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by Martin Popoff

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Fresh Metal

Aerosmith - Young Lust: The Aerosmith Anthology

Two discs and 34 tracks of corporate swagger confront those who visit this Super Bowl of songs. It's amazing, the crazy run Aerosmith have had. I'm cryin', really. Not sure what the shabby but charming My Fist Your Face and Shame On You are doing here, but the rest is all gleaming expensive hits along with a handful of intriguing rarities. Before we examine the nuggets, let me just say that this is one clean and artful booklet. There's a huge band history from noted Edge scribe Gerri Miller, but all credibility is lost when in the first paragraph she says Aerosmith "rock harder after 30 years of music-making than just about any band in the business." Just push eject. They don't rock harder than any band in the business (Immortal's pretty heavy; so's Cryptopsy), and of course, there was once a band called Aerosmith that rocked harder. Of course, that band only had five guys, two of which certainly played guitars. Anyway, the rest of her essay is a nice synopsis of all the major events, not a lot you didn't know, but efficiently recapped as befits the booklet's clinical annual report packaging. The goodies: Japanese b-side for Pump, Ain't Enough is a zippy pinhead of a La Grange rocker, high quality stuff as is always the case with this band and extended band. The brunt of the grunt and why you should care: b-sides Don't Stop, Can't Stop Messin' and Head First, all three arguably three of the best oh, 15 songs from the Geffen years; heavy, complex of melody, inspiring. Elsewhere we get a few mellow-side alt. versions, but also the stellar Blind Man and Walk On Water, arguably two of the best oh, ten songs from the Geffen years. Deuces Are Wild and the Doors' Love Me Two Times are also rescued from soundtrack oblivion and well, that's it, but that's quite a bit.
Rating 7.5

Steve Morse Band - Split Decision
(Magna Carta)

As expected, Deep Purple/Dixie Dregs guitarist Steve Morse has created a fresh, replenishing, self-evident and entirely useful instrumental guitar record that is really instruction to the shred kings how to pleasure (!) an audience. Arrangements are kept simple, Steve, bassist Dave LaRue and drummer Van Romaine three-way-communicating like the best of power trios, most tracks centred around a clean, highly musical, measuredly complicated, playful and sinewy riff, many of which could have become killer Deep Purple songs. Steve called the album Split Decisions because it's half fairly heavy and loud, half spiritual and light. There's much of the man's funk fire all over the thing, a few complex time signatures, not as much spontaneous soloing as you would think, and through both the heavy and mellow, a vague, complicated Celtic music aura. I dunno, it's strange... words like good intentions and healthy and sunny and buoyant come to mind when listening to Morse, a man of many talents within many styles, but also a man who sounds entirely ego-less; no flash, reverently servicing the song.
Rating 7.5

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