Issue: #349


The Decemberists,
Saltman Knowles,
T-Pain,
The Idan Raichel Project,
Manda Mosher,
Invisiphobia,
Lee Ann Womack,
Spoon,
Mute Math,
Randy Travis,
Yeah Yeah Yeahs,
Brigitte DeMeyer,
Classic Protest Songs,
Lindi Ortega,
Putumayo Presents: Salsa!,
Lady Antebellum,
Architect,
Wendy Wall,
Red Jumpsuit Apparatus,
Watchmen,
Covered: A Revolution in Sound

THE HIGH FIVE!!
  • Farewell Flight "Sound. Color. Motion.," Easy Company
  • Project Grand Slam "Play," Cakewalk
  • Maysa "Metamorphosis," Shanachie
  • Free World "From the Bluff," SwirlDisc/Select-O-Hits
  • Poach Stevens "Werk," Citrus to Citrus/WarChant/God I'm Done With This/41510/All Bay Group/City Hall
ALBUM OF THE WEEK

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The Decemberists -
The Hazards of Love


Capitol/EMI

Do you think that British rock was the coolest thing since the combustion engine? Do you believe that most of today's bands are too edgy? Do you think rock operas are an artform? Not only is this what you get from this album, but that's about all anyone is getting.


Fairly one-dimensional rock music, but if you like repeating themes, unbelievable amounts of production, and some really good lyrics, The Hazards of Love may be that fresh taste in music you're looking for.

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Saltman Knowles -
Return of the Composer


Pacific Coast Jazz

Piano backbone and beautifully flowing female vocals, Return of the Composer is the type of jazz more people should be working on. Mid-tempo, with progressions that aren't masturbatory (though there certainly are a few of those on here), and enough character through and through to give a real emotional personality to the music, Saltman Knowles has figured out how to put his music together. While not the best thing ever, and looses my interest at points, the album is none the less great for what it's doing.

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T-Pain -
Thr33 Ringz


Nappy Boy/Konviot/Zomba/Jive/Sony BMG

Even though vocoder's are old tricks, T-Pain brought new life to the old dog. But no matter. T-Pain stands on his own two feet (or not, after that gold-cart accident...), using Thr33 Ringz as his assertion that he is here to stay.


His own style of rambling instead of rapping, vocoder singing instead of tradition ideas of talent, and beats that years ago would have been considered anything but hip-hop, gives the style that makes this in a league of its own. Though, this would be a nightmare for anyone who believes in the purity of art.


***Best Album Of The Week***

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The Idan Raichel Project -
Within My Walls


Cumbancha

Isreali folk music from the Idan Raichel Project. I grew up with music like this, so it's a nice flashback: the waves of solemn crooning that marks the signature to Israeli music, the almost Middle-Eastern chord progressions, and the Israeli love of beautiful female vocals. Incredibly solumn, so if you want something quieter and soothing, go for this.

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Manda Mosher -
Everything You Need


Red Parlor

Alternative-ish rockin' folk, as told by Manda Mosher. Topped with the production of Divas, Mosher's take on music is the extravagant one: layers upon layers of instrumentation, dynamic digital magic, and enough vocal tracks to make you feel buried at the bottom of the ocean.
Mosher's singing (there has got to be a joke somewhere about her name...) is smooth and incredibly inoffensive, one of those "organic to the bone" voices, leaving room for great melodies (check!) and great lyrics (halfway there!).



***ARTIST TO WATCH!!!***

***Shelton's Single of the Week: "Everything You Need,"***

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Invisiphobia -
Bluzar Blue


Invisible Sound

Weird folk.
Really weird folk.

I don't really understand this at all, in all the best ways. Songs are really just lo-fi pop songs with a folk approach. Home recording, giving an emotional layer to the already fun tracks. Each song is a little different, making this record really worth it. Yeah, I'm totally down.

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Lee Ann Womack -
Greatest Hits


MCA Nashville/Universal

Heart, style, and a knack for great songwriting. That's what Lee Ann Womack has been bringing to the table for her entire career. Greatest Hits takes her best tracks and places them in a full length that flows as if it was her newest release, mastered (in all honesty) perfectly. Over produced, obviously, but with this genre, would you want anything less? This is a perfect for anyone interested into getting into Lee Ann Womack.




***LATE BUT GREAT***

***Shelton's Single of the Week: "A Little Passed Little Rock,"***


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Spoon -
Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga


Merge

One of the few historical indie bands that have never, ever let me down. Spoon, the hidden arsenal of Austin Texas, has once again outdone themselves with Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, their sixth studio album.


Musically original, the band infuses a bit of rock, art punk, indie rock, and massive amounts of artistic wisdom deposited straight to melody. Fun, but not goofy, Spoon is a must have, and Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga is a great diving block. Too bad the name of this album is really annoying.

