Drake’s Take: New Releases 11.11.08

As the Christmas box sets come piling in, Drake takes great pains to sort out the power pop from the poop. (NOTE: In addition to “Welcome to the Night Sky”, Wintersleep‘s “iTunes Live Sessions EP” is also now available at the US iTunes Store.) -ed.

Drake’s Take: New Releases 11.11.08

New releases from here on out are more about gift giving than an actual interest in music, so new albums give way to box sets, compilations and reissues along with DVD interests. But there are still some great finds, especially for a power pop head like myself, as the long awaited The Nerves compilation, One Way Ticket, finally sees the light of day. As far as Nerves fans go, there’s a 30th anniversary edition of Cheap Trick’s Live At Budokan, along with a new release from The Pillbugs, so it’s a nice week to celebrate power pop. Elsewhere, the very odd Flaming Lips’ Christmas On Mars finally sees the light of day, both soundtrack and DVD, and there’s new releases from Wintersleep, Holy Hail, Vetiver, Denison Witmer, Deer Tick and an EP from Gnarls Barkley. On the gift giving front there’s compilations from The Smiths and Led Zeppelin, along special reissues from New Order (first five albums,) and Warren Zevon.

Playlist: New Releases 11.11.08

The Nerves – One Way Ticket
Stream / Purchase [mp3]

The Nerves - One Way TicketThe Nerves register barely a blip in time, releasing only a four-song self-titled EP in 1976, but in that brief time, that trio consisting of Jack Lee, Peter Case and Paul Collins produced some work that would have a much larger impact, propelling a resurgence of power pop on the charts. All three members had an impact following their breakup. The Jack Lee composition, “Hanging on the Telephone,” is the Nerves song that lives on, being covered by Blondie (video) two years later (and more recently by Cat Power for a Cingular commercial). Peter Case would go on to form The Plimsouls, and Paul Collins would form The Beat; along with The Knack, these bands took what The Nerves had started in LA and elevated it further. One Way Ticket (on Alive Records) is the first full length from the band, taking the four songs from the EP — “Hanging on the Telephone” (Lee,) “When You Find Out” (Case,) “Give Me Some Time” (Lee), and “Working Too Hard” (Collins) — and adds the Peter Case song “One Way Ticket,” along with a song from the shorter lived Breakaways (“Walking out on Love” — Case and Collins) and other unreleased tracks, demos and live recordings. It’s a great document to a band just a couple years ahead of it’s time — a band who combined the melody of the Beatles along with the energy of the burgeoning punk movement. There was little in the way of indie labels, DIY was too expensive and major labels weren’t quite ready, so we can only wonder what might have been if they’d been able to stick together for just a couple more years.

Cingular ad featuring “Hanging on the Telephone” covered by Cat Power:

Of some note, Def Leppard also recently covered “Hanging on the Telephone”

The Pillbugs – Everybody Wants a Way Out
Stream / Purchase [mp3]

The Pillbugs - Everybody Wants a Way OutThe Toledo OH five-piece The Pillbugs are getting special mention here in part due to the power pop angle I’m going for, but also because bassist/vocalist Mark Kelley lost his battle with lung cancer earlier this year, so the album, Everybody Wants a Way Out is an especially bittersweet collection of psychedelic power pop songs. From the opening strands of the majestic “Life as it Happens” all the way uplifting and trippy closer “North of Reality,” a song featuring the post-humous Kelly on vocals, it’s an album that takes inspiration from the Beatles circa Revolver to Magical Mystery Tour. It can seem awfully derivative, and the middle gets dragged down a bit with some questionable songs, but it’s nonetheless a well done album for the genre.

Download: “Life as it Happens”, “Can’t Get it Right (So I’m Loving it Wrong)” (Rainbow Quartz Records)

More on the radar (and in the mp3 player) this week (AOL Streams rollover 11/17)
Flaming Lips - Christmas on MarsThe Flaming Lips – Christmas on Mars
Wintersleep – Welcome To The Night Sky
Holy Hail – Independent Pleasure Club
Vetiver – More of the Past
Denison Witmer – Carry the Weight
Deer Tick – War Elephant
Gnarls Barkley – Who’s Gonna Save My Soul
Au Revoir Simone – Reverse Migration (AOL Album Stream) / “Lark (Ruff And Jam’s remix)” [mp3]
Butch Walker – Sycamore Meadows (AOL Album Stream)
The Bronx – The Bronx III (AOL Album Stream)
Longwave – Secrets Are Sinister (AOL Album Stream)
Frontier Ruckus – The Orion Songbook
T-Pain – Thr33 Ringz / Free AOL Album Stream
88 Keys – The Death of Adam
Tracy Chapman – Our Bright Future / Free AOL Album Stream
Dir En Grey – Uroboros
The Smiths - Sound of the Smiths, Deluxe EditionThe Smiths – The Sound of the Smiths [Deluxe Edition]
Free Blood – The Singles
Led Zeppelin – The Complete Led Zepelin
Abba – The Albums
Genesis – Genesis Box Set 3 (1970-1975)[12 Disc Set] (AOL Album Stream)
New Order - Movement, Collector's EditionNew Order – Movement [Collector’s Edition] / Free AOL Album Stream (for all five albums)
New Order – Power, Corruption & Lies [Collector’s Edition]
New Order – Low-Life [Collector’s Edition]
New Order – Brotherhood [Collector’s Edition]
New Order – Technique [Collector’s Edition]
Cheap Trick – BUDOKAN! 30th Anniversary / Free AOL Album Stream
Warren Zevon – Warren Zevon [Collector’s Edition]