Tuesday, January 27, 2009

New this week... Reel Big Fish, Duncan Sheik

Last week's release schedule was so light, I skipped it. So here are the albums new in stores this week (and last):

Trey Anastasio, Original Broadwalk Style- Live album, previously only available on the Phish singer's website.

John Frusciante, The Empyrean- the Chili Pepper guitarist's 10th solo album. Really. Haven't heard the other nine? You're not missing much.

The Odds, Cheerleader- Canadian power-pop band who had brief success in the US in 1998 with "Someone who is Cool:"

Reel Big Fish, Fame, Fortune, Fornication- Oh, my. It's a covers album, including their versions of hair metal songs, John Mellencamp, and "Brown-Eyed Girl."

RZA, Afro Samurai Resurrection- Wu-Tang Clan mastermind does an anime soundtrack, with guest spots from a lot of other Wu-Tang alums.

Duncan Sheik, Whisper House- album intended to be a sampler for the next Broadway musical from the Adult Top 40 fave turned Tony award-winner.

Swervedriver, Mezcal Head- remastered version of the shoegazers' 1993 album, with 4 bonus tracks.

Thom Yorke, The Eraser Remixes- I believe this originally came out in vinyl last spring, but now it's available on CD. As you can guess, it's remixes of songs from Yorke's solo album.

Monday, January 26, 2009

From the cutout bin - Less than Jake - Hello Rockview

Welcome to From the Cutout Bin, where we dig up old CDs that have been forgotten for whatever reason and can now be found in the dollar (or quarter) bin at your local used CD store (if your community still has a used CD store). This installment features Less than Jake's entrant in the great ska-punk explosion of 1998, Hello Rockview.

To be honest, I'm a little surprised this week's entrant was available for only $1 (a new, sealed copy at that, though the liner notes were missing due to some sort of manufacturer's defect). I've never been much of a fan of Less than Jake, but I'm aware of the band, occasionally see kids wearing their t-shirts, etc. They've had a lengthy career, encompassing stints on two different major labels, a music video starring the chick from Gilmore Girls, spots on various Tony Hawk game soundtracks, and a 2000 national tour opening up for Bon Jovi (?!? Is Richie Sambora a fan?). A couple of the guys in the band are owners of the Fueled by Ramen label, which has released Paramore's albums.

Pretty good: "All My Best Friends are Metalheads," "History of a Boring Town," and "Scott Farcas takes it on the Chin." Boring ska-punk without any hooks: everything else. This just wasn't my cup of tea, and I can only recommend it to people who have attended more than one Warped Tour (the majority of whom probably already own it).

Hello Rockview hit #80 on the charts, then quickly dropped off. The really notable thing historically about the album is that it marks producer Howard Benson's crossover into alt-rock At the time he did this album, he was known for production work on late-period hair metal bands, but following Hello Rockview he transitioned to producing POD, Crazytown, Hoobastank, My Chemical Romance, Daughtry, and the All-American Rejects.

The one hit off the album was "History of a Boring Town," which squeaked in at #39 in 1998:

Fun tidbit for the comment section: where would you rank Less than Jake in terms of the ska revival of '97-'98? I'd say behind No Doubt, Mighty Mighty Bosstones and probably Reel Big Fish, so fourth. Definitely ahead of Buck-o-Nine, Voodoo Glow Skulls, Aquabats, and Save Ferris. Actually, Reel Big Fish, Goldfinger, and Less than Jake are probably all in a solid second tier of ska-punk bands. Post your thoughts below.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Happy inauguration day

As the festivities ramp up in DC (the inauguration is set to begin as I write this), I thought I'd share some highlights from President Clinton's 1993 inauguration (well, MTV's 1993 Inaugural Bash, but whatever):

First, Michael Stipe and Mike Mills team up with Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen to form the short-lived supergroup Automatic, Baby:

Great version of that song, though Mills' harmonies are a bit off at the end.

Then Stipe jumped up on stage with 10,000 Maniacs to do "Candy Everybody Wants:"

And to think, the man being sworn in today is younger than Michael Stipe, and only two years older than Natalie Merchant.

'90s stars at Sundance

If you're going to be at the Sundance Festival in Park City, Utah this month, be sure to make time for the music. Among the acts scheduled to be in attendance are Goo Goo Dolls frontman Johnny Rzeznik, ex-Semisonic frontman Dan Wilson, and the Gin Blossoms.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Get some autographed stuff

If you're still purchasing CDs (I am, but from conversations with friends, I may be a little lonely in that regard), why not get some free stuff, too? For instance, available now:

1) Get an autographed booklet of ex-Radish frontman Ben Kweller's new country album.

2) An autographed booklet for Red Hot Chili Pepper John Frusciante's new solo album.

3) An an autographed booklet for Roger Joseph Manning Jr.'s new album Catnip Dynamite. Manning's been a sideman for Beck and Air, and used to front Jellyfish, Imperial Drag (not to be confused with Imperial Teen) and the Moog Cookbook:

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

New this week... Spin Doctors

Another light week in the shops, and it doesn't look like a great release week January 20, either. But here's what's new in stores:

* (hed) p.e., New World Orphans- new album from one of the last rap-metal bands still standing.

*Playlist: The Very Best of the Spin Doctors- amazingly, this is the FOURTH greatest hits album from the Spin Doctors, and all of them contain the same mix of tracks off the band's first three albums for Epic (and nothing from their fourth or fifth albums). The most recent greatest hits, Super Hits: Spin Doctors(which appears to be aimed at the truck stop market) only came out in November. This new one's got 14 tracks, most of them off the first album, but including the semi-hits "Cleopatra's Cat" and "You Let Your Heart Go Too Fast," off the second album.

* Hotel for Dogsoriginal soundtrack - contains a solo track from Rancid's Tim Armstrong (and two tracks by Lisa Kudrow)

* Underworld: Rise of the Lycansoriginal soundtrack - features remixes of songs by the Cure, Perry Farrell, Puscifer (Tool singer Maynard James Keenan's side project) and Deftones, among others.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Bowl game roundup

According to this post over at Idolator, not only is the drummer from Vertical Horizon now drumming for the summer-nostalgia-tour staple the Doobie Brothers, but freaking Smash Mouth are scheduled to play the national championship game tomorrow night.

Wow. As if I didn't hate the BCS enough. At least get Fastball, or the Flys, or something.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

New this week... not much

Nothing of interest was released December 23 or 30, and there's not much out this week either.

* The Gourds, Haymaker!- this is the band who actually did the cover of Snoop Dogg's "Gin 'n Juice" that was all over the internet in Napster's early days (most frequently mislabeled as Phish).