Sunday , February 25 2024
The biggest, best bargain out there this week isn't even on the list.

New Album Releases 07/15/08: Bruce Springsteen, John Mellencamp, David Banner, Nas, The Hold Steady, Terry Adams, & More

Before we dive into this week's new album releases, we need to make mention of one very noteworthy item that doesn't even show up on this week's AMG list.

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band have just released a four song E.P. of Magic Tour Highlights.

Following on the experiments of bands like Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails, this E.P. is also available only as an MP3 download through the usual outlets such as Amazon, iTunes, etc. The difference here is that you will have to pay for it ($2.99 at Amazon). But it's all for a great cause, as the parties involved have all agreed to donate the profits to the Danny Federici Melanoma Fund, the memorial charity set up to honor the memory of the late, great E Street Band keyboardist.

Some great stuff here too, all featuring a great lineup of guest artists in various onstage turns with Springsteen recorded at different points over the course of the barnstorming Magic world tour. The guests include Roger McGuinn (on the Byrds classic "Turn Turn Turn"), Tom Morello (a scorching guitar solo on "The Ghost Of Tom Joad"), Alejandro Escovedo, and Danny himself in his final performance with the E Street Band doing his signature tune "Sandy." Definitely well worth the $2.99.

John Mellencamp's new album Life Death Love and Freedom also arrives this week.

The T-Bone Burnett produced album is a more stripped down effort from Mellencamp, following his minor commercial comeback with last year's Freedom's Road, and features rootsier sounding songs like "My Sweet Love" and the politically charged "Jena." This album is also noteworthy because it is the first ever to be recorded using Burnett's said to be revolutionary sounding HD CODE technology.

The biggest noisemaker coming out of the hip-hop world this week comes from Nas, whose new self-titled release may as well be sub-titled The N Word, which in fact, in less politically correct terminology, it actually was at one point. Controversial album title aside, this is said to be Nas' most thought provoking lyrical statement to date — addressing concerns of race, politics, and the once unheard of, yet now possible and perhaps even probable, idea of a Black American president.

Not to be upstaged by Nas, David Banner's new The Greatest Story Ever Told likewise addresses some hot-button issues, not the least of which include our government's response to the Katrina tragedy. Banner mixes these concerns with plenty of his trademark dirty south gangsta anthems.

Wrapping things up before we turn it over to Mark Saleski, is the Hold Steady's with their new, curiously titled Stay Positive. I only label this one curious, because much of what is dealt with in the lyrics comes in the form of a boozy, druggy haze despite the overall big sound combining elements of punk, garage, and — dare I say it — big arena rock.

Saleski's Choice: Terry Adams – Love Letter to Andromeda

There's something both endearing and inspiring about a musician who is just as comfortable hammering out meat & potatoes bar band tunes as he is living in the altered reality of Sun Ra. That man is Terry Adams. As one of the masterminds behind NRBQ (You don't have any of their records? Shame on you!), he's made a metric ton of impossibly great rock records.

But then there's his other side. That of "out there" jazz. You don't really get a hint of this if you listen to NRBQ's stuff. This record features Terry on celesta and prepared piano. That's about all I know. Sometimes, you've just got to take a chance.

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

David Banner
The Greatest Story Ever Told
SRC/Universal Motown
Dirty South, Southern Rap, Hardcore Rap, Gangsta Rap

Dirty Pretty Things
Romance at Short Notice
Indie Rock

The Hold Steady
Stay Positive
Indie Rock, American Trad Rock, Rock & Roll

Def Jam
Political Rap, Hardcore Rap, East Coast Rap, Hip-Hop

Claudio Abbado
Marches and Dances
Deutsche Grammophon
Marches and Dances for Orchestra

Mar Dulce
Electronica, Tango

Don Braden
Gentle Storm
Post-Bop, Modern Creative

Love to Make Music To
Ninja Tune
Indie Electronic, Experimental Techno

No End in Sight: The Very Best of Foreigner
Album Rock, Arena Rock, Pop/Rock, Hard Rock

Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons
The Motown Years
Hip-O Select
Pop, Doo Wop

Delta Goodrem
Adult Alternative Pop/Rock

Rework It
Indie Rock, Garage Punk, Lo-Fi

The Grascals
Keep on Walkin'
Contemporary Bluegrass, Progressive Bluegrass

Psychedelic Pop, British Psychedelia

The Imagined Village
The Imagined Village
Real World
Neo-Traditional Folk, Alternative Folk, Worldbeat

Jet Black Stare
In This Life
Post-Grunge, Hard Rock

Gunar Letzbor
Wenzel Ludwig Edler von Radolt: Viennese Lute Concertos
Challenge Classics
Baroque Music for Lute and Ensemble

John Mellencamp
Life Death Love and Freedom
Hear Music
Pop/Rock, Roots Rock

The Music
Strength in Numbers
Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock

Trio Wanderer
Messiaen: Quatuor pour la fin du Temps
Harmonia Mundi
Modern Chamber Music

Original Soundtrack
American Teen
Almost Gold
Soundtracks, Indie Pop, Indie Rock, Contemporary Singer/Songwriter, Singer/Songwriter

Original Soundtrack
The Dark Knight [#1]
Warner Bros.
Original Score, Soundtracks

Original Broadway Cast
Passing Strange [Original Broadway Cast]
Musicals, Cast Recordings

Graffiti the World [Universal Republic]
Universal Republic
Southern Rap, Rap-Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock

Randy Travis
Around the Bend
Warner Bros.
Contemporary Country

Twilight Sad
Here, It Never Snowed. Afterwards It Did
Fat Cat
Indie Rock

End Titles: Stories for Film
Surrender All
Electronica, Ambient Breakbeat, Trip-Hop, Alternative Dance

Various Artists
From the Valleys: The Best of the Welsh Choirs
ABC Classics
Welsh Choral Music

Cedar Walton
Seasoned Wood

Wild Beasts
Limbo, Panto
Indie Rock

Ace Young
Ace Young
Dance-Pop, Pop Idol, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Club/Dance

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.

Check Also

Cover Culture Decks Decoded

Book Review: ‘Culture Decks Decoded’ by Bretton Putter

Leaders of any high growth or startup company should read Bretton Putter's new book is 'Culture Decks Decoded.' It's a compelling guidebook on the need for company culture.