Buskin & Batteau,
The Gaslamp Killer,
Jason Boland & The Stragglers,
Sarah Lee Guthrie & Family,
Nuke The Soup,
Angus and Julia Stone,
Two High String Band,
ALBUM OF THE WEEK
THE HIGH FIVE!!
- Pete Huttlinger "Finger Picking Wonder," Same Wave/Instar
- Downhere "How Many Kings: Songs For Christmas," Centricity
- Eban Schletter "Cosmic Christmas," Oglio
- REO Speedwagon "Not So Silent Night," CMG/Sony Legacy
- Various Artists "A Family Christmas," Putumayo
The Beatles "Rubber Soul," Gramophone/Capitol/EMI/Apple
Cited as being one of the greatest pop albums ever, Rubber Soul's most recent remaster begs the question: why? Why remaster an album that has already been decided, virtually worldwide, to be damn-near perfect? The answer: profit.
Rubber Soul includes so many of those Beatles songs that were ahead of their time: "Norwegian Wood," "What Goes On," "In My Life"...Honestly, this album needs no introduction, so little is needed here aside from a plea to own this, in one remaster or another.
*****Shelton's Single of the Week: "IN MY LIFE"*********
EDITOR'S NOTE: Will make you happy, and that's what music ought to do.
Tanya Tucker "My Turn," Saguard Road
Welcome the dreamy hymns of Tanya Tucker. Honky-tonk country ala Dolly Parton. I know, I know, this isn't Parton, but if you strip down a few layers of glamour and add a bit more of the modern country sensibilities, you'll have exactly what My Turn is all about.
Dreamy love songs saturated with Texan charm takes this album to the heart of everyone's inner country fan.
Frank Sinatra "Live at the Meadowlands," Concord
Rat pack founder Frank Sinatra has long ago created a legacy that outlived himself. Hell, his legacy will definitely outlive 99.9% of artists to come out of the twenty-first century.
With a knack for soul, jazz, and sex-appeal, Sinatra's renditions of tracks that have since become standards are nothing short of magical. And this twenty-years late live album collects all the best that one could hope for from Sinatra in one package. "Without A Song", "One For My Baby," and "Moonlight in Vermont," are just a few of the amazing numbers on this priceless holiday gift.
******BEST ALBUM OF THE WEEK*********
Shelton's Single of the Week: "ONE FOR MY BABY (AND ONE MORE FOR THE ROAD)"
Dave Crowder Band "Church Music," Sparrow/Sixsteps/EMI
If you thought Angels and Airwaves were bad, you will be shocked at Dave Crowder Band. That's right: there is something worse than Tom Delonge going off the deep end on psychedelics. It's a band going off the deep end without psychedelics and without Tom Delonge playing the same music. Painful electronic indie-alternative rock.
Tiny Vipers "Life on Earth," Sub Pop
Unbeatable. Jesy Fortino, sole lady behind Tiny Vipers writes music that is far beyond haunting and beautiful, passing into a terrain that feels more like purgatory than heaven or hell. Life on Earth, Tiny Vipers' fourth full-length to date, arranges melodies that are eerie and ghostly.
Multi-layed vocals, heavy reverb, little in the way of traditional song structure, and a soft voice...if you want something that will truly move you, this comes highly recommended.
******ARTIST TO WATCH!!!*******************
Abraham Levitan "Speak, Memory," Self-Released
Speak, Memory is the present day soundtrack of an indie Captain Eoh. Electronic tones that sounds like lasers, dance numbers, over the top triumphant singing, and that under-lying sex-appeal that Jackson so eloquently laid underneath all of his "kid-friendly" ventures, Abraham Levitan is, at best, nothing short of a mess.
Kris Kristofferson "Kristofferson: The American Milestone Series," Monument/Legacy/Sony
My vote is still out on how I feel about represses, but at least it means I get tons of amazing music to listen to. Kristofferson's namesake debut album has been repressed again, and this time with more production, four tracks released only on previous represses, and a brand new package. I wouldn't have it any other way.
This, in my opinion, was his peak: more folk than country, and still smokey and a little sloppy, Kristofferson is a masterpiece of emotion, each song personal and obviously from the heart. Unbeatable.
************LATE BUT GREAT***********
*******Shelton's Single of the Week: "SUNDAY MORNIN' COMIN' DOWN"**********
EDITOR'S NOTE: Try to subdue his hormones with common sense - no hope.
Buskin & Batteau "Red Shoes and Golden Hearts," Nouveau Retro
New age meets singer/songwriter? Strange, but works better than either on their own. Soulful, almost C rate Springsteen incorporated with orchestration that could be from any studio composer making spacey flute music. Red Shoes and Golden Hearts serves something interesting and original, which is the best you could ask from something like this.
