Patti Smith - Twelve : Critical darling (over rated hack) Smith delivers a long awaited (entirely unnecessary) covers album. Her take on Tears For Fears "Everybody Wants To Rule the World" sounds like a Patty Smythe b-side, and bloodless re-workings of classic rock gems like "Are You Experienced?", "Gimmie Shelter" and"Smells Like Teen Spirit" may sound okay piped through coffee shop or Gap but I can't imagine really sitting down and listening to them for pleasure.
If you are a Smith fan you'll be pleased to hear she sounds much the same as she ever has, and while the concept is hack the production is solid.
Arctic Monkeys - Favourite Worst Nightmare: This is not your father's Sigue Sigue Sputnik! Last year's fave flave UK chartbusters are back with a solid follow-up disc of 21st century brit-pop. Not as good as the hype but still pretty damn good. Recommended.
A Tribute to Joni Mitchell - Now here's a covers album worth your headphone time. Lots of talented folk (Surjan Stevens, Prince, Caetano Veloso, Bjork, James Taylor, Annie Lenox) performing selections from the Joni Mitchell songbook.
Nick Marsh - A Universe Between Us: Well crafted cinematic singer/songwriter fare from Flesh For Lulu frontman . Mature and atmospheric, a perfect soundtrack for your next Lost weekend. Cover of Some Velvet Morning should give some senses of the direction Marsh travels in here. Highly Recommended.
Avril Lavigne - The Best Damn Thing - Potty mouth mall punk done about as well as it can be. If I were ten (okay twenty) years younger I could listen to this in a fast car or a noisy bar but at my age it feels slightly creepy. I guess I'll stick with Lavigne's elders Joan Jett, Deb Harry and the Go-Gos. My daughter, on the other hand, is probably rockin' the suburbs with Avril as we speak. Recommended.
Nine Inch Nails - Year Zero - NIN is the kind of band I admire for doing what they do as well as they do it. I'm just not angry enough to want to listen to it on anything approaching a regular basis. Year Zero is a fururistic "concept album". Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto. I'm sure this'll go over gangbusters in the freshman dorms.
Bebel Gilberto - Momento - Perfectly formed soft sweet gently swaying Brazil-pop. Highly Recommended.
Oyster Band - Meet You There - First rate preachy crossover Celt-rock.
The Apples - Tribute to the Beatles - Just like the Beatles but with half the talent! Actually these couple of dozen Beatles coves aren't all that bad in a power-poppy way but that's no excuse.
Wonderboys - Stronger Than You- One of the great things about a subscription service like Rhapsody is the ability to hear "import" albums without having to shell out "import albumk" prices. Wonderboys are a Swedish group - an offshoot of the Trampolines (who were Big in Japan apparently) who do a nice job with their Americana influenced sound.
The Sammies - The Sammies - Promising alt-rock from N.C. combo . Worth a listen.
Blue - Sitting on the Sofa - Another Swedish import. Fine collection of mod influenced soul stompers. If you miss the Jam then this is the album for you, Highly Recommended .
Another batch of recent releases/adds from Rhapsody. Keep in mind the Just Added stuff may not always be a new release or re-issue but simply Rhapsody adding an album (or even individual track) to thier library.
Nothing earth shattering this time out...
Alison Krauss : A Hundred Miles or More - Various odds and sods from blue grass chanteuse Krauss includes crossover friendly duets with John Waite, Brad Paisley, Sting and James Taylor. Recommended.
and finally a trio of albums from Love Camp 7. I remember hearing LC7 do a live set on FMU donkey's years ago and spent years trying to find their albums. Well now I've got three - my sentimental fave is Conspiracy of Flowers' Brian Wilson obsession but all three are worth tracking down. Highly Recommended!