Issue: #350


Morrissey,
Ray J,
Doves,
Sneezy Waters,
Arcade Fire,
Kermit Ruffins,
Red House 25,
Yanni,
Jim Jones,
Pete Doherty,
Pet Shop Boys,
Dusty Rhodes and the River Band,
Cephas & Wiggins,
Matthew Montfort,
The Revelations,
Tierney Sutton Band,
Louisiana Red & Little Victor's Juke Joint,
Dan Auerbach,
Leela James,
Frank Wess Nonet,
Fall From Grace

THE HIGH FIVE!!
  • The Leonisa Ardizzone Quintet "The Scent of Bitter Almonds..." Self-Released
  • Kevin Costner & Modern West "Untold Truths," Universal Republic/Universal Records South
  • Carolann Ames "So Long Abilene," Ear Candy
  • Craig Morgan "That's Why," BNA/Sony Nashville
  • Kim Richardson "True North," Self-Released
ALBUM OF THE WEEK

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Morrissey -
Years of Refusal


Attack/Lost Highway/Universal

The a-sexual sex-appeal of The Smith's ex-frontman still radiates off of Morrissey, even 25 years after his explosion into the mainstream music scene. Somehow, his legend has reached all ages, despite the rather punk-nature of his recordings. Good is just good, no matter how it looks.


Years of Refusal, solo album number nine, is a breath of fairly fresh air. On one hand, we have an album that is over produced to the point where I can't figure out what is music and what is bad digital-music posturing. Everything is eerily clean and tight, masking most of what would be the best of music.


On the other hand, this is still Morrissey. His voice hasn't changed, his lyrics are the same melodramatic love avalanches that he has masked as songs since he began writing, and without any shame, you can still hear who this is from a mile away. More on the pop side than I prefer my Morrissey, but you know what? I'll take what I can get.

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Ray J -
For The Love Of


51 Minds/Knock Out/E1

More mainstream hip-hop with a lot of ridiculous effects that is blurring the lines between what is hip-hop and pop music. That kind of depresses me, but unfortunately sometimes the music turns out pretty good.


Ray J isn't all that bad: weird vocal effects along the lines of a vocoder, poppy beats with slight gangster rap edges, and a vocal melody that could either have been lifted from Boys 2 Men or Aguilera. His voice is, despite the vocoder, pretty good, and his melodies, while a little weird, work for him. Over all, this is a good album.

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Doves -
Kingdom of Rust


Astralwerks/Heavenly/EMI

Four years of downtime, and Kingdom of Rust seems to come a not a moment too late. Dreamy indie rock with a calm serenity laced through the entire recording. Almost like a Vicodin. Soundscapes composed to delayed guitars and solemn crooning, with a heavy doses of noise, noise, and noise. There's some changes between songs, but for the most part the album has blurred the edges of all their songs, creating a constant flow of emotion from the beginning to end.


***Best Album Of The Week***

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Sneezy Waters -
Sings Hank Williams


Sidestreet/Borealis

Blessed with great taste in music, Sneezy Waters could not have picked a better artist to cover. Hank Williams, perhaps the most important voice in country history, has written some of the most incredible songs that time could have possibly understood.


Waters takes these amazing tracks, and adds his own voice, energy, and a bit of liberty with musicianship, to craft this impeccable album: similar, but definitely not the same as the originals. Included on here is "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry," "Lovesick Blues," and "I Saw The Light," amongst many others.

***Shelton's Single of the Week: "Mind Your Own Business,"***

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Arcade Fire -
Neon Bible


Merge

The top of the hipster food chain, Arcade Fire, has slowly been breaking the pyramid in two: there is virtually no way for any band, trying to do this genre, to be able to hold a candle to Neon Bible.


Everything is matched perfectly for its desired effect, making a beautiful album from beginning to end. A bit of Joy Division influence, as all their releases have had, but with a much more "hip" approach. If you have liked anything of this band in the past, this is just better.



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

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Kermit Ruffins -
Livin' A Treme Life


Basin Street

Big band jazz. Every single time I hear it it hits me: the art, the craft, and really the only genre that none of the curses of everyday life could touch. Upbeat, unbearably danceable, and no parents to make us stop, this only gets better the more you listen to it. Ruffins' deep voice is perfect for the orchestration, used sparingly just to keep the impact there. This is unbeatable.

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Various Artists -
Red House 25 CD 3


Red House

Red House Records have been good to us over the years: consistently sending us some of the best folk out there right now and never letting us down.


