MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND UPON US; NEW RELEASES ARE NOT
ENTERTAINING LISTS TO KEEP YOU ENTERTAINED!
COOL JERKS PLAY GIG, WILL USE MONEY TO RENT CABANA ON FIRE ISLAND FOR MEMORIAL DAY 2008
Let's get right to it, shall we? Because as you can see, the headlines are lame.
NEXT WEEK'S NEW RELEASES! (IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER, ALTHOUGH IT MAY BE ALPHABETICAL BY ACCIDENT)
HERB ALPERT - RISE. Herb's 1979 comeback features the still-brilliant title track, with some other not-so-brilliant tracks that sound like anything from the chase scene from a Robert Urich TV special to background music for a David Copperfield plate-spinning extravaganza. If that's your sort of thing, then enjoy.
PERRY FARRELL'S SATELLITE PARTY - ULTRA PAYLOAD. There are few we find as annoying and repulsive as Perry Farrell. This could be his "Rhapsody In Blue" for all we know, but we'd still hate it, because Perry's an annoying Jewish rocker (we can get away with saying that because Sal is Jewish). Features some more annoying people, including Fergie, Flea, and the very dead but still annoying Jim Morrison.
R. KELLY - DOUBLE UP. We'll give this to him -- the man is popular. So who are we to judge such masterpieces as "Freaky In The Club" and "Pull Ya Hair"? For all we know, such great composers as Shostakovich and Carole Bayer-Sager also had bizarre liaisons with underage strumpets.
JOHNETTE NAPOLITANO - SCARRED. The legendary (yes, legendary) vocalist from the legendary (you heard us right, legendary) Concrete Blonde releases her long-awaited solo debut, and Sal is loving it. She's abandoned the Dracula-meets-Emiliano Zapata sounds that seemed to dominate the last two Concrete Blonde records for good ol' fashioned goodness in the guise of ballsy singer-songwriter fare. Also includes covers of Coldplay's "The Scientist" and a killer "All Tomorrow's Parties."
ROBERT POLLARD - CRICKETS. It's been at least two weeks since Robert Pollard put out a new record, so the fans are getting antsy. Features the usual drums made out of aluminum foil, amps running on C batteries, and vocals sung through a bullhorn. Low-fi and lovin' it!
SAL'S PICK OF THE WEEK! (WHICH TONY HASN'T HEARD YET)
RICHARD THOMPSON - SWEET WARRIOR. Truth be told, Richard Thompson releases records almost as quickly as Robert Pollard. The difference is that Sal loves Richard Thompson and hates Robert Pollard. Nonetheless, this new full-on electric record doesn't stray far from anything Richard's done before -- and that's a good thing. Smart lyrics, great hooks, and some of the greatest guitar playing you'll hear this side of Ace Frehley (you know that's a joke, right?).
NOT THAT WE'RE FORCING YOU, BUT WE'D LOVE IT IF YOU ORDERED SEVERAL OF THESE FINE, NAY ESSENTIAL, COMPACT DISC RELEASES. YOU MAY DO SO BY CALLING (212) 244-3460 OR, IF YOU HAVE A COMPUTER, EMAILING US.
and now, for your reading pleasure...
TEN SONGS THAT PISS US OFF!
Before we get to the list, we should mention that these are by no means our ten least favorite songs, or what we think are the ten worst songs ever recorded. No, these are songs that, when we hear them, stick in our craws like a sesame seed gets stuck in a dental bridge. The songs that, half an hour after we hear them, still leave us muttering to themselves "How could somebody have not pointed out how annoying this song/line/word/verse/chorus is? Why must we be tormented like this?!" The fact that just about all these songs were big hits, and thus inescapable on the radio and/or MTV, also adds to the pissing-us-off factor.
10. MY LOVE - Paul McCartney & Wings. It's hard to believe that a mere four years before this was recorded, Paul was working on Abbey Road. But it's the lyrics -- the chorus, specifically -- that really puts it over the top for us. "Whoa whoa whoa whoa," Paul meaningfully intones, "whoa whoa whoa whoa. My love does it good." We don't think he ever would have had the guts to play it for Lennon had the Beatles still been a going concern in '73. The guitar solo isn't bad. We still hate the song. (Actually, "we" means Tony. Sal thinks it's very good, especially the guitar solo, which he thinks not only isn't "isn't bad," but is excellent.)
