Drew Hastings – Irked & Miffed

Drew Hastings – Irked & Miffed / 2008 Image Entertainment / 14 Tracks / http://www.image-entertainment.com /

Drew Hastings has been on a number of major-level comedy outlets. This means that ey has been present on both Comedy Central and the Bob and Tom Show, even if “the man” thinks ey is not popular enough for a Wikipedia site. The skits that are present from “Irked & Miffed” are those that were largely present on Hastings’ Comedy Central special, and individuals that are into the more current, potty type of humor would do well to open their horizons by listening to “Irked & Miffed”. Continue reading “Drew Hastings – Irked & Miffed”

Weezer – Pork and Beans

Weezer – Pork and Beans / 2008 Geffen / 1 Track / http://www.weezer.com /

Weezer have came back from the precipice of mediocrity with “Pork and Beans”. This track really calls forth some of Weezer’s earliest (and best) tracks; hints of “My Name is Jonas” and “Suzanne” are present in this song. The slinky guitar line that is prominent during the track works well with Rivers Cuomo’s vocals, while there is a newer type of angular sound that brings the band up to the current period. The guitars switch to overdrive soon after, making their removal from the track soon after a traumatic moment. Weezer are masters of working tension to their benefit; “Pork and Beans” is another track that benefits from this skill. “Pork and Beans” is the perfect example of a track that will get interest for the band’s new (self-titled) album up to that point that the act should receive even more attention than they had with “Dope Nose” and “Beverly Hills”. You’ll hear this track soon on rock rotation, so pretend you are surprised and let the band’s inimitable style wash over you.

Rating: 8.5/10

Busta Rhymes (Feat. Linkin Park) – We Made It

Busta Rhymes (Feat. Linkin Park) – We Made It / 2008 Aftermath / 3 Tracks / http://www.bustarhymes.com / http://www.aftermath-entertainment.com /

Linkin Park has worked with rappers before. Individuals would do to look back to the mash-up album that they had with “Numb/Encore”. Busta Rhymes is gradually gaining back some of the momentum that ey had a few years back, especially when one hears eir hot flow on Missy Eliot’s Chin A Ling remix. “We Made It” is the perfect blend of rock and rap, with Chester’s vocals on the track acting as the bridge between the rock elements of Linkin Park and the rap brought to the track by Busta. This track will be what is played on rock, rap, pop, and (maybe) even alternative stations throughout the summer. Where both acts have struggled in the last few years to stay in the public eye, the strong effort that both enter into with “We Made It” ensure that individuals will care again what each act is doing. “Blessed” will undoubtedly be another platinum album for Busta Rhymes, and “We Made It” will do what “Live from SoHo” could not, and ensure that the band will reach the highest levels of superstardom. Rap/rock remixes are typically impressive on their own right, and “We Made It” is no exception.

Rating: 6.5/10

Neil Diamond – Home Before Dark

Neil Diamond – Home Before Dark / 2008 Sony / 12 Tracks / http://www.neildiamond.com /

It’s amazing when the amount of albums that you have sold, if limited to the United States, would provide a copy of a Neil Diamond album to one in every three citizens. This fact is almost as amazing as the fact that Diamond has been recording for nearly fifty years; 1960 saw the release of the first Diamond single (as a part of Neil and Jack), “What Will I Do”. Continue reading “Neil Diamond – Home Before Dark”

Tristan Prettyman – Hello…x

Tristan Prettyman – Hello…x / 2008 Virgin / 12 Tracks / http://www.tristanprettyman.com /

Tristan Prettyman is still a pretty new force to popular music. Eir first album, “t w e n t y t h r e e” rocketed up the Heatseekers chart before ultimately peaking at #24. If individuals did not have the chance to pick up eir first album, they may also be familiar with Prettyman’s work on G. Love’s “Lemonade” or (the much earlier) “Volume 2” by the Brendan Borek Family. The (somewhat) titular track starts off “Hello…x”, and provides individuals with a breathy female voice. Continue reading “Tristan Prettyman – Hello…x”

Gladys Hardy – I Love Jesus But I Drink A Little

Gladys Hardy – I Love Jesus But I Drink A Little / 2008 WEA / 25 Tracks / http://www.gladyshardy.com /

Individuals may not immediately know who Gladys Hardy is, but if they have seen the Ellen Degeneres show in the last few months, chances are good that they heard a call from Hardy. If you don’t watch the Ellen show (I know I don’t), Gladys Hardy also calls in to the Dudley & Bob show, a “morning zoo” type of radio show centered in the Austin, Texas area, hosted on KLBJ. Hardy is a grandmother from Texas, and leaves a number of voice mails in Degeneres’ box. Hardy’s popularity has increased so much in the last few months that Hardy has actually replaced the announcers that previously introduced Degeneres at the beginning of each episode of eir show. Continue reading “Gladys Hardy – I Love Jesus But I Drink A Little”

