Thursday , June 20 2024
A short, but sweet list this week.

New Album Releases 06/03/08: Weezer, Fleet Foxes, Jewel, Radiohead, Aimee Mann, Gavin Rossdale, Dr. John & The Lower 911 & More

With big releases from Coldplay and My Morning Jacket on the horizon for the next few weeks, this week brings another one of those short lists we've gotten so used to seeing this past May. The good news here is that short as it is, there are some very tasty morsels to munch on here.

Weezer is back this week giving nerds and other lovers of quirky pop everywhere a reason to celebrate. Their new self-titled release follows the habit of color coding their albums based on the cover, and is appropriately being referred to as The Red Album.

Culled from various sessions with producers like Rick Rubin and Jacknife Lee, Rivers Cuomo and company do what they do best here — which is nerdishly fun, post-alterna-pop. With the ever-catchy single "Pork And Beans" already leading this set out of the gate, the rest of these new songs, such as the said to be "weird" "Greatest Man Who Ever Lived" should re-establish Weezer's well-earned reputation as one of the best purveyors of modern pop.

Here in Seattle, a lot of people are looking to the softer, folkier sounds of bands like Grand Archives and Arthur & Yu as potentially being the next big thing to come out of grunge-land. The band from this erstwhile scene (some are calling it "grange") that is making the most noise nationally is Fleet Foxes, who release their official debut on SubPop this week. The sounds on their self-titled disc range from California folk-pop to appalachian flavored mountain music, and they've already been compared favorably to their musical forefathers the Byrds and Buffalo Springfield.

Rounding out this week's highlights, Jewel goes country with the help of Big & Rich's John Rich on Perfectly Clear. Radiohead blow off their association with Capitol with a two-disc Best Of compilation. Gavin Rossdale turns down the loud guitars of the Bush years (no, not those Bush years) on the more adult-alternative leaning Wanderlust.

El Bicho will be along shortly to talk about Dr. John's new one, but right now here's Tom Johnson with the lowdown on the new Aimee Mann.

Tom Johnson's Pick Of The Week: Aimee Mann – @#%&*! Smilers (Special Edition)

Few can make the state of human despondency sound quite as lush and beautiful as Aimee Mann, there is no doubt about that. Mann has been doing basically the same thing for seven solo albums, which is okay for most of us who enjoy her storytelling. Much of the focus on this album seems to have been on the fact that Aimee opted to go sans electric guitar, opting for various keyboard-equipped instruments, which is a sound that already dominated her songs to begin with — so it's pretty much par for the course, just minus a little guitar wail.

If there's a gripe to be made, it's that Mann opted to go the "regular edition/special edition" route, but made the "special edition" in terms of packaging alone — saving the extra songs for iTunes. She's not the only artist to do this obviously, but most have had the pressures of a major label forcing these options upon them. Not so in Mann's case. Superego is Aimee's own label, and this kind of move is only aimed at hardcore fans who will obviously want both the beautifully packaged special edition, which comes in a hard-bound, 32 page, die-cut book featuring illustrations from Gary Taxali. Of course you want it, who wouldn't? But why wouldn't those bonus tracks be tacked on, since it is the "special" edition? Lots of fans are asking the same question and, yeah, they're feeling a little despondent – perfectly suited for Mann's music.

El Bicho's Masked Music Pick: Dr. John and the Lower 911 – City That Care Forgot

The world's attention to natural disaster relief efforts are understandably drawn to recent events like the cyclone in Myanmar and the earthquakes in China, and will move on before life in those areas returns to normal. But what about those people left behind after the news teams leave and the spotlights go out? Americans need look no farther than New Orleans, which is sadly still in recovery almost three years after Hurricane Katrina. It has no doubt slipped off the radar for many, but Dr. John and the Lower 911 draw attention back onto the Crescent City with a collection of songs that cover a range of emotions surely felt by the current residents.

The titles "Keep On Goin'" and "We Getting' There" capture the spirit required by those
who survive a crisis and need to move forward. Anger is directed at those who exploit the situation ("Black Gold" and "Land Grab"), and those who were in charge, ("Say Whut?"). At times, the politics gets a little heavy-handed, but the outrage at failed leadership and broken promises is quite understandable. Eric Clapton, Willie Nelson, Ani
Difranco, and Terence Blanchard lend a helping hand to the effort.

