Category Archives: 30 second reviews

Jah Wobble: Merry Go Round

I’d almost forgotten about Jah Wobble, until I saw this at the store. If there’s one bassist I’ve tried to emulate, it’s this guy.

I played the whole thing through marveling at it. Then I realized partway through Public Image Limited it was a 45rpm record and I was playing it at 33. I replayed it at the correct rpm, and couldn’t help but be a little disappointed.

Daniel Ash: Stripped

I was a little wary of this album (especially for the price tag!), but I shouldn’t have been. It’s actually pretty cool. It’s Daniel Ash going back and re-recording a bunch of Bauhaus, Love & Rockets, and Tones On Tail songs. Sounds like a recipe for disaster and a bad nostalgia trip, but somehow it works.

Johnny Cash — Everybody Loves a Nut

Fantastic album. It’s hard to find an actual pre-90s Johnny Cash album, most are compilations. There’s not much more to say for the music, it speaks for itself. I mean, it’s classic Johnny Cash.

Found this while out shopping for Record Store Day Black Friday releases (pretty much the only Black Friday shopping I don’t feel guilty for doing). I couldn’t pass it up. It looks to be an original release, judging by the wear on the sleeve. The record itself has some pops and scratches but the vinyl looks very clean and unmarked. The cover was painted by Jack Davis (you know his work even if you don’t realize it).

The title song, among others, was written by Cowboy Jack Clement (RIP), who produced some of the Sun studios tracks on U2’s Rattle and Hum (among many, many other notable things). I bought this album alongside the most recent U2 single. One of the U2 tracks he recorded was Woody Guthrie’s Jesus Christ; I also got Mermaid Ave, a series of albums where Billy Bragg and Wilco record a bunch of Woody Guthrie songs (lyrics without music to be precise). Funny how things sometimes tie together.

U2 — Ordinary Love (single)

The A side is great. Reminds me of Electrical Storm, in that it is well written and easy to listen to on its own, catchy and interesting. I liked the production values, and then I read it was produced by Danger Mouse. Cool beans.

The B side is not great. It’s an interesting take on “Breathe”, but I just can’t get past the distortion on Bono’s sibilants. It makes the song sound like filler. I get that it’s supposed to sound stripped down, like a campfire song or something, but that sibilant distortion is just so bad.

Mermaid Ave, Vol 3

The latest in the Mermaid Ave series is fantastic.  Sounds like it was made to be listened to on vinyl, although that’s a bit biased since I haven’t heard this one on CD. But listening to them all in succession on vinyl, they get progressively better.  The songs are much better than Vol 2 — I like the Vol 1 songs best, and this is equal in songwriting quality.  It’s still more of the same, so if you didn’t like either of the others, there’s nothing here to change your mind. This will likely be the first Mermaid Ave album I grab when I want to put some on, unless it’s to hear some specific songs on Vol 1.

Mermaid Ave, Vol 1

Sounds like it was mixed and mastered with digital in mind. Not sure how I can explain that, other than: there’s nothing special about this album on vinyl.  Guy at the record store said “it’s got that 90s production feel”, and I’m sure that’s part of what he meant.  The songs are as awesome as ever. If I had bought it on its own I would have been a bit disappointed, but the other volumes are great on vinyl, so it’s nice to have the whole set.