9. THE BEST- Tina Turner. Tina Turner had a much-deserved comeback in the 80's. We all read about her terrible life with Ike, and we embraced her every move after her not-bad remake of Al Green's "Let's Stay Together" topped the charts. Unfortunately, the downhill slide began with the atrocious "We Don't Need Another Hero," from a Mad Max movie. (Why was that a hit?) But, the nadir of Miss Turner's existence is "The Best." (Actually, the nadir of her existence was probably getting beaten by Ike. But you know what we mean.) "You're simply the best/better than all the rest/better than anyone...." Uh..."better than you two over there/ and uh....better than that woman with with the baby stroller....and uh....better than all the rest...oh, said that already." We get it. It IS called "The Best," for Pete's sake. Oh, the irony.
8. I DON'T WANT TO WAIT - Paula Cole. This one pisses us off for one line, pretty much: "Say a little prayer for I." What the hell is that? Since Paula Cole's not a Rasta, we can only conclude that she was too lazy to come up with a line that rhymed with "Say a little prayer for ME." "Damn, what the hell rhymes with 'me'? Ahhh, screw it -- 'Say a little prayer for I.' " The fact that this song was not only a monster hit, staying on the charts for a full year, but also became the opening theme for Dawson's Creek, means that we still hear it every now and then ten years after the fact, which leads us to conclude that the gods hate us. N.B. Tony once saw Paula eating lunch in the West Village, and seriously contemplated dumping his chicken salad on her head.
7. ALMOST BLUE- Elvis Costello. A great song from a great songwriter and one of our all time faves. Period. So, why does it piss us off? One word: "this." Where is it? In the line, "Flirting with THIS disaster became me." The phrase is "flirting with disaster," not "this disaster." It is a speed bump in an otherwise beautiful attempt at a modern day standard. Costello is clever. "Do I step on the brakes to get out of her clutches," from "New Amsterdam. BRILLIANT! But it is not necessary to be cute everytime. We all know that Elvis Costello is no flash in "this" pan, so, maybe we'll let him slide. Still, very cringe-making.
6. WHO WILL SAVE YOUR SOUL - Jewel. Back in the mid '90s, it seemed like Jewel could do no right, cranking out one horrific, annoying single after another -- all of which stormed the VH-1 playlists and the Hot 100. But her first was the worst. "Who Will Save Your Soul" features Jewel folkily crooning, growling like a blueswoman (albeit a white blueswoman from Alaska), and cooing like a six-year-old, all within the twelve seconds or so of the insufferable chorus. Preachy lyric plus annoying singing plus dull melody equals pissed off Tony & Sal.
5. CROCODILE ROCK - Elton John. Elton's vast output has its merits, of course But damn, this song pisses us off. We assume it was intended as a '50s rock and roll pastiche, but it removes all the passion and excitement that characterized the music and leaves in all the lame crap, like the sub-Frankie Valli chorus. It's like an episode of Happy Days set to music, but not the good early episodes. This is like one of those later episodes from 1980, where everyone has the blow-dried disco haircuts even though it's supposed to be 1962, and whenever Chachi walks on the set all the girls scream and applaud for about four minutes. That's what this song is like.
4. EVERYBODY HURTS - R.E.M. R.E.M. is one of our very favorite bands. Tony is even a member of the fan club. But oh lordy, does this song piss us off. On what's otherwise one of the best albums of the '90s (Automatic For The People), Michael Stipe whines and screeches his way through a trite self-help lyric and a shopworn melody. Stipe is an excellent frontman, but he should never, never try to make like a soul singer. Would you want to hear Solomon Burke singing about legumes or Cyrus Vance? Didn't think so.
3. UNDER THE BRIDGE- Red Hot Chili Peppers. For four albums, the Chili Peppers rocked and funked and kicked our butts with their unique brand of James Brown-meets-Funkadelic-at-a-hardcore punk party in the Cali Valley. Did they sell any records? Not really. But they finally hit the big time with their Number 2 single, "Under The Bridge," a clumsily written confessional of lead singer Anthony Kiedis's drug days. How it managed to be so successful with such insipid lyrics and the now legendary off-key caterwauling of Kiedis — a trait that went unnoticed when the band did what they did best, which wasn't playing ballads — is beyond us.
