Wednesday, September 1, 2010

New Music : August 31, 2010 - September 6, 2010

Ryan Bingham "Junky Star"

 Ryan is know to have one of those gravelly, lived-in voices that belies his tender years - He's not even 30. He has plenty of stories to tell and a persuasive style of delivery. Recorded with his trio, the Dead Horses, his latest to date was produced by T Bone Burnett, who previously collaborated with Bingham on the soundtrack for "Crazy Heart," which won the emerging artist an Academy Award for Best Original Song, for "The Weary Kind." Highlights on Bingham's third long-player include the lurching "Strange Feelin' in the Air," the topical "Depression" and "All Choked Up Again," which ends the album with a dose of Stones-y swagger.

Sahara Smith "Myth of the Heart"  

 This Texas singer-songwriter creates songs mostly know for its Cinemascope-like wide-screen portraits of romantic passion, loneliness and unrequited love. Her richly impressive, intensely soulful voice tops off this debut album which quickly places this 21-year-old in the Emmylou Harris-Alison Krauss camp of country-rock singers of exquisite tastefulness. Her work with her eminently empathetic partner, producer Emile Kelman, who’s learned his lessons well studying under T Bone Burnett gives her songs plenty of sonic air in which to breathe, supporting her deeply felt takes on matters of the heart with painterly applications of yearning guitar and marrow-deep bass and drums.

Gerald Levert "The Best of Gerald Levert"  

  15 of of the late R&B crooner's greatest hits including 'Baby Hold On To Me,' 'I'd Give Anything,' 'Thinkin' Bout It,' and 'Taking Everything,' plus hits from his legendary groups, Levert and LSG. The album also features the never-before-released, Top 10 Urban AC single 'Can It Stay' and liner notes by Dr. Cornel West. Shortly before his death, Levert completed work on what would be his final album, In My Songs. The album was released on February 13, 2007. In June 2007, a book Gerald was working to complete entitled, I Got Your Back: A Father and Son Keep it Real About Love, Fatherhood, Family, and Friendship, was released. The book was initially planned as a tie-in for a Levert album of the same name. Levert was also working on a reality show in which he was losing weight along with 12 of his female fans, who were training with him at his palatial home.

Jenny & Johnny "I'm Having Fun Now"

   As the title of the album may not showcases, a bulk of this record was made in Omaha, Neb., during the worst blizzard in over a century - not that you'd guess it from the bright textures and hook-laden pop melodies. Jenny Lewis and Johnny Rice combined, have made records with Rilo Kiley, the Watson Twins, and as a solo artists and singer-songwriters. They have been creatively and romantically involved for half a decade; Maybe that's why this project, though lighthearted, has some of the prickliness of a real day-to-day relationship. The album distinguishes itself from Lewis and Rice's solo effort with help from old friends Mike Mogis (Bright Eyes) and Pierre de Reeder (Rilo Kiley). It's been compared to classic AM radio fare but is really closer to the jangle pop of the 1980s -- bands like the Three O'Clock and Opal in L.A., Let's Active out of North Carolina, and the Chills. The album, inspired partially by the death of Johnny's mother in 2006, this solid set showcases an impressive lineup of players—including Lisa Germano, Sebastian Steinberg (Soul Coughing), Glenn Kotche (Wilco) and Pat Sansone—performing quiet, haunting originals, like "Broken Promises" and "By Some Miracle."

Goo Goo Dolls "Something for the Rest of Us"  

The new album from the perennial pop-rock band was produced by Tim Palmer (U2, Pearl Jam, David Bowie) with additional production by Butch Vig (Green Day, Nirvana, Foo Fighters, etc.) John Fields (Paul Westerberg, Jimmy Eat World) and the Goo Goo Dolls themselves. The result showcases more of the well-crafted songs and timeless lyrics that have been such an integral part of the band’s continuing success. Written and recorded over the past couple of years, the album delivers another dose of emotionally charged, well-crafted rock songs such as “Sweetest Lie,” “One Night,” and “Soldier.” With his songwriting, Rzeznik confronts some of the issues that have become part of many people’s everyday lives and addresses the disillusionment of the difficult period we live in. His writing does well in giving a voice to the emotional uncertainty that accompanies hard times. The follow up to their 2006 release, "Let Love In," which marked the Goo Goo Dolls’ 20th anniversary as a band.

Disturbed "Asylum"

  Disturbed have grown and become a heavy rock sound all of their own since coming to the scene in 1996. Their last three albums—"Believe" (2002), "Ten Thousand Fists" (2005) and "Indestructible" (2008)—all entered the charts at No. 1. Now, their latest is "Asylum," but the hard-hitting Chicago quartet is quick to point out that the album title can be read more than one way: An asylum may be a facility for the insane, but it can also be a place of refuge. Likewise, several of the 12 new songs can be read on multiple levels, including lead single "Another Way to Die." Thematically, the song's about global warming and how the choices we make affect the planet that gives the group a new topic that will hopefully raise a little awareness.

Heart "Red Velvet Car"

  Since their 1976 breakout debut, "Dreamboat Annie," the band Heart has sold over 30 million records worldwide. "Red Velvet Car" is Heart's second album since reforming in 2002, and finds them moving in a fresh direction, with an emphasis on acoustic timbres. The follow-up to "Jupiter's Darling" features guitar hero Nancy trying her hand at myriad instruments, including mandolin, dobro, banjo, fiddle, viola, cello and autoharp. The album was produced by acclaimed multi-instrumentalist Ben Mink (k.d. lang, Barenaked Ladies). Along with nine brand-new songs, the set also includes an alternate reading of "Sand," originally recorded by their side project the Lovemongers.

 Richard Thompson "Dream Attic"

 Not only is he lauded for his virtuoso playing and revered as a forefather of the folk-rock genre, but he's also won kudos as a songwriter, including the prestigious Ivor Novello Award. Like his best work, his new creation is sharp-tongued and poignant, incorporating everything from murder ballads ("Sidney Wells") to Beatles-esque pop ("Big Sun Falling in the River") and a scathing indictment of so-called too-big-to-fail banks ("The Money Shuffle"). The record is culled from a string of West Coast concerts from earlier this year, but the material is all new, and bristling with excitement.

  • New Idea Society "Somehow Disappearing" 
  • Magic Kids "Memphis"

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