Friday, September 9, 2011

ramble on: sept 9

if the change of the seasons has you craving new music just as much as you're itching to get your hands on the fall starbucks flavors (can you say pumpkin spice latte?), then you are totally in luck. a lot of big names have new albums coming out in the next few weeks, and it is shaping up to be one sweet fall for both your ears and your mouth. below are five new albums that are worth adding to your collection this autumn. enjoy!

Staind- Staind
September 13th

Self-titling an album (unless it's your first and you just aren't very creative) is setting the bar pretty high. When you're a band as epically huge as Staind and you self-title your seventh full-length release, you might as will be setting that bar on the moon.

The moon might be tough for other bands to reach, but for the rock-giants of Staind, it might as well be the back yard. Remember the old Staind that put out super-heavy songs like "Mudshovel" or, really, any of the songs from Dysfunction? Well, they're back. Now that Aaron Lewis has gotten his country-boy side outta the way and found an outlet for his softer songs, it leaves the band with nothing but music that is out to kick you right in the throat with a kick-ass new album.

"Not again" was the first single released off of Staind and it is getting major radio play right now, and as good as it is, it's only a taste of what the rest of the album has to offer. "Eyes Wide Open" is so, so heavy, and almost makes you think of "Mudshovel" especially at the beginning. "Wannabe" features Lewis busting out some Korn-like rock-rapping, which is so hard to adjust to at first that it's almost funny. But combine it with the multitude of different vocal sounds on this one song, that range from rapping to screaming to melodic singing, and you're not left with a terrible song by any means."The Bottom" has single written all over it, as does "Now" with its fresh yet familiar sound.

"Something to Remind You" easily takes the award for my favorite song on the album, though. It is so very Staind: depressing yet beautiful, with a sadness that sucks you in and wraps you around every single word coming out of Lewis's mouth. It is acoustic, with just a guitar softly picking and strumming in the background, but somehow out of the simplicity comes a masterpiece. It is one of those catharsis-initiating songs you just set on repeat and listen to over and over and feel way down deep inside. It is a perfect ending to a nearly perfect album. 

In "Wannabe" Lewis says, "I'm selling records," and my response to that is yes, Mr. Lewis, that is exactly what you are doing with Staind. If you like Staind at all, especially their older stuff, then I can't emphasize how much of a must-buy this album is. And to hold you over until then, you can find it streaming on at:

Bush- The Sea of Memories
September 13th

Bush's new album, their first in ten years, brings back that familiar Bush-sound that no one has really replicated in their absence. That's probably due to the fact that the "Bush-sound" is, as described by singer Gavin Rossdale, really just his voice and a guitar. The Sea of Memories has both of those things, which basically guarantees any fans of the band will be satisfied, as will young'uns who may have only heard "Glycerine" or "Come Down" on the radio.  

The first single, "The Sound of Winter," is getting heavy radio play (i swear, i hear it more than i hear def leppard play on my fav rock station in lexington, so that tells ya it's playing a lot). I haven't tired of hearing it on constant repeat, though, because it is actually a really good song. It's rocking and catchy, and well, it's the sweet-angel voice of Gavin Rossdale, so you know that it's going to be pretty great. The video (below) doesn't do much other than prove that a) Gavin Rossdale is beautiful, b) Gwen Stefani is even more beautiful, and c) their blond angel sons are beautiful squared.

The entire album is available for preview on iTunes right now, and the minute and a half snippets lead me to believe that the rest of The Sea of Memories is just as good or better than the first single. 

"Baby Come Home"  features the lines that lend themselves to the album title.  There is something so identifiable in the words "I lost myself to the sea of memories, I lost myself to irreverent dreams." The chorus gets a bit repetitive, but the verses are that typical Bush that led you to become a fan in the first place. "The Mirror of the Signs" kicks off the cd, and is obviously an effort to write songs with a more modern sound, but one that is still heavy and melodic. Maybe my favorite song on the album, I can only hope that this one will be released as a single. The Sea of Memories  also features a gem-of-a-cover as the final song on the album. Rossdale's voice, an acoustic guitar, and the classic Fleetwood Mac song "Landslide" are a perfect blend.

