Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Lou Barlow - Goodnight Unknown (Merge 2009) / Sons of Hercules - A Different Kind of Ugly (Saustex Media 2009)

Well, I said I'd be less prolific, so here's your first post on records that have already been reviewed endlessly elsewhere.

Lou Barlow - Goodnight Unknown (Merge 2009)

One of the things I've always loved about Barlow is his ability to embrace his own myth. The testimonial sticker on the front of this record, usually a quote from Pitchfork or Rolling Stone or some other piece of shit, reads, "A cross between my later work with Folk Implosion and my earlier work with Sebadoh to my ears, anyway." The quote is attributed to Lou Barlow. Cracks me up.

His dsecription isn't far from the truth in many places, but the record contains a liberal dose of the cleaned up acoustica of his last album "Emoh". No problem, here. Fuck the fan backlash - it was a damn good record, even it it wasn't "lo-fi". Get your heads out Sebadoh's ass, idiots.

That being said, this record has something for every Barlow fan. The strongest track is the opener, "Goodnight Unknown", but there's really not a bad cut on here in spite of its ups and downs.

3.5 out 4 mopey kids

Sons of Hercules - A Different Kind of Ugly (Saustex Media 2009)

I love garage rock, and The Sons of Hercules are VERY good at garage rock. By the same token, there's something like going to a renaissance festival when listening to a garage rock record or going to a garage rock show in 2010. Yeah, it's good. Yeah, it gets the blood pumping. Yeah, it's been riding a revival wave since the mid 1990's. Maybe it's just me. Maybe I'm just getting old. But there are currently 10 bands out there doing more interesting stuff than garage rock for every 1 good garage rock band, and there are literally hundreds of garage rock bands in every burg that can be called a "city" in this country. Mostly really bad ones.

Certainly The Sons have earned their place in the pantheon of great American garage rock bands that kicked off as a response to The British Invasion. But at the end of the day it's still just garage rock. Don't hate me too much - I've been in almost nothing but garage bands for 25 years.

On a final, probably unnecessary point - it's hard for me to like this band. Frontman Frank Pugliese has been nothing but a dismissive prick to me since we met when my band opened for the Sons at Liberty Lunch way back in the mid-1990's. I've met four musicians that were in bands that opened for The Sex Pistols on their ill fated American tour - Alejandro Escovedo, T. Tex Edwards, Penelope Houston, and Frank Pugliese. Frank's the only one who seems to think such a distinction matters for shit. Call me a petty fuck. Call him one. I really don't care.

2 out 4 Frank Puglieses

Until next time,


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