PopMatters is moving to WordPress. We will publish a few essays daily while we develop the new site. We hope the beta will be up sometime late next week.
Music

Drugstore: Songs For the Jet Set & Collector Number One

Adrien Begrand

Drugstore

Songs for the Jet Set & Collector Number One

Label: First Time
US Release Date: 2003-05-20
UK Release Date: Available as import
Amazon
iTunes

When it came out over two years ago, Drugstore's third album, Songs For the Jet Set, was a welcome return from a band whose darkly elegant albums just don't come out often enough. They're one of those bands where you hear a track by them, fall in love with it for a bit, and wind up forgetting about them for a year or two, and when a new album does surface, it takes you by surprise. Like back in 1998, when Drugstore's White Magic For Lovers garnered a heavy helping of attention with its stunning, protest song-meets-spaghetti Western theme "El Presidente", thanks to singer Isabel Monteiro's duet with Radiohead's Thom Yorke. After a while, the hype died down, and casual listeners forgot about Drugstore, until their fine 2001 album was released. Well, unless you're a devoted fan of the band, chances are you haven't been thinking about the band too much these days, and thanks to The First Time Records, we've been given yet another wake-up call from this great little band. No, it's not quite the official follow-up; instead, Songs For the Jet Set has been repackaged, this time around coming with a companion CD called Collector Number One, a compilation consisting of various b-sides, studio outtakes, demo recordings, and a couple of live tracks.

Not that you should need any other excuse to listen to Songs For the Jet Set. Drugstore's sound, which greatly resembles that of such bands as Mazzy Star and Bettie Serveert, revolves around the entrancing vocal skills of Monteiro. Coming across as a Brazilian version of Cerys Matthews, Monteiro's smoky voice is perfectly suited to the band's sleepy, nocturnal sound. A more stripped-down record than White Magic For Lovers, Songs For the Jet Set has a more intimate, immediate feel, perfectly epitomized on "Baby Don't Hurt Yourself", as Monteiro, along with Lambchop's Paul J. Niehaus playing some mournful pedal steel accents, croons like a lady whispering in her lover's ear. The compassionate "Song For the Lonely" ("Keep them in your minds") has that Euro-country sound (think alt-country with a woman singing in accented English) that bands like A CAMP and Chitlin' Fooks have done in recent years, while "I Wanna Love You Like a Man" utilizes tango rhythms as Monteiro sings about her desire to lead once in a while. "The Party is Over" is gorgeous, as guitarist Daron Robinson sings verses that sound like stripped down recreations of The Velvet Underground's "Stephanie Says", with Monteiro singing lead on the spine-tingling, crescendoing choruses. "Hate" boasts a Pulp-like melody, while the pair of songs "Little Girl" and "Wayward Daughter" sing of both childlike innocence and heart-wrenching experience, a recurring theme on the album.

Collector Number One, a compilation that was originally sold to fans at the band's shows, is more of a mixed bag. The demo version of White Magic's "Say Hello" is a loose, acoustic version of Monteiro's ode to the down-and-out, with the singer showing a dry sense of humor in the lyrics ("To all the foreign strangers who are always in a fight/To all my clumsy lovers who can never get it right"), and "Tourniquet" is a restrained cover of UK band Headswim's minor 1997 hit that completely destroys the maudlin original version, plaintive piano and strings replacing the loud guitars. Meanwhile, "Starcrossed", though a bit rough-sounding, wouldn't sound out of place on Songs For the Jet Set, and "What Every Girl Should Know" is a decent ballad. Two songs from Drugstore's eponymous debut, "Gravity" and "Devil" are included, but the quality of the recording keeps the tracks from matching the feel on the album versions. "When the Bottle is Dry" is a fine little drinking ballad ("Yeah I can fall on the ground and lose track of my senses/But I'll only lose my head when the bottle is dry"), while the raw version of "Acceleration" (from the first album) seems to suit the song perfectly. Most notable among all the tracks on this CD is the original demo of "El Presidente", and while it sounds good (Monteiro's voice always sounds great), it's missing the mini epic quality that the lavish production on the album version provided.

It's great to see Songs For the Jet Set get the re-release treatment; it's too good an album to go unnoticed, and the added bonus of Collector Number One is a nice treat for longtime fans, as well as an interesting listen for newcomers. Newbies might not revisit the compilation as often, but if it helps turn them on to this criminally underrated band, then why not? Let's just hope it's not a long wait until the next Drugstore album.

