Sleeper Car – Love & Anxiety

Sleeper Car – Love & Anxiety / 2007 Self / 6 Tracks / http://www.sleepercarband.com /

“Lay It Down” is the first track on Sleeper Car’s “Love & Anxiety”m, and the use of strings during this track imbues the track with a folksy sound not far removed with that put out by a Banhart. However, Sleeper Car takes a different tack during “I Won’t Break Down”. During this track, the band unites the aforementioned folk style with an early country / bluegrass hybrd that, when all parts are taken together, result in a very current and contemporary sound. The second track on the disc is “I Won’t Break Down” and it gives the spotlight to the instrumentation. Where it was a strong but not central part of “Lay It Down”, the renewed focus on the instrumentation during “I Won’t Break Down” shows that all parts of Sleeper Car are equally strong. By keeping all of the tracks on “Love & Anxiety” within the three to four minute length, the band is able to inculcate listeners into the full gamut of sounds and genres available to Sleeper Car. Continue reading “Sleeper Car – Love & Anxiety”

Gary Allan – Living Hard

Gary Allan – Living Hard / 2007 MCA / 11 Tracks / http://www.garyallan.com / http://www.mca.com /

“Living Hard” is the eight studio album for Gary Allan, and marks the second time that Allan has reached #3 on the US 200 charts (eir highest showing). While “Living Hard” did not top the US country charts as “Tough All Over” and “Greatest Hits” had done in 2005 and earlier 2007, this higher mainstream showing is a positive sign for someone that is trying to become a household name. “Watching Airplanes” provides individuals with a style of country that could easily be mistaken as a Bon Jovi track; the track has been a major staple on the country stations for a while now, and aside from a slight bit of twang in Allan’s voice, one would be hard to tell that Allan is considered a “country” singer. Continue reading “Gary Allan – Living Hard”

Cake – B-Sides and Rarities

Cake – B-Sides and Rarities / 2007 Upbeat / 12 Tracks / http://www.cakemusic.com /

As individuals may be able to figure out from the title, the latest Cake release is a collection of all of the tracks that were either b-sides or did not make it into a finished form on any of the band’s CDs over the years. While the songs on “B-Sides and Rarities” may be scraps from the cutting room floor for the most part, a large segment of the songs on the CD are covers. Cake goes through their versions of Black Sabbath (Two versions of “War Pigs”, one with Steven of the Flaming Lips), Kenny Rogers (“Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town”), Frank Sinatra (“Strangers in the Night”), George Jones (“Subtract One Love”), and Barry White (“Never Never Gonna Give You Up”) are all present here. Continue reading “Cake – B-Sides and Rarities”

OST: The Kite Runner

OST: The Kite Runner / 2007 Decca / 21 Tracks / http://www.deutschegrammophon.com/kiterunner /

The Kite Runner was the first album that was produced by Khalid Hosseini, in 2003. The movie adaptation of the book will likely be out after Christmas, and features pretty much the same story as the book – after spending a long time on the West Coast of America, Amir returns to Afghanistan to go forth and help eir friend Hussein’s son. The score is done by Alberto Iglesias, who is still an unknown in Hollywood. This does not mean that Iglesias is untested (ey has done scores for movies such as Volver, The Constant Gardener, and The Dancer Upstairs), but ey has not done the score for a large scale Hollywood type of production. Continue reading “OST: The Kite Runner”

John Coltrane – Interplay

John Coltrane – Interplay / 2007 Prestige / 34 Tracks / http://www.concordmusicgroup.com /

This 5 CD set covers a 3 year period in John Coltrane’s career, when ey played with the Prestige Group; these fifty-year old recordings are given a 24-bit remastering from the original tapes. This remastering allows the recordings, feature also feature Kenny Burrell, Jimmy Cobb, Paul Chambers, and Red Garland, to shine in a way that they have never done beyond when they were first committed to tape all those years ago. More so than the actual recordings, there are a number of extra bits and pieces present that will allow individuals to get a better idea of what was happening in this period, and to construct the context in which the tracks on “Interplay” were originally crafted. Continue reading “John Coltrane – Interplay”

D.O.A. – The Black Spot

D.O.A. – The Black Spot / 2007 Sudden Death / 16 Tracks / http://www.myspace.com/doapunk / http://www.suddendeath.com /

