Issue: #358

ALBUM OF THE WEEK

THE HIGH FIVE!!

  • Anne Trenning "Watching For Rain," Shadetree
  • Seamus Blake Quartet "Live in Italy DOUBLE CD," Jazz Eyes
  • Andy Griggs "The Good Life," Montage/RED
  • Carlon "Johari Window," Ropeadope
  • Rick Monroe "Get Loud, Get Lit," Divorce

Enter Shikari "Common Dreads," Ambush Reality/DGC/Interscope/Universal

There comes a point where "over-production" ceases to be an accent to music and becomes an art-form in and of itself. Common Dreads takes a mediocre, perhaps even boring album, and makes it one of the more interesting and inventive records to come out of hardcore since Refused's Shape of Punk To Come.

While certainly not on par, Enter Shikari's most recent work redefines the bar that the Swedes previously set, creating an album that defies the genre with elements of electronic, indie rock, and pop punk. The album is a massive head-rush of energy, leaving anyone ejecting the album in the daze that only comes from a successful record.

*****Shelton's Single of the Week: "Ain't Misbehaving,"*********

EDITOR'S NOTE: Will make you happy, and that's what music ought to do.

Thin Lizzy "Still Dangerous: Live at the Tower Theatre Philadelphia 1977," VH1 Classic Records

While mostly relevant thirty years later, Thin Lizzy still have elements of performing dated music. Hard rock like this has been fossilized times over, but somehow it is impossible to not have your spirits lightened up when "The Boys are Back in Town" is blaring.

Frontman Lynott's vocals blow all the others in similar veins out of the water, holding a bit of Springsteen inflection that is never wrong. Even though this is still a live album, its great to hear tracks that have never been released before.

******Shelton's Single of the Week: "Boys Are Back in Town,"*********

EDITOR'S NOTE: The lyrics define every aspect ot its being.

Greg Brown - Dream City "Essential Recordings Vol 2, 1997 - 2006 DOUBLE CD," Red House

With no hope of competition, Greg Brown has layed down some of the most incredible contemporary folk songs since Guthrie, compiled on Essential Recordings Vol. 2. Brown's deep, bass-y voiceÊ brings a specified brand of emotion than comes from no other tone, adding the perfect amount of accent to an already hopelessly emotional sound-scape.

Stripped down structurally (primarily Brown, his strings, and a few accompanying instruments here and there), the album highlights song-writing before anything else, leaving all of Brown's little tricks of genius to push Essential Recordings that little bit more over the edge towards greatness.

************BEST ALBUM OF THE WEEK********************

******Shelton's Single of the Week: "Your Town Now,"**********

EDITOR'S NOTE: My first 47 years were spent in NYC. I was born in Harlem. Then we moved slighly uptown to a sleazy apartment building in Washington Heights. I played great stickball, could almost reach the church. Then we hung out in the pool room where I could run the table. We played off the point where I could hit the point of the building with a spaldeen rubber ball and break a window across the street. We would run up to Broadway and hide in the candy store and drink egg creams. Those were the great old days. I wish Greg Brown hung out with us and sung as if the walls were coming down around us, like crazed souls. That would have been perfect.

Ben Neill "Night Science," Thirsty Ear

Defining Ben Neill is impossible. Electronic instruments, sure, but this is purely based on the art of it. Known for his worth with sound manipulation and inventiveness with tones, Neill creates something along the lines of down-tempo, but far too interesting and original to fit nicely into those confines. If you want some interesting electronic music, Ben Neill may be the light you've been waiting for.

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

EDITOR'S NOTE: Abject singing makes the lyrics sound genuinely humane.

Maia Sharp "Echo," Groove House/Crooked Crown

Interesting pop-rock from life-long musician Maia Sharp. No bullshit here - Echo rises to its full strength through a straightforward nature that exudes the musicianship before originality.

In this case, the lack of creative style works out for the best: Sharp fits snug with fellow musicians Bonnie Ratt and Trisha Yearwood, with a much more subtle country edge. This album is full of golden moments

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

Mr. Groove Band "Rocket 88: Tribute to Ike Turner," Zoho/Allegro

Rocket 88 is the collaborative work of session musicians Mr. Groove Band and, forerunner to the salvation we call rock'n roll, Ike Turner. This magnificent tribute album (including a cameo from Turner himself!) infuses as much soul as any cover could possibly have, perpetuated in part through the band's years of professional musicianship, and partially because Ike Turner songs were created impeccable. Tracks include "Rocket 88", "I Wanna Take You Higher", and "Come Together", among other amazing renditions.

