Sunday, March 30, 2008

Review: David Brookings "Obsessed"

"Obsessed" (2007) marks David Brooking's fourth release, and this singer/songwriter is truly deserving of a big break to launch him into the national spotlight. David has all the markings of the next Scot Sax, Branden Blake, or Warren Zanes, but is more overtly influenced by the sunny pop of the 70s. Each track is a mini-pop masterpiece, instantly burning a memory into your brain. It is hard to listen to the disc and not emerge from the experience in a better, happier mood.

Aside from designing some cool melodies and harmonies that would make the Partridge Family envious, David plays all the guitars and piano on this release...a genuine multi-talent. Things blast into action with "I'm Not Afraid," an infectious melodic pop rocker. Most of us who love to create music as much as we enjoy listening to it will find a lot they can relate to in the title track. Harpsichord is an unexpected but effective addition onto the quirky pop track, "What's Wrong With Nikki?", making this one sound more Partridge Family than ever. I favor the more straight up pop rock feel of "I'm Not Afraid" and "Get Behind Me", but the beautifully simple acoustic ditty "McKinley Gail" (a sweet tribute to his newborn daughter) and the hauntingly memorable "When It Goes Down" help round out the CD so not every track sounds the same, but still retain David's trademark sound.

It is my sincere hope that David's "obsession" never fades. It would be a substantial loss to the power pop community.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 2, 4, 5, 10-12

David Brookings on MySpace. Official site.

Review: The Connells "Weird Food & Devastation"

The Connell brothers were getting as close to the big time as they probably will in the early 90s. The Connells were enjoying 15 minutes of fame thanks to 120 Minutes generously playing likable tracks like "Slackjawed" and "'74-'75" from 1993's "Ring" CD. But their full-length follow-up, 1996's "Weird Food & Devastation," which sounds like a title inspired by an unfortunate trip to an unsanitary sushi stand, failed to keep them in the spotlight. I've recently found this one in the bargain bin and decided to investigate why.

It didn't take too many tracks to realize why The Connells could not sustain the success "Ring" had initiated. The record starts to get good around, oh, TRACK 11. What happened, gents? Things get off to a bad start with the pop grunge of "Maybe," which sounds like it was recorded with the same crap R.E.M. used to record their awful sounding "Monster" CD...probably one of the worst distorted guitar tones of all time. Checking out the linear notes, I find Scott Litt (of R.E.M.) mixed that track! If sounding as bad as "Monster" was their goal, they accomplished it.

All is not a loss, though. "Fifth Fret" and "Hang On" are pleasant enough mid-tempo nuggets, and "Back to Blue" is a rather nice ballad. My favorite is the aforementioned "Let It Go" where the Connells' finally sound inspired and their pop genius and complex harmonies are resurrected. But my smile quickly faded as the next track downshifted them into right back into the boring and bland.

iPOD-worthy: 3, 7, 8, 11

The Connells on MySpace. Official site.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Review: The Box Social "Get Going"

Based on the mp3s they have streaming on their MySpace page, I was very excited to get 2007's "Get Going" in the mail from Madison's The Box Social. These boys did not disappoint, and have recorded a gem of a CD that is consistently good from track to track and just plain damn fun to listen to again and again. Then again, one should expect nothing less from a band named after a line from a Simpsons episode.

"Get Going" is an impressive full-length debut by this indie band and is a creating a deserved buzz. Some tracks have a sound I characterize as "slop pop," with a definite "Tim"-era Replacements feel, mixed with the more contemporary outfits like Fountains of Wayne. Other tracks sound a bit sparse, but The Box Social make it work because it only serves to let their pop sensibilities shine through, much like the better songs from Spoon. Others are just straight up alternate rock tracks a la Local H or Weezer. Tight songs, interesting words, catchy hooks, and great harmonies are omnipresent, and should be more than enough to entertain the ears that flank the eyes of those who read this blog.