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Mute Math -
Self-Titled


Telepromt/Reprise/Warner Bros.

Where electro-trash is taking the bad parts of electronic music and attempting to infuse it underskin of great styles, Mute Math are taking the best parts of electronic music and giving a heavy dose of it to the worst of genres: bad alternative rock.


U2-esq, but with some great backing electronic soundscapes and odd textures, the band manages to teach some good tricks to that bad dog. The album sounds like it is an album set out to prove some music talent, and if you are into that, Mute Math are waiting.



***MIGHTY, MIGHTY!!***

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Randy Travis -
Around The Bend


Warner Bros. Nashville

This album is no surprise at all. Randy Travis, twenty-five years on the airwaves, give us what he always does: the best in contemporary country. His country twang is signiture to everything he does, making nothing that we can really argue with. Travis is one of the characters that you either love, or don't like country. He knows what he is doing.


Around The Bend highlights mostly him and his guitar, but to no ones surprise it is heavily produced with every other possible country instrument at some point or another. Mainstream records tend to do that, which works quite well in Travis' case. The album, the first in almost eight years, may be one of his most personal yet, dealing with inner conflict. Also on here is a spotless cover of "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right".


***Shelton's Single of the Week: "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right"***

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Yeah Yeah Yeahs -
It's Blitz


Interscope/Universal

Indie-rock heroes Yeah Yeah Yeahs have metamorphosized like the insects that they are: after their debut Fever To Tell, they have constantly reinventing themselves. Same band, same concept, but completely different outward appearances.


It's Blitz, their newest set of skin, fits a little less snug that I'd like, but we can't all be winners. Thicker with fuzz than previous works, the album has drifted more in the dance rock direction rather than my preferable downtempo or straightforward rock leanings the band was flirting with for a bit. Solid recording, from beginning to end.

***Shelton's Single of the Week: "Secret,"***



***LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL!!***


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Brigitte DeMeyer -
Red River Flower


BDM

DeMeyer is a born star. Just take a listen. Her voice was created for indie-country. Her persona is perfect for fame. And, did I mention her songwriting?


Focusing entirely on her, Red River Flower is a pleasant change from the entangled complications of most country singers. Production is fairly unobtrusive, and, really, no one would be worse for wear with this record.

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Various Artists -
Classic Protest Songs


Smithsonian Folkways

As if this really needs explaining. Some of the most moving, powerful, and emotional songs that have ever graced the ground of planet Earth, Classic Protest Songs, from beginning to end, is a trip down the road of our tumultuous history.


From the uplifting chants of "We Shall Overcome" to the bleak outlook of "How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live", this album was created for those of us with a little hope left, and those with great taste.



***POLITICAL ALBUM OF THE WEEK***

***Shelton's Last Single of the Week: "Lead Belly: Bourgeouis Blues"***

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Lindi Ortega -
The Drifter E.P.


Cherrytree/Interscope/Universal

Super stripped down, mostly lo-fi indie-folk from up-and-coming Lindi Ortega. What makes this so great? Adorable melodies, really fun upbeat songs, and a voice that sounds like a younger Mirah. I couldn't be more pleased with an E.P.

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Various Artists -
Putumayo Presents: Salsa!


Putumayo

Salsa. No, not Ricky Martin, or any of the other jokers that have been posturing over the years. No my friends, this is the real deal, and making a solid dent into what most of Americans think of when they hear Latin music.


To be honest, I have never heard any of the musicians before this record fell into my lap. But you know, I don't mind in the slightest: if all my music sounded this good, I'd never need to bother with silence again.

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Lady Antebellum -
Self-Titled


Capitol Nashville

I wouldn't call Lady Antebellum bad, but I also wouldn't quite call it good. Typical country progressions, with a fairly tasteful underlying current of arena country song-writing, the music is genuinely run-of-the-mill.


Song topics run like any other artist to come out of Nashville, I just don't have much interest in anything that's best quality is "they aren't over the top".

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Architect -
Ghost of the Saltwater Machines


Black Market Activities/Metal-Blade/RED

Chuggy heavy hardcore has a time and place. Architect's seem to know the perfect place for it. Yes, another band has finally decided to do the genre some justice.


An admirable amount of slow parts, a mile-thick layer of distortion covering the expanse of the record, and a grimness that is so often passed over by our modern metal contemporaries, Architect could make "pissed off" a household term again.

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Wendy Wall -
The Road To Paradise


Tumblestone

Simplistic singer/songwriter tracks that feel like Wall came over for a cup of coffee and decided to play a few of her new tracks for you. You know, personal. Straight from the heart, and touched by the flashy hands of talent.