Dirge Within "Force Fed Lies," E1
Debut from the next big thing in metal. While still more metalcore than I can handle, Force Fed Lies makes up for it's stylistic inadequacy with the only thing they could: blind fury and heavy riffings.
Chug-factor off the charts, and vocal delivery just short of ancient Poison The Well, their brand of metal and hardcore is exactly what a thousand other bands are trying to do. But who has the multi-album contract with a major label? I guess this is one of the few cases where popularity is an actual indication of quality.
Peter Mulvey "Letters From A Flying Machine," Black Walnut/Signature Sounds
Intelligently arranged singer/songwriter recordings from Peter Mulvey. His voice feels as though Tom Waits had decided at 14 to lay off the drugs, and still had most of his vocal chords intact, leaving something soothing but not the most impactful.
Lyrically driven, relatively simple-but-interestingly constructed songs, and nothing here to complain about. This is a solid piece of work from Mulvey
*******Shelton's Single of the Week: "SEEING STARS WITH PATTY GRIFFIN"**********
The Gaslamp Killer "All Killer, Finders Keepers Records 1-20," B-Music
Another instance of me not caring what it is I'm listening to because it is just that good. Is this a compliation? A mixtape? A remixalbum? Or is this just another terrifying noise project given to us by the wonderful people at B-Music? I'd just as soon go with the later.
With elements of free jazz, acid jazz, hip hop, and horror movies, All Killer is haunting beyond anything that comes out these days. Absolutely insane structures, which sometimes feel like rock and then de-evolve into freeform noise, this album is perfect.
***********LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL*****************
Jason Boland & The Stragglers "Comal County Blue," Apex Nashville/Thirty Tigers/Proud Souls/Sony RED
Bluegrass honky-tonk, while not incredibly inventive, still shows 90% of stadium country artists how to make real music. Produced beyond the point of musical integrity, this record makes up for its lack of raw emotion with genuinely good music. Fun and poppy, Comal County Blue is exactly what mainstream country fans need more of.
Sarah Lee Guthrie & Family "Go Waggaloo," Smithsonian Folkways/ADA
Granddaughter of you-know-who, Sarah Lee carries on the family tradition, pulling off the style her lineage has crafted now for generations. Go Waggaloo is a kids album, but because of the stripped down and simplistic nature of the style, nothing really changed except singing about rainbows instead of class war. This is just like you would imagine it being, aside from the occasional transgression away from the archetypical instrumentation. For anyone in love with folk
************POLITICAL ALBUM OF THE WEEK*******************
******Shelton's Single of the Week: "SONGS MY MOTHER TAUGHT ME"*************
Brandon Rickman "Young Man, Old Soul," Rural Rhythm/Ryko
Rickman is that sliver of bright light amongst the mass of miserably dim and excessively cloudy ruins of contemporary country music. Oh, this is good. Heavy banjo usage, bringing on that ever-wonderful Americana feel, Brandon Rickman is living up the day that pop sensibilities were exposed to Appalachia.
Wonderfully upbeat while still serious, this album manages to find the perfect balance between noodling and catchyness, relaying it all into a song with solid structure and folk elements that keep it feeling fresh and timeless at the same time. Grade A.
Nuke The Soup "Make Waves, Not War," Meteor
Cheese-ball political pop rock album from Nuke The Soup. Musically this sounds like Jimmy Buffett with less bite (virtually unimaginable) and politics of the Dixie Chicks (EDITOR'S NOTE: Whatever happened to them, anyways?). While this pseudo surf-rock album doesn't hurt to listen to, it doesn't necessarily feel good, either.
**************** NEW ALBUM OF THE WEEK**********
Children Collide "The Long Now," Filter US/Universal
90's rock influence is always a good thing. Always. Case and point: Children Collide. Driving, pretty, and angsty as the new season Degrassi, The Long Now shows that good rock music can still come out.
Obviously not from the US (Australia, of course), Children Collide's debut uses a healthy dose of fuzzed guitar, lead lines, simplistic lyrics, and everything else good about stripped down music. If you wished Dinosaur Jr. and Nada Surf were on the airwaves again, this could be a substitute until they invent time machines.
Various Artists "World Is Africa," Starbucks/Universal
A compilation full of music I have never heard before means a compilation bound for success. World Is Africa is, as you could imagine, a compilation of eclectic music all from Africa.
