Details about Bob Dylan‘s upcoming album Tempest, his 35th, are trickling out, but for now let’s just talk about this: Is this his worst album cover? It’s a strong contender, mainly due to the red font, which looks like something from an ’80s direct-to-video sex thriller or Carly Simon album.
It’s (almost) summer in the city; perfect weather for listening to Versus, a band I’ve been wanting to write about on RTH for a while now.
In one light, Versus were among the more prominent also-rans of ’90s indie-rock. As this article points out, they were maybe not as distinctive, unique and rock-crit-friendly as Pavement, Superchunk, Guided by Voices, and others. But they were reliable and breezy. They had a great handle on guitar parts that moved seamlessly between grinding and jangly. Their songs were often briskly rhythmic and effortlessly melodic—sometimes even heart-rending—without ever devolving into fussy, overarranged prock.
The band has always been led by its two singers, guitarist Richard Baluyut (right, above) and bassist Fontaine Toups (center). For most of the band’s existence, Richard’s brother Ed (left) has played drums. Arguably, the band’s best albums are the ones that featured another Baluyut brother, James (not pictured) on second guitar.
Maybe what I like most about Versus is the way they come across as cool and urbane and yet folks-next-door. This was the great thing about indie-rock, before it became all about beards, NPR, and acoustic guitars. Discovering and re-discovering Versus is like discovering and re-discovering the city all over again. Not a particular city, necessarily; just the idea of The City as a place where you can meet like-minded individuals, have your horizons subtly expanded and so forth. This music makes me want to go to coffeeshops and used bookstores and get a job in the doomed field of alternative-weekly journalism all over again.
I’ve received yet another unintentionally hilarious press release. Or maybe it’s just me. That second sentence is especially potent. (And
grammatically a little ambiguous, although the comma makes it mostly okay, I guess.) Ah, the life of an Oliver!
Aerosmith Keyboardist Russ Irwin’s Love Letter to NYC
The *NY Daily News* premiered Aerosmith touring member Russ Irwin’s video for his first single, an ode to his hometown called “Manhattan” from his new solo record ‘Get Me Home.’ Irwin told them about the inspirations for his “retro modern piano record that takes a lot from the blues,” and his recent appearances on *The Real Housewives of NYC. *Read more and see the official video here: http://nydn.us/NulL6g
AOL’s Noisecreep spoke with Irwin about his early career and reveals that he co-wrote Aerosmith’s next single, “What Could Have Been Love” (from their forthcoming album ‘Music From Another Dimension!’). “It’s a hard rock ballad and it’s very McCartney-ish. I think people are gonna love it,” Irwin says. Read the full interview here: http://aol.it/OAffZL
It’s taken me years to develop a real of appreciation of Hitchcock. This is weird, given my love for many eccentric British songwriters. But I think I’m finally on my way, thanks to the most banal reason possible: A very basic, maybe even dumbed-down greatest hits album.
However, I have a request for those of you are already in the pro-Hitchcock camp. Recommend three (3) albums for me: one from the ’80s, one from the ’90s, and one from 2000 onward. I will listen to them on Spotify, and perhaps later purchase them.
Caveats: Don’t recommend any Soft Boys. I’m pretty sure those albums are already in our house somewhere. Also, I already have I Often Dream of Trains, so you can skip that one too. I used to have Jewels for Sophia. I thought it was pretty good.
I didn’t know about this ad campaign until I noticed it this evening, while holiday shopping in Center City. For the record, it doesn’t bother me that Bryan Ferry is now in H&M ads with his son. It just seems odd to me; really, Bryan should not be appearing in ads for clothes that I can afford.