Plucked from the dollar bin: Judybats

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. I find it impossible to stay away from a $1 CD bin and thankfully have discovered that there are a few prime locations to come away with huge scores if you’re willing to put the time in to digging through piles and piles of junk. This feature will focus on CDs that I’ve plucked out of dollar bins.

Judybats – Pain Makes You Beautiful (Warner Bros.)
Original release date: March 9, 1993
Purchased at: Half Price Books (Westerville, Ohio location)

Listening to the Judybats some 17 years after this release, it’s hard to believe that this lightweight, Brit-dream-pop-inspired music created by fresh-faced, just-out-of-college-looking Tennessee guys was considered “alternative”. But, in the early ’90s, artists like R.E.M. and Matthew Sweet … heck, even Toad the Wet Sprocket … were creating jangly pop music that didn’t really sound like the mainstream rock that closed out the ’80s. And, so, these bands WERE alternative when compared to artists like Poison, Genesis, Bobby Brown, New Kids on the Block, and whatever else dominated the charts during my final high school days.
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In My Ear – Week of September 19

Here’s some things I listened to last week. Feel free to tell me what you listened to by leaving your list in the comment section below.

The Gracious Few
Candlebox singer backed by members of Live in a Zeppelin-sounding band. Much better than I would have thought based on description alone.

The Posies – Blood/Candy
As with other bands, my favorites Posies CD is the first one I heard by the Seattle power-pop band, Frosting on the Beater. But, after years of making The Posies their second and third priority, Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow have reunited and put out an album that holds it’s own against Frosting on the Beater. Can’t wait to see these guys on tour (w/ Brendan Benson and Aqueduct) in November.

Kelly Kneiser
This is the first solo recording from Glossary member Kelly Kneiser. She doesn’t fancy herself a songwriter so all the songs on this EP were written and donated by friends but Kelly delivers the charming vocals providing further evidence why she’s the secret weapon in the band led by her ex-husband Joey. The EP is available for free over on Glossary’s website.

The Organ Beats
Another freebie – not sure how long this will last so grab now if you’re interested – The Organ Beats are led by ex-Damone frontwoman Noelle LeBlanc. While Damone also flirted with an ’80s hair metal sound, The Organ Beats are a bit more straight-up rock with just a small dash of pop … probably a more marketable sound than Damone. (Click on “Buy” below and name your own price for the CD)

<a href="http://theorganbeats.bandcamp.com/album/sleep-when-we-are-dead">SLEEP WHEN WE ARE DEAD by The Organ Beats</a>

Massy Ferguson
Remember the early Son Volt material, the stuff when Jay Farrar had just split from Uncle Tupelo and was trying to make a name for himself as a solo artist? Massy Ferguson remembers that and their second full length, Hard Water (out on Oct.19), is a hearty tribute to the alt.country sounds of bands like Son Volt and Drive-By Truckers. Sample tracks on Massy Ferguson’s website (the player is on the top of the page – I highly recommend starting with “Long Time No See”).

In My Ear – Week of August 1

Some things I listened to last week.

1. Esthero
I remember getting Esthero’s Breath From Another from a Sony college rep back in ’98. The languid trip-hop sound complimented the jazzy vocals and the group of us who were into Lamb, Hooverphonic, the Sneaker Pimps, etc., at the time ate this one up like it was an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet. These days, the singer is collaborating with artists like Timbaland and Kanye West.

2. oOoOO
Pitchfork describes the witch house genre of music as “a group of young, geographically scattered artists concurrently exploring ghostly, slow-moving electro-pop, each with their own unique spin”. I stumbled upon oOoOO somewhere on the web and was intrigued by the dreamy vocals and synth-pop. I’m particularly fond of “No summr4u”.

Nosummr4u by oOoOO

3. The Posies
Two years ago Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow did a 10th anniversary tour for their 1998 pop classic Frosting on the Beater and it was during this tour that the duo started planning Blood/Candy (due in stores on Sept.28). The album is loaded with guest stars ranging from Kay Hanley (ex-Letters to Cleo) to Hugh Cornwell (ex-Stranglers). “License to Hide”, available as a free download, features guest vocals from Lisa Lobsinger (Broken Social Scene).

Download: The Posies – “License to Hide”

4. Jerry Garcia – All Good Things (box set)
I’m slowing coming around to Garcia and the Grateful Dead. That’s a strong admission from someone who once said that if the Grateful Dead and Jimmy Buffet performed a co-headlining gig somewhere in the middle of a corn field, I’d drop a bomb just to rid the world of the sound of those artists. This box set is comprised of Garcia’s solo material and is surprisingly contemporary despite being anywhere from 20 – 40 years old.