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Sound Opinions, being the scholarly work it is, has provided footnotes to help you navigate through the show's vast maze of musical knowledge.

Because, let's face it—sometimes even we have no idea what the heck Jim and Greg are talking about.
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07-29-06 Footnotes
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1 After disbanding over 30 years ago, glam punk legends the New York Dolls are back with a new album One Day It Will Please Us to Remember Even This. While the band existed in its first incarnation for only a few years, its influence is undeniable. As Jim and Greg explain, without the Dolls we wouldn’t have the Sex Pistols. Heck, we may not even have had Morrissey, who got the Dolls together in 2004 for London’s Meltown Festival. The sole surviving Dolls, David “Buster Poindexter” Johansen and Sylvain Sylvain, came together for this album, and upon hearing of this latest effort Jim and Greg were both excited and fearful. Now, after hearing it, they can say that their worries were not in vain. Jim loves the old Dolls, and can’t understand how the band that made One Day It Will Please Us to Remember Even This can even call themselves the New York Dolls. For Jim, it’s a Trash It. Greg is a little more forgiving. He thinks that the Dolls 2006 come off like a pretty good cover band, and, therefore, can’t completely bash them. He gives the album a Burn It rating.

2 The next album up for review is by superstar producer Pharrell. Pharrell Williams is best known as part of the production duo The Neptunes, who have crafted hits for everyone from Jay-Z to Justin Timberlake. He and fellow Clone Chad Hugo also recorded some of their own music as N.E.R.D. Now, Pharrell has branched out solo (or as solo as a hip hop artist can be these days) with In My Mind. A quick glance at the number of hits credited to Pharrell might prompt one to assume that this album was a no-brainer. But, it festered without a release date for such a long time that a few eyebrows were raised. And, after giving the record a listen, Jim and Greg can say that such suspicions were not unwarranted. Greg explains that for someone who makes his living creating innovative beats and catchy hooks, the lack of such a sound on this record was shocking. Jim agrees, and neither critic thinks that he has the chops or personality to be a solo star. Kanye West, a producer who actually managed this feat, collaborates with Pharrell on “Number One,” but it’s a dreadful showing from both artists. Therefore, In My Mind gets a Trash It, and Sound Opinions H.Q. is beginning to wonder if Chad is the genius to look out for after all.

3 California garage rockers The Bellrays join Jim and Greg in the studio this week. Some listeners may be hearing of the band for the first time because, as our hosts explain, they are a group on the rise. They gained attention at festivals like SXSW and through their appearance in a Nissan Xterra commercial, but many people may only be familiar with lead singer Lisa Kekaula’s side projects. Lisa’s powerful voice has been lent to Crystal Method, Basement Jaxx, and a recent MC5 reunion tour.

4 No one should doubt that the Bellrays is a collaborative effort, though. The band’s fifth album, Have a Little Faith, was produced by bassist Bob Vennum (who also happens to be Lisa’s husband), and most of the songs were written by guitarist Tony Fate. These three are joined by drummer Craig Waters to achieve a sound that is hard to describe. Many clichés have been attached to the group’s music, which our hosts decided to call “part Tina Turner, part MC5.” It’s all fine with the band; just don’t say their from Detroit.

5 The hosts return to rock critic mode and review Tom Petty’s new solo record, Highway Companion. This is Petty’s 18th album in a 30 year career, though only three of these releases have been solo efforts. According to Jim and Greg, Highway Companion is not just a solo record in name. Petty played almost all of the instruments and wrote all of the songs, and the sound reflects that. Many of the songs sound as if they were written by Petty, alone in his bedroom, as he tries to work out some of the travails of his past such as a bitter divorce and the death of former Heartbreaker Howie Epstein. The result is a quiet, rather dark album that both Jim and Greg found very moving (albeit sleepy). Petty comes off as rather sad, but also hopeful, and Greg muses that perhaps it is the music providing him comfort. Highway Companion gets two Buy Its.

6 In order to remove the bad taste left by the New York Dolls recent showing, Jim decides to return to a happier time for this week’s Desert Island Jukebox pick. Even after the Dolls broke up, lead singer David Johansen never failed to deliver. This was particularly the case live, as Jim found out after attending a 1982 show (illegally). The then underage critic was mesmerized by Johansen’s energetic performance of songs like this week’s DIJ track, “Frenchette.” While most of the Dolls songs were short, classic punk tunes, “Frenchette” clocks in at over five minutes and is more in tune with the stadium anthems of the era. The song is a witty play on the notion of something being not quite what it should be: not love, but lovette; not leather, but leatherette; not French, but frenchette. The song was written by Johansen and fellow Doll Sylvain Sylvain. This proves that the two men were capable of doing great work post-Dolls, prompting Jim to wonder why they can’t create the same magic today. Therefore, both Jim and Greg put an open invitation out there for the Dolls to come in and get some medicine from the rock doctors.


Songs Featured in Show #35

New York Dolls, “Personality Crisis,” New York Dolls,
New York Dolls, “Dance Like a Monkey,” One Day It Will Please Us to Remember Even This
Pharrell, “Can I Have It Like That,” In My Mind
Pharrell, “Keep It Playa,” In My Mind
Jay-Z, “I Just Want to Love You,” (instrumental)
The Bellrays, “Tell a Lie,” Have a Little Faith
The Bellrays, “Pay the Cobra,” Have a Little Faith
The Bellrays, “Have a Little Faith,” Have a Little Faith
The Bellrays, “Revolution Get Down,” The Red, White and Black, 2003
Tom Petty, “Down South,” Highway Companion,
Tom Petty, “Saving Grace,” Highway Companion, 2006
Credits: David Johansen, “Frenchette,” From Pumps to Pompadour: The David Johansen Story,


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