Entries in Album Release (5)

Wednesday
Dec142011

Shins Announce 'Port of Morrow' for March 2012, Release Album Art.... Meh

REVIEWING THE MUSIC-RELEASE NEWS: The Shins are back. Meh.

By Kenny Herzog

Shins frontman James Mercer's a bit like the indie rock Adam Levine. Assuming by indie rock, we mean bands that actually perform as well commercially as Maroon 5 (and more power to them). He's reasonably attractive, makes music that ladies (and sensitive men) can swoon and has fancied himself something of an adventurous multi-talent in the wake of his primary group's success.

Thing is, that whole Broken Bells project with Danger Mouse didn't leave much of an impression. On anyone. So, back to one's roots we go. After a half-decade layoff since their nearly Billboard-topping Wincing the Night Away, the Shins will release the daftly titled Port of Morrow in March 2012. Meh.

Oh, and the guys have split with longtime label Sub Pop, and will be releasing Morrow jointly via Columbia and Mecer's own imprint (whatever that means), the ridiculously dubbed Aural Apothecary. Double meh. 

Here's a tracklist, and above is the twinly album art. No word on whether future Apothecary releases will come with sea salts and facial tone.

 

Meh-seeming Port of Morrow tracklist:

1. The Rifle's Spiral

2. Simple Song

3. It's Only Life

4. No Way Down

5. September

6. Bait and Switch

7. Fall of '82

8. For A Fool

9. 40 Mark Strasse

10. Port of Morrow

 

IN OTHER WORDS: Meh.

THE SHINS ARE FINE RATING: 5/10

WHEN'S THE NEW SLAYER ALBUM OUT AGAIN?: 666/10

MEH RATING: Meh/10

 

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Wednesday
Nov302011

'Billboard' and Everyone Else Need to Stop Announcing When Music "Drops"

MUSIC-SEMANTICS REVIEW: Traditional and indie music-media alike need to stop overusing one specific bit of industry slang.

By Kenny Herzog

The only thing Stanley Hudson routinely drops is his crossword pencil. (Credit: YouTube)

 

Yesterday evening, Billboard.com was among the many entertainment sites embedding The Office's latest viral video. Namely, fictional salesman Stanley Hudson's (Leslie David Baker) parodic R&B track, "2 Be Simple." The song and clip themselves are, like their parent sitcom of late, silly and not very funny. But Billboard's headline, which boasted that, "Stanley from The Office Drops" his new single, may have finally signaled a nadir for one of contemporary music-journalism's most overly abused bits of jargon.

Chances are, the headline scribe opted for "Drops" with tongue in cheek, given the ensuing video's sending up of R&B tropes. But the term's still lost its ironic cache in the wake of countless white-bred magazines and blogs awkwardly, earnestly appropriating its usage while reporting album-release news on vanilla indie rock, teen-pop and even adult-contempo. 

So let's all show a little appreciation for the language, even and especially in its modern varations (shorthanded offspring are its future, after all), and respect the proper time and situation for declaring that music drops. And in return, here's the S-Hud video in question, in case that's your thing.

 

 

IN OTHER WORDS: To invoke generally accurate, self-appointed cultural arbiter Bill Maher: New Rule—No more referring to albums by country stars, indie rockers, pubescent pop stars or comedic TV personas as about to "drop."

STANLEY HUDSON'S DEBUT "SINGLE" RATING: 4/10

THE NEUTERING OF PERFECTLY GOOD POP-CULTURAL SLANG RATING: 2/10

NEUTERING RATING: 9/10

 

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Wednesday
Oct192011

VIDEO: David Lynch 'Crazy Clown Time' Trailer 

MUSIC-VIDEO REVIEW: David Lynch has a solo musical album out on Election Day, and the trailer for it gets our vote.

By Kenny Herzog

Why so serious? (Credit: David Lynch.... Naturally)

If Jeff Bridges, Jeff Daniels and Hugh Laurie can put out bluesy pop records, why can't David Lynch release his own demented spin on the form? Not that aural weirdness is mutually exclusive from the director/artist's film oeuvre. But in the past, he's collaborated with everyone from composer Angelo Badalamenti to late songwriter Mark Linkous of Sparklehorse to provide the ear candy that suits his hallucinatory visuals. On Nov. 8, however, Lynch will be releasing Crazy Clown Time (Sunday Best/[PIAS]), his first-ever solo musical album.