Ironically, the juicy lead off track, "Ginger Ale," sounds a lot like The Refreshments. Things really kick into high gear with the instantly likable track 3, "Big T," a good contender for a single. Other stand out tracks for me include the acoustic driven "Galoshes" (track 6) and" A New Low" (track 10). Just love it when the whole gang joins in near the end of "Galoshes" feel like you're right in the bar with them, ready to jump up on the stage and sing along while swaying and swinging your beer.

The Box Social comes off with the cool confidence of a band that has already hit it big. Don't miss out - give them a listen today.

iPOD-worthy: 1-3, 6, 8, 10

The Box Social on MySpace. Official site.

Trivia: what does "box social" mean? Depends where you are from.

Review: The Rosemarys "The Rosemarys"

Sorry guys, I just don't get this one at all. The Rosemarys put out this self-titled release on RCA in 1994, during the hey day of hip new wave rock and psychedelic bands like Primal Scream, the Soup Dragons, and Stone Roses. The Rosemarys play benign "fuzz" rock that lacks direction, and the front man sounds like he is singing underwater while wearing concrete shoes. Nothing memorable here...

The Rosemarys made a very minor mark by getting their track "Catherine" on the soundtrack to the comedy PCU, a movie just about as memorable...

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Review: Verbow "White Out"

Growing up, the radio used to be my best friend. DJs used to turn us on to great new music from an seemingly endless stream of new artists. I never thought days would come where I would hate the radio. But now music is merely sandwiched in-between a zillion commercials and asinine conversation from the most unfunny dolts you've ever heard. The 5 or 6 songs we do manage to hear are usually lackluster beyond words, and repeated every day for weeks as if these are the only musicians on the planet.

I have yet another reason today to hate failed to introduce me to Verbow. How can such a great band with a unique but assessable sound go so unnoticed? I found the 2000 Verbow CD "White Out" on the Island of Misfit CDs ($1 bin at used CD store) - a true diamond in the rough. My incentive for taking a risk on this CD was that for some reason I remembered that Bob Mould had a connection with this group. I recently refreshed my memory and discovered that Bob recorded their previous record, "Chronicles" in 1997.

The first 7 tracks of "White Out" just pick you up and don't let you. A fantastic vibe and momentum carries these tracks along and sweeps you away in their melodic current. I enjoy the vocals a lot more than I do Bob Mould, but Verbow certainly shares a talent for writing great heartfelt rock songs like Bob. I love the well placed cello throughout the songs - one might expect this on the slower numbers, but they can make it rock too! Nearly every track boasts beautiful harmonies, thought-provoking lyrics, jamming riffs, and catchy choruses.

While nearly every song is great, "New History" is a track that should have been huge at radio. This one was produced by AOR and rock genius Chris Lord-Alge. "Ambulance" is another fine slice of mid-tempo pop rock. It is tragic the industry did them in with only 2 albums to show for it. One of the guys (Jason Narducy) has a new band called Rockets Over Sweden, but I have yet to check them out.

iPOD-worthy: 1-7, 11

Jason Narducy at MySpace.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Rare CD: Babylon A.D. "Babylon A.D."

Babylon A.D. was one of the hairbands that arrived a little late (1989) to the hairband party, but their self-titled CD is in demand and somewhat hard to find. As the seller describes, "Count on Babylon A.D.'s debut to get the job done if you crave in-your-face hooks, loud riffs and more attitude than a snotty 10-year old kid going on his 11th foster home. These second-division brats rock it loud with "Bang Go The Bells", "When The Hammer Swings Down" and more from the hell-raising days of the late 80s. A snug fit for anyone who already hangs Cry Wolf, Heavens Edge and XYZ in their musical wardrobe."

Here is what is so surprising: this CD usually only earns the seller about $20 (give or take a few bucks). However, a notable exception recently arose that has me confused. What kind of bidding war escalated here to let this one go for $53.99 on ebay (19 bids)? There doesn't appear to be anything super special about this particular disc. Lucky seller?

