Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Reissues and Releases: Pylon, Reed, Davies

Athens, Ga., has certainly produced a long list of legendary bands. One group that may not make your list but certainly should is Pylon. I didn't discover them until 1987 when I bought the soundtrack to the documentary 'Athens, Ga. - Inside/Out'. I went back and got the albums 'Gyrate' (1980) and 'Chomp' (1982). The band's mix of jangle pop and post punk were my kind of music at the time (still is!), and I practically wore these two records out. Pylon disbanded after these two gems. What I didn't realize until recently is that they reformed for a record in 1990. I have never heard it, but they disbanded again soon after its release. As the years have passed, I think the next generation of indie bands has embraced the band and cited Pylon as a major influence. With that in mind, the DFA label has reissued and expanded both of these great LPs. 'Gyrate Plus' has been out for a couple of years and, finally, 'Chomp More' hit the shelves a couple of weeks ago. Do yourself a favor and take a bite out of both of these records. It's time Pylon passes the cult rank and joins R.E.M. and B-52's as a legendary band... inside and out of Athens.

Pylon - Beep (mp3) (from Chomp)

I don't consider myself a big fan of Lou Reed. I'll give you a moment to gasp. All done? I love his years with Velvet Underground and a handful of his songs as a solo artist. For the past decade (or maybe two), his work has been downright bad. There is, however, one brief moment in his solo career that is stellar, and that album was reissued a couple of weeks ago. 'New Sensations', from 1984, is just about the only one of his records that brims with optimism. It's pure pop, and I love it. I have always wondered what die-hard Reed fans think of the record. It's so different from his other work. If you have shied away from his reords in the past, I think this is a good place to start.

Lou Reed - New Sensations (mp3)

On the new-release slate today, Ray Davies pulls out some of the best songs from the Kinks catalog and performs them with the 65-piece Crouch End Festival Chorus on 'The Kinks Choral Collection'. This could have been a big bore, but the songs are too good for that. My favorite Kinks song, 'Waterloo Sunset' is here, but the best moments on the record are from 'The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society', which comprises a huge portion of the LP. There are a few clunkers here, most notably, 'Celluloid Heroes', but aging Kinks fans will find these takes very interesting. In other Kinks news, Davis tells Billboard he has been in the studio with former members Mick Avory, Jim Rodford and Ian Gibbons. Ray's brother Dave, still recovering from a stroke, may also join in on the fun. In other words, we could get a new Kinks record for the first time since 1993. One more tidbit: Davies will perform Nov. 18 on CBS' 'The Late Show with David Letterman'. Set your DVRs!

Ray Davies - Village Green (mp3)

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