Home / New Album Releases, 8-8-2006: Ani Difranco, Slayer, Gin Blossoms

New Album Releases, 8-8-2006: Ani Difranco, Slayer, Gin Blossoms

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Thin pickings for new music in the dog days of August. You might give Ani Difranco's Reprieve a spin. If anybody still cares, the Gin Blossoms have Major Lodge Victory.

Beyond that, there's the new American release from Slayer, Christ Illusion. It's their first lineup with the original band since around 1990. I've never understood what they were about. Best I can tell, they are opposed Jesus Christ, war, and melody. If you hate all those things, this may be your bag.

There are a few promising items in the re-issue range, most tasty sounding being a Rhino anthology The Definitive Groove Collection: Sugar Hill Records. Looks like it'd be a fine education in the original old school hip-hop. I will admit that most of these titles look unfamiliar even to an old timer such as myself. There's also a nice Chic anthology, and some Roy Orbison remasters.

Here's the complete list of this week's major new album releases, courtesy AMG:

Comets On Fire Avatar Sub Pop
Noise-Rock, Space Rock, Neo-Psychedelia, Indie Rock

Dirty Pretty Things Waterloo to Anywhere Interscope
Indie Rock, Britpop, Alternative Pop/Rock

Matthew Friedberger Winter Women\Holy Ghost Language 859 Recordings
Indie Rock

Slayer Christ Illusion American
Speed Metal, Heavy Metal, Thrash

American Brass Quintet Music for the Soloists of the American Brass Quintet and Friends Well-Tempered Productions
Contemporary Chamber Music

Craig Armstrong World Trade Center [Original Score] Sony Classical
Original Score, Film Music, Soundtracks

Tab Benoit Best of the Bayou Blues Vanguard
Swamp Blues, Louisiana Blues, New Orleans Blues

Blood Meridian Kick Up the Dust V2
Indie Rock

Breaking Benjamin Phobia Hollywood
Alternative Metal, Post-Grunge

Cassie Cassie Bad Boy

Chic The Definitive Groove Collection Rhino
Disco, Funk, Post-Disco, Urban

The Cure The Head on the Door [Deluxe Edition] Fiction/Elektra/Rhino
College Rock, Goth Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Post-Punk, New Wave

The Cure Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me [Deluxe Edition] Fiction/Elektra/Rhino
College Rock, Post-Punk, Goth Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock

The Cure The Top [Deluxe Edition] WEA
College Rock, Goth Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Post-Punk

DJ Quik Born and Raised in Compton: The Greatest Hits Arista/Profile/Legacy
West Coast Rap, Hardcore Rap, Hip-Hop, Gangsta Rap

Dennis Russell Davies Philip Glass: The Voyage Orange Mountain
Contemporary Opera

The Delgados The Complete BBC Peel Sessions Chemikal Underground
Indie Pop, Indie Rock

Ani Difranco Reprieve Righteous Babe
Alternative Folk, Singer/Songwriter, Urban Folk, Anti-Folk

Fretwork Alexander Agricola: Chansons Harmonia Mundi Franc
Renaissance Vocal Music

The Gap Band Gold Hip-O
Funk, Urban

Gin Blossoms Major Lodge Victory Hybrid
Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Pop/Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock

The Glove Blue Sunshine [Deluxe Edition] Rhino
Psychedelic, Alternative Pop/Rock, Post-Punk

Nina Gordon Bleeding Heart Graffiti Warner Bros.
Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock

Monique Haas Complete Recordings on Deutsche Grammophon Deutsche Grammophon
Music for Piano

Jonas Brothers It's About Time Daylight/Columbia
Pop/Rock, Teen Pop

Left Alone Dead American Radio Hellcat
Punk Revival, Ska-Punk, Punk-Pop

The Louvin Brothers The Essential Louvin Brothers 1955-1964: My Baby's Gone Raven
Bluegrass-Gospel, Close Harmony, Traditional Country, Traditional Bluegrass

Love Arcade Love Arcade East West
Punk-Pop, Alternative Pop/Rock

Meridian Arts Ensemble Brink [Hybrid SACD] Channel Crossings
Contemporary Chamber Music

