Real Rock Report

August 26, 2011

THE BANGLES – SWEETHEART OF THE SUN (review)

Filed under: Rock And Roll — J.S.L. @ 703p08

The Bangles Sweetheart of the sun is a throw back album for sure but not the Walks Like An Egyptian era, were talking 1965 go-go boots groovy pop drenched in maple syrup production. This is an interesting,well produced and mature record for Susanna Hoffs, Vicki and  Debbi Peterson. S.O.T.S  will be released Sept 27th 2011. There are so many good things to talk about with this collection I will keep it simple: If you ever liked The Bangles then buy it! If you are a fan of 60′s pop then buy it! All of the songs are perfect for this record keeping the continuity at all times. Tons of oohs and ahhs, lots of fuzzy guitars and great bass lines, big drums, great vocals and harmonies. What more do you want? Although all the songs are strong the winner hear upon the first few listens is I’ll Never Be Through With You a super sweet pop ballad with an infectious chorus and a vocal quality that can make you melt. I don’t know if it was intentional or not but the first track Anna Lee (Sweetheart Of The Sun) starts with riff straight out of The Who’s Tommy Overture (1969) and ends with Open My Eyes that has riff straight from The Who’s Can’t Explain (1964) Whether is was intentional or sub conscious it has a nice way of framing the record because it is only a moment.  Other honorary moments include The Mommas And The Poppas, Jefferson Airplane and of course The Beatles. The funny thing is even with this being a intentionally nostalgic project this record has a weird way of still feeling current. I can honestly say that this record completely surprised me in its complexity and field of vision. Strange thing is, In my opinion this is the best record by The Bangles yet… I know, I don’t know what that means either.

Great record!

4 (out of 5)

J.S.L.

August 21, 2011

BOB MOULD – SEE A LITTLE LIGHT The Trail Of Rage And Melody (Book Review)

Filed under: Rock And Roll — J.S.L. @ 703p08

Bob Mould wrote a book. It’s an autobiography and it’s as honest as one person’s recollection of their life could be; an unflinching time travel from his humble and dysfunctional beginnings, to fathering a generation of musicians, to ultimately opening his heart for self-discovery and survival.

First off, if you are a fan of Hüsker Dü, Sugar or Bob Mould the solo artist – or really if you are a fan of any “alternative” music – this book is a must-read. Bob gives details on recording seminal works, and glimpses behind the curtain of a wild ride that started in the gutter and took him to the big stage. It is indeed a trail of rage and melody. I have been a huge fan of this man’s work since I was but a wee sprout and I loved that he took me back to 1980′s when alternative was too young to yet have a name. The book is chronological, which is the best way to digest this story. I don’t want to give anything away so what I will say is that the first three quarters of the book focuses mostly on music and personal relationship struggles. The last quarter is mostly about Bob Mould the gay man. Although I can’t personally identify with this part of the story, I still applaud him for his honesty and for putting himself out there so we can learn a little – and, who knows – maybe this book can help some people who are confused or need a little nudge to be strong in the face of intolerance.

The last quarter is also the part of his life where he was making records I felt the need to apologize for… Some good songs, but Cher vocal effects.. Really? Disco beats… Really? Whatever. He has given us so much that he’s entitled to grow however he wants. That being said, his last record, Life And Times, is a return to form with a splash of electronica thrown in seamlessly. It is a wonderful album by the master.   I remember when he was forced to come out of the closet, and I (along with everyone else in the music world) was like… duh. We all knew and didn’t care. That’s the great thing about music: it can transcend.

Bob does lament that he was worried that coming out would make people rethink his songs. Speaking as a straight man, that just didn’t happen. I identify with his lyrics and the feelings that I get when I hear them. That they weren’t necessarily about a man and a woman doesn’t ever enter the equation… they’re just words.

This book is fearless, and it is a wonderful read about a flawed person with the talent to reach people through songs and stories, while finding a way to have peace as he learns how to quiet his demons. The only sad part is that after reading this book, I now believe that there will never be a Hüsker Dü reunion.

Bob Mould is an American treasure, and needs to be honored as such. It’s weird: I don’t know Bob Mould, yet I feel like I grew up with him and I am very proud of him.  This book is just another chapter in his life, and I’m psyched to see what’s next!

5 (out of 5)

J.S.L.

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