Issue: #352

Neil Young, The Knux, Leonard Cohen, The Prodigy, Meg & Dia, My Favorite Highway, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Celine Dion, Rise Against, King Khan & The Shrines, Depeche Mode, Megan Munroe, Phil Ochs, Mickey Clark, African Reggae, Eddie Daniels and Roger Kellaway, Teena Marie, Pet Shop Boys, Rob Mazurek, Candy Dulfer, Iggy Pop
THE HIGH FIVE!!
  • Hot Club De Norvege "Django Music," Hot Club/Quality Imports
  • BCTC "Music for a Saturday Evening," All Natural Inc.
  • Anya Singleton "The Other Side," Hybrid
  • Parachute "Self-Titled EP," Mercury
  • Priscilla Renea "Hello My Apple EP," Capitol/EMI
ALBUM OF THE WEEK


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Neil Young - Fork in the Road


Reprise/Warner Bros.

After 30 records, with more hours in the studio than most readers have been able to pronounce "guitar", and a collection of music that would make any aspiring prodigy look at their feet in shame, Young may have finally hit the fan. That's right; Neil Young released a mediocre record.

While light years beyond his fanboys, Fork in the Road is just...well, boring. Relying on his distorted "alternative-grunge" style, the album just feels like the genius may need to stop working on filler tracks, and only try to release the cream of the crop. The best part of this record? Even after 40 years, Young's voice has not dropped in the slightest.

***Shelton's Single of the Week: "Cough Up The Bucks"***

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The Knux - Remind Me in 3 Days...


LeChic Freak/HHH/Goliath/Interscope/Universal

The Knux are on a quest to save hip-hop from itself. A noble struggle, men, but I think you might be a bit out of your league with this one. That doesn't mean The Knux shouldn't be commemorated for trying really, really hard.

Remind Me in 3 Days is one of the best contemporary old-school hip-hop albums I have heard in a long time. Everything from the beats, the delivery, the content, and even their fashion just screams "We want Tribe and Rainbow Crew back!", and I can't blame anyone for feeling that way. Real fun and upbeat, this album serves as, what I hope to be, a spring board to the rejuvenation of hip-hop as a whole.

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Leonard Cohen - Live in London DOUBLE CD/DVD Set


Columbia/Sony BMG

One of the most renowned songwriters in folk history, Cohen's distinguished himself beyond his 70-odd years. Even at his age, his first tour in 15 years shows that this man has soul, stepping further than just a mind-boggling songwriter.

Signitures of folk-ish instruments (and what I have always taken as a klezmier influence) is perfectly articulated on Live in London. Everything you want would be on here and, seeing as how touring again is less than likely, I highly suggest you pick this up.

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


***Best Album Of The Week***

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The Prodigy - Invaders Must Die


Take Me to the Hospital/Cooking Vinyl/RED

The band that arguably kick-started aggressive electronic music has finally released a new album, and it was well worth the wait. Even though they have released albums since '97s Fat of the Land, all records sandwiched between the two were lacking band members. Invaders Must Die proves how stupid of an idea that was.

Musically, this is just like old times: pissed off beats, screams, terrifying lyrics, and insane transitions between insane samples. This album reeks of the band's stylistic elements that they are known for (incredibly layered high-energy electronic soundscapes backing a furious and usually offensive chorus line), and leaves nothing unscathed. This is worth every cent you could spend on it.

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Meg & Dia - Here, Here and Here


Doghouse/Sire/Warner Bros.

I've spent all day engaging in conversation after conversation about Tragic Kingdom, No Doubt's pinnacle of success, in any legitimate music listeners opinion. Whether by God's really bad sense of humor, or pure bad luck, Here, Here and Here popped into my lap.

What is it, do you ask? Avril Lavigne, No Doubt, Weezer, and Jonas Brothers all came together, procreated two sisters who breathe pop music, and gave them a record deal. I won't lie: this is right up my alley in amazingly goofy pop music. Every song is hook after impressively catchy hook, driving waves of synthesized melodies, and, oh man, adorably awesome lyrics, especially about not getting married.

