And I thought last week's release schedule was a bit bare. I might have spoke just a wee little bit too soon. Some weeks are low on albums I'd actually buy but have some titles destined to be big sellers and some weeks it's just the opposite. This week seems to lack sales punch and 'must-own' titles. Because most of this week's list is uninspiring to me, I'm going to use this opportunity to highlight a release that has sort of released and has completely inspired me.
Barrett Martin is the former drummer for Screaming Trees and Mad Season, the latter featuring Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready and Alice in Chains' Layne Staley. He co-founded Tuatara with R.E.M guitarist Peter Buck and has also worked with R.E.M.
I've been writing about this album for more than a year. I've been listening to it for months and now you can, too... digitally. While the physical album won't release until August 18th (my anniversary, as it turns out), you can download it from Amazon and iTunes and you really should. It won't be the planned double album but its 11 tracks run 74 minutes and these brilliant musicians take full advantage of every one of them. With many compositions stretching longer than on previous Martin records, the musicians are free to discover and explore. All that interplay leaves plenty for listeners to discover, as well. Martin's world/jazz hybrid dips more heavily into the jazz side but both elements are again present.
The Minus 5
Speaking of Peter Buck and R.E.M. collaborators, we have this latest from Scott McCaughey's other band. I've never met Buck or McCaughey, but I feel I already understand them on some level. When these guys aren't busy singing for their supper, they make more music. We all have hobbies. It's somewhat rare that our vocation and our hobby would be the same. It is for McCaughey and Buck. Buck has R.E.M., Tuatara, The Minus 5, and The Baseball Project. McCaughey isn't a full-time member of Tuatara but he has worked with them. He also works with R.E.M., heads up The Minus 5, and is a member of The Baseball Project. He also has his band the Young Fresh Fellows (who have a release out this week). McCaughey is a talented music junkie. It's what he does.