Golden Smog started in 1992 as a one-off project with the EP, On Golden Smog, followed by Down By the Old Mainstream in 1995 and 1998's Weird Tales. They have now returned after an eight year hiatus with the more-than-impressive album, Another Fine Day. Recorded mostly in Spain by Paco Loco, this album falls a little less alt-country and more on the power-pop side than previous releases. Melding the personality, musicianship and lyricism of these revered songwriters, Another Fine Day is an album of personal reflection and timeless optimism. It will find its way into your head, heart, and ultimately it will save the world.
Jeff Tweedy might carry the name recognition, but the rest of his band-on-the-side carries the mail on the fourth release from this Midwest all-star group. Though the Wilco leader teams with the Jayhawks' Gary Louris on a pair of nimble pop songs--the elegantly strummed "Listen Joe" and Kinks cover "Strangers"--it's Louris who's clearly at the head of the class with self-assured vocals ("Another Fine Day," "Think About Yourself"), lush harmonies ("Long Time Ago") and those unmistakable guitar leads ("Frying Pan Eyes"). Soul Asylum guitarist Dan Murphy's obligatory rocker "Hurricane" is a high point, as is the album's lead track "You Make It Easy," which has Kraig Johnson warbling over a thumping piano lead and chunky fuzz guitar. But most welcome among the 15 songs are two contributions from Louris's fellow Jayhawk Marc Perlman: the refreshing "Corvette" and "Cure for This," a '60s-speckled pop song sung by Muni Loco, the wife of producer Paco Loco and the first female to grace a recording by Golden Smog. --Scott Holter