In case anyone is wondering why this blog appears live on the Y! Music pages a day later than usual today--and, in fact, a day later than usual every week no one has to work on a Monday--it's because, er, I didn't have to work on Monday!
And while admittedly I could spend the final night of an extended vacation sitting in front of a computer and writing a blog about the week's new album releases, I could also sit on my couch, sip a drink, think about all the humorous things I might mention if I can still remember them, and fall asleep while Chuck plays on my TV and my cat continues her mad quest to lick my forehead for God knows what reason!
Or I could trip and fall while bending over to insert the DVD from the Used's marvelous 2007's Berth package into my Playstation 3 and simply glare at the ceiling in resentment for hours on end!
Or, perhaps most realistically, I could get up off the couch, be momentarily puzzled because I know I'm supposed to do something and I don't know what, and then wander off into my garage and listen to this week's exciting new releases--all of which, as always, make this the best week ever in the history of this week's new record releases!
Which doesn't leave me much time to write!
Adele: 21 (XL/Columbia) One of this week's biggest surprises is the strong return by Grammy-winning UK singer Adele, whose sophomore effort is a massive sales success in her homeland and looks likely to repeat the trick here in our wonderful country! Quirkily named for the number of times the singer needs to scratch her head before allowing herself to be photographed, the album is a showcase of warm, earthy tones, well-written songs, and that sort of deep-rooted artistic inspiration one might attain after spending years in an educational system in which one's peers chant "The Farmer In Adele" unmercifully! In all, a winner!
Jeff Beck: Rock 'N' Roll Party: Honoring Les Paul (Atco/Rhino) Speaking of the Grammys, let's not forget this year's triumph--the latest of many, it must be said--by sensational Brit guitarist Jeff Beck, who unlike many of his peers, continues to garner acclaim after nearly 50 years in the business! This effort--which can also be had in visual form on a superb DVD also just released--showcases Beck and a talented crew saluting musical legend Les Paul in a joyous, celebratory manner certain to please all but life's harshest critics and then some!
G. Love: Fixin' To Die (Brushfire) There is a part of me that wonders how the college-rock of G. Love ever really clicked with the masses--which is likely the same part that hears an educated young white man emulating the vocal affectations of a 60-year-old blues singer born in the early 1900's, apparently with a straight face--and quickly reaches for the eject button of my CD player! This new album, which features covers of tunes by legendary blues stars Bukka White, Paul Simon and the Velvet Underground, is as convincing and earthy an effort as you'd expect from any Philadelphian who would deliberately reject his rightful rocking roots of Frankie Avalon, Bobby Rydell, the Rocky soundtrack and a piping hot cheesesteak sandwich!
Toro Y Moi: Underneath The Pine (Carpark) In an absurd twist, an actual really good record by a young, up-and-coming artist with a great sense of melody, dynamics, musical history and cutting-edge technology--and one a bit more poppy than fans of his previous album might expect! But then what else could we expect from someone who--tragically, some contend--was named after a lawn mower?
Gil Scott-Heron & Jamie xx: We're New Here (XL) Fans of the legendary Gil Scott-Heron who were overjoyed by his recent "comeback" I'm New Here may be similarly overjoyed by this reworking of the same album by producer Jamie xx, of much-acclaimed band the xx, who basically mucks around with the original recording and makes something entirely new in the process! Word has it that intended follow-up Ereh Wen Er'ew may be even more of a creative stunner!
Flying Burrito Brothers: Authorized Bootleg: Fillmore East, New York, N.Y. - LateShow, November 7, 1970 (Hip-O Select) Now that most record labels have simply thrown their hands up in the air and wisely realized that today's biggest artists have a shelf-life of three years at best, they've gone bonkers and started reissuing music made over 40 years ago simply because they can! Luckily,we win! Fans of the band may already have this material in bootleg form, but for those who don't--it's great stuff, post-Parsons but historically relevant, entirely enjoyable, well-played, heartfelt, and sonically similar to Ryan Adams' 46th or 51st album! I forget which, but so does he!
The Ronettes: Be My Baby: The Very Best Of The Ronettes (Sony Legacy) One of four new reissues of classic material from the production archives of Phil Spector, this welcome release features two of the finest tracks in rock 'n' roll history--"Be My Baby" and "Baby, I Love You"--as well as 16 other similarly fabulous works, and altogether represents all that is timeless about popular music! That said, it's worth pointing out than any consumer educated in a Catholic school system who stares at this album cover too long is going to hell, mister!
Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion: Bright Examples (Rocket Science) Speaking of '60s icons, Sarah Lee Guthrie is not only the daughter of Arlo Guthrie, but clearly named in honor of that delightful brand of snackin' cake that once overtook the nation! Heard here with her husband Johnny Irion, the duo are a fine, creative pair who are quite good, worthy of your attention, and like, say, Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake, are female and male respectively! Ironically, back in the '60s, writers used to write about music! Hah!
Tahiti 80: The Past, The Present & The Possible (Human Sounds) A welcome new release by a French band of some repute, who back in the day when Eric Matthews, Cardinal, and a whole bunch of muso-types were putting together something critics temporarily dubbed "orchestral pop" garnered attention simply because it seemed appropriate! It's good stuff! That said, how come when I just stuck an Echo & The Bunnymen CD in my computer, iTunes called it "indie rock"? And why are all my blues CDs called "religious"? Stupid computers!
The Low Anthem: Smart Flesh (Nonesuch) When it comes to Rhode Island-based trios that have now expanded to a quartet and toured with the Avett Brothers--who, oh yeah, produced that new G. Love Album--and have potentially named themselves in tribute to both minimalist rockers Low as well as distinguished UK rocker Nick Lowe, it really comes! Any minute now!