indeed, and when you're finished with this one, you should be more than ready to take in the gorgeous harmonies and sugar-rush momentum of Girls on the Run.
You can find Knock Knock's Warm Fronts, Cold Shoulders for sale here.
Just a quick entry to tell you about my Band of the Week, or month maybe. I don't how or why I've gone this long without hearing about the Greenberry Woods, but I got tipped on to them because of something else I was looking at or bought on-line, and now I have their two albums and cherish both. They formed in Maryland in the late 80s and between then and 1995 recorded two long players, Rapple Dapple and Big Money Item. Both are power pop gems, with vocal hooks around every corner and some nice distorted guitar work. Each album has filler material on it, but each also has three songs which are power pop hall-of-famers. Like just about every power pop band that has ever existed, the 'Woods owe much to Alex Chilton and Big Star, whose sound they quite clearly emulate. If you are into power pop, if you like the Posies, Guided by Voices, New Pornographers, dB's, Dwight Twilley Band, etc, etc, do what you need to do to buy the two Greenberry Woods records. After the two albums the band split up, apparently because there were too many creative forces under one roof (heard that before). Some core members went on to form Splitsville, who seem to be somethning of a camp/novelty act and who I have not yet explored. Could be a future blog.