The album that the Buzz has been breathlessly anticipating for four long years now finally drops this week, and some pretty interesting stuff drops right alongside it. David, my darling, we have missed you!


Those pesky geniuses at Now! are out to steal a bit of Ultra’s thunder with their latest brilliant compilation, Now That’s What I Call Club Hits!, which features a smattering of hard-to-find dance mixes of recent radio smashes from the likes of David Guetta (his masterful collaboration with Kelly Rowland, “When Love Takes Over,” one of summer ’09’s most intoxicating singles), The Killers (“Spaceman”), Katy Perry (“Waking Up in Vegas,” which I can’t help but kinda sorta like, wholly in spite of the fact that I think she’s utterly ridiculous), Lady GaGa (the hilariously profane “LoveGame”), and Kelly Clarkson (the puny “My Life Would Suck Without You”), among many others.

Separately, they are Conor Oberst and Mike Mogis (from Bright Eyes), Jim James (from My Morning Jacket), and M. Ward (from She & Him); together, they are a new supergroup — a Traveling Wilburys for the aughts, if you will — called Monsters of Folk, and this week, they release their self-titled debut collaboration. Haven’t listened yet, but if the terrific advance singles — particularly “Dear God” and “Say Please” — are any indication, this could be a real contender. At any rate, it’s almost certain to be better than Tinted Windows, the howlingly awful collaboration between
Taylor Hanson and Adam Schlesinger from earlier this year.

Physically, it’s a Target exclusive — a fact that has already caused Sherry Ann, the world’s biggest Eddie Vedder fan, no end of agita (she literally called me Sunday afternoon and screamed at me for ten minutes over it!) — but unlike most of the other big box store exclusive titles of late, Seattle’s own Pearl Jam insisted that their latest album Backspacer also be available for sale at select indie record stores (which, unlike Best Buy or Wal-Mart, don’t necessarily compete with Target for consumers’ attention) and at iTunes. Backspacer has already drawn much acclaim for being a back-to-basics return to form for the band, and Sherry Ann has already declared the track “Just Breathe” to be a winner. (I’m sure she’ll toss anything else she thinks you need to know into the comments section below.)

One of the finest (and, indeed, most underrated) singer/songwriters in the history of modern popular music was certainly the amazing
Dan Fogelberg, who tragically lost his battle with prostate cancer in December of 2006, leaving behind a rich legacy, and a trove of songs — including “Same Old Lang Syne,” one of the most glorious and profoundly sad love songs I’ve ever heard — which will stand the test of time. The collection of songs that Fogelberg was working on at the time of his death sees the light of day this week as Love in Time, and it includes the hauntingly gorgeous “Sometimes a Song,” which was released last year to benefit cancer research.

His 2007 global breakthrough Life in Cartoon Motion sold gangbusters in the rest of the world but didn’t incite much stateside interest, even though its two singles — the brilliantly infectious “Grace Kelly” and the ebullient “Love Today” — at least got him noticed by some of the right people. Now, that bubbly Brit Mika steps up to the plate with his second effort, The Boy Who Knew Too Much. Advance word on this has been strangely muted, but if the joyous sing-along “We Are Golden” doesn’t go a long way toward establishing him as Lady GaGa’s cocksure male counterpart, I reckon nothing will. (Also keep an ear peeled for track number five, “I See You,” which plays like ABBA crossed with Coldplay. And I mean that in a good way, I think!)

Maddening though the gaps between his albums are, at least he takes his time to make sure he gets it right, and so, four years to the month after his last shattering masterwork Life in Slow Motion landed, the magnificent David Gray — whose name rests atop the shortlist for musical artist of the decade (if not century) — returns with his seventh studio album Draw the Line. I just listened to this thing twice and still don’t have a definite opinion — there were songs I liked, and some that didn’t grab me so much — but I will tell you without qualification that the album’s closer “Full Steam” — a triumphant duet with the never-better Annie Lennox — is a winner. I already can’t wait to take another pass at this.  (And be sure you pick up the deluxe edition of Draw, whose second disc contains eight of Gray’s best-loved hits — including “Babylon” and “The One I Love” — recorded live at London’s Roundhouse.)

Also noteworthy this week:


  • That brilliant madman Rufus Wainwright revisits the highlights from his last three albums with the new live effort Milwaukee at Last!!!, recorded during his 2007 tour.

  • Matt Scannell and the boys of Vertical Horizon are back after an extended hiatus with their latest, Burning the Days.

  • Back when that smooth cutie Michael Buble was still potty training,
    there was Harry Connick, Jr., who returns to music this week with
    Your Songs, a collection of classic covers of the likes of Billy Joel, Frank Sinatra, and The Carpenters.

  • This week on the TV-on-DVD front: my favorite-ever Giuseppe, the marvelous Nathan Fillion (will anyone besides me and Sherry Ann even GET that?!), slays ’em in the first season of Castle; and Tina, Alec, and company raise more television hell in the third season of the raucous Emmy-winning modern classic 30 Rock.

  • And, finally, if you’ve yet to drink the Kings of Leon kool-aid, or to leap on the Mat Kearney bandwagon, Best Buy is stepping up to help you out this week: the Followill boys’ ferociously shattering masterpiece
    Only by the Night — a top ten staple for the entire summer, thanks to their thrilling crossover smash “Use Somebody” — is on sale for ten bucks (utterly a steal!), and Kearney’s instant classic sophomore record City of Black and White (most seriously, one of the year’s hands-down best albums) is part of the store’s Find ‘Em First campaign this month, which means you can buy this for the staggering price of $7.99. Come on, guys, a Big Mac extra value meal costs more than that, and isn’t nearly as satisfying!


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