Today is the greatest day I’ve ever known. This is somewhere beyond the metric buttload of new music that we need to buy in triplicate. It’s staggering and I’m not going to be able to spend proper detail on all of them and some I’m not going to be able to discuss at all, so please feel free to join me in the comments and let’s talk about all this bountiful music being set before us.
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
This is the first Heartbreakers album since The Last DJ in 2002. Since then, Petty has done a magnificent solo record Highway Companion, reunited with his pre-Heartbreakers band Mudcrutch for a magnificent record, and released an uber-magnificent Live Anthology box set.
Now Tom, Mike Campbell, Benmont Tench, Ron Blair, Steve Ferrone, and Scott Thurston are back with a 15-track album that finds the Heartbreakers reinventing themselves as the blues band they never were and searching for their inner Allman Brothers Band. If you’ve loved Mike Campbell’s lead guitar playing over the years, you’re in for a treat. I’ve pre-ordered mine.
Another note: this album is being released as CD, vinyl, and a Blu-ray audio for you audiophiles out there. I’ve started with the CD but I’ll be purchasing the other two in good time.
Some kids discover drugs in college. I discovered the Pernice Brothers. Both are addictive and deplete your bank account. Only one gets you hauled off in a jump…suit.
My copy of Killer arrived early because I’m at least 17 percent more special than the rest of you- along with everyone else who pre-ordered their copy from Pernice’s Ashmont Records label. Okay, so I don’t qualify as special. I do have the record though and some of you don’t so you might be wondering if you should get it. First off, yes, on account of it’s a Pernice Brothers record and you don’t need to hear anything from it to know you need it. Second off, yes, on account of I wouldn’t have pre-ordered the thing if I didn’t think it would be worth having. Lastly, yes, on account of I’ve listened to it several times since its early arrival and it’s really, really good.
Former Screaming Trees drummer Barrett Martin is back in the rock-n-roll saddle again and the self-titled debut from Big High is the result. R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck — a frequent Martin collaborator — guests on the record. I published my review of it this week. For those of you with short attention spans, it’s really good. Rock fans who remember the Seattle fraternity of bands fondly will probably really like this one a lot.
Laws Of Illusion
Another ’90s college discovery for me. The angels have competition when it comes to the most beautiful female voices ever to enter existence. McLachlan has experienced tumult between the release of her last album and this one and is bringing back Lilith Fair to help promote the record. I wanted to go to a LF but the Nashville lineup didn’t offer what I was hoping for, beyond McLachlan herself. I’ll stick with the record.
Steve Miller Band
It’s the first Steve Miller Band album in 17 years and you’re never going to believe where he recorded this: George Lucas’ Skywalker Ranch studios. How cool is that? If I ever record my debut solo album, I want to record at Skywalker Ranch. As for the album itself, it was produced by veteran Andy Johns and finds Miller going back to his blues roots playing songs that inspired him. Miller is a helluva guitar player and has an understanding of the blues idiom. His vocals aren’t particularly bluesy, but this is an album I might have to come back for in a few weeks when I’ve digested the rest of the albums on this list.