Quarters for the Jukebox


In the Jukebox — July 2

In the Jukebox for this week (based off new releases and listed alphabetically be artist):

  • The Alkaline Trio — Agony & Irony: Pop-rock.
  • Beck — Chemtrails: An etheral, spacey (not for radio) single from the two turntabled maestro.
  • Crooked Still — Still Crooked: Moody folk bluegrass.
  • Jessica Simpson — Come On Over: I had to at least listen once and am thinking she’s a bit late to jump on the country train. The genre is already crowded with young blonde solo artists.
  • John Mayer — Live in Los Angeles: If you like John.
  • Kutless — To Know That You’re Alive: Melodic Christian hard rock.
  • Continue reading



Album—Learning to Bend by Ben Sollee

Learning to Bend
Ben Sollee‘s string driven debut is an inventive, refreshingly unique introduction, and one of the stronger entries of 2008. With Tobey Maguire looks and cello in hand, Sollee makes a playground of folk, soul, indie pop and bluegrass. Married within his plucked sounds, Sollee’s voice is a soulful rasp emoting tenderness just as easily as it does weariness. The rare gift in this voice is that the believability it conveys, is easily digested by the ear as a pleasant sound. World weary singers aren’t always listened to for their ability to carry a tune, but Sollee pulls it off, and this will only help with his appeal to a wider audience. This sound is integral to the album, as it revolves around the theme of human perseverance — “learning to bend” in the stiffest of winds. Sollee simultaneously acknowledges life’s hardships while empowering you with hope.

The album houses one of the most interesting interpretations of “A Change is Gonna Come” you’ve ever heard; “Panning for Gold” is genuinely moving; “How to See the Sun Rise” is a playful porch-step game … the album is a wonderful achievement. You can hear several of his songs on his Web site—check for yourself.

Quarters for the songs: A Change is Gonna Come; A Few Honest Words; It’s Not Impossible; Panning for Gold; How to See the Sun Rise.

Worth listening, if you like: Andrew Bird; Elvis Perkins; Ed Jurdi; Amos Lee; Ben Harper; Damien Rice; Sufjan Stevens; early, early Tom Waits; Ray LaMontagne.



In the Jukebox — June 10

In the Jukebox for this week (based off what’s new to me and listed alphabetically by artist; lots to check out):

  • Adele—19: The second coming (and soberer?) version of Amy Winehouse?
  • Alanis Morissette—Flavors of Entanglement: Alanis goes back to a harder sound with pounding rock and heavy electronic sounds topped off with appropriately placed curse words.
  • Bangkok Five—We Love What Kills Us: Album of growling, manic rock with just enough of a dose of music sensibility to keep it cleverly all together—mucho potential to shine.
  • Ben Sollee—Learning to Bend: Earnest and beautiful music that touches into folk, soul, blues and pop.
  • Dr. John—City That Care Forgot: Big band blues rock with guest appearances by Eric Clapton, Willie Nelson, Ani DiFranco and Terence Blanchard.
  • Emmylou Harris—All I Intended to Be: A little country, a little folk, a little adult contemporary pop … .
  • The Fratellis: Melodic indie rock from across the pond, this trio has been on the cusp of making it in the U.S. for awhile but haven’t quite taken root. This sophomore album only strengthens their case.
  • Jakob Dylan—Seeing Things: The Wallflowers’ front man debuts his solo career with an offering of simply arranged, yet moving songs.
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Album — For My Friends by Blind Melon

Blind Melon
Blind Melon returns from the land of the non-recording bands, after losing lead singer/songwriter Shannon Hoon from a drug overdose in 1995 (though they continued with a few posthumous albums up until 2001). The group reformed with new singer Travis Warren at the helm. His vocals are cutting in their own right, but his sound doesn’t stray much from the original Hoon-led Blind Melon (Warren sounds like he was born to be the lead singer for an 80s hair band or a reboot of Blind Melon). With Warren’s familiar singing, the album slides in nicely to the band’s discography, an easy continuation of the band’s early to mid-90′s work. The lyrics are generally uplifting and sound meant to be inspirational in some form or another, which doesn’t always seem to fit with how the music actually sounds. Overall, the album is consistent with a really rootsy feel to it. Original fans will enjoy, but if you weren’t a fan before, don’t expect to be converted. Check for yourself.

Quarters for the songs: For My Friends; Harmful Belly; Last Laugh.

Worth listening, if you like: Collective Soul; Jane’s Addiction; Marcy Playground; Pearl Jam; Phish; Soul Asylum; Rusted Root; Toad the Wet Sprocket; Tonic.



In the Jukebox — June 3

In the jukebox for this week (what’s new: alphabetically listed by artist):

  • Aimee Mann —@#%&*! Smilers: Melodic wordplay rock: classic Mann.
  • Ashanti — The Declaration: Ashanti is back, bronzed and Beyonce-er than ever (at least on the album cover).
  • be your own PET — Get Damaged: The deleted tracks from this Nashville punk rock foursome’s “Get Awkward” album are released as an EP. It’s brash and fun all at once. The track “Becky” is a delightfully violent take on breaking up with a friend.
  • Brendan James — The Day is Brave: American indie poetic-piano-pop, with a Damien Rice-esque voice … too bad the songs don’t match the Rice comparisons.
  • Gavin Rossdale — Wanderlust: Former Bush front man and current Gwen Stefani main man releases his debut solo effort, and it’s much softer than you might expect.
  • Continue reading



Album — 3 Doors Down by 3 Doors Down

3 Doors Down
3 Doors Down walk the fine line the band has been balancing their entire career: producing melodic rock for the radio masses, while still enfusing a harder edge to keep their credibility as an actual “rock” band. The balance of genres has served the band well—and they haven’t deviated from it—with the new self-titled album debuting at #1 on the Billboard chart (I still don’t understand a self-titled album when it’s your fourth major release). The group said it was greatly influenced during the past few years during their concerts for the military (the band’s single “When I’m Gone” became an anthem for military personnel leaving for Afghanistan and Iraq). This lingering influence (and adjoining themes) can be seen directly in tracks like “Citizen/Soldier,” and indirectly with “It’s Not My Time” (video linked). Check for yourself.

Quarters for the songs: Train; It’s Not My Time; Let Me Be Myself.

Worth listening, if you like: Nickelback; Alter Bridge; Matchbox Twenty; Default; Daughtry; Bush; Fuel.



Album — Anthems for the Damned by Filter

Anthem for the Damned
Filter is back after a six year hiatus and musically picks up where it left off. The album cover art features a helmet propped on a rifle, gazing over a darkened wasteland with little room for the sun to shine through. The visual cue is dead on for the music inside. The songs dwell largely in a world of war, consequences, hatred and uncertainty with a splash of hope. Per usual for a Filter album, the songwriting feels very personable and unguarded. The songs work well with each other and the whole thing feels somewhat like a concept album, creating a very bleak landscape. Within that landscape are a couple of songs with a shot at being successful singles: “Kill the Day” (or its remix) and “Cold” (echoes of “Take My Picture”). Check for yourself.

Quarters for the songs: Kill the Day; Cold; Hatred is Contagious; Lie After Lie.

Worth listening, if you like: Army of Anyone; Audioslave; Sound Garden; Deftones; Nine Inch Nails; Stone Temple Pilots.




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