Jim Noir Tower of Love [Barsuk] Barsuk
Indie Pop

Oh No Exodus into Unheard Rhythms Stones Throw
Hip-Hop, Underground Rap

Roy Orbison Crying [Bonus Tracks] Monument/Legacy
Pop/Rock, Pop, Rock & Roll

Roy Orbison In Dreams [Sony Bonus Tracks] Monument/Legacy
Pop/Rock, Pop, Rock & Roll

Roy Orbison Sings Lonely and Blue [Bonus Tracks] Monument/Legacy
AM Pop, Pop/Rock, Rock & Roll

Reckless Kelly Reckless Kelly Was Here Sugar Hill
Americana, Alternative Country, Alternative Country-Rock, Country-Rock, Rock & Roll

Smokey Robinson & the Miracles Gold Motown
Motown, Urban, R&B, Soul, Smooth Soul, Pop-Soul, Pop

Rick Ross Port of Miami Def Jam
Southern Rap, Gangsta Rap

The Sadies In Concert, Vol. 1 Yep Roc
Alternative Country-Rock

Sebadoh III [Expanded] Domino
Indie Rock, Lo-Fi, Alternative Pop/Rock

Sigur Ros Sæglopur Filter

Sister Sledge The Definitive Groove Collection Rhino
Urban, Disco, Soul, Smooth Soul, Quiet Storm

Slave The Definitive Groove Collection Rhino
Post-Disco, Urban, Funk, Disco

Meic Stevens Rain in the Leaves: The EPs, Vol. 1 Sunbeam
British Folk-Rock, British Folk, Folk-Rock, Singer/Songwriter

Tears for Fears Gold Hip-O
Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Pop/Rock

Under the Influence of Giants Under the Influence of Giants Island
Alternative Pop/Rock, Dance-Pop, Alternative Dance

Various Artists The Definitive Groove Collection: Sugar Hill Records Rhino
Old-School Rap, Hip-Hop

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  • Slayer loves to put a stick in the beehive and see what happens. They never were about melody, but they did pioneer the combination of punk and metal leading the way for a style of thrash/death. THe new album is an excellent return to form.

  • Well, if they’re just not about melody, then they’re pretty much not about music.

    On the other hand, they’re opposed to Jesus Christ and war. That’s SO shocking and avant garde. They must be important artistes.

  • zingzing

    not about music? you ever heard slayer, al? thrash was never about melody, always about texture and rhythm. and slayer does that very well. as for being opposed to christianity and war, that’s metal’s common theme. slayer is not an avant garde band. and no, they are not shocking anymore. then again, they are over 20 years into their career. then again, if you listen to thrash for the lyrics, you are really, really missing the point.

    in the development of 80’s metal, slayer is quite important. and they were highly artistic in a sometimes artless form.

  • I’ve heard a little Slayer, but I can’t remember any of it, mostly because it’s just garbage. When you say “thrash was never about melody” then you are right there conceding that the whole genre is not about MUSIC. It’d be like saying that “John Doe is a great novelist, he’s just not any kind of storyteller.”

    Besides not being about melody, they’re apparently not about lyrics either, according to your own words. That’s a good concession, as hating Jesus and war is just mindless boilerplate.

    On top of which, I might add that they aren’t of any worth as regards the other major musical elements of rhythm and harmony. At least some of the not very melodic hip hop has interesting and supple rhythmic patterns- as opposed to the thrash going just SLAM SLAM SLAM SLAM SLAM on and on.

    In short, Slayer is crap on the lower end even of the Beavis and Butthead playlist. Slayer and thrash in general aren’t even TRYING to be good music. They’re just idiots smacking their heads into the wall again and again all day long.

    In short, their crap just isn’t music in any meaningful sense of the word. They’re not an important band. They’re already largely forgotten, and certainly 20 years from now no one will remember them at all.

    Did I mention that these guys wouldn’t know a real song if it came up and bit them on the ass?