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology and hosting provider that we have less than a month, until November 6, to move PopMatters off their service or we will be shut down. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to save the site.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Film

The 13 Greatest Horror Directors of All Time

In honor of Halloween, here are 13 fascinating fright mavens who've made scary movies that much more meaningful.

Music

British Jazz and Soul Artists Interpret the Classics on '​Blue Note Re:imagined'

Blue Note Re:imagined provides an entrance for new audiences to hear what's going on in British jazz today as well as to go back to the past and enjoy old glories.

Film

Bill Murray and Rashida Jones Add Another Shot to 'On the Rocks'

Sofia Coppola's domestic malaise comedy On the Rocks doesn't drown in its sorrows -- it simply pours another round, to which we raise our glass.

Music

​Patrick Cowley Remade Funk and Disco on 'Some Funkettes'

Patrick Cowley's Some Funkettes sports instrumental renditions from between 1975-1977 of songs previously made popular by Donna Summer, Herbie Hancock, the Temptations, and others.

Music

The Top 10 Definitive Breakup Albums

When you feel bombarded with overpriced consumerism disguised as love, here are ten albums that look at love's hangover.

Music

Dustin Laurenzi's Natural Language Digs Deep Into the Jazz Quartet Format with 'A Time and a Place'

Restless tenor saxophonist Dustin Laurenzi runs his four-piece combo through some thrilling jazz excursions on a fascinating new album, A Time and a Place.

Television

How 'Watchmen' and 'The Boys' Deconstruct American Fascism

Superhero media has a history of critiquing the dark side of power, hero worship, and vigilantism, but none have done so as radically as Watchmen and The Boys.

Music

Floodlights' 'From a View' Is Classicist Antipodal Indie Guitar Pop

Aussie indie rockers, Floodlights' debut From a View is a very cleanly, crisply-produced and mixed collection of shambolic, do-it-yourself indie guitar music.

Music

CF Watkins Embraces a Cool, Sophisticated Twang on 'Babygirl'

CF Watkins has pulled off the unique trick of creating an album that is imbued with the warmth of the American South as well as the urban sophistication of New York.

Music

Helena Deland Suggests Imagination Is More Rewarding Than Reality on 'Something New'

Canadian singer-songwriter Helena Deland's first full-length release Someone New reveals her considerable creative talents.

Music

While the Sun Shines: An Interview with Composer Joe Wong

Joe Wong, the composer behind Netflix's Russian Doll and Master of None, articulates personal grief and grappling with artistic fulfillment into a sweeping debut album.

Music

Peter Frampton Asks "Do You Feel Like I Do?" in Rock-Solid Book on Storied Career

British rocker Peter Frampton grew up fast before reaching meteoric heights with Frampton Comes Alive! Now the 70-year-old Grammy-winning artist facing a degenerative muscle condition looks back on his life in his new memoir and this revealing interview.

Books

Bishakh Som's 'Spellbound' Is an Innovative Take on the Graphic Memoir

Bishakh's Som's graphic memoir, Spellbound, serves as a reminder that trans memoirs need not hinge on transition narratives, or at least not on the ones we are used to seeing.

Music

Gamblers' Michael McManus Discusses Religion, Addiction, and the Importance of Writing Open-Ended Songs

Seductively approachable, Gamblers' sunny sound masks the tragedy and despair that populate the band's debut album.

Books

Peter Guralnick's 'Looking to Get Lost' Is an Ode to the Pleasures of Writing About Music

Peter Guralnick's homage to writing about music, 'Looking to Get Lost', shows how good music writing gets the music into the readers' head.

Film

In Praise of the Artifice in George Cukor's 'Sylvia Scarlett'

George Cukor's gender-bending Sylvia Scarlett proposes a heroine who learns nothing from her cross-gendered ordeal.

Music

The Cure: Ranking the Albums From 13 to 1

Just about every Cure album is worth picking up, and even those ranked lowest boast worthwhile moments. Here are their albums, spanning 29 years, presented from worst to best.

Television

The 20 Best Episodes of 'Star Trek: The Original Series'

This is a timeless list of 20 thrilling Star Trek episodes that delight, excite, and entertain, all the while exploring the deepest aspects of the human condition and questioning our place in the universe.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.