The Goldbergs "Hooks Lines & Sinkers"

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This album is proof that some of the best music out there remains unsigned talent. The Goldbergs are essentially a solo effort from a supremely talented Andy Goldberg. Personally I would’ve changed the band name to something a bit less ethnic — (The Rosenbergs anyone?) but this does not diminish what is an excellent CD. This album hit me for a loop out of left field with it’s solid musicianship and melody. Best comparisons here are Marc Bacino, Jamie Hoover, Scott Sax and early Nick Lowe. I listened to it several times, looking for a bad track or filler. None could be found. The only track that seems off is a corny country themed “Can’t stop myself.” Still it is a not a bad song and the remaining nine tracks are all ear candy. It has a lot of Beatlesque harmonies that keep you hooked (literally!) I am still wondering where this guy was hiding himself and his awesome music! Visit the Goldbergs Myspace page and download 3 tracks from this album! This is on my short list for album of the year, so don’t wait for a major label to pick him up. You have no more excuses, just buy this one at CD Baby right here!

The Beatles "Love"

Poor Beatles fans. Rather than get a proper re-mastering job of all the Beatles albums (like Brian Wilson’s Smile was remade a few years ago) they get this. This mix of Beatles songs, remastered and remixed courtsey of George Martin and his son Giles, is basically a studio engineers wet dream. Half the Beatles, unfortunately, are dead. Other people with the legal right to do so have gone in, taken the Beatles’ works, and put it through a blender. Songs which stood as independent, finished works are now combined in ways that would cause Lennon and/or Harrison to roll over in thier graves. Or maybe not. Harrison’s “Something” is probably the only song here that sounds improved over the original, with some orchestral flourishes that make it grander than before. And some of the other songs details are wonderful, like a stripped down vocals only version of “Because.”

Unfortnuately, this album makes me really feel cheated. I really would like all the albums (not included on the Capital box sets), remastered properly. The Beatles are as a group ceased to exist in 1970 and they produced a finite amount of work. Every last bit of blood has been squeezed from this stone via “The Beatles Anthologies.” Martin has deliberately taken songs that we know and love and sliced them together a la Frankenstein. So purists like myself are horrified by this monster.

On the other hand, it allows a new generation to listen to these songs with fresh ears. After all, this release is the soundtrack to the Love Cirque Show, not a proper Beatles album. If you accept the Love Soundtrack as “a re-imagining” of Beatles tunes, then it works quite well. Fans will have fun identifying a bass line or sound effect from one song intermixed with another. And younger fans will love the seamless integration of musical themes. On that level, it earns a high rating. You can buy this one anywhere.

Lindsey Buckingham "Under the Skin"

Listening to the title track of this new release I began to ask myself a question: “At point did Lindsey Buckingham start to become Robert Pollard?” For all the great reviews I see out there, people seem to be missing the point that Mr. Buckingham is spending more time working on sonic textures and atmosphere than melodic pop or rock. Not that this is a bad album. It’s pretty good. “Out of the Cradle” came out ten years ago and seemed to be more of a bridge to this type of music. Long gone are the Fleetwood Mac rock guitar theatrics and Brian Wilson styled elegance. Some songs don’t really work for me, “It Was You” sounds like he left the echo machine on too long and “I am Waiting” is a bit like a lullaby, that will put you to sleep. However the genius that is Lindsey Buckingham reveals itself on many other tracks. “Cast Away Dreams” is a great classic LB song as well as anything here’s done. Much of his solo guitar work is breathtaking. And let’s face it here, is anyone else who’s been in the music biz over 40 years trying somthing new? I give him a bit more credit for that, however this album is not for everyone. The casual Fleetwood Mac fan need not apply. You can buy this album on Amazon.

Sheboygan "Sheboyan"

Here is an easy one for all of you that may have been missed. I don’t know much about Sheboygan, other that this is a great self-released EP worth your time. Kinda like Pete Ham and Jon Brion influenced power pop here. Only four songs here – so the rating suffers for it – but each song is a keeper. I was very impressed and searched these guys out. They are a local Austin, TX group and according to the bio on myspace, SHEBOYGAN consists of Cory Glaeser, Gray Parsons and Chris Gebhard. The threesome met when they were all losing contestants on the popular television show, “ElimiDate”. Here the newest tunes on myspace . If you like them get them on emusic. You can also download the songs from itunes and they are contantly coming up with new songs, so check the myspace site often. C’mon guys I’m waiting for a full length CD here! Great Stuff!

The Pernice Brothers "Live a Little"

This Pernice Brothers album has been out for a few months now, but only recently I’ve gotten to evaluate it closely. The Pernice Brothers are known for their dreamy vocals and bittersweet lyric. Here it continues and if you like the chamber pop of the debut “Overcome By Happiness,” you will like this album. The song “Automation” is a good example of this. Hook filled melody and great orchestration – this is what Eric Matthews has been lacking recently. Song arrangements have become more complex and adds to the Pernice Brothers’ aura of gorgeous gloom. Some of the vocals may come off as bit too precious, but after a few listens, it really grows on you. “Conscious Clean” and “Cruelty to Animals” are outstanding tracks that deserve to be repeated and will stay on your ipod for a while. Other tracks are less memorable, “Zero Refills” sounds like filler to me, but it is available on emusic. So pick it and enjoy.