the Buzz for December 2009

29
Dec

 

Your local record store’s new release wall is an utter dead zone this week, which finds not even one major new album jockeying for all those post-Christmas gift card dollars. (And buck up out there, cowboys, because a quick scan of the January slate reveals that next week ain’t lookin’ so hot, either.) But the week is not a total wash, rest assured:

 

And now, a true story: my beloved A, who is the great love of my life, absolutely detests television. He’s one of these people who would much rather be reading The New Yorker, or enjoying a measure of sunshine, or doing anything other than spending an hour or two or seven channel-surfing, and while I’ll confess that I find that quirk in his personality to be quite admirable (and even a little inspiring), I also find it very strange, and thoroughly crazy-making. Nevertheless, there are shows that can impel A to sit still for a spell and offer up his undivided attention, and — at least of late — none holds more powerful sway over him than the new Fox smash Glee, whose first thirteen episodes arrive on DVD this week in a sparkling four-disc set entitled Vol. 1: The Road to Sectionals.

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28
Dec

“…but then they started biting people’s necks and shit, and then I had to stop watching.”

— the marvelous Sherry Ann, explaining to me earlier in the evening that, while channel surfing some weeks ago, she got sucked into an episode of the CW’s new smash “The Vampire Diaries” because a Mat Kearney tune happened to be playing during one of the scenes, but that — Kearney or no — she had to walk away when the characters indeed proved themselves to be standard issue vampires. (Sherry Ann prefers that her angst-ridden, soapy teen dramas be fangless, you understand.)

24
Dec

 

Dreadful sorry for the severe dearth in Buzz posts the past week or so: between keeping my radio show up and running, getting my annual music project for Sherry Ann’s churren recorded, and, oh, earning a living, I’ve been utterly swamped lately. Good thing, then, that there hasn’t been much of note to discuss regarding the new release wall, as Susan Boyle mania reaches a fever pitch. Take a look:

 

One of country radio’s most dependable stalwarts, the incredible Phil Vassar, returns to the fore this week with his fifth studio album, Traveling Circus. The first two singles from Circus — “Bobbi with an I” (the hilarious video for which features James Denton of “Desperate Housewives” fame) and “Everywhere I Go” — have yet to generate a great deal of traction in radio’s female-fronted fall (hello, Carrie and Taylor), although, to be perfectly fair, the former, which dares to promote a fun-loving transvestite as its protagonist, was always going to be a tough sell throughout the genre’s red state stranglehold. Regardless, you won’t find a more consistently intriguing and dependable songwriter (and, not to mention, a cooler piano player) anywhere in Nashville.

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23
Dec

The holiday season is upon us anew, and everyone at Brandon’s Buzz would like to wish its readers and listeners a very merry Christmas.

In the spirit of the season, one of Brandon’s Buzz Radio’s former guests, the spectacular singer/songwriter Brenda Russell, has made available at
her website (www.brendarussell.com, natch) a free download of an utterly gorgeous new holiday tune “Christmas Card.” All you must do is enter a valid e-mail adress, and the track is yours to keep. (If you’d rather not submit your e-mail address, the track is still available for forty-nine cents.)

Happy holidays, all.

21
Dec

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14
Dec

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9
Dec

 

The best, most thrilling concert I’ve ever been to in my life hits DVD this week, and you’ll find the year’s greatest assemblage of musical all-stars on the new release wall as well. As the December doldrums go, you could do a hell of a lot worse:

 

Just a month after Volume 1 hit stores with a bang, Fox and the folks at their latest television smash are back on the case with the release of Glee: The Music, Vol. 2, another collection of seventeen cover tunes from the hit high school musical comedy. The show tends to give me hives, but the quality of the music is beyond reproach, and I’m happy to report that the cast’s showstopping rendition of John Lennon’s “Imagine” — done in collaboration with a deaf glee club from a neighboring school (you had to be there!) in an episode from a couple of weeks ago — makes the cut here, and it’s so great that it almost makes you forget about the kids’ abominable desecration of Van Halen’s 1984 classic “Jump.”

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7
Dec

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2
Dec

They invariably end up pissing me off with their unjustifiable inanity, but because I’m a music fan all the way down to my toenails, I always look forward to the annual Grammy nominations. And because I’m an eternal optimist at heart, I always pray that this is the year the recording academy will get it right. Well, I’m not holding out a great deal of hope that the Grammy folks will suddenly correct their typical foolishness tonight by uniformly nominating people who actually deserve the praise, but let me just say this at the outset: if “Use Somebody” doesn’t at the very least nab a nod for Record of the Year, I’m throwing a rock through my television set. Let the concert commence!

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1
Dec

 

Typically, after November’s music slate builds to a budget-busting, orgasmic wall-of-sound crescendo, the December doldrums set in. 2009 is no exception, with only one major release worth getting any degree of excited over. Happy shopping, y’all:

 

With over 70 million albums sold, she has taken a great deal of the entire world under her Irish new-age-y spell, and now she pauses to take the measure of two decades of music with her brand new collection, The Very Best of Enya, which pulls together all her classic singles — from her massive 1988 breakthrough “Orinocco Flow” and her 1996 classic “Anywhere Is,” right up through last year’s “Trains and Winter Rains” — into one breathtaking 22-track set. I haven’t picked this up yet, so I can’t tell you which version of her left-field 2001 smash “Only Time” — the horrid original version, or the crackling remix, which became a runaway behemoth at top 40 radio in the immediate wake of 9/11 — appears here, but I pray it’s the latter, since, to my knowledge, that version has never been made commercially available. But because I’m thrilled to see my favorite-ever Enya tune — 2002’s glorious “Wild Child” — in the mix, odds are I’ll forgive her either way.

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