Drake’s Take: New Releases 01.15.08

Having already dined on Stephen Merritt and the pick of this week’s new release litter, Drake found himself a little musically famished when Tuesday finally came around. Don’t worry though, it looks like he’s saving up his appetite for next week’s installment and the hippy dippy meanderings of Vancouver’s Black Mountain. -ed.

Drake’s Take: New Releases 01.15.08

I cannibalized this post by writing about The Magnetic Fields’ Distortion on Thursday, as really there’s not really much else to say about this week. That would’ve given Ringo Starr’s latest release a bump up, but Rhapsody has the latest from Cat Power, Drive-By Truckers and The Whigs in a week early, so instead I’m just gonna cannibalize next week’s post, leaving for next only latest from Black Mountain to wax poetic about — but, shouldn’t that be enough?

Playlist: New Releases 01.15.07

Album: Cat Power – Jukebox

Cat Power - JukeboxSpeaking of cannibal as a verb, my favorite song on Chan Marshall’s second covers project, Jukebox, is a beautiful, barely recognizable re-working of her own song “Metal Heart,” from her 1998 album Moon Pix, taking on new meaning with her recent successful rise from the ashes of addiction. “I once was lost, but now I’m found. Was blind, but now I see.” Of course, it takes some cojones to cover your own alongside songs from Bob, Billie, Joni, Frank and Hank, too bad there’s just not enough balls left over to power the songs beyond a fair-to-middlin’ snooze, as Marshall gets lost in reinterpretation, never revealing enough of herself. The other standout track, appropriately enough, is the only original track, “Song For Bobby,” written for Bob Dylan, which sounds more like Dylan than her take on his song “I Believe in You.” It’s an alright collection, but understandably leaves me wanting another album of original material.

Album: Drive-By Truckers – Brighter Than Creations Dark

Drive-By Truckers - Brighter Than Creations DarkBacks against the wall… that’s what it seemed like for DBT. Their previous album, A Blessing and a Curse, was considered by many to be slight — but that’s in comparison with their prior epic releases, mind you. Then came the exodus of guitarist Jason Isbell, and DBT’s stock seem to take a tremendous fall. But instead of tightening the belt a bit they instead expand (adding the legendary Spooner Oldham on keys,) and come back back with this scattered 19 track, 70+ minute album. The title Brighter Than Creations Dark suggests both dark and light, and the album seems to look under DBT’s cushions for the full spectrum of emotions. From suicide (“Two Daughters and a Beautiful Wife”) to drinking (“Daddy Needs a Drink”) and drugs (Mike Cooley’s accusatory “You and Your Crystal Meth;”) to war in Iraq (“That Man I Shot,” “The Homefront”) Brighter can feel pretty dark at time. But while Patterson Hood dwells in the darkness, Cooley, for the most part, takes a more distant view, with country songs like “Perfect Timing” and “Lisa’s Birthday.” Meanwhile, Isbell’s ex Shonna Tucker contributes songs for the first time, seeming almost like a ‘take that, Jason!’ if it weren’t for the poignancy of “I’m Sorry Huston” and the soaring chorus of “Home Field Advantage.” All in all, it’s a great album, albeit one that really could have easily have been trimmed to a tight 12-song 45-minute classic.

More on the radar this week
Magnetic Fields – Distortion / Free album stream from AOL
Ringo Starr – Liverpool 8 (AOL)
The Whigs – Mission Control / Free album stream from AOL (available a week early)
Dengue Fever – Venus on Earth (in Rhapsody a week early)
Eels – Meet The EELS: Essential EELS 1996-2006 Vol. 1
Eels – Useless Trinkets-B Sides, Soundtracks, Rarieties and Unreleased 1996-2006
Nurse & Wound – Gyllensköld, Geijerstam and I at Rydberg’s
Tyler Ramsey – A Long Dream About Swimming Across The Sea
Raheem Devaughn – Love Behind The Melody
The SteelDrivers – The SteelDrivers
Thomas Ian Nicholas – Without Warning
Dirty On Purpose – Like Bees

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