Could it be just a coincidence that as I sit here writing this, a grizzled BOB SEGER — the very guy who wrote the indelible line “Rock and roll never forgets” — is gearing up for the release of Face the Promise (Capitol), the Detroit rocker’s first proper studio album in, oh, forever and a day? He even got fellow Motor City motorcycle man KID ROCK on board for a duet. And it’s been hard not to notice how many bands from rock and roll’s messy past have been rising from the grave. In the span of one summer weekend we had an ER-doc-fronted Germs, whose notorious frontman, Darby Crash, was history practically before the band had a chance to make history, and Flipper, a bunch of San Francisco punks so nihilistic that two original members OD’d long ago. Just a few weeks later, Germs guitarist Pat Smear was seated on stage at the Wang Theatre, reunited with old pal from the Nirvana days Dave Grohl for a Foo Fighters tour.
STARS: The Killers brought in Flood and Alan Moulder to mold their eagerly awaited sophomore disc.
Could all this be the PIXIES’ fault? They may not have new studio material due anytime soon, but expect Eagle Rock to follow up Pixies: Live in Newport (from last summer’s Newport Folk Festival) with another live reunion DVD shot at the Paradise: Pixies Club Date: Live at the Paradise in Boston comes out October 3. And are X also complicit in the growing wave of nostalgia for punk and post-punk? Even though John Doe has vowed that they’ll never make another studio album, X are doing just fine for themselves on the touring front. Maybe it’s just all those bloggers starting rumors about an imminent Dinosaur Jr. studio album (which will probably happen now) and just generally pining for their favorites to come out of hiding — guys like EVAN DANDO, who hooked up with punk-rock taskmaster Bill Stevenson, recycled the Lemonheads moniker yet again, and got a deal with Vagrant, the hot label of the moment thanks to Dashboard Confessional and a handful of other confessional emo boys (John Ralson?).
That last one makes a certain sense. After Evan got all that Hate Your Friends punk rock out of his system, it was the sensitive Dando who emerged to cover “Mrs. Robinson.” And with Stevenson bringing his Descendents/All pop-punk sensibility to the pity party, a bristling yet tuneful new Lemonheads album — the simply titled September 26 release The Lemonheads — doesn’t sound a bit out of place on the label that got its real start when the Get Up Kids took off half a dozen years ago. So maybe Seger was right about rock and roll. I mean, there’s a new — that’s right, new — EP by the WHO hitting the streets soon, their first studio recording in like 23 years. Of course, there are also plenty of un-reunited artists out there with releases big, medium, and small this fall. Here’s a quick look at what’s in store.
Tori Amos | A Piano: The Collection | Rhino | It’s a five-disc retrospective box set with all kinds of rarities, remixes, and other goodies including an unedited long version of “Crucify.” What more could a Tori fan want?
Jay Bennett | The Magnificent Defeat | Rykodisc | He’ll forever be known as the guy who, after lending his multi-instrumental talents to Wilco’s Yankee Foxtrot Hotel, was unceremoniously given the boot in the rockumentary I Am Trying To Break Your Heart. And the title of his new solo disc would seem to concede defeat in the face of the critical juggernaut that is Jeff Tweedy. It’s bound to have some cool, rootsy hooks on it, though, as well as the song title “Replace You.” Ouch.
Richard Cheese & Lounge Against the Machine | Silent Nightclub | Surfdog | Okay, so Richard Cheese’s Velveeta-smooth, smarmy nightclub renditions of familiar tunes by modern rockers cool and not (from Weezer and the White Stripes to Puddle of Mudd and Linkin Park) are sort of a bad party joke. But they are funny. And his “Rape Me” must rank among the most inappropriate covers ever.
Alan Jackson | Like Red on a Rose | Arista Nashville | No, this isn’t a misprint: blond bomber Alan Jackson somehow got Grammy-rich bluegrass star Alison Krauss — the real deal, as they say — to produce his terribly titled new album. The real question is . . . how bad can it actually be?
Janet Jackson | 20 Y.O. | Virgin | Yeah, like this Jackson even remembers her 20s . . . Actually, I’m pretty sure the “20” refers to the number of years it’s been since Michael’s sister shocked the world with the sexy dance moves of Control. And Jackson, who’s nothing if not a hit machine with a finely tuned sense of taste, celebrates by inviting Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis back into the production seat for what’s sure to be one of the biggest albums of the season.