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And now... NEXT WEEK'S NEW RELEASES!!!
JON AUER: SONGS FROM THE YEAR OF OUR DEMISE. Co-founder of the Posies, member of Big Star, and power-pop singer and songwriter extraordinare finally unleashes his years-in-the-making full-length solo debut, and it's worth the wait. A little more introspective than his Posies work, but a gorgeous album that grows on you slowly and leaves you hooked.
BELLRAYS: HAVE A LITTLE FAITH. We've described them before as "Tina Turner fronts MC5," and that's still the case on their latest album, although they shift moods and vibes from song to song a little more on this one.
BLACK KEYS: CHULAHOMA. The oh-so-raw guitar-and-drums duo pay tribute to the late bluesman Junior Kimbrough with an album of all Kimbrough covers.
CHARLATANS UK: SIMPATICO. "Their first album in five years," it says here. Really? Are you sure it hasn't been ten? Fifteen, maybe? At any rate, they have apparently "updated their sound to incorporate hints of dub and reggae." Release day can't come fast enough!
ALEJANDRO ESCOVEDO: BOXING MIRROR. The brilliant roots-rocker's first album since his near-fatal illness, produced by John Cale.
GOMEZ: HOW WE OPERATE. Since I can never remember what they sound like, I asked Rob how the new Gomez album is. He says: "For the first time in Gomez's career, they've recruited an outside producer, Gil Norton, best known for his work with the Pixies, to make their most accessible album to date. This one has a little more of an acoustic feel, but don't think of this as Gomez Unplugged, because there's lots of the typically Gomez complex arrangements, just not as mired in studio gimmickry. The songs can stand by themselves. I think they were looking for a radio-friendly album."
JEWEL: GOODBYE ALICE IN WONDERLAND. Damn, they're still letting her make records? Supposedly her most personal and autobiographical record to date, although no word as to whether it's more personal and autobiographical than her book of poetry.
MINISTRY: RIO GRANDE BLOOD. A concept album which dissects the war on terror and its global fallout. The only problem is that I haven't been able to understand a word Alan Jourgenson has sung since the days when Ministry were a technopop band back in the early '80s. Hopefully his enunciation's a little better this time around. I'm sure it's fun and noisy regardless.
PEARL JAM: PEARL JAM. Their latest album is being hyped as their best in a decade, featuring the hit single "Worldwide Suicide." We gave it a perfunctory listen and it sounded like standard issue Pearl Jam -- which isn't a bad thing, mind you -- except for one song which sounded just like mid-period Beatles. Seriously!
PICK OF THE WEEK!
BOBBY PREVITE: COALITION OF THE WILLING. One of the greatest percussionists in this business we call show, Previte has been known to get pretty out-there on previous solo releases, but this not-quite-rock, not-quite-jazz album (reminiscent of one of our favorite bands of the last few years, Garage A Trois) may be his most accessible -- and best -- effort yet. Hooks and riffs that bore their way into your skull and stay there, and great musicianship throughout. Special guests include Charlie Hunter, Steven Bernstein, and Stew Cutler.
TOOL: 10,000 DAYS. Their first album in five years, and we are simply thrilled. It may sound like their other records, which we never particularly liked, or it may not. Our pre-release sheet doesn't say.
WOLFMOTHER: WOLFMOTHER. The debut album from the highly regarded classic rock-ish trio, featuring lots of loud, crunchy riffs for your listening pleasure. Includes the first single, "Woman," which is already getting some airplay.
WORLD PARTY: DUMBING UP. I can hear Sal yelling all the way from New Orleans, "Don't forget to mention the World Party album!" Originally released in Europe a few years ago, pop genius Karl Wallinger's latest release finally comes out in the States with a different track listing, PLUS a DVD (with initial orders only!) feauturing about three hours of archival footage, live and studio performances, and more. If you've somehow never heard World Party before, it's a cross between Lennonesque Beatles, Dylan, and a little '70s Stevie Wonder thrown in. Great stuff.
ROY HARGROVE: TWO NEW RELEASES. The trumpeter/composter/bandleader's main touring outfit, the Roy Hargrove Quintet, releases Nothing Serious, a more straightforward jazz album, while his side project, the funk and hip-hop-laden RH Factor, release Distractions on the same day. Buy 'em both! Mix and match! Compare and contrast!