While there are a number of fans of the music that D.O.A. has put out for the last twenty years, few individuals are familiar with the band’s work on “The Black Spot”. Originally released in 1995, this album marks a tempestuous time in D.O.A.’s life. This was due to the fact that this album marks the first appearance of Wimpy (The Subhumans) as a member of D.O.A.. The inclusion of this new member does not weak the band’s overall output during the disc; at times, the band sounds the best it has ever has. This is likely why Sudden Death this year decided to release an “unauthorized bootleg version” (whatever that means) of the album. Continue reading “D.O.A. – The Black Spot”

Insane Clown Posse – Jugganauts

Insane Clown Posse – Jugganauts / 2007 Island / 18 Tracks / http://www.insaneclownposse.com / http://www.islandrecords.com /

The Insane Clown Posse split off from Island Records a few years back to create their own record label. However, Island maintains the rights to all of the ICP’s albums up to a certain point, so it’s not that surprising to see a greatest hits album not come out from Psychopathic Records. In regards to the tracks that are present on this album, they do represent the ICP’s greatest hits – such classics are present as “Halls of Illusions”, “Bitches” (featuring Ol’ Dirty Bastard), “Great Milenko”, and “Piggy Pie”. Obviously, there are a few hits missing – Island only has the rights to “The Great Milenko”, “The Amazing Jeckel Bros.” and “Bizzar/Bizaar”– but each of the tracks represent the strongest ICP tracks from each of those eras.  Continue reading “Insane Clown Posse – Jugganauts”

Doug Neumann – Does Decaydance

Doug Neumann – Does Decaydance / 2007 Decaydance / 14 Tracks / http://www.dougdoes.com /

Do you remember all of those lounge singers that would go and put their own spin on popular songs? Well, Doug does that with a number of Decaydance artists, which means that “Does Decaydance” has Doug’s interpretation of Fall Out Boy, Gym Class Heroes, Cobra Starship, Panic! at the Disco, and more. Educated at the Berklee College of Music, it is not surprising that during track like “Dance Dance” that Doug is able to come forth and really create a new song out of one of Fall Out Boy’s biggest hits. There are times where Doug approaches the arrangements and style of the original song, but the inclusion of horns and a slower tempo really tends to masquerade the track as something substantially different from the original. Continue reading “Doug Neumann – Does Decaydance”

Eazy-E – Featuring Eazy-E

Eazy-E – Featuring Eazy-E / 2007 Capitol / 16 Tracks / http://www.emicap.com /

“Featuring Eazy-E” is an album that collects all of the different songs that were milestones of Eazy-E’s career, whether it be with other individuals or were songs that were hidden away for about the last fifteen years. This means that there are songs on here like “Automobile” (with N.W.A.), “Get Yo Ride On” (with Mack 10 and M.C. Eiht), and “Boyz In Tha Hood (G Mix)”. The hidden tracks are even more interesting, including “P.S. Phuk U 2”, a track that will make individuals wonder why exactly it stayed out of print for so long, and “Trust No Bitch”, a track that even the most heavy collector of Ezy-E merch is not likely to have. Continue reading “Eazy-E – Featuring Eazy-E”

Black Tide – Shockwave

Black Tide – Shockwave / 2007 Interscope / 2 Tracks / http://www.blacktidemusic.com / http://www.interscope.com /

This single is Black Tide’s first foray into the major label scene, and their brand of classically influenced metal will go over big with a populace that has been lusting after anything retro. “Shockwave” is so close to a Judas Priest song that I’m frankly afraid that Black Tide will be tapped as a copycat act. The ability of the band is so far beyond question that it would be almost offensive to question their compositions. The only thing that can really be said about “Shockwave” in a negative sense is the fact that the production seems to leave some of the compositions on the track flat. Sure, the guitar solo is intense as all get out, but it feels as if the producer is putting up a plexiglass barrier between the band and their listeners. Hopefully a more raw and raunchy mix can be given to the fans before the band’s full length is released. Regardless, Black Tide will fit in well with the retro metal band scene, whether it be touring with Wolfmother or Dragonforce. Pick the disc up at Hot Topic – I believe (but am not sure) that the single can only be picked up there. See the band live and pick up their full length whenever it is ultimately released.

Rating: 7.5/10