Music Business

New Music Releases April 5: Leon Russell, Robbie Robertson, The Ravonettes, The Kills, Etc.

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.

The Kills Blood Pressures

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.

Robbie Robertson How To Become Clairvoyant

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.

Ray Davies See My Friends

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.

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Craig Hlavaty
Contact: Craig Hlavaty