Beautiful Melodies telling you Terrible Things: New Tune Tuesday 6.21.11
Well, we're a little belated (only a day though) but it's time to travel to that forrest you call your local record store and secure yourself some new ear bud. Yes friends, it's new tune tuesday, but we have some things to get off the news blender first....
When it's a short fall from the Limo to the Gutter:
You might remember a few weeks ago I wrote a scathing non-review review of Lady Gaga's latest LP, 'Born this Way,' which by the way, can you come up with WORSE cover art than that? Well, anyhow, while the record had massive first week sales (bolstered a little unfairly by a $0.99 first week sale of the album on Amazon) that ranked among the highest selling first week sales of the last two years. However, while it did that feat, it captured an even larger one in it's second week of release: The biggest drop off in sales in the Nielson Soundscan era, 84%. That tells you a couple of things: Gaga's most dedicated fanbase are first week buyers, and the word of mouth on the album pretty much echoes my own sentiments on it in my non-review review. No matter how many (once) well-repsected music 'zines enjoy the payoff they receive from A&R departments in exchange for reviews (Rolling Stone, I'm looking at you and your 4 star review), people can still (sometimes) make a statement of their own in music. On the other hand, Adele's recent album '21' fell only 4% from it's previous outing that same week. So either the album continues to draw majorly good word of mouth, or at least, people are paying attention to Manny Funkowitz's youger sisters consistent posting of lyrics from the album on her facebook page...hey Gaga, next time let's try focusing more on creating new musical boundaries rather than trying to break down social ones...
Nevermind, it's been 20 years ago now:
Long what I suspected would be released this year (especially after their "20 Years" smiley face stickers found their way into the 'Hormoaning' record store day release) has officially been announced, though it's better than I suspected: Nirvana isn't just releasing a re-mastered or even deluxe (like so many other albums recently, anytime something finds itself somewhat popular in music sales...) edition of their breakthrough 1991 album, but a super deluxe edition comes in September to celebrate the 20th anniversary of 'Nevermind.' It's a 4-CD/1-DVD boxset that could end up being the most exciting posthumous release from the boys from the muddy banks since the 'With the Lights Out' box set, which, if you ever put off ever picking up due to it's somewhat hefty price tag, can now be found used at places like Zia for $25 or so...
Besides a long overdue remaster of the most influential disc from the '90s, set to be included are a number of previously unreleased (which means it isn't just going to be filled with stuff from 'Incesticide' and 'Hormoaning'!) outtakes and B-Sides, live tracks as well as recordings from their BBC radio appearances. The DVD is said to be an unreleased concert in it's entirety, and my guess would mean it's the Halloween 1991 show from the Paramount Theatre in Washington. This was a coming home of sorts concert for Nirvana, who had been outside the US touring as 'Nevermind' was quickly becoming the best thing since sliced bread, and was both professionally filmed (better than "Live at Reading" in fact) and recorded. While it hasn't been officially announced, that would be my educated guess. We got a little taste of the quality of the show when they released one song from the set, the opening Vaselines cover "Jesus Don't Want me for a Sunbeam," on the 'With the Lights Out' DVD disc...
Also, Nirvana (FINALLY) updated their website, looks good, check it out...
RELEASE OF THE WEEK (6.21.11): 'Bon Iver,' Bon Iver
I f**ked it, friend, it's on it's head, it struck in the street,
You're in Milwaukee, off your feet.
And at once I knew I was not magnificent,
Strayed above the highway aisle,
Jagged vacance, thick with ice,
But I could see for miles, miles, miles...
After releasing a heavily praised debut recorded mostly somewhere in the Wisconsin woods, Iver returns with a self-titled sophomore release full of songs all named after places. It's a rather atmospheric record that lends itself both to Iver's unique voice (even if you never listened to his debut, you may have heard it through an eclectic mix of collaborations with the likes of Peter Gabriel, Kanye West, St. Vincent) and the acoustic instruments behind all the atmosphere which creates Iver's own unique take on indie folk rock. "Holocene" and "Calgary" seem to be tracking the best with audiences, and in the case of the former, I can see why, though I also found the slightly more up-beat "Towers" to be solid. Like his first release, there's one thing you can say over Iver's music whether you dig it or don't: it certainly sounds like it comes from a far away place, it's just in this case most of the songs are centered (and named) after them. It's not an album I'd listen to all the way through at once I don't think, it's too monotone a record as a whole for me, but it's not without it's interesting moments.
Available on: CD, Vinyl, MP3
Other Notable Releases (6.21.11)
'Alpocalypse,' Weird Al Yankovic
Growing up in the 90's, you know, a time when Weird Al was almost relevant, I have a soft spot for his usually spot-on parodies. It's almost a coming of age ceremony for musicians, getting spoofed by Yankovic. The likes of Gaga, class-act and master cover artist Miley Cyrus and Bruno Mars are among those who can add them to that list now. If you're interested, you might as well pony up the extra few bucks for the 24-track Deluxe Edition. Yes, friends, the deluxe album thing is such a trend right now that even Weird Al is getting them...
Available on: CD, MP3, Vinyl release in July
'Modern Love,' Matt Nathanson
Folk Rock/Alt Country act Nathanson comes in this week with his 7th LP and second one to be released on Vanguard. In recent years Nathanson has become more of a household type name after the platinum selling success of "Come on get Higher," and shows himself growing as a performer here. The record is too clean for me, the production too precise and too well groomed for commercial success. To me it just sounds too much like enough of the stuff you already hear on what could be considered soft-rock radio. I suppose that's not a bad thing for a lot of listeners (or Nathanson's bank account) but for me, it's not a release I personally will be reaching for often over the next few weeks. The lead single, "Faster," at times sounds like it needs to break into a chorus of "Life is a Highway, I'm gonna ride it all night long dudes!" and what will probably be released as the next single, "Run," is certainly a mix meant to be spoon-fed into contemporary pop-rock fans ears. Not my cup of tea, but for some, they'll love it.
Available on: CD, Vinyl, MP3
In Other Media: "Rocko's Modern Life," the greatest and most adult hidden (sometimes not so hidden) humored show of Nickelodeon's cartoons from the 1990's, finally comes to DVD after years of contractual hang-ups. If you want something completely different (where else are you going to find a show that uses being a party clown as a metaphor for coming out of the closet as a homosexual) yet so eerily similar (it pegs the ho-hum everyday life pretty well) you may be interested. Also Michael Bay's "The Island" comes to blu ray this week, a film I only saw once, at a press screening before it was released, and never since. However, it has one thing I do remember quite well: a vehicular chase scene better than any Bay has done in his first two vehicular sci-fi "Transformers" flicks.
I also took in a double feature like I often do recently. I found "Green Lantern" to be better than I found in Bence's review, maybe due to his extremely high expectations on the film he was disappointed. I went in with rather low expectations due to the trailers and Ryan Reynolds. I came out of it and felt it's okay, nothing spectacular or groundbreaking, but it was decent enough, though problematic. Villain wise, it's pretty week as 70's Porn Star Man goes quadriplegic with bitter beer face just doesn't scare me. Also saw "Fast 5" finally, and somehow, enjoyed that one too. Even though it's essentially "Oceans 11" with a muscles & muscle car spraypaint over it (I'm sure Manny's review will delve deeper into it) it was enjoyable for both it's easily made fun of plot and dialogue (as well as core audience sitting next to us) and also it's well paced and surprisingly well blocked out and well edited action sequences. It's always nice to know what's going on in an action sequence, "Quantum of Solace" take note. See you next week, dudes.