Superheavy- Superheavy
September 20th

What do you get when you mix a Rolling Stone, Bob Marley's son, an British soul and r& b pop princess, an Indian composer, and an English pop-rocker? Other than introduction that is entirely too verbose, you get a song that can best be described as what would happen if you put all those sounds into a blender and pushed pulse until you get a sticky-sweet mess the color of Mick Jagger's suit in the band's video for their first song, "Miracle Worker."

Along with Jagger, Damien Marley, Joss Stone, A.R. Rahman, and Dave Stewart form the supergroup of the hour, SuperHeavy. This amalgamation of stars and superstars really sounds just like you'd think it would: a mix of Stone's smooth soul & Jagger's rocking vocals, with Marley's regae-spitting hooks, over a slow, poppy, exotic beat. It doesn't make any sense in theory, but somehow the result is really, really good. Honestly, I love it!

The sound that somehow emerges when all these styles blend in "Miracle Worker" is like that first drink of a cold diet coke, fresh from the golden arches- refreshing, cool, fizzy in your mouth, and pretty darn tasty. I don't know what the rest of the album would even come close to sounding like, and I'm doubtful that SuperHeavy will reach anywhere near the popularity of the Stones, but I can say this: "Miracle Worker" is a fun little diddy, worth downloading, just in case the rest of the album turns out to be crap :)

ZZ Top- A Tribute from Friends
October 11th
When I saw Filter in Lexington a few weeks back, they played a cover of ZZ Top's classic, "Gimme All Your Lovin" and, though it's hard to really examine a new song when you're hearing it for the first time in a little club where the band is turned up way loud, I liked it. When I got home, I saw a link the band had posted to their version of the song, and I liked it even more. Filter's cover takes the song to a completely new place, one that's really electronic and a little reminiscent of "Hey Man, Nice Shot." They really rock the song up, and it turns out to be a fitting tribute to a deserving band.

Filter's cover is just one of the tracks on the upcoming album, ZZ Top- A Tribute from Friends. It features an awesome lineup of bands playing the most classic Top songs, from "Legs" (done by Nickelback) to "Tush" (covered by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals). And even though i don't care for Jamey Johnson at all, his cover of "La Grange" is actually really good, as he blends his deep, southern country sound with the classic rock sounds that ZZ Top is so known for. Only Filter and Johnson's covers are available for preview now, but if the other songs are done nearly as well as the first two, then I'm very excited to take a listen to the new takes on Top's classic hits. A preview of the track listings:

1. Sharp Dressed Man - Steven Tyler, Mick Fleetwood, Jonny Lang, and John McVie (The M.O.B)
2. Gimme All Your Lovin' - Filter
3. Tush - Grace Potter & The Nocturnals
4. Legs - Nickelback
5. Cheap Sunglasses - Wolfmother
6. Got Me Under Pressure - Duff McKagan's Loaded
7. Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers - Coheed & Cambria
8. Just Got Paid - Mastodon
9. Rough Boy - Wyclef Jean
10. Waitin' for the Bus / Jesus Just Left Chicago - Daughtry
11. La Grange - Jamey Johnson

Chasing Layne- Sin & Regret
Available Now!

watch out for "the business"

The final must-have album of the fall is one that is pretty near and dear to my heart. Maybe it is because I have such a deep connection to the songs on Chasing Layne's newest album, Sin & Regret. I've been there for practices and shows, hearing these same songs (over and over and over) as they grew and developed, and I was lucky enough to be in the studio for some of the recording. I've had copies of countless versions of the songs as they went through this process, but finally getting the finished version of them in my hands, wrapped up all tidy in their little plastic casing, it's just one of those feelings of relief you can't describe. (To keep this short, I'll have to elaborate a bit more in a blog dedicated just to this topic, I do believe...)

I say this as unbiasedly as possible: This is seriously a good album (as it should be, after taking damn-near as long as Chinese Democracy took to finally be released). If you like girly songs, then "Riverside," "Silence" and "I Want it All" are sure to please. If you like your songs more manly and rocking, then you gotta hear "Dirt" and "The King." And you can't forget "On the Way" or "Hoodoo" (and now that I've named almost every song on the album, I think you get the point- there is something for everybody).

 Massive gayness, i know, but i was one proud publicist lady/gf/sister (lol)

You can stream the songs at to see what you think. If you like them, you can buy the album on iTunes, CdBaby, at Apollo PC in Glasgow, the Great Escape in Bowling Green, or from any of the band members, and of course from little old me. It's $12, but worth every penny :)     

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