The CD is currently selling for $19.99 on Check now.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Rare CD: Alien Ant Farm "Greatest Hits" [1999]

"You are bidding on the 1999 independent release from Alien Ant Farm entitled Greatest Hits. This CD was released for a very limited time on the Chick Music label and is out of print. This CD is in near mint condition and contains early versions of the hits Movies and Smooth Criminal (referred to as Slick Thief on the CD) and These Days.

Tracks on this CD:

1. These Days
2.Pink Tea
4.Dole Roll
6.Solution Time
8.Nova Hands
10.Slick Thief"

Sold on ebay for $43.00 (13 bids)

Rare CD: Hoobastank "They Sure Don't Make Basketball Shorts Like They Use To..."

"Here is the rare, circa 1998
Hoobustank [Hoobastank]
out-of-print CD album, called
'They Sure Don't Make Basketball Shorts Like They Use To...'

Features 10 tracks, the band's great ORIGINAL indie debut!
Limited U.S. edition, issued by the band (RB05128H120-2)."

Sold for $92.00 on ebay (25 bids).

Rare CD: Dave Matthews Band "Tripping Billies"

"This is the Dave Matthews Band US Promo CD for Tripping Billies. This disc is cataloged as RDJ-64768-2 and includes the following tracks:

1) Tripping Billies 4:18 [Edit]
2) Tripping Billies 5:00 [Album Version]
3) Tripping Billies 5:28 [Live Version]
4) Tripping Billies 0:10 [Suggest Callout Hook]"

This one sold on ebay for $101.00 (6 bids).

Rare CD: Marvelous 3 "Hey! Album" ORIGINAL

"Both the CD and the insert are in mint condition. Hey! Album. VERY RARE independently released version with a different cover and 3 songs not on the major label version. Tracks: 1) You're So Yesterday 2) Freak of the Week 3) Until You See 4) Let Me Go 5) Every Monday 6) Indie Queen 7) Lemonade 8) #27 9) Just Wanna Go Home (NOT ON MAJOR LABEL VERSION) 10) Over Your Head 11) Mrs. Jackson 12) Fastboat (NOT ON MAJOR LABEL VERSION) 13) Cold as Hell (NOT ON MAJOR LABEL VERSION)."

This is the independent release of the album with the same title, from 1998. As a huge Butch Walker/Marv 3 fan, I'd love to hear those unreleased tracks. "Hey! Album" is about as good as modern AOR gets.

Sold for $152.50 on ebay (30 bids).

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Review: Eddie Money "Love and Money"

AOR master Edward Joseph Mahoney (Eddie Money) has quietly been churning out records since his huge comeback in the 80s. We've already covered the early 90s effort, "Right Here" and his shot at the "unplugged" bandwagon (read it here), and now we have 1995's "Love and Money".

I was pleasantly surprised by "Right Here" so was excited to get "Love and Money" on a swap for cheap. The record failed to chart and produced no Top 100 singles, and I hate to to say it, but I'm not surprised. This record is really flat and one of the weakest collection of songs the "Money Man" has ever brought to the table. Eddie really isn't rocking much on this one, there is no meat to the tracks, and the ballads are just boring. Overall, I had to struggle and compromise just to find 3 tracks worthy for (probably temporary) import onto the iPOD. Sorry Eddie, but this record left me feeling "short-changed".

iPOD-worthy: 1, 6, 7

Eddie Money - Official site.

Rare CD: Deon Estus "Spell"

"Spell" (1988) by Deon Estus is one of those so-called "rare" CDs that is actually quite easy to find, compared to most of those I feature on this blog. Deon Estus was the bassist for Wham! and George Michael's subsequent solo work. I am sure George pulled some strings (maybe some other things too) and got a solo record deal for his buddy Deon. The result is "Spell", which spawned the top 10 hit "Heaven Help Me," to which George makes significant vocal contributions.

A copy of this CD recently sold on ebay for $24.99 (with Buy It Now). It is going for $27.00 at Check now.

Like many others CDs, if you can find a copy still sealed in its longbox, you can make substantially more. A copy of Deon Estus "Spell" in the longbox sold for $68.00 on ebay (8 bids).

