Friday , April 19 2024
The calm before the storm.

New Album Releases 09/02/08: Brian Wilson, NKOTB, Terrence Howard, Young Jeezy, Chemical Brothers, Jefferson Starship, Rodney Crowell, Southside Johnny & More

It's the calm before the storm.

With the Christmas buying season just around the corner, the record labels have a lot of catching up to do if they have any hope of salvaging what has so far — to give it as polite a spin as possible — been a very quiet year.

In the weeks just ahead, we already know about the new albums on the way from Metallica and AC/DC. As we get further into fall, you can expect those to be followed by U2, The Killers, and Beyonce to name just a few. The rumor mill is also floating something from Eminem, the actual release of that decade-in-the-making Guns N' Roses record, and possibly an EP with the leftovers of Coldplay's Viva La Vida sessions with Brian Eno.

So this fall promises to be interesting if nothing else.

In the meantime, I can't think of a better way to soak up those last remaining rays of summer than with a new Brian Wilson album, and especially one with a title like That Lucky Old Sun. This one sounds particularly promising as it is being touted as another of Wilson's ambitious "theme works" along the lines of Pet Sounds and Smile.

Even better, the subject matter celebrates all those time honored Beach Boys things like summer and sunshine in songs like "Forever My Surfer Girl." That Lucky Old Sun comes in both standard CD and deluxe formats (the latter includes a DVD), as well as on vinyl. Wilson can be hit and miss at times, but this album sounds like it could be a great one.

Elsewhere in the record store this week, you'll find a brand new album from eighties boy band New Kids On The Block, who are all grown up now and back together for one last grab at the brass ring. Movie star Terrence Howard (Hustle And Flow, Crash) tries his hand at the music game with the R&B flavored Shine Through It. Young Jeezy gets a bit more serious than his usual mix of club and gangsta' rap on his politically themed The Recession.

Jefferson Starship (or whatever these guys are calling themselves these days) gather most of their original members, including Paul Kantner and Marty Balin, for what sounds on the surface like a rather interesting modern folk-rock experiment on Jefferson's Tree of Liberty. Electro dance pioneers The Chemical Brothers gather a collection of their biggest dancefloor hits on Brotherhood.

Donald Gibson joins us this week to talk about the new one from Rodney Crowell. Meanwhile, Mark Saleski's heart is all a-twitter over the new Southside Johnny album of Tom Waits cover tunes. But we'll let Mr. Saleski himself speak on this.

Saleski's Choice: Southside Johnny with LaBamba's Big Band – Grapefruit Moon: The Songs of Tom Waits

This release has been a rumor for years now. There would be occasional mentions on the Internet from the man himself, first about how LaBamba was working on the charts, then about the sessions that had to be fit in between the busy schedules, then about distribution deals. Geez, fans don't care about that stuff, they just want the music!

Seriously, it feels a little like a dream. When I first heard Tom Waits many years ago, wailing away on the radio about pasties, g-strings, and other stuff, I had no idea how much the man's music would affect me. Southside Johnny seemed a little more concrete, being attached to the whole Jersey coast/soul thing. The fact that one of my favorite artists (Southside) is so into another on that same list, well… it somehow validates my love for both of these guys.

Oh, but wait 'til you hear the transformations of these Waits tunes. His songs have always been big in terms of character. While the big band versions make no attempt at replacing the originals, it's fun to hear the 'big' stepped up to 'huge.'

Donald Gibson's Prime Pick: Rodney Crowell – Sex and Gasoline

An assiduous songwriter, Rodney Crowell is one of that diminishing breed of artists who pay allegiance more to their craft than to any particular genre or style. Artists ranging from Keith Urban (“Making Memories of Us”), Emmylou Harris (“Even Cowgirls Get the Blues”), and Bob Seger (“Shame On the Moon”) have covered his works, underscoring his versatile skill. On his latest album, Sex and Gasoline, Crowell adeptly threads themes of intimacy, mortality, politics, religion, and women into a cohesive, mature narrative. Blustery acoustics and sparse arrangements suit his pensive vocals, rendering this seasoned troubadour as if delivering a soliloquy while ominous music swirls in the shadows.

