Review: It's no secret to anyone who has done their homework on US alternative rock of the early 90s, and specifically East Coast alternative rock, that Galaxie 500 should have been much bigger. Nevertheless, they remain one of the most under-appreciated and overlooked bands of their era, a bolt of beautiful but raucous indie guitar stuff that only lasted four short years, and three albums, but really was something special.
This reissue of their live album, a recording of the final show of their last European tour, certainly reflects this point. Seeming to call on influences from relatively disparate sub-genres of the day - the end of post punk, bloody-nosed rock and, in many ways, something along the lines of what was happening thousands of miles away in Manchester at the time, it's a soaring stunner that has as much stadium drive (the epic 'Fourth of July') as it does woozy and weird experimentation ('Spook').
Review: "I'm from the 60s, the time of "Louie Louie" and "Little Latin Lupe Lu"," Jonathan Richman memorably quips on the opening to his 1992 classic, 'I, Jonathan'. He then tells us those days are gone, but we can still have parties, and those parties can still carry the spirit of those days. Little does he know it's his attitude, rather than the parties, we all rely on to keep those fires alive.
Simply considering Richman as a nostalgist is missing the point. When this record arrived he was 41, and while much of his career had been dedicated to recreating doo-wap, rhythm and blues and early surf rock 'n' roll, he'd also been a staunch critic of what would now be labelled toxic masculinity and, on 1975's 'The Modern Lovers', helped steer guitar culture towards new punkish horizons. Even if he did so wearing the trappings of traditionalists. A true legend, here giving us one of his finest acoustic gems.
Review: There must be a place in everyone's heart for passion projects. In art and music these endeavours often push boundaries we thought immovable, throw curveballs in directions we didn't realise existed and prove that just because we don't initially see something doesn't mean it isn't there, or isn't worth exploring. Los Angeles' Damaged Bug have outdone themselves on those terms here. 'Bug On Yonkers' is a suitably strange ode to the inimitable Michael Yonkers, taking his 'Goodbye Sunball' record and reworking it in a way the he'd appreciate. Known for oddball pop-folk-jazz-rock mutations, here we're given that but with fresh ears on task. 'Sold America' is a cacophonous, brass-fuelled punkish hoedown. 'In My Heart' is a tear-inducing, all is lost slice of sombre yet serene balladry, strings apparently crying over the record itself. 'I Tried' brings the psychedelic funk in generous, drummy helpings.