2011’s Best From The Archives

I have been meaning to post this earlier but at least it’s not March yet. There were a number of reissues and archive releases that I really loved last year that didn’t get the attention of, say, the Beach Boys’ Smile, the Rolling Stones Some Girls and U2’s Achtung Baby.

Human Switchboard: Who’s Landing In My Hanger (Bar/None)

This Cleveland-bred band had only a couple of obscure releases during its day and this 1981 album was its only real studio effort – and a great one it is. Their music was powerful to me when I got it back in the day on vinyl and still is wonderful to hear now that it’s finally on CD. This expanded reissue comes packed Velvet Underground-inspired music that are Rust Belt melodramas filled with nervous energy and sexual frustrations.

Rockpile: Live at Montreux 1980 (Eagle Rock Entertainment)

Dave Edmunds and Nick Lowe only made one official album together as Rockpile, although these guys played on each other’s records for years. The band was one of my favorite and a big influence on me too. This live recording captures the pub rock magic that the Edmunds, Lowe and crew created together.

Paul Kelly:  Songs from the South, Volumes 1 & 2 (Gawd Aggie)

Kelly may be Australia’s preeminent singer/songwriter; however, he hasn’t had much of an American presence since his days on A&M in the late ‘80s/mid ‘90s. This Best Of, covering his lengthy career, reminds listeners what a literate, keen-eyed songwriter Kelly has been.

V-Roys: Sooner Or Later (F.A.Y.)

These Knoxville Boys were major players in the minor alt.country movement of the ‘90s. This would-be greatest hits collection gathers up their finest moments of raucous rockers and twangy laments.

Darondo: Listen To My Song (Onmnivore Recordings)

Back in the ‘70s, William Darondo (aka Daraondo) was part of the Bay Area soul scene; however, he made only a few singles back in ‘70s.  This compilation brings to bring his rare and unissued material, which slides in somewhere on the soul scale between Al Green and Sly Stone.

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About Michael Berick

I am a longtime writer, and lover, of music and pop culture. I have written for Entertainment Weekly, the Los Angeles Times, the LA Weekly, the San Francisco Chronicle, Cleveland Scene and more places (that I wouldn't take up more of your time mentioning now).
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