Read the original "Culling the Herd" post here.  Links take you to the iTunes store!


Cold War Kids, "Skip The Charades" - 3 stars.  Hold it.

It's okay, I guess, good enough to listen to now and again, but it's a bit overly dramatic, both lyrically and musically, with over-miked drums and plaintive wailing vocals...and speaking of overly dramatic, how 'bout that last sentence?  Like I said, it's okay.

Company Of Thieves, "Oscar Wilde" - 4 stars.  Dig it.

Much better...classic alt-pop with a nice hook and clean sound.  The lead singer sounds *deeply* familiar, but a google search doesn't turn her up anywhere else.

The Connells, "Stone Cold Yesterday" - 3 stars.  Hold it.

The Connells, "Something To Say" - 4 stars.  Dig it.

My sophomore year in college, I moved from one dorm (a dorky one) to a cooler one with some guys from my high school.  During my freshman year I had transitioned from typical classic rock more into punk / alternative / "college" radio stuff, and I brought that with me.  The way I remember it, the guys were into Journey and The Tubes and Motown and...oh, I don't know.  Typical stuff for the time.  I like to think that I pushed them in a different direction, to the point where John eventually went past me to stuff I hadn't heard of.

So a year or so after I graduated, I went back down to visit John (who was doing his pre-med work), and he gave me a mix-tape that he called "Hard / Limp," full of cool stuff I'd never heard.  I loved that tape - John had this cool thing of doing two songs from each artist when he did a mixtape (an idea I totally stole) - but I eventually lost it, and years later I couldn't really remember what was on it, except the Connells.  So I dug up these two songs.  They're good to very good, classic late 80s / early 90s alt-pop.  I'm only just realizing now that neither of these particular songs were on that tape, but hey...they're pretty good.

Continental Drifters, "Vermillion" - 4 stars.  Dig it.

I generally don't like supergroups, even when, as in this case, I like the members (this one included Peter Holsapple of the dBs, Vicki Peterson of the Bangles, and a guy from Dream Syndicate, among others).  Most of those records never seem to hang together as well as those from 'normal' bands that have been together for years and year.  Think the Travelling Wilburys or the Warren Zevon / REM (minus Michael Stipe) side project Hindu Love Gods.

This one is different, and I think it's because of that very reason - this wasn't a one-off, get-in-and-get-out record.  Even though the lineup changed a few times over the years, they did stay 'together' for almost a decade, so there's a continuity and familiarity that other supergroups don't really have.  Even so, there's an appealing raggedness to it, too.  Really a terrific record.

Counting Crows, "Hanginaround" - 5 stars.  Dig it.

So there I am, working at Apple after closing time, cleaning up the schmutz that the animals leave on every screen, and the store sound system starts up with a great older song.  I immediately start bobbing my head, banging on the table in time, and Shazam-ing it, which gives me ...oh.  Counting Crows, huh?  Weren't they some sort of cheesy 90s band?  Oh, well, great song.  So I try to buy it, and I ALREADY HAVE IT.  How I got it, or when, I have absolutely no idea.

I should say - the only reason I give it 5 stars is because I CAN'T GIVE IT SIX.  What a great G.D. song.

The Cranberries, "Everybody Else Is Doing It, Why Can't We?" - 2 stars.  Dump it.

My memory of the Cranberries is based on the song "Dreams," which I really liked as a counter to the grunge era.  So I bought this, and...maybe it's because it's 20 years later, but I don't like it much.  "Dreams" is still a fantastic song, and "Linger" is truly a beautiful song, as well.  Dolores O'Riordan's voice is really a remarkable instrument, and I have this feeling that if I'd found it when it was new it might be one of my favorite records, but most of it goes.

Crash Kings, "Mountain Man" - 5 stars.  Dig it.

Don't know where this came from, and had no idea what to expect, but I hit 'play' on this one...and then hit it again.  What a terrific song, heavy and poppy, would fit right in on a White Stripes record.  I thought it might be a Jack White side project, actually, but it's not.  Anyway, just terrific, and placed firmly on my "check out more by this guy" pile.

AuthorMatthew Riegler