As long as Omnivore Records continues its reissue program dedicated to idiosyncratic California indie-pop greats Game Theory, I’ll keep using that as an excuse to share my favorite tunes. Last Friday the label released a deluxe two-CD version of the band’s excellent 1987 album, Lolita Nation, considered by many to be the group’s apex. I prefer its predecessor, The Big Shot Chronicles, but Lolita Nation was a great leap forward for Game Theory in terms of artistic ambition, with all sorts of cool fragments and sonic experiments scattered among its sophisticated pop songs.
The new Omnivore version enhances the original double album with a bonus disc of alternate mixes, radio versions, and live tracks (including covers of “Love Will Tear Us Apart” and “Roadrunner”). I haven’t spent enough time with the reissue yet to evaluate it critically, but I remain intimate with the original recording, and when I heard the single “The Real Sheila” again, I knew I had today’s 12 O’Clock Track. Its gorgeous, ultra-hooky melody demonstrates the genius of songwriter Scott Miller at his best—he was a legitimate heir to Alex Chilton’s Big Star throne, with a brainy, off-kilter sensibility. Nearly three decades later the tune still sounds irresistible.
Pan Sonic & Charlemagne Palestine, Mort aux Vaches (Staaplaat)
Dexter Gordon, One Flight Up (Blue Note)
Som Okey 5, Som Okey 5 (Som Livre)
Colin McLean and Andy Moor, Everything but the Beginning (Unsounds)
Jackson 5, Third Album/Maybe Tomorrow (Motown)