Issue: #366


Lady Gaga "The Fame Monster," Interscope/Universal


  • Tamela Mann "The Master Plan," Tilly Man
  • Dave Schulz "Connect," Band Together
  • Antoinette Montague "Behind The Smile," In The Groove/Allegro
  • Blake Lewis "Heartbreak on Vinyl," Tommy Boy
  • Karnivool "Sound Awake," Sony

Mark Knopfler "Get Lucky," Reprise/Warner Bros

Irish musical genius Mark Knopfler's elegance with crafting albums is mesmerizing: Get Lucky flows from beginning to end without any sense of mediocrity or jerky nature. No, Knopfler is better than that.

The entire album feels like the continuation of a single concept, all relating back to the central theme. This certainly isn't Dire Straits; the influence between the previous project can be heard solely in style and flow. If you are interested in Irish soft-rock, Get Lucky is the album of the year.

*****Shelton's Single of the Week: "So Far From The Clyde"*********

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

Finn Riggins "Vs. Wilderness," Tender Loving Empire

By far the most original album of the issue, Vs. Wilderness combines influences across the board to make an indie pop album that sounds like nothing else.

Heavy on the vocal melodies is always a plus, and with layer upon layer of harmonies, the band proves their talent as both musicians and songwriters. There is not a single thing wrong with this album.

Lady Gaga "The Fame Monster," Interscope/Universal

It was obvious the moment that Lady Gaga walked onto the scene that she will a fixture in pop music until the end of the world. One part musical genius, one part performance artist, one part sex-icon...her comparisons to Madonna are undeniable.

But Gaga is set apart, not just by her A-rate sci-fi fashion or her self-perpetuated rumors, but by the fact that her music is a caliber all of its own. High-energy electronic dance beats layer beneath Gaga's savant knack for pop melodies that are beyond anything on the airwaves these days. Lady Gaga is perfect.

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

Shelton's Single of the Week: "Sympathy For The Devil"

Zac Brown Band "The Foundation," Home Grown/Roar/Big Picture/Cracker Barrel/Atlantic

The softer-end of alternative country, Zac Brown Band play a style that usually rubs me the wrong way. Luckily, they manage to do it right. Solemn songs from beginning to end, mostly about love and eating, are perfected through each musician: each player on this record prove their talent through these 10 studio hits. Stellar.

Eugene Mirman "God Is A Twelve-Year-Old Boy With Asperger's," Sub Pop

Sub Pop put out an album of stand-up comedy from Eugene Mirman. Weird? Wait until you listen to the recording. With lines like "build a time machine, jerk-off in it, and send it to Hitler", you are in for...well, I don't know if "treat" is the right word, but you are certainly in for something.

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

Kate Miller-Heidke "EP," Sony

Singer/songwriter pop tracks form Kate Miller-Heidke. Active in music for the last 9 years, this showcase EP (all of the tracks later released on Curiouser) proves Heidke as worthy of walking the line to success.

Upbeat pop hits, obviously all based around her vocal ability, this EP is fun and quirky enough to hopefully keep Heidke her much deserved success in the future.

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds "From Her to Eternity," Mute

Straight out of the Birthday Party, From Her to Eternity is the debut album from Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Basically, this album is the audio-recording of a horror movie: menacing ranting over a-rhythmic musical rambling stretched over 50 minutes of emotional terror that was Cave's signature sound. This is not for the feint of heart.

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

*******Shelton's Single of the Week: "ME AND JULIO DOWN BY THE SCHOOL YARD"**********

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

Wolfmother "Cosmic Egg," Modular/DGC/Universal

Psych-rock revival is usually a bad thing, but occasionally there are a few slivers of hope. Enter Wolfmother. Drug crazed tunes for the twenty-first century, Cosmic Egg is virtually identical to what you would imagine it would be: lots of guitars smothered with digital effects, unreasonably long songs influenced by Hendrix and Sabbath, and vocals that pierce through the thickest textures this album can provide. If you love acid, this album was made for you.

Brainstorm "Just High No Lows TRIPLE CD SET," Metal Blade

Power metal still exists? Bummer. Brainstorm triple CD set entitled Just High No Lows is a ridiculous malady of metal misfortune. Cheesy beyond belief, with endless harmonic solos over falsetto screams about fire and monsters. The world does not need more of this.

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

Art Sherrod Jr "Seasons," Pacific Coast Jazz/MVD/Big Daddy

Smooth jazz that could just as easily be played on an elevator as in a porno, Seasons holds everything that anyone would ever expect from a record of this variety. Tracks blend together, displaying musicianship and mood that are accounted for only in the realm of conservative jazz.

*******Shelton's Single of the Week: "SEEING STARS WITH PATTY GRIFFIN"**********

Norah Jones "The Fall," Blue Note/EMI

The Fall is by far the most inventive Norah Jones release to date. With a break from her traditional jazz-pop style, Jones has arranged an album reminiscent of pop-queen Kate Bush.

Obviously, the bar has been lowered significantly, but this still places her a good square mile above everyone else. Beautiful dreamy-pop with a sweet rambling flow throughout. This album will blow you away.

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

Craig Jackson "Damn The Roses," Shades of Green

Solemn and driving folk. Jackson writes some fantastic tunes that are soothing and beautiful. Not super original, but the man at least knows how to write good songs. Mostly slow, occasionally upbeat, Damn The Roses is great crutch for any heartbreak.