This, as the album so subtly suggests, is their 25th anniversary collection. It includes all of their best (including, but not limited to: Eliza Gilkyson, Jorma Kaukonen, Greg Brown, Lucy Kaplansky, Guy Davis, and everyone else), and it all sounds like exactly what you would expect: country and blues laced folk that drives home the heritage of the genre we all love so much.




***LATE BUT GREAT***


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Yanni -
Voices DOUBLE CD


Yannie Wake/Disney/Hollywood

New age-y recordings orchestrated by Yanni. Not my cup of tea. Mostly boring sound-scapes with lots of digital strings, digital percussion, and some descent melodies. Overall, music to sleep to.

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Jim Jones -
Pray IV Reign


E1/Ether Boy/Columbia/Sony BMG

Jim Jones writes angry, violent gangster rap. Yup, the '90s were wonderful. Actually, this is really just that: an album produced like a contemporary hip-hop record, but underneath all of the cheesy beats and pristine recording quality, this is just another Gang Starr album, even a little bit of Death Row thrown in too.


A bit lazy on delivery, Pray IV Reign projects Jones as a suave and self-assured artist, fully aware and confident in his abilities. Rightfully so, Jones. Rightfully so.



***MIGHTY, MIGHTY!!***

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Pete Doherty -
Last of the English Roses


Parlophone/EMI

So when I heard Doherty had a solo album coming out, I was assuming it would be on par with his previous projects (The Libertines, Babyshambles). Not really at all.


With the release of Last of the English Roses, we see a much less confined Doherty, one not afraid to simplify his work a bit. Folk-ish pop songs, mostly acoustic with electronic overdubs, the album works well in conjunction with his other musical ventures (because even if it's not the same, it's still the same man). Another great new pop album.

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Pet Shop Boys -
Yes


Parlophone/Astralwerks

Legendary electronic musicians that, I personally feel, are sorely overlooked. Why can't decent musicians get their cut by the masses more? The recognition they deserve? Hell, why isn't Urban Outfitters blasting this instead of whatever bad electro-trash that is plastered to every record storefront?


Yes makes everything else just look like trash. More pop than most of the present day electronic acts, but still retaining the gloomy-ness that makes music like this so awesome, Pet Shop Boys' newest album is one of their better to date. Catchy songs, fun beats, and arguably a goth album. I just can't see where you could go wrong with this.

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



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


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Dusty Rhodes and the River Band -
Palace and Stage


SideOneDummy

Over the top pop rock from Dusty Rhodes and the River Band. Certainly not the typical SideOneDummy release, but you can't really complain when their "different" is better than their "most".


Sort of annoying slurred vocals actually fit the music for once, taking a lot of influence from long dead genres; bands like Yes and The Beach Boys, and even some of The Band. Think a more folk Arcade Fire. Decent production for a band like this, which adds a lot to the album. Surprisingly good.

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Cephas & Wiggins -
Richmond Blues


Smithsonian Folikways/Ryko

With the recent death of Cephas, this album couldn't be here at a better time. Two amazing blues musicians, doing what they do best. Completely traditional, giving the obvious impacts of emotion and soul that is what keeps this style of blues afloat.
The music is stripped down, giving the bare bones and honest approach that personifies what makes these two musicians so great, but doesn't trip up. Not even once.



***POLITICAL ALBUM OF THE WEEK***

***Shelton's Single of the Week: "Richmond Blues,"***

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Matthew Montfort -
Seven Serenades for Scalloped Fretboard Guitar


Ancient-Future/World-Future

Weird and boring ambient "world" music. Not my favorite term, but I don't really have another way of describing something with so little to it. A drone hum behind everything, a few moments of guitar noodling, some string build up...and that's the album from beginning to end. Total nap-time.

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The Revelations -
Deep Soul


Decision/Traffic

Straightforward retro-soul. It's almost too much: everything is in the right place, every horn hit precise, and every moment of group vocals adds all the more power to the entire recording. Yes, a little much, but that doesn't stop this from being great.


Tre' Williams voice is a little quiet in the mix, but you know, I can deal: he has the voice for the recording. He knows when to use it. This is just a soul record: nothing more, nothing less.

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Tierney Sutton Band -
Desire


Telarc/Concord

An album so creepy that you could probably end a party pretty quickly when people actually take a listen to this. All over the place jazz, with a huge daddy complex. "My Heart Belongs to Daddy" consists of incredibly chilly crooning of Sutton (who has a surprisingly good voice) singing about her father fantasies. Jesus.

