Friday , April 12 2024

New Album Releases 01/27/09: Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, Franz Ferdinand, Steve Martin, Jarrett/Peacock/DeJohnette & More

The big news this week is of course the new Bruce Springsteen album.

Working On A Dream arrives in stores today backed by the sort of marketing and publicity campaign worthy of Obama's inauguration or the Super Bowl (not coincidentally, Bruce was or will be highly visible at both events), and the sort of high expectations you'd expect to match. If this one turns out to be anything less than the first blockbuster of the new year, I'd expect some heads to be rolling.

The album itself is a mixed bag, and the reviews coming in reflect a variety of opinions that are every bit as mixed.

But you certainly can't fault Springsteen's ambition here. Working On A Dream could just be the most stylistically varied collection of new songs of Springsteen's entire career. There's everything here from the epic tale of "Outlaw Pete," to the jangly sounding sixties pop of "Surprise, Surprise," to the Beach Boys styled sweep of "This Life." With reports of E Street Band tour dates already showing up all over the internet, expect most if not all of those shows to go on sale right after the SuperBowl on Monday, February 2.

Franz Ferdinand's third album Tonight moves the band further away from poppy-punk sounds, and towards more of a dance flavor. Here the Glasgow-based rockers branch out to include elements of everything from electronica to reggae, while maintaining their unique pop sensibilities.

This week we welcome three of our regular NAR contributors, all checking in with their picks. El Bicho will be talking about the new bluegrass album from Steve Martin, and Pico will likewise run down the jazz sounds of the new Keith Jarrett/Gary Peacock/Jack DeJohnette collaboration. But first, here is Donald Gibson to tell us all about a cool new live E.P. from Paul McCartney. Mark Saleski continues his hiatus this week.

Donald Gibson's Prime Pick: Paul McCartney – Amoeba's Secret

The first time I saw Paul McCartney in concert was in 1993 at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando. I was 16 and, despite my youth, I considered myself as much of a Beatles fan as anyone else in that packed, cavernous stadium. Seldom am I starstruck, but when McCartney took the stage, Hofner in hand, a flood of iconography and lore – British Invasion… Abbey Road… Ed Sullivan… Shea Stadium… Sgt. Pepper… Lennon… Liverpool… A Hard Day’s Night – crystallized in my mind in that one moment, represented by that one man. “There he is!” I yelled to no one in particular, utterly gobsmacked.

I can only imagine the euphoria felt by those crammed inside Amoeba Records in L.A. on June 27, 2007, rocking out as McCartney played within spitting distance of his own back catalog. Issued on CD and limited edition 12” vinyl, Amoeba’s Secret is this gig’s only officially available document. Sure, only four tracks appear on it – the set comprised 21 songs overall – but for fans who didn’t witness the performance firsthand (or snag a bootleg thereafter), this recording makes for a modest keepsake of rock ‘n’ roll’s ultimate in-store appearance. Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!

El Bicho's Masked Music Pick: Steve Martin – The Crow: New Songs for the 5-String Banjo

Back when Steve Martin was the King of Comedy, his use of the banjo in his act seemed little more than a prop like the bunny ears and the arrow through the head, but it actually foreshadowed a lifelong passion.

The Crow is Martin's first full-length bluegrass album of 15 original tracks. Longtime fans of Martin will recognize some of the songs from his album The Steve Martin Brothers and Tony Trischka's Double Banjo Bluegrass Spectacular. The album has an impressive pedigree as it is produced by John McEuen, of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Martin is joined by top-notch musicians like Dolly Parton, Vince Gill, Mary Black, Tim O'Brien, Earl Scruggs, Pete Wernick and Trischka. The Crow reveals the breadth of Martin's talents much more than the upcoming The Pink Panther 2. A free MP3 of "Daddy Played the Banjo" is available at Amazon. If you don't care for bluegrass, "well, excuuuuuuuse meeeeeeeee!"

Pico's Pick: Keith Jarrett/Gary Peacock/Jack DeJohnette – Yesterdays

Does the world really need yet another live album by these three making direct interpretations of old jazz standards?

In a word, yes. Until there's a better pianist/bassist/drummer combination who can do it better than these guys, they can continue being the keepers of the flame until they drop dead. As Jarrett himself once said, "We know how musical these songs are…Jazz musicians don't have to always break down doors: there's music inside the rooms too." There's a lot of music — good music — inside Yesterdays.

Here are all of this week's new album releases courtesy of All Music Guide:

The Bird and the Bee
Ray Guns Are Not Just the Future
Blue Note
Indie Pop, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock

Franz Ferdinand
New Wave/Post-Punk Revival, Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock

Bruce Springsteen
Working on a Dream
Album Rock, Pop/Rock, Singer/Songwriter

Louis Armstrong
Satchmo at Pasadena
Mainstream Jazz, New Orleans Jazz, Traditional Pop

Ashford & Simpson
The Real Thing
Soul, Pop-Soul, Smooth Soul, Contemporary R&B

Zuill Bailey
Zuill Bailey: Russian Masterpieces for Cello and Orchestra
Romantic & Modern Music for Cello & Orchestra

Gato Barbieri
Chapter One: Latin America
Latin Jazz, World Fusion, Free Jazz

Borah Bergman Trio
Avant-Garde Jazz, Avant-Garde

Ran Blake
Tompkins Square
Avant-Garde Jazz, Standards, Post-Bop, Ballads

James Brown
Singles, Vol. 6: 1969-1970
Hip-O Select
Funk, Soul, Blaxploitation

Slang Prostitution
Hardcore Rap, East Coast Rap

Peter Cincotti
East of Angel Town
Sire/ London/Rhino
Vocal Jazz, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Contemporary Singer/Songwriter

