1. Paul McCartney – Pure McCartney
With all of the live albums, compilations (All the Best, Wingspan), and expanded editions of solo albums the former Beatle has released, it’s fair to ask why we might need another retrospective, especially if you’ve already got all of the material on Pure McCartney elsewhere in your collection. Maybe you don’t. But if you want to make your own mix based on this collection, it’s a great representation of what McCartney has done, by himself and with Wings or other collaborators, since 1970. The bigger hits like “Maybe I’m Amazed,” “Jet,” and “Band on the Run” are well represented, but there are also some great tracks that tend to get overshadowed, like “Heart of the Country” from Ram and “Wanderlust” from Tug of War. If you go for the four-disc version, you get even deeper into the catalogue with things like “Bip Bop” off of Wild Life and “Press” from Press To Play. Again, you might have all of this stuff already, but it’s a wonderfully curated collection.
2. Diarrhea Planet – Turn to Gold
I’m not sure what I was expecting out of a band called Diarrhea Planet, except that they would be loud and punk-adjacent and perhaps too intent on offending. So I was amused to hear the first track on Turn To Gold was majestic rock guitar instrumental, further amused it was called “Hard Style 2.” At heart, Diarrhea Planet is a melodic rock band with punk sympathies and a sense of humor, and while spending time on their celestial namesake would be an absolutely disgusting experience, listening to the band is not. It’s a fun album, a romp through all kinds of Big Rock clichés, like the anthemic “Ain’t A Sin To Win.” They’ve even got “Bob Dylan’s Grandma,” whom they say “holds down the two and four.” They can even do pretty. “Lie Down” is a sheer wall of chiming and fuzzed out guitars and melancholy, surely a lighter-waver when they do it live. Don’t take Turn To Gold too seriously, and you’ll have an enjoyable experience.
3. Wesley Fuller – Melvista
The Melbourne-based Fuller comes on like a garage rock Beach Boys on his new EP. “Runaway Renee” has the harmonies and the fun-in-the-sun feel augmented by a jangling 12-string electric guitar and a little sludge around the edges. “Melvista” sounds a bit like early Cars, synths riding over rock and roll guitars. It’s good car stereo music.