Five-Minute Record Reviews: The Knack, Paul McCartney, Garbage and MORE!

That's right, we not only listen to each album for five minutes, but also write the review in those same five minutes. It's what we in the biz like to call "multi-tasking". Enough about us, here is this week's batch of noteworthy new releases.
The Knack / Havin' A Rave-Up: Live In Los Angeles 1978

They will always be remembered for their massive one-two punch of hits ("My Sharona" and "Good Girls Don't"), but this live album shows that all of the elements were in place long before the band had signed to Capitol. Additionally, the band is tighter than a sea otter's sphincter, with Bruce Gary's propulsive drumming driving each song home and Doug Fieger's vocals adding a playful, commanding urgency to each cut. While not perfect, the quality of this recording is such that you can actually feel the heat and electricity in the room on this particular night 30+ years ago.

Garbage / Not Your Kind of People

When Garbage broke up a few years ago, we began counting the days until Butch, Steve, Duke, and Shirley woke up and smelled the coffee. Recorded for their own label, Stunvolume, NYKOP fits right into the band's respectable canon, mixing all of the latest studio bells and whistles with one jagged earworm hook after another. If anything, the album seems to almost rely too heavily on the band's well-worn electronic rock template, as if their attempt to break free of such confines on 2005's "Bleed Like Me" had never happened.

Paul and Linda McCartney / RAM

There are many who hold this particular Macca record in high esteem and so they should. The remaster improves upon previous digital versions, but the inclusion of 8 additional tracks on Disc 2 perfectly accentuates one of the best albums in McCartney's expansive discography. If you're at all on the fence about this one, do yourself a favor and pick this one up today! You can thank us later.

John Mayer / Born And Raised

Last year, John Mayer came down with some vocal chord issues and promised the world that he would need to take a year off from singing in order to heal properly. Six months later, up pops a new John Mayer studio album. Not fair, John, not fair at all.

Musically, it's more of the same from Mayer. Sure, it's being pitched as some sort of southern rock record, but this batch of tunes could have just as easily appeared on Battle Studies or Room For Squares. If that's your thing, then this album will give you your JM fix.

Kimbra / Vows

You know her as the female voice on Gotye's worldwide smash hit "Someone That I Used To Know", but with her debut solo effort, Kimbra is hoping to carve out her own musical niche. Sadly, whatever she does is going to be measured against the Gotye song even though all she did was sing on it.

Unfortunately, the production and musical backing on her baroque jazz-inflected debut effort play it much too safe when a little more adventure would have helped some of the material truly take flight. Her vocal prowess is without question and she's still one to keep an eye on, but this album will not help her emerge from Gotye's shadow.

Superior St. Rehearsal Facility

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