What we're listening to
Kudos to Fat Possum for reissuing this hard-to-find 1972 T. Rex all-time great, which moves from high point to high point as quickly as Marc Bolan's lyrics find new nicknamed characters to describe. Every once in a while — say, on "Baseball Ricochet" — Bolan's playful language is a bit too nonsensical for its own good, but glam gems such as "Telegram Sam" and "Metal Guru" are matched by most of the album tracks. One peculiarity — how much the riff of "Chariot Choogle" resembles Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love," recorded two year earlier.
Califia: The Songs of Lee Hazlewood
There are all kinds of treats and discoveries to be made within this grab-bag of Lee Hazlewood obscurities. Who else could write a song called "The Girl On Death Row," not to mention deliver it with the authority of a winking Johnny Cash? (Turns out the song was for an American International Picture that went and changed its title.) Califia also includes some squalling girl-pop by Hazelwood's early flame Suzi Jane Hokom and his later muse Ann-Margret, and a number of guitar-themed gems penned for his buddy Duane Eddy. It all closes with a song in German by the formerly "Little" Peggy March.
To hear how extraordinary Weekend can be, check out "Age Class," a rock song of instant classic status because of its furious guitar, ghost rider breakdown, and Shaun Durkan's vocal, which builds to a crescendo that grasps extremes of love and death from the repeated line "There's something in our blood." Sportsis an always-promising and sometimes powerful debut album, with a peculiar track sequence — its first half is erratic and largely opaque, but it hits stride with "Age Class" and the songs that follow. The Bay Area group's antecedents range from Joy Division to Ride to the Wedding Present but they're already on their own path. I'm excited to hear where they go next.