Mary Weiss Dangerous Game (Norton Records)
I never grasped how punk Mary Weiss’ voice is till I heard Dangerous Game, the first album in 40 years from the former lead singer of ’60s girl group The Shangri-La’s. But when I heard her sing the fantastic old-school rock ’n’ roll songs on this release, I suddenly thought: This is what Joey Ramone was all about. The raw, throaty voice—sweet and tough at the same time...Where has she been all my life? Many of the songs on this revelatory album are written by co-producer Greg Cartwright, who also plays guitar in The Reigning Sound, a fantastic garage band out of Asheville, N.C. Cartwright and band back Weiss on inspired arrangements that update that old girl group sound—with crunchier guitars, and much more organ—without ignoring Weiss’ roots. Weiss was only 14 when she and The Shangri-La’s started recording hits like “Remember (Walking in the Sand)” and “Leader of the Pack.” Here’s hoping Dangerous Game is the first of many wonderful albums to be made in this next phase of her career.
LISTEN: Audio Clip
"Dangerous Game" MP3
Producers: Greg Cartwright and Billy Miller. Engineer: Michael Caiati. Studio: Coyote Studios (Brooklyn, N.Y.). Mastering: Bob Irwin/Sundazed Studios (Coxsackie, N.Y.).
Faithless To All New Arrivals (Sony BMG)
It bumps. It grooves. It weaves in and out of styles. Harnessing the steady rhythms of trance music, the “get up on your feet and dance all night” imperative of house music (is that really back?!) and all things electronica, this UK-based producing duo (Rollo, of “Don’t You Want Me” as Felix in 1992; and Sister Bliss, a well-known UK house DJ) hit a home-run with their latest release, To All New Arrivals. I guess that title includes me, as this is the first time I’ve heard Faithless’ hypnotic quilt work of synths, lush vocals and judicious use of guitar and drum kit. But I guess Faithless has a faithful following, as Dido (“Last This Day”) and The Cure’s Robert Smith (“Spiders, Crocodiles & Kryptonite”) make guest vocal appearances. If you’re in the mood to sit back with a martini and enjoy a heavy ambient vibe, then this is the disc to pop in.
Producers: Rollo and Sister Bliss. Engineer: Grippa (and mixing). Mastering: Miles Showell at Metropolis (London).