Cotton Jones Basket Ride
Paranoid Cocoon
Suicide Squeeze
Alternative Singer/Songwriter

Gutter Tactics
Left-Field Hip-Hop, Alternative Rap

Pat DiNizio & Buddy Holly
Pat Dinizio/Buddy Holly
Pop-Metal, Garage Rock Revival, Rock & Roll

Dry Branch Fire Squad
Echoes of the Mountains
Progressive Bluegrass, Appalachian Folk, Old-Timey, Contemporary Bluegrass, String Bands, Traditional Bluegrass

Chris Duarte
Blues Bureau
Modern Electric Blues

John Frusciante
The Empyrean
Record Collection
Emo, Indie Rock

The Full Blast
Black Hole
Avant-Garde Jazz, Free Jazz, Modern Free

The Green Fields of America
The Green Fields of America
Traditional Irish Folk, Traditional Celtic, Irish Folk

Pat Green
What I'm For
Contemporary Country, Pop/Rock, American Trad Rock

Tom Harrell
Prana Dance

Post-Grunge, Alternative Pop/Rock

Incredible String Band
Tricks of the Senses
British Folk-Rock, British Folk, Folk-Rock, Psychedelic

The Jacksons
Destiny [Expanded Edition]
Soul, Funk, Disco, Quiet Storm

The Jacksons
Triumph [Expanded Edition]
Soul, Funk, Disco, Quiet Storm

Keith Jarrett/Gary Peacock/Jack DeJohnette
Standards, Post-Bop, Modern Creative

Jay Dee
Yancey Boys Instrumentals
Delicious Vinyl
Midwest Rap, Underground Rap

Quincy Jones
You've Got It Bad Girl
Contemporary Jazz, Instrumental Pop, Crossover Jazz, Post-Bop, Soul

Chuck Loeb
#1 Smooth Jazz Radio Hits
Smooth Jazz

Loney Dear
Dear John
Swedish Pop/Rock, Indie Pop

Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes
Eye Legacy
Mass Appeal
Pop-Rap, Urban, Contemporary R&B

Charlie Louvin
Less and Less & I Don't Love You Anymore
Close Harmony, Traditional Country

Dean Martin
Traditional Pop, Vocal Jazz, Vocal Pop

Paul McCartney
Amoeba's Secret
Hear Music
Pop/Rock, Singer/Songwriter, Album Rock

Anne Akiko Meyers
Koch International Classics
Romantic, Modern & Contemporary Music for Violin & Pano

Kylie Minogue
Dance-Pop, Euro-Pop, Club/Dance, Euro-Dance, Pop/Rock

Nickel Eye
The Time of the Assassins
Indie Rock

Of Montreal
An Eluardian Instance (Jon Brion Remix EP)
Indie Pop, Neo-Psychedelia, Club/Dance, Dance-Pop

Mark Olson/Gary Louris
Ready for the Flood
Americana, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Alternative Country-Rock

Reneé Olstead
Traditional Pop, Vocal Pop

QUaX Ensemble
Cornelius Cardew: Treatise
Avant-Garde Chamber Music

Thomas Quasthoff
Italian Arias
Deutsche Grammophon
Classical Opera Arias

Enrico Rava
New York Days
Post-Bop, Modern Creative

Good Girl Gone Bad: The Remixes
Def Jam
Club/Dance, Dance-Pop, Urban

Omar Rodriguez-Lopez
Old Money
Stones Throw
Experimental Rock, Space Rock

Roses Kings Castles
Roses Kings Castles
Sycamore Club
Indie Pop, Indie Rock

Saffire — The Uppity Blues Women
Havin' the Last Word
Modern Acoustic Blues, Folk-Blues

Jamie Saft
Black Shabbis
Doom Metal, Heavy Metal, Death Metal/Black Metal

Duncan Sheik
Whisper House
RCA Victor
Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Pop/Rock, Singer/Songwriter

Matthew Shipp
Harmonic Disorder
Thirsty Ear
Avant-Garde Jazz

Frank Sinatra
Seduction: Sinatra Sings of Love [Deluxe]
Traditional Pop, American Popular Song

Doug Stone
Live at Billy Bob's Texas
Smith Music Group
Neo-Traditionalist Country

Various Artists
Grammy Nominees 2009
Pop Idol, Contemporary Singer/Songwriter, Contemporary R&B, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Pop, Adult Contemporary

Various Artists
Michael Fiday: Same Rivers Different
Modern Vocal & Chamber Music

Volcano Suns
All-Night Lotus Party [Bonus Tracks]
American Underground, Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Post-Hardcore, College Rock

Volcano Suns
The Bright Orange Years [Bonus Tracks]
American Underground, Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Post-Hardcore, College Rock

Gene Watson
Reflections/Should I Come Home
Country-Pop, Nashville Sound/Countrypolitan

Tyrone Wells
Contemporary Singer/Songwriter, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock

Paul Weston
A Life in Music: Songwriter, Composer, Arranger
Traditional Pop, Mood Music, Instrumental Pop

Katt Williams
It's Pimpin' Pimpin'
Warner Bros.
Observational Humor, Standup Comedy

Sonny Boy Williamson
The Later Years 1939-1947

About Glen Boyd

Glen Boyd is the author of Neil Young FAQ, released in May 2012 by Backbeat Books/Hal Leonard Publishing. He is a former BC Music Editor and current contributor, whose work has also appeared in SPIN, Ultimate Classic Rock, The Rocket, The Source and other publications. You can read more of Glen's work at the official Neil Young FAQ site. Follow Glen on Twitter and on Facebook.

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