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Sunday, December 10th, 2006

Sunday Cleaning – Volume 59

The Lemonheads / The Lemonheads (Vagrant)

Convention usually dictates that comeback albums are low-key, acoustic affairs while the artist feels out where they and the current music scene are, respective to one another. Evan Dando already did that with 2004’s Baby, I’m Bored – released under his own name – so when he decided to dust off the old Lemonheads name, it was with an ear to plugging in and turning up. Recruiting the rhythm section from Australian Los Angeles punk legends The Descendants to round out the band (and wrangling guest appearances from Dinosaur Jr’s J Mascis and The Band’s Garth Hudson), Dando has turned out a set of power-punk-pop that’s punchier and more classic-sounding than a record that’s been made because someone’s bank account is low has any right to be. It’s amazing that the years of drugs and abuse haven’t dulled Dando’s pop instincts. While there’s nothing that immediately stands shoulder to shoulder with the high points of It’s A Shame About Ray, It’s a tighter and more focused work than the Dando of a decade ago could ever have put out. If Dando doesn’t flake out at this Tuesday’s show at Lee’s Palace, it should be a good one.

MP3: The Lemonheads – “No Backbone”
MySpace: The Lemonheads

Pacific UV / EP (WARM)

The 2003 self-titled debut from Athens, Georgia’s Pacific UV was like a mix tape from one shoegaze fan to another – hazy and laid back, it shamelessly but lovingly aped everything in the space-rock continuum but drew most heavily on early Spiritualized and Slowdive for inspiration. The result was a treat for fans of the genre but rather lacking in any sort of personality as far as the band went. Now after a very quiet two years, they’ve returned with a new EP in advance of a second full-length due out in 2007. EP shows that the band still worships at the altar of Jason Pierce but has now gotten into his rockier side. It starts out sounding like outtakes from Amazing Grace, all stomp and dried-out fuzz guitar but over the course of the four tracks they again return to the gauze factory atmosphere of their debut. No revelations here but a handy soundtrack for floating in space.

MP3: Pacific UV – “50s”
MySpace: Pacific UV

Johan / THX JHN (Excelsior)

Discussion of Dutch bands tends to start with Golden Earring and end with Bettie Serveert. But lo, from the lowlands of Europe come Johan – that’s a “they”, not a “he” – and they come bearing pop. Their classic, jangly pop initially begs for comparisons to that coming from Stockholm or London or Los Angeles but when the finger of comparison finally comes to rest on the spinning globe, it does so on Bellingham, Washington – home of The Posies. Jacco de Greeuw’s voice is almost a dead ringer for Ken Stringfellow’s, and while the harmonies aren’t quite as lush and the guitarwork less solo-intensive, their melodic sensibilities are razor sharp and their music timeless in a way that’s never quite in fashion but also never out of style.

MP3: Johan – “Oceans”
Video: Johan – “Walking Away” (MOV)
Video: Johan – “She’s Got A Way With Men” (WMV)
MySpace: Johan

By : Frank Yang at 10:08 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. heather says:

    Just saw Dando and Co. last weekend and it was thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyable and very very good. I’ll be interested in hearing what you think. Vids over on my site (http://fuelfriends.blogspot…) –

  2. Eri says:

    Descendents.