The Volebeats Like Her (Turquoise Mountain)
Country riffs and ballads about pretty girls, combined with '60s pop percussion and organs, create an atmosphere like that of a dance in the old high school gym. When Johnny can't muster the courage to ask Suzy to put her back into it—er, shake a leg—he huffs off to his '48 Buick to take a few swigs of hooch. Later at Inspiration Point, Johnny gets to first base. Way to go, Johnny! The Volebeats hail from Detroit, have singer/guitarist Matthew Smith in common with Outrageous Cherry and have been making country-esque pop rock since 1988. With their simplicity, lo-fi recording and tales of romantic triumph, Like Her is both nifty and swell.
Calla Collisions (Beggars Banquet)
On their fourth album, New York City post-rock four-piece Calla bring beautiful, textured, guitar-driven rock accoutrements ornamented with fuzzy synthesizer implementation. And while their similarity to predecessors Starflyer 59 is exceptional, this album is superior to the newest from the latter (and without the Christianity), thus I must say to fans of the aforementioned: Meet your new favorite album.
Various Artists All-Time Top 100 TV Themes (TVT Records)
TV themes sound totally different out of the television context. Aside, perhaps, from "MASH," "The Jeffersons," "Knight Rider" and "The A-Team," which is the most badass TV theme ever (I wonder if they're still wanted by the government), this crap is pretty horrifying, and it gets exponentially worse as the late '80s and early '90s come along. Written mostly by people who should be punished for having sought careers in music, this is the soundtrack to my own personal hell. So, it's strange to admit that the existence of this compilation is strangely comforting.