Another relatively slow one out there this week, kids, but I reckon you’ll find a couple of can’t-miss gems in somewhere along the new release wall. To wit:


And now, a true story. (I think I’ve told a variation on this one before — too lazy to actually look — but it remains painfully relevant, so deal. I’ll try to keep it short.) Get the picture: 1990, junior high school gymnasium, eighth grade graduation dance. My first girlfriend Erin — yes, yes, this is a story from back in the days when I was straight as an arrow (and Erin, if you’re somehow reading these words, I’m so very sorry, but all I can tell you is, I’m feeling strangely expansive this morning) — have just taken a walk (in the school parking lot, natch!) and held hands for the first time, and all seems right with the world. For reasons I can’t now remember, she and I have gone our separate ways for a few minutes, she with her friends and me with mine — how very “Saved By the Bell,” agreed? — when, all of a sudden, OUR song begins booming through the speakers. (I call it “our song” because it was the radio hit that spring — nothing else even compared! — and because she and I both worshipped the tune, and because my first gift to her was this very song’s lyrics, painstakingly calligraphed by me onto a gorgeous piece of gold parchment paper which I had previously pilfered from Midge Lemley’s art class. (At our tenth high school reunion a few years back, Erin told me she still has those lyrics. And don’t feel too bad for ol’ Midge: she had demolished the one and only oil painting I produced in class that year by pouring black ink all fucking over it several months prior, so that crazy heifer owed me one.))


In a hormone-fueled flash, like a scene from some bad ’80s-era Brat Pack flick, Erin and I tore through the gym knocking hordes of horny adolescents out of our paths and trying desperately to find each other, because there was no way in hell we weren’t gonna dance to our song. With big goofy grins swiped across both of our faces, we collided square in the middle of the hardwood floor before the end of the first verse, and we instantly fell into a chaste and easygoing dancefloor stroll, at some point during which I’m pretty sure I began singing the words of the song into Erin’s ear. (I’m a little fuzzy about that last part, but rest assured, every remaining syllable of the above story has the added advantage of being absolutely true!)


Flash forward nineteen years: the relationship imploded early that summer — you’d think that we’d have been smart enough to realize how impossibly sad “our song” actually was and taken that as an omen — but the tune to which we danced that magical May evening remains a classic, and it turns up in rotation again this week alongside the return of the dreaded deluxe edition monster. For a welcome change, however, the latest recipient is well worth the upgrade: one of the most pivotal recordings of the ’90s —
Sinead O’Connor‘s 1990 touchstone I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got, which spawned the instant classic number one smash “Nothing Compares 2 U” and made the clean shaven Irish chanteuse a household name — returns this week beautifully remastered two-disc set which contains a collection of ten additional live recordings, remixes, and b-sides, including a fascinating cover of John Lennon’s “Mind Games” of whose existence I have no prior recollection. (One of you Sinead freaks out there, please feel free to correct me if indeed this has been previously released.)

One of Planet Earth’s all-time finest vocalists, who, save for a little-known Christmas album a couple of years back, hasn’t been heard from since her stunning 2002 record All the Love, makes a most welcome comeback this week: the ravishing Oleta Adams, whom I am diligently working on luring to Brandon’s Buzz Radio for a long-overdue chat, returns after a ridiculous hiatus with her sixth studio album Let’s Stay Here. Best known for her indelibly haunting smash cover of Brenda Russell’s “Get Here,” which, in the wake of 1991’s Operation Desert Storm, became an unlikely sensation at top 40 radio and sent this woman rocketing up every chart, Stay finds Adams in remarkably fine form and lending her gorgeously smoky voice to ten new tracks, among them covers of Nina Simone’s “Feelin’ Good” and Billie Holliday’s “Don’t Explain,” either of which fits around these killer pipes as naturally as hand in glove. Good to have you back, Miss Oleta.

Laugh if you will, but this is what I call a supergroup: mix together Fountains of Wayne’s brilliant guru Adam Schlesinger, Smashing Pumpkins’ founding guitarist James Iha, and Cheap Trick’s legendary drummer Bun E. Carlos, and throw in for good measure a king-sized dollop of Taylor Hanson, the fearless and devastatingly good lead singer of the pop band that bears his and his brothers’ surname, and what do you end up with? Meet Tinted Windows, whose kinetic live shows have been the source of major industry-wide hype for months now and who are finally releasing a physical product — their self-titled debut — to back up the buzz. And while this mystifying melange of musical talent may not strike you as immediately impressive — hey, they can’t all be Arcadia, or even Audioslave! — I say anything that puts (and keeps) the remarkable Hanson (whom I continue to believe is the best and most riveting pure pop singer under thirty in the whole damn world) in front of a microphone and belting his guts out is mighty fine by me. As Sherry Ann would most definitely say, “Put those hands together.”

Also noteworthy this week:


  • Two revered relics from the ’80s synth-pop explosion return this week with brand new studio efforts:   Depeche Mode is back with
    Sounds of the Universe, and Pet Shop Boys celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of their formation with their latest, Yes.

  • A’s favorite musical political satirists The Capitol Steps are up with their latest collection of spoofs, Obama Mia!

  • He’s already drawing major comparisons to Eminem;
    judge for yourself with white rapper Asher Roth‘s major label debut, Asleep in the Bread Aisle.

  • Pioneering contemporary Christian band Jars of Clay are up with their latest, The Long Fall Back to Earth.

  • Cabinet of Curiosities, a four-disc collection of rarities, b-sides, and demos from alt-rock heroes Jane’s Addiction.

  • And finally, a trio of noteworthy new singles just up at iTunes:


    • “Closer to Love” Mat Kearney - Closer to Love - Single - Closer to Love is the terrific leadoff single from
      Mat Kearney‘s much-anticipated sophomore effort
      City of Black and White (due May 19)

    • “Welcome to England” Tori Amos - Welcome to England - Single - Welcome to England gets my beloved Tori Amos‘ tenth studio album Abnormally Attracted to Sin (also due May 19) off to a tepid, subdued start (though I’ve heard several other tracks from the record which I like quite a lot better, so I’m not yet worried that we have another American Doll Posse on our hands)

    • a powerful new offering from one of last year’s heroes, the marvelous Thriving Ivory, “Flowers for a Ghost”  Thriving Ivory - Flowers for a Ghost - Single - Flowers for a Ghost


2 responses to “it’s been seven hours and fifteen days
(or: april 21 — a thumbnail sketch)”

  1. the buzz from Lela Livley:

    Who are you? You were in Aunt Midge’s art class and i can’t place you.

  2. the buzz from brandon:

    Hey Lela, I’m the “Brandon” in Brandon’s Buzz. (It’s not a pen name, for better or worse!) A little birdie just told me you and Brocke are married! I had no idea!