the Buzz for May 2010

28
May

 

‘Twas a bitch of a week, so all apologies for the record store report’s lateness this week. But better late than never: May comes to a close with a handful of highly-anticipated comebacks, along with a soundtrack that is sure to stand among the year’s most popular. Take a look:

 

  • No doubt you, as do I, remember with a peculiar fondness an eerily ethereal smash from the summer of 1992 called “Stay”; the creator of that tune, the miraculous Siobhan Fahey, has just reassembled Shakespear’s Sister, the band who rode the song straight to the top of the charts across the whole damn world, and their brand new album is entitled Songs from the Red Room.
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  • The spectacular soulstress Bettye LaVette turns her rapt attention across the pond to cover the likes of Elton John, Paul McCartney,
    The Moody Blues, The Who, Pink Floyd, and many others on her latest, Interpretations: The British Rock Songbook.
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  • They have broken up and reconciled more times than Victor and Nikki, but those alt-rock icons Stone Temple Pilots are officially flying in the same pack anew, and they’re back with a new eponymous album, their first project as a group since 2001’s terrific Shangri-La-Dee-Da.
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  • Brit-rock heroes Stereophonics return with their seventh studio album, Keep Calm and Carry On.
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  • Beck and Feist are among the folks who stop by to help out
    electronica guru Jamie Lidell on his latest record, Compass.
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  • In the week in which we pause as a crunchy to coronate the next American Idol, how fitting that we should be treated to the official stateside debut of Will Young, the first winner of Britain’s Pop Idol (the mega-popular program upon which ours is based). Young’s album is called Leave Right Now, the title track from which has been heard as Idol‘s farewell song during each of this season’s elimination montages.
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  • The songs have been available for free download at the band’s website for weeks now, but if you care about ridiculously ornate deluxe packaging (not to mention indecipherably stupid album titles), then Teargarden By Kaleidyscope 1: Songs for a Sailor — the latest project from Smashing Pumpkins — is almost certainly for you.
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  • With contributions from Cyndi Lauper, Dido, and the magnificent Nicholas Rodriguez, not to mention a duet betwixt those golden-throated uber-divas Leona Lewis and Jennifer Hudson, plus a cover of Beyonce’s smash “Single Ladies” which is performed by the one and only Liza Minnelli, the original motion pitcher soundtrack for Sex and the City 2 would seem at first glance to be a big ol’ gay wet dream, agreed? (Other hot soundtracks out this week: True Blood, Vol. 2, a new collection of music from HBO’s white-hot vampire series, featuring songs from Lucinda Williams, Bob Dylan, and Beck; and the companion album for box office dud MacGruber, with classic tracks from Eddie Money,
    Mr. Mister, Toto, and Robbie Dupree.)
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  • And finally, one of the finest (and most criminally underappreciated) singer-songwriters in existence — the majestic, magnificent
    Beth Nielsen Chapman — returns with Back to Love,
    her first album in three years.

25
May

a bite of the (big) apple

posted at 11:18 pm by brandon in terra-trees

I took my very first trip to New York City last week, and though I was only able to spend three days (and, thus, was barely able to scratch the surface of the metropolis’ myriad tourism options), I saw (and did) some amazing things, and was fortunate enough to capture a great deal of it on film. Below, a sample:

 

 

Empire State of mind.

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19
May

“A lot of my songs are storyline-driven, and you don’t really have that with the very top girls. There’s no competing with GaGa, but sometimes it’s a puzzle to figure out what she means or says. And Ke$ha, you know, she’s always talking about beer.”

— pop star Katy Perry, breaking down the competition amongst her so-called peers while previewing her forthcoming sophomore album in Billboard.

