Lots to talk about this week, so let's get right to it.
Mariah Carey's E=MC2 is the new arrival that is probably being watched most closely this week. The reasons for that should be obvious to anyone who has been watching the declining fortunes of the music industry for the past couple of years. As the biggest superstar release so far this year, the big question is whether or not "Mimi" can bring the fans back into the stores.
Meanwhile, other more morbid observers are on flame-out watch, wondering if the comeback of the R&B diva's last album was simply a fluke or not. BC's own Clayton Perry offered up his two cents on the subject in a review published earlier this week, which we urge you to check out.
There are also a couple of big reissues this week. Air has a tenth anniversary deluxe edition of their landmark electronica release Moon Safari. Meanwhile Carole King has the two-disc deluxe legacy edition of her all-time classic Tapestry album. I was never that big a fan of the whirring and beeping brand of Air's synthesized atmospheres. I probably will check out the Carole King though, if for no other reason than to relive that part of my youth that was spent brooding in coffeehouses.
Frank Black's new EP SVN FNGRS is said to draw upon Irish mythology, and be otherwise heavy on the quirky weirdness that fans of his work with the Pixies and as Black Francis already know and love. The Brian Jonestown Massacre's My Bloody Underground was reviewed here earlier this week by BC's own Kevin Eagan, who liked the album's combination of experimentation and noise.
Finally this week, we have a couple of live albums of note. Tom Johnson has all the dope on Rush's new Snakes & Arrows Live, which is being released this week to coincide with a summer tour — but we'll let him tell you all about that. Meanwhile, I can hardly wait to check out Southside Johnny's 1978 Live in Boston, where the New Jersey soul-shouter (and sometime Springsteen collaborator) is captured in a red hot show around the time of his great Hearts Of Stone album.
Spring has sprung and it's time for some blues! Sure, true believers know that it's always time for some blues. Well, this record from Yellow Dog artist Eden Brent is the kind of thing that just might create a few true believers. Brent has a beautifully soulful voice (with just enough rasp) and wide-ranging piano technique that brings to mind both Marcia Ball and Professor Longhair.
So yeah, while spring's arrival has lifted my spirits a little, Eden Brent's high energy walks through "Close The Door," "Mississippi Flatland Blues," and "Fried Chicken" are making me look ahead to a long, hot summer.
By now, after over 30 years of live albums, you'd think Rush would have perfected the art, but it seems like every time they put one out, something has been not quite right. Limits of vinyl hobbled the early ones, song choices or the mix and sound quality stunted later ones.
So here we are, one more live album on … did they get it right? They might just have – early reports are very encouraging – sound quality from this set, recorded over two nights in Rotterdam, is said to be excellent, and the full setlist — including all nine songs played off of 2007's Snakes & Arrows, and the "rarities" like "Entre Nous," "Mission," "Circumstances," "Witchhunt," and "Subdivisions" — looks very promising. It's hard as a long-time Rush fan to call some of those early regulars "rarities," but the truth is, many of them haven't been heard in concert in 20 years or more. Even better, the band still has it, playing at the peak of their game like they did ages ago. This might just be as close to perfect as we're going to get.
Here are all of this week's new album releases courtesy of All Music Guide:
Moon Safari [10th Anniversary Deluxe Edition]
Indie Pop, Ambient Pop, Electronica, Club/Dance, Trip-Hop
Alternative Singer/Songwriter, Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
Indie Electronic, Ambient Pop
Club/Dance, Euro-Dance, Dance-Pop, Hip-Hop, Urban
Punk Revival, Punk-Pop, Emo
Boogybytes, Vol. 4
Club/Dance, Experimental Techno
Heavy Metal, Classical Crossover, Neo-Classical Metal, Progressive Metal
Album Rock, Arena Rock, Prog-Rock/Art Rock
Book of Velocities
Structured Improvisation, Process-Generated, Avant-Garde
In Between Words
Experimental Ambient, Ambient, Electronic
Ketil Bjørnstad/Terje Rypdal
Life in Leipzig
Folk-Jazz, Avant-Garde, Structured Improvisation, Modern Composition
The IV Edition
The Brian Jonestown Massacre
My Bloody Underground
Neo-Psychedelia, Indie Rock, Garage Rock Revival, Shoegaze, Space Rock
Club/Dance, Urban, Dance-Pop
Live in the Ozone: 1973 US Tour
Western Swing Revival, Country-Rock, Rock & Roll
Does It Offend You, Yeah?
You Have No Idea What You're Getting Yourself Into
Indie Electronic, Dance-Rock, Alternative Dance, New Wave/Post-Punk Revival, Indie Rock
The Vegas Years
Post-Grunge, Alternative Pop/Rock, Hard Rock
Live in Liverpool [CD/DVD]
Indie Rock, Garage Punk
The Trick to Life
Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Pop, Britpop
Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
You've Got to Laugh
Alternative Singer/Songwriter, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock
Tapestry [Legacy Edition]
Pop/Rock, Soft Rock
The Kottonmouth Xperience, Vol. 2
Rap-Metal, Post-Grunge, Alternative Metal, Funk Metal
Marilyn Mazur/Jan Garbarek
Improvisation, Structured Improvisation, Folk-Jazz
Just Us Kids
Americana, Contemporary Singer/Songwriter, Alternative Country, Roots Rock
Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus
Best of Both Worlds Concert
Teen Pop, TV Soundtracks
Mission in Progress
Contemporary Reggae, Roots Reggae
Notes from the Underground
Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Singer/Songwriter, Rock & Roll
The Naked Brothers Band
I Don't Want to Go to School [Bonus Tracks]
Pop/Rock, Teen Pop
From Etudes to Cataclysms
Contemporary Keyboard Music
Por Gitaro: Lou Harrison
Contemporary Music for Guitar
Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Alternative Pop/Rock, Soundtracks
Raise the Dead
Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Contemporary Singer/Songwriter
The London Concert
New Orleans R&B, New Orleans Blues, Piano Blues
Snakes & Arrows Live
Album Rock, Prog-Rock/Art Rock, Hard Rock, Arena Rock
Remix Romance, Vol. 1
Alternative Dance, Euro-Dance, Indie Electronic
1978 Live in Boston
Heartland Rock, Album Rock, Rock & Roll
Tangele: The Pulse of Yiddish Tango
Jewish Music, Musical Theater, Jewish Folk, Tango
Easy Beatles: Irresistible In-Sound Interpretations from the 60s and 70s
Vocal Pop, Pop, Folk-Pop
Modern Creative, Avant-Garde Jazz, Folk-Jazz, Post-Bop
Contemporary Singer/Songwriter, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock