News This Week - Archives

There And Beck!

New This Week

The week's best new music appears to be the week's best old music--since aside from one or two interesting new albums, all the good stuff is reissued music by people who've been making records for years!

Guess that proves that all new music is no good!

But that's cool! I understand there are lots of exciting new things to get into--video games, text messaging, social networks, and those "book" things!

Plus, if you get a new widescreen TV, the shows automatically get better, too!

Life is getting easier by the minute!

 

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Beck: Modern Guilt (Interscope) The best thing about guys like Beck is that they get to keep making records because enough people still care about them! Wow! In this episode, Beck writes a bunch of new songs about things like rejecting people who want to be his friend on Facebook, driving by the old Tower Records on Sunset Boulevard and realizing he really should have shopped there one last time before it shut down, and seeing guys like Papa Roach and Puddle Of Mudd walking down the halls of his record company and averting his eyes so it looks like he can't see them! Also, according to a reliable Internet source, "Gilt" means "a thin covering of gold!" He's getting more interesting every day!

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Willie Nelson/Wynton Marsalis: Two Men With The Blues (Blue Note) I think we all knew that it would eventually come to this, and it feels great! Back in the early '90s, when you could buy virgin vinyl promo copies of albums for 27 cents, I made it my mission to buy every Willie Nelson album I could find! Every week in the used bin there'd be a new one, typically unplayed! Ray Price, Waylon Jennings, Roger Miller, Webb Pierce, Merle Haggard, Kris Kristofferson, Hank Snow, Faron Young--they all made albums with him! What say we give this one a listen, spend the next few weeks making our own albums with him, then meet back here later and compare notes?

Billy Joel: The Stranger: 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition (Columbia/Legacy) I've got to be honest--Billy Joel has never been one of my all-time faves! But I've got to give the man his due! This deluxe edition of his 1977 album contains a stunning number of his most popular singles--including "Moving Out (Anthony's Song)," "Just The Way You Are," "Only The Good Die Young" and "She's Always A Woman"--and features both an additional live disc of the dude live at Carnegie Hall in 1977, and a DVD of the charismatic rocker live on the BBC circa 1978. In short, it's the best Joel ever! Plus in 2008 the cover's taken on an entirely new meaning! I'm sold! I'm switching camps!

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Little Jackie: The Stoop (S-Curve) So I put this CD on and I said, "Hey--she's great!" Only later did I discover that "Little Jackie" is actually not a human but "the creation of genre-defying singer-songwriter Imani Coppola and multi-instrumentalist Adam Pallin." Would I have liked it more if I haven't read that? Probably! That's why reading's no good! Incidentally, Lynyrd Skynyrd and James Brown are the creation of my good friend Larry! You should meet him!

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Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten (DVD) (Sony Legacy) Film director Julien Temple's recent documentary on Clash frontman Joe Strummer has quickly arrived on DVD, and I must say that it's an impressive achievement any way you look at it! A warm-hearted gentleman with a heart of gold, Strummer has left a marvelous legacy behind him, and this film comes about as close as possible to capturing the magic that made him absolutely Joe-like! Want added fun? Buy this and a pack of cigarettes, light one up, and blow smoke at the screen! He looks great that way!

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Ron Sexsmith: Exit Strategy Of The Soul (Yep Roc) For the longest time, I used to respect this guy but couldn't get into him because he sounded so much like Tim Hardin--one of my fave raves--that I couldn't get past it! But things have changed! His voice has gotten deeper--an inevitable by-product of aging--and my hearing has gotten worse--ditto! Still, I must shamefully admit that the one song that leapt out at me upon first hearing here--"Brandy Alexander"--was actually co-written with Canadian cutie Feist! So either he's getting better or I'm enjoying music on the purely biological level! Either way's cool with me!

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Steve Miller Band: Rock Love and Recall The Beginning...A Journey From Eden (both Capitol) I'm enough of a dork to want every Steve Miller CD ever made, so imagine my chagrin to discover that these albums--the only ones in his distinguished catalog to never see that format--are finally available, but only as MP3s!  It's enough to make me finally cave in and buy a computer! Of the two, I recommend Recall The Beginning first, but buy 'em both if you have the room!

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The Fugs: Don't Stop! Don't Stop! (Fugs) While I've always admired '60s pioneers the Fugs for their historical contribution to pop music, a tiny part of me was let down years ago--when, as an adolescent, I held their It Crawled Into My Hand, Honest album, stared at the picture of hairy men in priests' garments grinning and making obscene gestures, bought it, and was bored silly. But what do you expect from an album I bought for $2.97 at JC Penney's? This 4-CD boxed set features their ESP-Disk material--which includes their historic "Group Grope," "Boobs A Lot" and "Slum Goddess"--and two additional CDs of previously unheard material. I'd bring it home, but my mom would probably hate it!

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Robin Trower: Day Of The Eagle: The Best Of Robin Trower (Capitol/EMI) Pretty interesting how former Procol Harum guitarist Trower's solo material has held up over the years. The band's trio format--with a singer who borrowed from Free's Paul Rodgers and a guitarist who almost scarily recalled Jimi Hendrix and a drummer who played drums--makes this music sound almost timelessly classic, and the riffs and hooks are still surprisingly strong. Of course, that's just my opinion! I could be wrong!

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Kerli: Love Is Dead (Island Def Jam) Borrowing equally from Iggy Pop and popular jam band moe., photogenic new singer Kerli seems talented--but still, oddly, lacking in one vital area! Weird! 

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