Apologies for missing last week's New This Week post!
I'm not one for offering excuses, but in this instance one of the following three will do:
1) Incredibly, I slept through the entire week!
2) I wrote a fine blog, but my dog ate it!
3) In a stunning show of empathy by the entire record industry--which collectively realizes what a strain it is for any writer to document an entire year's worth of new album releases--they jointly opted not to release anything at all so that we could all get together in Point Pleasant, New Jersey, and watch salt water taffy being made on the boardwalk!
Plus, getting locked out of my own house was a major bummer!
Big Boi: Sir Luscious Left Foot...Son Of Chico Dusty (Def Jam) With an album title just daring to be pronounced--in the tradition of Stevie Wonder's Fulfillingness' First Finale--comes this ripe entry from OutKast's Big Boi, a winner any way you look at it! Featuring guest stars like Janelle Monae, Jamie Foxx and George Clinton, and a song that is apparently sexist as all get out if you know anything about magicians, Sir Luscious is bold, brazen, ambitious, and absolutely destined to be discussed in bars in the far future--when an old drunk guy walks in, swears he was once known as "Big Boi" and recorded an album called Sir Luscious Left Foot, but has a driver's license that indicates nothing of the sort! Free drinks for all after he leaves! You realize what a hard time that guy "E" must be having around now?
Kylie Minogue: Aphrodite (Astralwerks) It's hard to argue with a world class superstar who's sold over 60 millions worldwide--especially when she's throwing dishes at you for making fun of her height! Unlike Kylie Schwarzbaum of Tamarac, Florida--the other Kylie--this pretty and petite singer can apparently do no wrong when it comes to making bouncy and appealing dance-pop! Stretching out artistically here and devoting an entire album to a brief sub-plot contained in Cream's classic "Tales Of Brave Ulysses," Minogue takes no prisoners, looks fetching as heck, and if the cover is any indication, can now summon the actual gods when she wants you--not just you, me too--to buy her new album! Why take a chance and risk being turned into a pig or something?
Bret Michaels: Custom Built (Poor Boy) The last thing in the world I'd want to do to this poor guy--who's had enough well-documented medical problems this year to last him a lifetime--is make some sick joke about how his new album's title is a sly nod to the doctors who removed a significant number of his innards, replaced them with fully functioning synthetic new parts, captivating new baby blue eyes, and, charitably, a brand new larynx! That would be tasteless! Instead, I'll just mention that this great new disc features Miley Cyrus singing on "Nothing To Lose" and that's, like, kind of ironic, isn't it? Heck yeah! And that "country version" of "Every Rose"? It's not only here, it's audible!
Kelis: Flesh Tone (will.i.am. Music Group/Interscope) A strong return to form for Kelis--who like many of her contemporaries now realizes that dressing up like an Egyptian goddess on your new album cover will intimidate the superstitious among us and likely boost weekly sales figures anywhere between 7-15K! Hey, it worked for Eminem! Available both in regular and 3D format, Flesh Tone boasts fab producers like David Guetta and DJ Ammo and a product description that actually notes her single "Bossy" sold a million ringtones--boy, that'll slay 'em in 20 years or so!--and excerpts an astute review from perezhilton.com that I'll now quote: "There are soooooo many good songs on Kelis album! Actually, they are ALL good!" Where the heck is that apostrophe, dudes? A masterpiece? Could be!
Enrique Iglesias: Euphoria (Universal) There's a buzz out there for this latest effort by Latin dreamboat Enrique Iglesias--not least because several of his hardcore fans in Latin America have released swarms of bothersome bees in celebration! What a culture! A highly listenable set that, in a first for the singer, showcases songs both in Spanish and English, Euphoria features production by Red One, Mark Taylor and Iglesias buddy Carlos Paucar and is about as commercial as these things come! Highlights? Undoubtedly "No Me Digas Que No"--in English, "Frankly, if you were really after a bilingual album by me, you could have cherry-picked from my back catalog on iTunes"--and "I Like It"--in Spanish, "Me Gusta," sort of! Music can be educational, you guys!
Rush: Beyond The Lighted Stage DVD (Zoe) Sorry I'm a little late on this, but I only just received a copy and what can I say--two entire DVDs devoted to Rush?--I too quiver with excitement! Featuring humans such as Sebastian Bach, Billy Corgan, Gene Simmons and Jack Black as well as Canada's finest, the Rush boys, this set is actually something of an eye-opener for those who've chosen to ignore this long-lived band's power, glory, and Canadianism! According to the accompanying bio--and bios never lie!--the Rushters are "ranked third in consecutive gold or platinum albums after The Beatles and The Rolling Stones," which clearly must be significant on some level or another! Maybe alphabetical! With the band's unassailable technical prowess, an historic cover photo that depicts the trio having a good time, and over 3 hours of video, this is precisely the DVD to play for your nerd buddies with hot girlfriends! Oh wait, did I just say that?
Ed Kowalczyk: Alive (Soul Whisper/Megaforce) Who would have suspected 20 years ago or so that we'd be discussing rock 'n' roll bands not in terms of their playing ability, their goodness or badness, or their onstage charisma--but instead, the functionality of their band name in a search engine? Kowalczyk is, for those who don't know, lead vocalist with the band Live--not to be confused with The The, Girls, Earth, Can, Beirut, Kansas, Love and X! You can usually get around all that by also searching for a band member's name but, um, you want to try spelling "Kowalczyk" by memory? If only there was an app for that!
Walter Trout: Common Ground (Provogue) It's reassuring that some musicians can be out there earning a respectable living purely on the basis of their music skills, and blues guitarist Walter Trout--who played a role in the later days of Canned Heat and John Mayall's Bluesbreakers--continues to do just that. Now 59 and more technically adept that ever, Trout continues to make excellent if never truly exceptional albums and is probably best enjoyed in the live context! Ideally pan-buttered and fried!
The Rescues: Let Loose the Horses (Universal Republic) Los Angeles is a funny place: A quartet like this--two guys, two girls--can be out here individually slogging through the local singer/songwriter scene, join up for a few collaborations, get a batch of songs on shows like Grey's Anatomy, and bingo--it's a brand new band! But you'll probably like this if you hear it; the group played a brief acoustic set here at Y! Music headquarters recently and we were all deeply impressed! Honest! Not least because they had to sing over a bunch of construction workers' jackhammers! Heck, we have to write over that, dudes, so get with the program!
The Cat Empire: Cinema (Velour) An excellent band from Australia, these guys have a great name if you're into anagrams! Imprecate, Cremate Pi, Peace Trim, Create Imp--it just goes on and on! I bet this album's great!