Tuesday, December 1, 2020

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Sound Check

The Monkees

6/1/2016

 

“Good Times!”

Rhino

Even in the best of times, back in its 1960s heyday, The Monkees were one of the most bubblegum acts ever assembled. The fact that the boys managed to grow into more than competent musicians did little to distract from the fact that the songs were steadfastly on the brighter side of life. The MonkeesEven the reflective stuff like “Daydream Believer” could not get you too down. But now, with its first release in two decades, The Monkees are back with some exceptionally talented friends, and the group may have just come up with its best work. Joined on various tracks by the likes of Rivers Cuomo, Andy Partridge, Peter Weller, Ben Gibbard and Noel Gallagher, “Good Times!” calls back to the ‘60s summer sound at its vintage, care-free best, while never allowing itself to feel schlocky or dated. In fact, several of the tracks (“Little Girl” and “Our Own World” in particular) are genuinely great tracks. “Good Times!” may not be the best album you hear all year, but it will certainly be the most surprising. CV

 

HIV

Gold Panda

“Good Luck and Do Your Best”

City Slang

Gold Panda was what Of Montreal would sound like if Of Montreal was not stuck so far up its own ass. Make no mistake, “Good Luck and Do Your Best” is still plenty navel-gazey, Gold Pandabut all of the potential pretentiousness is cut with a natural feeling of joy and naive wonderment that acts like Of Montreal or MGMT seem to lack. “Good Luck and Do Your Best” features plenty of Asian influence throughout its runtime — the byproduct of Gold Panda mastermind Derwin Panda’s 2014 trips to Japan — but the album manages to forge its own sonic path rather than feeling too much like a kind of “Japan 101 Remix.” CV

 

 

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