 


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

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My Favorite Highway - How to Call a Bluff


Virgin/EMI

Really? This band comes straight off of a bad Disney Made-For-TV-Movie, and covers no more ground than others in their genre. Awful, unappealing pop rock fronted with obnoxiously whiny vocals that makes Conor Oberst look like the most self-assured and independent man on Earth. This is not music, this is a bad mathematic equation.

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Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - The Firstborn is Dead


Mute

The Firstborn is Dead was the Nick Cave album that really took him in the direction of Americana Roots, instead of the more post-punk and fucked up alternative rock that gave him his name-recognition. While not The Birthday Party, the album is still awkward at best, but a rollercoaster to actually listen to. Cave's voice, for those who've never dived into something like this, is abrasive, but subsiding to just another music voice the further into the album you get. The Bad Seeds are characterized by bizarre instrument work, most of the time rather ambient, further pushing Cave into his much-needed straight jacket. If you want some really fucked up Southern-rock, Mute's represses will be perfect for you.


***LATE BUT GREAT***

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Celine Dion - My Love: Ultimate Essential Collection DOUBLE CD


Columbia/Sony BMG

With years under her belt and one of the most impressive careers for any pop star in history, Dion has released another "Best of" collection, carrying the songs that we all know will be on here long before the album was even conceptualized. Two CD's of love-song ballads and ranges that any person would be envious of, My Love is exactly what anyone would expect it to be.

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Rise Against - Appeal to Reason


DGC/Interscope/Universal

No one has seemed to point out yet that frontman Tim McIlrath's voice is sounding more and more like Creed's from album to album. While that should be enough to hide your head in shame for most, not Rise Against:

Appeal to Reason is unrelenting, unapologetic, and pulls every trick from the book to make up for their inadequacy. Flawless recording and tone, politically charged messages flowing from every track, and mind-infecting melodies force something of a stalemate between the two competing forces of embarrassment and intensity. You be the judge.
 


***MIGHTY, MIGHTY!!***

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King Khan & The Shrines - What Is?!


Vice

Pitchfork-ready King Khan & The Shrines is a burst of garage punk energy, literally sitting on the edge of going supernova. Simplistic writing, blown out recordings, and the perfect screams to boot, What Is?! Feels 30 years too late, in the best way possible. This album is fun, angry, and stuffed filled with some of the most perfected garage rock to come out since garages went out of style.

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Depeche Mode - Sounds of the Universe


Mute/Capitol/Virgin/EMI

I talk endless amounts of shit about electro-trash (justifiably), but I have to admit it feels so good to finally be listening to the band that does electronica right. Sounds of the Universe is nothing short of exactly what Mode should be: catchy, intriguing, and millions of years ahead of any other electronic act out there.

Seamless transition between unsuspecting melodies proves this, assaulting the garbage out there posturing as "good music" with the pure serenity of digital sounds and catchy melodies. Two big thumbs up.
 


***Shelton's Single of the Week: "Secret,"***
***LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL!!***

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Megan Munroe - One More Broken String


Diamond Music Group

Country twang in its simplest of forms. One More Broken String rings like any good country record should: direct, serious, and honest. Munroe uses her voice to drive everything, and while she is certainly following in the footsteps of legions of performers before her, she holds her weight in the game.

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Phil Ochs - The Broadside Tapes 1


Smithsonian Folkways/Rounder

Up there in the legendary shelf of folk-geniuses, Phil Ochs shines like hope. Simplistic ramblin' folk with heavy IWW political influences is the Ochs theme, from his birth to death. Incredibly heartfelt, this is a record everyone should own.

***Shelton's Single of the Week: "Spanish Civil War Song"***
 


***POLITICAL ALBUM OF THE WEEK***

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Mickey Clark - Winding Highways


Ear X-Tacy

Mickey Clark's brand of Americana takes more notes from singer/songwriters than the mountain people that it was stolen from. Intelligently crafted songs direct listeners from each episodic story-telling track, ignoring the rest of the world living outside.

Heavy on the acoustic instruments (mandolin, fiddle, banjo), Winding Highways is perfect for anyone waiting for something soothing, but still emotional.

