It's back! I've decided to bring Overlooked Alternatives out of that coma it's been in to make sure you know what you might be missing out on. Here's the good stuff for this week:
Robert Fripp - Exposure: Fripp finally gets around to re-issuing his first solo album, one that manages to cover pretty much all the bases he would ever touch upon - arty rock, post-punk, new wave, noise, it's all here. And finally it's here as Fripp originally planned it, more or less (the Blondie/Fripp collaboration "I Feel Love" recorded for this project is still not included), as it was never released on CD in this fashion. Plus, there is a second disc of the more familiar version of the album with a completely different mix and a smattering of bonus tracks featuring, believe it or not, a very young Daryl Hall — long before he and Oates would burn up the charts with very, very different music. Two packaging options are offered: traditional jewelcase or special miniature LP-style cardboard sleeve.
Cheap Trick - Rockford: I was all prepared for a let down with this one, again, after their last "return to their roots" Special One turned out to be pretty lackluster. But VH1.com came through with a preview last week and happily proved me wrong. Put a very strong emphasis on the "rock" in Rockford because this is Cheap Trick's best album in a hell of a long time — we're talking decades here, people. This is Cheap Trick at their best, as if they picked up right where they dropped the ball with Dream Police. I don't expect this will cause a revolution or anything, but this sure as hell will please the fans and make for some great concert material.
Elvis Costello and Allen Toussaint - The River in Reverse: The day my beautiful daughter was born last year, Hurricane Katrina tore a hole in New Orleans. We were oblivious to the whole thing for almost two days — the outside world didn't really exist while we were caught up in a whole new world of diaper changes and figuring out how this tiny little person fit not only in our arms, but into our lives. We emerged from the hospital, the shock of what had happened began to dawn on us, and a list of names began to appear on newspapers, websites, and TV screens everywhere reporting the missing. One of those names was Allen Toussaint. People started to realize that the loss was not limited to just humans and homes but also to culture — how much heritage had been washed away with Katrina's flood damage? Luckily for us, Toussaint was found to be among the survivors taking refuge in the horrific conditions of New Orleans' Superdome and, during benefits for hurricane survivors, he met up with Elvis Costello to renew a brief musical friendship forged decades before (first as producer of Costello's cover of Yoko Ono's "Walking on Thin Ice" in 1983 and again as piano player on 1989's "Deep Dark Truthful Mirror"). From there, this project bloomed. Toussaint sits in on piano with Costello and his Imposters, Steve Nieve moving to Hammond B3 on this occasion. The group works through brand new material composed by both artists as well as a number of pieces Toussaint wrote in the 60s and 70s, material AllMusicGuide.com bills as being "as much celebration as it is protest." The album promises to be a richly rewarding release. This is offered as both a standard single CD release and also with a DVD, and, from what I can see, for the same price.