While the industry gears up for fall, the typical August doldrums are in full swing, as evidenced by this week’s threadbare music lineup, but take heart: with a “new” Eva Cassidy album due at the end of the month, the sophomore record from Jon McLaughlin (one of last year’s most intriguing (and gorgeous) newcomers), an official live recording of Tori Amos’ historic early-’90s appearances at the Montreaux Jazz Festival (the bootlegs of which have been long-treasured amongst Amos’ rabid faithful), and breathlessly anticipated efforts from Ray LaMontagne, Annie Lennox (via a just-announced best-of set dotted with new songs), Michelle Branch, Whitney Houston, U2, James Taylor, Lee Ann Womack, and Oasis in the pipeline, autumn 2008 promises to be astonishing. All we gotta do is get there.


Easily the funniest and most enjoyable of the largely lamentable sitcoms that occupied the plum real estate following “Seinfeld” during the latter half of the ’90s (though — full disclosure and all — the opening episodes of “Veronica’s Closet” had their share of hilarious highlights, methought), Caroline in the City: The First Season lands on DVD this fine week. Starring Lea Thompson as the titular character, a cartoonist looking for love and laughs in the Big Apple, the series featured invaluable supporting turns from Amy Pietz (as Caroline’s best friend Annie, a dancer in the chorus of Cats) and Malcolm Gets (as Caroline’s illustrator Richard, a buttoned-up bundle of natty neuroses), and though I’m not sure there was a pent-up demand for this release — the show is hardly regarded as a beloved classic, even by those of us who were fans — I’ll be buying it anyway, if only to own a crisp, clear copy of the uproarious 1996 episode in which the priceless Elizabeth Ashley (whose brilliantly fiery dialogue delivery singlehandedly makes last month’s first-season DVD set of “Evening Shade” a worthwhile purchase) shows up and wreaks havoc as Richard’s outlandish mother. If you ever saw it, you know damn well why I’ll never again think of the state of Utah without smiling.


Somehow, in my rush to post last week’s record store report, I managed to overlook the fact that Conor Oberst, the fearless face of highly-revered indie rockers Bright Eyes, was releasing his self-titled solo debut album. I’m not a massive fan of Oberst, whom I find a bit too sleepy and self-centered as a songsmith, but he and his band took a bold step forward with last year’s Cassadaga. I have yet to listen to Oberst, but watch the Buzz for an imminent full-scale review.


One of 2006’s most promising breakthroughs, the fascinating Teddy Geiger, returns for a low-key act two, with nine new songs — one of them a bizarre cover of Poison’s ’80s classic “Nothin’ But a Good Time” — on the soundtrack of The Rocker, a film in which he apparently also stars. I know positively nothing about this motion picture — I stumbled upon the soundtrack while browsing at Target the other night — but I do know this: it’s good to have you back, Teddy.


The new Rolling Stone gives a super-generous four-star review to A Little Bit Longer, the third album from just about the hottest thing going these days, Disney megastars The Jonas Brothers. The record’s quality is anyone’s guess at this point — and, judging from their previous efforts, let’s just say my hopes aren’t scaling new heights — but given the pleasant surprise that Miley Cyrus’ record has turned out to be, trust me when I tell you, you just never know.


You might be wise to stick with the forefathers of the modern boy band movement, those pesky New Kids on the Block, who continue to whet appetites for next month’s The Block — their first album in fifteen years — by releasing a new hits collection to remind you what the original fuss was all about. All the usual suspects are here, from their inauspicious 1988 debut smash “Please Don’t Go Girl” to their final charting single, 1990’s “Tonight.” Greatest Hits also includes “Stay the Same,” Joey McIntyre’s 1999 guilty pleasure solo debut, and “Angel of Love,” the super-rare 1990 duet that Jordan Knight recorded with long-forgotten starlet Ana. You may well find that none of these songs are as good as you remember them being back in the day, when you gleefully sang along with Jordan’s dulcet tones on the radio, but I say there are far less healthy ways than this to feel like a teenager again.


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