11 Songs, 36 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Tommy Keene emerged as a ‘60s pop-influenced rocker in the early '80s when, R.E.M. aside, the sounds of jangly guitars were clearly on the outs in popular music. He did find a dedicated cult following, which enjoyed the strong hooks he brought to his own songwriting. Keene soldiered on for decades as a cult artist, and here he finally gets around to an album of cover songs that are a natural fit for this longtime fan of ‘60s pop. He nails down The Flamin’ Groovies’ version of Randy Newman’s “Have You Seen My Baby?” and reaches for the obscure when handling The Who (“Much Too Much”) and The Rolling Stones (“Ride On Baby”). He sticks to acoustics for his cover of Donovan’s “Catch the Wind.” Big Star is another natural fit, though Keene opts for Alex Chilton’s darkest hour with “Nighttime.” Roxy Music’s glammy “Out of the Blue” and Echo & The Bunnymen’s “The Puppet” are surprises. The most modern choice is Guided by Voices’ “Choking Tara,” but Bob Pollard shares enough of Keene’s influences for their styles to easily mix.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Tommy Keene emerged as a ‘60s pop-influenced rocker in the early '80s when, R.E.M. aside, the sounds of jangly guitars were clearly on the outs in popular music. He did find a dedicated cult following, which enjoyed the strong hooks he brought to his own songwriting. Keene soldiered on for decades as a cult artist, and here he finally gets around to an album of cover songs that are a natural fit for this longtime fan of ‘60s pop. He nails down The Flamin’ Groovies’ version of Randy Newman’s “Have You Seen My Baby?” and reaches for the obscure when handling The Who (“Much Too Much”) and The Rolling Stones (“Ride On Baby”). He sticks to acoustics for his cover of Donovan’s “Catch the Wind.” Big Star is another natural fit, though Keene opts for Alex Chilton’s darkest hour with “Nighttime.” Roxy Music’s glammy “Out of the Blue” and Echo & The Bunnymen’s “The Puppet” are surprises. The most modern choice is Guided by Voices’ “Choking Tara,” but Bob Pollard shares enough of Keene’s influences for their styles to easily mix.

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