Tag Archive | Strange Change Machine

Gail’s Top 10 CDs of 2010!


I’ll say one thing about 2010: it was a better fucking year for new music here at the Chickpad.  Some of you might recall that when compiling my “Year End” list of 2009, I couldn’t even come up with ten CDs that I could admit to having listened to, let alone liked. That was weird, but what can I say? Today’s music just isn’t yanking my chain the way new records used to get me all hot and bothered, even as recently as, say, two or three years ago. Fans of the Rad Blog know that I wrote about Art and various facets of Pop Culture exponentially more often than I ever wrote about new music or bands that were turning me on. The times, they are a-changin. By semi-switching alliances from Music to Art I know I missed out on a lot, but I did discover ten aural gems this year that I think you should have in your record collection.

MGMT, Congratulations

I tagged the sophomore effort by Brooklyn’s MGMT as Album of the Year way back when it was first released at the beginning of 2010, and my mind hasn’t changed. In 2010, who else but MGMT is releasing albums crammed full of homages to surf music and Brian Eno? No one else, except maybe…

Mark Ronson & The Business, Record Collection

Everything old is new again! The thoroughly sublime and appropriately entitled Record Collection is the best album of 80s music in twenty-five years!

Posies, Blood Candy

Blood Candy proves that The Posies are the closest thing we’ll ever see to a second incarnation of The Beatles.

Cameron Meshell, Prizefighter

Shreveport, LA in 2010 is a very long way from London, England in the 70s, but that sleepy little town has nevertheless managed to spawn singer / songwriter / multi-instrumentalist Cameron Meshell, whose blissfully malleable vocals conjure the heady ghost of the late, great Freddie Mercury like no ouija board ever could. Discover Cameron Meshell at his finest on his knockout second full-length release, Prizefighter.

Gripweeds, Strange Change Machine

Best. Sixties. Revivalist. Band. Ever.

Ratt, Infestation

Shamelessly unapologetic worshipper of the ’80s Metal that I am, if you’d told me last year that in 2010 I’d be putting an album by Ratt, Los Angles-based icons of Hair Metal, on my list of favorite CDs, even I would have laughed you off the face of the Earth. So no one was more surprised than me to hear Ratt, valiantly holding on to most of its original line up (RIP Robin Crosby), sounding as on top of the rock world as they did in 1987, serving up a collection of classic metal songs with more visceral sex appeal and crunchy, loud guitars than you could imagine. Someone tell me where these guys are hiding their time machine.

Hawkwind, Blood of the Earth

Hawkwind have been a band for longer than most people reading this have even been alive. I am not fronting when I say that the songs on Blood of The Earth will appeal to all genres of metal, prog and hard rock fans of bands as varied as Zodiac Mindwarp, Jimi Hendrix, The Pretty Things, Yes and Nine Inch Nails. Must own!

American Bang

Except for MGMT, southern rockers American Bang are the only “new” band on this list, because they kick ass and take names. I mean, don’t they just look like they rock? If I were 25 years old I’d be in the front row of their shows throwing my panties on the stage. Plus their bass player writes a food blog!

Robert Plant & The Band of Joy

This collection of Americana covers by rock god legend Robert Plant and his amazing Band of Joy makes the list because their magical show at the Bowery Ballroom this winter was the best show I attended all year. Led Zeppelin!

 

Bryan Ferry, Olympia

It’s about his voice. Olympia hasn’t exactly checked in as a critics’ favorite, but as far as I’m concerned, the former Roxy Music front man could sing a menu and I’d get on board.

How about you guys? Feel free to leave your top picks in the comments!

Rad CD of the Week: The Grip Weeds, Strange Change Machine

As the past is reinvented to serve present needs, modern pop music continues to suffer from an absence of historical revisionism dating back farther than last Tuesday. It’s not such a mystery why anyone over the age of 17 (wait, make that ‘anyone with taste,’ which is not always a given) would probably rather listen to music from 20, 30 or even 40 years ago than anything currently stagnating on “the charts” – which haven’t been interesting or relevant since you were an egg. That’s why it’s so refreshing to be able to moderate my regular listening sessions of Love’s Forever Changes and Mania, the lone album by Australia’s The Lucy Show (remember them?) with liberal doses of New Jersey’s best, not-well-known-enough band, The Grip Weeds. A rocking quartet comprised of brothers Kurt and Rick Reil (drums and guitar respectively), lead guitarist Kristin Pinell and bassist Michael Kelly, The Grip Weeds play psychedelic garage rock in the vein of classic sixties icons such as Love and The Byrds, while one-upping modern genre revivalists like The Three O’Clock, Jellyfish and The Smithereens. And, lucky you, they have newly released a double CD called Strange Change Machine, which is crammed with awesome songs to make your head spin and your heart skip a beat.

A double disc release is a rare thing these days, especially one as strong as Strange Change Machine, which contains a stellar selection of 24 tracks – all but one original compositions! We’re talking all-killer-no-filler here: a phrase I don’t think I’ve used since Queen was putting out new albums. The lone cover, a faithful interpretation of Todd Rundgren’s classic “Hello, It’s Me” adds a layer of lushness while maintaining the original’s understated, bittersweet melancholy. I was fortunate to catch a live gig by the Weeds a couple of weeks ago on the Friday that also happened to be the birthday of Sir Paul McCartney and they totally kicked ass. I know I’ve already declared MGMT’s Congratulations to be the best album of the year, but I’ll readily add now that Strange Change Machine is riding that CD’s coattails for how much it is loved and enjoyed by me. Making for excellent summer listening, I strongly recommend adding this gem to your collection as soon as possible. Strange Change Machine is available from iTunes and for download or purchase on Amazon.