Would you believe The Fray still hasn’t left my CD player? Luckily, it’s another light one out there this week, because I still have a pile of discs to get through, and if anyone can get me to divert my attention away from Isaac and the boys for a spell, it’s the miraculous woman who gives us the week’s marquee release. Read on:


If you missed it in theaters last fall, make it a point to catch up with Bill Maher’s laugh-riot quasi-documentary Religulous when it arrives on home video this week. A hilariously scathing indictment not of God himself, but rather of the phalanx of fables and parables which have been concocted wholly by human beings in vain and often foolhardy attempts to explain and quantify Him, the film straddles, and with a fierce confidence which sometimes steps a toe or two over the edge, a tricky line between debunking myths and outright mocking them, and while the whole affair gets a little tiresome in the third act (which contains a visit to “Holy Land,” a religion-based theme park whose daily ministrations climax with — I kid you not — a full-scale reenactment of Jesus’ crucifixion), Maher scorches a wide swath of Earth (and admirably so) in a valiant stab at injecting some logic and reason into our collective faith.

Thirty-one exclusive tracks spread out over two discs comprise Dark Was the Night, the latest stab at raising money for AIDS awareness and prevention from the Red Hot organization, whose previous efforts in this same endeavor stand as some of the most intriguing music projects of the past two decades. (Annie Lennox’s haunted reading of “Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye” from Red Hot + Blue, anyone? Or, courtesy of Red Hot + Dance, two words: “Too. Funky.”) Dark‘s thrust is to showcase the very best of modern indie rock, and to that end, you’ll find new tracks here from the likes of Bon Iver (who is on a red hot roll nowadays, thanks to all the critical hosannas for his sweet debut record, For Emma, Forever Ago), Cat Power, Yo La Tengo, Arcade Fire, Spoon, David Byrne, Feist, The National, My Morning Jacket, Sufjan Stevens, and so many others. Great music for a great cause.

Originally due last fall (before a medical emergency sidelined her promotion plans), the eagerly-anticipated The Annie Lennox Collection finally arrives this week, and not a moment too soon. A fourteen-track best-of disc whose material — save for a pair of new tracks (one of which is a thrilling cover of Ash’s “Shining Light”), as well as the eerie “Love Song for a Vampire,” her 1992 contribution to the soundtrack for Bram Stoker’s Dracula — is gleaned remarkably evenly from Lennox’s four spectacular solo albums, Collection features all the hits, from “Why” and “Walking On Broken Glass” up through 2007’s underrated masterpiece “Dark Road,” and while not everything that should be here is — personally, I’d have taken either “Wonderful” or the spine-tingling “Loneliness” from her 2003 smash album Bare over “A Thousand Beautiful Things,” and — their utter divinity absolutely notwithstanding — I’d have jettisoned at least one of the five Diva tracks included here in favor of a more substantial sampling of the terribly underrated Medusa (where is “Waiting in Vain”? “Downtown Lights”? “Something So Right”?) — but I’m not going to quibble, because what is here is uniformly brilliant. (Plus, you get a bonus DVD featuring the corresponding videoclip for each track on the album.) It has long been a fact that Lennox is one of the finest performers alive. Here’s a divine chance to get reminded why.

Also noteworthy this week:


  • I’ve always found his music a bit too moody and melodramatic for my tastes, but British rock pioneer Morrissey certainly has a massive cadre of fans, and those folks will no doubt be thrilled to receive
    Years of Refusal, the star’s tenth solo album.

  • Former Austinite Ana Egge returns this week with Road to My Love,
    her sixth album.


1 response to “these are the dreams i’ll dream instead
(or: february 17 — a thumbnail sketch)”

  1. the buzz from Annissa:

    Hi Brandon. Thank you for mentioning Ana Egge. I would like to send you her new CD in case you would like to review it. What is your physical address and email? Thank you again!
    Annissa Mason
    Brookes Company