[28 July 2008]
PopMatters Associate Music Editor
In 2007, Detroit’s The Hard Lessons released the first volume of its B & G Sides. Three more volumes followed, and now B &G Sides is being released as a package containing all four. The original concept was an interesting one. Each volume consisted of three tracks: an intro, a B (Boy) side and a G (Girl) side. The intention was to make collecting music exciting again, with the volumes as something like singles or EPs.
The Hard Lessons are pretty exciting no matter how you package it though (the live shows are legendary!), and having all four in one set actually seems more satisfying somehow (but perhaps that’s simply a side effect of perceiving more music). A couple of the intro tracks show up in finished form on other volumes as either B or G sides and all the tracks are the kind you find yourself singing long after they fade out, but the standout tracks across the set would have to be volume one’s B side, the irresistibly perfect, power pop pleaser “See and Be Scene” and volume two’s “I Like Your Hair Long,” with its sharp hook and fabulous chorus. Guitarist Augie Visocchi sings lead on both tracks (The “Girl” sides are led by keyboard player Ko Ko Louise, and all sides are ably anchored by “The Anvil” on drums.).
B & G Sides is chock-full of great pop-leaning rock and roll. Maybe that’s how the volumes/singles idea was supposed to work. Maybe it helped The Hard Lessons to refine and polish each tune because of the illusion of limitation inherent in a singles format? Whatever it was, the end result is less a series of one-offs, and more like a hits collection.