Monday, August 11, 2008

Frequent Spins (2008.6)

A somewhat abbreviated installment of Frequent Spins this time around, but at least it hasn't been 2 1/2 months between entries.

Asia - Phoenix
This album falls somewhere closer in quality to their sophomore album, Alpha, than to the much more satisfying self-titled debut. But, it also so perfectly combines progressive/arena rock with what I'm hearing as a hint of America-inspired soft rock, that it's almost brilliant. Ok, maybe that's a stretch. But, considering my recent inclination towards prog, you had to figure something new along these lines was going to catch my ear. Call it a guilty pleasure or whatever, but I've been enjoying this album, the first in 25 years by the band's original lineup of John Wetton, Steve Howe, Carl Palmer and Geoff Downes.

The Baseball Project - Volume 1: Frozen Ropes and Dying Quails
Of course, I've already written about this one. Check out my August 6 post, Frozen Ropes and Dying Quails.

Brendan Canning [Broken Social Scene Presents] - Something For All of Us
My biggest complaint with this one is, do I file it under Broken Social Scene or Brendan Canning? Well, since I've taken to sorting my electronic music files in the same alphabetical order that Windows Explorer does (i.e. by first name in the case of solo artists), the difference isn't that dramatic. This album could very well be, to the BSS Presents series, what Ace Frehley's contribution was to the Kiss "solo" albums.

The Hold Steady - Stay Positive
It's been written that The Hold Steady have lost a bit of their edge, and seem to have achieved their ambition of becoming a full-fledged arena rock band. I'm not sure I quite see this. Yes, the songs on Stay Positive are a little less edgy, the album title being kind of a testament to that. True, Craig Finn strays from his standard formula of weaving third-person tales about characters named Charlemagne, Hallelujah and Gideon. Regardless, while this record doesn't quite approach the brilliance of Boys and Girls in America, or even Separation Sunday for that matter, the quality of the tunes remains strong, although maybe they've reached a point where they're not as refreshing an indie take on classic rock as they used to be.

Paul Westerberg - 49:00
The title of this home-made recording has several meanings. It's intended to mark Westerberg's 49th birthday, is available online only for 49 cents (although Amazon is said to be the only outlet that's agreed to offer it at that price), and it was released on July 19th, also known, in Paul's strange world, as June 49th. You would think that it also means that it's exactly 49 minutes long, but this is not the case. It's actually one track, lasting 43 minutes and 55 seconds. The production is intentionally poor, songs weave in and out and overlay each other, and chaos generally abounds. But, it's just the kind of chaos that defines him and makes Westerberg so lovable.

Also spin-worthy
Nat Baldwin - Most Valuable Player
Aimee Mann - @#%&*! Smilers


  1. Asia ... Didn't they do "The Final Countdown" and "Eye of the Tiger"? ;) But seriously, "Heat of the Moment" is an awesome treadmill song.

  2. "Heat of the Moment" is basically a cross between "The Final Countdown" and "Eye of the Tiger"...great song, of course.