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New This Week

Timing being what it's been for the past few weeks, I never got the chance to proudly list my picks for the 10 best albums released in 2009!

But don't worry! I'm not going to do it here, either!

If you really care, you can check out this page for the full details--but as for me, it's 2010 and I want to move on!

And what better way to do that then by providing you a guide to all that is worthy this week?

Sadly, however, I lost that link!

 

Spoon: Transference (Merge)  I think most chart watchers will be surprised by the success of this week's new release by Spoon! The seventh album from these Austin-based indie-rock heroes, Transference not only rocks but provides a thematic lesson well worthy of bringing to the public's attention! Through the course of some of this album's best tracks--most notably "I Saw The Light," "The Mystery Zone" and Pat Travers shout-out "Out Go The Lights"--the guys subtly lay out some elementary physics many of us may have forgotten: If you leave your spoon in a hot cup of coffee, eventually heat transference will make the spoon hot, too! Unless the spoon is actually bigger than the cup of coffee, in which case the opposite might take place! You bet this rocks!

I Saw The Light - Spoon 

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Gretchen Wilson: Greatest Hits (Columbia Nashville)  It's often said that when a singer releases a greatest hits album, it's a sure sign his career is about to start winding down! But Gretchen Wilson is a girl, so that can't be true here! This collection by the feisty Country babe who broke all the rules and scored in a major way with her "Redneck Woman" hit of 2004 is everything you'd expect: feisty, countryish, babeish, and filled with such great tracks as "Here For The Party," "Homewrecker," and "When I Think About Cheatin'," her unnerving ode to America's income tax! As an extra bonus, we're supplied with a live cover of Gretchen performing Heart's "Barracuda"--a track some might associate with a former Republican Vice Presidential candidate, but in this case is likely an ode to the famous toothy fish, which some contend is edible but all agree smells odd after its removal from water! Check it out!

Here For The Party - Gretchen Wilson

Various Artists: 2010 Grammy Nominees (Capitol)  Speaking purely as a music critic, one of the biggest bummers about record reviewing is that it's getting increasingly difficult to get advance copies of albums--a process which allows the most conscientious reviewers the opportunity to live with the album for a while, to get to know the songs, and, finally, to render a qualified judgment about its worth! But since I just got a copy of it this morning, I barely have an opinion about these tracks! Lady Gaga's "Poker Face" sounds pretty good, but I'm going to have to listen to the stuff from the Black Eyed Peas, Kelly Clarkson and Beyoncé for a while before I can offer up an authoritative opinion! One thing I do know: Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood's "Can't Find My Way Home" is a total Blind Faith rip!

Can't Find My Way Home - Eric Clapton

Original Soundtrack: Crazy Heart (New West)  The success of the Crazy Heart movie has unexpectedly resulted in one of the year's best albums: Scattered around several  entirely serviceable tracks sung by film leads Jeff Bridges, Colin Farrell and, er, Robert Duvall, are a few classics by Townes Van Zandt, the Louvin Brothers, Buck Owens, and Golden Globe winner Ryan Bingham. The song sequencing is superb--this feels like an album, not a compilation--and as a result, word-of-mouth and ensuing sales should be surprisingly strong! Additionally, poverty and world hunger should end!

The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart) - Ryan Bingham 

The Editors: In This Light And On This Evening (Fader)  Like most of us, I find the Editors immediately appealing purely on the basis of their sexy name--I don't know, there's just something about today's dashing world of journalism, particularly in the music area--but that said, if they didn't show up with the goods, I'd be disappointed! No worries! Their latest album, their third, is indeed superb--a big step up, sort of an electrified version of their earlier work, with big, booming John Cale-ish vocals and tracks dripping with commerciality such as "Eat Raw Meat = Blood Drool," a surefire radio hit! At this rate, these lovable Brits may soon be changing their names to the Editors-In-Chief!

Allan Holdsworth, Alan Pasqua, Jimmy Haslip, Chad Wackerman: Blues For Tony (Moonjune)  The "Tony" referred to in this 2-CD live set is late jazz legend Tony Williams, an astonishing drummer who played with Miles Davis in the '60s, created what many regard as the first pioneering fusion band--the Tony Williams Lifetime--and joined with Holdsworth and Pasqua in the '70s for his New Lifetime combo. Three tracks from that group's first album are heard here in their full glory, along with eight others, all recorded live in Europe in May 2007 and all filled to the brim with appropriate energy but--importantly--never excess. Highly recommended! Literally!

The Len Price 3: Pictures (Wicked Cool)  It's exceedingly difficult to take exception to anything that Springsteen guitarist/retro tastemaker supreme Steve Van Zandt has awarded his seal of approval, and this package--the latest release on the Wicked Cool label, of which Van Zandt is Chairman--continues the trend! The dude's got taste! A Brit combo specializing in moddish garage rock that sounds almost uncannily Who-like, the LP3 have crunchy hooks, are concise writers, and feature no one in the band named Len Price! Buy it, go back in time, stop the war!

Pictures - The Len Price 3 

Blueboy: If Wishes Were Horses (El Records UK import)  Must make note of this re-release by one of my favorite UK bands from the '90s, Blueboy, whose 1992 eight-track debut has been beefed up with an additional 11 songs and offered by El Records, one of England's coolest-ever labels! Originally signed to the Sarah label, Blueboy played achingly quiet, melodic soft pop, then rocked it up a bit later on--on albums El Records plans to reissue as well! Should appeal to anyone with a taste for twee! Critics agree: Grunge actually never happened!

Candy Bracelet - Blueboy 

Lindstrom & Christabelle: Real Life Is No Cool (Smalltown Supersound)  Exceptionally named and exceptionally played, this collaboration between Norwegian electrodude Lindstrom and vocalist Christabelle is one of the most addictive concoctions I've heard in hours! Christabelle, apparently "AKA Solale," flips back and forth between total cool and nutty passion, the disco beats bear a passing resemblance to Giorgio Moroder circa 1976, and the entire package has more substance than you'd believe! I am so into this!

Motion City Soundtrack: My Dinosaur Life (Columbia) Don't let the cover art fool you! This is about Barney, and he's purple!

Worker Bee - Motion City Soundtrack 

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