Saturday, May 22, 2010

New Music for May 2010

Sam Phillips - Old Tin Pan (2010)
"Old Tin Pan" is the latest EP from Sam's Long Play project. This EP is a treat for us die hard fans (that was a pun I suppose), because it is comprised of the songs Sam had written for her last CD, "Don't Do Anything", but pulled out by her so that she could rework the entire album. It seems pretty obvious, after the fact I suppose, that she made the right choices back then. Although these songs are good, they would have changed "Don't Do Anything" quite a bit. The other big news for us long time fans is that finally, what may be the oldest unreleased (but played live) song from Sam has finally been officially released. I've been waiting years to hear a studio version of "When You're Down". It's funny too, because just the other day on XM's The Loft, they played a live version of it from Sam's performance in their studios back in 2004. I love the full quartet driving this version of the song. And the Section Quartet is all over this EP along with Jay Bellerose on percussion, with some nice piano from Sam. It is more somber than the last EP, "Magic for Everybody", but overall very satisfying. Again, if you haven't signed up for the Long Play it isn't too late. 4 of the 5 EPs have now been released and there is still a digital CD to be released later this year. There has never been a better year to be a Sam Phillips fan.
Sparks - Hello Young Lovers (2006)
I usually don't review older CDs here, but I just couldn't resist. I really love this CD. It isn't for everyone. But for those of you who like to take risks in your music, who love a good hook but still need it to find its way to you in a unique setting, for those of you ready to rock, this is worth the listen. A blending of Phillip Glass, metal, country, glorious harmonies and hooks straight from the 70s, and almost anything else you can throw into the blender, this is your album. None of this is haphazard though. Strangeness is everywhere you look; especially in the lyrics. I was hooked with "Dick Around" and was totally won over by "Perfume". This is just a fun yet complex CD that deserves more attention.
Joan Armatrading - This Charming Life (2010)
This is her most pop, most accessible CD in many many years. Joan plays all of the instruments (except drums) on this rock and roll album. As always there are stories about interesting people in and out of love. And there are hooks all over the place. She is touring America this summer. Don't miss her. http://joanarmatrading.com
Peter Gabriel - Scratch My Back (2010)
A lot has been said about this in the press. I'll just say that the arrangements of these covers are unique and beautiful. The tone is similar throughout the CD and some people might find that boring, but I really enjoyed letting Peter just take me on this trip with him.
Drive By Truckers - The Big To-Do (2010)
DBT continues to be one of my favorite southern rock bands, singing about common people and so many problems in life, then driving it home with jangling guitars and a power and sound not unlike the Stones of the 60s. Love these guys... and girl.
The Watson Twins - Talking To You, Talking To Me (2010)
A little more focused than previous releases and strong arrangements make this their best outing yet. The sisters have moved away from dueting every song without losing any of the beauty that their voices bring to the record. A beautiful CD. http://thewatsontwins.com
Melissa Etheridge - Fearless Love (2010)
Melissa rocks harder than most men, and with this release it is a bigger, 70's rock sound. The female Bruce Springsteen continues to deliver solid rock and roll.
Pete Kilpatrick Band - Hope In Our Hearts (2008)
Their PR says they sound like The Fray. If they remind me of anyone, it would Five For Fighting. And that's a good thing. Catchy pop tunes with a solid modern rock sound. http://www.myspace.com/petekilpatrick
Anne McCue - Broken Promise Land (2010)
Women sure have figured out how to rock and roll over the years. Over the last year or two I've been enjoying artists like Grace Potter and Carolyn Wonderland, not to mention Nicole Atkins and of course Melissa Etheridge. Joining those rockers is Anne McCue, who's new CD is grittier and more alive than what is being released by most male rockers these days. I love the arrangements, which often start off with a standard bar band rock sound, and then in come the horns and you're moved to a different place. This is a tough world she lives in on the CD (it appears tough on the outside too, where she had to sell her steel guitar to get this CD made) and those lyrics add to the gritty and real feel that this album brings to you. The back of the CD says it all: PLAY LOUD. http://annemccue.com
Chris Wolf - Better Be Scared! (2006)
What a fun CD to listen to. Chris is a classic folk singer with some unusual stories to tell. I was smiling throughout this 14 song CD and can't wait to hear his next one (due out this summer). You can check out this CD at CDBaby.

Music Hall Link - Cowboy Junkies 4-1-1996 listen