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Alternative & Indie - Released February 8, 2019 | Fire Records

Evan Dando hasn't exactly been prolific in the 21st century. After threatening to become prolific in the 2000s -- he released a solo album, Baby I'm Bored, in 2003, then reunited the Lemonheads for their first new album in ten years in 2006 -- he decided to settle into a role he always longed to be: a college rock crooner, lazily strumming his favorite songs in the twilight hours. Throughout the Lemonheads' career, Dando always steered the group toward other people's songs, but 2009's Varshons was a full-fledged covers album, split between chestnuts from classic singer/songwriters, rustic versions of indie tunes, and the occasional spike of irony. Varshons 2 -- delivered a swift decade after its predecessor -- sands down those rough edges, swapping GG Allin for Florida Georgia Line, and sounding altogether warm and cozy. The only time there's a hint of underground squall is a vigorous cover of the Eyes' "TAQN" (its speed countering the intent of the lyrics) and the gnarly electric guitar threaded through a version of Lucinda Williams' "Abandoned," which provides a nice, nervy contrast to Dando's honeyed voice. Ten years later, he's remarkably no worse for the wear; his voice doesn't sound weathered, it sounds broken in, wrapping itself easily around songs he clearly knows by heart. Dando remains a sensitive, nuanced interpreter and, as produced by Matthew Cullen, the Lemonheads sound amiable and charming: the best college bar band you could imagine stumbling upon on a Saturday afternoon. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Rock - Released October 16, 2017 | Fire Records

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Rock - Released September 12, 2017 | Fire Records

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Rock - Released September 12, 2017 | Fire Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released October 30, 2018 | Fire Records

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Rock - Released September 12, 2017 | Fire Records

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Lemonheads leader EVAN DANDO is indeed a lemonhead. Or a bubblehead. And it still doesn't matter. The man is just too talented a tunesmith. Just as you shouldn't have been fooled by an overreaching, inane record company that marketed him for the teenyboppers as an "alterna-hunk" (who cares?), nor should anyone dismiss him just because his LPs always have a few outright duds on them ("Secular Rockulidge" here blows), making it seem that he writes too off-the-cuff or is too easily pleased. Nor should you write him off because his lyrics still stray into the sublimely idiotic (latest prose puzzler: "Khmer Rouge, Genocide qua" is not clever, it's stoooopid Evan! All the more so in the middle of the near-perfect pop single "If I Could Talk I'd Tell You."). And on the other side of the coin, I could rave about how Car Button Cloth is a mature work, more scattershot but ultimately more satisfying than the well-venerated It's a Shame About Ray and better thought out than the up-and-down, spastic C'mon Feel The Lemonheads. But, frankly, I don't give a (fill in naughty expletive of choice) about any of this. The important things are the HOOKS, which are plentiful and often instantly timeless, and Dando's voice, which becomes more convincing, sensitive, throaty, introspective, humble, and edgy each time out. And the overall attitude, which is loose but dripping with sincerity, earnestness, and real feeling. Sure, Dando's got the goods, and songs such as "It's All True" and "Break Me" are the sort that a million bands would work years at 7-11 to call their own. It almost seems unfair; he's written so many great ones this decade. But just as importantly, Dando has perfected the art of just being himself, without pretension, and it's a hell of a lot more honest and real and enjoyable than a truck load of overhyped, super-hip, underground product this year that, though far more high-brow, is ultimately tight-assed, calculating, suffocating, and worthless in comparison. I'd rather go where the real fun is, and it's here. The first three songs alone are like love at first hearing. ~ Jack Rabid

Rock - Released September 12, 2017 | Fire Records

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Rock - Released September 12, 2017 | Fire Records

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British indie Roughneck drops the ball with this three-song 1993 reissue of the Lemonheads' 1991 EP Favorite Spanish Dishes. Obviously rolled out with the intention of capitalizing on the success of the band's cover of the Simon & Garfunkel classic "Mrs. Robinson," it nevertheless eliminates two of the three covers (New Kids on the Block's "Step By Step," so faithful to the original that it's impossible to know where parody ends and homage begins, and the Misfits' "Skulls," made over to resemble something you might hear on the local coffeehouse's open-mike night) that made the original incarnation of Favorite Spanish Dishes muy bueno. So listeners are left with two Evan Dando originals, "Ride With Me" and "Paint" -- neither of them more than middling -- and a phenomenal reading of Michael Nesmith's "Different Drum," originally a hit for Linda Ronstadt's Stone Poneys. Nesmith and Dando have always seemed like different points along the same continuum anyway, both of them vastly underrated pop tunesmiths rooted in country music with real gifts for melody and wry lyrics, and the Lemonheads' disaffected, slacker take on the tune is a natural. In any case, it's worth the effort and the expense to track down the original EP -- accept no substitutes. ~ Jason Ankeny

Rock - Released September 12, 2017 | Fire Records

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Rock - Released June 23, 2009 | The End Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released December 6, 2018 | Fire Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released January 30, 2019 | Fire Records

Rock - Released April 21, 2014 | Fire Records

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Rock - Released December 7, 2015 | Fire Records

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