the Buzz for July 2010

31
Jul

Res — “They-Say Vision” (from How I Do) — They-Say

My beloved and I watched the most wretchedly depressing documentary about the Mormon church (and, specifically, about their significant role in toppling California’s notorious Proposition 8, which okayed amending the state’s constitution to abolish same-sex marriage in 2008) last evening, and I was happily reminded of this daring li’l ditty, a minor hit from the spring of 2002 which encouraged freaks of all stripes to fly their flags loudly and proudly.

30
Jul

David Mead — “World of a King” (from The Luxury of Time) — World

An irresistibly yummy slice of nonsensical power pop
from one of the great unsung talents of the last decade.

29
Jul

Semisonic — “Gone to the Movies” (from Feeling Strangely Fine) — Gone

The remarkable Dan Wilson — a virtuosic model of detached restraint here — dares, in haunting and profound fashion, to explore the possibility that there exists a single shattering moment when true love fades for good. Somehow, you just know the sight of a beat up, broken down car is gonna break this dude’s heart for the rest of his sorry days.

28
Jul

 

Slim pickin’s on the new release wall this week, there’s no two ways around it. Let’s be careful out there:

 

  • The legendary Tom Jones returns to his gospel roots
    on his latest record, Praise and Blame.
  •  

  • Recording under the moniker of Owl City, a kid called Adam Young created a sensation at pop radio earlier in the year with his monster left-field smash “Fireflies,” and while we patiently await the next OC record, Young satiates our burning curiosity in the meantime with
    An Airplane Carried Me to Bed, a collection of tunes he composed and recorded four years ago under the name of Sky Sailing.
  •  

  • That woeful fool Clay Aiken supplements his latest covers record
    with a companion DVD entitled Tried and True Live!.
  •  

  • The fabulous Natalie Merchant pops up this week
    with an exclusive iTunes session, which features an
    amazing acoustic reading of her 1998 hit “Break Your Heart,”
    as well as a fun rendition of The Wizard of Oz‘s classic standard
    “If I Only Had a Brain.”
  •  

  • Finally, my single favorite pop culture wordsmith ever — Rolling Stone‘s blisteringly brilliant music critic Rob Sheffield — follows up his shattering 2008 memoir Love is a Mix Tape with a hilarious new chronicle of having spent his adolescence selling his soul to FM radio, Talking to Girls About Duran Duran: One Young Man’s Quest
    for True Love and a Cooler Haircut
    .

28
Jul

Sugarland — “Stuck Like Glue” (from The Incredible Machine) — Stuck

Well, won’t this be the litmus test of the summer: their last album, 2008’s middling Love on the Inside, was a wondrous disappointment, and they’ve watched a non-trivial measure of their crossover thunder get pilfered outright by those sneaky Petes known as Lady Antebellum. So those magnificent mavericks Sugarland have responded the only way they know how: by putting their not-so-secret weapon — tha’d be Jennifer Nettles’ knockout pipes (and her inimitably infallible way of vocally surfing the crests of her melodies) — on full, glorious display in the wickedly catchy lead single from their forthcoming fourth album (due in October). But is country radio gonna take the bait on a song that is not at all country? (Wait ’til you get a load of Nettles’ Rastafarian-style rap, which comprises Glue‘s bridge; it’ll freakin’ blow yer mine!)
Time will tell.

27
Jul

27
Jul

Tori Amos — “Jackie’s Strength” (from From the Choirgirl Hotel) — Jackie's

For those of my readers who have been wondering (and even taking bets on) how long I could resist using a Tori tune in this particular endeavor, be proud of the fact that I managed to make it seventeen full days without once invoking the goddess’ name. (That’s self-restraint if I ever heard of it, believe that.) This isn’t nearly my all-time favorite among Amos’ individual compositions (nor am I certain it would even make my top ten), but I’ve been shuffling through my iTunes lineup for the past forty minutes or so searching for a song to tickle my fancy, and when this one popped up and I listened to its miraculous opening verse (which sets up the story and the somber mood with brilliant, expert precision), I was reminded anew of its simple, spellbinding majesty. The mundane never sounded this magical.

