Tuesday, October 14, 2008
If It's Tuesday, It Must Not Be Monday- New Releases, 10/14/08
If this week's new release round up seems a bit light, it's because it's a bit...light. The strength of last week's releases may have knocked the wind out of all involved for this week. But we got a few innerestin' pieces here.
JULIAN COPE- BLACK SHEEP
This new release has "11 new songs and one poem." At one time, the music of Julian Cope, especially his live performances, was cause for a gathering of the hip and the demented. But not since 1995's "20 Mothers," has Cope released anything that was musically cogent. "Black Sheep" could be the one.
NIKKA COSTA-PEBBLE TO A PEARL
Both her major label debut "Everybody Got Their Something" and her follow-up, 2005's "Can'tneverdidnothin" received critical acclaim thanks to her Madonna-After-A-Silkwood-Bath brand of funky/dancey/cutesy pop. This new CD finds Miss Costa as a newly independent artist, setting out to make a record on her "own terms." (?) Released on the resurrected Stax label, this could be the album that catches the ears of a much broader audience, with it's retro-soul feel. Think Amy Winehouse, only alive.
KEANE- PERFECT SYMMETRY
Keane is another one of those bands that showed up at the right time, because in retrospect, "the next Coldplay," is not necessarily a tag I'd care to have slapped on the back of my band. Their first two yawnfests did nothing for me at all. I don't expect this to do any better.
RAY LAMONTAGNE- GOSSIP IN THE GRAIN
A little bit of Van Morrison and a little bit of Stephen Stills, Lamontagne struck a chord--B flat minor, I think-- with young and old alike upon the release of his debut "Trouble" in 2004. And his even stronger follow-up "Till The Sun Turns Black," may have to take a backseat to this new release, which to my ears, is his best yet. "Meg White," the Ennio Morricone meets Syd Barrett love song to a White Stripe is worth the price of admission alone.
LUCINDA WILLIAMS- LITTLE HONEY
The long-awaited "happy" record from Lu, may be a little too happy. She's even backed by Sid & Susie, better known to most as Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs. There are plenty of winners on "Little Honey." The pounding rocker "Honey Bee," and "Jailhouse Tears," a "you did me wrong," country duet with Elvis Costello both sound great to me. There's even an AC/DC cover! (not bad, honest) But there is no doubt, with Lucinda, you can't have it both ways. The songs suffer when she doesn't.
BUENA VISTA SOCIAL CLUB- Live At Carnegie Hall
The performance which made up a good portion of the Wim Wenders documentary is here in its entirety. That can't be a bad thing.
PICK OF THE WEEK, THAT YOU PROBABLY CAN'T FIND
AC/DC- Black Ice
The band's exclusive deal with Walmart leaves a whole lotta shnook's out in the cold, but some of you more resourceful readers should be able to track this down, and it will be well worth your time...if you like AC/DC, that is.
It's been 8 years since their last record, "Stiff Upper Lip," and while "Black Ice" doesn't break any new ground, (and why should it) it could be the biggest, bestest, funnest record you'll hear this year.
A review by James McNair in the new issue of MOJO says it best:
"Producer Brendan O'Brien has done a sterling job on "Black Ice." Unsurprisingly, it's another AC/DC album that fast-tracks the listener to the epicenter of the band's engine-room. Phil Rudd's drumming remains so fabulously un-flash that it makes the Duracell Bunny sound like Evelyn Glennie, and what was electricity invented for if not to power Angus and Malcolm Young's guitars?"
My fave moment of McNair's review is this:
"It's fitting, too, given Angus's schoolboy outfit, that AC/DC's references to sexual matters are usually more 'nudge-nudge' than they are explicit. That bulge in his shorts is probably just a dead frog and a marble, and we are invited to believe that, given the choice between a shag and unleashing an overdriven G chord, Angus would choose the latter every time."
Pick up one or all of these fine new releases at your favorite little record store, WALMART.
Check back tomorrow for a taste of one of the great lost records of 1979.