It's a rock 'n' roll showdown beyond belief!
In this corner we've got the brand new album by Daughtry, the shaven-headed rocker launched by American Idol whose previous album was a massive commercial smash!
And in the other? None other than the Dead Weather, the new band featuring Jack White of the White Stripes--a band whose very existence seems the antithesis of the formulated pap regularly popularized by the monstrous American Idol machine!
Who rocks the best? Who rocks the hardest? Whose free-spirited grasp of all that rock 'n' roll entails will resonate the most with the American Heartland?
I mean, like, aside from Gene Simmons?
The Dead Weather: Horehound (Third Man) Considering the players involved--Jack White of the White Stripes, Alison Mosshart of the Kills, Dean Fertita of Queens Of The Stoneage, and Jack Lawrence of the Raconteurs--it's no wonder some people are calling the Dead Weather a great new supergroup! But two questions remain! First, what the heck is a "horehound"? Thanks to a well known internet encyclopedia, I can tell you it's a common name applied to two flowering plants in the family Lamiaceae! Black Horehound and White Horehound! And there's also a carbonated soft drink called Horehound beer! Wow! And finally, it's the name of the new album by the Dead Weather! Timely! But wait! What about the second question? Oh yeah! Is this album any good? Sure, thanks for asking!
Daughtry: Leave This Town (19 Recordings/RCA) As the follow-up to a quadruple-platinum debut, this album will ultimately tell the tale! Is Daughtry the greatest hard-rockin' thing since sliced bread or merely the latest in a long line of freshly-shaven flashes in the pan? Well, let's look at it objectively! By calling his album Leave This Town, he's implying that he's a rebel, an outsider, unwanted by the mass public because of the dangerous example he sets for a younger, more impressionable generation! Bolstering that claim is opening track "You Don't Belong" and its self-actualized follow-up "No Surprise." Man, he knows he's trouble! Additionally, his band logo has three curlicues in it! Yikes! As long as he doesn't do anything stupid like cover Lady Gaga or something, this dude is set for life!
Joe: Signature (Kedar Entertainment) He's one of the best R&B singers in the business, he's well loved and respected, and yet...and yet...he didn't learn his lesson! His last great album, Joe Thomas, New Man, boldly added a last name to his great stage name, but he forgot it this time! As a result, everyday affairs most of us spend little time thinking about--like going to a clothing store and buying a suit with a credit card--are a considerable source of anguish for the man! Imagine how many times he must sign the credit slip and get questions about his signature! "Excuse me sir, but you forgot to sign your last name!" "Pardon me sir, but there's been a question about your signature!" Oh well! Maybe this new album will be a massive worldwide smash and they'll soon be asking, "Hey, aren't you the guy who recorded `Sex Girl'?"
Adelitas Way: Adelitas Way (Virgin) Boy did I get fooled! I get so many albums I just don't know what to listen to, but when I saw this album cover I said, "Wow! I've got to hear this babe sing!" Admittedly my lowbrow reaction was further provoked by a picture inside the CD booklet featuring the same woman standing out in the street in her underwear holding up a sign with her phone number on it! You never see that! So I called up the phone number and it was a trick! And she's not even on the album, it's five hard-rockin' Las Vegas dudes not nearly as photogenic! More proof that what happens in Vegas should stay in Vegas!
David Bowie: VH1 Storytellers (CD/DVD) (Virgin) Anyone who's forgotten the impact David Bowie has had in rock 'n' roll for the last few decades should greatly enjoy this packages, which in CD and DVD format presents the British singer's 1999 appearance on VH1's Storyteller series! With performances drawn from as far back as his '60s attempted hit "Can't Help Thinking About Me," the charismatic dude runs through "Life On Mars?," "Rebel Rebel," and even the sole great Tin Machine track, "I Can't Read"--exuding a warmth and dignity befitting a man now known as the single greatest artistic inspiration behind Lady Gaga! Yep, he was that good!
Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros: Up From Below (Vagrant) Featuring Alex Ebert, former singer with LA's Ima Robot--now there was a name!--these fabulous dudes have been described as a 21st century jug band crossed with the Polyphonic Spree and "this new band that everybody likes that I personally find boring"! Yep, nobody agrees! I actually think they're very good--I like their songs--and confess to never having seen them perform live, which has been described by others as "something special"! Quoting people is easier than actually writing! Buy this!
(500) Days Of Summer--Music From the Motion Picture (Sire) Some say this is a groovy movie, and this may be arguable, but few can contend that this collection of tunes from the likes of the Smiths, Feist, Carla Bruni and Hall & Oates is anything less than near-perfect! Featuring two Smiths tracks--"There Is A Light That Never Goes Out" and "Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want," the latter also covered by star Zooey Deschanel's She & Him combo--this looks likely to be a 21st Century version of the ultimate John Hughes "date movie" soundtrack! Buy it, listen to it, go back and time and choose the "other road," return here much wealthier, then tell us what you learned!
Discovery: LP (Beggars/XL) Hipsters of the world--I met them both last week on Ventura Boulevard--have been clamoring for this, the collaboration between Ra Ra Riot's Wes Miles and Vampire Weekend's Rostam Batmanglij, and rightly so: It's good! I like it better than their other bands! Filled with synth beats, catchy songs with hooks, and a well designed album cover--you know that matters--LP is available on CD, as a digital download, and on vinyl! Its clever name guarantees an exaggerated sales figure by those dopey Soundscan computers, too! College was great!
Crosby Loggins: Time To Move (Jive) Apparently the winner of MTV reality series Rock The Cradle--I don't know for certain, as I was doing charitable work at the time instead of selfishly staying at home and watching TV!--this dude is the son of singing star Kenny Loggins and similarly talented! As always, very happy to see a younger musician focus on the act of writing, playing and singing music rather than getting caught up in the ephemeral world of insta-pop stardom! Curiously, just as fellow reality TV star Daughtry was asked to "leave this town," Loggins has been told that it's "time to move"! Why can't everybody just leave these guys alone?
Celtic Thunder: Take Me Home (Celtic Thunder) It's admittedly a new look for Zurich, Switzerland's Celtic Thunder, who first came into prominence via their 1984 album Morbid Thunder! Though little here can match the best tracks on 1992 compilation Parched With Thirst Am I And Dying, the band seems well-preserved and literally sears through "Because We Believe"! Look out, Venom!