NRBQ “High Noon: A 50-Year Retrospective”
NRBQ is one of those bands that anyone can latch onto, often called “the world’s greatest bar band,” it never sticks to a single genre; Americana, Rock, Jazz, R&B, Rockabilly and Power Pop are all over the course of its 40 year plus career. Formed in 1967 by pianist Terry Adams and guitarist Steve Ferguson it set itself apart with its a easy going, and heartfelt style. Another amazing thing is that Adams musical vision for NRBQ has stayed consistent over the years despite numerous line-up changes.
This four disc set encompasses all the best of the band, and its multiple styles. This is an instant record collection over the course of 106 songs spread out across the five CDs. From their progressions, melodies, lyrics, production, and overall musicianship, NRBQ is truly an American original. Not every song here will be your favorite, but I guarantee you’ll hear somthing to make you smile as this music grows on you faster than a chia pet on steroids. My pick for favorite box set of 2016.
The Flywheels “I’m For The Flowers”
Responding to a fan online, I checked out this San Francisco band. A good find, as they have John Moremen on lead guitar, and the jangly, melodic tunes of the Flywheels echo the essence of such hallowed power-pop combos as Big Star, Badfinger and the Flamin’ Groovies. Originally funded through Kickstarter, this album boasts a dense psych-pop sound, and lots of famous guests contributed (Scott McCaughey, Peter Buck, Dennis Diken, Allen Clapp, etc.)
The opener “Hello Cruel World” and the piano jangle gem “Counting to Eleven” recalls The Bangles or The Corner Laughers. You hear Allen Clapp (Orange Peels) clearly on “Needle of Sunshine” and the huge guitar jam of “Red Tail Lights” is another highlight. Lead singer Kim Wonderley is the glue that holds everything together, her soothing vocal on “Let Me Take You Down (To The Sea)” is a great blend of production and melody. The tracks that don’t feature her vocals suffer in comparison. Still so much great music is here, from the riffs on the wild title track to the punkish “Astronaut Motel.” Highly Recommended.