Ossie Davis "The Oratory of Frederick Douglass," Smithsonian Folkways

Fredrick Douglass is renouned as one of the most important African American scholars in history: abolitionist, feminist, and respected author. His writings are highly recommended to any enlightened mind.

For the illiterate type, this is the next best thing. Ossie Davis's voice is calming, while a little awkward, but none the less reads the articulate analysis of race and gender during the 19th century. But really, you should just read the book instead.

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

******Shelton's Single of the Week: "SONGS MY MOTHER TAUGHT ME"*************

Sarah Jarosz "Song Up In Her Head," Sugar Hill/Welk

Debut from Jarosz, Song Up In Her Head is more than a bluegrass album. Taking notes from both rock and pop, the record takes the aforementioned influences and enfuses them, primarily from the voices of slide guitars and banjos, to make an entirely new type of pop record. Great album for a rainy day.

Celtic Woman "Songs From The Heart," Manhattan/Decca

Irish ambient and soft-rock from an all female ensemble. Organized by David Downes (trust me, the irony of a man organizing a group called "Celtic Woman" is not lost on me), the artists produce music that is perhaps the easiest listening I have ever heard. I couldn't care less.

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

Cliff Eberhardt "500 Miles: The Blue Rock Session," Red House

Simple, straightforward, and powerful. This album is a breath of fresh air. Seriously. A wonderful warmth resonates from this record: not just good musicianship, but genuine emotions and songwriting that is a rarity these days. Barebones guitar and vocals, with the rare percussion line, makes this album a gem for those in the traditional folk mood.

Bomshel "Fight Like A Girl," Curb

Female pop-country with the general sensibilities of any good celebrity artist imaginable. Huge sounds, twang, and massive production, and a woman's touch, Fight Like a Girl is a solid record.

Nothing here screams originality, but they have their sound down to a T, and remains as inoffensive as country music can get.

Birdman "Pricele$$," Cash Money/Universal Motown

So this is the man responsible for Cash Money records. This man has almost single handedly ruined hip-hop. With tracks like "Been About Money," "Money To Blow," and "Money Machine," Pricele$$ is obviously an album based entirely around posing wealth and fame without any general substance to speak of.

Beats are what you would expect, vaguely gangster rap but closer to southern hip-hop, meaning another boring record.

"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.

The Whore Moans "Hello From The Radio Wasteland," Easystreet/Sonic Boom

Sassy garage rock from the Whore Moans. While the name justifies their current popularity, their music comes close to matching their edgy signifier.

A screamier Hives with distortion cranked up to 11, and a good amount of Pixies influence, Hello From The Radio Wasteland is as fantastic as contemporary rock and roll gets.

******Shelton's Single of the Week: "Why I'm Leaving"*************

Luther Dickinson & The Sons of Mudboy "Onward and Upward," Merless/Memphis International

Lead guitarist from the Black Crowes unleashed Onward and Upward, a fantastic blend of blues and folk that is absolutely perfect. And I don't use the term lightly.

Produced with the rawness that made blues as wonderful as it is, and with the wailing that gave the genre its name, Onward and Upward is my favorite Dickinson recording to date. Solid.

Them Crooked Vultures "Self-Titled," DGC/Interscope/Universal

So when I heard Dave Grohl had a new band, I was ecstatic: everything he's done has been spotless. Hell, even Probot was worth listening to once and twice. But then I heard it was Dave Grohl with John Paul Jones and a few other members of Queens of the Stones Age. All I can ask is: what the fuck?

While Led Zeppelin has never been my favorite, I respect them. But collaborations between these musicians are entirely beyond me. Bluesy classic rock sounding not completely-unlike Led Zeppelin, but with Homme's signature vocal style and Grohl...wait, why is Grohl playing the tamest drums I have ever heard? For this reason alone I am disappointed. This is not Nirvana, Foo Fighters, or Scream. I am certainly disappointed.

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

******Shelton's Single of the Week: "INVINCIBLE"*************


Artist: Slayer
Song: "Eyes Of The Insane"

A soldier's heart
Reflecting back at me
I keep seeing mutilated faces
Even in my dreams
Distorted images
Flashing rapidly
Psychotically abusing me
Devouring my brain
The eyes of the insane
On a demented campaign
Tortured spirits
Will not let me rest
These thoughts of mutilated faces
Completely posessed
Fragmented images
Flashing rapidly
Psychotically abusing me
Whirling through my head
Battle mortise
Overwhelming anxiety

Panic attacks
Death raising it's ugly face at me!
Got to make it stop
Can't take it any more
They're all dead
Keep haunting me
They just keep coming back for more!
The eyes of the insane
On a demented campaign
Panic attacks
Death raising it's ugly face at me!
Got to make it stop
Can't take it any more!
Death's face keeps haunting me
And just keeps coming back for more!

Got to make it stop
Can't take it any more!
Death's face keeps haunting me
And just keeps coming back for more!
A soldier
Of misfortune
I owe my pain and suffering
To this hell
These demons
Ripping through my soul
Evil's relentless hostility
Won't let me sleep
Battle mortise
Devastating insanity
Panic attacks
Death's rotting
He's coming for me!!