  • zingzing

    dude, you are just going on your opinion of the matter. melody is not at all the definition of music, it is just one of the elements that make up a somewhat misleading definition of music. ever heard of minimalism? concrete? drone? noise? right there are a few other genres that negate the use of melody (and often harmony and lyric). your personal taste does not redefine the limits of music, and i find your attempt laughable and sad. you should branch out.

    also, you need to listen again if “SLAM SLAM SLAM” is all you get out of the rhythms.

    slayer is definitely at the “listenable” (aka-quite musical) end of thrash. in fact, they are pretty mainstream compared to some of the extremism to be found in that genre. they brought the style to the masses, (not saying that’s a positive or a negative), and for that they are remembered. the fact is they are not forgotten. dave lombardo is still at the front of experimental rock music (see fantomas). and those looking for an introduction into the frankly daunting genre of thrash/black metal will certainly look towards “reign in blood” as soon as they get over metallica.

    music is a wide-open thing, and any limits you place on it are your own loss. you should read up on some john cage. “what is music,” he was asked, to which he replied, “everything.” or so i am told. ever heard 4’33”? i can guarantee you are right now. music’s an amazing thing when you let your guard down.

  • Brother Zingzing, I’m quite open to hearing new ideas in music. But that doesn’t mean that there’s no such thing as standards or definitions. I don’t have a guard up against new and different sounds. Rather, I’ve got critical standards that there has to be something there besides mere claims of being avant.

    “Noise” is not music. Nor is 4 and half minutes of silence. Music is about organizing noise into expressive patterns.

    There’s more to music than melody- particularly rhythm and harmony. Likewise, there’s more to a novel than a story. But without a story, you’ve got crap for a novel. Likewise, without a melody at the center of it, you’ve probably not got a song of merit. If you’re not even TRYING to write a tune, then don’t waste my time.

    You can say that this is my opinion, but my opinion in these matters has merit. This is not just arbitrary prejudice, but a recognition that there is objective as well as subjective in art.

    No “everything” is NOT music, and it’s just dumb to say so, and I don’t care who’s doing the saying. That’s ridiculous and pretentious- and an excuse for talentless idiots to try to claim that they’re something that they’re not, ie “musicians.”

    In fact, the “limits” of having critical standards are not a loss, but a requisite of music appreciation. If you’re busy talking yourself into liking some ignorant crap and patting yourself on the back for your supposed open mindedness, then you are not listening to real music, and are dulling your faculties from the appreciation of actual music.

    In short, why would you be standing around admiring the emperor’s new clothes when you could just as easily be digging the Who, Miles Davis or Mozart?

  • zingzing

    hrm. i think you are limiting your appreciation of music by imposing limits (or “critical standards,” if you will) on what you deam to be music.

    noise, as a genre, is quite musical. the use of noise, feedback, found sound, non-musical sources, etc, has been going on for a long time and pushes the limits of what you are supposed to recognize as musical. generally, “noise” is more “organized” than most other forms of music, as “organization” is the only tool at hand. it is the organizing of these noises that makes the music compelling, because pure noise without any consideration would be unrelentingly boring. but, with enough care, noise proves that such things as harmony and melody are totally irrelevant, and that only rhythm (and that at a drastically reduced definition) is intrinsic to music.

    there are many ways to write a tune, and they don’t have to fall into keys or counterpoint or structures. “everything” is not music, that is for sure, but “anything” CAN be music. it just depends. how often have you gone to a spot out in the country and just listened? isn’t it sometimes quite musical? (chris watson–of olden time noise-mongers cabaret voltaire–has several albums of location recordings… things like bats dipping their wings into a lake whilst hunting, etc.)

    i find that listening to “difficult” music (your “ignorant crap”) vastly improves my ability to appreciate whatever it is you call “real music.” you have to pay very close attention to find the music within… and when you do, it is very rewarding. it’s like practice.

    who hasn’t heard miles, the who and mozart a million times? sure, they are great, but they offer little adventure beyond what they are. expanding your musical vocabulary does nothing to hinder the use of your existing vocab, it only enhances it.

    i say this as i am listening to some nice recent singer-songwriter music. not everything i listen to is difficult. my open mindedness is what keeps me interested. if i had to listen to what i considered comfortable, even acceptable, all of the time, i think i would become bored by music. instead, i can go from extreme to extreme to middle of the road to pop to rock to rap quite easily, and the world of music is as vast as i let it become.

    what you consider “emperor’s new clothes” i consider to be new (or at least different) horizons.

  • zing, please do yourself a favor and stop trying to piss into the barger wind. you’ll only get stains on yourself.

    we’ve been over this “what is music” thing several times and al absolutely refuses to listen opposing viewpoints.

    music is whatever you want it to be. it does not have to contain melody, harmony, or rhythm.

    pretense is completely in the eye of the beholder.