The Brian Jonestown Massacre – My Bloody Underground

The Brian Jonestown Massacre – My Bloody Underground / 2008 A Records / 14 Tracks / http://www.brianjonestownmassacre.com /

Before receiving “My Bloody Underground”, I had heard a lot about The Brian Jonestown Massacre but I had not had the chance to familiarize myself with their sound. The act has been around since the early 1990s, and their first album, Methodrone, set the band onto a run that (as of this moment) ends with their thirteenth studio album, “My Bloody Underground”. To get into some sense of where the band has been in the past, I attempted to get into the band’s unique groove. Continue reading “The Brian Jonestown Massacre – My Bloody Underground”

Your Vegas – A Town And Two Cities

Your Vegas – A Town And Two Cities / 2008 Universal Republic / 10 Tracks / http://www.yourvegasmusic.com /

Your Vegas came to their current lineup with Mark Heaton in 2004, and released two singles – a self-titled song and “Flybuzz”. While the band had broke it big in their home country of England, they did not attract the attention of the American music market until 2006, when Universal Republic signed them. The average music fan became aware of Your Vegas soon after, when Playboy magazine tapped them to be a “Rock The Rabbit” band. The band got their stuff together and put an EP out – “A Town And Two Cities”, expanding it soon after to a full length recording. Continue reading “Your Vegas – A Town And Two Cities”

Tommy Emmanuel – Center Stage

Tommy Emmanuel – Center Stage / 2008 Favored Nations / 24 Tracks / http://www.tommyemmanuel.com /

Tommy is from Australia. Furthermore, ey is a two-time Grammy nominee. “Center Stage” is a live album, and was recorded at the Sierra Nevada Brewery (Chico, CA). While individuals may not be familiar with the solo recordings of an Emmanuel, ey cut eir teeth in the John Farnham band. If one can remember back to 2000, ey also performed at the closing ceremonies at that year’s Summer Olympics. Over the last 30 years, Emmanuel has released over 20 albums. So, ey has a tremendous amount of material with which to work, and which individuals necessary expect from a live show. This show starts out with “The Finger Lakes”, a newer song, and finishes up with “Questions” (a classic cut from 2000’s “Only”). A number of other releases are revisited during this lengthy concert.  The work of Emmanuel is bolstered throughout a number of tracks by the masterful work of harmonica player Bob Littell, and the presence of some tracks will be exciting to those that have not had the chance to see or hear Emmanuel live at some point. This means that there is a version of “Ruby’s Eyes” that will tattoo itself into the minds and hearts of anyone that may be listening in. Continue reading “Tommy Emmanuel – Center Stage”

Hilary McRae – Through These Walls

Hilary McRae – Through These Walls / 2008 Concord / 12 Tracks /  http://www.hilarymcrae.com /

“Through These Walls” starts off with “Every Day (When Will You Be Mine)”, a track that has a timeless nature to it. That means that the brass that backs up the vocals and the rest of the normal instrumentation (drums) provides hints of the seventies, while McRae’s vocals on this track are very current and modern. The result is a funky type of track that will undoubtedly be on rock rotation even if the style is something pretty unique. McRae’s vocals link together Pink and Tracy Chapman, ensuring that the subset of interested listeners is sufficiently large enough to ensure ey has a large fan base. “Consider Me Gone” is the next track on “Through These Walls”, and it shows McRae in a slightly different light.

The soulful sound of eir vocals is present as it was during “Every Day”, but there is a little more in the way of blues influence present during this track. The song will slide in nicely with the Amy Winehouse style of popular music, and while the instrumentation present is softly-stated, it works well with the vocals. “Let’s Stop” is another strong track by McRae; it blends the two styles that were present during “Every Day” and “Consider Me Gone”, while adding enough unique flair and style to the track to keep individuals listening. While McRae is not a huge star at this point, continued work in regards to live shows and an active fan base should be enough to push McRae’s already solid work into the stratosphere.

The twelve cuts on “Through These Walls” avoid the pitfalls inherent in a number of current artists’ releases, in that there is nothing that individuals should avoid on this album. So, if you like the works of a Kelly Clarkson, Pink, or the like make it a point to pick up “Through These Walls”. Chances are good that a devoted subset of fans will dig this album, and the next release for McRae will be the one that establishes eir as a star. So, grab this album and you can say that you knew about McRae before anyone else did.

Top Tracks: Waiting, Hostage

Rating: 6.8/10