Roky Erickson & Okkervil River - True Love Cast Out All Evil (Chemikal Underground )
ROKY ERICKSON and The 13th Floor Elevators were pioneering American acid rockers in the 1960s with songs like ‘Slip Inside This House’ and ‘You’re Gonna Miss Me’.
Though a great musician, Roky has had a troubled life, suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, enduring involuntarily electroconvulsive therapy, stints in mental hospitals, drug addiction, and run ins with the law.
Such experiences are enough to make a man bitter and angry, and some of that anger comes out on The Elevators-esque ‘John Lawman’, but True Love Cast Out All Evil, Roky’s first album for 15 years, is overall calm, reflective, compassionate, and forgiving.
‘Be and Bring Me Home’ finds Roky taking comfort and pride in the bosom of family while in ‘Please, Judge’ he appeals for leniency for a young man who has stumbled onto the wrong path.
It suits the mood of this album, as well as its autobiographic and honest nature, this it is largely country based. The backing from fellow Texans, the great Okkervil River, adds further warmth and depth to a superb collection.
AC/DC - Iron Man 2 OST (Sony )
AC/DC’S PREVIOUS soundtrack album was Who Made Who?, for the largely forgotten Stephen King film Maximum Overdrive, which was a compilation with three new tracks.
It was enjoyable enough, but featured only one song from the Bon Scott era. Iron Man 2 is different. Its 15 tracks span the entirety of the band’s career, with Bon as well represented as Brian Johnston. It also includes mostly non-singles and overlooked gems (‘Evil Walks’, ‘The Razors Edge’, and 1978’s rare ‘Cold Hearted Man’ ), alongside such classics as ‘Let There Be Rock’, ‘Thunderstruck’, and ‘Highway to Hell’.
Though not definitive, this is a very tasty compilation that gives a good overview of the band’s 35 year career, and is a worthwhile entry point if you’re new to AC/DC. Think of it as an ‘alternative’ best of.
She & Him - Volume Two (Double Six )
THE LATE 1950s, early 1960s has been undergoing a revival of late, with its fashions, iconography, and music coming into vogue among the indie crowd.
Indie babe Zooey Deschanel is well known as an actress but she is also a singer-songwriter who, in collaboration with M Ward, goes under the moniker She & Him. Despite Ward’s presence, Volume Two is Deschanel’s album. She wrote 11 of its 13 songs and handles all lead vocals.
From the opening swirl of ‘Thieves’, it’s obvious Deschanel has taken the 1955-63 era as her musical template, with every conceivable motif from that era’s pop being utilised.
It is retro yes, but not pastiche. Deschanel is a very able songwriter with a good ear for melody, harmony, a touch of drama, and a catchy chorus. The fifties’ motif is simply a style to use, a poodle skirt to wear, over some great songs.