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Rare CD: Sara Bareilles "Careful Confessions"

Sara Bareilles is hot to trot right now, sitting pretty with "Love Song" in the Top 10 and a fairly good review from yours truly. "Careful Confessions" is her debut album, out of print since it first appeared in 2004. Get and sell while you can...I am sure this will be re-issued in some way given her popularity now and its value will go way down.

One sold for $127.95 on ebay (33 bids).

The CD must be in high demand. Has a page on, but no more are available at time of this post. Check now.

UPDATE 3-22-08: Another sells for $220.09 on ebay (27 bids)!

The insanity continues...
UPDATE 3/30/08 - one sells for $117.50 on ebay (24 bids)
UPDATE 3/30/08 - another sells for $152.50 on ebay (26 bids)
UPDATE 4/1/08 - a signed CD sells for $290.00 on ebay (55 bids) - no joke!

Rare CD: Soundtrack "American Anthem"

"This rare cd on the Atlantic label is the original soundtrack to the movie starring Janet Jones and Mitch Gaylord entitled American Anthem and features 11 tracks. These include: "Two Hearts" by John Parr, "Run To Her" by Mr. Mister, "Same Direction" by INXS, "Battle Of The Dragon" by Stevie Nicks, "Wings To Fly" by Graham Nash, " Take It Easy" by Andy Taylor, "Wings Of Love" by Andy Taylor, "Love And Loneliness" by Chris Thompson, " Angel Eyes" by Andy Taylor, "Arthur's Theme" by Alan Silvestri, Julie's Final" by Alan Silvestri."

One sold on ebay for $56.00 (17 bids). Buyer paid too much and could have gotten it for $45 on Check now.

UPDATE 5-1-08: One sells for $49.00 on ebay (8 bids).

Rare CD: SR-71 "Here We Go Again"

This is the hard to find third release (2004) by nu-metal band SR-71, who are best known for their 2002 "hit" called "Right Now." It can only be found as a Japanese import, which has a couple bonus tracks. Label:NIPPON CROWN

Track listing:

1. Axl Rose
2. In Your Eyes
3. Gone
4. 1985
5. Mosquito
6. Here We Go Again
7. All American
8. Blue Light Special Life
9. 15 Minute Idol
10. One
11. Everything
12. Blood and Bourbon
13. She Was Dead

And yes, the track "1985" is the same song later made famous by Bowling for Soup.

Two sold on ebay recently, one for $51.05 and another for $34.00. The latter one got lucky...the CD is going for $60 on Check now.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Review: Pat Monahan "The Last of Seven"

Pat Monahan solo = TRAIN WRECK

Train has gotten increasingly boring ever since their virtual masterpiece, "Drops of Jupiter." Now the lead singer Pat Monahan has put out a "solo" record that is no departure from Train...he's on the same track, one could say. The record is even more mellow and sleepy than the last Train release, and Pat steers the engine into tunnels that go nowhere melodically. Even notable guest star musicians can't breathe life into the snooze fest, which include Richie Sambora on "Someday" and Brandi Carlile on "Pirate on the Run." And who sings about pirates for Pete's sake? Did he wear a puffy shirt during the recording? Arrr. Pat's voice still sounds great, but the gospel choirs and fake beats and loops distract from it. And he left all the good songs at the station.

This record is getting 5 star reviews by many at Amazon. I just don't get it. What am I missing?

iPOD-worthy: 2

Official website.

Click here for the video for "Her Eyes"

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Rare CD: Court Jester "King For A Day"

"This is an original copy of the mega rare and sought after 1991 hair rock indie King For A Day from COURT JESTER. This one is for fans of Steelheart, Dokken, Tyketto and XYZ."

CD sold for $87.08 on ebay (14 bids).

The most surprising thing about this listing...there are fans of Steelheart?

Rare CD: Dave Matthews Band "Warehouse 5 Vol. 1"

"...extremely rare Dave Matthews Band - Warehouse 5 Vol. 1 CD. This was a part of the 2000 Warehouse package..."

