It's New Release Tuesday, and this week's is one of the biggest days of the year, with new discs by the Foo Fighters, a reinvigorated Paul Simon and TV On The Radio leading the pack, plus a few other artists returning to the scene after a few years away from the limelight.
Next week (April 19), expect a batch of Kinks and Billy Joel deluxe re-releases, another Glee disc, Bob Schneider's new Perfect Day album, and physical copies of last year's The Fall LP by Gorillaz, which was released for free on their Web site just months ago.
The Fall is a collection of songs created on an iPad as the band touring North America last fall. It includes "The Parish of Space Dust," written about the band's time in Houston. For now, this week...
Foo Fighters, Wasting Light: The Foos turn in 11 songs recorded in Dave Grohl's garage, and it's one of their loudest records in years. The standouts for us our the lead single, "Rope," the Bob Mould-assisted "Dear Rosemary" and "A Matter of Time." Live, the record pops, and we hope that we see the band in Houston this year.
Paul Simon, So Beautiful or So What: The hype machine is correct this time: This is Paul Simon's best album since Graceland. Or at least the most cognizant. You wanna stomp your feet, smile, and clap for the whole hour of So Beautiful. Here's hoping Rhymin' Simon comes back to Houston soon.
TV On the Radio, Nine Types of Light: We heard most of the new album at various SXSW parties and appearance last month, and we can say that this new disc by TVOTR is one of their most masterful. It does quite surpass the excellent Return To Cookie Mountain, but it's most assuredly a must-listen.
Thursday, No Devolución: Thursday is back with a new album, now their second on Epitaph. This time around, lead singer Geoff Rickly's voice gets bathed in effects and multi-tracked, turning it into a ghostly entity, while the guitars get mixed into Black Rebel Motorcycle Club oblivion. It pays off.
Alison Krauss & Union Station, Paper Airplanes: Krauss reunites with Union Station after a seven-year layoff that included a stint with Led Zeppelin/Band of Joy's Robert Plant. Welcome home, er, back. Take a listen to the title track on the playlist on the next page.
Pentagram, Last Rites: If you don't know Pentagram and you call yourself any sort of metal fanatic, then you are living all wrong. The smoky and snaky magic of Bobby Liebling and company isn't to be missed. This is the band's first new release since 2004's Show 'Em How.
Brett Dennen, Lover Boy: Dennen turns in the most pop-forward album of his career with Lover Boy. This one of those albums that you will be hearing by next year with your sandals off on the packed lawn of the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion. Sure, he's on par with goofy dudes like Jason Mraz, but Dennen manages to make darker sounds you can sunbathe to.
Jessie J, Who You Are: You probably already know popper Jessie J from import club singles like "Price Tag," "Casualty of Love" and "Do It Like a Dude." The British pop singer is also a songwriter in her own right, getting a co-writing credit for Miley Cyrus' "Party In The U.S.A." Yes, the song that will one day be the new national anthem was partially written by a Brit.
Panda Bear, Tomboy: Panda Bear's Tomboy is a buffet for your ears, though it grows tedious over the duration. It sounds great in echoey rooms, making it a good late-night record.
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Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit, Here We Rest: This one slays, and has been getting applause from musicians in the know like Justin Townes Earle since it left the mastering desk a few months back. We heard some of this material live at SXSW, and now we can finally own a piece of it. "Go It Alone" and "Codeine" are our favorites tracks so far.