Sound and Vision from the Smithereens

Below is a clip containing some (grainy) still photos of the Smithereens onstage at the 2009 Charlotte Pop Fest. The audio is a portion of the song “Any Other Way” performed at the show. As Pat DiNizio explained, there’s not yet an official studio recording of the song available, but “someday” there might be. In

Album Review: The Smithereens Play Tommy

The Smithereens are well-known rock fans. Their unique, canny take on rock music is informed by everyone from the Four Freshmen (drummer Dennis Diken cites them as a large-looming influence) to Black Sabbath (guitarist Pat DiNizio wrote a tribute of sort to Iommi and Co. on the first ‘Reens LP). And their affection for rock

Album Review: The Forty Nineteens – New Roaring Twenties

If you’re in the mood for unassuming, rocking, silly and un-self-conscious rock ‘n’ roll, The Forty Nineteens might have just the thing for you. This California quintet swims in the Smithereens end of the pool, with hard-charging songs that keep the melodic quotient high. The band’s rockabilly character is kept hidden on the winning opener

Album Review: The Tummies — 9:30 Girl

I love beat groups. Cue up anything from early Beatles to obscure ‘60s acts like freakbeat combo the Renegades (you haven’t lived until you’ve heard their cover of Bill Haley and His Comets’ “Thirteen Women”) to – arguably – the Smithereens, and you’ll get my rapt attention. The high-energy, enthusiastic vibe wins me over almost

Album Review: Juniper Shelley — Juniper

I should admit right up front that I look with skepticism upon an album featuring a 15-year-old girl. It’s simply that I don’t expect the music to be aimed at (nor of any great appeal to) the particular demographic to which I belong. “Yeah, well, buddy, that’d be your loss,” the universe seems to tell

Album Review: Iron City Houserockers – Have a Good Time … But Get Out Alive!

There’s a gritty, heartland strain of rock ‘n’ roll that has persisted through the decades. Bruce Springsteen’s best material is an exemplar of the style; shorn of artifice and filigree, it’s about visceral emotions and musical muscle. Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes did the same kind of thing, as did the Smithereens, though in

Album Review: The Grip Weeds — Giant on the Beach (Deluxe Anniversary Edition)

Without delving too deeply into the semantics of the phrase, defining power pop can be a daunting proposition. There are some fine if a tad lightweight acts whose music gets the power pop tag. But if one goes back to some of its earliest uses – namely when Pete Townshend may or may not have

Hundred-word Reviews for December 2019, #2

With the end of 2019 on the horizon, I figure now’s as good a time as any to bring things up to date with another batch of quick reviews. In this edition: all new music, ten titles. Blues, powerpop, jazz and more. All worth your time. Maybe even a Great Gift Idea™. Happy holidays! Coco

Your Favorite Thing: Sugar’s ‘File Under: Easy Listening’ at 25

By the time Bob Mould debuted his rock trio Sugar in 1992, he was a well-known figure in music. With his previous group, Hüsker Dü, Mould had been a key figure in the hardcore/underground rock scene of the 1980s. But the Minneapolis band always stood apart from some of its more one-dimensional compatriots; the songs

Hundred-word Reviews for August 2019, Part One

It’s that time again: reviews of new music that passes the rigorous “smash or trash” competition happening periodically at my CD changer. Diplomats of Solid Sound — A Higher Place First off, let’s give credit where it’s due and acknowledge that Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings are owed a debt for reintroducing soul to today’s