QUICK SPINS: Sloan, Jason Falkner
By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on Feb 17, 2010 6:40PM
In which we take a quick look at a few recent musical releases.
Proper Sloan albums then to have more "hits" than most bands release over an entire career. Of course these "hits" never hit the U.S. charts, but that's not because the band isn't putting together absolute nuggets of solid pop gold. So it stands to follow that a compilation of the band's b-sides and rarities would probably be a sure bet, right? Duh. It is. B Sides Win: extras, bonus tracks and b-sides provides a sort of backroom history of the band from 1992 through 2008. The early tracks re rough edged shoegaze and we get to watch the band slowly grow into its current pop rock and/or roll self. From the band's original recording of their breakthrough "Underwhelmed" through a remixed reprise version of "Believe In Me" there isn't really a weak track. Usually a collection like this would be recommended as "fan-only" material but Sloan proves the exception to the rule due to their seeming inability to really write a bad tune.
We're pretty sure most of the public, strike that, the few people that have actually ever heard of Jason Falkner, probably know him from his days playing guitar in '70s pop revivalist Jellyfish. Maybe an even smaller subsection of that group would remember him from his days co-leading The Grays with fellow multi-instrumentalist Jon Brion. Since then Falkner has grown a name for himself in the power-pop underground as a masterful arranger and the sporadic release of his own albums of impeccably crafted guitar rockers. I'm OK, You're OK is actually an older album, released in Japan n 2007, but only now seeing a domestic release. We can't understand why he's not more famous, especially since his output is always built on rock solid craftsmanship. Of course that close eye to detail may provide a slight hint into Falkner's one weakness; he has a propensity for creating technically perfect songs that don't always have enough room to breathe. His music is a joy to listen to but it's not always successful on an emotional level. Luckily for us I'm OK, You're OK is a looser affair, side-stepping the dangers of overthinking to provide one of his most immediately appealing efforts yet.