Rhythm + Views

The Resonars

Star Time

THE FEW WHO were fortunate enough to catch this band during their brief existence were witness to an absolutely jaw-dropping live act. Imagine the best bits from the giants of '66-era rock, and you'll get the idea: The Who, the Byrds, Love, and so on. But while most retro-style bands just don't seem to get it,
these guys effortlessly appropriated the spirit and sound of the time while adding their own personality and energy.

Bandleader and supremely talented whiz-kid Matt Rendon plays and sings every note here, yet he's managed to capture the feel of a four-piece rock band wailing away in some long-lost garage. It's all there, kids: Well-penned songs, chiming guitars, glorious vocal harmonies. This is one of a few hands-down local (or otherwise) classics, and it's only released as a limited edition vinyl LP. That means you need to grab it right now.

--Al Perry

Marshall Crenshaw

The 9 Volt Years
Razor & Tie

MARSHALL CRENSHAW, not unlike folk-punk troubadour Jonathan Richman, is a superb albeit often overlooked and mostly under-appreciated pop craftsman who has reached a modicum of success ("Someday Someway"), but has languished in virtual obscurity throughout his two decades songwriting career. The 9 Volt Years, subtitled "Battery Powered Home Demos & Curios (1979-198?)," consists of previously unreleased 4-track demos and home recordings spanning roughly 1979-88. These 15 raw-as-sushi cuts showcase Crenshaw's finite ability to deliver consistently superb garage-pop treasures that are both uplifting and well-crafted excursions in basic, unpretentious rock and roll. Like fellow pop maestros Todd Rundgren and
Ben Vaughn, Crenshaw effortlessly bounces between sugary pop ballads and crunching garage punk rockers tapping both his sensitive, reflective side and his Buddy-Holly-hopped-up-on-steroids shtick.

"You're My Favorite Waste of Time" (once covered by Bette Midler), echoes Rundgren's "Hello, It's Me" with eerie and haunting effect. The Eddie Cochran-swiped rocker "Something's Gonna Happen" is a simple rockabilly turn on teenage lust--flat and simple. Most of the 9 Volt songs were recorded in Crenshaw's lofty living room using primitive recording equipment including 9-volt battery-powered stomp boxes (from whence the
title addresses), cheap microphones and his brother Robert supporting on drums. All fans of high- octane, hook-filled pop music should give songwriting expert Marshall Crenshaw a listen and well deserved round of applause.

--Ron Bally


So Goes Love

BROWN, A MAJOR influence on Ray Charles' career, may be best known for a couple of R&B Christmas songs ("Merry Christmas Baby" and "Please Come Home For Christmas"), his slick 'n' cool vocal style sounding like a black version of Mose Allison--though the influence no doubt worked in reverse. You can tell from the cocky cover photo on the CD that Brown is still about 130 years away from retirement--in fact, the unmistakable vocal smoothness and bluesy piano sound uncannily the same way they did a half century back. Whatever brand of formaldahyde he's drinking, we should pour him another glass. Classy Southern blues from beginning to end.

--Dave McElfresh

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