There is a new Sparks record out called "Hippopotamus" that I think is quite brilliant, and yet I am struggling to write about it, other than to say, it might be one of the best records of their career and of the year.
The Rails, who put out my favorite record of 2014 and 2015, "Fair Warning," have just released "Other People," which is failing, at least after four solid spins, to do what "Fair Warning" did for me. Again, I've tried to expand on this for a week now and cannot, other than to say, it's just okay.
I read a glowing review in Mojo about a new live record from Steve Winwood called "Greatest Hits Live." It's just the type of package I can live without- a compilation of live tracks, with no information at all. No dates. No venues. Nothing. Yet, I was intrigued by the review and by the very low price for a 4 LP set, so I impulsively grabbed a copy...after a few cocktails. It arrived yesterday and boy, if it isn't as wonderful as Jeff Tamarkin says it is in Mojo. Heavy on Traffic tunes, a stellar band, and a fantastic recording. I have to say, this is really the surprise hit of the summer. The tunes are faithful, yet reworked enough to keep things exciting. Two Blind Faith tunes, a Buddy Miles cover and Spencer Davis tracks, all really cook.
There is also a new Neil Finn record out, which is monumental for me. I listened once with headphones and was not moved to go back a second time. I don't believe this is the end of this story. My hard copy has been pre-ordered and I will begin again when it arrives.
I've been binge-listening to Frank Zappa after not listening to Frank Zappa for years and years, no thanks to someone I know who played so much Zappa that he made me hate Zappa. I'm over it, finally, and these new Zappa releases, remastered from original analog tapes by Chris Bellman and Bernie Grundman are simply stunning.
I hope to snap out of this malaise and post on a more regular basis. Until then, these short bursts are all I've got.
Grant Hart, R.I.P.