They say that the earliest scents you encounter in alifetime are the ones that stay with you the longest--aromas that burrowthemselves deep into the nooks and crannies of the brain, waiting to emergewith an unexpectedly powerful burst of recognition many years later. Yourgrandmother's cupboard? Vick's VapoRub?Calamine lotion? Take a whiff today andyou'll swear you were back indiapers!
Likewise, take a good long look at these, the mostcompelling of this week's new music-related releases. Study them. For, indeed,this is the first indication of the best 2009 will have to offer!
Who knows? By next December we may be clamoring for the goodold days of January!
Glasvegas: Glasvegas (Columbia) Usually when I compile a list ofthe week's 10 spotlight releases, the lead item is a no-brainer! This week,however, everything's so good I don't know whereto start! Why not begin with one of the latest UKbuzz bands, Glasgow'sGlasvegas? They've assembled a catchy, deliberately anthemic batch of songsfeaturing a prominent lead singer who is undoubtedly colorfully opinionated,and they like evoking that early '60s Wall Of Sound thing that Phil Spectorpopularized years ago! Good for them! Though their more recently recordedmegahit-to-be ""F*ck You It's Over" can't be had here, there are two songs unavailable on the UKpressing--including a cover of the Korgis' "Everybody's Got To LearnSometime," sure to strike a chord in America's brutish heartland! Perhapsthey'll be the next big thing!
BPA: I Think We're Gonna Need A Bigger Boat(Southern Fried) I would be remiss in not mentioning this new release--anexclusive via Amazon.com, mind you--by BPA, better known as the Brighton PortAuthority, or Fatboy Slim, or Norman Cook, or that guy from the Housemartins,or the guy who will soon take on one name too many and we'll start confusinghim with Norman Whitfield and that'll be it for his concert career!Joining the man here are several well-known guests including David Byrne, IggyPop, Dizzee Rascal, and Martha Wainwright, all of whom will undoubtedly bepleased to be featured on an album containing the timeless track "Should IStay Or Should I Blow." Apparently a good time was had by all! Specialbonus: The term "historic masterpiece" can be found in this album'sproduct description!
Erin McCarley: Love, Save The Empty (UniversalRepublic) A nice collection or material marks the debut of young Ms. McCarley,who has counted Texas, Nashville and even San Diego as home during her briefcareer. In today's world of getting a song in a TV show or movie soundtrackand establishing a long-term career for one's self, that may well be enough!She recently came up to our offices and sang for us and was quite good--thoughperhaps I volunteered too much when I mentioned she reminded me of the star of The Sarah Conner Chronicles. Heck, I'minto robots, isn't everybody?
Neil Sedaka: Waking Up Is Hard To Do (Razor &Tie) As a longtime fan of Mr. Sedaka I am more than thrilled to mention any newrelease by the man, but this is completely tops!The dude's made a kiddie album featuring redone versions of some of his biggesthits--if the title track doesn't make that clear, "Lunch Will Keep UsTogether" should! It is completely, in the parlance,"ear-delicious"! Even if today's younger parents don't remember theoriginal hits, Sedaka's new versions will do the trick regardless! Highlyrecommended!
Sesame Street: Elmo Loves You! [DVD] (Sesame Street) While we're at it, let's notforget this new DVD--which, aside from boasting the finest title of any new release of the millenium also featuresguest appearances by R.E.M., Trisha Yearwood and John Legend! Combine that withadditional appearances by Rosita and Grover and you've got the media event ofthe year! Can't you just picture Axl Rose and Kanye West--now fully beatenmen--shaking their fists at the sky in frustration?
The Gourds: Haymaker! (Yep Roc) Viewed by some ascontemporaries of the Smashing Pumpkins--admittedly, mostly farmers--the Texanrockers return with a powerful new album that in the very words of their labelhas them continuing their "round trip through the outer reaches of theroots music universe and back again"! In short, it's like they never left!With Haymaker!, the Gourdsdeliberately attempt to recapture the band's winning live sound and--accordingto bandmember Kevin "Shinyribs" Russel--the album "reallycaptures the intangible qualities of a Gourds gig in a way that we haven't beenable to achieve before"! Don't tell that to Lydia Jenkins, who once rushedout of a Gourds gig claiming she felt a sinking feeling in her stomach and apeculiar detachment from reality that showed no sign of abating for two days!But yeah, they're great!
Appetite For Self-Destruction: The Spectacular Crash Of The RecordIndustry In The Digital Age by Steve Knopper (Free Press) Always happy to showcase arelevant book now and then, and Knopper's account of how things seem, Idon't know, bad as heck latelycouldn't be more timely, experts agree! Industry folks probably know most ofthis stuff already, but for the great unwashed--you know, maybe the people whobought Knopper's earlier The CompleteIdiot's Guide To Starting A Band--this may be something of an eye-opener! Thosein the industry nervous about losing their jobs are advised to keep this offtheir desks at all times--especially when the boss walks by! No word on itsavailability as a PDF file!
Destroy DestroyDestroy: Battle Sluts (Metal Blade) Metal continues tobe a healthy genre, as this colorful Tennessee combo's new release clearly illustrates!Influences: "The early thrash/hair/glam metal bands of the '80s and '90sto the current sounds of Scandanavian melodic Death Metal and Viking Metalbands of today." Translation: Sort of like Colbie Caillat but louder! Asalways, I like to envision the band members seated on an airplane next to anelderly lady who asks the name of their band and album so she can pick one upfor the grandkids! Cool cover!
JohnPeel's Dandelion Records (DVD) (Ozit Records) For the esoteric among uscomes this fascinating six-hour longvisual documentary of the cultish record label co-founded by legendary BritishDJ John Peel and Clive Selwood in the early '70s. Featuring many of the artists that made the label endearingly quirky--including singersBridget St. John and the late, great Kevin Coyne (as well as his earlier bandSiren)--it's a welcome peek behind the scenes many should enjoy. Sound enticing?In the words of one reviewer: "Those with an aversion to rather old, hairymen might want to steer well clear of this DVD"! Cool!