Dan Montgomery, Cast-Iron Songs and Torch Ballads (Fantastic Yes Records)
The overall takeaway from “Start Again,” the opening tune from the New Jersey-bred singer-songwriter’s seventh full-length record, is, if you ask me, redolent of Iggy Pop singing for Bread. So it’s vintage-sounding, taxicab-radio stuff, which is apparently the way he started his career, fresh from his teenage years, which were spent, from the age of 14, playing Grand Funk and Bad Company covers in bars, followed by a stint busking at coffee houses and such. The story here is that he “came into possession of a Danelectro [vintage type of guitar], plugged it into an amp and new songs immediately came pouring out,” which is sometimes all it takes to come up with a very inspired-sounding album. To pinpoint the music a little better, it’s floating-on-a-cloud Americana-rock, with some diversions into ’80s-pop-rock (the Dire Straits-ish “In For A Penny”), cowboy-hat jam-band grooving (“Lonesome Train”), early Bad Company (“Beaumont”) and things of that nature. It’s too sturdy (and sometimes too muddy) to be labeled a fedora-rock joint, so I’m down for it for what it is. A
Various Artists, Remmah Rundown (Remmah Records)
Just when I thought I was out of the techno club scene, they drag me back in, I tell you. This compilation comes to us from Northern Irish DJ, producer and label head Hammer, a.k.a. Rory Hamilton, who wants to clue us in to the electronic music scenes in Glasgow and Ireland, or at least the parts he’s familiar with. Like with basically any decent club mix, there’s plenty here to make your chillout experience better, which brings us to the part where I try to differentiate this stuff from early Diplo and all that kind of thing. I could fib for effect and say it’s jaw-droppingly innovative, these average-tempo dance beats, but let’s not bother; I’ve heard wub-wub like Hammer’s “Sickwave” before, and Rohypnol-glitch-tech like Remmy’s “I Know,” for that matter, and so have you, but Hamilton obviously isn’t trying to reinvent the wheel, just remind people it exists. Solid all around. A
• April 14 is a Friday, which means that you will have an extra day or so before you have to send Uncle Sam the money you owe him for taxes, or at least I think that’s how it works, I mean, you do you, I don’t think the IRS really cares anyway, but let’s kick off this week right away, because there’s a lot to get to, starting with 80-year-old bikini lady Ann-Margret, who was mostly famous for hanging around in Las Vegas with none other than Elvis, as well as being lasciviously ogled by Johnny Carson every time she appeared on the Tonight show during the ’60s and ’70s. No, I’m not kidding, Ann-Margret has a new album coming out this Friday, Born To Be Wild, which may or may not be a reference to the Steppenwolf song that came out when Thomas Jefferson was president, or maybe earlier, I honestly forget. You know, I’m just checking the Metacritic.com aggregate score for all of Ann-Margret’s films, and it’s dead even at this writing. Critics thought some of her movies were really dumb, like The Villain and The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause, whereas they liked some of her other movies, for instance 1975’s Tommy, which featured Jack Nicholson and Keith Moon. But I digress, which usually happens when I’m reviewing albums from 1960s pinup girls, so let’s get to the gettin’ on and have a listen to the title track, come on, don’t be shy. Ack, her backing band on this tune is the Fuzztones, and it’s not completely horrible. OK, it is, but she’s on key for a few bars, unless I’m hearing things. Other notes: The Who’s guitarist Pete Townshend can be heard on this album’s cover version of the Everly Brothers’ classic “Bye Bye Love”; other guests include Joe Perry, Steve Cropper, Rick Wakeman and Chip Z’Nuff.
• No way, bro, a new Metallica album, called 72 Seasons, I’m totally down with that! Say, has anyone ever noticed that the band’s drummer and leader, Lars Ulrich, is like the Elon Musk of heavy metal, like, remember when they did the 5.98 EP just to remind folks that they were still edgy and punk, even though they were just about to get rid of guitar solos for a few albums in order to be like Papa Roach, because people don’t want complicated music, man, they just want to be stupid, and now we have two million bands that sound exactly like Bury Your Dead? No? Well it’s all Metallica’s fault that metal sucks now, but let’s try to get past that and go listen to a new song from this Metallica album, “If Darkness Had a Son,” before the album premieres in cinemas on the 13th (no, I’m not kidding)! Hm, it’s got a cool syncopated riff, it’s not completely horrible, well, at least before the vocals come in, all dishwasher-safe. Iron Maiden fans would like this, I guess.
• Ack, just when you thought you’d never have to hear aughts-era Canadian indie-pop ever again, look, it’s Feist, with her new album, Multitudes! Lol, remember when she lent her song “1234” to that iPod Nano TV ad and said something like “Well hey man, at least it wasn’t a preconceived marketing ploy” or whatever? Classic stuff, but the new single, “Hiding Out In The Open,” finds Feist in unplugged Joni Mitchell mode. The song isn’t completely horrible, which isn’t to say it’s terribly catchy or whatnot.
• We’ll end with Fruit Bats, remember those guys from a few years ago? That’s cool, I don’t remember a thing about them other than the fact that their PR people were demanding that I write about them. Their new LP, A River Running To Your Heart, includes a song called “Rushin’ River Valley,” sort of a cross between Decemberists and Guster, it’s breezy and nice, it’s fine by me.
If you’re in a local band, now’s a great time to let me know about your EP, your single, whatever’s on your mind. Let me know how you’re holding yourself together without being able to play shows or jam with your homies. Send a recipe for keema matar. Message me on Twitter (@esaeger) or Facebook (eric.saeger.9).