[19 May 2009]
PopMatters Editor & Publisher
Eminem - Relapse
To say the record industry is hoping for big things from Slim Shady is an understatement. The music biz is in freefall, rather like print media, and Eminem is one of the few bonafide platinum disc movers left these days. Undoubtedly this one will sell well, but the truth is Marshall Mathers’ routine is growing pretty stale. Relapse is full of more violent fantasies, drug tales and moping about his screwed up family. Eminem has one of the best flows in the game and it would be nice if he would start using it to actually say something beyond self-indulgent rhymes.
Tori Amos - Abnormally Attracted to Sin
Amos continues her multimedia approach to creativity with this compelling 17-track album, each song to be accompanied by a video “visualette” as something of a documentary accompaniment to the music. Amos still defiantly creates “albums”, full works of art with strong conceptual underpinnings. This is not music for the easily distracted. Sit down with the headphones on and give a solid hour of your time and stay away from that “shuffle” button.
Manic Street Preachers - Journal for Plague Lovers (UK release)
Wembley Stadium huge in the UK, but club players in the US, the Welsh trio teams up with indie rock producer extraordinaire Steve Albini on their latest effort. Manic lyricist Richie Edwards disappeared back in 1995, but the band has soldiered on ever since with Nicky Wire taking over the word crafting duties. Journal for Plague Lovers is notable for being the first Manics record since Edwards’ departure to utilize his old unused lyrics.
Jarvis Cocker - Further Complications
Steve Albini is also the hand behind the controls of former Pulp leader Jarvis Cocker’s latest solo album. Cocker, now resident in France, found himself in Chicago last year for a music festival and hooked up with Albini to produce some of the most rocking music of his long career. Still, elements of Pulp remain, but how could they not as he was the dominant force in that exceptional group. Cocker retains his leering lyrics and glammy Bowie-esque presence, but with a stronger backbeat than ever before.
Jason Lytle - Yours Truly, The Commuter
Grandaddy was long a critically acclaimed indie rock fave with a career spanning 14 years. Fortunately, for those missing the lush orchestra pop of that late ensemble, Jason Lytle has returned with a solo album that is very much within the canon of Grandaddy stylings. Lytle has left California for the big skies of Montana and it suits the music well. He retains the sunny Cali vibe, but the vast spaces of Montana lend a tinge of melancholoy and an expansive feel to the tunes.
Other notable releases this week:
Apostle of Hustle - Eats Darkness
Au Revoir Simone - Still Night, Still Light
Zee Avi - Zee Avi
Busta Rhymes - Back on My B.S.
Faux Hoax - Your Friends Will Carry You Home
The Field - Yesterday & Today
IAMX - Kingdom of Welcome Addiction
Iron and Wine - Around the Well
Kronos Quartet - Floodplain
Jeffrey Lewis & The Junkyard - Em Are I
Method Man and Redman - Blackout 2
Miss Kittin and the Hacker - Two
Passion Pit - Manners
Polly Scattergood - Polly Scattergood
Dusty Rhodes and the River Band - Palace and Stage
Savath and Savalas - La Llama
John Vanderslice - Romanian Names
The Warlocks - The Mirror Explodes
White Rabbits - It’s Frightening