Forget the ''Song Remains the Same'' reissue with extra soggy bonus outtake tracks. ''Mothership'' is the must-have, Quaaludes and paraquat pot re-issued soundtrack that first arrived with Evil Knievel to half-heartedly clear out America's post-Viet Nam/dorm hippie hangover. At the tail end of suburban pot dealer era--with their Druid rune logos and hairless bared chests--they fought the onslaught of the Alan Alda Sensitive Male and Wayne Dyer's paperback psychologist stare peering from every supermarket checkout stand. Anyway, who really replaced their incomplete Zeppelin vinyl collection with CDs? With ''Mothership,'' you get all the songs you remember, ''Communication Breakdown,'' ''Black Dog,'' ''Kashmir,'' ''D'yer Maker''-- and even some from that last album that Jimmy Page recorded from a wheel chair. (No Keith Richards he, though they both spent more time holding guitars than paintbrushes while attending Art College.)
In the L.A. Times, Ann Powers recently wrote a Led Zeppelin guilty pleasures apologia for her proto kindercore appreciation of the albums she and her feminist-adjacent friends discovered through the pre-grunge local Seattle rocker friends. Simon Reynolds, reviewing the Rhino Brit Pop boxed set in Salon, observes that drummers in UK bands have become pretty faceless since The Who/Cream/Led Zeppelin heyday. Anyone who has heard a few Nirvana bootlegs can recognize the John Bonham drum solos that probably were half a tribute to Dave Grohl's primary inspiration and half due to someone searching the stage for a lost guitar pick for ten minutes. And where would the White Stripes be without Robert Plant's screechy blues-isms and Jimmy Page's cheapo/vintage Silvertone and Danelectro guitar fetish? (Or Thurston Moore for that matter.)
Robert Christigau's summation of Led Zeppelin's singing as a cross between Mickey Mouse and a vacuum cleaner (or was that Rush?) gave all us pre-punk/post glitter kids a simple koan to explain our ambivalence toward the Rimbaudian excesses that seemed so superhuman. But at dance school fundraisers or daytime farmers' markets, some things from that era, like Foghat, sound much worse through giant speakers than the songs collected on ''Mothership.'' (If you are cherry-picking songs for your iPod, you might swap out ''Babe I'm Gonna Leave You'' for Donavan's ''Hurdy Gurdy Man'' which is Led Zeppelin minus Robert Plant. And if you really want to see them live on a little screen, look for an early BBC clip on YouTube.)
January-ish or so releases including Loyle Carner, Eno, Gillian Welch and more...