Freshly Unwrapped: New Music Releases, 6/17/08
Chicago – Stone of Sisyphus (Rhino)
Fifteen years after Warner Bros. rejected Stone of Sisyphus, leading to Chicago’s departure from the label and kicking off over a decade of crass, fan-bilking compilations, the band’s “legendary lost” album finally sees the light of day…on Warner-owned Rhino! Hey, why is the record industry in the tank again?
Coldplay – Viva La Vida (Capitol/EMI)
Speaking of “in the tank,” here comes EMI’s great white hope for
the second quarter of 2008! Are garish artwork and echoes of U2 enough to keep the label’s top shareholders from having to sell off their third chateaus? Judging from the second single (and title track), the answer is an unqualified “yes.” Judging from most of the rest of the record, on the other hand…
Jason Falkner – Bedtime With The Beatles 2 (Adrenaline)
In which the terminally underrated power-pop superhero follows up his wonderful (and stupidly out of print) Bedtime With the Beatles, offering nine more lullaby renditions of classic tracks from the Fab Four, including “Norwegian Wood,” “Penny Lane,” and — oddly — “Here Comes the Sun.” My daughter can’t wait!
Mick Hucknall – Tribute to Bobby (Rhino)
Hucknall disbanded Simply Red last year, joining Roddy Frame and Ian Broudie in the ranks of artists whose solo debuts were made in name only. For his maiden voyage, Mr. Red pays tribute to the music of Bobby “Blue” Bland — a well-deserved tip of the hat, to be sure, but one whose commercial significance cannot possibly be underestimated. Still, Mick’s in fine voice, and he’s probably got more money than he’ll ever be able to spend, so good for him!
Judas Priest – Nostradamus (Sony)
People haven’t been buying albums for a decade, and metal hasn’t sold for dick in a couple of decades — so what does Judas Priest do in 2008? It records a double album about a 16th-century occultist. Who’s got balls? The Priest has balls!I haven’t listened to a concept album since Tarkus triggered a fit of projectile vomiting back in 1991, and I’m not breaking that streak now, but hey — you’ve got to admire the band’s moxie, right?
The Offspring – Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace (Sony)
Wait, what? This band is still around — and this is their eighth album? How did this happen? And why?
Katy Perry – One of the Boys (Capitol)
Perry’s press flacks are referring to this album’s leadoff single, “Ur So Gay,” as “hilarious” and “zeitgeist-capturing,” but what they really mean to say is “profoundly stupid” and “transparently trendy” — terms that could be applied to pretty much this entire album. (My full-length review for Bullz-Eye is here.)
Sister Hazel – Before the Amplifiers: Live Acoustic (Rock Ridge)
I could have sworn Sister Hazel released a live album just a couple of years ago — and I would have been right: Live Live came out in 2004. But I guess there’s a difference between a live album and an acoustic live album, at least as far as this band’s inexplicably rabid fans are concerned. More power to everyone concerned.
Teddy Thompson – A Piece of What You Need (Verve Forecast)
Teddy’s last record was a disappointing collection of covers, but he seems to have gotten back on track here; he hooked up with producer Marius de Vries, who helped midwife the “more adventurous” album Thompson was looking for. When he’s on target, Teddy Thompson is arguably the most talented of his next-gen rock scion peers. I’m cautiously optimistic.
UB40 – Twentyfourseven (Reflex)
Ali Campbell fans, this is your last chance to catch the bleating reggae singer fronting UB40 — he quit the band in January, leaving his former compadres to look under the cushions for a replacement (they eventually settled on Campbell’s younger brother — Christmas is gonna be awk-ward this year…)
Dennis Wilson – Pacific Ocean Blue (Legacy Edition) (Legacy)
Hey, what do you know? I’m reviewing this one tomorrow. Check in at midnight for in-depth critiquin’!