The tracks are as follows:

1. Crush - Centrum; Worcester MA 12.7.98

2. Warehouse - Madison Square Garden; NYC 12.3.98

3. #41 - Centrum; Worcester MA 12.8.98

4. Say Goodbye - The Palace; Detroit MI 12.10.98

5. Two Step - Kohl Center; Madison WI 12.11.98

CD went for $89.00 on ebay (10 bids).

Rare CD: Nirvana "Had It All"

"Label: Madman
Catalog Number: (Madman 41)
Recorded performance: 10-25-91 - The Palace (Rock For Choice Benefit) - Hollywood, CA United States

Runtime: 62:36 / 18 Tracks"

CD sold for $96.00 on ebay (12 bids).

Rare CD: Pure Prairie League "Live! Takin' The Stage"

We've covered Pure Prairie League before; some of their more obscure CDs will earn you a nice profit. This one went for $105.00 on ebay (17 bids).

Currently selling for $145.00 on Check now.

Rare CD: Tori Amos "Bouncing Off Clouds" (CD single)

How much would you pay for a single track? How about $122.50? That is how much this Tori Amos CD single went for on ebay. Another went for $128.49 (same seller)

Rare CD: HIM "Razorblade Romance" (HER version)

The version of "Razorbloade Romance" that says "HER" instead of "HIM" is a rare find. This one went for $152.50 on ebay (15 bids).

Rare CD: Radiohead "Not My Fault"

"Radiohead "Not My Fault", a rare promotional CD from Capitol Records US in 2003. This CD includes a live performance from Electric Lady Recording Studios in NY on June 4, 2003 and was broadcast on KCRW in LA on June 26th, 2003 and Sounds Eclectic on July 20th, 2003. Track listing Intro, A Punch Up at a Wedding, I Might Be Wrong, I Will, Sail to the Moon, No Surprises, Interview, Interview, Go to Sleep, Karma Police, Everything in its Right Place, Fake Plastic Trees, There There, Outro."

Sold for $155.50 on ebay (18 bids).

Rare CD: Billy Idol "Live in Verona NY 9.3.2003"

"This is a brand new 2 disc set from the now defunct DiscLive company. These are very rare to come by as almost all pressings were less than 2500."

Sold for $172.57 on ebay (8 bids).

Rare CD: Metallica "Mandatory" (Promo)

"Original EXTREMELY RARE 1988 PROMOTIONAL release from Elektra Records. Long out of print and VERY SCARCE!!. This CD was released in 1989 to radio stations and was not sold in stores. Elektra/Asylum Records #PR8071-2."

Track Listing:
1. One
2. Master Of Puppets
3. For Whom The Bell Tolls
4. Seek & Destroy
5. Fade To Black
6. Welcome Home (Sanitarium)
7. The Thing That Should Not Be
8. Creeping Death

Sold for $182.50 on ebay (21 bids).

Rare CD: Almost Angels "Almost Angels"

"This is an original copy of the ultra hyper rare and obscure hair metal indie release from ALMOST ANGELS. Picture a heavier blend of Dokken, Leatherwolf, Pretty Maids and Know Illusion."

CD sold for $195.50 on ebay (24 bids).

Rare CD: Dave Matthews Band "Rapunzel" (Promo)

I don't know much about this one, but lots of rare DMB stuff is out there, some of which has been previously featured on our blog.

This one sold for $199 on ebay (But It Now option).

Rare CD: Heart Throb Mob "Hit List"

"This is as rare as a glam cd can be. This is an ORIGINAL PRESSING of Heart Throb Mob's 1993 cd "Hit List" that is BRAND NEW and STILL SEALED IN ITS ORIGINAL SHRINKWRAP! This band features Lonny Lovett (Dancer, Tilterworld, The Sinthetics, The B-Flix, The Superficials, currently of Still Standing) on vocals and the ultimate glam warrior Traci Michaelz (Candy Apple Queenz, Glamvestite Vampirez, Peppermint Creeps) on drums."

