Drake’s Take: New Releases 05.29.07

We here at the ‘Shine are proud to introduce “Drake’s Take”, a new feature addition to our music coverage. Photographer, blogger, cineaste, bibliophile, avid DVR user, and a man of generally discriminating taste, Drake leLane, has graciously agreed to share his insights on the week in new releases (rhapsodize if you will) with us and we couldn’t be happier to have him on board. Drake has his own digs on the web at http://drakelelane.blogspot.com, I suggest you check out his site, he writes a mean Sopranos recap.

PS Don’t worry though, if you’re a fan of my minimalist approach, I’ll still be telling you what I just bought, and whether or not I liked it in bullet point form.

Drake’s Take: New Releases 05.29.07

The day after a holiday (or the Grammys) is usually a wasteland for new releases, but there’s still some worth checking out this week. The latest releases from Richard Thompson, Juliana Hatfield and Je Suis France rank in order from great to interesting. Also: releases from alterna-legends Perry Farrell (with his Satellite Party) and Smashing Pumpkins (single.)

Playlist: New Releases 05.29.07

Album: Richard Thompson – Sweet Warrior

Richard Thompson - Sweet WarriorWhile everyone’s mouth is watering at Thompson joining Fairport Convention on stage this summer (at the annual Cropredy Festival) for their 40th anniversary (featuring the 1969 lineup,) Thompson has quietly released one of his best solo releases in some time. Sure to be ranked with Bob Dylan’s Modern Times as an accomplished legend’s most ‘mature’ release, Sweet Warrior is also one that sees him return to a more rock format. With the first chords of the opener (“Needle And Thread,”) it’s apparent that Thompson’s not cashing in on any AARP membership soon, then he cements that feeling with the second song “I’ll Never Give It Up,” and it’s made known that he’s gonna (thankfully) be around for awhile more. Thompson also takes time to weigh in on war, in his most subtle of ways, with the songs “Gun’s Are the Tongues” and “Dad’s Gonna Kill Me” – which uses ‘Dad’ as shorthand for Baghdad. It’s someone’s mess I didn’t choose / At least we’re winning on the Fox Evening News – It’s social commentary we’re not used to hearing from Thompson, but he weilds it like his guitar, both turns subtle and in your face, and he’s still able to give you pause on both accounts.

Album: Juliana Hatfield and Frank Smith – Sittin’ in a Tree…

Juliana Hatfield and Frank Smith - Sittin' in a TreeIf you’ve ever wondered what Juliana Hatfield would sound like if she decided to go alt.country (and you’d be someone with a lot of time to think about these things, I imagine,) look no further, as her pairing here with the roots-y Boston band Frank Smith is just that. Call it Hatfield and the McCoys at the OK Saloon, or The Blake Babies with a banjo, I dunno… it’s kind of cool, even in if it’s lacking some depth. “A Beer and a Shot” alone is worth the price of admission here, and it goes well with it’s titled recommended dosage.

Free album stream from AOL

Album: Je Suis France – Afrikan Majik

Je Suis France - Afrikan MajikJe Suis France is not from France (based in Athens, Georgia,) and this album (Afrikan Majik) has seemingly nothing to do with Africa. As a matter of fact, the band’s members are scattered across the country like a late-period Pavement, and the fact that the sound on this album cannot be pigeonholed in any manner is could be a result of these scattered settings. There are plenty of cool moments when you want to get up out of your chair and yell “hot damn” but then it disappears into the void, and they move into something sounding completely different (and often too random to allow your mind to make connections.) “That Doesn’t Work Well For Us” and “The Love Of France” gives a taste of what they might sound like with any amount of focus, and it unfortunately just serves as reminder of how messy the rest of the album is. The last song is a reggae-tinged burner called “Never Gonna Touch the Ground” that by itself is an interesting number, but coming at the end of his album, it’s a bit of a wtf moment, in an album with many.

Released this week that didn’t make it into Rhapsody:
Matthew Dear – Asabreed (Free album stream from AOL)
Merzbow – Coma Berenices
Piano Magic – Part Monster

More going (or already in) the Sansa
Satellite Party – Ultra Payloaded (Free album stream from AOL)
Cary Brothers – Who You Are (Free album stream from AOL)
KRS-One and Marley Marl – Hip Hop Lives
The Actual – In Stitches
The Get Quick – See You in the Crossfire
Lotus – Escaping Sargasso Sea
Midnite Snake – Shaving the Angel