We've got quite a backlog of CDs we've never gotten around to, so we're going to try to chip away at the pile with this regular feature. The plan: to take a few at a time and play each CD for as long as I can stand it.
Hang Cool Teddy Bear (Roadrunner)
Imagine a cold, snowy evening on the desolate, downtrodden streets of Detroit. Green Day, in full rock-opera mode on their tour bus, are passing through, barreling towards the Great White Way in order to debut their new glam-rock production. Turns out, they have to pull over, as Billie Joe is growing nervous and falls terribly ill. Luckily for the band, they are in the Motor City, home of the Silver Bullet himself, Bob Seger. While in decent enough form, Bob's voice isn't quite what it used to be. Regardless, Tre Cool and Mike Dirnt plead with Seger to join them and hit the Broadway stage in Armstrong's place. Leaving Billie Joe with only a can of goth-black hair dye to keep him safe and warm, the newly formed opera rocking trio rolls on to NYC without him. Meat Loaf's new record, Hang Cool Teddy Bear, is likely what that collaboration would've sounded like.
I made it to: 1:10 into Track 2, "Living on the Outside."
Heart That's Pounding (Arts & Crafts)
After having formerly recorded with New Buffalo, Australian Sally Seltmann seems to really dig whimsy and being all kinds of indie-licious. On her third album, Seltmann preciously talk-sings her way through songs that sweetly deceive you into thinking they're better than they really are. There's some easy, breezy listening that allows you to simply glide along with it, even if, afterwards, your bummed knowing that you stayed on this fabreeze-scented bus for one stop too many. With tracks like "Harmony to My Heart", a hybrid of 1960s girl groups and Feist's smash hit "1234" (which was co-written by Seltmann), it's hard to tell whether she is mainly shooting for an opening slot on the new Lilith Fair tour, or hoping for another Apple-ready blockbuster. It's probably both.
I made it to: the beginning of Track 3, "On the Borderline."
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Pink Graffiti (Western Vinyl)
From Fargo, the electro-coustic capital of the nation (OK, of the Dakota's, at least), Secret Cities is another solid act on the reliably good Western Vinyl label (home to Sleep Whale and Ola Podrida, among others). Similar to the Seltmann album earlier, there are times where the proceedings lean a tad too indie-precocious for its own skinny-jeaned good. But Secret Cities steers clear of such trappings for the most part. While so many hipsters are attempting to sound like they currently live in Brooklyn, even if they don't, the funky use of bells, whistles, and hand claps on this album serve to embolden the group as they embrace their respective, inner-band-nerd-selves.
I made it to: 1:31 into Track 4, "Pink Graffiti Pt. 2."