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Various Artists - African Reggae


Putumayo

Another in the long line of Putumayo releases. African Reggae takes the musical form and plays it more interestingly, possibly better, than its American counterparts. Most of the tracks are not in English, which adds, and uses a good helping of African sounds. Solid.


***NEW ALBUM OF THE WEEK***

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Eddie Daniels and Roger Kellaway - A Duet of One: Live at the Bakery


IPO

While I don't know how you can have a "duet of one", I do know that Daniels and Kellaway know how to write jazz. Piano and clarinet primarily use a sort of rambling style to conduct what feels more like a jam session than recording. The voices play off each other flawlessly, with a very deep and full sound from beginning to end of the record.

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Teena Marie - Congo Square


Stax/Concord

Marie, from her beginning as a preteen sensation to her present Grammy-nomination status, has always had a distinct style of her own. Congo Square, her first record in 3 years, is ridden with her odd sense of pop and funk, intermixed to create something akin to a female Rick James, but not sleezy. Heavily synthesized, the album's '80s feel only increases what everyone already knew: great pop music trumps all.

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Pet Shop Boys - Yes


Parlophone/Astralwerks/EMI

Legendary electronic musicians that, I personally feel, are sorely overlooked. Why can't descent 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 the trash it is. 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 best to date. Catchy songs, fun beats, and arguably a goth album, I just can't see where you could go wrong with this.
 


"SO NICE, GOTTA DO IT UP TWICE"
(created by the original NYC D.J. Jocko, 1955)

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Rob Mazurek Quintet - Sound Is


Delmark

Ambient, vaguely atonal jazz. Percussion heavy, Sound Is is certainly for the odder-jazz listeners out there. Rhythm still rings true, and occasionally a melodic phrase will be uttered, but virtually everything else consists of interesting entangled percussion lines which weave in and out of the songs. I love this, but it certainly ain't for everyone.

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Candy Dulfer - Funked Up!


Heads Up/Concord

Coinciding with the pink leapord print which threw me off the fact this was a jazz record, Funked Up! Is really anything but typical. Porn groove that belongs in a bad 90's movie, Dulfer has an interesting way of constructing music, which serves only to set herself apart from the rest.

The record is upbeat from beginning to end, and incorporates the "ooo" and "ahh"s in the way they were designed for. This is silly, but if you like silly and fun jazz, you have yourself a new best friend.

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Iggy Pop - Preliminaires


Astralwerks/Virgin/EMI

Another big "what the fuck" moment in music history. While this is a breath of incredibly fresh air, and I appreciate the sentiment, this will probably end up in the shelves with Vanilla Ice's metal album or Brian Wilson's short-lived hip-hop career.

This is Pop doing Serge Gainsbourg with less self-control in the jazz realm. Yes, this is as weird as it sounds. The punk relic has decided to bash the image of a dirty badass for one of a more sheer and classy Pop, leaving even the drug-induced content with his former self. I would recommend this album to everyone, considering I couldn't imagine anyone who would not find some sort of merit in a record like this.


***IF YOU LIKE MUSIC YOU'RE GONNA LOVE THIS!!***

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THIS WEEK'S SONG LYRICS:

Artist: Green Day
Song: American Idiot

Don't wanna be an American idiot.
Don't want a nation under the new media.
And can you hear the sound of hysteria?
The subliminal mind fuck America.

Welcome to a new kind of tension.
All across the alien nation.
Where Everything isn't meant to be okay.
Television dreams of tomorrow.
We're not the ones who're meant to follow.
Well that's enough to argue.

Well maybe I'm the fagot America.
I'm not a part of a redneck agenda.
Now everybody do the propaganda.
And sing along in the age of paranoia.

Welcome to a new kind of tension.
All across the alien nation.
Everything isn't meant to be okay.
Television dreams of tomorrow.
We're not the ones who're meant to follow.
Well then that's enough to argue.

Don't wanna be an American idiot.
One nation controlled by the media.
Information nation of hysteria.
It's going out to idiot America.

Welcome to a new kind of tension.
All across the alien nation.
Everything isn't meant to be okay.
Television dreams of tomorrow.
We're not the ones who're meant to follow.
Well that's enough to argue.