It is a huge week for records, my friend – if you listened to everything coming out this week back to back, you might be done in time for Lost. You would probably also go completely insane, but that’s the danger of recorded sound. Let’s get to the new releases.
Alkaline Trio – This Addiction – This long-running pop-punk band is getting back to its roots, leaving Epic to start their own label and recording in the Chicago studio where they got their start. If you’re into catchy punk rock and don’t mind the somewhat unsettling Hot Topic connection, this’ll be right up your alley. Just don’t call us when Chris Hansen bushwhacks you on AIM, bro.
Joanna Newsom – Have One On Me – I’m going to get this out up front: I don’t like Joanna Newsom. The whole “I am an elf what plays the harp!” gimmick is incredibly grating, her songs are unilaterally awful and the enormous cult of personality that sprung up around her is David Archuletan. So I’m not in line to pick up this, a triple album of new material. Oof.
Johnny Cash – American VI: Ain’t No Grave – This is being ballyhooed as the final posthumous release from the Man In Black, which is both good and bad news. Good news because they aren’t milking his legacy for every drop of cash they can get out of it, and bad news because that means no more Johnny Cash after this. Essential listening for any real man.
Daniel Merriweather – Love & War – If you caught last weekend’s UFC 110 from Australia, you might think our pals down under are all piss, vinegar and ass-kicking. You would be wrong: they also have their share of sensitive singer-songwriters, unfortunately. Like this guy! He’s like John Mayer without all the talk about his racist penis. It’s your call whether that sounds good or not.
The Streets – Computers And Blues – This guy was on top of the world a while ago, and now what? British rapper Mike Skinner, aka The Streets, was in many ways the limey Eminem – a similar unimpressive physical presence married to intense lyrical skills. But after the initial novelty wore off, Skinner never managed to make a permanent dent on the American rap scene. This record, his fifth, will also be his final offering as The Streets, and is inspired by… German rave culture? Maybe it’s best he’s hanging it up.
Xiu Xiu – Dear God, I Hate Myself – When people make fun of indie rock, this is the kind of thing they’re making fun of. Jamie Stewart’s impenetrable soundscapes are an acquired taste, to say the least, but you have to give him credit for tenacity.