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Waitresses serve up 'Just Desserts' complete meal

| Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013, 12:31 a.m.

‘Just Desserts: The Complete Waitresses'

The Waitresses (Omnivore)

★★★★

Anyone who came of age in the early 1980s knows the signature tune from New Wave outfit the Waitresses. But do you know where the ubiquitous “I Know What Boys Like” peaked on the Billboard charts? Top 20? Top 5? No. 1? If you said “none of the above,” give yourself a star because, surprisingly, the song never even reached the Top 40. Go figure. Omnivore has gathered the band's two studio albums and lone EP together for the two-disc “Just Desserts: The Complete Waitresses” and it's a lot more fun than you might expect.

Their 1982 debut “Wasn't Tomorrow Wonderful?” is a showcase for cheeky frontwoman Patty Donahue, who died at age 40 in 1996, and features standouts “No Guilt,” “Quit,” “I Know What Boys Like” and “Go On.” The “I Could Rule the World If I Could Only Get the Parts” EP followed and includes “Square Pegs” and “Christmas Wrapping,” one of my favorite holiday tunes. The well was dry by 1983's “Bruisology,” an otherwise forgettable platter that features “A Girl's Gotta Do,” “Thinking About Sex Again” and “They're All Out of Liquor, Let's Find Another Party.” The album tanked and the Waitresses were no more. But these songs endure.

‘Love + Fury'

Headstones (Frostbyte)

★★★½

It's been a while since we heard from Canadian punk rockers Headstones, but their fans have not forgotten. A 2012 Kickstarter campaign raised 297 percent of its goal and paved the way for “Love + Fury,” their first album since 2002. Led by charismatic frontman Hugh Dillon, the guys deliver on the 11-track release. Among the highlights are “Changemyways,” “Farawayfromhere,” “Astronaught,” “Binthiswayforyears” and a rollicking cover of ABBA's “S.O.S.” Rock on.

‘A Friend in the World'

Lovers (Badman)

★★★★

Lovers started as a solo vehicle for Carolyn Berk, but really hit their stride in 2010 when fleshed out to an all-female folktronica trio. Seventh album “A Friend in the World” ranks among their best offerings, as Berk, Kerby Ferris and Emily Kingan seem completely in sync. Berk's songwriting, per usual, is the draw, and the 10 tunes here are excellent. After a middling start with “Tiger Square,” Lovers hit their stride with “Girl in the Grass,” “The Modern Art Museum of the Modern Kiss Goodbye,” “Purple Sage” and “Wild Horses.” Good stuff.

‘I Am Mountain'

Gungor (Hither & Yon)

★★★½

Are alt-folk collective Gungor trying to downplay their faith? I ask because there's no mention of the word Christian in the press material for “I Am Mountain.” That's odd for a band whose last album earned Grammy nominations for Best Gospel Song and Best Rock or Rap Gospel Album. I guess Michael Gungor doesn't want to be pigeonholed as a Christian artist. And though a vein of spirituality runs through the 12-track platter, it has universal appeal. The title track is terrific, as are “Beat of Her Heart,” “Let It Go,” “Hither and Yon” and “Finally.” Hopefully this fine CD finds the broader audience it deserves.

‘More'

Arp (Smalltown Supersound)

★★★½

Though technically proficient, I found the first two albums by Arp (aka Alexis Georgopoulos) to be cold and a little distant thanks to Krautrock and avant-garde influences. That's not the case with “More,” easily my favorite Arp effort to date. Instead of relentless synths, Georgopoulos utilizes piano, organs and guitars to create a 12-track album that's much warmer and more inviting. Arp let you know right away, via “High-Heeled Clouds” and “Judy Nylon,” that there's a new approach to making music and impress with “17th Daydream,” “Gravity (For Charlemagne Palestine)” and “Persuasion.” Well done, sir.

‘Jacuzzi Boys'

Jacuzzi Boys (Hardly Art)

★★★★

Miami garage trio Jacuzzi Boys came into their own with 2011 sophomore full-length “Glazin',” and continue to evolve on this self-titled release. More polished and “professional” sounding (but, thankfully, no less fun) than its predecessor, this 11-track release is the work of an accomplished, confident outfit. There aren't any missteps to be found, with the Boys at their best on “Black Gloves,” “Double Vision,” “Rubble,” “Guillotine” and “Hotline.” Enjoy.

‘Life Is Elsewhere'

Little Comets (Dualtone)

★★★½

If you've listened to your Vampire Weekend CDs until you can't stomach the thought of hearing “Oxford Comma” or “Horchata” for the 5,000th time, you might consider the latest from Little Comets. Filled with Afro-beat melodies and literate lyrics, “Life Is Elsewhere” is just what the doctor ordered. Things get off to a great start with “A Little Opus,” “Tense/Empty” and “Jennifer,” and though the momentum wanes in the middle of the 14-track release, Little Comets rebound with “Worry,” “Woe,” “Woman Woman” and “Bridge Burn.”

Jeffrey Sisk is an editor at Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161 ext. 1952, or jsisk@tribweb.com.

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