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Louisiana Red & Little Victor's Juke Joint -
Back to the Black Bayou


Ruf/Bluestown

Lo-fi dirty blues. Incredibly well executed, fitting the swamp dirt and grime appeal that certainly does not hit the blues scene hard enough. While this is incredibly typical, and not original in the slightest, it doesn't change the fact that its status-quo nature makes the entire package so much more appealing: this just a blues record, from beginning to end.

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Dan Auerbach -
TKeep it Hid


Nonesuch/Warner Bros.

So the Black Keys are, I personally feel, a fake blues band. You know: the mainstream equivalent of what blues would be if it wasn't bastardized and plasticized and made for anyone with little to no good opinions of music. So that's kind of what I expected from Auerbach's solo album. Not at all the case:
Keep it Hid, his debut full length, is just straightforward blues. Great, lo-fi blues. Intelligently crafted and written solely by emotion, Auerbach's acoustic and stripped down style is absolutely breathtaking.



"SO NICE, GOTTA DO IT UP TWICE"

(created by the original NYC D.J. Jocko, 1955)
***Shelton's Single of the Week: "Heartborken, In Disrepair,"***

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Leela James -
Let's Do It Again


Shanachie

Wow. Some incredible soul/Motown revival. Incredibly upbeat tracks that are beyond just solid: they're just damn good. James has a voice full of sass and energy, and engaging with her singing, I believe, exclusively about love. Which is great, because a woman this awesome deserves the good in life.


Classic writing, and complete with the perfect backing female choir just to make this that much more picture-esq, Let's Do It Again needs more care than your average Maroon 5 record.

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Frank Wess Nonet -
Once Is Not Enough


Labeth

Huge eleven piece jazz orchestra, some arranged by and all led by Wess, has devised an intricate weave of horn soloing. Mostly Wess in the spotlight with his tenor sax wailing, but occasional others take the center-stage. Not over done, and incredibly straight forward, this is great jazz for anyone just wanting something lively.

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Fall From Grace -
Sifting Through The Wreckage


Bunk Rock/Bodog

Perhaps one of the worst bands I have ever heard. Tons of distortion, which is perhaps the sole positive feature of this record, layers everything from beginning to end. Careless poured on top of that are such miserable attributes as insanely stupid vocals, boring and cheesy hair metal guitar lines, and not an ounce of anything worth listening to. While I wish I could say something good about doing a Ramones cover ("Pet Sematary"), the cover is more a diss to punk rock than anything else.

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THIS WEEK'S SONG LYRICS:


Artist: Public Enemy Featuring Moby

Song: MKLVFKWR

Just gonna drop

this on one of them

moby beats

Here we go



Cmon

Put your hands in the air

Allright / yall



Cmon

Put your hands in the air

Allright / now



Cmon

Put your hands in the air

Allright/ yall



Cmon

Put your hands in the air

Allright / now



Fingers in the air

Like you really give a damn

Peace sign up

Lemme hear you say yeah



Power to the people

Put your hands in the air

Peace sign high

Like you really do care



Fingers in the air

Like you really give a damn

Peace sign up

Lemme hear you say yeah



Power to the people

Put your hands in the air

Peace sign high

Like you really do care



Cmon Cmon

Put your hands in the air

Allright / yall



Cmon

Put your hands in the air

Allright / now




Rather be sittin

just a gettin it

Power to the people

not the governments

Capitalists, communists,

terrorists

Swear to god I dont

know the difference

Makin new slaves

outta immigrants

Wanna know where all

that money went

Another trillion

spent by the

goverment

Here the bomb go.

sent by the

president



Power to the people

Cause the people want peace

Power to the people

Cause the people want peace

Power to the people

Cause the people want peace

Power to the people

Cause the people want peace



Cmon

Put your hands in the air

Allright / yall



Cmon

Put your hands in the air

Allright / now



Tell the leaders

They gotta feed us

Grand theft oil

Gonna bleed us

New whirl odor

Doesn't need us

Call for peace

Better heed us

Dictators

Human haters

Hand on the bomb,

mass debators

Finger on the

button infiltrators

Mklvfkwr

Peace will save us



Cmon



Put your hands in the air

Allright / yall



Cmon

Put your hands in the air

Allright / now



Cmon

Put your hands in the air

Allright / yall



Cmon

Put your hands in the air

Allright / now



Check one two we

want everybody to

put this sign up in

the air

And at the count of three

Everybody tell me what

this sign means Peace



Cmon

Put your hands in the air

Allright / yall



Power to the people

Cause the people want peace

Power to the people

Cause the people want peace

Power to the people

Cause the people want peace

Power to the people

Cause the people want peace