2. DIRTY LAUNDRY--Don Henley. How do we hate this song? Let us count the ways. "KICK'EM WHEN THEY'RE UP! KICK'EM WHEN THEY'RE DOWN! KICK'EM WHEN THEY'RE UP! KICK'EM ALL AROUND!" Let's start with that. Then throw in the super-cheesy 80's production that's so dated it makes a Rudy Vallee 78 sound more current, and of course, Henley's delivery of the line, "Bubble-headed bleach-blonde," and what you have is a musical ipecac.
and the #1 song that pisses us off...
1. ZOMBIE - The Cranberries. Sinead O'Connor's first two records weren't so amazing that we needed a replacement when she decided to give up music and become a lesbian Rasta nun. But Dolores O'Riordan felt different, and her irritating brogue was heard on the radio and in department stores throughout the mid '90s. We still can't decide what's more annoying, the chorus ("In yer heee-eead! In yer heee-eee-eee-eead! Zah-ham-beh! Zah-ham-beh! Zah-ham-beh!") or the fact that it appealed to everyone from age 6 to 65. What's wrong with you people?!
HONORABLE MENTION FOR SONG WE LIKE THAT STILL PISSES US OFF FOR REASONS WHICH HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THE SONG ITSELF: I GOT YOU (I FEEL GOOD) - James Brown. This one is obviously a great song, but it pisses us off because for a while in the '80s, it was used in the trailer for every lame comedy film that Hollywood spewed out. So, almost 20 years later, we can't hear it without also hearing a voiceover in our heads saying "He's a rich stockbroker with a thing for race cars. She's a sexy mechanic with a filthy mouth. Judge Reinhold and Shelley Long star in..." NEXT WEEK:
New releases from BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN, CHRIS CORNELL, BIG $ RICH, and that stinker from PAUL McCARTNEY!
And mark your calendars -- our next holiday list, which will come out the week of Flag Day, will be our ten favorite songs with the word "spatula" in the lyrics. Future holiday lists will include Tony's ten favorite songs to listen to while eating dumplings, our ten favorite records by major league umpires, and 25 reasons why we need another nail salon on the Upper West Side.
If you're staying in the city this weekend, cherishing all that parking space and getting a seat at Isabella's, start the night right by catching Sal's fantastic new band, THE COOL JERKS, featuring Sal doing what he does best! And what's that, you may ask? You gotta show up to find out! But it definitely involves bacon. (Hey, when the rest of the Cool Jerks write a newsletter, they can call it their band.) TONIGHT AT AN BEAL BOCHT!
SQUEEZE, CROWDED HOUSE REUNITE FOR SUMMER TOUR; QUARTERFLASH & COCK ROBIN CONTINUE RUN AT THE NEVELE
MANY NEW RELEASES!
EXCLUSIVE! 1ST PICTURES OF JERRY FALWELL, ADOLF HITLER & TY COBB IN HELL!
and now... THE NEWSLETTER!
THE BRAVERY - SUN AND THE MOON. Our press release said that the Bravery spent a whole eight months working on their second album. We remember a time when it took Don Henley eight months to properly mic the castanets on "Hotel California." These boys made a name for themselves with their not-bad debut, and this record will either get them back on top or get them on the bill with Quarterflash and Cock Robin at the Nevele.
JEFF BUCKLEY - SO REAL. A 14 track best-of featuring songs from all 1 1/2 of his albums, plus live tracks from his three live records and alternate takes from his two posthumously released outtakes records, AND a brand new outtake which is a cover of the Smiths' "I Know It's Over!" We look forward to Sony's Essential Jeff Buckley CD, due out sometime next year, which will feature these same tracks, less one outtake. Barrel scrapers rejoice!
TONY'S PICK OF THE WEEK (THAT HE HASN'T HEARD YET)!
ROBERT DRASNIN - VOODOO II. In the late '50s, Drasnin made one of the greatest exotica albums of all time, "Voodoo!" Martin Denny and Les Baxter never made a better album in the genre, and that's the truth. Now, almost 50 years later, Drasnin has finally made the sequel. And no, I haven't heard it yet, but apparently he did it right. No Pro Tools, no synthesized conch shells, just real people recording real instruments on analog tape. This should be a winner. (Sal: "And I'm not allowed to listen to the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Fine...")
ERASURE - LIGHT AT THE END OF THE WORLD. Moderate-to-wildly successful pop duo release their ninth (or possibly 16th) record of dated, soulless synth-pop. (Note to all of Tony's Asian friends: Sorry, Sal made me write that.)
SAL'S PICK OF THE WEEK (WHICH HE HAS HEARD)!