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

Talking Heads "Same as it Ever Was," Starbucks/Rhino/Warner

Starbucks launching of the "Opus Collection" is both a blessing and a curse. Blessings, at least, in the case of Same as it Ever Was. Collecting the "Best Of" of Talking Heads career, the record showcases everything great about this band, from their first single "Love -Building on Fire" to their later "Burning Down the House" and "Wild Wild Life," proving without a doubt the greatness of Talking Heads' music.

The curse, though, is still apparent. While convenient, the last thing the world needs is more "Best Of" CDs, especially from artists that put out remarkable albums. Part of the art is the album as a whole, and listening to "Psycho Killer" out of context just seems damning. While I'm not actually complaining having to listen to Talking Heads, I just can't help but wish this was a repress.

************LATE BUT GREAT***********

*******Shelton's Single of the Week: "Psycho Killer,"**********

EDITOR'S NOTE: Try to subdue his hormones with common sense - no hope.

Amy Serrata "Self-Titled," Self-Released

Quirky, intelligent, and overflowing with sass, Amy Serrata has created a sound which many have used, but is rarely professed so well. Somewhere between pop, r&b, and jazz, Serrata switches sound with ease, but still retaining a quality that could not be anyone but.

A bit on the lo-fi side, which suits her well, but little on here is anything that could be all that marketable as a single. Serrata has a great beginning, and a bright future ahead of her.

************LATE BUT GREAT***********

Primordial "Imrama CD/DVD SET," Metal Blade

ÊCeltic-folk black metal from Primordial. Imrama is a repress of their first full length, along with their Dark Romanticism demo and a live DVD. While turning to a harder and more relentless direction later in their career, Imrama plays a bit lighter, definitely showing Primordial still searching out their own sound.

Dark, but exceptionally cheesy. While I would much rather listen to Leviathan's Massive Conspiracy Against All Life any day, or even Primordial's 2007 release of To the Nameless Dead, Imrama still resides as a decent black metal album, and probably would be more interesting to those who love the band.

**************MIGHTY MIGHTY**********************

Colin Linden "From The Water," Linus/True North

Lo-fi blues from Colin Linden makes the days a bit brighter.Ê Luckily diverging from the run of the mill blues progressions, Linden affixes his style in the books through extensive soloing and lead lines, to the point where chord progressions just feel like the oddity on this record. Heartfelt songs about everything, From The Water makes the blues feel alive again.

EDITOR'S NOTE: He captures what every person goes through: that time of tears, whether its joy, sorrow or love.

Moby "Wait For Me," Little Idiot/Mute

Nine times out of ten, Moby is the bane of my existence. Generally, his music is chilly and boring, mainstream accessible "liberal music" for yuppies who want to feel modern. Wait For Me, while still boring, liberal, and the most accessible electronic artist out there, has at least dropped the "chilly" factor.

Moby's attempt at a down-tempo album has succeeded, but still takes the signature feel of Moby albums, i.e. devoid of soul. This is what it is; if you like Moby, this will be one of the most beautiful things you have ever heard. If not, this is just another Moby album.

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

Marion Meadows "Secrets," Heads Up/Concord

With ten albums already under his belt, Marion Meadows felt the need to release another smooth jazz album which to 99% of the ears on earth sound fairly identical to every other smooth jazz album. I couldn't care less about this record. Nothing stands out, and basically feels by the numbers in its totality.

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

Various Artists "The Songs of Pete Seeger Vol. 2: If I Had a Song...," Appleseed

This brand of folk is always a treat, and, despite my usual distaste of tribute albums, If I Had a SongÉ hit the mark right on. Covers from Joan Baez and Jackson Browne, Billy Bragg, Arlo Guthrie, and other greats plays the best of Seeger with their own signature style.Ê Not a single thing wrong with this album.

************POLITICAL ALBUM OF THE WEEK*******************

******Shelton's Single of the Week: "Steve Earle 'Walking Down Death Row'"*************

Michael Martin Murphey "Buckaroo Blue Grass," Rural Rhythm/Ryko

The cover of this album makes everything else about this record seem like a joke. A love affair between a man and his horse? Anyone need some impeccably bad Photoshop work?

The banjo playing of Murphey doesn't come close to making up for it, but it is a start. Despite it all, the tracks are catchy, while a bit run of the mill. I think I would like this more if it wasn't for the layout, but I, for all my power, cannot get past it.