Everything, and I mean everything, has a different sound, and every track is golden. I'm not joking: this album is superb from beginning to end. Electronics, acoustics, and pop, this album is far beyond what most Americans are trying to do. Highly recommended.
Angus and Julia Stone "A Book Like This," Nettwerk
Brother-sister duo Angus and Julia Stone summarize everything I love in modern folk. Driving melodies and serene progressions, intelligent song structure, and...what is this, real emotion on an album? With a serious tone throughout, this is a glowing example of music done right.
"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.
Vandaveer "Divide & Conquer," Supply & Demand
Interesting structure immediately earns points. Vandaveer has a style of his very own. Low-key, heavy on accompanying instrumentation, and beautiful melodies served in afterthought, Divide and Conquer is another of those fantastic examples of folk bending the rules but still refusing to reduce itself to mediocre music. Solid.
******Shelton's Single of the Week: "Why I'm Leaving"*************
Two High String Band "Hot Texas Bluegrass Burrito," Self-Released
You can't go wrong with straightforward bluegrass. You just can't. If you don't bend the rules, don't try to do something outrageous, and know how to play your instrument, I guarantee you will make a great album.
Absolutely nothing original or new here, just amazing music that you could hear anywhere. I could listen to this for the rest of my life and be content.
The Killers "Day & Age," Island Def Jam/Universal
I loved Joy Division and New Order. And the world of music would not have been the same without their influence, for better or for worse. But sometimes I just wish that people had realized that melancholy electronics and dance beats only go so far.
The Killers, America's end of the post-goth pop agreement with Canada's Arcade Fire, have refined their sound on Day & Age, which may be their worse mistake yet. Nothing edgy, nothing interesting, and a record that strives to make something as far detracted from offensive as possible, The Killers have again missed the point.
***************If You Like Music You're Gonna Love This******************
******Shelton's Single of the Week: "INVINCIBLE"*************
POLITICAL SONG OF THE WEEK
Song: "I Hate My Job,"
Yo, I hate my boss
Dude think he know it all
And I know I know it all
But I follow protocol
Hope sit in the casket
Got me sittin' in traffic (word)
It's seven AM (yeah, yeah, yeah)
And I woke up late, didn't even have a shower
Lunch break? Give me a break, a damn half an hour
All this bullshit for twelve bucks an hour (I'm ready to quit)
Plug me to Chuck D, wanna Fight the Power
Instead I light the sour before I go in the office
Being here eight hours sure will get you nauseous
Lady across from me, telling me her problems (what the fuck?)
I'm look at her like yo (yeah, yeah, yeah)
How the fuck I'm gonna solve 'em?
You know our ethnicity
Car note, rent, don't forget electricity (that's all due)
Internet, cable, and the phone all connected
Food, gas, tolls oh now it's getting hectic
Brand new clothes? Naw you'd rather see me naked
Yo check it, I got my check, now I'm feel disrespected (what the fuck)
Why am I working here? It ain't working here
It ain't worth it here, never gonna persevere
Ain't no money for new shoes or purses here
Should've done my first career (huh) nursing yeah
Now I'm sitting here thinking 'bout the work I put in
This verse from the everyday working woman
I put on my pants, put on my shoes
I pray to God, paid all my dues
I'm trying to win, seems like I was born to lose
All I can say (yeah, yeah, yeah)
I say let me through, but they don't let me through
You want to quit, God damn I'm ready to
Lifestyle I'm living, ain't steady boo (Not at all)
All I can say (yeah, yeah, yeah)
Ayo I'm lookin' for a job, ain't nobody hiring
Then I ask the boss, "when y'all doin' firing?"
You know I'm admiring nice job, family man
Car and looking as walk in a tiring
Shoulda been a fireman, learn to do wiring
Then get retirement, I blame my environment (it's my hood)
I went in for an interview, for delivery (for delivery)
"Locked up, felonies?" now the dude's quizzing me
You working on my future, why you need to know my history?
All he did was Google me, no big mystery
He ain't digging me, politely he was dissin' me
"No we're not hiring, but thanks for the visit please"
He ain't want me, my grandmother warned me
Them God damn felonies will haunt me, taunt me (I told you 'bout them felonies)
No second chance, back to the same block
Go home, my baby moms done changed locks (fuck is she doing)
This a game ma? Okay the games over (okay)
Then she opened the door with the chain on (what's up)
Said she been reaching out, for several days
I ain't helping out, we need to go our separate ways (oh word?)
I was just amazed, wanna go another route?
Let me get my clothes, said she took them to my mother's house
She was pissed off, yeah P.O.'ed
And said "go head and wild out, I'll call your P.O."