From somewhere back in the 1970s I recall a radio promotion that promised the winner a chance to rush through a record store with a shopping cart grabbing all they wanted within a specified time. Whatever you got to the cash register with before the time ran out was all yours absolutely free! I really really wanted to win that contest. Years later I stumbled across a limited edition album that was obviously a promo just sent to record store management to pitch the contest, extolling how it would be good for their business. Funny, but the guy pushing the cart on the cover kinda looked like Elvis Costello (not that EC would be caught dead wearing a runner’s headband).
In the spirit of the record rush, let’s hurry the introduction of some exciting August releases, starting with the uptempo tracks from Andrew Weiss and Friends’ new album, The Golden Age of Love and Chemistry. After four albums of alternative poprock with previous outfit High Fascination and now a second album with the Friends, Andrew Weiss is a practically a veteran of a sound he calls “power pop-icana,” melding hooks with that classic Americana country rock style. “All the News Fit to Print” and “This Might Hurt a Little” hit all the Tom Petty/Byds marks in a bright, breezy and melodic way. I was late add on the Silver Sun love train but once I got the schedule I hit all the stops. I thought “Jody”was poprock perfection! So imagine my delight to see the band back with new LP this month, Switzerland. The critics are oozing all over “Photograph” (and deservedly so) but my vote for a double A-sided single goes to the delightfully jumpy pop of “Over Me at All?” backed with the new wavey “Original Girl.” Let’s be clear, I’m not neutral about Switzerland. It’s a freakin’ great album, a triumphant return from a band I thought we’d lost for good.
Andrew Weiss and Friends – All the News Fit to PrintAndrew Weiss and Friends – This Might Hurt a LittleSilver Sun – Over Me At All?Silver Sun – Original Girl
Cleveland’s Herzog have a new album on the way, Fiction Writer, and the title track sounds like a likeably harsher version of the Beatles’ more paperback variety, with a Sam Roberts kinda vibe particularly on the vocals. Definitely boding well for the full album release. Epic songwriter/producer Bleu has largely denied us the brilliant solo career that could have been, hinted at in such solid albums as Redhead and Four. But the occasional single does emerge from time to time, like the magisterial “I Want to Write You a Symphony.” It’s fun and cinematic and eccentricly earwormy. If The Toms Tommy Marolda had only put out his one-man, 3 day recording session masterpiece The Toms back in 1979 it would have been more than enough. But he’s back with a new single and has lost none of the magic that made those early recordings so special. The double A side whammy that is “One Man Girl Parade” and “You Shoot Me Out of Your Cannon” are both teeming with glorious candy-coated double-tracked Beatlesque vocals, lovely melodic twists and turns, and great guitars. The songs expertly ride the line between sounding so classically retro but still fresh and contemporary. A new Toms album? Yes please.
Apparently record rush contestants would spend hours working out just how to manoeuvre around the store to get maximum vinyl-grabbing results. Today I’m just going let my fingers do the walking … online. Meanwhile you can rush to check out Andrew Weiss and Friends, Silver Sun, Herzog, Bleu and The Toms.