*Glenn Mercer "Wheels In Motion" - 2007 solo outing from Feelies' singer/lead guitarist, co-songwriter. Features just about ALL the current Feelies (and their original bassist and second drummer [Anton Fier] on some tracks). The only one missing is co-founder, rhythm guitarist Bill Million. On first listen, that JUST what it sounds like -- any of the last 5 Feelies album with Bill's parts mixed out. On one hand all the good stuff IS there, on the other -- it is surprising how much Bill's writing input and guitar parts.
*Bruce Springsteen "Magic" - what can I say? I was born and raised in NJ. Springsteen played the Commuter Student Center, "The Ledge," frequently when I was attending Rutgers. It was pretty impossible for me to pass this up for the price though I probably haven't bought a Springsteen album new since, "Born To Run." On first listen - it's real nice. But honestly once Bruce found his stride on album #2 he's never released a bad 'un or one that didn't fit neatly within his oeuvre. He's always in great voice, surrounds himself with able players and the man DOES know his way around a tune. This will be good to have when those random Bruce moments hit.
*Paul Butterfield Blues Band "Incense Herbs" - I've belonged to many cultural subsets that reviled white blues rock -- Zappa-phile freak rockers, punks... -- and I still think the suspicion is sound but...hearing Danny Kalb rave about what a transcendental guitarmonster Mike Bloomfield was first time he heard him playing some little club, making the acquaintance of Howlin Wolf drummer Sam Lay and having him mention that he was a member of this outfit (who were the folks that backed up Dylan at Newport when he "went electric"), recalling Elvin Bishop's solo heyday and recalling he was the other guitarist. In retrospect seems very portentous. Now to give it a listen with mature ears.
*The Subdudes "Primitive Streak" - part of my NOLA research project. Just as the Treme bug had bit hard, I wound up at the mighty Louisiana Music Factory -- a little tipsy -- asked for a recommendation for a funk record, got handed a Galactic record and turned my nose up at it... "Ya got anything I can't find in a Best Buy and not by white guys." JEEZ WHAT A SNOID I WAS BEING! I've slowly come to appreciate to some small degree how complex that music scene is and has been. The interrelationships between bands and genres are exceedingly complicated and basically inextricable. So while the Subdudes ain't Huey Smith And The Clowns, their sort of easy-groovin' take on lightly Cajun-ized Americana rockin' does represent an important part in the culture.
*Eternal Sunshine Of the Spotless Mind soundtrack. I bought this to hear what exactly Jon Brion actually sounds like. I know his rep as a quirky, baroque-pop informed auteur - but it's not like there's a wealth of Jon Brion albums per se to acquire!
*Little Feat - eponymous debut. This actually cost $4.99. This first album is utterly distinctive in its mix of blues, rock and country flavors allied with some wonderfully ambitious structural conceits, renderering it fairly unique and pretty powerful stuff.