18
May

 

A is sure to be pleased as punch that the next collection of tunes from his current favorite television series is on tap this week, while I’m about to take a moment or two to tell you about one of the finest, most brilliant women in the whole history of women. Keep reading:

 

When a television series pounds and drills its way so thoroughly into the acceptable mainstream that even my flat-screen-fearing boyfriend knows (and can recite on demand) such pertinent data as on which network and in which timeslot the program airs, you know it must be white hot, and so it has come to pass with Fox’s utterly deranged gem Glee, which has, in stunningly stealth fashion, morphed into a ratings powerhouse this spring while riding American Idol‘s considerable coattails. Counting last month’s Madonna-themed EP, the series has already thrown off three smash companion albums, and this week, the fourth one becomes available when Glee, The Music: Showstoppers arrives in stores. As with the previous collections, the quality of these interpretations veers wildly and unpredictably between hit and miss — which means for every joyously awesome redo (Lea Michele’s terrific take on All-American Rejects’ “Gives You Hell,” say), there’s a jarringly atrocious one waiting right behind it (the less said about these kids’ wickedly miscalculated stab at remaking “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” the better) — but the fact that this record contains not one but two Lady GaGa covers pretty much ensures that A is gonna hop on board this crazy train with both feet.

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14
May

tell the repo man and the stars above

posted at 10:08 pm by brandon in him him him

Five years ago this very night, on a crowded streetcorner outside a bustling coffeehouse in downtown Austin, Texas, I met the sweetest, smartest, sexiest, most frustrating, most amazing, most incredible and interesting man. He scoffs when I say it, as though it couldn’t possibly be true, but I was smitten with him at once as we took a two-hour walk and chatted about our lives, our work, our dreams, and, of all things, our diametrically opposed opinions on country music. (For those who wouldn’t know, I’m a fan and he wasn’t, although I have managed to convert him somewhat over time and painstaking effort.)

To be able to spend an evening in the company of a man like this is a privilege. To be able to build a relationship and a home and a connection and a life with such a man, that’s something altogether miraculous.

These five years haven’t all been chocolate and roses, of course, but they have been without question the best ones of my entire life, and I would trade not a moment of any of it for whatever tempting treats may lie behind doors number two, three, or twenty-seven.

You’re still the one I love, A. Happy anniversary.

12
May

 

The entire Bon Jovi discography makes its way back to record stores this week via a series of special deluxe edition reissues, and Sherry Ann, A, and myself all wait with bated breath as three of our all-time favorite performers step up to the plate with new projects. Take a looksee:

 

Because she loves them with a ferocity that could bend steel, I happily turn over the lead paragraph of this week’s record store report to the ever-eloquent Sherry Ann, who reports the following: The National‘s lyricist and lead singer Matt Berninger has a voice that you’ll never forget once you hear it. At first, it’s a bit creepy, but with repeated listens the raspy baritone becomes the perfect complement to the brilliance of the lyrics it conveys. Although relatively unknown to mainstream audiences, the band have been the critics’ darlings since their 2005 release Alligator, and their music has been featured on several television shows, including, most prominently, my beloved One Tree Hill. (One of my favorite-ever Nathan/Haley moments, set to The National’s “Daughters of the Soho Riots,” can be viewed here.) This week, they return with their fifth studio album, High Violet; in my opinion, the standout tracks are the ballad “Runaway” and the up-tempo “Conversation 16,” and with guest appearances by Justin Vernon of Bon Iver and Sufjan Stevens, this is definitely an album worth checking out.

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11
May

6
May

“We could get him to love everything that we love if they would do a night for it on Glee!”

Sherry Ann, ever the sage, reacting to the staggering news that A bought nine out of the ten tunes from the Buzz’s recent Madonna playlist.

5
May

 

Partly because there’s not much coming out this week that has me enraptured, and partly because the first-of-May release slate is a bit sprawling and time is of the essence, this week’s record store report is gonna be short and to the point. Or, as close as to the point as I can possibly get. Dig in:

 

  • I have become convinced that the utterly ravishing Josh Ritter is simply incapable of being anything other than magnificent, and he is back this week with his sixth studio album, So Runs the World Away.

 

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