FULL RELEASE: 6/2

by QC staff

Another week of high profile releases as some rock legends slide back into the limelight. We’ve got mini reviews and album ratings of Iggy Pop crossing genres, Elvis Costello standing pat, and some new and impressive tunes from the Eels. Enjoy your Tuesday Full Release.

Artist: Elvis Costello
Song: My All Time Doll


ELVIS COSTELLO: SECRET, PROFANE, AND SUGARCANE

by kevin diamond

Being an Elvis Costello fan is a trying and impossible task. On the one hand, This Years Model and Armed Forces are two of the greatest records ever conceived, and a one-two punch that has rarely been matched by any artist this side of The Beatles. On the other hand, we’re forced to sit idly by as Elvis releases album after album of boring, Americana-inspired schlock. There’s nothing horrible about any of the songs on Secret, Profane and Sugarcane. It’s just the sound of a relic from an era past, music from an artist who hasn’t been relevant in 20+ years. I don’t expect artists to remain static as they age and mature. Our greatest artists produce some of their most fully realized albums towards the end of their career (I’m looking at you, corpse of Johnny Cash). But Elvis is stuck in a sort of holding pattern, mining the depths of a musical vernacular that has been stripped bare. In 2002, he got our hopes up with the firey When I Was Cruel, an album that recalled his heyday as an “Angry Young Man” while still managing to sound forward-looking. Then he dashed those hopes with 2004′s The Delivery Man. Luckily for me, My hopes haven’t risen since then, so this fall was not a hard one.

EELS: HOMBRE LOBO

by john cole

“Well if you need me/I’m right here” announces E on the first track of the Eels newest release, Hombre Lobo.  At first, you’d think it’s going to be a gritty rock n’ roll album after hearing “Prizefighter,”  yet it settles down quite a bit on the next song, “That Look You Give That Guy.”  This is the case for most of Hombre Lobo. It gives the listener a bit of everything, without giving too much of one sound.  The Eels go back and forth, sweating out gritty rock gems like the single, “Fresh Blood” and then taking a seat for a while during “In My Dreams.” It’s a perfect album for a long drive across country, with each song having its own attitude and appearance just like every state line you cross.

Artist: Eels
Song: Fresh Blood

….

IGGY POP: PRELIMINAIRES

by lora kolodny

Punk rock cornerstone Iggy Pop breaks out of the high adrenaline genre where he made his name so frequently that it’s delightful and surprising, but not shocking, when he covers Madonna’s “Ray of Light,” for example as he did at her Rock N Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony last year, or in this case, releases an album – Preliminaires (June 2, 2009) including two jazz standards, and quiet, bilingual singer-songwriter fare, inspired by a French novel.

Artist: Iggy Pop
Song: King of the Dogs

….
Inflexible fans of the “Real Wild Child,” with an appetite For Stooges-era punk, and a side of Avenue B-rock, will surely register their 2-star disapprovals on iTunes the moment they spend their $9.99 on a Preliminaires download.

They, like I, will be asking: is that adult-contemporary sensation Jason Mraz, or possibly one of the acoustic guitarists from the Mari Winsor pilates DVD series, audible on the jazz standard “Les Feuilles Mortes”? You can hear this just behind the clarinet and the conga. Also, they may wonder, as I do, if we really need two versions of this on one short record.

On the up side, however, more open-minded listeners, like I try to be, will love the finely aging aspects of Iggy Pop that reinforce comparisons to David Bowie, Lou Reed and now, Nick Cave and Serge Gainsbourg.

The 60-something, tough guy manages to gild solemnity with acceptance, lyrically, and to reflect a desire for and love of simple pleasures melodically in the second track of the album, “I Want to Go to the Beach.”

In track 9, “He’s Dead / She’s Alive,” he links blues and punk, setting his chickory-vocals against gritty, rhythmically mesmerizing guitars, and accentuating them with high energy howls, and lyrics that ramp up from G-rated to explicit with disturbingly hot results.

There’s also a token, mid-tempo rocker of a track – “Nice to Be Dead,” – and a sort of blasé, disco-punk ditty “Party Time” that we’ll tolerate on a playlist for a billiards hall, or a long drive.

Which leads us to a final verdict: Iggy Pop. Still got it enough to make us get it – three stars. Put it on your iPod.

MORE ALBUMS RELEASING 6/2
Eels: Hombre Lobo [Vagrant]
Elvis Costello: Secret, Profane & Sugarcane [Hear Music]
Iggy Pop: Preliminaires [Astralwerks]
Jeff Buckley Grace Around the World CD/DVD [Columbia/Legacy]
Neil Young: Neil Young Archives, Vol. 1: 1963-1972 [Warner Bros.]
Rancid: Let the Dominoes Fall [Hellcat]
Spinnerette: Spinnerette [Anthem/RED]
Luaka Bop 21st Century, 21st year

Franz Ferdinand: Blood, Released 6/1 in the UK

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