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   Saturday, July 13, 2002  
Tribute Album Alert! Continuing this blog's public-spirited advance warning service, a Teenage Fanclub trib. has been sighted on the horizon. Among those diving for covers: Counting Crows (Start Again), Michael Carpenter (Neil Jung), Ken Stringfellow (Every Picture I Paint), The Gigolo Aunts (Alcoholiday), etc etc. Surely a 'Best of' collection from the band themselves can't be too far off either?

If good things come to those who wait Wheat's 3rd album should be very good indeed. The interminable saga of 'Per second, per second..' continues. At least they've got a new label - Aware have picked it up after the badly-timed demise of Nude - but bafflingly it seems it won't see the light of day until sometime in '03! They'll likely have no.s 4 and 5 in the can by then - what about resurrecting that hoary old beast the triple album, guys?

'Equal parts Superchunk pop bluster and Soul Asylum/Replacements guitar ache,' was one distillation of Grand Champeen's Battle cry for help, now out in Europe via Munich Records. This Austin-based outfit come barrelling out of the speakers like a herd of steed with opener Cottonmouth and it's pretty much downhill, brakes off, all the way. The blazing twangy pop'n'roll continues on through 14 feisty tracks only pausing for breath a couple of times (the desert echoes of Sparks and concluding drinking song The angel's stare). They've certainly got plenty of heart but the soul's a bit harder to detect. They're tight and they sing & holler in tune, characteristics not always shared by, say, fellow Texan rousers Little Grizzly but George Neal's crew will do for reallyrather...

It's not hard to imagine Grand Champeen tearing the house down live but there's no sign of them coming over. If you're looking for that kind of action, similarly direct roots-rockers Stateside blow through the Borderline Oct 1 brandishing their '01 release Twice as gone ... "Roots pop for now people" is promised by the Boondogs on their site, as is a new album in August. According to Allmusic's classification, similar artists include: 'Whiskeytown, The Jayhawks, Lucinda Williams, The Replacements, Big Star, R.E.M.' Never heard of any of 'em ... And still they come. "Taking root somewhere between Costello's This Year's Model, Rubber Soul-era Beatles and Wilco's Summerteeth," are Big Silver according to US men's glossy Details. "There's plenty of twang but underneath the pedal steel and slide guitar there are great pop hooks and storytelling.." 2nd album due in Sept...

reallyrather has heard but a track or two from the Horse Stories album but recommendations from People Who Know have been flying in. As will be mainman Toby early next month to promote the UK launch:
Aug 1 12 Bar Club, Soho
Aug 3 Borderline, Soho
Aug 4 Golden Lion, Camden
Aug 4 The Windmill, Brixton
plus a stack of radio spots...

..and talking of radio spots, listen to Dan and Sally from Hem chatting recently on NPR about Rabbit songs (which finally seems to be going places - recently hit no1 on the Amazon chart)...
   posted by SMc at 2:05 PM |