FICTION PLANE - LEFT SIDE OF THE BRAIN. Their debut release, "Everything Will Never Be OK," was one of my faves of the year in 2003. This exciting new band, let by Joe Sumner, the son of legendary English professor (and future hell-dweller) Gordon Sumner (that's Sting for you laymen), has all the excitement the Police left behind when Sting took up faux-jazz, an all-yogurt diet, and sex with plants. High-energy rock n' roll reminiscent of early Police, with smart lyrics and super-catchy melodies. They're opening for the Police on their $250-a-ticket tour, so get there early and get your money's worth!
MAROON 5 - IT WON'T BE SOON BEFORE LONG. More songs that will make you want to smack that guy in the face, along the lines of "She weeeeeeeeeeeellllllllll, be luuuuuuhhh-uhhhved."
THE NATIONAL - BOXER. The only thing more offensive than a Republican saying global warming doesn't exist because it's 50 degrees out today is referring to the National as "the greatest rock n' roll band since the E Street Band." This band has sold out the Bowery Ballroom for, like, 97 nights based on a handful of OK records. What's with the hype, people? Just stop it.
JOAN OSBORNE - BREAKFAST IN BED. One of the best voices in music today still has not reached her potential. Her all-covers record, "How Sweet It Is," could have been the one to show off Osborne's killer pipes. Unfortunately, the safe production turned a great idea into an OK album. She's trying her hand at it again with this new release of'70s soul covers, featuring a killer band that includes Ivan Neville and Tracy Wormworth (whose fine bass playing was a standout on the Waitresses' "Christmas Wrapping" single). We love Joan enough to give her a fourth second chance.
OZZY OSBOURNE - BLACK RAIN. "Euuuuhhhh, zzhhhuuughh wittthhhha bloody hard rock fgmihhiilll... Zack Wylde guitars... firwenaggkkklll... Kelly, pudddown those bloody pills.... grhhheennndwuvvv...."
HEY, DO YOU LIKE JAZZ? SO DO WE! HERE ARE SOME NEW RELEASES!
MICHAEL BRECKER - PILGRIMAGE. The late great legend's final album features the all-star band of Pat Metheny, Herbie Hancock, Brad Mehldau, John Patitucci, and Jack DeJohnette. We have not heard it yet, but honestly, how could you say anything bad about Michael Brecker?
BILL CHARLAP TRIO - LIVE AT THE VILLAGE VANGUARD. Charlap, with his Washington rhythm section, doing what they do best at the legendary Village nightclub. We have not heard it yet, but honestly, how could you say anything bad about Michael Brecker?
CHICK COREA & BELA FLECK - ENCHANTMENT. Chick & Fleck (and the Knicks and the Hawks and the Bucks -- first person to email us with the reference gets a copy of the CD!) combine for their first ever collaboration. We have not heard it yet, but how can you say anything bad about Willis Reed?
VICTOR GOINES - LOVE DANCE. A dear friend of Wynton Marsalis, but we won't hold that against him, because he's one of the great sax players in the jazz game. This new release features the same quartet that was on his last brilliant record, "New Adventures" (Peter Martin, Reuben Rogers and Gregory Hutchinson).
ABBEY LINCOLN - ABBEY SINGS ABBEY. Jazz legend's new record has a unique sound that features guitar virtuoso and multi-instrumentalist (not to mention Bob Dylan's occasional right hand man) Larry Campbell running the show. Miss Lincoln may not be for everyone, but her voice is still sounding remarkably vibrant.
ORDER ONE! ORDER TWO! AWW, HECK, ORDER 'EM ALL! EMAIL US OR CALL (212) 244-3460!
ONE MORE THING ABOUT THIS NEW McCARTNEY CD...
OK, we know the guy wrote "Yesterday," "For No One," "Maybe I'm Amazed," and "Hey Jude." For those songs alone, Pauly should get a pass. But let's not forget, he also wrote "Biker Like An Icon," "Frozen Jap," and "Mumbo," as well as the lyric "And I acted like a dustbin lid." This new record makes the aforementioned crap sound like Gershwin. If there is one review in any of the popular rags that gives MEMORY ALMOST FULL anything but 1 1/2 stars, you'll be hearing from our lawyers. (Actually, we don't have any lawyers. You'll be hearing from our uncles.) McCartney must be stopped! Sir George Martin, please make that phone call. You're the only one who can intervene.