26
Jul

Julia Fordham — “East West” (from Collection) — East

All these years later, Fordham’s wearily ethereal voice (and her trademark way with a funky shuffling beat) still knock me flat. A lovely treatise on the trickle of time.

26
Jul

One of those seven tunes caused quite the stir in my household (three guesses which one, first two don’t count), and in case you missed any of last week’s honey, a quick recap:

MONDAY: Norah Jones — “Jesus, Etc. (Sad, Sad Songs)”
(from The Fall [Deluxe Edition]) — Jesus,

TUESDAY: Bernard Butler — “Not Alone” (from People Move On) — Not

WEDNESDAY: Kris Allen — “Alright With Me” (from Kris Allen) — Alright

THURSDAY: Lorrie Morgan — “Good As I Was to You”
(from To Get to You) — Good

FRIDAY: Doyle Bramhall II & Smokestack — “Send Some Love”
(from Welcome) — Send

SATURDAY: Christina Aguilera featuring Nicki Minaj — “Woohoo”
(from Bionic) — Woohoo

SUNDAY: Linda Eder — “Once Upon a Dream”
(from Jekyll & Hyde: The Musical) — Once

25
Jul

Linda Eder — “Once Upon a Dream”
(from Jekyll & Hyde: The Musical) — Once

A proclaimed he needed to take a scalding hot shower to wash away the risque raunch of yesterday’s honey, so today, the hive dials back the debauchery significantly with a five-octave (and -hankie, don’t disbelieve) stunner from one of the planet’s true treasures. If you’re not snifflin’ by verse three, you’re a stronger man than I. (And if you missed my conversation with the amazing Ms. Eder — recorded last October for Brandon’s Buzz Radio — you can catch up with it here.)

24
Jul

Christina Aguilera featuring Nicki Minaj — “Woohoo”
(from Bionic) — Woohoo

So, there’s no point in pretending that Bionic isn’t a total trainwreck — if you require proof that all of pop’s so-called divas are scared shitless of GaGa right now, look no further than this wickedly miscalculated, overstuffed (yet strangely hollow) misfire — but this fascinatingly filthy jam — literally so dirty, it makes “Milkshake” sound as chaste as “Jesus Loves Me,” by comparison — is one of its few bright spots. (Guaranteed: somewhere in a dimly lit corner of an overpoweringly purple room, Prince is blushing.)

23
Jul

Doyle Bramhall II & Smokestack — “Send Some Love”
(from Welcome) — Send

Bramhall produced Sheryl Crow’s terrific new ’70s-soul-inspired record, and when I learned that, I instantly flashed back to this tune, a decade-old knockout blues ballad. Ask me, he never quite found the unique vocal intensity that his material has continually required, but he has crafted flashes of magic and brilliance time and again. If you don’t buy that this boy is hurtin’ somethin’ fierce in this moment, you’re not listening hard enough.

22
Jul

 

July closes on a low-key note, but one of the Buzz’s favorite gals is back with a deeply personal new album, and that alone is cause for celebration. Take a look:

 

She went on a political rampage on her last album, 2008’s painfully uneven Detours, but for her seventh studio set, 100 Miles from Memphis, the staggeringly talented Sheryl Crow pulls it back toward the personal by paying tribute to the Tennessee soul that so permeated the music of her youth. The cameos here are impressive: The Rolling Stones’ legendary guitarist Keith Richards lends a few licks to the album track “Eye to Eye,” and Memphis native son Justin Timberlake helps Crow deliver a genre-busting cover of Terence Trent D’arby’s forgotten 1988 smash “Sign Your Name.” Crow closes the album with a mellow, must-hear take on The Jackson 5’s classic touchstone “I Want You Back,” which stands as moving and as powerful a tribute to Michael’s legacy as any other I could conjure.

(more…)

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