Thursday , April 18 2024
A Kink, a Jayhawk, a guy nicknamed Basher, and Saleski's Choice. Because there are always choices...

New Album Releases 02/19/08: Ray Davies, Nick Lowe, Raveonettes, Gary Louris, American Music Club, Marc Ribot & More

This is not a busy week for new album releases by any stretch.

Still, there are a number of tasty new CDs to talk about, including new solo releases from an ex-Kink and an ex-Jayhawk, as well as an enhanced, reissued version of a power-pop classic by one of the greatest producers of the late seventies "new wave" era — a guy known to friends and confidantes simply as "Basher."

Proof that even in a slow new release week there are still choices. There are always choices.

So let's dive right in, shall we?

From "Dedicated Follower of Fashion" to "Lola" to "Celluloid Heroes," Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Ray Davies has written some of the greatest — and most distinctly British — pop/rock songs of the twentieth century with the Kinks. On his second solo album, Working Man's Cafe, Davies is said to flip that script somewhat with a record where the songs take on more of an American focus.

Many of the songs here were written after the twin American tragedies of 9/11 and Katrina (a number of them were also reportedly written in New Orleans). Always a wry observer of culture, Davies' best work combines his always sharp wit with just a touch of sarcasm. It should be interesting to see how that is applied here on Davies' "American album." A bonus, expanded edition features a documentary DVD directed by Davies himself that includes footage from his 2001 solo Storyteller tour.

Another British legend, Nick "Basher" Lowe gets the expanded reissue treatment this week with a deluxe edition of his power-pop classic, Jesus Of Cool. During the late seventies new wave era, Lowe was one of the most sought after producers in music, following his great work on the first three Elvis Costello albums (which many fans, including myself, still regard as his best). Lowe also did double-duty co-fronting the great band Rockpile with guitarist Dave Edmunds.

Lowe's first album Jesus Of Cool was released in altered form in America as 1978's Pure Pop For Now People (the original title made Lowe's American record label nervous), and was quickly recognized as a masterpiece of post-punk power pop. On this expanded reissue, both the British and American versions are combined so you get 21 tracks total — virtually everything is here for the first time ever.

I got my copy of this last week through the kindness of fellow Blogcritic Bill Sherman, and it hasn't left my CD changer since. There are too many great songs here to list, but "Little Hitler," the original version of "Cruel To Be Kind" and the Bay City Rollers tribute (?) "Rollers Show" are reason enough to pick up this classic.

One of my favorite bands from the nineties was the Jayhawks, who made great American folk-rock in the tradition of bands like the Byrds and the Band on such albums as Smile and especially the great Hollywood Town Hall. On his first solo album Vagabonds, Jayhawks singer-songwriter Gary Louris is joined by the likes of the Black Crowes’ Chris Robinson (who also co-produced), the Bangles' Susanna Hoffs, and Rilo Kiley's Jenny Lewis.

Rounding out this week's highlights are the Raveonettes Lust, Lust, Lust (check out the BC review by Mat Brewster), and The Golden Age, Mark Eitzel's latest recording under the American Music Club moniker.

Saleski's Choice: Marc Ribot – An Exercise in Frustration

Or is it Exercises in Futility? Amazon lists one, Ribot's label Tzadik has the other, allmusic has both! No matter… I'll take either.

Marc Ribot is an amazingly diverse guitar player who takes on everything from jazz (straight ahead to twisted beyond recognition), rock (Elvis Costello, Tom Waits), and great projects like Ceramic Dog and Los Cubanos Postizos (the prosthetic Cubans… love that name). Ribot is also on that Allison Krauss/Robert Plant record that's been making so many waves lately.

Anyhow, I know absolutely nothing about this new record (whatever it ends up being called), but a new Ribot album is always something to look forward to.

Tom Johnson did not contribute a pick this week.

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

American Music Club
The Golden Age
Alternative Singer/Songwriter, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock

Ray Davies
Working Man's Cafe
Pop/Rock, Singer/Songwriter

Nick Lowe
Jesus of Cool [Bonus Tracks]
Yep Roc
Pop/Rock, Power Pop, New Wave, Rock & Roll

Allison Moorer
New Line
Contemporary Singer/Songwriter, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Folk-Rock

The Raveonettes
Lust Lust Lust
Fierce Panda
Noise Pop, Indie Rock

Atlas Sound
Let The Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel
Experimental Rock, Indie Rock

Roland Auzet
Percussion(s) [Includes Book and DVD]
Modern and Contemporary Music for Percussion

LaVern Baker
Classics R&B
Jump Blues, R&B

Bon Iver
For Emma, Forever Ago
Alternative Singer/Songwriter, Indie Rock

Peter Brotzmann/Peeter Uuskyla
Born Broke
Free Improvisation, Avant-Garde Jazz, Free Jazz

Geoffrey Burleson
Vincent Persichetti: Complete Piano Sonatas
New World
Modern Piano Music

Chris Cagle
My Life's Been a Country Song
Contemporary Country, Country-Pop

Dig That Treasure
Asthmatic Kitty
Experimental, Indie Pop, Experimental Rock, Post-Rock/Experimental

A Cursive Memory
Alternative Pop/Rock, Punk-Pop, Emo

Mike Doughty
Golden Delicious
Contemporary Singer/Songwriter, Alternative Pop/Rock

Roky Erickson & the Explosives
Garage Rock, Psychedelic, Rock & Roll, Proto-Punk

Faces of the Night
Menlo Park
Experimental Rock, Post-Rock/Experimental

Dallas Frazier
The R&B Sessions: Elvira/Tell It Like It Is
Rock & Roll, Pub Rock

Jennifer Goltz
Schoenberg: Pierrot Lunaire; Brattl-Lieder
MSR Classics
Modern Vocal Music

The Grand Archives
Grand Archives
Sub Pop
Indie Pop, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock

Some Racing, Some Stopping
Indie Pop, Indie Rock

Levon Helm
Levon Helm & the RCO All-Stars/American Son
Roots Rock, Country-Rock, Rock & Roll

B.B. King
Modern Electric Blues, Soul-Blues, R&B

Justus Köhncke
Safe and Sound
Left-Field House, Club/Dance, Techno

Jim Lauderdale
Honey Songs
Yep Roc
Americana, Alternative Country, Progressive Bluegrass, Progressive Country

Gary Louris
Contemporary Singer/Songwriter, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Roots Rock

Dive Deep
Downtempo, Trip-Hop

The Mountain Goats
Heretic Pride
Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock

John Nardolillo
Thomas Pasatieri: Hotel Casablanca
Contemporary Opera

No Kids
Come into My House
Indie Pop

Brough, Paul
Robert Hugill: The Testament of Dr. Cranmer and Other Works
Divine Art
Contemporary Sacred Choral Music

University of Calgary Wind Ensemble
Contemporary Music for Wind Ensemble

14 Kt. God
Kill Rock Stars
Indie Electronic, Indie Pop

Seven Mary Three
Day & Nightdriving
Post-Grunge, Alternative Pop/Rock, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock

Donita Sparks & The Stellar Moments
Alternative Pop/Rock, Hard Rock, Alternative Singer/Songwriter

Throw Me the Statue
Baskerville Hill
Indie Pop, Indie Rock, Lo-Fi

Various Artists
Don't Press Your Luck! The in Sound of 60's Connecticut
Garage Rock, Rock & Roll

Billy Vera & the Beaters
Hopeless Romantic: The Best of Billy Vera & the Beaters
Shout! Factory
Blue-Eyed Soul, Soul

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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