Hot off the presses: new music! Better said, new music that is worth your time.
Liam Gallagher – Why Me? Why Not. – 14 tracks / 51 minutes
The former Oasis frontman’s second post-Beady Eye album doesn’t live up to As You Were, but it has plenty to enjoy.
First of all, just a quick hot take: you guys, Oasis was so, so good. OK, moving on…
It seems you can’t read anything about Liam or Noel Gallagher without the other brother being brought up. Whether they like it or not, they will always be compared to each other, this intense sibling rivalry that neither the media nor their own vitriol will let die. I have never felt it necessary to pick a side, in fact instead of clamoring for an Oasis reunion I am frankly enjoying getting twice as much Oasis-esque output. With Noel deciding to release numerous EPs this year instead of a proper album, this is Liam’s time to shine – which he does here, sort of.
Leadoff track “Shockwave” is the catchiest tune on the record, and is sweet, sweet Britpop to the max. The guitar riff drifts along under massive drums and Liam’s signature vocal excellence on what reminds me of How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb-era U2. On “Once” Liam laments the gift of hindsight that comes with maturity and aging, and finds him crooning over acoustic guitar that “it was easier to have fun when we had nothing, nothing much to manage, back when we were damaged”.
“Now that I’ve Found You” is exactly what you are imagining it is, and although it isn’t his best, it works and would have fit in nicely on his excellent solo debut. Liam brags and boasts about his “baby” who “fills up his sky like a halo around the sun” on “Halo”, which is carried by some up-tempo drums and keys and features one of the best guitar solos on the album. “Misunderstood” is pure Gallagher/Oasis goodness, and for just over four minutes the world seems to be just fine – Oasis still exists and everything is going to be all right after all.
Key Tracks: “Shockwave”, “Once”, “Misunderstood”
Spotify album link: https://open.spotify.com/album/6iInyjotj1rYpx3vbX0MxX?si=Q-dZqeEJR1-r4W_mwzJwIQ
Foo Fighters – 00050525 Live in Roswell – 7 tracks/ 37 minutes
Yet another live EP from the Foo Fighters vault – this one is the best yet.
This review will be short and sweet, since there are no new songs here but rather the latest in a seemingly endless stream of live releases from Dave Grohl and company in 2019. On this recording from Roswell, New Mexico in the summer of 2005, Dave is in full rock-star form and having a blast. He gleefully screams his lungs out repeatedly and even makes a joke about being inspired by the crowd’s bright green clothing and lights to try ecstasy. No one actually believes him, of course, and that’s the point.
The band behind him (led by the always-terrific Taylor Hawkins on the drum kit) are in top shape and the crowd is loving every second of it. “Free Me” sounds big and mean here, and the slow burn of “All My LIfe” is given an injection of life. But the crowning achievement here (and reason for die-hard Foo fans to be drooling) is the ten-minute version of an oft overlooked track from There is Nothing Left to Lose: “Stacked Actors”.
Key Tracks: “Stacked Actors”, “All My Life”, “In Your Honor”
Spotify album link: https://open.spotify.com/album/6iFXM1iObT8c8CnOxpk9A5?si=KURE9QjrTvSBSUwXRaJ2LQ
Andrew Combs – Ideal Man
On his second 2019 effort, Andrew takes a more rock-oriented approach. I appreciate his versatility, but this collection doesn’t live up to the high standard set on Worried Man. However, there are highlights, including the Auerbach-inspired 70s pop/rock of “Stars of Longing” and “Hide and Seek”, a marvelous lovesick ballad with a killer bassline. Also check out “Dry Eyes” which starts with an aggressive wall of sound and conjures thoughts of Ray LaMontagne’s Ouroboros album, as well as the elegant and earnest love song “Like a Feather”.
All in all, there is more good than bad here, and the man can certainly pen a fine ballad. One thing is for certain, though: his album cover game needs some serious help.
Sun Blood Stories – Haunt Yourself
The local (Boise) rockers bring a wide ranging sound on their third LP, with uneven results. Their instrumental game is strong, as both “Time” and “See You on the Other Side” are trippy and definitely rawk. The psyched out “Up Comes the Tunnel” is another highlight.
Blink 182 – NINE
The luster – for me at least- is gone and aside from the quick and punky “Generational Divide” I found this to be a pretty pedestrian.
Brittany Howard – Jaime
Fans of Alabama Shakes be forewarned: this does not sound anything like the music Brittany makes at her day job. After the catchy opener “History Repeats” I didn’t hear any real gems.
Keane – Cause and Effect