Sunday, June 5, 2022

News - Hot Off The Press (1974 us, wonderful power pop with baroque folk psych elements, 2010 korean remaster)

Definitely not what I was expecting from a 1974 private pressing with a strangely modern sleeve and a pedal steel guitarist. News, who were four or more lads from Yale University, had the late 60s sound nailed down five years too late, but who’s to complain about a throwback to the best era in rock history? Hot Off The Press is a unique and unknown LP featuring super tight performances, lovely four-part harmonies, and songs that won’t take long to get comfortably lodged in your head.

Kicking off with a pysch-flavored spliced radio parody performed by some of the band members, Hot Off The Press gets right into its first sweet spot with “Loser,” showcasing Mark London’s expert and refreshingly twang-free steel. Throughout the record’s nine songs he has no trouble fitting the instrument in with a pop/rock sound, and essentially designs the rare flavor of this record with soaring, jazzy licks. There are a couple pretty tough rockers, and I must agree with Llama where he labels “One Night Stand” a “so-so Creedence ripoff.”  But lighter fare like “Ooo La La” and “Misty Day” (one of the band’s first songs) groove with the sunny sound of Montage. I love the jabber at the end of optimistic bopper “Easy Street:” “…somebody’s way off key…I was doing a 7th,” which adds just the right amount of silliness to this laid-back affair. “Farmer’s Daughter” gets bonus points for the album’s second Beach Boys reference and “New York City” ends the original lineup with an 8-minute jam that finally belies News’ sixties psych disguise. Bonus tracks include the 60-second radio bed that got the band their first shot in the recording studio (1970) and an early demo recording of “Misty Day.”

The CD package is a mini-repro as faithful to a vinyl sleeve as I’ve ever seen, the extensive details of the News story told by principal songwriter Bob Pretcher in the liners. But if you’re willing to shell out some bucks, I’d say go for one of the limited 1974 sealed pressings available direct from Yoga Records. Don’t miss this excellent reissue.
by Brendan McGrath

 "Hot Off The Press" is a unique and unknown LP featuring super tight performances, lovely four-part harmonies, and songs that won’t take long to get comfortably lodged in your head. ...These guys had a distinct knack for good hooks and lots of unexpected compositional flourishes. …The bulk of it is terrific 1960s westcoast-flavored folkrock with a dreamy psych vibe and good vocal harmonies. …

If songs like “Loser” and “Misty Day” had gotten attention from record execs, you’d be listening to News on classic-rock radio. …My pick hits are the powerful “Loser,” with a stunning steel guitar solo, and the long album-closer “New York City,” but this is consistent enough that any given listener could feel equally strong about any two others. …There is something timeless about this record, something difficult to put your finger on, yet it grows with repeat listens. …

Here’s a unique and outstanding 70s pop album. The lead instrument is a pedal steel guitar, played with more imagination than almost anywhere. …it can turn a run-of-the-mill country-rock song into a shit-kicking anthem…with soaring, jazzy licks. …This reissue, that boasts two additional tracks, shows off News' honey-tinged harmonies and West Coast easiness, making it one of those great gems that roll out of the seemingly endless vaults. …Here’s a unique and outstanding 70s pop album.
1. Radio Blahs (Dean Charles Pailler) - 3:02
2. Loser - 3:09
3. Ooo La La - 2:43
4. Farmer's Daughter - 2:33
5. Misty Day (Bob Prechter, Vic Machcinski) - 4:02
6. Easy Street - 3:01
7. Pine Tree Heaven - 3:40
8. One Night Stands - 2:12
9. Angie (Bob Prechter, Vic Machcinski) - 3:12
10.New York City - 8:46
11.Dynamic Radio Spot Bed - 1:05
12.Misty Daym (Cosey Beach Demo) - 4:57
All songs by Bob Prechter except where noted

The News
*Gary Friend - Bass, Vocals
*Mark London - Pedal Steel Guitar, Vocals
*Vic Machcinski - Guitars, Vibes, Vocals
*Bob Prechter - Drums, Percussion, Vocals
*Jeff Fortgang – Keyboards, Background Vocals (Tracks 8-10)
*Dean Pailler - Lead Guitar (Tracks 9,11)
*Michele Montanye - Background Vocals (Tracks 9,10)
*Jeff Harris - Bass (Track 12)