Bottle Rockets - LeftoversBottle Rockets - Brand New Year

The Bottle Rockets
Leftovers

(New West)

The Bottle Rockets
Brand New Year

(New West)

First Appeared at The Music Box, August 2004, Volume 11, #8

Written by T.J. Simon

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In 11 years of recording, Missouriís country-rockiní Bottle Rockets established a new standard for record label instability. The group has been on six different labels over the course of seven albums. And while the inner-machinations of the music industry generally shouldnít concern fans, it can create retail scarcity of a bandís back catalog. The Bottle Rocketsí latest label ó for this week at least ó is New West, and it has reisssued Leftovers and Brand New Year, which were originally released in 1998 and 1999, respectively.

Leftovers is a collection of the Bottle Rocketsí odds and ends, and at a mere eight songs, the disc is either a very full EP or a rather skimpy LP. Bossman Brian Henneman is at his best when stripping away the romantic notions of small town life to expose its seamy underbelly, which he effectively accomplishes on the collectionís lead track Get Down River, a catchy number about life in a flooded river town ("Looks like the Gulf of Mexico, Down by the Texaco"). Financing His Romance is another fine song consistent with the best material recorded by the Bottle Rockets. Chattanooga showcases Hennemanís ability as a wordsmith, complete with lyrics peppered with bawdy double-entendres. The rest of Leftovers, however, lives up to the albumís name: The two blues numbers (If Walls Could Talk and Dinner Train to Dutchtown) are somewhat palatable, but the slow acoustic tracks (Skipís Song and My Own Cadillac) never really take flight.

The Bottle Rocketsí 1998 release Brand New Year finds the band in hard rocking mode Š la Neil Young and Crazy Horse. The Rolling Stones swagger and pissed off attitude trumps the bandís playful country influences on songs Iíve Been Dying and Headed for the Ditch. As for Gotta Get Up, it is among the bandís best songs, and it features deceptively simple lyrics about the drudgery of working-class life. The most countrified moment on the album is the likable Love Like a Truck, while the Chuck Berry homage Dead Dog Memories is as good as it gets. Neither version ó electric or acoustic ó of the albumís title track is worth a darn, but Nancy Sinatra, which was co-penned with the Georgia Satellites Dan Baird, is well-worth the price of admission.

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Leftovers ó starstarstar

Brand New Year ó starstarstarstar

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Leftovers is available
from Barnes & Noble. To order, Click Here!

Brand New Year is available from Barnes & Noble.
To order, Click Here!

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Ratings

1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!

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Copyright © 2004 The Music Box