And now, a la Metallica and Lou Reed, he's unveiled a minute-plus abstract video trailer for the LP, which you can view below. It shares some creative DNA with the aforementioned Lulu teaser, in that there's shards of guitar noise and clipped bits of vocal overdubs, although the Crazy Clown Time preview is significantly more evocative in its short running time. And the in-studio glimpses also demonstrate that Lynch was, not surprisingly, completely hands-on with the entire writing, recording and engineering process, along with co-conspirator and Inland Empire sound man Dean Hurley. In a nutshell, it sounds cool, the video looks cool, and Crazy Clown Time, despite its misleadingly frivolous title, may just be a seriously good piece of work. 

 

IN OTHER WORDS: Send in the Clown.

ANTICIPATING CRAZY CLOWN TIME RATING: 7/10

CRAZY CLOWN TIME TRAILER RATING: 8/10

WISHING IT WASN'T CALLED CRAZY CLOWN TIME RATING: 10/10

 

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Tuesday
Oct182011

Smashing Pumpkins 'Siamese Dream'/'Gish' Reissues Get Release Date

 

MUSIC-NEWS REVIEW: With a release date set for two huge reissues, the Smashing Pumpkins finally get their moment in the '90s-nostalgia spotlight.

 

By Kenny Herzog

Ya gotta admit: These Pumpkins reissues look pretty Smashing.

 

There's been quite a bit of noise around Nirvana and Pearl Jam over the last 12 months, and how they were the architects of early '90s alt-rock's crossover explosion. This is, to some degree, a convenient truth. Between 1991 and '93, Billy Corgan and the Smashing Pumpkins released two albums, Gish and Siamese Dream, that distilled the sound of an era with fury, melody and massive influence.

In fact, both Gish and Dream shared something essential with Nirvana's iconic Nevermind: producer Butch Vig. What they didn't have in common with the outputs of Kurt Cobain, Eddie Vedder, Chris Cornell et al was Seattle roots. The Pumpkins were Chicago outsiders who fought their way in, and EMI has set a firm release date of Nov. 29 for a proper homage to their contributions during that heady time.

That day, deluxe reissue editions of both their early landmark LPs will hit the market. As per the post-aughts norm for these kinds of releases, they'll be made available in double-CD/DVD, LP and digital formats, and be stuffed with the requisite liner notes from Corgan, a slew of old demos and classic live concert footage. 

The Pumpkins are, of course, still active, and will release their newest album, Oceania, in 2012. But in terms of revisiting their peak recordings, and to invoke one of Corgan's most famous lyrical phrases, today is the greatest day diehard fans have known.

 

GISH (DELUXE EDITION) TRACKLISTING:

Disc 1:  

 1.     I am one 

2.    Siva

3.    Rhinoceros

4.    Bury me

5.    Crush

6.    Suffer

7.    Snail

8.    Tristessa

9.    Window paine

10.  Daydream

Disc 2: 

  1. Starla (2011 mix)
  2. Siva (Peel session)*
  3. Honeyspider (Reel Time demos / 2011 mix)
  4. Hippy Trippy (Crush Music Box demo)
  5. Snail (live radio performance)
  6. Plume (2011 mix)
  7. Bury Me (Reel Time demos / 2011 mix)
  8. Daydream (Old House demo)
  9. Tristessa (Sub Pop single / 2011 mix)
  10. Girl Named Sandoz (Peel session)*
  11. Jesus Is The Sun (Apartment demo)
  12. Blue (Gish sessions demo)
  13. Smiley (Gish sessions demo)
  14. I Am One (Reel Time demos / 2011 mix)
  15. Seam (Suffer / Apartment demo)
  16. La Dolly Vita (2011 mix)
  17. Pulseczar (Gish sessions demo)*
  18. Drown (alternate guitar solo)

 

All songs previously unreleased except where indicated.*

 

DVD

Live at The Metro, Chicago, IL 8/25/90

Introduction

  1. I am one
  2. Snail
  3. Rhinoceros
  4. Bury Me
  5. Tristessa
  6. Window Paine
  7. Razor
  8. Sookie Sookie
  9. Godzilla
  10. Crush - Acoustic

 

SIAMESE DREAM (DELUXE EDITION)TRACKLISTING:

Disc 1:

  1. Cherub rock
  2. Quiet
  3. Today
  4. Hummer
  5. Rocket
  6. Disarm
  7. Soma
  8. Geek U.S.A
  9. Mayonaise
  10. Spaceboy
  11. Silverfuck
  12. Sweet sweet
  13. Luna

