Times are tough all over! And sometimes when we here at Yahoo! Music want to get behind artists--let all the fans out there know they have new albums out--we only have a limited means of exposure!
So to commemorate the release of two new albums--one of which is seeing release this week--we now present a potential "lifestyle piece" summary featuring those artists that could easily be filmed and shown on video worldwide!
The scene: A suburban Baskin-Robbins ice cream parlor, into which enter two separate groups of young men who look like rock stars!
The first group orders chocolate sundaes and quietly marches them over to a nearby table! Then the second group orders strawberry milkshakes and takes them to a table elsewhere!
Suddenly the first group marches back to the counter, dishes in hand! In unison, they plop them down on the counter and demand a refund!
"But wait," says the puzzled teen behind the cash register. "What was wrong with them? Why would you do that?"
Grim-faced, they stare her directly in the eye and reply, "Because we're Taking Back Sunday!"
Overhearing the encounter at the cash register, the second group howls with laughter and accidentally knocks the table over, unfinished milkshakes making a sticky mess on the floor! Mortified, they leap up and quickly exit the store!
"Hey," asks the girl behind the counter. "Wasn't that Built To Spill?"
Later, she gets fired.
Michael Bublé : Crazy Love (143/Reprise) It's hard not to admire Michael Bublé, not least because his name can either be mispronounced as "bubble" or sound like it's got the word "boob" in it--the guy's got guts!--but also because he's quite a good singer! Terming this new album "the ultimate record about the inevitable roller coaster ride of relationships," the Canadian-born crooner has fashioned a disc filled with timeless standards, two originals, and a title track by Van Morrison! With hipster guests like Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, smooth, slick and steamy production by David Foster, Bob Rock and Humberto Gatica, Crazy Love will doubtlessly thrill a worldwide audience that has purchased 20 million of his albums and their respective mothers! Plus, if the album cover is any indication, the guy's into martial arts!
Backstreet Boys: This Is Us (Jive) In some ways the best band that ever existed--admittedly, not all ways being normal--the Backstreet Boys have returned with their seventh studio album, and it's a complete gas! With a handy-dandy super-crew of producers and behind-the-scenes types like T-Pain, Max Martin and RedOne on board, Backstreet tells it like it on super tracks like "Bye Bye Love," "Shattered" and "Undone"--all of which may sound like depressing titles signifying the irony of a once massive former boy band now aged and grimly positioned in front of a cheesy marquee that essentially says all there is to say as far as most people are concerned, but it's not like that at all! They're pretty good singers!
Toby Keith: American Ride (Show Dog Nashville) A new album by one of country music's biggest stars is always a joyous occasion, and so's American Ride! Featuring 12 new tracks sure to set the toe tapping, the wry wit on display here via song titles such as "Every Dog Has Its Day" and "If You're Tryin' You Ain't" is only the tip of the Keithian iceberg! Though some have suggested "You Can't Read My Mind" is a subtle dig at those who have likened Keith to "an angry Gordon Lightfoot," and still others wheel out facts and figures indicating that in late 2009, most "American rides" are manufactured by Toyota, Nissan and Honda, the party's on, as always, and Toby's hosting! I like what I hear!
The Clientele: Bonfires On The Heath (Merge) For kicks, let's discuss an actual good band! One of England's best groups, the Clientele started out in the '90s playing lo-fi, heavily reverbed, guitar-driven tracks over which words like "autumn," "rain" and "night" were uttered repeatedly! Brilliant, moody stuff, the band's material got less and less abstract, a tad more commercial, and--with an appearance in the 2006 film The Lake House--potentially hitbound! It could happen! This new album might help things along, as the production is cleaner than ever, the songs more polished, and the lyrics as quaint as ever: "Kids all jump in bonfires on the heath/ Kids all jump in bonfires on the heath/ How'm I gonna get myself to sleep?" If you've ever asked yourself that, you'll love the Clientele! Buy this today!
Air: Love 2 (Astralwerks) The latest release by the lovable French duo Air--Jean-Benoît Dunckel and Nicolas Godin to those who know them--is not quite the sensual drone its predecessors were, but as their fifth studio album, and with guests like drummer Joey Waronker on board, it can sound any way it wants! Taking the "Iron Butterfly Theme" to its logical conclusion with opening track "Do The Joy"--those wacky Frenchies and their grasp of English!--Air, now hotter than ever, continues to expand!
Vedera: Stages (Epic) From Kansas City, this quartet plays highly commercial rock 'n' roll, is produced by the guy behind the Fray and Augustana, and features a photogenic female vocalist named Kristen May! New rules recently imposed by the record industry following the success of Paramore now maintain that this is the new formula for success--and it's about time!--so this is going to be great! I wish them nothing but the best, suspect they may even be better than Sue Saad & the Next, and can't wait for MTV to be invented!
Lights: The Listening (Sire) A highly listenable pop album by a smart, young, attractive Canadian woman? You bet! Highlighted in the past as the dream gal of all comic reading, videogame playing, male science fiction fans of all ages, young Lights--some call her Valerie Poxleitner, but that's got to be fake!--is a Juno Award-winning talent you've just got to catch when you have the opportunity! And imagine how great she'll sound when she gets a mouth!
Travelin' Man: On the Road and Behind the Scenes With Bob Seger by Tom Weschler & Gary Graff (Painted Turtle) One of the very best rock 'n' roll books I've encountered in a long time, Travelin' Man is a warm-hearted and revealing look at the career of Detroit hometown hero Bob Seger--documented by a talented photographer who's been with him from the beginning and a respected Detroit writer who knows every bit of the local story. Those who know Seger only from mid-'70s Live Bullet days onward may be surprised by his colorful prior history; those few familiar with "East Side Story"--the 1966 Detroit hit by Bob Seger and the Last Heard--will be overjoyed to find those early days so wonderfully documented. As someone who spent 15 years living in Michigan, I'm fascinated by every page here. Terrific stuff!
Mission Of Burma: The Sound, The Speed, The Light (Matador) Speaking of artists with a distinguished history, Mission Of Burma--whose live show I witnessed once in Boston in 1980 and am awfully glad I did--disbanded in 1983 and reunited almost 20 years later. They remain an incredible batch of musicians, and this new album, their third since 2002, is a joyous noisefest you'll want to hear played very loudly! Then--while we're predicting behavior--you'll want to get something to eat, maybe have a few drinks, and eventually go off to bed!