Must Have CD's

by Scott Thill


Rolling Stones, A Bigger Bang

This is the moment where I'm supposed to tell you to forget the hype and toss this Stones effort, their 24th as far as original material is concerned, into the dustbin with the rest of their post-Exile on Main Street forget-me-nows like Emotional Rescue and Steel Wheels. But I can't because Jagger, Richards and the rest of their blues-rock juggernaut have turned in not just the roughest and toughest album ever made by sexagenarians but also one made by most pretenders littering MTV and VH-1 today. From the grimy rawk of "Rough Justice" and "Look What the Cat Dragged In" to the political snarl of "Sweet Neocon," the Stones have suddenly become as relevant as they were when classics like Exile, Sticky Fingers and the rest of their pre-Some Girls output made your head spin. And it couldn't come at a better time, bombarded as we are by wars on terror and natural disasters. Because the Stones have been around more blocks than you, and their perspective, especially on this raucous affair, is more than instructive. It's essential.


Go Betty Go, Nothing is More

Straight outta’ Glendale, this Latina rawk outfit almost didn't make it to the finish line with this debut full-length effort intact. After all, they've been gigging like mad for the last four years in what remains a competitive, draining Los Angeles scene, to say nothing of the wear-and-tear on their souls and tires that resulted from endless hours on the lonesome roads of America. But family sticks together, as sisters Nicolette and Aixa Vilar will tell you if you ask, and it sure shows on Nothing is More. Along with Betty Cisneros and Michelle Rangel, the Vilar sisters have helped create one of SoCal's most potent pop-rock nuggets. Whether it's the addictive proclamation of "I'm From LA," the wanderlust-soaked "Get Out," the urgently powerful "Runaway" or any of the other memorable tracks of Nothing is More, Go Betty Go have given new meaning to the phrase "local motion." As much as they seem like they want to escape the bonds they have built for themselves, this quartet isn't going anywhere but up. Catch them on their way there.


Supergrass, Road to Rouen

Unlike their similarly hyped British Invasion Part Duh brethren Oasis and Blur, the maturing men of Supergrass have not ended up becoming a pop-culture footnote revisited by VH-1. In fact, with Road to Rouen, they have turned out what may be perhaps their most evocative, moving effort yet. And that's saying a lot, because from I Should Coco onward, Supergrass has churned out some memorable music. But Road to Rouen's chilling, poignant single "St. Petersburg" shows that the boys have grown up, whether the little girls want them to or not. And it's all good.


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© Melt Magazine 2005