Saturday, 27 August 2011

Random Review #101 Golden Smog - Weird Tales

C11S3CD7 Michael Macklyn, David Spear, Raymond Virginia, Leonardson Saratoga and Scott Summit, all giants of the American music scene come together to form a ‘Super group’ called Golden Smog, heard of them? I doubt it, as the names are made up from their middle names and the streets where they lived, but if I said Jeff Tweedy (Wilco) Gary Louris (The Jayhawks) and Dan Murphy and David Pirner (Blind Melon) then a lot of you will start to get the picture, throw in members of Big star and The Replacements and what you get is a collective of great songwriters having a bit of fun.

Although the aliases stayed for the first EP and album they always credited the songs to the correct names so the game was really up very early on. The band has been a loose collection of musicians especially in the drummer’s seat as they seem to have had more drummers than Spinal Tap! Jokes aside this was an outlet for some great musicians to have some fun and maybe do something they couldn’t do within the confines of their day jobs and it works.

This is the second full length album only preceded by an EP of cover which was their debut release. Some of the songs are written by the entire band and I guess when they come together, but others are written  by the individuals and I wonder if they are left over from the respective bands as you can pick Wilco, Blind Melon, and Jayhawks sounding tracks out on this album a mile away. Not that they are substandard tracks left over from the bands there is some wonderful music on this album. Lost Love is Being There era Wilco, and Until You Came Along is the best Jayhawks song they never recorded. As much as this is all I need to buy this album, the jointly written songs also throw up some great tunes. If I Only Had A Car is wonderful as is Jennifer Save Me both written by Kraig Jarret Johnson and Gary Louris.

There are no covers on this album but they have covered Bowie (Starman) Thin Lizzy (Cowboy Song) and Dinosaur Jr. (Tarpit) amongst a number of cover version which allows them to endulge some of their hero's which I guess they couldn't do within the confines of their regular bands.

This experience was enjoyed so much that the band have even played live and although quiet for a while they  have 5 albums and an EP behind them.

If you love Blind Melon the Jayhawks or Wilco or just a lover of good Americana then this will be right up your street.

Mark 8/10

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