ARTIST: The Bottle Rockets TITLE: The Brooklyn Side YEAR RELEASED: 1995 CHART ACTION: None SINGLES: Radar Gun (#27 Mainstream Rock), I’ll Be Comin’ Around OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Well, you really should but you don’t LINEUP: Brian Henneman, Mark Ortmann, Tom Parr, Tom Ray WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Second record from the half-country half-rock half-serious half-satiric group from Festus entertains with its stories of life from the bottom of the 99%.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Poignant songs about life on welfare, silly songs about Barney Fyffe’s with radar guns, and an ode to watching sports on Sunday. What more do you want? Really, not much, if you like your rock-country with a side of Missouri twang.
Any group that can write a great lost love song like “Gravity Fails” and also slay 90’s music hipsters in “Idiot’s Revenge” is OK by me, even though I was one of those 90’s hipsters. And my car is now worth about $1,000, so there’s that.
Live, they’re great, but on record, they’re great.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: The title from the record, if you didn’t know, comes from a bowling term where you spin the ball to hit the pins on the opposite side where you normally would.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, demos and live cuts and it’s streaming with their first album.
GRADE: A-: Less filler, more killer rock-and-country-and-rock.
ARTIST: The Bottle Rockets
TITLE: The Bottle Rockets
YEAR RELEASED: 1993
CHART ACTION: None
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Only if you’re a serious alt-country fan
LINEUP: Brian Henneman, Mark Ortmann, Tom Parr, Tom Ray
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Festus, Missouri’s own combine rock and country – along with serious and silly songs. The package hits more than misses.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Coming from the same area and scene as Uncle Tupelo, the Bottle Rockets were a little less (ok, a lot less serious) than Uncle Tupelo, especially on cuts like Gas Girl, Trailer Mama and Every Kinda Everything.
They also can play flat out rock, but also be very gentle with just a banjo and a voice. The mix seems polarizing but it all works. For all of their humor though (Gas Girl is just great about a guy obsessed with a convenience store clerk), their best songs on this collection are the deadly serious Wave That Flag (the best anti-confederate flag song that I’ve heard, and it’s coming from Festus, Missouri!) and Kerosene.
The record slows down in the second half. The Bottle Rockets really front loaded this album so after the half-way point it just doesn’t move me.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: Brian Henneman released Indianapolis as a solo artist, and it’s success gained him a record deal – he quickly put together the Bottle Rockets.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: It’s on a massive two-fer with their second album and a bunch of demos, including Indianapolis.
GRADE: B+: The first half is an A, but the second half is just there at times.