No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop

On their second album, the two guys that make up Los Angeles' No Age sound less like a My Bloody Valentine tribute band and more like the skate-punk malcontents they really are. Guitarist Randy Randall and drummer Dean Allen Spunt still allow for plenty of kaleidoscopic detours like those found on their 2008 debut, Nouns (check out "Dusted" and "Sorts," a venomous synth-noise tumble in a cement mixer). But No Age seems uncomfortably down with abject conventionality on Everything in Between — from the downer-strum "Common Heat" to the headbang literality of "Fever Dreaming," which thrashes like a windup toy gone haywire. When the group's anarchistic and conformist tendencies collide — as in "Shred and Transcend" — it's easy to be awed by their noise. But too often they come off like just another three-chord soundtrack to when you want to hole up in bed all day and watch Jackass reruns. —Ray Cummings

Tracy Kash Thomas
Sound Truth
Cytra Music

The joy here is that Tracy Kash Thomas sings of familiar issues with an enormous sense of hope and feeling. Like Joni Mitchell or Carole King, this well-trained musician connects, and the ordinary is suddenly extraordinary.

"Take It Too Far" tells of a romance that blossomed from friendship — "It's time we ruined this friendship/ it's time we take it too far" while in "Bubble" she encloses herself for protection: "No more wading through the rubble/ when everyone's dead weight comes down on me." "Hold My Hand, Zoey" covers any parent's natural desire to protect her child, and she sings, "You're the prize I've won/ now my life's begun," with refreshing and unironic honesty. Sound Truth succeeds spectacularly because Thomas' love for life bursts forth even in melancholy moments. It's the kind of joy that's infectious. —Brett Callwood

Saturday, Oct. 2, at the Junction, 31505 Grand River Ave., Farmington; 734-262-5469.

Fright from the bins

Helluva Band

Not the Angel Aerosmith sang about. Not even close. Like their alphabetical homies ABBA, Angel too had an aerodynamic logo that looked the same backwards and upside down. Unfortunately, this album came before some Angel fan designed that fancy letterhead for them. I snapped up this dog-eared copy of their second album Helluva Band not because of any allegiance to pouty Punky Meadows or shampoo conditioning, but because:

a) The cover has five poodles chained together like a life-sized charm bracelet, being held by an oversized female hand to whom size obviously means nothing. Maybe she'll keep them for tampons!

b) C'mon, there's a song called "Dr. Ice" on here! And it sounds exactly like a theme to a Sid and Marty Krofft show. Share in my shallow hopes of one day finding those other five Angel albums that bankrupted Casablanca Records, selling for a pittance at a Goodwill. —Serene Dominic


Detective (Deluxe Edition)
Rock Candy

A Michael Des Barres post-Silverhead posture-fest that sees him embrace the by-the-numbers qualities of arena shouters, such as Sir R. Plant, with nods to Paul Rogers, and you'd never guess he'd been called the David Niven of rock.

Jimmy Page inked Detective in '75 to Zep's own Swan Song, and he produced some here, so it's very Zep-y, and a surprisingly listenable time-capsule nod to post-glam radio rock. Drummer John Hyde even channels Bonham.

Success eluded Detective because the timing was just off; besides, Page's lifestyle was, um, a bit topsy-turvy in the mid-'70s, so this album wound up costing nearly a cool million to make — and that's in 1975 dollars. (DeBarres: "We took two months to get the drum sound!") Detective's moment of fame may've been its WKRP in Cincinnati cameo.

"Recognition," "Got Enough Love" and the weirdly Raspberries-ish pop of "Detective Man" are all ace. The package is killer; 16 color pages of essays and pics, worthy master tape mastering, etc. —Brian Smith

Download of the week

Mayor Hawthorne & the County
"No Strings (Classixx Original)"
Stones Throw

Tweaking the sound that broke the band, Hawthorne's new single "No Strings" trades his cute-but-flat '60s-soul croon for a synthy, slightly modern sound. It's still R&B: The band calls on Hall and Oates and even adds a touch of Chromeo's self-aware panache.

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