When Tommy Keene decided to make good on the promise of covers like Alex Chilton’s “Hey Little Child” or (more recently) Slim Dunlap’s “Nowheres Near,” he explore deeply into what must be an expansive record collection.
Keene covers the Who, the Bee Gees, the Rolling Stones and Roxy Music. He even returns to Chilton, with a track from Big Star. But there’s not a radio hit to be found on Excitement at Your Feet, due September 17, 2013 from Second Motion Records. So, instead of “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” we get a revved-up “Much Too Much.” Instead of “Start Me Up,” there’s the anthematic “Ride On Baby.” Instead of “Avalon,” it’s the stomping “Out of the Blue.”
He adds a new-wave sheen to Randy Newman’s “Have You Seen My Baby,” having apparently come to it via the Flamin’ Groovies 1971 update. Late-1970s East Coast sounds like Television’s “Guiding Light” find purchase here just as easily as contemporary things like Guided by Voices’ “Choking Tara,” recalling his work with GBV’s Robert Pollard in the Keene Brothers.
As with most projects of this sort, Excitement at Your Feet — no matter its smart sequencing — can’t help but seem like a placekeeper, something to tide us over until Keene revs up to continue an often fascinating career in song that goes back to his pre-major days with the 1984 EP Places That Are Gone. Still, there’s a comfy feel to it, as well, like hanging out while someone digs to the very back of the crates of vinyl for that special song that nobody’s heard in ages.