Last week brought new releases from Britney Spears, Radiohead, and a few Pearl Jam re-issues hitting store shelves amid reports that the industry was finally starting to see some improvement. Spears' Femme Fatale is currently projected to enter the top spot of the Billboard 200 chart with sales of almost 300,000 units. That's cool we guess if you think an animatronic mother of two is a step-up for the music industry.
Whereas last week was a mixed bag of hip-hop, pop, and alt-rock releases, like Wiz Kalifa and Broken Bells, today seems to be purely roots and indie in scope, with the bigger debuts looking to be heavy sellers on vinyl.
Next week will bring a new album from the Foo Fighters, Wasting Light, which has already been leaked by the band themselves, albeit with less-than-stellar sound quality. We have already heard most of the new TV On The Radio album, Nine Types Of Light, during last month's SXSW in Austin, and we give it our seal of approval.
Also on the horizon next Tuesday is a brand-new set by Paul Simon, titled So Beautiful or So What, which has echoes of his 1986 album Graceland, with a bluegrass bent, and a pronounced giddiness to it that we haven't heard from Rhymin' Simon in quite awhile. Even Elvis Costello loves it. Still waiting on Simon to announce a Houston, or even a Texas stop, date on his current tour...
There's some cool stuff to pick up or download today, so let's get rolling.
What we heard live during SXSW didn't jump out us on first listen, but we listening to the album stream on the band's site this past week has finally had us come around to Blood Pressures. The duo's time off while Alison Mosshart helped co-front The Dead Weather with Jack White seems to make her duo with Jamie Hince now seem tame in comparison. Still, Pressures is a great Kills record, if not the best one.
Raveonettes Raven In The Grave
More of the same but different from the boy-girl Swedish doom-garage duo. Maybe we don't get the textures and rich inlay on each Raveonettes album, but most of them have sounded the same since 2003's Chain Gang Of Love. They remain satisfying in a live setting though.
The Band's Robbie Robertson turns in his first solo album since 1998's Contact from the Underworld of Redboy with help from Trent Reznor and Tom Morello, plus the diamond one-two punch of Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood. The standout here is "She's Not Mine" with that bed of ambient noise and reverse guitars.
This Kinks tribute album featuring Metallica, Bruce Springsteen, Spoon, Mumford & Sons, and the late Alex Chilton, finally gets it's proper stateside release. Not as fresh-sounding as it should be, sounding like it's bogged down by over-reverent, or at least tame, production. Still kinda cool to hear James Hetfield bellow "You Really Got Me", even if we honestly could have lived without it.
Leon Russell The Best Of Leon Russell
Resurrected for an album with Elton John, 2010's The Union, Russell's solo best gets a new airing with this hits set. We stole our mother's copy of Russell's Retrospective a long time ago, so we may just buy her this one to replace it.
Ha Ha Tonka Death Of A Decade
Extremely underrated Americana group Ha Ha Tonka throws down the eleven-track Death Of A Decade this week for Bloodshot Records, home of Scott H. Biram and Justin Townes Earle. For fans of Houston's own Buxton, the dearly departed News On The March, and touring buddies Murder By Death. Hell, buy a copy for your Kings Of Leon-loving little sister too.
The Smithereens 2011
This is a new release from the Smithereens, who you may know from music videos on VH1 Classic, or from drunken conversations with yours truly. When we bring up the Smithereens to most people our age, they give us this weird look as if the Smithereens aren't cool. They're plenty cool, and "Blood And Roses" is still the jam. To tell you the truth, they were a ballsier R.E.M. and lead singer Pat Dinizio had eyebrows in the 80s that would make Bill Berry's own eye-staches run home crying to his mother.
Iggy & The Stooges Raw Power Live: In the Hands of the Fans
This is a live document of the Iggy & The Stooges recent Raw Power shows with former guitarist James Williamson aboard this past September at the All Tomorrow's Parties Festival. This live album proves that the band, now missing the late Ron Asheton, still slays groups old enough to be their grandchildren. If you don't own Raw Power, then why are you still reading this? Go buy a copy now, and buy this live disc too while you are at it.