If someone would have told me many, many years ago that there would such a thing as "the Internet," and that while typing on a "personal computer," I would say that one of the week's spotlight "CDs" would be a reissue by the Fifth Dimension, I would have grabbed them, tied them down, and tortured them until they revealed incredibly valuable stock tips that would make me a multi-millionaire with absolutely no need to use "the Internet" at all! Sadly, however, that never happened, and I've led a bitter, lonely life.
But enough about me! Let's talk about the new Fuel album!
Angels And Devils (Epic) Is this the best Fuel album ever? Well, that's hard to say. I can report that the band has a new lead singer named Toryn Green, and that Mr. Green would in fact have been the exciting Chris "American Idol" Daughtry had fate not intervened! I can also report that the band's new drummer was formerly in Godsmack! Most notably, I can report that with today's exciting digital technology, when one listens to this album's first single and can actually see its title while hearing it, one wonders whether "Wasted Time" was an altogether smart choice! Find out more via my own new single, "Free Beer For Life: Details Follow!"
Kat DeLuna: 9 Lives (GMB Music Group/Epic) Kinda feline, kinda crazy, this red-hot singer recently visited these very offices though I was otherwise engaged! And I'm sad to have missed her, because she's a talented vocalist, quite attractive, somewhat Shakira-sounding, into Pavarotti, and--if her album title is to be believed--capable of being killed eight consecutive times before her life is in danger! And since her single "Whine Up" features no less than "Elephant Man" accompanying her, this is probably a good thing! Mammals, pop music: together again!
Prefab Sprout: Steve McQueen: Legacy Edition (Epic/Legacy) While I admittedly veer toward hyperbole every few minutes, let me step back and announce--with the deepest of candor--that it has been my contention since December 31, 1989, that this album was one of the very best of the '80s, and my opinion has not changed in the slightest! Now including a gala bonus CD and a raffle ticket that allows winners to go back in time and rectify decisions that have plagued them since this album's release, buying this disc should be on the agenda of every thinking human being reading these words instead of experiencing life fully!
Augie March: Moo, You Bloody Choir (Red Int/Red Ink) They're hip, quite popular in Australia, and smart enough to include the word "Moo" in their album title! Augie March are surprisingly substantial and sound nothing like January Tyme, the 31st Of February, the March Violets, April March, May Blitz, June Carter Cash, July, Augustana, September, October Country, the November Group, or December's Children! Oddly, they sound like that old Neil Sedaka hit, "Laughter In The Rain." What a frickin' twist!
The Pretty Things: Balboa Island (Zoho Music) One of the UK's all-time coolest bands, the Pretty Things have been making records for nearly 43 years--or at least since that night Mariah Carey's parents met! From punkish R&B dudes to psychedelic groove-mongers to straight-out rockers to distinguished old guys, they've always for the most part been very good, and this album similarly rocks, baby! I would strongly suggest you listen to the track "All Light Up," and--as you ponder the role of "light" as either verb or ill-chosen adjective--shake your booty in time to this very fab music. Not at all like Rascal Flatts, despite that nasty gossip!
Original Soundtrack: The Hottest State (Hickory) Featuring a bunch of trendy hipsters including Bright Eyes, Cat Power, Feist, the Black Keys, Norah Jones, and newcomers Willie Nelson and Emmylou Harris, this completely fab soundtrack proves that today's hippest tastemakers work as music supervisors for films hardly anyone ever sees but that's OK! One thing's for sure--I've been listening to this so much, I don't want to leave my house to see a movie! Was this the producer's original intention? Hey, where's that corkscrew?
The Fifth Dimension: The Magic Garden/Up Up And Away (Collector's Choice) Like Jimmy Webb? Like great pop from the '60s? Like stuff that now sounds lush, full, hook-filled and consumer-friendly? Well then you're in luck! Jam-packed with classics like "Up Up And Away" and "Go Where You Wanna Go," and featuring legendary duo Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis--like Kurt and Courtney, both male and female--this stuff will make you rethink the entire notion of pop history as recounted by feeble-minded rock critics who were scared of girls and took it out on an entire generation! Plus this two-for-1 CD deal is pretty neat!
Jonas Brothers: Jonas Brothers (Hollywood) Not at all like Cary Brothers, the Jonas Brothers are back and, surprisingly, remarkably youthful sounding! Between them all, Hank, Thad, and Elvin have left a legacy of distinguished jazz recordings that touch on the best aspects of swing, hard bop, and of course the pioneering avant-jazz of John Coltrane. I'm a little confused--frankly, I'd thought a couple of these guys had passed on, and this CD advance I've got only has a blank sleeve, but what the heck. And is "That's Just The Way We Roll" really such a surprise after "My Favorite Things"?
Soft Machine Legacy: Steam (Moonjune) A great new recording by the Brit jazz quartet that arose from the ashes of the much revered Soft Machine, this marvelous disc features saxophonist Theo Travis as the replacement for the sadly departed Elton Dean, who distinctive sound was a hallmark of UK jazz for nearly 40 years. I strongly advise you to check out this band's work, as well as the other batch of releases from Moonjune Records, or eventually, um, an entire generation will perish! Yeah, that's what record reviews need to be like!
Emerson Lake & Palmer: Welcome Back My Friends To The Show That Never Ends--Ladies And Gentlemen (Shout Factory) OK, admittedly I was anticipating a reissue of that massive live set that these guys released in the '70s, but I never expected this! Taking the title of the album to the heights of literal absurdity, this set features the wacky art-rockers still playing onstage at the same venue that they were playing in 1974! The show, incredibly, never did end! As might be expected, the audience is now considerably quieter, singer Greg Lake appears to have difficulty reaching some high notes, and I, for one, find myself wondering if they ever managed to take a bathroom break in the intervening 37 years! Or is that being redundant?