NEWSLETTER '07 #19! "HI HONEY, I'M HOME!" SAL RETURNS FROM NEW ORLEANS; MENTIONS OF LOUNGE MUSIC AND DUMPLINGS CONSPICUOUSLY ABSENT FROM NEWSLETTER
PAUL McCARTNEY RELEASES NEW BAD ALBUM; RINGO GAINING GROUND IN "BEST BEATLE WHO'S NOT DEAD" COMPETITION
NEW GOOD MUSIC COMING OUT NEXT WEEK! (NONE OF WHICH IS THE NEW McCARTNEY RECORD)
and now... NEXT WEEK'S NEW RELEASES!
GENESIS - 1976-1982 (BOX SET). There is so much to love and hate about Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins, and the rest of this pretentious gang of Brits. Pros include Selling England By The Pound, The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway, Phil Collins' drumming, Peter Gabriel's reverse Mohawk, Tony Banks' impish grin, and "Paperlate." Cons: Phil Collins post-1982, Peter Gabriel's fascination with Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Mike Rutherford and his Mechanics, and Phil Collins post-1982 -- so horrendous we had to mention it twice.
As for this box set, it's a brilliant idea. Take the five best post-Gabriel records, give them new stereo mixes, 5.1 Surround Sound, and rare videos, slap 'em in a box with a bonus disc of rarities, and Bob's yer uncle. But the British version, which is identical musically, presses the discs on the best audio format around, SACD Hybrids, while here in the States, we can only listen to our 5.1 Surround mixes on DVD-Audios. That would be fine, if we could afford the British version, which is twice the price. But even if we could afford it, the DVDs wouldn't play unless you had an all-region player. Thanks, Rhino! For years we've been calling you the gold standard of reissue labels, but you blew it this time.
GUIDED BY VOICES - LIVE FROM AUSTIN, TX. A 2004 set recorded for Austin City Limits on their farewell tour. GBV records are few and far between, so you should snap this up!
IAN HUNTER - SHRUNKEN HEADS. The older this Hoople gets, the better he sounds. The followup to "Rant," one of the strongest records in Hunter's career, is just as strong. With lots of help from Jeff "Will Someone Hold My Hair Back?" Tweedy, Shrunken Heads sounds like Bob Dylan fronting "Exile"-era Stones. You can't get much better than that.
LINKIN PARK - MINUTES TO MIDNIGHT. The press release we're reading claims that this is the most anticipated release of the year. It is? Wait, what year is this again?
MOBY GRAPE - LISTEN MY FRIENDS: THE BEST OF MOBY GRAPE. All of you who purchased the long out-of-print and bad sounding Vintage collection can now trade it in to us and get a newly packaged and newly remastered 20 track anthology from the legendary San Francisco band.
TONY'S PICK OF THE WEEK (AND SAL'S ONE LOUNGE MUSIC ALLOWANCE)!
PINK MARTINI - HEY EUGENE! I really wanted to dislike this record. Just because you can speak twelve languages doesn't mean you have to record a song in each of them. And thanks to China Forbes and her multilingual skills, she has made Pink Martini a bit more gimmicky than they deserve to be. But the band is too good to be dismissed as a bunch of globehopping lounge lizards. They can take any style of music and play the crap out of it. And watch out -- the title track, which has been a live favorite for years, is a hit single waiting to happen.
VARIOUS ARTISTS - A REGGAE TRIBUTE TO THE POLICE. This is probably as lame as you think it is. It's $11.98 in 49 states, but $250 in New York City.
JOE STRUMMER - FUTURE IS UNWRITTEN. The soundtrack to the film about the late rock legend features early unreleased Clash classics, as well as tracks by Bob Dylan, the Ramones, and Elvis Presley.
RUFUS WAINWRIGHT - RELEASE THE STARS. We can't think of an artist who has had such strong feelings from both sides of the fence about his career. You either absolutely love the guy, or hate the guy. We love the guy (and when we say "we," we mean Sal). The powerful new release is exactly what you want from Wainwright -- heartbreaking, baroque pop, monster production that harkens back to the great '70s records of Queen and Elton John, intelligent and often demanding lyrics, and melodies to die for. We know those of you who hate him (and when we say "we," we mean Sal) can't hear any of this. But that's OK, because we hate Ben Folds just as much. (And when we say "we," we mean Sal and Tony.)
