Tuesday , June 25 2024
The big news this week? That would be Coldplay, Coldplay, and Coldplay.

New Album Releases 06/17/08: Coldplay, Judas Priest, The Offspring, My Brightest Diamond, Teddy Thompson & More

So what's the big news this week?

That would be Coldplay, Coldplay, and Coldplay.

The truth is, all hype aside, Capitol really needs the big week that I'm sure they are counting on with this one. Because as big as Coldplay's 2005 release X&Y may have been, the backlash which soon followed was equally, if not even more huge.

Overnight, it seemed that Coldplay went from being everyone's favorite British pop export, to the now more common punchline of how admitting to liking them was a telltale sign of your gayness. Lead singer Chris Martin even addresses this rather humorously in Rolling Stone's current cover story on the band.

The truth is, tendencies towards occasionally overblown production, and whiny Chris Martin falsettos aside (like we weren't already aware of those minor annoyances when it was still considered cool to like them), I'm one of the few people I know who will still readily admit to quite enjoying X&Y.

On Viva La Vida (or Death And All His Friends), Coldplay have enlisted producer Brian Eno, and the result is a record that at times seems to be trying a little too hard to beat U2 at their own game. Several songs on this record begin with the sort of moody atmospherics, with chink-a-chinking guitars slowly bubbling to the surface that characterized U2's Joshua Tree. At times you almost half expect to hear the words "I want to run…I wanna hide…" break out at any second. So to answer that question, the similarities you'd expect with Eno twisting the knobs for a band who already wear those influences on their sleeves are here in abundance.

The good news here though, is that as early reports indicated, Coldplay are also stretching themselves more musically here (the album even opens with an instrumental). They also seem to be otherwise breaking out of their usual trademark overwrought arena rock (well, at least somewhat). It's still a bit early to tell, but minor quibbles aside, I really like this album so far.

Other big releases this week include Judas Priest back with frontman Rob Halford for Nostradamus, and the Offspring's return to active duty on Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace. A rather famous 1972 Santa Monica show from Ziggy-era David Bowie was also supposed to come out this week, but reliable sources inform me that one has been bumped to July.

Our two picks this week come from regular NAR contributors Tom Johnson and Donald Gibson.

Tom Johnson's Pick Of The Week: My Brightest Diamond – A Thousand Shark's Teeth

One listen to Shara Worden's voice and it should come as no surprise that she's actually a trained singer, pulling off with ease the kinds of things most rock singers can only dream of attempting. Worden sounds just a bit operatic – but not so melodramatic, never fear – like a female Jeff Buckley, to whom she is often compared, along with Fiona Apple, Beth Gibbons (of Portishead), and Nina Simone. And that is a very good thing. Simply put, she has one of the most beautiful voices I have heard in rock.

The interesting thing about A Thousand Shark's Teeth is that while it is the second album of new material from Worden's "band" — which is really just her and the musicians she picks for the songs — the material on it was begun at the same time as the debut (Bring Me The Workhorse) and serves as kind of the other half of a split personality. While Workhorse represented her material prepared for a rock group setting, Shark's Teeth is all new material for a string quartet. Hopefully this album will garner more attention than her first, which seemed to get buried. With such an incredible voice and such a talent for beautiful melodies, it would be a real shame for more people to not get to experience this.

Donald Gibson's Prime Pick: Teddy Thompson – A Piece Of What You Need

“I’m feeling pretty blank,” singer/songwriter Teddy Thompson admits on the title track of his fourth and latest album, A Piece Of What You Need, and if considered solely on his vocal performance, you’d likely come to the same conclusion. Yet his wry, solemn voice and witty lyrics create an intriguing paradox when set against some lively, often-jubilant music. Standout tracks include “One of These Days,” “In My Arms,” and “Can’t Sing Straight,” which hop, skip, and jump with quirky enthusiasm (and handclaps and horns). Thompson’s style here evokes those of Lyle Lovett and Chris Isaak, wherein rather pointed sentiments don’t always match such animated expression, but that’s what makes this album a peculiar delight.

