Jack's pack is back
Sea of Cowards, the sophomore album by the Dead Weather, Jack White's switchblade-comb of a side project, doesn't last much longer than 30 minutes front to back. It sounds as if it took even less time to make. But with this quartet — led by the White Stripes' restless White, and Kills femme fatale Alison Mosshart — brevity and haste are the caustic currency. All of the prickly players just sort of do their own thing, and the '70s-stuck result is jarring gutbucket modernism, Led Zeppelin without the melodies, the squeeze jeans or the powers of seduction. This is the band where White mostly forgoes his guitar — that's Dean Fertita's guttural job — and instead drums, sings and writes duets of the damned (see Die by the Drop and The Difference Between Us). Fair warning: I bought Sea of Cowards on vinyl; it comes with a gatefold spread, liners, lyrics. I love it. And yet, if I had bought it on CD or iTunes, I'm not sure I'd feel the same way. Weird, huh?
What's the story? Eternal glory
On June 15, Legacy Recordings will release Time Flies . . . 1994-2009, a two-CD singles comp devoted to the Brothers Gallagher, a.k.a. Oasis, a.k.a. those battling Beatles-obsessed British goons. For diehard fans of snotty Noel and petulant Liam — and there are a lot of 'em, especially in the UK, where the band scored a record 22 consecutive top 10 hits, eight of which went No. 1 — there will also be a three-CD/DVD box set and a five-LP vinyl collection. The big news is that cult hit Whatever, a jangly bit of sing-along defiance, will get its first official U.S. album release.
Although I lost significant interest in the group after 1995's (What's the Story) Morning Glory? — nothing less than one of the great rock records of the 20th century — I remain steadfast that history will remember the since-disbanded Oasis very well. Yes, they borrowed from the Fabs and, in latter years, the Stones. But the Gallaghers certainly never hid their influences. After all, Wonderwall, one of their first big hits, was named after George Harrison's solo debut.
When it comes to bombastic rock, cocksure 'tude, paganistic riffs and a big beating heart, you can't go wrong with Oasis, which, for all its battles with Blur, the press and random ladies, was ultimately upended by sibling squabbles. Noel was the brains of the group, an exceptional songwriter who could never quite get used to his mouthy brother stealing the limelight.
They say they're done; Liam and other members of Oasis have gone on to form a new band, Beady Eye. But I'd bet big that the brothers will reunite sooner rather than later. In the meantime, go fire up the Oasis. Me? I have my eye on that new vinyl set. Champagne Supernova cranking from the ol' Victrola? I'm on that faster than a cannonball.
The Dentist Playlist
You want to get me all riled up? You want to hear me spout conspiracy theories only a wizened wackadoo could conjure? Ask me about dentists. I'm thoroughly convinced dentists are flimflammers, sharpies. Mountebanks, I say! Listen, I agree that you should brush twice a day, floss your choppers, avoid Swedish Fish. I play by the rules. I do. And as a result, I have sturdy white teeth. Sure, a few sins have left yellowy reminders, but for the most part, I'm sparkly. My gums are sound, too; I rarely bleed into my Fruity Pebbles. And YET, going to the dentist is now like going to Jiffy Lube; they're always trying to guilt you into buying upgrades. I feel pressured, uncomfortable, especially since they know more about air filters/bicuspids than I do. It makes me want to lash out: I don't need deep gum cleaning! Just squirt a blurp of that horrific bubblegum fluoride on your spinny whizbo and let's get to work on my cavity-free maw! Next week I'm seeing a new dentist. If he tries to sell me molar sealant and/or new windshield wipers, I'm biting someone.
1 My Big Mouth, Oasis
2 Scrape Away, the Jam
3 Pulling Teeth, Green Day
4 Spit Sink, Dead Milkmen
5 Tip Drill, Nelly
6 Novocaine, Alice Cooper
7 Rinse, Vanessa Carlton
8 Shane's Dentist, Mojo Nixon
9 Teeth Like God's Shoeshine, Modest Mouse
10 I Love to See You Smile, Randy Newman