Apologies if this week's post seems a bit rushed; just spent half a day on the phone and sending threatening emails--and boy, am I irked!
Apparently the website I set up just in time for the Grammy Awards had a serious technical malfunction, and now I lose big time!
It was simple: Just set up a voting gallery where users had not three but four choices about last night's Bon Jovi performance! What could be simpler?
Vote for A and they'd play "Always"! Vote for B and they'd play "It's My Life"! Vote for C and they'd play "Livin' On A Prayer"! And--here's where it gets good--Vote for D, and instead of actually playing, they'd leave and get ice cream!
The problem? Apparently one of the four servers broke down--something about an overload--and all my data was worthless!
Lil Wayne: Rebirth (Ca$h Money/Universal) Like many, I picked up this great album when it leaked in 2003! Must admit I'm pretty inspired after seeing the man and three of his friends performing at the Grammy Awards last night; as I was actually at the venue, all of the so-called "sound outages" weren't an issue and we could hear every word! And what words! "I'm thinking that rap might not be for me," Wayne suddenly confided, his voice taking on a strange British accent, "and the absence of a polka category this year does sound pretty intriguing!" "Yo!" Eminem retorted, "I'm thinking a Norteño album may be in my future!" Later, with the broadcast's audio restored, the quartet looked at each other, played dumb, and mumbled lyrics that, while not inaudible, were completely indecipherable! It was great! In short: His best rock album yet! Nick Jonas & The Administration: Who I Am (Hollywood) Regarded by many as the youngest member of the Jonas Brothers, young Nick has had his heart set on an "outside" career for some time now; that he started discussions with members of the White House staff two years ago thus explains why his new band includes performances by Dick Cheney, John Ashcroft, Condoleezza Rice and the surprisingly charismatic Karl Rove! But believe me, it's not all politics here: "Olive & An Arrow" in many ways recalls Gary Coleman's classic '80s hit "The Outlaw And The Indian," and the rest of the songs--all written or co-written by Nick--are equally as great! I'm glad he turned down that stint in the Cold War Kids! Rob Zombie: Hellbilly Deluxe 2 (Roadrunner) Always a visionary, hard-rockin' Rob Zombie returns with a sequel to his multiplatinum debut Hellbilly Deluxe and again proves he's never been in it for the money! By using the word "deluxe" twice now, he won't allow those nasty corporate labels to take his music, slap a few crummy rejected tracks onto another disc and repackage it as a "deluxe" edition! That would be redundant! Still, with potential radio hits like "Jesus Frankenstein" and "Werewolf Women Of The SS," something tells me Hellbilly Deluxe 2 will be raking in the big bucks even without a deluxe edition! BT: These Hopeful Machines (Nettwerk) Referred to by some as a "visionary producer, film composer and technologist," and by others who know him on a first name basis as "B," BT is pretty interesting and here's his new album! A two-disc set, These Hopeful Machines seems largely focused on the so-called "Magic 8 Ball" phenomenon; word is the musician bought many crates on a whim some years ago! Though the album's 12 tracks bear innocuous titles such as "Suddenly," "Every Other Way," and "Always," when played loudly, clearly audible are such lyrics as "It is decidedly so," "As I see it, yes," "Outlook good," "Most likely, " and the life-affirming "You may rely on it"! Even more intriguingly, in at least three instances you can hear a voice--presumably BT's--asking, "Should I add an 'L' to my name?" So should you buy this? Concentrate and ask again! Midlake: The Courage Of Others (Bella Union) Disturbingly listenable, the latest album by Denton, Texas's Midlake indeed deserves all the plaudits it's getting internationally! It's quite good! Still, I'm mildly troubled by the far-fetched claims in the product description here--which contend that Midlake are now "Existing outside the plane of trends and even time," which I really don't think can be the case! They have to exist within our current time frame, don't they? Substance, melody, intricate emotionalism--they're all expressions writers can use! Nneka: Concrete Jungle (Epic) A fascinating singer/rapper of Nigerian/German heritage, Nneka Egbuna has released records overseas but makes her US debut here--and it's a fairly interesting blend of influences somewhere between Bob Marley and the Fugees. As always, it's very appealing when sophisticated rhythms are overlaid by similarly sophisticated lyrics of international origin. Unfortunately, whoever painted her face on the album cover needs a geography lesson! Mighty Baby: Tasting The Lie: Live 1971 (Sunbeam) It's very likely you've never heard of this fab British band of the early '70s, who emerged from the ashes of yet another fab earlier band, the Action--but know that they were very good and that as studio sidemen they also played on some of the very best records of the late '60s and early '70s! They released two fine albums, the first of which is better, then got religious and changed their name to the Habibiyya and then zzzzzzzzzz...Still, an unexpected live performance by these dudes in their prime--topped with bonus tracks including their performance on the long gone Glastonbury Fayre compilation album--is a zillion times better than watching Green Day onstage doing their Broadway thing! Buy this to punish them! John Adams and Ingram Marshall with Johnny Ray, Brian Eno, Lonnie Johnson and Dinah Washington and assumes its audience may have actual taste! Hah! Movie looks cool too, though naming it Attack Of The Giant Head might've been a smarter move! The Album Leaf: A Chorus Of Storytellers (Sub Pop) Nice return here from Jimmy LaValle, who with this album actually plays with his band and had the whole shebang mixed in Iceland by some dude from Sigur Ros! Dreamy, melodic, subtle stuff, topped by an album cover that features the main guy in the front, the rest of the band in the back! Is it because he needs to take a bath? You can't tell! This album is completely enjoyable! Malakai: Ugly Side Of Love (Domino) You should know that the duo comprising Malakai were discovered by Portishead's Geoff Barrow, are from Bristol, England and pretty abrasive, and are purely worth spotlighting because of their delightful album cover! So should I!