We've got an absolutely loaded lineup of New Album Releases for your ears this week — including no less than Elvis Costello, Dave Matthews, and that Neil Young box — and I don't want to waste another minute before getting to it. Josh Hathaway will also be joining us shortly to talk about the new one from Big James and the Chicago Playboys.
However, I have an announcement I need to make. This will be my final New Album Releases column for Blogcritics.
Personally, I'm not going anywhere, and will in fact continue here at BC as both a writer and an editor. But I am moving on from the New Album Releases desk to ply my particular talents elsewhere on the site. I also have no idea who, if anyone, will be taking over this column. If I knew any more than that I'd tell you, but for now that's all the info I have.
Now with that said, we've got a lot to cover this week. So let's get to it.
It's little surprise that Elvis Costello recruited T-Bone Burnett to produce the stripped-down country sounds on his latest album, Secret, Profane & Sugarcane.
It's not Costello's first time working with Burnett, who also produced his albums King Of America (which had many of the same elements found here) and Spike (which didn't). Costello's very first stab at making this type of album actually goes all the way back to 1981's Almost Blue, an album of covers by people like George Jones, which is mostly best left forgotten. On Secret, Profane & Sugarcane, Costello fares much better.
The first volume of Neil Young's ten plus years in the making Archives series of boxed sets also finally sees the light of day this week. Neil's fans have had to endure tease after tease about this release over the years, only to have the artist pull it back for more of his seemingly endless tweaking. So this one definitely wins this week's "hell freezes over" award. Neil Young Archives, Vol. 1: 1963-1972 is available in CD, DVD, and Blu-ray versions.
Speaking of Neil Young, his bandmates in Crosby Stills & Nash have assembled their own retrospective set of Demos, which was reviewed by BC's own Stuart A Hamilton earlier this week. Dave Matthews Band is back in jam-band form on Big Whiskey & the GrooGrux King, their first album since the death of saxophonist LeRoi Moore.
Iggy Pop's first album following the death of Ron Asheton, and the on-hold status of the Stooges is the surprisingly tame-sounding Preliminaires (review by BC's Richard Marcus is here). Mark Oliver Everett and the Eels are back with Hombre Lobo: 12 Songs of Desire.
Finally, The 40th anniversary edition of Woodstock brings a new and upgraded version of the historical festival on both CD and DVD editions, including new footage and previously unseen performances from the likes of The Who and Jefferson Airplane.
At this time, I'd like to thank all of my co-conspirators (too numerous to name-check here) for making NAR the great column it was, and hopefully will still remain. Speaking of which (and yes he gets a name-check for showing up this week), here's Josh Hathaway…
Big James & The Playboys are releasing their first album for Blind Pig Records this week, but these guys are no rookies. Big James Montgomery has played with legends like Little Milton, Albert King, and Buddy Guy before taking on a leading role with the Chicago Playboys. The Playboys' mix of blues, R&B, soul, and funk has been compared to the James Brown's backing bands throughout the years and has also played with impressive company: Buddy Guy, Eric Clapton, and Otis Rush.
Right Here Right Now is 11 tracks, 47 minutes, and endless grooves.
Here are all of this week's new album releases courtesy of All Music Guide:
Secret, Profane & Sugarcane
Contemporary Singer/Songwriter, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Country-Folk
Dave Matthews Band
Big Whiskey & the GrooGrux King
Jam Bands, American Trad Rock, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock
Contemporary Singer/Songwriter, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock
Let the Dominoes Fall
Punk-Pop, Punk Revival, Ska-Punk
Neil Young Archives, Vol. 1: 1963-1972
Album Rock, Folk-Rock, Hard Rock, Singer/Songwriter, Country-Rock, Pop/Rock
Piotr Anderszewski at Carnegie Hall
Baroque, Romantic & Modern Keyboard Music
Ryan Bingham/The Dead Horses
Under and Under
In The Red
Indie Rock, Lo-Fi
Grace: Live Around the World
Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Contemporary Singer/Songwriter
Crosby, Stills & Nash
Pop/Rock, Folk-Rock, Singer/Songwriter
Sony Music Latin
Pop, Latin Pop, Dance-Pop
Living in the Light
Modern Electric Blues, Contemporary Blues, Soul-Blues, Electric Blues
Hombre Lobo: 12 Songs of Desire
Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
Pop/Rock, AM Pop, Soft Rock
…In Shallow Seas We Sail
Tooth & Nail
Screamo, Alternative Pop/Rock
New Wave/Post-Punk Revival, Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
Hoots and Hellmouth
The Holy Open Secret
Alternative Country-Rock, Roots Rock, Country-Rock, Jam Bands, Indie Pop
Without a Song: Live in Europe 1969
Hard Bop, Post-Bop
Jay Stay Paid
Left-Field Hip-Hop, Midwest Rap, Underground Rap
Turina: Violin Sonatas Nos. 1 & 2; El poema de una sanluqueña
Modern Music for Violin & Piano
Sings the Choicest of Cole Porter
Traditional Pop, Torch Songs, Cool
Cover the Earth
Hardcore Punk, Punk
Bruckner: Symphony No. 4 [Hybrid SACD]
Sunny Side Up
Variations on America
Modern & Centemporary Organ Music
Reich: Four Organs; Phase Patterns
Contemporary Chamber Music
How to Rob a Bank
Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Soft Rock
Hey Boy! Hey Girl!/Swingin' Pretty
Traditional Pop, Jump Blues, Dixieland, Early R&B
When You're Hot 1967-1983
Country-Pop, Nashville Sound/Countrypolitan
Stomp! The Blues Tonight
Jazz Blues, Modern Electric Blues
Two Voices in the Desert
Sad Day for Puppets
Indie Pop, Dream Pop, Noise Pop
Classic Sinatra II
Vocal Jazz, Traditional Pop, Standards, Swing, Ballads, Vocal Pop, Big Band
Crossing the Rubicon
Indie Rock, New Wave/Post-Punk Revival
Taking Back Sunday
Rap-Rock, Rap-Metal, Funk Metal, Alternative Pop/Rock
Southern Rap, Hardcore Rap, Pop-Rap
Music from the Original Soundtrack and More: Woodstock
American Trad Rock, Guitar Virtuoso, Boogie Rock, Folk-Rock, Psychedelic, Political Folk, Hard Rock, Blues-Rock, Rock & Roll, Funk