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Results tagged “Columbia” from Rockin' Roll Call

Rock 'n' Roll Call: The Wallflowers - Glad All Over

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Glad All Over

The Wallflowers are much like the Dave Clark 5 used to be - "Glad All Over" and it's on Columbia. This one forces me to use the obvious pun, "I'm glad it's over" but this one really doesn't go anywhere as the band has taken their name for a world view on a series of interchangeable and forgettable examples of lite rock. Only "It's A Dream" shows much of an awareness of a hook.

Rock 'n' Roll Call: The Vaccines - Come Of Age

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Come Of Age

The Vaccines are back with a second dose of pleasurable power pop - that would be "Come Of Age" and it's on Columbia Records. Last year's debut, I thought, was the best album of 2011 - this one's not that good but it's pretty darn close. It's a series of jumpy, pogo pop three minute chiming guitar songs smartly done with cool vocals by Justin Young on tunes such as "Teenage Icon," while "I Wish I Was A Girl" doesn't make a lot of sense but it sounds good - sort of Mitt Romney's performance in the first debate. This band also kicked ass at this year's Coachella back in the spring, so no sophomore jinx for them as the Vaccines still have the cure for bad music.

Rock 'n' Roll Call: John Mayer - Born And Raised

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Born and Raised

First up, John Mayer has a new one - that would be "Born And Raised" and it's on mighty, mighty Columbia Records. It's pretty easy to hear why Mayer is a top tier performer - this guy is a kick-ass songwriter on top of his game on this one that'll make the Top Five on the year end list - at least. The opener, the ever clever, "Queen of California," is all about missing that pesky ex but not wanting her to know and "Shadow Days" is getting over that ubiquitous Miss Take. Mayer is as sad as Rhett Miller and just as clever with a telling phrase that'll have you nodding in that been-there-done-that moment and he deals most convincingly with those ever embarrassing horn dog urges aimed at your pal's squeeze as on "Something Like Olivia." Then there's "Walt Grace's Submarine Test, January 1967," a mindbender of a tune just right for another Johnny Depp part in another weird and wonderful Tim Burton movie. Great writing, swell voice on perfect songs - Mayer is as good as it gets.

Rock 'n' Roll Call: Passion Pit - Gossamer

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The new Passion Pit is called "Gossamer" and it's on Columbia Records. This one's all over the place - strident vocals and some lame mid-life crisis-too-early lyrics as on "Take A Walk." Passion Pit, once upon a time, slang for a drive-in - I believe none survive in Ventura County. That's too bad because a drive-in was the place to watch a movie from your car and where high school kids earned extra credit in Grope 101. Anyway, Passion Pit is the brainchild of frontman Mike Angelakos, who, once upon a time, did it all with just his keyboards, but now, his songs are embellished by the band that is made up of Berklee College of Music grads, whom not surprisingly perform flawlessly, on what are basically, dippy disco tunes.

Take a Walk by passionpit

Rock 'n' Roll Call: Gossip - A Joyful Noise

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A Joyful Noise

Album #5 from Gossip is "A Joyful Noise" and it's on Columbia. It's indie rock or techno pop - whatever - it's the vocals of front gal Beth Ditto that makes this trio go. She's a powerhouse and they may have cemented their place in rock history as well as the real world of work with their catchy and insistent, "Get A Job;" a tune that would be perfect, recycled endlessly as you're on hold for 17 hours trying to talk to a real person (who doesn't speak English, anyway) when you call the unemployment office. Too many of the others are interchangeable and forgettable disco tunes, but Ditto definitely has a cool voice; oh, and love the album cover.

Rock 'n' Roll Call: Offspring - Days Go By

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Days Go By

Jail is full of people from people who shouldn't breed but these Offspring are something else again - their latest is "Days Go By," just out on Columbia. Another case of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" rock, it's old school punk from these veterans out of Huntington Beach - once upon a cool little beach town which now is lamer than lame. At this since 1984, Dexter Holland and the boys know what's what and this clearly is supposed to be fun. How could it not be with a song called "Slim Pickens Does the Right Thing," describing his memorable exit in "Dr. Strangelove"?

Rock 'n' Roll Call: Patti Smith - Banga

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Patti Smith has her first new one in eight years - that would be "Banga" and it's on Columbia. Ably assisted by two of her kids, the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Famer begins with a song, "Amerigo," a song about Amerigo Vespucci, who has been off the charts for several hundred years, but did give America its name and was more than just another stubborn dude who refused to ask directions as he correctly identified the New World as not Asia. She has a kick-butt band behind her, especially guitar player, Lenny Kaye. He blows minds on the rocker, "Fuji-San" and other artsy smartsy, poetic rockers such as "Constantine's Dream," during which the emperor suspected that the empire could have a cross in its future. Smith seems way smarter than everybody but does not seem pretentious and has anyone ever seen her and Iggy Pop at the same time? This one ends with a reverent version of Neil Young's "After the Gold Rush." I can answer that one: Too much traffic - don't move up here. Smith rocks seriously.

Rock 'n' Roll Call: Ting Tings - Sounds From Nowhere

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The latest from the Ting Tings is "Sounds From Nowhere" and it's on Columbia. They're a

Sounds from Nowheresville

UK guy/gal duo - imagine Yacht with fewer machines and more guitars and poppy stuff. Katie White is the voice and Jules De Martino makes the music more or less and they definitely know what a good song should sound like including the opener, "Silence," which surprising absolutely no one, is not, but rather is a Phil Spector-friendly wall-of-sound rocker. And White comes across as that pouty, prancing front gal - think that'll work? Probably. Solid second album - buy two - Christmas is only seven months away.

Rock 'n' Roll Call: Train - California 37

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California 37

Here's another good one - the new Train is "California 37" and it's on Columbia. It's their sixth album and already debuted #1 on iTunes and "Drive By" not only keeps the prisons filled but is the first single. It's more supremely well crafted arena rock, big beat, hook-filled tunes by this tight trio fronted by Pat Monahan. Everyone like trains and a lot of people like this Train, especially those who don't think too much about music. No knock - this is not niche, indie rock, but is so seamlessly appealing, everyone will find something to dig. And no, listening to the album opener, "This'll Be My Year," does not translate into social science credits due to the biographical and mildly clever, book-free history lesson. Then again, there is a good line about the fun part of love - the Falling Into Part as well as Jealousy 101 - a line too many women stood in twice - "...And you get mad when some girl you think I had puts a story in your head..." Idle homewrecking? That's another story - in the meantime, take the Train.

Rock 'n' Roll Call: Jack White - Blunderbuss

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Believe the hype about the new Jack White - he's not a famous rock star for nothing after his work with the White Stripes and the Raconteurs, and now this - about as good as it gets rock 'n' roll. The album is "Blunderbuss" and it's on Columbia. Killer guitar riffs, White's familiar whiny vocals encompass about every genre of popular music and "Love Interruption" is one of the most down and dirty love songs you're likely to hear in this life cycle. White even does a reverentially bitchen cover of "I'm Shakin"' by the Blasters off their first album. If you don't have that one, your collection is incomplete - this one, too - a Top 5 album of 2012 for sure, maybe even the best one. It's that good.

Rock 'n' Roll Call: The Shins - Port of Morrow

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Port of Morrow

The new Shins album is definitely a keeper - it's "Port of Morrow" - why ask why - and it's on Columbia. James Mercer, once upon a time out of New Mexico but these days, near the top of the musical food chain in Portland, has hired all new Shins to carry out his delicate, intricate, baroque pop rock visions. The songs all sound pretty and some such as "Simple Song" will live in your head for daze. The lyrics seem to be important, but actually don't make a lot of sense, but Mercer could sing the phone book with that swell voice and make it all seem like something you can no longer live without.

Rockin' Roll Call
Bill Locey reviews music for the Ventura County Star, when he isn't reenacting the history of this great nation or teaching it to incarcerated youth.
He is the tall guy lurking in the back of all the local rock shows.
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