Sold for $250 on ebay (Buy It Now feature).

Rare CD: Re-Flex "Humanication"

We've covered the 80s dance pop group Re-Flex before, whose rare CD, "POLITICS OF DANCING" usually fetches over $100 on ebay. Now someone has auctioned a promo release by this group called "Humanication" - it sold for $311.66 on ebay (18 bids).

Rare CD: Nicholas Jonas "Nicholas Jonas"

Before the Jonas Brothers were formed, Nicholas Jonas (the youngest in the group) was slated to come out with his own solo release circa 2004.

This Daylight/INO Records/Columbia Pre-Release sold for $430 on ebay (32 bids).

Here's another one that sold for $275.03 on ebay (32 bids).

Rare CD: Tamar Davis "Milk and Honey"

Um, OK. For reasons unknown to me, this 2006 release by Tamar Davis is going for big bucks. Prince discovered this American Idol reject and had a big hand in this release (a quick look at the spelling of the songs titles will tell U Y).

A Japan import version recently went for $1,135.00 on ebay (23 bids). That is a lot of milk and honey.

Currently unavailable at Check now.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Review: The Meadows "First Nervous Breakdown"

I must be in jangle-pop heaven. Fresh off a healthy dose of the stuff from Feel, here comes the latest release from The Meadows (Jan, 2008). Continuing in the same vein as their wonderful debut, this duo (Todd Herfindal and Kevin Houlihan) cranks out 10 more nicely crafted pop rock tunes with a modest twist of alt country. Fine musicianship, excellent harmonies, thoughtful lyrics, and sing-a-long hooks on every track. This is a perfect CD for a drive on a clear sunny day. Kind of like The Jayhawks on caffeine.

Don't let the skulls on the CD cover fool you. Much like their name implies, this is pleasant pop rock through and through.

Standouts for me include the lead off track "Knowing Don't Change A Thing", "Used To Say" and "Hard To Leave". My singular just 10 songs, the Meadows leave you wanting more far too literally.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 4-10

The Meadows on MySpace. Official site.

Rare CD: Greg Kihn Band "Kihnspiracy"

Greg Kihn, who loves to title his albums with a play on his last name, is a virtual one hit wonder best known for "Jeopardy," which was so huge in the 80s that Weird Al made a parody of it. Of course, the Greg Kihn Band did have additional chart success, such as the earlier classic "The Breakup Song (They Don't Write 'Em)" from 1981. "Kihnspiracy" was released in 1983 and went to #15 on the BillBoard album chart, propelled by that "Jeopardy" hit, which just missed the #1 spot on the Hot 100.

Some of his CDs are quite rare and hard to come by. For example, a copy of this CD sold for $50.99 on ebay (5 bids).
It is currently going for $44.50 on Check now.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Review: Feel "Steps to Reach A Human"

I am now convinced there is something deeply wrong with a world that does not let a brilliant singer and songwriter like Scot Sax rule the music world. Scot is the mastermind behind some of the greatest power pop and rock records in the last decade or so, whether they be by Wanderlust, Feel, or his solo work. I dare you not to feel better after putting on a Scot Sax record when you are feeling down.

"Steps to Reach A Human" is Feel's third release (2006), and contains 12 more tracks of their trademark jangle-pop sound and spot on harmonies. Most are acoustic-driven nuggets of sunshine that stick in your head for good after one listen. This release is a must for fans of the Jayhawks or the Thorns, but don't get the wrong idea...Feel is more pop rock than alt country.

As with virtually all of Feel's stuff, I cannot find a track that I don't like! But the stand-outs for me include "Pattern", "All Things To Everyone", and "Warm It Up".

I've noticed a trivial mistake on my CD and wonder if it holds true for all of them: songs 6 and 7 are reversed on the CD, as are tracks 9 and 10.

iPOD-worthy: all tracks!

Feel on MySpace. Scot Sax on MySpace.
Scot Sax - official site.