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

Fleet Foxes
Fleet Foxes
Sub Pop
Indie Rock

The Futureheads
This Is Not the World
New Wave/Post-Punk Revival, Indie Rock

Perfectly Clear
Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Pop/Rock, Singer/Songwriter, Contemporary Country

Indie Electronic

Aimee Mann
@#%&*! Smilers
Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Singer/Songwriter

The Best Of [US Limited Edition]
Britpop, Alternative Pop/Rock, Experimental Rock, Indie Electronic

Gavin Rossdale
Adult Alternative Pop/Rock

Weezer (Red Album)
Alternative Pop/Rock, Punk-Pop

The Declaration
The Inc./UniversalMotown
Urban, Contemporary R&B

Quango Fontana
Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Downbeat, Electronica

Herbert Blomstedt
Nielsen: Symphonies 1-6; Overtures; Concertos; Wind Quintet; Piano Music
EMI Classics
Modern Orchestral and Chamber Music

Bregovic, Goran
Goran Bregovic: Karmen
Contemporary Opera

Chris Brown
Exclusive: The Forever Edition
Urban, Contemporary R&B

Ulla van Daelen
Classical, Romantic and Contemporary Music for Harp

Alternative Metal, Heavy Metal, Rap-Metal

Dr. John and the Lower 911
City That Care Forgot
New Orleans R&B, New Orleans Blues, Electric Blues

Harvey Milk
Life…The Best Game in Town
Hydra Head
Experimental Rock, Noise-Rock, Indie Rock

Lalah Hathaway
Self Portrait
Neo-Soul, Contemporary R&B

Jaguar Love
Jaguar Love EP
Indie Rock

Brendan James
The Day Is Brave
Contemporary Singer/Songwriter

Keith Jarrett
Somewhere Before: The Atlantic Years 1968-1975
Warner Jazz
Contemporary Jazz, Post-Bop, Fusion, Modern Creative, Progressive Jazz, Mainstream Jazz

Doing the Boxerbeat
Blue-Eyed Soul, New Wave, Pop/Rock

John 5
Alternative Pop/Rock, Guitar Virtuoso, Instrumental Rock

Elton John
Elton John [Deluxe Edition]
Album Rock, Pop/Rock, Soft Rock, Singer/Songwriter, Rock & Roll

Elton John
Tumbleweed Connection [Deluxe Edition] [Bonus Tracks]
Album Rock, Pop/Rock, Singer/Songwriter, Rock & Roll, Soft Rock, Country-Rock

The King's Singers
Simple Gifts
Signum Classics
Traditional and Popular Music for Vocal Ensemble

John Legend
Live from Philadelphia
Sony Japan

The M's
Real Close Ones
Indie Rock, Neo-Psychedelia, Indie Pop

Man Raze
VH1 Classics
Post-Grunge, Alternative Pop/Rock, Hard Rock

California Rhinoplasty EP
Ambient Techno, Experimental Techno, Electronica

John Mayall
Live at the Marquee 1969 [Special Edition]
Blues Revival, British Blues, Electric Harmonica Blues, Blues-Rock

John Mayall
The Masters [Special Edition]
Blues Revival, British Blues, Electric Harmonica Blues, Blues-Rock

Neal McCoy
The Very Best of Neal McCoy
Neo-Traditionalist Country, Contemporary Country

Bret Michaels
Rock My World
Vh1 Classics
Hard Rock, Hair Metal

Scandinavian Metal, Progressive Metal, Goth Metal

Take the Whole Midrange and Boost It
Indie Pop, Indie Rock

Original Soundtrack
Kung Fu Panda [Original Soundtrack]
Original Score, Soundtracks

Pinetop Perkins & Friends
Pinetop Perkins
Piano Blues, Chicago Blues, Acoustic Blues, Boogie-Woogie

Saxophone Summit
Saxophone Summit: Seraphic Light
Post-Bop, Hard Bop

Indie Rock

Nina Simone
Tell It Like It Is
Vocal Jazz, Standards, Ballads, Torch Songs

Exiting Arm
Experimental Rock, Alternative Rap

Art Tatum
Piano Starts Here: Live at the Shrine/Zenph Re-Performance

Thank You
Terrible Two
Thrill Jockey
Math Rock, Post-Rock/Experimental, Neo-Prog, Indie Rock

The Ting Tings
We Started Nothing
Indie Electronic, Alternative Dance, Indie Rock, New Wave/Post-Punk Revival

Wayman Tisdale
Smooth Jazz, Crossover Jazz, Contemporary Jazz

The Traveling Wilburys
Traveling Wilburys, Vol. 1
Warner Bros.
Pop/Rock, Adult Contemporary, Rock & Roll

The Traveling Wilburys
The Traveling Wilburys, Vol. 3
Warner Bros.
Pop/Rock, Album Rock, Adult Contemporary

Various Artists
The Jewish Songbook: The Heart & Humor of a People
Shout! Factory
Jewish Music

Various Artists
Malt Shop Memories [Box Set]
Time Life
AM Pop, Teen Idol, Girl Group, Pop, Rock & Roll

Various Artists
Wizards & Demons: Music Inspired by the Writings of J.R.R. Tolkien
Castle Music
Obscuro, British Metal, Folk-Rock, Psychedelic, Prog-Rock/Art Rock

Amy Winehouse
Frank [The Super Deluxe Edition US]
Universal Republic
Contemporary R&B, Vocal Jazz, Crossover Jazz, Contemporary Jazz

The Zombies
The Zombies and Beyond
Universal TV
British Invasion, Baroque Pop, Psychedelic Pop, Pop, British Psychedelia

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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