Although we have before us another rather short list of new album releases this week, there are quite a few interesting ones to consider. The biggie this week is of course the new one from Beck — produced by Danger Mouse no less. Our own Josh "Meet Him At Mary's Place" Hathaway will be along shortly to talk about that.
Also worthy of note is the new one from Patti Smith, a collaboration of her poetry set to the soundscapes of My Bloody Valentine's Kevin Shields. Perhaps more worthy to regular readers of NAR however, is that Mark Saleski has returned to the fold following a long sabbatical to give his thoughts on the Smith/Shields collaboration.
Some of the other more interesting things you'll find this week at the record store include the new solo release ¿Como Te Llama?, from Strokes guitarist Albert Hammond Jr., which is said to sound quite a bit like a Strokes record itself. From the Melvins — these are the guys who put the "sludge" in Seattle's nineties grunge sound — comes their latest, Nude with Boots. Jordan Richardson has a full review of that one up on the site which you can check out by going here.
The trend of expanded versions of albums, classic or otherwise, continues this week with last year's Maroon 5 album It Won't Be Soon Before Long getting the deluxe treatment with the usual additional live tracks. Billy Joel's landmark multi-platinum The Stranger gets itself a full boxed set on the 30th Anniversary Legacy Edition, that includes a previously unreleased DVD performance from Carnegie Hall recorded just before the album was recorded in 1977.
And now to talk about the new Patti Smith, we welcome back our missing brother in action, Mark Saleski.
I've always loved it when Patti Smith busts out the poetry notebook. Long before I ever knew what the hell she was talking about, I loved the passion. Aside from a few of the more mainstream poets (Robert Frost, etc.), poetry has always been considered a fringe sort of art.
So be it.
This is the kind of release that might send a few people screaming out of the room. Patti Smith puts on a live performance of her long form prose poem/requiem for friend and icon Robert Mapplethorpe. Guitarist Kevin Shields (My Bloody Valentine) provides the backing soundscapes.
Two discs. Not for the faint of heart.
There are dozens of artists who've been labeled innovative and original. Only a few are deserving – and Beck is one of them, which is an amazing and ironic achievement considering his albums are pastiches of familiar sounds and ideas. Also amazing is that a long line of superstar producers have helmed his records – Modern Guilt marks the first collaboration with Danger Mouse – yet each of them sounds uniquely Beck.
On MG, he takes a step forward using his technical wizardry to create soundscapes that express more than the hipster wisecracks of Odelay or heartbreak of Sea Change (both of which I love), and does it in a mere 33 minutes.
Note to audiophiles: Modern Guilt is available on vinyl with a bonus download of the album in DRM-free MP3 included.
Here are all of this week's new album releases courtesy of All Music Guide:
Alternative Singer/Songwriter, Neo-Psychedelia
Albert Hammond, Jr.
¿Como Te Llama?
The Stranger [2CD Deluxe Edition]
Album Rock, Pop/Rock, Soft Rock
Willie Nelson/Wynton Marsalis
Two Men with the Blues
Nino Rota: Improvviso
Modern Chamber Music
New Maps of Hell [Deluxe Version]
American Underground, Hardcore Punk, Punk, Alternative Pop/Rock, L.A. Punk
Giuseppe Tartini: Sonate a violino solo; Aria del Tasso
Zig Zag Territoires
Classical Vocal and Chamber Music
The Baseball Project
The Baseball Project, Vol. 1: Frozen Ropes and Dying Quails
Jangle Pop, Alternative Pop/Rock, Folk-Pop
The Black Ghosts
Indie Electronic, Electronica
The Capstan Shafts
Indie Pop, Lo-Fi
Fancy Footwork [Deluxe Edition]
Diplomats of Solid Sound
Diplomats of Solid Sound Featuring the Diplomettes
Deep Funk Revival
Donna the Buffalo
Jam Bands, Alternative Folk, Americana, Contemporary Folk, Zydeco
Fauré: Sonates pour violon & piano
Post-Romantic Chamber Music
Underground Rap, Hardcore Rap, Hip-Hop
The Very Best of Eddy Grant: The Road to Reparation
Contemporary Reggae, Reggae-Pop, Urban, Club/Dance, Pop/Rock
Horowitz In Hamburg: The Last Concert
Classical and Romantic Piano Music
Love Is Dead
Blood, Looms and Blooms
Neo-Soul, Urban, Alternative Singer/Songwriter, Hip-Hop
It Won't Be Soon Before Long [US Deluxe Edition]
Pop/Rock, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock
Contemporary Bluegrass, Bluegrass, Traditional Bluegrass
Me First and the Gimme Gimmes
Have Another Ball!
Fat Wreck Chord
Punk-Pop, Punk Revival, Comedy Rock
Nude with Boots
Alternative Metal, Heavy Metal
Mighty Mighty Bosstones
Alternative Pop/Rock, Ska-Punk, Third Wave Ska Revival
Punk-Pop, Indie Rock
Opiate for the Masses
Goth Metal, Alternative Metal
Dennis Russell Davies
Philip Glass: Waiting for the Barbarians
Weeds: Music from the Series, Vol. 3
TV Soundtracks, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Contemporary Singer/Songwriter, Indie Pop, Indie Rock, Comedy Rock
Truths and Rights [Deluxe Edition]
Roots Reggae, Dancehall, Lovers Rock
Indie Electronic, Indie Rock, Indie Pop
Exit Strategy of the Soul
Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Alternative Singer/Songwriter, Contemporary Singer/Songwriter
Patti Smith/Kevin Shields
The Coral Sea
Experimental Rock, Poetry
Someone Else's Déjà Vu
Indie Pop, Indie Rock
State of Grace
Sunny Day Sets Fire
Indie Pop, Twee Pop
Breakfast in Suburbia
Indie Rock, Neo-Psychedelia, Pop Underground
Punk-Pop, Indie Rock
Life Beyond Mars: Bowie Covered
New Wave/Post-Punk Revival, Indie Electronic, Tribute Albums, Club/Dance
Americana Master Series: Best of Doc Watson
Traditional Folk, Traditional Country, Old-Timey
This Is Exile
Death Metal/Black Metal, Grindcore
The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust
Hip-Hop, Underground Rap, Poetry, Political Rap
Boogie Rock, Hard Rock, Blues-Rock