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

Viva la Vida
Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock

Katy Perry
One of the Boys
Teen Pop, Pop/Rock

Silver Jews
Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea
Drag City
Alternative Country-Rock, Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock

Dennis Wilson
Pacific Ocean Blue [Legacy Edition]
Sony Legacy

Wolf Parade
At Mount Zoomer
Sub Pop
Indie Rock

Indie Pop, Alternative Folk

The Azure Ensemble
Invisible Curve
New World
Contemporary Chamber Music

Basses Réunies
Francesco Geminiani: Sonates pour violoncello avec la basse continue
Baroque Chamber Music

Blood Raw
My Life the True Testimony
Def Jam
Southern Rap, Gangsta Rap

Stone of Sisyphus: XXXII
Pop/Rock, Adult Contemporary

Jason Falkner
Bedtime with the Beatles, Vol. 2
Pop Underground, Indie Pop, Chamber Pop, Alternative Pop/Rock

From Autumn to Ashes
Live at Looney Tunes
Screamo, Power Metal, Emo

Kathy Griffin
For Your Consideration
Standup Comedy

Kelly Harland
Long Ago and Far Away: Kelly Harland Sings Jerome Kern
Vocal Jazz, American Popular Song

Rebecca Lynn Howard
No Rules
Time Life
Retro-Soul, Pop-Soul, Contemporary Country, Country-Rock, Blues-Rock, Rock & Roll

Mick Hucknall
Tribute to Bobby [CD/DVD]
Blue-Eyed Soul, Adult Contemporary

Jersey Babys
Jersey Babys: The Music of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons for Kids

Judas Priest
New Wave of British Heavy Metal, Album Rock, British Metal, Heavy Metal, Hard Rock

King Khan & the Shrines
The Supreme Genius of King Khan & the Shrines
Garage Rock Revival, Garage Punk

Gladys Knight & the Pips
Claudine/Pipe Dreams
Shout! Factory
Pop-Soul, Funk, Soul

Chanté Moore
Love the Woman
Urban, Contemporary R&B

My Brightest Diamond
A Thousand Shark's Teeth
Asthmatic Kitty
Dream Pop, Indie Rock

Ghost Rock
Experimental Rock, Jazz-Funk, Modern Creative, Funk, Jazz-Rock, Dub, Afro-Beat, Kraut Rock

The Notwist
The Devil, You + Me
Indie Electronic, Indie Rock

The Offspring
Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace
Alternative Pop/Rock, Punk Revival

Fabrizio Ottaviucci
Terry Riley: Keyboard Studies 1 & 2; Tread on the Trail
Contemporary Piano Music

Quartetto Savinio
Cherubini: Complete String Quartets
Classical Chamber Music

Quattro Mani
Kindred Spirits
Contemporary Piano Music

Original Score
Get Smart [2008 Score]
Varese Sarabande
Original Score

Ice Cream Spiritual!
We Are Free
Indie Rock, Post-Rock/Experimental

Prima J
Prima J
Dance-Pop, Urban

Reggie and the Full Effect
Last Stop: Crappy Town
Screamo, Indie Rock

Sittin' at a Bar
Rap-Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Southern Rap

Diana Ross
Everything Is Everything [Bonus Tracks]
Hip-O Select
Motown, Soul

Bubble & Scrape
Sub Pop
Indie Rock, Lo-Fi, Alternative Pop/Rock

Teddy Thompson
A Piece of What You Need
Verve Forecast
Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Contemporary Singer/Songwriter

Tilly and the Wall
Team Love
Indie Pop

2 Pistols
Death Before Dishonor
Hardcore Rap

Dan Tyminski
Neo-Traditional Folk, Contemporary Bluegrass, Traditional Bluegrass

The War on Drugs
Wagonwheel Blues
Secretly Canadian
Indie Rock

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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