Today is J-Day.
Which, for those of you who have been living beneath a pop cultural rock for the past year or so, means that the Jonas Brothers new A Little Bit Longer album is out now. While some of you may be clueless as to why this actually matters, as a wise man once sang, the little girls understand.
The thing is, for all of the hype and hoopla that has surrounded squeaky clean teen-pop phenoms Kevin, Joe, and Nick for the past year or so, they actually aren't all that bad. Now this doesn't mean I'll be trading in my Springsteen CDs in for tickets to see these guys anytime soon or anything like that — trust me, even if I had a teenaged daughter you'd probably have to drag me kicking and screaming the whole way to a pre-teen cluster like that.
But as harmless, innocuous sounding power pop goes, this stuff isn't anywhere near as terrible you'd expect, at least not on a purely guilty pleasure sort of level. In fact, every once in awhile the JB's even cut loose and actually kinda' rock out a bit here. They also play their own instruments, and write their own songs — even occasionally touching on weighty subjects like Jonas Brother Nick's Type 1 Diabetes (on the title track).
Of course, before there was the Jonas Brothers, back in the late eighties/early nineties, there was New Kids On The Block (or NKOTB for short). The Kids may be a bit older these days, but they have decided to throw their own collective haircuts back into the ring for another go-round at the boy-band sweepstakes. Their new album and tour both happen this fall, but in the meantime we have a Greatest Hits set, complete with bonus tracks out this week.
David Sanborn brings the distinctive sound of his smooth saxophone back for more of his trademark "smooth jazz" on the new Here & Gone. Speaking of jazz, Tom Johnson is here to tell you all about a new collaboration that is a jazz bassist's wet dream come true. But first, Mark Saleski has some great news for fans of Springsteen.
Vini "Mad Dog" Lopez, Gary W. Tallent, Danny Federici…Bill Chinnock?
That's right, Bill Chinnock was a major player in the early E Street years. When I was a young guy in the state of Maine, Chinnock actually ranked right up there with Bruce. His brand of soulful rock music resonated with me right from the start. The song "Something For Everybody" got a lot of airplay on rock radio.
All of these years later, and not long after his death, Bill's groundbreaking record is being reissued. For fans of Springsteen, this really shouldn't be missed.
Big bottom, big bottom
Talk about bum cakes, my girl's got 'em
I know what you're thinking – three basses, it must be a new Spinal Tap opus. Nope, sorry. If it's not Spinal Tap, then next to the drum solo, the bass solo is just about the most reviled thing at concerts — unless one of these three guys is taking the spotlight. And that's because they tend to focus as much on showcasing their talents as they do melody, which is a rare treat among bassists — quite often you either get flashy runs or clueless thumpfests that parade as "grooves." So here on Thunder while we do get plenty of grooves and flashy runs, we also are rewarded with plenty of melody, and how tastefully it's accomplished depends on your threshold for instrumental music. Three world-class bassists competing for space yet somehow they work it out, even making room for guests Chick Corea, George Duke, Michael "Patches" Stewart, and someone named "Butterscotch." That right there is kind of an amazing feat.
Personally, I'd say this ranks pretty low on the "wankfest" scale. It ain't dinner music and it ain't a shred-fest, but it should keep anyone who loves the deep end pretty fascinated. Additional plus: Victor Wooten doesn't appear to "sing" at any point in this album.
Here are all of this week's new album releases courtesy of All Music Guide:
Inara George/Van Dyke Parks
Alternative Singer/Songwriter, Vocal Jazz
A Little Bit Longer
Pop/Rock, Teen Pop
Metropolis: The Chase Suite [Special Edition]
Cheat the Gallows
Heavy Metal, Hard Rock, Prog-Rock/Art Rock
Road Runner: The Chess Masters 1959-1960
Rock & Roll, R&B, Electric Chicago Blues
The Dufay Collective
The Play of Daniel
Renaissance Vocal Music
The East Village Opera Company
Classical Pop, Classical Crossover, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock
The Final Solution
Blaxploitation, Chicago Soul, Original Score, Soul, Funk
Peteris Vasks: Gramata cellam; Partita; Episodi e canto perpetuo
Contemporary Chamber Music
Noise-Rock, Indie Rock, Experimental Rock, Progressive Metal, Guitar Virtuoso, Neo-Psychedelia
20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection
Urban, Contemporary R&B
Jason & the Scorchers
The EMI Years
College Rock, Heartland Rock, Cowpunk, Roots Rock, Country-Rock, Rock & Roll, Americana
Bark/Long John Silver
Album Rock, Hard Rock, Acid Rock, Rock & Roll, Psychedelic
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 3; Haydn: Symphony No. 94 "Surprise"
Classical and Romantic Orchestral Music
New Kids on the Block
Greatest Hits [Bonus Tracks]
Teen Pop, Urban, Dance-Pop
Francisco Guerrero: Missa Sancta et immaculata
Renaissance Choral Music
Beer for My Horses
Show Dog Nashville
Outlaw Country, Contemporary Country
Star Wars: The Clone Wars
Original Score, Soundtracks
The Pack A.D.
Indie Rock, Garage Rock Revival, Punk Blues, Blues-Rock
Discoballs: A Tribute to Pink Floyd
Collectors' Choice Music
Smooth Jazz, Crossover Jazz
Here & Gone
Smooth Jazz, Crossover Jazz, Contemporary Jazz
Angus & Julia Stone
A Book Like This
Alternative Singer/Songwriter, Indie Pop
New Orleans R&B, Soul, Louisiana Blues
The Complete Motown Singles, Vol. 10: 1970
Smooth Soul, Motown, Funk, Soul
Portland Cello Project
Portland Cello Project
Arrangements for Cello Ensemble
Smooth Soul, Quiet Storm, Adult Contemporary, Urban
The Ax in the Oak
Alternative Singer/Songwriter, Indie Rock
Look What You Made Me
Pop-Rap, Hardcore Rap