Amy Gore and Her Valentines, "In Love." Amy Gore injects some pop sugar into her gritty Detroit garage rock on “In Love,” a fine disc full of smart, catchy rock ‘n’ roll.
Gore, who fronted the Gore Gore Girls, has assembled a Detroit rock supergroup as Her Valentines. Guitarist Jackson Smith is the son of Patti and the late Fred ‘Sonic’ Smith of the MC5, plays in the Patti Smith Group and has recorded with the likes of Steve Earle and Elton John. Bassist Leann Banks was in the Von Bondies, the best-in-town rival of the White Stripes.
Appropriately enough for a Detroit band, the first three songs on “In Love” are car tunes -- the swinging, ringing “Drivin’ Around” bounces along, the insistent buzz of “Cadillac” “keeps me coming back” and on the power pop ballad, “Just a Dream,” “he’s the car/I’m the driver.”
Then the disc takes off, sliding from acoustic to twangy electric guitar on “I’m Addicted,” cranking up the killer chorus “Static,” the biggest hook on a record full of them, swaggering through the '60s-drenched “You Won’t Lead Me On” and slowing down for the acoustic/keyboards rooted ballad “Remember Me” before going out on the rockin’ "Diana” and driving “Send Me A Postcard.”
With Gore’s serious hard rock to girl group soft vocals bringing each song fully to life, “In Love” is all killer, no filler. Grade: A
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Wanda Jackson, "Unfinished Business." Following up the Jack White produced “The Party Ain’t Over,” which she says brought her into the 21st century, Wanda Jackson teams up with Justin Townes Earle behind the board and goes back to the '50s and '60s on “Unfinished Business.”
That means a mix of rockabilly, country and gospel, ranging from the swinging opener “Tore Down," the swaggering “Pushover” and a snappy take on “It’s All Over Now.”
The heartbroke, steel-drenched weeper “Am I Even A Memory,” a duet with Earle and the honky tonk shuffle “What Do You Do When You’re Lonesome,” are hardcore country that just isn’t being recorded any longer. Townes Van Zandt’s song of praise “Two Hands” is the gospel, which really hits home from the very Christian Jackson.
Jackson, who’ll turn 75 on Saturday, still has plenty of sass and growl in her voice. Even when its strained a bit with age, her heart carries the songs, all of which fit her like a glove. Grade: A
The Rolling Stones, "Doom and Gloom." Just when you thought the old boys didn’t have it in 'em any more, The Rolling Stones crank up a new single full of their classic raunchy bluesy bite. Opening with a driving riff and hammering drums, the Don Was-produced song shimmies and shakes with Mick Jagger wailing the lyrics that slide from topical to “baby won’t you dance with me” and somehow still make sense. “Doom and Gloom” is one of two new songs that will turn up on “GRRR!” the album the Stones will release next month to mark a half century of rock ‘n’ roll. Grade: A