Michael Brook - BellCurve: After the disappointment I felt with 2005's RockPaperScissors, I would never have expected this "remix" album of that material to not only stand on its own but be as strong as it is - nor be a favorite of the year. And yet . . . BellCurve takes the strongest elements of RockPaperScissors and re-molds them with very different, much more suitable backing music, and, except in the case of one song, does away with all of the vocals that, frankly, cluttered up what most people are tuning into Brooks for in the first place: his beautiful guitar work. The result is a far more pleasing album that ranks with his fantastic Live at the Aquarium and Cobalt Blue releases, rather than down with the confused murk, say, of Albino Alligator. (In an incredibly stupid and frustrating move, the CD is only available for sale at Barnes & Noble. The album may be downloaded from Itunes and Amazon, however, if files are your thing.)
I'd like to take this opportunity to offer my thanks to readers of Overlooked Alternatives and its offspring piece, The Breakdown. As has a tendency to happen, life has started to impinge upon my time to devote to writing this and keep up with reviewing music and, you know, having a life. While I enjoy getting to explore the new releases every week, I'd really rather put my time into actually reviewing recently released albums rather than simply speculating about them.
The opportunity arose recently to join forces with Glen Boyd and Mark Saleski on Blogcritics' weekly New CDs column and I jumped at the chance. I won't be a weekly presence on the list but I will contribute when the beacon of new music that needs a spotlight lights up the sky.
Suffice it to say that I will be there more often than not. It's not "goodbye," it's more, you know, "see you in a bit. I have to run out to the store for some bread. Do you need anything?"