One Pill Makes You Larger!

October 30, 2012 10:15 AM ET

It struck me the other day as I was reading Waging Heavy Peace, the fabulous new book by Neil Young, that only a book by Neil Young--obviously put together by the man himself, with little help from editors or other humans--would not only devote a significant passage to the merits of shopping at Costco, but also of his quest to buy new heads for his electric toothbrush, which, not incidentally, he considers quite fabulous.

My own copy of the book, coincidentally, was also purchased at Costco--at a fine price, I might add!--where I'd also return the next week to buy the new book by Pete Townshend. Also written by the man himself, with little outside assistance.

That I would purchase both books quite willingly, and with my own money, I found interesting. Though I regularly read e-books via my Kindle, in both cases here I wanted to buy the physical product--the tome, the pages, the cover picture, etc.--mostly because in late 2012, when record albums are likely as not wave, flac or MP3 files capable of simply evaporating on a faulty iPod or hard drive, I wanted to own the actual thing that both artists produced, to hold it in my hand, to put it down and leave it half-opened on the chair next to my computer while I downloaded flac versions of albums by Brit band Kaleidoscope that I had yet to physically purchase, and probably never would.

Plus, the Costco cashier always looks at me funny when I only buy scotch and cartons of cigarettes!

Neil Young & Crazy Horse: Psychedelic Pill (Reprise) While I have been a lifelong fan of Neil Young, around long enough to buy his first album when it came out, I can't say I've bought into everything he's ever done. My favorite album of his is--ironically, since he rails against it in his book--his very first, which along with scattered tracks he wrote like Buffalo Springfield's "Expecting To Fly," and, way later, "We Never Danced" from Life, contain a certain melodic flair that's absolutely heart-wrenching, though it's a part of what he does that he's tended to underplay. That said, his manic workouts with Crazy Horse--the intense one-note twang, the primitive beat--are inspiring in another way entirely. It's just the stuff in between that I like but don't love. Psychedelic Pill is more the latter than the former--particularly via the three extended tracks proudly on display here--but there is a hint of melancholy melody on the opening mega-opus that recalls Young's other side, and that it is paired with a rock romp in which Young tosses off lyrics that read like sentences from his book, about religion, MP3s, and the actual act of writing his book, that in terms of really odd appeal rank right up there with his "got mashed potatoes--ain't got no T-bone" lyric from 1981's Re-ac-tor. The band is great throughout, the vocal harmonies inspiring, and the fact that a major artist is allowed to release an album like this on a major label in 2012 absolutely stunning. Pretty great, actually.

Flyleaf: New Horizons (A&M/Octone) While I'm not the world's biggest fan of hard rock/metal at this late date, I confess a peculiar fascination with Texas-based Flyleaf, who return here with their third album, and apparently their last to feature lead vocalist Lacey Sturm--who is mind-numbingly fantastic, particularly if you're a fan of early '70s Eurotrash movies. We shot her in our studios here in 2008 or so doing "I'm So Sick" (check out this clip) and my jaw dropped; that the band has roots in Christian Rock is the clincher. They're great, and she's greater! There are fewer screams here--odd, since she just had a baby!--but I still find what they're doing unique, in its way, and very much worth checking out. Also: she's kind of hot!

Calvin Harris: 18 Months (Roc Nation) There's a lot to be said about rising Scottish DJ Calvin Harris! First, his new album's cover picture looks like it was shot in 1) the San Fernando Valley, 2) on the way to LAX in Los Angeles or 3) Las Vegas! Cool! Secondly, it's the follow-up to his apparently successful album Ready For The Weekend! Third, he's famous by association for all the fab work he's done with artists such as Rihanna, Kelis and Ne-Yo, all of whom can be heard here along with Florence Welch of "+ the Machine" fame, Dizzee Rascal, Tinie Tempah, Chatty Cathy, Ellie Goulding, and Example--the world-famous celebrity renowned for entering bars and causing fights when people ask him his name! Apparently this album has been streaming for weeks now, so we all know how good it is! (Sadly, every time I tried to listen, my phone rang or I had to go to a meeting! But the person sitting next to me said it sounded great--especially that time I went downstairs to get a Diet Coke!) I think it may be the greatest album ever streamed on my computer!

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