Wall set a mood of hopefulness, nostalgia, and some great melodies. You can guess what you're getting into by the cover alone, but if that's what you like, you're all set.



"SO NICE, GOTTA DO IT UP TWICE"

(created by the original NYC D.J. Jocko, 1955)

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Red Jumpsuit Apparatus -
Lonely Road


Virgin/EMI

Heavy metal contemporaries. Weird. They certainly get a stamp of approval for not being a metalcore band, but none-the-less the appeal of big hair and sequenced pants has sort of lost its gleam with its 30 years of retirement.


The production is loud and clear, really the only hint of the time change, but doesn't get much beyond that. So... if you wish Guns 'n Roses would bring back Slash, or Great White hadn't torched their fans, Lonely Road can fulfill your hopes and dreams.

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Various Artists -
Music From The Motion Picture Watchmen


Reprise/Warner Bros.

Well, considering that the film was the biggest mistake of the twenty-first century, I was hoping that the soundtrack would at least have a slight advantage over the film since I wouldn't have to look at any bad acting. Oh Jesus was I wrong.


While there are some redeeming moments (Phillip Glass Ensemble, Leonard Cohen's cover of "Hallelujah", and the unstoppable Nina Simone), there is no justification for a My Chemical Romance cover of "Desolation Row." There just isn't.

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Various Artists -
Covered, A Revolution in Sound


Warner Bros.

This was either the best or worst idea Warner Bros. executives have ever had. Some heavy-weight musicians covering the entire spectrum of the '70s? Taking Back Sunday, Mastodon, Against Me!, Missy Higgins...what?


Well, I guess it's worth saying that, if nothing else, all of these tracks are great. Adam Sandler's cover of "Like A Hurricane" proves the man actually has musical talent, Against Me's cover of "Here Comes A Regular" proves he still has great taste in music, and...oh, what can I say of the Talking Heads cover by The Used?

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THIS WEEK'S SONG LYRICS:


Artist: Rage Against The Machine

Song: Killing In The Name Of

Some of those that work forces

are the same that burn crosses.

Some of those that work forces

are the same that burn crosses.

Some of those that work forces

are the same that burn crosses.

Some of those that work forces

are the same that burn crosses. Uggh!



Killing in the name of!

Killing in the name of!

And now you do what they told ya

And now you do what they told ya

And now you do what they told ya

And now you do what they told ya

And now you do what they told ya

And now you do what they told ya

And now you do what they told ya

And now you do what they told ya

And now you do what they told ya

And now you do what they told ya

And now you do what they told ya

And now you do what they told ya

Those who died

are justified

for wearing the badge, they're the chosen whites

You justify

those that died

by wearing the badge, they're the chosen whites

Those who died

are justified

for wearing the badge, they're the chosen whites

You justify

those that died

by wearing the badge, they're the chosen whites



Some of those that work forces

are the same that burn crosses.

Some of those that work forces

are the same that burn crosses.

Some of those that work forces

are the same that burn crosses.

Some of those that work forces

are the same that burn crosses.



Killing in the name of!

Killing in the name of!

And now you do what they told ya

And now you do what they told ya

And now you do what they told ya

And now you do what they told ya

And now you do what they told ya, now you're under control

And now you do what they told ya, now you're under control

And now you do what they told ya, now you're under control

And now you do what they told ya, now you're under control

And now you do what they told ya, now you're under control

And now you do what they told ya, now you're under control

And now you do what they told ya, now you're under control

And now you do what they told ya!!!



Those who died

are justified

for wearing the badge, they're the chosen whites

You justify

those that died

by wearing the badge, they're the chosen whites

Those who died

are justified

for wearing the badge, they're the chosen whites

You justify

those that died

by wearing the badge, they're the chosen whites

Come on!



Uggh!



Yeah! Come on! Uggh!



Fuck you, I won't do what you tell me.

Fuck you, I won't do what you tell me.

Fuck you, I won't do what you tell me.

Fuck you, I won't do what you tell me.

Fuck you, I won't do what you tell me.

Fuck you, I won't do what you tell me.

Fuck you, I won't do what you tell me.

Fuck you, I won't do what you tell me.

FUCK YOU, I WON'T DO WHAT YOU TELL ME!!

FUCK YOU, I WON'T DO WHAT YOU TELL ME!!

FUCK YOU, I WON'T DO WHAT YOU TELL ME!!

FUCK YOU, I WON'T DO WHAT YOU TELL ME!!

FUCK YOU, I WON'T DO WHAT YOU TELL ME!!!

FUCK YOU, I WON'T DO WHAT YOU TELL ME!!!

FUCK YOU, I WON'T DO WHAT YOU TELL ME!!!

FUCK YOU, I WON'T DO WHAT YOU TELL ME!!!