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

Terrence Howard
Shine Through It
Contemporary Singer/Songwriter, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock

New Kids on the Block
The Block
Urban, Dance-Pop

Brian Wilson
That Lucky Old Sun

Young Jeezy
The Recession
Def Jam
Southern Rap, Gangsta Rap

Apollo Sunshine
Shall Noise Upon
Headless Heroes
Pop Underground, Neo-Psychedelia

John Baker
John Baker Tapes, Vol. 2: Soundtracks, Library, Home Recording, Electro Ads
Television Music, Original Score, Electronic

From the Mountain to the Sea
Fader Label
Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Rock

Bone Thugs N Harmony/Layzie Bone/A.K./Do or Die
Hardcore Rap, Urban

Broadfield Marchers
The Inevitable Continuing
Rainbow Quartz
Pop Underground

The Chemical Brothers
Big Beat, Funky Breaks, Electronica, Trip-Hop, House, Club/Dance, Left-Field House

Rodney Crowell
Sex and Gasoline
Work Song/Yep Roc
Contemporary Singer/Songwriter, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Folk-Rock

Dean & Britta
L' Avventura [Bonus Tracks]
Double Feature
Indie Pop

Lou Donaldson
Lou Takes Off
Blue Note
Hard Bop

Lila Downs
Shake Away
Mexican Folk, Latin Folk, Latin Rock, Contemporary Singer/Songwriter, Rock en Español, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Ranchera, Norteño, Cumbia, Funk

Juan Diego Florez
Bel Canto Spectacular
Italian Opera Arias

Giant Sand
Yep Roc
Alternative Country-Rock, Americana

Eddie Henderson
Blue Note

Stephen Hough
Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 1
Virgin Classics
Romantic Piano Concertos

Bobbi Humphrey
Fancy Dancer
Blue Note
Crossover Jazz, Jazz-Funk

Jefferson Starship
Jefferson's Tree of Liberty
Fuel 2000
Album Rock, Arena Rock, Pop/Rock, Hard Rock, Adult Contemporary

Donnie Klang
Just a Rolling Stone
Bad Boy
Club/Dance, Urban, Dance-Pop

Rafael Kubelik
Smetana: Má vlast; Symphonic Poems
Deutsche Grammophon
Romantic Orchestral Music

Joe Lovano
Blue Note

Indie Electronic, Electronica

Hank Mobley
Hank Mobley Quintet [Bonus Tracks]
Blue Note
Hard Bop

Dr. Stan's Prescription, Vol. 1
Fat Boy
Jam Bands, American Trad Rock, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock

J.R. Monterose
J.R. Monterose
Blue Note
Hard Bop

Olivia Newton-John and Friends
A Celebration in Song
Emi America
Adult Contemporary

Nightmares on Wax
Thought So…
Downbeat, Ambient Breakbeat, Trip-Hop, Electronica, Club/Dance

Orchestra Philharmonique de Strasbourg
Richard Strauss: Till Eulenspiegel; Don Juan [Hybrid SACD]
Pentatone Classics
Post-Romantic Orchestral Music

Original TV Soundtrack
Bones [Original TV Soundtrack]
Original Score, TV Soundtracks

Jimmy Smith
Jimmy Smith Plays Fats Waller
Blue Note
Jazz Blues, Hard Bop, Soul-Jazz

The Smithereens
B-Sides the Beatles
Tribute Albums, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock

Southside Johnny/La Bamba's Big Band
Grapefruit Moon: The Songs of Tom Waits
Bar Band, Rock & Roll, Heartland Rock, Album Rock

Jeremy Steig
Howlin' for Judy
Blue Note
Soul-Jazz, Jazz-Funk, Modern Creative

The Three Sounds
Elegant Soul
Blue Note

The Three Sounds
Soul Symphony
Blue Note

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

Lost in the Sound of Separation
Tooth & Nail
Post-Hardcore, Screamo, Christian Metal, Punk Metal

Various Artists
Messiaen: Garden of Love's Sleep
Deutsche Grammophon
Modern Orchestral, Choral and Chamber Music

TK Webb & the Visions
Indie Rock, Hard Rock

Reuben Wilson
Set Us Free
Blue Note
Soul-Jazz, R&B

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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