Forgive me for the late record store report this week: I’ve been swamped the past few days preparing for my blockbuster interview with the great Pam Long. (If you’re at all interested in the inner workings of a soap opera, from someone who’s excelled at mastering them, you should listen to this.) At any rate, it’s rather a hodgepodge of different stuff on the new release wall this week. Dig in:


The latest British import to dazzle us with a gregarious blast of giddy pop: Gary Baker, coming to be better known as Gary Go, who releases the physical version of his debut record this week. (The album has been available for the past month at iTunes, whose version includes bonus covers of The Cars’ 1984 classic “Drive” and a mellow take on Lady GaGa’s brilliant “Just Dance.”) The lead single “Wonderful” is an absolutely terrific, magnificently melodic counterpoint to some of the heavier tunes —
The Fray, Kelly Clarkson, Mariah Carey, fine songs all, but not exactly party-starters — populating top 40 radio right now. Give this a shot.

Their spectacular 2006 breakthrough
Centuries Before Love and War, which played like a booming, bizarro cross between Radiohead, Moby, and U2, gave us the monumentally magnificent “Movies of Antarctica” and good reason to hope for the future of moody, atmospheric rock, a promise that more than gets fulfilled on Stars of Track and Field‘s more streamlined second major-label effort
A Time for Lions. Don’t miss “End of All Time” if you’re a fan of intense, wall-of-sound percussion, the perfect complement to Kevin Calaba’s ice-cool vocals.

Hot on the heels of his latest album, June’s Back and Fourth, the marvelous Pete Yorn is already back with new material to devour, as he releases a concept album entitled Break Up, a collaboration with actress Scarlett Johansson, who has yet to overcome the stench of her debut album, last year’s embarrassingly inept collection of Tom Waits covers Anywhere I Lay My Head. I have utterly no idea how this will turn out in long form, especially considering that Yorn and Johansson co-wrote this album’s eight original tunes, but I will say this: first single “Relator” isn’t half-bad, and Yorn’s warm, easy timbre can make anybody sound good.

Also noteworthy this week:


  • British rock band Muse continue their path to the top with their latest, The Resistance.

  • Mark Knopfler follows up his triumphant collaboration with
    Emmylou Harris with a new solo effort, Get Lucky.

  • Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers reunite for the new Levitate.

  • MySpace sensation Marie Digby is up with her second album, Breathing Underwater.

  • Kid Rock’s former sidekick Uncle Kracker returns with his latest,
    Happy Hour.

  • Tracks from Patty Griffin, Missy Higgins, Fiona Apple, and Nikka Costa highlight The Best is Yet to Come: The Songs of Cy Coleman.

  • Season two of A’s new favorite show The Big Bang Theory
    arrives on DVD.

  • He co-wrote Love and Theft’s fast-rising debut single “Runaway”;
    now, Rob Blackledge is up with his own collection of songs,
    Inside These Walls.

  • And finally, a new wave of entries in Sony’s brilliant Playlist series, with new collections from Toad the Wet Sprocket, George Jones, and Nina Simone, and a stupendous set entitled ’80s Radio Hits, which includes classics from Starship, Bonnie Tyler, Eddie Money,
    and many others.


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