THE SEARCHERS: Another Night: The Sire Recordings 1979–1981

After having numerous hits during the ’60s, the Searchers were still trying to keep fans and get new ones, but the music scene had changed a lot since their heyday. Luckily the time was ripe for short, tight pop-rock that they were good at playing. The punk/new wave scene was not looking for old guys just pretending to be part of the scene, these guys were loving the fact that they could learn a bit from the new school and mix it with their sound and fit right in. The two albums that they released were as good as many of the top stars at the time, but for some reason, they still stayed on the edge of what was happening. This collects both of their albums, plus bonus songs and proves just how good they were during this time period and what people missed out on.

“Hearts in Her Eyes” is a fantastic song that was released as a single and went nowhere sadly. “This Kind of Love Affair” is another great song that would have been a great hit, but again, the band had no luck. “No Dancing” is another song that is full of energy and sounds perfect for the times. The first album showed just how good the band was and had more than enough songs to satisfy anyone who took the time to listen to them. After the eponymous first album, second album Love’s Melodies (released as Play for Today in the UK) was even better. Moon Martin’s “She’s Made a Fool of You” is a great song that shows how good the band was. This also applies to their version of John Fogerty’s “Another Saturday Night.” These two songs are full of fun and give the listener a smile on their face and some bounce in their step. “Radio Romance” and Big Star’s “September Gurls” are another pair of songs that stand out on the album. Both discs have bonus tracks added, the first has three worthy alternate mixes, and the second has “Sick and Tired” (which was on the UK’s Play for Today but not Love’s Melodies), “Changing” (the B-side to the “Love’s Melody” single), and “Back to the War” and “Ambulance Chaser.” The booklet contains album cover artwork from the different territories, and an essay from Scott Schinder, with new interviews from the band’s John McNally and Frank Allen.

This release gives power-pop fans a great collection of songs that managed to slip away from listeners when they were first released. It shows just how good a band that was contemporaries of the Beatles could still knock out music that was every bit as good as younger bands of the time. A very worthy collection.

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THE KINGBEES: The Big Rock

 

The Kingbees second album The Big Rock is being re-issued with four bonus tracks. This was the band’s final release on RSO, and it features mostly originally material written by Canadian band leader Jamie James. For this special re-issue, James provides some new liner notes about the album, and has improved sound with the remastering.

Living just outside of Toronto, Ontario back in the old days of the ’80s, I got to hear this album a fair bit since local radio stations played songs from this album. I was surprised and happy to see that this was being reissued and couldn’t wait to hear it again. The remastering is terrific, clean and clear sound that makes the album sound better than ever, and a cool booklet with information about the recording. The band plays a mix of rock’n’roll, rockabilly and has a punky/new wave feel to it that just outs a smile on my face. You just want to get up and dance around when you listen to the album, especially songs like “The Big Rock,” and “Let Myself Go.” The album is a high energy party that deserved to big a bigger hit and hopefully now will reach out to those who missed it the first time around. The band doesn’t stick to a traditional rockabilly sound like later bands like the Stray Cats, instead they use that as a starting point and really just play great music. The songs still hold up to this day, which is a testament to great songwriting, well done production, and terrific playing. They have covers of Charlie Rich, Buddy Holly, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis on the original album, and a cover of the Burnettes as one of the bonus tracks.

Go out and grab a copy of this album, do yourself a favor and introduce your friends and family to this band and start a rocking party in your house as soon as you hit play. Now I need to go get their first album…..lol.

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THE BANGLES: Ladies And Gentlemen…The Bangles!

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The Bangles got together and personally picked out these songs, songs from the beginning of their career and remastered for optimal sound. These sixteen tracks are from their debut single, EP, demos, live tracks and compilations. A lot of these are on CD for the first time ever. These songs feature the original line-up of Susanna Hoffs, Debbi Peterson. Vicki Peterson, and original bassist Annette Zilinskas. Michael Steele, who replaced Zilinskas appears only on the live tracks.

