Hey--did you notice when it happened?
Last Sunday--the 5th of July--the moment that music fans old and young have been discussing since the days of Elvis Presley's heyday finally came!
That's right! As if to finally shut up all those opinionated geezers whose theories about music have been making most of us ill for years, it happened!
At about 2 p.m. Pacific time--I live in Los Angeles, I should point out--music was...the best it ever was! And from that point forward, everything started going downhill!
As you may suspect, the actual slope of its decline may be the single biggest issue facing the music industry, but, like you, I find that kind of stuff boring!
For me, it happened when I was reaching for the new album by Billy Boy On Poison! I didn't actually get to hear it at that point, but the CD was on its way to my player, about to be inserted, literally filled with promise, and then--BING!--it happened!
And when I heard it? It was good, but not great!
Guess we'd better get used to that!
Miley Cyrus: Hannah Montana 3 (Walt Disney) Midway through "Ice Cream Freeze (Let's Chill)" it hit me: Miley Cyrus makes records! And her latest, a collection of all the hits from the third season of Hannah Montana, may be her best yet! It's got everything covered! "Don't Want To Be Torn" tells it like it is about a society that once prided itself on not bending, folding or mutilating its high-tech products until everything went digital; "Let's Do This" addresses California's single biggest issue--that of balancing the state budget; and "Every Part Of Me" is a strikingly mature protest ballad decrying the growing excesses of today's platic-surgery happy medical profession! Plus, she looks great as a blonde! "Miley" is a good name for a girl!
Maxwell: BLACKsummers'night (Columbia) I think when it comes to the long-awaited return of R&B sensation Maxwell--whose last album debuted at No. 1 way back in 2001--there are two very major points worthy of the bulk of the discussion! First--like, what the heck, did he cut his hair or something? Secondly--and perhaps even more disturbing--did he really mean to put that apostrophe after the "s" instead of before it in the album title? Once those questions are out of the way, we can also discuss the music: It was recorded live in the studio and it's as great as ever! He's better than most!
The Jayhawks: Music From The North Country: The Best Of The Jayhawks (American/Legacy) OK, right around now enough time has passed--there are new albums by Wilco and even Son Volt, and here comes this brand new collection of music by the Jayhawks! Two CD's and a DVD if you buy the deluxe edition! Loaded to the gills with A-sides, B-sides, rarities, and all you'd ever need to fulfill your own personal Jayhawkian needs! Sounds great, especially if you're not the sort of person to grit your teeth, look downward, and mumble All these No Depression bands have no actual need to exist in light of the Flying Burrito Brothers--why didn't they grow up listening to Can instead? It's a great package!
Son Volt: American Central Dust (Rounder) OK, right around now enough time has passed--there are new albums by Wilco and the Jayhawks, and here comes this brand new collection of music by Son Volt! It's all you'd ever need to fulfill your own personal Son Voltian needs! Sounds great, especially if you're not the sort of person to grit your teeth, look downward, and mumble All these No Depression bands have no actual need to exist in light of the Flying Burrito Brothers--why didn't they grow up listening to Can instead? I'm thinking it's a welcome return to form!
The Donnas: The Donnas Greatest Hits, Vol. 16 (Purple Feather) Like you and all your friends, I'm a longtime fan of the Donnas! Admittedly, like some rock chicks, they've been around the block a few times: This latest collection of hits, their 16th, lacks some of the better-known tracks that made their previous collections so stellar, but what the heck! Who needs "Hey Jude," "Ace Of Spades," "You Don't Bring Me Flowers" and "Imma Put It On Her" in light of all this new great stuff? Admittedly, though, there are some directional changes to be had here, some of them surprisingly negative: Both "I Don't Wanna Go To School" and "I Don't Wanna Break Your Head" could use a more positive spin, and "Take It Off" and "You Make Me Hot" recall some of Celine Dion's brighter moments! All things considered, though, these gals would've been soccer moms if rock 'n' roll didn't save their souls!
Big Pete Pearson: Finger In Your Eye (Southwest Musical Arts Foundation) As days wear on, each and every one of us gets more and more inundated with product--and it's only a select few that can stand out as offering that something special that makes us want to pick it up and give it a listen! In this case, if I can be candid, I find myself incredibly drawn toward an album cover that breaks all social standards by offering an actual finger in one's eye--how unpleasant!--as well as that remarkable red hat! I'm told that Mr. Pearson is regarded as Phoenix's king of the blues; perhaps that's why those who purchase this album through Amazon often purchase it with the Secret Diary Of A Call Girl Season 2 DVD! He's that good!
Billy Boy On Poison: Drama Junkie Queen (Ironworks Music) Recalling the best of Billy Idol, Poison, Dramarama, the Cowboy Junkies and Queen, the previous phrase is the means by which we can hereby announce the debut album by L.A.'s own Billy Boy On Poison--a rockin', glam-inspired crew sure to garner the attention of youngish female teens drawn toward the sort who have the words of Allen Ginsburg tatooed on their left arm! Heck, aren't we all? They're actually kind of interesting, very young, and poised to become something worthwhile--given enough time and the discipline to stay away from the alluring lifestyle that being a San Fernando Valley 7/11 clerk can offer! "Angry Young Man," "Drive Me Insane," and "You're Too High" tell it like it is in no uncertain terms!
The Rural Alberta Advantage: Hometowns (Saddle Creek) An excellent Canadian band--hey, why wouldn't they be?--the Rural Alberta Advantage feature Paul Banwatt, Amy Cole, and Nils Edenloff, and are clearly doing their homeland of Alberta proud! That's in Canada! Substantial songs, mature songwriting, a nice buzz about their live set--they've nearly got it all! Hopefully no one will look at their new album cover and compare it to the Boomtown Rats' A Tonic For The Troops! I know I didn't!
UuVvWwZ: UuVvWwZ (Saddle Creek) I decided this band was great a few minutes into this album's opening track, "Berry Can"--perhaps because like their young female singer, I too "like the blackberries/because they cannot entangle me"! Often compared to Deerhoof, or other bands favoring catchy syncopated riffs topped by some nutty chick singing on top of it all, the quartet is apparently from Lincoln, Nebraska and boast on their Myspace page "Now with almost twice as many syllables as letters." Those seeking to purchase the album but reluctant to pronounce the band's name? It's "ka-nish"!
Kiss Kiss: The Meek Shall Inherit What's Left (Eyeball) Astoundingly, this is the one instance Gene Simmons won't like seeing his name in the press! Cool!