LP Release Tuesday: August 2nd, 2011

By Joseph Giannone 2011-08-02 23:59:56
The music industry is a fluctuating entity like any other massive money-making conglomerate. Similar to this industry of artists, musicians, bands, and rappers; Hollywood deals with its own case of remaking old ideas, just like some groups do, time and time again. Most corporate run businesses, like Hollywood, like to see their “products” made in a certain fashion. Sadly, at the end of the day, most of these businessmen for the corporatized entertainment jungle will get what they want. Unlike Hollywood though, there is a chance for the music industry to overcome these challenging strides over greedy production of art. As I stated in my previous LP Release Column, there are always some bands that get the chance to create something really meaningful, while others just take the money, and the easy way out. Is that necessarily a bad proposition for these groups? No, not really, but unlike Hollywood, I’m glad that most musicians in the music industry have the opportunity to make that decision of whether to “bite the bullet” or stay in mere obscurity and make real art.

Let’s just say since Hollywood is incapable of letting their artists breath and do their own thing, I’m happy to be writing about music. This week’s set of albums facilitates my admiration even further with the eclectic set of efforts that have come out today, August 2nd. The long awaited, four years actually, Fountains of Wayne record Sky Full of Holes has been released into the world with critical acclaim. The indie Jam Band O.A.R. has also been away for quite some time, but they are finally letting go of their latest hit, King.

Even though I love all kinds of music, there are two genres that I really cannot wrap my head around. Metalcore has a weird smell nobody wants to be around. Some people might enjoy that stink, but I still don't get it. The appropriately named band, Bury Your Dead, released their new record Mosh 'N' Roll today. I think it's pungent, but you might enjoy the monkey house. Trace Adkins, a representative of that second genre, also released a new LP today. I don't really understand country, but unlike metalcore, I don't think it smells. It's just not for me.

Also, this week I have a special bonus album just because I feel like it, and it's a comedy record that's actually worthwhile. Have you ever heard of Tig Notaro? Probably not, but now you will… Here’s this week’s LP’s:

LP Release Tuesday
5) Bury Your Dead Mosh 'N' Roll
As I mentioned above, the Metalcore genre is an utterly unreasonable birth from the metal and punk families. I think Dio would roll over in his grave if he heard the music these bands produced. I wouldn’t be ripping on it as much if I didn’t think others liked it too, but this isn’t country music we’re talking about here. I might not like country music, but half the country does. Nobody likes Metalcore, not even metal heads. As the slicing guitars roll over the undecipherable vocals, it’s quite clear that any band in this genre really isn’t worth listening too.

Bury Your Dead's new album falls in that same category. Even though all the songs are named after Kurt Vonnegut works, don’t let that fool you. None of the music on this record lives up to his name. It’s actually the antithesis of intellectualism. “Jailbird,” “Sun Moon Star” and “The Sirens of Titan” might all be named after satirical takes on a plethora of subjects, but these tunes are far from satire. Who knows, maybe this band realizes the kind of music they’re making and are now attempting to adhere to some far superior wealth of creativity this album could never produce. If so, well played Bury Your Dead, well played. Mosh N’ Roll might be a satirical take on the genre that made you rich, but... Oh hell, who am I kidding, this isn’t satire at all. Just listen to “Slaughterhouse Five”. It’s like a joke, but nobody is laughing.

LP Release Tuesday
4) John Hiatt Dirty Jeans and Mudslide Hymns
After getting through a heap of stinking crap like Mosh N’ Roll, it’s great to actually discuss real music. John Hiatt has been a prominent singer-songwriter for three generations. In his thirty years worth of work, he’s released well over fifteen records. Yet, he has still not received a Grammy Award for his astounding catalog. With artists like: Bob Dylan, Willy DeVille, Linda Ronstadt, Bonnie Raitt, Eric Clapton, B.B. King, Willie Nelson, Three Dog Night, Joan Baez, Paula Abdul, Buddy Guy, the Desert Rose Band, Jimmy Buffett, Mandy Moore and Iggy Pop all covering work of his, it’s interesting and surprising to contemplate why he has yet to receive such a well deserved award. As his song “Have A Little Faith” conveys, “Just have a little faith in me.” I have faith in you, Hiatt!

Dirty Jeans and Mudslide Hymns is the latest release from this man who’s lived the blues his entire life. From his twenty one year old brother committing suicide when he was only nine, to his father dying only two years later; Hiatt has had one hell of a life. The creativity he has cultivated from those experiences has been profoundly shown in his music. Like any artist brought into a life filled with challenges, the career he leads is aided from all of his strong emotional ties to death and the realities of life. His latest work is just another example of his masterful artistic expression. “Train to Birmingham,” “I Love That Girl,” and “When New York Had Her Heart Broke” all provide further proof that after thirty years of struggles, and fame, this prolific musician is still one of the best around.