I remember seeing their EP back when it first came out in 1982, and could only find it on cassette, so I picked it up and loved it so much. I played it all of the time and waited for new music from them. Of course we got new music a couple of years later and they started to blow up on video shows and radio. This is a great way for me, and those who liked them back them, as well as the curious to hear these great songs. You can hear the youthful energy and pure fun that they had during this period and it’s infectious. You get great covers of The Turtles “Outside Chance,” Paul Revere And The Raiders’ “Steppin’ Out,” and Love’s “7 And 7 Is.” The songs are pure pop that has a nice edge to them and shows that they had the chops to become big……and they sure proved that. It’s great that they have released these songs, and the remastered sound is fantastic too. The album is full of songs that should be classics, and to people who have followed them since the beginning, they are classics.

Yes, they were made in the early 80’s, and they had a 60’s sound to them, but the songs still hold up….good music is good music regardless of the era. Bands nowadays could take a page out of their songbook and realize that you need to do what you love and you will shine, even after all of these years, these songs shine like the sun.

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THE RAVE-UPS: Town + Country

The Rave-Ups 1985 debut album Town + Country, has received a long-awaited reissue from Omnivore Records. As frontman Jimmer Podrasky noted on Facebook, “I wrote the liner notes for this reissue of a record that was an important part of my musical past. Hearing this stuff thirty years later is a real treat and I’m very thankful to Omnivore Recordings for making this possible.” The Rave-Ups formed in 1979 in Pittsburgh, PA and relocated to Los Angeles in the early ‘80s. The band released two albums on Epic Records before calling it quits around 1990. Town + Country, which has been out of circulation and almost impossible to find for decades, is the jewel of The Rave-Ups discography. This will be its first domestic release on CD.

If you were a fan of the movie Pretty In Pink, then you have heard two of the songs on here, the fantastic “Positively Lost Me” and “Rave-Up, Shut-Up” that were in the club scenes. With these two great songs, you would have thought that they would have been well-known, but that didn’t happen. The album is chock full of great songs with a touch of country edge, but not enough to make you two-step, just enough to give the songs a different sound than what everyone was playing at the time. A real highlight of the album is the great cover of The Byrds “You Ain’t Going Nowhere.””In My Gremlin,” “By the Way,” and the poignant “Better World” are songs that need to be heard. With the terrific remastering, you can hear every nuance in these songs and feel the raw emotion.

This reissue of Town + Country features the original ten songs, plus a whopping eleven previously unissued bonus tracks, including live radio performances recorded for Deirdre O’Donoghue’s influential Snap program on Los Angeles’ legendary KCRW-FM, as well as 1986 material produced by Steve Berlin (Los Lobos) and Mark Linett. A detailed historical essay from the band’s Jimmer Podrasky, complemented by numerous unseen photos from the sessions/era, make this not only a document of time + place, but one that helps document a moment in musical history.

This is an album that needs to be in your collection, one that cries out to be heard, one that you rears will thank you for. Get this and play it often and relive a time in the ’80s when music was in flux and bands were doing all kinds of experimenting with different genres.

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THE MUFFS:Blonder And Blonder

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This is the Muffs second, and best-selling album, now remastered and with seven bonus songs included, five previously unreleased as well as notes from the band. The sound is crisper and the added tracks add to the album and give some insight to what they were up to at that time.

The album is a 90s punk staple in my house and should be one in yours too, with its tight playing and sharp lyrics. The songs are fast, catchy and full of energy, so much more fulfilling than the pop punk that is out there today. What the hell happened to that style of music? Anyways, this has hit written all over it and they deservedly had the biggest selling album with this amazing album. The crunchy guitars, the assured, yet manic vocals, and clean sounding drums still hold up after all these years. I remember getting this album when it first came out and playing it a lot, but this really takes it up a notch with the improved sound. This hook laden album has been mostly left behind by kids nowadays, but really needs to be heard and loved all over again. The album has intricate playing mixed with the quick and furious songs, and also the clear production helps add to the mix.

If you haven’t heard them before, grab this album and turn it up loud, be proud of your new-found favorite album, and if you are a fan from the old days, play the hell out of the album too. The album is a definite must have in your collection, so stop wasting time and get a copy today.

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