Half-Price Books (records, really!)

Half-Price Books is my new best friend for music.  The Westport location yielded some MJ and Built to Spill in April, and a couple weeks ago I stormed the one on Metcalf in a spare hour.  See what I found.
The Afghan WhigsGentlemen.  I’ve worked backwards in the Whigs’ discography, from 1965 to Black Love and now to Gentlemen.  Younger, the band is angrier, more succinct, more brash, and that leads to just a hint of that early-career awkwardness that is only cool for bands you really like.  I really like them.
GomezOut West.  The Brits’ double-disc live document, done last year on Dave Matthews’ ATO label on the heels of Split the Difference.  Only two of those tunes pop up, so I am happy to hear lots of old songs and a natural-sounding mix.  For fans only, but Gomez’ earlier In Our Gun is one of my personal top 10 records ever.
U2War.  Their third, from 1983, including “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” “40,” and “New Year’s Day.”  New favorite is “Like A Song…”
The CarsComplete Greatest Hits.  I’ve been meaning to pick up a Cars comp for a long time, and when I found this one on Rhino Records (trustworthy reissue label) I went for it.  Great summer stuff, what can you say?  You probably know more Cars songs than you realize.
Matthew SweetGirlfriend.  I know it’s an alt-rock classic, and has every right to be.  I remember hearing “Girlfriend” on 101.9 “the Edge” out of Lincoln.
Michael JacksonOff the Wall.  Thereby completing my collection of Jackson’s real work post-5: this, Thriller, Bad, and Dangerous.  It’s like a more even Thriller; the dance tracks don’t hit quite so hard, and the schmaltz is considerably less schmaltzy.  4 1/2 out of 5.
And from the $1 bin (!)…
ONMake Believe.  The songs on this record sound more like B-sides from Ken Andrews’ other project, Year of the Rabbit.  They each have one cool harmonic trick, but in no way compare to ON’s stellar debut Shifting Skin.  The thick, shiny guitars and excessive compression (you can hear the kick pumping it every time = aggravating and unpleasant!) highlight Ken’s trademark production clarity, but are complete mood killers.
Landing GearBreak-up Songs For Relationships That Never Happened.  Minneapolis rockers have a gentle 80’s influence and really solid pop-rock songwriting chops.  A steal for a lone bone, I thought seriously about paying full price for it when it came out locally last year.
The Soundtrack of our LivesBehind the Music.  I remembered this from KDNE days.  These Swedes raid rock’s closet and emerge with a varied garage rock record.  Some songs are mostly acoustic guitar or organ, which is cool; they cover broad territory and have decent hooks, definitely worth a buck.
Slum VillageFantastic, vol. 2.  If you like Jay Dee or A Tribe Called Quest, this is pretty good stuff you would want even pay full price for.  Mellow beats with a ton of snap snare and steady rhymes.