Tuesday, September 26, 2006

In House #1712: New Self-Titled Lemonheads, Ben Kweller

For whatever reason, was a time when Evan Dando could do no right. Despite songwriting filled with hooks, it seems it was his looks that some couldn't get past, and he had an unfair reputation as some kind of musical dilettante, culminating in the 'zine Die Evan Dando, Die. Nevertheless, the original Lemonheads initially enjoyed great success within the realm of what was the still known as "college radio" with a string of four releases from 1987 to 1990, followed by the two major label releases that put them on the map, It's a Shame About Ray (1992) and Come On Feel the Lemonheads (1993). Somewhere along the way the hectic touring schedule, and no doubt constant scrutiny, caught up with Dando, and he retreated into a self-imposed (and reportedly drug-imposed) exile following the release of 1996's underrated Car Button Cloth. He resurfaced in 2003 with the surprisingly solid solo release Baby I'm Bored.

Evan Dando

The new self-titled release from The Lemonheads is essentially Lemonheads in name only-- although the band has always really been Dando and a rotating cast of many. For the first Lemonheads effort in nearly ten years, Dando deliberately chose musicians with the direction of a loud rock record in mind. Indeed, ex-Descendents Bill Stevenson (drums) and Karl Alvarez (bass) give Dando's power-pop hooks a crunchy, meaty feel that hasn't been heard from the band since their early days. The collection of eleven new songs clocks in at under 35 minutes, meaning that most of the tunes are brief blasts of melodic rock, although there are also detours through a country waltz ("Baby's Home") and a mid-tempo meditation ("Become the Enemy"). The result is an album that will no doubt surprise and infuriate Dando's detractors from way back when-- The Lemonheads is a welcome return to form from a band many of us recall fondly.

In House #1712.
Airdate: 9/26/06
Focus: New self-titled release from The Lemonheads, plus new music from Ben Kweller, Yo La Tengo, Pernice Brothers, and more.

The Lemonheads, from The Lemonheads: "Become the Enemy" (MP3)

The Morning Benders from the Loose Change EP: "Grain of Salt" (MP3)


In House PODCAST #181


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