WILCO - SKY BLUE SKY. It's just too easy to tear this band apart. Hitting their peak with their modern masterpiece Summerteeth in 1999, the band then became alt-country's version of Radiohead. They abandoned "the song" and embraced "the sound," which is textured twaddle. BUT... they're back! Much closer to Summerteeth and their sophomore release Being There, Sky Blue Sky regains some of the magic that was lost on their last two self-indulgent releases. Comes both as a CD or a deluxe edition which also features a DVD with a 48 minute film about the recording of the record.
YOU CAN ORDER ANY OF THESE, AS WELL AS THE DOLORES O'RIORDAN SOLO RECORD (SHE'S THE VOICE BEHIND ONE OF THE MOST ANNOYING SONGS OF ALL TIME, THE CRANBERRIES' "ZOMBIE". ZAH-HAM-BEH! ZAH-HAM-BEH! ZAH-HAM-BEH!) BY EMAILING US OR CALLING (212) 244-3460!
TRADE IN YOUR OLD CDs & DVDs FOR CASH OR SHINY STORE CREDIT! EMAIL OR CALL FOR MORE DETAILS!
AS WE WERE SAYING ABOUT MACCA...
The best way to describe MEMORY ALMOST FULL, the new release from the not-so-cute-anymore former Beatle, is what we like to call "The Keith Richards Phenomenon." Remember when you saw a picture of Keith Richards in 1977? You thought to yourself, "Man, this guy looks terrible!" Then, you saw a picture of Keith in 1987, and he looked so much worse that it made the 1977 picture look like a Cary Grant headshot in comparison. Now, you see a picture of him from 2007, and that 1987 picture, where he looked like death warmed over, suddenly makes him look like Frankie Avalon. So basically, Memory Almost Full is Keith Richards, while "Vanilla Sky" is Frankie Avalon.
UNTIL NEXT WEEK, WE LEAVE YOU WITH THIS:
If anyone's wondering why nothing has been written about Sal's trip to New Orleans, his days at JazzFest, the food he ate, the people he met, and the all-around joy of being in the Crescent City, it's because he made a deal with Tony. Sal won't talk about his trip to New Orleans if Tony stops playing Nat King Cole's Cole Español in the office every day.
SAL STILL IN NEW ORLEANS; TONY STILL NOT IN NEW ORLEANS
NYCD CELEBRATES CINCO DE MAYO BY DRINKING TOO MUCH TEQUILA, SAYING RUDE THINGS ABOUT FERGIE
NEIL SEDAKA AND DONNY OSMOND PLACE ALBUMS IN BILLBOARD'S TOP 30: PAUL WILLIAMS AND ENGELBERT HUMPERDINCK RUSH INTO STUDIO
LOTS OF EXCITING NEW RELEASES!
ALSO SOME NOT-SO-EXCITING NEW RELEASES, BUT WE'RE GONNA MENTION THEM ANYWAY!
R.I.P. TOMMY NEWSOM
and now... NEXT WEEK'S NEW RELEASES!
but first... ONE THAT CAME OUT THIS WEEK THAT TONY FORGOT TO MENTION LAST TIME!
WARREN ZEVON - PRELUDES. 17 previously unreleased demos, including rough versions of some of his biggest hits ("Werewolves Of London," "Hasten Down The Wind," "Poor Poor Pitiful Me") plus some songs we've never heard before. Zevon was a great performer as well as a great writer, so hearing this music in raw form, without the studio gloss added, is a treat indeed. Also includes an interview from 2000 that's worth the time it takes to listen to it.
OK, seriously... NEXT WEEK'S NEW RELEASES!
PAULA ABDUL - GREATEST HITS: STRAIGHT UP. This 18 track compilation of the drunken American Idol judge's biggest pop hits includes four which weren't on her previous greatest hits album. If that's not exciting news, I don't know what is.
KEREN ANN - KEREN ANN. The French/Russian/Israeli/New Yorker's previous four folk/jazz/French/pop albums have garnered critical raves and a growing following. Album #5 is sure to increase that following, but the information we've been given about it has been so vague that I can't really tell you what this one is going to sound like. Note to record companies -- you could make this a lot easier for us by SENDING US MORE ADVANCE COPIES!
THE BAD PLUS - PROG. Their signature blend of piano-led trio jazz with ballsy rock n' roll is more hit-and-miss now than it was on their brilliant debut album, These Are The Vistas, or its followup, Suspicious Activity. But if you're not already a fan, this record is definitely worth hearing just for its excellent cover of Tears For Fears' "Everybody Wants To Rule The World." At times the mix of rock and jazz can get gimmicky, but this band is too talented to count out yet.