  • zingzing

    i was getting a little bit of deja vu…

    i got to stop drinking so much. destroys my memory.

    melody is for pussies. pussy-willows. something like at.

  • Music is like pudding. Some people like it smooth and sweet, and some people like it with cinnamon and raisins, and some people just want to chew on rocks.

    No, wait. Music is like food. Some people want to eat dessert first, some people want to cut out the carbs and strictly eat meat, and some people just want to chew on rocks.

    Hmm. No, that doesn’t work either. Maybe music is like sex. Some people like it soft and slow, some like it hard and fast, and some just can’t control themselves around gravel.

    Didn’t somebody say writing about music is like dancing about architecture?

  • No now Mark, I do not refuse to listen to other people’s opinions. That doesn’t mean that I’m going to start admiring the emperor’s new clothes just to be agreeable or look cool, though. You know, we’ve been over this definition of music thing repeatedly, and you just refuse to listen to my viewpoint. But yes, pretense is in the eye of the beholder- specifically the beholder pretending that the emperor has a fine suit when he’s really running around in his skivvies.

    Zing, I’m not opposed to “difficult” music. I appreciate things that I have to struggle with a bit to learn how to listen to. Captain Beefheart comes to mind that way, or some of the chewier highbrow jazz- Thelonious Monk, say.

    What I’m opposed to is struggling to force myself to listen to something when there’s nothing significant at the bottom of it to reward my effort.

  • Al, you can’t believe the story of the emperor’s new clothes, claim to be a lover of music and champion the White Stripes without collapsing in a muddle of self-contradiction.

    Namedropping the mighty Captain Beefheart, who is one of the great American artists, does go some way towards shoring up your cred, though.

    Har Har!

  • zingzing

    beefheart is a good example… take trout mask. some people would consider that to be a big old mess by a band who can’t quite get it together. of course, we all know better (fact is, they rehearsed the thing for a year and it was all meticulously notated, etc, etc). but some people would think it was just a bad band. you have to spend some time and listen.

    noise (or your emperor) is like that as well. how do you know that there is nothing significant at the bottom? you have to give it a chance, and a good chance, not some half-assed listen. put it on headphones. turn it up. make it hurt. noise purposefully obscures the usual touchstones of comfortable music. you have to dig into it before you can even begin to appreciate it.

  • Sex is like pudding. Some people like it smooth and sweet, and some people like it with cinnamon and raisins, and some people just want to chew on rocks.

    So true.

  • i can respect a viewpoint that says that sound with some combination of melody, harmony, rhythm is more pleasing to that person’s ear.

    but to say that these things are absolutely necessary for the sound to be called ‘music’ is reductive in the extreme.

    as for there being no rhythmic quality to Slayer, i guess you’ve got no taste for all of those great polyrhythms being dished out by Dave Lombardo. oh well.

  • Brother Saleski, perhaps you might recommend me one or two specific Slayer songs whose legitimate merits I may have missed.

  • nugget

    slayer: whatev. That’s my review of slayer.

    I think it’s funny when peoples’ means for categorizing genres has to do with what type of distortion they put on their guitar or how fast they play.

    metal is all the same guys. Bunch of puerile, masochistic, ultra-sensitive males who felt their masculinity was robbed growing up for various reasons. They’re addicted to the minor and minor pentatonic scales and variations thereof. Plugging in is good. Tempos above 160 are good. Modulations are good as long as they end up minor again. I’m writing a metal song for one of my students because it’s so damned easy to imitate that style. It sounds a bit like an In flames song actually. My student thinks I’m God (or satan?) now.

    I actually listen to alot of metal. Lately my guitar students have been introducing me to bands such as Children of Bodom, In Flames, Dragonforce, Arch Enemy, and various others. I can enjoy them for what they’re worth. But they’re not worth much.

  • nugget

    oh, and, Al: Thelonius Monk is crap!

  • zingzing

    nugget-try sun o))), khanate, fantomas, jesu… all metal groups that totally fuck up your definition of said genre (which is totally stuck in the 80’s). come on, how can a band named DRAGONFORCE be any good? i dunno, maybe they are. but somehow, i don’t think you’re being exposed to the worthwhile end of metal.

  • zingzing

    sorry, that’s sunn o))).

  • nugget

    I’ll check them out.