What new discs are you rushing out to buy today? Here’s a completely arbitrary listing of interesting releases that may get overlooked, because everyone knows the big releases today are Limp Bizkit and Dave Matthews’ solo album. Here’s some options in case neither of those are up your cup o’ tea:
Elvis Costello North – Elvis makes yet another shift in his career, this time to take on the persona of a jazz crooner backed by an orchestra arranged and conducted by his own bad self. Does it work? Depends on your view of Elvis – if, in your world, he’s the punk-influenced rocker from 1977, probably not. Those who enjoy Elvis’ more introspective work, especially his project with Burt Bacharach Painted From Memory (minus the over-the-top melodramatic florishes,) will probably find much to love in this introspective, collection of ballads. Includes a bonus DVD with three live tracks as well as a voucher with a passcode to retrieve a download of the otherwise-unavailable studio take of the title track. This is an annoying trend I’d like to see stop pronto – if the song is good enough to release, put it on the album, or on a single, but not as a friggin’ download.
The Bangles Doll Revolution – I really don’t know much about this other than it features their take on the recent Elvis Costello track, “Tear Off Your Own Head (It’s a Doll Revolution.)” I’m sure if you liked the Bangles before you’ll probably dig this too. Includes a bonus DVD.
Emmylou Harris Stumble Into Grace – Following up her fantastic 2000 release, Red Dirt Girl, Stumble Into Grace reportedly finds the angelic-voiced Harris continuing down the path she started with Daniel Lanois on the equally fantastic but slightly more stunning 1995 album Wrecking Ball, and that’s just fine with me. Once a country-goddess, Harris has incorporated new sounds and influences that really prevent her from being pigeon-holed in any particular genre, and that’s exactly what good music should do anyway.
KMFDM WWIII – These beat-heavy industrial pioneers are back to issue a little more abuse, whether the world needed it or not. Not to poo-poo something I haven’t even heard yet, but having heard most KMFDM albums, I can only equate them with being the industrial version of AC/DC – same thing, every time, and I don’t really expect much different here either, and some people realy love that kind of thing. Me, 1993′s Angst had it all for me, and every album after that basically repackaged that sound. I’ll pass, but maybe you might want to check it out.
Sex Mob Dime Grand Palace – Jumping out of the hectic New York jazz scene a few years ago, Sex Mob presents the kind of jazz that just doesn’t get the respect it should: that sleazy, greasy, nasty funky stuff that permeates the air of cheap strip-clubs and bad detective movies. As a friend said upon returning a borrowed copy of their 2000 release, Solid Sender, “Man, I need a shower after hearing that.” Hopefully this will be more of the same, after a bit of a disappointment with the Does Bond set of James Bond theme-song covers.
Rufus Wainwright Want One – With his 2001 release, Poses Wainwright (yes, the son of Loudon Wainwright III) gave the world a breath of fresh air. Often set to what amounts to modern day Tin Pan Alley tunes, Wainwright uses his voice to display something that so often goes ignored these days – melody. Possessed of a breathy, laid-back voice, it’s easy to get caught up in Rufus’ effortless and yet understated sense of dramatic melody. So powerful is his gift that jazz trumpeter Dave Douglas chose the title track to lead off his 2002 album, The Infinite. Dave knows the good stuff when he hears it. Hopefully this is more good stuff too.
Bob Dylan – (some sites list these as released this week, some last, but since I forgot it last week I’m including it here) A whole loaded-butt’s worth of Dylan remasters in the form of hybrid SACD, just in time for early Christmas buyers. Here’s the run down: Another Side of, Blonde on Blonde, Blood on the Tracks, Bringing It All Back Home, Desire, The Freewheelin’, Highway 61 Revisited, Infidels, John Wesley Harding, Love and Theft, Nashville Skyline, Oh Mercy, Planet Waves, Slow Train Coming, Street-Legal, and Limited Edition Hybrid SACD Box Set.
(More crap: unproductivity.)