BJORK - VOLTA. Yes, she may be a weirdo, but... well, she's a weirdo. Our favorite Icelandic chanteuse follows up her mostly-acapella Medulla with this non-acapella collaboration featuring ubiquitous producer Timbaland, Antony Hegarty of Antony & The Johnsons, and an all-female Icelandic brass section. Insert your own joke here.
TONY'S IN-LAWS' PICK OF THE WEEK!
JIMMY BUFFETT - DOWN TO EARTH/HIGH CUMBERLAND GAP. Buffett's first two albums, from 1970 and '72, get slapped onto one CD, along with a pair of non-album tracks from the same period. I've been forced to listen to Mr. Buffett on several occasions by my Parrothead in-laws, and while I don't understand the appeal of the music, the tailgating parties before his concerts definitely sound intriguing.
OF MONTREAL - ICONS ABSTRACT THEE (EP). Previously available only at the indie hipsters' shows, this EP, which is a companion piece to the indie hipsters' latest release, Hissing Fauna, is now available to indie hipsters everywhere through non-hipster, rapidly-dying, traditional music retail.
RADIOHEAD - COM LAG: 2+2=5. To tide you over until their next proper album, here's a compilation of non-album tracks from the Hail To The Thief singles. Didn't that album come out, like, four years ago? Way to strike while the iron is hot, Capitol Records!
ELLIOTT SMITH - NEW MOON. Two dozen previously unreleased demos and outtakes from the late lamented singer-songwriter, many of them solo acoustic recordings cut during his most fertile creative period, 1994-97.
BARBRA STREISAND - LIVE IN CONCERT 2006. Barbra, along with Judy Garland, is an artist who's regarded as a genius by many, but whose voice hits me like fingernails scraping down a blackboard. I'm sure that somewhere in her vast oeuvre there's an album's worth of songs that I'd enjoy, but I'm also sure that this album won't be it. Especially considering the duet she does here with Il Divo. Simon Cowell should be taken out back and flogged for coming up with that idea. Not to mention all his other crimes against pop culture.
TRAVIS - THE BOY WITH NO NAME. Everyone's second or third favorite sensitive British band returns with their latest collection of delicate, moody pop anthems. But seriously, they're pretty good if you like that sort of thing.
TONY'S PICK OF THE WEEK!
THE VIEW - HATS OFF TO THE BUSKERS. These young Scottish louts have caused quite a stir in the UK with their blend of punk energy, killer hooks and unintelligible singing that can probably only be understood by other Scotsmen. But when you're busy jumping around the room to the infectious music, you won't really care about the lyrics. They're one iPod commercial away from becoming big stars.
ORDER THEM ALL! OK, YOU CAN LEAVE OUT THE STREISAND IF YOU MUST... BUT ORDER THE REST! AND ORDER ANYTHING NOT MENTIONED IN THIS NEWSLETTER AS WELL! EMAIL OR CALL (212) 244-3460!
WANNA GET NEW MUSIC FOR FREE? TRADE IN YOUR OLD CDs & DVDs FOR CREDIT TOWARDS NEW CDs & DVDs! OR GET CASH IF YOU'RE INTO THAT SORT OF THING! EMAIL OR CALL TO LET US KNOW WHAT YOU'VE GOT!
UNTIL NEXT WEEK, WE LEAVE YOU WITH THIS:
Here's a roll call of forgotten '90s alternative bands. A moment of silence, please, as we remember...
MADDER ROSE, JAWBOX, THOMAS JEFFERSON SLAVE APARTMENTS, LETTERS TO CLEO, GREENBERRY WOODS, SKELETON KEY, FOR SQUIRRELS, SMOKING POPES, QUICKSAND, NEW FAST AUTOMATIC DAFFODILS, RAGING SLAB, COME, SWEET 75, MACHINES OF LOVING GRACE, LOTION, SATCHEL, ETHYL MEATPLOW, GUMBALL.
Bless you all, wherever you are now.
Your friend, Barney Greengrass, "The Sturgeon King."
P.S. -- STAY TUNED NEXT WEEK FOR THE RETURN OF SAL!
We do public speaking engagements! You need a couple of witty, bitter, snarky guys to talk about the music industry? Let us know! Email us at HEYNYCD@aol.com! Hey, we've been in the Times, so we know what we're talking about.