 

Disc 2:

  1. Pissant (siamese sessions rough mix)
  2. Siamese dream (broadway rehearsals demo)
  3. STP (rehearsal demo)
  4. Frail and bedazzled (soundworks demo)
  5. Luna (apartment demo)
  6. Quiet (bbc session/bc mix)
  7. Moleasskiss (soundworks demo)
  8. Hello kitty kat (soundworks demo)
  9. Today (broadway rehearsal demo)
  10. Never let me down again (bbc session)*
  11. Apathy's last kiss (siamese sessions rough mix)
  12. Ache (silverfuck rehearsal demo)

13.  U.S.A. (soundworks demo)

  1. U.S.S.R. (soundworks demo)
  2. Spaceboy (acoustic mix)
  3. Rocket (rehearsal demo)
  4. Disarm (acoustic mix)
  5. Soma (instrumental mix)

 

All songs previously unreleased except where indicated.*

 

DVD

Live At The Metro, Chicago, 8/14/93

Introduction

  1. Rocket
  2. Quiet
  3. Today
  4. Rhinoceros
  5. Geek U.S.A.
  6. Soma
  7. I am one
  8. Disarm
  9. Spaceboy
  10. Starla
  11. Cherub rock
  12. Bury me
  13. Hummer
  14. Siva
  15. Mayonaise
  16. Drown
  17. Silverfuck

 

IN OTHER WORDS: Corgan's a bit nutso, and his latest records aren't exactly must-own, but both Gish and Siamese Dream really hold up, and we're psyched for those live DVDs.

GISH/SIAMESE DREAM REISSUES COMING SOON RATING: 8/10

THE PUMPKINS GETTING OVERLOOKED AMID SEATTLE-NARRATIVE NOSTALGIA RATING: 2/10

 

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Friday
Oct142011

Adam Lambert Release Date Announced, Glamberts Not Pleased

MUSIC-NEWS REVIEW: A controversial release of early Adam Lambert demos with his pre-Idol band gets its due date. 

 

By Kenny Herzog

We know Adam is the master of modern glam, but what's with the Dee Snider doppleganger to his right?


Virtually evey major recording artist over the last 50 years has had early career demos or pre-fame for-hire experiments unearthed in glorified bootleg form. It's almost a rite of passage, the aural equivalent of an unauthorized celebrity biography, or finding your name atop billboards for a reissued B-movie you appeared in for seven minutes.

But Adam Lambert & Steve Cooke: Paramount Sessions, which now has an official release date of December 6, alleges to be legit and totally scandal-free. Just don't tell that to Glambert nation, who've already disavowed its credibility and taken the aforementioned Steve Cooke to task on the Interwebs. 

Who is Cooke, you ask? He is the blonde-locked gentleman pictured above with a young Lambert. He's also a session vocalist who completed a studio project called left unfinished by Lambert when the superstar fled to Hollywood after successfully auditioning for American Idol. And now it seems that Cooke has agreed to seize the opportunity of being packaged alongside Lambert on a CD of those collective recordings, as if it were more of a genuine collaboration, or even something Lambert was at peace with.

What's even stranger about the Paramount Sessions is they were helmed in part by Monte Pittman, an oddball journeyman musician whose worked concurrently as guitarist for both Madonna and, of all bands, New York industrial-thrash icons Prong (whose frontman, Tommy Victor, can be seen performing with Vein and Lambert below as part of a project called Citizen Vein). WTF?! Lambert, and then Cooke, were brought in to supply the voice for new tracks Pittman and other members of Madonna's backing band had been toying with.

This explanation not satisfactory? Maybe Cooke's blindingly illiterate statement about Paramount and its resulting controversy will help clarify, unless you focus too hard on the moments when he refers to its release as "bitter sweat" and recalls hearing Lambert before "Simon Cowles" ever did. Then it will just be gibberish. 

If you thought Lambert would never perform with members of NYC thrash legends Prong, this video will "Prove You Wrong."

 

IN OTHER WORDS: It doesn't really seem worth getting in a tizzy over. After all, it is just more tracks out there with Adam singing. 

PARAMOUNT SESSIONS COMING SOON RATING: 6/10

ADAM HAVING NO CONTROL OVER HOW HIS VOICE AND LIKENESS ARE ASSOCIATED WITH THE RELEASE RATING: 2/10

YES! NEW-ISH ADAM SONGS! RATING: Yay/10

 

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