CHRISTIAN McBRIDE: LIVE AT TONIC. This stunning 3 CD set features an ultra-eclectic lineup, including his ace band plus special guests Charlie Hunter and Eric Krasno of Soulive on guitar, Rahsaan Peterson on trumpet, Jason Moran on keyboards, DJ Logic on the turntables, and Scratch from the Roots on beatbox, among others. Sure to be one of the hippest jazz releases of the year.
AL GREEN: THE BELLE ALBUM (EXPANDED EDITION). Not a big seller when it was first released in 1977, this album's stature has grown over time and is now considered one of Al Green's finest. At long last, it gets the treatment it deserves, with new remastering and the addition of three PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED bonus tracks, produced, like the rest of the album, by Green himself. A must-have.
JACKIE WILSON: ULTIMATE JACKIE WILSON. Since the three CD box set on Rhino went out of print several years back, it's been harder to find a really comprehensive Jackie Wilson compilation than a moderate in the Bush administration. Two CDs, covering his entire career from his first hit, 1957's "Reet Petite," up through his final recordings in the mid '70s, and all the high points in between.
TO ORDER ANY OR ALL OF THESE NEW RELEASES, OR IF THERE'S SOMETHING YOU WANT THAT WE DIDN'T MENTION, EMAIL US AT HEYNYCD@aol.com or CALL US AT (212) 244-3460 and ask for "Someone who isn't Sal."
And now, since Tony has carte blanche to do whatever he wants in the newsletter this week, here we go with...
RECORDS TO HELP TURN YOUR HOME INTO A SWINGIN' COCKTAIL LOUNGE!
OK, you've got the well-stocked bar. Olives at the ready. Cocktail glasses are chilled and frosted in your freezer. Lights on the dim side. You're wearing your nattiest threads, and you're ready to libate. But as you serve the perfectly made 'tinis, you're still missing perhaps the most important thing -- the music. What to play to get the party ring-a-ding dinging? Here's a cool half-dozen suggestions:
FRANK SINATRA: Sinatra's Swingin' Session (1960) — Frankie at his most frenetic, with hopped-up arrangements by the great Nelson Riddle. Sure to get any party off to a swinging start. The CD bonus tracks include the hippest version of "Ol' Macdonald" you'll ever hear.
ESQUIVEL: Space Age Bachelor Pad Music (1994) — The album that kicked off the lounge music revival of the mid '90s, and it still sounds great, almost half a century after most of this material was waxed. All the ping-ponging of instruments from speaker to speaker, demented, two-finger piano solos, and choruses intoning "Zu-zu-zu" and "boink-boink" may be a tad perplexing in the harsh light of day, but imbibe an after-work cocktail or two and it all magically makes sense.
NAT KING COLE: Penthouse Serenade (1952) — The King tickles the ivories in somewhat genteel but oh-so-classy, swinging style on this, the greatest cocktail piano album ever made. Close your eyes and take a sip of your Manhattan and you'll be transported back to long-gone nightclubs like the Stork Club or the Embers.
MARTIN DENNY: Exotica (1956) — The musical equivalent of a tiki bar -- not authentic by any means, but it's chock-full of the idyllic notion of "the islands" that a lot of landlocked 9-to-5ers share to this day. On the mellow side, with groovy vibes, cool percussion, and wacky birdcalls crowed by members of the band. A fine accompaniment to any mai tai.
VARIOUS ARTISTS: Cocktail Mix Vol. 2 (1995) — There were dozens, if not hundreds, of lounge compilations released during the heyday of the revival in the mid '90s, and this one is my favorite. A tasty melange of jazz (Cal Tjader, Mose Allison), pop (Sergio Mendes, Connie Francis), cheese (Henri Rene, Walter Wanderley) and good ol' fashioned swing (Mel Tormé, Ann-Margret, Brother Jack McDuff, the Harold Johnson Sextet) and then some.
ELLA FITZGERALD: The Intimate Ella (1960) — Perfect for when you've had one too many and are in a contemplative, even teary mood. Ella at her most sensitive, singing her heart out on a dozen ballads, accompanied only by the piano of Paul Smith. An obscure gem.
UNTIL NEXT WEEK, WE LEAVE YOU WITH THIS:
Hey, baseball fans, only 48 weeks until Opening Day 2007!
Blue Moon Odom