************POLITICAL ALBUM OF THE WEEK*******************

Ida Maria "Fortress 'round My Heart," Fontana/Mercury/Island Def Jam/Universal

In defense of modern chart-hitting punk, Ida Maria has crafted just what the world needs about now. Taking notes from 80's punk (The Clash, Television, etc.), Maria's new world of straight-forward alternative-punk opuses creates soul and an attitude crafted from her predecessors, making a fantastical album of upbeat single after single. And, with Maria's adorable Norwegian accent, Fortress Ôround My Heart rounds as the perfect blend of pop-rock and punk.

**************** NEW ALBUM OF THE WEEK**********

Bobby Broom "Bobby Broom Plays for Monk," Origin

Broom decided it was a good idea to create a cover album of Thelonious Monk songs on guitar. While impressive, I doubt the world needs another less-than-perfect rendition of a slew of already spotless tracks. The album isn't difficult to listen to, nor is the talent of the musicianship doubtable. It's just that this album doesn't need to exist.

************POLITICAL ALBUM OF THE WEEK*******************

Various Artists "Music From the Motion Picture: I Love You, Beth Cooper," Abkco

Another soundtrack which is probably better than the movie. Ok Go, The Hives, Kiss, Smokey Robinson, andÉForeigner? An odd collection of musicians for sure, but each song is timeless anyways, so all together it makes a mix-CD worth listening to.

*********Shelton's Single of the Week: "Stronger Than Jesus,"********

Cheap Trick "The Latest," Giant Step

Cheese isn't always bad. Historically, Cheap Trick has exploited the attribute for all its worth, making every single a bit more in the direction of camp-pop rather than dedicated rock music.

The Latest takes this a step further, walking the thin line between pop and hair rock. No coincidence that they are touring with Def Leppard and Poison, bringing the full effects of their inane solo's and silly melodies to light.

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

EDITOR'S NOTE: He drives around aimlessly - feeling there's no way to be in his kind of hell, no way to extinguish a flame that burns, burns, burns.

Eilen Jewell "Sea of Tears," Signature Sounds

Interesting and simplistic pop-folk from Eilen Jewell. Songs aren't inventive or genre-bending, but still hold up against their own weight. Jewell drives the package with a voice that refuses to waiver and haunting lyrics. With a bit of western flair throughout, Sea of Tears wins the award for the most soothing album of the week.

************POLITICAL ALBUM OF THE WEEK*******************

D-Block "No Security," D-Block/E1

D-Block, The Lox, whatever they want to be called these days, have produced another solid hip-hop album. It's a compilation, so the flow is a bit shaky between tracks, but beyond all that, the record stresses their stronger points (great taste in producers, a pleathera of MC's per song, and chorus lines that are catchy and not a mess of noise). I could lose this album without many tears, but that's only because I own Low End Theory.

************POLITICAL ALBUM OF THE WEEK*******************

John Mellencamp "Life, Death, Live and Freedom," Hoff/Hear/Starbucks

Another in the long line of Starbucks ventures into the music world. Life, Death, Live and Freedom collects 8 songs from his Life, Death, Love and Freedom album, albeit ignoring the concept of creativity to signify the live nature of the recording.

While not as good as the studio record, Mellencamp serves what he always does: intense folk rock ballads with fueled emotion of a lifetime of turmoil. This is Mellencamp in the fullest, and if that strikes your interest, you should already be hooked.

***************If You Like Music You're Gonna Love This******************

POLITICAL SONG OF THE WEEK

Artist: Bruce Springsteen
Song: "Mrs. McGrath"


"Mrs. McGrath," the sergeant said,
"Would you like a soldier
of your son, Ted?
With a scarlet cloak and a fine cocked hat,
Mrs. McGrath wouldn't you like that?"

Mrs. McGrath lived on the shore
And after seven years or more
she spied a ship come into the bay
with her son from far away

"Oh, Captain dear, where have you been.
Have you been out sailin' on the Mediteren'.
Have you any news of my son Ted.
Is he livin' or is he dead?"

Now came Ted without any legs
And in their place two wooden pegs
She kissed him a dozen times or two
Saying "My God Ted is it you?"

"Now were you drunk or were you blind
When you left your two fine legs behind?
Or was it walking upon the sea
That wore your two fine legs away?"

"No I wasn't drunk and I wasn't blind
When I left my two fine legs behind.
a cannon ball on the fifth of May
Tore my two fine legs away."

"Now Teddy boy," the widow cried
"Your two fine legs was your mother's pride
Them stumps of a tree won't do at all
Why didn't you run from the cannon ball?"

All foreign wars, I do proclaim
Live on blood and a mother's pain
I'd rather have my son as he used to be
than the king of America and his whole navy