LP Release Tuesday
3) Trace Adkins Proud To Be Here
Some of you who are reading this column have probably been keeping up with my stories regularly, so I’m sure you understand by now my dissenting opinion on country music. It’s not a genre that pisses me off as much as metalcore, but it’s just not something I willingly listen to. Anything that reminds me of eating at a bbq restaurant can stay at the sweat filled pork palace. Though there are varying groups amongst the genre, I’ll take Jimmy Buffet over Bury Your Dead any day, but most of these overly simplified “country” bands can stay away.

With that said, I respect Trace Atkins a hell of a lot. He’s worked in television for a long time, making an appearance on The Celebrity Apprentice and also voicing Elvin on King of the Hill. I appreciate the televised work he’s accomplished and I can understand why people enjoy his music so much. Atkins' latest record Proud To Be Here is a novel attempt to bring back that old Dixie feeling of “patriotism” that our country has apparently lost. Not all of us are blind flag wavers, but patriotism is a value most of us hold dear. We might not all be as overt about it, but those who are should find solace in Adkins' new record.

LP Release Tuesday
2) O.A.R. King
Nothing speaks creative credibility more than a jam band that encompasses elements of indie, alternative and roots rock. Of a Revolution, or simply known as O.A.R., is a band that can pretty much carry any crowd at a concert or music festival. With their jamming sessions lasting longer than ten minutes on stage and more often than not actually jamming on each song, O.A.R. creates their own unique jams for each concert. To say the least, they are one of the most exhilarating live presences currently touring. Yet, with most jam bands in this similar category like Phish and The Grateful Dead, it’s alright to wonder: How are their albums compared to the live shows?

O.A.R.’s newest record King is further proof that this jam centric outfit can always create music that won’t be disappointing at all. With many groups simplifying their produced tracks to catch the interests of a wider audience, it’s evident this group doesn’t really care about that mainstream success. They simply follow the beat of their own drum and go wherever the fans and their creative intuition might take them. King is a fascinating album to say the least and continues in the direction of experimental jam music that any fan of theirs wants. Without slighting their music, the group has found major success. It only proves that hard work and limitless creativity can provide both wealth and creative continuity.

LP Release Tuesday
1) Fountains of Wayne Sky Full of Holes
Fountains of Wayne have not released a new record in over four years. Fans of this power pop, alt rock quartet worldwide must have been worried they'd be gone for good. Do not fear though, they haven’t left the music world and with the likes of this record, aren’t going to be leaving any time soon. This is not to say their fan base is still as large as when their smash hit “Stacy’s Mom” came out, but after that catchy single brought them fame, it was kind of hard not to forget the Fountains of Wayne. When 2007’s Traffic and Weather came out, it revealed a band that was once at the top of the music charts, but were slowly starting to dissend into obscurity. Hoping to change this hovering fate, Wayne has decided to play the same card that worked before.

Their newest work Sky Full of Holes will see Wayne retreating back to the similar sounds that proved likeable by fans. It’s not every day that a group creates an unsuspecting smash hit like Stacy, so it may, or may not be “un-creative” for them to return to this aged style. Personally, it’s not travesty if the group has found a style that suites them well and continues to alter and polish it, but it’s upsetting when a group doesn’t bother making any good songs from it. It's good for them though that their music is better than ever. Also, I can only hope that Fountains of Wayne will continue to uplift the next generation of younger males as they did with mine. They did this by conjuring up a generation of courageous youths who were ballsy enough to ask out their girlfriends' hot mom. One can only hope…

LP Release Tuesday
BONUS ALBUM: Tig Notaro Good One
Instead of concluding my column this week with a pithy paragraph about why “the music industry” is selling out their artists for its own greedy benefits, or contemplating “why artists are more than willing to create easily digestible albums” to gain a wider audience. I will be doing something special. Because one of my favorite comedians has released a new album this week, I will be talking about this instead.

Even though she didn’t make it on my top 10 acts of Bonnaroo 2011, Tig Notaro was still fucking hilarious. Among the highly stoned crowd who were eagerly awaiting Henry Rollins to start his act, Tig put on a hell of an opening gig in the Manchester, Tennessee circus tent. She discussed the very meaning of popular phrases in American culture and why baby showers are stupid and selfish. Nataro is like the second coming of George Carlin but with a vagina. I can only imagine that her album, called Good One, will be nothing short of amazing.

If you have any sense of humor at all, you should check out this record. Plus, there is a lot of good music being released this week, like Fountains of Wayne’s new record and John Hiatt’s latest album. So, why don't you give this comedy album a chance? Sure, listening to music can always be a soothing aspect of human life and we all need some good tunes to wind down our day. Yet, isn't comedy another remedy for what ails you? Check out Tig Notaro. If, for nothing else, than to have an excuse to not listen to Bury Your Dead’s Mosh N’ Roll.
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